Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

O'Malley Makes a Point about Climate Change and Foreign Policy

Connecting the dots between a changing environment and radicalism is something my blog has been about for years, so I was actually pleased to hear one of our Democratic candidates address it directly, in citing a study that connects ISIS to climate change.

In an interview with Bloomberg on Monday, O'Malley discussed the national security implications of climate change. "One of the things that preceded the failure of the nation state of Syria and the rise of ISIS, was the effect of climate change and the mega-drought that affected that nation, wiped out farmers, drove people to cities, created a humanitarian crisis that created the symptoms -- or rather, the conditions -- of extreme poverty that has now led to the rise of ISIS and this extreme violence," he said.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called O'Malley's comments "absurd."
Not absurd at all, actually.  The Arab Spring itself stems from food scarcity and higher prices because of climate change. The stressors of agriculture workers seeking jobs that have been lost to climate change is simply a real thing. The Pentagon knows well and good that climate change is a real thing.  A failure to understand how these things are linked is kind of disqualifying for GOP candidates, who for the most part are not conversant with or are actually hostile to knowing something about the science involved.

I think we need a person in the White House who understands the serious challenges that sea level rises, increased severity of storms, droughts and fires, (like we are seeing in California), and possible famine and epidemics related to climate change will impose. We need someone who will be a realist and engage those things. We do not need ostriches--we need lions. The GOP is weak on climate change. And because they can't deal in facts, they are useless on foreign policy also.

(I'm sorry--not all my pictures having to do with Martin O' Malley are probably going to be objectifying him as a muscular Irish tenor with some reasonable guitar skills. But, well, there we are.)


Formerly Amhert said...

Hi Vixen, I confess to having a certain sympathy for O'Malley.

He got into unjustifiable hot water when he said that black lives matter and all lives matter. Frankly, Vixen, I regard it as extremely dubious when a political movement can get a presidential candidate to back down because he believes that all lives matter.

And in fact he then came out and apologized because of the brouhaha that was kicked up. Subsequently some black commentator (I don't remember who) pointed out that a presidential candidate should not be excoriated because he says that all lives matter. This is simply insane. The man is running for the office of President of the United States. For God's sake, all lives matter, and he should not have backed down, but should have asserted leadership.

Look, as you know I was in the civil rights movement. In those days it was not a matter of rushing to your computer or doing tweets. Personal computers had not even been invented. If you were going to participate in activism, you had to have skin in the game.

Now a lot of recent attention has been galvanized around the predicament of roughly two-thirds of the black population that has yet to experience social and economic upward mobility. Naturally, this is a problem, although one that generations have now pounded their collective head against and spent billions trying to ameliorate. I think one of the best things that did not previously exist is low cost community college systems that offer academics and vocational training.

But we have an entire country with huge and almost insurmountable problems. The black population represents about 13% of the US population. We need to do everything that can actually lead to a solution for these citizens. And Democrats do not seem to have been any more successful than Republicans in dealing with this issue. But the country is about a lot more than 13%. It includes the other 87% as well. As a consequence it is suicidal for the grievances of the 13% to get to the place where it suppresses a viable candidate from making the outrageous statement that all lives matter.

So I feel that O'Malley is being imprisoned, as are some other Democrats, by the opinion of a small segment of the population.

As a conservative, it is incredible that I would say that if Jim Webb ran against Bush I might be tempted to vote for Jim Webb.

On an earlier thread you denigrated Jim Webb and suggested he might be pandering to a constituency. Why is it pandering to try and address a constituency that might vote for you? I suggest that O'Malley's statement about global warming might be pandering to people who believe in global warming.

Vixen Strangely said...


Criticized, and justifiably. Here's the thing--when you address a constituency in a way that excludes--deliberately--others, you run the risk of those other people supposing you might consider them disposable. Maybe they'll vote for you, maybe they won't.

But I don't want to be *quite* that cynical.

Here's what I said about BLM at BBBB's place regarding Bernie Sanders:

Failing to come to grips with a confrontation by BLM is a problem because this should have been on his (and O'Malley's) radar--Hillary Clinton had a bit of backlash for making the mistake of addressing their specific concerns with the "All lives matter" cliché, and if they aren't familiar with Black Twitter (more on that) they should at least be watching what Clinton does at least to know what pitfalls her campaign falls into.

BLM has parallels to Occupy, which I had been deeply sympathetic with even if I understood their tactics have a limited efficacy. There is a BLM website outlining the goals they have, and there is significant class-related economic overlap with the goals of Occupy. The failure to directly address and engage this movement--on the terms of that movement, which has particular reasons to believe that they are discounted and not heard by mainstream politics would be a significant failure to win over young, engaged, concerned, activist voters.

As to my side note about Black Twitter: I really don't want to think that Democratic politicians are so confident of who their base is that they have no interest in the deeper conversation of its parts. A meaningful constituency can stop being meaningful if you forget to address their meanings. That isn't to say people will become Republican voters--it's just that if Dem candidates want that turn out, they need to be listening to, and speaking to and with, those people. So that means knowing what real people are saying on social media, hearing diverse activist voices, and appreciating that input.

The statement "All lives matter" or "White lives matter" disappears the particular concerns of black Americans who are underserved or outright exploited by the current (in)justice system. They need to know there are politicians running with them. They need to know their elected representatives hear them when they are being abused by the system. They need to know that someone gives a damn if they are treated equally under our law, like the Constitution is supposed to say. They need to know that where an injustice exists, someone will have the eyes to see that it does, and won't just handwave at it.

Vixen Strangely said...

We have disproportionate profiling and sentencing of POC's, and we have a population that has PTSD from just living in the neighborhoods they are coming from. We have a pattern of abusive behavior by law enforcement, and an understanding that primary schooling is liable to be inadequate. We have lead poisoning, disrupted family structures and alienation from the government that they might even petition for redress of grievances. And when they do petition--their activism is called thuggery.

He can believe all lives matter all he likes--it isn't wrong. But when addressing BLM, he needs to know why that specific statement has particular meaning for people who feel threatened by our current system and its racist pockets wherever they exist.

They are only "imprisoned" by political correctness if they are forced to say "Black lives matter" and they don't mean it at all. And if that were the case, they can fuck off forever. Because our future is intersectional (to paraphrase Flavia Dzodan) or it is bullshit. We either recognize all people's civil rights and participation in this system, and protect their civil rights where necessary, or we are lying to ourselves about how enlightened our system is supposed to be.

And I don't care to live in a lying system. I want the promises of democracy to be real. Liberty and justice for all is intersectional--or it is bullshit. Black lives, gay lives, trans lives, homeless lives, matter. Or we have a problem here.

Formerly Amhert said...

Hi Vixen, I'll admit you didn't come down as hard on James Webb as you do Republican candidates, and you're probably right that “denigrated” is a stronger word than is needed. It would be nice to see a Democrat run that could attract Reagan Democrats who started voting Republican when “the party left them.”

It strikes me that a book I recently acquired might be of interest to you. Another book from the Joseph Campbell collection has been released, entitled Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine. Although Campbell did not specifically write a book on this subject, he gave around 20 lectures about goddesses over the years, and this book collects them. I appreciate that it's an offbeat statement, but just as no one does what Agatha Christie or Raymond Chandler do better than they do, no one does what Joseph Campbell executes as well as Campbell himself.