Jack Bragen
Friday June 16, 2017 - 10:41:00 AM

As of April of this year, it has been 21 years since a complete psychotic episode has forced me to be hospitalized in an inpatient psychiatric ward. To give some readers a perspective, the first building of the present day Contra Costa Regional Medical Center was in an early stage of construction, and from the window of I-Ward, where I stayed, I could see the crew welding together the girders of the frame of that building. (Also, at the time, Bill Clinton was our President.)

The previous hospital, which is about 90 % demolished to make room for the current one, was called Merrithew Memorial Hospital, also known as "County." When I was in the old "I" Ward, I had the belief that I was in a museum of ancient psychiatric wards because of how primitive everything was. (Merrithew was first built during or near the time of WWII.) I also believed I was on Mars.

A judge ordered me to take medication in a "Riese Hearing," and I have been medicated since then, for the past twenty one years and two months. Schizophrenia doesn't just go away--you need to do things to keep it in remission. One of these things is to be medicated, and other parts to treatment are also essential. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE:When Will Trump Lose His Base?

Bob Burnett
Friday June 16, 2017 - 10:57:00 AM

After the Trump White House careened through another terrible week, Washington insiders wonder how long Trump can survive. The answer is: as long as he holds his base. Trump and his voters are locked in a deadly embrace: his base desperately wants to believe he will address their grievances and Trump is willing to lie to keep their support.

In her latest insightful Trump analysis, in the New York Review , Elizabeth Drew observed, "Trump is, for all his deep flaws, in some ways a cannier politician than [former President] Nixon; he knows how to lie to his people to keep them behind him...People can have a hard time recognizing that they’ve been conned. And Trump is skilled at flimflam, creating illusions." -more-

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE:Europe: The Danger of the Center

Conn Hallinan
Friday June 16, 2017 - 11:37:00 AM

The good news out of Europe is that Marine Le Pen’s neo-Nazi National Front took a beating in the May 7 French presidential election. The bad news is that the program of the winner, Emmanuel Macron, might put Le Pen back in the running six years from now.

Macron pledges to cut 120,000 public jobs, reduce spending by 60 billion Euros, jettison the 35-hour workweek, raise the retirement age, weaken unions’ negotiating strength and cut corporate taxes. It is a program that is unlikely to revive the morbid French economy, but it will certainly worsen the plight of jobless youth and seniors and hand the National Front ammunition for the 2022 election.

Europe is enmeshed in an economic crisis brought on by the structure of the European Union (EU), on one hand, and the nature of capitalism, on the other. That convergence has derailed economies throughout the 27-member trade group, impoverished tens of millions, and helped conjure up racist, rightwing movements that are not likely to be deterred by a few election losses.

Obscuring the roots of this crisis is the myth that debt is the result of spendthrift behavior, the economic sluggishness a consequence of high taxes, and rigid labor rules that handcuff businesses and inhibit growth. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is fond of saying that countries should behave like a “frugal Swabian house frau.” -more-

ECLETIC RANT:Jeff Sessions' testimony

Ralph E. Stone
Friday June 16, 2017 - 11:26:00 AM

In his June 13, 2017 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Attorney General Jeff Sessions repeatedly denied suggestions that he had improper contact with Russian authorities or hurt this country, which he claimed to have served with honor for 35 years.

That he has served this country with “honor for 35 years" is laughable. Remember, his appointment to a federal district court in 1986 by then-President Ronald Reagan was rejected over allegations he called a black attorney “boy,” suggested a white lawyer working for black clients was a race traitor, joked that the only issue he had with the Ku Klux Klan was their drug use, and referred to civil rights groups as “un-American” organizations trying to “force civil rights down the throats of people who were trying to put problems behind them.” -more-