Paul Haeder, Author

writing, interviews, editing, blogging

Well well, some of us try-try. We end up having to take pittance jobs, with pitiful nonprofits, where the bottom line is, well, poverty pimping.

So in a time of Covid Capitalism, in a time of quick silver circling the drain, quitting after 5 weeks on the job may appear rash, or self-defeating.

But here is the rub — working in Oregon, on the coast, in areas that are tourist-centric, rural, redneck, we have to juggle our principles and our ethics with the prevailing job market. Social services in USA are feces factories, and in Oregon, we as a state hit rock bottom. Not to take anything away from the rock bottom that Georgia claims, as we see in the Intercept, an article, “Judge, Lawyer, Help, Case Dismissed — Atlanta’s Mental Health Problem — and Ours” by George Chidi:

About 62 percent of Georgians believe they may be foreclosed on or evicted in the next two months for being behind on payments, according to a U.S. Census Bureau survey conducted last month. It is by far the highest percentage in the United States.

There aren’t actually enough marshals to process all of the evictions that are coming. People will be forced from their homes in fits and spurts. Many residents will look for relief from Georgia’s Department of Community Affairs, which has a $1 billion allocation for emergency rental assistance from the federal government.

Good luck.

After eight months with cash in hand, the department had spent about 9 percent of its money. The federal government is probably going to claw some of the remaining cash back.

His piece follows one woman, who lives in her feces, half naked, in Atlanta. His perspective is on mental illness, generational trauma, inept systems of oppression, and the disgusting nature of Americans. One super user person — her name is Harmony — has been to court, has been busted, has been ambulanced to the ER multiple times, has been forcefully evaluated and drugged. Tens of thousands a year just for one person. Some super users, as they are called, are costing taxpayers a million bucks or more a year in the penury-ripoff medical-mental health-nonprofit-policing systems of oppression. The housing-first model can’t work in capitalism, and the attendant mental illnesses, outright and brewing, in the tens of millions of Americans will be dealt with (sic) through fines, tolls, penalties, surcharges, fees, taxes, imprisonment, probation, handcuffs, rough sleeping on America’s streets, slow death, traumatic death.

Pretty hardboiled this country, these systems are! And, after five weeks, I had to quit a job where my requirement was supposedly to help people living in poverty, living with mental illnesses, with traumatic brain injuries, with developmental disabilities, get job ready, get their job profiles and interview skills up to speed, and to get them jobs that are in most cases, Customized. That term is a double-edged sword, really, since in Oregon, the job of employment specialists like myself is to to find competitive, integrated employment. That sounds grand, but the reality is most of the clients I have served here at this new ex-company and for years elsewhere need bridges: guys like me speaking with employers, the business’ other employees, with the client, and with an eye to part-time work with accommodations requested, i.e. some tasks removed from the job, some coaching and supervision by the social services’ agency, and a lot of check ins with the employer, as well as natural supports and the client and his or her team of service coordinators, housing support staff, parents, guardians, state brokerages, and state vocational rehabilitation, as well as mental health teams when applicable, supporting him or her.

This shit-show company has headquarters two hours south of my county, and they have a money making services that employ people with DD and ID, and, well, they are run by broken people, the services and the company in general. I’ve written about this before — Social services is populated with people living with a boat-load of chronic illnesses, complex PTSD, even mental illness. There are many in this field with physical disabilities. Unfortunately, these people on the coast, where I live and work, are loud, obnoxious, jealous of people with graduate degrees. They are racist, ageist, plain crude, rude and ugly in the way they talk out of the sides of their mouths. They are American, as American as this new putrid governor of Virginia, Youngkin, another racist, backward, millionaire of the private equity kind (inequity for us, the 80 percent). As American as Hunter Biden. As American as David Duke. Just on a poor scale. Trump and Jerry Springer. So many examples of the sickness of Americans, from academics, to FDA props, to your local gas station attendant.

In my case, the supervisor unloaded on me — on day one — her personal life, her own prejudices, demonstrating all sorts of sad non-supervisorial ticks and attitudes. Unprofessional seems to be her middle name. She had to unload on me about her own broken family background, her own personal struggles, and all of the bad stuff. She’d say, “Well, this is between you and me . . . and if you try to throw me under the bus, watch out.”

Funny how this field attracts broken people, and when you put these people into a supervisorial role, they take it seriously — boss, man. Broken bosses!

See the source image

Seriously, a fifty-something single mother of four boys expected the “yes, boss” shit from me. She is seriously flawed, and on day one she trashed the state workers, the counselors I had to work with since they are the people who refer clients to this nonprofit, which profits off of the homelessness, the intellectual disabilities, the mental and psychiatric disabilities, the trauma, the life circumstances of their clients.

Having a supervisor, or manager, telling me “I’m a beaner,” and then laughing that she has “Mexican roots,” and then thinking and saying, “Yes, it maybe crude and racist, but I am okay with it.”

A boss who is confused about LGBTQA+, about transgender and transitioning, and yet, she has a military-based (Navy) son who is marrying another man, and that is how this redneck, broken world is — still calling people faggot, as an enduring term. She laughed about it.

Again, this messed up, crude, disgusting country (yes, you can call anyone anything you want to in the privacy of your home, in the open air of your backyard and amongst your sick family and friends) is broken from top to down. But this is day one, day two, and on and on, of a low paying job.

I quit yesterday, and my tendered resignation was about all sorts of terrible things this supervisor was doing. You are left out there in the middle of the muck when the boss ma’am is racist, sexist, loud, cussing, and yakking about her dating life, yakking to me, a man disinterested in this crap, and, me, someone who just wanted to get down to brass tacks with clients and their support network.

The company is run by a guy who is ex-military, Army, and the entire organization is full of broken, sick and troubled people. There you have it, no, troubled, sick, broken people working with adults with broken lives, troubled minds, sicknesses from developmental disabilities and beat down emotionally and physically by weathering and the trauma of foster care and group homes and bad-bad families and schools.

At the heart of it all, read Patrick Lawrence, “The Manufacture of Decline — Americans suffer the same disabilities as the Europeans of 1919: They cannot think. They cannot speak plainly among themselves.”

It is sobering, to put the point mildly, to sit in America in 2021 and read the reflections of a writer sitting in Paris 102 years ago. The world America made in the post–1945 years has ended just as the Great War ended the world Paul Valéry, born in 1871, knew as his own.

And Americans suffer the same disabilities as the Europeans of 1919: They cannot think. They cannot speak plainly among themselves.

They are, in a phrase, manufacturing their own decline as they flinch from the world as it is in this, our post–American century.

It makes sense that I would unfold this catharsis from my life in this pathetic blog, and it makes sense that I tell the world — a few readers — that is, things stink in Denmark, or Detroit, or Oregon. This is called ground-truthing, and as I age out of this society (aging out means that this society gives shit about you, gives shit about your background, gives shit about your great licks and qualities, your travel and depth of life), the micro/macro aggressions heaped up on the feces pile that these people, low or high, rich or poor, broken or semi-fixed, closeted tyrants or semi-narcissists, just grows.

Failure after failure, I have weathered, leaving these trauma-inducing places behind. I have a thousand stories, or more. Maybe the nonfiction book or anti-memoir memoir, about all the people I have worked with, taught, reported on, been with throughout my walkabout. Again, who buys, who reads, who cares?

In this eco-porn world now, where all we hear is about COP26, again, again, and again, Deja vu, the same rotting messages. Climate capitalism has always been the agenda, and so in Glasgow, we expect something different?

Jesus. This is fossil fuel financing, fossil fuel usury, the tipping point of their multiple disruptive economies, pitchman of all pitchmen: Bill Gates.

Gates set off on his environmental crusade aboard a superyacht, which environmentalists say are among the world’s worst ecological offenders. According to Turkish news reports, he sailed the azure waters of the Aegean on LANA, a 354-foot yacht described as “one of the most luxurious superyachts in the world.” The boat includes eight staterooms, a golf range, a cinema room, a pool and massage rooms. It accommodates 12 guests and 31 crew members, and rents for more than $2 million a week, according to a Monaco-based yacht rental service.

LANA was followed by the Wayfinder — a 223-foot luxury “supply boat” that is believed to be owned by the billionaire and was used to house his 30 bodyguards for the weeklong trip, according to Turkish news reports.

[Superyachts like LANA (top) and the Wayfinder are some of the most exclusive in the world and dump 7,020 tons of CO2 a year, making them the worst asset to own from an environmental standpoint. Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]

The Lana and Wayfinder super yachts are some of the most exclusive yachts in the world and dump 7,020 tons of CO2 a year, making it by far the worst asset to own from an environmental standpoint.

Really, that is the contrast today, folks — finishing up my time with this poverty pimping outfit at 5 PM PST, Nov. 3, and the kicker is that according to service coordinators in my county, the supervisor for whom I argued failed to do her due diligence around mandatory reporting. Clients who have paychecks shorted, and who have bosses abusing them verbally. Each person in the developmental disability world who claims this to be happening, well, it is called financial exploitation, and as mandatory reporters we have to report it to an investigatory agency. I pushed this anti-Mexican, anti-transgender boss to do something, but her words stuck: “It’s not your job to get into the middle of that.”

Yet, it is our job to report it, alas, and not analyze or parse the words of a person living with developmental disabilities when she or he reports financial abuse/exploitation.

That is a good evening, November 3, to quit this shit job, and leave these bullshit people.

But the fight is on, not just in DD Services. Oregon, the masked-up, blue state, retrograde and defiantly backward place, has these health care outcomes:

The white paper explores the impact consolidation has on patients and communities and highlights current trends in Oregon. Key findings from the report include: 

  • The number of independent hospitals and physicians in Oregon is dwindling. The number of independent hospitals in Oregon has declined by 43 percent since 2000. The share of physicians affiliated with health systems in the Portland metro area grew from 39 percent in 2016 to 71 percent in 2018.
  • Oregon’s most competitive healthcare market is not only highly concentrated, but also one of the priciest in the nation. In 2017, Portland had the 14th highest healthcare prices out of 124 large metro areas across the nation. In addition, the amount Oregonians paid for their healthcare increased nearly 29 percent in four years, outpacing the rate of inflation.
  • Consolidation could exacerbate health disparities in Oregon. Experts argue that when hospitals raise prices, resources are redirected to facilities that cater to privately insured individuals (who are disproportionately white and high-income) as opposed to those that care for Medicaid patients (who are disproportionately Black, brown, and people of color).
  • Following affiliation, rural hospitals are more likely to lose access to services, such as onsite imaging, outpatient nonemergency care, and obstetric and primary care.
  • Reproductive, gender-affirming, and compassionate end-of-life care are at risk. Several large, religiously-affiliated healthcare entities are governed by ethical religious directives that prohibit or impose barriers that reduce access to these services. Past mergers have put reproductive, gender-affirming and compassionate end-of-life-care at risk, as could future ones. 

And, just in the Portland area, the mental health outcomes, coming to, or already in your neighborhood/city/state:

Typical caseload: 100+ clients
Care provider turnover rate: 40%
Wait time for appointments: 4-6 weeks

It’s no wonder Oregon ranks 51st in the country for mental health outcomes—behind every other state and Washington DC. (source)

Fitting, and so I quit, left, tendered my resignation: This is a crisis beyond crisis, “Clients feel abandoned by staff who leave due to low pay and poor conditions.”
— Community Behavioral Health Survey, 2016

Ending with the Intercept story, this is the emblematic one issue tied to a thousand issues of our time. I just do not know how any sane person can look at these judges, cops, DAs, governors, senators, representatives, White House officials, administration armies without the thought of taking an old trusted Louisville Slugger to their blanks _____(fill in the blank).

Harmony lay in a 6-foot-wide stream of her own waste, swaddled in a blanket infused with feces. She propped up her matted head on her right arm, looking up at two downtown ambassadors from the community improvement district who had come out to ask her to move for the fourth time in a week. They needed to pressure wash the sidewalk.

Harmony is not her real name. Atlanta’s powers that be know who she is.

Phillip Spillane, a good friend of mine among the ambassadors, had called 911 to get paramedics to take her to Grady Hospital that Friday. He has made this call about once every two weeks, when the state of Harmony’s squalor becomes too much to bear for an observer with a soul.

I came upon them as paramedics were piling back into a Grady ambulance. I watched them drive away, an impassive expression on the face of the paramedic in the passenger seat as she watched Harmony, who remained on the sidewalk.

It was the same expression on the faces of most of the people walking by. I’ve seen it every time I’ve come downtown to Atlanta to talk with her. It’s not that passersby don’t notice her, but people make an immediate mental calculation about their ability to help someone in this kind of distress. The social reaction — the human reaction — left over is a carefully deliberate nonchalance meant to provide some dignity to a person in a state of public humiliation and to retain some dignity of their own on the scene of a moral catastrophe.

Of course, some people realize that they’re about to step in her shit and can’t keep from scowling.

This story starts with Harmony. It does not end with her. (George Chidi)

Vintage 1948 Louisville Slugger Babe Ruth Poster Sign

3 thoughts on “Quitting is a Mental Health Decision

  1. haederpaul says:

    EMAIL to me, with the name stripped out for privacy. Thanks, though.

    Sorry, Paul. 

    Just read your blog.   You are trying to make a living doing something you believe should turn out to be helpful to the people you work with.  And you are doing it in the capitalist system.  Not only that, but in the logical outcome of a system built around laws that make it o.k. to go to war to increase your market, a system that decided in our lifetimes that it was fine to export manufacturing capacity to where you can take advantage of exploited labor, that any work that makes money for the “owner” is fine, not matter at what price.  Good-bye unions, decent wages, protections for workers.  And such a system has no room to take care of those who cannot compete, except by inventing how to make money out of that.  You know all this.  But you need to make some money and are trying to do it by working within the system.  You are finding out how deep the system rot penetrates. How do you survive outside of the system?  COP26 is the capitalist system trying to pull itself out of the swamp by its own hair, making money on the way.  We always hope for something better.  It ain’t going to happen inside the system.  Does an outside of the system exist?  Can we make one happen?  Can we make a decent living doing it?  Not an indecent, rich living, just one that allows you to live.  

    Let me know if and when you would like to come over.


    Ahh, thanks MMM. You know I am 64, going on 90. I’ve been in the rot a very long time. I have had sodas and beer thrown at me in the stands at events for not standing up to the national dishonor anthem. I’ve helped bring into the country Central Americans. I have smuggled in dope, and smuggled out prescriptions. I have been with motorcycle gang members, hardened criminals and with others. I got this system down at age 13, so my spilled milk is part of a process of unleashing. This is part of the active catharsis. It is what it is, a solitary scream in the woods . . . with an audience . . .  you now, writing back. 

    Again, what is best for the flagging society is not what is best for them, but for us, the individual, the small family. Unfortunate, but that was the way this country was always heading, since slaving and raping and Indian killing. Sure, little clans, here and there — Jewish Mafia, Italian Mafia, Irish Mafia, etc. All tied to banks and robber barons. Now the slick assholes are dressed in Gucci.  

    Something worked, then, no? As far as “outside of the system, outside the box, some alternative,” that is a shambles. It is just the rich and well off who can play make believe with their alternative housing or co-housing or intentional communities. You see, every typed character on this keyboard is a crime, using a Dell computer on the Google mail.

    Every investment account, every In God We Trust dollar thrown at Oregon and Fed taxes. It is the system, and it is a hive, and we are the hosts for the cancers, viruses, poisons of capitalism.

    We can play make believe, play the stupidity game, or the Greta Game, or the Biden is Better than the Other Rapist Prez game. It is all a game.

    This is a great piece, here:

    Referenced in my blathering blog.

    And, Wall Street’s takeover of climate crap —

    I come at this from a truly street level, Studs Terkel, what have you. I knew I had nothing real in common with my English Department colleagues, or the urban planners, or the journalists at the papers I worked at, or with the environmental groups I was associated with. I learned how to curb my truth and my enthusiasm, just to get through the stupidity of the times, the day, the company, the place, the people. 

    I did report the outfit for the crime of not reporting the financial abuse of one of my clients, and we shall see how far that goes. I did point out the racism and the unprofessionalism of the supervisor. I know how to cuss, but I do not cuss in these sorts of jobs, and this woman just can’t keep her gutter mouth curbed, so to speak. I pointed this out. I actually kept it together, for those five weeks. I usually call out a spade when it’s a spade, no holds barred.

    These are dumb times, dumber than ever, and with a dumb-downing that is exponential. So, working outside the system is, well, a fairy tale. Every transaction in Capitalism, a crime, or rooted in crime, of a grand scale. Who owns it all? Well, Vanguard and Blackstone. Never amazes me how delusional the democrats and liberals are. Note that COP26, in lovely Glasgow (I spent time there when I lived in Edinburgh), is theater of the absurd, Dadaesque, delusional. Hell, the faux protestors, from around the globe, where do they stay? Oh yeah, all of Glasgow is gouging for flats, apartments, etc. $1600 for three days in a two bedroom flat. Right, all those third world peeps, all those white kids from Klanada and USA, coming over with their Disneyfied shit. GOUGING, and that is capitalism.
    Blighted. But every transaction, every ounce of gasoline pumped, all of it, we are part of the corruptible and the colluded.

    Ha — I’ve been asked to start my own social services agency (not going to happen).Go teach at the college — more naïve nothingness.
    Ahh, what a mean, wacked out world.

    $200,000 a year for a 26 year old Google whiz kid. All expenses paid trip to a new neighborhood, moving expenses and stock options thrown in.
    This is capitalism, man, and it stinks to high heaven. Everyday for her is another spiritual thread ripped out which has to be mended. Capitalism.

    I can meet manana, otros dias. Time? Thanks for writing. 


    “We modern civilizations have learned to recognize that we are mortal like the others. We had heard tell of whole worlds vanished, of empires foundered … sunk to the inexplorable depths of the centuries with their gods and laws, their academies and their pure and applied sciences, their grammars, dictionaries, classics … their critics and the critics of their critics…. We could not count them. But these wrecks, after all, were of no concern of ours.”

    That is Paul Valéry, the modernist poet, essayist and Academician, writing in April 1919. The Great War was but a few months over. Europe understood, if subliminally at that moment, that the world order of which it had been the center had shattered like glass. Or — better put — that Europe had shattered it.

    “Everything came to Europe, and from Europe everything has come. Or almost everything,” Valéry wrote. “Now, the present situation permits of this capital question: Will Europe retain its leadership in all activities? Will Europe become what she is in reality: that is, a little cape of the Asiatic continent?” [Emphasis the author’s.]

    Valéry was less interested in Europe’s wrecked landscapes and its blown-to-bits economy than he was in what had happened to European minds and spirits — how people thought and felt. Europe’s best brains had just wasted themselves “finding a way to remove barbed wire, baffle the submarines, or paralyze the flight of aeroplanes.”

    Then, the war over, Europe no longer knew how to think. Europeans could not speak among themselves of their abruptly arrived new circumstances. People retreated into the classics of European culture and took to repeating the old verities as to the Continent’s ancient greatness. Valéry called the essay I quote, “The Intellectual Crisis.” Its topic was “the disorder of our mental Europe.” Paul Valéry photographed by Henri Manuel, 1920s. (Wikimedia Commons)

    It is sobering, to put the point mildly, to sit in America in 2021 and read the reflections of a writer sitting in Paris 102 years ago. The world America made in the post–1945 years has ended just as the Great War ended the world Valéry, born in 1871, knew as his own. And Americans suffer the same disabilities as the Europeans of 1919: They cannot think. They cannot speak plainly among themselves.


  2. haederpaul says:

    Comment: Hey, Paul,

    “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, free at last!”

    How about starting a website like CounterPunch for us all-around contributors or DV when Kim Peterson was editor and really meant it when he welcomed new contributors. I doubt he would have run not one, but two articles in an edition by Binyon’s team.

    The door to new opportunities beckons to you, believe me. R&R for a couple of weeks and then get back into this awful-looking world and local political scene. And lay those spikes in the paths of the 1%, Manchin/Sinema and Trump collective big egos/low self-esteem. Katherine Hepburn could quote Dorothy Parker’s scathing review of one of her performances decades later.

    Up and at ’em, Paul!!! (Starting November 15.)

    BE, up here in SE


  3. haederpaul says:

    Absolutely, back in the saddle, back up on my feet. I do not want people, readers, believe I am down down down, that anything looks like up up up. I let the fire hose spray my regrets and emotions, just to put out the fire lapping at my feet . . . You feet. Thanks to B.E. for the words, and, referring to DV,

    And, not to be a Debbie Downer, but it is not the 1 percent, only, but the 5 percent, and then, well, make that 20 percent. Eichmann’s all, and there are people making $180 K a year, right out of college and with one or two Intel jobs under their belts. These people are THE ENEMY, unless . . . unless . . . Try conversing with them and see how predatory, how dreadful they are, when they think of their fellow man, woman, child. They truly believe they deserve the big bucks and those of us who got the wrong degrees, the wrong passions, we deserve shit. Try and talk with the, will ya.

    Biden and Blinken and the entire crew, they are ruthless and clueless, about us. !!!!!!

    Here, just south of Newport — from a friend:

    (If churches and religion share any valid purpose it’s in helping people in need. What an embarrassment to us all to have this happen!)

    BAP is the sanity, here, don’t be fooled by the racists in both shit hole parties:

    NOVEMBER 5th, 2021 — The Black Alliance for Peace condemns the efforts of Congress to manipulate the electoral process in Nicaragua through illegal sanctions, subversion and the coordination of a deliberate misinformation campaign meant to delegitimize the country’s elections even before they take place.

    As part of that effort the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “RENACER ACT” 387-35 that is meant to impose more sanctions on the country’s President Daniel Ortega but is really a punitive act against the Nicaraguan people for continuing to support their own political project.

    “It is white supremacist, colonial hubris that on the same day that the so-called progressives in the House of Representatives indicated they might abandon their insistence on passing the minimum human rights provisions in the Build Back Better legislation, those same progressives voted to impose more economic sanctions on the second poorest country in the region that, despite its poverty, guarantees universal healthcare and free education, two human rights guarantees that workers in the U.S. are still denied,” states Ajamu Baraka, BAP’s National Organizer

    On November 7th, the people of Nicaragua will go to the polls to reaffirm the commitment to their revolutionary democratic project, a project that began in 1979 when the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) defeated a vicious, neocolonial, gangster regime of Anastasio Somoza that was put in power by the United States only to have those efforts reversed by a U.S. imposed counterrevolutionary war that resulted in the electoral defeat of the FSLN in 1990.

    With the return of the FSLN to power in 2007, it once again became a target for U.S. aggression and electoral subversion. The U.S. and its European allies questioned the legitimacy of the FSLN despite its overwhelming electoral victories that the U.S. characterized as fraudulent.

    Therefore, since it is impossible to get fair and accurate information on Nicaragua from the propaganda organs pretending to be news outlets in the U.S. The Alliance is sending a delegation to observe the process for itself and report back to its membership and the Black communities across the U.S.

    Netfa Freeman, member of BAP’s Coordinating Committee who will be on the delegation provided the explanation for why BAP is involved with the process in Nicaragua in the article, “Why Black Revolutionaries Must Stand with the People of Nicaragua,” that “for Black revolutionaries, committed to People(s)-Centered Human Rights (PCHRs), that center decolonial self-determination, social justice and socialism, support for these struggles was not an issue of “solidarity” but of a common struggle.”

    The U.S. should concentrate on reversing the genocidal policies in the U.S. that has resulted in hundred of thousands of unnecessary deaths from conditions and consequences of Covid in Black and Brown communities and the anti-democratic practices of economic elites that have been systematically looting the public coffers since the economic collapse of 2008-09.

    But instead, the U.S. meddles in the internal affairs of countries around the world confirming its international reputation as the number one threat to international peace and number one violator of human rights on the planet.

    The “democratic” fascism that the U.S. oligarchy imposes on global South nations is both flagrant and insidious, knowing no geographic boundaries. Instead of repression, BAP demands that the U.S. state adhere to international law and respect the sovereignty of Nicaragua and its right to self-determination. By cooperating with the people of Nicaragua, U.S. authorities just might learn something about human rights and civilization.

    No compromise! No retreat!

    Black Alliance for Peace


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