I talk to the trees

but they never hear me.

My First week at Work at OSH

5 Days of orientation- some parts very dull (people reading from powerpoints (said PPs both displayed on screen and provided as handouts). Some presentations sort of interesting (even with dull topics, a few funny stories go a long way). The last 2 & 1/2 days was devoted to Assault Response Training (“PRO-ACT).

I’ve had assault training before, a coule different versions. I’m pretty sure that as a state employee I’m not supposed to say anything publically that would reflect badly upon the agency I work for; so I will be brief…

All the presenters were well coached to say the things that the new administration requires them to say: patients are human beings, deserve respect and dignity, have rights, etc. Still, the undercurrent of much of the orientation, especially the PRO-ACT part was one that reinforces the patients as “other”, an us-them mentality, they are dangerous, they are alien. The primary trainer could barely contain his dis-satisfaction with tjhe hospital’s move toward more humane treatment, was openly sceptical of the planned reduction and elimination of seclusion and mechanical restraints (e.g. “Staff will be injured in larger numbers”). Barely disguised contempt for the idea of switching from bed retraints with metal key-locks to sturdy velcro restraints designed to cause less injury.

The hospital is very overcrowded. Staff are burned out in many cases. The administration is committed to change toward a recovery based model, not everyone is on board with that. Some things that are on-going violation of human dignity, rights and quality of life are simply artifacts of the hospital as a model of treatment. When you congregate large numbers of people and security/ containmnet is one of your most important products, you can’t help but create situations in which a patients only rational response is violence towards his keepers.

Example: For some reason they felt it necessary to show us the diagram ofd Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. One of the more important needs is the human need for love. Staff are prohibited from touching patients except to restrain them. Patients are prohibited from touching each other (sexual behavior with other patients will earn you possible seclusion and restraint, general loss of privaleges).

Teacher! I have a question! If we systematically forbid people from meeting basic human needs, aren’t we asking for patients to either be better sneaks or to create violent confrontations with staff? Answer: Well, in this setting there is no way to control things if we don’t keep a lid on behaviors that may lead to… well, things that are hard to control. Teacher! Teacher! Is maybe the hospital itself the problem then? Is it maybe possible that the entire notion of controlling large numbers of miserable people in a state of tyranny is just wrong?

Next Wednesday I get to go on a tour of the facilities (a 3 hour tour…). This will be a real treat. Will I see the vacant, crumbling halls of the notorious J-Building? Will they take us down into the underground tunnels connecting the buildings on campus to the State Penitentiary? I’ll let you know.

Now for something different

Some pictures, maybe funny.

Electricity is your friend


Suicide Box



Gmix- Missing Bacon




Constitution-Free Zone:

Fact Sheet


Global Research, October 23, 2008

Fact Sheet

The problem

Normally under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the American people are not generally subject to random and arbitrary stops and searches.
The border, however, has always been an exception. There, the longstanding view is that the normal rules do not apply. For example the authorities do not need a warrant or probable cause to conduct a “routine search.”
But what is “the border”? According to the government, it is a 100-mile wide strip that wraps around the “external boundary” of the United States.
As a result of this claimed authority, individuals who are far away from the border, American citizens traveling from one place in America to another, are being stopped and harassed in ways that our Constitution does not permit.
Border Patrol has been setting up checkpoints inland — on highways in states such as California, Texas and Arizona, and at ferry terminals in Washington State. Typically, the agents ask drivers and passengers about their citizenship. Unfortunately, our courts so far have permitted these kinds of checkpoints – legally speaking, they are “administrative” stops that are permitted only for the specific purpose of protecting the nation’s borders. They cannot become general drug-search or other law enforcement efforts.
However, these stops by Border Patrol agents are not remaining confined to that border security purpose. On the roads of California and elsewhere in the nation – places far removed from the actual border – agents are stopping, interrogating, and searching Americans on an everyday basis with absolutely no suspicion of wrongdoing.
The bottom line is that the extraordinary authorities that the government possesses at the border are spilling into regular American streets.

Much of U.S. population affected

Many Americans and Washington policymakers believe that this is a problem confined to the San Diego-Tijuana border or the dusty sands of Arizona or Texas, but these powers stretch far inland across the United States.
To calculate what proportion of the U.S. population is affected by these powers, the ACLU created a map and spreadsheet showing the population and population centers that lie within 100 miles of any “external boundary” of the United States.
The population estimates were calculated by examining the most recent US census numbers for all counties within 100 miles of these borders. Using numbers from the Population Distribution Branch of the US Census Bureau, we were able to estimate both the total number and a state-by-state population breakdown. The custom map was created with help from a map expert at World Sites Atlas.
What we found is that fully TWO-THIRDS of the United States’ population lives within this Constitution-free or Constitution-lite Zone. That’s 197.4 million people who live within 100 miles of the US land and coastal borders.
Nine of the top 10 largest metropolitan areas as determined by the 2000 census, fall within the Constitution-free Zone. (The only exception is #9, Dallas-Fort Worth. ) Some states are considered to lie completely within the zone: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Part of a broader problem

The spread of border-search powers inland is part of a broad expansion of border powers with the potential to affect the lives of ordinary Americans who have never left their own country.
It coincides with the development of numerous border technologies, including watch list and database systems such as the Automated Targeting System (ATS) traveler risk assessment program, identity and tracking systems such as electronic (RFID) passports, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), and intrusive technological schemes such as the Secure Border Initiative Network (SBINet) or “virtual border fence” and unmanned aerial vehicles (aka “drone aircraft”).
This illegitimate expansion of the extraordinary powers of agents at the border is also part of a general trend we have seen over the past 8 years of an untrammeled, heedless expansion of police and national security powers without regard to the effect on innocent Americans.
This trend is also typical of the Bush Administration’s dragnet approach to law enforcement and national security. Instead of intelligent, competent, targeted efforts to stop terrorism, illegal immigration, and other crimes, what we have been seeing in area after area is an approach that turns us all into suspects. This approach seeks to sift through the entire U.S. population in the hopes of encountering the rare individual whom the authorities have a legitimate interest in.

If the current generation of Americans does not challenge this creeping (and sometimes galloping) expansion of federal powers over the individual through the rationale of “border protection,” we are not doing our part to keep alive the rights and freedoms that we inherited, and will soon find that we have lost some or all of their right to go about their business, and travel around inside their own country, without interference from the authorities.


MindFreedom News Break

Direct from MindFreedom:
MindFreedom International — 7 November 2008
Human Rights Alert: Involuntary Electroshock
http://www.mindfreedom.org – please forward

If it’s Wednesday, then Ray Sandford is Getting
Escorted from His Home for Another Forced Electroshock

Minnesota Resident Gets Involuntary Electroconvulsive
(ECT) On A Weekly Ongoing *Outpatient* Basis

ACTION: How You Can Easily E-mail Minnesota Governor

by David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International

The past Wednesday morning after the historic USA election what were
you doing?

I know what Ray Sandford, 54, was doing.

Each and every Wednesday, early in the morning, staff shows up at
Ray’s sheltered living home called Victory House in Columbia Heights,
, adjacent to Minneapolis.

Staff escorts Ray the 15 miles to Mercy Hospital.

There, Ray is given another of his weekly electroconvulsive therapy
(ECT) treatments, also known as electroshock. All against his will.
On an outpatient basis.

And it’s been going on for months.

Ray says the weekly forced electroshocks are “scary as hell.” He
absolutely opposes having the procedure. He says it’s causing poor
memory for names such as of friends and his favorite niece. “What am
I supposed to do, run away?” Instead, Ray phoned his local library’s
reference desk to ask about human rights groups, and the librarian
referred him to MindFreedom International.

Ray called me at our office here at MindFreedom International about
two weeks ago. At first I wasn’t sure I believed him.

Of course, MindFreedom International has documented proven cases of
electroshock against the expressed wishes of the subject all over the
world, including in the USA. MindFreedom succeeded in having the
United Nations World Health Organization call in writing for a global
ban on all involuntary electroshock.

But this is the first time I’ve been on the phone with someone
getting court-ordered forced shock while living out in the community,
on an outpatient basis.

This is the ultimate double whammy.

I confirmed Ray’s story by calling two staff at Victory House as well
as his court-appointed conservator, Tonya Wilhelm of Luthern Support
Services of Minnesota.

Ms. Wilhelm said, “We are following the letter of the law.” She said
the State of Minnesota had secured a variety of court orders that
require Ray to have forced electroshock against his expressed wishes.
Ms. Wilehlm says it’s all legal and she can’t do anything about it.

Krista Erickson, chair of MindFreedom’s Shield Campaign, sees it
differently. “This is terrible. This is a serious human rights
violation that should stop. I hope MindFreedom members and supporters
speak out. Even if Minnesota is following the letter of the current
law, the law ought to be changed. And Ray has not had the legal power
to appeal to higher courts.”

I pointed out to Conservator Wilhelm that the public — when they
find out about forced electroshock — is passionately opposed to
their taxpayer money being used to force such brutality on citizens.
Ms. Wilhelm did let slip that what is happening to Ray — involuntary
outpatient electroshock — is not that uncommon in Minnesota.

But when Ms. Wilhelm found out we at MindFreedom are issuing one of
our public human rights alert to you and others, at Ray’s repeated
request, she said something chilling.

Ms. Wilhelm claimed she had a legal right to stop MindFreedom!

Ms. Wilhelm told me, “Only I can give you permission legally to say
anything publicly about this.”

I pointed out we are not a medical facility, and that if she falsely
claims we’re doing anything illegal then this is defamation. Which
really is illegal.

Ms. Wilhelm laughed loudly in the phone, said “let our lawyers talk,”
and hung up on me. I hope she hung up to read the First Amendment.

Let’s disobey Ms. Wilhelm!

Spread Ray’s alert far and wide! Speak out against this electrical
torture, now!

Because… Remember… While the world marvels at the power of USA

If it’s Wednesday morning, then Ray Sandford is being led from his
home — which is supposed to be his castle — to get another weekly
forced procedure that can cause brain damage and wipe out memories.

– David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International


Mind your freedom. Disobey Ray’s conservator now!

Forward this alert to all appropriate places on and off the Internet,

And take the *below* actions. Thank you. Ray and I are counting on you!


* * * ACTION * * * ACTION * * * ACTION * * *

You can do this in a moment. It’s free! DO IT NOW!

E-mail your firm but polite message to Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

SAMPLE MESSAGE — your own words are best:

“Investigate the weekly involuntary outpatient electroshock of Ray
Sandford. Every Wednesday morning, MindFreedom says Ray is brought
from Victory House in Columbia Heights, Minnesota to Mercy Hospital
for forced electroshock. Stop all forced electroshock today! Taxpayer
money should not fund torture!” [Your name/contact.]

E-mail address: tim.pawlenty@state.mn.us

Or use this handy web form:


or this link:




1) E-mail a complaint to Luthern Social Services of Minnesota (LSSMN)
about Ray’s conservator.

Sample message:

“Investigate allegations that LSSMN employee Tonya Wilhelm tried to
stop a public human rights alert by MindFreedom International about
her client, Ray Sandford, who is receiving weekly outpatient
involuntary electroshock at Mercy Hospital in Minneapolis. If
verified, please reprimand, fire and replace Ms. Wilhelm, and please
place this in her permanent personnel record. Please support human
rights.” [Your name/contact.]

Use LSSMN’s web page:


Or phone Luthern Social Services at: (218) 726-4888

You can copy your message to headquarters of The Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America (ELCA):


From ELCA’s web site about their church: “It’s a story of a powerful
and patient God who has boundless love for all people of the world,
who brings justice for the oppressed.”

More at:


2) E-mail a complaint to Allina Hospital and Clinics, owner of Mercy

Sample message:

“Investigate allegations that your patient Ray Sandford of Victory
House is receiving involuntary outpatient electroconvulsive therapy
against his will each Wednesday at Mercy Hospital.”

Use this web page:


Or phone: (763) 236-6000

3) Ray is open to visitors and supportive postal mail:

Ray Sandford
Victory House
4427 Monroe St.
Columbia Heights, MN 55421-2880 USA

MindFreedom will print out and mail to Ray some of your e-mail
messages to the Governor and others, and put some on the web. E-mail
a copy of what you write to news@mindfreedom.org.



Say “no” to mental health system censorship!

Disobey Ray’s conservator now!

PLEASE forward this public human alert to all appropriate places on
and off the Internet, IMMEDIATELY! Thank you!


More info:

See the latest news and updates at the MindFreedom website at:


Plenty of data on electroshock on the MindFreedom web site, click here:


Watch upcoming blog entries by David W. Oaks, MFI Director:



NONVIOLENTLY ZAP BACK against forced electroshock!

NOW are you ready for nonviolent revolution in mental health?

Join, renew, and support MindFreedom TODAY!

Be part of the MFI Fall 2008 Support Drive, click here:



If you are a current MFI member you’re welcome on e-mail lists
currently discussing Ray’s support campaign. Members can ask for more
info at member@mindfreedom.org.


MindFreedom International Office:

454 Willamette, Suite 216 – POB 11284; Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USA

web site: http://www.mindfreedom.org
e-mail: office@mindfreedom.org
MFI member services phone: (541) 345-9106
MFI member services toll free: 1-877-MAD-PRIDe or 1-877-623-7743
new fax: (480) 287-8833


Quick quiz:

Did you know State of Oregon is one of the *easiest* states in the
USA to give *involuntary* electroshock? That’s electroshock over the
expresses of the subject.

In most states you at least have to get a court order for involuntary
electroshock. But Oregon still uses an antiquated “override” form.
I’ve seen one. The psychiatric institution just has to obtain an
outside physician’s signature to sign off on the forced electroshock!

True, forced electroshock is not done A LOT. This past year we bugged
our friends at Oregon’s mental health system until finally we got a
little data. It’s only one or two people who get classic forced
electroshock — over their expressed wishes — in the Oregon mental
health system.

But that’s one or two too many!

Let’s close the loophole on forced electroshock in Oregon.

In the meantime BELOW is an example of what forced electroshock is
all about. It’s about a forced electroshock on OUTPATIENT basis,
“maintenance ongoing” (every week). It’s in Minnesota, but it would
be good if people in Oregon speak out — shows there’s national

Plus it will help get you PRIMED to help BAN involuntary electroshock
FOREVER in Oregon, in the next legislative session, stay tuned.



Bollywood Horse-slide




Check out this sort of interesting science trivia:


And this, also:



Bye fer now,



Filed under animated gif, animation, comedy relief, CS/X movement, Mental health recovery, mindfreedom news, pictures, silly, wellness and systems change

2 responses to “I talk to the trees

  1. wow…. my eyes hurt after the last pic…


  2. rickpdx

    Yep, it’s a sight to make sore eyes.


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