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Ten Things to Ponder in The Trump-Biden Race and What About Africa?

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One of my primary and secondary school classmates now a facebook friend ,said I was bold to say anything about the  U.S.Presidential race at this time.Afterall in key states it  has  and will take some long    days and   nights since polls closed in America this past Tuesday  before mail and absentee ballots are fully  counted. Every ballot hopefully in this unprecedented American turnout.  I hope mine will be among that critical number in Atlanta, Georgia. For Biden-Harris need I say or add?

What we have been hearing about mostly are the results of walk in poll voters and mail and absentee votes counts in progress. What the issue is happens to be the largeness of the swing states for the most part in the Midwest,and one each in the Northeast and Southeast as routes to Electoral College victory , the magic number 270 votes, which matters in American Presidential elections,  not the popular vote like in so many other democracies. 

Things have been tense to say the least with Trump trying to stop the legitimate vote counting and both Democrats and Republicans especially the later gearing up or actually filing recount law suits and counter suits. This was expected to happen given Trump’s sowing false seeds about election fraud and the Democrat Party’s Biden not making the year 2000 Gore and to a lesser extent, 2016 Clinton premature concession mistakes. More possible delays? Be patient,  who knows in this not as problematic election process as predicted though so replete with election reform needs which more than likely continue well beyond the old age of children just now being born.

Even in the midst of this Presidential election uncertainty there are 10 firm observations we can make at this time; including future implications for the continent of Africa depending who wins the White House.

Joe Biden- Kamala Harris were in mainstream media and pollster terms trending ahead of Trump-Pence for weeks if not months. So, my first solid  observation is the failure of the media and pollsters let alone academic experts in Presidential electoral politics, an  increasinly deepeening problem since the year 2000 election year getting worse by the  Presidential election year.

Both media and polling corporations while claiming impartiality and even scientific basis are increasingly the instruments of partisan big money interests disconnected from ordinary citizens values, attitudes, preferences, and real life conditions. There is this benign ignorance if not more than a bit elitist and ethnocentric presumption  among pollsters like survey methodologists in the  basic social and policy sciences that what people share with you, especially when you are a stranger is the truth.This is a deepening problem when there are cultural differences even in voice accents between interviewers and interviewees over the phone or particularly in  person when interviewer- interviewee voice tone differences are exacerbated with visible skin tone and gender differences. As well, there are always the problem of who consents to be interviewed and who does not and how who says yes may skew population representation. In our overzealousness to make poll results into our secularized sacred texts we forget all of these and other issues which contaminate poll data collection and analysis resulting in, to say the least, inaccurate statistical data presentations and predictions.

Trump actually improved his performance from 2016 in terms of the popular vote and among African American and Latino  especially male voters and white women.He ironically slightly underperformed with White men.He held onto dominating the rural and most of the  southern vote and lost as predicted mostly in the suburbs and big cities.Biden outperformed 2016 Clinton in  white middle and wealthy class suburbs in Wisconsin and Michigan and ate into Trump’s 2016 victories in those places. In both of those Midwestern States and in Pennsylvania and in Georgia, it is Biden team’s turning out big city  African American  voters which would be key to Biden being competive against Trump in those States if not eventually defeating him.Southern rural African American voters is a different story.

The economic and socioemotional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic did not  outweigh  the improvement of the economy and stock market performance for middle and wealthy classes and the  White working class in the Midwest. It is beyond amazement that despite being able to make more money during the past four years, the anti-scientific clowning of Trump regarding Corona which infected him and his followers,  tragically killing more than a few or their loved ones did not faze  a significant  number of his true believers enough to turn against him.But that is precisely how cults operate, though still amazing with no amusement to behold.

The Biden-Harris moderate ticket strategically errored in snubbing the left and youthful Latino leaders, especially Alexandria Ortiz Cortez and not knowing how to  strategically address the concerns of Black Lives Matter and the George Floyd protest in  creating  a coherent public  message about racial and class justice aligned with other quality of life issues in a deeply hurting society such as universal healthcare, guaranteed income, guest worker immigration policies, national moratorium on evictions,and law enforcement reform not only in regards to the police but to rehabilitation of the ex-incarcerated. It was inexcusable in how they allowed  Bernie Sanders and his followers to be demonized by the mainstream media and by  Trump and his Republican cronies and not push back agressively  against  them  in Miami Cuban, Haiti, and Venezuelan immigrant  communities regarding Socialism fears. It is a puzzle as to why the Democratic Party establishment has yet to get it in effectively recruiting and   mobilizing Latino voters in their various local and regional cultural identities and histories given their propensity to vote ,in fact ,moreso than African Americans . And even thinking they really can do without the Latino vote. This also points to the possible marginalization if not exclusion of Kamala Harris,  an African American Californian quite experienced with the powerful statewide Chicano leadership and electorate in the deliberations of  her Party’s and Biden’s strategizing in this case about the vital importance in mobilizing the Latino vote in its national diverse complexities.

While Republicans are into organizing and mobilizing their constituencies  and feeding their constituencies well  once in office as seen in the behavior of Trump and the Republican Senators who won or won again, Democrats are not so good about doing that. President  Obama was in most  respects a sporadic constituencies mobilizer and pleaser  ; nothing like mass rally obsessed Trump.During Obama’s  two terms, he was largely disconnected from two major constituencies which would be repeated by Hilary Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020 in being overly paternalistic and presumptive rather than engaging : young people and African Americans especially those in both constituencies who are  rural, poor, and undereducated.Ignoring their Latino constituency in its various ethnic regional dynamics cost Biden more than Clinton in the Midwest as well as in Florida.With this said, Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate indicates how out of touch he  is with his Black constituency base especially where it was most important, in the rural  deep south and poor urban north and west. Harris had little value addedness in rural areas where Democrats need to get with it in all over the country especially the South and Midwest, turned off African American and Latino men and had no common message with the African American poor especially in the deep south and in urban areas. Her California prosecutor background and tendency not to be transparent and even remorseful for her perceived bias against African  American men in criminal justice situations made her less than appealing among Black  men in and out of California.

African American Congresswoman Terri Sewell of Alabama with ten years federal electoral experience would have been a much better choice to pull in the Georgia and Alabama and even Mississippi African American vote not only for Biden but for the Senate races in those States.  The 2020 African American nonvote in the rural deep south and southeast was higher than in 2016 and in the 2008 and 2012 Obama-Biden election years. It is the reason why Biden has  struggled in North Carolina like in other rural African southern areas where Black folks did not go to the polls. In general, it speaks to the bourgeois  African American politician problem which is a Democratic Party taboo topic which Trump did exploit from time to time during the past four year such as  his boasts of doing much more for African Americans  than Barak Obama and criticisms of the impoverished urban constituencies of late Congressmen Elijah Cummings and John Lewis.Trump’s criticism could have been extended to the class difference problems bourgeois African American politicians  running for statewide offices like  twice Senator aspirant Mike Epsy in Mississippi and Governor aspirant Stacy Abrams in Georgia had relating to nonaffluent rural as well as urban potential voters and their communities. 

The United States of America is a conservative to the right of center country which Republicans represent and understand quite well while Democrat leadership may understand but refuses to engage through developing a big tent multiple ideology approach to party composition.  The pro-life, anti-abortion, heterosexual marriage and family, and evangelical religiousity moral views of the Republican Party is broadly appealing to millions of Nonwhite, especially African Americans  and Latino Americans as well as White Americans in ways which the Democratic Party neoliberal leadership refuses to acknowledge let alone respect. This has made it difficult for different thinking more moderate and conservative nonwhites to leave the Democratic party and become independent or vote Republican.Or be nonvoters.

Through our night to morning in Mauritius 9 to 12 hours ahead of the United States, there are changes as  mailed and absentee ballots are counted mostly leaning towards Biden in swing states such as Nevada  and Georgia which if won would give him the  6 electoral votes to win. If Biden does win, he will be faced with a Republican dominated Senate which means having to do much through Executive Orders and through his Cabinet Ministries .He will though  be able to use his powers to appoint more progressive federal judges and restore more positive international affairs like rejoining the Paris Climate Control Agreement and  sending out more collaborative Ambassadors and hopefully rebuilding the State Department. But House of Representatives vote results tell us that Biden will face an even more left of center House ,which will also be more challenging to the House aging moderate establishment ,  which he will be unable to snub.If Biden and Harris don’t find ways to share power with the left wing of the House and Democratic Party and if the Republican Party remains under the thumb of Trump white nationalism in defeat, we will probably see in 2024 third party emerge stemming from disgruntled persons from both dominant parties and independents feeding off the incredible unprecedented 2020  electoral energy with 102 million early voters. Remember Congresswoman Alexandria Ortiz Cortez turns 35 before election day in 2024, the minimal age to run for President in the United States. Just saying.

The bewildering question on the minds of many in the United States and around the world is how could this Presidential race be so close in the first place?There was no blue wave landslide morally repudiating four years of a Presidential administration renowned for its lying, fanning  racist divisiveness,  promotion of violence, and federal law bending and breaking let alone being just concerned about the wealthy and indifferent if not hostile to science in the midst of a virus which has infected  millions of us and killed tens of thousands of us while they have been more concerned with the politics of remaining in office.   Just being mean, nasty, and hateful as a crystallizing diffusive norm if not value being  transmitted by an amoral narcisstic indeed sadistic sick White House and being picked up and internalized by  our children and adults of all ancestries  and walks of life and those in the world who gulp down anything American. Though the guy is close to winning again, now remotely  but still possible.Why?

New York Times  columnist Thomas Freidman reminds us in his sobering essay on no matter who wins America loses about something mainstream elite media and public intellectuals let alone public policy makers have pointed out with too much reluctance but needs more transparency and effective problem solving.That is, the 2016 election of Donald Trump, his White nationalist base, and how close this election is with mostly  Whites supporting him regardless of their political ideologies and economic standing speaks of the massive White fear of the changing demographics of power and privilege from White to Nonwhite domestically and globally. The predictions of America becoming majority Nonwhite by 2060 is already here  already in so many significant ways and places as seen in the demographics of many major cities in America and in major higher education sectors such as elite private and public universities and community colleges and in public health and legal sectors as well as in consumer retail and other service areas. In the area of racial prejudice studies, the closeness of this Presidential race tells us volumes about the deep multigenerational roots in the character of how most of we Americans tend to be sociaized which will take much more than protest movements to eradicate authentically.It will be interesting to see what whoever wins does about systemic restorative justice transformation–Biden-Harris breaking out of the useless  patronizing neoliberal moderate approach to needed authentic restorative justice intercultural inclusive power sharing or Trump-Pence, lame ducks no longer needing White nationalists who swing more to the left as populists of expanding economic advantages to the White and Nonwhite poor as Trump has promised to do if re-elected. Otherwise we will continue to decline as a nation with paradoxical false smiles with prejudiced attitudes and covert prejudicial practices so well documented in notions such as the Brady affect and in this case being being politically correct liberals of all ancestries  and hues as well as White nationalists  spooked   with deep fears of  Racial Others  over running the country. 

About Africa, at first glance,  it makes little difference who wins, be it Trump-Pence or Biden-Harris, the continent will on one hand continue to be ignored and on the other hand approached in  obsolete patronizing Cold War ways. Biden’s neoliberal moderate campaign foreign policy statements read like Trump’s Making America Great Again but as a Cold War global interventionist wishing to reassert impositional American super power and should add White Supremacy hegemony rather than White Supremacy isolationism. Biden’s well meaning plans to reconvene such neoliberal colonialism will be met with a realignment of the world order now tilting East with China and India in the middle with emerging new global savvy African generational elites. Not the same world Obama and he did little to engage empathetically and negotiate in their emerging terms. While the Trump administration will do its level best to continue to ignore Africans, fight the Chinese like John Wayne would, and embrace  Prime Minister Modi of India and other nationalist leaders in the world, Biden will at least be willing to listen and learn. 

Our saving grace in all this is that as was shown though ignored in the Obama-Biden first term, the positive White elite response to the racial injustice messaging of the Black Lives Matter movement and the George Floyd protests is that there are powerful priviledged Whites ready and willing to join Nonwhite citizens in transforming America into an authentic rather than neoliberal cosmetic interculturally opening demorcracy. This is seen in the millions if not billions such inclusive justice White and NonWhite philanthropists are donating to racial justice causes though with needed guidance in how to construct national master  restorative justice dialogues and problem solving American government and civil society institutions of all levels must learn how to effectively design, implement, and monitor/ evaluate in ways never done before.

Either way no matter who becomes President, there is an opportunity for Mauritiusians and other Africans to strategically advocate their interests in American foreign policy circles. This will take more sophisticated understanding of how America works and does not work in public and private sectors in all levels of government and civil society; something which by the way the Chinese as a superpower is very poor at doing.This requires building in Mauritius and in other  African countries,  more savvy partnerships with American public and private institutions and movements which can help them better negotiate their interests be it education, climate control, health, etc. Rather than sitting back and waiting for Americans and other westerners to toss them any bones from the master’s table they want, Africans must boldly rise,  and write and deliver to the  helms of western powers like the next USA President what they want to do to promote their own interests as  vocal front seat drivers rather as  silent backseat passengers.In doing so, Africans in this day and age of the 21st Century in which Africans and Asians are globally centerfold, the response to our own empowering vision of ourselves as essiential sitters at global tables of power just may be the liberation we deserve to have to embrace to  liberate ourselves..finally.

Director Institute for Advanced Study of African Renaissance Policies Ideas ( ASARPI) SSR Chair of African Studies University of Mauritius

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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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