Don’t Silence New Voices

I had someone try to criticize my work a few days ago. Their criticism was something along the lines of, “We have other people already saying this! What is this, some kind of self promotion?”

Yes. As a matter of fact it is.

Here is my problem with that criticism. He is attempting to silence new voices on the Progressive Left. It is most likely that he never actually read the article he was commenting on, so he was intellectually lazy.

Each new voice makes us stronger. Each new voice adds new dimensions, new perspectives, new colors. It takes many voices to comprise a chorus. Each voice is not the same, yet ideally they are singing the same song.

Many of the voices on the Progressive Left are new voices. How long ago was it that you first heard of Jimmy Dore? Aaron Mate? Caitlyn Johnstone?

One problem with the Progressive Left is that often, the material can be based on the same source material. It becomes a matter of one original piece of material with each layer adding commentary. Sometimes it literally becomes a commentary on a commentary on an original piece.

Am I criticizing anyone? No, these are some of my favorite sources. Like I stated above, each voice adds to the chorus, lending depth, strength, volume, new notes. Each is valuable, each is beautiful. Is each voice perfect? Not always but they create beauty in their harmony. Listening and joining in is what strengthens us.

There is a difference in my own material, whether written or video. Most of my material is completely original. When I wrote a 4 part series explaining why and how universal healthcare is best, that was original. Nobody else had or has done that in such detail that I have seen. When I went through the Mueller Report line by line, all 448 pages and dismantled it, revealing flaw after flaw, deception after deception, the entire series was original. When I went through the Trump-Ukraine transcript with the actual transcript in the video, that was original. I may occasionally mention materials by other content producers but it tends to be a short mention with accreditation, not a commentary on that single piece.

Some things that I feel make my content valuable is my own knowledge. Beginning over 30 years ago, I have formally and informally studied economics, management, marketing, psychology, sociology and medicine. I have never really stopped studying any of them in some way. I am continuously trying to learn more on one subject or another. If any content producer claims to know everything (to a degree they no longer have to keep learning) on such complex and interconnected subjects, they are absolutely delusional and should not be trusted. Information and practices change over time. Economies, societies and cultures are evolving directly in front of and all around us on a daily basis as we adapt to a changing ecological environment and technological advances. Medical criteria changes over time while medical technology advances so quickly that medical professionals are mandated to continually take continuing education classes for license renewal. Oh, shit. That’s something I need to do.

One big thing about new voices is that new independent voices rarely have a budget for advertising. If they have financial backers before they gain any popularity, you cannot consider them independent, can you? So we are forced to promote ourselves. For some of us, that’s not how we want to spend our time and effort. It takes away from time for research and writing. Often while we have our own lives to attend to.

Independent content producers don’t mind and often enjoy interacting with our (polite) audience members. If you ask independent producers a question, you typically get a personal response in a short time frame. We recognize ourselves as part of a global community where thoughts, words and actions matter and can have drastic, life saving or life destroying consequences. It is not a matter of ego. We do what we do not for money but because we genuinely care and are committed to our causes.

Try that with corporate media. The most you will get will be a form response by a low level staffer. If you are not ignored completely and after you are attacked by the cultist hordes for questioning the absolute perfection and omniscience of the corporate propagandist who deigns to lower their spiritual standing enough to impart their wisdom through their benevolence to the soiled masses. How dare you imply that their wisdom is not complete and flawless? Be thankful for the improvement in your miserable existence which they bestow upon you from their corporate heavenly throne!

I and other independent content producers truly appreciate the quotes, shares and every single penny of donations which are afforded to us by our audience. We do not feel it is “owed” to us, as our corporate counterparts openly state. We do not feel we are above questioning, we simply insist on valid points being made when we are questioned. If you want to spew hate speech, take it to the corporate staffers. We independents have better things to do with our time and higher goals to reach for.

Seriously, if you don’t have a taste for my content, scroll past it. If you have valid and rational critiques to offer, I am all ears. If your complaint has it that I am exactly like other content producers, you have not read my content, this I absolutely know. If your complaint is that I am too different or not bowing down to the status quo, you are missing the entire point. If you complain that I am not predictable enough, that does not mean I am not consistent. If you wish to attempt to validate your existence through hate speech, I will definitely invalidate your existence when I block you. That’s one of my consistencies. I refuse to argue for the sake of argument.

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.

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.