Curtain Raiser

Dead Bees & Doublethink, Colltalers

As the war rages, it’s irrelevant to digress about Ukrainian heroism and Russia’s war crimes. Instead, people need to demand accountability from world leaders and weapons makers. That’s why non-aligned nations are not, well, aligned with this war, even if armed dolphins are patrolling Russian bases.
It’s been 30 years since race-fueled riots in Los Angeles shook the U.S. That is, until another ugly incident of Black people being shot at followed it, likely a few hours later. But it’s a scar in the national soul that refuses to heal. And after a long, dark stretch, May Day has again meaning in America.
We begin in Atlanta where five million bees perished from exposure to the 80°F heat of an airport tarmac. They were on their way to Alaska on a Delta Air Lines plane forced to a stopover in Georgia. The carrier’s apology didn’t mention how they were left baking to death on the runaway. “People don’t grasp just how dependent we as a species are on honeybees for pollination,” said Sarah McElrea who ordered them on behalf of Alaskan beekeepers.
In New Mexico, thousands of villagers have been evacuated on Sunday from the path of Calf Canyon, the largest active U.S. wildfire, which is closing in their drought-ridden land. A dozen climate change-fueled fires are raging in the Southwest, and over a million acres have already burned in the U.S. since the start of the year. “Where are we supposed to run to, where do we go? This is where our livelihoods are,” said local farmer Darlene Gallegos.
In California, A.G. Rob Bonta has set up a probe into fossil-fuel companies – and has already subpoenaed Exxon Mobil – for allegedly manipulating the public about the recyclability of plastics. About the inquiry, which takes its cues from the award-winning PBS/Frontline documentary “Plastic Wars,” Greenpeace’s Graham Forbes said that “for too long, corporate polluters have been allowed to mislead the public and harm people and the planet.”
In Brazil, yet another powerful German Nazi, Hermann Fegelein, was identified as having secretly lived and died relatively peacefully there. An aide to Heinrich Himmler and married to Gretl Braun, sister of Hitler’s lover Eva, Fegelein was thought to have been executed for treason in Germany in 1945.
But journalist Marcelo Netto, who published “The Man Who Buried Hitler” with Aldo Gama, about the führer and other Nazis who may have fled to South America, found out otherwise. In 1992, DNA tests proved that Joseph Mengele, the “Angel of Death,” had lived and drowned in Brazil in 1979.
In Washington, President Biden announced last Tuesday a $6 billion bailout for struggling nuclear plants, a proposal that sounded tone-deft given the current threat of a global nuclear hecatomb in Ukraine. Especially when he cites the need for the U.S. to get away from its dependency on fossil fuels.
That was not what phasing society out of oil, gas, and coal really meant. If carbon emissions and global warming are long-term issues that are now time bombs ready to ignite, nukes don’t need time to build up their threat. Plus, even an accident would jeopardize the entire world. That also means that all that campaign talk about clean, green energy, already disavowed in the sorrowful episode of the Build Back Better fiasco, was just that, talk.
Efforts by the richest nations led by the U.S. to isolate Russia have had no support from the Non-Aligned Movement, a group of 120 nations found in 1961. Among them, are most Latin American, African, and Asian countries. A lot contributes to this: some have economic ties to Russia, many mistrust U.S. intentions, while most are simply not interested in yet another Cold War, this time with China, just to keep up a status quo that oppresses them.
Make no mistake, they don’t support the invasion either or the Russian ruler, for that matter. Much less what’s now being called a “proxy war.” But to take sides in an America-versus-China match? No takers. Plus, if Putin is a war criminal, so are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, for invading Iraq and Afghanistan, Barack Obama for bombing Libya, and Trump for Tomahawking Syria. And let’s not mention Henry Kissinger in Chile, circa 1973.
One of the more grotesque results of a state of war is hypocrisy. Case in point, dolphins, those adorable creatures who have the unfortunate habit of being attracted to humans. The U.S. was researching their military use even before the popular TV series “Flipper” was a hit in the 1960s. And so have other nations. It’s just as unconscionable as using any other animal – or human – for such a sinful task: bearing bombs to explode along with the enemy.
“Can we all get along?” When the 1991 footage of Rodney King being mercilessly beaten by four white police officers went viral, America drew a collective pause: is this what we wanted for this nation? some seemed to ask. It wasn’t but it didn’t matter. All four cops were acquitted on April 29, 1992, triggering six days of riots and looting that left 63 dead, thousands injured, and a lot of damaged property, but has changed absolutely nothing.
Although most Americans are unaware, the May Day holiday celebrated everywhere but in the U.S. and Canada was born in Chicago, out of a multi-day strike, known as the Haymarket Affair. On May 1, 1886, police attacked workers rallying for 8-hour shifts and other labor demands we now take for granted, resulting in death and mayhem. A mysterious bomb that exploded among the officers was blamed on four workers who later were hanged.
“It is absolutely sickening that Merriam-Webster now tells blatant lies and promotes anti-science propaganda. There is no such thing as “gender identity.’ The imbecile who wrote this entry should be hunted down and shot.” Jeremy David Hanson’s deplorable mental state was no excuse: he was arrested by the FBI and faces five years in jail. What makes a 34-year-old man get in so deep into conspiracies to get caught cursing at a dictionary?
There’s a growing movement to free Leonard Peltier, an Ojibwa Native American and activist convicted in 1977 of murdering two FBI agents. His supporters are demanding a new trial or dismissal of all charges due to irregularities in his extradition and trial, and because he’s facing illness at 77.
“The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Minister of Love with torture, and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental (…) They are deliberate exercises in doublethink.” The Indian-born Eric Arthur Blair had a point or many in his famous 1948 novel, “1984,” signed under George Orwell. War is a build-up of small hypocrisies that turn fast into misery. Fight for peace. WC


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