Home is where your Mom is…
Some Mother’s Day wisdom from Lucille Bluth:
Fav Mother’s Day video:
…and I miss you.
Home is where your Mom is…
Some Mother’s Day wisdom from Lucille Bluth:
Fav Mother’s Day video:
…and I miss you.
Add the mentally ill to illegal immigrants and non-violent drug offenders, and you have the magic profit formula for America’s private prison industry and its shareholders.
Mother Jones has a timeline illustrating how deinstitutionalization has moved thousands of mentally ill people out of hospitals—and into jails and prisons.
I’ve taken just the past 35 years of that timeline and pasted it below — notice Saint Raygun’s heartwarming contributions towards mental health services in 1981:
|1977||There are 650 community health facilities serving 1.9 million mentally ill patients a year.|
|1980||President Jimmy Carter signs the Mental Health Systems Act, which aims to restructure the community mental health center program and improve services for people with chronic mental illness.|
|1981||Under President Ronald Reagan, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act repeals Carter’s community health legislation and establishes block grants for the states, ending the federal government’s role in providing services to the mentally ill. Federal mental health spending decreases by 30 percent.|
|1984||An Ohio-based study finds that up to 30 percent of homeless people are thought to suffer from serious mental illness.|
|1985||Federal funding drops to 11 percent of community mental health agency budgets.|
|1990||Clozapine, the first “atypical” anti-psychotic drug to be developed, is approved by the FDA as a treatment for schizophrenia.|
|2004||Studies suggest approximately 16 percent of prison and jail inmates are seriously mentally ill, roughly 320,000 people. This year, there are about 100,000 psychiatric beds in public and private hospitals. That means there are more three times as many seriously mentally ill people in jails and prisons than in hospitals.|
|2009||In the aftermath of the Great Recession, states are forced to cut $4.35 billion in public mental health spending over the next three years, the largest reduction in funding since deinstitutionalization.|
|2010||There are 43,000 psychiatric beds in America, or about 14 beds per 100,000 people—the same ratio as in 1850.|
Read the whole thing: TIMELINE: Deinstitutionalization And Its Consequences
From 2009 – 2012, these six states made the deepest cuts to their mental health budgets: South Carolina, Alabama, Alaska, Illinois, Nevada, District of Columbia, and California.
I wonder how many private prisons are in these states?
Image: Mother Jones
If you want to make money these days, owning stock in a prison company is the place to do it. The confinement of human beings, while selling their cheap labor to companies seeking to save on labor costs has become a cash cow. One company that has benefited handsomely from the profit boom is the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).
CCA is the largest owner of private prisons in the nation, behind only the federal government and three states. The company just announced that it’s Board of Directors has declared a special dividend to shareholders of $675 million dollars.
…The CCA operates a total of 67 prison facilities throughout the United States, with a total capacity of 92,500 beds in 20 states and the District of Columbia. The company was heavily criticized for offering to buy prisons in 48 states, in exchange for a guaranteed occupancy rate of at least 90%.
It’s not just the private prison industry. Something else to consider:
A jury on Wednesday awarded a total of $240 million to 32 mentally disabled turkey processing plant workers in Iowa for what an expert witness described as years of “virtual enslavement” by [Henry's Turkey Service, of Goldthwaite, Texas] that oversaw their care, work and lodging…
During the weeklong trial that ended Wednesday, officials testified about the squalid conditions they found during a 2009 inspection of the bunkhouse where the men were housed. The building, which was in a rural area several miles from the West Liberty Foods turkey processing plant where they worked, was falling apart, infested with rodents and full of fire hazards.
Social workers spoke of the physical and verbal abuse the men said they had been subjected to by the Henry’s supervisors who oversaw their work and care. They said they had been forced to work through illness and injuries, denied bathroom breaks, locked in their rooms, kicked in the groin and, in one case, handcuffed to a bed…
By 2008, Henry’s was being paid more than $500,000 per year by West Liberty Foods, but it was paying the men the same $65 per month that it always had. The company docked the men’s wages and Social Security disability benefits, telling them it was to pay for the cost of their care and lodging, and it never applied for medical care or other services for the disabled that the men would have qualified for in Iowa.
Henry’s began employing mentally disabled men in the 1960s and 1970s who had been released from Texas mental institutions. Hundreds of them were sent to labor camps in Iowa and elsewhere in the coming decades, where they were supplied on contract as workers to local employers. Company officials argued that the arrangement was a benefit to the men, and that they were once praised for giving them employment opportunities…
Don’t ever say Republicans–with their deregulation and “pay workers less so CEOs can get more” and “corporations are people” mentality–aren’t job creators. Companies like private prisons and Henry’s Turkey Service are just selective about the wages they want to pay and the type of workforce “willing” to work for those wages. Remember, it was the glassy-eyed Teaparty Queen, Michele Bachmann, who said that the federal minimum wage should be eliminated for the benefit of job growth.
Clearly if you deinstitutionalize the mentally ill / disabled, you’ll be able to make a handsome profit on their confinement in labor camps or prisons — with the added bonus that you won’t “waste” money on having to care for them. If the Republican Party had its way, we’d all be working for $65 a month in company housing that was falling apart.
American fundamentalist Christianity combined with deregulated Capitalism in 2013 – same as it ever was:
“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” – Ezekiel 16:49
House GOP Approves Budget That Cuts Taxes For Millionaires, Slashes The Social Safety Net | Travis Waldron on Mar 21, 2013
The House of Representatives this afternoon approved the Republican budget plan authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) by a vote of 221-207, with 197 Democrats and 10 Republicans voting against it. Three Democrats and one Republican did not vote.
For the third consecutive year, the House GOP has approved a budget that ends the traditional guaranteed Medicare coverage for senior citizens, makes substantial cuts to poverty programs and the social safety net, and grants massive tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. Recent analyses have shown that the budget plan’s tax reforms, which lower top tax rates to 25 percent, would give millionaires at least $200,000 in tax cuts. At the same time, it would slash the social safety net, targeting poverty programs for two-thirds of its cuts.
House approves far-right Ryan budget plan | Steve Benen on March 21, 2013
Though there were whispers that GOP leaders had to worry about significant defections, only 10 House Republicans broke ranks and opposed Ryan’s budget — the exact same number of Republicans who voted against their party’s budget blueprint last year.
And what a plan it is. We’re talking about an ambitious plan to redistribute wealth — from the bottom up — with a healthy dose of “almost frighteningly ambitious” social engineering. Ryan’s budget would end Medicare, cut taxes by over $5 trillion, take health care benefits away from millions of Americans, make “massive” cuts to in programs for low-income and vulnerable Americans, and relies on smoke and mirrors to balance the budget within a decade.
It is, in other words, the exact opposite of what the American mainstream wants, and bears no resemblance to the platform the American electorate endorsed in national elections four months ago. It’s designed to satisfy folks who believe the wealthy are over-burdened by taxes and struggling families have too much access to affordable health care.
Despite all of this, 95% of House GOP lawmakers voted for the plan anyway.
CHART: Paul Ryan’s Massive Tax Cut For Millionaires | Sahil Kapur March 15, 2013
Ryan’s plan also cuts spending by some $4.6 trillion over the next decade, targeting programs like Medicaid and the portion of the budget that includes Pell Grants and food stamps. He insists his tax cuts will spur significant economic growth, and he promises to pay for them by closing unspecified tax loopholes, deductions and credits — ideally on high incomes.
“You can actually plug loopholes and subject more of higher earners’ income to taxation through a lower tax rate,” Ryan said. “We think that’s smarter.” His promise mirrors that of Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential election. The problem, as numerous independent experts concluded, is that finding that much revenue in tax expenditures would require raising effective taxes on the middle class.
Renewed hostage-taking | Pema Levy on March 21, 2013
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said Thursday that Republicans will require a dollar in spending cuts for every dollar that they agree to raise the debt ceiling, which the United States is expected to hit in August. “Dollar for dollar is the plan,” Boehner said at a press conference. As TPM reported Thursday, conservative House Republicans are pushing their leadership to use the debt ceiling as leverage to demand major reforms or cuts, including dollar for dollar cuts.
Remember when John Boehner and other distinguished Republicans had great fun on Twitter using the hashtag #Obamaquester when discussing sequestration cuts? This week, Boehner admitted with his own damn mouth that President Obama “didn’t want the cuts.” Watch:
More Republican good news / bad news:
I hope people actually pay attention to what Lindsey Graham is proposing here, especially with all the effort that’s been going into the rebranding and remarketing of the Republican Party and their “message.” Graham is saying that because of the sequester’s automatic cuts to the military (about 7.5% out of an astronomically huge defense budget), he thinks we should cut the health coverage of about 30 million people to pay for that shortfall and protect the DoD’s budget.
JOSH ISRAEL | THINK PROGRESS: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Sunday the government should protect the Defense Department from automatic spending cuts by slashing $1.2 trillion from the Affordable Care Act. During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Graham suggested that the sequester’s across-the-board cuts to federal spending, including about a roughly 7.5 percent reduction in military spending, would be “destroying the military.” But rather than agree to President Obama’s proposed alternatives to the sequester, the South Carolina Republican said we should save money by eliminating health care for the 30 million people covered by the Affordable Care Act:
GRAHAM: Well, all I can say is the commander-in-chief thought — came up with the idea of sequestration, destroying the military and putting a lot of good programs at risk. It is my belief — take Obamacare and put it on the table. You can make $86,000 a year in income and still get a government subsidy under Obamacare. Obamacare is destroying health care in this country and people are leaving the private sector, because their companies cannot afford to offer Obamacare and if you want to look at ways to find $1.2 trillion in savings over the next decade, look at Obamacare, don’t destroy the military and cut blindly across the board…
JOSH ISRAEL: But Graham’s “solution” also misses a key reality: Obamacare actually reduced the deficit. His proposal to put its elimination on the table would mean increasing the budget deficit by an estimated $109 billion over the same 10-year period, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.
JOHN COLE: The notion that miniscule cuts to the most bloated military in the world [will destroy it] is, in and of itself, offensive to common sense. That this douchebag wants millions of Americans to die without health coverage to keep shuffling three quarters of a trillion to said military really says it all.
CHARLES JOHNSON: And if you’re tempted to believe Lindsey Graham’s risible statement that a 7.5% cut would “destroy the military,” just take a quick look at this simple chart showing the world’s top 5 military spenders in 2012.
Another thing, they can all freely blame Obama for the sequester on Fox ‘news,’ naturally, but they don’t get away with it so easily on other networks:
IGOR VOLSKY reports that “ABC News’ Jonathan Karl confronted Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) over his past support for the sequester, just as the one-time GOP vice presidential candidate sought to blame President Obama for the automatic across-the-board cuts scheduled to go into effect on March 1.”
“Ryan’s argument is fundamentally dishonest, as he is one of the Republicans responsible for creating the sequester in the first place. In the summer of 2011, Republicans demanded spending cuts to offset a debt ceiling increase and refused to consider new revenues in those negotiations. That standoff produced the Budget Control Act, which Ryan voted for and promoted. The law included spending caps and a devastating sequester as a way to motivate a bipartisan Super Committee to find $1.2 trillion in spending cuts.
After the Super Committee failed to agree on a spending reduction package, Ryan — then the GOP’s vice presidential candidate — consistently railed against the sequester mechanism he previously supported, calling it “reckless” and “devastating.” Two months later, he wants the sequester to go into effect and may incorporate its savings in his upcoming budget.”
It’s as if Graham and Ryan would have us believe the sequester was never voted on and passed as law through Congress by Republicans.
Not only is Ryan’s argument “fundamentally dishonest,” but Paul Ryan, the man, is fundamentally dishonest. And I think most of us can agree that’s a standardized requirement for the chosen ‘rock stars‘ of the GOP.
“The most basic right is to protect yourself. If you limit the American public’s access to [assault weapons] semi-automatic technology, you limit their ability to survive.” — Wayne LaPierre, on Fox News Sunday, arguing that banning assault weapons limited the ‘ability to survive’ and that high-capacity magazines should not be outlawed because women need more bullets.
Paul Krugman on ABC’s This Week: “The NRA is now revealed as an insane organization, What strikes me is we’ve actually gotten a glimpse into the mindset, though, of the pro-gun people and we’ve seen certainly Wayne LaPierre and some of these others… It’s bizarre. They have this vision that we’re living in a ‘Mad Max’ movie and that nothing can be done about it, that America cannot manage unless everybody’s prepared to shoot intruders, that — the idea that we have a police forces that provides public safety is somehow totally impractical, despite the fact that, you know, that is, in fact, the way we live.”
Think Progress: During a heated exchange with NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre on Sunday, [Fox host Chris Wallace] played a clip of a now infamous NRA ad criticizing Obama for relying on Secret Service to guard his children and asked if the organization believed that every child in America faces a threat similar to that of the Obama kids. LaPierre said that they do, leading Wallace to forcefully push back against the gun chief, saying, “that’s ridiculous and you know it, Sir!”
Daily Intelligencer: Wallace then asked LaPierre, who showed up to the Fox News studio with armed guards, whether he counted as “an out-of-touch elite, because you have security.” LaPierre skirted the issue, explaining that, “We’ve had all kinds of threats coming to us. I don’t deny anybody the right to security when they need it. What I am saying is, it’s ridiculous, Chris, for all the elites and all the powerful and privileged, the titans of industry to send their kids to schools where there is armed security, to have access to semi-automatic technology.”
TPM: LaPierre argued that background checks were ineffective, possibly part of a government plot against gun owners, and not a real legislative option because of a powerful “mental health lobby.” He noted that the NRA used to support universal checks but said special interests surrounding mental health and privacy had derailed the effort and led to NRA leaders throwing in the towel. “The instant check was actually the NRA’s proposal. We offered it as an amendment to the Brady Bill. And I’ve been in this fight for 20 years. We supported it. We put it on the books. But I have finally become convinced after fighting to get the mental records computerized for 20 years and watching the mental health lobby, the HIPAA laws, the AMA oppose it, I don’t think it’s going to happen,” he said.
Bob Cesca: The gun control advocacy group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, paid for a 30 second ad to run during the Super Bowl, using Wayne LaPierre’s unearthed statements on universal background checks:
“We think it’s reasonable to provide mandatory, instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes anywhere, for anyone.” — Wayne LaPierre, public testimony from 1999.
Why the change? What does the NRA stand to lose with instant background checks and closing loopholes, like unchecked gunshow sales? As with most things in America, follow the money:
Tim Dickerson | Rolling Stone: “The shift in LaPierre’s rhetoric underscores a radical transformation within the NRA. Billing itself as the nation’s “oldest civil rights organization,” the NRA still claims to represent the interests of marksmen, hunters and responsible gun owners. But over the past decade and a half, the NRA has morphed into a front group for the firearms industry, whose profits are increasingly dependent on the sale of military-bred weapons like the assault rifles used in the massacres at Newtown and Aurora, Colorado. “When I was at the NRA, we said very specifically, ‘We do not represent the fi rearm industry,’” says Richard Feldman, a longtime gun lobbyist who left the NRA in 1991. “We represent gun owners. End of story.” But in the association’s more recent history, he says, “They have really gone after the gun industry.”
“Today’s NRA stands astride some of the ugliest currents of our politics, combining the “astroturf” activism of the Tea Party, the unlimited and undisclosed “dark money” of groups like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, and the sham legislating conducted on behalf of the industry through groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council. “This is not your father’s NRA,” says Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, a top gun-industry watchdog. Feldman is more succinct, calling his former employer a “cynical, mercenary political cult.”
“The NRA’s alignment with an $11.7 billion industry has fed tens of millions of dollars into the association’s coffers, helping it string together victories that would have seemed fantastic just 15 years ago. The NRA has hogtied federal regulators, censored government data about gun crime and blocked renewal of the ban on assault weaponry and high-capacity magazines, which expired in 2004. The NRA secured its “number-one legislative priority” in 2005, a law blocking liability lawsuits that once threatened to bankrupt gunmakers and expose the industry’s darkest business practices. Across the country, the NRA has opened new markets for firearms dealers by pushing for state laws granting citizens the right to carry hidden weapons in public and to allow those who kill in the name of self-defense to get off scot-free.”
NRA’S Newtown ad campaign: BUY MORE GUNS!
Same goes for when they start talking about their Second Amendment rights:
A coaltion of pro-gun groups is calling for a nationwide “Gun Appreciation Day” for Jan. 19. Details from the Washington Post: The group is emulating the anti-gay marriage activists who made the Christian fast food chain Chick-fil-A into a national conservative cause with “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.” The group is asking supporters to turn out in droves at gun stores, gun counters, gun shows, and gun ranges to protest what they see as government overreach in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings. – Pro-Gun Groups Plan ‘Gun Appreciation Day’ For Inauguration Weekend | TPM LiveWire
Also, from the bottomless well of dumbfuckery: “Larry Ward, chairman of the national Gun Appreciation Day gun rights advocates have planned for the weekend of President Obama’s second inauguration, told CNN Friday that there never would have been slaves in America if black people had guns. “I think Martin Luther King, Jr. would agree with me if he were alive today that if African Americans had been given the right to keep and bear arms from day one of the country’s founding, perhaps slavery might not have been a chapter in our history,” Ward said.”
Indeed had African Americans been given rights when they were brought to America, they wouldn’t have been slaves. It’s all perfectly logical!
Massive flu outbreak claims lives of 18 children: “The United States was in the grip Thursday of a deadly influenza outbreak that has hit harder and earlier than in previous years, and has claimed the lives of at least 18 children. [...] US states, particularly in the northeast of the country, have seen a sharp spike in emergency room visits from patients reporting flu-like symptoms, according to the federal CDC in Atlanta. In Allentown, Pennsylvania, one hospital had to erect a large outdoor tent to admit and treat the large number of flu sufferers. Health officials said that the flu vaccine is a good match for the strain of influenza circulating around the nation, and confers about 60 percent to 65 percent protection against the illness. “You might get the flu but it will likely be less severe if you are vaccinated,” Fauci said.”
During The Worst Flu Season In A Decade, Workers Across The Country Can’t Stay Home Sick: “The CDC recommends that those who experience flu-like symptoms “should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care.” However, for a huge number of American workers, that option doesn’t exist due to a lack of paid sick days. 40 percent of private sector workers and a whopping 80 percent of low-income workers do not have a single paid sick day. One in five workers reports losing their job or being threatened with dismissal for wanting to take time off while sick. This problem is especially acute in the food industry, with its high potential for spreading disease. 79 percent of food workers say they have no paid sick time.”
The Washington Post reports that “Vice President Biden said Thursday he sees an emerging consensus around “universal background checks” for all gun buyers and a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines as he completes the Obama administration’s broad study of ways to curb the nation’s gun violence.”
Sounds reasonable to me.
“But the National Rifle Association, a participant in an afternoon meeting with Biden, strongly rejected what it called “an agenda to attack the Second Amendment” and indicated it would have nothing more to do with the vice president’s task force on gun laws.”
What now? Common sense safeguards on gun ownership is the same thing as attacking the Second Amendment? But wait, it gets worse. From Think Progress:
“The CEO of Tennessee-based Tactical Response, a firearms training company, delivered threats on YouTube that White House action would “spark a civil war.” Here’s what CEO James Yeager said, in part, if gun violence prevention goes any further:
‘I’m not letting anybody take my guns! If it goes one inch further, I’m going to start killing people.’
Award people like Mr. Yeager all the guns, obviously, because who knows what might piss him off in the future. If he’s going to gun down everyone he doesn’t agree with, shouldn’t he at least be well-armed?
Finally, did you know the NRA has a “special needs” section? Here’s their spokesman:
“There will come a time when the gun owners of America, the law-abiding gun owners of America, will be the Rosa Parks and we will sit down on the front seat of the bus, case closed.” — Ted Nugent
christopherstreet: There are 311,000,000 people in this country who are not members of the NRA. And, 4,000,000 that are members. I’m pretty sure that the 311 million of us have a little bit more say and power than the 4 million.
311:4 — NRA: Not Relevant Anymore
U.S. flu outbreak: Boston declares health emergency: “With flu cases in Boston up tenfold from last year, the mayor declared a public health emergency on Wednesday as authorities around the United States scrambled to cope with a rising number of patients.
U.S. health authorities say the flu arrived about a month earlier than usual this year, and the flu strain making most people sick – H3N2 – has a reputation for causing fairly severe illness, especially in the elderly.
As a result, hospitals around the country have been forced to find additional space to treat the ill, and some have had to turn people away.
[...] As of last Friday, the proportion of people visiting their doctor with flu symptoms had climbed from to 5.6 percent, up from 2.8 percent a month earlier.
That compared with 2.2 percent at the peak of last year’s mild flu season and 7.7 percent at the peak of the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic.”
This is the best response I’ve seen to the rightwing attempt to compare the federal budget / debt to an average family’s budget in the following way:
U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000
New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
Recent budget cut: $ 38,500,000,000
Let’s remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget:
Annual family income: $21,700
Money the family spent: $38,200
New debt on the credit card: $16,500
Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
Budget cuts: $385
From Laura Clawson at Daily Kos:
First off, this set of numbers tips its hand by only [talking] about cutting budgets, not increasing income for this fictional family. Which is interesting, because one of the big problems the America-family has is that a bunch of rich relatives are living in the house not doing their fair share to cover expenses. We’ve got an uncle who’s down in the kitchen all the time telling the rest of us to eat nothing but beans and rice because we can’t afford fresh vegetables and meat, and telling us to turn down the heat in the house if we’re having trouble covering the power bill. And no, he’s not going to share his giant steak because it’s his and he bought it with his own money. But meanwhile, we’re paying the electric bill for that space heater he’s always running in his room, because he’s not gonna be cold even if the rest of us are. And we’re paying the gas bill for cooking that steak he didn’t share. So a big part of that spending problem we allegedly have is that some people aren’t acting like we’re a family where everyone contributes to the income side.
[...] We’ve also been having a family debate about whether to put a little more money into the house, actually. See, there was a big storm and a tree fell through the roof. Most of the bedrooms are fine, but two of them are really badly damaged. Some of us think all the members of the family deserve to have mold-free walls and roofs without gaping holes, but others aren’t so sure and think maybe the people in those rooms ought to be on their own to recover from a tree coming through their roofs and crushing their stuff…
con-tem-plate: President Obama in Newtown, with the siblings of those that lost their lives.
‘Let the little children come to me,’ Jesus said, ‘and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’
Charlotte. Daniel. Olivia. Josephine. Ana. Dylan. Madeleine. Katherine. Chase. Jesse. James. Grace. Emilie. Jack. Noah. Caroline. Jessica. Benjamin. Avielle. Allison. God has called them all home.
For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory.
— PRESIDENT OBAMA. (via inothernews)
Cristina Hassinger, the daughter of Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung, tweeted this picture of President Obama holding her daughter before the interfaith service this evening.
Hassinger tweeted the following yesterday: My mom, Dawn Hochsprung, was taken tragically from me. But she went down in a blaze of glory that truly represents who she was.