The Cost of Trump’s Assault on the Press and the Truth

The President is being forced to give up his attempt to overturn the election. But he will continue his efforts to build an alternative reality around himself.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/12/07/the-cost-of-trumps-assault-on-the-press-and-the-truth
But Trump knew precisely what he was doing, and he never let up. During a meeting at Trump Tower, Leslie Stahl, of CBS News, asked why he kept attacking the press. “You know why I do it?” he said. “I do it to discredit you all and demean you all, so that, when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you.”

The Scammer Who Wanted to Save His Country

Last year, a hacker gave Glenn Greenwald a trove of damning messages between Brazil’s leaders. Some suspected the Russians. The truth was far less boring.

Link: https://www.wired.com/story/brazil-hacker-bolsonaro-car-wash-leaks/
“Oh yeah, don't worry about that. They'll never catch me,” the source boasted. He said he was using multiple proxies that made it nearly impossible for anyone to find him, and he was never going to set foot on Brazilian soil again. The call was about four minutes long—Greenwald kept it short, but said he wanted to see the documents. “OK, I'm gonna just start uploading them to your phone,” the source said. He told Greenwald it would take between 12 to 15 hours to finish uploading.

Rebecca Solnit: On Not Meeting Nazis Halfway

When Trump won the 2016 election—while losing the popular vote—the New York Times seemed obsessed with running features about what Trump voters were feeling and thinking. These pieces treated them …

Link: https://lithub.com/rebecca-solnit-on-not-meeting-nazis-halfway/
The implication is the usual one: we—urban multiethnic liberal-to-radical only-partly-Christian America—need to spend more time understanding MAGA America. The demands do not go the other way. Fox and Ted Cruz and the Federalist have not chastised their audiences, I feel pretty confident, with urgings to enter into discourse with, say, Black Lives Matter activists, rabbis, imams, abortion providers, undocumented valedictorians, or tenured lesbians. When only half the divide is being tasked with making the peace, there is no peace to be made, but there is a unilateral surrender on offer. We are told to consider this bipartisanship, but the very word means both sides abandon their partisanship, and Mitch McConnell and company have absolutely no interest in doing that

Inside the spectacular startup failure of Oomba

Strip clubs, board games, sugar babies, an office coup — and a whole lot of money

Link: https://www.theverge.com/21571690/oomba-startup-work-environment-sex-lies-video-games-gameworks-exworks
I reviewed thousands of pages of documents and spoke with over 30 sources about Williams and Oomba, including investors, employees, and business partners. Most described him as narcissistic, a fast-talking salesman with a talent for separating people from their savings. He drank a lot of Red Bull and had a puerile sense of humor, asking an employee who brought her cat into work, “Can I pet your pussy?” again and again. Williams apparently didn’t like rules, couldn’t focus, and seemed unable to accept that he might ever be wrong. He could be volatile, swearing over text message (“if you don’t return my call by 5 PM you are fucking fired you fucking douche”) and chastising employees over the office PA system (“Come to my office now you dumb motherfucker”).

How Venture Capitalists Are Deforming Capitalism

Even the worst-run startup can beat competitors if investors prop it up. The V.C. firm Benchmark helped enable WeWork to make one wild mistake after another—hoping that its gamble would pay off before disaster struck.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/11/30/how-venture-capitalists-are-deforming-capitalism
However, as reports of WeWork’s oddities began appearing in the media, board members who once had been willing to publicly defend Neumann started declining interview requests. In early 2019, when the Wall Street Journal was poised to report that Neumann had been personally buying buildings and then leasing them to WeWork—a form of self-dealing that would have been grounds for censure at almost any other firm—company executives pleaded with board members to defend Neumann in the press. All of them refused. “They were embarrassed,” a WeWork executive recalled. “They were a Vichy board, and there was obviously this tension between, like, upholding good corporate governance and frankly just saying, ‘I don’t give a fuck, because my investment is getting better every day, and so it doesn’t really matter what Adam does as long as I can get my money out at some point.’ ”

Along Russia’s ‘Road of Bones,’ Relics of Suffering and Despair

The Kolyma Highway in the Russian Far East once delivered tens of thousands of prisoners to the work camps of Stalin’s gulag. The ruins of that cruel era are still visible today.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/22/world/europe/russia-stalin-gulag-kolyma-magadan.html
More than a million prisoners traveled the road, both ordinary convicts and people convicted of political crimes. They included some of Russia’s finest minds — victims of Stalin’s Great Terror like Sergei Korolev, a rocket scientist who survived the ordeal and in 1961 helped put the first man in space. Or Varlam Shalamov, a poet who, after 15 years in the Kolyma camps, concluded, “There are dogs and bears that behave more intelligently and morally than human beings.” His experiences, recorded in his book “Kolyma Tales,” convinced him that “a man becomes a beast in three weeks, given heavy labor, cold, hunger and beatings.”

How a Deadly Police Force Ruled a City

After years of impunity, the police in Vallejo, California, took over the city’s politics and threatened its people.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/11/23/how-a-deadly-police-force-ruled-a-city
Vallejo, a postindustrial city of a hundred and twenty-two thousand people, is best known for its Six Flags amusement park and for its musicians: E-40, Mac Dre, H.E.R. Its per-capita income is less than half that of San Francisco, and its population is more diverse, split among whites, African-Americans, Latinos, and Asians. Its police force, however, consists largely of white men who live elsewhere. Since 2010, members of the Vallejo Police Department have killed nineteen people—a higher rate than that of any of America’s hundred largest police forces except St. Louis’s. According to data collected by the anti-police-brutality group Campaign Zero, the V.P.D. uses more force per arrest than any other department in California does. Vallejo cops have shot at people running away, fired dozens of rounds at unarmed men, used guns in off-duty arguments, and beaten apparently mentally ill people. The city’s police records show that officers who shoot unarmed men aren’t punished—in fact, some of the force’s most lethal cops have been promoted.

Burkina Faso’s Invisible War

Amidst conflict, the country’s historically robust press is being muzzled.

Link: https://www.cjr.org/special_report/burkina-faso-war-press-coverage.php/
n the early hours one morning last January, Yacouba Ladji Bama, a forty-two-year-old investigative reporter, woke up at his home, in Ouagadougou, to the sound of shattering glass. He ran outside and found the rear windscreen of his black Hyundai sports car smashed in. Inside the car was a glass liquor bottle with a charred lip, still three quarters full of gas. On the back seat, surrounded by veins of melted upholstery, lay the detritus of Bama’s life: an umbrella, tissues, washing powder, batteries, a singed bundle of documents. Bama extinguished the flames, but the message was clear: someone wanted him to stop reporting.

How a ‘Distorted Culture’ Led Elite Australian Troops to Kill 39 Helpless Afghans

The findings of a long-awaited military inquiry painted a scathing picture of a cavalier and deceitful ethos among special forces.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/18/world/australia/afghanistan-war-crimes.html
Commanders ordered junior soldiers to execute prisoners so they could record their first “kill,” then covered up their actions. Adolescents, farmers and other noncombatants were shot dead in circumstances clearly outside the heat of battle. Superior officers created such a godlike aura around themselves that troops dared not question them, even as 39 Afghans were unlawfully killed.