We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Why do Americans think the media might be hiding things from them? Let’s try asking Tony Bobulinski on Twitter.

“Why does the US fall for conspiracy theories?” asks Daniel Finkelstein in the Times.

QAnon, the online conspiracy theory to which many Trump supporters subscribe, is like fan fiction, with endless riffs on Trump and increasingly bizarre plots about the skulduggery of his enemies. The contributors to this script have the pleasure of being the heroes of it, setting out to cleanse the nation. Like Matt Damon in The Bourne Identity, they have woken and are gradually peeling away layers of deception. The deep state behaves as it does in every film but will prove no match for the hero.

The deep state behaves as it does in every film – As an aside, that, the endless stream of conspiracy thrillers put out by Hollywood, will do as Explanation No.1. The scriptwriters of these movies were unable to conceive of the cabal of senior people in the US government, the CIA, the FBI, and the military as anything other than right wing, but the imagination of the American people is not so limited.

A personal best: I have digressed even before I began. The main point of this post is… ah, **** it, I already said it:

By censoring the Hunter Biden story the MSM has destroyed its ability to convince Americans there was no vote fraud.

By censoring the Hunter Biden story the MSM has also hampered its ability to convince Americans there is no “cabal of Satan-worshipping Democrats, Hollywood celebrities and billionaires” which “runs the world while engaging in pedophilia, human trafficking and the harvesting of a supposedly life-extending chemical from the blood of abused children.”

It has also hampered its ability to convince Americans, and not only them, that they should be vaccinated against coronavirus. Hitherto the English-speaking countries plus the Nordics have been somewhat less prone to vaccine conspiracy theories than people in most of Western or Eastern Europe. I expect that to change, and that change will kill people. That is what happens when the boy cries wolf too many times.

Lord Finkelstein (Note for foreign readers: I make no political point; he is a life peer) continues movingly:

The second thing this analysis provides is a warning. Next week Granta will publish a book called The Fatherland and the Jews. It consists of two pamphlets published in Germany by my grandfather Alfred Wiener in 1919 and 1924. He alerts his readers to the danger posed by conspiracy theories, giving as an example the falsehood that the Kaiser had been a Jew because a (non-existent) affair between Queen Victoria and a doctor called Wolf allowed Jewish blood to enter the royal family. One day, he believed, such theories would lead to violence.

In the same way, the blurring between fiction and reality is a terrible danger to Americans. As the Holocaust historian Timothy Snyder puts it, “post-truth is pre-fascism”. For years the mob shared conspiracy stories with each other and then, no longer able to distinguish between fantasy and reality, they used guns and violent incursion to provide their own denouement to the plot.

Yes, false conspiracy theories are dangerous. One of the best defences a polity has against them is a reasonable level of trust in the authorities and the media. In the long run the only way to gain this trust is to be worthy of it, i.e. not to lie and not to hide the truth. By their promiscuous propagation of any story, however baseless, that might harm the Republicans and their enthusiastic censorship of any story, however credible, that might make the Democrats look bad, the American Woke Media, old and new, have lost this trust. As a result reality ensues, to quote TV Tropes. Or if you prefer the same truth in an older format, take your quote from William Caxton’s summary at the end of his retelling of the fable of the boy who cried wolf, “men bileve not lyghtly hym whiche is knowen for a lyer”.

56 comments to Why do Americans think the media might be hiding things from them? Let’s try asking Tony Bobulinski on Twitter.

  • asiaseen

    Queen Victoria’s alleged affair

    Correct me if I am wrong but I understood that Jewish blood was matrilineal. But, in any case, surely the Jewishness would only affect offspring of the supposed liaison, not the whole rogue’s gallery?

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    asiaseen you write, “I understood that Jewish blood was matrilineal”. Religious Jews define who is a Jew by matrilineal descent, but this rule would mean nothing to the non-Jewish Germans likely to believe the conspiracy theory.

    You also write, “But, in any case, surely the Jewishness would only affect offspring of the supposed liaison, not the whole rogue’s gallery?”. Kaiser Wilhelm II was a grandson of Queen Victoria, and therefore, according to the theory, could have been descended from Dr Wolf.

  • The extremely blatant insolence of the flaunted double-standard is also a factor. This shows a boastful tweet, with pictures of the time when

    “We were planning to shut down the Capitol Building, but the authorities were so scared of this #WomensWave that they shut it down for us.”

    while the Hart Senate building was occupied by over a thousand protestors (or so the tweet says; it is not only when voting that the left sometimes exaggerate their numbers 🙂 ).

    It is reported that protestors against Kavanaugh got so far as to bang on the USSC doors – but no-one shot through them in reply.

    BTW I note and agree with the judicious discrimination with which Natalie applies the words ‘destroyed’ and ‘hampered’ in the OP.

  • Exasperated

    Really, many Trumpkins subscribe to Qanon? I’ve encountered some, just as I have encountered some Trumpkins who allege Qanon is a psyops operation run by the CIA. I can only speak for myself; I never took Qanon seriously and was surprised by the Sydney Powell/Lin Wood debacle. That seemed more like grasping at straws to me.There is no shortage of nutty ideas out there, I don’t see that Trumpkins are more susceptible than anyone else.
    Is it possible that the media is more fixated on Qanon than most Trumpkins? The media might reclaim some credibility by resisting the temptation to stereotype Trump supporters or anyone else. Distrust of the media certainly predates Trump, but the freaky, feeding frenzy and personal overreaction to him exacerbated it. Totally agree with “the boy who cried wolf” analogy, and remind you all that the inane, frivolous accusations made against Trump, have been made against many other public figures. An underlying driver for this phenomenon is click bait; the most inflammatory headlines are amplified, receiving more revenues and attention, creating the illusion of more support for grotesque claims than actually exists. The structure of today’s media incentivizes the maudlin, the inflammatory and the bizarre.

  • The Pedant-General

    Re-reading your article from 7 Nov – 7th November FFS! – is just terrifying.

    We could all see the steal in broad daylight just days after the election.

    I can just cannot fathom how none of this could be made to stick anywhere.

    And to quote Edna Mode, yet here we are…

  • Exasperated

    the most inflammatory headlines are amplified, receiving more revenues and attention, creating the illusion of more support for grotesque claims than actually exists.

    The ramping up of outrage is a continuous cycle. The public becomes inured to yesterday’s outrage, requiring the next narrator to top it with a yet more inflammatory claim.

  • Paul Marks

    QAnon is a distraction from real things.

    Covid 19 is very real – and most of the people who have died did not need to die, they could have been saved by Early Treatment with medicines that were known.

    The lockdowns and other restrictions that have made many millions of people unemployed and bankrupted Western economies (thus paving the way for the Great Reset – I will show you Klaus Schwab’s book if you say “Conspiracy Theory”, this is what the governments and Corporations who go to Davos every year believe, yes President Trump went to Davos to MOCK the whole thing – but look what happened to him) – these are real.

    Agenda 21 – Agenda 2030 “Sustainable Development” “Stakeholder Capitalism” is real (has been since 1992) – if your local councillor says it is a “Conspiracy Theory” then he or she has not been paying attention to all this stuff we are given.

    True it has been very GRADUAL (people have been told “it does not matter, it is not legally binding – just sign here, do not make trouble”) – but now it is all speeding up.

    Who needs QAnon when we get endless paperwork with (basically) “our plan for a Fascist future is as follows…..” – although (yes) the actual word “Fascist” is NOT used.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Covid 19 is very real – and most of the people who have died did not need to die, they could have been saved by Early Treatment with medicines that were known.

    It might be of interest that, months ago, i asked 2 friends of mine in Italy, brothers, both surgeons, whether they were using hydroxy-chloroquine. Both said that they tried it on their patients, one said it helps, the other said it hurts. It is possible that the younger brother was using it when it was too late.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Niall:

    It is reported that protestors against Kavanaugh got so far as to bang on the USSC doors

    I saw them. On the web, that is.
    The doors seemed solid enough to withstand attack by anything short of artillery.

  • Alsadius

    The censorship of the Biden story was a symptom, not a cause. These theories were widespread before that happened, and I don’t think they’ve grown all that substantially since. The fact that they were the sort of people to try to quash the New York Post had a lot to do with it, but the actual attempted quashing was just insult to injury.

    This is why I’m spending so much time here trying to talk to you guys about why there’s likely no voter fraud, in a way that isn’t based on “Oh, the MSM told me there wasn’t”. The truth matters, a lot. And while the other side has often abandoned truth, I want my side to be better than that. And while Samizdata isn’t as much “my side” as it was in ~2004 when I started reading, it’s still closer than a lot of others. It certainly beats the sort of idiots who’d censor Alexander Hamilton’s newspaper over a story as well-sourced as most scandal-breaking journalism.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Really, many Trumpkins subscribe to Qanon?

    I myself have only the foggiest idea of what QAnon is. Is it connected with this guy, Bobulinsky?

    I would guess that the connection between Trump and QAnon is similar to the connection between Trump and white nationalism.
    Obviously white nationalists (in majority-white countries) are going to support an opponent of illegal immigration, but that does not mean that all opponents of immigration are white nationalists.

  • Snorri Godhi

    This is why I’m spending so much time here trying to talk to you guys about why there’s likely no voter fraud, in a way that isn’t based on “Oh, the MSM told me there wasn’t”.

    Not that your way is any better.

    Wait, i thought that your position was that there was not enough voter fraud to affect the results?

  • phwest

    I too have been rather surprised to hear QAnon being thrown around by the media in the past week. My sense is that after a bit of a flurry early on (2017) in right-wing circles, it had largely been dismissed by anyone serious, and gone to ground in the same conspiracy swamp that gave us 9-11 truthers, JFK assassination buffs, John Birchers and all the other odd conspiracy-centered groups that float around the American consciousness. It’s not fundamentally different from any of that in construction, although it would be unusual if it actually did contribute to actual violence.

    It’s possible that modern communications have changed how these groups interact with the actual world, which would add another source of violent stupidity to a world that already has plenty of them. But this feels more like a simultaneous attempt to link the mainstream right with a kooky fringe while also downplaying the potential seriousness of the events by blaming them on said kooky fringe. Far safer to hype a “theatrical” evil than an actual one, you can be outraged without having to actually take the implications seriously. There is a certain cognitive dissonance at play here, but these are the kind of compatible if somewhat contradictory interpretations of events that often resonate with people.

  • Alsadius

    QAnon is actually reasonably popular in polls. The last one I saw, the prompt of “A group of Satan-worshipping elites who run a child sex ring are trying to control our politics and media” got 17% saying it was true, 47% false, and 37% who didn’t know. That’s not as high as the peak of conspiracy theories like 9/11 truthers, but it’s still fairly high. But it’s a hard one to poll accurately, because it’s almost a universal conspiracy adapter more than it is a single coherent narrative of its own. Basically, take any conspiracy you care to name (or better yet, 37 of them at once), add in “Trump will fix it any day now!”, and you have QAnon. They’re the sort of people who post about how Flynn will be inaugurated as VP on the 20th, because Pence will be fired for his disloyalty when Trump finally rounds up all the wrongdoers. (And that’s the saner end of their community!) It’s been dismissed by serious people, but there’s a lot of non-serious people out there.

    Bobulinsky, by contrast, seems like a pretty legit source. I’ve seen nothing about him that sets off red flags. “Literal Satanic pedophiles run every part of the world except Trump himself!” is crazy, while “Some nitwit son of a VIP got spoiled rotten and made some shady deals, and also forgot to pick up his laptop from the store” is unsurprising.

    As for my claims, I was summarizing. The slightly longer version is “The amount of fraud was probably nonzero, because it’s a big country, but that’s always the case(and not just on the Dem side). There’s no meaningful evidence of any systemic or large scale fraud, so it’s ridiculous to overturn the election. Bring me something solid, instead of unsupported allegations or random single data points, and we can talk.”

  • The Pedant-General

    Alsadius,

    “This is why I’m spending so much time here trying to talk to you guys about why there’s likely no voter fraud, in a way that isn’t based on “Oh, the MSM told me there wasn’t”. The truth matters, a lot. And while the other side has often abandoned truth, I want my side to be better than that. ”

    I’ll buy that. That’s a noble stance and I agree with it.
    For my part, I am a point where I don’t believe that reasonable people can disagree that the fraud was easily at level to impact the outcome, but then that’s on us to take reasonable people who disagree to our side.

    For me this is a combination of, in increasing order of importance:
    – all the circumstantial red flags – generally there’s no smoke without fire and we’re completely asphyxiating here.
    – hard data
    – the MSM reaction – there were widespread reports of shenanigans and the anomalous spikes on the morning of the 4th yet we woke to the MSM universally insisting “no evidence”. This was the big red flag for me: they could not possibly have chased that many stories down by that time – it was a transparent, coordinated, determined attempt to shut down all discourse on the topic. It was a determined attempt not to do any investigation at all. We could see this at the time – see Natalie’s post linked here. The bastards were desperately trying to hide something.

    I’m really surprised you’re not more sceptical.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    I don’t know much about QAnon and don’t believe in its theories.

    The recent flurry of mentions in the Fake News Media about QAnon has been accompanied by a widespread purge of QAnon accounts from the major social media platforms, especially over the last week or so. Why has this been done?

    How much violence have QAnon people done? Like, seriously? Compare it to BLM or antifa. It’s miniscule. The violence committed by QAnon people is a pimple on the ass of the elephant of violence done by BLM/antifa. We are talking orders of magnitude difference, even if – as I’m sure is likely the case – many QAnon folks were at the riot in DC (or, as the Fake News Media calls it, “The Right Wing Insurrection That Nearly Toppled Democracy”).

    But QAnon people get deleted from social media platforms. It’s not about violence or “likely violence” or the “potential for violence”. It’s about other things.

  • bobby b

    Funny how things take off and subsume their roots.

    Gamergate was really just the backlash to Zoe Quinn allegedly sleeping around for good game reviews with the corporate gaming press.

    Similarly, Q-Anon all stems from one person who claimed to be a cog in Trump’s admin – “Q” – who posted some cryptic pictures and references that indicated that he was right there with Trump’s entourage as it traveled around the world, and who then proceeded to make very cryptic references – coded references – to things that were about to happen, which sometimes did happen.

    The Q part somehow got combined with the “they’re all pedophiles” claims about the Dem leadership, and then it all took off. Q’s popularity zoomed when the frequent coded messages seemed to indicate that Trump had some hidden brilliant master plan to overcome his enemies and change the world – at a time when many people were looking for exactly that kind of optimism. It’s really nothing more than that.

    BTW – “Note for foreign readers: I make no political point; he is a life peer” didn’t help foreign readers – well, this foreign reader – at all. I have no idea what that means.

  • Exasperated

    Here is a podcast of two Leftist commentators on the Capital protests. Jeremy Lee Quinn was on the ground and in the Capitol on Jan 6. They focus on the biased, manipulative, and shallow quality of the media reporting and Jeremy Lee Quinn has some surprising observations.

    I found it very informative and hope it goes viral. One of my takeaways was the commentary on media’s awareness that tribal outrage is the content most likely to be shared and the most PROFITABLE. They know it and exploit it and, it is, in fact, hard to believe that the intent isn’t to Balkanize the people of the United States.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFJdjO0fD4E&t=13s

  • Shlomo Maistre

    the MSM reaction – there were widespread reports of shenanigans and the anomalous spikes on the morning of the 4th yet we woke to the MSM universally insisting “no evidence”. This was the big red flag for me: they could not possibly have chased that many stories down by that time – it was a transparent, coordinated, determined attempt to shut down all discourse on the topic. It was a determined attempt not to do any investigation at all. We could see this at the time – see Natalie’s post linked here. The bastards were desperately trying to hide something.

    Yes, definitely this is 100% true.

    As you say
    1. There is no way they could have chased down that many stories by the morning of the fourth.
    2. There was certainly a transparent, coordinated, and very determined attempt to shut down all discourse on the topic.
    3. There was a determined attempt to to do any investigation at all.

    Also:
    4. The Fake News Media cut off the President of the United States on election night from broadcast on national television (NBC, CNN, etc) when he made claims of potential voter fraud. This is obscene, irresponsible, and transparently a way not to allay suspicion of widespread voter fraud, but transparently a way of stigmatizing and demonizing anyone who makes any such claim. After all, what could possibly be more newsworthy than such a claim by the sitting POTUS on election night?
    5. The Fake News Media did not investigate the vast majority of the evidence and, as importantly, did not even PRETEND to investigate the vast majority of the evidence. Think about that. They didn’t even PRETEND to investigate.
    6. Not only did the Fake News Media not pretend to investigate the vast majority of the evidence, but the Fake News Media did not even report on the vast majority of the evidence. This is why it appears as a conspiracy to most people who consume only Fake News Media.
    7. What few items the Fake News Media did report on were the weakest pieces of evidence of voter fraud and, even these, the Fake News Media dismissed with the most facile counter-claims, often relying on “experts” but not interviewing the actual witnesses or subject matter experts on the other side.
    8. The tone of Fake News Media in its coverage of claims of voter fraud was striking. The tone was (and still is) strikingly cavalier about something that, if true, would warrant the most serious of tones. But prior to even pretending to do any investigations the Fake News Media had decided that there was no voter fraud and there could be none – and any claims to the contrary were “conspiracy theory”. The tone was not just cavalier but also extremely dismissive – designed explicitly to stigmatize people who made those allegations (taking Trump off the air was tone-setting indeed).

  • Alsadius

    Pedant: Fair, and I know your heart’s in the right place. (If I thought you guys were irredeemable, I wouldn’t be bothering.) I just don’t think you appreciate how skewed your data sources are, and I’d wager most of you don’t have enough in-the-trenches campaign experience to have a good sense for what a normal election looks like.

    I saw a tweet the other day, to the effect of “When I worked in government, I thought government was incompetent. When I worked as a consultant, I thought the companies I was consulting for were incompetent. But I’ve come to realize – coordinating any more than five people is just really hard”. There were what, half a million or so people working the election in November? Most of whom had only one short class telling them how to do the work(and half of them probably dozed through it, too).

    I’ve seen some wacky elections in past, with issues far bigger than what happened in the US, where everyone involved agreed it was fair (even the losers, even when they were sad and drunk and in private). I’ve seen some outright rigged elections too, and they all used means totally unlike what’s alleged in the US. I’ve seen some in the middle as well, where people used tactics that were against the rules, but didn’t rig the votes per se. Most of these were in-party elections, not general elections, so the processes were a bit different, and not all of them translate. But it gives you a sense for how these things work. And none of the allegations I’ve seen look like actual systemic vote-rigging to me. I can’t always put it into words very well, but this just isn’t how you do it. Some briefly looked like they could have been, but none of those held up on later inspection.

    (As one example, back in 2002 a youth wing race came down to one candidate realizing his supporters were mostly sleeping off the night before, and he was going to lose. So one of his people pulled the fire alarm in the convention hotel to delay the vote and wake them all up, and he ultimately won. It’s an illegal action to win a stupid youth wing election, but it didn’t involve a single fake ballot being cast, though. I don’t raise this because I expect a general election would be rigged the same way – obviously that’s impossible – but just because it’s a funny story from this distance, and as an example of some of the shit I’ve seen/heard about firsthand.)

    Shlomo: I didn’t think anyone here was QAnon, I was just trying to explain it. And FWIW, the concern with them is that they’ve had an “everything will be okay” narrative for the last four years, which is going to come crashing down in a week when Biden takes office. They believe some apocalyptic stuff, and their main coping mechanism is about to evaporate. It’s possible that they might lash out a lot worse than they did a week ago. I hope not, but if I was doing any kind of security planning for the next week, I’d have a lot of cops on standby in case they do.

    Regarding your numbered points, 1-3 and 5-8 are more or less legit, but that only affects lefty-MSM investigations. The fact that all the other investigations, including dozens of Trump court cases, came up dry is what really increased my confidence in the honesty of the election. #4 is the one that I think throws a monkey wrench in your theory, though. If the MSM as a whole couldn’t track down all the rumours by the morning of the 4th, how on earth could Trump do so by the evening of the 3rd? If their denial was baseless because they didn’t have enough time, his claim was necessarily even more baseless, because he had even less time, and even less resources for this sort of fast investigation. He claimed fraud because he wanted to claim fraud, not because he had any well-investigated evidence.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    BTW – “Note for foreign readers: I make no political point; he is a life peer” didn’t help foreign readers – well, this foreign reader – at all. I have no idea what that means.

    I believe it means that he is a Lord for hereditary reasons and not political reasons. So he serves in the House of Lords, which is a political body, but he did not get to House of Lords in the same way (or for the same reason) an MP gets to Parliament.

  • bobby b

    ” . . . the concern with them is that they’ve had an “everything will be okay” narrative for the last four years . . . “

    Exactly. It was reassurance to scared people in a time of uncertainty. “Don’t worry, Trump has a plan for this. All is well.”

    Turns out he didn’t, and it isn’t.

  • bobby b

    Thanks, SM. Sometimes this place is like listening to an engineer tell an engineering joke to engineers.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Alsadius,

    Shlomo: I didn’t think anyone here was QAnon, I was just trying to explain it. And FWIW, the concern with them is that they’ve had an “everything will be okay” narrative for the last four years

    Yes, the “everything will be okay” narrative is widespread among certain corners of the right, especially Trump-supporting right – of which, yes, QAnon folks are one such corner. So I definitely agree with this, and it’s unfortunate.

    which is going to come crashing down in a week when Biden takes office. They believe some apocalyptic stuff, and their main coping mechanism is about to evaporate. It’s possible that they might lash out a lot worse than they did a week ago. I hope not, but if I was doing any kind of security planning for the next week, I’d have a lot of cops on standby in case they do.

    I have a question for you. And I hope you really consider this in a serious way. If there is very little violence from the right over the next 6 months as Biden takes over and Democrats take full control of both houses of congress and “their main coping mechanism” evaporates, will you consider trying to think about why you were wrong about this? If your prediction (is it a prediction or a narrative?) fails to materialize, would you then consider (REALLY consider) what is it about how you think about Trump supporters and/or how you weigh the merit of information about politics these days that led you to this conclusion/prediction/narrative?

    When I am wrong about things, I try to figure out why I was wrong.

    You will say “yes” to my question, probably. And maybe you will mean it.

    But I don’t know if you would really be introspective enough and really question your priors. Why do I think this?

    Well, for one reason, please consider this: over the past couple months we have lived through a period of time in which most Trump supporters believe the following (whether they are right or wrong is irrelevant for the moment). This is what many, many tens of millions of Trump supporters generally believe:

    Democrats committed widespread, systematic and significant voter fraud (not just dead Civil War veterans) to steal the election from the President of the United States. The vast majority of the media refused to report on vast majority of the evidence. The media mocked, ridiculed, and stigmaized allegations of voter fraud prior to conducting any investigation of it. The sitting President of the United States was cut off on live broadcast on elecrtion night when he tried to communicate to the American people what he believed happened. The Democrats stole the election from Trump using many different methods, including mail in ballots, blocking access to poll watchers, pallets of printed ballots, Dominion voting machine that used Smartmatic software designed, operated, and funded by foreign governments and foreign interests, including China.

    And all this, they believe, happened after so many disgusting, manufactured, and fabricated witch hunts were perpetrated by the Democrats and the media against Trump on an ongoing basis for four years – why? Why did they do this to him? Because he stands up for them, the little guy – the plumbers, the farmers, the homemakers, the mechanics, the factory workers, the truck drivers, (and the data supports this) etc. For example, the fake Russia Collusion Hoax was pushed in a sick, demented narrative by the Fake News Media, Deep State Intelligence Services, and the Democrat Party to stigmatize Trump, delegitimize Trump, and demonize Trump – all this, they did this perverse witch hunt on no evidence at all because Trump is standing up to the Globalist Establishment, The News Media Establishment, the Federal Bureaucracy, the Deep State, the Special Interests, Wall Street, Hollywood, Big Tech, and China.

    And so the Democrats (with a wink and a nod from most Republicans) stole the election from Trump by rigging it in their favor and the media protected the Democrats by burying the evidence and stigmatizing suspicion of voter fraud.

    And after all that, all we got so far is one one-day violent riot in DC? That’s it? Seriously? SERIOUSLY???? This was basically a colored revolution – at least that’s what many millions of trump supporters think, even if they don’t know that terminology some of them.

    I have always known the right is far more peaceful than the left. The left is not twice as violent as the right when they don’t get their way, the left is more like 100X as violent. But after everything that has happened, even I am surprised by how little right wing violence has happened. Which has forced me to revise my priors.

    You should revise your priors too. Right now. Even before your prediction of violence in the future just because “their main coping mechanism evaporates” fails to materialize. But you won’t revise your priors about right wing people’s propensity for violence right now because you are unable to consider another perspective (the one I mention above which whether or not is true is something tens of millions of Americans believe) in a dispassionate way in order to consider the possibility that much of the narrative in which you believe is not based in any reality whatsoever.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Alsadius,

    Regarding your numbered points, 1-3 and 5-8 are more or less legit, but that only affects lefty-MSM investigations.

    Only lefty MSM investigations? Do you consider Fox News, WSJ, The Economist, Forbes to not be “lefty-MSM”? If you consider them to be lefty MSM, then your statement may or may not be valid. But if you consider Fox News, WSJ, The Economist, Forbes to be non-lefty media, then please point to how their reporting on the election contradict any of my points.

    #4 is the one that I think throws a monkey wrench in your theory, though. If the MSM as a whole couldn’t track down all the rumours by the morning of the 4th, how on earth could Trump do so by the evening of the 3rd?

    Why do you think Trump claimed to have tracked down all the “rumors” by the morning of the 4th? He didn’t and he certainly did not claim to that night.

    If their denial was baseless because they didn’t have enough time, his claim was necessarily even more baseless, because he had even less time, and even less resources for this sort of fast investigation.

    What is the specific words Trump said in his speech on the morning of the 4th that you are referring to here?

    And Trump had many, MANY thousands of poll watchers across the country reporting things to his campaign so he had a lot of information (though no legal affidavits yet) but still a lot of resources. But the Fake News Media was not inteested in what those poll watchers had seen or from the mouth of the sitting POTUS.

    He claimed fraud because he wanted to claim fraud, not because he had any well-investigated evidence.

    I’d suggest you do more research and investigate what he actually said.

    But in any case, even if he did claim that there was widespread and significant voter fraud – that does not detract from my point #4 at all. Please go back and read what I wrote.

    Furthermore, it sounds like you are saying now “well, there’s no evidence as the investigations have shown” but hindsight is 20/20 isn’t it? Or maybe you at the time had no problem with the Fake News Media taking the POTUS off the air on election night for telling the American people what he thought was happening because you, Alsadius, already knew at that time prior to any investigation into the matter that there had been and would be no widespread or significant voter fraud?

    This, even though they had not even RECEIVED (let alone counted) millions of ballots at voting centers across the country on the morning of the fourth and would be receiving and counting ballots for days after the morning of the fourth – but you still knew there would be no voter fraud because you are all-knowing just like our oracles in the Fake News Media and can see the future at least when it invalidates Trump’s claims?

    But even putting aside the transparently facile protestation about whether voter fraud actually happened, is besides my point because it is newsworthy if the POTUS makes that claim. The Fake News Media has been obsessed with Trump for years. Even way back in the Republican campaigns and primaries in 2015 and 2016 they were giving Trump WAY more coverage than any other Republican Presidential candidate. It’s been Trump Trump Trump all day everyday for years. But the moment the sitting President of the United States says his version of what happened in the most pivotal and consequential election of modern times, Trump is taken off the air? Even if this is not suspicious to you (which should be a huge problem) you must recognize that this is at least improper because nothing could be more newsworthy. It’s different but NOT THAT DIFFERENT than taking live video of the Twin Towers off of television on September 11, 2001 because, well, the Fake News Media doesn’t agree with the action of flying planes into buildings. Newsworthy is newsworthy.

    And do you really think that the Fake News Media didn’t know that taking Trump off the air would instead of allaying suspicions of voter fraud actually incite more suspicion of voter fraud?

  • Bloke in California

    On peers, for bobby b and SM.
    Peers, aka lords (and ladies) used to be entirely hereditary and came in five grades: duke, marquis, earl, viscount and baron. All were entitled to sit in the House of Lords. For life peers, invariably barons, the title dies with the holder. The heirs get to keep the cost of arms but that’s all. No lordship, no seat in the house.

    The only hereditary peerages I can remember being created are royal princes being made dukes on their wedding day, one prime minister from the sixties took an earldom, and Margaret Thatcher created two viscounts.

    I’m sure that’s more than you ever wanted to know 🙂

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Bloke in California,

    I may be remembering fiction as fact, but was it not the case that in the last few decades they would only give hereditary (as opposed to life) peerages to elder statesmen who really were old. Making them a proper old-fashioned hereditary peer was double the compliment of making them a new-fangled non-alcoholic life peer, and it was assumed that they were too old to continue their line. Then one old boy with a much younger wife proved he still had fire in his loins, and that practice ceased.

  • Alsadius

    If there is very little violence from the right over the next 6 months as Biden takes over and Democrats take full control of both houses of congress and “their main coping mechanism” evaporates, will you consider trying to think about why you were wrong about this? If your prediction (is it a prediction or a narrative?) fails to materialize, would you then consider (REALLY consider) what is it about how you think about Trump supporters and/or how you weigh the merit of information about politics these days that led you to this conclusion/prediction/narrative?

    It’s a possibility of what might happen, not a prediction of what will happen. There’s a very real chance that last Wednesday, with four deaths and several dozen arrests, sobered up enough people that there’s no critical mass for anything seriously bad to happen. My gut feeling is that the odds of violence in the next week are:
    ~40% nothing worse than sign-waving and maybe a bit of tear gas in a couple places,
    ~40% roughly equal to a typical day of BLM protests last summer,
    ~15% roughly as bad as last Wednesday(a mob going after public officials for doing their job, which turns into a fatal riot), and
    ~5% significantly worse (let’s say 20+ deaths in one place, any serious assassination attempt against Biden/Harris/Pence/etc., or anything else equally shocking).

    Those aren’t terribly high odds of major issues. They’re just a lot higher than I’m okay with. And mere months ago, I’d have put the odds of a fatal riot caused by conservatives attacking cops at <1%, so it's also gotten substantially worse.

    I guess this would probably count as a "narrative", in answer to your question. It's not the sort of thing you can disprove with one data point – it's probabilistic, not concrete. But if the righty protesters go back to their old cleaning-up-their-own-=trash ways, my estimate of the risk next time will drop accordingly.

    Well, for one reason, please consider this: over the past couple months we have lived through a period of time in which most Trump supporters believe the following (whether they are right or wrong is irrelevant for the moment).
    [snip]
    And after all that, all we got so far is one one-day violent riot in DC? That’s it? Seriously? SERIOUSLY????

    I grant that they believe it. And yes, it’s much less violence than the same narrative might cause in other times or places. Liberal-democratic norms in the US are strong, and thank god for that. But this isn’t something I grade on a curve. Trying to overthrow the state because you’re upset over losing an election is bad, whether that election is 2016 or 2020(or 1860). I’ll condemn it, regardless of whether someone else might have been even worse.

    I could make a similar argument for lefty rioters. “They really believe (whether or not it’s true) that the US is fundamentally racist, and keeps tens of millions of its citizens in permanent bondage for no sin except ancestry, and murders them without a care whenever it feels like. And hundreds of thousands of them spent most of a year in the streets, with no more deaths than the traffic deaths from an average morning commute causes nationwide. That’s it? Seriously? SERIOUSLY????”.

    But that argument would be a red herring. Yes, it could be worse. The riots of the late 60s were worse in many ways, for example. But they were still bad enough that I’ll condemn them as unacceptable.

    What is the specific words Trump said in his speech on the morning of the 4th that you are referring to here?

    Here’s his speech: https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/donald-trump-2020-election-night-speech-transcript

    It took him less than a minute to get to “And a very sad group of people is trying to disenfranchise [Trump voters] and we won’t stand for it. We will not stand for it”. He also went on to say things like “This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election. We did win this election”. I don’t know exactly when the networks cut him off, but it was less than ten minutes long, and he spent basically the whole time talking about how he won. A lot of that was him repeating vote counts, which is fine (if not a very good read on the situation), but he mentions fraud multiple times. One is a worry about future fraud, but the rest are claims that fraud had already happened. He offered no evidence for this whatsoever.

    Furthermore, it sounds like you are saying now “well, there’s no evidence as the investigations have shown” but hindsight is 20/20 isn’t it? Or maybe you at the time had no problem with the Fake News Media taking the POTUS off the air on election night for telling the American people what he thought was happening because you, Alsadius, already knew at that time prior to any investigation into the matter that there had been and would be no widespread or significant voter fraud?

    Evidence doesn’t exist from nothing, you need to actually gather some. He hadn’t gathered any then, and we know this because he still hasn’t gathered much even now, two-plus months later. If he’d said “I want to make sure that everything’s above-board”, fine. I had no objection to those bits of his speech. It’s when he got to his claims that fraud had already happened, and made those claims with all the certainty most people would use for “1+1=2”, that I lost him.

  • Mr Ed

    Biden is Kerensky to Harris as Lenin.

  • Mr Ed

    Natalie

    I may be remembering fiction as fact, but was it not the case that in the last few decades they would only give hereditary (as opposed to life) peerages to elder statesmen who really were old. Making them a proper old-fashioned hereditary peer was double the compliment of making them a new-fangled non-alcoholic life peer, and it was assumed that they were too old to continue their line. Then one old boy with a much younger wife proved he still had fire in his loins, and that practice ceased.

    Life peerages came in c. 1958 as a way to stuff the House of Lords with old politicians who were passed real power and without filling the House of Lords forevermore with sons of political hacks, and with that the practice of hereditary peerages more of less faded away, the ones of note were Harold MacMillan being made the Earl of Stockton, he was succeeded by his grandson having sadly outlived his son when he died in 1986, but the hereditary peers (but not the senior Church of England Bishops – the Lords Spiritual) were mostly removed in 1999 but they have a rump of elected peers from amongst those hereditary peers who previously sat in the Lords (Irish peers did not have seats and Scottish peers elected some of their own) and a couple of hereditariness who have a role in coronations stayed on in their own right. This left MacMillan (iirc) as the last hereditary peer to be created who had heirs. Two senior old hacks were made Viscounts (William Whitelaw, Thatcher’s deputy and a time server who resigned as Home Secretary after an intruder got into the Queen’s bedroom and had a chat with her) who had only daughters and Viscount Tonypandy, a Welsh former Speaker who was unmarried (for reasons that weren’t even then discussed) and had no heirs never mind legitimate heirs, so they could be ‘safely’ made Viscounts (hereditary peers senior to Barons) as effectively a gimmick.

    The practice up to MacMillan was for the Prime Minister to be made an Earl (Attlee, MacMillan, Baldwin) upon leaving the House of Commons, and the nearly-men who weren’t ever Prime Ministers, and the former Speakers and (current) Lord Chancellors were made Viscounts (Lord Chancellors whilst in office as they sat in the Lords) as you see in early to mid-20th century law reports from the House of Lords. The 14th Earl Hume renounced his Earldom to become Prime Minister (for around a year) and then he got a life peerage so he went back to the House of Lords as a ‘Life Baron’ after leaving the House of Commons. The last Prime Minister to take a peerage was Mrs Thatcher, and before that Callaghan and Wilson both took life peerages. Churchill refused a Dukedom as he couldn’t afford it, but his name was enough of a ego boost for him. This sort of thing matters to people who believe that honours are real.

    I have said here that our last great Prime Minister should take a peerage equal to an Earldom, but with a continental flavour, to mark the greatest political error in British history, the decision to call the 2016 referendum, so David Cameron should be made a Count, and when his title is gazetted, let there be a minor typo.

  • Zerren Yeoville

    You may recall the soi-disant ‘comedienne’ who was pictured holding up a fake Trump head, severed and bloodied, on television.

    If Trump’s America was really the ‘fascist state’ that his opponents pretended, wouldn’t she simply have been ‘disappeared’ without any trace within 48 hours?

  • Mardybum

    I read Q drops early on. It was kind of interesting and entertaining for a short while, but I have a low tolerance for vague “it will all be revealed in time” sorts of stuff. If you know something, say it.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Alsadius,

    Again, you are not responding yet again to what I actually said on many different things – including the newsworthiness of POTUS making such claims on election night. Many other points you make are just off-topic ways of deflecting from my previous points – many of which you have ignored because clearly you have no good answer.

    I’m just going to address a couple things you say here and then I’m done.

    I could make a similar argument for lefty rioters.

    Actually, no. You couldn’t. As I have already shown you in previous threads, the violence from the left has been orders of magnitude greater than the violence from the right over the last 12 months (and, in fact, over pretty much any significant period of time at least since WW2).

    Do you realize, for example, that the Tea Party movement committed less violence in its entire existence than BLM did in one day (any single one of dozens of days)? Do you think it’s a coincidence that the Tea Party movement was peaceful and was a rigfht wing phenomenon? Must be those democratic norms amirite??

    And yet the facts, the DATA, show that the Tea Party had much more legitimate grievances, which is why the Fake News Media had to show the George Floyd murder on tape again and again and again to gin up anger and whip the public into mass anti-police hysteria without providing any context as to how many police officers actually exist and what a tiny miniscule percentage of them are ever even accused of hurting a fly. But don’t let facts get in the way of your narrative, The Narrative!

    And yes, it’s much less violence than the same narrative might cause in other times or places.

    That’s not related to what I said and you know it.

    I said that you need to revise your priors about your belief about right wing Americans’ propensity for violence, but you won’t do it now and you won’t do it when your narrative/thought/claim about what “might” happen when the “coping mechanism evaporates” is proven wrong, either. Because you are unable to process certain information that violates your narrative.

    Liberal-democratic norms in the US are strong, and thank god for that.

    So when Trump supporters are not very violent it’s because of “liberal-democratic norms” and when BLM and antifa burn a few cities to the ground it’s because “riots are the language of the unheard” (quoting MLK). Not your words, but those are the words of the people who have brainwashed you into thinking that left wing violence in America over the past 12 months has not been 100X more destructive and horrible and dangerous to society than the right wing violence in America over the last 12 months. So basically, you effectively believe it even if not precisely – you have a narrative that’s based on an unreality you are only partially even in conscious agreement with. Your presumptions about the world, of which you are only partly aware, are false and misguided and lead you to a fake bullshit narrative that does not permit you to attribute the incredible peacefulness, extraordinary civility, and remarkable restraint of Trump supporters TO TRUMP SUPPORTERS.

    You terrify me. And, frankly, conversing with you and certain others has helped me understand how it could be that the Nazis got so many Germans to demonize, ridicule, stigmatize, and eventually dehumanize Jews. Most Germans at the time were not evil people in the sense you might think. When there is a victim and there is perpetrator weak people will find ways of RATIONALIZING what is in their self interest, and rationalize standing with the establishment, with the perpetrator, with the government, with the Narrative, with the Fake Media, with the powers that be.

    And you are weak.

    It’s a possibility of what might happen, not a prediction of what will happen.

    I grant you that you did not use the term “predict” you used the term that it’s a possibility. Whatever. It’s your narrative, that’s for damn sure. And it’s part on an unreality baked into your brain from a lack of logical, big-picture thinking and accepting uncritically a fake bullshit narrative from the Fake News Media.

    You should revise your priors too. Right now. Even before your prediction of violence in the future just because “their main coping mechanism evaporates” fails to materialize. But you won’t revise your priors about right wing people’s propensity for violence right now because you are unable to consider another perspective (the one I mention above which whether or not is true is something tens of millions of Americans believe) in a dispassionate way in order to consider the possibility that much of the narrative in which you believe is not based in any reality whatsoever.

  • The Pedant-General

    “#4 is the one that I think throws a monkey wrench in your theory, though. If the MSM as a whole couldn’t track down all the rumours by the morning of the 4th, how on earth could Trump do so by the evening of the 3rd?”

    Ummm… we’re at cross purposes here. There were plenty of red flags by that time and already a stack of videos showing really dodgy stuff. Had this been the other way round and Republicans cheering as Democrat poll watchers were forced out of a counting location, the MSM would have been all over it with breathless reports.

    DJT was raising all those issues – the idea that the claims were baseless was utter nonsense at that time. There were many many truly disturbing reports. Those disturbing reports should have been reported and the MSM chasing down what had happened. They chose simply to say “no evidence”. I am genuinely staggered that you are taking this line. It’s the clearest element of the MSM’s collusion because it was so timely.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    I just want to point out that even without #4 everything is else is more than enough to support my view. But as The Pedant-General says, #4 is valid and true.

  • TANSTAAFLer

    (Obi-Wan voice) “The Left always march side by side… to exaggerate their numbers.”

  • Alsadius

    Mr Ed: A slight quibble about Churchill’s dukedom – he turned it down for two reasons. One was the cost, but the other was that a hereditary peerage would be passed down to his heirs, and his son Randolph had political ambitions that could be better served from within the Commons. As it turned out, Randolph’s political career didn’t go far, but Randolph’s son(also named Winston) was in the Commons for 27 years. The duchy could be disclaimed by then, so it still wouldn’t have mattered, but that wasn’t an option at the time Churchill refused it.

    Interestingly, they were going to name him Duke of London. Note that London has never once, in all of British history, been used as a noble’s title, and Prime Ministers were typically made earls at the time, so this was a profound honour. (A well-earned one, but profound)

    Shlomo: I think I’m misunderstanding you, then, because I felt like I addressed your core claims. I didn’t want to go on at too much length, but I thought I hit the important ones. But let’s be a bit more complete this time.

    Actually, no. You couldn’t. As I have already shown you in previous threads, the violence from the left has been orders of magnitude greater than the violence from the right over the last 12 months (and, in fact, over pretty much any significant period of time at least since WW2).

    Your argument wasn’t predicated on that, though. It was “There’s been less violence than you would expect from their stated grievances”. That *is* true of the left, even if the margin isn’t the same. Did you think all that talk of revolution and guillotines was for show? They’re pulling their punches too, at least compared to what their rhetoric claims to be justified.

    Do you realize, for example, that the Tea Party movement committed less violence in its entire existence than BLM did in one day (any single one of dozens of days)? Do you think it’s a coincidence that the Tea Party movement was peaceful and was a rigfht wing phenomenon? Must be those democratic norms amirite??

    And yet the facts, the DATA, show that the Tea Party had much more legitimate grievances, which is why the Fake News Media had to show the George Floyd murder on tape again and again and again to gin up anger and whip the public into mass anti-police hysteria without providing any context as to how many police officers actually exist and what a tiny miniscule percentage of them are ever even accused of hurting a fly. But don’t let facts get in the way of your narrative, The Narrative!

    Yes, the Tea Party was quite peaceful. That was what I was referencing when I discussed righty protesters who cleaned up their trash after themselves. And yes, while I agree with you calling Floyd’s death a murder, I also agree that it didn’t at all justify the reaction we saw. (I don’t entirely blame the media, FWIW – lockdown-induced cabin fever is a real contributing factor to all the chaos of the last year – but they don’t tend to be the voice of reason nearly as often as they think they are.)

    That’s not related to what I said and you know it.

    It seemed entirely related. Wasn’t your argument “This kind of narrative would cause more violence in a different context”?

    I said that you need to revise your priors about your belief about right wing Americans’ propensity for violence, but you won’t do it now and you won’t do it when your narrative/thought/claim about what “might” happen when the “coping mechanism evaporates” is proven wrong, either. Because you are unable to process certain information that violates your narrative.

    I said that I would. If they behave peacefully in the next week, I’ll put a higher probability on peaceful action in the future. I’m not sure what I’m missing here – how is that not me agreeing to do exactly what you asked?

    So when Trump supporters are not very violent it’s because of “liberal-democratic norms” and when BLM and antifa burn a few cities to the ground it’s because “riots are the language of the unheard” (quoting MLK).

    When a large group talks like revolution is in order, but the death toll is less than a bus crash, that group is clearly not launching an actual revolution. The “democratic norms” argument is my explanation for that fact – I think Americans really and truly believe in the merits of their republic, and the vast majority want to fix things inside the system, not outside of it. The left believes in it a bit less than the right, and so they’re a bit less bound by it than the right, but most of them really are of that mindset.

    I’ve seen tales of “revolutionaries” who were surprised to get a fist thrown at them, because they were all upper-middle-class kids who didn’t have a clue about what violence on a gut level(despite their bombing campaigns – these were 70s radicals), and just wind up looking even more like fools than “he’s a Marxist revolutionary who blows up buildings” already made him look. That’s the sort of liberal-democratic norm I mean – you don’t settle your fights with fists, that’s just crazy talk. The cognitive dissonance is fascinating to me, because this is objectively an insane mindset, but it does really show you what kind of nitwits they were. Their conscious arguments were revolutionary, but their unexamined gut-level assumptions about the world were placid and suburban. And this kind of assumption really does keep the political violence level down in society – not to zero, but lower than it otherwise would be.

    Not your words, but those are the words of the people who have brainwashed you into thinking that left wing violence in America over the past 12 months has not been 100X more destructive and horrible and dangerous to society than the right wing violence in America over the last 12 months. So basically, you effectively believe it even if not precisely – you have a narrative that’s based on an unreality you are only partially even in conscious agreement with. Your presumptions about the world, of which you are only partly aware, are false and misguided and lead you to a fake bullshit narrative that does not permit you to attribute the incredible peacefulness, extraordinary civility, and remarkable restraint of Trump supporters TO TRUMP SUPPORTERS.

    Not my words, and not my belief. I’ve said many times, those riots were very bad. I was condemning them long before last week, and long before last summer – I had nasty things to say about a local group of political rioters back in about 1996 or 1997, when I was all of about eleven years old, and my views have not changed since.

    But no, I won’t attribute peacefulness or civility to the group who invaded the Capitol to prevent an election, and beat a cop to death with a fire extinguisher in the process. The people who stayed outside get that credit – and yes, that was most of them. The ones who went in get orange jumpsuits. The fact that a bunch of lefties who should get similar clothing have avoided it bugs me, but not enough to change my conclusion.

    You terrify me. And, frankly, conversing with you and certain others has helped me understand how it could be that the Nazis got so many Germans to demonize, ridicule, stigmatize, and eventually dehumanize Jews. Most Germans at the time were not evil people in the sense you might think. When there is a victim and there is perpetrator weak people will find ways of RATIONALIZING what is in their self interest, and rationalize standing with the establishment, with the perpetrator, with the government, with the Narrative, with the Fake Media, with the powers that be.

    And you are weak.

    Because I’m…keeping in touch with reality, condemning political violence of all forms, praising free elections, and arguing that two wrongs don’t make a right? If that’s weakness, then strength is for fools.

    I grant you that you did not use the term “predict” you used the term that it’s a possibility. Whatever. It’s your narrative, that’s for damn sure. And it’s part on an unreality baked into your brain from a lack of logical, big-picture thinking and accepting uncritically a fake bullshit narrative from the Fake News Media.

    You should revise your priors too. Right now. Even before your prediction of violence in the future just because “their main coping mechanism evaporates” fails to materialize. But you won’t revise your priors about right wing people’s propensity for violence right now because you are unable to consider another perspective (the one I mention above which whether or not is true is something tens of millions of Americans believe) in a dispassionate way in order to consider the possibility that much of the narrative in which you believe is not based in any reality whatsoever.

    “Narrative” is a reasonably fair name for it, sure. I think the nuance of probability is important, and that putting numbers on estimates is a good intellectual exercise, but I’m also trying to give an explanation of the numbers I’m offering, and that very much is a narrative.

    And I’m not claiming that the right is somehow uniquely predisposed to violence. You seem to attribute that to me, but if anything I think the left is more violent overall. I just think that *right now* the right has a worse mindset, specifically because of how the 2020 election loss has hit them, and that a fairly unusual combination of factors has made them more dangerous *right now*. This isn’t some universal truth – it’s a fairly odd set of circumstances. They’re just the circumstances that pose the most risk in January 2021. I don’t think it’s very likely that they’ll still be the most dangerous come February.

    Also, a side note: You really seem to love attributing my views to the media. I haven’t bought a newspaper in about five years, and that was just because I got an article published and wanted a copy. I haven’t watched TV news or listened to radio news in at least a year or two, and even then that was only incidental, like if I was at my parents’ house and they had it on. My most common news source is a conservative-leaning Facebook group that routinely posts about lefty riots, government failures, and other such topics. When I want more news about riots, I go look up Andy Ngo on Twitter. If I was simply parroting what I read, I’d be way closer to your views than I actually am.

  • The Pedant-General

    “I just think that *right now* the right has a worse mindset, specifically because of how the 2020 election loss has hit them,”

    This is absolutely true.

    ” and that a fairly unusual combination of factors has made them more dangerous *right now*.”

    I would hold that this is a plausible, but certainly not certain, outcome.

    What I would say, however, is that this state of affairs is the fault of the LEFT, not Trump. You may not agree with that and that is completely fair enough. We can reasonably reasonably differ on that.

    What is not up for debate are the circumstances in which the plausible outcome – that the right becomes really dangerous – becomes certain. That is entirely dependent upon the actions of the left in the next few months.

    “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security” <- YOU ARE HERE.

  • Alsadius

    The left could certainly make things worse. They have a positive gift for it, tbh.

    But if some MAGA radical assassinates Pence tomorrow, or Biden at his inauguration, that won’t be the fault of the left. And yes, that’s unlikely, but the possibility of that (or something else equally bad) is why I’m not comfortable blaming the left in advance. Let’s wait to see who’s actually at fault for things that happen.

  • The Pedant-General

    “But if some MAGA radical assassinates Pence tomorrow, or Biden at his inauguration, that won’t be the fault of the left.”

    Right now, I’d want to hold judgement on that until they’d caught the guy (and it would be a guy) who did it and actually checked if he really was a MAGA radical…

  • Rich Rostrom

    Shlomo Maistre @ January 13, 2021 at 11:02 pm:

    … the George Floyd murder …

    You mean George Floyd’s death from fentanyl overdose while under restraint by police who had summoned an ambulance?

    See Niall Kilmartin’s post from 30 October for details. Also for Mr. Kilmartin’s anger at having accepted the original “story”. You still do, apparently, despite having recognized the fakery of so much else of The Narrative.

  • Alsadius

    Opiates create tolerance. A fatal level for a normal person doesn’t mean a fatal level for a regular user.

    It might have made it easier to kill him – sure, that’s quite plausible. But by the eggshell skull rule, that doesn’t matter. And while it’s possible that the death was coincidental, that’d be one hell of a coincidence. The defense is free to use that argument, of course, but it’d need a fair bit of corroboration before it reaches the level of reasonable doubt. And even then, Chauvin’s actions probably still led to the death, he just wouldn’t be criminally liable. (Which is how these things are supposed to work, but I wanted that to be noted.)

  • cranston

    Nothing says ‘Free and Fair Election’ better than the presence of 20,000 troops at a virtual inauguration.

  • Alsadius

    Cranston: This is what happens when you invade Congress and try to kidnap or murder the people certifying the election. Police turn out in force when riots are expected, and after that fiasco last week, right-wing gatherings are now expected to be riots. Aren’t you so glad to see what this effort has done for our movement?

  • cranston

    Alsadius: Our movement??? I have no movement. You don’t speak for me. Why Shlomo Maistre was so polite to you is a mystery to me. You’re an obvious shill who now seems to be breaking cover by claiming to know the intentions of those in the Capitol as they wandered about like tourists. Police didn’t turn out in force at Trumps’ inauguration and the violence of the protesters was far worse than a week ago when the Capitol Police were told to stand down but still managed to kill an unarmed woman. And for the second time in 8 years they have received the self serving sanctimonious praise of elected officials for doing so.

    This is the only time I’ll respond to you so you might as well shove your ‘movement’ back up your ass.

  • Alsadius

    I don’t speak for you, but come on, you’re a Samizdata reader. I can make the obvious assumption. If you don’t count yourself as part of it, though, fair enough – in that case, I mean the rest of us who want less government meddling in our lives.

    Re what happened at the Capitol, it was a big building and it lasted several hours. There was a variety of things going on. Some took selfies with cops, some got into brawls with cops, some beat a cop to death with a fire extinguisher. And you don’t have to take my word for it – watch this video, and then tell me that it was all peaceful.

    (Or maybe you’ll tell me it was “mostly peaceful”? Because I think I’ve heard that one before. It can be true, and still not matter at all – that’s like saying that you can drink a glass of punch and it’ll be mostly fine, because there’s only one turd in the punchbowl. I didn’t accept that cop-out last summer, and don’t intend to accept it now. The ones who stood outside and waved signs are fine in my books, but the ones who murdered a cop and put fifteen more in the hospital?)

    Re “police didn’t turn out in force at Trump’s inauguration”, there were 28,000 cops at the 2017 inauguration.

    Re “unarmed”, would you also apply that argument to Michael Brown and Joseph Rosenbaum?

    Re the Capitol Police being told to stand down, anyone who can be proved to have told them that (after the mob got into the Capitol) will likely spend the next several years looking out on the world through iron bars. Because telling cops to “stand down”, when an angry mob is trying to get through them in order to intimidate legislators into cancelling an election, would be a de facto effort to overthrow the government. Governments tend not to like that.

    Re “the second time in 8 years”, I’m not sure what the other one you’re referencing is. The most prominent violent incident in US politics around that time that I can think of is Benghazi, but that had nothing to do with US cops.

  • John Lewis

    “Some beat a cop to death with a fire extinguisher”.

    Evidence please for that comment.

  • CRANSTON

    For anyone other than Alsadius:

    Despite having been shown to be a fool by Shlomo Maistre he now speaks for all Samizdata readers – he’s one of you!

    Re re what happened at the Capitol: Although my comment is directly above his, he now speaks for me(again). Just scroll up to see that I did not say ‘it was all peaceful’.
    There were, however, at least two sorts of people there. His video shows one type which also appears here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkSiWfqy1YM; a second type appears here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5s_9ECm5_E. Norm Macdonald tweeted the last one saying something like ‘I love the way the violent terrorists stay inside the velvet ropes.’ Twitter has since deleted that tweet. My question is – Who do you think is represented by these two types?

    Re re “police didn’t turn out in force at Trump’s inauguration”: Finally, he gets something right. I meant to say National Guard(who will be at Biden’s inauguration as well as the police). I didn’t say the police did not turn up, I said they ‘didn’t turn out in force’, and they didn’t.

    Re re “unarmed” – This is a complete non sequitur, but I would apply this argument to anyone who was,
    in fact, unarmed; including Miriam Carey.

    Re re the Capitol Police being told to stand down – I won’t hold my breath waiting for the arrest of the D.C. mayor ( https://thefederalist.com/2021/01/06/dc-mayor-told-federal-law-enforcement-to-stand-down-day-before-violent-us-capitol-riot/?fbclid=IwAR2fNkrnPI5uT5YJR5e-P9DsHvPmYIANV_mR6WRTcTViIR_34Mk-9-qb5vA#.X_Z9_xSWLsM.facebook) or the police who opened the doors of the Capitol to the protesters ( https://nypost.com/2021/01/08/video-shows-police-officers-stand-by-as-rioters-charge-into-us-capitol/), but would encourage Alsadius to do so.

    (Nope. Edited. First warning by the management)

  • CRANSTON

    John Lewis –

    He has no evidence(no one does yet), but this seems an accurate, and recent, account: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/13724005/brian-sicknick-murder-capitol-riot-fbi-wanted/.

    He seems remarkably ‘well informed’ for someone who wrote ‘I haven’t bought a newspaper in about five years, and that was just because I got an article published and wanted a copy. I haven’t watched TV news or listened to radio news in at least a year or two, and even then that was only incidental, like if I was at my parents’ house and they had it on. My most common news source is a conservative-leaning Facebook group that routinely posts about lefty riots, government failures, and other such topics. When I want more news about riots, I go look up Andy Ngo on Twitter.

    No one here should take him seriously, much less trust him.

  • John Lewis

    Thank you Cranston.

    The Sun article states “the rioter who tossed the fire extinguisher appears to walk away after heaving it at the helmeted (?) officers from above” which is not the same as beating a cop to death with it.

    I take your final point on board and will try not to rise to the bait again,

  • Paul Marks

    As has been pointed out many times (and not just by “old Jews” – many of the doctors who have pointed it out are NOT Jewish) hydroxychloroquine is not wildly useful on its own – it has to be used EARLY and with ZINC (zinc sulphate) and either azithromycin or doxycycline. There are also other Early Treatments – see the United States Senate hearings chaired by Senator Johnson (of Wisconsin).

    The studies are overwhelming – Early Treatment with well understood long established medications cuts hospitalisations by at least 80%.

    There is no excuse – none, for people in power not to know this.

  • Paul Marks

    Alsadius.

    Mr George Floyd died of the drugs he consumed – although he might not have lost his job and returned to drugs and crime had it not been for the LOCKDOWN in Minnesota. Although yes it is “dodgy” that the police officer who held him down with his knee turns out to have known Mr Floyd personally (they had worked together as security guards) – so there is something to be investigated (but not the “racism” nonsense that the media were screaming about – I want to know just how well that police officer knew Mr Floyd and how well he knew drugs as well).

    There was a police murder in Minneapolis – an Australian woman was shot dead by a Somali officer a couple of years ago (basically he killed her for fun), the media did not care and there were no riots anywhere.

    Real police murders rarely get much attention from the media.

    As for Black Lives Matter – it is a vicious Marxist movement which has been responsible for quite a few deaths since 2014 (it was founded before the death of Mr Floyd – and I do not believe he was a member of this terrorist movement).

    BLM is partly funded by the funding platform “Act Blue” created by Democrats for Democrats, and partly funded by Big Business (who see BLM as a way of wiping out small business competition – by having the stores burned).

    By the way – the mask is coming off a lot of Democrats. Only today I spotted (actually I was told to look for it) a painting in the home of a leading Democrat who was being interviewed.

    The painting was of Mao – a Marxist and the largest scale mass murderer in human history.

    Do we really have to call these people “liberals” – they are not liberals.

  • Paul Marks

    Are Big Business and co formal Marxists? Most likely most of them are NOT.

    Most of the “Davos Crowd” (for want of a better name) have opinions more in line with Saint-Simon (a French Collectivist thinker) some 200 years ago – although Saint-Simon’s ideas were very popular in Trier when the future Dr Karl Marx was a boy.

    Technocracy – with Credit Bubble bankers (as well as Tech Lords) at the very top, and all in the name of “science”.

  • Alsadius

    Evidence please for that comment.

    https://apnews.com/article/capitol-police-death-brian-sicknick-46933a828d7b12de7e3d5620a8a04583 (or see Cranston’s link, two posts below yours, which says basically the same thing)

    > Sicknick, 42, was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher during a struggle, two law enforcement officials said, although it was not clear if he was the officer shown in the video.

    So it’s possible that two different cops got attacked with fire extinguishers, and only one died from it. (This wouldn’t be an improvement.)

    For anyone other than Alsadius:

    Well Janie should tell Taylor to tell Sofia to tell Cranston that…

    (Hey, if we’re doing middle school, let’s do it right)

    I did not say ‘it was all peaceful’.

    That was mockery, not attribution.

    There were, however, at least two sorts of people there. [links to an allegation of antifa false flaggers, and people walking through a quiet room peacefully]

    The first bit of that first video is a good one – I hadn’t seen that angle before. So the woman who died was smashing windows and climbing over a barricade, even as the crowd kept saying “He’s got a gun!”. And she was a big-time Trump supporter, according to her own husband. I doubt he’s using her death as a false flag, you know? So even if there was a few fakers in the crowd, the single most aggressive attacker there wasn’t.

    Really, what’s the best case here? Because you seem to be arguing that MAGA are fools with no self-control, who can be spurred into attempting a violent overthrow of the government by one dude in the same crowd as them. Even I don’t think that badly of the group, and I’m the one who uses terms like “violent overthrow of the government” to describe them.

    I didn’t say the police did not turn up, I said they ‘didn’t turn out in force’, and they didn’t.

    DC’s police force is less than 4,000 officers. Having 28,000 there for an event sure sounds like “in force” to me. But you’re right that the National Guard wasn’t there, at least not so far as I’m aware.

    Re re “unarmed” – This is a complete non sequitur, but I would apply this argument to anyone who was, in fact, unarmed; including Miriam Carey.

    This Miriam Carey? She was using a weapon that kills about as many people as guns every year. And yes, I do mean “weapon”, because she was using her car like one – remember, she hit two cops with it. You can make an argument that they should have tried harder to fix it nonlethally, but note that her family never even bothered filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

    Re re the Capitol Police being told to stand down – I won’t hold my breath waiting for the arrest of the D.C. mayor, or the police who opened the doors of the Capitol to the protesters, but would encourage Alsadius to do so.

    The mayor did so before anything got violent. She deserves blame for screwing up preparations, but not jail time. (This was why I added the “after the mob got into the Capitol” caveat, because screwing things up before that is much easier to dismiss as incompetence, not malice.)

    Several of the cops who let them in without fighting are no longer Capitol Police officers at this point. If it was simple cowardice – as it probably was for many, facing a crowd that seemed likely to have guns – then simply firing them for dereliction of duty is sufficient. If it was collaboration, then I stand by my demand for jail time.

    He seems remarkably ‘well informed’…No one here should take him seriously, much less trust him.

    I’ve been reading Samizdata since about 2004, and you can probably find some of my old comments if you dig deep enough. I even got a SQotD, six years ago. So you can certainly accuse me of being a fool, but I think I have the track record needed to show that I’m an honest fool.

  • Alsadius

    Looks like my last comment got caught by auto-moderation for having too many links. If someone could approve it, that’d be appreciated.

    Paul: Who on earth said that HCQ was “old Jews”? That’s just bizarre. (Could you have been looking at a typo for “old news”? I’m not sure of the context here.) As for its effectiveness, I struggle to accept any “the whole medical industry is ignoring a miracle cure” argument without a good explanation of why. Doctors have parents too, and generally prefer that they not die. So it’s hard to imagine them turning down a known-good treatment en masse without some big factor explaining why.

    Re Floyd, the fact that they were co-workers seemed much more relevant to me than the race thing. I still think Chauvin killed him, but I don’t think skin colour was the reason why. Incompetence plus a personal dislike seems like a much more concise explanation.

    Re which police murders get attention, I agree with you. It’s the most controversial ones that go viral, not the worst ones – for a great analysis of the phenomenon, see this old essay: https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/12/17/the-toxoplasma-of-rage/

    Re BLM, it’s a movement with terrorists, not a terrorist movement. Millions of members leading to dozens of deaths isn’t the ratio you see on a movement that’s mostly about terrorism. They’re too tolerant when it does happen, and should be condemned for that, but it’s not like killing people is why most of them are there. (You’d have a somewhat stronger case with antifa – I don’t think it meets that threshold either, but it’s a heck of a lot closer.)

  • […] may know more in time, but, as Natalie points out, we cannot trust the MSM to report whatever does not suit them. Meanwhile we must live in […]

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