This may well be our last chance
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
The author is the Founder and Editor of Russia Insider. He can be reached at [email protected] 3600 words
This turned out to be very long, something regular readers will know I dislike, but there was no way to go shorter, as these are truly momentous times. I’ve tried to keep it organized by creating bolded sections.
The stuff in the middle is a bit dry, explaining how we are going to manage this fund drive, and why alt-media in general is not successful in raising enough money, which you can circle back to if you like the other parts.
The emotional harangue comes at the end along with some biographical information about me which readers might find interesting.
Our Spring fund drive starts today, and I have decided to take a new approach, which I explain below.
But first, I want to talk to you about a big war with Russia, and the fact that I can see perfectly well, as do many others, that we Americans are marching straight into one.
Please don't think that I am exaggerating what I write here for fundraising purposes. It really is this terrifying. This text should be littered with CAPITAL LETTERS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!, except that's not my style. Please consider very carefully what I have to say this time.
War is coming
If you have been following my site, you have no doubt noticed ever more ‘code red’ headlines.
Signs of impending war are everywhere and unmistakable, and the smartest observers in the business, in the West and in Russia are saying so. I would direct you to The Saker's We're Headed To War With Russia, and No One Seems to Care and former assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts among US analysts, and Evgeny Satanovsky and Sergei Mikheyev among Russian ones for good examples.
There has been so much great writing about this from the best sites and authors over the past two weeks that we have had to create a new category on Russia Insider, entitled, 'War Is Coming'. There are already 19 articles in there from the past 2 weeks, which have a couple hundred thousand views, and thousands of comments. See for yourself.
If this doesn't alarm you, you aren't paying attention.
The false flag poisonings, trumped-up diplomatic expulsions, the rampant deceit and propaganda that have completely overtaken the media, announcements of new weapons systems by Russia, the installation of a war-cabinet in Washington, the move to crack down on gun ownership in America, increasing US rhetoric about the need for military action against Iran, Chinese statements of solidarity with Russia, ratcheting up censoring of alternative media, Trump’s insistence that he needs a bigger military budget and his willingness to sacrifice everything he ran on to get it. I could go on, but I think you get the point. It has been a disastrous 3 weeks.
Many of these things, especially on the propaganda side, are what you do in preparation for war. It is the information equivalent of massing troops and equipment at your opponent's border.
We are being frog-marched to war by our media and certain factions in our deep state. The UK government and intelligence services are taking the lead. It is all very ominous.
It’s a media problem
We have no one to blame but ourselves - the people who on the one hand create, and on the other hand, consume the alternative media. We have not been decisive enough in calling for, and giving, enough funds to create a media that can turn the tide. And now we might all fry as a result.
It is really quite simple, as I explained in my article It’s Time to Break the Jew Taboo: IT’S THE MEDIA STUPID! The bulk of the media is in the hands of people who have been flat-out lying to the American and European public about Russia, the Middle East, spy poisonings, and much else, and this is, by far the most important factor in why we have arrived where we are.
Nothing is as important as the media, NOTHING! It is in every revolutionary’s handbook, right there on page 1, paragraph 1, from Lenin to Mao to Che - when seizing power, the first thing you grab are the printing presses, the radio tower, the TV tower. If you control what people know and believe to be true, you control the people.
I will say it again – until we build a media not controlled by the lying psychopaths pushing us towards war, nothing will get better, and we will keep stumbling on to our ultimate doom. I am always amazed how slow people are to wake up to this fundamental truth.
And it is not because the folks on our side don’t have the money. Media companies these days are fantastically cheap to build, 100 times cheaper than 30 years ago. A few million dollars and 20 talented men are enough to change history.
No, it’s because we failed - we alt-media creators were not smart enough and not energetic enough in requesting the funds, and those in a position to give were not prescient enough to see that getting funds to us was the key to avoiding a global catastrophe.
So much for the past. What we can do going forward?
The first question is 1) when might this war break out?, how much time do we have?, and 2) is it too late to avert it? My answer to that is: 1) I would say anywhere from tomorrow to 2 years, and 2) OF COURSE WE CAN! - if we act now, and act decisively!
From my birds-eye view of the whole alternative media world, which I’ve been scanning and studying every day for three years, I can assure you, the reason alt-media is not breaking through enough is not lack of talented writers or great websites, nor a lack of fair-minded, good-hearted readers looking for answers, it is LACK OF CAPITAL, of resources.
Everywhere I look I see the most brilliant, dedicated people creating fantastic content, surpassing by far, in quality, the deceitful sludge churned out by the corporate media, who barely scrape by, who are hampered on every side by, basically … poverty, but who carry on because they know they are doing the right thing. It is at once inspiring, deeply admirable, … and pathetic.
What they lack most of all, in addition to things like a livable wage, good equipment and office spaces, health care, etc, are the financial resources needed to push their stories into the field of vision of more readers - basically social media marketing, precisely the sort of thing being so actively discussed now around the Cambridge Analytica / Facebook scandal.
If you are reading this and happen to be massively rich, or are the leader of a large northern nuclear power, and want to avert Armageddon, the smartest thing you can do right now is to start handing out not terribly large chunks of cash to about 100 top alternative political sites, blogs, and freelancers on the right and the left.
We disagree on a lot of things, but we ALL see the insanity of this march to war with Russia. Given some resources, our collective voices, superior intellect and talent and, most importantly, the fact that the truth is inarguably on our side, will be enough to face down the liars who own and run the mainstream media.
One thing I can tell you for sure is that a whole new generation of scrappy media companies who know how to be lean and effective have emerged over the past 10 years. Most of us, like myself, had no idea what we were doing when we started (for RI, that was 3.5 years ago), but for those of us who survived, you cannot imagine a tougher group of battle-hardened new media pros, trolls, memers, and social media jedi masters, who can crush anything in our path if we are just given the funds to do so.
Why $300,000, and what's the strategy?
(This next part, the bulk of the article, is technical stuff about how we will run the fund drive and an analysis of why alt-media has trouble raising money.
I find this sort of thing intensely interesting, but I am weird that way. Most readers may want to skip to the emotional harangue at the end, and then circle back here if they find it convincing.)
Roughly, it's $100K for fundraising, $100K to pay writers, and $100K for business expenses for a year. Other alt-media entrepreneurs, note well what I write here, it is free advice which I have learned from my personal experience over the past 3 years.
As I said, the main problem for most alt-media sites is lack of capital, which really stems from their inability to raise it. Most of us make the mistake of not realizing that it takes money to raise money.
Before starting in RI, I was in the investment business, on the fundraising side. Any fund manager will tell you that the rule of thumb for raising money is that it takes a full 1/3rd of the top guy’s time, and he needs a full-time guy below him. It is time-consuming, and you have to travel.
You have to go to meetings, and follow-up meetings. You have to build trust over time. You have to network. You have to write good letters and materials. You have to attend events and conferences. You have to dial and dial and dial that phone. You have to secure meetings. It’s a shoe-leather thing. And the person doing it has to be compelling. If you are the top guy, you have to commit to spending the time, plus, in the finance world, you have to sink a few hundred grand into your full-time guy plus your travel expenses.
That’s how you do it, with very few exceptions. Obviously it can get a lot more expensive, but that is the bare-bones minimum. In our case, it is more working with email lists and subscribers, but the time required is about the same.
So the first $100K is to field someone serious to raise money, and cover his expenses for 6-12 months. Only a serious fundraising operation keeps the money coming in. Heck, ask any professional American politician – they spend 70-80% of their time raising money, and have dedicated staff on it!
I have recently moved back to the US from Russia, and will be able to spend the necessary time engaging and meeting with donors. This will take a sizable chunk of my time, but it is the only way. Living in Russia, it just wasn’t realistic to field a consistent fundraising effort from there, which is one of the reasons I moved back.
Before I go on, I want to say a word about quality over quantity when it comes to people. Many startup companies and especially alt-media operations make the mistake of spreading their scarce resources too thinly over too many people. I made that mistake with RI, and I see it everywhere. This might work on a short-term basis, but you really pay the price over the long term with high turnover, team dissatisfaction, and the quality. No, you are better off paying good salaries to solid people who will not struggle to make ends meet, who will stick with you through life’s ups and downs, rather than trying to cut corners.
The next $100K is for writers / editors. Because the fundraising will be taking more time, and because I will be doing more media appearances as part of that, I need a couple of writers / editors to keep the flow of articles on RI at their present level. Here is an example: an appearance recently on Red Ice TV, which was widely watched (30K views to date). I have offers to do many more like this, and will be doing them.
The final $100K is for overhead of the above, and a business manager to keep it all functioning.
Obviously, to really kick this thing out, we need $3 million, not $300K, and it is perfectly realistic to get that if we can put into place the basic team described above. The $300K is the bare minimum to get started. If we can’t raise that, then we should pack our bags and try something else. Considering that we are all dancing on the edge of incineration, I should probably have a higher minimum, but I will stick with the $300K, for now.
Folks, real deeds get done with real resources. Mao was right, power does grow out of the barrel of a gun. Recall Stalin’s famous quip: ‘Remind me again how many divisions the Pope commands’.
Why most alt-media fail at fundraising
Most alt-media don’t take this kind of professional approach to fundraising. Foundations do. Charities do. Alt-media hasn’t learned how yet. They are still a relatively new phenomenon. The amounts most of them raise cannot justify a professional fundraising staff. The way it works in most cases is that the editorial staff appeals to the readership to pitch in a few times a year, and among a very few handful of sites that have a devoted enough following, this brings in just enough to kind of, sort of, make ends meet, but not really.
Our fund drive deadline
The typical amount we raise in our quarterly fund drives is $20 – 30,000, which might lead one to conclude that $300,000 is too ambitious. For this reason, I am setting no deadline for this at all, rather leaving it open-ended.
Instead, I am doing the following:
First of all, I am asking folks to make their usual quarterly contribution to keep us going for the next few months – please be generous – this time it really counts.
We are set up for anonymous giving, for those for whom this is an issue. You can find instructions on our donation page. It is easy, and it works!
Second, I want you to think about how much you would be willing to contribute, if enough people came together to hit the $300K. Please let me know that amount in the form below, along with a contact email. It’s not a hard pledge, just a possible number. If we hit our target in tentative pledges, I will let you all know, and we can decide what to do from there.
Starting today, I will post the amounts raised and pledged on a banner on the site, so that we can all see how much resolve there is out there to make this happen. I will post both the current quarter totals, plus the soft pledges towards the $300K, plus the number of people joining.
This public reporting will provide a good backdrop for an ongoing discussion with supporters about how we are doing, and what we need to do to hit our target. I have a lot more to say on this subject, so please stay tuned for follow-up posts on this, and I am very interested in your feedback. If you don't want to use the comments section below, you can write me at the email address above.
The drive for the larger sum of $300,000 is open-ended. I suspect that we will reach some number short of that in the soft pledges. The value of that number is not terribly important. What I will then do is barnstorm, browbeat, buttonhole, and shake by the lapels as much of the public as I can reach, and try to get through to people, that unless we man up and take responsibility for our survival, then we do not deserve to survive.
We must fight
Rarely in life is anything worth having ever handed to one on a silver platter, and when it is, it is usually unappreciated and quickly squandered. Things worth having have to be fought for by people who roll up their sleeves and get the job done themselves.
Nobody is going to do this for us. Do not think that we can just wait until things get bad enough, and some sensible billionaire will step in and fix it for us. We, the ones with the sense to realize what is going on, are the one who are going to have to do this, and we are going to have to do it now.
If we want to avoid a war, stop the madness, and really turn this fight around, we are going to have to struggle, sacrifice, and raise and invest substantial amounts. There is no other way. The $300,000 is just the beginning. The next milestone is $3 million.
One thing you can be certain of, I will bring this challenge to 100s of 1000s of people: which will it be, War? or Peace?, Death? or Victory? There is no middle option. Are we going to allow this continued slide towards mayhem and agony, or fight back with the means necessary?
The time has come for the American people to decide.
What you can do to help
Obviously donate and pledge. Don’t feel that a small amount is not worth bothering with, because the number of people lending their voice is a big example to others. Bravery is contagious.
There are some of you reading this who really do have the access to people with the money to make this happen quickly, and have a sense of how to get there. If you can help, please be in touch with me. I live in the New York City area. You can reach me at the email above.
Here’s how much most people give: - the most common amounts are between $20 - $40. Plenty of folks give $75 and $100 if they can afford it. Over $200 the number of donors really thins out, but some folks give from $500 to $5000, sometimes more. But a lot of folks give $1 or $5, and I love those donations, because I know some of these people are in hardship, for whom that hurts a little, and that is more admirable than a comfortable person giving much more. Remember the widow’s mite.
Another very important way to help is to evangelize. If you think what we do here, and more importantly, what we could do, is vitally important, then there is a very good chance that you have friends or contacts that share your political and social values who are not aware of us, or have not considered giving. You can talk to them and urge them to do so. In this way you can greatly multiply your giving. In these fraught times, this is terribly important.
Another way to make a difference is to go on public forums and write about and share this article, and my other articles, which you can find here, and other articles on the site. There are so many amazing ones. This can also have a huge impact.
We've demonstrated that we can do this
Folks, we are getting about 10 million (actually more), views per month across all of our platforms. 60% of that is in the US and Canada, and 30% is in Western Europe, mostly UK, Germany, and France. We are widely reposted on a host of other websites, so our actual audience size is easily double that. On the website alone, there are close to 1 million comments, and as many on our other platforms. Many of them are exhaustively long, most of them confirming what we publish on the site. This too is extraordinary, a ringing endorsement of our approach and positions.
That is a near miracle considering the resources we have had to build this, and it shows how much can be done with relatively modest funds by smart, determined people armed with the truth.
What I will advocate for with your funds:
Stopping the insane and dangerous hating on Russia and the march to war with her being pushed by our media, and calling out the liars in government and media.
Stopping the encroaching censorship being orchestrated by the Deep State – there can be no more vital issue which we Americans have to stand up for at this time. We need to organize on this – if angry feminists and the anti-gun lobby can field half a million people in demonstrations – we can field millions – and we should! We need to rein-in the out-of-control tech platforms and their war agenda! We need to regulate them!
Stopping the out-of-control military spending which is bankrupting our country and laying waste to the whole world. It is a moral and fiscal outrage. It is time to act!
Some information about me
My friends, I am a proud patriot of my country. My namesake great-grandfathers, stout Christians, arrived in Philadelphia from the German Rhineland in 1712, and helped build the great town of Lancaster, PA. Another great-grandfather (George Ross) signed the Declaration of Independence and was a member of the Continental Congress, which governed the colonies during the War for Independence, and an officer in the Pennsylvania Militia. He was Betsy Ross’s uncle.
Another grandfather (or grandmother) arrived in the hold of a slave ship God knows when. His (or her) descendant, my great-grandfather, became a prominent mulatto political leader in the post Civil War era (Richard Greener).
My family has fought, and sometimes died (2 dead in WW2), in every American war going back to the founding of our country.
From Russia, I have watched with growing alarm and horror, as a small group of what can only be called liars, who dominate our media, and their allies in the government, have pushed and heaved mightily to bring our country to the brink of a world war, and have advocated for the most vile crimes around the world, murdering millions in the Middle East, and tens of thousands in many other places. I have devoted the last three years of my life to speaking out about this, at great personal sacrifice to myself and my family.
I returned to Connecticut because I realized that there is only so much one can achieve with harangues from across the ocean, and I urge you to join me in this fight, for a fight it most certainly is, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Our same government and media, hijacked by un-American psychopaths, who are driving our country to war, are also destroying our country from within. I think Trump has been heroic in standing up to them, but events of the last month demonstrate conclusively that he is slowly being overwhelmed.
I have lived and worked in Russia on and off for 20-some years, and lived there as a child, for my father was a foreign correspondent there, the bureau chief for the Associated Press, in the early 70s. I speak Russian fluently and know and understand the people and the country as well as I do my own, and have traveled its width and breadth many times over. My work in agriculture took me to many remote rural places, the very heartland. Many were the times I was told by this good, sturdy, warm-hearted people that I was the first foreigner they had ever met. I am married to a Russian woman and have four daughters. I am a convinced and committed Christian, and talk and write about my faith, and operate a website about Christianity in Russia called 'Russian Faith'.
I return to my home country outraged at what my government is doing at home and abroad, and determined to do what I can to fight what can only be described as treason.
Two things I detest most are dishonesty and betrayal, and fear is not an emotion I feel much, other than a fear of God.
It is time to act
I can assure you that the Russian people are as good and kind and generous a Christian people of high character as you will find anywhere, and that their leaders reflect that character. In addition they are marvelously talented and able, and are due the most sincere admiration in every respect.
They have suffered grievously for long stretches of the past 100 years under an odious tyranny not reflective of their own national character. Mr. Putin is a good man, a sincere Christian, and a brilliant leader who has been viciously slandered by those same liars in the media who are destroying our own country, and slandering our own President.
Most of what most Americans know about Russia, both past and present, is a grotesque lie, peddled by our media. Russiagate is a preposterous, transparent lie, exactly as our President says, and it amazes me that so many of my fellow citizens could be taken in by this childish ruse. Russia is no threat to us, on the contrary, she wants to have friendly relations, and has been routinely rebuffed over the last 18 years by the same monsters who are running our country into the ground.
Our President is right to say that we should have good relations with Russia. This drives the media and their creatures in the swamp mad with rage, for there is nothing they detest more than the validation and success of this Christian nation. The swamp’s lying, military aggression, and false flags, become ever more wild and shameless in response.
If you are not familiar with the site, take the time to peruse it and you will see for yourself that all this is incontrovertibly true. All the information you need is there. Read the comments and you will see there are millions of Americans and Europeans who emphatically agree with what is written there. I will be speaking publicly about all this in the coming months, and I urge you all to listen in.
I give you my word as a Christian, if you send us the resources, we will beat back and destroy this very real and present threat to our very existence.
Consider that we are the many, the 99%, and they, the few. We are smarter and tougher than they are, and crucially, we have the truth on our side. All we have to do is join together in one mighty voice and shine a brilliant light on them, and they will first back down, and then flee, for at heart they are cowards, as all liars inherently are.
Check the homepage to see how we are doing. I will be updating the results of this appeal daily, and writing frequently about what we can all be doing to save the world from a terrible, impending, war.
Spread the word. It’s time to act. The hour is late.
As Martin Luther King liked to say, "Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for THEE!"
For the explanation above of the 'soft pledge' target of $300,000, please click here.
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