Information Flows and Democracy

Henry Farrell and I published a paper on fixing American democracy: “Rechanneling Beliefs: How Information Flows Hinder or Help Democracy.”

It’s much easier for democratic stability to break down than most people realize, but this doesn’t mean we must despair over the future. It’s possible, though very difficult, to back away from our current situation towards one of greater democratic stability. This wouldn’t entail a restoration of a previous status quo. Instead, it would recognize that the status quo was less stable than it seemed, and a major source of the tensions that have started to unravel it. What we need is a dynamic stability, one that incorporates new forces into American democracy rather than trying to deny or quash them.

This paper is our attempt to explain what this might mean in practice. We start by analyzing the problem and explaining more precisely why a breakdown in public consensus harms democracy. We then look at how these beliefs are being undermined by three feedback loops, in which anti-democratic actions and anti-democratic beliefs feed on each other. Finally, we explain how these feedback loops might be redirected so as to sustain democracy rather than undermining it.

To be clear: redirecting these and other energies in more constructive ways presents enormous challenges, and any plausible success will at best be untidy and provisional. But, almost by definition, that’s true of any successful democratic reforms where people of different beliefs and values need to figure out how to coexist. Even when it’s working well, democracy is messy. Solutions to democratic breakdowns are going to be messy as well.

This is part of our series of papers looking at democracy as an information system. The first paper was “Common-Knowledge Attacks on Democracy.”

Posted on June 9, 2021 at 6:46 AM35 Comments


Winter June 9, 2021 7:27 AM

“It’s much easier for democratic stability to break down than most people realize, but this doesn’t mean we must despair over the future. ”

I do not see this as being about information flows.

One cause of the current situation is generally acknowledged to be the rampant rising inequality in the USA and elsewhere, and the feeling the next generation will be worse of. Just today there were reports of the USA billionaires dodging income taxes.

On the other side, Americans are fast to let “losers” fall beside the wayside. See the rust belts and the coal country. And this happens everywhere in the world.

If people feels others are not doing their part in keeping the country running, or that they are being left behind to fend for themselves many will decide to opt out of the current system.

jones June 9, 2021 7:42 AM

This is related to some observations by C Wright Mills about the managerialization of society.

In his view, the US was a “society of publics” in the late 1800’s, when most economic activity was characterized by an “anarchy of production.” In this “society of publics” newspapers proliferated and individuals shared information back and forth.

Beginning in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the US transformed into a “society of masses” where information flows only one way: at people. Simultaneously, the rise of industrial management techniques fundamentally changed the way business was conducted.

Today, this tend is intensified. In the 1990’s, Clinton’s FCC changed media consolidation rules, newspapers slimmed down and closed foreign bureaus, and after 2000, newspaper revenue plummeted further due to lost classified ad revenue.

So we now have a handful of foreign journalists writing for a handful of wire services, and these reports get refashioned for local papers, and then reiterated by bloggers who think they have their own opinion about what’s going on in the world.

Ross Snider June 9, 2021 10:07 AM

My apprehension is that any effort to “rechannel information flow”, especially a concerted effort by a domestic government, can or inevitably will lead to illiberal outcomes.

America is a country in which the same organizations run for office manage the election process (unlike essentially any other modern democracy). The outcome of this process is non-partisan use of gerrymandering, voter suppression laws, homestating, influence of primary processes, etc.

I’d like to understand how domestic information flows can be rechanneled without affecting America’s arguably already substantially decayed domestic liberal society.

Me June 9, 2021 1:16 PM


I started to read your article, and by the second paragraph the difference was apparent: “The move was not designed to overturn the re-election of President Bush”

echo June 9, 2021 4:53 PM

I don’t look to Bruce anymore for opinions. They’re a bit too Atlantic Council for me deleting my comment addressing Pentagon policy and the military capability, legal, and discrimination issues was one deletion I will never tolerate or forgive.

The papers themselves are okay but nothing I haven’t read before in one form or another or haven’t figured out for myself. I disagree with their language as it feeds into a masculine technochratic approach I disagree with.

There is a currently an intense far right attack on human rights ongoing in the UK funded by the US far right. It’s attacking key NGO’s, governance, and infrastructure, and media. The first paper touches on this kind of thing. The second paper kind of misses the information flow issue because it involves controlling and deleting the message flow. This is why these attacks have been crafted as they have. A number of judicial reviews have been mounted on both sides. So far they are losing in court but the intensity of court action is going up a few notches. You would think government would step in. In the EU this is indeed happening but in the UK? The government is positively enabling it.

While the UK lacks a modern written historically there have been the three pillars of the judiciary, government, and public. These exist in a tug of war. Historically parliament has been pluralistic but over time and increasingly so in modern times become more and more narrow. With regard to this and Council of Ministers resolutions (including binding and none binding) and European Court of Human Rights jurisprudence the issue of human rights and managing disruption caused by the integration of human rights issues is fairly clearly mapped out. There’s no major problem here as it can be regarded as settled law. And this is why an out of control UK government is so problematic in the UK.

The rot is so bad even The Atlantic has been captured with an extremely worrying puff piece on Johnson and an attack piece on Sturgeon. They could have been written by Tufton Street and the Heritage Foundation they were that bad. I’m not going to spend hours writing up a “Fisking” of either article but can categorically say to the point that I would swear under oath both pieces are based on a pack of lies and misdirection. It is the shabbiest of shabby journalism.

If Biden wants to experiment with feedback loops he could get the Equality Act passed and then lecture Johnson not only on his breaching of the NI agreement but also UK government attempts to evade the ICC and undermine the Brexit agreement with the EU with respect to dismantling human rights for ideological and trade profitability reasons.

AL June 9, 2021 8:05 PM

There are lots of problems undermining democracy. We have government lying, such as Vietnam, Iraq 2 and recently, the (not) wearing of masks, and a corporate media in lock stop with the government. Currently the media disinformation concerns the source of the pandemic, which is a jump ball, but which the media still identifies the lab leak hypothesis as “conspiracy” theory. The media is misleading about the deficits through omission. Yes, the government is “borrowing” but who are they borrowing from? They’re borrowing from the federal reserve, who prints the money and “lends” it to the government. It is nothing but a charade. I’m seeing reports on the resulting housing bubble that identifies all sources except the source causing the bubble, which is a lender at 0% interest because that lender can print the money.

So, with a useless media that omits and obfuscates, we’re wondering why Qanon gets legs?

And then lets look at the Republican party. Since 1965, after the passing of the Civil Rights act, the GOP embarked on something called the “southern strategy”. They started drawing these people in on cultural issues and saw them as useful idiots. Well, they are the GOP now, and people like Romney and Liz Cheney are outliers. What did they chant at Trump rallies – lock her up? And what did Putin do with Navalny – exactly that. These people want a Putin.

And lets talk about a great admirer of the Confederacy, Adolf Hitler. Hitler didn’t become dictator until the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act which said that anything Hitler wanted would be automatically approved by the Reichstag.
What did the GOP 2020 platform say – well, they threw out all the principles they used to stand for, and it said “the Republican party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-First agenda”, a sort of Enabling Act lite.

I think the notion that the GOP wants democracy needs to be thrown out the window. With a majority of the party now being the kinds of people recruited with the southern strategy, they do not. We’re not seeing all these confederate flags by accident.

And one more point – Trump was trying to undermine the legitimacy of the 2016 elections with this birth certificate nonsense. I think the problem is a lot bigger than stated.

Martin June 9, 2021 8:27 PM

The National Security Threat of Narcissism

Elisabeth Braw is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a columnist at Foreign Policy Magazine. She also frequently writes op-eds for the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and Politico.

Explores WHY people accept or reject information flows, from a consumer point of view, instead of the tired producer point of view.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons June 9, 2021 8:29 PM

Oh nice, a ready made thread…this ought be interesting.

9 June 2021 — How to Win Power and Influence People, Covertly
Conspiracies surrounding the U.S. government, Hollywood celebrities, democrats, liberals, secularists, atheists, Muslims, Buddhists, and non-anglo peoples is based on the ahistorical tome ‘Turning Points in American Evangelicalism’. It is nearly compatible, to the letter, with the QaNoN movement in the United States and globally.

Interestingly the identified founder of a movement based on a charismatic preacher that shares more than a coincidental relationship with the religious right’s most active and dangerous groups begin in the middle of the 19th century. Of the contemporary revivalist type entities, The Family Research Council and a number of its ancillary groups such as National Legal Foundation, Congressional Pray Caucus Foundation, and over six other religious political action groups (super PACs) have more than a toehold on the conservative movement and the political apparatus the GOP. Identifying the sympathetic power elites that are bought and paid for by these groups is not difficult. Accounting for monetary support directly has some pitfalls…

The Family Research Council uses a scorecard to rank those in power as to their compliance with the agenda of the organization. Additionally, the funding that goes through these organizations is quite opaque. Religious 501(C3) organizations are not required to file tax reports to the IRS. Checks written to organizations such as the Catholic Church for example, never disclose sources of revenue and thus if the Catholic Church engages in political movements or programs then the Church essentially acts as a money laundering operation for those that want to exercise covert politics that is unaccountable. The only record tying activity related to political action is if an individual or corporation deducts the fund as a charitable contribution. And even then it is difficult to establish that the money did indeed provide some sort of political support.

One must recognize the clear alignment between the religious institutions that benefit from such tax policies and their benefactors. This is how the GOP has weaponized religion, indoctrinated the followers, and has set into motion a movement that is purely anti-democratic. This is not a conspiracy, this is essentially how the power dynamic operates at the local, state, and federal level and is poised to slash the throats of the non-believers. By non-believer, I am say those that are either in opposition or unwilling to participate in this theocratic autocracy that is the ultimate goal.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons June 10, 2021 12:36 AM

Followup on the thread in a talk and book by Anne Nelson titled ‘Inside the Radical Right’s Shadow Network’ where she explains the fundamental about how a structural system of influence and political power leverages other organizations to move towards a hegemony that seeks to dominate the landscape, literally.

A talk covering the topic held by the Commonwealth Club on 1 June 2021 is available on the Tube of U’s:
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URL mangled for your pleasure

Winter June 10, 2021 1:42 AM

In another Squid blog post, @Clive posted this:
“In the US a tipping point had been crossed, life expectancy was going down, education levels were going down, living standards were going down and everything was being done on the cheap”

The first three are each enough to explain the current attacks on democracy in the USA. Decreasing life expectancy, education and living standards ALWAYS lead to “disturbances”.

Winter June 10, 2021 2:59 AM

Here is research that links conservative state politics to a decreasing life expectancy:

US State Policies, Politics, and Life Expectancy
ht tps://

McCulloch June 10, 2021 4:01 AM

America is a scam. Really is simple as that. Key is in simplicity always and our tax code is a perfect example how shitty and dumb humans can be. Especially with the simple idea of all we do is just sell each other on stuff.

“Everything’s been done before and we’ve hit a wall in physics”. Just thinkin how stale life really is and how humans just make up more shit to sell each other on. Real truth is in the simplicity of science.

Our best method of a healthy way of surviving this shitshow is based on the decision to become 100% self sufficient and rely on the grid 0%. Headlines wouldn’t affect you. Headlines wouldn’t make you want to SCREAM every morning. Good luck doing that in the UK. It is what it is and it’s only going to get worse. There’s far too much wrongdoing that’s going on in modern civilisation and I despair. We’re doomed. Fuc-k the love of money! Bring back the barter system.

“Hi I’d like to buy this plot of land for $1 million and then donate it and get a tax rebate for $6 million. Oh that works for you tax man? Great!” Meanwhile I donate over, with tax write off recommendations, $1500 worth of clothes, donations, and what not”. “You did not reach the threshold of donations for it to effect your tax return”. I donate 10% of might net worth and it doesn’t matter, while the rich “donate” millions of dollars, which is a lesser percent of their net worth and then they don’t have to pay taxes. Left or Right is not the enemy for you, trust me.

Of course they do this by several means. They have phoney art houses that sell phoney art that sold by auctions to phoney people. Just because a person says the art is worth something. If they pay a couple bribes to an insurance company and get it insured for a couple of million they have a painting worth a millions of dollars. Other ways they hide wealth is set up charities and get a salary. They can use the charities for all kinds of purposes such as tax right offs. The rich do things such as buy a company vehicle to drive backand forth to work. They dont pay for it the company pays for it. It’s a tax right off. They have a room in there house they use as a office it’s a tax right off. Here’s another one declare your house a historical land mark and u pay no taxes on it or you put it in a trust to a charity and you live in the house tax free and u give the charity the house once you die. Theres a million and one scams these people have they do it legally.

Might be an unpopular opinion but I think the income tax is absolute crap. It’s overly burdensome on lower and middle classes and it’s a tax on productivity.

Typically you don’t want to discourage things that are better for society, working for sure is a net gain for society.

Perhaps a much more “just” tax system would place more taxes on luxury, “non-essential” purchases, as well as things that are bad such as crap food, harmful environmental practices and energy etc.

Joker June 10, 2021 4:03 AM

And they never will! It’s not setup for them to have to pay taxes 😂. When will the sheep ever understand. That’s what we are. All pawns to fund their illegal activity, wars, line their pockets, sustain cooperations, pay for their law enforcement programs ( All start with 3 letters) , etc. it’s chess not checkers. They reorganize all their finances. Human x made 400 million. Human x dumps 399 million into assets and write offs. What 400 million? 😂. Now you see it now you don’t. It’s a game people. That’s what life is in America. A fuc+kin game

Joker June 10, 2021 4:04 AM

BIG GOAL: Destroy Western world.

West is on decline, was so for a LONG time, but now with inflation in US, upcoming inflation in EU, the west is officially finished. Financial crisis, possible war with China which we are all gonna get dragged into, AGAIN, ”democracies” pushing the segregation between vaccinated and not vaccinated, races, gender, sex.

It will become a dystopian hell hole in matter of 10 years.

Fuc+k me, I’m moving to the woods, far away from this mess.

Jonas June 10, 2021 4:06 AM

Collateral loans are the real scam. They borrow against the value of their unsold assets and use those borrowed funds to pay for their lifestyle. By doing that they don’t have to sell anything and avoid paying even capital gains taxes. Only the ultra-rich can get away with this because they own so many assets that collateral loans alone can fund a lavish lifestyle. If the appreciation on the assets is greater than the interest rate they pay on the loans they actually come out ahead on it. The best normal people can do to replicate this would be to take out a home equity line of credit and hope that the appreciation of the house is greater than the debt accrued, but it is never going to be enough to fully fund your expenses.

Jason June 10, 2021 4:19 AM

Yup…These people have unlimited, unrestricted flexibility. Once you can be a multi-national individual you can do all sorts of stuff. Same as a company. You’re no longer under the thumb of any one government so they can’t coordinate against you really, they want what ever money you’ll pay them in contributions to shut their mouths and leave you alone, and if they press you too hard you can just pack your stuff and leave. Additionally on paper you can make it look like you don’t earn squat and you can put your money into buying assets that can be tricky tax. Plus if they do come after you, your legal fees will feel like a drop in the bucket compared to what you owe. It’s actually more difficult and time consuming for the FEDs to try and collect from you, cause you can send them on a goose chase around the globe looking for your money…but if you look into the income tax it’s actually unconstitutional the way it’s applied and you can probably argue paying federal and win in court but they will make your life hell and probably not worth the effort.

Frank Baker June 10, 2021 4:38 AM

Democracy, give me a break, what a sick joke, Democracy, go and try to eat that stupid Democracy and see how it tastes, what a total load of BS!

Where I live all the housing was bought up by landlords who pay less for their buy-to-let mortgages than the tenants end up paying in rent. There’s also Air BnB everywhere. Whole neighbourhoods where nobody actually lives, it’s just short-term lets for visitors. The landlords can make more in two or three months of high season than they’d make all year with a long-term tenant. So you have buildings sitting empty most of the year round, so their owners can take the tourist buck in summer. Homeless people sleep not far away from those same streets, only they get moved on from their benches and doorways in the tourist season to keep the place looking nice for the visitors.

Young people don’t have a hope of buying homes anymore because they can’t get the loans from the bank, either because they have gig economy jobs which aren’t considered secure, or because they can’t afford to put down a deposit. But since rents can be 2, 3 times the cost of mortgages, there is no way to save money for a deposit. A huge proportion of people’s wages goes on rent. There’s just not that much left over.

Going back a couple generations, people used to have to pay property taxes on the property itself, so if someone was renting back in the boomers’ day, at least they woudn’t be liable for the taxes as well. But by the time Gen X were adults things had changed around, so the local taxes were levied on the household, rather than the property. Tenants end up paying a household tax on top of their rent. For millenials and Gen Z it’s even worse, as rents have just sky-rocketed. The boomers are mainly the landlords with young tenants who also have student loans to pay back. These younger people could be highly qualified and skilled, but they’ll still spend most of their wages paying rent to boomers who use it to fund round the world cruises and to buy up additional properties for their “portfolios” so they can enslave even more young people.

Some of these boomers might have a dozen younger folk who’re basically working all their days just to pay rent to them. It’s already a kind of generational feudalism.

If the banks become landlords, that’s even more fuc+ked as it seals the deal for pretty much forever unless there’s a revolution or something. It’s fairly predicatble that a bank’s not going to lend you money for a mortgage when it can take your money as rent instead. That’s like a debt that can never be paid off. That way the bank has a claim on a percentage of your labour forever.

This is feudalism. There’s no other word for it. This is heading back to the days when you had a landlord class and a class of indentured serfs and nobody in between.

A few centuries ago the landlords threw the people off the land to make room for more profitable livestock. The fact is, those land-owners’ descendants still own just about every inch of land in this country. And who were they really? Back in the day they were just the thugs who were violent enough to take the land by force and then they bulit fences and a legal system around the protection of it for themselves and their families for generations. Many of them don’t even live on the land they own. Or they sold portions of it off to foreign “investors” who haven’t even set foot in the country.

A young person in London these days could pay over a thousand GBP a month to live in what is pretty much a cupboard.

Ismar June 10, 2021 4:47 AM

My Standard thinking in this case goes along the lines of

“Democracy- rule of the people- can only be as good as the majority of the people participating. It is therefore a constant battle to improve the people and requires a lot of effort as we don’t have any better alternatives-.”
But I also wander
“Are current democracies indeed rule of the people given voting choices and numerous influences by myriad of powerful vested interest groups?
I tend to think that the voice of the people still does matter to a certain extent as can be seen by the difference in the change of the president makes to, among other things, the fight against COVID in the USA.

As such, any scientific approach to making democracies more robust to negative influences of any kind is commendable and those who keep finding shortcomings in these efforts without providing improved solutions are just hindering the process and as such become part of the problem themselves.

Security June 10, 2021 5:08 AM

That’s true. Being passive isn’t a good plan. They want us to war against each other. They think they are pulling the strings and we are all dancing to their tune. I say we turn it around. Force the truth to be exposed. Force those involved to be prosecuted. We unite as a solid body unified in the singular cause of ending the oppression and burn the system and those responsible to the ground and build a new society, just and right, for the people by the people. This is the way.

Leon Theremin June 10, 2021 5:59 AM

Has Bruce read the MindWar paper by Michael Aquino and Lavelly? If not, he should, as should anyone who cares to understand the time we live in.

Petre Peter June 10, 2021 6:49 AM

In Danemark and Finland a fine is a percentage of your income not a fixed amount.

Anonymous June 10, 2021 9:12 AM


Cleanup in isle 13…


1, McCullouch #comment-381125


2, Security #comment-381139

Are all very probably Troll-Tolls scat.

AL June 10, 2021 9:21 AM

@Frank Baker
What is screwing up your housing market is the same thing screwing it up in the U.S. which is central bank creating (“printing”) new money and using it to change price discovery in debt markets, ie drive interest rates lower. This process is euphmastically called “quantitative easing” (QE).
It changes price discovery in asset markets.

However, QE does have some complicated consequences.
As well as bonds, it increases the prices of things such as shares and property

It is not a boomer versus post-boomer thing. The situation in housing is specifically a monetary policy thing. And in adopting this new policy, the country moves into state capitalism.

Mark Cuban called this kind of monetary policy “universal basic income for rich people” and he is absolutely right. And every last one of these politicians on Capital Hill knows this. If we’re wondering why democracy is disintegrating, it is the perception that it disproportionately works for the one percent. There is a feedback loop between government policies and the money of the 1% influencing elections.

In the U.S. we have QE without an exit strategy and that is Modern Monetary Theory. And what do people hear from the corporate media on this – nothing. We used to hear about borrowing from China, but now nothing, because we don’t actually borrow, we print. And if people can’t get the news from the usual sources, that opens the door for things like Qanon.

jones June 10, 2021 12:17 PM


The quantitative easing without an exit strategy I think is a sign of a new economic order:

We’ve had as much quantitative easing during one year of COVID as we had in the 8 years follwing the 2008 financial crisis.

I think the trend started during the Bush presidency’s “jobless recovery” where manufacturing employment dropped precipitously over 8 years from a 30-year average to pre-WWII levels. This is when the FED started buying Treasury securities at an accelerated rate.

Since Nixon ended the last vestige of the gold standard, the value of the dollar has been backed by the demand for dollars among foreign buyers of US goods and anybody on Earth who wants oil from OPEC (since OPEC prices oil in dollars).

Now, QE “with no exit strategy” is creating a financial order where the dollar is backed by the demand for dollars among billionaires.

Freezing_in_Brazil June 10, 2021 2:48 PM

@ All

Regarding Democracy, political polarization

I see a very strong correlation between the end of chronological order news feed on social media and the beginning of the era of world wide fake news and conspiracies. We can establish 2009 as the beginning of this period; the era of the algorithm. That is when things started to go down hill [Cuesta Abajo, as in Gardel’s tango].

It seems that human interactions on social media activate certain structures of the psyche – especially the ego – in such powerful ways we didn’t expect and still don’t understand.

The phenomenon doesn’t seem to be running out of steam. From where I stand – living in a society dominated by conspiracy and magical thinking – the apathy of advanced societies in the face of what I consider an existential risk – if not for the species, at least for civilization – is exasperating.

We have to understand the phenomenon seriously to deal with the problem effectively. And don’t be fooled to think that this is not really a problem.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons June 10, 2021 3:01 PM

CORRECTION on the thread titled ‘How to Win Power and Influence People, Covertly’

based on the ahistorical tome ‘Turning Points in American Evangelicalism’.
based on the ahistorical tomes documented in ‘Turning Points in American Evangelicalism’.

The cited book is possibly the most accurate treatment of religiosity within the Untied States that I am aware of…from a Doctrinal text of a Theologian of record. The reference to what I call CULTural appropriation has its roots in the evangelic misappropriation by a charismatic preacher “Whitehead” of the mid 19th century.

And more specifically, the movement know as the second Great Awakening, is part of a refashioned and restated Christian OWNERSHIP of national heritage and the history of the United States. It is a colonizers form of ahistoric baloney that cannot stand. It was during the 1970’s that new life was provided to this movement, and in this time it is possibly the fourth Great Awakening if I may be so bold as to call it that. But for me, it is just a resurgent movement coming out of slumber from the 1920’s and 1930’s.

lurker June 10, 2021 5:43 PM

@McCulloch: Perhaps a much more “just” tax system would place more taxes on luxury…

The efforts to find a more just tax system were going on 2000 years ago[1] and haven’t gotten anywhere near a conclusion. Here’s a teaser: a more “just” tax system would abolish the entire Byzantine web of taxation most citizens suffer under, and replace it with one simple tax on the use of money. When money changes hands: tax it. This would catch all the Wall St. high speed trading, the real estate merry-go-rounds, because almost all legal transactions nowadays pass through some form of banking system account. Such a catchall tax should have a rate low enough to make avoidance uneconomic.

It’ll never happen. Why? Because it would put whole tribes of lawyers and accountants out of business.


name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons June 10, 2021 10:19 PM

The issue respecting speech has an unwritten premise, that those engaged in speech as discourse requires that speakers be honest brokers and the exercise therein is in good faith. What is happening today is that free speech is being weaponized against the institutions and their vanguards. When someone yells “Hey, look over there, a building is on fire.” counting on the other person to draw their attention toward the event. And in that time, the person crying wolf is shaving your sheep (liberties).

For example, allowing Nazis to march in Illinois is permitted as those participants are expressing their true thoughts and ideas that can be countered. But, when a group has decided that the ends justifies the means, and that this group fails to disclose its intentions or goals and will take any course of action to achieve it, the possibility of ethical and moral understanding is questionable, this is more deception than speech. It is a willful mechanism to subvert responsible speech with authoritarian or absolutist result.

If I engage in speech with whomever, and I talk trash that I know isn’t true, and, I get the other parties to forgo their speech by making a counter-argument impossible because I am lying, I have in effect silenced the other.

Think of it in as in OSI types of layering, where at any one point within the session, subverting layer 3 for example, makes problematic communicating to a wider audience. Or, if I subvert layer 2 local messaging becomes problematic let alone in the layers above such as 3,4,5… but layer 1 will remained intact.

AL June 11, 2021 12:00 AM

I think our free speech protections are being weaponized by foreign adversaries, adversaries that have a firewall preventing their citizens from receiving information from us, while bombarding us with their (mis)information.

It reminds me of the War of 1812, where the British marched in columns while the Americans picked them off while hiding behind trees. There was a lesson learned then, and it now needs to be applied in the internet age, somehow.

TRX June 11, 2021 10:15 AM


Censorship, propaganda, ‘cancellation’, doxxing, media bias, and intimidation.

If your ‘democracy’ needs that to survive, “That word… I do not think it means what you think it means.”

AFAG June 11, 2021 2:18 PM

The only discipline that survives is self-discipline. Democracy is the ability to discipline yourself so you don’t need others to do it for you. The age of automation is the age of do it yourself. Be cooler. It sounds like it might last longer than cool.

Douglas Hennings June 11, 2021 2:26 PM

Big investment companies are buying houses at high prices and renting them out, squeezing would-be homeowners

what’s sick is these companies can buy up these homes and let them sit empty for years and not be penalized. They’ll work with the state and get a non occupied home listed as “Abandoned” and only have to pay 15% the yearly property tax rate of what a typical homeowner would pay.

The companies that profit from renting will write off the taxes paid on non occupied properties as a loss, thus lowering their overall taxable gross profit.

They can cover 8 “abandoned” properties with the rent from 1.

Those abandoned properties can ask for current market value for 10+ years. maybe even increase in value if they are located in a booming neighborhood.

It’s like gold. Only increasing in value with time without any financial drawback.

This is what happens when you pump more than $10 trillion into the economy. It ends up in reach people’s pocket and they use it to buy assets and turn people into serfs.

They’re using government “stimulus” funds and a government-devalued dollar to do so. This is oligarchy/plutocratic capitalism. This shit wouldn’t happen if We The People hadn’t printed 40% of every US dollar ever printed in the past thirteen months.

When they talk about wealth transferring to the top 0.1%, this is that shit.

The state printing new fiat money with nothing behind it, and then handing trillions to these businesses, effectively controls the market. If these businesses didn’t have trillions of unearned dollars and an artificially depressed dollar to play with, we wouldn’t see the real estate market as it is today. That’s closer to state-sponsored businesses than free enterprise, in my view.

This goes way beyond capitalism. This is NWO communism/capitalism Agenda 2030

Isn’t Blackstone one of the companies doing this? Didn’t Blackstone design the stimulus plan back in Feb 2020? Who runs Blackstone? Who runs the Federal Reserve that printed the stimulus money?

Answer those questions honestly and you’ll find the globalist cabal has looted the Federal Reserve and used the proceeds to fund another one of their scams, leaving tax payers with the bill. Welcome to SorosRothschildBloombergistan!

Investment firms spent millions lobbying Trump administration and Congress on coronavirus relief bill

Larry Fink is the chairman of Blackrock.

Interestingly “He serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of New York University (NYU) and the World Economic Forum, and is Co-Chairman of the NYU Langone Medical Center Board of Trustees. In addition, he serves on the boards of the Museum of Modern Art, the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Rescue Committee. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing and on the Executive Committee of the Partnership for New York City.”

Not surprisingly he has ties to the WEF, medicine, Council on Foreign Relations, and China. How convenient when you want to usher in a New World Order.

I feel sorry for anyone who still praises capitalism and think we have a free market. The market does not decide itself. It is ran by corruption. But typical brainwashed Americans, they think this is actually freedom at work. Murica!

echo June 11, 2021 3:29 PM

@Douglas Hennings

Larry Fink is the chairman of Blackrock.

Interestingly “He serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of New York University (NYU) and the World Economic Forum, and is Co-Chairman of the NYU Langone Medical Center Board of Trustees. In addition, he serves on the boards of the Museum of Modern Art, the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Rescue Committee. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing and on the Executive Committee of the Partnership for New York City.”

Not surprisingly he has ties to the WEF, medicine, Council on Foreign Relations, and China. How convenient when you want to usher in a New World Order.

I don’ think you have to get into wild slogans or conspiracy theories but it is certainly something I have noticed that some people use status obtained in one place to leverage status in another place. This may not only confer power but also a certain level of reputation washing on the way to a “halo effect” and a certain untouchability. Larry Fink seems especially good at this from what you say. He also seems quite good at parting other people from their cash.

intind44 June 16, 2021 1:11 PM

One of the issues I worry about regarding those speaking their minds online, possibly bringing up touchy subjects, and even blatantly disagreeing with the status quo. If I understand correctly, in the USA, DHS, and FBI, and likely others are monitoring forums for extremists. It’s very difficult to detect if someone is trying to stir up trouble just for the sake of stirring up trouble. Maybe they have a dry sense of humor which doesn’t convey very well via text. Or perhaps they made a very valid point and are stating a grievance or flaw that needs attention.

From what I understand regarding the COIN playbook, even if an individual is exercising their rights and even if they are correct in their analysis, they are rubbing against the grain or challenging the status quo. This can easily be perceived as someone who could be marked as a high-risk individual or extremist and then put on some list. It may depend on whoever happens to be monitoring a particular forum that day, are they in a good mood, do they have the same political leanings, or misunderstand an idea. Etc. The way I interpreted the manual was pretty much if anyone disagrees with the status quo, they probably should be marked and watched.

There needs to be a very careful balance and much leeway given, so we don’t end up stifling free speech or punishing people trying to be helpful. The big issue to me is you very likely will be identified and put on a high-risk list if you say anything loudly and negative about the current establishment simply because whoever might be monitoring, works for, and is required to protect the establishment. They are trained to “attempt” to identify all manner of possible extremists and dissenters. There are many subtle ways extremists can spread their messages that arent necessarily obvious as posting Nazi flags and saying racist or homophobic slurs. Or threatening violence.

We don’t want society to be scared to speak its mind. Because at the end of the day problems in governments will arise and people shouldn’t be scared to point it out, because its technically their job as a citizen in a democracy. Government authorities might immediately target them and perhaps de-platformed, banned, put into some echo chamber, harassed, etc., even if the person in question is doing everyone a favor. It’s a very fine line to walk, and some of the dimmer people I have come across in positions of authority tend to make small-minded judgments of others very quickly. They go into action mode, and If someone says or behaves in a way an agent perceives as being questionable, they are instantly marked as trouble.

In my mind, the issue is about “being reasonable.” It’s okay that people have different views or opinions, and it’s okay to debate them. But at the end of the day, we still have to live together. We need to figure out how to condition people to be reasonable and tolerant of new ideas or living with a policy they don’t necessarily agree with. Many people have the attitude of all or nothing, my way or the highway, your either with us or against us. Etc. And to be fair, it can be easy to get into this mentality. Perhaps depending on what mood you are in could affect your decision-making and even your choice of words which could potentially seem hostile. Some of the divisiveness simply comes from the way we have been conditioned to think as well. For instance, something is either on or off, right or wrong, democrat or republican, good and evil. Etc. These binary choices can be extreme positions, and they influence how we make decisions and rationalize.

I guess my point is it goes both ways. People can be extremists, but so can government agencies or agents. Some of the training material I have come across was a little extreme in decision-making processes. You cant draw definitive conclusions about a person based on one encounter or an out-of-context action or expression. Maybe the correct mentality is not to go looking for trouble makers because you will always find them even if they aren’t. Don’t go out trying to fit people into a pre-conceived binary category. Good or bad, Extremist or agreeable, activist or criminal. Threat actor or non-threat actor soley based on a few observed actions, words or statements. Contrary to what the COIN manual inferred. The domestic territory isn’t a foreign battlefield. I think we are going to be dealing with some of these radical groups of people sooner rather than later. Its important to remember going in with Billy clubs and cracking down is only going to make the issue much worse. They likely became radicallized in the first place because of some injustice or unfair hardship they endured, or a loved one. And we need to ask how we can help them so they be content and start to believe in the system again. That being said there are always those few that are stirring trouble just to stir trouble. Mentally ill and badly damaged and should be isolated from the others that might otherwise be reasonable if they were around other reasonable minded people.

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