ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Why I Object to Laura's Law

Jack Bragen
Thursday November 12, 2015 - 08:42:00 AM

My objections to Laura's Law are largely based on reading the text of the law, and how it will affect the basic human rights of persons with mental illness in upcoming years. I feel that Ralph Stone in his recent article isn't giving you the whole truth about this law, and I believe much of what he states is misleading.

It is fine to tritely say that opponents of this law believe it badly affects "civil rights," but let me outline what some of that really means.

To begin with, Laura's Law criminalizes having a mental illness. This assessment is based on the facts that: Firstly, it uses a court order to control a mental health consumer. Secondly, written into this law, the only recourse, if there is a grievance, is to go to the Public Defender. Laura's Law immediately entangles a mental health consumer into our court system. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT:Closing Guantánamo

Ralph E. Stone
Thursday November 12, 2015 - 08:41:00 AM

On the campaign trail in 2008, President Obama made a pledge to close the Guantánamo Bay Detention facility. Obama is nearing the end of his presidency and the remaining prisoners at the detention facility have not been transferred to U.S. prisons and the facility has not been closed. Supposedly, the Obama administration will soon set forth yet another plan to close Guantánamo. -more-

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE:A Kingdom Stumbles: Saudi Arabia

Conn Hallinan
Thursday November 12, 2015 - 08:35:00 AM

For the past eight decades Saudi Arabia has been careful.

Using its vast oil wealth, it has quietly spread its ultra-conservative brand of Islam throughout the Muslim world, secretly undermined secular regimes in its region and prudently kept to the shadows, while others did the fighting and dying. It was Saudi money that fueled the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan, underwrote Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran, and bankrolled Islamic movements and terrorist groups from the Caucuses to Hindu Kush.

Today that circumspect diplomacy is in ruins, and the House of Saud looks more vulnerable than it has since the country was founded in 1926. Unraveling the reasons for the current train wreck is a study in how easily hubris, illusion, and old-fashioned ineptness can trump even bottomless wealth. -more-