Curtain Raiser

A Work Cut Out For Us, Colltalers

There’s a potential new U.S.A. ahead of us. But we may still get stuck with our nation of yore or with what it’s been in the past years. Only a new dawn is worth pursuing, though, and yes, that may include the second impeachment. In any event, Americans must wisely choose before the 2022 elections.
The future we pick may be in response to the Doomsday Clock, which is been closer than ever to midnight, i.e., global annihilation. That may change Wednesday when atomic scientists unveil the new time. But with 25 million COVID cases, the U.S. still has ways before regaining the world’s respect.
Hold those thoughts while we do our abridged version of a news round-up. Starting by Russia where thousands took the streets in support of Aleksei Navalny, the opposition leader Putin tried to kill by poison and who was arrested as soon as he arrived home. As the Kremlin sets up a court hearing in Feb. that may send him to prison on trumped-up charges, most Western nations accused of supporting him have no idea what he actually stands for.
In Portugal, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa won in a landslide five years more in office, while far-right and progressives had mediocre showings. It was likely a vote for continuity as Portugal has now over 600 thousand coronavirus cases and more than 10,000 have already died from the virus.
In a surprising row over media regulations, Australia may face a future without Google, as it presses the search behemoth to pay for the news it quotes from media organizations. It’s unlikely that the trillion-dollar-valued Alphabet Inc., owner of Google, will back down but after recent moves by the European Union to curb its privacy infringements, along with Facebook and other social media companies, some see a possible change on the horizon.
The great national conversation, about what new role the U.S. is prepared to play, has or may get started right now. Global challenges such as viruses, the climate emergency, hunger, refugees, income inequality, and internally, racial justice, women’s reproductive rights, immigration, and labor reform, are simply too crucial not to require urgent and radical measures. And although there’s now a president ready to listen, the focus should be law-abiding.
In this context, the impeachment must start right away. And so should the debate over augmenting the Supreme Court, to rethink and reform flawed laws it’s approved in recent years which are a threat to our electoral system. Mainly among them, the Vote Rights Act and the Citizens United ruling. Also important is to retool our environmental and public health legislation. We need to get a far-reaching national reconstruction plan up and running, for Americans need jobs and the country’s infrastructure is falling apart, despite all luxury real estate development and fortune-making abilities. We need a national housing policy in place by 2022’s end or is that asking for too much? No nation can be that great when millions are left homeless.
Above all, we need a new institutional framework to assist and support a democratically organized society eager to have its voice heard. It could be up to Congress to enact legislation creating civil organizations to defend democracy, protect diversity, and stick by the rule of law at all times.
President Biden and VP Kamala have their work cut out for them. But it’ll be Americans who refused to normalize lies, who marched by the thousands in peaceful rallies for justice and respect for the law, and anyone who wouldn’t trade their conscience for a seat at the table of power, who may assure that this new America is closer to its ideals than ever. It’s been said, Biden has the chance to grow into an FDR of the modern era. Let’s help him do it.
One last word about the pardons issued by the criminal president to his criminal sycophants: heinous. Not just because it granted relative immunity to known crooks and petty thieves, but because it kept the architect of our past woes, Steve Bannon, alive and well to do more damage. For a moment, it seemed as if he was done, what with being fired by the president and all that. But the pardon gives him an actual afterlife. Hang on to your wallets.
We start the year weary and fatigued but also upbeat about the future and ready to demand a better country, world, and times. Vaccine rollout has been far from reassuring in part because it is still been dictated by commercial interests and market competition. It’s time to support a People’s Vaccine, with no pattern costs attached to it, and that can be produced faster worldwide. As the U.S. rejoins the WHO, let’s take the profit out of this deadly scourge.
It feels good to get the Newsletter back into circulation. It’s been hard to recover from 2020, which is not just tied for history’s hottest but it was also one of the deadliest for Americans, killing more than WWII. With a quarter of all 100 million cases, the U.S. has a moral responsibility to get back to being a positive force for the world. Yes, our despicable side was unmasked but the better people are still the majority. Love must win the day. Cheers. WC

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