Vox’s Zack Beauchamp: Democracy threatens climate, planet and democracy!

Guest Ron White impression by David Middleton

Vox is always good for a laugh…

The right-wing populist wave is a threat to the climate
The Amazon rainforest fires reveal a lot about this political movement.

By Zack Beaucham Aug 22, 2019

The Amazon rainforest is on fire — and the consensus is that Brazil’s far-right populist leader, Jair Bolsonaro, is to blame.

Bolsonaro, who took office in January…


“Bolsonaro, who took office in January… is to blame”?

“The Amazon rainforest is on fire”?

As of August 16, 2019, an analysis of NASA satellite data indicated that total fire activity across the Amazon basin this year has been close to the average in comparison to the past 15 years. (The Amazon spreads across Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and parts of other countries.) Though activity appears to be above average in the states of Amazonas and Rondônia, it has so far appeared below average in Mato Grosso and Pará, according to estimates from the Global Fire Emissions Database, a research project that compiles and analyzes NASA data. (Note that while the chart label says 2016, the 2019 data is listed on all of the plots as a green line. Roll your cursor over the green 2019 block below the plot to isolate the 2019 numbers.)


Back to Zack…

Right-wing populism versus the climate
Bolsonaro has been dubbed the “Trump of the Tropics,” a far-right firebrand who shares the American president’s hostility to democracy… 



Zack, please explain how Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro came to be presidents of their respective nations? Here’s a hint:

Multiple Choice: The Constitution of these United States of America established…

  1. a direct democracy.
  2. a constitutional (representative) republic.
  3. an anarcho-syndicalist commune.

Back to Zack…

The American and Brazilian leaders are particularly aggressive on the issue, but they’re hardly alone among Western right-wingers. A February report from the German Adelphi Institute, an environmental think tankfound that 18 out of the 21 largest European far-right parties are either generally indifferent to climate action or outright oppose it.


As if I needed another reason to vote for conservative and/or libertarian political candidates.

Back to Zack…

By contrast, the centrist and left parties in these countries were, prior to the populist wave of the past few years, doing a markedly better job on addressing climate change — not perfect or sufficient, mind you, but comparatively much better than what the far-right parties want.


Zack baby… Do you just think this might be part of the reason for “the populist wave of the past few years”?

Multiple Choice: The populist wave of the past few years consisted of…

  1. Military overthrows of democratically elected governments.
  2. Corporate buyouts of democratically elected governments.
  3. Voters firing liberals in democratic elections.

Back to Zack…

Right-wing populism today centers on a particular kind of chauvinistic nationalism — an “America First” style obsession…


Zackie boy, it’s called “winning.”


Back to Zack…

This brand of populism poses a particular challenge for the effort against climate change. It’s a global issue that no one country can solve on its own; it requires collective action, negotiated through some forum like the Paris Climate Agreement.


This is a crucial time; a recent UN report claims we have 11 years to prevent “irreversible damage” from climate change.


Zack boy, did you even read the link to the “recent UN report”? I clicked on it because I figured you either didn’t read it or couldn’t understand the words.

Only 11 Years Left to Prevent Irreversible Damage from Climate Change, Speakers Warn during General Assembly High-Level Meeting
Ambition, Urgency Needed to Address Global Emergency, Secretary-General Says

Just over a decade is all that remains to stop irreversible damage from climate change, world leaders heard today as the General Assembly opened a high‑level meeting on the relationship between the phenomenon and sustainable development.

The meeting — held pursuant to General Assembly resolution 72/219 (2017) — will run through 29 March with a focus on protection of the global climate for present and future generations, in the context of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“We are the last generation that can prevent irreparable damage to our planet,” General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés (Ecuador) warned the gathering in her opening remarks, stressing that 11 years are all that remain to avert catastrophe.  Highlighting the meeting’s theme, Ms. Espinosa called for an intergenerational approach to climate change.  “Climate justice is intergenerational justice,” she said, calling on States to act collectively and responsibly.


UN Babble

A bunch of socialist politicians babbling is not a “report”.

Back to Zack…

Right-wing populists are often framed as a threat to Western democracy — and they certainly are that. But the stakes are even bigger than they appear at first glance: It’s not just the survival of Western democracy that’s at stake, but the planet itself.


Zack, you are too-fracking funny! Your confirmation that “right-wing populists are often framed as a threat to Western democracy,” is another article you wrote for Vox.

Regarding the planet…

WARNING: Lots of f-bombs and other colorful language.

The most serious threats to liberty and prosperity are people like Zack, who clearly think that democracy, liberty and prosperity are threats to democracy, the climate and the planet.

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August 26, 2019 11:08 pm

Oh, a quiz. …. 2 and 2. But to keep the little people happy, we pretend it is 1 and 3.
If a politician doesn’t do as told, the campaign funding will stop and he will lose the next election. In 2016 the media campaign failed and the deplorables voted for the “wrong” candidate. A new media campaign was started immediately to get the “mistake” impeached as soon as possible.

Reply to  RLu
August 27, 2019 2:03 am

Campaign funding is the tail that wags the dog. Congress critters spend a lot more time dialing for dollars than doing what they were elected to do. link It’s a big problem.

Politicians have to promise donors that they will fix whatever problem vexes the donors. They can’t actually fix the problem though. If they fix the problem, the donors won’t have a motivation to continue to donate.

If we fix campaign financing, the congress critters can go back to working for the interests of the people who elected them. Good luck with that.

Michael H Anderson
Reply to  RLu
August 27, 2019 8:01 am

For those who don’t follow Canadian politics, this is exactly what happened when Stephen Harper won. You can still see “Stop Harper“ stickers on power poles and light standards all over the country. It has never been explained what we were supposed to stop him from doing; recovering from the recession maybe, because he did a very good job at that. On the real side, the Rightful Rulers of the country were appalled that a conservative from Alberta could win. Disgusting anti-democracy lunacy from useful idiots, no offense but 100% imported from our neighbours to the south like everything else about our culture.

Reply to  RLu
August 27, 2019 8:43 am

We get it. They hate freedom. That’s the bottom line here. It also informs all of their other positions, such as on the Second Amendment.

August 26, 2019 11:10 pm

Since 2010, US Leftists hold the fewest number of: governorships, state/federal legislative seats and mayorships in 100 years.

US citizens are disgusted with lunatic Leftists running their states, cities and country into the ground with their idiotic virtue-signaling Socialist woke programs and are voting them out of office.

Leftists are completely devoid from reality and have absolutely no workable solutions to real societal and economic problems, so they create fake crises like CAGW to waste even more taxpayer money, and also to distract the people from the real problems they’re incapable of addressing..

To combat their huge loss of power, Leftists are now pushing for open-border policies to flood the country with illiterate non-English speaking 3rd-world illegal aliens of whom 80% will vote for Leftists once granted blanket amnesty…

Leftists are so pathetic.

The US is not a “democracy” it’s a Constitutional Republic. Democracies ALWAYS fail, which is why our founding fathers created a decentralized limited government with severe checks and balances to limit Democratic tyranny..

Reply to  SAMURAI
August 27, 2019 6:29 am

“US citizens are disgusted with lunatic Leftists running their states, cities and country into the ground with their idiotic virtue-signaling Socialist woke programs and are voting them out of office.”

Sadly, not in Washington State.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
August 27, 2019 7:36 am

Hang on, after Declass, most Democrats will be whistling a different tune!

Michael H Anderson
Reply to  SAMURAI
August 27, 2019 9:32 am

“The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”

Mencken had it right a long time ago.

Reply to  Michael H Anderson
August 27, 2019 10:47 am

Sadly, too few Americans can distinguish the truth…

Flight Level
August 26, 2019 11:29 pm

Democracy kills democracy ? Quite spot-on indeed.

My neighbor, a perfectly fine and always smiling retired housewife without other qualifications than the dedication to her family and afternoon TV, has the same right of vote on energy matters as my other retired neighbor, double PHD in physics and 35 years of nuclear power plant experience.

However voters of the first type hugely outnumber voters of the second type and, whoever has the most vocal absurdly made-up propaganda, wins the race by the virtue of democratically distributed incompetence.

Reply to  Flight Level
August 27, 2019 2:48 am

Flight Level

A point I have been making for years that few seem to have twigged to.

There is absolutely no point in speaking science to the first lot as they just don’t get it; which includes me, but I do try. Yet the abiding belief is that sceptics will win the debate by talking science to the second lot, which represents something less than 10% of the global population and therefore 10% of the vote.

No one needs a qualification to have a political opinion or, indeed, be a politician.

The left outsmarted us on this one by politicising the whole subject early. We’re beginning to catch up but is a long haul.

Flight Level
Reply to  HotScot
August 27, 2019 3:14 am

Sadly yes HotScot …

As far as I can understand the explanations by those competent in the field, a computer virus is a small bit of specifically crafted information able to infect the host, reproduce itself and search other hosts to infect.

A large number of infected systems becomes therefore vulnerable to remote control by those who started the infection.

Which is very similar of how the green propaganda operates.

Logically, an anti-virus of sorts is required to stop this malicious abuse of democracy.

David Chappell
Reply to  HotScot
August 27, 2019 8:07 am

In the Discworld novel “Small Gods” Terry Pratchett succinctly summarises the problem for sceptics:
“He just told them a lot of facts. You can’t inspire people with facts. They need a cause. They need a symbol.”
That is where the left won. I would only add fear to that. If you have nothing to fear from your god/cause/symbol you won’t take it seriously – it’s the Old Testament concept, god has to frighten you with everlasting hellfire to ensure your devotion. Logic plays little part in human belief systems.

James Schrumpf
Reply to  HotScot
August 27, 2019 5:52 pm

I am the only member of my family with a STEM degree (BS Geology). I am the only member of my family who regularly goes to NOAA to get the real temperature data, in whatever condition it is in, and tries to analyze what it’s telling us. I am the only member of my family who spends a not insignificant amount of time trying to figure out the difference between what the MSM says about a new paper’s release, and what the scientists who wrote it were actually trying to say.

So of course, I am the anti-science climate denier who thinks he knows more than the people who write about this stuff. It’s said lovingly, as though I am the dotty aunt who can’t really be let out in public, but it’s there.

I feel as though we skeptics are fighting a holding action, staving off the assault like Buford’s cavalry at Gettysburg, until the forces (of nature) arrive to demonstrate the utter wrongness of the enemy’s position.

Reply to  Flight Level
August 27, 2019 3:03 am

It is and therefore the Founding Fathers did not create the US as a democracy.

Johnny Cuyana
Reply to  Robertvd
August 27, 2019 11:35 am

Robertvd … hmmm, not sure from where you got that incorrect notion: that is, that we are not a democracy.

Note: there are more than several variants of a democratic govt, but, the ALL have at least one common core characteristic; where, we, the USA, are defined — in our Foundational National Documents — rather precisely as one particular form thereof.

In reality, FOUNDATIONALLY, our Framers established our USA as a democracy — the straight-forward English words describing our core democratic characteristics are right there in our DOI; where, further, functionally, the Framers of our USA Constitution — although a bit of a different “crop” of Framers — established us as a Constitutional Republic … that is, a democratic variant of a Constitutional Republic.

PS: most likely, we all have seen numerous instances, online and elsewhere, where there remain those who insist, incorrectly, that we, the USA, are a Constitutional Republic, but, not a democracy; but, yes, we are a democracy; where, our Constitutional Republic is a specific variant of democracy. I suspect that this false notion comes from an improper understanding of what a democracy is; where this misunderstanding is then compounded by many who have not read — or, have forgotten, or, even misinterpret — the precise words of our DOI and our Constitution.

PPS: Let it be known that, in my experience, much of the misunderstanding, regarding this matter, comes about because there is a misunderstanding of what an democracy actually is; where, once this is cleared up, the truth of the matter becomes obvious. In view of this, if so inclined, if one is interested in discussing this further, I ask that at first you submit your understanding of the core characteristics of a democracy … and take it from there.

James Schrumpf
Reply to  Johnny Cuyana
August 27, 2019 6:10 pm

There is no real distinction between a democracy and a republic, in common usage. Madison felt that a democracy was direct vote by the people, and a republic was representative government — but even among his peers there was disagreement on the matter.

I would leave the intended definition to the context of the use of the word. If someone says definitively “The United States is not a democracy,” it is meant that the US does not govern by direct vote on every matter. If someone says definitively “The US is a democracy,” they mean that the US is a representative government, because they know full well the US doesn’t govern by direct vote on every issue.

Hope this helps clear up the confusion.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Flight Level
August 28, 2019 9:22 am

Flight Level

“My neighbor, a perfectly fine and always smiling retired housewife without other qualifications than the dedication to her family and afternoon TV, has the same right of vote on energy matters as my other retired neighbor, double PHD in physics and 35 years of nuclear power plant experience.”


“competences” may get a trip hazard – i.e.

– the trip hazard is – who can fathom the depth and wides of his “competences”. And if this “competences” are appreciated by others.

The “competences” of a retired housewife obviously are appreciated by her family

– so she should have the same right of vote on matters that are of concern to her.

Mark Broderick
August 26, 2019 11:49 pm

Obviously, Zack would consider JFK a “far-right wing populist”…… D’OH !

Reply to  Mark Broderick
August 27, 2019 3:10 am

Doesn’t matter. Since 1913 everything is in control of the money printers in the temple. It doesn’t matter who you vote for, ‘politics’ (Big Government) stays the same. We The People have been without power for a long long time. Form 1040 tells you are just a slave.

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  Mark Broderick
August 27, 2019 3:15 am

Anything not left is by their definition is far-right-wing. Canada too has its far-right-wing-populist, Maxime Bernier and his PPC. Actually, he’s Libertarian and has occupied the space vacateed by the “Conservative” party. which is imitating all the other four left-wing parties. The establishment’s response is to ignore him, prevent his publicity, he doesn’t exist.

I’ve said for aa long time that “global warming” is political, to “noes” and “shock” from those I’m talking to, but they keep on proving it.

As to the science, it is settled. Climate changes all the time, has done so all the time and will continue to do so for the rest of time. Politicians cannot control the weather, let alone the climate.

Joel O’Bryan
August 27, 2019 1:07 am

Now you’re just picking on the mentally handicapped.
Zack Beaucham is likely just a product of a “common core,” propaganda-rich, dysfunctional education system that programmed him to his current “full retard” state.
“Full retard” is what Vox requires of its reporters.

August 27, 2019 1:43 am

“Democracy threatens climate, planet and democracy!”

Well the sooner we have tyranny the better then…..

Maybe they believe it’ll be a benign dictatorship I guess.

Dan Cody
August 27, 2019 2:03 am

Comedian Gorge Carlin is awesome.God rest his soul.

michael hart
August 27, 2019 2:21 am

Same old same old. The people you don’t agree with getting elected is somehow a threat to democracy, the planet etc etc.

Dan Cody
August 27, 2019 2:51 am

Message to the left wing radical liberals: Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things.

Ron Long
August 27, 2019 3:23 am

Good posting, David. As I read through the comments from Zack, I thought how much of Alinsky’s “Rules For Radicals” is included in the socialist movement utilizing CAGW as a cover issue. Democratically-elected conservatives have somehow become fair game for anything the losers wish to hurl at them, including a fist. When I bought a MAGA hat at Trumps Doral Resort in Miami, they told me to be cautious where I wore it. MAGA hats and concealed-carry go well together.

Doug Huffman
August 27, 2019 3:27 am

All foretold in the Ancient Greek struggle between evil Athenian mob rule and the Spartan’s oligarchy, as told in The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes (Mogen Herman Hansen) and The War Like No Other: How Athens and Sparta Fought the Peloponnesian War (Victor Davis Hanson). MUST READS!

Reply to  Doug Huffman
August 27, 2019 7:56 am

I’ve referenced your note below.

August 27, 2019 4:09 am

The funniest part of this whole thing was 6 of the 7, G7 countries promising $20M USD to help with the fires … no that is an M not a B. By the time the $20M USD goes thru the various organization and admin it will probably come down to a couple of bucks and might buy a snack for a fire fighter.

Not surprisingly Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro accused France of treating Brazil like a colony. It is alright for all the G7 nations to decimate their forests and then seek to lecture another country on management. He actually said a comment that I said a couple of articles ago on the fires in rejecting the offer, “that France should use the money to reforest Europe.” The hypocrisy from France and Germany on this matter is stellar and it should be called out.

So the best we can raise for the eco warrior most serious climate issue of the Amazon burning is $20M USD … Impressive isn’t it and the poor little greenies are crying :-).

Reply to  LdB
August 27, 2019 6:42 am

I couldn’t agree more.

Europe should get their own house in order before they start dictating terms to Brazil. They need to regrow the massive pan-European forest that their ancestors razed. Then they might have a leg to stand on in regards to the Amazon.

Or how about they concern themselves with the climate catastrophe in their own back yard, the Siberian wildfires that have, according to conservative estimates by the Russian government, burned an area of 3 million hectares of forest (an area about the size of Belgium). Environmentalists sources estimate the area burned is 12 hectares. Now THAT is a legit catastrophe, much worse than some farmers in Brazil burning some grasslands near the Amazon in order to get ready for for next years crops. Yet Manny Macron and the rest of the western European leadership haven’t had boo to say about that.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Steve
August 27, 2019 10:34 am

This is a good point. Have Europe turn half their farmland back into forest and before lecturing Brazilians how to live.

The CBC has the Amazon being the “lungs of the world” (again) even though it produces no surplus oxygen. Oxygen comes from the plants in the oceans, most of it. As the field stover burns, they should “tropical forest is burning.” Classic.

[Funny] Fully how Europe gets to be urban and urbane while the colonies should be preserved in the “native state”. What’s wrong with “native states” in Europe? If the Euro states are so beneficial, how can others be prevented from developing similarly? By coercive denial, that’s how.

If France wishes people to work a 35 hr week and retire a 55, so be it, but that doesn’t mean Brazil has to cough up the economic difference needed to be viable, in the form of exploited profits and low wages. Brazil’s message is simple: “Europe, be like an olive: find a pimento and get stuffed.”

August 27, 2019 4:21 am

you are setting yourself up for the rocket surgeons at VOX to sick their legion of mind numbed millennial morons (at least the one’s that haven’t yet figured out VOX is just crony capitalist, corporatist shills).

They could motivate 10 , maybe up to 20 people to put down their bongs long enough to try to dox you, boycott your advertisers and try to deplatform you for potentially “mis-gendering him… for calling him “Zackie boy”.

We don’t know his preferred personal pronoun.

Bruce Cobb
August 27, 2019 5:04 am

If there wasn’t a climate emergency, the leftards would have to invent one.
Oh wait, they did.

August 27, 2019 5:40 am

Does anyone find it hilarious that Europeans, who completely denuded their continent of forests over the centuries/millennia, now have the audacity to lecture Brazilians about how they treat the rain forests? The stench of colonialism is still strong with them.

You know what would counteract deforestation in Brazil? RE-forestation in Europe. Why doesn’t Macron order his own farmers to abandon their fields and allow the European forests to regrow in his own country? Perhaps it’s because they would grab their pitchforks and torches and run him out of the country? Dictating to those ignorant savages in Brazil how to use their land is much safer. Same goes for all those European countries generating electricity with biomass. How about they stop burning trees / wood pellets from the Americas for fuel? Why is it OK for European governments to burn trees for fuel, but beyond the pale when Brazilian farmers burn their fields? How about they PLANT some trees instead. And don’t even get me started on palm oil.

European governments are massive hypocrites when it comes to the natural carbon sinks we refer to as forests. They are all for burning and deforesting when it suits their needs, but heaven forfend that those silly Brazilians should do the same. Do as we say, not as we do (have done).

Tom Abbott
August 27, 2019 6:22 am

From the article: “The Amazon rainforest is on fire — and the consensus is that Brazil’s far-right populist leader, Jair Bolsonaro, is to blame.”

You mean the consensus on the Left. The political Right doesn’t see it that way, I would bet.

Another example of a leftist presuming to speak for everyone. Leftists have a hard time imagining that anyone could see the world differently from them. They think most people see it the way they do with a few exceptions who are either mentally ill and are incapable of rational thought, or are evil because they deliberately oppose the Leftist viewpoint.

There’s only one way to view the world, according to the left: Their way.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
August 27, 2019 9:36 am

Consensus. They keep using that word, but I don’t think it means what they think it means.

Tom Abbott
August 27, 2019 6:38 am

Excellent responses to Zack Beauchamp’s dumb remarks, David!

August 27, 2019 7:34 am

But isn’t “Democracy” what the Democrats are trying so hard to preserve?
Aren’t the Democrats saying Trump is going to destroy “Democracy”?
I’m so confused! 😕

August 27, 2019 7:54 am

Your comments about the differences between Athens and Sparta can be added to.
Spartans were stoic because they had no money.
Athens was virtually sitting on one the greatest silver deposits in history. The Laurion Mine.
One can speculate that with a strata-bound deposit there would be rich layers and then blank layers.
And Athen’s prosperity would vary accordingly. But democracy was more prevalent with prosperity than with Sparta’s asceticism.
The classical world’s “Golden Age of Democracy” rested upon a rich silver camp.

August 27, 2019 9:22 am

According to the left, it’s only democracy when they win.

August 27, 2019 9:27 am

Right wing is a threat to democracy. That’s because whenever anyone who isn’t a socialist wins, the left threatens to overthrow the results of the election in order to regain the power that they regard as rightfully theirs.

Doc Chuck
Reply to  MarkW
August 27, 2019 11:54 am

Leftist ‘democracy’ is demonstrably the ‘just do as you are told’ means to install their own preferred despotism, and in no way resembles the appealing broad popular accord recognized as politically stabilizing by those they intend to mislead.

Reply to  MarkW
August 27, 2019 1:25 pm

Indeed yes.

Evidence – Brexit.
The caterwauling by those who describe themselves as ‘Democrats’ – and some are “Liberal Democrats” – in the UK, not liking the result of the biggest popular vote in UK’s history, appals.
And they’re mostly lefty, ‘one-government’, types, with no role for the populace [except pay taxes!].
To quote –
“That’s because whenever anyone who isn’t a socialist wins, the left threatens to overthrow the results of the election in order to regain the power that they regard as rightfully theirs.”
Thank you MarkW.


James Schrumpf
Reply to  auto
August 27, 2019 7:19 pm

The short version is:
One person
One vote
One time…

Russ Wood
Reply to  James Schrumpf
August 28, 2019 8:55 am

Yeah! That’s Africa, baby! (Speaking as a resident of the Southern Tip).

Mike H
August 27, 2019 12:16 pm

This is the same Zack that once wrote a Vox article claiming there is a bridge between Gaza and the West Bank that Israel restricts traffic on.

Russ Wood
Reply to  Mike H
August 28, 2019 8:57 am

That’s a gateway between Israel and Gaza, and during the last ‘war’, the only time the gate was closed to supplies entering Gaza from Israel was when HAMAS dropped mortar bombs on it… (From A UN report).

Roger Knights
August 27, 2019 10:17 pm

“Brazil’s far-right populist leader, Jair Bolsonaro,”

Leftists often—usually?—call right-wing politicos “far-right,” a transparent (except to leftists) smear. IOW, anything right-wing is too far. “Far-right” should be reserved for armband wearers, or their equivalent. Say Golden Dawn in Greece.

John in Oz
August 28, 2019 7:56 am

protection of the global climate

I would like to hear his description of ‘the global climate’ which he is at pains to protect.
Which of the large number of regional climates is the right global climate.
As usual, words have no specific meaning other than to excite the audience to his point of view.
Never mind the quality, feel the width.

the centrist and left parties in these countries were, prior to the populist wave of the past few years,

It is also funny that he thinks ‘populist’ means right-wing only. How were the left parties voted in if not with the popular (populist) vote?

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