The time has come for me to pass the hat once again.
As you know, I never use ads, pop-ups, paywalls, subscriptions or any other type of “money-squeezing” technologies on this blog. I also refuse to accept promotional articles (though I get offers for that almost every day). My policy has been to keep the blog laser-focused on information and analysis, free from monetizing clutter; and, to keep ALL the info available to everybody regardless of income. While this buys the blog freedom of thought/analysis, it does so at the cost of not generating revenue. To use an analogy, it puts me in the role of ‘busker’ vs. ‘concert musician.’ To those who value the scope of information and analysis this blog offers: please be generous in tossing some coins into my open (jazz) guitar case. To those whose past contributions have kept the blog alive and growing over the years, a warm and heart-felt thank-you!
I want to say a few words about what we do on this blog in the context of an increasingly polarized information environment…
This blog does not have any “pure ideological direction” other than a general rejection of imperialism, wars and oppression. Thus, I post truly excellent contributions by guest authors from totally different countries, nationalities, political points of view or religions. Guest authors include Marxists, monarchists, atheists, Muslims, Orthodox Christians, Buddhists, libertarians, etc. The only folks I know (by personal experience) that I cannot work with are Nazis, Wahabis, Latins (aka “Roman Catholics”) and Jewish supremacists (secular Zionists and religious Judaics).
There is a very real price to be paid when you decide to do that. (Above and beyond the price that’s paid when choosing to go freelance.)
Simply put: an “ideologically pure” blog is much easier to “get”, to understand, especially for folks who like their perception of reality nice and simple: all the good guys (us!) on one side, and all the bad guys (them!) on the other. Alas, that is not how reality is. Not having a clear, “pure”, ideological line always alienates those individuals who mostly inhabit the left hand side of the Bell Curve. Even some folks in the center of that curve are very uncomfortable with ideological diversity. Yet I strongly believe that we all have to resist the trappings of ideological purity because, while ideological diversity can be dangerous, ideological purity is always dangerous!
[Sidebar for Christians!: The Holy Apostle, Evangelist and Theologian Saint John wrote the following in his Epistle (1 John 4:1): “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” while Saint Paul wrote (1 Thess 5:21): “Test all things; hold fast that which is good“.
Let me ask you this: how do you “test every spirit” in an “ideologically pure” environment?! How is it that some Christians came to believe that ignorance is a virtue when no Church Father ever advocated any such thing?! Christ promised us the Truth, not ignorance!
How is it that so many of our fellow Christians have been persuaded that ignorance is a spiritual virtue, or that by hating others we somehow become purer or better!?]
Needless to say, an ideologically “pure” blog will always get more financial support, especially from wealthy donors. In contrast to which, ideologically diverse blogs make MANY more enemies. I can assure you that if not for the superb work of our moderators, the comments section of this blog would turn overnight into a sewer inhabited by all kinds of trolls, paid and non-paid, who would hijack every article and analysis to impose their agenda.
Another thing I need to mention here. If you look at my submission guidelines, you will see the following words:
In terms of length, I prefer longer articles, no less than 1500-2000 words. One of the few advantages the blogosphere has over the corporate media is that it is not limited by space. We also like to believe that we address a non-TV-lobotomized public, people who like to take their time to read and think. I therefore encourage you to go on a tangent, list examples, detail your references, etc. Of course, there is no need to make a text artificially long, but do take all the space you need to make your point and make your argument. FYI – the current record for the longest piece ever published here is over 25,000 words (the Special Report on Srebrenica).
Please assume that the target audience has a graduate-level college education or equivalent. I am fairly sure that most of my readers are over 40 years old, most of them are well read and well-traveled.
This is also very important. From Day 1, this blog was addressed to an (initially *tiny*) audience of mature, intelligent, well-read folks who did not shy away from complexity, nuance and details. However, it was always clear to me that a lot of folks do NOT want long, detailed, analyses. They want short, 500 words or so, articles which simply reinforce their beliefs and, listen to this, give them pleasure. Literally!
I have recently spoken to an experienced psychologist who explained to me that, for a lot of people, to have their existing beliefs validated actually results in a release of endorphins making them feel good. In his opinion, when Dems watch CNN and Republicans watch Fox they are NOT trying to get information, they want two things: to be entertained and to be validated. In other words, a lot of our fellow human beings literally “consume” the news media just like others would use any street drug: to feel good.
The Saker Blog offers absolutely ZERO such chances to feel good by reading 500 or fewer validating words.
A secondary but important detail: I am sometimes asked to post a “financial thermometer” to show how much support is needed for some project or cause. I cannot do that for a very simple reason: there are those out there who truly hate my guts with a quasi demonic passion. If I post *ANY* kind of details they immediately pounce to accuse me of lying no matter what I say (and, frankly, there is nothing as easy as making claims about money, especially when you don’t have any kind of real, independent, audit to support your claims!).
I have always felt that I should simply tell my supporters the following: judge me by what I write and by what I post. If you trust me, then help me. If you don’t, then don’t. It’s that simple, really.
I would even advise any prospective blogger never to share info on two issues: computers and money. These are the two most important resources in our informational war against the Empire and these need therefore to be very carefully protected. Besides, in the age of Bernie Madoff and Kenneth Lay even official audits have become mostly symbolic or even ritualistic events, not evidence of honesty… And since the “Skripal rules of evidence” have now become the norm (even for attacks on sitting presidents!), we truly live in times in which reality really is optional, at least for some folks.
That’s it. I have tried to explain it all the best I can.
Now you need to take action.
Many thanks and kind regards.