Monday May 20, 2013
Why Should You Care About Our News Anyway?Tim King Salem-News.com
We constantly expose the truth to an often hostile world.
(SALEM) - Many of you who follow our work understand that we have a tendency to turn remote informational trails into six lane freeways. As we wallow through the mire of news, I want to share a few thoughts about why we cover certain topics and the importance of reader support. Every few months our financial picture dips and threatens our position; please understand that help from our readers in many ways allows our survival. We do not enjoy asking for help, so when we raise the flag this way, it means we really need assistance.
We began covering medical marijuana seriously years ago when other media outlets still cringed at the idea. Look at what has taken place; 14 states have approved medicinal marijuana, cannabis business is on its way toward possibly being one of the nation's largest industries, and, as long as Monsanto and the GMO companies keep their paws off the strains, hemp serves to return to the forefront as the well-proven natural, non-polluting agricultural savior. With the help of our mentor Dr. Phil Leveque, we have published hundreds of educational articles on this burning subject.
Well Being of Veterans
We started ranting about the toxic contamination of the old El Toro Marine Corps base in Southern California during the summer of 2008. At that point Lennar Homes was moving forward with a plan to build expensive subdivisions on that once-proud wasteland. Then we met the leaders in the movement to expose similar toxicity problems at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Now the idea of a housing subdivision at El Toro is forever tainted by the truths exposed via our reports which rank highly on Google and everywhere else online.
Now, Robert O'Dowd and I have co-authored a book loaded with the information we have turned up from a very long list of sources; which includes a good amount of previously unpublished material. It is all about reaching the Marines who served there, their families, and the civilians who worked on the base and live near it today, and advising them of the possible health hazards.
A Few Good Men, Too Many Chemicals, published on Amazon's Kindle on May 4th, is the result of a three year investigation by Tim King and Robert O’Dowd of Salem-News.com into the environmental contamination at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) El Toro, California, and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
MCAS El Toro was closed in July 1999, and most of the former base sold at a public auction by the Navy while Camp Lejeune remains an active Marine Corps base today.
Beginning in 2008, Salem-News.com published over 100 news stories covering the health effects of environmental hazards reported by the Navy and EPA at former MCAS El Toro and Camp Lejeune under the banner, “Are Marines Getting the Shaft in America?”
The most industrialized portion of MCAS El Toro was the Marine Wing Support Group 37 (MWSG-37), the site of a major trichloroethylene (TCE) plume spreading miles off base into Orange County. Learn more at this link)
We have shared monumental news too, including the non-toxic cure for cancer, developed by Dr. Burzynski in Texas and kicking off a decades-long fight with the FDA. The fight continues, and this is one we all have a stake in.
We also have taken on the big pharma companies with our dismay over the ongoing deaths due to use as prescribed, and over-prescribing of the narcotic OxyContyn, but our Investigative Reporter Marianne Skolek who holds a personal stake in the matter, has become known all over the US and Canada for her articles illustrating the truth about Purdue Pharma and other groups that are providing an environment where drug addiction and death are widespread.
We discuss many subjects that are uncomfortable, or difficult. Being uncomfortable is not an acceptable reason to not be informed. The facts behind the common ritual of male circumcision, and less-common female genital mutilation, are definitely worth knowing.
Covering the Middle East
The Middle East was a distant thought when we started Salem-News.com; but then like all Americans we were impacted by the loss of our nation's military forces. I went to Afghanistan for the winter of 2006-2007 to cover the war with an emphasis on Oregon's local soldiers deployed there as part of the National Guard.
I began to really piece together the historical chain of events, told to me by people in Afghanistan who appreciated my sincere interest. They explained a great deal about the real history that led to the world's current state of affairs.
I was fascinated with the former Mujahideen I met there; their stories were filled with honesty and immense dedication of a culture I felt privileged to witness, even for a short time. Everything was documented via the 30+ reports I filed with Salem-News.com and Portland's Fox station.
After returning to the states, our coverage kept going- and growing; publishing news from an increasing list of writers who united under our name and believe in the strength of this new media movement.
Then I went to Iraq. This was another 'embed' with an Oregon Guard unit but I was able to move around the country more easily than I did in Afghanistan.
One event was a turning point for me, and how I regarded our approach to 'war'. I was aboard an Army helicopter packed with Iraqi detainees who lined the opposite wall of the aircraft. I watched while the bound and hooded detainees were kicked and abused for hours during the flight. It was well over a hundred degrees and they were made to sit flatly on the hot metal floor with their legs crossed, and if they moved or cried the civilian mercenaries- not military- went at them aggressively. I rolled video and tried to be cool about it, but after landing, I was taken for a ride by soldiers and after a lot of shouting and accusations, I was eventually forced to record over the video I had shot.
It was made indelibly clear that night that the war was bullshit; there were good intentions among the individuals, but the rules and the general environment seemed the design of inexperienced, western fools.
The line I learned from that night was, "Did you create a terrorist today?" It's a rhetorical question, because I know how life works, and you don't make friends with abuse.
I swear that I loved America when I was growing up. Rose-colored glasses aside, my take from that point on became: I love my country but I think we should start seeing other people. It makes increasing sense. We are told knowledge is a gift. I've got news for you: it isn't always. Perhaps if a person had endless resources to fix problems, then it would apply, but simply piling on real knowledge and learning more about the inner workings of my own country leads to nothing short of massive disappointment. I wish I didn't know so much sometimes, but unfortunately I do.
But on a brighter note, the world revolution taking place in the Middle East is certainly something else we have seen coming. This certainly leads to what most people would describe as Salem-News.com's biggest subject, that is the Middle East and Israel.
Beyond Local News
Many people from the Salem, Oregon area where we are based often express anger and disappointment with us for not covering enough local news- but you can examine our advertisers and you will see very few businesses located in Salem. We appreciate the support we do receive, but we understand that our reach is much larger than the state's capital city. Salem-News.com covers some local news, but we offer more: important news for all the locals of the world, near and far.
We don't shelter our readers from the world around them. We have almost 80 contributing writers now in 15 countries and the stories they are following often become our day's top news, and many times the larger "mainstream" networks follow.
We concentrate a great amount of time raising awareness of very serious problems in Oregon's government that center around the prison system, racism, and violations of federal Civil Rights that have not been addressed.
We have a strong following from those who appreciate that in our hearts we are all fighting against discrimination.
And this takes on different forms.
Voice for American Motorcyclists
Some Salem-News.com reports have examined the discrimination faced by members of local motorcycle clubs. A report on the conviction of club members in southern Oregon led to Bonnie and I receiving the Excellence in Journalism Award in November 2010 from the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs.
We support our troops. That means not forgetting about them when they've returned from active duty. One of our biggest objections to criminal profiling and harassment of bikers stems from the fact that the vast majority are military veterans and that's exactly what many of their patches reflect.
It's All About Fighting for Human Rights
We believe in standing for the rights of mankind, from our Civil Rights to the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Freedom of the Press is the First Amendment for a good reason, because without it there is no democracy. We think fairness has a place in this world, and "doing the right thing" should be typical, not outside the norm.
Though these important subjects are addressed regularly on Salem-News.com, it is true that this last year we dedicate much of our space to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
We love people of all faiths and together we tell the story of Israeli occupation and oppression and some day when that epic saga ends, we will be able to concentrate our energies elsewhere.
One highly overlooked world hot spot that we pay a lot of attention to is Sri Lanka, where Tamil people were slaughtered by their own government in a terrible ethnic cleansing program that spanned for decades and then came to a deadly, obscene killing field in May 2009. I have been invited to speak at a conference in Baltimore scheduled for a few days from now, to talk about our coverage of these war crimes in front of 3000 people, what an honor!
In the mix of all of this is our creation of the position of 'Human Rights Ambassador', a title bestowed on William Gomes, who works tirelessly in this regard as an activist and journalist.
Celebrating our work in song is our writer and dear friend Agron Belica in Boston, who has recently released the new album commissioned by Salem-News.com; Newsic Revolution and it is an incredible project, another example of what we are creating with next to nothing; imagine if we were actually funded and not living a very tight existence.
We also publish poetry in news form which is as unique as anything else here. Nahida Izzat and Luke Easter blaze that trail along with other gifted Salem-News.com writers who can't refrain from writing poetic verse sometimes simply because it is the right thing to do.
We are extremely thankful for the people who help us tell what we believe are the most important stories in the world, lead out in front by the US funding of Israel's military which, incredibly, has shown absolutely no restraint in regard to the treatment of the non-Jewish.
And it goes beyond that; many Jewish people on the side of humanity are discredited when they speak out; yet their compassionate voices are growing stronger and louder and younger as Israel maintains forced military service for all Jewish men and women.
Salem-News.com constantly has to counter false accusations. Unfortunately, criticize Israel and you are branded an anti-Semite, which in reality is complete and total hogwash.
To the contrary, my dad's best friend Basil Dell was a concentration camp liberator and as an extremely curious child, I was shown horrifying pictures, many times, and heard the accompanying stories that left nothing to ponder.
But we can't confuse our sincere appreciation of this tragedy with a license for Israel to steal Palestine land- which it continues to do in the most literal sense.
My dad's friend Art was a B-24 pilot who was shot down over Germany and never recovered. He died fighting a war and paid the ultimate price so that the horror of the Holocaust would end, as did so many others. But that victory of the 'Greatest Generation' was a death warrant for Palestine. That should not be the case.
For those who don't know, the list of Salem-News.com writers includes many military veterans who fought in our nation's wars and then went on to become lawyers, professors, activists and writers. Some of us, like Alan Hart, Dexter Phoenix and myself, have worked as reporters and photographers in combat theaters. Every single person named on our staff page brings a unique contribution to the site and they are dedicated to the truth, that is our common bond.
Our Deputy Assistant Editor Daniel Johnson and others like Ken Ramey and Barry Lee Coyne and many others who have contributed regularly for years, are the staple of this organization. None are paid, all do this for the betterment of mankind, there is a backward nature to this media group being underfunded. We need backing and it will make us far more effective when we are not struggling.
All of these many subjects referenced above, do not touch the vast material that we cover on Salem-News.com, read by an average of more than 20,000 people every day during peak months, and growing.
We believe that 2012 is a year for the most positive change the world has seen for decades. And we are working hard to stay an integral part of the development of new media for years to come.
So here it is; if you care about us, please consider Salem-News.com in advertising your business, non-profit, or special events/causes; or do what has meant the most to us, simply donate (CLICK HERE).
We exist on very little and yet we constantly expose the truth to a sometimes hostile world. As we grow there is one thing I can say with certainty; the truth will grow also.
Now is the time, we have eight solid years of news published seven days a week to our credit, but we need to cover costs to operate and we appreciate your help. Please help us keep this operation online and growing, we have never placed an emphasis on advertising; it is all about journalism and human rights..
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Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer
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