Colin Powell to GOP. Knock off the Racism. BTW, Climate Denial, too…

January 15, 2013

What is it about racism and climate denial that they co-exist so cozily?

If time is short, just watch the first minute of the video above, and skip to about 10:00.
It was a pretty stunning wake up for anyone in the Republican party that might have been paying attention.

One of the most respected senior statesmen in the party,  sounded  yet another warning about the toxic takeover of the GOP by its regressive, racist element. Powell ticked off the dog whistle and not-so-dog whistle messages that senior Republican operatives have been sending, and matter-of-factly closed with the aside that, oh, yeah, climate change is real and we’d better start dealing with that, as well.

Could there be any sharper example than climate denier darling Lord Monckton, whose toxic mix of climate nonsense and birtherism continue to make him a darling of American conservatives, and the intellectual, such as it is, Father of climate denial in this country?

My Father was chairman of the local Republican party, one of the more influential county groups in this state.  I know, understand, and have affection for, the ideals and practices of the party that used to be. That is not the one we have today.

Remember a few years ago when Al Gore got so much blowback for drawing a connection between racism and climate change?  Gore was talking about his generation’s reaction to the racism of the 1950s and 60s, but he was certainly aware that as Republicans have become more and more hostile to climate science, they’ve also become more shockingly, brazenly, overtly hostile to anyone that doesn’t look like they belong at the country club.

Tell me I’m wrong. Tell Colin Powell he’s wrong. Look at november’s returns and tell the voters they’re wrong.
Ignore the pattern if it makes you uncomfortable – but America does best when we have a vigorous two party conversation, and that can’t happen when one half of the dialogue has been hijacked by bigots, blowhards, and the clinically insane.

See Gore’s observation at 1:25 below.

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17 Responses to “Colin Powell to GOP. Knock off the Racism. BTW, Climate Denial, too…”


  1. I find that a lot of the folks who are adamant deniers are very often conspiracy theorists and often believe that “global warming” is about creating a world government capable of controlling all aspects of our lives. I am sure that you encounter this all of the time.

    I also find that this has become a central concern among many professed “conservatives” in the United States (and Canada, though to the same extent because there is less anti-government hysteria here). I hear it all the time from people whom I normally consider to be thoughtful and engaged with empirical evidence (at least in other policy fields). But there is a deep suspicion that there is a conspiracy out there to take away freedom from “ordinary folks.”

    I actually am studying conservatism for my doctoral research and I agree that an intelligent, well-informed conservatism is very important for a healthy democracy. Right now this is sorely lacking in the United States (which is where I am originally from) because there is, I think, a deeply-engrained belief among one part of the population that anything requiring government action is a plot to enslave humanity. It might sound silly but it does animate a lot of people.

    • andrewfez Says:

      I read something about a fella that lived in one of our dryer western states being fined or jailed for collecting rain/snow water that fell on his property. I’m afraid that type of thing is going to start happening more in places where water becomes short and the climate becomes dryer. Especially, if more and more folks start gardening out back to offset the rising cost of food, secondary to climate change, resource depletion, using farmland for biofuels, population rise, cost of oil production rising, etc.

      I’ve never really followed politics; in fact the only reason i went out and voted last time around was to secure positions for climate friendly senators and to put a ‘yes’ down for some prop that closed a state tax loophole and diverted the resulting cash into clean energy programs. From my point of view, if GOP folks are willing to lie about climate change (something that stands up to scientific scrutiny) to coddle to large corporations, then I have to wonder: what else are they lying about to coddle to other large sources of money/power? Their actions on climate have shaped my political stance.

      • rayduray Says:

        Re: “I read something about a fella that lived in one of our dryer western states being fined or jailed for collecting rain/snow water that fell on his property. ”

        Would this be the case in southern Oregon? The media got that story entirely wrong, and apparently with malicious intent.

        http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120805/NEWS/208050318

        • andrewfez Says:

          Hi Ray,

          Yeah, that might have been it, though i don’t recall it having to do failing to get a permit, unless i was just reading the botched version of the story. I also remember one about a car dealer who got tired of paying the water bill to clean all his cars, so he decided to collect rainwater in a cistern under his lot for washing. That may have been in Utah?? Wherever it was, the government didn’t like it. Then there was a law in Colorado (though it’s since been changed to accommodate small scale collection) that said the state owns the rainwater.

          The message i got from all the stories was that it wasn’t legal to capture rain in certain states/areas, but if you’re just doing it to water your lawn, it would, in most cases, be overlooked. My fear was that we reach a point where water becomes so scarce in areas, that not only is it not overlooked, but more laws start popping up (as dry regions get dryer).

          I believe it was climatologist, David Archer, who said, in a climate lecture series, that during the Medieval Warm Period, the American breadbasket was experiencing multiple series of sever drought, with several lasting decades at a time. So here we are back up in that temp range once again, seeing, in all probability, the begging of similar conditions (TX a few years back, and the breadbasket in 2012). I would take an amateur guess that it would only take 5 to 10 years of persistent drought to catalyze the authoring of a ‘no rainwater for you’ bill in affected states/areas.

          See ya-

          • rayduray Says:

            Re: “Then there was a law in Colorado (though it’s since been changed to accommodate small scale collection) that said the state owns the rainwater.”

            That reminds me of infamous Cochabamba, Bolivia water wars [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000_Cochabamba_protests ] where the Bechtel Corporation bought the municipal water supply, jacked up rates to usurious levels and fined and imprisoned people who dared to collect rain water.

            The joys of privatization.

          • pendantry Says:

            The ‘Bolivian water wars’, as I heard the story, had a good outcome: the people took back ownership and control from the crooks who had appropriated it. A lesson to be learned, one hopes…

  2. Wes Says:

    Boy, I can relate to that. I grew up in a Republican family. I voted Republican for years. I campaigned for Goldwater when I was 21. But I have a science background, my wife and I have many gay friends and climate change scares the sh*t out of me. I haven’t voted GOP for a long, long time. When they exiled Goldwater for being too liberal it only confirmed my decision. The GOP has gone full Taliban on us and unfortunately with the gerrymandered Congress they might just push us off the cliff. I thought Powell was amazingly composed considering the strong feelings he obviously has, and I hope more of the grownups in the party speak up, too. We deserve an adult debate on the critical issues facing us.


  3. [...] What is it about racism and climate denial that they co-exist so cozily? If time is short, just watch the first minute of the video above, and skip to about 10:00. It was a pretty stunning wake up …  [...]

  4. ubrew12 Says:

    By coincidence, this is something I wrote last night on HuffPo’s ‘climate change’ section:
    “this entire 21st Century is enough to make you question every assumption you had about capitalism, democracy, and the American experiment. If we cannot resolve something as obvious as this, then everything is on the table, nothing is sacred. You can be sure our children will do that, even if we won’t. Our children will look at us the way THEIR children looked at former slaveholders and thought “how could you EVER be ‘OK’ with that?”

  5. rayduray Says:

    Re: “One of the most respected senior statesmen in the party…”

    This particular MTP segment reprised by Chris Matthews is certainly Colin Powell at his noble best. I hope that he has some effect at bringing the Republican Party back to what it represented a few decades ago.

    That said, I can’t help but recall my bitter disappointment as an anti-war activist in 2002-3 when Colin Powell served as a loyal spokesman for the Bush/Cheney Administration.

    The Center For Public Integrity created a list of 935 lies that were told to the American public prior to the invasion of Iraq in March, 2003.

    http://www.publicintegrity.org/2008/07/30/3089/song-key-deception

    OF those 935 lies, Colin Powell was personally responsible for telling 38 of them on Feb. 5, 2003 at the UN Security Council. Some say that this propaganda effort was what finally convinced the American public to acquiesce to and even cheer-lead the illegal invasion of Iraq.

    http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/003619.html

    My point is that Colin Powell is not someone I put up on a pedestal, nor do I think others should. He’s a self-serving social climber who started his rise to the top by covering up the massacres at My Lai, Viet Nam. We should not forget that history.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      completely agree with all the above.
      that said, Powell is what passes for a senior statesmen, a “sensible, middle of the road” fellow, these days.
      In the looking glass world of mainstream media, the more right you were about Iraq, the less respect you are given. so it goes.

      • rayduray Says:

        Re: “In the looking glass world of mainstream media, the more right you were about Iraq, the less respect you are given. so it goes.”

        Welcome to life in the Kakistocracy.

        ***
        Sentiments such as our own were expressed today in the eulogies for Internet hero Aaron Swartz, an honest man cut down by an extremely dishonest and increasingly rotten government.

        http://www.occupybendor.org/news.php?1571

  6. joffan7 Says:

    “Double down” seems to be the main trick in the Republican playbook at the moment. That and banging the table in outrage. No retreat, no apology (ever!), no change. It’s as true for climate change as it is for homsexuality, immigration, sex, guns, abortion, education and sex again.

    My main concern is that the Rs still got a heck of a lot of votes last November. Democrats should be seriously worried about only winning by a few percentage points, even if they do hold the demographic trumps.

  7. rayduray Says:

    “Climate Hawks” are a trending fashion. Is it a good thing that the National Security State is involving itself in the climate change discussion?

    http://tinyurl.com/bcgalsh

    Let me pique your interest with the quote from this Truth-Out.org article:

    “Also in 2009, the CIA opened the Center on Climate Change and National Security. But when a historian at the National Security Archived sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the CIA for copies of its reports on climate change the request was denied because the agency said the information was classified.”

  8. rayduray Says:

    NASA’s Earth Observatory on the Long Term Global Warming Trend:

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=80167

    In brief:

    “Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) say 2012 was the ninth warmest year since 1880, continuing a long-term trend of rising global temperatures. The ten warmest years in the 132-year record have all occurred since 1998. The last year that was cooler than average was 1976.”

  9. Jean Mcmahon Says:

    That UN Speech just makes me want to tear my hair out when I hear the name Colin Powell..he is just a pathological liar..obviously he has know about Global Warming and now that it cannot be swept under the rug he brings it up..manipulation of racists by the corporate media is the problem


  10. [...] to prioritize climate rather than health care early in his administration. But no one predicted the virulent racist wave that the Republican party enthusiastically whipped up, and the opposition’s willingness, in a [...]


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