24 June, 2021

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Capitol Hill Shame, Narcissistic Trump Legacy & Arrogant ‘American Exceptionalism’! 

By Mohamed Harees –

Lukman Harees

Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.” – President George W. Bush ( September 2001)

On Wednesday 6 January, 2021, America’s chickens came home to roost. The violent drama which unfolded in Capitol Hill was utterly shameful. It buried six foot under, even the atom of credibility left of the oft boasted ideals of US democracy, at the end of the vicious Trump era in office. Television cameras broadcast images of protesters dancing and waving flags on the steps of the Capitol. Photos and snippets popped up on social media of rioters inside the building, attempting to break into the legislative chambers and posing in the offices of elected legislators; of security officers, guns drawn in the House of Representatives, behind barricaded doors. 

That Wednesday’s breach was made by the enemies within by a mob of insurrectionists riled up by Trump, who has for months vowed to “fight like hell” to stay in power after claiming that the US election was “rigged” [it wasn’t]. Over the past four years, he systematically nurtured and weaponised white grievance and racism against the ‘Other’, His enemies, called the press “the enemy of the people” (a phrase favoured by autocrats and dictators).

In fact, Trump administration Cabinet officials are reportedly discussing the 25th amendment to the US constitution, which outlines how the vice-president and a majority of the Cabinet can temporarily remove a president from office. Whether Pence and the Cabinet act or not, Trump’s presidency will be over in just weeks. At that point, Republican Party leaders will have to grapple with a future where it has lost control of the Congress and the White House and has a former president whose reputation is badly tarnished but who still has strong sway over a sizeable segment of the party’s base.

Assessing the shameful legacy of Trump’s presidency, will be a gigantic task to say the least. The –so-called world superpower under Trump clearly became less free, less equal, more divided, more alone, deeper in debt, swampier, dirtier, meaner, sicker, and deader as well as more delusional. The level of American political language was everywhere dragged down, leaving a gaping shame deficit. Trump’s most enduring legacy may be his use of the trappings of the presidency to erode Americans’ views of the institutions of their own government. Analysts thus see an America being casting off from its deepest moorings, with its’ global credibility lost and the self-image of American exceptionalism being just erased off the canvas. As Guardian UK said, ‘Trump’s personal brand of viciousness appealed to every worst human instinct, justified every vile prejudice, excused every mean and unkind thought. His is a blind ignorance that resonates with those who will not or cannot see. Falsehood is always easier than truth. For these reasons, Trump’s global legacy is Trumpism. It will live on – toxic, immoral, ubiquitous and ever-threatening.’

It is an irony that he is ending his one-term Presidency as the most despised POTUS in known history, having started his tenure of office trying to make the Muslims ‘persona non grata’ in America. Trump, governing by whim and tweet, promoted Islamophobia, deepened the nation’s racial and cultural divides and undermined faith in its institutions. His legacy: a tumultuous four years that were marked by his impeachment, failures during the worst pandemic in a century and his refusal to accept defeat. The administration’s disastrous mishandling of the pandemic has been well documented, and there’s no need to rehearse that depressing story once more. Trump also  brought impunity to the highest office in the land, wielding a wrecking ball to the most precious windowpane Americans cherish- the democracy. While historians agree that Trump was a singular figure in the office, it will be decades before the consequences of his tenure are fully known. But some pieces of his legacy already are in place. 

Even if his administration ends on January 20, 2021, Trump will have created a destructive legacy in foreign and domestic policy the depth of which is unrivalled in modern American history. The trauma of his administration’s assault on postwar order will resonate for decades to come. The destructive effect of his 25,000 or more false or misleading statements, super-spread by social media and cable news, contaminated the minds of tens of millions of people who finally voted for him. Trump was successful in burying ‘a stab-in-the-back’ narrative in the minds of those millions of Americans, poisoning the atmosphere like radioactive dust, consuming whatever is left of their trust in democratic institutions and values.

Why should the world trust Trump’s America? Surveys bear out that the world no longer does: In a January 2020 poll, Pew Research finds that across 32 countries, 64% of citizens polled don’t have confidence in the U.S. President to “do the right thing” in world affairs – Western European allies are particularly sceptical of this President. It is breath taking just how quickly Trump’s recklessness has eroded the US position in the world. US failure however goes far beyond Trump’s toxic political style: American supremacy in the world since the Second World War has been rooted in its unique capacity to get things done internationally by persuasion or by the threat or use of force. As experts pointed out, international order depends not only on the balance of hard power – the only power the President seems to understand – but also on perceptions of legitimacy. As Robert Blackwill, former U.S. diplomat and Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations notes, “rhetoric (..) matters – it affects U.S. credibility among alliance members; it affects the allied sense of U.S. steadfastness; and it affects the strength and credibility of deterrence.”

From pulling out of treaties to denigrating allies to starting trade wars, from creating havoc in the Middle East and helping the Zionist and other Arb oppressors in the region, the impulsive actions of Trump have been upending the international order that has been in place since the end of World War II. But even before Trump’s belligerent foreign policy positions, America had been gradually losing its dominant role in world affairs.

Prophecies that the US is in a state of decline have been made almost as long as the US emerged from the Second World War as the greatest superpower. Yet the much-heralded downfall of the American empire has kept being postponed or has seen others decline even faster, notably the Soviet Union. Critics of “US decline-ism” explain that, while the US may no longer dominate the world economy to the degree it once did, it still has 800 bases around the world and a military budget of $748bn. Yet the inability of the US military to use its technical prowess to win wars in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq has shown how little it has got in return for its vast expenditure. 

As sociologist Richard Lachmann argues, the self-destructive greed of elites means that the US is now stuck with wars it cannot win and a declining economic base. Put simply, the US is no longer a country that the rest of the world wants to emulate or, if they do, the emulators tend to be authoritarian nativist demagogues or despots. Their admiration is warmly welcomed: witness Trump’s embrace of the Hindu nationalist Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and his cultivation of the younger generation of tyrants such as Kim Jung-un in North Korea and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia.

In his 1989 farewell address, US president Ronald Reagan returned to a familiar theme throughout his political life: that of America as a shining city on a hill. “I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still,” he said. This, for the longest time, has been the story America has told itself. Of its inherent goodness. Of its righteousness. Of its morality. But the US Capitol being breached on 6th January show that it isn’t, and perhaps never was. That shining hill was nothing more than a mirage. America’s mask is now off.

Democrats, laying the riots at the feet of Trump said, “January 6 will go down as one of the darkest days in American history”. President-elect Joe Biden, making a speech from Delaware said: “… let me be very clear: The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect the true America, do not represent who we are… I’m genuinely shocked and saddened that our nation, so long a beacon of hope and light for democracy, has come to such a dark moment.” He added. “America’s about honour, decency, respect, tolerance. That’s who we are. That’s who we’ve always been.” . 

Nevertheless, even a cursory look at history proves that the President-elect is mistaken. After all, the edifice that is America was built on the bones of Native-Americans and blood and sweat of Black people. Ask the Japanese, who, some argue were on the brink of surrender during the conflict, bore the brunt of not just one, but both Atomic bombs ever used in the history of war (by the United States, of course) on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.Over 200,000 died and thousands more followed in the years to come due to radiation sickness. Ask the people of Korea, on whom a mind-numbing amount of Napalm was used during the Korean War (1950 to 1953). Ask the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan, where US troop levels are set to be reduced to 2,500 each by mid-January. Despite its long brutal history of violence and its record of interventionism, America, much like an out-of-touch wrestling promoter, likes to simplistically portray itself as “the good guy” taking on “the bad guys.” 

Pax Americana also is winding down. The United States can manage this relative decline effectively over the next couple of decades only if it first acknowledges the fundamental reality of decline. The problem is that many Americans, particularly among the elites, have embraced the notion of American exceptionalism with such fervour that they can’t discern the world transformation occurring before their eyes. US has forgotten the emerging reality of the weakness of the powerful and the power of the weak. The rest of the world have started to reject the assumption that the U.S. is “indispensable” and “exceptional” , but the US leaders have continued to argue that only the U.S. could lead the international system. The oft-forecast end of the American century may thus be closer than Washington thinks.

In the future, Americans will no longer be able to afford to live as they have lived in the past. Joe Biden has given a message for the world: “America is back.”  The president-elect promised that the US will rebuild the international links that were damaged under the chaotic Trump presidency. The reality is that the rest of the world doesn’t need America to “be back”. While Biden may be less personally objectionable than Trump, his background and political inclinations mean that he is likely to favour the same grim project of covert operations, failed coups and arms build-ups as previous Presidents. The reality of American power is that it exists to serve a coterie of the rich and powerful, oppressors and regional bullies. Responding to the terrifying, truly international threats of the 21st century, from global warming to transnational political violence, requires not more drones, bunker busters and failed CIA interventions, but political negotiation, respect for international law and order as well as economic redistribution and adhering to social justice.

The damage this reckless narcissist of a President has accomplished is impossible to estimate. It is anyone’s guess if his departure from public office will ever repair the damage, not only to the nation but to the planet. However, although Trump’s presidency was unprecedented in its incivility and mendacity, it is also connected to deeper trends in American politics and society. The “with us or against us” narrative Bush promoted had an instantly chilling effect in that it almost immediately silenced critics of war. Critical thought, dissent and courage were overwhelmingly replaced with fear, conformity, cowardice and an inability to hold power accountable (save for a few exceptions) while it also galvanized extremists on all sides. In this context, nothing will correct the status quo or change it unless or until an overwhelming majority of Americans recognize and embrace reality that the world outside has changed and choose to impress this upon their political leaders living in cocoons. 

To express more optimism than the situation warrants, there could be one silver lining. The world and UN may emerge wiser after the exit of Trump with little more wisdom about the need to collectively stand up to the global veto wielding bullies against their hypocrisy, excesses and arrogance. 

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Latest comments

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    Dear Harris

    Thank you

    Michael Moore’s take on the matter

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQCsVVVknzQ

    Well we wish we did attended to the FP/TULF thuggery then in 1970 onwards we would have been just fine.

    He has a podcast called Rumble with Michael Moore for anyone who may want to follow issues that affects all our life’s.

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    Trump has made America look like a joke now. He has turned it into a land of racists, goons, white terrorists, and lawless thugs, who stormed the nation’s most important institution. All because he duped them, and made them believe HE won the election, and they, without the intelligence and capability to think independently believe him over Election officials, Governors, and Judges APPOINTED BY TRUMP.
    Trump does not believe in democracy, but a dictatorship, which he failed to achieve.
    The blame also lies with the Republicans in Congress, who had they impeached him last year, would have prevented this terrible attack.

    Anyone who stands up to him, becomes his enemy, and these mindless supporters keep spreading conspiracy theories, that they keep getting as information, and weak minded to believe.
    It is an unfortunate situation. He has now turned against his own Vice President, because he had no choice but to follow the law and confirm Joe Biden as the winner, and next President. Trump egged on these thugs to physically go after Pence, wanting to hang him.
    There are many Sri Lankans around the world who have been duped into becoming a cult follower, and they are beginning to look silly in their social media accounts, spreading debunked conspiracy theories. Lost causes supporting a lost cause.

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    Lukman Harris,
    *
    You speak of the destruction America has unleashed on the rest of the globe, and scoff and doubt the words of American distinction and glory.
    *
    Yet a president has actually come along and attempted to overhaul the whole bizarre system! It is the dawn of the 2nd French Revolution! The Arab Spring of true Democracy!

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      Sure RTF is true and many supported the concept of no wars and creating jobs in America for Americans.

      That is a natural journey for any Nation embraces democracy.

      However things have been going the wrong way some time and this is now taking the matter beyond limits…the system will break…….not overhaul for better??

      Improving and enhancing the system means working within the framework??

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        Was speaking metaphorically. But the system is too established for much improvements and enhancements in the system. Hope the Democrats take the cue from these riots and incorporate some of Trump’s agendas. Better still is if they have a martial-law re-election in the swing states so the truth can be known.

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          I totally agree regards to taking cues from Trump policies by his opponents. And some respect for wanting to continue to implement the policies and the loss is hard for anyone is natural. No issues.

          However this act of treason/thuggery has now set back any well meaning thoughts/policies that may and have existed in the Trump admin??

          The procedural norms were all exhausted and all Americans were happy with that too for Trump to explaore. What was unprecedented was the tactics/distance travel this administration were willing to apply to get things their way?? that is tyranny not upholding any democratic values? then to set one segment against the other is even worse?? not able to reach out and shake hands with his opponents is never acceptable??

          With the Police brutality and a rather unprecedented killing of a American Black Life by the police life broadcasted to the world/the postal service issues (postal vote) were all set in motion to well in time to undemocratically change the outcome? The democrats have worked hard to get disenfranchised blacks to register and vote this time is an amusing change itself and Trump knew this was coming and well prepared too?? even before the election all knew the drills to come.

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            “amazing”

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              Rumble 2021,
              *
              Black-Lives Matter is an ongoing predicament, and there has been many laws put in place to stop the continuous injustices towards the suffering Black citizens. Much more needs to be done. President Trump addressed the issue, though not enough according to news medias like CNN. It stands from personal racism and vendettas, and will be long time in eradicating. The BLM that has a long and legitimate grievance against the White majority, and are out for blood in some cases, to justify even a little bit, the way they have been tortured and killed, even in this day.
              *
              Those protesting the elections, however, meant it to be a peaceful protest outside the U.S. Capitol. Unfortunately, some got aroused and probably wanted to force a decision in their favor, rather than take blood (no, it was not a military coup, for that would have required the actions of the armed forces, and as it is seen, the armed personnel were mostly against the protestors, and a simple coup is hardly a coup at all).

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                US government should pay heed to this and realize that using the political establishment and established country institutions is futile at this time, when almost half the US population feel that the elections were tampered with. It completely goes against the whole rationale of a Democratic Republic, its right to protest, and its right to progress. The protests and violence will only escalate. The country will soon become a controlled Police State.
                *
                If almost half the US population feel that the US election has been tampered with, it is only right that a re-election be conducted under martial-law. President Trump might still lose again, but democracy would have been truly served.

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                  RTF
                  (1) The reason I felt Trump needed in 2016 (1) there was no alternative (Mrs Clinton) even the democrats did not vote (2) Someone needed to spread for the grope who needed representation and incorporation into the National lines etc.
                  (2) BLM is a response to part of a the Blacks problems but not all the issues faced by the blacks. Blatant racism (not necessarily white vs shades of colour) but all doing the same too.
                  (3) I have extensively listened to all the committee hearings/recounts and audits/limitation in the voting system as a whole…I see no issue with the vote counts/numbers. One should never carry our re-elecltions because one spreads lie. The postal voting under pandemic was a success because the blacks registered and voted in huge numbers never voted before as the postal votes given them cover from the Nazis who used to intimidate them before. The turnout was good for any democracy as what is used to be around 50% now 70%++ very healthy.
                  (4) The protest by Trump have indeed improved awareness about the system knowledge to people is very welcome…educational for the public. However Trump admin had all the time to improve voting reliability but did nothing and spend time to capitalise on the unavidable mistakes in any elections.

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    correction…”someone needed to speak for the group” to make an inclusive society….a journey for all and not for the few etc.

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      Rumble 2021,
      *
      Conjecture cannot be used to declare that previous elections were deliberately skewed against people of color, or if Nazis had much or any involvement in it. If they did, it was a very minimal effect. The Right-wing groups can say the same thing with far greater inference – that certain factions used every trick in the book to skew the votes. And there is much proof of it. Postal votes being not tangible as actual voters, are very prone to mishandling and falsifying.
      *
      The only way that the president could have ensured reliability in the voting results was through matrial law. Crookery in elections give little room for counter-attack. Watching the proceedings of the election hearings means that one was only following the strict procedural rules of an establishment too grounded in its own rules, with little room for variance with the times.
      *
      It is a completely new concept into American governance that will render conventional politics obsolete if President Trump has a 2nd term. Since over half the country feels this way, it is most appropriate that a re-election is undertaken in the interests of true of Democracy.
      *
      BML movement is mostly about police brutality towards the Black race.

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        (1) Sure I agree a spot check/audit in one state does not mean other disputed states are clean.

        (2)I here you say the committee hearings has limitations too.

        (3) However last election were conducted under the same “criteria” and Trump was happy his was a landslide with the exact outcome??

        (4) In fact previous elections were questioned and dominion machines had issues/voter registration had issues and many more along the racial lines too.

        (5) He had data/issues identified earlier for his post 2016 admin redress ion all this flaws? nothing was done?

        (6) The same ballets sheets elected many Republicans to Congress and Senate too in 2016 onwards and now………so no one disputed them either??

        We are able to discuss this because US conducts all this in public which is respected even for a foreigner like me.

        Sometime I wonder if all these are “drama” created to hide some of the most critical decisions/activities done by the Trump admin in Foreign Affairs?? Palestinian issues come to my mind.

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          The “criteria” was quite different this time: Coronavirus! Therefore the potential to do cheating and falsifying was rife!

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            Sure some fraud took place….and there is even prove of Trumps people doing that than the Democrats.
            The audited work was against the actual ballot papers and all the missing links were traced all the way to the sources.
            In fact “not reelection” but recount of the paper ballots will prove all the issues one by one. Every singly case was thrown out in the courts as no evidence provided except myth making by repeating the same…not a constructive approach by Trumpers.
            Each state election officials (including the republican states) were pissed off because none of the Jualiani team ever sat down with them and went through their equations/concerns systematically? yet compliant and made fobs and fibs out of that…kios seem to work for them very well. Once you file the case then the officials “can not” sit down is exactly what the Trump game planners wanted?is a proof not enough vote bank existed for Trump to be reelected in the first place.
            He simply had to await his turn in a democracy if he is a patriot? he did not…is a crime indeed. (I have no party political bias here as is a foreign Nation for me and the USA has done many sins in another mans country for a long time

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              You show a good knowledge of the whole established system. Uunfortunately, that is where one gets caught up in its impossible game plan. The fraud is most rife on the side of those who stand to lose most……those who would become obselete after a Trump 2nd term.

              Yes, I agree that American induced fraud in other countries is now coming back to bite them…..hard. A re-election under martial law will not show them in best light and they might lose face with both allies and enemies alike, weakening the fake status quo they are trying to keep up.

              Trump agrees on the wrongness of the other presidencies and has created policy to overhaul the whole American foreign policy. Yes, time to admit past mistakes, have the martial law reelection, and move forwards with a clean slate.

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                – the costs would have ask the total recount but the Trump team accepted in the courts there is no fraud when asked??
                This is same as what the FP/TULF did in Jaffna too one story in Colombo and one story in their electorates??

                – One could never give into this level of thuggery is what demonstrate strength. I spent few months in Houston (during Obama first election campaign) and realise watching Fox will create a bubble is hard to escape. I felt sorry for the folks as they could not see/evaluate matters accordingly objectively. I can see how easy that is for them to create war and get consent too. Since there is less of war many fell back into the conspiracy theory in a time most of the industry is already sold out overseas? Sorry for the folks as they are innocent beings as any other in the world too.

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                  This was the same story in Jaffna post Independence where people were nailed down with the FP/TULF/Suthenthiran news paper pokies is hard to break free.

                  They did eventually in 1970’s and the guns appeared then and I think we have a clear case of foreign planning for things to come for SL too……..she was penned in a long time ago for Indian Ocean future managmenet territory is how I have mapped the scenario we are in SL too.

                  How this “Tamil” is being used by others for their own agendas not just limited to the Indians.

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                  Democratic values :
                  1. Gender equality act – no men, no women, no boys, no girls, no father, no mother, no grandmother, no grandfather.
                  2.Rampant online censorship
                  3. Attack on religious liberty,
                  4. Assaults on pro-life and pro-family values – abortions rampant
                  Now if this is not brainwashing of the masses, what is?

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                    Democrat* values

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                    Dear RTF

                    As I said I am into US party politics. Merely talking about compliance to law and order on the voting preferences of the Nation who also passed the respective laws over and beyond their constitution.

                    We in the UK have no written constitution so to speak.

                    However with all due respect I would not comment on the issues you mentioned above as I look at them on a case by case basis not necessarily by the headings. Some of which are also issues that governs our European party politics too.

                    I find it hard to find a party(will govern) that has all the things I cherish in life. Bit of a hit and miss sometimes even to find the leaders whom I like..then again in a democracy where we give and take and not violated all the time by the thugs goes a long way to make life tolerable etc.

                    In the recent past I looked at Berni and Corbyn not for all the things you mentioned but for some redistribution of wealth and less wars…as I find it hard when even the soldiers die so young for what around the world and at the same time we ask them to commit so many wrongs too for what purposes other than greed??

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                      Correction…..I am “not” into

                    • 0
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                      Dear Rumble 2021,
                      *
                      I was referring to your comment where you said, “….watching Fox will create a bubble is hard to escape.”
                      *
                      Fox is conservative and gender-minded, religious minded, upholds the right of free speech, has traditional family values, and most of all, values human life. It is not ultra-liberal where they aim to create a brand new Newest World Order that is gender-free, of reduced population, with robotics and nano-based experimentation.

                    • 1
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                      RTF & R2021
                      Are you both dating by any chance via CT in this day and age of the Covid-19 clampdown?

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    This is the issue with the UN Security Council Permanent Member Nations that all their resources are spent on managing someone else’s whatever and not enough focus internally. All the UN/non-UN blunders originate from this concept.

    We need to change this as is very undemocratic in its own merits + UN should move around the world for their meetings/gatherings and not based in one place too.

    The administrative structure itself need to be globally shared now with the modern technology all is possible and no excuse for not doing so?.

  • 0
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    RTF

    Contrary to what you think I think the following should be the action by the US authorities.Otherwise they will end up being imploded and we never wish that on any one.

    About 5 million Indians may even need to return home to India along with so many other Nationalities??

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MScMMC0SdQM

    • 0
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      Dear RTF

      Fix news….is like party political broadcast instead of being a news outlet/investigative Journalism??

      It is my observation not because of the politics (I pick different candidates/parties in each election based on the needs of the Nation at that time and vote accordingly) but failing the professionalism as an news media etc.

      Sure it may have things in the lines of what you said to the liking of the masses one respect but they are not the only decision making facts when one decide on an government with 800++ military bases around the world as the responsibilities will become a bit irresponsible?? is about choices one make based on facts and agree other media does not always lay it out unbiased either was the concern…therefore I listen to all and make a best judgement??? some are conservative/liberal/socialist points of view (a mix bag) in the conventional believe system which itself I recent as outdated and box us in any democracies from learning new prospectives.

      • 0
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        sorry “Fox News”

        • 1
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          Do not apologize.
          It is really Fix News.

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