Here’s the reality of my life: I’m distinctly an old man in a grimly new world — the new world of both Donald (god save us) Trump and climate change, among other things. As far as I’m concerned, it’s been a year from hell and I have a sneaking suspicion that next year could top this one. But let’s not go there. As I turn 75, I continue to do my best to focus TomDispatch on what, at least from my point of view, truly matters on this unnerving planet of ours and seldom gets the attention it deserves. And I do that in a universe in which a single Trump tweet can sweep everything else away, including America’s under-covered forever wars, a special focus of the site.
I don’t write you often. Only twice a year and when you receive one of these letters, you always know just where I’m going with it. I’ve never liked getting emails of this sort myself — ones pleading for money — which is why I write them so seldom. But here’s another grim reality of my world: though I’m frugal, don’t personally take a cent that readers send in to the site, and don’t spend tons of money, it still costs something to keep TomDispatch afloat.
I now pay authors $300 per piece, which isn’t exactly a fortune but better than writers get from many other online sites or, these days, even print outlets. I’ve been a writer on and off for much of my life and I deeply believe writers should be paid. I only wish it were more! Other than my own pieces (for which I don’t pay myself), I post maybe 120 original articles annually, which means I need to raise about $36,000 just for the site’s writers. In addition, TomDispatch has a modest staff of younger folks who help steer it through a technical world that’s ever more puzzling to me. They post the pieces, handle social media accounts, and do other things I simply can’t do anymore — and it all costs money.
As you know, the site has no paid ads. The only way it stays afloat is thanks to you. Without you, TomDispatch would have disappeared long ago. You’re the ones who make it possible for Managing Editor Nick Turse and me to publish three well-thought-out, well-edited articles weekly (I’m a manic editor!) from quite a remarkable set of writers. Those pieces are then reposted at publications across the Internet, reaching a surprisingly large number of eyes.
I have to admit that I’m proud of having put together such a crew of writers — initially from authors I worked with as a book editor in mainstream publishing like Chalmers Johnson and Noam Chomsky. At TomDispatch, you regularly read ex-military men like bestselling author Andrew Bacevich, historian William Astore, and author Rory Fanning; the superb Cost of War Project’s Stephanie Savell; war on terror expert Karen Greenberg; historian of American decline Alfred McCoy; Foreign Policy in Focus columnist (and Dispatch Books novelist) John Feffer; Pentagon experts William Hartung and Mandy Smithberger; chronicler of Trumpian wealth Nomi Prins; former Boston Globe columnist James Carroll; drone expert Allegra Harpootlian; military and energy specialist Michael Klare; former New York Times sports columnist Robert Lipsyte; TomDispatch favorites like Frida Berrigan, Rebecca Gordon, Ann Jones, and Rajan Menon — and that’s anything but a complete list even for the first half of 2019! Oh, and don’t let me forget Nick Turse whose superb work, ranging from first-person war coverage to an illuminating look at American bases globally, is a wonder to behold.
Don’t forget our publishing program with Haymarket Books either. I already have two more books — from Alfred McCoy and Rebecca Gordon — under contract for 2020! I won’t give away their topics yet, but one day they’ll go proudly on a bookshelf with my own A Nation Unmade by War; Beverly Gologorsky’s moving novel about working-class families caught in the vortex of the Great Recession, Every Body Has a Story; and our newest book, Frostlands, volume two of John Feffer’s gripping Splinterlands series of dystopian novels, among other Dispatch Books.
At a moment when Donald Trump’s face is often on screen night and day, I think the world still needs some of the real news TomDispatch offers so regularly. All of which adds up to one thing: should you find yourself with a few extra bucks and feel in a supportive mood, please visit our donation page and think about what you might give. If you’re feeling particularly supportive, you can even sign on as a “recurring” monthly or quarterly donor. As always, we have quite a range of signed, personalized books on offer, including John Feffer’s new volume, in return for a donation of $100 or more ($125 if you live outside the United States).
I see every contribution that comes in to TomDispatch, so I know who you are. I only wish I could truly express my appreciation to each one of you individually. Unfortunately, if this 75 year old lacks one thing, it’s time. Still, whenever notice of a donation comes in, it’s always a thrill. So I can’t thank those of you enough who have contributed already or are going to do so soon. You mean the world to me! Truly.
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