November 11, 2010

The Terrible, Awful Truth About Supplemental Security Income

franceriots.jpg
"we're going to need to deploy the psychiatrists. it would be a lot easier if they were nationalized "

(posted at askmetafilter in response to a mostly unrelated question)



I.  I need to write this and get it posted before the Fingermen come and black bag me.

So you want to file a psychiatric disability claim against your former employer?  Too bad. 

Say you're poor and have never worked.   You apply for Welfare/cash payments and state Medicaid. You are obligated to try and find work or be enrolled in a jobs program in order to receive these benefits.  But who needs that?   Have a doctor fill out a form saying you are Temporarily Incapacitated due to Medical Illness.  The doc will note the diagnosis, however, it doesn't matter what your diagnosis is, it only matters that a doctor gives you one.   So cancer and depression are both fine.

Nor does it matter if he medicates you, or even believes you, so long as he signs the form and writes "depression."(1) The doc can give you as much time off as he wants (6 months is typical) and you can return, repeatedly, to get another filled out. You can be on state medicaid and receive cash payments for up to 5 years. So as long as you show up to your psych appointments, you'll receive benefits with no work obligation.


TANF payment.jpgin 2006 dollars.  Which way does inflation go again?



II.  "That's not how it works for me!"

...you might say, which brings us to the whole point: it's not for you. It is for the entire class of people we label as poor, about whom comic Greg Geraldo joked: "it's easy to forget there's so much poverty in the United States, because the poor people look just like black people." Include rural whites and any hispanics, and this is how the government fights the War On Poverty.

In the inner cities, the system is completely automated. Poor person rolls in to the clinic, fills out the paperwork (doc signs a stack of them at the end of the day), he sees a therapist therapist, a doctor, +/- medications, and gets his benefits.

There's no accountability, at all. I have never once been asked by the government whether the person deserved the money, the basis for my diagnosis-- they don't audit the charts, all that exists is my sig on a two page form.  The system just is.


atlantahomeless.jpgsee if you can find the one poor person hidden in this picture



III.   But what happens when your five years on the dole are up?


Enter SSI, Supplemental Security Income. You can earn lifetime SSI benefits (about $600/mo + Medicaid) if "you" can "show" you are "Permanently Disabled" due to a "medical illness."

"You"= your doc who fills out a packet with specific questions; and maybe a lawyer who processes the massive amounts of other paperwork, and argues your case, and charges about 20% of a year's award. 

"show" has a very specific legal definition: whatever the judge feels like that day.  I have been involved in thousands of these SSI cases, and to describe the system as arbitrary is to describe Blake Lively as "fair."


blake lively.jpgthis non-sequitor here entirely for my own benefit.  Thank you for your patience



"Permanently disabled" means the illness prevents you from ever working.  "But what happens when you get cured?"  Where are you calling from, the future?  You can't cure bipolar.

"Medical illness" means anything.  The diagnosis doesn't matter, only that "you" show how the diagnosis makes it impossible for you to work. Some diagnoses are easier than others, but none are impossible.  "Unable to work" has specific meaning, and specific questions are asked: ability to concentrate, ability to complete a workweek, work around others, take criticism from supervisors, remember and execute simple/moderately difficult/complex requests and tasks, etc.

Fortunately, your chances of being awarded SSI are 100%. ("Not for me!"  Again, it's not for you.)  You may be awarded it on the first try; you may be denied and then get it on appeal; you may need an SSI hearing before the judge; or you may apply five or six times and finally get it after ten years.  But if you are persistent, you will get it. (2)

IV.  Why Would Anyone Permit Such A Flawed System?

At this point you are probably wondering about abuse of the system, people lying, pretending they have psychiatric illnesses just to get the benefits.  If you think this-- a natural thought, I'll admit-- then you need to turn off the network news and go watch Network the movie. You're being lied to, by yourself.

darfur interview.jpgi have no idea what's going on in Darfur, so I called an expert



The system isn't flawed, it isn't easily gamed: it is set up this way on purpose.  The government wants you to get SSI, because it wants you off the state welfare budget and onto the federal budget, which, as you know, has unlimited funds because it can run deficits, print money, and invade nations and invent words.

In 2009 SSI paid 8M people about $45B. 60% of those under 65 had a "mental disorder." Did many have a legitimate disorder?  Sure.  Whatever.  But when the system ties benefits to a mental disorder, the point is the benefits, not the mental disorder.

What you should be asking is why, if society has decided to give the poor a stipend of $600/month, does it do this through the medical establishment and not as a traditional social policy? And the answer is very simple:

  1. you, America, would go bananas if poor people got money for nothing, you can barely stand it when they get it for a disability;
  2. if you offload a social problem to medicine, if you medicalize a social problem, then you've bought yourself a generation or two to come up with a new plan or invade someone.

Do you want riots in the streets? How much does it cost to prevent LA (or the city of your choice) from catching fire? Answer: $600/month/person, plus Medicaid.   Medicalizing social problems has the additional benefit of rendering society not responsible for those social ills. If it's a disease, it's nobody's fault. Yay empiricism.

Those who are arguing about the cost of healthcare or think that poor people are lying to get benefits are completely and utterly missing the point of the system. It wants this in the hands of doctors, because it would be toxic to everyone else.  Can you imagine your Senator deciding who gets benefits and who doesn't?

And maybe these people get some meds as well. You know what counts as an outcome in inner city psychiatry?  Guy doesn't punch his kid in the face.    One less instance of domestic violence a month. "Well, goddam, I don't see those in the DSM-V.  How much is that outcome going to cost us?"   $600/month + Abilify+ Xanax + Celexa.  But you then can pretend it doesn't exist.

IVb.  Who Pays for SSI?

SSI is funded through income taxes.  It does not come from Social Security taxes.  Pause for effect.  It is definitionally the redistribution of income.

In theory, SSI payments to a child (hey, ADHD counts) will be reduced if the child receives "unearned income"-- including child support payments.  If you've ever wondered why deadbeat dads aren't more vigorously pursued by moms, that's it.  (3)

The other reason is that a deadbeat dad who himself collects SSI isn't obligated to make child support payments.  He's disabled, after all.  Phew.  The kid's the government's problem, which is now not a joke.

V.  It's not for you.

As easy and streamlined as this process is for the inner city guy with no other resources, it is that much harder for anyone with a driveway.  It isn't for you. I know this because, by the way you phrased your question, do not own a gun and are not likely to set your town on fire when your team wins/loses. I realize in your case you're filing a disability claim with an employer, but the idea is the same: you did work. How do you show you now can't work?   It would have been easier to "prove" you can't work if you never worked.  That's SSI.

The "key" to your disability claim-- and your chances are not great but consult with your lawyer-- is to show how the depression impairs your cognition. Lack of energy and suicidality may sound important, but the illness has to link directly to an impairment.  Not being able to read a paragraph or perform a simple repetitive task are impairments.  Wanting to die is not an impairment.  Prove to the judge you can't pack a box or stack some cans just because you want to drown yourself in the tub.

"But $600/month isn't even enough to cover the rent!"  Oh, I'm not saying it's a lot, I'm not judging it as a living wage, I'm saying that's exactly how much it costs to keep your city from an infrastructure upgrade. Meanwhile, all it took to get stupid France to riot was raising the retirement age by two years.  "That's a really unsophisticated understanding of the issue."  Shut it.  I said shut it.

VI.  No one cares what you think.

I'm guessing that this probably upsets people, on both sides of an imaginary political divide that only took 40 years to perfect.  Thanks TV!   Certainly I have my own opinions, but it doesn't matter what I think, what matters is what is.   This is the system.   If you think you can effect a huge social overhaul then feel free to vote for Hope And Change and ongoing Afghanistan deployments, otherwise understand how it works before you spew nonsense to your local Fox affiliate. "Hi, this is Bill from Cleveland, and I blame liberals."  Son of a bitch, why didn't I think of that.

The system not only pays poor people, it employs lots and lots of almost poor people. I'm not saying this is a good thing, or a desirable thing, I am simply stating a fact. Some of these are direct government jobs (e.g. staff down at the SSI office) and some are pretend private sector jobs. If you're a psychiatrist at an inner city clinic, you may think you're an independent contractor, but you're really working for The Man (but with no pension.)  That's the system.  Cut SSI payments and those docs-- and nurses and etc-- don't get paid.

"Are you saying these patients are not mentally ill?"  No, many of them are.  Too sick to work is another story, but whatever-- sure, those people could use a psychiatrist.  But there's a fine line between mental illness as a result of a 13q33 polymorphism and mental illness due to living in a house where roaches crawl through your hair while you sleep.    What the hell is Abilify supposed to do for that?  You're going to need heroin. 



poor child lack of sleep.jpg"for some reason my kid always wakes up inattentive" 


VII.  This is how it works, like it or not.

An inner city psychiatrist sees 20-40 people a day. 15 minute med checks, which in a city is 5 or 10 minutes.  "Any major symptoms?  Suicidality?  Side effects?  Here's your refill."  You try and pull that off in a suburban area and the Ms. Collins will complain you haven't actualized her identity or validated her ambivalence.  But in the city (and I'm guessing rural areas) that's the standard. The government allows it because someone has to deal with those "patients." The government doesn't any other options. 

Same with benzos (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, etc) and narcotics (percocet, MS Contin  etc.) Once in a while some doc gets publicly arrested for handing out Vicodins in Valu-Packs, but the amount of benzos being routinely prescribed in an inner city is unbelievable.  Go to your suburban doc and try and beg for a few Xanax.  Come to the inner city and you can get #90 Zannies on first visit. Why?  Because the government isn't going to mess with the eleven or so sandbags they have placed in each neighborhood to hold back a flood of proletariat rage. Patients want them (to use, to sell, whatever) and docs give them because if they didn't, they wouldn't come back, and if they don't come back, what are they going to do instead? Get a job at Walmart?  No, they're going to burn it.

And there's plenty of money to be made for the entrepreneurial.  If you want to be rich in inner city psychiatry (no, you don't have to be a doc), you open a clinic and hire 1 psychiatrist and lots of (talk) therapists, usually social workers. Medicaid will pay for 1 therapy visit per week (around $60/hr) and a 15 minute med check with the doc ($40/visit). The doc usually gets salaried but for illustration let him have it all. The therapist, however, gets very little-- $20/hr. The rest goes to the clinic. If the clinic serves 100 patients, the clinic can bill $24000 a month in therapy, pay $8000 to the therapists and pocket $16k a month, minus overhead and security guards. Do you know how many patients go to clinics? Thousands.

Which is not at all to trivialize the role of therapy, or the psychiatry: it is often the only thing keeping them out of the abyss.

But they have to go to therapy because the clinic requires it because Medicaid requires it (integrated care), and the patients need the clinic because that's how they're getting their SSI, not to mention the Zannies.  The docs need them to come because that's how they earn their living, and the government allows this because it needs someone to deal with American poverty until either we discover cold fusion or the aliens invade. The government doesn't tolerate this, it doesn't turn a blind eye towards it, it explicitly allows it. The only thing it forbids is billing for a service not performed (e.g. ghost patient.)

The new move is for inner city primary care clinics to perform a "depression screening" (questionnaire in the waiting room) and bill out a psych visit along with the normal visit.

The rise of psychiatry parallels the rise of poverty in industrialized societies.  The reason you see psychiatry in the U.S. but not in the Sudan isn't because there's no money for it in the Sudan, but because there is not enough money in the US to make some people feel comparatively like they're not in the Sudan.  Hence Zoloft.  It is the government's last resort to a social problem it may or may not have created, whatever, but has absolutely no other way of dealing with.  Predictably, world psychiatry will also be the temporary solution to world poverty until the aliens return to see what became of their 6000 year experiment.  So invest in Pfizer, it will only go up.  It has to.

I have no time to edit or rewrite this, they have already kicked in the door.  If I don't return, avenge my death.



flag.jpg


--

1. "It doesn't matter if he medicates you, or even believes you, so long as he signs the form and writes "depression."  Technically, you need a real diagnosis, so it would have to be "Major Depressive Disorder."  But to check and see if anyone even cares, I've written "depression", "depressed", and "very very sad."  The only form I've ever had returned to me was due to illegibility of my signature (so the office couldn't transcribe my name into their computer.)

2.  "If you are persistent, you will get it."  Prior to about 5 years ago, no matter how long it took you to get it, your award would include retroactive payments from the date you first applied.  So if it took you 4 years to get it, you'd get a check for 4 years worth of SSI (minus welfare you received during that time.)  But they've changed the rules, so no more retroactivity. 

2.  Protip: if the deadbeat Dad puts the money in a child's ROTH IRA, or pays for the kid's private school, or in some way puts up money for the kid that is "not available for food, shelter, clothes" then it's not counted against SSI.  I'll admit this is an unrealistically pro protip.















Comments

sick!... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2010 1:10 PM | Posted by randy: | Reply

sick!

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 8 (8 votes cast)
Verrry well thought out.</p... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2010 1:44 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Verrry well thought out.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (4 votes cast)
Brilliant, as always. Going... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2010 2:22 PM | Posted by Jim: | Reply

Brilliant, as always. Going to be difficult, however, to avenge the death of an anonymous blogger who simply seemed to stop writing.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 21 (21 votes cast)
Very provocative and highly... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2010 2:41 PM | Posted by Matt Warren: | Reply

Very provocative and highly engaging. It's not food for thought, it's a banquet. Made of snakes.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 25 (25 votes cast)
This conforms to my experie... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2010 4:07 PM | Posted by Anonanon: | Reply

This conforms to my experience trying to get SSI as a (supposed) member of the middle class. I could not get my doctors to sign temporary disability forms despite bad depression, sleep apnea, non-24-hour sleep-wake syndrome, and badly crippled executive function. I wasn't wise enough to go the community health route, and didn't have the frustration tolerance for doctor-shopping.

People would always tell me I was smart enough to figure something out, to which I would respond "How stupid do I have to be to get help?"

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these articles are so weird... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2010 4:14 PM | Posted by jake: | Reply

these articles are so weirdly (in a good way) written... i have never seen anything like it.

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Your manifesto. Excellent... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2010 4:16 PM | Posted by BHE: | Reply

Your manifesto. Excellent.

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"If they don't come back, w... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2010 4:25 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"If they don't come back, what are they going to do instead? Go work for Walmart? No, they're going to burn it."

Apt.

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The reason you see psych... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2010 4:32 PM | Posted by Roar: | Reply

The reason you see psychiatry in the U.S. but not in the Sudan isn't because there's no money for it in the Sudan, but because there is not enough money in the US to make some people feel like they're not in the Sudan.

Brilliant! Give the man the clap!

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Goes along with something e... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2010 5:50 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Goes along with something else I read recently (sorry, no link) which said that the #1 prescribed drug is xanax. Not just psych drug - ALL DRUGS.

Ah link here: http://psychcentral.com/lib/2010/top-25-psychiatric-prescriptions-for-2009/

Although this reports something different:

http://www.forbes.com/2010/05/11/narcotic-painkiller-vicodin-business-healthcare-popular-drugs.html

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And add the complementary c... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2010 6:01 PM | Posted by hermitian operator: | Reply

And add the complementary criminalization of mental illness to this dystopian anti-social mess.

Of course, it's also a lot more expensive to incarcerate a mentally ill person than it is to shove him SSI.

Just like it's a lot more expensive to prosecute perpetual wars in Nowhere countries, than it is to just not invade Nowhere countries in the first place.

But what the heck? Who am I to question the twisted logic of government? For the political Reptiles and the administrative Slugs that fund and manage those systems, it's easy. Because it's always someone else's money.

P.S. About our crazed fellow citizens festering in our jails, simply shooting them when they are psychotic, is the cheapest tactic of them all. And the most preferred by our para-military "public safety" officers. Isn't wonderful when practicality and pathology converge?

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Sudan may not be compassion... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2010 6:21 PM | Posted by Jack Coupal: | Reply

Sudan may not be compassionate enough to grant SSI, but I'm sure North Korea is.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -5 (11 votes cast)
" I need to write this and ... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2010 7:07 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

" I need to write this and get it posted before the Fingermen come and black bag me. "

V for Vendetta reference, didn't see that coming.
Exceptionally written as always.

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Reading this I'm filled wit... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2010 7:22 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Reading this I'm filled with horrified awe.

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A man from my local bar wor... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2010 8:10 PM | Posted by popo: | Reply

A man from my local bar works in a prison. He claims that drugs are keeping criminals from violent crime.* He claims that if lower class people want easy money they sell drugs. But if drugs were legalised that they would steal car radios and break into houses instead.

I am a traditional liberal but that idea made me think.

*He claims that drugs are keeping (a percentage of) criminals from (a percentage of) violent crime.

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i cannot tell if you are a ... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2010 9:37 PM | Posted by V: | Reply

i cannot tell if you are a genius or a crazy man. i understand you were making a joke, but it wouldn't at all surprise me to wake up one morning and read in the papers that an odd psychiatrist blogger "accidentally" killed himself by drowning in a bathtub of lye and the government has taken his computers in an attempt to "understand" why he did it.

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Your non-sequitor is HAWT!!... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2010 9:47 PM | Posted by GT: | Reply

Your non-sequitor is HAWT!!

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It's easy to imagine TLP as... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2010 10:18 PM | Posted by Gil: | Reply

It's easy to imagine TLP as a swimming instructor:

"I can't swim."

"Sure you can." (tosses kid in the deep end)

(After the kid manages to dog-paddle his way back to a side after initially half-drowning)
"I could've drown!"

"If you did, you'd get mouth-to-mouth resuscitation." (throws kid back into the deep end.)

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Just to be clear, so you do... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2010 11:10 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Just to be clear, so you do not want SSI or psychologist, etc to be available for the less privileged if they really need it? Are you a republican?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -48 (66 votes cast)
Just to be clear, so you do... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2010 11:10 PM | Posted by T: | Reply

Just to be clear, so you do not want SSI or psychologist, etc to be available for the less privileged if they really need it? Are you a republican?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -50 (62 votes cast)
Did he say he wants riots b... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2010 12:28 AM | Posted, in reply to T's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Did he say he wants riots burning cities down?

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Reminds me of Orhan Pamuk's... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2010 4:17 AM | Posted, in reply to Jim's comment, by Ben: | Reply

Reminds me of Orhan Pamuk's perhaps unique bon mot (in the otherwise mind-numbing jeremiad, "Snow"): "We're not stupid, just poor, and we have a right to insist on that distinction."

And no, Jim, it would not be hard to avenge him. Just torch the FDA HQ with a Molotov cocktail filled with rum.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 12 (14 votes cast)
Spot on.I spent some... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2010 9:32 AM | Posted by MedsVsTherapy: | Reply

Spot on.
I spent some time, before I got my doctoral degree, working in various positions of this system.

I have been in hundreds of these med check mtgs. The doc could do these 10 min psych med checks because I was managing everything else: gathering info the day before, putting chart note in chart with all relevant info, queuing up my case load pts to see doc one after another, pulling their charts, escorting pt in to see doc, then at end of 3-hour "clinic," carrying out any rec's from doc over the next couple of days. This was all documented so we could bill Medicaid and Medicare. Yes, I got paid just abt $20/hour.

Also, I was a psych tech at a psych hospital ("float pool" to get thru grad school), and talking to an inpt - a low-income person on disability, straight off these rolls. I was asking abt stuff including what kind of work does she do.

She said, "MedsVsTherapy, you don't understand. In my neighborhood, everybody is on disability."

She could tell me the truth, that this is a social scam, a gentlemen's agreement, to pacify these "downtrodden."

All of that experience has helped me. I do research and teach. People want to study this or that, as if the diagnoses match up to reality, and as if treatment converts people from disabled back to abled.

So, maybe we discuss, and go do some visits, so the naive understand "the nature of the data," as I say.

You cannot actually study the impact of some new drug or program on outcomes when the outcomes are all the same: $600/month to be pacified.

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I saw a graph, and data, on... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2010 9:38 AM | Posted by MedsVsTherapy: | Reply

I saw a graph, and data, one day. In a presentation, or in some literature. It noted the portion of SSI and SSDI disability cases that were for mental illness diagnosis. One was ~25%, and one was ~33%.

I have searched, but have not relocated that bit of info. Please, if this rings a bell with someone, post the reference.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (2 votes cast)
"And no, Jim, it would not ... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2010 9:54 AM | Posted, in reply to Ben's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"And no, Jim, it would not be hard to avenge him. Just torch the FDA HQ with a Molotov cocktail filled with rum."

No you idiot, you can't localize the ebil conspiracy so easily. Read sec VI again. Your own (and everybody else's) black-and-white thinking is a big chunk of the problem.

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Gee, symbolism is wasted on... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2010 10:02 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Ben: | Reply

Gee, symbolism is wasted on the literal-minded, I guess. Anonymous 9:54 a.m., if you ever see somebody dumping alcohol on the street, saying "just pourin' a forty for my homies", remember that it's because the curb is so thirsty. If you're still confused, ask a pregnant virgin. They know about such things.

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"Meanwhile: do you think no... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2010 10:13 AM | Posted by Mothra: | Reply

"Meanwhile: do you think none of those 4M psychiatric SSI beneficiaries can pack a box or stack some cans? Of course they can't. How could they? They're depressed."

Yes, they probably could. However, whether anyone would hire or keep a depressed person when there are more upbeat people is debatable. The job described is commodity work and with a pool of healthy folks available the prospects could be dim for the unhealthy.

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Inability to find work does... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2010 10:50 AM | Posted, in reply to Mothra's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Inability to find work does not justify SSI.

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I love your blog. I could g... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2010 11:11 AM | Posted by Xzadfor: | Reply

I love your blog. I could gush a lot more but I think those 4 words sum it up! Thank you for your analysis and posts!

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From 1988 to 2001, the tota... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2010 11:44 AM | Posted, in reply to MedsVsTherapy's comment, by Clinical Psych: | Reply

From 1988 to 2001, the total number of people receiving SSI rose more than two and one-half times, from about 1.7 million to 4.3 million. During the same period, the number of SSI recipients with mental disorders more than tripled from 411,800 in 1988 to 1.5 million in 2001. About one in four SSI recipients (24.5%) had a mental disorder in 1988, increasing to 35.4% by the year 2001.

The percentage of "disabled workers" (SSDI recipients) with mental disorders has also grown over time, but not as rapidly as the SSI population.


http://www.infouse.com/disabilitydata/mentalhealth/4_6.php

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I used to wonder about the ... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2010 11:59 AM | Posted by Clinical Psych: | Reply

I used to wonder about the 18 year old males that would be sent to my private practice for their SSI evals. ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder, sometimes Conduct Disorder, frequently "pediatric bipolar illness" in their charts. Long history of treatment with stimulants (e.g., Adderall), antidepressants, anxiolytics (e.g., Xanax), and antipsychotics (e.g., Seroquel). I used to wonder if these docs really thought all these young people had bipolar (even though bipolar can't occur in children, according to the DSM), especially since none of them ever described anything close to a manic or even hypomanic episode. These patients think they have "bipolar illness" because they are quick to anger and have a chaotic lifestyle. Not too long ago I realized that the parents (actually, usually only one parent, the mother, or more accurately, the older female co-residing with the younger male, because no "parenting" or "mothering" was ever performed), WANTED the kids to have a psychiatric diagnosis so that they could draw SSI (it's the rural poor version of a stage mother!). Now when they turn 18, they want to get back on the dole and doing so requires a re-evaluation. Too bad for them that I usually diagnose Antisocial Personality Disorder and/or Methamphetamine Dependence -- or at least I thought too bad for them. Turns out that they often end up getting the SSI anyway, even though I thought I was helpfully identifying them as criminals and not mentally ill. But now it makes sense: throw 'em some cash and keep zonkin' 'em with meds and hope they don't wake up to their situation and wreak some real havoc.

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No, I don't think that is w... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2010 2:58 PM | Posted, in reply to T's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

No, I don't think that is what he was trying to say. While I think TLP has a libertarian or conservative bent, What I got out of the post is that he's pointing out that there are problems are much bigger than a political party. We have a real problem; But there aren't enough willing adults to acknowledge and deal with said problem, so we get a convoluted solution that says it's dealing one thing while it's really dealing with another and it's doing so in a way that allows the rest of the population to ignore and/or absolve themselves of responsibility. For a while anyway.

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What do you think was going... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2010 4:17 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

What do you think was going to happen, shoving women into the labor force?

::popcorn::

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$600 a month is not such an... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2010 4:20 PM | Posted by RC: | Reply

$600 a month is not such an outrageous price to pay to stave off rebellion. What's more concerning is that these people have bigger families than the hard-working and college educated. How long can this persist?

Maybe the government should be giving out free vasectomies?

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I work in a Substance abuse... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2010 6:21 PM | Posted by MrVetinari: | Reply

I work in a Substance abuse clinic in rural Missouri. Because Missouri no longer really funds Mental Health, we get most of our clients out of the Federal System... Medicare recipients who are often on SSI and addicted to Benzos (Zanax) and Hillbilly Heroin (Oxy). Meth cooked in a bathtub can't compete with candy made in a million dollar lab by guys with Phds in Chemistry.

The things you say about systemic abuse in the inner city are true of Rural Missouri as well, and our politics regarding "No politician can ever be seen as helping the needy with their needs" are doubly true.

I am also taking a graduate class regarding the Psychological Assessment and Rehabilitation in the Penal System. Just as the medical system becomes the outlet for treating extreme poverty, the corrections system becomes the system for treating mental illness. Hospitals and Prisons don't fill people with hate the same way that public housing does.

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The post is pointed, but it... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2010 7:03 PM | Posted by Reader: | Reply

The post is pointed, but it [the point] is not just SSI. This is the reason for a hundred other things (farm subsidies, anyone?). Anytime any politician talks about the need for "wealth redistribution", I wonder if they know about the legislation they just voted for.

Oh, wait. Doesn't matter what it is. "It'll keep the poor people quiet. Who's in a rich district to vote nay? Draw straws, boys."

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Inability to find work is d... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2010 7:18 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Inability to find work is different to inability to find work plus a diagnosis of depression or autism or tourette's or whatever plus inability to find work.

Whether or not SSI is desirable from a taxpayers point of view or from a psychiatrist's point of view, it may also not be desirable to the "normal" minimum wage non psychiatric workers to deal with a special needs colleague.

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Not so funny is it now, fun... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2010 7:24 PM | Posted by Mr. Creedy: | Reply

Not so funny is it now, funny man? *Truncheon*

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How are psychiatrists or an... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2010 9:48 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

How are psychiatrists or anyone that's part of this system able to sleep at night ? They have kids to feed ? Or put through private school ? The rego on their mercedes is due ?

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Plz ppl, your sycophant-ing... (Below threshold)

November 13, 2010 12:22 AM | Posted by Heard It Before...: | Reply

Plz ppl, your sycophant-ing is second hand embarrassment inducing.

This was a good blog post, but TLP did not invent the idea that social programs/handouts for the poor are nothing more than a system designed to keep people trapped in poverty but yet complacent enough to avoid rioting/overthrowing the ruling class. This is not a new idea. This is well known already by all people with any insight at all. There is nothing earth shattering profound here, unless of course you the reader are in your late teens / early 20s and ignorant as hell.

I suppose it is a novel spin on this idea to say that psychiatry is a new way of keeping the poor complacent (vs traditional welfare/food stamp programs)... however, I really am NOT BUYING IT. If you go to any inner city , you absolutely WILL see plenty of disheveled black people talking to themselves. These people are schizophrenic. The majority of homeless are schizophrenic, addicted to psychostimulants such as crack, or both (often occurs together). It is a simple fact that the poor classes do have more mental health problems than the middle and upper classes, for the simple reason that being severely mentally ill generally excludes you from being able to go to school, get a marketable degree (like a psychiatry degree for example), and then practice your chosen profession. Having breakdowns of psychosis sorta prevents you from doing that. Having breakdowns of psychosis generally means you will spend a lot of time in your life meandering on the side of the road talking to yourself in tattered clothing, sleeping under bridges, and swigging $2 vodka/smoking crack.
At least in america, anyway, that is probably your fate. Things might be better for you in a civilized country such as the european ones.

It's not that poverty causes mental health problems... mental health problems exclude someone from social assimilation and gainful professional employment (minimum wage job does not count) with the end result being that many people with mental illnesses live in poverty.

The reason it's so easy to get drugs in the inner cities, and disability, is because no one cares. The doctors and therapists are usually sub par at their jobs, plus they don't care. This is no one's first choice of employment (no doctor says "gee I want to work with homeless black schizophrenics"... that's usually where someone ends up, not where someone chooses to be). These people are beyond rehabilitation. Inner city clinics are a sort of a social hospice... the patients are terminal, hopeless, both severely MI and impoverished, completely bottom of the barrel socially.

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The wackos aren't in the in... (Below threshold)

November 13, 2010 2:35 AM | Posted by Ben: | Reply

The wackos aren't in the inner cities, they're right here! Subsidized vasectomies? Eugenics is a disgusting means whose ends are hard to discern. Do you think that will lead to a new master race or something, free of hereditary traits that prove inconvenient in a society based on mass culture? Plenty of 'high powered' bankers are powered by blow, and they also cheat and steal to afford it, but they look like respectable citizens are supposed to look, so it must be okay, right?

Blaming the problem on women working? More people working means more people able to buy stuff, which means more jobs for people who want to work. Or do you think that the marginal utility of labour is really that low? And if you do, why don't you quit your job, since your toil is adding nothing to that of the guy (or girl) in the next cubicle? Shoot yourself, and we don't even have to worry about your drag on the statistics anymore.

Taking the civilized, European countries as role models? I work in a central/northern European metropolis. I can rarely manage a full smoke break outside without getting an offer for a blow job in exchange for some rock from some toothless wretch (of either gender). Sure, the symbols of mass culture are superficially different, but it's a question of chocolate vs. vanilla ice cream, not pop tarts vs. organic sprouts. The problem isn't that somebody somewhere has found The Answer and America is too damned thick or stubborn to adopt it, it's that policy everywhere takes the path of least resistance. The solution that provides maximum pacification with the least expenditure of political capital is whatcha get. This applies in China just as much as Norway or Sweden. Such uniformity has nothing to do with superficially contrasting ideologies, it's because the problem everywhere is this: "... certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror."

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For a classic dramatization... (Below threshold)

November 13, 2010 8:37 AM | Posted, in reply to MrVetinari's comment, by Jack Coupal: | Reply

For a classic dramatization of the situation in your Missouri, I recommend seeing the movie, Winter's Bone.

For a "small" movie that nobody has seen, it will probably win an Academy Award for all the correct reasons. After you watch it, you'll know the reasons for the win.

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When the inner-city poltici... (Below threshold)

November 13, 2010 8:56 AM | Posted by Jack Coupal: | Reply

When the inner-city polticians (and rural ones too) learn about this neat way to get re-elected, they'll soon get on the SSI bandwagon. SSI funded by income tax payments, not Social Security payments, you say...?

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There are probably more peo... (Below threshold)

November 13, 2010 9:07 AM | Posted, in reply to Ben's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

There are probably more people alive today than the earth can reasonably support. Population limiting schemes that don't involve killing living people don't seem too bad to me. If the choice is between a stable civilization where you have to apply to have children or a Malthusian disaster I would certainly prefer a slightly big-brotherish world.

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So by logical deduction, yo... (Below threshold)

November 13, 2010 9:15 AM | Posted, in reply to Heard It Before...'s comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

So by logical deduction, you are basically saying that black people are more prone to mental illness, just because. For no reason at all. It's just a coincidence! Or maybe it's genetic! Everyone running around Africa must be mentally ill! OMG white man needs to go to Africa to save all the schizophrenics right away! Where's Bono?

Good christ. That's some seriously ignorant and flawed black and white thinking right there. Pun intended.

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I'm a criminal defense lawy... (Below threshold)

November 13, 2010 12:08 PM | Posted by Russ: | Reply

I'm a criminal defense lawyer in a big city and, yes, everyone seems to be on SSI.

What shocks me is that the underclass used to have such big families. I often hear, "My mother had 7 kids," but I never hear, "I have 7 kids."

I wonder if it's the regular checkups to get SSI that are keeping these people from having the enormous families.

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I would really want to know... (Below threshold)

November 13, 2010 1:05 PM | Posted, in reply to Russ's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I would really want to know!

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You need to learn what logi... (Below threshold)

November 13, 2010 1:32 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

You need to learn what logical deduction is, because what you just said does not in any way demonstrate logical deduction but rather logical fallacies.

I made no statements at all about black people and their proclivity to mental illness. I did state that poor people are more often black and severely mentally ill, however. If an ostrich has two legs, it doesn't mean everything with two legs is an ostrich (e.g. humans).

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Predictably, world... (Below threshold)

November 13, 2010 2:20 PM | Posted by Iris: | Reply

Predictably, world psychiatry will also be the temporary solution to world poverty until the aliens come to see what became of their 6000 year experiment. So invest in Pfizer, it will only go up. It has to.

I have no time to edit or rewrite this, they have already kicked in the door. If I don't return, avenge my death.

This is why I love you.

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This post seems to tie in t... (Below threshold)

November 13, 2010 4:00 PM | Posted by Escapist: | Reply

This post seems to tie in to TLP’s previous post about “Have you ever had your ass kicked? No? Maybe that’s the problem” on the topic of self-deluding middle-class niceness. Regarding the idea that the SSI system is to keep the poor from running amok and burning LA:

On both an individual and national level, it appears the formerly poor get angry at and take a harder edged view towards such threats (e.g. Singapore’s response to such behavior/threats compared to that of the US, or a formerly poor person’s response to a prospective mugger, as compared to a nice middle-class one’s), while the long-time middle-class/prosperous are inclined to feel pity and offer payoffs.

The cheaper way is to let the first batch run a little amok and then use defensive tactics which make an example of the consequences of such actions. The reason this is not done (and a payoff approach like SSI is used instead) is the mentality of trained middle-class niceness which says “just cooperate and give the mugger your wallet”. Reality: bad guys are often irrational and will go to violence not in spite of your submission, but _because_ of it (it infuriates them and activates a predatory instinct). Perhaps this is because humans have a need for achievement, and getting something easily doesn’t satisfy it.

Data analysis idea: see if “riots by the underclass” type violence increased or decreased after payoffs like SSI were introduced. I recall reading some articles and such indicating that it increased rapidly after the Great Society welfare state was introduced in the 60s.

[Add effusive blog-flattery here]

Obligatory self-promotion plug: http://escapistart.wordpress.com

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My oldest son was eligible ... (Below threshold)

November 13, 2010 11:06 PM | Posted by Karen Fenn: | Reply

My oldest son was eligible for SSI, which we used when he was at home, because his medical bills were more than our income, even after insurance.
We went through the entire appeals process before we got on the program, each time being denied for ridiculous reasons. (a doctor told the admin judge that 15-40 petit mal seizures per day would not affect his life! Another doctor said having extreme reactions to some meds was no reason not to take those meds.) After months of denials, some official finally read the listing that said 1 siezure per week automatically made a child eligible. Criteria is different for children than for adults.
We were also told that our worker was one of the top workers in our region because he had a 97% denial rate for new applicants!
This was back in the 70's, 80's. perhaps things have changed..
By the way, while he still has an occassional siezure, new meds give him better control, and he has a very good job with great benefits that pay for most of his medical care, at least making it affordable. He gave up SSI in his late 20's.

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The drug dealers don't need... (Below threshold)

November 13, 2010 11:08 PM | Posted, in reply to popo's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

The drug dealers don't need to steal radios and break into homes, but the addicts they sell to do.

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Lazy rich people with a sen... (Below threshold)

November 14, 2010 1:36 PM | Posted by AnAnon: | Reply

Lazy rich people with a sense of entitlement always resent lazy poor people with a sense of entitlement. Why? Because their sense of entitlement to unearned wealth is challenged when someone else feels entitled to unearned money. As a broad generalization that recognizes that individuals do step outside of these particular political mindsets. Well off "neoliberals" may be trying to appease the rabble and pretend they're good people because they're trying to avoid a sense of guilt about the inequality of the system and justify their own wealth (none of them seem to feel any less entitled than other wealthy people though, just a bit guilty about it on an unconscious/personal image level - their narcissistic image involves being a "good person"). Of course, the "neoconservative/republican" response is just straight up entitlement with no underlying feeling of guilt because they view the poor as objects to be used/controlled and consider being scornful/abusive to those less powerful a sign of their superiority. Both mindsets are narcissistic but I keep thinking of how Alone points out that it's better for someone with a NPD to at least pretend and go through the motions of being a decent human being since behavior defines who we are. Of course, politics is all about image with behavior often being totally ignored - and it's designed to appeal to the public's narcissism via nationalism/patriotism, creating false senses of entitlement, claiming others are out to destroy them (meaning their narcissistic image). Is it really any surprise that both the riot kiddies (I don't mean real activists, there's a distinct difference) and the tea partiers (and I don't mean the libertarians who aren't just corporate tools, the tea partiers don't even seem to really be libertarians) seem to be always exuding narcissistic rage?

However, if you look at what the very rich are investing in you'll notice that the rich in America (and Canada and Europe) are actually very busy preparing themselves for civil unrest (and are busy creating the contest for unrest to buy more weapons/"security" devices from a few major players - like Haliburton et al - using taxpayer money/debt). Social spending will be cut, you can be damn sure military spending won't (Canada is being dismantled using exactly the same NeoCon strategy of promoting non-reality based thinking, pseudoscience and privatization that hurts national interests but promotes corporate ones). The G20 meetings keep being used as dry runs by governments (as were the Olympics in China) who want to implement an authoritarian surveillance culture. (That's the real "nanny state" - though really it's a jailer state since there isn't even the pretense of caring.) Of course, all of this is essentially about money and making the wealthy narcissists feel "safe". All those security measures aren't there to make us feel safe, quite the opposite, but they are there to make the wealthy 1% who are terrified of the masses and see us as other feel safer and in control.

Why do you think they're feeling up and xraying people at airports in the US? (Apart from Chertikoff making oodles of cash because he's connected with the company that makes them.) To get people used to meekly submitting to indignities and watching it being done to others, to discourage air travel in general (nobody in Oceania ever goes to Eastasia or Eurasia), and to create an environment of fear/insecurity to justify more security measures. Fear makes people very easy to manipulate and fearful people are more likely to follow narcissists/propagandists because they give the illusion of safety/control.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081007155100.htm

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Although I sort of agree wi... (Below threshold)

November 14, 2010 2:03 PM | Posted, in reply to AnAnon's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Although I sort of agree with you on many of your points I think you vastly overestimate the cohesiveness and intentionality of the powerful forces in our society. While the outcome of reduced freedom, greater public unrest, and increased inequality may well come to be, I really don't think there is an elite group with a plan behind things. No one is smart enough, powerful enough, or even evil enough. The forces that shape our society are blind and mostly out of anyone's hands.

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I wonder if it's the reg... (Below threshold)

November 14, 2010 4:47 PM | Posted, in reply to Russ's comment, by Anon2312: | Reply

I wonder if it's the regular checkups to get SSI that are keeping these people from having the enormous families.

Do the drugs most commonly prescribed in inner-city clinics suppress libido?

There's a sinister thought.

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I think you misunderstand -... (Below threshold)

November 14, 2010 5:12 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

I think you misunderstand - the making of/stealing taxpayer money and "privatizing" part is entirely intentional, as is the creation of a surveillance culture. That's just business, which tends to be about how to exploit people and situations (because that's generally how you make big money, on someone else's back - the real world and the market is governed by need and scarcity, real or manufactured...advertising is one way of manufacturing need, or rather promoting desire as need).

Wars have always been part of this equation - they've always been predominantly about expansion and control of resources. The ideology part is a sucker's game (that's why the Roves and Cheneys of the world do things like promote anti-gay sentiment even they have a gay kid, they don't hate their kid or gays, they're just Randian operators who say what is politically useful whether they believe it or not). The reality is that people do actually conspire sometimes, especially when they can profit from it. It's not lizards or aliens or demons, it's just rather normal human behavior. When it's not secret, we just call it collaborating.

Individuals justify things to themselves all kinds of ways, of course, and there are also some pretty rote social justifications for exploiting others (using implying the victim deserves it or it's really for the greater good somehow). For instance, poor people justify trying to game the system because the system is stacked against them (which it often is). Rich people have different justifications for why they're entitled or why what they do is great not crappy or whatever.

People are just people at all levels - so, yeah, most people are just cogs in the machine and the machine has it's own momentum but powerful and rich people do meet both publicly and privately to discuss collaborating in ways that make them more wealthy. And you can be damn sure that they're invested in making sure that poorer people don't collaborate to get any of that wealth (it's what union busting and shifting the workforce over to contract work is all about - removing the ability for workers to organize).

On the other hand, there's also a quite strong trend towards collaborative culture that's partly driven by technology and the open source/DIY/collaborative ethos. A great deal of this, shall we say struggle over values, is being duked out around technology because technology allows both the creation of the panopticon and the potential for anarchist/rhizomatic collaboration - we see it in things like the conflict over right to use/IP law, the fight over who gets to decide what we do with our bodies (abortion, assisted suicide, drug use - being the most obvious - the less obvious is patenting of genes and corporations laying claim to all the planetary resources), the attempts to censor and control the internet, and so on.


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Anonymous - "No one is smar... (Below threshold)

November 14, 2010 5:36 PM | Posted by AnAnon: | Reply

Anonymous - "No one is smart enough, powerful enough, or even evil enough. The forces that shape our society are blind and mostly out of anyone's hands."

Not at all, we all play a role in shaping our society and perpetuating specific values and behavior - even if it's an unconscious one or one we are in denial about. Trying to pretend it all just happens and us humans don't have any responsibility regarding what we've created is, well, avoiding personal responsibility. Rich people who exploit others like to say things like "that's just the way the world is" - it's also a way to avoid responsibility for how one behaves and how it effects others.


What most people consider "evil" is just antisocial behavior and being devoid of empathy - people often consider those with NPDs "evil". And violent dictators all over the world are busy shaping the societies they rule over - the saving grace is that narcissists, even when they collaborate with each other, are perfectly willing to eat their friends and their young if it serves their purpose. And, of course, there are often competing personal or institutional/corporate interests so there are groups trying to influence our society in a variety of directions. I'm not sure what you think groups and individuals like the G8, G20, the Carlyle Group, Soros with his meetings and on and on are doing when they get together other than collaboratively trying to shape the world to their vision.

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Typically with adults, I do... (Below threshold)

November 14, 2010 6:36 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Typically with adults, I don't have too much difficulty challenging the continuation of SSI and not signing the forms given to me. What becomes particularly problematic is when a family has obtained SSI for a child and come to rely on that income to support the family. They have a vested interest in maintaining the child's "illness", which makes improvement near to impossible. The parent will sabotage the improvement or perhaps just lie about the child taking meds and not show up to appointments UNTIL it's time for me to sign their paperwork again. When I even hint at how this is damaging to their child's health, I become the villian and they go get a different doctor.

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Or perhaps they need that m... (Below threshold)

November 14, 2010 10:09 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Or perhaps they need that money to be able to feed all their children or losing that bit of income would end up with the family becomin homeless. Poverty can mean that parents have to make difficult choices or choose the lesser of two evils. If you're just prescribing meds and acting as a gatekeeper, why would they see you as anything other than someone who prescribes meds and acts like a gatekeeper? You make them into the villain, they make you into the villain - you see each other as the enemy rather than actually considering just how damaging and ineffective the system is. Only difference is that you're walking out with a much bigger paycheck.

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So 65% have a mental illnes... (Below threshold)

November 14, 2010 10:15 PM | Posted by Lori: | Reply

So 65% have a mental illness? By my numbers, that's a bit low: about 10% of my homeless patients have schizophrenia; 20% are bipolar; 5% have schizoaffective; 30% have a disabling anxiety usually with a depressive disorder. Of the anxiety group, almost all of them have PTSD (reading between the lines: were physically and/or sexually abused as children). And then another 25% of my patients have personality disorders of which 99% of them are a product of a childhood that was so dysfunctional, abusive, and terrifying that neither you nor I would likely have survived.

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"The rise of psychiatry is ... (Below threshold)

November 15, 2010 12:03 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"The rise of psychiatry is parallels the rise of poverty in industrialized societies. The reason you see psychiatry in the U.S. but not in the Sudan isn't because there's no money for it in the Sudan, but because there is not enough money in the US to make some people feel like they're not in the Sudan."

Have you been reading Guattari?

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Yes, I don't think it's ent... (Below threshold)

November 15, 2010 3:43 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Medusa: | Reply

Yes, I don't think it's entirely so deliberate and direct the way it's painted out to be here, but still, it's not like the people at the top can't be aware of this.

It's kind of like a retroactive social manipulation, only really seen in hindsight.

To paint it as totally conscious and deliberate pushes the fear-mongering envelope.

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So if you're reading it, it... (Below threshold)

November 15, 2010 5:08 AM | Posted by Philip: | Reply

So if you're reading it, it's not for you? What happened to this blog?

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"To paint it as totally con... (Below threshold)

November 15, 2010 12:47 PM | Posted, in reply to Medusa's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

"To paint it as totally conscious and deliberate pushes the fear-mongering envelope."

You're missing the point - it's enculturated, so it's both conscious and unconscious (in the sense that it's simply tied into a sense of narcissistic entitlement). Like fish in water, we are often unaware of our environment and cultural beliefs - and the biases they quite naturally promote to protect our sense of ourselves as "good people". You are aware that even sadistic dictators see themselves as benevolent?

Do you think slavery was "unconscious" and somehow accidental? Do you think attempts by industry to destroy the EPA or break unions are somehow accidental? Exploitation tends to be very conscious and intentional - it's just that the people doing it feel entitled to do it. It's a bit naive to think that dictators, CEOs and hedge fund managers are merely innocent babes in the woods who have no idea of what they're doing and the consequences for others - the point is they don't care about anyone but themselves and their own desires (and profits). It's also naive to think that politicians and government run agencies with propaganda arms aren't trying to shape society and influence the way the world works. So, it's not a grand conspiracy in the way that people who believe in lizard overlords believe - but it's foolish (and just weird) to believe that heads of state and corporations don't have private meetings where they discuss how to shape the societies we live in. Or to think that a narcissistic sense of entitlement - which we defend by deluding ourselves about being "good" people - is the same as innocence.

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And I am sorry if it scares... (Below threshold)

November 15, 2010 1:05 PM | Posted by AnAnon: | Reply

And I am sorry if it scares you to think about these things and to consider what politicians are actually doing behind closed doors at G8 and G20 meetings and how corporations routinely insert themselves in politics and try to shape society, and why they're so incredibly scared of the general public that they feel mass arrests are necessary (though really that's more for show and to justify spending tax dollars on our collective oppression - we do live in the society of the spectacle). Sure it's messy and there are factions that work at cross purposes but there don't seem to be many politicians left that AREN'T corporatists.

So, it's not that any of these politicians are geniuses or there aren't numerous pawns but there are powers behind the throne and there always have been. There are rich and powerful men - Soros is a great example because he's actually pretty transparent in his attempts to shape society. Not all people trying to shape society (and all human endeavors end up being a mixture of accident and intent) are malicious or sociopaths. But, yeah, there are plenty of bumbling fools and mistakes - and opposing agendas and sacrificial lambs - but that doesn't mean that there's not also a lot of very effective manipulation going on. Good lord, one only has to look at how effective Fox is as a propaganda machine to realize that it's not very hard to manipulate people into believing very obvious lies.

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<a href="http://news.yahoo.... (Below threshold) No one here is scared of th... (Below threshold)

November 15, 2010 3:15 PM | Posted, in reply to AnAnon's comment, by Cashman (anon from before): | Reply

No one here is scared of thinking. It's a useless ad hominem. Put another way, are you too scared to consider that lizards might be running the show?

I'm also not saying there are not people who are trying to manipulate the world, or who would like to shape the world for their own benefit. I'm also not saying that people are not being manipulated. I'm just saying that no one is trying to increase the power of corporations as a group. Individual corporations, institutions, and politicians want to fulfill discrete goals (although they do share the goal of ensuring their individual survival and increasing their individual power.) They work together when it serves the interests of each one as an individual.

Government leaders and corporate leaders do meet behind closed doors, but they probably only rarely meet as allies. The fact there is an EPA at all that industry tries to subvert is proof that government is not entirely under the sway of industry (or an elaborate ruse to fool the population I guess..)

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Cashman - hey, you were the... (Below threshold)

November 15, 2010 6:34 PM | Posted, in reply to Cashman (anon from before)'s comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

Cashman - hey, you were the one who brought up fear and considered discussing the machinations of the powerful as fear-mongering. That suggested that you found the idea frightening (I don't really, it's pretty much how the ultra rich have always operated). It wasn't "fear of thinking" in general that I was suggesting, it was fear of considering that the machinations of the powerful aren't just all accident and coincidence and that we all have some level of responsibility for the shape of society - it was the rejection of a particular idea because one doesn't want to believe that people may be "smart enough, powerful enough, or even evil enough",to conspire to do antisocial things for their personal benefit. Certainly Hitler was quite successful at exploiting the social conditions to get pretty far along in over world domination.

Sure there are factions and rogue elements but there are also non-governmental organizations and corporations that direct/influence politics in covert ways. A prime example is the current Canadian Prime Minister who has very deep links to the same ideological neocon thinktanks as American neocons (and the British) and is using exactly the same strategy to get rid of public science and the means used nationally to try to establish a reality-based social policy. It's all just corporatism really. Sure the EPA still kind of exists but it's a hangover from another time and has become pretty powerless in the US.

And, while I enjoyed the silliness of the old tv show V with its rat eating lizard overlords, I don't mistake it for reality. If someone has some evidence that alien lizards are ruling the world, other than the voices in their head said so, I'd be willing to consider it. (Incidentally, it's not surprising that aliens have replaced demons in the minds of paranoid schizophrenics who believe aliens are controlling their minds and running the world - its' a secular replacement.)

Certainly it's both systemic and personal - and there can be conflicting agendas at times. But a Papa Doc doesn't just arise because it's natural, it's because they conspire to achieve power and keep it (often with the covert help of other nations). The US has propped up all kinds of dictators (as have other nations and corporations) and been involved in toppling governments (so has Soros for that matter).

So, no, I don't think there's one person secretly ruling the world while stroking their white cat, however it's kind of obvious that there are powerful, incredibly rich groups that do aspire and conspire to shape society to their own ends (or corporate ends). Of course, the people who promote lizard conspiracy theories are actually very useful on a disinfo level because they mean that all kinds of people start to associate any discussion of actual collusions and secret collaborations as crazy talk. Just like the corporate Tea Party was very useful for diverting what was initially a potentially dangerous libertarian movement (that was more anarchist than corporatist).

The CIA exists, spies exist, people get killed for revealing conspiracies and secrets - people do plot and conspire. They probably consider it "collaboration" but conspiracies are just secret collaborations. Granted a lot of what you get to hear about vis a vis the CIA is the wacky stuff - like how they promoted abstract expressionism - but stuff like MKUltra isn't very funny. A great example of an organization that has power, money and are "evil" (aka antisocial or pathological) enough to try to shape the world through all kinds of covert and overt means is Scientology (and Scientology even has weird links to the US military).

My point in bringing it up isn't to make people fearful - reality really does remain the same no matter what we believe (consensual reality doesn't but objective reality does). It's to discuss what's going on because you can't intentionally shape reality if you can't see it (just like we can't change our own behavior if we're in denial about it). Rand's Objectivist philosophy was very much about this and provides a framework to justify pathological narcissism (it promotes a sense of entitlement based upon a belief in one's superiority to the rest of humankind).

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One can, of course, practic... (Below threshold)

November 15, 2010 6:43 PM | Posted by AnAnon : | Reply

One can, of course, practice reality based thinking (as opposed to the magical thinking which dominates America) without being an Objectivist or buying into Rand's philosophy. (Just in case that wasn't clear.)

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For both AnAnon and Cashman... (Below threshold)

November 15, 2010 7:18 PM | Posted by Rozzer: | Reply

For both AnAnon and Cashman: Interesting posts. What are each of your favorite websites?

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No, I'm not missing the poi... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 5:45 AM | Posted, in reply to AnAnon's comment, by Medusa: | Reply

No, I'm not missing the point.

My point was that if you communicate it as such, as if it's entirely conscious and fully deliberate on the part of all politicians and everyone in power, treading so close to painting a conspiracy theory picture, all you are going to do is create reactionary... reactions. And no one will listen, especially those people who consciously or unconsciously are manipulating society. Those that need to hear it the most.

The only ones who will listen are those that already agree. Or those that already would read blogs like this.

Why? Because people are stupid. And if they aren't stupid, they generally have egos. You have to communicate ideas without rubbing someone's ego the wrong way, and without pointing fingers.

There's an art to it. The blog writer here, while very very good and very very intelligent, treads the line.

(I don't disagree that there are people who are consciously manipulating society, but lets face it, those intelligent enough to be able to do so are far and few and in-between. If one or two people really have a ability to manipulate society, and maybe they do, then fuck it all, we are just fucked, so what's the point in talking about it?)

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To summarize, to say "You, ... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 6:01 AM | Posted, in reply to AnAnon's comment, by Medusa: | Reply

To summarize, to say "You, the government, are manipulating us!" is of no help, because most of the government probably doesn't see it this way, and you'll just be called loons.

Perhaps this "manipulation" is just good intentions paving the way to hell, perhaps it's politicians too mired in their own bullshit and egos to even see what they are doing. Maybe a couple of bonefied villians thrown in for good measure, sure. Either way, pointing fingers and centralizing blame doesn't automatically and magically make anyone "see the fucking light", no matter how many facts you dangle from the tip of your finger.

But maybe this blog is only for the converted, I don't know. If so, that's fine. There is no requirement that a blog is actually supposed to do anything besides just be text on a screen.

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Thanks a million, ClinPsych... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 9:52 AM | Posted, in reply to Clinical Psych's comment, by medsvstherapy: | Reply

Thanks a million, ClinPsych. --The same data I was trying to re-track down almost a year ago. This helps for spring lecture.

Astounding: a third of the people disabled by illness are disabled by a mental disorder?

No way.

I have known zillins of people with "mental disorder" diagnoses, and MR diagnoses, who work.

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Medusa - I'm not an evangel... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 9:56 AM | Posted, in reply to Medusa's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

Medusa - I'm not an evangelist nor am I trying to "convert" anyone - interesting language you choose. This is a blog comments section - I have no delusions that I will save the world or "save society" (yikes!) by posting a comment or discussing the blog and I'm not sure why you feel that I should. People's enlightenment is their own business - I'm not in the mind control or manipulation business (well, not in a blog comments section, I do get paid to work in advertising sometimes...now there's an area where mosts people really are more unaware than many people, including those in advertising, believe). You seem to be projecting a lot of your own desires/intentions onto me here and getting frustrated that I'm not conforming to them.

Medusa - "To summarize, to say "You, the government, are manipulating us!" is of no help, because most of the government probably doesn't see it this way, and you'll just be called loons."


That's why I said we all contribute to shaping society and bear some responsibility - it's not just "the government", it's all of us who define how our society is shaped. Of course, systems can often influence behavior so being aware of how systems work is important if you want to choose to navigate them consciously. And I never said "see the fucking light" - that seems to be your hangup. Also, if you think a blog post is going to somehow convert an entitled rich person into someone "enlightened" then I'd suggest you don't actually know anyone who's really rich (you know, the kind of wealth generations live off of - in my experience they're just people, of course, and like almost all people they prefer to think of themselves as "good"...it's interesting watching rich kids try to be ethical or look ethical while avoiding any of the discomfort or choices that usually accompany actually really behaving in an ethical manner).

Anyway, I get it that you see it differently than me and I have no issue with you having your own perspective (I'm not an evangelical, I'm not trying to control your mind or beliefs - you can take or leave mine). I'd suggest that rather than trying to control what I write or say because it's not what you'd like me to write, say or believe - or how you'd like me to say it - you just write about your own perspective and beliefs.

I find it a bit odd that you think politicians and government have no interest in shaping society - it's kind of what politics is all about. Just because the public face of politics is all show business - particularly in the US - it doesn't mean that the actual role of government in shaping society through laws and funding no longer exists. Or that thinktanks, corporations and lobbying organizations don't try to influence government. You are aware that many politicians go from working in politics to being CEOs and CFOs, and vice versa, it's pretty much a revolving door. I find it odd that you seem to believe politics and government aren't about politics and governing!

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Your problem is that you th... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 3:11 PM | Posted, in reply to AnAnon's comment, by Medusa: | Reply

Your problem is that you think I'm talking about you. Are you the one writing this blog? You, my friend, are 'missing the point'.

Of course I know it's not just the 'government' that shapes society. Also, please note that I said 'manipulate', not 'shape'. Besides, I'm talking in terms of this blog post, which is specifically about one way in which the 'government' is 'manipulating' society.

What, should I have said 'The Man' instead? Whatever, it's just semantics, and beside the point I was trying to make anyway.

I'm aware of how things work. I'm aware of lobbyists, and government/corporate ties, all that crap. I know plenty of very wealthy people, I know how it all goes.

My opinions don't really differ from yours, it's just the way that the opinions or views are conveyed and presented that I have issue with (and no, I am still not talking about you!), which is a big reason why I see people not communicating on all levels, government and politics included.

I'm talking about form, not content.

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Heh,oddly enough Medusa whe... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 3:52 PM | Posted by AnAnon: | Reply

Heh,oddly enough Medusa when someone specifically answers a comment I made, I tend to think they're directing a post at me. Silly me! ;-) Anyway, thanks for clarifying...and now that you have. Yes, I agree to some degree that some people can be influenced by using a more seductive or manipulative approach. However, I'd also suggest that if someone is in denial about something or if reality challenges core beliefs and creates cognitive dissonance, then the cognitive kill switch is engaged and it doesn't matter what form you use.

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Very true. That's why I say... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 4:18 PM | Posted, in reply to AnAnon's comment, by Medusa: | Reply

Very true. That's why I say there is an 'art' to talking to people like that. Which I guess can almost be a kind of 'manipulation' in and of itself...

(Sorry if I wasn't clear. I was responding to your response to my response to the blog post.)

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No worries, you just starte... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 6:06 PM | Posted, in reply to Medusa's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

No worries, you just started responding to me so I took it that your responses were to me and not about TLP. Glad we cleared it up :-)

I agree that it's usually useful to try to communicate in a language and manner that someone can understand if you're trying to convince them of something - know your audience :-) In many ways that's marketing. I guess it depends whether one's intent is to persuade and/or manipulate or to simply present some ideas for discussion and allow people to do with them what they will. It's pretty clear that different readers get entirely different things from TLP - sometimes the understandings are radically different and even contradictory in some ways. We bring our own knowledge/background, subjectivity and confirmation biases to anything we read or any conversation we have (myself include, of course :-)

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If you spend enough money o... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 6:33 PM | Posted by "David O'Bedlam": | Reply

If you spend enough money on rum you can save money on things you won't have to mix it with. I spent $12 on this stuff and ice alone is fine tonight.

Anyway. Does anybody want to hear an SSI recipient's point of view?

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Sure, please fill us in.</p... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 7:49 PM | Posted, in reply to "David O'Bedlam"'s comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Sure, please fill us in.

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What? Treating low income m... (Below threshold)

November 20, 2010 12:31 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

What? Treating low income mental patients is some kinda conspiracy? Holding back the righteous rage? I'm on board.

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scuse me, doctor, but my bi... (Below threshold)

November 20, 2010 4:13 PM | Posted by Ruth Deming: | Reply

scuse me, doctor, but my bipolar disorder one IS cured. it ran its course and at age 64, i've had no mood swings in eight years. who, anyway, said bipolar is forever? AstraZeneca? Lilly? our NIMH?

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Ruth - it is possible your ... (Below threshold)

November 21, 2010 1:03 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Ruth - it is possible your BP I is triggered by ovarian hormones. If your BP I went into remission circa menopause, I would bet a large sum that estrogen is a major trigger for your mood episodes.

I have a mood disorder in my family, both sides have it, I have it as well. Speaking personally, my mood disorder manifests as a mild bipolar II, I started developing symptoms of depression around the onset of puberty (9 yrs old) and by 16 I was full on nuts with depression. In my early 20s I had my first symptoms of mania (prior to this I had never experienced any mania symptoms). Since then I've had on and off bouts with both depression and mild mania.

My mother has had recurrent depression, with similar patterns as me (although my mother has never had mania symptoms ever). My mothers depression went into almost total remission after menopause.

Sex steroids are powerful trigger for mood episodes in people with an underlying biological disposition to depression or mania. WE really overlook this fact, but the major etiological role of estrogen in mania/depression is a very good reason why men and women often have their first mood episodes at puberty. Women especially are noted to have mania at estrogen dominant points of their lives, as well as during abrupt progesterone withdrawal (PG withdrawal disinhibits estrogen). Mania follows a pattern like seizures as both have similar hormonal triggers (where estrogen activity relates to seizures, it also relates to mania).

Estrogen, like cortisol, is a great way to cause mania. And the instability in the brain from these hormones could also lead to depressions.

Just saying, but, given your age (64) and that you have been symptom free for 8 years, that seems to correlate rather well with circa menopause. If someone were to start giving you estrogens today, I would expect you would resume your pattern of bipolarity and manic episodes.

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And, regarding bipolar...</... (Below threshold)

November 21, 2010 1:07 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

And, regarding bipolar...

I don't view it as an "illness" but rather a tendency. While acutely in a depressed or manic state one can be said to be ill, or at least not doing well, or at the very least not totally stable... but once the depression or mania is resolved (either by natural means or by drugs) then one is no longer ill. One, however, always has the tendency to bipolarity. One always has the genetic predisposition to have their brain be affected in that way.

I've been doing quite well, and I don't feel ill or think of myself as crazy or abnormal at all but I know how I get and I know I have the tendency for my brain to not work properly due to various triggers.

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hi anonymous and anonymous!... (Below threshold)

November 21, 2010 9:19 AM | Posted by Ruth Deming: | Reply

hi anonymous and anonymous! thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. btw, i was 45 for menopause. also recently i had to take a course of steroids. when i had bipolar d/o, i'd become manic on them, but now, since i'm cured, i felt zero effects.

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This comment went unappreci... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 2:16 AM | Posted, in reply to Lori's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

This comment went unappreciated.

Thank you, Lori.

TLP is trying to paint this picture that mental health problems among the very poor are a figment of society (i.e. "lets just label the poor as crazy and give them government handouts so that everyone is happy - the poor won't revolt, and the middle class won't bitch about the welfare state").

However, as a human being who has BEEN to inner cities, who is a medical processional who has SEEN government funded psych care clinics and inpatient hospitals for mental health... yea, it's a fact that mental health problems are pretty common. These people are not mentally stable. We all laugh at the homeless guy talking to himself, the older afram man pushing a shopping cart... the guy on a bench with flies around him muttering to himself. None of those people are mentally healthy. They are all mentally ill, either due to schizophrenia or drug addiction or both.

People who are in poverty are not always mentally ill, but mentally ill people (severely mentally ill) are almost always in poverty. Mental illness, along with drug addiction, are the two major reasons a person fails to take care of themselves and function socially, and it only stands to reason this would be true as drugs (exogenous craziness) and mental illness (endogenous craziness) destroy your brain's ability to function normally.


Or, the TLDR version: No one chooses to be poor. People who are poor often have non-working brains, as a non-working brain is the biggest reason a person will remain in poverty when there are so many options to be at least minimally content in our society. The reason for a non-working brain can be varied - drugs, severe abuse, or endogenous mental illness, or all three, but either way, the brain doesn't work and "society" didn't fabricate it up. Poverty and mental illness often go together.

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<a href="http://www.songmea... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 2:35 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/1111/

This song always affected me. I never knew what it was about, I always sort of assumed it was about art alexis' drug addiction...
it's actually about a crazy homeless man who killed his friend. It is written from the perspective of a confused, angry social outcast. The vibe of the song is a sadness & despair so deep that one can only lash out in inappropriate anger... the anger flows over edges and boundaries, over like a tide covers the shore; it takes everything under it including the poor desperate person from which it came. The anger and sadness is all that remains at the end, and a profound sense of nothingness. Like time, like the ocean sorta just erases creation.

While reading this, I had the song in my head.

And yea, I finally looked up the meaning and it's so fitting.

I also find it interesting the URL address of the song is "1111" as there are thousands of songs on this website and none of them have a URL address like that (most of them are like "375" or "3865" or something).

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My neighbor was on SSI. She... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 10:46 PM | Posted by Harun: | Reply

My neighbor was on SSI. She couldn't work because she was a drunk. She trashed the house and lived with several other scumbags. They actually took taxis to the liquor store because they had no license and couldn't be bothered to walk a mile.

Note, 600 bucks a month is not a lot of money...but you can also get section 8 housing and food stamps. So, actually, it is a lot of money. Oh, plus child tax credits. My wife is learning English at an ESL school, and a lot of the immigrants there were willing to teach her how to get the benefits. They know all the tricks, like to have a beat up car valued under so much, etc. Oh, but some of those immigrants work their asses off, too - don't want to leave the wrong impression.

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If your wife is taking an E... (Below threshold)

November 25, 2010 1:26 AM | Posted, in reply to Harun's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

If your wife is taking an ESL class either you or her or both are not american so why are you bagging on immigrants? Self loathing?

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Now me, I'm on SSI, ... (Below threshold)

November 25, 2010 1:48 AM | Posted, in reply to Harun's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply


Now me, I'm on SSI, I've been on SSI since 1986, because I'm obviously nuts. I mean obviously: no matter how I try to hide it people can smell the crazy anyway. You could too, from across the street. And this impedes my life quite a bit. I have never had a real job, I have never had a stable and decent relationship with another human being, I have been unable to finish a frigging AA degree in "General Studies," and so on.

I don't need to drink or do drugs to achieve this wonderful state. If anything the booze mellows me out, and I didn't "take to drink" until almost 20 years after I first got SSI anyway. No, you see, I'm the kind of barely functional fuckhead that SSI was designed for. In the old days they'd have "warehoused" me, but now thanks to Big Pharma, Uncle Sam and Geraldo Rivera I'm out here alone.

I can afford to pay rent for this "studio" apartment, I can afford a DSL connection and the electricity to power my lifestyle, and I can afford as much cheap booze as I can stand to drink. (It's not much, I'll be "Alone" could drink me under the table.) And that's it: nobody gets anything from me for Xmas. One thing I can afford to splurge on is food, thanks to "Food Stamps" I can pretty well, and if I'm reasonably careful I'll still have $20 left when the next payment comes in. I've gained 10 pounds in the past year and I look pretty pregnant.

Before getting SSI in 1986 I was "sleeping rough" and barely managing to keep from getting busted for the petty boosting I had to do for pocket cash, when I wasn't risking arrest for vagrancy or something for panhandling on the street. (When you don't have a place to plug in a coffee maker you've got to buy it buy the cup, you know.) I'm not sure where I'd be if Uncle Sam hadn't shown mercy, but I can say that unlike people I've known over the years I'm still HIV negative, I obviously haven't frozen to death or ODed on some white powder, nor have I been shot "resisting arrest" or been beaten to death in prison. Like I said, thanks to SSI I get to be barely functional out here in the "cold cruel" world.

My part of the bargain is implicit in the terms of payment, especially that they'll stop paying me if I'm locked up for more than 30 days. Since I'm clearly not a "mastermind" that means I have to be as law-abiding and peaceful as I possibly can (in fact I haven't been arrwsted since 1987), which also means I've got to take my medication regularly -- and have someone I can count on to tell me when I might need to have my medication adjusted. It also helps to have someone to go with me to talk to landlords and so on, to show that I must be more or less okay because a fine upstanding citizen will vouch for me and hold my hand. And in case it doesn't go without saying, I've never killed, raped, or seriously hurt anyone: unfortunately for me I've always been much more of a danger to myself.

They say this is cheaper than keeping me in prison, which thanks to "deinstitutionalization" is probably where I'd wind up if I lost it big and didn't die, and I'm certainly doing better than I could have predicted 30 years ago. Even so I can barely stand my life, like every night while I wait to get to sleep I have to endure "mind movies" of stupid shit I've said or done many years ago -- before I was persuaded I had enough of a problem that maybe medication is called for. But yes, on the whole I'm doing okay, as I measure things.

So I just want to say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you U.S. taxpayers. For those who don't begrudge me my existence, I mean; for you asshole Teabagging grumps all I have to say is "Fuck you too." If I ever had to try support myself by my own efforts I'd probably set out to victimize Republicans just to spite them right back, till I died of whatever idiocy I'd blundered into that time.

Now I'm going to brush my remaining teeth and stagger off to bed. In the morning I might regret posting this here, but hey, I've learned that certain amount of regret is inevitable.

G'night!


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My boyfriend was kept in a ... (Below threshold)

November 26, 2010 4:32 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

My boyfriend was kept in a nursing home for the chronic mentally ill for 10 years. He was given 30 dollars of his SSI, and the nursing home kept the rest plus thousands from Medicare/caid. Prior to that, he was homeless on a tourist island for 10 years. The nursing home made quite a bit of money off of him. Those places are such hellholes, any sane person would go off in them. The CNA's make fun of the patients and egg them on until the patients get mad and say something like "PUSH OFF" then, they get shot up with a thorazine and haldol combo--shipped to the psych ward and placed in another nursing home. He was in 8 nursing homes in 10 years. He hid in the basement and learned to play the harmonica. They wanted him to get on a bus everyday and go to a big warehouse where a company called New Dimensions would force him to color in coloring books. Funny thing--he is amazing artist, but they forced him to color in the lines. He ran away from the nursing home and ended up in a psych ward where they tried to cure his schizo affective disorder with some kind of D.A.R.E program. Now he lives with me. He gets his own SSI and money from his Dad dying when he was young. This saves the government thousands of dollars. He is only 39 and sometimes hyper and delusional if his meds don't work--never needed a nursing home though.

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The awful truth is that som... (Below threshold)

November 27, 2010 4:31 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

The awful truth is that something strange happens when a person fakes mental illness to get SSI. They become mentally ill. They really do. It is like a cruel trick of nature. You fake depression--you become trapped in a bummer ssi world. You fake hearing voices--suddenly, the FBI is telling you LEFT - RIGHT - LEFT direct data downloads to your brain. You fake mania and you find yourself awake for 2 weeks--having spent all your money. Funny thing. Not haha funny, just odd.

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4:31 that doesn't make sens... (Below threshold)

November 27, 2010 5:11 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

4:31 that doesn't make sense. It is much more likely that what you are describing as "faking" it, is probably more accurately described as the prodromal phase of mental illness. Meaning to say, the person you do not consider depressed was actually on their way to depression, the person you do not consider manic was actually subclinically manic before they finally lost hteir shit for serious, the person who you consider not truly psychotic was in the mild, early prodrome of schizophrenia...

... there is no way to "curse" yourself with MI.
It is biological.
Rarely is it the case that someone wakes up 0 to 180... usually there are warning signs you are cracking and mild symptoms that go untreated before the big bang.

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Dear "November 26, 2... (Below threshold)

November 27, 2010 1:18 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply


Dear "November 26, 2010 4:32 PM":

Assuming you're real, I'm glad you exist.

Which tourist island?

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Dear "November 27, 2... (Below threshold)

November 27, 2010 1:24 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


Dear "November 27, 2010 4:31 AM":

I thought when I first filed I was "faking it" and that's what I told the guys I scrounged coffee refills with. I also truthfully reported that I wished the CIA would quit following me, that I couldn't get rid of that bad smell on me, that all the little bugs all over the place worried me and that I was planning to kill myself if they turned me down.

The guys thought I was funny, in both senses.

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"So you want to file a psyc... (Below threshold)

November 27, 2010 8:52 PM | Posted by Ista: | Reply

"So you want to file a psychiatric disability claim against your former employer? Too bad."

Why? I work for a retailer that employs more people than the federal Gov. the harassment of management because of my age, disability and being "Not Jewish" their comment after finding out i was Muslim, the lower performance reports the increase of comments against my religion, they passed me over for promotions and lied about my testing standings. they set me up for anxiety situations knowing i suffer from anxiety panic attacks. (oopsy their bad, the manager didn't want to talk to you it was someone else,) after i waited 2 hours to be called into the office for said talk. Getting written up for made up reasons, they say they have video but, im not allowed to see it. yes i blame them for my current panic anxiety disorder and current state of constant fear. so why cant I file a psychiatric disability claim against my current employer?
Here's a note from me to the "fingermen" Dear Fingermen, Please release the anonymous blogger who you bagged after he posted on thelastpsychiatrist.com at least long enough for them to explain to me and the others here, their reasoning to our questions. If you do not I will send my kids to your home and seriously, there is no cure for what they can do to your sanity

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You're right. I work in an... (Below threshold)

December 1, 2010 9:56 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

You're right. I work in an inner city clinic. Most "disabled" people see Disability checks as a normal way to get a living; they do home repairs under the table, cook Thanksgiving dinner for their families,clean out basements for pay (under the table), and get paid for not having a regular job.Some do have unreported jobs.They in no way see this as dishonest or cheating; it's been going on for generations, is part of their world-view. They are astonished that working people see this as somehow illegitimate!

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"I work in an inner city... (Below threshold)

December 1, 2010 4:31 PM | Posted by DOB: | Reply

"I work in an inner city clinic. Most "disabled" people see Disability checks as a normal way to get a living...

In your experience. In (I presume) one inner city clinic, in one city.

In another thread here I was recently taken to task for "trying to promote [my] opinion as fact." Yet this post and comments like yours are somehow acceptable. I don't blame an embittered alcoholic for his double standard nor do I blame someone who "work[s] in an inner city clinic" for yours, "whatever gets you through your life," but I would like to remind you of the advisability of "acknowledging that other people are real and not just extensions of you."

Citing your experience like this is as good as saying "all women are whores and harpies" because you got one bad (ex-) wife. It's not necessarily inaccurate, but it does proceed from a rather small sample -- that's not even a good cross-section of the part of "the disabled population" that gets disability benefits.

Take me, for example: I don't live in "the inner city" but in "servants' quarters" in a luxurious neighborhood. (I lucked out this time because this landlord was used to renting to students before the Great Recession hit anyway, so he'd already hit on the "solution" of keeping back a big chunk of the security deposit.) Nor would I closely resemble what I take to be the majority of your clientele. And furthermore, most of the people around here regard how I get my rent paid as a disreputable weakness if not a total scam. (When they say "What do you do?" I say "I'm a writer," as if this stuff counts as "writing.")

Anyway. It takes me about an hour (sometimes longer) to type out one of these comments because it's hard to concentrate past the noises in my head. (In fact I can't even concentrate and focus well enough to learn to type with more than one finger.) But I have to put up with this cacophany because the only way they have to quiet that is to drug me into a stupor, which ain't much fun either. (Especially given the side-effects I get: "I'm not winking at you dude, that's the medication! Really! Please don't hurt me!") And hey, I wouldn't be able to hold a job drugged into a stupor either, y'know.

Consider what I get out on the Net like a dog that walks on two legs; if this isn't coherent or cogent it's not for lack of trying.
(Now I'm hearing that this is good enough and that I've got to shower soon.)



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SSI is a conspiracy to paci... (Below threshold)

February 21, 2011 2:42 PM | Posted by Kittypie070: | Reply

SSI is a conspiracy to pacify poor/mentally ill people so they don't riot??

Wow, you oughta call that one in to Glenn Beck. He'll enjoy it.

Yeah, keep the gubberment outta are MediCare.

I'll be laughing about this elegantly expressed but ultimately witless hypothesis for weeks and raising a glass to the poster Anonymous, November 25, 2010 1:48 AM

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You assume people like myse... (Below threshold)

May 25, 2011 11:05 AM | Posted by John Q. Public: | Reply

You assume people like myself would rather get a free check every month instead of working. SSI is a lousy $700 a month. I could make more money working, if I could handle the day to day stress that is a job, while taking my anti-psychotic medication that I must take for the rest of my life. Gimme a break. No one wants it this way!
Oh, maybe the social workers want it this way so they can make more money treating people like me, like shit!

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Anon: "So by logical deduct... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 4:40 PM | Posted by Eman: | Reply

Anon: "So by logical deduction, you are basically saying that black people are more prone to mental illness, just because."

African Americans Have 200% Higher Risk of Schizophrenia than Caucasian Americans

A recent study suggests that African Americans have a 3 times higher (or 200% greater) likelihood of developing schizophrenia during their lives.

- http://www.schizophrenia.com/sznews/archives/005560.html

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Problem with this article i... (Below threshold)

July 14, 2011 11:01 PM | Posted by jlp: | Reply

Problem with this article is you're overlooking some basic facts. For Example, SSI was not commonly paid to kids until the Supreme Court changed the definition of disability for kids. (The Zebley case, which literally had some people filing on the basis of "The Zebleys"). The News media doesn't help either. When news that kids were getting SSI for non disability conditions there was a huge outcry to have these kids all reviewed and kicked off if possibly. Unfortunately, to do so you have to get the parents to fill out paperwork so we can review it, and if they don't fill it out they can be suspended as well. A tiny minority were kids with actual disabilities, at which point the same brain dead public screamed that poor, innocent disabled kids were being penalized by mean ole beaureacrats. You don't like kids getting paid? Don't blaim Social Security; they HAVE to administer the program. Change the laws.

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Well done! I can vouch for ... (Below threshold)

August 13, 2011 4:03 PM | Posted by Mark: | Reply

Well done! I can vouch for everything said here, as I was once a Claims Representative for Title 16 (that is, SSI in fancy speak). I was appalled at the amount of fraud. When people on SSI go to jail, their benefits are to be suspended. But because of confidentiality, there is often no interface between prison records and the SSI office--so the person keeps getting SSI (sent to a family member) while in prison. I vividly remember a case where approximately $40,000 was collected by a claimant illegally, and the Inspector General wouldn't even go after it, since it was too low of amount to justify the resources to prosecute.

After nine months working for the SSA, I became a lot more heartless about welfare in general. Unfortunately, many of the people claiming the benefits don't need them, but it is all about "gimmie my check!!"

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This guy is point on. I did... (Below threshold)

September 14, 2011 5:00 PM | Posted by The Last Optimistic Medical Student: | Reply

This guy is point on. I did my psych rotation in an inner city walk-in clinic/23hr observation clinic/ hospital. All different types of craziess walked in and the psychiatrists worked 12 hr shifts and saw 20-40 pts a day - and usually there was 2 docs working the walk - ins, 2 docs (or a NP psychiatrist--which get paid less therefore clinic gets more) working 23 hr obs room, and a doc or two doing the in patient stuff. The building is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. and so in one 24 hour period you can imagine how much they are able to bill for. And this was one of the newer clinics which incorporate the walk in, 23 hr obs and in patient. I remember the heads docs flying off to other places to show people how these clinics ran b/c they are money making machines -- and they are easy to run. You just need to have the people to do it. And all their money is coming straight from the gov't. And you and I pay for it. And i can't agree with this guy more -- it's better than them running around crazy burning buildings, shooting ppl and mugging pedestrians. And you think that's a joke -- it most certainly is not. The large majority of the pt's I saw in there needed the help. And most of them will never get out of the system. It's ugly, it's ran by the gov't, ppl make a lot of money off it -- but fuc* it, at least I won't have to deal with those bastards.

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Go fuck yourself... (Below threshold)

November 30, 2011 11:45 AM | Posted, in reply to The Last Optimistic Medical Student's comment, by Anynomonus: | Reply

Go fuck yourself

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My problem with this point ... (Below threshold)

January 22, 2012 2:44 PM | Posted by anononono: | Reply

My problem with this point of view is the idea that some powerful person or group of men came to the conclusion that it's either put a large section of the population on welfare and drugs or else it's "burn LA, burn." I understand that the left wants to farm voters, they don't care about them, except for their vote, just dope em up and drive them to the polls. But, contrary to the LA-burning thesis is the destruction of the black family and black work ethic. Before the war on poverty, these same people were productive, decent members of society. So, if that were the case, when did the LA burning idea have to become the deal with the devil it supposedly is. Furthermore, maybe the productive members in society would have liked to be in the room at that discussion. "Oh, the great unwashed will riot if we don't pay them to work, and to become a permanent underclass, democrat party voting block, living lives that are an anathema to the rest of us who actually work? Fuck, em. Let em riot, we're armed too, bitches." Finally, note that US immigration policy is now importing more and more of the Sudan and Somalia and dumping them straight into dependency here. That's slow motion genocide of the US population who were here before Ted K changed the rules. That's bad faith and they call people who point that out as being the bad guys. But to the original point, who made the decision and on what basis?

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Robert Whitaker needs to re... (Below threshold)

June 12, 2012 11:08 PM | Posted by somewhereinthedark: | Reply

Robert Whitaker needs to read this!

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And it is absolutely not a ... (Below threshold)

June 19, 2012 4:45 AM | Posted by Nell Minow: | Reply

And it is absolutely not a coincidence that the mother discussed in the Globe article is a career welfare mother, try as the writer does to make us relate to her.
investingforbeginners.eu

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obviously you have never li... (Below threshold)

October 12, 2012 9:44 PM | Posted by rose: | Reply

obviously you have never lived with someone who has active schizophrenia 24 hrs a day... I have - many of his rich young lifelong friends think he's faking it to get a government check... believe me- I was there when he had his first prodromal symptoms at 16 and 17 but i didn't know what it was- i thought it was just a stage he was going through--- then he began believing helicopters were following him and the gov't was tracking him through the cellphones so he refused to carry one... believe me- he is NOT faking it- although it's a disease that waxes and wanes- the hallucinations used to come and go.. it's gotten worse as the years go by- he looks like anyone else but he's never been able to work- you think he doesn't want to? yes - he'd love to be able to work... believe me- no one wants to get a measly $698 per month and deal with hearing voices, seeing demons, being laughed at, abandoned, giving all your belongings away- being so sensitive and caring and yet no one really wants to be bothered w. your crazy delusions... it's sad sad sad & even more sad that most of population doesn't believe these people are really sick and doesn't want to waste time or tax dollars on them- they don't appear sick so the pop. thinks they are faking it... who's the sick ones here?

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uh- are you trying to blame... (Below threshold)

October 12, 2012 9:54 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by rose: | Reply

uh- are you trying to blame the victim- as they did for years to rape victims- "you were dressed provocatively, so you deserved it" type of thinking... or " you got sick so you must have done something to deserve it"... it's easy to think this way but no one DESERVES to get cancer, or schizophrenia... no one.. I wouldn't wish it on anyone... but it does exist and we who's families are unlucky enough to get it- well, we just have to deal with the hand we are dealt... by the way, the reason I am getting my master's in social work is to help my loved one and others I see afflicted with this disease... I want to try to find a cure for them and if not, to see if there is some way I can change society so that they may have the best lives possible in spite of schziophrenia. I really do care.

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Great points, I watched thi... (Below threshold)

December 10, 2012 1:21 AM | Posted by Mike: | Reply

Great points, I watched this exact scenario play out in my extended family. My brother-in-law has a couple of brothers (broken family, all different fathers) who were the definition of juvenile delinquents. At age 13 and 14 they were already so violent I wondered how long it would take for them to end up in jail for the rest of their lives. After a couple of short stays in jail all was quiet. I found out they were diagnosed as bipolar and are now on SSI. It all made sense to me then. This $600+ is a payment to keep them out of jail but out of your house or car. Kind of like a ransom payment to keep them from physically assaulting the rest of society.

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Oh it is very long discussi... (Below threshold)

January 26, 2013 8:40 AM | Posted by John : | Reply

Oh it is very long discussion here but realy i have not got real topic but what i understand is that we need to get help online from doctor.
If so i have a url to share from which i have got help.
http://aboutmental.com/depression-help/

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why call yourself an optimi... (Below threshold)

January 26, 2013 5:04 PM | Posted, in reply to The Last Optimistic Medical Student's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

why call yourself an optimistic med student, let alone the last one?

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Having grown up in a SSI fa... (Below threshold)

February 12, 2013 2:21 AM | Posted by CrankyRat: | Reply

Having grown up in a SSI family back in the sixties (shizo stepfather and busted back mother) I can tell you the support was far better back then. We could afford a small apt. in a mixed neighborhood and I went to a good school. I was able to escape my circumstances because life, although not great, was not unrelentingly brutal. We have become very selfish as a society, very cold. $600 is just enough to keep you alive in abject misery. A good percentage of this problem would be solved if we just doubled or tripled that amount. For some it will never be enough because they are deeply ill, sociopathic, or whatever. But for many it would improve things enough to turn things arond. The little we give just results in isolated ghettos of the poor.

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I think you have two pos... (Below threshold)

February 15, 2013 2:17 PM | Posted by Simon Hawkin: | Reply

I think you have two post scripta number 2. Otherwise, ok.

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For a social security fuele... (Below threshold)

March 31, 2013 5:29 PM | Posted by Kat Fud: | Reply

For a social security fueled multi-generational poverty perspective, you can watch The Wild and Wonderful White Family of West Virginia. Their father was a famous tap dancer, so they have the skills to weave a tangled but entertaining web. They're "poor" but drive SUVs. One of them explains that their daddy signed all of them up for ssi when they were children, on the claim that they were mentally ill (crazy). This was to get back at the system for putting them in indentured servitude.

They have a wonderful time when they're not in jail.

http://www.wildandwonderfulwhites.com/

Only one escaped; they talk to him too.

I can't imagine any of them in a position of even minimal responsibility. Just running a fryer at McDonalds would be dangerous.

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Your comment has the benefi... (Below threshold)

August 1, 2013 6:22 AM | Posted by armedia clark-williams: | Reply

Your comment has the benefit of a response of a real life (not pretentious for either a check &/or drugs)person whose life was completely destroyed when it Bipolar 1 & severe anxiety reached its peak in my early twenties( now fifty-five)& just when my struggle w/ four kids, college, work, were finally paying off that practically & just about literally branded me cursed from the wound & as an adult at 8 yrs old sleeping in abandoned cars w/ my two younger brothers & as my being the oldest & only girl was forced into the role of their mother. Also born poor in the 1958 era, a half breed the technical term then being Mulatto & illegitimate to a 14 yr old whose only bond to mother was the name for whom on top of all the other reason as part of survival I had to fight & defend & be thankful in one instance that my feet were dirty bc the girls that were going to jump me bc I was thought to be white & dirty feet being the identifying mark that labeled me black. I had to turn around & defend this lady's honor bc she wore the label Mom yet left me in the street's w/ her other two children hungry & there could be no better reason than the hard core bull dagger who called herself George that the other kids made fun of us both was true. Yet, & as if everything I've said was not enough nor the fact that it took me years of running to psych after psych as a human drug ginnea pigbc it would not be until years later & requiring a white woman needing justification for all the rest of white society to save face for any real research to get underway & I now know all those anti depressant prescribed were counterindicative w bipolar & only enhanced it. So I had to suffer all the consequences of my symptomatic existence associated w/ what happens down that deep dark tunnel of untreated & misdiagnoses. However, after years of walking around disconnected from self unable to control the alter ego, when I final came up from the darkness & had a small sense of clarity, I realize I had self destructed further from a successful career, college right to a felony criminal, addict, no hope of a bone of prospect at a normal life & productive member of society bc after all I had not done anything for any other reason than being black & the inexcusable acts are a part of just what we all do. Not to mention only white people suffered mental illness, I could have found some way to cope if I had any portion of the close to a million back then that I earned. I remember being surrounded by so many ppl w/ hands out but when I came up w/ empty pocket inside out I was alone. WE still have a way to go before SSI but I think this is enough for you to rethink some of what you wrote that focus blame on poor black ppl for doing nothing more than manipulating the system set up for them to fail not for the purposes of getting ahead since that's not even thinkable when they are stretching the small amount that they were lucky to get away w/ at least for now, just so their families or if lucky just them to eat from the !st to the 31st for the energy to do it all again next month.

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you know little or nothing ... (Below threshold)

November 19, 2013 4:32 PM | Posted by john: | Reply

you know little or nothing of mental illness. you are extremely lucky. i worked for over 30 years. rarely missed work. did a good job as a high school teacher. then, a 'perfect storm' happened and i became mentally disabled.

i used to think like you too...

i am currently fighting for my life each day.

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Sucks how they were forced ... (Below threshold)

November 20, 2013 4:40 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by jonny: | Reply

Sucks how they were forced to breed life to torture / sacrifice.

"The rich get richer, the poor get children."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Removing the stigma attached to death and assisted suicide would solve a lot of problems. There are so many people that want to die but are prevented from doing so by those who frighten slaves away from freedom.

No one should be forced to suffer just to accommodate a leech somewhere who needs their misery to sustain theirs.

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i also think that another r... (Below threshold)

December 6, 2013 2:03 PM | Posted by Juan: | Reply

i also think that another reason to have all the people on welfare, is as a form of control, the people will become dependent on the government, and will be easily manipulated, since their life blood will be at risk, they'll vote for whoever promises them their benifits.... or something like that

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The <a href="http://www.bre... (Below threshold)

December 24, 2013 12:59 AM | Posted by Allen: | Reply

The breast cancer society scam, in particular, is devoted to promote research on breast cancer that is second only to lung cancer in the world. TBCS supports research organizations with funds to find out the best treatment of the disease and save more lives of people suffering with it.

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testimonyDe... (Below threshold)

January 7, 2014 5:15 AM | Posted by Leigh Talbott. : | Reply


testimony

Dear atitiokotemple

I am writing to offer my thanks and deep gratitude to you to keeping my true love Ben and I together during his time in Iraq. He just never stopped thinking about me, because I got letters almost EVERY DAY, which is very unusual; he is in a high-tactical area. I was so afraid he would stray, being on his second tour, but he has NOT. He has stayed true to me because of the spells I got. you are powerful! Magic Works!!! All my devotion thank gose to you his dr.atitiokotemple@gmail.com for the good work you have done for me, Leigh Talbott.

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I ran into the same problem... (Below threshold)

March 5, 2014 2:43 PM | Posted by Lawrence: | Reply

I ran into the same problem, no single doctor would come out and say that my conditions that THEY deal with, would render me useless in working. Of course all together it paints a different picture, but I have no one doctor that oversees all of my doctors. Until I got a psyc eval done and that alone proved I had cognitive disorders that would render me unable to work.

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"Because their sense of ent... (Below threshold)

April 9, 2014 9:15 AM | Posted by hz: | Reply

"Because their sense of entitlement to unearned wealth is challenged when someone else feels entitled to unearned money."

Rich people don't have a sense of entitlement to unearned wealth you dumbfuck. The reason they make more money is because they have higher IQs and better time preferences.

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