Category: political struggle
Sweden is in political turmoil and it’s the Right who are likely to benefit. Europe should sit up and take notice
worker | June 29, 2021 | 7:48 pm | Political Pandemonium, political struggle, Sweden | Comments closed

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/527495-sweden-no-confidence-vote/

Sweden is in political turmoil and it’s the Right who are likely to benefit. Europe should sit up and take notice

Sweden is in political turmoil and it’s the Right who are likely to benefit. Europe should sit up and take notice
The Eurosceptic Swedish Democrats are gaining in influence, as seen by their role in triggering a no-confidence vote in parliament. Their rise shows how a far-right party can be reinvented, and could cause shockwaves in the EU.

This week, Stefan Löfven became the first Swedish prime minister in history to lose a vote of no confidence in the Riksdag, Sweden’s parliament. The vote was prompted by the government’s proposals to abolish rent controls and introduce free-market reforms. A broad alliance of centre-right and far-left parties opposed the scheme and Löfven, who heads a Social Democrat-Green coalition, lost the vote by 181 to 109, with 51 abstentions.

Löfven now has until next Monday to choose one of three options: he can resign and call a snap general election; he can try to negotiate a deal and keep his fragile coalition afloat; or he can lead a minority government.

Interestingly, the no-confidence vote was triggered by Jimmie Åkesson, the leader of the much-maligned Swedish Democrats. His party is often described as ‘far-right’ or as ‘anti-immigrant’ by the mainstream media. The origins of the Swedish Democrats, granted, are somewhat murky, with a number of fascist sympathisers fronting the party in the early days. However, they have been growing in size and stature over the past decade. In the 2018 general election, for example, they won 17.5% of the vote and returned 62 members of the Riksdag, making them Sweden’s third-largest party by a good margin.

ALSO ON RT.COMSwedish PM Lofven remains public’s top choice despite losing no-confidence voteNow, I have some experience dealing with the Swedish Democrats. Back in 2014, two of their new MEPs applied to join UKIP’s grouping in the European Parliament. I have to admit that, at first, I was reticent. I had read about their party’s far-right origins and was worried that we would be taking on extremists. However, on the contrary, I found that we had recruited hard-working and moderate politicians. Indeed, so moderate were they that by 2018 they were sitting with the British Conservative Party in the European Parliament.

I also got to know their leader, Jimmie Åkesson, personally. He is an impressive individual, taking over the leadership in 2005 at the age of 26. He has since gone about cleansing his party of its past, expelling those who made racist or extremist statements and taking it mainstream. Other Swedish political parties have seemingly taken note, with a deal agreed back in March that centre-right parties would work together to bring down Löfven’s left-wing coalition. It seems that this week they succeeded, albeit with Sweden’s former Communist Party.

If a snap general election is called as a result of Löfven’s fall, then the Swedish Democrats are expected to make further gains. At the moment, they are polling around 20% and have been for some time. If these polls hold up, and there is no suggestion that they will not, Åkesson will undoubtedly angle for a place in any future centre-right coalition government. Indeed, as the leader of the third-largest party, and potentially the second, it would be difficult to deny him a position.

In the past, other parties have refused to work with the Swedish Democrats on account of their origins, but as time has passed, and Åkesson’s reforms have taken hold, that commitment has softened. For example, they are now in coalition with centre-right parties in local councils. Indeed, Åkesson has urged the creation of a strong and broad “conservative bloc” and insists that the “old arguments for not talking to us no longer exist.”

ALSO ON RT.COMSwedish parliament ousts PM Lofven in no-confidence voteThe Swedish Democrats have dropped some of their more radical policies to appeal to the centre-right. A commitment to the death penalty was abandoned, for example. Also, their long-held pledge to hold a ‘Swexit’ referendum on membership of the European Union was dropped in 2019 in favour of root-and-branch EU reform. I guarantee, however, that they will be watching how the UK performs very closely, and do not be surprised if the policy is resurrected if post-Brexit Britain prospers.

The Swedish Democrats have now got themselves into a position where they are the potential kingmakers of Swedish politics. Any centre-right coalition will require not only their blessing, but most likely their membership. Åkesson will also undoubtedly drive a hard bargain. He will certainly demand a drastic reduction in immigration and policies that promote a Swedish cultural identity. Moreover, last month he supported Danish plans to erect asylum camps in Africa and called on Sweden to follow suit.

If there is not an immediate general election and Löfven hangs on to power, then one has to be held next year anyway. There is no sign, however, that the Swedish Democrats are a ‘flash in the pan’ movement and they are now a permanent fixture in Swedish politics. Indeed, they may well be in an even stronger position this time next year.

If the Swedish Democrats enter government anytime soon, it will have a knock-on-effect for the rest of Europe. Sweden will undoubtedly become more Eurosceptic and further integration will be vetoed, boosting other European politicians who oppose the idea of a European superstate.

It is easy for those in large countries to pass Sweden off as a small nation on the northern peripheries of Europe, but mark my words, what is happening there at the moment could have repercussions for the rest of the continent.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Whither the Democratic Party?
worker | June 29, 2021 | 7:17 pm | Political Pandemonium, political struggle | Comments closed
– from Greg Godels is available at:
http://zzs-blg.blogspot.com/
If you do not wish to receive these notices, e-mail: zzsblogml@gmail.com with “unsubscribe” in the subject box.
Instead, the Democratic Party has been transformed by the contradictions inherent in its construction into something entirely new. Within the context of the evolution of US capitalism, it has undergone a profound rebuild no longer capable of serving the interests of those who formerly found hope in its success… To read more, please go to: https://zzs-blg.blogspot.com/2021/06/whither-democratic-party.html
How Failure of Peru’s Neoliberal Model & Need for Industrial Growth Created Castillo’s Phenomenon
worker | June 23, 2021 | 8:11 pm | Peru, political struggle | Comments closed

https://sputniknews.com/latam/202106181083184584-how-failure-of-perus-neoliberal-model–need-for-industrial-growth-created-castillos-phenomenon/

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On 15 June, the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) of Peru announced that Pedro Castillo of the left-wing Peru Libre (Free Peru) party won the presidential election after all electoral voting records had been counted in the second round. How did the schoolteacher manage to rise to prominence and how could he change the face of Peru?

Earlier this month, Peruvian presidential candidate Pedro Castillo outperformed his right-wing competitor Keiko Fujimori from Fuerza Popular (Popular Force) in the second round by a razor-thin 0.28 percent margin. However, Fujimori refuses to concede. In the wake of the second round she asked the National Electoral Tribunal (JNE) to nullify the results at 802 polling stations, which equates to 200,000 votes.

What’s Behind Castillo’s Phenomenon?

During the first round of the presidential elections José Pedro Castillo Terrones, a schoolteacher, union leader, and politician, went completely unnoticed by most media outlets, analysts and social scientists, says Carlos Mamani Aliaga, a Peruvian sociologist and analyst at Proyecto Patria, a Cajamarca political organisation.

“Practically nobody considered Castillo as a possible candidate for the second round,” Mamani says. “Already in the second round, he was on stage in two debates with Keiko Fujimori showing that he obviously has no training as a statesman, however, despite everything, he managed to give a good fight in the debates.”

Commenting on Castillo’s phenomenon, the Peruvian sociologist draws attention to the deep divide between the country’s capital and province. The central-southern highlands and the eastern Amazon differ much from the capital city of Lima being a sort of “parallel world,” according to him. While Lima, which accounts to a whopping 30 percent of the country’s population, is clearly “adverse” to Castillo, he’s very popular in the province.

“His image of a provincial, humble man has managed to resonate with millions of Peruvians from the inner lands who fully identify themselves with his provincial, national and popular discourse,” Mamani notes, describing Castillo as a Peruvian-style “revolutionary conservative,” with “a drive for social justice.”

According to the analyst, Castillo “has managed to capture the Peruvian collective unconscious” that in general terms has always been “culturally conservative,” pro-family and pro-life and has nothing to do with either globalist left-wing progressivism or right-wing elitist conservatism.

© REUTERS / SEBASTIAN CASTANEDA
Peru’s right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori and socialist candidate Pedro Castillo wave at the end of their debate ahead of the June 6 run-off election, in Arequipa, Peru May 30, 2021.

One shouldn’t underestimate the fact that Castillo is also an evangelical Christian, notes Argentine political analyst and author Gonzalo Fiore Viani – the president-elect vehemently opposes legalising abortion and allowing same-sex marriage, contrary to typical left-wing progressives.

Castillo is also an ardent defender of indigenous people’s rights and calling for re-writing Peru’s constitution “with the colour, scent, and flavour of the people.” In addition to that, Castillo does not rule out nationalising the mining industry, as well as oil and gas extraction and overhauling the country’s pension system to favour workers. Apparently therefore, he’s seen as an “extreme leftie” by his opponents, according to Viani.

“Time will tell whether he can effectively implement his programme, truly revolutionary not only for Peru but for the current Latin American political context,” the Argentine political analyst says, adding that Castillo has already received support from ex-president of Uruguay José “Pepe” Mujica and former head of Bolivia Evo Morales.

​According to Viani, the Peruvian economic model has proven ineffective especially in reducing inequality and poverty in the country: “That’s why a politician like Castillo has had such a great performance coming virtually from nothing,” he says. “He represents the country populations’ discontent and disbelief in establishment politicians.”

© REUTERS / SEBASTIAN CASTANEDA
Supporters of Peru’s presidential candidate Pedro Castillo gather in the street the day after a run-off election, in Lima, Peru June 7, 2021.

Bankruptcy of Neoliberal Model in Peru

Once inaugurated on 28 July, Castillo will have to govern an extremely divided country, Mamani stresses, adding, however, that any other president, including Keiko Fujimori, would have faced a similar challenge.

The president-elect’s greatest obstacle will be putting an end to a long period of political and institutional instability in the country. Last year Peru saw three presidents in just one month, while some of their predecessors faced corruption charges.

“We live in a permanent state of political crisis fundamentally associated with the plague of corruption that, year after year, bleeds the People down, subtracting a significant percentage of GDP (3%),” says Mamani.

While Peru is going to celebrate its 200th anniversary of independence on 28 July, the country has suffered from political instability, division, and social and economic strife, with deep demographic-territorial imbalances for almost two centuries, according to the sociologist.

​Implementation of the neoliberal economic model in the last three decades has proven ineffective and aggravated matters even further, Mamani says. According to him, Peru has turned into a mere supplier of raw materials, while any initiatives aimed at launching sovereign industrial projects employing the country’s strategic resources of copper, lithium, etc. have been prevented.

“There can be no political sovereignty without economic sovereignty, and this will never be possible or true without a clear industrial project, which takes us out of the periphery of the world and allows us to be what we really should be: a powerful country,” the analyst insists.

However, Castillo is unlikely to carry out an economic transformation of that magnitude, according to Mamani. On the one hand, hard left and progressive globalists in the president-elect’s entourage could hinder such attempts, he believes.

On the other hand, a fierce opposition from the Congress of the Republic of Peru as well as the Armed Forces (and especially the Navy), could undermine Castillo’s reformist agenda, the sociologist says, referring to speculations about a possible coup d’etat.

© REUTERS / GERARDO MARIN
Peru’s presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori (C), with first vice presidential candidate Luis Galarreta (L) and second vice presidential candidate Patricia Juarez, reacts at a news conference the day after a run-off election, in Lima, Peru June 7, 2021.

Fujimori’s Chances of Upending Castillo’s Victory

Meanwhile, Castillo’s political rival, Keiko Fujimori is fighting tooth and nail to overhaul the results of the presidential election.

The right-wing presidential candidate is a daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori who is serving a 25-year sentence for corruption and human rights abuses, notes Gonzalo Fiore Viani: “During the campaign she had assured that she would pardon her father if she was elected president,” he adds.

Despite this controversial record, she is popular with a considerable part of the population.

“While Castillo took the south-central area of the country with percentages of up to 80 percent, Keiko won by a wide margin in the center-west: Lima and Callao, the two cities with the most voters in Peru,” Viani notes.

© REUTERS / ALESSANDRO CINQUE
A supporter of Peru’s right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori, who will face opponent socialist candidate Pedro Castillo in a run-off vote on June 6, holds a photograph of Keiko Fujimori’s father, Peru’s former President Alberto Fujimori, during a political rally, in Lima, Peru May 15, 2021.

In addition, a novelty for Keiko’s latest campaign is that she commands support from all Peruvian elites, including writer, college professor and Nobel Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, who previously opposed “Fujimorism,” says the Argentine author.

Llosa threw his weight behind Keiko at the same time denouncing Pedro Castillo a “danger to democracy” because of the latter’s political and economic proposals, according to Viani.

“Remarkably, shortly before the elections, practically all of the liberal-progressive media were openly critical of Fujimorism, but once in the middle of the electoral contest they paradoxically shifted their support to Keiko Fujimori by initiating a media demolition campaign against Professor Castillo,” says Carlos Mamani Aliaga.

Meanwhile, losing is obviously not an option for Fujimori given that a series of lawsuits for alleged corruption cases is haunting her, the Peruvian analyst notes. If she loses, she could face over 30 years in jail over taking money from Brazilian company Odebrecht to fund her failed presidential bids in 2011 and 2016.

​Therefore, she is playing her last cards by filing lawsuits over alleged election irregularities. Besides this, Keiko Fujimori still enjoys support from the media, Armed Forces and traditional primary-export business sectors.

It’s unclear how the situation will pan out, but it’s very likely that no matter how hard Keiko Fujimori tries to challenge the votes, Castillo will be president, Mamani suggests.

However, there could be one trump card upon Fujimori’s sleeve, according to the sociologist: Fujimori may try to delay Castillo’s triumph until 28 July. If there’s no clear winner on that day, one of the congressmen may call for new elections.

“If this is the case, Keiko Fujimori would fully comply with the following expression: ‘If the presidency is not mine, it will not be Castillo’s’,” Mamani concludes.

The People Speak (and They are Angry!)
worker | April 19, 2021 | 8:05 pm | Political Pandemonium, political struggle | Comments closed
If you sometimes think that US politicians are aliens descended from another galaxy, you are not alone… To read more, please go to: https://zzs-blg.blogspot.com/2021/04/the-people-speak-and-they-are-angry.html
Is the New Normal the Old Normal?   
worker | February 27, 2021 | 11:10 am | political struggle | Comments closed
– from Greg Godels is available at:
http://zzs-blg.blogspot.com/If you do not wish to receive these notices, e-mail: zzsblogml@gmail.com with “unsubscribe” in the subject box.
 

Today, with the left shackled to foundation grants, NGOs, and think tanks, as well as lacking the will to escape the gravity of the Democratic Party, the prospect of a truly independent political movement grows dimmer... To read more, please go to: https://zzs-blg.blogspot.com/2021/02/is-new-normal-old-normal.html

Ethics Explorer: Greg Abbott | The Texas Tribune
worker | March 3, 2018 | 8:20 pm | Local/State, political struggle | Comments closed

Governor Greg Abbott (R)

IndustryLawyer, State Government

EducationB.B.A., University of Texas at Austin; J.D., Vanderbilt University Law School

Spouse Cecilia

Financial Statements

20152014201320122011201020092008 (amended)200820072006 (amended)20062005200420032002200120001999199819971996199519941993

Tax Returns

201520142013201220112010

Sources of Income

  • In 1984, when he was 26, Abbott was struck by a falling tree limb while jogging and was partially paralyzed, requiring the use of a wheelchair. He sued the owner of the Houston property where the tree fell and won a tax-free settlement; a Houston plaintiff’s lawyer told the San Antonio Express-News in 2002 that it was more than $10 million.
  • He was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court by then-Gov. George W. Bush in 1995.
  • He was first elected attorney general in 2002, and was the longest-serving attorney general in state history before being elected governor in 2014.
  • His wife, Cecilia, serves on the board of directors for the University of St. Thomas, St. Gabriel’s Catholic School and Huston-Tillotson University, and is an honorary member on the board of the Capitol of Texas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
  • Abbott has earned income from West Services, a legal publisher, as the co-author of Texas Practice Guide: Business and Commercial Litigation.
  • Abbott owns over 10,000 shares of mutual funds with Fidelity Municipal Money Market Fund.

Property

  • His private residence has been held as confidential by the Travis County Appraisal District (meaning it is not listed by the appraisal district, as is often the case with prosecutors and law enforcement). It was last valued in 2012 by the district at $895,500. The homes on either side of Abbott’s range from $1.3 million to $2 million in value.

Analysis

  • Abbott, who settled a personal injury suit after the accident that paralyzed him, has championed tort reform, something his opponents in past attorney general campaigns have argued presents a conflict. Abbott has argued that the legal remedies available to him at the time are still available to plaintiffs today.
  • Abbott has never been required to disclose how the money in his lawsuit settlement is invested. A spokeswoman told The Texas Tribune that “Abbott fully complies with all financial reporting requirements including the listing of investments on his annual personal financial statements.”
  • In 2006, the Dallas television station WFAA-TV reported that Abbott’s campaign commercials used video footage obtained by his office using taxpayer dollars. Abbott’s campaign director defended the use of the material, telling The Associated Press that anyone can obtain the footage through an open records request.
  • As Texas neared the end of a decade-long legal fight over homeowners’ insurance rates with Farmers Insurance Group in 2013, the company’s employees PAC gave $50,000 to Abbott’s gubernatorial campaign. At the time, Abbott was the top lawyer in the state’s case against the company. Abbott’s campaign told The Texas Tribune that he did not treat donors differently when it came to applying the law and that accepting the campaign money was not a conflict of interest.
  • During Abbott’s gubernatorial campaign, the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News reported that Abbott, who signs off on Texas bond deals as attorney general, received more than $200,000 in campaign donations over the course of two years from the political branches of law firms serving as bond counsel. Abbott’s staff said the AG’s role in bond approval amounted to “a strictly legal review.”
  • The state’s consumer protection division, working under Abbott, started to pursue a lawsuit against Donald Trump’s Trump University in 2010 — but instead dropped the case when the university agreed to stop operating in Texas. A few years later, Abbott received $35,000 in campaign contributions from Trump. Critics claimed the decision to drop the suit was political. Abbott’s office said that was absurd, and noted that the donations came years after Texas forced Trump U out of the state.
  • After a Church of Scientology-backed group helped organize a campaign against it, Abbott vetoed legislation in 2015 that would have given Texas doctors more power to detain mentally ill and potentially dangerous patients. In his veto statement, Abbott said he objected to the bill because it raised “serious constitutional concerns” and that medical facilities already had options to protect the mentally ill and the public.
  • Abbott was a member of the oversight committee for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, which came under investigation in 2013 for awarding a substantial grant without going through the appropriate review process. Abbott had never attended a meeting and sent a substitute in his stead.

https://www.texastribune.org/bidness/explore/greg-abbott/

Data current as of Aug. 2, 2016

  • © 2018 The Texas Tribune
Dan Patrick mental health detailed in court depositions
worker | March 2, 2018 | 8:14 pm | Local/State, Political Pandemonium, political struggle | Comments closed
http://abc13.com/politics/dan-patrick-mental-health-records-leaked-in-last-days-of-lt-govs-race/63863/

Dan Patrick, the front-runner in what has been a brutal GOP runoff for Texas Lieutenant Governor, spent time in psychiatric hospitals in the 1980s, according to court records released to ABC-13.

Patrick’s campaign late Thursday confirmed he “sought medical attention to help him cope with mild depression and exhaustion.” The campaign also accused Patrick’s opponent in the runoff, incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst of being behind the release of the records.

Dewhurst has hit a “new low,” Patrick said, responding in a statement released late Friday.

The information about Patrick’s medical past was unearthed in a 1989 deposition from when Patrick, a former Houston sportscaster and restaurant owner, was suing a columnist for the now-closed newspaper, the Houston Post.

Patrick told attorneys in the deposition that he started seeing a psychologist in the early 1980s because he was “tired, fatigued, stressed out.”

ABC-13 also obtained records late Friday detailing Patrick’s hospital stays that appear to indicate he suffered from “acute anxiety” had “major depression” and at one point needed “sitters around the clock.”

One of those records is from a 1984 hospital stay shows a medical official’s notes quoting Patrick as saying, “Last night I did a foolish thing. I attempted suicide.”

“As I have said, I voluntarily entered the hospital twice in the 1980’s for exhaustion and to seek treatment for depression,” Patrick said in a statement late Friday. “Some of prescribed medications exacerbated my condition and created more serious problems. Through prayer and with the help of my family and physician, like millions of other American, I was able to defeat depression. I have not seen a doctor or taken any medication to treat depression in nearly 30 years…

“I am ready to serve.”

In 1982 Patrick was admitted to a short stay in Memorial City Hospital for what he called “rest, fatigue, exhaustion,” according to the deposition. He also said it was around this time that he started taking a common antidepressant medication.

In 1984, Patrick was admitted to Spring Shadows Glen, a substance abuse and psychiatric center. He said he didn’t recall psychiatric treatment there. Instead, he testified that he “Slept, basically for two weeks.”

Notes from that stay, though say that “The patient was admitted to Spring Shadows Glen after attempting suicide by overdosing and superficially slitting his wrist.”

The Patrick camp also released late Thursday a clean bill of mental health from Dr. Stephen Kramer, the psychologist who treated Patrick.

Patrick “was a patient of mine in the mid-1980s,” Kramer wrote in a 2011 letter. “He entered the hospital on a voluntary basis for the treatment of depression. The symptoms of depression decreased within a short period of time and he was discharged.”

Patrick is a Tea-Party favorite and a current state senator. Dewhurst has been lieutenant governor since 2003. Patrick bested Dewhurst in a four-candidate GOP primary in March: Patrick captured 41 percent of the vote to Dewhurst’s 28 percent.

The court documents about Patrick’s mental health past were provided to a small group of Texas media by Jerry Patterson, Texas’ land commissioner who was an unsuccessful GOP primary candidate for lieutenant governor and who now backs Dewhurst.

The Austin-based Texas Tribune reported Friday on an email some political reporters received from Patterson that suggested Dewhurst’s campaign at least knew about Patterson’s email dump to the media. Patterson denies coordinating with the Dewhurst campaign.

“Dewhurst has asked me to cease distribution of this information,” said Patterson. “He also asked me not to run against him for Lt. Gov. I didn’t really give a damn what David wanted then, and I don’t give a damn now. The voters of Texas need to know.”

Dewhurst’s campaign responded late Friday with the following statement:

    “Commissioner Jerry Patterson operates completely independently of my Campaign, and over my objections he chose to release information from Mr. Paul Harasim’s files, which are all part of the public domain. My heart goes out to Dan Patrick and his family for what they’ve endured while coping with this situation.”

Patrick did not appear to believe Dewhurst’s sincerity.

“The public response has been overwhelming,” Patrick said. “Dewhurst has been roundly criticized from all corners. On the other hand, I have received a flood of new support and encouragement – much from those Texans who have suffered from depression or had it touch their families or loved ones.

“Dewhurst started the day denying any involvement in the release of my medical records. His hapless surrogate, Jerry Patterson, removed all doubt in an afternoon email misfire where he clearly stated that it was Dewhurst’s idea. Dewhurst now tries to deny any connection to Patterson while just days ago his campaign produced a video of Patterson cleaning his guns and defaming me.

The leak also comes on the cusp of early voting for the runoff. Early voting begins May 19. Runoff Election Day is May 27.

Mark Jones, a Rice University political scientist, said the attack on Patrick my backfire.

“If anything, it’s likely to generate sympathy for someone who generally doesn’t elicit a lot of sympathy from voters,” Jones said. “Dan Patrick is seen as something of a hard, sometimes less than straightforward guy… now you’re effectively making him a sympathetic figure.”

Dr. Richard Pesikoff with the Baylor College of Medicine Department of Psychology said that while much of the stigma of mental illness and depression has been erased in recent years, it still is a confusing issue to many.

“The whole issue of mental illness is in a dark corner for some segments of the population,” he said.

Pesikoff also said that mental illness has a particular blemish for some when it comes to politics. He recalled Thomas Eagleton who, in 1972, was briefly George McGovern’s vice-presidential pick. He was asked to withdraw by the McGovern campaign after it was revealed that Eagleton was hospitalized three times for physical and nervous exhaustion.

“Eagleton got a really bad reception when he talked about his psych treatment,” Pesikoff said.

Pesikoff also pointed out that many in the U.S. and Texas have suffered from depression or mental illness.

Indeed, a 2012 National Institute of Mental Health survey shows that 18.6 percent of the country’s population has suffered from some sort of mental illness.

Political scientist Jones thinks that this latest bombshell may be a dud, like some others from the Dewhurst camp.

“David Dewhurst seems to be stuck in the eighties,” Jones said. “Every attack ad is focused on ‘Dan Patrick didn’t pay his taxes in the eighties,’ ‘Dan Patrick hired undocumented immigrants in the eighties,’ ‘Dan Patrick went into bankruptcy in the eighties,’ ‘Dan Patrick had a mental health crises in the eighties.’

“Well, it’s 2014. That was like 30 years ago.”

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Dan Patrick mental health detailed in court depositions

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Patrick blames opponent David Dewhurst for leak of mental health records, says Dewhurst ‘oozing sleaze.’

Dan Patrick, the front-runner in what has been a brutal GOP runoff for Texas Lieutenant Governor, spent time in psychiatric hospitals in the 1980s, according to court records released to ABC-13.

Patrick’s campaign late Thursday confirmed he “sought medical attention to help him cope with mild depression and exhaustion.” The campaign also accused Patrick’s opponent in the runoff, incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst of being behind the release of the records.

Dewhurst has hit a “new low,” Patrick said, responding in a statement released late Friday.

The information about Patrick’s medical past was unearthed in a 1989 deposition from when Patrick, a former Houston sportscaster and restaurant owner, was suing a columnist for the now-closed newspaper, the Houston Post.

Patrick told attorneys in the deposition that he started seeing a psychologist in the early 1980s because he was “tired, fatigued, stressed out.”

ABC-13 also obtained records late Friday detailing Patrick’s hospital stays that appear to indicate he suffered from “acute anxiety” had “major depression” and at one point needed “sitters around the clock.”

One of those records is from a 1984 hospital stay shows a medical official’s notes quoting Patrick as saying, “Last night I did a foolish thing. I attempted suicide.”

“As I have said, I voluntarily entered the hospital twice in the 1980’s for exhaustion and to seek treatment for depression,” Patrick said in a statement late Friday. “Some of prescribed medications exacerbated my condition and created more serious problems. Through prayer and with the help of my family and physician, like millions of other American, I was able to defeat depression. I have not seen a doctor or taken any medication to treat depression in nearly 30 years…

“I am ready to serve.”

In 1982 Patrick was admitted to a short stay in Memorial City Hospital for what he called “rest, fatigue, exhaustion,” according to the deposition. He also said it was around this time that he started taking a common antidepressant medication.

In 1984, Patrick was admitted to Spring Shadows Glen, a substance abuse and psychiatric center. He said he didn’t recall psychiatric treatment there. Instead, he testified that he “Slept, basically for two weeks.”

Notes from that stay, though say that “The patient was admitted to Spring Shadows Glen after attempting suicide by overdosing and superficially slitting his wrist.”

The Patrick camp also released late Thursday a clean bill of mental health from Dr. Stephen Kramer, the psychologist who treated Patrick.

Patrick “was a patient of mine in the mid-1980s,” Kramer wrote in a 2011 letter. “He entered the hospital on a voluntary basis for the treatment of depression. The symptoms of depression decreased within a short period of time and he was discharged.”

Patrick is a Tea-Party favorite and a current state senator. Dewhurst has been lieutenant governor since 2003. Patrick bested Dewhurst in a four-candidate GOP primary in March: Patrick captured 41 percent of the vote to Dewhurst’s 28 percent.

The court documents about Patrick’s mental health past were provided to a small group of Texas media by Jerry Patterson, Texas’ land commissioner who was an unsuccessful GOP primary candidate for lieutenant governor and who now backs Dewhurst.

The Austin-based Texas Tribune reported Friday on an email some political reporters received from Patterson that suggested Dewhurst’s campaign at least knew about Patterson’s email dump to the media. Patterson denies coordinating with the Dewhurst campaign.

“Dewhurst has asked me to cease distribution of this information,” said Patterson. “He also asked me not to run against him for Lt. Gov. I didn’t really give a damn what David wanted then, and I don’t give a damn now. The voters of Texas need to know.”

Dewhurst’s campaign responded late Friday with the following statement:

    “Commissioner Jerry Patterson operates completely independently of my Campaign, and over my objections he chose to release information from Mr. Paul Harasim’s files, which are all part of the public domain. My heart goes out to Dan Patrick and his family for what they’ve endured while coping with this situation.”

Patrick did not appear to believe Dewhurst’s sincerity.

“The public response has been overwhelming,” Patrick said. “Dewhurst has been roundly criticized from all corners. On the other hand, I have received a flood of new support and encouragement – much from those Texans who have suffered from depression or had it touch their families or loved ones.

“Dewhurst started the day denying any involvement in the release of my medical records. His hapless surrogate, Jerry Patterson, removed all doubt in an afternoon email misfire where he clearly stated that it was Dewhurst’s idea. Dewhurst now tries to deny any connection to Patterson while just days ago his campaign produced a video of Patterson cleaning his guns and defaming me.

The leak also comes on the cusp of early voting for the runoff. Early voting begins May 19. Runoff Election Day is May 27.

Mark Jones, a Rice University political scientist, said the attack on Patrick my backfire.

“If anything, it’s likely to generate sympathy for someone who generally doesn’t elicit a lot of sympathy from voters,” Jones said. “Dan Patrick is seen as something of a hard, sometimes less than straightforward guy… now you’re effectively making him a sympathetic figure.”

Dr. Richard Pesikoff with the Baylor College of Medicine Department of Psychology said that while much of the stigma of mental illness and depression has been erased in recent years, it still is a confusing issue to many.

“The whole issue of mental illness is in a dark corner for some segments of the population,” he said.

Pesikoff also said that mental illness has a particular blemish for some when it comes to politics. He recalled Thomas Eagleton who, in 1972, was briefly George McGovern’s vice-presidential pick. He was asked to withdraw by the McGovern campaign after it was revealed that Eagleton was hospitalized three times for physical and nervous exhaustion.

“Eagleton got a really bad reception when he talked about his psych treatment,” Pesikoff said.

Pesikoff also pointed out that many in the U.S. and Texas have suffered from depression or mental illness.

Indeed, a 2012 National Institute of Mental Health survey shows that 18.6 percent of the country’s population has suffered from some sort of mental illness.

Political scientist Jones thinks that this latest bombshell may be a dud, like some others from the Dewhurst camp.

“David Dewhurst seems to be stuck in the eighties,” Jones said. “Every attack ad is focused on ‘Dan Patrick didn’t pay his taxes in the eighties,’ ‘Dan Patrick hired undocumented immigrants in the eighties,’ ‘Dan Patrick went into bankruptcy in the eighties,’ ‘Dan Patrick had a mental health crises in the eighties.’

“Well, it’s 2014. That was like 30 years ago.”

Producer: Trent Seibert

Dan Patrick mental health detailed in court depositions

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Patrick blames opponent David Dewhurst for leak of mental health records, says Dewhurst ‘oozing sleaze.’

Dan Patrick, the front-runner in what has been a brutal GOP runoff for Texas Lieutenant Governor, spent time in psychiatric hospitals in the 1980s, according to court records released to ABC-13.

Patrick’s campaign late Thursday confirmed he “sought medical attention to help him cope with mild depression and exhaustion.” The campaign also accused Patrick’s opponent in the runoff, incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst of being behind the release of the records.

Dewhurst has hit a “new low,” Patrick said, responding in a statement released late Friday.

The information about Patrick’s medical past was unearthed in a 1989 deposition from when Patrick, a former Houston sportscaster and restaurant owner, was suing a columnist for the now-closed newspaper, the Houston Post.

Patrick told attorneys in the deposition that he started seeing a psychologist in the early 1980s because he was “tired, fatigued, stressed out.”

ABC-13 also obtained records late Friday detailing Patrick’s hospital stays that appear to indicate he suffered from “acute anxiety” had “major depression” and at one point needed “sitters around the clock.”

One of those records is from a 1984 hospital stay shows a medical official’s notes quoting Patrick as saying, “Last night I did a foolish thing. I attempted suicide.”

“As I have said, I voluntarily entered the hospital twice in the 1980’s for exhaustion and to seek treatment for depression,” Patrick said in a statement late Friday. “Some of prescribed medications exacerbated my condition and created more serious problems. Through prayer and with the help of my family and physician, like millions of other American, I was able to defeat depression. I have not seen a doctor or taken any medication to treat depression in nearly 30 years…

“I am ready to serve.”

In 1982 Patrick was admitted to a short stay in Memorial City Hospital for what he called “rest, fatigue, exhaustion,” according to the deposition. He also said it was around this time that he started taking a common antidepressant medication.

In 1984, Patrick was admitted to Spring Shadows Glen, a substance abuse and psychiatric center. He said he didn’t recall psychiatric treatment there. Instead, he testified that he “Slept, basically for two weeks.”

Notes from that stay, though say that “The patient was admitted to Spring Shadows Glen after attempting suicide by overdosing and superficially slitting his wrist.”

The Patrick camp also released late Thursday a clean bill of mental health from Dr. Stephen Kramer, the psychologist who treated Patrick.

Patrick “was a patient of mine in the mid-1980s,” Kramer wrote in a 2011 letter. “He entered the hospital on a voluntary basis for the treatment of depression. The symptoms of depression decreased within a short period of time and he was discharged.”

Patrick is a Tea-Party favorite and a current state senator. Dewhurst has been lieutenant governor since 2003. Patrick bested Dewhurst in a four-candidate GOP primary in March: Patrick captured 41 percent of the vote to Dewhurst’s 28 percent.

The court documents about Patrick’s mental health past were provided to a small group of Texas media by Jerry Patterson, Texas’ land commissioner who was an unsuccessful GOP primary candidate for lieutenant governor and who now backs Dewhurst.

The Austin-based Texas Tribune reported Friday on an email some political reporters received from Patterson that suggested Dewhurst’s campaign at least knew about Patterson’s email dump to the media. Patterson denies coordinating with the Dewhurst campaign.

“Dewhurst has asked me to cease distribution of this information,” said Patterson. “He also asked me not to run against him for Lt. Gov. I didn’t really give a damn what David wanted then, and I don’t give a damn now. The voters of Texas need to know.”

Dewhurst’s campaign responded late Friday with the following statement:

    “Commissioner Jerry Patterson operates completely independently of my Campaign, and over my objections he chose to release information from Mr. Paul Harasim’s files, which are all part of the public domain. My heart goes out to Dan Patrick and his family for what they’ve endured while coping with this situation.”

Patrick did not appear to believe Dewhurst’s sincerity.

“The public response has been overwhelming,” Patrick said. “Dewhurst has been roundly criticized from all corners. On the other hand, I have received a flood of new support and encouragement – much from those Texans who have suffered from depression or had it touch their families or loved ones.

“Dewhurst started the day denying any involvement in the release of my medical records. His hapless surrogate, Jerry Patterson, removed all doubt in an afternoon email misfire where he clearly stated that it was Dewhurst’s idea. Dewhurst now tries to deny any connection to Patterson while just days ago his campaign produced a video of Patterson cleaning his guns and defaming me.

The leak also comes on the cusp of early voting for the runoff. Early voting begins May 19. Runoff Election Day is May 27.

Mark Jones, a Rice University political scientist, said the attack on Patrick my backfire.

“If anything, it’s likely to generate sympathy for someone who generally doesn’t elicit a lot of sympathy from voters,” Jones said. “Dan Patrick is seen as something of a hard, sometimes less than straightforward guy… now you’re effectively making him a sympathetic figure.”

Dr. Richard Pesikoff with the Baylor College of Medicine Department of Psychology said that while much of the stigma of mental illness and depression has been erased in recent years, it still is a confusing issue to many.

“The whole issue of mental illness is in a dark corner for some segments of the population,” he said.

Pesikoff also said that mental illness has a particular blemish for some when it comes to politics. He recalled Thomas Eagleton who, in 1972, was briefly George McGovern’s vice-presidential pick. He was asked to withdraw by the McGovern campaign after it was revealed that Eagleton was hospitalized three times for physical and nervous exhaustion.

“Eagleton got a really bad reception when he talked about his psych treatment,” Pesikoff said.

Pesikoff also pointed out that many in the U.S. and Texas have suffered from depression or mental illness.

Indeed, a 2012 National Institute of Mental Health survey shows that 18.6 percent of the country’s population has suffered from some sort of mental illness.

Political scientist Jones thinks that this latest bombshell may be a dud, like some others from the Dewhurst camp.

“David Dewhurst seems to be stuck in the eighties,” Jones said. “Every attack ad is focused on ‘Dan Patrick didn’t pay his taxes in the eighties,’ ‘Dan Patrick hired undocumented immigrants in the eighties,’ ‘Dan Patrick went into bankruptcy in the eighties,’ ‘Dan Patrick had a mental health crises in the eighties.’

“Well, it’s 2014. That was like 30 years ago.”

Producer: Trent Seibert