Archive for bipartisanship

"I was a person": Time to reform our broken mental health system.


Flan post I was a person mental health post

Please take a minute to read this very heartfelt, very important post written by one of our longtime readers. Our mental health system is indeed broken. Ilene is doing everything she can to help rectify that:

Bipartisan Support is Needed to Pass Important Reforms to our Broken Mental Health System

Many people are crying out for stronger gun laws to address the increasing gun violence. The shooting of former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords, by a man in a state of psychosis, is often mentioned as a reason for these reforms. I urge those who support stronger gun laws to also support important reforms to our extremely dysfunctional mental healthcare system.

This is not an either/or situation. We need stronger gun control laws and a complete overhaul of our broken mental healthcare system, but I fear this is becoming a partisan issue. I am a flaming liberal, and I support the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR3717) which is sponsored by – gasp – a Republican.

HR3717, sponsored by Rep. Tim Murphy, contains a very comprehensive set of long needed reforms. The competing bill, the Strengthening Mental Health in our Communities Act (HR 4574), is sponsored by Democratic Rep. Ron Barber, who was shot alongside of Giffords. There are some overlaps, but HR4574 lacks several essential reforms contained in HR3717.

The Barber bill doesn’t reform the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which thwarts the efforts of family members to help their loved ones with serious mental illness and who lack insight (Anosognosia). It also doesn’t include the need for a nationwide set of Assisted Outpatient Treatment laws, which would help people with serious mental illness, who have cycled in and out of the ER and jails, get into much needed, sustained, outpatient treatment.

Finally, it fails to address the Medicaid Institutes for Mental Diseases (IMD) Exclusion, a discriminatory law which bans federal funds to IMDs, which provide the majority of services to people with a mental illness or drug addiction. This includes hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and group housing that provide on-site services and supervision. The Murphy bill includes these needed reforms.

Many people share the misconception that everyone can seek help on their own, manage their own treatment, and live on their own with occasional support. This is unfortunately not possible for a minority (about 25%) of people with serious mental illness. My twin brother Paul had schizophrenia, was treatment resistant, had significant cognitive impairments, and was in that minority.

Paul was treated like a fully functioning adult when released from the state hospital, which led to a roller coaster ride to hell and back and his early death. The “Pauls of today” will continue to become incarcerated, homeless, and die young, and their families will continue to suffer, without the essential reforms in Rep. Murphy’s bill.

Mental Health advocacy groups are calling for efforts to resolve the differences between the two bills, and to create a version which can pass the U.S. House of Representatives. Without true bipartisan support, we could lose those essential reforms contained in the Murphy bill. Please do not let that happen.

Ilene Flannery Wells

Paul's Legacy Project

To learn more about Paul, please read the book about his life; Shot In The Head, a sister’s memoir, a brother’s struggle, by our sister Katherine Flannery Dering.


Video- President's Weekly Address: Working with Both Parties to Keep the Economy Moving Forward



Cliff Notes: Bipartisan-ship of fools in DC, where "being right-wing, malevolent, & wrong is an actual career advancement plan"



My dear friend and mentor, Cliff Schecter, has a new post up; Cliff has given me permission to share his work with you, so I’ll give you the latest edition of what I call Cliff Notes.

He skewers better than a chef at Smokey Joe’s BBQ. He has comedic insights that rival those of our mutual friend, the hilarious Lizz Winstead. He’s sharper than the point on Sarah Palin’s pin head.

Here are a few excerpts from his latest, with permission. Please read the whole thing, because he has way more than I’ve included here. He explains why DC bipartisanship, as opposed to real outside the Beltway bipartisanship, should be taken to task for it's warped values and how it repeatedly fails us and promotes evil and stupid people, while ignoring important things.

It's a must-read. Here are bits and pieces that don't do it justice. Please, link over for the entire post:

Bipartisan is just so darn cool. It's hip! It's now! It's Rand Paul's talking filibuster [...]  Or, and I'm just thinking aloud here, perhaps when that word is uttered in Washington there is only once choice to be made: Run. 

Because you see, there is actually bipartisanship that makes sense. It is all over the US. It will tell you that over 90 percent of the American public thinks there should be a 3-minute background checks before you purchase a combat weapon that can dismember kindergarten-aged kids, that the minimum wage should surpass that of Heilongjiang Province and that marriage equality is a concept long overdue

But that is not the bipartisanship that exists in Washington... It's the variety that just gave us the 10-year anniversary of the tragedy in Iraq and rewarded Condoleezza Rice of the "smoking gun", "mushroom cloud" and "what does 'Bin Laden determined to attack in US' mean" with a new role as a political analyst on CBS - as if she can figure out day in and day out how to tie her shoes. 

That's bipartisanship DC style. It ignored Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Trayvon Martin and finally got around to thinking we have a gun problem after grotesque inaction reached its logical conclusion, with 20 six and seven year olds mowed down like cattle in their classroom. [...]

Spawn of the dead, Liz Cheney, is close buds with key DC media gatekeepers - so by all means let's have her on the Sunday shows even though she's a cretinous dolt whose father is so evil - he's literally burned through something like four hearts by now.  

A recent Sunday morning talk-show lineup resembled a chain gang, with Ralph Reed, onetime Jack Abramoff water boy, Tony Perkins... alongside the Ku Klux Klan and the NRA's Wayne LaPierre... Because being right-wing, malevolent and wrong is an actual career advancement plan in Washington!

Cliff Schecter is an author, pundit and public relations strategist whose firm Libertas, LLC handles media relations for political, corporate and non-profit clients. 

Follow him on Twitter: @CliffSchecter


VIDEO: John Boehner "absolutely" trusts Pres. Obama, agrees with him that there is no immediate debt problem


obama boehner pals

President Obama said that the United States does not face an “immediate crisis in terms of debt," and Republicans are twisting that to mean that he's dismissing the debt the way the GOP dismisses the truth. If they had their way, we'd be changing our motto to "In austerity we trust."

John Boehner went on the Tee Vee Machine and said that the debt crisis is “looming,” but agreed that it wasn't “immediate.”

Think Progress:

Nor is there a great deal of evidence to back up Boehner’s distinction between an “immediate” and “looming” debt crisis. The long-term projections of mounting debt he and other D.C. lawmakers rely on are in fact riddled with dramatic assumptions and uncertainties about the future behavior of both Congress and the economy.

Martha Raddatz interviewed Boehner on ABC's This Week. Here's a snippet:

Aww, did you hear that? There was a Moment of Fuzzy followed by a Moment of Trust followed by a Moment of Agreement... followed by many Moments of Same Old Thing:


Where's your trust level with the president?


We have a very good relationship. We're open with each other, we're honest with each other...


So do you trust President Obama?






Absolutely. There's no issue there.


...How long do we have to solve our [debt] problem?


...It's not an immediate problem.


...So you agree with the president on that.



Of course, right after that "yes," Boehner became less agreeable. Wouldn't want to be too bipartisan, now would we?