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FTR #987 Walkin’ the Snake at Breitbart and YouTube

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This broadcast was recorded in one, 60-minute segment.

Milo Yiannopoulos

Introduction: Continuing our long-running analysis of the realization of the Nazi methodology expressed in Serpent’s Walk, we further develop Breitbart’s achievements in that regard, as well as underscoring how YouTube has evolved in that same manner.

The back cover of Serpent’s Walk sums up the essence of the tome: ” . . . It assumes that Hitler’s warrior elite – the SS – didn’t give up their struggle for a White World when they lost the Second World War. Instead their survivors went underground and adopted some of the tactics of their enemies: they began building their economic muscle and buying into the opinion-forming media. A century after the war they are ready to challenge the democrats and Jews for the hearts and minds of White Americans, who have begun to have their fill of government-enforced multi-culturalism and ‘equality.’ . . .”

The material in this program, as well as FTR #986, should be weighed against the background of Cambridge Analytica, Mercer, Bannon and the extraordinary data mining done for Breitbart and the Trump machine by the AI mechanism employed for extracting that information.

Key to the success achieved by both Breitbart and YouTube “alt-right” personalities is networking. At Breitbart, the skillful, adroit Milo Yiannopoulos served as a point person for a coterie of white supremacists and anti-Semites while couching the views they espouse in a careful, rhetorically ambiguous manner deflective of overt criticism. At YouTube, regular personalities with their own shows and content host other, more overtly extremist guests and channel viewers to the more extreme sites through that exposure.

BuzzFeed has a long piece based on a cache of leaked emails that describe behind-the-scenes efforts at Breitbart to mainstream the “Alt Right” neo-Nazis. This story firms up analysis of Breitbart as a white nationalist publication run by neo-Nazis for the purpose of mainstreaming neo-Nazi ideals.

Those efforts primarily revolved around Milo Yiannopoulos, who is:

  1. Tasked with reaching out to “Alt Right” figures.
  2. Getting comments from them about what the “Alt Right” was all about.
  3. Then, later getting feedback from them about the planned articles before they were published.

It was clearly a group effort. Those efforts included Andrew ‘the weev’ Auernheimer, Curtis Yarvin (the founder of the “Dark Enlightenment” movement), and Devin Saucier, a neo-Nazi Yiannopoulos describes as his best friend.

Of primary interest here is the cunning exercised by Yiannopoulos, Bannon et al in parsing just what they can get away with doing and what they must avoid. Auerenheimer, for example, was excluded a Yiannopoulos podcast after being vetted by Breitbart managment.

The emails included back and forths between Yiannopoulos and Breitbart editors about whether or not the publication was getting too openly friendly with the Nazis, with Yiannopoulos being told at one point that it was fine to use a “shekels” joke but “you can’t even flirt with OKing gas chamber tweets.”

Other points of information include: Curtis Yarvin’s statement that he was “coaching” Peter Thiel on politics; How the two Yiannopoulos passwords found in the emails were “a password that began with the word Kristall”, and “LongKnives1290,” references to Kristallnacht and the Night of the Long Knives.”

Noteworthy, also, is the financial power of the Mercer interests, who have successfully rattled legal sabers against media outlets who have tarred Yiannopoulos with the racist brush.

Alt-right YouTube hosts also employ networking, inviting ideologically extreme guests to participate on their programs, presenting views more inflammatory than those normally aired on the netcasts. The extremist guests then receive a significant bump-up in traffic from their appearances.

” . . . . Below is an introduction to a few of the most prominent examples of right-wing extremists who have used YouTube to build large online followings, some with the help of better known right-wing social media personalities.

Black Pigeon Speaks

Black Pigeon Speaks (BPS) is an anonymous YouTube vlogger based in Japan with hundreds of thousands of followers. Shorenstein Center on Media fellow Zach Elexy noted that BPS’s worldview “overlaps with older ideas from many diverse movements and ideologies such as white nationalism, neo-Nazism, anti-Semitism, conservatism, classical liberalism, libertarianism, and Christian conservatism.” BPS does not outwardly identify with any particular political ideology, but frequently reiterates talking points popular among alt-right circles, such as his belief that empowered women destroy civilizations, transgender people are mentally ill, and efforts for diversity erase Western cultures. BPS distributes his videos to hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

Blonde in the Belly of the Beast

Rebecca, who does not share her last name, is a YouTuber based in Seattle who has saidthe idea that “all cultures are equal” is “garbage.” On her Patreon fundraising page, Rebecca states that she has become “increasingly hostile this last decade as I realized that feminism, Islam, Cultural Marxism and unrestricted tolerance have incrementally eroded our once great society into something unrecognizable.” On YouTube, she shares views about white identity, tells young women to abandon feminism, and makes bigoted arguments against migration in Europe. Rebecca has more than 70,000 subscribers to her channel and has been hosted by far-right superstar Stefan Molyneux, alt-right extremist Tara McCarthy, and alt-right media network Red Ice TV. She has also been promoted numerous times on white nationalist Richard Spencer’s site, AltRight.com.

Brittany Pettibone

Brittany Pettibone is a YouTube personality who refers to herself as an “American nationalist” but has expressed white nationalist views, such as that it’s “our fault” if white people become a minority race. She uses her platform to host even more unabashed white nationalists and has appeared on extremist outlets like Red Ice. Pettibone has also perpetuated “white genocide” and “Pizzagate” conspiracy theories. Although Pettibone’s personal YouTube following is modest in comparison to others listed, she has been able to recruit many popular punditsto appear on her “Virtue of the West” series, which until recently was co-hosted by openly alt-right pundit Tara McCarthy. Recently, Pettibone joined former Rebel Media reporter Lauren Southern in anti-immigrant group Defend Europe’s blundering effortto keep NGO boats full of refugees away from the European coast.

James Allsup

James Allsup is a popular YouTube personality with hundreds of thousands of subscribers who once delivered a speech at a Trump campaign rally. He was spottedalongside open white supremacists at the Unite the Right rally last month, where he told Mediaite that “white people are tired of being told by the cosmopolitan elites that we are the problem.” Allsup has used his YouTube channel to host openly white supremacist guests such as Baked Alaska, an internet troll who regularly espouses Nazi propaganda memes, to sympathize with white nationalist alt-right figure Richard Spencer, and to deliver outlandish responses to discussions about white privilege.

Millennial Woes

Colin Robertson, known online as Millennial Woes, is a Scottish video blogger who speaks openly of his alt-right identity and his concern that the white race will perish unless white people take actions to defend their culture and prevent their race from diversifying. Earlier this year, Robertson was revealed to be a jobless ex-student who lives with his father. Robertson spokeat the now-infamous conference hosted by Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute where attendees shouted “Heil Trump!” while giving Nazi salutes. He has been hosted by popular video blogger Carl “Sargon of Akkad” Benjamin, alt-right personality Tara McCarthy, white nationalist blogger Brittany Pettibone, and alt-right broadcast channel Red Ice TV. Robertson frequently spreads white supremacist ideas, such as the notion that it is “exasperating” to see white women with mixed-race children, and argues that believing in racial equality is “clearly deluding yourself.”

RamzPaul

Paul Ray Ramsey, known as RamZPaul, is an internet personality who identifies as alt-right and white nationalist, and has spoken at multipleevents hosted by the white supremacist group American Renaissance. The Southern Poverty Law center has identified Ramsey as a “smiling Nazi” because of his public affiliations with white supremacist figures such as American Renaissance founder Jared Taylor and Richard Spencer. Although Ramsey no longer claims to identify as alt-right, days before the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville he posted a video claiming that white people “will not be replaced.” Ramsey was an ardent supporter of alt-right Unite the Right rally, has appeared on alt-right broadcast network Red Ice TV, and has been interviewed by NPR and BuzzFeed.

Red Ice TV (Henrik Palmgren and Lana Lokteff)

Herik Palmgren, the Swedish host of Red Ice, founded the network—which simulcasts on YouTube—in 2003 to cater to people looking for “pro-European” news. Lana Lokteff, a Russian co-host, joined the network in 2012. Red Ice TV is transparently white nationalist, with show titles like “Diversity Is a Weapon Against White People” and “The War on Whites Is Real.” The network also features openly and blatantly white supremacist guests and serves as a gateway for extremist YouTube bloggers seeking alt-right audiences.

Tara McCarthy

Tara McCarthy is a British YouTube personality who openly touts her affiliation with the white supremacist alt-right. McCarthy hosts the “Reality Calls” podcast and formerly co-hosted with Brittany Pettibone “Virtue of the West,” a show that functions both as a platform for popular YouTube pundits and a critical booster for many alt-right internet stars. McCarthy is one of the most blatant white supremacists on YouTube and often uses her platform to boost the voices of neo-Nazis, warn viewers about a “white genocide conspiracy” and advocate that women submit to subservient gender roles. McCarthy has also suggested organizing an alt-right mentorship program to help guide young men who are exploring the movement. McCarthy is frequently able to book popular right-wing personalities to appear on her channel and shared screen time with popular personalities on “Virtue of the West.”

Wife with a Purpose

Ayla, who does not publicly share her last name, advocates for “radical traditionalism” on YouTube and her blog. Her blog warns that “feminism, homosexuality, atheism, hedonism, and transgender-ism” have overshadowed the Western world’s “hard work and priorities of family and faith.” Ayla, who considers herselfan alt-right poster girl, is best known for proposing to her audience a “white baby challenge.” Ayla, who is Mormon, claimedthe Mormon church “turned it’s (sic) back on its white members” when it denounced white supremacy following the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. Ayla has been promoted by alt-right broadcast station Red Ice TV and right-wing blogger Brittany Pettibone.

People Who Enable The Hate

Below is an introduction to some of the most prominent right-wing social media personalities who have used the popularity of their own platforms to host people with even more extreme views, or who have appeared on platforms hosted by extremists. These figures do not regularly use their platforms to personally express particularly racist or extremist ideologies, but frequently host guests or appear on platforms that do with minimal criticism.

Sargon of Akkad

Carl Benjamin, best known as Sargon of Akkad (or “Sargon” for short), is a YouTube personality who rose to fame during the “gamergate” controversy, which ended in death threats being sent to a female video game developer. Benjamin has hundreds of thousands of followers, with whom he shares anti-SJW (social justice warrior) rhetoric, criticizing liberals who express outrage at offensive content. Benjamin considers himself a “classical liberal,” but has expressed his fascination with the racist alt-right and has shared his platform with blatantly alt-right figures.

Stefan Molyneux

Stefan Molyneux is an author and vlogger with a large following on YouTube. He is a popular figure among “red-pilled” men’s right activists (“red pilled” is a term from the sci-fi movie The Matrix that refers to recognizing the brutal realities of the world rather than living in blissful ignorance), and identifies himself as a “race realist,” a common euphemism among white supremacists. Although Molyneux’s political views are bent toward the unforgiving Right, his primary involvement in the spread of extremism is his willingness to host openly alt-rightextremists, providing these figures a big step toward online relevancy.

Roaming Millennial

Roaming Millennial (RM) is an anonymous Canadian video blogger who uses her incredibly popular YouTube channel to convey far-right talking points that straddle the line of extremism. RM’s videos have been dedicated to botched debunks of racial oppression and gender inequality, labeling social justice “cancer,” and decrying non-traditional gender identity. Although RM does not identify as alt-right, she has welcomed right-wing extremists like Tara McCarthy to appear on her channel.

Styxhexenhammer666

Tarl Warwick, or “Styx,” was an early arrival to YouTube in 2007 and now posts daily political commentary videos in which he espouses nationalistic views to his audience of more than 170,000 subscribers. Warwick is often heralded on the racist cesspool of 4chan and 8chan’s “politically incorrect” forum boards, where he says he sources his news to “break the stranglehold of the mainstream media.” Warwick has appeared on blatantly alt-right YouTube channels with Red Ice hosts and Tara McCarthy. He does not denounce ethno-nationalism, but does not claim to personally believe in a white ethno-state. Recently, Warwick has been seen boosting his profile on Infowars and Stefan Molyneux’s channel.

 1.  This program details the process of mainstreaming “Alt Right” neo-Nazis. As we has been discussed before, this has been underway at Breitbart for some time. This analysis is presented against the background of our decades-long discussion of the Nazi tract Serpent’s Walk. The back cover of that book sums up the essence of the tome: ” . . . It assumes that Hitler’s warrior elite – the SS – didn’t give up their struggle for a White world when they lost the Second World War. Instead their survivors went underground and adopted some of their tactics of their enemies: they began building their economic muscle and buying into the opinion-forming media. A century after the war they are ready to challenge the democrats and Jews for the hearts and minds of White Americans, who have begun to have their fill of government-enforced multi-culturalism and ‘equality.’ . . .”

2. BuzzFeed has a long piece based on a cache of leaked emails that describe behind-the-scenes efforts at Breitbart to mainstream the “Alt Right” neo-Nazis. This story firms up analysis of Breitbart as a white nationalist publication run by neo-Nazis for the purpose of mainstreaming neo-Nazi ideals.

Those efforts primarily revolved around Milo Yiannopoulos, who is:

  1. Tasked with reaching out to “Alt Right” figures.
  2. Getting comments from them about what the “Alt Right” was all about.
  3. Then, later getting feedback from them about the planned articles before they were published.

It was clearly a group effort. Those efforts included Andrew ‘the weev’ Auernheimer, Curtis Yarvin (the founder of the “Dark Enlightenment” movement), and Devin Saucier, a neo-Nazi Yiannopoulos describes as his best friend.

Of primary interest here is the cunning exercised by Yiannopoulos, Bannon et al in parsing just what they can get away with doing and what they must avoid. Auerenheimer, for example, was excluded a Yiannopoulos podcast after being vetted by Breitbart managment.

The emails included back and forths between Yiannopoulos and Breitbart editors about whether or not the publication was getting too openly friendly with the Nazis, with Yiannopoulos being told at one point that it was fine to use a “shekels” joke but “you can’t even flirt with OKing gas chamber tweets.”

Other points of information include: Curtis Yarvin’s  statement that he was “coaching” Peter Thiel on politics; How the two Yiannopoulos passwords found in the emails were “a password that began with the word Kristall”, and “LongKnives1290”.

“Alt-White: How The Breitbart Machine Laundered Racist Hate” by Joseph Bernstein; BuzzFeed; 10/05/2017

Here’s How Breitbart And Milo Smuggled Nazi and White Nationalist Ideas Into The Mainstream

A cache of documents obtained by BuzzFeed News reveals the truth about Steve Bannon’s alt-right “killing machine.”

In August, after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville ended in murder, Steve Bannon insisted that “there’s no room in American society” for neo-Nazis, neo-Confederates, and the KKK.

But an explosive cache of documents obtained by BuzzFeed News proves that there was plenty of room for those voices on his website.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart courted the alt-right — the insurgent, racist right-wing movement that helped sweep Donald Trump to power. The former White House chief strategist famously remarked that he wanted Breitbart to be “the platform for the alt-right.”

The Breitbart employee closest to the alt-right was Milo Yiannopoulos, the site’s former tech editor known best for his outrageous public provocations, such as last year’s Dangerous Faggot speaking tour and September’s canceled Free Speech Week in Berkeley. For more than a year, Yiannopoulos led the site in a coy dance around the movement’s nastier edges, writing stories that minimized the role of neo-Nazis and white nationalists while giving its politer voices a fair hearing. In March, Breitbart editor Alex Marlow insisted “we’re not a hate site.” Breitbart’s media relations staff repeatedly threatened to sue outlets that described Yiannopoulos as racist. And after the violent white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, Breitbart published an article explaining that when Bannon said the site welcomed the alt-right, he was merely referring to “computer gamers and blue-collar voters who hated the GOP brand.”

These new emails and documents, however, clearly show that Breitbart does more than tolerate the most hate-filled, racist voices of the alt-right. It thrives on them, fueling and being fueled by some of the most toxic beliefs on the political spectrum — and clearing the way for them to enter the American mainstream.

It’s a relationship illustrated most starkly by a previously unreleased April 2016 video in which Yiannopoulos sings “America the Beautiful” in a Dallas karaoke bar as admirers, including the white nationalist Richard Spencer, raise their arms in Nazi salutes.

These documents chart the Breitbart alt-right universe. They reveal how the website — and, in particular, Yiannopoulos — links the Mercer family, the billionaires who fund Breitbart, to underpaid trolls who fill it with provocative content, and to extremists striving to create a white ethnostate.

They capture what Bannon calls his “killing machine” in action, as it dredges up the resentments of people around the world, sifts through these grievances for ideas and content, and propels them from the unsavory parts of the internet up to TrumpWorld, collecting advertisers’ checks all along the way.

And the cache of emails — some of the most newsworthy of which BuzzFeed News is now making public — expose the extent to which this machine depended on Yiannopoulos, who channeled voices both inside and outside the establishment into a clear narrative about the threat liberal discourse posed to America. The emails tell the story of Steve Bannon’s grand plan for Yiannopoulos, whom the Breitbart executive chairman transformed from a charismatic young editor into a conservative media star capable of magnetizing a new generation of reactionary anger. Often, the documents reveal, this anger came from a legion of secret sympathizers in Silicon Valley, Hollywood, academia, suburbia, and everywhere in between.

“I have said in the past that I find humor in breaking taboos and laughing at things that people tell me are forbidden to joke about,” Yiannopoulos wrote in a statement to BuzzFeed News. “But everyone who knows me also knows I’m not a racist. As someone of Jewish ancestry, I of course condemn racism in the strongest possible terms. I have stopped making jokes on these matters because I do not want any confusion on this subject. I disavow Richard Spencer and his entire sorry band of idiots. I have been and am a steadfast supporter of Jews and Israel. I disavow white nationalism and I disavow racism and I always have.”

Now Bannon is back at the controls of the machine, which he has said he is “revving up.” The Mercers have funded Yiannopoulos’s post-Breitbart venture. And these documents present the clearest look at what these people may have in store for America.

**

A year and a half ago, Milo Yiannopoulos set himself a difficult task: to define the alt-right. It was five months before Hillary Clinton named the alt-right in a campaign speech, 10 months before the alt-right’s great hope became president, and 17 months before Charlottesville clinched the alt-right as a stalking horse for violent white nationalism. The movement had just begun its explosive emergence into the country’s politics and culture.

At the time, Yiannopoulos, who would later describe himself as a fellow traveler” of the alt-right, was the tech editor of Breitbart. In summer 2015, after spending a year gathering momentum through GamerGate — the opening salvo of the new culture wars— he convinced Breitbart upper management to give him his own section. And for four months, he helped Bannon wage what the Breitbart boss called in emails to staff “#war.” It was a war, fought story by story, against the perceived forces of liberal activism on every conceivable battleground in American life.

Yiannopoulos was a useful soldier whose very public identity as a gay man (one who has now married a black man) helped defend him, his anti-political correctness crusade, and his employer from charges of bigotry.

But now Yiannopoulos had a more complicated fight on his hands. The left — and worse, some on the right — had started to condemn the new conservative energy as reactionary and racist. Yiannopoulos had to take back “alt-right,” to redefine for Breitbart’s audience a poorly understood, leaderless movement, parts of which had already started to resist the term itself.

So he reached out to key constituents, who included a neo-Nazi and a white nationalist.

“Finally doing my big feature on the alt right,” Yiannopoulos wrote in a March 9, 2016, email to Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer, a hacker who is the system administrator of the neo-Nazi hub the Daily Stormer, and who would later ask his followers to disruptthe funeral of Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer. “Fancy braindumping some thoughts for me.”

“It’s time for me to do my big definitive guide to the alt right,” Yiannopoulos wrote four hours later to Curtis Yarvin, a software engineer who under the nom de plume Mencius Moldbug helped create the “neoreactionary” movement, which holds that Enlightenment democracy has failed and that a return to feudalism and authoritarian rule is in order. “Which is my whorish way of asking if you have anything you’d like to make sure I include.”

“Alt r feature, figured you’d have some thoughts,” Yiannopoulos wrote the same day to Devin Saucier, who helps edit the online white nationalist magazine American Renaissance under the pseudonym Henry Wolff, and who wrote a story in June 2017 called “Why I Am (Among Other Things) a White Nationalist.”

The three responded at length: Weev about the Daily Stormer and a podcast called The Daily Shoah, Yarvin in characteristically sweeping world-historical assertions (“It’s no secret that North America contains many distinct cultural/ethnic communities. This is not optimal, but with a competent king it’s not a huge problem either”), and Saucier with a list of thinkers, politicians, journalists, films (DuneMad MaxThe Dark Knight), and musical genres (folk metal, martial industrial, ’80s synthpop) important to the movement. Yiannopoulos forwarded it all, along with the Wikipedia entries for “Alternative Right” and the esoteric far-right Italian philosopher Julius Evola — a major influence on 20th-century Italian fascists and Richard Spencer alike — to Allum Bokhari, his deputy and frequent ghostwriter, whom he had met during GamerGate. “Include a bit of everything,” he instructed Bokhari.

“I think you’ll like what I’m cooking up,” Yiannopoulos wrote to Saucier, the American Renaissance editor.

“I look forward to it,” Saucier replied. “Bannon, as you probably know, is sympathetic to much of it.”

Five days later Bokhari returned a 3,000-word draft, a taxonomy of the movement titled “ALT-RIGHT BEHEMOTH.” It included a little bit of everything: the brains and their influences (Yarvin and Evola, etc.), the “natural conservatives” (people who think different ethnic groups should stay separate for scientific reasons), the “Meme team” (4chan and 8chan), and the actual hatemongers. Of the last group, Bokhari wrote: “There’s just not very many of them, no-one really likes them, and they’re unlikely to achieve anything significant in the alt-right.”

“Magnificent start,” Yiannopoulos responded.

Over the next three days, Yiannopoulos passed the article back to Yarvin and the white nationalist Saucier, the latter of whom gave line-by-line annotations. He also sent it to Vox Day, a writer who was expelled from the board of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America for calling a black writer an “ignorant savage,” and to Alex Marlow, the editor of Breitbart.

“Solid, fair, and fairly comprehensive,” Vox Day responded, with a few suggestions.

“Most of it is great but I don’t want to rush a major long form piece like this,” Marlow wrote back. “A few people will need to weigh in since it deals heavily with race.”

Also, there was another sensitive issue to be raised: credit. “Allum did most of the work on this and wants joint [byline] but I want the glory here,” Yiannopoulos wrote back to Marlow. “I am telling him you said it’s sensitive and want my byline alone on it.”

Minutes later, Yiannopoulos emailed Bokhari. “I was going to have Marlow collude with me … about the byline on the alt right thing because I want to take it solo. Will you hate me too much if I do that? … Truthfully management is very edgy on this one (They love it but it’s racially charged) and they would prefer it.”

“Will management definitely say no if it’s both of us?” Bokhari responded. “I think it actually lowers the risk if someone with a brown-sounding name shares the BL.”

Five days later, March 22nd, Marlow returned with comments. He suggested that the story should show in more detail how Yiannopoulos and most of the alt-right rejected the actual neo-Nazis in the movement. And he added that Taki’s Magazine and VDare, two publications Yiannopoulos and Bokhari identified as part of the alt-right, “are both racist. … We should disclaimer that or strike that part of the history from the article.” (The published story added, in the passive voice, “All of these websites have been accused of racism.”) Again the story went back to Bokhari, who on the 24th sent Yiannopoulos still another draft, with the subject head “ALT RIGHT, MEIN FUHRER.”

On the 27th, now co-bylined, the story was ready for upper management: Bannon and Larry Solov, Breitbart’s press-shy CEO. It was also ready, on a separate email chain, for another read and round of comments from the white nationalist Saucier, the feudalist Yarvin, the neo-Nazi Weev, and Vox Day.

“I need to go thru this tomorrow in depth…although I do appreciate any piece that mentions evola,” Bannon wrote. On the 29th, in an email titled “steve wants you to read this,” Marlow sent Yiannopoulos a list of edits and notes Bannon had solicited from James Pinkerton, a former Reagan and George H.W. Bush staffer and a contributing editor of the American Conservative. The 59-year-old Pinkerton was put off by a cartoon of Pepe the Frog conducting the Trump Train.

“I love art,” he wrote inline. “I think [Breitbart News Network] needs a lot more of it, but I don’t get the above. Frogs? Kermit? Am I missing something here?”

Later that day, Breitbart published “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right.” It quickly became a touchstone, cited in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the New Yorker, CNN, and New York Magazine, among others. And its influence is still being felt. This past July, in a speech in Warsaw that was celebrated by the alt-right, President Trump echoed a line from the story — a story written by a “brown-sounding” amanuensis, all but line-edited by a white nationalist, laundered for racism by Breitbart’s editors, and supervised by the man who would in short order become the president’s chief strategist.

The machine had worked well. . . .

 

. . . . On July 22, 2016, Rebekah Mercer — Robert’s powerful daughter — emailed Steve Bannon from her Stanford alumni account. She wanted the Breitbart executive chairman, whom she introduced as “one of the greatest living defenders of Liberty,” to meet an app developer she knew. Apple had rejected the man’s game (Capitol HillAwry, in which players delete emails à la Hillary Clinton) from the App Store, and the younger Mercer wondered “if we could put an article up detailing his 1st amendment political persecution.”

Bannon passed the request from Mercer to Yiannopoulos. Yiannopoulos passed it to Charlie Nash, an 18-year-old Englishman whom he had met at a conference of the populist right-wing UK Independence Party conference the previous year, and who started working as his intern immediately after. Like some bleach-blonde messiah of anti–political correctness, Yiannopoulos tended to draw in ideologically sympathetic young men at conferences, campus speeches, and on social media, accumulating more and more acolytes as he went along.

In June 2015 it was Ben Kew, who invited Yiannopoulos to speak at the University of Bristol, where he was a student; he’s now a staff writer for Breitbart. In September 2015 it was Tom Ciccotta, the treasurer of the class of 2017 at Bucknell University, who still writes for Breitbart. In February 2016 it was Hunter Swogger, a University of Michigan student and then the editor of the conservative Michigan Review, whom Yiannopoulos cultivated and brought on as a social media specialist during his Dangerous Faggot tour. Yiannopoulos called these young researchers his “trufflehounds.”

Nash, who had just been hired by Breitbart at $30,000 a year after months of lobbying by Yiannopoulos, dutifully fielded the request from the billionaire indirectly paying his salary and turned around a story about the rejected Capitol HillAwry app on the 25th — and a follow-up five days later after Apple reversed its decision.

“Huge victory,” Bannon emailed after the reversal. “Huge win.”

This was the usual way stories came in from the Mercers, according to a former Breitbart editor: with a request from Bannon referring to “our investors” or “our investing partners.”

After Cannes, as Bannon pushed Yiannopoulos to do more live events that presented expensive logistical challenges, the involvement of the investing partners became increasingly obvious. Following a May event at DePaul University in Chicago in which Black Lives Matter protesters stormed a Yiannopoulos speech, he wrote to Bannon, “I wouldn’t confess this to anyone publicly, of course, but I was worried … last night that I was going to get punched or worse. … I need one or two people of my own.”

“Agree 100%,” Bannon wrote. “We want you to stir up more. Milo: for your eyes only we r going to use the mercers private security company.”

Copied on the email was Dan Fleuette, Bannon’s coproducer at Glittering Steel and the man who acted for months as the go-between for Yiannopoulos and the Mercers. As Yiannopoulos made the transition in summer 2016 from being a writer to becoming largely the star of a traveling stage show, Fleuette was enlisted to process and wrangle the legion of young assistants, managers, trainers, and other talent the Breitbart tech editor demanded be brought along for the ride.

First came Tim Gionet, the former BuzzFeed social media strategist who goes by “Baked Alaska” on Twitter, whom Yiannopoulos pitched to Fleuette as a tour manager in late May. Gionet accompanied Yiannopoulos to Florida after the June 2016 Pulse nightclub killings in Orlando. The two planned a press conference outside a mosque attended by the shooter, Omar Mateen. (“Brilliant,” Bannon emailed. “Btw they are ALL ‘factories of hate.’”) But after some impertinent tweets and back talk from Gionet, Fleuette became Yiannopoulos’s managerial confidante.

“He needs to understand that ‘Baked Alaska’ is over,” Yiannopoulos wrote in one email to Fleuette. “He is not a friend he is an employee. … He is becoming a laughing stock and that reflects badly on me.” In another, “I think we need to replace Tim. … [He] has no news judgment or understanding of what’s dangerous (thinks tweets about Jews are just fine). … He seems more interested in his career as an obscure Twitter personality than my tour manager.”

At the Republican National Convention, Yiannopoulos deliberately chose a hotel for Gionet far from the convention center, writing to another Breitbart employee, “Exactly where I want him. … He needs the commute to remind him of his place.”

Gionet did not respond to multiple requests by BuzzFeed News for comment.

But Gionet, who would go on to march with the alt-right in Charlottesville, was still useful to Yiannopoulos as a gateway to a group of young, hip, social media–savvy Trump supporters.

Yiannopoulos managed all of his assistants and ghostwriters under his own umbrella, using “yiannopoulos.net” emails and private Slack rooms. This structure insulated Breitbart’s upper management from the 4chan savants and GamerGate vets working for Yiannopoulos. And it gave Yiannopoulos a staff loyal to him above Breitbart. (Indeed, Yiannopoulos shopped a separate “Team Milo” section to Dow Jones, which publishes the Wall Street Journal, in July 2016.)

It also sometimes led to extraordinarily fraught organizational and personal dynamics. Take Allum Bokhari, the Oxford-educated former political consultant whom Yiannopoulos rewarded for his years of grunt work with a $100,000 ghostwriting contract for his book Dangerous.

But the men were spying on each other.

In April 2016, Yiannopoulos asked Bokhari for “a complete list of the email, social media, bank accounts, and any other system and services of mine you have been accessing, and how long you’ve had access.” Bokhari confessed to having logged into Yiannopoulos’s email and Slack, and had used Yiannopoulos’s credit card for an Airbnb, a confession Yiannopoulos quickly passed on to Larry Solov, the Breitbart CEO.

“My basic position is that he is not stable and needs to be far away from me,” Yiannopoulos wrote to Marlow and Solov.

Meanwhile, Yiannopoulos had compiled a transcript of what he called “a short section of 30 hours of recording down on paper,” which appeared to be of conversations between Bokhari and a friend.

The newcomers brought in by Gionet weren’t much better behaved. Yiannopoulos had to boot one prospective member of his “tour squad” for posting cocaine use on Snapchat. Mike Mahoney, a then–20-year-old from North Carolina, had to be monitored because of his propensity for racism and anti-Semitism on social media. (Mahoney was later banned from Twitter, but he’s relocated to Gab, a free speech uber alles social network where he is free to post messages such as “reminder: muslims are fags.”)

“Let me know if there’s anything specific that’s really bad eg any Jew stuff,” Yiannopoulos wrote of Mahoney in an email to another member of his staff. “His entire Twitter persona will have to change dramatically once he gets the job.” On September 11, 2016, Mahoney signed a $2,500-a-month contract with Glittering Steel.

As the Dangerous Faggot tour swung into gear, Yiannopoulos grew increasingly hostile toward Fleuette, whom he excoriated for late payments to his young crew, lack of support, and disorganization. “The entire tour staff is demanding money,” Yiannopoulos wrote in one email to Fleuette in October. “No one knows or cares who Glittering Steel is but this represents a significantly damaging risk to my reputation if it gets out.” And in another, “Your problem right now is keeping me happy.”

Yet ultimately Fleuette was necessary — he connected Yiannopoulos’s madcap world and the massively rich people funding the machine.

“I think you know who the final decision belongs to,” Fleuette wrote to Yiannopoulos after one particularly frantic request for money. “I am in daily communication with them.”

**

Yiannopoulos’s star rose throughout 2016 thanks to a succession of controversial public appearances, social media conflagrations, Breitbart radio spots, television hits, and magazine profiles. Bannon’s guidance, the Mercers’ patronage, and the creative energy of his young staff had come together at exactly the time Donald Trump turned offensive speech into a defining issue in American culture. And for thousands of people, Yiannopoulos, Breitbart’s poster child for offensive speech, became a secret champion.

Aggrieved by the encroachment of so-called cultural Marxism into American public life, and egged on by an endless stream of stories on Fox News about safe spaces and racially charged campus confrontations, a diverse group of Americans took to Yiannopoulos’s inbox to thank him and to confess their fears about the future of the country.

And some of these disgruntled tech workers reached beyond the rank and file. Vivek Wadhwa, a prominent entrepreneur and academic, reached out repeatedly to Yiannopoulos with stories of what he considered out-of-control political correctness. First it was about a boycott campaign against a Kickstarter with connections to GamerGate. (“These people are truly crazy and destructive. … What horrible people,” wrote Wadwha of the campaigners.) Then it was about Y-Combinator cofounder Paul Graham; Wadwha felt Graham was being unfairly targeted for an essay he wrote about gender inequality in tech.

“Political correctness has gone too far,” Wadhwa wrote. “The alternative is communism — not equality. And that is a failed system…” Yiannopoulos passed Wadhwa’s email to Bokhari, who promptly ghostwrote a story for Breitbart, “Social Justice Warrior Knives Out For Startup Guru Paul Graham.”

Wadwha told BuzzFeed News that he no longer supports Yiannopoulos.

Yiannopoulos also had a private relationship with the venture capitalist Peter Thiel, though he was more circumspect than some other correspondents. After turning down an appearance on Yiannopoulos’s podcast in May 2016 (Thiel: “Let’s just get coffee and take things from there”), Thiel invited the Breitbart tech editor for dinner at his Hollywood Hills home in June, a dinner Yiannopoulos boasted of the same night to Bannon: “You two should meet. … An obvious candidate for movie financing if we got external. … He has fuc ked [Gawker Media founder Nick] Denton & Gawker so many ways it brought a tear to my eye.” They made plans to meet during the July Republican National Convention. But much of Yiannopoulos’s knowledge of Thiel seemed to come secondhand from other right-wing activists, as well as Curtis Yarvin, the blogger who advocates the return of feudalism. In an email exchange shortly after the election, Yarvin told Yiannopoulos that he had been “coaching Thiel.”

“Peter needs guidance on politics for sure,” Yiannopoulos responded.

“Less than you might think!” Yarvin wrote back. “I watched the election at his house, I think my hangover lasted into Tuesday. He’s fully enlightened, just plays it very carefully.”

And Yiannopoulos vented privately after Thiel spoke at the RNC — an opportunity the younger man had craved. “No gays rule doesn’t apply to Thiel apparently,” he wrote to a prominent Republican operative in July 2016.

Thiel declined to comment for the story.

In addition to tech and entertainment, Yiannopoulos had hidden helpers in the liberal media against which he and Bannon fought so uncompromisingly. A long-running email group devoted to mocking stories about the social justice internet included, predictably, Yiannopoulos’s friend Ann Coulter, but also Mitchell Sunderland, a senior staff writer at Broadly, Vice’s women’s channel. According to its “About” page, Broadly “is devoted to representing the multiplicity of women’s experiences. … we provide a sustained focus on the issues that matter most to women.”

“Please mock this fat feminist,” Sunderland wrote to Yiannopoulos in May 2016, along with a link to an article by the New York Times columnist Lindy West, who frequently writes about fat acceptance. And while Sunderland was Broadly’s managing editor, he sent a Broadly video about the Satanic Temple and abortion rights to Tim Gionet with instructions to “do whatever with this on Breitbart. It’s insane.” The next day, Breitbart published an article titled “Satanic Temple’ Joins Planned Parenthood in Pro-Abortion Crusade.”

In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a Vice spokesperson wrote, “We are shocked and disappointed by this highly inappropriate and unprofessional conduct. We just learned about this and have begun a formal review into the matter.”

(A day after this story was published, Vice fired Mitchell Sunderland, according to a company spokesperson.)

For nearly a decade, Devin Saucier has been establishing himself as one of the bright young things in American white nationalism. In 2008, while at Vanderbilt University, Saucier founded a chapter of the defunct white nationalist student group Youth for Western Civilization,, which counts among its alumni the white nationalist leader Matthew Heimbach. Richard Spencer called him a friend. He is associated with the Wolves of Vinland, a Virginia neo-pagan group that one reporter described as a “white power wolf cult,” one member of which pleaded guilty to setting fire to a historic black church. For the past several years, according to an observer of far-right movements, Saucier has worked as an assistant to Jared Taylor, possibly the most prominent white nationalist in America. According to emails obtained by BuzzFeed News, he edits and writes for Taylor’s magazine, American Renaissance, under a pseudonym.

In an October 2016 email, Milo Yiannopoulos described the 28-year-old Saucier as “my best friend.”

Yiannopoulos may have been exaggerating: He was asking his acquaintance the novelist Bret Easton Ellis for a signed copy of American Psycho as a gift for Saucier. But there’s no question the men were close. After a March 2016 dinner together in Georgetown, they kept up a steady correspondence, thrilling over Brexit, approvingly sharing headlines about a Finnish far-right group called “Soldiers of Odin,” and making plans to attend Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the Kennedy Center.

Saucier — who did not respond to numerous requests for comment — clearly illustrates the direct connection between open white nationalists and their fellow travelers at Breitbart. By spring 2016, Yiannopoulos had begun to use him as a sounding board, intellectual guide, and editor. On May 1, Yiannopoulos emailed Saucier asking for readings related to class-based affirmative action; Saucier responded with a half dozen links on the subject, which American Renaissance often covers. On May 3, Saucier sent Yiannopoulos an email titled “Article idea”: “How trolls could win the general for Trump.” Yiannopoulos forwarded the email to Bokhari and wrote, “Drop what you’re doing and draft this for me.” An article under Yiannopoulos’s byline appeared the next day. Also in early May, Saucier advised Yiannopoulos and put him in touch with a source for a story about the alt-right’s obsession with Taylor Swift.

Saucier also seems to have had enough clout with Yiannopoulos to get him to kill a story. On May 9, the Breitbart tech editor sent Saucier a full draft of the class-based affirmative action story. “This really isn’t good,” Saucier wrote back, along with a complex explanation of how “true class-based affirmative action” would cause “black enrollment at all decent colleges” to be “decimated.” The next day, Yiannopoulos wrote back, “I feel suitably admonished,” with another draft. In response, after speculating that Yiannopoulos was trying to “soft pedal” racial differences in intelligence, Saucier wrote, “I would honestly spike this piece.” The story never ran.

At other times, though, Yiannopoulos’s writing delighted the young white nationalist. On June 20, Yiannopoulos sent Saucier a link to his story “Milo On Why Britain Should Leave The EU — To Stop Muslim Immigration.” “Nice work,” Saucier responded. “I especially like the references to European identity and the Western greats.” On June 25, Yiannopoulos sent Saucier a copy of an analysis, “Brexit: Why The Globalists Lost.”

“Subtle truth bomb,” Saucier responded via email to the sentence “Britain, like Israel and other high-IQ, high-skilled economies, will thrive on its own.” (IQ differences among races are a fixation of American Renaissance.)

“I’m easing everyone in gently,” Yiannopoulos responded.

“Probably beats my ‘bite the pillow, I’m going in dry’ strategy,” Saucier wrote back.

On occasion Yiannopoulos didn’t ease his masters at Breitbart in gently enough. Frequently, Alex Marlow’s job editing him came down to rejecting anti-Semitic and racist ideas and jokes. In April 2016, Yiannopoulos tried to secure approval for the neo-Nazi hacker “Weev” Auernheimer, the system administrator for the Daily Stormer, to appear on his podcast.

“Great provocative guest,” Yiannopoulos wrote. “He’s one of the funniest, smartest and most interesting people I know. … Very on brand for me.”

“Gotta think about it,” Marlow wrote back. “He’s a legit racist. … This is a major strategic decision for this company and as of now I’m leaning against it.” (Weev never appeared on the podcast.)

Editing a September 2016 Yiannopoulos speech, Marlow approved a joke about “shekels” but added that “you can’t even flirt with OKing gas chamber tweets,” asking for such a line to be removed. Marlow held a story about Twitter banning a prominent — frequently anti-Semitic and anti-black — alt-right account, “Ricky Vaughn.” And in August 2016, Bokhari sent Marlow a draft of a story titled “The Alt Right Isn’t White Supremacist, It’s Western Supremacist,” which Marlow held, explaining, “I don’t want to even flirt with okay-ing Nazi memes.”

“We have found his limit,” Yiannopoulos wrote back.

Indeed, a major part of Yiannopoulos’s role within Breitbart was aggressively testing limits around racial and anti-Semitic discourse. As far as this went, his opaque organization-with-an-organization structure and crowdsourced ideation and writing processes served Breitbart’s purposes perfectly: They offered upper management a veil of plausible deniability — as long as no one saw the emails BuzzFeed News obtained. In August 2016, a Yiannopoulos staffer sent a “Milo” story by Bokhari directly to Bannon and Marlow for approval.

“Please don’t forward chains like that showing the sausage being made,” Yiannopoulos wrote back. “Everyone knows; but they don’t have to be reminded every time.”

By Yiannopoulos’s own admission, maintaining a sufficiently believable distance from overt racists and white nationalists was crucial to the machine he had helped Bannon build. As his profile rose, he attracted hordes of blazingly racist social media followers — the kind of people who harassed the black Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones so severely on Twitter that the platform banned Yiannopoulos for encouraging them.

“Protip on handling the endless tide of 1488 scum,” Curtis Yarvin, the neoreactionary thinker, wrote to Yiannopoulos in November 2015. (“1488” is a ubiquitous white supremacist slogan; “88” stands for “Heil Hitler.”) “Deal with them the way some perfectly tailored high-communist NYT reporter handles a herd of greasy anarchist hippies. Patronizing contempt. Your heart is in the right place, young lady, now get a shower and shave those pits. The liberal doesn’t purge the communist because he hates communism, he purges the communist because the communist is a public embarrassment to him. … It’s not that he sees enemies to the left, just that he sees losers to the left, and losers rub off.”

“Thanks re 1488,” Yiannopoulos responded. “I have been struggling with this. I need to stay, if not clean, then clean enough.”

He had help staying clean. It came in the form of a media relations apparatus that issued immediate and vehement threats of legal action against outlets that described Yiannopoulos as a racist or a white nationalist.

“Milo is NOT a white nationalist, nor a member of the alt right,” Jenny Kefauver, a senior account executive at CapitalHQ, Breitbart’s press shop, wrote to the Seattle CBS affiliate after a story following the shooting of an anti-Trump protester at a Yiannopoulos speech. “Milo has always denounced them and you offer no proof that he is associated with them. Please issue a correction before we explore additional options to correct this error immediately.”

Over 2016 and early 2017, CapitalHQ, and often Yiannopoulos personally, issued such demands against the Los Angeles Times, The Forward, Business Insider, Glamour, Fusion, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, and CNN. The resulting retractions or corrections — or refusals — even spawned anewcategory of Breitbartstory.

Of course, it’s unlikely that any of these journalists or editors could have known about Yiannopoulos’s relationship with Saucier, about his attempts to defend gas chamber jokes in Breitbart, or about how he tried to put Weev on his podcast.

Nor could they have known about the night of April 2, 2016, which Yiannopoulos spent at the One Nostalgia Tavern in Dallas, belting out a karaoke rendition of “America the Beautiful” in front of a crowd of “sieg heil”-ing admirers, including Richard Spencer.

Saucier can be seen in the video filming the performance. The same night, he and Spencer did a duet of Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill” in front of a beaming Yiannopoulos.

And there was no way the journalists threatened with lawsuits for calling Yiannopoulos a racist could have known about his passwords.

In an April 6 email, Allum Bokhari mentioned having had access to an account of Yiannopoulos’s with “a password that began with the word Kristall.” Kristallnacht, an infamous 1938 riot against German Jews carried out by the SA — the paramilitary organization that helped Hitler rise to power — is sometimes considered the beginning of the Holocaust. In a June 2016 email to an assistant, Yiannopoulos shared the password to his email, which began “LongKnives1290.” The Night of the Long Knives was the Nazi purge of the leadership of the SA. The purge famously included Ernst Röhm, the SA’s gay leader. 1290 is the year King Edward I expelled the Jews from England.

**

Early in the morning of August 17, 2016, as news began to break that Steve Bannon would leave Breitbart to run the Trump campaign, Milo Yiannopoulos emailed the man who had turned him into a star.

“Congrats chief,” he wrote.

“u mean ‘condolences,’” Bannon wrote back.

“I admire your sense of duty (seriously).”

“u get it.”

In the month after the convention, Yiannopoulos and Bannon continued to work closely. Bannon and Marlow encouraged a barrage of stories about Yiannopoulos’s late July ban from Twitter. Bannon and Yiannopoulos worked to distance themselves from Charles Johnson’s plans to sue Twitter. (“Charles is PR poison,” Yiannopoulos wrote. “Charles is well intentioned–but he is wack,” Bannon responded.) And the two went back and forth over how hard to hit Paul Ryan in an August story defending the alt-right. (“Only the headline mocks him correct,” Bannon wrote. “We never actually say he is a cuck in the body of the piece?”)

But once Bannon left Breitbart, his email correspondence with Yiannopoulos dried up, with a few exceptions. On August 25, after Hillary Clinton’s alt-right speech, Yiannopoulos emailed Bannon, “I’ve never laughed so hard.”

Still, as the campaign progressed into the fall, there were clues that Bannon continued to run aspects of Breitbart and guide the career of his burgeoning alt-right star. On September 1, Bannon forwarded Yiannopoulos a story about a new Rutgers speech code; Yiannopoulos forwarded it to Bokhari and asked for a story. On the 3rd, Bannon emailed to tell Yiannopoulos he was “trying to set up DJT interview.” (The interview with Trump never happened.) And on September 11, Bannon introduced Yiannopoulos over email to the digital strategist and Trump supporter Oz Sultan and instructed the men to meet.

There were also signs that Bannon was using his proximity to the Republican nominee to promote the culture war pet causes that he and Yiannopoulos shared. On October 13, Saucier emailed Yiannopoulos a tweet from the white nationalist leader Nathan Damigo, who went on to punch a woman in the face at a Berkeley rally in April of this year and led marchers in Charlottesville: “@realDonaldTrump just said he would protect free speech on college campus.”

“He used phrases extremely close to what I say — Bannon is feeding him,” Yiannopoulos responded.

Yet, by the early days of the Trump presidency — and as the harder and more explicitly bigoted elements within the alt-right fought to reclaim the term — Bannon had clearly established a formal distance from Yiannopoulos. On February 14, Yiannopoulos, who months earlier had worked hand in glove with Bannon, asked their mutual PR rep for help reaching him. “Here’s the book manuscript, to be kept confidential of course… still hoping for a Bannon or Don Jr or Ivanka endorsement!”

The next week, video appeared in which Yiannopoulos appeared to condone pedophilia. He resigned from Breitbart under pressure two days later, but not before his attorney beseeched Solov and Marlow to keep him.

“We implore you not to discard this rising star over a 13 month old video that we all know does not reflect his true views,” the lawyer wrote.

Bannon, ensconced in the chaotic Trump White House, didn’t comment, nor did he reach out to Yiannopoulos on his main email. But the machine wasn’t broken, just running quietly. And it wouldn’t jettison such a valuable component altogether, even after seeming to endorse pedophilia.

After firing Yiannopoulos, Marlow accompanied him to the Mercers’ Palm Beach home to discuss a new venture: MILO INC. On February 27, not quite two weeks after the scandal erupted, Yiannopoulos received an email from a woman who described herself as “Robert Mercer’s accountant.” “We will be sending a wire payment today,” she wrote. Later that day, in an email to the accountant and Robert Mercer, Yiannopoulos personally thanked his patron. And as Yiannopoulos prepared to publish his book, he stayed close enough to Rebekah Mercer to ask her by text for a recommendation when he needed a periodontist in New York.

Since Bannon left the White House, there have been signs that the two men may be collaborating again. On August 18, Yiannopoulos posted to Instagram a black-and-white photo of Bannon with the caption “Winter is Coming.” Though he ultimately didn’t show, Bannon was originally scheduled to speak at Yiannopoulos’s Free Speech Week at UC Berkeley. (The event, which was supposed to feature an all-star lineup of far-right personalities, was canceled last month, reportedly after the student group sponsoring it failed to fill out necessary paperwork.) And Yiannopoulos has told those close to him that he expects to be back at Breitbart soon.

Steve Bannon’s actions are often analyzed through the lens of his professed ideology, that of an anti-Islam, anti-immigrant, anti-“Globalist” crusader bent on destroying prevailing liberal ideas about immigration, diversity, and economics. To be sure, much of that comes through in the documents obtained by BuzzFeed News. The “Camp of the Saints” Bannon is there, demanding Yiannopoulos change “refugee” to “migrant” in a February 2016 story, speaking of the #war for the West.

Still, it is less often we think about Bannon simply as a media executive in charge of a private company. Any successful media executive produces content to expand audience size. The Breitbart alt-right machine, embodied by Milo Yiannopoulos, may read most clearly in this context. It was a brilliant audience expansion machine, financed by billionaires, designed to draw in people disgusted by some combination of identity politics, Muslim and Hispanic immigration, and the idea of Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in the White House. And if expanding that audience meant involving white nationalists and neo-Nazis, their participation could always be laundered to hide their contributions. . . .

3. Following up on that massive BuzzFeed piece about how Breitbart actively worked with ‘Alt Right’ neo-Nazis like Andrew ‘the weev’ Auernheimer and Curtis Yarvin for the purpose of mainstreaming their ideas, Right Wing Watch has a new piece on a similar phenomena, where far right personality get mainstreamed by ostensibly ‘mainstream’ conservatives, taking place on one of the biggest new mediums on the planet: YouTube:

“White Supremacy Figured Out How To Become YouTube Famous” by Jared Holt; Right Wing Watch; 10/2017

YouTube is home to a seemingly endless variety of videos that reach all kinds of viewers and is creeping up on TV as the most watched video platform in the United StatesBut as John Herrman documentedin The New York Times Magazine last month, political punditry on YouTube is vastly dominated by right-wing talkers. Some of the site’s notable right-wing political stars include the always-camera-ready men and women at the Infowars studio, frequently-shirtless 4chan muse StyxHexxenHammer666, and elaborate cosplay cartoon character “Mr. Dapperton.” Although these figures differ vastly in format and tone, their messages are aligned exclusively toward the hard, uncompromising Right, and have been increasingly influenced by their even more extremist counterparts on YouTube.

Shorenstein Center on Media fellow Zach Elexy noted in a case study of YouTube commentator Black Pigeon Speaks that in the same way that “liberals, scholars and pundits have failed to give talk radio—which is almost wholly conservative—its due,” those same observers “stand to miss a new platform that, so far, is also dominated by the right wing.” Far-right YouTube personalities are largely aware that they are at the epicenter of political talk on the platform, and openly gloat about their dominance.

As a platform, YouTube has served as an alternative media ecosystem apart from the mainstream where any person can contribute to national conversation and reach thousands of people overnight. But the Right’s overt domination of the platform, in addition to political forums on Reddit and 4chan, has created an environment where white nationalists and right-wing extremists can easily inject hateful rhetoric and conspiracy theories into national political discourse by positioning themselves alongside less overtly hateful rising right-wing media personalities.

These extremists roleplay as modern-day shock-jock radio hosts as they insert their sexist, racist, bigoted rhetoric—which they excuse by saying they are trying to “trigger” liberals and fight for “free speech”—into the existing stream of right-wing commentary on YouTube. By successfully identifying how right-wing e-celebrities operate and collaborate in the YouTube ecosystem, white nationalists and white supremacists have cracked the code to achieving YouTube success and getting their ideas validated by more popular internet figures, and therefore have emboldened the political base they represent and recruited new audiences.

The punditry faction of YouTube, much like cable news, thrives on collaboration and guest appearances on other pundits’ channels. These right-wing YouTube commentators believe that by bolstering one another they can break through “fake news” mainstream media narratives and spread their own flavor of political analysis. The most extreme of these commentators will identify YouTube pundits slightly closer to center-Right than them, and appear on their programs to share their viewpoints. They then use this access to a larger platform to recruit more people to their own pages, where they espouse extremist views with even less restraint.

In practice, this means that some of the most popular right-wing social media pundits have validated white supremacists and ethno-nationalist voices by joining these extremists on their programs and allowing them to grow their audiences. And as a result, those voices have quickly recruited a radicalized following and felt emboldened to take their ideologies offline. The nation saw this dynamic play out with tragic results earlier this year, when alt-right activists who had organized online converged on Charlottesville for a “Unite the Right” rally that ended in the death of a counter-protester.

On YouTube, major right-wing internet personalities such as self-described “New Right journalist” and social media personality Mike Cernovich and Lauren Southern, a former reporter for Rebel Media, a news site that has acted as an alt-right safe space, validate lesser known extremists by promoting them with their platforms, which reach millions of people every month and routinely earn exposure from mainstream press. Although these two are now attempting to break away from their prior affiliations with the alt-right, they have used their YouTube platforms to validate and share ideas with openly alt-right pundits like Tara McCarthy, who believes a globalist agenda is underway to undermine white people.

In May, Cernovich appeared on right-wing YouTuber Brittani Pettibone’s “Virtue of the West” podcast, which is dedicated to discussing the white nationalist ideology of a virtuous Western world under attack by a liberal agenda. Cernovich’s appearance effectively endorsed the legitimacy of Pettibone and her former co-host McCarthy to Cernovich’s much larger audience and exposed potential new fans to the duo, who openly express much more extremist views than Cernovich does.

This trickle-down effect is not limited to Cernovich. Many other prominent right-wing social media personalities have appeared on programs like “Virtue of the West.” For example, video blogger Tarl Warwick, who is heralded on 4chan and promoted by major video bloggers like Paul Joseph Watson, has guided his audience to openly alt-right media platforms such as Red Ice. Digital pundit Carl Benjamin, known best as “Sargon of Akkad,” has exposed his regular audience of hundreds of thousands of viewers to white nationalists and their hateful ideologies.

This trickle-down exposure effect is a characteristic of all media, but the lack of a gatekeeper on social media has allowed unchecked extremists like McCarthy to harness the power granted by voices such as Cernovich to elevate openly white supremacist alt-right ideologies. Soon after McCarthy scored an interview with Cernovich, she treated her followers to a conversation with Andrew Anglin and Greg Johnson of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer. (McCarthy’s interview with Anglin and Johnson was later removed from YouTube and re-uploadedoff-site.)

Cernovich’s appearance on “Virtue of the West” is not an isolated event. Every day, all across YouTube, popular pundits with large audiences and connections to those in power are engaging with, promoting and validating extremist YouTube personalities who seek to radicalize their audiences. and promote extreme right-wing politics.

Tensions Rise, Bloggers Flee As YouTube’s Efforts To Combat Extremism Begin

YouTube has been criticized for designing algorithms that are, as The Guardian reported, “drawing viewers into ever more extreme content, recommending a succession of videos that can quickly take them into dark corners of the internet,” and has been toying with remedies that can effectively isolate extremist and terroristic content without censoring speech on the site.

In early August, YouTube announced it would no longer allow videos on its site that were flagged for “controversial religious or supremacist content” to earn ad revenue and rack up views from the platform’s “recommended videos” feature. Since that announcement, conspiracy theorists, alt-right activists and “new right” internet pundits have expressed outrage.

Videos these social media pundits created that meet YouTube’s criteria for extremism have been placed in a “limited state,” where they exist in a purgatory space without advertising or video recommendations, meaning only a direct link will bring viewers to the video and that the content creator earns no revenue. YouTube’s action served to accomplish two things: It removed financial incentives for these personalities to cater to extremists, and it helped curb a rabbit-hole effect in which the site’s algorithms recommended increasingly more extremist content to otherwise mainstream right-wing audiences and resulted in right-wing extremist YouTube stars receiving otherwise unearned exposure.

Leaders of the right-wing political YouTube universe criticized the policy in a myriad of ways, even likening it to Nazism. In a post announcing a national protest against Google (which was later cancelled), right-wing troll Jack Posobiec claimed YouTube was “censoring and silencing dissenting voices by creating ‘ghettos’ for videos questioning the dominant narrative.” Right-wing vlogger Tarl Warwick claimed that the new “suppression feature” would be counter-productive to YouTube’s goals. Infowars editors Alex Jones and Paul Joseph Watson gloated that they reach millions of viewers and have made YouTube a “right-wing safe space” and that YouTube implemented the new policy because they “realized they were losing.”

Now, extremists and white supremacists ensnared by YouTube’s new policy are threatening to leave YouTube and have begun hosting their videos on alternative sites such as VidMe and BitChute. The migration to video platforms friendly to the alt-right is similar to an alt-right push last year to ditch Twitter and join “Gab.ai” after Twitter banned many white supremacist accounts. These extremist YouTube stars have asked their followers to join them on these new platforms and send them money on Patreon (and alt-right alternative Hatereon) to replace the revenue they were previously earning from YouTube advertising. But as Business Insider reported, this effort has been so-far unsuccessful.

The Extremists Using YouTube To Get Famous

Below is an introduction to a few of the most prominent examples of right-wing extremists who have used YouTube to build large online followings, some with the help of better known right-wing social media personalities.

Black Pigeon Speaks

Black Pigeon Speaks (BPS) is an anonymous YouTube vlogger based in Japan with hundreds of thousands of followers. Shorenstein Center on Media fellow Zach Elexy noted that BPS’s worldview “overlaps with older ideas from many diverse movements and ideologies such as white nationalism, neo-Nazism, anti-Semitism, conservatism, classical liberalism, libertarianism, and Christian conservatism.” BPS does not outwardly identify with any particular political ideology, but frequently reiterates talking points popular among alt-right circles, such as his belief that empowered women destroy civilizations, transgender people are mentally ill, and efforts for diversity erase Western cultures. BPS distributes his videos to hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

Blonde in the Belly of the Beast

Rebecca, who does not share her last name, is a YouTuber based in Seattle who has saidthe idea that “all cultures are equal” is “garbage.” On her Patreon fundraising page, Rebecca states that she has become “increasingly hostile this last decade as I realized that feminism, Islam, Cultural Marxism and unrestricted tolerance have incrementally eroded our once great society into something unrecognizable.” On YouTube, she shares views about white identity, tells young women to abandon feminism, and makes bigoted arguments against migration in Europe. Rebecca has more than 70,000 subscribers to her channel and has been hosted by far-right superstar Stefan Molyneux, alt-right extremist Tara McCarthy, and alt-right media network Red Ice TV. She has also been promoted numerous times on white nationalist Richard Spencer’s site, AltRight.com.

Brittany Pettibone

Brittany Pettibone is a YouTube personality who refers to herself as an “American nationalist” but has expressed white nationalist views, such as that it’s “our fault” if white people become a minority race. She uses her platform to host even more unabashed white nationalists and has appeared on extremist outlets like Red Ice. Pettibone has also perpetuated “white genocide” and “Pizzagate” conspiracy theories. Although Pettibone’s personal YouTube following is modest in comparison to others listed, she has been able to recruit many popular punditsto appear on her “Virtue of the West” series, which until recently was co-hosted by openly alt-right pundit Tara McCarthy. Recently, Pettibone joined former Rebel Media reporter Lauren Southern in anti-immigrant group Defend Europe’s blundering effortto keep NGO boats full of refugees away from the European coast.

James Allsup

James Allsup is a popular YouTube personality with hundreds of thousands of subscribers who once delivered a speech at a Trump campaign rally. He was spottedalongside open white supremacists at the Unite the Right rally last month, where he told Mediaite that “white people are tired of being told by the cosmopolitan elites that we are the problem.” Allsup has used his YouTube channel to host openly white supremacist guests such as Baked Alaska, an internet troll who regularly espouses Nazi propaganda memes, to sympathize with white nationalist alt-right figure Richard Spencer, and to deliver outlandish responses to discussions about white privilege.

Millennial Woes

Colin Robertson, known online as Millennial Woes, is a Scottish video blogger who speaks openly of his alt-right identity and his concern that the white race will perish unless white people take actions to defend their culture and prevent their race from diversifying. Earlier this year, Robertson was revealed to be a jobless ex-student who lives with his father. Robertson spokeat the now-infamous conference hosted by Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute where attendees shouted “Heil Trump!” while giving Nazi salutes. He has been hosted by popular video blogger Carl “Sargon of Akkad” Benjamin, alt-right personality Tara McCarthy, white nationalist blogger Brittany Pettibone, and alt-right broadcast channel Red Ice TV. Robertson frequently spreads white supremacist ideas, such as the notion that it is “exasperating” to see white women with mixed-race children, and argues that believing in racial equality is “clearly deluding yourself.”

RamzPaul

Paul Ray Ramsey, known as RamZPaul, is an internet personality who identifies as alt-right and white nationalist, and has spoken at multipleevents hosted by the white supremacist group American Renaissance. The Southern Poverty Law center has identified Ramsey as a “smiling Nazi” because of his public affiliations with white supremacist figures such as American Renaissance founder Jared Taylor and Richard Spencer. Although Ramsey no longer claims to identify as alt-right, days before the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville he posted a video claiming that white people “will not be replaced.” Ramsey was an ardent supporter of alt-right Unite the Right rally, has appeared on alt-right broadcast network Red Ice TV, and has been interviewed by NPR and BuzzFeed.

Red Ice TV (Henrik Palmgren and Lana Lokteff)

Herik Palmgren, the Swedish host of Red Ice, founded the network—which simulcasts on YouTube—in 2003 to cater to people looking for “pro-European” news. Lana Lokteff, a Russian co-host, joined the network in 2012. Red Ice TV is transparently white nationalist, with show titles like “Diversity Is a Weapon Against White People” and “The War on Whites Is Real.” The network also features openly and blatantly white supremacist guests and serves as a gateway for extremist YouTube bloggers seeking alt-right audiences.

Tara McCarthy

Tara McCarthy is a British YouTube personality who openly touts her affiliation with the white supremacist alt-right. McCarthy hosts the “Reality Calls” podcast and formerly co-hosted with Brittany Pettibone “Virtue of the West,” a show that functions both as a platform for popular YouTube pundits and a critical booster for many alt-right internet stars. McCarthy is one of the most blatant white supremacists on YouTube and often uses her platform to boost the voices of neo-Nazis, warn viewers about a “white genocide conspiracy” and advocate that women submit to subservient gender roles. McCarthy has also suggested organizing an alt-right mentorship program to help guide young men who are exploring the movement. McCarthy is frequently able to book popular right-wing personalities to appear on her channel and shared screen time with popular personalities on “Virtue of the West.”

Wife with a Purpose

Ayla, who does not publicly share her last name, advocates for “radical traditionalism” on YouTube and her blog. Her blog warns that “feminism, homosexuality, atheism, hedonism, and transgender-ism” have overshadowed the Western world’s “hard work and priorities of family and faith.” Ayla, who considers herselfan alt-right poster girl, is best known for proposing to her audience a “white baby challenge.” Ayla, who is Mormon, claimedthe Mormon church “turned it’s (sic) back on its white members” when it denounced white supremacy following the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. Ayla has been promoted by alt-right broadcast station Red Ice TV and right-wing blogger Brittany Pettibone.

People Who Enable The Hate

Below is an introduction to some of the most prominent right-wing social media personalities who have used the popularity of their own platforms to host people with even more extreme views, or who have appeared on platforms hosted by extremists. These figures do not regularly use their platforms to personally express particularly racist or extremist ideologies, but frequently host guests or appear on platforms that do with minimal criticism.

Sargon of Akkad

Carl Benjamin, best known as Sargon of Akkad (or “Sargon” for short), is a YouTube personality who rose to fame during the “gamergate” controversy, which ended in death threats being sent to a female video game developer. Benjamin has hundreds of thousands of followers, with whom he shares anti-SJW (social justice warrior) rhetoric, criticizing liberals who express outrage at offensive content. Benjamin considers himself a “classical liberal,” but has expressed his fascination with the racist alt-right and has shared his platform with blatantly alt-right figures.

Stefan Molyneux

Stefan Molyneux is an author and vlogger with a large following on YouTube. He is a popular figure among “red-pilled” men’s right activists (“red pilled” is a term from the sci-fi movie The Matrix that refers to recognizing the brutal realities of the world rather than living in blissful ignorance), and identifies himself as a “race realist,” a common euphemism among white supremacists. Although Molyneux’s political views are bent toward the unforgiving Right, his primary involvement in the spread of extremism is his willingness to host openly alt-rightextremists, providing these figures a big step toward online relevancy.

Roaming Millennial

Roaming Millennial (RM) is an anonymous Canadian video blogger who uses her incredibly popular YouTube channel to convey far-right talking points that straddle the line of extremism. RM’s videos have been dedicated to botched debunks of racial oppression and gender inequality, labeling social justice “cancer,” and decrying non-traditional gender identity. Although RM does not identify as alt-right, she has welcomed right-wing extremists like Tara McCarthy to appear on her channel.

Styxhexenhammer666

Tarl Warwick, or “Styx,” was an early arrival to YouTube in 2007 and now posts daily political commentary videos in which he espouses nationalistic views to his audience of more than 170,000 subscribers. Warwick is often heralded on the racist cesspool of 4chan and 8chan’s “politically incorrect” forum boards, where he says he sources his news to “break the stranglehold of the mainstream media.” Warwick has appeared on blatantly alt-right YouTube channels with Red Ice hosts and Tara McCarthy. He does not denounce ethno-nationalism, but does not claim to personally believe in a white ethno-state. Recently, Warwick has been seen boosting his profile on Infowars and Stefan Molyneux’s channel.

———-

 

Discussion

12 comments for “FTR #987 Walkin’ the Snake at Breitbart and YouTube”

  1. Trouble in paradise? It appears so: The ‘Alt Right’ appears to have a sexual harassment problem. Yep, it turns out the women in this coalition of neo-Nazis, white nationalists, misogynists and rape apologist aren’t being treated very well by a number of their fellow Alt Right-ists. Imagine that.

    But as the following article notes, the Alt Right’s sexual harassment problem has a number of similarities to sexual harassment everywhere, but also some notable differences. Because the women of the Alt Right want to live under a patriarchy where their roles are limited to that of homemaking and child-rearing. They are very open and clear about this. But they don’t want to be disrespected by all the Alt Right misogynists while they’re doing it. In other words, they want their traditional female roles in their ethnonationalist patriarchy to be roles respected by men, but all the misogynists in the movement can’t do that because they pathologically hate women. It’s a grimly fascinating divide.

    And as the article also notes, it’s not a new divide. The KKK had a similar problem almost a century ago. Women actively played an important role in both the public image of the Klan but also just the logistics of running it. But that role quickly turned into a subservient role and led to real inter-gender tensions.
    But that divide is potentially even more challenging time around because while male Klan members are likely to be misogynists, they aren’t necessarily the kinds of ideological misogynists that you’re going to find in the overt misogynist wing of the today’s ‘Alt Right’. And it’s those overt focused misogynists who are waging the harassment campaign on the prominent women of the Alt Right. Prominent women like Lauren Southern and Kirsten Lauryn, a rising YouTube star and a self-described ‘Catholic monarchist’, with large YouTube audiences who play a critical role in shaping the far-right’s public face.

    And this places the men of the Alt Right who aren’t primarily driven by misogyny – and probably instead are largely driven by racism, antisemitism, and a love of authoritarianism – are forced to make a choice: stand up to their hyper-misogynist Alt Right bros in support of the women of the Alt Right or stand with them in the hopes of turning these misogynists into neo-Nazis. And it’s not obvious which side they’ll pick.

    It’s being framed as a ‘Red Pill vs Black Pill’ polarization in the movement: the ‘Red Pill’-ers want to fight for a Nazi future while the ‘Black Pill’-poppers are just nihilists who want to burn everything down (and can’t stand women except as sex objects). The ‘Red Pill’-ers neo-Nazis are, relatively speaking, the relative-feminists in this fight, which is just amazing but that’s what happens when you team up with rape apologists.

    The ‘Black Pill’ crowd also presents a whole new public image headache for the Alt Right: they actively promote the idea of ‘White Sharia’. It’s apparently a meme with them and represents the hyper-misogynists’ vision of how society should be structured: a strict Sharia-like set of rules design under a Patriarchal hyper-macho worldview where women are systematically subjugated. They basically want like Wahabist-style treatment of women and openly talk and joke about it. And there’s no reason to believe they aren’t serious too because that’s the nature of misogynists who team up with neo-Nazis. They are very serious about their misogyny. “White Sharia” is exactly the kind of thing they would want. And that presents quite a stark contrast to the ‘Red Pill’ neo-Nazi brand that venerates women like Lauren Southern and Kirsten Lauryn.

    And, yes, if the ‘Red Pill” neo-Nazis ever took total control and subjugated everyone (subjugating everyone is a Nazi goal, don’t forget), it would probably be much closer to the ‘Black Pill’ reality for both men and women than the ‘Red Pill’ ethnonationalist/Nazi types want to admit in their public musings. But that just makes not alienating all the Alt Right women all the more important for the Alt Right men. And yet they clearly have no respect for women, ‘Red Pill’ or ‘Black Pill’. It’s quite a dilemma and it’s clearly hard for them to hide this.

    Can the Alt Right’s hyper-misogynist “White Sharia” fans stop themselves from disrespecting the women who choose to join their movement? It’s a real Alt Right conundrum and we have yet to learn the answer:

    Mic

    The women of the “alt-right” are speaking out against misogyny. They’d prefer absolute patriarchy.

    by Jack Smith IV
    Published Dec. 8, 2017

    The white supremacist right has a slogan, a clarion call that binds the movement across countries and generations. It’s called the “14 words”: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

    Buried within that mantra is a dangerous implication for an extremist movement dominated by white men: They’re going to need a lot of white nationalist women.

    But over the past few weeks, a small faction of devoted misogynists within the far-right is leading a wave of harassment against prominent white nationalist women. Male chauvinist celebrities have lead online “thot patrols” and dug up photos of far-right women who’ve allegedly dated men of color.

    “Men in the alt-right are going to have to decide whether they will continue to passively/actively endorse this behavior, or speak out against it,” far-right video personality Tara McCarthy wrote in a now-deleted series of tweets. “If you want more women speaking publicly about ethno-nationalism, I suggest you choose the latter.”

    This recent conflict has been poorly framed in the media as the women of the alt-right suddenly discovering misogyny within the movement. But the nationalist right’s most prominent women, many of whom are Christian fundamentalists, are perfectly fine with a patriarchy that wants to relegate women to the roles of homemakers and child-bearers.

    The true reckoning among white nationalists is one that’s been coming to a boil since the inception of the so-called “alt-right.” In its infancy, the rise of the alt-right brought white nationalists into an uneasy alliance with some of the internet’s most destructive misogynists. And now that there’s a rising uptick against nationalist women, the men of the far-right must either mitigate or exile this new strain of misogynist extremism, or risk cannibalizing their most effective stars and propagandists.

    Women within the far-right told Mic they were hesitant to speak about the issue with reporters, and that the conversation had become an unfortunate internal debate between two factions that could never truly coexist.

    During the 2016 election season, the alt-right materialized as an umbrella group pulling together a range of reactionary sects. There were the anti-feminists of the GamerGate movement, the fratty “pro-West” Proud Boys, right-wing provocateurs, traditional neo-Nazis, Southern Nationalists and even some elements of the militia movement. It was a jumbled cornucopia of disparate ideologies bound together only by support of then-candidate Donald Trump and a common enemy embodied by the dreaded “social justice warriors.”

    The big tent couldn’t hold for long. Soon after the election, the alt-right began to fracture, often along the lines of who was or was not deemed sufficiently racist. Militiamen scuffled with 4channers at a rally in Houston and pro-Trump provocateurs like Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec distanced themselves from the dedicated racists. Soon, the only ones willing to even tacitly wear the label of “alt-right” were avowed white nationalists.

    But along the way, the white nationalist movement was introduced to a new source of recruitment: the virulent misogynists and men’s rights activists who came into the alt-right through forums like 4chan and Reddit. While ethno-nationalists preach veneration of white women willing to submit to patriarchy and traditionalism, many MRAs animated purely by male grievance prefer explicit hatred for women. Where most on the right refer to the process of awakening to the evils of liberalism as taking the “red pill,” these are men who describe their philosophy as the “black pill” of apocalyptic nihilism.

    A favorite meme of this crowd is “white sharia,” which white nationalist and ex-marine Sacco Vandal described in a recent blog post as “a rallying cry for the disillusioned young men in our movement as well as their guiding light.”

    “Sharia law, though practiced today by some of the world’s most despicable races, is the only living example of anything that even remotely approximates the patriarchal society that Western man once had himself,” Vandal wrote.

    The worst of this scorn is often reserved for the women within the far-right, undertaking sexist witch hunts meant to shame them for showing leadership in what they see as a man’s movement.

    “I’m not going to get married at 22 years old just so that I won’t be called a degenerate on the internet,” nationalist figurehead Lauren Southern said in a recent video addressing her harassers.

    This reckoning was first predicted by alt-right researcher Angela Nagle, who wrote in February that “the philosophical irreconcilability between its paleo-conservatism, which aims for a return to traditional marriage while disapproving of porn and promiscuity, and the amoral libertine Internet culture from which all the real energy has emerged, will soon begin to show.”

    And the reckoning has come, with a vengeance. In the past few weeks, the MRAs have regularly hurled sexist slurs at women like Lauren Southern, Tara McCarthy and Lauren Rose, leveling the tired accusation that they’re posing as traditionalists for mere fame and attention.

    “They’re tricking a lot of men into thinking they’re the ideal, traditional woman when they’re no different than the skank I can find in any nightclub here,” Roosh V, a famous rape apologist blogger, said in a YouTube video posted Dec. 4. “In fact, in some cases, they are worse.”

    Sewing the white robes

    The far-right needs women as evangelists more than the misogynist extremists recognize. Nationalist women have been historically useful in cloaking the violent machismo of fascistic movements as a project for restoration of sacred values and civil society.

    “These women are very effective as propagandists,” James Allsup, a nationalist speaker and former College Republicans chapter president, told Mic. “There’s a clear and objective benefit in a movement to have people with the ability to reach the masses.”

    As historian Linda Gordon writes in The Second Coming of the KKK, women, who had recently won the right to vote, were vital to building Klan power throughout the 1920s, not just as a cultural powerhouse for white supremacist messaging, but in delivering a new electoral constituency to the polls for senators and congressmen sympathetic to the Klan.

    The KKK notoriously exaggerated its membership rolls in its propaganda, but Gordon estimates that as many as 1,500,000 women were members of Women’s Klu Klux Klan.

    “Women did a tremendous amount of Klan labor,” Gordon said. “Every time they put on a big pageants, or a big lecture, you can be sure it would be women doing the publicity, collecting the food, and other standard women’s roles.”

    Eventually, the vision of empowerment offered to the women of the KKK found its limits. Men stepped in to exert their power, assigning their own leadership over the WKKK, as women resisted sending their monetary dues up to the male leadership of the Klan. In 1923, women leaders even moved their headquarters to Little Rock, Arkansas, away from the Atlanta headquarters of the KKK, as a gesture of their autonomy. All the while, it was largely women holding fundraisers and running Sunday school-like youth programs to train the next generation of the Klan.

    By this time, it was clear women would be expected to uphold all of the responsibilities of male KKK organizers, while also taking a backseat and fulfilling essential domestic obligations.

    The Red Pill, or the Black Pill

    This power dynamic isn’t relegated to the 1920s. As a former skinhead, Shannon Martinez saw this story play out in her own relationship with the white power movement of the 1990s, pulling double-duty as a homemaker for adolescent racists even as she tried organizing her own efforts for recruitment and evangelism.

    “We could organize and put up fliers, but it was expected that I asked permission from whatever guy I was dating,” Martinez told Mic.

    Martinez has dedicated her time since leaving the movement 25 years ago — a boyfriend’s mother helped pull her out — to helping other young people get out, too. She volunteers with Life After Hate, a group that helps white supremacists leave their communities by providing an empathetic support network to young members of modern hate groups so that they can find a path away.

    Martinez isn’t the only one who sees an opportunity to teach and reform. There are white nationalists who believe that these extreme misogynists can be rehabilitated through the same fascistic appeals that have led disaffected young men into the arms of extremist groups for a century.

    “What we need to do to counter the nihilism is give them a vision of the future,” Matthew Heimbach, one of the country’s leading neo-Nazi leaders, told Mic. “When they get up in the morning, they need to know their sacrifice means something, and their life matters.”

    Kirsten Lauryn, a rising right-wing YouTuber who identifies as a Catholic “monarchist,” told Mic that though she’s been on the receiving end of these aggressors, she knows their pain. Though she refers to her harassers as “pathetic weasels,” she sees their grievances as akin to her own struggles with women she grew up with, who wanted independence and a career over a future as homemaker.

    “I feel sympathy for these men who’ve given up, because it’s something I’ve felt in my own life toward women friends I’ve known in the past — the progressive types who are keen on destroying marriages,” Lauryn said.

    These warring visions of patriarchy — an agrarian return to the home and kitchen for women, versus the “white sharia” of overt violence and oppression — are both animated by the same classic tropes of fascistic obsession: an alleged downfall of Western civilization, the erosion of so-called family values and the fear of lost status amid the increased enfranchisement of oppressed minorities. While the white nationalists of the new far-right see the two visions as incompatible, even some of their strongest voices have trouble imagining a compromise.

    Even without the explicit misogynists and MRAs, Southern and the women of the far-right will have to reckon with exactly how much independence the men at the helm of white nationalism are willing to tolerate. The irony, if not absolute hypocrisy, is lost on no one.

    “Admit it, Lauren,” one commenter responded. “You’re focusing on your career.”

    ———-

    “The women of the “alt-right” are speaking out against misogyny. They’d prefer absolute patriarchy.” by Jack Smith IV; Mic; 12/08/2017

    “But over the past few weeks, a small faction of devoted misogynists within the far-right is leading a wave of harassment against prominent white nationalist women. Male chauvinist celebrities have lead online “thot patrols” and dug up photos of far-right women who’ve allegedly dated men of color.”

    That’s right, in the middle of thise #metoo moment for the broader public, a group of Alt Right misogynists decided to harass the prominent women of the Alt Right. It’s rather instructional. And the harassers include some prominent YouTube personalities:


    And the reckoning has come, with a vengeance. In the past few weeks, the MRAs have regularly hurled sexist slurs at women like Lauren Southern, Tara McCarthy and Lauren Rose, leveling the tired accusation that they’re posing as traditionalists for mere fame and attention.

    “They’re tricking a lot of men into thinking they’re the ideal, traditional woman when they’re no different than the skank I can find in any nightclub here,” Roosh V, a famous rape apologist blogger, said in a YouTube video posted Dec. 4. “In fact, in some cases, they are worse.”

    Roosh V, a famous rape apologist blogger (that’s a thing), just called the ‘traditionalist’ YouTube video bloggers of the Alt Right phonies who are skanks. We probably should have seen this coming. Which some did see coming:


    This reckoning was first predicted by alt-right researcher Angela Nagle, who wrote in February that “the philosophical irreconcilability between its paleo-conservatism, which aims for a return to traditional marriage while disapproving of porn and promiscuity, and the amoral libertine Internet culture from which all the real energy has emerged, will soon begin to show.”

    Behold the Alt Right culture clash: the traditionalists who want a patriarchy that at least pretends to exalt white women vs the contemporary libertine Internet culture trollish Alt Right male who wants nothing to do with those pretenses and gets a thrill out of humiliating women and jokes/fantasizes about ‘White Sharia’. It’s quite a culture clash. And the ‘traditionalist’ men have to make a choice in this clash because they need to choose sides and its unclear which one they’ll pick:


    “Men in the alt-right are going to have to decide whether they will continue to passively/actively endorse this behavior, or speak out against it,” far-right video personality Tara McCarthy wrote in a now-deleted series of tweets. “If you want more women speaking publicly about ethno-nationalism, I suggest you choose the latter.”

    This recent conflict has been poorly framed in the media as the women of the alt-right suddenly discovering misogyny within the movement. But the nationalist right’s most prominent women, many of whom are Christian fundamentalists, are perfectly fine with a patriarchy that wants to relegate women to the roles of homemakers and child-bearers.

    The true reckoning among white nationalists is one that’s been coming to a boil since the inception of the so-called “alt-right.” In its infancy, the rise of the alt-right brought white nationalists into an uneasy alliance with some of the internet’s most destructive misogynists. And now that there’s a rising uptick against nationalist women, the men of the far-right must either mitigate or exile this new strain of misogynist extremism, or risk cannibalizing their most effective stars and propagandists.

    “And now that there’s a rising uptick against nationalist women, the men of the far-right must either mitigate or exile this new strain of misogynist extremism, or risk cannibalizing their most effective stars and propagandists.”

    Are the ‘Red Pill’ men of the Alt Right up the task of either mitigating or exiling misogynist extremist? On one hand, when you’re more extreme than neo-Nazis in your misogyny, it seems like it should be easy to find reasons to exile you. But not when it’s neo-Nazis who need to do the exiling. The misogynist extremists are their natural allies, and potential future recruits. It’s a real dilemma for this coalition of haters.

    But they’ll have to pick a side sooner or later, because it sounds like the extreme misogynists relish going after their female Alt Right allies. And just tearing things and people down in general. And “White Sharia”:


    But along the way, the white nationalist movement was introduced to a new source of recruitment: the virulent misogynists and men’s rights activists who came into the alt-right through forums like 4chan and Reddit. While ethno-nationalists preach veneration of white women willing to submit to patriarchy and traditionalism, many MRAs animated purely by male grievance prefer explicit hatred for women. Where most on the right refer to the process of awakening to the evils of liberalism as taking the “red pill,” these are men who describe their philosophy as the “black pill” of apocalyptic nihilism.

    A favorite meme of this crowd is “white sharia,” which white nationalist and ex-marine Sacco Vandal described in a recent blog post as “a rallying cry for the disillusioned young men in our movement as well as their guiding light.”

    “Sharia law, though practiced today by some of the world’s most despicable races, is the only living example of anything that even remotely approximates the patriarchal society that Western man once had himself,” Vandal wrote.

    The worst of this scorn is often reserved for the women within the far-right, undertaking sexist witch hunts meant to shame them for showing leadership in what they see as a man’s movement.

    “I’m not going to get married at 22 years old just so that I won’t be called a degenerate on the internet,” nationalist figurehead Lauren Southern said in a recent video addressing her harassers.

    “The worst of this scorn is often reserved for the women within the far-right, undertaking sexist witch hunts meant to shame them for showing leadership in what they see as a man’s movement.”

    So is the Alt Right doomed to implode under the weight of its mutual loathing/fearing? Well, there is hope. The women might just put up with all the harassment and they can all unite behind the fact that they’re all fighting for some form of “White Sharia”. The ‘traditionalist’ version just pretends to respect the women. Otherwise the overlap between these factions of the Alt Right is pretty massive so it’s possible:


    Kirsten Lauryn, a rising right-wing YouTuber who identifies as a Catholic “monarchist,” told Mic that though she’s been on the receiving end of these aggressors, she knows their pain. Though she refers to her harassers as “pathetic weasels,” she sees their grievances as akin to her own struggles with women she grew up with, who wanted independence and a career over a future as homemaker.

    “I feel sympathy for these men who’ve given up, because it’s something I’ve felt in my own life toward women friends I’ve known in the past — the progressive types who are keen on destroying marriages,” Lauryn said.

    These warring visions of patriarchy — an agrarian return to the home and kitchen for women, versus the “white sharia” of overt violence and oppression — are both animated by the same classic tropes of fascistic obsession: an alleged downfall of Western civilization, the erosion of so-called family values and the fear of lost status amid the increased enfranchisement of oppressed minorities. While the white nationalists of the new far-right see the two visions as incompatible, even some of their strongest voices have trouble imagining a compromise.

    “These warring visions of patriarchy — an agrarian return to the home and kitchen for women, versus the “white sharia” of overt violence and oppression — are both animated by the same classic tropes of fascistic obsession: an alleged downfall of Western civilization, the erosion of so-called family values and the fear of lost status amid the increased enfranchisement of oppressed minorities.”

    Can’t we all just get along? That’s the question for the Alt Right these days now that the misogynist extremist “White Sharia” fans figured out that it was fun attacking and tearing down the women on the far-right and the answer isn’t at all clear. The freedom to flagrantly not get along – until they seize control and impose neo-Nazi “White Sharia” authoritarianism, at which point everyone will be forced to ‘get along’ in a very unpleasant way – is part of what they’re fighting for.

    Political umbrella movements often run into difficulties getting along with each other. But this is an umbrella movement of neo-Nazis getting along with “White Sharia” misogynist extremists who tend to be super-trolls too. That’s not a great recipe for anyone getting along with anyone. And yet they must if “White Sharia” is going to be realized. The neo-Nazis and extreme misogynists are natural allies, but they need those neo-Nazi women too. It’s a fascinating challenge for the far-right.

    So that’s how the #metoo ‘moment’ is playing out on the Alt Right. Of course.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 18, 2017, 11:18 pm
  2. There was a genuinely chilling recent opinion piece in the New York Times a particular technological development that threatens to super-charge the Big Lies that drive our world: as anyone who saw the file Star Wars film “Rogue One” knows well, the technology required to create a nearly life-like computer-generated videos of a real person is already a reality. So far it’s a reality largely limited to big movie studios, but that’s not going to last. And when this technology becomes available to almost anyone, it’s more or less a foregone conclusion that we’re going to see a flood of fake videos about designed to destroy people, especially politicians:

    The New York Times
    Opinion

    Our Hackable Political Future

    By HENRY J. FARRELL and RICK PERLSTEIN
    FEB. 4, 2018

    Imagine it is the spring of 2019. A bottom-feeding website, perhaps tied to Russia, “surfaces” video of a sex scene starring an 18-year-old Kirsten Gillibrand. It is soon debunked as a fake, the product of a user-friendly video application that employs generative adversarial network technology to convincingly swap out one face for another.

    It is the summer of 2019, and the story, predictably, has stuck around — part talk-show joke, part right-wing talking point. “It’s news,” political journalists say in their own defense. “People are talking about it. How can we not?”

    Then it is fall. The junior senator from New York State announces her campaign for the presidency. At a diner in New Hampshire, one “low information” voter asks another: “Kirsten What’s-her-name? She’s running for president? Didn’t she have something to do with pornography?”

    Welcome to the shape of things to come. In 2016 Gareth Edwards, the director of the Star Wars film “Rogue One,” was able to create a scene featuring a young Princess Leia by manipulating images of Carrie Fisher as she looked in 1977. Mr. Edwards had the best hardware and software a $200 million Hollywood budget could buy. Less than two years later, images of similar quality can be created with software available for free download on Reddit. That was how a faked video supposedly of the actress Emma Watson in a shower with another woman ended up on the website Celeb Jihad.

    Programs like these have many legitimate applications. They can help computer-security experts probe for weaknesses in their defenses and help self-driving cars learn how to navigate unusual weather conditions. But as the novelist William Gibson once said, “The street finds its own uses for things.” So do rogue political actors. The implications for democracy are eye-opening.

    The conservative political activist James O’Keefe has created a cottage industry manipulating political perceptions by editing footage in misleading ways. In 2018, low-tech editing like Mr. O’Keefe’s is already an anachronism: Imagine what even less scrupulous activists could do with the power to create “video” framing real people for things they’ve never actually done. One harrowing potential eventuality: Fake video and audio may become so convincing that it can’t be distinguished from real recordings, rendering audio and video evidence inadmissible in court.

    A program called Face2Face, developed at Stanford, films one person speaking, then manipulates that person’s image to resemble someone else’s. Throw in voice manipulation technology, and you can literally make anyone say anything — or at least seem to.

    The technology isn’t quite there; Princess Leia was a little wooden, if you looked carefully. But it’s closer than you might think. And even when fake video isn’t perfect, it can convince people who want to be convinced, especially when it reinforces offensive gender or racial stereotypes.

    In 2007, Barack Obama’s political opponents insisted that footage existed of Michelle Obama ranting against “whitey.” In the future, they may not have to worry about whether it actually existed. If someone called their bluff, they may simply be able to invent it, using data from stock photos and pre-existing footage.

    The next step would be one we are already familiar with: the exploitation of the algorithms used by social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to spread stories virally to those most inclined to show interest in them, even if those stories are fake.

    It might be impossible to stop the advance of this kind of technology. But the relevant algorithms here aren’t only the ones that run on computer hardware. They are also the ones that undergird our too easily hacked media system, where garbage acquires the perfumed scent of legitimacy with all too much ease. Editors, journalists and news producers can play a role here — for good or for bad.

    Outlets like Fox News spread stories about the murder of Democratic staff members and F.B.I. conspiracies to frame the president. Traditional news organizations, fearing that they might be left behind in the new attention economy, struggle to maximize “engagement with content.”

    This gives them a built-in incentive to spread informational viruses that enfeeble the very democratic institutions that allow a free media to thrive. Cable news shows consider it their professional duty to provide “balance” by giving partisan talking heads free rein to spout nonsense — or amplify the nonsense of our current president.

    It already feels as though we are living in an alternative science-fiction universe where no one agrees on what it true. Just think how much worse it will be when fake news becomes fake video. Democracy assumes that its citizens share the same reality. We’re about to find out whether democracy can be preserved when this assumption no longer holds.

    ———-

    “Our Hackable Political Future” by HENRY J. FARRELL and RICK PERLSTEIN; The New York Times; 02/04/2018

    “It already feels as though we are living in an alternative science-fiction universe where no one agrees on what it true. Just think how much worse it will be when fake news becomes fake video. Democracy assumes that its citizens share the same reality. We’re about to find out whether democracy can be preserved when this assumption no longer holds.”

    Can democracy survive the era of really, really convincingly real fake news? Fake news that looks and sounds completely real? We’ll see, but when you look at the hypothetical scenarios they described, it’s hard to imagine that there aren’t political dirty-tricks teams already working overtime on carrying out exactly this kind of attack:


    Imagine it is the spring of 2019. A bottom-feeding website, perhaps tied to Russia, “surfaces” video of a sex scene starring an 18-year-old Kirsten Gillibrand. It is soon debunked as a fake, the product of a user-friendly video application that employs generative adversarial network technology to convincingly swap out one face for another.

    It is the summer of 2019, and the story, predictably, has stuck around — part talk-show joke, part right-wing talking point. “It’s news,” political journalists say in their own defense. “People are talking about it. How can we not?”

    Then it is fall. The junior senator from New York State announces her campaign for the presidency. At a diner in New Hampshire, one “low information” voter asks another: “Kirsten What’s-her-name? She’s running for president? Didn’t she have something to do with pornography?”

    Welcome to the shape of things to come. In 2016 Gareth Edwards, the director of the Star Wars film “Rogue One,” was able to create a scene featuring a young Princess Leia by manipulating images of Carrie Fisher as she looked in 1977. Mr. Edwards had the best hardware and software a $200 million Hollywood budget could buy. Less than two years later, images of similar quality can be created with software available for free download on Reddit. That was how a faked video supposedly of the actress Emma Watson in a shower with another woman ended up on the website Celeb Jihad.

    A program called Face2Face, developed at Stanford, films one person speaking, then manipulates that person’s image to resemble someone else’s. Throw in voice manipulation technology, and you can literally make anyone say anything — or at least seem to.

    And it’s even harder to imagine that there aren’t political dirty-tricks teams specifically being led by the right-wing’s rogue gallery of dirty-tricks political operatives like James O’Keefe. His ‘gotcha’ videos won’t have to rely on deceptive editing in the future. Because there’s no doubt going to be a whole right-wing dirty-tricks special effects team:


    Programs like these have many legitimate applications. They can help computer-security experts probe for weaknesses in their defenses and help self-driving cars learn how to navigate unusual weather conditions. But as the novelist William Gibson once said, “The street finds its own uses for things.” So do rogue political actors. The implications for democracy are eye-opening.

    The conservative political activist James O’Keefe has created a cottage industry manipulating political perceptions by editing footage in misleading ways. In 2018, low-tech editing like Mr. O’Keefe’s is already an anachronism: Imagine what even less scrupulous activists could do with the power to create “video” framing real people for things they’ve never actually done. One harrowing potential eventuality: Fake video and audio may become so convincing that it can’t be distinguished from real recordings, rendering audio and video evidence inadmissible in court.

    And when those future fraudulent special effects videos are put out there, it’s hard to imagine they aren’t going to be wildly promoted, either by gaming the social media algorithms or just letting unscrupulous figures in the media promote them for the extra clicks:


    The next step would be one we are already familiar with: the exploitation of the algorithms used by social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to spread stories virally to those most inclined to show interest in them, even if those stories are fake.

    It might be impossible to stop the advance of this kind of technology. But the relevant algorithms here aren’t only the ones that run on computer hardware. They are also the ones that undergird our too easily hacked media system, where garbage acquires the perfumed scent of legitimacy with all too much ease. Editors, journalists and news producers can play a role here — for good or for bad.

    And let’s not forget what just happened in 2016: The Trump campaign and its media allies went all in on promoting #pizzagate, the ‘Alt-Right’ meme of a giant pizza parlor pedophile conspiracy designed to smear Hillary Clinton. Now imagine a disinformation operation like that in the era of the above describe software. That’s going to be a major feature in the future of politics. The Big Lie is about to get supplementary audio and video.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 6, 2018, 4:39 pm
  3. Following up on the recent article speculating about the potential impact on politics and public life of the emerging special effects technology used to create realistic looking videos that superimpose a person’s face on another body, allowing for all sorts of smear videos, here’s a glimpse of how far along this technology is: both Twitter and PornHub, the online pornography giant, are already taking action to remove numerous “Deepfake” videos of celebrities being super-imposed onto porn actors in response to the flood of such videos that are already being generated:

    PC Magazine

    PornHub, Twitter Ban ‘Deepfake’ AI-Modified Porn
    Deepfakes, for the uninitiated, are fake porn videos created by using a machine learning algorithm to match someone’s face to another person’s body.

    By Angela Moscaritolo
    February 7, 2018 10:10AM EST

    It might be kind of comical to see Nicolas Cage’s face on the body of a woman, but expect to see less of this type of content floating around on PornHub and Twitter in the future.

    As Motherboard first reported, both sites are taking action against artificial intelligence-powered pornography, known as “deepfakes.”

    Deepfakes, for the uninitiated, are porn videos created by using a machine learning algorithm to match someone’s face to another person’s body. Loads of celebrities have had their faces used in porn scenes without their consent, and the results are almost flawless. Check out the SFW example below for a better idea of what we’re talking about.
    [see chillingly realistic video of Nicolas Cage’s head on a woman’s body]
    In a statement to PCMag on Wednesday, PornHub Vice President Corey Price said the company in 2015 introduced a submission form, which lets users easily flag nonconsensual content like revenge porn for removal. People have also started using that tool to flag deepfakes, he said.

    The company still has a lot of cleaning up to do. Motherboard reported there are still tons of deepfakes on PornHub.

    “I was able to easily find dozens of deepfakes posted in the last few days, many under the search term ‘deepfakes’ or with deepfakes and the name of celebrities in the title of the video,” Motherboard’s Samantha Cole wrote.

    Over on Twitter, meanwhile, users can now be suspended for posting deepfakes and other nonconsensual porn.

    “We will suspend any account we identify as the original poster of intimate media that has been produced or distributed without the subject’s consent,” a Twitter spokesperson told Motherboard. “We will also suspend any account dedicated to posting this type of content.”

    The site reported that Discord and Gfycat take a similar stance on deepfakes. For now, these types of videos appear to be primarily circulating via Reddit, where the deepfake community currently boasts around 90,000 subscribers.

    ———-

    “PornHub, Twitter Ban ‘Deepfake’ AI-Modified Porn” by Angela Moscaritolo; PC Magazine; 02/07/2018

    “Deepfakes, for the uninitiated, are porn videos created by using a machine learning algorithm to match someone’s face to another person’s body. Loads of celebrities have had their faces used in porn scenes without their consent, and the results are almost flawless. Check out the SFW example below for a better idea of what we’re talking about.”

    Yep, this technology is already clearly at the point where it’s both highly realistic looking and easy enough to use that lots of people can use it. So even after PornHub took these steps to remove this content, the reporter from Motherboard was easily able to find dozens of deepfakes posted just in the last few days:


    The company still has a lot of cleaning up to do. Motherboard reported there are still tons of deepfakes on PornHub.

    “I was able to easily find dozens of deepfakes posted in the last few days, many under the search term ‘deepfakes’ or with deepfakes and the name of celebrities in the title of the video,” Motherboard’s Samantha Cole wrote.

    So how big is this going to get as the technology develops and gets easier to use? Well, Reddit already has 90,000 subscribers to a “deepfake” community:


    The site reported that Discord and Gfycat take a similar stance on deepfakes. For now, these types of videos appear to be primarily circulating via Reddit, where the deepfake community currently boasts around 90,000 subscribers.

    And keep in mind that, while this technology is primarily being used for celebrities right now, there’s going to come a point when someone develops a simple app that let’s you take a quick video of someone and then transpose them on someone else where almost no skill or training is required and just a few button pushes lets anyone create that incredibly creep Nicolas Cage video. Imagine what the ‘revenge porn’ issue is going to be like when that kind of technology is widely available. Or politics. Or pretty much anything where you’re reputation is important.

    So that’s all part of the very near future: anyone will have the ability to create realistic fake videos of almost anyone. With ease.

    How will this impact society beyond the obvious implications on stuff like ‘revenge porn’ or politics? Well, the odds are that society will eventually be so inundated with this stuff that almost all videos will just be assumed to be fakes until additional evidence is provided. And that’s going to take us into a whole new very weird situation where people just assume everything is fake and nothing can be trusted. And, on the one hand, that assumption that everything is fake could oddly create a solution of sorts to the creepiness of living in a society where cameras are everyone and much of what we do is being recorded. But on the other hand, it’s hard to ignore the fact that “Fake News” has become one of the most effective techniques used by the far-right to refute virtually any story or narrative that they find inconvenient and intellectually soften up their audience to believe almost anything. It’s one of the crazy quirks of human psychology: if you convince people that no sources of information can be trust they’re going to be much more open to trusting very untrustworthy sources.

    And that points towards one of the most chilling potential applications of this technology that we should expect: the aggressive pushing of fake videos that are intended to be exposed as fakes for the purpose of convincing the populace that nothing can be trusted.

    So while the Big Lie is about to get supplementary audio and video, it’s worth keeping in mind that a lot of video will probably be intended to be exposed as a lie in order fuel distrust of everything which is exactly the kind of situation where the Big Lie can get a lot bigger.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 8, 2018, 4:47 pm
  4. It looks like the ‘Alt-Right’ campaign to push former Senator Al Franken to resign had help from an unexpected source: Japanese twitter bots.

    According to research by analysts at Unhack the Vote, a voting rights outfit, Roger Stone isn’t the only individual who demonstrated foreknowledge of the story of Leanne Tweeden’s accusations. It turns out there was a Japanese twitter bot network which controls a large pool of dummy Twitter accounts (the “bots”) that also demonstrated such foreknowledge.

    This bot network normally just retweeted tweets related posted on Japanese topics, celebrities, bitcoin, and sports. But on November 15th, a Japanese developer named Atsufumi Otsuka registering a web domain in Japan called RealUSA.site. That’s the same day Roger Stone announced over Twitter that it’s Franken’s “time in the barrel” and one day before the story broke.

    Then, on November 20th, Alt-Right provocateur Charles Johnson tweeted, “Thinking of offering money to people who go on tv and say Al Frank is a predator.” That same day, Otsuka registered a second domain in Japan for another fake-news site, VotyUS.me.

    The two fake news sites were finally put to use on December 7, shortly before Democrats started calling for Franken to step down. The sites re-published an article by Ijeoma Oluo, a liberal writer, urging women and activists to stop supporting Franken. Oluo’s piece, titled “Dear Al Franken, I’ll Miss You but You Can’t Matter Anymore,” was posted on relatively obscure website that only had a reach of of 10,000 followers. But once the article got reposted to those two fake news sites the twitter bot networking suddenly sprang into action, with thousands of fake Twitter accounts tweeting the title of the article—but linking back to repost of the article on the fake news sites, RealUSA.site or VotyUS.me.

    And while it’s not clear who paid for the Twitter-bot activity, it’s hard to ignore the coincidental timing. And researchers have concluded that it wasn’t cheap. They estimate that it required dozens of hours of initial development time and at least one person working full time to produce and distribute content. So the whole task of setting up this Japanese Twitter bot army to amplify the calls for Senator Franken to step down was deemed by whoever paid for it to be with the time and money:

    Newsweek

    How an Alt-Right Bot Network Took Down Al Franken

    By Nina Burleigh
    On 2/19/18 at 6:00 AM

    White nationalist provocateurs, a pair of fake news sites, an army of Twitter bots and other cyber tricks helped derail Democratic Senator Al Franken last year, new research shows.

    While everyone has been focused on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election to support Donald Trump, the Franken takedown originated in—and was propelled by—a strategic online campaign with digital tentacles reaching to, of all places, Japan. Analysts have now mapped out how Hooters pinup girl and lad-mag model Leeann Tweeden’s initial accusation against Franken became effective propaganda after right-wing black ops master Roger Stone first hinted at the allegation.

    A pair of Japan-based websites, created the day before Tweeden came forward, and a swarm of related Twitter bots made the Tweeden story go viral and then weaponized a liberal writer’s criticism of Franken. The bot army—in tandem with prominent real, live members of the far right who have Twitter followers in the millions, such as Mike Cernovich—spewed thousands of posts, helping the #FrankenFondles hashtag and the “Franken is a groper” meme effectively silence the testimonies of eight former female staffers who defended the Minnesota Democrat before he resigned last year.

    The operation commenced on November 15, when Stone—who is now banned from Twitter for racism and profanity—tweeted from one of his accounts “Roger Stone says it’s Al Franken’s ‘time in the barrel.’ Franken next in long list of Democrats accused of ‘grabby’ behavior.”

    On the same day, a developer named Atsufumi Otsuka registered a web domain in Japan called RealUSA.site, and a fake-news website soon emerged at that web address, according to research shared with the voting rights outfit Unhack the Vote.

    Tweeden’s account of Franken groping her was first amplified by a network of right-wing media, including KABC in Los Angeles, where Tweeden has a radio show, The Hill, Infowars and Breitbart, which mobilized within hours of Stone’s tweet and the release of a picture of a Tweeden and Franken at a USO performance before he was a senator.

    By November 17, the trending of “Al Franken” was officially also a Russian intelligence operation, according to the Alliance for Securing Democracy, an organization tracking Russian social media accounts, based on a sample taken that day of 600 of the fake accounts.

    Five days later, on November 20, right-wing provocateur Charles Johnson tweeted, “Thinking of offering money to people who go on tv and say Al Frank is a predator.”

    That same day, Otsuka registered a second domain in Japan for another fake-news site, VotyUS.me. Both accounts used the same Google analytics account ID and Apple app ID, and the name of the servers and registration for both sites were virtually identical, researchers found.

    On December 7, just before Democrats started calling for Franken to step down, the freshly minted Japan-based fake sites went to work and re-published an article by Ijeoma Oluo, a liberal writer, urging women and activists to stop supporting Franken. Oluo had posted the opinion piece, titled “Dear Al Franken, I’ll Miss You but You Can’t Matter Anymore,” on a much smaller website, with a reach of 10,000 followers.

    Suddenly, thousands of apparently fake Twitter accounts were tweeting the title of the article—but linking back to one of the two Japanese-registered fake-news sites created in conjunction with the right-wing anti-Franken campaign. The bot accounts normally tweeted about celebrities, bitcoin and sports, but on that day, they were mobilized against Franken. Researchers have found that each bot account had 30 to 60 followers, all Japanese. The first follower for each account was either Japanese or Russian.

    “We began to suspect that this legitimate opinion piece [by Oluo] had been weaponized for political gain by dozens of twitter accounts, all of them repeatedly tweeting links to the two domains registered in Japan in late November,” Unhack the Vote’s Mike Farb wrote in Medium. “Strong similarities between the accounts combined with clear connection to the two recently-established Japanese websites verified our suspicions.”

    Soon, Farb and company realized they had “stumbled upon a sophisticated botnet being used to spread alt-right propaganda.”

    The researcher who discovered the botnet has nicknamed it “the Voty botnet,” and it is still alive today, although currently not operating in service of any political propaganda. The researchers estimate that more than 400 accounts are in the botnet, although at any given time, only a subset are being deployed in the online American political wars.

    I will fully cover the legal expenses of any VICTIM of a Congressman who wants to come forward to tell her story. Break the secrecy. #UnsealTheDeals— Mike Cernovich ???? (@Cernovich) November 21, 2017

    The botnet has been spreading propaganda “for over two months now,” according to the researchers, and Twitter is aware of it, and has not stopped it. “We know this because Twitter has suspended some spam accounts that follow our Voty bots,” the researcher told Newsweek. “This shows that Twitter is aware that these ‘follower’ accounts are not legitimate. But if you look at the “who to follow” suggestion window when you are on a Voty botnet account, the suggestions are almost always other Voty Twitter bot accounts. This shows that Twitter is aware that these accounts are interrelated.”

    One question remains: Who is paying for this operation? The researchers believe that the operation was expensive. “We estimate dozens of hours of initial development time and at least one person working full time to produce and distribute content,” one of the researchers told Newsweek. “Additionally, it’s likely that an existing bot farm of compromised computers is basically being rented as a distributed host for these accounts.”

    Like targeted Facebook ads that Russian troll farms used in the 2016 election, Twitter bots have been around for years and were originally created for sales purposes. But since the 2016 election, arguably lost due to the right’s superior utilization of darker online strategies, the left is not known to have created or mobilized its own fake cyber army to amplify its viewpoint.

    “Agreed we need one,” Democratic digital media strategist Jess McIntosh, who worked on Franken’s campaign and for Hillary Clinton’s bid for president, said in an email to Newsweek. “But it’s harder to use these tactics when you can’t rely on either lies OR hate to do it.”


    ———-

    “How an Alt-Right Bot Network Took Down Al Franken” by Nina Burleigh; Newsweek;
    2/19/2018

    A pair of Japan-based websites, created the day before Tweeden came forward, and a swarm of related Twitter bots made the Tweeden story go viral and then weaponized a liberal writer’s criticism of Franken. The bot army—in tandem with prominent real, live members of the far right who have Twitter followers in the millions, such as Mike Cernovich—spewed thousands of posts, helping the #FrankenFondles hashtag and the “Franken is a groper” meme effectively silence the testimonies of eight former female staffers who defended the Minnesota Democrat before he resigned last year.”

    So on the same day Roger Stone sends out his now-infamous tweet, a Japanese developer registers one of the two fake news sites that’s going to be used in the campaign calling for Franken’s resignation:


    The operation commenced on November 15, when Stone—who is now banned from Twitter for racism and profanity—tweeted from one of his accounts “Roger Stone says it’s Al Franken’s ‘time in the barrel.’ Franken next in long list of Democrats accused of ‘grabby’ behavior.”

    On the same day, a developer named Atsufumi Otsuka registered a web domain in Japan called RealUSA.site, and a fake-news website soon emerged at that web address, according to research shared with the voting rights outfit Unhack the Vote.

    And then, five days later, we have Charles Johnson tweeting about his interest in paying people who go on tv to call Franken a predator. And the second fake new domain gets set up:


    Five days later, on November 20, right-wing provocateur Charles Johnson tweeted, “Thinking of offering money to people who go on tv and say Al Frank is a predator.”

    That same day, Otsuka registered a second domain in Japan for another fake-news site, VotyUS.me. Both accounts used the same Google analytics account ID and Apple app ID, and the name of the servers and registration for both sites were virtually identical, researchers found.

    Then a couple of weeks like, the two fake news sites get put into action. The thousands of fake Twitter accounts suddenly start tweeting out an article written by a liberal writer calling for Franken to resign. But they don’t link to the article on the original site. Instead, they link to copies of the article that were reposted on the two fake news sites:


    On December 7, just before Democrats started calling for Franken to step down, the freshly minted Japan-based fake sites went to work and re-published an article by Ijeoma Oluo, a liberal writer, urging women and activists to stop supporting Franken. Oluo had posted the opinion piece, titled “Dear Al Franken, I’ll Miss You but You Can’t Matter Anymore,” on a much smaller website, with a reach of 10,000 followers.

    Suddenly, thousands of apparently fake Twitter accounts were tweeting the title of the article—but linking back to one of the two Japanese-registered fake-news sites created in conjunction with the right-wing anti-Franken campaign. The bot accounts normally tweeted about celebrities, bitcoin and sports, but on that day, they were mobilized against Franken. Researchers have found that each bot account had 30 to 60 followers, all Japanese. The first follower for each account was either Japanese or Russian.

    And this Japanese ‘botnet’ of Twitter accounts is still pushing ‘Alt-Right’ propaganda today. Although not exclusively ‘Alt-Right’ propaganda. That’s just a subset of what it does, suggesting that this really just a botnet-for-hire that got hired by either Roger Stone or Charles Johnson:


    Soon, Farb and company realized they had “stumbled upon a sophisticated botnet being used to spread alt-right propaganda.”

    The researcher who discovered the botnet has nicknamed it “the Voty botnet,” and it is still alive today, although currently not operating in service of any political propaganda. The researchers estimate that more than 400 accounts are in the botnet, although at any given time, only a subset are being deployed in the online American political wars.

    I will fully cover the legal expenses of any VICTIM of a Congressman who wants to come forward to tell her story. Break the secrecy. #UnsealTheDeals— Mike Cernovich ???? (@Cernovich) November 21, 2017

    The botnet has been spreading propaganda “for over two months now,” according to the researchers, and Twitter is aware of it, and has not stopped it. “We know this because Twitter has suspended some spam accounts that follow our Voty bots,” the researcher told Newsweek. “This shows that Twitter is aware that these ‘follower’ accounts are not legitimate. But if you look at the “who to follow” suggestion window when you are on a Voty botnet account, the suggestions are almost always other Voty Twitter bot accounts. This shows that Twitter is aware that these accounts are interrelated.”

    But the question of who actually paid for this botnet-for-hire, along with the cost of setting of the two fake new sites, has yet to be answered. And these services probably were cheap:


    One question remains: Who is paying for this operation? The researchers believe that the operation was expensive. “We estimate dozens of hours of initial development time and at least one person working full time to produce and distribute content,” one of the researchers told Newsweek. “Additionally, it’s likely that an existing bot farm of compromised computers is basically being rented as a distributed host for these accounts.”

    Like targeted Facebook ads that Russian troll farms used in the 2016 election, Twitter bots have been around for years and were originally created for sales purposes. But since the 2016 election, arguably lost due to the right’s superior utilization of darker online strategies, the left is not known to have created or mobilized its own fake cyber army to amplify its viewpoint.

    So, while it’s unclear how much actual impact that this Twitter bot army had on how this issue unfolded, we appear to have a real-world glimpse here of how the right-wing troll network is harnessing such technologies to amplify their message and create an online echo-chamber where ‘everyone’ is suddenly saying the same thing. ‘Everyone’ suddenly saying same far-right thing that someone like Roger Stone or Charles Johnson paid them to say.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 19, 2018, 2:59 pm
  5. Here’s an update on Milo Yiannopoulus and what happened to his career after he was forced to step down as senior editor at Breitbart after publicly endorsing adults having sex with your teens. It’s an update that is particularly topical given the recent right-wing embrace of the Alex Jone ‘crisis actors’ meme – that the school shooting was a hoax and the students are actors – in the wake of the school shooting in Florida: It turns out Milo found a new media home. Selling overpriced supplements at Alex Jones’s InfoWars:

    AV Club

    Milo Yiannopoulos has been reduced to shilling “supplements” on InfoWars

    Gabe Worgaftik
    02/21/2018 4:13pm

    The last time we saw Milo Yiannopolous he was dropping the lawsuit he filed against publisher Simon & Schuster over the cancellation of his book deal. This was despite the fact that the discovery process had already made public the embarrassing notes process in which his increasingly frustrated editor repeatedly dunked all over him..

    It wasn’t so long ago that Yiannopolous was a star columnist for Breitbart. For a brief, glittering moment, Yiannopolous managed to parlay this position into many appearances on a number of reputable(ish) outlets, before falling victim to a series of increasingly mortifying self-induced public fiascos. Today, Yiannopolous has resurfaced and, as noticed by writer Ross McCafferty, his latest humiliation finds him at an outlet and with a job much more suited to his non-talents: hawking snake-oil health supplements at InfoWars.

    Milo is selling supplements on Infowars. This is not a drill. pic.twitter.com/zieQXOqtRi— Ross McCafferty (@RossMcCaff) February 21, 2018

    There’s a lot to savor in this 45-second clip. Enjoy the mass of papers for some reason all over his desk, a staple of the InfoWars style. Pause to breathe in the way Yiannopolous’ British accent really drives home exactly how indignant Milo is at having been reduced to selling garbage “Icuren 30-Day Liver Cleanse” to idiots via fake radio, when mere months ago he was selling made-up race wars to idiots via Fox News. Luxuriate in the muffled way he tries to psyche himself up to swallow some sugar pills, washing them down with bottled water that is surely not fluoride-free. This, unlike Alex Jones’ bullshit supplements, is the good stuff.

    ———–

    “Milo Yiannopoulos has been reduced to shilling “supplements” on InfoWars” by Gabe Worgaftik; AV Club; 02/21/2018

    “It wasn’t so long ago that Yiannopolous was a star columnist for Breitbart. For a brief, glittering moment, Yiannopolous managed to parlay this position into many appearances on a number of reputable(ish) outlets, before falling victim to a series of increasingly mortifying self-induced public fiascos. Today, Yiannopolous has resurfaced and, as noticed by writer Ross McCafferty, his latest humiliation finds him at an outlet and with a job much more suited to his non-talents: hawking snake-oil health supplements at InfoWars.

    Has Milo found his true calling? Perhaps, but also keep in mind that InfoWars is one of the best sites he could have found to rebuild his career as a far-right troll provocateur. After all, Breitbart and InfoWars have exploded in popularity with right-wing audiences in recent years, so he’s probably reaching much of the same audience at InfoWars tha he was at Breitbart. In fact, based on “Google trends”, both Breitbart and Infowars are now far more popular than Rush Limbaugh. So if hawking overpriced supplements is a demotion, it’s not much of demotion.

    And depending on how much of a cut Milo gets, who knows, he might actually be making more money now than ever. Because as the following article notes, those overpriced supplements are the bread and butter that finance Alex Jones’s media empire:

    BuzzFeed

    We Sent Alex Jones’ Infowars Supplements To A Lab. Here’s What’s In Them.

    “You could grab a bottle for around $10 and skip the 2X+ price markup from Infowars,” one lab review reads.

    Charlie Warzel
    BuzzFeed News Reporter
    Posted on August 9, 2017, at 5:12 p.m.

    Alex Jones’ wildly popular suite of Infowars supplements probably won’t kill you, but extensive tests provided to BuzzFeed News have shown that they’re little more than overpriced and ineffective blends of vitamins and minerals that have been sold in stores for ages.

    The independent test results are the work of Labdoor, a San Francisco–based lab that tests and grades dietary supplements. Labdoor ran full tests on six popular Infowars supplements to determine the exact makeup of each supplement and screen for various dangerous and illegal chemicals. It also investigated a few of the products that “claimed incredible benefits for what seemed like could just be simple ingredients.”

    “We tested samples in triplicate, and wherever possible, cross-checked those results with at least two independent analytical laboratories, so we have complete trust in our conclusions,” Brian Brandley, Labdoor’s laboratory director, told BuzzFeed News.

    All of the test results were largely the same: The products are — more or less — accurately advertised. They don’t contain significantly more or less of a particular ingredient than listed on the bottles, and there are no surprise ingredients. They’re also reasonably safe, meaning they passed heavy metal contaminant screenings and tested free of stimulants, depressants, and other prohibited drugs.

    But just because the products’ ingredients matched their labels doesn’t mean they lived up to Jones’ claims. Survival Shield X-2, for example, “is just plain iodine, the same stuff doctors used to pour on surfaces as a disinfectant,” Labdoor’s results read.

    When the company tested Anthroplex, which retails for $29.95, it found that there was so little zinc that “if you’re extremely zinc deficient, the value…is not going to be significantly helpful.” The report notes that “you could actually get another zinc orotate supplement for around $5 WITH an impactful serving size,” before concluding simply that “this product is a waste of money.”

    This claim — that the Infowars supplements often contained less effective serving sizes than their less expensive counterparts — was a running theme in Labdoor’s results. In almost every example, Labdoor’s tests and reviews describe the products as little more than heavily overpriced supplements with few health benefits, if any.

    As Jones’ popularity has risen, so has his supplements business, which sources have told BuzzFeed News largely funds Jones’ highly controversial Infowars media empire — home to incendiary conspiracies including but not limited to #Pizzagate, that the Sandy Hook massacre was faked, and that murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich provided WikiLeaks with the DNC emails — in addition to acting as a kind of lifestyle-brand complement to Jones’ particular brand of conspiracy-minded, fear-fueled programming.

    “He can sell 500 supplements in an hour,” a former employee told BuzzFeed News this spring. “It’s like QVC for conspiracy.” One estimate by New York magazine — which uses some back-of-the-envelope calculations based on the number of reviews of supplements on Jones’ Infowars Life Store — suggests that, with an average supplement price of $30, Jones could haul in $15,000,000 in sales over a two-year period. A second, less conservative estimate from the magazine puts the figure even higher — nearly $25,000,000 without including repeat customers (of which there are likely many).

    ———-

    “We Sent Alex Jones’ Infowars Supplements To A Lab. Here’s What’s In Them.” by Charlie Warzel; BuzzFeed; 08/09/2017

    “As Jones’ popularity has risen, so has his supplements business, which sources have told BuzzFeed News largely funds Jones’ highly controversial Infowars media empire — home to incendiary conspiracies including but not limited to #Pizzagate, that the Sandy Hook massacre was faked, and that murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich provided WikiLeaks with the DNC emails — in addition to acting as a kind of lifestyle-brand complement to Jones’ particular brand of conspiracy-minded, fear-fueled programming.”

    So according to BuzzFeed’s sources, it’s those supplements that Yiannopoulos was hawking that largely funds Jones’ media empire. And it’s a rapidly growing empire so those supplements are presumably fueling that growth too, which doesn’t sound outlandish if the following estimates about how much Jones makes each year off these supplements are accurate:


    “He can sell 500 supplements in an hour,” a former employee told BuzzFeed News this spring. “It’s like QVC for conspiracy.” One estimate by New York magazine — which uses some back-of-the-envelope calculations based on the number of reviews of supplements on Jones’ Infowars Life Store — suggests that, with an average supplement price of $30, Jones could haul in $15,000,000 in sales over a two-year period. A second, less conservative estimate from the magazine puts the figure even higher — nearly $25,000,000 without including repeat customers (of which there are likely many).

    $15-25 million a year from selling InfoWars-brand supplements. That’s not chump change. It’s a chump fortune. And that’s what Milo Yiannopoulos is now selling to the InfoWars audience to rebuild his career. And, ironically, peddling overpriced supplements is far less harmful and deceptive than what Yiannopoulos was peddling before his downfall. After all, these supplements at least don’t appear to be filled with poisons:


    All of the test results were largely the same: The products are — more or less — accurately advertised. They don’t contain significantly more or less of a particular ingredient than listed on the bottles, and there are no surprise ingredients. They’re also reasonably safe, meaning they passed heavy metal contaminant screenings and tested free of stimulants, depressants, and other prohibited drugs.

    So there we go: Milo Yiannopoulos has shifted from peddling far-right poison to now peddling largely harmless, if overpriced, supplements. If those supplements weren’t funding a giant information-poison factory like InfoWars this downfall would almost be a positive turn for Milo.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 22, 2018, 4:22 pm
  6. Here’s another example of contemporary far-right youth outreach efforts. It’s a particularly disturbing example:

    A white supremacist was just caught working for a school middle Florida. again. They were caught largely because they were openly bragging about it. Openly but anonymously bragging about it on their white nationalist podcast. Thanks to some sleuthing by the blog Angry White Men and the Huffington Post, the anonymous podcaster who goes by the name “Tiana Dalichov” was identified as Dayanna Volitich, a 25-year-old social studies teach at Crystal River Middle School in Florida.

    During her most recent podcast, Volitich scoffed at the notion that there aren’t racial differences in IQ and boasted about how she injects her views into the classroom and just denies it to the principal when the parents complain. She also agreed with her guest’s suggestion that more white supremacists need to infiltrate the classroom:

    The Huffington Post

    Exclusive: Florida Public School Teacher Has A White Nationalist Podcast
    Dayanna Volitich suggests Muslims be eradicated from the earth, believes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories … and teaches middle school social studies.

    By Christopher Mathias, Jenna Amatulli, and Rebecca Klein
    03/03/2018 12:02 pm ET Updated

    UPDATE – March 4: Dayanna Volitich has been “removed from the classroom,” Citrus County School District Superintendent Sandra Himmel announced Sunday in a statement.

    “On Friday, March 2, 2018, the Citrus County School District was made aware [by a HuffPost reporter] of a concerning podcast,” Himmel said in the statement. “The Human Resources department was notified and an investigation was initiated immediately. The teacher has been removed from the classroom and the investigation is ongoing.”

    PREVIOUSLY:

    Dayanna Volitich, a 25-year-old social studies teacher at Crystal River Middle School in Florida, has been secretly hosting the white nationalist podcast “Unapologetic” under the pseudonym “Tiana Dalichov” and bragging about teaching her views in a public school, HuffPost has discovered.

    In her most recent podcast on Feb. 26, a guest railed against diversity in schools, dismissing the idea that “a kid from Nigeria and a kid who came from Sweden are supposed to learn exactly the same” and have the “same IQ.” Volitich enthusiastically agreed with the guest, and went on to argue that “science” has proven that certain races are smarter than others.

    In the same episode, Volitich boasted about bringing her white nationalist beliefs into the classroom and hiding her ideology from administrators. She said that when parents complained to the school’s principal about how she is injecting political bias into the classroom, Volitich lied to the principal and said it was not true.

    “She believed me and backed off,” she said.

    Volitich also agreed with her guest’s assertion that more white supremacists need to infiltrate public schools and become teachers. “They don’t have to be vocal about their views, but get in there!” her guest said. “Be more covert and just start taking over those places.”

    “Right,” Volitich said. “I’m absolutely one of them.”

    After HuffPost made inquiries about Volitich’s white nationalism to the Citrus County School District on Friday, “Tiana Dalichov” tweeted that she “might disappear for a while” and then set her account to private. She also scrubbed the website for her podcast.

    HuffPost took screenshots of many of the racist and incendiary statements she made online.

    [see screenshot of tweet]
    [see screenshot of tweet]
    [see screenshot of tweet]
    [see screenshot of tweet]
    We also downloaded the episode of this week’s podcast, which you can listen to here (start at 01:30 for the aforementioned comments).
    [see audio clip of podcast]

    The school where Volitich works is overwhelmingly white. In the 2015-2016 school year, nearly 90 percent of the school’s students identified as white, per the National Center for Education Statistics. Only about 4 percent of students identify as black, and 3 percent identify as Hispanic. Most of the school’s students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

    Earlier this week, the blog Angry White Men, which tracks white nationalism, wrote a post about how someone named “Tiana Dalichov” had interviewed the prominent white supremacist media figure Lana Lokteff on this week’s episode of “Unapologetic.” Lokteff works for the media outfit Red Ice TV, which the Southern Poverty Law Center recently designated as a hate group.

    In the episode, “Tiana Dalichtov” talked openly about being a public school teacher, but didn’t reveal her real name or the school where she worked.

    HuffPost found a website promoting the writing of “Tiana Dalichov” that had a bio section listing the author’s home as Crystal City, Florida. Volitich is listed in public records as residing in Crystal City. She is also listed as being 25 years old. This year, when a fan tweeted at “Tiana Dalichov” asking how old she is, she responded that she was 25.

    On an episode of her podcast, she mentioned that last school year was her first year in the district where she works. Citrus County School District confirmed to HuffPost that Volitich started teaching in the district in August 2016.

    Volitich’s photo on the Crystal River Middle School website and social media profile photos of “Tiana Dalichov” appear to feature the same person. The photos show Volitich and “Dalichov” wearing the same set of earrings (seen at the top of this piece).

    Lastly, the names “Tiana Dalichov” and “Dayanna Volitich” share all but two of the same letters and the same number of syllables.

    In her podcast appearances and social media posts, Volitich talks regularly about being a teacher (even mentioning she teaches in Florida) and makes statements that are deeply alarming – particularly for someone tasked with shaping the minds of middle-school students.

    On this week’s podcast, Volitich said that when students ask her questions about current events, she responds with unbiased “facts.”

    But as “Tiana Dalichov,” Volitich has suggested “facts” such as that terrorism will continue unless Muslims are eradicated “from the face of the Earth.”

    [see screenshot of her calling for Muslims to be eradicated]
    [see screenshot of tweet where she talks about being penalized by Twitter for the second time a week for tweets about Islam]
    [see tweet blaming ‘Islam’ for terrorism]

    She has gushed about the work by anti-Semitic author Kevin MacDonald, and has said the “JQ is incredibly complex.” JQ stands for the “Jewish Question,” an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jewish people have undue influence over the media, banking and politics that must somehow be addressed.

    [see screenshot of tweet praising Kevin MacDonald book]
    [see screenshot of tweet talking the ‘Jewish Question’]
    She has repeatedly praised, defended and retweeted neo-Nazis and white supremacists including David Duke, Arthur Jones, Patrick Casey, Mark Collett and Mike Peinovich, aka Mike Enoch.
    [see screenshot of David Duke tweet she retweeted]

    Many white supremacists across America today lead double lives, advocating loudly and anonymously for white supremacy and fascism online while holding down respectable jobs and doing their best to keep their online lives hidden.

    But over the past year, some of them have been exposed. In June, the principal of a charter school in New Orleans was fired from his job after videos surfaced that showed him wearing rings associated with white nationalism. He had similarly appeared on white nationalist podcasts.

    A former Catholic substitute teacher and field hockey coach in Maryland was fired earlier this year after his school learned that he was also employed by the National Policy Institute – white supremacist Richard Spencer’s think tank – and the website Altright.com. Like Volitich, he posted on social media under a pseudonym. Additionally, he was in charge of Spencer’s security detail during the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017.

    Volitich made clear on another podcast this year that her students know her political beliefs.

    On an episode of the conservative “Resistance Podcast,” she said her students often repeatedly asked her who she was going to vote for in the 2016 election.

    She said we wouldn’t tell the students, fearing retribution from administrators. But she said she told them, “if you can figure out who I voted for, you can put the name in this basket on my desk and we’ll see how many of you can figure it out … I will give your class a reward.’”

    She said all of her students guessed correctly by using “logic” and “engaging” with what she was teaching.

    ———-

    “Exclusive: Florida Public School Teacher Has A White Nationalist Podcast” by Christopher Mathias, Jenna Amatulli, and Rebecca Klein; The Huffington Post; 03/03/2018

    “Volitich also agreed with her guest’s assertion that more white supremacists need to infiltrate public schools and become teachers. “They don’t have to be vocal about their views, but get in there!” her guest said. “Be more covert and just start taking over those places.”

    “Be more covert and just start taking over those places.” That was Volitich’s message. Along with a general white supremacist message. And she apparently was quite proud of how she injected this message into the classroom:


    Dayanna Volitich, a 25-year-old social studies teacher at Crystal River Middle School in Florida, has been secretly hosting the white nationalist podcast “Unapologetic” under the pseudonym “Tiana Dalichov” and bragging about teaching her views in a public school, HuffPost has discovered.

    In her most recent podcast on Feb. 26, a guest railed against diversity in schools, dismissing the idea that “a kid from Nigeria and a kid who came from Sweden are supposed to learn exactly the same” and have the “same IQ.” Volitich enthusiastically agreed with the guest, and went on to argue that “science” has proven that certain races are smarter than others.

    In the same episode, Volitich boasted about bringing her white nationalist beliefs into the classroom and hiding her ideology from administrators. She said that when parents complained to the school’s principal about how she is injecting political bias into the classroom, Volitich lied to the principal and said it was not true.

    “She believed me and backed off,” she said.

    And she apparently made her beliefs clear enough that all of her students knew exactly who she voted for in the 2016 presidential election (undoubtedly for Trump):


    Volitich made clear on another podcast this year that her students know her political beliefs.

    On an episode of the conservative “Resistance Podcast,” she said her students often repeatedly asked her who she was going to vote for in the 2016 election.

    She said we wouldn’t tell the students, fearing retribution from administrators. But she said she told them, “if you can figure out who I voted for, you can put the name in this basket on my desk and we’ll see how many of you can figure it out … I will give your class a reward.’”

    She said all of her students guessed correctly by using “logic” and “engaging” with what she was teaching.

    And this isn’t a somewhat ‘Alt Right’-ish very conservative person injecting her views into the classroom. She repeatedly praised, defended and retweeted neo-Nazis and white supremacists while posting as “Tiana Dalichov” on social media. And that’s presumably the viewpoint she was injecting into the classroom:


    But as “Tiana Dalichov,” Volitich has suggested “facts” such as that terrorism will continue unless Muslims are eradicated “from the face of the Earth.”

    [see screenshot of her calling for Muslims to be eradicated]
    [see screenshot of tweet where she talks about being penalized by Twitter for the second time a week for tweets about Islam]
    [see tweet blaming ‘Islam’ for terrorism]

    She has gushed about the work by anti-Semitic author Kevin MacDonald, and has said the “JQ is incredibly complex.” JQ stands for the “Jewish Question,” an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jewish people have undue influence over the media, banking and politics that must somehow be addressed.

    She has repeatedly praised, defended and retweeted neo-Nazis and white supremacists including David Duke, Arthur Jones, Patrick Casey, Mark Collett and Mike Peinovich, aka Mike Enoch.

    And, of course, this is just one instance of the inevitable reality that white supremacists are going to be living double lives like this all over the US. And education is one of those areas that will be of high interest to such movements:


    Many white supremacists across America today lead double lives, advocating loudly and anonymously for white supremacy and fascism online while holding down respectable jobs and doing their best to keep their online lives hidden.

    But over the past year, some of them have been exposed. In June, the principal of a charter school in New Orleans was fired from his job after videos surfaced that showed him wearing rings associated with white nationalism. He had similarly appeared on white nationalist podcasts.

    A former Catholic substitute teacher and field hockey coach in Maryland was fired earlier this year after his school learned that he was also employed by the National Policy Institute – white supremacist Richard Spencer’s think tank – and the website Altright.com. Like Volitich, he posted on social media under a pseudonym. Additionally, he was in charge of Spencer’s security detail during the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017.

    So that’s another example of how the far-right is using social media to expand its reach: infiltrating school teachers into the classroom and then making podcasts where they brag about it and encourage others to do the same.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 5, 2018, 4:17 pm
  7. Here’s one of those stories that must be music to the Alt Right’s ears: according to a recent survey of Americans, almost a third of them think “substantially less” than 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust and that the real death toll was at least 2 million or less. And for millennials this was 41 percent. Additionally, 45 percent of Americans were unable to name a single concentration camp, while two thirds of millennials didn’t know Auschwitz was a death camp. So at this point we just have to hope that this is more a reflection of a lack of general education than a reflection of the rise of the Alt Right and its Holocaust denialism:

    Newsweek

    One-Third of Americans Don’t Believe 6 Million Jews Were Murdered During the Holocaust

    By David Brennan On 4/12/18 at 10:39 AM

    One-third of Americans think “substantially less” than 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, according to a new survey that highlights a worrying lack of basic knowledge about the World War II-era genocide.

    The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, or Claims Conference, released the findings of its survey to coincide with Holocaust Remembrance Day. They show a notable lack of understanding among Americans, especially millennials, the group said.

    The Claims Conference said there are “critical gaps both in awareness of basic facts as well as detailed knowledge of the Holocaust” in American society, stressing that U.S. schools must provide more comprehensive education on the crimes.

    The survey shows that 70 percent of Americans believe people care less about the Holocaust than they used to. A majority, 58 percent, said they believe something like the Holocaust could happen again.

    Just under a third (31 percent) of those surveyed do not believe that 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust and think the real death toll is at least 2 million lower. This was true for 41 percent of millennials.

    Adolf Hitler’s fascist Nazi regime killed approximately 6 million Jews before and during World War II. The Nazis also murdered millions of Eastern European civilians, Soviet prisoners of war, disabled people, homosexuals and political prisoners. Estimates of the total death toll reach as high at 15 million to 20 million people.

    Almost half (45 percent) of Americans were unable to name a single concentration camp, and the number was even worse for millennials (49 percent). Two-thirds (66 percent) of millennials were unable to explain what Auschwitz was. The death camp is one of the most infamous ones that existed in Nazi-ruled Europe, and its name has become synonymous with the genocide.

    Fifteen percent thought people should be allowed to display Nazi slogans or symbols today, while 11 percent said it is acceptable to hold neo-Nazi views.

    These figures are especially concerning given the reported rise in hate group numbers numbers, activity and confidence in recent years. A February report from the Southern Poverty Law Center claimed that the number of hate groups in the U.S. has increased by 20 percent over the past three years. The number of neo-Nazi groups increased from 99 in 2016 to 121 in 2017, the center said.

    Around two-thirds (68 percent) of Americans believe there is anti-Semitism in the U.S. today, and a majority (51 percent) think there is either a great deal of (17 percent) or many (34 percent) neo-Nazis in the country today.

    Despite the worrying figures, 93 percent of those asked think the Holocaust should be taught in schools, while 96 percent believe that the genocide happened.

    The Claims Conference said its results are based on a representative sample of 1,350 American adults interviewed by phone and online. Respondents were selected randomly and reflected the demographics of the American adult population, it said.
    ———-

    “One-Third of Americans Don’t Believe 6 Million Jews Were Murdered During the Holocaust” by David Brennan; Newsweek; 04/12/2018 at 10:39 AM

    “Just under a third (31 percent) of those surveyed do not believe that 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust and think the real death toll is at least 2 million lower. This was true for 41 percent of millennials.”

    Part of what makes the high number of respondents saying the real death toll of the Holocaust were 2 million or less is that the suggestion that the Holocaust was 2 million Jews or less is like a far right calling card. It would be one thing if a third of Americans said they had no idea who many Jews died in the Holocaust. But in this case it sounds like a large number of Americans were actually repeating far right talking points.

    At the same time, when you find that 45 percent of Americans couldn’t name a single concentration camp and two-thirds of millennials didn’t know what Auschwitz was, that points much more in the direction of Americans simply having no real knowledge about the topic:


    Almost half (45 percent) of Americans were unable to name a single concentration camp, and the number was even worse for millennials (49 percent). Two-thirds (66 percent) of millennials were unable to explain what Auschwitz was. The death camp is one of the most infamous ones that existed in Nazi-ruled Europe, and its name has become synonymous with the genocide.

    Additionally, 93 percent of those surveyed did appear to thing the Holocaust should be taught in schools, which seems like a good sign because at least that overwhelming majority of that third of Americans who question the 6 million statistic are still in favor or teaching about the Holocaust:


    Despite the worrying figures, 93 percent of those asked think the Holocaust should be taught in schools, while 96 percent believe that the genocide happened.

    At the same time, it’s hard to interpret whether or not the finding that a majority of Americans think there are either a “great deal of” or “many” neo-Nazis in America today is a sign of growing awareness of neo-Nazi extremism or a sign that people personal know a lot of neo-Nazis:


    Around two-thirds (68 percent) of Americans believe there is anti-Semitism in the U.S. today, and a majority (51 percent) think there is either a great deal of (17 percent) or many (34 percent) neo-Nazis in the country today.

    So is that reflecting the success of the Alt Right at staying in the news and maintaining a media/internet presence? Is it reflecting Donald Trump becoming president? Or do a large number of Americans actually personally know a lot of people who openly hold neo-Nazi views? Well, the survey gives us a hint about that, with 11 percent of respondents saying its acceptable to hold neo-Nazi views. And that 11 percent are going to know a lot of the other 89 percent of the public:


    Fifteen percent thought people should be allowed to display Nazi slogans or symbols today, while 11 percent said it is acceptable to hold neo-Nazi views.

    So about 1-in-10 Americans think being a neo-Nazi is fine (which means they are basically neo-Nazis), while 1-in-3 Americans have wittingly or unwittingly absorbed the kind of understanding about the Holocaust that the far right has been pushing for decades and 2-in-3 millennials didn’t know anything about Auschwitz. And around half of Americans believe there are “many” or “a great deal of” neo-Nazis in America today.

    But it wasn’t all ominous. At least 9-in-10 Americans think the Holocaust should be taught in schools. That was positive. Because it turns out there was another pretty shocking finding in this survey regarding US millennials and their knowledge of the Holocaust: 1-in-5 US millennials weren’t sure they had heard about the Holocaust or knew what it was:

    Jewish Telegraphic Agency

    22% of US millennials haven’t heard of or are not sure if they have heard of the Holocaust, study finds

    April 12, 2018 10:15am

    (JTA) — Over a fifth of millennials in the United States have not heard of or are unsure if they have heard of the Holocaust, a study found.

    The survey, which was commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (also known as the Claims Conference), found that many Americans were unaware of basic facts about the Holocaust.

    The results were released Thursday, which marks Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. The study included 1,350 interviews with Americans aged 18 and over.

    While 6 million Jews are estimated killed in the Holocaust, 31 percent of all respondents and 41 percent of millennials, aged 18 to 34, believe that number is 2 million or less, according to the survey.

    Forty-five percent of all respondents could not name a concentration camp or ghetto from World War II, and 41 percent could not identify Auschwitz, a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps.

    Claims Conference President Julius Berman expressed concern about the lack of knowledge about the Holocaust among millennials.

    “We are alarmed that today’s generation lacks some of the basic knowledge about these atrocities,” he said in a statement.

    The group’s executive vice president, Greg Schneider, said the study’s findings highlighted the importance of Holocaust education.

    “There remain troubling gaps in Holocaust awareness while survivors are still with us; imagine when there are no longer survivors here to tell their stories,” Schneider said. “We must be committed to ensuring the horrors of the Holocaust and the memory of those who suffered so greatly are remembered, told and taught by future generations.”

    ———-

    “22% of US millennials haven’t heard of or are not sure if they have heard of the Holocaust, study finds”; Jewish Telegraphic Agency; 04/12/2018

    “Over a fifth of millennials in the United States have not heard of or are unsure if they have heard of the Holocaust, a study found.”

    So 1-in-5 millennials, aged ~22-37 according to the vague definition of what constitutes a “millennial”, have basically no idea what the Holocaust is.

    But, again, at least 9-in-10 Americans appear to agree that education about the Holocaust should be taught. Maybe America should actually do that:

    Jewish Telegraphic Agency

    Lawmakers from 20 states pledge to mandate Holocaust education

    April 24, 2017 12:32pm

    (JTA) — Some 26 legislators representing 20 states have committed to introduce legislation that would require public schools to teach about the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide and other genocides.

    The states are among the 42 in the United States that do not already require education on genocide awareness and prevention, the New York-based Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect said in announcing that it had obtained the commitments as part of its 50 State Genocide Education Project to mandate genocide education in public schools across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

    The center made the announcement on Monday, observed this year both as Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, and Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.

    It asked the state legislators to sign a pledge to introduce legislation that would require genocide education, or in some cases to strengthen a state’s existing requirement through a commission or task force. The 26 legislators have signed the pledge, the center said in a statement.

    The 20 states are Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington.

    Three states — Florida, Illinois and New Jersey — require genocide education from grades K-12, and have a state commission or task force to keep genocide education comprehensive and up to date. California and Michigan require genocide education from grades 7 or 8 through 12, and have a state commission or task force. Indiana, New York and Rhode Island mandate genocide education from grades 7 or 8 through 12 but do not have a commission or task force.

    ———-
    “Lawmakers from 20 states pledge to mandate Holocaust education”; Jewish Telegraphic Agency; 04/24/2017

    “Three states — Florida, Illinois and New Jersey — require genocide education from grades K-12, and have a state commission or task force to keep genocide education comprehensive and up to date. California and Michigan require genocide education from grades 7 or 8 through 12, and have a state commission or task force. Indiana, New York and Rhode Island mandate genocide education from grades 7 or 8 through 12 but do not have a commission or task force.”

    Yep, just 8 US states, as of 2017, actually mandated some sort of Holocaust education in American public schools. And for the other 42 states? Well, as the above poll made tragically clear, it’s optional.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 12, 2018, 2:47 pm
  8. Here’s a reminder that YouTube is far from the only major internet platform that’s friendly to the far right: A new study of the Nazi material available on Amazon has found far more than just hate literature available for sale. Everything from ‘hatecore’ white power music to baby onesies feature burning crosses are available. There’s even a children’s book written by George Lincoln Rockwell available, with no indication of the nature of the book’s content in the description. Amazon’s self-publishing CreateSpace tool is also being used by white supremacists to publish a variety of hate literature. And there’s no shortage of Nazi items for sale, like leather WWII German Waffen SS replica hat, swastika necklaces, Nazi swords, and paraphernalia with the Nazi skull logo.

    And, yes, this all goes against Amazon’s policies. But as the study also found, Amazon doesn’t appear to actually enforce those policies unless there’s a public outcry:

    The Daily Beast

    Nazi Children’s Books, KKK Onesies Are for Sale on Amazon
    Hate propaganda marketed for kids is sold through the online retailer, researchers found, and they’ve so far dodged censors.

    Kelly Weill
    07.06.18 1:28 PM ET

    Despite its own policies against hateful content, Amazon still sells racist products—some of them marketed at children, a new study finds.

    Baby onesies featuring a burning cross, swastika necklaces, and “costumes” depicting a black man being lynched have all found a recent home on Amazon, according to a new study by the Action Center on Race and the Economy and the Partnership for Working Families. The study also found a trove of white supremacist literature that has been created on Amazon’s publishing platform. Those products lingered on the site despite Amazon’s policy prohibiting “products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views,” the company states on its website.

    Amazon, which takes a cut of sales, often doesn’t take action against the products unless facing public backlash, the study found. While some of the products cited in the study have since been removed from Amazon, others remain for sale on the site.

    “Third party sellers who use our Marketplace service must follow our guidelines and those who don’t are subject to swift action including potential removal of their account,” an Amazon spokesperson told The Daily Beast of the study.

    Retailers aren’t exactly hiding their Nazi products. A “leather WWII German Waffen SS” replica hat was allowed on the site, despite it being modeled after Nazi uniforms, the study found. The same goes for a swastika necklace, Nazi swords, and paraphernalia with the “Totenkopf,” a Nazi skull logo that has since been adopted by violent neo-Nazi groups.

    A number of those products were marketed at children, including a series of custom Legos modified to look like Nazi troops, and a “for girls” backpack featuring Pepe, a cartoon frog that has become a symbol of the far right. The Pepe on the girls’ backpack is wearing a Nazi SS cap. Other Pepe products flagged in the study include a Pepe-fied Donald Trump children’s backpack and a baby romper featuring Pepe in a turban and thick beard for an anti-Muslim variant on the meme. Baby rompers featuring burning crosses, images often associated with the Ku Klux Klan, were also available.

    Amazon also hosts neo-Nazi children’s literature. The study found Amazon selling physical and Kindle versions of The Fable of the Ducks and the Hens, a children’s book by George Lincoln Rockwell, the late founder of the American Nazi Party.

    “The description on Amazon’s site makes no mention of Rockwell’s background or the racist propaganda in the book,” the study reads. “Parents considering the book would see it described as a ‘witty,’ colorfully illustrated story about ducks whose lives are ruined by ‘an influx of pushy, scheming hens.’ Those taking a closer look might notice a user review approvingly describing the book as a ‘Great National Socialist Kids book’ that ‘teaches our children to be careful and don’t let refugees into your country’ and illustrates how ‘we’ are ‘screwed by the colored birds!’”

    Rockwell’s name should, in theory, be easy to screen for. One of America’s most prominent Nazis, Rockwell is frequently name-checked by prominent racists including former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. His children’s book even appears in full on the American Nazi Party’s website.

    Amazon isn’t just selling white supremacist literature. It’s also giving racists the tools to create those texts through CreateSpace, a self-publishing platform.

    “At least seven SPLC-identified hate groups are publishing materials in Amazon Kindle format as of June 2018, per a review of Amazon’s site,” the study found, referring to the Southern Poverty Law Center. “The white nationalist publishing house Counter-Currents has 50 titles available in Kindle format.”

    Other white supremacist books include a “bloodthirsty white nationalist fantasy” novel from Kyle Bristow, a lawyer who previously represented white nationalist Richard Spencer, and 18 books by the neo-Nazi Billy Roper. One of his books advertises tips on how to become an influential figure in the white supremacist movement.

    Amazon’s music-streaming services also host white power or “hatecore” bands. Although some of those bands have slightly modified their song titles to appear more Amazon-friendly (one song title cited in the study was modified from “Die Jew Die” to “Die Die”), the artists go under their real band names, which are known for “hatecore” music. A hatecore record label that owns the website whitepower.com “maintain[s] an entire storefront on Amazon up for sale.”

    Amazon sometimes removes content that violates its hateful product policies. But often the company only does so after facing serious backlash, the study found. In 2015, following a Washington Post exposé, Amazon booted a hate group off an Amazon-run fundraising service. The SPLC later noted that it had been trying to oust that same group from the service for years, but that it had no luck until the Post went public with the story.

    ———-

    “Nazi Children’s Books, KKK Onesies Are for Sale on Amazon” by Kelly Weill; The Daily Beast; 07/06/2018

    “Amazon, which takes a cut of sales, often doesn’t take action against the products unless facing public backlash, the study found. While some of the products cited in the study have since been removed from Amazon, others remain for sale on the site.”

    Yep, while all of these products violate Amazon’s terms of service, given how a number of these items are blatantly Nazi products, like a swastika necklace, it appears that the only real violation of Amazon’s terms of service is prompting a public backlash, at which point the offending items will be removed:


    Retailers aren’t exactly hiding their Nazi products. A “leather WWII German Waffen SS” replica hat was allowed on the site, despite it being modeled after Nazi uniforms, the study found. The same goes for a swastika necklace, Nazi swords, and paraphernalia with the “Totenkopf,” a Nazi skull logo that has since been adopted by violent neo-Nazi groups.

    Amazon sometimes removes content that violates its hateful product policies. But often the company only does so after facing serious backlash, the study found. In 2015, following a Washington Post exposé, Amazon booted a hate group off an Amazon-run fundraising service. The SPLC later noted that it had been trying to oust that same group from the service for years, but that it had no luck until the Post went public with the story.

    So now that it’s now known that a number of these Nazi products are targeting children might we see the kind of sustained public backlash that’s apparently going to be required for Amazon to preemptively remove these kinds of products? We’ll see, but if Nazi products for babies can’t generate that public backlash pretty much nothing will:


    Baby onesies featuring a burning cross, swastika necklaces, and “costumes” depicting a black man being lynched have all found a recent home on Amazon, according to a new study by the Action Center on Race and the Economy and the Partnership for Working Families. The study also found a trove of white supremacist literature that has been created on Amazon’s publishing platform. Those products lingered on the site despite Amazon’s policy prohibiting “products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views,” the company states on its website

    A number of those products were marketed at children, including a series of custom Legos modified to look like Nazi troops, and a “for girls” backpack featuring Pepe, a cartoon frog that has become a symbol of the far right. The Pepe on the girls’ backpack is wearing a Nazi SS cap. Other Pepe products flagged in the study include a Pepe-fied Donald Trump children’s backpack and a baby romper featuring Pepe in a turban and thick beard for an anti-Muslim variant on the meme. Baby rompers featuring burning crosses, images often associated with the Ku Klux Klan, were also available.

    Adding the scandal is that, while a swastika necklace is obviously neo-Nazi in nature, some products obscured their Nazi origins, like a children’s book by George Lincoln Rockwell that made no mention of the fact that Rockwell was a leading American Nazi:


    Amazon also hosts neo-Nazi children’s literature. The study found Amazon selling physical and Kindle versions of The Fable of the Ducks and the Hens, a children’s book by George Lincoln Rockwell, the late founder of the American Nazi Party.

    “The description on Amazon’s site makes no mention of Rockwell’s background or the racist propaganda in the book,” the study reads. “Parents considering the book would see it described as a ‘witty,’ colorfully illustrated story about ducks whose lives are ruined by ‘an influx of pushy, scheming hens.’ Those taking a closer look might notice a user review approvingly describing the book as a ‘Great National Socialist Kids book’ that ‘teaches our children to be careful and don’t let refugees into your country’ and illustrates how ‘we’ are ‘screwed by the colored birds!’”

    Rockwell’s name should, in theory, be easy to screen for. One of America’s most prominent Nazis, Rockwell is frequently name-checked by prominent racists including former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. His children’s book even appears in full on the American Nazi Party’s website.

    Then there’s the CreateSapce self-publishing platform that’s already become a place for “bloodthirsty white nationalist fantasy” novels. So who knows, the next Turner Diaries-style book that inspires a domestic terror attack might first show up on Amazon:


    Amazon isn’t just selling white supremacist literature. It’s also giving racists the tools to create those texts through CreateSpace, a self-publishing platform.

    “At least seven SPLC-identified hate groups are publishing materials in Amazon Kindle format as of June 2018, per a review of Amazon’s site,” the study found, referring to the Southern Poverty Law Center. “The white nationalist publishing house Counter-Currents has 50 titles available in Kindle format.”

    Other white supremacist books include a “bloodthirsty white nationalist fantasy” novel from Kyle Bristow, a lawyer who previously represented white nationalist Richard Spencer, and 18 books by the neo-Nazi Billy Roper. One of his books advertises tips on how to become an influential figure in the white supremacist movement.

    And for the white power musicians there’s Amazon’s music-streaming services. You might need to change the title of your songs from “Die Jew Die”, to just “Die Die”, but that appears to be all you’ll need to do:


    Amazon’s music-streaming services also host white power or “hatecore” bands. Although some of those bands have slightly modified their song titles to appear more Amazon-friendly (one song title cited in the study was modified from “Die Jew Die” to “Die Die”), the artists go under their real band names, which are known for “hatecore” music. A hatecore record label that owns the website whitepower.com “maintain[s] an entire storefront on Amazon up for sale.”

    So that was all part of what the authors of this study discovered. It’s pretty much a worst case scenario (Nazi onesies?!).

    So let’s hope there are a number of very regular high-profile follow up studies on the topic since that appears to be the only thing that will convince Amazon to take seriously the fact that it’s allowed itself to become a Nazi dream bazaar.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 12, 2018, 9:22 pm
  9. Here’s another an example of how modern technology is being used to propagate far right worldviews with wild success: The ‘QAnon’ phenomena now has an app dedicated to alerting people when “Q” leaves a new “crumb” for the public. “Q” is, of course, the mysterious figure at the center of the QAnon story who regularly feeds the public clues about how Donald Trump and the military are preparing for mass arrests of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, numerous people in Hollywood and a large number of other ‘elites’ who are basically described as being child-abusing members of the Illuminati and sending them all to Gitmo. So it’s pretty much the sequel to ‘PizzaGate’ and it’s growing increasingly popular on the American right-wing.

    Recall the recent story about Trump promoting the work of Liz Crokin, a far right ‘journalist’ who claims to have reliable sources in law enforcement who assure her that New York City policy possess videos of Hillary Clinton eating live children. That was all part of this QAnon thing.

    And now QAnon has an app. A wildly successful app too. As the following article notes, the QDrops app has “lingered at the top of Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store for months”. At one point after it was launched in April it was the number 10 app and number 1 entertainment app at Apple’s App Store. It was also in the Google Play Store entertainment section’s top 25 apps. And the popularity of this app means Google and Apple have actually made a decent amount of money off of an app promoting a far right conspiracy theory that alleges that almost all prominent liberals are secret Illuminati child abusers and Trump and the military are planning on mass arresting them and sending them to Gitmo because the app costs 99 cents and Google and Apple get a cut of that:

    Gizmodo

    Apple Yanks QAnon-Themed App From App Store After Reporters Notice, Still on Play Store Though

    Tom McKay
    07/17/2018 12:45am

    Apple has reportedly pulled QDrops, an app which sent alerts about the absolutely inane QAnon conspiracy theory, from its App Store after an NBC News inquiry into why the hell it and Google’s Play Store were profiting off of it.

    QAnon is an incredibly elaborate online conspiracist yarn that more or less boils down to a series of posts on message board 4chan and its bastard offspring 8chan from “Q,” supposedly a government agent with high security clearance, claiming that Donald Trump is preparing to turn the tables on deep state agents guilty of everything from child sex trafficking to false flag mass shootings in a coming purge called “The Storm.” It is, like its predecessor Pizzagate, extremist horseshit, but that hasn’t stopped it from acquiring a huge online following including celebrities like Roseanne Barr and inspiring devotees to ill-advised stunts with firearms.

    QDrops, developed by husband-and-wife team Richard and Adalita Brown of North Carolina under the name Tiger Team Inc., is a 99-cent app that updates people on the latest ravings to emerge from the QAnon community. According to NBC, it “lingered at the top of Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store for months, with both tech giants receiving a cut of the revenue in the process.” At one point soon after its launch in April, NBC added, it was the number 10 app on the App Store, and number one in the entertainment section—and it was in the Play Store entertainment section’s top 25 apps.

    In other words, both Apple and Google likely made a fair chunk of change off of QDrops.

    Apple removed the app as of Sunday. In a statement to NBC, company spokeswoman Stephanie Saffer said the app had violated App Store policies, though was not specific on which:

    The App Store has always supported all points of view being represented, as long as the apps are respectful to users with differing opinions and the quality of the experience is great. We have published clear guidelines that developers must follow in order for their apps to be distributed by the App Store, designed to foster innovation and provide a safe environment to all of our users. We will take swift action to remove any apps that violate our guidelines or the law—we take this responsibility very seriously.

    The QDrops Twitter account remains active, with the developers claiming they intend to have it back on the store soon.

    As some of you know by now, QDrops has been pulled from the App Store due to this anti-Q article https://t.co/morRm0FUGk We are working with Apple to alleviate any concerns they may have so that we can be put back on the store. 1/2— QDrops App (@qdropsapp) July 16, 2018

    As noted by Apple Insider, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue told attendees at the South by Southwest festival in March that the company believes “free speech is important, but we don’t think white supremacist speech or hate speech is free speech that ought to be out there” on its platform.

    QDrop remains available on the Google Play Store.

    Other big tech companies including Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and YouTube have all faced their own accusations of promoting or profiting off misinformation and hate speech. Apple, which is primarily in the business of making hardware, has largely avoided the controversies courted by its brethren.

    ———-

    “Apple Yanks QAnon-Themed App From App Store After Reporters Notice, Still on Play Store Though” by Tom McKay; Gizmodo; 07/17/2018

    “Apple has reportedly pulled QDrops, an app which sent alerts about the absolutely inane QAnon conspiracy theory, from its App Store after an NBC News inquiry into why the hell it and Google’s Play Store were profiting off of it.”

    Yes, one of the top-selling apps for iPhones and Android phones is an app that simply alerts when when “Q” sends out a new “crumb” about how Donald Trump is secretly preparing for “the Storm”, when large numbers of famous people (mostly liberals and Hollywood celebrities) will be rounded up and thrown into Gitmo for running child sex rings and basically being the Illuminati.

    So how did all this get started? On 4chan, of course:


    QAnon is an incredibly elaborate online conspiracist yarn that more or less boils down to a series of posts on message board 4chan and its bastard offspring 8chan from “Q,” supposedly a government agent with high security clearance, claiming that Donald Trump is preparing to turn the tables on deep state agents guilty of everything from child sex trafficking to false flag mass shootings in a coming purge called “The Storm.” It is, like its predecessor Pizzagate, extremist horseshit, but that hasn’t stopped it from acquiring a huge online following including celebrities like Roseanne Barr and inspiring devotees to ill-advised stunts with firearms.

    And this QDrops app, which costs 99-cents, was the number 10 app on Apple’s App Store after launching in April and the one app for “entertainment”. For Google’s Play Store it was in the top 25 for entertainment apps. And Apple and Google got a cut of all over those 99-cent purchases:


    QDrops, developed by husband-and-wife team Richard and Adalita Brown of North Carolina under the name Tiger Team Inc., is a 99-cent app that updates people on the latest ravings to emerge from the QAnon community. According to NBC, it “lingered at the top of Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store for months, with both tech giants receiving a cut of the revenue in the process.” At one point soon after its launch in April, NBC added, it was the number 10 app on the App Store, and number one in the entertainment section—and it was in the Play Store entertainment section’s top 25 apps.

    In other words, both Apple and Google likely made a fair chunk of change off of QDrops.

    While Apple has pulled the app from its store now, the app developers are assuring people that they are working with Apple to get the app back on the store soon:


    Apple removed the app as of Sunday. In a statement to NBC, company spokeswoman Stephanie Saffer said the app had violated App Store policies, though was not specific on which:

    The App Store has always supported all points of view being represented, as long as the apps are respectful to users with differing opinions and the quality of the experience is great. We have published clear guidelines that developers must follow in order for their apps to be distributed by the App Store, designed to foster innovation and provide a safe environment to all of our users. We will take swift action to remove any apps that violate our guidelines or the law—we take this responsibility very seriously.

    The QDrops Twitter account remains active, with the developers claiming they intend to have it back on the store soon.

    As some of you know by now, QDrops has been pulled from the App Store due to this anti-Q article https://t.co/morRm0FUGk We are working with Apple to alleviate any concerns they may have so that we can be put back on the store. 1/2— QDrops App (@qdropsapp) July 16, 2018

    As noted by Apple Insider, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue told attendees at the South by Southwest festival in March that the company believes “free speech is important, but we don’t think white supremacist speech or hate speech is free speech that ought to be out there” on its platform.

    And it’s still available on Google’s app store:


    QDrop remains available on the Google Play Store.

    And this is where we are. Major tech companies are profiting off of the mainstreaming of far right fantasies.

    So how did we get here? Well, putting aside the long history of unhinged theology and right-wing conspiracies (that typically involve a great deal of projection) that have been priming the American psyche to accept all sort of high fantasy as fact, this particular fantasy only really emerge in October of 2017 when someone anonymously started posting on on 4Chan, a major stomping ground of the ‘Alt Right’ neo-Nazis and trollish fellow travelers, claiming to be someone with a high-level government security clearance and leaving cryptic clues, or “breadcrumbs”. Clues about how Donald Trump and the military are getting ready to suddenly arrest a global cabal of (mostly liberal) elites that are responsible for almost all the evil in the world, i.e. the Illuminati. And that narrative has so captured the imaginations of American conservatives that there is an entire industry dedicated to analyzing these “breadcrumbs”:

    The Daily Beast

    What Is QAnon? The Craziest Theory of the Trump Era, Explained
    From celebrities to the grassroots, the right is obsessed with the idea there is a secret conspiracy where Hillary is headed for Gitmo. Here’s everything you need to know.

    Will Sommer
    07.06.18 10:03 PM ET

    Plotters in the deep state tried to shoot down Air Force One and foil President Trump’s North Korea summit. A cabal of global elites, including top figures in Hollywood, the Democratic Party, and the intelligence agencies, are responsible for nearly all the evil in the world. And now Trump is going to fix it all with thousands of sealed indictments, sending the likes of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama straight to Guantanamo Bay.

    Or at least that’s how the world is going for the believers of QAnon, the complex pro-Trump conspiracy theory that’s starting to having unpredictable effects in real life. The real news can be bad for Trump, but in QAnon-world, the president and his supporters really are getting sick of winning.

    ——Who Is “Q”?—–

    QAnon springs from a series of cryptic clues that started to be posted online in October 2017. Starting on 4Chan before migrating to the even more fringe 8Chan, the anonymous person behind the clues goes by “Q,” a reference to a high-level government security clearance. The “Anon” in “QAnon” refers to both Q himself, and to Q’s nameless supporters, the “anons.”

    Q is supposed to be revealing this top-secret information via the clues, which QAnon fans have dubbed “breadcrumbs.” They’re written in a short bursts, in a reference-heavy style that’s part poem, part ransom note. Here’s one example from June:

    Think SC vote to confirm (coming).

    No Name action.

    Every dog has its day.

    Enjoy the show.

    Q

    “No Name” is Q’s nickname for John McCain, and “SC” is obviously the Supreme Court. As for “every dog has its day” — that’s the kind of cryptic Q remark that has spawned a cottage industry of PDFs and 24/7 livestreams analyzing the crumbs.

    Since Q could be anyone with internet access and a working knowledge of conspiracy theories, there’s no reason to think that Q is a member of the Trump administration rather than, say, a troll or YouTube huckster. But incredibly, lots of people believe it.

    In April, hundreds of QAnon believers staged a march in downtown Washington, D.C. with a vague demand for “transparency” from the Justice Department. “Q” shirts have become frequent sites at Trump rallies, with one QAnon believer scoring VIP access. In June, an armed man in an homemade armored truck shut down a highway near the Hoover Dam and held up signs referencing QAnon. And celebrities like comedian Roseanne Barr and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling have signed on.

    The Curt Schilling Show – Breitbart https://t.co/qJFV023jiS via @BreitbartNews talk with a lawyer whose firm has cases in front of the Supreme Court and hear about latest ruling on 1st amendment as well as NOAA abandoning climate change hoax. On iTunes later today— Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) June 28, 2018

    Also we open up a discussion about “Q” and why the anger and vitriol by liberals at the mere mention if it really is the fake conspiracy they claim?— Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) June 28, 2018

    QAnon is unusual, according to University of Miami professor Joseph Uscinski, because it offers Republicans an alternate view of the world when they already control nearly the entire government. Usually, “conspiracy theories are for losers,” Uscinski said,

    “Normally you don’t expect the winning party to use them, except when they’re in trouble,” Uscinski said.

    —–The Origin Story—–

    Since Q’s “breadcrumbs” are so vague, it’s impossible to nail down exactly what the storyline is supposed to be. But the general story, outlined in a pro-QAnon video endorsed by Schilling, is that every president before Trump was a “criminal president” in league with all the nefarious groups of conspiracy theories past: the global banking elite, death squads operating on orders from Hillary Clinton, deep-state intelligence operatives, and Pizzagate-style pedophile rings. In an effort to break this cabal’s grip, according to Q, the military convinced Trump to run for president.

    Now Trump and his allies in the military are poised to arrest all these wrongdoers, shipping many of them off to Guantanamo Bay. That coming purge has been dubbed “The Storm” by QAnon fans, who claim Trump referenced it when he referenced “the calm before the storm” in October.

    While the Storm is at the center of the QAnon narrative, it’s also flexible enough to fold in just anything that makes the news. Q is fond of hinting that each mass shooting is a false-flag attack organized by the cabal, and he used a blurry webcam picture of a flash of light near the Puget Sound to claim that the deep state had tried to shoot down Trump’s plane.

    QAnon fans are obsessed with finding proof that whoever is behind Q is actually connected to the Trump administration. During one Trump trip to Asia, Q posted some pictures of islands, which supporters seized on as proof that Q was on Air Force One. Q is also fond of predicting Trump tweets that, in retrospect, don’t exactly require top-secret clearance — that Trump will tweet “Saturday” on Small Business Saturday, or “Juneteenth” on June 19th.

    Fans also point to Trump using phrases “predicted” by Q as proof of the story’s legitimacy. After one supporter requested that Trump used the phrase “tip top” in the State of the Union Address, While Trump never said “tip top” in that speech, QAnon supporters felt vindicated three months later when Trump said it instead at the White House Easter Egg Roll. QAnon supporters have even claimed Trump uses his hands to make a “Q” sign as a signal to them.

    QAnon supporters love to speculate about Q’s identity, predicting that it’s either a highly placed White House staffer or even Trump himself. Other, more mundane theories about Q’s identity abound, but there’s not much compelling evidence pointing in any direction.

    Even when Q’s predictions disappoint, the QAnon community keeps going. Q hyped up the release of the Justice Department’s inspector general report on the FBI’s Hillary Clinton email investigation, for example, promising that it would contain the promised “Storm” of revelations about top Democrats and the deep state. When the report fizzled, however, Q promised that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a frequent target of QAnon jabs, had tampered with the report. Trump had the real report, Q claimed, and that report’s release would solve everything.

    —–Decoding It All—–

    While QAnon has been the breakout conspiracy theory of the Trump era, not everyone on the right is on board. The farcical nature of QAnon’s clues has tended to alienate many younger, more internet-savvy people on the right, including members of the alt-right. QAnon also alienated a swathe of the right-wing conspiracy theory internet after Q denounced other internet personalities who had been speculating about the clues, accusing them of trying to profit off the movement. But QAnon has been a hit with older Trump supporters, leading to tech-illiterate baby boomers looking to spread the QAnon gospel asking for help in internet forums on “how to meme.”

    Nine months after it started, QAnon world has accumulated an internal language of its own. The moderators of the QAnon forums and the interpreters of the clues call themselves “bakers,” a reference to the “breadcrumbs.” QAnon followers are fixated on which public officials are “white hats” or “black hats,” meaning whether they’re really working for Trump or are agents of the cabal. They urge one another to “follow the white rabbit,” which made Trump delivering his “tip top” speech next to the Easter Bunny all the more portentous.

    QAnon believers even have a slogan, “Where we go one, we go all,” which they often abbreviate to “WWG1WGA.” It’s become a rallying cry for QAnon fans that Q has attributed to President John F. Kennedy, although it actually appears to come from the 1996 action movie White Squall.

    we r the army of truth-wwg1wga— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) June 20, 2018

    ———-

    “What Is QAnon? The Craziest Theory of the Trump Era, Explained” by Will Sommer; The Daily Beast; 07/06/2018

    “Plotters in the deep state tried to shoot down Air Force One and foil President Trump’s North Korea summit. A cabal of global elites, including top figures in Hollywood, the Democratic Party, and the intelligence agencies, are responsible for nearly all the evil in the world. And now Trump is going to fix it all with thousands of sealed indictments, sending the likes of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama straight to Guantanamo Bay.”

    A far right fantasy – the mass arrest of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Hollywood celebrities, etc – being successfully peddled as a secret reality that’s actually playing out in real time: behold, the power of deep trolling:


    Or at least that’s how the world is going for the believers of QAnon, the complex pro-Trump conspiracy theory that’s starting to having unpredictable effects in real life. The real news can be bad for Trump, but in QAnon-world, the president and his supporters really are getting sick of winning.

    ——Who Is “Q”?—–

    QAnon springs from a series of cryptic clues that started to be posted online in October 2017. Starting on 4Chan before migrating to the even more fringe 8Chan, the anonymous person behind the clues goes by “Q,” a reference to a high-level government security clearance. The “Anon” in “QAnon” refers to both Q himself, and to Q’s nameless supporters, the “anons.”

    Q is supposed to be revealing this top-secret information via the clues, which QAnon fans have dubbed “breadcrumbs.” They’re written in a short bursts, in a reference-heavy style that’s part poem, part ransom note. Here’s one example from June:

    Think SC vote to confirm (coming).

    No Name action.

    Every dog has its day.

    Enjoy the show.

    Q

    “No Name” is Q’s nickname for John McCain, and “SC” is obviously the Supreme Court. As for “every dog has its day” — that’s the kind of cryptic Q remark that has spawned a cottage industry of PDFs and 24/7 livestreams analyzing the crumbs.

    Since Q could be anyone with internet access and a working knowledge of conspiracy theories, there’s no reason to think that Q is a member of the Trump administration rather than, say, a troll or YouTube huckster. But incredibly, lots of people believe it.

    Just think of how many future mass hoaxes this has already inspired. “Q” could be anyone with an internet connection and working knowledge of conspiracy theories, and yet they managed to capture the imaginations of a growing number of Americans who really do seem to believe this. Or at least are very enthusiastically pretending to believe it for the fun (sort of like pro-wrestling, perhaps?).

    And given that Trump is the hero of this narrative, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that Trump rallies are increasingly populated by people wearing “Q” shirts. And then there’s there prominent conservative icons, like Curt Schilling and Roseann Barr, who are openly endorsed the story:


    In April, hundreds of QAnon believers staged a march in downtown Washington, D.C. with a vague demand for “transparency” from the Justice Department. “Q” shirts have become frequent sites at Trump rallies, with one QAnon believer scoring VIP access. In June, an armed man in an homemade armored truck shut down a highway near the Hoover Dam and held up signs referencing QAnon. And celebrities like comedian Roseanne Barr and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling have signed on.

    The Curt Schilling Show – Breitbart https://t.co/qJFV023jiS via @BreitbartNews talk with a lawyer whose firm has cases in front of the Supreme Court and hear about latest ruling on 1st amendment as well as NOAA abandoning climate change hoax. On iTunes later today— Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) June 28, 2018

    Also we open up a discussion about “Q” and why the anger and vitriol by liberals at the mere mention if it really is the fake conspiracy they claim?— Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) June 28, 2018

    QAnon is unusual, according to University of Miami professor Joseph Uscinski, because it offers Republicans an alternate view of the world when they already control nearly the entire government. Usually, “conspiracy theories are for losers,” Uscinski said,

    “Normally you don’t expect the winning party to use them, except when they’re in trouble,” Uscinski said.

    And note how the QAnon narrative is basically the Alex Jones narrative: that ALL presidents in the US before Trump were all part of the same criminal cabal. A cabal running death squads and Pizzagate-style pedophile rings. So it’s a narrative selling Trump supporters a ‘burn it all down, it’s all corrupt’ message that elevates Trump to savior status:


    —–The Origin Story—–

    Since Q’s “breadcrumbs” are so vague, it’s impossible to nail down exactly what the storyline is supposed to be. But the general story, outlined in a pro-QAnon video endorsed by Schilling, is that every president before Trump was a “criminal president” in league with all the nefarious groups of conspiracy theories past: the global banking elite, death squads operating on orders from Hillary Clinton, deep-state intelligence operatives, and Pizzagate-style pedophile rings. In an effort to break this cabal’s grip, according to Q, the military convinced Trump to run for president.

    Now Trump and his allies in the military are poised to arrest all these wrongdoers, shipping many of them off to Guantanamo Bay. That coming purge has been dubbed “The Storm” by QAnon fans, who claim Trump referenced it when he referenced “the calm before the storm” in October.

    While the Storm is at the center of the QAnon narrative, it’s also flexible enough to fold in just anything that makes the news. Q is fond of hinting that each mass shooting is a false-flag attack organized by the cabal, and he used a blurry webcam picture of a flash of light near the Puget Sound to claim that the deep state had tried to shoot down Trump’s plane.

    As we should also expect, many QAnon fans suspect Trump himself is “Q”:


    QAnon fans are obsessed with finding proof that whoever is behind Q is actually connected to the Trump administration. During one Trump trip to Asia, Q posted some pictures of islands, which supporters seized on as proof that Q was on Air Force One. Q is also fond of predicting Trump tweets that, in retrospect, don’t exactly require top-secret clearance — that Trump will tweet “Saturday” on Small Business Saturday, or “Juneteenth” on June 19th.

    Fans also point to Trump using phrases “predicted” by Q as proof of the story’s legitimacy. After one supporter requested that Trump used the phrase “tip top” in the State of the Union Address, While Trump never said “tip top” in that speech, QAnon supporters felt vindicated three months later when Trump said it instead at the White House Easter Egg Roll. QAnon supporters have even claimed Trump uses his hands to make a “Q” sign as a signal to them.

    QAnon supporters love to speculate about Q’s identity, predicting that it’s either a highly placed White House staffer or even Trump himself. Other, more mundane theories about Q’s identity abound, but there’s not much compelling evidence pointing in any direction.

    Even when Q’s predictions disappoint, the QAnon community keeps going. Q hyped up the release of the Justice Department’s inspector general report on the FBI’s Hillary Clinton email investigation, for example, promising that it would contain the promised “Storm” of revelations about top Democrats and the deep state. When the report fizzled, however, Q promised that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a frequent target of QAnon jabs, had tampered with the report. Trump had the real report, Q claimed, and that report’s release would solve everything.

    And in case it wasn’t clear that Trump’s supporters are the primary audience for this, note the demographic that appears to be most enthralled by QAnon: older Trump supporters:


    While QAnon has been the breakout conspiracy theory of the Trump era, not everyone on the right is on board. The farcical nature of QAnon’s clues has tended to alienate many younger, more internet-savvy people on the right, including members of the alt-right. QAnon also alienated a swathe of the right-wing conspiracy theory internet after Q denounced other internet personalities who had been speculating about the clues, accusing them of trying to profit off the movement. But QAnon has been a hit with older Trump supporters, leading to tech-illiterate baby boomers looking to spread the QAnon gospel asking for help in internet forums on “how to meme.”

    So if your Trump-supporting grandparents are anxiously asking you for help getting a new app installed on their smartphone, you might want to check and see which app before helping them. Because helping someone install an app that feeds their dangerous far right fantasies isn’t actually helping.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 17, 2018, 3:30 pm
  10. Whenever President Trump does one of his ‘campaign-style rallies’ – where Trump rants for an hour or so in front of a bunch of Trump supporters – there’s usually a post-rally assessment of some sort on the damage done to the social fabric of the country.

    Usually that damage assessment focuses on Trump’s attempts to undermine the free press and portray anyone who isn’t a Trump loyalist as some sort of threat to the country. And following Trump’s rally in Tampa, FL, yesterday, there was no shortage of damage of that nature to assess. One particularly chilling piece of part of the event involved the crowd hurling expletives at CNN’s Jim Acosta, who was there covering the event. After Eric Trump tweeted in celebration of that mob anger directed at Acosta, President Trump retweeted Eric’s tweet.

    But as the following article notes, there’s a growing phenomena as these Trump rallies that promises to take the damage done to the social fabric to a whole new level: The mainstreaming of “QAnon” – the ‘Pizzagate’ 2.0 conspiracy theory that claims Trump is getting ready to mass arrest a global cabal of child abusing Satanist (who are primarily liberals like Hillary Clinton) – which was front and center as the Tampa rally:

    Think Progress

    Unhinged conservative conspiracy theory goes mainstream at Trump’s Tampa rally
    QAnon has arrived. Welcome to the hellscape.

    Luke Barnes
    Aug 1, 2018, 10:29 am

    If there were any doubts the QAnon conspiracy has gone fully mainstream, Trump’s rally in Tampa Tuesday put at an end to them.

    Supporters of the pro-Trump, far-right theory were clearly visible both in the lines outside the rally and inside the exposition hall. They carried signs demanding answers to debunked conspiracy theories, joined regular Trump supporters in heckling the media and proudly rocked QAnon t-shirts and hats — because what’s a conspiracy theory without someone being able to profit off it?

    Crowd in Tampa ahead of the President’s rally includes one person bearing a Seth Rich conspiracy poster pic.twitter.com/Ax7cln6x8o— Betsy Klein (@betsy_klein) July 31, 2018

    People lining up for the Trump rally in Tampa today. A lot of the chan anons might treat Q-Anon like a LARP, but by all appearances there are plenty of people who take it seriously irl. pic.twitter.com/uys7kmnAs1— Travis View (@travis_view) July 31, 2018

    QAnon follows on in similar style from last year’s infamous Pizzagate conspiracy theory. But while Pizzagate focused its ire on one small pizzeria in Northwest Washington, the QAnon conspiracy theory is much more far-reaching, claiming that a global Deep State cabal is responsible for most of the world’s evil, and that Trump, along with Robert Mueller, are working to deliver sealed indictments and ship everyone from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to George Soros to Hillary Clinton off to Guantanamo Bay.

    The expansive nature of the QAnon theory — it involves everything from banking conspiracies to claims of Satanic Abuse and supposed child sex trafficking by Democratic lawmakers and public figures — means that smaller theories can be adopted into the fold as offshoots. For example, over the last two months in Arizona, a group called Veterans on Patrol has been “investigating” what they claim is an abandoned “child sex camp” tied to QAnon, and have been harassing public officials who say that those claims are bogus.

    It is stunning to me how many ppl in this #TRUMPTAMPA crowd have QAnon signs or t-shirts. That is not a healthy sign for GOP or for America.— Adam Smith (@adamsmithtimes) July 31, 2018

    just some extremely normal people at an extremely normal political rally for an extremely normal president https://t.co/0Gxa9sa81B pic.twitter.com/9Z2pDX9zCg— Andrew Kirell (@AndrewKirell) July 31, 2018

    The QAnon theory began on 4chan before migrating over to the even more obscure 8chan. These sites were instrumental in helping craft the so-called “alt-right” during 2015 and 2016 but, as journalist Will Sommer at the Daily Beast notes, QAnon is actually far more popular among baby boomers than their younger, more tech-savvy counterparts on the right.

    It’s easy to dismiss QAnon as a ridiculous conspiracy theory, likely propagated by a very dedicated troll, but it is starting to have some serious real-world consequences. On Sunday, Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had an affair with President Trump, was targeted by QAnon followers. In June, a man with an AR-15 drove an armored vehicle onto the Hoover Dam and demanded that the government “Release the OIG report,” a key part of the QAnon theory that had, in fact, been made public earlier that week.

    All of this is made infinitely easier by the willingness of YouTube — which has long been a hub of conspiracy theories — to not only host QAnon conspiracy videos, but regularly push them via its various algorithms to the top of search results.

    This past weekend, for instance, QAnon decided that Tom Hanks was a member of the Deep State cabal and a pedophile. On Monday, the top search results for Tom Hanks on YouTube were related to QAnon accusations before the algorithm reverted it.

    According to Buzzfeed News, the accusations against Hanks stem from a single, unverified tweet by Sarah Ruth Ashcraft, claiming that she was purchased by Hanks at 13 as a “dissociated #mindcontrol doll.” Ashcraft later boasted about how QAnon had helped her increase her Twitter following by 20,000.

    Though the majority of voices promoting the conspiracy tend to be fringe or right-wing voices, conservative media figures like commentator Ben Shapiro have also retweeted official QAnon Twitter accounts in recent months. As ThinkProgress previously noted, in late July, Shapiro retweeted the Twitter account “Praying Medic,” one of the main QAnon promoters. The account had tweeted a baseless claim about former U.S. dignitaries retaining security clearances because they were members of the “Deep State.”

    ———-

    “Unhinged conservative conspiracy theory goes mainstream at Trump’s Tampa rally” by Luke Barnes; Think Progress; 08/01/2018

    “If there were any doubts the QAnon conspiracy has gone fully mainstream, Trump’s rally in Tampa Tuesday put at an end to them.”

    Yep, you can stop doubting whether or not the QAnon conspiracy would go mainstream. It happened. It’s mainstream. At least within the Republican base it’s very mainstream. Trump’s rally was filled with “Q” signs and shirts and slogans. So you should instead focus your doubts on whether or not there’s any hope for this species:


    Supporters of the pro-Trump, far-right theory were clearly visible both in the lines outside the rally and inside the exposition hall. They carried signs demanding answers to debunked conspiracy theories, joined regular Trump supporters in heckling the media and proudly rocked QAnon t-shirts and hats — because what’s a conspiracy theory without someone being able to profit off it?

    Crowd in Tampa ahead of the President’s rally includes one person bearing a Seth Rich conspiracy poster pic.twitter.com/Ax7cln6x8o— Betsy Klein (@betsy_klein) July 31, 2018

    People lining up for the Trump rally in Tampa today. A lot of the chan anons might treat Q-Anon like a LARP, but by all appearances there are plenty of people who take it seriously irl. pic.twitter.com/uys7kmnAs1— Travis View (@travis_view) July 31, 2018

    It is stunning to me how many ppl in this #TRUMPTAMPA crowd have QAnon signs or t-shirts. That is not a healthy sign for GOP or for America.— Adam Smith (@adamsmithtimes) July 31, 2018

    And note one of the more head-spinning features of the QAnon narrative: it asserts that Trump is work with Robert Mueller to prepare for the mass arrests:


    QAnon follows on in similar style from last year’s infamous Pizzagate conspiracy theory. But while Pizzagate focused its ire on one small pizzeria in Northwest Washington, the QAnon conspiracy theory is much more far-reaching, claiming that a global Deep State cabal is responsible for most of the world’s evil, and that Trump, along with Robert Mueller, are working to deliver sealed indictments and ship everyone from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to George Soros to Hillary Clinton off to Guantanamo Bay.

    Also note that Trump said nothing about Mueller and the Mueller probe during this rally, so you have to wonder if the abundance of “Q” fans in the crowd led to his selective silence. It also raises the question of how the QAnon fans will reactive Mueller ends up issuing some sort of negative final conclusion.

    But it’s not just the promotion and embrace of the QAnon conspiracy by Trump and the right-wing media complex that’s been fueling the mainstreaming of this hoax. Social media has also been vital, with YouTube’s algorithms apparently pushing QAnon videos to the top of search results. For example, when an individual claimed Tom Hanks is a member of the Deep State cabal of pedophiles and purchased her at age 13 as a “dissociated #mindcontrol doll,” the YouTube algorithms made a video about these charges the top search result for a search for “Tom Hanks”:


    The QAnon theory began on 4chan before migrating over to the even more obscure 8chan. These sites were instrumental in helping craft the so-called “alt-right” during 2015 and 2016 but, as journalist Will Sommer at the Daily Beast notes, QAnon is actually far more popular among baby boomers than their younger, more tech-savvy counterparts on the right.

    It’s easy to dismiss QAnon as a ridiculous conspiracy theory, likely propagated by a very dedicated troll, but it is starting to have some serious real-world consequences. On Sunday, Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had an affair with President Trump, was targeted by QAnon followers. In June, a man with an AR-15 drove an armored vehicle onto the Hoover Dam and demanded that the government “Release the OIG report,” a key part of the QAnon theory that had, in fact, been made public earlier that week.

    All of this is made infinitely easier by the willingness of YouTube — which has long been a hub of conspiracy theories — to not only host QAnon conspiracy videos, but regularly push them via its various algorithms to the top of search results.

    This past weekend, for instance, QAnon decided that Tom Hanks was a member of the Deep State cabal and a pedophile. On Monday, the top search results for Tom Hanks on YouTube were related to QAnon accusations before the algorithm reverted it.

    According to Buzzfeed News, the accusations against Hanks stem from a single, unverified tweet by Sarah Ruth Ashcraft, claiming that she was purchased by Hanks at 13 as a “dissociated #mindcontrol doll.” Ashcraft later boasted about how QAnon had helped her increase her Twitter following by 20,000.

    And then there’s the mainstreaming of it with retweets from conservative pundits like Ben Shapiro


    Though the majority of voices promoting the conspiracy tend to be fringe or right-wing voices, conservative media figures like commentator Ben Shapiro have also retweeted official QAnon Twitter accounts in recent months. As ThinkProgress previously noted, in late July, Shapiro retweeted the Twitter account “Praying Medic,” one of the main QAnon promoters. The account had tweeted a baseless claim about former U.S. dignitaries retaining security clearances because they were members of the “Deep State.”

    But as the following article notes, the mainstreaming of QAnon has gone as far as people putting up billboards along highways. Yep, in Oklahoma and George there are already QAnon billboards:

    Rolling Stone

    As QAnon Goes Mainstream, Trump’s Rallies Are Turning Darker

    Under Trump, conspiracy theories and an all out assault on the truth have created a strange new reality

    By Ryan Bort
    August 1, 2018 11:22AM ET

    President Trump was in Tampa, Florida, Tuesday night to support Rep. Ron DeSantis’ campaign for governor. As is the case with all of the president’s endorsement rallies, the appearance was less about the candidate and more about Trump’s accomplishments, those crime-loving Democrats and, of course, the dishonest media. After his speech concluded, his supporters dutifully harangued CNN’s Jim Acosta, whom Trump famously rebuffed as “fake news” during a press conference in London last month.

    Just a sample of the sad scene we faced at the Trump rally in Tampa. I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt. We should not treat our fellow Americans this way. The press is not the enemy. pic.twitter.com/IhSRw5Ui3R— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 1, 2018

    Among the standard “Women For Trump,” “Blacks For Trump” and “Promises Made, Promises Kept” signs, the video shows a few others. They featured the letter “Q,” a reference to QAnon, a conspiracy theory gaining traction among some of Trump’s most ardent supporters. In a nutshell, followers of QAnon fashion themselves as detectives, or “bakers,” who try to make sense out of vague bits of information, or “bread crumbs,” left for them on the Internet by “Q,” a mysterious figure purporting to be a government official with high-level clearance. The clues left by “Q” have led his disciples to believe that Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation is a cover, and Mueller is actually working in tandem with Trump to take down a murderous cabal of liberal elites that includes everyone from Tom Hanks to Barack Obama. QAnon believes these elites have been running an elaborate child sex ring for years, and that there is a “storm” coming in which Trump will throw all of these pedophiles in jail once and for all. As NBC News reporter Ben Collins described it on Tuesday, QAnon is like “Pizzagate on bath salts.”

    It wasn’t long ago that QAnon seemed too blatantly insane to exist anywhere but on the extreme fringes of the Republican party. In the past few months, however, it has steadily been seeping into the mainstream. When Trump traveled to North Dakota in June, kids were photographed in homemade “Q” shirts.

    Must-have Trump rally accessory: QAnon shirts. pic.twitter.com/6wznKqXBzU— Will Sommer (@willsommer) June 28, 2018

    QAnon billboards have been spotted Oklahoma and Georgia.

    QAnon billboards are a thing now. This one's in Georgia. pic.twitter.com/VQ0Hn3T7h6— Will Sommer (@willsommer) June 29, 2018

    Tuesday night’s rally in Tampa seemed different. “Q” shirts and signs were prevalent in a way that was hard to dismiss. Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post described the event a the conspiracy theory’s “coming out party.” It wasn’t just a few people; practically every camera shot of the event featured a least a few “Q”s.


    ———-

    “As QAnon Goes Mainstream, Trump’s Rallies Are Turning Darker” by Ryan Bort; Rolling Stone; 08/01/2018

    “QAnon billboards have been spotted Oklahoma and Georgia.”

    So, between the YouTube promotion, the billboards, and endless nods and winks from the President and the rest of the Republican establishment, it’s not particularly surprising to see QAnon conspiracy grow in popularity. But it’s hard to thing of something that does more to mainstream this, at least mainstream it within Trump’s base, than the fact that these Trump Rallies are apparently become QAnon rallies. As the article describes, the Tampa rally “seemed different”. There were just a lot more “Q” shirts and signs than before. As Margaret Sullivan put it, the rally was a QAnon “coming out party”. In other words, within that auditorium, QAnon was fully mainstream:


    Tuesday night’s rally in Tampa seemed different. “Q” shirts and signs were prevalent in a way that was hard to dismiss. Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post described the event a the conspiracy theory’s “coming out party.” It wasn’t just a few people; practically every camera shot of the event featured a least a few “Q”s.

    As we can see, we have an extravagant, and wildly dangerous, hoax narrative that is now very much a mainstream thing within the Trump base. It may not be a mainstream narrative for the US as a whole at this point, and hopefully it never gets there, but it just had a “coming out party” for Republicans and there’s no indication the QAnon folks are going back in the closet any time soon.

    And that’s all some of the damage done to American society at the Tampa rally. There was still the attacks and the free press and creepy Brownshirts-like mob mentality we are unfortunately familiar with, but now the rallies include the mainstreaming if a hoax encouraging the mass arrests of almost everyone the Trump base hates. Which apparently includes Tom Hanks now. Interesting times.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 1, 2018, 1:52 pm
  11. When Rob Ford, the late crack-smoking former mayor of Toronto, resigned and entered rehab, it might have been tempting to assume that the political future of Rob’s brother, Doug, was going to be over. Especially given Doug’s public defense of his brother at the time. The family’s history of palling around with Klansmen. There was just a lot of political baggage for the Fords.

    Flash forward to today and Doug is now the Ontario Premier. So does this mean Doug has managed to shake off his family history of courting controversy by courting extremists? Of course not. Instead, as the following piece about Ford refusing to condemn a white nationalist candidate he was palling around with – Alt Right Youtube star Faith Goldy – it’s pretty clear that Doug is intent on making palling around with extremists part of his political brand. A political brand that appears to have a lot of appeal for Canada’s conservatives these days:

    The Huffington Post

    Doug Ford Embracing White Nationalist Faith Goldy Is A Wakeup Call
    Ford’s refusal to apologize for posing with Goldy is a sign that things have changed: white nationalism out loud is mainstream in Canada.

    Davide Mastracci
    Opinion/Blogs Associate Editor, HuffPost Canada
    09/26/2018 16:24 EDT | Updated 09/27/2018 09:29 EDT

    On Saturday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford embraced, and posed for a photo with, Toronto mayoral candidate and white nationalist Faith Goldy, at an event organized by the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party.

    As I’ve written before, far-right Rebel Media fired Goldy for going “too far” after she appeared on a neo-Nazi podcast. Goldy has also publicly recited the most popular white supremacist slogan, demanded a modern crusade against Muslims, champions ethno-nationalism, bemoans “white genocide” and called for Canada to become “96% euro Canadian.”

    In the days after Goldy posted the photo on Twitter, several opposing Members of Provincial Parliament in Question Period called on Ford to denounce her, and apologize.

    This is a common ritual, in Question Period and elsewhere, in which a politician gives their opponent an easy chance to get off the hook, either believing their apology is genuine or just being content with the theatrical points scored by having the apology made in a public venue.

    But Ford failed to take opposing MPPs up on this offer, refusing to denounce Goldy when they asked. Days later, he put out a tepid tweet that still failed to apologize for having his photo taken with her.

    Many people are understandably outraged by Ford’s decision. I’m not. An apology would do more harm than good.

    I have been clear. I condemn hate speech, anti-Semitism and racism in all forms- be it from Faith Goldy or anyone else.— Doug Ford (@fordnation) September 26, 2018

    A significant chunk of the political and media class in Canada is obsessed with norms and decorum, at the expense of substance. A Ford apology would have satisfied these people. They’d let Ford pose with 100 white nationalists as long as he later denounced each one and apologized. They’d probably even applaud him for each shallow condemnation.

    Ford’s refusal to denounce Goldy for days, or apologize at all, should offer a clear sign to apologists in politics and media that things have changed: white nationalism out loud is mainstream in Canada.

    Goldy, who is currently polling third in the Toronto mayoral race at six per cent, doesn’t mask her abhorent views, because public opinion in Canada has shifted to a point where her ilk no longer need to hide, and the Premier feels comfortable embracing her and then not apologizing.

    Ford and Goldy aren’t identical, but if you ask her and other white nationalists, they’re on the same side in a fight for a new Ontario. In a recent robocall sent to households in Toronto, Goldy even branded herself as the “only candidate who stands with Doug Ford.”

    Proud to stand up for all Canadians alongside ya, Doug!— Faith J Goldy (@FaithGoldy) September 26, 2018

    With this in mind, demands for Ford to denounce or apologize aren’t the sign of a strong opposition, but a desperate one. These calls are effectively pleas for Ford to genuflect to past norms that no longer apply.

    I don’t mean to sound defeatist, or to discount the warranted fear and outrage people are expressing. Instead, I want to call for a change of pace going forward.

    No doubt

    Stop making excuses for Ford.

    In a recent Newstalk 1010 segment, radio host Desmond Cole chastised Ford apologists, saying, “They expect me to give Doug Ford the benefit of the doubt, even though he walks, talks and acts like a white supremacist; even when he smiles and associates with other white supremacists.”

    Cole says he refuses to do so, because he doesn’t want to live in a world “where you just keep stepping on my toes, but telling me you didn’t mean to do it. My toes are broken, whether you meant it or not. Doug Ford promotes white supremacy, whether he owns it or not.”

    No good Conservatives

    The next step applies to those who want to truly oppose Ford and what he stands for, and who he associates with, beyond just on a cheap partisan level.

    Ford is not the cause of the illness plaguing Ontario, though he’s a particularly malignant symptom. But he does not stand alone. He represents a party. He was voted in by members of that party. The representatives of that party serve him, and have stood by him.

    Party members could jump ship if they wanted to; they haven’t. In fact, even after Ford refused to condemn Goldy, they reportedly cheered, content that he had passed the low bar of saying he denounces hate speech. Since then, more Conservative MPPs have been asked to denounce Goldy. They’ve refused.

    They’re all responsible. They’re all complicit. They should all be held to account.

    We shouldn’t give Ford the benefit of the doubt any longer, and the same is true for the Conservative Party.

    ———-

    “Doug Ford Embracing White Nationalist Faith Goldy Is A Wakeup Call” by Davide Mastracci; HuffPost Canada; 09/26/2018

    “On Saturday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford embraced, and posed for a photo with, Toronto mayoral candidate and white nationalist Faith Goldy, at an event organized by the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party.”

    So on top of the family history of Kathy Ford dating a Klansman, and Rob Ford posing with a neo-Nazi band member, we now have Doug Ford posing for a photo with Toronto mayoral candidate Faith Goldy. And Faith Goldy doesn’t exactly hide her neo-Nazi nature:


    As I’ve written before, far-right Rebel Media fired Goldy for going “too far” after she appeared on a neo-Nazi podcast. Goldy has also publicly recited the most popular white supremacist slogan, demanded a modern crusade against Muslims, champions ethno-nationalism, bemoans “white genocide” and called for Canada to become “96% euro Canadian.”

    And while Ford had the option of simply making a public apology and having everyone move one, he dragged his feet and only eventually gave a tepid denunciation of Goldy:


    In the days after Goldy posted the photo on Twitter, several opposing Members of Provincial Parliament in Question Period called on Ford to denounce her, and apologize.

    This is a common ritual, in Question Period and elsewhere, in which a politician gives their opponent an easy chance to get off the hook, either believing their apology is genuine or just being content with the theatrical points scored by having the apology made in a public venue.

    But Ford failed to take opposing MPPs up on this offer, refusing to denounce Goldy when they asked. Days later, he put out a tepid tweet that still failed to apologize for having his photo taken with her.

    Many people are understandably outraged by Ford’s decision. I’m not. An apology would do more harm than good.

    I have been clear. I condemn hate speech, anti-Semitism and racism in all forms- be it from Faith Goldy or anyone else.— Doug Ford (@fordnation) September 26, 2018

    A significant chunk of the political and media class in Canada is obsessed with norms and decorum, at the expense of substance. A Ford apology would have satisfied these people. They’d let Ford pose with 100 white nationalists as long as he later denounced each one and apologized. They’d probably even applaud him for each shallow condemnation.

    Ford’s refusal to denounce Goldy for days, or apologize at all, should offer a clear sign to apologists in politics and media that things have changed: white nationalism out loud is mainstream in Canada.

    Goldy, who is currently polling third in the Toronto mayoral race at six per cent, doesn’t mask her abhorent views, because public opinion in Canada has shifted to a point where her ilk no longer need to hide, and the Premier feels comfortable embracing her and then not apologizing.

    And this unabashed chumminess with Goldy isn’t lost on Goldy. She’s actually branding herself as the “only candidate who stands with Doug Ford”:


    Ford and Goldy aren’t identical, but if you ask her and other white nationalists, they’re on the same side in a fight for a new Ontario. In a recent robocall sent to households in Toronto, Goldy even branded herself as the “only candidate who stands with Doug Ford.”

    Proud to stand up for all Canadians alongside ya, Doug!— Faith J Goldy (@FaithGoldy) September 26, 2018

    With this in mind, demands for Ford to denounce or apologize aren’t the sign of a strong opposition, but a desperate one. These calls are effectively pleas for Ford to genuflect to past norms that no longer apply.

    I don’t mean to sound defeatist, or to discount the warranted fear and outrage people are expressing. Instead, I want to call for a change of pace going forward.

    Note that the tweet Goldy sent out where she proclaims that she is “Proud to stand up for all Canadians alongside ya, Doug!” was a direct reply to the tweet Ford sent where he said, “I have been clear. I condemn hate speech, anti-Semitism and racism in all forms- be it from Faith Goldy or anyone else.” It’s all quite reminiscent of when then-candidate Donald Trump took days to repudiate David Duke and only after days of refusing to do so.

    But the parallels aren’t limited to Ford and Trump. There’s also the parallels between Ford’s Conservatives and the GOP. Just as the GOP has shown almost no appetite for criticizing Trump no matter what he does, Ford’s fellow party members cheered his tepid belated denunciation of hate speech and, themselves, refuse to denounce Goldy when asked:


    No good Conservatives

    The next step applies to those who want to truly oppose Ford and what he stands for, and who he associates with, beyond just on a cheap partisan level.

    Ford is not the cause of the illness plaguing Ontario, though he’s a particularly malignant symptom. But he does not stand alone. He represents a party. He was voted in by members of that party. The representatives of that party serve him, and have stood by him.

    Party members could jump ship if they wanted to; they haven’t. In fact, even after Ford refused to condemn Goldy, they reportedly cheered, content that he had passed the low bar of saying he denounces hate speech. Since then, more Conservative MPPs have been asked to denounce Goldy. They’ve refused.

    They’re all responsible. They’re all complicit. They should all be held to account.

    We shouldn’t give Ford the benefit of the doubt any longer, and the same is true for the Conservative Party.

    And that’s what so chilling about this latest episode of the Ford family cuddling up to white supremacists: it’s not just about the Ford family. It’s about Canada’s conservatives quietly welcoming white supremacy into the mainstream, one tepid belated denunciation at a time.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 3, 2018, 3:29 pm
  12. Here’s a sign of how utterly screwed Brazil is going to be for the foreseeable future. It’s also the latest story, one of many, about how WhatsApp is wreaking havoc on Brazilian society: The largest female-organized march in Brazilian history just took place in opposition to the openly misogynistic far right candidacy of Jair Bolsonaro, who happens to be the leading candidate in the run-off. He also happens to have openly said recently that he wouldn’t pay women the same salary as men. Half of female voters have already declared they would never back him. So did the march do anything to damage Bolsonaro’s support among women? Nope, the opposite happened and his support among women went up:

    The Guardian

    ‘I don’t see any reason for feminism’: the women backing Brazil’s Bolsonaro
    The openly sexist presidential candidate has faced an extraordinary backlash. So why do many women support him?

    Anna Jean Kaiser in São Paulo

    Sun 14 Oct 2018 03.01 EDT
    Last modified on Mon 15 Oct 2018 12.10 EDT

    They are not victims, and they don’t need anyone’s sympathy. They have no time for “whiny feminists” – and no need for the government to guarantee equal pay.

    They earned what they’ve achieved, often juggling a professional life with running a home and raising a family. And they want the right to bear arms to protect themselves and their loved ones.

    They are the anti-feminist women backing the far-right, former paratrooper Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil’s upcoming presidential runoff election – a man who has been repeatedly accused of misogyny and racism.

    “I really don’t see any reason for feminism today — men and women are equal in Brazil,” said Ana de Moraes, 56, a retired lawyer who intends to vote for Bolsonaro on 28 October. “These feminist women screaming and taking off their clothes – it’s very backwards. Bolsonaro isn’t taking any rights away from women.”

    Over the course of a 30-year political career, Bolsonaro has earned notoriety from his sexist remarks, once telling a fellow lawmaker she didn’t even “deserve” being raped and more recently saying he wouldn’t pay women the same salary as men.

    In 2013, he called the secretary of women’s policy a “big dyke”. During the impeachment of the country’s first female president, he dedicated his vote to the dictatorship colonel who had overseen her torture.

    Such language made him a hate figure for many, and fuelled a high rejection rate among women: even as Bolsonaro pulled ahead in the polls, 50% of female voters said they would never back him.

    Many pollsters had presumed that Bolsonaro’s misogyny had created a natural limit to his share of the women’s vote, but in the final stages of the campaign, that expectation has shattered.

    The weekend before the first round on 7 October, tens of thousands of people joined marches across the country under the slogan #EleNão (“not him”) in the biggest female-organized street demonstration in Brazilian history.

    But polling showed that after the #EleNão protests, Bolsonaro’s support among women actually rose.

    And far from warming up to feminism, Bolsonaro and his supporters doubled down with their attacks.

    When Bolsonaro supporters held their own demonstrations, his son, Eduardo, pronounced: “Rightwing women are prettier than leftwing women. They don’t show the breasts in the streets, nor do they defecate in the streets. Rightwing women are more hygienic.”

    Memes circulate on WhatsApp and Facebook – where the majority of Bolsonaro’s campaign has played out – juxtaposing images of pro- and anti-Bolsonaro women..

    In one, a female Bolsonaro supporter stands surrounded by Brazilian flags, eyes closed and fist in the air, with a sleeping child over her shoulder; the woman from the #EleNão protest is yelling, topless and daubed with body paint. (The vast majority of protest participants were fully clothed.)

    Another widely shared image showed a little boy wearing a shirt that said, “Mum’s a feminista; I don’t grow up to be machista”, with text written over it, “Sweetie, if your mum’s a feminist, you wouldn’t even be born, you’d have been aborted!”

    And such messages are resonating. According to polls before the fragmented first round of 13 candidates, Bolsonaro was the most popular candidate among women, with 27% of the vote. The latest poll for the runoff election says he has roughly 42% of the female electorate.

    “These women who are naked in the streets screaming – they don’t represent me,” said De Moraes, the retired lawyer.

    “A real feminist is a woman who gets up early, works hard and fights for her independence, not these women who whine and have barely worked a day in their lives,” said Linda Fontes, 23, a real estate administrator from Rio’s poor periphery who describes herself as a Bolsonaro “fanatic”.

    Fontes has been mugged twice, and supports Bolsonaro’s proposal to loosen gun ownership laws so that “upstanding citizens” can protect themselves from Brazil’s soaring violent crime.

    “I need to be able to protect myself in the chaos that is Rio de Janeiro today,” she said.

    Female Bolsonaro voters shrug off his refusal to support legislation to ensure equal pay, despite studies showing that women in Brazil earn 22.5% less than men.

    “Salaries for both men and women should be based on merit and responsibilities. Women today are well aware of their rights, obligations and duties. We don’t need the government for that,” said Maria Alice do Lago, a seamstress from rural São Paulo state.

    Like some voters for the US president Donald Trump, many female Bolsonaro voters say they don’t agree with everything he says – or like the way he says it – but they still intend to vote for him.

    Bolsonaro has no major party behind him, and has had very little advertising time on television and radio, but his supporters have dominated the fight online, flooding social networks with pro-Bolsonaro memes and testimonies rejecting the “feminist agenda”.

    “I’ve never played the victim card,” says an unnamed black woman supporter in one such clip. “I support the right. I’m feminine and I love it. I shave my armpits. Yes, I cook for my husband, yes, I wash my husband’s clothes – there’s no problem with that.”

    Márcio Moretto Ribeiro, a University of São Paulo professor who tracked pro-Bolsonaro content on Facebook, found that that posts criticizing feminism were among the top three most-shared topics.

    “It was evident that Bolsonaro would have a problem with women,” he said. “[But] Bolsonaro and his internet base reacted – they adjusted the discourse to position him on the side of women but against feminists.

    “It’s a risky strategy, but it worked.”.

    ———-

    “‘I don’t see any reason for feminism’: the women backing Brazil’s Bolsonaro” by Anna Jean Kaiser in São Paulo; The Guardian; 10/14/2018

    “Many pollsters had presumed that Bolsonaro’s misogyny had created a natural limit to his share of the women’s vote, but in the final stages of the campaign, that expectation has shattered.”

    Yep, Bolsonaro has somehow managed to make ground with the female vote. This is a guy who once told a female lawmaker that she didn’t ever “deserve” to be raped and recently said he wouldn’t pay women the same salary as men. And sure, 50 percent of female voters said they would never back him, but that still implies 50 percent are open to the idea. And he appears to have made inroad with that latter group:


    Over the course of a 30-year political career, Bolsonaro has earned notoriety from his sexist remarks, once telling a fellow lawmaker she didn’t even “deserve” being raped and more recently saying he wouldn’t pay women the same salary as men.

    In 2013, he called the secretary of women’s policy a “big dyke”. During the impeachment of the country’s first female president, he dedicated his vote to the dictatorship colonel who had overseen her torture.

    Such language made him a hate figure for many, and fuelled a high rejection rate among women: even as Bolsonaro pulled ahead in the polls, 50% of female voters said they would never back him.

    And yet, following the largest female-organized street protest in Brazilian history, Bolsonaro’s support for women went up:


    The weekend before the first round on 7 October, tens of thousands of people joined marches across the country under the slogan #EleNão (“not him”) in the biggest female-organized street demonstration in Brazilian history.

    But polling showed that after the #EleNão protests, Bolsonaro’s support among women actually rose.

    And that rise in female support wasn’t due to Bolsonaro effectively playing down his misogyny. Nope, they doubled down and framed the protesters as people who publicly show their breasts and defecate in the streets:


    And far from warming up to feminism, Bolsonaro and his supporters doubled down with their attacks.

    When Bolsonaro supporters held their own demonstrations, his son, Eduardo, pronounced: “Rightwing women are prettier than leftwing women. They don’t show the breasts in the streets, nor do they defecate in the streets. Rightwing women are more hygienic.”

    And, of course, WhatsApp and Facebook proved crucial to the successful propagation of these memes. Thanks to these tactics, Bolsonaro managed to get the support of over 40 percent of the female electorate:


    Memes circulate on WhatsApp and Facebook – where the majority of Bolsonaro’s campaign has played out – juxtaposing images of pro- and anti-Bolsonaro women..

    In one, a female Bolsonaro supporter stands surrounded by Brazilian flags, eyes closed and fist in the air, with a sleeping child over her shoulder; the woman from the #EleNão protest is yelling, topless and daubed with body paint. (The vast majority of protest participants were fully clothed.)

    Another widely shared image showed a little boy wearing a shirt that said, “Mum’s a feminista; I don’t grow up to be machista”, with text written over it, “Sweetie, if your mum’s a feminist, you wouldn’t even be born, you’d have been aborted!”

    And such messages are resonating. According to polls before the fragmented first round of 13 candidates, Bolsonaro was the most popular candidate among women, with 27% of the vote. The latest poll for the runoff election says he has roughly 42% of the female electorate.

    “These women who are naked in the streets screaming – they don’t represent me,” said De Moraes, the retired lawyer.

    “A real feminist is a woman who gets up early, works hard and fights for her independence, not these women who whine and have barely worked a day in their lives,” said Linda Fontes, 23, a real estate administrator from Rio’s poor periphery who describes herself as a Bolsonaro “fanatic”.

    The Bolsonaro campaign memes attacking feminism – which implicitly and perversely frames Bolsonaro as a defender of women – managed to become among the top three most shared topics on Facebook in Brazil. That’s how effectively the Bolsonaro campaign has harnessed social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp:

    Bolsonaro has no major party behind him, and has had very little advertising time on television and radio, but his supporters have dominated the fight online, flooding social networks with pro-Bolsonaro memes and testimonies rejecting the “feminist agenda”.

    “I’ve never played the victim card,” says an unnamed black woman supporter in one such clip. “I support the right. I’m feminine and I love it. I shave my armpits. Yes, I cook for my husband, yes, I wash my husband’s clothes – there’s no problem with that.”

    Márcio Moretto Ribeiro, a University of São Paulo professor who tracked pro-Bolsonaro content on Facebook, found that that posts criticizing feminism were among the top three most-shared topics.

    “It was evident that Bolsonaro would have a problem with women,” he said. “[But] Bolsonaro and his internet base reacted – they adjusted the discourse to position him on the side of women but against feminists.

    “It’s a risky strategy, but it worked.”.

    So did a handful of female protestors actually manage to deliver the Bolsonaro campaign a political gift by going topless and defecating in the streets during the big anti-Bolsonaro protest march? Nope. Instead, as the following article makes clear, it’s exactly what we should expected: The Bolsonaro forces are simply spreading disinformation. Specifically, they’re spreading it over Facebook and especially WhatsApp. And since Bolsonaro is the leading candidate and has more or less exclusively campaigned over Facebook and WhatsApp – ignoring television and radio – it’s pretty clear that Facebook and WhatsApp are crucial political platforms for Brazil these days. Don’t forget that one of the key sales pitches of WhatsApp is that no third parties can see what’s sent on it. Not governments and not even WhatsApp itself or its parent company Facebook. In other words, WhatsApp is the perfect platform for the dissemination of far right disinformation and that’s exactly what it’s being used for by the Bolsonaro campaign. Very effectively:

    BrasilWire

    WhatsApp: Bolsonaro’s hate machine

    As Mark Zuckerberg jumps through hoops to show he can limit the damage to democracy caused by fake news on Facebook, his WhatsApp platform has been used to convince a large segment of the Brazilian electorate that out of control gays are about to force homosexuality on their children unless they elect an actual fascist. Will Sunday’s first-round presidential elections be the first ever to be won over WhatsApp?

    by Brian Mier
    October 5, 2018

    Brazil has some of the world’s most expensive cellular phone airtime. Therefore when Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging app came along, which allows users to make free calls over the internet, it caught on fast. Today, over 100 million Brazilians – half the population – use it every day. Brazilians are the largest consumers of WhatsApp in the world.

    Twitter was influential in Middle East regime changes in the so-called Arab spring. Facebook helped propel Obama to power in 2008 and 4Chan helped Trump win the US presidency in 2016. The 2018 Brazilian presidential elections appear to be the first anywhere in which WhatsApp will prove to be a deciding factor. Leading candidate Jair Bolsonaro has avoided television appearances in favor of the social media platform, which allows him and his followers to quickly reach millions of people with slanderous misinformation that is not challenged or regulated in any way, and is believed to be factual by a large segment of the population.

    Brazil’s campaign laws dictate that candidates’ television commercials are limited to a certain amount of free airtime which is allocated by the government according to how many congressmen belong to his and his coalition’s political parties. This ensures that, whereas all candidates are guaranteed a minimum amount of free air time, the larger parties and coalitions get more. In the 2018 election season PSDB candidate Geraldo Alckmin, who was initially Wall Street’s favorite due to his support of the Temer government’s deep austerity cuts and petroleum privatizations, was allocated 5:30 of commercial airtime in each of the two daily 25 minute political commercial blocs. PT candidate Fernando Haddad got 2:22. Fernando Meireles from PMDB got 1:50. For the first time since the end of the dictatorship, however, the leading candidate in a Brazilian Presidential election has been almost invisible on TV. Jair Bolsonaro, from the tiny, neofascist PSL party, has only had 8 seconds of airtime per commercial bloc. Furthermore, he has repeatedly refused to participate in television debates. How has he emerged as electoral front-runner? The first factor was the arrest, with no material evidence, of leading candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Unlike 1400 other current candidates in the Brazilian elections who have similar appeals processes underway and were allowed to run for office by the electoral courts, Lula was removed from the election in direct defiance of Brazilian electoral law and a legally binding order from the UN Human Rights Committee. His arrest has clearly led to a rise of fascism in Brazil. The second key factor is Bolsonaro’s campaign and supporters use of the WhatsApp messenger platform which is impossible to police for Brazilian crimes such as hate speech, conspiracy to incite violence and slander, making it a perfect platform for committing character assassination against anyone from ex-lovers to professional and political rivals.

    When 4 million women joined the #elenao (#nothim) Facebook group in protest against Bolsonaro and planned one of the largest anti-fascist protests in history, his campaign and his followers (it is nearly impossible to ascertain the difference through WhatsApp) immediately swung into action to discredit the protest. Working through thousands of chat groups of 256 members each, they circulated photos from a recent gay pride parade of topless lesbian activists and said that they were taken at the #elenao protests. They worked to specifically target evangelical Christian women, coupling the photos with messages like, “This is what [PT candidate] Haddad thinks about family values”. Around one million people took to the streets on September 30 against Bolsonaro in 300 cities and 21 countries around the world and celebrities like Madonna publicly expressed support for the campaign, but when the poll results started coming in a few days later, woman’s support for Bolsonaro had increased, giving him a 5% jump and propelling him into a projected tie with Fernando Haddad in the run off.

    TV Producer Janaina Avila recently published a list of 15 lies that the Bolsonaro campaign has specifically targeted evangelical Christians with on WhatsApp. These include the following: 1) If PT candidate Fernando Haddad is elected, children will become property of the state and have their gender declared by government bureaucrats at age 5; 2) While mayor of São Paulo, Haddad distributed penis shaped baby bottles at public preschools; 3) Vice Presidential candidate Manuela D’Ávila according to a photo-shopped picture wore a T-shirt that said, “ Jesus is a Transvestite”; and 4) One million Bolsonaro supporters took part in a protest on Paulista avenue in São Paulo last week.

    ———-

    “WhatsApp: Bolsonaro’s hate machine” by Brian Mier; BrasilWire; 10/05/2018

    “Twitter was influential in Middle East regime changes in the so-called Arab spring. Facebook helped propel Obama to power in 2008 and 4Chan helped Trump win the US presidency in 2016. The 2018 Brazilian presidential elections appear to be the first anywhere in which WhatsApp will prove to be a deciding factor. Leading candidate Jair Bolsonaro has avoided television appearances in favor of the social media platform, which allows him and his followers to quickly reach millions of people with slanderous misinformation that is not challenged or regulated in any way, and is believed to be factual by a large segment of the population.

    That’s right, WhatsApp is turning out to the ‘killer app’ of Brazilian politics. And it just might kill Brazil’s democracy in the process. And Bolsonaro and the far right aren’t simply using WhatsApp to spread disinformation. They’re almost exclusively using WhatsApp, thus pushing Brazil’s political discourse onto a platform where Bolsonaro’s team can secretly pump outright lies directly to target audiences:


    Brazil’s campaign laws dictate that candidates’ television commercials are limited to a certain amount of free airtime which is allocated by the government according to how many congressmen belong to his and his coalition’s political parties. This ensures that, whereas all candidates are guaranteed a minimum amount of free air time, the larger parties and coalitions get more. In the 2018 election season PSDB candidate Geraldo Alckmin, who was initially Wall Street’s favorite due to his support of the Temer government’s deep austerity cuts and petroleum privatizations, was allocated 5:30 of commercial airtime in each of the two daily 25 minute political commercial blocs. PT candidate Fernando Haddad got 2:22. Fernando Meireles from PMDB got 1:50. For the first time since the end of the dictatorship, however, the leading candidate in a Brazilian Presidential election has been almost invisible on TV. Jair Bolsonaro, from the tiny, neofascist PSL party, has only had 8 seconds of airtime per commercial bloc. Furthermore, he has repeatedly refused to participate in television debates. How has he emerged as electoral front-runner? The first factor was the arrest, with no material evidence, of leading candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Unlike 1400 other current candidates in the Brazilian elections who have similar appeals processes underway and were allowed to run for office by the electoral courts, Lula was removed from the election in direct defiance of Brazilian electoral law and a legally binding order from the UN Human Rights Committee. His arrest has clearly led to a rise of fascism in Brazil. The second key factor is Bolsonaro’s campaign and supporters use of the WhatsApp messenger platform which is impossible to police for Brazilian crimes such as hate speech, conspiracy to incite violence and slander, making it a perfect platform for committing character assassination against anyone from ex-lovers to professional and political rivals.

    And the effectiveness of that disinformation tactic was on full display with the anti-feminist memes getting pushed following the big anti-Bolsonaro protests: thousands of Bolsonaro chat groups start circulated photos from a recent gay pride parade of topless lesbian activists and said they were photos from the Bolsonaro protests. Evangelical Christian women were the key target of this disinformation, and based on Bolsonaro’s uptick in female support it appears to have worked:


    When 4 million women joined the #elenao (#nothim) Facebook group in protest against Bolsonaro and planned one of the largest anti-fascist protests in history, his campaign and his followers (it is nearly impossible to ascertain the difference through WhatsApp) immediately swung into action to discredit the protest. Working through thousands of chat groups of 256 members each, they circulated photos from a recent gay pride parade of topless lesbian activists and said that they were taken at the #elenao protests. They worked to specifically target evangelical Christian women, coupling the photos with messages like, “This is what [PT candidate] Haddad thinks about family values”. Around one million people took to the streets on September 30 against Bolsonaro in 300 cities and 21 countries around the world and celebrities like Madonna publicly expressed support for the campaign, but when the poll results started coming in a few days later, woman’s support for Bolsonaro had increased, giving him a 5% jump and propelling him into a projected tie with Fernando Haddad in the run off.

    TV Producer Janaina Avila recently published a list of 15 lies that the Bolsonaro campaign has specifically targeted evangelical Christians with on WhatsApp. These include the following: 1) If PT candidate Fernando Haddad is elected, children will become property of the state and have their gender declared by government bureaucrats at age 5; 2) While mayor of São Paulo, Haddad distributed penis shaped baby bottles at public preschools; 3) Vice Presidential candidate Manuela D’Ávila according to a photo-shopped picture wore a T-shirt that said, “ Jesus is a Transvestite”; and 4) One million Bolsonaro supporters took part in a protest on Paulista avenue in São Paulo last week.

    Also note that the above Guardian article portrayed those photos as actually being from the #elenao protests, so this Bolsonaro campaign appears to have fooled some reporters too.

    And that’s all contributing to a situation where it’s looking increasingly like Brazil is about to enter into a new dark chapter by electing a pro-dictatorship, pro-torture, and pro-rape far right lunatic to lead the country. So if it seems like Brazil has gone mad, don’t forget that WhatsApp appears to be playing a significant role in spreading that madness. And no one at WhatsApp or Facebook appears to have any meaningful ability or intention of doing anything about it.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 16, 2018, 2:24 pm

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