The Murphy Bill, HR 2646 — a Heinous Piece of Legislation — is Coming to a Vote. Act Now.

Val Marsh, MSW
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This coming Wednesday, two days after the 4th of July celebration of our country’s declaration of freedom from oppression, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on HR 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016, or HR 2646. It is also known as The Murphy Bill. The ORIGINAL Murphy Bill. In truth, it has nothing to do with freedom, and everything to do with oppression.

HR 2646 is a heinous piece of legislation that has been hailed as the solution to the nation’s problems with gun violence, terrorism, and the massive influx of people with mental health conditions into the correctional system and the burgeoning ranks among the homeless. Not to mention that it will save untold hundreds of thousands of families from anguish and unwarranted pain. And it is a calculated, repulsive lie.

The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery is calling upon all people of like minds, who care about individuals who need mental health services, to ACT. It is urgent. Please call your representative in the House of Representatives to vigorously oppose HR 2646 on Tuesday, July 5, 2016. And, call your Senator to insist that the Senate reject any amendments or changes to mental health legislation from the House by Friday, July 8, 2016. For more information about this Call to Action, please click here.

We have been fighting battles on many fronts for decades. The medical model of MH care has had the financial backing and the political power to convince the public and our Congress that people with mental health conditions must be coerced into taking psychotropic medication and into psychiatric care, for everyone else’s sake. Here is a rebuttal:

Nothing about Us without Us

HR 2646 describes the membership and duties of the following entities:

  • The National Mental Health Policy Laboratory
  • The Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality
  • Advisory Councils
  • Peer review groups that review grants, cooperative agreements or contracts related to mental illness treatment

None of these entities includes the membership of people with lived experience with mental health conditions.  We have been excluded from entities that will make important decisions about our lives.

Additionally, we are grossly underrepresented on the “Interagency Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee,” with only two representatives on a committee of more than twenty people.

We were thrown the proverbial bone with the following two inserts: “…increase meaningful participation of individuals with mental illness in programs and activities of the Administration,’’ and ‘‘…through policies and programs that reduce risk and promote resiliency.” Yet in the context of the bill’s relentless drive to replace recovery with the medical model of treatment and promote coercion, these two phrases have little meaning.

We are the citizens most directly impacted by the policies enacted in Congress. We bear the brunt of all things that go wrong with those policies. We are uniquely qualified to provide meaningful input, and we speak with the benefit of hindsight based on our actual lived experience. Any social policies developed without significant input from people with lived experience defy the basic tenets of democracy.

The Bill Expands Grant Funding and the Timeframes for Assisted Outpatient Treatment

Robert Bernstein, executive director for the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, provided testimony to Congress regarding Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) several years ago, which began with the following: “The term ‘assisted outpatient treatment’ (AOT) is like calling robbery ‘assisted wealth redistribution’ and is more appropriately called involuntary outpatient treatment.” Indeed, the term robs the layperson of reality before the description of this abrogation of rights even begins.

HR 2646 extends and enhances existing federal grants that encourage states to expand coercive, court-ordered outpatient treatment programs. These programs of forced treatment do not help people get better. Further, AOT inserts the court system into decisions that should be between individuals and their treatment providers, while adding unnecessary costs. Ultimately, AOT discourages people from voluntarily seeking help using services that work for them.

It is unacceptable to fund AOT when humane, voluntary services have not been adequately funded for the past five decades. It is a waste of taxpayer dollars and it unfairly jeopardizes civil liberties.  For more information, download the NCMHR Fact Sheet on Involuntary Commitment and Real Mental Health Change‘s “A Psychiatrist Opposes HR 2646, Here’s Why.”

HR 2646 Significantly Weakens the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

HR 2646 provides a blueprint for the systematic disempowering of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  The bill creates the new position of Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, which requires either an MD or a PhD in psychology. The insertion of medical authority over SAMHSA would be a huge step backward to institutional policies and models.

One of SAMHSA’s greatest achievements is its instrumental role in promoting recovery in ways that have helped thousands people across the country. SAMHSA has promoted and funded major innovations such as peer support, trauma-informed care, recovery oriented systems of care, and state consumer and family networks, all of which have yielded positive outcomes while being extremely cost-effective. These programs would be jeopardized by HR 2646.

Representative Murphy’s continued focus on disempowering SAMHSA is deeply troubling. Though HR 2646 may have been penned by Representative Murphy, it is clearly the bidding of Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, a longtime proponent of involuntary inpatient commitment, outpatient commitment and forced medication. Despite the criticisms of Rep. Murphy and Dr. Torrey that SAMHSA promotes activities that are not evidence-based, SAMHSA has published on its website a compilation of no fewer than 31 resources and links to evidence-based programs and practices.

HR 2646 punishes SAMHSA for partnering with and respecting the dignity of people with lived experience. We reject this attempt to undermine the very entity within the federal government that has provided leadership in actualizing the most fundamental, core belief of mental health consumers – recovery.


HR 2646 uses “anosognosia” as a rationale to relax confidentiality issues and promote forced treatment. 

To be honest, this issue IS A DRAG. I have received a great deal of pushback on this, because anosognosia is impossible to pronounce, much less explain. But it is vital. Please, push through your revulsion, for the sake of untold thousands of others who need you. Make yourself understand this important piece of information.

Section 401 of the HR 2646 would establish a “Sense of Congress” using a definition of anosognosia to study how best to wiggle around HIPAA in order to violate the confidentiality of people with mental health conditions. It is described as a condition in which individuals “lack the awareness they even have a mental illness.” Anosognosia can be found in the literature associated with people who have had strokes and brain injuries. It basically describes a condition in which a person is unaware that they have paralysis in parts of their body. It is a TEMPORARY condition, and it clears up without the use of medication. Further, according to Dr. Danica Mijovic-Prelec, a researcher in neuroscience, “patients with anosognosia, or denial of illness, are [still] able to process information about their condition.”

Anosognosia is highly controversial because it was “borrowed” into the MH field specifically to justify forced treatment. But how can the above condition described for stroke patients be remotely the same for individuals with mental health conditions? The “science” is a sham. Can neuroscientists attest to this application to people with “mental illness”? No. There is no actual scientific evidence to support the existence of anosognosia in mental health populations. But Congress is not comprised of experts in research. And they have been convinced to rely on phony research by experts in public relations, not science.

HR 2646 suggests that people with mental health conditions have worse “compliance with treatment” than others. In fact, there is substantial research showing that people diagnosed with mental illness are able to make reasonable decisions about their care, on par with others who have chronic health conditions.

Allowing such language into a “Sense of Congress” legitimizes junk science and provides a rationale for violating confidentiality and the deprivation of civil rights. It also sets a dangerous precedent for future legislation that will promote forced treatment measures.  This must be struck from the bill.

For more information about anosognosia and people who appear to lack insight, please click on the following links: Anosognosia: How Conjecture Becomes Medical “Fact”, “The Issue of Insight“, and Call to Action: HR 2646 Markup This Week

The Bill is Hostile to Programs and Concepts of Recovery

In writing and promoting this bill, Representative Murphy has relied heavily upon the work of Dr. Torrey. HR 2646 is steeped in language that attempts to justify coercion and the stripping of rights of people with mental health conditions. Over the course of the past four decades, Dr. Torrey has established a reputation as an extremist and an ideologue. He does not believe in recovery. He wants Congress to believe that people who “deserve” mental health services are “too sick to know they are sick…” and those who do not exhibit the most severe behaviors associated with “illness” are a waste of money. It is a warped, binary vision bereft of hope – those who need to be coerced, and those who neither deserve help nor a place at the table of policy decisions.

There is no support for recovery-based programs in HR 2646. It is strikingly absent from the bill. In fact, the bill calls for the “DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT … [to] work with States, providers, and individuals in recovery, and their families, to promote the expansion of recovery support services and systems of care oriented towards recovery.” 

There is no similar language for mental health. We must ask why the principle of recovery in mental health is not supported in HR 2646, especially in light of unfettered support for recovery among individuals with substance use disorders.

Why is it impossible to believe that people can actually get better? A better question would be to ask why our members of Congress have bought this ugly deception.


Inpatient care cannot and should not replace preventive care in the community.

We do not support the expansion of Medicaid funding for Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMDs) or other inpatient settings. This is often referred to as “loosening the IMD exclusion.” Increased funds for hospital care means continuing to support the unacceptable status quo, and advances the agenda of forced treatment in the absence of decent voluntary care.

The current lack of adequate community support has created a mental health system that is crisis-driven. It provides too few services that are too late and that result in unnecessary and coercive means of treatment. In addition to causing needless suffering, continued/increased funding for inpatient settings ultimately supports the most expensive form of care possible at the far end of the continuum of care. The inevitable result is rationing. Thus the cycle of crises continues unabated. It is the equivalent of offering intensive care as the sole treatment of choice for people with heart conditions.

Since the 1990’s, state after state has attempted to close psychiatric hospital beds and “reinvest” the funding into community care. And yet, once the funds were transferred to the community, they became vulnerable to funding cuts, especially in the face of economic downturns. We have lost more than $4 billion alone to the Great Recession of 2008. OF COURSE PEOPLE HAVE GONE INTO CRISIS.  It is outrageous that we have an entire nation that blames the victims of such shameless public policy with more of the same.

The mental health crisis that the United States is currently experiencing is directly related to a collective lack of will to fund and sustain decent community care, at both the state and federal levels. Beds were closed, yet hospitals remained open for business as usual for decades. Later on, beds were closed with tremendous efforts among advocates to create community care, yet the money evaporated with each economic downturn.

There is no right to community care. There is only a “right” to “treatment” once you have lost your liberty. Who is not thinking clearly here?

Critics argue that too many beds were closed, that inpatient care will always be needed, that HR 2646 is merely codifying recent regulatory changes made by CMS, and that we must address this urgent crisis now. But in relaxing the IMD exclusion to allow for 15 days each month of inpatient care, we will lose vital dollars that we will never get back for community care. Never. The proposed federal funding for IMDs is “de facto” replacement money for lost state dollars that will be relocated to the wrong end of the system.

One consistent theme of our opponents is that psychiatric hospitals are better than jails, prisons or the streets. This is a false choice that should be revolting to millions of us throughout the country. Why isn’t community care seen as a better option over all of the above? The message is one of deep disrespect and discrimination for people who need mental health services. People of good conscience have been misled. Those who have misled them have a mighty war chest and wear a deceptive mantle of “truth-i-ness,” as Stephen Colbert might have said.

OTHER COMMENTS

Conflating gun violence with mental health conditions   

HR 2646 is a direct result of the Sandy Hook tragedy. It was a tragedy so horrendous that the entire nation was traumatized… except, of course, for the NRA and the proponents of coerced MH treatment, who were gleeful to find an opportunity to spread their poison. Since that horrible day, and with each subsequent mass shooting, people have struggled to find an answer; something, ANYthing that will keep us, especially our children, safe.

Despite research that consistently shows that only 4% of all violence in this country is related to mental illness, people with mental health conditions have been scapegoated. The truth is merely a distraction. Japanese Americans were interned during WWII because the government and the public KNEW they were a dangerous population. We now know better. But in the frenzy to react to tragedies of historic magnitude, it is easy and predictable that vulnerable people will be blamed and have their rights violated. The Japanese Americans were ultimately freed. Can we say the same about people who will be forced into hospitals? For more information about violence and mental illness, click on Mental Illness is the Wrong Scapegoat After Mass Shootings and Untangling Gun Violence from Mental Illness.

The Myth of Hospitals Being the Answer 

Deinstitutionalization came to pass, in part, with the sobering recognition of a national shame. Psychiatric hospitals are inherently coercive. Period. Conditions in psychiatric hospitals easily devolve into egregious snake pits. It is as true today as it was in the 1950’s. Erving Gottman wrote a seminal book about conditions in psychiatric hospitals, entitled Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates

The Department of Justice is still investigating hospitals and legal action is still needed too often to remedy abuse, neglect and unnatural deaths. Additionally, increasing hospital beds flies in the face of the The Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision. It is unwarranted segregation, not integration.

The following link to an investigation of a Florida hospital is merely one example of how sadistic and shocking inpatient hospitals can become. It is a damning statement of the medical model.

The Failure of Deinstitutionalization

Deinstitutionalization was passed into federal policy in 1963, at a time when the United States was the Land of Camelot. This landmark legislation was driven by the civil rights movement, the advent of psychotropic medication, which was thought to be the magic bullet for treating mental illness, and the exposure of egregious conditions and the warehousing of hundreds of thousands of citizens. In 1961,

The Community Mental Health Act was passed by the 88th Congress. It was never adequately funded. This landmark legislation represented the beginning of deinstitutionalization. However, states saw it as an opportunity to close beds without having to relocate the funds in the community – quite a windfall for state budgets, for a period of time. In fact, over 90% of all state hospitals were closed as a result of deinstitutionalization.

This is the true crux of the problem we face with mental health care in the United States. It is not a problem of “undeserved” rights; it is a problem of inadequate resources that are poorly allocated.  It is not only illogical and inhumane, but is also a very poor investment of public dollars. Hospitals represent the most expensive form of mental health care. It makes no sense to create a system around inpatient care. 

We, the people with lived experiences that are SPECIFIC to the policies of deinstitutionalization, have made significant discoveries about how to help people with mental health conditions. And, we have found that those with lived experiences, much like those of people who have struggled with addictions, can have a profoundly positive impact upon people who need mental health supports. People who have been there understand what it is like for people who ARE there.

We have developed peer-run respites that help divert people in crisis from inpatient care. We have developed peer support specialists, forensic peer specialists, recovery coaches, self-education programs and more. We have found models that facilitate open communication among individuals, families and providers from other countries that are highly successful, such as Open Dialogue. Housing First models show clearly that mandating “treatment” before housing is folly.

* * * * *

These are troubling times for people with lived experience in mental health care. More than 50 years after deinstitutionalization, mental health systems across the country are still unable to provide the appropriate care in the community that was promised long ago. We must ask ourselves why this is so, and we come back to the fundamental issues of stigma and discrimination.  We are different. Yes, we know. But does that justify withholding help in the face of massive suffering? Does it justify a punitive, coercive system of care that dictates without listening? Does it really justify violating the rights guaranteed to all citizens of the United States under our Constitution?

Time and again, research has proven that the public perception of the relative “dangerousness” of people with mental health conditions is unfounded. Sensationalized, distorted media coverage has fueled arguments for forced treatment and an overly medicalized system of care.  The march toward re-institutionalization and coercive care is abhorrent to us. Having a mental health condition does not constitute a life sentence to poverty, marginalization, aberrant behavior or an inability to become a fully functioning citizen who can contribute meaningfully to his/her community. We know that recovery is possible because we are the evidence.

It has been 53 years since deinstitutionalization began. We are still waiting.

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Val Marsh, MSW
Valerie L. Marsh, MSW, is Executive Director of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR). Marsh received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond (VCU), Virginia, where her graduate studies focused on mental health policy, administration and planning. She served as an adjunct faculty member at VCU, teaching policy, advocacy and human behavior to graduate and undergraduate students in social work. As the Executive Director of NAMI-Virginia from 1994-2004, Marsh shown a spotlight on abuse, neglect, and unnatural deaths in Virginia’s public psychiatric hospitals. Her accomplishments include a successful campaign to transform the state’s protection and advocacy organization into an independent entity; limiting time served by misdemeanants found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity; increasing Medicaid financial eligibility criteria benefiting consumers previously ineligible; and creating a mandate for mental health boards and advisory committees to include representation of mental health consumers and family members.

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122 COMMENTS

  1. FINALLY some direction, we’ve been floundering all weekend trying to wake people up.

    More attention should be paid to the fact that the scheduling of this vote was deceptively announced Friday after people were already leaving for the weekend. That’s what they always do when they want to hide stuff, it’s well known. If what they’re presenting is so important why do they have to sneak the vote in while people aren’t looking, and without giving opponents a chance to prepare? This is pure fascism.

    Meanwhile this may help people find their congress people: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr2646#
    (Don’t believe the projected 27% chance of enactment.)

    Any more strategic info about who’s most important to call, what to say, etc.?

  2. Great article. I posted an excerpt of this on the ISPS listserv, with the following comments:

    The part about anosognosia being inserted in the bill as a rationale to forcibly drug people and invade their privacy is particularly offensive.

    If ratified, this bill will mark a new low, if that is possible, in stupidity and ignorance among our elected representatives, in greed and ass-kissing by drug company lobbyists, and in ignorance among NAMI families supporting policies that will do nothing over the long-term to help their emotionally crippled children get well.

    Of course, this bill is going to do absolutely nothing to stop mass shootings. The next one is due to happen in the next couple of weeks… hardly a difficult prediction to make.

    It is sad to see America in the state it is today. I have to say that as a young person I am ashamed to be a citizen of a country that acts in the way that we do collectively, that oppresses and abandons and tortures the weak, the traumatized and the sick. I was not able to celebrate yesterday, since so many people in America are not really free.

    I encourage those of you who haven’t already given up to make your opinions known to your elected representatives.

    Forgive my cynicism.

    • That’s not cynicism, it’s an appreciation of reality. Cynicism is deliberately announcing a vote too late for people to prepare their opposition, when it’s known that people are going on holiday.

      Hopefully people will use the link I put above to locate and contact their congress person — TODAY as tomorrow will be too late. Today is not the time to chit-chat about theory and personal stories.

      Anybody in DC up for a picket line or something?

    • “It is sad to see America in the state it is today. I have to say that as a young person I am ashamed to be a citizen of a country that acts in the way that we do collectively, that oppresses and abandons and tortures the weak, the traumatized and the sick.”

      I agree, BPD. As a middle-aged first-generation American, I’m so put-off by our mean-spirited, fear-mongering, arrogantly judgmental, and criminally bullying society. I’m talking about our collective character. Our political system is not exactly one of justice, integrity, reasonability, and unity, much less, kindness and compassion. Their example is what trickles down to society, it’s what we emulate, socially, because it translates to “power.”

      So to me, that system is the root of our violence and social ills and marginalization, as evidenced by this bill. I can’t even bring myself to vote any longer, as it only validates this egregiously corrupt system. Can’t stand it any longer.

  3. The police in robo cop gear provoking and pushing the most enhanced contrived negative interpretations and force on innocent people and government “social workers”ganging up even 3 at a time on people aggressively demanding compliance, and of course the really insane psychiatrists have all been using shock and awe gestapo tactics on people as if the Murphy crap had already been passed, for some time now . I guess since 46 states have approved some kind of draconianly interpreted policies juiced up with Macarthy era like hysteria scapegoating mass media, enhanced to super “medicate” (increased piling on the neuroleptic Poisons to zombification levels) anyone they can terrorize. Frightening threats , coercion , new bold aggressive verbalization’s, coercing signatures on papers ,( no time given to even read them) signing away whatever is left, getting 180 day kangaroo court orders threatening State Institution incarcerations. Police Unafraid to fire guns at anyone in less then the most submissive of postures .
    Yeah I called a Congressman and only was able to speak to a phone answering aide . Should I call “GhostBusters” now !
    ALMOST don’t even need the pretense of the word health in their speech anymore as things transition into behavior control units.
    Where can we run to with depleted funds to hide somewhere, somewhere sanctuary till the runaway train of technological chemical electrical draconian “medical” fascism plus passes . I heard you can buy a congressman for $100,000 if you know how to hand the cash over somehow .
    Only if we can transcend ,to brave enough to aid each other can we hope to survive. Conquer Fear And Save Many A Tear . ORGANIZE SOMETHING . Is this beyond the old time USSR ?
    Let us who can in numbers of even 30 march somewhere safely ? together with the US flag upside down in distress with a large Green printed capitol letter E for eugenics and/or a P-S for pseudo -science in the center of the flag with a destination where speeches of explanations and freedom can be given if even one bug house square still exists somewhere . Or even make a spot near the whitehouse a bug house square where the truth about ongoing oppressive psychiatric crimes against humanity can be publicly spoken .Who ever even heard of an American people who have somehow degenerated so far as to allow with hardly a whimper even their own smallest of children to go by the wayside entering the world of brain damaging pseudo-scientific psychiatric torture pharmaceutical cartel hell . They may come for you and me too before we wake up to what we have already allowed.

    • Fred and everyone here at MIA: I submit that the best defense of your civil and human rights is a good offense. I work at a Job Corps facility that reflects Goffman’s theory about total institutions. I approach my students in a humane manner. I refuse to treat them in any other manner as human beings. I am pushing back against the corruption in the discipline off, by documenting their gross inconsistencies. When approached by a group of students who felt that one of their fellow students was unfairly discharged from the program, I was the lone staff member to sign their position. For my troubles, I was hauled into human resources and accused of being erratic (how overly vague) by a group of students. I was told that I would have to have a psych med clearance and a psychiatrist’s approval to return to work. I was given the walk of shame to the guard shack and shone to my car.
      I am one of only two Spanish speaking staff on center-the other staff member-a native speaker-is soon to take other employment. I straight up told the center director that our Spanish language students are under-served, the disciplinary office makes the rules up as they go on, and that their is a jack-legged preacher among the staff who is spewing anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric.
      So I went to “Behavior Health at CAMC where my wife is second in command of infection prevention. This was on a Wednesday. The Psychiatrist had not returned a call to me by Thursday afternoon, even though I had implored the receptionist that the matter was urgent and impacted my Livlihood. So I proceeded to the Culture Center-where I worked as an intern in 1995-and got a copy of the city directory and found the home address of the Psychiatrist. I proceeded to his house and left a note on his door. As I was driving, I could not take his call (The incoming call had the caller’s ID unknown and his voicemail provided me with no means to call back. As I as set to go on vacation on Friday June 25 and I wanted to tie up this nagging loose end, I proceeded to his house at the crack of dawn, rang his bell, knocked on the door, and took three steps back, so that he could see who I was. He threatened to call the cops and did so.
      I retreated to my car which was parked in a public space, took out my driver’s license, and waited for the arrival of the cops. With my hands held high in the air, the two City of Charleston Police arrived, approached me, and patted me down for weapons.
      By this time, the psychiatrist had ventured into the yard. The police were highly professional, and proceeded to take verbal statements from th both of us. At a couple of junctures, the officers chastised the psychiatrist for interrupting. The psychiatrist refused to give me what I requested, a note to return to work. No charges were filed. So I went home.
      I then contacted behavior health, again stressing the need for the note, and the desire to put this rigamoreoh behind me befor I went on vacation. The receptionist fumbled her way along and at some point, I handed over the phone to my wife to handle, as a packed the car for vacation. By now the Psychiatrist and the Mental Health Commission were colluding to build a case against me. They plied my wife for damning information to use against me.
      They coaxesd my wife to bring me to General Division, where incidently was where the hospital operates a psych lockup. Upon our departure from our residence, an ambulance from Kanawha County rolled up and proceeds to block my car in the driveway. Emergency personnel refused to give me their full names or state their business. I gave them a piece of my mind, and my wife and I proceeded to General Division to get the note for my return to work.
      Of course coaxing me to General Division was just a ruse to launch an ambush from Mental Hygiene and the rattled Psychiatrist. We arrived at 3:30, and the whole ordeal would last until 11:15. To digress, I had stated to personnel at Job Corps that my sleep pattern had been a little out of whack, and in fact earlier in the morning I had stopped off at the guard shack at 1:30’AM to write my statement, which the guards on duty agreed to. Like CSI Miami, they are always open. I finished the statement circa and headed for Walmart to get some empty boxes to sort my belongings and prepare myself for vacation. I include this digression because this was the supposed damning piece of information which was to be used against me.
      Back at the hospital, my wife, a co-worker of hers who works as a family therapist and I cooled our jets as the attempt to deprive me of my freedom was launched. The physicians assistant first came in to do vitals. I proceeded to ply her with the question of the day: does the precence of a psych drug prescription give evidence of a disease? This is classic Szasz. I then proceed to Virchow and cellular pathology as the gold standard of disease. I mention that on the show House, that sometimes the physician gets the diagnosis wrong. The physician assistant then informs me that this is not TV, and that she is going to stick to her guns that a psych prescription is evidence of disease. I stress with great emphasis that a behavior checklist is no substitute for cellular pathology, and I emphatically state that I do not recognize Psychiatry as a bonafied medical specialty.’ More intermitable waiting ensues. Our therapist heads home, and final show down and the Spanish Inquistion ensues.
      The young Pakistani intern enters the room and proceeds to drop everything in his hands on the floor. His main talking points revolve around my prescence at the guard shack and at the psychiatrist’s home. He proceeds to grill me about my life story. He is up in my business from A-Z, even chastising for drinking too much Orange Juice. Finally after about an hour of this grilling, he takes my wife outside to confer with her. My wife states that she does not feel in any danger and does not want me committed. The intern states that we are going to get to go on vacation after-all. He leaves the room only to slunk back in an hour later to inform us that he has been over-ridden by the grand psychiatric inquisitor who stated that my presence on the mean streets of Charleston’s East End in the wean hours of the morning constituted a danger to myself.
      So as luck would have it, a crisis worker was available to here my case. As if flown in on the wings of angels, the middle-aged black fellow from Huntington saves the day and overrides the grand inquisitor and we go on our way.
      At this point I should note that all this bureaucratic nonsense was taking place against the back drop of WVa. Thousand Year Flood. It was not safe to travel Friday night any way, so we left for our time share in the Poconos 9:00’the following Saturday morning.

      • Everyone at MIA: Here is part two. After a relaxing vacation in the Poconos and a jaunt to NYC for my wife to pick up items for her costuming business and to view the Free State of Jones (FYI WVa.was born of succession from the Confederacy in particularly the racist state of VA-see the Carrie Buck and Loving Supreme Court cases-did I mention that I am a public figure. I represent the Green Part affiliated Mountain Party in the 39th District of the WVa. House of Delegates).
        While on vacation, our next door neighbor informed my wife, the deputee sheriffs from Kanawha County rolled up on us. So first thing yesterday morning, I go down to the Sheriff’s office and the Kanawha County Commission to see what is up. Deputy Sheriff Boone did me the courtesy of allowing me to voice my concern in private and took down my information. However, Commioner Carper’s Secretary, Ms.’Elkins, refused to grant me the same courtesy- “I don’t know who you are.”‘ I proceeded to show her my Kanawha County Schools ID badge, but to no avail.
        I proceed to lauch into my complaint against the Ambulance Authority for failing to identify themselves, failing to state their business, and for illegally blocking my driveway-I have a picture on my phone, and I showed it to her. I also voiced my displeasure about the Deputies rolling up on my house. As of the close of the work day yesterday, I have not received any feed back on the ambulance or why the deputies rolled up on me. It was like pulling teeth to get Ms. Elkins to admit, that deputies rolling up on me puts me in a bad light in front of my neighbors. Again I flatly deny any wrong doing on my part.’The Charleston Police were totally disinterested in pressing charges. And now thanks to this whole incident, my wife has been witness to what can only be called a psychiatric police state. I am not done with these folks yet. I still need a note to go back to work, and I still need to know why the ambulance was blocking my path and why the deputies knocked on my door. At the close of business yesterday, I called Commissioner Carper’s office and voiced my displeasure about how this whole situation has remained unresolved.
        Today, I will try commissioner Hardy and Sheriff Rutherford’s offices.’
        Both Hardy, Rutherford, and I spoke at the meet the candidates forum at Cross Lanes a couple of months back. Hardy’s daughter has performed in Children’s Theatre productions, where my wife is the costumer. Stay tuned MIA.

      • Chris, My experience of these “angelic” crisis workers is much the same. The reason for this is that they come in from the outside, so there is no pre-judgement. Often, upon their arrival they are barely noticed by the usual, day-to-day personnel. So they aren’t “briefed” on just how “dangerous” the patient is. This means the crisis workers come in and see the patient for who he/she is, not through that phony, bias-loaded diagnostic lens. Clearly, in your story there was so much retaliation and you were in the right all along. Your hands were tied since no matter what you said, they had you captive and repeatedly claimed you were nuts. Yep, been there, done that exact same thing! When the same thing happened to me, the “angelic” crisis worker came and wow, bingo, things happened. You bet I said “Human Rights!” and so did the crisis workers, down to the details of the ungodly noise level and even letting me close my door so I could have a moment’s privacy till they released me to my home. I was so amazed! All that almost didn’t go through because originally the crisis worker forgot to leave the paperwork. I had to call their agency and tell them to fax it pronto. They did! Meanwhile, the hospital inpatient people claimed I was delusional that such crisis workers had even been there, claiming I was making it up. Ha ha…the fax arrived and shortly after, I was out, FREE! Yes, and outside person, seeing things realistically, can make a huge difference when all you are to these folks is a subhuman monster.

          • Chris, All my life I never had trouble sleeping until psychiatry messed with me. Since mid-2011, I have barely slept. For four years pretty much nada. The past two months or so I usually get an hour or two of real sleep now. I’m so thrilled. But what it amounts to is that I am constantly exhausted and as a result I snap at people all the time, plus I can’t work a job when I am always extremely tired to the point where I am on the verge of falling over. Yesterday someone asked me why I yawned all the time and I ended up explaining I barely slept. I am amazed that so most people really do sleep, and they are so spoiled that they flip out if ever they only get six hours. After what I have to put up with day after day I figure yes, they are spoiled and I wonder what the heck anyone would take a pill for “occasional insomnia” for, or, worse, prescribe one. What foolishness! Just put up with being tired and grumpy for a day! You’ll live!

  4. That anosognosia is nonsense, even when I believed there were secret cameras in the smoke detectors during withdrawals and mental stress overload I also knew that I was totally bugged out and that was why I was thinking that.

    We can compare it to being drunk on alcohol, you know your acting foolish and have bad judgement cause you are messed up cause of alcohol but do it anyway.

    The insight is always there, I am drunk and my thinking is messed up. That same insight is there during a mental crisis, I am having a nervous breakdown and my thinking is messed up. In both cases this insight doesn’t make the messed up thinking go away. Time does.

    Not the easiest thing to explain but that insight is there and this anosognosia is nonsense.

    • “Anosognosia” is the cooptation of a real phenomenon happening when a very specific kind of brain damage occurs to a pejorative word for anyone who disagrees that they are “ill” when a psychiatrist or similar MH “professional” say that they are. Since there is no hard evidence that can distinguish ANY “mental disorder” from “normal” behavior (and the DSM admits that quite frankly in its introduction), how can one claim that a person “doesn’t realize they are ill” when you can’t even prove whether they are ill or not? Denying your leg is broken when you can’t walk is one thing; denying that you “have schizophrenia” when there are mainstream voices in psychiatry who admit or even assert that “schizophrenia” isn’t a specific disease state is something completely different.

      In the end, “anosognosia” is just a calculated excuse for enforcing “treatment” on the unwilling.

      — Steve

      • I’m already imagining myself at a commitment hearing where the prosecutor (or whatever euphemism they use) claims I’m suffering from anosognosia (isn’t that some kind of dessert?). I’m wondering if my being able to understand the nuances of the term and make rational arguments as to why my disagreement with a psychiatric diagnosis does not constitute an inability to comprehend what’s going on, but a difference of opinion to which I’m entitled.

        Which brings me again to this: We need to make a unified demand that Miranda rules apply to psychiatry. People should be able to remain silent under psychiatric questioning as anything they say may be used against them in court.

        This is not an “interesting point” I’m trying to make, it should become one of our priority demands, especially with the spectre of Murphy hanging over us.

        • I’m wondering if my being able to understand the nuances of the term and make rational arguments as to why my disagreement with a psychiatric diagnosis does not constitute an inability to comprehend what’s going on, but a difference of opinion to which I’m entitled.

          Oh shit, an incomplete sentence. I’m committed now for sure! 🙁 Let me add a final phrase:

          I’m wondering if my being able to understand the nuances of the term and make rational arguments as to why my disagreement with a psychiatric diagnosis does not constitute an inability to comprehend what’s going on, but a difference of opinion to which I’m entitled, would be sufficient to save me from being pulled through the looking-glass.

          How’s that?

          • That’s certainly what the powers that be want us to feel, fear of speaking out. Fear is the oppressor.

            Not speaking up is guaranteed self-imprisonment. People have to assess for themselves when they are ready to take risks, but it is how freedom is always attained. Pioneers do it alone, and are the biggest risk takers who pave the road for others, by example.

          • I agree completely. However, it is important to understand that not everyone is at the same place on taking risks, and that the risk of retaliation, especially for those working on or subject to the whims of the current system, is very, very real.

            — Steve

          • Steve I had retaliation done to me by the oppressor. Yes we gotta be very very careful!!!! Retaliation is real and they will stop at nothing! Retaliation isn’t necessarily lawful either. Mine wasn’t, and when done by a shrink there’s no recourse for us patients or expatients. None. However, that won’t stop me, and hasn’t shut me up yet. The exact threat was to force-drug me to stop me from writing. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Yes I am laughing. And I did not stop writing as per this very second……And I will not. Again, I am making both my parents very proud right now.

          • Oh yeah, retaliation is standard operational procedure. When I accused my former employers–who were of the system–of discrimination, they retaliated by firing me, pretty brutally, too, it was witnessed. This was my first job since having been on disability, and I was just about to transition from that, and they totally screwed that up for me, without any justification other than their own insecurities and control issues, that was very clear.

            It took me several months and a whole lot of phone calls to find a non-profit attorney but I finally did. It took over a year to get them to mediation, but we finally got there. The whole time, I was healing from the drugs withdrawal and social stigma that cost me my first job since disability. I was furious, and determined to be heard and compensated.

            I was succeeding wildly with clients, they could not handle it, and they created all of this stigma around me, it was really something to experience, like a web of deceit that no one in the system would question..

            Because I stood up for myself, I was professionally blackballed and they kept trying to push me into the margins of society, which was not possible, but they tried really hard, that’s what they wanted for me. I was totally stonewalled.

            I won the mediation, and EEOC said I could go further, but that they’d make life hell for me (which, apparently, is legal and also standard procedure). I stopped there because I was spent by this time. Take the money and run.

            I won because I was right and because it was painfully obvious they were clueless. Still, I had no prospects, whereas I would have been very happy to have continued as a voc rehab counselor had they not been for this bad environment, I enjoyed it a great deal and I was good at it. But they could not handle my sense of individuality, I know that. I was always extremely professional, but I won’t support blatant discrimination in the slightest.

            I used my award money to pay for training as a healer and also for theater training. This was 12 years ago. Today, I have a fruitful practice and I’m musical director for a band which plays for residents at an assisted living facility, and I’ve made films about both, as products of my healing. This feels like my true path, fits me like a glove.I found it when I dissociated altogether from the system, thanks to their wicked, wicked stigma. It’s not universal, though, outside of that no one cares about any of that, other than how I learned from my experience.

            Indeed, we take risks when we’re ready, but sometimes life pushes us to move along. I tell this story because I had no self-respecting choice at the time other than to speak my truth unambiguously. And by doing so and trusting that process (which wasn’t always easy)–retaliation or not–I found the life I was meant to live. I’m sure I’m just one example of this.

      • Paula Joan Caplan has a witty explanation of all that in her DSM criticism, too, Steve.

        It all should have come clear to me in 1997 when I was a guinea pig for “Mock Board Exams.” They paid Real Mental Patients $10 to be fake patients for fake boards. We had fake interviews in a game of Guess My Diagnosis and I believe mostly the degree candidates at this top training site, McLean Hospital, failed miserably. Ah, future psychiatrists of America! Maybe they do the same at the Baloney School of Psychic Sciences, eh?

        • The Brits did a TV show based on this same concept. They had something like 10 contestants, 5 of whom had MH diagnoses and 5 who did not. They got to see them interact over some extended number of days, and then had to guess their diagnoses and who was and wasn’t “mentally ill”. Not only couldn’t they get the diagnosis right, they didn’t even sort out who had a label and who didn’t. They did embarrassingly poorly. Not that I’m surprised. I’ll have to look that up and post it.

      • I think that, ironically, “anosognosia” used in terms of lacking psychological self-insight, is projected by those who do want to see something shadowy or contradictory about themselves. It’s easier to observe others with judgment rather than to cop to our own projections. That’s how scapegoating works.

        I can’t imagine anyone at all on the planet not having blind spots. We all have them, repeatedly, they come to light systematically. Often, the ones who hold power in society have the most glaring blind spots, which is how scapegoating has become so rampant and standard procedure in our politics and social systems.

        Owning our blind spots humbly as we become aware of them in order to evolve forward is how we grow into our expanded awareness and personal power. I don’t see any way around that. A label of “anosognosia” is, indeed, utter toxic gaslighting completely fabricated nonsense.

          • Hi Fiachra, I see it as part of the mental programming on the part of clinicians and the philosophy of the mh system in general, which to me translates to,

            “I’m not comfortable with you and you are not adhering to my sense of ‘normal,’ therefore something must be wrong with you (and I won’t even tell you, I’ll just think it, project it, write it in my notes, and share my frustrations about you with my like-minded colleagues). Can’t be me, no way! I’m completely normal!”

            Who are they kidding??

    • I reckon you explained it pretty good– people know when their in trouble with drugs- even if troubles all they’ve got outside of them or with them-.- they still know who they are- what helps and harms them- what’s good and bad- they don’t stop knowing that- because its been taught/ and experienced from day one- in the home- in school- work and play They can deny it- but cant not know it- because they’ve mostly spent their whole lives-= without drugs- normal- as if they don’t know what effects drugs have on them- to them- and if they knocked on a facility door for help from them- a bad effect on them- they had insight- how does that insight turn into anasognosia- with other mind altering drugs- why are any mind altering drugs- any different in adversity- or the report of adversity- when bad feeling and thinking is why they turned up- its clearly hypocritical and abusive
      .

        • Haha, “normal” is a funny word, isn’t it? “Of the norm,” which is relative, of course. What is ‘normal’ for one culture is often ‘weird’ through they eyes of another culture. Of course, that is simply based on the fact that one doesn’t understand another, so it is considered weird, and kind of ends there.

          When we bring ourselves to a place of understanding rather than judgment, then perhaps we can get past ‘weird,’ and find differences more interesting, or better yet, actually *valuable.* That would be a revolution in thinking, wouldn’t it?

          We live in a world of diverse cultures with diverse perspectives, beliefs, and practices. I don’t see that ever changing (at least I hope not, how incredibly boring and unimaginative would that be?), so we may as well get used to it. From diversity comes all our creativity.

          I’ve heard of “cultural competence” standards set in the mental health world–complete with manual and committee–but I’ve never seen it actually practiced. The mh world does not walk its talk on practically anything, is what I discovered. It’s ALL cognitive dissonance. That is the normal of that culture! No thanks.

          • And worse yet, nothing new is ever creative there. I don’t find this field to be terribly innovative at this time. It’s all about recycling the old, repeatedly, which is why I stopped going to therapy a while back. At some point, one has to move on and create new things. Otherwise, we will go mad, or stay mad, or whatever. No joy in dull and boring repetition.

    • Anosognia is faulty reasoning. Heads I win, tails you lose. If you agree that you are crazy you have “good insight” and are treated with lots of drugs and electroshock. If you disagree that you are crazy you have anosognia and…are treated with lots of drugs and electroshock. Who can argue with such a brilliant deduction as that?

      As long as they are allowed to treat you with lots of drugs and electroshock. Sadistic monsters hiding behind their white lab coats and stethoscopes! I’d rather deal with a street dealer any day.

  5. One consistent theme of our opponents is that psychiatric hospitals are better than jails, prisons or the streets…

    This is embarrassing but before my recovery I go into a scrape and the police were called. They asked me do you want to go to jail or the hospital ? I chose jail because as a criminal you get due process and have rights, in the hospital you are held hostage as an insurance money cash cow and the hospital technically is a jail anyway with that you can’t leave part and comes with wicked drugging that regular jail doesn’t.

    Ultimately, AOT discourages people from voluntarily seeking help using services that work for them.

    This AOT will just do wonders for the “therapeutic alliance” as they continue to merge mental health with the criminal justice system. The more they make it like the criminal justice the more patients will view themselves as defendants. I know this from participating in mental health forums and reading the posts out of Australia about Community treatment orders, no therapeutic alliance what so ever. Its the person Vs the system and they view the system as anything but “help”. And in America I believe fight the system is more part of our culture than in Australia .

    Governments, groups, families, and individuals that continue to believe that Coerced psychiatry is the answer , do so at their own peril. The odds overwhelmingly predict that HR 2646 will fail in every respect.

    I would hate to see these Murphy bill people get their way but part of me wants to see this bill pass so I can watch the system self destruct. If it passes then in a few years we get to do a great big “we told you so” and stick it in their faces after they make things worse.

    • Cat: I concur. I believe these Murphy Bills will bring this all to a head. I know for a fact, that many citizens are all ready up in arms over ADHD drugging of our children. It is only a matter of time, before citizens will call the entire police state of psychiatry into question.

      • When I was a youngster I did come in for voluntary treatment – I thought I would get the Talking Treatments (this was my idea of what psychiatrists did). I couldn’t believe the uselessness of the approach I was offered. (There was no expectation of recovery).

        With ‘Murpy’ the voluntary people are now likely to shun the system.

    • Ultimately, AOT discourages people from voluntarily seeking help using services that work for them.

      Since you bring this quote up, this a slippery slope argument of sorts. Our opposition to Murphy should not be based on its potentially keeping people away from voluntary “treatment.” Better if it does in many cases.

  6. I support all the opposition to this horrid piece of legislation and I appreciate the members of this forum for responding.

    But, having said this, I must say that I am opposed to the concept of Recovery because it is blaming the victims and it is making it look like mental illness is real. Where as what is needed is to focus on the abuses and exploitation of the middle-class family and to learn to handle it in court rooms instead of by psychotherapy and recovery groups.

    As far as why some people go off and start shooting, I say it is because they see no hope of redressing injustices. So many will just crack. If you keep jabbing at an animal with a stick for long enough, you know what will eventually happen. Everyday people are expected to live denied their social legitimacy. People are expected to go on living like this for decades. Some are broken by psychotherapy, evangelical religion, and by psych meds. Some are just broken by alcohol and street drugs.

    When homeless persons are seen talking to themselves in angry tones, people say they are crazy. I go for a much simpler solution, they are angry and for good reason.

    If people see that they can be an active part of the solution, then I say they will leave all their chemical addictions, religious escapisms, and everything else behind. They will act.

    So for myself, I would rather be raising political consciousness and training them to fight for justice, and then handing them the equipment they will need, like assault rifles.

    Being denied a place in this world is an organized campaign of oppression. We don’t correct this by asking for pity and recovery from bogus illnesses. We correct it by standing up for ourselves, by taking organized and rational actions, and taking this as far as it goes.

    Do you think slavery in this country would likely have ended without large scale violence?

    Again, my thanks to all who are fighting to stop this Murphy bill.

    Nomadic
    http://freedomtoexpress.freeforums.org/law-project-for-psychiatric-rights-psychrights-t279.html

  7. I thought it might help to suggest that anyone who is trying to dialogue with a live congressperson might direct him or her to MIA, and to particular threads as you deem fit. Encourage them to read comments by survivors which demonstrate our apprehension and our recognition that this is an Orwellian scapegoating process akin to the Japanese internments during WWII, and has nothing to do with “access to treatment.”

    • If you’re not taking them involuntarily it would still take court action to force them on you. Maybe you should find a lawyer ahead of time if you’re worried, I would. That way they’re prepared and can be more pro-active if necessary.

        • Just keep saying you’re taking them (and fill your prescriptions) and be apparently nice and compliant, gradually taper, and once you’ve been off them for a year or two very pleasantly and quietly tell the doc and/or simply don’t fill the scripts any more.

          Flying under the radar is a very valid way of keeping yourself safe.

          If they “offer” injections, just explain that you like to feel that you are taking responsibility and making an active contribution to your care and that this makes you feel so much better, so you’d like to continue doing it (smiling and making eye contact the whole while).

          Their drugs are a lie, their “diagnoses” are a lie, but they are powerful, so become….in their nasty words…”avoidant”.

  8. It was a total blow out 400-2.

    Looking through DJ Jaffe’s page and seeing how organized and committed to action he and his supporters are makes me frustrated that we have no real resistance movement. I have no idea what kind of difference it would make with other factors working against us, but surely the lack of any structured movement isn’t helping.

  9. It’s a matter of when people decide it’s time to stop waiting for “saviors” who will never come (and who would be immediately crucified if they showed up).

    It’s not really rocket science what we need to do, but it’s not as simple as some may believe.

    A big problem from my viewpoint is that those such as Val and NCMHR and others within the system have fatal flaws in their strategies, primarily having to do with their trust that the system can work if we only use it properly, and beyond that their focus on arguing with legislators who clearly have no interest in our issues.

    Survivors and truly anti-psychiatry others need to try to form a separate anti-Murphy coalition which treats this, as has been mentioned, as analogous to the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. We need an approach, again, which focuses on psychiatry as a tool of domestic repression, not just a dubious branch of medicine. The only vehicle for such I can think of is the Organizing Forum if enough people would participate, so far they haven’t. If anyone has a truly better idea now would be the time for it.

    I am certain that we have the power to outmaneuver these people. The stakes are even greater than during the movement’s first incarnation, but there are also more people in place with the ability to deconstruct psychiatry in the eyes of the people. If people had more trust in themselves and in each other they would realize that it’s not a matter of whether we can do these things, but whether we decide to.

    Who were those two “NO” votes btw?

  10. Here’s how everyone voted: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2016/roll355.xml
    The two AGAINST votes were Republicans (told you); Democrats were unanimously FOR.

    The two congresspeople voting AGAINST were Rep. Amash and Rep. Massie — anyone know anything about them? We should encourage people to thank them and give them props.. And letters of collective disgust should be drafted and sent to every other Representative, with cc’s to every Senator.

    • The two who voted no appear to be more libertarian republicans. I think the only republicans who would vote against will fit into this category (the rest will be happy to pass the bill as a means to avoid doing anything about gun control), and these are only a minority of republicans. I’m curious about the “not voted” group- did they abstain or were they absent? (there are Dems in that group)

      What I see as a more fundamental problem than what you mentioned is that there is no visible presence to this movement. The pro-forced treatment group has crowds of people going to the capital when there is a vote, people actually engaged and much more visible on social media, the news (I realize there’s going to be a publication bias, but are people trying to send in op eds to mainstream publications?), etc. I don’t think many people even realize that there IS an opposition. Like you, I am perplexed at how most people here have been engaged in lengthy discussions about other things, but seemingly oblivious or disinterested in the vote the last few days. Even MIA is not making this coverage a priority- I had to go to Tim Murphy and DJ Jaffe’s pages to find out what happened.

      If we want an actual presence, I think we need to be as united as possible . Not everyone here identifies as anti-psychiatry, but except for those who come to crash this site, but I don’t think there’s anyone else here who is actually for this bill. There are other groups against this too (e.g., I’ve seen elder abuse advocates express opposition) that could be good allies.

      • I think we have to be careful when using the term “antipsychiatry” since it is limiting. Many are very much on our side but choose not to use that term. I used to call myself that but don’t anymore. I sometimes say, “I work in human rights” without identifying as ever being associated with the System. Or I might say “former mental patient” but only if I am in position where it is safe to reveal. Quite often I say pro-human rights. Actually, any time you say “rights” it raises suspicion among those that worship psychiatrists and their ilk.

          • Nobody is denying the existence of suffering. Some people are disputing that psychological suffering is synonymous with physiological suffering. All Stoics, I presume, are not Scientologists. I don’t see any advantage to being badgered into an even more politically innocuous form of evasion.

          • I get accused of denying that psychological suffering exists. Absolutely that is not my intention. I think calling inner suffering an illness trivializes it and minimalizes what people go through. And to think all that can be answered with a pill! Baloney! What happened to caring and community? Or are the “experts” really that much better?

          • I think “anti-psychiatry” is a great word, but even I cringe sometimes when I see it here, because it so often linked to ableism lately in MiA comments. Even when there is not an explicit denial of suffering, there is often a denial that said suffering can be disabling (if only temporarily). This ableism has absolutely nothing to do with the history and theory of anti-psychiatry, but rather reflects the personal politics of certain of the more vocal, nominally anti-psychiatry commenters.

          • To be clear, I don’t have a problem with the word “anti-psychiatry” either, nor do I think it means denial of suffering. My point more was that I think people, namely outside of MiA, think it means things that it doesn’t (and some of these people could be allies)

        • I don’t see the term anti-psychiatry as limiting any more than I see the term psychiatry as liberating. Or, to put it another way, I see the term psychiatry as much more limiting than the term psychiatry. The people who object (caution care) wouldn’t have the word applied to themselves. The people who embrace the term are under no such reservations. I’ve got human rights advocate on my business card. I’m drawing up new business cards before long. I’m going to put anti-psychiatry activist on those business cards. Might keep human rights advocate as well. I’m going to continue to use the term, in reference to myself, and they, and others of their ilk, are going to continue to object. So bleeping be it. I’m not selling psychiatric labels, nor am I selling treatments for psychiatric labels, neither drugs nor talk. Once we had a mental patients’ liberation movement. That mental patients’ liberation movement has degenerated into a mental patients’ movement. Sure. However, don’t blame me, and leave me with my Freedom of Speech. Mine is still a mental patients’ liberation movement, however limiting you happen to find that.

          • Oops.

            “Or, to put it another way, I see the term psychiatry as much more limiting than the term psychiatry.”

            Above. Should read:

            “Or, to put it another way, I see the term psychiatry as much more limiting than the term anti-psychiatry.”

          • Frank, I like Mental Patients’ Liberation since I do not object to the very realistic term mental patient. That’s what we were, or at least what I was. Some of us even were compliant at one time! Horrors! I drooled, too! I own that, I own that as one of my big mistakes, I own walking into their offices as a huge mistake on my part, too. I own 34 years of huge error as mine, and I deeply regret that. I own that I was wrong about it, that I was duped, and that I was, and am, a highly intelligent person who was STILL duped. Yep they sure were convincing and the techniques they use match the brainwashing techniques used on POW’s and by the Nazis and by religious cults, so we know these methods work well. PROVEN! I own that I fell for it, fell hard, and that it took me ages to figure it all out. I don’t consider myself a current mental patient. Ex-patient, perhaps, or former one. A person who has memories of having been one, one way or the other, and these I keep and cherish so I can retell these stories.

        • I think we have to be careful when using the term “antipsychiatry” since it is limiting. Many are very much on our side but choose not to use that term. I used to call myself that but don’t anymore.

          OK rather than reinvent the wheel let me try to defuse this potential diversion, which has a very significant place in what we need to work out, but right now is too abstract and distracts us from Murphy.

          There are many of us here who have a very clear antipsychiatry perspective and identification, have spent much time analyzing the nuances of this, and are not going to change.

          However we are talking here about forming a coalition with the goal of stopping Murphy. The goal of the coalition is not stopping psychiatry per se, so it should not be specifically identified as anti-psychiatry. Nor should there be any language used which pointedly distances the coalition from those of us who are, and serves to isolate and stigmatize those of us who consciously identify as anti-psychiatry as the “radical fringe.” And II think it would be appropriate for those who feel a great need to use psychiatric disease terminology to put the potentially offensive terms in quotes.

          No one should be pressured to take an anti-psychiatry position in order to join with those who oppose Murphy. And no one should be expected not the use the term “anti-psychiatry” when referring to their personal viewpoint.

          So let’s not spend the rest of this thread with another argument about the term “anti-psychiatry”; let’s figure out why we’re being steamrollered and what to do about it.

      • I see a real fundamental problem, too, in the sense that for all the furor, these congress people have done everything possible to make this conversation “about them, without them”. The vote was not only insulting. It was dismissive of everybody who took a stand against this legislation. Our voices and views have not been represented, and they have been suppressed. The Murphy bill was something that was obviously drafted by people connected to the Treatment Advocacy Center, our nation’s number one lobbyists for more forced drugging. The politician’s voting think they’re vote has something to do with the violence that took place in Orlando. It makes them look good, and re-electable, if they’d done something about violence. The scapegoats are not significant in the slightest because, of course, they are the conventional scapegoats. They even have less of a voice now, when it comes to the direction that this nation is going to take, than they once might have had, because of the vigilant efforts of these politicians in dis-empowering and silencing them (“everything about us, without us”).

        • Fascism is about evoking emotions rather than reason to drive whatever mass directive they’re pushing at the time. The message is “VIOLENT MENTALLY ILL WITH GUNS UNLEASHED ON AMERICA!!!” Which is why a lot of the emphasis on “talking points” MISSES the point. (Not that we don’t need them.) But opposing this merely from the perspective of paid, systemized advocates is guaranteed to lose. I will continue to use the comparison of this and the Japanese-American WWII internments and I encourage others to do so. This is not about “mental health care.” This is about genocide.

          • We are by all means headed for genocide, Oldhead. Historically, if those in power wish to eliminate a segment of the population, the first thing they need to do is to identify these targeted people, then tag them somehow, so that they can more easily and quickly be identified by police or other authoities. Back in 2013 or so I recall Massachusetts and most likely ohter states was bribing patients into carrying a “special” insurance card. The card had a Pharmacy Bin number on it. Anyone who has Medicare Part D has these numbers on their cards which identify why you are on disability or why you originally were put on it. It’s one thing if these cards are only for the pharmacy. But now, these were combined cards, used to admit patients to appointments as Medicare Part B was also included in the card. While the program, called OneCard, was said to be voluntary, patients who took certain scheduled drugs were not covered unless they enrolled. Thus, many were suckered into carrying Mental Patient Identification Cards, cleverly disguised as “help.”

            Imagine, a fictional man named Jake is driving to the store to pick up some milk and eggs and is stopped by a cop because a headlight is out. The cop asks to see Jake’s identification. While Jake fumbles for his license, the cop can clearly see that OneCard. “Yep, it’s one of those Mental Patients. We need to question this guy further as he could be DANGEROUS.”

            “Sir, do you mind stepping out of the car?”

            At 11:30pm, Jake’s wife is still waiting for Jake to return with the milk and eggs.

  11. “These are troubling times for people with lived experience in mental health care. More than 50 years after deinstitutionalization, mental health systems across the country are still unable to provide the appropriate care in the community that was promised long ago. We must ask ourselves why this is so, and we come back to the fundamental issues of stigma and discrimination.”

    I agree with this wholeheartedly. I believe it’s all about stigma and discrimination. This is what I believe creates the *illusion* of what society refers to as “mental illness.” In the family, in society, and certainly in the system. That’s the last straw, because it is where people go to heal and find support, and only get traumatized–yet again–with the exact same issues, and more. It becomes a battle of the classes at this point–families, the system, society, all agree on who should be–or deserves to be–in the margins, and watch how that methodically happens. It is quite the wicked game of gas-lighting, stigmatizing and good ol’ fashioned vicious gossip. So this time, it’s not just a personal betrayal, it’s a professional and political one, as well, and it includes iatrogenic illness from toxic drugs, which weakens a person’s defenses. What a world we live in…

    People who have not experienced this will not get it, and how could they? That is not an ordinary experience, and it creates an extremely treacherous feeling on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level. God knows I’ve talked to a whole lot of people from all walks of life about this for years and years–while I was going through it, and then after I had, thankfully, got it all into perspective and removed myself from that crazy-making reality– and 100% of the time, people cannot get past certain beliefs and associations. It is impossible.

    The stigma is SO PROFOUND, can’t emphasize this enough, and it is socially prevalent–not just for diagnosed people or those with psychiatric histories, but for all oppressed people. This is how it works, the stigma is fundamental to oppression, and where discrimination is totally justified and legal, in practice. Stigma, per se, creates an entire reality (social illusions based on personal judgment, not fact) aside from the actual truth, and it is impossible to dissuade, at least it seems as such so far. I hope that is what can change soon, but how? People believe what they want to believe, to suit their own purposes.

    “We are different.”

    Artists and accountants are different from each other, too, in fundamental and character-related ways. This applies to all “different” groups of people and cultures, universally.

    Although I would be interested to know why some people get diagnosed and labeled “mentally ill” while others don’t. How does that story line play out, where a person winds up on the client side of the “mental health world”? Personally, I think everyone is, at the very least, a bit crazy. I think that’s human, especially in a smoke & mirrors society of in-your-face injustice such as the one we live in at present.

    At this point, it seems as though the truly insane are the ones running the show, and somehow, they get people to protect them. I guess it’s all that fear-mongering and brainwashing, so much blatant manipulation. It’s very disturbing to know what goes on in this arena, but I’m seriously grateful to no longer be any part of that. It’s toxic and dangerous. Had my fill of it going through the system.

    You have a tough job.

    • Alex, it’s so true that people who have never been through this simply cannot grasp the demeaning way that marginalized groups are treated. I have brought this up with many people and often I hear, “Oh, what discrimination? I’ve never seen that, ever.” Even my own brother, who has a PhD in physics stated that to me. I asked him if he’d ever heard of unequal pay for women. “Oh,” he said, “well we’d NEVER do that in my academic department.”

      I cannot believe anyone out there is immune to bigotry. Maybe some people live these nice cushy lives, have job security, are white and male, and are just plain sheltered. Or have blinders on, and are desperate to keep them on, never to let societal woes inside their own blind vacuum.

      Is that even possible? We kids grew up outside of Boston in the 1960’s and 1970’s. We lived in a wealthy suburb where we saw kids from the inner city bussed in so they could attend our school system. This was called the Metco program. In inner city Boston. not far away, there were race riots and worse over school busing. How could we not see this, not hear this, not know this? And all that was unfolding before any of us left the nest. Was the racial strife some exception?

      My brother pointed out that I’m pessimistic to mention such things as workplace unfairness, poverty, and joblessness. I don’t think so, since to remain silent will only allow the hatred, bigotry, and discrimination against minorities, including those called “mental patients,” of which I was one, to continue.

      • I do think that living an exclusively privileged life is sheltering. In this world, having money and position allows people to get away with anything–from lying to corruption to rape to murder, etc.–while poor and socially humble people are discarded, disregarded, demeaned, and dehumanized, simply because they are perceived to have no power or value. Not exactly what I’d call a humanistic society.

        I know that’s a misconception (aka stigma), but I also know that is the belief in an obsessively capitalist society such as ours. Takes a lot of grit, courage, strength and power to survive oppression, and a great deal of cleverness, stamina, and faith to thrive despite it.

        I grew up in middle class professional academic family, and it wasn’t until I entered the system after graduate school, in my 40s, that I experienced the underbelly of society, going through disability. It’s quite an education, very eye-opening.

        If it hadn’t been for these trials & tribulations I experienced in the system, I would have never woken up to the reality of our society, and also to how I had been programmed to middle class thinking. Looking back, I shudder at myself, remembering the things I used to believe were true.

        So for that, I can honestly say I’m very grateful. At least now I can make more informed choices in my life, that are supportive to my growth, rather than being sabotaging to it, as the system proved to be–wayyyy outside my comprehension of either healing or justice. Upside down world that is. In my film, I say it’s like going through the looking glass.

        I lived in Memphis from 1961 to 1970 and remember the bussing issue well. Yes, it really brought home the violent energy of blatant discrimination, starting with psychological violence, based purely on fear and prejudice. When people are provoked and there is no legal or social recourse, they are likely to get angry, that would be normal. And that’s when the scapegoating begins. There’s the endless loop of oppression, extremely unhealthy to all concerned.

        • I have a term I use, “Rape Culture,” which I don’t really know if I am using properly, but I use it anyway, as follows: If a person is raped that person is then blamed, not offered justice, but offered “treatment” in the form of “therapy.” Thus, not only is the rapist automatically free to rape again and all such harms excused as “normal” and “acceptable,” but the victim’s story is now safely kept under lock and key within the therapist’s office so society at large will be safe from hearing her/his story. These stories are thus silenced and as harms continue unchecked, the surrounding society refuses to love and accept. These stories are now sanitized and quarantined in the hospitals, offices, and institutions, ensuring against leakage, lest we all become contaminated with the truth.

          • I think that nails it, Julie. From Wikipedia—

            “Evidence suggests that rape culture is correlated with other social factors and behaviors. Rape myths, victim blaming, and trivialization of rape have been found to be positively correlated with racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, classism, religious intolerance, and other forms of discrimination.”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_culture

            Hard to know what to do other than to call it out and hope some kind of shift takes place after a while, simply from more and more people waking up and standing up for themselves, in the moment, calling out the systemic abuse and getting the hell away when possible. There are many factors in a closed system like this, where the most reasonable and provable grievances are met only with retaliation and further victimization.

            We’re deeply entrenched in this. Good to know how to protect ourselves, but it would be much better to not live with that chronic stress, which as far as I’m concerned, is created by these extremely narcissistic and self-serving “leaders” who consider some people to be not worthy of respect and human rights. That’s a sick society, and it makes the people in it sick!

          • Interesting perspective.

            I was raped by three young men when I was 12…almost 50 years ago….and recently let it slip in conversation to a friend who has known me for for nearly 30 years.

            She was shocked and has since treated me with kid gloves, even though the event has just become an integral part of the human experiences I have had…I mean, it was 50 years ago, and I have since been through a lifetime of living and of love, and she used to respect that.

            …but now, it seems, I am irredeemably and shockingly damaged in her eyes, and must but “mentally ill”.

            I have found it thoroughly stigmatizing and shall be far more careful in the future as my shrink had a similar reaction….”all rape victims….”, and it’s a re-rape.

            BUT, that is essentially what shrinkology does, it is how it makes its name and its money…by convincing society that a traumatic event (or two) leave you permanently damaged and in need of ongoing “treatment” no matter how you have progressed in life.

            According to them, there IS NO healing. no learning posible and so they should have the right to keep raping you with diagnoses, drugs, needles, etc…whatever they want, and then they claim YOU are dangerous!

            Rape culture, for sure.

          • MLK for sure that’s been my experience, too. I mean to me, if you are female and over 50, you have probably been raped by now. If not, sexually harassed or in some way offended in that manner. And if it happened that long ago, for most of us, we’re over it by now.

            I have this idea that the surrounding community, whether it be a college dorm, family, or workplace, can ease the traumatic aftereffects for victims. 1) Believe her and tell her so. 2) Do not limit her freedom of speech to the therapist’s office 3) Be compassionate and offer friendship, do not distance 4) Sending a person to therapy without offering compassion is in effect pushing the victim away. Do not do this, as the effect will be to increase the person’s trauma. By sending her to therapy, you’re saying, “This is YOUR perception problem.” But it isn’t. 5) Don’t insist that the person “get over it” instantly nor insist that the person “live in the moment” since there’s no instant solution that will work for everyone. 6) Support the person legally at the police reporting level and in the courts. If you know the victim is right, and can offer supporting statements, do so.

            The incident with my boss and assistant boss was 1976 it’s old history now. I have so many experiences and all that was only one. No, I’m not damaged by it either. I got over it. Same with a car accident when I was seven. Nor am I “falling apart” if ever I mention such things. This is only a story now, nothing more.

          • I believe these are the stories to be told, not just to inform others of the unseen dangers of shrinkology, even simply “talk therapy,” but to free ourselves from the trauma of it, as well. Looks like we’re all talking about the exact same thing, and it is epidemic in the mh world, that I know. It’s part of academia.

            The insidiousness of it is hard to grasp, but I think people will start recognizing these kinds of dialogue patterns which leave people on the vulnerable end of it feeling slimed and re-traumatized, in the name of “support.”

            Life is traumatic and everyone experiences it. Time moves on, we grow, we change, and we heal. This is universal. This ‘branding for life’ thing is where the mental health field goes way wrong and runs amuck. And it affects everyone in that society. Creates mass delusion. Time to wake up.

            Everyone is powerful, not just *some* people. If we use it wisely and for the greater good, then maybe we’ll get somewhere. Although, if we keep using our power to try and control others, I expect the revolution will pick up speed rather quickly.

            Hmmm, suddenly I’m feeling optimistic, either way.

          • Yep for sure Alex. I think we need to just quit all labeling, period. No more laying claim to NORMAL and that you have the right to declare some normal and others not. No more finger-pointing and no more blaming. No more use of “toxic” or “negative” or “bad aura” or “mentally ill” and its ilk as applied to individuals. And in my opinion we cannot be hypocrites. This means across the board NO LABELING. If a person is abusive, that’s it. No labeling that person disordered. You can put a name to their behavior and perhaps decide you dislike it or know why it harmed you, but you cannot slam their character nor claim they have a disorder nor bash them as people, nor make the statement that they should be “locked up.” Why? Because it’s been done to us. How can we ourselves be so hypocritical as to call anyone else sick or intrinsically bad? We cannot, or we are shooting ourselves in our feet, and our movement will fail.

          • Provocative and relevant thoughts, Julie. What you are describing that we do as a society (label, finger-point, blame, judge, other) seems to me to be the example of the mental health field, precisely. This paradigm of thinking and operating seems to have guided us to judge those whom we do not understand, and then make all these things up about them (negative myths, aka stigma), therefore creating this excessive challenge for certain people, usually quite gifted in many ways, to participate productively in society on the whole.

            Prejudice, stigma, discrimination, oppression, social marginalization, etc., all existed before the mental health field came along. However, it seems as if that psychiatry and the mh field in general were created to JUSTIFY this level of social abuse.

            Challenging abuse, corruption, and the status quo, in general, gets one labeled, stigmatized, and marginalized, that’s par for the course. And the mental health system will not only tell a story that will justify this abuse (of course they won’t call it that, and play victim, themselves, somehow), but they will also participate heavily in that process.

            You’re right, we should all watch our own judgments of others, if we are to have integrity, which would be our power. Otherwise, yes, this will never be taken seriously in any regard because that will be the first thing pointed out, the hypocrisies. That will translate into “lack of self-insight” in a heartbeat.

    • Yes, I saw this awful story. The blatant and paranoid-making stigma caused misinterpretation of reality, leading to cold-blooded murder. Stigma=violence, sooner or later.

      The tells are there, To me, it feels like a calculated coldness and general heartless disrespect and attitude toward people, in general, and a lot of lying to cover their asses. I wish this could become clearer in the general public to better ferret out the frauds, unambiguously. They are the ones who are dangerous, and keeping things stuck, imo, because they play both sides of the fence pretty convincingly, for their own gain, nothing to do with the greater good. Weirdly, they become “leaders,” in the eyes of the culture. Hopefully, they’ll either be exposed soon, or they will hang themselves with their own rope. That would be sorely needed justice, for the good of humanity.

  12. Psych diagnosis is a hate crime and should be handled as such in the schools, in the press, in all types of media, in our social dealings, and in the way we raise our children. Wasn’t the younger generation taught to stay clear of N word? Now, let’s raise a generation that never points fingers at anyone for the purpose of character-bashing such as “mentally ill” and its various slangs and subsets. The field of medicine has not been legally granted immunity to be racists, so their MD status does not grant them the status to demean a person’s character.

    If I want to criticize my own character, examine my innermost faults, that is between me and myself, or as some may view it, between the self and God. Since when is judgment of one’s moral status, which in fact should be kept as private and sacred, within the realm of doctors? And yet, psychiatry has assumed this privilege for a century, and society has done nothing to stop this.

    • I’ve been saying the same re: hate speech for awhile. It would be a step forward if MIA would insist that authors and commentators use quotes around such words. It could become a public education thing in time, like campaigning to get the Times to stop using the generic “he.”

  13. Since this seems to be the only political thread at the moment (unless throngs have besieged the Organizing Forum) I have another serious proposal:

    People should form some tag teams to keep anti-psychiatry perspectives constant and current at places such as Huffington, Salon, etc. Anyone interested?

    • Wouldn’t call it a “done deal” yet. It still has to go to the Senate, and the Senate have their own bill. There’s likely to be a little bit of a debate there. The House Bill, drafted mostly by the Reps, versus the Senate Bill, drafted mostly by Dems. I figure it’s always the same with this stuff. Everybody is a ‘teflon don’ but for the people in the “mental health” system, the official reason for our national violence problem. Don’t think there’s much question here. This is the politicians solution to the problem of massive acts of violence, beef up the mental health system. When it comes to cop killings, the issue is still miles and miles away from DC, however violent events like Orlando are going to serve as the excuse they use for pushing stupidities such as this kind of thing through.

    • Not sure what you mean by done deal. Yes, in a sense it was a done deal when it was introduced; Congress was given its marching orders from psychiatry, pharma and law enforcement/”justice.” But they don’t want people to see it that way, so the strategy should be, in addition to the standard democrat-republican/good cop-bad cop playoff, to expose their enslavement to pharma in a way that would then make it politically costly at that point for them to vote for Murphy.

  14. Oldhead,

    I am confused as obviously with a 422-2 vote, there seemed to be zero concern about enslavement to pharmacy. I don’t think there ever has been by the way.

    So, what is our next action in this fight? I don’t have any brilliant ideas as an FYI so that is why I am asking this question.

  15. Yes! Thank you Julie, “Psych diagnosis is a hate crime and should be handled as such in the schools, in the press, in all types of media, in our social dealings, and in the way we raise our children.”

    And drugging children should be prosecuted in International Court as Crimes Against Humanity, just like what was in store for Josef Mengele. No statute of limitations, no upper limit on the penalty.

    And get rid of the bullying in schools and do not every try to tell someone that they have a neurological difference. Everybody is unique, and we don’t really know what goes into making people how they are.

    Actively oppose anyone promoting Psychotherapy as it is abuse. And oppose anyone who promotes Recovery, as all it is doing is teaching people to live by seeking pity.

    Capitalism used to need cheap labor and slave labor. Not anymore. It just needs people to humiliate to keep everyone else inline. So even if the scapegoats of the middle-class family are to live in public housing and get welfare and disability money, they are still being used in this manner, being the subjects of ritual humiliations.

    Nomadic

  16. I just read the NCMHR “talking points.” They are totally inadequate in my view and do not constitute a winning formula, and are all from the perspective of those who believe that the “mental health” system is basically valid and just needs some tweaks. And in my view this is guaranteed to get us screwed like we already did by the House. Here they are, judge for yourself:

    1.Nothing about us without us. HR 2646 excludes the voice of people who have lived experience with mental health issues in decisions that dramatically affect our lives.

    2.The bill expands grant funding and the timeframes for Assisted Outpatient Treatment. There is no evidence that outpatient commitment is more effective than voluntary care.

    3.HR 2646 significantly weakens the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

    4.HR 2646 uses “anosognosia” [pronunciation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVo2QZ29q_c%5D as a rationale to relax confidentiality issues and promote forced treatment. There is no scientific basis for anosognosia in mental health.

    5.The bill is hostile to programs and concepts of recovery.

    We need our own talking points. don’t you think? I’ll be conmtinuing this in the Organizing Forum.

    6.Increased services in the community are needed; they cannot be replaced by hospitals.

  17. “I just read the NCMHR “talking points.” They are totally inadequate in my view and do not constitute a winning formula, and are all from the perspective of those who believe that the “mental health” system is basically valid and just needs some tweaks.”

    Yes!

    Thank you Oldhead!

    The Mental Health system is designed to provide our society with a huge cadre that can be ritually humiliated, in order to maintain discipline. So with white coats helping, the middle-class family gets to designate scapegoats, and then they are vindicated in this by an antiquated set of laws which allow disinheritance.

    In the Industrial Era, Capitalism needed cheap labor, and even slave labor. But in the Information Age, all it needs are people it can make into public examples.

    So the Mental Heath System, the Developmental Disorders System, and Evangelical Religion are designed to promote the middle-class family, which only ever existed in the first place because it got to exploit and abuse children. It made children into private property. And making people into property is how this country was built. And so the last thing we should ever be doing is endorsing Psychotherapy or the Recovery Movement.

    And it wouldn’t matter if we gave each of the scapegoats a Rolls-Royce, a house in Bel Air, and wads and wads of pocket cash. That would never be justice, because it could never substitute for the chance to develop one’s abilities and to put them to good use, and for the admiration and respect thus earned.

    So by Psychotherapy, Recovery, the Middle-Class Family, and sometimes with prescription narcotics too, we have created a huge cadre of the emotionally and psychically crippled who will never be able to have anything like a normative identity. And the spectacle of this, and the obviously extreme level if distress, is enough to keep everyone else in line.

    And then the Anti-Psychiatry Movement, having once be a radical voice, is now neutralized because it plays footsie under the table with the Recovery Movement and Psychotherapists.

    The Recovery Movement is the modern evangelic expression of Original Sin. Rick Warren of the Saddle Back church never stops explaining how “Everybody needs Recovery.”

    Psychotherapy offers absolutely nothing, except to convince people that they are the source of all of their own problems. And enough of that would drive anyone crazy.

    And then here on Mad In America we have psychotherapists advertising themselves, even therapists who are hired by parents to psychologically abuse their children.

    Marx and Engels showed how the bourgeoisies oppressed the proletariat. Well today there really isn’t much of a proletariat left. Rather it is the First Borns who are oppressing the Scapegoats. First Borns is not meant literally, but in the ancient sense as those who are slated to carry on the family position and who have accepted parental authority and the family denial system, who then oppress the Scapegoats.

    And as most of the Scapegoats are kept in Recovery, Therapy, Salvation Seeking, or just on drugs, they never develop political consciousness.

    The situation looks bleak. It is bleak. But change starts when people stop seeking approval and pity ( Recovery, Unlimited Commitments to Non-violence, Therapy, Religion ).

    Nomadic
    http://freedomtoexpress.freeforums.org/free-expression-f2.html