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Crossposted at Daily Kos

You’ve probably seen it by now, a two-sentence statement that went viral across Facebook and Twitter over the last day or so:

(name) thinks that no one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day.

After seeing this on a Facebook friend’s blog, I commented:

Somehow I think that’s too complicated for many Americans to understand, but I’ll give it a shot. (Am I cynical enough yet?)

Turns out I was right on the money with my comment.

As I expected, some people couldn’t just take the statement at face value. For at least one, it pulled the cork and caused a rather predictable flood of complaint, usually centering on the great American whine, “I’ve got mine and those people can’t have any.”

Like this exchange which resulted on one Facebook friend’s blog, who’d evidently noticed that someone somewhere was being called “unpatriotic” for posting the original status message.

A: what I don’t get is why it’s “unpatriotic” to say that I want ALL Americans to be healthy…even Americans who don’t have any money.
Yesterday at 9:07am

Idiot-boy: I don’t subscribe to the notion that is is unpatriotic regarding ALL AMERICANS. But I have major issues with illegal aliens on any nationality/ethnicity/color getting free anything at the expense of the dues paying members of society.
Yesterday at 9:14am

Me: “No one” means “no one.” Get over it.
Yesterday at 3:53pm

Idiot-boy: Mike, I don’t know you at all. I was agreeing with A’s opinion regarding “unpatriotic”. She stated ALL AMERICANS! I don’t take exception to the poor of this country benefitting from the system. I will say if you truly wish to care for the entire world say so, I have a hard time distingushing China from Norway from Germany from Mexico when it comes to illegals. And if you want to just have our society collapse under that weight of that cost just say you don’t care what’s left for your kids. And just so we don’t get into a constant pissing contest I don’t have a problem with emergency care for people who are in the country LEGALLY. But if they get care and they are illegal….DEPORT THEM!
2 hours ago

Like I said… too complicated for way too many Americans to understand: people who are absolutely, completely certain that some must “die because they cannot afford health care” if they can’t produce proof of legal residency.

Despite Idiot-boy’s preemptive attempt to cast himself as “I’m not a racist” by including Norway as a possible source of a tidal wave of illegal immigrants to the United States, in practice we all know where this goes. All that matters to some are the words written above by Idiot-boy in upper case: “ALL AMERICANS,” “LEGALLY,” “DEPORT THEM.”

No new program could ever be worthwhile for such people unless it further reinforces who does not belong, who’s neck is under the boot. A totally arbitrary process where the most important thing is that there be the neck of a live person under that boot, not the creation and enforcement of a policy that might actually accomplish something positive for anyone beyond the joy and sense of purpose generated by carrying out the act of retribution. In this case, it’s most important, above everything else, that retribution be directed at those whose only offense is to be part of an unregulatable economic resource that can’t ever be admitted to legitimately exist in this country.

The idea that healthcare should be provided for all who are in this country – regardless of other concerns – is a completely alien concept here, which makes the so-called “healthcare debate” more an exercise of displaying to the world what a backward, uncivilized place America is than anything else. Simple things that might actually benefit people here cause “debate” and ultimately go nowhere, while burning a trillion or more dollars in deserts on the other side of the world is an absolutely necessary thing that keep Americans safe and healthy. There is no awareness here that these matters are handled completely differently in other parts of the developed Western world – even just north of America’s own borders – and no willingness to imagine that, as demonstrated elsewhere, things could be much different.

I think healthcare reform here in America is basically impossible because it’s being attempted about a half-century too late, and as we’re seeing today, any attempt at substantial change will be derailed by nonsensical objections like this.

As any significant reform, much less overhaul, of America’s healthcare system looks more and more unlikely, I thought I’d repost this: a brief article that Sabina and I wrote almost 12 years ago, and had published in a small, long-defunct, obscure journal. In recent times it has been clear to me that the anti-abortion movement was just a precursor, a demonstration of how fictional hoaxes could be used to derail access to healthcare. The same tactics are playing out today at the national level. We were right to point out that abortion may be a mere footnote in the context of then-future efforts to eliminate what many had often taken for granted, such as the availability and affordability of healthcare for even a majority of Americans. Abortion was the means to move their people, overcoming inertia to create a broad campaign to broadly marginalize and demonize science, medicine and healthcare.

body-politic-jan1998Roe v. Wade – 25 Years After

By Mike Doughney and Lauren Sabina Kneisly

as published in the Body Politic, January/February 1998

Access to abortion services is going to continue disappearing in the next 5 years. While providers are aging, few newcomers are learning the technique. Harassment and vigilante action, along with new restrictions, also contribute to the growing unavailability of the procedure. Even new technologies remain unavailable or difficult to obtain under these conditions.

While it is important to have an understanding of why we got here, we should be talking about what must be done now to stop a very broad
movement that is openly fighting a war across many fronts. The Biblical America movement, which has seldom been taken seriously for the past 25 years, continues to gain real power. While each group threatened by this movement independently works in their own field, opposition is fragmented and ineffective in countering progress toward the goals of BA. Sole focus on abortion, without acknowledging the interconnections to other issues exploited by the Biblical America movement, is a grave strategic mistake.

We fail to notice that they are teaching a whole new generation a set of values alien to us. For instance, they’ve succeded in gaining access to public schools, through so-called “chastity programs,” to teach that abortion is to be avoided at all costs. Not only their own children, but our entire culture, is slowly absorbing and accepting the concept of abortion prohibition.

It’s through 25 years of neglect, of accepting Roe as an end and not one point of a process of legitimizing abortion, that we’ve arrived here.

It’s basically pointless to discuss the particulars of abortion “rights” when we are about to be overrun by an antidemocratic, fascist, theocratic movement that will do away with much of what we take for granted; the loss of abortion will be a minor historical footnote.

More at our website, “Biblical America Resistance Front,” at

PhiladelphiaIn my last post I directed readers to my partner “Baby Love Child’s” blog, where there’s a rather lengthy, illustrated discussion of a so-called “adoptee rights demonstration” in Philadelphia last week. It’s hard to figure out where to start, since there is much I could comment on from the Sleeps with Bastard perspective. To clarify, I am Sabina’s/Baby Love Child’s partner and I provide some technical assistance with her blog. I’ll first start off with a suitably inflammatory title and these important notes:
  1. If you go out on a public street and participate in a political “march” – better yet, an event in a public place that was promoted online and to the media and that even received press coverage prior to the event – others may take your picture and write about your event. They can even write about your event in ways you don’t like. They don’t need your permission or a release from you first, and the legal precedent for this is vast.
  2. Traveling to such an event in a public place and watching it – and in fact, never at any point interacting with the event participants – doesn’t constitute “stalking.” Neither does taking pictures of the event and the people who were there and publishing them, particularly when the individuals in the photos are barely recognizable if at all, and in fact, aren’t even individually known to us.  So don’t write to us and demand that we remove our pictures of your demonstration from our blogs. We now even have a form letter with which we’ll reject each of these nonsensical requests.
  3. If you’re going to accuse people (us) of libel or slander (different legal terms meaning different things, though obviously those making those accusations can’t be bothered to know the differences), you’ll have to demonstrate that something that we wrote or said was actually false. Truth is generally an absolute defense against such claims. Just because statements made a year ago were deleted from various blogs and online forums doesn’t mean copies weren’t saved for later reference to establish what was written at the time. Those who are accusing us of libel and slander have yet to even express an understanding of what we have written, much less show any inaccuracies in our writing. We do, however, disagree strongly with the Adoptee Rights Demonstration (ARD) organizers and we maintain that the ARD in its present form may have the ultimate effect of actively undermining the cause of obtaining open records for adoptees regardless of its organizers’ and participants’ intentions.
  4. Having been completely vilified and attacked at the time for simply withdrawing our (Sabina/BLC and my) support for the ARD one year ago, and writing about that, we will not be considering any future participation in their event in any form. A number of commentators seem to think that some sort of positive engagement with ARD organizers by us is possible. It isn’t. For one example of why that was so, take a look at the comment thread on this July 2008 post from Bastardette’s blog. Commenter “joy” there and elsewhere, Joy Madsen, a current member of the ARD organizing coalition, wrote, “… there is no way we are touching them [Sabina, Marley Greiner, and Bastard Nation] with a 10 foot pole next year, we have learned our lesson. Next year… we are not letting them near us.”
  5. For current examples of invective being thrown about by members of the ARD organizing coalition, take a look at this blog post by current committee member Jimm Mandenberg that contains this: “Baby Love-child? BLC? Gimme a break. More like Bitchy Little C*nt.” There’s also, of course,  this lovely little blog post by coalition member and alleged “founder”  Kali Coultas, who did in fact not bother to show up this year to see her stillborn creation, repeating more falsehoods alleging that there was an organized Bastard Nation campaign against their event (“… BN mocks the very people who would fight hard for them. They… will turn on you in a heartbeat if needed.”) In fact, BN, organizationally, has been silent about the ARD since withdrawing from the coalition over one year ago. Coultas further alleges that by simply operating a blog, or showing up on a Philadelphia street corner to watch, Sabina/BLC “has tried to sabotage the protest from the moment she was asked to leave the committee.” Sabina and I voluntarily resigned, after a number of irregularities and the attempted involvement of an adoption agency in last year’s event came to light, and were never asked to leave, as I discuss below.
  6. ARD organizers and its “founder” falsely allege or imply that Sabina and Bastard Nation are conspiring together, by attributing commentary written by Sabina/BLC to Bastard Nation, or by claiming that Sabina was “sent” by BN, as in this by Joy Madsen: “… BN bailed, that was their choice. I mean obviously they are so busy with, with, with, well something I am sure. Not too busy to send nutter BabyCakes to stalk the protest. “ Our only relationship with Bastard Nation is as lifetime members. We do not set policy or otherwise direct the organization. Likewise, Sabina and I are independent and our writings reflect our opinions and not those of any other individuals or organizations.

That said, I’ll throw out a few more points that will perhaps clarify the rest of my comments. These come from a decade of being around activists who’ve worked on these matters in the field of restoring access to original birth certificates, with a track record of success and a great deal of knowledge of the history of these efforts.

  1. You might, in fact, want your original birth certificate. That’s great. But if the visuals and words you’re providing to the media and the public are  full of “I want my mommy” sorts of messages, when it’s time to deal with an actual bunch of legislators with the power to change the laws, don’t be surprised if they try, instead of the simple act of unsealing birth certificates, to “give you your mommy” by some other means. Namely, through the expansion of “mutual consent” registries with vetoes and the use of intermediaries, both of which insert other parties and institutions – in many cases, the same institutions that promote adoption and have an interest in keeping records sealed – between you and your birth certificate.
  2. Likewise, emphasis on finding “my mommy” brings up a whole set of complicating details, that often involve the gross misuse, misunderstanding and outright abuse of the word, “privacy.” So every public discussion that drags in the slightest whiff of the stench of “I want my mommy” gets answered with some intentionally-created-out-of-thin-air obstruction like “We must respect your mommy’s ‘privacy’.” See “mutual-consent” registries, above.

whose-my-mommaExhibit A  for the above two points is the Philadelphia Inquirer article that accompanied this outright assault on the cause of adoptee rights orchestrated in the form of the so-called “Adoptee Rights Demonstration.” With a photo of a “demonstrator” carrying a sign saying “WHOSE MY MOMMA” – let’s hear it for the organizers who certainly went out of their way to check demonstrators’ signs for horribly stupid, humiliating spelling errors – the article is yet another litany of the manufactured objections to open records  by the institutions who have the most to lose from open records, containing no articulation or response to those objections. It makes adoptees look like delusional children.

I understand that some ARD organizers are quite proud of that article. Perhaps they suffer from some problem with gross illiteracy or even simple understanding of what actually appeared in the newspaper; certainly the photo suggests that the ARD has some general difficulty dealing with the English language.

It’s not enough to see yourself reflected in a newspaper article. The rest of the article isn’t about you. It’s about maintaining the status quo of sealed birth certificates; today, much of the function of the press has become maintaining the status quo and ridiculing, mocking and making impotent those who advocate change. ARD, with its childish signs and messaging, fell right into their trap.

As I wrote above in # 4 of the first list, Sabina, Bastard Nation, Marley Greiner, and others along with I were attacked and vilified for merely withdrawing our support of the “Adoptee Rights Demonstration” one year ago and speaking about it. That withdrawal and its aftermath set the stage for what is happening now.

There’s a fundamental difference between those who continued with these demonstrations and us, and that is that we want to see, and work toward, concrete progress toward open records.

Despite many claims that the ARD organizers likewise are working toward open records, as far as I can tell, the ARD organizers are instead solely focused on a (poorly funded and ineffective) presence and awareness raising at this particular yearly conference, hopefully, from their perspective  in perpetuity, paid for by others in the community, and a(n attempt at a) street “demonstration”  nearby. Neither can be shown to stand a snowball’s chance in hell of producing such progress. Neither has generated any progress over the past year since the first event in New Orleans. (We’ve asked if there is any evidence of progress as a result of ARD 2008. None has been forthcoming. It seems these questions are sidestepped by wild accusations of “slander” and “stalking” directed at us, perhaps because we merely raised this question.)

When the pointlessness of the event became evident to us last year, along with all other irregularities, we pulled out. I’d written on my blog how among other reasons, the active involvement of an adoption agency, which was fundraising by using the demonstration as some kind of marketing opportunity, without our knowledge and consent, and the close relationship between one of the organizers (Amy Burt, aka “Amy Adoptee”) and that agency, fundamentally made this something that I could not be involved with.

But I think there’s a kind of perfect storm here, which starts with a group of people who basically knows nothing about how government works and doesn’t care to learn. (Here’s one such example.) As is true of a lot of noise we see elsewhere, government seems to serve as a kind of sink for complaints that government cannot rectify. “I want my mommy,” clearly front and center among the “demonstrators,” is one such complaint, which is another part of this perfect storm; it’s the personal component. But that won’t get you an open birth certificate because the government can’t get you your mommy for you, nor can it get you your medical records.

The third part is the basic militant ignorance of members of the ARD coalition who, when faced with people who see what they’re doing and choose not to participate (and worse yet, clearly articulate why they refuse to participate), cast them out as outsiders, and lash out at them should they dare comment on their continuing actions which are potentially damaging to, generally, all activists everywhere and the cause of open records. Going to watch, to confirm that the event actually took place, and so that we can knowledgeably and accurately discuss their action,  just gets us labeled as “stalkers,”  since to them we are clearly already the enemy for simply refusing to participate in what we’ve come to believe is a destructive effort.

There was to have been a  ”bastard boot camp,” an educational session that was to have been a core component of the New Orleans ARD event while Bastard Nation was involved with it. BN offered a preliminary educational effort, before people went out on the street or met with legislators, discussing the history of sealed records and open records activism, and what strategies, rhetoric and tactics have been effective in opening records in the states that BN has helped open.

Unfortunately, these plans were met with a clear, militant, outraged, contemptuous  response from a subset of ARD organizers, many of whom remain today. They believed that they  did not need, nor would they participate in, such an instructional session. It also became clear that we were dealing with a narcissistic bunch of uneducatable, incurious fools who would do whatever they were going to do without regard for how much damage they would do to the cause, both through their uncivil online behavior and their incapability of sticking to a rational focused message that would result in open records legislation instead of some alternative mess like the most recent round in California (to address “privacy”) or state mandated mediators or registries (as an alternate but ineffective method of finding one’s mommy while continuing to empower the adoption industry’s institutions.)

So as for the comments we’re seeing in various threads noting our non-participation and asking why we aren’t involved and actively engaging with the ARD organizers,we have done that, to no avail;  this is why we cannot do that, they won’t let us do that, they’ve demonstrated since last year that they will take zero constructive input from us. Unfortunately, their actions, without the involvement of BN or any group of experienced activists who’ve historically worked around this issue, is making  adoptee rights activism look ridiculous. That the ARD organizers don’t recognize that that’s what they’re doing, and call any criticism that points that out to them “slander,” makes clear that civil discussion with them is impossible.

The fact that ARD leaders completely avoid considering what messages they are sending becomes obvious when they complain that Sabina “attacked” a 13 year old for posting a YouTube video. In fact, if the 13 year olds among this group of adults are coming away from the event with a message, spread all over the net, that continues to infantilize adults as eternal children, incapable of self-defining as mature individuals and political actors – and that, if popularized, will undercut any future efforts to obtain open records – an objection must be raised. This is clearly the message that the next generation gets from ARD – and ARD organizers seem quite pleased with this result!

The creation of a video montage with pictures of adults, and labeling them “forgotten children,” only serves make all future political progress impossible. It plays into the widespread, pre-existing insistence that adoptees will be forever children, without the rights of adults, including the right to an unaltered birth certificate. That ARD organizers are incapable of seeing the problem of this message shows what the ARD has become: a group of narcissistic, blathering, clueless and ultimately ineffectual people, who cannot be bothered to understand that some messages that their participants (regardless of age) come away from the event with will completely undermine any progress toward their alleged goal of opening records. But of course, if the actual goal is completely inwardly focused on this group of individuals, their social interactions, their group’s self-perpetuation, and their issues that would better be handled in therapy rather than out on the street, then we’ll just be seeing more of this, and perhaps, no further progress toward open records for the next few lifetimes, were they to become the sole focus of adoptee activism.

Fortunately, there are viable and experienced alternatives.


The above is not a picture of Baby Love Child; it’s the author of a blog entry that she tagged “Baby Love Child Sucks.”

(A great example of a title gone wrong when inevitably displayed out of context.)

I’ll heartily agree with the “time to run” sentiment as it appears here!

I’ll probably blog more about this ongoing fiasco that “demonstrated” only that “activism” in the sense of going out on the street and doing… something… is dead… later.

In the meantime, for those of you with an attention span longer than that of a gnat, check out my partner Sabina/Baby Love Child’s in-depth analysis and commentary.

Another day, another diary and comment thread on Daily Kos that again shows that when it comes to matters of reproduction, Americans are incapable of rational thought.

The troll-rating is as usual widely abused to squelch certain kinds of opinions when they involve personal matters.

The relevant excerpt from the diarist:

So, then we try to adopt. We want an infant. We don’t specify race, ethnicity, or whatever, we just want an infant, because we want to raise a baby. After considering some options, we decided we wanted a domestic adoption. Well…. the rules (at least then) would not ALLOW us (a White couple) to adopt a Black child! You read that right. So, we join groups, and we wait. We get an 800 line installed. We publish ads. We do a lot.

We get a call from Texas. A pregnant teen saw our ad and wants us to adopt her baby. HURRAY! We fly down to Texas. We see the baby. Adorable! Cute! A baby! We hold the baby. The mom signs the papers. But where is the bio-dad? Off in Oklahoma. He says he’ll sign. But then he can’t find a fax machine. Then the mom decides she wants the baby herself.

Bye bye baby.

I almost committed suicide over that (thanks to my wife for stopping me).

I’m not doing that again.

We have two kids by artificial insemination. We chose the donor father from a book. They’re our kids.

My replies, since hidden by the diarist and others:

Update: A reply from someone in charge at Daily Kos:

Return-Path: <>
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2009 11:19:16 -0700
Message-ID: <>
Subject: Re: [DKos Community] Mass troll-rating abuse
From: Tim Lange <>
To: mike@….net

The diarist did not “threaten suicide.” And the HRs are clearly within the

On Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 10:25 AM, <mike@….net> wrote:

> Thought you should take a look at
> The diarist openly talked about threatening suicide after being denied an
> infant for adoption, and it is completely within bounds to address that.

To which I reply:

And the diarist replying that “By your logic you should commit suicide
immediately” is OK. Gotcha.

Time to avoid wasting time on your site.

Crossposted from the TM-Free Blog.

(A statement of one man’s opinion, with quotes from, and links to, published historical references.)

Today is “National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.” Designated by the Center for Mental Health Services of the US government’s Department of Health and Human Services, Awareness Day, among other things, serves to raise “awareness of effective programs for children’s mental health needs.”    

As always seems to be the tendency among those who market Transcendental Meditation, the names of legitimate institutions, federal agencies, and their programs and activities, like this one, are simply devices that they feel free to pick up, use, and abuse, hoping that some of that legitimacy will rub off on them and their promotional efforts. Unfortunately that also seems to be true for this year’s Awareness Day.

I hear that the David Lynch Foundation, along with the Communication Office of the so-called “Raja Hagelin’s Administration for an Invincible America” (boy, that sure sounds legit… pardon me while I stifle laughter) is right now emailing its minions in an attempt to gain both press coverage and word of mouth attention for a webinar that they’ll be running in honor of this Day… tomorrow. On that webinar will be a number of employees of the DLF, the TM movement’s university, and a few other doctors who inexplicably lend their names to this nonsense, specifically to propose TM as if it were something helpful in treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), as part of Lynch’s ongoing efforts to introduce the TM program into schools. It will not be a pretty sight for those of us who are familiar with a few decades of the TM movement’s futile efforts of this nature.

The exaggerated claims for TM often take the form of this one, from the first few pages of The TM Book, which I think sums up, in the broadest sense, the attitude that its promoters exude:

The Transcendental Meditation program changes the quality of life from poverty, emptiness, and suffering to abundance, fulfillment, and happiness.

I’ve emphasized “suffering” in the above quote; it’s where the promise of a uniformly improved quality of life inherent in that quote, a panacea that’ll fix everything that ails you, completely falls apart.

That children and young people who grew up in and around the TM movement, and attended its schools, have suffered from mental illness is a fact. That students at Maharishi University of Management, who are required to practice the TM program, have suffered from diagnosed but untreated mental illness, in one case resulting in a murder, has also been documented. Likewise, the children of long-time, committed meditators have also suffered from mental illness, in one recent well-documented case resulting in suicide.

We know these things are true because the long history of suffering, and tragedy, is a subject of common knowledge among the TM community in Fairfield, and from time to time such things are reported by the media.


1990: Mark Totten

In the late fall of 1990, this obituary appeared in the TM-EX Newsletter:

Mark Totten

Mark Alan Totten, 27, a resident of Building 123 B, Maharishi International University, Fairfield, Iowa, was killed early November 29, 1990 after apparently placing himself in the path of a oncoming Burlington Northern train near the Fairfield depot.

The railroad crew reported hitting a body on the tracks at 2:12 a.m. Totten originally was from the Boston area. He was the son of Norman Totten of Newton, MA, and Peggyann Sekton of Weston, MA.

Mark’s sister Julie later founded Families for Depression Awareness in memory of her brother and others. It’s an organization that, among other things, works to help depressed people obtain or manage treatment for depression, and prevent suicides.


2004: Shuvender Sem

On March 1, 2004, Shuvender Sem, a Maharishi University of Management student, stabbed and killed fellow student Levi Butler in the university’s cafeteria. Sem was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Shuvender Sem’s history of hospitalization for psychiatric problems was reported by the Fairfield Daily Ledger and the Des Moines Register, including the detail that he had not been taking medication for several months before the stabbing:

Prosecution agrees Sem was insane. Fairfield Daily Ledger, June 8, 2005

Prosecutor Virginia Barchman told the judge that in 2002 and 2003, while living in Pennsylvania, Sem had been hospitalized between nine and 12 times for psychiatric problems. She said his illness had usually been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia, which caused auditory and visual hallucinations, acts of violence and paranoia.

Ex-student ruled insane in stabbing.The Des Moines Register, June 14, 2005

Sem drifted from anger to elation before and after the attacks and reported hearing voices in his head.

Before he attended Maharishi University, Sem had been hospitalized between nearly a dozen times in 2002 and 2003 for psychiatric problems.

Sem had not taken psychiatric medications for several months before the stabbing.

Levi Butler’s estate subsequently sued Maharishi University of Management for negligence. In the complaint, this allegation appears: “While at Maharishi University of Management, Shuvender Sem did not take anti-psychotic medications that had been prescribed to control his chronic schizophrenia.”


2008: Nicole Rowe

From Mental health advocates praise new legislation, mourn those lost to suicide. The Gazette, October 7, 2008

Nicole Rowe planned her suicide carefully.

According to her father, North Potomac resident Kenneth Rowe, it happened sometime between the hours of 9 p.m. and midnight on Sept. 13. Nicole Rowe, who had several months before moved to Iowa from her home in Montgomery County to be with her mother, had a long history with mental illness, including several previous suicide attempts.

That night, her father said, she was having problems with her boyfriend, and had recently threatened that she would kill herself. She dressed in dark clothing and made her way to a nearby train track, at a spot where she knew there was a bend in the rail line. She waited for an oncoming train. Then, she threw herself in front of it.

She was 20.

Kenneth Rowe, when asked to describe his daughter, said she was beautiful and intelligent. “She was a really good athlete — she was good at the 800 meters,” Rowe said. “She had a beautiful voice and she wrote beautifully.”

Nicole had a long history of struggling with bipolar disorder, Rowe said. Though bipolar disorders can often be treated successfully with medication, Nicole refused to take it, Rowe said.

As a child, Nicole attended Maharishi School for the Age of Enlightenment, a since-defunct elementary school founded by TM teachers in the Washington, DC area. Her mother, Lisa Stickels, was once an advocate of Transcendental Meditation in public schools. A published account of a meeting promoting TM in schools in 2003 reported that Stickels had practiced TM since 1971.

While advocates of TM are quick to point to the endorsement of doctors and scientists to support their marketing claims – to the point of creating a “” website – the actual attitudes, common among long-term TM devotees and the organization’s leaders, appear to diverge from an endorsement of science and medicine to outright hostility. It is difficult to nail down the existence of those attitudes, and even policies, since they travel by word of mouth, in advanced lectures, residence courses, and other such venues. They do not normally appear in print or on websites. But over time, evidence of this hostility eventually comes to light.  

I once visited Maharishi University of Management. The lobby of one of the buildings there, Dreier Hall, is apparently used for various exhibitions of the movement’s marketing materials. One exhibit that was hanging on the wall there, in mid-2004, was particularly striking. It consisted of two large plastic boxes, in each was a stack of paper representing published scientific studies. A short stack, maybe six inches tall, was labeled “side effects of Ayurvedic medicine.” Another stack, perhaps six feet tall, was labeled “side effects of Western medicine.” Clearly the creator of this exhibit intended to get the point across that the TM movement’s Ayurvedic products are somehow safer and more effective than western medicine. (I, on the other hand, note the obvious – that fewer unintended effects implies less effect of any kind, beneficial or otherwise.)

Perhaps the most spectacular evidence of this hostility toward medical professionals appears in an internal document recently made available to the public by way of, an organization that specializes in the publication of leaked, confidential documents. The “Governor Recertification Course Overview of Policies and Procedures” purports to be a review of the policies presented during the 2005 recertification course for TM teachers. All TM teachers who wished to continue teaching TM under the official auspices of the TM organization were required to complete this course in residence, involving a commitment of a few weeks of time and some thousands of dollars.

The document was written by, among other people, Kingsley Brooks, who was also involved with the movement’s Natural Law Party in the 1990′s. Brooks, at the time he wrote this document, was “Raja of New England,” which along with the role of being one of the movement’s regional managers, involves wearing a golden crown and being called “His Highness.”

In between a considerable amount of mundane administrative detail of a regional branch of the TM organizational structure, this section concerns the operation and promotion of “Maharishi Ayurveda and Day Spas.” Here is a striking reversal: where much of the promotion of TM, particularly to schools, exploits the legitimacy and authority of medical professionals, here the involvement of medical professionals is clearly, strongly discouraged, with a sweeping false and destructive claim that “medical professionals give poison” and the tired old claim that TM is part of a program to “create perfect health.”

Governor Recertification Course. Overview of Policies & Procedures, May, 2005

  • We are not going to take help from medical Drs. as medical professionals give poison. So don’t engage any medical Drs. for anything — absolutely whatever it is — even if they are in our Movement family
  • Raja Raam’s discovery shows us that without handling consciousness there is no hope of handling health–there will never be total health. And we have the programs for handling consciousness.
  • Hold onto the fact that we are the supreme authorities on health—we know how to create perfect health—we are challenging all governments in world.




The implication that TM is a cure for everything, and that it’s effective for everyone who tries it, has clearly been disputed by many.

The TM movement’s claims that its people are the “supreme authorities on health” and that they “know how to create perfect health” are obviously the kinds of claims one normally hears from quacks and fraudsters, even if they were only made in private. It’s as if the movement’s management actually believes that they hold a monopoly on effective health care.

That the TM movement is, internally and at any time ever, broadly dismissive if not hostile to medical professionals and scientists, while at the same time gaining the endorsement and participation of those professionals, is an important fact in evaluating the marketing claims of the TM organization and the closely allied David Lynch Foundation.

That an organization that works to gain access to schools, has at any time expressed such overwhelming and generalized hostility to medical professionals of this nature, should permanently disqualify them from ever gaining such access.

We may never know, exactly, why mentally ill young people who’ve attended the movement’s schools, or grew up in the movement’s cultural stew, did not seek, or maintain, treatment for depression and mental illness. But we can clearly point out the obvious: such attitudes held against medical professionals, expressed by the TM organization’s management, may eventually serve to undermine the provision of health services to young people who are involved with any part of the TM organization. And that is reason enough to keep the sellers of Transcendental Meditation far away from schools.




Sources and References

TM-EX Newsletter, Fall 1990

Coping After A Suicide. Families for Depression Awareness, 2008.

Estate of Levi Andelin Butler v. Maharishi University of Management et al. Complaint and jury demand. February 24, 2006. From Yahoo group Fairfield Life.

Colleges have varying policies on reporting criminal incidents. Fairfield Daily Ledger, March 9, 2004

Prosecution agrees Sem was insane. Fairfield Daily Ledger, June 8, 2005

Ex-student ruled insane in stabbing. Des Moines Register, June 14, 2005

Judge enters ‘not guilty’ verdict in murder case. Fairfield Daily Ledger, June 15, 2005

Settlement expected in killing at Maharishi school. Intelligencer Journal, January 9, 2009

Mental health advocates praise new legislation, mourn those lost to suicide. The Gazette, October 7, 2008

Genealogy Record For Nicole Rowe. Mark Stickels Family Website, April 20, 2009

Residents advocate meditation in public, charter schools. The Gazette, September 17, 2003

Governor Recertification Course. Overview of Policies & Procedures, May, 2005 – via

A lot of people may think that Maryland is some blue-state bastion of liberalism. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that. The state was founded as a refuge for Catholics and others who wouldn’t have been accepted in other semi-theocratic colonies. When something particularly stupid is happening here that involves the screams of moralizers, the political bloc or network that I justifiably refer to as a Catholic mafia is almost always involved.

So it goes with the recent flap over the planned showing of a triple-X movie at the University of Maryland, College Park. The first indication of peculiar Catholic involvement is the mention, in the third paragraph of the first Baltimore Sun article covering the completely-manufactured “controversy,” that the head of the Catholic Student Center in College Park has objected to the showing.

catholic-mafia-at-work-harris-leftCatholic Mafioso (Andrew Harris, left) at work. (Baltimore Sun photo)

Now, if we lived in a normal place where a Catholic mafia didn’t have undue influence on government, the story would end there. But that’s not how things work here.

The next day, a followup story in the Sun featured a photo of one of the members of the Maryland Catholic Mafia in action. State Senator Andrew Harris, who is in fact a member of the Catholic fraternal group, the Knights of Columbus, took to the floor of the Senate to threaten the University of Maryland’s funding because certain Catholics objected to the planned screening of sexually explicit material. Those of you familiar with the K of C already know that political agitation, including anti-abortion activities such as the so-called “March for Life” is simply part of what the organization does; it raises money for these causes and support of them is part of everyday participation in the organization.

We can kind of connect the dots here and infer that Catholic clerical networking in Maryland exists, such that if a single random member of the pedophile-coddling Catholic priestly hierarchy and tradition is sufficiently bent out of shape about something relatively trivial but controversial that might somehow involve a state bureaucracy, there are people to call – particularly when the Senate is in session – that will predictably induce the Senate, or whatever governmental body they’re in, from stopping all work on something that might actually matter for a bit. You’d think state politicians would have their hands full with more important matters, like the rest of the state budget that often gets finished at the last minute of each session, and could keep their collective noses out of other people’s business, like what a bunch of students might be watching at the University of Maryland.

The irony of all this is that obviously Harris has zero familiarity with what kinds of films are shown at Maryland. He’s certainly never taken the sex-ed class that I took when I was a student there. After all, the class was about sex, so part of the course involved rather explicit instruction, textbooks, and films about… sex. And in my time, though I never actually saw one, explicit films were periodically shown by independent student groups on campus. “Tina and her cast of vegetables” was one memorable title I remember being advertised, along with the then-new porn classic, “The Opening of Misty Beethoven.”

Fortunately it appears that the show will go on sometime this week. And should that happen, Harris will likely again make a silly attempt to amend the state’s budget to cut off the University of Maryland. And he’ll probably not get very far. Still, the Senate’s limited time will again be wasted by Harris’ posturing on behalf of Maryland’s Catholic mafia.

It might take a few centuries, but as always, the religious nuts fleeing other theocracies might not quite be able to set up their own, but they can certainly set up things to make it clear that they have political power that they in no way deserve to have, power and influence far beyond their numbers and far beyond that of the average citizen.

University of Maryland student union to screen porn film - Baltimore Sun, April 1, 2009

Screening of porn film at University of Maryland canceled - Baltimore Sun, April 2, 2009

Students at College Park, UMBC plan screenings of XXX film - Baltimore Sun, April 3, 2009

Porn Flick Screening at U-Md. Still On, as Is Funding Threat - Washington Post, April 5, 2009

UPDATE: UM officials won’t stop porn screening, students say – Baltimore Sun, April 6, 2009

UPDATE: UM students watch half-hour of porn film - Baltimore Sun, April 6, 2009


Andrew Harris biography, Maryland State Senate (showing him as a member of the Knights of Columbus)

This afternoon I’ve finally composed and posted a conclusion to “Thirty Years Later: What was all that about?” my twelve-part retrospective commentary and analysis of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program and other nonsense promoted by a guy who was usually known by the name “Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.”  This is a bit timely this week as two former Beatles and a few other minor luminaries are going to be promoting a concert in New York this weekend that allegedly is raising money to make possible the teaching of TM to school children. This kind of program in public schools challenges the separation of church and state, the TM program and organization having long ago been found to be religious in nature.

For the concluding post at the TM-Free blog, go here. The entire series is archived below the fold.


Yes, the title of the blog has changed. There will be more soon.

I commented over on The Daily Bastardette on the circumstances of Bastard Nation’s withdrawal from the “Day for Adoptee Rights.”

I am merely a lifetime member of Bastard Nation and have no formal role with the organization.

When an event planner books a block of hotel rooms, and about a month and a half before the event (that’s been talked about for most of a year) a miniscule number of people have made the most minimal effort to pick up the phone and make a fully cancelable hotel reservation – thus signing their name to their intended participation in a way that matters – it is time to decide whether or not the event is viable.

Bastard Nation’s leadership, as far as I can tell, has evaluated the situation and made what I think is the only sane decision.

The actions of Abrazo, while critically important and disturbing in their own way, are distinct from the fact that, at the time the decision was made, nearly nobody was attending, and that’s what the decision had to be based on.

A mailing list of people who may be casually interested in the event, and even a verbal statement that someone hopes to come (which included some organizers of the event but not me/us), is not sufficient to gauge interest. Since there’s no formal registration involving paying a fee as there would be with a conventional conference, this is a reasonable alternative to measure how many people are seriously considering coming, even if some were planning to stay with relatives or friends.

I think it’s obvious that if you’re coming to a conference or other event like this, you first register for the event, and then you book your hotel room. This shows the organizers your intent to do something, because if you don’t you’re going to have to make another call and cancel that hotel room.

I do this all the time. It’s not rocket science.