May Newsletter

Masthead

May 2021

Newsletter

Vol. 1, No. 3

Greetings from the Co-Editor

Nearly 15% of the attempted insurrectionists on January 6 were veterans. Research is consistently indicating that the primary driver for those insurrectionists was fear of the “great replacement,” the belief that the rights of minorities will “overtake” that of Whites. One study by Chicago’s Project on Security and Threats found that for every 1% decline in a county’s White non-Hispanic population over a 5-year period, the county was 6 times more likely to send at least one insurrectionist.

For example, the Proud Boys, a far-right neo-fascist organization, actively reaches out to and recruits military-trained and police-trained individuals. Evidence indicates they were the predominant leaders of the insurrection, carefully coordinating with other “far-right extremist groups” prior to January 6. Thus far four Proud Boys have flipped and are assisting the FBI, by providing information, for instance, on how they delivered security for Trump advisor Roger Stone in the days around the insurrection.
 
In surveys the Proud Boys deny being White supremacists and stress that there is no systemic racism in America, and that Black Lives Matter (BLM) supporters and Antifa are the violent forces in the country.
 
So, where do we go from here? I see four important conclusions:
  • The ingredients currently exist for future political violence.
  • We need a thorough bipartisan investigation into the insurrection, including how it was possible that there was a 58 to 1 ratio of rioters to Capitol Police officers, and why 78 requests for backup were denied or ignored.
  • FBI, National Guard, mayors, law enforcement, the CIA, etc. need better intelligence, communications, and sounder risk analysis of right-wing extremist groups in America.
  • Research is needed to assess the extent radicalization occurs before, during, or after military service and police training.
I suspect this letter may generate a dialog, and as this newsletter is for you, please send your comments, questions, and thoughts about the letter from the co-editor and VMF-related issues to our Suggestion Box. Send us an article and tell us what you’d like us to write about in future issues, and tell us what you want us to address in our semi-monthly Caucus meetings.  

Democratically yours, Bob Gould

Sources:

Washington Post 4/6/21 What an analysis of Capitol insurrections tells us Here

Chicago’s Project on Security and Threats (CPOST) Here

Washington Post 4/15/21 Police at the Capitol Severely Disadvantaged Here

The Nation 4/7/21 The US Military Is an Extremism Incubator Here

 

 

UPCOMING GLOBAL VMF CAUCUS MEETINGS

The Global VMF Caucus Steering Committee meets every second week. All Democrats Abroad members are welcome to attend. The next two VMF meetings will be Sunday, May 23 as per Rotation A and Sunday, June 6th as per Rotation B.

UPCOMING GLOBAL VMF CAUCUS MEETINGS

Here is the login info for the Zoom Meetings:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4414855431
Meeting ID: 441 485 5431

 

May

National Military Appreciation Month

A month to recognize and show appreciation to the
Armed Forces of the United States of America

May 15 - Armed Forces Day: A day set aside to pay tribute to men and women who serve in the United States’ Armed Forces. Learn more...

Lest We Forget

May 30 - Honoring the fallen of the Forever Wars: As President Biden begins to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, we are left to recognize the sacrifices made during the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. The deaths and injuries of noncombatants, civilians who aided US forces, and our service members deserve to be remembered and held with respect. Please join us on May 30th at 5:00 am EST on Zoom for our memorial. 

May 31 - Memorial Day Ceremonies: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) organization will hold a virtual event from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (“The Wall”) in Washington, DC to honor those who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The event will start at 1:00 pm EST and last for about an hour. Learn more...

May 31 - Memorial Day (Decoration Day): A day set aside to commemorate all those who have died in military service for the United States. Typically recognized by parades, visiting memorials and cemeteries. Learn more…

 

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Where can veterans get the COVID-19 vaccine? The Dept. of Defense (DoD) is currently delivering vaccines to more than 340 sites around the globe in an effort to vaccinate all eligible DoD beneficiaries. Not all locations have reached the same phase. To find out when you can get the vaccine, contact your local U.S. military hospital or clinic here. If your local U.S. military hospital or clinic can’t schedule an appointment for you now, leave your name and contact information, if possible, and request to be contacted when the vaccine is available for you. Continue to follow your military hospital's or clinic's website, news media, or social media to stay informed about vaccine availability and updates.

June 5th - “100 Years Later: Remembering the Tulsa Race Massacre: A VMF Webinar will be held on June 5th to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Our webinar will include presentations by Steering Committee member Robert Scott (DA Germany VMF), author Hannibal Williams, and Donald Byrd’s "Greenwood" performed by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. If you would like to be added in our mailing list for this event, contact us here.

GOTV

Exercise Your Right To Vote

Remember to request your Overseas Absentee Ballot: We recommend that Americans overseas request their absentee ballots early in each calendar year using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). The FPCA must be sent in at least 45 days before the election to allow for the maximum return time. An accepted FPCA automatically requests absentee ballots for every federal election in that calendar year. Your absentee ballots must then be sent to you at least 45 days prior to elections. We also recommend that you request that your ballots be sent to you electronically to ensure that you have ample time to fill out and return them. You can access the FPCA online using Vote From Abroad or the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) websites. If you are assisting with voter registration on a military base, use the FVAP website. Otherwise, we recommend that you use Vote From Abroad.

Never resided in the United States? You can still vote unless your parents’ last residence was in one of 14 states that restrict these voting rights. To learn more, go here.

Join the DA Phonebanking Team: Sign up here.

Become a Voting Assistance Officer (VAO): The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) provides an online training module that allows you to complete training at your own pace for doing voter registration on any overseas military installation. Learn more here.

 

UPCOMING SPECIAL ELECTIONS

Source for election dates and information: Here

 

New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District Special Election June 1

Important Details:

Deadline to register: May 4 [Email, fax, or mail]

Request ballot: 

May 18 to get a ballot sent by mail [Email, fax, or mail]

May 25 to get a ballot sent by email or fax [Email, fax, or mail]

Return ballot: Must be received by June 1, 7:00 pm [Email, fax, or mail]

Florida’s 20th Congressional District Special Election

Date will be set by Governor DeSantis.

Ohio’s 11th Congressional District Special Election August 3

Important Details: Primary is August 3, General Election is Nov. 2

Registration Deadline: July 6 (primary) & Oct. 4 (general)

Absentee Voting Deadline: Nov. 1 (postmarked) & Nov. 12 (received)

Primary Elections: August 3 (General Election is Nov. 2)

Polling place hours: 6:30 am to 7:30 pm

Ohio’s 15th Congressional District Special Election

Date will be set by Governor DeWine.

 

LEGISLATION TO KNOW ABOUT

 

Bills We Are Watching Closely

Equal Rights ahead

"Equal Rights Amendment"

The ERA Task Force needs your help NOW. Call your Senators. Tell them equal rights must be anchored in our Constitution or else all could be undone by executive order. More info and scripts here.

“For the People Act

Support the House-passed H.R.1, the “For the People Act” (S.1 in the Senate). This landmark legislation protects voters from state voting list purges, expands and standardizes early voting, provides for automatic voter registration, ends gerrymandering, removes dark and foreign money from politics, and provides many other protective measures that will transform our voting landscape. It will, in many cases, reverse the Republican attacks on voting that are happening now at the state level across the U.S. Learn more here and here.

Contact Your Senators

Now is the time for us to contact our Senators! Call or write your Senators immediately and let them know that you support S.1. Links for contacting your Senators are here.

Sample Script:

“Hi, I'm {_______} and I am a constituent of Senator {____________}.

 I support both H.R.1 and S.1, the “For the People Act”, and I hope

the Senator will do everything he/she can to pass the strongest

possible bill to support voting rights.”

 

Other VMF-Related Bills to Watch                

H.R. 51: The “Washington, D.C. Admission Act” would admit the city of Washington, D.C. into the union as the 51st state and redefine the “Capitol” to a selection of streets and federal buildings where Government business is conducted. Status: Passed in the House on April 22nd and received by the Senate.

H.R.163: The “Protect Patriot Spouses Act” includes new language to allow eligible veteran spouses who have been removed or left the United States to apply for an immigrant visa and return home. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Immigration and Citizenship on March 4th.

H.R. 234: The “Korean American VALOR Act” amends existing laws to treat those members of the Republic of Korea Armed Forces who served as allies to the U.S. in the Vietnam War as full-fledged veterans of the United States Armed Forces for the purpose of granting them access to healthcare by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Status: Referred to the House Subcommittee on Health on February 17th.

H.R. 1182: The “Veteran Deportation Prevention and Reform Act” would: Shoes

1) require the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) to maintain data on potentially removable noncitizen veterans. The Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary would be directed to establish an annual training program for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel on handling noncitizen veterans;

2) direct DHS to establish a Military Family Immigration Advisory Committee that would make recommendations on whether an individual should be granted a stay of removal, deferred action, or parole, or should be removed from the country;

3) provide a streamlined pathway to citizenship for spouses and children of members of the Armed Services through a joint DoD/DHS program; and

4) require DHS to establish a program and application procedure that allows eligible veterans to be admitted as noncitizens lawfully admitted for permanent residence. It also directs the Attorney General to reopen any removal proceeding concerning any non-citizen veterans and, where appropriate, rescind any orders of removal already issued. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Armed Services (February 18th) and the House Subcommittees on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs (March 22nd) and on Immigration and Citizenship (April 28th).

H.R. 1491: The “Fair Debt Collection for Servicemembers Act” would prohibit debt collectors (credit card companies, payday lenders, etc.) from telling service members that failure to cooperate with them will result in a reduction of rank, a revocation of security clearance, or military prosecution. Status: Passed the House on April 20 and referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on April 22nd.

S. 771 / H.R. 1948: The “VA Employee Fairness Act” would ensure that the VA’s Title 38 healthcare professionals—including nurses, physicians, dentists, and physician assistants who serve our veterans— have the same workplace rights currently granted to other VA clinicians and federal employees. Status: Referred to the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs on March 16th.

S. 780: The “Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act” would provide for the admission of Puerto Rico as a state of the Union. Status: Introduced to the Senate on March 16th.

H.R. 2358: The “Voter Empowerment Act” This bill takes a comprehensive approach to closing the gaps in voting access and ensuring that every American can participate in the electoral process. Specifically, it would ensure ballots are counted from Americans serving in the military or overseas, among several other important features. Status: Referred to six House Committees on April 5th.

H.R. 2441: The “Sgt. Ketchum Rural Veterans Mental Health Act of 2021” would direct a study to assess mental health resources available to veterans who live in rural areas and would expand a program designed to serve veterans living in rural areas. Status: Referred to the House Subcommittee on Health on April 28th.

 

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Tilly Gaillard, DA France: Tilly, a member of our Steering Committee, has written articles about France's National Deportation Remembrance Day featuring WWII American members of resistance movements who were sent to concentration camps: the Jackson family, chief surgeon American Hospital, and Virginia d’Albert Lake, a school teacher from Florida who saved downed airmen. To read the articles and about the French VMF Caucus, click here.

Anthony “Mike” Nitz, DA Asia-Pacific:

“The Veteran Deportation Prevention and Reform Act Aims to Eliminate Barriers

to Citizenship for Military Families and Bring Deported Veterans Home”

            According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report from 2019, more than 44,000 immigrants joined the United States Armed Forces between 2013 and 2018. These immigrants came to the U.S. with a promise of citizenship for themselves and their families in exchange for their service to our country, but, in many cases, we have failed to meet that promise. In fact, more than 250 veterans were targeted for deportation during these years, and policy changes enacted during the Obama and Trump administrations made admission and naturalization more difficult for many who immigrated to the United States to serve. Some of these policies even aimed to make it more difficult for service members, veterans, and their families to avoid deportation. It is time to fix that. Those who came to our country and put their lives on the line for us should no longer be treated with indifference or disdain: they deserve what was promised.

            On February 18th, 2021 Representative Mark Takano (D-CA-41) introduced the Veteran Deportation Prevention and Reform Act with 41 co-sponsors. The meat of the bill aims to streamline the path to citizenship for military families and to better administrate immigration policy for non-citizen veterans, their families, and veterans who have been targeted for deportation or who have been deported. This bill, side-by-side with the Protect Patriot Spouses Act, would right many of the wrongs of recent years: separation of military and veteran families, deportation of veterans over non-violent charges, denial of citizenship applications for military family members because they are stationed overseas, and more.

            In August of 2019, President Trump’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) appointees released a memo that changed the residency definitions of INA 320, a path to citizenship for the children of service members and U.S. government employees who are stationed overseas. This memo dictated that children born to or living with their service member parents on overseas bases were no longer considered U.S. residents. While seemingly innocuous, this change placed an unfair burden on service members and their families who were stationed overseas. Citizenship applications that were already underway and had already cost thousands of dollars were suddenly in jeopardy, and some military families had to question whether overseas service was worth it. Many service members do not have a choice about serving overseas and thus had no way to avoid the new rules. The Veteran Deportation Prevention and Reform Act aims to eliminate this issue and issues like it by calling for a new streamlined path to citizenship for military families that does not punish families for being stationed overseas.

            The 2019 GAO report found that ICE had targeted over 250 veterans for deportation. Of those 250, 115 had been deported by the end of the period covered by the report. Many of these veterans were deported for non-violent drug or theft convictions and some were affected by medical conditions, like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), that may have triggered these incidents. Furthermore, the GAO found that ICE had no official method for identifying veterans during deportation proceedings, nor was it consistently following its own guidelines for considering veterans’ service records. This means that the actual number of veterans targeted for removal is possibly much higher than the report indicated. Representative Takano’s legislation aims to undo this injustice and prevent it from happening again by:

  • Providing training and new regulations for ICE with regard to deportation cases involving veterans and their families
  • Creating a program for the return of many deported veterans back home to the U.S.
  • Reopening veteran deportation cases to possibly rescind issued deportation orders
  • Creating a committee to advise the government on veteran immigration cases
  • Adjusting the immigration status of veterans to lawful permanent residents
  • And several more preventative measures.

            The Veteran Deportation Prevention and Reform Act is a step in the right direction for the United States in fulfilling its promises to non-citizen service members, veterans, and their families. It is incumbent on the House and the Senate to debate this bill, come to a consensus, and pass it so that President Biden can sign it into law. It is time for our nation and its representatives to come together and right this wrong.


FILM RECOMMENDATIONS

Top 10 Military Films of 2020 Here

The Mauritanian (2021): Starring Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim, and Benedict Cumberbatch, the film tells the true story of a suspected 9/11 terrorist's experience as possibly the highest-profile detainee at the infamous Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba. While investigating the case, a far-reaching conspiracy is uncovered. Kidnapped, tortured, and incarcerated for 14 years, he was never charged with a crime. Amazon (129 minutes)

 

SUGGESTION BOX

We welcome your input. What's important to you? What are we missing? Any VMF experts you would like us to interview in a live webinar? Please send us articles, poems, research, and anything else VMF-related!

Email us at: [email protected]

SUGGESTION BOX

 

POETRY CORNERS

Please send poetry submissions to: [email protected]

 

VMF COUNTRY CAUCUSES

Country VMF Caucuses are around the world. To start a VMF Caucus in your country or chapter, first be sure you have joined the Global VMF caucus by going here and click the join button. Then fill out the registration form here.

To read up on news and events from the DA France VMF Caucus, go here.

 

BRAIN-ZONE #1

In this photo titled "Earth and Sea with Geranium " there are 15 seashells.

Can you find them all?      

And what is the one object that doesn't belong in the photo? (Answer below)

Earth and Sea with Geranium

 

BRAIN-ZONE #2

 Use a pencil to find the path for the bald eagle and gray wolf to become free.

bald eagle and gray wolf

BRAIN-ZONE #1 Answer: the chicken egg

 

 

 

Co-Editors:

Bob Gould (VMF Global Co-chair, UK, Military Family)
Anthony “Mike” Nitz (VMF Global Secretary, S.E. Asia, Veteran)

Editorial Staff:

Jessie Darrett (Germany, Veteran)
Kathy Davidson (France, Military Family)
Kee Evans (Guatemala, Military Family)
Tilly Gaillard (France)
Robin Rafaelidys (Greece, Military Family)
Terese Sarno (Germany)
Madeleine Savit (Spain, Military Family)

Contact us by email at [email protected]


Military with child holding a flag

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