31 Jan Ad Hominem Circumstantial – FT#42
The Ad Hominem Circumstantial Fallacy is committed when, instead of addressing someone’s argument, you question the reason that they are making the argument, often suggesting that their circumstances mean that they benefit in some way from such an argument.
We started out with this tweet from Donald dismissing John Bolton’s claims regarding the Ukraine aid:
I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book. With that being said, the…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2020
And we followed that up with a clip of Trump claiming he knows why the Democrats won’t pay for his border wall:
Finally we talked about Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff, Marc Short, saying this about Lev Parnas:
“This is very simple: Lev Parnas is under a multi-count indictment and will say anything to anybody who will listen in hopes of staying out of prison. It’s no surprise that only the liberal media is listening to him.”
In Mark’s British Politics Corner, we talked about this tweet dismissing a father who confronted Boris Johnson in a hospital because he used to work for Labour:
This is shocking. Wearing a microphone! Put your sick daughter before scoring political points! https://t.co/CSFMSrSXdG
— Allison Pearson (@allisonpearson) September 18, 2019
And we looked at David Cameron’s accusation that Ed Miliband was a champagne socialist:
In the Fallacy in the Wild, we looked at this clip from Futurama:
Then we discussed this clip from Ali G:
Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game:
- Somebody said to me recently, President, President, it was a friend of mine. He used to always call me, Donald. Hey Donald, how are you doing? Let’s go out, OK, good. Now he calls me President. I tell you this — they always call me President. President, President, tell me what’s happening? What’s going on? How’s it all going? You’re doing such a great job. I said do me a favor call me Donald. I can’t.
- We will protect patients with pre-existing conditions like nobody else, and we will protect your pre-existing physicians, which you’ve had to get rid of, which you will have to get rid of when this new plan never happens that — don’t worry, it’s not going to happen. It’s not going to happen. I wouldn’t worry about it. It sounds nice. It doesn’t even sound good, frankly.
- I call it the danger zone but really it’s the danger zone, and they’ve been fighting for hundreds of years, so I don’t know why people call it the safe zone. It’s the most dangerous zone in the world and when I looked at our warfighters who were there — the Generals said to me “Sir, they have to be there, no matter what, Sir,” and I said let them fight, but we’re getting the hell out. The fake news media doesn’t tell you that.
Click below for the answer
Mark got it wrong this week, so now he’s on 16/42, or 38%.
We announce the winner of our FireSwamp competition (congrats Andrew Bimpson!) and then we looked at what’s been going on so far in the Senate impeachment trial.
And finally, here are the stories we really didn’t have time to talk about:
- Trump must have said he didn’t know Lev Parnas again, because Parnas’s lawyer released a video last week that featured Trump having dinner with Parnas, Igor Fruman and several other donors to a Trump supporting SuperPAC. During the dinner, Parnas told Trump that US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch had been telling people Trump was likely to be impeached, at which Trump said “Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. Okay? Do it.” Various news organisations have charitably described this as Trump threatening to fire Yovanovitch, while others have pointed out that “Take her out” can be interpreted in multiple ways, especially when talking to shady Eastern European businessmen. Fortunately for Ambassador Yovanovitch, the Trump administration is a well oiled machine, and within a year – well, just over a year – someone fired her.
- Okay so we know that Trump watches a lot of televised fiction but we didn’t know he was a big fan of the Bruce Dern film Silent Running (or that his viewing tastes were that modern – it’s a late one; 1972!) you know the one where Bruce is protecting earth’s last forests in a spacecraft, I would’ve thought that was a bit eco for Trump but why else would the new Space Force have woodland camouflage uniforms. Apparently its cos a) they’re saving money by using old uniforms – okay so how much of a percentage of the $40 million were they going to cost – but cos they recycled the Star Fleet logo I guess it’s more recycling, And b) cos that’s what the guys they’ll work with on earth will be wearing – surely part of the point of being in Space Force is that you don’t look like a hastily assembled bunch of amateur volunteers recruited to save the earth in every sci-fi movie ever – oh no wait. In space noone can hear you bark.
- The National Archives in Washington DC found a unique way of commemorating 100 years of women’s suffrage this month when they censored women’s voices by removing messages critical of Trump from an image of the 2017 Women’s March which took place the day after the inauguration. The image was being used by the National Archives to promote their centenary celebration of the 19th Amendment, and they claimed that Trump’s name was blurred out of protest signs “so as not to engage in current political controversy”. Fortunately, after the ACLU pointed out the Archives job is to document history, they apologised and have now replaced it with the original, unaltered image. Meanwhile, we quietly add another item to the list of stuff that happens under dictators that is now happening in the US.
- Not satisfied with just bragging – Trump at the World Economic forum in Davos appeared to brag about doing the thing he’s being impeached for at the very moment he’s in Davos – (FT 42 Headlines – Trump We Have all the materials CLIP) do you hear that too – there it is “I got it you don’t – you think you can do me for having done this but you can’t prove it cos I got all the proof you need like you asked for when you subpoena-d all the documents” well er yeah that’s the obstruction you said you haven’t done which is what you’re being impeached for. Do nobody notice this stuff any longer – or just too tired to notice or do notice but don’t care – put a tick in the appropriate box – and that box of course is the one next to Bernie Sanders’ name!
- Russian Asset Tulsi Gabbard is suing Hillary Clinton for $50 million for calling her a Russian Asset. Wait, I’d better start this one again. Russian Asset and lover of frivolous lawsuits and white pantsuits, Tulsi Gabbard, is suing Hillary Clinton. There, that’s better. Gabbard responded to the comment, made by Hillary on a podcast last year, by tweeting “You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic party for so long.”, and then suing her for saying mean things. She also claimed, in a very timely Circumstantial Ad Hominem, that Hillary made the claim because she is “afraid of the threat I pose”. Thing is, people are allowed to have and express opinions about public figures, and you can be a Russian Asset simply by being potentially helpful to Russia, even unwittingly, by say splitting the Democrat vote by standing as a third party candidate. It doesn’t mean you’re being accused of actually doing anything. If she’d said Tulsi was a Russian Agent, that’s a whole other matter, but neither she, nor we, would ever suggest anything like that. Although I think I might have said it about Trump last episode. Never mind. He never sues anybody, does he?
- Welcome to the future dystopia we all knew was going to happen when mopped-topped lovable scheming machiavellian Boris got into office – he acquiesces to Trumps every demand, Trump wants Europe to find Iran just as guilty of breaking the terms of the non-making-nuclear-weapons-agreement – which they haven’t – Europe knows they haven’t but Trump wants to sanction Iran anyway cos Obama negotiated the agreement. To make Europe reconsider the wisdom of their decision Trump threatened to slap 25% tariffs on European cars into the US and weirdly they all found Iran WAS in breach of the agreement. Boris, keen not to be seen to be acquiescing, fawning, and licking Trump’s arse just yet, tries in interview to appear to see the reason for the Americans not liking the deal – he says, correctly, that it’s cos the agreement expires and it was an Obama deal, and in standing firm in the face of what Iran calls the ‘high school bully’ Boris then goes on to say – “if we are getting rid of the deal then let’s replace it with a new deal the Trump deal” No Boris let’s not do that, the new deal is purely a vindictive, narcissistic, ego-driven act of a man bereft of anything but spite, hatred and envy. Oh yes of course no wonder you like him – its like Eton all over again you spineless toff.
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did an interview on NPR with Mary Louise Kelly last week, and was shocked when she asked him questions about Ukraine, despite the fact she had told his staff she would be asking about Ukraine. After the interview, Kelly was ushered into Pompeo’s private living room where he shouted and swore at her and asked “Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?” Then he asked her if she could even point to Ukraine on a map. Kelly, who has a Masters in European Studies from Cambridge, said she could, so, according to her report, “He called out for his aides to bring him a map of the world with no writing, no countries marked.” “I pointed to Ukraine. He put the map away and said “People will hear about this”.” Because doubling down is rewarded in the Trump White House, Pompeo released a statement accusing Kelly of lying about the terms of the interview and claiming the post interview rant was off the record. He ended with a suggestion that she failed his test, saying “It’s worth noting that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine”. Which kind of raises the question: Does Mike Pompeo think Ukraine is Bangladesh? I wish I was more confident that he doesn’t.
- Boris/Brexit – great news – whilst no money can be found to help reunite refugee children with their parents in Boris’ hostile-environment Britain, hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent to mint new 50p coins celebrating, but-not-in-a-triumphalist-way-you-understand-we’re-all-about-healing-division in-our-one-nation, the withdrawal from the European Union on Jan 31st. The 63% of the UK population who didn’t vote for Brexit have taken to social media to suggest that whenever you find one in your change you donate every single one of them to refugee charities. If you think a small thing can’t make a big impact try dropping a coin from the Empire State Building!
That’s all for this week, thanks for listening!