Mental Health Break

One of these things is just like the other isn’t it?

A teenager who planned and videotaped his friend’s ‘awesome’ suicide is now facing a murder trial. The outrage about what he did brings to the surface all the similarities between what is legally allowed to happen in countries that allow euthanasia and what he did. The questions have to be asked. If it is wrong to assist someone to commit suicide why is it right for a doctor or a friend to do the same if you call it Euthanasia or Assisted suicide?

Let’s compare this latest case side by side with what has happened legally in Belgium and the state of California.

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Map of the Day

First Jacindamania, and then at 4pm yesterday, Billinsania

Jo Moir summarises 3 months of mayhem

July 16

This was where it all began, the day then-Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei confessed to a room full of supporters and journalists that she had committed benefit fraud while a young mum at university. Jaws dropped, breaking news alerts went crazy and ultimately Turei kicked off what was about to become a survival of the fittest race to the September 23 election.

On the other side of Auckland that same day, NZ First leader Winston Peters was making a speech at his very own party annual conference. This is where Peters put a stake in the ground over the Māori seats and announced a bottom-line referendum on whether to keep them or not. The announcement was divisive and drew plenty of its own headlines, but it didn’t topple Turei’s revelations.

July 30

Then-Labour leader Andrew Little dropped his own bombshell on the back of a poor performance for the party in a Colmar Brunton poll. Little revealed he’d offered to step aside from the leadership after Labour fell three points to 24 per cent. Much of that polling was down to the gamble Turei had played, which at this point was paying off with the Greens up to 15 per cent in the polls.

July 31

Little backed up his earlier revelation with another the next morning in an interview where he said at 24 per cent, he wouldn’t have a mandate to govern. Then Stuff published a story later that day saying internal polling had the party at 23 per cent. By that night, it was pretty clear a change of leadership was under way.

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And the Headline of the year goes to… The Independent

When I saw the headline I was gobsmacked. ‘ How the teachings of Islam could help us prevent more sexual abuse scandals.’ I wondered if the Independent had completely departed from reality but then (before I read the actual article) I decided that they must have been looking at it from a different angle.  They must have written about Weinstein from the point of view of the prophet Muhammad and other key Islamic leaders. In other words, the article could have been about how to make sexual abuse moral by declaring it halal.

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Bill English – Leader of the Opposition. For now

It wasn’t all about him.  He had a lot of other people to look after.

Three weeks after he led National to a strong election result Bill English will take his party on the hard road back to Opposition after NZ First and its leader Winston Peters cast their decision in favour of a Labour-led Government.

That decision will have caused heartbreak for English after a 27-year career in Parliament and is the first time the party with the highest share of the vote has not formed the government.

There is no heartbreak from Bill.  He’s feeling mighty righteous.   Read more »

Photo of the Day

In the late 1950s, three men who identified as the Son of God were forced to live together in a mental hospital.Psychiatrist Milton Rokeach brought together three schizophrenic men who believed they were Jesus Christ. He hoped to cure their delusions. Overtime, the process became dangerously amoral.

Jesus Jesus and Jesus

The three Christs of Ypsilanti

In 1959 psychologist Milton Rokeach brought three psychiatric patients who each thought they were Jesus Christ to live together for two years at Ypsilanti State Hospital in Michigan. His aim was to see if this unusual set-up would alter their delusions. It didn’t.

“I really had no right, even in the name of science, to play God and interfere round the clock with their daily lives.”

—Dr. Milton Rokeach, The Three Christs Of Ypsilanti

On July 1, at Ypsilanti State Hospital in Michigan, the social psychologist Milton Rokeach brought together three paranoid schizophrenics: Clyde Benson, an elderly farmer and alcoholic; Joseph Cassel, a failed writer who was institutionalized after increasingly violent behavior toward his family; and Leon Gabor, a college dropout and veteran of World War II.

Milton Rokeach and a team of researchers began an experiment in which they gathered the three psychiatric patients and had them live together in Michigan’s Ypsilanti State Hospital to see how their beliefs might change or adapt. The bombshell? They were all suffering under the delusion that they were Christ. Rokeach’s methods were questionable, and his results both inconclusive and of little worth, but the experiment has become one of the weirder and more infamous of psychological case studies.

Rokeach was inspired to conduct the experiment after reading an account in a issue of Harper’s Magazine that told the story of two women who thought that they were Mary, Mother of God who had come face to face by chance within a mental institution in Maryland. He chose three patients, all suffering from the delusion that they were Jesus, and set them up to live together in the Ypsilanti State Hospital in Michigan in 1959.

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She says she’s happy. I bet she is. Pity it won’t last

Jacinda Ardern opened her first press conference as NZ’s Prime Minister-elect by acknowledging her predecessor in the role, National leader Bill English.

“I want to thank Bill English for the role he has played in this campaign but also as prime minister and as serving in the past as NZ’s finance minister,” she said.

“Mr English has already called me this evening and acknowledged that negotiations for the National Party have now concluded.”

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Question of the Day

Did two Nat back benchers screw it all up yesterday?

Yesterday all National party MPs were called down for a caucus meeting. A board meeting was set up via conference call after that.

National was, for all intents and purposes, expecting to remain in government.

So what went wrong?   Read more »