Curtain Raiser

Make America Grieve No More, Colltalers

It’s mourning in America, yet again: two massacres in Texas and Ohio added 30 more to the 979 people already killed this year in mass shootings. Thus we ask again: will Congress break its recess and pass urgent gun control legislation? Unlikely.
Meanwhile, the world pays annually $307 billion subsidies to the coal, oil, and gas industries so they can keep on wrecking the planet. Yet only a fraction of that could fund a global transition to renewables, according to a new report. Bothered? Not them.
We’ll get to those issues in a few, but let’s briefly check on Brazil’s political turmoil, ignited in part by President Bolsonaro’s just over seven months of multiple mishaps. For instance, his indication of son Eduardo to be the Brazilian ambassador to the U.S.
The move, which needs Senate approval, was greeted by almost universal incredulity. Not just for the house representative’s lack of diplomatic skills, but also for him to have become the butt of jokes in Brazil after his Fox News interview. It turns out, the candidate to one of the top diplomatic jobs in the world can barely speak English, and clips from his language lapses went viral.
Daddy easily topped that, however, when he bragged last week that he knew what happened to Fernando Santa Cruz, an activist who disappeared during the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil between 1964 and 1985. The cruel remark was directed at his political foe, and Santa Cruz’s son, Felipe, president of Brazil’s Bar Association, who supported Adélio Bispo da Cruz’s acquittal.
Cruz, an acquaintance of the Bolsonaro family, stabbed him during a campaign rally. But his case was riddled with suspicion and as the president insisted on his conviction, Brazilians were reminded that the attack propelled Bolsonaro at the polls, preventing him from potentially damaging debates. As for the Armed Forces, it officially does not know the fate of its political enemies.
But the most deleterious diatribe by far-right Bolsonaro is how he’s fulfilling a sinister campaign promise made to his backers to open up the Amazon Rainforest to the fossil-fuel industry.

Despite global protests, mining and logging are already at full clip.
As for the climate emergency and the need for replacing fossil-fuel with renewables sources of energy – there’s already been a dramatic if underreported revolution: solar and wind-related jobs in the U.S. outnumber that of pollutants by a 3-to-1 ratio.
But even with the worldwide boom of solar panels and wind turbines production, we still pay top dollar to prop up Big Oil. In 2015, the International Monetary Fund said that the world spent $4.7 trillion to subsidize it, and it estimated that it’d rise to $5.2 trillion by 2017. Still, many of these companies pay little or zero taxes, while 30 million Americans are behind on their tax bills.
It’s been reported that these taxpayer incentives now top defense spending – as if $700 billion wasn’t more than enough – but a more sobering fact is that they also represent 10 times the education budget. Hence, the 32 million in the U.S. who can’t read.
‘Annual investment in renewables has been greater than that in fossil fuel electricity generation since 2008 and new renewable capacity has exceeded fossil fuel power each year since 2014,’ the Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) report found. Another policy network report, this time from Ren21, has found that 112 nations subsidize their coal, oil, and gas companies.
To stop financing mega-corporations that, despite knowing that their products were harmful, continued to push them, just like the tobacco, pharma, and food industries, is the bare minimum we must do today to get our fight for survival started. The money we’ll save will help us not just switch to renewable energy, but also support every impoverished nation’s efforts to do it so too.
‘Domestic terrorism,’ or white supremacism is a form of terrorism. Barely a week after the FBI finally admitted that the spate of mass shootings in the U.S. is indeed race and class motivated, tragedy struck twice, as we, unfortunately, believe it’s wont to do.
The white, 21-year-old suspect of killing 20 people in El Paso, TX – a figure bound to increase due to the severity of injuries caused by his assault weapon – also published an online racist rant so vile even the site’s founder asked for it to be shut down.
Less than 15 hours later, another massacre in Dayton, OH, took another ten lives, and surely injured many more, to add to this grim but all too familiar habit in America to rate mass murders by their body count, not by how come we allow them to happen.
At this point, the usual ways we relate to mass shootings have become numbing irrelevant, just as the incidents themselves. The difference that may lead us to pass a strong gun control legislation is to law enforcement call them for what they are, domestic terrorism, and for ‘Moscow Mitch’ McConnell, Senate leader for the past four years, to be forced to act or get out of the way.
As the staggering number of casualties and lives damaged forever by these tragedies have regrettably ceased to shock us, we need the kind of leadership that won’t come from Mitch, or from a president who calls white supremacists ‘very fine people.’
To Democrats and Congress, please call the Parkland kids, apologize to them for having ignored their pain and mass rallies, and heed New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern’s ethical and humanitarian response: pass sweeping gun laws until the end of this week!
Two last notes to add hope and levity to this somber day in America. The teeter-totter that Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello have installed through the iron fence separating Sunland Park, New Mexico, and Colonia Anapra, Mexico, is an artistic statement but no less powerful than a citizen’s rally. It also reminded us that human interaction is a fun and effective way to solve conflicts.
And tomorrow’s birthday of arguably the king of artistic frivolity, Andy Warhol, who’d be 91. It’s a date worth mentioning if for nothing else, then for his flawed but insightful view of human folly: ‘in the future, everybody will be famous for 15 minutes.’ To fight for justice and for the future does give anyone a non-required shot at being famous but for doing the right thing. Together. WC


4 thoughts on “Curtain Raiser

  1. I truly cannot understand why guns are not taken away from people who are not the police. A policeman may shoot a person fearing that the person he shoots has a gun. Can we really talk about police violence? Perhaps. However, I believe the conversation is about a thwarted society.


    • Colltales says:

      I agree. Someone was asking rhetorically on a talk show, why we produce so many homicidal boys? Still any conversation has to be first about passing rational laws about guns. Immediately. But this all hurts a lot indeed. Thanks, Micheline. Cheers


  2. unclerave says:

    Hey, Wes! California was a week ago. I think you meant Texas and Ohio. But, I think I’d rather see them address the mental health crisis in this country first. Sick bastards will find a way to kill people, no matter what. We’re a country experiencing a nervous breakdown.
    — YUR

    Liked by 1 person

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