I know you don’t like the truth, but …

Seems some people would rather make stuff up than tell the truth, or better yet, shut up.

Someone tweeted today that I was fired from the Asheville Citizen-Times for plagiarism.

I think he knows that’s a lie, which makes the tweet slander, according to my attorney. I do hope he corrects his mistake soon.

But for those who might be interested, I’ll tell the story of my departure one more time.

My son died in 2008 because he couldn’t get access to health care. He went to the emergency room and was misdiagnosed several times before he finally was near death and they had to admit him. By then his colon was entirely blocked and the cancer had spread.

I was a reporter at the Citizen-Times then, and I had been a reporter for more than 25 years when my son died. Most of that time I covered social justice issues like health care, poverty, mental health issues, disability issues, etc.

After he died, I began to blog about his experience and about other stories from our broken health care system. I founded a nonprofit to try and educate people about health care and help individuals find care.

I spoke in public about Mike’s story, although when I spoke, I never mentioned the paper or what I thought the best solution would be. I ended every speech with “All is want is for people to have access to health care. I don’t care what it looks like; it just has to work. We need to figure this out.”

I asked permission from the publisher to speak in public and I got it.

When I spoke, I told promoters of events to list me as the founder of Life o’ Mike and not mention the paper because I wasn’t representing the paper.

One time, an organizer mentioned the paper and the Tea Party pounced, demanding I be fired because I was “biased.”

I’ll admit it; I am biased. I don’t want your kid to die the way mine did, no matter who you are or what you believe.

The publisher wouldn’t fire me and wouldn’t discuss it with Tea Party folks who showed up with a video camera.

I got e-mails, one of which said, “I don’t care about your son. You should be fired.”

Many more came, but I wouldn’t print them here.

I talked to the publisher about resigning. He told me he didn’t want me to leave, that they could change my beat from social justice issues to something else.

But I saw this as God’s way of booting me in the ass to get me doing the work I needed to be doing.

The publisher asked me to wait a couple of days before making a final decision, and then came to me and said if I would stay for a couple of weeks, I could be laid off and have a small income for awhile. I could also save another person’s job.

So, I volunteered to be laid off.

There were no charges of inappropriate behavior from anyone other than the Tea Party.

I have written op-eds for the paper about health care policy and about the Affordable Care Act, and every time there’s at least one comment saying I was fired for being biased. I sometimes reply to the comment to correct the record, but most of the time, I ignore it.

But this is too big to ignore. I have never been accused of plagiarism, and I will not let this go.

So, the person who tweeted and his ilk resort to lies because they don’t like the truth.

I still do some freelance writing, so the tweet yesterday is damaging to my reputation, even though I can prove it is false, and I think the person who tweeted it knows that.

It’s called slander and it is actionable. I won’t be intimidated by lies and I won’t let them stand.


The revolution will be tweeted

At the kickoff of Occupy Wall Street Asheville. The event started with a memorial to Troy Davis, who was executed in Georgia despite doubts about the fairness of his trial.

I’m heading up to Washington tomorrow with a couple of friends and I plan to stay for the first four days of the October 2011 Movement’s occupation of Freedom Square. When I get back, I’ll hook up with the Asheville crowd.

I’ve said for years that we need to take to the streets, and now, finally, we’re doing just that. We’re telling the 1 percent that we, the 99 percent, aren’t going to roll over and allow ourselves to be abused¬†any longer.

The beauty of this movement is that it’s nonviolent — at least on our part.

The Right has been saying we have no cohesive message, but we do. The problem is, our message won’t fit onto a bumper sticker because there are so many things wrong now.

For years, those in power have managed to keep people apart by attacking different parts of society: education, health care, wages, the social safety net and more. They have risked our national well being with dangerous and illegal wars and other adventures.

But we who want reform are finding ways to work together now, and we have coalesced into one huge group. We have united and we are working together.

At first they tried to ignore us with a virtual media blackout. A friend of mine who works for a newspaper has told me no stories moved from The Associated Press for the first two weeks except for a couple of short briefs.

The New York Times changed an online photo caption after 700 protesters were herded onto the Brooklyn Bridge by police and then arrested for blocking traffic. The first caption told the truth; 20 minutes later, the caption said only that 700 protesters were arrested for blocking traffic.

The media are owned by huge corporations and they have a stake in the failure of this movement. Fortunately, we have social media. There have been attempts to stop tweets and Facebook posts, but enough of us are getting through.

I will tweet from Freedom Square and I will blog from a hotel in the evenings, unless I get arrested, which is entirely possible.

Corporate personhood must be abolished, Wall Street must answer for its crimes and we the people must re-take the reins of government.


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