Saturday, December 2, 2023

Psychiatry and Henry Kissinger

Ben Rhodes' ungenerous eulogy in the November 30 NYTimes is such a beautiful piece of writing, about such a phenomenally significant character during my lifetime, that when I read it aloud to my wife this morning, it was hard for me not to cry. (Maybe it's my age, history makes me cry.) The first paragraph in this guest essay ended with the datum, "Ideas go in and out of style, but power does not."

I'm not too sure about style. But when it comes to power, I am quite sure there is no substitute for an idea. You cannot bomb an idea out of existence. You cannot shoot an idea in the head. And contrary to the apparent modus operendi of medicalized mental health, you cannot drug an idea or manipulate people's brains to control ideas. Behind and beneath any form or any use of mechanical power, there is always an idea. And in the event, that idea might be very slippery. 

For the sake of argument, let's presume that the idea which motivated all the horrible powers of war in recent centuries, and probably throughout human history, has been, "We must reach farther to greater heights, we must get bigger, as individuals, as a group, as a race, as a species. This is the only game." 

Well... what greater heights? Bigger how? If you get bigger, does that mean I am smaller? How is this game organized? Who is the opponent? Do we have referees? 

Power serves ideas, and if ideas go in and out of style, then power changes hands. Saying ideas go in and out of style but power does not, puts the cart before the horse. Purpose and function monitor or control structure, not the other way around. 

I'm currently reading Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine, by General David Petraeus and Andrew Roberts. The authors point out that the first and most vital job of any commander is to get the big picture, or the strategy, right, and then to make sure everyone else agrees on that big picture or that strategy. Hence, e.g., in the 1948 War of Independence, a small volunteer Israeli military managed to defeat five professional Arab armies on the other side. The Jews all understood the existential purpose of defending their nascent state, while the Arab soldiers were wondering why they had to be there.

People who believe that power is the thing, power is reality, are usually people who have lost their own motivating ideas, and are therefore likely to lose their power. They only hope ideas will go in and out of style fast enough that their opponents won't stay or become strong.

My clients often come to me in the belief that as a lawyer, I have my hands on the power of the law, which controls the locks on the nuthouse doors confining them as involuntary "patients". The thing they don't understand, and the thing I have to explain to them before I can be of any help, is that the law is not a mechanical power, it is in fact agreements between people, like judges, public defenders, psychiatrists, social workers, neighbors. 

People's ideas control the law. This is true in a big context of who becomes the next President or what nations are allowed to exist; it's also true in the small context of who is mentally ill and dangerous. You have to be able change one person's mind: that's the only way you change any existing power arrangement, whether it be international borders, or court ordered privileges and conditional release.

Malis, Hussain, Corcoran and their ilk seem to believe that people's minds are their brains, and their brains can obviously be manipulated (with the power of drugs, shock, etc.) to affect their minds, to make them think, feel, and behave "better" (meaning more in line with the ideas of other people around them). This is exactly what psychiatry is about, using power to change ideas. 

This is also a source of huge trouble for the ongoing "psychedelic renaissance," which is a mistaken psychiatric strategy. Everybody can see that the drugs are powerful; but they fail to notice, e.g., that psilocybin-as-medicine is fundamentally irreconcilable with psilocybin-as-religion, and the power can never be predictably aimed to change any idea. The ideas, as set-and-setting, direct the power.

It's laughable, except that we waste so much blood and treasure on it. Using ideas to change power is much easier. It's what you have to do anyway, because that's now the world works. And just incidentally, when you think you have changed someone's mind by application of mechanical power, you ignore the possibility that you are being deceived, and you render yourself defenseless against someone's real ideas which you can't know or predict. Is Baker King of Egypt?

In Henry Kissinger's time we came to love the mechanical power of nuclear science and medicine, pretending that nuclear science and medicine are not actually our own ideas to begin with. That is hypocrisy.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Tell 'em a hookah-smoking caterpillar has given you the call...

A little over five years ago, I published an article on this blog which mentioned the enthusiasm of a particular state psychiatrist for Ketamine as a promising treatment for depression. I should hasten to point out that I do not know Vikramjit Gill personally. I don't know whether he self-treats for depression, or whether he has any experience with or affinity for psychedelics in general.

But I do think it's a reasonable prediction... that frustrated "mental health professionals," who see their specialty criticized more and more frequently, who find themselves degraded as quacks or plantation overseers or human rights criminals, and who fail to help their patients every day... will be likely to reach for new and radical solutions.

History suggests that people who get into psychedelics go quickly over-the-top-evangelical about it. Ken Kesey was desperately devoted to "pranking Amerika" with LSD, and Tim Leary dedicated much of his life to "internal freedom." They were both latecomers, and they both went to jail. In an earlier decade, the CIA's Richard Helms said LSD was "dynamite!" and celebrity nutritionist Adelle Davis recruited young teens for her Beverley Hills psychoanalyst friends to experiment on. Those enthusiasts of the 50's, unlike the Haight-Ashbury hippies ten years later, tripped with impunity, because they kept it private for their own elite circle. Psychedelic drugs have nevertheless always been an embodied imperative scream: "NO CONTROL!"

That's why "treatment" team members and patients, inside or outside of proper clinical contexts and proper informed consent requirements, might just get a little sly. After all, I know an STA who stood lookout while her friend smoked a "blunt" in the car with an EMHC patient on conditional release. Then the STA spent the night with that patient at the Hyatt Rosemont. The tryst wasn't very sly, the STA used her own credit card for two hotel rooms! (Hey friend Kristine Iglesias: were you in Room 414 or 415?)

Somebody in Vik Gill's position, or Michelle Evans' position (not to mention a position as the IDHS King of Psychiatry, AKA "Statewide Forensic Medical Director"), could figure out how to make a deal with a patient or a social worker somewhere, like maybe way out of sight where there's a statue of Popeye....

Nobody wants to deal with violent psychotics or psychiatrists. That's exactly why we have the mental health system that we have. We are all eager to believe that guys like Gill, Corcoran, Evans and Bogle are professional "experts" to whom society has properly delegated the job, so we don't even have to look at Chester or Elgin. We don't have to think about it.

But the "experts" don't do the job they are supposed to do. What the hell, they can't! So to take what could have been the title of an Adelle Davis book in 1959: Let's All Trip On LSD!

Who's gonna get caught?

NOTICE TO ALL (repeated again)

I would like to make an EXPLICIT promise to anyone whom I mention by name or otherwise identify in this blog. This is prospective and retrospective. 

If I write something about you that is not true, and you call me and tell me, I will retract any untruth. If I insult you in a way that is not fair, and you call me to complain, I will pay attention and amend my written comments to be less unfair. 

My cell phone is 847-370-5410. I’ll talk to anyone. I will never mention or reveal that you have called me if you ask me not to. I only want the truth to be known and justice to be served. I believe that an overwhelming majority of people are well intended and want to help others.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Rename EMHC!

Illinois Goveror J.B. Pritzker recently renamed Andrew McFarland Mental Health Center as Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard Mental Health Center. Packard née McFarland thus symbolizes the justice of victory over coercive psychiatry.

Andrew McFarland was an Illinois doctor and nuthouse administrator. Elizabeth Packard was his victim. Much of the media about the renaming proclaimed the event to be a symbolic victory for women's rights, or for victims of marital abuse. But the more important story, and the more significant moral, points to abolition of psychiatric slavery (that is, abolition of imprisonment under the guise of "hospitalization" and forced drugging under the guise of "treatment"). The Governor, and his Department of (in)Human Services, and the clueless media sure don't want to think about or recognize that moral or that story.

Well, I'd just like to point out: Ben Hurt, Mark Owens, Angelo Rotuno, Michael Dobson, Sean Gunderson, Mickey Russell, and plenty of others (including some who will probably be named plaintiffs in the near future), are not women who were abused by men. As a matter of fact, they are men who were abused by women. 

But the gender circumstances are less important than the understanding that these were psychiatric slaves abused by the supposed "mental health professionals" who presumed to own them, in a corrupt plantation system financed by Illinois taxpayers.

Among those "mental health professionals" who oversee the slaves on these plantations in Illinois, the M.D. psychiatrists and top administrators are the masters living up in the big house. Occasionally there is an administrator who is also an M.D. psychiatrist. (The example that comes to my mind is His Excellency James Patrick Corcoran, Statewide Forensic Medical Director.) Everybody else, like STA's, social workers, nurses, security personnel, etc., are middling overseers who follow the masters' orders. They're neither slaves nor owners, some are decent and some are mean as hell.
Two such middling overseers are Mary and Tiffany, STA's on Lincoln South clinical unit at Packard-née-McFarland. They seemed to think they wanted to get into the act for retribution against one especially uppity slave named Mickey, who they have been told sued an STA at Elgin MHC for sexual abuse.

I can confirm that yes, Mickey did sue that STA, as well as a bunch of other people at EMHC and in IDHS. The STA seduced him because she was bored with her husband. She abused him physically, mentally, and emotionally, for years. Lots of other staff went along with it, or just buried their heads in the sand.

Mickey will win a bunch of money which the state will have to pay. That will result in a lot of new rules, or a lot of bad publicity, or a lot of scapegoats, or all the above. Some reporter like Beth Hundsdorfer will blast it all over the media, and the almighty Statewide Forensic Medical Director, or the Secretary, or the Governor himself, will comment in righteous surprise and indignation. People like Barry Smoot (God forbid!!) will be proven correct one more time. In other words, it will be frickin' Armageddon!

I hope to have some influence over how the ultimate, bloody battle can be avoided. My terms will include two items (in addition to millions of dollars, of course): 1. give me the framed, "Brains can get sick, too" poster, currently hanging in forensic program building reception at Elgin; and 2. rename EMHC as Hurt-Russell Mental Health Center.

Then, once the media have their obligatory circus, close the plantations down forever.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving

If he knew what was best for himself, he wouldn't have ended up in her involuntary "care"--right? Of course that's what she will say when he objects to her arrogance.

When he claims his right to refuse what she calls "medication" but he nevertheless honestly experiences as poison, is he delusional or does she simply own him? It's an interpretation. Whoever has the guns and the gold authors the correct judgment and the true history.

But how does one, rather than another, come to have the guns and the gold? Dr. Cash can keep Christopher locked up and brutally drugged as long as she likes. It's hard to say why this is just or sensible, if you talk to each of them.

Well... guns are violent force. People tend to apply violent force when they have failed to control their environment with skill and other people with reason. Money flows with attention (both directionally and by volume).

So are the authors of correct judgment and true history those who fail to control with skill and reason, and who yet direct the most attention? Perhaps. But judgment and history are only the past. Who needs past that can create future?

I've worked with a lot of state psychiatrists, and a lot of slaves on state psychiatric plantations in Illinois, for more than twenty years. When I review which among them seemed to need past, as opposed to which could create future, I get an interesting analysis.

Guys who can create future just don't hang around in state nuthouses very long; and guys who need past create (or make others create) enormous amounts of paperwork. That's how I tell the difference.

Evaluating myself, it occurs that paperwork flows from me like Niagra Falls because (my excuse) I'm a lawyer; and I sure am stuck to Illinois nuthouses!

I like to think I can create future and couldn't care less for past. So hmmm... what gives?

Maybe I have a lot of work to do. This is Thanksgiving, and I am thankful for the work above all. The work I have been able to do, but more so the work I will do in the future.

We are all Pilgrims landing at Plymouth's desolate wilderness in 1620, to create a fair land.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Cash it in!

Mickey was transferred to McFarland MHC (now under a new name, which I don't remember yet) from Chester MHC (same old name). McFarland is the only IDHS-operated slave plantation (laughingly, a "hospital") that I have not been to. I hope to get down there before Mickey Thiems out the beginning of January.

His new psychiatrist, Dr. Cash, sounded Indian or Pakistani over the phone connection by which I attended Mickey's staffing today. Her accent is very similar to Hasina Javed's accent. Javed is a Defendant in several of our federal lawsuits, so I've known her for a long time and deposed her or cross-examined her on various occasions. At one time, long ago when she thought she had nothing to worry about, Dr. Javed was as arrogant as Dr. Cash was today.

Mickey is not stupid, and he knows a bit about mental health law. Dr. Cash evidently wanted him to think she knows more. She told him that he's on a coed unit, and he'd "better not be inappropriate with female patients or staff...." I might agree with her that such a warning is appropriate and Mickey should heed it. But here's the problem: Cash added an implied threat, which might actually be illegal: "...if you want to get out of here."

The thing is, and Dr. Cash confirmed that she knows it when I questioned her, a Thiem date is a hard stop on involuntary commitment. She cannot keep Mickey past his Thiem date. The only way to do that would be to file a civil commitment petition. He will be entitled to a whole lot of due process (including, e.g., a televised trial by jury) if she does that. And the standard by which she has to prove that he is mentally ill, and that he is dangerous because of his mental illness, is elevated to clear and convincing.

There actually isn't any such thing as clear and convincing proof of mental illness these days, let alone clear and convincing proof that a guy who never did anything worse than steel a car is dangerous because of mental illness. I'd sure love to defend Mickey in a jury trial of Dr. Cash's civil commitment petition!

But she won't file any petition. Mickey has too much self control to be incited or baited into looking mentally ill and dangerous between now and January. He can just laugh at Dr. Cash, or not, depending on his own judgment (which I have learned to trust) about what will best get the rest of the treatment team on his side. This is where the illegality might come in. Chart notes, reports to a court, etc., are evidential and presumed to be sworn to as under oath. Judges absolutely hate to discover that some supposed "medical expert" upon whose testimony they are supposed to rely is a bullshitter.

Then there is 405 ILCS 5/3-402, which is the statute that prohibits a psychiatrist from stating to a patient that he or she "may be subject to involuntary commitment," unless that psychiatrist has personally examined the patient within 72 hours prior, and is prepared to execute a certificate. Dr. Cash violated this, by her statements to Mickey and to me during the staffing today. She was willing to break the law, because she thought this implied threat would give her a little extra control over Mickey, which she was apparently very anxious she might not otherwise have.

Psychiatry is control, it is not help. Dr. Cash is a failed overseer on a plantation, not to mention a failed doctor. She ought to cash it in.


Over a lot of years, I've written quite a bit about James Baker. NGRI for murder, Thiem date June, 2025, getting free room & board at EMHC and nobody there apparently interested at all, in getting him out. 

No EMHC administrative staff attended James' monthly staffing today, just three hapless Hartman Unit treatment team members. Perfectly pleasant, no complaints at all about James' behavior, etc. But they also had absolutely nothing to say about anyone wanting to get this patient released before he Thiems out in a little over a year and a half. 

Usually, an administrator named Dr. Martha Welch attends. The last time we saw her was a couple months ago. On that occasion, she promised to find out when James might be scheduled for his fourth time through the "Community Reintegration Program," which is considered (quite incredibly if you ask me) to be important before a petition for James' conditional release can be put together.

Today Martha didn't show up to be asked what she had found out. That's probably because she hasn't found anything out, and maybe she never intended to find anything out. Some staff member who specializes in community reintegration has been on an extended LOA, and nobody knows when that staff member will be back. 

Who knows why that staff member is on extended LOA? Maybe she's being investigated for sexually abusing a patient, there sure is plenty of that at Elgin. Or maybe she joined the growing exodus of mental health professionals headed out the door for more honest jobs. Anyway, the "Community Reintegration Program" is utter nonsense in James' case. It is in most cases, but especially here, when the patient has done it three times already! 

So, Baker languishes at EMHC, for no rational purpose. The reason is bureaucratic incompetence, lack of caring. It's too easy to ignore James, and he does get ignored, completely. He's an easy slave to keep, they don't even have to drug him. His judge would grant a conditional release easily, if some semi-conscious human could go to court and say this patient isn't a danger now: he's old and gentle, well behaved, and he can barely walk. They could even brag that they cured him!

Baker is only three or four credits short of a bachelor's degree in computer science, by the way. But nobody can figure out how to let him use a facility computer to register for the last courses that would make him a college graduate. Some idiot named Dillard has told him his caseworker should handle that, but she was sitting there in the staffing today, and had no suggestions other than referring the issue back to the idiot Dillard. These guys are cogs in the wheels of a very dumb machine!

I've rarely if ever seen such easy, glib neglect. Maybe James isn't all that anxious to get out. After all, he's been a slave on the Elgin plantation for most of his adult life. Jeff Pharis used to worry that he might die there, and make the place look bad. If he does, I swear I'll turn him into an international anti-psychiatry martyr. Some day we'll have to put up a statue of him on the site of a closed-down IDHS plantation or some former departmental office building, and we'll hold ceremonies commemorating his sacrifice on Dunlap Day and Bye-bye Jeffrey Day.

Anybody who wants to say I'm crazy can only hope to be justified by James Baker's conditional release before June, 2025.