Source: A New Vision for Mental Health
I want to help promote a new website, whose promotional flyer says:
“Be part of the solution …
Have you ever wondered what mental healthcare would look like if, knowing what we know today, it could be redesigned from scratch?
A New Vision for Mental Health is an innovative website that seeks to answer this question by taking a critical, informed and constructive look at the current mental health system.
It explores ideas, insights and suggestions – from a wide range of individuals and organisations – that might, in time, lay the foundations for a new and quite different approach to mental healthcare.
As well as exploring new ideas and approaches, A New Vision for Mental Health will create opportunities for service users, mental health professionals, trainees and students to engage actively in discussions, debates and events. And, over time, it is hoped that these contributions will comprise a growing resource bank, an expanding knowledge base, and a coherent framework for mental healthcare.
Just some of the subjects covered in A New Vision for Mental Health:
- 20 myths about counselling and psychotherapy
- Psychiatry beyond the current paradigm
- Urban design and its effect on mental health
- Celebrating neurodiversity
- “Mad Studies”
- The drugs don’t work!
- The emotional heart of service provision.
To find out more – and to get involved – please visit www.newvisionformentalhealth.com. Access is completely free and open to everyone.”
In America First we saw how Donald Trump was working to undermine public confidence in three of the essential pillars of American democracy:
- an independent judiciary
- the press & media
- the voting system
And all this, it was suggested, with a view to turning America into a neo-fascist state: a dictatorship and personality cult centred on the man who described himself (in a phone conversation with the Australian Prime Minister) as “the world’s greatest person”.
He’s since begun to undermine an additional pillar of democracy: Congress itself has now become a central target in his campaign to ‘drain the swamp’.
Draining the swamp:
In July (2017) Trump said that Republican senators “look like fools” (for not doing away with the legislative filibuster). In August he blamed the Republican-controlled Congress for worsening relations with Russia, tweeting: “You can thank Congress, the same people who can’t even give us HCare!” (referring to the failed attempts to repeal and replace the so-called ‘Obamacare’ health policies).
Now he’s taken to targeting individual Republican Senators who have dared to criticise him. Take Senator Jeff Flake, for example, who is seeking re-election but facing a challenger in the primary selection process. Trump is backing the challenger, tweeting: “Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate … He’s toxic!”
His attacks on elected Republicans go much wider: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senators Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Dean Heller and Bob Corker … all been targets for Trump’s ire in recent weeks and months.
All this serves a three-fold purpose: to undermine public confidence in Congress as an institution, to intimidate other Republican members of Congress into avoiding further critical comment; and to try and replace those critics who refuse to be cowed with more pliant Republicans crafted in his own image. Read the rest of this entry »
America First … hear a distant echo: “Deutschland über alles” …
If you want to gradually turn the USA into a neo-fascist state, assuming that you already hold immense executive power (the Presidency), then first you must undermine the essential pillars of democracy. These include a free press and media, an independent judiciary and public confidence in democracy itself.
Confidence in democracy itself (the fair counting of votes):
When it comes to voting rights, Democrats push voter protection while Republicans shout voter fraud in a crowded polling place. Democrats think anyone who can vote should vote; Republicans think everyone who should vote can vote. ~ Christine Pelosi
Trump and his advisors continue, even after winning the election and despite still not providing any evidence of vote rigging, to try and undermine public confidence in the voting system.
I had previously seen Donald Trump merely as a bad joke – albeit a misogynist, a homophobe, a racist, a narcissistic blow-hard, a con-artist and serial liar.
But I now realise that he’s much worse than this: a disguised but dangerous neo-fascist, leading a large populist movement, intent on undermining faith in democracy, stirring up civil unrest, providing encouragement for post-election violence and an insurrectionary movement of “patriots”.
He says the American democratic system is rigged and refuses to say that he’ll accept the election outcome. He now refers to Obama’s presidency as a “regime” and says he’s going to put Hillary Clinton in jail. He muses about “2nd amendment solutions” (i.e. the use of guns). He’s promised to forcibly deport 11 million people (illegal immigrants) … an act that would require busting in on tens of thousands of businesses and homes, not to mention the establishment of mass camps where these 11 million women, men and children can be herded and concentrated together.
He has spoken of his admiration for “strong men”, citing Iraq’s former President Saddam Hussein and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and has openly encouraged the Russians to hack into the computer networks of both the Democratic Party and U.S. government agencies. He stirs up hatred against ethnic, religious and other minorities. His supporters put out videos like Big Guns, which shows an ex-Navy Seal firing a high-powered, rapid-fire gun, accompanied by ominous voice-overs about the Democratic Party.
He has tweeted a six-pointed star, echoing the Jewish Star of David, positioned next to a photo of Clinton against a backdrop of money (see above). At a recent campaign rally in Florida he has evoked fascist symbolism by asking his supporters to raise their right arms and pledge to vote for him (see top of page).
Trump has been endorsed by David Duke, head of the white-supremacist Klu Klux clan, who said: “voting against Donald Trump … is really treason to your heritage.” He has been endorsed by a variety of far right political leaders across Europe, including Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the National Front in France.
In February of this year Trump tweeted a quote used by the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini: “It is better to live a day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.” Soon afterwards, a group calling itself the ‘Lion Guard’ – who use the same quote as their tag-line – launched a web site, seeking to organise his supporters into a militia that is “willing to forcefully protect” Trump from people it perceives to be threats. Some may recall that Mussolini rose to power on the strength of his own militia, a group that also claimed to be “defending” the fascist leader from his enemies.
Trump has instructed crowds to “Knock the crap out of them” if they see a protester at his rallies, and pledges that he will pay the legal fees of any of his supporters who is brought to trial on assault charges.
His most ardent supporters call him the “God-Emperor”.
The list goes on.
Things have come to pretty pass when such a man – a neo-fascist – is the Republican Party’s nominee to be the next President of the United States.
The hard core of Trump’s support is white, ill-educated, machismo-fantasist, racist, homophobic and misogynist men.
In their bizarre world – which reflects their sexual insecurities more than anything else – anyone man who opposes Trump is a ‘cuck’ … meaning cuckold, a ‘sissy’ man whose wife/girlfriend/partner is taken sexually and willingly by a more ‘alpha male’.
In their world, women are seen mainly as mere sexual objects to be ogled, groped at will, degraded, demeaned and worse.
In their world, guns and violence are glorified … as are ‘strong men’ like the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.
In their world paranoia, conspiracy theories and extreme gullibility run riot. The dangers of Hurricane Mathew are cast as a conspiracy-hyped threat to scare people into believing in global warming and climate change. If Trump loses the election, this result is already being framed as a rigged vote. And the dwindling support for their brand of idiocy is explained by things like:
“Men aren’t men anymore. Testosterone levels have been dropping, and men are getting weaker every generation. Some people will tell you it’s just because they’re pussies, but the truth is the water is polluted. Look into xenoestrogens.”
And let’s be clear: we’re not talking about a small number of nutcases here. No, we’re talking about millions of US citizens, albeit mostly of the stupid male variety. We’re talking about large, rag-bag collection of bible-thumping religious zealots, tea-party hard-cores, white supremacists, xenophobes, gun fanatics, “southern good ol’ boys”, conspiracy freaks, ‘survivalists’, anti-abortion crusaders, biker gangs, machismo fantasists, homophobes … the list goes on.
The tragedy for the Republican Party is that, bit by bit, it has allowed this motley, insular crew to take over large chunks of their organisation. Even worse, it didn’t even need to pander to these idiots because their votes have nowhere else to go except the box marked ‘abstain’ … and most of these people are too driven to go there.
And by its unreasoning, unbending and extreme hostility to pretty much everything that Obama has tried to do, the Republican Party – through its control of the Senate and the House of Representatives – has created a virtual paralysis of government in the USA for the last eight years and created an atmosphere of bile, division and vitriol that has only further encouraged the extremists out of the woodwork and into the world of Trumpism.
And so came the bitter fruits of their labours: the most unelectable, most unfit-for-President candidate in many, many decades, perhaps ever. This swaggering blow-hard, the puffed-up con artist, the narcissist, the crude, mean-minded man of small wit and large insult … the man who actually brags about his ability to sexually molest women and get away with it.
“Life in Avalon” is the title of a roughly sketched gift-card to be found in Glastonbury’s shops. It shows children playing against a backdrop of the famous, seven-spiralled Tor, whilst from a nearby house a parent calls: “Merlin, Arthur, Morgana le Fey, Isis, Vishnu, your vegeburgers are ready!”
Browsing visitors, seeing the card, smile fondly at this ‘parody’, or else look baffled. Yet all would be startled to learn that truth, in this place, far outstrips pale fiction. For from the many tribes and clans of Avalonia there looms today, out of the mists and beyond the ken of mortal folk, a greater range of names-fabulous than ever walked abroad in yester-years of myth and legend.
Here, perchance outside St. John’s Church, there is indeed a Merlin. This swaying, red-faced Biker-Prophet harangues passers-by with the fierce, drunk-fired-up wrath of God. Angels of Hell’s variety adorn the denim overlay of his ripped and grimy leather jacket. Suddenly he advances, blue eyes burning, wild hair astray, thrusting his face within inches of a teenage techno-raver who loiters innocently nearby with friends. Merlin, portent with omen, fixes the youth with a penetrating stare, points upwards in dire consequence and booms like a thunder-clap, “You are the truth of all that you fear!”
Judgement pronounced, he stalks off in triumph. The boy-raver, though feigning unconcern to keep his coolth with peers, is greatly disconcerted and may later ponder deeply on these words. But Merlin, the shape-shifter, has shifted to a new location, driven on by …. who can know what?
Vishnudeva also lives here. A nervous, gentle soul, he floats on the sea of life like a jellyfish waiting for the next wave goodbye. A leather amulet with photogenic guru dangles from his neck, perhaps to ward off sharks and other lurking dangers.
And Guinevere was discovered shopping for buns in Jane’s Bakery. A small crowd gathered in the High Street as a pilgrim fell to his knees in homage, clutching at the hem of her dress. “Oh Guinevere, Guinevere,” he declared ardently , “at last I’ve found you!” Being the sister of Henno the Astrologer, she was perhaps more prepared than most for such an encounter, and her native Dutch phlegm flickered but little – it would, after all, make an amusing tale for her boyfriend, a Cornish smuggler.
Jah Glastafari, ever-livin’, thy tribes and clans are legion: Antares of Shambhala, Orion, Burning Spear D’Albion, Jean Morning Star, Odin the Harpist, Moses, Stella Moon, Lizzie Freewoman, Jupiter, Stanley Messenger, Dice George, Pixie, Lol Whitelion, Tree Peacock, Justin Credible and many more besides … all shall make their entrances and exits in this story of the Veil that is Avalon.
These names are not made up for effect – they’re the real names of real people. This is actuality down here: Reality with a capital Ah! So get wise, fools, and wake up to what’s going on in this neck of the woods, lest you want someday to have to deal with an acorn the size of a coconut! And it’s coming your way, watch out. It just happens here first, that’s all.
So don’t say I didn’t warn you. In fact, don’t say anything at all – you’re not equipped for it. And you never will be until you know. And that’s what I’m doing – helping you to know. I don’t expect any thanks for it, but someone’s got to tell the world and I’m the one who’s been stuck with it. Anyhow, you deserve maybe one chance at the truth, I suppose, before it’s too late.
In the Middle East they call it kismet. In Old Norse, the word is wyrd. In the USA they say, “you can’t buck the system”. In India they bow to karma. In England they talk of fate. In Avalonia, on a favoured wall in Silver Street, they have simply spray-painted “Good morning lemmings!”
 There are in fact two different Merlins – or three if you count the Welsh variant Taliesin, or four if you include middle names, and five if you count dogs. They have not so far – stay lucky – learned of each other’s existence.
 Later re-named, under rather mysterious circumstances, ‘Burns the Bread’.