Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press

A Change in Direction

A Change in Direction
Photo by Clay Banks / Unsplash

First I'd like to apologize to anyone who has taken the time to subscribe to our newsletter for the long gap since our last article was published. I really tried to keep up, but once the holidays hit I really got swamped with other work that needed to be done, and then as time drew on it got easier to keep pushing this project off. I know now that we can not expect to be able to be a source of current events reporting as a general rule, and so we're going to take the project in another direction which hopefully will still appeal to the readers we have gained thus far. I wanted to outline the reasoning and plans going forward here for transparency sake. I will explain what I have found to be difficult about current events here because it's actually something I may revisit in a different format down the road.

The struggle with current events

This is actually a multifaceted problem. When I started this project my intention was to present knowledge I gleaned while doing research that I already do as a matter of wanting to be informed in a free and independent way with no corporate or political party interests behind our reporting. I agree with a lot of what I have read of Thomas Jefferson's thinking when it comes to liberty, the role of government, and the problems with the media. I wanted the Jeffersonian Report to be a source of information for people who think along similar lines but maybe don't have the time to spend hours every week trying to grapple with the propaganda filled programming of the corporate media.

In addition to doing this for the day to day national and international headlines, I really wanted to put a bit of focus in local news as well. I think one problem in our country these days is many of us are too focused on the national and international stages. While this is certainly important, I think our daily lives are more greatly affected by what is going on at the local, regional, and state level. What I found was that the national news cycle always demands attention, but it's generally easier to research and report on because there are a lot more primary sources I can leverage. However local news required a lot more work and while less noticeable is probably more important.

I started reporting on the Jefferson County Board of Education meetings which required several hours just to review the meeting videos which were released several days after the meeting had already taken place. Because the meetings were scheduled for a time that I work, and we were dealing with the pandemic, attendance was not an option to me. I was also archiving the videos on the fediverse which ran up my hosting costs a little bit. I would love to keep doing this because I don't think YouTube is an appropriate place to store public records of local events, but I can not afford to indefinitely increase the cost of my hosting package to store videos that may never be watched again. Maybe in the future I'll have the capacity to lobby our local government to host their own data instead of sending everything to Google, Microsoft, and whichever other SaaS providers they've contracted with.

What I found when I started reporting on the Board of Education is that we all need to pay more attention to what is going on in our local political environment. There are a lot of decisions being made that seem not to take the desires of the citizens into consideration. What I saw was an opaque and dishonest local government, and I only ever got to put my attention on one agency. I also found that it is much too large for me to do in my spare time, especially if I wanted to be able to report on anything but that.

I want to stress that I think following along with current events is really important, even though most of the daily news is not relevant to our lives. I think culture is like a stream, and knowing which way the current is headed gives you a chance to reflect on the destination and decide if you want to make changes in your own life to maybe improve your own experience. I believe the current is headed down a very dangerous path, and if we're not careful we're likely to get dashed against the rocks in the years ahead. With the world almost at the brink of war, the value of the dollar severely diminished, our waning position as the preferred reserve currency for trade around the world, and the cultural upheaval we are facing at home, (not to mention almost 2 and a half years of government overreach) the future is starting to look somewhat bleak. Food processing and fertilizer facilities are going up in flames all over the country right as we see 40% of the worlds grain being locked out of trade or destroyed due to the conflict in Ukraine. The cost of energy is rising with no real indication it will be slowing any time soon, and governments around the world seem to be tightening their grip around the rights of the people. I could go on and on, and perhaps I will in a future article, but the point is there is a lot of stuff going on in the world, and it would be ill advised to put our heads in the sand and pretend everything outside of our own county or state is irrelevant.

The problem is that while I'd love to be able to write about it all, the news cycle moves much too quickly for me to be able to keep up, and the best I can really offer is more of a deconstruction of existing media claims rather than provide new information. This I think may be done better in a podcast format, such as the NoAgenda Show, which airs live on Thursdays and Sundays, as you can move through the material a lot more freely and use clips to catch people up who may not have seen or heard the same reports already. This is something I am considering doing as I do think it's important.

What's next

What we are going to work on here moving forward is going to be more diverse. I think there is utility in the fediverse and microblogging as a way of sharing important news that people should see. I ask anyone who would like to keep up with current events that I find interesting sign up on charlestown.social because it's definitely the easiest way to communicate and be sure that no one will be able to censor. I am the administrator of the site, and I am familiar with several other admins which we are federating with.  On here, our article focus is going to shift a little bit. I won't be able to keep up with the School Board or local politics with any consistency for now, but maybe a parent or another local citizen with a little more time on their hands can volunteer to try and report on these issues. I will also go ahead and recommend buying The Spirit of Jefferson if you happen upon it in your travels as they tend to do a fairly decent job of informing people of the issues that affect us at home. This is something I would love to do, but if I can't do it well I think it's best to direct you to someone I think does.

I will be writing on topics that will probably vary quite a bit. This is because I have a lot of interests which I think tie in with my love of freedom. For example, I suspect I will discuss raising chickens, planting trees, gardening, and other things related to growing your own food. But I also will be spending some time getting nerdy and discussing things like big tech, using open source software, decentralized technologies like cryptocurrency and the fediverse, and how to improve your privacy online. Still there is a big part of me that thinks that politics at the end of the day is the best way to fix the wrongs we have created, and so there will continue to be a fair amount of political content on here, but it won't be the central theme.

One thing that will be a regularly recurring point in many a discussion on this site is the important of decentralization. This is a term that is used most often in the technical sphere, but I think it also applies quite well to our lives outside of computers. Many of the problems of today are the result of optimizations we've made under the assumption that "economies of scale" are limitless and always trend toward better efficiency. This has resulted in larger businesses and governments with more and more power accumulating in less and less hands. Decentralization is a strategy to prevent these power structures from being able to exert pressure in ways that are unfair and disadvantage a majority of people. Cryptocurrency is a big part of that which I will spend some time getting into later, but decentralization also has a place when we're discussing the physical world in a number of ways.

Another thing I plan to do is provide more federated internet services to the community. I have some work to do before I can get these things out to the public, and I'll use this site as a way to share my thoughts and progress. I would like to provide a full set of social media tools that aren't tied to any corporate interests. Some of the services I'd like to provide are a way for people to schedule events locally, a market place, a way to share reviews about local businesses, and a way for local businesses to reach out to the people of our community. Some of this can be done loosely through charlestown.social today, but there are other software products that can be integrated into the same network which I will cover in future articles. If anyone from the community is interested in investing time, energy, or money in this adventure, join charlestown.social and reach out, or consider donating to help offset some of the costs which are currently coming out of my own personal funds. Also if you know of anyone who might be interested in following along, please feel free to share a link to friends and family.

I think the direction we are going to take is an exciting one. I know it isn't what I originally planned, but I think this is the right way to go. I hope not only to show you the authoritarian's behind the curtain but how to make changes to your own life that help insulate you from the chaos they seem intent to sow on the population of the world. I hope I can be an instrument in your path to greater independence.

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Jamie Larson