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    Folks, I come before you today to tell you that I have fallen into a deep and dark well, a valley of darkness and despair – a hole, if you will.  Yes I, like so many others around me, have decided that I am part of a marginalized group.  And why, you might ask, would I want to wallow around and break myself upon the shoals of discontent and oppression?  Very simple: I did not choose the marginalized life – the marginalized life chose me.

    Alternately, I’ve seen that Joe Biden loves to give money to marginalized people, and I’m reaching out to get some of that sweet, sweet pity money.

    Joe Biden, the President who shuts down pipelines but makes up for it by giving away free gas – just ask Camilla Bowles – announced the other day that the U.S. is going to be providing funding for media outlets around the world, ostensibly to promote the furtherance of free speech.  It’s part of the Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal.  In short, the administration plans to give millions and millions of dollars to an organization called the International Fund for Public Interest Media, which in no way sounds like the kind of group that would funnel money into individual pockets rather than do what it claims to do.  But I digress.

    The stated goal here is to commit “critical seed money” to the fund to help foster America’s commitment to “sustain independent media around the world – including those led by and giving voice to women and other marginalized groups.”  Which sounds delightful, and is the reason I’ve decided to become a marginalized media personality myself.  Also, since the fund is expressly aimed at foreign media, I’ve decided to change my name.  Paco Prather has a nice ring to it ¿si?

    Folks, no matter how useful a vehicle is, you’ve always got to check to see who’s behind the wheel.  If Joe Biden was a man of honor – and if his administration were anything other than a pack of rabid wolves – then I might actually look at this as a step in the right direction.  Supporting independent journalism around the world sounds like a good idea because in some ways, it is a good idea.  Whether you’re an interventionalist or a non-interventionalist, I think most of us can agree that spreading free speech throughout the world is inherently a good thing.  Those countries whom we all regard as the world’s most dangerous generally are that way in large part because they have a tendency to smother free speech with a pillow and then shoot a gun through the pillow.  

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    But here’s my prediction.  It doesn’t take a great sage throwing chicken bones on the table to suggest that if we follow the money, we’re apt to see corruption.  And by the way, garden variety corruption where people are sticking their fat hands into the till is the least bad scenario if this thing’s dirty.  What’s far worse – and unfortunately far more likely – is that this money will be going to journalism, but in the top-down-control sort of way.  If this administration can control international narratives half as well as they control the narrative here at home, we’ve got a bigger problem on our hands.  Joe Biden might not be able to put a word together on a Scrabble board to save his life, but his administration isn’t entirely shot through with incompetence.  There are people within who understand the game, know how to play it, and will be ruthless in their approach to keeping their side of the aisle in power.  

    All of that being said, this is Paco Prather, with the fingers of one hand on the pulse of world politics, and the fingers of the other hand reaching for that check, Joe!