Celebrate the Facts!
The recent political discourse in the United States is interesting, in the same way, one might consider nuclear war. The demography of the United States moving toward post-Caucasian status imperiled a militant cohort. Those new, white voters helped elect a populist pompous President and staffed the first coup attempt in the United States history. Concurrent with those developments is the growth of the Internet, where anyone can advocate for essentially anything. Central to this unrest are social media companies’ thirst for revenue, regardless of morality, and their role in radicalizing population segments.
Fast facts about social media:
Social media companies garner revenues from selling data and advertising. Advertisers pay for exposure to customers, particularly buyers who need their products. Social media’s mission is to keep the user engaged. They keep them engaged by feeding content meeting their specific interests and keeping them interested.
Platforms have substantial financial incentives to increase user engagement. For example, social media companies make money by pushing ads to users in tandem with items in the user’s newsfeed. As a result, social media companies want highly engaged users who spend much time reviewing posts, liking items, posting, and sharing. Those readers are more likely to observe the advertisements and, in theory, buy those products.
Social media platforms use advanced technology to improve value to advertisers and enrich themselves by charging higher prices. They harvest massive amounts of data from users then target specific audiences for advertisers based on that information. The targeting tool is an algorithm.
Social media operators use algorithms to tailor what each user sees on their sites. These algorithms predict content relevance to specific users based on past user behavior data. The data includes contacts, interactions, content consumed, the amount of time spent on that content, specific content liked and shared, and subscriptions to categories and groups. It also includes sex, income range, relationship status, and interests. In addition, social media platforms sell targeted advertising to specific users.
Of course, each platform uses a different proprietary algorithm and they are complex. For example, the Facebook algorithm gathers more than 10,000 signals to predict a user’s likelihood of engaging with an individual post.
Facebook went from a personal ad for one’s wealth, beauty, fame, and love for family to a hostile and polarizing place. Facebook poured gas on the fire in 2017, when it reformulated the algorithm to give the ‘angry’ emoji five times the weight of a ‘like.’ For the most politically oriented one million American users, almost 90 percent of the content that Facebook shows them is about politics and social issues.
Facebook provides people on political extremes with the most misinformation, especially users associated with right-leaning content, to whom Facebook pushed one disinformation post out of every 40. For extremely partisan users, algorithms turn their feeds into echo chambers of conspiracy theory and extremist political Infotainment that support, and never challenge, their viewpoints.
On top of that, users build their networks, which affects the content they see, including the types of disinformation they see in their newsfeed. As a result, social media presence in the news industry is enormous.
The use of algorithms to curate news content disrupted the gatekeeping role previously held by conventional news platforms. These stand-alone media sources had some semblance of journalistic integrity, including fact-checking, review, and approval processes. Instead, the new and only screening criteria is popularity, not accuracy.
Social media platforms fall under federal law Section 230, including any ‘information service, system, or access software provider that provides or enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server.’ This law protects them from liability for publishing and, in some instances removing or restricting access to another person’s content. Pornography tube sites fall under the same guidelines, allowing them to link to pirated content.
The medium is the message is a saying coined by philosopher Marshall McLuhan. It means the form of a message determines how a recipient receives the message. McLuhan, long dead, argued that electronic communications would have far-reaching sociological, aesthetic, and philosophical consequences, to the point of altering how we experience the world.
The medium is the message is valid about social media, particularly when viewed through hand-held devices. The form features small screens, simple concepts, and images. It seeks engagement over content and has a breathless pace. It attempts to become addictive by stimulating emotions. Often those emotions are the worst in humans.
Happy couple posts are inversely proportional to the level of happiness in the relationship. Images of experiences associated with wealth, expensive restaurants, resort living, and expensive cars likely indicate a person’s infatuation with wealth. Once Americans considered bragging rude in polite company, but exhibitionism is now mainstream American culture.
There is a quick way to social media relevance: controversy. Akin to earlier shock jocks like Howard Stern, politicians, celebrities, and everyday people understood this early and used it to their benefit. And now that the platforms have weeded them out, those individuals are quick to argue prejudice and censorship by liberal elites. Advocating insurrection against the United States government or espousing racist views certainly appears to cause banishment in extreme cases. And the social media terms of service agreements certainly allow for such treatment.
Removing a purveyor of hate like Marjorie Taylor Greene, whom Twitter removed in January 2022 for spreading lies about vaccines, seems socially responsible. One wonders, however, if advertising revenue concerns motivated Twitter more than altruistic or ideological reasons. The difference between a gadfly like Greene and provocateur Donald Trump is that Trump can skate near the line of hatred and a blatant untruth. Greene, charitably put, was never an honor student, can’t seem to imitate that skill.
Social media platforms share the blame for extremism with political entrepreneurs such as Roger Stone, Greene, and anti-vax propagandist and conspiracy theorist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Kennedy, the son of assassinated Senator Robert Kennedy, disgraces his heritage and endangers his health in his search for fortune and glory.
There is not much hope for reform and regulation of social media, despite its role in fanning violence, discord, and racism. Corporations can’t vote, but their money can buy many votes in the dark money era. Politicians, dependent on dark money, will likely be happy to grandstand in public but will continue to gobble up contributions and vote the way their corporate masters tell them. Corporations whitewash their problems with contributions to charitable causes of the day and regard such as a public relations expense.
The 2023 defense budget the Biden Administration submits to Congress early this year is critical. Department of Defense (DOD) officials promise a ‘transformational’ budget. Transformational means purchasing commitments for new weapons systems that have been in the development process. They will have to eliminate politically popular but costly and outmoded weapons systems to make that investment and remain equivalent to 2021 levels. Regardless of political invective, the budget will likely end in a substantial increase.
The United States Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 by a vote of 88-11. The House had passed the bill by a vote of 363-70. Despite alleged political divides in Washington, the legislative bodies ratified a bloated budget proposed by the ‘liberal’ Biden Administration. The 2022 budget is higher in real terms than what the United States was spending during the Reagan administration and the Korean and Vietnam wars.
The idea of equal value to investment works in most areas of the federal government. Unfortunately, that is less true in the United States Department of Defense (DOD). The national discourse centers around the needs of the United States moneyed class to maintain supply lines and markets. Much less so is the actual national defense, making the name of the DOD a misnomer. Add a dose of congressional pork, and the DOD budget leaves little discretionary direction.
The DOD has a budget of more than the following ten countries combined. The DOD owns more than half the federal budget. Full of sinecures and fiefdoms, the DOD operates as an immense bureaucracy with limited accountability for funds.
Squirreled within the 2022 budget was a requirement for a formal evaluation of the United States Defense Department (DOD) budget process. The name will be the Commission on Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) Reform.’ Unfortunately, the composition of this commission is unknown, so conjecture about outcomes is pointless. Regardless, the commission's recommendations are years away.
The budget process is full of congressional meddling to obtain revenues for military contractors in different geographic areas. Canny military equipment vendors locate subcontractors in various congressional districts to curry votes.
The most recent offender is the F-35 fighter program. The Lockheed Martin fighter is over eight years past schedule and $165 billion over budget. Shockingly, the fighter has met virtually none of its specified metrics. The F-35 is the biggest turkey ever built.
Lockheed Martin’s supply chain includes 1,900 companies in the United States and every nation acquiring the F-35. The DOD is married to this flying boondoggle, and Congress will undoubtedly assure it.
Outdated legacy programs require many spare parts and often stay alive because of congressional pressure. High-cost and outmoded legacies include the fossilized B-52 bomber, now fitted with new engines to extend its flying life. Another is the A-10 aircraft, still alive despite desperate DOD requests to mothball it.
The current budget and procurement process results in eight-year-long decision times to start acquisition programs. Add that to 15 to 20 years to develop and deploy new weapons systems, and one ends up with a beastly bureaucracy that can only build systems long-outdated when they roll out.
Technology improvements in hypersonic missiles, stealth technology, and cyber warfare require shorter development cycles. Artificial intelligence, machine warfare, and drone technology are essential elements in future warfare and evolve swiftly. The technology improvements also render many previous platforms obsolete.
This ‘transformational’ 2023 budget promises to change all this.
One of the items that likely will include is funding the MQ-25 Stingray. The menacing moniker is in accord with long-time Pentagon tradition. This aerial refueling drone will be the world’s first operational, carrier-based crewless aircraft, giving the United States Navy a bone. Funding the program will also fatten Boeing, the manufacturer.
There are other apparent areas for adjustment. The DOD has shown its disenchantment with the F-35 program. They might choose to reduce purchasing commitments to free funding. Further procurement of F-15 fighters, with much lower operating costs than the F-35, would indicate the DOD plans to backfill the F-35 reduction with obsolete but cheaper planes.
The Air Force and the Navy each have a sixth-generation aircraft in development, and one should anticipate a significant amount of funding increase in that area.
The Army has its systems the call the Big Six for further funding:
Another area sure for the budget increase is cybersecurity.
The money to make worthwhile investments must come from somewhere. The amount will likely be static when adjusted for inflation. The withdrawal from Afghanistan resulted in substantial cost savings. Inflation will increase military wages, although a small amount compared to weapons procurement.
To maintain budget levels and modernize legacy programs will have to be retired. Whether the Biden Administration or the Congress has the belly to do that is doubtful, particularly in an election year. As a result, another immense increase to an already obese DOD budget is more likely to occur.
1/16/2022 2 Comments
The United States Department of Justice has arrested a provocateur named Elmer Stewart Rhodes for seditious conspiracy for what it alleges is his conspiracy to overturn the electoral process at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021. While the verdict in such a trial is unknown, the road there is predictable. The facts, while worth examining, are not the most intriguing thing about Rhodes. Instead, his descent from a mere eccentric to apparent madness is a study in American nativist extremism.
The United States charged Oath Keepers leader Stuart Rhodes and ten co-conspirators with seditious conspiracy on January 13, 2022, for allegedly plotting ‘to oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power by force.’
Rhodes, born in 1966, now lives in Granbury, Texas, a village southwest of Dallas, and founded a right-wing paramilitary organization called the Oath Keepers in 2009. The Oath Keepers are an organization associated with right-wing militias. Though the Oath Keepers will accept anyone as a member, they explicitly focus on recruiting current and former military, law enforcement, and first-responder personnel. The Oath Keepers were among the individuals and groups who forcibly entered the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting the case. Prosecutors said that at the beginning of late December 2020, Rhodes helped plan the attack on Congress. The documents claim Rhodes helped form groups standing by at remote locations but prepared to use weapons if necessary.
Rhodes said little in court, typical for a first appearance. However, through his public defender, he did tell the judge that he wished to enter a not guilty plea. He was shackled at his wrists and ankles. Seditious conspiracy can result in fines or imprisonment for as much as twenty years or both. Before his arrest, Rhodes denied any wrongdoing, saying he never entered the Capitol and never intended for members of his group to go in.
The last sedition prosecution came 26 years ago when the United States convicted Omar Abdel Rahman and nine others who planned to bomb the United Nations, the FBI building in Manhattan, and bridges and tunnels between New Jersey and New York. The next court date for Rhodes, a detention hearing, will be held on January 20, 2022, and Rhodes will remain in jail until then.
Estimates say that his net worth is between $500k and $1 million, chump change in a federal case, so it is unlikely he can mount an adequate defense barring contributions from supporters. At this point, Rhodes is so toxic that it is unlikely to happen. Given that condition, he might be a good candidate for a cooperation agreement and then implicate people a bit higher in the insurrection, if he can. That is, assuming he is guilty.
The United States had previously indicted nine people charged in this most recent indictment with a role in the January 6, 2021 insurrection. One may surmise one or more of those people will testify against Rhodes if the case, should the case come to trial, in return for leniency. On the other hand, one might also suspect that at least one of them has already cooperated, leading to the indictment.
On the other hand, delusional people rarely make rational decisions, so Rhodes might fight the charges even if guilty. If that occurs, he will hope to exploit the lack of precedent in such charges, and claim he is a political prisoner. In that case, Marjorie Taylor Greene and other right-wing politicians accustomed to raking up cash from the delusional will use his cause to get more attention and raise more money.
Chief candidates for the next-in-line would be slippery provocateur Roger Stone and the bombastic conspiracy-monger Alex Jones. Rhodes, his deputy, and three Oath Keepers who guarded Roger Stone exchanged 19 phone calls over three hours on January 6, 2021. The calls started with the first assault on police barricades protecting the United States Capitol. Rhodes has a close relationship with Alex Jones, appearing on his Internet channel Infowars, spewing lies, disinformation, and propaganda. The porcine pair are similar in age, appearance, and demeanor, leading one to conclude they are a natural match. It is also conceivable is that there was communication between Rhodes and Jones related to the insurrection.
Rhodes joins his colleagues Steve Bannon, Augustus Invictus, and Richard Spencer as credibly accused of spousal abuse. Rhodes’ wife, Tasha Rhodes, filed for a temporary protective order against her husband in December 2021, a few days after filing for divorce. Tasha Rhodes alleged he frequently threatened himself and his family with guns, and he has a history of violent outbursts against his family. The document claims that history includes choking his teenage daughter by the throat in 2016. Allegations of spousal abuse are a common thread in white nationalist groups. Tasha Rhodes appeared on CNN and referred to him as a 'sociopath.’ She said she felt 'so much relief' that he was in custody.
The bigger question is how a nominally intelligent and highly educated man becomes radicalized to the point of delusion and starts believing in fables. It started, apparently, with the United States military, who trained Rhodes as a paratrooper and discharged him after an injury. Military organizations teach soldiers that violence solves problems and that murder is moral when serving the flag. Such firmly held social mores are difficult to rebuild after the military breaks them.
Rhodes enlisted in the United States Army after finishing high school. He became a paratrooper and received an honorable discharge from an injury during night parachuting training. He attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, graduating in 1998. Rhodes worked as a certified concealed-carry firearms instructor and a valet driver while a student. Rhodes lost one eye when he dropped a gun, and it fired, resulting in the injury and his trademark eye patch.
His first political employment was supervising interns in Washington, D.C., for Libertarian Ron Paul, then a Republican congressman from Texas. Rhodes later attended Yale Law School, graduating in 2004, and clerked for Arizona Supreme Court Justice Michael D. Ryan. He later volunteered on Paul’s failed 2008 presidential campaign. Yale, one of the Ivy League finishing schools for the American oligarchy, will not be listing Rhodes in its distinguished alumni on its website.
Libertarians define themselves as people who uphold the principles of individual liberty, especially of thought and action. Their belief system features minimizing almost to the point of elimination of governments. Such a system is intriguing but untenable in practice. One might conclude that Libertarians enjoy the privileges of living in a governed country but don’t wish to obey its laws or pay taxes. The mistaken belief that such a governmental system could be successful and his ardent support of a strange Ron Paul was the first documented step from eccentricity toward Rhodes's full-blown wingnut status.
Along with his now-estranged wife, Rhodes started the Oath Keepers in 2009 as a full-blown protest of the Barack Obama election in 2008.
Fast facts about the Oath Keepers:
In 2015, the Montana Supreme Court officially disbarred Rhodes from practicing law for violating the Montana Rules of Professional Conduct. The punishment resulted because Rhodes represented right-wing extremist clients in Arizona despite being unlicensed to practice in Arizona.
The social costs of the American military machine are incalculable. No empirical platform calculates the costs of veteran suicides, reduced lifetime earnings, criminal behavior, depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders? Of the more than 700 people facing federal charges over the Capitol siege, 73, are veterans. Rhodes is not the only veteran sharing delusions and willing to break the law over them.
A rational society diverts a delusional person into the mental health treatment industry, hospitalized, medicated, and discharged before hurting themselves and others. Believing the basic tenets of the Oath Keepers include delusional thinking, let alone founding a movement espousing such nonsense. Under the guise of First Amendment-protected free speech, people such as this can lie, misrepresent, twist facts, distribute propaganda, and meet openly and advocate mistaken beliefs.
However, Rhodes allegedly crossed the line, and now he is in the hands of the federal criminal justice apparatus. One might argue Rhodes’ use of wireless communication, albeit encrypted, was also indicative of mental illness. Rhodes was high profile before the insurrection. A person of Rhodes’s education and reasonable awareness would know when the FBI wants to find out whom one is talking to and what they are saying, they will find out.
The criminal justice system in the United States misses many opportunities to study and treat mentally ill convicts. For instance, the United States executed Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing perpetrator, shortly after his conviction without uncovering much detail about his journey into psychosis. The United States buried that chance and missed dozens of other such opportunities each year, leaving a deeper understanding of causes of criminal behavior unknown.
Al Capone and the like, the source of legends, are long gone, it seems, but fear not. The ultra-rich have now replaced them as a new class of outlaws, effectively bribing politicians, hiding their money from the taxman, concealing crimes with nondisclosure agreements, and living a life of splendor amongst riches they can never spend. The new mafia is the uber-wealthy.
The United States Justice Department defines International Organized Crime as ‘self-perpetuating associations of individuals who operate internationally to obtain power, influence, monetary and commercial gains, wholly or in part by illegal means, while protecting their activities through a pattern of corruption or violence. ‘
The old school organized crime was the stuff of legends, glamorized in the Godfather and dozens of mob movies. Formal organizations, linked by ethnic identity and congruent goals, harvested revenues from selling alcohol and drugs, gambling, extortion, prostitution, and other illegal means. Organizations controlled product sales and geographic areas and cooperated informally to further goals. They bribed politicians and public officials, manipulated legislation, colluded to maintain monopolies, and used violence to sustain their regimes. They also hid their money from the taxman, avoiding any responsibility to contribute to a societies that provided their wealth.
Over time, governments found a way to suppress their power, mainly by coopting their revenue sources. The repeal of prohibition in 1933 eliminated rum-running, previously controlled by the mob. The legalization of gambling, often under the auspices of governments and always taxed, also destroyed a source of revenue. Now cannabis sales are legal in many states, with hallucinogenic substances not far behind. Once a source of income for organized crime, labor unions have dried up along with the money. Narcotic drugs appear to be the last lifeline for these once prominent criminal groups.
Nature abhors a vacuum, and the captains of industry have seized the mantle of the most significant criminal syndicate in history. Most of the problems revolve around taxes, but the problem goes beyond rich people dodging taxes but the erosion of tax rates. Wealthy interests fund politicians, buy access to stall progressive legislation, further erode tax rates, and advance their corporate interests. Mostly this is about money.
The ultra-wealthy have an annual collusion meeting at an extravagant ski resort in Davos, Switzerland. The meeting, formally known as the World Economic Forum, whitewashes their incredible wealth with noble-sounding themes, and they attend presentations about climate change and sustainability, with breakout sessions populated by sycophantic ‘thought leaders’ parroting congratulatory themes. However, the real action occurs behind the scenes, where the global fat cats renew ties to other self-styled Übermensch and the politicians who also attend.
Politicians gain and keep an office and enrich themselves after leaving it by toadying to the wishes of their wealthy masters. Former United States presidents Bill Clinton, with a current net worth of $120 million, and Barack Obama, now worth about $70 million, had modest means when elected. Those are extreme examples but illustrate the riches accrued by befriending the wealthy gentry.
One discussion worth touching on is the concept that incredible wealth incentivizes innovation. However, it’s worth noting that many oligarch classes didn’t invent anything. Elon Musk didn’t discover electric motors or lithium-ion batteries but merely adopted these in a new application. Similarly, neither Musk nor Jeff Bezos designed the rocket engine and orbital flight but adopted existing technologies. Overnight delivery and sales of cheap retail goods have existed for decades: Bezos merely unified the two. Computer technology was already well into deployment; Bill Gates provided an operating system code in DOS to IBM for free and leveraged his way into a developing market. These guys aren’t innovators; they are old-school robber barons more akin to Andrew Carnegie and John Rockefeller.
Others from the unctuous super-affluent class did nothing more than being born and inheriting their wealth. If they had been born in Mumbai, their story could have been tragic.
Fast tax facts about international corporate tax abuse and private tax evasion:
One problem about discussions about tax code is the word ‘fair.’ Fair has very little to do with taxes. The purpose of graduated tax codes is to fund the government and meet the overall social objectives of a democratic society. The erosion of marginal tax rates, reduction of corporate income tax rates, and legislation to mitigate environmental compliance costs were inimical to the interests of the great majority of constituents of the politicians who helped pass those laws. In an electoral system now dominated by dark money, one might argue that passing those new laws was flawed, anti-democratic, and immoral.
A larger question is whether massive dark money contributions to evade taxes, an immoral act, are equivalent to a crime. Egalitarian societies, with rational elections and actual limits on campaign contributions, use tax policy as a policy mechanism to avoid top-heavy wealth accumulation. However, gaming that system results in a different end. Avoiding the outcome becomes a criminal and immoral act, as it destabilizes society.
In 2019 about 5.2 million children under five years mainly died from preventable and treatable causes. So Jeff Bezos buying a $500 million yacht is a profoundly immoral act in that, or any other, context.
A great example of a legal tool the wealthy use to conceal criminal behavior is a nondisclosure agreement, where the rich pay people they have wronged, often criminally, to remain silent and refrain from criminal charges. Wealthy sexual criminals such as Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein and dozens of other rich people used legal machinations to conceal their crimes for years. Aside from immoral, these agreements are illegal when used to cover crimes and avoid charges. They also insulate the uber-wealthy from responsibility for the consequences of their behavior, thereby establishing them as outlaws.
Big money plutocrats don’t mind political divisions in the United States. Conversely, the resultant media revenue and legislative gridlock cause their celebration. Such problems divert attention from their predatorial investment and business practices, immoral hoarding of wealth, and gluttonous exhibition of their money. Swings in governance allow them to jam through favorable legislation, such as the ill-advised corporate tax rate reductions of 2017.
Fixing the problem could be both swift and straightforward:
Unfortunately, too many people make too much money from the status quo, adding inertia. The ultra-rich make and keep excess wealth by gaming and abusing the system. Some marginal countries harvest revenue from sheltered money. Lackeys of the organizations make incomes by supporting their objectives.
The only people who seem to suffer are the overwhelming remaining population of the world.
Richard Spencer coined the term alt-right and is a leader in the white nationalist movement. He is refined, intelligent, tailored, articulate; he is a button-downed face of a toxic ideology and is dangerous, but Spencer has a self-destructive streak. Perhaps his advocacy of racist ideology is a way of externalizing his own self-loathing, like his penchant for self-immolation.
The public has a skewed perception of white nationalism because of artificial divisions of groups by nominal leadership and slight differences in geography and ideological objectives. Corporate media tends to support these narratives by covering particularly repugnant aspects of each. The many divisions include Ku Klux Klan, alt-right, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, neo-Confederate, neo-Nazi, Boogaloo Boys, racist Skinheads, Aryan Brotherhood, and various white nationalist militias.
Rather than seeing themselves as a stain on humanity, these thought leaders tend to adopt a white Knight attitude, where they delude alone can save the white race, despite nonexistent villains who attempt to stop them. Operating in echo chambers of white grievance, these folks reinforce one another’s eccentric beliefs to the point of extremism and often violence.
The overriding goal of these organizations is to create a pan-continental white male-led sovereign nation then deport or eliminate anyone who is not Caucasian. Seeded by military veterans, soldiers, and police officers, these groups quickly tend to violence.
The key to white nationalist strategy is insulating leaders from direct culpability in criminal acts. White nationalist Louis Beam prescribed the mechanism in his 1992 essay Leaderless Resistance. The piece recommended no longer planning in large groups but forming cells of one to six men. This methodology became standard among white nationalist groups, mitigating the ability of law enforcement to tie leaders to criminal acts.
Spencer was born in Boston and came from some money. His mother owned several cotton plantations in Mississippi, and his father was an ophthalmologist.
Spencer obtained an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia, a master's degree from the University of Chicago and dropped out of the Ph.D. program in History at Duke University. He is intelligent, articulate, well-educated, and makes a lovely appearance. But, unfortunately, he’s the perfect lead singer for a toxic ideology.
Spencer became president of a not-for-profit organization called the National Policy Institute in 2011. He also ran NPI’s publishing division, Washington Summit Publishers, a book publisher specializing in racist titles including Witches, Feminism, and the Fall of the West, and Martin Heidegger: The Philosophy of Another Beginning.
Spencer also operates a website called Radix Journal. Charitably, the website, founded in 2012, is amateurish in format and is not exceptionally well-maintained. Unfortunately, Spencer forgot the mantras of consistent, compelling content in this pursuit as the content is sporadic and dated.
Racist gibberish litters the site, including a discussion of ethnogenesis and the idea that interracial marriage creates a new race. Among other items, the website promotes a racist polemic called Making Sense of Race, by a running mate of Spencer’s, Edward Dutton, available on Amazon. Dutton claims Making Sense of Race ‘will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about race, but might have been afraid to ask.’
Like other white nationalists such as David Duke and Augustus Invictus, Spencer fancies himself an author. He edited The Great Purge: The Deformation of the Conservative Movement, also sold by Amazon as The Great Erasure. In addition, Spencer wrote the forward to The Conquest of a Continent and edited Hero Complex: The Man of Tomorrow in Pulp Culture.
A sampling of Spencer’s documented statements:
Spencer dog whistles his way through the convoluted rationale for his viewpoints. However, he’s smart enough to weave together an intriguing, though flawed, narrative. Spencer attempted to limit his liabilities with some limited success, although time finally caught up with him, and he’s in deep, dark water.
Spencer married a Russian named Nina Kouprianova in 2010. Kouprianova seemed a perfect match in the fanatic department, as she had published glowing articles about Vladimir Putin, criticized western media, and been a talking head on the Russia Today (RT) network espousing anti-Ukrainian propaganda
Kouprianova accused Spencer of physically, emotionally, and verbally abusing her during their eight-year marriage, according to documents and exhibits filed in court as part of their divorce proceedings. Kouprianova documented the abuse in a court filing, including transcriptions of conversations, emails, photographs, and a call to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
The judge presiding over Spencer’s divorce case found him in contempt of court in May 2020 over his failure to pay more than $60,000 in fees owed to the court-appointed guardian ad litem who represented the interests of Spencer’s two children.
Spencer attempted a speaking tour of college campuses in 2017. The results were catastrophic. After his speech at the University of Florida, police arrested three of his supporters and charged them with attempted murder. Riots and arrests punctuated his speech at Michigan State University.
In May 2021, a federal judge ordered the NPI to pay $2.4 million after losing a suit brought by an Ohio man severely injured during the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Spencer was a defendant in Sines v. Kessler, a federal civil suit against organizers, promoters, and participants in the Unite the Right rally, the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017. The jury awarded $25 million to the plaintiffs. Spencer’s attorney withdrew from the case, and he defended himself, pleading poverty, so he will likely attempt to appear judgment-proof to avoid paying any settlement.
The NPI exists no longer. Spencer resides in Whitefish, Montana, a tiny hamlet near the Canadian border, and lives in his mother’s house. Media reports indicate locals ostracized him and even booed him out of a restaurant.
What next for Spencer? He could continue to live off family wealth, but one is inclined to speculate he’ll return his endeavors as an alt-right vocalist and attempt to monetize his infamy.
Michael Donnelly investigates societal concerns with an untribal approach - to limit the discussion to the facts derived from primary sources so the reader can make more informed decisions.