Was he taking his meds?

Depakote. Zyprexa. Risperadol, Abilify, Haldol, risperidone, olanzapine and an alphabet soup of other names of various drugs are used in the treatment of schizophrenia. There are others for ADD (Ritalin, Adderall), ADHD, etc, etc. Many times, there are multiple diagnoses and psychiatrists work with combinations of drugs in order to stabilize their patients. the bottom line is that psychiatric treatment in this country is primarily prescribed today.

David Kupelian hints at the lack of coverage of the Newtown shooter’s mental health profile. The media reports that the shooter had clinically defined mental health issues but stopped their investigations to chase after gun control. And yet it is the shooter’s mental state that is the crux of the matter. Guns are inanimate objects, and yet banning firearms is the easy solution.

Our prison system is filled with inmates with psychiatric issues. Studies report that 20% of inmates nationally have been clinically diagnosed. Many of the denizens of skid rows around the country have similar issues. Medication; mismedication, refusal of medication, and misdiagnosis are all a part of the puzzle that makes up our mental health wasteland today.

Here in California, a homeless man named Kelly Thomas; delusional and paranoid/schizophrenic was beaten to death by Fullerton police poorly trained in dealing with 5150 cases.  5150 is the section of the California Welfare & Institutions Code that allows a 72 hour psychiatric hold for patients who may be a harm to themselves or others. Mr. Thomas was held several times on this basis before his brutal death.

The Newtown shooter; Adam Lanza, had a history of mental illness. So far though, this has been undisclosed. Instead, the Left is going for the guns. It’s what they think is an easy play with sentiments in an uproar. They would rather abrogate the Constitution than deal with the real issues.

Rather than addressing root causes not just of this shooting but of crimes by and against the mentally ill nationally, the issue has become another tool for politicization. As Rahm Emmanuel famously said “never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Mental health care in this country is in crisis. We have a subculture of addiction; to pot; to prescription drugs; to heroin; to alcohol. Many bipolar individuals become addicted to routines including exercise and sex. We don’t deal with it. We prescribe medications to shut them up.

The consequences are upon us. From Jared Loughner in Tucson to Aurora, Colorado, to Newtown we have created a perfect storm of fantasy violence and enablement and psychiatric malpractice and institutional indifference. It is cheaper to gun down mad dogs than deal with the real issues. We don’t want to deal with the causes; only the symptoms. That is the politician’s way of dealing with crises.


Krugman’s harmonic dissonance on UK economic policy

Paul Krugman today ripped into the British Government’s efforts to get the country’s economy back on track, calling austerity fundamentally mad. As one of the world’s most prominent Keynsians I am not surprised, but as a rational thinker I am deeply disturbed.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has also expressed her reservations regarding deep government cuts. And yet profligate spending policies without corresponding balance have drained government coffers around the world and we are standing on the edge of a deeper crisis than in 2007 based upon exactly the economic policies so strongly advocated by Mr. Krugman. The fundamental rule that at some point governments run out of other peoples money has still not sunk in.

John Maynard Keynes was reacting to the Great Depression when he formulated his policies and they began to be implemented. His work on government stimulus assumed that  structural deficits were acceptable in the short-term but did not address a long-term in some cases running for decades with interest compounding along the way.

The postwar economic boom funded the extension of the social welfare state. Huge and incredibly expensive promises were made that Mr. Keynes would not have comprehended. Keynes argued that nations avoid deflation even at the cost of allowing their currency to depreciate in order to keep internal prices stable.

But now we are faced with core commodity inflation. There simply are not enough resources to go around. There are deep structural changes occurring in the global economy.

Both the ECB and Federal Reserve have been running the printing presses at an accelerating rate which has set off the first salvos of currency wars. Mr. Krugman and respectfully, Ms. Lagarde have also failed to note the results of expansive monetary policy and public spending in their host country. The Yen continued to rise in value from the ¥180/$ level of the early 90’s to ¥78/$ today, making their economy uncompetitive. The massive shift of manufacturing in China partially driven by the currency shift not only in Japan but elsewher has also had a deep impact on the pillars of the global economy.

Since the early 1990’s after the Japanese banking collapse, that government has engaged in a Keynsian stimulus program aimed at reviving the economy. The Great Tohoku Earthquake was in many ways another Keynsian  economic event, but the result has still been deeply damaging economically. Imports are cheap, but there are no jobs and the debt burden of the Japanese government is growing, not shrinking.

Japanese national debt as a percentage of GDP is the highest in the world with the United States and the UK right behind. This is financed primarily by Japanese savings, which mitigates the damage somewhat, but the reality is that the government is still teetering on the edge of its own abyss, but simply owed to its rapidly aging citizens, who are now putting an even greater strain on retirement funds.

The horrific debt of the United States was one of the other primary topics of the IMF meeting.

While Keynes argued for government spending to even out the depths of financial crises, the constant reliance by modern governments on public debt not only creates the environment in which we find ourselves, but sucks the oxygen from private capital markets where the real engines of growth reside.

Krugman has been hectoring world leaders for more stimulus for the past year just as he has ignored the economic realities staring him right in the face. The bill must eventually be settled and government does not create value; it simply redistributes and regulates economic activity.

He has gotten the stimulus he sought in the world’s two largest economies; Europe and America. But he seems to have forgotten the study of history. Massive stimulus is a very limited weapon with unintended consequences.

The news out of this weekend’s Tokyo meeting is not good. There are many brushfires in the global economy and the tinder for a major economic event is very dry. Every night I pray for some answer, for if we do not find new answers, we are doomed to repeat the past.


Obama’s Imperial Presidency

Much was made back in the days of Richard Nixon of his aggregation of power to the White House. His was the first “Imperial Presidency” according to the intelligentsia at the time and Arthur Schlesinger made it official.Nixon was said to be assuming the powers of a dictator or king: the power to declare war; the power of the purse; and the power of immunity from legislative oversight.

Much has been made of the assumption of power by the executive branch since. Most recently George Bush was accused of this after 9/11 when the Patriot Act was passed by Congress. Opponents of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq used the term repeatedly despite Congressional approval and U.N. Resolutions. Helen Thomas was relentless in her criticism equating the imprisonment of Jose Padilla, a Taliwannaban, to the gulags of Soviet Russia and the internment camps of World War II. Ms. Thomas implicated the Supreme Court as well, who approved Bush’s measures when challenged by an activist Leftist bar.

And today, we have a president who has arrogated more power to his agencies and the White House than any in history, and the media and the Leftist bar are utterly silent.

Consider the use of Executive Orders:

Theodore Roosevelt      3

Others to FDR              None

FDR                              11 through the Great Depression & World War II

Truman                          5

Eisenhower                   2

Kennedy                        4

Johnson                        4

Nixon                             1

Ford                              3

Carter                           3

Reagan                        5

G.H.W. Bush               3

Clinton                        15

G.W. Bush                 62

Obama                     135

Consider that Obama created an unprecedented separate bureaucracy from his Cabinet level agencies and departments run by “czars” for banking, the auto crisis, Afghanistan, AIDS, the Border, Climate, Domestic Violence, Drugs, Green Jobs, Guantanamo and on and on. These czars are nominally accountable to the various departments but decision-making power rests with them and in the White House. Obama has emasculated the  structure of our government, and yet no one has said a word.

A number of the agencies and departments, including and especially the EPA, the FDA, The Department of Agriculture, and the department of Homeland Security have arrogated powers never legislated to themselves such as climate change, industry regulation, and even transportation safety.

When the White House began to use the National Endowment for the Arts as a propaganda tool for his health care bill, enough scorn and criticism was rained down to quickly snuff what was an almost Orwellian use of governmental power.

Much more serious was the president’s decision to go to war in Libya. Executive Order 13566 declared Libya an extraordinary threat to the United States despite no act of war and in coordination with the United Nations Resolution 1973 which called for the protection of the Libyan people. Congress was informed, not consulted.

The law is, ever more, what the President says it is. As as expressed by Lewis Carroll so well,  “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

And this is the root of the issue. At a time when there are bitter divides and when the policy battles are fought in the courts there has been no middle path. The aggregation of power in the Presidency has become fundamentally un-Constitutional no matter which party is in power.

The aftermath of 9/11 saw an accelerated use of executive power during an asymmetrical war with no rules. To institutionalize those powers permanently will be a final blow to the division of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.