Curtain Raiser

They’ll Come Back For More, Colltalers

It’ll be long before we fully take in the implications of the second Trump impeachment acquittal. The unpunished Fascistic rampage at Capitol Hill though has sure pried opened a back door to power. Senate may prevent the ex-president from ever running again but not someone else, likely smarter.
While few are paying attention, femicide continues to wretch the lives of countless women throughout the world. In times of deception, it’s often what we don’t see that hurts us the most. Thus unseen until detected was the serious cyberattack into the water supply of an entire community in Florida.
But before anything, let’s take a moment to carve the half a million mark, as in, 500,000 Covid-19 deaths in America. And the even more staggering fact that despite all celebrated technological breakthroughs, the reality is that not enough vaccines have been produced so far to go around. Globally. Not yet anyway, and part of the glacial path of immunization is due to unaddressed inequalities and the focus of Big Pharma on their own bottom line.
Americans have mourned and grieved for those gone and those being hit by it but still stings to bear witness once again to privilege and influence buying a ticket out of any trouble. It’s not just rich countries purchasing and storing way more shots than they currently need, to detriment of poorer ones. But even within states and cities, wealthier citizens are managing to get spots in suburban lines, originally set to locals. And getting away with it.
That’s why it’s so important for the U.S. and other nations to let the World Health Organizations manage all global health crisis so as to allocate resources according to humanitarian need, not wealth or convenience. The villainization of the WHO was part of a misguided effort to isolate us from the world.
As this happens, femicide remains rampant. Successive lockdowns allowed many women to be trapped with their domestic tormentors leading to tragic but predictable consequences. Hundreds have marched in Argentina, where a woman is killed for her gender every 30 hours, to protest the murder of Ursula Bahillo, 19, in the Province of Rojas. She’d filed 18 complaints of violence against her ex-partner and policeman, who stabbed her to death.
Keila Martinez, 26, was in police custody for violating a coronavirus curfew in Honduras when inmates heard her screaming for her life. And the body of Brittany Simone Smith, 28, pregnant and missing for days in Greensboro, N.C., was found in a suitcase. An allegedly suspected couple was arrested.
Even as the murderers of others like them remain unpunished, there’s little doubt about what’s actually killing them: their gender. They paid with their lives the price that monsters usually charge their partners for wanting to quit and flee an abusive relationship and attempting to build a life of their own.
At the same time, such sobering reality was temporarily counterbalanced with joy for Loujain al-Hathloul, 31, the Saudi Arabian activist freed after spending three years in jail for the high crime of campaigning to legalize driving for women. She was tortured and sexually assaulted while in prison.
The depressing thing about the second impeachment acquittal is that it was going well. By Saturday morning, there was the prospect of calling up witnesses, some of them who’d have an extremely hard time explaining away the ex-president criminal behavior before, during, and throughout Jan. 6.
But within minutes, the Democrats who now control de presidency, the House, and the Senate, still couldn’t work out a deal, or whatever it’d take, to go through with it. Once a vote was rush-called, we were back to the same despair that followed the first acquittal, despite all the proof gathered. The ex-president can now happily return to the smarmy GOP core, to continue the work of destroying the U.S. democracy along with those who voted for him.
Of course, there was also Mitch McConnell, the paradigm of self-interest who seems to have not relinquished an iota of his former clout. In typical fashion, he did say that the Crook-in-Chief’s ‘morally responsible‘ for the assault at Capitol Hill, but not before making sure he voted to acquit him.
Through the astonishing videos that Impeachment Managers played on even for some elected officials whose names were searched for by the white supremacist mob, there were two seminal moments: when looters called out to hanging Mike Pence – there was a noose outside the building, waiting – right before his boss tweeted against him, and when the ‘nuclear football’ was spotted being carried by a member of the vice president’s security detail.
That the Liar King – King Liar? – would throw absolutely anyone under the bus was not news, even if it were someone who degraded himself beyond redemption in order to serve him. But Pence was actually in mortal danger when that vicious Tweet was posted, and arguably having his sole honorable moment in four years of White House: he was about to certify Joe Biden as the new president. To the VP, sorry, life is unfair, but you’ll get over it.
As for the suitcase with codes to detonate the U.S. nuclear arsenal, the implications are indeed devastating. Why didn’t the Pentagon prepare for the possibility of rioters getting a hold of one of the most dangerous artifacts in the world? Even if such codes are probably not user-friendly, it’s baffling.
Speaking of scary things, and granted, we’ve been gathering a hefty amount of them, few were expecting what happened in Oldsmar’s water treatment plant. In what’s being called the most successful cyberattack in the U.S. to date, hackers raised the sodium hydroxide, or lye, used in the city’s Bruce T. Haddock facility by a factor of over 100, which is harmful to humans. They’ve used a remote-access software to raise the caustic substance levels.
Yet by tapping a city utility that serves millions, likely from their cellphones, the attackers enacted a nightmare those in charge of protecting us have all the time: a dystopic scenario of cybersecurity attacks in the U.S. infrastructure causing immediate mass casualties. This time we’ve ducked the bullet.
‘No man is good enough to govern any woman without her consent.’ Susan B. Anthony, the abolitionist, and suffragist, who was born 201 years ago today, knew a thing or two about female empowerment and the importance of electoral representation. She didn’t live long enough to see her biggest dream become reality in 1918, 12 years after her passing: the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution making women’s vote legal in America.
And yet it moves on its own,’ said the other birthday person of the day, Galileo Galilei who would’ve been at the ripe age of 456 years young. Sent to the gallows by the Catholic Inquisition for rejecting the Earth-centered model of the universe of his times, he died in prison but triumphed in life over the church and its blood-thirsty enablers. What’s common between Susan and Galileo is how much better the world has become with their lives.
It’s also easy to imagine their dissatisfaction today – and not because Carnival has been canceled this year. The acquittal, the presence of enemies of democracy within, the inequity of vaccine distribution, the brutal gap between the haves and the have-nots, all are compelling reasons for us to want to make a difference too. It’s been a month of the Biden administration but for the American people, change is already overdue. Let’s get to it. WC


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