Could Climate Change Fuel the Rise of Right-Wing Nationalism?

Could Climate Change Fuel the Rise of Right-Wing Nationalism?

By Joshua Conrad Jackson, Doctoral Student, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Michele Gelfand, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Maryland. First published on The Conversation.

Two trends have defined the past decade and both have been on display at this year’s session of the United Nations General Assembly.

One has been the escalating effects of climate change, which were the focus of the United Nations’ Climate Action SummitForest firesfloods and hurricanes are all rising in their frequency and severity. Eight of the last 10 years have been the warmest on record. Marine biologists warned that coral reefs in the U.S. could disappear entirely by the 2040s.

The other trend has been the surge of right-wing nationalist politics across Western nations, which includes Donald Trump’s election in the U.S., and the rise of nationalist political parties around the world.

Indeed, the first four speeches of the United Nations general debate were given by Brazilian right-wing populist Jair Bolsonaro, Trump, Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and far-right Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

Resistance to Private Prison Industry Mounts Amid Debate Over Trump’s Immigration Detention Policies

Resistance to Private Prison Industry Mounts Amid Debate Over Trump’s Immigration Detention Policies

The private prison industry is under renewed scrutiny, and things are not going well for it. Prison companies were already under fire, accused of putting profits above the well-being of incarcerated individuals and staff at the dozens of federal and state prisons and local jails they run around the country. Currently, about 8 percent of state and federal prisoners are held in privately operated facilities across 27 states and the federal system.

But these companies aren’t only in the business of housing people convicted of crimes. As of July, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had almost 53,000 people in its custody, and private prison firms are responsible for detaining more than 70 percent of them. Now the industry is getting more attention because of President Trump’s immigration detention policies, such as separating children from their parents, and because of the terrible conditions in many detention facilities, many of which are run by the government and not private firms.

Ironically, because of the Trump administration’s focus on building a border wall and keeping immigrants out, a Republican administration thought to be a boon to the private prison sector has proved one of its biggest problems. As resistance to current immigration policies mount, here is a roundup of some of the high-profile actors targeting the industry.

Presidential election politics

At least 11 Democrats running for president want to eliminate private prisons. Sen. Kamala Harris of California recently tweeted, “One of my first acts of business as president will be to begin phasing out detention centers and private prisons.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts issued a sweeping plan to eviscerate the industry by attempting to phase out federal contracts for private prisons and by reducing states’ reliance on the industry through cutting federal funding to states that contract with these companies. Other candidates have expressed support for immediately canceling all federal contracts with the industry and phasing out the government’s reliance on private prisons.

Rep. Lauren Underwood (D) Introduces Bill To Standardize Health Care Screenings At US Border

Rep. Lauren Underwood (D) Introduces Bill To Standardize Health Care Screenings At US Border

In the cage match between Trump and the Squad, it's easy to miss enlightened comments about the Mexico border migrant crisis like the one Democratic Congresswoman Lauren Underwood just delivered on 'Morning Joe'.

Congresswoman Underwood introduced The U.S. Border Patrol Medical Screening and Standards Act, which would standardized processes and training to ensure consistent medical screenings for migrants in US custody at the Mexico border, according to a news release.

"We progressive women aren't going anywhere," was her final statement. Underwood never embraced all of the Squad's positions or style; not did she try to separate herself from them. But as a Democratic woman of color who defeated a Republican in Illinois’s 14th congressional district in 2018, she's in that camp derided by our most left-wing voices. As if 'she' is the problem in executing the Democratic agenda and not Republicans!

Padma Lakshmi Bakes Fourth of July 'Close the Camps' Red-White-Blue Flag Pie

Padma Lakshmi Bakes Independence Day 'Close the Camps' Red-White-Blue Pie

‘Top Chef’ host Padma Lakshmi celebrated the Fourth of July, creating her own fireworks with her special American flag pie. Lakshmi decorated her Independence Day pie with an American flag and the phrase “Close The Camps.” In another tweet, she urged people to “contact your representatives tomorrow and demand they #CloseTheCamps”, referencing the federal facilities that are holding undocumented migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border.

In March Lakshmi used her own immigration story to call out Trump on Noah Trevor’s ‘The Daily Show’.

“I’m an immigrant,” the award-winning India-born cookbook author told host Trevor Noah as they discussed her advocacy for immigrants as an ambassador for the American Civil Liberties Union and the United Nations.

I really came here with my mother, much like these people at the border with hardly anything. What you have to understand is that, if a parent takes a child on a dangerous journey, puts them on their back, is willing to walk across deserts, that’s because the place they’re leaving is worse and more dangerous, and I just think we have plenty to share. And if you look at all the contributions that immigrants have made, you’re basically looking at what America is today, in whole, full stop.

AOC notes that four months later, everyone now refers to the Mexican border crisis as a ‘humanitarian crisis’. When Lakshmi spoke with Trevor Noah in March 2019, she said:

There’s no crisis. There’s no crisis. The only crisis is that we have a lunatic with a lot of power. That is the only crisis.

On Wednesday the 9th Circuit of Appeals voted 2-1 to deny a request from the Justice Department for an emergency stay of a lower court judge’s injunction blocking the Trump administration attempts to seize funds to build Trump’s wall by taking money from already in place to fund border projects in Arizona, New Mexico and California.

Diane von Furstenberg Raises $100 Million For New NYC Harbor Statue of Liberty Museum

Diane von Furstenberg by Alexi Lubomirski Statue of Liberty-2.jpg

Diane von Furstenberg Raises $100 Million For New NYC Harbor Statue of Liberty Museum

As fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg prepares to step down as chairwoman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America — turning over the position to Tom Ford — DVF celebrates her new role as chair of the fund-raising campaign for the Statue of Liberty Museum, which opened on Wednesday.

The designer is interviewed by friend Mellody Hobson, an African American businesswoman who is president of Ariel Investments and the former chairwoman of Dream Works Animation about her first job of raising $100 million for the Statue of Liberty Museum.


There’s something magical about the Statute of Liberty: She belongs to everybody.

Read more details at Harper’s Bazaar US. Photographer Alexi Lubomirski captures Diane with models Akiima, Charlee Fraser and Emmy Rappe honoring one of Americans’ (well most Americans) most cherished symbols of the country we want to be again, as a member in high standing of the international community.

Donald Trump and Beto O'Rourke Duke It Out In El Paso As Congress Works Against A New Shutdown

FORMER CONGRESSMAN AND POSSIBLE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BETO O'ROURKE MARCHED IN HIS OWN RALLY MONDAY. IMAGE: IVAN PIERRE AGUIRRE FOR THE TEXAS TRIBUNE

FORMER CONGRESSMAN AND POSSIBLE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BETO O'ROURKE MARCHED IN HIS OWN RALLY MONDAY. IMAGE: IVAN PIERRE AGUIRRE FOR THE TEXAS TRIBUNE

Donald Trump and Beto O'Rourke Duke It Out In El Paso As Congress Works Against A New Shutdown

As Trump spoke, O’Rourke led a march to a park just steps away from the coliseum. There, the former congressman and U.S. Senate candidate pressed his case — to raucous cheers — that El Paso is “safe not because of walls but in spite of walls.”

“We can show the rest of the country ... that walls do not make us safer,” O’Rourke said, arguing such barriers force immigrants to cross in more remote, dangerous stretches of the border.

“We know that walls do not save lives,” he added. “Walls end lives.”