A Witching Hour Is Upon Us, Colltalers
Many Americans haven’t been sleeping well lately. Some worry about Nov. 3; others about how early voting is beating records across the land. Those concerned about that were sure their anti-democratic efforts to prevent people from voting had been successful. They may be up to a rude awakening.
Yet it’s Covid-19’s record of 83,000 cases in a day that the majority is rightfully scared about. Or an FBI report confirming foreign interference in the elections. On the other hand, most people support an antitrust lawsuit against Google. And others are celebrating the United Nations’ 75th anniversary.
Other issues worrying folks everywhere are climate change-driven wildfires, rising sea levels-boosted coastal flooding, and pandemic-aggravated hunger. In this particular, there’s Brazil, ironically one of the world’s four-largest food producers. In fact, with the U.S. and India, it also shares the top spot of coronavirus-infected countries. Combined, these countries have less than two billion people but over half of the 43 million cases worldwide.
What’s behind the stats however is the brutality of income inequality and our insatiable war machines. Although food insecurity and starvation are old foes of poor Indians and Brazilians, there are more Americans in similar dire straits now than the 35 million with nothing to eat for most of last year.
Colombia’s indigenous peoples took the streets of Bogotá to protest the methodic extermination of natives and environmental activists that’s reaching a fever pitch in the country. Four years since an agreement with leftist guerillas, it’s now right-wing paramilitary groups that are crushing their dreams of peace and stability. More than 230 civic leaders have been killed this year, often in mass executions, to little or no action by President Iván Duque.
Still in South America, an E.U.’s trade accord with Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, would boost meat and ethanol imports to Europe, and machinery, chemicals, and drugs to the Mercosur countries. But it’d also be bad news for the Amazon forest, which in case you’re wondering, is still burning. It’d open up more land for agriculture, according to the Friends of the Earth group, and with it, more predatory mining and oil exploration.
And finally, – ‘homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family‘ – Pope Francis’ spoke out in support of same-sex unions. While most would greet such news with joy, it comes out as too little, (and a lot) too late. It neither addresses the threats to the LGBTQ community nor the Vatican’s own dogmatic position. It also fails to acknowledge the church’s own closeted members or the vicious and mostly unpunished sexual abuse of children by the clergy.
On Oct. 24, 1945, the world was reeling from the war and faced the daunting task of reconstruction. As the U.S., the Soviet Union, and the U.K. set to determine how they’d manage the new reality, there was the need for a common forum for them but especially for nations now under their control to have a voice and role in global decisions. That was the aim, anyway, of the United Nations charter, and for over 75 years, it more or less did just that.
It became the place where international cooperation and respect for human rights had their best chances to succeed even as the three powers conspired against its independence. Nevertheless, a transcendental document such as the Universal Declaration of Humans Rights would be possible only with the U.N.
As the victors broke their own ban on military force, the nobility of its original purpose lost some substance. Institutions were created or implemented to compensate for it, but to this day, the U.N. is still the best arena to air national grievances and resolve conflicts. The World Health Organization, for instance, has been instrumental in saving lives and coordinating a global response to the Covid-19, regardless of the White House’s nonsense about it.
One would be hard-pressed to find a single Silicon Valley fan. Unlike what its leaders may believe, among the world’s wealthiest people, the sway of hi-tech companies over the most intimate details of our lives, and their potential to control us based on their mega storage-capacity is not just mostly unwelcome but downright frightening. Mainly because they’re deceiving, unaccountable for, and act like a typical cartel. So yeah, sue the bastards.
The House of Representatives had already come up with a 400-page report on Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, and grilled CEOs Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, and Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai about how come they became several billion dollars richer while the country and world wilted under the pandemic. There were obvious silence and contempt in their response, though; after all, the House report has no enforceable power.
It may be different now with the Justice Dept.’s lawsuit. But in what could be a good opportunity for the U.N. to enter the fray, even government suits may have no teeth with the current laws. That is, unless the action is globally coordinated, incorporating aspects of a previous one brought up by the E.U. Problem is, these corporations have clenched all levers of power and the muscle to pass favorable legislation. It’ll be a worthy but tough fight.
Another bad legacy to be left by Trump upon leaving is the undermining of our intel community, in particular, the FBI. Without proof, no one should question their loyalty as he did; we own our lives to their service. But they did lose their nerve. That’s clear in its latest report about Russian electoral interference, which most people already knew, and the puzzling addition of Iran as a co-conspirator, which lacks the clarity of a proven fact.
See, anyone can understand that Iran would like to get back at the president for being so wrong and irresponsible with it. But to put it in context, to believe that it’s doing that amid an economic and political down spiral, with heavy sanctions to boot, is a bit of a stretch. It reminded everyone of 2016, when at the last minute the FBI said that there was ‘something’ in Hillary Clinton’s emails with no further details. Then and now, neither passes muster.
With the illegal, amoral, and open criminally-intended measures to prevent, disenfranchise, and make it all but impossible for people of color and minorities to vote, the Republican Party is now the world’s biggest anti-democratic organization. And the Trump administration its sole beneficiary.
So to see so many determined to vote this early must be unsettling for the architects of the death of American Democracy. Yes, they’re counting on the Supreme Court, and years of groundwork gerrymandering to assure victory to the GOP. But at least a few million people are on to their scheme and won’t fall for it. What remains to be seen is what the newest, and likely decisive minority to join the electorate, first-time voters, will do next week.
But before, of course, there’s Halloween even as it sounds redundant to call it one of the strangest. For apart from the coronavirus, this may be the last All Hallows’ Eve when the scariest ghouls are in the White House and not buried underground. The other currency the holiday caries, fear, has no way in hell to upset what frightens us the most. That said, don’t let it spook you. Have fun, wear a mask, and vote them out. Bats and spiders are welcome.