52 Comments

Removing anonymity from the internet is the same as making people “Show Your Papers” for the freedom to amble down the sidewalk.

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After thinking about the situation a little further, it really hit me how inane the second segment with Fellmuth is given the subject of the first segment with Mr. Nolan. There are many instances of employees, especially employees of low-wage service jobs, getting together anonymously on public websites such as Reddit, The Layoff, and various smaller blogs to share tactics being used by their employers which are deceitful and, in some cases, outright illegal. In some instances, people also anonymously share information about unsafe food handling procedures by their employers and so forth.

Not only do these anonymous discussions lead to empowerment and further organizing, but the general public becomes more aware of the practices used by these abusive employers. The public, the ones who are paying attention at least, will know where to do business and where not to do business based on the reports on these public websites. Yes, there might be agitators who are anonymously pretending to be employees at certain companies when they really aren’t, but it is usually pretty easy to tell who is legitimate and who is just trolling. There is some level of self-policing at these sites.

The media also scours places such as Reddit for things to report upon, but, yet, we see the likes of Fellmuth who wishes to shut this type of journalism which starts as citizen journalism. Fullmuth seemingly does not want employees to be able to publicly air their employer’s dirty laundry by being able to post information anonymously.

Of course, given that the discussion in the second segment mainly focused on things such as the comments section at the New York Times website, it seems Fellmuth is more concerned about partisan bourgeois issues rather than websites accessible to all where people can (and do) engage in citizen journalism.

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I seemed to pick up a strong whiff of "but someone must protect the children". Not my jam. Make parents parent and provide them the appropriate supports to raise decent citizens.

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On top of censorship - wondering if you've viewed the documentary

JFK to 911 Everything is a Rich Man's Trick by Francis Richard Connolly? 2024 left or right, political speeches, remind me law & order is controlled by those tricksters. We need a revolution! Once again thanks Ralph Radio "60 minutes"

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JFK to 911 Everything is a Rich Man's Trick is avalable for free on internet archive

https://archive.org/details/jfk-to-9-11-everything-is-a-rich-mans-trick-4

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I watched this video. It's surprisingly long. It's partly about the assassination of JFK and how this was engineered by the wealthy elite in order to stay in power and protect and advance their wealth and privilege. "1984" by Orwell is child's play in comparison to the deadly horrors presented in this video about what is happening at the highest levels of power and influence and how it is concealed and covered up. This video presents a story of greed, corruption, and violence on a world-wide scale. It is sickening to watch.

What I notice about this video is that it is narrated as if what it states is true, and it keeps repeating that message. I am not an expert about these things, but I did not believe the video presented compelling evidence of its claims. In fact, it refers to the wealthy elite as evil and devilish, which is not an unbiased approach.

I know there have been terrible things happening over the decades because I've lived through some of them, and I've personally experienced some of them, and these terrible injustices fire a passion for change in me. I am predisposed by this to believe the worst of those with wealth and privilege and power because some have used it to harm and kill for profit with impunity. However, past experiences and learned predispositions do not make outrageous claims either true or false.

In my opinion, this is not honest, unbiased, investigative reporting. I believe this is a propaganda video. First a monster is created. Then this creation is judged and condemned as "evil," creating fear. In this way, revolution against "evil" is made to seem warranted. I think we need to ask ourselves: Why does this video suggest revolution? What is in it for them? Who is funding them?

I think we need to be careful. Revolution is not a joke. Revolution kills people. It can create homelessness, poverty, starvation, illness, serious injury, and death to us, our loved ones, and many others. It would also not necessarily lead to social change or the economic equality we desire.

I think we need to learn how to do our own clear thinking, so videos like this that can be incindiary do not brainwash us with propaganda whose truth or falsity is difficult, if not impossible, to confirm.

Of course our society needs change, so it is better for everyone, but what is our desired outcome, and how shall change be brought about? I believe calmness, balance, wisdom, knowledge, and humanity will help us choose our path wisely.

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Very thoughtful indeed

Thank for taking the time to write this!

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Thank you!

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How about 'Donald Dunce' ?

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Fellmeth, despite being an “original Nader’s Raider” is advocating CENSORSHIP disguised as protecting children. It is still censorship. The government can surveil all communications… so …

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for Trump nickname; heard it, didn't create it, but think it's recognizable: "agent-orange"

thanks for your good coverage and work. O.

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A great segment of the program with Hamilton Nolan! An organized labor union story: I was a labor member for about 35 years. First, in public education and then at the community college level. The state government in Rhode Island claimed that the public pension fund would go bankrupt if retirees cost of living adjustment (COLA) wasn’t eliminated. That effort was led by Biden’s current secretary of commerce, Gina Raimondo. During the campaign to eliminate the COLA, Raimondo was general treasurer of Rhode Island. With the help of the other branches of state government, the COLA was ended for all intents and purposes. The COLA can be a person’s lifeline to economic survival, especially in times of high inflation. The successful end of the COLA was used as a template in other pension battles. The workers involved extended far beyond school personnel to state workers, police, and other state and municipal employees and retirees. The push against unions that had its inception with Ronald Reagan, grew under Bill Clinton, and accelerated with this corporate design for the reduction of worker power and security.

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I didn't read this article, however, I did belong to two unions - the Brotherhood of Railway Workers and the AFT - and neither really helped to promote interactions between management and labor. They seemed to aggravate.

This is not to say I didn't benefit from reducing the power of overbearing bosses but my question was: If we were the bosses, would we be different? It seemed to me we had the same oppositional mentality; F**k 'em, they're not us.

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I hear you about this. I've wondered whether there is some way to change this "enemy image" that results from seeing this relationship as "them against us" in

"class warfare" in order to bring in the possibility of mutual compassion, which is a pathway to the heart in working out what each of the people in conflict want.

The problem is that in a capitalistic system, the employer has the power to fire you, move your company to China, reduce your wages or your benefits, penalize you if you don't jump high enough, etc. It can make your life hell, and your only option is to quit, but you likely can't quit when your family depends on you. The relationship involves a huge imbalance of power, which makes it difficult not to perceive it as oppositional, since there seems to be a built-in conflict of interest.

For instance, when your wages go up, the employer's profit goes down, and vice versa, and this is how oppositional conflict is built into the capitalist system.

I am considering the solution proposed by Economist Richard Wolff. He favors a totally different economic arrangement on the job. He says that we do not have democracy in the workplace but a dictatorship in which the employer rules with absolute power. He suggests that the government provide the funding , perhaps through the small business administration, so workers can borrow or be granted the funds needed to join together to form worker co-ops. These arrangements have been successful, most notably the Mondragon company in Spain, which is a large collective of individual worker co-ops that has been going for decades.

Worker co-ops are a democratic business arrangement (one person, one vote) in which the employee and the employer are the same person. If you belonged to a worker co-op, you would be one of the employers managing the company and you would also be one of the employees working at the company. Together with the other employers/employees, you would decide (one person, one vote), where the company is located, what products or services it provides, how much it charges, what to do with the profits, etc.

There would be no "class warfare" because each employer/employee is the same person. You would be one of the people responsible for success of the business, and you would have an equal vote about how to use the profits. You can view it this way: You wear two hats. One hat is as an employee, and the other hat is as an employer. Now the employer/employee conflict is not outside in the world but is inside of you, a single person. In this situation, when your wages go up as the employee, you are also the employer whose profits go down. You are able to make the decision best for you and the company because you wear both hats. It is also intended that worker co-ops be responsive to the community they serve.

Besides this being a democratic business arrangement with an equal balance of power, it has other benefits. Worker co-ops will be a different way to distribute the wealth created by business. The wealth will not go to a very small number of employers at the top, leaving employees with much less of the pie, and creating immense weath for a few in our country and poverty for the rest of us. Instead, the wealth created by the business will be distributed as decided by vote of the employers/employees (one person, one vote). This is likely to create a much more balanced distribution of wealth throughout the business and the country. Thereby, we will be creating democracy and economic freedom for our people.

I find this intriguing. What do you think of this idea?

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Nancy,

First, I fundamentally disagree with the notion that as wages go up, corporate profits decrease. That might be the line pushed by the capital class when trying to limit wages, but one look at the current economy shows this is not true. Wages have increased over the last few years, employment is up, and yet, corporate profits are doing very well as well. Worker productivity continues to increase and so corporate America is doing well on aggregate. When people are employed and paid well enough, they are active participants in the economy. That, of course, is good for capital.

As for pensions, healthcare, and labor, what we learned from the labor movement of the early 20th century is that labor needs to fight for increased benefits at the national level, not at the employer level or, in the case of state/local/school employees, at the state level. The British Labour Party, for example, used the power of the labor movement to enact national healthcare for all people in Britain and the labor movement was also instrumental in reducing British imperialism and foreign policy misadventures. There are examples in the US as well of how the labor movement swayed policy in areas far beyond labor itself. In modern times, the British Labour Party is completely an arm of the corporate class even to a degree beyond what is the case with the US Democratic Party. It is a real shame, but the example of what the labor movement can do still exists if we look back far enough.

Retirement benefits, including COLAs, should be guaranteed by the US federal government. The federal government is not financially restrained and so the ability to fund such pensions is never in doubt unless the lawmakers structure the system with artificial means of insolvency. Obviously, the labor movement needs to push for legislation that eliminates these artificial means. State and local governments, like private businesses, are constrained in their finances and so pensions should never be operated by those entities, ideally. Similarly, the labor movement should push for federally-funded single-provider healthcare to ensure that healthcare is never dependent on employment and the economic health of one’s employer. This can be state operated, but the funding must come from the federal government for the same reason listed above regarding pensions.

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You say, "The COLA can be a person’s lifeline to economic survival, especially in times of high inflation." My pension is small, so my COLA is not enough in my case to be a lifeline to economic survival, but I'm grateful to receive it with costs rising alarmingly, and every little bit helps. The COLA adds up, too, because it increases the amount of the base pension cumulatively. I had a net loss, though, because of the huge raise in medical premiums I pay for myself. It's a loss to your retirement benefits to lose your COLA. There are so many ways we can be put in jeopardy. The public pension system here made a different cost-cutting move a few years ago and cut the long-term care coverage that some people purchase separately. That would be a blow for the long-term care policy, which is expensive, to suddenly to pay less in benefits counted on.

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What you describe here are the ongoing efforts to diminish pension and other retirement benefits. These efforts are endorsed and championed by corporate interests and local, state, and federal governments. So-called defined benefit pensions that guarantee, to some degree, the protection of retired people who spent their working lives in service to the people are under attack. Place the burden to keep one’s head above water on the retiree and not the pension system is what has happened.

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Yes, and it's such a shame! A defined benefit plan is a pension every month for life. It does not depend on how much you were able to invest, which is reduced by how much you are required to withdraw, or on how the market performs for you personally. It provides the security badly needed as one is aging beyond the ability to provide for oneself. The amount of the pension may depend on earnings, which can be a problem for people who earned a small income while working.

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A person involved with an investment company told me that defined pensions will be a relic in the near future with individual savings pension plans the norm. An ordinary person could save over a lifetime and never approximate the power of a pension plan to invest in a whole host of stocks and bonds, etc. and provide for the well-being of many people. This, however, does not say anything about into what kinds of investments those pension plans have placed their money.

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Yes. Having a pension is very important. Having an ethical pension is even better. We need to prevent the elimination of defined benefit pensions! We also need to create a much more robust Social Security system. It troubles me that some people are living so poor on Social Security and that it is those who had to struggle all their lives who end up with so little in retirement. The union movement is getting stronger. Some have evn resisted having a two-tier benefits structure and have won. A two-tiered benefits structure is created when current union members agree that they will keep or increase their own benefits, but future employees will receive less in benefits under the new contract. It is a nasty mechanism for moving wealth to the already wealthy and hollowing out the middle class. I'm glad to see this revival in union solidarity.

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I agree with your comments about the issue of ethical pensions and your criticism of a two-tiered pension benefit structure. In terms of unionism, almost all of the unions kowtowed to the juggernaut to eliminate our COLA. I wrote an article containing a lengthy interview with the president of the state branch of a major national union. You guessed it: When push came to shove, despite his early resolve to fight the end to the COLA, he flipped in the end. “You can’t get water from a stone” was the near-universal cry at the end of the process.

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Hamilton Nolan is a fine writer and I bought his book immediately.

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It’s always about “protect the children.” Fellguth has dredged up another phony excuse, “protect us from AI.” Nader’s lost all my respect, which was legion, for turning on us like this. Teach critical thinking skills instead.

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Ralph put his trust in an old ally, but no, this is censorship

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Critical thinking skills need to be taught. Great idea! I fully agree. We need a free online course in critical thinking for total beginners. I think it would need to include lots of practice exercises. The course could break into dyads or small groups to practice. Who would know how to think critically well enough to teach such a course? Perhaps a host and visiting speakers are needed.

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Don't you have concerns about AI? Think about the damage it can do when people rely for information on tools that are not doing the job (or possibly are doing a different and more manipulative job). Remember, commercial products are not designed for effectiveness or to support human values. They are designed to manipulate the consumer and make more profit.

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For Trump "tiny diaper donny". It can be sing song, has many connotations about his short comings, and hits at his all-important superficiality.

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Yes! That gal, Catherine, she's a gem.

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May 14·edited May 14

Like Ralph said, 2024 will echo 1968. They'll be major protests in Chicago this August at the DNC. I read the DNC is already moving some of their convention online, to avoid the bad optics. Trump is going to win. The reasons why are young people are not going to vote. And people like myself will write-in. I’m 65. Life long Democrat. I’m not voting for Biden. Democrats will have no one but themselves to blame. But of course they’ll find someone or something to blame. They’ll probably blame disinformation. But disinformation is free speech too. I love this: “A liberal is someone who opposes all wars except the current one and all civil rights movements except the one that’s going on right now”.

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If Trump wins, I'm going to Mars.

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The online anonymity position/opinion is quite wrongheaded and in need of input from other viewpoints. Perhaps from some of us who have been online for 40+ years and have seen the garden fester into it's current state of corporate-controlled open-pit sewer.

How would you like not being able to leave your home without your full name/DOB/address/etc. prominently displayed on the front and back of your clothing for all to see everywhere you went. That's where we're at today with the internet, you didn't even have to click "I Agree".

Please see:

https://pluralistic.net/2024/03/04/greater-corporate-fuckward-theory/

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Is it possible that the Demo leadership and the Repub leadership are behaving not like opponents but like oligarchs, working together to ensure a positive outcome for the super-wealthy and their minions. Which could be the election of Trump. One of Nader’s weak spots is his belief in Congress as a functional democratic institution. My personal observation is that Congress has been streamlined too accommodate corporate cash. It isn’t a democratic institution, but a bribery distribution system. Held above and beyond our needs as a People. This reality of corporate dominance, particularly regarding the oil business, is busy threatening life on earth, via the Climate Crisis, not to mention the possibly of nuclear war. Those bribes may be killing millions…

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Trump nickname: Little Finger.

Then we can say give Little Finger the middle finger.

This reminds me of a Dem blogger a few years ago that wanted commenters to come up with a name for Republicans that were casing death by opening up states during the pandemic.

My suggestion was Republikillers. But I also offered up Deathocrats to cover the death that Dems were causing from their failure to prepare for the pandemic as well as from other things such as our endless wars, etc.

Of course when I used these names in my comments I was told by the same commenters that were happy to call Republicans names that it was wrong to call people names.

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Regarding the labor part of the show, I enjoyed the interview with Mr. Nolan. In regards to the work being done by Shawn Fain, I must say that I’m quite amazed by his work in organizing labor within the UAW and also in trying to unionize the southern auto plants run by foreign manufacturers. This is really amazing, but I do have my concerns about certain things.

Maybe I’m incorrect about this, but it seems to me that the UAW is trying to fight for a fair piece of the fat profit margins that automakers are making from the sale of large trucks and SUVs. I can understand the UAW fighting for their fair share, but is the UAW really in the right when they are essentially promoting the sale of socially irresponsible large trucks and SUVs?

It seems to me that the UAW’s tactics are essentially encouraging automakers to eliminate affordable, fuel-efficient, and pedestrian-friendlier cars, which probably carry low profit margins, or at least push to make them in low-wage countries with weak labor and environmental protections. I don’t view this as a positive development.

It seems to me that the UAW should be pushing for several things. First, they should be pushing for full employment for all workers and they should be pushing for expansion of the peace industry versus the destructive industry. Both of these were advocated by UAW leaders from eras long past such as Walter Reuther. Second, the UAW should be pushing their employers to make more affordable, safer, and fuel-efficient cars. Yes, this might mean using tiered labor. Third, the UAW should be pushing the auto industry and government entities to expand public transportation and have union labor involved in public transportation at every level. Last, but certainly not least, the UAW should push for things such as a public job guarantee, just transitions, and other things which ensure that labor will be supported even if there is a decrease in car sales.

I’m sure most of the people listening to this show are supportive of the labor movement, but at the same time, we want to ensure that labor is promoting progressive causes and are not just trying to get their share of profits from promoting destructive industries.

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If RNRH listeners want an even-handed appraisal of Internet anonymity, they ought to read the extensive work on the subject by University of Miami law professor, and Yale Law School graduate, Michael Froomkin. Yes, Froomkin does have an opinion on Internet anonymity, but unlike what Robert Fellmeth provides in this episode, Froomkin gives lengthy and accurate descriptions of the pros and cons of Internet anonymity rather than inventing outlandish definitions of the first amendment and incorrect descriptions of the amount of anonymous whistle-blowing activity on the Internet.

I do agree that there needs to be disclosure laws about certain activities on the Internet, which may be in accord with some of what Fellmeth is saying, but Fellmeth appears to be incapable of making good arguments for these proposals based on what I’m hearing in the interview with him here. His creative descriptions of the first amendment reminds me of the very creative definitions of the second amendment which are spun by gun ownership advocates.

As someone who has been in front of higher education students, I know that if you ask students to give their opinion on controversial issues, you’ll either get few volunteers or you’ll get plenty of ‘socially acceptable’ (pro-government opinions supported by at least one of the major parties) answers. If you ask students to write their opinions and then present them publicly in an anonymous fashion, you’ll get closer to their real thoughts on matters. The Internet is not any different than being in the classroom.

As for Robert Fellmuth, if he wants to hear commentary from non-Russian people speaking under their own names, I suggest he stay off the Internet and keep watching CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. Everyone there speaks under their own names and their biographies are well-known. Surely Robert Fellmuth will not hear a single piece of slanted commentary on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC given that everyone speaking is presenting themselves under their real names, right?

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