Curtain Raiser

People Own These Vaccines, Colltalers

The expectation, chaos, and general anxiety over a vaccine that’d start defanging Covid-19 are holding for ransom the world’s breath. Over 100 million cases and 2.3 million casualties justify public concerns. But why no one is holding the big labs accountable for such appalling distribution failures?
Also, why terrorists arrested by the FBI for their Jan. 6 Capital Hill murderous rampage have been freed by local judges? And an irrelevant bruhaha, staged by small investors against Wall Street, had predictable results. Hint: they lost. And even without the virus, 2020 was deadly to asylum seekers.
We start the new month near a town across the Rio Grande from Texas, where 19 burned bodies were found a week from last Friday. Believed to be migrants, at least two of them from Guatemala, they’d been shot first, and their full identification may take months. A year and a week before, 21 had been burned to death in nearby Ciudad Mier, which prompted the Mexican army to kill 11 alleged gunmen, which all but doomed the investigation.
In India, tens of thousands of landowning farmers have been protesting new agricultural laws they see as unfairly stacked against them. On Saturday, the government blocked the Internet in areas surrounding Delhi as some started one-day hunger strikes to mark the 48th anniversary of Mohandas Gandhi’s assassination. Clashes with the police left at least one farmer dead last week but it’s unlikely that the Modi administration will back down.
The European Union, however, did back down on sending vaccines to the Republic of Ireland while skipping Northern Ireland and that was perceived as a relief. The open-borders issue that almost derailed Brexit – with many hoping that it would – just proved again how it can still crush some sensitive toes. The real issue, of course, lies elsewhere: the U.K.’s exit from the E.U. was never driven by people’s best interests but by those of its architects.
As for the bumbling handling of the virus, it’s run roughshod of any common sense in the U.K., throughout the E.U., the U.S., and in many countries. For all vaccines now reaching the market and making billions to Big Pharma are mostly funded by taxpayer money and should be labeled as such, say healthcare activists, rather than advertising their maker. Please follow the #ThisIsOurShot hashtag for further actions promoting a ‘People’s Vaccine.’
Concerns about gargantuan inequalities in vaccine access and distribution have grown steadily as the epidemic starts its second year of terror. While rich nations can afford to buy and store extra doses, a global forecast group’s new report has found that 84 of the world’s poorest countries will not get enough for their populations, and some may not get anything before 2024. That’s alarming: no one will be safe without total global immunization.
‘If you have declared war on the U.S., you’ve become an enemy combatant. You should consider yourself lucky that you’re not in Guantanamo now.’ The comment overheard on an NYC subway platform sounds like a lucid take on what happened in DC and what it should’ve been its law-enforcement consequence. Instead, the arrests so far have followed a white privilege’s sick pattern: easy bail and defiance. For much less, according to lawyers and laymen, people have rotted in Cuba for the past 20 years, some still to be formally charged and most out of luck for a fair and lawful trial in the U.S.
It’s been noted that many of the thugs who killed cops inside the hallowed walls of the People’s House expected to be pardoned by their impeached president but no fat chance. They must be prosecuted as it’s of utmost importance that President Biden sets an example and pursues all of them to the full extent of the law. No, we won’t see thousands of arrests and charges as we’ve routinely seen being applied to Black Lives Matter activists but still.
The president, busy trying to jump-start the process of refocusing America according to its best ideals – rather than appealing to the worst of it as was the norm for four years – will need help making sure that we rid the stains, i.e., the Capitol rioters, but preserve the outrage over their attempted coup. Most Americans believe that neither the ex-president nor his enablers will serve prison time, but that shouldn’t stop us to throw everybody else in jail.
Wall Street hedge funds had a taste of their own medicine this week when ‘amateur’ investors drove some stocks to stratospheric value. It’s all pretty arcane and frankly boring for anyone who has no penny to throw at the stock market, but red flags were not missed by those who used to be called (by themselves), ‘masters of the universe.’ They’re still at the top, of course, so if you have something to spare, donate to a humanitarian cause instead.
And 2020 was a deadly year for migrants, even without considering the brutality and tragedies they already face for the dream of a better life. Remains of 227 migrants were found last year, said Humane Borders, left by ‘coyotes’ to fend for themselves in the middle of the desert. While ICE built huge for-profit facilities across the U.S., to hoard immigrants (and lose their children), many asylum seekers didn’t make the cross and died anonymously.
More sad news: a study found that the majestic Monarch butterfly is now down to less than 2,000 individuals in the wild, as the species may be closer to extinction than ever. The Xerces Society, which counts them yearly, points to the destruction of milkweed habitats along their migratory routes. To save them, the Biden administration must reign on the pesticide and herbicide industries and implement measures to preserve the insect’s population.
Speaking of the BLM, to get motivated to charge murderous white supremacists, the president should check Norway where the movement has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Also nominated are climate activist Greta Thunberg, Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, and even the con-man-formerly-know-as-president. Millions have rallied against police brutality but 99% of those killed, hurt, or charged with disorderly conduct were black.
From a four-year-old to his final 35th year of life, Wolfgang Mozart composed over 600 pieces of music in many categories and styles and inscribed his name among the greatest music masters. Along with his contemporary and peer Ludwig Van Beethoven, he was celebrated in life but in the end, couldn’t put up with the gruesome scheduling of public performances and constant production even if no one knows for sure what exactly killed him.
The depth, energy, and unbounded optimism of Mozart’s art make our species look and feel better and inspire generations to reach out to greatness. On Jan. 27, he’d have become a 265-years-young, surely still ready to experiment with say, digital music. Or rap. There’s no knowing what he’d be up to these days, but we’re lucky enough to have his music in our lives, even without realizing it. Here’s to a lovely yearlong Happy Birthday, Amadeus.
Finally, say goodbye to Earth’s little friend, a leftover from a lost-and-found 1960s-era rocket from the Surveyor 2 mission. Launched more than 50 years ago, it was captured by our planet’s gravity for a visit but alas, not to last. As it’s headed to outer space, it won’t be back again for reasons that may have to do with its next place of address: the sun’s fiery orbit. We bid you farewell, wee wandering space junk, until never more. Happy February. WC


2 thoughts on “Curtain Raiser

  1. Colltales says:

    Que emoção receber uma mensagem tua. Vamos nos falar sim, mas pode ser sábado de manhã? Funciona melhor pra mim. Continuo tentando mandar aquelas canções para amigos selecionados e tu, é claro, está no topo da lista. Mas tudo conspira contra. Um abração


  2. Sá Brito says:

    Oi Wesley. Que monstruosidade tudo isso. Tenho acompanhado.O Brasil como sabes esta uma tristeza. Não tem governança, saude, educação, meio ambiente, cultura, diplomacia isolacionista e por aí vai. Mas vejo gente viva, lutando, juventude mais consciente. Tenho muita saudade de falar com você. Vamos abrir um canal pelo Hangout para bater papos? Espero teu retorno. Abraço forte meu irmão.

    Liked by 1 person

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