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.

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Judicial quotes of the year – Justice Neil Gorsuch

“…we may not shelter in place when the Constitution is under attack. Things never go well when we do.”

Justice Gorsuch in ROMAN CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF BROOKLYN, NEW YORK v. ANDREW M. CUOMO, GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK. The Supreme Court has injuncted pending trial Cuomo’s executive order restricting religious observance in New York, noting that although the original order had been changed since the proceedings started (a device to make the litigation moot), that actually made it more important, as a defence against arbitrary state power.

Now, just as this Court was preparing to act on their applications, the Governor loosened his restrictions, all while continuing to assert the power to tighten them again anytime as conditions warrant. So if we dismissed this case, nothing would prevent the Governor from reinstating the challenged restrictions tomorrow. And by the time a new challenge might work its way to us, he could just change them again. The Governor has fought this case at every step of the way. To turn away religious leaders bringing meritorious claims just because the Governor decided to hit the “off ” switch in the shadow of our review would be, in my view, just another sacrifice of fundamental rights in the name of judicial modesty.

The judgment of Gorsuch is full of robust language, such as:

It is time—past time—to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues, and mosques.

Bear in mind that here, the Keep Britain Free judicial review was thrown out at the English High Court partly on the basis that by the time the court heard it, the restrictions had changed (whilst the power to impose them remained). This is now under (leisurely) appeal in the English Court of Appeal. How nice it would be to have an appellate court in the country that could produce such robust defences of liberty and the rule of law, e.g.

Even if the Constitution has taken a holiday during this pandemic, it cannot become a sabbatical.

And a splendid dig:

Even if judges may impose emergency restrictions on rights that some of them have found hiding in the Constitution’s penumbras, it does not follow that the same fate should befall the textually explicit right to religious exercise.

And this:

Nothing in Jacobson purported to address, let alone approve, such serious and long-lasting intrusions into settled constitutional rights. In fact, Jacobson explained that the challenged law survived only because it did not “contravene the Constitution of the United States” or “infringe any right granted or secured by that instrument.” Id., at 25.
Tellingly no Justice now disputes any of these points. Nor does any Justice seek to explain why anything other than our usual constitutional standards should apply during the current pandemic.

Whilst the United States Supreme Court is so constituted, there is hope for the Republic, even though this was a 5-4 victory. Meanwhile in the UK, any hope of help from the courts is a deranged fantasy. But the courts may serve a purpose in demonstrating that point.

Are incentives better than commands – when the goal is fraud?

In the old days, Mayor Daley commanded his goons to “vote early, vote often” and Lyndon B. Johnson ordered his fixers to write down the vote tally required.. Etc.

I think incentives work better than commands, in general. I also think that these days, when there’s a non-zero risk that even the thickest goon just might have a smartphone and a grudge, it is prudent, as well as effective, for some forms of voter fraud (not all) to avoid the overt top-down command-driven model. Teach a general political philosophy that values achieving the noble goal far above pedantically observing the rules of the process. Garnish with four years of proclaiming loudly that electing Trump president is fundamentally illegitimate (to a degree that obviously no irregularity on your side could match). Drizzle with half-a-year of normalising the burning down and looting of property to make burning or looting its owners’ votes seem trivial, while also passing voting laws (or proclaiming governors’ orders) that make doing so easy and safe.

Given the things Biden does say, I hesitate to assure you we will not find a recording of him saying “Vote months early, vote often”, but after doing the above, there was far less need for anyone to say that in so many words.

A guy with some experience investigating fraud thinks the same but (like me) he also thinks incentivised fraud has a downside.

Real errors go both ways. … errors going all one way means it is systematic across the entire organization. Different errors all going one way means that it isn’t one state, one software company, one voting method… this is everyone in the organization getting the message to move the stats one way. And they did it sloppy and across the board because although the message was sent and received, it wasn’t *organized* from the top. It was handled from the local level. It was impossible to be slick and smart, the front line knew what the top level wanted as a result and no one knew how much it would take so it became super obvious…

As statistics and examples of vote fraud accumulate – and are swiftly repeated and denied in haste from site to site on both sides by both the statistically literate and the anything but, by both the cautious and the furious – I advise investing a little thought in the underlying state(s) and model(s) that these details are intended to clarify.

I’ve given one example above – consider how much of this was incentivised, not centrally controlled. Governor Newsom could hardly tell the pair arrested for making more than 8000 fictitious voter registrations between July and October 2020 that the California Democrats only needed each activist to register a few tens or hundreds at most; incentivising enough while also restraining enough, while saying nothing overt outside one’s inner circle, is a difficult trick to pull off.

A second example is the fact that mail-in voting notoriously makes voter fraud much easier – and also, as a side-effect, makes it even easier than it already is to submit a single legitimate vote. For several reasons there was real increased turnout as well as fictional, and all of it showed up in the totals – which should be remembered when, for example, a statement about Biden underperforming Hillary or not in some context shows up far down some comment thread with any original ‘relative’ / ‘absolute’ qualifier long forgotten in the twenty repetitions the point took to get there.

A third is that when a Rasmussen poll reports 30% of Democrats saying it is likely the election was stolen from Trump, what you think that means will be affected by what you think about the (in)accuracy of polls in general – and whether you think that, like voting anomalies, polls overwhelmingly err in a pro-Democrat direction.

Dear Guardian readers, everything you think you know about who supports Trump is wrong. Love, The Guardian.

Even though most of its conclusions were known well before the US election took place, something tells me that the Graun would not have published anything even slightly resembling this most interesting piece by Musa al-Gharbi before November 3rd: “White men swung to Biden. Trump made gains with black and Latino voters. Why?”

While on that subject, allow me to shoehorn in two quick thoughts I have had about the current situation in America that I have not had time to expand into full posts.

Thought No.1: Hunter Biden’s laptop has not gone away.

Thought No.2: Joe Biden’s mental decline is not going to reverse itself.

No, Joe Biden is not President-Elect

On Saturday, the establishment media did something incredibly irresponsible. In the midst of the most contentious election in modern history, instead of acting as neutral observers of the political process, they decided to embrace the undemocratic role of kingmaker by prematurely calling the election for Joe Biden. Yes, in normal times it has been a time-honored tradition that the media act as the unofficial scorekeeper in presidential elections, but this role has no official standing, despite the desperate attempt by the media to usurp that role for itself.

These are not normal times and the media’s action amounts to an attempt to short circuit the official and legal process of selecting the president. The outcome of this election is still very much in doubt. The electoral margins are razor thin, votes are still being counted, recounts will be held in a number of states, and there are legal challenges that have yet to work their way through the courts. Regardless of the false claims of the media, the election process is not yet over.

The media is compounding its own malfeasance by making the false claim that there is no evidence of election fraud and by suppressing any reports of the many problems with the vote counting. Although it may be true that there is yet to be any proof of election fraud, this is not the same as there being no evidence of fraud. Evidence and proof are not the same things. And the proper bodies to judge any evidence are courts of law. In our constitutional system, neither the news media nor the laughably misnamed “independent fact checkers” of the social media have any place deciding the merits of the evidence of fraud taking place in this election.

Of the many actual pieces of evidence of election fraud surrounding the vote counting, the most damaging are the cases of GOP poll watchers, in violation of election laws, being kicked out of the vote counting rooms in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Atlanta. It was in these very Democrat-controlled cities that partisan political machines in charge of the vote counting, now behind closed doors, somehow managed to find enough additional votes to flip the vote counts in their respective states from being in favor of Donald Trump to being in favor of Joe Biden. The media has become wilfully blind to this clear violation of the law.

Any ballots counted during the period when GOP observers were locked out of the counting rooms are now tainted and legally suspect. If the courts eventually do throw out these votes, as they should, the fault would not be on Donald Trump for bringing a legal challenge, but on the Democrats for attempting to use their partisan political machines to control the vote counting.

One final point. If Joe Biden wanted to ensure that any victory would be seen as legitimate by Trump’s supporters, he should have immediately joined the Trump campaign in demanding that GOP poll watchers be allowed to observe the vote counting, as they are entitled to by law. The fact that he remained silent, as did the entire Democrat establishment (including their media allies) makes him complicit in any illegal activities that occurred behind those closed doors and will forever taint any claim that he has on being legitimately elected as president.

Nick Forte, re-posted from The Pelican Report

Pallets full of ballots

Must say this is a catchy tune by Austin Forman.

Samizdata quote of the day

They’re like the Tsarist government, happy that they’ve seen off the 1905 Revolution

Tim Newman

He fights!

“I can’t spare this man – he fights!” (President Abraham Lincoln, when told he should get rid of General Grant because Grant had a drink problem)

Trump fights. (If the woke of today were eager to make each feature of Trump’s character an urgently-needed virtue, they could hardly act differently. 🙂 ) Trump hates being a ‘loser’ – really hates it, not just the way some do.

Most people in politics are, whether they know it or not, much more comfortable with failing conventionally than risking the social stigma of behaving unconventionally. They did not mind losing so much as being embarrassed, as standing out from the crowd.” (Dominic Cummings, ‘How the Brexit Referendum Was Won’)

For an example of that approach, consider Prime Minister of Prussia Otto Braun on 20th July 1932.

“We are yielding only to force!”

is how Otto proudly declared his belief that the emergency decree replacing him with direct rule from Berlin was unconstitutional. Many historians of the next German transfer of power (the one that occurred in January 1933) sadly explain that “We are yielding only to force!” sounded like “Sure, we’ll yield to force” to a certain eager listener – and to the German public. I’d agree with almost everything this article says, except that the writer sounds like he is preparing to yield only to mass voter fraud – and thinks Trump should too.

They told us weeks ago they would do this – and I’m not talking about Biden’s gaffe-boast two weeks ago of having

“the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organisation in the history of US politics”

but about Zuckerberg’s declaration two months ago that

We need to prepare the public for days and weeks counting mail-in ballots … what we and the other media need to start doing is preparing the american people that there is nothing illegitimate about this election taking additional days or weeks to make sure all the votes are counted.”

It’s a standard propaganda technique to predict the crime you plan to perform. Afterwards, the prophecy is an alibi – hey, nothing happened but what was predicted.

Jack Dorsey, Mark’s partner in preparing the US people to see nothing illegitimate in current events, was on the case two-and-a-half years earlier.

“there’s no bipartisan way forward at this juncture in our history — one side must win. … The way forward is on the path California blazed about 15 years ago. … reconfigure the political landscape and shift a supermajority of citizens — and by extension their elected officials — under the Democratic Party’s big tent. The natural continuum of more progressive to more moderate solutions then got worked out within the context of the only remaining functioning party. … Make no mistake: A reckoning with not just Trump, but conservatism, is coming. … This is a civil war that can be won without firing a shot.” (my bolding)

– to which a US commenter explained that the victory Jack predicted

depends upon no shots being fired.

(If you want to know what I predicted, click the link above.)

Two-and-a-half months, and one Supreme Court (and, I hope, some Trump rallies), stand between now and a direct confrontation with mass voter fraud (but only half as long till the state electors cast their votes). Having some time is good. Firstly, the court may do good. Secondly, we will know in less time than that about some things we now sensibly suspect. A recent commenter who knows Chicago told us that, in Chicago, whatever doesn’t look corrupt may or may not be corrupt but whatever looks like corruption most certainly is. I am confident the same rule holds in Detroit (and Pennsylvania seems already open and shut). In other cases, US citizens should verify what the truth is, as far as they can, to know what the right way to act is. When the truth is known, the question may be: Will you yield only to mass voter fraud?

I advise US readers to think about it now. The next two-and-a-half months will pass swiftly. As you think, remember – the task of the woke media is now to demoralise you (to de-moralise you – to take your morale from you). And don’t assume that they cannot also fool you just because you saw through them long ago.

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

As they say on TV Tropes, “Nice job breaking it, Hero!”

In 2018 Christine Blasey Ford accused Brett Kavanaugh of committing sexual assault approximately 36 years previously, when he was a teenager. There were no witnesses to the alleged assault. We have only her word for it that the two of them ever met. The people she said she had talked to about it at the time said they had no such memory. She could not say in whose house or even in which year the alleged assault had happened.

The mainstream media devoted thousands of hours to her story.

In 2020 Tony Bobulinski accused Joe Biden of having lied when he (Joe Biden) said that he was not involved in the business dealings of his son, Hunter Biden, and had never even discussed them. Tony Bobulinski is unquestionably Hunter Biden’s former business partner. There are thousands of emails exchanged between them on Hunter Biden’s laptop. (That it was Hunter Biden’s laptop has never been denied by the Biden campaign.) The accusation relates to events only a few years ago. Tony Bobulinski has specified to the hour the exact occasions when he says that he spoke with Joe Biden about Hunter Biden’s business deals in China and the Ukraine.

The great names of the mainstream media refused to even look.

The Managing Editor for News of America’s National Public Radio spoke for American journalism when he said,

“We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want to waste the listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions.”

The tabloid New York Post which broke the story was censored by Twitter and Facebook.

First thousands, then millions of people from America and around the world went to look at the NYP story and found their way blocked. Those who tried to share it got the message, “Your Tweet couldn’t be sent because the link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful. Visit our Help Center to learn more.”

Now, as some of you may have heard, the Americans have held an election. The outcome is contested. There are claims of voter fraud. Project Veritas has videos. This comment by Shlomo Maistre contains seven links to tweets discussing strange events at counting sites across the US. He says other tweets he bookmarked have disappeared. It’s like a game of whack-a-mole… “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about how to participate in an election or another civic process. Learn more.” “In line with the exceptional measures that we are taking during this period of heightened tension, we have removed the Group ‘Stop the Steal.’” One blogger even found himself abruptly banned from Facebook for sharing links about dubious fact checkers in a private message.

The mainstream media in the US and their chums in the UK and elsewhere (the whole lot of them are practically one entity by now) would really, really like to convince Americans that there has been no vote fraud.

Yeah, right. I am sure that the press will investigate this story with all the fearless diligence it showed in investigating Hunter’s emails.

Lessons for the UK from “over there”

Allister Heath has these thoughts about the US election results (as of the time of writing the result has not been fully declared, and as we know, this situation may not change for days because of legal challenges in state counts such as Michigan).

So what are the lessons for Boris Johnson? The first is to realise that the politics of the West are now all about class and education. The Tories can only win again if they maintain or increase their grip of working-class voters. That means, among other things, a Covid policy that doesn’t condemn them to permanent impoverishment. The second lockdown is a mistake. Johnson must put his new core voters first, not the professional classes and their Zoom meetings. That also means doubling down on the anti-crime agenda, on Brexit, on human rights reform, on abolishing the BBC licence fee. The Tory working class base doesn’t want to pay more for green energy, and they hate the Government’s awful, anti-car roads policies.

Second, Johnson needs a pro-growth, pro-entrepreneurial agenda: Trump was better at this, even if his reforms would be undone by Biden. The Tories seem too keen on taxes and regulations. Yet an entrepreneurial, pro-private sector jobs, self-help message would chime with aspirational ethnic-minority voters. The Tories must appeal to their economic and social values, rather than genuflecting to nonsensical woke ideologies that ethnic minorities don’t approve of.

Third, Johnson must halt the Left-wards drift of the upper-middle classes, something that Trump miserably failed to do. How? By ceasing to subsidise the creation of a woke generation, by preventing culture warriors from taking over schools, museums and corporations, and, crucially, by reforming universities. Education is vital, and we need more of it, but it doesn’t need to take place in universities. At least a quarter of students would be better off gaining high-quality technical or practical training, rather than wasting time studying useless social-science degrees at second-rate institutions.

The BBC used to at least pretend to be impartial

The current BBC News headline is:

LIVE US vote goes to wire as Trump falsely claims fraud

The URL above is just the standard https://www.bbc.co.uk/news. The content to which it links will change. I have tried to insert a screenshot of the current headline below. I am very tired. My apologies if I have got it wrong:

How does the BBC know Trump’s claim is false? Has it carried out an investigation?

Not that I deny that the BBC has longstanding expertise when it comes to matters of fraud:

Princess Diana’s brother accuses BBC of ‘whitewash’ over faked bank statements that led to historic Panorama interview

Is anything happening?

Just curious.

Resign, then.

The Times reports,

Staying neutral impossible after Black Lives Matter, says National Gallery chief

The head of the National Gallery has said the Black Lives Matters movement meant it was no longer feasible to remain politically neutral with silence now viewed as complicity.

Gabriele Finaldi told his board of trustees that in the past the museums funded directly by the government such as the National Gallery, Tate and British Museum had “refrained from making political statements”. Since the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement this year “a neutral stance was no longer feasible”, he said.

He added that in the past the state-funded institutions looking after national collections would try to “respond to events through its activities”. According to minutes of a board meeting in June, Mr Finaldi then said “that the climate had changed so that silence was now perceived as being complicit”.

Perceived by whom? Why doesn’t Mr Finaldi say who these people whose perceptions matter so much are? He talks about “the climate” as if it were something external and objective but I see nothing more than the opinions of his set.

Whatever “the climate” may mean, the National Gallery is not the only public institution living in this particular climate zone:

In June of this year most of the national museums, including the Victoria & Albert, the Science Museum and the Tate, released statements supporting the aims of the Black Lives Matter movement. Widespread demonstrations had taken place after the killing of George Floyd by police in the United States.

Hartwig Fischer, the director of the British Museum, wrote that “we are aligned with the spirit and soul of Black Lives Matter everywhere” while Sir Ian Blatchford, the director of the Science Museum, said it haunted him “that there have been too many false dawns, too many speeches and broken promises” in the battle for racial equality.

Times readers do not constitute a representative sample of the electorate, but I found it significant that out of the 194 reader comments so far I found precisely one that seemed to support Mr Finaldi, and that one might have been sarcasm.