Fact check: Trump made at least 20 false claims in angry Cabinet monologue


Fact check: Trump made at least 20 false claims in angry Cabinet monologue

Tapper: Trump violates emoluments clause every day
Tapper: Trump violates emoluments clause every day.


(CNN)President Donald Trump delivered a blistering and rambling monologue to the journalists he allowed into his Cabinet meeting for more than 70 minutes on Monday. His press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, later tweeted, “I hope we see honest reporting from today’s mtg.”

We can honestly tell you that Trump’s remarks were highly dishonest.
We’re still looking into some of the President’s claims. We can report that at least 20 of them were false:
Barack Obama and Kim Jong Un
“But in the meantime, North Korea, I like Kim, he likes me. We get along. I respect him, he respects me. ‘You could end up in a war.’ President Obama told me that. He said, ‘The biggest problem, I don’t know how to solve it.’ He told me he doesn’t know how to solve it. I said, ‘Did you ever call him?’ ‘No.’ Actually, he tried 11 times. But the man on the other side, the gentleman on the other side, did not take his call. OK? Lack of respect. But he takes my call,'” Trump said.
Facts FirstThere is no apparent basis for the claim that Obama tried to call Kim Jong Un 11 times.
“This is a total fabrication. Trump is completely delusional, and it’s scary,” Susan Rice, who served as Obama’s national security adviser, said on Twitter in response to our tweet of Trump’s quote.
“We never called Kim,” Ben Rhodes, who served as Obama’s deputy national security adviser, told CNN.
Trump has previously claimed that Obama begged Kim for a meeting, another assertion for which there is no evidence.
The Iraq War
“If you remember, I didn’t want to go into Iraq. I was a civilian, so I had no power over it. But I always was speaking against going into Iraq,” Trump said.
Facts FirstTrump did not publicly oppose the invasion of Iraq before it began. Trump was tentatively supportive of the war when radio host Howard Stern asked him in September 2002, “Are you for invading Iraq?” He responded: “Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly.” The day after the invasion in March 2003, he said, “It looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint.” Trump did not offer a definitive position on the looming war in a Fox News interview in January 2003, saying, “Either you attack or don’t attack.”
Trump started publicly questioning the war later in 2003, and he was an explicit opponent in an Esquire article published 17 months after the invasion. That is not the same as “I was against going to the war.”
The presidential salary
“But I give away my presidential salary. They say that no other president has done it. I’m surprised, to be honest with you. They actually say that George Washington may have been the only other president,” Trump said.
Facts FirstTrump does donate his salary, but the rest of his claim was inaccurate. He is not the only president to have donated the official salary; both John F. Kennedy and Herbert Hoover did so. Washington did not.
Although Washington initially declined his salary, he relented after Congress insisted.
The Emoluments Clause
Trump attacked critics who said that holding a G7 summit at one of his resorts would violate the Constitution. He said: “You people with this phony Emoluments Clause.”
Facts FirstThere’s nothing phony about the Constitution’s prohibitions against the President receiving payments from foreign and domestic governments.
The clause on foreign emoluments, found in Article I, Section 9, says that “no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”
The clause on domestic emoluments, found in Article II, Section 1, says: “The President shall, at stated times, receive for his services, a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States, or any of them.”
Trump might have been attempting to argue that it is phony to apply the clause to his own activities, but, at very least, his wording left an inaccurate impression.
The deal with Turkey
“People have been trying to make this deal for years,” Trump said of his ceasefire agreement with Turkey.
Facts FirstThe President’s claim is baseless to the point of being nonsensical. The deal is a narrow agreement specifically tied to the Turkish offensive that followed Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from a Kurdish-held region of northern Syria, not an agreement that resolves long-standing regional disputes. Further, Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush never sought to give Turkey anything like the concessionary terms of Trump’s deal.
You can read a longer fact check here.
The Ukraine scandal
The whistleblower’s account
“The whistleblower gave a false account,” Trump said. He also said the whistleblower’s account was “totally false.”
Facts FirstThe whistleblower’s account of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was largely accurate. In fact, the rough transcript released by Trump himself showed that the whistleblower’s three primary allegations about the call were correct or very close to correct.
You can read a longer fact check here.
Fact check: Trump falsely claims Texas 'made a fortune' on Hurricane Harvey at Dallas rally
The whistleblower’s knowledge
“The whistleblower had second- and third-hand information. You remember that, it was a big problem,” Trump said.
Facts FirstSome of the whistleblower’s information came from others, but some did not. Michael Atkinson, the Trump-appointed inspector general for the intelligence community, noted that the whistleblower had “direct knowledge of certain alleged conduct.”
Atkinson also explained that the whistleblower was “credible” even about events on which the whistleblower did not have firsthand knowledge, such as the call: “… although the Complainant’s Letter acknowledged that the Complainant was not a direct witness to the President’s July 25, 2019, telephone call with the Ukrainian President, the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community determined that other information obtained during the ICIG’s preliminary review supported the Complainant’s allegations.”
The call document
Trump said, “… I released a transcription then by stenographers of the exact conversation I had.”
Facts FirstThe document released by the White House explicitly says, on the first page, that it is not an exact transcript of the call.
“A Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation (TELCON) is not a verbatim transcript of a discussion. The text in this document records the notes and recollections of Situation Room Duty officers and NSC policy staff assigned to listen and memorialize the conversation in written form as the conversation takes place. A number of factors can affect the accuracy of the record, including poor telecommunications connections and variations in accent and/or interpretation,” the document says.
The whistleblower being ‘gone’
“You never hear, what happened to the whistleblower? They’re gone, because they’ve been discredited,” Trump said.
Facts FirstThere is no evidence that either the first whistleblower (who filed the complaint about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine) or the second whistleblower (whose lawyers say they have firsthand information corroborating claims made by the first whistleblower) are now somehow “gone,” let alone that they are “gone” because the first whistleblower was shown to be inaccurate.
“The whistleblowers have not vanished,” Bradley Moss, a colleague of Mark Zaid, a lawyer for the two whistleblowers, said on Twitter.
The whistleblower and Adam Schiff
Trump said, “So was there actually an informant? Maybe the informant was Schiff. It could be shifty Schiff. In my opinion it’s possibly Schiff.”
Facts FirstThis is nonsensical. Schiff, a Democratic congressman and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, did not have access to the internal White House information the whistleblower revealed; he could not have told the whistleblower about the contents of Trump’s phone call with Zelensky or other information the whistleblower reported. The whistleblower said information about the call came from “multiple White House officials with direct knowledge of the call.”
Schiff’s comments
Trump said of the comments Schiff made about the Zelensky call at a committee hearing: “So he made up a lie, and I released — they never thought that I’d do this — I released a transcription done by stenographers of the exact conversation I had. And now the game was up.”
Facts FirstSchiff made his comments about Trump’s call after the President released the rough transcript, not before. The White House issued the document on September 25. Schiff spoke at a House Intelligence Committee hearing on September 26.

Trump Dallas rally fact check nr vpx_00000000

CNN reporter debunks Trump’s rally claim
The crowd in Dallas
“I had 25,000 people, close, in that arena,” Trump said of his rally last week in Dallas.
Facts FirstThe American Airlines Center has a capacity of about 20,000. The El Paso Times reported a crowd of 18,500.
Trump paused mid-speech to ask the fire marshal to let more people in to fill empty space at floor level.
The crowd outside
Trump claimed that about “at least” 20,000 supporters were outside the arena during his Dallas rally.
Facts FirstTrump’s estimate was way off, though it was lower than the “close to 30,000” he had claimed during the speech. “We didn’t have 30K outside. Probably had upward of 5K outside,” Dallas Police Department spokesman Sgt. Mitchell Warren told CNN in response to that previous Trump estimate.
Rally crowds
“I haven’t had an empty seat at a rally,” Trump said.
Facts FirstThere have been empty seats at various Trump rallies, including a rally earlier this month in Minneapolis, a July rally in Greenville, North Carolina, an October 2018 rally in Houston and an April 2017 rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, according to journalists on the scene.
China’s economic performance
A week after correctly saying that this is China’s worst year for gross domestic product growth in “27 years,” Trump said it is China’s worst year in “57 years”: “China is doing very poorly. Worst year they’ve had in 57 years. I wonder why. I wonder why. I’m sure you can’t figure it out.”
Facts FirstChina’s second-quarter GDP growth of 6.2% and third-quarter GDP growth of 6% were its worst since 1992, 27 years ago.
While China’s official figures are generally considered unreliable, there is no apparent basis for the “57 years” figure. (Trump has made clear that he knows that this is the reported figure, but he has repeatedly added additional years for no apparent reason.)
Who is paying the tariffs on China
Trump said the US is “taking in billions and billions of dollars in tariffs from China, and they’re eating the tariffs.”
Facts FirstAmericans make the actual tariff payments, and a bevy of economic studies has found that Americans are bearing the overwhelming majority of the tariff costs.
The length of the Syria mission
Trump said American troops were initially supposed to be in Syria for a mere “30 days.”
Facts FirstThere was never any specific timeline for the US military’s involvement in Syria, much less a timeline of only 30 days.
“There was never a 30-day timetable on the US presence in Syria,” said Syria expert Steven Heydemann, a professor of government and director of the Middle East Studies program at Smith College. “The previous administration, and officials serving in this administration, have never offered a fixed timetable for the US mission. Official statements have emphasized that the presence of US forces would be short, limited in scope, and small. But beyond general comments along those lines, there has been no statement indicating it would end after 30 days.”
The troops being withdrawn from Syria
“We’re bringing our troops back home. I got elected on bringing our soldiers back home,” Trump said.
Facts FirstHe is not bringing the troops back home, at least not at the moment.
Trump has announced that “United States troops coming out of Syria will now redeploy and remain in the region to monitor the situation and prevent a repeat of 2014, when the neglected threat of ISIS raged across Syria and Iraq.” He has also announced that 1,800 more troops would be deployed to Saudi Arabia.
Trump conceded at the Cabinet meeting that the soldiers will be “sent, initially, to different parts,” but he claimed that they would “ultimately” return to the US.
The size of Miami International Airport
Touting the benefits of his Doral resort, Trump said it is right next to Miami International Airport, “one of the biggest airports in the world — some say it’s the biggest.”
Facts FirstMiami International is certainly not the biggest airport in the world.
The airport was not in the top 20 for passenger traffic in 2018 or 2017. It ranked 15th in cargo traffic in 2018 and 14th in 2017, with less than half of the tonnage of cargo of top-ranked Hong Kong.
Though world airports authorities do not release rankings of airports’ physical size, Miami International is not even close to the largest airport in the United States. Chicago’s O’Hare, for example, occupies about 7,200 acres, Miami International 3,230 acres.
Special elections in North Carolina
“You saw what happened in North Carolina: We picked up two seats that people didn’t think we were going to pick up. That was two weeks ago,” Trump said.
Facts FirstThe special elections in North Carolina were six weeks ago, not two weeks ago. While the race in the 9th District was considered competitive, the race in the 3rd District was expected by pollsters and analysts to be won easily by the Republican candidate.
Both seats had previously been held by Republicans, so the party did not pick them up. (Trump might have just been speaking informally.)

Iceland Bans American Televangelists


Iceland Bans American Televangelists

Considering the trump administration efforts to circumvent our own constitutions separation of state, these safeguards from 2 years ago were prescient and relevant even more so today.

By Andrew Hall         August 22, 2017

Iceland bans American televangelists. Traditional Icelanders living in turf houses rejoice.
Iceland bans American televangelists. Traditional Icelanders living in turf houses rejoice.

Reykjavik, Iceland – This island nation situated in the North Atlantic took a monumental leap forward today by passing legislation banning American televangelists. The Icelandic Psychological Defense Act (IPDA) takes effect immediately. No American televangelist may set his or her foot in the small nation of 330,000 souls. No programming by such people may be shown on Icelandic television or played on the radio.

Genesis of the Icelandic Psychological Defense Act

Like most of the world, Iceland is watching the United States of America with growing concern. President Trump won the election in part by blowing demagogic dog whistles so loud even racist German Shepherds across the Atlantic could hear. Many in Iceland wondered if he could’ve won without the support of conservative churches and their faith-based flocks hoping for the biblical apocalypse?

The answer is obvious.

Prime Minister Andrew Kanard touted the IPDA while soaking in one of the many hot springs the country enjoys:

We in Iceland value our relationship with the United States of America. It is a great nation with a history they should be proud of. Currently, however, they seem to off whatever medication their doctor prescribed for them. Iceland wishes to support our friend in need. In that spirit, we are sending teachers over there to educate and assist rural communities infected with ignorance and superstition. What we will not do is allow ourselves to be invaded by that ignorance and superstition which is propagated by televangelists.

Icelandic Psychological Defense Act’s Controversies

The decision to ship vital resources to the United States is done with a heavy heart. Much needed resources slated for sub-Saharan Africa must now be directed to the country with the most bloated military budget in the world.

“It’s a waste. They are willfully ignorant. It doesn’t matter how many math textbooks you give them. They have the Bible,” remarked one anonymous African politician. 

Icelandic and American conservative Christian relations soured ever since Iceland declared Christianity a public health threat. This new action is causing American televangelists to declare a spiritual holy war against Iceland.  Prayer groups are forming to pray-bomb Iceland back into the Bronze Age. If they are successful, then it is expected the country will become the 14th state of the Confederacy.

President Trump recently announced a brand new strategy of adding more troops in Afghanistan to fight religious fanaticism that is different from American religious fanaticism. In a tweet, the President announced that troops could easily put down rebellions in NATO countries affected by secular fanaticism.

Iceland isn’t taking those threats seriously. With Trump under siege politically at home, the American President is probably too busy destroying his own country than to attack little Iceland.

Ronald Reagan’s shameful legacy: Violence, the homeless, mental illness

Roots of Today’s Mental Health Crisis


As president and governor of California, the GOP icon led the worst policies on mental illness in generations
Dr. E. Fuller Torrey         September 29, 2013
Excerpted from “American Psychosis” 

Ronald Reagan (Reuters/Joe Marquette)

In November 1980, Republican Ronald Reagan overwhelmingly defeated Jimmy Carter, who received less than 42% of the popular vote, for president. Republicans took control of the Senate (53 to 46), the first time they had dominated either chamber since 1954. Although the House remained under Democratic control (243 to 192), their margin was actually much slimmer, because many southern “boll weevil” Democrats voted with the Republicans.One month prior to the election, President Carter had signed the Mental Health Systems Act, which had proposed to continue the federal community mental health centers program, although with some additional state involvement. Consistent with the report of the Carter Commission, the act also included a provision for federal grants “for projects for the prevention of mental illness and the promotion of positive mental health,” an indication of how little learning had taken place among the Carter Commission members and professionals at NIMH. With President Reagan and the Republicans taking over, the Mental Health Systems Act was discarded before the ink had dried and the CMHC funds were simply block granted to the states. The CMHC program had not only died but been buried as well. An autopsy could have listed the cause of death as naiveté complicated by grandiosity.President Reagan never understood mental illness. Like Richard Nixon, he was a product of the Southern California culture that associated psychiatry with Communism. Two months after taking office, Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, a young man with untreated schizophrenia. Two years later, Reagan called Dr. Roger Peele, then director of St. Elizabeths Hospital, where Hinckley was being treated, and tried to arrange to meet with Hinckley, so that Reagan could forgive him. Peele tactfully told the president that this was not a good idea. Reagan was also exposed to the consequences of untreated mental illness through the two sons of Roy Miller, his personal tax advisor. Both sons developed schizophrenia; one committed suicide in 1981, and the other killed his mother in 1983. Despite such personal exposure, Reagan never exhibited any interest in the need for research or better treatment for serious mental illness.California has traditionally been on the cutting edge of American cultural developments, with Anaheim and Modesto experiencing changes before Atlanta and Moline. This was also true in the exodus of patients from state psychiatric hospitals. Beginning in the late 1950’s, California became the national leader in aggressively moving patients from state hospitals to nursing homes and board-and-care homes, known in other states by names such as group homes, boarding homes, adult care homes, family care homes, assisted living facilities, community residential facilities, adult foster homes, transitional living facilities, and residential care facilities. Hospital wards closed as the patients left. By the time Ronald Reagan assumed the governorship in 1967, California had already de-institutionalized more than half of its state hospital patients. That same year, California passed the landmark Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act, which virtually abolished involuntary hospitalization except in extreme cases. Thus, by the early 1970’s California had moved most mentally ill patients out of its state hospitals and, by passing LPS, had made it very difficult to get them back into a hospital if they relapsed and needed additional care. California thus became a canary in the coal mine of de-institutionalization.

The results were quickly apparent. As early as 1969, a study of California board-and-care homes described them as follows:

These facilities are in most respects like small long-term state hospital wards isolated from the community. One is overcome by the depressing atmosphere. . . . They maximize the state-hospital-like atmosphere. . . . The operator is being paid by the head, rather than being rewarded for rehabilitation efforts for her “guests.”

The study was done by Richard Lamb, a young psychiatrist working for San Mateo County; in the intervening years, he has continued to be the leading American psychiatrist pointing out the failures of de-institutionalization.

By 1975 board-and-care homes had become big business in California. In Los Angeles alone, there were “approximately 11,000 ex-state-hospital patients living in board-and-care facilities.” Many of these homes were owned by for-profit chains, such as Beverly Enterprises, which owned 38 homes. Many homes were regarded by their owners “solely as a business, squeezing excessive profits out of it at the expense of residents.” Five members of Beverly Enterprises’ board of directors had ties to Governor Reagan; the chairman was vice chairman of a Reagan fundraising dinner, and “four others were either politically active in one or both of the Reagan [gubernatorial] campaigns and/or contributed large or undisclosed sums of money to the campaign.” Financial ties between the governor, who was emptying state hospitals, and business persons who were profiting from the process would also soon become apparent in other states.

Many of the board-and-care homes in California, as elsewhere, were clustered in city areas that were rundown and thus had low rents. In San Jose, for example, approximately 1,800 patients discharged from nearby Agnews State Hospital were placed in homes clustered near the campus of San Jose State University. As early as 1971 the local newspaper decried this “mass invasion of mental patients.” Some patients left their board-and-care homes because of the poor living conditions, whereas others were evicted when the symptoms of their illness recurred because they were not receiving medication, but both scenarios resulted in homelessness. By 1973 the San Jose area was described as having “discharged patients…living in skid row…wandering aimlessly in the streets . . . a ghetto for the mentally ill and mentally retarded.”

Similar communities were becoming visible in other California cities as well as in New York. In Long Beach on Long Island, old motels and hotels were filled with patients discharged from nearly Creedmore and Pilgrim State Hospitals. By 1973, community residents were complaining that their town was becoming a psychiatric ghetto; at the local Catholic church, patients were said to “have urinated on the floor during Mass and eaten the altar flowers.” The Long Beach City Council therefore passed an ordinance requiring patients to take their prescribed medication as a condition for living there. Predictably, the New York Civil Liberties Union immediately challenged the ordinance as being unconstitutional, and it was so ruled. By this time, there were about 5,000 board-and-care homes in New York City, some with as many as 285 beds and with up to 85% of their residents having been discharged from the state hospitals. As one New York psychiatrist summarized the situation: “The chronic mentally ill patient has had his locus of living and care transferred from a single lousy institution to multiple wretched ones.”

California was the first state to witness not only an increase in homelessness associated with de-institutionalization but also an increase in incarceration and episodes of violence. In 1972 Marc Abramson, another young psychiatrist working for San Mateo County, published a landmark paper entitled “The Criminalization of Mentally Disordered Behavior.” Abramson claimed that because the new LPS statute made it difficult to get patients admitted to a psychiatric hospital, police “regard arrest and booking into jail as a more reliable way of securing involuntary detention of mentally disordered persons.” Abramson quoted a California prison psychiatrist who claimed to be “literally drowning in patients. . . . Many more men are being sent to prison who have serious mental problems.” Abramson’s paper was the first clear description of the increase of mentally ill persons in jails and prisons, an increase that would grow markedly in subsequent years.

By the mid-1970’s, studies in some states suggested that about 5% of jail inmates were seriously mentally ill. A study of five California county jails reported that 6.7% of the inmates were psychotic. A study of the Denver County Jail reported that 5% of prisoners had a “functional psychosis.” Such figures contrasted with studies from the 1930’s that had reported less than 2% of jail inmates as being seriously mentally ill. In 1973 the jail in Santa Clara County, which included San Jose, “created a special ward…to house just the individuals who have such a mental condition”; this was apparently the first county jail to create a special mental illness unit.

Given the increasing number of seriously mentally ill individuals living in the community in California by the mid-1970’s, it is not surprising to find that they were impacting the tasks of police officers. A study of 301 patients discharged from Napa State Hospital between 1972 and 1975 found that 41% of them had been arrested. According to the study, “patients who entered the hospital without a criminal record were subsequently arrested about three times as often as the average citizen.” Significantly, the majority of these patients had received no aftercare following their hospital discharge. By this time, police in other states were also beginning to feel the burden of the discharged, but often untreated, mentally ill individuals. In suburban Philadelphia, for example, “mental-illness-related incidents increased 227.6% from 1975 to 1979, whereas felonies increased only 5.6%.”

Of all the omens of de-institutionalization’s failure on exhibit in 1970’s California, the most frightening were homicides and other episodes of violence committed by mentally ill individuals who were not being treated.

1970: John Frazier, responding to the voice of God, killed a prominent surgeon and his wife, two young sons, and secretary. Frazier’s mother and wife had sought unsuccessfully to have him hospitalized.
1972: Herbert Mullin, responding to auditory hallucinations, killed 13 people over 3 months. He had been hospitalized three times but released without further treatment.
1973: Charles Soper killed his wife, three children, and himself 2 weeks after having been discharged from a state hospital.
1973: Edmund Kemper killed his mother and her friend and was charged with killing six others. Eight years earlier, he had killed his grandparents because “he tired of their company,” but at age 21 years had been released from the state hospital without further treatment.
1977: Edward Allaway, believing that people were trying to hurt him, killed seven people at Cal State Fullerton. Five years earlier, he had been hospitalized for paranoid schizophrenia but released without further treatment.

Such homicides were widely publicized. Many people perceived the tragedies as being linked to California’s efforts to shut its state hospitals and to the new LPS law, which made involuntary treatment virtually impossible. The foreman of the jury that convicted Herbert Mullin of the murders for which he was charged reflected the sentiments of many when he publicly stated:

I hold the state executive and state legislative offices as responsible for these ten lives as I do the defendant himself—none of this need ever have happened….In recent years, mental hospitals all over this state have been closed down in an economy move by the Reagan administration. Where do you think these . . . patients went after their release? . . . The closing of our mental hospitals is, in my opinion, insanity itself.

In response to queries about the homicides, the California Department of Mental Health had its deputy director, Dr. Andrew Robertson, testify before a state legislative inquiry in 1973. His testimony must rank among the all-time least successful attempts by a public official to reassure the public:

It [LPS] has exposed us as a society to some dangerous people; no need to argue about that. People whom we have released have gone out and killed other people, maimed other people, destroyed property; they have done many things of an evil nature without their ability to stop and many of them have immediately thereafter killed themselves. That sounds bad, but let’s qualify it. . . . the odds are still in society’s favor, even if it doesn’t make patients innocent or the guy who is hurt or killed feel any better.


Until the 1980’s, most people in the United States were unaware that the de-institutionalization of patients from state mental hospitals was going terribly wrong. Some were aware that homicides and other untoward things were happening in California, but such things were to be expected, because it was, after all, California. President Carter’s Commission on Mental Health issued its 1978 report and recommended doing more of the same things—more CMHCs, more prevention of mental illness, and more federal spending. The report gave no indication of a pending crisis. The majority of patients who had been discharged from state hospitals in the 1960’s and 1970’s had gone to their own homes, nursing homes, or board-and-care homes; they were, therefore, out of sight and out of mind.

In the 1980’s, this all changed. De-institutionalization became, for the first time, a topic of national concern. The beginning of the discussion was heralded by a 1981 editorial in the New York Times that labeled de-institutionalization “a cruel embarrassment, a reform gone terribly wrong.” Three years later, the paper added: “The policy that led to the release of most of the nation’s mentally ill patients from the hospital to the community is now widely regarded as a major failure.” During the following decade, there were increasing concerns publicly expressed about mentally ill individuals in nursing homes, board-and-care homes, and jails and prisons. There were also periodic headlines announcing additional high-profile homicides committed by individuals who were clearly psychotic. But the one issue that took center stage in the 1980’s, and directed public attention to de-institutionalization, was the problem of mentally ill homeless persons.

During the 1980’s, an additional 40,000 beds in state mental hospitals were shut down. The patients being sent to community facilities were no longer those who were moderately well-functioning or elderly; rather, they included the more difficult, chronic patients from the hospitals’ back wards. These patients were often younger than patients previously discharged, less likely to respond to medication, and less likely to be aware of their need for medication. In 1988 the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) issued estimates of where patients with chronic mental illness were living. Approximately 120,000 were said to be still hospitalized; 381,000 were in nursing homes; between 175,000 and 300,000 were living in board-and-care homes; and between 125,000 and 300,000 were thought to be homeless. These broad estimates for those living in board-and-care homes and on the streets suggested that neither NIMH nor anyone else really knew how many there were.

Abuse of mentally ill persons in nursing homes had originally come to public attention during 1974 hearings of the Senate Committee on Aging. Those hearings had described nursing homes actually bidding on patients in attempts to get those who were most easily managed; bounties of $100 paid by nursing homes to hospital psychiatrists for every patient sent to them; and exorbitant profits for the nursing homes. As a consequence of such hearings and a 1986 study of nursing homes by the Institute of Medicine, Congress passed legislation in 1987 requiring all Medicaid-funded nursing homes to screen new admissions to keep out patients who did not qualify for admission because they did not require skilled nursing care. Follow-up studies indicated that the screening mandate had little effect on admission policies or abuses.

Abuse of mentally ill persons in board-and-care homes also periodically surfaced at this time:

1982: “Nine ragged, emaciated adults” were found in an unlicensed home for mentally ill individuals in Jackson, Mississippi. They were living in a 10-by-10 foot building with “no toilet or running water, only a plastic bucket to collect body wastes. A hose and faucet outside the building were used for washing. There were two mattresses on the concrete floor and a single cot in the room.” There were also “two vicious dogs chained outside the room.”
1984: Seven “former patients” died in a fire in a “rooming house” in Worcester, Massachusetts. “The report released this week said officials of Worcester State Hospital who referred the former patients to the rooming house had been warned by community health workers that the privately owned house was not safe.”

Sociologist Andrew Scull in 1981 summarized the economics of the board-and-care industry: “The logic of the marketplace suffices to ensure that the operators have every incentive to warehouse their charges as cheaply as possible, since the volume of profit is inversely proportional to the amount expended on the inmates.” In addition, because many board-and-care homes were in crime-ridden neighborhoods, mentally ill individuals living in them were often victimized when they went outside. A 1984 study of 278 patients living in board-and-care homes in Los Angeles reported that one-third “reported being robbed and/or assaulted during the preceding year.”

The problems of mentally ill individuals in nursing homes and board-and-care homes rarely elicited media attention in the 1980’s. By contrast, the problem of homeless persons, including the mentally ill homeless, became a major story. In Washington, Mitch Snyder and the National Coalition for the Homeless burst onto the national scene by staging hunger strikes and sleep-ins on sidewalk grates. Their message was that homeless persons are just like you and me and all they need is a house and a job. Snyder challenged President Reagan, accusing him of being the main cause of homelessness, and the media extensively covered the controversy. By the time Snyder committed suicide in 1990, homelessness had become a major topic of national discussion.

Despite the claims of homeless advocates, media attention directed to homeless persons made it increasingly clear that many of them were, in fact, seriously mentally ill. In 1981, Life magazine ran a story titled “Emptying the Madhouse: The Mentally Ill Have Become Our Cities’ Lost Souls.” In 1982, Rebecca Smith froze to death in a cardboard box on the streets of New York; the media focused on her death because it was said that she had been valedictorian of her college class before becoming mentally ill. In 1983, the media covered the story of Lionel Aldridge, the former all-pro linebacker for the Green Bay Packers; after developing schizophrenia, he had been homeless for several years on the streets of Milwaukee. In 1984, a study from Boston reported that 38% of homeless persons in Boston were seriously mentally ill. The report was titled “Is Homelessness a Mental Health Problem?” and confirmed what people were increasingly beginning to suspect—that many homeless persons had previously been patients in the state mental hospitals.

By the mid-1980’s, a consensus had emerged that the total number of homeless persons was increasing. The possible reasons for this increase became a political football, but the failure of the mental health system was one option widely discussed. A 1985 report from Los Angeles estimated that 30% to 50% of homeless persons were seriously mentally ill and were being seen in “ever increasing numbers.” The study concluded that this was “in part the product of the de-institutionalization movement….The ‘Streets’ have become ‘The Asylums’ of the 80’s.”

The appearance of Joyce Brown on the streets of New York in 1986 added a new dimension to the national dialogue. Prior to taking up residence on a steam grate at the corner of East 65th Street and Second Avenue, Brown had worked for 10 years as a secretary. She had then become mentally ill, was hospitalized, and discharged. While living on the street, Brown was observed urinating on the sidewalk, defecating in the gutter, tearing up money given to her by passersby, and running into traffic. New York mayor Ed Koch ordered her to be involuntarily hospitalized, well aware that the Civil Liberties Union’s lawyers would contest the case. Koch’s statement reflected the sentiments of many: “If the crazies want to sue me, they have every right to sue, and by crazies I’m . . . talking about those who say, ‘No, you have no right to intervene to help.’ ” The civil liberty lawyers prevailed, and the civil right to be both psychotic and homeless thus added another legal wrinkle to the ongoing homeless debate.

By the end of the 1980’s, the origins of the increasing number of mentally ill homeless persons had become abundantly clear. A study of 187 patients discharged from Metropolitan State Hospital in Massachusetts reported that 27% had become homeless. A study of 132 patients discharged from Columbus State Hospital in Ohio reported that 36% had become homeless. In 1989, when a San Francisco television station wished to advertise its series on homelessness, it put up posters around the city saying, “You are now walking though America’s newest mental institution.” Psychiatrist Richard Lamb added: “Probably nothing more graphically illustrates the problems of de-institutionalization than the shameful and incredible phenomenon of the homeless mentally ill.”

At the same time that mentally ill homeless persons were becoming an object of national concern during the 1980’s, the number of mentally ill persons in jails and prisons was also increasing. A 1989 review of available studies concluded that “the prevalence rates for major psychiatric disorders . . . [in jails and prisons] have increased slowly and gradually in the last 20 years and will probably continue to increase.” Various studies reported rates ranging from 6% (Virginia) and 8% (New York) to 10% (Oklahoma and California) and 11% (Michigan and Pennsylvania). By 1990, a national survey concluded:

Given all the data, it seems reasonable to conclude that approximately 10 percent of inmates in prisons and jails, or approximately 100,000 individuals, suffer from schizophrenia or manic-depressive psychosis [bipolar disorder].

This 10% estimate contrasted with the 5% prevalence rate that had been widely cited a decade earlier.

Amid the various studies, disturbing trends were evident. Among 132 patients discharged from Columbus State Hospital in Ohio, 17% were arrested within 6 months. In California, seriously mentally ill individuals with a history of past violence, including armed robbery and murder, were being discharged from mental hospitals without any planned aftercare. In Colorado in 1984, George Wooton, diagnosed with schizophrenia, was booked into the Denver County Jail for the hundredth time; he would be the first prominent member of a group that would become widely known as “frequent flyers.” In several states the bizarre behavior of mentally ill inmates was also becoming problematic for jail personnel; in Montana a man “tried to drown himself in the jail toilet,” and in California inmates tried to escape “by smearing themselves with their own feces and flushing themselves down the toilet.” To make matters worse, civil liberties lawyers frequently defended the rights of mentally ill prisoners to refuse medication and remain psychotic. At a 1985 commitment hearing in Wisconsin, for example, a public defender argued that his jailed mentally ill client, who had been observed eating his feces, “was in no imminent danger of physical injury or dying” and should therefore be released; the judge agreed.

As more and more mentally ill individuals entered the criminal justice system in the 1980’s, local police and sheriffs’ departments were increasingly affected. In New York City, calls associated with “emotionally disturbed persons,” referred to as “EDP’s,” increased from 20,843 in 1980 to 46,845 in 1988, and “experts say similar increases have occurred in other large cities.” Many such calls required major deployments of police resources. The rescue of a mentally ill man from the top of a tower on Staten Island, for example, “required at least 20 police officers and supervisors, half a dozen emergency vehicles, several highway units and a helicopter.” In an attempt to deal with these psychiatric emergencies, the police department in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1988 created the first specially trained police Crisis Intervention Team, or CIT, as it would become known as it was replicated in other cities.

Finally, the 1980s witnessed increasing episodes of violence, including homicides, committed by mentally ill individuals who were not receiving treatment. The decade began ominously with three high-profile shootings between March 1980 and March 1981. Former congressman Allard Lowenstein was killed by Dennis Sweeney, John Lennon was killed by Mark David Chapman, and President Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinckley. All three perpetrators had untreated schizophrenia. Sweeney, for example, believed that Lowenstein, his former mentor, had implanted a transmitter in his teeth through which he was sending harassing voices.

As the decade progressed, such widely publicized homicides became more common:

1985: Sylvia Seegrist, diagnosed with schizophrenia and with 12 past hospitalizations, killed three and wounded seven in a Pennsylvania shopping mall.
Bryan Stanley, diagnosed with schizophrenia and with seven past hospitalizations, killed a priest and two others in a Wisconsin Catholic church.
Lois Lang, diagnosed with schizophrenia and discharged from a mental hospital 3 months earlier, killed the chairman of a foreign exchange firm and his receptionist in New York.
1986: Juan Gonzalez, diagnosed with schizophrenia and psychiatrically evaluated 4 days earlier, killed two and injured nine others with a sword on New York’s Staten Island Ferry.
1987: David Hassan, discharged 2 days earlier from a mental hospital, killed four people by running them over with his car in California.
1988: Laurie Dann, who was known to both the police and FBI because of her threatening and psychotic behavior, killed a boy and injured five of his classmates in an Illinois elementary school.
Dorothy Montalvo, diagnosed with schizophrenia, was accused of murdering at least seven elderly individuals and burying them in her backyard in California.
Aaron Lindh, known to be mentally ill and threatening, killed the Dane County coroner in Madison, Wisconsin. This was one of six incidents in that county during 1988 “involving mentally ill individuals . . . [that] resulted in four homicides, three suicides, seven victims wounded by gunshots, and one victim mauled by a polar bear” when a mentally ill man climbed into its pen at the local zoo.
1989: Joseph Wesbecker, diagnosed with bipolar disorder, killed 7 and wounded 13 at a printing plant in Kentucky.

Another indication that such episodes of violence were increasing was a study that compared admissions to a New York state psychiatric hospital in 1975 and 1982. It reported that “the percentage of patients who had committed violence toward persons while living in the community in the 1982 cohort was nearly double the percentage in the 1975 cohort.” In addition, “the percentage of patients who had had encounters with the criminal justice system in the 1982 cohort was more than quadruple the percentage in the 1975 cohort.”

Is there any way to estimate the frequency of these episodes of violence committed by mentally ill person who were not being treated? There was then, and continues to be, no national database that tracks homicides committed by mentally ill persons. However, a small study published in 1988 provided a clue. In Contra Costa County, California, all 71 homicides committed between 1978 and 1980 were examined. Seven of the 71 homicides were found to have been done by individuals with schizophrenia, all of whom had been previously hospitalized at some point before the crime. The 10% rate was also consistent with the findings of another small study in Albany County, New York. Therefore, by the late 1980’s, it appeared that violent acts committed by untreated mentally ill persons was one of the consequences of the de-institutionalization movement, and the problem appeared to be a growing one.

Excerpted from “American Psychosis: How the Federal Government Destroyed the Mental Illness Treatment System” by E. Fuller Torrey with permission from Oxford University Press USA. Copyright 2014 E. Fuller Torrey.

My Husband’s Guilty !

Caught in Providence
My Husband’s Guilty
This couple has been happily married for 43 years, but the wife comes to court to throw her husband under the bus.

My Husband's Guilty

This couple has been happily married for 43 years, but the wife comes to court to throw her husband under the bus.

Posted by Caught In Providence on Friday, August 23, 2019

It’s a Mad Mad Rudy Mad World !

“The Scream”     Edvard Munch

Inspiration for The Scream

Norwegian by birth, Edvard Munch studied at the Oslo Academy with famous Norwegian artist Christian Krohg. He created the first version of The Scream in 1893 when he was about 30 years old, and made the fourth and final version of The Scream in 1910. He has described himself in a book written in 1900 as nearly going insane, like his sister Laura who was committed to a mental institution during this time period as well. Personally he discussed being pushed to his limits, and going through a very dark moment in his life.

The scene of The Scream was based on a real, actual place located on the hill of Ekeberg, Norway, on a path with a safety railing. The faint city and landscape represent the view of Oslo and the Oslo Fjord. At the bottom of the Ekeberg hill was the madhouse where Edvard Munch’s sister was kept, and nearby was also a slaughterhouse. Some accounts describe that in those times you could actually hear the cries of animals being killed, as well as the cries of the mentally disturbed patients in the distance. In this setting, Edvard Munch was likely inspired by screams that he actually heard in this area, combined with his personal inner turmoil. Edvard Munch wrote in his diary that his inspiration for The Scream came from a memory of when he was walking at sunset with two friends, when he began to feel deeply tired. He stopped to rest, leaning against the railing.  He felt anxious and experienced a scream that seemed to pass through all of nature. The rest is left up to an endless range of interpretations, all expressed from this one, provocative image.

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A look at how the government actually spends your federal tax dollars each year.

Robert Reich posted an episode of a show.

September 18, 2019

Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress claim that America spends too much on things like food stamps, welfare, and foreign aid. But let’s look at how the government actually spends your federal tax dollars each year.

Where Your Tax Dollars Really Go

Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress claim that America spends too much on things like food stamps, welfare, and foreign aid. But let’s look at how the government actually spends your federal tax dollars each year.

Posted by Robert Reich on Wednesday, September 18, 2019

85,000 Children in Yemen May Have Died of Starvation

New York Times

85,000 Children in Yemen May Have Died of Starvation

The aid organization Save the Children said the number was a conservative estimate of those under age 5 who may have died.

By Palko Karasz           November 21, 2018

Children suffering from malnutrition at a Unicef-run mobile clinic in Aslam, Yemen, northwest of the capital, Sana.
Credit: Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

The United States announced on Wednesday that peace talks to end the war in Yemen would begin next month in Sweden. The announcement came amid growing global pressure to stop the bombing campaigns by a Saudi-led coalition that have unleashed conditions amounting to possible war crimes, according to a United Nations report in August.

The announcement by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis at the Pentagon came on the heels of a statement by the aid agency Save the Children on Wednesday that underscored the harrowing nature of the conflict: An estimated 85,000 children might have died of hunger since the bombings began in 2015.

Experts say Yemen has become the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, and 14 million people could soon be on the brink of starvation, according to the United Nations.

“For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are starving to death — and it’s entirely preventable,” Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s country director in Yemen, said in the statement. “Children who die in this way suffer immensely as their vital organ functions slow down and eventually stop.”

The statement said that 85,000 was a conservative estimate of how many children under the age of 5 had starved between April 2015, when Saudi Arabia began its air war, and this October.

In addition to the airstrikes, Saudi Arabia has imposed economic sanctions and blockades on Yemen, contributing to the deepening humanitarian crisis.

War in Yemen
New York Times reporters have examined the toll of Yemen’s war.
The Tragedy of Saudi Arabia’s War in Yemen.
This is the front line of Saudi Arabia’s invisible war Yemen Girl Who Turned World’s Eyes to Famine Is Dead

David Beasley, the managing director of the World Food Program, visited Yemen last week and painted a dire portrait of the situation.

“What I have seen in Yemen this week is the stuff of nightmares, of horror, of deprivation, of misery. And we — all of humanity — have only ourselves to blame,” Mr. Beasley told the United Nations Security Council on Friday.

Since the spring, the price of basic food staples has doubled, Mr. Beasley added. “For a country that’s dependent on imports for the basic needs of life, this is disaster,” he said.

As the death toll from the military operation worsens, rebuilding the economy has emerged as a priority to prevent widespread famine.

“This is disaster,” said David Beasley, the managing director of the World Food Program.
Credit: Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen’s civil war in April 2015 to fight the Shiite rebels backed by its regional rival, Iran. But instead of a quick victory, the Saudi-led campaign evolved into a bloody stalemate. The bombardment, which relies heavily on arms and equipment from the United States, has torn the country asunder.

Because of fighting around the port of Hudaydah, a crucial gateway for aid efforts, humanitarian programs have been scaled back, the United Nations special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, told the Security Council on Friday.

Save the Children said it had been forced to reroute supplies for the north of the country through the southern port of Aden, with deliveries taking three weeks instead of one.

According to Stephen L. Anderson, country director for the World Food Program in Yemen, 8.4 million people are considered to be severely food insecure, one step from famine.

“Now, based on analysis and projections, that number could increase by 50 percent or so,” Mr. Anderson said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “Even if peace were to break out tomorrow, which is very unlikely, we’ve still got a massive humanitarian crisis on our hands,” he added.

President Trump has defended Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen, blaming Iran for the conflict. Tehran, he said in a statement on Tuesday, was “responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen,” while “Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave.”

In his embrace of Saudi Arabia, Mr. Trump has dismissed his own intelligence experts’ conclusion that the kingdom’s young de facto ruler, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had ordered the killing of the dissident Jamal Khashoggi, fueled his “America First” agenda by touting a huge Saudi arms deal and doubled down on the need for the Saudis’ help in the Middle East to contain Iran.

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump praised the Saudis for a drop in oil prices, writing on Twitter: “Oil prices getting lower. Great! Like a big Tax Cut for America and the World. Enjoy! $54, was just $82. Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let’s go lower!”

By largely absolving Prince Mohammed of any responsibility in the killing of Mr. Khashoggi — “Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Mr. Trump said — he ignores a documented list of humanitarian disasters and rights abuses by the kingdom, and his pardoning of Saudi Arabia could embolden autocrats across the globe, analysts say.

This month, the United States said that it would end air refueling flights for the Saudi military campaign in Yemen and prepare sanctions against Saudis linked to the killing of Mr. Khashoggi. But those steps were seen as limited and in response to overwhelming international condemnation.

The United States Agency for International Development has said that the United States was providing more than $566 million in aid to manage the humanitarian crisis. In a fact sheet published Nov. 9, it pointed to the damage done to civilian infrastructure following the Saudi coalition’s deployment around the port city of Hudaydah.

Mr. Mattis did not specify a date for the peace talks for fear of coming out ahead of a United Nations announcement.

“It looks like that very, very early in December, up in Sweden,” he said in Washington. “We’ll see both the Houthi rebel side, and the U.N.-recognized government, President Hadi’s government, will be up there.”

Mr. Mattis added that the Saudi-led coalition had stopped its offensive around Hudaydah before the talks.

Thomas Gibbons-Neff contributed reporting.