Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Truest statement of the week

Late last week, Politico published an article that in the headline alone referred to Tara Reade as a “manipulative, deceitful, user” who “left a trail of aggrieved acquaintances.” It had all the framing of a bombshell report, and the dramatic intensity of an old-school TV detective slamming shut a case file. Yet the piece itself failed to deliver any evidence around Reade’s allegation of sexual assault against Joe Biden. Instead, it put another subject under the magnifying glass: Reade’s economic stability. The “aggrieved acquaintances” were but a handful of former landlords. The damning behavior behind the trumpeted claim of dishonesty and wrongdoing? Reade allegedly struggled to pay her rent, and sometimes she pleaded for her landlords’ sympathy.
This is not a bombshell report. Instead, the article is a smear job that digs up details from Reade’s personal life that are unrelated to her sexual assault allegations. This may not be so egregious as the defense attorney who puts an accuser’s sexual history or style of dress on trial, but it engages in the same kind of character assassination supported by the myth of the “perfect victim.” In this case, Reade’s economic class is Exhibit A.
Reporters have doggedly tried to corroborate Reade’s allegation that Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993 when she was a staff assistant in his Senate office. This is the critical task facing journalists reporting on sexual assault: knocking on doors, digging up documents, corroborating accounts, and asking oftentimes painful questions, all in service of responsibly detailing a sexual assault allegation. Reporters have, reasonably, approached this task from different angles: For example, PBS News Hour recently interviewed 74 former Biden staffers, finding that none reported personally experiencing sexual harassment or assault. However, the coverage also noted that these staffers’ “experiences do not disprove” Reade’s accusation.
The PBS News Hour article was centered around Reade’s allegation, though. The Politico report is not. It digs up a few landlords from Reade’s past, all but one of whom have bad things to say about their prior tenant. (The one landlord who calls Reade “a wonderful person” does not get prime placement in the piece.) There are allegations of missed rent payments, requests to borrow money, and pleas for sympathy. Around those concrete allegations of financial trouble—which are unrelated to one’s capacity to credibly make an allegation of sexual assault—are subjective character assessments from prior landlords, all of which relate to their financial interests.

-- Tracy Clark-Flory, "Tara Reade's Landlords Are Irrelevant" (JEZEBEL). 

Truest statement of the week II

While people of good will sincerely debate, the black political class does everything in its power to make sure that nothing much is accomplished at all. The Congressional Black Caucus pulled out their kente cloth prop and added taking a knee with Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer in one of the worst photo opportunities of all time.
They are proposing reforms which will never be approved by the Republican controlled Senate or Donald Trump. They are also keeping their police-empowering Protect and Serve Act in place. Protect and Serve makes assaulting a police officer a federal offense, and nearly every victim of police violence is again victimized by this spurious charge.
The chicanery must be pointed out, yet it must be acknowledged that changes are far reaching and events are occurring which no one would have predicted just a few months ago. Kente cloth charlatans are not only the ones being exposed. When New York City mayor Bill deBlasio’s daughter was arrested at a protest the police union revealed her name to the press in an effort to embarrass him. In return, deBlasio defended cops who drove vehicles into a crowd, beat protesters and bystanders alike, and even arrested legal observers from the National Lawyers Guild. 
In response, New York City employees signed an open letter  to the mayor condemning his supine support of a police department which hates him. They broke every rule of politics and conventional wisdom given to employees anywhere. The dictum of never criticizing a boss has gone out the window along with everything else.

-- Margaret Kimberley, "Freedom Rider: Rebellion, Confusion, Scoundrels and Kente Cloth" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).  

A note to our readers

Hey --


Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,

Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen, 
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Remember Iraq?

The Iraq War continues.  And there's a lot going on in Iraq.  Some of the issues?  We're reposting the June 15th Iraq snapshot to note some of the issues.

Iraq snapshot

Monday, June 15, 2020.  Turkey continues to carry out terrorist bombings on Iraq, Mustafa finds an apparent patsy, Julian Assange is back in the news and much more.

Iraq is the land of unemployment and now it's only more so.

The protests that began September 30th had to do with corruption and the lack of dependable public services -- electricity, potable water etc.  It also had to do with the lack of jobs.

Now 10,000 oil workers have been laid off which just makes things worse.

That's Iraq's new prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on his recent trip to Mosul talking about jobs and other issues.  

A new International Organization for Migration (IOM) report sheds light on the negative impact the coronavirus has had on the Iraqi economy. The intergovernmental organization said that restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the pandemic will continue to hurt small and medium-sized businesses in Iraq.
“The already dire situation is likely to deteriorate and become even more challenging for job and economic opportunity creation,” the IOM said in the report. “Livelihoods have been widely disrupted across the country, driven primarily by movement restrictions."
The IOM is a “related organization” of the United Nations and works closely with the international body on migration and displacement issues. Its Enterprise Development Fund supports job creation and economic growth in Iraq. The country hosts more than a million internally displaced persons and refugees. The fund was responsible for the report.
Iraq went into a lockdown in March when its number of confirmed coronavirus cases was still relatively low. Only essential businesses like supermarkets and pharmacies remained open. The country then eased restrictions in late April. Late last month, Iraq returned to a full lockdown after a surge in cases.
The report based its findings on data collected in April from small and medium-sized enterprises in the manufacturing, food, retail, service and other sectors. Small and medium-sized enterprises are independent firms that do not rely on subsidies and have a few hundred employees or less.

Iraq went into a lockdown in March . . . and that lockdown continues as this AP video report from last week makes clear.

There is so much to protest in Iraq.  There's Operation Claw-Eagle, for example.  That's the latest name the Turkish government has given to their terrorism of Iraq.  For years, going back to when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House, the government of Turkey has been bombing northern Iraq.  The Turkish government gave the US government a location near the border to build a CIA outpost that allows them to monitor northern Iraq.  The US government does not trust the Kurds -- that's why they screw them over repeatedly.  The CIA deal was during the White House occupation of Bully Boy Bush.

Barack Obama and Donald Trump have both been president since.  Neither has bothered to object to the terrorism the Turkish government continues to carry out.  It is a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.  Despite the claims that the strikes are 'precision' and only take out 'terrorists,' many civilians and animals (livestock) have been killed in these strikes.

For example?

Dropping back to May 30th:

The government of Turkey continues to terrorize the Iraqi people.  For years now, they have been ignoring Iraq's sovereignty and bombing the country of Iraq.  These bombings have resulted in many dead.  Seth J. Frantzman (JERUSALEM POST) reports:

Turkish airstrikes killed civilians on Saturday, days after another set of airstrikes killed members of a far-left Iranian dissident group in the mountains of the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. The attacks appear to represent an increase in Ankara’s use of drones and airstrikes against Kurdish groups. Ankara claims these groups, linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) are “terrorists” but presents no evidence that any of them are involved in “terror.”

The PKK is one of many Kurdish groups which supports and fights for a Kurdish homeland. Aaron Hess (International Socialist Review) described them in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk." The Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq has been a concern to Turkey because they fear that if it ever moves from semi-autonomous to fully independent -- such as if Iraq was to break up into three regions -- then that would encourage the Kurdish population in Turkey. For that reason, Turkey is overly interested in all things Iraq. So much so that they signed an agreement with the US government in 2007 to share intelligence which the Turkish military has been using when launching bomb raids. However, this has not prevented the loss of civilian life in northern Iraq. Aaron Hess noted, "The Turkish establishment sees growing Kurdish power in Iraq as one step down the road to a mass separatist movement of Kurds within Turkey itself, fighting to unify a greater Kurdistan. In late October 2007, Turkey's daily newspaper Hurriyet accused the prime minister of the KRG, Massoud Barzani, of turning the 'Kurdish dream' into a 'Turkish nightmare'."

Frantzman notes, "Iraq has complained to Ankara about the airstrikes but Ankara acts with impunity and international organizations that usually monitor human rights refuse to critique Turkey or visit the areas of the drone strikes." 

This morning, Zhelwan Z. Wali (RUDAW) notes the Turkish government is yet again claiming that they targeted terrorists, however . . . :

 PKK-linked Firat News Agency claimed the strikes targeted a refugee camp and a hospital. 
“ The Turkish state has launched a wave of air raids in southern Kurdistan, northern Iraq tonight. The strikes targeted several positions in the regions of Qandil, Maxmur (Makhmour) and Shengal (Sinjar), including a refugee camp and hospital,” it said.
Makhmour camp hosts more than 12,000 Kurdish refugees who have fled persecution by the Turkish state, largely in the 1990s. The camp has a governing council and an armed force, the Makhmour Protection Units, established in 2014 when Islamic State (ISIS) militants attacked the area. The units are believed to have ties to the PKK.
Bedran Pirani, co-mayor of the Makhmour Camp Municipality, told Rudaw that strikes near the camp left several children unconscious, who were then rushed to hospital.

"The airstrikes lasted an hour from 12:10am to 01:10am. They were a large number of unmanned drones and jets hovering overhead," Pirani said.

 The Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC) condemned on Monday the Turkish airstrikes against suspected positions of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in several areas in northern Iraq.
A JOC statement said that 18 Turkish warplanes carried out a series of airstrikes late on Sunday night on refugee camps in Sinjar, some 100 km west of Nineveh's provincial capital Mosul, and Makhmour, about 60 km southeast of Mosul.
The Turkish warplanes also flew over the areas of al-Kuwayr, Erbil and al-Shirqat, with 193 km deep inside the Iraqi territories, the statement said.
The JOC described the Turkish airstrikes as "provocative act and is inconsistent with the good-neighborliness in accordance with international conventions and is a flagrant violation of Iraqi sovereignty."
Iraq called on Turkey to stop the violation of Iraqi territories and said that it is "fully prepared for cooperation between the two countries to control the security situations on the common borders," the statement added. 
When will other government join the Iraqi one in condemning the terrorism that Turkey continues to carry out?  When will Turkey be forced to respect Iraq's sovereignty?

When will trash outlets like BLOOMBERG stop referring to these acts of terrorism as "a show of military might"? 

Turkey bombs PKK in northern Iraq as Kurds attempt pro-democracy protests
The attack began hours before public protests in Turkey led by the country’s main pro-Kurdish political party, which were due to start on Monday.

How many have to be wounded or killed before the people of the world can find the courage to condemn these terrorist attacks carried out by the Turkish government?

BBC News (link has text and video) reports on last night's bombing, "An air strike by Turkish warplanes near a Kurdish village close to the border with Iraq has left 35 people dead, officials say. One report said that smugglers had been spotted by unmanned drones and were mistaken for Kurdish rebels." Reuters quotes Uludere Mayor Fehmi Yaman explaining that they have recovered 30 corpses, all smugglers, not PKK, and he declares, "This kind of incident is unacceptable. They were hit from the air." AFP adds, "Local security sources said the dead were among a group smuggling gas and sugar into Turkey from northern Iraq and may have been mistaken for Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels."

How long?  How high must the death toll reach before the global community calls for these acts of terrorism to end?

May 7th, Mustafa became the new prime minister of Iraq.  In the lead up to this, he promised (in April) that his government would address the murder of protesters.  And now?  AL-MONITOR notes the government is trumpeting one arrest -- their only arrest so far:

Defense Ministry Spokesman Yehia Rasool confirmed to Al-Monitor that the suspect, identified only as Al Jurithi, is suspected of killing a protester in Baghdad and threatening others. He also confessed to rioting, burning property and striking security forces, and he was arrested under the direction of new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
Sweeping anti-government demonstrations broke out in October 2019, aimed at dismantling the political establishment and bringing attention to government corruption, poor public services and high unemployment. Rights groups accused security forces of using violent tactics to suppress the unrest, including firing live ammunition at peaceful protesters.   
In documenting the deaths of 490 protesters, the United Nations wrote in a report last month that the “absence of accountability for these acts continues to contribute to the pervasive environment of impunity.” The UN also reported 33 activists were assassinated and at least 99 people had been abducted. 
The widespread protests prompted the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi in late November 2019. Some five months later, Kadhimi was sworn in as his successor, bringing an end to the political deadlock. 
Security forces are responsible for the killings and for injuring protesters and for disappearing protesters.  It appears the government has either found a patsy or the lone killer that was not connected to the security forces.  All the empty talk talk talk from Mustafa.  One arrest.  That's all he can muster. 

A spike in violations of the right to free expression during widespread protests at the end of the former government’s term in office and during the Covid-19 pandemic underscores the need for Iraq’s new government to reform its laws, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Iraqi authorities, including in the Kurdistan Region, have routinely used vaguely worded laws to bring criminal charges against people who express opinions they dislike.

The 42-page report, “‘We Might Call You in at Any Time’: Free Speech Under Threat in Iraq,” examines a range of defamation and incitement legal provisions that authorities have used against critics, including journalists, activists, and other dissenting voices. The Iraqi and Kurdistan Region parliaments should replace criminal defamation articles in the Penal Code with civil defamation penalties and amend laws that limit free speech to comply with international law. Given Mustafa Al-Kadhimi’s new role as prime minister and his stated willingness since taking office to address some of Iraq’s most serious human rights challenges, the government has a unique opportunity to tackle over a decade of free speech restrictions.

“The Covid-19 pandemic highlights the vital and sometimes lifesaving role of a robust and inquisitive press and social media,” said Belkis Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Iraqi leaders should commit to fostering respect for international law as a way to better inform and protect their people.”

Human Rights Watch examined 33 cases involving the prosecution of 21 activists and 14 journalists who suffered attacks, 13 cases involving support of protest activities over social media, and 7 involving coverage of government corruption in mainstream or social media. None of the cases from Baghdad-controlled areas occurred since the current prime minister and government took office.

Iraq’s Penal Code, which dates back to 1969, includes numerous defamation “crimes” such as “insult[ing] the Arab community” or any government official, regardless of whether the statement is true. Although few people serve prison time for defamation, the criminal process itself acts as a punishment. Reporting on abuses by the security forces or about corruption is especially risky.

Haitham Sulaiman, 48, a protest movement organizer, in an April 6, 2020 Facebook post called on the Muthana governor to investigate allegations of health department corruption linked to the purchase of Covid-19 masks. He was arrested on April 10, beaten, and forced to sign a document stating that the United States had bankrolled the protest movement.

In 2014, the Communications and Media Commission, “an independent institution” linked to the parliament, issued “mandatory” guidelines to regulate media “during the war on terror,” which were updated and renamed the “Media Broadcasting Rules” in 2019 and are still in place today. Human Rights Watch was unable to determine any legal basis for the guidelines or the agency’s actions.

Following the start of widespread protests in October 2019, the authorities ordered the closure of 8 television and 4 radio stations for 3 months for allegedly violating media licensing rules, based on the guidelines, and issued warnings to 5 other broadcasters over their coverage. Unidentified armed men raided and damaged the offices of at least three news outlets in October. In early April 2020, the commission suspended Reuters’ license and fined it 25 million IQD (US$21,000) for an April 2 article alleging that the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country was much higher than official statistics indicated. The authorities lifted the suspension on April 19.

Kurdistan regional authorities are using the region’s penal code, Press Law, and Law to Prevent the Misuse of Telecommunications Equipment to curb free speech. A 40-year-old man was arrested after he live-streamed a demonstration on the morning of January 26, 2019 and charged with Penal Code and Telecommunications Law violations. A judge dismissed the charges and authorities released him after 29 days in custody.

Interviewees who had been criminally charged felt that the prosecutions were to intimidate critics. Eleven said they did not hear from the prosecution for extended periods, leaving them unsure of whether the cases were still active. One said “When the Asayish [Kurdish security forces] released me after I paid a fee on March 10, 2019, they told me, ‘We might call you in at any time.’”

Eleven said security forces had ill-treated them at the time of arrest or in detention. All 14 journalists and 4 activists interviewed said they regularly received threats, usually from anonymous sources by phone or social media, and sometimes from security forces or government officials. Amanj Bakir, a journalist, said that threats he received over two articles about the Kurdistan region in March have taken a toll on him.

On April 29, Human Rights Watch wrote to the Iraqi government and Kurdistan Regional Government soliciting information regarding the cases documented in the report. While the authorities in Baghdad did not respond by the time of publication, the Kurdistan Regional Government responded on May 20 in a “preliminary” manner, stating that the KRG “is committed to the preservation of journalists’ rights” and would follow up with more information.

International human rights law allows for restrictions on freedom of expression to protect the reputations of others, but such restrictions must be necessary and narrowly drawn. Human Rights Watch believes that criminal penalties are always a disproportionate punishment for alleged reputational harm.

Iraqi federal and Kurdistan regional authorities should direct security forces to end intimidation, harassment, arrest, and assault of journalists and others for exercising their right to free expression and investigate credible allegations of threats or attacks by government employees or others against critics.

“Given the mistrust between civil society and the media on the one hand and authorities on the other, Iraq’s new government and Kurdish authorities should reform laws to bring them in line with international standards,” Wille said. “Getting rid of vague provisions on insults and incitement would show that the authorities are committed to protecting free speech.”

Let's wind down by noting the latest on journalist and political prisoner Julian Assange.  Paul Daley (GUARDIAN) reports:

US prosecutors have failed to include one of WikiLeaks’ most shocking video revelations in the indictment against Julian Assange, a move that has brought accusations the US doesn’t want its “war crimes” exposed in public.
Assange, an Australian citizen, is remanded and in ill health in London’s Belmarsh prison while the US tries to extradite him to face 18 charges – 17 under its Espionage Act – for conspiracy to receive, obtain and disclose classified information.
The charges relate largely to the US conduct of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including Assange’s publication of the US rules of engagement in Iraq.

The prosecution case alleges Assange risked American lives by releasing hundreds of thousands of US intelligence documents.

Dean Yates was the head of REUTERS' Baghdad beureau when the July 12, 2007 attack took place killing REUTERS journalists Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh -- the attack carried out by the US government.  Daley quotes Yates stating, "What he did was 100% an act of truth-telling, exposing to the world what the war in Iraq looks like and how the US military lied … The US knows how embarrassing Collateral Murder is, how shameful it is to the military – they know that there’s potential war crimes on that tape."

Julian Assange remains persecuted by the US government.  His crime is that of journalism.  THE GUARDIAN's been hostile to Julian for some time but possibly their current press indicates that they grasp what is at stake with the US efforts to criminalize journalism?

In another article, Daley focuses on Dean Yates:

Yates, shaking his head, says: “The US assertions that Namir and Saeed were killed during a firefight was all lies. But I didn’t know that at the time, so I updated my story to take in the US military’s statement.”
[. . .]
Reuters staff had by now spoken to 14 witnesses in al-Amin. All of them said they were unaware of any firefight that might have prompted the helicopter strike.
 Yates recalls: “The words that kept forming on my lips were ‘cold-blooded murder’.”
The Iraqi staff at Reuters, meanwhile, were concerned that the bureau was too soft on the US military. “But I could only write what we could establish and the US military was insisting Saeed and Namir were killed during a clash,” Yates says.
The meeting that put him on a path of destructive, paralysing – eventually suicidal – guilt and blame “that basically f**ked me up for the next 10 years”, leaving him in a state of “moral injury”, happened at US military headquarters in the Green Zone on 25 July.

Media: Free Speech

What do we watch, what can we watch?  What do we say, what can we say?  These are questions that popped up all last week.  We felt like Carole King singing the first two lines of "It Might As Well Rain Until September" ("What should I write/What can I say").


Let's start with GONE WITH THE WIND.  We aren't fans of the 1939 film; however, we do know that some people are fans.  They consider it an epic -- we consider it an overly long film in need or pruning.  It was the biggest film of its day in terms of tickets sold.

We think it started off on the wrong foot and never could have recovered.

Vivian Leigh won an Academy Award for her performance.  She looks amazing.  Her acting?  Bette Davis played a similar role the year prior in JEZEBEL -- and also won an Academy Award.  Bette offered a layer performance.  Vivian's acting in the role would be better suited for a comedy.  Bette should have gotten the role.  Paulette Goddard also could have done a wonderful job in the role.  We're not disputing that Vivian is a strong actress, we're just saying she was a little too amused at her own work and winking at the camera.

The casting was an issue.  It wasn't the only misstep.  George Cukor was hired to direct.  After filming began, he was fired.  Why?  Gay-for-pay Clark Gable didn't care for the fact that Cukor knew of his past and that Cukor knew William Haines who was said to have been one of Gable's paying customers.  Gable had a snit fit and the gay director was fired and replaced with Victor Fleming.

The casting and the homophobia are issues.  But while people have two feet, this project had at least three and all were wrong footed.  The third one?  The source material where racism abounds and a good person of color is someone who wants to be a slave and doesn't leave even when Lincoln frees the slaves.

'Ava and C.I., you are judging the book and the film by today's standards!'

What an interesting thing to say.  How else would we judge except by our own standards?

Yes, we are aware that Margret Mitchell won a Pulitzer for writing GONE WITH THE WIND and that she won The National Book Award.  To which, like Stanley Kowalski, we say, "So what?"

So what?

Many popular books win awards and recognition that they don't deserve.  The same is true of many films.

For us, this was an unimportant film that we found racist.  That was even more true when we read Alice Walker's short story collection YOU CAN'T KEEP A GOOD WOMAN DOWN (1971) -- specifically "A Letter of the Times or Should This Sado-Masochism Be Saved?"

GONE WITH THE WIND is a racist film.  "Not for it's time!"  We're not living in that time.  The march of time is a march of progress.

Last week, the laughable HBO MAX announced it was removing GONE WITH THE WIND at least temporarily.

Guess what?  We don't agree with that.

We would prefer no one watched that film but only if they were making that choice.  We don't believe in censorship and we certainly don't believe in banning in the arts.

We'd love to tell you that was a winning argument in the talks we participated in; however, that wasn't the case.  Turns out that the blue hairs of today actually do have blue hair . . . and purple hair and hair of every color.  Somehow a very basic position, free speech, has become controversial and little discussed.

That's fine.  At its heart, America doesn't like censorship.  All this will take is a few years of addressing this issue.

But what we did find especially interesting was when the same attitude got an episode of FAWLTY TOWERS pulled.  The beloved Brit com created by John Cleese and Connie Booth saw an episode pulled -- not over comments about war -- as if -- but because of the use of the n-word.

We were surprised because here we didn't have to defend the program being censored.  FAWLTY TOWERS is beloved.  So what it really boiled down to among the people we spoke to last week was that censorship was bad when you liked the speaker and good when you didn't like the speaker.

Safe spaces, parallel play!  Let's pretend that's how the grown up world works.

Cleese launched an attack on the censors.  He said the character speaking was supposed to be an idiot so this was not endorsing these statements but mocking the people who would utter them.

That might have been why the episode was re-instated on streaming platforms (and talk of pulling it out of the boxed set were dropped).

If so, that helped no one else.

Two words: Quentin Tarantino.

How does his work survived on the John Cleese defense?

It doesn't.

A White man whose work features the n-word over and over and over and . . .

There's no reason for it and we find much of Tarantino's work inherently racist.  We would hope people would avoid it for that reason but we haven't -- and won't -- call for it to be pulled from the market.

We support free speech. Even for J.K. Rowling. In fact, especially for people like her. We'd honestly rather know who is part of today's world and who has allowed hatred to hold them back into a previous century. What is it about writing tales of magic that makes Rowling so closed to changes in the world? Last week was not Rowling's first time sporting anti-trans positions. You'd think she'd have learned -- as a greedy person bound and determined to squeeze every dime out of the Harry Potter franchise -- that each time she shoots off her mouth, she hurts her pocket book a little more. Is kindness that hard?

Rowling should be a happy person. Even with her greed, she's still one of the richest women in the world -- and the 200th most wealthy person in the UK. If that wasn't enough to make her happy, what does it take? Most trans persons are not as fortunate as she is when it comes to money. So why does she need to insult them?

A little kindness would go a long way. That said, we support her right to say as many hateful things as she desires. Again, we'd rather know when we're dealing with a vile person.

Or a whiny baby. We're up to Lady A.

Lady Antebellum is a country music group. Last week, they changed their name officially to Lady A -- a name their fans had been using for years. The group noted that events in the country had forced them to look at the roots of their group's name, that they are in this world to bring joy and not pain, so they would be changing their name officially to Lady A. Saturday night, we saw the group on the show OPRY -- a performance from a few years back. Other than that, we only know them from "Blue Water" -- their duet with Stevie Nicks.

After the group announced the change, the world learned of Anita White. Who? Exactly.

She's a blues singer who has been active for over 30 years and never achieved any fame or anything at all. She gets work in Seattle, if not across the state of Washington. No, Seattle isn't the home of the blues.

So Anita White's been performing under the name Lady A. And?

She thinks she owns it. She never copyrighted it. Cher doesn't throw a fit every time someone mentions Cher Lloyd. More to the point, Lady A? Clearly Anita was trying to trade on Billie Holiday (Lady Day).

Again, she's achieved nothing in her career, such as it is and has been. But she's having a snit fit that Lady A is being used by someone else. It's not right, she insists. It's also not her name.

Like Rowling, she's got a case of the bitters. She should be doing cartwheels. For 61 years, the world has ignored her. She got a little bit of press last week. She should be grateful.

Vanessa Williams was born with that name. She was also famous, via Miss America, before the other Vanessa Williams, the MELROSE PLACE actress who now goes by Vanessa Estelle Williams. But for a long time, there were two Vanessa Williams and neither threw a snit fit in public. This despite the fact that both women were born with that name -- which puts them way ahead of Anita White.

 Reality for Anita, at 62, you've probably achieved all you're ever going to achieve.  Not stardom, not legendary status, just a working singer.  If you had any brains, you'd be using this opportunity to promote your album by not coming off so bitter.  Bitter's not going to sell your new album.  Finding the whole thing amusing in interviews, having a good laugh in them?  That might help the album sell, might raise some interest in you.  But your case of the bitters?  Just makes you look like a never-was who is desperate to hold on by any means necessary.  Hold on to what?  A dream that never came true.

And we're not calling for Anita to cease and desist.  Free speech means she can practice avoidance while she uses America as her therapist.  Free speech also means she can make herself an appealing personality who might finally be able to really reach an audience.

Free speech.  There are a lot of questions out there.  Though we sometimes wish people would use their words better, we always support free speech.


Jim: Roundtable time again. .  Remember our e-mail address is thethirdestatesundayreview@yahoo.com and you can also reach us at common_ills@yahoo.com.  Participating in our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.


Jim (Con't): Consider this the Tara Reade roundtable.  Tara has stated Joe Biden assaulted her in 1993. A Patsy e-mails to say we've walked away from Tara Reade and don't believe her.

Ava: Garbage. I'm not in the mood for that nonsense. We did not walk away. And let's be clear, we don't owe anyone s**t. We defended her and will continue to do so. But no one did more than C.I. and while Tara would retweet this person or that person. I'm sorry but C.I. covered her every day for two months. There wasn't a day that went by that she didn't cover Tara. Tara never retweeted C.I. So this idea that anyone's owed anything really ticks me off. And I'm really getting pissed at people who think they are owed something. We're in the midst of a pandemic, get a damn grip already.  We are doing all we can.

C.I.: I agree with Ava but let me add for anyone not clear on this, I have vision issues and will have surgery on my eyes in November.  Due to underlying issues, we can't do it sooner.  I also have to not have a flare up in the meantime or be under too much stress -- yeah, that'll happen.  In addition, I'm back on the chemo.  Point being, we've done all we can, stop demanding that we do this or that.  I'm not in the mood to even be online these days but I'm here every damn day.  If I'm not giving you everything you, oh well, too bad.  I'm not in the mood.  I've given everything and then some. And it's not my job to call anyone who happens to read something I wrote.  It's certainly not my job to call someone I know who has their assistant contact me.  I'm not in the mood.  You want to read, read.  You want to criticize, have at it.  But that's it.  I'm not here to make phone calls to you, I'm not here to give you an interview.  I'm not interested.  THE COMMON ILLS is a website, as is THIRD.  We write what we write, read it, criticize it, whatever.  But I do not owe you a phone call, an interview or anything else.  Everything I've said is already up here. I'm dealing with my own issues how about little respect for that by not trying to impose further on me?  I don't have anything else to give and I'm really tired especially of the press inquiries.

Dona: I would agree with Ava, I would strongly agree with Ava.  I'm glad C.I. said what she just did.  We know about what's going on but it's not our place to disclose it.  C.I. truly has put everything she can into covering Tara, covering Iraq, covering whatever.  And we've noted Tara here repeatedly. Counting right now, she's been in every edition since the last Sunday in March. I know everyone participating has covered her -- even Stan who tries to stick to entertainment. After C.I., I would especially note Ann who has covered Tara and shared her own survival story in doing so. No one has walked away from Tara. I can tell you that the first thing C.I. does on the day of a snapshot is see if there's any Tara news. If there is, she'll note Tara, if not, probably not.

Jess: I'd point out that we are talking about Tara right now. And I would point out that Katie Halper, Krystal Ball, Rich McHugh, Ryan Grim and others are not. You want to talk about someone walking away, talk about them. We didn't make money off Tara. We didn't get publicity by covering Tara --

Ty: We got and we get threatening e-mails.

Jess: Exactly. Hey, Elaine, can you grab this topic? In terms of projection, etc.

Elaine: Sure. Everyone participating believes Tara's accusations are credible. We do understand that a lot of people believe her -- especially survivors and young adults -- those groups are more in tune with what assault is and with how Tara's responded.

Ann: Back up there, Elaine. You are a psychologist, so back up there and explain that in case anyone reading doesn't understand.

Elaine: Sure. There is no one type of survivor. There is no one type of response to assault. A survivor of a trauma can start out sharing sparse details and, as they grow comfortable, revealing more. The non-medically trained Michael Tracey --

Rebecca: Non-trained Michael Tracey. He doesn't appear to have any training -- not in journalism, not in anything.

Betty: Except how to be a pig.

Rebecca: Okay, I stand corrected. He was the valedictorian at PIG BOY HIGH.

Elaine: He has acted as though he has destroyed Tara's credibility. He has not. Her finances do not have a damn thing to do with whether or not she assaulted someone. Her ex-'friends' -- in air quotes -- do not have to do with the assault. Oh, she didn't pay someone back after they helped her with her electric bill -- boohoo! That has nothing to do with the assault. Michael Pig Boy thinks she's a lousy person. I haven't seen that established but that's what he thinks. So what? Lousy people don't get assaulted? Projection? That I've lost my thread on. I think we're talking about -- Jess?

Jess: No, you covered something more important, so thank you.

Mike: I want to talk substantiation. Tara has made a credible accusation. By the standards we have set for survivors who come forward after the fact -- and in any civil court, for that matter -- Tara is credible and would win. Michael Tracey keeps trying to play lawyer. He does not know the law. He did not study the law. I did. C.I. did. Jess did. Michael Tracey, if he has a degree, was probably a general studies major or, worse, a journalism major. He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything.

Dona: For any general studies majors who are offended by Mike's remark, please note that Jim, Ty and I have our degrees in journalism. Ava double majored, so the insult doesn't include her. Jess went on to law school, so it doesn't include him.

Mike: Back to my point, I said, ignoring everything else, Tara told her mother. Her mother called into LARRY KING LIVE. Her mother's dead but we do have the call. She told her brother. He backs her up. She told her boyfriend who later became his husband. He refers to this in their divorce papers. She told a friend in law school. The friend remembers it. She told a neighbor years later, the neighbor remembers it. In all she has at least 8 witnesses who state she told them about this and did so years and years and years ago. That's credible. Those are supporting witnesses. Michael Tracey is a piece of trash.

Jess: He really is. He doesn't know the law at all. As Mike pointed out, a civil court would absolutely be a slam dunk for Tara. Maybe she should sue him. I'm not joking. She might not want to and that's fine. But if she were to sue him, she'd have ample support to win.

Ava: She could win with just a YOUTUBE montage of Joe's public groping.

Ty: Yeah, Joe Biden's not a sympathetic character. Get a bunch of peace activists on the jury and he'll be the first person sentenced to prison by in a civil court case.

Rebecca: I love how his very public harassment of women is ignored by so many. Like Katha The Whore Toilet -- not Pollitt, let's call her what she is, Katha Toilet. I want a list of all the people who attacked Tara Reade. I want that list to be preserved as a historical document so that we know who to blame. Call it, "Those Who Should Never Be Trusted."

Marcia: Put Alyssa Milano on that list along with Katha Pollitt, Michael Tracey, Joan Walsh and Michelle Goldberg. I'm sure I could think of many more.

Cedric: I'm sorry but I want to talk Michael Tracey for a minute. He keeps insisting that he's shut down Tara and he's proved something. He hasn't proven anything. Now he doesn't understand the law or survivors but does he not understand his own stupid brain? He insisted that Tara hasn't proven anything. But now when he has not disproven her, he pretends he has. Do we get that? How stupid is he? Does he have a brain injury?

Marcia: Yes. Every time he farts, he gets a concussion because his head is so far up his ass.

Cedric: It must be. It really must be. He started off arguing that nothing had been proven. Then he writes his bad little article -- with passages that appear lifted from the two con artist brothers -- and he wants to pretend he's proven something. He didn't prove a damn thing.

Betty: All Michael and the others did was do what Team Clinton did to the women who came forward in the 90s. They attacked them and smeared them. They couldn't disprove the allegations so they attacked the women. Then they pretended that was proof of something.

Ruth: They bully. That is what they do. That is what the Clinton team did. They bully and they bully people into silence.

Stan: C.I. explained it long ago, they make someone toxic and then no one will say anything. They did it, for example, with Cynthia McKinney. If you stand up or if you threaten the power structure, they go after you. They made Tara toxic with their non-stop smears and then the cowards like Krystal Ball, Ryan Grim and others backed off.

Ruth: We have not backed off.

Stan: And we won't.

Ruth: I really hate Katha Toilet. Joe Biden's campaign ran an entire operation against a woman, Tara Reade. And Katha, who claims to be a feminist, would rather side with Joe Biden than with a woman who has already has been assaulted by Mr. Biden and now has been assaulted by the press. Instead of standing up for Tara Reade, Katha Toilet joined in the public stoning. She is despicable. I'm with Rebecca, we need a list.

Jim: This is a lively roundtable. I was worried, when Ava spoke at the top, that we might be done with it in about two seconds but it got going.

Ava: Which is Jim's way of saying that me and my sour mood almost tanked his precious roundtable.

Trina: Which would have been no great loss. If Tara's in the news, we cover her. We all find her to be credible. We have not walked away from the story. We are not Krystal Ball acting like the allegation never happened. But we have done our part. And if you're upset you need to be asking the Krystal Balls why they aren't covering the story.

Jim: Why aren't they?

C.I.: The allegation has not been disproven. All the Michael Traceys did was smear Tara. Nothing they have offered says her allegation isn't accurate. They're jerks who lie. Michael pretends that Tara's not credible based on his garbage. Those smears weren't about Tara. Who they exposed were the people like Michael Tracey who want to shut up a woman who's trying to talk about being raped. As for why aren't others who used to cover it covering it now? Michael's made Tara toxic and they're too scared to speak up for her. That's not the case with feminism. You'll find a growing support for Tara because this is putting her on trial and feminists know that's not how rape charges work.

Jim: Okay, this is a rush transcript. Write us at common_ills@yahoo.com because we'll see it faster. Thank you.

Joe's racism, like the rest of him, is getting old


That's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Joe The Racist" " which went up Sunday. Saturday, Betty offered "Racist Joe Biden needs to apologize and then he needs to stop offering his take on Black -- his racist take." And it's not just the two of them who are offended by Joe Biden's latest nonsense. NEWS DIO reports:

Former great NFL player Herschel Walker criticized alleged Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Saturday for comparing the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and George Floyd.
Walker was referring to a comment Biden made Thursday during a roundtable in Philadelphia, in which he said Floyd's death had a global impact more than King's murder.
"Even the murder of Dr. King did not have the global impact that George Floyd's death had," Biden said. "It is as if television changed the Civil Rights movement for the better when they saw Bull Connor and his dogs ripping the clothes off the old black women who were going to church and the firefighters ripping off the children's skin."
"What happened to George Floyd: Now you have how many people across the country, millions of cell phones," he added. "It has changed the way everyone sees this." Look at the millions of people marching around the world. "
The former Dallas Cowboys running back tweeted his displeasure.
"Someone tells @JoeBiden not to compare the deaths of Dr. King and George Floyd. He has been in office for a long time and not once has he tried to change anything for black lives. Look at their voting records! he wrote.

WBCK notes:

Many on the left are perfectly fine with Joe Biden continuing to hide in the basement of his home as he has been doing for months. Why? Because when he comes upstairs were the adults are he makes idiotic statements like when he was speaking at a roundtable discussion in Philadelphia, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president said: "even Dr. King’s assassination did not have the worldwide impact that George Floyd’s death did"
First of all, we have no idea what lasting effect his death will have to be able to compare his death to Martin Luther King Jr.’s death. Also, it was not just MLK’s assassination that had an impact on the world it was more his life and what he was attempting and did accomplish during his life. 

Joe Biden's racism is getting as old and as tired as he is. Why would you compare George Floyd to MLK to begin with?

Joe's already known for confusing Senator Cory Booker with former President Barack Obama in the July 30th debate. Do people of color all alike to him?

That's really the only explanation.

MLK was a leader. He was a spiritual leader, he was a leader for equality. He was a hero in every sense of the word and a leader on the national stage.

George Floyd is like many Americans and what happened to him, murder by the police, is horrific.

But outside of skin color what does Joe Biden think Floyd shares with MLK?

The answer is nothing.

Joe's racism also includes his efforts to attack MLK. The powers that be have long attacked MLK. This began in his lifetime when he called for actions for workers and for ending the war. That's when the corporate press washed their hands of him and began attacking. THE NEW YORK TIMES carried that attack all the way to the last decade. Gail Collins was in charge of the editorial pages when Wendy Wassertein (you're forgiven if you just asked who) and Coretta Scott King passed away. Coretta, a legendary activist, the widow of MLK. And Gail wasn't content for Wendy's death to be covered on the front page (Wendy wrote a play that won a Tony for its intentions if not for its actual execution). She also had to flood the op-ed pages -- including with a piece she wrote. But Coretta?

THE TIMES did nothing. Not one column or editorial on Coretta. They took all their hate for MLK out on his widow. After this was noted repeatedly at THE COMMON ILLS, the paper's only African-American columnist, Bob Herbert, included a paragraph on Coretta in a column. That was it for the op-ed pages of the newspaper that tried to destroy MLK.

Joe Biden's ridiculous and insulting remarks also work to downgrade and destroy MLK.

Let's keep it simple for simpleton Joe, even if Joe becomes president, Biden will never have the impact on the world that MLK did.

Joe needs to stop the racism.

Time to pull Planned Parenthood's 501 (c) (3) nonprofit status.

Yes, it's time to pull Planned Parenthood's 501(c) (3) nonprofit status.

We're not joking. We firmly support abortion. We also support campaign laws. Planned Parenthood is in violation.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America cannot, due to its tax status, engage in any electoral activities.

The Planned Parenthood Action Fund can endorse.

NPR headlines their ALL THINGS CONSIDERED report "Planned Parenthood Backs Biden, Seeing A 'Life And Death Election' Ahead." Though they note the advocacy arm endorsed, they quickly run with this:

"This is literally a life and death election," Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president of Planned Parenthood, told NPR ahead of the announcement. "We felt like we can't endure another four years of Trump; we have to do everything we can to get him out of office."

It's wink-wink at the law. It's time to pull their non-profit status. If they are not creating the wall between their organization and their advocacy, they don't deserve their current tax status and they are in violation of the law.

This edition's playlist



2) Ronnie Spector's ENGLISH HEART.

3)  Hamilton Leithauser's THE LOVES OF YOUR LIFE .


5)  Ricky Martin's PAUSA.

6) Harry Style's FINE LINE.


8) Dionne Warwick's SHE'S BACK.

9) Diana Ross' SWEPT AWAY.

Hawkins Blasts Democrats’ Rejection of “Defund the Police”

Howie Hawkins is seeking the Green Party's presidential nomination.  His campaign issued the following on Wednesday:


Howie Hawkins, howie@howiehawkins.us


(Syracuse, NY – June 10, 2020) – Howie Hawkins, the Green Party presidential candidate with a commanding lead in the party’s primaries, blasted Democratic Party leaders today for rejecting the popular demand “Defund the Police” that is being raised by the nationwide protests against police brutality and racism.
“Democratic leaders have no convictions and no backbone. A nationwide uprising for racial justice demands defund the police. Trump calls it the demand of ‘Radical Left Democrats.’ So Democratic leaders cave and join Trump in rejecting it. It’s just like their retreat from popular demands for Medicare for All and a Green New Deal because Trump called them ‘socialist’,” Hawkins said.
Joe Biden said this week he opposes defunding the police and wants to increase federal funding for them by $300 million. James Clyburn (D-SC), House Majority Whip, said demonstrators making this demand were trying to “hijack” the movement. Karen Bass (D-CA), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, called the demand a “distraction.”
“Defunding the police means to stop paying police to harass, exploit, and control poor communities of color over non-criminal behavior and low-level offenses like homelessness, drug possession, and mental health crises. It means scaling back policing to dealing with serious crimes of violence and theft. It means investing the savings in real solutions, like homes for the homeless, legalizing marijuana, and medical treatment for the addicted and mentally ill,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins noted that an analysis of FBI and national survey data by the Vera Institute for Justice found that violent offenses make up less than 5% of arrests and property crimes less than 13% of arrests by police. The study also found that about 60% of crime victims do not report their experience to the police and that the police clear less than 25% of reported crimes with arrests.
“The police are doing a terrible job solving serious crimes because they spend most of their time harassing people, particularly Black people, for non-criminal or minor violations,” Hawkins said.
“Defunding the police is just a start,” Hawkins said. “We could cut local police budgets down to the less than 20% now devoted to dealing with violent and property crimes and there still won’t be nearly enough money in savings to repair damages of the discrimination, exclusion, poverty, and economic despair that low-income communities of color have long suffered. We must demand a Marshall Plan for the Cities and an Economic Bill of Rights.”
Hawkins called for a sustained multi-trillion dollar federal investment in affordable public housing, community schools with wrap-around services, neighborhood health clinics, grocery stores in food deserts, more convenient and affordable public transit, parks and recreation programs, a job guarantee, and a guaranteed income above poverty. Hawkins’ budget for an ecosocialist Green New Deal is a 10-year, $42 trillion program to create 38 million new jobs providing these community needs as well as climate safety by rebuilding all productive systems in the economy for zero-to-negative carbon emissions and 100% clean energy by 2030.
Hawkins reiterated his support for reparations for African-Americans. He called on Congress to use the current outcry against police brutality and racism to enact the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act (H.R. 40; S. 1083).
Congressional Democrats have unfurled a Justice in Policing Act that would boost law enforcement accountability and change policing practices. Among its measures are a ban on chokeholds, money for racial bias training, ending the qualified immunity that shields police officers from personal liability in civil lawsuits, a federal registry for misconduct complaints and disciplinary actions against police, and limits on the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local police departments.
“These reforms are good as far as they go, but they do not go nearly far enough,” Hawkins said. “Police harassment and brutality persist because we allow the police to police themselves. The Justice in Policing Act does nothing to change that.”
Hawkins renewed his call for community control of the police in which elected police commissioners hire and fire police chiefs, independently investigate and punish police misconduct, oversee police budgets, and negotiate police union contracts.
“We have to democratize who governs the police so that the police work for the community instead of just themselves and the power structure’s elites,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins said the Justice in Policing Act’s grants for state Attorneys General to independently investigate and prosecute police brutality cases are a weak remedy. Hawkins has long called for a Jonny Gammage Law that would require a federal investigation and prosecution in all cases where the civil rights of a person are violated by police, including bodily injury and death.
Jonny Gammage was suffocated to death by police in October 1995 years ago just as George Floyd was on May 25. Gammage was a resident of Hawkins’ home town of Syracuse, New York. He died at the hands of suburban Pittsburgh police in a routine traffic stop while visiting his cousin, Ray Seals, who played football for the Steelers. None of the officers were convicted of any crimes. The Clinton Justice Department declined a civil rights action against them.
Hawkins said local District Attorneys are too close to local police they work with on a daily basis to have the distance and independence for impartial investigations. He said the Justice for Policing Act’s funding for voluntary investigations by state Attorneys General was too weak.
“We need mandatory federal investigations in these cases in order to break through the shielding of police misconduct by local prosecutors,” Hawkins said.

Nadia's Initiative Supports Hundreds of Female Farmers in Sinjar, Iraq

Nadia’s Initiative is excited to announce the launch of our Support to Women’s Livelihoods project that will benefit 345 female-headed farming households in Sinjar, Iraq. Nadia’s Initiative works to design sustainable development projects that are female-centric and target survivors in the Sinjar region. The aim of these projects is to strengthen the support systems for women in Sinjar and to improve the income generation capacity of women to support their livelihoods and increase their resilience. The people of Sinjar have experienced the worst crimes against humanity, and their crisis is ongoing. Women in particular have endured tremendous suffering and should now be afforded the opportunity to gain economic independence and provide for their families. Providing women with skills and support is fundamentally important to rebuilding the Yazidi community and is a crucial step to the formation of a gender-inclusive society. This project is implemented by Dorcas Aid International and is financed by the GIZ commissioned by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Urges Administration to Release Presidents’ Roadmap Addressing Veteran Suicides

From IAVA:

Pandemic Induced Spike in Mental Health Needs Underscores Importance of Government Action to Include Passage of the John Scott Hannon Act
June 5, 2020
CONTACT: press@IAVA.org

New York, NY – Fifteen months after the creation of the Administration’s PREVENTS Task Force, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is eager to review President Trump’s roadmap on preventing veteran suicide that was reportedly delayed due to the pandemic.
On March 5, 2019, President Trump signed Executive Order 13861 creating an interagency task force to lead the development and implementation of a national, comprehensive roadmap to change how our nation treats mental health and understands suicide prevention. Per EO 13861, the Task Force had a self-imposed deadline of March 5, 2020 to complete the following:
  • Develop and submit to the President the roadmap to empower veterans to pursue an improved quality of life, prevent suicide, prioritize related research activities, and strengthen collaboration across the public and private sectors.  The roadmap shall analyze opportunities to better harmonize existing efforts within Federal, State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and non-governmental entities.
  • Submit a legislative proposal to the President through the Director of the Office of Management and Budget that establishes a program for making grants to local communities to enable them to increase their capacity to collaborate with each other to integrate service delivery to veterans and to coordinate resources for veterans.
  • Develop a national research strategy to improve the coordination, monitoring, benchmarking, and execution of public- and private-sector research related to the factors that contribute to veteran suicide.
During testimony before the House Appropriations VA subcommittee last week, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie announced that the roadmap would be released on June 14th and would also include plans to combat veteran homelessness and addiction. However, that date no longer appears to be accurate and little clarity has been provided on the actual release date or plans.
“The tragedy of veteran and military suicide is a problem that is not getting better despite years of attention,” said Jeremy Butler, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “In fact, it is likely that the ongoing and pervasive effects of the coronavirus pandemic are only exacerbating an already tragic situation. We are seeing an exponential increase in the stressors that can lead to the onset and worsening of mental health conditions such as job loss, homelessness and compounding medical conditions. While it is easy to use the pandemic as an excuse to delay action, the reality is that our veterans – and the country as a whole – need increased access to and support from mental health care professionals now more than ever.”
The pandemic has spiked veteran unemployment. On top of the existing economic and social pressures veterans face, COVID-19 can mean disaster if more resources are not made available to veterans. We urge the Administration to push forward on their work to assist veterans in need, especially in this time of crisis.
While the veteran community waits for the Administration to release its overdue roadmap, IAVA has taken action to assist veterans immediately. In April, IAVA launched its Quick Reaction Force consolidated-care program. The program is geared towards providing veterans with free, anonymous, and timely assistance with a focus on easy access to care and  long-term solutions so meaningful change is made.
IAVA also urges congress to pass the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act which includes a vital provision to find and treat at-risk veterans who do not use the VA, ensuring that every veteran has access to quality resources and care. Passage of this bill would mean more could be done for veterans in addressing mental health needs.
Founded by an Iraq veteran in 2004, IAVA is the non-partisan leader inadvocacy,public awareness and1-on-1 care management and peer support. We organizelocallydrive historic impacts nationally and fight for over 400,000 veterans and their allies nationwide. If a veteran or their family is in need of assistance now, please reach out to IAVA’s Quick Reaction Force at quickreactionforce.org or 1-855-91RAPID (855-917-2743) to be connected promptly with a veteran care manager who will assist you.

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