Help Us Keep the Archive Free, Accessible, and Reader Private

The Web Needs a MemoryThe history of libraries is one of loss.  The Library of Alexandria is best known for its disappearance.

Libraries like ours are susceptible to different fault lines:

Earthquakes,

Legal regimes,

Institutional failure.

So this year, we have set a new goal: to create a copy of Internet Archive’s digital collections in another country. We are building the Internet Archive of Canada because, to quote our friends at LOCKSS, “lots of copies keep stuff safe.” This project will cost millions. So this is the one time of the year I will ask you: please make a tax-deductible donation to help make sure the Internet Archive lasts forever. (FAQ on this effort).

On November 9th in America, we woke up to a new administration promising radical change. It was a firm reminder that institutions like ours, built for the long-term, need to design for change.

For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible. It means preparing for a Web that may face greater restrictions.

It means serving patrons in a world in which government surveillance is not going away; indeed it looks like it will increase.

Throughout history, libraries have fought against terrible violations of privacy—where people have been rounded up simply for what they read.  At the Internet Archive, we are fighting to protect our readers’ privacy in the digital world.

We can do this because we are independent, thanks to broad support from many of you. The Internet Archive is a non-profit library built on trust. Our mission: to give everyone access to all knowledge, forever. For free. The Internet Archive has only 150 staff but runs one of the top-250 websites in the world. Reader privacy is very important to us, so we don’t accept ads that track your behavior.  We don’t even collect your IP address. But we still need to pay for the increasing costs of servers, staff and rent.

You may not know this, but your support for the Internet Archive makes more than 3 million e-books available for free to millions of Open Library patrons around the world.

Your support has fueled the work of journalists who used our Political TV Ad Archive in their fact-checking of candidates’ claims.

It keeps the Wayback Machine going, saving 300 million Web pages each week, so no one will ever be able to change the past just because there is no digital record of it. The Web needs a memory, the ability to look back.

If you find our work has been useful to you, please take a minute to donate whatever you can afford today. Help ensure the Internet Archive lasts forever.  I promise you—It will be money well spent.

263 thoughts on “Help Us Keep the Archive Free, Accessible, and Reader Private

  1. tzigi

    Dear archive.org
    I have just received your email – probably because I have contributed to your maintenance before. I promptly proceeded to donate – not much but as much as I can afford (I live in Eastern Europe and am a low paid Doctoral Candidate so 1 USD – the amount I wanted to donate – is the cost of food for one day) and I was greeted by a disgusting pop-up implying that my donation was below a minimum amount and that I might be trying to test a stolen card.
    Thank you very much for being so nice and considerate towards a person who decided to forgo food for a day to contribute to your cause.

    1. Yvan B.

      Hey, I am not affiliated with the Internet Archive, and I don’t know the specifics of the implementation they use for donations, but this is a very common practice for organizations that solicit donations. This is for their legal protection, and declining small value transactions is harmful to non-profits, but not as harmful as costly litigation to defend themselves or the risk of losing access to their fundraising platforms due to fraudulent transactions.

      I am going to make a contribution to the Internet Archive shortly, and will increase my donation by 10 USD to ensure that your intent was met, and out of appreciation for the effort, even though it didn’t work out for you.

    2. Chris

      I’m sorry that happened to you, tzigi. You tried to do a very generous thing.

      I’m sure this is a situation where a large volume of small fraudulent donations would incur high transaction costs for archive.org.

      I’m lucky enough to live in the US and have a high income. I will donate one average day of my food costs, and double it in your honor.

    3. Jonathan Howard

      First of all I’m sorry this happened to you. Second, to be fair this *is* a common credit card scam tactic: test if the info you stole works with $1 somewhere it wouldn’t raise eyebrows, like an online donation drive. If so, make a huge purchase.

    4. Tim Bennett

      Tzigi: low donations to non profits is one way criminals verify that stolen cards work, without alerting the owners or banks. It’s sadly a necessary restriction to help prevent card fraud. I’ll donate a dollar for you.

    5. Marcos

      PayPal and other companies that receive money for transactions or donations have a policy of higher amounts than a dollar for what they already told you, that popup doesn’t have anything to do with the internet archive. Theres lots of problems online with fake and stolen cards so try to understand why those companies have policies like that. If you can’t donate don’t worry but don’t make and issue for something that is standard procedure online.

      1. Stella

        Wikie, Bless your heart with your reply and I will donate extra for Tzigi too!!

        In American things shall drastically change and not for the good of the people at the bottom and trying to make ends meet. Listen American this site is a fundamental right for us to have to keep facts and information running to each and everyone of us!!
        Don’t be blind because the “draining of the swamp” is the little people, the disenfranchised and trodden on.
        We are not the hedge fund gazillion heirs with silver spoons so lets never forget that what we heard in this past US election was a bunch of well fed lies to desperate ears and hearts!! On both side yes, but, Trump is a man that you must read what he says carefully and then twice again just to make sure you’re not crazy. He said what we wanted to hear during the campaign, but truth be told, it is not true. Watch and learn, a tyrant too will rule American and he will stop the Internet if it stops his agenda.
        People donate what you can and report and write what you see!! Everything from ALL types of discrimination to misogyny and the freedom of social rights, EVERY ONES RIGHTS!! Write about it and report it on paper in a file and keep either blogging/posting on social media and acquiring facts with this new administration coming in. If you fear nothing, then do not be angry about my post, but if you’re concerned then take a diplomatic approach and make sure our rights in the USA continue!! If my post offends anyone, I’m not sorry because the Internet and journalistic reporting must continue for the world to see!! Keep writing and speak UP!!
        FREDDOM OF SPEECH AND PRESS!!

    6. orly

      Hi,

      While I’m not affiliated with the Internet Archive, I’m sorry to hear about your experience. You should try bitcoin, which is a peer-to-peer payment system where no payment processors will interfere with and/or take a cut of your transactions. The Internet Archive accepts bitcoin donations.

    7. AJPlotke

      I’m sorry you got caught in this, particularly whilst doing a Very Kind Thing.

      I too will chip in on your behalf. We PhD’s have to stick together.

      1. Francoise Vulpe

        Yey PhDs! We have a few of these creatures in our family. Hard workers they are, and the keepers of original thought.

    8. JDB

      tzigi,
      I was originally intending on donating $24, which was an hour of tips tonight where I bartend. Instead I will donate two hours worth in your honor. I am sorry you had this experience.

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  3. kolu bat

    @tzigi: I suspect that the Internet Archive values your donation, and it’s a card payment processing company that puts that restriction there. They are often fussy about things. Perhaps?

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  9. Manuela G. Sampson

    Why are you building an “Internet Archive Canada” and not, say, an “Internet Archive Switzerland”? Or some other country in Europe? It adds more redundancy but unfortunately it increases travel time between datacenters. Also, it would be nice if you can provide torrents or direct downloads of parts of the Archive (such as an eBooks Torrent, an eBooks A-E Torrent, etc.) so others can help by ensuring that at least this data remains, even though it will not be searchable / queryable via your website.

    1. Wendy Hanamura

      Hi Manuela,
      Great minds think alike! We offer all texts in many formats, including Torrents. So go for it across 9 million texts and 3 million e-books.

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    1. Osvaldo

      The simplest way to do this, without incorporating in Canada, might be to convince the Government of Canada to donate money (in any amount): http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/plcy/cgd/cg-023-eng.html

      The Archive would then have to show that it “carries on activities in the national interest of Canada” such as “the promotion or protection of Canadian values”. That should be easy enough: they provide various historical government documents for example.

    2. Jan Normandale

      Agreed. Meantime I’m going to make an ‘initial’ donation as an incentive to investigate getting a charitable status in Canada.

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  22. Librarian

    tzigi,

    I added a dollar to my donation for you. Please don’t be unhappy with Internet Archive. Credit card vendors get weird.

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  25. Thomas

    What has the new administration proposed they’ll do to the Archive?
    Forgive me if the question sounds asinine but I need help understanding what’s going to happen. Saying ‘radical change’ just makes me skeptical.

    1. William T

      Thomas, just in case you’ve not heard, the president-elect and his spokespeople are literally every day making statements threatening constitutional rights such as freedom of speech, civil liberties, etc. That is a radical change from previous presidents.

      Most likely Trump has never heard of the internet archive, but it is certainly prudent to prepare for the possibility that the new administration will oneday make some “proposal” that would impact on it. Obviously it will be too late to do anything about it after they’ve taken action, if the worst does happen. Hence the analogies to Alexandra etc.

    2. Anon

      Nothing whatsoever. But whenever a Republican gets elected people like to start freakouts to raise money.

    3. int19h

      There haven’t been any specific proposals yet, but some of the rhetoric is unnerving. E.g. this is from a Trump speech last year:

      “We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that internet up in some ways. Somebody will say, ‘Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.’ These are foolish people.”

      Then there was this:

      “One of the things I’m going to do if I win, and I hope we do and we’re certainly leading. I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re going to open up those libel laws. So when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected”

      (this would potentially apply to the Archive if it stores copies of the affected articles)

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  27. Some Guy

    It’s good that IA is finally getting some redundancy. It’s also kind of funny (and sad), after all the post-election “I’m moving to Canada” jokes that our digital heritage actually does have to move to Canada to protect itself.

  28. Tony T.

    You wrote that “It keeps the Wayback Machine going, saving 300 million Web pages each week, so no one will ever be able to change the past just because there is no digital record of it. ” However, doesn’t the Wayback Machine currently apply robots.txt retroactively, meaning that anyone who currently controls a website can make the Internet Archive delete everything about the website from the past? Website domain names tend to change hands over time; how do you prevent digital records from being destroyed this way? Thank you.

    1. Ivan Boothe

      Tony,

      You’re correct. The current IA policy is to allow the current owner of a domain to use their robots.txt file to remove current AND past archives.

      Policy:

      http://www2.sims.berkeley.edu/research/conferences/aps/removal-policy.html

      Discussion (there have been many):

      https://archive.org/post/1019415/retroactive-robotstxt-removal-of-past-crawls-aka-oakland-archive-policy

      I agree that this kind of torpedoes their argument that the Wayback Machine ensures “no one will ever be able to change the past.” I don’t know why they continue to maintain this policy, but I suspect that because they get critical funding from some big companies — and big companies are indeed interested in changing, or at least hiding, the past — they’re financially constrained from doing the right thing.

      I wish they’d come out and say it, though. I bet the EFF would go to bat for them, and the publicity would certainly generate even more donations.

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  50. Lugalle

    This is ridiculous. Canada does not have the First Amendment, and although it has similar protections, they are less extensive and Canada has plenty censorship laws.

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    1. greenfield

      Agree that some places in Canada have cheaper land and electricity than others. Ontario and Vancouver BC would be extremely expensive for the archive and its donors, staff and users.

    2. Francoise Vulpe

      Cheap electricity because it’s not privately owned. If only our weasels in Ontario would do the same.

      As for the Internet Archive preparing for a catastrophe that may never happen, tell me when NOT buying insurance is a good thing. Yes, it can be perceived as a waste of money, but suddenly it’s worth every penny when you need it. And you never know when that will happen…maybe soon…. maybe later…

      Having said that, I will be making a donation next week, when I get my paycheck. On a week to week income am I. And I think you are all an incredible bunch of people. From tzigi’s dilemma, manifold than she would have donated has been contributed.

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  88. Myra Lgu,

    LOL, left wing people believe their own nonsensical fear-mongering, I guess. At least these people are actually moving.
    Nah, I don’t believe it, sounds like a publicity stunt. Maybe they’ll rent a server in Canada. No way they really move.

    Great service and keep up the great work, I hope trump doesn’t chase you with sticks.

    1. Jpl

      Have you mentally ill weirdos infected like every single website on the internet?

      Everyone else is discussing funding and the preservation of information through redundancy and, out of nowhere, you pop off with some pseudo-political garbage that isn’t even relevant to the subject, one that shows a stark lack of understanding, I might add.

      Please at least try to stay on topic and try to realise that politics can and do impact such services. Please also recognize that Trump is no friend of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, net neutrality, or libel laws, although he has no problem exploiting such protections for his own benefits.

      This archive service provides an important function in our digital world, rather than hate mongering, perhaps you should donate instead?

      1. John

        JPL, Have you mentally ill weirdos infected like every single website on the internet?

        Everyone else is discussing funding and the preservation of information through redundancy and, out of nowhere, you pop off with some pseudo-political garbage that isn’t even relevant to the subject, one that shows a stark lack of understanding, I might add.

        Please take your ultra-political claims of ‘hate mongering’ somewhere appropriate. This archive is a vital part of society, and I think you should be donating rather than calling anyone who doesn’t support your moral panic a hate monger.

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    1. If the shoe fits

      Is it really partisan if their concerns are deeply rooted in reality, and those concerns, based on the facts at hand, stand to effect the majority on both sides of the political spectrum?

    2. World citizen

      For a minority of US citizens, perhaps — for the great majority of the world’s population, it’s common sense and entirely in line with the IA’s mission.

      Also, you spelled “never a donor” wrong.

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  98. NormIA

    The concern for physical damage due to earthquake is very realistic in California, and of greater importance than the legal concern. A real backup is well warranted. Tell us about site selection. I hope you go east of the Rockies. And if a third country wanted to join i am sure you would help. I will donate as much as I donated to Gary Johnson. Your hosting of Librivox.org archives is most appreciated!

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  111. also not a donor now

    The political spin surrounding this move, which I have not heard the I.A. comment upon, strongly discourages me from repeating past donations. I will not repeat my past donations this year unless I.A. clearly states whether or not the “off-putting” political partisanship reflects the institution’s own policies. A simple denial would suffice for me.

    I look forward to contributing in the future.

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  114. not a donor now either

    I’m betting there isn’t one Republican or Trump voter in your weekly staff meetings. Let’s see… 501(c)(3) that works off donations? What are the chances?!

    While backups are always a great idea, the political message is not wise nor particularly welcome. This raises serious questions about the management of the organization.

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  129. Andrew

    Hey, I definitely want to support your expansion plans to Canada! As a Canadian I’m proud to be part of a country that tries to do things a bit better, despite being so close to and influenced by the US.

    But whenever I see an organization touting its “tax deductible” status I always (and almost always rightly) assume that they mean tax deductible in the USA. With very few exceptions, Canadians can only deduct donations made to Canadian organizations.

    Personally I don’t care too much about tax deductions for things I believe in, but considering that you’re moving to Canada and a lot of Canadians will want to help you out, please consider doing the following:

    – Set up a Canadian organization to take donations. – You’ll need some kind of charity or non-profit corporate status here in Canada anyway to conduct your work here.

    – Accept donations in Canadian dollars. It’s expensive to buy USD with CAD right now, and banks and CC companies always want their cut when changing currencies. Why not set up a Canadian bank account and let us donate in the currency you’ll actually need when running your business here?

    Anyway, I highly support your initiative, but wish that the marketing felt a bit more globally-minded.

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  132. SalM

    How many 42U server cabinets do you need and how much electrical power for your servers? How much network bandwidth?

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  134. ark

    Could the internet archive work on a distributed backup using something lile ipfs oe morph.is so the library can live around the world?

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  137. Laura Blanchard

    Well said. I’ve donated my pittance in USD. Other readers’ comments about making donations more convenient for Canadians are also well-said. Although I realize that setting up a Canadian charity as a counterpart takes time, it’s a good idea if you want Canadian support for the expansion of your Canadian footprint..

    1. Bill Scoot

      No, the Americans will need to fund the Canadian version. Americans always have to stand on-guard for Canada.

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  144. reality > politics

    Regardless of your political beliefs, the Internet Archive is a internet treasure and deserves support and the benefit it provides is non-partisan and equal for all. Anyone who’s no longer donating because of some perceived political agenda is being too sensitive. It sounds like this was a long-overdue project and the election only spurred it. I’m putting my money where my mouth is and donating $10 to this great public service.

  145. Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

    You need to get the rich silicone valley guys or gals to fund your project. A few million $$ for the project is nothing to them. Name it after them.

    Most of your archivists don’t have much $ to give. Archivists many times do it for love and not for $. Take myself. When I go to NYC to shoot some pix that may go on the archive I camp out in Jersey City. It cost $55 a day to pitch your tent or $65 a day to sleep in your vehicle. That is the only way I can afford to go to NYC.

    https://danielteolijr.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/campsite-jersey-city-2016-daniel-d-teoli-jr.jpg

    It is very costly to travel nowadays to get photos and any spare $ I may have goes to getting the photo. If I’m on the road I can barley afford gas, toll roads and some peanut butter sandwiches. I never stay in motels, I boondock at truck stops, casino parking lots, hospital parking lots, rest stops, Wal-Mart and such. I bath in gas station bathrooms.

    You don’t make much (is any) $ as a social documentary photog unless your very famous. When you want $…you go to the bank. I’d advise you to hit up the rich people…that I where the $ is at. It take a variety of people to make a balanced whole. The rich can supply the $ and I can supply the photos in my area of expertise. That is what it boils down to.

    Good luck with your plans!

    https://archive.org/details/@danielteolijr

  146. Pingback: The Entire Internet Will Be Archived in Canada to Protect It from Trump | 20 Websites

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  148. Gwen Harris

    Some of the anti-Canadian tone to the comments put me off and I urge those commenting to be more polite. But I do realize that Internet Archive has preserved large amount of Canadian materials from websites and library digitization projects for which I have often been grateful in my own research. It makes eminently good sense to have a disaster plan – all responsible corporations and governments have one – and that plan usually includes redundancy and backup. I hope it all goes well for the Internet Archive. Please keep up the good work.

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  152. Mike

    Unfortunately Canada’s ‘hate’ laws would require the deletion of hundreds of thousands of books and other documents in the archive, not to mention the internet archive.

    I strongly support the redundancy, and am happy to see some implemented. Please choose a country that actually supports freedom of speech. Canada’s top judges have ruled that something being true is not a defense if stating the truth might encourage negative attitudes towards a group of people. To quote, “the truth is no defense”.

    Lastly, as a repeated long term donor, I am very disappointed to see you get political like this. You could have explained the value of redundancy without getting into American politics and attacking individuals supported by half of the US population. It is in bad taste. There are serious threats to freedom of speech in all major parties and stirring up political attacks like this makes it unpleasant to continue donating. I consider this work too important to ignore over politics and will likely donate again in the future, but this is not only unnecessarily destructive, but may also violate your non-profit status, as you are legally barred from political involvement. If you are really worried about this administration, violating the rules of your charitable status is not the best thing to do.

    1. Jean-Claude Guédon

      It is important to distinguish between preservation and exposure. A dark archive could take care of this detail while ensuring that the documents could be available where it is legally possible. The dark archive would expose the metadata only.

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  154. A Twenty Year Old Who Despises The Current Political System.

    Was thinking of donating for a change this year. Since I know actually have a card now. However with the recent news articles and the political band wagon the media is attempting to recover from. I cannot help but find that 1 or more words within this post seem. How can I put it? Biased? Truly I believe that this service is an utmost important one to the future, past and present. Except I personally despise with extreme prejudice politically powered campaigns that ride on the media’s hype train to nowhere. The word radical doesn’t belong in my opinion since it clearly leans in one direction descripting the future as present without any regards to waiting for analysis of history that has yet to happen. For example the “administration” is like any other the things they promise and say will end up being different once they take office in the FUTURE next year. I believe it would be in good interest to release a statement saying this was not because of the “Trumpling” as I like to call it but rather a realization that no matter how much one can expect “AKA the media thinking Hillary had it in the bag.” The outcome is always undecided until it ACTUALLY hits the ground. Take your time in taking in the media’s assumption of why you are doing this and fully flat out explain to them that this is not because you are SCARED of Trump but rather have awakened that you/everyone have become complacent and that change is needed for bettering of the Future. Basically what I am trying to say currently at this point in time you currently asking for donations and the media’s (I will still call them assumptions cause I think better of you) hype seems to have tarnished what you truly stand for. So until you fully state you stance in regards to all the news articles (Can they still be considered articles with how badly they have fallen or are they now ramblings of a sore loser?) as of late I will NOT be making a donation.

    1. A Twenty Year Old Who Despises The Current Political System.

      Don’t let the media use you in the own twisted manner. Take a stance and rebut them. Prove them wrong and clearly design your image to the new visitors from the articles and impress them.

  155. Peter Lowe

    Why is it important to keep it “Reader Private” (as in the article title? What does that actually mean?

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  162. Dianne

    I heard about this on Rachel Maddow MSNBC show. I have made a donation through my employer who will match my funds. Folks should check with their employer to see if they have matching charitable giving program.

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  184. PeterK

    The new Canadian government is looking to further expand its surveillance powers by requiring decryption capabilities for all services, mandatory storage of both internet and phone records for service providers, backdoors that allow interception, and warrantless access to basic subscriber information.
    http://bit.ly/2h2yM95http://bit.ly/2h2yM95+

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  190. John

    You guys should consider putting the Internet Archive backup in Nelson, BC.

    We’re remote, have 1000mbps municipal fibre, our own power grid, and a tech-friendly population. And we were THE place for American war resistors during Vietnam, so we have a long history of providing a safe space. It’s a great place to be if the shtf.

  191. elsewhere

    I will no longer donate, after 10+ years of $100/year, because of your anti-Trump rhetoric. Ask contributions from the Clinton Foundation and from all the wussified snowflakes.

  192. Pingback: Internet Archive Canada and National Security Letter in the news: roundup | Internet Archive Blogs

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  195. FU

    Because of Jason Scott I donated in the past. I won’t again though. You’re clearly staffed with the type of people ruining the world and, without people like me subsidizing you, you wouldn’t exist. I never looked for an accounting of costs but I wouldn’t be surprised if you were as wasteful as Wikipedia.

    Best of luck with the Bernie bros and Hildog supporters funding your nonsense.

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  204. Pingback: The Internet Archive just got a bit more useful — and a lot more political – The Tech News

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  209. Molly Tabachnikov

    I was referred to your site by a fellow writer who is researching for her upcoming novel. I was so impressed by what I read that I donated $30., intending it to be in the name of the writing group I belong to. Unfortunately, there was no provision for that. However, I intend to disseminate your URL to other writer friends of mine.

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  211. Bill Scoot

    Not interested. Any organization that fans the flames of the Alt-Left by invoking the “Trump” card (see what I did there?) won’t get any of my support.

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  214. Gregg G. Brown

    Why are you getting political? There’s zero reason to think that a new administration would shut you down. You are simply scaremongering to raise donations. It’s shameful! You are much more likely to be found i violation of Canada’s “hate speech” laws or fined for a Human Rights abuse by one of their arbitrary panels. Why don’t you scare-monger and raise funds off of that possibility? You sound like a bunch of goofy left-wing hacks who believe everything that drools out of the DNC.

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