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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘conspiracies

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • Centauri Dreams reports on asteroid P/2016 G1, a world that, after splitting, is now showing signs of a cometary tail.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers outrage as a sociological phenomenon. What, exactly, does it do? What does it change?
  • Joe. My. God. reports on a new push for same-sex marriage in Germany, coming from the SPD.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money examines the Alabama government’s disinterest in commemorating the Selma march for freedom.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at Oxford University’s attempt to recruit white British male students.
  • At the NYRB Daily, Masha Gessen warns against falling too readily into the trap of identifying conspiracies in dealing with Trump.
  • pollotenchegg maps the distribution of Muslims in Crimea according to the 1897 Russian census.
  • Savage Minds takes a brief look at ayahuasca, a ritual beverage of Andean indigenous peoples, and looks at how its legality in the United States remains complicated.
  • Elf Sternberg considers the problems of straight men with sex, and argues they might be especially trapped by a culture that makes it difficult for straight men to consider sex as anything but a birthright and an obligation.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy considers how the complexities of eminent domain might complicate the US-Mexican border wall.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on protests in Russia and argues Belarus is on the verge of something.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait reports on the latest theory about the formation of the Orion Nebula.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at how the Late Heavy Bombardment may have contributed to ring formation.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on the bizarrely dense rings of J1407b.
  • Joe. My. God. reports on New York City’s new streetcar routes for Brooklyn and Queens.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes Jill Stein’s frankly hilarious crusade against John Oliver.
  • The Map Room Blog notes some cute mini-maps of metro routes.
  • Marginal Revolution reports on the calamitous effects of Brexit on the United Kingdom.
  • The NYRB Daily notes the culture of conspiracy in this year’s American election.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw looks at a very complicated Australian law regarding the eligibility of potential office-holders.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at the legal groundwork for Russian irredentism and also examines the fragility of Russia’s official ideology of nationhood.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • The Big Picture shares photos of a Shanghai neighbourhood that refuses to sell out to developers.
  • James Bow rates California rail.

  • Centauri Dreams looks at the large dwarf planet 2007 OR10.
  • Dangerous Minds notes a campaign by a 9/11 conspiracy theorist to raise funds to buy an airplane and a building.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze looks at the Kepler-223 system.
  • Language Hat looks at an astonishingly thorough German-led effort to publish a dictionary of Latin.
  • The NYRB Daily assesses the Iran nuclear deal.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer considers Brazil and argues that any treachery in Sykes-Picot was less in the deal and more in the assumptions behind it.
  • Transit Toronto notes the return of GO Transit’s seasonal trains to Niagara.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Moscow’s refusal to allow Circassians a memorial march.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • City of Brass notes the lie that is Eurabia.
  • Crooked Timber considers Creative Commons licenses as a crude kind of anti-spam technology.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at Ontario’s interest in pioneering a guaranteed minimum income program.
  • Far Outliers looks at the history of Korean prisoners of war in the Second World War in Hawai’i.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the death of Nancy Reagan.
  • Language Hat starts a discussion about the cost of designing fonts.
  • Language Log notes the difficulties of some Westerners with learning Chinese compared to Western classical languages.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the complexity of the new European Union-Turkey deal on Syrian migrants.
  • Discover‘s Neuroskeptic notes that we are far from being able to upload content directly to our brains.
  • Strange Maps notes how, in Turkish, different cardinal directions are associated with a different colour.
  • Is Buffalo strongly anti-gay? Towleroad considers this finding, from a social media analysis.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • Bad Astronomy shows a photo of an ancient X-ray jet amplified by photos from the Big Bang.
  • Centauri Dreams considers fast radio bursts.
  • The Great Grey Bridge’s Philip Turner notes that the Republican Party establishment is finally responding to Trump.
  • Joe. My. God. and Towleroad note the ridiculousness of Caitlyn Jenner’s desire to be a trans ambassador to Ted Cruz.
  • Language Hat notes medieval naming patterns, with many religious names and many of these shared.
  • Language Log notes controversy over a Chinese newspaper headline.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at American conservatives who think that the failure of people in distant countries to hear of minor figures in their movement proves a conspiracy.
  • The LRB Blog argues the Swedish model is a viable alternative.
  • The Map Room Blog maps the distribution of Syrian refugees across Canada.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the low crime rate in many Muslim societies.
  • The New APPS Blog argues Donald Trump is the perfect expression of contemporary capitalism.
  • The Planetary Society Blog pays tribute to astronaut Scott Kelly.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer considers how Mexico can go on the offensive against a Trump administration.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog looks at statistics on religious affiliation in Belarus.
  • Transit Toronto notes the various subway disruptions this weekend.
  • Whatever’s John Scalzi admits the possibility of being wrong, while still keeping to his criticisms and predictions re: BernieBros.

[LINK] “Searching for the ‘Armenian Lobby’”

At Open Democracy, Arzu Geybulla notes how all opposition in Azerbaijan, and to Azerbaijan, is being traced to the “Armenian lobby”. In this environment, no dissent is possible.

Conspiracy theories are no stranger to resourceful leaders. They can consolidate political power, cultivate the image of an external enemy and reduce their responsibility for the nation’s ills. And in the ex-Soviet republic of Azerbaijan, conspiracy theories help keep incumbent president Ilham Aliyev in power.

According to these conspiracies, Azerbaijan has two main enemies: the Armenian lobby and the jealous west. As the former is often said to finance the latter, these two enemies become one: an omnipresent and all-powerful ‘Armenian lobby’. This powerful structure has become a commonly used weapon in the hands of the authoritarian leadership of Azerbaijan to crack down on dissent. By referring to all of its critics both at home and abroad as Armenian, pro-Armenian, and representing Armenian interests, the authorities have created a quick conspiracy formula for muzzling independent voices by labelling them as traitors.

In Azerbaijan, Armenia wasn’t always used as a political tool—at least, not as much as today. Between 1988 and 1994, the two countries fought a bitter war over the mountainous area of Nagorno Karabakh. The ceasefire that ended the conflict in 1994 failed to maintain a buffer zone.

Casualties on the front line continue to this day, and the failure to reach an agreement between the two states to this day leaves the territory administered as an unrecognised state under Armenian protection. Thousands of civilians have been displaced. Warlike rhetoric has significantly increased over the years and, these days, it is the rubber stamped government policy in both Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 8, 2016 at 7:56 pm

[LINK] “The Kremlin’s Manichaean delusion”

At Meduza, Alexey Kovalev describes the extent to which “fringe anti-Western conspiracy theories” have been embraced by Russia’s government. This is alarming, not least because policy based on these beliefs is quite unlikely to actually work.

[Canadian lawyer Christopher] Black’s interest in the air traffic controller is not insignificant: testimony by “Carlos the Spanish air traffic operator” is one of the earliest versions of the MH17 catastrophe touted by RT and other Kremlin-aligned media, which were immediately exposed as fake. There’s no evidence that WikiSpooks is Kremlin-funded or in any way aligned, but its motivation is explicitly expressed in their mission statement: any fact promoted by the “official narrative” via the “commercially-controlled media” is inherently false and must be disputed. Hence, to WikiSpooks and other similar websites, the position that Russia or Russia-backed rebels shot down MH17 is false simply because it is endorsed by the American government and must be confronted, even if it leads to a jumble of contradictory versions of the same event, based on spurious evidence.

A link at the bottom of the WikiSpooks article indicates that it was reprinted from the website of the Strategic Culture Foundation (where, in turn, it was borrowed from the website of the Gorchakov Foundation, a Kremlin-funded NGO). The Strategic Culture Foundation is a supposedly independent think tank that “provides a platform for exclusive analysis, research, and policy commentary on Eurasian and global affairs.” Some headlines are generic for any news website (“Donald Trump: Unexpected Impact on US Presidential Race,” “Afghanistan on Brink of New Wave of Escalating Tension”), but a closer inspection reveals a strong anti-American and anti-Western undercurrent.

While the English version of Strategic Culture Foundation’s website looks relatively ordinary, its Russian version (there’s also a Serbian one) is outright bizarre. The ‘About’ section states harmlessly enough: “Benefiting from the expanding power of the Internet, we work to spread reliable information, critical thought, and progressive ideas.” But right beside this text is an op-ed by Dmitry Sedov full of diatribes so astonishingly racist that you want to rub your eyes to make sure you’ve understood. “The trumpeters of democracy from [liberal radio station] Ekho Moskvy don’t need those grants,” Sedov says of supposed US government funding for aspiring journalists in the Baltic countries to counter “propaganda” out of Russia. “They are already covered in chocolate like the negroes in Harlem!” In another piece, titled “America’s Dark Side,” published on August 6, Sedov (whose credentials are unclear, as no biography is provided and his writings can only be found on SCF’s website, or reprinted on other loyalist outlets) explains that the US, led by a black president, is falling to the onslaught of “black racism”: there are bars that are off-limits to “dogs and whites” and armed gangs of “black fascists” facilitate white flight from major American cities.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 17, 2015 at 10:09 pm