Author Archives: mediaoccupyreno

The Nevada Legislature begins its 77th session

(posted by Bob Bennett)

As the Nevada Legislature begins its 77th session, we are reminded of Mark Twain’s remark: “No man’s life, liberty or property is safe while the Legislature is in session.”  It is definitely a body that requires watchful attention by everyone.  To make this a little easier for those who need to work for a living, don’t have paid employees to keep tabs on their interests, or are just overwhelmed by the process – we will provide a few links – and a little commentary and opinion.

List of Bill Draft Requests – http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/77th2013/BDRList/page.cfm?showAll=1

Assembly Bills  – https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/77th2013/Reports/HistListBills.cfm?DoctypeID=1

Senate Bills –  http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/77th2013/Reports/HistListBills.cfm?DoctypeID=2

Bills by Topic   – http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/77th2013/Reports/TablesAndIndex/2013_77-index.html

Share your opinion on bills  – https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Opinions/77th2013/A/

“After each war there is a little less democracy to save.”  Brooks Atkinson – (Once Around the Sun 1951)

Opinions below are mine alone, and based on a quick reading of a small portion of  proposed legislation.

Generally, bills before the legislature fall into three broad categories:

Those which transfer power from individuals to corporations.

S.B. 87 –– http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/77th2013/Bills/SB/SB87.pdf

Allows companies to fire employees who on their own time use medical marijuana – or any substance the employer may disapprove of.

S.J.R. 2  – http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/77th2013/Bills/SJR/SJR2.pdf  Abolishes the $1.00 an hour addition to the minimum wage for medium size businesses who do not provide health insurance.

Those which transfer power from the individual to government agencies.

S.B. 33 –  – http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/77th2013/Bills/SB/SB33.pdf While attempting to regulate sexual conduct by those in prisons, jails, and certain residential facilities, the plain fact of the matter is that circumstances imposed on individuals require individuals to violate section 3 a) 4 – multiple times a day.  Other provisions, such as making masturbation a felony also go way too far.

Those which transfer power from small businesses to government agencies.

S.B 96  http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/77th2013/Bills/SB/SB96.pdf

(BDR 53-579) Imposition of fines and penalties for misclassifying employee (intentionally or not) as independent contractor – As someone who has worked as both as an independent contractor and employee  - in a gray area – certain advantages exist for each category – Although abuses do exist, most often after a small companies grows to mid –size and begin to squeeze the people doing the actual work;  this bill transfers too much power to a government agency – taking power away from both the individual contractor and employer.

Almost always these are pieces of bad legislation which need to be opposed by the people, but the people are generally ignorant of them, the mainstream media – both left and right – being more interested in kissing up to the power players than the actual welfare of the people – or the planet.

On rare occasion bills may actually propose transferring power from a government agency to individuals or from corporations to individuals.  There actually appears to be a few of these this session.    Perhaps the year of the snake will help chase the monsters of bias, shallowness and ineptitude from the kiss-up media like The Nation magazine, the RJG, Fox news – and really the entire marketing controlled press.  “You dine off the advertisers sizzle and not the meat of the steak.”  J.B Priestly, New Statesman 10 Dec 1971

Removes need to inform employer prior to filing a complaint    https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/77th2013/Bills/AB/AB12.pdf

Revises provisions governing the restoration of civil rights for ex-felons. (BDR 16-687)  https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/77th2013/Bills/AB/AB301_76.pdf

Expands prohibition on employers taking certain actions to prohibit, punish or prevent employees from engaging in politics or becoming candidates for public office with certain exceptions. (BDR 53-63)

https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/77th2013/Bills/AB/AB433_76.pdf

Nationally, there has been a great hullaballoo about guns,, violence, and gun control.  Yet both the violence and the calls for restricted access to firearms is simply the result of natural law.  The left’s continued failure to recognize that a great many people believe government has become oppressive – except of course on issues regarding women and gays, has been a major stumbling block preventing major reforms from happening.  Perhaps the former cop from Los Angles who has killed three people as revenge for his being unfairly fired for reporting police abuse -and as of this writing is still on the lam, will bring about a turning point for the reactionary left.

“Government of the busy, by the bossy, for the bully.”  Arthur Sheldon; (Capitalism 1990)

TRANSFORMING ANGER: A BUDDHIST PERSPECTIVE

TRANSFORMING ANGER:  A BUDDHIST PERSPECTIVE

http://youtu.be/NyJBkHtVp4k

DEVISING EFFECTIVE TREATMENT PROTOCOLS FOR THOSE WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES

The Conversation needs to Begin on what constitutes a First Rate Mental Health System.  Below is a good place to begin.  If you agree contact your elected Representatives and have them once again represent the interests of all the people.  Include your suggestions to make it better as well.

DEVISING EFFECTIVE TREATMENT PROTOCOLS FOR THOSE WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES

To read the full document click:  Devising Treatment protocols B

By Bob Bennett
Our current treatment protocols for those exhibiting behaviors associated with having mental health issues are inadequate, and some claim abusive. New protocols are needed where respect for the individual is integrated into the process.
In order that individuals obtain the best chance of recovery – and leading contented productive life, several changes to the system need to be implemented.
1. Screen and treat individuals for trauma (numerous non-drug modalities are available, including somatic experiencing, Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprogramming, and others.
2. Work with client to find out where he/she falls on the personality type grid utilized by the video series How To Deal With Difficult People (by Dr. Rick Brinkman & Dr. Rick Kurshner)
3. Have client attend workshops on Non-Violent Communications – (the one by Marshall Rosenberg is excellent)
4. Encourage Meditation
5. Encourage perception shifting exercises: Cellular Memory Release -see Memory in the Cells by Luis Diaz-
6. Utilize the Dali Lama’s method of transforming anger. (adapted from The Art of Happiness by the Dali Lama)
7. Investigate the use of alternative therapies including Craniosacral Therapy and sound Therapy using tuning forks. Those who receive appropriate intervention early have the best chance of optimum recovery, yet nearly all should be able to make at least some recovery.
8. Integrate the Recovery Oriented Practices by Larry Davidson, Ph.D. as recommend by SAMSHA.
1. Screen and Treat Individuals for Trauma
A history of Trauma is common in most, if not all individuals who experience emotional problems. The symptoms of trauma are quite similar to the symptoms lists of the DSM-IV – and soon to be released DSM-V. It is likely that successfully treating trauma would also substantially reduce the symptoms which are the basis for the various designations in these manuals.
Somatic Experiencing, devised by Peter Levine Ph.D. and explained in his book – Healing Trauma and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) are two methods which have been established as effective in treating trauma. There may be others as well. EMDR was developed for children, but also highly successful with adults, this method of treating trauma doesn’t require the patient to divulge information about the trauma. While the patient recalls the incident, the eyes are guided in a smooth pattern.

To read the full document click:     Devising Treatment protocols B

REPLY FROM ATTY GENERAL’S OFFICE

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http://occupyreno.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/an-open-letter-to-the-attorney-general-of-the-state-of-nevada/

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF NEVADA

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF NEVADA

The Honorable Catherine Cortez Masto

Attorney General of the State of Nevada
100 North Carson Street
Carson City, NV 89701-4717

What is the responsibility of a public defender towards a criminal defendant?

Is it to assist the accused in the preparation of a defense, as stated in the U.S. Constitution (6th Amendment: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial; by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense. ) or not?

These questions are not asked lightly and are primarily based upon personal experience from more than 20 years ago in the State of California.  Quite frankly, the process left me with disgust. The attorneys I encountered were among the rudest, most obnoxious people I had ever met.  My first arrest was due to seizures I had been experiencing which were mistaken for illegal drug use, resulting in a diagnosis of PTSD and the loss of a job at a small computer company. Following this, I did exhibit some strange behaviors which resulted in several more arrests, including a warrant issued in the wrong name as well as being lost in the system twice, among other indignities.

I do believe in acting responsible and in 1992 received Honorable Mention for a paper I wrote on how mental health courts could provide better treatment while saving communities money. I later served on Judge Breen’s committee which helped to form Nevada’s first mental health court, as well as a volunteered on several mental health related boards. However, the memories of my experiences in the courts of Los Angeles still trouble me as they have negative implications for the future of America.

Step 4 of the Dalai Lama’s method of transforming anger is to take action which will help people who find themselves in a similar position as the incidents which made you angry.  I view this letter as an action to help reduce injustice, which should result in Nevada, as well as the U.S., and the world becoming a better place to live.

While actions of individual attorneys did vary, and not all performed each of these actions, the basic performance was:

  1. Upon meeting, tell defendant: “Plead no contest and I can get you out of jail by tomorrow.”
  2. Should defendant protest innocence, tell defendant: “It doesn’t make any difference if you are guilty or not, plead no contest anyway, that’s the way the system works.”
  3. Should defendant still protest:  Display contempt towards defendant with a physical gesture.
  4. Should defendant still protest:  Inform defendant that charges will be increased, he will not receive any assistance from the attorneys, and he will spend years in prison, even if only charged with a misdemeanor.

I have also had attorneys tell me “We (the attorneys) decided that everyone charged with a crime will be found guilty of something”; “ If you were innocent, you would have been born rich enough to afford a good attorney”; “That’s all you people use as an excuse” (when attempting to obtain medication for my medical condition); as well as deliberately misleading me as to the meaning of ‘waiving time’ – lawyer short-hand for giving up the Constitutional right to a fair and speedy trial.

I came to understand, in time, that my experiences where not isolated incidents but rather the commonly accepted way of doing business in the courts of Los Angeles.  As I understand it, changes in court procedure in some counties have resulted from economizing on the cost of court due to the increased expenditures imposed by Miranda v Arizona (384 U.S. 436, 1966).   The above actions generally took place not in the court room, but in the conferences which occur prior to the proceedings which are closed to all except the attorney and defendant; except these conferences are typically crowded resulting in other defendants overhearing everything spoken.

Among the unintended consequences of Miranda are:

  1. Police no longer give suspects an opportunity to clear themselves.
  2. More suspects are arrested.
  3. Plea Bargains have largely replaced Trials.
  4. Crime is encouraged and rewarded.
  5. The innocent, and those who have mitigating circumstances regarding the charges they face, are often scapegoated.
  6. Police errors and abuse are often covered up.

The use of ‘waiving time’, lawyer shorthand for giving up the right to a fair and speedy trial, was common.  When I asked my attorney what it meant, he said it was to delay a trail for a few days so he could get ready.  A few days turned out to be 30 days, and then he just pressured me to plead ‘no contest.’ When I tried to enlist his aid in obtaining prescription medication for a condition I had since age 10 or 11, he told me “That’s what all you people use as an excuse.”  After 74 days in solitary, I caved in order not to die in jail.  The California Bar Assn. could not see anything wrong with the actions of this attorney.

The implications of Imbler v Pachtman, (424 U.S. 409, 1976) , as well as REHBERG v. PAULK No. 10–788( Argued November 1, 2011—Decided April 2, 2012) in which the U.S. Supreme Court encourages malicious prosecution is also troubling.  Perhaps the justices in the majority should be impeached for their callous disregard of the Preamble to the Constitution: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

More about my experiences and observations regarding the criminal justice system, as practiced in Los Angeles County, can be found at The Plea Bargain System – An Evil Destroying America?  http://youtu.be/VSZZXgevT7k .

While I have not heard of anyone in Nevada being subject to the extent of depravity under color of law, as commonly practiced in Los Angeles, many people I have spoken to believe they have been betrayed by their court appointed attorneys and unfairly manipulated into unjust plea bargains.  It is also likely that many are in Nevada prisons and jails due to the effects of trauma.  As I wait your considered response to the questions which I raise at the beginning of this letter, I hope you will take the time to read the book – Healing Trauma by Peter Levine, Ph.D. and also make your recommendations about how the courts should take the effects of trauma into consideration when certain criminal and domestic situations come before the bench.

Thank You for your attention to this matter,

Sincerely,

Robert S. Bennett

EC:  The Commissioners of Washoe County

INCLINED TO LIBERTY

INCLINED TO LIBERTY

A Geographic Perspective

By Bob Bennett

 On the evening of the first debate between President Obama and Gov. Romney I attended the screening at UNR, which included a talk with Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate Judge Jim Gray.  I enjoyed Judge Gray’s talk and found his answers to questions from the small audience to have more common sense than either of the televised candidates.

At the end of the evening campus libertarians handed out a book – INCLINED TO LIBERTY- The Futile Attempt to Suppress the Human Spirit, by Louis E. Carabini, and I looked forward to reading it.  The book starts out fine, with how people are attracted to one of two competing theories – those who are inclined towards liberty – freedom of the individual to live life as he or she sees fit- as long as they are peaceful – versus those who are inclined to mastery – and want to permit others to exist only in a manner in which they, the masters, see fit.  From my perspective, however, those who have mastered themselves have no need to control others, favoring liberty for all, but willing to give a helping hand. The more people take responsible for their own actions, intended or otherwise, the greater liberty & freedom can be enjoyed by all.

There are good things in the book, it is one which forces the reader to think, but some assumptions by the author turned what promised to be an enlightening read into a difficult chore where I sometimes found myself arriving at vastly different conclusions than that of the author.

“It is not fair that companies can terminate workers just to increase profits.” This is the first of many arguments/ statements in the book that can give rise to thoughtful discussion, and for this I thank the author.  Companies are formed to make a profit.  Should the workers share in these profits, or should they be disposed of as soon as possible if an avenue to make even greater profits arise?  The answer the author gives is yes, it is fair that workers should be terminated with little or no notice.  A more provocative and thoughtful answer is given by The Twelve Vision Party –which incorporates many of the values of Libertarians, but contains some frightening aspects as well.  TVP believes current corporations- and newly formed companies, should be formed or re-formed along lines which reward individuals/ employees according to the value they add to the product or revenue line.  This would provide incentive to employees to continue to give their best, avoid burn-out, increase loyalty and profits.  While the owners would wind up with a smaller percentage of revenue, they would gain in actual dollars.  Unfortunately, to my way of thinking, this would likely break down when a company grows beyond 15 – 20 employees, although with contract employees, it could possibly work until 200-250 people worked for the organization.  Still I believe this portion of TVP should be endorsed by every small business – while acknowledging difficulties will arise, and will be addressed when they present themselves – after all a nation of small business people – and those working for small businesses has many advantages.

While I could probably write a book (and am seriously thinking of such a venture) to counter various arguments presented in INCLINED TO LIBERTY (as well as some TVP assumptions), for the balance of this article I will limit myself to what I see as the most galling error/ assumption of the author while trying to illuminate or spur creative solutions to a few of the many current and near term challenges which face the nation and world.

The error is that the Malthusian belief – that population growth is out growing the ability of the planet to provide for all who reside upon it – is fallacious. Malthus wrote An Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798, and in doing so provided a spur to the development of the technology which increased crop production, as well as having some influence on the opening of new and marginal land for crops.  Political leaders, at least some of them, strove to solve problems, and without Malthus’s essay, they would have been ignorant of the problems they needed to address.

World population is expected to rise from the current 7 billion people worldwide to 9.1 (some estimate 12) billion by 2050, before leveling off, with the greatest population increases occurring in the developing world.  This increases the risk of famine, war, and other deprivations.  In Beyond Malthus: Sixteen Dimensions of the Population Problem (1998) the authors lay out the various problems, as well as presenting partial solutions in diverse areas – a sort of geographical compendium – (grain production, fresh water, biodiversity, climate change, Oceanic fish catch, jobs, cropland, forests, housing, energy, urbanization, natural recreation areas, education, waste, meat production, and income) which have resulted from the technology, and abuses of technology, which grew out of Malthus’ essay, as well as human greed and indifference.

These are stresses upon the planet which threaten much of the current life on earth, including the various structures we all depend upon to varying degrees.  While I am confident that life on earth will endure, it will take intelligent effort to maintain an adequate living for all.  The more living standards decline, the greater the risk for all, including stable governments.  Increased harmony among the peoples of the nation and world is needed to achieve this.  Those who look to the bible for direction should reread Revelations, and ask themselves “Is this God’s intention – or is it a challenge?  Can mankind overcome ignorance and hatred – and instead spread understanding and harmony?  Or will ignorance take the upper hand – snatching defeat from the hand of victory?”  The many advances in science made during the past century should not be ignored; but neither should the law of unintended consequences.   Ignoring problems will not make them go away.

In the U.S., those individuals ages 5 -14 are expected to rise in number by 10% to 43 million, by 2050.  Schools need to be reorganized to adequately meet the current and approaching challenges.  Gardening needs to become a topic of study – not just book learning, but actually growing food which can be used for school lunches or taken home by urban students who will hopefully also start home gardens.  The current economic realities require greater reliance on individuals and families.  A course on economics should be given in Junior High, perhaps something along the lines of Thinking Like an Economist – which is available from the Teaching company; as well as a course along the lines of How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci, by Michael J. Gelb.  There is a need to encourage people to use both sides of their brain.  The ability to recognize and possibly treat trauma should also be required of teachers.  Those who live with the effects of trauma are frequently not able to make rational decisions.  This includes a good many students.  Schools should also present information on being in control of one’s emotions, including anger, not controlled by them.  Perhaps Nonviolent Communication, by Marshall Rosenberg, should be an area of study at the high school level.

An over reliance on courts and jails to solve problems has merely led to a huge prison population, the U.S. –  with 5% of the world population has 25% of the world’s prisoners.  Many youth see prison as their inevitable destination.  That must change, and change soon, or our society will collapse.  The Supreme Court already encourages malicious prosecutions (Imbler v Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 1976 & REHBERG v. PAULK No. 10–788. Argued November 1, 2011—Decided April 2, 2012) and with the unintended consequences of Miranda v Arizona (384 U.S. 436, 1966), how far will Los Angeles County style justice, where the members of the Dancing Rectum Brigade (one of several unfavorable references to the public defenders) consider pointing to their rectums as the equivalent to assisting the accused in the preparation of a defense, spread across the nation before sanity is restored to the justice system?  While private attorneys acknowledged to me that the problem is common, they also stated that nothing can be done about it.  My elected representative in Sacramento told me – nearly 20 years ago:  “Oh no, we’re wonderful – we don’t do that.”  As far as I can tell the problem still has not been addressed, and California has the worst prisons in the nation.

Government and the major corporations imposing top down solutions which benefit solely their elites – with “the devil take the hindmost” – is not the answer.  It appears as if the Supreme Court, Republicans, and many Democrats, as well as much of the bureaucracy, has adopted a Reactionary viewpoint – one of official indifference towards the results of their actions, intended or otherwise.  God loves us, and we can do as we damn well please to the common people, because we will always be God’s favorite –the philosophy of the French Reactionaries didn’t work out too well in 1789 for the French elites – or the common people.  Hopefully common sense, harmony, and liberty will prevail.

THE TWENTY PERCENT

THE TWENTY PERCENT

 By Bob Bennett

Approval of Congress is at an historic low.  Few believe those in Congress represent them.  Most believe nearly every member of Congress is beholden to special interests.  Those in Congress are much richer than the common man or woman, and like most people, speak mainly to others in their same circles.  Political posturing has been more important than substance for about as long as anyone can remember.  The concerns of the common people are many, but political campaigns are run by marketing people, and marketing people know that 20% of the people can be ignored.  The eighty percent are all that count.  Yet, among the ignored 20% a great amount of government spending, waste, ineffective policies and neglect exists.

For the most part, during the past 60 years, eighty percent of Americans have been fairly well off, and even most of the 20% were generally seeing improvements in their standard of living.  This is no longer true.  While the incomes of the rich have been rising, more individuals are seeing their standard of living falling.  Many have lost jobs, had their homes foreclosed on them, are homeless –or living on the couches of friends and relatives.  Odds are increasing that more will also face these new realities.  More who were formerly prosperous  are falling within the 20% that the marketing people prefer to ignore.  It could even rise above 20%.

Innovation does not come from the eighty percent.  Necessity is the mother of invention.  Among the 20% are those who seek creative solutions for the difficulties they face.  More and more they find government impeding their efforts.   Try to start a small business after getting laid off, and lose unemployment benefits.  Innovation is discouraged.  The bureaucracy wants to force people to become dependent upon it.  All too often, those receiving benefits find it easier just to go along with senseless rules and regulations.  Senseless, except they create job security for those in the bureaucracy.

Both the Mental Health and the Criminal Justice systems need total reform.  Fear, stigma, and wanting to have handy scapegoats, have been the overriding factors neither have undergone the needed reform.  I believe mental illness can be eliminated and prevented within this current generation. Much of the non-drug research in this field has been ignored.  Studies have shown that from 5% to 75% of psychiatric patients have been misdiagnosed, many with treatable medical conditions which have been ignored.  The implications from studies on trauma have also gone largely unnoticed.  The compulsion to repeat the circumstances of the original trauma in an unconscious to achieve a better outcome – even when it places that individual –or others – in harm’s way effort helps explain both actions of those diagnosed with mental illness, as well as some criminal behavior.  Treating trauma, using the available non-drug methods, early – especially in juvenile services, should be a priority, preventing these individuals from receiving mental health diagnoses, as well as turning them towards a life of crime and drug use.

The election in November could well be a deciding factor.  Do we continue policies of increased protections for the rich and powerful – which are driving this nation towards increased wars, and a steep cliff from which no return may be possible; or do we address the domestic problems which we have chosen to ignore, the 20% which the marketing people have long said are unimportant?  This is the choice those who are elected, whichever party wins, will need to make.

Twisted Corporations

Twisted Corporations

The Libertarian Vice Presidential Candidate -Judge Jim Gray will be at UNR at 6 PM on Wednesday Oct. 3rd.  While UNR pulled the approval to use the Wells Fargo Auditorium after granting its approval 2 weeks earlier – If they do not reverse themselves again  -  the question and answer talk  will be given from the steps of the Knowledge Center.  The debate between Obama & Romney will also  be shown (provided we can figure a way to do it if we are forced to the steps !)

On Tuesday, Oct 2nd, the group of people who are trying to prevent The City of Reno from turning their homes and neighborhood on Landers Street over to the Catholic Church will be attempting to make their case at the  McKinley Arts & Culture Center 925 Riverside Drive Reno at 6PM.   It is open to the public.