Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

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Trump’s impeachment and a horrifying democracy failure / Follow-up: U.S. elections

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The second impeachment of Trump is truly a horror; and the meagerness of today’s acquittal utterly absurd.

Consider, among other factors:

  1. The impeachment was with a high degree of likelihood unconstitutional to begin with.
  2. Failing that, it indisputably misses the purpose of an impeachment, which is to remove a problematic office holder from his current office.

    (Here it seems driven by an attempt to prevent a former office holder from holding future offices and/or to exercise some type of Orwellian utter destruction of a defeated enemy.)

  3. The accusations raised were utterly untenable, and were clearly so from the very beginning, considering what statements allegedly were impeachable.

    By no reasonable standards can these statements be considered e.g. an incitement to riots or speech not covered by the First Amendment.

    (Notably, going down this road could lead to the very dangerous situation of elected politicians being limited in their freedom of speech to a considerably higher degree than others, and possibly at the whim of their enemies and/or the Democrats/the Left.)

  4. There are great signs that Trump could not have caused the events at Capitol Hill even by negligence or otherwise unintentionally, as they, apparently, began before he reached the critical portions of his speech.

    This even discounting claims (which I have not investigated) that the events might have been pre-planned (by others) and/or involved Antifa members acting under a false flag. Indeed, political violence tends to come from the Left, so this would be less surprising than a pro-Trump group using violence (barring situations of a defensive nature).

  5. Considering far worse statements by Leftist politicians, especially regarding e.g. the BLM riots, and the scope, damage, and whatnot of the BLM riots, the impeachment is an astounding and inexcusable hypocrisy.
  6. If this type of approach was successful, the results could be horrifying. Consider e.g. a scenario where an election campaign is held, under a massive investment of time and money, and one of the candidates is dishonestly impeached just a few weeks before the election date. If conviction succeeds, the possibility of launching a strong secondary candidate in time would be minuscule. Even with an acquittal, the distraction caused by the proceedings could damage the campaign severely—as could the negative publicity, considering that too few voters bother to look beyond the headlines.

    Worse, we could see a scenario where candidates or the already elected are picked off one-by-one, possibly in a true “First they came” scenario. Indeed, a portion of the Nazis success came from removing opposing members of parliament—notably, after the Reichstagsbrand, an arson attempt against parliament and a target (but not means) of attack similar to that which was invoked to justify the Trump impeachment.

But let us say, very, very strictly for the sake of argument, that everything would have been above board with the impeachment: What could possibly have motivated Trump? It is very hard to see any possible positive effect for him (or the GOP), while the risk of a backlash would be considerable and obvious. Indeed, if he had actually incited a riot, a coup attempt, or a whatnot, chances are that he would have landed in the real courts, be it on criminal charges or as the target of a handful of civil suits. This alone should make any rational thinker highly suspicious of the accusations. Cui bono? Not Trump, that is for sure.

Despite this, and likely quite a few other arguments, the vote was a disgraceful 57–43 against Trump—enough to acquit him but more than enough to condemn the Senate. Even a 43–57 would have been a disgrace. It is quite clear that this was never a bona fide impeachment attempt, a bona fide attempt at protecting this-or-that, or otherwise anything “bona fide”. On the contrary, it was a malicious, dishonest, and anti-democratic* attempt to abuse the available processes to do damage to a political opponent.

*As in “opposed to democracy”, not “opposed to the Democrat party”.

In addition, it was a democracy failure in that those Republicans who voted against Trump almost certainly did so against the will of the voters who had once elected them and the states that they represent, who tend to be more pro-Trump than their senators. (I have already seen reports of protests and censuring based on the vote in the House. Of course, that the impeachment was not struck down in the House is also a travesty.)

I note that I published a text titled Democracy lost almost five years ago. The time since then has made the contents of that text seem optimistic …

Written by michaeleriksson

February 13, 2021 at 11:23 pm

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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“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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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).

Written by michaeleriksson

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.

Written by michaeleriksson

November 8, 2020 at 10:19 am

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Some observations around the current U.S. election(s)

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I could probably, already, write two dozen texts on the current U.S. elections, but I will condense my observations to a few core points (this blog remains closed-in-principle). This especially as the main results are still in the air and might require weeks to finalize.

  1. Changes in voting patterns among Blacks and Hispanics are promising: it might be that there is still hope for the Republicans even as demographics change and/or that the Democrats have to reconsider their “identity politics” and “bribe/manipulate the minorities” approach.
  2. The political landscape with and without California is radically different.
  3. Both presidential candidates are heading for a higher number of votes than any prior winner. With a growing population, comparisons from election to election can be misleading, but it is a sign that Trump is nowhere near as loathed in the mainstream population as mainstream media like to paint it.
  4. There have been a great number of verified problems with electoral fraud, including concerning mail votes, which strongly imply that the U.S. system is in need of an overhaul, including better identity checks and greater verifications of voter registries to avoid “the voting dead” and individuals voting in several states.

    Even assuming that the fraud has remained small scale, Trump has been proven correct here.

  5. But then there are considerable concerns about potential large scale fraud, e.g. in Pennsylvania. I leave unstated whether such has taken place, but there are definitely sufficient signs to warrant a thorough investigation. (Unfortunately, chances are that one will not take place if Biden wins.)

    Some of the things that I have read makes me think of Tammany Hall … (But, unlike some Republicans commenters, I am at this juncture open to the possibility of more innocent explanations, over-interpretation on behalf of observers, coincidences, and similar.)

    The odd swings in some states that looked like Trump wins (also see excursion) are particularly suspect: The gradual changes seen in e.g. Georgia are one thing; massive sudden changes like in Michigan another.

  6. Polling has misestimated the results considerably (also see excursion), and better methodology is needed.
  7. The approach of media in reporting and “calling” results has been very detrimental to the process and might have mislead many readers/viewers/voters/whatnot.

    While I do not necessarily subscribe to the “deliberate misreporting to discourage Republican voters” theory,* there are still dangers involved. Notably, there is a considerable risk that perceptions of which candidate is trying to “steal” the election, which candidate is engaging in malicious litigation, and similar, can change depending on who had the higher count of electors at what time. For instance, premature pro-Biden calling and belated pro-Trump calling have lead to situations where Biden seemed to lead with e.g. 264 to 21x (with 270 needed for victory), but where fair counts might have had the candidates within a dozen electors at the time.

    *If in doubt, because this could backfire: just like a Republican might think “we have already lost, so I will not waste my time by voting”, a Democrat might think “we have already won, so I will not waste my time by voting”.

Excursion on the experience:
The experience of this election has been extremely frustrating and depressing—the more so, as a Biden win might equate to complete dominance of hate-mongering, pseudo-science, and whatnot through e.g. racist homeopathy-level nonsense like “critical race theory”. Similarly, that equality of outcome dominates equality of opportunity entirely, that feelings matter more than facts, and so on.

In the months leading up to the election, I had been told again and again that the polls where wrong, that Trump supporters where underrepresented or did not openly support Trump when polled, and similar. While I hoped that this was true, I remained cautious, fearing that this might have a component of wishful thinking. In the course of the evening and night*, this actually seemed to be pan out: Trump looked to be heading for a major victory, well over 300 electors, and with chances at both the House and the Senate for the Republicans.**

*I live in Germany, which is six or more hours ahead of the U.S.

**But, in all fairness, I am not certain that having POTUS, House, and Senate belonging to the same party is a good thing, as some division can check the power of the politicians.

When I went to sleep, Trump could afford to lose three or four of the states where he had a lead (but where the state had not yet been “called”); when I woke up, he had lost the lead. Not only that, he had lost it in a very abrupt manner, which does not seem to fit a natural development of the count.

Right now, the House takeover has not manifested, the Senate still hangs in the balance, and the only way to avoid a Biden victory might be successful litigation, recounts, and corrections for fraud*.

*That fraud has taken place is clear. Whether it has been so large as to have an effect and whether it has been organized or more haphazard is still uncertain—and whether it is correctable is even more uncertain.

Excursion on Sweden and Germany:
Sweden has used voting-by-mail successfully for decades, with little or no fears of fraud. Apart from the longer tradition and more time to iron out any problems, Sweden has a central registry of residence, the state keeps much closer tabs on the citizens,* there is one single state (no double voting), and e.g. identity theft is much harder. Germany is somewhat similar: there are multiple states and multiple registries, but the laws about registration of whereabouts move on an outright totalitarian level—to the point that the citizens are legally obliged to register and de-register themselves more-or-less immediately when they move, are required to provide proof of residence (e.g. through written confirmation by a landlord) when doing so, and even hotel visitors must give full names and addresses when registering at the hotel.

*In most cases, I consider this a bad thing, but in some cases, e.g. voter registration, it can have advantages.

Written by michaeleriksson

November 6, 2020 at 6:37 pm

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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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Trump impeachment

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The recent Trump impeachment is a clear sign that something is very wrong with U.S. politics, no matter how the situation is twisted and turned, irrespective of whether Trump is guilty* or innocent. (Also see many earlier texts for democracy failures, e.g. [1].)

*If he is, obviously, a further problem is present beyond those discussed here. Also see an excursion.

The most glaring issue is that the attempts to reach impeachment are so obviously not primarily about e.g. upholding the law or the integrity of the executive office—they are about getting rid of Trump because of who he is and/or because he is a Republican. Consider similarly, among other situations, the attempts to block the Kavanaugh nomination. This type of abuse of processes and extra-democratic means to circumvent democratic results has reached a ridiculous and inexcusable level. Unfortunately, the problem is not limited to political appointees, as can be seen by the great number of individuals and organizations who have been targeted with malicious means for not being sufficiently Left, PC, “woke”, whatnot, as discussed repeatedly in the past. (The problem is also not limited to the Left, as can be seen e.g. in the birth-place controversies around Obama.)

A second issue is that the votes to impeach followed party lines almost perfectly. This is a strong indication that a significant proportion* of at least one side (much more likely: both) did not vote based on legal and ethical criteria but in a partisan manner. (There is enough of that type of abusive voting in e.g. the Supreme Court.) This is unfortunate on at least two counts, namely the dishonesty involved and the reduction of the parliamentarian to a tool for his party, when what the world needs are parliamentarians who think for and stand up for themselves and the people.

*But hardly all: in all likelihood many did vote according to more reasonable criteria.

A third is that the current events might amount to a pointless waste of time and energy, which raises an additional suspicion of frivolous and vexatious litigation, that the negative effects on Trump, his re-election chances, his administration, and/or the GOP are the main purpose—not an actual removal from office:* In my understanding, the later vote in the Senate will require a two-thirds majority, which will be quite tricky in light of a Republican majority among the senators, the aforementioned party line votes, and the reasonable assumption that stricter criteria are applied for a vote of “guilty” than for a vote of “enough signs to warrant a trial”. The preceding trial must show a very negative image indeed of Trump for this two-thirds majority to manifest. (Or do the Democrats bet on Trump having too many enemies among Republican senators?)

*But such arguments should be applied with caution: it is better to err on the side of permissiveness, lest bona fide attempts are blocked.

Excursion on the underlying issues:
I lack the legal expertise and detailed knowledge of events to judge whether Trump has done something impeachment-worthy, and the question is secondary to me. However, my impression so far, based on common sense* criteria, is that this is overkill. What the Democrats try now, and e.g. against Kavanaugh, is certainly a worse abuse. I also note a piece by Pat Buchanan that makes some of the arguments against Trump seem hypocritical or otherwise unreasonable. (But I warn that Buchanan might be no more neutral and objective on the issue than e.g. Pelosi—take it with a grain of salt.)

*Which does not preclude e.g. an illegality.

Written by michaeleriksson

December 19, 2019 at 2:59 pm

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Potential flaws in the U.S. justice system (ACLU injunction against Trump’s wall)

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Apparently, an injunction against Trump’s use of Pentagon money for his wall has been overturned. (As reported e.g. in [1]. Note that the main suit continues.) While I do not really care about the wall or its financing, I did note several things that struck me as unfortunate, especially in the current U.S. climate of judicial activism.

  1. The original suit* for an injunction appears** to argue that because Congress had not authorized this use of money, Trump should not be allowed to order this use. This is, in it self, a potentially valid objection and such challenges must be allowed in order to ensure that the “checks and balances” and “separation of powers” work as intended.

    *With reservations for terminology. Possibly, e.g. “filing” or “petition” would be better.

    **Going by [1]. I have not myself studied the details, and note that such study might give a different view.

    However, the suit was not filed by Congress as the primarily (allegedly) injured party or by individual members feeling overruled. Neither was it filed by the Pentagon or someone with a high standing in the Pentagon, who might have (metaphorically speaking) chain-of-command concerns or seen an injury through other uses of the money no longer being possible. Neither was it filed by an entity that could be considered as having a strong standing in terms of e.g. protecting Congressional rights. No—it was filed by the ACLU… (Additionally, raising the suspicion that the suit was never intended to protect the division of power or whatnot, but rather followed the ACLU’s pro-immigrant and anti-Trump stance.)

    I could see a line of reasoning that a violation of e.g. “separation of powers” would infringe upon the rights of the individual citizens, making a civil liberties union a reasonable champion. However, in a situation when none of the more immediately involved parties have taken action, this strikes me as far-fetched. This especially, because the suit was filed “on behalf of the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition” (cf. [1]). I am not aware of either entity, but the names do not point to a citizen’s rights connection (nor e.g. a “protect Congress” connection).

    There would be more reasonable other champions, e.g. the states* or the Congressmen representing the complaining citizens. (Especially, as the former might argue an own injury similar to the citizens’.)

    *There appears to be another suit that was launched by some states, which might or might not make the ACLU suit redundant in the first place. (I have not looked into the details.)

    I would raise doubts as to whether a system that allows e.g. the ACLU to file suits in cases like this* is sensible, or whether there should** be a restriction to more central parties (notably, but not exclusively, Congress and its individual members).

    *However, there might be a wide range of other cases where such a restriction is less sensible, e.g. to prevent various branches of government from colluding to violate constitutional rights. This is not the case here, because if Congress was colluding with Trump, it would have a perfectly constitutional, ethical, whatnot way of doing so—by authorizing the use.

    **Note, here and elsewhere, that I do not speak of what current law, practice, whatnot is in the U.S., nor necessarily of how it should be interpreted. Some “shoulds” in this text might very well involve non-trivial changes.

  2. The original suit was placed before District Judge Haywood Gilliam—a black Obama-appointee.

    By allowing such important matters to be treated on such a low level as the District Courts, there is a considerable risk of “court shopping”, that the plaintiffs file where there is a large chance of finding a sympathetic judge.

    Here it would make great sense to have a higher and/or a more specialized court available to handle such high-level matters, both to ensure a high relevant competence and to avoid the court-shopping issue. This especially in cases, like here, where there was a great a priori likelihood that any injunction would be challenged through all instances.

    Disclaimer: I cast no aspersions on Gilliam’s expertise—I have no other knowledge of him than what is present in the linked-to texts. Similarly, while “black Obama-appointee” fits what a court-shopping ACLU might look for, I have no way of knowing that he actually was partial or biased. However, neither matters, because the risk is the problem.

  3. The over-turning Supreme Court was again divided “on party lines”, making it highly likely that at least one, possibly both, side[s] again looked less to the law and more to what fit an agenda. (I have already expressed opinions on which side is more likely to be at fault in [2]—and how to do it better.)

Excursion on me and the wall:
Being neither USanian nor Mexican, the issue of the wall is fairly academic to me. However, I note in favor that: (a) Illegal* immigration is a major U.S. problem. (b) There is a very, very large difference between walls keeping people out (China) and walls keeping people in (Berlin)—garden hedge versus prison wall. Further, against that: (a) It is enormously expensive. (b) It has not convinced me of its effectiveness and efficiency. (c) It comes with negative side-effects at least with regard to the environment and the potential need to expropriate private land.

*I am willing to discuss exactly what types of immigration should be deemed illegal. However, until and unless a law change is affected, the current illegal immigration remains illegal, and this is not one of the laws that people have a plausible right to ignore or subvert. (Unlike e.g. a law preventing emigration. I have vague plans for a text on types of laws and rules where this would be addressed more in detail.)

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July 27, 2019 at 3:27 pm

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