First Steps to Freedom: A Mandela Moment in Time

.NEW. It is the only historical event in modern times that literally takes my breath away whenever I see a picture of it or stop and think of it, with time itself standing still and my heart overwhelmed just in the simple act of remembering that day. No other event ever does that to me. I’m talking about the moment Nelson Mandela walked out of prison in South Africa on 11 February 1990 — today, exactly 30 years ago.

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High Crimes and His Demeanor, Part Two

In the end, one political party found its backbone, another party sold its soul to the fire down below, one senator found righteousness in religion, and one president finally achieved something he could crow about as a “victory”. That, in a nutshell, is the legacy of the impeachment trial in Washington DC of Donald J. Trump, the fake 45th president of the United States, that resulted in his acquittal instead of dismissal from office.

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Inside the Quake Zone, 25 Years On

We walk the streets of the old neighborhood this afternoon, remembering another place, another time. Our former apartment building is still there on the south side of JR Koshienguchi station in Nishinomiya, but the cozy third-floor unit where my wife, son and I first lived as a new family, apartment #303, is now being rented out to some local business. The family-run liquor shop just across the way from us in the local shopping arcade is still there, as is the old family-run stationery shop, the shelves filled with office supplies and paper that seemed unmoved since 17 January 1995, the day of the big quake.

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From Syrinx to Rio, A Writer Remembered

The first time I heard Rush on the radio was the very moment when I began to take notice of rock musician Neil Peart as a writer in his own right. I even remember when and where it all started: It was sometime in early 1980; I had just turned 21. On a warm afternoon, in my car with the windows rolled down and the radio blasting, I was on my way to the beach and stopped at a traffic light at a major intersection in town when the “The Spirit of Radio” from the new Rush album Permanent Waves came over the airwaves of a local FM rock radio station. Peart’s drumming especially knocked me out, and I soon got the LP record and found an even greater musical feast to be had: the song lyrics that Peart wrote for almost the whole album.

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The Perfect President!!! and Other Popular Children’s Fables

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, a babe was born in a manger to Joseph and Mary, two proud and happy parents. The manger, located in the top-floor executive suite of the highest skyscraper in America, Trump Castle & Palace, was soon filled with the Wise Men of Wall Street below who had come to the top of the building by express elevator, eager to look at this new bright and shining baby. “A Child is born!!!” they said excitedly. He was found to be a one-in-a-million-boy, an Orange Albino with wavy orange hair and an artificial orange-and-white skin tone. This was a sign from God, the Wise Men said, that the boy was destined to grow up someday and rule the land forever. Or at least until he was kicked out, whichever came first. And so, they christened him The Chosen One. And so he was, from then on.

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High Crimes and His Demeanor, Part One

In the end, not one of them would desert or betray their fearless leader, their loyalty to their commander-in-chief on full display for all the world to see. They followed in lockstep and ignored all the factual and circumstantial evidence, and the damage done by their leader. And their leader made it known he was mighty pleased with that.

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Patriotic Pins in the Potomac

The official investigation by the United States Congress into the possible impeaching of Donald Trump, the 45th president of the U.S., for illegal and unethical acts has wrapped up its initial fact-finding phase and now moves on to formulating the actual legal articles that will lead to almost certain impeachment of Trump in the House of Representatives.

Over the course of five days earlier this month, a dozen witnesses publicly testified before the House Intelligence Committee in a series of hearings in Washington DC that was watched by millions of people around the world. The witnesses, who worked diligently in various branches of the U.S. government, including in its overseas diplomatic corps, spoke under oath about what they knew or experienced concerning the Ukraine scandal that has rocked the Trump administration to the core. Trump’s personal involvement in the scandal was exposed for all to see. The evidence against Trump and those in government who worked closest to him was nothing less than damning.

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Don’t Flub Up This One, America

That boy is going down, I predicted early on in the fake presidency of Donald J. Trump. And oftentimes since then, I have repeated it like a mantra: FPOTUS is going down one way or another, whether it be through legal removal or, God forbid, some other unsavory means like assassination. But whichever way you look at it, I maintained, Trump is going down and out of the White House in Washington DC.

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Butcher, Baker, Dictator, Liberator

Robert Gabriel Mugabe, the former president of Zimbabwe, has died at age 95 in Singapore, while receiving medical treatment there over the past few months. Just as he was in life, Mugabe in death is a highly controversial political figure, with a legacy that is as much celebrated as castigated, as much praiseworthy as unworthy.

Among leaders of various nations, Mugabe’s credentials as a freedom fighter are being touted and memorialized as part of the wave of independence of African nations from European colonialism during the last century. “Under President Mugabe’s leadership, Zimbabwe’s sustained and valiant struggle against colonialism inspired our own struggle against apartheid and built in us the hope that one day South Africa too would be free,” Cyril Ramaphosa, the current South African president, said upon Mugabe’s passing.

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Banned in Japan: The Little Statue that Roared

Welcome, dear readers, to Aichi Trienniale 2019, one of the largest Japanese contemporary festivals in the country. Held every three years since 2010, this festival attracts artists from around Japan and the globe, while promoting such lofty goals as “contributing to the global development of culture and art” and “bringing culture and art into people’s daily lives” as its mission.

The exhibitions for year’s Aichi Trienniale are being held at several major art venues in the cities of Nagoya and Toyota (home of the famous Japanese Toyota cars), in central Japan, under the theme of “Taming Y/Our Passion”. The festival is running 75 consecutive days from 1 August to mid-October 2019.

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