Curtain Raiser

A Still Inconvenient Truth, Colltalers

Near 100 climate change-fueled wildfires are burning in the U.S., which means 1.5 million acres already burnt, and the worst national indexes of air pollution in decades. As Covid starts to rise again, it comes the inevitable realization: thanks to conspiracies, most cases now are of the unvaccinated.
Journalists’ smartphones have been routinely hacked by authoritarian regimes using the spyware Pegasus, a report found. A stunning revelation: thugs who rampaged through Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 were close to getting their hands on the U.S. nuclear codes. And N.Y. has banned child marriage. Bravo.
Let’s begin in Madagascar, the island-state where 400,000 may face famine according to the World Food Program, due to its worst drought in four decades. Unlike other places being affected by factors as natural as disasters or crop failures or man-made like local wars or politics, in the world’s second-largest island-country there’s no water, the land is covered by sand, and people have to eat raw cactus, wild leaves, and locusts to survive.
As Canada started uncovering thousands of unmarked graves of indigenous children “re-educated” by the Catholic Church over a century ago, the search got on to find such graves on American soil too. The U.S. ran boarding schools intended to “civilize the savage,” and during the 1920s nearly 83% of Native American school-age children were in attendance, according to the NYTimes. In both nations, many never returned to their families.
Catholic churches have been burned in Canada since the first discovery of the graves. To investigators, arson is the likely culprit for most fires, but to activists and indigenous rights advocates, the torching may be acts of revolt against the church’s role in the internment and indoctrination of natives.
Iraq will “put an end to the presence of (U.S.) combat forces,” its Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi told President Biden over the weekend. Troop withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan albeit painful will go forward. Which gives America an excellent opportunity to redefine its role in the region.
Ever since the first warnings about climate change some four decades ago, viciously fought back by governments, corporations, and the wealthy, the effects kept increasing in intensity and breadth. But even now when it’s a full-blown global crisis, powers that be are yet to take it all seriously. Despite campaign promises, Biden’s failed to take radical action and as a result, he’s now become along with the U.S., a major part of the climate conundrum.
Perhaps activists have to do even more to wake up enough people to act, but it’s becoming technically impossible to reduce global warming with the current carbon levels we continue to throw at the atmosphere.
The domino effect has already started and whatever we may do now will not be enough. That is, no single measure will have a meaningful effect; only a coordinated, global effort and, yes, it may slow down the world’s economy for a while.
But it’s that or no planet at all. What people thought, 20 years ago, that would take two generations to start bearing its infernal fruits, has already started and it’s faster than anyone had expected. It’s astonishing and absolutely heartbreaking that we’re assassinating this planet and still think things are fine.
Humanity is nearing the 200-million mark of Covid cases, and after over a year of pandemic, two things are hard to fathom: entire countries are yet to receive a single dose of vaccine, and mainly because of conspiracy theories, the anti-vax movement is beginning to be decimated by the virus. Sadly, almost no one will admit they were misinformed, wrong, or consider themselves responsible for anybody’s death, even when facing their own demise.
The pandemic that exposed irreconcilable income gaps within and between nations, and incongruities of international patent laws applied to a public health crisis, has also helped to enrich charlatans and Internet crooks. Their misinformation lured hordes of the willing and caused even more deaths.
Over 50,000 phone numbers of journalists, lawyers, and human rights activists were hacked by authoritarian regimes since 2016, a Guardian-led investigation found. With Pegasus, a malware that infects iPhones and Android, intel officers of Mexico, Saudi Arabia, India, Hungary, and other countries were able to access messages, photos, and emails, record calls, and activate microphones from the devices of those were deemed a threat.
“If you don’t do anything to stop the sale of this technology, it’s not just going to be 50,000 targets. It’s going to be 50 million targets, and it’s going to happen much more quickly than any of us expect,” said Edward Snowden who in 2013 exposed the U.S.’ NSA’s secret mass surveillance program he described as “an industry that should not exist.” For that, he was forced to exile in Russia and has no reason to believe he’d get a fair trial in the U.S.Besides murder and other despicable things armed Trump supporters who invaded Capitol Hill have inflicted on the nation on Jan. 6, they could’ve also caused a catastrophe. For VP Mike Pence was in the building, could hear the chants for his hanging, and had with him the so-called “nuclear football.”
That’s right, the codes for a nuclear strike along with other classified info were being carried by his aide as they both could be seen on footage of that sad Tuesday just a few moments ahead of the angry crowd. Some invaders actually raided the chambers’ daises and drawers but thankfully, not that one.
According to the U.N., 37,000 girls under the age of 18 are married each day worldwide. In the U.S., between 2000 and 2015 over 200,000 minors got married, or six children per thousand. Until July 2019, there was no statutory minimum age in 13 states. By banning marriage before 18, New York is no longer part of those stats. The “Nalia’s Law,” named after a survivor who was forced into marriage at the age of 13, will go into effect on Aug. 21.
“We are vulnerable to confusing the unprecedented with the improbable. (…) If something has never happened before, we are generally safe in assuming it is not going to happen in the future. But the exceptions can kill you and climate change is one of those exceptions.” Al Gore’s 2006 doc “An Inconvenient Truth” had its inaccuracies but its message was sharp: save the planet now or die. In 15 years, no other warning was more vital. Táokei? WC

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