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An interesting peek into the machine...

How to deprogram America's extremists
Kyle Daly
Kyle Daly





Illustration of a brain in an ice bucket

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios
It will take an all-out national effort to dismantle the radicalization pipeline that has planted conspiracy theories in the heads of millions of Americans and inspired last month's attack on the Capitol, experts tell Axios.
Two key measures that could make a difference:
  • Keeping extremists out of the institutions where they could do the greatest damage — like the military, police departments and legislatures.
  • Providing help for those who have embraced dangerous ideologies.
Online platforms, meanwhile, must be unwavering in their commitment to root out conspiracy theories and lies that undermine faith in democracy, according to experts interviewed by Axios.
  • Radicalization and counterterrorism experts broadly applaud tech companies' efforts, now underway, to remove this material and the accounts that spread it off their platforms, despite heavy blowback from conservatives.
  • Twitter's decision to ban Donald Trump is seen on its own as a major asset in the fight to slow or reverse radicalization.
The U.S. needs a "Marshall Plan against domestic extremism," Daniel Koehler, director of the German Institute on Radicalization and De-radicalization Studies, told Axios.
  • "The spread of extremist conspiracy theories in the United States is the second most dangerous pandemic the country faces right now," he said. "The damage that's been to the U.S. in terms of community and social cohesion will be immense and will be lasting."
  • The radicalization is happening in a multitude of online spaces and right-wing media channels, pulling people into an alternate reality that posits, among a growing swarm of other false ideas, that the 2020 election was stolen.
  • When it comes to coordinated deradicalization efforts, the U.S. is behind most European countries by 25–30 years, Koehler said.
The latest: Twitter's ongoing purge of far-right conspiracy theorists who have spread the lie that Trump won the 2020 election continued apace over the weekend, as the company suspended the account of Gateway Pundit founder Jim Hoft.
A key part of breaking extremists' rising mainstream influence will be making it unacceptable for white nationalists, anti-government extremists and conspiracy theorists to serve in the military, in police forces or as lawmakers.
  • Experts worry that the GOP's tacit and sometimes explicit approval of extremists will hamper efforts to keep police forces and legislatures free of conspiracy theorists.
  • "At DOD, it will go well and they will quash it," said former FBI counterterrorism analyst Clint Watts. "It's a lot of sheriffs' departments that make me nervous, because they're elected. Politics means you go with party."
Yes, but: A purely punitive, security-minded approach alone is likely to prove ineffective and invasive at best, experts say. At worst, it will only fuel extremists' sense of persecution and push them closer to violence.
Instead, experts agree serious resources need to be mustered toward providing an offramp for people who have been drawn into extremist ideologies.
  • New federal programs would likely be doomed to fail, experts say, because distrust and hatred of the government is already a core tenet of far-right extremism.
  • Instead, private and public-private programs are more likely to be effective, particularly if they're able to get endorsement and funding from federal and state governments.
  • Those could include anti-extremism counseling programs and support groups; education programs that work with schools to identify risks and signs of incipient radicalization; and rehabilitation organizations that work with the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated.
One idea, courtesy of Christian Picciolini, a former neo-Nazi leader who founded the Free Radicals Project, which works to help people leave violent extremist groups: a "single entry point" akin to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline "that people recognize, that people trust, that people understand."
  • Something like a national hotline or online portal could steer people to local resources to help them or loved ones escape the radicalization pipeline, he said.
The bottom line: "Any sort of solution is going to have to be holistic and is going to have to have empathy at its core," said Jared Holt, a visiting research fellow with the Atlantic Council.
 

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An interesting peek into the machine...

How to deprogram America's extremists
Kyle Daly
Kyle Daly





Illustration of a brain in an ice bucket

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios
It will take an all-out national effort to dismantle the radicalization pipeline that has planted conspiracy theories in the heads of millions of Americans and inspired last month's attack on the Capitol, experts tell Axios.
Two key measures that could make a difference:
  • Keeping extremists out of the institutions where they could do the greatest damage — like the military, police departments and legislatures.
  • Providing help for those who have embraced dangerous ideologies.
Online platforms, meanwhile, must be unwavering in their commitment to root out conspiracy theories and lies that undermine faith in democracy, according to experts interviewed by Axios.
  • Radicalization and counterterrorism experts broadly applaud tech companies' efforts, now underway, to remove this material and the accounts that spread it off their platforms, despite heavy blowback from conservatives.
  • Twitter's decision to ban Donald Trump is seen on its own as a major asset in the fight to slow or reverse radicalization.
The U.S. needs a "Marshall Plan against domestic extremism," Daniel Koehler, director of the German Institute on Radicalization and De-radicalization Studies, told Axios.
  • "The spread of extremist conspiracy theories in the United States is the second most dangerous pandemic the country faces right now," he said. "The damage that's been to the U.S. in terms of community and social cohesion will be immense and will be lasting."
  • The radicalization is happening in a multitude of online spaces and right-wing media channels, pulling people into an alternate reality that posits, among a growing swarm of other false ideas, that the 2020 election was stolen.
  • When it comes to coordinated deradicalization efforts, the U.S. is behind most European countries by 25–30 years, Koehler said.
The latest: Twitter's ongoing purge of far-right conspiracy theorists who have spread the lie that Trump won the 2020 election continued apace over the weekend, as the company suspended the account of Gateway Pundit founder Jim Hoft.
A key part of breaking extremists' rising mainstream influence will be making it unacceptable for white nationalists, anti-government extremists and conspiracy theorists to serve in the military, in police forces or as lawmakers.
  • Experts worry that the GOP's tacit and sometimes explicit approval of extremists will hamper efforts to keep police forces and legislatures free of conspiracy theorists.
  • "At DOD, it will go well and they will quash it," said former FBI counterterrorism analyst Clint Watts. "It's a lot of sheriffs' departments that make me nervous, because they're elected. Politics means you go with party."
Yes, but: A purely punitive, security-minded approach alone is likely to prove ineffective and invasive at best, experts say. At worst, it will only fuel extremists' sense of persecution and push them closer to violence.
Instead, experts agree serious resources need to be mustered toward providing an offramp for people who have been drawn into extremist ideologies.
  • New federal programs would likely be doomed to fail, experts say, because distrust and hatred of the government is already a core tenet of far-right extremism.
  • Instead, private and public-private programs are more likely to be effective, particularly if they're able to get endorsement and funding from federal and state governments.
  • Those could include anti-extremism counseling programs and support groups; education programs that work with schools to identify risks and signs of incipient radicalization; and rehabilitation organizations that work with the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated.
One idea, courtesy of Christian Picciolini, a former neo-Nazi leader who founded the Free Radicals Project, which works to help people leave violent extremist groups: a "single entry point" akin to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline "that people recognize, that people trust, that people understand."
  • Something like a national hotline or online portal could steer people to local resources to help them or loved ones escape the radicalization pipeline, he said.
The bottom line: "Any sort of solution is going to have to be holistic and is going to have to have empathy at its core," said Jared Holt, a visiting research fellow with the Atlantic Council.

The take away quote: "At DOD, it will go well and they will quash it," said former FBI counterterrorism analyst Clint Watts. "It's a lot of sheriffs' departments that make me nervous, because they're elected."-an unelected bureaucrat wholly unfamiliar with the founders' vision of the elected sheriff being the top peace officer in a county.
 

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Unity is a fantasy. There will always be dissenters under any system or condition. The heart of the problem is social-economic and how many dissenters you allow in your society (and how many will amount to critical mass/insurrection).

Every stable society require a large and stable middle-class. And the American middle-class has been in steady decline, due to economic policies that favor the top 1% and unchecked corporate boardroom greed. It's a no brainer. When the masses are well-fed, comfortable and secure, they are less likely to point fingers and place blame for their unjust condition. When you have a wide chasm between the haves and have-nots, you wind up a society that is deeply divided and increasingly tribal. You wind up with a society where distrust for government festers, conspiracies run rampant and respect for law & order erodes. You wind up with a selfish society. You wind up with a powder keg. You wind up with something like periods during the Roman empire, where the emperors and wealthy senators put up grand games in the colosseum, targeted minority groups for persecution, and threw bread & wine at the masses—to keep the disenfranchised mob preoccupied and to keep them from turning on the wealthy.

Sound familiar? Are you not entertained?

We just had the 55th Superbowl. Brady has a estimated networth of $200M. His wife, ex-supermodel, has an estimated networth of $400M. Brady received a PPP loan last year for $960K, after which he was reported to have purchased a $2M pleasure boat. By summer of 2020, thousands of small business owners filed for bankruptcy because they could not secure any emergency loans.

"It's the economy, stupid"–James Carville, 1992
 

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Every stable society require a large and stable middle-class. And the American middle-class has been in steady decline, due to economic policies that favor the top 1% and unchecked corporate boardroom greed.
This is inaccurate. It's an intentional falsehood propagated by a political class that wants to divide people and generate envy.

Here's a graph illustrating the actual history of the American middle class over the last 50 years.


The middle class is shrinking because the middle class is moving UP into the upper class. Watch the graph.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The take away quote: "At DOD, it will go well and they will quash it," said former FBI counterterrorism analyst Clint Watts. "It's a lot of sheriffs' departments that make me nervous, because they're elected."-an unelected bureaucrat wholly unfamiliar with the founders' vision of the elected sheriff being the top peace officer in a county.
I hadn't unpacked it to that degree.......I'm glad you did....because that is another peek into the minds of the individuals standing opposite. Power by any means, and people can't be trusted to choose....scary stuff.

I view the article in whole as the ground work for gestapo, secret police, snitch hotlines, kids being turned against their parents etc.....I pay closer attention to the rhetoric by the day.

While Beto was written off when he said "hell yes we're coming for your ar 15," 18 years from now, there will be voters who don't see it as intentionally inflammatory or hollow.....they'll have lived their entire lives knowing that as their starting point. While everyone laughed at him, I couldn't quit thinking about the brilliance of it. Rhetoric is the first step, and while he may not ever personally get credit for its dramatic shifting, the overton window with regard to that topic is now rapidly on the move.....as are several others tangent to it.
 

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This is inaccurate. It's an intentional falsehood propagated by a political class that wants to divide people and generate envy.
Know of any charts that use a traditional meanings of words and not based on "income"?

Upper Class: People that live on interest. Politicians.
Middle Class: Professionals and business owners.
Lower Class: People that work for the above.
 

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Know of any charts that use a traditional meanings of words and not based on "income"?

Upper Class: People that live on interest. Politicians.
Middle Class: Professionals and business owners.
Lower Class: People that work for the above.
I have no idea how you could gather that data.

One way might be to look at the number of small businesses, but that data is not exactly reliable. Income data based on (legally required) tax returns is going to be a lot easier to find.


If we want to try to hash out some definitions of 'class' that might be a separate discussion. But it seems to me that the USA largely consists of two 'classes' at this point:

1). The HAVES: those who are considered 'essential' by the central powers, and who will continue to get paid whether they work or not, regardless of other situations.
2). The HAVE NOTS: those who are considered 'not essential' and who will continue to have to pay for the lifestyle of the HAVES, even when they are forcibly made to stop working and cannot earn any income for themselves.

The HAVES like to point at 'the rich!' and complain, to distract our attention from who the real privileged class in our society is.



I would dispute the idea that people living off investment earnings are always 'upper class'. I know multiple individuals who live off earnings from investments they made earlier in their life, but are living on less than $50k per year. There is a good blog post on that topic here: The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement
 

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Unity is a fantasy. There will always be dissenters under any system or condition. The heart of the problem is social-economic and how many dissenters you allow in your society (and how many will amount to critical mass/insurrection).
You're right that unity is a fantasy. In a free society, nobody controls how many dissenters are allowed. Anyone who wants to peacefully object to government policy has the right to do so. Dissention is a sign that people are free while lack of dissention is a sign of repression.

Every stable society require a large and stable middle-class. And the American middle-class has been in steady decline, due to economic policies that favor the top 1% and unchecked corporate boardroom greed.
As already pointed out, your claim that the middle class in in decline is a fallacy. I do have an idea for you. Instead of blaming the success of others for what you perceive as society's ills, why don't you take charge and do something yourself? If you think that you've figured out a better way to do things, how about starting your own company? You can sell at below market prices, pay people more than the prevailing market wages and make little to no profit. Best of all, you'll put those "greedy" people out of business.

When the masses are well-fed, comfortable and secure, they are less likely to point fingers and place blame for their unjust condition. When you have a wide chasm between the haves and have-nots, you wind up a society that is deeply divided and increasingly tribal. You wind up with a society where distrust for government festers, conspiracies run rampant and respect for law & order erodes. You wind up with a selfish society. You wind up with a powder keg.
It's interesting that you present people as wild gangs of animals that have to be placated. How about realizing that most people don't like government that tries to control them and run most aspects of their lives. They don't like a government that fails to provide equal treatment. For example, Trump has to be impeached because he believes there was vote fraud and literally asked people to peacefully go to the capital and protest. However, nobody needs to be held to account for literally making up a three year fake conspiracy about Trump colluding with the Russians to steal the 2016 election.

We just had the 55th Superbowl. Brady has a estimated networth of $200M. His wife, ex-supermodel, has an estimated networth of $400M.
And guess what? In our free society people willingly gave their money to both to be entertained. Nobody forcefully took anyone's money and gave it to either of them.

Brady received a PPP loan last year for $960K,
"Brady" didn't receive a PPP loan. A business that he has an ownership stake in did. The purpose of the PPP loans were to save jobs. As a business owner in a market with declining sales due to COVID-19, he could have laid off employees to avoid/minimize financial losses or he could have taken the loan to pay said employees. His business chose to do the latter because the federal government made the offer in order to minimize unemployment. If you don't like the PPP loan program, then fine. You should speak out against it. However Brady's business made a smart business decision, so don't blame him for doing what makes sense.

after which he was reported to have purchased a $2M pleasure boat.
He absolutely didn't take the PPP funds loaned to his business and then use that money to buy a boat. You apparently don't know anything about the PPP loan documentation process. Business owners have to show where the money was used to pay employees, rent, etc. This is conflating two unrelated events in order to mislead. If he did that, he would go to jail.

By summer of 2020, thousands of small business owners filed for bankruptcy because they could not secure any emergency loans.
No. They're mostly out of business because of government needlessly preventing their customers from doing business with them. Shutdowns have been a complete fail. Areas with shutdowns have not seen less infection or deaths than those that were largely not shutdown.

"It's the economy, stupid"–James Carville, 1992
"Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you'll find." - James Carville, 1996 in reference to Bill Clinton's sexual assault of Gennifer Flowers (which we of course know happened because Democrats tell us that women are always to be believed).
 

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Bret, I don't know you, but I appreciate your post and agree with a great deal of it.

...why don't you take charge and do something yourself? If you think that you've figured out a better way to do things, how about starting your own company? You can sell at below market prices, pay people more than the prevailing market wages and make little to no profit. Best of all, you'll put those "greedy" people out of business.
I did want to point out that it's harder and harder every year to start a business. More regulation, usually at the behest of lobbyists working for big, established businesses, keeps new businesses from ever getting off the ground.

The last year has pretty much been a bonanza for big businesses with powerful lobbyists, as the government has declared them 'essential' while trampling their smaller competitors. The next nail in the coffin of new businesses (which we think of as 'small business' because that's how every business starts) is already in position--a $15 national minimum wage.

I am in a position to start new businesses, and have chosen not to do so on three occasions over the past year. I expect that I will never start another business, because I think the political and regulatory climate in the USA does not support it. I could definitely be putting my energies into building things that would benefit everyone in our society. But given the ever increasing difficulties, I think I'm just going to pick up my toys and go home to Galt's Gulch.
 

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Bret, I don't know you, but I appreciate your post and agree with a great deal of it.



I did want to point out that it's harder and harder every year to start a business. More regulation, usually at the behest of lobbyists working for big, established businesses, keeps new businesses from ever getting off the ground.

The last year has pretty much been a bonanza for big businesses with powerful lobbyists, as the government has declared them 'essential' while trampling their smaller competitors. The next nail in the coffin of new businesses (which we think of as 'small business' because that's how every business starts) is already in position--a $15 national minimum wage.

I am in a position to start new businesses, and have chosen not to do so on three occasions over the past year. I expect that I will never start another business, because I think the political and regulatory climate in the USA does not support it. I could definitely be putting my energies into building things that would benefit everyone in our society. But given the ever increasing difficulties, I think I'm just going to pick up my toys and go home to Galt's Gulch.
Sad to hear that Tom....but COMPLETELY understand and am on the same page. There are two businesses I'd specifically like to start, but have come to the same conclusion as you. Unfortunately, I'm a debt slave to my mortgage and don't have enough income to just Go Galt, but that's the dream.

Best of luck to you.
 
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