They Like the World As It Is, Colltalers
It’s spreading, it shows no mercy, and it may kill thousands. Not the coronavirus, though, but the bombing of Syria’s Idlib by Russian-backed Syrian forces against Turkey-aided rebels. Thousands more are caught between fire and freezing weather, but world headlines had little room to report them.
Instead, coverage has focused on the virus scare and not much else. Far-right governments in China, the U.S., Brazil, and others first tried to dismiss the crisis and then named hacks and climate-change deniers to manage it. It won’t work. That’s why so many believe that it’s time to vote them all out.
Speaking of elections, Israelis are back at the polls today for the third time this year. But as before, no major changes are expected regardless of who wins. Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s longest acting Prime Minister, and his challenger Benny Gantz think alike about Israel’s major issue: neither is interested in treating the Palestinians as equals. Thus what seems obvious to the world isn’t to Israelis; there’ll be no peace without good-faith talks.
Americans, on the other hand, are thrilled about what may happen tomorrow. Super Tuesday means 14 state primaries and American Samoa caucuses may grant to the overall winner over 30% of delegates required for nomination. Front-runner Democratic Party’s Bernie Sanders is being challenged by moderate competitors – plus arguably his own party, Vladimir Putin, the GOP, some billionaires, and most likely Steve Bannon. It hasn’t been pretty.
Let’s take a moment to wonder how his foes envision a government under their stewardship. Remaining moderates and the only billionaire left of a field once diverse believe they can bridge
the gargantuan income inequality gap and the threat of extinction by climate catastrophe with few tweaks to deliver us from polarization, seeing Republicans and Democrats working together on an agenda of gradual change. No young voter will fall for that.
The Democratic leadership has stopped hiding who they don’t want to get the nomination and it’s mounting an offensive to control it at the convention. As a result, it’s already screwed up the first primary in Iowa and has been missing from the trenches for voter registration, legal support, and voting supervision. While its foes are unified and engaged in deep electoral sabotage, the Democratic Party is waging an internal war over its heart and soul.
No matter how much spin is put into this, there’s no question which administration Putin would be better off with. In four years of Trump, there’s been an unrestricted power-grabbing and buildup to an oversized global role for his Russia. But with Sanders or Warren, there certainly won’t be such luck.
GOP operatives are betting on inflaming anti-socialism sentiment among Trump supporters to break the hold progressives have held over the American electorate, today much farther left than even some candidates. Like a melting iceberg, though, the hardcore of their strategy is enmeshed within social media. Forget 2016; barely legal propaganda-delivering engines of Facebook, Twitter, and others will be the true superdelegates to be reckoned with.
Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe have developed a justified fear of candidates Sanders and especially Warren. And they did send one of their own to neutralize the latter and battle the former. Even a few hundred thousands of votes Mike Bloomberg may manage to buy will be greatly appreciated.
As for Bannon, he’s currently on a hands-on expertise tour selling his popular guide, How to Destroy Democracy and Elect Despots in a Decade or Less. To him, a Trump reelection will all but assure a new print. And the accolades of the ultra-wealthy. And more clients. Everything but oblivion.
Some of these opposition hotwires are misguided and may indeed cause the reelection. Which would be appalling since the president seems bent into turning America into a fascist regime. Consider his attacks on Justices Ruth Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor for criticizing his use of the Supreme Court as a clearinghouse for approving draconian acts – which the court has mostly granted him. Stay clear of ‘Trump-related matters,’ he’s tweeted.
That sounds like a threat and it’s an outrageous attempt to influence another branch of the government which, like Republican-controlled Senate, has been quickly losing its said independence. Four more years and both may be constitutionally-amended to reflect their absolute subservience to the executive. Forget the Founders; that’s how it is in Russia, Turkey, Hungary, Poland, and other world authoritarian regimes. We may as well be next.
Changing gears, news that the 18-year-old Afghanistan war may be finally ending received only tepid response. As it appears here, major newspapers have already demoted it to below the fold. No wonder; there aren’t many people in the world who believe anything that the Taliban or Trump says.
In other news, mass rallies in the Dominican Republic are protesting the cancellation of local elections. Also, concerns grow in Brazil as over 4,000 requests for mining-related activities in indigenous and protected lands have been filed. Given President Bolsonaro’s posture, most of them are a-go.
But the news some waited for half a century to hear about came out on Thursday: the Emmett Till Antilynching Act that the U.S. Congress passed to mark the 65th anniversary of Till’s lynching, and also the 55-year anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights marches. On to Trump to sign.
A revolting aspect of war is that its mongers are willing to wage it anywhere, preferentially far from home soil. That’s the world where Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, his buddy Putin, and Turkey’s Recep Erdoğan, feel comfortable playing games of power and domination and sending people to their graves. None of them is invested in protecting Syrians and winning is relative; there are profits to be made before considering those caught in the crossfire.
As for the coronavirus, we’re still far from the last of it. As global contagion increases and casualties seem to head to epidemic levels, much fretting is going on about VP Mike Pence, the appointed czar of everything virus who mistrusts science and denies climate change. As governor of Indiana, he backed the grotesque trend of ‘fetus funerals’ while cutting funds for HIV meds and treatment; deaths spiked under his watch. Yeah, serious jitters.
This has been a particularly disheartening winter in the northern hemisphere – and a violent one below the Equator. While it cools down there, we may get some of that spring and summer heat of activism for causes relevant to the whole of mankind. Trump and these substandard tyrants are not up to what it takes to rescue civilization. We’re on our own but the world supports us. It’s Women’s History Month, so let’s march accordingly. Namaste. WC