Capitol Riots: The President led a terrorist attack on Congress

January 6: A Day that will live in ignominy. The day Capitol riots broke out when an angry mob, following instructions from Donald Trump, stormed the halls of Congress and came within minutes of a potential hostage situation or worse: a massacre.

I’m still processing the events of Wednesday, as are many. Even though I fully anticipated something horrifying given the utter obviousness of the confrontation brewing, I did not have a particular picture in mind of what that thing was going to be.

Despite having steeled myself for the past 4+ years, I wept many times at some of the imagery and video footage. The defilement of the people’s halls by a violent armed mob who took selfies with Capitol Police was just not something I could have conceived of.

There must be accountability

This was one of the darkest days of our nation. Even during the Civil War the Confederates never stormed the US Capitol, so to see the Confederate flag waving in Congress was a desecration. It twisted me up to have such a raw display of America’s deepest gash of white supremacist history taken symbolically and literally to the nation’s capital.

This event was broadcast around the world, to our allies and to our enemies. We received rebukes from Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran. We — the supposed bastion of democracy. The country that lectures other nations around the world on how to do democracy better. We have been humiliated for the entire planet to see.

We need answers about what happened here. The people deserve to know who planned this, who helped this along, who looked the other away, and perhaps most importantly: who still agrees with it (Hawley and Cruz, for one — they must go).

We must stop fascism in America

The rot of fascism has been allowed to spread to the point where a violent mob of white supremacists, QAnon conspiracy nuts, MAGA faithful and a demon’s host of all stripes came within minutes of taking hostages inside the chambers of Congress. Five people lost their lives and already are being made into martyrs.

This did not begin with Trump, but he certainly amplified the signal at a much more psychotic rate than under previous administrations, certainly of my lifetime. We are now at a dangerous precipice: in a time of staggering wealth inequality, a once in a century health crisis largely being ignored by the right wing, deeply bitter partisanship played out over decades, the creep of authoritarianism around the world — and now at home.

Wednesday’s Capitol Riots did essentially mark the “crossing of the Rubicon” that the Trump cult begged him to do — it was a coming-out day for fascism. It was the President of the United States instructing an armed mob to walk up to the Capitol where lawmakers were certifying the election for the guy who won it, and telling them to “take our country back” and give it to him — by force if necessary. Which, of course, was necessary.

That is the Rubicon — the Rubicon is the willingness to use political violence when you have exhausted all other legal, shady, illegal, and hideously criminal means. That is the fascist twist. If we do not react now; if we do not censure, remove, and allow justice to hold these individuals accountable — both inside and outside of the government — they will take it as permission to try again and again until we deal with this.

We must hold the insurrectionists accountable — if we are to keep this republic.

30 Common Psychological Biases

Two psychologists ended up unlocking important keys to both the mind and to economics. Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman created the field of behavioral economics and revolutionized cognitive psychology with the discovery of cognitive biases that affect our decision-making abilities.

These systematic errors in our thinking and logic affect our everyday choices, behaviors, and evaluations of others.

Psychological biasExplanationExample
action biasBelief that when we're faced with an ambiguous situation or challenge, that we must take some action vs. doing nothing, whether doing something is a good idea or not (and often quickly, without taking the time to fully examine the problem); also known as "naive interventionism"sports enthusiasts rooting for their favorite teams are notorious for the superstitious rituals they are in psychological anguish if not able to perform, despite the objective fact that they have no ability whatsoever to affect the outcome (in pop culture, Robert DeNiro's character in Silver Linings Playbook exemplifies this)
adjustment heuristicTendency to start from an implicitly suggested reference point when assessing probabilities (the "anchor") and making adjustments to that reference point to reach an estimate
affect heuristicWe tend to underestimate the role of feelings of liking & disliking in our judgments and decision-makingInstead of considering risks and benefits independently, individuals with a negative attitude towards nuclear power may consider its benefits as low and risks as high, thereby leading to a more negative risk-benefit correlation than would be evident under conditions without time pressure (Finucane, Alhakami, Slovic, & Johnson, 2000)
anchoring effectFixating on a value or # that gets compared to everything else, b/c we tend to compare/contrast limited sets of items (aka “relativity trap”) — store sale items take advantage of this (so we compare the new value to the old, but not the old value on its own as a measure of worth)
availability heuristicTendency to make quick "intuitive" judgments about the size of given categories by the ease with which particular instances/examples of the class come to mind
bandwagon effectSimilar to groupthink, arising from our built-in desire to fit in and conform, we tend to "go along with the trend" when it becomes apparent to us
contagion heuristicTendency to avoid contact with people or objects viewed as "contaminated" by previous contact with someone or something else viewed as "bad"Related to/inclusive of magical thinking — believing a person's sweater still carries their "essence," e.g.
confirmation biasWe tend to agree w/those who agree with us & avoid associating with those who don't, to avoid the discomfort of cognitive dissonance (the Internet has sadly made this worse)
conjunction fallacyA formal fallacy that occurs when one believes a specific condition is more probable than a general one
current moment biasPreference to experience pleasure now, & put off the “pain” til later; lack of ability to imagine ourselves in the future & altering today's behaviors accordingly
disjunction fallacyMisjudging that the disjunction of two events must be as likely as either of the events individually (as definitionally, via probability theory)
false consensus effectPeople tend to overestimate the degree to which the general public shares their beliefs and opinionspotentially related to the availability heuristic, the self-serving bias, and naive realism
focusing illusionPlacing too much emphasis on one aspect of an event, outweighing its importance and causing error in judgment
Gambler's fallacyPutting a tremendous amount of weight on previous events, believing they will influence future outcomes (even when outcome is random)also frequently a logical fallacy
Identifiable Victim EffectTendency for people to care deeply about a single, specific tragedy but seem disinterested in vast atrocities affecting thousands or millions of peoplemore broadly, abstract concepts motivate us less than individual cases (especially when given visual evidence)
ingroup biasOverestimating abilities and values of our immediate group & underestimating that of outgroups (oxytocin plays a role)
naive realismThe belief that each one of us sees the world objectively, while the people who disagree with us must be either uninformed or irrational"Everyone is influenced by ideology and self-interest. Except for me. I see things as they are."
negativity biasWe pay more attention to bad news
neglecting probabilityReason we're afraid to fly even though it's statistically far more likely to be in a car accident (same way we fear terrorism but not more mundane accidents that are far more likely)
observational selection biasSuddenly noticing things we didn't notice before & assuming frequency has increased (also contributes to feeling appearance of certain things or events can't be coincidence)
optimism biasTendency to believe that good things happen more often than bad things
planning fallacySystematic tendency toward unrealistic optimism about the time it takes to comple
positive expectation biasSense that our luck has to change for the better
post-purchase rationalizationMaking ourselves feel better after we make crappy decisions (aka Buyer's Stockholm Syndrome)
projection biasAssumption that most people think just like us (false consensus bias is related: thinking that others agree with us)
resemblance biasTendency to ignore statistical facts and use resemblance as a simplifying heuristic to make difficult judgments
self-serving biasTendency to evaluate ambiguous or complex information in a way that is beneficial to the speaker's interests, as well as to claim responsibility for successes and attribute failures to others or to uncontrollable external factors
shifting baseline syndromeWe tend to use very recent data points in our research (even when more data is available) and thus can miss picking up on some long-term trends
status-quo biasWe fear change, so tend to make choices that guarantee things remain the same (& by extension, assume that any other choice will be inferior, or make things worse)
treadmill effectOur desire for the new version of a product or service is acute, even if upgrades are minor & incremental; but the pleasure we get from the new object wears off quickly to leave us back at the original satisfaction baseline

brainwashing

A technique of torture and compliance, brainwashing is used in many contexts to control victims. From personal relationships and marriage to cults, all the way up to the scale of nation-states, removing or reducing independent thinking and action in a person or population gives the brainwasher enormous power and advantage.

The word’s origin is from a Chinese term meaning “forcible indoctrination to induce somebody to give up basic religious, social, or political beliefs and attitudes in favor of a belief system imposed by the brainwasher.” It’s also been referred to as mind control, or coercive persuasion — and is a form of highly unethical emotional and psychological manipulation.

7 brainwashing tactics

  1. isolation — separating you from family and friends, or any kind of support network who may provide alternative and negative views of the abuser
  2. monopolization of attention — they seek to have the target orient their entire world around the abuser, leaving them little time to think about anything else
  3. weaken your resistance — wearing down your defenses over time, so their messages take firmer hold
  4. give occasional indulgences — providing temporary relief or even pleasure contributes to the overall program of intermittent reinforcement, to induce dependency on the abuser for stimulation of any kind
  5. demonstrates “all-knowingness” — becomes an absurd moral authority on your entire life, presenting the truth about your inner self and past history with more omniscience than you yourself possess. They know you better than you know yourself — and you believe them!
  6. destroy all sources of joy — the brainwasher needs to ensure that they are the sole source of pleasure and pain, for complete operant conditioning control over the target. All other pleasures in life are eradicated or eroded.
  7. degradation and humiliation — if the target gets close to figuring out the truth about the power imbalance and impropriety of the abuser’s behavior, the abuser will immediately begin a scathing shame campaign to punish the temerity of daring to stand meekly on one’s own

Brainwashing in politics and religion

Use of brainwashing by communist officials in China, Korea, and Vietnam gained attention in the U.S. in the mid-20th century. The brainwashing technique is also used by gangs, cults, and organized crime networks to control both members and outgroups.

Perhaps most commonly it is associated with fringe religious groups like the Peoples Temple, Unification Church (or Moonies), Children of God, Branch Davidians, Heaven’s Gate, Aum Shinrikyo, The Manson Family, and thousands of other cults less well known. Sometimes the brainwashing is intended to limit the followers’ access to the outside world, and sometimes it is about grooming them to perform criminal acts from financial crimes to murder to starting a race war.

Related to:

  • BF Skinner
  • Ivan Pavlov
  • Mao Zedong
  • Nazis
  • Moscow Trials
  • Jim Jones
  • David Koresh

Hyper Partisanship: How to understand American politics today

Buckle up, we’re in for a wild ride. Many of the serious scholars of political history and authoritarian regimes are sounding the alarm bells that, although it is a very very good thing we are getting rid of the Trump crime family soon, it is still a very very bad thing for America to have so rapidly tilted towards authoritarianism. How did we get here?! How has hyper partisanship escalated to the point of an attempted coup by 126 sitting Republican House Representatives?

These are some of the resources that helped me grapple with that question, and with the rapidly shifting landscape of information warfare. This outline is a work in progress, and I’m planning to keep adding to this list as the tape keeps rolling.

Right-Wing Authoritarianism

  • Karen Stenner — Australian political psychologist Karen Stenner found that approximately 1/3 of populations are authoritarian, or have authoritarian tendencies.
  • Hannah Arendt — The Origins of Totalitarianism
  • ketman — Ketman is the psychological concept of concealing one’s true aims, akin to doublethink in Orwell’s 1984, that served as a central theme to Polish dissident Czesław Miłosz’s book The Captive Mind about intellectual life under totalitarianism during the Communist post-WWII occupation.
  • Erich Fromm — coined the term “malignant narcissism” to describe the psychological character of the Nazis
  • Fascism — elevation of the id as the source of truth; enthusiasm for political violence
    • Jason Stanley — How Fascism Works
    • Robert O. Paxton — The Anatomy of Fascism
    • Tim Snyder — On Tyranny
    • Federico Finchelstein — A Brief History of Fascist Lies
  • Loyalty; hero worship
  • Richard Hofstadter — The Paranoid Style
  • Lakoff — moral framing; strict father morality
  • Neil Postman — Entertaining Ourselves to Death
  • Anti-Intellectualism
  • Can be disguised as hyper-rationalism (Communism)

Cognitive and psychological data

  • conservative minds don’t accept new information coming in
    • vs. Bayesian logic
    • vs. Thomas Kuhn scientific revolutions
  • Psychological biases
    • Status quo bias
  • The Asch Experiment — more than 60% of the time, people bow to social pressure
  • Stanley Milgram 1974 — we will submit to the demands of authority to a far greater extent than we might expect
    • it absolves us of responsibility
    • a “loophole” to quickly route around our conscience, making “normal” persons susceptible to the appeals of psychopaths
  • The Marshmallow Experiment — drive towards instant gratification
  • Edward Bernays — Propaganda
  • Narcissism and Sadism | The Dark Triad — difficult personalities
    • Political ponerology — the nature of evil; interaction of difficult personalities with power and politics
      • pathocracy — Andrew Łobaczewski (2007)
      • sadopopulism — Tim Snyder
    • Narcissistic collusion — the interplay of the grandiose expectations of the tyrant and his followers. It gives him power as a meshing of mutually compatible needs.
    • Narcissism of small differences — Freud 1991
    • Scapegoating
    • Psychological decompensation
    • Psychopath World
      • The Upside Down — up is down, black is white
      • No conscience
      • No empathy
      • The ultimate narcissist
      • Obsession with power, dominance, and hierarchy
      • Primitive goals, relentlessly pursued
      • Rigidity; inflexibility
      • No access to higher human ideals
      • Performative; mask-wearing
      • See people as objects for their use
      • Control issues
      • Cruel and sadistic
      • Empty and thrill-seeking
      • Enjoy breaking rules
      • Inauthentic; insincere
      • Projectivity
      • Destructiveness; recklessness
      • Conspiracy-minded
      • Cold and inaccessible
      • Reptilian
    • Terminology: ASPD and the shifting umbrella of personality disorder and Cluster B
    • Malignant narcissism as a historical conception of this group of personality traits
  • Paranoia
  • Abuse culture
    • Bullies
    • Emotional abuse
    • psychological abuse
    • physical abuse
    • financial abuse
    • legal abuse
    • abuse of power
    • Alice Miller — Her work identified the psychological impact of childhood neglect and abuse, not just at the individual level but at the societal level — where it has a tendency to produce a hierarchical worldview characterized by the need to control the environment.
    • One-sided development — Dąbrowski (1996)
  • Cults
  • “Big Cults” — rise to the level of nation-state and even beyond
  • Psychological warfare
    • Propaganda
      • Bernays –> Goebbels
      • Michiko Kakutani — The Death of Truth
    • Emotional abuse
    • Interrogation techniques
    • Disinformation
      • Conspiracy theories
      • Fake news
        • “Flood the channel” strategy
        • Overwhelm and drown out the truth
        • Deep fakes
      • Lying with statistics
    • Bot networks and cyborg botnets
      • agents
        • distraction
        • confusion
        • probing
        • persuasion
        • conversion
        • neutralization
      • flying monkeys
      • automated response
      • timed response
    • Extortion
    • Doxxing
  • Living on Fantasy Island
    • Ernest Becker — The Denial of Death & the basis for fundamental self-deception
    • Buddhist / Shambhala conceptions of “The Cocoon” — a mental place of safety we construct for ourselves to remain shielded from Real Reality
    • Republican Denial Bubbles: climate change, trickle-down economics, “no one is racist,” birtherism, covid is a hoax, everything is hunky dory, you are getting very sleepy…
    • Dominionism and extremist religious circles believing literally in the End Times and the rapture coming soon (Tim LaHaye et al), including at the highest levels of government (Pompeo, Pence, etc.)
    • It Was All a Lie — Stuart Stevens, former GOP strategist and co-founding member of the Lincoln Project, spills the beans on the Republican capture of civic discourse with a set of false narratives all spinning out from the white supremacist backlash to the civil rights movement of the 60s.

HISTORY

  • Capitol Riots and Putsch — insurrectionists storm the Capitol
  • Raffensperger extortion call
  • Georgia runoffs
  • Biden elected + Big Lie begins (continues, really)
  • George Floyd murder and summer of protest
    • long struggle with police brutality and “driving while Black”
  • Votings Rights Act gutted
  • Citizens United
  • Growing nationalization of politics parallels the demise of local news

Hyper Partisanship in Congress: The Gingrich Years

  • Newt Gingrich and the Contract on America — Steve Kornacki, Julian Zelizer
  • Rise of Evangelicals and the deals with the devils (Paul Weyrich, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, prosperity gospel, etc)
    • ALEC
    • abortion as a 180-degree turn for use as a wedge issue
    • Brown v. Board of Education & the fight over segregated Christian private schools
  • White nationalism’s reputational laundering
    • David Duke popped back up in both the 90s and the 2010s
    • Some Vietnam vets nurtured their own “stabbed in the back” culture after the war
    • Rise of the militia movement
      • Many returning soldiers saw the fringe left Communist movement in the US as an “enemy at home”
      • Greensboro, NC massacre
      • The Order
      • KKK & KKKK
    • Paramilitary operations in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, and elsewhere in Latin America to “bring the war home”
    • After the fall of Communism, the movement needed a new enemy. During the immediate post-Vietnam era they claimed to be working on behalf of the state, but towards the end of the 80s they did a 180-degree turn to a hard anti-government stance
    • Survivalist fringe
      • Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing
      • Waco
      • Ruby Ridge
      • Unabomber / Ted Kaczynski
    • Intersection of militia movement with NRA
      • Intersection of NRA with Russian active measures

Post-Soviet Capital Flight and the Rise of Russian Organized Crime

Rise of Dark Money

The explosion of Super PACs and other seemingly endless vehicles for anonymous money lending to political campaigns exploded after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in 2010. The hyper partisanship tilted even further when the GOP quietly began accepting far more foreign contributions than many people realized.

  • Citizens United
  • Koch Brothers / Kochtopus
  • offshore tax havens
  • unregistered FARA agents (Flynn, Manafort, Elliott Broidy, etc)
  • Jane Mayer
  • Panama Papers — biggest offshore data leak in history
  • FinCEN files

Rise of Russian Hybrid Warfare

  • Gerasimov Doctrine
  • Vladislav Surkhov’s surrealistic war theater
    • Fifth World War: all against all
  • Cheka –> KGB –> FSB / GRU
  • Psychological warfare
  • Cyber warfare
    • energy grid
    • US Treasury
    • election infrastructure
    • nuclear weaponry
  • Information warfare
    • Disinformation
    • Cyborg bot networks
    • IRA & Robert Mueller indictments
    • Cambridge Analytica, data theft, and microtargeting
    • Astroturfing, fake activism, paid crisis actors
  • Financial warfare
    • Magnitsky Act
      • Bill Browder
      • Natalia Veselnitskaya
      • Trump Tower meeting June 9, 2016
    • Campaign funding
      • Marie Le Pen (France)
      • Viktor Orban (Hungary)
      • Brexit (UK)
      • Trump / GOP (US)
      • Law and Justice (Poland)
    • Corruption — organized crime, money laundering, bribery, human trafficking, drugs, arms, fraud, racketeering, etc.
  • Proxy warfare
    • Private security forces and arms’ length deniability
      • Yevgeny Prigozhin
      • Erik Prince
    • Ukraine
    • Belarus
    • Syria

Role of Facebook, Google, and Big Tech

Silicon Valley played its part in enabling — and profiteering from — hyper partisanship not just in the U.S., but around the world. Facebook in particular has a reputation for being callously cheap about moderating content from hate speech to live mass shooting video, including arguably playing a significant role in the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar.

  • Facebook as a rogue nation state with almost 3 billion non-voting citizen-serfs
    • Reluctant moderators require regulating
    • Questionable ethics
      • Moral hazard in political leanings
      • Paid propaganda machine for dictators and authoritarian regimes around the world
      • Allow disinformation to “skirt around” the rules too often, or fail to police bad actors at all
      • Fail to live up to their own moderating standards repeatedly
      • Refuse responsibility for arguably essential roles in geopolitical disasters including the Rohingya massacre in Myanmar and
      • A business model that fundamentally benefits from human conflict
      • Cambridge Analytica
      • Traumatic conditions of the Facebook moderation team, in the US and abroad
  • Google’s capture of the web
    • monopoly powers
    • surveillance powers
    • AI powers
    • collapse of online advertising market
    • collapse of local journalism
    • Youtube radicalization
  • Surveillance capitalism
  • Data as the new oil

Economic insecurity and staggering inequality

  • Piketty
  • Gilded Age
  • Progressive Era
  • Anti-Trust
  • Herbert Hoover –> FDR
  • Great Depression –> New Deal prosperity
  • Keynesian economics
  • Hillbilly elegy
    • Bowling Alone
    • The Big Sort
  • Globalization
  • Opioid crisis

Republican Myths

As further enabled by the rise of the PR-state

  • White supremacy and the myth of American innocence
  • Trickle down economics –> Reagan
  • Powell Memo –> Think Tanks
  • McCarthyism; John Birch Society
  • America as a Judeo-Christian nation
  • Immigration is bad
  • Climate change denialism
  • Smoking is good for you

Americana and Hyper Partisanship through the ages

  • 2020 election
  • 2016 election
  • Obama years
  • 2008-09 financial crash
  • 9/11, WMD delusions, Iraq War, Islamic terrorism
  • 2000 Bush v. Gore
  • Welfare queens
  • Clinton and the Crime Bill
  • Reagan years
  • Watergate
  • Spiro Agnew
  • Nixon’s war on drugs as a proxy for the war on 60s counterculture
  • White militia movement
  • Civil rights & Vietnam
  • Cold War
  • The Holocaust; Stalin’s Great Terror; Mao’s famine
  • WWII & fascism
  • New Deal
  • Great Depression
  • WWI
  • Gilded Age
  • Snake oil
  • PT Barnum
  • Great Awakening preachers George Whitefield & Jonathan Edwards
    • they argued that church authorities should not own people’s direct relationship with God
  • KKK
  • Jim Crow
  • Reconstruction
  • Civil War & Confederacy — the ur-Hyper Partisanship.
  • States’ Rights
  • Anti-Intellectualism
  • Slavery
  • Racism, Misogyny
  • Federalism vs. Decentralization
  • The Constitution and the Rule of Law
  • Democracy overthrows monarchy
  • Spirit of the Laws — Montesquieu
  • Social contract; consent of the governed
  • Puritans
  • Religious freedom
  • Liberty vs. freedom
  • The Enlightenment
  • Magna Carta
  • The Bible

Trump is a cult leader

Cult leader playbook:

1. Position himself (and the group — his extension) as the benevolent safe haven to turn to when afraid

2. Isolate the follower from other sources of safe haven

3. Arouse fear in the follower

Rinse; repeat.

Qualities of a Cult Leader

  • Narcissistic — highly self-absorbed, they demand excessive admiration and slavish devotion to their whims.
  • Charismatic — they have a way of grabbing attention, whether positive or negative.
  • Unpredictable — erratic behavior keeps enemies on their toes and fans “on edge” with desire to please Dear Leader.
  • Insatiable drive — it could be status, money, sex, power, or all of the above, but they feel they deserve it more than anyone else on the planet.
  • Lack of conscience — they have no shame and will demand things a decent human being would not.

Trump has all the cult leader qualities and follows the playbook to a tee — doing little else, in fact. He should be considered highly armed and dangerous. An emotionally unstable individual with access to the United States’ greatest powers and deepest secrets. A threat to American life and liberty. Dictator Don.

The Authoritarian Personality: Deference to a higher power

Sociologist Theodor Adorno created the “F scale” in a 1950 seminal work entitled The Authoritarian Personality — to rank the level of predilection to fascism in an individual, which became desirable both during and shortly after World War II.

In authoritarian personality theory, the defining traits of the Platonic fascist (or the ur-Fascist as Umberto Eco would later call them) include the following:

  • conventionalism — following the rules; “this is how we’ve always done things”; fundamentalist thinking; dogmatic philosophy; intolerance of ambiguity (and intolerance in general)
  • authoritarian submission — follow the Ruler; the Ruler is always right, no matter how obvious the lie or big the myth. only ingroup authority figures matter, though.
  • authoritarian aggression — “send in the troops,” “when the looting starts the shooting starts,” “dominate the streets”
  • anti-intellectualism — distrust of experts; paranoid politics; intellectualism is unmasculine
  • anti-intraception — a dislike of subjectivity and imagination: “the fact is…”; black and white thinking; dislike of flamboyant self-expression; monoculture
  • superstition — conspiracy theory; anti-vaxxers; QAnon
  • stereotypy — racism, sexism, classism, ageism, all the isms; homophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia, all the phobias
  • power and “toughness” — obsessed with dominance and submission; rigidly pro-hierarchy; solves problems with violence; values physical strength
  • destructiveness — dismantle the Federal government; remove environmental regulations; pull out of international alliances; weakening America’s place in the world, abandoning the EU, and kowtowing to dictators around the world
  • cynicism — “both sides do it,” whataboutism, all politicians are bad, conscience (non)voters
  • projectivity — everything is Obama’s fault, almost literally; claims Biden is corrupt; Hillary’s email server (though they all used and continue to use private email servers, every single one of them); claim that the Clinton campaign started the birther controversy; accuse everyone else of lying
  • exaggerated concerns over sex — anti-abortion; homophobia; excessive taboos; excessive shame

We are seeing all of these traits today. We see the rise of authoritarianism — we see it in our leadership, we see it in our communities, and we see it surging around the world.

We see it in a much larger percentage of our populace than many of us might have imagined. People of good character far outnumber the Right-Wing Authoritarians, but they can be subjugated, emotionally manipulated, strong-armed, abused, intimidated, made cynical by the RWAs. And the RWA personality is driven to actively hate outgroups in many outrageously twisted and depraved ways, from pettiness to genocide.

Right-Wing Authoritarianism

Refined by professor of psychology Bob Altemeyer (The Authoritarians, et al) in 1981, the Right-Wing Authoritarianism scale (RWA) addresses some of the limitations of the F scale and exhibits more predictive power in identifying individuals exhibiting authoritarian personality.

The RWA personality is associated with all of the following traits, beliefs, actions, patterns, and signs of authoritarianism:

  • extreme obedience
  • unquestioning respect for and submission to a chosen authority
  • forceful insistence on hierarchy
  • striving for dominance in social hierarchies
  • supremacy
  • wolves vs. sheep worldview
  • Manichaean struggle
  • punitiveness; vengefulness; malignant envy
  • destructiveness
  • extremism
  • subordination to the collective
  • tribalism
  • cult of personality
  • traditionalism
  • conservatism
  • fundamentalism
  • less openness to experience
  • aggression towards minority groups
  • resistance to change
  • justification(s) for social inequality
  • Libertarianism
  • police brutality
  • psychological abuse
  • hypocrisy
  • projection
  • magical thinking
  • disciplinarian
  • control freak
  • mass surveillance
  • repression
  • a primary drive to achieve relief from uncertainty, even at the cost of individual freedom

Democracy vs. Authoritarianism

Maybe we could offer up the RWA test as a “good faith” gesture, if one is interested in participating in civic discourse with credibility and authenticity. It would help us identify those individuals who are going to be unlikely to play by the rules of the game or have no intention of behaving fairly. It would help us draw authoritarianism and totalitarianism out of the proverbial closet and into public discourse so we can refute it vehemently in a proper forum.

Although we have bot tests, we don’t really have great ways of measuring and identifying human beings with deceptive agendas. If we could screen people as authoritarians via “honorable challenge,” we could save so much time by not wasting it on the lost causes whose power trip runs so deep it can never be exposed. It could serve as a way to drag out into the light any number of intolerable, anti-democratic sentiments masquerading as “strict Constitutionalism.” We can pry open the doublespeak and arm ourselves with the secret decoder rings of understanding RWA dogwhistles.

And maybe we can finally change the conversation by more easily identifying friendlies from foes from the start, without having to wade through every minefield.

Just maybe.

War of the Worldviews: Hierarchy vs. Fairness

Hierarchy vs. Fairness is the dominant Manichaean struggle of our age, and perhaps every age before it: shall we structure our society with a strict hierarchical system of highs and lows, with power concentrated at the top? Or shall we have an egalitarian society where truth, justice, and fairness rule the day?

There are a lot of stories, myths, and narratives centered on this question: hierarchy or fairness? Cultural wars and actual wars have been waged — numerous times throughout history.

We are fighting a new incarnation of that war now in our nation, as civil unrest spreads following yet another extrajudicial murder by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin — who knelt on the neck of George Floyd for a jaw-dropping 8 minutes and 46 seconds: 2 minutes and 53 seconds beyond the point where Floyd lost consciousness and 1 minute and 54 seconds past the point fellow officers checked to confirm he had no pulse.

That is a staggeringly long time.

There is simply no credibility to the typical excuse that Chauvin somehow feared for his life — from an unarmed, handcuffed, prone, unconscious, and then lifeless George Floyd. Arrested over an allegedly counterfit $20 bill. Meanwhile Congress appropriates hundreds of billions and even trillions for big business and last I heard, no arrests had been made. Curious.

It starts in childhood

Psychologists like Alice Miller and Darcia Narvaez attribute this troubling mentality — this mentality that exhibits complete disregard for human life — as originating in our child-raising “techniques.” At one time corporal punishment for youth was the rule and not the exception; not uncoincidentally, the Hitler Youth of Germany had been largely raised under the “advice” of Daniel Gottlieb Moritz Shreber who advocated beating babies from a young age so the importance of obedience would be drilled into them early on.

It wasn’t until much later we learned that traumatized and neglected children display severe lesions affecting up to the 30 percent of the areas of the brain responsible for controlling emotions. In other words, “traditional” authoritarian child-rearing in the fundamentalist religion style of “spare the rod, spoil the child” produces emotionally crippled adults — who tend to enact the revenge fantasies of their internal repressed rage as adults later in life. They simply need be provided with an “authorized” scapegoat.

Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt

Miller goes on to suggest the psychological survival mechanism of denial employed by abused children to survive their situation leads them to develop the kind of emotional blindness in adulthood that will turn the other way when witnessing violations of another person’s humanity — or may even be induced to carry them out. We’re all familiar with Nazi Adolf Eichmann’s “defense” of why he should be exonerated for behaving like a robotic killer: “I was just following orders.”

Teaching children to be obedient or be emotionally abandoned — whether through physical abuse or emotional abuse or both — is the key to unlocking this mystery of the appeal of hierarchy and authoritarianism which is seeing a resurgence not just in the United States but around the world — especially in Europe as well. Miller calls it “poisonous pedagogy” — not just parents but many other forms of authority indoctrinate youth in this vicious cycle and benefit from the creation of obedient individuals by amassing and maintaining power.

The kicker is we are not supposed to recognize this process — and if we do, we most certainly are not supposed to speak up about it. We are supposed to remain unaware that our deference to authority is merely a construct; a thin veneer over the insecurity of power that hopes desperately to continue wielding absurd moral authority over the masses. This collective and complicitous denial keeps us all locked in the dance of abuser and abused — essentially pretending it isn’t happening all around us including in our own homes.

The Founders advocated fairness

For all the right wing enjoys brandishing the Constitution as fundamental law, they tend to often miss the forest for the trees — that the founding fathers wrote extensively on their views and consideration in constructing a new nation towards the end of the 18th century, and that those views were decidedly against the arbitrary rule of kings and the strict striations of class as seen in the empires of Europe. They sought to get away from the cult of personality paradigm of the divine right of kings, believing that the rule of law should hold sway and that men ought to govern themselves through a political process with enough checks and balances to ensure no single branch or individual could wield too much power over others.

James Madison especially was a big believer in the “wisdom of crowds” to arrive at a better, more morally appropriate solution to legislation and problem solving. Moreover they were extremely uncomfortable with the role of slavery at the founding of the nation, despite being simultaneously apiece with the times and not entirely living up to those professed ideals.

Nevertheless, the role of ideals is to move us forward towards better times; to continually improve our individual and collective characters to get closer to living them out. Taking the founding ideals of fairness and equality as the guiding north star of a new nation and falling short is, in my humble opinion, still leagues farther along than giving in to the indulgent impulse towards supremacy and hierarchy and calling it a day. It’s the essence of progressivism as a vehicle for a narrative of self-growth — as opposed to the narrative hierarchy offers, which is static; dead; inert. There can be no change, no dynamism to a system which defines a priori everyone’s place in society.

Hierarchy is the politics of death.

The Rule of Law vs. the Cult of Personality

The rule of law is a moral force. It’s an ethical tour de force that’s been hard-fought and won in democracies around the world beginning with the French Revolution. And it’s still going on today — everywhere citizens are struggling to achieve political power and equality.

When justice holds sway, there is a true objective arbiter and an ethical framework society can hang from. Imperfect though its actual execution by actual humans may be, the rule of law provides a fundamental basis for agreement on what is right, what is wrong, and how best we shall live in our societies.

The Right-wing and the rule of law

The right-wing faction once gave lip service to the rule of law — when they still had a monopoly over it. Now that they no longer do, the extreme right has abandoned it in favor of a venal power grab in the form of an essentially fascist idea: the Cult of Personality.

In Donald Trump and in authoritarian leaders around the world, the Cult of Personality reigns. These leaders go out of their way to flout the law. They repeatedly allege or assert that they are above it; that they are special. They allege that they’re so special as to be immune to application of the rule of law that applies to other citizens.

When the justice goes dark, trouble brews. When the cult of personality holds sway, entire societies become vulnerable to propaganda, disinformation, gaslighting, fakery, and lies of all kinds. Without a grasp of the truth — and mechanisms within the structure of society to champion it and root it out — societies cannot make informed decisions. They cannot effectively self-govern, and cannot wholly wield the political power a democracy is meant to endow them with. Without the rule of law, freedom is not just imperiled — freedom is dead.

It is most certainly a dark and stormy evening.

Mass death is actually a bad thing for the economy

This past week we had a serious, unironic “debate” about whether or not senicide is a reasonable “plan” for handling the coronavirus crisis. This under the pretense that the other course of action — following the advice of medical professionals and epidemiologists to stay home and socially distance ourselves to curb the spread of covid-19 — is tantamount to shutting down the economy, which is tantamount to killing more people than the virus will.

Meanwhile, Congress passed a $2 trillion relief package, one quarter of which will go to the billionaire class with precious little oversight as to how it can be spent — and still apparently no one seems to have the slightest bit of confidence that the world’s richest economy can possibly weather the storms of depressed consumer demand for even several weeks much less the potentially many months this pandemic will rage across the planet. Perhaps this reveals that The Economy simply isn’t as robust as we tell ourselves it is during better times.

Dead Men Pay No Taxes

The proposed Sophie’s Choice between weeks or months of physical separation and allowing many people to die all around us is a false frame.

Millions of people dying is bad for The Economy in a very similar way to how having ICE eject millions of people from the economy is bad for The Economy. Insofar as economies require a labor force, and insofar as governments require revenue from taxation to pay for the infrastructure upon which The Economy rests, having millions of people depart from them is not a pathway to improving the economy — it is the opposite.

However, perhaps The Economy itself has become a contested concept. There may be a class-based and/or ideologically-based difference of opinion on what this concept means. Perhaps there is now:

  • the economy: the traditionally-held view of economies as markets in which individuals labor and contribute value, and trade assets in mutually beneficial ways to allocate resources efficiently
  • The Economy: a sort of shell game played by the right-wing authoritarian cohort in which the Plebes are starved of infrastructure and resources to the point of being mired inside an Eternal Present — in which we lurch from crisis to crisis — that brokers no hope for the future and no actual policy being made, other than the “policies” which continue to print money from the Federal Treasury for the purposes of propping up the precariously fragile billionaire class whose claims of meritocratic supremacy are stretched thinner and thinner each time the shells are moved yet again

Starving the Beast kills it: Feature or bug?

On paper, “Starving the Beast” is passed off as deeply held ideological libertarianism regarding the fundamental goodness of small government. In practice, starving beasts tend to die of preventable causes — and if governments are to retain the kind of power needed to be a check and balance on a growing hypercapitalist economy, they must indeed grow as well.

But beyond the general case, our specific circumstances of global pandemic lead us to a reasonable question: if laissez-faire capitalism and the free hand of the market is supposedly both sufficient to solve all human problems and vastly superior than the socialist hand of government at doing these things, then why are we in such a pickle? Why hasn’t the Invisible Hand managed to come up with its own solution to the mass death we are currently experiencing?

Or is the answer we might hear one that is too grim to bear — having been provided a clue this week in the grumbling of sacrificing the old to save the young — that a certain part of the political spectrum believe this is the market working as intended. That mass death is an acceptable “negative externality” of laissez-faire capitalism and that we bleeding-heart liberals ought to suck it up and grow thicker skin, rather than demand that governments step in to prevent preventable human atrocity.

Not only am I afraid of the answer — I’m afraid we’ll never get a straight answer in the world of political ketman we seem to have blundered into. In this world, right-wing elites including numerous elected officials continue to give lip service to a democracy that has been systematically hollowed out since the redoubling of the conservative movement in the 1970s to present, to currently resemble a geopolitical reality closer to that of modern Russia than to anything James Madison or Alexander Hamilton would have recognized.

It is technically possible that psychologically speaking, they themselves are actually unaware of this seismic shift in ideological views from that of democratic power and Constitutional authority to one of authoritarian rule and total technocratic control — but I think it’s more likely they’re simply not saying it out loud.

Notes: Surveillance capitalism dystopia, with Zeynep Tufekci

speak, sistah!

see also: Shoshanna Zuboff (who wrote the seminal work on surveillance capitalism), Don Norman

Some takeaways:

  • surveillance won’t be obvious and overt like in Orwell’s 1984 — it’ll be covert and subtle (“more like a spider’s web”)
  • social networks use persuasion architecture — the same cloying design aesthetic that puts gum at the eye level of children in the grocery aisle

Example:

AI modeling of potential Las Vegas ticket buyers

The machine learning algorithms can classify people into two buckets, “likely to buy tickets to Vegas” and “unlikely to” based on exposure to lots and lots of data patterns. Problem being, it’s a black box and no one — not even the computer scientists — know how it works or what it’s doing exactly.

So the AI may have discovered that bipolar individuals just about to go into mania are more susceptible to buying tickets to Vegas — and that is the segment of the population they are targeting: a vulnerable set of people prone to overspending and gambling addictions. The ethical implications of unleashing this on the world — and routinely using and optimizing it relentlessly — are staggering.

Profiting from extremism

“You’re never hardcore enough for YouTube” — YouTube gives you content recommendations that are increasingly polarized and polarizing, because it turns out that preying on your reptilian brain makes you keep clicking around in the YouTube hamster wheel.

The amorality of AI — “algorithms don’t care if they’re selling shoes, or politics.” Our social, political, and cultural flows are being organized by these persuasion architectures — organized for profit; not for the collective good, not for public interests, not subject to our political will anymore. These powerful surveillance capitalism tools are running mostly unchecked, with little oversight and with few people minding the ethics of the stores of essentially a cadre of Silicon Valley billionaires.

Intent doesn’t matter — good intentions aren’t enough; it’s the structure and business models that matter. Facebook isn’t a half trillion dollar con: its value is in its highly effective persuasion power, which is highly troubling and concerning in a supposedly democratic society. Mark Zuckerberg may even ultimately mean well (…debatable), but it doesn’t excuse the railroading over numerous obviously negative externalities resulting from the unchecked power of Facebook in not only the U.S., but in countries around the world including highly volatile domains.

Extremism benefits demagogues — Oppressive regimes both come to power by and benefit from political extremism; from whipping up citizens into a frenzy, often against each other as much as against perceived external or internal enemies. Our data and attention are now for sale to the highest bidding authoritarians and demagogues around the world — enabling them to use AI against us in election after election and PR campaign after PR campaign. We gave foreign dictators even greater powers to influence and persuade us in ways that benefit them at the expense of our own self-interest.

RussiaGate Bestiary: Cast of Characters for the new Cold War

This list casts a wide net in enumerating the various principals of interest to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

Plus, don’t miss the RussiaGate Lexicon — and please note these are both works in progress and being updated frequently as new details emerge about Putin’s revanchist influence in American politics.

Bestiary

Huma AbedinTop aide to Hillary Clinton
ABLVOne of the largest private banks in Latvia
Roman AbramovichRussian steel magnate whose Evraz company was given the green light to supply steel to DAPL by the Trump administration
ACU Strategic PartnersA company seeking to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East in partnership with a sanctioned Russia company; Mike Flynn was working for them without having disclosed it to the US government as required.
Aeroflot
Aras AgalarovEmin’s father; a wealthy Russian-Azerbaijani oligarch who has received lucrative construction contracts from the Kremlin. Known as “Putin’s Builder”
Emin AgalarovPopular Russian-Azerbaijani singer and businessperson who may have facilitated a handoff of hacked information to Donald Trump Jr via surrogates
Rinat AkhmetovUkranian steel magnate who brokered the relationship between Paul Manafort and defeated presidential candidate Victor Yanukovich
Rinat AkhmetshinFormer Soviety spy who attending the June 9 meeting in Trump Tower between Don Jr, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya
Vagit AlekperovCEO of Lukoil, Russia’s second largest oil and gas company, that sought the services offered by Trump data firm Cambridge Analytica

 

Vagit AlekperovCEO of Lukoil, Russia’s second largest oil and gas company, that sought the services offered by Trump data firm Cambridge Analytica
Alfa Bank / Alfa GroupLargest private commercial bank in Russia, that reportedly had a mysterious secret server connection to the Trump Organization during the campaign. The head of Alfa Group is the father-in-law of Dutch lawyer Alex Van Der Zwaan, currently serving 30 days in federal prison after being indicted by the FBI in the Mueller investigation.
Leyla AliyevaWife of Emin Agalarov and daughter of the president of Ajerbaijan.
Dmitri AlperovichHead of Crowdstrike, the US security firm that first broke the results of the DNC hack investigation, concluding the Russian military intelligence agency was behind it.
@America_1st_IRA-controlled Twitter account, an anti-immigration persona with 24,000 followers
American MediaHelped bury stories portraying Trump in a bad light before the election, via catch and kill methodology among others
Anbang Insurance
Michael AntonFlight 93
AppleThe House might come after messaging records for principals.
Tevfik Arifco-founder of Bayrock and Kazakh-born Soviet official turned real estate tycoon
Andrey ArtemenkoMember of the Ukranian parliament who says Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen and business crony Felix Sater confirmed the White House received his “peace proposal” (suggesting Russia “lease” the country for 100 years)
Julian AssangeEditor-in-chief of Wikileaks and former hacker from Australia, currently holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London on the lam from rape charges in Sweden; he is suspected of coordinating with the Russian government on the cyber attack on the American election in 2016.
Artem AvetisyanRussian banker and consultant who bought Bank of Cyprus’s Russian-based businesseses; a transaction overseen by Wilbur Ross
Mykola AzarovFormer Prime Minister of Ukraine who was ousted in the Maidan revolution along with President Viktor Yanukovych.
Bank of Cyprus
Steve Bannon
Andrey BaranovHead of investor relations for Rosneft who met with Carter Page in Moscow after his 2016 speech.
Tom Barrack
Alan BaskaevWorked at the Internet Research Agency
Fabien BaussartCooperated with Russia in the Syrian civil war and nominated Putin for a Nobel Peace Prize; Donald Trump, Jr. spoke at an event held by Baussart’s French think tank.
Bayrock GroupEmployed Felix Sater for a number of shady real estate dealings involving Mr Trump. Founded by Tevfik Arif, a Russian oligarch.
Being PatrioticAn IRA-controlled Facebook group that bought ads in support of the Trump campaign, and had over 200,000 followers by the time it was finally deactivated in mid-2017
Brian BenczkowskiTrump’s pick to lead the DOJ’s criminal division; once represented a Putin-tied Russian bank
Berserk BearHacker group
Jeffrey Berman
Leonid BershidskyWell-known journalist who was the founding editor of Russia’s top business daily, Vedomosti, as well as the first publisher of the Russian edition of Forbes; left the country during the Brain Drain. “The Kremlin doesn’t care because it doesn’t consider the likes of me Russia’s best and brightest,” he told me by email after his departure to Germany in the summer of 2014. “To them, we’re the traitors, the fifth column.”
Vitaly Bespalov26-year-old former worker at the Internet Research Agency in Russia who has spoken to the US media about his experiences in the “factory of lies”
Preet BhararaU.S. Attorney who was prosecuting the Prevezon Holdings case when he was fired by Trump, shortly after which the huge case about to go to trial abruptly settled.
Black FistIRA-controlled persona claiming to want to teach African-Americans self-defense to protect themselves when contacted by police, that hired an actual self-defense instructor in NY to offer classes sponsored by Black Fist
Black Matters USIRA-controlled account posing as grassroots activists
Black Sea Cable
Darren Blantonhis company Colt Ventures provided data management services to the Trump campaign
Tony BlinkenJohn Kerry’s deputy secretary of state under Obama
Anna Vladislavovna BogachevaWorked for the Internet Research Agency from at least April 2014 to at least July 2014; she served on the translator project and oversaw the group’s data analysis operations. She is one of the operatives who traveled to the United States to gather intel.
Mikhail BogdanovRussian deputy foreign minister
Gen. Alexander BortnikovDirector of FSB circa 2015
Maria Anatolyevna BovdaWorked for the Internet Research Agency from at least November 2013 to at least October 2014. She was at one time head of the translator project, along with other positions.
Donna Brazile
John BrennanActing CIA director under Obama; one of the 3 who brief Trump and Obama about the Russian attack on Election 2016
Bridges LLCLLC begun by Maria Butina and Paul Erickson in South Dakota
Elliot BroidyMajor Trump campaign donor and Deputy Finance Chair of the RNC, who suspiciously took hundreds of millions of dollars from the UAE and was working on a business deal with the corrupt Prime Minister of Malaysia implicated in a heist of $4.5 billion dollars. Had himself been charged with felony bribery, ended up turning state’s witness, plea-bargained his case down to a misdimeanor while those he bribed went to prison. Also, he was reportedly negotiating a deal wherein he stood to benefit to the tune of $75 million, to drop the Feds’ case into the Malaysian theft.
William BrowderFounder of Hermitage Capital, who worked with Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky to uncover a $230 million money laundering scheme from Prevezon Holdings into NYC real estate. He has sought justice for the murder of Magnitsky in 2009.
Mikhail Leonidivich BurchikOne of the 13 Russian nationals indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in February 2018, in connection with the Internet Research Agency’s attack on the U.S. 2016 election. Burchik was Executive Director, the #2 in the organization, from at least March 2014.
Christopher Bancroft Burnham
Sen. Richard Burr(R-NC) and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, one of the committees in Congress conducting Russia investigations
Richard BurtHelped Trump write his first foreign policy speech
Evgeny Buryakov
Maria Butina“Personal assistant” to Alexander Torshin, she claims to have started several gun rights organizations in Russia
BuzzfeedOriginally broke the story of the Steele dossier and published what of it they had.
Mikhail BystrovOne of the 13 Russians indicted by Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel in February 2018, Bystrov was General Director — the organization’s highest-ranking position — by April 2014.
Matthew Calamari
Cambridge AnalyticaData analytics company that worked for the Trump campaign and has been indicted in the UK for data theft.
Michael CaputoMember of Trump’s campaign team, in charge of communications for New York. Left the campaign after voicing approval of the installation of Paul Manafort, replacing Corey Lewandowski as Trump’s campaign manager.
CendynCloud computing company that hosted the Trump Organization and may have information on the Alfa Bank link during the campaign
Center for Political and Foreign AffairsFrench right-wing group that hosted a Trump trip to Paris during the home stretch of the campaign
Mike CernovichAlt-Right personality in the U.S. who lives in Orange County, CA
Jason ChaffetzBowing out of politics after announcing a move to Fox and whining about the cost of living as a Senator
Yuri ChaikaRussian prosecutor general
James ClapperDirector of National Intelligence under Obama; one of the 3 who brief Trump and Obama about the Russian attack on Election 2016
Bill Clinton
Hillary Clinton
Dan CoatesDirector of National Intelligence who testified that there is no doubt Russia sees its 2016 efforts as having been successful.
Michael CohenTrump’s personal lawyer. Convicted of various federal crimes including campaign finance violations; sentenced to 3 years in prison.
Roy CohnTrump’s mentor and ruthless, vicious lawyer
Susan Collins (R-ME)Senator from Maine who has been a voice of moderation within the Republican-controlled Senate, siding several times with the Democrats and voting against her own party.
James ComeyBeing fired by Donald Trump as the FBI Director
Mike Conawaynew leader of the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe after the recusal of Devin Nunes
Concord CateringCompany owned by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, known to be nicknamed “Putin’s Chef” and inside the Russian president’s inner circle.
Sam Clovis
Colt Venturesprovided data management services to the Trump campaign, and an investor in VizSense — a social media company who worked reportedly for the campaign and for Michael Flynn
Columbus Nova
Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX)Leader of the House Intelligence Committee, one of the Congressional committees investigating the Russia scandal
Concord Management and Consulting
George ConwayHusband of Kellyanne Conway, a lawyer who has represented a corporation accused of bribing Russian officials
Kellyanne Conway
Rep. John ConyersCriticized the firing of Sally Yates: “If dedicated government officials deem [Trump’s] directives to be unlawful and unconstitutional, he will simply fire them as if government is a reality show.”
Alex CopsonManaging director of ACU Strategic Partners, a firm Mike Flynn was consulting for regarding building nuclear power plants in the Middle East.
Mark Corallo
Jerome CorsiIntermediary between Roger Stone and Wikileaks, an arm of the Russian intelligence apparatus
Ed CoxNew York Republican Party Chairman and son-in-law of Richard Nixon who recommends Carter Page to the Trump campaign
Randolph “Randy” CredicoRoger Stone’s publicly identified intermediary between himself and Julian Assange of Wikileaks. When subpoena’d by Congress, he pled the Fifth.
Crocus GroupReal estate developmenr firm owned by the Agalarovs, that secured the Moscow location for Trump’s 2013 Miss Universe pageant
CrowdstrikeOne of the US private security contractors who implicated the Russians in the hack of the DNC servers.
Olivia CulpoThe reigning Miss Universe at the time of the 2013 Moscow pageant (and former Miss USA, and noted Trump favorite)
Rep. Elijah Cummingsranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, one of the first to request an investigation into Michael Flynn
Michael DanielWhite House director of cybersecurity
Stormy Daniels
Keith Davidson
Davis Manifort Partners, Inc. (DMP)Political consulting company created by Paul Manafort in 2005.
DCLeaksA cutout of the GRU, this account directly released and coordinated with Wikileaks to release more widely the stolen emails from Clinton, the DNC, and the DCCC
Rick Dearborn
Definers Public AffairsGOP strategy firm hired by Facebook to besmirch its rivals and tar them with accusations of being tied to George Soros
Wendi DengEx-wife of Rupert Murdoch, friend of Ivanka Trump, and friend of Russian oligarhcs + Putin (rumored to be Putins’ girlfriend)
Diana Denman
Department of Justice
Oleg DeripaskaRussian billionaire and Kremlin insider barred from the US due to organized crime links [contact w/Paul Manafort]
Deutsche BankBoth the Risk Division’s Goup Risk Office and Credit Risk Management teams are under scrutiny from House Democrats at the HPSCI for due diligence on Trump transactions that have anything to do with the bank’s own confirmed history of laundering Russian money.
Sheri Dillon
Igor Diveykin
Kirill DmitrievChief executive of the state-run Russian Direct Investment Fund, their sovereign wealth fund, who met with Erik Prince at a bar in the Seychelles, with George Nader present.
DMP International, LLC (DMI)Company started by Paul Manafort in 2011 to consult, lobby, and do PR for Ukranian dictator Victor Yanukovich, whom Manafort helped get elected in 2010 until fleeing the country in 2014.
Dmitry DokuchaevFSB handler of Russian DNC hacker
Annie Donaldson
Donbas regionArea of Ukraine where a counter-revolution emerged after students ousted former President Viktor Yanukovych and Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and overthrew the government.
Don’t Shoot UsAn IRA-controlled Facebook group with more than 250,000 followers by the time it was deactivated in mid-2017
Jack DorseyCo-founder and CEO of Twitter and Square
Alexander DownerTop Australian diplomat in Britain, who had drinks with George Papadopolous in London the night he blabbed about the Russians having dirt on Hillary Clinton.
DragonFlyHacker group
Alexander DuginRussia’s most well-known neo-fascist ideologue, & Kremlin confidant
Pavel DurovFounder of the successful VKontakte social network website, often described as Russia’s Facebook. Durov said he had been forced out of the company over his refusal to co-operate with the security services, and that his company was now under the “full control” of Kremlin-friendly figures
Arkady Dvorkovich
Josh EarnestObama White House press secretary in 2016
Fedor EmelianenkoMMA star, former Trump business partner, and friend of Putin
En+ Group PlcOne of Oleg Deripaska’s companies whose sanctions were lifted by the Trump administration.
Energetic BearHacker group connected to the Kremlin
Boris Epshteyn
Paul EricksonAttempted to set up a backchannel between the NRA and the Russian government during the Trump campaign.
Oleg Erovinkinex-KGB chief linked to helping the Christopher Steele dossier on Trump, reportedly found dead in the back of his car in Moscow on Boxing Day
European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (the Centre)NGO entity created by Manafort and Gates in Belgium in 2012 to serve as an “arm’s length” front for their work with Yanukovich.
EuroSibEnergo JSCOne of Oleg Deripaska’s companies whose sanctions were lifted by the Trump administration.
Facebook
FAN (Federal Agency of News)Fictional corporate twin entity to the IRA (indicted by Mueller) that is suing Facebook on First Amendment grounds… surely to go up to a COTUS tipped by Kavangaugh, as all such hyper-controversial cases are liable to be?!?!
Fancy BearHacked Democratic Party emails during the 2016 US presidential election; also hacked MAcros campaign emails in France.
Nigel FarageFormer UKIP leader now under investigation for ties to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange
FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation)Investigation of domestic terror units and criminal cells, as well as foreign criminal groups within the U.S.
Federal AssemblyRussian Parliament
Federal Election Commission (FEC)Overseeing the process generally of national and state elections
Diane FeinsteinUS Senator from California who published Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS’s transcript of testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
FireEyeSecurity firm
Dmitry FirtashUkranian oligarch and nagural gas magnate who got sweetheart deals within Putin’s inner circle
Marc Elias
Jon FinerJohn Kerry’s chief of staff
FL GroupIcelandic hedge fund with ties to Putin, that invested in Trump Soho via FBI informant and convicted felon Sal Lauria
Michael FlynnAs the new NSA director he advocated military intervention in the Middle East and an alliance with Russia; later it turned out he’d accepted undisclosed payments from the Rurkish government and lied about undisclosed meetings with the Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kislyak
Flynn Intel Group
Four Seasons Hotels and ResortsHosted the meeting in the Seychelles between Erik Prince and Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund
Fox News
Free Beacon see: Washington Free Beacon
Mikhail Maratovich Fridmaninvested $200m in Uber (?)
Peter Fritsch
Frontier Services GroupErik Prince’s company, who has ignored document requests from Congress relating to the meeting in the Seychelles with Kirill Dmitriev
FSBthe Russian Federal Security Service
Fusion GPSPolitical research firm hired first by conservative billionaire, later by the Clinton campaign, that ultimately led to the Steele dossier.
Dmitry FyodorovWorked at the Internet Research Agency before being employed at Facebook
Michael Gaeta
Gang of Eight
Alan Garten
Rick GatesPaul Manafort’s right hand man, indicted along with the former Trump campaign manager for a number of federal crimes from money laundering to illegal foreign lobbying and tax evasion.
Gazeta.ru
GazpromRussia’s energy monopolgy and largest gas company
General Services Administration
GeorgiaFormer Soviet state
GerasimovRussian General who wrote seminal asymmetric warfare doc
Masha GessenJournalist and author who has lived extensively in Russia and studied the rise of Putin
Igor GirkinLeader of the Ukranian pro-Russian separatists in Donbas, he is alleged to have been connected to the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17
Rudy GiulianiPublicly “predicted” the Comey “re-opening” of Clinton’s emails when the Anthony Weiner laptop was found
Glavplakat
Nikolai GlushkovFormer Boris Berezovsky associate turned up murdered in the UK, 8 days after the poisoning and attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal in London.
Richard Goettlich
Rob GoldstonePublicist of Russian-Azerbaijani singer Emin Agalarov who set up the June 9 meeting between Don Jr, Kushner, Manafort, and the Russians
GoogleOnline search company whose system was gamed, hacked, or perhaps simply used intentionally to sow disinformation to some of the most vulnerable citizen targets, as identified by stolen and purchased predictive user data.
Mikhail GorbachevGlasnost
Sergei Gordeev
J.D. Gordon
Sebastian GorkaFormer counterterrorism analyst for Fox News who joined the administration as an adviser; his ties to the Hungarian right had come increasingly under scrutiny before his departure from the White House. Prior to immigrating to the United States, Gorka had mounted an unsuccessful political career in Hungary and, in doing so, once expressed support for a far-right militia in the country.
Sergey Gorkov
Nikolai Gorokhov
Government Accountability OfficeA watchdog organization for financial and other high-profile crimes within the U.S.
Trey Gowdy(R-SC) Chair of the House Oversight Committee
Rhona Graff
Sen. Chuck Grassley(R-IA)
GRUSoviety military intelligence services
GSAHas been asserted by TFA that documents were “unlawfully” given to the Special Counsel’s Office by this agency, including parts susceptible to privilege.
Guccifer 2.0A cutout of the GRU, this account directly released and coordinated with Wikileaks to release more widely the stolen emails from Clinton, the DNC, and the DCCC
Shane HableHillary for America IT chief
Alex HaldermanTestified before the House Intelligence Committee on the probable ability of the Russians to hack an election
Sean HannityMade claims on his show that the Steele dossier launched the Russia probe, which isn’t accurate.
Hapsburg groupInformal name given to the set of former European politicians whom Paul Manafort and Rick Gates paid to espouse pro-Yanukovich talking points.
Charles HarderRepresenting Trump in the Stormy Daniels case; also represented Terry Bolea in the Gawker trial
Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA)Member of the House Intelligence Committee, one of the Congressional committees investigating the Russia scandal
Hermitage Capital ManagementThe investment fund client of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered a $230 million money laundering scheme through New York real estate via Prevezon, a Russian holding company.
Hope HicksYet another former White House Communications Director, she resigned the day after giving 9 hours of testimony on the Hill to the House Intelligence Committee. Til then she had been the longest-running current member of the Trump campaign.
Rick Hohlt
Dylan Howard
Jon HuntsmanUS Ambassador to Russia
William HurdPaul Erickson’s lawyer
Jon IadonisiTied to VizSense Inc. and White Canvas Group, 2 firms that did business with Michael Flynn
Ivan IlyinChristian fascist philosopher who inspired much of Vladimir Putin’s political philosophy
ImgurPlatform used by the Russian disinformation campaign that House Democrats want to subpoena
InstagramPlatform used by the Russian disinformation campaign that House Democrats want to subpoena the transition team for records of
Andrew Intrater
IRA (Internet Research Agency) Well-known troll farm with ties to the Kremlin, funded and run by Russian oligarch and “Putin’s Chef” Yevgeniy Prigozhin (who also oversees private mercenary military forces in Syria and Ukraine.
Iron Liberty
IskraThe main Bolshevik newspaper in the early 20th century
Darrell Issa
Viktor IvanovOne of Putin’s closest allies, he’s the head of anti-narcotics in Russia; has spoken out against marijuana legalization in the US (!)
@jenn_abramsIRA-controlled Twitter account claiming to be a Virginian Trump supporter with 70,000 followers
Ramzan KadyrovChechnya’s Kremlin-backed leader, who is thought to be behind the murder of Putin critic and opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. Kadyrov received a medal from Putin the month after Nemtsov’s murder.
Brittany Kaiser
Oleg KaluginFormer KGB agent who became a U.S. citizen and grew critical of Putin’s regime.
Denis KatsyvSole shareholder of Prevezon, implicated in the $230m theft of Russian taxpayer dollars
Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze8th person at Don Jr’s June 9 meeting; VP at Crocus Group, owned by Aras Agalarov — a lawyer for the Russian real estate firm, he has been identified by the Government Accountability Office as part of a large ring of Russian money-laundering operations.
Robert KelnerMike Flynn’s lawyer
Brian KempGeorgia secretary of state who bristled at the idea of DHS’s warning about the election integrity and attempts to hack voter registration
John KerrySecretary of State under Obama from 2013 to 2018
KetchumWestern PR firm that helps place pro-Russian op-eds in Western media (like Putin’s in NYTimes on 9/11/13)
KGBThe Soviet secret service, renowned for ruthlessness and duplicity
Eva KhanDaughter of a Russian oligarch, married to Alex van der Zwaan — the first to go to prison in the Mueller investigation.
German KhanRussian oligarch billionaire, principal of Alfa Bank (Russia’s largest privste bank) and the father-in-law of Alex van der Zwaan who has pleaded guilty to MUeller’s team.
Mikhail KhodorkovskyEx-oil tycoon unexpectedly freed by Putin ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics
Elena Alekseevna KhusyaynovaFAN’s chief accountant and an indictee under Mueller’s Russian investigation
Konstantin KilimnikPaul Manafort’s business associate in the Ukraine
Sergey KislyakRussian Ambassador who spoke with Mike Flynn [tracker] about lifting sanctions in undisclosed series of meetings
KLS Research LLCCompany formed by Peter Smith to facilitate and manage his question to find Hillary’s missing emails.
Artem KlyushinYoung Russian billionaire who claims to have been instrumental in getting Trump elected.
Koala
Aleksandr KoganCambridge Analytica researcher who oversaw the harvesting of 50 million Facebook user accounts’ info who also moonlighted as a lecturer at St. Petersburg University
KommersantLong-respected business newspaper purchased by pro-Kremlin oligarch Alisher Usmanov
KomsomolLeninist Youth League organization for Communists aged 14 to 28 in the late 80s & early 90s
Konstantin Kosachev
Andrei KostinCEO of VTB, one of the largest Russian banks (and under US sanctions)
Béla Kovacs (KGBéla) One of the leaders of Jobbik, Hungary’s pro-Putin rightist party, who is accused of being a Russian spy.
Dmitry KovtunOne of the two main suspects in the UK’s murder investigation case of former FSB/KGB spy turned informant and expat dissident, Alexander Litvinenko — killed by polonium-210 poisoning after having tea with the two then-current KGB officers in November, 2006.
Vladimir KozhinSenior Putin aide who attended the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in lieu of Putin.
Kozy BearThe Dutch intelligence community alerted the DNC way back in 2015 that they had been hacked back in 2014.
The Kremlin
Jody KrissFormer Bayrock partner who filed a lawsuit in January, 2017 alleging tax evasion of as much as $250 million in income + Russian money laundering
Aleksandra KrylovaServed as Director and 3rd highest employee within the Internet Research Agency, from at least September 2013. She was one of two employees of the IRA who obtained visas and entered the United States on June 4, 2014.
Mikhail KulaginRussian diplomat recalled to Russia, fearing his cover would be blown re: heavy involvement in the 2016 election, including the veterans’ pensions ruse
Charles KushnerFather of Jared, the elder Kushner committed campaign fraud, blackmailed his own sister, and spent time in federal prison before re-emerging to help run the family business and, of course, suck at the teat of the Presidency
Jared KushnerThe evil son-in-law so evil he owned a billion dollar building at 666 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan
Kushner Companies
David LaufmanFormer chief of the DOJ’s Counterintelligence & Export Control Section
Sal LauriaFBI informant and convicted felon who brokered a $150 million deal for Sater with FL Group, an Icelandic hedge fund tied to Putin that also invested in the Trump Soho project
Sergei LavrovRussian Foreign Minister
Platon Lebedev
Marie Le Penhead of the French far-Right party
Pyotr LevashovRussian hacker who ran the sprawling Kelihos botnet, a massive spam and scam network; indicted by a US grand jury on 4/21/17
Lenta.ru
Lev LevievRussian “king of diamonds” who was a partner in Prevezon (involved in the Magnistsky-exposed money laundering of $230m in Russian tax dollars) and sold several floors of the NYTimes building in Manhattan to Jared Kushner
Ruslan LeviyevFormer police investigator from the Siberian city of Surgut, who left the force after becoming disgusted by the “culture of corruption” he had witnessed, and moved to Moscow in 2009. Inspired, like so many others, by the anti-Putin protests of 2011–12, Leviyev, a tattooed 29-year-old, is now one of the country’s top “social media dissidents”.
Val LevitanRussian Canadian CEO of developer Talon (Trump Toronto); had no previous experience in real estate or construction
Corey LewandowskiDonald Trump’s first campaign manager; succeeded by Paul Manafort.
Robert LiButtiAlleged mobster and associate of John Gotti, who is on video with Trump in the 80s at a WrestleMania event
Ronald Lieberman
Vladimir LisinRussian steel mogul who made $830m in 3 days after the election
Aleksandr Litvinenkoformer Russian FSB agent who informed on Putin’s connections to the Russian mafia and was assassinated by polonium-210 poisoning in 2006
Marina Litvinenko
Oleg LobovTies to the Romneys?!
Andrey LugovoyOne of the two main suspects in the UK’s murder investigation case of former FSB/KGB spy turned informant and expat dissident, Alexander Litvinenko — killed by polonium-210 poisoning after having tea with the two then-current KGB officers in November, 2006. Lugovoy is currently a sitting member of the Russian parliament: deputy of the State Duma.
LukoilRussia’s second largest oil company after Rosneft, they contracted with Trump data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica
Loretta LynchUS Attorney General under Barack Obama
Lyovochin
Rachel MaddowHost of the most popular nighttime news show on MSNBC; she’s been following the Russia story aggressively for over a year in meticulously detailed fashion.
Sergei Magnitskylawyer who tried to expose the theft of $230 million of Russian taxpayers’ money by Prevezon Holdings (laundered into NYC real estate) before being arrested and allegedly tortured prior to his death in a Moscow prison in 2009; the 2012 Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act is a landmark human rights act named after him.
Main Intelligence DirectorateDivision of the GRU that carried out the second half of the Russian attack on our democracy — cyber intrusions and hacking of stolen materials from the Clinton campaign, disseminated by WikiLeaks
Ted Malloch
Jason Maloni
Paul Manafort
Jeanette ManfraHead of cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security who confirmed to NBC News that the Russians successfully infiltrated “an exceptionally small number” of voter regidstration rolls in 21 states.
@march_for_trumpIRA-controlled accouunt created in May 2016 to promote IRA-organized rallies in support of the Trump Campaign
John Mashburn
John McCain
KT McFarlandDeputy Nartional Security Advisor under Mike Flynn. Asked to step down by HR McMaster.
Don McGahnWhite House counsel from XXXX-XXXX
Evan McMullen
MediumSocial media and blogging community frequented by the Russians during their efforts at sowing propaganda and discord during the American 2016 Presidential election.
Dmitry MedvedevRussian Prime Minister
Menatep
Rebecca Mercer
Robert MercerShadowy billionaire Trump backer and donor who also backs Breitbart, Cambridge Analytica, and John Bolton.
Met Life InsuranceHolds Trump debt
MI6British intelligence agency; the rough equivalent of the American CIA.
Joseph MifsudDirector of the London Academy of Diplomacy who meets with George Papadopoulos in Italy.
Leonid Mikhelsonpart owner of Novatek who made $1.9b from the stock pop post-Trump
Military Unit 26165GRU cyberunit dedicated to targeting military, politival, governmental, and non-governmental organizations outside of Russia, including the U.S. Separate from this investigation, Unit 26165 was charged by a grad jury for hacking the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the World Doping Agency, and other international sport associations.
Military Unit 74455A GRU unit engaged in cyber operations, including assisting in the release of the documents stolen by Unit 26165, the promotion of those releases, and the publication of anti-Clinton content on social media accounts operated by the GRU. This unit also hacked computers belonging to the stater boards of elections, secretaries of state, and U.S. companies supplying software and other technology related to elections.
Stephen MillerAggressively anti-immigrant advisor to Trump, co-writing many of his most vitriolic speeches
Sergei MillianTrump associate, head of the Russian-American chamber of commerce, and one of the sources of the Steele dossier
Marat MindiyarovFormer worker at the Russian troll factory, the Internet Research Agency, who told the Western press what it was like inside the farm.
Semion MogilevichNotorious mobster
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al NahyanThe crown prince of Abu Dhabi.
Mossack FonsecaWorld’s fourth largest offshore law firm, whose files were published as the Panama Papers in a German newspaper
Robert MuellerSpecial Counsel at the DOJ, investigating RussiaGate
MVDMinistry of Internal Affairs; supervises all police, prisons, and “public order militias”
George NaderLebanese-American businessman who lobbies for the UAE, and was at the meeting in the Seychelles with Erik Prince and the Russians
Alexsei NavalnyPutin critic and activist blogger; has been arrested, charged, & sentenced several times (but recognized as a political prisoner by NGOs)
Boris NemtsovPutin critic and opposition politician who was shot dead in Moscow in 2015 by a member of the Chechen security forces
New IslandRestaurant of Yevgeny Prigozhin that became a favorite of Putin’s, netting Mr Prigozhin lucrative contracts for shady operations as “Putin’s Chef”
Newsru.com
Alexander NixCEO of Trump data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica
NKVDa forerunner to the KGB under Stalin
NRAHosted a number of conduits between the Trump campaign and Russian nationals, particularly Russian billionaires and oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin.
NSA (National Security Agency)
Sam NunbergFormer Trump aide who made a series of bizarre statements on cable TV before testifying to Robert Mueller’s team
Devin Nunes
NY ObserverWebsite owned by Jarek Kushner as part of Observer Media
Observer MediaMedia company owned by Jared Kushner.
Keith OlbermannAmerican TV host
Opposition BlocSuccessor ruling party in Ukraine after Victor Yanukovich fled to Moscow and his Party of Regions toppled.
Viktor OrbanPresident of Hungary, noted for his pro-Putin and anti-refugee beliefs
OrbisSteele’s research firm
Alex Oronovdead — Bryan Cohen’s father-in-law (brother of Trump’s personal lawyer
OstankinoRussia’s TV network
Ozero Cooperative
Pacific Life InsuranceHolds Trump debt
Carter Page
@Pamela_Moore13IRA-controlled Twitter account claiming to be a Texan Trump supporter with 70,000 followers
George PapadopoulosMember of the Trump campaign who has pled guilty in the Robert Mueller investigation and flipped to become a cooperating witness. Will serve jail time.
Brad ParscaleHead of the Trump campaign’s digital operation
Party of RegionsUkranian political party run by Victor Yanukovych, the pro-Putin dictator ushered into power by Paul Manafort.
Stefan Passantino
Sam Patten
PBK
David PeckerHelped American Media bury stories unfavorable to Trump leading up to the election — a campaign contribution violation, not to mention a moral violation
Mike PenceVice President of the United States
Pericles Emerging Markets
Perkins Coie
Dmitry PeskovPutin’s press secretary. Michael Cohen was in touch with him as late at June 2016, during the presidential campaign, in talks over the Trump Tower Moscow deal.
Walid PharesFox News counterterrorism analyst & one of Trump’s 5 initial national security advisors
John PodestaHis stolen emails were one of several tronches of stolen documents released by Wikileaks at strategic moments during the 2016 presidential election campaign.
Victor PodobnyyRussian agent who received intelligence information from American energy consultant Carter Page beginning in January 2013
Sergey PolozovWorked for the Internet Research Agency as its head of IT from April 2014 to at least July 2014; he oversaw the buildout of the U.S. infrastructure for the Russian operations.
Mike PompeoCIA Director who went from praising to condemning Wikileaks
Petro PoroshenkoUkranian president
Prevezon Holdingsa Cyprus company that has invested in Manhattan real estate and which prosecutors allege was the receptacle for some of the $230 million stolen from Russian taxpayers in 2007; part of Hermitage Capital, the investment fund Magnitsky was investigating until his murder in a Moscow prison in 2009.
Reince Priebus
Yevgeniy Prigozhin“Putin’s Chef” — a former caterer and restauranteur who now runs Vladimir Putin’s internet propaganda operations via the Internet Research Agency as well as overseeing mercenary forces operating in Syria and Ukraine.
Erik PrinceSec. of Education Betsy DuVoss’s brother, who met a Russian oligarch in the Seychelles during the campaign to talk about lifting sanctions. Founded and runs Blackwater, a formidable private security firm often accompanying US military operations as the theater of war becomes increasingly privatized and mercenaries find themselves duking it out in the desert armed with the plausible deniability of being at arm’s length from their country’s official foreign policy.
Project Veritas
Pussy Riot
Vladimir Putin
Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL)Member of the House Intelligence Committee, one of the Congressional committees investigating the Russia scandal
RedditWas asked by House Democrats on March 7, 2018 to provide intel on the scope and scale of the Russian disinformation effort on their platforms during the 2016 election
RelcomOne of the first private companies or “collectives” formed under Gorbachev’s glasnost reforms, it brokered the first proto-Internet within the Soviet Union and first connection to the outside world — playing a key role in thwarting the attempted coup against Gorbachev by the KGB in August, 1991
Right to Bear ArmsMoscow-based entity begun by Maria Butina and Alexander Torshin — odd, in a country with no gun rights at all.
Ritz CarltonHosted Donald Trump during his 2013 visit to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant
Rodinaextreme nationalist party in Russia c. 2003 that hinted at ethnic cleansing; The Guardian reported it had actually been set up as a prop by Putin & cronies, to draw votes away from the other far-right Communist Party
Ed RogersHired by Alfa Bank: a former REagan administration official
Mike RogersAdmiral and Director of the National Security Agency under Obama; one of the 3 who briefed Trump and Obama about the Russian attack on Election 2016
Dana RohrabacherRepresentative (R-CA 48th District) since 2013; dubbed “Putin’s favorite Congressman”
Sergei RolduginPutin ally implicated in the Panama Papers
RosneftRussia’s state oil company
Rossiiskaia GazetaRussia’s official government newspaper
Wilbur RossUS Secretary of Commerce and single largest shareholder of the Bank of Cyprus, the famous haven for Russian oligarchs to stash their billions
Rossotrudnichestvo
Steve RothCEO of Vornado, a $20 billion real estate investment trust (REIT) that owns 49.5% of Jared Kushner’s building at 666 Fifth Avenue; he’s also on Trump’s economic advisory team
Andrei Rozov
RT.comRussian state-owned news service
RUPTLYThe Kremlin’s new video news agency
RusalOne of Oleg Deripaska’s companies whose sanctions have been lifted by Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
Russian-American Chamber of Commerce in the USA
Russian Direct Investment FundRussia’s sovereign wealth fund
Russian Imperial Movementpart of the far-right coalition within Russia seeking to build an international consensus, this group advocates “Christian Orthodox imperial nationalism”
Sergei RyabkovRussian Deputy Foreign Minister
Paul RyanSpeaker of the House (R-WI) and a Trump defender and denialist
Dmitry Rybolovlevthe “Fertilizer King” — fertilizer billionaire who purchased Trump’s Palm Beach mansion for $95 million, but never moved in
Konstantin Rykov
Anatoli Samochornov
Sheryl Sandberg
Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Felix SaterRussian mobster and FBI informant who runs Bayrock, a money-laundering firm designed to hide dirty Russian money in Trump’s taxes
Saudi Arabia
SberbankRussia’s largest bank
Anthony ScaramucciTrump press secretary for all of 10 days
Dan ScavinoManaged the Trump campaign’s social media
Rep. Adam SchiffTop-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee overseeing that chamber’s Russia investigation
Keith SchillerTrump’s longtime security chief and confidant
Eric SchneidermanNew York State Attorney General who has a long history of legal cases with Trump
Chuck Schumer(D-NY) and Sen. Minority Leader
SCL Group Limited
Igor SechinPresident of Rosneft at the time Exxon violated Russian sanctions to help protect his property interest
Secured BordersAn IRA-controlled Facebook group that bought ads in support of the Trump Campaign, and had over 130,000 followers at the time it was deactivated in mid-2017
Jay SekulowTrump’s personal lawyer
Jeff SessionsTrump’s first US Attorney General, before Bill Barr. He has recused himself from the Russia investigation because of his curious, multi-part memory loss of meetings with Russian agents.
Alex ShnaiderUkrainian steel magnate & partner at Talon International who is managing Trump Toronto hotel as it goes into default
Paula ShugartPresident of the Miss Universe Organization, who reported directly to Trump at the time of the 2013 Moscow pageant
Konstantin SidorkovDirector of PArtnership Marketing for vKontakte, a Russian social media site, that had communications with the Trump campaign about setting up a profile.
Siemens AG
Sinclair MediaConservative broadcasting conglomerate gobbling up local TV stations and forcing them to air canned right-wing footage with each segment.
Glenn SimpsonHead of research firm Fusion FPS who commissioned the Christopher Steele dossier.
Paul SingerBillionaire financier who originally commissioned research firm Fusion GPS to start compiling opposition research on Donald Trump. He abandoned the project after Trump secured the nomination.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & FlomLaw firm retained by Paul Manafort and Rick Gates to “whitewash” Victor Yanukovich’s imprisonment of his political rival, Yulia Tymochenko, in Ukraine.
Matt SkiberAn IRA-controlled Facebook account that organized a pro-Trump rally near Trump Tower in mid-2016
Sergei SkripalFormer Russian official turned British spy who was attacked with his daughter Yulia with nerve gas in southern England, reputedly by agents of the Kremlin.
Yulia SkripalSergei’s daughter
Dan SmithHead of the State Dept’s intelligence bureau under Obama
Peter SmithAlleged to have solicited help on the dark web in finding Hillary’s “missing” emails from the Russians
SnapchatOne of the social networks the Democratic oversight committees want to send document requests to, to request more intel on the scope and scale of the Russian campaign on their platforms
Edward SnowdenControversial former employee for private firms working within the US government who absconded with millions of top secret NSA and other departmental intelligence documents, fled to Hong Kong where he alerted the press, and flew on to Moscow where he lives under the protection of the Kremlin.
SolidarityPolish workers’ party confronting Communism in the late ’80s
Oleg Solodukhin
Reuben SorensenNuclear non-proliferation expert who briefed Mike Flynn on the ACU’s nuclear program and rejoiced that he would be named head of the NSA.
Sean SpicerTrump’s press secretary
SputnikRussian news wire proffering fake news
Joseph Stalin
Alex StamosEx-Facebook security chief
StasiNickname for the Ministry of State Security in East Germany during the Cold War
Christopher SteeleFormer British MI6 intelligence agent who put together the Steele Dossier on Donald Trump’s dealings with Russia
Beny Steinmetz
Daniel Steinmetz
Raz Steinmetz
Roger StoneLong-time political advisor best known for being part of Richard Nixon’s “Dirty Tricks” crew who perpetuated Watergate among much else; he “predicted” the release of Clinton’s hacked emails
Stop All ImmigrantsAn IRA-controlled Facebook group
Stop All InvadersAn IRA-controlled Facebook group that bought Facebook ads in support of Donald Trump
Lee StranahanWorks for Sputnik in Russia. Never responded to an official Congressional inquiry.
Strana.ru
SUP MediaRussia’s largest blogging service via acquisition of LiveJournal from Six Apart
Vladislav SurkovPutin’s disinformation machine
SVRRussian foreign intelligence service
Eric SwalwellDemocrat on the House Intelligence Committee
John Szobocsan
Matt Tait
Talon International
Tambov-Malyshev grouporganized crime ring based in St. Petersburg w/ties to Putin; led by Gennadiy Petrov and Aleksandr Malyshev
Targeted VictoryGOP strategy firm hired by Facebook
@TEN_GOPAn IRA-controlled Twitter account posing as the Tennessee GOP Party.
TFATrump for America, Inc., the business entity formed to handle the Trump transition
Rex TillersonU.S. Secretary of State and former CEO of Exxon
Gennady Timchenko23% owner of natural gas company Novatek, who made $1.8b from surges in pro-Russian market following Trump’s election
Ivan TimofeevProgram director at the Russian International Affairs Council, a government-funded think tank, who met with George Papadopolous to try to establish a meeting between Trump and Putin.
Alimzhan TokhtakhounovNicknamed “The Little Taiwanese,” he’s one of Russia’s most notorious mobsters. At the time of the 2013 Miss Universe pageant, he had been indicted in the U.S. for protecting a high-stakes illegal gambling operation run out of Trump Tower.
Alexander TorshinRussian central banker, Putin confidant, NRA whisperer, handler of Maria Butina
Vadim TrincherRan a Russian-American gambling crime ring out of Trump Tower. Serving 5 years for racketeering.
The Translator DepartmentDepartment within the IRA dedicated to U.S. operations
Donald J. Trump
Donald J. Trump Jr
Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust
Eric Trump
Fred TrumpDonald Trump’s father, who built the family real estate fortune and handed it off to his son to ruin it
Ivanka TrumpDaddy’s little girl
Trump Foundation
Trump Organization
Trump Transition
Tsargrad
TumblrWas asked by House Democrats on March 7, 2018 to provide intel on the scope and scale of the Russian disinformation effort on their platforms during the 2016 election
TurboatomUkranian state-owned company who was the target of a bribery offer from ACU Strategic Partners — who Mike Flynn was working with — to accept a $45 billion contract to build reactors in Saudi Arabia in exchange for supporting the lifting of sanctions levied against Russia by the US and EU.
Turkey
TV RainIndependent Russian broadcaster
Twitter
Yulia TymoshenkoRan against Victor Yanukovich in the 2010 Presidentials elections, and was jailed by him under spurious charges following his Paul Manafort-aided win.
UAE
UBS Real EstateHolds Trump debt
United Muslims of AmericaAn IRA-controlled Facebook account that had over 300,000 followers at the time it was finally deactivated in mid-2017
United RussiaPolitical Party of Russian PResident Vladimir Putin
Viktor VekselbergPutin-connected oligarch with connections to secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross [tracker]
Natalia VeselnitskayaRussian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin who met with Donald Trump Jr, Paul Manafort, and Kared Kushner at Trump Tower in June 2016 about the dirt Russia had on Hillary Clinton. At the time she was representing Prevezon Holdings in the case the U.S. Justice Department had brought against them for a $230 million money laundering scheme that lawyer Sergei Magnitsky had uncovered.
VizSense Inc.Provided social media services to the Trump campaign and Michael Flynn
vKontakteRussian social network; equivalent analog to Facebook
VnesheconombankRussian state-owned development bank, under investigation for Russian election interference
Vornado$20 billion REIT that’s an ~equal partner with Jared Kushner in the 666 Fifth Ave. building in Manhattan; Steve Roth, CEO, is an advisor to Trump
Rosemary VrablicExecutive at Deutsche Bank’s private wealth unit who helped finance many of Trump’s real estate projects after other banks (and the “regular” side of Deutsche Bank) wouldn’t deal with him any more, following massive losses
VTB BankRussia’s largest commercial bank; under US and EU sanctions for money laundering
Sen. Mark Warner(D-VA) — top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee
Washington Free Beacon
The Washington Postvenerable local paper purchased by Jeff Bezos in 2013
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Jeff Weaver
Anthony Weiner
Allen Weisselberg
WhatsAppThe House HPSCI committee wants to subpoena them for communication records relating to principals in the Trump campaign
Julian David Wheatland
Acting AG Matt Whitaker
White Canvas GroupUndertook Turkey-related work for Michael Flynn
The White HouseSupposed to be a civil servant but often a lobbyist, The White House includes the President and high-level senior staff
Wikileaks
World National-Conservatism Movement (WNCM)umbrella term for Russia’s movement to unite an international extreme far-right coalition
Christopher Wraycandidate for the next FBI Director, to replace James Comey
Christopher WylieWhistleblower from Trump data team Cambridge Analytica who revealed the existence of a formerly secret client: Lukoil, Russia’s #2 oil and gas company
Viktor YanukovychUkraine’s former pro-Moscow president; he paid $12.7 million to help influence the Ukranian election his way before being ousted from power in 2013. Paul Manafort made many of the millions he later laundered with Rick Gates via undisclosed lobbying for Mr Yanukovych.
Sally YatesDeputy Attorney General under Barack Obama and Acting Attorney General following the inauguration of Donald Trump. She was dismissed by him after 10 days when she instructed the Justice Department not to allow Trump’s Muslim ban to be enforced because it violated the law and the Constitution.
Steve Yates
Boris YeltsinFirst President of the Russian Federation, after he orchestrated Russia’s exit from the USSR (and thus, its downfall, as all the Soviet satellite republics followed suit). He ruled from 1991 to 1999, never quite managing to usher in a true democracy before settling on a successor, an obscure and unknown former KGB officer stationed in East Berlin during the Second World War: Vladimir Putin.
YoutubeFavored propaganda platform for Russian agents used in the cyberattacks against the 2016 election
Yukos
Yunarmia“Young Army” — created in 2015 by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to “encourage patriotism among schoolchildren”
Mark ZuckerbergCEO of Facebook, whose platform was used by the Russians in their influence campaign against the 2016 U.S. elections
Alex van der ZwaanDutch lawyer caught lying to the FBI about his law firm Skadden’s report on Ukranian dictator Victor Yanukovich’s imprisonment of his presidential rival Yulia Tymochenko in Ukraine. Has plead guilty to Robert Mueller’s team.

Even a slight preference for homophily results in excessive segregation

This was economist Thomas Schelling’s insight way back in 1969 — just one of many examples of “unknown knowledge” that exists in the world today. His Spatial Segregation Model takes a few simple premises and shows that a set of quite tolerant people, who genuinely prefer to live in a diverse neighborhood in terms of race, income, and other factors, nevertheless end up self-segregating into clusters of like individuals — as follows:

Slight preference for homophily: 30%

We set up a fairly dense environment with a low preference for similarity — people are quite tolerant and are only looking to have 30% of their near neighbors be similar to them:

But when we run the simulation, we end up with an equilibrium state where individuals are surrounded by 75.2% similar neighbors:

If we run the spatial segregation model with a 50% preference for similar neighbors, the outcome is even more stark: the agents achieve equilibrium at a whopping 87.7% similarity:

Continue reading “Even a slight preference for homophily results in excessive segregation”

DIPTYCH: Equality vs. Supremacy

EqualitySupremacy
opportunitygatekeepers
democracyautocracy
diversitymonoculture
rule of lawfealty
entrepreneurshipfeudalism
accountabilitycorruption
Golden Rulepersecution
freedomoppression
fairnessarbitrariness
inclusivenessxenophobia
progressiveconservative
legal customsphysical force
creativerent-seeking
noveltystatus quo
favors challengersfavors incumbents
meritocracyaristocracy
holocracyhierarchy
consensusdictatorship
consenttyranny
diplomacyviolence
curiosityfear
toleranceintolerance
flexibilityrigidity
multi-facetedsingle-mindedness
organicbureaucratic
emergentcontrolling
radialtop-down
deliberaterash
carefulreckless
self-actualizedinsecure
logical reasoningmagical thinking
universaltribal
comprehensivedismissive
caretakingmilitaristic
communitygated community
independenceconformity

Racism is lazy

Racism is a shortcut for small minds. It’s a cheat for lazy people who don’t want to do the work of being discerning about people.

It is insecurity and fear of The Other. It’s ready-made scapegoats and easy answers. A made up story to channel one’s anger into. Deflection away from one’s own faults and flaws. Denial of responsibility. Worldview myopia. Reductionism at its worst. Shallow; vapid. Unseemly.

The stuff of weak minds.