Curtain Raisers

Prepping Up a New Season, Colltalers

It’s Labor Day in the U.S., Independence Day in Brazil, a coincidence that adds to the ill-advised pax de deux both have been engaged on lately. Other Latin American nations have their own day this month too. But only Canada and the U.S. mark today what everybody else honors on the First of May.
The end of the Northern summer also ushers mournful Sept. 11 remembrances, both from 2001 and 1973. And global isolation as the U.S., leader in Covid-19 cases, is out of the World Health Organization’s 170-nation coordinated strategy against the virus and chooses to ignore the changing climate.
We’ll get to that but first let’s go out to the races, the belated 148th Kentucky Derby, and the almost normalization of sports events being held without a crowd. As it turns, it’s fine, the horses still run and this year Authentic came out on top. What cannot be normalized though is the scary presence of squads of incredibly armed far-right supremacists, aching to pick a fight with social and racial justice protesters, such as Black Lives Matter activists.
It’s no longer possible to believe that Big Media is mistakenly equating their hate and intent to harm with earnest calls for a better nation and a safer planet. Short of condemning civilians for having such easy access to military-grade arsenals, it’s fair to assume that their narrative itself is crooked on purpose. Their faulty reporting benefits the Arsonist-in-Chief on his quest to put the country on fire and name himself as the one who’ll put them out.
The Trump Circus is as ratings-lifting as a train wreck and few can take their eyes off it. Thus, big news corporations have spent the past four years playing on the crowd’s bemusement while collecting fat advertising fees. As the Orange Clown diverts with gimmicks, hordes of pickpocketers feast on gullibility and work the audience. Every time they buy one of his many crate-full of snake-oil bottles, they unwittingly surrender their citizenship.
He cannot conceive of courage because he is a coward.‘ Retired Capt. Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, a pilot who in 2009 safely landed an airliner in NYC’s Hudson River and save all its 155 passengers, has had enough and is not going to take it anymore. His was the indignant response by a combat veteran to a draft dodger

who has reportedly called ‘losers‘ and ‘suckers‘ those who served and died in wars for this country, according to The Atlantic.
It’s not about how far down below the belt the bone-spur-prone, bankruptcy-manipulator, scandal-ridden MC is willing to hit; we’ve already been in bottomless territory even before he blamed the late John McCain for ‘being caught.’ It’s about how well we all fit next to his enablers and sycophants.
Switching to the climate emergency, records have been set in California, for most land scorched by fire, in the Arctic Circle, for greenhouse-gases emissions, and in the Amazon, for yet more man-made destruction of the Rainforest. Owners may mourn the loss of property; everyone else grieves the indigenous lives, flora, and fauna lost to the smoke, the coronavirus, or oblivion. But that’s not just Trump; Joe Biden is still reluctant to take action.
Dozen of wildfires rage in California and firefighters can only hope to control them, not to extinguish them. Temperatures in the triple digits and toxic smog are forcing evacuations and threatening even people living far away. But as a Blue state, no one expects help from the Trump administration.
Siberia – who’d have expected it? – is now one of the hottest places on Earth and giant craters have begun to pop up on its tundra. The latest, a 164ft.-deep hole, was caused like the others by climate change-induced cryovolcanism, a process when ancient built-up deposits of methane explode and break through the melting permafrost. The bad news is, greenhouse gas methane has a global warming potential 84 times greater than carbon dioxide.
The majestic Amazon may have reached a point of no return but we won’t know it until man-made fires stop. Amnesty International said deforestation increased 34.5% between Aug. 2019 and July 2020 compared to a year before, and 9,205 km² of the forest have been razed. As of Sept. 5, Amazon Day, 63,000 blazes have been reported. Untrained Army troops sent by President Bolsonaro neither helped nor an extra hand is expected from Brasília.
It was also in Brasília that a legislative coup ousted democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff halfway her second term and sent Brazil back to constitutional and administrative chaos. The same artificially-inflated chaos that now boosts Trump’s reelection hopes was used on Aug. 31, 2016, to justify deposing the South American giant’s first woman president. But unlike her, many of those who conspired against her are now facing the law.
But even though they may be now either in jail or being indicted, none has been held accountable so far for the dismantling of Brazil’s Democracy. It’d been hard-earned after 20 years of military dictatorship, and it lifted the nation to the world’s sixth-largest economy. But after Rousseff, trumped-up charges sent previous President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to jail and gave his front-runner stand to a then distant Bolsonaro. Then Brazil hit the wall.
Short of the staggering celebrity deaths, nothing came close in importance to the three disastrous political turnarounds that happened in 2016. In June, a disingenuously-induced referendum set the United Kingdom to leave the European Union and with it, to bury the dream of a future with no borders. In Aug., the Brazilian state collapsed and set back the clock. And then in Nov., of course, a blowhard TV show host got elected to the world’s top spot.
Even with England already on the path to further dissociation and economic hardship, what with a ‘lite’ Trump model as Prime Minister and a total lack of vision for what’s coming, the undeclared Annus Horribilis will come full circle first in the U.S. There’s just one way this tide may make a turn and let us all take a breather: a new American president. The planet desperately needs to reset its timer and simply cannot afford four more years of ‘this.’
There’s good news about Brazilian Indigenous Chief Raoni Metuktire, believed to be 90; he’s been discharged from a hospital after being treated for Covid-19 and is already back to his village in the Xingu National Park. But he’s not out of the woods yet, so to speak, and remains under medical care.
There’s sad news about David Graeber, one of the Occupy Wall Street movement founders, who passed away last week. An anthropologist, author, and anarchist, two of his many books informed and inspired the OWS upheaval, ‘Debt, the First 5,000 Years,’ and ‘Bullshit Jobs.’ R.I.P., Master Agitator.
And there may be news today at the extradition hearing of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in London. The U.S. wants to try him on conspiracy charges for publishing classified documents and footage of American troops shooting and killing civilians and journalists. Army Intel Officer Chelsea Manning, who brought him the material, was court-marshaled and then pardoned by President Obama, but remains in jail for refusing to ‘cooperate.’
It’s Brazil 198th anniversary but few are celebrating. The coronavirus scourge only added to Brazilians’ palpable sense of despair and helplessness. We’ll come back, is all one can wish for at this time. May Day is named after the 1886 violent repression of workers pushing for an eight-hour workday at Chicago’s Haymarket Square. President Glover Cleveland created Labor Day eight years later exactly to unwisely cut this link to the workers’ cause.
It’s a long, long while/From May to December/And the days grow short/When you reach September...’ Kurt Weill & Maxwell Anderson’s September Song may be over 80 years old but still fits with today’s mood. That is, grieve for another summer gone but prepare to have spring to come back a bit sooner, say Nov. So rather than enduring a winter full of fire and lies, we’ll be all out in the streets celebrating a new season for the world. Be well. WC


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