February 17th is a great day for free minds and to remember Giordano Bruno!

Author and heretic

Author and heretic

All of my grandparents came from Lithuania so we wondered why my grandfather (on my mother’s side) wanted to name his first born with the Italian name Giordano. My 97-year-old mother told me this story a few years ago so I read up on my grandfather’s hero Giordano Bruno. By the way, my grandmother did not follow her husband’s wishes and my uncle was named after the famous Lithuanian Vytautas the Great. It turns out that Giordano Bruno is a very interesting historical figure, mainly making a name for himself by being the last heretic burnt at the stake by the Catholic church in 1600. Every year on this date 17th of February, this figure is remembered in Rome by his statue in a celebration of free thinking. I have read some of Bruno’s interesting writings about philosophy, nature, magic, and memory. Just using his intellect and logic he was able theorize that the stars up in the sky were just like our sun but of course were very far away. Not too shabby for a guy without a telescope. February 17th is also World Human Spirit Day. You may read more about Giordano and the annual celebration here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giordano_Bruno

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Reflecting Back on a Campaign to Stop Forced, Outpatient Electroshock

Photo of Ray Sanford

Ray Sanford was receiving weekly court-ordered, outpatient involuntary electroshocks, even though he was living peacefully in his group home out in the community. In October 2008, Ray called the MindFreedom office, and they started his international campaign that reached thousands, and won!

One of the most amazing activist campaigns I have been involved in during my 40 years of protest for human rights in the mental health system, was the effort to stop the involuntary electroshock of Ray Sandford of Minnesota.

Incredibly, back in 2008, he was getting forced shock every Wednesday morning on an outpatient basis. That is right, every week in his group home out in the community, he was picked up and brought to a local hospital for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) through his brain, against his will, with a court order. 

Ray reached MindFreedom in the Fall of 2008, and an international human rights campaign began for him.

Below, you will see an article by psychiatric survivor activist Loretta Wilson looking back on this action six years ago, which involved thousands of people speaking out together to help and support Ray. It took longer than I thought, but Ray won!

Loretta often talks on the telephone with Ray, and reports on his current needs. Today, as an oppressed person who lives in a group home, Ray should have a better life. Six years ago, his psychiatrist, guardian, lawyer, group home, and many other authorities worked together for his forced electroshock. It is to Ray’s credit that somehow he phoned us at the MindFreedom office and kicked off this historic movement victory.

Back then, Ray’s psychiatrist said that he had to have forced electroshock or he would not survive. Six years later we can now reliably say that this psychiatrist was wrong!

During his forced electroshock, I remember how a bunch of us flew in to Minnesota and reached a lot of people there about Ray. Thanks, Loretta, for keeping in touch with Ray and remembering this great victory.

Some activists dismiss electroshock as an issue for campaigns, because the vast majority of psychiatric treatment is of course with drugs. But as long as even one person is subject to forced electroshock, especially with involuntary outpatient commitment, we are all at risk. In an often-divided movement, opposing forced electroshock unites almost everybody, along with most people on the left and the right in the general public.

At this time, Congressperson Tim Murphy (R-PA) is pushing for his bill for far more involuntary outpatient procedures in the USA, and an attorney has confirmed with me that Rep. Murphy’s bill does not exclude forced electroshock in the community of people living peacefully at home. When the public discovers that his bill would allow more involuntary electroshock of peaceful, law-abiding citizens in their own homes, there will be general outrage. Talk about out-of-control big government over-reach!

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To My Friend, Activist Hero Author Survivor: The Late Leonard Roy Frank

Leonard Roy Frank

Leonard Roy Frank

Dear Leonard Roy Frank,

Wade Hudson, a long-time activist and one of your main collaborators and friends, announced that you had died suddenly either late Wednesday night, January 14, 2015, or early Thursday morning, and all of us in the Mad Movement have lost one of our most powerful champions.

Leonard, I always thought of you as one of the early, beat drop-outs, because you were going into the business world after your graduation from the Wharton School of Business in the 1954, but your spiritual journey brought you into conflict with this society. As part of your mystical experience you were one of the early Americans in that generation to renounce eating meat and dairy products, and of course you grew that big beard. In 1962, because of your cultural and religious rebellion, you experienced absolutely incredible psychiatric abuse, including both forced insulin coma shock therapy and electroshock therapy. Many times I have told the story about how your psychiatrist checked to see if you had shaved or deviated from your vegetarianism, and when you persevered he ordered more forced electroshock.

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Normalgeddon: Your Landing Page About Having Fun & The Worst Case Scenario Of The Climate Crisis

This is a giant hole -- actually called End Of The World -- in Siberian permafrost that illustrates feedback loops involving methane release.

This is a giant hole — actually called End Of The World — in Siberian permafrost that illustrates feedback loops involving methane release.

Welcome to Normalgeddon!

I invented the word Normalgeddon to describe the risk of ending not only civilization as we know it, but ending life on Earth over the next few decades. Yes, I realize that things like sea-level rise and hurricanes are more certain, even existing, outcomes of global warming. But there is an uncertain and real chance of “run-away” global warming, when feedback loops bring our chaotic climate system into uncharted waters. In this case, a tipping point of no-return can be reached and a very different and unlivable environment unfolds. I call this phenomenon Normalgeddon because it is our collective complacency and adherence to so-called Normality that are driving us toward catastrophe.

For example, one of the most famous scientists, Stephen Hawking, said: “I am afraid the atmosphere might get hotter and hotter until it will be like Venus with boiling sulfuric acid.”

I like to think that by acting urgently and based on our highest principles, we have a chance of turning things around.

Here is a brief list of resources both on this blog and in the web about preventing Normalgeddon.

Links to my blog entries:

1. My latest blog entry about the Chamber of Commerce and Global Warming:

http://www.davidwoaks.com/global-warming-normalgeddon-mental-wellness-chamber-of-commerce

2. Other blog entries about this topic, read them one after another here:

http://www.davidwoaks.com/category/normalgeddon

Here are a few other resources about runaway global warming risk:

1. A google search for videos on this topic that you should check out:

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=runaway+climate+change&tbm=vid

2. If you are ready to hear from someone who is respected but apparently is a bit more pessimistic than me about the future, please read about Guy R. McPherson, author of the book Going Dark, here:

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=mcpherson+going+dark

Thriving despite the risk of Normalgeddon:

Readers of my blog know that I am informed as an amateur about the science of emergence, or as I like to call it “the butterfly effect.” In other words, if we all act from our best values of unity, activism, and love of Earth, then we may have unexpected great results — a Climate Miracle! So remember that hope involves taking action without knowing exactly what the outcome may be.

Everyone ought to be familiar with this revolution in the sciences sometimes called systems sciences or complexity theory. You may read about this here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory

Books such as Web of Life, by physicist Fritjof Capra, apply this type of thinking to living systems.

By coincidence, a few hours ago I just spent my whole session with my great counselor, psychologist John Bundy, about this very topic because I found I was losing a lot of sleep as I did research. After all, this may be the end of human life. I like to think that we all act together and save life. But I know this topic can be very upsetting.

May I suggest that we use the power of peer support, and I plan to do a lot of protesting and speaking out about this topic. I sure hope we work together now about this, no matter what the results, and hopefully we will celebrate later on!

There is an ancient Persian saying: No one is tired on Victory Day!

This page will change as more material arrives. Speaking of which, the great leader for connecting our movement to his career of mental health counselor, Ron Unger, sent me the following:

Ron provided one of the main links about a worst case scenario that one of the main climate crisis scientists brought up in 2013:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2311699/Could-Earth-barren-Venus-Climate-change-scientist-warns-planet-ice-free-human-free.html#ixzz3StLDobcd

Ron said, “Nice expression – a ‘human free’ planet.  It sounds kind of pristine!”

 

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The Worst Case Scenario for Global Warming — What I Call Normalgeddon —  is Bad for Our Mental Wellness: The Chamber of Commerce Doesn’t Speak For Us!

David and Debra march in Eugene for climate justice

Sunday, September 21st, 2014, Eugene, Oregon, Debra and David (on right) beginning to march against global warming in solidarity with the event in New York City.

For four decades I have been an activist challenging the mental health industry. More and more I feel that the climate crisis should be one of the highest priorities for social change led by people who have personally experienced psychiatric abuse, and our allies. I affectionately call us The Mad Movement. It seems that almost every speaker against global warming ends their message the same way, that we can stop this catastrophe if society has the “will.” I believe that participants in The Mad Movement have an important insight into real sickness in society. As a psychiatric survivor, I have seen too much labeling of creative maladjustment as ill. We need to shake off our world’s complacency and numbness, also known as “normality.”

The beginning of 2015 marks the fifth anniversary of a little-known campaign by the well-respected environmental group 350.org that asks the approximately 7,000 local chambers of commerce in the USA to oppose the way the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, based in Washington, D.C., blocks national progress in the fight to stop global warming. 350 says that, “The Chamber has long opposed environmental standards, but on climate change, they’ve gone pretty near berserk” (www.chamber.350.org).

350’s main request of local chambers seems pretty modest — to simply issue a statement saying that the US Chamber “doesn’t speak for us” in its denial of human-caused climate change. Unfortunately, despite five years of effort by activists, only 56 local chambers have distanced themselves from the U.S. Chamber about global warming. That is less than one percent! I have helped organize many actions over the past five years to ask our local Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce to say anything about climate change, but regrettably we have been met by a wall of silence.

We have tried everything from writing letters to the editor, personally corresponding with board members, performing public street theater, and protesting inside the chamber office itself. And still, no substantial moves have been made. The Eugene Area Chamber’s board members relentlessly refuse to speak up for values that they profess to have.

I am extremely concerned about the disaster of climate change because I think of it as a one-two punch. The first punch is highly predictable and linear. Almost all scientists agree on this “unequivocal” punch. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change spotlights the certainty of human-caused global warming hazards, such as sea-level rise. I am more interested in the second, surprise punch of runaway climate change, which is non-linear.

There has been a quiet revolution throughout the sciences that I like to call “the butterfly effect.” Others call this field the science of emergence, chaos, dynamic systems, or complexity. In short, when complex systems like Earth’s environment are disrupted, chaotic results can occur. Global warming may trigger amplifying, abrupt feedback effects, such as methane release as a result of warming permafrost. A little global warming may lead to an irreversible avalanche of extreme global warming. I call the worst case scenario of climate change “Normalgeddon.”

Right now, the Eugene chapter of 350.org is focusing on valuable state-wide campaigns such as blocking oil pipelines, divesting the University of Oregon Foundation from companies that profit from fossil fuels, and carbon-restrictive legislation. These campaigns are necessary, and we should rally for more support for these local efforts. We should also still support 350.org’s national campaign to get local chambers to speak out against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce president has always been responsive and civil to me personally, but he has also refused to speak out against the U.S. Chamber. He claims that the Eugene chamber is entirely independent. In a way, the Eugene community should see the Eugene Area Chamber’s refusal to speak up as a gift, because the climate crisis is no longer a faceless entity — it is embodied by our local chamber’s refusal to demand real change. Our chamber is also an actual place to peacefully protest. The chamber’s office is downtown at the corner of 14th and Willamette.

The planet’s issues are the people’s issues. Those of us who are the most marginalized and disenfranchised by existing inequality are the most vulnerable to impacts of the changing climate. All organizations fighting for people must fight for the planet, and vice versa. As a mental health and disability rights activist, connecting the issues of mental health and climate change are particularly important to me, but this work can and must be done in all realms. Please take up the leadership to nonviolently urge that the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, and its leaders, speak up about the U.S. Chamber and climate crisis.

After my wonderful wife Debra and I came home from last year’s climate march here in Eugene in solidarity with a huge New York City march, we turned to each other realizing that we had the exact same take-away message: Hope means acting from your own highest principles, without necessarily knowing what the outcome will be. I hope that the Eugene community and the board members of the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce will think this through, and act on their own highest principles. After all, real mental well-being requires that we work now with a sense of urgency, unity, purpose and hope. Not only do we need a climate miracle, we need to construct our own miracle in our minds and in our communities.

 

———-

 

For more information see the David W. Oaks blog at www.normalgeddon.com.

 

 

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David Oaks is Hiring Home-Care Workers – Help Wanted Info!

 You will find the Top Ten Reasons for you to Join Team Oaks as a Home Care Worker or member of the Community, plus a downloadable flyer: http://www.davidwoaks.com/category/help-wanted

Below is lots more info about this job.  You may now apply directly to me by simply emailing me about your interest: davidwoaks@gmail.com   In fact I may help you start a whole career as a home-care worker with or without a provider number!  It is easier than ever to apply for these positions!

Home-Care Workers:  Permanent and Fill-In Positions

Work with long-time activist David Oaks.

DavidWOaksPhotoI am looking to hire more home-care workers. I have worked in disability rights, especially mental health, my whole life. In December 2012 I broke my neck. I am in a power-chair with paralyzed legs and partly disabled arms. This disability impacts my voice and has even fused my spine. Except for those pesky things I’m doing all right!

At this time, my team is full but we often have a need for substitute fill-ins because of vacation, illness, etc. Subbing is a good way to join our team.

My main interest now for my activism is the climate crisis. You may find out more information about me at my blog: http://www.davidwoaks.com/  You may also Google my full name David W Oaks. I am now 58 and I’m very grateful for a wonderful team of people who help me and my wife Debra at home here in the Churchill neighborhood of Eugene.

To apply for this Help Wanted: If you are interested in the below positions please reply by email first. Email me with a brief explanation of your interest to davidwoaks@gmail.com

For more info before you apply:

As a Client-Employed Provider (CEP) you will be paid through the Oregon Department of Human Services program. To read more about CEP and the local agency that administers CEP, click here.

You will need a State Care Provider Number to apply for these positions. If you have a number, please give it to me. If you do not have a number, tell me and I can help you get this Provider Number. It is easier than ever to get your Provider Number, which may open a whole new career for you helping people! Currently, the only way to get a Provider Number, is to interview with a disabled person who is an employer in this program and get approved by this disabled employer. S&DS does the free orientation and background check, and this may take you a few weeks to go through this process. You may read about Home Care Workers  here: http://www.oregon.gov/dhs/spwpd/pages/ltc/inhome.aspx

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Some Mental Health Justice Resources Related to Unitarian Universalism

Below please find a few links for people who are active with Unitarian Universalist churches and the topic of mental health justice.

Please note this list is not officially connected to any church. However, I am a UU member who has worked for 40 years on mental health activism. 

These resources are an ongoing project, so check back later and there may some changes.

uu-mental-health-justice-graphicFacebook group on the topic of UU Mental Health Justice:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/uumentalhealthjustice/

One of the main pioneers to work on mental health issues is the UU minister Rev. Barbara Meyers. You can find information about her and her many projects here:

http://www.mpuuc.org/mentalhealth/mentalintro.html

One of the main UU ministers to embrace the mental health justice movement is Rev. Phil Schulman. You can find him on Facebook here:

https://www.facebook.com/RebShaman?fref=ts

One of his projects is Advocates for Humanity, which you can find on Facebook here:

https://www.facebook.com/AdvocatesForHumanity

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