Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Posts Tagged ‘merkel

Apologies for endorsements or non-endorsements of politicians (extraordinary post)

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Preamble: The blog remains closed-ish. Cf. Remark at the end.

I have already apologized ([1]) in passing for once calling Bernie Sanders a lesser evil than Trump.

This apology I hereby re-iterate: While Trump has not been a perfect POTUS, he has been far better than I had expected—to the point that I suspect* that he has been one of the best in the post-Reagan era. Two recent, very positive developments, include several peace accords (putting the presumed WWIII starter well ahead of premature Nobel Prize winner Obama) and his very clear position against the pseudo-scientific “Critical Race Theory” and the infamous and history-distorting “1619 Project”. (See [2] for some earlier comments on the “1619 Project”.)

*A full and fair comparison would require very extensive research.

The latter is particularly positive as even non-Leftist mainstream parties in e.g. my adopted Germany and my native Sweden officially subscribe to equivalent astrology-level nonsense, if usually in the guise of Gender-Feminism/Studies, Patriarchy, etc.

In [1], I say that “[Kamala Harris] appears to be more moderate than many other Democrats”—and here, too, I apologize: my later readings point in a different direction, even after adjusting for the U.S. (even non-Left) tendency to demonize and exaggerate political opponents. For instance, she appears to be rated* as the “most liberal” senator for 2019, rivaling Bernie Sanders. Cf. CNN and Fox News.

*I caution, however, that any such rating is unlikely to give a complete picture. I further note that she might have been more moderate in previous years.

Once I wrote of Obama, “Obama did very little good, but (with some reservations for yet unknown long-term effects of ObamaCare) he also did very little harm, and by that standard he deserves a passing mark.” and, again, I apologize:

Not only had ObamaCare already proved a fiasco at the time of writing, but my overall impression (apart from ObamaCare) was too superficial.* For instance, I was not yet aware of how many judicial activists he had appointed within the court system; for instance, my awareness of a certain “dear colleague” letter and its consequences was too small**.

*As a European with a full plate of other interests, I had only a superficial interest in U.S. politics for most of his presidency.

**Or even non-existent, depending on issues of timing that I have not investigated.

I was long a semi-fan of Angela Merkel, repeatedly giving her a thumbs up for being someone with an actual brain and education entering a political field dominated by the ignorant and the power-hungry. To boot, she was a shining example of how the non-Left often beats the Left to giving a woman a key post, e.g. as head of government, through “promoting” based on competence—not pushing women for being women.* And again, I must apologize: Over the years, Merkel has turned out to be a horrible disappointment. Not only does she often appear to have more in common with the Left than with the “Right”, but she has also engaged in repeated unholy alliances with the German Social-Democrats, with three (!) of her four cabinets being (allegedly) Conservative and (real) Social-Democrat alliances. Even the second of these unholy alliances (2013?) had me groaning; With the beginning of the third (2018) I can but strongly suspect that she is more interested in staying in power at all costs than the average politician … Never mind why voters supported her or what they expected her to do for them.

*In contrast to e.g. the Swedish Social-Democrats, who have been very heavy on female quotas and ideas like “it is high time that we had a female prime minister”, and have, in 2020, still not managed, while Merkel first gained the Chancellorship in 2005 and Thatcher became prime minister in 1979 (!), while both representing Conservative parties and both being party leaders for years before that.

Remark on “extraordinary post”:
This blog remains closed in intent. However, the abrupt closing (a decision of five minutes) left a number of open issues that have irked me since then. One is my misestimation of Trump, Obama, and Merkel (Harris less so), which grew with recent developments around Trump. I will likely deal with the most important of the others, jointly and minimally, in another upcoming post. Depending on developments, I might or might not also make some further extraordinary posts for blogroll updates, some words on the U.S. election (when it takes place), and an update on visitor statistics around New Year’s (cf. previous discussions on topics like traffic vs. post frequency, for which my current non-posting could provide an interesting comparison).

Written by michaeleriksson

September 19, 2020 at 7:42 pm

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The disappointing Angela Merkel

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Recently, Angela Merkel was named “Person of the Year” by the British news paper “The Times”:

For her central role in preserving European stability at a time of resurgent Russian aggression in eastern Europe, Angela Merkel is named today as The Times Person of the Year.

The German chancellor, who must decide by 2016 whether to stand for a fourth term in office, was chosen principally for taking control of the west’s fraught negotiations with President Putin of Russia after his annexation of Crimea.

Mrs Merkel has shown herself to be an indispensable power broker in a year when east-west relations have been tested to breaking point in the most dangerous geopolitical crisis since the Cold

(http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/europe/article4306900.ecee)

Now, I used to be a fan of Merkel’s, seeing her as one of the few politicians who actually bring some degree of competence to the table, as well as one of the least populist, and a positive counter-example to the many Swedish female politicians who have been promoted upwards just for being women (and have been correspondingly incompetent—consider Mona Sahlin, e.g.). As is, I consider this almost as a travesty, seeing that Merkel has spent 2014 ruining my impression of her—and has just broken the camel’s back by abusing the Charlie Hebdo situation to urge for an increase in “Big Brother”-/GDR-style telecommunications data retentionw of highly disputed effectiveness (according to a reliable German news sourcee).

Problems include:

  1. A far too weak reaction, almost a non-reaction, to the Snowden scandals. A chancellor after my taste would have taken a very clear stand against this intrusion on the citizens.

    I must conclude that she is in favour of such idiocies, is too weak to take the stand, or prioritizes international relations above the good of her citizens.

    (While the first revelations and Merkel’s lack of reactions date to 2013, there were plenty of opportunity for new reactions in 2014—none of which were taken.)

  2. An extremely populist take on last year’s general election, with many promises made without a word about the costs.

    I must conclude that she commits the politician’s deadly sin of prioritizing (re-)election over faithfulness to the ideals of the party and common sense—or, less likely, that she actually has more leftist views than she has hitherto let on.

  3. In the wake of said election (her party, CDU, and its Bavarian sister, CSU, where hailed as winners, but lost the supporting party FDP and with it the absolute majority), she for the second time entered a disputable alliance with the Social-Democrats, accepting many of their populist election promises and then passively letting them dominate the first few months—despite their being the junior partner in terms of members of parliament.

    I must conclude in repetition of the previous item, possibly and again, in combination with her being too weak.

  4. As a result of various election promises, we are now heading for (among other things) several ill-advised pension reforms, a too high minimum wage, and true abomination—-a 30% quota for female board members. This quota ignores that equal opportunity leads to unequal outcomes (for reasons including different interests and family/career priorities) and will therefore give women an artificial and unethical leg up at the cost of men, in particular with an eye on the age structure; it will lead to more incompetence in the board rooms (a problem that is large enough as it is); and it can be disputed on ethical grounds for the intrusion on the companies themselves.

    (Conclusions as above.)

The motivation given together with the award, on the other hand, fails in at least two regards: Firstly, it does not give a holistic view of her year. Secondly, if Merkel has been meritorious in this regard, it is not public knowledge. She has not gone “above and beyond duty” for a chancellor in her geographic position, she has not had any obvious positive impact beyond what was to be expected from a randomly picked chancellor from Germany history, and she has failed in as far as the Crimean is still in the hands of the Russians, Ukraine is still in a state of civil war, and the Russians are still highly aggressive.

At the end of the day, I cannot shake the suspicion that the award was more in line of a statement anti-Putin than a statement pro-Merkel, with Merkel simply being the candidate best-suited for being the excuse. Similarly, I am convinced that the absurd Nobel Peace Prize award to Obama was thinly veiled anti-Bush prize (with some suspicions for a few earlier prizes, including to the IPC/Al Gore)—as discussed in a previous article.

As an aside, the repeated “great coalitions” in Germany and recent odd agreements between the leading Swedish parties (in effect that the opposition will not oppose the budget suggestions of the ruling party/parties, even when the ruling faction does not have a majority) are leaving me with a fear that politicians are deliberately trying to get rid of their main irritant, those pesky voters, by making their own arrangements, irrespective of election outcomes. The conclusion is premature bordering on the paranoid at this stage; however, the last time I suspected that I was paranoid, well, according to Snowden I was naively optimistic…

Written by michaeleriksson

January 14, 2015 at 8:30 pm

More on the German election

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We are now more than two months past the election—and I have some serious doubts whether I was wise in endorsing Merkel’s victory.

For starters, the victory part can in it self be disputed. As I did warn, the failure of FDP left the Bundestag with a more-or-less hostile majority. Differences between various Left-leaning parties has still left Merkel and CDU/CSU as the main force; however, they need an alliance with the Social-Democrats (SPD), negotiations have taken forever, and the price to pay has been very heavy indeed: The Social-Democrats have a disproportionate number of cabinet seats allotted to them and they have pushed through a number of issues that are are worrying. The most notable example is an unduly high minimum wage at 8.50 Euro/hour, which could severely worsen the market for the barely employable. A far worse suggestion was under discussion, but appears to be off the table for the moment: The introduction of quotas for female board members, with a minimum of 30 or even 40 % being women—outdated, sexist, and unjust. (As usual there was no talk of a minimum quota for each respective sex—just one for women.)

CDU/CSU themselves were less than exemplary during the campaigning, making hefty promises. These promises are now combined with those of the SPD and the resulting joint proposals are quite expensive—but little has been said about the financing. As is, there will sooner or later (probably sooner…) be a hole that needs to be stopped. Based on my impressions from the negotiations, the stopping will likely eventually be done through tax increases.

Furthermore, there have been a number of areas in recent times where CDU/CSU have acted unfortunately or potentially dangerously. Most of these point to the important role the failing FDP could have played to keep a liberal rain on Merkel (not to mention keeping SPD away from power and thereby avoiding the above problems). Examples include:

  1. A far to complacent reaction to scandals around surveillance of citizens and politicians (not limited to the NSA).

  2. There are suggestions to reinstate the Telecommunications data retentionw, which on a previous attempt was struck down by the Federal Constitutional Court—the more absurd in light of the recent surveillance controversies.

  3. A wish to make customers of prostitutes criminally liable when they visit prostitutes who work on a non-voluntary basis. Superficially, this may seem like a move to counter-act “trading”; practically, it is an entry point for a renewed ban on prostitution and puts the customers in a very unfortunate position. (I will expand on this in the following post.)

Simultaneously, although likely not tied to CDU/CSU, there are renewed attempts to ban NPD, a minor party considered neo-nazi and “hostile to the constitution” (“verfassungsfeindlich”—a legal German term allowing the banning of organizations). This may not seem bad on paper; however, it violates the principles of democracy in the name of democracy, highlights the limits of freedom of speech and expression in Germany, and shows a great hypocrisy: The East-German Communist party has a descendant in “Die Linke”, which is actually represented in parliament. (The originally party, SED, was restructured and renamed to PDS after the fall of East-Germany. PDS was represented in parliament until just a few years ago, when they merged with another Left-extremist/-populist grouping to form “Die Linke”, which is still represented. There is even some remaining overlap with SED in terms of the actual people involved—admittedly minor by now, but then more than twenty years have passed.) In contrast, NPD has no direct ties to NSDAP (“the Nazi party”), but are accused of having similar opinions. The one is the continuation of a criminal organization and thrives in parliament—the other has similar opinions to a criminal organization and risks being banned.

Written by michaeleriksson

December 4, 2013 at 5:27 am

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