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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

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The antidote to fake news and mainstream perfidy is right here

by digby

Well folks, it's that time again, when I come to you and ask for a little holiday cheer to keep the old blog going for another year.  I wish I could make a pitch for your support in 2017 based upon a sense of shared relief and hopefulness for the future. Unfortunately, that's not the case. We are in the midst of a political maelstrom within which it's very hard to see how the future is going to play out.

This past year has been a political horror show on every level. And I've documented the atrocities with six or seven posts a day, seven days a week on this blog, with at least one major thousand word analysis Monday through Friday that is also posted on Salon.com. I have covered the right wing and particularly Donald Trump almost exclusively, with a few forays into horrible terrorist attacks, mass shootings, media malpractice and a few natural disasters. I did 22 one hour "Clown Car" podcasts about the GOP primaries with Jay Ayckroyd, which started out as a fun chronicle of the 17 candidates tumbling out of the tiny circus car which ended up being a dark, scary story featuring one very frightening clown.  I watched dozens of Trump rallies start to finish and read virtually everything about him that's been written.  I even forced myself to read all the books his ghostwriters wrote for him. (So far, I think I've escaped PTSD, but I'm not entirely sure.)

I know more about this man than I ever wanted to know and his ascension to power is the most terrifying political event of my lifetime. This is the most powerful nation on earth and a cretinous, authoritarian demagogue who has surrounded himself with paranoid lunatics is going to be running it.

So, what do we do now? Everyone will have to do something, that's for sure. It's all hands on deck whether organizing, donating time, marching in the streets, mass resistence or all of the above. For me, it's all of those things, but first and foremost as a writer and blogger, it's a commitment to be as clear and uncompromising in documenting what's happening as I possibly can be.

The cacophony around us, the chaos, the fake news, the perfidious media, the timorous Democrats all serve the interests of Donald Trump and a Republican Party that was having a nervous breakdown even before he appeared on the scene. The normalization of Donald Trump is happening before our eyes, slowly and inevitably, and it is not normal.

I started this blog at another moment of deep crisis. We had just come through a disputed election and a major terrorist attack and the country was hurtling headlong into the Iraq war,  the media was in a state of ecstatic bloodlust and the Democrats were paralyzed. We were a small community of like-minded citizens just trying to make sense of the senseless and take heart in our shared sense of discombobulation and despair. Somehow it helped to know that others saw things the way we did.

The online world today is totally changed and we have social media to provide us with that shared sense of community.  But I think there is still value in blogs like this one, which is one of the few to have survived all the way through from Bush and Cheney to Obama to today.

My colleague Tom Sullivan writes every morning on a range of topics with particular focus on Democratic organizing and state level politics in his home state of North Carolina --- the new epicenter of anti-democratic GOP perfidy. Gaius Publius writes about our most important global challenge, climate change. Spocko tracks the right wing media and from time to time tristero and Batoccio each contribute original observations and deep thoughts about current events. My old friend Dennis Hartley reviews current films and offers his take on the political scene from a cultural perspective.

We are all progressive, liberal, left, whatever you want to call us, who are out here trying, to coin a phrase from The Donald himself, to "figure out what the hell is going on." It has never been more important to have places to go and people you trust trying to do that. We are one of those places.

After the election all the mainstream newspapers reported a huge uptick in subscriptions. Many of the less mainstream publications did too. It's understandable. After watching what happened with the surge in fake news and the tendency of the feedback loops to create false narratives that have the capacity to change the world it's important to support real journalism and I do it myself.

But I would respectfully submit that there's also value in supporting sites like this, were we spend a lot of time (in my case, all of my time) sorting through the information out there, including that from mainstream sources, and trying to synthesize the daily churn for people who don't have the time to do all that.  We can't get to it all, and we miss a lot, but I think that a stop here can usually give you a little perspective and often one you won't get in the mainstream papers or on cable TV.

I hope you will consider a donation or a subscription to this little outpost this year. And many, many thanks to those who have contributed in years past and continue to do so. It's a great privilege and honor to be able to devote my time to this little project and I could not do it without you.

So, here are the buttons to donate. If you prefer to use snail mail, the address is at on the column to your left.

And once again --- Happy Hollandaise, everybody. Fasten your seatbelts. This is going to be the bumpiest flight we've had yet.

cheers --- digby