Curtain Raiser

The Whirlpool Speeds Up, Colltalers

Brazil’s former President Lula is out of jail, and Bolivia’s President Evo Morales was forced to resign. Americans outraged by Trump’s dangerous follies must admit: no one gets more rattled by politics than Latin Americans. And things change faster too.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is officially out of the Paris Agreement on climate change. So if there’s something urgent to be said about deadly wildfires and ravaging floods, here and abroad, the time to take it to the streets is now. Don’t wait for next November.
Elsewhere, none of the ongoing popular uprisings around the world seems likely to abide by curfews, government concessions, or even force. To those who don’t see updates about them on the mainstream media, let’s be clear: they’re still at it. All of them.
Citizens of Chile, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Hong Kong, Iraq, and Lebanon may lack coverage but not courage, and that’s the kind of news that matters to people: that there are others like them, billions in fact, who can’t help it but demand justice. And leaders engaged in the existential threat to the planet, represented by the climate catastrophe, and to the majority, by income inequality.
Australian may see mass evacuations in New South Wales and Queensland today as expected heat and strong winds may fuel ‘the most dangerous bushfire week this nation has ever seen,’ as fire chiefs see it. Other parts of the country will be also affected.
But to the brilliant, most excellent deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, the out-of-control fires have nothing to do with climate change, which to his abundant wisdom, is nothing but ‘ravings of … inner-city lunatics.’ The Aussies need a new deputy.
Not to dismiss Australia’s woes, its hundreds of fires are still far from the over 6,000 currently burning in California. But as they become a threat to some movie studios, expect some serious cash being poured to put them out. A depressing side of this reality is seeing unpaid inmates risking their lives to save common land, while private brigades focus only on the mansions of the wealthy.
As it goes, central to the U.S. presidential campaign – oh, yeah, it’s at full speed already – isn’t even the likely impeachment of the president. Public hearings about it, televised ‘Watergate-style,’ begin Wednesday, and whether witnesses’ testimonies will inflame

people like in the 1970s, or just bore everyone to oblivion, remains to be seen. But they’d better wrap it all up before Christmas.
No, the issue that is weakening the only shot Democrats have at defeating Trump is, in fact, the climate crisis but not for the reasons one would think, though. It was enough front-runners Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to insist on bringing the issue to the forefront of their platforms, along with healthcare for all, for Wall Street to run seeking cover among its billionaires.
Suddenly, there’s another one, Michael Bloomberg, ready to take the helm of the interests of a class so badly represented. Not. (Full disclosure: I’ve worked at Bloomberg News). For the record, my former boss is a decent and even-handed man, a truly self-made one, who had at least one, out of three, very positive term as Mayor of New York City. That being said: Mike, don’t run.
He’d be the fulfillment of the desires of a very restricted group of people, who’s not satisfied in owning a sinfully disproportional share of the world’s wealth and resources, and now wants also to govern the rest of us. Not that they don’t do just that already.
And then, there are the ‘moderates,’ whose ‘proper,’ ‘gradual’ approach to climate are so revealing. It indicates that either they don’t get it, their lot in life requires they don’t see it, or they just don’t believe it will affect their own family and constituency. And as this is an opinion column, here it goes: the Democratic Party is wrong, and a moderate’s bound to be triturated by Trump.
But it’s the twin blockbuster news that will move markets and hearts and minds this week, to way more than half a billion South Americans. While Lula is out of jail by a twisty loop of Brazil’s legislation, ironically created as a maneuver to keep out of jail political allies, there’s already a forming consensus in the region that the Morales administration was taken down by a coup.
Respected political dissident Noam Chomsky and historian Vijay Prashad said in a statement that ‘for over a decade, the U.S. embassy’s Center do Operations in La Paz has articulated (…) two plans – Plan A, the coup; Plan B, the assassination of Morales.’ Leaders around the world deplored the end of 13 years of democracy, led by the only Indigenous American president.
Lula’s freedom, on the other hand, represented a big splash into the fetid, staled-water of Brazilian politics of lately. And his supporters are jubilant and a bit too optimist that he’s the answer to reset Brazil‘s path to the one it was a mere five years ago. They immediately took to the streets, and so did the rabid anti-Lula crowds, hurriedly assembled by some, but not all, media and right-wing think tanks who provided conditions for the 2016 coup that ousted democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff.
In other news, Spanish acting P.M. Pedro Sánchez won the most votes but not enough to grant majority to Socialists. Of course, there and here, the focus of coverage is on a supposed ‘surge’ of right-wing votes, which proves that money in politics is not an exclusive ‘American thing’ any longer. For otherwise, how to explain them voting against the future, their own children, et al?
It’s Veterans’ Day on the U.S., so here comes that ‘Thank you for your service,’ a sentence so thin of meaning to be on a verge of insulting, This time though there’s a question that should’ve been a major headline over the weekend and of course it was not.
Do they know that Trump admitted that a fund-raiser for veterans he ran in Iowa was, in fact, a campaign event, and proceedings went to his re-election? A judge fined him $2 million for that. Come on, media, it’s your job to inform them. On the headlines.
Finally, there’s a rare cosmic event going on today: Mercury’s 5-hour transit in front of the sun. It’s visible to the naked eye but don’t you dare stare at the sun without protection. A quirk conversation break, between news about the climate-driven fires, and what to expect from the impeachment trials. And please, today and ever, do talk and think about the future of our kids. Cheers WC

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