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Countermeasures more damaging than COVID / Follow-up: Various COVID-19 articles

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I just read a very interesting article on the damage by COVID counter-measures and how they, according to a peer-reviewed study, do more harm than good. This plays in well with things that I began to say as early as March 2020, or roughly ten months ago. (See [1] and [2], as well as quite a few later texts.)

Below, I will discuss portions of this article, but first I want to point to another case of pinning the tail to the COVID donkey. Going by current German reporting*, there are plans to (a) institute a nightly curfew, (b) mandate FFP2-masks** in e.g. stores. As to (a), what is that supposed to achieve?!? The nights are the times when the streets are almost free of people anyway, when there is the smallest risk of infecting or being infected. By locking people in at night, they either lose an option of fresh air and exercise for no good reasons or are forced to move these activities to the day time, when the risks are larger … Utterly idiotic. (Note that bars, discos, and the like are closed to begin with, irrespective of this curfew.) As to (b), either this is an(other) unnecessary measure or it proves that the old/current policy, in place for many months, was deeply flawed. The latter might very well be the case, as it allowed the use of virtually any mouth covering, including home-made masks and the scarf that I, myself, have been using. If so, however, it should have been obvious to begin with, and the old/current policy was mostly unnecessary, a cheap psychological measure, and/or another case of pinning the tail.

*Source is the non-archived Internet version of “ARD Text”. As I try to minimize efforts on this closed blog, I will not research alternate sources.

**Roughly equivalent to the U.S. N95-masks.

To the main issue:*

*Quote marks present in the cited article have been kept to indicate what words stem from the author of the study (one Dr. Ari Joffe) and when the author of the article. This especially as the article appears to, it self, quote another article/interview extensively.

  1. The study, by a previously pro-lockdown physician, claims that the damage outweighs* the benefits by a factor 10 (ten!). I do not know whether this figure pans out, or whether it pans out everywhere**, but it is a strong further indication that the crisis has been horribly mishandled.

    *And this likely limited to health, while measuring the effects of e.g. bankruptcies only indirectly through health effects. (As I began to write, I assumed the opposite, and only discovered my likely error during writing. For reasons of time, I will not research this in detail. This potential misunderstanding might be preserved in sub-optimal formulations below, but will not render the underlying thoughts incorrect.)

    **The study is likely based on Canada.

  2. A particularly important portion reads:

    Explaining further to the Toronto paper why he initially supported the lockdowns, Joffe noted he’s not trained to make public policy decisions.

    “I was only considering the direct effects of COVID-19 and my knowledge of how to prevent these direct effects,” he said. “I was not considering the immense effects of the response to COVID-19 (that is, lockdowns) on public health and wellbeing.”

    Not only does this match my main complaint, that there is no awareness of e.g. opportunity costs and side-effects, but it also points to a danger of listening to experts without applying own thought.

    However, exactly this blind following is often demanded or voluntarily practiced. This, unfortunately, appears to include the politicians who should know better in terms of public policy than the average physician: “Fauci et al. say that X, Y, Z; ergo, we must A, B, C.” Why not consult a few experts on business and economics, a few civil-rights’ lawyers, and whoever else might be relevant in addition to Fauci? Why not a few psychologist and psychiatrists on top of physicians and experts on infectious diseases?

  3. Overlapping, the article claims:

    He pointed out that government and public health experts did not conduct a formal cost-benefit analysis of various responses to the pandemic.

    I would go further: from what I have seen, even an informal cost-benefit analysis has only rarely been made or, when present, had an influence on decision making.

  4. The negative effects are not just economic. As I have pointed out, there are also competing health effects.

    “It turns out that loneliness and unemployment are known to be among the strongest risk factors for early mortality, reduced lifespan and chronic diseases,”

    I would have said “Duh!”, expect that most politicians appear either unaware of or “willfully ignorant” on this point.

  5. The media have been as bad as the politicians (another “Duh!” moment …):

    “Popular media focused on absolute numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths independent of context,” he said. “There has been a sheer one-sided focus on preventing infection numbers.”

    In a bigger picture, this repeats the failure of media (discussed in many previous texts) of providing the population with the information needed to think for themselves: media has a ready-made, pre-chewed opinion and the population should just swallow that opinion.*

    *Note that this is a bad thing even should the media have a sound opinion.

  6. Another big complaint of mine is that the risks of COVID-19 and number of the deaths from it has not been put in perspective relative other causes of death.

    “Each day in non-pandemic years, over 21,000 people die from tobacco use, 3,600 from pneumonia and diarrhea in children under 5-years-old, and 4,110 from tuberculosis,” he noted. “We need to consider the tragic COVID-19 numbers in context.”

Disclaimer: I have not read the underlying study, nor made any attempts at verifying the science or credibility.

Written by michaeleriksson

January 18, 2021 at 9:59 am

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Last (?) thoughts on the 2020 U.S. election(s)

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For what might or might not* be my last update on the 2020 elections, a few remarks. These remarks might be marginally premature, as challenges are still being raised in Congress and there might be some ever so slight chance left in front of the courts, but the chance of an improvement of the result is close to zero and most issues exist regardless. Thus:

*I have been here before …

  1. The treatment of Trump continues to be outrageous, and it remains clear that he is (again!) targeted in a dishonest and hypocritical manner.

    Some Trump supporters riot and Trump is to be considered personally responsible and impeached?!? The worse, as impeachment at this juncture would be a purely symbolic act—and one that goes contrary to Biden’s ostensible message of peace and unity.

    I note that these riots are a drop in the ocean compared to the Leftist riots of 2020; that they were targeted at something that was at least approximately the cause of the dissatisfaction, while the Leftist were directed at innocents; that they were based in a reasonable* and rational* dissatisfaction, while the Leftist were based in reality distortion of e.g. systemic racism or the “racist murder” of someone who likely died of a drug overdose—and where, if in doubt, no trace of racism has actually been demonstrated or even made plausible.

    *Which is not necessarily to say that the actions taken were reasonable and rational.

  2. I have personally experienced the Left close up in two countries (Sweden and Germany) over thirty years of political consciousness, and have seen many examples in many other countries and at many other times through more indirect means, ranging from the modern-day U.S. to the genocides of e.g. Stalin and Mao.

    While no side of a political conflict or issue is likely to be beyond reproach (indeed, often falls considerably short), there has been common trends virtually everywhere and “everywhen”,* that an the-end-justifies-the-means mentality tends be a Leftist issue more often than “Rightist” issue, that political violence tends to come from the Left, that propaganda lies, defamation, personal attacks, etc., tends to come from the Left, disregard for democratic processes tends to come from the Left, and so on. At the same time, the Left is quite often extremely concerned with accusing its opponents of exactly the misdeeds that itself performs.

    *With obvious reservations for complications like some types of abuse being far easier for the party in power.

    This especially if the Fascist/Nazi faction(s) are discounted, which in many ways have more in common with the Left than the “Right” and where the typical association with the “Right” could be seen as a historical accident (or clever Leftist propaganda!), where the application of slightly different criteria would have grouped the Nazis with the Communists instead of the Conservatives on a binary Left–Right scale.*

    *But I re-iterate my rejection of such binary scales as simplistic, misleading, and counterproductive.

    The current U.S. provides many good examples, including the treatment of Trump and the BLM riots. However, it is interesting that the difference has historically been far smaller in the U.S. than in e.g. Sweden and Germany, likely because the “political middle” has traditionally been further to the “Right” than in most European countries, making the likelihood of extremist opinions and methods lower on the Left (relative Europe; not relative the Right) and higher on the Right. There has been a massive shift over recent decades, leaving the U.S. as bad as or worse than Europe.

    A text that I have contemplated writing on several occasions has the theme “how much hate, lies, and violence will it take before the masses understand the true nature of the Left”. Well, it has been at least a hundred years since any thinking and well-informed person should have seen truly massive problems—and, if anything, the understanding seems to have diminished over time.

  3. Overlapping, I note that there has been a massive downturn in the political climate, even globally, during my blogging years.

    For instance, a considerable portion of my early days (2010, give or take) was spent on individual (Gender-)Feminists and other crackpots engaging in gross censorship, distortions, and similar, in lieu of bringing factual arguments to support their claims and ideas. Today, the same outrageous behavior is systematically pushed by the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

    For instance, back then, I could still use cases like the firing of Larry Summers as examples of PC extremism—today, they are everyday occurrences. Indeed, today, the “wrong” opinion expressed two decades ago (regardless of current opinions) or by a spouse (regardless of own opinions) can be grounds for e.g. a firing.

  4. The failure of the courts, especially the SCOTUS, to address the election issues is to some degree understandable,* but it has had extremely negative consequences. It would, I suspect, have been a lesser evil to test these issues thoroughly in court and then, regardless of the winner, have had some degree of confidence in the system and the election—or, if nothing else, a warning shot that might have made future cheating less likely.

    *Due to the risk of violating the separation of powers, setting dangerous precedents, etc.

  5. I am currently leaning towards recommending an abolishment of the Electoral Council—but in quite the opposite way of the Democrats: Let the POTUS be elected based on a vote by Congress,* with no direct popular vote. The people’s influence would still be exerted through the Congressional elections, controversies like 2020/2021 would be far less likely, the federal nature of the POTUS office would be stressed, the importance of the POTUS relative Congress would be diminished to something more resembling the original intention, the enormous costs for multiple campaigns and elections would be reduced, etc.

    *The exact modalities would still need to be thought out, e.g. how and whether both the House and the Senate votes, and whether it is one vote per state or one vote per person.

    A potential downside, admittedly, is that it would be harder for an outsider like Trump to shake things up.

  6. These elections have been extremely disappointing, even the potential distortion of the result through fraud aside: For parts of the election day, it looked as if Trump was winning easily, that the Senate would be easily held, and that there was a chance of the House being turned. As is, with the events of the last few days, not even the Senate is held, and Republican 3–0 has been turned to a Democrat 3–0.

    This is the worse, as this election was of extreme importance in light of the absurd drift Leftwards of the Democrats and their infestation with hate-agendas, pseudo-scientific and racist theories, and whatnot. I have no crystal ball, but the hit that the U.S. is about to take might turn out to be worse than the one FDR delivered. And, yes, to reiterate some earlier text, the U.S. might be heading into its worst internal crisis since the Civil War.

  7. On a semi-tragic, semi-funny note: Has anyone else seen parallels between Kamala Harris and Selena Mayer?

Written by michaeleriksson

January 7, 2021 at 10:36 am

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The end of the world as we know it

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So this is how democracy dies—to thundering applause!

(or something very similar) is how the fall of the Republic to the evil Empire is commented in “Star Wars”. So it was today.

A few comments:

  1. Over the last few decades, we have had a very disturbing combination of the allegedly free world growing ever more totalitarian (with a severe recent push due to COVID) and ever more Leftist. Today, we have seen a disastrous culmination of this.

    Trump, to continue the “Star Wars” theme, might well have been our only hope, the last defense against not only excessive Leftist policies, bad enough in their own right, but the evil, the intolerance, the hatred, that the modern Left pushes so hard—often, paradoxically and hypocritically, in the name of good, tolerance, and love. Note carefully that evil usually comes in the guise of good, and that it is never more dangerous than when it is mistaken for good. (This is one of the reasons why I insist that we should go by what people actually do, not what they merely say, and that we should listen two both sides of an issue, not just blindly believe the one side.)

    Also note how the Left has grown more and more intolerant, the more power it has received, as in Germany, where you cannot open the news without hearing fears about Rightwing-this and Rightwing-that, while society shifts ever more Leftwards. If Ludwig Erhard had lived to see the current set of redistributions and “welfare” excesses, he might have died from the shock (despite having a strong “social” streak, himself); while the likes of Erich Honecker (the last dictator of the GDR) might have been positively surprised. And, yes, Germany has very similar problems with the “New Left” as does the U.S., on top of the “Old Left” problems—here even Honecker might have been upset.

  2. We might now be in the absurd position that Putin is the leader of the free world; and, in the long term, it might well be that China poses a greater chance for the world than does the U.S. This not because Russia, let alone China, would be setting a shining example, but because the U.S. is crashing fast.
  3. While I have long considered democracy a mere “least evil” as a political system, situations like the current truly make me wonder: Either the system is too easy to cheat or the broad masses are simply too stupid to vote (or both …), leaving us with a dictatorship of the manipulators and the dumb masses. Democracy in its current form is simply not tenable. It might work for a while, but as the problems build up, we end where many “advanced” Western democracies are now: wealth created by the free or semi-free markets give people enough affluence to not complain, while the individual is increasingly trampled and the government and its bureaucracies and “programs” grow out of hand. Go outside this group and it can turn even worse, as with Venezuela.

    Democracy needs either a (constitutionally guaranteed) small government or a restriction of voters by e.g. an IQ cut-off—and a high one, at that.

  4. For democracy, this election might have been the greatest failure since the rise of Hitler (by mostly democratic means) and the fall of the Weimar Republic. (And, yes, I strongly suspect that the events in “Star Wars” were partially inspired by that failure, partially by the fall of the Roman republic.)
  5. As for the U.S., it might have reached the single greatest internal crisis since the Civil War, and while the consequences are likely to be less bloody, they might turn out to be as dire in terms of e.g. societal costs, damage to long-term development, etc. Note that the Biden/Harris election is just one part of the overall puzzle, which must be seen in combination with e.g. extreme-Left (and other) rioters, the anti-intellectual take-over of the academic world, and the social-media censorships.
  6. Irrespective of anything else, it is quite clear that the U.S. must change its procedures to eliminate the rampant possibilities for election fraud. Will Biden/Harris do so? Do not bet on it.

    However, if, against expectations, the Supreme Court, the state legislatures, or whoever, intercedes to compensate for the fraud and irregularities that have taken place this year, it would set a very dangerous precedent. It might be used to prevent fraud today, but it might then be used by the Left to perform fraud the next time around. On the off chance that Trump does win in this manner, his highest priority would have to be election-law reforms.

  7. From a personal point of view: I have grown ever more cynic and disillusioned with the world, humanity, and governments, as time has gone by, but what I have seen in the last year, with disproportionate COVID countermeasures, people being fired for having the “wrong” opinions (or even their spouses (!) having the “wrong” opinions), BLM and Antifa hate-mongering and riots over a likely drug-overdose, Leftist lies being openly (but likely often insincerely) supported even by large swaths of the non-Left, the extreme censorship and free-speech violations by e.g. Facebook/Twitter/YouTube, the U.S. elections, …

    It is all truly horrifying. Even the Social-Democrat Sweden of the 1980s, where I first developed a political awareness, was a better place that the modern Sweden, Germany, and U.S.

    I like to think that “this too shall pass”, but I am not certain that it actually will.

    Frankly, I have only two hopes: (a) that the sheer extremity of what happens will awaken sufficiently large portions of the masses to stop the changes, and (b) that the Left might splinter, e.g. along “identity” lines, and see its factions turn on each other, allowing the non-Left or a more moderate Left to take over.

Excursion on future posts:
The results of the election, and the circumstances around it, have led to many more “extraordinary” posts on this closed-in-principle blog than I had intended. With one exception, a re-working of the lyrics to “American Pie”, I will probably not post more on this topic. This, obviously, with a reservation for a change in outcomes, e.g. through a successful Trump lawsuit.

Written by michaeleriksson

December 14, 2020 at 11:19 pm

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The POTUS election, Leftist hypocrisy, and Time Magazine

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Apparently, Harris/Biden have been awarded the Time’s “person of the year”—in a manner that repeats the inexcusable hypocrisy and hate propaganda already mentioned in e.g. [1], where I say:

I am used to Leftist hypocrisy, but what I have seen since the U.S. election beggars believe. Above all, that the likes of Biden have the audacity to speak of e.g. “healing” and “unity” is so outrageous that I (a professional writer!) have problems finding words. There have been years of hate-propaganda, unwarranted attacks, whatnot from exactly these people, driving people apart, awakening hatred, aggravating or creating conflicts, and now these people speak of “healing” and “unity”!?!?!? It is sick, it is twisted, it is inexcusable.

That a POTUS winner is rewarded with “person of the year” is unremarkable—it appears to be a knee-jerk reaction. However, even discounting that the election is still not decided, the motivations are truly tasteless. For instance, Fox quotes Time* as saying:

*The Time website is not accessible in my browser.

it wasn’t about fighting Trump with righteous vengeance, or probing any deeper rot that might have contributed to his ascent. Biden believed most voters simply wanted reconciliation after four years of combat, that they craved decency, dignity, experience and competence.

Absolutely, utterly, utterly, inexcusable!

We have had five years of disgraceful hate attacks by Democrats on Trump, most of them void of justification. We have had years of racialist and racist hate mongering by Democrats. We have seen U.S. colleges ruined by hate-mongering and pseudo-scientific “social justice” freaks. Etc. Decency and dignity has been nowhere to be seen. (And while Biden might be experienced, few consider him very competent, at least today, while Harris, so far*, appears to be neither.)

*I reserve the right to modify my impression of her in light of future events.

And now the hate mongers are given awards for being the candidates for peace and reconciliation—those who won through hate and defamation—unless they won through cheating.

I can only call for a complete and exceptionless boycott of the brain-dead shitheads at Time.*

*I am very, very deliberately letting this formulation stand: they really do deserve it.

Excursion on the choice of Harris:
Looking at Wikipedia, it appears that the POTUS winner has received a blanket award of “person of the year” since 2000, including Trump in 2016, and with a very good chance in the years before that. However, this seems to be the first time that the vice president is included—something very telling in the overall scheme.

Excursion on other years:
While it is obvious that Time has not necessarily made choices based on e.g. virtue in the past,* but more on importance, recent choices are ridiculous. Last year, e.g., we saw Greta Thunberg, a climate populist with no accomplishments to her name, short of being-famous-for-being-famous, and who might not even truly understand the issues that she push. The award has increasingly been given to vague groups of people, like “The Guardians” in 2018 or “The Silence Breakers” in 2017**, let alone the ludicrous “You” of 2006. Other problematic recent winners include the horrifyingly-bad-for-the-Internet Mark Zuckerberg and the very disappointing Angela Merkel (cf. [3], regarding another person-of-the-year award, and e.g. [4]).

*Past winners include Stalin, Hitler, and Khomeini.

**Pushing the mostly harmful “me too” movement. Cf. a number of earlier texts, e.g. [2].

Written by michaeleriksson

December 11, 2020 at 1:10 pm

Follow-up: Disenfranchisement and the U.S. election(s)

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Two further items on disenfranchisement:

  1. I have repeatedly heard claims of a pact, of some sort, whereby some states want to ignore the respective state-wide popular vote in favor of the nation-wide popular vote when choosing their electors.

    This, if implemented, would be a gross disenfranchisement of the respective state’s population.

    Moreover, it would be constitutionally problematic in at least two regards: Firstly, it does away with the need to amend the constitution, thereby avoiding various checks-and-balances and violating the rights of the states and the people to have a say in how the constitution develops.* Secondly, it is contrary to the intentions of how the president should be elected. While this approach might (or might not) technically be within the considerable leeway given to the states in choosing electors, it is certainly against the spirit of the states of the federation electing who should be the “CEO” of the federation.**

    *Note the similar problem with judicial activism and the attitude that a small group of justices should be allowed to bend and alter the constitution without adhering to the prescribed manner—which was prescribed for a good reason.

    **Generally, the implementation of the U.S. as a federation appears to have grown weaker and weaker over time, with a considerable risk that it will soon be reduced to a single monolithic state and fifty ceremonial “states”.

  2. The sad truth is that elections (absent cheating …) are won by whoever manages to convince the greater part of the dumb masses. While I am not in a position to make a true quantification, I suspect that not even one-in-ten makes a truly informed and intelligent decision on how to vote, while well over half are driven mostly by emotions, egoism, and/or cheap propaganda, and while the remainder do try to vote reasonably but lack the information and intelligence to do so. The main difference between modern elections and the Roman panem et circenses is that modern politics is better at creating the impression of “serious” elections—what happens below the surface is not that different. Actually, there is one other important difference: a Roman politician, in my impression, bribed the people out of his own pocket, while the modern politician bribes with the tax-payers’ money.

    Indeed, it is striking how close to 50–50 elections tend to be, irrespective of the participants. If objective and informed choices were made, then 80–20 and 90–10 elections would be quite common; instead, 60–40 is considered a land-slide.*

    *I caution that while the rarity of 80–20 elections is an indicator of poor decisions, their presence is not a proof of good decisions; moreover, that it is important to look at aggregates, as e.g. a single 51–49 decision could result from the candidates coincidentally being almost equally good.

    The result is that the minority of voters whose votes really should count, those who understand how society, economics, and politics work, know their history, are highly intelligent, try to make rational decisions, can think critically, etc., stand a disproportionate risk that their votes do not matter. Say that (optimistically) these “good” voters cast 10 % of the overall votes, and that they go 8–2 (resp. 80–20) for candidate A over candidate B. This gives candidate A a leg up of 6 % of the overall vote, and all candidate B has to do is to win the dumb-masses 48–42 (roughly, 53.33–46.67, when scaled from 90 to 100) + one vote. Drop the optimistic 10 % to 1 % and even a near unanimous preference for one of the candidates is unlikely to matter.

Written by michaeleriksson

November 30, 2020 at 6:55 am

Disenfranchisement and the U.S. election(s)

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A recurring topic, argument, and/or pseudo-argument (depending on the details) is “disenfranchisement”. This ranges from legitimate concerns about legitimate voters having their votes uncounted (or, worse, switched to another candidate) for illegitimate reasons, to nonsense like “the Electoral-College system disenfranchises this-or-that group”.

While I will not go into a deeper discussion, I note that:

  1. In more-or-less any election, in any system known to me, involving a non-trivial population, a sizable proportion of the votes given will eventually not count in a meaningful manner. They have been given in vain or almost* in vain, because they were given to a candidate or party that did not win, and this fact alone is not disenfranchisement.

    *In e.g. the Swedish and German multi-party systems, a vote for a losing party might still result in a seat more in parliament, but this is nowhere near as valuable as actually being elected the governing party (or, mostly, one of the governing parties).

  2. Arguments that throwing out e.g a specific county due to poor controls, proof of voter fraud, or similar, would disenfranchise the legitimate voters in that county are partially correct and worthy of due consideration. However, they are not the entire story, and often it will be better to throw them out—if in doubt, to avoid future fraud.

    Specifically, throwing them out when the election results were altered will reduce disenfranchisement. (Assuming that correcting the results, which would be preferable, is unrealistic.) Say, for easy numbers, that the true vote was 10,000 to 9,000 and that fraud alters this to 10,000 to 9,000 + 2,000 Allowing the results to stand would disenfranchise the 10,000 legitimate voters for the legitimate winner and the “people” as a whole. Throwing the results out would disenfranchise whom? Not the 10,000 whose votes would have been in vain, anyway, had the fraudulent result stood—they were disenfranchised by the fraud. Not the 9,000 whose votes would have been in vain in a fair election and who would have been given an unfair advantage through the fraud. Certainly not the 2,000, who did not exist in the first place, or voted without having the right to do so, or whatnot. The people as a whole? No: it too was disenfranchised by the fraud and throwing the county out lessens the error of letting a result opposite of the “will of the people” stand.

  3. Replacing the Electoral College with a direct “popular vote” would not solve any problems in a magic manner.

    Firstly, campaign strategies would change and there is no guarantee that e.g. Hillary would have won the popular vote in 2016, if the popular vote had counted. What if Trump had just ignored two smaller battle-ground states, thrown a major effort into California, and shifted the vote enough to take the popular vote while losing two states more?

    Secondly, any imagined disenfranchisement (using the word loosely) problems would just move. For instance, someone somewhere reasoned that voters in this-or-that non-swing state would be disenfranchised, because no-one cared about their problems and all candidates spent their efforts on Florida et co. Change the system and what happens? Florida, California, Texas, New York will get plenty of attention, but Alaska, Hawaii, Vermont, …, not so much.

    (In addition, this points to a more fundamental problem, where politics is reduced to bargaining, bribes to the voters for elections, etc. Here the Electoral College is at least a slight counter-weight—and it could be a considerable one if the College was strengthened to the degree that its members were elected as individuals who then made an independent decision about who should be POTUS.)

  4. If you want to experience true disenfranchisement, look at Germany: Here the alleged Conservatives and the Social-Democrats form coalition government after coalition government, making voting borderline pointless.

Written by michaeleriksson

November 24, 2020 at 10:21 am

“Trump is evil for not conceding” and other nonsense

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A particular annoyance around the POTUS election is the apparent obsession with (a) whether/that Trump concedes the election and (b) the presumed need to forcefully remove him from office (or his physical presence from the White House, or whatnot).

Even discounting the fact that Trump has very, very legitimate reasons to not concede as things currently stand, this is highly irrational, evil rhetoric, or plain insanity.

Firstly, for the losing party to officially concede is a mere courtesy—it has no major* legal or other practical effect. Here I strongly suspect that it is either a matter of further demonizing Trump through illegitimate means or of trying to avoid the very real possibility of Trump winning in court. Neither is an acceptable motivation, especially as it is of great importance that the gross misbehaviors involved in this election are investigated even should they not actually have changed the outcome or eventually turn out to be too hard to prove and/or remedy.

*Looking at details, there might or might not be some set of circumstance where the conceding party reduces his own options or where a concession would necessitate some secondary actions to be legitimate. For instance, continuing various law suits around e.g. election integrity or the results from some specific state or county might be harder and/or pointless. (However, not even that is entirely off the table, as there are other concerns than “who won” involved, including getting rid of bad eggs and ensuring that future elections are run differently.)

Secondly, there has not been one shred of proof that Trump (should he not win) would even attempt to remain in office past inauguration day. This is a very clear case of further demonization: just claim “Trump is so evil that he will never leave unless we send in the Navy Seals*” and some stupid people will believe it. He is effectively accused of the intent to commit a crime** in two months time—and pronounced guilty without proof, without any true current indication,*** and without even having had the opportunity to commit the crime.

*And why the Navy Seals is unclear to me: not only do they seem as an illogical choice, but their involvement would, in turn, stand the risk of being an illegal act. I have not investigated who is the proper choice, but the Secret Service seems much more plausible, as do some law-enforcement unit executing a court order.

**Whether literally or figuratively is currently unclear to me.

***In contrast, speculation around Biden (voluntarily or involuntarily, de jure or merely de facto) being replaced by Harris in the not-too-distant future has a much higher plausibility. The claim remains speculation, but it is a legitimate concern (and one that actually would have a practical effect—unlike with Trump and the next item). Also contrast claims around future policy and actions in office made based on a candidates own stated plans and those that are baseless, horribly exaggerated, or taken out of context, as with the horrifying Goldwater will cause WWIII propaganda.

Notably, neither the non-concession nor the lack of current cooperation with a transition is a such a shred of proof: The former is similar to saying that “someone who pleads ‘not guilty’ will refuse to go to jail if convicted (which just proves how extra super-duper guilty he is)”. The latter is irrelevant, as Biden is not the “president elect” at this stage—and would not be so even if the election had been beyond reproach. He only becomes the “president elect” if and when the electoral college says so—and until then any cooperation by Trump would be a mere courtesy.

Thirdly, even if a losing Trump declared himself the still-POTUS and somehow did manage to occupy the White House, what would that practically change? Except for logistic inconveniences, hardly anything: As with the Presidential Twitter* account, his status as this-or-that would automatically be transferred to Biden with the inauguration ceremony. This is not some scenario from a fantasy novel where sitting on a magic throne or wearing a magic crown gives someone the right of command regardless of who is the acknowledged king.

*What motivated me to write this text was a claim in a Swedish news source that Twitter was handing the account over to Biden, given undue weight and the appearance that it was something happening here-and-now. Reading deeper, it was clear that Twitter had asserted that it would be following the same procedure as when Trump was inaugurated and transfer the rights at the time of the inauguration (implicitly, with reservations for the eventuality that Trump wins and makes the transfer unnecessary)—complete and utter non-news, in other words.

Excursion on pre-accusations and distortions:
I have a strong impression that this type of pre-accusations and distortions do not merely arise out of incompetence, sensationalism, or another “traditional” weakness of journalists, but as outright manipulation attempts. Consider similarly the pre-accusation that Trump would not concede the election, no matter the result—there was not one shred of proof that he would refuse to concede a legitimate and uncontroversial loss, but now, when he has very legitimate reasons to not concede an apparent loss, these legitimate reasons are ignored in favor of “we told you so”. Similarly, news reporting around various race-related court cases is often heavily distorted, creating an impression that there is a very clear case, that the accused did have certain motivations, or similar—and if a court, even quite legitimately, finds the opposite later, well, then cries of scandal, racist jurors/judges, and whatnot ensues. And then comes the riots … For an example, the same Swedish news source referred to Kyle Rittenhouse as a right-wing extremist, which is (a) disputable, (b) irrelevant in what currently appears to be a clear-cut self-defense case. But, no, the reader is to think “evil Nazi” and ascribe a motive of hate and malevolence. Also see some earlier, more detailed, discussions of similar topics, e.g. texts around George Floyd (at least, [1], [2]).

Written by michaeleriksson

November 21, 2020 at 1:23 pm

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The U.S. election and the destructive Left

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That politicians lie, cheat, and steal to get power is nothing new. Often, I find myself thinking in terms of “to what degree” instead of “whether”—and, with the current U.S. election, it is “to a very high degree”.* There is another aspect, however—why? What is the purpose of getting power?

*I have seen enough by now to consider massive Democrat cheating indisputably present (but I re-raise the questions from [1]), to which massive (conventional and social) media distortions have to be added. As for the Republicans, I do suspect that there is a deliberate exaggeration of the cheating and/or the available proof, which would then be an example in the other direction, even be it a more understandable one of trying to make a right out of a hostile wrong through an own wrong.

Historically, many have done if for personal gain, many have done it to change society for what they consider the better, many have done it in the genuine conviction that they would be better leaders than the competition, etc.

Looking at the modern Left in the U.S., I am often puzzled, however. Yes, many fall into the above categories, e.g. through misguided* attempts to improve the world, but some appear to be bent on nothing but destruction, the tearing down of the existing society, culture, whatnot—for no obvious reason and with no obvious replacement. This ranges from the anti-intellectual destruction of colleges, to the tearing down of statues and disparagement of anyone previously revered,** to destruction or distortion of fiction (see excursion), to looting of stores.

*Higher minimum wages, “single-payer” (i.e. “we all pay but have no say”) medicine, and similar are likely to do more harm than good in the long term, often mid- or short term, but I can at least see the wish to improve the world behind them.

**If this had stopped with “X was a proponent of slavery—off with his head”, it might have had some degree of legitimacy, but the bar is ever changing, to the point that even e.g. Lincoln is increasingly considered an evil, old racist who must be stomped out. Indeed, some three years ago, I spoke of how Robert E. Lee might have been seen as worse than George Washington merely because Lee lost his war and Washington won his—today, this example would no longer work, because the bar has moved to almost universally make Washington one of the bad guys in Leftist propaganda.

What is to follow in the wake of this destruction? A brand new world re-born as after the mythological Ragnarök? How? Tear down the economy, destroy science and education, abolish free speech, remove democratic processes in favor of automatic Democratic rule, whatnot, and what do they actually expect? If there is a new world other than anarchy or a Mao-style, Cultural Revolution China-clone, even Huxley’s “Brave New World” might look positively beneficial in comparison. It would certainly be a worse world than the one that we have now. (And, yes, that includes for Blacks, women, and whatnot—the claims of e.g. systemic racism are not even remotely born out by actual facts.)

In “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, a destroyed and controlled world was arguably a means to keep some group of people in power. Possibly, some current Democrats are willing to pay that price in order to get power—but would they succeed? Even in “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, it seems to me, the machinery created to ensure power had gained a life of its own and enslaved even the highest ranking characters that actually appeared.* Of course, here we see an overlapping problem with the current U.S. Democrats: even those who might profess more moderate opinions have usually failed to take a stand against destruction, lies, and anarchy. Whether they have deliberately used it to gain power or merely failed to speak up for fear of losing power (or have simply been to stupid and uninformed to understand the potential consequences), the fact remains that they have not moved to stop it—and that they, too, might eventually be caught in the machinery and devoured.**

*The situation might or might not have been different among even higher ranking officials, but I doubt that the exception would have extended outside some single supreme leader of the Stalin mold—and he might have had to watch his back, lest he ultimately ended up like Robespierre.

**What will happen is yet written in the stars, but it is easy to imagine a scenario where Biden and Pelosi are booted fairly soon, Democrat icons like JFK are derided as Dead White Men, and even a transsexual Black Lesbian Feminist is thrown out for not being up-to-date with the ever changing rules of Newspeak and Thoughtcrime. (Indeed, in academia such things already happen.)

What else might be said for the past: People tried to build and create, not tear down and destroy. What was built might not always have been something seen as positive by everyone (e.g. colonial empires), might sometimes have proved a bad idea (e.g. Johnson’s “Great Society”), or otherwise been problematic (moon rockets from a cost–benefit perspective?), but it was for some constructive perception of good—and, often, it was an outright good, as with many scientific and artistic accomplishments.

Today? Today, it is seen as a greater accomplishment to “prove” that accomplishments of old were somehow “evil” than to create something (even) better.

Excursion on fiction:
For examples of destruction relating to fiction, I see at least three over-lapping problems/symptoms:

  1. Deliberate distortions of existing works, e.g. through PC censorship or re-writes. Cf. e.g. an older discussion of Blyton’s works.
  2. Re-boots, re-workings, continuations whatnot that are untrue to the originals, usually in a PC or otherwise Leftist manner. This includes e.g. replacing white male characters with black or female characters, putting words in characters mouths that break with the “spirit” of the character, and similar. A particular issue is the distortion of highly male-centric works into female-centric. Consider e.g. the entirely idiotic and redundant re-make of “Ghostbusters” (arguably, the ultimate “male buddies” movie) with a female cast. Or, very recently, consider the continuation of the “Bill and Ted” franchise:* The original premise is that Bill and Ted change the world with their music, reaching greater stardom than The Beatles and Jesus put together, and usher in era of peace and excellence (or some such nonsense). The third movie, almost thirty years after the second, re-frames this to the daughters of Bill and Ted changing the world with their music, while Bill and Ted are complete failures.**

    *In all fairness, I have never quite seen the point of this franchise, but the originals were extreme “male buddy” movies and it is a great example. To boot, the re-framing was so cringe-worthily obvious even in the early stages of the third movie that I stopped watching well before the half-way mark—it was not a twist, it was, in today’s world, a highly predictable cliche.

    (Off topic, but related, there are many new works that today are framed with e.g. a female lead, and often an unrealistic or unnatural one, where a male lead would have been picked ten or twenty years ago. A movie description that begins with “Sheriff” is almost bound to use “she” or “her” as the next personal pronoun, and so on.)

  3. Works, notably movies, that deal with destruction or other forms of upheaval. Consider e.g. the recent development of the Marvel movies, which include the destruction of Asgard, for no obvious reason, in the Marvel version of Ragnarök, the later near-extermination of the Asgardian refugees, for no obvious reason, and the destruction caused by Thanos, which, for no obvious reason, remains almost entirely in place even after the heroes “win”. Here we see a trend of impending doom and destruction that is not averted by a happy ending. Or consider the sheer amount of disaster and post-apocalyptic movies. Or consider how disproportionately many franchises (e.g. “Divergent” and “Hunger Games”) deal with the premise* of an evil government that must be over-thrown, preferably by a teenage girl.

    *Do not get me wrong, I am not entirely unsympathetic to this premise, in light of the real world.

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November 19, 2020 at 5:04 am

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Follow-up II: Some observations around the current U.S. election(s)

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A further follow-up to my observations around the U.S. election(s) (cf. [1], [2]):

  1. In my original text, I spoke of Sweden and “voting-by-mail”. Here I dropped the ball, in part because my status as an ex-pat has made me eligible for mail-voting (“Brevröstning”, literally “Letter voting”) the past 23 years, in part because of unfortunate terminology and/or a faulty memory regarding my years in Sweden: What is available in Sweden is early voting (“förtidsröstning” / “before-time-voting”), which until 2006 went by the confusing name “poströstning” (“post voting”). This “post”, however, referred to the location within post offices—not posting by mail (by the voter).
  2. I have read a few further accounts by election observers. A considerable problem seems to be that the observers are powerless to do anything but observe (indeed, even their right to observe is often obstructed to the point of pointlessness) and there appears to be no other true control instance.

    There really has to be someone who has the right to say “You must not do that!” and be obeyed—possibly, even the right to interrupt* the counting and have the staff replaced or bring in the police** to enforce compliance. It must somehow be possible to stop the abuse as it goes on, not just report about it days later, when the damage might already be incurable.

    *A delay of hours or even a full day is vastly preferable to a fraudulent or grossly incompetent count.

    **Here there are a lot of details to resolve to prevent both a violation of secrecy and the risk of using the police in an abusive manner. These go far outside the current scope.

  3. The current events demonstrate some problems with the secret-ballot system: consider e.g. if all votes where listed with voter name on a web-server, where anyone could verify how many votes had gone to whom, whether the own vote had been correctly registered, whether the senile old grandma and the dead grandpa had “voted”, etc.

    Unfortunately, this brings a slew of other potential problems, like coerced voting and retaliations against those who voted for the “wrong” candidate—something of great relevance in light of the rabidly anti-Trump/anti-Republican attitudes of many in the current U.S. (Or e.g. against SD in Sweden or AfD in Germany.)

    (Which is the lesser evil will depend on the circumstances in the respective country at the respective time, but it is noteworthy that when I first heard of the secret-ballot, likely in school, my reaction was “How is that supposed to reduce cheating?!? What it does is open the doors wide for cheating!” Whether I was just naive or whether Sweden was still a sufficiently “nice” country at the time, that I cannot judge decades later. It is clear, however, that the secret ballot closes one door while opening another.)

  4. I am used to Leftist hypocrisy, but what I have seen since the U.S. election beggars believe. Above all, that the likes of Biden have the audacity to speak of e.g. “healing” and “unity” is so outrageous that I (a professional writer!) have problems finding words. There have been years of hate-propaganda, unwarranted attacks, whatnot from exactly these people, driving people apart, awakening hatred, aggravating or creating conflicts,* and now these people speak of “healing” and “unity”!?!?!? It is sick, it is twisted, it is inexcusable.

    *Notably, not limited to the Republican–Democrat divide, but also e.g. racial agitation

    What has happened to Trump is basically four or five years of the one kid punching the other in the face and then blaming him for “being so ugly that I was in the right to punch him”. This now followed by the punched kid going to see the school nurse, and the puncher speaking loudly of friendship (and how he is the one who will bring friendship about—as long as the ugly people have the decency go elsewhere or to wear paper-bags on their heads).

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November 11, 2020 at 7:03 am

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Election fraud / Follow-up: Some observations around the current U.S. election(s)

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As a brief follow-up to my observations around the U.S. election(s):

I have done a fair amount of reading lately, including on the recurring topic of electoral fraud. I would like to pass on two of the more interesting pieces:

https://monsterhunternation.com/2020/11/05/the-2020-election-fuckery-is-afoot/: A discussion of the many red flags currently present. It covers a lot of the same ground that I might have covered, had I written an own piece on the topic.

https://www.dailysignal.com/2020/11/06/a-pro-bono-lawyer-for-trump-campaign-shares-what-he-saw-in-pennsylvania/: The claimed* experiences of a Republic election observer.

*I have no reason to doubt his truthfulness, but I cannot personally vouch for it either.

I try to keep an open mind on this issue, including correcting for potential bias from what I want to be true (i.e. that Trump won) and the fact that most of my sources might be pro-Republic/-Trump, but it is very hard at this juncture: with the sheer mass of red flags, claimed eye-witness accounts, whatnot, the conclusion of massive* fraud is almost unavoidable. This especially in light of the equally massive problems pre-election, including grossly unethical and partisan manipulations by e.g. Twitter and Facebook.

*As opposed to minor fraud, which is indisputable (and possibly unavoidable; and not necessarily limited to one camp).

There remains at least four interesting questions:

  1. Was the fraud sufficient to actually affect the result of the election? (And, no, this is not a given, even with the razor-thin margins in some states—a cheating party might still have won without cheating.)
  2. Will the scope of the fraud be sufficiently investigated and corrected?
  3. To what degree was it an organized act and to what degree just individuals acting on their own?
  4. Assuming a high degree of organization above: To what degree was Biden, Harris, the DNC, whatnot, informed or instigating? (Note that it is quite possibly for massive and organized fraud to have taken place without e.g. Biden having any knowledge of it.)

Excursion on women and voting:
In my original text, I forgot to mention the issue of women making poor voting choices. These choices should come as no surprise to those who follow demographics and voting, but it is worthy of mention in light of a few pre-closing texts, notably [1]. I have not yet seen any numbers for 2020, but it is notable e.g. that there was very large male–female difference in 2016, and that I have seen similar skew towards naive pro-Left attitudes and votes among women on a great number of occasions in the U.S., Germany, and Sweden. The effect sans-Hillary might be smaller than in 2016, but the 2020 figures are very likely to show another would-have-been-a-landslide victory for Trump among men.

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November 8, 2020 at 10:19 am

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