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THE CORNERED RAT PRESIDENCY

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by Vijaya Chandrasoma

The United States passed a macabre milestone last Wednesday. A quarter million Americans died of Covid 19. The richest and most powerful country the world has ever seen has proved leadership only in the mismanagement of a virus, which has caused, in sheer numbers without any reference to populations, the largest number of Covid19 deaths among all countries worldwide. It beat even the much poorer and nearly four times more populous nation of India by 0.26mn. deaths to 0.13mn. as at November 18, 2020. An even more telling statistic, as of the same date, is that India had a fewer number of cases – nearly nine mn. to America’s 11.9 mn., but amazingly, a higher number of recoveries, 8.38 mn. to the 7.17 mn. recoveries in the country with the most advanced medical facilities and equipment in the world.

There is a light at the end of the end of the Covid tunnel. Much progress has been made in the development of vaccines, which is recognized as the most effective way of curtailing the spread of the virus. New York City-based Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech announced the development of a vaccine with an encouraging 90+% efficacy rate. Initially, Pfizer claims that it can produce 30 to 40 million doses before the end of the year, after receiving emergency authorization from the FDA possibly this week. A quantity enough to save 15 to 20 million people to get an initial shot and a booster two weeks later. Hopefully, these doses will be prioritized to immunize those groups at the highest risk of infection, like doctors, nurses and all those brave and selfless people who risk their lives on a daily basis.

Pfizer predicts that it may be able to ramp up production to 1.3 billion doses per year, starting in two to three months. Other companies, notably Moderna, can finalize the development of their own effective vaccines, and meet the global demand of 16 billion doses per year – in time. The vaccine will sadly come too late for those hundreds of thousands who will die before it becomes universally available. A number which will be increased exponentially in the USA by the criminally inept leadership in the management of the virus.

Donald Trump has ceased to take any action in an attempt to do his duty to protect the American people and control the pandemic, despite deaths from the virus exceeding 1,000 per day since the date of the election on November 3. To the contrary, he has instructed his cronies at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Coronavirus Task Force to deny any information or assistance to Biden’s transition team. As he continues to do nothing about preventive measures, it is estimated 370,000 more Americans will die before Biden takes over as president on January 20, 2021. Medical professionals predict that America would suffer a 9/11 type of tragedy with 3,000 deaths every day, unless preventive measures are taken during the holidays. Simple measures which have long been recommended by medical professionals like wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands and avoiding crowds. Simple measures the Trump administration has been discouraging, even mocking in their futile efforts to keep the economy humming.

The blood of these hundreds of thousands of innocents who have suffered avoidable deaths because of criminal inaction by the Trump administration from the inception of the pandemic, and the thousands who will die during the transition because of Trump’s homicidal intransigence, are on Trump’s head. He has made no announcements of sympathy and caring to the families of the thousands dying every day. Trump called himself a Wartime President when the virus broke in February. If there is any justice, he should be brought to trial for war crimes, for homicidal negligence in his mismanagement of the virus.

There is absolutely no reason for Trump to deny the relevant information and assistance about the virus to the new administration, except a desire to exact vengeance at his electoral rout.

While this tragedy is unfolding, Trump is hunkering down at the White House, watching TV, ranting about how the election has been stolen from him and firing any election professional who disagrees with him. Trump is sowing doubts on, as New York Times’ Tom Friedman says, “the crown jewels of American democracy, our ability to run fair elections”. All the while golfing at Trump International in Virginia, 25 miles away from the White House.

The whole world is watching as Americans are forced to beg for food, with miles-long lines of cars queuing up at food banks throughout the nation. In the richest country in the world.

Sadly, these preposterous claims of election-theft seem to have convinced his Republican party. A recent poll shows that an amazing 70% of Republicans believe, against all evidence, logic and reason, that the election was stolen from their Fuhrer. This is further evidence of the support Trump enjoys not only from his white supremacist, neo-Nazi base, but from Republicans throughout the nation. Only a handful of the Republican leadership has publicly accepted the legitimate election of President-elect Joe Biden. A majority of Republicans feel that the outcome of the recent election, which Trump lost definitively to Biden by over six million popular and 74 Electoral College votes, will be overturned, not by the courts or public opinion, but perhaps by divine will. Whether these Republicans, especially those in the Senate, pretend to believe the rantings of a deluded president because they need his support to cling to power or because they are terrified of vengeance by the Trump private militia, their behavior is contemptible.

The transition period, the Lame Duck presidency, is traditionally used to ensure a smooth transfer of power, and, as Michelle Obama put it, is “a hallmark of American democracy”. Trump’s actions during the interregnum are completely contrary to tradition, though in exact conformity with his actions throughout his life of narcissism, cheating and fraud. He finds himself in a situation where he cannot lie, threaten, steal or bribe his way out. He treats the Lame Duck presidency of the period between the election and the inauguration of President-elect Biden more with the terror and raging desperation of a Cornered Rat. His eyes dart hither and thither, looking for a way out. He feels desperate and helpless as every exit, one by one, is denied to him.

The courts, the election authorities, public opinion, even his own lawyers who are abandoning his cases due to lack of evidence, are shutting down the few means of escape open to him. He now perceives the only way out of his situation is the sewer of his own creation, the noisome filth of his own “Jonestown” he has fashioned for his white supremacist cult, supported by run of the mill Republicans terrified of their imminent loss of political power and white privilege. This alternative universe is Trump’s best bet for a post-presidency life, with doting cult members who grant his every wish, believe his every lie. He may even be dreaming of leading the Republicans to electoral victory in 2024, which then will give him four more years to achieve his ultimate dreams of destroying American democracy and establishing a dynastic autocracy.

Unfortunately, this Utopia of Trump’s delusions will not be available to him. He is only too aware of the hell that awaits him when he no longer has the legal protection of the presidency. Protection created by his servile Attorney General William Barr through a misinterpretation of Article 2 of the Constitution, just as he lied about the Mueller Report to immunize Trump from certain impeachment. According to Barr’s interpretation of Article 2, Trump, as president, cannot be indicted of any crime, even treason, as long he serves as Commander-in-Chief. The president is above the law, a concept abhorrent to all fundamental democratic principles.

Trump may have the power to pardon himself, but such a pardon is limited to immunity from federal crimes only; his powers of pardon do not extend to state crimes. He has already been convicted by the Court of the Southern District of New York, of violations of campaign finance as a co-conspirator. His erstwhile personal lawyer, Michael Cohen has been convicted of this same crime, and he is currently serving three years in federal prison. Trump was also convicted of this crime, anonymously named as Individual One to protect his presidency. A similar conviction and prison sentence await Trump when he is a private citizen on January 20, 2021.

Trump will also be vulnerable to multiple charges brought against him by the Manhattan district attorney on his fraudulent family business practices and his taxes. The release of his tax returns, which will finally be available to the new president, will divulge crimes of tax evasion, money laundering and insurance fraud. They may also reveal the colossal loans he has taken from the Russians, which will certainly provide the reason for his humiliating deference to President Putin. And the multiple charges against him on sexual assault, including statutory rape, are legendary.

President-elect Joe Biden, frustrated in all his efforts to bring some competence and decency to the White House, has described Trump’s ridiculous claims of election fraud, his assaults on the nation’s democracy, his criminal recklessness and inaction on the tragedy of the pandemic, as “incredibly irresponsible” and “damaging in the eyes of the world”. Kindly words in describing a dangerous and raving lunatic.

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Features

Hair Growth and Thickness

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LOOK GOOD – with Disna

 

* Oil:

Oiling is an old home remedy for hair growth and thickness. Oiling is also used for the strength, shine, and length of hair, from ancient times. The use of coconut oil, especially, is very effective when it comes to the amplification of hair health. Additionally, there are many essential oils for faster hair growth which you can use, too.

* How to Use: Generally, hair oiling works best when applied overnight. You could use this therapy every night, or after each night, then wash your hair, in the morning, before heading for studies, or work.

 

* Aloe Vera:

Aloe vera has long been used as a home remedy for hair growth, thickness, and treating hair loss problems It contains vitamins A, C, and E. All three of these vitamins are known to contribute to cell turnover, supporting healthy cell growth and shiny hair. Plus, vitamin B-12 and folic acid are also included in aloe vera gel. Both of these elements can keep your hair from falling out. Aloe vera plants can be easily grown indoors. A leaf can be plucked, occasionally, and cut open to reveal its gel. This gel needs to be applied on the scalp, basically, to provide nourishment to the roots.

*  How to Use:

Rub this gel on your head properly, leaving no area dry; wash after half an hour or so. Keeping this massage as a part of your weekly routine will eventually make your hair thick and long.

 

*  Green Tea:

Green tea is often consumed as a home remedy for weight loss. Surprisingly, it has many other benefits, including hair-related benefits.

* How to Use:

Consuming green tea once every day can add to the strength and length of your hair. If your body is extremely comfortable with green tea, then you may even consume it twice every day.

 

* Onion Juice:

A bi-weekly application of onion juice can relieve you of your tension, regarding hair health. The smell can really torture you, but divert your attention in doing something else for a while, like making a puzzle or washing the dishes. From an early age, onion juice has been used as a home remedy to control hair fall. Research has shown that onion juice has been successful in treating patchy alopecia areata (non-scarring hair loss condition) by promoting hair growth .

* How to Use:

Take half onion and blend it. Apply the mixture on every nook and corner of your scalp and let it sit for some 60 minutes, or so. Shampoo it off when it’s time for the hair-wash.

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Features

Fun-loving, but… sensitive

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This week, my chat is with Nilu Vithanage. She is quite active, as a teledrama actress – having done four, already; her first was ‘Pavela Will Come In The Cloud, Mom’ (playing the role of a nurse). Then Came ‘Heavenly Palaces’ (student), ‘Black Town’ (a village character Kenkaiya), and ‘Wings Of Fire,’ currently being shown, with Nilu as a policewoman. You could checkout ‘Wings Of Fire,’ weekdays, on Swarnavahini, at 7.30 pm. Nilu is also active as a stage drama artiste, dancer…and has also been featured in musical videos.

And, this is how our chit-chat went…

1. How would you describe yourself?

Let’s say, I’m a bit on the playful side, and I like to have a lot of fun. But, I do find the time to relax, and, at home, it’s dancing to music! Yeah, I love dancing. Oh, I need to add that I’m a bit sensitive.

2. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I get angry quickly. Fortunately, that anger doesn’t last long – just five to 10 minutes. But I wish I could get rid of anger, totally from my system!

3. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

Nope, can’t think of anything, in particular. Everything is fine with us, and I’m proud of my only brother, and I feel safe when he is around. Or, come to think of it, if I did have another brother, I would feel doubly safe…when going out, in particular!

4. School?

I did my studies at two schools – C.W.W. Kannangara Central College, and Panadura Sumangala Girls’ School for my higher studies. Representing my school, I won first place in a speech competition and dance competition, as well.

5. Happiest moment?

When my husband comes home, or talks to me on the phone. He is stationed in Hatton and those calls and home visits are my happiest moments

6. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I really find a lot of happiness feeding the fish, in ponds. I love to see them rush to pick up the tidbits I throw into the pond. That’s my kind of happiness – being close to nature.

7. Are you religious?

I would say ‘yes’ to that question. I like to go to the temple, listen to sermons, participate in meditation programmes, and I do not miss out on observing sil, whenever possible. I also find solace in visiting churches.

8. Are you superstitious?

A big ‘no.’ Not bothered about all those superstitious things that generally affect a lot of people.

9. Your ideal guy?

My husband, of course, and that’s the reason I’m married to him! He has been a great support to me, in my acting career, as well in all other activities. He understands me and he loves me. And, I love him, too.

10. Which living person do you most admire?

I would say my Dad. I truly appreciate the mentorship he gave me, from a young age, and the things we received from him

11. Which is your most treasured possession?

My family.

12. If you were marooned on a desert island, who would you like as your companion?

A camel would be ideal as that would make it easier for me to find a way out from a desert island!

13. Your most embarrassing moment?

One day, recently, with the greatest of difficulty, I managed to join a one meter distance queue, to withdraw money from an ATM. And, then I realised I didn’t bring the card along!

14. Done anything daring?

I would say…yes, when I ventured out to get involved in teledramas. It was a kind of a daring decision and I’m glad it’s now working out for me – beautifully.

15. Your ideal vacation?

I would say Thailand, after reading your articles, and talking to you about Amazing Thailand – the shopping, things to see and do, etc. When the scene improves, it will be…Thailand here I come!

16. What kind of music are you into?

The fast, rhythmic stuff because I have a kind of rhythm in my body, and I love to dance…to music.

17. Favourite radio station:

I don’t fancy any particular station. It all depends on the music they play. If it’s my kind of music, then I’m locked-on to that particular station.

18. Favourtie TV station:

Whenever I have some free time, I search the TV channels for a good programme. So it’s the programme that attracts me.

19. What would you like to be born as in your next life?

Maybe a bird so that I would be free to fly anywhere I want to.

20. Any major plans for the future?

I’m currently giving lessons to schoolchildren, in dancing, and I plan to have my own dancing institute in the future.

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Features

Snail-napping sets the stage for CGI road trip

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The SpongeBob Movie:Sponge on the Run

By Tharishi hewaviThanagamage

Based on the famous and one of the longest-running American animated series that made its debut on Nickelodeon in 1999, created by marine science educator and animator Stephen Hillenburg, ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run’ is the latest addition to the SpongeBob movie franchise, coming in as the third installment after ‘The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie’ (2004) and ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water’ (2015).

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