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The Uncertainty Principle in violence blame mechanics: further experimental confirmation

I wake up, I check the morning news.


Six days ago, on July 8th, President Biden said, “it’s time to put Trump in a bullseye”.

In January 2011, a man called Jared Loughner tried to murder Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and did murder six others. The media rushed to blame his crime on a map put out by Sarah Palin’s campaign showing a map of the US with states that she regarded as political targets marked by crosshairs, with the names of those states’ Democratic representatives whom she hoped to unseat listed below. Loughner was a paranoid schizophrenic who held a longstanding – and bizarre – grudge against Giffords. There is no evidence he ever saw Palin’s map.

Perhaps it is time to dust off this old post:

The uncertainty principle in violence blame mechanics

Sometimes one is privileged to witness the discovery of a law of science.

Δl Δm > M

The variables l, m and M are defined in the link.

The Guardian’s modified limited hangout on its failure to cover Biden’s mental decline

“Ladies and gentlemen, President Putin!” Apart from introducing the president of Ukraine as the president of Russia and referring to Kamala Harris as “vice-president Trump”, Joe Biden got through the NATO summit just fine.

The Democrats have got themselves into a bit of a pickle, haven’t they? It is not as if there were no warning signs. Why, the Guardian’s Washington Correspondent, David Smith, compiled a long list of them called “Warning signs: a history of Joe Biden’s verbal slips” only a week ago.

Only a week ago. That is the problem. The first item on the list of warning signs dates from March 2021. The Guardian‘s article attempts to explain why it took so long:

Biden’s team came down hard on reporters who questioned whether the oldest president in American history – now 81 – was still fully capable of doing the job. Journalists also wanted to avoid the accusation of ageism or that they were helping to elect Trump.

“It is simply astounding for the entire country, including its most seasoned reporters, to be as shocked as everyone was by the ugly and painful reality of Biden’s debate performance,” Jill Abramson, former executive editor of the New York Times, wrote on the Semafor website this week.

While it was a “super hard story to report”, she said it could have been done. Instead, Abramson said, the American press failed in its duty to hold those in power accountable. Here are some of the dots that, with the benefit of hindsight, could have been joined sooner:

Or you could have read a proper newspaper like the New York Post or the Daily Mail and learned about them at the time. The Guardian‘s selection of “gaffes” is skewed towards things that, although they happen to Biden more frequently than average, could happen to anyone, such as Biden’s literal stumbles and his accidental substitutions of one word for another. The only really damaging items in the list compiled by David Smith are Biden calling out “Jackie, are you here?” to the recently deceased Jackie Walorski, and one of several claims he has made that his son died in Iraq. None of the charming anecdotes that he habitually makes up out of whole cloth were included. The New York Post was flagging this habit of his back in 2021. Nor does the Guardian‘s list include any of Biden’s frequent descents into meaningless gabble. Remember how he came out with “I’ll lead an effective strategy to mobilise trunalimunumaprzure” at a campaign stop in Luzerne County, PA, back in October 2020? Of course you do, because you read a proper newspaper, such as Canada’s National Telegraph, from where I got the link. The article by Gerry Kaur, includes a line saying that we need to talk about the “massive problem” of Joe Biden’s “lowering cognitive agility”. It was published on November 3rd, 2020. The Democrats, their friends in the media, and the left in general could have started that conversation four years ago and been in a much better position now, but they preferred to suppress the story. The trouble with hiding the truth from other people is that you end up hiding it from yourself as well.

Steve Baker’s parting shot

The count through the night after British elections makes great TV. What could be more juicy than thrusting a microphone into the face of someone who has just made their concession speech and asking them how they feel? ITV’s election coverage roped in a lot of ex-politicians who had been there themselves to carry out this task, including two former Chancellors of the Exchequer, one Labour and one Conservative, Ed Balls and George Osborne. The two former rivals seemed very pally. As is the custom, they interviewed both the winning and the losing candidates in various constituencies just after the results were announced when emotions are at their most raw.

So, in the early hours of Friday morning, Steve Baker was standing in Stoke Mandeville Stadium where the Wycombe count took place, having just lost his seat to Labour, being quizzed by a visibly gloating Ed Balls. Baker talked about three factors that got him into politics, all of which had been presided over by the government of which Balls was a part: Extraordinary Rendition, Labour bringing forward the Lisbon Treaty to avoid having a referendum on the Constitution for Europe, and “that your government rode an enormous credit boom within which the money supply tripled, leading into the global financial crisis”.

Chuckling, Ed Balls said, “Goodness me, Mr Baker, I have to say, y’know, it’s 2024. You’ve just lost your seat in your constituency. You’ve sort of thought of three different things which all happened over seventeen years ago. Are you maybe in denial?”

Freed of the obligations of being a minister, Baker’s response did not spare either the Labour or the Conservative Chancellor:

“You know as well as I do that these big treaty changes with the European Union, and indeed the monetary system post-Bretton Woods, is fifty years old – and it’s now breaking down. And I’m afraid you and George are as bad as each other on this particular score. Neither of you have ever really understood monetary economics and I’ve wasted a lot of breath in the House of Commons trying to explain to George in particular what was going on, and the kind of injustice it was manufacturing. Well, much good did it do everybody. And now, with the nation seething with a sense of injustice, economic injustice – of course they are; they can’t afford house prices if they are young! Why? Because cheap credit was pumped into a housing market in which supply was constrained by planning laws, about which neither of you did anything. So, you know, at last, as I say, I’m free, thank God.”

Commentators as varied as the financial journalist John Stepek, the IEA’s Reem Ibrahim, and the very left wing Aaron Bastani have reposted Baker’s reply. As Stepek said, “Sorry but @SteveBakerFRSA is mostly, perhaps entirely correct in his analysis here. And the smug reaction – ridicule, not to mention the extraordinary notion that 17 years ago is ancient history with no bearing on the current situation – exemplifies why voters are fed up”.

If you came for constantly updated election coverage through the night…

…the Guardian’s website is thataway. Honestly, they are usually very good at this sort of thing, although even their best writers would struggle to inject much tension into this episode. Before I head up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire, I shall raise a glass to the humbling of the Scottish National Party and to whichever stubborn old reactionary kept British votes retro.

G K Chesterton described how I view the 2024 election in 1908

“They said that I should lose my ideals and begin to believe in the methods of practical politicians. Now, I have not lost my ideals in the least; my faith in fundamentals is exactly what it always was. What I have lost is my old childlike faith in practical politics. I am still as much concerned as ever about the Battle of Armageddon; but I am not so much concerned about the General Election. As a babe I leapt up on my mother’s knee at the mere mention of it. No; the vision is always solid and reliable. The vision is always a fact. It is the reality that is often a fraud. As much as I ever did, more than I ever did, I believe in Liberalism. But there was a rosy time of innocence when I believed in Liberals.”

– G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

“To make things worse, we also invented a technology that enables every Tom, Dick and mad Harry to publish whatever they like”

John Naughton, in an Observer article called “Closing the Stanford Internet Observatory will edge the US towards the end of democracy”, writes

“To make things worse, we also invented a technology that enables every Tom, Dick and mad Harry to publish whatever they like on opaque global platforms, which are incentivised to propagate the wildest nonsense. And to this we have now added powerful tools (called AI) that automate the manufacture of misinformation on an epic scale. If you were a malign superpower that wanted to screw up the democratic world, you’d be hard put to do better than this.”

Worse? It is strange how the writer of an article saying how the ability of everyone to publish whatever they like makes things worse claims to be so concerned for democracy. If he would deny mad Harry the right to publish what he likes and read what he likes, why would he grant Harry the right to vote?

Naughton continues,

At the root of all this are two neuroses. One is the Republicans’ obsessive conviction that academic studies, like those of DiResta and her colleagues, of how “bad actors – spammers, scammers, hostile foreign governments, networks of terrible people targeting children, and, yes hyper-partisans actively seeking to manipulate the public” use digital platforms to achieve their aims is, somehow, anti-conservative.

The other neurosis is, if anything, more worrying: it’s a crazily expansive idea of “censorship” that includes labelling social media posts as potentially misleading, factchecking, down-ranking false theories by reducing their distribution in people’s social media feeds while allowing them to remain on a site and even flagging content for platforms’ review.

Down-ranking theories deemed to be false by secretly stopping them from being communicated freely is not a crazily expansive idea of censorship, it is censorship. The censors’ kindness in allowing the censored material to remain on site so long as nobody sees it is akin to the kindness of the 1960s London gangster Charlie Richardson, who, having had a man beaten bloody in front of him, would make a gift to his victim of a nice clean shirt to go home in.

But Charlottesville!

Why did Joe Biden’s poor performance in the debate last night come as a surprise to many on the left? The responses of two people writing in today’s Guardian give a clue:

Rebecca Solnit:

Trump’s positions on anything and everything shift and slide at will, and he lies about his own past with pathological confidence – in this debate he both denied that he had sex with Stormy Daniels and that he praised the white supremacists who stormed Charlottesville in 2017. More substantively he lied – unchallenged, except by Biden – about his role in the January 6 coup attempt, and the CNN pundits did not trouble him further about his crimes.

Lloyd Green:

Trump lied aplenty. He acted as if he never had said there were “good people” on both sides in Charlottesville, and pretended that he hadn’t dissed America’s war dead.

Emphasis added in both quotes. Why have I bolded the parts about Charlottesville? Because it seems that neither Rebecca Solnit nor Lloyd Green were aware that in that speech about Charlottesville, Trump said literally seconds later: “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the White Nationalists, because they should be condemned totally – but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and White Nationalists, OK? And the press has treated then absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also you had fine people, but you also had troublemakers.”

Check for yourselves by watching this video of the 2017 press conference in which Trump referred to “Fine people on both sides” from CNBC news: “President Donald Trump On Charlottesville: You Had Very Fine People, On Both Sides” Aug 15, 2017.

Here is my transcription, with timestamps, of Trump’s answers to journalists’ questions in the relevant section of that press conference. I have not attempted to transcribe the questions, but everything Trump said is there. Bear in mind that it was very noisy, with people constantly shouting over each other, hence Trump’s constant repetition of “Excuse me – excuse me”.


0:04 I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane. What I’m saying is this: You had a group on one side, and you had a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs, and it was vicious, and it was horrible, and it was a horrible thing to watch. But there is another side. There was a group on this side, you can call them the left – you’ve just called them the left – that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that’s the way it is.

0:35 Well, I do think there’s blame, yes, I think there’s blame on both sides. You look at – you look at both sides, I think there’s blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either. And – and – and if you reported it accurately, you would say-

0:56 Excuse me, excuse me [inaudible] and you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people – on both sides – you had people in that group – excuse me, excuse me, I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue, and the renaming of a park from “Robert E. Lee” to another name.

1:27 George Washington was a slaveowner. Was George Washington a slaveowner? So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down – excuse me – are we going to take down – are we going to take down statues to George Wash–

1:42 How about Thomas Jefferson, what do you think of Thomas Jefferson, you like him? OK, good, are we going to take down the statue, because he was a major slaveowner. Now, are we going to take down his statue? So you know what, it’s fine. You’re changing history, you’re changing culture,

1:57 and you had people – and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the White Nationalists, because they should be condemned totally – but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and White Nationalists, OK? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.

2:14 Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers, and you see them come with the, with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats. You get – you had a lot of bad – you had a lot of bad people in the other group too.


Despite what Trump actually said being on video for all to see, the mainstream media has repeated thousands of times that Trump praised the neo-Nazis and white supremacists, or that his “both sides” comment was intended to equate the entire group of left wing protesters to neo-Nazis and white supremacists, rather than to equate the extremists of the right to the extremists of the left, and to equate the fine people on the right (whom he explicitly defined as being those who were NOT neo-Nazis or white supremacists) to the fine people on the left.

Which journalists are lying and which genuinely believe this disinformation? It is reasonable to assume Rebecca Solnit and Lloyd Green genuinely believe it. They probably would not have wanted to make themselves look foolish in public, and, besides, the poor lambs probably get their news from the Guardian and the other organs of what is still called the “quality” press.

But didn’t anyone point out to the Guardian the many debunkings by Scott Adams (https://x.com/ScottAdamsSays) and others of what Adams calls the “Fine People Hoax”? Hey, I tried to do it repeatedly when commenting on those few Guardian articles that allow comments these days. About five per cent of my many attempts slipped through; the other 95% of them were censored immediately.

The same went for my comments about the genuineness of Hunter Biden’s laptop, however polite, however well-referenced. Deleted immediately.

The same went for my comments detailing the many times that Joe Biden came out with provable falsehoods (although he probably believes them, poor chap) or descended into meaningless gabble. Deleted immediately. And I am sure that in keeping its readers and its writers safe from disturbing evidence of Biden’s decline, the Guardian was only following the lead of the New York Times and the rest of the “respectable” media.

And thus the Democrats and their friends wove the net in which they now find themselves trapped.

Boycott Wickes (but not for the reason you think)

A year ago, Fraser Longden, the Chief Operating Operator of the DIY store Wickes, was in the news. On 16 June 2023, Internet Retailing magazine ran this story: “Wickes hits back at boycott campaign over COO’s comments that trans-critical shoppers ‘are not welcome’ in stores.”

I was aware of the boycott but did not join in. We do buy stuff from Wickes on occasion. It is useful that they open at 7am and close at 8pm. I certainly was not going to give up that utility because the company had gone woke. If I were to boycott all the companies who waste their substance by hiring “inclusion and diversity” teams and whose senior staff members gush about it to the media, I would have to live like a hermit. Still, it was foolish of Fraser Longden to first tell Pink News that “Creating a culture where everybody can feel welcomed – can be their authentic self, can be supported – is about modernising our business” and then tell the same Pink News that, in his estimate, ten percent of the UK population are “not welcome in our stores anyway”. I did not know whether my position on these issues, which I like to think of as nuanced, would have allowed him to welcome me through the rainbow-festooned portals of Wickes. Nor did I care. Wickes can hate me and still sell me screws.*

No, the thing that has made me decide to boycott Wickes happened a mere seven months ago, but I must have missed the story at the time. On 4 November 2023, the Telegraph reported, “DIY giant Wickes fails to shut down website accusing it of being ‘woke’”

The DIY giant Wickes has been accused of stifling freedom of speech after its boss tried unsuccessfully to shut down a website criticising it as “woke” after its boss told trans-critical “bigots” to shop elsewhere.


In response [to Mr Longden’s comments], Timothy Huskey set up the protest site featuring the headline “Woke Wickes” and claiming “the UK calls for a boycott of Wickes” due to its “highly controversial sexual agenda”, claiming that the company “hates” customers who think there are only two genders.


In July, the home improvements store’s lawyers contacted Nominet, the body which oversees UK domain names, to complain that the website was abusing the company’s trademarked name, contained “malware capabilities” and was being used for “phishing”, a reference to the use of emails and online platforms for fraudulent behaviour.

Papers filed with the watchdog also said the site was set up for commercial gain and intended to “unfairly disrupt” Wickes’s business.

In response, Mr Huskey, who is American, said he set up the site as “legitimate criticism” of Wickes, and made it “abundantly clear” it is not connected to the company, even offering visitors the address for the company’s official website if anyone wanted to shop with them. He insisted it was not used to make money or for any phishing fraud and contained no malware.

The adjudicator, who ruled on the dispute, found the use of the word “boycott” in the protest site’s name meant visitors would not think it was linked to the official Wickes’s site.

They concluded the company’s claims the site was malicious or set up for “phishing” fell “well short of what is required to support its serious allegation”.

They added that Wickes had not proven that the criticism on the website was “of such an exceptional nature” to merit the site to be shut down. They were also satisfied it was not set up for commercial or illicit purposes.

Wickes’ use of obviously spurious claims about malware and phishing to attempt to silence a critic enrages me. I am glad the attempt failed; https://www.boycottwickes.co.uk/ is still there. Mind you, so is Fraser Longden. Obviously the earlier boycott did not damage their bottom line that much. And I do not delude myself that my little mini-boycott will leave their accountants a-tremble. Mr Longden is right about one thing, most grand resolutions fizzle out when it’s 6:30pm, everywhere else is closed, and you desperately need a screw.

Nonetheless, given that companies will count an expensive advertising campaign a success if it increases custom by one or two percent, they would be wise not to do things that cause even a few of their customers to get into the habit of looking elsewhere first. That is how most of my “boycotts” end up. In 2019 Nigel Farage had a milkshake thrown over him for the first time. Someone in Burger King’s social media team proved their worth by putting out a tweet saying, “Dear people of Scotland. We’re selling milkshakes all weekend. Have fun. Love BK. #justsaying”. The net worth of most companies’ social marketing teams is negative: until then I had often used the Burger Kings at motorway service stations because, like Wickes, they remain open when other outlets are closed, and because a family member gets a discount, but their encouragement of political violence led me to declare a boycott. Predictably, my resolve wavered. I have eaten several Burger King burgers at motorway services since then, when BK was the only place selling food open, or because it was what other members of the party wanted. But five years of looking elsewhere first adds up.

*I meant the type of screw that comes in Metric, Imperial or Whitworth. Although having started that line of thought, I did not have the strength not to follow the Wikipedia link that told me that all screws have inherent male gender.

He wants the state to impose National Service but does not trust the state’s own systems to do it

“Teenagers could lose bank accounts and driving licences for snubbing national service, Rishi Sunak says”

Despite everything, I will vote Conservative in this election, because my local MP is Kemi Badenoch, of whom I approve. But what a silly party the Tories have become.

I had my say about their proposal to reinstate conscription a month ago in this post: “A press gang there I chanced to meet”. I am honestly amazed that the proposal is still alive as anything other than a guaranteed laugh line for Radio Four comedians. It seems I was wrong: the prime minister still maintains this is something he will do after his surprise election victory. OK, let’s run with that. If he thinks that it would be a good thing for the state to compel British youth to spend a year in the army or “volunteering” (yes, they really do call it that) in the community, why does he evidently not trust the legal mechanisms of compulsion that the state evolved over centuries to enforce it?

Taking away people’s driving licence is an arbitrary punishment. For one young draft-dodger living in the country it might come as a disaster, for another convicted of the same crime but living in a major city with good public transport, it would be no more than a mild inconvenience. A young person who could not drive in the first place would laugh in the faces of the enforcers. Did we not once have some sort of legal system to iron out inconsistencies like that?

Another thing, I could have sworn we used to have this idea that a driving licence was issued when a person had demonstrated he or she could safely operate a motor vehicle on the public highway, and could be revoked only if that person drove dangerously. If it can be revoked for offences that have nothing to do with driving, trust in the whole system of licensing is damaged.

Adam Zivo on how LGBTQ activists helped sabotage their own support in Canada

“New polling data shows that support for LGBTQ rights is dropping precipitously in Canada”, writes Adam Zivo in the National Post, “and while many queer activists will inevitably blame the far right for this development, the fact is that they themselves helped sabotage their own public support.”

The article continues:

Their abrasiveness and militancy has alienated the public, and though a strategic shift is needed, I fear that community leaders will fail to understand this until it is too late.

According to this year’s edition of the Ipsos LGBTQ+ Pride Report, which polled adults in 26 countries, support for queer rights has decreased across the globe since 2021. Several metrics suggest that the starkest changes occurred in Canada.

This year, only 49 per cent of Canadian respondents believed that people should be open about their orientation or gender identity (down 12 points from 2021), while support for LGBTQ people publicly kissing or holding hands fell to 40 per cent (down 8 points). Fewer Canadians want to see openly gay or bisexual athletes (50 per cent, down 11 points) or more LGBTQ characters on screens (34 per cent, down 10 points).

Decreases in the popularity of groups supposedly protected by activists happen so predictably that I have concluded it is what the activists, consciously or unconsciously, wish to see. It gives them something to do.

A new low for the New Republic

Via Daniel Sugarman, I found this article by Talia Jane in the New Republic.

Before I quote from it, I must apologise for quoting myself. Over the last few days, I, like many other people, have talked about several instances of blatant Jew-hatred in New York. So that this post will stand alone, I am going to repeat part of what I said then:

The video [posted by “KosherCockney”] shows a bunch of supporters of the Palestinians, their faces hidden by keffiyehs or black ski masks, who have evidently just poured into a New York subway carriage. The ordinary travellers stand rigid or sit hunched with their eyes down, trying to avoid being selected.

The leader of the pro-Palestinians says, “Raise your hand if you’re a Zionist.”

Activists: “Raise your hand if you’re a Zionist.”

Leader: “This is your chance to get out.”

Activists: “This is your chance to get out.”

Understandably, none of the travellers raise their hands.

The progressive says with satisfaction, “OK, no Zionists. We’re good.”

I do not think it is an exaggeration to hear in that sentiment an echo of the Nazi term “Judenfrei”.

I urge you to watch the video if you have not yet seen it. Now read how Talia Jane describes it:

The fourth incident Biden references is perhaps the most disingenuous: Protesters filled subway cars while commuting from Union Square to Wall Street during Within Our Lifetime’s protest. As the car filled with pro-Palestine demonstrators, one protester jokingly remarked to the car, “Raise your hand if you’re a Zionist. This is your chance to get out,” a nod to the density of pro-Palestine protesters on the subway train. This remark was reinterpreted by the mayor as a threat, with calls to identify the protester and a spokesperson for the mayor stating, “Threatening New Yorkers based on their beliefs is not only vile, it’s illegal and will not be tolerated.”

“I was just kidding. Can’t you take a joke?” Bullies learn to say that in the school playground. Antifa activists and other racist persecutors quickly graduate to the the group version: “Can’t you people take a joke?” As a line to use while intimidating members of the public, it is effective in several ways. It both shields the racists from being punished for threatening behaviour, and torments their victims a second time, by forcing them to either deny that it was all a joke and admit how afraid they were, or to pretend to laugh along for fear of worse, and thus become complicit in their own humiliation. Both of these responses give the fanboys and fangirls like Talia Jane a good laugh.

The Garrick Club needs to get itself some masks

“University of Oxford museum hides African mask that ‘must not be seen by women’”, reports Craig Simpson in the Telegraph:

A University of Oxford museum will not display an African mask because the culture which created it forbids women from seeing it.

The decision by the Pitt Rivers Museum is part of new policies in the interest of “cultural safety”.

The museum has also removed online photos of the mask made by the Igbo people in Nigeria, which would originally have been used in a male-only ritual.

Masks are a central part of Igbo culture, and some masquerade rituals carried out by men wearing the ceremonial objects are entirely male-only and carried out in secret away from female spectators.

The new policy, a first for a major British collection, comes as part of a “decolonisation process” at the Pitt Rivers Museum, which is aiming to address a collection “closely tied to British Imperial expansion”.

I am not necessarily against the curators’ decision. Most of us can think of items that are literally or metaphorically sacred to us that we would not wish to see displayed to the crowd. What I do not understand is why the desire of long-dead Igbo men to conduct certain rituals away from the female gaze is to be respected, but the desire of living British men to do the same is to be scorned.

Related post: In defence of all-{insert variable of choice} clubs