Paranoid and Delusional.

Jim Cooke/FMG.

Doctors are speaking out, once again, about the Tiny Tyrant’s mental state. I don’t think it has escaped anyone’s notice that Trump is not exactly the most stable of individuals; nor that his ego is a monstrosity truly out of control. I have no doubt that even the Trump Faithful have noticed this, they just find justifications and rationalizations for it. The big problem here is power. The amount of harm Trump could cause outside of the political arena was high, on an individual level, however, the possibility for harm now is past the stratosphere. This is not someone you want in charge of a monstrously over-powered military and weapons. This is not someone who should even be close to knowing the nuclear codes. This is not someone who can pull off a brinksmanship game with nukes, because no sane person would even consider doing such a thing, the potential for catastrophe is simply too high. The other terrifying aspect to all that is that Trump has no resources other than his standby of bullying. He’s not knowledgeable, he’s not in the least shamed by his willful ignorance; he’s a 70something year old white man who relies completely on Fox News for his information. This does not make him different from all those other 70something white men who do the same, but they aren’t sitting in the perch of power, and no one really cares about whatever nutty stuff they might believe, thanks to Fox feeding.

As usual, there’s much talk about violating the Goldwater Rule, but we aren’t talking about someone who is campaigning anymore, we are talking about someone who has secured a position of great power, and someone who is not mentally or emotionally capable of handling such power. We should not be so cowed, as individuals or as a society, to hush everything up based on politeness, a la you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead. There’s a time and place for such courtesies, but this is not one of them. There’s a maniacal, knowledge-deficient bully sitting in the white house, who is swayed by the last person to speak with him. This is not someone who is a thinker, let alone an independent thinker. This is a person who is utterly dependent on the thoughts and feelings of others, and does most things on a whim, much like turning into Mr. Tweet in order to parrot Fox and Friends on Twitter. There should be a discussion of Trump’s overall health, and that most certainly includes his mental health.

Donald Trump has a “dangerous mental illness” and is not fit to lead the US, a group of psychiatrists has warned during a conference at Yale University.

Mental health experts claimed the President was “paranoid and delusional”, and said it was their “ethical responsibility” to warn the American public about the “dangers” Mr Trump’s psychological state poses to the country.

Speaking at the conference at Yale’s School of Medicine on Thursday, one of the mental health professionals, Dr John Gartner, a practising psychotherapist who advised psychiatric residents at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, said: “We have an ethical responsibility to warn the public about Donald Trump’s dangerous mental illness.”

[…]

The doctors have said that even if it is in breach of tradition ethical standards of psychiatry, it was necessary to break their silence on the matter because they feared “too much is at stake”.

It is not the first time Mr Trump’s mental health has been called into question. In February, Duty to Warn, which consists of psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, signed an open letter warning that his mental state “makes him incapable of serving safely as president”.

The letter warned that the  President’s tendency to “distort reality” to fit his “personal myth of greatness” and attack those who challenge him with facts was likely to increase in a position of power.

The Independent has the full story.

4/20 Five Top Designs.

Dezeen is not neglecting 4/20, they have an article up with their 5 top picks in the burgeoning weed business. Just a few here, click on over to see them all, and read about them!

Snoop Dogg’s Leaf Collection.

US rapper Snoop Dogg launched his Leafs line of edible cannabis products with packaging designed by Pentagram to skirt around US laws on controlled substances. The collection encompasses a variety of products containing cannabis, including chocolate bars, drops and gummy sweets, as well as boxes of flowers from various strains of the plant.

Jamie Wolfond.

Canadian designer Jamie Wolfond designed this simple glass pipe for smoking accessory brand Tetra. Crafted from borosilicate glass that doesn’t conduct heat, the pipe features a short stem pointing downwards, a long stem from which the smoke is inhaled, and a shallow chamber to hold the user’s substance of choice.

Printabowl.

Seattle startup Printabowl intended these water pipes for smoking pot to be put on display rather than be hidden “in a shoebox under your bed”. Each 3D-printed bong features a designs that references organic forms, such as angular crystals and rippling liquid.

See more, and read all about them at Dezeen!

The Joy of Housing.

Rick Steves gets a hug.

Ricks Steves, author, and well known television travel guru, has his own idea of investing, and that investment hasn’t just grown over the years, it’s helped a tremendous amount of people.

Travel guide guru Rick Steves just gave a $4 million apartment complex to homeless women and kids who need housing.

Steves realized, early on, the importance of affordable housing, during his travel adventures (how else?) as a young man in Europe.

[…]

Twenty years ago, he devised a scheme where he could put my retirement savings not into a bank to get interest, but into cheap apartments that could house struggling neighbors.

“I would retain my capital, my equity would grow as the apartment complex appreciated,” Steves explained on his travel blog. “Rather than collecting rent, my “income” would be the joy of housing otherwise desperate people. I found this a creative, compassionate and more enlightened way to “invest” while retaining my long-term security.”

The 24-unit apartment complex became began housing single moms who were recovering from drug addiction and were now ready to get custody of their children back.

“Imagine the joy of knowing that I could provide a simple two-bedroom apartment for a mom and her kids as she fought to get her life back on track.”

There’s a nice little glow. Steves has now given the complex over to the Y.

Via Raw Story.

Art, Illness, and An iPad.

Three Dotty Foxes in the Pines.

The textural, nuanced scenes of brightly colored, frolicking creatures look collaged out of paper or brushed onto canvas, but in actuality, Michèle Brown paints with pixels on an iPad. A former art teacher and typography-trained artist who worked in fine art for most of her adult career, Brown was forced to pivot her professional and artistic goals due to an unexpected change in her health.

“I had to stop working because of a long-term illness,” Brown tells Creators, “which only allows me to be out of bed for about five hours a day. When the iPhone came out, I started playing and drawing on it while I was bed bound, and really got into it when the iPad first came out. I have tried all sorts of styles with it, but it really seems to suit my illustrative and imaginative side.”

Brown’s scenes evoke children’s book visuals are defined by an earth-toned texture and warmth. Her individual artworks often include imagery of wide-eyed animals that slice together large swaths of color, coming together in a scene that mimics a paper mâché or acrylic piece, but in reality, is a work of tablet and iPhone artistry. Brown’s fine art offerings are similarly immersive. Less amiable and imbued with their own unique texture, the artist’s fine art works possess a different lexicon of shape and form. Based in Cornwall, the British artist grew up both in France and the UK and has honed her bilingual skills and understanding of both cultures.

“I’ve created an imaginary world which I call Spottyland because of one of the first characters to come out of it, Spotty the fox. Nothing awful happens in Spottyland; the animals can be a bit naughty, but they are all vegetarian and underneath they have hearts of gold. Humor is a big part of what I do. I’ve been influenced by cartoon strips and dreadful puns, but only if it is kind. I like to make people smile and bring a bit of lightly mischievous harmony to the world. It is a place of safe retreat in an increasingly uncertain world.”

You can see and read more at The Creators Project. To see more works by Michèle Brown, visit her main Instagram, as well as Spotty the Fox’s website, and Brown’s fine art Instagram.

Dakota Access Allowed to Keep Risks Secret.

© Marty Two Bulls.

It’s not enough that the pipeline went through, and once again, drinking water is threatened (which is fine, of course, because Indians), but ETP can now keep risk information to themselves. Just keeps getting worse. And to those people who think they are helping through vandalism? You aren’t, so fucking stop it.

Despite concerns that the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline could threaten the primary source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux, a federal judge ruled that the pipeline’s developer can keep some information about spill risks secret from the public.

The ruling — which would permit Energy Transfer Partners, the developer of the pipeline, to keep information about spill risks at certain points along the pipeline shielded from the public — comes after unknown protesters used a torch to burn holes in empty above-ground segments of the pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes had argued that information about spill risks could potentially strengthen their case for more environmental review of the project.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg rejected that argument, saying that shielding the information from public view would prevent vandalism of the pipeline.

“The asserted interest in limiting intentionally inflicted harm outweighs the tribes’ generalized interests in public disclosure and scrutiny,” Boasberg said in his ruling.

[…]

Pipeline spills in North Dakota are not uncommon — according to analysis from the Center for Biological Diversity, North Dakota has averaged four pipeline spills a year since 1996, costing more than $40 million in property damage.

Under the Trump administration’s proposed budget, the Environmental Protection Agency would face sharp cuts in its enforcement programs, limiting its ability to enforce and penalize companies that violate environmental laws. When pipeline operators, for instance, violate laws like the Clean Water Act by spilling pollutants into waterways, the EPA is normally the agency that imposes fines on those operators. Last week, for instance, the EPA and the Department of Justice issued a fine against a pipeline operator in Ohio that violated the Clean Water Act by discharging approximately 1,950 barrels of gasoline from a pipeline into nearby waterways.

Think Progress has the full story.

Friendship Benches.

Like many simple ideas, friendship benches and grandmothers is an absolutely brilliant one. Zimbabwe has a wealth of people suffering ills, much like every place else on the planet. Mental and emotional difficulties and struggles are stigmatized all over the world, and even when there are abundant resources, many people won’t reach out because of that stigma. Most places don’t have abundant resources, but they do have troubled people who do not want to be stigmatized. So, what to do? There’s a small program in parts of Zimbabwe, where older women receive training, and they spend time on the friendship benches, where people can come and talk them, and be listened to, which I feel is a cure for a great many ills. Most people simply don’t listen, and often, even when someone does, they get awkward and embarrassed because they can’t fix a person’s problem. What gets missed much of the time is that people aren’t necessarily looking for a fix, they simply need someone to listen, someone to care. The Grandmothers are also happy, because they feel needed, rather than lonely and neglected. Friendship benches are an idea which needs to be widespread, all over the world.

The therapy room is a patch of waste ground, and the therapist’s couch a wooden bench under a tree. The therapist is an elderly Zimbabwean woman, in a long brown dress and headscarf.

Her patients call her “Grandmother” when they come along to sit on her bench and discuss their feelings, their depression or other mental health issues.

[…]

The benches are a safe place for people struggling with depression, which in the Shona language is called kufungisisa, “thinking too much”.

It is a world away from conventional approaches to mental healthcare, but the Friendship Bench project has changed the lives of an estimated 27,000 Zimbabweans suffering from depression and other mental disorders.

The grandmothers, all of whom are trained to improve a patient’s ability to cope with mental stress, listen and nod, offering only an occasional word of encouragement.

[…]

“When they first get to the bench, we use an intervention which we call kuvhura pfungwa [opening of the mind]. They sit and talk about their problems. Through that process, the grandmothers enable that patient to select a specific problem to focus on, and they help them through it,” he says.

Through at least six one-on-one sessions with the health workers, the patients are encouraged to speak about their problems and their mental illness.

Traditionally, elderly women play the role of counsellor for younger members of the community. On the bench, however, the grandmothers listen more, and lecture less.

“We used to talk a lot, ‘Do this, do that’. But now we ask them to open up, open their minds and hearts,” says Sheba Khumalo, a grandmother.

The Guardian has the full story.

Trying to Kill Planned Parenthood.

In this Sept. 9, 2015, file photo, Planned Parenthood supporters rally for women’s access to reproductive health care on “National Pink Out Day’’ at Los Angeles City Hall. CREDIT: AP Photo/Nick Ut, File.

Yesterday, the Tiny Tyrant made a move to allow states to punish Planned Parenthood, and people at large, by allowing them to withhold federal funds. This is going to do a great deal of harm, especially in the more regressive states, of which there are too many. This is a direct hit on Title X, which is a devastating blow to healthcare, which the rethugs are all happy about, as they couldn’t come out and just repeal. As usual, poorer people and women will be suffering the most under this new move.

President Donald Trump signed a bill into law on Thursday that would allow states to withhold federal money for family planning services, such as birth control, from Planned Parenthood clinics and other women’s health centers.

The bill is a repeal of an Obama-era regulation that said states couldn’t withhold Title X funding, which covers family planning and preventative care, from organizations just because those organizations also provide abortion care. This bill would roll back that protection, emboldening states to try to restrict such funding.

The Senate passed the bill 51–50 in March, with Vice President Pence casting the tie breaking vote.

Four million people with low incomes rely on Title X for preventative health care. Roughly 1.5 million receive their Title X care at Planned Parenthood.

In practice, what this bill does is open the door for states to restrict these people from choosing certain health care providers — which may be, in many cases, the only health care provider nearby, the one they trust, or the only one that they can afford.

While the bill does not defund Planned Parenthood directly, it is part of a wider GOP attack on the women’s health provider — and will likely encourage further efforts to cut federal funding off from Planned Parenthood.

It is already legally prohibited to use federal funds for abortion care, thanks to the Hyde Amendment. Currently, Planned Parenthood gets federal funding through programs like Title X and Medicaid, which cover STD testing, cancer screenings, birth control access, and other health needs for people who wouldn’t be able to afford them.

In reality, federally defunding Planned Parenthood — as the GOP proposed to do in their failed health care bill  — actually means preventing people who rely on it from accessing health care. And while anti-Planned Parenthood politicians argue that people can go elsewhere, for many low-income and rural women and men, Planned Parenthood clinics are their only option.

Think Progress has the full story.

Acts of Defiance.

Image: Charlotte Cooper, CC-BY.

Maryland is leading an action which is poised to be picked up by lawmakers across the country. The federal de-funding of Planned Parenthood clinics is not sitting well with constituents far and wide, and they are making their voices known.

Every dollar that the Trump administration takes away from Planned Parenthood in Maryland will be replaced by state funds (about $2.7M), which will save about $6 for every dollar it puts in, because when women are in charge of their own fertility, they don’t end up raising kids they can’t afford.

State lawmakers across the USA are planning to follow suit. Maryland’s Republican state governor Larry Hogan didn’t even try to veto the bill, having seen what happened when federal Republicans tried to take away health care — and women are disproportionately willing to rise up to fight for their rights.

Boing Boing has the story.

Republican Love, Orwell Style.

nothing-to-hide-cut

Mr. Tweet has made another appearance, this time touting the “love and strength” in the republican party. All I can think about are the Ministries.

Anybody (especially Fake News media) who thinks that Repeal & Replace of ObamaCare is dead does not know the love and strength in R party!

Talks on Repealing and Replacing ObamaCare are, and have been, going on, and will continue until such time as a deal is hopefully struck.

Sweet Zombie Jesus, it’s painful to type those out. Once again, note that Donnie uses his personal account, not the POTUS account. Anyroad, upon seeing the latest from Mr. Tweet, all I could think about, again, was Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, specifically, some of the ministries:

The Ministry of Love (or Miniluv in Newspeak) serves as Oceania’s interior ministry. It enforces loyalty to Big Brother through fear, buttressed through a massive apparatus of security and repression, as well as systematic brainwashing. The Ministry of Love building has no windows and is surrounded by barbed wire entanglements, steel doors, hidden machine-gun nests, and guards armed with “jointed truncheons”. Referred to as “the place where there is no darkness”, its interior lights are never turned off. It is arguably the most powerful ministry, controlling the will of the population. The Thought Police are a part of Miniluv.

The Ministry of Love, like the other ministries, is misnamed, since it is largely responsible for the practice and infliction of misery, fear, suffering and torture. In a sense, however, the name is apt, since its ultimate purpose is to instill love of Big Brother—the only form of love permitted in Oceania—in the minds of thoughtcriminals as part of the process of reverting them to orthodox thought. This is typical of the language of Newspeak, in which words and names frequently contain both an idea and its opposite; the orthodox party member is nonetheless able to resolve these contradictions through the disciplined use of doublethink.

The Ministry of Truth is the propaganda ministry. As with the other ministries in the novel, the name Ministry of Truth is a misnomer because in reality it serves the opposite: it is responsible for any necessary falsification of historical events.

As well as administering truth, the ministry spreads a new language amongst the populace called Newspeak, in which, for example, “truth” is understood to mean statements like 2 + 2 = 5 when the situation warrants. In keeping with the concept of doublethink, the ministry is thus aptly named in that it creates/manufactures “truth” in the Newspeak sense of the word. The book describes the doctoring of historical records to show a government-approved version of events.

In Newspeak, the ministry is known as Minitrue.

The Ministry of Plenty (in Newspeak, Miniplenty) is in control of Oceania’s planned economy. It oversees rationing of food, supplies, and goods. As told in Goldstein’s book, the economy of Oceania is very important, and it’s necessary to have the public continually create useless and synthetic supplies or weapons for use in the war, while they have no access to the means of production. This is the central theme of Oceania’s idea that a poor, ignorant populace is easier to rule over than a wealthy, well-informed one. Telescreens often make reports on how Big Brother has been able to increase economic production, even when production has actually gone down (see § Ministry of Truth).

The Ministry hands out statistics which are “nonsense”. When Winston is adjusting some Ministry of Plenty’s figures, he explains this:

But actually, he thought as he readjusted the Ministry of Plenty’s figures, it was not even forgery. It was merely the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another. Most of the material that you were dealing with had no connection with anything in the real world, not even the kind of connection that is contained in a direct lie. Statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version. A great deal of time you were expected to make them up out of your head.

I’m also reminded of this particular quote, from chapter 3:

The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy — everything.

We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science.

There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.

Via Raw Story.

Killing Ourselves Harshly.

(Brian Gratwicke, Fickr).

(Brian Gratwicke, Fickr).

That is a Striped Blenny, a popular aquarium fish. Also known as a Fang Blenny. There are a number of different types, and they have exploded into a different kind of popularity, outside of aquarist circles. Blennies defend themselves with a venomous bite. The venom doesn’t kill, but it does get the potential predator woozed out on opiones, so the Blenny can make a quick get away. The venom has intrigued medical researchers, particularly those who want to come up with a painkiller which actually works, and doesn’t have such heavy addiction potential. Sounds good so far, right? There’s something of a problem though – the natural home of Blennies is The Great Barrier Reef, which is dying an all too rapid death from bleaching. This is a reminder of just how little we actually know of our planet, or of all the potential benefits to ourselves are out there, right now, but we’re very busy killing off so many different types of habitats, we are killing ourselves.

So the fang blenny’s potential isn’t just blue-sky thinking; there’s a very real and somewhat straight path for studying this opioid to make it useable as a pharmaceutical.

The number one hurdle is the health of the Great Barrier Reef, where these fish live. There’s an immense amount of unknown diversity in ecosystems around the world disappearing at unprecedented rates due to climate change, and the GBR is fragile among these. Current policies of both the Australian and American governments don’t bode well for slowing climate change and preserving nature to its full potential to help us.

Here’s the key thing: a better opioid is worth tens of billions of dollars. The best source of inspiration for new pharmaceuticals is nature, and that’s what we are destroying for a few million or even hundred million in the short term.

The reality is that the economic argument for conservation vastly outweighs the economic argument for destruction.The fang benny populations are declining as the reef gets bleached and destroyed, and with it goes millions of years of perfecting potentially life-savings drugs for our use.

Full story here.

Also see: Putin thinks Russia will benefit from climate change and communities will ‘adjust’.

Tin Cap Time.

1477417057308

The Heartland Institute recently had their “Fuck the Planet!” conference, attended by the Mercers, and all those others who have some sort of vested interest in killing off everyone and everything. I guess they’ll bug out to Mars with Musk when life becomes unsustainable.

The atmosphere was buoyant at a conference held by the conservative Heartland Institute last week at a downtown Washington hotel, where speakers denounced climate science as rigged and jubilantly touted deep cuts President Trump is seeking to make to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Front and center during the two-day gathering were New York hedge fund executive Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah Mercer, Republican mega-donors who with their former political adviser Stephen K. Bannon helped finance an alternative media ecosystem that amplified Trump’s populist themes during last year’s campaign.

The Mercers’ attendance at the two-day Heartland conference offered a telling sign of the low-profile family’s priorities: With Trump in office, the influential financiers appear intent on putting muscle behind the fight to roll back environmental regulations, a central focus of the new administration.

The Washington Post has a full run down on the conference.

I’ll just focus here on the batshit element of such conferences, this time, embodied by ever loony Lord Christopher Monckton:

Raw Story has a rundown of his 5 main points, so click on over if you prefer to read.

The Mental Cost of The Regime.

Tucker Viemeister.

Tucker Viemeister.

Before I get started, Snowflakes, melting, yeah, yeah, yeah. If you’re one of those people, stuff it, because you have your safe spaces, triggers, and melting points too. I certainly can’t say I’m happy with the shift into fascism, only fucking idiots are happy about that one, and I certainly answer to Tiny Tyrant Fatigue Syndrome, but outside of that, I’m doing okay. More or less. (Currently escaping into work, as I look down and see I’ve gotten paint all over my keyboard. Pretty!) Anyroad, the Regime is taking its toll on the mental and emotional health of too many Americans, so I guess it’s a really good thing the Fuck You Care Plan failed. If you do find yourself depressed, anxious, panicky, whatever, don’t be silly about it, reach out, and get help.

The White House occupants also remain steadfastly committed to wreaking havoc on our mental states. As Republicans pushed an insurance bill that would have done lasting damage to Americans’ mental and behavioral health well-being, clinicians reported the psychic wages of the Trump war against U.S. citizens. “Add up the additional medications prescribed, extra ER visits, delayed procedures, missed work, plus the fallout from other illnesses being relegated to the back burner, and you have the makings of a major medical toll from this election,” Danielle Ofri, a physician at Bellevue Hospital and professor of medicine at New York University, warned at Slate.

So how exactly is Trump harming our mental states in this moment and for the foreseeable future? Here are five ways, representing just a drop in the bucket, if that bucket were dropped in the middle of the Pacific ocean.

Head on over to Raw Story for the full article.