Depression of public servants a ‘public health crisis’ in Canada?

Posted on January 11th, 2010 by bile
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‘It’s the most transient, fluid, unsettling work environment on the planet,’ expert says

Depression among Canada’s public servants is the country’s biggest “public health crisis,” says a leading mental health expert.

It’s an affliction among the country’s nurses, teachers, police, military and bureaucrats at all levels of government, undermining innovation, productivity, quality of service, policy-making and even the relevance of our democratic institutions, said Bill Wilkerson, founder of Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Mental Health.

Stress, burnout and depression is evident in all workplaces, especially in times of economic turmoil. But few employers have as profound a problem as the federal public service where the health effects of mental distress has been termed an epidemic.

“The public service is a tsunami of distractions — meetings, everything questioned, delegated, people moving … and no one is really in charge,” said Wilkerson. “It’s the most transient, fluid, unsettling work environment on the planet, so why wouldn’t people be anxious and in distress? They are human beings.”

Disability claims in Canada are climbing and between 30 to 40 per cent of them are for depression. In the public service, mental health claims doubled between 1991 and 2007 and now account for 45 per cent of all claims. Meanwhile, the number of other health claims has dropped.

Wilkerson argues paralysis has gripped the public service that’s compounded by an “ambiguity” around who is in charge. Such an environment takes its toll on people, many whom leave work every day feeling they have accomplished nothing.

forgive me if i fail to give a shit. stop stealing the wealth of others to fund your activities and compete in the market place. i can assure you that your life as well as the life of those you leach off of will be better for it.

For taking a photo of a parking infraction a Fort Lee, NJ bureaucrat threatens to have me locked up, calls cops

Posted on September 10th, 2009 by bile
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To recap: Around the corner from where I live there is a section of road which had been three’ish parking spots. A white curb, a sign indicating it was for residential parking and one indicating when the town cleans the street. There are also two sign posts on either side of that section of the block which indicate the flow of traffic. Recently “No Stopping or Standing” were added to the outside posts and several individuals on the block have found out the hard way that that now means no parking. Given most people on the block has gotten ticketed you rarely will see a car parked there.

So I get off the bus yesterday (2009-09-09 ~6:05pm) and I see that there are two cars parked on that section of the block. I notice that one of them is the same vehicle we’ve seen parked there times before without receiving a ticket. A car which has a sign on the dashboard saying “official police business.”

Fort_Lee_bureaucrats_car PoliceBusiness

I took out my camera to record the fact that this town or bureaucrat owned and “officially” used vehicle was parking in a location which had been designated, at least in practice, as not for parking and it had been parked there regularly negating the likelihood it was actually parked there for “official police business.” I took two quick photos and was turning to leave when I hear yelling coming across the street. I look up to see a woman walking down the steps of a house coming toward me. The footage below is what transcribed after I got the chance to switch on video.

The camera started in my hand and then was clipped to my shirt so please excuse the awful video footage. It may as well been audio but more information the better. Additionally the video was edited for time not content. It’s largely unedited with only the time between the woman’s call to the the police and continued dialog cut. Therefore it may be considered repetitive and long winded due to the constant back and forth. I didn’t have the time to edit it for only the good parts.


  • The woman refused to tell me who she is. (Update: On a second listening of the first video it appears her first name is Donna. At about 8m10s in you can hear her as she talks on the phone with someone at the police station. Danny or Daren?)
  • She refuses to tell me what official police business she’s claiming to be involved in at that moment.
  • She implies that because her car is private property I can’t photograph it while it’s parked on a public street.
  • She threatens to have me locked up.
  • When I attempt to make the point that her business, in regard to potential illegal parking, is my business because she’s supposedly a public servant and that has a different standard from those who work in private institutions she informs me that I belong in an institution.
  • In an accusatory tone asks me if I’m a good Samaritan? Don’t I have a life? A job? Something better I could be doing? Why it’s my business? Why am I looking out for my neighbors? “You trying to get into heaven?”
  • She calls the Fort Lee Police department. She appears to do so in a personal rather then professional capacity as any other third party to the police would. Two officers in seperate vehicles show up. Officer 220 (Ordonez (sp?) Part 2 10:15) and 224 (Kutrabenous (sp?) Part 3 3:30).
  • Officer 220 started off with an attitude. Informed Laur and myself that “She can park where ever the hell she wants. She works for the city.”
  • Officer 220 blocked traffic and when informed was completely unconcerned leaving individuals stuck behind him.
  • Laur called him out for being confrontational and his demeanor changed. He ended up agreeing that the signs were contradictory and told us that he’d tell other officers that there was an issue with that section regarding parking and not ticket anyone until the appropriate changes were made to the signs/curb.
  • We are told we can’t rely on calling the town to get anything done. It must be done in person. Obviously speaking highly of the town bureaucrat’s level of service.
  • Officer 220 claims he generally doesn’t give tickets unless it’s unsafe.
  • Officer 224 says at one point that she shouldn’t be parked there regardless of signage due to it being effectively a turning lane.

The woman was totally out of line. I can understand questioning the taking of photos or being ignorant of the others who had received tickets but her attitude was completely uncalled for. Clearly she should not have the “official police business” sign in the window of the car if she is in fact not performing official police business and since it seems obvious she was not in fact performing official police business she was caught lying. She made threats and threw insults. And rather then deal with the supposed issue like mature individuals she called for backup. Called her friends / coworkers at the FLPD likely to come intimidate me. Makes me happy to know I’m forced to pay for her “services.”

Officer 220 was out of line too. He obviously was acting with a bias due to his relationship with the woman. Not only was his demeanor unbecoming but his initial defense of her action and claims she is effectively above the law was a clear sign that they see themselves to be of a privileged class. Not unlike how the NYC traffic cops see themselves. The officer attempts to make lite of the fact that these admittedly “bullshit” tickets will have to be fought in court and likely dropped. As if calling out of work to attend said court date is not often a larger cost then just paying the ticket. Unlike those in many government jobs, those in the productive sector of the economy generally can’t afford to randomly take off to fight a $28 ticket regardless of whether the ticket will be waved or not. He also admits that “for the first couple times” getting a ticket I’ll have to be “inconvinenced” and fight it. Why should I have to be inconvenienced? They made the mistake. They are costing myself and others time and money. Both of which we will never be compensated for. And as many know bureaucrats tend to look out for themselves and while I’m unaware of what goes on in Fort Lee many towns will drop tickets against officers and their friends automatically so the claim they’ve gotten tickets before is likely irrelevant. If indeed these tickets are “bullshit” all “No Stopping or Standing” violations issued in the past month or so should be dropped without any effort required by those who had been issued them.

Officer 224 seemed more calm and reasonable. I was a bit startled though when he lightly grabbed my shirt and leaned in to clearly speak his name into the camera. I honestly didn’t hear his name the first time. He probably shouldn’t have done that but given they didn’t make any issue otherwise of my recording and it was probably completely innocent I’m happy to ignore it. NYPD tend to be far more concerned with cameras and confrontational about them.

So any employees of the FLPD, other officers or random bureaucrats… no hard feelings but know that you aren’t above the law.  You’re supposed to work for us and if you step out of line there will be those of us who will record your digressions and publicize them. I would hope that you’d agree that this oversight is necessary and beneficial for all involved. We don’t want any corruption and you shouldn’t want to be associated with corruption. And please learn to regulate yourself in such situations. I’ll admit I got a bit testy but I was the one being threatened, insulted, cut off while speaking and had the cops called on for merely looking out for my neighbors well being.

I’ve considered issuing an official complain against the woman especially since she claimed to be acting in her official capacity. However, this post and video are likely to make their way back to the FLPD and to her and I think her behavior speaks for itself.

Don’t speak ill of those in charge

Posted on August 2nd, 2009 by bile
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In medieval English law, the crime of “high treason” included the offense of “compassing” (or imagining) “the death of our lord the king, of his lady our queen, or of their eldest son and heir.”

The equivalent practice in imperial America consists of making any comment, however flippant or implausible, that can be construed by professional paranoids in federal employ as expressing even a transient interest in harming the holy person of the President.

As American statism curdles into outright totalitarianism, it’s becoming a crime in some jurisdictions to express violent or hostile intentions toward the state’s armed enforcement agents.

Antavio Johnson of Lakeland, Florida was recently sentenced to two years in prison for a purported crime described as “corruption by threat of public servant.” His “offense” was to record a rap number (the word “song” is inapposite) entitled “Kill Me A Cop,” in which the parolee mentioned by name specific police officers with whom he quite obviously had serious grievances.

Johnson’s rap offering was posted last February on the MySpace page of Hood Certified Entertainment, a record label catering to a particular slice of the hip-hop market.

It’s never a good idea to harbor, much less express, a desire to murder another human being (the Sermon on the Mount describes this as a sin as grave as the act itself). But in a society in which freedom of speech is supposedly protected by law, this cannot be considered a crime.

Furthermore, it’s not necessary to threaten or even to criticize the police in order to find one’s self in jail facing charges of “threatening” those poor, cringing little creatures.

Elisha Strom, a 34-year-old blogger from Virgina, is currently in the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail on a charge of seeking to “coerce, intimidate, or harass” police officers by publishing the address of an undercover narcotics agent on her blog, “I HeArTE JADE.”

The title of that blog refers to the Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement (JADE) task force, whose personnel and activities have been subjected to whimsical mockery therein.

If convicted of the offense, which is a sixth degree felony under the recently revised state statute, Strom would face a mandatory six-month jail sentence.

Mrs. Strom became interested in the doings of the JADE Task Force because one of its members was involved in the arrest of her husband Kevin, who was found guilty  of possessing child pornography. She points out that the statute’s applicability depends on proving that the personal information she published — which is publicly available — was provided to readers with the intent to “harass” or “intimidate” a given police officer.

Sam Dodson’s Open Government Day

Posted on July 14th, 2009 by bile
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Tag along with Keene activists as we visit the Keene City Clerk’s office to request some documents related to my upcoming trial. Watch the city clerk defy the statues when she clearly says lawsuit records are not filed or available for my inspection. According to the statutory requirements she mentions the records, shall be kept on file and made available for inspection. Given that she admitted to violating 91-A:4 (VI), will the police issue her a ticket as they would if you violated a statute? Is the city attempting to impede my lawsuit?

643:1 Official Oppression. – A public servant . . .

is guilty of a misdemeanor if, with a purpose to benefit himself or another or to harm another, he knowingly commits an unauthorized act. . . or knowingly refrains from performing a duty imposed on him by law or clearly inherent in the nature of his office.

The snitch police state is alive and well in Ron Paul’s backyard

Posted on December 19th, 2008 by bile
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It was a little before 8 at night when the breaker went out at Emily Milburn’s home in Galveston. She was busy preparing her children for school the next day, so she asked her 12-year-old daughter, Dymond, to pop outside and turn the switch back on.

As Dymond headed toward the breaker, a blue van drove up and three men jumped out rushing toward her. One of them grabbed her saying, “You’re a prostitute. You’re coming with me.”

Dymond grabbed onto a tree and started screaming, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.” One of the men covered her mouth. Two of the men beat her about the face and throat.

As it turned out, the three men were plain-clothed Galveston police officers who had been called to the area regarding three white prostitutes soliciting a white man and a black drug dealer.

All this is according to a lawsuit filed in Galveston federal court by Milburn against the officers. The lawsuit alleges that the officers thought Dymond, an African-American, was a hooker due to the “tight shorts” she was wearing, despite not fitting the racial description of any of the female suspects. The police went to the wrong house, two blocks away from the area of the reported illegal activity, Milburn’s attorney, Anthony Griffin, tells Hair Balls.

After the incident, Dymond was hospitalized and suffered black eyes as well as throat and ear drum injuries.

Three weeks later, according to the lawsuit, police went to Dymond’s school, where she was an honor student, and arrested her for assaulting a public servant. Griffin says the allegations stem from when Dymond fought back against the three men who were trying to take her from her home. The case went to trial, but the judge declared it a mistrial on the first day, says Griffin. The new trial is set for February.

“I think we’ll be okay,” says Griffin. “I don’t think a jury will find a 12-year-old girl guilty who’s just sitting outside her house. Any 12-year-old attacked by three men and told that she’s a prostitute is going to scream and yell for Daddy and hit back and do whatever she can. She’s scared to death.”

Since the incident more than two years ago, Dymond regularly suffers nightmares in which police officers are raping and beating her and cutting off her fingers, according to the lawsuit.
Griffin says he expects to enter mediation with the officers in early 2009 to resolve the lawsuit.

We’ve got calls in to the officers’ lawyer; we’ll let you know if we hear something.

Update: This is from the officers’ lawyer, William Helfand:

Both the daughter and the father were arrested for assaulting a peace officer. “The father basically attacked police officers as they were trying to take the daughter into custody after she ran off.”

Also, “The city has investigated the matter and found that the conduct of the police officers was appropriate under the circumstances,” Helfand says. “It’s unfortunate that sometimes police officers have to use force against people who are using force against them. And the evidence will show that both these folks violated the law and forcefully resisted arrest.”

Yay war on prostitution! Keeping the fatherland safe.