732 Comments
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I agree with Professor Reich 100%. These influential platforms should be public utilities and not platforms for billionaires to siphon off even more information about me or anyone who utilizes a platform to communicate.

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I don't like "social platforms" because of their Orwellian characteristics and because of their propensity to amplify pack societies. However, given that they exist, they should be regulated. Not just TikTok but Facebook and Twitter too.

Oh, and by the way, billionaires need to be properly taxed so they don't have the money to spend on these distorters of democracy.

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You nailed it. I don't, and never have, used any social media. Substack is the only platform I use and that, to get accurate info and engage in debate. Here, I am also corrected when wrong and offered constructive criticism.

I'm afraid billionaires will still have enough money to wreak havoc, but they should not be permitted to buy these public platforms to do so.

And you can bet anything Kellyanne Conway has a hand in is not to be trusted.

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I’m not sure how we prevent someone from creating a service or buying one, {EDIT:—other than preventing monopolies} but when it needs some control when it becomes so fully integrated into the functioning of our society — so ubiquitous a piece of our communications apparatus, AND so capable of collecting information BACK from us. Remember, newspapers were able to blanket the country with information, but other than the demographics of a town where they were popular, and perhaps the names of subscribers who got deliveries, they could not collect much information on specific readers. The digital entities, on the other hand, can quantify what is read and responded to, as well as what is purchased, and who one is corresponding with on these services, as well as comments!

This is a new beast, the digital social media, and it needs some fences!!

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founding

Barbed wire works quite well around here! But - joking aside - I very much agree with you and with Prof. Reich. The harm created by unregulated platforms magnifies too quickly; sometimes the damage cannot be undone.

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We need an element of humor, or we’ll go bonkers, Lark.

I agree with your serious comment, too. This is probably one of the more important conversations folks can be having at this time in our world.

This, and how to deal with our changing climate.

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If November goes Right, no humor will help.

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celeste K ; She was the original promoter of "Alternative facts".

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I am VERY fearful that Kellyanne is high on Trump’s List for VP? She has been in his midst for years, and HE trusts her? George-what do you say?

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founding

Anyone he picks will be awful.

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Not Kellyanne she has a disability ..,, her husband.

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Kellyanne has been divorced a long time!

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❤️ Reich ❤️"youth don't vote..." because they lack Rejection Desensitization which TikTok Challenges are best known for...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zakmXDQ9w2U

Subscribe for details 😁 but only if you're ready to serve on our Focus Group 😁

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A LONG listen, but I heard where Ms.McQuade talked about the giant predator that the Internet has become {OK, she was talking about alligators in the bathtub, but I got the analogy}, and she discussed algorithms that manipulate our ENGAGEMENT with Internet content.

The old rules said that the Internet platform providers were just {in my analogy} the wires that deliver content, and not the publishers of content, left the Internet platforms open. BUT NOW, the owners of those platforms heavily manipulate those wires with algorithms that show us different kinds of content chosen by THEM and not US, and that’s why the 1996 rules about who is responsible for “content” need to change.

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Piss them off, PC, by shutting down Tik Tok and the youth turn out will make you a liar, but enough 18 or over do vote to make a difference, we can't afford to lose any votes.

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Very well said.

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I wonder HOW her poor family, specifically the children but also her husband, as well, are faring? No one could possibly be unscathed. . . and we have to live in the same country as the offspring such as those, however tragically harmed. (That goes for the rest of the innocent "spawns"--rhymes with "pawns"-- of the Republicants swimming with the Totalitarians, SCOTUS notwithstanding.)

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The better idea is to get rid of the billionaires. The nerds who write the software to run social media will figure out ways to get around any government attempts to regulate. This has been the case in other countries that attempt to regulate social media.

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Unfortunately, money give billionaires undue power but being a billionaire does not mean you’re a decent human being. In many cases, the qualities that made them into billionaire are the qualities that prevent them from being the good for society.

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Sociopathy is a requirement for being a millionaire, that and narcissism., The lack of a moral compass, empathy, compassion and a sense of right and wrong, in fact those are hindrances

23 Tech billionaires never graduated college and then there is Trump who paid someone to take his exams.

.

https://www.businessinsider.com/mark-zuckerberg-steve-jobs-tech-executives-never-graduated-college-dropouts-2019-5

Gates is a thief he stole DOS (Disk Operating System) from one dude living in the desert, and had a rich and famous father, Bill Gates Sr, of Seattle, that counseled him, and drew up licensing agreement for the software he stole, then set about tracking down and prosecuting pirates like himself

None of them made it on their own, they all had wealthy and influential fathers.

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Lee, have you read “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s been a long time since I’ve read it, but none of us make it on our own. And there’s also plain luck.

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Yes Tim,

We can say all sorts of things about how they should not, should, could, would!

The only thing these vulgar money maniacs hear is the sound of taxes being levied. Insist from politicians that they actually start regulating this tiring rape of privacy.

How many of us would run around naked because we could! Say no to this robber baron lunacy. Take back our government, regulate and make every last one play by our rules:”we the people”. Enough! Aren’t we tired of being used like whores in a soap opera?

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Why can't there be a law that no one can own more than 1 billion dollars in assets?

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How is it enforced? When one’s assets approach or exceed a billion, what steps are taken? Can a consortium of like-minded people pool their bilions and thereby gain the added power of the money? Is limiting how much money a person CAN own even doable?

Are we looking at the wrong aspect of money? Do we need to worry less where it aggregates and MORE what we allow people to do with it after they get it?

We had laws that forbade individual contributions to political campaigns over certain amounts. We had laws that forbade certain entities from contributing at all. We had laws that required identifying WHO was contributing. We had … LAWS … about how money could be used to influence our politics.

Then we had Money is Speech, and Corporations are People … and I think THAT is where our attention should focus, far less on who gets filty rich, and far more on what they’re allowed to do with that filthy lucre.

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How about a 100% tax on wealth over 1 billion, with serious jail time for attempts to hide or deliberately undervalue assets? Agree that initially this will be tough to do with court battles, etc. I prefer to take away the money rather than trust than the billionaires will only use the money where they are allowed to. I don't trust them! I definitely agree that eliminating the ideas that Money is Speech and Corporations are People is worth our attention!

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You have a point. It seems to me (no expert for sure), that great wealth is usually acquired through stock ownership in companies that grow, and by the founders who own a large share. There are exceptions like Taylor Swift who sells her talent widely. But I understand that she only made it to about $1 billion. I would estimate that it is a rare person that makes it from zero to $ 1 billion through hard work in a market where everyone competes in small businesses, even over a lifetime.

Founding a corporation that makes it into the many billions is not that uncommon, and not a sin in itself. The problem is that the founder isn't necessarily a saint, and gets too much power from that wealth. One can argue that leadership in a market making new business does not require a person to work 1000 times harder than other employees, or be 1000 times smarter, or 1000 times more productive. Excessive wealth is I think not earned, but simply comes from getting the good start. How many multi-billionaires started from a childhood raised in a non educated impoversed home?

So I would argue that limits on wealth one way or the other is a plausible good idea, and of course laws that prevent bribing government.

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You should look into limitarianism. Ingrid Robeyns has a book about Limitarianism . I haven’t read it yet but it’s on my list. She was also on a podcast recently. Sorry, I don’t recall now which one.

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founding

Just looked it up. It looks very interesting. Thank you for the tip.

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How about 5 million! What does anyone need that merits more???

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Yes‼️

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Regulating social media is like herding cats.

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Cats actually have order in their lives. Cats actually respond to kindness, to order, to genuine intelligence. These cockroaches just keep spreading their filth.

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I love cats!

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You damn well better!

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Me too, I have four and just walked one, she is leash trained.

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Actually, anyone who knows how to control it has too many conflicts of interest?

Way out of control, too much profit and income, and World-wide involvement!

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When the billionaires are BIG donors to the political geeks who write and vote on the bills, they are quite SAFE! Political=110%

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Michael,

Can we be sure that “ social

platforms “ haven’t already

siphoned off the brains of countless millions of voters ?

I would cite RFK jr. ( and now

his apparent VP pick , Aaron

Rodgers ) as evidence that Americans have lost their minds

- minds are a terrible thing to

waste.

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Perhaps an interesting way of looking at Trump's followers is as pack animals. The pack society has survived for millions of years. You see it in all animal societies from shoals of fish to wolf packs. But it's also present in human societies, and its manifestations include cults and religions. There is always an alpha male (e.g., Jim Jones or God), and the followers have a convergent set of belief systems which they discuss with one another. They are polite and friendly to other members of the pack, and extremely hostile to those outside. This also explains bullying, another unfortunate human trait that is also seen in animals. It also explains racism.

Conspiracy theories, unscientific dogma, and denial of what is obvious, are all examples of the convergent belief systems by means of which pack members identify with each other, and use to enhance their hostility to the outside world.

The origin of the pack society is the animal brain, including the basal ganglia, amygdala and limbic system. Human beings have a suppression system known as the frontal lobes - not available to any great extent in other animals - and it is unsettling to see how easy it is to circumvent, using language, the very system that gave us language in the first place, and that separates us from lower animals.

I don't know what the solution is, other than feeding the limbic system with liberal policies , in order to get people to stop using their basal ganglia to make decisions (like voting against their economic interests) instead of their prefrontal cortex.

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Oh, yes! A little clarity on group dynamics and human intellect and emotional biology would help a LOT.

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So so true. I see it in my own family back in NY. One just said that God sent Trump to us to save America.

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Agree with you. Many have. Example: one of my relatives back in NY said God sent Trump to us to save America. Now if that isn't crazy, I don't know what is.

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founding

As I said the other day, if that's the best God can do we're really in trouble.

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That is not a god that deserves worship.

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Just curious Paul if you have listened to any long format interviews with RFKJr or are you just reciting the spew from our illustrious MSM? I’m also curious on your take on the Twitter Files?

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This appears to be a set up. heads Trump wins, tails we lose.

1. The youth that will be voting in November are addicted to Tik Tok. So if Biden signs the bill they will take it out on him and the Democrats.

2. Does anyone one any progressive or liberal Billionaire that will buy Tik Tok, I can't think of any, but I can think of many right wing billionaires, there are 1,000 billionaires in America, and it is not beyond Musk or Zuckerberg to splurge billions more.

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No amount of money, no matter how much, should be able to purchase a citizen’s future or their country’s future. That is what we are talking about here and witnessing in real time. The internet should be a public utility in all countries. What is the chance of that happening?

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Billionaires are not taxed enough

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founding

The fact that billionaires are lining up to be the new owners of Tik Tok makes me suspicious of the move to force China to sell it. Where is this movement coming from? The same people who provide millions to prop up the ultra right legislators and candidates are financing the campaign to force China to sell so that billionaires can have even more sway over public opinion. the whole thing stinks.

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Marc ; they want control control and more control over US.

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The Chinese and the Republicans have a lot in common. They have long range strategies to gain control. And they are authoritarian.

The Chinese are very patient and look ahead to see how they can influence future generations. What better way to influence, and frankly, lie to newer generations than to control the very thing they spend hours every day participating in?

The GOP had spent years and years gerrymandering their states to achieve Minority Rule in Congress. Success. They spent years and years preparing brain washed young Federalist Society kids to become our judges and now... our "Justices".

Diabolical long range planning. Robert Reich is right. These platforms should be treated like public utilities. But then internet providers should be also, no?

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Damn straight, Bill. This makes the Republican drive to dumb down public education less surprising. Citizens who think critically and look under the surface and read between lines on their own are dangerous to tyrants of all stripes.

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Amen, Mark. Absolutely.

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The Iron is that the profit motive is short range, it looks no further than the hand in front of it's face, while the authoritarian model is long range, it will sacrifice a little today, to achieve long range goals.

And guess who wins. Patience and persistence.

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founding

Laurie, I agree.

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Marc, I believe power and greed has corrupted so many of our politicians and all of our richy rich!! They want to own these social media platforms so they can control what the public thinks! It began with the 'dumbing down' of American children by only allowing teachers to teach what they want them to and now it is moving to social media platforms, and I think eventually you will see free press being pushed out by right-wing propaganda news. They are honestly trying to reign us all in to do exactly what they say!!

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Peggy, as a retired teacher, It worries me that over the past few decades, we have focused nearly exclusively on testing in our schools, and most of what is tested is not about how to live well, how to care for others, how to get along, how to think critically (the answers are multiple choice and the answers set by mostly white men and some white women), and there are few or no challenges to closed/narrow, racist, misogynistic, homo/transphobic, xenophobic thinking. That thinking plus the over-emphasis on getting rich white kids into the "top" schools have kept us all from noticing the guys we have permitted to become disgustingly rich, working to take over our nation for their own benefit. It is time we stop this group. A luck tax of say 5% over and above regular income taxes each year on all assets over say $50 million would be a good start. Now, how do we shame Congress, some of whom would be impacted, into passing such a tax and how do we find ways to keep our SC out of any kind of decision related to such a tax? Answers to those questions would be a good start. Then we need to rework our curricula to help our children grow as full thinking human beings.

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Ruth, I am disappointed with Miguel Cardona. If we do not address the problem with our education system, we have failed our children and our country. Overseas, many countries have put a very high priority on the education of their children. We need to do that as well. This propaganda inspired curriculum will not help our children become better productive citizens. Civics needs to be brought back into our schools. All of these so-called "programs" need to be stopped and we go back to teaching our children the truth about our history. We teach them what it means to be 'equal'. We teach them fair play rather than win at any costs. We stop this insane testing regime and allow teachers along with parents to determine the best course of studies for their child. We also allow teachers to teach. We allow them to use their creativity to spark children's need to learn more. I, too, am a retired educator and I weep at what our country has done to education. We need a very strong Secretary of Education who will use the ideas and resolutions put forth by those in the educational system that know first hand what needs to be done. Okay, I'm getting off my soap box now!

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Peggy, oh, please don't get off your soap box! We need a lot more soapboxes occupied and used by educators and former educators. We have let the rich oligarchs dictate what our education system should be. We let them decide that reading about children from different backgrounds is suspect. We let those guys tell us that getting into Harvard is the most important thing a child can aim for even though Harvard et al have proven they are not worthy of such goals. Those oligarchs have pushed the idea that if students don't do well on tests, they are pathetic and are probably hopeless if they are past 3rd grade. We offer kids stories and math problems that don't even begin to relate to their lives and expect that they will somehow pick it up, kind of like by osmosis. We blame all social media and the internet in general for the problems our children have but don't have in the curriculum lessons on how to manage the internet, how to discern when they are being told the truth and when lies and half-truths are flying. We need to teach them how to use Chat GPT and the other AIs so they can get help when needed without using those sites to take over their minds and their contributions to the world. I was lucky because I taught Gifted Support and the district chose not to provide a curriculum so I could create my own. I presented many lessons on the internet even though many or even most of my students didn't have access to computers or cell phones. TikTok was just getting wound up when I retired, but I encouraged students to use it wisely and limit their access. Working in a very disadvantaged district, the most disadvantaged in my state, I tutored after retirement with students who didn't even know how to use a calculator. They were 8th graders. That was because there were not enough calculators in the district to go around. We had excellent teachers, but insufficient support to help students who learn differently but didn't actually meet requirements for "special education" assistance. We let the rich tell us all that global warming is not happening, calling it climate change so it wouldn't sound so bad, while my students and many others in this nation face unbelievable pollution, drought, flooding, and other disasters because they are in areas targeted for placement of those entities that contribute to global warming. We need a teacher and student rebellion as well as a push to put people on school boards and state and federal legislatures who actually care about our students, the truth, and the students' future.

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Ruth, I am with you 100%!! I taught in a Title 1 school and the children were not wealthy, some were not even in the middle. These kids were thirsty for knowledge and their parents wanted their children to succeed. They supported me, helped out when they could, and together we made sure their kids got exactly what they needed. Every year, we would have an Academic Bowl with different competitions in history, math, spelling, writing, etc. Students would get ribbons and a trophy and their picture taken with the principal to go in the paper!! We wanted our kids to know that academics were important, not just sports. I would like to see teachers and parents get together to lead a rebellion against these states that are trying to cram their political agendas down our throats!! Parents need to begin respecting teachers again and have an open dialogue about what they want for their children. The teachers aren't the bad guys here.

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The question is why? Who really drove this train?

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I worried about the sudden and rabid push for STEM. And I’m one who reveres mathematics and science — but ALSO the humanities.

We devalue a broad education at our peril, and we pushed STEM for JOBS, while devaluing language, literature, history, philosophy for being able to THINK in those jobs. {ADDED — AND in the rest of our civic lives!!}

It is a sad thing to see universities closing down humanities. To see professors losing jobs, and courses going fallow.

It should not be a pendulum swing

We needed to add STEM, not substitute it for an actual education.

{Do you all remember when a kid was not considered well educated without learning at least a bit of a second language? That was not arrogance about how they could speak — learning a second language exercises and develops more of the thinking brain!! So does an education that includes both STEM and ideas.

Aagh. I get frutrated over how we think aout these things — or dont.}

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founding

Everyone should learn history, literature, philosophy, and the arts. Of course they should not be brainwashed about it as is done in Russia. But if done properly it makes a huge difference.

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Pat, you are so right! STEM was a good idea; however, none of the other classes should have ever been eliminated!! The Humanities, Art, and Music or as important maybe even more so than just math and science!! As I said earlier, our education system needs an overhaul. We need to reestablish the core education that helped our kids become better citizens!

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Education is key. Teaching critical thinking is essential.

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How sad. I knew a Omaha 3rd grade teacher who I respected who told me the only way she could teach her kids was to close the door and drop the unproductive guidance she was getting from the front office. I am big on the local community, parents, teachers, deciding what and how to teach, though certainly that will have bad outcomes at times. This puts me at odds with people on the left and right who wish to convey cherished received truths. I abhor standardization.

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founding

I agree with all you say, even where for now I don't know enough to add anything to the discussion.

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I agree. Education is treated like a sports contest. Societally, individually, we value the wrong things. I recently wrote a school board member to tell them their high school curriculum was shorting probability and statistics which is one critical component of "critical thinking". But I see the bias of schools as being to teach kids results in different sciences so they can pass tests and do well on the SAT at the expense of teaching kids how science works and how results came about. In other words I prefer a curriculum that ephasizes time for students to go deeper into subjects than wider. But then, I am on the outside looking in.

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Steve, I want both depth and breadth of learning. The depth should relate to those subjects that will most particularly impct the students' own lives and the bradth should be for everyone. Young people should be exposed to a whole lot of issues and events as well as the contributions of people. They also need to learn how to think about those topics critically, then take the topics deeper that catch their attention and impact their lives or what they want to do in the future. Learning must be relevant or it won't take hold, particularly for students and others who learn differently, whose connection to the world is different from the average, and who face life complications that most people don't face. We could do this if we stopped the huge money-making testing system and the college programs that are more worried about weeding people out than finding ways to include everyone and find ways for all voices to be heard. Schools can demand rigger of their students without making everything a competition with the few at the top and the many dismissed or ignored as not good enough. Graduate schools can grab the students who want to go deeper into topics and who may have extra gifts related to learning certain topics, but we need to look differently at most of our education systems. Also, private and religious schoold do not deserve public funds because they have chosen to set themselves apart from the public. We need to ditch vouchers everywhere and put that money into improving our public education from Pre-K through undergraduate school. Then, limit the emphasis on standardized tests because they are not standardized, just set to prove to the privileged that they are better than everyone else; they're not!

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This is a true story. About data brokers. About how every privacy you think you have is a mirage because all of it is for sale.

I had to move because the condo I rented was sold. I wanted to move back to my hometown, so I tried to get in touch with a man who owned several rental properties to see if I could find a place there. I didn't have his phone number. I googled his name and the name of his town thinking I might get something like an updated phonebook website. That was all it took.

I found out when he was born, his address, phone number, and all the same information for everyone in his family as well as everyone in his neighborhood. I found out who had died and when (even though I didn't know all of them). I learned their birth dates and the death dates of those who passed. I found out how many people lived in those households and the ages of everyone. So I called his wife and told her about this crazy information trove that squarely involved her personally. I sent her a link.

There was nothing immediately available that wasn't public information. If I wanted more, I would have to pay money. I didn't find out how much that would cost, because I wasn't interested and didn't ask. The site I was on promised that I could get full police records, real estate transactions including pending ones, etc. There was an entire page of things I might want to look at. None of which was my business. I tried googling my own name and nothing like that came up. I knew I wouldn't have enough money these folks anyway.

What I did instead was probably stupid. I was not a member of a lot of social media. I dropped those many years ago. But when I signed up for YouTube, I used my real name. It keeps me from embarrassing myself with unnecessarily vicious commentary or comments that occur to me but might reveal how stupid I truly am. I participate heavily in news shows such as Meidas Touch Network, and Brian Tyler Cohen, and more. Under my own name.

So, here's the secret about my moniker at Robert Reich's sub stack. My name is Patsy Shafchuk. I used "Shaf" because ever since I began teaching, students always called me that or "Shaffy" since my last name is a mouthful. I don't hear it anymore and I miss it. I miss the kids in my classes.

I figure if I get arrested for anything I say, so be it. They already very clearly know exactly who I am and much more. I've been booted from websites by Google. If we are afraid of exposure because of our speech, we have already lost our freedom. What's truly frightening, is that voices like Robert Reich could disappear forever because of "ownership."

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OH, MY, and I can tell you, the information you are talking about NOW being available on the Internet used to be available before the Internet, too.

As aa newspaper reporter and editor, I used to get what our town called a Street List.

It included the address of every property within our town, who owned it, who lived there if it held a domicile — the names of each person in the family, their age and their profession … and probably more that I’ve forgotten. If I wanted to know what each house cost in my town when it was last sold — and maybe even how much of a mortgage it held — I could find that out in public information, too.

What the internet has done is collect what has typically been out there and put it where it’s easier to get.

If we want to have an influence on what is out there, and who gets it, we need to know where to focus our efforts — Some of what we see on line has been out there all along, just hardly anyone knew it.

I’m way more worried about the NEW info that’s collected — what I buy, who I read, who I talk to — And info like that on my kids!!

We need to FOCUS on how to control the information that really matters.

And we need to know which is which.

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Mar 15·edited Mar 15

You are so right! People generally don't research or fact check news they hear, let alone how much America can learn about them in a short minute. Their children are pictured on Facebook in school settings, sports fields, and living rooms. If I were a thief, a kidnapper or a human trafficker I would be on all those sites full time. I saw an interesting article at the Intercept about a group called Anomaly Six. You might like to look at it: https://theintercept.com/2022/04/22/anomaly-six-phone-tracking-zignal-surveillance-cia-nsa/

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I didn’t “like” looking at it, Shaf.

But it is sure damned important!

My brother and my son tell me to reject “tracking” of my phone and iPad and computer, but it’s nearly impossible to stop all of it, isn’t it? Even just knowing what tower your phone is pinging off …

Rats.

This IS why we don’t want China to own one of the most popular services on the Net — and why we want to make LAWS that govern how those services can be deployed in our country.

It’s all getting really and really and really Big Brother, isn’t it.

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I’m a retired journalist. I have long felt that, if I’m going to say it, I need to own it.

So, I write stuff under my own name.

BUT, when running newspapers, I DID believe that on occasion, someone needed and deserved anonymity to dare speak with integrity. Now, SOMEONE needed to know who that was, and someone needed to be able to confirm that person’s validity, so newspapers that allow anonymity do require that the editors can identify who is speaking.

In the end, it’s about trying to BE decent and behave with integrity, and to encourage it in others.

OR, with the Internet platforms we’re talking about now … it’s about power.

Which side will we be on…

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Pat, I agree that if I am going to say it, I will own it. I'm not afraid to speak out and I do use my own name. Should the little orange man make it back into power (BIG IF), I guess I will be one of the ones sent to the camps!!

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As a little old retired lady, I keep thinking I’ll be fine, no matter what.

But, maybe I’m living in a fool’s paradise, and Internet algorithms will serve me and folks like us up alongside the likes of Prof. Reich, Thom Hartmann, Heather Cox Richardson, Gordon Klepper, Seth Fricking Meyers, and so many more of their ilk —- hell of a company to go down with …

I’m only half kidding …

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Peggy : and take away any anonymity, or privacy we may still have. Thus, creating reluctance to say what we believe. Or limit what we may search for.

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Sad, but true!

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Yes, Tick Tock the world is watching their fate depends on our fate. The onslaught of far right propaganda / disinformation on social media is destabilizing our democracy. Wealthy. Oligarchs would love to maintain their power and control it, just ask Trump's biggest donors.

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Of course they are,Peggy and maybe under our vaunted sense of independence, we are just deluding ourselves that we are not a nation of sheep.

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@Marc Nevas

"Move to force China." I move to force China to account and to compensate for the 2014 theft of my security clearance, my financial and health records. In June 2015, the Office of Personnel Management announced that it had been the target of a data breach targeting personnel records. Approximately 22.1 million records were affected, including records related to government employees, other people who had undergone background checks, and their friends and family.

My office had been part of a China Project to teach American/Anglo Saxon administrative law after China opened. Our chief judge made two trips to help set up law schools in China and we had a Chinese intern furnished by the Chinese government. https://law.yale.edu/china-center/about-us

My chief judge at the time and I had been officers of the ABA and also I was a member of ROLI. https://www.americanbar.org/advocacy/rule_of_law/ I spent a lot of free time and my own money on these professional projects, although my main subject was Cuba. We were also consultants to Chile on administrative justice and I was an adjunct to an international judicial school at Georgetown.

I assume that there are members of Congress who were in the same position I was. My book Breaking Up with Cuba was offered free on Chinese web sites. My emails and Facebook account and other sites are continually attacked. I can't prove who is responsible.

Like Robert I believe in the "commons" but international companies are not exclusively within US jurisdiction.

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Daniel, I am so sorry for your long years of study and hard work to build the integrity of the justice system. I cannot imagine how sick you must feel to hear news of the Supreme Court these days.

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Been that way for a long time. Sorry to report that radicals infiltrated the legal profession and that these days a majority on SCOTUS are unscrupulous. The Judicial Conference has the capacity to bring some sense of fairness. The other day Conference fixed the “Kacsmaryk loophole” by prescribing a rule that cases must be assigned randomly among all judges in a district if it seeks national injunctive relief. See Vox,https://www.vox.com/scotus/2024/3/12/24098760/supreme-court-matthew-kacsmaryk-judge-shopping-republicans-judicial-conference

My hope is that they've been investigating Judge Aileen Carroll, Hope there are lots of complaints. https://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/judicial-conduct-disability

She should have voluntarily recused herself. https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/legaldocs/znvnbeggmvl/trump-ca11-2022-12-01.pdf

They also received a referral to investigate Thomas.

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I appreciate you!

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Daniel, what causes SCOTUS to go back and revisit their prior rulings? Or specifically, what kind of thing would it take for a case to come before the court that could lead them to reverse Citizens United ? Not that this particular court would ever do such a thing.

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I've speculated about this. If it turned out that Thomas took a bribe, all cases involved could be reviewed. This is the equivalent of science fiction.

When I worked for SSA we had a "new and material" evidence standard to review cases retroactively. Unfortunately the Supremes don't have a similar rule.

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The evidence against their Citizens United ruling and those regarding voting are piling up against them.

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The entire issue over who should have access to a smart phone is simple. No one under the age of 16. Kids need a communication device not a mobile computer capable of overloading a young mind to the point of suicide.

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Mar 15·edited Mar 15

That's a little "baby with bathwater"-ish mentality (pun slightly intended).

A total ban of anything based on age never works (under-age drinking being a prime example).

What is needed is engaged positive parental attention with societal support, not using the phone, computer, and/or tv as a babysitter.

You had the kids, now be responsible for them and their welfare!

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As a former special ed teacher working exclusively with emotionally disturbed kids, there was little or no supervision by the parents. When that occurs, it becomes our responsibility as a society to provide the supports so they can have a second chance at a fulfilling life. Having laws for the welfare of all children is one step in that direction. The law that all children must attend school is one positive example.

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@Marc Nevas. IMHO the greatest thing that happened to public education was the Handicap Act of 1973, now IDEA -- the IEP, individual educational prescription. Over the years there have been disputes over the validity of "inclusion." We created entire school districts for Special Ed. students. Parents could opt in or out. 40 years later, they all went out of operation as more parents want inclusion.

In some states all kids get an IEP.

As to parents, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, but there are exceptions. Here is Baghdad By the Sea we had wealthy parents who were able to place their kids in special schools out of state, paid by the taxpayers. Innovations like charter and magnet schools get mixed results.

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What seems to be the main problems with parenting? Is it lack of time? Lack of knowledge? Need for parenting class?

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Midwest: I think many times parents (both of them working) are just too exhausted when they get home to be the attentive, interactive, appreciative parent that will raise a happy child. If families can return to really enjoying one another (obviously, lessening economic pressures on parents is part of this) we would see a much healthier society. I grew up surrounded by family, often with my grandparents. Today, sadly, this is often not possible - people are geographically spread out more.

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I worked in a shelter for adolescents from 12 to 17 and saw parents coming in with a "Fix my kid" attitude. I absolutely agree about support from the community.

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That is a sad truth.

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Chris--Somethings are just wrong, smart phones in the hands of young children is one of them.

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well there are different ways to approach how to limit phone usage by the young. I've long thought that schools that allowed unrestricted phone use in school was nonsensical. I gather policy varies by school.

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steve--There is a huge difference between smart phones and basic communication devices. All children need are the latter.

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Perhaps the cameras should be removed so kids don’t get into undesirable situations before they are mature enough to handle them

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Midwest--It's the material that is available to minds that aren't ready to understand it that I abject to. If there was a way to make all incoming material "G" rated, then maybe.

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I wish you good luck with that and bid you adieu.

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Chris--Our society puts restrictions on materials "we" have deemed unsuitable for young eyes. Why is it you find favor in the corruption of young minds.

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Chris-- It seems you have watched "The Sound of Music" one too many times.

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I'm rereading Future Shock. Our changing world is changing us, and it would be no surprise to learn that younger people are facing levels of future shock even Alvin Toffler had no opportunity to examine and evaluate. The smart phone in itself is not a bad thing, it's in a category with the printing press, radio, movies, and television. But as one technology replaces another, what seems to be the trend is the disappearance of guiding hands of intelligence that good editors could provide once upon a time. Excellent books, movies and broadcasts are those that touch something in people in a way that we tend to become more unified in mutual understanding of the mysteries of life we all face. To the extent that social media, rather than promoting excellence, promotes disunity and mutual loathing, I suppose it might be possible to pass legislation addressing some way of correcting that course. But must we not always beware of losing more than we gain by actions that resemble censorship?

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Les--It isn't censorship when it the wellbeing of our children.

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I won't disagree, I only caution about what has the appearance of censorship. Parents have an impossible job monitoring what children get exposed to, and smartphones etc. add new worries that didn't exist years ago. We agree on those basics, it's fair to say. How our country acts to help parents, that's the road to an answer, a long road no doubt, but we have no other road, so let's go. Who owns the platforms, that question is important in so far as how should we act to solve the trouble. Get the money out: easily said, much harder and time consuming to get going. So, yes, monitoring and controlling have to be part of any answer. To start with, would it make sense to push for more parental controls?

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Les--Would consider movie ratings censorship.?

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Mar 15·edited Mar 15

it is not the tech, it is the way it is used, or rather, misused. Another fact is that the nature of the tech speeds up tech development. Regulation falls behind due to political design, and the humans with discernment are not as integrated as the algorithm with its bias, speed and parallel processing, overwhelming any attempt at integrity.

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Allen-=- I was in my pharmacy waiting to pick up my script. On the bench next to me was a young man supporting an age not over 10. He was scrolling through numerous photos of naked women. I motioned to his mother as to what her child was doing, she abruptly stated, mind your own business. Young minds don't need exposure to graphic immerge such is found on the internet. It is tech that is the problem. Kids can't drive a car until they reach the age of 16, why is that?

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If they are so concerned with national security and propaganda, why aren’t they going after Truth Social? A platform run by a man who is antidemocracy, constantly lies, and wants to do away with our Constitution?

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👏👏👏👏👏

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And look at the Party these billionaires represent.

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Darn tootin’. This is an RNC, corporate grab and they even have tRump denigrating China in an effort to steal the platform. Meanwhile, the tax evading billionaires of the Mercer Family are deploying their Cambridge Analytics/Emeradata to TARGET VOTERS AND SPREAD WEAPONIZED PROPAGANDA. The RNC works with Putin—it’s RUSSIA we should be worried about. Russia and the RNC are the security threats to Americans.

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I was thinking that. Another move to control the media.

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Seriously? I have NO problem with not wanting a country like China to have such access to all Americans, individually, what we like, what we don’t, what we buy, and the images of all our children’s faces, as well as the kid’s attention!

Are we afraid American billionaires will get that access? HEY! They already DO!

But we can regulate what goes on in our own country, with money spent here — we can make these common carriers and demand they NOT collect certain info, demand they be transparent, demand perhaps that they allow digital information auditing from time to time.

We CAN put laws in place in OUR country about how such a platform might function, and how it might be held in check {yeah, hard to do, but we gotta try}.

We do NOT make such laws for China.

I’d rather have the billionaire than the Chinese government.

But we need to look at how we regulate — no matter WHO owns the platforms.

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I’m clear on why we don’t want China warehousing information on every blessed person in our country, what we like, what we don’t, what we buy, what we don’t, and the names and faces of all our kids!!!

Objecting to that doesn’t bother me.

Having some American billionaire do it? Hell, they already DO!!

We need to have LAWS governing how much they can warehouse and what they are allowed to DO with that information —

Perhaps laws that demand they let us KNOW whaat they’re warehousing.

Perhaps laws that prohibit certain kinds of warehousing.

Perhaps laws that allow them to be “information audited” from time to time.

This baloney about letting China foist a platform on our culture — especially one that is LIONIZED by our youth — AND having ZERO control over what information and influence the Chinese government can gather through that {!!!}, get real people —THAT IS NOT OK! And we cannot make laws about what is allowed in China. Only here.

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Marc - the only allegiance billionaires have is to themselves and their quest for power. the information provided by Dr. Reich is sickeningly unsurprising. and in a related side note, billionaires are buying conservative "democrats" to run for the senate.

https://www.commondreams.org/opinion/elissa-slotkin-for-senate

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Yes, and they particularly hate anything that allows YOUNG PEOPLE to gather and share their thoughts. They are not worried that China will influence them...they're worried that they will influence each other (young people are generally liberal).

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That is why they allow a very small minority to ban books and alter educational plans. Why they abhor public education . Keep em stupid or we can’t get elected, I guess. In the name of parents are the only ones who should teach their children. Disgusting twisting of a given. Teach your children but if you are afraid of them be exposed to something else, you got a problem. Trump loves stupid people, me not so much.

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Treating social media platforms as public utilities or common carriers is a novel idea and though at the moment it may seem impossible, it is actually the only logical solution to this most important issue. We must put forward bold innovative solutions if we we want to take back the common citizens control over our ability to communicate with each other an not have our private information siphoned of so that right wing billionaires can have further influence on us and the legislators who are supposed to represent the United States citizens and not the ever increasing wealth of the billionaires who answer to no one.

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I've heard this suggested before, & I'm fully behind it. Twitter/X should definitely be treated as a government utility.

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Marc Nevas ; Is this really such a novel idea? Our news media , like newspapers and radio and television were regulated with the Fairness Doctrine. While not perfect (whatever that would look like), it was at least some kind of guardrail.

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Laurie, unfortunately the removal of the Fairness Doctrine demonstrates how easy it is to remove “guardrails” to errant behavior on the part of media. It would take huge “New Jersey Barriers” to keep the current billionaire media owners in line. Better yet, remove the current private ownership paradigm. Even New Jersey barriers can be removed.

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Marc ; yes, we see how 'rights' ; clearly "settled law" in the Constitution, can be swept away easily, like they never even existed. Roe, and the 14th amendment section 3, for example. the wealth allowed for individuals should have limits ; maybe to a ratio of some kind, that would not allow the buying of our government and media by private actors intent on misinforming US.

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Laurie, this is why I like a totally new paradigm for our economy, such as “economic democracy.“ In this paradigm, most business ownership is owned by cooperatives, and not by large capitalistic corporations. There is still allowance for small businesses to be individually owned innovative, capitalistic enterprises, but when they get too large, they would convert to employee owned cooperatives.the largest companies such as auto manufacturing would be controlled in the same way that public utilities are owned and controlled. While we are struggling to put some type of guard rails around the mega corporations, we should begin to think in terms of better systems and paradigms to replace our rampant out of control capitalism.

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Anti trust laws might limit the size of some enterprises, too, and break up monopolies.

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Mar 15·edited Mar 15

Marc ; What about the pesky question of media? It is a utility? or common carrier? I wonder what "too large" is?

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Marc ; Good point! That much money can move mountains, sadly.

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Laurie, what has happened to the Fairness Doctrine. You have your far-right news spewing conspiracy theories and lies and constantly putting down the left. You have your left news that at least calls out the lies but only reaches the left!! The guardrail doesn't seem to be holding.

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Mar 15·edited Mar 15

Peggy ; At this point, as Marc has pointed out, the big money can erase any guardrail, just by buying the whole show. the idea of limiting wealth inequality is a good one. Only thing is ; how? They have bought a majority on our 'Supreme' court ; who enjoy lifetime 'tenure' with no accountability, or ethics rules! "absolute power corrupts absolutely!" Democracy cannot exist!

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I don't know, Laurie, but there are so many intelligent people on this substack that I am encouraged to think that a solution will present itself. It's important to me that we "sweep" all the dirt and crap out of Washington in November. Vote Blue, America!!

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Yes, if it gets dysfunctional enough, we can imitate our European neighbors: the French? , who do a "general strike" to give a clear message to the big shots.

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There is, as you point out, the law of diminishing returns in place today where communication of ideas is concerned. There is no megaphone to reach the ears of the world. If there were, would all people hear the same message? Even then, what message would it take to get the people to stop and listen and think for themselves, and next be moved to discuss?

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Reagan’s administration did away with the fairness doctrine. The beginning of unrespected news media. Just imagine if FOX news had a responsibility to air an opposing position. Probably would not be totally effective but also not totally one sided.

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The Fairness Doctrine was revoked in 1987 as far as I can remember.

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Correct. The FCC incorrectly believed that with cable TV offering different points of view, we didn’t need the fairness doctrine. At that point, social media on the internet didn't exist. The end of the fairness doctrine enabled the birth of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Could we bring back the fairness doctrine? Could we require it covered social media algorithms?

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Well, there you go! No wonder it seemed to me the guard rails had broken!! Why would you revoke a "Fairness" Doctrine. The word itself implies impartial and just treatment.

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Gloria ; Reagan and Rupert Murdoch had something to do with ending the Fairness Doctrine, I think.

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Bill Clinton caved in 1996 and finished the job.

Telecom act... Bob can tell us, I am sure.

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Laurie, the "Fairness Doctrine" was a good idea and worked, but somehow it has been ditched or neglected, or somehow seen as irrelevant these days. It is time we fully reinstate it, then enforce it throughout all media, including social media. That would be a start, then making all media public utilities as regards their content would be huge and positive.

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You must fund the regulators. A Republican defense against regulations is to cut the agency 's budget.

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The SAFE-TECH bill (introduced as S 299 in the prior Congress) should be inserted into the Senate version of the bill. https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/299/text?r=5/

This would amend Section 230 and require accountability by the social media companies. The TikTok movement is a great opportunity.

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Very well said!!!

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Absolutely not a novel idea. The issue and the monopolies are created every time there is a network, as networks are self reinforcing things that grow stronger ultimately creating a monopoly, particularly in essential services such as communications, electricity distribution, and highways and railways. All are networks, and as they become better, they monopolize by design, as that is their chief function, connection and efficiency.

Just that fact should be enough to make any network a public utility.

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He Who Has The Gold Makes The Rules…

The Patricans are intent In Keeping themselves in Power. Europe has a much More even Society . The Plebians Were Born to Serve Patricians.

Time To Reign in The artificial Intelligence world or the Machines will Figure out how to Take Over More of Society with our blind ambition to be noticed…

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You are on to something, but it is not the machines, but who programs them and the proprietary nature of programs and algorithms: Yes they make the rules aka the programs and algorithms, and the abuse of the privilege allows them to hoard the gold.

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100% agree!!!

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Same goes for other utilities, which exert physical influence on the way we live. Maine's electric service is going public, why can't others follow that lead? Profit margins should not stand in the way of delivering necessary services.

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Completely agree!

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Just as ALL Utilities, like PG&E and Pacific Power should be publicly owned Co"Ops, like SMUD, headquartered in Sacramento.

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There were a lot of references to Conservative think tanks. I notice that the Brookings Institute does not call itself a Liberal think tank. Once you put a brand in front of think tank, you might as well remove the word think. A true think tank reports on the latest and best confirmed research. The American Enterprise Institute once put out a call for anyone who would refute global warming. They would receive $10,000 a paper. I don't call that a think tank. Payment for opinions that match your own does not fall in the category of thinking. The bidders for TikTok Who have such close ties to Conservative tanks, I find to be a red flag.

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I think that is an excellent idea.

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Perfectly stated

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I agree with you in principle, Marc. social platforms should be a public utility, but is there such a thing as an incorruptible public utility? public utilities, are corporations like any other, subject to the whim of their executive hierarchies. It all comes down to the issue of trust which which is diminishing like our ozone layer. personal information about each of us has been gradually compromised over the years with or without our consent. The floods of content that continuously flash before our eyes are so dizzying as to reduce our attention spans and weasel out our information to increase their wealth and power. We are well beyond the point of even attempting to regulate or even shut down social platforms unless by some magic lobbying becomes illegal or you are a purist determined to live completely off the grid. At the bottom of all this I often wonder when all is said and done, other than wiley marketers, who reads this stuff or cares about our cat videos anyway?

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Publicizing them is an EXCELLENT idea that should be on President Biden's desk YESTERDAY! Who better to police the 100% than the 70%, not the 1%!

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I have no problem with social media existing, but I have a real problem with social media existing without verifiable (with anonymity preserved should the poster want to do so) credentials. We have no way of challenging people spewing propaganda or vile lies by asking where they come from, their 'provenance'. It is a bullying paradise.

This is something we technically could do--issue online identities that are verifiable, even court worthy, much like passports. You could show credentials online from that have been physically confirmed by government officials, that you are, for instance a US Citizen, what your gender, general location (state or city, you decide what to share), etc are--you can selectively share what you want to share, no more.

Then let the trolls troll away--at least we know who are people that refuse to share their origins, so we can sort out what their real purpose in sharing outrageous information might be. They cannot pretend they are people they are not.

But social media capitalists wanted to control identity and did a very poor job (blue checks, anyone?) of attempting to corral individual identities online. For instance, they offered zero protection for privacy, because they wanted our data without boundaries. They like the chaos, it generates more clicks for them. They can pretend to have more customers than they really do, as they allow bots to run wild.

Anonymity is essential for free speech, which is why I don't want these be to 'public utilities' in the end. That's too Orwellian for me. But our government COULD provide to us the balancing option of a verifiable digital identity, where we could suddenly ask people to present their credentials on-demand, and when they do, we know there is a very good chance they are who their credentials they share say they are.

If they do not, we take their claims with a small grain of salt--they might have reason to want to remain anonymous, but we are now certain at least that they could have another agenda. We cannot do that today because capitalists insisted on controlling individual identities and waved off government regulations. It is why we are where we are.

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It's been obvious for decades that the grocery stores offer a pence discount to profile everyone. Why is everyone so shocked at social media :?

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Isn’t “ tik tok” what symbolizes a time bomb in cartoons and comics? I think they are honestly telling us what this is, as Trump does when he says he’ll be a dictator on day one. I suggest we don’t pretend we haven’t been warned and not be stupid as a society.

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Dr Reich, I agree 100% but I think that the conversation needs to be widened. A signal feature of the US of the past 40-45 years is the yawning inequalities that have opened up between the very rich and the rest of us. Of course, it is not a problem just for the USA but increasingly for the world. But as in so much, what happens in America often starts trends. Hence, reversing a negative trend would be a positive good for both America and the world. Basically, taxes need to be re-progressivized. Biden is talking about some steps (the billionaire tax) in the right direction and that is great but this needs to become a movement, to make sure it happens. And somehow it has to become a world movement, so that the super-rich cannot simply flee from high tax countries to those with more regressive (low taxes for the rich) systems. How all this can be done is super-difficult but it needs to be done and the first step is having big conversations about it. Dr Reich, do you agree and if so can you devote a column or two to it?

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Adam, I would definitely join that movement!! It does need to be world-wide in order to make a difference. It will be super-difficult but I think about the civil rights movement. What may have started small soon began to swell. This could happen here. There is a majority of us and a smaller percentage of richy rich. They wouldn't be able to suppress us all. Let me know when I can help in any way!

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Mar 15·edited Mar 15

I wonder if billionaires should even exist ? One can be very comfortable as a multi millionaire. Without having so much money, that it threatens Democracy. Would we want 2 people to own 90% of arable land in The U.S .? Or all the beach front property? They would be like royalty of old!

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Royalty of old often lost their heads; that would be a start.

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Adam, I absolutely agree with you.

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Agreed. Janet Yellen's corporate minimum tax plan is a worthy start to equalizing the playing field.

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You might find Richard Murphy’s work on tax reform useful. https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/

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I agree 100% Professor Reich. So how do we get them to have this conversation?! We've known since before "Citizen's United" came down that we were losing the fight against big money and special interests.

I'm trying so hard not to get discouraged but it's difficult. Keep up the great work!! You're one of those who helps keep me going. Thanks again for all you do every day!! You are much appreciated.

❤️🇺🇸💙

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Lisa, we can all support Professor Reich’s work by becoming regular donors to Inequality Media. I am constantly impressed with the amount of good information coming out of this platform and the use of every available media source to get the message out. No matter how small the donation, it makes a difference. I also support the good work of substack.

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Your right, Marc. I give monthly to Inequality Media so that I can enjoy Professor Reich's post. I also try to give extra whenever I have it to them as well as Daily Kos. This platform and Daily Kos do let you know good and valuable information and I want them to continue!

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Thanks Marc. I will definitely check them out. 💙

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Agree!!

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Agree. Government policy should protect the people and the nation from predators, foreign and domestic. Instead gov't policies, particularly GOP ones, far too often have helped our (and foreign) oligarchs exploit and weaken the American people and our nation. This of course, as we can see, isn't sustainable for a Democracy. Perhaps we are already an Oligarchy and the Biden Admin is trying to revive Democracy but the GOP keeps kneeling on and destroying the life-saving devices.

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M Tree, good points.

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M Tree, you are spot on with that observation!

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I think the rest of us in the working class are just pawns on the chess board who are @ the mercy of these billionaires! How Sad.

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It is sad, Keith, and it makes me so angry!! You know I've been reading up on this inequality between the wealthy and the middle class/poor. It's always been around and eventually the middle class/poor have enough and begin to do something about it. I hope we will realize we have had enough soon!!

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Cannon fodder for the great global downsizing.

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I worked hard and all I got was an injured back while not having health insurance.

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Mar 15·edited Mar 16

Yeah, when I heard today that Mnuchin was trying to put together a consortium to buy

it my first thought was “I think I might trust the Chinese marginally more that I trust you”.

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Confiscate their wealth; redistribute it; and lock them up. Most very wealthy people have psychopathic tendencies.

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I've been saying this all along! Thank you Robert! It makes absolutely no sense to ban tiktok and not address the same issues we have with American based social media platforms. They're all destructive in one way or another, and Twitter/Facebook are even arguably worse, in aggregate, than tiktok is. Besides, this just feels like a distraction and a waste of time when there are a thousand actually solvable problems that could be being addressed.

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It’s a bit suspicious that banning TikTok is the focus NOW since it’s the platform of choice for young voters. It’s being used as yet another wedge issue to turn off a huge demographic that leans left.

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Not only is it used to lure in young children, but it is a vector for worms, viruses and Trojans which can infect the majority of computers in the country and link them up as a surreptitious information network. Hackers could do this years ago, imagine what a dedicated government can do now.

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Any platform that allows links can be used to infect your computer. My 21-yr old daughter has been using it forever and nothing from it has infected her computer. How is TikTok different from Facebook other than the demographics using them?

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That you know of… A good spy virus is undetectable. Perhaps a dedicated forensics software expert who knows what he is looking for, can take the code apart and start finding discrepancies. Even if it is sold to an American company, they will have the same problem with what is already embedded in the working code. Computer scientists would have their hands full to find it; the average person would never find it and it can infect every computer that that computer had communicated with, either by chat, e-mail, or gaming. Almost every parent, many in government and defense, who has a young child who has a computer in the house.

It’s already done. It matters not who owns it now China has a back door into almost everything.

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Thanks for that info Scott. I did not know that. I'm just glad I never signed up for it!!

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I believe Professor Reich has suggested the best solution at the end of his essay.

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