Essential thinkers on authoritarian personalities

Many people around the world were shocked in the aftermath of World War II. How could “polite” society break down so utterly, so swiftly, and so zealously? Why did authoritarian personalities come to dominate human affairs, seemingly out of nowhere? How thin is this veneer of civilization, really?

A braintrust of scholars, public servants, authors, psychologists, and others have been analyzing these questions ever since. Some of the most prominent thinkers on the subject of authoritarianism were either themselves affected by the Nazi regime, or lived through the war in some capacity. Other more recent contributions have built on those original foundations, refining and extending them as more new history continues to unfold with right-wing behavior to observe.

Top research on authoritarian personalities

  • Theodor Adorno — Forced into exile by the Nazi regime, the German philosopher was a member of the Frankfurt School who tried to make sense of the evils of Hitler’s rule. He developed the F-scale in 1947, a personality test designed to identify authoritarian personalities through a set of signature traits like conventionalism, aggression, superstition, cynicism, stereotypy, projectivity, and preoccupation with sex. His studies on antisemitism and propaganda would lay the groundwork for sociological studies at the Institute for Social Research at Columbia University, the Frankfurt School’s intellectual and literal home in New York City during WWII.
  • Bob Altemeyer — Canadian psychology professor who built upon Adorno’s work to create the Right-wing Authoritarianism Scale in 1981, the now standard diagnostic tool for identifying authoritarian personalities. Altemeyer’s research on authoritarian followers added new dimensions to the field of study, often focused previously on the psychology and behavior of authoritarian leaders of the day such as Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin. His most recent book, The Authoritarians, compiles the essential insights from his forty years of research on authoritarianism and is available for free at the link above.
  • Erich Fromm — A German Jewish psychologist and sociologist, Erich Fromm fled the Nazis and worked with the Frankfurt School of exiles on issues of social change, socioeconomics, and a broad range of interdisciplinary studies across the social, political, and economic sciences. His first book, Escape From Freedom (1941), is considered one of the founding tomes of political psychology. In 1964 he coined the term malignant narcissism to describe the depths of ultimate evil he lived through during Hitler’s rise to power, a phrase clinically synonymous with psychopathy — the quintessential cold-blooded killers who show no remorse for their murderous zeal. His concept of group narcissism (1973) extended Freud’s theory of collective narcissism to describe the phenomenon where members of an ingroup hold inflated views of their group that require external validation from others to continuously reaffirm their supremacy.
  • Hannah Arendt — Born Jewish in Germany in 1906, Hannah Arendt got her doctorate in philosophy in 1929 but was unable to find footing in her academic career due to the sharp rise of hostility towards the Jews. Arendt fled the country in 1933 after Hitler came to power and she was arrested for her “illegal” research into antisemitism. Forced to flee again from her exile in France in 1940, she escaped to New York and became an American citizen in 1950. Her first book, The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), is considered one of the seminal works on the subject. Among her many other titles, The Human Condition (1958) may be the most influential — it establishes her core philosophy of “natality,” the idea of human affairs naturally renewing itself through the literal process of birth, with new individuals arriving continuously to reinterpret both the present and the past as well as re-imagine the future.
  • Karen Stenner — An Australian political scientist, Stenner is known for her cross-cultural research findings that show about a third (approximately 33%) of whites in a given population will tend to have authoritarian predispositions. Her work also shows the difference between authoritarian personalities, who have a great distaste for difference and diversity, and conservative mentalities, who have a significant aversion to change. Stenner posits authoritarianism as the result of a low tolerance for ambiguity, complexity, and — as a consequence — sociocultural diversity: “freedom feeds fear which undermines freedom, and democracy is its own undoing” (from her 2005 work The Authoritarian Dynamic).

More foundational thinkers

  • Czeslaw Milosz — Author of The Captive Mind (1953), the Lithuanian-born poet, writer, and activist grew up in Poland and lived through the German invasion and Soviet occupation there during and after World War II. In the book, he describes the psychological and social effects of living under Communism, with emphasis on the surprising complicity of many members of the Polish intellectual and creative class.
  • Vaclav Havel — A Czech playwright who became more politically active as a dissident after the Soviet invasion of Warsaw in 1968, Havel wrote The Power of the Powerless (1978) about his experiences living in the lies of a communist regime. He was a political prisoner under the anti-intellectualism of Soviet rule multiple times, once for as long as 4 years.
  • Viktor Frankl — Holocaust survivor Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist and philosopher who chronicled his experiences in Nazi concentration camps, his observations about his fellow prisoners, the guards, and the psychology of Hitler’s murderous antisemitic regime more broadly. After being liberated from Auschwitz, having lost the rest of his family to the camps, he returned to Vienna to head a hospital neurological department and wrote Man’s Search for Meaning (1946) over the course of only 9 days. He went on to develop logotherapy, a branch of psychotherapy that places the search for life’s meaning at the center of human motivation, and laid the groundwork for the development of positive psychology.
  • Herbert Marcuse — Another refugee intellectual with the Franklin School, Marcuse worked with the pre-CIA OSS to research and counteract Nazi propaganda.
  • George Orwell — The British author most synonymous with portraying the evils of totalitarianism through his two classic fiction works Animal Farm (1945) and 1984 (1949). To this day we use the term Orwellian to describe the creeping dread of a dystopian, all-powerful government pumping out lies and thought control.
  • Robert O. Paxton — Seminal work on the nature of fascism
  • Timothy Snyder — Yale professor and scholar of autocratic regimes
  • Masha Gessen — Russian-American journalist, author, and queer activist whose definitive biography of Vladimir Putin, The Man Without a Face (2013), is one of several must reads on the rise of Russia’s revanchism with the West.
  • George Lakoff — Linguist who analyzes political messaging and writes about the strict father vs. nurturing parent Manichaean struggle between conservative/authoritarian and liberal value systems. Lakoff stresses the counterintuitive finding that approximately 98% of our thinking is done unconsciously, and that we are driven by these unconscious thoughts and beliefs to a much larger extent than we are generally aware of.
  • Alice Miller — Swiss psychologist whose career uncovered that the consequences of child corporal punishment tend to be authoritarian personalities later in life. Her work shows that child abuse perpetuates emotional blindness later in life and a number of vicious cycles in society from generation to generation, from aggression and paranoia to corruption, crime, and violence.
  • Jerrold Post — One of the foremost researchers on political paranoia and a founder of the field of political psychology, the professor spent 2 decades as a CIA agent prior to teaching and writing about the political behavior of malignant personality types. His last book, Dangerous Charisma: The Political Psychology of Donald Trump and His Followers (2019), was published one year before the 2020 election.
  • Richard Hofstadter — studies the “paranoid style” in American politics
  • Jonathan Haidt — Author of The Righteous Mind
          

American Fascism: a Right-Wing Authoritarianism Dictionary of the Shadow Confederacy

We glibly believed it could never happen here even though we’ve been warned again and again. And in some sense, even though it’s been here all along — hiding in plain sight. It could happen here, and it did, because it’s happened here before. This authoritarianism dictionary charts the rise of language, ideology, tactics, and historical movements over the modern political period, to arm us with the knowledge we need to understand the tricks of the trade.

For a long time it was convenient to think of authoritarian personality as primarily a European problem, or in any case, a phenomenon that happened elsewhere. We are still waking up (…again) to the scope and depth of the problem, while anti-government groups organize relatively openly and we have yet to see justice for the January 6 attack on our capital. There is much work to be done, and in the meantime we can always continue to educate ourselves about our nation’s history — and the role of slavery, white supremacy, and racism in the shaping of the country and the future class structure of today’s America.

The myth of white innocence is toxic to this understanding. Those who say they “don’t see” race or “don’t want to talk about” race put their white privilege on full display in demanding their right to opt-out of the discussion on race. They’re not interested in having a discussion on race — they’re interested in silencing events like the Tulsa Race Massacre and ensuring we lack the language even to describe the horrors being visited upon human beings by the silencers. The only “discussion” they want to have about the matter is spoken in the words of Smith & Wesson, Chapter AR-15.

American Authoritarianism

White supremacy, in fact, in part inspired Hitler and the Nazis. In turn, the Nazis inspired the original America First movement at the hands of Charles Lindbergh, a notoriously avowed anti-Semite who vociferously opposed America’s involvement in World War II. Lindbergh and the other early movement conservative extremists lost the battle, but the Allies won the war — and — fascism as an ideology was defeated in the popular mind for a goodly while.

But prejudice is a beast that never sleeps — only fitfully slumbers and simmers beneath the surface. It has been rebuilding covertly for years and decades, if it can even be said to have gone away.

I’ll be adding to this authoritarianism dictionary over time, as I can chip away at it and as new words get added to the lexicon. It’s highly encouraging that the American people were able to throw off the would-be dictator Trump, but the Republican party continues to press their seditious aims in his name. They continue to trade on the Confederate ideals long defeated, discredited, and dishonored in this nation. Let’s educate each other on the techniques being used against us by the powerful to limit our frames, and to inhibit our awareness, our choices, and our awareness of our choices.

The hour is late, and we must act with all haste.

Authoritarianism Dictionary

TermTopicDefinition
1st Amendment
2nd Amendment
13th Amendmentwhite supremacyThe Amendment that put an end to slavery. It was passed by Congress and ratified by 2/3 of the states in 1865.
14th Amendmentwhite supremacyThe second Constitutional Amendment passed following the Civil War, the Fourteenth Amendment granted citizenship to freed African American former slaves, along with equal civil and legal rights as specified in the Constitution.
15th Amendmentwhite supremacyThird and last of the Reconstruction Amendments, the Fifteenth gave African Americans the right to vote -- and prohibited any type of voter discrimination on the basis of race.
19th AmendmentmisogynyThe woman's Suffrage Amendment gave women the right to vote in the United States.
4chanalt-RightA notorious internet message board with an unruly culture capable of trolling, pranks, and crimes.
8chanalt-RightIf 4chan wasn't raw and lawless enough for you, you could try the even more right-wing "free speech"-haven 8chan while it still stood (now 8kun). Described by its founder Frederick Bennan as "if 4chan and reddit had a baby," the site is notorious for incubating Gamergate, which morphed into PizzaGate, which morphed into QAnon -- and for generally being a cesspool of humanity's worst stuff.
8kunalt-RightThe rebranded incarnation of 8chan after being booted offline and haggling with its founder, Frederick Brennan.
abortionreligious extremismThe safe medical procedure for ending a pregnancy.
active measuresRussianA style of political warfare originating in the Soviet Union in the 1920s incorporating spycraft, disinformation, propaganda, sabotage, and destabilization, among other offensive programs targeting the USSR's geopolitical foes including the United States.
ad populum
aggrieved entitlementwhite supremacyA term coined by sociologist Michael Kimmel, who documents the perceived emasculation of America's white male uneducated class and their reactionary rage against social justice and marginal groups getting the spotlight.
America's "original sin"white supremacyA reference to the institution of slavery.
amoralabuse & controlWithout morality; without empathy or compassion.
anti-abortionreligious extremism
anti-Communistconspiracy theoryThe Cold War Red Scare was promulgated by Senator Eugene McCarthy with help from lawyer Roy Cohn -- who later famously weaned Donald Trump in his image. The John Birch Society and movement conservatives seethed about ehe enemies within, as middle America set about booming with the Boomers for an entire generation of widely shared prosperity.
anti-intraceptionpsychological warfarePsychologist Theodor Adorno's term for individuals who resist self-reflection and exhibit the absence of looking inward.
anti-racism
anti-taxplutocracyGrover Norquist is a little piggie
armed robberyorganized crimeHolding someone or something up at gunpoint.
Ashe experimentspsychological warfare
ASPDabuse & controlantisocial personality disorder
assassinationparamilitaryThe killing of a head of state or other important figure for political or ideological reasons, as opposed to murder as a crime of passion.
astroturfingpsychological warfarePretending a well organized and financed operation is a grassroots groundswell
authoritarianismgovernment
banality of evil
banana republicplutocracypolitically unstable countries whose economies are monocultures controlled by an oligarchy; puppet states
bandwagon
The Big Lie
birth controlmisogyny
birtherism
bitcoinalt-RightThe original cryptocurrency represents an entirely new form of money; a way to store value digitally usig the blockchain.
Black Codeswhite supremacy
BLMwhite supremacyBlack Lives Matter
BLM (US)governmentBureau of Land Management
blockchainalt-RightDigital ledger of events and transactions that powers cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
blood libelconspiracy theory
Blue Checkspsychological warfareReference to Twitter's "verified" feature for certain members, who have satisfied the company that they are who they say they are. Originally the feature was meant to identify the official accounts of news sites and reporters, so it has both an association with -- and a legitimate lineage from -- the media industry.
bolt holeEnd TimesA type of retreat or refuge for those in the survivalist subculture, to be absconded to in case of disaster or apocalypse.
Brooks Brothers RiotSedition Caucus
Brown v. Board of Education (1954)white supremacySupreme Court decision ordering the desegregation of schools. Resistance to the ruling took the form of "states' rights" advocates, among much else.
bug-out location (BOL)End TimesAnother name for a bolt hole or survivalist refuge location.
CalexitSedition CaucusMovement to split the state of Californnia into East and West states
Calvinism
capital gains taxplutocracy
carried-interest taxmore significant for private equity than for hedge fundsa subset of capital gains taxationWarren Buffett’s famous complaint that he is taxed at a lower rate than his secretary: “It offends our values as a nation when an investment manager making fifty million dollars can pay a lower tax rate on her earned income than a teacher making fifty thousand dollars pays on her income.”
cathexisA kind of fusion the people of a nation may claim to feel with the fascist leader.
Citizens United
civil society
Civil Warwhite supremacy
climate change denialism
CloudFlareBig TechA company that protects websites from cyberattacks, it dropped support for 8chan after the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso. The shooter had posted his anti-immigrant manifesto on 8chan before the event, another in a series of eerily similar patterned shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand and a San Diego synagogue.
Cluster Babuse & control
collective narcissismabuse & control
Columbine Massacre
Communismgovernment
The Confederacy
conscience
conspiracy theorypsychological warfare
convict leasingwhite supremacy
covert narcissistpsychological warfare
Critical Race Theory
critical theory
crocodile tears
crying wolf
cultism
cultsabuse & control
cultural Marxism
dark money
death cult
deep stateconspiracy theoryNetworks of opposition within governments who undermine the official regime
democratic socialismgovernment
desegregationwhite supremacy
disinformationpsychological warfare
domestic violenceabuse & control
Doomsday ClockEnd Times
double standardmisogyny
down ballotgovernment
doxingabuse & controlResearching and broadcasting personally identifiable information about an individual
Drain the SwampMAGACampaign slogan of Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential contest.
El Paso Walmart shooting
Emancipation Proclamationwhite supremacy
empathy
estate taxplutocracy
"Eternal Rome"Ideology positing Russia as a geopolitical bulwark of conservatism against a weak-kneed West (part of Alexander Dugin's reformulation of Eurasianism theory)
exfiltrationcybersecurityThe removal or copying of data from one server to another without the knowledge of the owner
facial recognitionsurveillance capitalism
Fairness Doctrine1949 FCC policy requiring broadcast networks to present controversial issues important to the public in a non-partisan way, that was repealed under Reagan in 1987.
fake newsdisinformation
false flagRussiancovert operations designed to deceive by appearing as though they are carried out by other entities, groups, or nations than those who actually executed them
fascismgovernment
fellow travellers
fifth column
fifth world warRussiannon-linear war; the war of all against all
filibuster
Financial Crimes Enforcement NEtwork (FinCEN)organized crimeDepartment within the Treasury that handles and maiontains FBAR filings from US persons holding in excess of $10,000 in foreign banks.
FISA Courtorganized crime
FISA warrantorganized crime
fiscal policyplutocracy
flat earthers
Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)psychological warfareLegal statute requiring those persons lobbying on behalf of a foreign government or other entity to register such with the U.S. government.
foreign bank account report (FBAR)organized crimeRequired disclosure to the US treasury by persons holding in excess of $10,000 in funds in foreign banks.
forensicslaw enforcement
forever wars
The Frankfurt School
Freedmen's Bureau
FreedomFestConservative evangelical event annually in Las Vegas
Free Speech
free tradeplutocracy
fronto-paralimbic areaPart of the brain associated with empathy, along with the anterior insula
fundamentalism
Gabalt-Right
GamerGatealt-Right
genocide
gift taxplutocracy
"global cabal"conspiracy theoryeuphemism in far-right Russian discourse to refer to a perceived "Jewish conspiracy" behind the international order of institutions like NATO and the EU
globalists
Grand Jury16 to 23 people impaneled to hear evidence from a legal prosecution, and decide if said prosecution has a caseworthy set of evidence to bring charges.
Greensboro Massacrewhite supremacy
Great Awakening
Great Migrationwhite supremacy
Great Societygovernment
greed
Guantanamo
human traffickingorganized crime
hybrid warfarepsychological warfare
hypercapitalism
incelmisogyny"involuntary celibate" -- a male individual who believes society owes him sex
inflationplutocracy
information warfaredisinformation
interest ratesplutocracy
internationalist
interpositionwhite supremacyDubious theory underpinning the idea of states' rights, which is that individual states have veto power over any laws passed by the federal government
Iran-Contra
iron triangleA conspiracy between organized criminals, corrupt government officials, and business leaders to turn the state into a kleptocracy -- or "rule by thieves"
Jim Crow Southwhite supremacy
Johnson Amendmentprosperity gospelAllowed televangelists to funnel tax-free riches into luxury goods and political advocacy
Karenwhite supremacy
kleptocracyLiterally, "rule by thieves" -- a system of government in which the people at the top steal wealth from the nation and its people for themselves and their cronies.
KochtopusplutocracyTerm for the sprawling political machinery of the Kansas-based billionaire Koch Industries inheritees, Charles and David.
kompromatRussiancompromising material on a head of state or other important figure; typically used for blackmail purposes
lamestream mediaalt-Right
liberalismgovernmentPolitical and ethical framework based on individual liberty via human rights and equal protection
literacy tests
lobbyinggovernment
"Lock her up!"MAGA
Logan Actgovernment
Lost Cause religionconspiracy theoryAfter the Civil War, the Confederates never accepted defeat. Instead, they wove a noble victim mythology into white southern Christianity, in an attempt to memory hole the terrorism they'd wrought -- and wished to continue practicing without scrutiny or accountability, thank you very much.
lynchingwhite supremacy
machine learningBig Tech
Mafia stateorganized crimeA systematic corruption of government by organized crime syndicates.
MAGAMAGA"Make America Great Again" -- one of Donald Trump's campaign slogans.
malignant envypsychological warfare
malignant narcissismabuse & control
manospheremisogyny
Marxismgovernment
mental predationabuse & control
#MeToomisogyny
microaggressions
micropenismisogyny
micro-propaganda machineThe “micro-propaganda machine” (MPM) — an influence network that can tailor people’s opinions, emotional reactions, and create “viral” sharing episodes around what should be serious or contemplative issues
minority rule
mirror neurons
misogynymisogyny
MK Ultra
money launderingorganized crime
narcissismabuse & control
narcissistic collusionabuse & control
natalityHannah Arendt's term, and her most hopefuly theory for the future of humankind -- that it will continually be renewed by the literal birth of new generations of humans to reinterpret the human condition and our existence in the world.
national debtplutocracy
national deficitplutocracy
national security
NDANon-disclosure agreement
neggingabuse & control
neomaniaobsession with the new -- a hallmark of American culture
New Dealgovernment
New Jim Crowwhite supremacy
non-linear warfareRussian
normalcy bias
novichokRussianmilitary-grade nerve agent developed by Russia and used in the poisoning of former FSB agent turned Putin critic Andrei Skripal and his daughter in Lonson in March, 2018
obstruction
Oklahoma City bombing
oligarchyplutocracy
one-party stategovernment
open source intelligenceintelligence
oppointelligenceshort form of opposition research
outrage industrysurveillance capitalism
PAC
Palantirsurveillance capitalism
paralipsisdisinformationA rhetorical device in which the speaker feigns ignorance of the thing he or she is saying; "Saying / not saying" -- it offers a thin veneer of plausible deniability in a naked attempt to escape accountabilitty for saying exactly that.
paralogicpsychological warfare
paranoia
pathocracyorganized crime
patriarchymisogyny
peculiar institutionwhite supremacyslavery
peonagewhite supremacy
plausible deniabilityorganized crime
Plessy v. Fergusongovernment1896
plutocracygovernment
poll tax
ponerologyThe study of evil
populismgovernment
postmodernismdisinformation
post-truthdisinformation
Potemkin villagegovernmentAny structure or facade built expressly for the purpose of making the situation appear more favorable than it really is
Powell MemoplutocracyLewis Powell's 1970s memo to the wealthy white male elite, in anger over the crackdown against tobacco companies, as a call to arms to organize politically against "anti-capitalist" forces
PRabuse & controlpublic relations
previous question rule
Progressive Eragovernment
propagandaabuse & control
prosperity gospel
prosocial behavior
psychopathabuse & control
psyopsRussian
PUAmisogyny"Pick Up Artist" -- a self-styled lothario who helps train other would-be casanovas in his ways of manipulative charm
Pulse Nightclub shooting
race riotswhite supremacy
race warwhite supremacy
rape culturemisogyny
Reagonomicsconspiracy theory
RedditBig Tech
regression
retweetBig TechWhen a Twitter user amplifies the tweet of another, by "retweeting" it out to her or his network
RICO
Right anterior insular cortexPart of the brain associated with empathy; psychopaths have a deficit here
right-wing authoritariangovernment
Roe v. Wade
Ruby Ridgewhite supremacy
running out the clock
sadism
sadopopulismgovernment
Sandy Hook school shooting
Second Wave Feminismmisogyny
Section 230Big Tech
senicide
sexual assaultmisogyny
sexual harassmentmisogyny
shadow profilessurveillance capitalismData that Facebook collects on people who are not members of Facebook, via association with their friends who are
sharecropping
shared reality
show trialsRussian
SignalBig Techencrypted messaging app
sit-ins
SJWwhite supremacySocial Justice Warriors -- used as a pejorative by the alt-Right
socialismgovernment
sociopathyabuse & control
sockpuppet accountsdisinformationFake social media accounts used by trolls for deceptive and covert actions, avoiding culpability for abuse, aggression, death threats, doxxing, and other criminal acts against targets.
SMSBig Techtexting
special interest groupsgovernment
spearphishingcybersecurityAn email designed to appear as if from a trusted source, to solicit information that allows the sender to gain access to an account or network, or installs malware that later enables the sender to gain access to an account or network
spite votergovernment
stand your ground
stochastic terrorismparamilitary
suffragegovernmentThe right to vote, sometimes referred to as "the franchise."
SuperPAC
supremacy
surveillance capitalism
surveillance state
swattingalt-Righthoaxed reports to emergency services intended to provoke a SWAT team response at the target's home; a form of Internet-based attack used by Gamergate, the alt-Right, and other groups and individuals
symbolic violence
tax avoidanceplutocracy
tax fraudorganized crime
tax havensplutocracy
Third Wave Feminismmisogyny
totalismpsychological warfare
total warRussian
trial balloonpsychological warfareInformation put out or leaked to the media to gauge public reaction.
trickle-down economicsconspiracy theory
truth decayconspiracy theory
The Turner Diarieswhite supremacy
Tulsa Race Massacrewhite supremacyA mob of murderous whites descended on the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, dubbed Black Wall Street, and razed it to the ground. They dropped homemade bombs in the first ever domestic aerial attack on American soil. Over three hundred Blacks were murdered and hastily buried or burned. Police and other state officials were complicit; no one was ever charged for the crimes and insurance companies refused to honor Black business owner's claims from the destruction of their livelihood and senseless slaughter of their friends, families, and community.
TwitterBig Tech
Uberman
unmaskingcybersecurityIntelligence protocol redacting American identities from transcripts of foreign intercepts
vast right-wing conspiracy
volcel
Voting Rights Actwhite supremacy
Waco, TXparamilitary
wag the dogabuse & control
wage gapmisogyny
Watergate
watering holecybersecurityhacker attacks that infect entire websites
whataboutismRussianClassic debate tactic of old Soviet apologists to deflect criticism of Soviet policy; whenever an American would levy a critique, the response would be, "What about the bad things America does?"
white collar crimeorganized crime
white nationalismwhite supremacy
women's liberationmisogyny
word salad
World War IWWI gave job opportunities to blacks in the North, causing a great migration -- as well as a backlash and resistance from Southern law enforcement.
World War II
Yes CaliforniaMovement to secede from the US entirely, run by Marcus Ruiz Evans, Louis J. Marinelli

phobia indoctrination

Phobia indoctrination is one of the principle ways a charismatic leader will lull potential followers into his thrall, by putting them into a state of perpetual fear and anxiety. They know, either instinctively or through training (or both), that people can be induced into a prolonged state of confusion easily, and that many people in states of confusion act quite irrationally. Abusers, cult leaders, and other controllers use demagoguery and other tricks to hide in plain sight and continue to accrue power while passing themselves off as harmless or extremely patriotic.

These chaos agents use emotional manipulation as a tool of control. They whip followers up into a fear frenzy frequently enough to instill a set of phobia-like instinctual reactions to chosen stimuli. In addition to stoking fears of the enemies at the gates, they also inculcate irrational fears of the consequences of questioning their authority. Any doubts expressed about the leadership or its doctrine are subject to terrifying negative results. Cults use this formula to help prevent followers from questioning or leaving the group.

Phobia indoctrination is a tool of cults

As part of a larger overall program of brainwashing or mind control, cults and destructive organizations use imaginary extremes (going to hell, being possessed by demons, failing miserably at life, race war, Leftist apocalypse, etc.) to shock followers into refusing to examine any evidence whatsoever. A form of unethical hypnosis, phobia indoctrination can now be carried out on a mass scale thanks to the internet and our massive media apparatus.

Sociopaths are taking ample advantage of their advantage in time and distance over the slow pace of justice. The wielding of fear as a cudgel in America politics has reached a fever pitch, with anti-CRT hysteria, anti-vaxxers, anti-government, anti-science, lawless zombie footsoldiers screeching about the “freedom!!!” they wish the government to provide them for persecuting their enemies, and other social horrors are merely the tip of the climate changing iceberg.

Relevant book list:

Values of the Left and the Right: Liberal vs. Authoritarian Worldviews

The following list must be prefaced with some caveats about painting with broad strokes, and acknowledging everything is a distribution and Not All Republicans espouse all of these things to the same degree or even at all. Nevertheless, both the extremism and the polarization in our political system is the highest in recent memory — certainly in the totality of my Generation X memory, and by all accounts the highest since the 1930s. Extremism is high on both the Left and the Right, but research shows it’s been growing much more extreme on the Right.

And in many ways it feels like we are living through something akin to the 1930s, again. The rise in authoritarian regimes and totalist thought and linguistic patterns is troubling and dangerous. The United States never had an armed insurrection take over the Capitol building prior to January 6, 2021. America has had many periods of brutality in its past and present, but historically speaking nothing like the recent decades of escalating mass shooter events.

What can explain the religious devotion to a failed businessman and failed President on the Right? Loathe him through we might on the Left, Trump is revered on the Right for espousing the “virtues” of a traditional hierarchical society, and for giving coded approval to America’s most shadowy extremist groups that he would be finding excuses to look the other way if they chose to strike. They both held up their ends of the bargain, with would-be assassins in tactical gear assaulting the nation’s lawmakers as they certified the 2020 election results as mandated by the Constitution, and paid puppets in the Senate letting them all off the hook… technically speaking, that is.

Trump looked the other way, but only for another 14 days — until Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. With a new sheriff Merrick Garland in town, all bets are off regarding leniency for the nation’s most vile and seditious lot who stormed the Capitol and disrupted the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in US history — a sad day for the country and its venerable history of managing to keep the republic.

This will be a work in progress, as usual. And a tool for discussion — we’re going to need it for the coming years.

Liberal ValuesAuthoritarian Values
EqualityHierarchy
JusticeForce
LibertyControl
Popular sovereigntyUnpopular rule
Common goodPrivatization
LogicMagical Thinking
ReasonPower
TruthPropaganda
HistoryMyth
RealityFantasy
ResponsibilityEscapism
RationalityIrrationality
IntegrityHypocrisy
CharacterCharacter disorder
WisdomIgnorance
GenerosityGreed
HonestyDeception
EarnestnessCynicism
SkepticismLoyalty
CuriosityBoredom
CompassionContempt
EmpathySadism
Driven by careDriven by fear
MoralityNihilism
TransparencySecrecy
ConsiderationCallousness
PatienceImpatience
MaturityImmaturity
Emotional intelligenceEmotional manipulation
WholeheartednessCognitive dissonance
VulnerabilityDefensiveness
AuthenticityMimicry
DeliberationAct without thinking
De-escalationAggression
ConsciousUnconscious
Self-awareSelf-deception
EducationBrainwashing
DiversityConformity
CreativityDestruction
ArtisticFundamentalist
SolutionsGrievance
CommunityRugged individualism
TrustDistrust
GratitudeEnvy
RespectDisrespect
SustainabilityExtraction
Self-regardCathexis
SpiritualityReligiosity
Self-actualizationFollow the leader
Problem solvers"Tear it down"-ers

Cultism and Disinformation Dictionary

The cat is well and truly out of the bag in terms of understanding how easily wide swaths of people can be misled into believing total falsehoods and even insane conspiracy theories that have no basis whatsoever in reality. In their passion for this self-righteous series of untruths, they can lose families, jobs, loved ones, respect, and may even be radicalized to commit violence on behalf of an authority figure. It starts with the dissemination of disinformation.

Disinformation is meant to confuse, throw off, distract, polarize, and otherwise create conflict within and between target populations. The spreading of falsehoods is a very old strategy — perhaps as old as humankind itself — but its mass dissemination through the media was pioneered in the 20th century by the Bolsheviks in the Soviet Union, the Nazis in Germany, Mussolini’s Fascists in Italy, and other authoritarian regimes of the early 1900s through the 1940s.

After World War II and the Allies’ defeat of Hitler, the role of disinformation lived on during the Cold War. The Soviet KGB were infamous for their spycraft and covert infiltration of information flows, while the United States experienced waves of anti-Communist paranoia and hysteria fueled by the spread of conspiracist thinking.

Cultism is an old tradition in the U.S.

But cultism has a long history here in the United States. One could argue the Confederacy was a kind of cult, and the KKK after it. America gave rise to Charles Manson, Jim Jones, David Koresh, and Sun Myung Moon, among many many others who led cults big and small.

Christianity itself was considered a cult by some during its humble beginnings after the turn of the millennia and then some. It’s no accident that religious revivalism and many types of faith fervor colored the nation for decades and centuries.

Some might call the patriarchal nuclear family the Original Cult. Many if not most Evangelical sects revere it, among numerous others who believe in God the Father quite literally. Others still seek to exploit that zeal, by offering up a series of “flawed saviors” who dangled the prospect of a more theocratic state governed by Law and Order. Their money buys them much more than just the puppets who rule, and the citizens struggle to pierce the veils of illusion.

TermDefinitionNotes
ambiguity
active measuresRussian information warfare aimed at undermining the West
America First Unity Rally
AntifaAnti-fascists
assert the opposite of reality
the Big Lie
black and white thinkingA pattern of thought characterized by polar extremes, sometimes flip-flopping very rapidly from one extreme view to its opposite. Also referred to as dichotomous thinking; polarized thinking; all-or-nothing thinking; or splitting.
blackmail
blaming the victim
book burning
Borderline Personality Disorder
bot
botnets
bullying
cathexis
@citizentrolling
#clevelandsteal
closure
cognitive distortion
con artistSomeone who swindles others with fake promises
conspiracy theory
DARVO
deception
deep fakesFabricated video footage appearing to show an individual speaking
deep state
demoshizaShort for ‘democratic schizophrenics’ -- a Russian slander against citizens of democracies. The ‘demoshiza’ tag also serves a useful purpose in conflating ‘democracy’ with ‘mental illness’. The word ‘democratic’ has an unhappy status in Russia: it is mainly used as an uncomplimentary synonym for ‘cheap’ and ‘low-grade’: McDonald’s has ‘democratic’ prices, the door policy at a particularly scuzzy club can be described as ‘democratic’ – i.e. they let anybody in
denialism
denial of death
denying plain facts
dezinformatsiyaRussian information warfare
"dirty tricks"
disappearing
diversion
doxxing
"drinking the Kool-Aid"
duty to warn
emotional abuse
emotional blackmail
emotional manipulation
empty promises
extortion
fake news
false flagcovert operations designed to deceive by appearing as though they are carried out by other entities, groups, or nations than those who actually executed them
fifth world warNon-linear war; the war of all against all -- a term coined by Putin's vizier Vladislav Surkov.
flying monkeys
fraud
GamerGate
gaslighting
"global cabal"euphemism in far-right Russian discourse to refer to a perceived "Jewish conspiracy" behind the international order of institutions like NATO and the EU
globalization
grooming
Guccifer 2.0
hate speech
honey pot
horseshoe theory
hybrid warfare
hypnosis
influence techniques
information terroristsMedia personalities and professionals working against the interests of democracy in the United States. Many amplify their messages through automation and human networks, creating a Greek Chorus-like cacaphony of fake support for unpopular positions.
information warfare
InfoWars
Intermittent reinforcement
jumping to conclusions bias
kleptocracyform of government in which the leaders harbor organized crime rings and often participate in or lead them; the police, military, civil government, and other governmental agencies may routinely participate in illicit activities and enterprises.
Mafia stateA systematic corruption of government by organized crime syndicates. A term coined by former KGB/FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko. See also: kleptocracy
malignant envy
malignant narcissism
maskirovkawar of deception and concealment
men's rights
mind control
minimizing
money laundering
motivated reasoning
moving the goalpostsChanging the rules after the game is played, when one side doesn't like the outcome.
"myth of tech misogyny"A form of denialism made popular by alt-right commentator and troll Milo Yiannopoulos, used to discredit feminist discussions about the tech and gaming industry's notorious levels of misogyny.
naive realism
narcissistic rage
narcissistic supply
The National Enquirer
neurolinguistic programming (NLP)
nihilism
non-linear warfare
novichokmilitary-grade nerve agent developed by Russia and used in the poisoning of former FSB agent turned Putin critic Andrei Skripal and his daughter in Lonson in March, 2018
one-way streetExpect loyalty from you while offering none in return
opposhort form of opposition research
paranoiaNurturing and maintaining enemies
passive aggressive
PizzaGate
plausible deniability
playing the victim
post-truth
projection
Project LakhtaInternal name for the operation that Prigozhin's IRA was running to interfere in elections across the Western world, according to the Mueller indictments.
propaganda
psychopathy
PUAPick-up Artist
QAnon
#releasethememo
retcon
running out the clock
sadism
selective exposure
shame
shit-posting
silovikiRussian term for those who have backgrounds and employment in the Russian power ministries -- security services, the military, and police; and more specifically a reference to Putin's security cabal.
Snow RevolutionPopular protests beginning in Moscow in 2011, demanding the reinstatement of free elections & the ability to form opposition parties. Hundreds if not thousands of protestors were detained on the first day of action (Dec 5), continuing over the next 2 years as punishments grew increasingly harsh and more activists were sent to penal colonies.
social hierarchies
sockpuppet accountsFake social media accounts used by trolls for deceptive and covert actions, avoiding culpability for abuse, aggression, death threats, doxxing, and other criminal acts against targets.
"sovereign democracy"system in which democratic procedures are retained, but without any actual democratic freedoms; brainchild of Vladislav Surkov
Special Mission
splittingSee the world as with them or against them; an extension of black and white thinking.
stonewalling
Tarasoff rule
thought-stopping
torture
trolling
undue influence
white male identity politics
white nationalism

Surveillance Capitalism Dictionary

They were inspired by hippies, but Orwell would fear them. The giants of Silicon Valley started out trying to outsmart The Man, and in the process became him.

This surveillance capitalism dictionary is a work in progress!

TermDefinition
algorithmA set of instructions that programmers give to computers to run software and make decisions.
artificial intelligence (AI)
Bayes' Theorem
bioinformaticsA technical and computational subfield of genetics, concerned with the information and data encoded by our genes and genetic codes.
child machineAlan Turing's concept for developing an "adult brain" by creating a child brain and giving it an education
CHINOOKcheckers program that becomes the first time an AI wins an official world championship in a game of skill, in 1994
click-wrap
collateral behavioral data
contracts of adhesion
cookiesSmall packets of data deposited by the vast majority of websites you visit, that store information in the browser as a way to extract intelligence about their users and visitors.
corpusIn Natural Language Processing, a compendium of words used to "train" the AI to understand patterns in new texts.
decision trees
Deep BlueChess program that beats world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997
deep learning
evolutionary algorithms
Facebook
facial recognition
Flash Crash of 2010sudden drop of over $1 trillion in the E-Mini S&P 500 futures contract market via runaway feedback loop within a set of algorithmic traders
FLOPSfloating-point operations per second
genetic algorithms
GOFAI"Good Old-Fashioned Artificial Intelligence"
HLMIhuman-level machine intelligence: defined as being able to carry out most human professions at least as well as a typical human
interoperability
Kolmogorov complexity
language translation
linear regression
machine learning
Markov chains
monopoly
NAFTA
natural language processing (NLP)A technology for processing and analyzing words
neofeudalism
neural networks
netizens
"Online Eraser" law (CA)
patrimonial capitalism
Pegasus
phonemes
predictive analytics
privacy
private eminent domain
probability
prosody
qualia
r > gPiketty's insight
randomness
recommender systems
recursion
recursive learning
right to be forgottenWhen it became EU law in 2014, this groundbreaking legislation gave citizens the power to demand search engines remove pointers to content about them. It was the growing of a data rights movement in Europe that led later to GDPR.
SciKit
simulation
smart speakers
speech recognition
spyware
statistical modeling
strong vs. weak AI"weak AI" refers to algorithms designed to master a specific narrow domain of knowledge or problem-solving, vs. achieving a more general intelligence (strong AI)
supermajority
supervised learning
surplus data
TensorFlow
Tianhe-2The world's fastest supercomputer, developed in China, until it was surpassed in June 2016 by the also Chinese Sunway TaihuLight
Terms of Service
Twitter
unsupervised learning
WatsonIBM AI that defeats the two all-time greatest human Jeopardy! champions in 2010
WhatsApp
WTO
Zuccotti Park

Billionaires 2021: The Richest People in the World

The vast majority of billionaires in the world got richer during the year of the pandemic — fantastically richer. And they still demand more!

NameNet WorthWealth SourceIndustry
Jeff Bezos$177 BAmazonTechnology
Elon Musk$151 BTesla, SpaceXTechnology
Bernard Arnault & family$150 BLVMHFashion & Retail
Bill Gates$124 BMicrosoftTechnology
Mark Zuckerberg$97 BFacebookTechnology
Warren Buffett$96 BBerkshire HathawayFinance & Investments
Larry Ellison$93 BsoftwareTechnology
Larry Page$91.5 BGoogleTechnology
Sergey Brin$89 BGoogleTechnology
Mukesh Ambani$84.5 BdiversifiedDiversified
Amancio Ortega$77 BZaraFashion & Retail
Francoise Bettencourt Meyers & family$73.6 BL'OréalFashion & Retail
Zhong Shanshan$68.9 Bbeverages, pharmaceuticalsFood & Beverage
Steve Ballmer$68.7 BMicrosoftTechnology
Ma Huateng$65.8 Binternet mediaTechnology
Carlos Slim Helu & family$62.8 BtelecomTelecom
Alice Walton$61.8 BWalmartFashion & Retail
Jim Walton$60.2 BWalmartFashion & Retail
Rob Walton$59.5 BWalmartFashion & Retail
Michael Bloomberg$59 BBloomberg LPMedia & Entertainment
Colin Zheng Huang$55.3 Be-commerceTechnology
MacKenzie Scott$53 BAmazonTechnology
Daniel Gilbert$51.9 BQuicken LoansFinance & Investments
Gautam Adani & family$50.5 Binfrastructure, commoditiesDiversified
Phil Knight & family$49.9 BNikeFashion & Retail
Jack Ma$48.4 Be-commerceTechnology
Charles Koch$46.4 BKoch IndustriesOil & Gas
Julia Koch & family$46.4 BKoch IndustriesOil & Gas
Masayoshi Son$45.4 Binternet, telecomTechnology
Michael Dell$45.1 BDell computersTechnology
Tadashi Yanai & family$44.1 Bfashion retailFashion & Retail
François Pinault & family$42.3 Bluxury goodsFashion & Retail
David Thomson & family$41.8 BmediaMedia & Entertainment
Beate Heister & Karl Albrecht Jr.$39.2 BsupermarketsFashion & Retail
Wang Wei$39 Bpackage deliveryService
Miriam Adelson$38.2 BcasinosGambling & Casinos
He Xiangjian$37.7 Bhome appliancesManufacturing
Dieter Schwarz$36.9 BretailFashion & Retail
Zhang Yiming$35.6 BTikTokTechnology
Giovanni Ferrero$35.1 BNutella, chocolatesFood & Beverage
Alain Wertheimer$34.5 BChanelFashion & Retail
Gerard Wertheimer$34.5 BChanelFashion & Retail
Li Ka-shing$33.7 BdiversifiedDiversified
Qin Yinglin & family$33.5 Bpig breedingFood & Beverage
William Lei Ding$33 Bonline gamesTechnology
Len Blavatnik$32 Bmusic, chemicalsDiversified
Lee Shau Kee$31.7 Breal estateReal Estate
Jacqueline Mars$31.3 Bcandy, pet foodFood & Beverage
John Mars$31.3 Bcandy, pet foodFood & Beverage
Yang Huiyan & family$29.6 Breal estateReal Estate
Alexey Mordashov & family$29.1 Bsteel, investmentsMetals & Mining
Robin Zeng$28.4 BbatteriesEnergy
Hui Ka Yan$27.7 Breal estateReal Estate
Susanne Klatten$27.7 BBMW, pharmaceuticalsAutomotive
Vladimir Potanin$27 BmetalsMetals & Mining
Dietrich Mateschitz$26.9 BRed BullFood & Beverage
Pang Kang$26.4 Bsoy sauceFood & Beverage
Klaus-Michael Kuehne$26.3 BshippingLogistics
Vladimir Lisin$26.2 Bsteel, transportMetals & Mining
Wang Xing$26.1 Be-commerceTechnology
German Larrea Mota Velasco & family$25.9 BminingMetals & Mining
Leonardo Del Vecchio & family$25.8 BeyeglassesFashion & Retail
Takemitsu Takizaki$25.8 BsensorsManufacturing
Leonard Lauder$25.5 BEstee LauderFashion & Retail
Thomas Peterffy$25 Bdiscount brokerageFinance & Investments
Vagit Alekperov$24.9 BoilEnergy
Leonid Mikhelson$24.9 Bgas, chemicalsEnergy
Jim Simons$24.6 Bhedge fundsFinance & Investments
Jiang Rensheng & family$24.4 BvaccinesHealthcare
Gina Rinehart$23.6 BminingMetals & Mining
Rupert Murdoch & family$23.5 Bnewspapers, TV networkMedia & Entertainment
Shiv Nadar$23.5 Bsoftware servicesTechnology
Zhang Zhidong$23.4 Binternet mediaTechnology
Iris Fontbona & family$23.3 BminingMetals & Mining
Lei Jun$23 BsmartphonesTechnology
Zhang Yong$23 BrestaurantsFood & Beverage
Richard Qiangdong Liu$22.4 Be-commerceTechnology
Gennady Timchenko$22 Boil, gasEnergy
Stephen Schwarzman$21.9 BinvestmentsFinance & Investments
Goh Cheng Liang$21.7 BpaintsManufacturing
Stefan Quandt$21.6 BBMWAutomotive
Li Xiting$21.5 Bmedical devicesHealthcare
Pierre Omidyar$21.4 BeBay, PayPalTechnology
Stefan Persson$21.3 BH&MFashion & Retail
Abigail Johnson$20.9 Bmoney managementFinance & Investments
R. Budi Hartono$20.5 Bbanking, tobaccoFinance & Investments
Andrew Forrest$20.4 BminingMetals & Mining
Ray Dalio$20.3 Bhedge fundsFinance & Investments
Michael Hartono$19.7 Bbanking, tobaccoManufacturing
Li Shufu$19.7 BautomobilesAutomotive
Zhong Huijuan$19.7 BpharmaceuticalsHealthcare
Xu Hang$19.5 Bmedical devicesHealthcare
Lui Che Woo & family$19.4 Bcasinos/hotelsGambling & Casinos
Emmanuel Besnier$19.1 BcheeseFood & Beverage
Laurene Powell Jobs & family$19 BApple, DisneyTechnology
Eric Schmidt$18.9 BGoogleTechnology
Sun Piaoyang$18.9 BpharmaceuticalsHealthcare
Theo Albrecht, Jr. & family$18.8 BAldi, Trader Joe'sFashion & Retail
Alisher Usmanov$18.4 Bsteel, telecom, investmentsMetals & Mining
Robert Pera$18.3 Bwireless networking gearTechnology
Wu Yajun$18.3 Breal estateReal Estate
Fan Hongwei & family$18.2 BpetrochemicalsEnergy
Dhanin Chearavanont$18.1 BdiversifiedDiversified
Peter Woo$18 Breal estateReal Estate
Chen Bang$17.9 BhospitalsHealthcare
Andrey Melnichenko$17.9 Bcoal, fertilizersEnergy
Dustin Moskovitz$17.8 BFacebookTechnology
Su Hua$17.8 Bvideo streamingMedia & Entertainment
Donald Newhouse$17.6 BmediaMedia & Entertainment
Petr Kellner$17.5 Bfinance, telecommunicationsFinance & Investments
Lee Man Tat$17.4 BfoodFood & Beverage
Pavel Durov$17.2 Bmessaging appTechnology
James Ratcliffe$17 BchemicalsManufacturing
Jorge Paulo Lemann & family$16.9 BbeerFood & Beverage
Reinhold Wuerth & family$16.8 BfastenersManufacturing
Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken & family$16.7 BHeinekenFood & Beverage
Radhakishan Damani$16.5 Bretail, investmentsFashion & Retail
Wang Chuanfu$16.3 Bbatteries, automobilesAutomotive
Steve Cohen$16 Bhedge fundsFinance & Investments
Ken Griffin$16 Bhedge fundsFinance & Investments
Chen Zhiping$15.9 Be-cigarettesManufacturing
Ernest Garcia, II.$15.9 Bused carsAutomotive
Uday Kotak$15.9 BbankingFinance & Investments
Carl Icahn$15.8 BinvestmentsFinance & Investments
Suleiman Kerimov & family$15.8 BinvestmentsFinance & Investments
Thomas Frist, Jr. & family$15.7 BhospitalsHealthcare
Lukas Walton$15.6 BWalmartFashion & Retail
Mikhail Fridman$15.5 Boil, banking, telecomEnergy
Wei Jianjun & family$15.5 BautomobilesAutomotive
Zuo Hui$15.5 Breal estate servicesReal Estate
Zhou Qunfei & family$15.4 Bsmartphone screensTechnology
Donald Bren$15.3 Breal estateReal Estate
Hinduja brothers$14.9 BdiversifiedDiversified
Lakshmi Mittal$14.9 BsteelMetals & Mining
Georg Schaeffler$14.9 Bauto partsAutomotive
Eric Yuan & family$14.9 Bvideo conferencingTechnology
Wang Jianlin$14.8 Breal estateReal Estate
Kwong Siu-hing$14.7 Breal estateReal Estate
Robin Li$14.7 Binternet searchTechnology
Pallonji Mistry$14.6 BconstructionConstruction & Engineering
Eduardo Saverin$14.6 BFacebookTechnology
Roman Abramovich$14.5 Bsteel, investmentsDiversified
David Tepper$14.5 Bhedge fundsFinance & Investments
Gong Hongjia & family$14.4 Bvideo surveillanceFinance & Investments
Mike Cannon-Brookes$14.2 BsoftwareTechnology
John Menard, Jr.$14.2 Bhome improvement storesFashion & Retail
Seo Jung-jin$14.2 BbiotechHealthcare
Cheng Yixiao$14.1 Bvideo streaming appMedia & Entertainment
Liang Wengen$14.1 Bconstruction equipmentManufacturing
Scott Farquhar$14 BsoftwareTechnology
Finn Rausing$13.9 BpackagingFood & Beverage
Jorn Rausing$13.9 BpackagingFood & Beverage
Kirsten Rausing$13.9 BpackagingFood & Beverage
Brian Chesky$13.7 BAirbnbTechnology
Joseph Lau$13.6 Breal estateReal Estate
David Duffield$13.5 Bbusiness softwareTechnology
Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi$13.5 Balcohol, real estateFood & Beverage
Kim Jung-ju$13.3 Bonline gamesTechnology
Robert & Philip Ng$13.3 Breal estateReal Estate
Zhang Bangxin$13.3 BeducationService
Anders Holch Povlsen$13.2 Bfashion retailFashion & Retail
Wang Wenyin$13.2 Bmining, copper productsMetals & Mining
Wang Liping & family$13.1 Bhydraulic machineryManufacturing
Tatyana Bakalchuk$13 BecommerceFashion & Retail
Michael Platt$13 Bhedge fundsFinance & Investments
Huang Shilin$12.9 BbatteriesEnergy
Ricardo Salinas Pliego & family$12.9 Bretail, mediaFashion & Retail
Kumar Birla$12.8 BcommoditiesDiversified
Dang Yanbao$12.7 BcoalMetals & Mining
Cyrus Poonawalla$12.7 BvaccinesHealthcare
Robert Kuok$12.6 Bpalm oil, shipping, propertyDiversified
Hank & Doug Meijer$12.6 BsupermarketsFashion & Retail
Jack Dorsey$12.5 BTwitter, SquareTechnology
Lu Zhongfang$12.5 BeducationAutomotive
Ma Jianrong & family$12.5 Btextiles, apparelFashion & Retail
Zhang Tao$12.5 Be-commerceFashion & Retail
Nathan Blecharczyk$12.4 BAirbnbTechnology
John Doerr$12.4 Bventure capitalTechnology
Joe Gebbia$12.4 BAirbnbTechnology
Forrest Li$12.4 BgamingMedia & Entertainment
Yu Renrong$12.3 BsemiconductorsManufacturing
Liu Yonghao & family$12.1 BagribusinessService
Gordon Moore$12.1 BIntelTechnology
Jeff Yass$12 Btrading, investmentsFinance & Investments
Bobby Murphy$11.9 BSnapchatTechnology
Patrick Drahi$11.8 BtelecomTelecom
Jensen Huang$11.8 BsemiconductorsTechnology
Alexander Otto$11.8 Breal estateReal Estate
Cen Junda$11.6 BpharmaceuticalsHealthcare
Joseph Tsai$11.6 Be-commerceTechnology
Aliko Dangote$11.5 Bcement, sugarManufacturing
Marcel Herrmann Telles$11.5 BbeerFood & Beverage
Mikhail Prokhorov$11.4 BinvestmentsFinance & Investments
Jorge Moll Filho & family$11.3 BhospitalsHealthcare
Viktor Rashnikov$11.2 BsteelManufacturing
Harry Triguboff$11.2 Breal estateReal Estate
Leonid Fedun & family$11.1 BoilEnergy
Eyal Ofer$11.1 Breal estate, shippingDiversified
Evan Spiegel$11.1 BSnapchatTechnology
Luis Carlos Sarmiento$11 BbankingFinance & Investments

Oversight

There is psychological evidence that people tend to behave more morally when they know, or when they believe, someone is watching them. When observers are present, people’s worst antisocial tendencies tend to be mitigated to some degree. There is also evidence from religious studies, that show belief in a moral god who has infinite access to your deepest motives enhances the effect from more “secular” oversight from experiences like instinctively braking when you see a cop on the highway.

On the other end, there is a lot of benefit to all manner of people and organizations being able to have oversight — from a boss supervising an employee, to a client evaluating an agency, to law enforcement surveilling suspects and surveillance more broadly. Observation is the key to experimentation under the scientific method, and a surveyor prepares land for development. The feedback loops that result from being able to see how a plan, theory, or hypothesis work out in the real world allow the original assumptions to be validated or adjusted, accordingly.

The government is an organization that operates largely in an oversight capacity. The executive branch runs departments that broadly oversee the nation’s transportation, military, national security, diplomacy, law enforcement, justice system, budget, economy and fiscal policy, education policy, energy grid, and stockpile of nuclear weapons — among much else. In a federalized system of 50 states under a larger national banner, many regional and local differences add to the complexity of the policy and enforcement concerns, and the difficulty of managing both a large population and vast land mass.

Conversely, if you believe no one is watching, you are more likely to commit corruption or crime. If someone thinks they can get away with it, they are much more likely to try and grab an opportunity. The growing scale and speed of modern society tends to exacerbate the feeling that “no one is watching,” making it seem like it matters less if small rules are broken here or there — an effect which can continue to snowball into crimes of greater and greater severity.

Anti-government sentiment rejects oversight

Here is yet another reason to be skeptical of anti-government sentiment amongst so-called “patriots” who seek to overthrow free and fair elections: how can government fulfill its sacred obligation to perform its oversight duties if it’s been drowned in a bathtub? It can’t!

Related concepts:

  • God
  • the watchful eye — annuit coeptis
  • the Oversight Committee
  • the rule of law / spirit of laws
  • surveillance
  • night watchman state
  • police brutality
  • transparency
  • “Hell is other people”
  • Eye of Sauron
  • the peanut gallery
  • hecklers
  • hall monitors
  • judges
  • supervisors
  • parents
  • overseers
  • vantage points
  • command view
  • crow’s nest

Impeachment Trial: Why Democrats didn’t call witnesses

There was a period of dashed hopes on Saturday morning during the impeachment trial of former president Trump. After securing a last-minute and unexpected motion to call witnesses, based on resurfaced testimony from Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), the House Impeachment Managers in conference with Senate Democrats and negotiation with Senate Republicans ended up deciding to call the vote instead.

They did win a concession to read Herrera Beutler’s statement into the Congressional record, and a historically unprecedented 57-43 impeachment vote to convict with 7 Republican Senators crossing the aisle to vote to convict the president of their own party of inciting sedition. But many Democrats who had gotten our hopes up for the prospect of getting to the bottom of what really happened on January 6 were quite deflated, and there were plenty of folks angry at Democrats for “caving” to Republicans once again.

The Real Reason Democrats didn’t call witnesses

As the Democrats have been making the press conference and media rounds to talk about the impeachment and talk about why they ultimately ended up deciding not to move forward with calling witnesses, some of the anger is subsiding but plenty of people are still miffed.

In my opinion, what is probably the strongest reason of all that Democrats didn’t call witnesses, is the one fact not being widely cited by the Democrats including the House Impeachment Managers. And that argument is: walking and chewing gum at the same time was not going to be possible. Calling witnesses would have meant getting led down the garden path by the Masters of Game Delay.

There was some optimism before the impeachment trial that the Senate would be able to find a way to handle the trial and also juggle legislative business plus confirmation hearings and votes for Biden cabinet members and other high-level executive positions. Unfortunately, the parliamentary rules for impeachment proceedings are both old and strict, and preclude the Senate from taking up other regular legislative or executive business while the trial is in progress from Monday to Saturdays until complete, according to the rules of 1868.

The only way to get around this is to have the chamber meet in a separate session. And the only way to get a separate session is via unanimous consent — which requires a full 100 votes. After the vote on calling witnesses, McConnell indicated he would withhold his party’s support for unanimous consent to do any other business besides the trial. He also reportedly threatened to obstruct and delay the rest of the 2-year legislative agenda, including the confirmation of Merrick Garland as AG. Everyone saw the struggle to get to just 57, so I agree it does not seem credible that enough GOP Senators at that point would have suddenly found an “I am Spartacus!” moment.

It would have sandbagged Biden’s agenda

Not being able to walk and chew gum at the same time would have tanked Biden’s ability to get the help to the American people that they need — full stop. No budget reconciliation and covid relief plan. No cabinet nominations. No other executive branch noms. No economic plan.

It would only play into the hands of Republicans to obstruct Biden’s agenda indefinitely and infinitely. Their base is rewarding them only for loyalty to Trump, and punishing any of the “deviants” who vote to hold him accountable. The GOP would just blame the Democrats for not getting anything done, and for dragging out this “highly political” trial that actually they will be drawing out with procedural nonsense and legal abuse — a Trumpian specialty!

I think it’s arguably just as important that Democrats be able to say that they got swift and solid help to Americans in a time of crisis, otherwise the 2022 midterms are the next jump point for authoritarian takeover. We can still pursue justice via other means that are just as enduring and have the potential to uncover so much more about the events leading up to and surrounding January 6.

The Other Good Reasons

Beyond the parliamentary jiujitsu, there are several other compelling reasons Democrats didn’t call witnesses:

  • Witnesses are not generally called live onto the Senate floor — for impeachment trials, depositions are taken in trial committees, then read into the record. Senators have to submit their questions in writing, and there is no live cross-examination. In other words, the thing most folks would be looking for which is public testimony, would not be forthcoming — the committee work could take weeks or months, and Republicans benefit more from agenda delays because their base no longer even cares about policy anymore.
  • Entering Jaime Herrera Beutler’s statements into the record accomplished the same thing a deposition would have done — it read her testimony into the official legislative annals of history. It gave additional ammunition to any of the potential federal, state, or local investigations that may follow the conclusion of the trial. And it showed indelibly the lengths to which even Republican lawmakers were willing to go to pursue justice against this lawless president.
  • No more Republican votes were going to change anyway — the trial was at “peak persuasion” because the rest of the pack were going to hide behind the procedural issue regardless. In other words, like SCOTUS to Trump’s frivolous election fraud claims, they refused to hear the case “on the merits” even though they were subject to a binding resolution on that very question that their chamber had passed on Tuesday. They chose to ignore their own binding resolution and continued to cite the fact that Trump was no longer in office as the reason the Senate lacked jurisdiction to censure him — despite the fact that it was now minority leader Mitch McConnell who insisted on delaying the start of trial past inauguration day in the first place.
  • They had already effectively made their case — as “beyond a shadow of a doubt” as is ever likely to happen in any impeachment trial ever, yet still falling on deaf ears, there isn’t much doubt that the House Managers overwhelmingly presented a successful case. I’m sympathetic to the argument that it may have proved diminishing returns as pursued through additional Senate trial time, and is undoubtedly better pursued by the justice system and through other committee work in both the Senate and the House.
  • A 9/11-style commission is much more appropriate to actually get to the bottom of the political aspects of the crime — the independent commission created by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today is going to have far more time, budget, reach, and depth than a drawn out trial in the Senate, and it won’t cannibalize the agenda of other business. It can go all the way down the rabbit hole and lead us to evidence on other potential co-conspirators, including Cruz, Hawley, Tuberville, Lee, Gomert, Greene, Jordan, Gosar, et al, all the financial ties in and around the Ellipse rally, and perhaps new federal charges for Trump’s pardoned felon buddies Bannon, Stone, and Flynn. Democrats didn’t call witnesses because now, they can call as many witnesses they like without any pressure or obstruction from Senate Republicans.
  • His lawyers are just lying — the defense portion of the witness process would be just as looney toons and Four Seasons Total Lawyering as in the main show. Trump’s lawyers are just distorting, distracting, and debasing the profession of law with their clownish disregard of the augustness of the chamber in which they stood. Giving them more time to muddy the bulk of the trial record, and more time to delay delay delay and inject the Big Lies over and over again into public consciousness, would not have necessarily been worth the tradeoff in what we might learn from additional witnesses ourselves.
  • Other witnesses went cold — Pence’s staff spoke up to refute the claim that Trump evinced concern for him during or soon after the January 6 attack. They said the former president did not contact Pence at all that day, or for 5 days afterward. And yet, when contacted by the House Impeachment Managers, they indicated they would not be willing to go so far as to testify in the trial.
  • Enthusiasm for the trial would wane in the public eye — unfortunately, the general public has a much shorter political attention span than most of us Blue Check intellectuals. While it would be total catnip for us, it would like start to have diminishing returns in the eyes of the voters, especially when they discover that other business is not proceeding. Regardless of the fact that it’s actually the Republicans holding other legislative business hostage for the trial, it will be blamed on Democrats and our entire political system has been primed to blame everything on Democrats and is generally successful — like muscle memory.

I will be looking forward to the results of the independent commission, as well as the continued criminal prosecutions of the insurrectionists and at some point, hopefully, whoever it was on the inside who was helping them.

The Republican Party is a criminal organization

Only 7 out of 50 among them are patriots — the rest, cowards and knaves who continue to seek destruction of this republic out of self-interest and an authoritarian’s need to dominate others. Today’s impeachment vote of acquittal for Trump’s role in the January 6 insurrection was brutal but of course, not surprising. It highlighted once again something that’s been hiding in plain sight for some time — that the Republican Party is a criminal organization.

“Law and Order” is just another Big Lie

It’s used to cover up quite the opposite — criminality, entitlement, sadism, and a zeal for the domination of others. Including both the violent insurrectionist kind and the pasty jowly turtly slow walking kind on the right wing. The GOP is an insult to the rule of law.

There is no best time to impeach a president

Unfortunately the spineless toothless Republican Senators defanged the Constitution today, by casting into doubt its power to achieve healthy checks and balances between the branches of government. They gleefully gave up the role of Congress in moderating the chief executive — to the probable detriment of us all.

As usual, they performed a series of timeline hacks, rhetorical games, and parliamentary tricks that resulting in the “logical” impossibility of ever successfully impeaching a US president. They are masters at avoiding responsibility for their actions, and fiercely protect their own, even despite heinous crimes.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his merry band of “institutionalists” have managed to do more damage to our institutions than any other Republican administration, and that’s truly saying something.

In addition to sowing doubt about our elections, throwing SCOTUS and the courts under the bus despite having packed them with conservative judges and loyalists for years, damaging our sovereignty and our national security, and impugning our reputation with nations around the world, they’ve managed to turn the United States into a kleptocracy. It’s official: the Republican Party is a criminal organization.

Let the DOJ do its work

Even Trump’s own lawyer advocated for it, along with McConnell. Though he can’t be trusted and will surely have tricks up his sleeve, it would be cathartic to see Attorney General Merrick Garland and the much-maligned Department of Justice bring down the largest RICO case in the history of history. I hope that karma brings justice to all of them, regardless of the actual outcome here and now.

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. How can we understand this era of polarization, this age of tribalism? 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
  • Derrida — the logic of the unconscious; performativity in the act of lying
  • 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
  • Tyrants
  • John Dean — 3 types of authoritarian personality:
    • social dominators
    • authoritarian followers
    • double highs — social dominators who can “switch” to become followers in certain circumstances
  • Loyalty; hero worship
    • Freud = deeply distrustful of hero worship and worried that it indulged people’s needs for vertical authority. He found the archetype of the authoritarian primal father very troubling.
  • Ayn Rand — The Fountainhead
  • 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
    • narcissism = seeing oneself “above”
    • Christopher Lasch — Culture of Narcissism (1979). Idea that narcissism is a defense mechanism against social change and instability in the modern world. It’s a method of psychological self-preservation in a hostile, threatening world; a cynical ethic.
    • Tom Wolfe — The Me Decade
    • Jerrold Post — authoritarian parenting
    • The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump
    • Mary Trump — Too Much and Not Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man
    • narcissistic injury
    • narcissistic rage
    • aggrieved entitlement — elevated expectations combined with resentment at society for not meeting them (Michael Kimmel, 2013)
    • dehumanization of the Others
    • splitting; black and white thinking
    • object permanence
    • magical thinking — relation to Norman Vincent Peale and prosperity gospel
    • 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
  • Religious extremism
    • Evangelicals
    • 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.)
    • Calvinism
    • Prosperity gospel
  • Living on Fantasy Island
    • Norman Vincent Peale — the power of positive thinking (1952)
    • 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…
    • 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
    • Lost Cause lineage
      • Confederate holdouts

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
  • Bozo Bezos & the Billionaire Space Race
  • Surveillance capitalism
  • Data as the new oil
  • Crypto & DeFi

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
  • Warren G. Harding
  • Woodrow Wilson
  • 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

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.

Design guru Don Norman’s shortlist of everything wrong with the internet

When usability pioneers have All the Feels about the nature of our creeping technological dystopia, how we got here, and what we might need to do to right the ship, it’s wise to pay attention. Don Norman’s preaching resonated with my choir, and they’ve asked me to sing a summary song of our people in bulleted list format:

  • What seemed like a virtuous thing at the time — building the internet with an ethos of trust and openness — has led to a travesty via lack of security, because no one took bad actors into account.
  • Google, Facebook, et al didn’t have the advertising business model in mind a priori, but sort of stumbled into it and got carried away giving advertisers what they wanted — more information about users — without really taking into consideration the boundary violations of appropriating people’s information. (see Shoshana Zuboff’s definitive new book on Surveillance Capitalism for a lot more on this topic)
  • Tech companies have mined the psychological sciences for techniques that — especially at scale — border on mass manipulation of fundamental human drives to be informed and to belong. Beyond the creepy Orwellian slant of information appropriation and emotional manipulation, the loss of productivity and mental focus from years of constant interruptions takes a toll on society at large.
  • We sign an interminable series of EULAs, ToS’s and other lengthy legalese-ridden agreements just to access the now basic utilities that enable our lives. Experts refer to these as “contracts of adhesion” or “click-wrap,” as a way of connoting the “obvious lack of meaningful consent.” (Zuboff)
  • The “bubble effect” — the internet allows one to surround oneself completely with like-minded opinions and avoid ever being exposed to alternative points of view. This has existential implications for being able to inhabit a shared reality, as well as a deleterious effect on public discourse, civility, and the democratic process itself.
  • The extreme commercialization of almost all of our information sources is problematic, especially in the age of the “Milton Friedman-ification” of the economic world and the skewing of values away from communities and individuals, towards a myopic view of shareholder value and all the attendant perverse incentives that accompany this philosophical business shift over the past 50 years. He notes that the original public-spiritedness of new communication technologies has historically been co-opted by corporate lobbyists via regulatory capture — a subject Tim Wu explores in-depth in his excellent 2011 book, “The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires.

Is it all bleak, Don?! His answer is clear: “yes, maybe, no.” He demurs on positing a definitive answer to all of these issues, but he doesn’t really mince words about a “hunch” that it may in fact involve burning it all down and starting over again.

Pointing to evolution, Norman notes that we cannot eke radical innovation out of incremental changes — and that when radical change does happen it is often imposed unexpectedly from the outside in the form of catastrophic events. Perhaps if we can’t manage to Marie Kondo our way to a more joyful internet, we’ll have to pray for Armageddon soon…?! 😱

The Trump Russia Scandal: 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… and beyond. The Russia scandal has continued to unspool throughout the Trump presidency, including the real estate magnate’s first impeachment over his extortion of Ukraine, and his second impeachment over the armed insurrection he incited following his failed re-election bid. It continues to this day.

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 the Russia scandal, the Trump family criminal organization, and Putin’s revanchist influence in American politics.

Bestiary

LabelNationalityTypeKnown for
Huma AbedinAmericanCivil servantTop aide to Hillary Clinton
ABLVLatvianBankOne of the largest private banks in Latvia
Roman AbramovichRussianOligarchRussian steel magnate whose Evraz company was given the green light to supply steel to DAPL by the Trump administration
ACU Strategic PartnersLobbyistA 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.
AeroflotRussian
Aras AgalarovRussianOligarchEmin's father; a wealthy Russian-Azerbaijani oligarch who has received lucrative construction contracts from the Kremlin. Known as "Putin's Builder"
Emin AgalarovRussianOligarchPopular Russian-Azerbaijani singer and businessperson who may have facilitated a handoff of hacked information to Donald Trump Jr via surrogates
Evsei AgronRussianRussian Mafia
Rinat AkhmetovUkranianOligarchUkranian steel magnate who brokered the relationship between Paul Manafort and defeated presidential candidate Victor Yanukovich
Rinat AkhmetshinRussianForeign IntelligenceFormer Soviety spy who attending the June 9 meeting in Trump Tower between Don Jr, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya
Vagit AlekperovRussianOligarchCEO of Lukoil, Russia's second largest oil and gas company, that sought the services offered by Trump data firm Cambridge Analytica
Alfa Bank / Alfa GroupRussianBankLargest 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 AliyevaAzerbaijaniWife of Emin Agalarov and daughter of the president of Ajerbaijan.
Dmitri AlperovichCompanyHead 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_RussianForeign IntelligenceIRA-controlled Twitter account, an anti-immigration persona with 24,000 followers
American MediaAmericanMedia OutletHelped bury stories portraying Trump in a bad light before the election, via catch and kill methodology among others
Anbang InsuranceChineseCompany
Michael AntonFlight 93
AppleAmericanCompanyThe House might come after messaging records for principals.
Tevfik ArifOligarchco-founder of Bayrock and Kazakh-born Soviet official turned real estate tycoon
Andrey ArtemenkoUkranianMember 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 AssangeAustralianHackerEditor-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 AvetisyanRussianOligarchRussian banker and consultant who bought Bank of Cyprus's Russian-based businesseses; a transaction overseen by Wilbur Ross
Mykola AzarovUkranianPoliticianFormer Prime Minister of Ukraine who was ousted in the Maidan revolution along with President Viktor Yanukovych.
Bank of CyprusCypriotBank
Steve BannonAmericanPrincipal actor
Elena BaronoffSuspected organized crime figure who accompanied Ivanka and Don Jr to Russia in 2007-2008
Andrey BaranovRussianOligarchHead of investor relations for Rosneft who met with Carter Page in Moscow after his 2016 speech.
Tom Barrack
Alan BaskaevRussianWorked at the Internet Research Agency
Fabien BaussartFrenchForeign IntelligenceCooperated 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 GroupCompanyEmployed Felix Sater for a number of shady real estate dealings involving Mr Trump. Founded by Tevfik Arif, a Russian oligarch.
Being PatrioticRussianForeign IntelligenceAn 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 BenczkowskiCivil servantTrump's pick to lead the DOJ's criminal division; once represented a Putin-tied Russian bank
Berserk BearRussianHackerHacker group
Jeffrey Berman
Leonid BershidskyRussianJournalistWell-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 BespalovRussian26-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 BhararaAmericanLawyerU.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 FistRussianForeign IntelligenceIRA-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 USRussianForeign IntelligenceIRA-controlled account posing as grassroots activists
Black Sea Cable
Darren BlantonAmericanhis company Colt Ventures provided data management services to the Trump campaign
Tony BlinkenAmericanCivil servantJohn Kerry's deputy secretary of state under Obama
Anna Vladislavovna BogachevaRussianForeign IntelligenceWorked 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 BogdanovPoliticianRussian deputy foreign minister
Gen. Alexander BortnikovRussianForeign IntelligenceDirector of FSB circa 2015
Maria Anatolyevna BovdaForeign IntelligenceWorked 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 BrazileCivil servant
John BrennanAmericanIntelligence CommunityActing CIA director under Obama; one of the 3 who brief Trump and Obama about the Russian attack on Election 2016
Bridges LLCAmericanCompanyLLC begun by Maria Butina and Paul Erickson in South Dakota
Elliot BroidyAmericanLobbyistMajor 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 BrowderAmericanActivistFounder 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 BurchikRussianForeign IntelligenceOne 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 BurrAmericanPolitician(R-NC) and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, one of the committees in Congress conducting Russia investigations
Richard BurtAmericanLobbyistHelped Trump write his first foreign policy speech
Evgeny BuryakovRussian
Maria ButinaRussianForeign Intelligence"Personal assistant" to Alexander Torshin, she claims to have started several gun rights organizations in Russia
BuzzfeedAmericanMedia OutletOriginally broke the story of the Steele dossier and published what of it they had.
Mikhail BystrovRussianForeign IntelligenceOne 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 AnalyticaBritishCompanyData analytics company that worked for the Trump campaign and has been indicted in the UK for data theft.
Michael CaputoAmericanUnregistered Foreign AgentMember 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.
CendynAmericanCompanyCloud computing company that hosted the Trump Organization and may have information on the Alfa Bank link during the campaign
Center for Political and Foreign AffairsFrenchFrench right-wing group that hosted a Trump trip to Paris during the home stretch of the campaign
Mike CernovichAmericanMedia PersonalityAlt-Right personality in the U.S. who lives in Orange County, CA
Jason ChaffetzAmericanMedia PersonalityBowing out of politics after announcing a move to Fox and whining about the cost of living as a Senator
Yuri ChaikaLawyerRussian prosecutor general
James ClapperAmericanIntelligence CommunityDirector of National Intelligence under Obama; one of the 3 who brief Trump and Obama about the Russian attack on Election 2016
Bill ClintonAmericanPolitician
Hillary ClintonAmericanPolitician
Dan CoatesAmericanIntelligence CommunityDirector of National Intelligence who testified that there is no doubt Russia sees its 2016 efforts as having been successful.
Michael CohenAmericanLawyerTrump's personal lawyer. Convicted of various federal crimes including campaign finance violations; sentenced to 3 years in prison.
Roy CohnAmericanLawyerTrump's mentor and ruthless, vicious lawyer
Susan Collins (R-ME)AmericanPoliticianSenator 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 ComeyAmericanIntelligence CommunityBeing fired by Donald Trump as the FBI Director
Mike ConawayAmericanIntelligence Communitynew leader of the House Intelligence Committee's Russia probe after the recusal of Devin Nunes
Concord CateringRussianCompanyCompany owned by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, known to be nicknamed "Putin's Chef" and inside the Russian president's inner circle.
Sam Clovis
Colt VenturesAmericanCompanyprovided 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)AmericanPoliticianLeader of the House Intelligence Committee, one of the Congressional committees investigating the Russia scandal
Concord Management and Consulting
George ConwayAmericanLawyerHusband of Kellyanne Conway, a lawyer who has represented a corporation accused of bribing Russian officials
Kellyanne ConwayAmericanOligarch
Rep. John ConyersAmericanPoliticianCriticized 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 CopsonLobbyistManaging director of ACU Strategic Partners, a firm Mike Flynn was consulting for regarding building nuclear power plants in the Middle East.
Mark Corallo
Jerome CorsiAmericanMedia PersonalityIntermediary between Roger Stone and Wikileaks, an arm of the Russian intelligence apparatus
Ed CoxAmericanNew 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 GroupRussianCompanyReal estate developmenr firm owned by the Agalarovs, that secured the Moscow location for Trump's 2013 Miss Universe pageant
CrowdstrikeAmericanCompanyOne of the US private security contractors who implicated the Russians in the hack of the DNC servers.
Olivia CulpoAmericanMedia PersonalityThe reigning Miss Universe at the time of the 2013 Moscow pageant (and former Miss USA, and noted Trump favorite)
Rep. Elijah CummingsAmericanPoliticianranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, one of the first to request an investigation into Michael Flynn
Michael DanielAmericanIntelligence CommunityWhite House director of cybersecurity
Stormy DanielsAmerican
Keith Davidson
Davis Manifort Partners, Inc. (DMP)AmericanCompanyPolitical consulting company created by Paul Manafort in 2005.
DCLeaksRussianForeign IntelligenceA 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 DearbornAmerican
Definers Public AffairsAmericanLobbyistGOP strategy firm hired by Facebook to besmirch its rivals and tar them with accusations of being tied to George Soros
Wendi DengOligarchEx-wife of Rupert Murdoch, friend of Ivanka Trump, and friend of Russian oligarhcs + Putin (rumored to be Putins' girlfriend)
Diana DenmanAmerican
Department of JusticeAmericanGovernment agency
Oleg DeripaskaRussianOligarchRussian billionaire and Kremlin insider barred from the US due to organized crime links [contact w/Paul Manafort]
Deutsche BankGermanBankBoth 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 DmitrievRussianForeign IntelligenceChief 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 regionUkranianTerritoryArea 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 UsRussianForeign IntelligenceAn IRA-controlled Facebook group with more than 250,000 followers by the time it was deactivated in mid-2017
Jack DorseyAmericanTech tycoonCo-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.
DragonFlyRussianForeign IntelligenceHacker group
Alexander DuginRussianRussia's most well-known neo-fascist ideologue, & Kremlin confidant
Pavel DurovRussianFounder 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 EarnestAmericanCivil servantObama White House press secretary in 2016
Fedor EmelianenkoOligarchMMA star, former Trump business partner, and friend of Putin
En+ Group PlcCompanyOne of Oleg Deripaska's companies whose sanctions were lifted by the Trump administration.
Energetic BearRussianForeign IntelligenceHacker group connected to the Kremlin
Boris Epshteyn
Paul EricksonAmerican Unregistered Foreign AgentAttempted to set up a backchannel between the NRA and the Russian government during the Trump campaign.
Oleg ErovinkinForeign Intelligenceex-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)LobbyistNGO entity created by Manafort and Gates in Belgium in 2012 to serve as an "arm's length" front for their work with Yanukovich.
EuroSibEnergo JSCRussianCompanyOne of Oleg Deripaska's companies whose sanctions were lifted by the Trump administration.
FacebookAmericanCompany
FAN (Federal Agency of News)RussianPrincipal actorFictional 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 BearRussianForeign IntelligenceHacked Democratic Party emails during the 2016 US presidential election; also hacked MAcros campaign emails in France.
Nigel FarageBritishPoliticianFormer UKIP leader now under investigation for ties to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange
FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation)AmericanIntelligence CommunityInvestigation of domestic terror units and criminal cells, as well as foreign criminal groups within the U.S.
Federal AssemblyRussianRussian Parliament
Federal Election Commission (FEC)AmericanPoliticianOverseeing the process generally of national and state elections
Diane FeinsteinAmericanPoliticianUS Senator from California who published Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS's transcript of testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
FireEyeAmericanCompanySecurity firm
Dmitry FirtashUkranianOligarchUkranian oligarch and nagural gas magnate who got sweetheart deals within Putin's inner circle
Marc Elias
Jon FinerAmericanCivil servantJohn Kerry's chief of staff
FL GroupIcelandicCompanyIcelandic hedge fund with ties to Putin, that invested in Trump Soho via FBI informant and convicted felon Sal Lauria
Michael FlynnAmericanIntelligence CommunityAs 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 GroupAmericanCompany
Four Seasons Hotels and ResortsCompanyHosted the meeting in the Seychelles between Erik Prince and Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia's sovereign wealth fund
Fox NewsAmericanMedia Outlet
Free Beacon AmericanMedia Outletsee: Washington Free Beacon
Mikhail Maratovich FridmanRussianOligarchinvested $200m in Uber (?)
Peter Fritsch
Frontier Services GroupAmericanCompanyErik Prince's company, who has ignored document requests from Congress relating to the meeting in the Seychelles with Kirill Dmitriev
FSBRussianForeign Intelligencethe Russian Federal Security Service
Fusion GPSAmericanPolitical research firm hired first by conservative billionaire, later by the Clinton campaign, that ultimately led to the Steele dossier.
Dmitry FyodorovRussianPrincipal actorWorked at the Internet Research Agency before being employed at Facebook
Michael GaetaIntelligence Community
Gang of EightAmericanIntelligence Community
Alan Garten
Rick GatesAmericanLobbyistPaul 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.ruRussianMedia Outlet
GazpromRussianCompanyRussia's energy monopolgy and largest gas company
General Services AdministrationAmerican
GeorgiaGeorgianNation-stateFormer Soviet state
GerasimovRussianMilitaryRussian General who wrote seminal asymmetric warfare doc
Masha GessenJournalistJournalist and author who has lived extensively in Russia and studied the rise of Putin
Igor GirkinRussianActivistLeader of the Ukranian pro-Russian separatists in Donbas, he is alleged to have been connected to the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17
Rudy GiulianiAmericanPoliticianPublicly "predicted" the Comey "re-opening" of Clinton's emails when the Anthony Weiner laptop was found
Glavplakat
Nikolai GlushkovRussianRussian MafiaFormer 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 GoldstoneRussian MafiaPublicist of Russian-Azerbaijani singer Emin Agalarov who set up the June 9 meeting between Don Jr, Kushner, Manafort, and the Russians
GoogleAmericanCompanyOnline 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 GorbachevRussianPoliticianGlasnost
Sergei Gordeev
J.D. Gordon
Sebastian GorkaHungarianMedia PersonalityFormer 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 OfficeAmericanA watchdog organization for financial and other high-profile crimes within the U.S.
Trey GowdyAmericanPolitician(R-SC) Chair of the House Oversight Committee
Rhona Graff
Sen. Chuck GrassleyAmericanPolitician(R-IA)
GRURussianIntelligence CommunitySoviety military intelligence services
GSAAmericanGovernment agencyHas been asserted by TFA that documents were "unlawfully" given to the Special Counsel's Office by this agency, including parts susceptible to privilege.
Guccifer 2.0RussianHackerA 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 HableAmericanCivil servantHillary for America IT chief
Alex HaldermanAmericanIntelligence CommunityTestified before the House Intelligence Committee on the probable ability of the Russians to hack an election
Sean HannityAmericanMedia PersonalityMade claims on his show that the Steele dossier launched the Russia probe, which isn't accurate.
Hapsburg groupEuropeanPoliticianInformal name given to the set of former European politicians whom Paul Manafort and Rick Gates paid to espouse pro-Yanukovich talking points.
Charles HarderAmericanLawyerRepresenting Trump in the Stormy Daniels case; also represented Terry Bolea in the Gawker trial
Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA)AmericanPoliticianMember 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 HicksAmericanPrincipal actorYet 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 HohltAmerican
Dylan Howard
Jon HuntsmanAmericanCivil servantUS Ambassador to Russia
William HurdAmericanLawyerPaul Erickson's lawyer
Jon IadonisiTied to VizSense Inc. and White Canvas Group, 2 firms that did business with Michael Flynn
Ivan IlyinRussianChristian fascist philosopher who inspired much of Vladimir Putin's political philosophy
ImgurAmericanCompanyPlatform used by the Russian disinformation campaign that House Democrats want to subpoena
InstagramAmericanCompanyPlatform used by the Russian disinformation campaign that House Democrats want to subpoena the transition team for records of
Andrew Intrater
IRA (Internet Research Agency) RussianPrincipal actorWell-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 LibertyRussianForeign Intelligence
IskraMedia OutletThe main Bolshevik newspaper in the early 20th century
Darrell IssaAmericanPolitician
Viktor IvanovRussianOne of Putin's closest allies, he's the head of anti-narcotics in Russia; has spoken out against marijuana legalization in the US (!)
@jenn_abramsRussianForeign IntelligenceIRA-controlled Twitter account claiming to be a Virginian Trump supporter with 70,000 followers
Ramzan KadyrovRussianPoliticianChechnya'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 KaluginRussian, AmericanForeign IntelligenceFormer KGB agent who became a U.S. citizen and grew critical of Putin's regime.
Denis KatsyvRussianOligarchSole shareholder of Prevezon, implicated in the $230m theft of Russian taxpayer dollars
Irakly "Ike" KaveladzeRussianRussian Mafia8th 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 KelnerAmericanLawyerMike Flynn's lawyer
Brian KempAmericanPoliticianGeorgia secretary of state who bristled at the idea of DHS's warning about the election integrity and attempts to hack voter registration
John KerryAmericanPoliticianSecretary of State under Obama from 2013 to 2018
KetchumAmericanCompanyWestern PR firm that helps place pro-Russian op-eds in Western media (like Putin's in NYTimes on 9/11/13)
KGBRussianIntelligence CommunityThe Soviet secret service, renowned for ruthlessness and duplicity
Eva KhanRussianDaughter of a Russian oligarch, married to Alex van der Zwaan -- the first to go to prison in the Mueller investigation.
German KhanRussianOligarchRussian 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 KhodorkovskyRussianOligarchEx-oil tycoon unexpectedly freed by Putin ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics
Elena Alekseevna KhusyaynovaRussianPrincipal actorFAN's chief accountant and an indictee under Mueller's Russian investigation
Konstantin KilimnikRussianForeign IntelligencePaul Manafort's business associate in the Ukraine
Sergey KislyakRussianForeign IntelligenceRussian Ambassador who spoke with Mike Flynn [tracker] about lifting sanctions in undisclosed series of meetings
KLS Research LLCCompanyCompany formed by Peter Smith to facilitate and manage his question to find Hillary's missing emails.
Artem KlyushinRussianOligarchYoung Russian billionaire who claims to have been instrumental in getting Trump elected.
KoalaRussianForeign Intelligence
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
KommersantRussianMedia OutletLong-respected business newspaper purchased by pro-Kremlin oligarch Alisher Usmanov
KomsomolRussianLeninist Youth League organization for Communists aged 14 to 28 in the late 80s & early 90s
Konstantin KosachevRussian
Andrei KostinRussianCEO of VTB, one of the largest Russian banks (and under US sanctions)
Béla Kovacs (KGBéla) HungarianOne of the leaders of Jobbik, Hungary's pro-Putin rightist party, who is accused of being a Russian spy.
Dmitry KovtunRussianForeign IntelligenceOne 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 KozhinRussianForeign IntelligenceSenior Putin aide who attended the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in lieu of Putin.
Kozy BearRussianForeign IntelligenceThe Dutch intelligence community alerted the DNC way back in 2015 that they had been hacked back in 2014.
The KremlinRussianPrincipal actor
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 KrylovaRussianForeign IntelligenceServed 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 KulaginRussianForeign IntelligenceRussian diplomat recalled to Russia, fearing his cover would be blown re: heavy involvement in the 2016 election, including the veterans' pensions ruse
Charles KushnerAmericanOligarchFather 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 KushnerAmericanPrincipal actorThe evil son-in-law so evil he owned a billion dollar building at 666 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan
Kushner CompaniesAmericanCompany
David LaufmanAmericanIntelligence CommunityFormer chief of the DOJ's Counterintelligence & Export Control Section
Sal LauriaRussian MafiaFBI 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 LavrovPoliticianRussian Foreign Minister
Platon Lebedev
Marie Le PenFrenchPoliticianhead of the French far-Right party
Pyotr LevashovRussianHackerRussian hacker who ran the sprawling Kelihos botnet, a massive spam and scam network; indicted by a US grand jury on 4/21/17
Lenta.ruRussian
Lev LevievRussianOligarchRussian "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 LeviyevRussianFormer 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 LevitanRussianOligarchRussian Canadian CEO of developer Talon (Trump Toronto); had no previous experience in real estate or construction
Corey LewandowskiAmericanLobbyistDonald 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 LisinRussianOligarchRussian steel mogul who made $830m in 3 days after the election
Aleksandr LitvinenkoRussianForeign Intelligenceformer Russian FSB agent who informed on Putin's connections to the Russian mafia and was assassinated by polonium-210 poisoning in 2006
Marina LitvinenkoRussian
Oleg LobovTies to the Romneys?!
Andrey LugovoyRussianForeign IntelligenceOne 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.
LukoilRussianCompanyRussia's second largest oil company after Rosneft, they contracted with Trump data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica
Loretta LynchAmericanCivil servantUS Attorney General under Barack Obama
Lyovochin
Rachel MaddowAmericanJournalistHost 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 MagnitskyLawyerlawyer 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 DirectorateRussianForeign IntelligenceDivision 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 ManafortAmericanPrincipal actor
Jeanette ManfraAmericanIntelligence CommunityHead 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_trumpRussianForeign IntelligenceIRA-controlled accouunt created in May 2016 to promote IRA-organized rallies in support of the Trump Campaign
John Mashburn
John McCainAmericanPolitician
KT McFarlandAmericanIntelligence CommunityDeputy Nartional Security Advisor under Mike Flynn. Asked to step down by HR McMaster.
Don McGahnAmericanLawyerWhite House counsel from XXXX-XXXX
Evan McMullenAmericanPolitician
MediumAmericanCompanySocial media and blogging community frequented by the Russians during their efforts at sowing propaganda and discord during the American 2016 Presidential election.
Dmitry MedvedevRussianPoliticianRussian Prime Minister
Menatep
Rebecca MercerAmericanOligarch
Robert MercerAmericanPrincipal actorShadowy billionaire Trump backer and donor who also backs Breitbart, Cambridge Analytica, and John Bolton.
Met Life InsuranceHolds Trump debt
MI6BritishForeign IntelligenceBritish 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 MikhelsonOligarchpart owner of Novatek who made $1.9b from the stock pop post-Trump
Military Unit 26165RussianForeign IntelligenceGRU 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 74455RussianForeign IntelligenceA 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 MillerAmericanPrincipal actorAggressively anti-immigrant advisor to Trump, co-writing many of his most vitriolic speeches
Sergei MillianBelarusianRussian MafiaTrump associate, head of the Russian-American chamber of commerce, and one of the sources of the Steele dossier
Marat MindiyarovRussianPrincipal actorFormer worker at the Russian troll factory, the Internet Research Agency, who told the Western press what it was like inside the farm.
Semion MogilevichRussianRussian MafiaNotorious mobster
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al NahyanEmiratiThe crown prince of Abu Dhabi.
Mossack FonsecaLawyerWorld's fourth largest offshore law firm, whose files were published as the Panama Papers in a German newspaper
Robert MuellerAmericanCivil servantSpecial Counsel at the DOJ, investigating RussiaGate
MVDMinistry of Internal Affairs; supervises all police, prisons, and "public order militias"
George NaderAmericanLobbyistLebanese-American businessman who lobbies for the UAE, and was at the meeting in the Seychelles with Erik Prince and the Russians
Alexsei NavalnyRussianActivistPutin critic and activist blogger; has been arrested, charged, & sentenced several times (but recognized as a political prisoner by NGOs)
Boris NemtsovRussianPoliticianPutin critic and opposition politician who was shot dead in Moscow in 2015 by a member of the Chechen security forces
New IslandRussianCompanyRestaurant of Yevgeny Prigozhin that became a favorite of Putin's, netting Mr Prigozhin lucrative contracts for shady operations as "Putin's Chef"
Newsru.comRussian
Alexander NixBritishPrincipal actorCEO of Trump data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica
NKVDRussianForeign Intelligencea forerunner to the KGB under Stalin
NRAAmericanLobbyistHosted a number of conduits between the Trump campaign and Russian nationals, particularly Russian billionaires and oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin.
NSA (National Security Agency)AmericanIntelligence Community
Sam NunbergAmericanCivil servantFormer Trump aide who made a series of bizarre statements on cable TV before testifying to Robert Mueller's team
Devin NunesAmericanPolitician
NY ObserverAmericanMedia OutletWebsite owned by Jarek Kushner as part of Observer Media
Observer MediaAmericanMedia OutletMedia company owned by Jared Kushner.
Keith OlbermannAmericanMedia PersonalityAmerican TV host
Opposition BlocUkrainianSuccessor ruling party in Ukraine after Victor Yanukovich fled to Moscow and his Party of Regions toppled.
Viktor OrbanHungarianPoliticianPresident of Hungary, noted for his pro-Putin and anti-refugee beliefs
OrbisBritishCompanySteele's research firm
Alex Oronovdead — Bryan Cohen's father-in-law (brother of Trump's personal lawyer
OstankinoRussianMedia OutletRussia's TV network
Ozero Cooperative
Pacific Life InsuranceHolds Trump debt
Carter PageAmericanPrincipal actor
@Pamela_Moore13RussianForeign IntelligenceIRA-controlled Twitter account claiming to be a Texan Trump supporter with 70,000 followers
George PapadopoulosAmericanPrincipal actorMember 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 ParscaleAmericanPrincipal actorHead of the Trump campaign's digital operation
Party of RegionsUkranianUkranian political party run by Victor Yanukovych, the pro-Putin dictator ushered into power by Paul Manafort.
Stefan Passantino
Sam PattenAmerican
PBK
David PeckerAmericanPrincipal actorHelped American Media bury stories unfavorable to Trump leading up to the election -- a campaign contribution violation, not to mention a moral violation
Mike PenceAmericanPrincipal actorVice President of the United States
Pericles Emerging Markets
Perkins Coie
Dmitry PeskovRussianPrincipal actorPutin'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 PodestaAmericanCivil servantHis stolen emails were one of several tronches of stolen documents released by Wikileaks at strategic moments during the 2016 presidential election campaign.
Victor PodobnyyRussianForeign IntelligenceRussian agent who received intelligence information from American energy consultant Carter Page beginning in January 2013
Sergey PolozovRussianWorked 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 PompeoAmericanCivil servantCIA Director who went from praising to condemning Wikileaks
Petro PoroshenkoUkranianPoliticianUkranian president
Prevezon HoldingsCypriotCompanya 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 PriebusAmericanCivil servant
Yevgeniy PrigozhinRussianForeign Intelligence"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 PrinceAmericanOligarchSec. 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.
Vitaly Pruss
Project VeritasAmericanMedia Outlet
Pussy RiotRussianActivist
Vladimir PutinRussianPrincipal actor
Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL)AmericanPoliticianMember of the House Intelligence Committee, one of the Congressional committees investigating the Russia scandal
RedditAmericanCompanyWas 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
RelcomRussianCompanyOne 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 ArmsRussianMoscow-based entity begun by Maria Butina and Alexander Torshin -- odd, in a country with no gun rights at all.
Ritz CarltonAmericanCompanyHosted Donald Trump during his 2013 visit to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant
RodinaRussianextreme 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 RogersAmericanLobbyistHired by Alfa Bank: a former REagan administration official
Mike RogersAmericanIntelligence CommunityAdmiral 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 RohrabacherAmericanPoliticianRepresentative (R-CA 48th District) since 2013; dubbed "Putin's favorite Congressman"
Sergei RolduginRussianPutin ally implicated in the Panama Papers
RosneftRussianCompanyRussia's state oil company
Rossiiskaia GazetaRussianMedia OutletRussia's official government newspaper
Wilbur RossAmericanPoliticianUS Secretary of Commerce and single largest shareholder of the Bank of Cyprus, the famous haven for Russian oligarchs to stash their billions
RossotrudnichestvoRussian
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.comRussianMedia OutletRussian state-owned news service
RUPTLYRussianMedia OutletThe Kremlin's new video news agency
RusalRussianCompanyOne 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 FundRussianRussia's sovereign wealth fund
Russian Imperial MovementRussianpart of the far-right coalition within Russia seeking to build an international consensus, this group advocates "Christian Orthodox imperial nationalism"
Sergei RyabkovRussianPoliticianRussian Deputy Foreign Minister
Paul RyanAmericanPoliticianSpeaker of the House (R-WI) and a Trump defender and denialist
Dmitry RybolovlevRussianOligarchthe “Fertilizer King” — fertilizer billionaire who purchased Trump's Palm Beach mansion for $95 million, but never moved in
Konstantin Rykov
Anatoli Samochornov
Sheryl SandbergAmericanOligarch
Sarah Huckabee SandersAmericanCivil servant
Felix SaterRussianRussian MafiaRussian mobster and FBI informant who runs Bayrock, a money-laundering firm designed to hide dirty Russian money in Trump's taxes
Saudi ArabiaSaudi ArabianNation-state
SberbankRussianBankRussia's largest bank
Anthony ScaramucciAmericanCivil servantTrump press secretary for all of 10 days
Dan ScavinoAmericanPrincipal actorManaged the Trump campaign's social media
Rep. Adam SchiffAmericanPoliticianTop-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee overseeing that chamber's Russia investigation
Keith SchillerAmericanTrump's longtime security chief and confidant
Eric SchneidermanAmericanLawyerNew York State Attorney General who has a long history of legal cases with Trump
Chuck SchumerAmericanPolitician(D-NY) and Sen. Minority Leader
SCL Group Limited
Igor SechinRussianOligarchPresident of Rosneft at the time Exxon violated Russian sanctions to help protect his property interest
Secured BordersRussianForeign IntelligenceAn 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 SekulowAmericanLawyerTrump's personal lawyer
Jeff SessionsAmericanPrincipal actorTrump'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 ShnaiderUkranianOligarchUkrainian steel magnate & partner at Talon International who is managing Trump Toronto hotel as it goes into default
Paula ShugartAmericanPresident of the Miss Universe Organization, who reported directly to Trump at the time of the 2013 Moscow pageant
Konstantin SidorkovRussianDirector of PArtnership Marketing for vKontakte, a Russian social media site, that had communications with the Trump campaign about setting up a profile.
Siemens AGCompany
Sinclair MediaAmericanMedia OutletConservative broadcasting conglomerate gobbling up local TV stations and forcing them to air canned right-wing footage with each segment.
Glenn SimpsonAmericanHead of research firm Fusion FPS who commissioned the Christopher Steele dossier.
Paul SingerAmericanOligarchBillionaire 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 & FlomLawyerLaw firm retained by Paul Manafort and Rick Gates to "whitewash" Victor Yanukovich's imprisonment of his political rival, Yulia Tymochenko, in Ukraine.
Matt SkiberRussianForeign IntelligenceAn IRA-controlled Facebook account that organized a pro-Trump rally near Trump Tower in mid-2016
Sergei SkripalRussianFormer 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 SkripalRussianSergei's daughter
Dan SmithAmericanCivil servantHead of the State Dept's intelligence bureau under Obama
Peter SmithAmericanAlleged to have solicited help on the dark web in finding Hillary's "missing" emails from the Russians
SnapchatAmericanCompanyOne 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 SnowdenAmericanIntelligence CommunityControversial 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.
SolidarityPolishPolish workers' party confronting Communism in the late '80s
Oleg SolodukhinRussian
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 SpicerAmericanCivil servantTrump's press secretary
SputnikRussianMedia OutletRussian news wire proffering fake news
Joseph StalinRussianPolitician
Alex StamosAmericanPrincipal actorEx-Facebook security chief
StasiGermanForeign IntelligenceNickname for the Ministry of State Security in East Germany during the Cold War
Christopher SteeleBritishForeign IntelligenceFormer British MI6 intelligence agent who put together the Steele Dossier on Donald Trump's dealings with Russia
Beny Steinmetz
Daniel Steinmetz
Raz Steinmetz
Roger StoneAmericanLobbyistLong-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 ImmigrantsRussianForeign IntelligenceAn IRA-controlled Facebook group
Stop All InvadersRussianForeign IntelligenceAn IRA-controlled Facebook group that bought Facebook ads in support of Donald Trump
Lee StranahanMedia PersonalityWorks for Sputnik in Russia. Never responded to an official Congressional inquiry.
Strana.ruRussian
SUP MediaRussianMedia OutletRussia's largest blogging service via acquisition of LiveJournal from Six Apart
Vladislav SurkovRussianPrincipal actorPutin's disinformation machine
SVRRussianIntelligence CommunityRussian foreign intelligence service
Eric SwalwellAmericanPoliticianDemocrat on the House Intelligence Committee
John Szobocsan
Matt Tait
Talon InternationalCompany
Tambov-Malyshev groupRussianRussian Mafiaorganized crime ring based in St. Petersburg w/ties to Putin; led by Gennadiy Petrov and Aleksandr Malyshev
Targeted VictoryLobbyistGOP strategy firm hired by Facebook
@TEN_GOPRussianForeign IntelligenceAn IRA-controlled Twitter account posing as the Tennessee GOP Party.
TFAAmericanTrump for America, Inc., the business entity formed to handle the Trump transition
Rex TillersonAmericanPrincipal actorU.S. Secretary of State and former CEO of Exxon
Gennady TimchenkoOligarch23% owner of natural gas company Novatek, who made $1.8b from surges in pro-Russian market following Trump's election
Ivan TimofeevRussianProgram 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 TokhtakhounovRussianRussian MafiaNicknamed "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 TorshinRussianPrincipal actorRussian central banker, Putin confidant, NRA whisperer, handler of Maria Butina
Vadim TrincherRussianRussian MafiaRan a Russian-American gambling crime ring out of Trump Tower. Serving 5 years for racketeering.
The Translator DepartmentRussianForeign IntelligenceDepartment within the IRA dedicated to U.S. operations
Donald J. TrumpAmericanPrincipal actor
Donald J. Trump JrAmericanPrincipal actor
Donald J. Trump Revocable TrustAmerican
Eric TrumpAmericanPrincipal actor
Fred TrumpAmericanOligarchDonald Trump's father, who built the family real estate fortune and handed it off to his son to ruin it
Ivanka TrumpAmericanPrincipal actorDaddy's little girl
Trump FoundationAmericanPrincipal actor
Trump OrganizationAmericanPrincipal actor
Trump TransitionAmericanPrincipal actor
TsargradRussian
TumblrAmericanCompanyWas 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
TurboatomUkranianCompanyUkranian 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.
TurkeyTurkishNation-state
TV RainRussianMedia OutletIndependent Russian broadcaster
TwitterAmericanCompany
Yulia TymoshenkoUkranianPoliticianRan 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 AmericaRussianForeign IntelligenceAn IRA-controlled Facebook account that had over 300,000 followers at the time it was finally deactivated in mid-2017
United RussiaRussianPolitical Party of Russian PResident Vladimir Putin
Viktor VekselbergRussianOligarchPutin-connected oligarch with connections to secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross [tracker]
Natalia VeselnitskayaRussianRussian 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.AmericanCompanyProvided social media services to the Trump campaign and Michael Flynn
vKontakteRussianRussian social network; equivalent analog to Facebook
VnesheconombankRussianBankRussian state-owned development bank, under investigation for Russian election interference
VornadoCompany$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 VrablicBankExecutive 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 BankRussianBankRussia's largest commercial bank; under US and EU sanctions for money laundering
Sen. Mark WarnerAmericanPolitician(D-VA) — top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee
Washington Free BeaconMedia Outlet
The Washington PostAmericanMedia Outletvenerable local paper purchased by Jeff Bezos in 2013
Debbie Wasserman SchultzAmerican
Jeff WeaverAmerican
Anthony WeinerAmericanPolitician
Allen WeisselbergAmericanPrincipal actor
WhatsAppThe House HPSCI committee wants to subpoena them for communication records relating to principals in the Trump campaign
Julian David Wheatland
Acting AG Matt WhitakerAmericanIntelligence Community
White Canvas GroupAmericanLobbyistUndertook Turkey-related work for Michael Flynn
The White HouseAmericanCivil servantSupposed to be a civil servant but often a lobbyist, The White House includes the President and high-level senior staff
WikileaksHacker
World National-Conservatism Movement (WNCM)Globalumbrella term for Russia's movement to unite an international extreme far-right coalition
Christopher WrayAmericancandidate for the next FBI Director, to replace James Comey
Christopher WylieAmericanWhistleblower from Trump data team Cambridge Analytica who revealed the existence of a formerly secret client: Lukoil, Russia's #2 oil and gas company
Viktor YanukovychUkranianPoliticianUkraine'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 YatesAmericanDeputy 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 YatesAmerican
Boris YeltsinRussianPoliticianFirst 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.
YoutubeAmericanCompanyFavored propaganda platform for Russian agents used in the cyberattacks against the 2016 election
YukosRussian
Yunarmia"Young Army" — created in 2015 by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to "encourage patriotism among schoolchildren"
Mark ZuckerbergAmericanOligarchCEO of Facebook, whose platform was used by the Russians in their influence campaign against the 2016 U.S. elections
Alex van der ZwaanDutchDutch 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.

The internet is a rage machine

Anger is the defining emotion of the internet.

It’s designed to whip you up into a frenzy in order to foment cheap pageviews. Its interest is in you becoming a histrionic attention whore, such that you suck in as much clandestinely stolen user data to your platform of choice as possible. Turns out, conflict gets attention.

Anger is also notably the “loophole” emotion — it’s the invisible one men get to have, while claiming for generations upon generations that “women are too emotional to be entrusted” with leadership or anything meaningful, really. Meanwhile male anger and aggression have killed hundreds of millions and wreaked destruction upon the earth many times over, as fragile masculinity is repeatably and predictably triggered over any little old thing.

A neat trick.

A story.

A lie.