Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Posts Tagged ‘Trump

The Republicans and the 11th commandment

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As I mentioned in an earlier text, I read a few Reagan biographies earlier this year. One striking thing was the old “11th commandment” of (paraphrased from memory) “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican!”.

While there are two sides to this issue, as no-one should be above legitimate criticism, it is a great shame that the current Republicans do not heed it sufficiently—especially, with an eye at the constant stream of lies and defamation coming from the Democrats. How will voters naturally react when Democrats in unison claim that Republican candidate A is evil (or whatnot)—and Republican candidate B makes the same claim? For that matter, how does it look if candidate B spends the primaries harping about the deficiencies of candidate A, and then just turns around and lifts him to the sky for the main election? Odd, hypocritical, and inconsistent.

Looking at Trump in the 2020 election, his chances would have been far greater if the Republican party had backed him in a better manner. Even the so called RINOs would have been better off with Trump than Biden, yet foolishly undermined him for more than four years leading up to 2020.

Looking at Trump now: Why is he hacking at DeSantis? The important thing for 2024 is to launch a Republican candidate with a strong chance at victory and sound politics. If Trump gets so caught up in a “Trump 2024” scenario that he torpedos DeSantis, makes himself look bad, and/or kills the possibility of a Trump/DeSantis ticket, then Trump might now actually be the liability that he, in the past, was unfairly accused of being. Here we might indeed have another Reagan lesson—the willingness to wait and let someone else have a turn, when the overall situation calls for it, while quietly building support for oneself for the next time around.*

*In all fairness, by 2028 Trump might simply be too old to make a viable candidate, but at some point we have to draw a line between personal ambition and what is good for the GOP, the U.S., the voters, the whatnot—something that too many politicians fail to do with regard to their respective parties, countries, voters, etc.

And, no, Trump is by no means the only source of examples, be it as the victim or the aggressor. For that matter, look e.g. at the recent U.K. chaos and consider the damage that the internal intrigues and manoeuvres might have done to the Tories during 2022.


Written by michaeleriksson

November 15, 2022 at 1:30 pm

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Brownstone drops the ball II / An odd attack piece on Trump

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Some two weeks ago, I encountered another article where Brownstone dropped the ball, with a weird unwarranted attack on Donald Trump (intermingled with likely* sensible claims on the economic damage of the COVID countermeasures). This reeks of Leftist propaganda, in that Trump (the Republicans, the Right, the whatnot) is blamed for damage mostly caused by the Left. (Ideas like “The economy is in shambles after almost two years of a Democrat President, House, and Senate—and it is all the Republicans’ fault!” are somewhat common on the Left.)

*Due to the attack-piece aspect, I skimmed and skipped, and left the last parts entirely unread.

Before I look at some examples, I stress that I do believe that Trump dropped the ball, but (a) not to the degree that many other political leaders did, (b) his fault was listening to his advisors,* (c) the brunt of the overall (U.S.) damage falls on Biden (POTUS-wise) and the likes of Fauci and Birx**, (d) chances are that Trump would have followed a more DeSantis-like COVID policy, had he been reelected. I further stress that I would have had no problem with a general discussion of U.S. government failures around COVID, where Trump was given his fair share—and the likes of Biden and Andrew Coumo their fair share. (The reader is invited to count how many times these three persons are referenced in the article.)

*This is the guy that the Left has otherwise repeatedly accused of ignoring wise advisors who could have made everything right, and instead doing his own ignorant thing. The truth might rather be the opposite, that things went bad when he did listen to advisors and worked well when he did his own thing. They should have let Trump be Trump, as they let Reagan be Reagan.

**Cf. her autobiography/self-incrimination, which describes deliberate manipulation and subversion attempts. This, maybe, to the point that an (e) applies: The policies under Trump were a distorted version of what Trump had actually ordered. (I say “maybe” as I have read several reviews of the book, but not the actual book.)

Prolonged fiscal and monetary excesses prior to February 2020 were already destined to generate an era of reckoning, even before Washington jumped the shark* after the Covid panic was ignited by Donald Trump in March 2020.

*What the author intends here is unclear. I suspect that the expression is simply misused.

COVID panic was igniting world-wide from multiple sources, Trump is likely better viewed as a victim than as the igniter, and the likes of Biden, Hillary, and Obama would almost certainly have gone down the same path. Trump was the messenger; not the sender of the message. His main error was failing to reject the message—but the same applies to most other world leaders.* From another point of view, it is puzzling why the author goes to the trouble of mentioning Trump by name (or it would have been, had this not been an obvious attack piece). Why not speak of e.g. “Fauci”?

*A general issue, which I will not always mention, is that what happened in other countries, what mistakes were made by more experienced politicians, how much more damage Biden has done in the post-Trump era, etc. is left out. Trump, going by the discussed text, was a single, unique world-leader who screwed up where others did not or, in his place, would not have. The truth is radically different.

The history books will surely record, therefore, that it was Trump who foolishly ignited the above depicted ticking financial timebomb. Based on the facts known now and the evidence available then, the prolonged Lockdowns ordered by Trump on March 16, 2020 were one of the most capriciously destructive acts of the state in modern history.

Firstly, there is no need to ignite a time bomb. The defining characteristic of a time bomb is that it goes off on its own, when the literal or metaphorical dial hits the right time. Any premature ignition will only change the timing of the bomb. (It might even be argued that some bombs, including financial ones, are better detonated as soon as possible, because they are hard to disarm and tend to do more damage the later they go off.) Blame the guy who built the bomb, not the one who accidentally set it off prematurely. (Whether Trump is the latter, I leave unstated. He certainly is not the former.)

Secondly, again, Biden did (and will likely continue to do) worse and so did many others—and at least Biden did so with much more information and more deliberately. Trump in contrast, going by e.g. claims by Birx, might have truly gone for “two weeks to flatten the curve”, or something similar, only to be manipulated into prolonged lockdowns as events unfolded.

Looking at choice of words, the use of “foolishly” and “capriciously” seem to serve no other purpose than rhetoric.

Indeed, the IFR (infection fatality rate) for the under 70-years population has turned out to be so low as to make the brutal economic shutdowns ordered by the Donald and his Fauci-led Virus Patrol tantamount to crimes against the American people.

The lockdowns (in a great number of countries) might well be argued to be such crimes, but Biden did worse, the degree to which Trump was the driving factor is highly disputable, and the “Virus Patrol” was not his outside a very formal sense. On the contrary, it acted as an independent force, subverted his will (cf. Birx), and manipulated him. There is also some room to dispute what shutdowns and other countermeasures were ultimately ordered by Trump, Congress, federal this-and-that and what by their state level equivalents.*

*Here, I have not paid much attention and would need additional research, but I note that there were and are large differences between the situations in e.g. Florida and New York (state), often with Republican-governed states being more sensible and successful than the Democrat-governed ones. (I did throw a casual eye on some Wikipedia pages, but they are still, absurdly and contrary to the collected evidence of more than two-and-a-half years, written on the premise that the earlier, the longer, and the harsher the lockdowns the better, which makes them fairly useless for this type of evaluation.)

Here and elsewhere—why the inconsistent and arguably disrespectful “Donald” or even “the Donald”? (A “Hillary”, often used by me, at least serves disambiguation, as “Clinton” has so strong associations to husband Bill. Ditto some few other exceptions like “Dubya” and “Teddy”.)

Nor does the Donald and Fauci’s Virus Patrol get off the hook on the grounds that these dispositive facts about the Covid were not fully known in early March 2020. But to the contrary, the results of a live fire case study involving the 3,711 passengers and crew members of the famously stricken and stranded cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, were fully known at the time, and they were more than enough to quash the Lockdown hysteria.

If this paragraph had focused on Fauci, leaving Trump unmentioned, it might have been in order. As is, no. In particular, how much own knowledge must be required of Trump when he has specialists to advise him? Can we require that non-physician, non-virologist, non-epidemiologist Trump, at so early a stage, answers a team of renowned specialists with “But Diamond Princess?”, after being told that “science”, “models”, whatnot show that several percent of the U.S. population might die? (Fauci, Birx, et al., in contrast, have no excuse.) And what if he did give this answer and was met with a plausible sounding explanation as to why the data from the ship were not representative? And how is Trump different from dozens of other world leaders, including Angela Merkel (an actual former scientist, albeit not in medicine).

That’s right. Donald Trump and his way-in-over-his-head son-in-law, Jared Kushner, knew or should have known that the survival rate of the under 70-years population on the Diamond Princess was 100%, and that there was no dire public emergency in any way, shape or form.

Beg to differ. See above.

Under those conditions, anyone with a passing familiarity with the tenets of constitutional liberty and the requisites of free markets would have sent Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx and the rest of the public health power-grabbers packing.

That the Donald and Jared did not do. Instead, they got led by the nose for month after month by Fauci’s awful crew because basically Trump and Kushner were power-seekers and egomaniacs, not Republicans and certainly not conservatives.

Most of this is true, but not all (and how many did better?). Trump certainly has a greater right to call himself a Republican or Conservative than the likes of Mitch McConnell and Liz Cheney. (Former Democrat? Yes, but so was Reagan.) There is not much to indicate that Trump sought election because he was more of a power-seeker than, say, Hillary, Biden, Obama, Bush Jr. If anything, he seemed more set on doing what was right, once elected, than they (non-POTUS Hillary excepted) were. The “egomaniac” part might be fair, but neither of these four attributes are in obvious connection with “got led by the nose”. Political naiveté or undue optimism about experts* are more likely factors. Moreover, here the author implicitly admits that Trump was not the villain—merely manipulated by the villain(s).

*Also see my own recent text on disillusionment with experts.

Donald Trump literally decimated the production side of the US economy because he did not have the gumption, knowledge and policy principles necessary to blow off Fauci’s statist attack on America’s market economy.

Highly speculative, both regarding Trump and Fauci. (As much as I despise and loathe Fauci, it is not clear that this was a “statist attack”, rather than attention seeking, search for personal influence, sheer incompetence, or whatnot.) A better formulation would have spoken of e.g. “The lockdowns literally […]”. The Trump-era lockdowns were bad, but something that the economy could have largely bounced back from in a reasonable time—the artificial prolongation by Biden is another matter. (Ditto the inflation driving, energy-sector destroying, whatnot policies of Biden.) Step on a flower and chances are that it will bounce back with a few lost petals and an unfortunate bend—grind it under your foot and it can rarely be rescued.

The Donald did not care a wit about fiscal rectitude and the surging public debt that was already in place; and actually had demanded time and again even more egregious money-printing than the ship of fools in the Eccles Building were already foisting upon the American economy.

Again, highly speculative. I note that, pre-COVID, the U.S. economy was doing better than in decades. If Trump demanded money printing, it was a drop in the sea compared to Biden, and a short-term, one-off help package (or whatnot) to compensate for the lockdowns was not an obviously bad* idea (unlike the massive and prolonged efforts under Biden). Note that flower again.

*Which is not necessarily to say that I would have supported one.

Looking at his overall, pre-COVID, approach, it did not seem to be a matter of “not care” but of different priorities, namely to stimulate the economy, lower taxes, whatnot—note the similarity with Reagan in this regard. Of course, the key to “fiscal rectitude” and “public debt” is to keep expenses down—not taxes up. We might discuss how lowering taxes, keeping the budget balanced, and (by now) bringing inflation down should be prioritized,* but (a) prioritizing the X does not imply a disregard for Y, (b) the true blame should be put on those who brought taxes and spending up to ridiculous levels—which was not Trump. Similarly, we might discuss whether someone morbidly obese should have gastric surgery, go on a diet, take up swimming, and/or whatever other approach might be relevant—but the surgeon who performs the gastric surgery is not the problem. The morbid obesity is, the surgeon should not be blamed for trying to solve the issue, and the blame truly resides with too much food, too poor food, too little exercise, whatnot.

*Note the recent juxtapositions in the U.K., with Truss vs. Sunak, Thatcher vs. Reagan, Truss vs. Thatcher, etc.

Excursion on Biden:
For simplicity, I formulated this text based on the assumption that Biden is actually in charge of the Presidency (and himself). To the degree that this does not match reality, modifications might be needed in detail, but not in the big picture.

Written by michaeleriksson

November 1, 2022 at 12:11 pm

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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]).

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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).

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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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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.

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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).

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September 19, 2020 at 7:42 pm

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