Disinfectant Don & the Magically Downsizing Democracy

.NEW. A half-year after the greatest crime against the USA that the universe has never seen — to borrow a Trumpish superlative — it bears looking closely at what has been happening since the 6 January 2021 failed coup attempt sparked by the former president of the United States and the inauguration of the legitimately elected president, Joe Biden, not long afterward.

In short, a downsizing of democracy is now underway that does not bode well for the future.

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The Real American Carnage

The violent insurrection on the United States Congress a few days ago in Washington DC, urged on by no less than the Fake President himself, Donald Trump, intended to reverse by force a free and fair election. More than that, the insurrection intended to overturn the system of democratic government in a coup attempt. That attempt failed, though it could easily have succeeded under the circumstances.

It was nearly four years ago, on 20 January 2017, during Trump’s own inauguration at the very same location on Capitol Hill, that he spoke of a country devastated by inferior education, poverty, drug addiction, joblessness, violence and weak immigration borders after eight years of outgoing president Barack Obama. and fair election.

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Making America Snakes Again

Now that voters in the United States have politically buried their Fake President, Donald Trump, at the polls by a wide margin, we can all continue popping the corks off those celebratory bottles of champagne into the new year and finally close the book on that unfortunate reign of America’s self-appointed emperor…right?

Think again. As this blog post goes to press, the U.S. congressional runoff races in the state of Georgia are winding down, the U.S. Congress is preparing to officially certify the electoral votes by winning candidate Joe Biden, and Trump is cheerleading a mass demonstration of his right-wing extremist followers in Washington DC that promises to be violent. And if that weren’t enough, several former U.S. secretaries of defense, both Republicans and Democrats, have become concerned enough to issue a rare statement blasting Trump’s insistence on stealing an otherwise free and fair election.

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Election 2020 Editorial: Bury Trump

The clock is now ticking down to the general election being held in the United States, in which a U.S. president, members of Congress and local issues will be decided by voters in just a couple more days. The most important campaign being watched, of course, is the one deciding which candidate — Donald Trump of the Republican Party or Joseph Biden of the Democratic Party — will occupy the presidential office in the White House. Both candidates’ campaigns are calling this particular election a “battle for the soul of the nation,” and it would be hard to disagree on that point.

The nation’s soul (if it ever had one) is indeed now at stake, and a deeply divided country will decide the outcome. Will the USA step back from the abyss and reject Trump and all that he stands for? Or will the country gleefully dive head-first over the edge of the cliff and reject Biden as president instead?

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America on Fire — A Moral Reckoning Arrives

In the countryside, mountain wildfires rage out of control, destroying all life in their path for hundreds of miles at a time. The daytime skies are covered with layers of ash and smoke, and in the evening are lit up by a luminescent orange-yellow glow. Meanwhile, in the cities, mostly peaceful public protests boil over, igniting some local buildings in ferocious flames. The orange-yellow-tinted nighttime skies, punctuated by police helicopter searchlights, radiate with rage and the heat of history.

The United States of America, in the summer of 2020, has been a nation on fire, both in the country and in the city. At first glance, these rural and urban blazes across many different locations may seem to have little in common. But in fact, they do: centuries of officially sanctioned neglect, abuse and violence in the USA — against nature in the countryside and against human beings in the cities, especially Black lives. And as this year continues on, those two sets of blazes edge closer and closer toward each other, signaling an even worse fate to come that will not easily be extinguished.

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When in Washington, Do as the Romans Do

A damaging impeachment trial, a ravaging global pandemic, a crashing domestic economy and explosive uprisings in cities across the United States: Any one of these factors would be enough to seal the fate of an American president, Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, and consign a president’s legacy to the trash heap of history.

But then again, the Fake President of the United States, Donald Trump, is no ordinary president. He has managed to linger on, surviving one of these crises after another. Trump has done so by breaking all the norms of presidential tradition, fostering a culture of corruption and causing deep, lasting damage to the American republic.

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Declothing the Emperor — A Viral Story

Folktales abound in ancient cultures and countries of some vainglorious king who is hoodwinked by a dishonest tailor and made to believe he is wearing a magnificent suit of fine regal robes, when, in fact, he is wearing nothing at all — as he finds out only after he leaves the castle walls and parades himself to a gawking public that sees his royal highness in all his nakedness.

India has just such a folktale dating back to around 1200 AD; Spain too has a story like that from back in the 1300s. For most of us in the modern world, though, the most famous version of this tale is The Emperor’s New Clothes, written by author Hans Christian Anderson of Denmark in 1837.

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First Steps to Freedom: A Mandela Moment in Time

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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Hamba Kahle to a South African Son

Hamba kahle in the Xhosa and Zulu languages of South Africa is a commonly expressed heartfelt wish for a deceased person to “go well” on their spiritual journey in the Great Beyond. Another commonly heard English phrase at South African funerals is that someone “ran a good race” during his/her lifetime on Earth, having lived a life worthy of praise.

Such terms of endearment are among the many now being expressed throughout South Africa for renowned musician Johnny Clegg, who passed away at his home in Johannesburg a few days ago at the all-too-young age of 66. He had succumbed to pancreatic cancer.

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Meet the Neo-Fascist Leader’s Long-Lost Twin Brother

You can always judge a person by the company he/she keeps, as the old saying goes, and nowhere does that hold truer than in the world of global politics. The fake president of the United States (FPOTUS), Donald Trump, for one, has never met a right-wing extremist leader of a nation or a military strongman he didn’t like, and these dangerous leaders have returned the love to the American fake president in kind.

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The Ghosts of Tiananmen, Thirty Years On

Like many around the world, I sat glued before the television set, transfixed by the scenes of thousands of people jamming a public square in the Chinese capital of Beijing for weeks on end as they demanded democracy and a more honest, open form of government from their political leaders. It was the spring of 1989, and I was living in a tiny one-room apartment in downtown Osaka, Japan and working as a journalist.

It took my breath away, watching these scenes unfold in a nearby Asian country. My reporter’s instinct kept on nudging me, and for a time, I thought seriously of getting on a plane and trying to file stories from the heart of China’s growing grassroots democracy movement to the outside world.

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