Straw Puppy’s POTUS Polls: Impeach Again, Like We Did Last Summer

One thing that Donald Trump is good at is drawing all the attention towards himself. In a normal post-election year, the focus of politics would be on the incoming new President. This year the focus remains on Trump.

A second impeachment is under way:

“On Monday, lawmakers introduced an impeachment article charging Trump with “high crimes and misdemeanors by inciting violence against the government of the United States” and thus having violated his oath of office.The House will debate the charge on Wednesday. The Democratic congressman David Cicilline of Rhode Island, one of the Democrats leading the effort, tweeted that the party had sufficient votes to pass it and impeach Trump a second time – a first in American history. But for him to be removed would require conviction in the Senate.”

The timing means that the Senate won’t be able to consider the issue until after Joe Biden is inaugurated, so the impeachment can’t get Trump out of the Whitehouse any quicker. However, it would be absurd for Congress not to act in the wake of the physical attack on the Capitol by the President’s supporters.

While the second impeachment can only have a symbolic impact on Trump, events have precipitated more direct impacts on him. Deutsche Bank have announced they will no longer do business with the Trump Organisation:

“Deutsche Bank has been Trump’s most important lender. The Trump Organization, fronted by his two older sons, owes the bank about $340m in outstanding loans. After a series of bankruptcies in the 1990s, it was the only bank willing to give Trump money.”

Corporate donations to the Republican Party have also been impacted by the Capitol riot:

“Republicans who voted to block Joe Biden’s confirmation as president have been deserted by some of the biggest corporations in the US, as some leading rightwing politicians begin to face potential consequences for the Capitol riot on Wednesday. A slew of companies, including Citigroup, one of the biggest banks in the US, and the Marriott hotel chain, said they would halt donations to Republicans who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election.”

This is not corporations suddenly grasping that Donald Trump is a bad man or that the GOP is unethical but rather the more basic truth that civil strife is bad for business. Wall Street might like lower taxes but are less keen on civil war.

But, as they say, we are not out of the woods yet.

Further Annals of Libertarians Discovering Capitalism Sucks

I alluded to Larry Correia’s feelings being hurt by the action of Apple, Google and Amazon against conservative social media service Parler. As a reminder, Parler as well a being a privacy-data nightmare had such weak moderation processes that it was beset with issues with threats of violence.

Larry, who has been tirelessly pushing electoral fraud conspiracy theories since last November is rushing to the defence of Parler.

“Now comes the part where leftists suddenly love free enterprise and companies being able to do whatever they want… Okay, can all the small businesses open? Nope. Only companies that benefit leftist orthodoxy get to do what they want, and if you disagree with this double standard, obviously you hate–the leftist has to look at the printed word and try to sound it out–cap e tall ism?”

The “leftist orthodoxy” in question being “don’t murder Mike Pence” which…well I know I agree with that principle but I would not want to be too bold in claiming everybody I know on the left agrees with that on principle. I know for a fact that “let’s not other throw the government” isn’t exactly leftist orthodoxy. The principle on the left is more “we know that there are legal consequences for asking for people to break the law because we have a basic understanding of the nature of law, politics and common sense”

Larry goes on to explain:

“In principle I’m usually in favor of letting businesses do whatever they want. You know what else I’m usually against in principle? Bombing Japan. Yet strangely, after Pearl Harbor, circumstances changed, and things which were previously disagreeable become necessary. Go figure.”


True, all out war is a circumstance in which normal rules of interaction between nations are suspended. Which…well…isn’t that an argument in favour of big tech clamping down hard on a platform being used to encourage the over throw of your country’s constitution? To be fair, you don’t visit Larry’s Facebook page for clear thinking.

“So basically, if Home Depot and a cabal of every building supply store in the country wants to ban an entire class of citizens, that’s fine, just grow your own trees, cut them down, and shape them into lumber yourself. Oh… except once you’ve put in the labor and grown the trees, then the saw companies say no chainsaws for you either. I guess you should just build your own chainsaws from scratch.”


Their should be a word for this — “suspended epiphany”. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen people online walk up to an idea and get close enough to see the generalisation and realise that their core beliefs are just fundamentally misguided and then…well, just not take that step.

“Like I skimmed the comments to this post yesterday, and it was as expected. HUR DUR YOU SAID NO BAKE CAKE! Oh yeah… That’s totally the same thing. Because remember that time the entire baking industry colluded to deny bread to all gay people, and when the free market responded and somebody opened an LGBT bakery the powerful oven industry stepped in to shut them down… You fucking dopes.”


He is correct that it is not the same thing. The difference is that women, people of colour in the USA, gay men, lesbians, trans people, disabled people and a whole host of other people who have faced systemic and overt prejudice for years and years genuinely HAVE faced the situation where the individual “freedom” for business to discriminate that conservatives & libertarians have championed, has been so widespread that it the outcome was the same as massive collusion by business to exclude, discriminate and denigrate them. It’s exactly what people have been trying to explain to you for years and what you have so tirelessly scoffed and scorned them about.

Ownership of commerce is political power. That is either true or it isn’t. If it isn’t then Larry has no complaint. If it is then…well the question is one of whether these big corporations are using that power for good or ill and for that we can’t ignore WHAT was going on with Parler.

Hey Larry! Don’t you know that the “evil corporation” is a boring cliche of SJW message fiction? You should because you literally told us:

“The hoighty-toighty literati snobs prefer heavy handed, ham fisted, message fiction. (show picture of sci-fi readers giving up in frustration as they read yet another award winning book where evil corporations, right wing religious fanatics, and a thinly veiled Dick Cheney have raped the Earth until all the polar bears have died and the plot consists entirely of academic hipster douchebags sitting around and talking about their feelings)

You also were opposed to any limits on big tech in 2014

– “We believe that the Internet shouldn’t be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality.”
Wrap your brain around that hypocritical bullshit. We must protect the internet from evil corporations? What about the NSA reading all our stuff? What about the government deciding what can and can’t be said, and Progressive senators trying to pass “Kill Switches”? I’m not a fan of Google, but Google can’t send a SWAT team to my house to kill me.”

It is a bit late in the day for Larry to discover that Elizabeth Warren had a point but it is noticeable that the step big tech took that tipped Larry over the edge was them clamping down on speech aimed at inciting violence to over throw an election.

A novel repercussion

The right-leaning social network Parler is facing an uncertain future after being removed first from the Apple app store and then from Google and finally by being denied cloud services by Amazon. The stated reason is the poor level of comment moderation which has led to large numbers of violent threats and incitement on the service, particularly in relation to the January 6 violent attack on US constitutional processes. However, even before recent events, the weak moderation problems were causing issues for the platform:

“The surge of #sexytrumpgirl posts highlighted a broader dilemma for Parler: The site’s lax moderation policies, in keeping with its claims to being a bastion of free speech, could make it a magnet for pornographers, escort services and online sex merchants using hashtags targeting conservatives, such as #keepamericasexy and #milfsfortrump2020.”

However, the action against Parler is being framed by the many on the right as part of an active suppression of conservative views. Former Sad Puppy leaders, Larry Correia and Brad R Torgersen have waded in. Brad making yet another bold attempt to unwittingly murder irony:

“Larry Correia’s excellent take (this morning) on Big Prog Tech’s attack on Parler got me to thinking about how so much of what’s transpiring in America right now, is the result of lies. Or rather, people unmooring themselves from the idea that there is an objective truth.”

The calls are coming for conservatives to boycott companies that they regard as being anti-conservative. Sad Puppy Sarah Hoyt has been promoting this ideas using the slogan “Not One Red Cent” for some time.

Ah, yeah but about that plan…What’s one of those companies listed above? Amazon? Oh…oops…

“However, since last night, this has TRULY become an emergency, not because of what Amazon will do or won’t do to ebook fiction (more on that) but because a core of my readers will now refuse to buy from Amazon under any circumstances, which means that I’m going to lose a lot of my income (and Amazon won’t give a flying fig. But I get your outrage, I understand, and yet you’ll only hurt the writers, UNTIL WE HAVE AN ALTERNATIVE.)”

Ouch! Capitalism sucks apparently! It’s almost like there is an issue with the guy who owns the means of production being an unaccountable man with enough money to ski down huge piles of coins like Scrooge McDuck (details here).

“Otherwise I’m going to ask you NOT to carry on this boycott. We right-leaning-indies are going to lose half our sales. That’ll hurt Amazon, sure. Kind of. PROBABLY honestly at the rounding error level. But it will KILL us indie writers who have a contingent of conservative fans.”

So there you go, not one red cent apart from any red cents where a proportion of the red cent might go to Sarah Hoyt.

Starting February: Debarkle

I’ve been mulling over for some time (years tbh) writing a history of the Sad Puppy/Rabid Puppy attempt to hijack the Hugo Awards. A few things have put me off doing so. Two of the obstacles is any account needs at least some treatment of RaceFail and of the Requires Hate story and they are rabbit holes of controversy (but there are ways through that I think). However, one issue is an end point. In terms of Larry Correia’s frustration at not getting an award, the 2016 Dragon Award ceremony, which also saw Vox Day’s Castalia House getting its participation trophies, is an obvious place to stop. You can finish a story there and say “and the puppies went away and had their own awards”. It is unsatisfying and misleading though.

The appeal with finishing the story there is the main action of the Puppy Debarkle ends there with things petering out with the collapse of Sad Puppies 5 and the process reforms blunting the impact of Rabid Puppies 3 the following year. However, the point of writing about the Debarkle is the wider context. Fandom has had its fair share of squabbles, kerfuffles and scandals but what makes the Debarkle interesting in particular is the connection with wider events. The Sad Puppies presented their unexpected fannish-insurrection as primarily a question of aesthetics, as Larry Correia stated in his first attempt to hijack the Hugo Awards, this was an attempt to frustrate the “literati”. Contrariwise, the opposition to the Puppies contended that they were a politically reactionary movement.

It is this second issue that frames any discussion. It’s not a difficult proposition to demonstrate, that the Puppies were a politically reactionary movement motivated by a dislike of the left in general and the advocacy for women and people of colour and LGBQTI people more specifically. By late 2016 the Puppies of all stripes were barely pretending otherwise and, of course, Vox Day’s Rabid Puppies never pretended otherwise. But a more open question is whether the process of the Debarkle radicalised the Puppies or whether a growing social rift in America (and beyond) was radicalising them regardless?

I don’t know the answer to that question but it is the kind of question I could get a better answer to if I attempt this. Of course, placing the Puppies in the context of the politics also gives a point in time to look back from and say “how did we get here?” That point looks very much like January 6 2021.

Take, for example, this artefact of current right wing discourse in the wake of the attempted putsch in America’s capitol:

“Apparently Sarah Hoyt is the only non-cuck at Instapundit.”

Or, looking in a different direction, imagine being a future historian and trying to explain all the context to this tweet:

Neither GamerGate nor the Debarkle by themselves explain events and both were shaped by social forces that were hard to see. Yet, rather like the tracks made by invisible particles in a bubble chamber, the revealed shifts in attitudes and changing political coalitions that were also leading up to changes on a bigger scale. Within a short time, political upsets in the US and UK (Trump becoming the Republican Party POTUS nominee and the Brexit referendum) saw right-wing, populist, anti-rational positions taking hold of national policy. Where they motivated by the same thing as the Puppy movements? We can debate that but the Puppies generally thought so (Brexit more than Trump oddly).

Five years after peak-Puppy, in the hell year that was 2020 notable figures in the Debarkle were pushing firstly covid-19 conspiracies, followed by attempts to mobilise anti-lockdown protests, followed by anti-mask wearing propaganda, followed by anti-vaccine propaganda. In the wake of Donald Trump’s election defeat, chief Sad Puppy Larry Correia was a notable booster of “steal” conspiracy theories and his posts on the topic were widely shared in conservative circles. Meanwhile, since late 2017, Vox Day was an early adopter and promoter of “QANON” the free-floating anti-rational meta-conspiracy theory and also an early advocate in 2020 of the need for Trump to seize power by force to ensure a second term.

The Debarkle (in particular peak Debarkle in 2015) presaged events in a microcosm but also later events clarify questions. At the time, it was an open question as to how politically extreme many of the Sad Puppy leaders where, there even people who attempted apparently good-faith arguments that Vox Day somehow wasn’t that extreme. Supporters of the Sad Puppies would often point to Sarah Hoyt (a woman and an immigrant to the US from a non-anglophone country) as clear evidence that the Sad Puppies were neither sexist or racist. I believe that even at the time the evidence demonstrated that their argument was flawed but with 2020 hindsight, the manner in which Hoyt refers to the VP-elect of the USA Kamala Harris is a much simpler refutation of the idea that she somehow is immune to sexism and racism.

Nor would it be sensible to write about the 2015 side-plot of the infamous Tor Boycott without pointing to Mad Genius blogger and one-time Castalia House author Peter Grant stating in the wake of yesterday’s attempt to overthrow the US constitution that: “If I were in D.C. today, I’d be in the Capitol along with the protesters.” If you’ve overtly placed yourself to the right of the leaders of the Republican Party (and for that matter the very right wing current Vice President of the US) and are contemplating civil war because you’ve fully bought into a stab-in-the-back mythology of stolen victory…well…”“extreme right wing to neo-nazi, respectively” was always a very apt description. How much time did we spend dissecting the various political positions that notable Puppies might have in an attempt to tease out the nuance of their politics? It’s a lot easier to sum up as “I’m not sure what they thought in 2015 but within five years they’ll be demanding the violent overthrow of the government in a far-right putsch.”

I’ll post more about the structure and the schedule of Debarkle as a blog series. Obviously, and as always, comments and corrections will be more than welcome, indeed expected — particularly as most of you were there at the time and many of you were actively involved in countering the Puppies for years before I stuck my oar in.

Straw Puppy’s POTUS Polls: The Correia Addendum

I missed this post from the self-styled International Lord of Hate, Larry Correia. It doesn’t have anything new in it but given it’s timing I should have included it in the earlier post. Larry is unhappy that nobody got to “audit” the elections and he isn’t happy about that:

“And even if you’re like me, and you’ve got a professional background of going through many different kinds of audits from various federal and state agencies, if you think the election result should be audited with the same level of scrutiny the government would apply to any of our businesses or personal financials, you are a terrible conspiracy theorist, and should be shamed into silence. Now enjoy these “fact checks” written by journalism majors who can’t balance their checkbooks.
I’m kind of bummed that I got that accounting degree, and then spent all those years being audited in various industries, when all I had to do is declare “I checked myself and everything is fine here” and that’s sufficient.”

While I disagree with his conclusions, I can empathise with the frustration he must feel. After all, he was convinced that there were multiple ‘red flags’ in the election and the procedural response has been Krakens & Conspiracies (the new TTRPG for all the family – a cross between Call of Cthulhu and the West Wing).

I like to be helpful though and even though things may seem dark right now, I can offer a ray of hope for Larry. There is a way forward.

Now, I’m not a legal expert (I mean, I’m not any kind of an expert — more of a generalist) but I think Larry Correia is in a unique position to actually make legal progress in auditing the 2020 Presidential Vote.

What has been the key issue in all these legal challenges to the election? OK, the main issue is they have been banana-pants conspiracy theories but put that aside for the moment. The main legal issue has been the lack of standing. Simply put, few of the cases have gone anywhere because the parties simply didn’t have standing to put the case.

But, you know who does have standing in the state of Utah? Larry Correia. He could sue the State of Utah to do a full audit of the presidential vote in Utah. He’s got money. He’s got these mad accountant skills. He’s got a powerful motivation to protect the integrity of the US constitution!

Yes, yes, I can hear you all saying “but Larry doesn’t have a problem with how Utah voted!”. Ah but he does…he just hasn’t realised yet. Also, it would be worth just setting the precedent.

Do you remember this post?

Larry reiterated the claim made in the article that:

“The model places the burden of proof on fraud skeptics “

Yet one of the most anomalous results was Utah! The model that Larry regarded as significant evidence of voter fraud showed Trump getting 6.5 percentage points LESS than the model predicted! One of the biggest deviations from the model! Oh my! Golly gosh! Assuming that Larry believes what he is saying about “statistical anomalies” such as these needing rigorous audits to restore faith in the electoral process then surely this is the prefect opportunity!

Larry has his vast wealth and he has standing (I guess) and he has the supposedly amazing evidence of the vote model he was promoting. So, there you go! Problem solved! I’m surprised[1] that he hasn’t started legal proceedings against the State of Utah already.

[1] No, I’m not

Straw Puppy’s POTUS Polls: Panic Trump

We haven’t quite reached the point yet where the campaigning in the US Presidential election has dragged on for longer AFTER the election than it did before but it feels like it. Law suits continue but with defamation threats and increasingly wild conspiracy theories, the focus has begun to shift elsewhere.

This week we have the Georgia run-off election, which hopefully Trump has sufficiently sabotaged to undermine the Republicans. We also have Congress confirming the votes of the Electoral College — a process that I suspect most people had almost no knowledge of prior to 2020/21 because it is a formality. As of writing this post, these events are yet to happen.

What has happened is Republican’s finding some genuine evidence of attempted electoral fraud! Unfortunately for the GOP, the perpetrator is Donald Trump who attempted to get Georgia to “find” him some extra votes. Well, they did say the fraud was real…

People may enjoy the figurative aspects of this

I haven’t linked to former Sad Puppy outlet Mad Genius Club in a long while and nor have I discussed my compatriot Dave Freer’s unusual anecdotes for some time. I am a man of some restraint but when Dave literally loses his shit how can I not link to it?

The background is that he has hinted for some time about a bureaucratic dispute he is having with the local government of Flinders Island, where he lives (off the coast of Tasmania). In today’s column he provides the context and well, the punchlines write themselves that I will leave it to readers to pick their preferred ones.

“One of my current one is where the local council with the power vested in them by the state, are protecting my neighbor from our (two people’s worth) sewage treatment wastewater. I live on a farm, a long, long way from a neighbor and we are both well above the wastewater outlet. The chance of my wastewater getting to a neighbor… would take a Biblical flood. And beside the fact that the poor fellow would be far too busy building an ark to care – the dilution would be hundreds of billions to one. But that doesn’t stop the council extracting hundreds of dollars for doing nothing of any value, and forcing me to spend thousands of dollars to achieve absolutely nothing that I couldn’t for five hundred, and harassing the hell out of me. The designer, plumber, the seller of the specialized bits the designer mandated did give some degree of ‘value’ for their rent (back of an envelope – about the same as trad publishing – where the writer earns around 6-8% on that paperback, and 93-94% go to these other fellows). Of course I don’t actually need any of those, and could achieve the same without them, but their services and goods are worth something, just nothing like what I have to pay — because the government mandates I use them, and pure rent-seekers make sure I do.”

Yes, poor persecuted Dave is being oppressed by the government who are making the unreasonable demand that he (checks notes) deals with his own faecal matter properly. I…no, no, there are just too many metaphors here to choose.

Straw Puppy’s POTUS Polls: ‘Don’t They Know It’s Christmas?’ Edition

I thought last week’s might be the last one of these but no. There’s still more legal shenanigans going on over the Christmas holidays.

“Vice President Pence was sued Sunday by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and several other Republicans in a far-fetched bid that appeared aimed at overturning President-elect Joe Biden‘s election win. The lawsuit focuses on Pence’s role in an upcoming Jan. 6 meeting of Congress to count states’ electoral votes and finalize Biden’s victory over President Trump. Typically, the vice president’s role in presiding over the meeting is a largely ceremonial one governed by an 1887 federal law known as the Electoral Count Act. But the Republican lawsuit, which was filed against Pence in his official capacity as vice president, asks a federal judge in Texas to strike down the law as unconstitutional. The GOP plaintiffs go further: They ask the court to grant Pence the authority on Jan. 6 to effectively overturn Trump’s defeat in key battleground states.”

It’s an obvious stunt and looks like it won’t go anywhere. So why is Gohmert bothering? In the past he’s aligned himself with the Tea Party and more recently voted against making lynching a federal crime. So, he’s definitely in the even-worse corner of the GOP and this will play well with QANON activists.

Imagine if Gohmert does actually prevail in court but the ruling comes after January 6 thus accidentally granting Kamala Harris the power to decide the next Presidential election?

Straw Puppy’s POTUS Polls: Legal blowback edition

With the electoral college having sat and the Supreme Court essentially closing the main legal avenues, the election-denial is mainly focused on shouting and fantasies of a military coup. Those fantasies are both dangerous and ridiculous.

A development in a different direction is the degree of legal pushback against the clownish-coup.

“Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), a non-partisan civil and human rights organization, filed an amended complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia a lawsuit challenging President Trump and the Trump Campaign’s ongoing efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election by disenfranchising Black voters.”

I don’t know if this complaint has any legs legally but it is good to see some pushback.

One legal threat that has already gained some results outside of court, the electoral-IT companies Smartmatic and Dominion have begun pressing defamation claims against news outlets pushing the wild conspiracy claims that they have been switching votes or are in league with Hugo Chavez. Fox News and right-wing outlet Newsmax have been offering semi-retractions as a result:

“Fox News has engaged in a concerted disinformation campaign against Smartmatic,” charged the company in its 20-page demand letter sent to Fox News Media. “Fox News told its millions of viewers and readers that Smartmatic was founded by [the late Venezuelan President] Hugo Chávez, that its software was designed to fix elections, and that Smartmatic conspired with others to defraud the American people and fix the 2020 U.S. election by changing, inflating, and deleting votes.”

The legal action is not just confined to news outlets:

‘Dominion Voting Systems has hired another high-powered libel lawyer, Tom Clare, who has threatened legal action against Ms. Powell and the Trump campaign. Mr. Clare said in an emailed statement that “we are moving forward on the basis that she will not retract those false statements and that it will be necessary for Dominion to take aggressive legal action, both against Ms. Powell and the many others who have enabled and amplified her campaign of defamation by spreading damaging falsehoods about Dominion.”’

As well as these defamation claims, electoral-fraud claiming lawyer Lin Wood is facing other legal problems:

“Attorney Lin Wood’s lawsuits aimed to topple the 2020 election may have violated Delaware’s rules of professional conduct, preventing him from representing President Donald Trump’s ex-campaign advisor Carter Page in a defamation suit there, a judge found. In a detailed order to show cause, Delaware Superior Court Judge Craig Karsnitz itemized defects and alleged unprofessional behavior in Wood’s lawsuits in Wisconsin and Georgia, including filing suit without a plaintiff’s authorization, submitting a false affidavit, and making a series of gaffes that the judge said call his competence into question.”

Meanwhile, there is speculation that Rudy Guiliani may face perjury charges but this appears to be speculative currently

Amid all this there is a growing gulf amid the election-denialists online. On the one hand, there is a camp (let’s call them the ‘Rabids’) who are claiming that all the prior legal action was just a smokescreen while the wheels were put in motion for a coup sometime in January aka “Trump crossing the Rubicon”. Meanwhile, still in the land of banana-pants fantasies the other camp (let’s call them ‘Sads’) are confused and sad that none of the legal strategies worked. The Sad camp have been pointing at a summary report of ‘all the fraud’ compiled by Republican politician Peter Navarro.

The Navarro report (entitled ‘The Immaculate Deception’) has been described by the Washington Post as ‘this might be the most embarrassing document created by a Whitehouse staffer’. You can read it here but you really don’t need to bother. It contains nothing new (which is fair enough) but it is also not even particularly comprehensive. I was kind of hoping that at least it would be a handy round-up of all the nonsense in one handy document (an Encyclopedia Bananapantia) but it’s not even that. Arguably, it is a more curated list that avoids some of the more ridiculous claims and yet it also repeats some of the potentially defamatory claims about Dominion and Smartmatic (although phrased with a cautious degree of deniability):

‘Much has been made about the shadowy genesis of a company called Dominion which provides voting machines and equipment to 28 states.110According to critics, Dominion’s roots may be traced to an effort by the Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez to rig his sham elections.111Dominion is also alleged to have ties to the Clinton Foundation,112while the Smartmatic software used in the Dominion machines is alleged to have links to the shadowy anti-Trump globalist financier George Soros.113

The section I was most interested in was “VIII. Statistical Anomalies in the Six Battleground States” which neatly exemplifies the grab-bag approach to the document. Notably two claims of “anomalies” that have been pushed by Sad-camp sci-fi author Larry Correia are missing. One is the ‘statistical model’ that I covered last week and fair enough, it actually shows that most of the marginal states aren’t anomalous even by the standards of the dubious model but then again the whole report contains claims that are just as unsupported (if not more so).

What other “anomaly” is absent without leave? Remember Benford’s Law ? It has been a busy set of weeks in psychic-trauma but of all the multiple kinds of nonsensical claims, the one that seems to have had a very short shelf life has been the first-digit analysis known as Benford’s Law. Not only does Navarro’s report not mention it among the ‘statistical anomalies’, it has not been prominent (that I can see) in the many court cases. So what happened? Did all the deboonking work? Did, at least in this one instance, we all manage to convince right-wingers to listen to sense?

No or at least the collective “we” didn’t. Sidney “release the Kraken” Powell made major use of statistician William Briggs in multiple legal claims (you can read his account here and yes, it is also another flavour of banana pants). However, Briggs was an early sceptic of claims about Benford’s Law showing anomalies in the 2020 election:

Update Benford’s law is only useful in uncovering multiple and on-going instances of cheating. As in somebody consistently cooking financial books. As I showed above, assuming the curiosities are cheats, it only took two instances to tip the balance. Benford’s law will never pick this up: never. I’m skeptical of what I’m seeing in other analyses, because if somebody turns something up with Benford, it implies that many, many vote totals were tampered with, which increases the possibilities of getting caught. And you don’t need to tamper with many. Only a few.”

Consequently, Benford’s Law drifted out of favour as other wild claims and analyses caught the attention of the right.

ETA: William Briggs shouldn’t be confused with Rex Briggs

The final stages of Brexit explained

A lot has gone on since I started this blog and one thing I believe I really have helped people understand is the ins-and-outs-but-mainlys-outs of Brexit. With the process of Britain finally leaving the EU coming to a surprising head with the addition of a mutant plague, I thought I would provide a final handy flow chart of the closing stages.