Thursday, March 30, 2023


Even as black slaves in the American south were systematically denied education and actively prevented from learning to read, so-called "patients" on the IDHS plantation in Elgin are discouraged from writing as a matter of general policy. I remember Syed Hussain telling me, years ago, that one of my clients was "hypergraphic" -- meaning (in plainer English) that he wrote too much. I asked, what is writing too much? What if this guy were the next Stephen King or something? I mean, how much does he write?

Hussain couldn't tell me any number of words or pages, he just didn't know, and that apparently was not important (silly me). But he informed me, well, this guy was writing more than he had written earlier, before he stopped taking the antipsychotic drugs (also known as major tranquilizers, which is a clue to their effect on anyone's ability to write!) which Hussain wanted him to take. So the "hypergraphia" was a clear medical sign that this slave belonged back on those drugs!

And what had this guy been writing too much about

Complaints, of course. He'd been documenting abuse and neglect by staff. From the perspective of the overseers and the masters, this was a nuisance that could interfere with cotton production -- or, I should say, "treatment" on the all-important and naturally-ordained "therapeutic milieu" in the "hospital" (please pardon my frequent sarcastic, laughing-out-loud quotation marks).

More recently, "patients" are usually not allowed to have regular pens to write with. And actually for a while, I recall that I was not even allowed to take a regular pen into staffings that I attended in the lawyer's conference room. I was told I had to use the flexible pen refills to even take notes as an attorney or an official advocate for clients. This was more than a little obnoxious, unless they thought maybe I might stab someone with my Bic (which I seriously doubt), or unless security is so incompetent as to be likely to miss my giving my Bic to a client to smuggle back to the clinical unit.

So regular pens became "contraband" (I guess). They can theoretically be used as a deadly weapon, that's not entirely irrational; and who knows, maybe it's empirically consistent with something that happened some time, somewhere, in the history of psychiatric slavery. I have no idea how many people have been murdered or maimed with Bics, so I shouldn't be too easily dismissive of the judgments of the "experts" in forensic mental health.

But one might think that "policy" about "contraband" could be consistent and predictable. At EMHC, it definitely is not. On K Unit ("the love unit") especially, "policy" clearly is not consistent. Which brings me to the subject of immediate inspiration for this article.

On love unit K, one patient, Gus, is required to write with a flimsy pen refill. Another patient, Jeff, gets a regular pen. Gus has repeatedly and officially requested to be allowed a more practical plastic, felt-tip pen. He has a hand injury that makes it especially difficult for him to write with the refills. I sympathize with that problem, because I really cannot write legibly with one of those myself, despite no injury.

But Jeff is seen all the time on love unit K, right out in the day room in full view of unit staff, happily writing away with his own regular, potential-deadly-weapon-contraband, non-flexible pen! And as far as anyone can tell, Jeff doesn't have a hand injury like Gus, that would make writing with the flexible refills so difficult.

I don't mean to get Jeff in trouble, or take the side of one slave against another! This situation is petty, and almost beneath my interest. 

But here's the thing.... Jeff gets his regular, potential-deadly-weapon-contraband Bic from a certain member of the love unit K staff: none other than Suzie (Susan Knaus -- see my Dec. 15, 2022 post for more details like salary, etc.). Jeff is on good terms with Suzie (please note, I never said romantic terms); Gus is not. Jeff probably writes kind and encouraging things to Suzie with his Bic. Gus mostly documents abuse and neglect, and complaints, with his flimsy refill.

A corrupt group can never have consistent, rational policy, even about pens. Their purpose is not to help anyone or to be fair, it's to control the slaves.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Adversarial,not therapeutic

Anyone who complains is suspected of deteriorating mental health, at best. More likely, if you're known as a complainer, you'll be punished. That's the reality on the plantation. It does, in fact, cut the complaints way back. People want their freedom and their pensions. Being known as a complainer can cost you.

For some years on White Cottage, "patients" were told explicitly, as they walked through the door into the Nurse Manager's office or Psychiatrist Syed Hussain's office:"Before you say a single word about any of my staff, you should know that I am going to believe them before I believe you. Now, what is it?" I know at least one person who was sexually abused for years by multiple staff on that unit, but turned around and walked out rather than report it, when that admonition was given. As it turns out now, that particular "Patient" was not only the victim of (felony) custodial sexual abuse, but also of an extremely ugly medical battery causing lifelong, irreparable harm.

Lower level overseers are in a very similar position to "patients". If they take OIG Rule 50 literally and report every suspicion of abuse or neglect, they become extremely unpopular with their peers very quickly. That's bad for your career. And until you get caught as a participant in a cover-up, it seems safer to just shut up. Thus the likes of Faiza Kareemi, Drew Beck (who contra my recent piece about what's going to happen, is already retired; I had forgotten, or blocked it out because it is so offensive to me, almost like Richard Helms being able to die a natural death), Hasina Javed, Jeff Pharis, and many other witnesses, can all indulge in the mass delusion of, "We never dreamed anything sexual was going on!"

White Cottage is the one place where something sexual obviously, undeniably, was going on. The only way out of admitting that, since Robert Sharpe, Stoyka Meyer and crew failed to provoke a miscarriage or coerce an abortion, is to suggest the immaculate conception of Paul and Shanovia's baby girl.

But everywhere, all around the plantation, on every unit, the milieu is adversarial, not therapeutic. It is becoming more and more adversarial and less and less therapeutic every day. Staff and administrators don't come to work, and patients are laughing at them and reporting them to OIG, or submitting consumer concern forms more frequently than ever. EMHC is a dog's breakfast. Late last week, I spoke to an Administrator I (that's the lowest classification of administrator), who told me in an alarmed voice, "Today I'm the only one here!"

It's not a hospital. If the fear is of blood....

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Gerry Marinas, Shanovia, and Borelli

I love the quote from Nelson Borelli that if the fear is of blood, it is the injustice that will bring blood. He mentioned the historical context of Scharansky, Malcolm X and Mandela. I have frequently compared the injustices of the forensic psychiatric system to the injustices of slavery. Slavery, of course, brought more blood in this country than any other injustice ever did, or perhaps (we should hope!) ever will.

Lincoln hit it on the head in his Second Inaugural with, "...until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword." His own blood was spilled only a month after he spoke those words.

It seems to me that if the fear is of sex crimes, it is the attempt to own persons as chattel that will bring sex crimes. Last year a “patient” on the Elgin plantation delivered a baby, and that baby had been conceived in the storage room on the White Cottage clinical unit. Nobody was interested, for a long time, in exactly how two patients managed to conceive a child in that particular storage room on the White Cottage Unit. I think the Administration was probably worried that it wasn't two patients, but maybe it was one patient and one staff.

We're talking about Shanovia and Paul here, of course! Obviously, they had to get into the storage room unobserved and not be interrupted for some period of time. They certainly had someone helping them or covering for them. We're talking about Tiggen here, of course!

Tiggen went on a leave of absence when Shanovia was discovered to be pregnant. Meanwhile, other White Cottage staff are putting pressure on Shanovia and looking for a scapegoat. Maybe they think they can pin the deed of helping Paul and Shanovia conceive a child in the storage room on someone other than Tiggen, and coerce Shanovia into giving false evidence about that or neglecting to contradict false evidence. The ringleader in this appears to be Gerry Marinas. Shanovia is a bit delicate and vulnerable. She cries a lot. Today Gerry put her on 15-minute checks, and falsely accused her of hurting herself, so the STA's can barge into her room while she's trying to sleep, and take pictures or otherwise harass her.

The point is absolutely not to protect Shanovia or keep her safe. It's to torment her, to punish her for conceiving a baby and giving birth while she was a slave on the plantation, without permission or orders. Or was it actually without permission or orders? Maybe Tiggen is running some kind of breeding operation. She should be questioned very closely, about why she intentionally allowed two patients to use the storage room to have sex. It absolutely was Tiggen who did that, by the way. That's why she went on leave of absence.

Meanwhile, the other staff who is apparently earmarked as the scapegoat is being falsely accused and "investigated" and threatened with termination. At least, that's the story I'm getting. Colleen Delaney may be the one assigned to that errand by Administration. Colleen will make sure that Tiggen is exonerated in favor of someone who is not tough enough with the patients. (Although... Tiggen wasn't especially "tough" on Paul and Shanovia back in September of 2021, which was nine months before the baby was born; she was very nice to them then.)

What I can't figure out is how anyone thinks the truth will not come out. Paul is a good witness. maybe they'll have to kill him, like they tried to kill his unborn daughter. Shanovia is probably believed to be the weak point. But I suspect she's a lot tougher than they think. Gerry Marinas and the other thugs on White Cottage will try to intimidate and suppress Shanovia, but they'll only create a record of their thuggery.

Several people will go down for sex crimes. That's what Administration fears. But owning slaves is what will bring sex crimes, like injustice is what will bring blood: the Illinois Department of Human Services shouldn't own slaves.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Excerpts from the Yoder trial: If the fear is of blood...

One of the experts who testified in favor of Rodney Yoder's release from Chester Mental Health Center was Dr. Nelson Borelli, M.D., a Chicago psychiatrist affiliated with the prestigious Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. Dr. Borelli had interviewed Yoder and visited with him in person, as well as read his mental health records from thirteen years at Chester.

The state first attempted to disqualify Dr. Borelli from testifying as an expert, saying his opinions were not generally accepted. Yoder's counsel pointed out that the rule did not require an expert's opinions to be generally accepted, but rather only that the methods by which the expert arrived at his opinions had to be generally accepted in the relevant medical and scientific community. The Judge ruled that Borelli would be admitted and could testify as an expert.

Yoder's attorney questioned him on direct:

    Dr. Borelli, do you have an opinion with a reasonable degree of psychiatric and scientific certainty, of whether Rodney Yoder is, or is not, mentally ill?

Borelli answered:

    Mr. Yoder does not have any mental illness. That is my opinion with a reasonable degree, or actually with a very high degree, of medical and scientific certainty. That is my opinion as a medical doctor. As a psychiatrist, I also believe that this concept of mental illness is misleading and harmful. It only benefits psychiatrists, it never helps patients, and it is extremely destructive to society. As a psychiatrist, I believe that this phrase, "mental illness," causes suffering by design.

Yoder's attorney then asked: 

    Do you believe that Mr. Yoder will be a danger to himself or others if he is not involuntarily committed to a psychiatric institution?

Borelli answered: 

    No, I believe he will be much more dangerous if he is committed. He is angry now, and he has a right to be angry. He has been locked up for many years for no crime. He is like Scharansky or Malcomb X or Mandela. The state has persecuted him, and the longer the state continues to persecute him, the angrier Mr. Yoder should be, and the more others will also be angry. Sooner or later it will boil over, maybe not in Mr. Yoder himself. He is no more naturally dangerous as a person than any human being is. But if the fear is of blood, it is the injustice that will bring blood.

During a lunch break, Assistant State's Attorney Mike Burke told the assembled media, with a grim face and dramatic determination, "There is no way I'm going to allow a lunatic like Claude Rodney Yoder to be released into our community, I promise you!"

True to Burke's word, Yoder was not released for another couple years. But the state finally gave up. The fear of blood never materialized, although Mr. Burke's constituency may have been angry over the Randolph County State's Attorney's unjust obsession with persecuting Yoder. They voted Burke out of office in the election which followed the trial, and on the morning of his loss, Burke admitted to the local press, "I know it's all because of Rodney Yoder."

That public anger, back in the first decade of this century which is now well into its third, seems quaint, compared to what we see every day, with insurrection and street violence, war overseas and constant threats and hate tossed back and forth across our national, red-blue divide. Psychiatry pushes their concept of mental illness more and ever more, across the world. That destructive idea, that a person is merely a non-spiritual, entirely bio-mechanical brain, or mud, without free will, without real dignity except as a brute animal, does not help.

And I think of Nelson Borelli: Sooner or later it will boil over... if the fear is of blood....

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Rodney and the Purple Martins

I called Rodney Yoder today, because I wanted him to know that I may get a chance soon to cross-examine an old nemesis whom he knows especially well. Dan Cuneo was one of the three hired guns on whom the state probably spent (we speculated at the time) hundreds of thousands of dollars, to keep Rodney locked up at Chester Mental Health Center for as long as they possibly could. 

The trial at which Cuneo testified is the subject of a movie screenplay which features courtroom scenes and dialogue taken directly from official transcripts. Here's one sample:

    State's Attorney Williamson: Dr. Cuneo, do you have any opinion whether Mr. Yoder's mental illness is treatable in the community? 

    Cuneo: His mental illness can't be treated at all. He needs treatment but he refuses it, and the only chance of ever getting him any treatment is at Chester Mental Health Center. That's also the only place that can provide security. Mr. Yoder would be a very dangerous ticking time bomb in the community. He would be a volcano waiting to erupt. At Chester he can't get a machine gun to kill 400 people, but it's what he wants and dreams of doing.

    Yoder's counsel, on cross: Dr. Cuneo, how do you know what Mr. Yoder's dreams are?

    Cuneo (after an awkward pause of perhaps thirty seconds): I'm not sure I understand the question.

    Yoder's counsel: Did he tell you he wants to kill 400 people with a machine gun, or did you just make that up?

    Cuneo (after another awkward long pause): No.

    Yoder's counsel: No what? He didn't tell you that, or you didn't make it up?

    Cuneo: No, he did not tell me that.

    Yoder's counsel: Oh, I see! So you did just make it up... or are you a mind reader?

Keep in mind that this character, Daniel J. Cuneo, Ph.D., was a retained expert, allowed to give an opinion at this trial only because his opinion would help the jury understand facts that laypeople might not know how to interpret. His "expertise" was very much in the same category as that of all the overseers at the Elgin plantation, who pretend they have medical knowledge and treatments to help people, when in fact they only know how to drug them, and dehumanize them, and make them available as sex slaves, and invent threats that don't exist to extort money from the taxpayers! 

Rodney Yoder, however, is a gentle and intelligent soul. He was manumitted (or maybe I should say he finally escaped from the plantation) going on two decades ago, and contrary to Dan Cuneo's dark hallucinations, contrary to the State's high-priced defamatory nonsense, he has never once taken up a machine gun to kill 400 people. 

Rodney lives very simply, only a few miles away from Dan Cuneo, in fact. He pays his taxes, obeys the law and fixes things. He has visited me at my suburban home, and even come to neighborhood parties. People find him interesting and pleasant. They find it quite discreditable that the state once used their taxes, to the tune of $1000 per day for thirteen years, to keep Rodney locked up in Chester! 

He has a Purple Martin house which he built himself, and he told me today that his Martins had just arrived on their northward spring migration from the Amazon in Brazil. When I was a kid, my father also built a Martin house in our yard in Michigan. Rodney knows a lot about Purple Martins, and he reminded me of many things my parents had told me about them. They are beautiful birds. They mate for life. They come back every year, all those thousand of miles, to the same exact place. They eat and drink on the fly, and they fly higher in the sky that almost any birds. They make a lot of noise.

Rodney said he hears his Martins every spring before he sees them. They are the same birds every year, the same individuals, the same mated pairs, who always return. And they know Rodney, they see if he has lost weight or gotten gray, and they're glad he's free, too.

It's almost impossible to imagine that Dan Cuneo could ever have Purple Martins!

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Here's what's going to happen

 Damn! I feel like I've turned into my mother, almost sixty years ago saying, "I'm afraid you'll get that girl pregnant and you won't go to college and it will ruin your life..."

I don't know Gabby Garcia, or anything at all, including a surname, about her patient "Latwon" (which name I put inside quotation marks because I'm only spelling it phonetically and I might have it wrong). But I know what's happening on the clinical units at EMHC. And I'm pretty sure I can predict what's going to happen, so for whatever it's worth....

1.) Gabby will get moved off K Unit again, maybe briefly, maybe not. Administration will "invetsigate" by allowing her and Latwon to deny all allegations.

2.) Gabby and Latwon will be sad, and complain in (as best they can) ways which attempt to hide anything beyond a clinical relationship. They will probably not be entirely successful: people will be suspicious.

3.) Faiza Kareemi and Drew Beck will be dead-ended in their careers, and retire soon. (Fine, I admit this is an easy one, since they are both at about that age anyway.)

4.) Latwon's ability to recover from whatever bullshit "diagnosis" he is labelled with will be harmed, because he will always confuse the project of learning how to think, feel, and behave better to get along in the real world, with the experience of being secretly in love with Gabby.

5.) Gabby will unceremoniously dump Latwon, because whatever pretense of a "relationship" she has encouraged him to believe is real will prove impossible.

6.) Everyone will be embarrassed; and administrative staff will be especially demoralized by the fact that I knew all this shit while they didn't, and they're too afraid to even call me to argue or talk about it!

Maybe I'm wrong. My mother was.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Gabby and Latwon: still inseparable

OK, so how's this for suspicious "boundary issues"-?

Last night at about 8:30-9:00 PM, at EMHC on the infamous K Unit (maybe we'll start calling it the "Love Unit") run by Faiza Kareemi and Drew Beck (who would never imagine in their wildest dreams that anything sexual is ever going on!), the cute "Juliet & Romeo" couple, STA Gabby Garcia and patient Latwon, were sitting together in the west dayroom, folding Latwon's laundry.

It's not like folding laundry together is having sex, or making out, or even footsies. But Latwon is not disabled in any sense that would make him incapable of putting his own socks and underpants away. It's not like he needed Gabby's hands on that, it wasn't her job. And it was very obvious to anyone who was paying attention: they're boyfriend and girlfriend. It's plainly romantic, it's not clinical.

When I wrote about this lovestruck pair back in September, they may have been separated briefly, or there may have been some glib 'investigation' which, of course, found nothing. But they are back together now, looking so sweet once again. Gabby sits with her man and lets him hold and view her cell phone, she often lingers in the doorway to his room. Last night, the laundry "date" was directly observed by staff (Joe and Candy) in the nurse's station. Earlier, other staff must have seen them sitting together with the cell phone, or her standing in his doorway for long chats. 

Faiza Kareemi and Drew Beck absolutely know the liability of missing signs like this. They're just never there, they're miraculously always off the unit or out that day, when these plain clues of such boundary violations, as are known to lead to felony custodial sexual abuse, manifest right where anyone might rationally expect is under their noses. And nobody like Candy and Joe ever tells them anything, Faiza and Drew just never suspect....

The reason nobody ever tells Faiza and Drew anything is: they know perfectly well that Faiza and Drew don't care. They know that the culture of the plantation is devoted to keeping the slaves compliant. Forget the law, and forget "mental health". If people think they're in love, at least they'll get dreamy-eyed and shut the hell up.

Who cares what happens? It's not really a hospital, after all.