Tag Archives: mental health policiy

Under cover of law: Extortion as punishment and the high cost of stigmatizing the mentally ill


From the Washington Post

D.C. woman’s number of 911 calls prompt city to request that she be given a guardian

At stake in this case is that the state (D.C.) wants to take the money (SSD checks) of this person and the only way to do it is by stripping her of her civil rights. The excuse for this atrocity is that she calls 911 “too frequently”.

The ´disability´in mental disability is in how society perceives the illness and the person bearing it, it is not the actual symptoms or manifestations of the illness that matters. You are not accepted as a functioning member of society if you are perceived as ´disabled´.  The disabilities movement have tried to show that if you put ramps, for example, they are not a ´burden’ to society  and can function and work like any other person. Clearly, the refusal to put a ramp was what caused these people to be ‘disabled’.

The same with mental illness, well, they don’t need a ramp. What I mean is that, portraying the mentally ill as a ‘burden’ is stigmatizing and it is what causes them to be ‘disabled’. We have to thank our States’ mental health system for their  good work at impressing that stigma in the public.

In this post I try to show, with this article,  how the process of stigmatizing is achieved by our government, nation-wide.

Anatomy of a stigma

The issues or problems stated by the D.C. officials in the article are:

1) Repeat callers to 911

2) …well, there’s no #2 nor 3 or 4 for that matter.

Unburdening society of the burden of people with mental disabilities: make them non citizens.

The only real issue that the officials can present in this case is the frequent 911 calls by one person. They have to deal with it as with any other situation.

The rest of their ‘reports’ constitute only unfounded accusations using mental illness as the basis to legally punish and extort money from Mrs. Rigsby by declaring her incompetent. Her crime: being mentally disabled.

This is also, and very important, a test case to be applied in the future, if they succeed, to other people with or without mental disabilities: using guardianship to punish people who use services “too frequently”. All they have to do, if you are not mentally ill,  is tag a label of a a mental illness with the help of psychiatrists, who are always at hand for the job.

I can see nothing more stigmatizing than the officialdom and the psychiatric and mental health systems abusing their powers to conjure a lie using mental illness as the legal basis to deprive people of their civil rights. In order to do all that, they have to paint the mentally ill as a burden to society. That’s EXACTLY what these people are doing here. Just see how many times the word “burden” was used by them in the article.

The article states that there are “concerns from D.C. officials about the impact of one woman’s troubles on public-health and safety resources” and “repeat 911 callers have long been identified as burdens on the health system and a drain on public-safety resources.”

Shared delusions of Impending doom

As stated in the article, there have been NO research AT ALL about how ANY repeat callers, let alone this woman in particular, has an impact on the resources. That explains the fact that D.C. official speaks ONLY of a “concern”: “concern that if [a supposition, it hasn’t happen yet in all those years] if crews are tending to Rigsby, the next 911 caller with an emergency might [another supposition, hasn’t happen yet either]get a paramedic from a farther distance, said Miramontes, the medical director…“There will come a time [another supposition, that time has not come yet] when one of these [frequent 911 callers] will call and they will [nope, not yet] cost someone else their life,”

These are all words meant to portray the mentally disabled as a ‘burden’. There’s no concrete EVIDENCE they can show that would cause them to have the concern that, if they don’t take this woman’s civil rights away, the system is about to collapse…unless they share with Mrs. Rigsby the delusion of “impending doom”, as the psychiatrist thought she may have.

But, no, they are not delusional. They are simply conspiring to abuse the power given to them by the citizens and commit the crime of extortion under cover of law.

 

First lie: it’s all in her mind

They allege “that Rigsby, 58, has bipolar and borderline personality disorders and does not have the mental capacity to handle her medical affairs.”

The implication all along the article is that her illness is in her mind, except that “About 40 percent of the time, she dials 911 on her own. Other times, she’s out in the District when passersby see her fall and call for help, the testimony indicated.”

So, 60% of the times “passersby” make the call because they see her fall; clearly, it’s not in her mind for other people have witnessed her problem.

This case is a hands-on experience on How to Stigmatize People with Mental Disabilities.

Second lie: she uses the services EVERYTIME she calls 911.

In the article we find that “About 55 percent of the time, she refuses to be transported in an ambulance and signs a waiver allowing emergency responders to leave.” Clearly, less than half of the call-events end up in her being transported, this shows that the officials are exaggerating and lying about her.

Third lie: they are trying to save the city money (by spending millions)

That’s a good one. Hundreds of thousands of $$ will be spend on a court case, the city will be spending thousands on a neurologist for an expensive neurological test to prove she’s crazy, thousands on a psychiatrist and other “mental health experts” hired to lie in court on behalf of the city…she only ‘owes’ $61 grand after so MANY years, for crying out loud!

In addition, a guardian cost money to the city too because she doesn’t have enough $$ to pay for care at home. If they send her to a home…

Fourth lie: Mrs. Rigsby, not the system, is a burden to the city.

Well, if more than half the times she calls (55% of the times) she REFUSES to be carted away, that means that she is CONSCIOUSLY trying to NOT burden the system, but that’s not what you get from the article.

What they don’t elaborate in the article is that she REFUSES to be carried by the EMS, that’s the word they used, REFUSES. That means that they TRIED to take her just because they showed up, even though she is refusing. We don’t know whether she offered to go on her own, must likely, but it is clear she REFUSED to be taken by ambulance. Why are they making her look like an unreasonable person?

Well, without the unreasonableness, without the ‘crazy’ there’s no stigma and no stigma means no power over her because the truth that it’s all an abuse would be clear to all. Ergo, she must be made to look crazy, unreasonable and a burden.

When you read the comments posted for the article, EVERYBODY is taking as true that she is mentally ill and a burden to the system simply because the ‘officials’ say so. Her words don’t count.

It’s not about the money; it’s about the civil rights

“If the District’s petition is successful, the medical guardian could take responsibilities for such things as hiring a home health aide, filling prescriptions and proposing a different living environment. But it would still be possible for Rigsby to dial 911 because the guardian would not be a live-in caregiver.”

The issue of ‘repeat calls’ will not change. The problem is one of quality of services.

Cutting funds and leaving the communities dependent on punitive measures to squeeze money for services, or to cut expenses by criminalizing the poor and the mentally ill is the correct way to break our society apart.

We spend trillions on wars. That’s all I have to say.

Important news in the media about people with mental disabilities.


The information in the first headline below is disturbing. It’s another attempt at depriving people with mental disabilities of their civil rights.

The other two are news about how politicians of both parties continue to use people with mental disabilities as pawn for their personal and parties’ political gains. Well, that’s my interpretation of the information in the articles. If you believe what the government wants you to believe, that parity has been achieved…I don’t know what to tell you.

D.C. woman’s number of 911 calls prompt city to request that she be given a guardian

Equal Coverage for the Mentally Ill

Rules to Require Equal Coverage for Mental Ills

The D.C. shooter and the other victims: the mentally ill people


OK. Keep moving; there’s nothing else to see here: it’s only dead people killed by an irrational mentally ill person.

I withheld my tongue when this incident was reported, waiting to see how long it would take the ‘officials’ to determine that it was just another case of an armed lunatic roaming free among us.

Until today, they were at a loss, running around like headless chicken trying to figure this incident out. Was it a terrorist plot? Was there more than one lone shooter? RUN! STOP THE PLANES FROM FLYING OVER D.C.!!

This is what happens when you don’t have ‘accurate’ gun listing profiles, I mean, reports; you can’t control the loonies. That’s the focus now, again.

Two things stand out (in my view) about this case: 1) the use of mental illness as an argument to justify policies in favor of arming/dis-arming citizens and 2) the stigmatizing of mental illness as a simple explanation to a problem that clearly has to do with the failure of the nation to provide QUALITY mental health  services, especially to veterans. I will discuss these now.

1) The use of mental illness as an argument to justify against or pro-gun rights policies.

The knee jerk reactions are the usual: we need guns because there are too many armed crazy people out there (NRA and Republican Party preferred argument), or we need to ban guns for the same reason (Democratic Party preferred argument). Either way you cut it, the mentally ill is the culprit.

In other words, the mentally ill is a political token to be used to settle a political issue: Constitutional gun rights. Our society can’t possibly engage in this issue using ANY other type of arguments. Not moral arguments, or about compassion, or about the economy, or about the crimes of the arms dealer and builders industry…no. It has to be settled by trampling on the rights of ALL the mentally ill persons in this nation, by vilifying a whole class of people who suffer neglect and powerlessness just because they are mentally ill.

This man, who committed this crime, seems to had been a walking ticking bomb for many years; that’s the impression that NOW the media and the police want you to stick in your mind. Based on the info that we are now receiving, he may had been ill, but NO ONE ever did anything to HELP him, not to punish or ostracize him, but to help him get services. That’s the payment we give to our soldiers when they come home. We let them boil in their PTSD and wait for them to do what EVERYBODY knows is going to happen. We do it because the national debt forces us to pay to Wall Street and cut mental health services. But no one talks about that NOW. NOoo. It’s the loonies that need to be thrown in a modern psych hospital (our prison system) and be forgotten there.

2) How easy is to explain this mass murder once you stick the label of ‘mental patient’ to the incident. NOW they understand.

You see, the Washington Post did its usual manipulation of info to help you arrive easily to the necessary conclusion. First, it described Alexis having a clearly paranoid episode, which happened long time ago, and then followed it immediately with this quote, which was made before we knew about Alexis’ mental illness:

“What caused this individual to kill so many innocent men and women?” Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, asked at an afternoon news conference outside the local FBI field office.”

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to answer that question using the previous paragraph describing the paranoid episode. And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is how the mainstream media practices the art of opinion shaping through EMOTIONAL MANIPULATION.

But that’s not all. The mainstream media is in a ‘damage infusion’ mode, forcing us to conclude that Alexis was a lunatic DESPITE him having also had a history of good deeds. It’s the process of enforcing the stigma rule.  For example:

a) his military achievements and recognitions are devalued in order to keep him stigmatized as a mentally ill person, unworthy of any recognitions:

“He received the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal, awards of minor distinction”

“the Navy mistakenly said he had received a general discharge, a less-desirable category that would have indicated to future employers that there was something amiss with his performance.”

 Notice in the second quote how a dishonorable discharge is surreptitiously  equated with mental illness, and in the process implies that mentally ill people should NOT be hired.

b) other people’s good opinion about him become less important, and bad opinions AFTER THE FACTS become more prophetic:

“Those who knew Alexis in recent years describe him as a “sweet and intelligent guy” (a regular customer at the Thai restaurant where he had been a waiter) and “a good boy” (his landlord), but also as “very aggressive,” someone who seemed as though he might one day kill himself (a lay worker at the Buddhist temple where Alexis worshiped).”

c) and other people’s abuses pass as ‘insignificant’ and not contributing to Alexis’ losing it:

“The woman told police that Alexis had complained several times that she was too loud. She said he had confronted her a few days earlier in the complex’s parking lot “about making too much noise,” according to a police report.”

I’m sure that if you live in NYC, you know how ‘maddening’ a loud tenant above you can be. But we don’t question how disruptive that woman was, how did she contribute to him ‘losing it’.

d) and finally, how the system ignores the people’s need for mental health service to later blame mental illness itself as the problem. Mental illness is NO problem to society when we stop pretending that we are servicing people and actually put the money where the politicians mouths are.If we treat the people when they need it, we don’t have mass killings. And if we keep people employed we don’t have mass killing either. Neither if we stop spending money in “stupid wars” for the benefit of arms mongers, oil barons and Wall Street banksters.

We know that our politicians reward our veterans with homelessness and lack of medical and psychiatric services. Alex was a veteran. The signs where there but, as usual, no one did anything about it:

 “and it was unclear whether the Navy had sufficient cause to push forward. So when Alexis applied on his own to leave the Navy in early 2011 with an honorable discharge, the service granted his request, the official said.”

They had the opportunity to deal with him BEFORE he lost it. But they didn’t.

“Alexis also had an angry streak that flared often enough to create an arrest record in three states.”

Idem.

“Alexis’s father told detectives then that his son “had experienced anger management problems that the family believed was associated with PTSD,”

“He did not like to be close with anybody, like a soldier who has been at war.”

And the verdict:

 “Nobody could have done anything to prevent this except Aaron Alexis,” he said. “Maybe he snapped. I don’t know.”

This will not stop. Our society has failed to face the reality that mental illness is the product, not only of any physical disturbance, but of how our society is ordered, how we prioritize the use of our public wealth and resources.

Given that we prefer to pay big banksters for usurious loans instead of putting the money where it belongs (in the public service) we will have to continue blaming mental illness as the number one mass killer in the USA.

Prevention is incompatible with paying the debt. You gotta make your priorities.

See you in the next episode.

My sympathies for the relatives of the victims, as always.

I blame our government for this new social pain.

Cuomo Agrees to Plan for Housing Mentally Ill, Ending Legal Battle


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.

I will tell you where we must put caution in this agreement.  You can read the agreement on your own here courtesy of Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health.

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.

  • ‘what if I my diagnosis is not in the book anymore? They removed some and added new ones.’ See my point?

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?

  • a determination by SSA that you receive benefits due to mental illness will not be enough.
  • A “Health Home agency” AND a  MLTCP (managed long-term care Plan) will be in charge of the process of evaluating your qualification for the agreement. Even if SSA says you are disabled, these people may determine that you are not ‘substantially‘ dysfunctional and may disqualify you. See #5, subsections (b) i and ii on page 5.

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.

GOOD WORK.

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.

Take the rabbit, leave the mentally ill.


This Washington Post article (Watch him pull a USDA-mandated rabbit out of his hat) about how a children’s magician with a rabbit has been harassed by the federal government over a license required for the RABBIT, not for practicing magic tricks, shows what I have been trying to show to my fellow ‘consumers’ of mental health services: The administrative agencies, federal and states, are the centers that ENACT the oppression the people are feeling. I’ll explain in a moment.

Take the rabbit, leave the “doofus”. That was the WaPo calling that sweet-looking man a “doofus”. ts ts ts ts

About the magician, they DEMAND that the poor man concoct a 20 plus pages EMERGENCY escape PLAN for the RABBIT, you know, in case the rabbit is caught in the middle of a man-made terrorist act or a nature-made terrorist act. (Now, it is POSSIBLE, given the insanity of our federal and states bureaucrats, that they are awakening to the realization that MOTHER NATURE is…gulp…a TERRORIST. We NEED our bureaucrats to protect us from HER. I would love to see them arresting her for down-pouring on a summer Sunday, interrupting our family plans. Well, they are coming close. except that they started with a human:  Oregon Resident, Sentenced To Jail For Stockpiling Rainwater !!! CAN ANYONE GIVE THESE PEOPLE SOME THORAZINE!?)

 

The WaPo article analyses the insanity of the bureaucrats attitude and says this is about how the laws are enacted in this nation:

The story behind it illustrates the reality of how American laws get made. First Congress passes a bill, laying out the broad strokes. Then bureaucrats write regulations to execute those intentions.

And then, often, they keep on writing them. And writing them.

“Regulations are issued and enforced by the Agency.”

That’s the peril of the administrative agencies, that they are given DISCRETIONARY powers to INTERPRET the law handed down to them and apply it at will, and then they become the monkey on our backs.

The NY State Office of Mental Health (OMH) is MASTERFUL at interpreting the laws to HURT THE MENTALLY ILL. That agency does not pass a law that protects the people they are supposed to care for unless the courts or the legislators pass a law to CORRECT the abusive rulings of the agency. Then OMH claims that they are doing a good work because, well, the people are NOT aware of how the courts chastise the agency, in many occasions. They protect the PROVIDERS, including the abusive ones.

For examples of what I have just said, see some of my posts in the OMH category:

magician

Side-by-side: SAFE ACT and ‘illegal’ OMH Guidelines enacting the ACT

NY Safe Act: gun law gives Office of Mental Health power to see the future [wink]

When is ‘minimum’ the same as ‘high’? When NYS OMH says so. Part 3

Our community needs to awaken to the realization that the actions and rules of the OMH show that there is no reason for us to trust that the agency is looking for our interests. We need to participate in the policy-making process of this agency, we can’t leave it to them to distort the laws meant to protect us.

That’s my personal feeling about this agency.

Why we should stand against the SAFE ACT.


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.


BASTILLE DAY: OMH on the guillotine, metaphorically speaking.


The Citywide Mental Health Project is pleased to announce our support for this activity. We encourage other consumers to participate and attend the activities. See you there.

Please, pass along to friends.

bastille

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 17, 2013
Mental Patients Liberation Alliance (The Alliance)
George Ebert 1-800-654-7227
georgeebert@yahoo.com
______________________________________________________________________________
The Mental Patients Liberation Alliance (The Alliance) will host its 33rd Annual Bastille Day event to celebrate the human spirit and break the silence about psychiatric oppression on July 12, 13, 14 and 15 (Friday through Monday noon) in Albany.

A peaceful educational vigil will begin at the New York State Office of Mental Health, 44 Holland Avenue, Albany, at noon on Friday. A focus will be on the mental illness industries’ devastating “medical modelthat exclusively relies on – solely allows and most often forces – invasive dehumanizing, disabling, and potentially deadly drugs and Electro-Convulsive (ECT- Shock) treatments to address what are termed “mental illness” and “mental health issues” – on countless children, young people, and adults.

Kristin Woodlock, Acting Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Health, will publish the Regional Centers of Excellence Plan on July 8, 2013, that will “strategically position the mental health system for the future”. The position of we, the people, who have been stigmatized, treated, and dehumanized will be a focus of the 2013 Bastille Day. The Highlander Statement of Concern and Call to Action (March 2000) states, in part: “We call upon all people committed to human rights to work together to build a mental health system that is based upon the principle of self-determination, on a belief in our ability to recover, and on our right to define what recovery is and how best to achieve it”. In the spirit of The Highlander, the Centers of Excellence Plan will be one focal point of Bastille Day 2013.

A general members’ meeting will be held on Sunday, July 15 at 11:00 a.m. during the vigil on Holland Avenue. All meetings are open to the public.
The Alliance – established in 1972 – is a self help, mutual support, and human rights organization of, by, and for people labeled as “mentally ill”. Alliance members, their supporters, and concerned community members are connected to an international liberation movement. The Alliance can be contacted at http://www.TheAlliance.org or toll free at 1-800-654-7227.
….

NY Safe Act: gun law gives Office of Mental Health power to see the future [wink]


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:

citywidementalhealthproject@live.com

Links:

[2] http://www.nysenate.gov/committee/mental-health-and-developmental-disabilities

[4] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSae–ouoGE

The IRS scandal: three degrees of separation from NYS Office of Mental Health


“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.

DISCLAIMER:

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.

discretionary4. 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.

spirit

The ‘spirit of the law’ as seen by some law-makers.

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:

  • the commissioners of the administrative agencies are NOT ELECTED and not accountable to the public, and
  • Because they have DISCRETIONARY POWERS to create NEW LAWS to control the public’s behavior through these regulations.

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’

words

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):

Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code which defines social welfare organizations for tax-exempt purposes defines them this way:  “Civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.”

Then, the IRS code does a magic trick and changes the meaning of the word exclusively:

“To be operated exclusively to promote social welfare, an organization must operate primarily to further the common good and general welfare of the people of the community.”

http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/05/23/exclusively-vs-primarily-irs-law-a-disaster-waiting-to-happen/

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.

lawsIt 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.

The elephant in the NY State mental health system’s room.


elephant

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 

INTRODUCTION

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.”[1]

The Citywide Mental Health Project believes to eliminate this culture of abuse we need to start by breaking the taboo.

Breaking the taboo: exposing the culture of abuse

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[1] about the NY State’s protection and advocacy (P&A) system that:

  • People with developmental disabilities (pdd) and their families were excluded from the state’s P&A board.
  • That no efforts were made to reach out to them.
  • That the state has failed to protect its pdd from abuse and mistreatment.
  • That the state is in violation of the Developmental Disability Act.

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[2], that “90%” of consumers are ‘happy’ with services and with the “multiple layers of protection”[3], 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[4], 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.”[5]

Who else but the state and the state’s courts could have denied them that protection and justice to which they have a right?


[5] http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/05072012-first-to-protect-special-needs

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[1], 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[2].

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.[3]

“He was one of the people interviewed and featured in   a 2011 series of articles by The New York Times examining problems of abuse and corruption within the system.
Since then, the state has pursued a tenuous disciplinary case against Mr. Monsour, and it also tried to pressure the State Senate to disinvite him from a panel discussion. In an editorial last year, The Times Union of Albany criticized the state for its “muzzling” of Mr. Monsour. “

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.

[1] see on-omhs-unlicensed-policy https://thecitywidementalhealthproject.wordpress.com/our-documents/

[2] As above.

[3] http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/nyregion/cuomo-administration-continues-to-pursue-case-against-jeffrey-monsour.html

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.

  • To identify persistent problems we and our peers are experiencing in accessing the services, and to present solutions
  • To identify what is working appropriately and to our satisfaction.
  • To discuss how the goal of person-oriented services is working.
  • To let the providers know how they are succeeding in achieving their stated mission and goals.

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:

  • A grievance procedure must be meaningful, capable of addressing and resolving our complaints in a timely fashion.
  • It must guarantee that we can discuss problems about interactions with the staff or the administration without fears of being humiliated, ignored, or punish for coming forward with a complaint.

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!

Gov. Cuomo’s new Protection and Advocacy System: Do we REALLY need to be protected??


I asked myself that question while I was at the state-wide video hearing last Friday about the Gov Cuomo’s proposal to create a  new P&A system. From the Metro area,  The Citywide Mental Health Project were the only ones there. More than shocked or upset, I was saddened by the lack of interest in our community and the public at large on the issue of abuses perpetrated on people with disabilities.

You would have thought that, after all the brouhaha about abuses and the gun control laws that promise to curtail the few rights we have left, after all those state reports about privatizing the functions of our government, which will make abuses a mere ‘collateral damage’ that comes with the imperative to make profit, you would have thought that after all that there would be a long line to get inside the conference room. Nope.

The situation I described was the same in other state counties: few brave souls showed up to speak up their minds. Many were able to articulate their lack of hope in the ability and willingness of this new system to protect people with disabilities. DIA was there, in another county; some people with developmental disabilities stood up to speak up  for themselves. The father of a son who was killed in one of this institutions was there. I wish I could speak to him; his comment was stripped of pleasantries and went to the root of the matter. His statements were very much what we at the Citywide have been saying about how the system is failing us.

Where is our community? It seems that our community and the society at large trust that the Governor, because he is a democrat, is doing everything right to help us.

Anyone who knows about politics knows that ‘trust’ in politicians is like trusting ice will keep your water cool for a long time. (Think about simile.)

Even if I grant good-will in the intentions behind this new P&A system, politicians make (GULP) mistakes. And one thing is the INTENTION behind the policy, another is the IMPLEMENTATION.

We are still here, the Citywide, trying to keep the issue in the open. The discussion of abuses is TABOO in our mental health system; we need to break that taboo.

Waiting for a miracle will not change things. We need to stand up and start speaking about this issue.

And if you are happy and have not experience abuses and mistreatment then, let those who have and want to denounce the abuses in the system do their work.

We can’t continue to cry ‘foul’ every time some story of abuse is published in our mainstream media and then go back to our state’s  ‘councils’ where nothing is done about anything without the consent of OMH or the city.

Organizing to secure funds for programs is a priority, but so is our lives and mental health.

We need to organize to make the system SAFE for us. It will not happen by magic.

Lourdes

the Protection and Advocacy redesignation public hearings: our testimony


What follows is the statement I read yesterday at the state’s video-conference  on the proposed re-designation of the P&A system.

Our group were the only ones there speaking up for our community and representing the metro area.

This my  first experience for I have never been to these ‘video-conferences’ given that I’m ‘new’ to doing activism within the mental health system. It was quite an experience.

For one, we were amazed at the third-world level of the system! WOW. I’m sure in Nicaragua there would have been less problems in televising the thing. You could not see the people making the presentations, the audio went on and off…disgraceful. The workers tried the best they could with the equipment they get from yard-sales and the extra slow internet speed we have in the US, as compared to Europe’s.

As for the statements:

Look, our community is AWARE that the government IS part of the problem when it comes to abuses. Consumers from other areas of the state made direct comments about that.

Personally, I got from the conference that consumers don’t have  much hope in that the new P&A system will make a difference in protecting us. GOOD! Now we take the BULL BY THE HORNS.

I’m inviting anyone reading this in our community (consumers) to attend our group’s meeting on Friday April 26 to help us plan a meeting to call for the creation of a coalition to deal exclusively with the problem of physical and psychological abuses of consumers in the NY mental health system.

Please, read the testimony I presented yesterday at the video conference. Comments are more than welcome. There’s Word doc copy at the Our Documents tab.

Testimony of The Citywide Mental Health Project at thePublic Hearing on the proposed redesignation of the New York Protection and Advocacy(P&A) System and Client Assistance Program (CAP) for people with disabilities.

April 9, 2013.

Every 10-15 years, since Willowbrook, a new form of P&A is created as a result of reports about how the state ignores or is part of the culture of abuse of people with all types of disabilities in its system.

Today’s P&A ‘redesignation’, and the new Justice Center, is the continuation in the new millennium of this 10-15 years pattern.

It is the response, not to consumers’ denunciations, but to the Federal ADM of Developmental Disability’ scorching 2011 report based on the NY Times investigation of abuses in the state’s mental health system.

It concluded that the state’s CQCA[Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy]  had failed (to put it mildly) to protect the disabled, that consumers were excluded from its P&A board, and that the commission had violated the DD Act [Developmental Disability Act]. The system was part of the problem, it had to be torn down and rebuild once again.

And yet, these mental health agencies always report that over 90% of consumers rate quality of care as excellent, even people in places where reports of abuses are rampant. That’s because it is taboo to discuss abuses in our system.

As a response to the report, Section 2 of the Protection of people with special needs Act repealed Art 45 CQCAPD. But it designated these same agencies and the JC as official oversight agencies keeping the same licensed and unlicensed rules that give legal cover to abusive providers, and leaving us still mute in the system.

And this notice of redesignation does not acknowledge nor mentions how the new P&A will correct the violations relating to the exclusion of consumers from the board, which led to the redesignation in the first place.

The definition of insanity is doing the same old things and expecting different results.

As long as the system continues to deny us a voice, as long as there is no official mechanism for us to bring from the programs in which we are up to the agencies our reports of quality of services, as long as token consumer councils continue rubber- stamping policies giving the impression that our community consent to them while we are actually been left out, this redesignation and the JC will continue the culture of ignoring our cries for help.

The Citywide Mental Health Project is calling on our peers to form a coalition of consumers to deal exclusively with this issue of abuses, which moved to our community when state’s institutions were forced to close, so that we can be heard loud and clear about the meaningful policies we want to see enacted.

We cannot continue hoping that good willed professionals will change this system, and wait for the next round of 10-15 years pattern of reports about abuses in the NY Times.

Thank you.

Lourdes Cintron

Founder of The Citywide Mental Health Project

(718)561-8415

Email: citywidementalhealthproject@live.com

Address: 480 East 188th St. Apt. 7M

Bronx, NY 10458

On OMH’s unlicensed policy


On OMH’s unlicensed policy is in the form of  a Word doc here

Unmasking “Pay for Success”: Wall Street betting on poverty.


This post is based on a reading of “Counter(Imp)acting Austerity: The global trend of government support for impact investment, a research paper done by a Yasemin Saltuk for JP Morgan: “J.P. Morgan (“JPM”) is the global brand name for J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (“JPMS”) and its affiliates worldwide.” It describes the growth and projections of this ‘new’ form of capital investment ‘initiatives’ or ‘ventures’ aimed at directly profiting from the same social problems created precisely by JP and its equals. Basically, they invest, privatize and control those social services delivery systems which they deem profitable, with the government taking the “risk” of the venture. Yes, you will see in the report that the government will assume the ‘risk’, the rules are still been drawn.

There are many names for this new investing ‘trend’. Here in good ol’ USA it’s known as “pay for success initiatives”.

After reading the document, I too came with different names for this ‘initiative’: ‘Voltaire’s ‘social contract’ on steroids’; ‘Your road to wealth starts with the squeegee guy’; ‘The wolves feeding the sheep’; ‘Betting on poverty’…well, you get my drift.

When, as you will see, even the US State Department involved in this “pay for success” business (that’s exactly what it is), you know something fishy is there. And when JP Morgan works diligently in this report, you know that this is in the hands of big government and central banking systems. This ‘approach’ is the result of big lobbying, not the result of social workers finding ways to cope with the impact of budget cuts in the lives of the under-served. RIP ‘not-for-profit’ social services industry. Although it was a looong time ago since they stopped being ‘not for profit’.

And forget about “best practices”. If it ain’t increasing profits, it ain’t best practice.

Let me share with you what I found in that report. I’ll do this  in two different posts, the second will discuss how ‘pay for success’ will work and how it will be financed.

1. Origen of the new millennium’s “pay for success”: coping with debt with more debt

This ‘impact investments’ (“those intended to create positive social or environmental impact alongside financial return”) is not new. The report mentions that in France, for example, this idea is at least 100 years old. It was previously known as “social economy” in the form of ‘credit cooperatives’ with ‘social outcomes’ goals at its heart. This bank is the oldest in that tradition, supposedly:

Crédit Coopératif is a co-operative bank…” http://www.credit-cooperatif.coop/menu-bas/english-presentation/

But today’s ‘impact investments’ ideas are the direct result of the economic crisis created by the central banks:

“As governments across the developed world grapple with austerity, many are faced with the reality of reduced public spending at a time when economies struggle to grow…”

“In a global trend, governments are increasingly turning to domestic impact investment as they balance the need for fiscal consolidation with the demand for investment in economies struggling to grow.”

“As such, this period of fiscal consolidation has been an opportunity for impact investments”

“Whether or not the motivating factor is directly caused by fiscal consolidation [they don’t care] the coincident trend is clear: governments across developed markets are increasingly turning to the impact investment sector for delivery of domestic social services as they cut spending” [yeehaaa!]

Mind you, “fiscal consolidation” means “a policy intended to reduce deficits and the accumulation of debt.”  Reduce deficits means reduced social spending in order to pay the central banks, and reduce the accumulation of debt, well, in an economical system based on debt, reducing debt is impermissible and unacceptable. You will see how the report confirms that creation of debt is at the heart of this “pay for success” capital venture.

Anyway, this “pay for success” is the central banks’ medicine to the problems THEY have created with their debt collections and bailouts.

2. Why are JP Morgan  and the big banking systems interested in “pay for success”?

The language of WS and central bankers gives you a huge hint:

“[to] attract private investment capital, to take a more significant role in delivering social services”

“we show the consolidation required …”

“Fiscal consolidation is insufficient, coincident investment in growth is critical” [market growth, that is]

directed financing towards intentionally impactful and financially sustainable business – what we will refer to as “impact businesses”

“to deliver better returns”

encourage faster market growth”

allow businesses to improve their market position

opportunities for strategic investment

We believe this makes the market for impact investmentsthe investments that finance impact businesses –a key recipient of government support today and in the future.”

There can be no doubt about the nature of this ‘pay for success’ model: it is a profit-seeking, global financial market investment business. It has been thought out aaaaaall the way up there, where none of us can see or influence it. It deals with nations’ “consolidation” policies, “market growth”…This is NOT a GRASSROOTS movement.

In addition, these bankers DEMAND “fiscal consolidation” in order to participate in the shark feeding frenzy : the consolidation required”, “Fiscal consolidation is insufficient”.

And more ‘egregious’ is this:

“a key recipient of government support today and in the future.”

I thought that capitalists didn’t want the government to meddle in their business, that this ‘pay for success’ was about BIG BUSINESSES HELPING the ‘salt of the earth’, the downtrodden. But now I find here that it is about THE GOVERNMENT supporting the market! And to rub it in our face, they will finally, FINALLY take official and in-the-public’s face control of  how we receive services, if any and in whatever shape they decide it will happen:

to take a more significant role in delivering social services.”

And here we are, gingerly and happily CONSENTING to this total corporation appropriation of our lives, of how ‘recovery’ will be defined in terms of how much profit your pain gives them.

3. First ‘moral  implications’ question: profiteering from poverty

How safe it is for us to entrust the repair of the damages done by that global market and the global banking industries to our society into the hands of those same people?

Is it moral to devise a system of big stock  buying and investing and subject  our health services to the ups and downs of the market? As you will see later in the report, these people are aware that, in order to reap the most profit, the most sick and difficult to help due to mental illness will be left behind, those who can’t be shaped into some profit-drawn box of ‘behavioral outcomes’ will be left unserviced.

If, as even they acknowledge, this is the result of the financial and austerity crisis, isn’t there ANY way to solve the problem other than surrendering our lives to the global markets? And why does it have to be PERMANENT? Today they are only finessing the TRANSFER of our lives to their hands, drawing the rules they will use to make US PAY for that too,

“today and in the future.”

Tomorrow I will post the rest of the report. It will deal with the actual rules of how they will finance ‘pay for success’.

Lourdes C.

NYS’ new gun (and mental illness) control law.


Our state (NY) has just passed some new law on the issue of gun control, and mental illness to boot. Of course, the discussion about the law was kept “behind closed-door”, in the closet, so to speak.  How charming.

Why would they want to do such a thing, I ask myself. But then again, who am I to ask anything about them ‘law makers’?

I don’t want to burst your bubble of joy here but, I think I must. Just kidding.

When our legislators, at both state and federal level, sit behind closed doors, the law that comes out of there is filled with loopholes big enough to pass an elephant sitting on a tank through it.

So, save yourself a major disappointment IF you actually read the new law when it gets  published. If you don’t read the new law you will go away happy and content thinking that here something was done relating to gun control. If you read the law later, your bubble is bound to burst. Choose: to read or not to read.

The other thing is the now fait accomplished of wielding together mentally ill people with mass killer. That’s what the legislation has done, based on what the news tell us. Maybe we ought to call this law ‘the stigma of mental illness Act’.

And to not waste the opportunity, they also wielded together Kendra’s Law to the mentally ill and gun owners. Involuntary commitment usually goes hand in hand with stigma and stereotypes. Have you already forgotten Willowbrook and the recent articles about mistreatment of the disabled  and mentally ill? The cases of police called to help with some distressed person only to have the cops taser and kill that person? Now, you can include old fashion straight jackets to the mix of tools to deal with gun owners. See my post on fashion for the mentally ill here.

This new law makes ‘official’ the boggy man’s theory of the relation between gun ownership and mental illness. I’m waiting for our ‘leaders’ to pass a law that makes it official that foreclosure and poverty causes mental illness; that there is correlation between  the political and economical disorder  of a society and increase in violence and mental disorders there.

Our fashionable  “fiscal cliff” is a term that ought to point to you to that relation I just mentioned.

The "fiscal cliff" as a cause for mental instability. There ought to be a law against 'fiscal cliffs'.

The “fiscal cliff” as a cause of mental instability. There ought to be a law against ‘fiscal cliffs’.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/15/nyregion/new-york-legislators-hope-for-speedy-vote-on-gun-laws.html#commentsContainer

CONNECTICUT SHOOTING: Some thoughts


chi-connecticut-school-shooting-20121215

Here we are again in a painfully too familiar situation. You can blame the NRA or the mentally ill  for this latest installment of collective pain.

But, what we are witnessing is a society falling apart at the seams since the very beginning of this millennium. It’s not the fault of the mentally ill, on the contrary, our personal, and ultimately collective mental illness, is the outcome of a society rapidly decomposing since the last 12 years.

This horror we just witnessed didn’t happen in a social vacuum nor are our reactions to this horror, impulsive and emotional as they may be, unrelated to this social decomposing we are experiencing.

The first automatic explanation for these killings  is ‘this is the act of a deranged, mentally disturbed maniac. We need to lock them all up and throw the key away.’ There’s your mental health policy.

That’s a problem because that’s a knee-jerk reaction. It blames not the problem but the consequence created by the problem. The problem is our decomposing society and the consequence is the collective and personal mental illness which outcome is self-inflicted pain and suffering, collective and personal pain and suffering.

WE ARE NOT NUMBER ONE

It’s not difficult to see how our social political decisions are to be blamed for this horror. These social policies we enact (economical, health, prison and legal systems) have an impact not only on our health, but on the safety of our children.

Take for example the fact floated around for a while now, that the USA is in the #37 spot of nations’ quality of health  (according to the UN). This could contribute an angle to explain  why 20 children were massacred in the USA by a citizen, not by a an Islamist terrorist. Our nation’s low position compared to other nations’ health system happens because of our own health policies decisions. We think we are ahead when in reality we are falling way behind the Western nations. It’s not welfare nor Social Security nor Medicaid nor the ‘free loaders’ the ones to be blamed.

We vote for politicians that feed from the NRA and the Pharma and the big Health Insurance industry and Wall Street…those with the capital letters are the ones that make the laws that the lawmakers sign blindly and  that will control how inaccessible and useless the health services available will be. Oh, and how stereotyping those services will be: ‘you receive mental health services? Then you are a potential mass murderer. We must take your civil and personal rights away.’

Social Security and ‘the free loader’ and the mentally ill are not the cause of our pains.

THE HSBC CASE

Look for the connections between this latest horror and our policies in the status of our ‘social contract’.

Do you think that the recent HSBC bank corruption case, where not one from that bank set a foot in a court to face the charges of laundering billions of dollars for the drug cartels, has no impact on our mental health and our social fabric?

I think it does; it may be too subtle for you to notice in your daily hustle and bustle,  but it’s impact is there.

When the laws are unfair and the few can evade them with impunity and with the help of our ‘leaders’, they act as an acid that eats into our trust of our government. Remember, the government is supposed to represent us. If it is corrupt, it means that we as a people are corrupted. We act accordingly.

A MILLENNIUM OF WAR

We have been living in a state of war since the beginning of this millennium. Do you think that has no impact on our personal and collective mental health? Give it a thought.

These connections have been weaved together for the last 20 years, at a minimum, and for the last 12 for sure. There is now a fiscal cliff  for you to jump off. Funny the metaphor used by our leaders: a cliff.

Our leaders in Congress and the White House are about to push you off a cliff and you still can not make the connection between the Connecticut shooting and the fiscal cliff. You will go down the cliff blaming the mentally ill for the push.

Already people are complaining about the new health regulations making access to treatment more difficult. You can’t be with the devil and expect goodness to come out from  him. The devil is our nation’s financial system. They control just about  everything. What caused the Connecticut shooting?

DON’T TELL ME YOU BELIEVE SO

Maybe this kid who committed this crime  had no connections with the system.  Maybe it was simply that he was truly ‘crazy’. But, unless he was kept in a closet without contacts with humanity, he was a product of our society.

You must have had some experience with the system when it comes to mental health, at least  80% of Americans have, according to statistics.

Don’t tell me you think the system is reliable.  I won’t believe you believe so.

I feel sorry for those kids and their parents. One must be an insensitive jerk to not feel the pain. But, after the grieving, we must look at where we have arrived. And start making drastic changes to our political system.

Take the nation back from  the hands of the big financial hands.

Peace and mental health to all.

Nothing About Us Without Us!

The situation out there


Chasing the money

It seems that our community has been forced into a tug of war by our government -state, federal and city- to protect our services from being decimated under the excuse of ‘economic crisis’. More money has been lost yearly in financial corruption than what is needed to keep small programs running: the recent CityTimes’ scandal in our city is an example.

This is the game we are forced into by the powers that be: stay focused on trying to keep programs open: low quality of services, abuses and mistreatment, our lack of meaningful participation in shaping our so-called public mental health system and programs policies, these issues are perennially moved to the back burner.

And our justice system seems unavailable for us too.

THE JUSTICE SYSTEM: hmmm.

Despite so many laws supposedly there to protect us, few cases brought to courts by legal advocates denouncing discrimination and physical and mental abuses in state and private institutions are actually won. Then many are overturned on appeal. Example, DAI v OMH (among other defendants), a case about abuse and discrimination of people with disabilities won in 2010 but over turned in April 2012 on technical legal grounds: OMH argued successfully that the non-for-profit legal group it itself hired to advocate for these people had no right to do their job! Go figure.

There is no expectation that the mentally ill will find in courts relief from abuse. The long arm of cultural stereotypes and prejudice about the mentally ill reaches our courts. The actual reason for the new 2008 ADA amendment was precisely that our nation’s court, all the way up to the SCOTUS, had been circumventing the ADA 1990 to deny relief from abuse to people with disabilities. In the “findings and purpose” of the amendment, it states, among other things: “(4) the holdings of the Supreme Court in Sutton v. United Air Lines, Inc., 527 U.S. 471 (1999) and its companion cases have narrowed the broad scope of protection intended to be afforded by the ADA [1990], thus eliminating protection for many individuals whom Congress intended to protect;”. To remedy this legal abuse, the amendment relaxed the definition of disability, among other things.

Many judges have done the ‘homework’ and have been allies of the mentally ill/disabled, but there are still a few who betray that culture of stereotypes. It shows in uncompassionate rulings.

The operating stereotype is still that the mentally ill must be mentally deficient and simple-minded,  a dependent  child-adult, not a citizen with political and human rights capable of thinking and standing for himself; otherwise, he or she must be a faker. Or, the interests of a whole group of people being physically abused (as in the case above) must be relegated to the interests of the ‘non for profit’ business or to protect legal technicalities.

We must carry our labels everywhere we go and have our social worth measured against them.

If you think that the new Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs will change this, you are up for a rude awakening, again. But that’s topic for another time.

POLICY MAKING and citizenry

I have been speaking recently to some of my peers in the community about how they rate their participation in their programs.  The message I’ve been getting is pretty much generalized: they feel voiceless in their programs and treated in undignified manner. It seems to me that my peers suffer not only from chronic mental illness, but from a chronic lack of political power, they are treated as less than full-fledge citizens.

The ‘public’ mental health system in our state (and federal) is based on a carefully studied and planned mental health policy. Ingrained in all policies is, or ought to be, a mechanism for those directly affected by it to provide feedback about how efficient these policies have been in achieving their goals. Hell, even Staples asks for consumer feedback. So, our mental health policy gives us the Consumer Advisory Boards (CAB) or councils at state, city and program levels. These CAB are tools we have gain through years of struggles to participate in the system to have a voice, not ‘gifts’ from a benevolent state. But few consumers know about ‘policy’ or about CABs.

WE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO TALK ABOUT IT

The efficiency of  a legal or mental health system is measured, in part, on how good or bad YOU are being treated by  it or in it, how it feels on your skin,  not on the ‘quantity’ of laws and services tabulated. If our feedback is being heeded then it should reflect at least in superior quality of services or on how we are not been abused. Take note of these facts, though:

  • The Medicaid Redesign Team described our mental health system as “fragmented”. Imagine that, they gave it a thumb down. Evidently our “feedback” has not been heeded.  A “fragmented” system is by nature unaccountable and insensitive to the needs of those it’s supposed to serve.
  • The new Justice Center for the Protection of People     with Special Needs comes about as a result of all those articles in the NY Times since at least 2002 denouncing  Willowbrookesque houses of horror for the mentally ill in our state.  In the new millennium of technological advances, of cellphones and surveillance cameras under our noses, we are still facing the inhumane treatment behind closed doors of the mentally ill in the hands of those paid to protect them.
  • There are hardly any CABs in the programs we attend; the few out there are totally inefficient to collect our feedback and help us make the system and providers more sensitive  to our needs and humanity.

Overall, there is a pretty wide cloud of consumer dissatisfaction with our mental health system, its quality of services and the lack of true participation in the system. We are just not allowed to talk about it.

Let’s face reality:

·   The system is in dire need of repair

·   Our consumers’ movement has been  mainstreamed, forced to focus on the financial aspects of the system.

·   The system has given us the first salvo signaling the end of the ‘benevolent’ mental health system: the unprecedented arrest of ADAPT activists in DC this year (April) where they were denied legal access to their lawyers. Read in ADAPT’s website the information and updates.

·   Incidents of police killing people with mental  illness in distress are rising.

It’s time for us to start speaking up about these things which are taboo now-a-days. I would suggest opening the discussion via some consumers’ conference in the city. I invite my peers to open this discussion soon, for our nation is turning into a surveillance state in an effort to keep everybody ‘normal’ and ‘safe’ from people like you and me. After the current Colorado killings, people are commenting “we need crazy control, not gun control”.

Be ready. Be very ready.

Re: NYS Law 7400 creating the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs#6


(f) where applicable, establishing uniform procedures for character and competence reviews of provider agencies initially, and upon renewal of licenses and operating certificates requiring a review of performance records regarding incident management, the role of the board of directors in maintaining oversight over agency performance in this area, and the management of incidents affecting resident safety, including cases of systemic problems.

Ay ay ay! Again??

Many many years ago OMH had a system where they would post in their website info about how many complains against providers have been received and how close they were to lose their licenses. That was when the ‘not licensed’ was not so widespread. Then they stopped this practice because…well, you guess why.

For many many years afterwards, complains were not recorded, period. Now we are back at doing what they really don’t want nor intend to do.

In the first instance, complains from consumers in ‘not licensed’ programs will automatically be left out. Mind you, more than half of all programs are ‘not licensed’. I claim that our ‘public mental health system’ does not exist. If more than half of the programs are not licensed, meaning private, how can we claim to have a ‘public mental health system’?

There are better ways to keep track of complains including letting consumers figure out how to keep track of their complains in the programs.

In the second instance, how do you determine ‘character’ when those affected by that character can’t inform you whether they have been treated with dignity or not?

Have you noticed that this new bill has no provisions for meaningful consumer input?

Re: The Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs


Governor Cuomo responded to the numerous allegations of  years  of abuse in many of NYS’ housing for people with mental disabilities with the creation of the Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs. As part of his intervention, he eliminated the Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy. To me, that is akin to throwing out the baby with the bath water. Now, no other than our ‘friend’ OMH will be charged with overseeing those responsibilities and more. See below why I think this new policy is doomed to do nothing meaningful for us.

As you know, according to Cuomo’s statement, with the new regulations

a new level of transparency will be created for non-state operated facilities and programs licensed or certified by the State to serve people with disabilities and special needs.”

There’s a big problem right there in that statement that will leave this new initiative useless for most of us from the get-go.

1. NYS Mental Health Act (Art.31.02a) states that “operating certificate required” and that all providers must have an operating certificate. The only exceptions are for those certified by another agency, guaranteeing in that way that all providers will be certified. This Act is what makes our system a public mental health policy system.

2. The purpose of this certifying requirement, among others, is to:
a) guarantee as much as possible that the quality of services for which the government is paying to non-profits is not only adequate, but that no harm will be caused in the delivery of such services. b) that the state (OMH) will have legal access in those facilities where  people have complain about abuses.

3. OMH has engaged in a policy of de-certifying most programs since at least the 1990s. You can see, and count for yourself, how at least half of all programs are not licensed or certified by OMH. See  NYS Consolidated Budget and Claiming Manual, Appendix F – OMH Programs Types, Definitions and Codes.

4. Among those programs uncertified by OMH are precisely those which caused this new batch of revisions to our laws to protect people with disabilities.

5. OMH has a horrible legal record of siding with providers being accused of mistreating and abusing the people they were charged to care for and protect. Two of the most glaring examples are the recent Hirschfel v Teller (2010) and DIA v NY Coalition for Quality Assisted Living, Inc. (decided April 2012).

6. OMH’s contracts with providers enables them to be abusers, or so it seems. See  Certification of Compliance For Contractors of Non-Licensed Programs Exhibit A, where the last paragraph states that :

To the extend that a material issue may exist, OMH has determined that the best  interests of the users of the program will be served by continuing the Agreement  while providing the Contractor with an opportunity to develop and/or implement  a corrective action plan.

Evidently, these “contractors” do not implement any “corrective” actions and every 20 years or so the State has to tear down its system and build a new one in order to correct the ineptitude of some providers. Meanwhile, we suffer in our bodies and minds the corrosive consequences of a job badly done by these providers.

As long as those two conditions exist, OMH’s dismal legal record at protecting us and OMH’s policy of de-certifying providers, there will be no ‘center for justice’ on earth capable of enacting a program of legal protection for people like me.

These are some of the recommendations the Citywide Mental Health Project proposes:

1. If there is going to be a revamp of our legal mechanism to protect people with disabilities, that revamping will come out empty if OMH’s policies are not reviewed too.

2. The State must enforce it’s policy that “operating certificate required”. OMH must re-certify all those programs now out of our public system.

3. The new Center for Justice must include all providers, make it clear that the laws apply to all providers without exceptions. Eliminate the “certified or licensed” requirement.

4. Most meaningful for us, there must be a mechanism for consumers at the point of service, meaning at the program facilities, for us to exercise our right to have a say in program’s policies. This comes as part of McKinney´s and even OMH’s regulations. But OMH refuses to implement this requirement.

5. The mechanism is there: the Consumer Advisory Board (CAB). The Citywide Mental Health Project is focusing on this CAB as our tool to have a say in the programs. We can use it to train ourselves to  provide some of the monitoring and oversight that OMH is not providing,  and devise meaningful grievance procedures. This could even save money to the state.

Consumers need to be more forceful in this discussion. Sitting to wait for the day when the system will stop hurting us is not a good approach.

The gaming-industry’s birds of prey


The gaming-industry vultures seem to be tripping over each other in NY; they may end up eating each other while still alive. Wouldn’t that be cool?!

Re: NY Times article Cuomo’s $4 Billion Plan for Project in Queens Falls Apart

The interesting thing about the info in that article is that the source of the  ‘threat’ to Cuomo’s plan to milk his constituents is not the people’s opposition to the gambling plan. We never read in the article about those who will be terribly impacted by this ill-advised have-fun-while-we-tax-you-into-homelessness plan. Nope.

The threat comes from the in-fight between the gambling industry moguls  and the convention business’ we-are-about-to-lose-our-corner CEOs. As you start to read the article, you expect to read that the people in Queens are organizing to stop the plan. Instead, you read these are the reasons the plan is in danger:

a) “…the company’s  desire for the exclusive right to operate in New York City hampered the talks. “

Greed, greed and more greed. ‘I want them suckers all for me, Cuomo’, is really what  Genting is saying.  But then, do you blame them for that expectation? After all,  “Genting spent nearly $900,000 on lobbying and campaign donations in New York last year,…” For almost a billion dollars you can bet your derriere I would want to have exclusive rights to ‘operate’ on god.

b) “Skeptics had questioned the wisdom of the location, noting that it is a long subway ride to Midtown… ”

The “skeptics” turned out to be two non-relevant Manhattanites. They are not relevant because they are two of the vultures’ future victims. They don’t get  to decide on how many chunks the gaming-vultures ought to cut the two of them. They are just drawing the path to get faster and easier to the gaming-birds of prey’s beaks.

c) “The governor had also argued that the project would free up the site of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on the West Side of Manhattan for new development;…”

As expected “criticism grew louder”, meaning that the convention business CEOs screamed at the sight of the gaming-birds of prey hovering over them. Somebody, please, tell them that resistance is futile. Surrender and spare yourselves the suffering; a quick death is better than a slow torment, figuratively speaking, of course.

d) “…he [the arguing governor] viewed the center as too cramped for major trade shows.”

And THAT’S what caused the criticism to grow louder. How dare you, Cuomo, call their beloved place “cramped”! Cramped is what I call my apartment, but the fancy Jacob Javits “cramped”? Thoroughly offensive (not). The way the sentence was phrased in the article made me visualize Cuomo saying “it’s too cramped” with a whiny voice and gesture. Ha! The point is that “too cramp” is too much of a lame excuse to kick out the current tenants in order to put them as bait next to the casino in Queens.

But that’s the way casinos change everything including the scenery arrangement. In Atlantic City, there’s a convention center at the entrance of the city. The two (convention center and casinos) HAVE to go hand in hand if the casinos are to be fed like whales in a tank.

e) “the state is now entering into discussions with other gambling companies.”

That’s Cuomo pressing his bet. The psychology behind that ‘bet’ is that Cuomo was probably letting Genting break the public opinion ground to see how much the people would have opposed the plan. Now that he sees that the people, as usual, is not a threat, Cuomo feels that he can squeeze more lobbyists’ money by putting the different birds of prey in competition with each other. Either way, YOU, dear reader, will be feasted upon.

Our politicians, who tender and cater to these ‘gaming’ industry’s birds of prey have already prepare the pablum for you to vote on: they have already scripted the Constitutional amendment necessary for you to vote in favor of yourself being served as steak to the industry. It’s not peanuts for our politicians to get over a BILLION dollars (including what is NOT reported by Genting and the politicians)  in lobbying by this industry.  Especially when, in exchange for buying our ‘leaders’,  the industry will get our land and mental health for peanuts.

Pretending that creating 10k jobs (which is doubtful) justifies chaining to compulsive gambling over 5 million human beings is simply…appalling. I can’t find another word for this atrocity.

Don’t expect NY State to support an amendment to the DSMR V or whatever to include compulsive gambling as an Axis 1 diagnosis any time soon. The government cannot promote an addictive behavior and then officially declare it an addiction without providing the funding to ‘cure’ it. For a government, it’s not that it is not logical to do that; with power you can make anything illogical seem logical.

You just can’t make it morally acceptable for those who still can differentiate between good and evil despite our society sinking deeper into the mire.

My hope is that the public will see through this typical cast of characters (our political ‘leaders’ and an industry feeding off each other) and vote against the Constitutional amendment.