The 2013 Legacy of Service Awardees (left to right): Vietnam Veterans of America, the Vietnam Women's Memorial Foundation, the Association of Navy Hospital Corpsmen, the DUSTOFF Association, and the American Red Cross Overseas Association.
On Thursday evening, November 21, Vietnam Veterans of America received a "Legacy of Service Award" from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund at its "Build the Center Benefit," whose purpose is to generate awareness and funds for the construction of the Education Center at The Wall. The event also honors individuals and organizations which have been visible, vocal, and generous in their efforts to bring greater awareness of the values of loyalty, duty, and service. Said VVMF Founder and President Jan Scruggs, "VVA has been essential in helping Vietnam veterans adjust to civilian life. My generation is so thankful for VVA's steadfast support and community, and I am honored to recognize them."
On Tuesday, November 19, at a press conference in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, VVA National Vice President Marsha Four affirmed VVA’s unequivocal support for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY)’s “Military Justice Improvement Act” (MJIA). Said Four, "Today we ask that military leadership place themselves or their children in the position of the victims, and yes, even that of the accused. Wouldn’t they want the best legal system and most experienced legal representation? Wouldn’t they cry for equitable justice, a justice to which any citizen of this country should have access? Isn’t it against the law to deny this justice?"
Sen. Gillibrand’s bill originally had been put forth as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and subsequently was introduced as S.967. Her bill provides an independent route outside the chain of command for victims of rape and sexual assault in the military to prosecute attackers.
Joining VP Four at the speakers’ podium were: Senators Gillibrand, Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dean Heller (R-NV), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI), along with Maj. Gen. Martha Rainey (USAF-Ret), Brig. Gen. Loree Sutton (USA-Ret), Kate Weber, survivor and advocate, Sarah Plummer, survivor and advocate, Tom Tarantino of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA,) and Greg Jacob of Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN).
VVA national office staffers Dr. Tom Berger, Mokie Porter and Sharon Hodge also attended the press conference.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT) has introduced S.1602, the Toxic Exposure Research and Military Family Support of 2013. VVA strongly supports this bill, which reflects positively on one of our foremost legislative goals. Not only would it help achieve a measure of justice for the innocent victims of the use of toxic substances in times of war, but it offers unlimited possibilities for scientific research into the effects of these toxic chemicals.
VVA needs your help in gaining support for S.1602 by going to http://capwiz.com/vva/home/ and click on Take Action and send the prepared letter of support to your Senators.
From a November 20 CFPB press release: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today took its first enforcement action against a payday lender by ordering Cash America International, Inc., to refund consumers for robo-signing court documents in debt collection lawsuits. The CFPB also found that Cash America— one of the largest short-term, small-dollar lenders in the country—violated the Military Lending Act by illegally overcharging service members and their families. Cash America will pay up to $14 million in refunds to consumers, and it will pay a $5 million fine for these violations and for destroying records in advance of the Bureau’s examination.
The full text of the CFPB’s Consent Order is available at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201311_cfpb_cashamerica_consent-order.pdf
Payday loans are often described as a way for consumers to bridge a cash flow shortage between paychecks or the receipt of other income. They can offer quick access to credit, especially for consumers who may not qualify for other credit. Many payday loans are for small-dollar amounts that must be repaid in full in a short period of time.
The CFPB has taken a number of steps to learn more about the marketplace for payday loans, and released a report on payday loans earlier this year. That report found that payday products can lead to a cycle of indebtedness for many consumers. In early November, the CFPB began accepting consumer complaints about payday loans.
More information is available at: www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/you-can-submit-a-payday-loan-complaint/
In a November 20 article by S. Bronstein, N. Black, and D. Griffin, posted on the CNN website, a CNN investigation found that in South Carolina, veterans are dying needlessly because of long waits and delayed care. What's worse, the VA is aware of the problems and has done almost nothing to effectively prevent veterans dying from delays in care, according to documents obtained by CNN and interviews with numerous experts. The problem has been especially dire at the Williams Jennings Bryan Dorn Veterans Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina. There, veterans waiting months for simple gastrointestinal procedures—such as a colonoscopy or endoscopy—have been dying because their cancers aren't caught in time.
Read complete article here: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/19/health/veterans-dying-health-care-delays/
According to a November 13 article by Craig Schneider on the Military.com website that first originated in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, American taxpayers have paid more, not just for veterans' medical care, but for a surge in malpractice claims against veterans hospitals.
Read complete article here:
(WASHINGTON, DC)—Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), Service Women's Action Network (SWAN), and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) released an open letter to Congress, urging the passage of Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand's Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA).
"Military sexual assault is a multi-generational issue. For decades, it has been swept under the rug yet continues to rear its ugly head. The Department of Defense has attempted to address it with tweaks to the system, but combatting this powerful enemy requires a more dramatic change," said Marsha Four, National Vice President of Vietnam Veterans of America. "Vietnam Veterans of America stands unwavering in its commitment to the resolution of this tragedy. Together, with our partners, SWAN and IAVA, we bring a unified voice to underscore the need for strong military justice reform."
"On behalf of veterans and service members, we join together out of a sense of urgency to reform the military justice system for our men and women in uniform," said SWAN executive director and former Marine Corps captain Anu Bhagwati. "Often, we see the military justice reform debate framed as a choice to support either sexual assault survivors or military readiness. Today, we want to be clear. A vote for Senator Gillibrand's Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA) is a vote for our troops, and a vote for a stronger military."
Read Complete Press Release
Military Justice Improvement Act - informational Flyer
Military Justice Improvement Act - Open Letter
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