Following U.S. politics from Sweden


I follow American politics very closely, since a few years ago. Before that, I normally only knew what was reported in international media. It started with the discovery of The Daily Show, actually, and me falling in love with Jon Stewart’s tone of voice. I watched not only the shows as they came out, but also his old shows backwards using Comedy Central’s archive. I have therefore watched every show since around 2006, and some even older than that.

Today, I start every morning – I wake up very early – with a routine that keeps me up to date with both late night comedy and the news.

  1. The very first step is always to type in I have set my browser to list U.S. news. If you don’t, they’ll use your location. So Google will list the highest read topics in the news. From there, I select articles that seem interesting. I usually read 2-3 every morning.
  2. I then often go to New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today and The Hill. I used to subscribe to Wall Street Journal, but since I stopped, I don’t go there much, because most of their articles are locked.
  3. After this, I go to, and then to Rachel Maddow and Morning Joe. I love Rachel, who almost always starts her shows with a history lesson, and then often digs into stories others have missed, tying today’s events back to the history lesson. I don’t love Joe Scarborough, who is a Republican, but I watch him to balance all the otherwise ”liberal media”, and because he has a good variety of guests which leads to interesting discussions. Other favourites that I don’t always have time for are Lawrence O’Donnel amd Chuck Todd.
  4. Then it’s time for CNN. I take a look at the top stories, and then I check out Anderson Cooper and Jake Tapper.
  5. ADDED after I published this:
    1. Don Lemon, CNN
    2. Brianna Keilar, CNN

I have one email subscription: Borowitz at The New Yorker. I read his satirical articles right away.

Now it’s time for late night comedy, which is not always updated in the Swedish morning, so often I need to go back and check when I get home from work.

I only watch political satire.

Three comedians have one show per week: John Oliver on Sunday nights, Sam Bee on Wednesdays and Bill Maher on Fridays. I subscribe to HBO Nordic to be able to watch Oliver and Maher, but they don’t always come out there fast enough, so I often have to use Youtube instead. So Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays I busy myself with their shows.

John is my favourite, pretty much like Rachel is in the news sphere, because I learn from them and they talk about issues that others don’t. But Sam is so amazingly funny and to the point, and I love her feminist perspective. Then there’s Bill that sometimes crosses my line, but I don’t have to agree to appreciate.

Then there is of course SNL, which gets watched on Sundays. To watch it from Europe, you need a proxy to simulate being in the U.S.. We use VyprVPN.

Also, there are three daily shows that I watch. First, there’s literally The Daily Show, which is not as good as it used to be, but still pretty amazing. I love Trevor Noah. You need the proxy for this as well.

I also watch Stephen Colbert and Seth Myer. Stephen is a comedian with a touch of seriousness, and Seth is the opposite.

What about Fallon, Conan and Corden? Well, they’re not political, so I get bored with them quite quickly. But I watch them sometimes.

Hope this can be used to inspire someone.

Want a taste? Here is a rising star:

Amy Hoggart from Full Frontal:

Photo of Rachel Maddow: Paul Schultz.

Trump Blackmailing Mexico

In March, John Oliver did a great piece on the Trump Wall. Watch it below!

The cost for the wall is said by Donald Trump to be at most 12 billion dollars. John Oliver concludes that it will cost at least 25 billion dollars, plus maintenance.

Shortly after this show was aired, Donald Trump posted an explanation as to how he intends to make Mexico pay. To read it, you need to check the box and state that you are not a robot. Because robots are not allowed to read this text. It’s a bit like stating that you are above 18 to get access to other types of content.

The idea is as follows: 24 billion dollars are sent from people within the U.S. to other people within Mexico every year. By threatening to stop the flow of this money, he will make Mexico pay between five and ten billion dollars once.

This is how: ”no alien may wire money outside of the United States unless the alien first provides a document establishing his lawful presence in the United States”.

They claim the 24 billion dollars are sent primarily by people being illegally in the U.S., which he obviously doesn’t know – it’s a guess. However, even if that were the case, his whole idea is based on the assumption that there be no way for these people to send money via a proxy. As if these people had no friends, employers or family that could perform the transmission for them.

He then continues to claim that only Mexico stands to lose by enforcing trade restrictions, which of course is not true. If you reduce the amount of goods being imported, prices will go up, which will affect the U.S. citizens in a negative way. Though it is true that the party with the highest income from its export usually is the winner, that doesn’t automatically make the other party a loser. It’s not that simple.

Finally, it becomes really weird. In order to put pressure on Mexico, he intends to cancel not only visas for people that work in the U.S., but also for business travelers and tourists.

Let’s take that again, shall we?

A person from Mexico that wants to visit the U.S. for a conference, a business deal, some relaxing golf or a visit to children and grandchildren will be denied entry because that is how Donald Trump intends to force their neighboring country into paying for something they don’t need or want.

This behavior has never been seen in the civilized world in modern days. This type of embargos have been used against nations that violate human rights, but never as diplomatic blackmail.

Donald Trump intends to run the U.S. as a  17th century Fürst.

By enforcing his embargo, which quite honestly I don’t think he will, but let’s assume that for once he is truthful, he would alienate every Western country in the world. He would also force us to act, because of the unfair treatment of a country that is a founding member of the U.N.. The lease you can expect is a boycott of American goods by civil rights organizations.

To use Trump’s vocabulary, it will probably be ”ugly”.

Not at all ”a beautiful, beautiful thing”.