Thursday, September 28, 2017

Corcoran's laugh

On two separate occasions, I saw James Patrick Corcoran, M.D., laugh exactly the same way, and it bugged me both times. It stuck with me, like something I almost understood, but didn't quite.

There are very few people I've ever met whom I could believe to be irredeemably bad. That's saying a lot, given that my business involves me with violent felons, psychotics and psychiatrists.

Corcoran laughed the first time when I told him in a monthly staffing for one of my clients that convincing a forensic patient to take a small dose of a psychiatric drug merely to give a court an impression of "compliance with treatment" was fraud on the court, if the dose was sub-therapeutic and if the patient knew it was a ploy and didn't believe it had anything to do with real medicine or his own condition. It was a dismissive laugh, only a little ostentatious (and perhaps slightly spontaneous, or nervous), as if he were asserting to the other Elgin staff present (and to himself) that he wasn't at all worried about this crazy Scientologist lawyer having anything on him, and they shouldn't be worried either. As "Medical Director" of the Elgin plantation, he had to put on a certain face.

The second time I saw the exact same laugh was when Corcoran was on the witness stand under oath. He had just told the court that he believed my client could benefit from taking a small dose of a psychiatric drug, in that once he was no longer in a controlled environment (i.e., released) the drug might help prevent a relapse of psychosis caused by additional, unfamiliar stress. So (I now realize)  this was a reaction to the same idea. I asked him if the FDA had approved the drugs he was talking about for that use. He didn't have to answer, due to a sustained objection. (My mistake: I should have asked exactly what medication he recommended first.) Then I asked whether he was aware of any clinical evidence or any published study that validated the benefits of prophylactic medication for preventing psychosis. He repeated part of my question in an ironic or slightly mocking tone, paused, and then laughed. There was no objection, so he finally had to answer: No.

The thing about this laugh is, it's not honest; it's an effort at covert control. I would bet that many people who deal with Corcoran on a daily basis see this same laugh regularly, and will recognize my description.

There are three fundamental ways to control another person: overwhelm them, invalidate them, and enhance them. Of course, the Elgin plantation (like the Southern cotton plantations before them) maintains an elaborate pretense of enhancing its slaves (just calling them "patients" is an obvious part of that). Involuntary psychiatry is said to be good for them, it's said to be help (even as involuntary labor was said to be good for African slaves, or help for their savage, animal souls, in the 19th Century). But this "enhancement" is all too obviously something entirely different. The drugs, and the systematic abuse (e.g., the sexual abuse of young black Ben by his old white social worker and her enablers), are disabling and dehumanizing. Forensic psychiatric patients are never cured of mental illness: they are overwhelmed, temporarily or permanently, in the forlorn hope that they'll remain unable to ever behave so badly again.

Corcoran has legal authority and police powers to overwhelm his "patients" with "treatment", and he has the power of an employer to overwhelm his employees with orders. Unfortunately for him, he can't overwhelm me.

Needless to say, he's way far south of ever enhancing another human being. But there's the third possibility for control: invalidation. That's the laugh! We'll see if the court bought it, and we'll see if the Elgin plantation staff buy it. I guess I didn't.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Refinement of American Slavery, Part 2

In our hypothetical narrative about a patient and his social worker, the thing to understand, to get the correct perspective, would be that this is organized slavery, not merely an incident of abuse by one bad apple.

Just imagine, if the social worker had frequently been backing Ben up to the door inside her office, or the door inside the office of another staff (let's just call him Bob H) and getting her jollies for a couple years, and if the doors had windows, so anyone who walked by on a busy clinical unit could look in... and if several other staff (let's just say another social worker named Drew, and the psychiatrist Dr. J) had actually confronted her on occasion, to a minimum degree at least (i.e., not quite saying, "Hey! Were you performing fellatio on that patient?" - but perhaps by asking, "Why were you in that room with him when he's not even your patient anymore?" - or perhaps just by giving the pair an accusing look of recognition).

At some point, people would have to be regarded as complicit. It could be said that they certainly would have known something was going on, unless they just didn't want to know. Unless the dominant culture of the plantation held "patients" (slaves) to be just a bit subhuman, so usually wrong and culpable, and "staff" (masters/overseers) to be naturally superior and benevolent, so always right and needing protection. At some point, it would be reasonably seen as organized slavery on the state-run plantation.

The medical perspective would be especially ugly. Sexual abuse is recognized more and more often in psychological literature as a cause of personality and mental disorders. Our hypothetical victim, young black Ben, is supposed to be committed to the Elgin MHC plantation for treatment that could improve his illness, which would of course be the exact opposite of being made worse because a social worker wanted a personal sex toy. The psychiatrist who is in charge of the treatment program, and the medical director who is her ultimate supervisor, and the department of the executive branch of state government which hires and fires people, all would have failed in their duties to prevent something like this from happening.

And in the final analysis, all of us, the taxpayers who fund and benefit from the plantation, should be ashamed. We would have set this up because we don't want to think about or look at insanity. On some level, of course, we would have known that psychiatry is destructive nonsense, not a regular medical specialty that ever cures anyone of anything. But we wouldn't have wanted to know. The plantation gives us valuable benefits by letting us believe we are a kinder, more rational society.

It's a strange thing that Americans want slaves, but they surely do.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Refinement of American Slavery

I had James Patrick Corcoran, M.D. on the witness stand last week. I had called him hoping to get an admission that he ordered Elgin Mental Health Center apparatchiks to undermine my client's request (and his treatment team's request, and the 10th floor's independent recommendation) for court-ordered pass privileges. Dr. Corcoran doesn't like my client, doesn't trust him, doesn't believe he should get privileges or progress toward release, because my client doesn't take psychiatric drugs. Because he doesn't take the drugs, Dr. Corcoran can't own him.

The drugs are the whip on the Elgin MHC plantation. If you take the drugs you're reduced to a subhuman, compliant slave. If you don't take them, you might be too literate, too willful and too interested in your own life.

It's a strange thing that Americans want slaves, but they surely do. The USA was founded on a system of slavery actually justified by Enlightenment arguments for scientific social organization, efficient production and greater human prosperity. Even as James Corcoran believes that every patient at Elgin should be drugged whether he or she likes it or not, and Jeffrey Lieberman believes that mastery of brain science will make psychiatrists rulers of the world, our most outstanding Virginian founders truly believed that their Negroes were in their best natural condition as slave laborers. They were quite certain that the plantations were the instrument of God's love for humanity as a whole, and that the world would soon come to adopt this ideal Southern social order.

(By the way, if anyone thinks I exaggerate the American history, let me just recommend two books: This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy, by Michael Karp; and Broken Churches, Broken Nation: Denominational Schisms and the Coming of the American Civil War, by C. C. Goen. And if anyone is interested in a much more thorough argument comparing American slavery to modern state psychiatry, please read the ultimate explication: Liberation By Oppression: A Comparative Study of Slavery and Psychiatry, by Thomas Szasz.)

The Southern plantations exploited the physical labor of black Africans, to build a fabulously wealthy cotton kingdom. The Elgin plantation exploits the violent threat of criminal perpetrators, to build a fabulously powerful political protection racket. In the mid-Nineteenth Century the European world desperately wanted cotton clothes and cotton sheets. Beginning in the mid-Twentieth Century, the American world desperately wanted to pretend we could medically "cure", instead of punish, bad behavior.

Hence, consider a completely hypothetical example (anyone who gets obsessed with circumstantial correspondences to real people or events in this narrative is, of course, paranoid and delusional!) of a young black man (let's just call him Ben).

Ben is found Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity on a charge of aggravated battery on a police officer, and committed to the Elgin plantation for a period not to exceed three years. The judge tells Ben's mother that if he just does what the doctors tell him, he'll probably be out much sooner than three years. But in this case, liberty will not come so easily or so soon.

Ben's psychiatrist (let's just call her Dr. J), and the Medical Director who supervises her, both hold a strong belief that Ben must have some brain disease which should be "treated" with psychiatric drugs. They can't say exactly what this brain disease is, beyond the label itself, or exactly why the drugs will help, beyond some urban legend about correcting chemical imbalances. The uncertainty and lack of validity in their beliefs is why Dr. J and the Medical Director are absolutely determined to convert Ben to them. If he is released, he'll have to be a living example of the power and beneficence of the Elgin plantation, he will have to evangelize the true psychiatric faith, to get Dr. J and the Medical Director more "patients" and more authority, and to prevent the public from realizing that their state salaries are worse than a waste of tax money. It's difficult for these people to tell for sure whether Ben truly believes in his brain disease and the drugs, because he's a shy and immature black man, who doesn't communicate well and who has never even had a girlfriend.

Speaking of which, Ben's social worker (let's just call her the social worker) finds young black men attractive. She has taken previous opportunities with Elgin plantation "patients". To the social worker, Ben looks like a perfect prospect. And after all, he is owned by the Elgin plantation. She is basically entitled to him, because she works for this institution which has the lofty purpose to help Ben....

(To be continued.)

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Help: It really is a Land of Enchantment

I am in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the wedding of a cousin's grandson. Unfortunately, two days before flying here I managed to get a horrendous cold, bordering on pneumonia. I arrived in the Land of Enchantment in much discomfort, but somehow made my expected appearance at a Friday night rehearsal dinner.

Meanwhile, my wife, on business in California and supposed to meet me in Albuquerque (it's her cousin, dammit!), had her flight cancelled and couldn't get in until midnight.

It's my long habit of personally delivering my wife to and retrieving her from airports when she travels. That saves cab fares and enables opportunity for much conversation. I like it.

But after the rehearsal dinner last night, Cousin Nancy was pretty sure she should "help" me, since I was sick, by picking up my wife and letting me sleep. I tried to explain that is just isn't "help" if I don't want it, and I was certain I would sleep better most of the night if I picked up my wife at midnight myself. So I set my alarm and figured I would rest from 10:00 to 12:00.

At quarter to twelve, I heard the door close. Nancy had gotten up and left fifteen minutes ahead of me, having decided unilaterally that she knew what I wanted better than I did. I was actually pretty pissed. But it seemed important not to spoil the family weekend with acrimony, so I got up and walked around the house for an hour, thinking about why people do things like this.

She should have simply said, "Listen, you're staying at my house, and I'm afraid you're too sick, so I'm not going to allow you to get up at midnight and drive to the airport, and since I am in charge, you'll just have to do as I say!" ... I would not have been offended, and I would have happily relented. Orders are orders.

But the pretense, "Oh, I just want to help," when in actual fact control is being exerted over the top of a disagreement, and tricking or invalidating or overwhelming the person you're pretending to "help", is extremely offensive. It's probably the biggest reason people refuse help. They've learned that those who say they want to help in fact want to overwhelm and control.The proclaimed "helpers" want a shortcut, they want to cheat because they are not smart enough to change a person's mind. They are unwilling to communicate with another live human being.

Help has to be honest, and it has to be acceptable to the person being helped, or it's just not help. Psychiatry is 99% covert, coercive control under a false guise of medicine. People hate that, and it's not necessary. Just tell the truth, like my cousin Nancy could have.

For abolition

To the degree that you are able to communicate with another person, you will be less afraid of them. No matter what that person ever did (and no matter what you ever did) in the past, to the degree that you are in communication now, any apparent need for force or trickery will be reduced.

Psychiatric drugs are force, not communication. The project is to change a person’s mind. Persuasion is or seems to have become impossible when a person is psychotic, so the drug controls the brain, which is part of the body. Handcuffs control the hands which are a part of the body. A blow from a police baton controls the head, which is a part of the body. A bullet controls the heart, which is part of the body. Clearly, handcuffs, billy clubs and bullets are not social or helpful communication from the view of the person on the receiving end. Obviously, neither are coerced psychiatric drugs.

State psychiatrists like Richard Malis and James Corcoran at Elgin Mental Health Center automatically speak of believing that “medication” would be “helpful” for “patients” diagnosed with so-called “serious mental illnesses”. Corcoran actually made a claim under oath just a couple days ago, that an individual who has shown no signs of active psychosis for many years should start taking antipsychotics to help cope with stress when he is no longer in a controlled environment. The idea was, I believe, that the drug will prevent a recurrence of symptoms.

But it’s a lie. The truth is, there’s absolutely no reliable medical or scientific evidence for any such theory of prophylactic drugging. Corcoran was in actual fact attempting to enlist the Cook County Circuit Court to punish or subdue an individual whom he believes to be a dissident. This particular patient doesn’t take drugs, and yet he appears to be fully recovered. His treatment team, along with independent evaluators, believe there is nothing to “treat” with medication. They have observed him on a daily basis, interviewed him, dealt with him consistently on the clinical unit. They all think he should progress through the gradient of increased privileges toward a conditional release, without drugs.

Corcoran and Malis cannot allow that to happen. They must enforce their own severe orthodoxy: Everybody at Elgin Mental Health Center takes psychiatric drugs whether they like it or not! These two are cracking down, and any patients who think they can avoid taking drugs will be crushed, slowly but surely. Any staff who may countenance people avoiding drugs will not be promoted, or even allowed to act or make decisions freely in their normal clinical capacity. It’s relentless and fascistic. Eventually there will be hell to pay, because it’s also against the law.

Fascists are terrified of people. They have to control others by deception or violence because they can’t change anyone’s mind with reason. They can’t communicate in present time.

It amazes me that Corcoran and Malis can so delude themselves as to believe they are in any way engaged in helping anyone. They remind me of antebellum Southern slaveholders who were so deluded as to truly believe they were doing what was best for their Africans by keeping them in chains. Those plantation owners and Southern politicians owned and controlled the government of the United States, and they had their own unconstrained way with it until 1860.

Perhaps there is a war that must continue until all the bureaucracy and political power piled by a century of false promises for coerced “hospitalization” and “treatment” shall be sunk, until every drop of blood drawn with the psychiatric lash shall be paid by another drawn with an antipsychiatric sword.

God help me, I must be Sherman. Uncle Billy, the torch.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Illinois Criminal Code

    (720 ILCS 5/11-9.5)
    Sec. 11-9.5. Sexual misconduct with a person with a disability.
    (a) Definitions. As used in this Section:
        (1) "Person with a disability" means:
            (i) a person diagnosed with a developmental 
disability as defined in Section 1-106 of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code; or
            (ii) a person diagnosed with a mental illness as 
defined in Section 1-129 of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code.
        (2) "State-operated facility" means:
            (i) a developmental disability facility as 
defined in the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code; or
            (ii) a mental health facility as defined in the 
Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code.
        (3) "Community agency" or "agency" means any 
community entity or program providing residential mental health or developmental disabilities services that is licensed, certified, or funded by the Department of Human Services and not licensed or certified by any other human service agency of the State such as the Departments of Public Health, Healthcare and Family Services, and Children and Family Services.
        (4) "Care and custody" means admission to a 
State-operated facility.
        (5) "Employee" means:
            (i) any person employed by the Illinois 
Department of Human Services;
            (ii) any person employed by a community agency 
providing services at the direction of the owner or operator of the agency on or off site; or
            (iii) any person who is a contractual employee or 
contractual agent of the Department of Human Services or the community agency. This includes but is not limited to payroll personnel, contractors, subcontractors, and volunteers.
        (6) "Sexual conduct" or "sexual penetration" means 
any act of sexual conduct or sexual penetration as defined in Section 11-0.1 of this Code. 
    (b) A person commits sexual misconduct with a person with a disability when:
        (1) he or she is an employee and knowingly engages in 
sexual conduct or sexual penetration with a person with a disability who is under the care and custody of the Department of Human Services at a State-operated facility; or
        (2) he or she is an employee of a community agency 
funded by the Department of Human Services and knowingly engages in sexual conduct or sexual penetration with a person with a disability who is in a residential program operated or supervised by a community agency.
    (c) For purposes of this Section, the consent of a person with a disability in custody of the Department of Human Services residing at a State-operated facility or receiving services from a community agency shall not be a defense to a prosecution under this Section. A person is deemed incapable of consent, for purposes of this Section, when he or she is a person with a disability and is receiving services at a State-operated facility or is a person with a disability who is in a residential program operated or supervised by a community agency.
    (d) This Section does not apply to:
        (1) any State employee or any community agency 
employee who is lawfully married to a person with a disability in custody of the Department of Human Services or receiving services from a community agency if the marriage occurred before the date of custody or the initiation of services at a community agency; or
        (2) any State employee or community agency employee 
who has no knowledge, and would have no reason to believe, that the person with whom he or she engaged in sexual misconduct was a person with a disability in custody of the Department of Human Services or was receiving services from a community agency.
    (e) Sentence. Sexual misconduct with a person with a disability is a Class 3 felony.
    (f) Any person convicted of violating this Section shall immediately forfeit his or her employment with the State or the community agency. 
(Source: P.A. 96-1551, eff. 7-1-11.)

Friday, September 1, 2017


In deposition under oath today, the Chief of Security at Elgin Mental Health Center, William Epperson, testified that an incident of staff engaging in sexual contact with a patient is being investigated by his department.

Hey Chief Bill: THAT'S A CRIME! Have you reported it to law enforcement? If not, you are obstructing justice (in all likelihood, along with various others).

Should be loads of fun going forward....