From the Orange Zone:

I should say that it’s an ‘alleged’ coverup.  But why should I give the Bush Administration any slack, especially when Pennsylvania’s primary is filling up all of the known airwaves.

(Go Barack.)

I don’t have cable anymore–I just can’t afford it right now.  Hell yeah, I miss Olbermann daily, and I miss watching Rachel Maddow use only a scintilla of her vast intellect to bash Buchanan and Scarborough.  Friday nights without Real Time with Bill Maher pall as well.

So now, between nature shows, American Experience (“Roberto Clemente”!) and reruns of Masterpiece Theatre, I watch the braindead dreck that is network TV nowadays, including how many versions of Law and Order, and Howie Mandel’s Deal or No Deal.
I didn’t see it all last night, but I did see this disgrace and absolute travesty…

A disgrace and a travesty, because I’d never seen a president of the United States on a freaking game show.  Bad enough that while channel surfing a couple of decades back I saw Reagan and Mulroney with their wives singing some Irish ditty together as if concluding a Sixties-era variety show.  However, to me, it’s something that just isn’t done, because it may just backfire.  Laura on The Today Show this week, perhaps.  But not something that may diminish the dignity of the presidency.

The contestant was an Iraq War vet who eventually won $78,000.  I’m really glad for this guy, but I am not so glad about the thousands of other veterans who may not have such an opportunity to win moolah to help themselves and their families, especially in light of what’s developed yesterday.

In San Francisco federal court Monday, attorneys for veterans’ rights groups accused the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs of nothing less than a cover-up – deliberately concealing the real risk of suicide among veterans.

“The system is in crisis and unfortunately the VA is in denial,” said veterans rights attorney Gordon Erspamer.

The charges were backed by internal e-mails written by Dr. Ira Katz, the VA’s head of Mental Health.

Katz repeatedly tried to either cover-up or to downplay reports that at least 18 vets a day were opting out permanently.  When CBS News did an expose on the matter last year The New York Post, among others, screeched that the CBS findings here were bogus:

Problem is, we have absolutely no way of verifying the CBS data nor how the network claims it collected the info. CBS News admits to collecting the data itself, rather than relying on an independent outside party. It also concedes its rate is “much higher” than that in an uncompleted Department of Veterans Affairs study.

So somebody isn’t telling the truth. And the evidence is overwhelming that it’s CBS.

One hint of an agenda is the two “veterans’ activists” CBS interviewed for the segments – hardly disinterested parties. One is also very much an antiwar activist, a fact that CBS failed to disclose. In all, the networks stacked three commentators hyping its claims against one (from the VA) questioning them.

But the most devastating evidence of the network’s nefariousness lies in out- side studies, both individually and combined. For example, CBS put special emphasis on vets of the current wars.

“One age group stood out,” it said: “veterans age 20 through 24, those who have served during the War on Terror. They had the highest suicide rate among all veterans, estimated between two and four times higher than civilians the same age.”

So much for Murdoch’s screeds.  We know now who is telling the truth.

I’m the daughter and stepdaughter of black men who served in the Armed Forces.  They did not see much combat, thank goodness, but they served their stints when drafted, came home, and has been/will be buried with flags on their coffins.

My stepdad, a veteran of both Korea and of Hurricane Katrina, must take medication for his diabetes, HBP, and for asbestosis.  Most of that medication and treatment comes from the Veterans Administration.  I cannot dream of him not getting this medication or his pension. Yet Iraq War-era vets can’t even get their feet inside the proverbial door jamb to get treatment for PTSD, which has made many off themselves in despair. And for others with other ailments, they have cockroaches and rats for company.

I just find it very, very interesting–and not even a coincidence–that the current president of the United States decides to appear on a piddly network reality game show to encourage an Iraq War veteran to make a little money, of course, that’s not on the Administration’s dime.  And on the very day that Veterans for Common Sense and Veterans United for Truth, tired of the dismissal and the deaths, are suing in Federal court “to compel the [VA] department to improve the care of hundreds of thousands of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.”

I don’t want to dismiss the “Deal or No Deal” contestant who won the money.  Of course, he deserves it.  But he did not need the president of the United States giving him any free encouragement.  Not the kind of president who dances on people’s graves in New Orleans any how.

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