In Oklahoma, thousands with mental illnesses get to go to jail, not medical treatment


Click to enlargeChris Landsberger/The Oklahoman

❝ A monthslong investigation by The Oklahoman, including the examination of hundreds of pages of jail inspection reports, found that jail staffs across Oklahoma are tasked with attempting to be mental health professionals, often with little or no training…

❝ Since statehood, Oklahoma has grappled with how to create a sustainable, comprehensive mental health system. The state has spent among the least in the nation on mental health care, all while filling jails and prisons with people who wouldn’t be there if they could afford and access basic health care for their brain disorders.

Imprisonment is not only the least effective form of “treatment” but also the costliest.

The cost of a year of state-funded mental health treatment: $2,000.

The cost of a year in prison for someone with serious mental illness: $23,000.

At last count, 60 percent of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections’ population — 17,000 people — have either symptoms or a history of mental illness…

Often, before these Oklahomans are sentenced to prison, they spend months, if not years, cycling in and out of county jails.

I won’t try to precis this excellent article down to the size of a blog post. The article reflects the first two of a four-part series on Oklahoma’s lousy excuse for mental health care. I think a mirror image approach to the state’s mediocre criminal justice system would show the same.

Hypocritical ideologues run the state. They care not for science, modern medicine, current concerns and remedies to substance abuse or mental illness. They run Puritan jails the way they run a Puritan legislature. RTFA. Make up your own mind.

Do Not Resist – Albuquerque

Do Not Resist
Nov 19 to Nov 20
Saturday and Sunday 1pm

Dir. Craig Atkinson – 2016 – 72m – No Matinees

SPECIAL THANKS TO THE ALBUQUERQUE CENTER FOR PEACE & JUSTICE AND BURQUE MEDIA PRODUCTIONS! ADVANCE TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE NOW WITH THEM!

SPECIAL PANEL DISCUSSION ON SUNDAY NOVEMBER 20 TO FOLLOW SCREENING WITH ADRIANN BARBOA (APD FORWARD), SAMSON COSTALES (FORMER POLICE OFFICER), ARTHUR BELL (BROTHER WAS KILLED BY THE S.W.A.T. TEAM ), JAVIER BENAVIDEZ (SOUTHWEST ORGANIZING PROJECT) Dr. FINNIE COLEMAN, DIRECTOR OF AMERICAN LITERARY STUDIES, UNM DEPT. OF ENGLISH PLUS OTHERS T.B.A.

Thanks, Michelle Meaders

Obama didn’t remove the Bush “national security” policies — now, he hands them over to Trump

❝ As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump vowed to refill the cells of the Guantánamo Bay prison and said U.S. terrorism suspects should be sent there for military prosecution. He called for targeting mosques for surveillance, escalating airstrikes aimed at terrorists and taking out their civilian family members, and bringing back waterboarding and a “hell of a lot worse” — not only because “torture works,” but because even “if it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway.”

It is hard to know how much of this stark vision for throwing off constraints on the exercise of national security power was merely tough campaign talk. But if the Trump administration follows through on such ideas, it will find some assistance in a surprising source: President Barack Obama’s have-it-both-ways approach to curbing what he saw as overreaching in the war on terrorism.

❝ Over and over, Obama has imposed limits on his use of such powers but has not closed the door on them — a flexible approach premised on the idea that he and his successors could be trusted to use them prudently. Trump can now sweep away those limits and open the throttle on policies that Obama endorsed as lawful and legitimate for sparing use, like targeted killings in drone strikes and the use of indefinite detention and military tribunals for terrorism suspects.

And even in areas where Obama tried to terminate policies from the George W. Bush era — such as torture and the detention of Americans and other people arrested on domestic soil as “enemy combatants” — his administration fought in court to prevent any ruling that the defunct practices had been illegal. The absence of a definitive repudiation could make it easier for Trump administration lawyers to revive the policies by invoking the same sweeping theories of executive power that were the basis for them in the Bush years.

RTFA and reflect upon the range of backwards tools handy to any criminal onslaught against constitutional rights, crushing dissent, reviving sedition prosecutions unheard of since the turn of the 19th Century.

Nearly half of Americans didn’t vote — Shutting down easy access to vote was part of the reason

The latest poll numbers also indicate that Clinton may have just barely squeezed out a win in the popular vote. An estimated 25.6 percent of eligible voters named Clinton while 25.5 percent voted for Trump.

When you narrow the numbers down to those who did vote, Clinton had 48 percent (59,580,545 votes) compared to 47 percent (59,341,558 votes) for Trump, according to the Associated Press.

Last Tuesday was the first election since the 2013 Supreme Court ruling against the Voting Rights Act. The changes added new voter identification requirements.

Opportunity remains an outstanding limiting factor. Since the 2012 election, over 800 polling places were simply closed.

The Dutch have a prison crisis — they’re running out of prisoners

❝ While the UK and much of the world struggles with overcrowded prisons, the Netherlands has the opposite problem. It is actually short of people to lock up. In the past few years 19 prisons have closed down and more are slated for closure next year. How has this happened – and why do some people think it’s a problem?…

…Learning to cook is just one of the ways the prison helps offenders to get back on track after their release…”In the Dutch service we look at the individual”…says Jan Roelof van der Spoel, deputy governor of Norgerhaven, a high-security prison in the north-east of the Netherlands.

“If somebody has a drug problem we treat their addiction, if they are aggressive we provide anger management, if they have got money problems we give them debt counselling. So we try to remove whatever it was that caused the crime. The inmate himself or herself must be willing to change but our method has been very effective. Over the last 10 years, our work has improved more and more.”…

He adds that some persistent offenders – known in the trade as “revolving-door criminals” – are eventually given two-year sentences and tailor-made rehabilitation programmes. Fewer than 10% then return to prison after their release. In England and Wales, and in the United States, roughly half of those serving short sentences reoffend within two years, and the figure is often higher for young adults…

❝ A decade ago the Netherlands had one of the highest incarceration rates in Europe, but it now claims one of the lowest – 57 people per 100,000 of the population, compared with 148 in England and Wales.

But better rehabilitation is not the only reason for the sharp decline in the Dutch prison population – from 14,468 in 2005 to 8,245 last year – a drop of 43%.

❝ The peak in 2005 was partly due to improved screening at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, which resulted in an explosion in the numbers of drug mules caught carrying cocaine.

Today the police have new priorities, according to Pauline Schuyt, a criminal law professor from the southern city of Leiden. “They have shifted their focus away from drugs and now concentrate on fighting human trafficking and terrorism,” she says.

In addition, Dutch judges often use alternatives to prison such as community service orders, fines and electronic tagging of offenders…”Sometimes it is better for people to stay in their jobs, stay with their families and do the punishment in another way,” says Angeline van Dijk, director of the prison service…

“We have shorter prison sentences and a decreasing crime rate here in the Netherlands so that is leading to empty cells.”

The desire to protect prison service jobs has sparked another surprising solution – the import of foreign inmates from Norway and Belgium.

In a thoughtful society, one considering useful employment to be available for all, the question of prison closures is significant. One of the bright spots on that front – is importing prisoners from other countries. In the Netherlands, prisoners from Belgium and Norway are taking up residence in cells empty of local prisoners.

RTFA. Lots of anecdotal discussion. It surely would be nice in many Western nations to have a “problem” like this one.

Populist militias hungry for trouble if democracy prevails in the presidential election


Oklahoma remembers a militia thug named McVeighNY Daily News

❝ Down a Georgia country road, camouflaged members of the Three Percent Security Force have mobilized for rifle practice, hand-to-hand combat training — and an impromptu campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump…

As the most divisive presidential election in recent memory nears its conclusion, some armed militia groups are preparing for the possibility of a stolen election on Nov. 8 and civil unrest in the days following a victory by Democrat Hillary Clinton.

They say they won’t fire the first shot, but they’re not planning to leave their guns at home, either…

❝ Armed paramilitary groups first gained prominence in the early 1990s, fueled by confrontations in Ruby Ridge, Idaho and Waco, Texas, culminating in a militia sympathizer’s 1995 bombing of a federal office building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people.

Their numbers dwindled following that attack but have spiked in recent years, driven by fears that President Barack Obama will threaten gun ownership and erode the power of local government. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist groups, estimates there were 276 active militias last year, up from 42 in 2008.

In recent years, armed groups have confronted federal authorities in a series of land-use disputes in the western United States. Federal officials fear more clashes could come after seven militants were acquitted on conspiracy charges for occupying a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon…

❝ Amid war games, Chris Hill – who goes by the code name Bloodagent – weighed plans for a possible armed march on Washington if Clinton wins.

He said he doesn’t want his members leading the way, but they will defend the protesters if need be. His group will not hesitate to act if a President Clinton tries to disarm gun owners, he said.

“I will be there to render assistance to my fellow countrymen, and prevent them from being disarmed, and I will fight and I will kill and I may die in the process,” said Hill, who founded his Georgia-based militia several years ago…

Just in case you wondered who is ready to die for the idjit vote, guns and glory, RTFA. No surprises and, hopefully, these dimwits are still governed by a touch of common sense when it comes to confrontation with legitimate law and order.

Republicans are now committed to Total War – on American democracy

❝ The election is just five days away, and something truly frightening is happening, something with far-reaching implications for the immediate future of American politics. Republicans, led by Donald Trump but by no means limited to him, are engaging in kind of termite-level assault on American democracy, one that looks on the surface as though it’s just aimed at Hillary Clinton, but in fact is undermining our entire system…

Consider these recent developments:

❝ There appears to be a war going on inside the FBI, and from what we can tell, a group of rogue agents, mostly in New York, may be in such a fervor to destroy Hillary Clinton that they may be aggressively leaking damaging innuendo to the press against her in the waning days of the campaign. They succeeded in their apparent goal of making FBI director James Comey a tool of their campaign — and the basis for their investigation is an anti-Clinton book written under the auspices of an organization of which the CEO of the Trump campaign is co-founder and chairman. Pro-Trump FBI agents now seem to be coordinating with Trump surrogates to do maximal possible damage to Clinton…

High-ranking Republican officeholders are now suggesting that they may impeach Clinton as soon as she takes office. These are not just backbench nutbars of the Louie Gohmert variety, but people with genuine power, including Ron Johnson, the senator from Wisconsin, Michael McCaul, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and veteran legislators like James Sensenbrenner and Peter King. The message is being echoed by top Trump surrogates like Rudy Giuliani…

There is a growing movement among Republicans in the Senate to simply refuse to approve any nominee appointed by a Democratic president to the Supreme Court, leaving open any and all vacancies until a Republican can be elected to fill them.

State and local Republican officials are engaged in widespread and systematic efforts to suppress the votes of African-Americans and other groups likely to vote disproportionately Democratic; in many cases officials have been ordered by courts to stop their suppression efforts and they have simply ignored the court orders.

❝ And please, spare me any explanations for this phenomenon that rely on how “divided” Americans are. Are we divided? Sure. But there’s only one party that is so vigorously undermining core democratic institutions in this way. You may not like what Democrats stand for, but they aren’t engaging in widespread official vote suppression, chanting that should their candidate win her opponent should be tossed in jail, promising to prevent any Republican president from filling vacancies on the Supreme Court, suggesting that they’ll try to impeach their opponent as soon as he takes office, cheering when a hostile foreign power hacks into American electronic systems, and trying to use the FBI to win the election.

Only one party is doing all of that. And we should all be very worried about what Republicans will do after November 8, whether they win or lose.

RTFA if you’re not already fully aware of the details.

Regardless, understand that this election and the ideology dedicated to replacing democracy with autocracy, corporate plutocrats profiting, populist mob rule utilized as a tactic – ain’t new and will continue beyond November 8th.

A Black church in Mississippi was burned in the name of Trump

❝ A black church in Greenville, Mississippi, was set on fire on Tuesday night. Fire fighters arrived to find Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church “heavily engulfed in flames,” Mayor Errick Simmons said in an interview; the fire took nearly an hour to contain. No one was in the church at the time, and no one was injured. On the side of the church, beneath the blackened windows and roof, the words “Vote Trump” have been spray painted.

❝ The fire is being investigated as a hate crime, Simmons said. Federal authorities, including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives, are helping local authorities with the investigation, which is part of the standard procedure for church fires….“I see this as an attack on the black church and the black community.”…

❝ Arson is notoriously difficult to prove…In this case, though, someone left a calling card about politics. It’s not yet clear who set the fire, if anyone set it; whether the person who set the fire is the same person who wrote the graffiti; or why, if the fire was intentional, Hopewell M.B. Church was the target. One thing is clear, though: At some point, someone decided to attach the name of Trump to a burned black church…

❝ Ain’t nothing new. Race hatred is as old as the American Confederacy and the slave economy that justified out-of-date and failed economics with racism. A practice that continued legally in the United States for decades.

Today, we have a Republican presidential candidate whose family was found guilty – twice – of conducting business as a racist enterprise. He has no problem with the dregs of American politics – still dedicated to bigotry, apartheid, as social norms.

We have our first verified voter fraud of the 2016 election — a trump voter!

❝ A woman in Iowa was arrested this week on suspicion of voting twice in the general election, court and police records show.

Terri Lynn Rote, a 55-year-old Des Moines resident, was booked Thursday on a first-degree charge of election misconduct, according to Polk County Jail records. The charge is considered a Class D felony under Iowa state law.

❝ …Rote is a registered Republican who cast two ballots in the general election: an early-voting ballot at the Polk County Election Office and another at a county satellite voting location…

Rote hadn’t planned on voting twice but said it was “a spur-of-the-moment thing” when she walked by the satellite voting location…

❝ She added she has been a supporter of Donald Trump since early in his campaign, after Republican candidate Mike Huckabee dropped out of the primary race.

Rote told Iowa Public Radio that she cast her first ballot for Trump but feared it would be changed to a vote for Hillary Clinton.

“The polls are rigged,” Rote told the radio station.

❝ Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald told the Register that it was the first time in 12 years he could remember having to report possible voter fraud.

I hope you don’t expect reality to interfere with nutball ideology. Trumpkins are perfectly happy with their ever-changing system of logic, belief and obedience.

Keep moving, Bozo: clowns are banned in this Mississippi county

A Mississippi county has had enough of the creepy clown craze, at least until after Halloween.

Kemper County supervisors this week banned people from wearing any clown costume, mask or makeup in public. The local law carries a $150 penalty, and it will be lifted Nov. 1.

The Kemper County Messenger reports…that supervisors President Johnny Whitsett says it’s a matter of public safety because people could react badly if they get scared by a clown in their yard.

You know – the same reaction they get if they see 4 or 5 Black folks voting.

Lee Rowland, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney in New York, says the First Amendment protects most clothing choices. She also says it’s “a ridiculous use of government authority …. to dictate which Halloween costumes people can wear.

No surprise. The culture inbred in a great many conservatives simply feels that if something offends you personally, make it illegal. That often includes the whole range of civil rights, civil liberties in the state of mind called Mississippi.