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Obama’s foreign policy: Even a leftist president in USA pursues only capitalist-imperialist goals

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Entire world stands disappointed by the fact that the first ever black ‘lefty’ President of USA, a Nobel Peace prize winner laurite, did not do anything for the world peace. Obama, shrewd politician that he is, succeeded, however, in hiding himself behind the terrorism dramatics.

Except that President Obama diplomatically refused to bomb Syria in 2013 and terror attack Iran in 2015 against the advice of Neocons, rich American Jewish leaders and America’s Zionist lobbyists operating for Israel, even when Pentagon “specialists” actively supporting arms supply to Tel Aviv, he has always advanced the “traditional” policy militarism, capitalism and imperialism very faithfully and promptly put himself back into captivity.

Not that world had expected Obama to make America read with his new ‘leftist’ ideas. But he was not expected to be an untrustworthy leader he has turned out to be. Obama just enjoyed like Indian Pm Modi is doing now, happily touring the world.

Sugar coated lies

In late August 2013, with Barack Obama on the verge of launching retaliatory airstrikes against the Syrian military for its alleged role in a lethal sarin gas attack, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper informed the President that US intelligence doubted that Bashar al-Assad’s government was actually responsible, causing Obama to pull back from the attack. Obama refused to abide by the available official facts and announced that Assad had used the WMD against the civilians.

Jeffrey Goldberg’s opus for ‘The Atlantic’ on Obama’s foreign policy further revealed the details first, but possibly under pressure, Goldberg – in an extraordinary display of cognitive dissonance – then wrote the rest of his lengthy article as if he had forgotten his own reporting, now conformed to the powerful Washington “group think” that Assad had carried out the attack and thus had crossed Obama’s “red line” against using chemical weapons. They all wanted the extension of terror war in West Asia beyond Mideast and pressed President Obama to send forces to Syria and Iran forthwith. Israel quickly endorsed the view.

But that US intelligence lacked “slam dunk” evidence implicating Assad’s forces confirmed reporting of several outlets in 2013 underscoring how President Obama joined in lying to maintain the anti-Assad propaganda themes.

Not only did the White House issue a “Government Assessment” on Aug. 30, 2013, trying to pin the blame for the attack on Assad’s regime – and not only did Obama dispatch Secretary of State John Kerry to make the dubious anti-Assad case to the country – but Obama himself asserted Assad’s guilt in his Sept. 24, 2013 address to the United Nations General Assembly. That is the US presidential white lie. Obama said it’s an insult to ‘human reason’ and to the legitimacy of UN to suggest that anyone other than the regime carried out this attack, though the US President knew that many of his own intelligence analysts doubted that the Assad regime carried out the attack. Obama wanted to swim along with liars and frauds, terrorists and he did it voluntarily to keep the hardcore Neocons in good humors and save his own presidency from defeat in 2004.

Obama was asserting that much of the US intelligence community was either dishonest or crazy. But, more likely, Obama was just reading the words of a speech prepared by State Department propagandists who understood the need to knock down the growing suspicion that the attack was a provocation committed by the known “Islamist extremists” trying to trick the US super power to join the war on their side. And Obama did it voluntarily and willingly. Obama’s inner circle dictated a military response to foreign challenges like the Syria sarin case. Obama seems relished his refusal to speak the truth and save the humanity while endorsing the anti-Islamic insanity.

Obama knew for sure his words were deceptive but he didn’t have the integrity or the courage to strike them from the speech. He just went along like a willing puppet of the foreign-policy establishment mouthing falsehoods prepared for him rather than acting decisively as America’s Commander in Chief to protect his own and his nation’s credibility. Obama expected the media to boost his credibility anyway as the prestige of USA was in jeopardy.

While Obama’s passive-aggressive resistance to the military imperative mandated by the “Washington playbook” made some sense in a way, he eventually succumbed to its propagandistic tactics to justify war. That is US presidential childish behavior as he could not challenge the Washington establishment enough to explain to the American people that US intelligence analysts were uncertain about Assad’s guilt.

Obama knew ultimately only the powerful can let him win a second term at the White House. A cleaver manipulator Obama was not wrong in that approach to realpolitik. Instead, Obama allowed his subordinates to pile on the calumnies against Assad and he let those distortions go unchallenged and, indeed, reinforced them in his well prepared UN speech.

Skepticism

There was a lack of consensus about whodunit among UN officials and other international observers in Damascus despite the career risks that they faced by deviating from the conventional wisdom regarding Assad’s guilt.

In a world where propaganda is more influential than truth, discovering the origin of the chemicals that suffocated so many Syrians a month ago is an investigation fraught with journalistic perils’ Nevertheless, it also has to be said that grave doubts are being expressed by the UN and other international organisations in Damascus that the sarin gas missiles were fired by Assad’s army.

As one Western NGO put it ‘if Assad really wanted to use sarin gas, why for God’s sake, did he wait for two years and then when the UN was actually on the ground to investigate?’”

Later, American aeronautical experts calculated that the one U.N.-recovered sarin-laden rocket could only travel about two kilometers, not the nine kilometers that the Assad-did-it crowd was claiming would trace the flight path back to a Syrian military base.

If Obama had been baited into another war, the U.S. onslaught might have collapsed Assad’s military and led to a victory by the Islamic State and/or Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, creating an even worse humanitarian catastrophe in Syria and across the region.

Yet, despite knowing what he knew and understanding many of the risks, Obama went before the United Nations on Sept. 24, 2013, and declared that no reasonable person could doubt Assad’s guilt – a lie that has now been confirmed

Obama’s falsehood – expressed to the world community on such a weighty issue of war or peace – fits with the pattern of deceptions of President George W. Bush’s administration on Iraq and his own administration’s obsessive use of propaganda (or “strategic communications”) on a wide range of topics, including Libya, Ukraine and Russia.

However, in this pathetic narrative, Obama comes across less as a willful liar than a weak executive who won’t assert control over his own foreign policy or even cross out words in a prepared speech that he knows are false. Instead of taking command, he drags his heels on going to war in Syria, gets badgered by his own subordinates and by the Neocons-dominated foreign-policy establishment, before finally saying no.

Obama doesn’t even dare let the American people in on why he made the decision that he did.

Choiceless American People

Like people in Third World countries, Americans also suffer from their inability to control the elected representative in the government and opposition, in the US Congress and outside. They have reason to worry that even Israelis and their agents in Washington are able to manage the US congress and control the government but they simply can’t do anything about the US terror wars abroad as a practical but undisclosed foreign policy. American people have to share the blame for all illegal war operations launched the government at their cost but without their consent.

Obviously, the present two party system is not answer for plight of educated Americans and people have to see beyond the system.

In fact, world had expected Black Obama to take his case to the American people but he is not “authorized” to reveal the truth to public. He could have given a speech saying that war is too serious and solemn an act for a president to go off half-cocked. He could have said he would not launch military strikes since the US intelligence community wasn’t sure who was guilty for the WMD attack in Syria. But blaming Assad for it was seen a better strategy.

US government does not trust even the educated people who voted it with a mandate to rule the nation on their behalf. Americans have not endorsed any war thus far. The American people would have surely understood that point of view – and they would have been empowered by being brought in on what the US government knew and didn’t know. Obama feared it would have undermined the propaganda campaign then underway to demonize Assad

Democracy demands the rulers taken the people into confidence because the concept of an informed electorate is bad thing for modern state.

Enemies of Islam badly wanted to weaken Syria and Iran as the mainstream media and leading “human rights” groups who were heavily influenced by the core media, sought to enforce a “group think” justifying the launching of an American-led “humanitarian” war in Syria.

USA had learned nothing from the Iraq War disaster when virtually all the leading publications and nearly all the esteemed commentators had agreed en masse that Saddam Hussein was hiding WMD stockpiles and that a US invasion was justified. A decade later, these anti-war “journalists” showed no more skepticism when the Neocons were pushing another “regime change” in Syria.

The Obama government’s refusal to release any of its supposed proof to support its conclusions and the reason for keeping the DNI on the sidelines only meant there was no consensus in the intelligence community supporting the regime’s certitude that Assad’s regime was responsible. It also made no sense for Assad’s forces to use sarin outside Damascus just as U.N. inspectors were arriving to investigate cases of chemical weapons that Assad was blaming on the rebels. Obviously, the attention of the inspectors would be diverted to this sarin attack and American hardliners would use the incident to press Obama to launch a military strike on Assad.

USA, Russia and Mideast

Russia has demonstrated to Middle East leaders that it is a country willing to act, and when its war planes entered Syria to face US forces, the action completely changed the region’s perception of the USA as a knotty leader. Former top Obama White House aide on Middle East issues, Dennis Ross readily endorsed this view.

America may seem strong regarding its military capability in the region, but for some reason Arab leaders are becoming frequent visitors in Moscow, not Washington DC. Diplomat Dennis Ross noted that the Arabs as well as Israelis gave up on Obama because of his indecisiveness. “Because perceptions matter more than mere power: The Russians are seen as willing to use power to affect the balance of power in the region, and Americans are not,” he explained. According to Ross, the problem lies in Barack Obama’s different approach and view on the situation. He believes that the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan influenced Obama’s reluctance to apply force unless his country is directly threatened. It explains why he thinks Moscow will lose eventually as a result of its military operation in Syria.

The Russian military intervention turned the tide in Syria and, contrary to Obama’s view, has put the Russians in a stronger position without imposing any meaningful costs on them Middle East countries, including US allies, favor Moscow’s policy, the diplomat emphasized.

The Syrian operation didn’t just consolidate the position of Bashar Assad but in many respects pushed Moscow out of international isolation. Moreover, it is now President Obama himself calling Putin and seeking his assistance in pressuring Assad, making it obvious who has the stronger position. Middle Eastern leaders recognize it as well and realize they need to be talking to the Russians if they are to safeguard their interests. It would be better for Obama if, internationally, Putin were seen to be losing. But he is not. In order to remedy the situation USA has to perform a number of steps, including threatening Russia to develop safe havens with no-fly zones in Syria. Neocons want Obama to toughen declaratory policy toward Iran, preparing to arm the Sunni tribes in Iraq, etc as necessary actions to make USA reappear to be a formidable power.

That is Neocons and their Zionist allies in Tel Aviv are back to basics of extending terror wars to Iran.

Free thinking but confused Obama

Obama said the US-Russia relations should be recast with a better footing but with is Asia pivot he began targeting both Russia and China.

Obama’s conduct of foreign policy envisioned USA as weak nation as he agreed to covert weapons deliveries to Syrian rebels, who were operating in tandem with Islamist extremists, including Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, to appease the Neocons and the liberal hawks, though that strategy worsened the Syrian bloodshed and drove millions of refugees into Turkey and Europe. When Neocons Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland helped orchestrate the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected president in February 2014 and sparked a new and costly Cold War with Russia, Obama again went along.

Obama even joined in demonizing Russian President Vladimir Putin though Putin played key roles in two of Obama’s most important foreign policy successes, getting Assad to surrender his chemical weapons arsenal as a way to defuse that crisis and persuading Iran to accept tight limits on its nuclear program Rather than hold back Nuland and her cohorts as they pulled off a “regime change” on Russia’s border, Obama let this dangerous policy go forward, amid propagandistic charges of “Russian aggression” and personal insults directed at Putin.

Last year, when Islamic State terrorists blew up a Russian charter plane over the Sinai killing 224 people, mostly Russian citizens, Obama couldn’t resist citing the deaths to chide Putin for having intervened militarily in Syria in support of the government.

At a Dec. 1, 2015 news conference in Paris, Obama expressed his lack of sympathy as part of a bizarre comment in which he faulted Putin for somehow not turning around the Syrian conflict during the previous month while Obama and his allies have been floundering in their “war” against the Islamic State and its parent, Al Qaeda, for years, if not decades. It is hard to imagine any other time when a Western leader behaved so callously in the face of a terrorist atrocity. But mocking Putin is always good politics in Official Washington, no matter what the circumstances.

In early 2016, with Russian air support, the Syrian army notched victory after victory against the Syrian rebels, including Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and the Islamic State. The successes led to a fragile cease-fire and a delicate reopening of peace talks as well as to Putin’s surprise announcement that he was withdrawing the bulk of the Russian military force.

Rather than the pointless “quagmire” that Obama smugly foresaw, Putin seemed to have achieved a successful strategic maneuver at relatively modest cost, a marked contrast to Obama’s feeding the violence by having the CIA deliver weapons while also blocking his advisers’ more extreme war plans.

Yet, by failing to level with the American people about the relevant facts and his strategic reasoning, Obama continues to come across as a confused and conflicted chief executive. Obama put himself back into captivity over the past two-plus years, shackled at the feet of the Neocons and liberal hawks who still dominate Washington’s foreign-policy establishment.

Observation

Perhaps, more diplomacy- as it happened on Iranian nuke issue elegantly handled by the western powers – would have settled the matter in Syria too without such huge blood bath and exodus of Syrians thronging the European states. But the Neocons wanted a twin wars one in Iran and another in Syria. Though Obama averted a war in Iran with devastating consequences for USA in the long run, he could not avoid launching an unnecessary war in Syria, prompting Russia to intervene militarily and almost winning the war for Assad.

Obama has shown to his successor how to manage the capitalist-imperialist affairs.

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Why are some Muslims, from India to the U.S Voting against their Natural Allies

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Recent national elections in the U.S. and regional elections in India have presented an interesting conundrum. The numbers show that some Muslims, are voting in a counter-intuitive fashion. Given the rise of Islamophobia and right-wing religious nationalism, both in the U.S. and in India, one would surmise that Muslims would vote overwhelmingly to the left of center. But both, in India and in the U.S., many Muslims have however chosen to send a message to the center-left – your sympathetic rhetoric and your verbal condemnations of Islamophobia is not enough, we want to see concrete policies that improve our political and economic conditions. Neither the promises of Joe Biden, nor the fear of Hindu-nationalism is influencing their vote. These Muslims are, for sure, in a minority albeit a growing one. Politicians on the center-left may ignore them at their own peril.

In the U.S.

In the U.S., President-Elect Joe Biden’s campaign outreach to Muslims went far beyond that of any presidential candidate in the past. Biden’s campaign had a manifesto for American Muslims and a designated outreach person. Biden spoke at Muslim conventions and even quoted from Islamic scripture. He dropped an “inshallah” in the debates. Biden promised to end the so called ‘Muslim-Ban’ on day one and has repeatedly condemned Islamophobia. Biden spoke up for Uyghur Muslims in China and Kashmiris in India and has opposed the annexation of West Bank. He has promised to resume relations with the Palestinians and restore aid to them. Even Imran Khan, the PM of Pakistan, a self-proclaimed champion of Muslims, does not have such an impressive pro-Muslim curriculum vitae, he has repeatedly refused to speak up for the Uyghurs.

While a majority of American Muslims campaigned very aggressively for the Biden-Harris ticket and raised millions of dollars for the Democrats, the exit polls indicate that only 69% of American Muslims voted for them. On the face value that is a huge win, but if you look at in comparison to the past it is troubling. Despite the fact that Biden went far beyond any other candidate in his outreach to Muslims, and the Islamophobia of President Trump is well documented, Biden has garnered the least percentage of votes by a Democratic presidential candidate in the last four elections according to exit polls conducted by the Council on American Islamic Relations.
 A possible explanation for this relatively weak performance is that, for some Muslims his “iron-clad” support for Israel and his willingness to work with pro-Hindutva operatives in the U.S., make his opposition to Islamophobia sound less credible.  Words are not enough. If his electoral promises do not actually translate into actual policies, one can expect further decline in Muslim support for Democrats. American Muslims are a rapidly growing and politically engaged community that is over represented in swing states.

A closer reading of the exit polls suggest that things are worse than they seem. The exit polls show that while 17% American Muslims voted for Trump (up from 13% in 2016), 11% declined to reveal who they voted for. It is possible that they lean heavily towards Trump, hence the secrecy. That would mean that in spite of all his Islamophobic rhetoric, Trump may have doubled his support among American Muslims. One Trump supporter told me he voted for Trump because Trump did not invade a single Muslim country in four years unlike Biden who supported the invasion of Iraq.  

YearCandidateMuslim Vote
2008Barack Obama88%
2012Barack Obama85%
2016Hillary Clinton74%
2020Joe Biden69%

In Bihar

The recent elections in Bihar has an interesting story to tell. The state is clearly polarizing as most gains have been made by parties on the extremities. Prime minister Modi’s right-wing Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) went from winning 53 wins in the 2015 elections to winning 74 of the 243 seats in 2020. A significant swing in favor of Hindutva ideology. The Communist Party (CPI-ML) gained 9 seats, it had 3 seats in 2015 to 12 seats in 2020. The communist parties combined had a 400% increase, they went from 4 to 16 seats. The parties in decline are the so-called secular centrist parties. The Rastriya Janata Dal (RJD) which is the biggest single party in the state lost five seats (80-75) and the Indian National Congress (INC), the grand old party of India, also lost ground (27-19).

Clearly the secular center is shrinking. The biggest surprise of the elections was the performance of Asaduddin Owaisi’s All Indian MajlisIttehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), a Muslim party, which in the past five years has gone from 0-5 seats. The Majlis won in predominantly Muslim area of Seemanchal and is being accused by commentators of stealing the secular vote away from secular parties. Some are describing Majlis as BJP’s B-Team.

It is interesting that now in Indian politics, the code for Muslim vote is ‘the secular vote’. Indian Muslims are now the last line of defense for the rather rapidly shriveling secular space. The criticism of Owaisi and the Majlis for denting the prospects of secular parties in Bihar is both misplaced and inaccurate.  The question that is important is not why Owaisi’s Majlis, a party historically based in Hyderabad (South India) is contesting elections so far in the North of India. The key question is why are Muslims in Bihar voting for Majlis? A party that has no record of governance in their region.

In a speech months before the elections, Owaisi predicted a tectonic shift in Seemanchal’s politics and he said that it was coming because of the profound injustices and inequities that plague Muslims of that region. If secular parties that have governed the state for decades had delivered good governance to Muslims, Owaisi would have stayed at home.

Muslim Disillusionment

Muslims are increasingly disillusioned by secular and left politicians. Islamophobia was on the rise even before Trump became President and 37% of American Muslims, pre-covid pandemic, were found hovering near the poverty line. There is much discontent. I think just as 17-25% American Muslims voted for Trump rejecting the centrist politics of Democrats – many Muslims in Bihar too are frustrated by the failure of secular parties to improve their material condition. The region of Bihar where Owaisi’s party won five seats is the poorest and infrastructurally the least developed area of the state. Voting for secular parties for decades did not help them much. They have been voting without hope. They too are tired of the lip service.

Muslims of Bihar are fortunate that they have an alternative in Majlis and they are able to reject both Indian secularists and Hindu nationalists unlike some American Muslims who feel that they are stuck between Republicans who are Islamophobic and Democrats who promise much but deliver little. The minority of Muslims who appear to be voting counter intuitively, seemingly against their own interests, either for Donald Trump in the U.S. or the Majlis in Bihar, are clearly sending a signal to secular politicians – do not take our vote for granted, you need to earn our vote.

The center-left may be a natural ally of Muslims, but if it does not deliver for Muslims, they may lose their vote in ever increasing numbers.

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Which Coronavirus Policies Succeed, And Which Fail: N.Y. Times Analysis Confirms Mine

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According to an analysis by and in the New York Times on November 18th, which is headlined “States That Imposed Few Restrictions Now Have the Worst Outbreaks”, “Coronavirus cases are rising in almost every U.S. state. But the surge is worst now in places where leaders neglected to keep up forceful virus containment efforts or failed to implement basic measures like mask mandates in the first place, according to a New York Times analysis of data from the University of Oxford.”

At Strategic Culture, on May 21, I had published my own analysis, which was based upon tracking the data globally and within countries, and within the various states of the United States, which analysis concluded that countries (and states) which apply the least-stringent regulations in order to keep as low as possible the spread of the virus are failing the most to contain or limit that spread. I labelled those the “libertarian” countries, and I noted that what I called the “socialist” countries — the nations which were the most strictly imposing scientifically confirmed regulations in order to keep those numbers down — were having the best success at limiting the spread of this virus. My study was global, and its headline was “Ideology and Coronavirus”. Unlike the Times article, I was forthright about the ideological implications of the coronavirus data — because those implications are vastly important. (The handling of this pandemic is providing reams of data that test the effectiveness of the various locales’ predominant ideology at dealing with a global life-or-death years-long public-health emergency in regions throughout the world. This is like a global laboratory experiment testing the two opposite ideologies: libertarianism, which is against government regulation, versus socialism, which applies government regulation. No government is purely one or the other, but those are the two poles.)

The analysis in the Times article shows a chart, and represents on it almost all of the states, as dots that indicate both the amount of regulation which has been applied, and the lowness of the infection-rate which has resulted; and, at the upper left corner on it, are the two Dakotas, as “Weak recent containment measures and many cases,” while at the bottom rightmost corner is Hawaii as “Strict measures and fewer cases.”

The Times chart is showing, only locally within the United States, during just the past few weeks, what my analyses had shown, regarding not only the international and longer-term data, but also within the United States itself and recently, not only longer-term and internationally. One of my articles, on November 1st and titled “The Highest Covid-Infection-Rate States”, showed the infection-rate for all 50 states, and noted that, “In 2016, the top 17 [the states with the highest rates of this infection in 2020] voted for Trump, and the bottom 5 voted for Clinton. All but 3 of the top 24 voted for Trump, but from numbers 25 to 45, there was a political mixture. The highest infection-rate state, North Dakota, has a Covid-19 infection-rate that is 14.6 times higher than the lowest Covid-19 infection-rate state, Vermont.” Of course, the Republican Party (Trump’s Party) is the more libertarian Party, and the Democratic Party (Clinton’s Party) is the more socialist (though actually just as totalitarian) of the two Parties. (Both Parties represent only their billionaires, who also own and control the media; and this is the way that America’s aristocracy controls the Government. For example, the very pro-Democratic-Party website PoliticalWire quoted from and linked to the NYT’s article, but always fails to include any of mine, because I am critical against both Parties. Truly independent news-media are almost non-existent in the United States.)

Whereas the Times’s chart of “Avg. new cases per 100,000” failed to include Vermont, Vermont is the state that has, for the longest time, been among the best three on not only cases per million but also deaths per million, from this virus, and substantially better even than Hawaii, and both states are among the two or three that in recent decades have been the strongest for Democratic candidates, and the weakest for Republican candidates. However, Vermont especially is politically independent, and, so, it has a Republican Governor, Phil Scott, whose record on containing this virus has been the best in the nation; and he was just re-elected in a landslide, 69% of the votes (largely because of this terrific record). Right now, however, the number of daily new cases has shot up suddenly about fivefold in just the past week; so, Phil Scott’s record is in jeopardy. If that surge quickly ends, then he could become the strongest Republican to run against Kamala Harris or Joe Biden in 2024. He would not only receive almost all Republican votes (since that’s his Party), but also at least a third of Democratic votes, and almost all independent votes. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that he would be the likeliest to win the Republican nomination, because (just as is true about the Democratic Party) that Party’s billionaires will be making that choice. (It was blatantly true also with regard to Biden and Harris.) This epidemic will be a major political challenge both in 2022 and in 2024. Anyone who wants to see Governor Scott’s press conferences regarding this crisis, so as to know precisely what his coronavirus-policies have been, can see them here. His November 20th press conference is here. He and his governing team receive and answer there many intelligent questions, so that the policies which have led to the best results in America are amply explained there.

On November 16th in South Dakota (and then repeated nationally on National Public Radio on November 20th), reporter Seth Tupper headlined “Two States, Different Paths: Vermont Keeps Virus Low While Rivaling SD’s Economy” and provided a thorough report, including graphs of infection-rates over time, comparing two states, South Dakota, which has the nation’s second-highest infection-rate (after only North Dakota’s 9%) of 7.8%, versus Vermont, which has the nation’s lowest infection-rate, of only 0.5% — one-fifteenth as high. Tupper explained the different policies that the Governors of those two states had applied, and how those policies produced vastly different results for the infection-rates and the death-rates in their states’ populations, but only moderately higher increase in unemployment in Vermont than in South Dakota, which at the peak in April had reached 16% unemployment in Vermont, versus only 10% peak in South Dakota; and, by the time of August, both states had nearly identical low unemployment-rates. Whereas the death-rates from the disease soared around a thousand fold, between April and November, in South Dakota, the death-rate remained virtually flat, almost no increase, in Vermont, throughout that entire period. However, both states were now experiencing soaring infection-rates during the current, second, wave of the epidemic.

Author’s note: first posted at Strategic Culture

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Trump’s Election Shenanigans Pale Before The Threats From Melting Polar Glaciers

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Despite Joe Biden exceeding the magic number of 270 that guarantees a majority in the electoral college, President Donald Trump has not conceded.  Does he have a plan to overturn the wishes of the electorate? 

According to Trump he did not lose, he was cheated out of a legitimate win by voter fraud and ballot stuffing.  Accordingly, he has filed lawsuits in those critical states with narrow margins of victory for Biden — so far without tangible success — to block certification of the vote and persuade Republican legislatures to overturn the state vote as fraudulent and award the electoral votes to him. 

Trump’s window of action is narrowing.  A major target state was Michigan with 20 electoral votes.  However, Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer has now certified Biden’s victory meaning he should get its electoral votes. 

While Trump’s shenanigans continue, the world faces a real danger of melting ice sheets and glaciers.  A long term denier of global warming, Mr. Trump now accepts it but believes the earth will right itself without any effort by humans. 

Scientists meanwhile are particularly concerned with the Florida-sized Thwaites glacier in the Antarctic.  Its collapse they fear could destabilize surrounding glaciers eventually causing catastrophic global sea level rises measured not in inches but feet. 

The glacier rises 60 to 75 feet above water across its 75 mile face.  Remembering that 90 percent of it is under gives some notion of the quantity of ice.  The Nathaniel B. Palmer research vessel is conducting a survey this winter for the first time as part of a five-year international research program to learn just how fast the glacier is melting and how much it might be adding to rising seas. 

The problem is the shape of the glacier under the water and the warming waters eating away that core while the ice on top gets thicker and thicker as the glacier retreats inland.  At some point the glacier is likely to collapse of its own weight into the ocean.  Scientists who have modeled the scenario fear the process is unstoppable once it starts.  Worse it puts much of the West Antarctic ice sheet at risk of following it into the sea.  Any wonder then that Thwaites is also known as the Doomsday glacier. 

At the other pole the Greenland ice sheet had a record-breaking 2019, shedding the most ice since 1948 — an estimated 532 billion tons.  It of course increases coastal flooding along the eastern seaboard particularly the Carolinas and Florida.  Fortunately for the residents, the 2020 melt from Greenland, while well above the 1981 to 2010 average, was lower than recent years particularly 2019.

Donald Trump does not believe he lost the election and he does not believe in global warming.  Christmas is just around the corner and it’s reassuring to know he believes in Santa Claus . . . and the tooth fairy.

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