An Open Letter to Debbie Lusignan
I hope you do not mind me writing you in this way, but I have been watching your YouTube channel for a long time, and wanted to connect with you. You and I have laughed together. We have gotten angry together. We have cried together. So though this letter might contain some points of contention, they are not presented in anger, or hate. They are presented with love.
Let's face it, all progressive media voices are on an island, surrounded by a sea of shit. Cracks started to form long ago, designating divisions between us, but unfortunately too many focused on Bernie Sanders (the personality) rather than the platform he espoused, so when he was gone we lost our focus, and those cracks became deeper. Eventually we all split off into our own groups, or we went back to sleep. Three cheers for those of us who can still be bothered to give a shit, like you, and like Real Progressives.
I am writing this to you, because I now see our camps drifitng apart. We're not just divided, we can't even hear each other any more. We've regressed to fighting directly against each other, and we need each other.
Each group has certain things that they talk about. Also, each group has their main focus, and other issues that are discussed on a secondary or even tertiary level. Also, we all have our subjects which we tend to avoid. That may be more than inevitable; it may be a blessing in disguise. With so many rabbit holes, it's really hard to not get lost. We all have to pick our battles, and pick them wisely.
But the difference comes when we start undermining each other's main focus.
As someone who has been bullied, I do not condone bullying. If anyone has bullied you about MMT, or even trolled you heavily about it, then I'm truly sorry for that. That embarrasses me, just like I'm sure it embarrasses you that some of your subscribers come here to make trouble. But there's one thing I would like to say to you, and that is that we view MMT as simply the answer to the next in a long line of mainstream narratives that are weaponized lies. You are no stranger to these. In fact you pride yourself, with good reason, on your ability to sniff out mainstream lies designed to keep people blind and powerless.
Please remember when you were in Philadelphia, and Bernie Sanders walked by the bus stop where you were. You trolled him about election fraud (quite well, I might add), and the reason why was not because you wanted him to have a lousy day, but because he needed to know that people who supported him viewed election fraud as an extremely important subject, and that we needed him to acknowledge that it at least existed. He turned his back and kept walking.
We feel like you likely felt that day. We know that, because we felt it with you. That is why you likely see the hashtag #LearnMMT in comments for your livestreams. I totally see how you might resent that. You are independent and headstrong, and that's one of the reasons why people respect you enough to listen to you. You don't necessarily need anyone telling you to investigate things.
I literally learned about Eva Bartlett and Madelyn Hoffman from you. I had always had my suspicions about Syria, based on patterns seen in other places like Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan, but it was you who lifted up your laptop and proved it to me. Before, when I saw news stories about the 'civil war' in Syria, I was left with deeply troubling doubts, worries, and fears, but with no way to see through them. Afterward, you empowered me with real information to deflect the bullshit. Any time I heard an MSM pundit talk about civil war in Syria I knew, immediately, that what was about to follow was a lie. That lie, if left undetected, would hurt me. Knowing the truth still hurts, but it hurts much, much less than ignorance, or worse yet, knowing a lie.
...Even though seeing through that lie often means you'll be targeted.
Those who can see through the mainstream narrative about Syria are sometimes seen as a cult. They are The cult of Tulsi Gabbard.
Those who can see through the illusion maintained about our economy are seen as the cult of MMT.
But NONE of us are cults. If we are, then we're the cults of easily verifiable information. We're the cults of those who can be bothered to investigate something using empirical, scientific observation. The lies are designed to inflict injury, and knowledge of their true meaning and purpose protect us from those wounds.
That's why I feel like I owe you a debt. I learned an important lesson about hero worship after Bernie Sanders, so I am very careful to use the term these days, but you are my hero, because you empowered and protected me with valuable, real information from people who knew better — people with zero vested interest in mainstream media narratives designed to perpetuate and legitimize the US's brutal presence in the Middle East.
But Bill Mitchell, Warren Mosler, Joe Firestone, and Steve Grumbine are also my heroes, for the exact same reason. They empower me with real scientific observations that are repeatable and verifiable, and shine light on lies told to me to legitimize and perpetuate austerity. Before, when I heard arguments on the news about how we needed to borrow money from China, something made my lie-dar go off, but I couldn't isolate the cause of that unsettling feeling. My MMT heroes, whom I cherish every bit as much as Madelyn Hoffman, Eva Bartlett, or you, allow me to deflect the bullshit narrative about how the definition of a monetarily sovereign nation somehow doesn't apply to the US.
We simply do not need to hold fundraisers to spend in Congress. This is the reason why we don't see commercials for people standing in front of huge thermometers that they slowly fill with a red magic marker, as the tax dollars to buy the jet roll in. It's not "Jerry's Jets", it's "Jerry's Kids". Can you imagine if those were swapped? How awesome would that be, if the Pentagon had to hold a bake sale to buy their stealth jet, while kids were just taken care of, no questions asked? Humanistic budgeting in Congress is important, but the key to truly healing our economy is to allow it to grow; using the knowledge that we have more control over it than some would like us to believe.
And yet, MMT is dismissed.
When Bernie Sanders first announced he was running, the mainstream media completely ignored him for months. When they finally had to deal with him, they brought him on under protest, with resentment. Worse, they only did it to skewer him, and make him look bad. That's not what you did; you had Steve on your show a long time ago, but even after that, you seemed to have had him on, let him talk, and then dismissed him. You - in essence - said "Yes, MMT is a thing, but I'm still dismissing it." The diminishing, demoralizing effects were the same.
It might be seen as silly to talk about MMT, when we can't vote in anybody who could espouse that knowledge base in office, because our election system is broken. While this is true, where would you rather thwart voters, at the voting booth, or at home? How many voters die of starvation or inability to afford heath care right now in the US, before they are even old enough to vote?
No, I can't do anything about those things by myself, any more than you can keep the 1% from rigging the vote. We can't use our broken election system to elect anyone who espouses MMT, but we also can't use our broken election system to elect anyone who is against perpetuated war in the Middle East, or in favor of investing in our election integrity, either.
But that doesn't stop us from talking about Syria as a serious subject, and that's great. But why is MMT any different?
Everything is impossible, because of something else. That's why we all need to work together, in our own way, on our own things. The only time when NOTHING is impossible is when we all come together in agreement. I hope that happens one day. I believe that it can.
But, in the meantime, we have got to stop undermining each other, because that's hurting all of us as a movement. All of us have great ideas; but MMT provides not only a plan, but a means to achieve it. It will not be easy, but we can accomplish great things if we keep going in the right direction, and part of that means accumulating as much accurate information as possible, and sharing it with as many people as possible. The bottom line is that if you care about people, you don't want them being lied to, and consequently being hurt by those lies.
I would like to once again offer a sincere apology if you have been disrespected by anyone espousing MMT in a condescending or snide way. But please, do not let that color your approach to the subject of MMT, or your respect for it in general.
A great deal of what we all talk about is overlap. You do not have to talk about MMT, but please just be respectful of it. You may think it's ridiculous to even compare MMT with things like election integrity, but please remember that mainstream lies about election integrity promote austerity in the same way that mainstream lies about our economy do. "We only have a little bit of election integrity to go around, so we're just going to have to make the best with what we have." Richard Charnin, Lulu Fries-Dat, and Bev Harris are our heroes in that they blew this narrative way out of the water. It is an utterly ridiculous idea, and we are better than that.
"We only have a little bit of tax money to pay for things, so some people are going to have to starve...Some people are going to have to die because they can't afford basic healthcare." That is another facet of the same illusion, going back to the lie that our budget resources are limited by our current tax pool. MMT is just another pair of glasses we can use, to see through some of the illusions laid out before us. The root target is basic human rights.
And arguably the root cause of all of them is our economy. Income equality has gotten so bad that corporations have simply bought all of our rights away. Poverty (and the ever-present threat of it) is the weakening factor that threatens all of us, and poverty of information is just as dangerous. That's why we all need to work together to educate. An educated popululation is a more aware polulation, and that in itself is worth the ticket price, no matter what the final reckoning.
The main intent of this message is not to try to change your mind about MMT, but to present it in a different way, for your consideration. From this new perspective, perhaps you might change your own mind — perhaps not — but I will have fulfilled my responsibility to our community to at least try. And maybe you will at least keep the ideas inherent in MMT in the back of your mind, and maybe even work them into your worldview one day.
Thank you for your time,