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by spocko

How to Get Gun Makers and Lobbyists to Fund Massive Mental Health Programs

8:25 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

After the Sandy Hook shootings one response of the NRA was a program to put more guns in schools. From a marketing and sales perspective that was a brilliant move. Almost worthy of the cigarette manufacturers, “New cancer cure might surprise you. It’s tobacco!

Mental Health Clinic, Las Vegas

The current rhetorical tactic is to shift the conversation to the mental health of the shooters. However, the weapons manufacturers do not want to have a program that will find and help treat people with mental illnesses. Heck, they don’t even want to help make sure that people with a history of mental illnesses get into the state databases that feed the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). These state programs still need help and many states aren’t complying fully.

So to people who say, “It’s not about the guns, it’s about the mentally ill.” I would ask, “So, what are you doing to help fund mental health programs? How supportive are you of expanded funding for mental health care?” and a simple one “What steps have you taken in your community or state to make sure info about people’s mental health problems go into the NICS?”

By asking these questions, instead of talking about guns, we can move to discussions about patient confidentiality, fears of people never getting off the list, who is considered mentally ill, not trusting the system with this information etc. etc. etc. These are important issues to address and I’ll like discuss them now, when everyone is saying, “We really need to do something about mental illness.”

How Can Companies Make Money On the Mentally Ill?

If the issue really is mental illness, what kind of new funding is directed to this issue? Who will get  money for more mental health programs? Why aren’t they going for it? Here is a suggestion: Let’s ask the medical insurance companies, Pharma and health care professional associations to unleash a few lobbyists looking for funding.

The health insurance companies can go to the gun makers and the weapons lobbyists first and ask for funding. As a PR move they might even throw in a few million. But it really is only the federal government that can move the needle.  But, as we know, nothing is done “for the public good” anymore unless someone is going to make money.  So let’s use that impulse.  We have the demand for more and better mental health care, this could be a profit center for some big hospital chain. They can bill the insurance companies or the federal government.  Or we can create thousands and thousands of fully-funded and staffed community mental health care centers.

So what kind of legislation is being created to address this issue and who is moving it forward? Who is supporting it? Who isn’t? Why not? These are a bunch of questions we can throw up to elected officials, lobbyists, health care professionals and people arguing on the internet.

What is great about this discussion is that the weapons lobbyists can find bedfellows in unusual places. There are people who really are concerned about confidentiality and fears of incorrect diagnoses of mental illness being used by the state to lock people up and take away their rights.  This is an excellent place for the weapons manufacturers and their lobbyists to see that their concerns are addressed.

Everyone agrees that privacy is important, peoples’ rights need to be respected, mental illness issues need to be addressed, and the overall level of public safety needs to be increased. And since the “tool” isn’t really the focus, we are addressing a common problem.

I’m quite sincere about getting greater resources to deal with mental illness. And I know that there are people in the gun-owning community who feel the same way. So let’s all get on board and push this.  Who’s with me?

Funding Peter to Help Paul

Here is something else I know.  Unless there is a direct correlation of money spent on dealing with mental illness to the sale of more guns, the weapons manufacturers and their lobbyists really won’t get on board.  From a messaging point of view the focus on the mental illness is nice, but it’s designed to direct attention away from guns.  Because frankly having untreated mentally ill people shooting people is good business in the long term.

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by spocko

Why isn’t Unemployment an Emergency? Damn it DC, Hire Us!

7:14 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Ioanna - Fire on Hair BS #2Digby’s latest Post Stock market highs — and high unemployment: the new normal? struck me today because of a comment that Thurbers made on my post last night.

“We the People” are closer to the abused employees and/or the defrauded customers of Amy’s Baking Company. We are the real victims, but despite our numbers we are the ones with the least recourse and the least power to change the narrative.

- Thurbers comment 8 Firedoglake

It reminds me of the spot on Onion story, American People Hire High-Powered Lobbyist To Push Interests In Congress.

I’m really sick of how “the economy” is the stock market. It. Is. NOT. I also know that the constituents of unemployed and underemployed aren’t out there putting pressure on congress or the President.  (I’m thinking of paraphrasing SF Writer Harlan Ellison,  ”Dear Obama and Congress. Fuck you. Hire me!”)

When I was traveling cross country to see my sick mother two years ago unemployment was the real issue on people minds, I asked them why they thought the media was writing about the deficit. They didn’t have an answer. I asked if they had heard of Pete Peterson. Nobody had. “Would it surprise you to know that he is a billionaire and is making sure the media cover the deficit and ignore unemployment? Did you know that he is spending at least 500 million dollars to make sure the press cover this?” Nobody had heard of him.

One guy (an owner of a Popeye’s chicken franchise) said that there was probably some billionaire (he suggested George Soros) spending lobbying money to demand more government jobs. Or maybe the Unions were. I said, “Soros isn’t spending his money on this. The unemployed aren’t spending their money on this, they think it should be obvious. I don’t know what the Unions are doing, but they aren’t the force they once were.”

So my question is, if our elected representatives aren’t pushing for jobs, our liberal billionaires aren’t pushing for jobs, and we don’t have any highly paid lobbyists pushing for jobs, is there anyone who “counts” pushing for jobs? (And by that I mean someone who could get the attention of our congress, President or media.)

The media don’t want to write about the lack of jobs because “Stock market!” and frankly those stories are boring, nobody wants to write them and nobody wants to read them. Gawker is having a series on them and it’s like reading the sad stories on “Queen for a day” that women would tell so they could get a washing machine.

It feels like the unemployed have no leverage, no voice and nobody who is going to be their voice since they don’t have anything to give to the people who should be listening and who can make changes.

There is no sense of urgency about this problem in DC. Remember the urgency during the airlines slowdown? Inconvenience the politicians it’s, HAIR ON FIRE TIME. Millions unemployed year after year? They quote Jesus, “The unemployed will always be with us.”

The media need deadlines. Where is the ticking time bomb of this issue? Where is the disaster coverage of this disaster?

AnStanding at the Gates of Helld why the hell aren’t the conservatives trying to hang unemployment around Obama’s neck?  Because it might help unemployed people get government jobs? How many jobs are the trumped up Benghazi scandal creating?

I didn’t mean this to be yet another long-winded Vulcan post, but Digby’s blog still doesn’t have a place to comment and so I’m bringing it to you.

I’d like to think that DC responds to events, but after new gun laws following Newtown got voted down, even though the majority of the voters wanted them, I’m thinking we need more than an event,  you need a goddamn money canon to shoot cash down the halls of Congress.

People sometimes talk about the people marching on Washington to get their attention. (“This time let’s bring real pitchforks!” They don’t care, only the hotels and restaurants in DC care. What will get their attention is if we jam more money down their throat than the other people bribing them. Since we can’t do that, then we need to cut off their money streams so that votes actual count for something again.  The reason that everyone is talking about getting money out of politics is that until that happens my voice is drowned out.

Speaking of money. I want something good to come out of the IRS scandal. Something the right doesn’t want.

I want Congress to rewrite the 501 c code laws. People are complaining about the IRS? Well the IRS is complaining too. “Give us better bright lines so we can define what “social welfare groups” can and can’t do.

I want them to change the rules so big corporations and rich individuals can’t give anonymous money.  I want to chase away the people who want to hide behind  front groups.  ”But that will hurt liberal groups too! Yeah right, as if George Soro is trying to hide. You don’t hide unless you are afraid that people will use that information against you. If they aren’t doing anything wrong what are they afraid of? I’m looking at you Ham Rove. Sure they will find another way, 527′s, laundering money through belief tanks and dead people foundations, but if they want to cry about the IRS thwarting them, let’s really give them something to cry about.

 Photos top: Shane Gorski bottom: RhonsTopModel Creative Commons Attribution license

Cross dressed at Spocko’s Brain