Friday, May 18, 2018

Alternative Theory on JFK Assassination

Alternative Theory on JFK Assassination
by Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder

John F. Kennedy had an affair with Marilyn Monroe.[1]  Marilyn Monroe was a genius who appreciated intelligence, but, was treated like a whore by the industry.  On a list she made on a lark regarding which celebrities she found sexiest, she included Albert Einstein.[2]

Monroe had talent for drama and comedy.  She was diverse and poetic in her actions and movements.  Her love life was filled with turmoil likely because everyone was attracted to her, but, didn't really want to know her.  She looked for love and found only lust sometimes disguised by flattery.

Kennedy, having taken advantage of her to an extent, was afraid that the truth would come out and there would be a scandal.  It is likely that the RAND Corporation or some similar outfit had her killed to silence her and avoid any scandal involving infidelity in the "Camelot" administration.

The Central Intelligence Agency, horrified by the loss of America's sweetheart, decided it was unacceptable to assassinate such a beautiful artist to keep up appearances and avoid a scandal of one's own making as a result of moral turpitude.  So, they arranged to have Kennedy killed so he could ironically maintain his illusion of grandeur while avoiding his sex scandal becoming the basis of his memorial in time. 

Now, this is just a theory.  But, I think it is as plausible as any other.  And, perhaps the CIA was trying to help and achieve justice for the loss of an American icon.  Or, you could just conclude this belongs in the annals of Mad Magazine.


[1] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/28/jfk-files-fbi-warns-robert-kennedy-book-alleging-affair-marilyn-monroe/809992001/
[2] http://www.neatorama.com/2012/09/04/14-Things-You-May-Not-Have-Known-About-Marilyn-Monroe/

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

HEAL No Longer Supports Ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child


HEAL No Longer Supports Ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
by Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder (revised: January 14th, 2018)

The HEAL Team read the preamble and many articles making wonderful claims about the impact the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child would have for American children and children around the globe.  We believed it to be a step in the right direction for protecting children from harm and providing a framework by which children would be afforded rights and protections not currently provided.  We believed that the phrases in the Convention text, "Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding...Considering that the child should be fully prepared to live an individual life in society, and brought up in the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, and in particular in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity..."[1] meant that children would be afforded and mandated the right of children to grow up in a family environment.  However, the remainder of the UN Convention establishes a near mandate for institutionalizing children, something HEAL opposes vehemently.

HEAL opposes any international, federal, or local law that provides for the establishment and funding of institutional "care" for children.  Even the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) states that institutionalization is never better for a child than being in a family environment.[2]  But, language throughout the Convention states, "States Parties shall render appropriate assistance to parents and legal guardians in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities and shall ensure the development of institutions, facilities and services for the care of children.... States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that children of working parents have the right to benefit from child-care services and facilities for which they are eligible... No part of the present article or article 28 shall be construed so as to interfere with the liberty of individuals and bodies to establish and direct educational institutions... States Parties shall seek to promote the establishment of laws, procedures, authorities and institutions specifically applicable to children alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law..."[3]  And, for this reason HEAL cannot endorse and does not wish to see the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified by the US at this time.  It needs significant amendment before we would consider supporting it in the future.

People reading this may not understand the full context we are working from at HEAL.  Take for example the fact that in Massachusetts, the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), which the public and likely you understand to provide Head Start, Pre-School, and other supports for pre-K children, is responsible for licensing (and sometimes funding placements) programs like Chamberlain International School.  Chamberlain is one of many facilities on the HEAL watch-list for exploitation and abuse and you can learn more about it at www.heal-online.org/chamberlain.htm.  So, when we read that the UN wants more funding and power granted to EEC which you may erroneously believe is solely about educational opportunities for pre-K children, we recognize that, at least in the US, this would mean providing institutional "care" like that found at Chamberlain for even more children.  And, this is something we cannot and will never endorse.  In addition, the US already fails to regulate and establish standards for K-12 private schools (including boarding schools) and that the vast majority of States do not regulate these facilities at all, either due to conflicts of interest or simple State policy.  In addition, many of these private residential "schools" (including those identified as "ranches" or providing "work therapy") force their captives to perform labor under threat of deprivation or abuse.  There is no mention regarding coerced labor either in the convention.  And, as stated, exploitation does not appear to be used interchangeably with "forced labor" in similar UN Conventions and therefore should not be assumed to imply inclusion in the definition of exploitation in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

There is not one mention in the Convention on prohibiting child labor or providing children the right to not be forced into labor.  The Convention does state that children must be protected from exploitation, including sexual and economic/labor-based exploitation.[4]  However, there is no prohibition of "forced labor" and no mention of preventing "slavery".  You can assume whatever you wish, but, without specifying a prohibition, it seems seriously lacking and provides more loopholes for exploitation and modern slavery.  This is a major issue any international convention on children's rights should prioritize.  There is not one mention that children have the right to be raised in their communities and away from segregated congregate care.  In fact, segregation is not even referenced in the Convention.  Segregation is a major issue that adversely affects children in the US and around the globe.  The Convention does not address this major issue. 

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is very explicit in Article 27 protecting individuals with disabilities specifically from slavery, servitude, and forced/compulsory labor.  Source:  http://www.un.org/disabilities/documents/convention/convoptprot-e.pdf (p. 21).  That same Convention (Article 19, page 15) also specifically states that disabled persons have the right to integration in their society and to be free from segregation.   And, those sections are separate from the statements in that convention regarding exploitation, violence, and abuse.  So, one must conclude that for the purposes of such Conventions, the definition and prohibition of slavery/forced labor as well as the right to be free from segregation is separate from the protection from exploitation.  The fact that prohibiting forced labor/slavery in the Convention of the Rights of the Child is omitted raises serious concerns for HEAL. 

HEAL sees the two greatest threats to children and youth in the US as segregation and forced labor/modern slavery.  These are likely the two issues globally most in need of redress.  And, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child fails miserably to establish firm rules to protect children and youth from both.

HEAL has updated our legislative request (see: www.healreport.tv/heallegislativerequest.pdf)  to remove the portion requesting that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child be ratified by the US Senate.  Given that it appears to harm children more than help them and fails to address significant issues and abuses affecting children and youth globally, we cannot support it.

Our legislative request is subject to revision and while our volunteers do our best to investigate all matters before taking a position, we did fail to thoroughly examine the Convention before endorsing it.  We ask that if you find error or fault with any statement or position we take and you believe any statement or endorsement has been made ignorantly or in contradiction to our stated mission to stop institutionalized abuse of children and youth (which for us includes stopping the institutionalization of children and youth), please contact us at info@heal-online.org to let us know.  We will make immediate all necessary corrections.
 
HEAL no longer endorses the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and we suggest others reconsider their support of the Convention given its failures to address child labor, wrongful institutionalization, forced/compulsory labor, and other issues while practically mandating a system in which all of these violations are likely to continue unabated.



[1] http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CRC.aspx
[2] http://www.unicef.org/cambodia/12681_23295.html       

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A New Year's Resolution Wish


A New Year's Resolution Wish
by Angela Smith, HEAL Co-Founder/National Coordinator

Many years ago when I was just starting out I had a job at a shoe store.  When I showed up for my first day at work, my manager (male) advised that he preferred the women who worked there to wear short skirts and low-cut shirts.  I rolled my eyes and wore what I thought was appropriate.  I worked there for a few months.  Every now and then he would ask me again to wear his suggested outfits.  I refused.  He also followed me around on days I wore a dress or skirt and asked me to climb the ladder to straighten high shelves while he watched from below.  I ended up quitting that job and getting a job at a car dealership as a receptionist where my immediate supervisor was a woman and the dress code was business casual.

I find it frustrating when I see women kowtow to the expectation that they dress like "street walkers" to please their employers.  I find it even more frustrating when women claim dressing in a sexually provocative manner, while demanding no one take notice or respond "normally" (as if sexually intrigued), is a matter of "women's liberation".  I find it more a matter of women's stupidity.

I would no more walk into a lion's den dressed in a suit of raw meat than walk into any office or workplace (save a strip club, gentlemen's club, or bordello) dressed in the finest from Frederick's of Hollywood or the like.  This is not because I am "conservative" and believe women shouldn't be able to wear whatever they want whenever they want.  But, I do believe women should understand that wearing sexually provocative clothing inspires sexual attention and to avoid unwelcome attention of that nature they should take precautions unless they are seeking that type of attention. 

My mother and I were discussing this recently and she and I both agreed that women who dress in a sexually provocative manner in the workplace make their co-workers (women and men) uncomfortable.  I personally feel like they are setting me up or adding to the pressure of wearing sexually provocative clothing because they are trying to normalize that in the workplace.  In addition, my mother has seen women use their sexuality to avoid work duties while flirting their way into getting their male counterparts to do the work for them.  This behavior on the part of women who do this creates a hostile work environment for both male and female co-workers.  In addition, wives (girlfriends, etc.) do not appreciate when they walk into the workplace of their spouse (etc.) and find the other employees shoving breasts and thighs in the face of their loved ones.  When I was a receptionist, one male co-worker's wife called on the hour to check up on what things were going on.  Women should respect the insecurities of other women and work to create an environment free from suspicion and sexual misconduct.  Dressing appropriately is one way to address this issue.

If you want to wear a cocktail dress, get a job as a server at a cocktail bar or wear it to parties or on dates.  Do not wear it to work.  I don't want to see newscasters that pull back their shoulders and shake their goods at their male co-hosts while screaming they are "feminists" who don't like sexual attention in the workplace.  I find it absurd on its face and can't help but wonder why they dress the way they do if they are not looking for sexual attention.  I personally feel beautiful no matter what I'm wearing.  And, I think that is the true meaning of being a feminist.  If you need to get breast implants and show off your body while screaming about sexual harassment, then, you seem more confused than anything else.  I don't see you as a feminist at all, but, someone who is atrociously unreasonable and setting up co-workers and others by enticing them to comment so you can build a case against them when they notice what you are "selling/advertising".

I suggest women who are told to dress sexually provocatively by employers take a stand and refuse to participate.  If it keeps up, report them or file suit.  I can tell you wearing short skirts and low cut tops would not have aided me in performing my duties at the shoe store or at any other job I have held to date.  And, I don't believe it helps with feminism or creating a safe work environment for women to dress in what I consider an unprofessional and sexually provocative manner. 

So, ladies, before you get completely ticked off at this article, consider this...  What if your male counterparts showed up to work in "speedos", leather pants (with package bulging), 70's-style dress shirts unbuttoned to their waste or no shirt at all, and imagine it is a co-worker you are attracted to even slightly, would that make work difficult or uncomfortable for you?  Whether you found them attractive or not, I think you would find that manner of dress on male co-workers inappropriate and at times very offensive.  So, I would ask that you not be hypocritical and you dress as you would expect or even see your male counterparts dress.  Meaning, if they dress in suits or fully-clothed without showing off their "unmentionables" or drawing attention to their bodies or specific body parts, maybe you could show the same courtesy and respect and help create a work environment where women and men focus on the job at hand and not how sexy you look or think you may look.

If you dress thinking "sex sells", then you are selling sex whether overtly or covertly.  And, you may want to re-think that if you want to be respected in the workplace by both men and women with whom you work.  If you dress appropriately, then you will have a better chance at winning any sexual harassment suits you may have based on unwelcome conduct because you won't have co-workers (male and female) thinking that you kind of brought it on yourself to some extent.  It is unreasonable to ignore social norms or professional expectations and demand the world act exactly as you expect, particularly when your expectations are wholly unreasonable and somewhat delusional.

If your boss demands you wear sexually provocative clothing, refuse.  If you think wearing sexually provocative clothing is totally appropriate in every possible setting, then you have a mental problem, in my opinion.  My dress code is mostly about comfort and appropriateness for the occasion.  I hope women will start thinking when they dress and men in positions of power will receive refusals when they demand women dress for sex in the workplace.  It is my understanding everyone loves a little mystery, so, dressing fully-clothed can still be beautiful, fashionable, comfortable, and appropriate for everyone involved.  Please consider dressing appropriately as a form of self-defense against unwanted and unwelcome sexual attention and make it your resolution to avoid creating a hostile work environment by refusing to participate in the continued objectification and sexualization of women in the workplace.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Corey Feldman and What's Wrong with the Corey's Law Petition


Corey Feldman and What's Wrong with the Corey's Law Petition
by Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder

First, let me say I believe Corey Feldman was a victim of exploitation and abuse as a young child actor.  I have compassion for all such victims and wish justice for everyone who has been harmed by exploitation and abuse.

I do believe Feldman has engaged in unethical conduct and exploitation of young women over the years and I find it personally difficult to reconcile my support for Corey the victim with my frustration with his actions as an adult towards his former "angels".  Mara Moon (a former Corey's Angel) reports he physically, emotionally, and verbally abused her regularly.  [See: http://ccreports.ca/2017/12/09/exclusive-former-coreys-angel-mara-moon-speaks-out/]  I find it very difficult to balance supporting victims who become perpetrators, especially if it continues over a long period of time with multiple victims and no remorse or regret for the harm caused to others.

I was willing to set aside my annoyance with this whole situation for the sake of hoping that justice may finally be served.  And, I will say I believe Judy Haim and Corey Haim over Corey Feldman regarding what happened to Corey Haim and who is to blame.  In addition, after many comparisons I have seen a lot of inconsistency in Feldman's claims.  All of this has led me to believe he is not the best person to bring this issue to light. 

All that said, I was initially going to support the petition for "Corey's Law" [you can view and sign it now at: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/coreys-law] , but, being a legal researcher I wanted to check the language of the petition before going forward with that.  I've repeatedly met with federal legislators who have repeatedly informed me that much of what needs to be done to protect children and youth from exploitation and abuse MUST occur at the State level.  So, I wanted to check the federal laws and statute of limitations on sex crimes against minors. 

Guess what?  There IS NO FEDERAL STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS on federal prosecution of kidnapping, sex abuse and sex crimes against children and youth.[1] [18 U.S.C. § 3299]  So, a petition to create a new law extending the Statute of Limitations is unnecessary and superfluous because such crimes that meet the federal requirements for prosecution can be prosecuted as long as the victim is still alive or within 10 years of the crime, whichever is longer.

So, what are the federal requirements for such prosecutions?  "Whoever, in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a Federal prison, or in any prison, institution, or facility in which persons are held in custody by direction of or pursuant to a contract or agreement with the head of any Federal department or agency, knowingly engages in a sexual act with [a minor]..." can be federally prosecuted.[2]  [18 U.S. Code § 2243 - Sexual abuse of a minor or ward]  So, if there is a private detention center holding a federal contract housing undocumented (or citizen) minors where they have been raped or assaulted, then, the federal government can prosecute, for example.  But, when it comes to crimes committed in local or state jurisdictions, it is those jurisdictions that set the Statute of Limitations.  So, in the case of Corey's law, you would want it to be initiated in the State of California (or any individual State) in order to eliminate or extend the Statute of Limitations.  Corey's Law's petition says they want to extend the federal Statute of Limitations indefinitely.  However, there is no Statute of Limitations on this type of crime at the federal level and therefore the language of the petition is virtually meaningless when it comes to any federal reform, since no federal reform is needed on this particular issue.  What we need is State reforms and this is why HEAL has been working on our State Action Plan for many years with some successes around the country.  The legal language that should be used if looking to eliminate the statute of limitations should be the language set forth in the federal statute.  Alaska is one state that already has no Statute of Limitations on sex crimes against minors.[3]  So, their existing Statute can also be used as a model for California or other states to adopt.  And, HEAL Illinois' campaign for reform includes a petition specifically citing Alaska's law in asking Illinois to make the needed reforms which could be used as a template for actions in other states.  See: https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/illinois-general-assembly?source=c.tw&r_by=10225086

Now, what about California?  Commencing in January of 2017, the new law in California eliminates the Statute of Limitations on prosecuting sex offenses.  So, the problem has been solved in California for now.[4]  Activists in California will want to keep an eye on this issue and make sure that if a new Statute of Limitations is imposed (none now exists), that it protects the rights of victims and understands the trauma that results in delayed reporting which has previously resulted in failure to prosecute due to past statutory constraints. 

So, what can Corey do?  Well, if he successfully proves that he named names of evident abusers in a report to the proper (LAPD) California authorities before his 40th birthday and that he filed a complaint against those abusers willing to press charges before his 40th birthday, then he may finally see justice served.  If he did not file an official complaint prior to his 40th birthday, then he may not get justice given the state of the law leading up to his 40th birthday in California.  However, if he discusses it with an attorney and can prove that he asked to file some complaints or press charges but was refused by law enforcement, he may have a civil suit against those law enforcement agencies.  Given that it has been 24 years since the 1993 interview with law enforcement, it may once again be too late for even a civil suit for malfeasance against those agencies.  And, that is likely his only option given that he is now 46 years old and under the old law, he needed to come forward before his 40th birthday in California.

Alas, all of the above paragraph is also moot.  Because, when Feldman was interviewed by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff''s Office and reportedly "named names", law enforcement told him he needed to file those reports in Los Angeles County or with the LAPD because the crimes were in that jurisdiction, NOT Santa Barbara County.  Feldman admits he never followed up by filing complaints or reports in the proper jurisdiction.  So, he cannot now claim that he was denied access or no one would listen to him because he was told to report in the proper jurisdiction and chose not to do so.  You can see the evidence of all of this by watching the video here: https://youtu.be/llEUEg_F-YE.  [Please do not assume this is an endorsement of that entire video or channel.  But, Feldman clearly states he was told by the SB Sheriff to file reports in LA County, the proper jurisdiction and he clearly says he never followed through with doing that.]

I would suggest any individuals who were victims while a ward or minor in federal custody or assaulted while on federal land/property, immediately report those crimes to the FBI.  You can find reporting resources at http://www.heal-online.org/report.htm.  If the crimes against you do not meet requirements for federal prosecution, you will need to file complaints and press charges against those that harmed you at the State or Local level and depending on jurisdiction, you may or may not see justice served.  This is why we ask that you become smart activists and actually know what is needed before creating petitions and taking action so you don't waste your own time and everyone else's. 

HEAL actually researches everything before we create any petitions or organize any marches/protests/campaigns.  Because, we don't want to waste anyone's time, especially our own.  So, we hope you will become a smart activist too, if you are not already, and use your mind more than your emotions when deciding how best to advocate on any issue.  A good primer for new and/or confused activists is HEAL's free e-book available at: http://www.heal-online.org/activism101.pdf. 
 
Become better informed citizens and vote like an activist.  These are the two most important things you can do towards improving things in the US.  And, they require some effort on your part that doesn't involve self-absorption, throwing parties or events to celebrate yourself, or emotional pleas for money and praise.  We can change things when we understand how and take the right actions.  HEAL has proven this to be true.  So, it is up to you to decide whether you want to be a poser or a hero.  If you choose hero, you can organize with us or ask for our assistance for your independent campaigns by following the guidelines at http://www.heal-online.org/solidarity.htm.  Godspeed.



[1] https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL31253.pdf (page 5)
[2] https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2243
[3] http://codes.findlaw.com/ak/title-12-code-of-criminal-procedure/ak-st-sect-12-10-010.html
[4] https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/09/28/495856974/california-eliminates-statute-of-limitations-on-rape-cases

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Why Is Exploitation and Slavery Permitted in the United States?


Why Is Exploitation and Slavery Permitted in the United States?
by Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator

In recent news, individuals seeking help with drug addiction at local rehab facilities found themselves enslaved at a chicken processing plant in Missouri.[1]  This story is not unique, HEAL has received multiple reports from people being used for labor while seeking legitimate mental health services by unscrupulous profiteers who see their patients as nothing more than society's throwaways who will learn to contribute to society by creating profits for their overseers at the program/plantation.

HEAL has been investigating multiple complaints about similar practices at programs like Teen Challenge, Provo Canyon School, Q & A Associates, and Bethel Boys Academy for nearly 20 years.  We always recommend these violations be reported to labor regulators and the Department of Justice so they can be investigated and prosecuted.  Unfortunately, these violations are done under duress and often through coercive means.  If a victim reports, they are told they will never heal and never find legitimate work in the "real world".

People ask HEAL, if this is going on, why hasn't anything been done about it?  There are multiple factors involved.  The torture and coercion of clients to pay blind obedience to their masters at the program involves the tearing down, infantilization, learned-helplessness, and absolute desperation of the exploited individuals who are so traumatized by being tortured and enslaved that they can't psychologically process their own suffering and pain.  The fear is so outrageous that they remain silent in hopes to finally just be left alone. 

Those that do speak out are targeted for harassment, baseless lawsuits, and additional abuses (including death threats).  When you are dealing with people who have endless resources and friends in public office who are nothing but criminals in nice suits, and, you are a vulnerable member of society due to poverty, exploitation, or disability, you may decide the risk outweighs the benefit for yourself personally to take a stand.  This is why it is important to care about more than yourself if you want to change things.  Unfortunately, often these programs turn all their clients into snitches and junior overseers abusing those who are new to the program.  And, they want their clients to be totally self-involved, only worried about their own "advancement" in the system, with no regard for their fellow victims. 

But, there are more sinister reasons at play.  These programs either own or contract with other businesses to farm out the labor of their clients while receiving the rewards for that forced labor.  And, they use cult-like, coercive thought reform techniques to achieve obedience and subjugate their "clients".  They get away with it because there is little to no legitimate regulation of these facilities and programs. 

You will find in most states, if not all, that faith-based providers are exempt from any regulatory requirements.  In many states, even secular facilities are not effectively regulated.  Here's how the game is played...  There is a private residential school operating in Arizona that solely claims to be a private residential school in the eyes of the law.  Arizona does not regulate nor require any state oversight of such a program.  [2]  HEAL has called Utah regulators to complain about abuse at residential treatment programs operating in Utah.  Utah regulators have told us they rely on criteria such as whether or not a program is accredited by the Joint Commission or is eligible for federal Medicaid funding to determine whether or not it meets the state's requirements.  The Joint Commission relies on self-reporting and self-assessment and refers complaints back to the state regulators.  And, Medicaid relies on the Joint Commission.  So, it is a bit of a big run around.

Now, today, I was researching Timber Ridge School in Virginia at the request of a parent who contacted HEAL for assistance.  Timber Ridge School is accredited by the Council On Accreditation (COA), another private agency, like the Joint Commission that relies on fees charges to the programs they accredit to sustain themselves.  In addition, they also rely on the "good faith" of those they accredit to honestly self-report and self-assess when filling out COA forms and surveys to be rubberstamped for approval.  The most COA reports charging annually for a private facility or program to be accredited is $355,411.[3]  Now, that's just what they charge one program annually.  If someone told you they were "acting in good faith" and sent you a survey/report saying that they agree and meet your standards with a check for $355,000, would take their word for it?  HEAL wouldn't.  But, we have ethical standards which are grossly lacking in corporate America.  Apparently, most everyone else would.

So, we know COA takes tons of cash from the programs they "accredit" and which the government permits to act as a private "regulator" of the industry they serve.  They do not serve the public interest nor the public good, and, this is why we need to demand public oversight and accountability of all such entities and stop allowing private agencies to take blood money to keep silent about abuses while the public interest and public good is sacrificed.  But, how does the COA get approved as a recognized accreditation agency and how do they avoid accountability to public regulators as a result?

The COA has a lot of money.  Clearly, if they accredit thousands of programs and receive as much as $355,411 annually from any individual private program they accredit, they have lots of money.  What do they do with it?  And, whose interest is being served?  Well, COA partners with the National Association of Private Special Education Centers (NAPSEC).[4]  And, if you look at the California Lobbying Directory for 2017-2018, you will find the California Association of Private Special Education Schools (CAPSES).[5]  CAPSES was initially a part of NAPSEC and still claims some affiliation and partnership.[6]  So, do you think it is likely that COA through their partnerships is funneling money to lobbying firms to benefit the programs they accredit?  They consider the programs they accredit their clients, remember.

Beyond that, COA's board of trustees include Robert B. Shanks, Vice President of Legal International and Washington Operations for the Raytheon Company.[7]  Raytheon is a defense contractor.  So, you explain why on the board of a health accreditation agency is a Vice President of a defense contractor...  Waiting... 

Raytheon Company has been targeted for divestment because of its contribution to human rights violations around the globe.[8]  Now, a company that engages in such practices certainly isn't who you want on the board of a health care accreditation agency unless you support torture, abuse, and slavery, right?  

"Amnesty International identified the use of Raytheon-supplied "bunker buster" bombs in the targeting of civilian homes, among other targets, during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. According to OCHA, 2192 Palestinians were killed during the 50 days of Protective Edge, including numerous whole families. More than 20,000 housing units were destroyed, leaving more than 100,000 people homeless."  Source: http://investigate.afsc.org/company/raytheon-company

So, you see, we have a real problem.  Whether it is Raytheon or RAND Corporation or some other arm of the global corporate system of oppression, we are seeing gross human rights violations and a US government that would rather act like private contractors doing the bidding of their corporate masters for profit than protect the public interest and the American people. 

You need to be informed and protect yourself and your family from exploitation and modern slavery.  You can do this by not buying into the system and not subjecting your children and loved ones to exploitative private entities that lie to trick you so they can take your money and exploit your family.  You also need to take responsibility for being an informed citizen and voting accordingly.  Both major parties, the Democrats and Republicans, are guilty as sin.  We have to break the 2-party system.  Vote third party or run for office yourself.  Even if it is a local position, you can act as a voice for change in the corrupt system that is trying to turn the whole planet into a for profit wasteland while killing everyone they can in the process.

So, deception and exploitation by usurpers of the people's power is the reason more is not being done to stop fraud, exploitation, and abuse in residential programs for vulnerable populations including children and youth.  The only ones who can stop this are the ones who are willing to seek the truth, share it with everyone, and take real action.  Are you up to the challenge?  HEAL does our best.
 


[1] https://www.revealnews.org/article/they-thought-they-were-going-to-rehab-they-ended-up-in-chicken-plants/
[2] https://www2.ed.gov/admins/comm/choice/regprivschl/regprivschl.pdf (p. 20)
[4] http://coanet.org/about/sponsoring-supportingand-partner-organizations/partners/
[5] http://prd.cdn.sos.ca.gov/Lobbying_Directory.pdf (p. 397)
[6] http://www.napsec.org/napdirhm.html and https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1475814496
[7] http://coanet.org/about/coa-staff-and-board/board-of-trustees/
[8] http://investigate.afsc.org/company/raytheon-company

Friday, October 27, 2017

How Should I Decide Who to Vote for in Local Elections?


How Should I Decide Who to Vote for in Local Elections?
By Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder

I live in Washington State and decided to take a closer look at the City of Everett's local election races this year.  I started by reading through the Voter Guide which arrived less than 2 weeks before the vote.  I read through all the candidates' descriptions and biographies.  Then, I decided to e-mail each of them and/or their campaigns to ask specific questions related to issues I care about.  While I understand some of the offices are non-partisan, I still wanted to know which parties the candidates most aligned with and a few other questions directly related to HEAL's primary campaign of stopping institutionalized child abuse.

There were 12 total candidates running according to the guide.  There were no Green Party candidates running in Snohomish or King County.  But, there are two great Green Party candidates running for local positions in Olympia, WA right now.  You can learn more about their campaigns at: http://www.gp.org/candidates_in_olympia

I contacted the Everett Mayoral Candidates Cassie Franklin and Judy Tuohy.  I also contacted the following candidates for the Everett City Council: Paul Roberts, Lee Dart, Jeff Moore, Alex Lark, Scott Murphy, and Jennifer Hesse.  In addition, I contacted Amy Kaestner and Laura Van Slyck, both vying for judgeships and running unopposed leaving voters with only one choice to fill those judicial seats.  It is not really democratic when you only have one option on the ballot. 

Beyond that, I contacted both Pam LeSesne and Janelle Nixon who are running against each other for the Everett School District Director position.

I asked 3 main questions, with additional questions specific to the office the candidates were seeking:

1.  What political party platform is most aligned with your positions on the issues? (Please specify Green, Libertarian, Socialist Worker's, Democratic, or Republican)

2.  What is your position on segregated congregate care (i.e. group homes, residential treatment programs, boarding homes/schools, etc.) for vulnerable populations (children, youth, disabled, and elderly)?

3.  What will you do to prevent the abuse of public funds and protect human rights and dignity when it comes to segregated congregate care? For example, will you ban the use of special education funding for private segregated schooling and care for vulnerable populations?

I also attached the legislative request (see: www.healreport.tv/heallegislativerequest.pdf ) HEAL researched and presented to our federal legislators last March and asked that the candidates adopt, promote, or make some progress on all suggestions that can be adopted locally.

I received responses from Mayoral Candidate Judy Tuohy, City Council Candidate Jennifer Hesse, School Director Candidate Janelle Burke, City Council Candidate Paul Roberts, City Council Candidate Jeff Moore, and School Director Candidate Pam LeSesne.  I agree with Jesse Ventura (see: https://www.rt.com/shows/the-world-according-to-jesse/407370-marijuana-legalization-colorado-us/ ) that it is likely better to vote for those who responded than those who did not.  And, lucky for me, my choice has become much easier because of the willingness of some to respond to voters/constituents.

City Council Candidate Jennifer Hesse reports she is most aligned with the Libertarian platform.  She sees private charities as the answer to public need.  And, she supports the use of segregated congregate care for vulnerable populations.  She also reported, "I love the policies that you are supporting, especially those relating to education."  I believe Hesse is open to discussion and we may find some common ground for improving things for vulnerable populations.  Overall, I'm impressed that she read through my message, responded thoughtfully, and read through the attachments as well. 

City Council Candidate Paul Roberts reports that the issues I raised have not been brought up before the council, but, he would consider my views if it came up.  He did report, "I have - and do - support protecting human rights and protecting vulnerable populations and individuals."  Roberts also reported that he is most aligned with the Democratic Party, but, reminded me that it is a non-partisan office.  I appreciate that Roberts took the time to respond and that he at least agreed that we need to protect human rights and vulnerable populations.

City Council Candidate Jeff Moore also reminded me that this is a non-partisan office.  But, was kind enough to let me know that he is most aligned with the Democratic Party.  He reported that he supports keeping special needs children in public schools and providing them what they need in their own communities and homes.  To me, this is a big plus.  He also said the issues I raised had not come before the City Council to his knowledge and that he would keep my views in mind should it be brought to their forum.

Mayoral Candidate Judy Tuohy reported being a lifelong Democrat and having many Democratic endorsements.  She reported, "I am highly supportive of any measures we could enact at the City of Everett that would protect our youth, disabled, and elderly from being subjected to substandard housing, violations of their civil liberties, and/or abusive 'treatment' programs. The proportion of our population living in segregated congregate care is alarming, and I know we have several agencies that run such programs operating in our community... I do not have a legislative plan to address the concerns you have raised. I need to do more research on these matters before determining the best course of action for the City to take. Whether I am elected Mayor or not, I would welcome some time to meet with you to discuss this matter further. Thank you for bringing it to my attention!"  I am impressed with Tuohy's responses for the most part.  And, very happy to have an invitation to meet with her regardless of how the election turns out to discuss the issues I've raised.  She has my vote!

Here's where things get tough...  The judges don't give a hoot because they are running unopposed.  And, only one of the two options for the other seats responded.  Except, both School District Director candidates did get back with me in detail.  And now, my decision gets a bit tougher...

Everett School District Director Candidate Janelle Burke, reported not really being aligned with any political party and being more of an independent.  In responding to my other inquiries, Janelle said, "After reading the documents you sent me regarding your stance and the issue of segregated congregate care I must say that I actually agree that Everett needs to take a long hard look and consider (with maybe a push from the citizens) adopting these policies. I will be honest with you and say that until this email I was very ignorant as to this being as big of an issue as it is."  In addition, Burke invited me to work with her church and community organization to help promote HEAL's legislative agenda when it comes to stopping institutionalized abuse.  I remain very impressed and excited to hopefully work with Burke whether she wins or not on tackling these issues.

Everett School District Director Candidate Pam LeSesne also responded to my inquiry.  She reported that her views are most aligned with the Democratic Party, but, also reminded me it was a non-partisan office.  LeSesne didn't appear to take the time to read through my legislative request nor to answer my questions effectively in my opinion.  So, that decision just got much easier and Janelle Burke has my full support.

No matter the election cycle, as an activist, you should know the issues you care about and know what you expect of those running for any office.  You can write them and ask their position(s) on issues that you care about and make more informed decisions with minimal effort on your part.  I hope you will be inspired to get more involved at every level of the political process and commit to making more informed decisions.  This will help push through policies that will improve things for everyone.  And, it is the main peaceful option we have to putting an end to this fascist corporatocracy in the United States.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Are Victims of Institutionalized Abuse "Survivors"?

Are Victims of Institutionalized Abuse "Survivors"?
By Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder


Merriam-webster.com defines "Survivor" as living after someone has died (i.e. family survives death of parent in obituaries), as living or existing after a disaster (i.e. someone survived an earthquake, car crash, etc.), or continuing to function or prosper despite hardships (i.e. Trump filed bankruptcy multiple times and later became president).  Sources: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/survivor, http://connect.legacy.com/profiles/blogs/who-to-include-in-the-obituary, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/08/26/italy-earthquake-posta/89426564/, and https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2016/live-updates/general-election/real-time-fact-checking-and-analysis-of-the-first-presidential-debate/fact-check-has-trump-declared-bankruptcy-four-or-six-times/

Have victims of institutionalized abuse survived an industry and conditions where others have died?  Yes.

One of the most documented abusive segregated congregate care youth facilities has been the Dozier School for Boys where over 100 corpses of children have been found buried in mostly unmarked graves on the property.  The Dozier School was a residential "character training" program in Florida before it was finally closed down in 2011.  See: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/archaeologists-finally-know-what-happened-brutal-reform-school-180957911/   But, that's just one facility.  So, what's the number? 

There's no record of the number of children killed in treatment/institutional settings.  The best estimate available is from the Hartford Courant, which reports: "A 50-state survey by The Courant, the first of its kind ever conducted, has confirmed 142 deaths during or shortly after restraint or seclusion in the past decade. The survey focused on mental health and mental retardation facilities and group homes nationwide.  But because many of these cases go unreported, the actual number of deaths during or after restraint is many times higher.  Between 50 and 150 such deaths occur every year across the country, according to a statistical estimate commissioned by The Courant and conducted by a research specialist at the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis.  That's one to three deaths every week, 500 to 1,500 in the past decade, the study shows."  Source: http://www.charlydmiller.com/LIB05/1998hartfordcourant11.html   This was the last legitimate study by a legitimate research specialist on this issue to HEAL's knowledge and would suggest a minimum of  975 deaths of children due to restraint and isolation (3750 restraint and isolation related deaths, if we include all age groups of the study referenced) in institutional settings in the last 25 years.  While the Dozier School for Boys opened in 1900 and closed in 2011 with over 100 children's dead bodies buried in unmarked graves around the facility "over the years".  (Source: http://www.npr.org/2012/10/15/162941770/floridas-dozier-school-for-boys-a-true-horror-story )  So, why not go back 100 years and apply the modern statistics?  That would suggest 3,900  deaths of children in institutional care as a result of restraint and isolation (not including other deaths in care, such as overmedication or medical neglect) since 1917.  And, that's just the number of institutionalized kids that have died as a result of institutionalized abuse (restraint and isolation) while institutionalized.  In addition, 43 adjudicated children and youths have died while in detention centers in a 4 year (2002-2005, last available data) survey of US juvenile detention centers, but, not all centers reported/participated in the study, so again, the number of deaths in detention may be much higher.  (source: https://www.bjs.gov/content/dcrp/tables/juvtab5.cfm ) And, that would suggest 11 adjudicated juvenile deaths per year in detention.  It is likely that even more than that have been killed in institutional settings as a result of institutionalized abuse with thousands more committing suicide after having been through that trauma.  And, if you want to get really "crazy", consider this....  Let us say that at the "best" segregated congregate care facility there are 0 deaths and at the "worst" (i.e. Dozier) there have been 100 deaths due to malfeasance (restraint, isolation, medical neglect, overmedication, etc.) and take the average death toll over a 100 year period to be 50 per facility.  The CDC reports there are 2,250 such facilities in the US.  (Source: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nsrcf/NSRCF2010SelectedSurveyParticipants_091409.pdf )  Then, over a 100 year period, you have an average of 112,500 malfeasance related deaths, or 1,125 deaths annually in institutional care due to malfeasance, across all demographics.  If 26% of those deaths are of youth (as the Harvard research suggests), then it would amount to roughly 292 deaths of youth in institutional care annually.  This would make the death toll over a 25 year period for youth in segregated congregate care 7,300.  But, medical malpractice accounts for 210,000-440,000 medical negligence/malfeasance deaths in the US annually according to a Journal of Patient Safety study in 2013.  (Source: https://www.propublica.org/article/how-many-die-from-medical-mistakes-in-us-hospitals )  While these numbers are staggering, they do not even touch on the post-institutionalization suicides of those traumatized by abusive and negligent care in segregated congregate care facilities.

Is the segregated congregate care industry a "disaster"?  Well, how does merriam-webster.com define "disaster"?  A "disaster" is a sudden calamitous event bringing great damage, loss, or destruction according to https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disaster  For the individuals subjected to being terrorized in their own homes in the middle of the night, taken by strangers to an undisclosed location, held incommunicado and mistreated before earning their levels and mistreating those of lower status as a means of "progress" as defined by the behavior modification arm of the segregated congregate care industry, they may consider their experience to be disastrous or a disaster.  And, arguably, it is a legitimate view to hold of an industry that even the Surgeon General claims is ineffective at best, and at worst harmful. Source:  https://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/ps/access/nnbbjc.pdf  (page 10 of .pdf and page 160 of document)  Given the loss of liberty and dehumanization that accompanies segregated congregate care, many would argue the loss and damage to the individual is devastating and may rise to the level of disaster, when considering annual death tolls and other harms  (i.e. rapes, permanent mental or physical injury, etc.), certainly suggest it is not unreasonable to see the segregated congregate care industry as a disaster to those unfortunate enough to have experienced it firsthand.  So, Yes, it is a disaster depending on your point of view.

Do victims of institutionalized abuse continue to function and prosper despite those hardships?  Here's where it gets tricky.  Some of our fellows believe there are survivors of institutionalized abuse, but, that the majority are victims because they do not meet the third definition (the basis of the question above), and clearly are not able to function and prosper subsequent to their segregated congregate care experiences.  Many of our best and brightest, including Jon Martin Crawford and Nick Romano, are no longer with us, though they showed the most promise in regards to intellect, ability, and business acumen.  Many are unable to take slight criticism, shut down in the face of adversity or conflict, and cannot function in any job where they are not in control and able to avoid correction or, even guidance, in performing assigned tasks.  This makes for high unemployment rates and can be understood when you look at criticism or correction as a PTSD trigger (particularly for those who experienced what is called "positive peer pressure" aka "Attack Therapy" aka "Confrontation Therapy" (in which in a group setting, an individual is targeted by the group and torn down for hours non-stop with insult after insult, correction after correction, criticism after criticism, which is clearly traumatizing and should be considered a form of excessive bullying...often being scolded for minor infractions such as not making the bed perfectly or not folding laundry per program standards...) leaving many survivors and victims, unable to function and prosper by society standards.  However, "2 out of 3 ain't bad" and even if unable to function and prosper due to PTSD or related issues, defining these victims as "survivors" fits within the accepted understanding of the term "survivor".

So, what can survivors of institutionalized abuse do to better function and prosper with PTSD?  First, they need to recognize their PTSD and begin learning to manage triggers and develop healthy coping strategies.  There is no cure for PTSD.  Trauma is both physical and mental and the body and mind are hard-wired to recognize trauma and use trauma experiences to protect the mind and body from future trauma.  A trigger is an event (as simple as a look, as complex as an environment) that reminds the mind and body of the trauma and ignites a protective response which often includes hyper-vigilance (what others perceive as "over-reacting") to stop the triggering event to protect the individual with PTSD from additional harm.  It is up to survivors of trauma to recognize their PTSD and to learn to manage triggers and develop healthy coping strategies to better function (and prosper) in life.  Many acknowledge this is often easier said than done.

Survivors must communicate to their friends and family that they have PTSD and need their social support system to avoid triggering them to the best of their ability.  Friends and family of those living with PTSD must never pressure their loved one with PTSD to get help, treatment, or the like.  One reason is because "help" and "treatment" are most likely trigger words for survivors of institutionalized abuse.  Friends and family must be patient and supportive of their loved ones with PTSD and let individuals with PTSD be the first to mention help or treatment and give them complete authority and empowerment to choose or refuse treatment in their own time and when they feel ready.  Love is not selfish and if you truly love someone with PTSD, you will be patient and supportive, not add pressure, trigger episodes, and demand a "quick fix".  There is no "quick fix".  And, accepting that reality is necessary both for people living with PTSD as well as their loved ones.  For tips on how to support a loved one with PTSD (and how to manage your own PTSD/triggers), visit: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/helping-someone-with-ptsd.htm

In addition, survivors of institutionalized abuse will only be retraumatized, even in a non-abusive institutional setting, if reinstitutionalized according to the report by the Anna Institute available here: https://www.theannainstitute.org/Retraumatization%20with%20chart.ppt.   So, if you want your troublesome family member with PTSD to "go away and get help" so they aren't such a bother, you are triggering their PTSD and actually creating setbacks to their recovery.  It is of vital importance when helping and supporting anyone with PTSD that you be patient, a good listener, and make the person with PTSD feel safe and empowered.  Once they feel safe and empowered (confident to accept or refuse any assistance without feeling like they are disappointing their support system when refusing unhelpful or harmful treatment or triggers), loved ones with PTSD may seek help for learning to better manage triggers or develop healthy coping strategies.  But, until they feel safe and empowered, any pressure, demands, or the like will only make matters worse.  This is one reason HEAL does not recommend treatment to survivors of institutional abuse.  We believe that every survivor must come to that decision in their own time and on their own when they feel safe and ready to accept or refuse treatment or help without fear of reprisal or judgment from family members who, often mistakenly, believe that there is help to be found in the mental health industry.  However, we do suggest that survivors with PTSD begin to learn about PTSD, managing triggers, and healthy coping strategies so they can progress towards a more functional and prosperous life.

PTSD sufferers who are not survivors/victims of institutionalized abuse, may find various treatments and treatment settings helpful.  This, unfortunately, is not so with survivors of institutionalized abuse, particularly in "therapeutic" settings, where any similar setting is a major trigger of their PTSD.  It is a heartbreaking reality that institutionalized abuse makes getting legitimate help damaging and next to impossible for survivors.  But, there is hope...  Survivors of institutionalized abuse can recognize their PTSD, learn about managing triggers, and adopt healthy coping strategies.  It all begins with feeling safe.  And, a survivor is only going to feel safe when they don't perceive any threats.  Perceived threats act as triggers and therefore cause setbacks.  It is important to give voice to those small feelings of apprehension when interacting with others so the triggers don't compound into flashbacks and outbursts.  For example, many survivors of institutionalized abuse would prefer a corner table or booth when going out to eat.  They prefer to have their back to the wall in such a situation and a "bird's eye view" of the entire establishment.  But, because they often don't feel empowered (or feel embarrassed or ashamed --which they shouldn't), they remain quiet when going out to dinner and sit in uncomfortable and awkward silence in such situations, sometimes having a violent outburst over "nonsense" and leaving the situation in a fit of hostility, leading to more feelings of shame and embarrassment.  You don't have to announce to the world that you have PTSD and special needs.  You simply need to say to the host (in the restaurant example), "I would prefer a corner table.  I would be more comfortable with a bird's eye view of the restaurant."  Hosts and waiters are happy to accommodate such requests and I've never had a problem getting my needs met by voicing them simply in any given situation (with the exception of while enrolled in segregated congregate care).  So, there are ways to learn to communicate your needs simply, manage your triggers, and develop healthy coping strategies.  If you feel triggered, give yourself permission (empowerment) to walk away from a situation that is making you uncomfortable.  This includes ending calls that may be triggering for you.  If your family is pressuring you to get "help" and that is a trigger, tell them they are triggering you and that you do not feel safe when they say those things.  Share with them the guide here: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/helping-someone-with-ptsd.htm  And, let them know that just because they don't yet understand PTSD, they can still learn how to help you and that it doesn't help at all when you are triggered.
 
Compassion, empathy, love, patience, and a willingness to meet the needs of loved ones with PTSD is the best medicine.  And, survivors can actively create a safe space for themselves and in their relationships while developing confidence (empowerment) to voice their needs and manage their triggers effectively.  Without that feeling of safety, healing and progress are not possible.  And, that's where it must begin.