Domenici, Kennedy Introduce Psycho
Scarecrow Bill in Senate

cartoon shows a man standing by a pharmacy window to ask the pharmacist why his head came off. (He's holding it in his hands.) The pharmacist answers...

"Come now. You don't expect us to warn you
of every teeny-tiny little side effect, do you?"

newsbrief by Lucy Gwin

Senator Pete Domenici, Republican of New Mexico and powerful Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, introduced the "Mental Health Early Intervention, Treatment and Prevention Act of 2000" by raising the scarecrow of violence. Ted Kennedy and the usually sensible Paul Wellstone will co-sponsor the Act.
Domenici's news release (see below) alleges that "a disturbing number of the most horrific cases of murder and violence are linked to people who suffer undiagnosed or untreated mental illnesses." That release cited recent New York Times reports on "rampage killers."
In fact, scientific studies cited in the recent National Council on Disability report on psychiatric disability (see link to it, below) have found people labeled crazy to be responsible for three percent of violent crime, a lower rate than the general population. The NCD report's recommendations for addressing psychiatric disability -- jobs, housing, and peer support -- are not addressed by this bill.
Senate Bill 2639, on a very fast track, appropriates half a billion tax dollars for Emergency Mental Health Centers, special Mental Health Courts, and training for teachers and others so they can spot individuals whose mental health is in jeopardy.
Did you hear that? It was the cue for your civil liberties alarms to ring out, loud and clear.

It's not too late, and you are in a position to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. See Cal Grandy's worthy rant, below, for email addresses for Domenici and Kennedy. If you give a damn, speak up.

Linking Madness to Violence Cannot End Stigma

a worthy rant by Cal Grandy

The Domenici/Kennedy Mental Health Early Intervention, Treatment, and Prevention Act of 2000 is the knee-jerk establishment response to the "troublesome link between mental illness and acts of violence." Acting entirely based on the Surgeon General's mental health report -- see above -- Senators Kennedy, Domenici and Wellstone propose to waste another half-billion plus on bogus approaches to ensuring America's "mental health." And to further codify the deprivation of civil rights to an ever-growing number of people, who, despite the lip service given to "anti-stigma" measures, will be ostracized.
A media invention, this
"dangerous psycho" scarecrow completely ignores the fact that psychotrophic drugs themselves produce, in at least 5% of the 15-20% of American schoolchildren who are on psychiatric drugs, a severe agitation that can lead to suicide or violence. More often than not, the kids who turn killers in our schools are found to be undergoing psychiatric drug "therapy." Yet so-called mental illness continues to be blamed for violence, completely ignoring what is known of the pharmaceutical dark side. When only 3% of violent crime is committed by those with psychiatric disabilities, one might wonder if this bolt against violence is even aimed at the target at all.

Society seems only to want to guarantee that mind-altering and brain-disabling drugs will go to the losers in the game of life, and more and more money will go to the shrinks, the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical giants. More icing to hide the spoiled cake. 1/2 Billion can buy a lot of icing, certainly. If the cake is unpalatable, just add more icing.
Only if you can comfortably contemplate the continuing, increasing horror of electroshock, not be concerned for the millions on forced neuroleptics and those duped into extended "antidepressant" drug consumption for which the long-term use consequences also look to be a disaster... Only if you can see all that, as Senator Domenici does, as signs of an "enlightened age" of treatment...Then and only then could you view the "Mental Health Early Intervention, Treatment, and Prevention Act of 2000" without revulsion.
We can be sure that the recommendations of the
NCD report on psychiatric disability were not considered in drawing up this bill. Where is the money not being spent? Guess not for real employment training and affordable accessible housing. I may be nuts but if asked I would choose the opportunity for gainful employment and decent housing over a brain-shrinking drug any day.

From the behavior of our own and other governments one could conclude that force, coercion, and violence are a manifestation of mental health, not illness. Especially galling: on the one hand they conduct a draconian campaign against users of non-approved drugs and on the other stroke they push drugs such as Ritalin which are listed along with the offical "bad" drugs by the DEA, into our schools, turning kids into future drug addicts.
Is this an exhibit of
official "mental order" opposing the mental disorder hiding behind every bush? It all depends on who has the power to define whom. But, by hiding behind the cloak of ostensible mental health [and the shrinks in their closet], they believe they can't be seen as hypocrites.

A provision of this bill would set up a national system of "mental health courts." No need for trial by jury, or proof beyond reasonable doubt, for this is not about crime. It's about "disease," disease for which there are no scientific medical tests at all. "Disease" for which there is no convincing proof they are actually diseases in the medical sense. Most of them were voted into existence by committee, and can be voted out of existence again if politically expedient. For an idea of how a national system of mental health courts would operate we can look to those already in existence, in New York. See this article from City Limits.

When asked by why Tipper & Al Gore, and the Clinton administration support identifying the millions of kids uninterested by school as mentally ill and "medicating" them with the dangerous and addictive stimulant Ritalin, the answer from Tipper's communications director was, "We're going to pass on providing comments to your questions."
I think such people should pass from the political scene and not be supported by anyone.

To examine the Senate Bill 2639 in its entirety, go to on the internet and search S2639 (the bill's number). Read or order the NCD report at

Less like bankers, more like thieves, those who hold the taxpayer's purse strings heed only the calls of special interests. Remind them whose pockets that money comes from. Domenici's e-mail comment page is Phone 202-224-6621, TTY 202-224-3844. Ted Kennedy's phone is 202-224-4543 and there's an email link from

The cartoon shown above was created by Scott Chambers. Mouth bought the right to use it, but you could do the same with any of his works. Contact him directly at

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To send an email to Cal Grandy, click here.


This article is reprinted from Mouth #60, the Mouth Chronicles issue.

To order that issue, click here.

Link to the National Council on Disability's April report on psychiatric disabilities.


Ready for some good news? Click here.



Unedited first page of Domenici's news release:

News Release - Senator Pete V. Domenici


MAY 25, 2000


New Legislation Stresses Treatment & Early Intervention

WASHINGTON -- With more Americans becoming weary of increasingly shocking acts of tragic violence, U.S. Senator Pete Domenici today introduced legislation to address the troublesome link between mental illness and acts of violence and suicide.

Domenici, joined by Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), today unveiled the Mental Mental Health Early Intervention, Treatment, and Prevention Act of 2000.

This bill would authorize a series of programs to raise awareness about mental illness, increase resources for the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness, and, finally, increase resources to enable the criminal justice system to respond more effectively to persons with mental illness.

"It is time for Americans to realize that a disturbing number of the most horrific and sad cases of murder and violence in the United States are sadly linked to people who suffer from undiagnosed or untreated mental illnesses. At the same time, we should begin taking action to see that these unfortunate people receive and continue to get treatment," Domenici said.

"We live in an enlightened age where mental illness is treatable," he said. "The Domenici-Kennedy bill is an effort to stop some of these terrible acts of violence committed by some mentally ill individuals against others and themselves. We must make the public more aware of mental illnesses and treatments.

"Unfortunately, there is no place that a community can take these individuals for help. The police can do very little and likewise for hospitals. I believe we must come together as a nation to find a community based solution so when someone sees an individual in obvious need of help, they will know what to do."

According to Justice Department statistics, 25-40 percent of individuals in the United States with a mental illness come into contact with the criminal justice system each year. Sixteen percent of individuals incarcerated in state and local jails suffer from a mental illness. About 30,000 Americans, including 2,000 children and adolescents, commit suicide each year.