Opinion | The Viral Lies That Keep Killing Us

Opinion | The Viral Lies That Keep Killing Us

Why 2021 wasn’t the year we beat the pandemic.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/03/opinion/covid-vaccines-misinformation.html

Alert readers will have noticed that these Republican claims, in addition to being false, contradict one another in multiple ways. We can ignore Covid thanks to vaccines, which by the way don’t work. Vaccination is a personal choice, but giving people the information they need to make that choice wisely is a vile attack on their dignity. It’s all about freedom and free markets, but this freedom doesn’t include the right of private businesses to protect their own workers and customers.

First They Fought About Masks. Then Over the Soul of the City.

First They Fought About Masks. Then Over the Soul of the City.

In Enid, Okla., pandemic politics prompted a fundamental question: What does it mean to be an American? Whose version of the country will prevail?

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/26/us/oklahoma-masks.html

“The red shirts have assumed effective control of most of the public bodies in Enid,” Mr. Ezzell said this month. He estimated that those who cared enough about the mask mandate to show up at a public meeting to speak against it were a small minority of the city’s 50,000 population. But they had an outsize effect on the Council’s moderate members, because in this moment of defensiveness and threat, going against members of your own tribe is extremely difficult.

Published
Categorized as Recommended
Hidden Pentagon Records Reveal Patterns of Failure in Deadly Airstrikes

Hidden Pentagon Records Reveal Patterns of Failure in Deadly Airstrikes

The promise was a war waged by all-seeing drones and precision bombs. The documents show flawed intelligence, faulty targeting, years of civilian deaths — and scant accountability.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/12/18/us/airstrikes-pentagon-records-civilian-deaths.html

Yet what the hidden documents show is that civilians have become the regular collateral casualties of a way of war gone badly wrong.

Published
Categorized as Recommended
How Beijing Influences the Influencers

How Beijing Influences the Influencers

China’s government has supported foreign YouTubers who put a positive spin on its policies, in its latest effort to shape how the world sees it.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/12/13/technology/china-propaganda-youtube-influencers.html

Joshua Lam and Libby Lange, graduate student researchers at Yale University, analyzed a sample of nearly 290,000 tweets that mentioned Xinjiang in the first half of 2021. They found that six of the 10 most commonly shared YouTube videos in the tweets were from the pro-China influencers.

Fox News Hosts Sent Texts to Meadows Urging Trump to Act as Jan. 6 Attack Unfolded

Fox News Hosts Sent Texts to Meadows Urging Trump to Act as Jan. 6 Attack Unfolded

Afterward, on their shows, Laura Ingraham spread the false claim of antifa involvement, and Sean Hannity referred to the 2020 election as a “train wreck.”

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/13/business/media/fox-news-trump-jan-6-meadows.html

Ms. Ingraham’s text came in contrast with what she said on her Fox News program in the hours after the attack, when she promoted the false theory that members of antifa were involved.

Published
Categorized as Recommended
The ultra-violent cult that became a global mafia

The ultra-violent cult that became a global mafia

A BBC investigation into Black Axe has unearthed new evidence of political infiltration, and a scamming and killing operation spanning the globe.

via BBC News: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-59614595

Within Nigeria, Black Axe is fighting a war of supremacy with rival “cults” – similar criminal gangs with names like the Eiye, the Buccaneers, the Pirates and the Maphites. Messages the BBC have translated from West African Pidgin show Axemen keeping track of how many rivals they have murdered, tallying up the figures like a football score in each region.

The Russian Novel That Foresaw—but Underestimated—Totalitarianism

The Russian Novel That Foresaw—but Underestimated—Totalitarianism

Yevgeny Zamyatin, the author of “We,” was both the original writer of totalitarian terror and one of its original victims.

via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/books/second-read/the-russian-novel-that-foresaw-but-underestimated-totalitarianism

True literature can thrive only in places where literature is created not by obedient and reliable bureaucrats but by madmen, recluses, heretics, dreamers, rebels, and skeptics. Where a writer must be reasonable, faithful like a Catholic, useful in the present moment, where he cannot flail at everyone as Jonathan Swift did or smile at everything as Anatole France does, there can be no literature that is cast in bronze—there can only be the sort printed on paper, the newsprint sort that’s read today and used to wrap bars of soap tomorrow.

Published
Categorized as Recommended
In a QAnon World, Is There Room for Alex Jones?

In a QAnon World, Is There Room for Alex Jones?

The post-Trump era could’ve been a return to form for the conspiracy king; instead it’s been his undoing. 

Link: https://www.vice.com/en/article/akvekb/the-latter-days-of-alex-jones-sandy-hook-lawsuit

As Jones faces what could be a sizable legal judgement and another bout of withering press when he testifies before Congress, he’s also working on something much weirder. Infowars is teaming up with a hypnotist named Jake Ducey to shill a bizarre new video series Jones is calling “Reset Wars.” On air, Jones has described the series as “the most important thing I’ve ever done,” and a new site set up for the project promises it will be “your road map to navigating the apocalypse.” In a black-and-white promo video, Jones rants about the enslavers of mankind, whom he accuses of “trying to turn us into robots,” before launching into a description of what sounds like a potted summary of the plot of The Matrix. It’s remarkably incoherent even by Jones’ standards; he references “transcending the third dimension” several times, but just how he proposes to help his audience do that isn’t quite clear.

Published
Categorized as Recommended
The Secret History of the U.S. Diplomatic Failure in Afghanistan

The Secret History of the U.S. Diplomatic Failure in Afghanistan

A trove of unreleased documents reveals a dispiriting record of misjudgment, hubris, and delusion that led to the fall of the Western-backed government.

via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/12/20/the-secret-history-of-the-us-diplomatic-failure-in-afghanistan

The debates and decisions in Washington, Kabul, and Doha that preceded the Islamic Republic’s fall took place largely in private. Hundreds of pages of meeting notes, transcripts, memoranda, e-mails, and documents, as well as extensive interviews with Afghan and American officials, present a dispiriting record of misjudgment, hubris, and delusion from the very start.

Civilian Deaths Mounted as Secret Unit Pounded ISIS

Civilian Deaths Mounted as Secret Unit Pounded ISIS

An American strike cell alarmed its partners as it raced to defeat the enemy.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/12/us/civilian-deaths-war-isis.html

As bad strikes mounted, the four military officials said, Talon Anvil’s partners sounded the alarm. Pilots over Syria at times refused to drop bombs because Talon Anvil wanted to hit questionable targets in densely populated areas. Senior C.I.A. officers complained to Special Operations leaders about the disturbing pattern of strikes. Air Force teams doing intelligence work argued with Talon Anvil over a secure phone known as the red line. And even within Talon Anvil, some members at times refused to participate in strikes targeting people who did not seem to be in the fight.