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pages: 309 words: 79,414

Going Dark: The Secret Social Lives of Extremists by Julia Ebner

23andMe, 4chan, Airbnb, anti-communist, anti-globalists, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, feminist movement, game design, glass ceiling, Google Earth, job satisfaction, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Network effects, off grid, pattern recognition, pre–internet, QAnon, RAND corporation, ransomware, rising living standards, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, Transnistria, WikiLeaks, zero day

lang=en. 30See 31See 32Kyle Feldscher, ‘QAnon-believing “conspiracy analyst” meets Trump in the White House’, CNN, 25 August 2018. Available at 33Will Sommer, ‘What is QAnon? The Craziest Theory of the Trump Era Explained’, Daily Beast, 7 June 2018. Available at 34Fruzsina Eordogh, ‘What is QAnon, the Conspiracy Theory Attracting Alex Jones, Roseanne Barr and … a Guy from “Vanderpump Rules”’, Elle, 7 August 2018.

No. Q. The success of QAnon is baffling. QAnon mutated from conspiracy theory on the fringes of 4chan and 8chan into a mass movement that has conquered mainstream social media channels as well as pro-Trump rallies. In 2018 alone, ISD’s social media monitors identified close to 30 million uses of the word ‘QAnon’ across Twitter, YouTube and other blogs and forums such as Reddit and 4chan. On YouTube, QAnon videos often attract hundreds of thousands of views, and self-described bakers are in the tens of thousands, with offshoots in almost every part of America and Europe. QAnon followers have a significant overlap with the Reddit board r/The_Donald, one of the alt-right’s favourite mingling hotspots, according to data analysis from the influential twenty-first-century news website Vox.

Wright, who blocked off a highway close to the Hoover Dam in an armoured vehicle in June 2018, had subscribed to the QAnon motto: ‘For where we go one, we go all’.17 Two years earlier, Edgar Welsh, firefighter and father from South Carolina and firm believer in Pizzagate – the QAnon predecessor conspiracy theory which claimed that Democrats were running a massive child-abuse network from their alleged headquarters at Comet Ping Pong, a DC pizza restaurant – opened fire in the pizzeria to free nonexistent children.18 In January 2019, a QAnon supporter killed his brother with a sword because he believed that he was a lizard.19 ‘Military, we need a plan and must expose evil to light,’ Max writes in late 2018.

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America by Sarah Kendzior

"side hustle", 4chan, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, borderless world, Chelsea Manning, Columbine, corporate raider, desegregation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Ferguson, Missouri, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, income inequality, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, Jeffrey Epstein, Julian Assange, Mohammed Bouazizi, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, new economy, payday loans, plutocrats, Plutocrats, QAnon, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Thomas L Friedman, trickle-down economics, unpaid internship, white flight, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero-sum game

“Mueller will save us” had replaced “Comey will save us,” and was later supplanted by “Pelosi will save us” and “the 2020 election will save us,” all while the damage of the Trump administration grew more irreparable. Rumors swirled throughout 2017 and 2018 about imminent indictments and secret plans, and Mueller disciples found a funhouse mirror in the “QAnon” cult surrounding Trump. The QAnon phenomenon—in which Trump acolytes believe an anonymous high-level official named “Q” leaves them coded tips about secret prosecutions as well as other enticing developments, like the underground revolution they claim is being led by a still-alive JFK Jr.—is a disturbing example of savior syndrome.

And so, for two years, one group of political junkies lit Mueller-themed prayer candles while another parsed Trump tweets for coded clues. Both sides told the skeptics to shut up and “trust the plan.” Neither side got what they wanted. The delusion was disheartening to watch. I felt sorry for those QAnon acolytes who were nonviolent and would occasionally would hit on something real, like the Epstein case, and be dismissed as conspiracists by onlookers while Trumpian manipulators drew them deeper into the QAnon cult. But I was also frustrated with the side proclaiming allegiance to logic and law: the legal scholars and political pundits who baselessly assured the public of Mueller’s forthcoming success as Mueller continued to blow the case.

See September 11, 2001 1984 (Orwell) Nixon, Jay Nixon, Richard normalcy bias North Korea autocratic kinship ties in Biegun, Stephen (special representative to North Korea) Kim Jong Un Trump’s threats to nostalgia and The Apprentice under authoritarianism for the future for what never was nuclear weapons and Trump, Donald Obama, Barack and birtherism conspiracy theory declaration of organized crime as national emergency and Missouri voters and Russia 2008 presidential election 2012 presidential election Obama administration Lynch, Loretta and Magnitsky Act research funding cuts on former Soviet Union on Russian interference in 2016 election and Treasury breach unemployment rate Ocasio-Cortez, Alexandria Occupy Wall Street movement oligarchs Abramovich, Roman Blavatnik, Len and Caputo, Michael definition of Deripaska, Oleg Firtash, Dmitry and June 2016 Trump Tower meeting and Kleptocracy Initiative (Hudson Institute) and Kushner, Jared and Lauder, Ronald Leviev, Lev and Magnitsky Act and Manafort, Paul Mogilevich, Semion and the National Rifle Association and Putin, Vladimir and Republican Party and “right of return” sanctions on and Sater, Felix and “torturers’ lobby” firm of Manafort and Stone and Trump, Donald and Trump officials Omar, Ilhan Orbán, Viktor organized crime Clinton, Bill, on and Cohn, Roy death toll from transnational activities “The Evolving Organized Crime Threat” (Mueller “Iron Triangles” speech) Italian mafia and Mogilevich, Semion Obama, Barack, on state as proxy for transnational organized crime and Trump, Donald Orwell, George Papadopoulos, George Pecker, David Pence, Mike Pendergast, Tom Pentagon Papers Pieczenik, Steve Pizzagate conspiracy Podesta, Tony Politkovskaya, Anna Pompeo, Mike post-employment economy Powell, Kajieme Powers, Kajieme Prince, Erik propaganda “alternative facts” as and American media “Big Lie” (Third Reich technique) conspiracy theories as dark money campaigns and digital media “fake news” and gun issues inoculation against and investigative journalism of Trump and networked authoritarianism scandal covering up crime (Trump technique) and sense of time in Syria protest and Andijan massacre anti-globalization protests anti-Iraq War protests anti-Trump protests Arab Spring romanticizing of See also Ferguson protest public good public leverage Putin, Vladimir authoritarianism of and axis of autocrats and Burnett, Mark and Caputo, Michael and Chabad and “the color revolutions” and Deng, Wendi and hypercapitalism and Lauder, Ronald and Lazar, Berel meeting with Trump at G20 and murder of Anna Politkovskaya and oligarchs Order of Friendship granted to Rex Tillerson by pardon power of and poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and Russian interference in 2016 presidential election and Stein, Jill and Trump’s 2013 visit to Moscow Trump’s admiration of underestimation of QAnon Qatar racism and birtherism conspiracy and Central Park Five conspiracy and election of Barack Obama and Ferguson unrest and Missouri and partial repeal of Voting Rights Act and policy racist attacks on Elijah Lovejoy rebranded as populism systemic racism and Tea Party movement and Trump, Donald and Trump administration in works of Mark Twain and Yosef, Yitzhak Rather, Dan Reagan, Ronald and deregulation economic policy and Fairness Doctrine and Soviet Union Red Scare Reid, Harry Reid, Joy Roberts, Virginia Robinson, Don Rogers, Fred Romney, Mitt Rosenbaum, Ron Ross, Wilbur Rove, Karl RT (Russian state media outlet) Rubenstein, Howard Russia.

pages: 239 words: 80,319

Lurking: How a Person Became a User by Joanne McNeil

4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Ada Lovelace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Burning Man, Chelsea Manning, Chris Wanstrath, citation needed, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, feminist movement, Firefox, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, helicopter parent, Internet Archive, invention of the telephone, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, l'esprit de l'escalier, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, moral panic, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, packet switching, PageRank, pre–internet, profit motive, QAnon, recommendation engine, Saturday Night Live, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, social graph, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Turing complete, We are the 99%, web application, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog

Those users are put in motion as little cogs in a machine of chaos, in events ranging from distributing naked photos of Jennifer Lawrence obtained without her consent or making an ordinary person’s life miserable on Twitter. Much of the mid-aughts tech enthusiasm took the self-organizing free labor of users for granted, but here is how it landed: one of the best known examples of “peer production” is Gamergate, and QAnon is, perhaps, the world’s only successful work of “transmedia storytelling.” One characteristic has distinguished the racism online today from yesterday’s innocent-ish little cyberspace: online patronage—fund-raising on Patreon or their own crowdfunding platforms when Patreon kicks them off. Social media and crowdsourcing platforms, and today’s internet of micro-fame and grift, appeals to the vanity of racists as much as any other deluded Instagram influencer.

More people edit the page for Justin Bieber than the page for Pascoag, Rhode Island, and Bieber’s page has more visitors, but that does not correspond with more revenue. Both pages meet Wikipedia’s notability guideline, which does not reflect where the internet traffic is raining down at any given moment. This also explains why Wikipedia wasn’t a vector for QAnon or Pizzagate conspiracies. Its standards for notability and reliable sources help prevent the spread of conspiracies and hoaxes—unreliable information is deleted. There is only one Wikipedia page for each subject. There’s no redundancy. The single page might seem simple and obvious (it is an encyclopedia, after all), but in today’s media environment, this constraint means attention is siphoned to a page that can be maintained and guarded.

Yishan Wong, the CEO of Reddit from 2012 until 2014, once refused to ban any content that was legal. That’s the “easiest way to host a forum because you invest no resources,” Kat Lo told me. In the past five years, it has banned a number of extreme subreddits, including r/beatingwomen and a forum for QAnon, and it has “quarantined” others like r/The_Donald. Other tech companies and platforms are strongly censorious when they choose to be, given examples like Facebook’s quick deletion of users with Native American names in 2014 but its resistance to banning Alex Jones until 2019. It took Apple quite some time to remove Alex Jones’s Infowars podcast from its iTunes listings, but in 2012, Josh Begley’s Drone+ app—a simple project that provided users with updates on drone strikes and their location on a map—was swiftly purged from Apple’s App Store.

pages: 319 words: 75,257

Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy by David Frum

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, anti-globalists, Bernie Sanders, centre right, coronavirus, currency manipulation / currency intervention, decarbonisation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, employer provided health coverage, illegal immigration, immigration reform, labor-force participation, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nate Silver, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, QAnon, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley

They wanted to lock up Hillary Clinton for sending and receiving emails on a personal server, not caring even slightly when Ivanka Trump did the exact same thing or when Trump outright blabbed to the Russian foreign minister secrets much more vital than anything Clinton could possibly have risked. They plunged into the QAnon fantasy of a wise and good Trump poised to crush a global ring of child molesters—in order to avoid the reality of a malignant Trump who by his own admission had preyed upon teenage beauty pageant contestants.6 Have you ever known anyone swindled by a scam? It’s remarkable how determined they remain, and for how long, to defend the swindler—and to shift blame to those who tried to warn them of the swindle.

., 18 Napoleon, 65 National Enquirer, 109 National Guard, 93 nationalism, 50–51, 62–63, 196 National Lynching Memorial, 117 National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 126 National Rifle Association (NRA), 59, 61 National Security Agency (NSA), 45 National Security staff, 88, 96–97 Navajo Generating Station, 118 Naval Operations Chief, 92 Nazism, 64, 145 NBC, 24, 59 Nebraska, 184 Neller, Robert, 92 Netherlands, 133 Never Trumpers, 90 New Black Panthers, 69 New Hampshire, 76 New Jersey, 75 New Orleans, 80 Newton, Isaac, 157 New York City, 83, 163 New York magazine, 109 New York State, 75, 118, 184–86 New York Times, 41, 43, 46, 61, 65, 95, 102, 111, 118, 194 New Zealand, 55–56, 162, 177 Nicaragua, 108 Nixon, Richard, 62, 82, 85, 99–100, 105, 125, 198 No Child Left Behind Act (2002), 140 Nolte, John, 149 Noonan, Peggy, 196 Norquist, Grover, 196 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 41, 112, 178 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 45, 63, 93–94 North Carolina, 76, 78, 80, 123 North Dakota, 122, 164 Northeastern University, 55 North Korea, 44–46, 48–49, 169, 171–72 nuclear energy, 164, 166–67 nuclear weapons, 93–94, 180 Oak Ridge nuclear complex, 167 Obama, Barack, 12, 15, 64, 130–31, 136, 178, 183, 196–97 ACA and, 134–35 bin Laden and, 95–96 China and, 177 climate change and, 152 elections of 2010 and, 79 foreign policy and, 171, 179 immigration and, 21, 24, 106 Iran and, 172 Islamic world and, 53–54, 179 Obama, Michelle, 26 Ocasio-Cortez, Alexandria, 147, 167 oceans, 155–56 Office of Management and Budget (OMB), 102 offshore tax havens, 102, 174 Ohio, 78, 82–83 oil and gas (fossil fuels), 42, 94, 127, 150, 153–56, 161, 163–64 One American News Network (OANN), 15 O’Neill, Brendan, 149 O’Neill, Tip, 127 Orbán, Viktor, 67, 69, 143 Oregon, 118 O’Reilly, Bill, 15 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 132 Ornstein, Norman, 77 Owens, Candace, 64 Paddock, Stephen, 55 Pakistan, 88–89, 95, 173–75, 180 Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), 60 Palin, Sarah, 83, 84 Panama, 45, 108 Paris Bastille Day parade, 90–91 Paris climate accords, 41, 162 Parnas, Lev, 89, 190 Patriot Prayer, 60 Pegler, Westbrook, 83 Pence, Mike, 4, 26, 35, 63 Pennsylvania, 82–83, 118, 186 Perkins, Tony, 3, 75 Perón, Eva, 18 pharmaceutical companies, 133 Philadelphia, 184, 186 Philippines, 44–45, 146 Pierce, William, 60 Pittsburgh, 186 synagogue shooting, 56, 61 plastics, 118, 156, 160 Playboy, 49 Poland, 50, 66–67, 89, 93, 193 polarization, 15, 130–31, 137–38, 187 political correctness, 15, 110 poll taxes, 71 pollution, 159–61 Pompeo, Michael, 47, 171 population distribution, 75–79, 83, 121–22 Prager, Dennis, 149 progressives, 107–8, 110–13 protectionism, 3, 50, 161 Proud Boys, 60–61 public schools, 136–37, 140–41 Pulse nightclub shootings, 53–55 Putin, Vladimir, 3, 32–33, 44, 48, 63–64, 89, 176, 197 QAnon, 34 Quartz, 156 race and racism, 5–6, 43, 56–58, 62–63, 65–66, 107, 111–12, 127, 140–41, 191 voting and, 71, 80–81 Reagan, Ronald, 18, 39, 51, 62, 105–6, 181, 191 real estate, 120 recessions, 12, 127, 144 recycling, 159–60 red flag laws, 117 redistricting, 84 red meat consumption, 163 reform, recommendations for consensus and, 118–19 DC statehood and, 122–23 filibuster and, 120–22 gerrymandering and, 124–25 law enforcement and, 125–26 presidential tax returns and, 119–20 regulation, 127, 188 Reid, Harry, 121 Republican National Convention 2008 (St.

pages: 173 words: 52,725

How to Be Right: In a World Gone Wrong by James O'Brien

Boris Johnson, clockwatching, collective bargaining, death of newspapers, Donald Trump, game design, housing crisis, mass immigration, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, QAnon, ride hailing / ride sharing, sexual politics, young professional

Already, a clamour is growing around the idea that arrogant inadequates like Liam Fox and David Davis could somehow have performed much more effectively, if only ‘Remainers’ had stopped pointing out how little they seemed to know or understand about the tasks they had set themselves. In America, the best hope for democracy and truth is that Donald Trump ends up in jail, or at least in deposed disgrace. But even that could present more problems than it solves. The sheer absurdity of what some of his core supporters have been persuaded to believe – the latest nonsense, QAnon, contends that he is secretly leading an international fight against an enormous and omnipotent network of paedophiles – makes me worry at what might follow if the Constitution proves up to the task of removing the sort of president it was designed to resist. Back in Britain, the rise of the mysteriously funded think tank continues apace.

pages: 324 words: 80,217

The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success by Ross Douthat

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Burning Man, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, centre right, charter city, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, East Village, Elon Musk, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, ghettoisation, gig economy, Haight Ashbury, helicopter parent, hive mind, Hyperloop, immigration reform, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Islamic Golden Age, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, life extension, mass immigration, mass incarceration, means of production, megacity, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, multiplanetary species, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, Norman Mailer, obamacare, Oculus Rift, open borders, out of africa, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, pre–internet, QAnon, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social web, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wage slave, women in the workforce, Y2K

The guy who shows up at the Comet pizza parlor in Northwest DC with a gun because he thinks that prominent liberals are running a pedophile dungeon downstairs, or the guy who parks his truck on the Hoover Dam and demands that certain imaginary indictments be unsealed isn’t just a little bolder and action oriented than the typical “Pizzagate” or “QAnon” conspiracy theorists; he fundamentally misunderstands the meaning and purpose of those labyrinthine theories, taking them as literal claims about the world rather than as what they are for their creators (a sport, a grift, a hobby) and for most of their participants (political entertainment and an odd form of virtual community).