Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Picking Your Battles

While there are a pile of partially reported news items taking up the media landscape right now, we wanted to point out today two major issues: one that isn't being talked about but should be, and one that will likely a get lot of attention - and really shouldn't.

The news item you're not hearing a lot about, from any media outlet (except maybe this one), is the growing level and type of issues from veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

In the links we provide with our daily e-mail edition, we regularly point out both positive news and negative news about what our vets are facing when they come home and leave military service - like the unemployment stats for recent vets. The sad fact is, no one really knows if the most recent dip in unemployment for veterans is a trend or a data mistake, because we haven't had enough months of real data to make that call.  Either way, that rate is far higher than we think it should be.

The last thing our service members need from Americans who haven't recently served - or who never served - is to have to fight, when they get home, to get the benefits those servicemebers earned by doing the dirty business of our nation. Yet we keep seeing stories of Iraq and Afghanistan vets whose disability claims have been buried under a mountain of paperwork, or who've been looking for a job for several years now and still can't find one. If you're looking for stories of how badly America is failing its recent veterans - in both the public and private spheres - you won't have to look far.

It's not as though we didn't know these service members were coming home. Yet, we haven't prepared for their homecoming needs, as a nation - a fact that will be hitting us like a blast from outer space, very soon. But we doubt there will be any major media coverage of this sad fact - or any major movement from any political party to fix this issue.

What you will find a great deal of coverage of, over the next few months, are the exploits of a rich white man, that few people trust, trying to bully the current President of the United States, and anyone else that gets in his way - namely, Mitt Romney.

What else would you call a man who just a few years ago bragged about being a progressive-minded Republican, but on Tuesday pandered to an extremist right-wing media group, claiming there's now a 'vast left wing conspiracy' aligned against him?

This is the same man who actively went after the endorsement of right-wing extremist rock star Ted Nugent - but now that Nugent has threatened death if President Obama wins again in November, Romney is disavowing any connection with the extremist rocker, hunter, and commentator. Nugent isn't the only conservative figure on the right Romney is throwing under the bus, now that his path to the Republican nomination seems clear.

Kansas Secretary of State and well-known anti-immigration activist, Kris Kobach, has been a major advisor to Mitt Romney on his immigration policies. Yet, now that Romney is the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, the Romney campaign has tossed Kobach under the metaphorical campaign bus, in an obvious attempt to pivot back towards the political center.

On top of all this, now Romney's campaign has said that they are going to be literally following President Obama around, trying to get in his face, like a rich-boy bully, every day, for the foreseeable future. Romney could simply request a debate, or go around the country promoting his own best qualities. Instead, Romney will be chasing after Obama in real life, just as he is in many polls.

Mitt Romney's history of being on all sides of every issue - being as untrustworthy as the worst smarmy used car salesman you can imagine - is well known, and really shouldn't be in the news on a daily basis. It surprises us how any Republican who values honesty can even support Romney, knowing his history. Yet, Mitt will be the GOP nominee for president this year, whether Republicans like it or not, as we noted nearly a year ago.

Now, both of these stories - the needs of our veterans and Mitt Romney's increasingly untrustworthy actions - are important.

But we all know which one we Americans should truly be focusing our energies upon - and which one will be receiving more media attention over the next year.

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