Thursday, October 23, 2008

No Honesty at all in our "News Media."

Heli-gunner Tom.

This is written by a Democrat columnist – Very worth the read.

First appeared in print in The Rhinoceros Times , Greensboro, NC

By Orson Scott Card October 5, 2008
Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?

An open letter to the local daily paper -- almost every local daily paper in America:

I remember reading All the President's Men and thinking: That's journalism. You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.

This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

What is a risky loan? It's a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.

The goal of this rule change was to help the poor -- which especially would help members of minority groups. But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can't repay? They get into a house, yes, but when they can't make the payments, they lose the house -- along with their credit rating.

They end up worse off than before.

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.

Furthermore, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were making political contributions to the very members of Congress who were allowing them to make irresponsible loans. (Though why quasi-federal agencies were allowed to do so baffles me. It's as if the Pentagon were allowed to contribute to the political campaigns of Congressmen who support increasing their budget.)

Isn't there a story here? Doesn't journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout? Aren't you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefitting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal. "Housing-gate," no doubt. Or "Fannie-gate."

Instead, it was Senator Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, both Democrats, who denied that there were any problems, who refused Bush administration requests to set up a regulatory agency to watch over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who were still pushing for these agencies to go even further in promoting subprime mortgage loans almost up to the minute they failed.

As Thomas Sowell points out in a essay entitled Do Facts Matter? "Alan Greenspan warned them four years ago. So did the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the President. So did Bush's Secretary of the Treasury."

These are facts. This financial crisis was completely preventable. The party that blocked any attempt to prevent it was ... the Democratic Party. The party that tried to prevent it was ... the Republican Party.

Yet when Nancy Pelosi accused the Bush administration and Republican deregulation of causing the crisis, you in the press did not hold her to account for her lie. Instead, you criticized Republicans who took offense at this lie and refused to vote for the bailout!

What? It's not the liar, but the victims of the lie who are to blame?

Now let's follow the money ... right to the presidential candidate who is the number-two recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae.

And after Freddie Raines, the CEO of Fannie Mae who made $90 million while running it into the ground, was fired for his incompetence, one presidential candidate's campaign actually consulted him for advice on housing.

If that presidential candidate had been John McCain, you would have called it a major scandal and we would be getting stories in your paper every day about how incompetent and corrupt he was.

But instead, that candidate was Barack Obama, and so you have buried this story, and when the McCain campaign dared to call Raines an "adviser" to the Obama campaign -- because that campaign had sought his advice -- you actually let Obama's people get away with accusing McCain of lying, merely because Raines wasn't listed as an official adviser to the Obama campaign.

You would never tolerate such weasely nit-picking from a Republican.

If you who produce our local daily paper actually had any principles, you would be pounding this story, because the prosperity of all Americans was put at risk by the foolish, short-sighted, politically selfish, and possibly corrupt actions of leading Democrats, including Obama.

If you who produce our local daily paper had any personal honor, you would find it unbearable to let the American people believe that somehow Republicans were to blame for this crisis.

There are precedents. Even though President Bush and his administration never said that Iraq sponsored or was linked to 9/11, you could not stand the fact that Americans had that misapprehension -- so you pounded us with the fact that there was no such link. (Along the way, you created the false impression that Bush had lied to them and said that there was a connection.)

If you had any principles, then surely right now, when the American people are set to blame President Bush and John McCain for a crisis they tried to prevent, and are actually shifting to approve of Barack Obama because of a crisis he helped cause, you would be laboring at least as hard to correct that false impression.

Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth. That's what you claim you do, when you accept people's money to buy or subscribe to your paper.

But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie -- that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain, and the Republicans. You have trained the American people to blame everything bad -- even bad weather -- on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.

If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth -- even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.

Because that's what honorable people do. Honest people tell the truth even when they don't like the probable consequences. That's what honesty means. That's how trust is earned.

Barack Obama is just another politician, and not a very wise one. He has revealed his ignorance and naivete time after time -- and you have swept it under the rug, treated it as nothing.

Meanwhile, you have participated in the borking of Sarah Palin, reporting savage attacks on her for the pregnancy of her unmarried daughter -- while you ignored the story of John Edwards's own adultery for many months.

So I ask you now: Do you have any standards at all? Do you even know what honesty means?

Is getting people to vote for Barack Obama so important that you will throw away everything that journalism is supposed to stand for?

You might want to remember the way the National Organization of Women threw away their integrity by supporting Bill Clinton despite his well-known pattern of sexual exploitation of powerless women. Who listens to NOW anymore? We know they stand for nothing; they have no principles.

That's where you are right now.

It's not too late. You know that if the situation were reversed, and the truth would damage McCain and help Obama, you would be moving heaven and earth to get the true story out there.

If you want to redeem your honor, you will swallow hard and make a list of all the stories you would print if it were McCain who had been getting money from Fannie Mae, McCain whose campaign had consulted with its discredited former CEO, McCain who had voted against tightening its lending practices.

Then you will print them, even though every one of those true stories will point the finger of blame at the reckless Democratic Party, which put our nation's prosperity at risk so they could feel good about helping the poor, and lay a fair share of the blame at Obama's door.

You will also tell the truth about John McCain: that he tried, as a Senator, to do what it took to prevent this crisis. You will tell the truth about President Bush: that his administration tried more than once to get Congress to regulate lending in a responsible way.

This was a Congress-caused crisis, beginning during the Clinton administration, with Democrats leading the way into the crisis and blocking every effort to get out of it in a timely fashion.

If you at our local daily newspaper continue to let Americans believe --and vote as if -- President Bush and the Republicans caused the crisis, then you are joining in that lie.

If you do not tell the truth about the Democrats -- including Barack Obama -- and do so with the same energy you would use if the miscreants were Republicans -- then you are not journalists by any standard.

You're just the public relations machine of the Democratic Party, and it's time you were all fired and real journalists brought in, so that we can actually have a daily newspaper in our city.

Apocalype Now-- still playing for some Vets.

Heli-gunner Tom.

Great Song/ Video from a Vietnam Movie >>>> Apocalypse Now - Helicopter Attack- Kilgore

Yes, there was a lot of 'Hollywood' embellishments in that flick, but the root core/ base line action was pretty much true, and people from most Aviation outfits in 'Nam can tell you many true stories that were just as real.
Perhaps there are more than a few reasons why many combat Vets still carry a grudge to some extent against inaccurate movies, the VA, the Gov't, Hanoi Jane Fonda, etc because [and I have tons of documentation...] we were doomed by the lying "News Media" and Gov't 35 years ago much like our young troops in Iraq, etc are getting dumped on today by all TV "News" stations -- except for Fox News. I also know that there are plenty of Vietnam Vets who still fear reprisals andmaybe death from our own Gov't if they were to talk "too freely.' Heck, the truth of the matter is that our Gov't is just waiting for us to croak so they don't have to pay or answer to more benefits for disability-- Agent Orange and PTSD, etc. I have personally known guys who were shot, stabbed and had Agent Orange, filed for disability and were turned down. My own VA 'head' doctor didn't believe that the VA staff who oversee VA disability claims actually get a $ BONUS every time they find some excuse to deny a Vet's claim! People at the VA Pharmacy have lied to cover up their numerous mistakes when they screwed something up-- my medication. And years ago in the 60's- 70's many of the VA 'doctors' were not even BOARD CERTIFIED! The beat goes on... and the new, next generation of soldiers and Marines are still getting the shaft-- with TBI [traumatic brain injury], PTSD, severe depression, and poor hospital living conditions and "care".
But wait-- maybe B. Hussein Obama will get elected! He promises to cut more out of the military even when we don't have enough boots on the ground now and just TALK TO THE TERRORISTS...LOL! Ha! He will open the door for more Gays to join the Army, etc., and break the soldiers' morale, and let more tanks and helicopters rust, unrepaired in long rows... History experts and Bible students/ pastors say that Europe is already under Muslim rule and America may be the 'last man standing.' Is this the right time to cut our military and wounded warriors benefits even more? Be careful what you wish and vote for--- you just may get it.
Well, I bet you that most Veterans are some sort of logical minded survivors and well trained-- so when America falls down hard [from within] -- they just might get the last laugh when we are over run by liberals and fanatical Muslims here as our Freedoms are eroded. We Vets don't want any glory or free hand outs -- just our little, self paid PLACE IN THE SUN.
I just may get back into playing guitar again as my buddy Marvin is --and he wants me to teach him some cords. It will have to be a cheap guitar. I played in 2 small rock 'n roll bands before the Army. My fingers will cry from non-use... lol.
Early to bed tonight--to drive to some friends house in the morning for dinner.


Music for Combat Warriors' PTSD.

Heli-gunner Tom.

Great Song/ Music>>> Percy Faith - Theme From A Summer Plac

I thought this article would be good and beneficial for those who suffer from Combat PTSD--- me included. Have a great day!

Creative Arts Festival Gives Wounded Warriors Therapeutic Outlet

Arts Festival Gives Wounded Therapeutic Outlet

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2008 – Veterans of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are among more than 120 disabled veterans from across the country attending the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival this week in Riverside, Calif.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Retired Army Sgt. Maj. Michael Slatton, a veteran of operations Iraq Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Desert Storm participating in the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, said music has helped him in his battle with post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder. Department of Veterans Affairs photo by Gene Davies

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The week-long festival kicked off yesterday, bringing together medal winners in national creative writing, music, dance, drama or visual arts competitions. Each participant edged out more than 3,000 competitors to earn spots at the national festival, Department of Veterans Affairs officials said.

Retired Army Sgt. Maj. Michael Slatton, a veteran of operations Iraq Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Desert Storm; and retired Air Force Lt. Col. Dennis Linn, a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, are among the participants.

Slatton retired in 2005 at Fort Gordon, Ga., and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder. He and his VA group, The Heavenly Harmonizers, sang their way to this year’s National Veterans Creative Arts Festival -- Slatton’s fourth -- by winning a gold medal during a preliminary competition in Houston with their gospel song, “Jesus, You Are the Center of My Joy.”

Linn retired in 2004 and suffers from cardiovascular disease. A former military artist who once taught art at the Air Force Academy, he painted his way to the VA national festival with gold medals for three paintings in three different media: pastel, oil and watercolor.

Veterans Affairs Secretary James B. Peake called the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival an extension of VA’s rehabilitative care.

“Creative expression is an important component of healthy living,” Peake said. “This annual festival shows that real healing goes well beyond our patients’ physical needs. Creative arts therapy has a key role at VA in rehabilitation and recovery.”

Slatton was introduced to the benefits of music therapy while undergoing treatment at the VA hospital near his Chicago home. He’d been singing in church since he was young and had his own music group for years, but now sings mostly with groups he’s met through the VA.

“It’s true what they say: Music really does soothe the savage beast,” he said. “It gives me an outlet and a way to express myself in ways other than combat.”

Slatton called the festival a great opportunity for veterans to share their love of the arts along with each other’s company.

“I love the fellowship of the other veterans. I’m hooked on it,” he said. “There’s no competition here, because to get here, you’ve already won. So the atmosphere here is all about camaraderie. It’s a real pleasure to be here with all these veterans.”

Linn, now a professional artist in Rapid City, S.D., called art an outlet that helps him transcend his physical limitations. “Art has always been therapeutic for me,” he said. “It cultivates your imagination and creativity and serves as an avenue for self-expression.”

Linn called the festival a valuable experience for veterans that takes their minds off the physical or mental challenges they face. “It helps take away the stress,” he said. “This is a great program for veterans, and I hope more get involved.”

Annie Tuttle, the festival’s host site coordinator, said a full schedule of rehearsals, workshops, art showings and other activities this week is showcasing the veterans’ talents as well as the benefits of the visual and performing arts as therapy.

A grand-finale stage and art show later this week is expected to be a program highlight. The veterans will exhibit their artwork or perform musical, dance, dramatic or original writing selections in a gala variety show.

The National Veterans Creative Arts Festival is sponsored by the VA, Help Hospitalized Veterans and the American Legion Auxiliary, and is hosted by the VA’s Loma Linda Healthcare System.

Related Sites:
Creative Arts Festival
Department of Veterans Affairs

Click photo for screen-resolution image Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Dennis Linn, a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom who suffers from cardiovascular disease, said art has always been a therapeutic outlet. One of more than 120 disabled veterans participating in the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, Linn poses with his painting, “Koi.” Department of Veterans Affairs photo by Gene Davies