Curtain Raiser

No One Said It’d Be Easy, Colltalers

Lies have been the Trump administration’s currency of choice. One of them, from his inauguration, became a signature policy of sorts: (Mexicans) ‘bring crime to this country.’ Everyone knew it was a vicious lie; now there’s research to prove him wrong.
Still, his diatribes and flimflam headlined most weeks since that grey Jan. 20, 2017. Now impeachment is the kerfuffle du jour, unavoidable but disrupting, so get ready for wall-to-wall coverage, and for now, look for climate crisis news below the fold.
But as the 16-year-old giant who’s just left New York, Greta Thunberg, would put it, ‘this is all wrong.’ Progressive Americans count on world support to defeat Trump. They can’t expect it though to follow the intricacies of impeachment, let alone its likely result: a president deemed a criminal but still the president. To the world, the Amazon Rainforest fires are still our top priority.
And warming oceans, whose quickly changing chemistry is depleting seafood supplies, making storms and floods stronger and more frequent, and threatening millions living along coasts, according to a U.N. study. Or air pollution, whose record levels have been shown to impact children’s brains. Or water purity, which has been contaminated by lead in many big cities the world over.
Ironically, those who resisted a probably Pro-forma impeachment process were not invoking climate change against it; they were understandably more concerned about the politics of it, knowing how short the electorate’s attention span really is. Point taken.
But theirs is a misguided concern all the same. For Trump may survive endless battles in Congress, but not a country underwater or on fire. We hardly hear a word about floodings in Nebraska, Missouri, South Dakota, Iowa, and Kansas, which has been going on for three months now, due to overflowing of the Missouri River and its affluents. Thankfully, summer spared Americans from the lethal wildfires of the past two years, for if fire and rain would combine, we’d be toast. Note: all five states voted for Trump.
Contrary to what the president has been claiming since day 1, Germany-based Institute for Labor Studies researchers found that ‘increases in deportation rates did not reduce crime rates for violent offenses or property offense.’ Their findings are

evident in communities most affected by the draconian laws of immigration and expedited deportation, but not in pro-Trump regions.
That’s because, despite their manifest hate of immigrants, urban and rural areas that elected Trump have experienced more economic hardship than blue districts, but because of the administration’s own policies, not the undocumented. Plus, anti-foreign fervor has led to more resources being diverted to placate unfounded fears of having too many of ‘those people’ in this country.
Now, about the Democrats, if these facts are not enough to enlighten the Denier-in-Chief’s constituency about his corrupt policies, it’s not clear what they believe it to be. The causes for the hard reality of thousands of working families, rather than an unpredictable impeachment, is what actually may wise them up to think twice before reelecting the hack who’s betrayed them.
Speaking of grim realities, tomorrow is China’s National Day, the 70th Anniversary of the People’s Republic. While Ji Xinping will make sure celebrations will be joyous, yes, but totally under state control, the Hong Kong protesters are threatening to steal his thunder once again. Sadly, few are paying attention to the courageous students still dreaming of bringing change from within.
But many fear that their clashes with the police over the weekend may evolve into something else, and the odds are in favor of a violent retaking of full control of the territory, and prosecution of protesters. Naturally, the Tiananmen Square tragedy, which remains a forbidden word in the mainland, still haunts that generation of fighters, who will get no support from this administration. The bottom line is, as the U.S. is led away from democratic values and allies, Xi has carte blanche to do as he sees it fit.
H.K.’s independence hangs on its central position in world finances. But without real power and strong support – none is coming from its former masters either, the U.K., busy with its own calamities – the protesters are picking a possibly unwinnable battle.
Another even grimmer date comes Wednesday: the cold-blooded murder and dismemberment of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi a year ago, allegedly ordered by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. The assassination was never officially pinned on the shady prince, though, and it’s unlikely that anyone will pay for it. That is, some world leaders have had harsh words about it but no action. Besides, he has the crown’s support and, of course, Trump’s. In fact, U.S. troops are now at the Saudis’ service.
One last word about billionaires, that is, the ‘good ones.’ You know, those who’re giving back their money, funding good causes, fighting income inequality. Like Bill Gates. His intentions have been impeccable, he’s been tirelessly helping to find solutions to global social problems, hunger, and all that. But then, his foundation gives an award to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
After five years in power, while most of India’s 1,366 billion people still live below poverty, there’s been a spike in racial and religious violence against Muslims and minorities, and a scary intervention in Kashmir. Last week, Trump welcomed him with a hand-in-hand victory lap in a Texas rally. Mr. Gates, though, thinks Modi deserves credit for toilets? That does say something.
After an intense week which brought world leaders to New York, to report what they’re doing to cut emissions, divert from fossil fuels, and to radically change the way we think about progress, many may feel undeniably deflated about this whole fight for the future thingy. Will we change? Is it worth? But if we stop even the little we’re doing now, we’ll never know. So don’t. Cheers WC


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