Monday, January 08, 2007


The final post

And so this blog will from now on be a thing of the past. I started writing it while I was working in Arlington, Virginia, in an attempt to keep in touch with colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic ocean. My first blog posts dealt with media bias and the sloppy reports filed by many European journalists.

During the years I have received many e-mails from readers who have followed my academic research, commented on my blog posts, and given me food for thoughts about how to get some progress going. Thanks so much for the support!

As a final note I would like to link to this very important matter, about an institutionalised form of American college life that just doesn't seem to go away, even if it has very little to do with Academia and only helps to enroll academically unfit students.

The reason I am now ending this blog is because I'm entering the real world. I am about to start working as an editor for Axess magazine in Stockholm, by the end of January. My future employer made it very clear that I can not continue to blog while I am a staff member.
For me it is perfectly simple: The blog filled it's purpose while I was doing research. It doesn't anymore. And if somebody wants to hire my services and pay me a salary not to comment on my daily activities at the office, then fine by me.

I will leave Lund in a few weeks and the feelings about the move are mixed. Maybe I just can't stand this town anymore. Maybe it's time for me to move on. I personally feel like the subject of 'The Boxer' in the last verse as the tune slowly starts to fade out...
In the clearing stands a boxer,
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of ev'ry glove that laid him down
And cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame,
"I am leaving, I am leaving."
But the fighter still remains
Right, folks. There it is. These are the final lines of this blog. Take care out there. And stay critical: Don't follow leaders. And watch you parking meters.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


What ads worked in 2006?

Listening in on the locker room chit chat is always enjoyable when you hear the play-by-play strategies being analysed by the winning team. So, here is another post from the emergin Democrats - what we can learn about the ads of 2006.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Election Update

So, once again there were half-truths coming out of the media craze - especially in the media from overseas (i.e. Europe). This is mainly due to the lack of knowledge among many (but not all) European journalists together with the political expectations based on their own political convictions.
Ruy Teixeira has a nice post on the micro-macro analysis of how predictions of the mid-term result could be conducted and the pros and cons of these approaches. It explains alot about how winner-take-all elections can mess up any hypothesis about aggregated outcome.


George Allen lost to Jim Webb in Virginia by 8.000 votes. This seems to be the outcome when close to all the ballots have been counted. Any presidential bid from Allen in 2008 is thereby a long-shot.

In one of the many Governor's races Jim Davis lost to Charlie Crist in Florida, and just as expected Hillary Clinton held on to her Senate seat with an easy win in NY. Being a Democrat, Davis is more right-wing than most Republicans. And these two races kind of proves the point that the country is divided. I have a hard time seeing how Hillary will win a state like Florida in 2008. Still - she is gonna run for sure. But the Democrats will have a hard time recapturing the South, which is further proven by the race in ... Tennessee where Democrat Harold Ford was unable to beat Republican Bob Corker (in the race for the seat which was previously held by Bill Frist).

For the GOP, Maryland proved to be a litmus test. Michael Steele, famous for cuddling with a puppy, got 44 percent in a predominantly Democratic, black state. A loss nonetheless, however the question still is up - if this is a new trend where the GOP can get strong backing from minority groups, if they are able to find the right candidate.

Pennsylvania, until today represented by two Republican senators (Rick Santorum and Arlen Specter) saw Santorum get defeated bigtime by Democratic contendet Bob Casey. If we want to talk about hardliners in terms of Moral voters, Pro-life, marriage-amendment, anti-stem cell research-ideas Santorum was the man in a state that is far from dominated by these ideas. The big win by Casey shows that maybe the old Compassionate Conservatism is not working in states north of the Mason-Dixon line.

In the Nut-meg state, Connecticut Democratic challenger Ned Lamont lost to old-time party incumbent (and nowadays independent candidate) Joe Lieberman. This was probably one of few races where the Iraq war did play a major role. The media has otherwise tried to drum up the idea that all the races were to be viewed as referenda on Iraq. CNN polls show something slightly different with "Iraq" and "fight against terrorism" getting almost the same percentages. It seems plausible that these figures show the electorate's political labels of the very same thing = security.


Hillary Clinton
(Top contender, but too polarizing both in her approach and in politics. I think it will be bad for Democrats if she comes out on top.)
John Edwards
(The DNC need a voice from the South. Edwards might be up for it again.)

John McCain
(A strong bi-partisan candidate. War-hero, POW in Vietnam, a strong record of reaching out to Democrats in Congress. However, not the first choice of the moral conservatives.)

Rudy Guiliani
(Definitely not the conservative voters' main choice. But strong name-recognition.)

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Sweden impose political screening

Kent Ekeroth, a member of the Swedish Democrats (a ethnocentrist/nationalist progressive party) has been fired from his job at the embassy in Tel Aviv. According to the ambassador it is considered anti-democratic to hold views that are in line with Harvard professor Samuel P Huntington. Political dissidents have always been considered threats to national security and treated accordingly. But a member of a Swedish party that holds seats in regions throughout Sweden - is he really a threat to Sweden. Or is this merely an unconstitutional way of treating a political minority? I think the question is easily answered.


Stereotypes revisited

Following my recent post on social democratic delusions and US libertarians' views on Sweden, I found one thing that might draw people from both camps to this northern country. This is an oldie but a goodie - Sweden : Heaven and Hell - that depicts Sweden in a shall we say less than a truthful way. I've spent most of my life here and still hasn't come across too many of the clubs referred to in the movie trailer.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Virginia is for lovers

... even fictional ones, you might add. As most Virginians know by now, their Democratic candidate James Webb writes novels which includes chapters about women who have sex - for real, in fiction... For some reason this seems to upset his Republican opponent George Allen. Or maybe Allen is just not too confident with "the issues" in the campaign. So dirty tricks it is. It is not so much that I find dirty tricks well... er... dirty as to how the dirty tricks are played out in Virginia. A candidate is attacked for writing a book where women get undressed and do some hanky-panky action with some equally undressed men in the bedroom? Doesn't Allen know that Virginia is for lovers?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Social democratic delusions

Sheri Berman's "The Primacy of Politics" is fervently debated right now. The recent debate at Crooked Timber proves it deals with a hot potato issue - the Social Democratic Ideology and its impact on Europe during the last decade.

There's also another twitch to the whole debate, a notion which goes against all traditional Polanyi or Hayek ideas (that social democracy equals national socialism) about how socially progressive politics lead us onto the road to serfdom. Some libertarian/Austrian economists show strong emotional ties or irrational disdain for countries like Sweden. Not because they like the ideological/financial combinate of ideas. Not because Sweden has been a economic success story for the past thirty years. And not because they feel Sweden has strong potentials for the future. No, the reason is simply that they like Sweden. For no apparent reason, other than blonde women picturesque towns and nature scenes and so forth... Like if they had their own little play-house at a safe distance.
By taking this stand, Tyler Cowen has brought down a fierce debate on this issue on his own blog, where he explains why he loves Sweden.

I've covered issues about US Libertarians inflicted with Sweden-nausea before, when I explained why hating Sweden is good for you, and why the Swedish model has come to an end (something the libertarians don't seem too concerned with when they point out that tax evasion is the one reason why the Swedish model is still up and running).

As a social experiment I guess Sweden is quite fascinating, just like North Korea might be fascinating from a safe distance. But a person who enjoys watching other people being treated as guinea pigs is not the kind of character I would like to praise. Libertarian or not.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


The mid-terms coming up

Before you place your bets on the candidates in the upcoming mid-terms you should read these two articles by Cambell (on predicting the outcome) and Schuman (on the moral vote).

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


"The Ark"-enemy

If you think joking about planes flying into the White House, maybe you should not perform at the opening of an embassy in Washington D.C. Ola Salo, the singer in Swedish rock group "The Ark" shows that we shouldn't take the politics of rock groups seriously. His stunt at the opening of the new Swedish embassy by the Potomac river gave anything but a good start for the Swedes. The Swedish ambassador Gunnar Lund should on the other hand take this matter very seriously. It is a shame when the diplomatic corps is using the glamor from rock stars and famous performers to light up their profession, be it with Bono, Streisand or Ola Salo. The least they could do is to show some respect for the country or the event they are to represent and leave their incoherent philosophy mumblings to the backstage party.


Paranoia Politics in the US

Following the Echelon project, and stories about the NSA monitoring international calls, you might expect that the US to technology achievements in the area of how to infringe personal integrity eventually would come to a halt. But the latest software development rather makes me feel that the US is stuck in a downward spiral of paranoia. Big Brother really is listening in. In brief: The Department of Homeland Security has financed a software program that detects political opinions about the US in foreign newspapers and other international publications on the net.

In this latest form, I don't necessarily find it the US measurements to be as appalling as, say to have secret agents eavesdropping on citizens' private phone calls. However, it shows a distinct form of paranoia in the way the measurements are carried out. It is one thing to have people with paranoia locked up in spy programs where such personalities may be highly valued. But when this mental state becomes synonymous with government policies and sponsored programs towards ordinary citizens it is time for someone to set a stop. When will Americans start to realize that the words of Thomas Jefferson are as true today as when he said them?

"A society that will trade a little Liberty for a little order will lose both, and deserve neither."

Thomas Jefferson

Monday, October 23, 2006


A house full of Swedes...

The new Sweden House, beside the Potomac - right next to Watergate - will form the new Swedish window to the US. Lots of money has gone into this project. Prestige is, needless to say, what it is all about. Everybody loves to show off in D.C. And Swedes are no different. But one has to wonder if a country of 9 million really needs this for anything else than to make the Swedish diplomats feel even more self-aggrandized.

Friday, October 20, 2006


French kissing in ... France?

For many years it has been believed that French politics is an anomaly. Unlike the rest of the world, sexual scandals don't thrive here - unless it is for the reason that French citizens are mad because they're not invited to the orgies already going on.

Well, it seems as if what goes on between the sheets is in fact becoming more of a political liability in France as well. This newly released book seems to zoom in on the topic. I better get a copy before it's sold out!


The "anti-fascist" agenda

Following my previous post I found more newsgroups where the debate on TV4 was a hot topic. The spokesperson from Sweden's Communist Youth (a fringe group of obscure ideological background) also mentioned the debate on his blog. But he gets a lot of flak from other extreme leftwing fractions in Sweden, like the Revolutionary Communist Youth League, who strongly argue against the use of violence in the latest issue of their paper.

Two things to be said about this. Violence is a consistent part of these extremists' strategy. And any ideological distinction between left/right is per se misguiding.
Instead, I always use the liberty matrix where radikal marxist-leninist leftists/fascists automatically are defined in the lower south-east corner (strong government control of both the personal and the economical freedom) : Indeed they have more things that unite them than things that don't.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Hypocrisy Explained

In my previous post I throw all few punches at the leftist Political Science professor (aren't they all?...) from Gothenburg University - Ulf Bjereld. In a bizarre twist of allegations turned awry against the accuser, Bjereld lashes out against a government that is found doing exactly what his beloved Social Democrats have done before. Yes, there is a word for that, dear professor Bjereld.
And I believe it's spelled hypocrisy.


Backing against the extremists

The recent TV4 debate where I argued against the Communist-Revolutionary party's use of violence as political means to their ideological ends has been recognized in the media. Kent Hansson in Kvällsposten gives me support in yesterday's edition. At the same time, the gap within the leftist community is very clarifying - between the socialists who defends the use of violence and the ones who argue against it.

(Note: The debate over political violence on TV4 was on whether the attack by left wing extremists against a meeting of Swedish Democrats - a socially progressive, etno-centrist party - could be justified or not. It soon turned into a general debate on the freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly. As the debate clearly showed, Stalinist left-wingers really don't care very much for these liberties...)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Habeas Corpus - R.I.P.

The Military Commissions Act was signed by President Bush yesterday. Another sad day for liberty... Following the Patriot Act this is the worst thing that could happen to the US right now. However, it is easy to see how it came about. Anyone in Congress who refused to back either of the bills would instantly be branded as a non-patriot. And so, following the slippery slope, here we are. At a time where the US will use its force against individuals without giving them the right to protection under the writ of habeas corpus.
If I was still doing constitutional research I would throw myself over the 5th amendment and pushi for an argument that automatically makes the MCA impossible due to the constitutional constraints. But in this case it is hard to say there will ever be a constitutional limit just because government authorities are given full control of how to implement these far-reaching attacks against individuals (suspected terrorists or what-have-you).

I wouldn't normally link to a lenghty statement like this one, but Feingold's statement on the Senate floor is to the point. So sad that his words didn't make the majority change its mind. I guess the Bush backers lack every form of understanding of concepts like due process and equality under the law.


Don'ts in Political Sweden

After yet another cabinet member's resignation this Monday Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet publish a survey on what Swedes think about different "indescretions".

The figures are quite interesting! According to Swedes, it is OK to be a cabinet member if you've been arrested for speeding (73 %), caught having extramarital affairs (61%), tried drugs (51%)! On the other side of the table, very few Swedes think you're fit to be a politician if you've been convicted of sexual harassment, not payed your tv license (30%) or found guilty of tax crimes (6.5%).

Also - about Stegö-Chilo

I've been very critical of former minister Stegö-Chilo's crisis management. Especially since she's a former journalist. She did so many things wrong during the stormy week when scandals seemed to pop up everywhere. Now it seems, according to this article, that the only thing she did wrong was to follow PM Reinfeldt's lead and allow herself to be silenced by him.

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