Like many of you I am getting exhausted and deeply disturbed by what has happened in the United States the last eleven months. Frankly, I am done, emptied, and worn out repeating myself on how and why a top first-world country is losing the Biological War, getting its ass handed to them on morgue-trolleys to be more accurate, and why in any war, any life-or-death conflict, it is paramount to have the finest, most efficiently organized leadership and supporting staff to offer a decent to good chance of victory. This is not a newsflash or Quantum Physics in the annals of warfare! Duh, right? Looking back, these were the reports our “Commander-in-Chief” spoke to all of us cannon-fodder:
And yet here we are. 😞
I will simply list below my past blog-posts since March 27th, 2020 about Coronavirus and our nation’s severe lack of federal leadership during a biological/viral war in a most UNPRECEDENTED death-toll that is now over 261,790 Americans and counting, most of which that did NOT have to die so prematurely and alone, secluded from loved ones! What is worse, what is deplorable is that our federal and state leaders were warned repeatedly about this attack/invasion starting in December 2019 and January 2020. They (tRump and his Trumpanzees) did nothing but proclaim “it would go away, disappear” or falsely report “we are turning the corner, we have it all under control.” But in private the President tells a completely different story:
Yet, because of inhumane party/political ideologies we will likely lose near 300,000-plus more Americans total by the Spring of 2021. That is simply because the United States has had incompetent federal leadership since January 2017. Period! He and GOP leadership gave up on a deadly war, needlessly wiping out thousands upon thousands of Americans. Back in January–March 2020, if necessary preparations had been made for a biological war, there is no way the death and suffering would’ve been anywhere near this bad, this deadly, this economically devastating! There is no other narrative for this remarkable, catastrophic year of 2020 by the tRump Administration.
Now for my posts revisiting this historical disaster of American Republican leadership of unprecedented proportions going back to February 2020. What is more deeply disturbing is that over 73.8 million Americans voted for this 6th-grade moron this November and more cannon-fodder Americans put him in the White House back in 2016! This is beyond comprehension for a nation such as the USA. Does the informed American voter today have any level of accurate foresight, critical-analysis, or desire to vote for the BEST candidates that serve the Constitution first while also serving and protecting the American cannon-fodder people during a lethal Biological War!? It seems not; 73.4 million votes say otherwise.
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In-Your-Face Independence, Texas Style — (March 2020) Proud Texans show off their audacious, deluded rebellion to health authorities and scorn proven microbiology and virology as COVID-19’s global pandemic knows no political ideologies.
Cash-worshipers vs. COVID-19 — (April 2020) The madness, the sheer ignorance, or insanity of this modern life, of human complacency and certain human logic often cannot be fathomed.
A Salute Before the Storm — (May 2020) This past week our U.S. Navy Blue Angels flew over north Texas in a fanfare salute to all our front-line healthcare workers. But was it a salute?
Color-coded Alerts? — (May 2020) Is a new Color-coded public alert system for COVID-19 severity or declined doomed or set for success in the fight against and management of the pandemic? Share your thoughts.
It’s Over, We’re Free! — (May 2020) Nothing can stop self-absorbed Americans from celebrating big for Memorial Day weekend. Not even a deadly airborne virus.
May 22-25, 2020 — (July 2020) Happy remembrance of Memorial Day Weekend foolishness everybody on this 4th of July, 2020!
From Rope to Threads – (August 2020) How long can this go on? How much longer are Americans expected to outlast and survive this global and national crisis? Let’s hope November 2020 is a glimmer of hope.
“Totally Under Control” — (October 2020) 210,000 Americans dead and counting. That is the biggest factual catastrophe American voters need to remember Nov. 3rd, 2020 at the voting polls. Exponentially more killed than 9/11 and could’ve been much much less.
What Invisible Killer? — (October 2020) As the U.S. begins its third major surge in COVID-19 just a one or two weeks in, the nation has another problem: American football fans from high schools to the NCAA, and its wealthy NFL.
Out of Respect For – (October 2020) Many of the current 233,000 PLUS American deaths by coronavirus, if not most of them, could have been saved. But who really cares?
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If he is not poorly leading this country through one of its most historic biological wars, or delusionally obsessed with voter fraud and a stolen election, then he plays golf. Yes people, golf, and probably bad golf at that! And did anyone stop to think and ask “If widespread election cheating and dead people voting went on this October-November, then why isn’t the Trump Legal Team suing other state election committees where he barely won?“ Wouldn’t that make your legal cases appear more truthful, more honest?
I am beyond words now, beyond comprehension of how so many Americans put this imbecile in control of our safety and lives. Clearly this subpar human being has stayed true to his long, well-known history of megalomaniac narcissism and has never shown a shred of empathy or sympathy for ALLof his fellow Americans.
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Critical-thinking Skills!
Thursday, Nov. 12th, Qin and I took a much needed morning and afternoon to stroll lazily through the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. We did strictly observe, of course, all necessary COVID-19 protocols for health and safety, not just for ourselves, but for all other park guests as well. It was tricky sometimes to keep 6-8 feet away on a few narrow bridges and pathways, but we did the best we could. Yes, there were a couple of occasions where other park guests were oblivious to how exactly 6-feet measures out—they seemed to ridiculously think it was 2-3 feet—and two park workers who thought it was 1-2 feet and supposedly no mask was required for one grounds-keeper. Hence, due to continued negligence by others our visit was not entirely tranquil nor altogether safe.
If the park wants to stay open for reasons of profit and revenues, then its authorities really must employ a regiment of security-like roaming guards monitoring guests’ compliance to safety measures. I am also quiet sure the 66-acre park (0.267 sq. km) allowed too many paying guests inside. This was hugely disappointing and shocking. I guess it doesn’t matter because over 73.6 million Americans voted Nov. 3rd for an incumbent of sheer ignorance, sheer denial, and subhuman wanting more and more needless deaths. But enough talk about our out-of-control pandemic and suffering; unimportant right? 😟 Let’s move on to the beauty and splendor of our planet and these botanical gardens shall we.
Qin and I brought along a cooler of Fuji apple slices and fresh-cut pineapple wedges for a noonday snack. Qin toted her thermos of freshly boiled (sterilized) water—a lifelong habit she formed when growing up and living in China. Not that she needs to do it in Dallas, but it’s a habit of comfort for her. I don’t mind. I find it exceedingly safe and charming. 😋
When we reached our designated parking lot and Gate-number, showed our prearranged, electronic time-slot admission receipt, we began the morning stroll and tour of this award-winning Arboretum. It would be a 4-hour respite from 12-days of self-appointed “Stay Home” orders, not to mention for the sake of our mental well-being on top of 10-months plus COVID-19 fatigue. We began at the organic restaurant A Tasteful Place, The Edible Verdant and Scenic Overlook (see below).
As we wound our way out and to the three nearby large lawns and beds of the Jonsson Color Gardens, a challenge was made. We both agreed to have a photo competition: Who could capture on our phones the best images and videos of our Arboretum Day. We wanted you readers to vote on the five images you like most. But before I get to those photos, I created a 6-minute video highlight of our day:
Making our way to the second lawn and bed Qin takes a cozy sit next to William Shakespeare on his bronze writing bench, “你好，威利。” (Nǐ hǎo, wēi lì. or Hello Willy). With a stiff grin and the usual iambic pentameter Willy answers:
That time of year thou mayst in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
William Shakespeare – Sonnet 73
Ladies and Gents, time for the contest and collection of images we captured. Now here’s the rub. We have a total of 29 images. Obviously, I could not put each photo into the post-content; your loading time for the page probably would’ve lasted a snail’s pace 5-7 minutes depending on your connection, right? I did not want to torture you all. 😉 If I had tortured you that way, then you could’ve just clicked on a “Thumbs up” button “👍” on each photo to vote on your favorite fiveimages. That would’ve been most convenient for voting, I know. But I had to make a choice: A)torture all of you with a slow page-loading time, or B)fast page-load, jot down your favorite five photos, and put them in your comment at the bottom. I went with the latter. I hope you agree with my decision.
Therefore, as you are going through the images below, at the bottom-left is the photo number, e.g. #1, #9, and so on. Make a note of the number, collect your FIVE (5) favorites, and leave a comment at the bottom with your selections. After a few weeks, with your help, we’ll see who wins the photo challenge, Qin or me, the Professor. At that time I’ll post and reply to all you wonderful participants as to who won the Fall Day at the Arboretum Contest. Good? Good. Thank you for your understanding! Now, off you go with your votes please!
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always — Wear A Mask!
As the 2020 Presidential election Nov. 3rd dragged on through the night and into the morning, then afternoon of Wednesday with no outright winner, by Thursday, Nov. 5th I noticed something on the various election maps displayed in newscasts on TV, online, and in various political articles of the United States’ two-party system. The color-coded 50-states and various key swing states of Red or Blue, or trending to Red/Blue, and then the many counties within each of those states going Red or Blue, one thing seemed consistent in all of the states.
Just as large Red-Blue maps showed in the elections of 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and then again in 2016 and once again Nov. 4th, 2020 it became clear that for reasons not fully known to me—although I had an educated hypothesis why at the time—most all urban areas, counties, and major cities tended to go and have gone for decades to Democrats (Blue). The rural areas and counties tended to almost always go to Republicans (Red). How interesting.
The distinction is not only stark, but it has also been the evolving political landscape in America for a number of decades (see below slide-show of swing states). Why is that? What is going on with large metropolitan areas and what has gone on in those populations? What has been happening in rural counties? And why do many suburban areas flip-flop between the two parties every 2-4 years? Matt Grossmann at the Niskanen Center in Washington D.C. says “Election maps are showing stark divides between liberal cities and conservative countrysides, advantaging Republicans in our geographic electoral system.” Advantaging Republicans? I wanted to further understand why these clear political demographics have become so predominant, so unmistakable. Here is what I found, the data according to several scholars and political savants explaining population densities and how those densities shift on the political spectrum.
There was another data-set I was also interested in myself, personally, to see what correlations might be shown pertaining to the education levels attained by rural residents, suburban residents, and urban residents. Was there any patterns of education correlating to population densities and political affiliations? What I discovered was also quite stark and unmistakable. But lets first examine the dynamics of population densities and their political alignments.
U.S. Population Densities and Political Divides
Jonathan Rodden is a professor at Stanford University in their Political Science Department. He is a graduate (BA) of the University of Michigan, Fulbright student at the University of Leipzig, Germany, and a post-grad (PhD) in Political Science from Yale University. He works on the comparative political economy of U.S. institutions.
Rodden draws back to unionized industrial railroad hubs, but he finds that today’s growing divisions reflect the changing cultural values of the parties’ new coalitions. Will Wilkinson of the Niskanen Center finds that U.S. geographic areas are becoming economically and psychologically distinct, with cities concentrating those open to new experience and working in the technology-driven economy and rural areas, retaining those averse to social and economic change. They both find our geographic divide central to contemporary politics, including the election of Donald Trump. Wilkinson says urbanization and geographic polarization help explain where we are today.
In his research at the Niskanen Center Will Wilkinson finds:
…that we’ve failed to fully grasp that urbanization is a relentless, glacial social force that transforms entire societies and, in the process, generates cultural and political polarization by segregating populations along the lines of the traits that make individuals more or less responsive to the incentives that draw people to the city. I explore three such traits—ethnicity, ideology-correlated aspects of personality, and level of education achievement—and their intricate web of relationships. The upshot is that, over the course of millions of moves over many decades, high density areas have become economically thriving multicultural havens while whiter, lower density are facing stagnation and decline as their populations have become increasingly uniform in terms of socially conservative personality, aversion to diversity, and lower levels of education. This self-segregation of the population, I argue, created the polarized economic and cultural conditions that led to populist backlash.
Since the start of the Industrial Revolution (1880’s) the American GDP (gross domestic product) has moved from a primarily agricultural economy in the Southern and Midwest states, and a manufacturing economy in the Northeastern states to a much more heavier manufacturing GDP by the end of the World Wars (1918, 1945) and significant decline in agricultural regions. For various economic factors the Midwest states moved more and more from family-owned agrarian farms to buy-outs by large corporate farms such as the six biggest: TIAA-Cref, BlackDirt, Hancock Agricultural Investment Group, American Farmland Company, AgIS Capital, and Gladstone Land Corporation. Over the last century and a half this has contributed to a gradual stagnation or decline in rural America.
By the end of the 1980’s and 1990’s the American job-force and GDP had shifted from a heavy manufacturing economy to one of an information economy and knowledge-based work. This nurtured an increasingly higher job-demand for highly skilled, highly educated workers and a departure from a less skilled, less educated service workforce. This has concentrated our higher economic production counterintuitively. Our shift from agrarian to manufacturing to an information, knowledge-based economy actually facilitated the dynamics we see today: talking and working from hundred of miles away. What is more ironic is that this latest shift did not usher the death of distance or mobilization, it actually amplified the many advantages of clustering highly educated, highly skilled workers together. As Will Wilkinson explains:
…the productivity of better educated workers is augmented more by each new technological development. But the productivity of those people is enhanced yet further by being near other people with similar skill sets.
In other words, many creative, highly skilled, highly educated workers all bumping heads weekly, challenging each other, enhances all aspects of ingenuity, cutting-edge research, and an inspired workforce on most occupational levels. This is less so and a bigger challenge in rural areas where seclusive lifestyles or aversions to diversity, and sheer distance prohibits many social and economic potentials for that community. To be more candid, removing one’s self from constant opportunities to learn, evolve, compete, and engage with those different than you increases ignorance and chances of social-economic extinction.
If you are able to read or listen to the 51-minute podcast on the Niskanen Center’s website hosted by Matt Grossmann (here), then I recommend it. It thoroughly explains at least two contributing factors to the United States’ current polarized politics. Finally, Will Wilkinson surmises two poignant reasons why Donald Trump was able, against all political odds and predictions, to win the Presidential election in 2016. Wilkinson’s last bullet-point is particularly telling:
Related urban-rural economic divergence has put many lower-density in dire straits, activating a zero-sum, ethnocentric mindset receptive to scapegoating populist rhetoric about the threat of “un-American” immigrants, minorities, and liberal elites who dwell in relatively prosperous multi-cultural cities.
The low-density bias of our electoral system enabled Trump to win the majority support in areas that produce just 1/3rd of GDP and contain less than 1/2 the [U.S.] population.
Education Levels Attained in Rural, Suburban, and Urban America
As I mentioned in my opening paragraphs, with the last five Presidential elections and this one in 2020, all of them have unequivocally shown that with population densities rural counties in America go almost always Republican, and urban counties go Democratic, with suburban counties fluctuating every 2-4 years, I asked What are the highest education levels attained by those resident voters?
In an April 2016 report by the Pew Research Center it found many interesting distinctions between America’s Republican (Conservative) and Democratic (Liberal) voters.
Highly educated adults – particularly those who have attended graduate school – are far more likely than those with less education to take predominantly liberal positions across a range of political values. And these differences have increased over the past two decades.
Among adults who have completed college but have not attended graduate school (approximately 16% of the public), 44% have consistently or mostly liberal political values, while 29% have at least mostly conservative values; 27% have mixed ideological views.
A 2018-2019 Pew Research Center report found that among registered voters in the same period, 41% with post-graduate work identified as Democrat, 37% as Independent, and 20% as Republican. Those registered voters with a four-year bachelor’s degree 34% identified as Democrats, 38% as Independent, and 26% as Republican. By contrast, 2018-19 registered voters with only a high school diploma or less, 34% identified as Republican, 31% as Democrat, and 31% as Independent (click herefor report). For a visual correlation of these educational levels versus rural, suburban, and urban counties as well as by state, see maps below.
“Advanced degree” means either 2-years of college or junior college or in a trade school. Compare these two maps to the first map above of Red/Blue states or Republican/Democrat states. Notice the correlations?
What the data has been telling political scientists and sociologists over the last three decades and especially the last decade is that the current political landscape of the United States is clearly divided by not only population density, but by highest education levels attained. To say it another way, one of the most striking patterns in this 2020 Presidential election and the last five is this: a major bipolar divide between white voters with a college degree and those without one.
According to exit polls in the 2018 midterms, 61% of non-college-educated white voters cast their ballots for Republicans while just 45% of college-educated white voters did so. Meanwhile 53% of college-educated white voters cast their votes for Democrats compared with 37% of those without a degree (see tables below). This has played out again in 2020.
Adam Harris, a political and education journalist concludes what I have learned the last 20-years regarding the U.S. political landscape today:
The diploma divide, as it’s often called, is not occurring across the electorate; it is primarily a phenomenon among white voters. It’s an unprecedented divide, and is in fact a complete departure from the diploma divide of the past. Non-college-educated white voters used to solidly belong to Democrats, and college-educated white voters to Republicans. Several events over the past six decades have caused these allegiances to switch, the most recent being the candidacy, election, and presidency of Donald Trump.
The million-dollar question then is Why the leftward shift by higher educated Americans and the rightward shift by lower educated Americans? Well, the jury is still out on that answer, or they are gradually filing in the courtroom these last two or three federal elections. Typically three influencing factors are offered by American political scientists, savants and scholars:
General polarization (Populism?) — Pew Research Center has found that the entire U.S. has become more ideologically polarized due to: distrust in government, racial and religious politics through the 1960’s and ’70’s, and renewed again with police brutality of the last 3-5 years. Also a growing income inequality across the American middle- and lower-classes, the latter not seeing mobility or growth in earnings or minimum wage stagnation in most states. These divisive events and movements inside the U.S. the last 20-years have not significantly changed for a highly educated American consistently engaged in liberal ideologies and institutions. This probably furthers the political chasm.
Women — More women are increasingly entering the workforce and obtaining college and post-grad degrees. They then tend to gravitate to Democratic, liberal ideologies more so than men. This trend may have contributed to higher educated Americans aligning with Democratic values.
Insularity — This condition could be summed up simply as we like our echo-chambers of like-minded people and friends. As Bill Bishop popularized in his book “The Big Sort,” Americans are increasingly clustering with their political, religious, and social circles those ideological bubble-walls are getting thicker. It’s suggested that this is particularly true with the post-grad set. This factor goes back to what Grossmann, Wilkinson, and Rodden above explained and postulated. Reviewing that Niskanen Center podcast above… highly educated Americans in particular seek out jobs that use their highly educated skill sets; it ends up sorting them into more homogeneous communities near and inside urban areas.
The flip-side of this political trend in the U.S. is that the rightward shift by Conservatives and Republicans is in age groups, or generational groups. Pew Research has also found that Baby-boomers, Generation X-ers, and to a lesser degree the “Silent Generation“—Americans born between 1928 and 1945—all of which makeup the bulk of Republican and GOP-leaning members, have shifted more and more to the Right since the 1990’s. Again, why is that?
What is unmistaken these last two or three decades in the U.S. political landscape is the increasing lines of geopolitical distinction—Republicans residing mostly in rural counties and with lower educations while Democrats, Liberals, and Independents reside mostly in urban counties with higher education levels by comparison. And for the most part the suburban populations fluctuate, despite a newer (slight) trend that they too are trending a bit more to liberal Democratic ideas.
While it is looking increasingly day by day, hour by hour that former Vice-President Joe Biden will be our next President—as of 4:00pm CST—what are your thoughts about our political landscape to date and the last 20-30 years? Share them below in comments if you feel and so desire. I and my regular followers are interested in the feedback!
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always