Sunday, January 6, 2019

I Am Blessed

A nun once paid a visit to my elderly mother and my mother told the sister how lucky she felt. The sister corrected her and said, “You aren't lucky, you’re blessed.” Afterwards, my mother would always correct others who would say they were lucky. Often it would be herself she would correct, as the habit of saying how lucky she was wasn’t easy to break.

I am reminded of that when I look back at memories of my mother, when I look for ways to embrace the past and keep in contact with those I loved who are no longer with me. I look back at the many lessons I learned from my mom and consider myself blessed for them.

I know there is a tendency of some to point out the misuse of such a phrase “I’m blessed.” I’ve heard people compare it to considering yourself more loved by God or so deluded in your religious beliefs that you justify your own wealth while others are permitted to suffer and die. I recognize the potential for misuse of the concept of being blessed, but I am not talking about that. Allow me to explain.

At the time my mother first came to use the phrase “I’m blessed”, she was already quite elderly. She was a widow who did not drive a car and was at the mercy of others to get groceries, get to doctor’s appointments, or get a haircut. For the most part, she was at the mercy of others as to whether she had any company at all or whether she would be home all by herself all day. When she spoke of being blessed, she was saying that her needs were being provided for. Her catchphrase would be triggered by the smallest of kindnesses or the most commonplace gifts from nature: a call from a child to see if she needed anything or a neighbor stopping by with a fresh tomato from her garden. I can’t imagine the term blessing used for anything more ostentatious.

The realization of the joy my mother felt in the phrase “I’m blessed” struck home last summer when, while walking my dog, I came across a little outdoor workout area near my house. Along the lakeshore, free for anyone to use, were six exercise machines. It became my practice over the summer to visit it several times a week. Riding a bicycle given to me by my brother, I would pedal my way through glorious sunlight and summer weather to my little spot on the lake, one which I almost always had to myself.

It was while sitting at one of the machines, taking a breather, that the memory of my mom came to me. Across the street from the little workout area was Lake Michigan, glistening in the sun. Even on the hottest of days, the cold it retained kept me from ever getting too hot. And on the other side of me was an offshoot of the Manitowoc River. On any given day I would see a variety of bird species there, most notably redwing blackbirds and ducks. From time to I would see a heron or egret. Sitting here amongst the beauty of nature I could not help appreciating the feeling of being blessed. The bike I rode was gifted to me, the place I sat at was open to all, and the beauty nature provides is a right gifted to every living being.

At such moments—and there were many throughout the summer—the awareness of being blessed would overcome me and I was not concerned with other matters. I was not thinking about having to go to work in a few hours nor any other responsibilities I might have. I was not worried about what I was lacking because I was intensely aware that the most important and most rewarding things were also the simplest and those things we all share in common.

This is the meaning of being blessed to me and the one which I would like everyone else to experience. I understand those who hate the term because of those who use it to justify having great wealth while others are lacking the basic necessities. But I would like to point out to those who are justly turned off by such an attitude that they are losing out by not realizing the true beauty to be found in the feeling of being blessed. Between the misuse and dislike of the word is a wonderful and profound experience to be had, one that will stay with you and guide you into a way of life that will provide lifelong contentment and a sustainable future for all. 

May you live a blessed life.

Monday, December 31, 2018

My New Year's Revolution

Changes need to be made, and I have come to the conclusion I can no longer wait for others to make those changes happen. While I have long held to the idea that the changes required were too big to be handled by individuals acting on their own, I now realize they are too urgent to not be confronted in every way possible. And thus I, one has always avoiding being a role model or placing attention upon myself, seek through my actions to be an example of how we must live in the next year. Please don’t think it is because I consider myself special that I do so. It is only because I am no different than anyone else that I think my actions can inspire others. If this porkchop-eating, shopping-as-entertainment human being can commit to building a better world, then heck, anyone can. 

Once I believed our government should lead us in change, but now I see it is hopelessly corrupted and will never change until confronted with an undeniable commitment by the populace. Once I was lulled into silence by those who spoke so certainly that the free market would make all good things come to pass, now I realize it is only an engine driven by our collective greed, fear, and insecurities. No, our institutions will not save us, they will eventually lead us to our deaths. Only us, acting out our humanity, can make the world what it needs to be. If we allow our institutions to stamp out the best and most human in us, there is no hope for our species, at least none that I care to speculate.

Here then are my resolutions in support of revolution:

-I resolve to abstain from animal products to the best of my ability. I am not saying I will be perfect but year by year I have gotten less dependent on them and this year I will push myself away from the unnecessary inclusion of meat, dairy, and eggs in my diet. This is important to me both from an environmental aspect and because it expresses my commitment to non-violence. I don’t have to kill animals to sustain myself, and I sure don’t want them living their entire lives in the most deplorable of circumstances. My abstaining from animal products will reduce the amount of land required for agriculture, which can then be given back to nature to do with as she pleases.

-I resolve to eliminate plastic from my life as much as possible. There is no need for me to ever use a disposable plastic bag. None. Furthermore, there is no need for me to drink water from a disposable plastic bottle. If I am too lazy or forgetful to bring my own cup or bottle to work, I can drink from the water fountain or cup my hands beneath the faucet. When I go to the grocery store, I will not put my fresh vegetables and fruit in the plastic bags provided if I can help it. Why waste a bag for one pepper or onion? I will not use straws. I will in every instance, think long and hard about how I can avoid plastic when making a purchase. If I am at an ice cream shop, I will choose to eat it out of a cone if the alternative is to use a plastic spoon. Simple choices that at the worst will do little for the planet, but will cost me nothing.

-As much as possible, I will try to eliminate doing business with corporations. I have had my prescriptions changed from Walmart to a locally-owned pharmacy. I will buy what I can from local shops and restaurants, will buy my food from local farmers. And if I feel the urge to buy something and it is only available through Amazon or some other huge corporation, I will ask myself if I really need it that much. I have found that most of the time the answer is no.

-I will, as much as possible without making an annoyance of myself, alert people to the reasons I am making these decisions. Not in a judgmental but in an inspirational way. Everybody loves nature, everybody love turtles and clean water and bumble bees. I want to remind people that they have the power to protect nature and make the world a better place.

So how about you, what are your New Year’s Revolutions? I know it’s kind of late to bring it up but if you have any, please share. Otherwise, let the idea sit in you mind for a while and see what you start practicing in the lead up to 2020. They need not be the same as I have shared, in fact I am confident many of them will be more creative and ambitious than my own. I just felt the need to get the ball started, or at least add my name and commitment to a movement that will never start with our institutions and must begin with us average human beings. Here’s to a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Laughter Is A Revolutionary Act

 "Nothing can my peace destroy as long as none smile"
More opened ears and opened eyes
And soon they dared to laugh

The lyrics above are from a song by Genesis, a retelling of the story of King Canute. In this variation, the king is vain enough to believe that by the strength of his decree he can stop the tide itself. His vanity is finally exposed to his people, who are at length willing to show their disdain for their leader through laughter. This version of the story has more in common with the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes, since it is the telling of a leader deluded by power into a sort of madness that is eventually exposed, even though it is the tendency of those who are led to accept the story told by those in power.

Power has a certain ability to shape reality around itself. It is an illusory power, a temporary power, but its ability to shape the narrative for a time is undeniable. Thus, a story about an emperor without clothes, and the need for a child to point that fact out, stays relevant to us for nearly two centuries. And the more power that is concentrated in fewer hands, the stronger that narrative will be, the more absurd it will become, and the harder it will be on those who wish to point out the falseness of it.

First to fall to the narrative of the powerful are the powerless, whose cries of injustice will be drowned out by the sycophants that gather round the mighty, telling them how great they are and how noble their reign. Second to fall are the intellectuals, whose rigorous application of logic and grasp of facts are at odds with the magical thinking and simplistic narrative weaved by the king and those who grow rich by heaping praise upon him. Then will fall the average citizens, who are humble and believe that such nobility as portrayed by the king’s sycophants must be respected.

The last to have a voice against the narrative of the powerful as they silence all dissent are those who couch their truth-telling in humor. The court jester can often get away with saying those truths others cannot, both because humor dulls the sharpness of truth and because the jester does not pose any real threat to the king’s power. It is a sign that power has reached the end of its limits of tolerance for truth when it feels it necessary to silence those who wish to make us laugh by pointing out the obvious delusions embraced by society at large and the powerful in particular. 

We are at that point now where the final barrier is under assault. The moat of the media has been forded, and is now a conduit for lies rather than a protector of truths. The walls of legitimate political debate have been razed. The king (which, if you haven’t realized yet, is the power elite in this metaphor) is assaulting the keep, where those who still have the ability to laugh and the daring to mock the ridiculous now gather. They are armed with nothing but sharpened wit and pea shooters, but such weapons can be effective against overly extended narratives.

It is sad to see a ruling class so intolerant of the truth that they can no longer laugh at themselves. Michelle Wolf’s performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner burned their delicate sensibilities like acid, so much so that they will not even have a comedian at their next meeting. Comedian Randy Credico was roughly thrown out of the gathering.

It is tempting to say there is no one comparable to George Carlin anymore, but that is only because those doing the brave work of speaking truth to power are not covered by the mainstream media any longer. Despite the explosion of available television channels, media has been constricted by the ownership of it being in the hands of fewer—and much larger—moneyed interests. More than ever before, the powerful few dictate the narrative. Thus, those who are given a stage and rewarded for their work are not really very funny. Think about it, what’s the last really funny movie you’ve seen? Who are the most notable stand-up comedians of our era? Since John Stewart retired from The Daily Show, there has been no one willing to confront the true power structure. In the place of truth-tellers are partisan hacks, those willing to attack one aspect of the society while viewing others as sacrosanct.

But there exists yet venues for using comedy to point out the truths that no one else dare touch. Humor, enlightening and brave, still thrives. Jimmy Dore, doing a show out of his garage, is able not only to attract a sizable following but incredible guests like Chris Hedges, Tulsi Gabbard, and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, among others. And from such a humble studio, he makes short shrift of those from corporate media willing to describe in detail the finery worn by their emperor.

Lee Camp and Russell Brand are two others willing to speak profoundly and with humor on the issues the sycophants will not touch and their leaders will not allow. The story, the unquestionable and sacred story that is spread by the mighty machinery of the powerful, is given the death-by-a-thousand-cuts treatment it deserves. You will never be able to un-see the emperor’s nakedness.

Lastly, Caitlin Johnstone is doing especially great work. As one who grew to adulthood on the works of Mike Royko, I can honestly say she is comparable to Mark Twain as a humorist, though her articles often go deeper than anything even Royko or Twain wrote.

Laughter is not only important now, it is absolutely vital. Laughter is not merely our last line of defense against a narrative that grows more absurd as it grows more powerful. It is perhaps the only weapon capable of slicing through a narrative that perpetuates fear and helplessness, which tells us that every other country is an enemy and every one of our fellow humans is a competitor that we must either defeat or be defeated by. It is a joyless, loveless narrative reinforcing the joyless loveless elite who have convinced us that their story is the only one.

The more official story of King Canute (still just a story, not history) is that he stood in front of the tide in order to teach his sycophantic followers that he was merely a man, helpless against the greater powers that operate the universe. This is a lesson that needs to be taught to our modern-day rulers, that they are not truly in control of events. The tide has been out so that for a time their commands seem to be obeyed. But the tide is turning and we must all appreciate the force that pulls us forward, though the decrees of the naked emperor would speak otherwise.

We must laugh at the nonsense that is being told us through every artery of an immense propaganda machine. We must shower them with the kind of laughter that brings down the curtains on a really bad play. We must laugh, and once enough of us laugh together, we will see that we are the tide, and they are a deluded king who seeks to rule what is beyond him. Each peal of laughter is a wave that works towards wiping away the delusional ambitions of kings.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Some Questions For Russiagate Conspiracy Theorists

I understand the appeal of the Russiagate conspiracy to those who were crushed by Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016. What I do not understand is the complete grasp it has had on their minds, so that they are no longer able or willing to question any of the ludicrous notions being fed to them by a complicit and compromised press. Oh, I know our intelligence agencies and think tanks are practiced in the art of propaganda, they’ve been doing it long enough. They were good enough to be able to get a skeptic like me to believe that Saddam Hussein had mobile chemical weapons labs that were moving about on trains. Seems so silly now, doesn’t it? But they were so certain! They told us there was no room to doubt. They were the authorities and we were just idiots. And we were idiots. For believing them. But I swore I’d never do it again.

Apparently you didn’t make the same oath I did. Or if you did, your desire to believe got the better of you. And they seem so damn certain! They know things and we don’t. We’re just idiots who are fortunate to have such selfless people looking out for our best interests. Why, you’d have to be a Putin puppet to doubt the official narrative.

But any healthy relationship requires a certain amount of open-mindedness. Anyone who insists you believe them and don’t ask questions is throwing up all kinds of warning signs. You would not want your daughter in that kind of relationship and I don’t want to see you in one either. So let me ask you a few questions. Remember, questions aren’t bad in an open, honest relationship. And if you are able to give answers beyond parroting what your abuser told you, I will be convinced he’s not such a bad guy after all.

1. What voice of authority would you respect more than Robert Mueller? Would you trust Ralph Nader more? Or perhaps Chris Hedges? Or Phil Donahue? Or Ron Paul? Would you be more inclined to trust someone who got the Iraq War narrative right rather than Mueller, who lied about the reasons for the Iraq War in front of congress (a crime he is currently prosecuting others for now)? Surely there must be someone you trust more than a man who lied us into a war that killed hundreds of thousands of people. If there is no one in the public eye you trust more than that, this must surely make you question the worth of our media and our political leaders, because that is a pretty low standard to meet.

2. How long are you willing to wait patiently and allow Mueller and others fight your fight while President Trump is left free to destroy everything you love about your country? Pretty long, apparently. Two years, apparently, and more yet to come. Is this the best means of opposing an alleged tyrant and traitor, a supposed fascist? I’m just going to throw out the suggestion that Adolph Hitler was never going to be deposed by the Gestapo. Intelligence agencies are not interested in saving democracy, they are interested in suppressing it.

3. How much more aggressive does the U.S. have to get towards Russia before you realize Trump is not doing Putin’s bidding? He’s thrown sanction after sanction at him, increased military spending, bombed Russia’s allies and killed Russians, armed fascists in Ukraine, withdrawn from missile treaties, and has assembled the creepiest group of war hawks ever assembled outside of a Stanley Kubrick film. What actual evidence supports the theory that Trump is working in Russia’s interests?

4. Will you ever stop putting your complete faith in the hands of anonymous sources from unaccountable intelligence agencies? Is this really all you require from a newspaper article, the words of unknown people with unknown agendas all the proof you need? Again, getting back to the healthy relationship comparison, you really should ask for a certain degree of respect in every relationship you are in and learn to spot the warning signs of an abuser.

5. Is there any evidence that will convince you that Russiagate is little more than a propaganda campaign meant to shift blame and force President Trump to conform to the pre-established agenda? What kind of proof would you need to be convinced? Thousands of poorly written articles whose mistakes slant a particular direction 100% of the time? Hundreds of stories that have had to been dialed back or else retracted altogether? Because mountains of clear evidence await your perusal. Perhaps you might believe me if I told you I have it on good authority from anonymous sources within intelligence agencies.

6. How much are you willing to risk on this narrative? You’ve already allowed horrible think tanks to decide who can and cannot have access to social media. You have allowed Google to manipulate algorithms in order to skew search results in order to favor establishment (read corporate) media. You have allowed the military industrial complex to run wild and call the shots, you have breathed new life into the spokespersons of the Iraq War. You have allowed the established practices of journalism to be trashed. You have sat on the sidelines for the last two years, putting all your faith in an untrustworthy individual with a track record of lying unforgivably on the matter of war. You have allowed Trump to have his way with your country and the world’s environment, and the most you could do was don a pink hat in protest. You are giving a green light to the most dangerous of sociopaths, people like John Bolton and Adam Schiff, people unafraid of driving our nation to the brink of nuclear war. Is your faith in Robert Mueller really so complete? Where does this faith come from?

7. Do you ever stop to think that blaming Russia is a convenient way of ignoring our own problems? It seems that every problem we face as a nation anymore is redirected at Russia. Trump had nothing to do with us and everything to do with them. Very useful. Very delusional.

8. Lastly, is there anything Russia gets blamed for that is so ridiculous you will achieve a moment of clarity? Perhaps the Pokemon Go story did not do the trick, but do you really think Russia is to blame for African-Americans protesting against police brutality? Do you really believe the British people were manipulated into Brexit by Vladimir Putin? Do you really believe the French would not protest their government unless instructed to by Russian oligarchs (why is the word oligarch only ever used to describe Russians, anyway)? In short, is there no point where you stop and realize that there is drool on your lips and madness in your eyes? Will you at any point realize you’re wearing a pink pussy hat and carrying a picture of Putin and Trump kissing and think, “My God, I must look really silly.”

I’m not joking, these questions are asked in all earnestness. There needs to be a limit you can point to for all the questions I have asked, some point where you say “too far”. If you cannot answer them in a way that comes close to satisfying both of us, that appears sane, I fear for our planet.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Thoughts On The Death Of George Bush

A member of the royal family has died, one who for a time sat upon the thrown as ruler of this nation. There is a case to be made that not only did he sit upon the throne for his allotted term but that he was for much of his life the power behind it. And like any good monarch, he bequeathed the throne to his eldest son when he had come to manhood. It was due to go to another of his heirs as well, but not everything goes to script. Fear not, for there are many left of his bloodline, many who feel entitled to rule by birth.
A king has died, and we are now expected to pay proper respect to one who has ruled over us. It matters not that we were mere pawns in the game, to be sacrificed when necessary in war, to always be the ones who trudge forward—only forward—at the bidding of those who thrust us into battles we have no interest in, shall never profit from. The king must be protected at all costs, hidden away in a castle while pawns perish for lack of health care. Kings are eulogized while the deaths of pawns go unheralded.
To you who find yourselves in the position of pawns, I say this: do not mourn the loss of your king, for there will always be another to replace him. Kings seem to be as replaceable as pawns. Let your attention be focused, rather, on your fellow pawns who suffer in the games kings play. Among your fellow pawns you will find true bravery. Among your fellow pawns you will find plenty to weep for: those who go hungry that the kings might feast, those who spend their youth in labor so that the princes might be groomed to power, those who go without so that those of royal blood might be dwell in luxury, those who toil in anonymity so that the anointed may reap the glory. The difference between pawns and kings is that pawns are willing to serve while kings demand service, and there is more nobility in serving others than there will ever be in those who are served.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Why I'm Still Talking About Russiagate

You may be wondering why in Heaven’s name I am dredging up Russiagate at this moment when it is not in the news cycle and it hardly seems relevant. To which I would reply that it never was relevant. But to be less smug about it, I am mentioning Russiagate now because to follow the news cycle is to always be one step behind the corporate-owned and intelligence-influenced media. I wish to remind people of a few things in a moment when their ability to reason is not hampered by their raw hatred of Donald Trump.

Russiagate is not in the news now because the media always buries its embarrassments. Nobody talks about the young lady who told us Iraqi soldiers were ripping babies from incubators and throwing them to the floor anymore, even though it should be brought up from time to time to remind us how easily we and our media are misled. Nobody mentions that Weapons of Mass Destruction were not found in Iraq and that the pretext for the war in Iraq was a lie. Even if they do mention it, they never mention the fact that nobody was held accountable and everyone who got it right thinks Russiagate is a joke and everybody who got it wrong still hold positions of influence.

The reason I am bringing Russiagate up at this point is because, though the media may bury their embarrassments, they resurrect them as undeniable truths whenever they feel the need. It’s astounding what a little time out of the spotlight will do to rehabilitate a lie or a liar. Just look at how liberals are now embracing George W. Bush.

I am most concerned that the whole Russian hacking, interference, meddling, mischief-making narrative is going to resurface with a vengeance, a full-throttled media push lacking both evidence and any tolerance for skepticism. When it does, it will spring from nowhere and everyone who’s bought into similar stories will gobble it up unquestioningly. And those who have seen such stories come and go a hundred—nay, a thousand—times without merit, will still have to spend days ferreting out the facts of the story in order to find the nothing-of-substance that will lie at its root. Therein lies the strength of this story; the ability of those who push it to dump a load and move on to the next pile before the facts can be sifted through.

Here, then is the most compelling reason why I call bullshit on the entire Russiagate narrative, as immense and seemingly beyond questioning as it is to those invested in it: the mountain of evidence of a massive propaganda campaign. I have never seen the likes of it in my entire life and I lived through a few. My eyes unblinded by an irrational hatred of Donald Trump, I was able to go to bed on the night of the election without worrying which of the two candidates would be president. When Trump won, I had no more of a feeling that my world had been torn apart than I did when I realized it was down to Trump/Clinton. Therefore, I had no vested interest in finding an explanation to the inexplicable. I did not need Russiagate.

So when the Russian interference narrative burst upon the scene without tangible evidence but with absolute certainty, I found it a little more than odd. And when I and others expressed our doubts about the story, those doubts were not responded to with evidence but with the kind of bullying tactics one would associate with Joe McCarthy. Story after story hit the airwaves and the internet, each of them exhibiting a nearly-identical pattern: screaming headlines, authoritative opening sentence, gradually falling into distraction, and at some point—a point beyond which 99% people read, apparently—an admission that there was no actual proof to the assertion.

The articles—too many to count—had the required links that are the hallmarks of serious online journalism, but almost without fail they could be traced back to the Washington Post citing anonymous individuals within intelligence agencies. I cannot tell you how often people I know and respect sent me such empty exercises in journalism as definitive proof of Russian interference. Their very consistency in structure led me to the inescapable conclusion that Russiagate was a massive propaganda campaign that was feeding on the zeitgeist of the moment. Anyone with any knowledge of U.S./Russia relations and pro-imperialist players could tell you who was behind it, but that goes beyond the scope of this article.

Russiagate, the absolute obsession of the liberal media for nearly two years, was nowhere to be found in the lead up to the 2018 elections. Perhaps it was because it had already served its purpose and pushed Trump into the arms of the military-industrial complex. Perhaps it was because the Democrats realized that nobody cared enough about it to make a decision on it come election day. Because, as demonstrated by a Gallop poll, less than 1% of Americans believe Russia is a problem.

Think about that: two years of the greatest propaganda blitz seen in our time, perhaps of all time, and less than 1% think it’s the biggest problem. It has been compared to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor, and yet it could not muster the number one spot. Rachel Maddow has spoken about it nearly exclusively for two years, and the only people she’s reaching are already in the choir. Maddow has been paid $7 million a year, backed by the media machine that is an army in lock-step with those who have been pushing this story, and they could not sell it. Worst return on investment ever!

Take a look at the Russians, on the other hand. They flipped an election with $100,000 worth of Facebook ads, over half of which ran AFTER the election. Now I’m not saying the ads run after the election did not influence the election, but let’s for the moment concentrate on those that ran before. The sum total amount of money spent on these ads is roughly the equivalent earned by Rachel Maddow for a day and a half of work. Best return on investment ever!

Keep in mind, now, that when Congress asked Mark Zuckerberg to report on any evidence of Russian interference in the U.S. elections, he initially came back and told them he found nothing. It was only when they insisted he try harder that he came back with the absurd bundle of spamming which the media seized upon like ravenous wolves.

So how is it possible that $45,000 of Facebook ads were capable of flipping an election when billions in propaganda could not flip the American public? Could it be that the Russians are so adroit at the art of propaganda that they can sell refrigerators to Eskimos? If that were the case, wouldn’t we all be drinking Russian vodka and swapping borscht recipes on Pinterest? Let me offer you an alternative viewpoint.

Perhaps you can only stray so far from the truth before the narrative stops working. If that is true—and I dearly hope it is—I believe we are about at that point now. Whatever else the media is telling us to believe, the principle story they want us to accept is that the corporate media is trustworthy, and that story has consistently been proven false. The story they push is that their primary concern is to give you the information you need to make informed decisions. This is demonstrably false, and sooner or later trust must evaporate. The Russiagate narrative may well be the deciding moment. To swallow it you must once again swallow the “trust us” story.

The truth is, and provide me a counter-argument if you can, corporate media exists in order to attract the attention of viewers. Your attention they then sell to advertisers who will try to part you from your money. In this regard, they are no different than those Russian spammers who play upon Facebook users’ emotions by showing them pictures of puppies or Satan. The difference between the spammers and the media is that the media is beholden to their advertisers to spread their view of the world. Thus big pharma, the oil industry, and even weapons manufacturers advertise on corporate media, and corporate media would never bite the hand that feeds them because their only real motivator is profit.

I ask only that you look at the Russiagate narrative for what it is, that you rid yourself for the moment of the need of it as a substitute for a meaningful way of resisting all that Donald Trump stands for. If you are able to do that, you will see that Russiagate is a narrative that has required bullying and fanaticism rather than frank discussion. It has required secrecy, deception and censorship rather than openness. It cannot exist otherwise, and anything that requires such bad company deserves to be laid to rest.

The Greater Battle Behind The Persecution Of Julian Assange

Can someone remind me of the reason we are supposed to be against Julian Assange? I’ve not been following the matter too closely so I wouldn’t know. Not being an expert on the subject I would not bother to write about it were it not for the fact that the hatred expressed towards Assange, and the trouble he is in, seem at odds with everything I was taught about who we are as a society. I believe it had something to do with him reporting unpleasant facts about Hillary Clinton. Are facts bad because they are unpleasant?

Have we really gotten to the point where we feel we can punish people for reporting truths we don’t like? Oh, I’ve heard it said the real problem is that he doesn’t give a fair and balanced picture of what’s going on. If that were a real journalistic concern, Woodward and Bernstein should have said “Yeah, Richard Nixon was involved in a cover-up of the Watergate break-in, but let us also tell you about some bad things Democrats do.” Journalism doesn’t work that way. You dig into a story and you follow it to the end. It is your job to report news/truth as best you can and tell the story as you come across it. A clue brings you to more information, which starts to reveal a narrative which you then report. In the case of Julian Assange, I believe he released information that was given to him.

When a journalist or editor is given timely information, he does not sit on it until an equal amount of information is found that gives counter-balance to it. But the fact that Assange is tied to inconvenient truths about Hillary Clinton and the DNC is enough to cause liberals looking for anybody to blame for their candidate’s loss other than their candidate to irrationally hate and blame him. It is enough for liberals to betray their basic notions of freedom of the press and demand imprisonment for someone who did nothing more than release truthful information about a candidate running for the highest office in the United States. I cannot escape the feeling that it is at its core an assault on our appreciation for truth.

Of course, the fact that said information (allegedly) influenced the outcome of the election, giving us Donald Trump, leads many to believe Assange had some ulterior motive in releasing the information he did. Many believe he was working with the Russians, although no evidence is provided for this belief. This theory (accepted as gospel fact by many) has some very important questions to be answered, which our own media might be interested in working on were they not so busy condemning an honest journalist for showing them how to do their job. The first and foremost question to ask is, did the Wikileaks information actually even have any impact on the election?

But let us assume for a moment the unproven, that Russia was really the source for Assange’s information: so what? Yes, so what? If we had this sort of information on Vladimir Putin, would we not be just in sharing it with the world? Would we be wrong to do so? Moreover, Julian Assange is not an American but an Australian. His duty lies not in loyalty to the United States and the secrets of its political parties but to truth. There is no reason other than the wrath of an imperial nation that he should not release it. A very powerful reason, no doubt, one which silences the overwhelming majority of newspersons all over the world. It is to Assange’s greater credit that he did not let this very real threat dissuade him.

Is it wrong of Julian Assange to report information even if he did so with a personal agenda? Would he be the first to do so? I think we can state with confidence that American journalists do so all the time. Do you honestly believe that Assange’s truth swayed the voting public more than Rush Limbaugh’s lies and half-truths? Should Assange, in reporting truth, be punished rather than merely de-platformed, as was the punishment received by hate-monger Alex Jones?

We speak of election interference as the ultimate crime, and it is indeed something that should not be done. But when it comes to sharing truths, embarrassing as they may be, I believe it is better to know than not know. And election interference needs to be proven before we can mete out punishments for it. In the case of Russia in the 90’s it was not merely undeniable but openly discussed. It was not merely the U.S. telling some unpleasant truth about Russian officials but blatant manipulation of the political process. Similarly, nothing Assange could ever do could come close to what the CIA did to his own government. If our interest was one of law and fairness, should we not first jail those responsible for the ouster of prime minister Gough Whitlam before going after Julian Assange?

As I have said, the case of Julian Assange is one I have not been following closely. But the precedence that would be set—has been set—by punishing a journalist for releasing embarrassing but true information is a very dangerous one. It changes who we are as a nation, or at least changes who we have pretended to be. It changes each and every one of us in that it places our personal narratives above the search for truth. It weakens our arguments when we talk about censorship, renders laughable the call to defend Jim Acosta. Indeed, it is a very potent weapon in the war between truth and political expediency. Such a war has been waged for quite a while now, with the truth in constant retreat. But there are moments in retreat when one has to rally the army to defend certain key positions in order to prevent the retreat from becoming a rout. I believe the case of Julian Assange to be one of those vital points around which we must rally.

We are at a crucial juncture at this time in this nation, even globally. There is an undeniable resurgence of fascistic practices and ideology. Fascism as an ideology which promotes narrative over truth. Those on the (alleged) left are trying to combat a rise in fascistic ideologies with a counter-narrative, but it too is at war with the truth. Abandoning the search for truths, pleasant or otherwise, is not an effective means of combatting fascism. It in fact gives power to the notion that narrative supersedes truth. Democrats are at a point where they are willing to compromise principles in order to win the larger battle, but it is the very abandoning of principles that has gotten us to the point we are now. Abandoning truth for narrative is a cowardly action. There is no action the fascist would rather see us take, no response he would more greatly relish. Narrative is the battlefield of his choosing. Truth should be ours.