Words For Peace: A Letter To The Wall

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Back in November, when I started my blog, I had a conversation with Doug Rawlings who is a co-founder of Veterans For Peace, if you haven’t read those posts yet, please do, what he has to say is so powerful and important. In that conversation he told me about a Memorial Day event that took place last year in which Veterans for Peace asked for people to write a letter “to the Wall,” describing how they have been affected by the war in Vietnam and its aftermath.

151 letters and 32 postcards were received and placed at the foot of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall for the public to read. And they did read them. Conversations happened, a critical message was shared with many. Afterward, the National Park Service requested to place some of the letters on display in their archival museum, where those words can continue to be read.

This year, it is time to go even bigger. Veterans For Peace is asking for at least 1500 letters that can be placed at the Wall for Memorial Day 2016. Letters can be emailed to vncom50@gmail.com or they can also be physically mailed directly to Doug Rawlings (address can be found in Doug’s post about the event here)

If the Vietnam War still causes you to reflect deeply about the meaning of that war and its place in your life, then we need you. We need your help. We need your words. Veterans For Peace wants to deliver 1,500 letters to The Wall in Washington, DC this coming Memorial Day as a way of acknowledging the impact of that war on our lives. We need you to write one of these letters.

Doug Rawlings on Vietnam Full Disclosure

I see this event as an excellent opportunity to share a powerful message of peace, of ending war, with people who might not ordinarily pause to think about the devastating effects of war, beyond the lives lost, as they wander through the various war memorials in Washington D.C. on Memorial Day. Those memorials are very moving, but they don’t really portray the destruction of the lives of the survivors, they don’t show the destruction of families, the environmental destruction, the effects that still linger today.  They certainly don’t show the devastation wrought upon other nations of the world. But our letters can.

I was born years after America ended its fighting in Vietnam, but that war has still had its effects on me, not only because my father was drafted and spent a year in Vietnam.  My views on war have been largely shaped by what I learned of this war as a youth.  I believe that war has had far-reaching effects on our society that touch us all, even today.  I’ve written a letter of my own to ‘the Wall,’ and I’m sharing it here, in hopes it might inspire you to write one too.

To The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, And More Importantly, To Those Who Visit It:

I stood before you alone on a warm, sunny August day, and fought to keep my tears to myself. I wished desperately that my father could be there too, but he was 3000 miles away, and we didn’t talk much anymore anyway. I was awed by the simplicity of your portrayal of such heavy sorrow. I was awed by how much sadness you stirred in me. There are no names on that wall that I recognize.  I didn’t lose a loved one to this war, my father came home physically intact from his year in Vietnam. If he hadn’t, if his name were inscribed on your surface, I would not have been alive to stand before you, to touch your smooth granite and read the names of people I didn’t know, people I could never know.

My emotion that day was partly a reflection of my father’s feelings about you. Even though he never had the opportunity to visit you, it meant a lot to him knowing you had been built to honor those who died in the war he too had served in. The only time we ever talked about his service in Vietnam was when he shed a tear over an essay I wrote about you in sixth grade. It was such a powerful moment, and it felt a bit as though I stood before you in his honor.

But my feeling as I touched your cold, shiny surface that day was also a sadness of loss. My understanding of this war, and all wars, had come a long way since I wrote that essay in sixth grade. I feel the things that are lost to war very strongly. They are a weight on our society much greater than that of your granite slabs.

The loss of so many American lives is beyond tragic. But there are so many sad things about this war, so many more things than the loss you represent. An estimated 1,313,000 deaths occurred as a result of war in North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia just in the years between 1965 and 1974, and only a little over 58,000 of those are inscribed on your surface. At least 587,000 of those were civilians. Men, women, children. Every single one is a tragedy.

And people continued to die after 1975, they are still dying as a result of this war. We left behind a legacy of un-exploded ordinance, waiting for innocent people to stumble upon them. We left behind a legacy of people poisoned by Agent Orange. We left behind a legacy of refugees and instability in many of these countries resulting in more death, more destruction. Those names are not on your surface.

And those who came home to America? They were left alone to face what they had done, what they had seen, what they had experienced, what they had suffered. How many, unable to deal with their horrors, took their own lives? How many also suffered from the toxic effects of Agent Orange? Where are their names on your surface?

Your moving simplicity leaves out so much, as if to excuse our ignorance in this nation of the devastating effects our wars have on generations of Americans, and on generations of people around the world, and on the world itself. As if war, and soldiers dying, is as clean as your shiny wall and the simple white crosses of Arlington Cemetery.

I wish the American people would see a reflection of all that loss in your surface, so we might all rise up together and bring an end to the wars and devastation our nation is waging around the globe. I wish we would honor the many who have died for the few who profit from war by refusing to fight. I wish you said that on your surface, especially to the young men and women thinking of enlisting who happen to pass you by.

Katie Aguilera

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial: An Essay From Sixth Grade

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A Note From The Author:  I wrote this essay in the sixth grade.  I mentioned this essay in my second blog post I published here at Seeking Redress (it was the first that I actually wrote, it was what drove me to start this site), and will be mentioning it again in another post I’m publishing today discussing an important Memorial Day event.  Since this essay played such a role in one of my most vivid memories of my father, and it demonstrates my changing understanding of war and how we memorialize it, I thought I’d just go ahead and share it.  Please forgive the naivete, I was pretty young and only beginning my long journey into researching that painful chapter in history.

The Remembrance of a Nightmare

The Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial started as just a dream for Jan C. Scruggs but it became a reality just the same.  Scruggs asked Senator John W. Warner for $5,000.00 to start building the memorial.  Senator Warner gave the requested $5,000.00 and earned another $50,000.00 within weeks.  So the soon-to-be-great memorial was built.

On the paneled sides of the wall are printed about 58,000 names of the soldiers who died in the Vietnam War or who remain missing, in the order that the clutches of war finally tore the life out of them.  The people who remain missing are marked by a simple, but important, cross that is circled if the person is found.  1300 of the names are those of missing soldiers.

This memorial has touched the lives of many people across America.  They see a familiar name that triggers their memory and tears flood from their eyes.  It comes as no surprise that the memorial has become one of the most visited memorials in Washington.

A book will be published called To Heal A Nation by Jan Scruggs and Joel L. Swerdlow.  [This book was already published when I wrote this essay, and can be found on Amazon.]  It will, like the memorial, list all the names of these great men.

The people love the memorial and will probably love the book as well.  It is only obvious by the look of gratitude on the people’s faces that they greatly appreciate America’s respect for the men who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country they loved.  Many people have read the names of the veterans and have relived the nightmare of Vietnam in 1961-1971.  Many memories have been spurred by this long granite wall called The Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial.

The End

Another Curious Case of Arson on Federal Land

UPDATE: 3/6/2017: this post is receiving some new traffic due to an episode of the Lifetime Movie Network show 24 to Life which aired Wednesday, March 1st, 2017, and again on March 5th, 2017, on A&E.  This episode chronicles Ben Cunha’s final 24 hours before reporting to federal prison.  I want to direct any new readers to the two, much more detailed stories I have written about Ben Cunha’s story after talking with Cunha and others involved.  Those can be found here and here.  Both articles clear up much of what I had previously questioned in this article.

On February 23rd, 2016, Benjamin Cunha was sentenced to five years in prison, and fined $246,862.00, on a single count of arson.  At first glance, this doesn’t seem all that odd.  After all, we learned from the Hammonds’ case that violating 18 U.S.C. 844(f)(1) means a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years, and the fact is, Cunha had admitted to starting at least 30 fires over a two year period.  Considering the number of fires he supposedly started, five years certainly doesn’t seem excessive, and Cunha is undoubtedly lucky his fires didn’t injure anyone or cause greater damage.  (His fellow El Dorado County arsonist responsible for the devastating King Fire in September 2014, Wayne Allen Huntsman, was just sentenced to 20 years, and fined $60 million, on a single count.)

However, Cunha’s case is much more interesting than that simple five-year sentence for a single count of arson implies.  That one count is a result of only one of the fires Cunha admitted to starting, a fire called the Mine Fire that burned approximately 80 acres, at least some of which was federal land.  That fire occurred in 2007, and the other fires he admitted to igniting all occurred between August 2005 and September 2007.

Cunha, who had worked as a volunteer and wildland firefighter, was arrested in September 2007 and charged with three felony arson charges.  A plea agreement was reached in the case, described here to include:

As part of his plea agreement, he admitted to the details of the 30 fires he set. He had disclosed to local law enforcement that because of his firefighter experience, he was able to build a time delay device to create “fires big enough that significant fire-fighting resources would be required to extinguish the fires.”

He is said to have started the fires in order to earn extra money fighting them, and also to impress his fellow fire-fighters, presumably to help secure his position within the ranks.

In 2008, according to 2016 court documents, Cunha was “sentenced to 365 days in jail, which he was allowed to serve in a program that allowed him to leave the jail each day for work and return for sleep.  Cunha was also sentenced to 72 months of probation.”  Terms of his probation included wearing a GPS monitor during the fire season.  This probation period concluded in 2012.

Benjamin Cunha was arrested and charged, he reached a plea deal and admitted to setting the fires, he served his jail time and his probation, and yet, he was charged again in 2013 for the Mine Fire.  Initially, he was charged with two counts, for the Mine Fire and Palmer fire, both of which burned onto federal land, but due to another plea deal, the second count was dropped.  What brought the second round of charges?  Well, apparently more fires, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives.

The summer following the completion of Cunha’s probation, in July and August of 2013, two new fires were being investigated for suspected arson.  Again according to the court documents linked above, “Law enforcement determined that at least one of the fires was started using a time-delay incendiary device similar to the time-delay incendiary devices Cunha had admitted to using in the 2007-2008 series of El Dorado/Amador county fires.  Cunha was a primary suspect in the 2013 fires.”

The investigation into the 2013 fires was halted, and Cunha was arrested and charged with the two 2007 fires that burned onto federal land.  This time he faced federal charges, and, at the very least, the resulting mandatory minimum sentence of five years.  The prosecutors pushed for a longer sentence in his case, arguing that the decision to shorten the sentence in his plea deal included the provision that Cunha would provide assistance to the government.  Again from the court documents:

The plea agreement contains the possibility that the government would recommend 84 months [versus the 90 months sought] if Cunha provided substantial assistance to the government.  The government, in its discretion, has determined that Cunha has not provided substantial assistance…

In 2008, Cunha cooperated with authorities to reach a plea deal in that he admitted to starting the fires and gave details of the time-delay incendiary device he designed and used.  What more information could he provide in the second case that would be considered “substantial assistance?”

In the end, Cunha was sentenced to only five years, and he wasn’t charged for the 2013 fires as part of the plea deal reached in the federal case.  Considering that the investigation into the 2013 fires was dropped and Cunha was apparently considered the only suspect, the feds must have had significant enough proof to put pressure on him.  So why not charge him with those fires too, in order to secure that longer sentence?

As stated in the 2016 court document, the federal government felt “the need to protect the community, the need to promote respect for the law, and the need to provide just punishment.”  But only after the two 2013 fires Cunha wasn’t charged for?  Why not in 2008, when he started at least 30 fires, including the two that burned onto federal land that he was sentenced for in 2016?

In 2008, he was charged only by the state and sentenced to 365 days and probation instead of facing federal charges and the mandatory minimum of five years.  In the prosecution’s push for a longer sentence in 2016, it is stated that “it defies common sense that a serial arsonist, who voluntarily admitted to setting at least 30 fires, would score at criminal history zero and receive the same mandatory minimum sentence as a first-time offender.”  Could it be that the feds did not stand to gain anything from Cunha’s case in 2008 and therefore did not feel the need to protect the community from an admitted serial arsonist at that time?

What is even more curious is that, in spite of the fact that Cunha was told in 2008 that he would be sent to prison if he violated his probation, he somehow appears to have done so without any consequence at all.  According to this article, and this one, Benjamin Cunha was arrested and charged with felony counts while on probation.  The second article, from California Fire News, has this to say:

Former CAL FIRE firefighter now troubled man-child Benjamin Cunha, who has volunteered for several fire departments in El Dorado County and hails from a long line of career firefighters, and who was convicted of arson earlier this year has been re-arrested on suspicion of arranging a deal to sell firearms.

He had received a six-year suspended sentence on the arson charge and was told he would go to prison if he violated rules of his probation.

The first article claims that officials from the sheriff’s department stated that Cunha was charged with four felony counts as a result of this stolen firearms deal.  Bail was set at $10 million.  These charges included being a felon in possession of a firearm and facilitating the sale of stolen weapons; both clear violations of his probation.  This occurred in December 2008, not so very long after Cunha would have been released after his 365 days in (bedtime only) prison.  Yet, this seemingly rather huge violation of his probation does not appear to land him back in prison, nor does it appear to be mentioned in 2013 and his subsequent case with the federal charges, even as the federal prosecutors pushed for a longer sentence by arguing that Cunha was a danger to the community.  How can that be?

I also find it worth noting that just before those suspicious fires in 2013 occurred, El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini decided to revoke the U.S. Forest Service’s authority to enforce state law in the county of El Dorado.  According to this article:

…the sheriff informs the federal agency that its officers will no longer be able to enforce California state law anywhere in his county.

“I take the service that we provide to the citizens of El Dorado County and the visitors to El Dorado County very seriously, and the style and manner of service we provide,” D’Agostini said. “The U.S. Forest Service, after many attempts and given many opportunities, has failed to meet that standard.”

That article goes on to add that a law professor, when asked “if the sheriff’s actions can supercede the feds,” gave this answer: “looks to me as though the sheriff can do this.”

Benjamin Cunha’s case, like so many others, leaves me with many questions about the way the federal government pursues criminals, and also how it criminalizes people.  Just as the Hammonds’ arson case had so much more to the story, I wonder what else might be involved in Cunha’s story.  A curious case indeed.

The Destruction of America From Within

A Guest Post

By BJ Soper

4/6/2016

I write today to express my utter and complete frustration regarding the lack of integrity in our American system.  The values that our Country was built on have been ignored, trampled, and rewritten.  Simple concepts such as “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” and “Innocent until proven guilty” are no longer foundational ideas in this Country, but rather a feel good concept that gives this sham of a justice system the perception that Due Process is being served.

Our justice system is broken from the top to the bottom.  We have court systems that use local law enforcement offices to generate income.  We have County officials that collaborate with groups to push a one-sided agenda for self propagation.  The Oregon State legislature uses an emergency clause to keep the voice of the People they represent from being able to vote on the issue at hand.  The list goes on and on all the way to the top.

The United States has more people incarcerated than any other Country.  We hold 2 times the number of people in jail than China that has 5.5 times the population of the USA.  Roughly 2.2 million people sit behind bars.

But what I want to address specifically today is the efforts being made by the Federal law enforcement, DOJ [Department of Justice], Courts, and local and national media, and the lack of attention from the elected of this Country and the American People.

First, to the media.  What happened to journalism?  Where did it go?  The media runs to the shiny light anywhere it’s bright.  “News” stations broadcast these situations such as Ferguson, Baltimore, Hurricane Katrina, and Burns, Oregon.  Cameras turn on and “journalists” broadcast to people of the nation their shock value story.  When the light starts to dim, they run to the next shining light leaving out the cause, circumstances, and devastation.  In the events of Ferguson and Burns, lies were pushed to control the narrative and keep the American people in a state of misinformation.

The media was once called the 4th branch of government because it was meant to keep people honest.  It was supposed to be the microscope of the people used to expose corruption and help hold people accountable for their actions.  Today it’s used to propagate agendas and control narratives.  Burns is the perfect example.  Once the light dimmed on the actions of the occupiers, the news crews left.  But the story is far from over.

Where is the media right now when these people sit behind bars being stripped of any sense of Due Process and Justice?  Where is the media outrage over people being issued gag orders to not talk about their situation?  Where is the media discussing the civil rights violations taking place inside these jails?  Supreme Court rulings being ignored regarding the use of solitary confinement to hold those awaiting trial?  Where is the story on the accused not being able to communicate with their attorney because they are held in confinement 23 hours a day?  Is this not a good enough story for you?

I have not even hit on the accused being stripped of their 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th amendment rights.  Let us not forget that we have an “elite” law enforcement team caught firing rounds into a vehicle, then purposely conspiring to cover up the actions and hide evidence from the investigators.  We heard this ONCE, and NOTHING has been said since.  I guess that is just not a shiny enough light.  Instead, one sided articles are released full of lies and misinformation, and reports designed to assassinate the character of individuals that stand against the “official” narrative.  It is abundantly clear that receiving funding is more important than the integrity of the articles released.

Why are these issues ignored by today’s “journalists?”  I wonder just how well you all sleep at night knowing that regardless of guilt or innocence, your reports, lies and broadcasts are helping to strip American people of their rights and due process.  What does that image in the mirror say to you when you realize that you are helping to kill this Country which was once the shining light in the world?  What do you think your ancestors would say to you that worked to build our foundation, bled and died for your right to destroy using words?  The pen is far mightier than the sword, and the media is using that weapon to help DESTROY THIS COUNTRY FROM WITHIN.

Second, to the elected representatives of the People at all levels of government.  Where in the hell are you?  Where were any of you speaking out, or even asking questions about the occupation in Harney County?  The lack of accountability to the people you represent is DISGUSTING.  I emailed over 100 reps and senators during the MNWR occupation.  Three people replied.  Two were mass email responses with “this is an unmonitored email address disclosure” and the only actual reply stated that the reps and senators in Salem were kept in the dark about the issues taking place.  I ask the Oregon delegation this simple question.  Why in the hell, when an issue of such magnitude takes place in YOUR OWN STATE, did you not feel the need to ask WHAT WAS GOING ON?  I believe our definition of REPRESENT has a different meaning.  Your lack of care and attention is helping to DESTROY THIS COUNTRY FROM WITHIN.

The Court system…You are no longer the last hope for Liberty and Freedom.  The system is swayed to scare the People into compliance instead of giving a fair trial by the jury of their peers.  The JURY is supposed to be the deciding factor, and the JURY alone.  Hence the term, GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE.  Today the courts allow the prosecution to intimidate the accused into compliance by throwing countless charges at them in hopes that they will admit guilt and PLEA for MERCY instead of letting the facts be posed to their peers and be judged fairly.

Our courts allow judges to tell the JURY how and what to listen to, and to follow his or her orders or be held in contempt.  The courts have forgotten and ignored that the JURY is the rightful RULER of the court and the judge is only there to make sure the proceedings are done in accordance to the law.  The judges are now accomplices to the prosecution, instead of being an impartial referee in the cases.  By no definition is this DUE PROCESS.

The JURY’S job is to not only JUDGE the actions of the defendant, but it is also required to judge the accused person’s character and to rule on the validity of the law.  The JURY is the last line of defense from the tyrannical actions of the government.  The JURY can acquit on the simple fact that the law is deemed unjust, regardless of its passage in the statutes, and it can also acquit based on the character of the accused.

But this is not taught in schools or put out to the American people for fear that the People will take back its intended strength and overall power in this Country.  When a judge issues orders to the jury, he or she is doing so out of fear, and violating the very fabric that this Country was founded on.  Our courts and judges are being used to DESTROY THIS COUNTRY FROM WITHIN.

Federal Law Enforcement and DOJ, let me ask you this.  Is justice still blind to you?  I believe we still have good people in law enforcement and to those people I ask, when will doing what is right be more important than your paycheck?  The hundreds of good deeds that you accomplish are WIPED out by allowing even ONE act of impropriety to happen. You are guilty by association when you knowingly let these abuses take place.

When you watch judges abuse the system, YOU abuse the system.  When you let prosecutors abuse the system, YOU abuse the system.  When you watch your fellow LEO’s [Law enforcement officers] abuse the system, YOU abuse the system.  When you let legislators abuse their constituents, YOU abuse their constituents.  Your oath to the Constitution is not to an idea or a piece of paper, it’s in defense of WE THE PEOPLE and all that made this Country once great.  When you put your paycheck over doing what is right, YOU ARE DESTROYING THIS COUNTRY FROM WITHIN.

And finally, the American People…Where are you?  Where is your voice in all that is astray in our once glorious Country?  Never forget what Ben Franklin said, “those that would give up freedom for safety deserves neither.”  Our founders were brilliant.  Not because they could see into the future, but because they lived under a tyrant, and had firsthand knowledge.  Our apathetic actions over the last five decades have let government grow beyond its bounds of the constitution.  We are far more similar to 1930’s Germany under Hitler, and to the Soviet Union, than we are to our Founders’ vision of this Country.  Our family members that struggled to tame this land and gave blood and their lives to defend it, have to be turning in their graves.

Look at what we have become.  We are a self-righteous, egotistical, greedy society hell bent on our own benefit.  We no longer love our neighbor as ourselves and would step on the neck of anyone that gets in our path.  We see these atrocities happening to our OWN people and care more about what is on the next reality show.  Our money, attention, and VOICE are given causes that are deemed valiant, but ignore major issues when our VERY OWN PEOPLE are abused by the very government sworn to protect them.  We sit and allow our GOD GIVEN rights to be stomped upon and hope that someone else will take care of it for us.  We as the People are the most complicit and guilty party to the DESTRUCTION OF THIS COUNTRY FROM WITHIN.

When they came for the Rancher, I did not Stand for I was not a Rancher

When they came for the Farmer, I did not Stand for I was not a Farmer

When they came for the Logger, I did not Stand for I was not a Logger

When they came for the Patriot, I did not Stand for I was not a Patriot

When they came for the Reporter, I did not Stand for I was not a Reporter

When they came for the Politician, I did not Stand for I was not a Politician

But when they came for Me, nobody Stood for there was nobody left to Stand

Quite honestly, this mess we are facing is completely our own fault.  We have allowed this to happen.  So it is up to us to fix it.  We should be screaming from every mountain top, not by the hundreds, but by the hundreds of THOUSANDS.  We should be looking at the actions of people on the peaceful side of the Black Lives Matter movement and the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement of the 1960’s.  They did not ask for rights to be given to them by the government, they DEMANDED that the government not trample upon anyone’s God given rights.

We are fighting the same fight now.  Cities should be choked with protests and rallies in defense for not only the political prisoners in Oregon and Nevada, but for everyone and anyone who has not received DUE PROCESS.  We need to put the people on NOTICE that we will not tolerate the government trampling upon ANY AMERICAN CITIZEN’S natural rights.  DUE PROCESS is not optional.

Until We as the American People wake up and stand for our INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS collectively, the COUNTRY WE KNOW AND LOVE WILL BE DESTROYED FROM WITHIN.  Future generations will be left to deal with the aftermath.

********

About the Author

BJ Soper is a business owner and activist who resides in Redmond, Oregon.  He is the founder of the Central Oregon Constitutional Guard and a founding member of the Pacific Patriots Network.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never Enough Time

It is April already, spring is upon us here in Central Oregon, and it is beautiful outside.  It is the sort of weather that makes it impossible for me to remain inside, dutifully typing away on the computer.  So things might get a little bit quiet around here, and I apologize.  I started several posts here in the past week, only to set them aside after a paragraph or two to go play outside.  And, I confess, I’ve also been pretty distracted by my fictional endeavors too.  I’m increasingly anxious to get this novel finished and published!  There is never enough time to get everything done.

I mentioned starting a few posts this past week, and I decided this morning to just combine a couple here rather than go back to finish them.  As I said, the weather is beautiful, way too nice for me to spend much time here!

First, the Panama Papers, released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) last Sunday.  Everyone is talking about them, there’s plenty of good posts out there analyzing the coverage, and I don’t really have anything to add.  But, I do want to say that there is a lot of speculation being tossed around because the leaked data itself isn’t available to the public.  Of course the leak is being framed and micro-managed to serve someone’s (or many someones’) purposes.  Rolled out like a thriller novel or movie, (I’m sure that’s already in the works) to grab our attention and point that attention in the direction desired by those managing the release.

The fact is, leaks happen.  They come in all shapes and sizes, and for many reasons.  How they are framed and spun can be quite telling.  The very fact that the Panama Papers leak is getting so much media attention is telling.   Obviously it was a ‘safe’ leak in the sense that it is unlikely to make anyone in real positions of western power too uncomfortable.  Here is an interesting perspective by Eoin Higgins on why that might be the case.  Also consider this article on the ICIJ’s website describing what looks like a possible cleaning up of any suspicious evidence in Nevada by a Mossack Fonseca owned company.  And remember that this data was leaked to the journalists a year ago.  That’s a pretty fair amount of time for damage control.

What should be demanded of this international consortium of journalists is a full release of the data to the public, to be searched and analyzed freely.  But so far, we are only allowed to view the information through a certain media lens, just as has often been the case with big leaks in the past.  Perhaps this leak will follow the same course as Edward Snowden’s, with the ICIJ destroying the Mossack Fonseca data to protect the source and the journalists, as was the case with Snowden’s data and the Guardian.  But don’t worry, there will surely be copies of the information safely stored elsewhere, to ensure ongoing reporting, as needed, on things that are useful to serve powerful agendas.

Which leads me to the incredible idea of media that isn’t funded by large corporations and powerful elites.  If investigative journalists could be freed from those ties, they would be free to report information without framing it to fit a narrative dictated by those powerful sponsors.  A leak such as this Mossack Fonseca one could be released to the public, allowing everyone to see the information, and determine their own conclusions.  The reality today is that the media serves only the less-than-one-percent of the population to manipulate and control the rest of us.  Because they own it.

So why don’t we, the people, fund our own source of information?  Of course, there are many great sources for independent news and analysis available for anyone taking the time to find them, and there are plenty of willing supporters supplying well earned donations to those sources.  But why not help fund something even bigger?  Something that might actually give all those independent sources a larger platform in order to reach a much larger audience.  A real chance to counter the corporate owned media and their dictated narrative.  Why not?

The Kickstarter campaign for Newsbud is down to the final six days.  The total amount donated is nowhere near the goal, but the donations have continued to come in daily.  If the Kickstarter campaign had more time, I think the goal would be reached, but it is limited to sixty days by the crowdfunding platform.  There is certainly support for such an idea, as is demonstrated by the nearly $190,000.00 pledged as of this posting.  We may not make the goal in six days, but I hope that the support for this idea will remain strong.  If at first you fail, try, try again, right?

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