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richardmurray

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  1. now1.png

    Ringing in the New YEar Book Tag 2023 from Thistle and Verse
    mentioned

    • Ties that bind from Tia Miles
    • Darknesses from Lachelle Seville
    • Early Departures from Justin A Reynolds
    • Delicious Monsters from Liselle Sambury
    • Wakanda Forever from Ryan Coogler , Joe Robert Cole
    • Heaven Official's Blessing from Mo Xiang Tong Xiu
    • Of One Blood: Or, The Hidden Self from Pauline Hopkins 
    • The Brothers Jetstream: Leviathan from Zig Zag Claybourne
    • Forest of a Thousand Daemons: A Hunter's Saga from D.O. Fagunwa , Wole Soyinka (Translation)
    • The Things That Fly in the Night from Giselle Liza Anatol
    • A History of Nigeria from Toyin Falola
    • The Gatekeeper's Staff: An Old Gods Story from Antoine Bandele
    • Flowers for the Sea from Zin E. Rocklyn
    • The Infinite from Patience Agbabi
    • For the Culture Readathon from TyBooks01
    • Drunken Dream of the Past from Sun Yujing performed by Lin Zhixuan

     

    my comment

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKreFvghrKk&lc=UgxXtsU2FVBC5yJcoOd4AaABAg

     

    1. richardmurray

      richardmurray

      it is a video, @Rodney campbell just click read more and the video will unveil for thistle and verse

    2. (See 4 other replies to this status update)

  2. now1.png

    Ringing in the New YEar Book Tag 2023 from Thistle and Verse
    mentioned

    • Ties that bind from Tia Miles
    • Darknesses from Lachelle Seville
    • Early Departures from Justin A Reynolds
    • Delicious Monsters from Liselle Sambury
    • Wakanda Forever from Ryan Coogler , Joe Robert Cole
    • Heaven Official's Blessing from Mo Xiang Tong Xiu
    • Of One Blood: Or, The Hidden Self from Pauline Hopkins 
    • The Brothers Jetstream: Leviathan from Zig Zag Claybourne
    • Forest of a Thousand Daemons: A Hunter's Saga from D.O. Fagunwa , Wole Soyinka (Translation)
    • The Things That Fly in the Night from Giselle Liza Anatol
    • A History of Nigeria from Toyin Falola
    • The Gatekeeper's Staff: An Old Gods Story from Antoine Bandele
    • Flowers for the Sea from Zin E. Rocklyn
    • The Infinite from Patience Agbabi
    • For the Culture Readathon from TyBooks01
    • Drunken Dream of the Past from Sun Yujing performed by Lin Zhixuan

     

    my comment

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKreFvghrKk&lc=UgxXtsU2FVBC5yJcoOd4AaABAg

     

  3. now1.png

    Ringing in the New YEar Book Tag 2023 from Thistle and Verse
    mentioned

    • Ties that bind from Tia Miles
    • Darknesses from Lachelle Seville
    • Early Departures from Justin A Reynolds
    • Delicious Monsters from Liselle Sambury
    • Wakanda Forever from Ryan Coogler , Joe Robert Cole
    • Heaven Official's Blessing from Mo Xiang Tong Xiu
    • Of One Blood: Or, The Hidden Self from Pauline Hopkins 
    • The Brothers Jetstream: Leviathan from Zig Zag Claybourne
    • Forest of a Thousand Daemons: A Hunter's Saga from D.O. Fagunwa , Wole Soyinka (Translation)
    • The Things That Fly in the Night from Giselle Liza Anatol
    • A History of Nigeria from Toyin Falola
    • The Gatekeeper's Staff: An Old Gods Story from Antoine Bandele
    • Flowers for the Sea from Zin E. Rocklyn
    • The Infinite from Patience Agbabi
    • For the Culture Readathon from TyBooks01
    • Drunken Dream of the Past from Sun Yujing performed by Lin Zhixuan

     

    my comment

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKreFvghrKk&lc=UgxXtsU2FVBC5yJcoOd4AaABAg

     

    1. richardmurray

      richardmurray

      great point in stating that people of color should have the right to get paid to make bad shows

       

       

    2. (See 4 other replies to this status update)

  4. I have been unfortunate enough to see + experience alot of law enforcement abuse. 

    I don't want to repeat myself . So I will focus on how Black people in the usa from the end of the war between the states reached modernity culturally.

    Frederick Douglass side the Black church is the answer. 

    At the end of the day, I realize , that the cultural trajectory of the majority, not all or me, in the Black community in the USA is a culture of individualism that Frederick Douglass side the Black church wanted when they started the Black community on this path with white financial support when the war between the states ended. 

    The goal is for Black cops in mostly white law enforcement organizations to exists, for Black presidents in a mostly white country , Black Mayors in a mostly white city to exists, it isn't to deny, black cops in most black law enforcement organizations, or black mayors in black towns or black sheriffs in black counties. But the idea is for an individual allowance to exist in the Black community in the USA that will curtail Black communal strength, will curtail Black communal resilience, will curtail Black communal fiscal profit, but the goal is to get the majority of the Black community to be part of an aracial identity, an individual identity, that I argue has been reached. No, not all black people in the USA are philosophically aligned, but most are. 

    The murder of Tyre Nichols represents the strength of the individual culture in the black community in the usa. These events will always occur for nothing is completely positive. All ideas have negativity, including nonviolence, including araciality, including miscegenation, including integrationists ideas like slavery... as well as militisms, or segregationists idea like Back to Africa. The question is, what are the negativities with an idea. 

    The murder of Tyre Nichols represents an inevitable negativity from the individualism  which is the majority philosophy adhered to by Black people in the USA today. IT will happen again, as it already happened already. It must. 

    But I think most Black people in the USA, which doesn't include me, support the individualism and with sadness or lamentations, accept the murder of Tyre Nichols as part of the price for individual cultural allowance, which I argue no community in the USA has stronger than the Black community in the USA, even if it isn't articulated. 

     

    1. richardmurray

      richardmurray


      Quote
      That's sad to hear that YOU have been a victim of a lot of law enforcement abuse!
      You seem like such an intelligent and well composed brutha, online atleast!

      May I ask what were the circumstances?
      If you'd rather not share it...I'll understand.


      For the record I never said I was a victim, I said I saw or experienced alot of law enforcement abuse.

       

      So you have no need to be sad. And the reason connects to your second query

      In my experience a black person's intelligence or composure has nothing to do with law enforcements relation to them. Black people who had a nonviolent plus peaceful composure have been killed by law enforcement in no way other than Black people who had a violent or warful composure. Black people whose intelligence some, not me , will rank grandly or absently, based on pieces of paper have been injured by law enforcement.

      I will not share cause they don't matter, as Tulsa to Till to Tyre prove. Talking about it doesn't bring back the dead, nor generate peace, nor solve historic problems. Talking about it will not resolve any individuals woes, or collective grievances.

       

      Quote
      Seems like I kinda understand what you're saying here, but can you expound upon it a little more?


      Are you saying that the plan is to individualize Black Americans to the extent that the can no longer relate to what happened to our brother in Memphis?


      I said you have no reason to be sad because the Black community in the USA guided the Black community in the USA to its current situation. I restate, Black people guided ourselves to this situation.  I can expound but I rather be focused than verbose. The individual culture in the modern Black community isn't what it was born as by the majority of Black leaders at the end of the war between the states. The Individual culture isn't trying to delete relation between black peoples in the USA as much as define Black individual relationships to all other individuals, singularly. And while it has led to inevitable participation in the USA like a Black president in the USA, and will lead to more Black elected leaders in the USA to non majority white voting populaces, it has led to inevitable frictions in the Black community in the USA, like Tyre side Black law enforcement his murderers. No philosophy is all positive or all negative. I restate, the Black community has guided itself for its own betterment to the culture most in it adhere to, but like all philosophies it has positives or negatives. One of the negatives of the individualistic culture is frictions of a lethal nature between groups.  

       

       

    2. (See 1 other reply to this status update)

    1. richardmurray

      richardmurray

       

      Enjoy various works made throughout 2022 , if you want updates to future work, you can join the newsletter for free

       

      https://rmnewsletter.over-blog.com/2023/01/2022-art-summary.html

       

    2. (See 1 other reply to this status update)

  5. I have been unfortunate enough to see + experience alot of law enforcement abuse. 

    I don't want to repeat myself . So I will focus on how Black people in the usa from the end of the war between the states reached modernity culturally.

    Frederick Douglass side the Black church is the answer. 

    At the end of the day, I realize , that the cultural trajectory of the majority, not all or me, in the Black community in the USA is a culture of individualism that Frederick Douglass side the Black church wanted when they started the Black community on this path with white financial support when the war between the states ended. 

    The goal is for Black cops in mostly white law enforcement organizations to exists, for Black presidents in a mostly white country , Black Mayors in a mostly white city to exists, it isn't to deny, black cops in most black law enforcement organizations, or black mayors in black towns or black sheriffs in black counties. But the idea is for an individual allowance to exist in the Black community in the USA that will curtail Black communal strength, will curtail Black communal resilience, will curtail Black communal fiscal profit, but the goal is to get the majority of the Black community to be part of an aracial identity, an individual identity, that I argue has been reached. No, not all black people in the USA are philosophically aligned, but most are. 

    The murder of Tyre Nichols represents the strength of the individual culture in the black community in the usa. These events will always occur for nothing is completely positive. All ideas have negativity, including nonviolence, including araciality, including miscegenation, including integrationists ideas like slavery... as well as militisms, or segregationists idea like Back to Africa. The question is, what are the negativities with an idea. 

    The murder of Tyre Nichols represents an inevitable negativity from the individualism  which is the majority philosophy adhered to by Black people in the USA today. IT will happen again, as it already happened already. It must. 

    But I think most Black people in the USA, which doesn't include me, support the individualism and with sadness or lamentations, accept the murder of Tyre Nichols as part of the price for individual cultural allowance, which I argue no community in the USA has stronger than the Black community in the USA, even if it isn't articulated. 

     

    1. richardmurray

      richardmurray

      Any Black person who has ever encountered Black cops could have told you that the representation angle was nonsense to begin with
      https://twitter.com/_Zeets/status/1619138767918620672

      First time I was thrown to the ground, for walking to the gas station during lunch in high school, was by a black cop. Same as the first time I got pepper sprayed.
      https://twitter.com/_Zeets/status/1619139016502444032

      Same but for Latino cops with me. It was like they saw having to deal with people of their own race a personal failing of their culture.
      https://twitter.com/AnthonyIrwinLA/status/1619139495022166016

      but who taught them that? you in my view hit the nail on the head. Who teaches a person of color that someone else of color is personally failing because they have to be dealt with by law enforcement? I argue, parents  or communities have to be blamed for this.
      https://twitter.com/Thetenner10/status/1619472429650444288

    2. (See 1 other reply to this status update)

  6. now01.png

     

    KWL Live Q&A – Setting Up for Publishing Success: an AMA with the KWL Team
    Setting Up for Publishing Success – Looking at the Year Ahead

    The Kobo Writing Life team is excited to announce our latest Live Q&A on January 26th, 2022, from 12:00 PM-1:00 PM EST. KWL Director Tara will be chatting with all of our viewers, alongside author engagement manager and KWL podcast co-host Laura, about how to set up for a successful year of publishing in 2023. If you can’t make it to the event, feel free to comment on this post with your questions and we can ask them for you!   

    Hi authors!  

    In our first live Q&A of the year, we are going to feature Tara, Kobo Writing Life’s director, Laura, author engagement manager, and Rachel, promotions specialist, as they discuss relevant topics and answer questions sent in by all of YOU, our wonderful community of authors, regarding how best to set up for success in the coming year!

    This AMA-style chat is a great opportunity to hear about developments at KWL, learn some new tips and tricks, and gain some inspiration for the publishing year ahead.

    We’ll be discussing and answering questions related to the following:

    How to make the most of your pre-orders
    Reaching new readers – with Kobo Plus and OverDrive
    Audiobooks and audiobook marketing
    Setting up a successful release schedule
    New series, new releases, and opportunities for new authors in 2023
    Market research – staying ahead of the seasons
    And much more!
    We will also have time for questions at the end, so be sure to join the live event and bring your questions! And, as always, happy writing.

    https://kobowritinglife.com/2023/01/13/kwl-live-qa-setting-up-for-publishing-success-an-ama-with-kwls-director-and-author-engagement-manager/
     

    now02.png

    Finding Your Readers: a KWL Recap
    elements
    Using Patreon as an Indie Author with Lindsay Buroker
    Finding Your Ideal Reader with Sue Campbell
    Learning the Habits of your Readers with Emma Chase

    https://kobowritinglife.com/2022/12/12/finding-your-readers-a-kwl-recap/
     

     

    1. richardmurray

      richardmurray

      my comment on the original post

      KWL Live Q&A - Setting Up for Publishing Success: an AMA with the KWL Team - Kobo Writing Life

       

      Richard Murray on January 25, 2023 at 8:54 PM
      Hello Tara Laura or Rachel,
      I enjoy these multilogs. But I will not be able to see this one. But i shared the event and will share it again ,after.
      My questions,i infex by topic.

      1. To be blunt, i only made a preorder for one of my books. I do not have a grand readerbase.
      Can you state the most successful genre for preorder of books?
      do videos or other media elements help preorders?
      a more successful writer commercially said that having an online community aids in preorders,is that true based on your experience?

      2. I have been on overdrive for years,like bookbub,but do either of them work for audiobooks? I dont recall an overdrive option for audiobooks nor does bookbub in my experience accept audiobooks?
      Am i wrong,or do any of you know a workaround?

      3. Will KWL setup audiobook pages to load on websites with an audio excerpt if available?
      All my audiobooks have excerpts. It will be nice for the book cover plus audio excerpt to be accessible in places like facebook?

      4. Please speak on whether release schedules need to change based on readers in various geographic zones?
      for example,if a writer is popular in china plus the usa, does market research or experience say it is better to have a schedule one for all places or to each its own?

      Can not wait to hear about new opportunities and staying ahead of the seasons. Thanks again to all three of you.

      for anyone else who reads this my newsletter can be accessed at rmnewsletter.over-blog.com

       

  7. now06.png

    Members of the Bruce family, elected officials and community activists at a ceremony in Manhattan Beach, Calif., last year to return property that was seized from the family’s ancestors in 1924.Credit...Patrick T. Fallon/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    L.A. County to Pay $20 Million for Land Once Seized From Black Family
    California officials seized a beachfront property from Willa and Charles Bruce in 1924. Los Angeles County returned it to their great-grandsons last year. Now they’re selling it back.

    By Mike Ives
    Published Jan. 4, 2023
    Updated Jan. 11, 2023, 10:45 a.m. ET
    The great-grandchildren of a Black couple whose beachfront property in Southern California was seized by local officials in 1924, and returned to the family last year, will sell it back to Los Angeles County for nearly $20 million, an official said on Tuesday.

    The Manhattan Beach site once housed Bruce’s Lodge, a resort established in 1912 by the property’s owners, Willa and Charles Bruce, as a place where Black tourists could go to avoid harassment at a time of rampant discrimination against Black people in California and beyond. It was known informally as “Bruce’s Beach.”

    Manhattan Beach officials condemned the property in 1924, paying the Bruces $14,500 and saying that they needed it for a public park. They ultimately left it undeveloped for more than three decades, and the couple lost a legal battle to reclaim it. The land was later transferred to Los Angeles County and now hosts a training center for lifeguards.

    But three years ago, nationwide demonstrations against racism and police brutality led to a resurgence of local interest in the Bruce family’s campaign. And last July, after Los Angeles County and the California state legislature worked out the legal details, the county returned the property to the couple’s closest living heirs, their great-grandsons Derrick and Marcus Bruce.

    Derrick and Marcus Bruce declined to comment on Wednesday through George Fatheree, a lawyer for the family.

    Janice Hahn, who chairs the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, said on Tuesday that the owners had decided to sell the property to the county for nearly $20 million, a value that her office said was determined through an appraisal process.

    “This is what reparations look like and it is a model that I hope governments across the country will follow,” Ms. Hahn said on Twitter.

    The county received notice of the sale from the family on Dec. 30, and the escrow process will likely be completed in 30 days, Liz Odendahl, a spokeswoman for Ms. Hahn’s office, said in an email on Tuesday evening. Members of the Bruce family could not immediately be reached for comment.

    Duane Yellow Feather Shepard, a relative who lives in Los Angeles, said in a telephone interview on Tuesday night that the family was “very satisfied” with the sale price. He said they had wanted to sell the property because it is zoned only for public use.

    “They had no choice but to sell it and take whatever they could get out of it, and use it to invest in some other way to develop their family wealth that they’ve lost,” said Mr. Shepard, a clan chief of the Pocasset Wampanoag Tribe of the Pokanoket Nation.

    Kavon Ward, who founded a group called Justice for Bruce’s Beach in June 2020 to support the family’s calls for restitution, said in a statement on Wednesday that, “While I am disappointed the Bruces have chosen to sell the land, I understand their decision as the city of Manhattan Beach is anti-Black.”

    Ms. Ward is also a founder of Where Is My Land, an organization that seeks to help secure restitution for Black families who have had land taken from them.

    The property consists of two adjacent beachfront lots. Ms. Bruce purchased one of them in 1912 for $1,225 and the second eight years later for $10, Los Angeles County has said, noting that the first lot measures about 33 by 105 feet. Mr. Shepard said the two lots are identical.

    A persistent question has been whether officials in Manhattan Beach, a city of about 34,000 people that was incorporated in 1912 and is 75 percent white, would issue a formal apology to the Bruce family.

    “I think an apology would be the least that they can do,” Anthony Bruce, the great-great-grandson of Willa and Charles Bruce, told The New York Times in 2021.

    The couple, who moved to Manhattan Beach from New Mexico, were among the first Black people to settle in the area. They established their beachfront resort in the era of Jim Crow, amid a resurgence of Ku Klux Klan activities across the United States and campaigns of white supremacist terror and lynchings in the South.

    Two years ago, the Manhattan Beach City Council voted, 4 to 1, to adopt a “statement of acknowledgment and condemnation” that did not include an apology. The city’s mayor at the time, Suzanne Hadley, condemned the racism against the Bruces but said that an apology could increase the risk of litigation against the city.

    Steve Napolitano, the current mayor, said in an email on Wednesday that he saw the sale as a win-win for both the family and the county, which will continue to operate a lifeguard training center on the property.

    “Nothing about the transaction changes the past, but it will certainly help the future of the Bruce heirs and we wish them well,” he said.

    Jesus Jiménez contributed reporting.

    MY THOUGHTS
    I am happy for the black clan. If I think on the history of the Black Wealthy, they will do well. To be blunt, the Black Descended of Enslaved one percent tend to be very financially safe. 

    Article URL
    https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/04/us/bruces-beach-la-county.html
     

     

  8. Tananarive Due has a new short story collection coming out called The Wishing Pool. 
    It is published by brooklyn new york city based akashic books , you can preorder using the link immediately below
    https://www.akashicbooks.com/catalog/wishing-pool/


    If you want to see a community attempt to design our own book cover for the book, use the forum link in the comment

    now03.jpg

    1. richardmurray

      richardmurray

      forum post, join it to have fun making an aalbc community cover for the book 

       

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    Attending to a patient at the severe burns unit.Credit...Zied Ben Romdhane for The New York Times


    In a Hospital Ward, the Wounds of a Failed Democracy Don’t Heal
    Tunisia’s road to democracy began with a self-immolation, and such cases have filled hospital burn wards ever since, as elected leaders failed to deliver on a promise of prosperity.


    By Vivian Yee
    Vivian Yee, who covers North Africa for The Times, spent a week at the Trauma and Severe Burns Hospital in Ben Arous, near the Tunisian capital, where she watched doctors carry out their work.

    Jan. 3, 2023
    The most troublesome patient in the hospital’s severe burns unit was refusing to let the orderlies change the bandages that had encased him since he set himself on fire three months earlier, so Dr. Imen Jami burst into his room, her habitually knit brows drawn as tight as they would go, her lips pressed together in a magenta line.

    “Look, I have someone in a coma, and I have no time,” she told the young man. “The final word is that you’ll get on the bed and change your bandages.”

    “I’m so tired,” he moaned.

    “You’re really not going to have them changed?” she said, looming over him.

    “No, I will,” he said, quailing.

    The doctor had seen this before: Tunisians who set themselves on fire in the throes of desperation often had little interest in recovering. Unable to support their families in a country that was coming apart, they had only the same old futility waiting for them back home.

    In a sense, Tunisia’s 2010 revolution — and the wave of Arab Spring uprisings it inspired — began in this hospital burn ward near the capital, Tunis, and sometimes it seems as if its dying breaths are being taken there, too.

    A decade ago, the Trauma and Severe Burns Hospital treated Mohamed Bouazizi, the 26-year-old fruit seller whose self-immolation came to stand for the rage that brought down a dictator and launched a democracy. Now it houses self-immolation patients whose own acts of protest changed nothing, and a host of doctors trying to escape. The country’s collective despair was so great that Tunisians turned once again to the one-man rule they had fought so fiercely to overthrow just a decade ago.

    All the while, Dr. Jami had been there on the fourth floor.

    She was there in the waning days of 2010, when Mr. Bouazizi was brought into the ward in critical condition, and there when the former dictator, President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, came to pose for a picture at his bedside in an unconvincing attempt to show the public that he cared. Less than three weeks later, on Jan. 4, 2011, Mr. Bouazizi was dead.

    She was there in the days that followed, when a surge of young men from around the country inundated the hospital after their own copycat self-immolations.

    Outside the walls of the hospital in the Tunis suburb of Ben Arous, Mr. Bouazizi’s death was galvanizing Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution. “Jobs, freedom, dignity,” protesters chanted, and soon the revolt spread from young, struggling men like Mr. Bouazizi to all kinds of Tunisians. By Jan. 14, 2011, Mr. Ben Ali had fled the country, and Tunisia’s uprising had set off others across the region.

    The others ended in bloodshed. But for a while, it seemed, democracy was blooming in Tunisia — the Arab Spring’s last great hope. Yet even as Tunisians’ freedoms multiplied, bread got harder to afford, and democracy itself started to seem undignified.

    The old regime’s crimes went largely unpunished. Parliament deadlocked. Corruption spread. Unemployment rose. Poverty deepened. Buffeted by inexperience, infighting and bad luck, 10 prime ministers in 10 years failed to make urgent economic changes.

    The post-revolution government was dominated by an Islamist party, Ennahda, and religious-secular divisions polarized a society unsure about whether politicians who wanted to govern according to Islamic principles belonged in a democracy at all.

    During what Tunisians called the “black decade” after the revolution, the Bouazizi copycats arrived at the hospital by the hundreds. A relative rarity before the revolution, the act of self-immolation soon accounted for a fifth of the burn ward’s cases.

    Then, in 2019, Kais Saied — an austere constitutional law professor — was elected president. Harnessing Tunisians’ rage and regret over the revolution, he suspended Parliament in July 2021, sidelined political parties, undercut civil liberties and embraced one-man rule, all but burying the country’s brief experiment with democracy.

    And many Tunisians cheered.

    People like Dr. Jami and many of her colleagues wanted rescuing, and after a decade of watching elected leaders fumble, they had not seen a better candidate for savior than Mr. Saied.

    More than a year after his election, however, the president had been unable to do much about the foundering economy, the soaring prices or the lack of decent jobs. Which was why an estimated 15,400 Tunisians boarded rickety boats bound for Europe last year, only for at least 570 of them to drown, and part of why young men kept setting themselves on fire.

    In Tunisia, illegal migration to Europe by boat was called the “harga.” The word translated, literally, to “burning.”

    On the burn ward, all the doctors raised their voices so patients could hear them through the thick layers of white bandages that shrouded their heads, but Dr. Jami was loudest of all. Her “good mornings” were trumpet blasts, her entrances laughter and thunder; she could get a roomful of staff laughing with a single line, or upend it with demands for help, now.

    The daughter of a nurse, Dr. Jami had studied medicine because it was her father’s dream for her, joining the burn unit soon after it opened in 2008.

    She and her office mate, a fellow general practitioner, Behija Gasri, had spent five days straight in the ward during the revolution, changing diapers and mopping hallways themselves because no one else could reach the hospital. So many self-immolation cases were brought in that they ran out of beds and started putting patients on chairs.

    Chaos and upheaval: That was all the revolution had brought her, she often thought.

    In the decade that followed, most of Tunisia’s self-immolation cases were brought to this hospital, North Africa’s premier burn treatment center, their numbers growing just as the medical staff caring for them shrank. The increasingly bleak economy had pushed thousands of Tunisian doctors to leave the country for better opportunities abroad, including half the burn unit’s senior specialists, and now there was far more work and far less money for the ones who had stayed behind.

    But Dr. Jami and Dr. Gasri were still here, even if survival and resilience in the face of adversity, it often seemed, had earned them little more than the chance to survive yet more adversity.

    Doing the rounds of their patients every morning in early October, the gaggle of doctors in scrubs and rubber clogs — many of them women, most of them bespectacled, and all of them tired — tended to pass the self-immolation patient’s room without comment.

    Day after day, he lay in the dark as the small TV on the wall cast ghostly light on his face, curling and uncurling the unbandaged fingers on his right hand.

    Changing his bandages was always an ordeal. When orderlies wheeled him back to his room after Dr. Jami’s scolding, he was groaning in pain.

    “Slowly, slowly!” he shouted as they shifted him back onto the bed. This time, Dr. Jami’s office mate, Dr. Gasri, was there to greet him. She spoke softly.

    “Help us help you get better soon,” she said.

    He said nothing, except to ask a nurse for a new diaper.

    Dr. Gasri had the graven, planed face of a Byzantine mosaic saint, the impression of piety reinforced by a daily uniform of white head scarf and white coat. More than a head shorter than Dr. Jami, she moved quietly down hallways where her office mate whirled and strode.

    During morning rounds, Dr. Jami massaged Dr. Gasri’s shoulders, patted upper arms in apology as she squeezed past the nurses, whispered jokes in people’s ears. She blew brusque little kisses in greeting, thanks and farewell. Dr. Gasri just smiled.

    When Dr. Gasri first joined the unit in its early years, she had barely been able to take it. She fainted the first time she saw and smelled the burned flesh under the bandages.

    Still, it was rewarding work. Former patients often came back to thank her and pray for her, she said. Sometimes they brought gifts from their home regions: dates sweet as caramel from the city of Tozeur, or, once, a bottle of fresh milk a farmer had gotten up early to deliver all the way from impoverished Kasserine. By the time it reached Ben Arous, it had gone bad.

    Now a former patient was waiting for her in the hall, there with not a gift but a plea.

    Ahmed Yaakoubi had first been admitted in 2012 after burning his lower legs in a car accident. Recovery was supposed to take two years, but for nearly a decade now, he had been unable to come up with the money for regular bandage replacements and follow-up treatment. At 25, unable to fully control his lower legs, walking with a limp, he couldn’t find work.

    Dr. Gasri smiled at him as they shook hands, but what she had to say was serious.

    “I don’t want to lie to you,” she said. “Your legs are worn out. You can’t go on like this.”

    He hadn’t changed the bandages that still swaddled both legs from the knee down for four days now, risking infection and maybe even amputation. The charity his neighbors pressed on him after the accident had tapered off four years later, when he started to walk again, though he said one neighbor who was a nurse kept selling him discounted bandages.

    But years had turned to a decade, Tunisians’ budgets had gone from modest to minuscule, and now nobody was giving. He felt he was a burden on the neighbor, who could no longer conceal his impatience.

    Ten dinars — about $3 — for each hospital visit, 20 for fresh bandages. At the pharmacy, some products he was supposed to use had tripled in price. And he was meant to change the wrappings every day.

    “I can’t even afford to eat,” Mr. Yaakoubi told Dr. Gasri. “How can I buy new bandages?”

    She told him to come back on Monday. Maybe she would have something for him then. She would ask a few relatives to chip in, and, probably, dip into her own pocket.

    The burn unit’s founder and head, Amen Allah Messadi, had set up an association to raise money for patients who couldn’t afford physical therapy, pressure garments, laser therapy, prosthetics and bandages, which was to say most patients. The erratic public health care system instituted after the revolution covered only the formally employed, and by the World Bank’s estimate, nearly half of Tunisians eked out a living off the books.

    But the association had paused its fund-raising when Covid-19 hit, and donations dried up as times got harder. These days, it was often the staff who gave, stuffing spare dinars into an envelope that Dr. Gasri kept to help those in need.

    Money had never seemed so tight when Ben Ali, the former dictator, was in power. As the regime’s heavily state-controlled approach opened up to private investment, the country’s middle class was considered sound, its education and health care systems solid, its markets’ prices steady.

    Yet citified coastal Tunisia was much wealthier than the country’s rural inland, the gap between the Ben Ali cronies who controlled much of the economy and the rest stoked resentment, and the young people who made up nearly a third of Tunisia’s 11 million people, like Mr. Bouazizi, were desperate for decent jobs. He had set himself on fire to protest police harassment after municipal officials confiscated the fruit he was selling and, according to his family, slapped him.

    A decade of democracy brought elections, freedom of expression, a thriving press, a muscular civil society and independent institutions, all things the country had never had under French colonial rule or the two dictators who followed. But such intangibles meant little to the revolutionaries who had demanded better lives — materially, and fast.

    The foreign debt and economic structure that the new Tunisia inherited from the old Tunisia — the country imported expensive things and exported cheap ones — would have made that a challenge even for experienced leadership, and Tunisia’s new leaders were green, more focused on a new constitution than fixing the economy.

    Early governments ineptly tried to hire and borrow their way into prosperity; later governments all failed to overhaul the economy.

    But‌ they might have avoided disaster ‌if ‌Western countries had stepped up with far more aid and debt relief, and if not for a run of bad luck: a financial crisis in Europe, a war in neighboring Libya and terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists that crippled the country’s vital tourism industry.

    The attacks deepened suspicion of Ennahda, vitriol that eventually tarnished the whole Parliament that the Islamist party had dominated.

    The decline of faith in democracy could be measured in voter turnout. Back in 2011, during the first parliamentary elections after the revolution, 92 percent of voters went to the polls. By 2019, when Mr. Saied was elected as an incorruptible-seeming outsider, just 41 percent bothered.

    Or it could be measured in self-immolations. With every fresh economic downturn, more people set themselves on fire, and eight years into Tunisia’s democratic experiment, the doctors whom Dr. Messadi had worked hard to recruit started leaving the burn unit, one by one. That left only Dr. Messadi, Dr. Jami, Dr. Gasri and two senior specialists — one of them debating whether to move abroad.

    In France, where Tunisian doctors often emigrated, the pay wasn’t much better, at least not at first. But the equipment, facilities, regulations, malpractice insurance and hours were, and many of the unit’s young doctors said they believed there would be less burnout and depression.

    In France, there wouldn’t be a political crisis with no sure outcome, or an economy that seemed headed for collapse.

    In July, Mr. Saied rammed through a new Constitution in a referendum, demoting Parliament to more of an advisory body and giving himself the kind of presidential powers no leader had enjoyed since Mr. Ben Ali. Western experts warned that the new charter would hasten the end of Tunisia’s democracy.

    Then he urged people to vote for a new, revamped Parliament, one that did away with the influence of Ennahda and other political parties. But only about 11 percent of eligible voters showed up for the Dec. 17 elections.

    For Dr. Gasri, the surge of hope she had felt during the revolution was still down there somewhere, though it felt harder to remember these days. She said she would understand if her son, who was studying for an architecture degree, left for a few years’ professional experience in Europe, but she wanted him to come back someday.

    She would stay.

    “If we all leave,” she said, “what will happen to Tunisia?”

    To Dr. Jami, it felt like the revolution had been the beginning of a long plunge into darkness. She said she spent most days now in a funk of stomach pain, fatigue and stress.

    “Get me a man,” she said, hunting not for a ring but a visa to a Western country. “Get me out of this country.” It was a joke, but if she didn’t have to support her elderly mother, she said, she would be trying to leave.

    The latest blow to the doctors had come when Covid-19 hit the hospitals hard, forcing intensive care specialists to the front lines, even as the strapped Health Ministry had to cut residents’ pay.

    It was amid the death and chaos that Mr. Saied mounted his power grab. Dr. Jami said she had been cautiously relieved at his intervention. Dr. Gasri was just hoping for the best.

    Now it had been more than a year. The staff tried not to dwell on the fact that, with the economy the way it was, with Mr. Saied apparently unable to fix things, many more young men who had tried to self-immolate might come their way.

    “It’s one of the best countries, but I want to leave because they destroyed it,” Dr. Jami said to one of the physical therapists during a rare break one afternoon. Her face was soft with tiredness. “They didn’t leave us with any reasons to stay.”

    She meant the politicians they had voted for, dutifully, election after election. Soon after, she told Dr. Messadi she wanted to leave early, and went home.

    Ahmed Ellali contributed reporting.

    MY THOUGHTS

    Financial poverty is a powerful thing and many governments or communities in humanity, through a recent heritage of white european domination don't have the culture to handle how to be poor. It is easier to flee to another country, to burn yourself alive, than to be fiscal poor.
    Secondly, though more potently, democracy, the rule of the people always exist. The form of government doesn't matter, the people always rule, the question is, how do the people want to be ruled. Sometimes most folk accept someone with a crown. sometimes most folk accept people voted in. Sometimes most folk accept individuals in a minority populace among them deciding among themselves. but the people always rule and yes, even when a commonly called dictator is the head.
    Lastly, or rarely stated, the fiscal wealth of the governments deemed wealthiest in humanity, all comes from slavery/genocides/wars/various levels of abuse. Countries like tunisia, who are larger than city states,  who are trying to make financial changes absent the ability to commit genocides/enslavements/wars/abuses to others especially, are always going to have a hard time. Yes, Germany or Japan or China didn't need so much of that abusive power to others but all of them were given money by the usa to prevent them from joining an enemy in the commonly called cold war. To many countries are deemed financially successful absent the truth to their fiscal profit admitted in media alongside.

    In Amendment

    The quote by the tunisian woman about getting a man for immigration is a great public admission, when it comes to the nature of male or female relationships concerning the immigrant community and those in the countries of wealth.

     

    Article URL
    https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/03/world/middleeast/tunisia-democracy.html

     

  10. now05.png
    A Hindu ritual on the banks of the Ganges River in Varanasi, northern India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chosen Varanasi as a core vehicle of his assertion of India as a Hindu nation, raising tensions with Muslims.

    Russia’s War Could Make It India’s World
    The invasion of Ukraine, compounding the effects of the pandemic, has contributed to the ascent of a giant that defies easy alignment. It could be the decisive force in a changing global system.

    By Roger CohenPhotographs by Mauricio Lima
    Roger Cohen, the Paris bureau chief, and Mauricio Lima spent almost two weeks in India, traveling between New Delhi, Varanasi and Chennai, to write and photograph this piece.

    Dec. 31, 2022
    Seated in the domed, red sandstone government building unveiled by the British Raj less than two decades before India threw off imperial rule, S. Jaishankar, the Indian foreign minister, needs no reminder of how the tides of history sweep away antiquated systems to usher in the new.

    Such, he believes, is today’s transformative moment. A “world order which is still very, very deeply Western,” as he put it in an interview, is being hurried out of existence by the impact of the war in Ukraine, to be replaced by a world of “multi-alignment” where countries will choose their own “particular policies and preferences and interests.”

    Certainly, that is what India has done since the war in Ukraine began on Feb. 24. It has rejected American and European pressure at the United Nations to condemn the Russian invasion, turned Moscow into its largest oil supplier and dismissed the perceived hypocrisy of the West. Far from apologetic, its tone has been unabashed and its self-interest broadly naked.

    “I would still like to see a more rules-based world,” Mr. Jaishankar said. “But when people start pressing you in the name of a rules-based order to give up, to compromise on what are very deep interests, at that stage I’m afraid it’s important to contest that and, if necessary, to call it out.”

    In other words, with its almost 1.4 billion inhabitants, soon to overtake China as the world’s most populous country, India has a need for cheap Russian oil to sustain its 7 percent annual growth and lift millions out of poverty. That need is nonnegotiable. India gobbles up all the Russian oil it requires, even some extra for export. For Mr. Jaishankar, time is up on the mind-set that “Europe’s problems are the world’s problems, but the world’s problems are not Europe’s,” as he put it in June.

    The Ukraine war, which has provoked moral outrage in the West over Russian atrocities, has caused a different anger elsewhere, one focused on a skewed and outdated global distribution of power. As Western sanctions against Russia have driven up energy, food and fertilizer costs, causing acute economic difficulties in poorer countries, resentment of the United States and Europe has stirred in Asia and Africa.

    Grinding trench warfare on European soil seems the distant affair of others. Its economic cost feels immediate and palpable.

    “Since February, Europe has imported six times the fossil fuel energy from Russia that India has done,” Mr. Jaishankar said. “So if a $60,000-per-capita society feels it needs to look after itself, and I accept that as legitimate, they should not expect a $2,000-per-capita society to take a hit.”

    Here comes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s India, pursuing its own interests with a new assertiveness, throwing off any sense of inferiority and rejecting unalloyed alignment with the West. But which India will strut the 21st-century global stage, and how will its influence be felt?

    The country is at a crossroads, poised between the vibrant plurality of its democracy since independence in 1947 and a turn toward illiberalism under Mr. Modi. His “Hindu Renaissance” has threatened some of the core pillars of India’s democracy: equal treatment of all citizens, the right to dissent, the independence of courts and the media.

    Democracy and debate are still vigorous — Mr. Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party lost a municipal election in Delhi this month — and the prime minister’s popularity remains strong. For many, India is just too vast and various ever to succumb to some unitary nationalist diktat.

    The postwar order had no place for India at the top table. But now, at a moment when Russia’s military aggression under President Vladimir V. Putin has provided a vivid illustration of how a world of strongmen and imperial rivalry would look, India may have the power to tilt the balance toward an order dominated by democratic pluralism or by repressive leaders.

    Which way Mr. Modi’s form of nationalism will lean remains to be seen. It has given many Indians a new pride and bolstered the country’s international stature, even as it has weakened the country’s pluralist and secularist model.

    India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, himself a mixture of East and West through education and upbringing, described the country as “some ancient palimpsest on which layer upon layer of thought and reverie had been inscribed” without any of those layers being effaced.

    He was convinced that a secular India had to accommodate all the diversity that repeated invasion had bequeathed. Not least, that meant conciliation with the country’s large Muslim minority, now about 200 million people.

    Today, however, Mr. Nehru is generally reviled by Mr. Modi’s Hindu nationalist party. There are no Muslims in Mr. Modi’s cabinet. Hindu mob attacks on Muslims have been met with silence by the prime minister.

    “Hatred has penetrated into society at a level that is absolutely terrifying,” the acclaimed Indian novelist Arundhati Roy said.

    That may be, but for now, Mr. Modi’s India seems to brim with confidence.

    The Ukraine war, compounding the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, has fueled the country’s ascent. Together they have pushed corporations to make global supply chains less risky by diversifying toward an open India and away from China’s surveillance state. They have accentuated global economic turbulence from which India is relatively insulated by its huge domestic market.

    Those factors have contributed to buoyant projections that India, now No. 5, will be the world’s third-largest economy by 2030, behind only the United States and China.

    On a recent visit to India, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that the United States wanted to “diversify away from countries that present geopolitical and security risks to our supply chain,” singling out India as among “trusted trading partners.”

    Nonetheless, India is in no mood to cut ties with Mr. Putin’s Russia, which supported the country with weapons over decades of nonalignment, while the United States cosseted India’s archenemy, Pakistan. Even in a country starkly fractured over Mr. Modi’s policies, this approach has had near universal backing.

    “For many years, the United States did not stand by us, but Moscow has,” Amitabh Kant, who is responsible for India’s presidency of the Group of 20 that began this month, said in an interview. New Delhi has enough rivals, he said: “Try, on top of China and Pakistan, putting Russia against you!”

    Mr. Modi’s India will not do that in an emergent world characterized by Mr. Jaishankar as “more fragmented, more tense, more on the edge and more under stress” as the war in Ukraine festers.

    “Paradoxically, the war in Ukraine has diminished trust in Western powers and concentrated people’s minds on how to hedge bets,” said Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a prominent Indian political theorist. “India feels it has the United States figured out: Yes, you will be upset but you’re in no position to do anything about it.”

    That has proved a good bet up to now. “The age of India’s significant global stature has just begun,” said Preeti Dawra, the Indian-born director of global marketing at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

    Arriving in Varanasi, Hinduism’s holiest city, in 1896, Mark Twain remarked on the “bewildering and beautiful confusion of stone platforms, temples, stair-flights, rich and stately palaces” rising on the bluff above the Ganges, the river of life.

    Mr. Modi, 72, who adopted the city as his political constituency in 2014 when he embarked on his campaign to lead India, saying he had been “called by the mother Ganges,” has cut a pinkish sandstone gash through this sacred jumble of devotion.

    Known as “the corridor” and opened a year ago, the project connects the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, to the riverfront a quarter-mile away.

    The broad and almost eerily spotless pedestrian expanse, with its museum and other tourist facilities, links the city’s most revered temple to the river where Hindus wash away their sins. It is quintessential Modi.

    Cut through a labyrinth of more than 300 homes that were destroyed to make way for it, the passage intertwines the prime minister’s political life with the deepest of Hindu traditions. At the same time, it proclaims his readiness to fast-forward India through bold initiatives that break with chaos and decay. Mr. Modi, a Hindu nationalist and tech enthusiast, is a disrupter.

    A self-made man from a humble background in the western state of Gujarat, and from a low status in India’s caste system, or social hierarchy, Mr. Modi has come to embody an aspirational India.

    Through what Srinath Raghavan, a historian, called “an incorruptible aura and a genius at orchestrating public narratives,” he appears to have imbued India with the confidence to forge the singular path so evident over the 10 months since Russia went to war.

    “Modi’s social mobility is in some ways the promise of India today,” Mr. Raghavan said in an interview.

    That Modi-inspired promise, as invigorating to the traditionally lower castes of Hindu society as it is troubling to the Brahmins who long ran India, has come at a price.

    Vishwambhar Nath Mishra, a Hindu religious leader in Varanasi and an engineering professor, said that the corridor had been a “blunder” that had destroyed 142 old shrines, an example of the bulldozing style Mr. Modi favors.

    “We have always been a unique family in Varanasi, Muslims and Christians and Hindus who sit down and work things out, but Mr. Modi chooses to create tensions to get elected,” Mr. Mishra said. “If he is trying to establish a Hindu nation, that is very dangerous.”

    Every morning, Mr. Mishra bathes in the Ganges. He heads a foundation that monitors the river and showed me a chart illustrating that the level of fecal matter in it is still dangerously high. So why does he do it? He smiled. “The Ganges is the medium of our life.”

    One recent evening, I watched the Hindu prayer ceremony on the riverfront from a small boat. Perhaps two thousand people had gathered. Candles flickered. Chants rose. Along the great crescent sweep of the river, smoke billowed from the pyres that burn night and day. For a Hindu to die and be cremated in Varanasi is to be assured of transcendence and liberation.

    A distracting electronic screen flashed behind the ceremony. On it, Mr. Modi’s bearded face appeared at regular intervals, promoting the Indian presidency of the Group of 20 largest global economies, an organization that calls itself the “premier forum for international economic cooperation.”

    Mr. Modi, as this elaborate choreography of the spiritual and the political suggested, wants to turn India’s presidency of the G20 in 2023 into a premier platform for his bid for re-election, to a third term, in 2024.

    “Big responsibility, bigger ambitions,” proclaimed one slogan on the screen. G20-related meetings are planned in every Indian state over the next year, including one in Varanasi in August.

    India wants its presidency of the group to have the world as “one family” and the need for “sustainable growth” as its core themes. It wants to push the transformation of developing countries through what Mr. Kant, the organizer, called “technological leapfrogging.” India, with its near universal connectivity, sees itself as an example.

    About 1.3 billion Indians now have a digital identity. Access to all banking activities online, through digital bank accounts, has become commonplace during Mr. Modi’s eight years in power. They were once the preserve of the middle class. Poorer Indians have been empowered.

    “Nobody wants the current world order,” Mr. Kant said. “There are still two billion people in the world with no bank account.” India will advocate on behalf of poorer nations. But the issue with Mr. Modi’s “one family” theme is that, just up the road from the riverside prayers, his divisiveness is evident.

    It is not easy to get into the complex, at the top of Mr. Modi’s new corridor, where the 17th-century white-domed Gyanvapi Mosque abuts the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Intense security checks take a long time to negotiate because this is an epicenter of the inflamed Hindu-Muslim tension in India.

    Armed guards are everywhere. They stand beside the mosque, which is encased behind a 20-foot metal fence topped with coils of razor wire. They patrol the Hindu crowds, who line up in saffron-color robes beside the temple to make their offerings of milk, sometimes mixed with honey, to the simple stone lingam that is the symbol of Shiva.

    The only mammals that cross easily from the Hindu to Muslim worlds, as if to mock the stubborn divisions of humankind, are the lithe gray monkeys that scamper over barriers from shikhara to minaret.

    A flurry of legal cases now centers on the mosque. A court survey this year claimed to have uncovered an ancient lingam on the premises of the mosque, so establishing, at least for hard-line Hindus, that they should be allowed to pray there. Large Muslim prayer gatherings have been banned.

    In the ascendant Hindu narrative that Mr. Modi has done nothing to discourage, India belongs in the first place to its Hindu majority. The Muslim interlopers of the Mughal Empire and other periods of conquest take second place. Mosque must yield to temple if it can be demonstrated that a temple predated it.

    If Mr. Putin has chosen to portray Ukraine as a birthplace of the Russian world inseparable from the motherland and embraced the Orthodox Church as a bastion of his power, Mr. Modi has chosen Varanasi as a core vehicle of his assertion of India as essentially a Hindu nation. Of course, the Indian leader did so in the interest of power consolidation, not conquest.

    Three decades ago, the razing by a Hindu mob of a 16th-century mosque in the northern Indian city of Ayodhya, which Hindus believe is the birthplace of the god Ram, led to the death of 2,000 people and propelled the rise of Mr. Modi’s party.

    A temple is now being built there. Mr. Modi, who presided over the groundbreaking in 2020, has called it “the modern symbol of our traditions.”

    Faced by such moves, Ms. Roy, the novelist, voiced a common concern. “You know, the Varanasi sari, worn by Hindus, woven by Muslims, was a symbol of everything that was so interwoven and is now being ripped apart,” she said. “A threat of violence hangs over the city.”

    I found Syed Mohammed Yaseen, a leader of the Varanasi Muslim community, which makes up close to a third of the city’s population of roughly 1.2 million, at his timber store. “The situation is not good,” Mr. Yaseen, 75, said. “We are dealing with 18 lawsuits relating to the old mosque. The Hindus want to demolish it indirectly by starting their own worship there.” Increasingly, he said, Muslims felt like second-class citizens.

    “Every day, we are feeling all kinds of attacks, and our identity is being diminished,” he said. “India’s secular character is being dented. It still exists in our Constitution, but in practice, it is dented, and the government is silent.”

    This denting has taken several forms under Mr. Modi. Shashi Tharoor, a leading member of the opposition Congress Party that ruled India for most of the time since independence, suggested to me that “institutionalized bigotry” had taken hold.

    A number of lynchings and demolitions of Muslim homes, the imprisonment of Muslim and other journalists critical of Mr. Modi, and the emasculation of independent courts have fanned fears of what Mr. Raghavan, the historian, called “a truly discriminatory regime, with its risk of radicalization.”

    As I spoke to Mr. Yaseen, I noticed a man with an automatic rifle seated a few yards to his left. Clearly a Hindu, with a tilak in the middle of his forehead, he took some interest in the conversation.

    Who, I asked, is this man with a rifle?

    “He is my guard, appointed a couple of months ago by the district administration to protect me, given the tension over the mosque,” Mr. Yaseen said.

    The guard was a police officer named Anurag Mishra. I asked him how he felt about his job. “I am standing here to protect a fellow human being,” he said. “My religion does not really matter. Nor does his. My superiors told me to do the job.”

    Mr. Yaseen said that he was happy to have a Hindu protecting him, even if “I trust in God, not in the guard.”

    That one Indian citizen protects another — a Hindu police officer with a rifle safeguarding a Muslim community leader from potential Hindu attack — was at once reassuring, in that it suggested secular, democratic, pluralistic India would not go quietly; and alarming, in that it was necessary at all.

    At the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, in November, Indian diplomacy played an important role in finding compromise language after several Western countries had pressed for harsh criticism of Russia over Ukraine or even for Moscow’s ouster from the forum. The phrase, “Today’s era must not be of war,” in the leaders’ declaration, and the reference to “diplomacy and dialogue,” were a reprise of Mr. Modi’s words to Mr. Putin in September.

    Could India, with its ties to Russia, mediate a cease-fire in Ukraine, or even a peace settlement? Mr. Jaishankar, the foreign minister, was skeptical. “The parties involved have to reach a certain situation and a certain mind-set,” he said.

    And when will the war end? “I wouldn’t even hazard an opinion,” he said.

    Still, India wants to be a bridge power in the world birthed by the pandemic and by the war in Ukraine.

    It believes that the interconnectedness of today’s world outweighs the pull of fragmentation and makes a nonsense of talk of a renewed Cold War. If a period of disorder seems inevitable as Western power declines, it will most likely be tempered by economic interdependence, the Indian argument goes.

    With inequality worsening, food security worsening, energy security worsening, and climate change accelerating, more countries are asking what answers the post-1945 Western-dominated order can provide. India, it seems, believes it can be a broker, bridging East-West and North-South divisions.

    “I would argue that generally in the history of India, India has had a much more peaceful, productive relationship with the world than, for example, Europe has had,” Mr. Jaishankar said. “Europe has been very expansionist, which is why we had the period of imperialism and colonialism. But in India, despite being subjected to colonialism for two centuries, there’s no animus against the world, no anger. It is a very open society.”

    It is also situated between two hostile powers, Pakistan and China.

    In December, there was another skirmish at the 2,100-mile disputed Chinese-Indian border. Nobody was killed, unlike in 2020, when at least 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers died. But tensions remain high. “The relationship is very fraught,” Mr. Jaishankar said.

    Escalation at the border is possible at any moment, but it appears unlikely that India can count on Russia, given Moscow’s growing economic and military dependence on China. That makes India’s strategic relationship with the West critical.

    In the light of the war in Ukraine, however, each party is adjusting to the fact that the other will pick and choose its principles.

    “Ukraine is certainly not seen here as something with a clear moral tale to tell,” Ms. Roy, the novelist, said. “When brown or Black people get bombed or shocked-and-awed, it does not matter, but with white people it is supposed to be different.”

    India is in a delicate position. In the face of American criticism, the country chose to take part this year in Russian military exercises that included units from China. At the same time, India is part of a four-nation coalition known as the Quad that includes the United States, Japan and Australia and works for a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”

    This is Indian multi-alignment at work. The Ukraine war has only reinforced New Delhi’s commitment to this course. Washington has worked hard over many years to make India Asia’s democratic counterbalance to President Xi Jinping’s authoritarian China. But the world, as seen from India, is too complex for such binary options.

    If the Biden administration has been unhappy with India’s business-as-usual approach to Mr. Putin since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it has also been accepting of it — American realpolitik, as China rises, demands that Mr. Modi not be alienated.

    At the end of my stay, I traveled down to Chennai on the southeastern coast.

    The atmosphere is softer there. The economy is booming. The electronics manufacturer Foxconn is rapidly expanding production capacity for Apple devices, building a hostel for 60,000 workers on a 20-acre site near the city.

    “The great mass of Indians are awakening to the fact that they don’t need the ideology of the West and that we can set our own path — and Modi deserves credit for that,” Venky Naik, a retired businessman, said.

    I went to a concert where a musician played haunting songs and spoke of “renewing your auspiciousness every day.” There I ran into Mukund Padmanabhan, a former editor of The Hindu newspaper and now a professor of public practice at the newly established Krea University, north of Chennai.

    “I do not believe Modi can marshal Hinduism into a monolithic nationalist force,” he said. “There are thousands of Gods, and you don’t have to believe in any of them. There is no single or unique way.”

    He gestured toward the mixed crowd of Hindus and Muslims at the concert. “People don’t like to talk about the project of Gandhi and Nehru, which was to bring everyone along and go forward, but it happened, and it is part of our truth, part of the indelible Indian palimpsest.”

    Hari Kumar contributed reporting from New Delhi.

    Roger Cohen is the Paris bureau chief of The Times. He was a columnist from 2009 to 2020. He has worked for The Times for more than 30 years and has served as a foreign correspondent and foreign editor. Raised in South Africa and Britain, he is a naturalized American. @NYTimesCohen


    MY THOUGHTS

    India is everything Japan isn't. It is historically multiracial, maintained or supports a caste system that accepts a poor life for some unlike the socialist healthcare system of Nippon, Japan has more usa debt than any other country while India does public business with a smile to USA's modern enemy in media, russia. 
    Like CHina with the Ugyars, India with its Muslims , seems to be on a quest to reduce the islamic footprint in the country or at least contain it, while both do large business with islamic strict saudi arabia/iran/qatar or et cetera. so, India is correct, Asia is complex and if Asia is leading the future in humanity then dichotomies are no longer valid, these are complex times coming in the future of the alignments in humanity. 
    I do think that india's immigrant community in england/usa or other will have a huge role in the complexity their prime minister speaks of in the future. 

    Article Link
    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/31/world/asia/india-ukraine-russia.html
     

     

  11. now03.png
    Speaker Kevin McCarthy said this week that Republicans would use their leverage, including the need to raise the U.S. debt limit later this year, to corral spending.Credit...Kenny Holston/The New York Times

    U.S. Deficit Fell to $1.4 Trillion in 2022
    The deficit was down from $2.6 trillion a year earlier, as pandemic emergency spending slowed, the economy reopened and tax revenue rose. The new figures come as spending fights loom in a divided Congress.

    By Alan Rappeport and Jim Tankersley
    Jan. 12, 2023
    WASHINGTON — The federal budget deficit fell to $1.4 trillion for the 2022 calendar year, down from $2.6 trillion a year ago, as pandemic emergency spending slowed, the economy reopened and tax revenue rose, according to the Treasury Department.

    While the annual gap between what the nation spends and what it takes in narrowed, the monthly deficit for December 2022 widened compared with a year ago, suggesting that the deficit will most likely grow again in the year to come. The federal government recorded an $85 billion shortfall last month, up from a $21 billion deficit in December 2021.

    The figures released on Thursday come at a moment of heightened attention on the nation’s finances, with Republicans, who now control the House, pledging to push for deep spending cuts and slash the national debt. Despite the smaller annual shortfall, America’s long-term fiscal picture has darkened somewhat in the last year. The national debt topped $31 trillion for the first time in 2022 and interest rates are rising, increasing the amount of money the United States must pay to investors who buy its debt.

    Net interest costs have risen by 41 percent over the past calendar year, the data showed. The Peterson Foundation, which advocates debt reduction, reported on Thursday that the jump was larger than the biggest increase in interest costs in any single fiscal year, dating back to 1962.

    Republicans have said repeatedly that they will make balancing the federal budget over the course of a decade and reducing the national debt a central focus of their economic agenda this year. They say large deficits under President Biden have contributed to high inflation, which hit a 40-year peak last summer but has eased in recent months. The Labor Department reported on Thursday that prices receded slightly in December.

    Speaker Kevin McCarthy said this week that Republicans would use their leverage, including the need to raise the country’s debt limit this year, to corral spending.

    “One of the greatest threats we have to this nation is our debt,” Mr. McCarthy said on Fox News. “It makes us weak in every place that we can.”

    But Republicans have also prioritized policies this month that would add to deficits. The House passed legislation this week that would rescind much of the $80 billion that was allocated to the Internal Revenue Service last year to beef up its enforcement capacity. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said that the Republican bill to cut the money would actually increase the deficit by $114 billion through 2032.

    Mr. Biden said on Thursday that he would veto such legislation and assailed Republicans for backing a measure that would add to the deficit and make it easier for the wealthy to cheat on their taxes by cutting the I.R.S. enforcement budget. He has repeatedly said he will not negotiate with Republicans on the debt ceiling and will insist that lawmakers raise the limit with no strings attached.

    “I was disappointed that the very first bill the Republicans in the House of Representatives passed would help wealthy people and big corporations cheat on their taxes at the expense of ordinary, middle-class taxpayers,” Mr. Biden told reporters at the end of remarks about inflation and the economy. “And it would add $114 billion to the deficit. Their very first bill.”

    The president and his aides have said he is open to working with Republicans to reduce the deficit by raising taxes on high earners and corporations — proposals that Republican lawmakers have roundly rejected.

    Budget watchdog groups that advocate fiscal restraint have called on lawmakers to enact policies that will stabilize the debt.

    “We should not be borrowing $4 billion a day, an apparent debt addiction that is harmful to the economy and the budget,” said Maya MacGuineas, the president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “We hear a lot of talk about fiscal responsibility, but very little action.”

    Ms. MacGuineas and other fiscal hawks have also attacked House Republicans over their debt limit threats, saying that they risk economic calamity — and that Republicans’ vow to balance the budget over 10 years without raising taxes is both politically unfeasible and economically inadvisable.

    Mr. Biden has claimed credit for the decline in the budget deficit last year, but it was in large part the result of Congress forgoing another round of pandemic stimulus spending like the $1.9 trillion economic aid package Mr. Biden signed early in 2021. The president has contended that such spending, and other efforts by his administration to fuel economic growth in the recovery from pandemic recession, contributed to stronger-than-expected tax receipts in 2022, helping to lower the deficit.

    But administration officials have also predicted that the deficit is set to rise again this year. In an August update to the president’s budget proposal for the 2023 fiscal year, White House economists predicted that the deficit would grow by about 30 percent from the 2022 to 2023 fiscal years. They forecast further increases in the deficit in each of the two years after that.

    Alan Rappeport is an economic policy reporter, based in Washington. He covers the Treasury Department and writes about taxes, trade and fiscal matters. He previously worked for The Financial Times and The Economist. @arappeport

    Jim Tankersley is a White House correspondent with a focus on economic policy. He has written for more than a decade in Washington about the decline of opportunity for American workers, and is the author of "The Riches of This Land: The Untold, True Story of America's Middle Class." @jimtankersley

    Article URL
    https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/12/business/us-deficit-falls-2022.html

    MY THOUGHTS
    If I owed 31 trillion dollars ... anyway the two questions are simple
    1) can the usa pay back the debt?
    2) what will happen if a country that is owed wants to collect?

    1) the answer is no. The reasons why are simple. The USA won the cold war by outspending russia in its soviet form. That is where the culture of selling debt comes from. The Japanese are owed over a trillion dollars. But what does the debt really come from?
    The USA has a problem. China+ India+ Russia , together have a larger populace than the remainder in humanity and each country is militaristically an opponent to the USA, in one way or the other. Most of the other countries in humanity are satraps to the USA. A minority like North Korea/Cuba or similar are oppressed. 
    But the cost of the USA's satraps are expensive, and since Russia China India will not become England Japan Taiwan outside of war, the usa has to finance until the war finally begins 
    About Japan < https://aalbc.com/tc/profile/6477-richardmurray/?status=2202&type=status

    2) Nothing and thus the problem. The USA military is the reason why no one will get what they are owed from the usa and why the usa has an unlimited debt value. Seven warship fleets/hundreds of thousand of nuclear missiles/satellite arrays/submarine fleets/thousands to millions of agents in the cia/fbi/nsa/ or similar set of organizations. 
    THe USA military in completion is simply an expensive beast that must be maintained to allow the USA to keep gaining debt.
    About India < https://aalbc.com/tc/profile/6477-richardmurray/?status=2203&type=status >

    In conclusion, The USA has been poorly run since the second phase of world war two. Many say how can you say that? but the numbers are true.
    Immigrants historically are a financial drain, this is historic fact anywhere in humanity. Why are immigrants drains? immigrants are human beings who need food, water, shelter, and more. All of those things come at a price. Thus if immigrants get it, some already in the country will not. I am not suggesting immigrants take everything away from people already in any country. They do not. But immigrants do present a drain on any country historically.
    The financial firms in the USA have fled the labor market in the usa to keep low wage, but now their industries can't afford higher wage if they are to come to the usa. 
    The USA can only add to its debt and it works in the trillions every year. 
    Thirty one trillion and counting is how the USA has paid for itself and its allies. And it is the prepayment to a war that is inevitable in the future, i argue near future. And the next global war will use nuclear weapons which is honest since the last global  war ended with nuclear weapons. 

     

    IN AMENDMENT
    two prior articles

     

     now02.png
    President Biden said on Friday that the federal budget deficit fell to $1.4 trillion.Credit...Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times

    Federal Budget Deficit Fell to $1.4 Trillion as Pandemic Spending Eased
    The gap between what the government borrows and what it spends narrowed amid less spending and higher tax receipts.

    By Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Alan Rappeport
    Oct. 21, 2022
    WASHINGTON — The federal budget deficit fell to $1.4 trillion for the 2022 fiscal year, from $2.8 trillion a year ago, a reduction driven primarily by the winding down of pandemic emergency spending and a surge in tax receipts, according to the Treasury Department.

    President Biden trumpeted the deficit reduction on Friday morning, saying the fact that it was cut roughly in half was evidence that his economic policies were working. With soaring inflation as one of the top concerns among voters ahead of tight congressional elections, Mr. Biden has often cited a shrinking budget deficit as a way to bring down rising costs.

    “Today we have further proof that we’re rebuilding the economy in a responsible way,” Mr. Biden said during his remarks from the White House. “We’re going from historically strong economic recovery to a steady and stable growth while reducing the deficit.”

    Mr. Biden seized on the moment to also portray the November congressional elections as not a referendum on his administration but a “choice” between his economic agenda and the policies that he said a Republican-controlled Congress would put in effect. He said Republicans would cut Social Security benefits, increase the deficit and undo his efforts to lower prescription drug prices.

    “It’s mega-MAGA trickle down,” Mr. Biden said. He blamed Republicans for fueling the deficit during the Trump administration with large tax cuts. “The kind of policies that have failed the country before, and it’ll fail it again,” he said.

    Deficit hawks were quick to attribute the deficit reduction under Mr. Biden to the phasing-out of pandemic relief spending, including the president’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. And they warned that Mr. Biden’s plans to forgive certain amounts of student debt would weigh heavily on the nation’s finances going forward.

    “In fact, the deficit would have been almost $400 billion lower had the Biden administration not decided to enact an inflationary, costly and regressive student debt cancellation plan in August,” Maya MacGuineas, the president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which argues for deficit relief, said in a statement. “It should be no surprise that the Federal Reserve is having a hard time getting inflation under control when fiscal policymakers keep making their job even harder with more borrowing.”

    Republicans said Mr. Biden was misleading Americans about the deficit as he tried to embrace the mantle of fiscal responsibility and argued that the president’s policies had fanned inflation.

    “President Biden is ignoring the facts about his own spending to fit his political narrative,” Representative Jason Smith, a Republican from Missouri, said on Twitter. “He says deficits are going down because of his policies, but in reality he’s spending more and fueling higher prices.”

    Mr. Smith added that deficits were higher than projected because Democrats passed such an expensive stimulus package last year.

    The national debt in the United States continues to be unsustainable in the long term. Treasury Department figures released this month revealed that America’s gross national debt exceeded $31 trillion for the first time, a milestone that the Biden administration did not observe with any fanfare.

    While the deficit’s decline was primarily driven by reduced Covid spending, the economic rebound from the depths of the pandemic also gave the government’s coffers a boost, as corporate tax revenue came in faster than expected. A robust labor market and rising wages, which have struggled to keep up with inflation, also resulted in an increase in individual income tax receipts.

    When measured against the total economic output of the United States, the federal budget deficit amounted to 5.5 percent of gross domestic product.

    The federal government continued to spend more than it earned in the 2022 fiscal year and to borrow money at a fast clip. Total federal borrowing increased by $2 trillion to $24.3 trillion total, partly driven by additional borrowing to finance the federal budget deficit. The U.S. government pays interest to its bondholders, and as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates, those costs are rising.

    Interest on the public debt increased 28 percent from last year and is expected to continue growing as the Fed raises rates. Higher rates could add an additional $1 trillion to what the federal government spends on interest payments this decade, according to estimates from the Peterson Foundation. That is on top of the record $8.1 trillion in debt costs that the Congressional Budget Office projected in May.

    Still, the administration portrayed the 2022 deficit figures as a sign that the economy was strong and that the White House was focused on improving America’s “fiscal health.”

    “Today’s joint budget statement provides further evidence of our historic economic recovery, driven by our vaccination effort and the American Rescue Plan,” said Janet L. Yellen, the Treasury secretary. “It also demonstrates President Biden’s commitment to strengthening our nation’s fiscal health.”

    Even as some Democrats, as well as Ms. Yellen, have called for the statutory debt limit to be abolished to carry out congressionally authorized government spending, Mr. Biden said such a move would be “irresponsible.”

    But the president, citing the reduced deficit and last month’s streak of gas price declines, said he believed the recent economic outlook of the United States would give Democrats an edge in the midterm elections. A New York Times/Siena College poll this month found Republicans had a slight edge with the share of likely voters who said economic concerns were the most important issues facing America, leaping since July to 44 percent from 36 percent.

    “I think that we’re going to see one more shift back to our side,” Mr. Biden said. “Let me tell you why I think that. We are starting to see some of the good news on the economy.”

    Zolan Kanno-Youngs is a White House correspondent covering a range of domestic and international issues in the Biden White House, including homeland security and extremism. He joined The Times in 2019 as the homeland security correspondent. @KannoYoungs

    Alan Rappeport is an economic policy reporter, based in Washington. He covers the Treasury Department and writes about taxes, trade and fiscal matters. He previously worked for The Financial Times and The Economist. @arappeport

    What is the debt ceiling? The debt ceiling, also called the debt limit, is a cap on the total amount of money that the federal government is authorized to borrow via U.S. Treasury securities, such as bills and savings bonds, to fulfill its financial obligations. Because the United States runs budget deficits, it must borrow huge sums of money to pay its bills.
    When will the debt limit be breached? Congress passed legislation in December 2021 to raise the limit by $2.5 trillion and stave off the threat of default until 2023. On Jan. 13, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen warned that she expected the United States to hit the limit on Jan. 19 and that, unless the statutory cap were raised, her powers to delay a default could be exhausted by early June.
    Why is there a limit on U.S. borrowing? According to the Constitution, Congress must authorize borrowing. The debt limit was instituted in the early 20th century so that the Treasury would not need to ask for permission each time it had to issue debt to pay bills.
    What would happen if the debt limit was hit? Breaching the debt limit would lead to a first-ever default for the United States, creating financial chaos in the global economy. It would also force American officials to choose between continuing assistance like Social Security checks and paying interest on the country’s debt.

    Article URL
    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/21/us/politics/federal-budget-deficit.html

     

    now01.png
    The federal government continued to pump huge sums of money into the economy to help workers and businesses cope with the pandemic.Credit...Emily Elconin for The New York Times

    The U.S. budget deficit hit a record $1.7 trillion in the first half of the fiscal year.
    The United States is doling out twice as much money as it takes in.

    By Alan Rappeport
    Published April 12, 2021
    Updated Oct. 22, 2021
    The United States budget deficit grew to a record $1.7 trillion in the six months since October, as the federal government continued to pump huge sums of money into the economy to help workers and businesses cope with the pandemic.

    The figure comes in the wake of a $1.9 trillion economic rescue package that Congress passed in March and as the Biden administration and Democrats are considering spending trillions of dollars more on a sweeping legislative package to overhaul the nation’s infrastructure.

    Federal spending is far outpacing revenue — the United States is doling out twice as much money as it takes in, having spent a record $3.4 trillion so far this fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, and collected just $1.7 trillion in tax revenue.

    The spending continued at a record clip in March, when the government spent $927 billion, the highest total on record for any March and the third highest total of any month to date. The deficit for March was $660 billion.

    A Treasury official said that the data showed a substantial increase from a year ago, when the pandemic was just setting in and the economy was starting to shed jobs. The budget deficit, which is the gap between what the government spends and what it takes in, is expected to continue to swell in the coming months as money from the stimulus bill continues to roll out.

    In the first six months of the fiscal year, spending was up sharply for nutrition assistance programs, economic impact payments and expanded jobless benefits. Money for small-business loans made through the Paycheck Protection Program and funds for education and health providers also contributed to the record outlays.

    Economic policymakers have said that the budget shortfall is a long-term concern but that it is manageable now.

    “The U.S. federal budget is on an unsustainable path,” Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, said on CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday. “Meaning the debt is growing faster than the economy. And that’s kind of unsustainable in the long run.”

    He added: “That doesn’t mean debt is at an unsustainable level today. It’s not. We can service the debt we have.”

    Alan Rappeport is an economic policy reporter, based in Washington. He covers the Treasury Department and writes about taxes, trade and fiscal matters. He previously worked for The Financial Times and The Economist. @arappeport

    Article URL
    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/12/business/united-states-budget-deficit.html
     

     

  12. now01.png

    I am Vanessa Guillen

    My thoughts are after the transcript

     

    Metrofocus video

    https://www.thirteen.org/metrofocus/2023/01/metrofocus-january-3-2023-08ecys/

    Full Documentary

    https://www.univision.com/especiales/noticias/2022/i-am-vanessa-guillen

     

    DESCRIPTION

     

    In April 2020, U.S. Army Spc. Vanessa Guillén was murdered after reporting her assault that took place at Fort Hood in Texas.  In late November 2022, Cecily Aguilar, the only person charged in connection with Vanessa’s murder, pled guilty to four counts, including accessory to murder after the fact, and now faces up to 30 years in prison.  While this decision is a victory for Vanessa’s family, the problem of sexual harassment and assault, as well as retaliation for those reporting these crimes, remains a major issue in our armed forces.  A documentary, available to stream on Univision.com called #IamVanessaGuillen, covers the issue of sexual violence in our military and tells Vanessa’s story, including how her situation inspired countless others to share their own stories of abuse and push for change in the military.  Joining us to discuss the film are producer and director Andrea Patiño Contreras; and Karina López, a military sexual assault survivor.

     

    TRANSCRIPT

     

     TONIGHT, A MAJOR UPDATE ON THE MURDER OF VANESSA GUILLEN, THE ARMY SOLDIER WHOSE DEATH INSPIRED THOUSANDS TO SHARE THEIR STORY OF THE SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN THE MILITARY.

    WE REVISIT, THE CASE, THE DOCUMENTARY TELLING THE STORY.

    'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

    > THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

    > 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

    AND BY --

    > GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

    I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

    JUST A FEW MONTHS AGO WE BROUGHT TO YOU POWERFUL STORY OF VANESSA GUILLEN, THE U.S. ARMY SOLDIER MURDERED AFTER REPORTING THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT SHE ENDURED AT FT. HOOD IN TEXAS.

    HER DEATH INSPIRED COUNTLESS OTHERS TO SHARE THEIR STORY OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND PUSH FOR CHANGE IN THE MILITARY.

    PROSECUTORS SAY GUILLEN'S KILLER TOOK HIS OWN LIFE BEFORE HE COULD BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE.

    ONLY ONE PERSON, THE KILLER'S GIRLFRIEND, WAS CHARGED WITH A CRIME IN THIS CASE E CECILY AGUILAR.

    SHE ADMITTED TO HELPING DISPOSE OF GUILLEN'S BODY.

    SHE FACES UP TO 30 YEARS IN PRISON.

    WHILE THIS IS A VICTORY FOR VANESSA'S FAMILY, THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND ASSAULT AS WELL AS RETALIATION FOR THOSE REPORTING THESE CRIMES REMAINS A MAJOR PROBLEM AND ISSUE IN OUR ARMED FORCES.

    THE DOCUMENTARY ' #I AM VANESSA GUILLEN' EXAMINES THESE ISSUES AND IS STREAMING ON UNIVISION.COM.

    HERE'S A QUICK LOOK FOLLOWED BY MY INTERVIEW WITH THE FILM'S DIRECTOR AND ONE THOSE IN THE FILM.

    IT WAS A VERY NERVOUS VOICE.

    SHE SAID SOMETHING HAPPENED AND NO ONE WAS BELIEVING HER.

    SHE DID NOT KNOW, AND SHE WAS CON CON CON CONTEMPLATING HURTING HERSELF.

    I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO FEEL SAFE.

    I DIDN'T KNOW ANYTHING.

    A PART OF ME DIED BECAUSE SOMEBODY DECIDED TO DO THIS TO ME, AND NOBODY WANTED TO LISTEN.

    I REPORTED IT AND I FOUGHT AND I'VE GONE THROUGH THE TRAUMA AND THE RETALIATION THAT I FACED AND NOW YOU HAVE A MISSING SOLDIER THAT WAS HARASSED.

    I WROTE MY STORY AND PUT MY PICTURE BESIDES VANESSA BECAUSE I WAS VANESSA.

    I AM VANESSA.

    I AM VANESSA GUILLEN IS A HASHTAG GOING VIRAL HIGHLIGHTING SEXUAL ASSAULT AND HARASMENT WITHIN THE MILITARY.

    AT FT. HOOD, A SOLDIER GONE MISSING.

    THEY CREATED AN ENVIRONMENT THAT CONTRIBUTED TO SEXUAL ASSAULT, EVEN MURDER.

    THE ENVIRONMENT AT FT. HOOD WAS PERMISSIVE.

    WE'RE JUST LIKE ANY ORGANIZATION.

    WE'RE ALL ABOUT MAKING OURSELF BETTER.

    BECAUSE THE MESSAGE AND CULTURE IN THE MILITARY HAS BEEN CLEAR -- SHUT UP, SUCK IT UP, AND DON'T ROCK THE BOAT.

    IN THE CIVILIAN WORLD, PROSECUTORS MAKE THE DECISION TO PROSECUTE, AND THE MILITARY NONLAWYER COMMANDERS MAKE THAT DECISION.

    90% OF SEX OFFENDER IN THE MILITARY WILL NEVER BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.

    AFTER 246 YEART TIME FOR CONGRESS TO GIVE THE MEN AND WOMEN SERVING OUR NATION A JUSTICE SYSTEM WORTHY OF SACRIFICES.

    YOU MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, YOU NEED TO PASS THIS LEGISLATION.

    JUSTICE!

    WHEN DO WE WANT IT?

    NOW!

    I REALLY FEEL LIKE WE'RE ON THE VERGE OF SUCCESS.

    WE'RE GOING TO REFORM THIS SYSTEM AND WE'RE GOING TO GET TO A BETTER PLACE.

    THE WOMEN VETERANS YOU ENCOUNTER HAVE THE ABILITY TO ADAPT AND OVERCOME BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT WE HAVE BEEN TAUGHT.

    BUT HERE'S THE THING -- YOU'VE CREATED A WOMAN WHO IS UNSTOPPABLE.

    JOINING ME NOW TO DISCUSS THIS POWERFUL NEW DOCUMENTARY IS THE FILM'S DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER, ANDREA CONTRAERAS, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

    I'D LIKE TO INTRODUCE KARINA LOPEZ, A SURVEVETERAN AND SURVI THE SEXUAL ASSAULT.

    SHE'S THE CREATOR OF THE VIRAL HASHTAG #I AM VANESSA GUILLEN, WHICH INSPIRED THE FILM'S TITLE.

    LADIES, THANK YOU TO P 'METROFOCUS.'

    THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.

    ABSOLUTELY.

    I WANT TO START BY ASKING ANDREA, YOU, THE QUESTION I ASK ALL DIRECTORS, AND THAT WAS WHAT MOTIVATED TO YOU CREATE THIS DOCUMENTARY.

    WHAT WAS, YOU FELT, THE NARRATIVE THAT WAS NOT ALREADY OUT THERE?

    SO, DURING 2020, OUR TEAM AT UNIVISION HAD BEEN COVERING THE DISAPPEARANCE AND MURDER OF VANESSA GUILLEN, WHO WENT MISSING AT THE FT. HOOD BASE IN APRIL OF 2020, AND LATER HER BODY WAS FOUND.

    DURING THAT REPORTING, THE FALLING ONES, WE HEARD FROM A COUPLE OF CASES, KARINA INCLUDED.

    SHE REACHED OUT TO US TELLING US HER STORY, AND AT THAT POINT IN THE FALL OF 2020, WE HEARD FROM HER, AND IN DECEMBER OF 2020, I DECIDED TO FLY DOWN TO MEET HER.

    AND ONCE WE MET, I KNEW RIGHT AWAY THAT WE -- THERE WAS A REALLY IMPORTANT STORY TO BE TOLD.

    I WAS VERY STRUCK BY KARINA'S -- I TELL HER THIS ALL THE TIME -- BY HER INCREDIBLE ABILITY TO ARTICULATE HER FEELINGS AND REALLY EXPLAIN TO ME WHAT THAT WAS THROUGH AND KIND OF VERY COMPLEX -- YOU KNOW, IT'S A VERY TRAGIC SITUATION, BUT ALSO HAS REALLY DEEP AND GRAVE CONSEQUENCES FOR MENTAL HEALTH, YOU KNOW, AND KARINA, THE WAY SHE ARTICULATED THAT TO ME STRUCK ME.

    SO I CAME BACK FROM THAT TRIP AND KNEW THERE WAS A REALLY IMPORTANT STORY TO TELL, NOT JUST ABOUT SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND THE LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY, BUT ALSO THE HUGE IMPACT AND LACK OF JUSTICE HAS ON SURVIVES.

    THAT'S WHY I WANTED TO TELL THIS STORY.

    FRONT AND SENTER THE STORY OF SUR SURVIVES.

    KARINA IS THE MAIN BUT THERE'S ALSO OTHERS.

    AND ALSO TELL THE STORY OF THE LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT TOOK PLACE BECAUSE OF VANESSA'S CASE.

    IN PART BECAUSE OF KARINA'S HASHTAG, MANY CAME FORWARD.

    MANY CHANGES TOOK PLACE.

    THERE'S SO MUCH MORE TO DO, BUT SOME THINGS HAPPENED THAT WERE PRISS UNPRECEDENTED.

    KARINA, I WANT TO BRING YOU IN AND GET YOUR TAKE ON WHAT WAS ABOUT ABOUT VANESSA'S STORY THAT RESONATED AND MADE IT CLEAR NOW IS THE TIME TO SPEAK UP?

    I THINK WHEN I ORIGINALLY HEARD ABOUT HER CASE ALL I HAD KNOWN IS SHE WAS MISSING AND THE DAYS KEPT GOING WHERE YOU WOULD SEE HER FACE AND YOU WOULDN'T -- THERE WASN'T REALLY AN EXPLANATION AS TO WHY SHE WAS MISSING.

    WHEN I TWRAEACTUALLY LOOKED UP STORY, SO MANY THINGS DIDN'T MAKE SENSE.

    I WAS LIKE, THERE HAS TO BE MORE COVERAGE.

    A COUPLE DAYS INTO IT I REALIZED I DIDN'T LOOK AT THE SPANISH SECTION OF THE NEWS AND MAYBE I'LL FIND SOMETHING THERE, AND THAT'S WHEN I -- WHEN I HEARD HER MOM SAY THAT SHE WAS SEXUALLY HARASSED AND NOW SHE'S MISSING AND SHE WANTS ANSWERS.

    AND TO ME IT FELT LIKE A TON OF BRICKS JUST FELL ON TOP OF ME BECAUSE THIS WASN'T BEING SAID, YOU KNOW, IN THE ENGLISH MEDIA.

    AND IT JUST MADE ME SO ANGRY.

    I REMEMBER JUST SO MANY EMOTIONS, AND I STARTED, YOU KNOW, LOOKING AT EVERYBODY.

    I STARTED TRYING TO GET IN TOUCH WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE THAT COULD LISTEN AND COULD UNDERSTAND THAT THIS -- YOU KNOW, WHAT HAPPENED TO HER WAS NOT AN INDIVIDUAL THING.

    IT HAPPENED ALL OF THE TIME AND, YOU KNOW, MORE SPECIFICALLY, MY CASE AND HOW I HAD JUST LEFT AND I WAS FORCED OUT OF MY CAREER BECAUSE I WAS SPEAKING UP ON THIS, AND IT HAD GONE SO BAD AND CHAOTIC THAT, YOU KNOW, CONGRESS HAD TO GET INVOLVED IN MY CASE.

    SO IT WAS ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT, YOU KNOW, I WAS ANGRY, I WAS SENDING, YOU KNOW, THE FAMILY -- MORE SPECIFICALLY THE SISTERS, YOU KNOW, MY STORE, AND IT JUST, YOU KNOW, WASN'T REACHING THEM, WHICH I UNDERSTAND, YOU KNOW, WHY.

    THERE WAS PROBABLY SO MANY MESSAGES COMING IN THERE IN BOXES AND TO THEM.

    AND YOU KNOW, I -- I WAS LIKE, OKAY, I'M GOING TO PUT IT ON FACEBOOK, AND I'M GOING TO COME FORWARD AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT'S OUT THERE.

    YOU KNOW, BECAUSE THIS ISN'T -- YOU KNOW, MANY PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND -- ESPECIALLY CIVILIANS DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU CAN'T COME FORWARD, AND YOU THINK THAT WHEN SOMETHING TRAUMATIC HAPPENS LIKE THAT THAT YOU'RE SAFE IF YOU GO TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE.

    HOWEVER, THAT'S REALLY NOT THE CASE.

    YOU CAN HAVE ALL THE RIGHT PEOPLE, AND THOSE RIGHT PEOPLE, THOSE DOORS ARE SHUT ON THEM TO PROTECT YOU.

    AND THE RETALIATION THAT COMES IS -- IS -- IS HORRIFYING SO, YOU MIGHT AS WELL JUST STAY QUIET AND JUST ENDURE EVERYTHING IN SILENCE.

    YOU KNOW, IT'S -- IT'S A VERY SCARY THING TO GO THROUGH, AND I THINK PEOPLE NEEDED TO UNDERSTAND THAT AND SEE THAT MORE SPECIFICALLY THROUGH MY STORY, BECAUSE I CAME FORWARD AND I HAD MOMENTS WHERE, SHOULD I HAVE COME FORWARD?

    MAYBE I WOULD STILL HAVE MY CAREER IF I DIDN'T, AND I WOULD JUST GET MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES BEHIND THE SCENES, BEHIND, YOU KNOW -- BEHIND EVERYONE'S BACK AND JUST TOOK CARE OF IT THAT WAY.

    YOU KNOW, WHO KNOWS?

    ANDREA, I WANT TO GO BACK TO YOU, BECAUSE WE DID SHOW OF COURSE A CLIP FROM THE FILM, AND WE ALWAYS DEFINITELY WANT PEOPLE TO WATCH THE FULL DOCUMENTARY, BUT CAN YOU TELL US, JUST FILL IN FOR PEOPLE WHO MIGHT NOT BE AWARE OF VANESSA'S STORY, WHO WAS SHE, AND WHAT DO WE NOW KNOW HAPPENED TO HER?

    YEAH, SO VANESSA WAS A LATINA SOLDIER.

    SHE WAS STATIONED AT FT. HOOD IN TEXAS.

    SHE STARTED, AND SHE WAS VERY EXCITED TO JOIN THE MILITARY.

    HER FAMILY SAYS SHE WAS JUST VERY PROUD TO SERVE.

    HER FAMILY IS AN IMMIGRANT FAMILY.

    THEY'RE MEXICANS, OF MEXICAN DES DESCENT, AND I THINK SHE SAW THIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE HER COUNTRY AND WAS JUST VERY PROUD.

    AT SOME POINT, VANESSA CAME HOME AND HER MOM NOTICED SHE WAS A LITTLE OFF, WASN'T SLEEPING, JUST SEEMED REALLY OFF TO HER, AND WHEN SHE ASKED HER WHAT WAS HAPPENING, VANESSA WOULDN'T TELL HER.

    EVENTUALLY SHE TOLD HER SHE WAS BEING SEXUALLY HARASSED BY A SARGENT, BUT SHE DIDN'T WANT TO REPORT IT BECAUSE SHE WAS AFRAID OF RETALIATION.

    FAST FORWARD A FEW MONTHS, AND VANESSA GOES MISSING IN APRIL OF 2020.

    INITIALLY -- YOU KNOW, THE FAMILY KNEW RIGHT AWAY THERE WAS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THAT, BECAUSE THEY WERE A VERY TIGHT KNIT FAMILY AND NOT HEARING FROM VANESSA WAS JUST REALLY OFF TO THEM.

    THEY WENT TO THE BASE.

    THEY WERE NOT GETTING A LOT OF ANSWERS.

    THEY WERE, YOU KNOW, KIND OF KEPT -- PUSHED AWAY IN SOME WAYS.

    BUT THEY WERE VERY, VERY PERSISTENT.

    THEY WERE JUST DEMANDING ANSWERS.

    AND EVENTUALLY, HER BODY WAS FOUND, AND WE KNOW THAT SHE WAS MURDERED BY SOMEONE IN HER UNIT.

    WE KNOW THAT HE WASN'T THE PERSON THAT WAS HARASSING HER NECESSARILY, BUT THERE'S STILL A LOT OF ANSWERS THAT NEED TO BE -- TO BE CLEARED OUT, AND THE FAMILY'S STILL WAITING FOR A LOT OF ANSWERS.

    AND THROUGHOUT THAT SEARCH, YOU KNOW, WITH KARINA'S HASHTAG WHEN VANESSA WAS STILL MISSING THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE CAME FORWARD WITH THEIR OWN STORY OF HARASMENT AS WELL.

    KARINA, I WANT TO GO BACK AND GET YOU TO EXPLAIN A LITTLE BIT FOR SO MANY OF US WHO ARE CIVILIAN, WHAT IS THAT MILITARY CULTURE LIKE THAT PUSHES, MAYBE COERCES, MAYBE EVEN DEMANDS THAT WOMEN WHO ARE SERVING REMAIN QUIET ON AN ISSUE LIKE THIS?

    THAT'S THE QUESTION I GET FROM A LOT OF PEOPLE, AND I THINK -- I DON'T THINK THAT THERE'S A REALLY GOOD ANSWER TO IT.

    I THINK, FOR EXAMPLE, BEFORE I JOINED MY FAMILY SAT DOWN AND TALKED TO ME ABOUT WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE A WOMAN AND WORK IN A MALE FILLED INDUSTRY, AND THEN ME AS A MINORITY AS A WOMAN, ESPECIALLY BEING 19 YEARS OLD, BECAUSE I WAS 19 AT THE TIME.

    AND THEY WENT THROUGH, YOU KNOW, DIFFERENT THINGS THAT COULD BE ISSUES.

    YOU KNOW, THEY TOLD ME THAT I WAS VERY NAIVE, I WAS VERY YOUNG, AND YOU KNOW, THEY WANTED TO MAKE SURE I WAS SET UP FOR SUCCESS WITH KNOWING THINGS LIKE THIS.

    I REMEMBER MY FAMILY SHOWED ME THE LIVEINA JOHNSON CASE AND I REMEMBER THINKING, YOU KNOW, THEY'RE STILL FIGHTING FOR THIS.

    BUT THAT WAS THE ONLY CASE I REMEMBERED.

    BUT THE STATISTICS OF THAT HAPPENING TO ME WERE PRETTY LOW.

    HER FAMILY IS STILL FIGHTING FOR ANSWERS.

    THEY'RE GOING TO GET THOSE ANSWERS.

    I WAS VERY I WAS VERY NAIVE, VERY -- I HAD A LOT OF TRUST IN THE SYSTEM.

    I WAS LIKE, I'M GOING TO DO THIS.

    I'M GOING THE GO SERVE MY COUNTRY.

    I'M SUPEREXCITED ABOUT IT.

    THERE'S GOING TO BE A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES.

    I'M NERVOUS.

    AND YOU KNOW, I REMEMBER BEING IN BASE, GOING THROUGH I.T., GOING THROUGH THE MILITARY PROCESS.

    I REMEMBER JUST HOW MANY FEMALES PULLED ME ASIDE AND GAVE ME ADVICE OR TOLD ME TO STAY AWAY FROM A SPECIFIC PERSON OR, YOU KNOW, JUST SOMETHING THAT KIND OF -- THEY WERE DOING THE BEST THEY COULD TO GIVE ME ADVICE, BUT, YOU KNOW, TO A 19-YEAR-OLD, A 20-YEAR-OLD, YOU'RE JUST LIKE, THAT'S SO WEIRD THAT THAT PERSON HAD TO COME AND TELL ME AND GIVE ME THAT ADVICE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    I REMEMBER HAVING THIS REALLY, YOU KNOW, BEING SEXUALLY HARASSED IN ONE SPECIFIC INCIDENT IN KOREA, AND I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

    I FELT LIKE I WAS, YOU KNOW, SUFFOCATING AND I WAS BLOCKED INTO A KITCHEN.

    AND I REMEMBER GOING TO AN NCO, A FEMALE NCO AND I TOLD HER HOW I FELT BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT I WAS FEELING.

    AND SHE TOLD ME -- SHE GAVE ME ADVICE AND SHE WAS LIKE, YOU KNOW -- SHE WAS BACKING ME UP THE FULL TIME AND TOLD ME HOW TO HANDLE SITUATIONS LIKE THAT, AND SHE MADE ME CONFRONT HIM AND TELL HIM THAT WAS UNACCEPTABLE AND JUST STAND UP FOR MYSELF.

    SO WHEN THIS HAPPENED ON FT.

    HOOD AND I THOUGHT THAT I COULD DO EXACTLY THAT, THAT I WAS SHOWN HOW TO DO IT AND I WOULD GET HELP IN MY SITUATION, AND I WAS INSTEAD REDIRECTED AND GUIDED TO NOT GET THAT HELP AND INSTEAD TO JUST STAY QUIET ABOUT THAT BECAUSE THE BASE DIDN'T -- THE UNIT DIDN'T NEED EYES ON -- OR EXTRA ATTENTION ON THE UNIT.

    I KIND OF FELT ASHAMED.

    I FELT LIKE I COULDN'T STAND UP FOR MYSELF.

    I HAD ALWAYS BEEN THAT 19-YEAR-OLD THAT WAS LIKE, IF THIS EVER HAPPENS I'M GOING TO STAND UP FOR MYSELF, I'M GOING TO FIGHT BACK.

    NO ONE'S GOING TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT.

    THAT STARTED THAT INNER WAR WITH MYSELF WHERE I DIDN'T -- I FAILED MYSELF, BECAUSE HERE I WAS, YOU KNOW, LETTING THEM WIN AND INTIMIDATE ME AND KEEP ME SILENT, AND I FELT UNSAFE, AND THEN ON TOP OF THAT I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO -- MY FAMILY MEMBERS WERE THE ONES WHO TOLD ME ALL OF THIS, SO THEN I FELT COMPLETELY SHATTERED, BECAUSE THAT 19-YEAR-OLD GIRL WHO WAS TELLING THEM, I WILL STAND UP AND FIGHT FOR MYSELF AND I'LL DO WHAT'S RIGHT, AND, YOU KNOW, THEY'LL HAVE TO HELP ME.

    NOW IT'S THE OPPOSITE.

    SO WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS LIKE THAT, YOU GET -- IT'S THE SUBJECT THAT'S EXTREMELY HEAVY.

    SO EVEN IF YOU DO TELL THE RIGHT PEOPLE, THEY DON'T KNOW REALLY HOW TO APPROACH THE SITUATION AND THEN ON TOP OF THAT IF YOU GO TO THE WRONG PEOPLE, THE WRONG PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO YOU ACKNOWLEDGE IT AT ALL.

    IT'S YOUR FAULT AND THAT'S IT.

    EVEN WHEN I STARTED RECEIVING MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES, I HAD BEEN TOLD IT WAS MY FAULT.

    YOU START REALLY BATTLING YOURSELF, AND I THINK ULTIMATELY THAT'S HOW THEY KIND OF WIN, BECAUSE THEY TARGET -- THEY MAKE YOU QUESTION YOURSELF.

    YOU'RE NOT QUESTIONING THEM.

    IF YOU'RE QUESTIONING THEM YOU'RE LIKE, NO, I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO ME, AND THAT'S WRONG.

    BUT ONCE YOU HEAR IT ENOUGH AND YOU'RE IN THAT FRAGILE STATE OF MAYBE THIS WASN'T -- YOU KNOW, MAYBE THIS WASN'T THEIR FAULT.

    MAYBE THIS WAS MY FAULT.

    WHAT DID I DO WRONG?

    YOU'RE RETRACKING AND GOING THROUGH THE PROCESS OF, OKAY, IT HAPPENED HERE, BUT WHAT DID I DO THAT LED ME TO BE PUT INTO THE SITUATION?

    WELL, IT'S SOUNDING A LITTLE BIT LIKE PERHAPS ISSUES OF HIERARCHY AND CHAIN OF COMMAND ARE ALSO COMING INTO PLAY WITH YOU AS A 19-YEAR-OLD RECRUIT.

    FOR THE NONSERVING CIVILIAN AUDIENCE, JUST VERY QUICKLY CAN YOU JUST LET EVERYBODY KNOW, SO THEY FULLY UNDERSTAND, WHAT EXACT LY IS AN NCO?

    THE NCO IS BASICALLY THE -- THEY'RE KNOWN AS THE BACKBONE OF THE ARMY, OR THE MILITARY IN GENERAL.

    THEY HAVE SERVED FOR SOME TIME.

    THEY'VE GONE THROUGH THE BASIC LEADERSHIP SCHOOLS, AND THEY HAVE THAT RANK.

    SO THEY'RE THE ONES THAT ARE PUT IN CHARGE OF THE LOWER ENLISTED SOLDIERS SOME BASICALLY THEY ARE A FORM OF LEADERSHIP.

    THEY ARE SOMEONE YOU REPORT TO AND HELP YOU --

    OKAY, AND DOES THAT STAND FOR SOMETHING?

    I JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE ARE LIKE, OH, THAT'S WHAT NCO IS.

    YES, NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICER.

    MY SECOND QUESTION IS ALSO -- YOU DO KEEP GOING BACK TO YOUR AGE, AND ONE THING I THINK EVERYONE CAN RELATE TO IS BEING A 19-YEAR-OLD AND THINK YOU UNDERSTAND BUT NOT FULLY UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD YOU'RE STEPPING INTO.

    HOW LONG AFTER YOU GOT TO FT.

    HOOD DID YOUR ASSAULT HAPPEN?

    AND I KNOW THAT YOU SORT OF TOUCHED ON IT, BUT AS MUCH AS YOU CAN SHARE, CAN YOU SHARE WITH US WHAT HAPPENED?

    YES.

    SO I JOINED WHEN I WAS 19, JUST TO CLARIFY, AND I HAD SEEN, YOU KNOW, JUST THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT FROM 19, 20, YOU KNOW, THOSE AGES.

    WHEN I WENT TO FT. HOOD I WAS 21 ALREADY, AND I HAD ARRIVED LATE JULY.

    SO I WENT THROUGH THE PROCESS OF -- THEY CALL IT -- IT'S BASICALLY FOR CIVILIAN TERMS ONBOARDING WHEN YOU FIRST GET THERE, THEY HAVE TO IN-PROCESS YOU.

    AND I REMEMBER SENDING MY MOM A TEXT MESSAGE, RIGHT, THAT FIRST DAY, AND I REMEMBER TELLING HER I FELT LIKE A PIECE OF MEAT.

    I REMEMBER TEXTING HER AND TELLING HER I WAS CRYING, BECAUSE SHE WAS LIKE, MAYBE YOU'RE GOING TO LOVE IT.

    I WAS LIKE, I DIDN'T WANT TO GO TO TEXAS, BUT WHATEVER.

    I'M SO FAR AWAY FROM HOME.

    I WANTED TO GO TO FT. BRAGG AND BE CLOSER TO MY FAMILY AFTER BEING AWAY FROM THEM FOR A YEAR.

    I'M YOUNG.

    I WANT TO BE CLOSE TO MY FAMILY.

    THAT FIRST DAY WAS FRUSTRATING FOR ME.

    I FELT LIKE EVERY TIME I ASKED A QUESTION THEY WERE SETTING ME UP FOR FAILURE.

    THEY THOUGHT IT WAS REALLY FUNNY THAT I WAS ASKING THESE QUESTIQUE QUESTIONS SO I WOULDN'T BREAK ANY RULES BECAUSE THEY WERE GIVING ME THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE ANSWER.

    IT WAS LIKE YOU WERE BACKED AGAINST A WALL AND I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO BELIEVE OR DIDN'T.

    THAT WAS EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING.

    ON TOP OF THAT IT WAS THE COMMENTS AND THINGS LIKE THAT THEY WOULD MAKE.

    THAT WAS BEFORE I GOT TO MY UNIT.

    I WAS SEXUAL ASSAULTED IN SEPTEMBER, SO I HAD BEEN THERE TECHNICALLY ONE FULL MONTH AND A COUPLE WEEKS.

    BUT ALSO WITH THAT, TOO, YOU KNOW, ONE THING I ALWAYS TELL PEOPLE IS, WE GROW UP WITH OUR PARENTS TELLING US DON'T TALK TO SPRAI STRANGERS, DON'T GET IN THE CAR WITH STRANGERS, BUT IN THE MILITARY, YOU DO WHAT YOU'RE TOLD, SO THERE WERE A LOT OF TIMES THAT I WAS IN A CAR WITH A STRANGER, BECAUSE I -- YOU KNOW, SOMEBODY WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO PICK ME UP DIDN'T SHOW UP, SO THEY SENT SOMEONE ELSE.

    SO TECHNICALLY I'M GETTING IN THIS CAR ON A BASE WHERE I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE ANYTHING IS OR WHO ANYONE IS AND THEY'RE DRIVING ME AND IT'S LIKE, OH, I NEVER MET THIS PERSON IN MY LIFE.

    SO IT KIND OF GOES INTO THAT KIND OF SITUATION WHERE IT'S LIKE, WE'RE TOLD OUR WHOLE ENTIRE LIVES NOT TO GET INTO CARS WITH STRANGERS AND THINGS LIKE THAT, BUT THEN THAT'S WHAT WE DO IN THE MILITARY.

    AND BEING THAT YOUNG AND STILL, YOU KNOW, DOING WHAT YOU'RE TOLD, YOU THINK THAT WHAT YOU'RE BEING TOLD IS LAW AND YOU HAVE TO DO IT.

    SO THERE'S A LOT OF INTIMIDATION THAT COMES INTO WHEN YOU'RE TELLING YOUNGER SOLDIERS, HEY, YOU HAVE TO DO THIS OR YOU HAVE TO BE HERE AND IN A LOT OF CASES AND A LOT OF STORIES, THAT, ESPECIALLY FROM THE SURVIVES THAT CAME FORWARD WITH THE HASHTAG, THEY'LL TELL YOU, I WAS DOING WHAT THEY TOLD ME TO DO BECAUSE I THOUGHT THAT'S WHAT WAS EXPECTED FROM ME.

    THERE'S A LOT THAT GOES INTO BEING YOUNG.

    I HAVE HAD SURVIVES TELL ME THAT THEY WERE 25, 26 EVEN, AND STILL, IT'S THAT -- IT'S JUST WHEN YOU COME INTO THE MILITARY, EVERYTHING IS COMPLETELY BRAND NEW BECAUSE IT'S NOT THE CIVILIAN WORLD.

    IT IS ABOUT AGING BUT IT'S THAT INTIMIDATION FACTOR WHERE YOU HAVE SOMEBODY SUPERIOR TO YOU OR TELLING YOU OR GIVING YOU AN ORDER THAT IF YOU DON'T FOLLOW THAT ORDER YOU COULD GET IN TROUBLE.

    IT'S ALSO, I DON'T WANT TO MAKE THIS PERSON UPSET, BECAUSE THIS PERSON LEGIT HOLDS ALL OF THE POWER FOR MY CAREER.

    MY CAREER PROGRESSION AND MY REPUTATION AS WELL.

    BECAUSE IF I DON'T DO THIS, THEN THAT PERSON'S GOING TO GO AND TELL EVERYONE THAT I'M A BAD SOLDIER AND I DON'T LISTEN AND I'M DISRESPECTFUL.

    IN MY CASE, YOU SEE THAT WHERE IT'S LIKE, EVERY TIME I WOULD COME ALL OF A SUDDEN SOMETHING WOULD COME OVER MY HEAD AND SAY, YOU WANT TO GO TO I.G.? HERE'S THIS.

    WE'RE GOING TO SAY YOU DID THIS.

    IT'S LIKE, WAIT A MINUTE, WHY ARE YOU BRINGING THIS UP AT THIS EXACT MOMENT WHEN I'M TRYING TO GET HELP?

    IT SILENCES YOU AGAIN AND YOU JUST KEEP GOING ON WITH YOUR LIFE, UNABLE TO LOOK AT YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR AND REALIZE, YOU'RE JUST STUCK.

    WELL, ANDREA, I WANT TO BRING YOU BACK IN.

    WE ONLY HAVE ABOUT A MINUTE LEFT, BUT YOU DID MENTION ABOUT SOME OF THE LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT WERE BEGINNING TO TAKE PLACE.

    CAN YOU JUST LET US KNOW WHAT IS POTENTIALLY ON THE TABLE TO HAPPEN TO ADDRESS SOME OF THESE ISSUES?

    YEAH.

    THE BIGGEST CHANGE THAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR -- ONE OF THE MAIN ISSUES IN THE MILITARY, GOING BACK TO KARINA'S STORY IS THAT BASICALLY THE MILITARY -- YOU KNOW, LIKE, CHECKS THEMSELVES.

    YOU HAVE -- IF YOUR CASE IS IN THE CHAIN OF COMMAND, IT'S YOUR COMMANDER WHO DECIDES WHETHER THE CASE OF ASSAULT OR HA HARASSMENT IS PROSECUTED.

    CHAIN OF COMMAND IS NONLAWYERS SO IT'S NOT AN UNBIASSED BROSS.

    FOR DECADES ACTIVISTS HAD BEEN WANTING TO TAKE THOSE CASES OUT OF THE CHAIN OF COMMAND TO A BODY THAT WOULD REGULATE, AND THAT WAS ACHIEVED LAST YEAR FOR THE FIRST TIME, AND IT'S A HUGE CHANGE.

    IT'S GOING TO TAKE A FEW YEARS FOR IT TO BE IMPLEMENTED.

    BUT THERE ARE OTHER THINGS THAT STILL NEED TO CHANGE.

    FOR INSTANCE, THOSE -- THE CASES THAT WE'RE TAKING OUT OF THE CHAIN OF COMMAND WERE SEXUAL ASSAULT BE AND MURDER AND OTHER REALLY GRAVE ASSAULTS.

    BUT FOR INSTANCE SEXUAL HARASSMENT WAS NOT TAKEN OUT OF THE CHAIN OF COMMAND, AND THAT IS VERY CONTRADICTORY BECAUSE SEXUAL HARASSMENT IS A HIGH INDICATOR OF SEXUAL ASSAULT, RIGHT?

    SO IF THE COMMANDERS ARE STILL HANDLING THOSE CASES THEN IT KIND OF FEELS LIKE A BIT OF A CONTRADICTION.

    LIKE, PEOPLE ARE NOT GOING TO FEEL COMFORTABLE.

    THAT'S A HUGE CHANGE.

    I THINK CULTURE NEEDS TO CHANGE AS WELL, AND THAT'S OBVIOUSLY GOING TO TAKE MANY, MANY YEARS.

    OKAY.

    IMPORTANT STEPS.

    I DON'T MEAN TO CUT YOU OFF, BUT WE HAVE RUN OUT OF TIME.

    I WANT TO THANK YOU BOTH SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

    THE FILM IS ' #I AM VANESSA GUILLEN'. YOU CAN STREAM IT ON UNIVISION.COM.

    AND OF COURSE I WANT TO THANK THE FILM'S PRODUCER AND DIRECTOR, ANDREA.

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

    AND OF COURSE KARINA, ALSO, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US, AND THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR STORY.

    SO THANK YOU BOTH.

    THANKS FOR HAVING US.

    THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

    AND ANDREA.

    > 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

     

    MY THOUGHTS

     

    I recall years ago a village voice article about women in the NYPD with tons of accusations. 

    The woman in the metrofocus video said she was 18 and naive, but when I was 12 I knew the military or nypd  were not organizations for a black person to be in. Maybe I simply had honest parents but it bothers me that the woman abused was told by relatives the environment of the military was abusive to women and she thought the military would be this mythological knights of the round table place. 

    I am not trying to suggest women should be abused by men in any environment . But, in all earnest, women who join organizations that should be commonly known as abusive to women, are fools to me. It is the same with Blacks, male or female. I don't have the desire to give lenience to a person, in my opinion, who should know better. Women, stop joining the military, that is the answer. 

    I have always called feces of bull on Black people who feel joining organizations that are clearly anti black is the best way to change them. I have always felt that is a stupid thing to do and has no proof of being a historically valid strategy. The NYPD is still anti black, the military, anti black, the federal government anti black. Am I wrong? If you want to change an organization , the best thing to do is to not try to change it and make a new one with a similar purpose that you control so you can start it with the cultural principles you want. It is that simple. 

    1. richardmurray

      richardmurray

      @Chevdove yes, the thing about most stories involving nyc, is they are usually told partially, rarely completely. Media focused on elliot spitzer paying for call girls as an act of immaturity or impropriety.  yet, the fact that spitzer had eyes on the banks of nyc, specifically targeting their financial illegality or abuse , which connects to nyc's biggest industry, the real estate market was not mentioned as much.  Most people remember the banking collapse but don't know that the only bank that was taken to court was a small chinese american community bank in nyc. why was a little community bank taken to court but big banks that owed billions were not given any oversight, just a blank check. focusing on garner's murder is convenient. Black elected officials can make speeches and garner votes or support, the clan of the deceased regardless of their true feelings to the murdered when alive will get alot of money in a civil case, the nypd community or organization is kept safe from critique or modulation while an individual law enforcer is the media focus. The news style makes all sides profit. Asking black elected officials why they have been in nyc as a force since the 1960s but have never made the nypd a major initiative when the nypd pushed drugs in the black community and publicly treated the black community differently while negatively its entire history.  Publishing clan members of the deceased true feelings of the deceased when alive will display the falsehood in their claims in civil court or the larger problem amongst common folk in nyc in general. Asking why the NYPD never succeeds and constantly supports criminality, will then emphasize why nyc has never tried to change the laws to lessen that which is illegal in the first place. Like the legal marijuana scenario in nyc, that demands a huge fee for a license to sell marijuana but then suggest the marijuana industry is supposed to be more phenotypically equitable, as if black people have an equal rate of money per capita. 

       

       

    2. (See 3 other replies to this status update)

  13. now01.png

    I am Vanessa Guillen

    My thoughts are after the transcript

     

    Metrofocus video

    https://www.thirteen.org/metrofocus/2023/01/metrofocus-january-3-2023-08ecys/

    Full Documentary

    https://www.univision.com/especiales/noticias/2022/i-am-vanessa-guillen

     

    DESCRIPTION

     

    In April 2020, U.S. Army Spc. Vanessa Guillén was murdered after reporting her assault that took place at Fort Hood in Texas.  In late November 2022, Cecily Aguilar, the only person charged in connection with Vanessa’s murder, pled guilty to four counts, including accessory to murder after the fact, and now faces up to 30 years in prison.  While this decision is a victory for Vanessa’s family, the problem of sexual harassment and assault, as well as retaliation for those reporting these crimes, remains a major issue in our armed forces.  A documentary, available to stream on Univision.com called #IamVanessaGuillen, covers the issue of sexual violence in our military and tells Vanessa’s story, including how her situation inspired countless others to share their own stories of abuse and push for change in the military.  Joining us to discuss the film are producer and director Andrea Patiño Contreras; and Karina López, a military sexual assault survivor.

     

    TRANSCRIPT

     

     TONIGHT, A MAJOR UPDATE ON THE MURDER OF VANESSA GUILLEN, THE ARMY SOLDIER WHOSE DEATH INSPIRED THOUSANDS TO SHARE THEIR STORY OF THE SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN THE MILITARY.

    WE REVISIT, THE CASE, THE DOCUMENTARY TELLING THE STORY.

    'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

    > THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

    > 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

    AND BY --

    > GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

    I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

    JUST A FEW MONTHS AGO WE BROUGHT TO YOU POWERFUL STORY OF VANESSA GUILLEN, THE U.S. ARMY SOLDIER MURDERED AFTER REPORTING THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT SHE ENDURED AT FT. HOOD IN TEXAS.

    HER DEATH INSPIRED COUNTLESS OTHERS TO SHARE THEIR STORY OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND PUSH FOR CHANGE IN THE MILITARY.

    PROSECUTORS SAY GUILLEN'S KILLER TOOK HIS OWN LIFE BEFORE HE COULD BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE.

    ONLY ONE PERSON, THE KILLER'S GIRLFRIEND, WAS CHARGED WITH A CRIME IN THIS CASE E CECILY AGUILAR.

    SHE ADMITTED TO HELPING DISPOSE OF GUILLEN'S BODY.

    SHE FACES UP TO 30 YEARS IN PRISON.

    WHILE THIS IS A VICTORY FOR VANESSA'S FAMILY, THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND ASSAULT AS WELL AS RETALIATION FOR THOSE REPORTING THESE CRIMES REMAINS A MAJOR PROBLEM AND ISSUE IN OUR ARMED FORCES.

    THE DOCUMENTARY ' #I AM VANESSA GUILLEN' EXAMINES THESE ISSUES AND IS STREAMING ON UNIVISION.COM.

    HERE'S A QUICK LOOK FOLLOWED BY MY INTERVIEW WITH THE FILM'S DIRECTOR AND ONE THOSE IN THE FILM.

    IT WAS A VERY NERVOUS VOICE.

    SHE SAID SOMETHING HAPPENED AND NO ONE WAS BELIEVING HER.

    SHE DID NOT KNOW, AND SHE WAS CON CON CON CONTEMPLATING HURTING HERSELF.

    I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO FEEL SAFE.

    I DIDN'T KNOW ANYTHING.

    A PART OF ME DIED BECAUSE SOMEBODY DECIDED TO DO THIS TO ME, AND NOBODY WANTED TO LISTEN.

    I REPORTED IT AND I FOUGHT AND I'VE GONE THROUGH THE TRAUMA AND THE RETALIATION THAT I FACED AND NOW YOU HAVE A MISSING SOLDIER THAT WAS HARASSED.

    I WROTE MY STORY AND PUT MY PICTURE BESIDES VANESSA BECAUSE I WAS VANESSA.

    I AM VANESSA.

    I AM VANESSA GUILLEN IS A HASHTAG GOING VIRAL HIGHLIGHTING SEXUAL ASSAULT AND HARASMENT WITHIN THE MILITARY.

    AT FT. HOOD, A SOLDIER GONE MISSING.

    THEY CREATED AN ENVIRONMENT THAT CONTRIBUTED TO SEXUAL ASSAULT, EVEN MURDER.

    THE ENVIRONMENT AT FT. HOOD WAS PERMISSIVE.

    WE'RE JUST LIKE ANY ORGANIZATION.

    WE'RE ALL ABOUT MAKING OURSELF BETTER.

    BECAUSE THE MESSAGE AND CULTURE IN THE MILITARY HAS BEEN CLEAR -- SHUT UP, SUCK IT UP, AND DON'T ROCK THE BOAT.

    IN THE CIVILIAN WORLD, PROSECUTORS MAKE THE DECISION TO PROSECUTE, AND THE MILITARY NONLAWYER COMMANDERS MAKE THAT DECISION.

    90% OF SEX OFFENDER IN THE MILITARY WILL NEVER BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.

    AFTER 246 YEART TIME FOR CONGRESS TO GIVE THE MEN AND WOMEN SERVING OUR NATION A JUSTICE SYSTEM WORTHY OF SACRIFICES.

    YOU MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, YOU NEED TO PASS THIS LEGISLATION.

    JUSTICE!

    WHEN DO WE WANT IT?

    NOW!

    I REALLY FEEL LIKE WE'RE ON THE VERGE OF SUCCESS.

    WE'RE GOING TO REFORM THIS SYSTEM AND WE'RE GOING TO GET TO A BETTER PLACE.

    THE WOMEN VETERANS YOU ENCOUNTER HAVE THE ABILITY TO ADAPT AND OVERCOME BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT WE HAVE BEEN TAUGHT.

    BUT HERE'S THE THING -- YOU'VE CREATED A WOMAN WHO IS UNSTOPPABLE.

    JOINING ME NOW TO DISCUSS THIS POWERFUL NEW DOCUMENTARY IS THE FILM'S DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER, ANDREA CONTRAERAS, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

    I'D LIKE TO INTRODUCE KARINA LOPEZ, A SURVEVETERAN AND SURVI THE SEXUAL ASSAULT.

    SHE'S THE CREATOR OF THE VIRAL HASHTAG #I AM VANESSA GUILLEN, WHICH INSPIRED THE FILM'S TITLE.

    LADIES, THANK YOU TO P 'METROFOCUS.'

    THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.

    ABSOLUTELY.

    I WANT TO START BY ASKING ANDREA, YOU, THE QUESTION I ASK ALL DIRECTORS, AND THAT WAS WHAT MOTIVATED TO YOU CREATE THIS DOCUMENTARY.

    WHAT WAS, YOU FELT, THE NARRATIVE THAT WAS NOT ALREADY OUT THERE?

    SO, DURING 2020, OUR TEAM AT UNIVISION HAD BEEN COVERING THE DISAPPEARANCE AND MURDER OF VANESSA GUILLEN, WHO WENT MISSING AT THE FT. HOOD BASE IN APRIL OF 2020, AND LATER HER BODY WAS FOUND.

    DURING THAT REPORTING, THE FALLING ONES, WE HEARD FROM A COUPLE OF CASES, KARINA INCLUDED.

    SHE REACHED OUT TO US TELLING US HER STORY, AND AT THAT POINT IN THE FALL OF 2020, WE HEARD FROM HER, AND IN DECEMBER OF 2020, I DECIDED TO FLY DOWN TO MEET HER.

    AND ONCE WE MET, I KNEW RIGHT AWAY THAT WE -- THERE WAS A REALLY IMPORTANT STORY TO BE TOLD.

    I WAS VERY STRUCK BY KARINA'S -- I TELL HER THIS ALL THE TIME -- BY HER INCREDIBLE ABILITY TO ARTICULATE HER FEELINGS AND REALLY EXPLAIN TO ME WHAT THAT WAS THROUGH AND KIND OF VERY COMPLEX -- YOU KNOW, IT'S A VERY TRAGIC SITUATION, BUT ALSO HAS REALLY DEEP AND GRAVE CONSEQUENCES FOR MENTAL HEALTH, YOU KNOW, AND KARINA, THE WAY SHE ARTICULATED THAT TO ME STRUCK ME.

    SO I CAME BACK FROM THAT TRIP AND KNEW THERE WAS A REALLY IMPORTANT STORY TO TELL, NOT JUST ABOUT SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND THE LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY, BUT ALSO THE HUGE IMPACT AND LACK OF JUSTICE HAS ON SURVIVES.

    THAT'S WHY I WANTED TO TELL THIS STORY.

    FRONT AND SENTER THE STORY OF SUR SURVIVES.

    KARINA IS THE MAIN BUT THERE'S ALSO OTHERS.

    AND ALSO TELL THE STORY OF THE LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT TOOK PLACE BECAUSE OF VANESSA'S CASE.

    IN PART BECAUSE OF KARINA'S HASHTAG, MANY CAME FORWARD.

    MANY CHANGES TOOK PLACE.

    THERE'S SO MUCH MORE TO DO, BUT SOME THINGS HAPPENED THAT WERE PRISS UNPRECEDENTED.

    KARINA, I WANT TO BRING YOU IN AND GET YOUR TAKE ON WHAT WAS ABOUT ABOUT VANESSA'S STORY THAT RESONATED AND MADE IT CLEAR NOW IS THE TIME TO SPEAK UP?

    I THINK WHEN I ORIGINALLY HEARD ABOUT HER CASE ALL I HAD KNOWN IS SHE WAS MISSING AND THE DAYS KEPT GOING WHERE YOU WOULD SEE HER FACE AND YOU WOULDN'T -- THERE WASN'T REALLY AN EXPLANATION AS TO WHY SHE WAS MISSING.

    WHEN I TWRAEACTUALLY LOOKED UP STORY, SO MANY THINGS DIDN'T MAKE SENSE.

    I WAS LIKE, THERE HAS TO BE MORE COVERAGE.

    A COUPLE DAYS INTO IT I REALIZED I DIDN'T LOOK AT THE SPANISH SECTION OF THE NEWS AND MAYBE I'LL FIND SOMETHING THERE, AND THAT'S WHEN I -- WHEN I HEARD HER MOM SAY THAT SHE WAS SEXUALLY HARASSED AND NOW SHE'S MISSING AND SHE WANTS ANSWERS.

    AND TO ME IT FELT LIKE A TON OF BRICKS JUST FELL ON TOP OF ME BECAUSE THIS WASN'T BEING SAID, YOU KNOW, IN THE ENGLISH MEDIA.

    AND IT JUST MADE ME SO ANGRY.

    I REMEMBER JUST SO MANY EMOTIONS, AND I STARTED, YOU KNOW, LOOKING AT EVERYBODY.

    I STARTED TRYING TO GET IN TOUCH WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE THAT COULD LISTEN AND COULD UNDERSTAND THAT THIS -- YOU KNOW, WHAT HAPPENED TO HER WAS NOT AN INDIVIDUAL THING.

    IT HAPPENED ALL OF THE TIME AND, YOU KNOW, MORE SPECIFICALLY, MY CASE AND HOW I HAD JUST LEFT AND I WAS FORCED OUT OF MY CAREER BECAUSE I WAS SPEAKING UP ON THIS, AND IT HAD GONE SO BAD AND CHAOTIC THAT, YOU KNOW, CONGRESS HAD TO GET INVOLVED IN MY CASE.

    SO IT WAS ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT, YOU KNOW, I WAS ANGRY, I WAS SENDING, YOU KNOW, THE FAMILY -- MORE SPECIFICALLY THE SISTERS, YOU KNOW, MY STORE, AND IT JUST, YOU KNOW, WASN'T REACHING THEM, WHICH I UNDERSTAND, YOU KNOW, WHY.

    THERE WAS PROBABLY SO MANY MESSAGES COMING IN THERE IN BOXES AND TO THEM.

    AND YOU KNOW, I -- I WAS LIKE, OKAY, I'M GOING TO PUT IT ON FACEBOOK, AND I'M GOING TO COME FORWARD AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT'S OUT THERE.

    YOU KNOW, BECAUSE THIS ISN'T -- YOU KNOW, MANY PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND -- ESPECIALLY CIVILIANS DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU CAN'T COME FORWARD, AND YOU THINK THAT WHEN SOMETHING TRAUMATIC HAPPENS LIKE THAT THAT YOU'RE SAFE IF YOU GO TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE.

    HOWEVER, THAT'S REALLY NOT THE CASE.

    YOU CAN HAVE ALL THE RIGHT PEOPLE, AND THOSE RIGHT PEOPLE, THOSE DOORS ARE SHUT ON THEM TO PROTECT YOU.

    AND THE RETALIATION THAT COMES IS -- IS -- IS HORRIFYING SO, YOU MIGHT AS WELL JUST STAY QUIET AND JUST ENDURE EVERYTHING IN SILENCE.

    YOU KNOW, IT'S -- IT'S A VERY SCARY THING TO GO THROUGH, AND I THINK PEOPLE NEEDED TO UNDERSTAND THAT AND SEE THAT MORE SPECIFICALLY THROUGH MY STORY, BECAUSE I CAME FORWARD AND I HAD MOMENTS WHERE, SHOULD I HAVE COME FORWARD?

    MAYBE I WOULD STILL HAVE MY CAREER IF I DIDN'T, AND I WOULD JUST GET MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES BEHIND THE SCENES, BEHIND, YOU KNOW -- BEHIND EVERYONE'S BACK AND JUST TOOK CARE OF IT THAT WAY.

    YOU KNOW, WHO KNOWS?

    ANDREA, I WANT TO GO BACK TO YOU, BECAUSE WE DID SHOW OF COURSE A CLIP FROM THE FILM, AND WE ALWAYS DEFINITELY WANT PEOPLE TO WATCH THE FULL DOCUMENTARY, BUT CAN YOU TELL US, JUST FILL IN FOR PEOPLE WHO MIGHT NOT BE AWARE OF VANESSA'S STORY, WHO WAS SHE, AND WHAT DO WE NOW KNOW HAPPENED TO HER?

    YEAH, SO VANESSA WAS A LATINA SOLDIER.

    SHE WAS STATIONED AT FT. HOOD IN TEXAS.

    SHE STARTED, AND SHE WAS VERY EXCITED TO JOIN THE MILITARY.

    HER FAMILY SAYS SHE WAS JUST VERY PROUD TO SERVE.

    HER FAMILY IS AN IMMIGRANT FAMILY.

    THEY'RE MEXICANS, OF MEXICAN DES DESCENT, AND I THINK SHE SAW THIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE HER COUNTRY AND WAS JUST VERY PROUD.

    AT SOME POINT, VANESSA CAME HOME AND HER MOM NOTICED SHE WAS A LITTLE OFF, WASN'T SLEEPING, JUST SEEMED REALLY OFF TO HER, AND WHEN SHE ASKED HER WHAT WAS HAPPENING, VANESSA WOULDN'T TELL HER.

    EVENTUALLY SHE TOLD HER SHE WAS BEING SEXUALLY HARASSED BY A SARGENT, BUT SHE DIDN'T WANT TO REPORT IT BECAUSE SHE WAS AFRAID OF RETALIATION.

    FAST FORWARD A FEW MONTHS, AND VANESSA GOES MISSING IN APRIL OF 2020.

    INITIALLY -- YOU KNOW, THE FAMILY KNEW RIGHT AWAY THERE WAS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THAT, BECAUSE THEY WERE A VERY TIGHT KNIT FAMILY AND NOT HEARING FROM VANESSA WAS JUST REALLY OFF TO THEM.

    THEY WENT TO THE BASE.

    THEY WERE NOT GETTING A LOT OF ANSWERS.

    THEY WERE, YOU KNOW, KIND OF KEPT -- PUSHED AWAY IN SOME WAYS.

    BUT THEY WERE VERY, VERY PERSISTENT.

    THEY WERE JUST DEMANDING ANSWERS.

    AND EVENTUALLY, HER BODY WAS FOUND, AND WE KNOW THAT SHE WAS MURDERED BY SOMEONE IN HER UNIT.

    WE KNOW THAT HE WASN'T THE PERSON THAT WAS HARASSING HER NECESSARILY, BUT THERE'S STILL A LOT OF ANSWERS THAT NEED TO BE -- TO BE CLEARED OUT, AND THE FAMILY'S STILL WAITING FOR A LOT OF ANSWERS.

    AND THROUGHOUT THAT SEARCH, YOU KNOW, WITH KARINA'S HASHTAG WHEN VANESSA WAS STILL MISSING THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE CAME FORWARD WITH THEIR OWN STORY OF HARASMENT AS WELL.

    KARINA, I WANT TO GO BACK AND GET YOU TO EXPLAIN A LITTLE BIT FOR SO MANY OF US WHO ARE CIVILIAN, WHAT IS THAT MILITARY CULTURE LIKE THAT PUSHES, MAYBE COERCES, MAYBE EVEN DEMANDS THAT WOMEN WHO ARE SERVING REMAIN QUIET ON AN ISSUE LIKE THIS?

    THAT'S THE QUESTION I GET FROM A LOT OF PEOPLE, AND I THINK -- I DON'T THINK THAT THERE'S A REALLY GOOD ANSWER TO IT.

    I THINK, FOR EXAMPLE, BEFORE I JOINED MY FAMILY SAT DOWN AND TALKED TO ME ABOUT WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE A WOMAN AND WORK IN A MALE FILLED INDUSTRY, AND THEN ME AS A MINORITY AS A WOMAN, ESPECIALLY BEING 19 YEARS OLD, BECAUSE I WAS 19 AT THE TIME.

    AND THEY WENT THROUGH, YOU KNOW, DIFFERENT THINGS THAT COULD BE ISSUES.

    YOU KNOW, THEY TOLD ME THAT I WAS VERY NAIVE, I WAS VERY YOUNG, AND YOU KNOW, THEY WANTED TO MAKE SURE I WAS SET UP FOR SUCCESS WITH KNOWING THINGS LIKE THIS.

    I REMEMBER MY FAMILY SHOWED ME THE LIVEINA JOHNSON CASE AND I REMEMBER THINKING, YOU KNOW, THEY'RE STILL FIGHTING FOR THIS.

    BUT THAT WAS THE ONLY CASE I REMEMBERED.

    BUT THE STATISTICS OF THAT HAPPENING TO ME WERE PRETTY LOW.

    HER FAMILY IS STILL FIGHTING FOR ANSWERS.

    THEY'RE GOING TO GET THOSE ANSWERS.

    I WAS VERY I WAS VERY NAIVE, VERY -- I HAD A LOT OF TRUST IN THE SYSTEM.

    I WAS LIKE, I'M GOING TO DO THIS.

    I'M GOING THE GO SERVE MY COUNTRY.

    I'M SUPEREXCITED ABOUT IT.

    THERE'S GOING TO BE A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES.

    I'M NERVOUS.

    AND YOU KNOW, I REMEMBER BEING IN BASE, GOING THROUGH I.T., GOING THROUGH THE MILITARY PROCESS.

    I REMEMBER JUST HOW MANY FEMALES PULLED ME ASIDE AND GAVE ME ADVICE OR TOLD ME TO STAY AWAY FROM A SPECIFIC PERSON OR, YOU KNOW, JUST SOMETHING THAT KIND OF -- THEY WERE DOING THE BEST THEY COULD TO GIVE ME ADVICE, BUT, YOU KNOW, TO A 19-YEAR-OLD, A 20-YEAR-OLD, YOU'RE JUST LIKE, THAT'S SO WEIRD THAT THAT PERSON HAD TO COME AND TELL ME AND GIVE ME THAT ADVICE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    I REMEMBER HAVING THIS REALLY, YOU KNOW, BEING SEXUALLY HARASSED IN ONE SPECIFIC INCIDENT IN KOREA, AND I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

    I FELT LIKE I WAS, YOU KNOW, SUFFOCATING AND I WAS BLOCKED INTO A KITCHEN.

    AND I REMEMBER GOING TO AN NCO, A FEMALE NCO AND I TOLD HER HOW I FELT BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT I WAS FEELING.

    AND SHE TOLD ME -- SHE GAVE ME ADVICE AND SHE WAS LIKE, YOU KNOW -- SHE WAS BACKING ME UP THE FULL TIME AND TOLD ME HOW TO HANDLE SITUATIONS LIKE THAT, AND SHE MADE ME CONFRONT HIM AND TELL HIM THAT WAS UNACCEPTABLE AND JUST STAND UP FOR MYSELF.

    SO WHEN THIS HAPPENED ON FT.

    HOOD AND I THOUGHT THAT I COULD DO EXACTLY THAT, THAT I WAS SHOWN HOW TO DO IT AND I WOULD GET HELP IN MY SITUATION, AND I WAS INSTEAD REDIRECTED AND GUIDED TO NOT GET THAT HELP AND INSTEAD TO JUST STAY QUIET ABOUT THAT BECAUSE THE BASE DIDN'T -- THE UNIT DIDN'T NEED EYES ON -- OR EXTRA ATTENTION ON THE UNIT.

    I KIND OF FELT ASHAMED.

    I FELT LIKE I COULDN'T STAND UP FOR MYSELF.

    I HAD ALWAYS BEEN THAT 19-YEAR-OLD THAT WAS LIKE, IF THIS EVER HAPPENS I'M GOING TO STAND UP FOR MYSELF, I'M GOING TO FIGHT BACK.

    NO ONE'S GOING TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT.

    THAT STARTED THAT INNER WAR WITH MYSELF WHERE I DIDN'T -- I FAILED MYSELF, BECAUSE HERE I WAS, YOU KNOW, LETTING THEM WIN AND INTIMIDATE ME AND KEEP ME SILENT, AND I FELT UNSAFE, AND THEN ON TOP OF THAT I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO -- MY FAMILY MEMBERS WERE THE ONES WHO TOLD ME ALL OF THIS, SO THEN I FELT COMPLETELY SHATTERED, BECAUSE THAT 19-YEAR-OLD GIRL WHO WAS TELLING THEM, I WILL STAND UP AND FIGHT FOR MYSELF AND I'LL DO WHAT'S RIGHT, AND, YOU KNOW, THEY'LL HAVE TO HELP ME.

    NOW IT'S THE OPPOSITE.

    SO WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS LIKE THAT, YOU GET -- IT'S THE SUBJECT THAT'S EXTREMELY HEAVY.

    SO EVEN IF YOU DO TELL THE RIGHT PEOPLE, THEY DON'T KNOW REALLY HOW TO APPROACH THE SITUATION AND THEN ON TOP OF THAT IF YOU GO TO THE WRONG PEOPLE, THE WRONG PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO YOU ACKNOWLEDGE IT AT ALL.

    IT'S YOUR FAULT AND THAT'S IT.

    EVEN WHEN I STARTED RECEIVING MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES, I HAD BEEN TOLD IT WAS MY FAULT.

    YOU START REALLY BATTLING YOURSELF, AND I THINK ULTIMATELY THAT'S HOW THEY KIND OF WIN, BECAUSE THEY TARGET -- THEY MAKE YOU QUESTION YOURSELF.

    YOU'RE NOT QUESTIONING THEM.

    IF YOU'RE QUESTIONING THEM YOU'RE LIKE, NO, I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO ME, AND THAT'S WRONG.

    BUT ONCE YOU HEAR IT ENOUGH AND YOU'RE IN THAT FRAGILE STATE OF MAYBE THIS WASN'T -- YOU KNOW, MAYBE THIS WASN'T THEIR FAULT.

    MAYBE THIS WAS MY FAULT.

    WHAT DID I DO WRONG?

    YOU'RE RETRACKING AND GOING THROUGH THE PROCESS OF, OKAY, IT HAPPENED HERE, BUT WHAT DID I DO THAT LED ME TO BE PUT INTO THE SITUATION?

    WELL, IT'S SOUNDING A LITTLE BIT LIKE PERHAPS ISSUES OF HIERARCHY AND CHAIN OF COMMAND ARE ALSO COMING INTO PLAY WITH YOU AS A 19-YEAR-OLD RECRUIT.

    FOR THE NONSERVING CIVILIAN AUDIENCE, JUST VERY QUICKLY CAN YOU JUST LET EVERYBODY KNOW, SO THEY FULLY UNDERSTAND, WHAT EXACT LY IS AN NCO?

    THE NCO IS BASICALLY THE -- THEY'RE KNOWN AS THE BACKBONE OF THE ARMY, OR THE MILITARY IN GENERAL.

    THEY HAVE SERVED FOR SOME TIME.

    THEY'VE GONE THROUGH THE BASIC LEADERSHIP SCHOOLS, AND THEY HAVE THAT RANK.

    SO THEY'RE THE ONES THAT ARE PUT IN CHARGE OF THE LOWER ENLISTED SOLDIERS SOME BASICALLY THEY ARE A FORM OF LEADERSHIP.

    THEY ARE SOMEONE YOU REPORT TO AND HELP YOU --

    OKAY, AND DOES THAT STAND FOR SOMETHING?

    I JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE ARE LIKE, OH, THAT'S WHAT NCO IS.

    YES, NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICER.

    MY SECOND QUESTION IS ALSO -- YOU DO KEEP GOING BACK TO YOUR AGE, AND ONE THING I THINK EVERYONE CAN RELATE TO IS BEING A 19-YEAR-OLD AND THINK YOU UNDERSTAND BUT NOT FULLY UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD YOU'RE STEPPING INTO.

    HOW LONG AFTER YOU GOT TO FT.

    HOOD DID YOUR ASSAULT HAPPEN?

    AND I KNOW THAT YOU SORT OF TOUCHED ON IT, BUT AS MUCH AS YOU CAN SHARE, CAN YOU SHARE WITH US WHAT HAPPENED?

    YES.

    SO I JOINED WHEN I WAS 19, JUST TO CLARIFY, AND I HAD SEEN, YOU KNOW, JUST THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT FROM 19, 20, YOU KNOW, THOSE AGES.

    WHEN I WENT TO FT. HOOD I WAS 21 ALREADY, AND I HAD ARRIVED LATE JULY.

    SO I WENT THROUGH THE PROCESS OF -- THEY CALL IT -- IT'S BASICALLY FOR CIVILIAN TERMS ONBOARDING WHEN YOU FIRST GET THERE, THEY HAVE TO IN-PROCESS YOU.

    AND I REMEMBER SENDING MY MOM A TEXT MESSAGE, RIGHT, THAT FIRST DAY, AND I REMEMBER TELLING HER I FELT LIKE A PIECE OF MEAT.

    I REMEMBER TEXTING HER AND TELLING HER I WAS CRYING, BECAUSE SHE WAS LIKE, MAYBE YOU'RE GOING TO LOVE IT.

    I WAS LIKE, I DIDN'T WANT TO GO TO TEXAS, BUT WHATEVER.

    I'M SO FAR AWAY FROM HOME.

    I WANTED TO GO TO FT. BRAGG AND BE CLOSER TO MY FAMILY AFTER BEING AWAY FROM THEM FOR A YEAR.

    I'M YOUNG.

    I WANT TO BE CLOSE TO MY FAMILY.

    THAT FIRST DAY WAS FRUSTRATING FOR ME.

    I FELT LIKE EVERY TIME I ASKED A QUESTION THEY WERE SETTING ME UP FOR FAILURE.

    THEY THOUGHT IT WAS REALLY FUNNY THAT I WAS ASKING THESE QUESTIQUE QUESTIONS SO I WOULDN'T BREAK ANY RULES BECAUSE THEY WERE GIVING ME THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE ANSWER.

    IT WAS LIKE YOU WERE BACKED AGAINST A WALL AND I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO BELIEVE OR DIDN'T.

    THAT WAS EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING.

    ON TOP OF THAT IT WAS THE COMMENTS AND THINGS LIKE THAT THEY WOULD MAKE.

    THAT WAS BEFORE I GOT TO MY UNIT.

    I WAS SEXUAL ASSAULTED IN SEPTEMBER, SO I HAD BEEN THERE TECHNICALLY ONE FULL MONTH AND A COUPLE WEEKS.

    BUT ALSO WITH THAT, TOO, YOU KNOW, ONE THING I ALWAYS TELL PEOPLE IS, WE GROW UP WITH OUR PARENTS TELLING US DON'T TALK TO SPRAI STRANGERS, DON'T GET IN THE CAR WITH STRANGERS, BUT IN THE MILITARY, YOU DO WHAT YOU'RE TOLD, SO THERE WERE A LOT OF TIMES THAT I WAS IN A CAR WITH A STRANGER, BECAUSE I -- YOU KNOW, SOMEBODY WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO PICK ME UP DIDN'T SHOW UP, SO THEY SENT SOMEONE ELSE.

    SO TECHNICALLY I'M GETTING IN THIS CAR ON A BASE WHERE I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE ANYTHING IS OR WHO ANYONE IS AND THEY'RE DRIVING ME AND IT'S LIKE, OH, I NEVER MET THIS PERSON IN MY LIFE.

    SO IT KIND OF GOES INTO THAT KIND OF SITUATION WHERE IT'S LIKE, WE'RE TOLD OUR WHOLE ENTIRE LIVES NOT TO GET INTO CARS WITH STRANGERS AND THINGS LIKE THAT, BUT THEN THAT'S WHAT WE DO IN THE MILITARY.

    AND BEING THAT YOUNG AND STILL, YOU KNOW, DOING WHAT YOU'RE TOLD, YOU THINK THAT WHAT YOU'RE BEING TOLD IS LAW AND YOU HAVE TO DO IT.

    SO THERE'S A LOT OF INTIMIDATION THAT COMES INTO WHEN YOU'RE TELLING YOUNGER SOLDIERS, HEY, YOU HAVE TO DO THIS OR YOU HAVE TO BE HERE AND IN A LOT OF CASES AND A LOT OF STORIES, THAT, ESPECIALLY FROM THE SURVIVES THAT CAME FORWARD WITH THE HASHTAG, THEY'LL TELL YOU, I WAS DOING WHAT THEY TOLD ME TO DO BECAUSE I THOUGHT THAT'S WHAT WAS EXPECTED FROM ME.

    THERE'S A LOT THAT GOES INTO BEING YOUNG.

    I HAVE HAD SURVIVES TELL ME THAT THEY WERE 25, 26 EVEN, AND STILL, IT'S THAT -- IT'S JUST WHEN YOU COME INTO THE MILITARY, EVERYTHING IS COMPLETELY BRAND NEW BECAUSE IT'S NOT THE CIVILIAN WORLD.

    IT IS ABOUT AGING BUT IT'S THAT INTIMIDATION FACTOR WHERE YOU HAVE SOMEBODY SUPERIOR TO YOU OR TELLING YOU OR GIVING YOU AN ORDER THAT IF YOU DON'T FOLLOW THAT ORDER YOU COULD GET IN TROUBLE.

    IT'S ALSO, I DON'T WANT TO MAKE THIS PERSON UPSET, BECAUSE THIS PERSON LEGIT HOLDS ALL OF THE POWER FOR MY CAREER.

    MY CAREER PROGRESSION AND MY REPUTATION AS WELL.

    BECAUSE IF I DON'T DO THIS, THEN THAT PERSON'S GOING TO GO AND TELL EVERYONE THAT I'M A BAD SOLDIER AND I DON'T LISTEN AND I'M DISRESPECTFUL.

    IN MY CASE, YOU SEE THAT WHERE IT'S LIKE, EVERY TIME I WOULD COME ALL OF A SUDDEN SOMETHING WOULD COME OVER MY HEAD AND SAY, YOU WANT TO GO TO I.G.? HERE'S THIS.

    WE'RE GOING TO SAY YOU DID THIS.

    IT'S LIKE, WAIT A MINUTE, WHY ARE YOU BRINGING THIS UP AT THIS EXACT MOMENT WHEN I'M TRYING TO GET HELP?

    IT SILENCES YOU AGAIN AND YOU JUST KEEP GOING ON WITH YOUR LIFE, UNABLE TO LOOK AT YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR AND REALIZE, YOU'RE JUST STUCK.

    WELL, ANDREA, I WANT TO BRING YOU BACK IN.

    WE ONLY HAVE ABOUT A MINUTE LEFT, BUT YOU DID MENTION ABOUT SOME OF THE LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT WERE BEGINNING TO TAKE PLACE.

    CAN YOU JUST LET US KNOW WHAT IS POTENTIALLY ON THE TABLE TO HAPPEN TO ADDRESS SOME OF THESE ISSUES?

    YEAH.

    THE BIGGEST CHANGE THAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR -- ONE OF THE MAIN ISSUES IN THE MILITARY, GOING BACK TO KARINA'S STORY IS THAT BASICALLY THE MILITARY -- YOU KNOW, LIKE, CHECKS THEMSELVES.

    YOU HAVE -- IF YOUR CASE IS IN THE CHAIN OF COMMAND, IT'S YOUR COMMANDER WHO DECIDES WHETHER THE CASE OF ASSAULT OR HA HARASSMENT IS PROSECUTED.

    CHAIN OF COMMAND IS NONLAWYERS SO IT'S NOT AN UNBIASSED BROSS.

    FOR DECADES ACTIVISTS HAD BEEN WANTING TO TAKE THOSE CASES OUT OF THE CHAIN OF COMMAND TO A BODY THAT WOULD REGULATE, AND THAT WAS ACHIEVED LAST YEAR FOR THE FIRST TIME, AND IT'S A HUGE CHANGE.

    IT'S GOING TO TAKE A FEW YEARS FOR IT TO BE IMPLEMENTED.

    BUT THERE ARE OTHER THINGS THAT STILL NEED TO CHANGE.

    FOR INSTANCE, THOSE -- THE CASES THAT WE'RE TAKING OUT OF THE CHAIN OF COMMAND WERE SEXUAL ASSAULT BE AND MURDER AND OTHER REALLY GRAVE ASSAULTS.

    BUT FOR INSTANCE SEXUAL HARASSMENT WAS NOT TAKEN OUT OF THE CHAIN OF COMMAND, AND THAT IS VERY CONTRADICTORY BECAUSE SEXUAL HARASSMENT IS A HIGH INDICATOR OF SEXUAL ASSAULT, RIGHT?

    SO IF THE COMMANDERS ARE STILL HANDLING THOSE CASES THEN IT KIND OF FEELS LIKE A BIT OF A CONTRADICTION.

    LIKE, PEOPLE ARE NOT GOING TO FEEL COMFORTABLE.

    THAT'S A HUGE CHANGE.

    I THINK CULTURE NEEDS TO CHANGE AS WELL, AND THAT'S OBVIOUSLY GOING TO TAKE MANY, MANY YEARS.

    OKAY.

    IMPORTANT STEPS.

    I DON'T MEAN TO CUT YOU OFF, BUT WE HAVE RUN OUT OF TIME.

    I WANT TO THANK YOU BOTH SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

    THE FILM IS ' #I AM VANESSA GUILLEN'. YOU CAN STREAM IT ON UNIVISION.COM.

    AND OF COURSE I WANT TO THANK THE FILM'S PRODUCER AND DIRECTOR, ANDREA.

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

    AND OF COURSE KARINA, ALSO, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US, AND THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR STORY.

    SO THANK YOU BOTH.

    THANKS FOR HAVING US.

    THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

    AND ANDREA.

    > 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

     

    MY THOUGHTS

     

    I recall years ago a village voice article about women in the NYPD with tons of accusations. 

    The woman in the metrofocus video said she was 18 and naive, but when I was 12 I knew the military or nypd  were not organizations for a black person to be in. Maybe I simply had honest parents but it bothers me that the woman abused was told by relatives the environment of the military was abusive to women and she thought the military would be this mythological knights of the round table place. 

    I am not trying to suggest women should be abused by men in any environment . But, in all earnest, women who join organizations that should be commonly known as abusive to women, are fools to me. It is the same with Blacks, male or female. I don't have the desire to give lenience to a person, in my opinion, who should know better. Women, stop joining the military, that is the answer. 

    I have always called feces of bull on Black people who feel joining organizations that are clearly anti black is the best way to change them. I have always felt that is a stupid thing to do and has no proof of being a historically valid strategy. The NYPD is still anti black, the military, anti black, the federal government anti black. Am I wrong? If you want to change an organization , the best thing to do is to not try to change it and make a new one with a similar purpose that you control so you can start it with the cultural principles you want. It is that simple. 

    1. richardmurray

      richardmurray

      Thank you @Chevdove I live in NYC, people talk about the federal military but the NYPD is just as bad with a smaller profile. I give as proof, Eric Garner. From my memory , when he was murdered the senior police officer at the scene was a black female police officer, maybe lieutenant, maybe captain, I don't recall the rank, but she was at the scene. Why didn't she do something? She was the senior officer. But the reason why I think we all know. She fears confronting male cops especially white male cops even if they are her juniors. 

       

      Many people use financial need as the culprit for putting themselves in bad environments, and I argue financial need isn't a culprit. I am not suggesting being poor is easy, being homeless is easy. living in a place absent financial opportunity is easy or wanted. But, people like the female soldiers or the immigrants to the usa, gamble. When the gamble works out well and a female soldier never was harassed and becomes a general, or an immigrant is given opportunities and never taken advantage of, the media and many of us make that the truth but those are exceptions or rarities aren't they? 

       

      I know the opportunities in the military were inviting but I am glad you didn't cause many women , as said documentary proves have a far worse time in the military than meets the eye.

    2. (See 3 other replies to this status update)

  14. Why there's a 'high bar' for new EV tax credits, according to a Biden economic adviser
    Akiko Fujita
    Akiko Fujita·Anchor/Reporter
    Thu, August 18, 2022 at 9:16 AM

    The White House’s top economic adviser defended restrictions placed on the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)’s key tax credits that are intended to accelerate electric vehicle (EV) adoption.

    Under the new bill President Joe Biden signed into law on Monday, drivers are eligible for a $7,500 tax credit for new EVs or $4,000 for used vehicles largely sourced and manufactured in the U.S.

    However, critics — including some carmakers — have criticized the administration for limitations placed, saying it’s likely to slow down the adoption of EVs and leave drivers with few options.

    “Certainly, it sets a high bar that that tax credit is eligible for batteries and vehicles that are produced in the United States or in North America or countries that we have free trade agreements with,” Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, told Yahoo Finance Live (video above). “We think that that's an appropriate bar because what we want across time is to provide a strong incentive for us to have secure supply chains in those areas.”

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    Specifically, the new law restricts the full tax credit to EVs with battery material sourced from the U.S. or free-trade partners, starting in 2024. Any minerals or components sourced from “foreign entities of concern” including China would not qualify for the $7,500 credit. Final assembly of the vehicle would also need to take place in North America.

    Adding to the restrictions, the law only applies to vehicles with a manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) below $55,000 for cars and below $80,000 for trucks and SUVs.

    A necessary step
    Biden has hailed the hundreds of billions of dollars committed to tackling climate change through the IRA as “one of the most significant laws in recent history,” but carmakers have criticized the new legislation for attaching too many strings and limiting the wide-scale adoption of clean cars.

    In a recent interview with Yahoo Finance Live, Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker called the restrictions counterproductive, arguing that the limitations would actually “slow the adoption of EVs.”

    “It's going to offer less choice to the consumers," he said. "I'll be surprised if there's even 10 vehicles in the US that will qualify for the full amount."

    An analysis by the Congressional Budget Office estimated the $85 million set aside for new EV credits in the 2023 fiscal years would only translate to 11,000 new vehicles sold under the $7,500 credit. That pales in comparison to roughly 630,000 EVs sold in 2021 just in the U.S.

    Deese said the “high bar” is a necessary step to entice carmakers into investing in supply chains closer to home. An overwhelming majority of minerals and components used in vehicles today are currently sourced from China.

    Specifically, the new law restricts the full tax credit to EVs with battery material sourced from the U.S. or free-trade partners, starting in 2024. Any minerals or components sourced from “foreign entities of concern” including China would not qualify for the $7,500 credit. Final assembly of the vehicle would also need to take place in North America.

    Adding to the restrictions, the law only applies to vehicles with a manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) below $55,000 for cars and below $80,000 for trucks and SUVs.

    A necessary step
    Biden has hailed the hundreds of billions of dollars committed to tackling climate change through the IRA as “one of the most significant laws in recent history,” but carmakers have criticized the new legislation for attaching too many strings and limiting the wide-scale adoption of clean cars.

    In a recent interview with Yahoo Finance Live, Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker called the restrictions counterproductive, arguing that the limitations would actually “slow the adoption of EVs.”

    “It's going to offer less choice to the consumers," he said. "I'll be surprised if there's even 10 vehicles in the US that will qualify for the full amount."

    An analysis by the Congressional Budget Office estimated the $85 million set aside for new EV credits in the 2023 fiscal years would only translate to 11,000 new vehicles sold under the $7,500 credit. That pales in comparison to roughly 630,000 EVs sold in 2021 just in the U.S.

    Deese said the “high bar” is a necessary step to entice carmakers into investing in supply chains closer to home. An overwhelming majority of minerals and components used in vehicles today are currently sourced from China.

    “The core of this bill on the clean energy side is to provide long-term technology-neutral tax credits so that we generate lower carbon energy here in the United States and we generate the technology and the technological advances that come with that,” he said. “We certainly expect that because of this legislation, companies and the suppliers in the supply chain are going to respond quite significantly.”

    Companies like General Motors (GM) have already responded by seeking out minerals sourced in the U.S, and investing in mining operations in places like California. But the timeline for completion of those projects still remain years away.

    The Alliance for Automotive Innovation — a trade group that counts Toyota (TM), Ford (F), and GM among its members — estimated that 70% of the 72 EV models currently sold on the market will be ineligible for the new car tax credits because of the restrictions.

    In the immediate term, Deese said, the $4,000 tax credit for used cars would likely accelerate adoption, given that the same limitations do not apply.

    “Most Americans who are out there buying vehicles are actually buying used cars, particularly lower working class folks,” he said. “So we have more electric vehicles in our vehicle mix. Having a credit for used vehicles is incredibly powerful. It helps broaden the number of Americans who could see themselves getting into an electric vehicle."

    Akiko Fujita is an anchor and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @AkikoFujita

    ARTICLE URL
    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/why-theres-a-high-bar-for-new-ev-tax-credits-according-to-a-biden-economic-advisor-131611401.html

     

    What's In the Inflation Reduction Act?

    JUL 28, 2022

    Update (8/11/2022): The Senate passed an amended version of the Inflation Reduction Act on August 7, which included several changes to the bill's tax and prescription drug provisions. While the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has indicated a full score of the amended bill will be published in the coming weeks, the Joint Committee on Taxation has released an updated score of revenue provisions in the bill, showing the new version would raise an additional $22 billion in revenue. However, we anticipate the prescription drug savings provisions will now save less than the $322 billion in the previous version. We will update this analysis once CBO releases its full score of the bill.

    The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just released its score of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022, legislation which would use Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 reconciliation instructions to raise revenue; lower prescription drug costs; fund new energy, climate, and health care provisions; and reduce budget deficits. 

    Based on the CBO score, the legislation would reduce deficits by $305 billion through 2031 – including over $100 billion of net scoreable savings and another $200 billion of gross revenue from stronger tax compliance.

    Because the prescription drug savings would be larger than new spending, CBO finds the legislation would modestly reduce net spending by almost $15 billion through 2031, including by nearly $40 billion in 2031.

    Once fully phased in, the plan would also slightly cut net taxes by about $2 billion per year – with expanded energy and climate tax credits roughly matching the size of new tax increases. The legislation would generate nearly $300 billion of net revenue over a decade, mostly from improved tax compliance and the spillover effects of higher wages as a result of lower health premiums -- neither of which are tax increases -- along with early revenue collection as corporations shift the timing of certain payments.

    Overall, CBO estimates the legislation includes $790 billion of offsets to fund roughly $485 billion of new spending and tax breaks (as negotiators account for the policies, it includes $739 billion of offsets and $433 billion of investments). Unlike prior versions of this reconciliation bill, such as the House-passed Build Back Better Act, this legislation would reduce deficits. Along with other elements of the bill, it is likely to reduce inflationary pressures and thus reduce the risk of a possible recession.

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    The package includes $386 billion of climate and energy spending and tax breaks – mainly for new or expanded tax credits to promote clean energy generation, electrification, green technology retrofits for homes and buildings, greater use of clean fuels, environmental conservation, and wider adoption of electric vehicles, among other purposes. The package would also increase health care spending by nearly $100 billion, mainly by extending the American Rescue Plan's temporarily-expanded Affordable Care Act (ACA) premium tax credits for an additional three years, through 2025. Accompanying this new spending would be various regulatory and permitting reforms to help reduce energy costs outside of the reconciliation package.

    The $485 billion of new costs would be offset with $790 billion of additional revenue and savings over a decade. This includes roughly $313 billion from imposing a 15 percent minimum tax on corporate book income; $322 billion for various reforms to reduce prescription drug costs; $124 billion ($204 billion gross) from reducing the tax gap through stronger Internal Revenue Service (IRS) enforcement; $13 billion from closing the carried interest loophole; and $18 billion from fees on methane emissions, Superfund cleanup sites, and a permanent extension of the higher tax rate for the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund.

    The legislation would reduce deficits by over $20 billion in the first year, and – with interest – over $85 billion in 2031. We recently estimated it would reduce debt by nearly $2 trillion over two decades. Assuming the permanent unpaid-for extension of ACA subsidies (which we would strongly oppose), the plan would likely save almost $50 billion per year by 2031.

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    Although reconciliation was designed for deficit reduction, this would be the first time in many years it was actually used for this purpose. It would also be the largest deficit reduction bill since the Budget Control Act of 2011. With inflation at a 40-year high and debt approaching record levels, this would be a welcomed improvement from the status quo.

    WEBPAGE
    https://www.crfb.org/blogs/whats-inflation-reduction-act

     

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    The director Ryan Coogler on the set of “Wakanda Forever.” Does he want to direct more “Black Panther” movies? “I’ll do it as long as folks will have me.”Credit...Annette Brown/Marvel

     

    The ‘Black Panther’ Sequel That Never Was

    Writer-director Ryan Coogler and co-screenwriter Joe Robert Cole reveal the original plot for “Wakanda Forever” and discuss working in the Marvel universe.

    By Reggie Ugwu

     

    The “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” screenwriters Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole are just coming up for air. A month after release, the much anticipated follow-up to the original “Black Panther” (2018) is well situated, still screening at more than 3,000 theaters heading into the holiday weekend. The film has received mostly positive reviews from critics and holds the year’s second-highest performance at the box office, after “Top Gun: Maverick.” To date, it has grossed more than $420 million domestically and nearly $800 million overall.

    Things could have gone much differently.

    “This film was difficult in ways that only the people who made it would know,” Coogler said in a recent interview. “There are things we put in there that felt revolutionary, that challenged the definition of having ‘a good time’ in a movie like this.”

    The death of Chadwick Boseman, who played the title role in the original film — a noble but untested leader of the fictional African promised land Wakanda — forced a radical reimagining of the franchise. Coogler and Cole had recently sent Boseman a completed first draft of the script when the actor succumbed to a secret bout with colon cancer.

    Their eventual rewrite opened with the death of Boseman’s character, T’Challa, turning the $250 million superhero film that followed into what can be fairly described as an extended meditation on grief and recovery.

    In a recent joint conversation over video, the screenwriters discussed their original vision for a “Black Panther” sequel, how they addressed the loss of Boseman, and balancing the demands of their story with those of the broader Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    These are edited — and spoiler-filled — excerpts from the conversation.

     

    What was it like collaborating this time?

     

    RYAN COOGLER Last time we went back and forth. Joe had already started when I came on. I think I tried to go for a draft, but I was taking too long and so he jumped in. Then we would get notes from the studio, and we would just kind of divide and conquer. On the second one, we were doing it over the pandemic, so we couldn’t meet up. But Final Draft [the screenwriting software] came out with this update where we could both work in the script at the same time. It was an amazing feature. Very productive, very fun.

    JOE ROBERT COLE It allowed us to bridge that feeling of being in a room and just spitballing ideas.

    COOGLER Then we took that hit, bro, when Chad passed. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I didn’t know how we were going to pull ourselves up and figure it out. Thank God for Joe and the collaborative process, man. It would’ve been impossible for me to write this thing on my own.

     

    In the initial draft of the script, before Chadwick’s death, how were you looking at the story? What were the challenges?

     

    COOGLER It was, “What are we going to do about the Blip?” [In Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” T’Challa is one of billions of people who suddenly vanish, only to be brought back by the Avengers five years later.] That was the challenge. It was absolutely nothing like what we made. It was going to be a father-son story from the perspective of a father, because the first movie had been a father-son story from the perspective of the sons.

    In the script, T’Challa was a dad who’d had this forced five-year absence from his son’s life. The first scene was an animated sequence. You hear Nakia [T’Challa’s love interest, played by Lupita Nyong’o] talking to Toussaint [the couple’s child, introduced in “Wakanda Forever” in a post-credits sequence]. She says, “Tell me what you know about your father.” You realize that he doesn’t know his dad was the Black Panther. He’s never met him, and Nakia is remarried to a Haitian dude. Then, we cut to reality and it’s the night that everybody comes back from the Blip. You see T’Challa meet the kid for the first time.

    Then it cuts ahead three years and he’s essentially co-parenting. We had some crazy scenes in there for Chad, man. Our code name for the movie was “Summer Break,” and the movie was about a summer that the kid spends with his dad. For his eighth birthday, they do a ritual where they go out into the bush and have to live off the land. But something happens and T’Challa has to go save the world with his son on his hip. That was the movie.

     

    Was Namor, the leader of the undersea nation Talokan in “Wakanda Forever,” still the villain?

     

    COOGLER Yeah. But it was a combination. Val [the C.I.A. director, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus] was much more active. It was basically a three-way conflict between Wakanda, the U.S. and Talokan. But it was all mostly from the child’s perspective.

     

    In the new version, the opening scene is T’Challa’s death. Why did you decide to start there?

     

    COLE Just practically, everyone was going to be waiting to see how we dealt with it, so doing it right up front made sense. In terms of the characters, we needed to introduce a different version of Shuri [T’Challa’s sister, played by Letitia Wright]. We’re showing the moment that she becomes a different person than the person we met. She’s the smartest person in the world, but she can’t save her brother. What does that do to you?

    COOGLER We wanted to have an emotionally intelligent conversation. It’s about the transformative quality of grief and trauma. There’s this expectation with emotional trauma that you just need time. “Oh, give them a couple weeks off; they’ll come back to work and get back to it.” But that person is completely different in some ways. You just don’t see it because the change isn’t visible.

     

    T’Challa’s death is attributed to an illness, but it seems sudden and inexplicable, which profoundly unsettles Shuri. Why did you make that choice?

     

    COOGLER We wanted to keep it simple. At the end of the day, what mattered is that she had a self-expectation of being able to be solve it and she failed. And we didn’t want her to have anywhere to displace her anger. If somebody else would’ve taken T’Challa out, Shuri would’ve looked for that person. We wanted it to be a situation where the only place to go was internal.

     

    Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s character has appeared in other Marvel properties and is being set up as a major antagonist in the studio’s future projects, including the “Thunderbolts” movie due in 2024. Is it challenging to incorporate characters or story lines from the broader Marvel Cinematic Universe?

     

    COLE Ryan will have a different perspective as the director, but I’ve never had a conversation where I was asked to incorporate something that didn’t feel organic. The dynamic of the U.S. being an instigator and Western powers being an instigator, that always existed. It wasn’t, “Oh, we need to find a reason to make this character exist.” It was, “Oh, this is already in here and there’s this wonderful actress available.” It always starts from the story and the ideas.

    COOGLER Yeah, nobody was shoehorned in or asked to be put into the movie or anything like that. Actually, in this version, [Louis-Dreyfus’s role] was pared back in order to make space for dealing with T’Challa’s death. And we had Val in there before she even appeared in any of the other movies, before “Black Widow” and [the series] “Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” People assume that we were told to put her in, but she was there from the beginning.

     

    Ryan, what’s your appetite to tell more stories in the world of Wakanda?

     

    COOGLER I feel blessed that I have the opportunity to work on these movies, bro. When I got asked to do the first one, it was like a moving train. I thank God every day that I was able to jump on it and meet these people, these actors, and to meet Chadwick during some of the last years of his life. I’ll do it as long as folks will have me. But I think it’s bigger than just me or Joe. Between the first and second movie, we made $2 billion at the box office, which is what matters the most to corporations. So I hope that it continues, man. I hope people are still making movies about Wakanda long after we’re gone.

     

    Reggie Ugwu is a pop culture reporter covering a range of subjects, including film, television, music and internet culture. Before joining The Times in 2017, he was a reporter for BuzzFeed News and Billboard magazine. @uugwuu

     

    URL : https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/23/arts/ryan-coogler-black-panther-wakanda-forever.html

     

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    Jacobs-Jenkins, far left, on the “Kindred” set during filming. “In honoring Octavia’s book, I’m trying to find new things to talk about,” he said.Credit...Tina Rowden/FX

     

    ‘Kindred’ Creator Wants Viewers to ‘Question Their Assumptions’

    In his TV adaptation of the Octavia Butler novel, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins changed parts of the story but kept the author’s focus on “making the familial political.”

    By Salamishah Tillet

    Dec. 26, 2022

     

    “If a ‘Kindred’ movie is ever made, I wouldn’t be involved,” Octavia Butler wrote in a letter in 2000. “It won’t be my movie, and I suspect it won’t look much like my book.”

    It was yet another Butler prediction that was mostly on target, though she was wrong about the format. Adapted by the playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins for FX on Hulu, “Kindred” is neither a film nor a completely faithful interpretation of the novel. But it comes at a time when there is more interest in Butler’s body of work than ever before, and in how her prolific writing, mainly science fiction novels, continues to resonate with our world more than 15 years after her death.

    “Kindred” is Butler’s most well-known and often-taught novel. Published in 1979, it tells the story of Dana Franklin, a 26-year-old African American writer who repeatedly and unexpectedly travels from 1976 to a mid-19th-century plantation in Maryland. Each time Dana arrives in the past, she finds herself saving the life of Rufus Weylin, her white slaveholding ancestor; she returns to the present only when her own life is at risk.

    In a 1988 interview with the literary critic Larry McCaffery, Butler said that “Kindred,” with its blend of genres, periods and antebellum histories, was informed by ideological debates she had during college in the 1960s, about the extent to which slaves should have rebelled against their masters.

    Knowing this, Jacobs-Jenkins sought to capture those tensions while updating the story to convey the complexity of our post-Obama racial reality. A lifelong Butler fan, he wanted to turn “Kindred” into a television series as far back as 2010, when he debuted his first full-length play, “Neighbors,” at the Public Theater.

    The drama was well regarded, but it was Jacobs-Jenkins’s 2014 Obie-award-winning play, “An Octoroon,” that established him as one of America’s most exciting young playwrights. A satirical adaptation of Dion Boucicault’s “The Octoroon,” a 19th-century melodrama about the tragic love story between a European-educated white plantation owner and the play’s titular character, an enslaved woman, the play inspired critical raves and hot ticket sales. In his review for The New York Times, Ben Brantley wrote that its success “seemed to confirm the reputation of its author as one of this country’s most original and illuminating writers about race.”

    Even then, Jacobs-Jenkins remained committed to “Kindred.” In 2015, he persuaded Courtney Lee-Mitchell, the rights holder of the novel, that it should be a television series and not a movie as previously imagined by other potential producers and even by Butler herself. The decision to stretch the story over multiple seasons has drawn some criticism. (All eight episodes of Season 1 are available on Hulu, but the series has not yet been renewed.)

    Nevertheless, Jacobs-Jenkins hopes that his expansion of the novel’s universe encourages more people to discover Butler’s writing for themselves.

    “After watching this, I want people to question their assumptions about what they think they know about history, about themselves,” he said. “I want them to read Octavia’s work.”

    In a video interview earlier this month, Jacobs-Jenkins talked about his introduction to Butler’s writing, the motivations behind some of his changes to her story and why he thinks television and theaters need even more stories about slavery. These are edited excerpts from that conversation.

     

    When did you first come in contact with “Kindred”?

     

    My relationship with Butler preceded my engagement with “Kindred.” I was one of those kids reading Stephen King on the playground for no good reason, and Ray Bradbury’s novels were important transitional objects for me too. I was like 12 or 13 when I had a babysitter who went to Howard, who was a Black nerd, too. She told me, “You should read Octavia Butler.” So I started with her Patternist series. And when I got to college, I read her on an African American studies syllabus and remember thinking, Oh, this person I read for fun is important academically. That is also when I learned of “Kindred,” which was oddly one of my later introductions to her work.

    Before, when I was reading her, it felt very much still like a secret; it felt good to be a part of that weird underground. And now, she’s been mainstreamed in this gigantic way.

     

    How did this adaptation come about?

     

    Slavery is the material of my creative life. I remember becoming obsessed with the visual work of Kara Walker, Glenn Ligon and Kerry James Marshall and wondered why they were so ahead of theater. So back then, I said, I’m going to deep-dive these people, and I’m going to write a play based on my deep dive. I just inhaled whatever their discourse was and tried to translate it into a theater space. And the truth is, my creative life is also ultimately guided by fandom on some level, and I remember rereading “Kindred” in 2010 and thinking, This is a TV show. It was a eureka moment.

    I immediately started figuring out how to get the rights. It had been under option since 1979 because people kept trying to make a movie out of it. And I was like, It’s not a movie. Because the whole book is about the experience of time’s passage and watching people transform, witnessing their development, growth, decay and shift of their allegiances. It took six years for me to get the rights, and then my task became trying to translate it and ultimately peel back the layers for people.

     

    Speaking of time passages, her novel was set in 1976 to coincide with the bicentennial year of the Declaration of Independence. Why did you set the series in 2016?

     

    Along the way, I became very friendly with Merrilee Heifetz, Butler’s literary executor and her lifelong agent. One of the things she said to me was, “Octavia would’ve wanted you to make this for now.” So I took that to heart. I think 2016 was that last gasp of naïveté about how we had processed the legacies of this racial regime that the country’s founded on. Do you remember the day after Obama was elected, suddenly, there was a discussion of a phrase called post-race? I remember asking, “What is that?” I also think because people did not see the results of the 2016 [presidential] election coming, we suddenly felt like we were backsliding as a country. “Kindred” was the ultimate metaphor for that, too.

     

    Another surprising change was your inclusion of her mother as a major character. What inspired that story line?

     

    Merrilee also told me that Octavia referred to this book as one she never quite cracked. That interested me because this is her most widely read and known book, and that also sent me to her archives, which had just been cataloged at the Huntington Library.

    I read every draft of “Kindred,” and there are ones in which she experimented with this mother figure. In her canon, she’s obsessed with mothers. I don’t want to be psychoanalyzing another artist, but her relationship with her mother was very complicated. Merrilee told me once that she would say, “Octavia, I want you to write a memoir.” And she would say, “I’ve already written a memoir; it’s called ‘Kindred.’”

     

    Unlike many other contemporary representations of enslaved people in television and film, Dana is not by herself. She has a community in each of her periods to help her. Why was this important to portray?

     

    I think Octavia was obsessed with family. I mean, it’s called “Kindred,” and it is about making the familial political. My approach was to always think of what she was doing and try to echo or expand on that universe — I took all my cues from her, except for setting it in 2016. At the same time, she was always trying to understand why tribalism exists, why genes are so varied as a concept, how they’re weaponized to oppress people and what oppression ultimately is rooted in.

     

    Dana has to make some hard choices for herself and often risks the lives of other enslaved African Americans to ensure that she continues to exist in the present. How did you approach bringing her moral ambiguity to the screen?

     

    That’s an essential part of the book, and I think that’s what makes Dana interesting. Most folks are not participating in active insurrection but are fighting in small ways to maintain their agency. This is driven home in Dana, who says to herself: “Wait a minute, to ensure my existence, I have become someone who might destroy or erase the existences of countless people. I want to be perceived as good, and I want to think that my goodness will rub off on Rufus too.” But playing both sides isn’t how justice happens. You wind up being morally compromised in all your actions if you are still thinking about yourself. That’s the interesting challenge she has to negotiate.

     

    Why did you think a multi-season arc was best for this story versus adapting it as a single-season limited series?

     

    I just didn’t think you could do this book in eight hours. It’s about being with people over time and really feeling these tectonic shifts in their personhood. I thought the idea of squeezing in six different actors for Rufus would have felt like a party trick. I’m sure that someone out there could have made that thing, but I just really wanted to give us the fullest canvas I could to tell the story.

     

    Do you ever worry that audiences will grow weary of stories on slavery?

     

    There is this interesting quota that we all want to put on stories about slavery, and I think that question is often asked only of Black creatives. There are a thousand shows on the air about rich white families doing evil sympathetically, and no one puts a quota on that. I think it’s interesting that there’s this desire to police any storytelling about a creative’s history. I mean, this is my history and my family history.

    I also think people are worried, afraid of, or sick of the tropes and stereotypes that come with this work and are waiting for the familiar scene in which some female enslaved person is raped or someone is tied to a pole or a tree and whipped. But in honoring Octavia’s book, I’m trying to find new things to talk about. We should never stop telling these stories, especially when people try to erase them from history books.

     

    Salamishah Tillet is a contributing critic at large for The Times and a professor at Rutgers University. She won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2022, for columns examining race and Black perspectives as the arts and entertainment world responded to the Black Lives Matter moment with new works. @salamishah

     

    URL : https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/26/arts/television/kindred-branden-jacobs-jenkins-octavia-butler.html

    1. richardmurray

      richardmurray

      @Troy my pleasure , but from my own fringe experience , the reason kindred is a series not a film is the money. Netflix didn't feel kindred better served netflix as a film over a multi season show.  I think the answer to the last question is the reality for all slavery dramas. they are hit or miss, many black people, some in this sites forums have a no want policy to anything involving slavery in a plot. These shows will always be hit or miss. 

       

      You make another valid point, all I want to say is, I would had not recast tchalla, but my reasons are from my views towards media. I am tired of the recast I am tired of the immortal character. The comic book industry in the usa and the film industry in the usa despise letting characters die, letting stories move on and I like the fact that they let a character die. The actor died and they let the character die, lets move on. I admit , I was very saddened when milestone comics rebooted all their characters. I despise reboots or recasts, move on. Having said that, if they would had recast tchalla, I would not had been sad. It would had been the normal in media. And that is fine, not my liking, but fine.  and someone else may have played tchalla better. In defense James Bond has been killed and the next 007 film will not have bond. And I think the reality is, superman since the end of christopher reeves has been knocked recast after knocked recast. 

       

       

       

       

    2. (See 3 other replies to this status update)

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    The director Ryan Coogler on the set of “Wakanda Forever.” Does he want to direct more “Black Panther” movies? “I’ll do it as long as folks will have me.”Credit...Annette Brown/Marvel

     

    The ‘Black Panther’ Sequel That Never Was

    Writer-director Ryan Coogler and co-screenwriter Joe Robert Cole reveal the original plot for “Wakanda Forever” and discuss working in the Marvel universe.

    By Reggie Ugwu

     

    The “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” screenwriters Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole are just coming up for air. A month after release, the much anticipated follow-up to the original “Black Panther” (2018) is well situated, still screening at more than 3,000 theaters heading into the holiday weekend. The film has received mostly positive reviews from critics and holds the year’s second-highest performance at the box office, after “Top Gun: Maverick.” To date, it has grossed more than $420 million domestically and nearly $800 million overall.

    Things could have gone much differently.

    “This film was difficult in ways that only the people who made it would know,” Coogler said in a recent interview. “There are things we put in there that felt revolutionary, that challenged the definition of having ‘a good time’ in a movie like this.”

    The death of Chadwick Boseman, who played the title role in the original film — a noble but untested leader of the fictional African promised land Wakanda — forced a radical reimagining of the franchise. Coogler and Cole had recently sent Boseman a completed first draft of the script when the actor succumbed to a secret bout with colon cancer.

    Their eventual rewrite opened with the death of Boseman’s character, T’Challa, turning the $250 million superhero film that followed into what can be fairly described as an extended meditation on grief and recovery.

    In a recent joint conversation over video, the screenwriters discussed their original vision for a “Black Panther” sequel, how they addressed the loss of Boseman, and balancing the demands of their story with those of the broader Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    These are edited — and spoiler-filled — excerpts from the conversation.

     

    What was it like collaborating this time?

     

    RYAN COOGLER Last time we went back and forth. Joe had already started when I came on. I think I tried to go for a draft, but I was taking too long and so he jumped in. Then we would get notes from the studio, and we would just kind of divide and conquer. On the second one, we were doing it over the pandemic, so we couldn’t meet up. But Final Draft [the screenwriting software] came out with this update where we could both work in the script at the same time. It was an amazing feature. Very productive, very fun.

    JOE ROBERT COLE It allowed us to bridge that feeling of being in a room and just spitballing ideas.

    COOGLER Then we took that hit, bro, when Chad passed. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I didn’t know how we were going to pull ourselves up and figure it out. Thank God for Joe and the collaborative process, man. It would’ve been impossible for me to write this thing on my own.

     

    In the initial draft of the script, before Chadwick’s death, how were you looking at the story? What were the challenges?

     

    COOGLER It was, “What are we going to do about the Blip?” [In Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” T’Challa is one of billions of people who suddenly vanish, only to be brought back by the Avengers five years later.] That was the challenge. It was absolutely nothing like what we made. It was going to be a father-son story from the perspective of a father, because the first movie had been a father-son story from the perspective of the sons.

    In the script, T’Challa was a dad who’d had this forced five-year absence from his son’s life. The first scene was an animated sequence. You hear Nakia [T’Challa’s love interest, played by Lupita Nyong’o] talking to Toussaint [the couple’s child, introduced in “Wakanda Forever” in a post-credits sequence]. She says, “Tell me what you know about your father.” You realize that he doesn’t know his dad was the Black Panther. He’s never met him, and Nakia is remarried to a Haitian dude. Then, we cut to reality and it’s the night that everybody comes back from the Blip. You see T’Challa meet the kid for the first time.

    Then it cuts ahead three years and he’s essentially co-parenting. We had some crazy scenes in there for Chad, man. Our code name for the movie was “Summer Break,” and the movie was about a summer that the kid spends with his dad. For his eighth birthday, they do a ritual where they go out into the bush and have to live off the land. But something happens and T’Challa has to go save the world with his son on his hip. That was the movie.

     

    Was Namor, the leader of the undersea nation Talokan in “Wakanda Forever,” still the villain?

     

    COOGLER Yeah. But it was a combination. Val [the C.I.A. director, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus] was much more active. It was basically a three-way conflict between Wakanda, the U.S. and Talokan. But it was all mostly from the child’s perspective.

     

    In the new version, the opening scene is T’Challa’s death. Why did you decide to start there?

     

    COLE Just practically, everyone was going to be waiting to see how we dealt with it, so doing it right up front made sense. In terms of the characters, we needed to introduce a different version of Shuri [T’Challa’s sister, played by Letitia Wright]. We’re showing the moment that she becomes a different person than the person we met. She’s the smartest person in the world, but she can’t save her brother. What does that do to you?

    COOGLER We wanted to have an emotionally intelligent conversation. It’s about the transformative quality of grief and trauma. There’s this expectation with emotional trauma that you just need time. “Oh, give them a couple weeks off; they’ll come back to work and get back to it.” But that person is completely different in some ways. You just don’t see it because the change isn’t visible.

     

    T’Challa’s death is attributed to an illness, but it seems sudden and inexplicable, which profoundly unsettles Shuri. Why did you make that choice?

     

    COOGLER We wanted to keep it simple. At the end of the day, what mattered is that she had a self-expectation of being able to be solve it and she failed. And we didn’t want her to have anywhere to displace her anger. If somebody else would’ve taken T’Challa out, Shuri would’ve looked for that person. We wanted it to be a situation where the only place to go was internal.

     

    Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s character has appeared in other Marvel properties and is being set up as a major antagonist in the studio’s future projects, including the “Thunderbolts” movie due in 2024. Is it challenging to incorporate characters or story lines from the broader Marvel Cinematic Universe?

     

    COLE Ryan will have a different perspective as the director, but I’ve never had a conversation where I was asked to incorporate something that didn’t feel organic. The dynamic of the U.S. being an instigator and Western powers being an instigator, that always existed. It wasn’t, “Oh, we need to find a reason to make this character exist.” It was, “Oh, this is already in here and there’s this wonderful actress available.” It always starts from the story and the ideas.

    COOGLER Yeah, nobody was shoehorned in or asked to be put into the movie or anything like that. Actually, in this version, [Louis-Dreyfus’s role] was pared back in order to make space for dealing with T’Challa’s death. And we had Val in there before she even appeared in any of the other movies, before “Black Widow” and [the series] “Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” People assume that we were told to put her in, but she was there from the beginning.

     

    Ryan, what’s your appetite to tell more stories in the world of Wakanda?

     

    COOGLER I feel blessed that I have the opportunity to work on these movies, bro. When I got asked to do the first one, it was like a moving train. I thank God every day that I was able to jump on it and meet these people, these actors, and to meet Chadwick during some of the last years of his life. I’ll do it as long as folks will have me. But I think it’s bigger than just me or Joe. Between the first and second movie, we made $2 billion at the box office, which is what matters the most to corporations. So I hope that it continues, man. I hope people are still making movies about Wakanda long after we’re gone.

     

    Reggie Ugwu is a pop culture reporter covering a range of subjects, including film, television, music and internet culture. Before joining The Times in 2017, he was a reporter for BuzzFeed News and Billboard magazine. @uugwuu

     

    URL : https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/23/arts/ryan-coogler-black-panther-wakanda-forever.html

     

    now02.png

    Jacobs-Jenkins, far left, on the “Kindred” set during filming. “In honoring Octavia’s book, I’m trying to find new things to talk about,” he said.Credit...Tina Rowden/FX

     

    ‘Kindred’ Creator Wants Viewers to ‘Question Their Assumptions’

    In his TV adaptation of the Octavia Butler novel, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins changed parts of the story but kept the author’s focus on “making the familial political.”

    By Salamishah Tillet

    Dec. 26, 2022

     

    “If a ‘Kindred’ movie is ever made, I wouldn’t be involved,” Octavia Butler wrote in a letter in 2000. “It won’t be my movie, and I suspect it won’t look much like my book.”

    It was yet another Butler prediction that was mostly on target, though she was wrong about the format. Adapted by the playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins for FX on Hulu, “Kindred” is neither a film nor a completely faithful interpretation of the novel. But it comes at a time when there is more interest in Butler’s body of work than ever before, and in how her prolific writing, mainly science fiction novels, continues to resonate with our world more than 15 years after her death.

    “Kindred” is Butler’s most well-known and often-taught novel. Published in 1979, it tells the story of Dana Franklin, a 26-year-old African American writer who repeatedly and unexpectedly travels from 1976 to a mid-19th-century plantation in Maryland. Each time Dana arrives in the past, she finds herself saving the life of Rufus Weylin, her white slaveholding ancestor; she returns to the present only when her own life is at risk.

    In a 1988 interview with the literary critic Larry McCaffery, Butler said that “Kindred,” with its blend of genres, periods and antebellum histories, was informed by ideological debates she had during college in the 1960s, about the extent to which slaves should have rebelled against their masters.

    Knowing this, Jacobs-Jenkins sought to capture those tensions while updating the story to convey the complexity of our post-Obama racial reality. A lifelong Butler fan, he wanted to turn “Kindred” into a television series as far back as 2010, when he debuted his first full-length play, “Neighbors,” at the Public Theater.

    The drama was well regarded, but it was Jacobs-Jenkins’s 2014 Obie-award-winning play, “An Octoroon,” that established him as one of America’s most exciting young playwrights. A satirical adaptation of Dion Boucicault’s “The Octoroon,” a 19th-century melodrama about the tragic love story between a European-educated white plantation owner and the play’s titular character, an enslaved woman, the play inspired critical raves and hot ticket sales. In his review for The New York Times, Ben Brantley wrote that its success “seemed to confirm the reputation of its author as one of this country’s most original and illuminating writers about race.”

    Even then, Jacobs-Jenkins remained committed to “Kindred.” In 2015, he persuaded Courtney Lee-Mitchell, the rights holder of the novel, that it should be a television series and not a movie as previously imagined by other potential producers and even by Butler herself. The decision to stretch the story over multiple seasons has drawn some criticism. (All eight episodes of Season 1 are available on Hulu, but the series has not yet been renewed.)

    Nevertheless, Jacobs-Jenkins hopes that his expansion of the novel’s universe encourages more people to discover Butler’s writing for themselves.

    “After watching this, I want people to question their assumptions about what they think they know about history, about themselves,” he said. “I want them to read Octavia’s work.”

    In a video interview earlier this month, Jacobs-Jenkins talked about his introduction to Butler’s writing, the motivations behind some of his changes to her story and why he thinks television and theaters need even more stories about slavery. These are edited excerpts from that conversation.

     

    When did you first come in contact with “Kindred”?

     

    My relationship with Butler preceded my engagement with “Kindred.” I was one of those kids reading Stephen King on the playground for no good reason, and Ray Bradbury’s novels were important transitional objects for me too. I was like 12 or 13 when I had a babysitter who went to Howard, who was a Black nerd, too. She told me, “You should read Octavia Butler.” So I started with her Patternist series. And when I got to college, I read her on an African American studies syllabus and remember thinking, Oh, this person I read for fun is important academically. That is also when I learned of “Kindred,” which was oddly one of my later introductions to her work.

    Before, when I was reading her, it felt very much still like a secret; it felt good to be a part of that weird underground. And now, she’s been mainstreamed in this gigantic way.

     

    How did this adaptation come about?

     

    Slavery is the material of my creative life. I remember becoming obsessed with the visual work of Kara Walker, Glenn Ligon and Kerry James Marshall and wondered why they were so ahead of theater. So back then, I said, I’m going to deep-dive these people, and I’m going to write a play based on my deep dive. I just inhaled whatever their discourse was and tried to translate it into a theater space. And the truth is, my creative life is also ultimately guided by fandom on some level, and I remember rereading “Kindred” in 2010 and thinking, This is a TV show. It was a eureka moment.

    I immediately started figuring out how to get the rights. It had been under option since 1979 because people kept trying to make a movie out of it. And I was like, It’s not a movie. Because the whole book is about the experience of time’s passage and watching people transform, witnessing their development, growth, decay and shift of their allegiances. It took six years for me to get the rights, and then my task became trying to translate it and ultimately peel back the layers for people.

     

    Speaking of time passages, her novel was set in 1976 to coincide with the bicentennial year of the Declaration of Independence. Why did you set the series in 2016?

     

    Along the way, I became very friendly with Merrilee Heifetz, Butler’s literary executor and her lifelong agent. One of the things she said to me was, “Octavia would’ve wanted you to make this for now.” So I took that to heart. I think 2016 was that last gasp of naïveté about how we had processed the legacies of this racial regime that the country’s founded on. Do you remember the day after Obama was elected, suddenly, there was a discussion of a phrase called post-race? I remember asking, “What is that?” I also think because people did not see the results of the 2016 [presidential] election coming, we suddenly felt like we were backsliding as a country. “Kindred” was the ultimate metaphor for that, too.

     

    Another surprising change was your inclusion of her mother as a major character. What inspired that story line?

     

    Merrilee also told me that Octavia referred to this book as one she never quite cracked. That interested me because this is her most widely read and known book, and that also sent me to her archives, which had just been cataloged at the Huntington Library.

    I read every draft of “Kindred,” and there are ones in which she experimented with this mother figure. In her canon, she’s obsessed with mothers. I don’t want to be psychoanalyzing another artist, but her relationship with her mother was very complicated. Merrilee told me once that she would say, “Octavia, I want you to write a memoir.” And she would say, “I’ve already written a memoir; it’s called ‘Kindred.’”

     

    Unlike many other contemporary representations of enslaved people in television and film, Dana is not by herself. She has a community in each of her periods to help her. Why was this important to portray?

     

    I think Octavia was obsessed with family. I mean, it’s called “Kindred,” and it is about making the familial political. My approach was to always think of what she was doing and try to echo or expand on that universe — I took all my cues from her, except for setting it in 2016. At the same time, she was always trying to understand why tribalism exists, why genes are so varied as a concept, how they’re weaponized to oppress people and what oppression ultimately is rooted in.

     

    Dana has to make some hard choices for herself and often risks the lives of other enslaved African Americans to ensure that she continues to exist in the present. How did you approach bringing her moral ambiguity to the screen?

     

    That’s an essential part of the book, and I think that’s what makes Dana interesting. Most folks are not participating in active insurrection but are fighting in small ways to maintain their agency. This is driven home in Dana, who says to herself: “Wait a minute, to ensure my existence, I have become someone who might destroy or erase the existences of countless people. I want to be perceived as good, and I want to think that my goodness will rub off on Rufus too.” But playing both sides isn’t how justice happens. You wind up being morally compromised in all your actions if you are still thinking about yourself. That’s the interesting challenge she has to negotiate.

     

    Why did you think a multi-season arc was best for this story versus adapting it as a single-season limited series?

     

    I just didn’t think you could do this book in eight hours. It’s about being with people over time and really feeling these tectonic shifts in their personhood. I thought the idea of squeezing in six different actors for Rufus would have felt like a party trick. I’m sure that someone out there could have made that thing, but I just really wanted to give us the fullest canvas I could to tell the story.

     

    Do you ever worry that audiences will grow weary of stories on slavery?

     

    There is this interesting quota that we all want to put on stories about slavery, and I think that question is often asked only of Black creatives. There are a thousand shows on the air about rich white families doing evil sympathetically, and no one puts a quota on that. I think it’s interesting that there’s this desire to police any storytelling about a creative’s history. I mean, this is my history and my family history.

    I also think people are worried, afraid of, or sick of the tropes and stereotypes that come with this work and are waiting for the familiar scene in which some female enslaved person is raped or someone is tied to a pole or a tree and whipped. But in honoring Octavia’s book, I’m trying to find new things to talk about. We should never stop telling these stories, especially when people try to erase them from history books.

     

    Salamishah Tillet is a contributing critic at large for The Times and a professor at Rutgers University. She won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2022, for columns examining race and Black perspectives as the arts and entertainment world responded to the Black Lives Matter moment with new works. @salamishah

     

    URL : https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/26/arts/television/kindred-branden-jacobs-jenkins-octavia-butler.html

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    Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) in his office on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec. 13, 2022. (Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times)

     

    Shelby, One of the Senate's Last Big Spenders, 'Got Everything' for Alabama

    Catie Edmondson and Carl Hulse

    Mon, December 26, 2022 at 2:14 PM EST

     

    SHELBY POINT, Ala. — For the first time in years, there are signs of dramatic transformation on the banks of the Mobile River. The waterway is dug wider and deeper by the day. Mobile’s airport will soon move in. And sitting watch from the waterfront is a 3-foot bronze bust of the man who brought home the money to finance it: Sen. Richard C. Shelby.

    Determined to the point of obsession to harness the potential of Alabama’s only seaport, Shelby, who has served in Congress for more than four decades, has used his perch on the powerful committee that controls federal spending to bring in more than $1 billion to modernize the city’s harbor, procuring funding for projects including new wharves and better railways. The result is one of the fastest-growing ports of its kind, which today contributes to one in seven jobs in the state.

    It is also something of a monument to a waning way of doing business on Capitol Hill, one that has fueled many a bipartisan deal — including the $1.7 trillion spending bill that cleared Congress last week, averting a government shutdown — and whose demise has contributed to the dysfunction and paralysis that has gripped Congress in recent years.

     

    Shelby, who is retiring at 88, is one of the last of the big-time pork barrel legends who managed to sustain the flow of money to his state even as anti-spending fervor gripped his party during the rise of the Tea Party and never quite let go.

    The Alabama senator did not just use his seat on the Appropriations Committee to turn the expanding port into an economic engine. Applying his influence, seniority, craftiness and deep knowledge of the arcane and secretive congressional spending process, he single-handedly transformed the landscape of his home state, harnessing billions of federal dollars to conjure the creation and expansion of university buildings and research programs, airports and seaports, and military and space facilities.

    Shelby honed his tactics at a time when lawmakers across the political spectrum were willing to set aside ideology and unite behind a common zeal for grabbing federal money for their states and districts. That smoothed the path to passing major spending deals and keeping the government running in large part because those lawmakers had a vested interest in securing wins for their constituents.

    He unapologetically followed in the footsteps of predecessors known in congressional parlance as “old bull appropriators,” like Republican Ted Stevens of Alaska, and Democrats Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia and Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii. They saw their primary task in Congress as steering as much money as they could to their states, which they saw as neglected in favor of more populous ones with more influence.

    “They trained me,” Shelby said.

    The ascendant right-wing Republicans who wield the greatest influence in Congress these days have received different training altogether.

    They are lawmakers who reflexively vote against any federal funding measure and regard big spenders like Shelby as establishment stooges who have been corrupted by the lure of wasteful government spending. And as the party prepares to assume the House majority next week, they have made it clear that they will demand severe cuts, potentially leading to the kind of spending stalemate that has become commonplace in recent years.

    “Other people would say, ‘Oh you shouldn’t do anything for your state, you shouldn’t spend any money on this.’ I differ with that,” Shelby said last week, sitting in his office in Washington, feet away from his desk that once belonged to another Southern senator who used his perch in Congress to build his state, Lyndon B. Johnson.

    Part of the task of a senator, he argued, is to help build the conditions for his state’s prosperity.

    “I’m a pretty conservative guy in a lot of ways,” Shelby said. “But I thought that’s the role Congress has played since the Erie Canal.”

    As Shelby’s contributions have sprung up across his home state, so too have the monuments in his honor. Beyond the statue at the Port of Mobile, which was unveiled early this month, there are no fewer than seven buildings in Alabama named for him — mostly academic buildings, but also a missile intelligence center. An eighth, a federal courthouse, is on the way.

    “No one will ever accuse Richard Shelby of being timid or thinking small,” said Jo Bonner, the president of the University of South Alabama, and a former Republican congressman who served five terms. The senator’s ability to “dream big and look years down the road,” he said, made Shelby “the most consequential elected official in Alabama history.”

    Bradley Byrne, a former Republican congressman from Mobile, recalled marveling when he first arrived to Congress at how thoroughly Shelby had stuffed the year-end spending bill.

    “Senator, you got a whole lot of stuff for Alabama in that bill,” Byrne recalled telling Shelby.

    “Bradley,” Shelby replied in his signature baritone drawl, “I got everything.”

    Born in Birmingham during the Great Depression, Shelby said he had never even met a Republican growing up. A lawyer by trade, he began in politics as a conservative Democrat, first in the Alabama Senate, then as a U.S. congressman. By the time Shelby had climbed the ranks of seniority in the Senate, becoming the chair of the appropriations panel after helming three others, including the Intelligence Committee, he had changed parties as part of the vanguard of the Southern realignment.

    Outside of his push for federal money, Shelby legislated and voted like a conventional conservative when it came to social and economic issues, and his relationship with the Clinton administration soured when, in 1993, he greeted the new president’s economic plan with the memorable phrase: “The taxman cometh.”

    His enthusiasm for earmarks has long drawn detractors. Citizens Against Government Waste, a nonpartisan organization that opposes the use of earmarks, once published a report titled “Senator Shelby’s pork parade.”

    “Sen. Shelby has long used his seniority on the Appropriations Committee to receive far more earmarks than his peers,” including last year, “when he received nearly twice as many dollars in earmarks as the next-highest recipient,” said Sean Kennedy, the group’s director of policy and research.

    Even as the term “earmark” became a four-letter word in his party in the 2000s, Shelby remained unabashed about the parade of federal funds he steered his state’s way. When local cartoonists published images of Shelby depicting him as one of the state’s chief benefactors, such as one of Shelby carrying a pig in a large sack bearing a money symbol captioned, “Alabama’s Santa Claus,” his wife would display them at their home. It was a reminder, Shelby said, “to keep my humor.”

    Shelby’s work was about “trying to make sure we got our fair share,” said Sandy Stimpson, the mayor of Mobile, where an estimated one in five people lives in poverty.

    Shelby has funded roads and bridges and hospitals and public libraries and drinking water systems; university research into topics as varied as the prevention of diseases in local foods like catfish and oranges, to improved monitoring systems for coastal flooding and hurricanes, to the combustion behavior of liquid oxygen.

    For some of his biggest priorities — such as the Redstone Arsenal, the military installation near Huntsville that houses Army missile programs, the FBI, and the Marshall Space Flight Center — Shelby secured vast infusions of federal funds bit by bit each year, shoehorning them into bill after bill over the course of decades.

    “I thought the best thing I could do with federal money was not pave somebody’s driveway,” Shelby said. What he tried to do instead was “to build institutions, and then infrastructure that would create more of a competitive environment for the long run.”

    At Redstone Arsenal, he successfully lobbied the Air Force to build the new U.S. Space Command’s headquarters, and pushed the FBI to expand its footprint there, an investment that has now topped $2.48 billion, much of it built by earmarks. And he sent billions of dollars to support research and expand jobs at NASA’s civilian rocketry and spacecraft propulsion research center there.

    Sometimes his advocacy came in the form of a few paragraphs. In 2011, when lawmakers were rushing to approve a short-term spending bill to ensure the government did not shut down, Shelby tucked in language that blocked NASA from scrapping an effort to commission rockets with “heavy-lift” capabilities, a move that would have eliminated hundreds of jobs at Redstone Arsenal.

    Shelby, in part for personal reasons, has also taken a special interest in Alabama’s universities, which have been some of the biggest beneficiaries of his largess. In 1987, during Shelby’s first year in the Senate, his wife, the first woman to become a tenured professor at Georgetown University’s business school, suffered kidney failure from lupus. The family turned to the medical staff at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

    “UAB saved her life,” Shelby says now. “I realized what they had there, and could have there.”

    Since then, Shelby has secured funding for four academic buildings — all of them hubs for scientific research and teaching, none of them smaller than 150,000 square feet, and most built in the federal style with Doric columns. There is Shelby Hall at the University of Alabama; Shelby Hall at the University of South Alabama; the 12-story, 340,000 square foot Shelby Biomedical Research Building at the University of Alabama, Birmingham; and the Shelby Center for Science and Technology at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, two-thirds of which was built with federal funds.

    At Tuscaloosa, more than $60 million secured by Shelby helped build what became one of the largest academic buildings on the University of Alabama campus, a 200,000-square-foot hall that houses more than 70 research labs, three lecture halls and more than 120 offices for faculty and graduate students.

    “It allowed us to put students in laboratory facilities that otherwise they would not have been able to be a part of,” said Dr. Chuck Karr, the president of the University of Alabama, Huntsville, and a previous engineering dean at the University of Alabama. “It really served as the catalyst for other growth.”

    When local officials unveiled the bust of Shelby at the Port of Mobile earlier this month, they also surprised him by announcing that they were privately financing two engineering and computing scholarships in his name at the University of South Alabama.

    Seated in his office weeks later, he was more interested in talking about the scholarships than the twice-life-size bronze edifice modeled after him.

    “If you have tried to educate everybody in your community — everybody,” Shelby said, “you’re going to create opportunity.”

    Statues, he said with a mischievous glint in his eye, “are for dogs and birds.”

    © 2022 The New York Times Company

     

    URL : https://news.yahoo.com/shelby-one-senates-last-big-191432668.html

     

    MY THOUGHTS

    At the end the biggest issue I have is the notion of anti action in modern elected officials. I think of black elected officials to black districts, how many black elected officials in my lifetime have done absolutely nothing for their districts. If every black elected official to a black district did as shelby the black community in the usa would have more. I am 100% certain. The question is how do you change the culture of black elected officials. 

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    The CBL Staff Wishes You a

    Joyous Holiday Season!

     

    We're reflecting on 2022 and giving thanks for a highly productive year. Most outstanding is the success of our 20th Anniversary Jubilee Celebration on October 20. It is our honor to share a bit of the magic from that night with those who weren’t able to attend.

     

    Please enjoy these inspirational

    welcoming remarks from our friend

    Sonia Sanchez

     

    As 2022 closes, we know that many of you are working on your year-end giving plans to nonprofit organizations. Did you know that CBL relies on donations from the community to thrive? Our year-round literary programs and special events need your financial support.

     

    We hope we can count on you to help make 2023 our best year ever! If so, please donate what you can by Saturday, December 31, 2022.

     

    Donate HERE < https://www.rfcuny.org/eventpayment/events/index?college=medgar > (via Research Foundation CUNY aka RFCUNY).

     

    Have a wonderful holiday season. Enjoy your end-of-year celebrations!

     

    ~ Team CBL

    now1.jpg

     

    The Canvas Institute invites the community to the opening reception of the art exhibition titled Someone Like Me, featuring the Beverly Moorehead Doll Collection. This event will be hosted by Dr. Brenda M. Greene, executive director of the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, and the exhibit's curation team, Sadé Dinkins and Teresa Caliari.

     

    The exhibit takes the viewer on a symbolic journey through a life-sized doll house. Composed of different themed "rooms" and a wide variety of dolls, this exhibit has something for all ages, backgrounds, and identities.

     

    Someone Like Me Exhibit

    Opening Reception

    Saturday, December 10, 2022

    2:00 pm

    at Canvas Institute

    150 Victory Boulevard

    Staten Island, NY

     

    To RSVP for the reception, contact

    Sadé Dinkins at shadink@gmail.com

     

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    THE WINTER 2023 RETREAT

    AT-A-GLANCE

     

    Novelist Kia Corthorn and poet Willie Perdomo are the faculty members for the Winter 2023 four-day retreat at Medgar Evers College (Brooklyn, NY).

     

    The dates are February 23 - 26, 2023. Aspiring writers (21 and over) are encouraged to apply.

     

    The application is downloadable < https://centerforblackliterature.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/WSRWC2023_4WEB_Application_Winter.pdf > (online version coming soon).

     

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    We Are Thrilled to Welcome

    WILLIE PERDOMO

    -- New York State Poet Laureate --

    as a Returning Faculty Member

    for the Wild Seeds Retreat

    for Writers of Color (Winter 2023)

     

    ABOUT THE RETREAT

    The Wild Seeds Retreat for Writers of Color provides a writing community where established and emerging writers can focus on the craft of writing and create cross-cultural conversations around the literature created by writers of the African diaspora. Writing fellows have an opportunity to draw upon their experiences as writers in a racialized society; to become knowledgeable about the issues facing other writers of color; and to study with a professional in the genres of fiction, memoir, and poetry.

     

    ABOUT THE FACULTY MEMBER

    Willie Perdomo is the author of Smoking Lovely: The Remix (Haymarket Books, 2021), The Crazy Bunch (Penguin Random House, 2019), The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon (Penguin Random House, 2014), and Where a Nickel Costs of Dime (Norton, 1996). Winner of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Cy Twombly Award for Poetry, the New York City Book Award in Poetry, and the PEN Open Book Award, Perdomo was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Poetry Society of America Norma Farber First Book Award.

     

    He is co-editor of the anthology, Latínext, and his work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Poetry, Washington Post, The Best AmericanPoetry 2019, and African Voices. Perdomo is currently a Lucas Arts Literary Fellow, a core faculty member at VONA/Voices of our Nation Writing Workshop, and teaches at Phillips Exeter Academy. | Source: www.willieperdomo.com

    1. richardmurray

      richardmurray

      We Wish You a Joyous

      Holiday Season!

       

      We're continuing our reflection of 2022 and giving thanks for a highly productive year. Most outstanding is the success of our 20th Anniversary Jubilee Celebration in October 20.

       

      In case you missed it, we're sharing a bit of the magic from that night.

       

      Please enjoy these inspirational

      words of support from our friend

      Dr. Cornel West

       

       

       

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