My Operation Tomorrow: Mental Health Justice, Speaking Out for Our Rights, and Creative Maladjustment

In a few minutes, I head up to Portlandia with my darling Debra, to get my throat slit tomorrow.

Do not worry, I have not been captured by ISIS for a beheading. My throat operation to insert a Gore-Tex  little implant in one of my vocal folds to help me, hopefully, be louder. For the past 42 years I have been a psychiatric survivor, and in the last few decades I have seen how working with the disability movement can amplify our voices.

Three-and-a-half years ago, I broke my neck in an accident, involving our cat, Bongo, really! Because of a pre-exisiting condition and complications, I ended up with not just a power chair, the new status of quad, but also about ten other disabilities, but who is counting?

I never expected the idea of trying to find my voice to become so literal!

And with good results, I hope to contribute my voice to Creative Maladjustment Week, which begins in two weeks, Thursday, July 7. This year the celebration week will become eight days long to include the birthday of the late psychiatric survivor, author, and friend, Leonard Roy Frank, July 15.

So what will be my first words after surgery? A documentary film maker David Zupan, another good friend, will be there to record it. I do not expect I will be as articulate as the late Charlie Chaplin, below, but you can enjoy him as he sums up what I would like to say!

For more info about CM week please go to the CM website and also please connect via the Facebook page.

Here is Charlie:


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Mad Memo #1: Dear Supreme Commander (You!) of Global Nonviolent Revolution!

Mad Memo #1: Dear Supreme Commander (You!) of Global Nonviolent Revolution!

Mad Memo #1

Dear Supreme Commander (You!):

Did you know you are a key leader of a global peaceful revolution? Surprise! My guess is that many of you reading this may not yet know that you are one of the “Supreme Commanders” of  world revolution.

In fact, if you wish, and you reflect the values of Martin Luther King, you may say you are leading the organization that he first envisioned, International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment (IAACM.)

Let me explain.

Yes, during World War II, Dwight D. (Ike) Eisenhower was the Supreme Commander during D-Day, which was one of the biggest operations in human history. This time, we need to do something far bigger than D-Day, encompassing the whole world. You and everyone are Supreme Commanders.

So I have a question for you:

“What does it look like if humanity even begins to attempt a global revolution?”

However you stand on the USA presidential campaign, you might admire the way Bernie Sanders has talked openly and frequently about “revolution.”

I have been calling for revolution for many decades. As a young adult back in the 1970’s, I experienced forced psychiatric drugging, and so I have spent my whole life

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Presidential Primary & Forced Outpatient Psych Drugs

Presidential Primary & Forced Outpatient Psych Drugs

This month, May 2016, the candidates for USA President compete in our usually-missed State of Oregon, so this is a very good time to ask the following question:

“How do you stand on the controversy of forced outpatient mental health drugs?”

This is my 40th year working as an advocate for people labeled “disabled,” and I know that the topic of involuntary psychiatry can be a little complicated for people. After all, if one of our beloved family members becomes irrationally self-destructive, we can become desperate for help. However, this is such an important topic that we need to go deeper than just a bumper-sticker answer.

So, let us find out where the candidates for President stand: Are you listening Hillary, Bernie, Donald, Ted, and John?

The past few years I have been working a bunch in disability advocacy, one of the biggest social change movements in human history. How we treat the most vulnerable people in a group can be very revealing.

Let me explain a little background in brief:

For many decades, almost all USA States have been quietly passing laws that allow court-ordered involuntary mental health care, that is, of people living out of institutions in the community, often in their own homes or group homes.

Sponsors of these “involuntary outpatient commitment” laws use a more euphemistic phrase: “assisted outpatient treatment” laws. “Assisted?” Sure, the way Donald Trump is “assisting” Muslims by seeking to ban them in a bigoted way. The way bigots in Bangladesh recently “assisted” a gay rights activist by killing him.   

To put it very simply: This is court-ordered coerced drugging, using a variety of methods for enforcement, sometimes even a daily visit to the person’s home.

There is a Congressperson, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), who for years has been pushing a huge bill that has a section for national, federal incentives for more of this involuntary outpatient care. This Murphy Bill, HR 2646, is enormous, weighing in at 173 pages, but the worst part would be a national program for more forced outpatient psychiatry. If his bill — which he calls “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act” — passes then thousands of more American citizens would have court-ordered psychiatric drugs administered to them, even though they are living out in the community, many even in their own homes!

Last year I asked one of the bill co-sponsors how many Americans they want to forcibly treat? After all, some of these zealots claim that 11 million Americans need but are not getting psychiatric care. Are you one of these 11 million? Unfortunately, the co-sponsor has stayed silent about how many citizens they are going after.

Every Person Ought to Oppose the Murphy Bill!

As far as I know, every group in the USA speaking for mental health consumers opposes increasing coerced care out in the community. There are far better ways to help people.

This Murphy bill is the worst I have seen in my 40 years of mental health advocacy. Many of us in this field are terrified and working hard for years to stop this type of care!

So where do the people running for Democratic and Republican nomination for President stand about this issue?

Note that a Republican congressperson is pushing this bill, even though Rep. Murphy claims he is for “small government.” A surprising number of congresspeople have co-sponsored this bill, even some who are considered progressive, such as my own Democratic congressperson, Rep. Peter Defazio.

Bernie and Friends: Where Do You Stand?

For more than a month, one of the main psychiatrists to publicly back Bernie Sanders for President has been asking one of the Bernie campaigners, Nick Carter, about Bernie’s position. You see, Bernie opposes certain regulations of firearms because Vermont, his home state, is so pro-gun. The National Rifle Association opposes gun regulation partly by claiming that better mental health care is the solution. So asking Bernie for his position is reasonable. Unfortunately, Bernie and Mr. Carter have apparently stayed silent.

The silence about this important topic is deafening. We need to insist on an answer from everyone. A few years ago, I saw something similar happen with Ralph Nader, who was referring mental health questions to his friend, Doctor Sidney M. Wolfe, who I know from personal experience has a terrible position about forced psychiatry. Let us stop throwing our folks under the bus, whether that is a Republican bus or a Democratic bus.

To show you how bad this can get, incredibly a few years ago when I directed the nonprofit MindFreedom International, we surfaced two people who received court-ordered involuntary outpatient ELECTROSHOCK. I would not blame you if you did not believe me. To provide evidence for this, you can google these phrases:

ray sandford electroshock

elizabeth ellis electroshock

When courts order forced drugging this can be very racist, because white doctors and white judges tend to disproportionately target African Americans and other minorities. You can read more about this here:

After exchanging one e-mail with Rep. Defazio, he has gone totally silent with me. I tried to email his health person on this, Brittany Lundberg, but she has not responded to me. Readers of this blog can try to reach her in a civil way by emailing to:

Many of us wonder why our society is not showing more passion and more creativity in the face of climate crisis. Centuries of targeting our people may be one of the reasons that the population is so conformist right now, when we should have a revolution.


For more information:

A Facebook group about stopping the Murphy bill:

Promotion of the bill by Rep. Tim Murphy:

A website dedicated to stopping this bill:

A petition you can sign for free online against the Murphy Bill:

A online petition against the Murphy Bill:

A psychiatrist explains opposition to the Murphy Bill in this MadInAmerica Blog entry:

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SLUG Queen vs. Donald (Duck)

Donald (Duck)

Donald (Duck)

You may download a one page free pdf poster of the event: KeseySquare41event

SLUG Queen vs. Donald (Duck)

Save Kesey Square!

Flash Mob for You Odd Ducks to Out-Crazy DONALD in Positive Way!


Fun Starts at 4:00 pm

This Friday, 1 April 2016


Kesey Square, Broadway & Willamette, Eugene


All peace-loving people are welcome to this free event!


Special guest: Play with SLUG Queen 2016 Mark Roberts in full slimy regalia. Videoed to go viral on web!


Find on Facebook public group LeadOn Lane! Sponsored by International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment IAACM founded by MLK. More info? Contact Producer:


That day also happens to be: April Fools, Atheist Day, International Tatting Day, National Fun Day, Poetry & The Creative Mind Day, St. Stupid Day


Visit us on Facebook here:

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Mad Love: Remembering Our Top Volunteer & Thanking MindFreedom Ireland

Mad Love: Remembering Our Top Volunteer & Thanking MindFreedom Ireland
My mother, our #1 volunteer at MindFreedom International office for a decade.

My mother, our #1 volunteer at MindFreedom International office for a decade.

This is about my 40th anniversary after my first overnight stay in a psychiatric facility as a working class kid going to Harvard. I ended up with five lockups in psychiatric institutions, including two stays in a facility that is often voted the best in the world: McClean, a Harvard teaching institution. At first my family was confused a bit by the psychiatric industry, but increasingly they became very aware about the need for more humane and effective alternatives. During my last stay, the psychiatric facility wanted to commit me after I tried to get out. My Mom famously told the psychiatrist, “If our David wants to try freedom we support him.” I graduated with honors anyway.

Unfortunately, a number of parents of psychiatric survivors stay confused about psychiatry and think that forced treatment with pharmaceuticals and such provide the main solution. But thankfully, Harvard referred me in my senior year to an internship in what we lovingly call the Mad Movement. This little-known part of the huge disability movement might come in handy today. After all, our society says it is paralyzed and upset, so maybe social change led by people with paralysis might have some tips now that can help?

Mom Supported Her Crazy Son!

This would have been mom’s 99th birthday. One year ago, this month, she died just short of her 98th birthday. Our family is rooted in Illinois, but when Mom was in her eighties we moved her to be near me here in Eugene, Oregon. I had about a decade of Mom in my life. I was the director of a non profit that worked on human rights of people in psychiatry, MindFreedom International. It is not well known among our mad movement that during this decade, Mom was one of our main volunteers for MindFreedom. Mom’s volunteering touched probably every piece of paper in our office, thankfully making easy to archive a bunch of this material after I fell and because of my many extreme disabilities experienced a force retirement. Mom got older and a little weaker during her time with MindFreedom. At the start she volunteered about three days a week, that went down to two days and then one.

When I fell, it turned out that by Oregon law a living parent was one of the few people who could help start a health trust to support my recovery as a quad. So when Mom asked why she was around so long, she seemed to like the idea that she could create trust.

Mom, Violet Oaks, you are remembered and missed. I am so glad that we had that decade of coffees, Lithuanian conversation, your loving wit, your love of cards, your admiration for another Chicago community organizer named Barack Obama, and so much more.

Mom was of the generation that has been called the “greatest,” and if you asked many of these folks about their best achievement, many would probably answer that it was their “kids.” I hope we Boomers can at least say “we are trying.” It is not too late! Mom, you agreed with so many other mothers of us psychiatric survivors that our human rights need to be respected, but unfortunately it was the mothers who supported forced psychiatric drugging that received the millions of dollars from the drug companies. So often the voice of these allies of psychiatric survivors is drowned out by phony front-groups of well-meaning parents who have not been told about powerful alternatives described in blogs such as Mad in America. Thank you to groups such as Relatives and Allies of Psychiatric Survivors (RAPS), you show that many parents give a dam what happens to many people inside the mental health industry.

To remember Mom tomorrow, I encourage everyone to remember young people, especially relatives such as nieces and nephews. Give them a call or email or text. Tell them you love them. Mom was great at sending cards to everybody, and now the Post Office must be suffering. Those who would like to see more photos of Mom may find our family in the Facebook group “Gage Park Oaks” and this memorial page:

Thank You, MindFreedom Ireland

I do not have the time to give more words to Mom, but I think she would appreciate my including this:

Earlier this month, the world celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day, and in Ireland one of the parades had a unique entry from MindFreedom Ireland. They submitted a little, tiny float about psychiatric liberation from human rights violations. I had the incredible honor years ago of speaking at a Cork, Ireland event co-sponsored by MindFreedom Ireland and I was able to share some time with many amazing folks, such as Mary Maddock and John McCarthy. So without further ado, here is the brief free online video about this float, which MindFreedom Ireland devoted to my work, including my ongoing work. Thanks much:


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Stop Climate Silence! Save Kesey Square in Eugene, Oregon

(We are continuing to hold events in the Square. You may download & print a color PDF of the February 12, 2016 event here: Feb12Keseyevent

The previous protest event poster can be downloaded here: eugene-climate-silence-kesey-square.)

Let’s Gather to Speak Out!


Group photo of protesters thanking Kesey statue.

Ken Kesey, the late author of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ lived in Lane County. A statue of Ken is in the middle of Eugene’s downtown, informally known as Kesey Square.

4:00 pm, Friday, February 12, 2016

Kesey Square, Broadway & Willamette, Eugene

All peace-loving people are welcome!

Brief speaking by David Oaks and others. Public speak-out to hear your voice. We will Youtube this event to the world!

Save Earth!

More info:

Sponsored by International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment (find IAACM, founded by MLK, on Facebook). We are self-organising this network through the leadership of everyone who supports our principles of mutual respect. You are a leader here!

Previous Event News Release — January 2016

More information:

Citizens in Lane County encouraged to Gather to Save Kesey Square, and Break Climate Silence.

Because they say our society has been to silent about the climate crisis, concerned citizens are invited to speak and sing at Kesey Square, on Broadway and Willamette, which is targeted by developers.

Peaceful events will begin at 3:30 PM on Friday 29 January 2016.

During the vigil organizers plan to visit nearby to Summit Bank, 96 Broadway. Their president, Craig Wanichek, is outgoing chair of Eugene Area Chamber, which has for years stayed silent about the climate crisis despite repeated community outreach. The Chamber new chair is Nigel Francisco, Chief Financial Officer of Ninkasi Brewing. Protesters encourage customers to ask Summit and Ninkasi to lead the local Chamber to finally speak out about the climate.

January 29 is a special day according according to holiday web sites such as Brownielocks. That day you are invited to peacefully celebrate “Freethinkers Day, National Puzzle Day, Seeing Eye Dog Day, and Thomas Paine Day.”

Sponsored by International Association for the Advancement for Creative Maladjustment. Your group endorsement is welcome. Protest is dedicated to the memory of the late activist Peg Morton. We’re round pegs facing square holes!

Plan to speak out that day? Tell us! Find our group on Facebook: LeadOn Lane!

# # #


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Hello World! An American Nut Challenges Trump About Status of “Bull Goose Loony.” We Are #Nuts4 Global Revolution!


by David W. Oaks

Photo of about a dozen protesters.

KEZI TV covered the protest. That’s me in the power chair.

Here in Eugene, Oregon, in the middle of downtown, there is a small public square with a statue of the late author and local legend Ken Kesey. I knew Ken, famous for writing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, one of the main novels celebrating counterculture and challenging psychiatry.

I organized a small protest in Kesey Square on January 29, 2016 for two reasons: First, developers threaten commercial expansion. Second, I encouraged people to speak out against the climate silence that paralyzes the general public. Below I expand upon the speech I delivered in the middle of the eccentric  chaos.


Europe is laughing at us. You, the whole world, laughs at us. With Trump and Sarah Palin dominating the news, and with gun-toting militants taking over an Oregon bird sanctuary, hell, we are laughing at ourselves! We do look crazy.

I am an American nut. So I feel qualified to reply to the world about the USA’s mental health. The diagnoses I received throughout five lock-ups in psychiatric institutions back when I was a student at Harvard in the 1970’s include “psychosis”, “schizophrenia,” “bipolar,” and “depression.” Somehow, I graduated with honors anyway in 1977. Since then I have been a psychiatric survivor activist working in our little-known social change Mad Movement. I still see a psychotherapist regularly with my diagnosis of “PTSD.”

And I am thoroughly American. I grew up in the south side of Chicago. I lived on the east coast for eight years. I have close relatives down in Texas. And for the last 33 years I have lived here in Oregon.

Ken Kesey worked in a psychiatric institution in Roseburg, Oregon and this helped inform his 1962 book One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Ken had a favorite phrase in the story, “Bull goose loony,” which referred to the alpha-crazy on the ward.

We Americans are giving Donald Trump, through all the media obsession, the status of bull goose loony. I have learned during my lifetime working for human rights in mental health is that we are all a little crazy, from womb to tomb, 24/7. (I am very glad that the voters of Iowa rejected Donald Trump tonight in the presidential Iowa caucus, by coincidence the moment I finished and sent in this blog about my speech on Friday!)

Yes, Donald is nuts. But we are all nuts. The real question is, “What kind of nuts are we?”

Hey world, sometimes you want us American nuts. The good kind of nuts.

My dad was in D-Day in 1944, as Americans and Allies ran into machine gun nests on the French coast. Dad told us a story about D-Day several times. Dad arrived on the fifth day of D-Day as an MP, military police. He watched a lot of young Americans head into battle. Dad was struck by how one young man was so frightened about the war that when he pulled up his shirt, the muscle spasms in his abdomen went up and down, up and down, like the waves on the sea. World, you wanted American nuts then as they headed on roads to Berlin to take out Hitler.

In 1963 Martin Luther King gave his famous speech, “I Have a Dream.” But did you know that he did not deliver his written speech that day, and it was called “Normalcy — Never Again”? That sounds a little nuts, the good kind. The world seemed to like Martin, who got his Nobel prize in 1964 in Oslo, Norway. Dr. King talked a lot about “creative maladjustment.” He often said that the world was in dire need of a new organization, the “International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment.”

Now the world is in a tipping point toward chaos.

Positive feedback loops in this climate crisis, such as methane release, may lead to a worst case scenario, which I call “Normalgeddon.” A smarter quad than I, Stephen Hawking, said that because of the risk of runaway greenhouse effect he is worried there is a chance of boiling oceans.

Talk about explicit madness! If the word “madness” has any meaning at all, then risking all life on earth would seem to qualify.

At a time when even the Pope says that the climate demands a global revolution, Trump is a distraction from where we should be directing our attention. There are far more fascinating stories that are far more important today.

For instance, the Kogi Indians in Colombia, South America, warn us about how the “younger brothers,” as they call the West, may ruin the world. They have had villages for thousands of years, that somehow escaped European invasion and remained intact. See the absolutely-riveting 2012 documentary “Aluna” on Netflix, in which the Kogi leaders use a gold-colored thread to illustrate how all of nature is inter-connected. That is the kind of good madness that I like to see! Why have most people not been informed about the Kogi’s message?

The “butterfly effect” gives us each potential, enormous power. We need something far bigger than D-Day to save the climate, and this time we are all Ike. That is, because of the butterfly effect we are all Supreme Commanders, as crazy as that sounds.

Yes, I have many disabilities.

In 2012 I fell down and broke my neck, and now I am a quad in a powerchair. I have been here before. I remember being on the floor and feeling the paralysis coming over me, unsure if it would kill me. I looked deeply into the eyes of my darling Debra. Today, world, you seem paralyzed. I have some familiarity with paralysis.

I try to empathize with you, world, and love you all. But generally we, the world, seem spiritually sick. We seem morally paralyzed. Our collective disabilities seem far bigger than mine.

There is no assurance we will win this global revolution. But at least we can break the silence, and make it undeniable that we are seeking revolution. Yes, we are all nuts but the question is:

What kind of nuts are we?

I challenge Donald Trump to prove that he should be our bull goose loony. What are we nuts for?

I am #Nuts4 love!

I am #Nuts4 Debra!

I am #Nuts4 revolution now! Now! Now!


At the end of my speech, several of us walked the half block from Kesey Square to Summit Bank. In the bank lobby about five employees stood ready to help. I asked to speak with the bank’s President, Craig Wanichek, who also served as the chair of the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce. Several times I have tried to ask Craig to speak about the US Chamber, and how they are complicit with the climate crisis. He has maintained silence and now I know why.

“Craig is right behind you,” said the employees. He was. Craig quickly walked to the door and invited us to leave. Instead I turned around and said, “I would like to open an account.” Craig came back and threatened to call the police if we did not leave. For more information about the chamber and climate, search the web for this term: Normalgeddon

You are invited to tweet what you are most mad for. Use: #nuts4 as in #nuts4life


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