GOP Rep. On Sexual Assault At Lackland AFB: There’s ‘No Evidence Of A Widespread Problem’

— By Annie-Rose Strasser on Jul 12, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Vice-chair of the House Armed Services Commitee Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) believes that there is “no evidence” of a serious sexual assault problem at Lackland Airforce Base even though 12 training officers there have been charged or are being investigated for sexual misconduct and there are at least 31 alleged victims of sexual assault.

Today, 78 members of congress led by fierce women’s advocate Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) are calling on the House Armed Services Committee to join the Air Force in investigating the vast allegations of sexual assault at Lackland.

One man has already pleaded guilty to having an improper relationship and is serving 90 days in prison. Another, Military Training Instructor, Staff Sergeant Luis Walker, will be court martialed early next week. According to a press release from Speier’s office, “He faces 28 charges of sexual contact with 10 women including sodomy and rape in technical and basic training.”

According to a local Texas paper, Thornberry doesn’t think it’s a huge issue and is putting his faith in the military to deal with the assaults:

Rep. Mac Thornberry, HASC vice chairman, recently discussed the Lackland issues with Gen. Edward Rice Jr., commander of Air Education and Training Command.

“My understanding is there is no evidence of a widespread problem,” said Thornberry, a Republican from Clarendon. “It seems to be very limited, and he seems to be moving out very aggressively to deal with it.

If the problem turns out to be limited, then the military system can probably best deal with it, Thornberry said.

Whether the the GOP controlled Armed Services Committee agrees to an investigation, the vice chair’s “no evidence” comment indicates that it will look no deeper into the base than whatever has already been uncovered by the Air Force.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta himself acknowledged the seriousness of the problem, and has issued a new directive to deal with such assaults which includes changing the reporting structure of sexual assault cases.

There were 6,350 reported cases of what the armed forces call “military sexual trauma” last year, but independent studies estimate (PDF) that there were 19,000 cases total last year, most of which went unreported.


This material [article] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.  It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

This article was originally published on ThinkProgress

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NV Women Respond to Heller Campaign’s “A Woman’s Place is in the House” Button

For Immediate Release

July 6, 2012

ICYMI: Shocking Video HERE

Las Vegas, NV – Nevada women Christine Faber, Teralee Burbank and Edith Byrd released the following statements today responding to Dean Heller’s campaign wearing “a woman’s place is in the house” buttons:

Christine Faber, a small business owner from Las Vegas:

“As a small business owner, I know the challenges that many women face in order to provide for their families.  I worked hard for years to ensure that my family had a roof over their heads and food on the table.  We need a Senator that will fight for greater economic opportunities for the women of Nevada, not someone who discourages women who provide for their families.  Shelley Berkley has proven time and again that she is Nevada’s true champion for women in the workplace, and I know she will continue to be a fighter for us when she is in the United States Senate.”

Teralee Burbank, mother and full time student from Henderson:

“I grew up in a single-parent family where my mother worked as a teacher to put food on the table, pay the mortgage and provide me with every available opportunity.  Growing up, I knew that someday I wanted to do the same for my family. This is why I am working to finish school, and make sure my children have the same opportunities provided to me when I was growing up.  When it comes to who represents my values, and those of so many women across Nevada in Congress, that person is not Dean Heller, whose campaign recently said a women’s place is in the home.  Nevada women deserve better- they deserve someone that will fight for them and their families.”

Edith Byrd, mother, grandmother and US Army Veteran of 25 years from Las Vegas:

“As a mother, grandmother, and Army veteran, I was shocked when I heard the news that Senator Dean Heller’s campaign was caught handing out buttons telling women their place was in the home.  I have nothing but respect for stay-at-home mothers, but the reality is in so many cases, women need to work to help pay the family bills.  Families across Nevada understand this reality, and they deserve a U.S. Senator who also understands this.  That’s why I’m supporting Shelley Berkley this November, because women across Nevada can count on her to support them as they support their families.”

Under the Reading Lamp — 4/30/2012

ALEC’s Comeuppance

Jim Hightower, Op-Ed: “ALEC’s operatives take these cookie-cutter bills from state capitol to state capitol, getting Republican governors and key legislators to introduce them. Then the organization helps organize astroturf campaigns to ram such ugliness into law. Gov. Scott Walker’s repressive agenda in Wisconsin is an ALEC product. So is Arizona’s war on Latinos, as is Florida’s murderous “stand your ground” shoot-em-up law.”

Putting Our Premiums Into Medical Care, Not Profits

Wendell Potter, News Analysis: “The recent news from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation that health insurers will have to send rebate checks totaling more than $1.3 billion to Americans this summer was especially gratifying to me. It more than justified my decision three years ago to clue members of Congress in on how insurance companies have systematically been devoting ever-increasing portions of our premium dollars to rewarding their shareholders and top executives.”

Top Republican Strategist Denies Women are Paid Less Than Men

Igor Volsky, Video Report: “Now we know, at least from both of your perspectives,” Maddow said, pointing to Castellanos and Romney surrogate Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), “women are not fairing worse than men in the economy that women aren’t getting paid less for equal work.” “It’s about policy and whether or not you want to fix some of the structural discrimination that women really do face that Republicans don’t believe is happening,” she added.

Five Tax Fallacies Invented by the 1%

Paul Buchheit , Op-Ed: “In 2009, the United States ranked 26th out of 28 OECD countries in total federal, state, and local taxes as a percent of GDP. Only Chile and Mexico had lower tax rates. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, ‘federal taxes on middle-income Americans are near historic lows.’ For taxpayers in the top 1%, the tax burden has fallen dramatically in recent years.”

AZ Lawmakers Lash Out at Imaginary United Nations Conspiracy With Assault on All Poverty & Environmental Laws

Ian Millhiser, News Report: “If this bill becomes law, Arizona’s government agencies would instantly be forbidden from doing anything to reduce poverty. Or to combat air pollution. Or to ensure that radioactive waste does not contaminate the environment. Or potentially to do anything at all to promote human health. Under this bill, Medicaid, state unemployment and welfare programs and nearly any environmental programs would need to cease, immediately.”

War, Money, and Moral Hazard

Thomas Magstadt, Op-Ed: “In the wake of the US bank-induced 2008 global financial crisis, policy makers, pundits, and economists suddenly rediscovered moral hazard in the under-regulated "free-market economy" both as a theoretical concept and as an existential danger. Nobody was more ardent in pushing this idea than then Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson, who served in that position from 2006 to 2009.”

Don’t Let Congress Kick College Grads in the Teeth

Robert Borosage, Op-Ed: “The Republican chair of the House education committee says he has “serious concerns” about the bill. And the Republican budget — championed by Paul Ryan and embraced as “marvelous” by Mitt Romney — both calls for deep cuts in Pell grants and assumes that the interest rates on government sponsored student loans will double. What are the Republican “concerns”? They claim to be opposed to the $6 billion cost of keeping the rate low. But jacking up the rate simply shifts that $6 billion cost onto the next generation of students who are already crushed by debt.”

Trickle-Down Gulf Wreck-onomics

Robert S. Becker, Op-Ed: “‘BP’s toxic sludge inundation,’ or ‘BP’s fatal frothy flood,’ even ‘BP’s contagion of contaminated crude’ — crude and indiscriminate indeed when this glut of gunk continues its death march. Even bacteria called upon to consume oil slicks are nixed, slain by two million gallons of the solvent concoction Corexit. Keen observer of the Gulf tragedy, I’d be downright remiss to withhold scandalous news about oil stuck to human skin, eyeless shrimp, fish-scale infections, or rising mortality for marine mammals and previously endangered sea turtles.”

Feds File First Criminal Charges Related to BP Gulf Spill

Abrahm Lustgarten, News Analysis: “According to an FBI affidavit submitted to the court along with the indictment, Mix, who worked for BP until January 2012, was directly involved in BP’s efforts to understand how much oil was flowing out of the broken Macondo well. On April 21, 2010, Mix estimated that between 68,000 and 138,000 barrels of oil were leaking each day— far more than the 5,000 barrels that were estimated publicly at the time.”

Fracking Industry California Dreamin’: A Future California Nightmare?

Steve Horn, Op-Ed: “Yesterday, The Bakersfield Californian reported that another oil and gas industry giant is making its way to The Golden State: Hess Corporation. Hess has operations on six of the seven global continents and will be headed to California’s yet-to-be-fracked Monterey Shale basin, which contains some 15 billion barrels of proven recoverable shale oil, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration.”

Chesapeake Energy Well Blowout in Wyoming Causes Evacuation, Methane “Roared” for Days

Brendan DeMelle, News Report: “Once again, the failure appears tied to a faulty casing job. The Douglas Budget reports that, “the horizontal part of the drilling had been completed. The drillers pulled out the bit and were going to run the casing into the horizontal leg of the well.” That’s when the blowout occurred, apparently. Tom Doll, a Wyoming State Oil and Gas supervisor, told local press that the state had no idea how much methane gas had spewed into the air following the blowout, and would rely on Chesapeake to supply an answer.”

Rights Groups Hold International Drone Summit in Washington, DC

News Report: “We’re dragging this secretive drone program out of the shadows and into the light of day,” said Medea Benjamin, one of the Summit organizers and author of the new book Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control. “It’s time for the American public to know the true extent—and consequences—of the killing and spying being done in our name.” Lawyers representing Pakistani drone-strike victims and journalists investigating the attacks shared their experiences of these events in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. New footage of interviews with victims was aired.

The Viet Nam Conflict and the Fabricated Lies of War

Javier Rodriguez, Op-Ed: “That war was no different than the occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, the war against that other colonial power, Spain, the recent coup de tat against President Manuel Celaya and the democratically elected government in Honduras, and this one in particular hits the veins, the war on Mexico, where we lost over half of the territory. Indisputably history says, they have all been fabricated. No exceptions.”

Burden of Proof: Geithner, Obama, and Wall Street’s Unpunished Crimes

Richard (RJ) Eskow, Op-Ed: “Now the President’s really cracking down on Wall Street, we were told. In the face of widespread criticism for his proposed foreclosure fraud settlement with five top banks, the President eventually accompanied that deal with a promise of tougher enforcement. He appointed New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who had been pursuing banks and resisting previous deals, to his previously lethargic mortgage fraud group.”

Under the Reading Lamp — 4/18/2012

Tech Untaxed Report

Tax avoidance by wealthy high-tech firms is on the rise, a new report from The Greenlining Institute finds. Cash held overseas by tech firms rose 21% from 2010 to 2011. Apple’s 2011 tax rate of 9.8% was lower than that of American households making an average of $42,500 per year.

 

Don’t Just Pressure ALEC’s Corporate Sponsors, Name and Shame ALEC Legislators

John Nichols | The Nation: Pressured by a coalition of civil rights, clean government and religious groups to quit their memberships in the American Legislative Exchange Council, multinational corporations are indeed exiting ALEC. Now, it’s time to demand that the 2,000 legislators who have joined ALEC do the same.

Female Veterans Say Military Kicked Them Out And Classified Them As ‘Crazy’ After Reporting Sexual Assault

The U.S. military seems to be trying to deal with its troubling pattern of sexual assault cases after a story that ran this weekend on CNN detailing cases of women in each branch of the military who were diagnosed with a mental disorder and dismissed from the military after filing a sexual assault or sexual harassment complaint.