Lies, Damned Lies, and …


… Statistics!

I used to be struck, throughout Tuesday’s Jan. 6 Committee hearings, that my candidate for “Most Idiotic Statistical Declare Ever Put Ahead in Public” award – the coveted MISCEPFiP Award – appears to have performed a small however necessary function within the now-famous “unhinged” meeting in the Oval Office.

You might recall the declare to which I’m referring from my earlier posts from again in December 2020: the “proof” that it was “statistically unattainable” – “lower than one in a quadrillion probability”** – that Biden may have gained the election with out partaking in large fraud.

**A quadrillon is an precise quantity: 1 adopted by 15 zeroes (10^15). Different occasions whose chance of incidence is round one in a quadrillion embody the chance that each egg scrambled tomorrow morning throughout the globe will spontaneously re-assemble itself into unscrambled type.

The declare seems to have had two unbiased sources.  One was Texas A.G. Paxton’s movement and supporting transient, submitted to the the Supreme Court docket as a part of his unsuccessful try and get the Court docket to overturn the outcomes of the 2020 election. Paxton, citing an professional report by economist Charles Cicchetti, truly asserted that the “chance of former Vice President Biden successful the favored vote in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin independently” is “lower than one in a quadrillion,” and subsequently that “the percentages of Biden successful these 4 States collectively” was “lower than one in a quadrillion to the fourth energy” (i.e. 1/1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000).

The second supply for this preposterous declare** seems to have been the “Special Report” ready by then-US Commerce Consultant Peter Navarro (at then-President Trump’s urging), colorfully titled “The Immaculate Deception,” purporting to doc the “Statistical Irregularities within the Battleground States” that exhibit the existence of “a coordinated technique to successfully stack the election deck in opposition to the Trump-Pence ticket.”

**For causes I and others have set forth elsewhere, these claims are completely nonsensical and ridiculous. Briefly: What the statistical analyses truly present is that (A) the percentages of acquiring the reported leads to any of the 4 states if the 2020 voting inhabitants had exactly the identical Dem. v. Rep. celebration preferences because the 2016 voting inhabitants are infinitesimally small, and (B) the percentages of acquiring the reported leads to any of the 4 states if mail-in and in-person voters had exactly the identical Dem. v. Rep celebration preferences are additionally infinitesimally small. There’s, in fact, no purpose in anyway to imagine that both of these two circumstances held true, so these analyses haven’t any relevance in anyway to any of the particular election outcomes. Certainly, what the analyses truly “show” is that the 2020 voting inhabitants did not have exactly the identical Dem. v. Rep. celebration preferences because the 2016 voting inhabitants (duh), and mail-in and in-person voters did not have exactly the identical Dem. v. Rep. celebration preferences (ditto).

However again to the Assembly of the Unhinged, at which, apparently, there was appreciable dialogue of those varied “proofs” that Biden couldn’t presumably have gained the election.  Our then-President purchased them hook, line, and sinker – simply what he was on the lookout for! Proof! He reportedly turned to his White Home advisors (“Crew Regular”) and stated: “Sidney and Rudy are giving me one thing – what are you giving me?”  I suppose he did not have time to look rigorously on the underlying statistical fashions, what with all of the screaming and f-bombing occurring within the Oval Workplace late that evening (although I ponder what Texas A.G. Paxton’s excuse may need been).

And thus do tiny acorns change into nice oaks. Rep. Jamie Raskin described what happened next: 

Not lengthy after Sidney Powell, Normal Flynn, and Rudy Giuliani left the White Home within the early hours of the morning [of Dec. 19], Donald Trump issued a tweet that might provoke his followers, unleash a political firestorm, and alter the course of our historical past as a rustic. Trump’s goal was to mobilize a crowd. And the way do you mobilize a crowd in 2020? With hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter, President Trump knew precisely methods to do it. At 1:42 AM on December 19, 2020, shortly after the final members left the unhinged assembly, Trump despatched out the tweet together with his explosive invitation.

“Peter Navarro releases 36-page report alleging election fraud ‘greater than enough’ to swing victory to Trump . An incredible report by Peter. Statistically unattainable to have misplaced the 2020 Election. Massive protest in D.C. on January sixth. Be there, can be wild!”

Within the historical past of harmful nonsense, this certainly holds delight of place.  This is able to all be hilarious – it is hilarious, quickly to be a significant movement image I am certain – aside from the truth that it was truly a part of a decided try – the primary in our historical past – to unlawfully overthrow the democratically-elected authorities of the US. We must always most likely watch out about focusing an excessive amount of – tempting although it’s – on the farcical and ridiculous points of those occasions for concern of showing to decrease their seriousness. The Beer Hall Putsch of 1923 was equally dismissed by many Germans as little greater than a pathetic joke, and whereas Donald Trump is not any Hitler (thank God), we must always needless to say in 1923, Hitler wasn’t but “Hitler,” both; I think that twenty years later, a good variety of Germans regretted not having taken the risk he posed in 1923 extra significantly.

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