Return Power To The States?

Some people, mostly Republicans and Libertarians, keep suggesting returning power to the states on some laws and government systems. The truth is that they are trying to use that rhetoric to attempt to end various programs and laws.

When examined more closely, returning control of many things to states would be disastrous and more expensive than they are now. Not to mention decrease oversight and accountability, leading to higher risk of corruption and fraud. We’ve seen this movie and know the ending.

It would also have ripple effects on the economy of the nation as a whole. Take food stamps as an example. The states that have the highest number of people on public assistance (by percentage) are the poorest states. Those states have the least resources, including education. I won’t bother examining here what the concern for education is in those states. As a result, the more affluent states contribute more to the social support programs in those states. Proponents of ending this system claim the system is unfair but do not realize the benefits which are returned to the more affluent states.

Some of this is a repeat of things I have written before but still relevant to this discussion. When a person spends food stamps, they spend like money does. Each $1 in food stamps does not simply buy food. It pays for jobs across state and national lines. When you spend money or food stamps they pay for cashiers, managers, stock people, maintenance people, delivery drivers, food processors, farmers, ranchers, feed and fertilizer providers, warehouse workers, dock workers and more. Each one of those jobs represents a consumer who pays for goods and services. Groceries, retail sales, vehicles, cell phones.. They are also taxpayers whose taxes pay for road repair and maintenance, libraries, schools and more. Each of those jobs also represent consumers and taxpayers in a system that ideally runs in a cycle.

That cycle extends to gas stations, power generation, sewage and all the employees, vehicles, pipe makers, electrical cable makers, delivery drivers, trains, planes and automobiles involved in producing and delivering supplies for those jobs. Each one a consumer and taxpayer.

Breaking that cycle is narrow minded and does not consider the long range and long term effects. You can apply the same view to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and any other social support system you can name.

The military relies heavily on these very same low income states for recruitment precisely because of the lack of opportunity in those states. Of course, I have detailed before that this is not likely to be such an issue because I expect a draft to be reinstated in the near future. I’ve written about that before, here.

One also has to consider the additional costs involved with expanding or establishing and administrating duplicate systems for the same purposes in each individual state, each with different rules for eligibility. We have enough of a problem with that even with federal rules overseeing social support programs to some degree. Some states would completely eliminate environmental protection regulations, which would have cross-border implications with neighboring states and maybe countries. Then try and apply liability laws to what are currently major violators of those controls.

However, the major thing to consider is that if power is returned to the states while different states do not agree with many federal policies and decisions, there tends to be almost no reason for states to remain member states of the United States. There is increasing risk that states may begin breaking away from the union to form smaller, independent countries, possibly to form a confederation of countries, each with their own government. This risk becomes compounded when considering the move to eliminate the electoral college and increases further if the draft is enacted. Then consider the national debt. If a state breaks away to form their own country, they would no longer be liable for the national debt. They would establish their own currency, to separate their currency from the dollar.

I don’t fully expect any of this to happen until the dollar starts to decline. If they wait and the dollar crashes in value suddenly, countries we owe debt to may not accept the dissolution and could well take steps against the US, legally or militarily. If multiple countries formed a coalition against us in such a situation, it would be grim. Other countries have no obligation to recognize a new currency from a previous state and could appeal to the World Bank, the UN, etc to boycott all American currencies and trade.

To make things worse, the states which would be most likely to secede first would be the most affluent states. Like California, which if ranked as a country would have the sixth largest economy in the world. New York, Florida and Texas would also be candidates for states that could easily survive as independent countries. Ironically, those are also the states that would determine every national election if the electoral college were eliminated.

There is no actual positive to the concept of returning power to the states. This is not the 19th century and even then states were more interconnected than most people understood. Today the states are far more interconnected, though could become disconnected much easier than most assume.

The only thing holding this country together as a nation of states is rhetoric and marketing. If we do separate, it will be into some countries that are strong economies and other countries which have struggling third world status.

These Are Not Opinions, These Are Facts

Some people like to say my writing is opinion. I do not deny I have opinions which I voice but those are based on facts. Here are a few of those facts:

War is bad. I will skip the obvious that war kills innocent civilians in other countries that are no threat to us. War is profitable for the rich and expensive for the poor and middle class in numerous ways. The rich make profits from weapons sales, the rest of us subsidize those weapons sales. Weapons contractors are notorious polluters who are protected from consequences of their irresponsibility because “national security”. The vast majority of military recruiting centers are in low income neighborhoods. Look at how injured veterans are treated, how many are homeless.

Censorship is bad. I don’t care if you like Alex Jones or not. I don’t care if it is corporations doing the censoring. When corporations own nearly all media in the country, they are the government. Even Hitler understood that when you control the media, you control the narrative. That does not have to apply to an elected government. In this case we are being governed by corporations. They censor the left as well as the right. Look at how many anti-war voices they have silenced and ask what is next. Try and find a valid debate on MSM which even allows universal healthcare an equal representation.

Russiagate is bad. Russiagate, issuing mandates to other nations leaders and sanctions are not peaceful. If you think they are, let someone deny your right to buy food, increase how much you spend on items, tell stories about you with no proof and tell you what you must do. Then tell me how friendly you feel. Will you simply accommodate their demands or stand up to them? This has led to increased international tensions, including with our alleged allies, increased “defense” spending, social division and media censorship.

Lack of medical care is bad. Medical care should be a right, not a privilege. While people claim owning a gun is a right, the same people think medical care is a privilege. How do they resolve that in their minds? They think denying care decreases cost? Not when you factor in long term effects of heart attacks and strokes, blindness, kidney failure and amputations that result from chronic diabetes or high blood pressure not being controlled. It means paying more money for critical care and long term care which could have been avoided. It means people becoming disabled who were previously self sufficient, productive members of society who worked and paid taxes. Then they become medically dependent and someone must foot the bill for their care. Know who pays it? You do.

Increasing national debt is bad. Some people want to claim that national debt means nothing. I’m looking at you, MMTers. Each nation has a credit rating and currency is valued against other currencies. When a nation proves it cannot or will not pay it’s debts, that currency becomes devalued and results in runaway inflation. MMT is equivalent to borrowing real money and trying to pay your real debt with Monopoly money. Try it and see how that works for you.

Hunger is bad. Just like some think medical care is a privilege, some think food is a privilege. So let me take away your food and medical care and then you can tell me how you feel about it. Let your children go hungry for a year. We produce more than enough food to feed everyone in this country. Nobody should be hungry. Yet we waste tens of tons of food every single day for the profits of the rich. No, it has nothing to do with farmers or ranchers. They already got paid and would continue to be paid if we fed everyone.

The record stock market numbers are bad. The stock market being up is not a sign of wealth for the nation. It is a sign of income inequality. Corporations are using profits and tax breaks to false inflate stock values while paying off workers by tens of thousands. For every one share of stock you own, the rich and corporate executives own 10,000 shares. If you work for a corporation and their stock value drops, you may be laid off permanently so they can keep their money.

Income numbers are bad. No matter what the media tries to tell you about incomes and employment being up, look around you. Vehicle repossessions are up, new home sales are down, student loan defaults are at record numbers, consumer debt is beyond anything sustainable. Has your income increased? If so, at what cost and to whom? How about your neighbors? Is their income up? How many jobs do you or your friends have to work to pay your bills? If you have to work 3 jobs to stay above water, that’s not success or economic stability. Layoffs are up. Automation is eliminating jobs faster by the day.

The duopoly is bad. For over two years I have heard people talking about breaking the duopoly, understanding that we need more than two parties. They understand that the two parties have the same goals. More warfare, more profits for the rich. In full theater, the GOP wants to eliminate the ACA which results in corporate profit while the DNC wants to continue the ACA which is corporate welfare. Both parties abhor universal healthcare. Both are paid off by insurance companies and drug makers. Both parties are bribed by military contractors. More Republicans voted against the defense budget increase than Democrats did. Yet as they ramp up to 2020, those who claimed to be against the duopoly, many people are signing on to perpetuate it. “But Trump” and “name someone else who can win”. Isn’t this the exact same thing we heard in 2016? Word for word? So they want to change basically nothing but the name on the label. Support a name while the party endorses nothing of the policies they want. Keep the same parties doing the same things and keep believing like a religion. Because that has worked so well for the last 40 years.

So, tell me where these are opinions and not facts. Show me specifically where I have said anything which cannot be proven. Tell me I am wrong and you are saying the facts are wrong, even when it is in front of your face.

I’m going to keep doing what I am doing. I am not going to defend myself again. I am going to block every single person who asks me to name a cult to belong to. Who do I think can win? I’m not sure but I will stick with my conscience. Because when you surrender that, you’ve already lost yourself. Or maybe you were never there to begin with.

Manning and Wikileaks- This Is Fascism.. And It’s Nothing New

Yesterday Chelsea Manning was jailed for refusing to cooperate with a grand jury investigation into Wikileaks. Some people are cheering for this. They think, once again, that this has something to do with Trump and Russia. They are badly misinformed and voluntarily delusional.

This case has nothing to do with Trump and Russia. For Manning, this is double jeopardy because she is being jailed again for her actions for which she already served prison time, was tortured and became suicidal on multiple occasions, then finally pardoned by Obama, the same president who imprisoned her.

Manning refused to answer questions for two reasons. 1- This was referring to her previous testimony from years ago. 2- She is objecting to the grand jury process.

The second one is something which affects all of us in the form of democracy and justice. The grand jury system is held in secret and does not include the defense of the accused. Any person can be indicted without knowing the evidence being presented against them and held without charge. In this case, they are holding Manning in contempt of court.

The other thing that you should be concerned about is that this is a case of an attempt to prosecute a journalist and his source. Manning testified extensively about how she obtained and submitted her information regarding treatment of inmates at Guantanamo and the outright murder of journalists in Iraq by the US military. That is, she testified at her original hearing. There is no reason to repeat all of it, it is on record. There is no reason for her to testify at all. Except-

If anyone recalls, Assange at one point agreed to surrender to US authorities on condition of Manning being released and his hearing being public. There is no intention of making anything he has to say public and now they are threatening Manning again.

By involving Manning, the attempt here is to gain support for the persecution of Assange by the right wing, who has opposed his indictment. They oppose his indictment based on what he revealed about the DNC. Now they are bringing up ancient history to manipulate the masses.

Of course, the zombies who currently support the indictment of Assange do so based on his release of information regarding the DNC.

Keep in mind the DNC is a private organization, not a government agency. They used that fact as a defense in court to say they had no obligation to provide a fair primary. Those primaries are paid for by all taxpayers of all parties, including Independents who are frequently not represented in primaries and never represented in debates.

It really does not matter which side of the aisle you are on. Censorship and indictment of journalists is fascism. No, you cannot defend Trump blocking one CNN hack from the White House while condemning a true journalist who reveals the truth just because you don’t like that truth. Some people claim Assange is biased in what he released. They have no evidence he had anything to release about Trump or the GOP. Wikileaks releases what is provided to them. The exact same people have no problem with biased actors on MSNBC like Rachel Madcow, who gets paid $30,000 a day and has never risked anything in her career. They do not object to CNN, with their all-hate-Trump-all-the-time “reporting” (sic).

If you try and use Fox News as a defense, with their bias, I will compare you to a monkey throwing shit. You cannot complain about one monkey throwing shit and then throw your own and say it’s better.

Real journalists reveal the truth and defend it. Assange has spent years in isolation and risked his life for the truth. Manning spent years in prison for revealing the truth and nearly died.

Now what are YOU defending? Because it’s not the truth.

Being A Purist

Now that the battle has begun for supremacy in the Democratic race, the belittlement of the “purists” has begun. Again. Only this time, the ones doing most of the attacking are the alleged Party “Progressives”.

Funny thing. In 2016, the ones supporting Bernie were attacked as “purists” by the Establishment DNC cultists. Now it is largely Bernie followers attacking us. Though it can also be Tulsi followers. And they are attacking each other.

So what does it mean to be a Purist? It means we see certain issues as non-negotiable. It means we reject incremental change. It means we understand that without radical change now that we are doomed. As a nation, possibly as a species. Do we expect everything that we push for to come to pass? No, we’re not children and we know what world we are living in. However, we expect a candidate who claims to be Progressive to raise the issues that we endorse and stand by those issues, stand by us. Not turn their backs for political expediency. Not vowing fealty to a party that has shown consistently that they have no interest in what is best for the people.

Stand your ground. Being a purist means standing your ground. It means we, ourselves must be loyal to our values. If we are not loyal to our values, how do we expect elected officials to not discard what some among us are too willing to throw away? When we throw our values under the bus, we throw ourselves under the bus right along with those values. We cannot abandon ourselves and expect better.

If you are not with us.. We hate having to take this stance but we are left with no choice. If you are not with us, you are against us. This is what we are told every single day by the people who claim to be on our side. Thus, we are forced to adopt the same attitude. Look how many times our concerns are completely ignored by the media, by the people we have donated to, campaigned for, voted for. If we do not force issues to the foreground, those concerns are covered up, treated as though they and we are invisible.

We are problem solvers. Too many times, we have been called trouble makers. The opposite is true. We see problems and troubles which we cannot ignore. It is we who seek solutions. Solutions that help the greatest number of people possible, rather than only a select privileged few.

We are the most informed voters. Of all voters in the spectrum, we tend to be the most informed, the most aware. That is why so many attempts are made to silence us. Given the slightest chance, we educate other voters. We do not rely on insults and profanity to make our points. We come armed with facts, logic, reason, questions which we will not allow to be ignored.

We are growing in number. As much as even other self-proclaimed “activists” try to silence us and discourage us, we are growing in number. Our education has an insidious impact which recruits more to our side on a daily basis. So if it seems like you have reason to be discouraged, don’t give in. Just seek out the right associates and lean on each other.

We’re not going away. We are here to stay. We are a permanent fixture that will continue our efforts no matter what obstacles are throw in our path. Social media is the medium that brought us together and allowed us to share information. Now we have many means of reaching across distances, joining forces and continue these efforts.

We will not be shamed. If you call us purists, we will thank you for it. Some try and use the term as an affront, an insult. You cannot claim we are selfish when we fight for many and often for things which offer us no direct benefit or profit. We are willing to pay more and work harder if it means it helps others attain equality, health and peace. We know that what is not pure is tainted, impure, corrupted, foul.

The choice is yours. Are you a purist? Will you stand or will you run and hide? Will you be loyal to your fellow human beings or sell out because you don’t have it in you? What future do you want for yourself, your children, your grandchildren? Because that is the future we are creating right this minute. If we lose, you lose and so do your descendants. Define what you call “winning”. Look around you now and see what is being called “winning”. If it does not include elevating everyone with no exceptions, you haven’t won anything but bragging rights and not much of that in the long term. Are you any different than the ones who dismissed you before? That’s a choice you make hour by hour.

I know where I stand and you will not move me. Try at your own risk.

Playing Both Sides Against The Middle

If a candidate (or anyone else in general) appears to be or claims they are being criticized or attacked by two or more sides of an issue, there is a good reason for that.

They have not actually chosen a side. Or they are being deceptive regarding the side they have chosen, considering their intended audience.

Not clear enough? If a candidate claims to be Progressive but adopts centrist or right wing opinions and policies, they will not just say so.

There are several things to note about a person being attacked from multiple sides. For one thing, it may be intentional to get attention. They make themselves the victim so followers defend them. Even when the followers originally disagree with the opinion. This is a form of manipulation and brainwashing. The followers have come to oppose their own opinions willinglyso much that they will go on the attack against people who voice the very opinion they once had. That is, before they signed on to defend a name.

A candidate who is always attacked from both sides consistently espouses opinions and plans which ride the middle lane, trying to dodge attacks from either side while being assailed, rightly, from all sides.

A candidate who rides the middle lane, straddling the center line is not a revolutionary leader. They may be able to enact some minuscule changes but not the radical change that is needed at this time. We have been dealing with incremental change for decades and the changes that have occurred have dragged us ever further to the right, to the edge of the abyss we now face. We are teetering and about to go over in the next errant breath.

Nobody can please all the people all of the time. Nobody can be loyal to the people and a corporate-friendly war machine party. It has to be one or the other. If they will not make a choice, it is up to use to make that choice for them and walk away. We can do better. Stop making excuses.

Nobody can be loyal to one country realistically while opposing the sovereignty of other nations. While propagating stories fabricated to divide, to cause tensions with dangerous opponents that could be powerful allies in the times ahead.

No leader should propose sanctions which injure our allies. Our allies have suffered enough damage from us and it is only a matter of time before they are no longer allies. Sanctions which innocent human beings. Stop calling sanctions peaceful.

Our country comprises 5% of the earth’s population. We neglect and bully our friends while we antagonize our opponents. What happens when the other 95% just get sick of our shit?

Our country is dominated by 0.1% of the population. So we have 0.1% of 5% of the world population attempting to dictate rules to the entire planet. And people are terrified puppets, fawning slaves and slobbering, mouth breathing, knuckle dragging sycophants to these less than 200 people on a planet of 7.7 BILLION.

If you’re not standing up, you’re useless at this point. Stop standing in the middle of the road before the rest of us run you down. Pick a side and stop blocking traffic.

17 Investigations

Now that Mueller is winding down and it’s certain his report will not result in what they want, they have announced 17 more investigations regarding the information in the Mueller probe.

So this is literally 17 investigations into the Mueller investigation which looked into the FBI investigation. As a result, Mueller fired a top FBI official from his probe. The FBI official was subsequently fired from the FBI.

The FBI official then gave a speech which was widely defended in which he literally said the FBI could act with impunity in any way they choose, including to fabricate evidence. That’s really what he said, literally interpreted.

However, 17 is just the beginning. The day after midterms, the DNC said they have planned over 80 investigations on Trump.

Now the big question is, how many investigations will result from investigating the 17 investigations which are investigating the investigation that investigated an investigation.

Trump Didn’t Lose in North Korea, The World Did

A few days ago in North Korea, talks between Trump and Kim Jong Un ended abruptly with no peace agreement reached.

None of this really comes as a surprise. The NK government has stated that they consider Trump and his crew to be nothing more than gangsters. If Trump really wanted a peace agreement, the very last person that should have been present is Bolton. Instead, rumors are Bolton made demands that went beyond what even Trump demanded. Demands that NK was not going to accede to.

Nobody can question that Trump was not trying to reach a peace agreement. He was seeking domination and subjugation. Yet the biggest mistake anyone can make is believing, apart from his brutish and uncouth behavior, that this is any form of change in US foreign policy. It’s no change at all. US foreign policy for many decades, basically the entirety of our history, has entailed the economic, political and military isolation and oppression of any country that does not submit to our imperial aspirations.

Honestly, that’s not much better than we treat our alleged allies. I’ve said before and will say again that the US government does not seek allies, they seek accomplices to our crimes against humanity. Our government seeks alliances to attack countries that have never posed a threat to us, enact sanctions that starve, deny medical treatment to civilians and cripple economies. The costs imposed on our “allies” can destroy entire industries in those countries and cause expenses they are not equipped for, causing decreased social support services for their citizens. We cause refugee crises which other nations suffer the effects from while refusing to accept refugees from the countries we have destroyed.

In the specific case of North Korea, they have not threatened any country with anything more than self defense for more than 50 years. Yet there has not been a time since 1953 that they were not portrayed as a global threat. Never mind the fact that it was basically the US that forced the country to split in two and installed a puppet government in the south after WWII. Never mind that some scholars believe the first shots of the Korean War came from the south and southern troops had been run out of the north on multiple occasions. Never mind that right now both North and South Korea want peace and denuclearization of the entire peninsula, not just the north. Never mind that it is the US impeding the peace process.

The truth is, if the Koreas find a path to peace and disarmament, then US forces will no longer have a right or justification to be there. More so when China has been far more instrumental in facilitating the peace process than the US has been.

It’s not a surprise that corporate media has been largely joyful over the fact that a 65 year ceasefire will not yet transition into a full peace process. Corporate media never supports a peace process because they are fully in bed with military contractors who make massive profits from continued international tensions. Some or all of them host advertising by military contractors. Are you going to buy something from military contractors? Your taxes do but are you going to buy a fighter jet, missile or tank in the near future for personal use?

However, with all of this the real tragedy is the fact that so many civilians are cheering for the failure of a peaceful resolution to a situation where the two parties most immediately involved want peace. A situation where we spend tens of billions every single year maintaining a military force in South Korea and conducting war games along the North Korea border to keep tensions elevated. Why? Because Trump’s name is involved.

We should not be opposed to a peace process because one name is attached to it. If anything, CONgress should be sending a delegation to assist in the process, spending time and money on that, rather than on over 80 “investigations” on Trump. If they did that, the effects of Trump and Bolton could be negated while the peace process could be smoothed and streamlined.

Not that we should in any way expect that from a CONgress who has opposed removing military forces from Syria while rages for “humanitarian intervention” (kill lots of people) in Venezuela to seize their oil. You know, the same idea Trump has but somehow they claim to be “resisting” him.

With the people we have in office on both sides of the aisle, our country will never be one step closer to peace. The wars will continue and expand endlessly. That is, until our economy implodes and we can no longer afford to wage more wars.

At which point the rest of the world will rejoice.

I’m Still Focusing On Issues.. Are You? Really?

I know I have been writing about certain names a lot recently. Some people have taken offense to it. I offer no apologies.

Here’s what anyone reading what I have written should notice. I am still discussing issues. Some try and claim because I refuse to join their cult that I am not a true Progressive. In defense I offer the entire list of my articles, which is somewhere around 400. I stand by every single one of them with the thoughts, ethics, values and concern for fellow human beings across the globe represented with each line inscribed.

Can my accusers do the same? Can they honestly state they have not turned their backs on their concern for others, surrendered to a name, to a party, to a cult, to.. pragmatism? Where have we heard that word before?

I have no shame in standing for what I believe in. I will never look back later and realize I gave up part of myself. I refuse. You cannot shame me into it. You cannot threaten me into it. You cannot scream any name loud enough in support or opposition to change my mind.

Call me a dreamer. I’ll call you correct. But I’m not the only one.

Call me idealistic. I will thank you and ask what your ideals are.

Call me naive. I will prove that you are the one naive and apathetic to the suffering of others for your own profit, no better than the Establishment you claim to oppose yet wield against me to defend.

Who have you become? Can you answer yourself with that question?

Like I said, I am still talking about issues. The same issues I have been talking about. A few of which are-

Peace. Not negotiable. How do we not promote peace? Threats do not promote peace. Sanctions do not promote peace. Invasions do not promote peace. Unilateral imperatives do not promote peace. Refusing to discuss differences with other world leaders does not promote peace. False accusations with no evidence do not promote peace. Ignoring people who promote these ideas does not promote peace. Donating to people and cheering for them does not promote peace. You send the message that you are completely in favor of the actions and rhetoric they represent. Don’t tell yourself otherwise. You cannot blame someone else for this, it’s on you. You are not innocent and I will not let you claim innocence in my presence.

Universal healthcare. Not negotiable. It should be obvious that I promote universal healthcare. I simply will not promote that above the massacre of children in other countries.

Eliminating corporate money in politics. Not negotiable. This is not going to happen without supporting policies which work toward that goal. Not incrementally but completely. The one and only path toward this is all elections funded through taxes. Make all the excuses you like but you know this is true.

Election reform. Not negotiable. Election reform has been a topic for decades. Addressing gerrymandering, election funding, paper trails, open debates, corporate party control of our elections including the Council on Presidential Debates and their rules which favor the duopoly. Millions of us agree that we need ranked choice voting and paper trails. Those will happen only with policies that we demand. Not vague platitudes. These things have to be part of a candidate or party platform with full commitment to them, fully defined. Then they must be held accountable.

Police reform. We all know police reform needs to be a national issue. Standards must be established but without establishing a national police force. Body cameras that cannot be turned off by officers, video that cannot be erased, civilian oversight committees with the power to indict with no refusal to charge by DA’s. Investigations of police must be handled by outside objective entities. Equal sentencing for abusive, corrupt and murderous police officers, same as any civilian offender.

Income inequality. Not negotiable. This is an issues that has to be addressed in real terms that benefit the people of this country, not the rich and corporations. That means increasing wages to a living wage standard, serious movement toward Universal Basic Income, before automation eliminates so many jobs that barely any jobs exist any more. The gradual move toward that needs to happen now, not later. The rich and corporations must be taxed to pay their fair share to maintain the welfare of the citizens of this country, not just themselves.

If you want to claim the title of Progressive, it is not disposable. It is a definition of self. It is part of you which cannot be denied. If you can deny it, then you need to redefine yourself because you’re not Progressive. Look in the mirror and be honest.

Independent Versus Corporate Media

If you’re reading this article, you’re reading it on what is effectively considered independent media. Some try to claim that if the site is owned by a corporation, that it is corporate media. That would also mean that content producers on YouTube are corporate.

Nearly all content hosts are corporate. Basically any site that hosts media, such as blogs, is owned by a corporation. That makes sense for legal and financial purposes. Medium is a corporation, YouTube is a corporation, Patreon is a corporation, etc.

Independent creator definition. What defines independent media are the content producers. Most content producers who are considered independent are exactly that. Myself, Jimmy Dore, Caitlin Johnstone. In each case, we depend on the income achieved by either payments from the corporations like Medium or YouTube, if our content is not demonetized by the corporate entity. (Most likely on YouTube.)

Funding models. Each content producer makes far more money through direct subscriptions through Patreon, which is why you hear that name so often. Each has a different funding model as well. With Medium, one subscription pays for access to all content providers. With Patreon, you subscribe to each content provider individually. That is why payments from Medium will tend to be smaller than those from Patreon.

No advertising. One of the obvious benefits to the subscription model is that there is no advertising, unlike the corporate structure, where you pay a corporation to see ads from other corporations. Obviously, some content providers may produce paid advertising made to appear as something it is not. I’ll let them deal with the legal ramifications of that. Also corporations can directly publish their content on independent media in an attempt to expand their control even further. No surprise there. I rather hope most of the audience ignores that because it completely defeats the purpose of subscribing to independent media.

Different voices. However, the major difference is that you get to hear voices you would not hear from otherwise. Voices critical of the corporate power structure over our daily lives. Artists who have not been bought by corporations. Independent content producers have no editor assigning our projects, we produce what we want to produce. No editor is telling us we cannot cover a particular subject or candidate. We cannot get fired, so our voices may be censored on one platform but we will not disappear from one day to the next. We’re here to stay as long as we have internet connections.

Who benefits most? It’s obvious that the consumer benefits from independent media. Hearing different opinions other than ones which have been “authorized” by corporate boards and agendas. The opinions and thoughts expressed tend to be more likely to be genuine and likely to be verifiable or at the very least rational. There have been uncounted instances where someone presented me with articles from corporate media and it took less than 30 seconds for me to begin quoting, “unnamed sources”, “authorities say” and point out there was no verifiable information included, only opinions stated as fact. No reasonable questions, no critical thought, all propaganda. Most independent producers are more likely to respond to comments or questions, where corporate media will ignore such things. You gain more of a personal connection with independent producers.

Parental figures. Here is a personal opinion from a nurse who has worked in the psychiatric field. I tend to believe the people who rely on corporate media and consider elected officials to be their “leaders” are those who have never fully matured. They live their entire lives having a deep seated need of parental figures to tell them what to think, what to believe, what to do, when to do it, how to do it yet never why. Basically, “Do it because I said so!” In other words, not only parental figures but abusive parental figures who issue threats and punishment for noncompliance. Figures that not only remain apathetic to suffering but are prone to causing that suffering.

Your choice. You have choices. More choices than ever before. You have the option to be informed while turning off corporate media. Elected officials are not our “leaders”, they are our employees. We hired them. We pay their salaries. We can collectively fire them. We can question them. We can hold them accountable.

Keep the best voices going. How do you keep the best voices going on independent media? Of course, support those voices. Share their content widely. Independent producers don’t have much money for advertising and not that many places where we can advertise without being called “spam” or “Russian propaganda”.

Financial support. Of course, if you can afford to, support them financially. That support can be $1 a month. The same or less than a soda from McDonald’s after tax. I try to produce at least 5 articles a week, which is 20 per month. So if a person donated $1 a month, that would come to $0.05 per article. Caitlin Johnstone is similar in her efforts, at 4–5 srticles per week average. Most independents are reliant on having additional income streams. Jimmy Dore and Ron Placone have their comedy shows, I am a nurse as my primary income. Some like myself would prefer dedicating far more time and effort to expanding our efforts but cannot afford to do so.

Value for cost. Of course, a model such as Medium offers the best consumer value, giving access to more sources for one price, though costs more as a total for a subscription. In that case, a producer is reliant on absolute exposure. A model like Patreon can cost less but gives access to limited specific voices. It does pay the individual producer more of the subscription, though.

Support how you can. Whoever your preferred independent content producer is, offer support by any means possible. Promote them, endorse them, etc. Give likes, claps, thumbs ups, whatever the individual site has in place. Some may allow multiple likes, claps, etc. Sometimes it increases article or creator placement or standing, sometimes not. Without support, it tends to be more likely their content will be lost or suppressed eventually. For myself, I have no subscribers on Patreon and I maintain a website free to access, so I break even or lose money for my efforts. No account required for my website. I don’t spam anyone. So I’m not going away any time soon, donations or no donations. This article is meant as a general statement to support independent media as a whole.

Human Rights Records Do Not Stop At The Border

Lots of people try and claim moral superiority for the US in relation to Russia and China regarding human rights records. In each case, they attempt to use histories dating back at least 27 years, typically far more.

Do these countries have distant histories of human rights abuses? Yes, they do. However, they fail to look at the human rights records of the US even from that time frame. If one wants to look at old human rights records, then we have to look at the US history of genocide of Native Americans, slavery, Jim Crow laws, segregation, Japanese internment camps, women’s rights and the abuses they suffered, forced sterilization, frontal lobotomies, electroshock therapy, involuntary imprisonment of women in asylums based on their husband’s word, seizure of private property for corporate interests (DAPL), the civil rights movement…

Getting the point here?

Yet ancient history is not the point of this article. The point of this article is the apparent belief by many people that when you discuss the human rights records of a country, that such record should be limited to inside a country’s borders. Nothing could be further from the truth. Human rights are humanrights.The term has no geographical boundaries attached to the meaning.

Nor are human rights records limited to governmental actions. That record can be even more related to government inaction in the face of known abuse or suffering at the hands of non-government entities. From the Pinkerton massacre at Homestead to Dow Chemical poisoning the Ohio River and thousands of abuses in between and happening now.

The US government has a long, storied history and present of direct and indirect involvement in the abuse and outright murder of millions of people around the globe. From our entry into WWI under false pretenses to the decimation of North Korea to the blatantly false circumstances that took us into Vietnam and Iraq, regime change operations by our military and CIA in dozens of countries dating back at least as far as the early 50’s. Even earlier when we look at the Panama Canal and invasion of Hawaii, the Hidalgo Treaty and who knows what else? Talk to a real historian who is not a propagandist.

Right now we are actively bombing 8 countries and selling weapons to Saudi Arabia who is conducting outright genocide in Yemen in the worst human rights situation globally since Cambodia. We have actively supported the Saudi regime for decades while in full knowledge of their abuse of human rights, with imprisonment and mass public decapitations of dissident journalists, oppression of women’s rights which continues with US corporate created cell phone apps which track women’s movements so they can be reported to authorities if they attempt to escape abuse with a single button. Do our politicians and corporate media scream to the heads of the Saudi royals? Or make weak, failed attempts at ineffective sanctions? Is anyone (and I mean anyone) calling for an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia?

Those claiming American moral superiority over other countries fail to consider any of this or the fact that most of this history has been for the sake of capitalist interests. They will point to Stalin or Mao but never remotely realize that the US has killed multiple times more people than Stalin and Mao combined. There is no way to accurately count the death toll of the United States because the numbers will always be hidden, distorted, diverted, blamed elsewhere and that moral imperative always claimed.

It is always telling that our corporate media never opposes any military action. They attempt to whip up support for the next war and the next and the next. They don’t bother mentioning our current military actions as a comprehensive statement. The bombing of 8 countries mentioned above, the military forces in 50 African nations, the millions starved by our typically sanctions. Yet we hear endlessly how we need to intervene in Venezuela because Maduro is a tyrant.

Corporate media does not broadcast the reports coming back with video from Progressive journalists on the ground in Venezuela at this moment. Aaron Mate, Max Blumenthal, Abby Martin. Their video evidence shows the lack of violence, the store shelves full of items corporate media claims do not exist in the country, the rallies in protest against US intervention. They don’t mention the humanitarian support being provided by less affluent countries who are not trying to seize rights to Venezuelan oil. European countries, Mexico, Russia, China are all providing support without any suspicion of them attempting to sneak in weapons for the opposition to enact a coup. An opposition which is known to have used violence against civilians, including burning people alive. Corporate media does not mention that Venezuela has the lowest rate of homelessness in the western hemisphere. Can’t talk about that, can we?

The US truly has no right at all to dictate ethics or morality to other countries. Americans have no right to believe we are the “good guys” or that the governments that oppose us are worse than our own. Especially when many of those countries have universal healthcare and adult education while we do not. To include Russia and China. Countries that spend more money on their own citizens than on warfare by magnitudes of ten. Countries that have lower rates of homelessness and lower prison populations than ourselves. Countries that often have US sanctions limiting the options available to them to provide for their citizens.

It’s time to define the human rights records of all countries by how they treat not only their citizens but how they treat human beings in general. Define human rights by each country’s actions as a whole. Define human rights by the divide between rich and poor, free and incarcerated, treatment of the ill, housed and homeless, diplomacy versus war, free versus oppressed, freedom of speech and press to include corporate censorship. Because human rights should include life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, medical care, shelter, security, freedom of dissension, food security, political freedom of affiliation even if that includes Conservatism or Communism. Human rights records do not stop counting at your border and you cannot treat citizens of other countries as you see fit for your own greed.