Posts: 22

Recognising and preventing right wing radicalization of young white boys on the internet

My friend Nik retweeted this Twitter thread by Joanna Schroeder a couple of days ago and it stuck with me.

A more or less coordinated but definitely intense campaign has been going on online for a number of years now that primes young males to fall for and consider right wing, fascist, hateful ideologies and the groups that propagate them their only safe haven, the only place that understands them. This exploits a pervasive culture of toxic masculinity and preys on young males in their fragile emotional states, driven by their craving for recognition and acceptance.

The thread explores a number of avenues are used by hate groups and right wing radicals and proposes a few ways to combat this. Please read it and if you're inclined follow the various links to similar research and journalistic coverage of this radicalization campaign.

The problem with preaching personal responsibility to save the environment

One of the things that bug me the most about the frankly amazing increase in environmental awareness and the pressure put on governments, is the focus on "personal responsibility", meaning the contribution each one of us can make to save our planet.

Granted, it makes sense for every single person to do everything they possibly can to put less strain on the environment, and personally I'm trying to do my part as well. For example by not using my car for grocery shopping anymore.
I also don't doubt the concept of social proof, to show others that living a comfortable life without being destructive is possible.

Still, I find it concerning that "personal responsibility" is what a lot of media organisations and governments present as the best possible way to reduce CO2 emissions and help the environment. These increasingly feel like attempts to place the blame for environmental deterioration on the shoulders of consumers, when the big polluters are a few large corporations. The following comic by Alex Norris encapsulates the issue brilliantly:

Comic by Alex Norris (@dorrismccomics on Twitter)

I recently saw a tweet that I sadly cannot find anymore which neatly juxtaposed two articles in the Guardian about helping the environment. Luckily I remembered the headlines:

19 Jan 2017, Chris Goodall:
How to reduce your carbon footprint

10 July 2017, Tess Riley:
Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study says

Climate change and the catastrophies it's going to bring with it is a given and we're feeling the effects already (although not as much as people in developing countries). Doing one's part to reduce carbon emissions, waste, and other factors of driving our planet over the cliff, is undeniably important and a good thing to do.
What mustn't happen, though, is big corporations directing focus towards personal responsibility when they practice none and continue destroying the planet. We have hold the polluters and the institutions enabling them accountable.

A timeless image about Trump

It's going to be a long time until we have a full understanding of the damage that has been done by Putin's puppet Trump and I fear that a lot of the damage is going to be irreparable. Let's work on stopping Trump and people like him around the world.

Cartoon by Mike Luckovich for AJC (Source)

Last Week Tonight segment on Authoritarianism

Another brilliant segment produced by John Oliver's team. It's something people in the U.S. should watch because their country is being turned into an authoritarian regime piece by piece, day by day. The institutions John Oliver mentions as protecting U.S. citizens from the bad impulses of Trump are being steadily dismantled by him and his cronies.

If the people this country don't stand up and start to work against it, they will soon find themselves in a country with no law but the word of their Führer. The poor sods who helped him gain power, the ones cheering for him at his Nuremberg Rally rallies, cheering for the abuse he screams at the press, immigrants, LGBTQ people, and any other enemy-of-the-day Trump conjures, will be the first to suffer once the economy plummets completely because the kleptocratic swamp Trump has created looted the country for everything that it was worth, and they will be the first ones he sends to die if he starts a war to distract from his domestic failures.

Republicans, the Government Overreach Party

This editorial cartoon drawn by Bruce MacKinnon and published in The Chronicle Herald popped up in my Twitter feed this morning and I'm alternating between amazement, speechlessness, sadness, and fear for the U.S.A.

Bruce MacKinnon's editorial cartoon for Sept. 29, 2018. - Bruce MacKinnon, Copyright: The Chronicle Herald Bruce MacKinnon's editorial cartoon for Sept. 29, 2018, Copyright: The Chronicle Herald

The cartoon shows the arms of a person pinning down the blindfolded Lady Justice on a bed, with a hand over her mouth, in reference to the accusation made by Christine Blasey Ford against Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee. The cufflinks of the abuser have the GOP's elephant on them.

I think this is an amazing piece of political satire, absolute genius. I'm German, I live in Germany, I'm only indirectly affected by what happens over there but the proceedings of last week, which were hard to ignore even over here, had me speechless so many times.
To me, it's inconceivable that the GOP props up a man for the highest judicial position in the country, who has had a number of credible accusations of sexual assault, and testimony of character leveled against him, that absolutely disqualifies him not just for the Supreme Court but for any position in the judicial system. And that doesn't even cover the frankly insane and disgraceful performance before the Judicial Committee which betrays a deep disdain for the rule of law, hatred towards women, and shows a complete lack of capacity for impartiality.

It's sad that U.S. politics is at a point where the Republicans, who have long been a danger to the U.S.A., are now willing to risk the last shred of independence of the Supreme Court to push through their agenda of hate, misogyny, homophobia, and shameless pursuit of power over other people, all of it driven by nothing but greed.

The fear that if Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, the U.S. will deteriorate into an autocracy even faster, is very real and I sincerely hope that the people of the U.S. realise this and stand up before it is too late.

Side note:

This morning I read about an interesting case the Supreme Court is going to decide very soon: "Gamble vs. US"
Some people on Twitter argued that the true reason the GOP and Trump want to push Kavanaugh into a SCOTUS seat, is so he can rule on the above case.
At its core, the lawsuit is about a weapon possessions charge and whether a defendant can be tried for the same charge by both state and federal authorities (so called "double jeopardy"). Several people argue that a decision to prevent state and federal authorities from prosecuting someone for the same crime, could mean that a federal pardon from Trump, might prevent state authorities from prosecuting a person and would thus minimise the pressure state prosecutors can put on defendants in cases linked to Trump.