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Showing posts with label Russia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Russia. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

29: Russia

China Protests Break Out as Covid Cases Surge and Lockdowns Persist After a weekend of confrontations between officials and demonstrators, video from two sites in Shanghai and Beijing showed a heavy security presence......... Over the weekend, protests against China’s strict Covid restrictions ricocheted across the country in a rare case of nationwide civil unrest. ....... In the eastern city of Hangzhou, a crowd of people gathered at a shopping mall but were closely watched by an even larger group of uniformed police officers. ........ Outside China, the rest of the world has adapted to the virus and is near normalcy. Take soccer’s premier event, the World Cup. Thousands of people from across the globe have assembled in Qatar and are cheering on their teams, shoulder-to-shoulder, without masks, in packed stadiums. ....... Almost three years after the coronavirus emerged, the contrast between China and the rest of the world couldn’t be starker. ....... The news spread fast on the Chinese internet. Ten people died on Thursday after a fire in an apartment building in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang ....... Soon after, the man, nicknamed “Shanghai Flower Boy” on social media, was taken away by police, the video showed. ...... The daily number of reported cases is at its highest point of the pandemic. Most Chinese have never been exposed to the virus, and a vaccination drive has largely stalled. ....... By mid-November, a third of China’s population and areas that generate two-fifths of its economic output were back under partial or complete lockdowns .

For Putin’s Opponents, Exile From Russia Proves a Boon The political network of Aleksei A. Navalny, the imprisoned opposition leader, had seemingly been crushed. But working from abroad, the Navalny team is using YouTube to spearhead antiwar efforts. ...... In the months since Mr. Navalny was sent to a penal colony in 2021, his political network across Russia was crushed and the country’s opposition movement seemed dead. Many liberals fled into exile........ In Vilnius, the unofficial capital of Russian opposition abroad, the Navalny team is using YouTube to spearhead antiwar efforts in a way that is unthinkable at home. ....... “We threw away all our plans and reinvented ourselves as a media organization” ..... “This is the information front.” ........ Mr. Navalny used to stream videos a couple of hours each week. But at the start of the war, his team launched a new channel, Popular Politics, and it now broadcasts about 30 hours a week, producing more than 50 segments that are posted online as individual clips. The number of employees rose to 130 from about 70 back in the Moscow days, and the team just doubled its production space. ....... Popular Politics has grown to 1.64 million subscribers. That’s a fraction of the viewership for two channels originally created by Mr. Navalny himself, however, which are still running and have attracted around 9.5 million subscribers. ...... the organization had built a network of 45 regional offices in Russia working to unseat Putin supporters in local elections. ....... Although Russia has banned Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, YouTube is still operating, not least because the Kremlin is desperate to reach the younger audience that shuns state television. Legions of Russian political figures, activists and journalists now host their own YouTube channels. .......... Crowd funding brings in tens of thousands of dollars monthly, as does revenue generated from YouTube viewings ....... Videos detailing the anti-corruption investigations pull in millions of viewers; one from last year alleging that a $1.3 billion palace was built for Mr. Putin on the Black Sea has garnered 125 million views. YouTube called it the most-watched Russian-language video in 2021, and the Kremlin, which usually ignores corruption allegations, issued a denial. .......... Wider sanctions would help create rifts in the ruling hierarchy .

This Is Your Brain on ‘Deep Reading.’ It’s Pretty Magnificent. The literacy scholar Maryanne Wolf maps out the ways “deep reading” nourishes our capacity for attention, empathy and insight. ....... how reading works in and — even more importantly — how it works on the brain, how it changes the brain ........ My whole career, my whole life is built on digital text. ...... “Reader Come Home” that reading is a, quote, “unnatural process.” ....... We were never meant to read. But what is amazing is that the brain does have this almost semi-miraculous capacity to make new circuits within itself using the processes that are genetically there but in new ways. So what the brain has is the capacity to make novel circuits. And the invention, the human invention of reading, required a new circuit. So the brain very gradually learned how to connect parts that were there for other reasons and made a new circuit that became the first underlying network for reading very simple symbols 6,000 years ago. But it was never the case that we were meant to read, which has real implications. ........ reading is not one thing at all, it’s many things ....... there are different levels in which we can participate in the text. We can use our ability to take on another perspective to read in a whole different way. We are entering almost like the theory of mind of another and also their feelings. This is a totally different form of reading than the one that we are talking about when we are saying we read for information. .

Saturday, November 19, 2022

19: Russia, Ukraine



. For safety, the cell decided to move around Ukraine by train, working out of the carriages; they also nominated their replacements, in the event that any of them were killed. Between saboteurs and Russian troops pouring into the country, they assumed they were being hunted, so they regularly changed locomotives, carriages and routes as they traveled from place to place......... In late February and through March, terrified Ukrainians across the country made their way to their cities’ main train stations. Panicked people on the platform tried to break into the carriages, mobbing the doors and beating them with their hands. When allowed to board, they folded their bodies into the compartments: Luxury sleeper carriages made for 18 would hold 150, a second-class carriage, made for 54, would carry 500. These people had left everything, possibly lost everything, and now they were packed shoulder to shoulder so tightly there was no room to sit. The largest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II had begun. For days that turned into weeks, Ukrzaliznytsia employees worked nonstop, without breaks, moving people away from this nightmare. ......... Post-independence in 1991, the state monopoly had come to embody the morass of much of Ukraine’s attempts at post-Soviet reform — emblematic of the endemic corruption, political infighting and cronyism. In this time of existential crisis, however, Ukrzaliznytsia made its own contribution to Ukrainian resilience, reflecting the country’s unification in the face of imminent destruction. .......... Ukrzaliznytsia is so vast it has long been referred to as “a country within a country.” There are 230,000 employees, from those on the trains themselves (locomotive drivers, their assistants, train attendants, conductors) to everyone at the station (stationmasters, security officers, ticket sellers, luggage-storage clerks, cleaners) and then everyone behind the scenes (track inspectors, car inspectors, signal maintainers, structural engineers, electricians, electronic-equipment engineers, locomotive electricians, greasers, train dispatchers, railcar loaders, railcar mechanics, switchmen, track workers and depot attendants, without whom passenger toilets would back up). Then there are depot and workshop jobs (hostlers, repairmen, carpenters and factory workers, to name a few). Ukrzaliznytsia does its own laundry, it has its own glass factory, a carriage factory, a steel-rail rolling factory and another factory that cuts the rails to size. There are railway schools for children, vocational schools, summer camps, sanitariums and hospitals. The 15,000 miles of tracks are government-run and controlled from the center, including stations, depots and factories. .......... Because many traffic controllers and safety officers live along the tracks, Ukrzaliznytsia knew how many tanks passed the border, how many helicopters were landing and how many paratroopers had arrived. Rail workers literally counted parachutes on the tracks. Kamyshin could follow the Russian military’s progress in real time based on when it passed particular stations, and he told me that he fed the information to the military. ........... The Kremlin was running a limited-strike campaign and did not actively target critical rail infrastructure, like bridges and train yards, because they assumed they would quickly take control of the country and depend on the same infrastructure. ......... The state monopoly learned to be nimble and adapt to wartime footing. ........ In the chaotic first days, videos surfaced of foreigners, mostly African and Asian students, being prevented from boarding the trains. Human Rights Watch collected testimonies that “revealed a pattern” of blocking foreign students from evacuating. ............ For a country that has skillfully mastered the Western media narrative — from promoting Zelensky’s famous leaked phrase “I need ammunition, not a ride” to the ubiquitous Snake Island slogan “Russian warship, go [expletive] yourself” — the railway’s triumph quickly became another public relations boon and a morale booster. .......... “For a lot of the fighting, it was often a matter of which side was firing more artillery rounds a day. Quantity really mattered a lot, and that comes down to logistics, not just how many rounds can each type of artillery fire a day, but how much artillery can you get to each position — what is the logistics network like?” ............ “All you have to do is look at a map, the problems are very obvious,” says Michael Kofman, director of the Russia Studies Program at the Center for Naval Analyses. “Access to supplies by rail made a real difference in the Russian ability to sustain offensive operations.” .......... “We have a rule: Our tanks go in first, followed by our trains,” Kamyshin told me. “Once our troops reclaim our territory, our job is to restore rail service there as quickly as possible.” ......... Repairs that would have taken a year took weeks or months. The Kyiv School of Economics estimated that by mid-September, Russians had damaged $4.3 billion in railway-station infrastructure and rolling stock. ............. analysts believe Ukraine also relies heavily on the railway network to resupply its own troops. ........ In April, a missile strike on a crowded platform in eastern Kramatorsk station killed 60 and wounded 111 ......... Ukrzaliznytsia’s Telegram channel, with 300,000 subscribers, popularized the hashtag #IronPeople. ......... “Half of our traffic is electric trains and electric locomotives, so when they hit energy infrastructure, we also suffer, but we’ve learned to deal with it, to repair it promptly and keep going,” Kamyshin told me. “We’ve prepared our stations so that when the power, water or anything else in the city and in the regions goes out, we can continue to operate. The station will always be light and always be warm.” ......... The first passenger train to arrive in Ukraine came, perhaps fittingly, from the West: A line linking Lviv to Krakow was completed in 1861. Western Ukraine, commonly called Galicia, was controlled by the Hapsburg empire, while central and eastern Ukraine belonged to the Russian empire. Russia’s humiliating defeat in the Crimean War propelled it to launch an ambitious reform and industrialization effort, particularly regarding the rail system. In 1865, the Russian empire completed its first railroad in present day Ukraine, connecting the port city Odesa to the southwestern agrarian town Balta to transfer grain from the heartland for export to Europe. At the time, Ukraine accounted for 75 percent of all exports from the Russian empire. ................ By 1914, there were more than 10,000 miles of track crisscrossing Ukraine. During World War I, empires battled along train lines across the continent, destroying and rebuilding stations in Ukraine as they came and went. When Germany first occupied Kyiv in 1918, it hired local women to wash the main passenger station, to make a point about how backward and dirty the Russian empire was. ............. Unlike in the rest of Europe, the Nazis did not rely on trains to transport Jews in Ukraine to death camps. With the help of Ukrainian collaborators, they were shot close to their homes, often referred to as “holocaust by bullet.” ......... At its height, the U.S.S.R.’s railroad network totaled 91,600 miles. It was among the largest in the world. It had its own ministry with as many as four million employees. Train attendants memorized all routes from Vladivostok to Tbilisi. A railway job was prestigious, not just because of the relatively higher salaries but because of the benefits that came with it. Generations went to work on the rails and proudly referred to themselves as “dynasties.” ........... After Ukraine’s independence in 1991, Kyiv painted green Soviet carriages blue and redesigned the uniforms and epaulets, but little else changed. Ukrzaliznytsia’s six regional branches still don’t bear Ukrainian names or orientations — their directions only make sense when viewed from Moscow: The “southern branch” is actually in the center of Ukraine, while the “southwestern branch” is geographically in the north of the country. ............. Trains had been one of the few places where regional and ethnic stereotypes were challenged, where identity and civic understanding were formed. Ukraine is one of the poorest countries in Europe. Most Ukrainians still travel around by rail, which is old and slow, leaving plenty of time to chat or drink with your neighbor. “Ukrzaliznytsia, it’s like a social glue” ............. In April 2019, Zelensky was elected on promises to rid the country of corruption. .......... or if this was yet another attempt at reform that would have been thwarted by the usual dark forces of Ukraine’s turbulent politics and oligarch-aligned economy. ......... Zelensky was elected by the highest-ever percentage of votes, but in the days before the invasion, his approval rating was lower than it had ever been. ............ Ukraine had too many rail lines, making it possible to ferry goods and people on varying lines and reroute the trains quickly in the event of an attack. Because Ukrzaliznytsia had only electrified part of its rails, diesel-powered trains could still run when electrical substations were attacked. ........ (Electrified rails are considered faster, cheaper and more environmentally sustainable, but diesel locomotives are more reliable in war.) Reformers complained there were far too many workers, but that also meant there was a surplus of engineers familiar with making repairs in tight economic conditions. Employees, used to top-down command structures, reported for work. .......... The invasion revealed a new kind of nationalism. The same politicians, highly placed civil servants and businessmen who previously thwarted aspirations of the newly democratic Ukrainian state were now fighting for their homeland. Many Ukrainians themselves were surprised by how quickly the country united. ............. At the time, she could ride free to any part of the Soviet Union — Kaliningrad, Vladivostok, Belarus, Crimea, Sochi, the Caucasus. “I loved it, it was like romance,” she told me. She built her own house, raised her children and kept to herself and her books. Now, she sent money to her daughter and grandson who fled to Norway when the invasion began. .......... In the dark, every night, they could see rockets and missiles streaking the sky. ........ “That’s it, we are home! Home!” Oleh proclaimed, brushing back his hair and rubbing his eyes. I asked what he would do first. “I’m going to hug everything,” he said. “I just want to come home and hug everything.” ......... Even during heavy street fighting, she walked the seven minutes from her house to survey the station and file a daily damage report. ......... “Can you imagine our houseplants, plants this big” — she spread her arms wide — “freezing? There is no way we would leave them there.” ......... the railway had become a kind of religion. The pay had not kept up with the times and the job had lost prestige and many of its previous benefits, but this war had made the Ukrzaliznytsia workers proud of being called #IronPeople. ........... “The first time I went on an emergency train, I said, ‘Give me a bulletproof vest, a helmet, just in case,’” she told me. “They smiled and said, ‘What helmet, what bulletproof vest?’” .......... Then there was Yana, an 11-year-old who weighed only 60 pounds. The staff carried her into the train in their arms. A rocket had taken her legs. When Tetiana walked into their compartment, she heard Yana’s mother trying to calm her. “Yanochka, everything will be OK! Everything will be done for you! They will fix your legs, the doctor says they’ll get you heels and you will dance!” .......... Tetiana turned to look at Yana’s mother, wanting to see this strong woman with such a confident voice. She looked down and saw the attack had taken one of the mother’s legs too. ......... As Russia loses territory, there is a persistent anxiety that Putin will do something to offset his military’s initial failings. People fear an escalation. Anything can happen — a chemical or nuclear attack. Across the country, the train system has taken on roles it never has before — feeding, sheltering and providing trauma counseling and first aid for the masses. ............. But with 6.2 million internally displaced people in all of Ukraine — nearly a fifth of the country, the largest human displacement in Europe today — the cities were full, though there was space in the countryside. What will we do for work there? No one could answer. ........ He told me that Yevheniya had what drivers called the “Bakhmut burn” — the smell of those who didn’t have water to bathe and lived in smoke from bombardments — but was in relatively good spirits.

How Was Russia Able to Launch Its Biggest Aerial Attack on Ukraine? Western and Ukrainian officials have said Moscow’s stockpile of missiles was dwindling. But the assaults this week raise questions about that. .......... The 96-missile barrage fired across Ukraine on Tuesday was Russia’s biggest aerial attack of the war so far. ........ they’re reaching out to Iran, they’re reaching out to North Korea.” ....... The swarms of Iranian-made drones that are attacking Ukraine — most notably, the long-range Shahed series that can carry an 88-pound warhead and crash into targets in “kamikaze” strikes — have been Russia’s newest weapon in the conflict. ......... Russia very likely stockpiled microchips and other technology necessary to build precision missiles before invading Ukraine in February, possibly starting years ago, given Moscow’s deteriorating relations with the West after its illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. .......... such microelectronic components were also used for civilian purposes and that Russia may have obtained them through third parties, such as states or private entities willing to risk the penalty of U.S. sanctions if caught. ......... many plants associated with the Russian military industrial complex are working in three shifts and even on weekends ........ Russia’s increasing reliance on the S-300 as an attack weapon against ground targets in Ukraine has been one signal to military officials and experts that it is running out of its cruise missiles or other, more conventional offensive weapons. ........ Western militaries believe Russia has long kept a reserve of missiles and other weapons on hold in case it goes to war with NATO. .......... “They apparently have a withhold for a notional NATO attack,” Mr. Cancian said on Thursday, “which we would regard as absurd, but they regard it as a real possibility.”

For Ukraine, Keeping the Lights On Is One of the Biggest Battles This week’s missile assault by Russian forces has hit at least 15 energy facilities — some for the fifth or sixth time — forcing controlled blackouts in every part of the country. ....... Russia is turning winter into a weapon, even as its soldiers flail on the battlefield. ........ Keeping the lights on for the majority of the millions of people who live in cities and towns far from the front — and keeping those places functioning through the winter — is now one of the greatest challenges Ukraine faces. ....... President Volodymyr Zelensky said late Wednesday night, “If we survive this winter, and we will definitely survive it, we will definitely win this war.” ......... some sites were hit a fifth or sixth time this week. On Tuesday alone, close to 100 missiles rained down on Ukrainian territory, part of a pattern that many Western officials and legal experts say is a war crime. ......... The national energy utility has now imposed sweeping but controlled blackouts that include every region of the country, leaving millions without power for six to 12 hours a day. ........ The missile exploded with such force that the blast shattered windows at a school a mile away, triggered a fire that burned for four days and knocked out power to more than half a million people. ........... “One missile,” Mr. Levytskiy repeated. Russia has fired more than 4,500 missiles across Ukraine over the course of the war .......... the Russian military was being guided by electrical engineers familiar with the country’s energy grid, since much of it was built when Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union. .......... The precision of the strikes on the infrastructure stands in contrast to the disarray that has characterized much of the Russian military effort. With each loss on the battlefield, Moscow has stepped up its campaign to subjugate Ukraine by targeting civilian infrastructure. .......... There is no evidence of a mass exodus from the country, although Ukrainian officials have said one goal of the Kremlin is to send another flood of refugees to European countries. .......... Compounding the dangers for Ukraine, Russia is also attacking water infrastructure directly. ......... “It’s very difficult to get the spare parts now as all the logistic chains are broken,” he said, leading to difficulties at water purification and wastewater treatment facilities. ......... Putin is a monster, Mr. Levytskiy said, using more colorful language. But every time Russia strikes, he said, Ukraine will rebuild.

The Monster Buffalo Snowstorm May Have Set a Record. More Is on the Way. The city is on track to break snowfall records set in 2014 with at least another six inches forecast to arrive Saturday night........ the storm appeared to drop a record amount of snow for Erie County in a 24-hour period — up to six inches per hour at times, leaving more than 50, 60 and even 70 inches over the whited-out region. ........ in parts of the region south of the city, snowfall totals crept above six feet, even as the storm shifted north. ........ “There’s been a lot of snow,” he added. “But it’s better than a tornado. It will eventually melt.”

19: Russia



मौन अवधिमा फुर्सदिला ओली, पत्नीलाई भान्सामा सघाउँदै
जब इन्दिरा गान्धीले अमेरिकी राष्ट्रपतिसँग नाच्न अस्वीकार गरिन्
प्रदर्शनकारीद्वारा इरानमा आयतोल्लाह खोमेनीको घरमा आगजनी
रुसले मिसाइल आक्रमण तीव्र बनाएपछि युक्रेनका आधा विद्युत प्रणाली निस्प्रभावी
के संसार तेस्रो विश्वयुद्धको संघारमा पुगेकै हो? पहिलो प्रश्न, के ताइवान र युक्रेनको आत्मरक्षाको अधिकारका पक्षमा तेस्रो विश्वयुद्धको खतरा लिनु उचित छ (यदि यो उचित हो भने त्यसका लागि के विश्व समुदाय तयार छ) ? दोस्रो, के विश्व प्रेस÷मिडियाद्वारा युद्धका लागि ‘सहमति निर्माण’ कानुनी र नैतिक रूपमा उचित छ ? तेस्रो, नोबेल शान्ति पुरस्कार विजेताहरू शान्तिको पक्षमा किन बोल्दैनन् ? ......... युक्रेनमा रुसी आक्रमण अवैध छ, जसरी इराकमा २००३ मा अमेरिकी आक्रमण अवैध थियो । इराकसँग आमविनाशकारी हतियार छन् भन्ने बहानामा इराक युद्ध गरिएको थियो । ...... वास्तवमा, अमेरिका र रुसले नै सबैभन्दा बढी अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय शान्ति सुरक्षामा खलल पु¥याइरहेका छन् । समग्रमा बढ्दो विश्वव्यापी असुरक्षा सुरक्षा परिषद्को असफलताको कारण र परिणाम हो । ....... धेरै विज्ञ चीन–ताइवान र रुस–युक्रेन अवस्थालाई सन् १९६२ को क्युवाली मिसाइल संकटसँग तुलना गर्छन् । त्यतिवेला र अहिलेको फरक यत्ति हो कि अहिले संकट रुस र चीनको ढोकामा छ । त्यसवेला क्युवामा रुसी मिसाइल अमेरिकाको ढोकामा थियो । ....... परमाणु युद्ध यस्तो चरम परिदृश्य हो, जहाँ कसैको पनि बाँच्ने कुनै ग्यारेन्टी हुँदैन । ......... अमेरिकाको तुलनामा चीन आर्थिक रूपमा शक्तिशाली हुँदै गएकाले अमेरिकी ‘औद्योगिक सैन्य–कम्प्लेक्स’ले चीनसँग लड्न तयारी गरिरहेको छ । ताइवानका सन्दर्भमा केभिन रुड (‘द अभाइडेबल वार’, २०२२) लेख्छन्, ‘चीन र अमेरिकाबीचको युद्ध घातक र विनाशकारी हुनेछ ।’ चीन र अमेरिकाको भूराजनीतिक संकट अझै पनि टाढिन सक्नेछ र दुवै मुलुकले ‘रणनीतिक प्रतिस्पर्धाको माध्यमबाट आफ्नो मूल स्वार्थलाई धोका नदिई सह–अस्तित्वको बाटो खोज्नुपर्छ ।’ ......... दोस्रो प्रश्न हेर्दा आज विश्वमा वस्तुनिष्ठ, स्वतन्त्र र तटस्थ मिडिया फेला पार्न दुर्लभ बन्दै गएको छ । एडवर्ड हर्मन र नोम चोम्स्कीको ‘सहमति उत्पादन’ युद्धहरूका लागि सहमति सिर्जना गर्ने वास्तविकता भएको छ । केही सम्मानजनक अपवादबाहेक अधिकांश पश्चिमी मिडियाले युद्धलाई वैधानिकता दिइरहेका छन् । ........ नोबेल शान्ति पुरस्कारलाई ‘राजनीतिक रूपमा उत्प्रेरित, समयपूर्व वा शान्ति भनेको के हो भन्ने गलत परिभाषाद्वारा निर्देशित भएको’ आदि आरोप छन् । महात्मा गान्धीलाई कहिल्यै यो पुरस्कार दिइएन । जाँ–पल सात्र्रले १९६४ मा साहित्यतर्फको नोबेल पुरस्कार अस्वीकार गरे । ......... अहिले शान्ति र निःशस्त्रीकरणका लागि बोल्ने बट्र्रान्ड रसल र जाँ पल सात्र्र छैनन् । नोम चोम्स्कीले रुस–युक्रेन युद्धको सुरुवातदेखि नै शान्तिको आह्वान गर्दै आएका छन् । हेनरी किसिंगर भरपर्दा छैनन्, जेफ्री साक्स र केभिन रुड उपयोगी ज्ञान बताइरहेका छन् । शान्तिको आवाज पहिलेभन्दा बढी महत्वपूर्ण हुँदै गइरहेको छ । .

नजिकिँदो निर्वाचन र जनतामा व्याप्त निराशा संसदीय व्यवस्था, आमचुनाव र मुलुकको उन्नति र समृद्धिबारे जनतामा व्याप्त निराशाले चुनावमा भोट दिएर के नै हुन्छ र भन्ने परेको छ

Sunday, November 06, 2022

6: Russia



How Republicans Fed a Misinformation Loop About the Pelosi Attack Within hours of the brutal attack last month on Paul Pelosi, the husband of the speaker of the House, activists and media outlets on the right began circulating groundless claims — nearly all of them sinister, and many homophobic — casting doubt on what had happened. ........ Former President Donald J. Trump questioned whether the attack might have been staged. ....... The world’s richest man helped amplify the stories. But none of it was true. ......... The flood of falsehoods showed how ingrained misinformation has become inside the G.O.P., where the reflexive response of the rank and file — and even a few prominent figures — to anything that might cast a negative light on the right is to deflect with more fictional claims, creating a vicious cycle that muddies facts, shifts blame and minimizes violence. ........

“The conspiracy theory prompts an act of violence; that act of violence needs to be disavowed, and it can only be disavowed by more conspiracy theories, which prompts more violence.”

........ David DePape, 42, who prosecutors said broke into the Pelosi home intending to kidnap Ms. Pelosi and shatter her kneecaps, and assaulted her husband with a hammer, leaving him with a cracked skull. ........ Finding life on far-right websites and the so-called dark web, conspiracy theories and falsehoods leaped from the fringes to the mainstream. ........ “Just produce the police body cam, — why is that so hard?” Mr. Carlson demanded on his show on Wednesday night. Addressing those criticizing the conspiracy theorizing, he added: “We’re not the crazy people; you’re the liars. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions, period.” .......... The disinformation surrounding the attack on Mr. Pelosi presented many of the standard elements of alt-right conspiracy theories, which relish a culture of “do your own research,” casting skepticism on official accounts, and tend to focus on lurid sexual activities or issues related to children, often driven by a fear of society becoming immoral. ......... Nina Jankowicz, a disinformation expert, said no amount of evidence — be it police body camera footage or anything else — could get in the way of such falsehoods in the eyes of those who do not want to believe facts. ......... If the footage was released, people would claim it was fabricated. There’s no bottom.” ........ Many of the Republicans who amplified the fiction couched their comments as jokes, effectively pre-empting any criticism by suggesting they might not be serious. Hours after the attack, Donald Trump Jr., the former president’s son, shared online a viral image of a costume that included an oversized pair of men’s briefs and a hammer, remarking “the internet remains undefeated.” .......... A spokesman for Mr. Trump said he “simply posted a joke meme and has always rejected political violence in all forms.” .......... as many as 70 percent of Republicans still believe that Mr. Trump was the true winner of the 2020 election. ......... According to federal charging documents, Mr. DePape was enthralled by the conspiracy theories that have portrayed Ms. Pelosi as an enemy of the country. His online activities show him ranting about the 2020 election being stolen, seeming to deny the gassing of Jews at Auschwitz and claiming that schoolteachers were grooming children to be transgender...... His attorney has said he planned to argue that Mr. DePape was so influenced by disinformation that it should be considered a mitigating circumstance.


Wonking Out: Stealing Away the Golden Years of the Working Class

The Untold Story of ‘Russiagate’ and the Road to War in Ukraine Russia’s meddling in Trump-era politics was more directly connected to the current war than previously understood......... On the night of July 28, 2016, as Hillary Clinton was accepting the Democratic presidential nomination in Philadelphia, Donald J. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, received an urgent email from Moscow. The sender was a friend and business associate named Konstantin Kilimnik. A Russian citizen born in Soviet Ukraine, Kilimnik ran the Kyiv office of Manafort’s international consulting firm, known for bringing cutting-edge American campaign techniques to clients seeking to have their way with fragile democracies around the world. ...... Kilimnik cleared customs at Kennedy Airport at 7:43 p.m., only 77 minutes before the scheduled rendezvous at the Grand Havana Room, a Trump-world hangout atop 666 Fifth Avenue, the Manhattan office tower owned by the family of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. ......... Kilimnik shared a secret plan whose significance would only become clear six years later, as Vladimir V. Putin’s invading Russian Army pushed into Ukraine........... Known loosely as the Mariupol plan, after the strategically vital port city, it called for the creation of an autonomous republic in Ukraine’s east, giving Putin effective control of the country’s industrial heartland, where Kremlin-armed, -funded and -directed “separatists” were waging a two-year-old shadow war that had left nearly 10,000 dead. The new republic’s leader would be none other than Yanukovych. The trade-off: “peace” for a broken and subservient Ukraine. .......... The scheme cut against decades of American policy promoting a free and united Ukraine ......... one important piece of Kilimnik’s biography: He was not simply a colleague; he was, U.S. officials would later assert, a Russian agent. ......... Putin’s assault on Ukraine and his attack on American democracy have until now been treated largely as two distinct story lines. ............. to view the record left behind through the blood-filtered lens of Putin’s war, now in its ninth month, is to discover a trail of underappreciated signals telegraphing the depth of his Ukrainian obsession — and the life-or-death stakes that America’s domestic travails would have for some 45 million people nearly 5,000 miles away. ............ potential payoff for the Russian president’s election meddling. .......... he pressed his revanchist mission to cement his power by restoring the Russian empire and weakening democracy globally ......... Long before the Trump-era investigations, Manafort had established himself in Washington and abroad as a grand master of the political dark arts. Together with Roger Stone, Manafort helped develop the slashing style of conservative politics, pushing “hot buttons” to rile up base voters and tar opponents. They served in Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaigns and started their own firm, taking on international clients seeking favor in Reagan’s Washington. The firm specialized in covering over the bloody records of dictators like Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire and Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines with copious coats of high-gloss spin, presenting them as freedom-loving democrats. ............ By 2005, Manafort had emerged as a central figure in Ukraine’s often-snakebit experiment in democracy. He was introduced to the country’s politics by one of Russia’s most powerful oligarchs, the aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska. Oligarchs don’t survive in Putin’s Russia without continually proving themselves useful to the motherland. And when Putin had an urgent problem in Ukraine, Deripaska, who had various holdings there, stepped in to help: He brought in Manafort’s firm, which he had hired earlier to assist in overcoming a block on his U.S. visa, based on allegations that he had gained his position through ties to organized crime (which he denies). .......... With thousands protesting in Kyiv’s central Maidan square, Ukraine’s high court declared Yanukovych’s “victory” marred by “systemic and massive” election violations. Yushchenko then won in a new vote, a triumph of democracy known as the Orange Revolution. ......... Then, from a new office just off Maidan square, Manafort worked up a Party of Regions platform promising to make Ukraine a “bridge” between Russia and the West — by striking an economic partnership with the European Union (popular in the west) but rejecting NATO membership (popular with Russian speakers in Ukraine’s east). ........... Speech drafts and talking points, unearthed in Manafort’s criminal cases, portrayed the Orange Revolution as a “coup” and the “orange illusion.” .......... Manafort won the credit, becoming as well known in Ukrainian political circles as Karl Rove or James Carville in America. He was living the oligarch’s life, collecting jackets of python and ostrich skin, Alan Couture suits and properties in SoHo, the Hamptons, Trump Tower and brownstone Brooklyn. .......... Within weeks, claiming Yanukovych had been ousted not in a homegrown swell of democracy but in a Western-backed coup, Putin moved on Crimea and the east. To this day, Manafort, too, maintains that Maidan was essentially a coup against a duly elected president.



How Vatican II Failed Catholics — and Catholicism
The Marjorie Taylor Greene-ing of America re we ready for a pumped-up, pistol-packing Lauren Boebert? “How many AR-15s do you think Jesus would have had?” Boebert asked a crowd at a Christian campaign event in June. I’m going with none, honestly, but her answer was, “Well, he didn’t have enough to keep his government from killing him.” The Denver Post pleaded: “We beg voters in western and southern Colorado not to give Rep. Lauren Boebert their vote.” ........ The freshman representative has recently been predicting happily that we’re in the end times, “the last of the last days.” ......... And then there’s the future first female president, Kari Lake, who lulls you into believing, with her mellifluous voice, statements that seem to emanate from Lucifer. She’s dangerous because, like Donald Trump, she has real skills from her years in TV. ...... Overall, there are nearly 300 election deniers on the ballot, but they will be all too happy to accept the results if they win. ...... In Iowa on Thursday night, Trump urged the crowd to “crush the communists” at the ballot box and said that he was “very, very, very” close to deciding to “do it again.” ......... Trump, the modern Pandora, released the evil spirits swirling around us — racism, antisemitism, violence, hatred, conspiracy theories, and Trump mini-mes who should be nowhere near the levers of power.



The G.O.P. Plot Against Medicare and Social Security the push to slash major benefit programs may be the ultimate example of an elite priority completely at odds with what ordinary Americans want........ The biggest gap in views is on Social Security, where the rich, by a large margin, want to see benefits reduced while the general public, by an even larger margin, wants to see them increased. ........ life expectancy has actually declined among noncollege whites............. Republican plans to cut Medicare and Social Security would impose widespread hardship, with some of the worst impacts falling on red-state, noncollege whites — that is, the party’s most loyal base. .......... despite its populist rhetoric, the G.O.P. is still very much a party of and for the rich. ........ the expectation that the right-wing disinformation machine can obscure what the G.O.P. is up to........ They’ll threaten to provoke a global financial crisis by refusing to raise the debt limit. If Democrats defang that threat, Republicans will try to get what they want by making America ungovernable in other ways. .

We Need to Be Clear About Who Pushed Us to the Breaking Point By making the election a choice between a Democratic Party that will secure American democracy and a Republican Party that may unravel it, the argument goes, Democrats are essentially telling voters that their democracy is already lost....... The Democratic Party is, at this moment, the only viable political party with a serious commitment to free and fair elections. And in a country where power alternates between two major parties, this means

American democracy is in real trouble.

......... the Republican running for governor of Wisconsin said, for example, that “Republicans will never lose another election in Wisconsin after I’m elected governor”
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