Curtain Raiser

Salvaging the Wreck of 2016, Colltalers

Brexit, the referendum that’s put the U.K. on the verge of leaving the European Union, and Trump’s election as U.S. president, the two biggest politically disruptive events of 2016, were only possible due to similar, dishonest strategies of those who backed them.
After two years, both may be coming to a head, and many say, not a day too soon. Or rather late, since turmoil they’ve caused has already undermined efforts to counter global climate change. Or the rise of extreme white supremacy. So, yes, good riddance.
Since most ‘architects’ of Brexit have since jumped ship, in coward fashion, no less, British P.M. Theresa May is the one left to push through Parliament the latest, and still unsatisfying, deal with the E.U. She’s bound to fail, according to an almost consensus.
That’d throw her government, and 66 million Brits, in disarray, a fact that’s both lamented, for the human costs involved, and also cherished. That’s by those who woke up June 24, 2016, sure that they’d been sold a bag of rotten goods, with no returns accepted.
Something similar happened the following November in the U.S., and last month, heavy loses by the Republican party may also signal that these now former-losing majorities, from both sides of the pond, may win their due rematches. It won’t be soon enough.
It’s appalling that many of those who fought hard to severe the U.K.’s long-lasting ties to Europe – former London Mayor Boris Johnson, Niger Farage, others, plus a variety of unpopular politicians and ‘strategists,’ – who quit when most needed, to pursue their true ambitions, remain unapologetic about the chaos they sowed. Such lack of empathy reminds Americans of someone they know.
Speaking of whom, here’s a dude who had a terrible few days last week. Reports that the Robert Mueller probe has a strong hold on many of his once trusted operatives, who apparently turned on him by the dozen, have truly riled Trump. Among plenty of denials and false accusations, even a superficial analysis of his body language throughout the crisis show that, yes, it’s been bad, indeed.
As it becomes ever more clear that he did collude with Russians to win the White House, some wonder who he’ll throw under the bus in order to save his skin. As the ex-reality TV star turned

Tweeter-in-Chief has never had to face so focused a pressure to tell the truth, members of his cabinet, and many outliers of his inner circle, continue to jump overboard. Just don’t hold your breath.
For even with his possible auctioning of his own kids, to pay for his deeds and let him go back to golf on Americans, the president still has some options. Mostly outrageous, like lying more, or downright immoral, like starting some war, but he’s surely on the case.
The greatest tragedy, though, these undignified leaders, either unfit to lead, or incapable of getting elected even to the local school board, have caused is already indelible: their antics and unbound greed stole the thunder of the 2015 Paris Agreement. Fortunately, even the U.K. and the other 193 signatories have carried on after the U.S.’ exit. But hardly any progress has been accomplished.
On the contrary, climate catastrophe has never ceased to advance. Take the Amazon, for instance, but the forest, not the company. A recent study found that, due to a quirk of legislation, an area larger than Ireland may lose its protected status. Worse, Brazil’s president-elect Jair Bolsonaro plans to open the forest to commercial interests, never mind its indigenous populations or the environment.
The right wing ex-captain who the Army kicked out, is a climate-denier like his American ‘role model,’ and will likely get at least some of his way on this. That mirrors Trump’s plan to open nine million acres to drilling and mining by stripping away protections for the sage grouse. It’s enough to notice the words ‘mining,’ ‘drilling’ and ‘stripping away protections,’ all in the same sentence.
And if you were expecting that the follow up talks to the Paris conference, starting its second week in Poland, will kick start some reaction against climate change any minute now, please have a seat. The gathering hit a wall over the refusal, by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and, oh yes, Russia, to endorse the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report released on October.
The study details what will happen if average global temperatures rise by 1.5 Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit), which we seem to be on track for, and ways to prevent it to go any higher. All backed up by facts and serious research, which, as we know, stand sharply against Trump, Bolsonaro, and all their minions, doing the biding for fossil-fuel multinational corporations. But we must stop now.
After all, ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside,’ as goes the old Christmas ditty now under fire for its lyrics, and humans will always need warm and comfort to survive. We have no choice but to continue to fight against climate change, or we’re toast. Speaking of which, let’s raise one to the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed 70 years ago today, to assure individual freedom and dignity.
History shows that tyranny and ignorance are no match to the will of enough people saying no. Let’s turn the vicious hounds into barking puppies, for the caravan of mankind has a job to do: to save this Earth. Watch the Christmas Comet and stay alive. WC

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