Friday, October 21, 2016

Ugly American Second Gilded Age: Spreading gold flakes over the iLies

One of the key reasons why this election was a tough battle for Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Party's failure to protect the people described in this Washington Post story Want to know why Trump’s winning Ohio? Drink a beer with ‘the deplorables’ in Boehner’s old district.

It isn't Hillary's fault, of course. What happened to those white men without a degree is represented by this set of facts about our government:

Simply, as reflected in federal social policy the balance of power in our federal government during the time that Baby Boomers started voting shifted from progressive to conservative in 1995..

What you notice is that the Democratic Party lost the House of Representatives in the 1994 election.

Also in 1994 the first "smartphone" marketed to consumers was introduced by BellSouth as the Simon Personal Communicator.

Of course the advent and evolution of the smartphone in no way relates to or reflects the social policy changes that began with the 104th Congress. Or does it? Maybe the changes since 1994 all reflect who we have become as a people.

And perhaps nothing reflects the "Ugly American Second Gilded Age" more than the smartphone, particularly the iPhone, as shown in these pictures of bright shiny objects, who profits from them, who pays for them to have fun with them, and who the money harms:

Click on slide show to see a larger version!

In fact, in order to use an iPhone (and most other portable devices), the Ugly American living in our Second Gilded Age pays to injure, sicken, and kill adults and children in the Congo.

And unlike how easily many smartphone owners instantly spot a dangerous lie from Donald Trump, because it benefits them, they choose to see no similarity between Trump and Apple even though when challenged on this:
Apple, in response to questions from The Post, acknowledged that this cobalt has made its way into its batteries. The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant said that an estimated 20 percent of the cobalt it uses comes from Huayou Cobalt. Paula Pyers, a senior director at Apple in charge of supply-chain social responsibility, said the company plans to increase scrutiny of how all its cobalt is obtained. Pyers also said Apple is committed to working with Huayou Cobalt to clean up the supply chain and to addressing the underlying issues, such as extreme poverty, that result in harsh work conditions and child labor.
She then went to brunch. To learn more about this click on the picture below...

...or grab your existing phone and find a cute cat video.

But the problem doesn't stop with harming others to get your new smartphone, as indicated in the slide show it continues with the ultimate "environmentally safe" disposal of your old phone (or the phone you gave your kid the last time).

Discarded electronics of all kinds are dangerous as explained in Toxins Found in E-Waste. Again most of the Ugly Americans living in our Second Gilded Age in Donald Trump style choose not to deal with the truth. To learn more about this click on the picture below...

...or maybe that cute cat video would be more interesting because if you enjoy it enough maybe these nice folks won't have died for you in vain.

In fairness to Apple, the company does have a major program to collect its old phones as reflected in How Apple recovers millions in gold from recycling old iPhones and iPads. But, of course, you have to participate in the Apple program.

Which brings me to what historians refer to as "The Gilded Age"in the United States which began after the Civil War and ended shortly after the beginning of the 20th Century when Progressive President Teddy Roosevelt started breaking up corporations.

The term came from one of Mark Twain's novels, The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today (1873) (available as a 99¢ Kindle Book). The book (co-written with Charles Dudley Warner) satirized the promised "golden age" as an era of serious social problems masked by a thin gold gilding of economic expansion. It is a pejorative term used to describe a time of materialistic excesses of Robber Barons combined with extreme poverty.

 The "Robber Barons" characterized in the image as sitting on the backs of workers were the 1% of the time.

Beginning in the early 2000's writers have started talking about a "Second Gilded Age." Consider the discussion from The Second Gilded Age: Has America Become an Oligarchy?:
The Occupy Wall Street movement is just one example of the sudden outbreak of tension between America's super-rich and the "other 99 percent." Experts now say the US has entered a second Gilded Age, but one in which hedge fund managers have replaced oil barons -- and are killing the American dream.

In a book published in 2010, American political scientists Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson discuss how this "hyperconcentration of economic gains at the top" also existed in the United States in the early 20th century, when industrial magnates -- such as John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie and J. P. Morgan -- dominated the upper stratum of society and held the country firmly in their grip for years.
However, this analogy breaks down some when you consider the fact that the American economy became a "consumer economy" after WWI (meaning that over half of the GDP is in consumer spending, as opposed non-consumer spending such as industrial equipment, retail store shelving, farm tractors, etc.). That shift is significant.

And "hedge fund managers" have not replaced oil barons. Hedge fund managers are part of a group called "bankers" who are all just like 19th Century banker/financier J.P. Morgan.

Comparability in corporate impact 100 years later would have Andrew Carnegie's Carnegie Steel Company and John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company analogous with Apple, Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook, and Larry Pages's Google. But steel and oil in the 19th Century were not mass market consumer targeted products. No one got up in the morning and instantly grabbed a piece of steel purchased from Carnegie to access a Standard Oil pipeline like a 21st Century iPhone owner might check their Facebook Page and Google News.

The problem with comparing the two eras is the change in the nature of the economy. Outside the banking industry, we members of the general public with our individual decisions control who gets to be a "21st Century Robber Baron." Yes, many of us are manipulated by the gilding on an otherwise mundane product we choose to purchase such as the gilding of iPhones. But at no other time in history has the average serf consumer had the control over who gets to move into the 1% to this degree.

It appears we have reached the point that our spending choices, which we knew were enriching the 1%, are now an international worry.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has its own set of controversies (see Wikipedia) and provides the basic support for world trade in total conflict to Donald Trump's isolationist proposals, in June released a "working paper" on Income Polarization in the United States which offers an analysis on the increased polarization of the American economy leading to a conclusion that polarization has reduced American consumer spending by more than 3 percent or about $400 billion annually. The following extracted from the paper explains the core of what they learned

Click on image to see a larger version!
The paper uses a combination of micro-level datasets to document the rise of income polarization—what some have referred to as the “hollowing out” of the income distribution—in the United States, since the 1970s. While in the initial decades more middle-income households moved up, rather than down, the income ladder, since the turn of the current century, most of polarization has been towards lower incomes. This result is striking and in contrast with findings of other recent contributions....

This paper also examines the macroeconomic consequences of increased polarization, notably on aggregate consumption. We first estimate the marginal propensity to consume out of permanent income changes (MPCP) for the low-, middle-, and high-income brackets and show that these have somewhat decreased in recent years, signaling less responsiveness of consumption to permanent income shocks. Then we apply these MPCPs to income brackets, keeping income growth the same (at the aggregate level) for all brackets. This aggregate consumption then is compared to the counterfactual of consumption with constant MPCPs and bracket sizes at the initial year’s levels. The cumulative difference of these two estimates of consumption, would be the lost consumption, which is partly due to changes in consumer behavior and partly due to higher polarization.

The results are shown in Figure 17. We have shown the effect of the first force on consumption in the blue bars and the net effect of the second and third forces in green bars. The total impact has been a lower level of aggregate consumption by around 3½ percent at the end of the sample (Figure 17). This effect is split equally between lower MPCPs and lower median income levels. The size of the lost consumption is relatively large. It is equivalent of more than one year of consumption, based on historical averages, in 15 years.

...Our main conclusions, which are robust to different definitions of the middle-income and different household characteristics, are as follows:

  • Income polarization has risen substantially in the past four decades—much the same, if not even faster than inequality. While in the initial decades more middle-income households moved up, rather than down the income ladder, since the turn of the current century, most of polarization has been towards lower incomes.
  • The hollowing out of the middle-income class and lower MPCPs have lowered consumption. The total effect has been a lower level of aggregate consumption by around 3½ percent (relative to the counterfactual where polarization had remained at 1998 levels) at the end of the sample. This is equivalent to more than one year of consumption.
The point is that the "Second Gilded Age" in the United States is now resulting in less consumer spending because of increased income polarization which is depressing the economy and in doing so actually reduces the "gilding." What the authors of the IMF study didn't do is project how long this can continue before the post-WWI "consumer economy" collapses.

But they suggest some future studies noting: "The answers to these questions would have strong implications for fiscal policies, and in particular tax/transfer multipliers." That is one way of saying they think that income redistribution through a more progressive income tax system might in the long term avoid the collapse of the consumer economy.

What's startling about this is that the IMF appears to be worrying about "1st World" economic trends as epitomized by the situation in the United States, as reflected in these graphs:
Click on images to see a larger version!

These graphs don't tell us much that we didn't know, or shouldn't have already known. These statements aren't startling:
While during 1970-2000, more of the middle-income households moved into high- rather than low-income ranks, since 2000, only a quarter of one percent of households have moved up to high income ranks, compared to an astonishing 3¼ percent of households who have moved down the income ladder (from middle to low income ranks.)

Figure 5 shows that income shares of the middle- and high-income classes were broadly similar at levels slightly shy of 50 percent of total until late 1970s. Since then, however, these shares have been diverging. Currently, the high-income class holds about 60 percent of total income, while the middle-income class holds only about 35 percent. The income share of the low-income class has been stable at about 5 percent of total for the entire sample of 1970-2014.
And by the way, replacing your cell phone every year or two has resulted in a toxic environmental mess harming children in third world countries. That kind of behavior in the First Gilded Age was pretty much limited to the Robber Barons. It makes one pause a moment to wonder who is sitting on the backs of whom in this Second Golden Age.

Perhaps it could be that we are symbolically spreading gold flakes over the e-waste to avoid confronting the fact that America depends upon the international economy to provide us with extremely low paid workers to produce not only our shiny electronic toys but necessities such as food and clothing. If we are honest, we would acknowledge that we have moved from this... this... we save on clothing to buy these... we can enjoy our lives as Ugly Americans in a Second Gilded Age.

Friday, October 14, 2016

About that Star-Spangled Banner....

As with most of the things that make up the U.S. system of nationalistic indoctrination, The Star-Spangled Banner is something we should know about but don't because it is deliberately hidden from us.

For instance, how many of the four official verses can you sing? In fact, how many have you ever heard?

But let's back up a minute to give context to when the poem was written, a minimal knowledge of the facts should give a moment's pause to any person who would rather not honor slavery.

In summary, it was 1814, during the War of 1812, when the British attacked these United States, including the slave state of Maryland, where the verses of the song were written by Francis Scott Key, 50 years before the end of the Civil War.

Let's consider the following history from a Smithsonian article:
In 1814, Key was a slaveholding lawyer from an old Maryland plantation family, who thanks to a system of human bondage had grown rich and powerful.

When he wrote the poem that would, in 1931, become the national anthem and proclaim our nation “the land of the free,” like Jefferson, Key not only profited from slaves, he harbored racist conceptions of American citizenship and human potential. Africans in America, he said, were: “a distinct and inferior race of people, which all experience proves to be the greatest evil that afflicts a community.”
What you probably also don't know is the British attackers had many ex-slaves in their ranks, who had been promised liberty and demanded to be placed in the battle line "where they might expect to meet their former masters."

After the U.S. and the British signed a peace treaty at the end of 1814, the Americans - trying to make America great again- demanded the return of American “property,” which by that point numbered about 6,000 people. The British refused. Being the corrupt human beings they were compared to the Americans, the Brits helped the former slaves settle in Canada, with some going to Trinidad.

So now let's look at the final two verses you don't know and consider carefully the words I've highlighted in the context:
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation.
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the Heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust.'
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
You see, the words "the hireling and slave" allude to the fact that American slaves had joined the British. Now reconsider the first and last two lines of the last verse:
O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
You see those "freemen" were not escapees from Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union or black people in Maryland after the Civil War, they were citizens of the slavery state of Maryland, you know ... part of the "land of the free" where "free" applies to the humans who were not "property."

Keep that in mind when you want to criticize black Americans and their supporters who don't quite see worshiping that waving star-spangled banner to that song as having the same meaning for them.

Maybe it won't even quite feel the same for you the next time you're standing, belting out the words of the first verse in which you sing "land of the free", staring at the waving symbol just as slaveholder Key did when he wrote the words to honor white "freemen" in contrast to blacks, that "inferior race of people" which he believed to be "the greatest evil that afflicts a community."

Bet they didn't teach you any of this in school.

Oh, and by the way, in keeping with what it means to be a fully indoctrinated, true patriotic American, you're singing a song not only about the defense of slavery, it is a song about war.

Ironically, in 1930 the biggest controversy in Congress over making this song the national anthem was whether the music range was too hard to sing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

From the State of Deseret stunning poll results, a LDS newspaper story favoring the Clinton Campaign - what you really need to know

Today when I saw the above poll graphic in a Deseret News story headlined Poll: Trump falls into tie with Clinton among Utah voters I knew there was significant news unfolding in the State of Deseret.

But as you will see at the end of this post, I discovered another story on the Deseret News website that went beyond anything I anticipated.

About the Deseret News it's both simple and complicated. If you know the history of "Deseret" you likely understand the full impact of today's news. If you don't and you are a Clinton supporter, you need to know that history and a bit more about Mormon history including some trivia.

In 1849 settlers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (you probably know them as Mormons) who had trekked across the American West to Salt Lake City proposed a provisional state of the United States, the State of Deseret:

The provisional state existed for slightly over two years but was never recognized by the United States government.

The name derives from the word for "honeybee" in the language of the Jaredites, a group believed by Mormons to have been led to the Americas during the time of the construction of the Tower of Babel (see Ether 2:3, Book of Mormon). LDS scholars have suggested an etymology by associating the word "Deseret" with the ancient Egyptian dsrt, a term referring to the "bee crown" of the Lower Kingdom.

What's important here is the  news story about the poll came from the Deseret News, Utah's oldest continuously published daily newspaper, owned by Deseret News Publishing Company, a subsidiary of Deseret Management Corporation, a holding company owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It has the largest Sunday circulation in the state (and the second largest daily circulation behind The Salt Lake Tribune).

Per Wikipedia:
The Deseret News also publishes a weekly compact-sized insert, the Church News, and the Mormon Times insert, both of which are included in the newspaper (in the Saturday and Thursday editions, respectively); the two inserts are also distributed as a separate publication outside of Utah. The Church News includes news of the LDS Church and has been published since 1931, while the Mormon Times is about "the people, faith and culture associated with the church". Since 1974 the Deseret News has also published the Church Almanac, an annual edition carrying LDS Church facts and statistics edited by Church News staff.

The editorial tone of the Deseret News is usually described as moderate to conservative, and is often assumed to reflect the values of its owner, the LDS Church. For example, the newspaper does not accept advertising that violates church standards.
The story in the Deseret News explains:
...Independent candidate and BYU graduate Evan McMullin surged into a statistical tie with the two major party presidential nominees, according to survey conducted Monday and Tuesday by Salt Lake City-based Y2 Analytics.

"A third-party candidate could win Utah as Utahns settle on one," said Quin Monson, Y2 Analytics founding partner.

McMullin may well have caught lightning in a bottle.

...A majority of voters statewide and specifically Mormons, as well as a near majority of Republicans, say Trump should drop out of the race, according to the poll.

The poll shows that 94 percent of Utahns have watched or heard about the video in which Trump had an extremely lewd conversation about women caught on a hot microphone in 2005. Y2 Analytics managing partner Scott Riding called that high percentage "astounding" for political news.

A cascade of rank-and-file Republicans and GOP leaders in Utah abandoned their support for Trump soon after the video became public. A BYU political science professor described the reaction in Utah as a "full-scale revolt" against Trump.

Gov. Gary Herbert and Utah Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Chris Stewart were among those announcing they would no longer vote for their party's nominee. The Deseret News called for Trump to resign his candidacy.

Boyd Matheson, president of the conservative Sutherland Institute, said there's a distinction in Utah that's becoming more apparent nationally that voters aren't going to settle for political rhetoric on either side of the aisle.

Monson said the "implosion" of the Trump campaign has led to the GOP nominee's share of the vote falling and support migrating to Johnson and more so McMullin. Clinton's numbers have stayed about the same.

Born in Utah, McMullin, a former CIA agent and policy director for U.S. House Republicans, entered the race in August as a conservative alternative to the majority party candidates.

McMullin soundly beats Trump among those in the poll who identified themselves members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Matheson said McMullin has a unique window over the next five days to come out with an agenda and invite Utahns to be part of something. If so, he could scoop up the Johnson "placeholder" votes, as well as take some from Trump and Clinton.

"There's a plausible path that Evan McMullin could win Utah," Matheson said.
In other words, the journalism voice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that there is a strong possibility that Trump would be denied Utah's four Electoral College votes! And that would be ok. Of course, four days ago they published this editorial In our opinion: Donald Trump should resign his candidacy.

But this has far more meaning than just Utah take a look at this map:

The Mormon vote in most of these states is significant when a Presidential race is close.

In my opinion, back in June there were only two states on this map that the Clinton Campaign could rely on - Washington and Hawaii.

Today Clinton comfortably can  rely not only on Washington and Hawaii, but on Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico at least partially because most Mormon voters will choose to not vote for Trump.

Most likely won't vote for Clinton, but she will win those states because Trump cannot get a plurality of votes.

Arizona should be firmly in the Trump column along with Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska. But because a large number of traditional Republican voters, particularly Mormons, will not vote for Trump and because Arizona has a very large Hispanic population, Clinton might get a plurality in Arizona.

It's all still iffy since we have four weeks until the election. But the Deseret News also had this story on its website this morning  'Mormons for Hillary' video released by Clinton campaign offering this additional information for those of us who don't recognize the people in the video:
The LDS Church as an institution is politically neutral. Members are encouraged to be active in the political process.

The video includes former Utah Republican State Rep. Sheryl Allen; former Utah GOP State Rep. General David Irvine; Democratic candidate for Utah State Senate and mother of two Celina Milner; and members of the group Utah Mormons for Hillary.

Yes, today you will read on "Progressive" websites stories like Mormons are embarrassing the rest of the Religious Right by abandoning Trump or in the New York Times two days ago Utah’s Top Mormons in ‘All-Out Revolt’ Against Donald Trump, but it doesn't "feel" real until you see what appear to be routine stories backing up that revolt in the Deseret News.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Who will represent the trees?

When he was Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Earl Warren became an idealistic advocate for equality.

So when in 1964 he wrote the majority opinion in Reynolds v. Sims there was no doubt in his mind that "one man, one vote" was the only way a democratic society could fairly function.

Concerned about the impact of the decision - which in many states eliminated state senate representation based upon counties - U.S. Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois warned that:
"...The forces of our national life are not brought to bear on public questions solely in proportion to the weight of numbers. If they were, the 6 million citizens of the Chicago area would hold sway in the Illinois Legislature without consideration of the problems of their 4 million fellows who are scattered in 100 other counties. Under the Court's new decree, California could be dominated by Los Angeles and San Francisco; Michigan by Detroit.."
In fact, in states like California, Warren's home state, there was gross under-representation of urban voters in the State Senate. Los Angeles County had about 6.5 million people or about 40% of the population. Alpine County  had less than 600 people or 0.009% of the population of Los Angeles County. As one study noted:
The most striking case is California. From 1930 to 1968, seats in the California state senate were apportioned on the basis of counties rather than persons. With 40 seats, 58 counties, and a restriction that no county could have more than one seat, the senate apportionment was approximately "one-county-one-vote." The California senate was by many measures the most malapportioned legislative body in the U.S. - the largest senate district contained more then 400 times as many people as the smallest district.

More troubling still, the people of California chose this scheme of geographic representation. In each of six elections over a forty-year span, solid majorities of voters soundly defeated ballot measures to implement one-person-one-vote and resoundingly affirmed ballot measures to create or implement one-county-one-vote. This was not a situation in which one group within the state legislature grabbed power from others. Rather, the legislature had become hopelessly deadlocked over apportionment in the 1920s and decided to let the people decide. Nor was the outcome a fluke of low turnout or of one generation binding another. The elections spanned five decades and each election returned nearly the same division of the electorate against one-person-one-vote. Intervention by the courts ended malapportionment of the senate in 1966.
In other words, the voters in California had repeatedly rejected a one man, one vote approach to the State Senate.  The California voters agreed with Senator Dirksen, not with their former Governor and Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Warren. The voters weren't as troubled by the undemocratic nature of their State Senate. They literally did not agree with him when he said:
Legislators represent people, not trees or acres. Legislators are elected by voters, not farms or cities or economic interests.
There is a gnawing concern as represented by this slide show:

Click on image to see a larger version!

No one argues that seeking democracy is a bad idea - as long as you set some rules to protect minority interests.

The question is just how will this person and 600 more urban voters...

...relate to and understand how to protect the fundamental interests of this person...

...and how can you reassure both that the system protects either and both of them when our congressional district maps look this divided?

Which leaves us with the question - who will represent the trees???

Because no one in the one man, one vote California Legislature or U.S. House of Representatives effectively represented them from 1980-2000 when steps to reduce  the impact of climate change and counter the Bark Beetles could have been taken.

No one.

And most certainly not the elected representatives of the vast majority of people in the United States located as represented by this graphic:

And that is a problem for American political science nerds and ethics philosophers to address over the next 200 years, if  they can.

The U.S. and state governments own about 33% of the land in the U.S. Approximately 90% of the U.S. population is concentrated on less than 20% of the privately owned land in the U.S. located in Metropolitan Statistical Areas. About 10% of the U.S. population is scattered around 80% of the privately owned land.

Assuring proper representation of the interests of that 10% in legislative bodies is a struggle in a constitutional republic when you believe "one-man-one-vote" - what we idealize in democracy - is the only acceptable method of adopting public policy.

We have failed to assure that representation, which is why asking "Who will represent the trees?" symbolically focuses on the most significant issue in political theory.

Maybe we need to revisit the original U.S. Constitution asking why our "Founding Fathers" provided that the only directly elected officials were members of the House of Representatives while Senators and the President were to be indirectly chosen without what we know as having to run for office.

In doing so maybe we can figure out how to provide the trees with effective representation

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Truckers of the future to become logistics managers, creating and utilizing transportation, technology and organizational structure

Technology! As you can see from this Volvo truck steering technology video, it's pretty impressive.

And Volvo is not alone in Europe. This spring we read that A fleet of trucks just drove themselves across Europe:
About a dozen trucks from major manufacturers like Volvo and Daimler just completed a week of largely autonomous driving across Europe, the first such major exercise on the continent.

The trucks set off from their bases in three European countries and completed their journeys in Rotterdam in the Netherlands today (Apr. 6). One set of trucks, made by the Volkswagen subsidiary Scania, traveled more than 2,000 km and crossed four borders to get there.

The trucks were taking part in the European Truck Platooning Challenge, organized by the Dutch government as one of the big events for its 2016 presidency of the European Union. While self-driving cars from Google or Ford get most of the credit for capturing the public imagination, commercial uses for autonomous or nearly autonomous vehicles, like tractors from John Deere, have been quietly putting the concept to work in a business setting.
Click on this picture if you feel up to watching a 1+ hour video of the Challenge which is impressive even though no one is doing any splits:

You may wonder what's the point? Well, as indicated in this London Financial Times story Lorries lead cars in the technology race:
The chief executive of Volvo Group Martin Lundstedt told the Financial Times that software companies were taking an interest in everything from long-haul freight and public transport to mining and waste disposal, as technology developed in these areas could be deployed later in passenger cars.

Volvo, the Swedish bus and lorry maker, has spent years trying to show that trucks can be at the centre of innovation. Its 2013 advertisement with Jean-Claude Van Damme performing the splits between two lorries in reverse, to demonstrate the effectiveness of the company’s steering system, has been viewed 85m times. Volvo is touting the world’s first driverless lorry to operate 1,320 metres underground in Boliden’s mine in Kristineberg, Sweden, which produces metallic ores that contain zinc and copper, among other things.

ZF, meanwhile, has a prototype self-driving lorry where the driver can step out and catch some rest while the truck moves around in confined areas to first be unloaded, and then loaded again. There is the potential with self-driving technology to also improve efficiency, by giving drivers new tasks to plan routes or process shipping documents. “The truckers of the future will go from being drivers to serving as logistics managers,” said Markus Heyn, a Bosch board member responsible for sales and marketing.
As the Journal of Commerce explains Automated trucks, warehouses seen transforming distribution. The lengthy story foresees a time + particularly after distribution facilities are relocated using designs that allow for automated maneuvering of self-driving truck convoys - that heavily automated warehouses using automated "fork lift replacements" will be serving self-driving trucks - long haul trucks and delivery trucks.

A lot of this seems off in the future, and indeed it is - a decade or maybe two. But last week we were told in Mercedes-Benz Reveals Electric, Autonomous Trucks and Commercial Vehicles:
It’s part of strategy to produce the types of commercial vehicles that can traverse congested cities – including some that are considering banning the use of transport with internal combustion engines – and meet increasingly stringent environmental regulations worldwide.

“We are presenting our vision of urban transport. Just like with long-distance haulage, our goal is to achieve more safety and efficiency than ever before – and also to be free of local emissions,” said Wolfgang Bernhard, who heads Daimler Trucks. “This will make our cities even more pleasant to live in, despite rising populations and an increased need for transportation.”

Daimler’s big reveal at the show was the electric Urban eTruck. It will be branded as a Mercedes-Benz and is designed to serve as a heavy-duty distribution transport with a range of about 125 miles. Targeted at the European market, it is scheduled for launch early in the next decade.

So, this is cool. But what's the point? As one blames trade pacts and other irrelevant things for folks losing their jobs, here are some statistics that could be considered right now and perhaps something could be done by ordinary people to prepare the country for the future, as opposed to spending the next decade watching cat videos on cell phones.

According to the American Trucking Association (ATA) there are 3.5 million truck drivers in the United
States. The total number of people employed in the industry, including those in positions that do not entail driving, exceeds 7.3 million. About 7% of workers in the United States are employed in the trucking business.

 It isn't any wonder that the San Francisco Chronicle this month reported:
Labor leader Andy Stern sees the biggest potential hit to America’s 3.5 million truck drivers. “Commercial truck driving is going to be the leading edge of a tsunami of labor displacement,” said Stern, former president of the Service Employees International Union. “It’s not something the next generation is going to have to deal with — it’s going to happen in the next decade.”

Truck drivers, he noted, support a vast web of workers whose own jobs may be imperiled.

“We’re talking millions of jobs: the drivers themselves, but also the people in insurance, repairs, restaurants, hotels,” Stern said. “I think it’s incredibly irresponsible that no one’s making plans for this.”
What else isn't addressed in the discussion is another set of statistics from the ATA:
There are 586,014 for-hire carriers and 747,791 private carriers in the United States; 97.3 percent of them have fewer than 20 trucks and 90.8 are operating six trucks or less.
In other words there are 1,333,805 "carriers"of which 36,000 have fleets of more than 20 trucks. It's an industry that will change, but it is also an industry full of people who won't adapt. And that is the time technology giants step in after experimenting. So in December 2015 we had Amazon in talks to lease Boeing jets to launch its own air-cargo business, Amazon Buys Thousands of Its Own Truck Trailers as Its Transportation Ambitions Grow, and in the financial press Amazon's next $400 billion opportunity.

In the financial press article listed we have this:
Analyst Colin Sebastian from Baird Equity Research writes that Amazon has "powerhouse potential" in the transportation and logistics market, and that it could be "Amazon's next 'AWS' opportunity."

Sebastian's idea here is that Amazon could turn its in-house logistics network into a business in the same way that it grew Amazon Web Services, its insanely fast-growing (and profitable) cloud computing offering.

Amazon built AWS out of the infrastructure it had created to support its own operations, and now runs a business expected to pull in $8 billion in revenue this year. In the same vein, it could build a logistics network to clear up its own delivery bottlenecks, and then, eventually, offer services to other companies.
It is likely something like this will be the public face of the organization required for self-driving, self-loading technology in 2020...

...not this face of an owner-operator recently recognized by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association...

Which brings us to labor leader Stern's concern - it’s incredibly irresponsible that no one’s making plans for a "tsunami of labor displacement."

The face of displaced labor will not be the 69-year-old driver pictured above, but his under age 50 peers. At least those who are not already becoming adept at spreadsheets, math, and geographic databases will face an uncertain future because, as explained by Markus Heyn, the Bosch board member, using positive spin: "the truckers of the future will go from being drivers to serving as logistics managers."

But they may not be the truckers of today. The truckers of today could become the displaced unemployed or tomorrow unless we do better as a nation with our educational system.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The American Media Party Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and the end of journalism

A "medium" (plural "media") is a person who claims the spirits of the dead are transmitting information through him or her to the living. The profit-making industries which create similarly reliable entertaining informational content for the masses are often also called "the media."

A "party" is a gathering of persons for the purpose of enjoying themselves thoroughly and without restraint.

The year 2016 will be remembered as the year "the media" became the American Media Party replacing the Republican Party.

I started my adult working life as a journalist practicing what I understood was the profession of "journalism." From the Wikipedia entry first paragraph as of September of 2016 (emphasis added):
Journalism is the work and distribution of reports on the interaction of events, facts, ideas, and people that are the "news of the day" and that informs society to at least some degree. The word applies to the occupation (professional or not), the methods of gathering information, and the organizing literary styles.
At the time I believed true journalists worked for "the press", meaning the newspaper business. The more recently created radio and TV news broadcast employees were not really "journalists" in our opinion precisely because, as Wikipedia still includes at the beginning of its entry, the product of the work must have an "organizing literary style."

If you type "literary" into the Wikipedia search it will take you to the "Literature" entry which begins with the sentence:
"Literature, in its broadest sense, is any single body of written works." defines "literary" as:
"...pertaining to or of the nature of books and writings, especially those classed as literature."
Our objective as journalists was to provide as complete a written "report" on "on the interaction of events, facts, ideas, and people" as we could.

We followed the AP Style Book rules, meaning we had to begin with a short paragraph that summarized that news story, a descriptive paragraph that could stand alone. Each additional paragraph should add details in order of importance offering the reader a more thorough understanding. You did this because you knew the hamfisted person doing the page makeup would shorten your story from the bottom up until it fit the space available.

Our hope was that the reader would read the story, think about it, read it again, and contemplate it further. We thought this was important stuff because, again from Wikipedia:
Access to freely available information gathered by independent and competing journalistic enterprises with transparent editorial standards can enable citizens to effectively participate in the political processes.
The key phrases in that paragraph are "independent and competing" and "transparent editorial standards."

The latter phrase does not mean "fair and balanced" nor does it require "equal time." These concepts came about with the advent of television which for decades was operated as a government licensed near monopoly. Because politicians (and murderers) could speak directly to the audience, during that monopoly period the government license tried to prevent "favoritism" in the political arena.

We journalists felt strongly that we must not provide politicians or murderers with a platform from which they could present a self-created image of themselves. If you did that you were not only not independent, you had no editorial standards at all.

Except that....

In 1960 we watched with interest the Kennedy-Nixon debates. Television was influencing the election. Here's an interesting fact about that debate:
The Quemoy-Matsu issue was first raised in the second debate on October 7, 1960.  Disagreement between the candidates was instant.  Unlike any other single issue, Quemoy and Matsu continued to be a bone of contention well into the third and fourth debates on October 13 and 21, 1960.
If you were alive back then, you might recognize the terms "Quemoy" and "Matsu" but probably not. Most certainly, if you were born after 1950 it is highly unlikely that you would recognize those terms. Even back then I wondered how "Quemoy" and "Matsu" got to be the central foreign policy issue of that debate - Cuba, guys. Why weren't we talking about Cuba?

The moderator of that debate was Bill Shadel of ABC News.  There was a panel of correspondents: Frank McGee, NBC News; Charles Van Fremd, CBS News; Douglass Cater, Reporter magazine; Roscoe Drummond, New York Herald Tribune; journalists all by background, but already corrupted by TV.

Exactly 192 days later the Bay of Pigs Invasion was launched. The funding and planning for the invasion began about six months before the debates. Nixon was Vice- President, Jack Kennedy was a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. In order to assure an informed American population, they debated about Quemoy and Matsu, two meaningless islands off the coast of China.

So much for televised debates informing the American public. From someone who was better informed than I was in 1960, here's another tidbit written before the debates. It addresses my confusion back then about whether television was going to improve or degrade the quality of American politics and government:

It's the 21st Century. And after carefully including the word "literary" in its defining paragraph, Wikipedia offers this final sentence:  "Journalistic media include: print, television, radio, Internet, and, in the past, newsreels." Oh really! What is the organizing literary style of a newsreel ... or a tweet?

And so immediately after pointing out the need for "transparent editorial standards" Wikipedia barfs out the following:
The role and status of journalism, along with that of the mass media, has undergone profound changes over the last two decades with the advent of digital technology and publication of news on the Internet. This has created a shift in the consumption of print media channels, as people increasingly consume news through e-readers, smartphones, and other electronic devices, challenging news organizations to fully monetize their digital wing, as well as improvise on the context in which they publish news in print. Notably, in the American media landscape, newsrooms have reduced their staff and coverage as traditional media channels, such as television, grapple with declining audiences. For instance, between 2007 and 2012, CNN edited its story packages into nearly half of their original time length.

This compactness in coverage has been linked to broad audience attrition, as a large majority of respondents in recent studies show changing preferences in news consumption. The digital era has also ushered in a new kind of journalism in which ordinary citizens play a greater role in the process of news making, with the rise of citizen journalism being possible through the Internet. Using video camera equipped smartphones, active citizens are now enabled to record footage of news events and upload them onto channels like YouTube, which is often discovered and used by mainstream news media outlets. Meanwhile, easy access to news from a variety of online sources, like blogs and other social media, has resulted in readers being able to pick from a wider choice of official and unofficial sources, instead of only from traditional media organizations.
I'm sorry, but folks there is a difference between journalism with its independence, literary style, and transparent editorial standards and the "mass media." Let's don't confuse the journalism profession with the "medium" as she or he offers up information and images created by ghosts. Because while the medium - the mass media - might choose to deliver journalistic content, the goal "to fully monetize" by providing "half" the information and use "a variety of online sources" prevents the use of journalists and journalistic content.

Let's again consider this observed in September 1960 by someone watching what television was doing to the political system:
If [television] drives politics toward theatrics, so that the number of politicians who imagine themselves entertainers swells to match the number of entertainers who imagine themselves politicians;...if, by all these lapses and deceits, a whole people lets itself become mentally trapped in a suffocating kind of isolation booth from which no sound can be heard but the voice of the huckster....
    - Emmet John Hughes, September 25, 1960, The New York Times Magazine
Today the so called "news" media now delivers Donald Trump's tweets and discusses them as if they are news. The so-called "news" media now send videographers so they can deliver video of Donald Trump's soundbites and discusses them as if they are news.

As one Deadline Hollywood writer noted 54 days before the 2016 Presidential Election:
A year ago, when Donald Trump began to confiscate the primaries, a network news chief made this admission to me: “We do not yet know how to cover a career sociopath but we will figure it out.” A year later, confronting the final seven weeks of the campaign, he admits he still hasn’t figured it out, nor have his competitors.

Trump continues to hijack the news cycle, taking shrewd advantage of the haphazard way Americans now get their news. Voters no longer watch television news or read newspapers (remember them?). The younger demo can’t even depend upon Jon Stewart anymore (Comedy Central was once their favored news source). The most important repository of news lies buried in Facebook’s algorithms and its “trending topics,” which John Oliver facetiously calls the “multiplatform content generation distribution network.”

One challenge: The old-fashioned concept of “equal time” has been demolished by the Clinton-Trump campaign. Now the argument has shifted to “false balance” — whether reporters are distorting facts in their futile effort to provide two sides to every story. Is there a way to provide “balance” in depicting Trump’s Mexican foray, for example? All this liberates Facebook to pick up Trumpian fantasies, landing the news cycle in click-bait heaven. At least it’s “trending.”

In past generations, newspapers were depended on to convey the nuances as well as the news, but their fate is reflected in the fact that the Newspaper Association of America is changing its name to the News Media Alliance. The American Society of Newspaper Editors is now the American Society of News, as reported in the New York Times (which still calls itself a newspaper). The Times itself is fiercely cutting its staff and placing ever greater emphasis on digital coverage and videos of occasionally marginal quality.
Donald Trump, the reality TV show star, discovered people were having a gossip party on the internet. "Gossip" means "idle talk or rumor" which is about as far away from journalism as one can get.

Further he was aware that "news division" air time was used by TV and radio to cater to that gossip party, that "talk shows" were pretending to be "news shows", and most particularly that first thing in the morning on ABC, NBC, and CBS filled the time with talk shows when he could take control of the day's "news" narrative.

And the networks redefined what "voting" means - "American Idol" began the process of devaluing the idea of the right to vote. You "see what you like" (all carefully managed to achieve appeal, not substance) and you vote.

And so Trump went all in - he joined the American Media Party. Why not? He certainly had no real affiliation with any real political party. But in doing this, he did "confiscate" the Republican Party.

Whether he wins the Presidency or not, he has demonstrated that the American Media Party is where "it's at" - as a fun political party it's where successfully competing requires unfiltered expressions of bigotry and where offering personal insults can be part of the entertainment required to hold the attention of the public, which is made up of the potential voters.

By turning the election into an appeal to bigotry and gossip, no Presidential candidate since Andrew Jackson has more successfully thwarted the desires of our founding fathers to avoid factions. Jackson was an advocate for slavery and genocide, both of which were at least as popular with American voters then as Trump's "wall" is with today's "Basket of Deplorables" white voters.

The craft of journalism justified calling the press America's "Fourth Estate." Without journalism there can be no "Fourth Estate" called "the media." As Emmet John Hughes feared in 1960, we are a people who have "become mentally trapped in a suffocating kind of isolation booth from which no sound can be heard but the voice of the huckster."

In 2016 we have become what our Founding Fathers rightly feared most - a democracy. Whether Trump wins the election, we have allowed the media to create a new political discourse built on tweets and sound bites. In doing so, do we risk losing the Republic?

Or have we simply created another "political party" called The American Media Party that permits egocentric media talkiing heads nominate candidates based on entertainment value, ending once and for all the effort to have policy discussion be as important as "personality" in the election process because it's just too boring?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Red State, Blue State? Not really. America is mostly Red Counties

Is this the Red State, Blue State map you're familiar with:
Probably not. In my latest take on the status of the 2016 Presidential Election based on polling and other knowledge, I generated a map that looks more like what you regularly see in the all wise media:

Click on any image to see a larger version!
Now there is nothing inherent wrong with this map as it is designed to show the likelihood of a candidate getting Electoral College votes.

The problem is this mapping method leaves us thinking there are actually Red States and Blue States that are communities of Republicans or Democrats, Conservatives or Liberals.

One way to dispel that kind of thinking is to consider the 2000 Presidential Election actual results by county. Like states, counties do vary in size based on geography and population. Even so there is likely to be a truer sense of "community" at the county level. Watch the 2000 election map below, particularly the "Left  Coast" states plus Michigan, Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania. Notice how those deep blues, and reds but particularly the blues, tend to disappear:

Keep in mind that the 2000 Election occurred before the "dot-com bubble" burst. The timing of the economic 8+ months recession was at the beginning of President George W. Bush's term of office, after folks voted.

So the counties map does not reflect the human distress resulting from the economic collapse that occurred near the end of Bush's term.

But the point here is the colored map.

Let's examine the 2000 results in a few states to get a clearer picture of the truth starting with what we think of as Blue States:

From a geographic perspective, California and New York were "Red States" in the 2000 election.

Let's take a look at another state, Illinois. Al Gore won the state with 55% of the vote. But that darker blue area near the upper right is Cook County/Chicago which represented 39% of the vote. Outside the darker blue blob, George W. Bush received 52% of the vote.

Consider Pennsylvania. Al Gore won the state with 51% of the vote. That dark blue blob at the lower right is Philadelphia. Outside the blob, George W. bush received 50.1% of the vote.

In other words, those of us who live in large "Blue States" really derive our "color" from the largest of urban areas, the small blue blobs.

The question for we Blue State Democrats (and "traditional conservative" Republicans) is have we deliberately chosen to ignore what's happened to people in the "Red Counties" in our own states since 2000? Have we chosen to think of the "Red population" as "fly over states" when in fact they are our neighbors in the next county down the highway? If so, did we do that somewhat arrogantly because we disdain their world view?

And in doing so, is this why we are surprised that Donald Trump might win the "Swing States"  and the Presidency?

When you look at the 2012 Presidential Election map by county the United States appears far more "Red" than we have allowed ourselves to understand, particularly all three "Left Coast" states - California, Oregon, and Washington - plus Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania. In other words we have large "Blue" urban cities and then there is rest of the United States in which, as the convincing fictional con man Harold Hill might today note, there are many folks in trouble, even here particularly here... in California:

Click on the 2012 map to see a really large version which may change your perspective on American politics. Because after this election we need to recognize some American issues we've chosen to ignore.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

How does one persuade potential voters who still have no strong opinion about Clinton and Trump at this point in time?

Click on image to see a larger version!

This map represents my opinion on the status of the 2016 Presidential Election today.1 Click on it to see a larger image.

Absent some major tragedy, in November Donald Trump will win 180 Electoral College votes from 22 states and Hillary Clinton will win 192 Electoral College votes from 15 states.

It takes 270 Electoral College votes to win the election, so they both will have to continue to campaign right up to November 8. At this point in time, undecided voters in Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Florida, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada will determine the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election.

Hillary Clinton has a somewhat tenuous lead in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Donald Trump has a somewhat tenuous lead in Arizona, Ohio, and one Maine congressional district. As long as they continue to actively campaign, either could screw up and lose those states because enough voters are uncertain about their choice.

In other words, even though the choice is between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and even though their policy proposals, styles, and personalities are clearly and radically different, some voters are undecided. And some are uncertain.
How exactly does one persuade people who have no firm opinion at this point in time?

1This week's "not really news" headline story from all the major press that Ford is planning to move its small car production to Mexico, outside the U.S. along with all the other American car manufacturers, occurred while Trump was in Michigan. Whether this reminder of an announcement first made in 2015 will affect Clinton's hold on Michigan's 16 Electoral College votes will be seen in future polls. It's the kind of story that places Michigan in the category of "Clinton's to lose" states.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Our Irish and French Catholic great-grandparents: Reflections on multiculturalism and the Alt Right

Thanks to Donald Trump, many Americans are learning about the so-called "Alt-Right" or Alternative Right for the first time.

In summary it is a political philosophy that embraces American Ethnic Eurocentric Nationalism. It not quite as narrow minded in definition regarding which peoples are "acceptable" to real Americans as was the case in various periods between 1800 - 2000.

Nonetheless the 2016 Alt-Right advocates legal discrimination based on ethnicity and race. And their views have been almost fully incorporated into American law in a reprehensible way, though most Ethnic European-Americans don't know about the facts because they don't scroll across internet cat videos.

Before going any further I need to disclose that both my wife and I come from immigrant families. Both of my paternal great-grandfathers emigrated from Ireland and my wife's paternal great-grandfathers were French. They were all hated Catholic immigrants.

Or course, we both have family trees that contain pre-Revolutionary War protestant immigrants that came from Europe, descendants of which were undoubtedly among those who hated the Catholic immigrants as indicated in these images from years past:

In other words, we're typical white Americans - all members of immigrants' families according to our family trees.

It's just that now its ok to have any kind of European ethnic background. That's the level of progress we've made as of the beginning of the 21st Century.

Before going any further, we need to define certain words as I use them rather than confuse my meaning with those words as other folks are throwing around as if that they fully understand:
  • bigotry - the stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own.
  • prejudice - a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.
  • discrimination - the treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit.
"Bigotry" is tough to get rid of. The word's origin is from the French  bigoterie meaning "sanctimoniousness."

Almost every religion has a core certainty that it is the only one true religion and all others are false. That core certainty means all believers are by definition bigots. Almost every ideology has a core certainty that it is the only benevolent ideology and all others are malevolent. That core certainty means all believer are by definition bigots.

You may think you're free of bigotry. But consider that even though "democracy" is a concept that literally means "government rule by the people", one's belief that democracy is the ideal form of government compared to all other forms of government would be considered a belief in an ideology.

"Prejudice" is something almost no human can avoid. If you think you don't ever "prejudge" based upon appearances you likely are delusional. You just can't consider eating insects - it's eewww. It's a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.

"Discrimination", on the other hand, is a behavior and it can be avoided. But Americans not only doesn't avoid it, as a society we practice it with institutional vigor.

Let's return to the Alt Right or Ethnic Eurocentric Nationalism. The basics are described in What’s the alt-right? A primer. After you've read it, you likely will have a problem. Can you remember the definition of bigotry - the stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own?

In the linked article (which you should read), a number of Alt Right advocates are listed. Consider carefully this description:
Sam Francis

An influential conservative thinker cast out of the movement's mainstream — and fired from his Washington Times column — for speaking at the 1994 American Renaissance conference. Subsequently, he became a sort of martyr for nationalist writers and thinkers. Throughout his career, he argued that cultural liberalism was not as popular or inevitable as its promoters claimed.

"Whites need to form their racial consciousness in conformity not only with what we now know about the scientific reality of race but also with the moral and political traditions of Western Man-White Man," Francis wrote in 2005. "The purpose of white racial consciousness and identity is not simply to serve as a balance against the aggression and domination of other races but also to preserve, protect, and help revitalize the legacy of the civilization that our own ancestors created and handed down to us, for its own sake, because it is ours, and because, by the standard of the values and ideals we as a race and a civilization have articulated, it is better."
The article says that the Alternative Right "has been seeping into American politics for years as a far-right option for conservatives." But that is the view of young political wonks. In fact in one form or another Ethnic Eurocentric Nationalism has been seeping out of the American populous for over two centuries.

It can be different.

Despite the Statue of Liberty bronze plaque...

...the United States at no time has made it a human right to migrate into the country. Indeed, most countries have not.

But at the beginning of the 21st Century, the country of Argentina adopted a law that reads as follows:
The right to migrate is essential and inalienable to all persons and the Republic of Argentina shall guarantee it based on principles of equality and universality.
In fact, Argentina's Law 25.871 is broader in scope than the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, the principal international human rights migration treaty, of which Argentina is a signatory.

What you should know regarding the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families is that no migrant-receiving state in Western Europe has ratified the Convention. The United States is not even a signatory that has yet to ratify just as Americans would prefer.

In fact the U.S. policy is defined by the fact it has the largest immigration detention system in the world according to the Global Detention Project which indicated that in 2013 the total number of immigration detainees was 440,557. You can download and read the Global Detention Project's 2016 report Immigration Detention in the United States.

Immigration detention in the United States began in 1890s at Ellis Island and after 1924 Ellis Island became primarily a detention and deportation processing station. Mandatory detention was officially authorized by the federal government in 1996 with the enactment of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA). From 1996 to 1998, the number of immigrants held in detention at any one time increased from 8,500 to 16,000. and by 2008 this number increased to more than 30,000.

And now, in 2016, the Land of the Free has not only the highest incarceration rate in the world for its own population imprisoning around 22 percent of the world's prisoners but it also has the highest "detention" rate in the world for immigrants.

In fact, if one examines the incarceration statistics for our own citizens... the context of also considering our detention of immigrants, one really might think that some of the Alt Right ideology of embracing Ethnic Eurocentric Nationalism has already been implemented by Democrats and Republicans alike.

If a visitor from space checked out Germany in 1942 and then returned to the U.S. 75 years later as part of a study of human progress, it might conclude that at least white humans have more or less reduced the systematic mass killing of races and ethnic groups we don't like, but we are still putting them in prisons in the highest possible numbers we can get away with. The space visitor would see videos like this but then it's from the BBC:

Unfortunately, that space visitor would be right with regard to culturally Eurocentric Americans, which includes most of us white folks not in prison. In fact one might almost think the Alt Right represents our dominant ideological view based upon our prisons-for-non-whites and immigration detention systems.

Golly, an objective look at the institutions of government across the United States by that space alien might easily lead to the conclusion that elected government officials in the United States have continued to work hard to contain multiculturalism in line with Sam Francis' articulated values:
The purpose of white racial consciousness and identity is not simply to serve as a balance against the aggression and domination of other races but also to preserve, protect, and help revitalize the legacy of the civilization that our own ancestors created and handed down to us, for its own sake, because it is ours, and because, by the standard of the values and ideals we as a race and a civilization have articulated, it is better.
So where is all this expansion of 'multiculturalism" that the Alt Right and Donald Trump want us to fear??? We've been electing people who have been doing just fine locking up in cages all those folks we don't like.