Curtain Raiser

Bad for the Constitution, Colltalers

If the bad comes in threes, get ready for another punch. The first two that hit us in 2016 are out toasting their luck. In synch too: as the U.K. left the European Union, the GOP was done defanging Trump’s impeachment. He’ll make tomorrow’s State of the Union his victory lap. But there are ‘buts.’
Democrats begin today in Iowa a gruesome marathon for the party’s presidential ticket. And as fears of the coronavirus subside, concern grows about its impact on China, now a global economic power. Ah, and the president’s son-in-law came up with a plan to give Israel land that’s not his to give.
Still about China, it’s had its share of being underestimated both by foes and at times, its own citizens. But it’s adapted at each new millennium to find ways to out trade everyone else. It was unfortunate that a fire at a New York’s museum last week has destroyed a still unknown amount of records of the Chinese American experience, essential for clarity about their history. Challenging times indeed for the Chinese, here, in Hong Kong, and all over.
‘We do not accept mining, agribusiness, and the renting of our lands, nor logging, illegal fishing, hydroelectric dams or other projects that will impact us directly and irreversibly.’ The Piaraçú Manifesto was signed by indigenous leaders of 45 nations, gathered by the Xingu river in northern Brazil.
Called by Kayapó Chief Raoni Metuktire, it was an act of defiance to far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who on Friday

appointed his vice Hamilton Mourão, a retired general who favors mining the Amazon, to increase ‘security’ in the region. The administration seems concerned about safety only for loggers, miners, and landowners. As the manifesto indicates, this is a struggle to ‘all humanity because it is a struggle for the protection of the planet.’
Recent news about the possible opening of Alaska’s 16.7 million-acre Tongass National Forest to logging and other large-scale predatory projects fit in this toxic picture. Timing for these and other scary plans to extract yet more fossils from the soil show that all that’s happening is not of their concern.
Sad news from Mexico with the murders of Isabel Cabanillas, a Juaréz feminist artist, and Homero Gómez González, a Monarch butterfly protector, in Ocampo. They join a heartbreaking list of gender, environmental, and indigenous activists killed for crossing paths with enforcer of the drug and arms trades or other Latin American economic interests. 28 activists were killed in the region in 2019, according to Cultural Survival, a human rights group.
Time is likely to show that the U.K.’s departure of the E.U., after forty-seven years of intense but relatively drama-free relations, was one of great humiliation and bewilderment. For let’s face it, its entry into such a flawed but forward-looking project helped ease the Commonwealth into its new, diminished role. With the British Empire long defuncted and former colonies gaining independence, the European option seemed like a swell one.
And swell it was but not to last. Virtually overnight, the shine of being the U.S.’s ‘special friend,’ which for years had covered up shortcomings of the U.K.’s industrial and military complex, vanished amid false assertions of being exploited by the union, and immoral promises of a return to greatness. Every elected politician on both sides of the pond who has endorsed the garish spectacle of democratic principles being crushed in the past four years now belongs to a hall of shame of political corruption. We’ll pay for a long time for the costs of their betrayal. But if Brits are out of luck, Americans still have options before conceding. One is to flood Congress before Trump’s official ‘acquittal,’ on Wednesday. The other one is to vote in November.
Speaking of which, two Democratic factions will start today in Iowa the battle for the heart of America: the big donor side, seeking a moderate to get Republicans to respect the Constitution, and the one backed by contemporary electors which won’t settle for ‘gradual’ anything. Keep that in mind.  A last word about the impeachment: it proved that the president withheld military aid to Ukraine in exchange for dirt on his political opponent Joe Biden’s, accusing him of letting his son profit from their position. But that’s exactly what the Trumps have been doing. Look no further than Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner who came up with a biased, laughable even Middle East peace plan – and who knows how many personal business openings.
Knowing that makes it impossible to watch tomorrow’s S.O.T.U. speech without screaming at the streaming. But hey, Groundhog Day was Sunday and Punxsutawney Phil has predicted an early Spring, so maybe we’re due to a Great American Spring for Revolution. The prospect of playing a part in a global reversal towards human rights and the planet powers my heart. Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs for their Superbowl win. Cheers WC


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