Saturday, March 31, 2012

Who decided domestic violence wasn't violence?

David Brown (Washington Post) reports that the signature wounds of the modern wars, that research demonstrates a weak link between TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and PTSD (Post-Trumatic Stress Disorder) and "outright violent behavior." And "outright violent behaviors"? That's defined as mudering or harming a stranger. There's something really sick about this article.

Brown tells you, "Veterans with PTSD are two to three times as likely to be physically abusive of their wives and girlfriends as those without the diagnosis." There's something very disturbing about the 'allowance' being made for those criminal behaviors.

If you expand PTSD to previous related -- and some would argue that they are the same -- conditions from war, what you learn is that those suffering from PTSD are far more likely to harm themselves than to harm others. And that needs to be stressed repeatedly because many people with PTSD will never harm anyone including themselves. Those that do harm are far more likely to self-harm. There is a small number -- if you bring in the data for "shell-shocked" and other earlier conditions/classifications -- that will resort to violence and, as the article notes of solely the current classification of PTSD, that not going to be as high as the number of veterans without PTSD who will harm themselves or others.

But we don't need to lie to dispel myths and we don't need to treat unacceptable AND criminal behavior as something to ignore or minimize. Violence towards others is violence towards others and our society has progressed far enough that we no longer pretend that domestic violence doesn't take place or that it's a 'personal' issue.

Domestic violence is a crime, it is violence and I think a strong argument can be made that it's a form of terrorism.

And we don't the need the usual whiners pretending domestic violence is no big deal. As Maureen Orth detailed in Vanity Fair nearly nine years ago, there are life and death consequences.

The study's built-in fallacy that domestic abuse is not "outright violence" should be enough to decry it. You can't clean that up. You can't wash it out.

And what people should be focusing on is: Who the hell is so f**ked up that they pretend criminal and violent behavior isn't "outright violence"?

Who did the study? It appears the study was done by the Department of Veterans Affairs' National Center for PTSD. (Appears? Someone needs to teach David Brown that when you're reporting on a study, you cite the study. You don't turn in a 20 paragraph article and forget to note what study or studies you're using and who did them.)

If the VA did this study or the Pentagon, they need to answer publicly on how (and why) they created a categorization system that doesn't classify domestic violence as something other than violence. Considering the culture of denial in both the Pentagon and the VA about rape and abuse, this classification goes beyond disturbing.

The following community sites -- plus Adam Kokesh and Ms. magazine -- updated last night and today:

We'll close with this from Michigan's Green Party:

Ecological Wisdom • Social Justice • Grassroots Democracy • Non-Violence
Green Party of Michigan

News Release
March 29, 2012

For More Information, Contact:
Green Party Elections Coordinator, John Anthony La Pietra (269)781-9478
Media Coordinator: Jennifer La Pietra (508)280-1360

Green Party Candidates Vie Without Vitriol

While the Republican candidates’ now infamous tv ads spew gossip, hatred and downright lies towards each other, candidates for the Green Party’s nomination are not shy in their respect for one another.

When a voter financially supports a political campaign, what does their money actually buy? In a recent article by ProPublica, candidates’ spending is clearly outlined in an easy-to-understand graph. Companies employed by the various candidates, as well as by Superpacs, are listed in order of how much the candidates spent on them.
Just as an example, how about a quick look over the facts. Four of the top five companies employed by the Romney Campaign are dedicated to advertisement in one form or another for a total of $31,995,768 of the total $55,824,004 which they have spent so far.
The Santorum campaign, while funded much more modestly, still spends a better portion of their spending on advertisements: three (maybe four - one of the top companies has little public information available) of the top five. Out of $10,021,936 spent thusfar, $6,437,978 has gone to these three companies alone.
The Democratic party is no stranger to vice. It has been well-documented that President Obama has many times the financial support of any on the Republican side. However, since Obama has few rivals for the Democratic nomination, he can save a better portion of his negative ad money for the home stretch of the race to the White House. Of $60,814,484 Only three of Obama’s top five companies have been advertising companies, though his ads are far from kind to his Republican rivals.
A voter is done a disservice if they’ve never heard of a candidate or don’t know whether they embody the ideals that voter would like to see in a president. However, the public is best informed by what a candidate will try to achieve in office, not by what one dislike about another candidate. If the advertisement was solely used to inform, supporters’ finances would be well-spent. However, as the candidates sweep the nation through primary season, these ads are overwhelmingly negative. Ken Walsh highlighted this trend as it continued in Chicago last week: “Romney and his allied political action committee have outspent his closest rival, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, by 7-to-1 in Illinois, according to a survey by Politico . . . [t]he overwhelming majority of that money went to TV ads, largely negative commercials against Santorum.” This is where both Republicans and Democrats differ greatly from the Green Party candidates.
As of the latest official report, the leading Green Presidential hopeful -- Dr. Jill Stein of Massachusetts -- has not yet taken a single donation over $1,000. In fact, she’s made a campaign commitment to only take money from people, not corporate sponsors. Right now, she is seeking to raise $5,000 each from at least 20 states, in individual donations of $250 or less, in order to qualify for matching government funding. As of the time this article was written, she has achieved this benchmark in five states, with several others well on their way. This kind of self-imposed restriction have been a hallmark of Green candidates running for offices at all levels of government.
Because of Dr. Stein’s modest funding goals, she hadn’t garnered the funding which would require her to report her spending to the FEC at the end of the last quarterly reporting period in January. Even without the official report to turn to, one can clearly see what the Green candidates are not spending their money on: negative ads. The main focus of Green campaigns is the open, honest and fair government the people of the United States have shown a clear desire to obtain.
Instead of spending millions on tearing down the competition, Roseanne Barr who is also vying for the spot on the Green ticket, had only the very highest opinion of her opponent. As the Washington Post wrote:
“Does the sitcom queen really expect to be nominated? Not so much. She wrote on Twitter, ‘I run in support of The Green Party & probably of Jill Stein—hopefully I can be of service by speaking on media about a viable choice 4 voters.’ A Vice President Barr also doesn’t seem to be in the cards: ‘jill has already named a vice. i'm just in it to support the greens and their fine american message.’” (errors in original)
A campaign run for the good of the voters? As Jill Stein observed while in Ohio in early February: “It is great to have Roseanne Barr on the Green Party team. Let’s bring down the house!” Unlike the divided Republican party, the Green Party remains unified in their goal making government what it should be: the voice of the people.
# # #
FEC financial disclosure from the Jill Stein campaign:

Published comment about Roseanne Barr from Jill Stein, February 7th

Washington Post article where Roseanne Barr voiced support for Jill Stein:

ProPublica’s graph of campaign spending by Democrats, Republicans and Super Pacs:

Ken Walsh Article in campaign spending in Chicago:

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