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Response to Huffington Post Blog “Corporate Lobbyists..Discriminate Against the Disabled” (Anne Stevenson)

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Here’s the article:

Anne StevensonAnne Stevenson

Corporate Lobbyists Discriminate, Declare War on Disabled (Show This to Your Legislator)

Posted: 04/30/2012 12:15 pm

As millions of disabled vets return home from ‘Gulf War II,’ corporate lobbyists and their legislative henchmen have declared waragainst the disabled. Suddenly, it’s OK for legislators to portray disabled citizens who seek equal access to education, employment, programs, and services as whores, parasites, or leaches. Calls to minimize society’s investments in the contributions of disabled citizens are everywhere. Citing the cost of trivial compliance measures, some pro-corporate legislators recently called for legislation scaling back the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments of 2008 (ADAAA). The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) has repeatedly rejected the call from disability advocates for public input on new regulations and instead held secret meetings this week to revise its guidelines.  . . .

And, towards the end, she hits an area that hits close to home, as she again cites Disabled Vets and the invisible (at first) PTSD

To really understand why the ADAAA is necessary, one needs to understand how Senator Dutton’s proposed legislation will harm the disabled. Let’s be clear that Senator Dutton’s proposed reforms will exclude millions of disabled veterans, especially those who suffer from invisible impairments such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI.) The Bureau of Labor Statisticsreports that a staggering 29.1 percent unemployment rate for young veterans under 25 who served in Gulf War II. These statistics do not take into account the 908,000 veterans who were still waiting for the Veterans Administration to decide their disability claims as of October 2011.

Also exhibiting stereotyped, parochial thinking – “Disabled Access” must mean wheelchair ramps, handrails on bathrooms, swimming chair ramps etc.  For small businesses.  Anne asks, “what about the access to the courts, police stations, etc.?”

Sen. Dutton’s argument also fails because it assumes that the courthouse itself is ADAAA compliant, or that the disabled litigant will not need accommodations for his impairment in order to access to the court’s programs and services. Justice Department reports show that many courts and law offices voluntarily refuse to comply with the ADAAA, but only become compliant when sued for damages.

Which also brings up the question — at least to this chickie — what about when the courthouses THEMSELVES are what is triggering that PTSD, and not without cause?

I literally spent hours on this one  Part of it is, squeezing information into 250 word segments; the other part deals with the struggle to communicate what’s important — but doing so requires talking about emotional triggers, in asking for reform.  Added to that, the situation I’m speaking of (below) in my life, and for many, doesn’t have an “expire-by” date.  It’s ongoing.  It’s not in closure.  One reason this rarely gets closure is public policy — as I state below, initially as “BackAtya” on the site.

Yes! —

What about the courthouses becoming ADAAA compliant, what about PTSD ? Consider the causes: serving abroad- or inhabiting- the USA can cause serious, very real disabilities — and the 2008 amendments address that not all these involve swimming pool lifts or wheelchair ramps.

(http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/12/30/42665.htm)
“The Pentagon has “systematically and wrongfully discharged” more than 22,000 veterans since 2001 “on the basis of so-called ‘personality disorder'” – rather than [PTSD] – to deny them medical care and save … $12.5 billion in medical and disability payments”

Personality disorder is a wide-ranging term used to cover symptoms right to the verge of schizophrenia. Post-traumatic stress syndrome however is linked to a trauma that may be severe and short-lived, such as combat, or prolonged, such as childhood abuse. PTSD may be so severe as to be indistinguishable from personality disorder.
     “Personality disorder (‘PD’) is a pervasive and inflexible pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of an individual’s culture and leads to distress or impairment. Symptoms begin during adolescence or early adulthood,” the complaint states.
     For the Pentagon, and the veterans, the distinction is that treatment for PTSD is covered by Pentagon policy; treatment for personality disorder is not.

I used to think differently — until it happened to me after about 25 years in SF Bay Area, a season of serial trauma and unbelievable, needless losses. Custody policies in the courts literally prevented my family from leaving a serial batterer husband after first helping us separate from him through DV restraining order. Payback was essentially federal ownership of our children through the courts. Shock & horror became routine.

Long-term spousal abuse may cause physical injuries, work losses, and PTSD which abates with safety. But — got kids? Then the “therapy” the family is prescribed is YEARS of ongoing, often weekly, contact with the abusive partner AND with the enabling courthouses= more and more primary triggers of PTSD with cumulative impact (http://digilib.bc.edu/reserves/sc563/mcgu/sc56341.pdf).
(cont’d…)

CONTINUATION (comment not submitted) from 1st HUFF POST COMMENT BEGINS HERE:

…Where do all the disabled come from? Well …. “Here’s how it works” with my kind:

Since the 1960s, certain people–judges, attorneys, psychologist sorts–set up “family law.” Fueled by (?narcissism?) they sought to dismantle & dilute clear criminal law with nebulous behavioral health jargon,* causing chaos and confusion only an expert could analyze, so justifying even more therapeutic jurisprudence (*See 1975 for INTENT). Literally, the mental health profession cut a deal with the courts at public expense. Laws were passed.

Later, post-1970s, when domestic violence became a crime, these same people lobbied hard and leveraged their fine connections to keep it still Focused on the Family.   Add Welfare Reform (1996 & Feminist backlash Marriage/Fatherhood Funding), and next thing you know women got shepherded, like sheep, right from restraining order (some, even from shelters) to court-appointed family mediators, who speak “relationship,” not law. There, a single mother’s very healthy survival (and protect the young) instinct (“Leave!“) at once is labeled a relationship disorder (“high-conflict divorce,” “parental alienation,”) and if she continues to act on that instinct, she is punished by sanctions to encourage a more submissive attitude.   

So now, she has two — not just one — sources of punishment:  the ex (with whom interaction continues) AND the courts and this poor relationship will continue, often enough, for years.  

Anne*  just explained the Rx of federally-funded fatherhood.  After some haggling, the VAWA-funded DV groups simply cut a deal with the Family/Marriage/Father-Friendly, too!   Now, both rhetorics get established DOJ & HHS funding streams, engage in similar activities, even with each other, and (ssh!) don’t tell respective clientele about just how much fun training judges, running PR campaigns, conferences, and buying prime real estate, ($11 million of it in the SF Praesidio) to buy Futures Without Violence, really is!  The “rhetoric” differs in public, but tax returns tell it straight.

[*Stevenson, author of article I’m responding to]

So, some mothers are fleeing with kids, but still get hunted down & jailed; others [unaware of the funding] stay, comply with routine court-ordered visitation and hope against hope for some legal backup. We [I was one] choose known, ongoing risk of ending up childless, homeless, or dead, (with or without Dad) over known, ongoing risk of becoming a fugitive, caught, and permanently separated from our children, or ending up in a shallow grave — or left to die in a snow-filled garbage can in a storage unit  (This literally happened:  Teri Jandusa-Nicolai of Racine, WI, remarried and pregnant was just picking up her little girls; the divorce had been finalized three years earlier.  She lost the baby she was carrying and all her toes and spent over 18 hours in that garbage can  She’d left the man originally because of abuse). . . 

SO, the scene is set and here in the USA, including California (North, South and Central) for women with children and leaving domestic violence — or seeking to protect sons or daughters from child abuse — this is the new “normal”– a recipe for court-connected PTSD. Literally, such parents are walking POWs, some MIA…As such, the real hazard to small businesses (like beauty salons? 2011 Seal Beach, CA(1) ; 2008 Martinez, CA (2) -is hardly vexatious lawsuits under 2008 ADAAA.

(1) the mother + 7 more (2 men 5 women) but not the Dad. (2) not the mother but 3 people (her cousin, the Dad, and responding office).

This dichotomy has created a public war zone: business losses, property demolition (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/06/josh-powell-blows-up-children) blood, smoke, crime-scene cleanups, hostage-taking. Orphans. Carpetbaggers and snake-oil sales.

Sen. Feinstein’s worried about vexatious ADA lawsuits? I can tell her and her presiding judge daughter a better way, and my story, or at least the rest of it.  I called her office a few years back, asking for help, was told, isn’t there a domestic violence outfit that can help?  Seriously — I expect I should.

SUMMARY as to Revising that ADAAA (2008) —

Until our own (sic) primary institutions stop seriously injuring our own citizens, let ADAAA (2008) stand to protect them. Oakland and Richmond are still dangerous places to live, high homicide rates — but Let’s Get Honest less than some families or leaving those dangerous families.  I know– I raised mine there

 

Speaking of  this court-connected, post-DV (only it doesn’t stop!) PTSD:

The most obvious analogy would be war. OK, we “get” (can label) war — troops come home, they’ve been in a REAL (overseas) war, with guns, knives, bombs, living moment to moment, watching comrades get blown up, and being finely tuned to survive (fight or flight) on a moment’s notice, being hypervigilant (more than an untrained person would be) to changes in their environment which might signal dangers, being closely bonded with (perhaps) their teammates and hard to identify with others who haven’t gone through this intense experience . . . . . .it could be long times of boring routine, but on a moment’s notice and unpredictably, back in action…

“OK,” says the public, “we get that” (even if the Pentagon, wishing not to pay the costs, tries to blame the soldiers by calling it a personality disorder, adding to their trouble, and alienation….) Even a recent movie, “The Lucky One” starts out exposing this, it starts in battle, home on a hair trigger with his nephews, and a cross-country pilgrimmage (with dog) for a meaningful relationship…  We can understand that a loud backfiring might resemble a gun, startle response.  But this is America, a democracy, we have justice here, we have all kinds of resources.

 

YES, but —

. . .. wait a minute! How many of the above factors really do, ALSO, characterize domestic violence?  They literally do; I know. Not a fighter jet or tank, but guns, knives — yes.  Things, even hands, objects that can maim and kill and what’s possibly worse — entrenched systems that can take our immediate relatives — children — hostage, and extort almost anything for contact with them again.  Unpredictable, and no DMZ, really.  The difference is certain segments are IN this war, long-termand others are not; they are simply paying for it coming, going, through taxes, and through living in the same area as  (or working with) some family trying to leave abuse.

There are things you probably can tune out that I don’t.    For example, let’s assume you are a couple and neither one is abusing the kids.  That’s one less thing to be seriously concerned about.  BE THANKFUL!  Suppose you are not fighting someone who has promised to remove you permanently from your children — and has weekly or bi-weekly access to them, plus knows where everyone works, goes to school and sleeps.  BE THANKFUL!   Suppose, for all their flaws, you have reached middle age with a few family members you can talk to and are not fighting in court . . . or, you get to see your children periodically or if not, at least they have not been bait in a tribal feud with paid spectators, which this system is.  BE THANKFUL!

 

Many of us have had relatives who are veterans or who fought in overseas wars and returned to the United States, with or without their trauma, disabilities, and/or PTSD.  But this one is on the home turf, and despite frequent roadkill, is somehow still “under the radar” for much of America.

Read this account — which involves SIX women and several pastors.  They’re adults now, and they tell why they didn’t tell all when CPS came by, and how it might’ve gone had someone been more intelligent.  This also hails from the same town as Jaycee Dugard.  Now that I have your attention:  here it is:

(less than some families)

This is more common than we admit and overlaps part of my life.  More another time….

Written by Let's Get Honest

May 17, 2012 at 8:28 pm

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martinplaut

Journalist specialising in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa

Let's Get Honest! Blog: Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?...' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

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