Saturday, October 23, 2021

Murphy Discussion: Is this a war of rhetoric?

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    If you go onto you will see that the Murphy bill a prognosis of 1% chance of being enacted. This is an interesting figure. How did the policy wonks come up with this? And what does it mean? Is this just a war of rhetoric?

    If a representative backs a bill that has little chance of being enacted, s/he can go back to their constituents and say, “look, I tried.” It is the best of both worlds. The representative then does not have to impose costly mandates on the state for “treatment.”


    Good point.

    Thanks for this.

    Frank Blankenship

    The senate version, too. S. 1945, The Mental Health Act of 2015 is given a 5 % chance of being enacted. I’d say they’re both pretty much dead in the water.



    Simple “inside the beltway” strategy. We are supposed to figure this out ourselves and make it to the back pages of the forum to discuss the “O.K. what next?”

    So this is only a war of rhetoric. So who is winning? I would say the proponents of the Murphy Bill are winning, I have seen no mainstream media clips of clear argument on the other side. Even microscopically, I would say the proponents of the Murphy Bill are winning. I certainly haven’t watched this any longer than to get to Murphy’s opening statement:

    Minute 6:55
    Tim Murphy says: “These last three months can be called the bloodiest in 2015,” referring to the sensationalized shootings. Murphy knows all too well that most of these shooters were on psychiatric drugs at the time of the shootings.

    I believe he is in the camp of those hoping that there are chemists working on “better drugs” with “less side effects.” It is not going to happen, Mr. Murphy.

    The drugs alter the normal functioning of the neurotransmitters inside the brain and make the brain function abnormally. And since that is only one of the few systems inside the brain that scientists understand comprehensively, it would be reckless and dangerous to experiment with an organ no one understands. What if the *origin* of hallucinations is a malfunction of the nervous system? Or many failed systems at once? I do not think there are any illnesses that affect only one system: emergency mode of failed systems in reverse.

    The Torrey/Satel camp made a comment on November 3 that there are:

    “Yet a group of 19 Democrats circulated a letter last week opposing AOT and attempting to pit passage of AOT against expanding services such as supported housing and peer-support services.”

    So it seems that updated information and voice is heard from the opposing side to H.R. 2646, but only microscopically. This is the blog where that statement appears.

    O.K.: WORK BACKWARDS Big Pharma has nothing to lose, they have made a causal illogical leap in the public imagination between the shootings and fear of anyone diagnosed with a mental illness. Murphy is, personally, losing ground because the advantage of backing a bill that has no chance of getting enacted, but will win him some favor with constituents, is offset by some of the rhetoric coming in from the other side. In other words, the letters being circulated by the 19 democrats.

    As time goes on, H.R. 2646 will seem like a bad bill backed by bigotry, upheld by an inconsistent philosophy, and supported by tainted dollars. Murphy will not lose popular support overnight, but, increasingly, he will appear to have been duped.

    The only clear winner? BIG PHARMA Suh-prise!


    Oh & this is for humanbeing too. Thanks for responding to me.


    SNOWYOWL — THIS IS GREAT NEWS! While I don’t think this means the bill is dead, we’ve been given some breathing room to strategize, even — perish the thought — organize. Your research is most helpful, inspiring even.

    Didn’t read your whole post yet. Off the cuff, I still think the best legislative strategy is to focus first on those Democrats and encourage them to firm up their solidarity and resolve (while remembering they are primarily politicians) and work on the others as the opportunity arises.

    Continuing the “Murphy Watch” discussion: Emmeline points out correctly that there are tax-exemption issues, which I hadn’t considered. However a) I think it actually says in the law that no more than a certain percentage of your funds can be spent on influencing legislation, not none at all; moreover b) the main things that are needed in the Murphy updates are informational, i.e. where it stands, phone #’s of congress people, etc., and would not be partisan advocacy, as either side could theoretically use the information.

    Snowyowl, I also like the way you posted about this on the main site just as the thread there was going under. Just mentioning these discussions there is sure to attract more anti-psych people and our allies, I hope.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 11 months ago by oldhead.
    Frank Blankenship

    I probably spoke too soon, Snowyowl. Sure enough, some politicians want a bill. It will probably mean compromises on their part before and if they get one. We’ve still got a fight ahead of us. This fight hasn’t been won yet, and that’s the important thing.


    Yeah, they’re always reformulating this stuff; if there wasn’t a corporate/governmental demand for expanded power going on the bill would never have existed in the first place. Still,

    a group of 19 Democrats circulated a letter last week opposing AOT

    It’s important to identify these democrats and have people thank them and praise them (they’re human after all), and further educate them to the extent possible so they understand that going back on their position would not only be a political retreat but would hurt a lot of people. The Torrey folks are talking about strong opposition. So things are heading the right way, but they could easily be reversed if we take victory for granted.

    We also need to find some documentation that Torrey is not considered to represent the psychiatric profession, and that he has basically gone rogue with his neurological snake oil hypotheses.


    oldhead & Frank:

    Murphy’s staff collected information about housing from survivor advocates, but my belief is they are using it to come up with counter arguments of why
    to “drug” before you “house,” using this logic from TAC & excerpted from the link below. Notice the scare tactic of consistent rhetoric about violence & mental illness:

    “The Duke Study in North Carolina found that long-term AOT combined with intensive routine outpatient services was significantly more effective in reducing violence and improving outcomes for severely mentally ill individuals than the same level of outpatient care without a court order. Results from that study showed a 36 percent reduction in violence among severely mentally ill individuals in long-term AOT (180 days or more) compared to individuals receiving AOT for shorter terms (0 to 179 days). Among a group of individuals characterized as “seriously violent,” 63.3 percent of those not in long-term AOT repeated violent acts, while only 37.5 percent of those in long-term AOT did so. Long-term AOT combined with routine outpatient services reduced the predicted probability of violence by 50 percent (Swanson et al. 2001b).”

    The above paragraph is excepted from TACs website:

    And Frank is right, the politicians are going to want a bill, and both sides are going to have to give something.

    Right now survivor/consumer advocates are uniting to make sure that the Torrey camp does not redirect $ away from housing or the recovery model into expensive AOT enforcement, by state. It is an important time to stay untied as Torrey will try & get that $ anyway he can.

    As one of the delegates pointed out in the above subcommitee markup, AOT laws already exist in 45 states, so this bill is EXCLUSIVELY A MONEY GRAB from one place to another. And Torrey’s group is going to use scare tactics about violence to redirect it.

    So yes, I think the next step is to thank the 19 democrats who handed out letters. I am not even remotely close to D.C. right now, so I do not know who they are, but here are a list of names of those on the committee from the link below.

    I think the next thing I am going to do is craft a letter myself & post it on here just before I send it out. My letter is going to focus on Housing First, so I have to do some research. I want to make it pithy & direct. Meaning I know what I will be researching in the next few days!

    I noticed that some of the posters on the main page wanted to write letters of their own & asked for help. MIA cannot really do this & I wanted to help, but then I realized I didn’t know what to say in any letter, email, or tweet myself!

    Especially any letter-to-the-editor of a mainstream newspaper like “The Washington Post,” online or otherwise. I felt like I was sending something into a vacuum I didn’t understand with personal information on it which could be used against me later. It didn’t feel right. Not yet, anyway.



    [quote=69535]It is an important time to stay untied as Torrey will try & get that $ anyway he can.[/quote]

    Obviously you meant “united,” but we should also stay untied…as well as unshackled, drugged, etc. 🙂

    Seriously though, yeah, we have to swallow hard to coalition with some of the other Murphy opponents, but it has to be done.

    [quote=69535]both sides are going to have to give something.[/quote]

    This is legislative-think that we don’t need to get involved with. We should maintain our demands in full, they’ll do what they are going to do, that’s why they’re politicians. But we don’t “give” them shit. Not that we have any real power here at the moment. Our only power is in our principles and our articulating a clear position.

    [quote=69535]I felt like I was sending something into a vacuum I didn’t understand with personal information on it which could be used against me later. It didn’t feel right. Not yet, anyway.[/quote]

    Don’t give them any info you don’t feel comfortable with, trust your intuition. Maybe the others you mention could be encouraged to engage in a Murphy letter-writing workshop on the organizing forum, as this is a concrete form of activism we can undertake without a lot of struggle amongst ourselves over positions and analyses. Well, maybe some. See if those you mention would be interested in doing this.

    In the same vein, I sense that “lily c.” has been turned off by the discussion here. We need more, not less people here; anyone have any ideas about how to “retrieve” her? — she seemed to have genuine interest & maybe felt like she was being dismissed?


    oldhead, humanbeing & Frank:

    I kinda like “untied.” Awesome!

    “This is legislative-think that we don’t need to get involved with.”

    Yeah, you’re right, thanks.

    Here’s the latest:

    “November 20, 2015: The bill’s progress through the House has been delayed until 2016 due to GOP concerns. Please keep using your voice and speaking out – your Representatives still need to hear from you.” from realmhchange

    The person who has been most vocal in opposition to the Bill in its current form is
    “Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), the committee’s top Democrat, argued Murphy had often been more interested in media appearances than negotiating.”

    I think the next letter I write will be a thank you to him, specifically.

    Also, is this link from “The Hill” that talks about why the bill is being held up in detail:

    So, the letter writing campaign is still needed. Best guidelines for that are still from

    I think in terms of getting more people involved, we should wait for the next Murphy article to come out & then maybe close this thread, lest things get more confusing? And start a new one? What do you think? I can close it, jus tell me what you think.

    Then we can post the above link with the addresses & letter formats. MIA cannot really even do that, it is a conflict of interest for them, but I think it would be O.K. if we did it

    I’m not sure if humanbeing is the person you were talking about? I thought they weren’t that interested, no diss intended!
    See ya!


    I don’t think posting a link should be a problem if it’s done as an informational thing, i.e. to show how different groups are thinking, etc. Nothing has to be done in the name of MIA.

    If we had more people here it wouldn’t matter so much if individuals popped in & out. But we should make an effort to keep people coming back, not that I’m sure how other than mentioning it after they post somewhere else. Hopefully humanbeing didn’t give up after reading that horrendous sexist, anti-trans rant on a different forum. Lilyc may be back & forth between this & other sites & forums, don’t know. But we should try to keep people checking in here if we can.

    Maybe someone could volunteer to be the Murphy info person at MIA and be able to post informational updates on the main site as blog topics?



    I didn’t see a post from Lily c Please tell her I said thank you, I would have responded had I seen it.

    A lot of the MIA bloggers are activists & they communicate with each other by posts on their own sites & links to other sites. They actually infer to each other what they are going to work on next & who they will approach with it using their research links. You need the most current research links if you are going to wade through the smoke & mirrors jargon that scientists use to mislead us who do not have specialties in biology, chemistry & physiology.

    The odd thing is “the other side,” has so much more money and so much more formal education (whether they are all using it ethically is another matter), and the survivor voice has little to no money. TAC calls us “well funded patient activists,” but we actually operate on an odd mix of compassion for each other and anger. Isn’t it amazing that we are even holding our own?

    So, an MIA activist probably wouldn’t be able to compile something on the home page for the same reasons I stated above (conflict of interest), but maybe a MIA writer or student could. And I am not sure about those in private practice.

    But I think it would be more accurate to say it would have to be up to us to post the updates in the Murphy comments section of articles ourselves.

    It would be a natural fit to link this thread & other Murphy threads just after an article.

    i could start a new one & keep this one going.

    I was thinking of doing a Murphy Opponent Letter template thread, on its own.

    This could give people ideas that they could just lift off of the template & adapt for themselves. & I would add the information from realmhchange again, since it has guidelines & addresses of where to send the letters.

    They also have some text/twitter examples which I could actually paste instead of creating a link for that chunk.

    It might be a total waste of my time, but I will feel better in all of this if I at least make an effort. Even if I just get one letter out, just me, I wouldn’t feel like I am going around in circles.

    Maybe Emmaline would even let me post one of my letters on the homepage after a Murphy article. She might. She has been very patient in guiding me through my mistakes. I sure hope we get ‘humanbeing’ back. I hate to lose good people.
    Thanks for responding!


    Just reading this thread for 1st time.

    Who are these 19 Democrats?

    I live right outside of DC, right next to the CIA actually. I’m in a good position to do something 🙂


    You live right next to the CIA?

    That’s funny. I won’t make a joke right now, even though I could ; )

    I don’t know who the 19 were, although I do know for *a fact* that the democrats working on the Murphy Bill, at least on the House side, are strongly united in opposition to the bill in its original language.

    They oppose the infringement of privacy in the language (a breach in the Health Information Privacy, or HIPAA laws) and they cite that AOT laws already exist in 45 states & a more coercive system will create more stigma (their word, I kinda like bigotry myself) & people will avoid treatment (or “treatment,” my preference).

    They cite that Murphy has ‘personally’ attacked those who stand in opposition. I have also seen complaints from advocates that he uses the same strategy on anyone who opposes him, but takes strong issue with anyone he seeks access to that ignore *him.* On CNN, no less.

    SO, my guess is it could be the democrats who are on the House Energy & Commerce Committee (where the Murphy Bill lives, sweats & smolders), but not necessarily.
    Thanks for responding!

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