Tag Archives: Donald Trump

Dear Americans: Enough, Already

DEBORAH JONES: FREE RANGE
August 19, 2017

Lacking ear plugs strong enough to block the din from America blasting the world, or a mega-phone loud enough to counter the babble, I’m resorting to two letters.

Dear non-Americans:

A sign at the Women’s March protesting President Donald Trump’s inauguration in Vancouver, Canada, on January 21. © Deborah Jones 2017

There’s a big world out there. Please remember that fact as we remain transfixed on America’s latest horrific but predictable melt-down. Yes, a raging super-power warrants some global attention. It does not require us to gorge on outrage, 24/7.

We are riveted wholly on the United States at the expense of other things, many in desperate need of our attention. We risk burn-out, gawping at America’s raging inferno. Stuff, important stuff, is at risk elsewhere — and just as it demands vigilance, America’s freak show is diverting our eyes and minds, and crushing our appetite for the information we need.

Please, just for a moment, ignore America’s bigots, racists, Nazis, supremacists of all sorts, culture wars. Turn away from the anger and grief pouring out of Charlottesville, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Choose any random sample of other urgent issues, and pay attention. Suggestions:

The deadly terror attacks in Finland and Spain; the hundreds who died in a landslide in the Democratic Republic of Congo; Venezuela imploding in  a political and economic crisis and seeking any kind of ally; Kenya’s explosive politics.

Note the trillion dollars, countless jobs and whole communities at stake in just-started talks between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Ponder the new twist on the peril facing Afghanistan, where America has now led a war for 16 years — foolishly helped by the professional militaries of many other nations. Afghanistan is still in ruins, arguably much worse. Now, American authorities have suggested sending in mercenaries to do what their soldiers could not. Think that will end well? At least, please, think about it.

Most of you who are reading this still live in democracies, albeit flawed. Most of us have voices that can matter — but only if we use them.

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My dear American friends:

You have my sympathy, but I for one can’t bear witness 24/7. Even if I could, you don’t deserve my, or the world’s, attention.

The fact is, just-more-than 19 per cent of you in the US, of voting age, voted for your current president. Another just-less-than 20 per cent voted for Hilary Clinton, his only feasible opponent (after your undemocratic Democrats stomped on Bernie Sanders).

What of the more-than 60 per cent of you who sat out and allowed idiots* to take over your country? You, who were apathetic? You, who failed to get your point across and convince others? (ie, politics in a democracy). You, who were too divided to come together for the big stuff you’re now screeching about? You, yes you, have some ‘splainin to do.

But, please, explain and talk to each other.

The rest of us in the rest of the world are deafened by your noise. I’ve tried to tune you out and turn you off for most of each day, but now you have sucked all of the oxygen from everyone’s air. And, frankly, we need that oxygen to deal with very real stuff that’s not all about you.

Copyright Deborah Jones 2017

Contact: djones AT factsandopinions.com (including for republishing.)

*Idiot stems from the Greek idios; it refers to a private person who is, literally, ignorant, in a culture that values the body politic, or “politics.”

If you value this story, the author would appreciate a contribution of .27 cents, Canadian, to help fund her ongoing work and pay for this site. Click on paypal.me/deborahjones to be taken to Deborah Jones’s personal PayPal page.

Credible world news sites:

Reuters World news France24BBC; Financial Times; The Economist

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DebJones in Spain

Deborah Jones is a founder of Facts and Opinions.

Her bio is here. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal, of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is ad-free and spam-free, and we do not solicit donations from partisan organizations.

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Journalism Matters: F&O’s fresh sheet, from Newfoundland to Israel

Palestinian visitors gather at a look-out point on the Armon Hanatziv Promenade in Jerusalem May 11, 2017. Picture taken May 11, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Commentary:

Broad alliances trump Trump for Israeli security, by Jonathan Manthorpe  Column

Israel lives in a hostile neighbourhood, and has always had trouble making and keeping trustworthy friends.

Nothing’s Happening, by Jim McNiven   Column

There’s an old saying around the stock market: ‘Sell in May and go away’. Basically, it means that usually nothing much financial happens in the summer. This year, that might also be the slogan for a lot of other parts of society.

Roger Ailes’ special place in hell, by Tom Regan  Column

When Roger Ailes died this month, response was mixed.It was Ailes’ personal foibles that led to his downfall. But I want to concentrate on his legacy in journalism, where he left a very dark mark, called “thug journalism.”

Why Donald Trump won’t be impeached, by Tom Regan   Column

For all the bad news that Trump faces, he will not be impeached: his fellow Republicans control both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

India’s Maoist uprising morphs into women’s armed insurgenc, by Jonathan Manthorpe   Column

Women guerrilla fighters are at the forefront of an emerging insurgent war in India aimed at protecting women from sexual violence and human rights abuse.

Why Ramadan is called Ramadan, by Mohammad Hassan Khalil

The Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, started Friday, May 26, 2017. Professor Mohammad Hassan Khalil  answers six questions about the significance of this religious observance. The Conversation

Reports:

Newfoundland’s fourth offshore oil project set to sail, by Greg Locke

While Canada’s oil sands projects and the North America fracking companies are under scrutiny and financial distress, Newfoundland prepares to bring its fourth major offshore oil project online.

Israel marks 50 years of struggling, “United Jerusalem” by Maayan Lubell

A half-century after Israel captured East Jerusalem, the holy city remains deeply divided by politics, religion and ethnicity – and struggling with grim economic realities.

Real-life “Iron Man” has high hopes for jet suit, by Mark Hanrahan

The British inventor of an “Iron Man”-style jet suit has lofty hopes that his project, which started out as fun experiment, could become a practical tool for industries ranging from entertainment to the military.

Gulf States Curbing Opposition, by Sami Aboudi

Since the 2011 Arab Spring, Gulf states have stepped up efforts to curb dissent with tough new cybercrime laws, sentencing offenders to prison terms for Web posts deemed insulting to rulers or threatening to public order. But in the past two years, unnerved by low oil prices and the slow progress of a war in Yemen targeting the influence of arch foe Iran, Gulf authorities became even less patient with dissenting voices in the media, analysts and rights groups say.

UK investigates use of personal data in political campaigns, by Reuters

Britain said it was investigating how politicians and campaigners use data to target voters with online advertising to make sure they comply with electoral laws and do not abuse people’s privacy.

NOTEBOOK:

For some perspective on what will matter long after the latest political outrage has faded in Washington, London, or Moscow, set aside time, soon, for the sobering interactive feature by the New York Times on the melting of Antarctica —  and how changes to its vast ice sheets will affect the world. World leaders are urging the United States to stay the course on tackling climate change. But one academic has an interesting contrarian’s view of the Paris Agreement: the world would be better off if Trump withdraws from the Paris climate deal, argued Luke Kemp, of Australian National University, in Nature Climate Change. He explained his view here, in The Conversation: “Simply put: the US and the Trump administration can do more damage inside the agreement than outside it.”
Recommended read elsewhere: Kafka in Vegas, by Megan Rose, ProPublica/Vanity Fair

Fred Steese served more than 20 years in prison for the murder of a Vegas showman even though evidence in the prosecution’s files proved he didn’t do it. But when the truth came to light, he was offered a confounding deal known as an Alford plea. If he took it he could go free, but he’d remain a convicted killer.

Misc:  As the Cannes Film Festival wraps on May 28, check out stories on France24. For an “odd news”break, the BBC reports on “Why humans, chimpanzees and rats enjoy being tickled.”

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded only by you, our readers. We are ad-free and spam-free, and do not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we need a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Visit our Subscribe page for details and payment options, or donate below. With enough supporters each paying a small amount, we will continue, and increase our original works like this.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

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From Vimy to Gibraltar, Obamacare to Russia: Journalism Matters at F&O

New on F&O this weekend:  Sunday April 9 marked the 100th anniversary of the WWI battle of Vimy Ridge — said to have marked Canada’s passage from colony to country status. Read our report with photo-essay by Reuters, France, Canada leaders mark centenary of Vimy Ridge WWI battle. In Commentary Tom Regan notes that for Canada and the United States, the battle and World War I have very different meanings.  Read Regan’s column,“War to End All Wars” fading from history, here.

Jonathan Manthorpe this week considers Gibraltar — “The Rock” Caught In A Hard Place — in a new column about the territory in British hands since 1713, and is now emerging as an issue in negotiations with Brussels to leave the European Union. Read more about Gibraltar.  Manthorpe’s previous column, Beijing brings order to its colonial “Savage Reservations,” contends that Beijing is reaching back into the excesses of Maoist Stalinism and forward into the high-tech social control of Aldus Huxley’s “Brave New World” to try to contain the restive natives of its colonial outposts, Tibet and Xinjiang, setting the stage for grief for Hong Kong. Click here for the column on China, or here for the list of all of Manthorpe’s F&O works.

Americans turn Canadian about health care, writes Penney Kome in a new piece about how U.S.  public opinion is forcing Republicans to think “expansion,” not “repeal,” of the Affordable Care Act. Read the column, or find Kome’s complete  F&O OVER EASY columns here.

Jim McNiven has been pondering the fuss made by America over Russia, and asks this week, Why Does America’s President Bother with Russia? That column is here, or find all of McNiven’s THOUGHTLINES columns for F&O here.

Noteworthy items elsewhere on the web:

“Why do so many in the news media love a show of force?” asks Margaret Sullivan in the Washington Post.
Good question. The answer is probably found in audience ratings and social media shares– and so, as with everything in the world of commerce, with citizen’s demands.

First Draft News produced a well-received “Field Guide to Fake News,” launched this month at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy. The Columbia Journalism Review reports.
Stories about America’s political meltdown have become a flood. As mentioned earlier, these diverse, authoritative and credible news sites are worth following for breaking news: Reuters, the New York TimesPolitico,Washington PostBBC, The GuardianAl Jazeera, France24Financial Times, and The Economist.

Last but not least, here are some of our other recent stories, in case you missed them:

Trump Staffers’ Financial Disclosures /ARIANA TOBIN & DEREK KRAVITZ, ProPublica

Trump and Russia: “There is a smell of treason in the air”/TOM REGAN    Column

Beijing brings order to its colonial “Savage Reservations”/JONATHAN MANTHORPE  Column

European leaders renew fraying Union’s vows/ALASTAIR MACDONALD & JAN STRUPCZEWSKI  Report

Lights go out around the world for 10th Earth Hour/REUTERS   Slideshow

Fukushima still in hell/PENNEY KOME    Column

McGill University mangles academic freedom/TOM REGAN   Column

America’s Republican Quandary/ JIM McNIVEN   Column

Sri Lanka’s slow shuffle to lasting peace/JONATHAN MANTHORPE  Column

Reader-Supported Facts and Opinions is employee-owned and ad-free. We survive on an honour system. Thanks for your interest and support. Details.

Note: this post was updated April 9 to include our report on the Vimy Ridge event in France.

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From fiery Alberta to North Korea, America’s genie to London’s mayor: Facts, and Opinions, this week

Flames rise in Industrial area south Fort McMurray, Alberta Canada May 3, 2016. Courtesy CBC News/Handout via REUTERS

Flames rise in Industrial area south Fort McMurray, Alberta Canada May 3, 2016. Courtesy CBC News/Handout via REUTERS

Fort McMurray: Boom, bust …burned, by Rod Nickel and Liz Hampton

A convoy of evacuees from the Canadian oil town of Fort McMurray drove through the heart of a massive wildfire guided by police and military helicopters as they sought to reach safety to the south of the burning city. “Our life is here. We will go back and rebuild,” vowed one. … read more

By Unknown - http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/ourl/res.php?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&url_tim=2014-06-25T15%3A39%3A41Z&url_ctx_fmt=info%3Aofi%2Ffmt%3Akev%3Amtx%3Actx&rft_dat=3592868&rfr_id=info%3Asid%2Fcollectionscanada.gc.ca%3Apam&lang=eng MIKAN no. 3592868, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4928941

Athabasca oil sands on the banks of the river, c. 1900 Photo: Collections Canada

Fort McMurray: from “black pitch” and salt to oil sands. By Brian Brennan

The story of Fort McMurray is one of long hibernation followed by rapid growth. The oilsands developments turned it from a sleepy little northern frontier town into Alberta’s most explosive boom city. But it took almost two centuries for the development to happen. The boom had been foretold from the time fur trader Peter Pond explored the region in 1778 …read more

Sadiq Khan: British dream reality for London’s first Muslim mayor, by Parveen Akhtar

In Pakistan, the chances that the son of a bus or rickshaw driver could secure a high-ranking political position in the country’s capital city are minuscule. But now, the people of London have elected Sadiq Khan – the son of an immigrant Pakistani bus driver – to be their first Muslim mayor.

The Irreconcilable Narratives of America’s South, by Ruth Hopkins, Wits Justice Project

In Montgomery the narrative of a proud confederacy is visceral and dominant and is echoed in its street names, buildings, signs and statues. But the Equal Justice Initiative, instead of protesting the display of Southern pride and honour, has started an elaborate and ambitious remembrance project that not only includes the collection of soil from sites of lynchings to remember the victims.  Alabama’s huge slave population and Montgomery’s central role in the confederacy are intimately connected. … read more

Commentary:

North Korea’s Kim rattles the bars of his cageNorth Korean leader Kim Jong Un signs a document regarding a long range rocket launch in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang February 7, 2016. REUTERS/KCNA, by Jonathan Manthorpe, International Affairs columnist

A good rule of thumb is to always be deeply suspicious of optimistic projections for the future of North Korea. There have been some rose-tinted forecasts wafting from Pyongyang this week as the Workers’ Party of Korea holds its first congress since 1980. The congress was called to endorse the leadership of Kim Jong-un, 33, who took over after the death of his father Kim Jong-il at the end of 2011. … read more

Trump has made racism and violence “OK” in the US, by Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda columnist

Donald Trump is not the real problem in the rise of racism  in the US . He is merely the catalyst. It’s his ham-handed ridiculous racism masquerading as “policy” or “outreach” that’s the problem. He has let the racist and bigoted genie out of the bottle and it won’t go back in peacefully. America needs to prepare for scenes of violence and hatred it may not have seen since the 60s in the South. … read more

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Elsewhere ….

On World Press Freedom Day, May 3,  Reporters Sans Frontieres/Reporters Without Borders launched a campaign called “Great Year for Censorship.” Its aim is to draw attention to “a deep and worrying decline in the ability of journalists to operate freely and independently throughout the world,” and especially targets leaders in 12 countries who have “trampled on media freedom and gagged journalists in various spectacular ways.”

RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index, released in April,  reveals “a climate of fear and tension combined with increasing control over newsrooms by governments and private-sector interests,” said the organization.

capture_decran_2016-05-04_a_18.31.00

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by our readers. It is ad-free and spam-free, and does not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we require a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Details here; donate below. Thanks for your interest and support.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

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FINDINGS: The best of reporting on Donald Trump

by Sarah Smith, ProPublica

If elected president of the United States, Donald Trump has promised to “open up” libel laws so he can sue news organizations like they’ve “never got sued before.” While the First Amendment is still intact, ProPublica compiled a list of some articles he might have his eye on.

Trump’s Bad Bet: How Too Much Debt Drove His Biggest Casino Aground

The Washington Post, January 2016

In 1988, when Donald Trump took control of the Taj Mahal (the Atlantic City hotel-casino, not the Indian palace!), he promised to finance his operation without junk bonds. Banks, he said, would line up to give him loans. They didn’t. So, Trump took on the junk bonds he said he wouldn’t need, and the hotel-casino sank into debt. By 1991, the Taj Mahal declared bankruptcy, the first of several for Trump. The move affected Trump’s personal finances more than he’s indicated on the campaign trail—and left bitterness in Atlantic City.

For Donald Trump, Lessons From a Brother’s Suffering

New York Times, January 2016

In 1999, Donald Trump’s nephew, Fred Trump III, had a son born with cerebral palsy. It was yet another tragedy for Fred. Eighteen years earlier, his father Freddy (older brother to Donald) died of alcoholism at age 43. At first, the Trump family said they would pay for the infant’s medical bills, but when it was revealed that Donald’s father had cut the boy’s side of the family out of his will, Donald stopped covering his medical treatment. His parents sued, and Donald Trump told the Times the suit was settled “very amicably.”

He’ll Take the Low Road: Trump’s Tortured History With Scotland

The Atlantic, December 2015

In 2012, Trump opened a golf course in Aberdeen, Scotland, (“the world’s greatest golf course,” per its website), in part to rebuild ties with his mother’s native country. When a wind farm went up around the course, Trump wrote to the head of the Scottish government decrying the wind farms. He claimed his motivation was “to save Scotland.” He took his fight all the way to the U.K. Supreme Court—which in December blocked his efforts to shut off the wind turbines.

Donald Trump Billed His ‘University’ as a Road to Riches, But Critics Call it a Fraud

The Washington Post, September 2015

Trump University, which started in 2004 but never actually got licensed, promised get-rich-quick guidance in hotel ballroom workshops. One three-day workshop cost $1,495; a “Gold Elite” package, which came with a certificate and a picture with a life-size poster of Donald Trump, cost one man $34,995. The workshops led to three lawsuits against Trump alleging fraud, including one brought by the New York attorney general in 2013 for $40 million that’s still pending.

Ex-Wife: Donald Trump Made Me Feel ‘Violated’ During Sex

The Daily Beast, July 2015

In the early 1990s, when Trump and his first wife Ivana were going through an acrimonious divorce, Ivana said under oath that Donald had raped her once. She later clarified her position to a book author, saying that she did not mean “rape” in a “literal or criminal sense,” but did feel violated. When the Daily Beast asked Trump to comment on these allegations last summer, (not long after he called Mexicans “rapists”), Michael Cohen, special counsel for the Trump Organization, threatened The Daily Beast reporter and said (incorrectly), “You cannot rape your spouse.”

TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald

Timothy L. O’Brien, October 2005

Timothy O’Brien’s 2005 book on Donald Trump estimated that the businessman was worth between $150 million and $250 million—not, as he claimed, somewhere around $3.6 billion to $6 billion. Trump sued O’Brien in 2006 for defamation. In a 2007 deposition, Trump explained that he calculated his net worth based on his feelings. Trump lost his last appeal 2011. Last week, Trump acknowledged he had no case. “I did it to make his life miserable, which I’m happy about,” he said.

After 15 Years in Court, Workers’ Lawsuit Against Trump Faces Another Delay

The New York Times, June 1998

A class-action lawsuit filed against Donald Trump in 1983 alleged that Trump owed $4 million to a union welfare fund for Polish workers—about 200 of whom were allegedly undocumented—who worked on Trump Tower. One of the witnesses described 12-hour days in hazardous conditions. Trump said he didn’t know about the workplace environment, or that there were undocumented workers. The case was delayed for years, finally settled in 1999 and sealed. Trump did not comment on a 2015 Daily Beast article about the litigation.

Short-Fingered Vulgarian

Spy Magazine

The now-defunct Spy magazine came up with the moniker “short-fingered vulgarian” to describe Trump and used it multiple times from the late 1980s to early 1990s. (It has reemerged with a vengeance in the 2016 election.) Spy magazine cofounder Graydon Carter told Politico that Trump sent him photos as recently as April, his fingers circled, with a note: “See, not so short.”

Angered by Attack, Trump Urges Return of the Death Penalty

The New York Times, May 1989

Donald Trump took out full page advertisements in four New York newspapers on May 1, 1989 calling for the execution of black and Hispanic teenagers who had been arrested in the so-called Central Park jogger case. “The 600-word ad came a few weeks after a female jogger in Central Park was sexually assaulted and beaten. “I want to hate these muggers and murderers,” Trump wrote in the ad. “They should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes.” The teenagers were later exonerated and awarded $41 million in a settlement with New York City.

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You might also be interested in these stories published on Facts and Opinions:

The sound of white noise, by Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda, F&O, column

Sometimes, when I’m driving late at night to pick up my wife at a train stop, or on my way to some event in Washington (about an hour from where I live) I turn on conservative talk radio. Just to listen to the other side. And the angry voices fill my car.

Dancing with the devil, by Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda, F&O, column

The process that led to the creation of the Trump monster began on the day of US President Barack Obama’s inauguration, January 20, 2009. The story has grown of how on wthat night a group of senior Republicans gathered at a private dinner, and decided to be not “the loyal opposition,” but a destructive and malignant force that would use any means at its disposal to achieve its desired outcome.

Fox News Facebook page

The art of manipulating campaign coverage, by Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda, F&O, column

Who is manipulating whom in media coverage of United States politics? American media manipulates the way they tell stories in order to increase eyeballs and produce a narrative that suits their tastes. But politicians then manipulate the media into creating those narratives and building on them, despite what is actually going on in the campaign.

The Donald Trump meme: nostalgia for a fantasy, by Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda, F&O, column

Remember when women and minorities knew their place? Illegal immigration was unheard of? Men all had good jobs? Everybody believed in the same God? (Or at least the same version.) Kids respected their parents? Terrorism was a word that kids learned about in college when studying European history? America was the most powerful nation in the world? No, you don’t remember? Then you’re likely not a Donald Trump supporter.
Stuart Anthony/Flickr/Creative Commons

Stuart Anthony

Ad research may explain Donald Trump’s appeal. By Jon D. Morris & Taylor Wen, September, 2015

Politics and advertising are closely intertwined. Like a good advertisement, a good politician needs to present a compelling case for why the voter should check his or her box on the ballot over all the other options. Here, Donald Trump excels.

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by our readers. It is ad-free and spam-free, and does not solicit donations from partisan organizations. To continue we require a minimum payment of .27 for one story, or a sustaining donation. Details here; donate below. Thanks for your interest and support.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

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