May 6·edited May 6

I’m a pharmacist in the northeast looking to learn more about truth in democracy. I feel that this is the best place for learning. Also, I have MAD respect for Asha!

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I am 75 and an Aussie lifelong learner, been watching Asha on CNN for some time and came across this from somewhere in my internet travels, email list. facebook or twitter posts or somewhere else in the metaverse but here I am anyway, liking and enjoying it. Not exactly new but still.

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Apr 11Liked by Asha Rangappa

Hello everyone! Happy to be here with you all. I’ve been a homemaker for 14 years. Originally from NC, graduated NC State and worked many years as an equipment installation tech which eventually lead to a job with the FAA as a Nav/Comm tech in the DC area. At work I loved sitting alone in the equipment room, getting to know the systems I was responsible for. Tracing the cables, the connections, making sure there were backups. Present day, I’m excited to study current issues with you all and gain perspective on what’s really going on. Appreciate this class Prof. Asha and love the visuals!!!

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Apr 11Liked by Asha Rangappa

Greetings All,

I'm a new student... couldn't be happier about that. My name is Stacy.. I sign everything as StacyO. I was born in California, lived in Dallas and now I'm in South Florida. I've been here about 14 years. Background is primarily in hotels and hospitality, and travel. I am inspired by Asha and her great work on Twitter...And her absolutely dead on sense of humor. I've been following her for about 5 years. I attended the Wine and Fries March Madness group with Peter S... It was so refreshing and what a great time that was .. Fascinating. I'm eager to be a part of this. Thank you,


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Mar 18Liked by Asha Rangappa

Good morning! I’m Matt, originally from Minnesota. I’ve been a US Navy officer for 24 years and change, currently stationed in Hawaii at USINDOPACOM as the Northeast Asia Contingency Plans Branch Chief. Married, three kids, two dogs, and a cat. Still haven’t decided what I want to be when I grow up!

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Jan 30Liked by Asha Rangappa

Greetings all, better late than never. I’ve been here from day one but just now seeing introductions.

I’m in Kentucky after 40 years traveling. I am a retired civil engineer. Specialist in mega construction project management in developing countries.

I am a war baby (age 78). I was born on my grandparents farm in rural poor western Kentucky. There was no electricity or indoor plumbing until I was age 7. Elementary and High school local. First BS degree was major math/physics. Second degree Civil Engineering. I was a civilian US expat 13 years. Countries of residence/work, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Dominican Republic.

BTW Asha, I a PADI OWSI-retired.

Happy to be here and learning a lot. Cheers

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Jan 29Liked by Asha Rangappa

I've been following your work for awhile and when I left Twitter you advised me that this was a format to follow and keep learning.

I created a project to help counter disinformation but it was only of limited effect for obvious reasons to anyone taking the course. It was like mopping the tide to try and push it back.

Most of my background is related to psychology, mentalism, and magic. Not sorcery, unless I'm pretending to be one for an act. 😂😂😂 My stage name is Doctor Wonderland because I can totally disrupt a person's psyche in my act. (Like Wonderland effect 😂)

I'm a qualified psychoanalyst and a body language expert. I have 35 years experience in professional level magic. Most people can't lie to me in person and I will bust a fake psychic in seconds.

I find the psychological warfare interesting and I want to help in anyway I can to fight back.

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From Hal Morris This is a belated intro, because I tried to do an intro many weeks ago, but ended up writing about somethink else, as is my tendency. I am 71 years old, married 35 years, with no children, live in a semi-rural part of NJ.

I spent a few years in a Math Doctoral program but didn't complete it.

Worked for Bell Labs as a contractor/C Programmer "Member of Technical Staff" from about 1981-92, and another 10 years for Amdahl which back then was the supplier and maintainer of UNIX for IBM's top level mainframe computers and their clones (built by Amdahl), which had become the Bell System's favorite UNIX platform.

Since then, starting in the blowup of the first internet boom, and recession caused by 9/11, I have scraped out a living selling used books online.

In my pre-college school years, and long periods of my career did poorly, as I've always had very strong drives to do and especially learn things outside of what I'm graded or paid for.

Since last year, I'm pretty sure my mixed performance has a lot to do with ADD or ADHD - unknown in my K-12 years.

In 1982, I picked up the book Bukharin and The Bolshevik Revolution by Stephen F. Cohen (who has since lost his mind) and was amazed and challenged by the suicidal course the the party had taken. How do you account for the Old Bosheviks following a course that led to 90% of them being killed under Stalin? How does a triumphant revolutionary class with a collective voice, over time, allow one man to form a triumvirate that would eliminate the strongest rival power, and repeat something like that no collection of people could be found with enough trust in eachother to end the insanity that was consuming them. The phrase "perfect storm" comes to mind as the precondition for real totalitarianism, where everyone execpt one or a few at the top thinks they could be killed at any moment, so no one expresses an original thought. In time, the people at the top declare peace among themselves, and it grows more like class rule, and one is OK if they say nothing against the class rule and its idols.

The Khrushchev era generated hope in Gorbachev's generation, with an end to mass execution, bringing back many from the Gulag, and liberalization of the arts for a while.

There is too much more to say, but in the 1980s, the Russia described by Hedrick Smith and others seemed to lack all purpose, but in hindsight, it seems like there were multiple centers of power, the Party, the official government (dominated by but seperate from the party?), the KGB, and the military-industrial complex. The last two had their own needs and drives, and were much less visible to observers like Hedrick Smith. Ideological evolution is difficult with four power centers, when the most exposed parts of the system, that might become pragmatic from dealing with real issues day to day, can be attacked by the other two because everyone must pretend to revere

Leninist ideology.

Maybe key to understanding how a "reformed" Russia came under Putin's control it that the Party and the Government combined functions and put all of the old rules in play, and took the blame for most things the Military needed huge amounts of cash to function, and so nearly disappeared, while the KGB knew how the rest of the world worked, was best at monitoring everyone else, and raised enough cash through foreign operations and partnering with organized crime to remain the strongest and most coherent, and most of the world had no idea how strong it remained.

I wanted to do something with history and writing, and hope to reach a fairly broad American audience, and also got more curious about how relatively sane and democratic nations like the US and Britain came to be, After looking around, I found a new field of study and a sort of "tribe" in SHEAR (Society for the History of the Early American Republic). I.e. mostly early 19c US history, read 100s of books, starting with the newest, and by reading all the footnotes getting to know what books to read next. I got to know many of the authors by going to their conventions for several years. In this area I did come to feel on a more or less par with professors and researchers except I was less driven to settle into a niche, so read social, feminist, abolitionist, regional, local, manufacturing, and travel history and more.

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Jan 10Liked by Asha Rangappa

Good California morning. I’m four classes behind but hope to catch up soon as Outdoor activities are somewhat limited due to our current string of atmospheric rivers. We’re currently in the midst of the sixth with three more incoming in the next few days. I call myself a reluctant activist grandmother. I have four wonderful ones, two of which are dual citizens of the US and Japan. My outlook on national and international politics greatly changed once our family ties broadened to a fantastic Japanese family. I taught fifth grade for many years during which we taught US government and history up to the Civil War. I feel like my teaching partners and I did an adequate to good job giving a basic civics education to ten and eleven year olds, but from our current national political situation, I can see that not many of my fellow citizens have even that much background. State and National testing and the drive for high scores caused a steady decrease in academic classroom time for the social sciences beginning in the third grade. I feel the need to educate myself now on communication influence and strategies so I can have confidence in ferreting out facts from the huge information landslide we currently have to deal with between social media and instantaneous news from around the world.

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Jan 5Liked by Asha Rangappa

Hi all - wot an inspirational group of people here. Very thankful to asha for bringing us all together. I’m a little late but hope to get time to catch up - as this has always been a fascinating subject to me. I’m a comms designer with a social sciences degree and international business msc - I set up and run my own design business 30 yrs - and thousands of jobs ago - and still consider it a privilege (and a major responsibility) to be able to craft msgs and put them into the world. Worked previously in care with people with dementia, learning disabilities and cognitive impairment. Although living in the uk I have become obsessed with the current state of play in American politics - and the apparent acceptance of daily lies - of course I’m concerned above all that democracy prevails - because if u go we will be next - and who wants to be dictated to by power-crazed nazis? Not us lot for sure.

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Jan 2Liked by Asha Rangappa

Hi Asha:

I signed up for the free class ... am considering signing up as a paid subscriber. Was a state child protection social worker for many years before becoming a real estate broker...now happily retired.

I guess I would be late to class by signing up now ... wondering if I can catch up. Is that even possible? Anyone?

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Hello Asha.

Years ago I started a new Twitter account, and you were one of the first suggestions to follow. :)

A little about me:

I’ve written 2 books (the first a spy thriller, the second a book of essays) and a chapbook (short stories). While writing the first book, [COLLIDE (ISBN 9781499694208)] in 2013, I became much more interested in the intersection of the intelligence community, technology, science, and national security.

Among other projects, I’ve created and edited an arts journal focused on visual arts, LAB (LAB-zine.com), publishing 23 issues before retiring the project (archive still available). Visual communications and pattern recognition became areas of interest. After applying for a PIF (Presidentail Innovation Fellowship), I ended up running into Jen Fields in Washington, DC (visual communications expert for the White House ) and getting endorsed on LinkedIn for “design,” which inspired me to further explore positive applications of visual communications.

What else? Watching documentaries like The Great Hack led to an interest in the impact of disinformation (via social media) on elections and democracy.

I have so much to learn. Key questions I’ve grappled with through the years: can viral memes / signals / symbols be used for good (ie, to benefit democracy)? I’m hoping this class helps me further my understanding of the positive and negative (or even offensive and defensive) applications of information, disinformation, signals, symbols, and memes.

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Dec 15, 2022Liked by Asha Rangappa

Hi all! I learned of Democracy in the (Dis)Information Age from Asha’s Freedom Academy, which I am learning from and thoroughly enjoying. Like many, I have been both saddened and sickened by what by the fact that there are people in our country who seem to be doing whatever they can to destroy our democracy. These dangers might be expected if they were from outside our country but they are both external and internal. I have followed Asha for a number of years now and feel confident that her experience, ability to analyze, and to teach will make for a rewarding learning experience.

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Dec 14, 2022Liked by Asha Rangappa

Hello, Asha, and all of you interested in lifelong learning. I’m a 77 year old retired public tv executive. I grew up in small town Arkansas; I graduated high school with 22 others. I’ve had a great life filled with love and affection and education, and easily my greatest accomplishment was being a really good basketball player🤗. I love being part of a team. I’m now playing catch-up in this course due to some diversions over the past two weeks.

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Hi Asha - signed up early but got overloaded w/other health/work/holiday-related stuff...just starting the courses now (loved the first one!)

I’m a survivor of 30 years in Hollywood TV/film, a best-selling co-author (ie credited ghostwriter) now living in NY State & currently making short films w/my writer-director husband. I dreaded the 2016 election because in my very politically diverse family circles, the HRC-dislike I heard was coming from all quarters, including liberal circles. HRC had been publicly demonized since Bill was first elected Arkansas governor & she failed to change her last name (she later buckled & did.) 30 years later, all that daily demonizing - so much of it lies & disinformation- had seeped into the wider public consciousness. I even asked liberal HRC haters what about her was so terrible - they could never identify exactly what. That’s how bad it was. Meanwhile, Trump was busy memorizing the fascist playbook, starting with appeals to populist sentiment as so many demagogues before him had.

Pre 2015, I almost never revealed my politics on Twitter, but my silent-generation mother & WWII veteran dad raised me to stand up to fascism & fight for the defenseless, & if not me, who...if not now, when etc etc. Everything changed post election understanding & fighting the increasingly radicalized Trumpian government & citizenry became a focus. I learned a lot from people on Twitter since then - you foremost among them. In January 2020, I started work on an independent documentary I’d been envisioning since I first watched with fascination on Twitter as Joe Walsh became a never-Trumper in real time over a year ½ period. It gave me hope that he’d be a canary in the coal mine for most other patriotic Republicans- boy was I naive. We raised some of the film’s budget online, but then lockdown happened & failure was not an option, so I emptied my savings & a money market account & begged for favors to finish it. Fortunately, our team believed in what we were trying to do & most volunteered, deferred or worked for pennies on the dollar. The film, “The Game Is Up: Disillusioned Trump Voters Tell Their Stories”, went on to win top awards in 20 different film festivals. After a year, we finally got a distributor and we’re released on Amazon, Tubi & Indie Rights You Tube in September of this year. (If anyone reading this can afford the $3-4.99 to rent it in commercial-free, beautiful 4K on Amazon, we need 12 more reviews -100 total - to keep our place in their algorithm) It was the only way I knew to use my lifelong skill set to help my country.

I’d like to do more, & realizing that the amount of disinformation is only increasing (esp since Elon bought Twitter) that means studying & learning more. So I am here to learn from the best. Hope I can meet you in person someday for wine & fries as well!

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Dec 12, 2022Liked by Asha Rangappa

Hi Asha, I just signed up for the year subscription. I'm guessing I just start here and read through your posts to get caught up.

Thank you,


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