Yes, you and I and the "six or seven"* others who read this site are now officially closing in on one full decade of investigative muckraking and trouble-making!
Our official 9th anniversary was actually late last week, but I've been working on an investigative report over the last week or so (hopefully, coming soon!) and didn't have time to stop to mark the day.
I was looking back at last year's anniversary announcement, and noticed that it came on the very "day we learn[ed] that Mitt Romney makes some $33k a day --- simply by doing nothing --- while paying a lower tax rate than most of you and me, [even as] we'll be happy just to make this month's rent and put some gas in the tank (both literally and figuratively)."
A year later, the sentiment remains true, as we fight on for yet another year here. But it's a year in which, as the media landscape --- particularly on the Internet, but on the broadcast and cable airwaves as well --- continues to change, we are likely to have to make some tough decisions. So, once again, I turn to you all for help even as we celebrate this week's extraordinary milestone.
Don't worry. I'll try to make it worth your time, with a very cool new premium offer to help both me and you celebrate the beginning of our tenth year "being the media"...
The dilemma that we faced when we arrived in 2004 continues after our third Presidential election. Namely, how to survive as an independent, progressive, investigative news and commentary site --- with an emphasis on stuff that matters, as opposed to stuff that politicians and the rest of the media scrum believes is important --- without full time corporate or foundational support? Though we'd welcome the latter if it came our way (presuming we'd be able to keep our 100% independence), our work here still requires your financial support to have a chance of staying alive.
It's not a fund-raising ploy, but rather a fact, in telling you that we bleed money here every month. We have for years. Meager ad revenue is not enough to sustain our work. But I've believed for many years that the work is important enough that I must find some way to continue it, even at a loss. To that end, it's often independent contributor work that I find elsewhere, when I can, that helps float the work here for another month.
That task has, counter-intuitively, gotten harder, rather than easier, as the years go on, and as the Internet universe expands and becomes more diverse, more broken down into smaller niches, and much more competitive all around --- and as more and more of us are expected to work entirely for free somehow.
So, while I hate asking, as you probably know, and I'm not very good at it, in general, ask I must. If support for support's sake on our anniversary isn't enough to encourage you to open your wallets, I hope you'll appreciate another premium offer in exchange for your generosity.
Here are a few options...
• ANNIVERSARY GIFT
If you are inclined, out of pure thanks for what we do here, and/or encouragement to continue, we'd ask that you hit our tip-jar with an online "anniversary gift" of any amount you'd like.
You can contribute with either a credit card or PayPal at that link. Alternately, snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" is also very much appreciated!
A one-time donation of any amount, from $10 to $1,000,000, is quite welcome! (We'll even be grateful for $5 if that's what you have to offer. Truly.)
• MONTHLY SUSTAINING SUBSCRIPTION
Even more than a one-time donation, sustaining, automated, monthly contributions of any amount you can comfortably afford is greatly appreciated as well.
Monthly sustaining subscriptions of any amount you like are a quick and easy matter to create, via credit card or PayPal, as you prefer, and help to keep us alive year round! (For amounts other than those in the drop-down box below, please see the form in the light blue box mid-way down our right sidebar where you can specify any number!)
• COOL NEW PREMIUM OFFER!
[NOTE/UPDATE: We've now sold the last of the limited number of signed copy of Marta Steele's new book! Thanks for those who purchased! If you'd like one now, please grab one at Marta's website! And, otherwise, read on below to find out about this very cool new book, in which we are featured quite prominently throughout!]
If supporting The BRAD BLOG for the sake of support alone isn't enough to help you crack open your wallets, don't worry! We've got something to help sweeten the deal!
Marta Steele's newly published book, Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols: The Election Integrity Movement's Rise and Nonstop Battle to Win Back the People's Vote, 2000 - 2008, may be just the ticket!
Finally, someone has endeavored to tell the real story of actual election fraud concerns in this country, and of the rag tag band of citizen patriots who have been quietly --- and sometimes not so quietly --- fighting against all odds to restore the very underpinnings of our democracy: the vote, the right to have that voted counted, and the right of we, the people, to know that it has been counted accurately.
Steele chronicles the story of real American citizens and the fight for real democracy, while the rest of Rome --- and the partisans and the mainstream corporate media --- fiddle and burn.
She also cites our work here at The BRAD BLOG hundreds of times throughout her book, beginning on page 1. (Thank you, Marta!)
Readers of this site know that the story of U.S. democracy's sorry swoon over the past decade has not been in the horse races, but in the track conditions on which those horses have run. In Steele's book, she finally documents what many of us have been trying to do about those conditions, and what the horses have left behind on the track.
While the accompanying "Endnotes" CD alone, included with the book and featuring TONS of supporting material, is well worth the price of admission all by itself, frankly, the book also includes a foreword by our friend Greg Palast, a preface by our friend Danny Schechter and an intro by our friends Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman.
Steele has generously contributed a limited number of signed copies of Grassroots, Geeks, Pros and Pols to readers of The BRAD BLOG in support of our work here (thank you again, Marta!!!) Please consider grabbing yourself a copy, while supplies last, right here in support of our work as well!...
SOLD OUT OF OUR SIGNED COPIES! THANKS!
GRAB A COPY OF THE BOOK AT MARTA STEELE'S WEBSITE!
There have been so many who have contributed to our underdog successes here over the years, that it would be impossible to thank them all. From readers to story contributors to critics to moderators who quietly tend to the comment section and more late at night, this site is the culmination of the work of too many to list. While the site may have my name on it, it is my hope that it represents the voices of many, instead of just a few. I've done my best to assure that is the case over the years, no matter how many late-night spam killing sessions we've had to carry out in the comment section!
Where we go from here remains to be seen. I've found that after every election, Presidential or mid-term, this site tends to go through a slow transition period from one phase to another, building upon all that we've learned along the journey each time. We head towards a target that is not necessarily known. But at least half of the joy of the journey is in finding out where we end up. Or so it has been the case here at The BRAD BLOG.
I have long wanted to write a book myself highlighting, detailing and updating some of the extraordinary stories we've followed and reported and uncovered over the years, but have found myself too busy with ongoing nightmares to take the "downtime" needed to chronicle those passed. Perhaps this year will finally be the year to take some time away from the daily blog grind to put something a bit more "long lasting" together. We shall see. (Any publishers or agents out there who'd like to help out? Please let me know!)
But, on we go. Into year 10. Wherever it takes us. Shoestring or otherwise. And again, my thanks to you all --- whether you've just come on board, or you've been with us for much of the long journey! I do believe that at least "six or seven" of you have worked hard to help make a difference in this nation...and have done so. For that, and for nine years of support in all the forms it takes, I thank you all from the bottom of my freedom and democracy-lovin' heart...