Massive flooding in South Asia too!

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 30, 2017

First days of the rest of our lives:
As the domestic situation moves from Houston on toward Beaumont, the New York Times has published a companion report from the flooded lands of South Asia.

In hard copy, it's the featured news report in the Times' International section. On line, the report is accompanied by a wealth of dramatic photos.

Texas flooding dominates cable news in this country. These descriptions from South Asia sound eerily similar to the situation in Texas, which now seems to experience a hundred-year storm every six months or so:
GETTLEMAN (8/30/17): More than 1,000 people have died in floods across South Asia this summer, and as sheets of incessant rain pummeled the vast region on Tuesday, worries grew that the death toll would rise along with the floodwaters.

According to the United Nations, at least 41 million people in Bangladesh, India and Nepal have been directly affected by flooding and landslides resulting from the monsoon rains, which usually begin in June and last until September.

And while flooding in the Houston area has grabbed more attention, aid officials say a catastrophe is unfolding in South Asia.

[...]

[T]he rain keeps coming.

On Tuesday, Mumbai, the sprawling financial capital, was soaked to the bone. Nearly all day, the rain drummed down. As people scurried up the sidewalks, the wind tore umbrellas out of their hands.

The sky seemed to fall lower and lower, pressing down on the building tops, cutting visibility to a few blocks, then a few yards. By midafternoon, it was so dark it felt like nightfall.

[...]

The monsoons have battered Bangladesh as well. A low-lying and densely populated country of 165 million, Bangladesh is chronically ravaged by flooding. This year’s monsoons have left roughly a third of its terrain submerged.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent said on its website that more than eight million Bangladeshis had been affected by the flooding, the worst in 40 years. At least 140 people have died, and nearly 700,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed.

Corinne Ambler, a Red Cross spokeswoman in Bangladesh who had just taken an aerial tour of the devastation, said she was stunned.

“All I could see was water, the whole way,” she said in a telephone interview from Dhaka, the capital. “You have tiny little clumps of houses stuck in the middle of water.”

After visiting some of the afflicted villages by boat, she said that many Bangladeshis had told her, “We’re used to flooding, but we’ve never seen anything like this in our lives.”
These descriptions and comments sound very familiar. Reporter Jeffrey Gettleman doesn't try to analyze the possible role of climate change here. We'll only suggest, once again, that these may be the first days of the rest of the entire world's lives.

A final thought:

At times like these, liberals and Democrats don't need to find ways to serve the nation our own scripted twaddle. We need to do what we've barely attempted to do in recent decades, as the music men, hustlers and con men have taken control of the discourse:

We need to find ways to inform the public about the many, many ways they, and we, are constantly conned—about climate issues, for instance.

Despite our tribal love of the practice, we need to stop insulting people. We need to start looking for ways to show The Others the various ways they've been conned—the ways they've been conned by the people they trust, as We increasingly are.

31 comments:

  1. "to inform the public"

    The problem is, "liberals and Democrats" really have nothing to say. Those among them who are sincere have, as someone said, "brains pickled in the formaldehyde of identity politics".

    And other than that, what else? Neoliberal globalization/imperialism, western (and specifically American) moral supremacy? We're currently experiencing a popular revolt against all that crap, so you'd probably do better by staying quiet...

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    1. "you'd probably do better by staying quiet..." Thanks for making the fascist mindset so plain. But no one is intimidated by you and your ilk.

      Delete
    2. Oh, no one is intimidated? But I got the impression that a whole bunch of you people - well, nearly all of you, it seems - are constantly up in arms about a couple dozen people doing officially sanctioned protests here and there.

      And also, did you forget: The Russians Are Coming!

      And now it's also the weather, eh?

      If no one is intimidated, then why so much paranoia and so much hysteria?

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    3. “You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy.”
      -- President Donald Trump

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    4. Right, the meaningless moralistic (not to mention: fake) outrage, like from a preacher in church. Like I said, "liberals and Democrats" really got nothing to say. Thanks for confirming my point.

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    5. “You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy.”
      -- President Donald Trump

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    6. Heh. Got stuck? I sympathize. May I suggest: say five Hail Marys and spit over your left shoulder.

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    7. Heh...I knew you couldn't resist posting, Mao. Thanks for playing. I win.

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    8. Sure, sure, you win, dear. As usual.

      Delete
    9. Yet again, he takes the bait, just like a trained seal.

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    10. Thanks for acknowledging that. I don't know why I'm bothering saying this, but...
      I'm a liberal who is willing to entertain conservative ideas in an honest, respectful discussion. But you, Mao, who say "liberals have nothing to say", and "liberals should be quiet" and "liberals are brain-dead zombies", you're obviously not interested in that kind of discussion. That makes you a "troll" and obnoxious. I knew that anyway, so who gives a damn, right?

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    11. In the end, it is impossible to help the fact ad hominem sadness escapes Bob Somerby's skin.

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    12. What does "troll" in quotation marks mean? I'm not too familiar with Zombiese-Liberalese.

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    13. Liberals are such phonies, with their fainting couches about Bill Clinton's consensual sexual endeavors with an adult, while waving away that Trump is an admitted sexual predator. Oops, not liberals, conservatives.
      Conservative projection puts IMAX to shame.

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  2. I don't know if this asshole Bob Somerby's skin hurts but it is certainly more satisfying than rancor but it is impossible to escape the fact ad hominem is satisfying to really get under.

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  3. I have no stomach for politicizing the disasters unfolding in any part of the world but I disagree strongly with what Somerby has written here.

    Climate change will happen no matter what explanation we adopt. Bangladesh is presumably not a climate denying country, yet it too was underprepared for the strength of storm that hit it. Instead of arguing about causes, we need to discuss how countries can deal with these storms.

    I'm not sure what Somerby's point is here. Are we all supposed to stop attacking each other because storms are major disasters? Why? Will using nicer language and working together more prevent such storms? No. If Somerby thinks Congress and the President should consider the disaster victims in their deliberations next month, hard to disagree with that, but I don't believe calling Trump fewer names will help achieve that. I also don't believe that going along with Republican schemes to cut FEMA or reduce disaster appropriations or redefine disaster aid to exclude rebuilding, is going to help Harvey victims much. Democrats are already advocating better solutions than Republicans, so what exactly are we liberals supposed to be doing in Somerby's opinion?

    Does he have the magical idea that if we all get along and are nicer to each other, storms will be weaker and global warming will reverse itself? Even children don't think that, although I'm not sure about evangelicals and those who think Lesbian mayors cause storms.

    Personally, I find Somerby's preachiness here to be offensive. Politics don't stop when it rains, even if it rains a lot. Nor should it, because politics is how our democratic government resolves conflicts and makes decisions. A government without politics is a dictatorship.

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    1. Dave the Guitar PlayerAugust 31, 2017 at 12:39 PM

      Unfortunately, you apparently think "politics" is all about name calling and winning. We need Donald Trump's help. We need his followers to listen to what we are saying. Starting every conversation with an insult is not going to be very productive. We may even need to (horrors!) compromise, which of course means you won't be "winning", even though you know they are completely wrong and you are obviously right. Politics means trying to find a solution that we *all* can live with. I don't see how your approach will lead to that conclusion.

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    2. Unfortunately, "politics" as currently practiced by the GOP in 2017 is to systematically work night and day to suppress votes.

      ********
      A federal judge has tossed out a new law softening Texas’ strict voter identification requirements.

      U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos on Wednesday ruled that Senate Bill 5, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in June, doesn’t absolve Texas lawmakers from responsibility for discriminating against Latino and black voters when they crafted one of the nation’s strictest voter ID laws in 2011. The judge also ruled that the state failed to prove that the new law would accommodate such voters going forward.

      The Corpus Christi judge’s ruling is the latest twist in a six-year battle over Texas’ laws restricting what forms of identification are accepted at the polls, and it sets up a round of squabbling over whether the federal government should once again pre-approve the state's election laws.
      **************

      Persistent little bastards, aren't they?

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  4. “We need to find ways to inform the public about the many, many ways they, and we, are constantly conned—about climate issues, for instance.”
    Well, agreed, I guess? But how? Al Gore has now made two moves about climate change, and they are derided by the right, as he himself is.
    We have a President and a controlling Republican party, many of whom claim that climate change is a hoax. That’s the story you hear on Fox news, and in my local newspaper op-ed section. Religious people are told that it is heresy to believe that humans can cause climate change. You see, that’s putting man before God. Democrats can cite data and studies by climate scientists, but they are met with derision as well. The claim is either: those scientists are all liberal, and their science is political hackery, or that there just isn’t any consensus.
    Yeah, we need to “find ways to inform the public” about climate issues. But they are all met with derision and mockery. I don’t know what else you can do other than what I have stated above. Facts, persuasion, informative movies, town halls,…none of it gets through.
    At what point is it the other side’s fault for refusing to believe the facts, or even entertain a discussion about it?
    Look at one of your commenters Bob.
    '"liberals and Democrats" really have nothing to say. ' and 'We're currently experiencing a popular revolt against all that crap, so you'd probably do better by staying quiet...'. Is that commenter reachable at all, Bob?

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  5. Climate change has nothing to do with the Texas flooding. There has been no increase in storms or storm intensity in the past few decades, despite what the hoaxers prophesied back then. If anything, the Atlantic and the Gulf have been in a period of unprecedented calm. maybe that's the reason even the liberal media won't connect it to "climate change."

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    1. Better trolls please.

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    2. I don't know if this asshole Bob Somerby's skin hurts but it is certainly more satisfying than ad hominem rancor and it is impossible to escape the fact it is satisfying to really get under sadness.

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    3. "Climate change has nothing to do with the Texas flooding". Glad to learn of your absolute knowledge of the facts with all kinds of supprting proof. Also, I'm sure the folks in Texas will glad to hear this. It's been quiet, up until now, when the record rainfall in the history of the US has just occurred. But thank God it's been quiet up till now...except for 3 500-year floods in Houston in the past 20 years. Glad to know you know it isn't global warming. Whew! Perhaps we could also find out if the environmental impacts of urban development have anything to do with the serverity of the damage? Nah...that sounds like some liberal commie hoax too...let's not study or change any damn thing at all. Let's bury our heads in the sand like a good little conservative. "As long as my house is ok, why worry?"...says the typical right-winger.

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    4. Anonymous at 7:18 PM,
      Those storms were not caused by climate change. They were caused by Conservatives being near the levers of governmental power. It's well past time to put an end to these catastrophes.

      Delete
  6. The planet will adapt because it must. Will Homo sapiens? We claim we are the only species that can change its environment. Well, we have.

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  7. "We need to find ways to inform the public about the many, many ways they, and we, are constantly conned—about climate issues, for instance."

    That would require creating new mass media that is not owned by world destroying plutocrats.

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  8. Good. Evidently, massive flooding is the only check on the Bangladeshi population.

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    1. Better trolling please.

      Education of women is the best check on opulation growth in the developing world.

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    2. You mean "empowerment." Which destroys society entirely. Bangladesh will survive, Japan won't.

      But seriously, don't worry about Bangladeshis, they'll make more.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete