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"He did not know what love was. And he did not know what good it was. But he knew he carried it around with him, a scabrous spot of rot, of contagion, for which there was no cure."
––Harry Crews

Donald Trump’s war on coronavirus is just his latest war on truth
Jonathan Freedland, © The Guardian
February 28, 2020

The coronavirus crisis is a war against a disease, but it’s also the most serious battle yet in the war on truth. That much was clear from the start, as China moved to hush up the first outbreak and gag the doctor who had spotted it. It was a classic case of what we might call Chernobyl syndrome: the tendency of authoritarian systems to react to disaster by rushing to downplay or cover up the problem, focusing more on shifting blame than tackling the threat head on. Viewers of last year’s TV dramatisation of the Chernobyl nuclear accident could recognise the pattern immediately, as the priority of those in charge becomes avoiding embarrassment rather than saving lives.

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"He who is the author of a war lets loose the whole contagion of hell and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death."
––Thomas Paine

Trump’s Davos speech exposed how US isolationism is reaching its final narcissistic chapter
Robert Fisk, © Independent
February 23, 2020

By the time Donald Trump was condemning environmentalists as the “perennial prophets of doom” in Davos, his impeachment trial was opening in Washington. But quite by chance, at that very moment, I was reading a new edition of a book by a child survivor of the 1915 Armenian Holocaust which, hauntingly and poetically, said more about America than anything Trump – or Congress – could ever utter.

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"Man's loneliness is but his fear of life."
––Eugene O'Neill

Chechen blogger escapes apparent assassination bid in Poland
Neil Hauer, © The Guardian
February 27, 2020

A well-known Chechen blogger has survived an apparent assassination attempt in Poland, in the latest of a series of attacks on dissidents exiled in Europe.

Tumso Abdurakhmanov posted a video showing him disheveled and breathing hard, standing over the bloodied body of another man. “Who sent you? Where have you come from?” Abdurakhmanov asks, before producing a hammer, which he says was used by the man in an attempted murder.

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"If you're lonely when you're alone, you're in bad company."
––Jean-Paul Sartre

More money, less transparency: A decade under Citizens United
© OpenSecrets.org
February 27, 2020

The proliferation of controversial political advertisements in the past decade isn’t a coincidence. It’s a direct result of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, which helped pump billions of dollars into politics from outside sources that are supposed to be untethered from candidates or political parties.

On Jan. 21, 2010, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the longstanding prohibition on independent expenditures by corporations violated the First Amendment. With its decision, the court allowed corporations, including nonprofits, and labor unions to spend unlimited sums to support or oppose political candidates. The majority made the case that political spending from independent actors, even from powerful corporations, was not a corrupting influence on those in office.

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