Curious about Everything

Category: War / Conflict (Page 1 of 3)

America witnessed a coup attempt. Now it’s sleep-walking into another disaster

Rebecca Solnit / The Guardian »

The crisis isn’t just that we had a coup attempt almost a year ago, but that the Republican party has itself become so venal, so corrupt, so ruthless in its quest for power, that it seems assured that we will see further attempts to overrule any election outcomes they don’t like. Already the kind of election laws they’ve pushed across the country seem aimed at such goals, and voter suppression has long been one of their anti-democratic tactics (it played a substantial role in Trump’s 2016 win, and the genuine illegitimacies of that election – foreign interference, anomalies the recount might have uncovered had the Republicans not stopped it – were appropriated as false claims for 2020).

The Republicans made a devil’s bargain decades ago, when they decided that they would not change course to win the votes of an increasingly nonwhite, increasingly progressive people, but would try to suppress those who would vote against them. That is, they pitted themselves against democracy as participatory government and free and fair elections. The rhetoric of the far right makes it clear they are fearful and know their power will ebb if they cannot command and subvert the laws and elections of this nation, and they are aiming at some form of minority rule.

That’s perfectly clear from their attack on the constitutional process unfolding that afternoon of 6 January, which was itself a refusal to accept a loss. The refusal to recognize the authority of Congress by Trump associates, including Steve Bannon and Mark Meadows, is a further sign of their belief, emboldened by Trump’s four years of criming in public, that they make their own rules. Both have been found in contempt of Congress.

Falsifying Russia’s history is a step toward more violence

Anne Applebaum / The Atlantic »

Dictators distort the past because they want to use it. Putin certainly wants to use the past to stay in power. If Russians are nostalgic for their old dictatorship, then they have less reason to push back against the new one. He may also want to use the past to give legitimacy to violence—Russians who have no awareness of what Moscow did to Ukraine in the past will feel no sense of guilt about repeating old patterns of aggression. History does contain lessons, and here is one of them: If Putin plans to turn his falsely heroic vision of Russia’s past into a justification for another war in the present, he won’t be the first autocrat to do so.

Photojournalist Tom Stoddart has died from cancer aged 67

Slovenian police at the Timovec border crossing with Croatia, 2015. Photograph: Tom Stoddart Archive/Getty Images

Roger Hutchings / The Guardian »

I came to know Tom in the 1990s when we covered the civil war in the former Yugoslavia, often being in the same place at the same time. Although news photographers are commonly thought of as rivals, our camaraderie grew out of shared adversity and was cemented by our love for photography, especially the use of black and white reportage as a medium. Tom did not like colour photography and regularly quoted the Canadian photographer Ted Grant’s pithy remark: “If you photograph in colour, you see the colour of their clothes, but if you photograph in black and white, you see the colour of their soul.”

Tom instinctively recognised stories with a moral imperative and was dedicated to bringing them to people’s attention. He was compassionate and wanted people to know about situations that needed to be corrected. In 1992 he photographed the siege of Sarajevo, producing pictures that showed the extremity of Sarajevans’ lives and their struggle for everyday survival without running water and electricity, and under constant threat from the snipers on the surrounding hillsides.

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How society loses touch with reality and is lead to tyranny

In this video After Skool and Academy of Ideas explore the most dangerous of all psychic epidemics, the mass psychosis.

A mass psychosis is an epidemic of madness and it occurs when a large portion of a society loses touch with reality and descends into delusions. Such a phenomenon is not a thing of fiction. Two examples of mass psychoses are the American and European witch hunts 16th and 17th centuries and the rise of totalitarianism in the 20th century.

What is it? How does is start? Are we experiencing one right now?

“Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

» Thomas Paine, The American Crisis

Video below ⤵️

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Silicon Valley wants to power the U.S. war machine

Fast Company »

“I don’t know what you want to call the conflict we’re in with China and Russia, but I’d say we’re at war.”

Michael Brown, director of the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) within the U.S. Department of Defense, declares war rather matter-of-factly. “It’s just not war in the way we typically think,” says the longtime Silicon Valley executive who transitioned into government service in 2016. But when adversaries get to the point of “shutting down pipelines and creating other damage,” he says, you’re seeing the “kinetic effects of cyber.”

When Brown and I chat in August—at a picnic table in a glade of cedar trees behind a tan brick building in Mountain View, California, that houses both the 341st Readiness Division of the U.S. Army and the DIU—news continues to dribble out about the extent of the 2020 SolarWinds hack. The event involved a group reportedly backed by the Russian government that compromised networks of a number of U.S. government agencies, including the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration. A couple of weeks earlier, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, along with a coalition of U.S. allies, accused China of engaging in cyber espionage, and the U.S. Department of Justice charged four Chinese nationals with being part of a global hacking campaign targeting companies, government agencies, and universities. Chinese officials vehemently denied the charges.

“For cyber, for electronic warfare, for misinformation,” Brown says, “we need to be shifting more dollars to those domains.”

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