04 Mar Wrong Tool Fallacy – FT#44
The Wrong Tool Fallacy is committed when someone tries to present evidence for their argument, but the method or tool they are using isn’t designed to show what they claim it shows.
We started out with this clip of Trump bragging about the Dow Jones:
Then we looked at this clip of Jared Kushner claiming his Middle East Peace Plan is good because it’s so long (and it has a map!)
In Mark’s British Politics Corner, Mark questioned democracy itself as the wrong tool for deciding certain things, based on this Stackexchange post:
And then we talked about this twitter thread in which Arron Banks pits his schoolboy knowledge of Roman History against Cambridge Professor of Classics Mary Beard:
In the Fallacy in the Wild, we looked at this tweet from a homeopath (or homeopathic supporter) and the amazing Modified Naranjo Criteria:
Integrative #homeopathy treatment approach to recurrent #urinarytract #UTI infections & #postcoidal #cystitis in two #antimicrobial resistant ♀️ patients = less need for #antibiotic #prescribing #homeopathic #homeopath pic.twitter.com/rVLHRzdTov
— HomeopathyRocks! Skeptics not so much. (@BrownBagPantry) January 24, 2020
Then we discussed these young Earth creationists shoddy understanding of radiocarbon dating:
Finally, we questioned Nigel Tufnell’s concept of loudness from This is Spinal Tap:
Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game:
- These people, they’re horrible people and they don’t get in trouble. If I did half of what McCabe and Comey did they’d impeach me again. Maybe we should impeach them — maybe it’s time we impeached Hillary. I’m kidding. Maybe I’m not. Those people in the back, the fake news media, they’re so corrupt and so stupid they can’t tell when I’m kidding. I’ll say something like I’m going to be President for twelve more years and they think I’m serious. Well, maybe I am about that one.
- You know with the wall, we’re building a wall. You know that, right? And by the way, they think they caught me and they’d never catch us because, you know, Mexico’s paying for the wall. You know that. You’ll see that. It’s all worked out. Mexico spent — it’s driving them crazy. Now they say OK, he’s building the wall, but Mexico didn’t pay — Mexico will pay. And here’s the thing, here’s the thing, you’ll see that it’ll come out. We’ll do it sometime during the debate or maybe before our debate, the real debate that people are going to watch.
- If you love your children and you have a farm or a small business or a small ranch or even a large ranch, you have no estate tax. You’d give it to the kids. If you don’t love your children, anybody in here does not love their children? There are some, don’t — come on, raise your hand. There are some. Like you know, they’re brats, they’re little brats, they’re horrible human beings. So if you’re one of them, this doesn’t help you because you’ll save some time.
Click below for the answer
Mark got it right this week, so now he’s on 17/44, or 38.6%.
We then looked at the administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.
And finally, here are the stories we really didn’t have time to talk about:
- Johnny McEntee, the former Trump body man who was fired because his gambling habit meant he couldn’t get a security clearance, has hit the ground running now that he’s back at the White House as head of personnel. Within days of starting the job, for which his only qualifications are loyalty to the President and sketchy ethics, he called an introductory meeting with the White House liaisons for all the cabinet agencies. Top of the agenda was making a list of all the personnel within said agencies who might not like Trump. McEntee’s stated purpose for this, according to three people who were in the meeting, is to target those people and ensure they don’t get promotions by shifting them around in different agencies. Many former Presidents specifically decided to appoint political rivals to major cabinet posts, but in Trump’s administration, nothing but abject fealty is acceptable.
- The former physician to the Donald; Ronny Jackson who said he received the “Trump stamp” of approval after his 2018 press conference, in which he said Trump had “incredible genes,” performed “exceedingly well” on a cognitive test and asserted that if the president had had a better diet, he could have lived to 200 years old. Regrets leaving before he was able to implement that better dietary regime – he’s the only one who does! Insights into the regime planned include “making ice-cream less accessible” a short walk away behind a heavy freezer door perhaps, putting cauliflower into the mashed potatoes and he stops short of saying whether he personally made airplane noises whilst flying a forkful of carrots towards the orange presidential facehole but does talk about “transporting an exercise bicycle into the White House” in order to have the president lose 10 to 15 pounds. Our suggestions here at Fallacious Towers to achieve that weight loss are to cut down on the poundage of hair and denture fixative as well as the burdensome load of mush between his ears by simply removing his head altogether! Sadly Ronny’s allegations of professional misconduct which mean he has had to step down from the nominations for Veterans Affairs secretary don’t extend to decapitations.
- A federal judge has ruled that Acting Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ken Cuccinelli, is not, in fact, the Acting Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Let’s back up a moment, and listen carefully. When the former director, Lee Cissna, resigned in June, he was automatically replaced by his Deputy Director Mark Koumans, because that’s what the Federal Vacancies Reform Act says happens. Nine days later, Acting Homeland Security Secretary, Kevin McAleenan, made up an entirely new job and appointed Ken Cuccinelli ‘Principal Deputy Director’ of the USCIS. On the same day, McAleenan rewrote the rules of succession so that Cuccinelli became Cissna’s replacement. And this week, a federal judge said ‘No, that’s not how any of this works’ and declared that any policies put in place by Cuccinelli are now void. Which is good, because those policies were mostly designed to fuck over asylum seekers.
- You know the nice president the US used to have, the one that could forsee unscrupulous wrong-doing being meted out by the opposition in order to gain money and power? yeah him, well in 2010 President Barack Obama signed into law a very specific act called the “Prevent Deceptive Census Look Alike Mailings Act” which in the UK would prompt us to quote an advert for Ronseal wood varnish and say “it does exactly what it says on the tin”. However the RNC seemed to think that’s all a bit generic and can’t possibly apply to them sending out documents that say 2020 District Congressional District Census commissioned by the Republican Party Do not Destroy – and then go on to ask normal apolitical household-measuring censussy0-type questions like “Do you think Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat-controlled House are holding President Trump’s agenda hostage and putting their political interests ahead of the good of our country?” Odd enough in itself but odder still is the lack of mainstream media coverage of this – it took, of all people, Fox News contributor and former Republican congressman Jason Chaffetz to publish a link to the only national TV coverage of it by MSNBC tweeting “The RNC’s ‘census’ forms are not actual census forms. I was upset about this previously and I am still concerned. This is deceptive and it’s not right.” So we’ll do our bit – check for the RNC meddling illegally in census gathering do not send them money it’s a devious lie to prevent people voting Democrat! Where’s Bob Woodward when you need him?
- Trump loves suing people almost as much as Devin Nunes – well, actually, Trump loves threatening to sue people, because he finds that if he actually sues them he has an irritating tendency to lose. Which makes it all the more surprising that the Trump campaign has sued the New York Times for libel for an opinion piece about Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign. Yes, you heard that right – they’re suing not about a news story, involving disputable facts, but about an op ed in which someone expressed an opinion they didn’t like. And they’re claiming ‘millions of dollars’ in damages. No specific amount, just millions, like Dr Evil wrote the lawsuit. It seems that between someone having the idea to sue and the lawsuit being filed with the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, nobody pointed out to the Trump campaign that the discovery phase of this lawsuit would involve them producing evidence of any communication they had with the Russians. I don’t think this one will make it to a courtroom.
The “statement was so inappropriate, it’s almost… trying” to “take the people who do feel a different way and get them to vote the way that” they’d “like them to vote. I just thought it was so inappropriate, such a terrible statement” No not about Trump, nor a moment of self-awareness by Trump. But Trump saying it about Sonia Sotomayor and demanding that she and RBG recuse themselves from all Trump-related matters, which is difficult cos as Sotomayer says “the Trump administration immediately runs to the Supreme Court when lower courts don’t rule their way,” so they Supreme Court appears to be filled with nothing but Trump-related matters! Trump’s running out of investigators to complain about and previously stayed away pretty much from attacking the Supreme Court, which has repeatedly sided with his administration on controversial issues. But Trump’s attacks on an “Obama judge” who ruled against his administration’s asylum policy earned a rebuke from Chief Justice John Roberts. “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” he said in a statement. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.” Let’s hope Ronny Jackson’s advising RBG on her diet – we need, need, NEED her to outlive every single Republican in existence for the sake of truth, justice and (hah) the American way!
- The Dealmaker strikes again, this time securing peace in Afghanistan. Wait, that’s a good thing, right? Well, yes, if the Trump administration’s negotiation skills were up to the job. All the US has to do is withdraw their troops from the area, leave the Taliban in charge of the areas they currently occupy, lift sanctions, and release 5000 Taliban fighters currently held prisoner, in exchange for 1000 Afghan security force prisoners currently held by the Taliban. Then the plan is that the Taliban will essentially protect local forces and US from other terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda. Sounds like a pretty terrible one-sided deal that might nevertheless signal the beginning of the end of a long drawn out war. Of course, it might have helped if the US checked with Afghanistan, who have said today that there’s no way they’re releasing the 5000 Taliban prisoners, which was apparently a deal breaker for the good old Taliban, who’ve gone back to attacking local Afghan forces. Send Kushner in – obviously the peace deal just didn’t have enough pages. And a map!
- Permasmirk-wearing home-secretary Priti Patel is introducing immigration rules that wouldn’t have let her own Tory-voting party-funding parents in, and is being sued for bullying and constructive dismissal by Home Office chief Sir Phillip Rutnam. To counter this Bozza’s press office released news that he’s expecting a child with his girlfriend to whom he’s just become engaged. Nice try Boris won’t wash with us, speaking of which that’s his advice to combat coronavirus, having dis-invited the (labour and remainer) Mayor of London from the emergency meeting about coronavirus. And today we also heard that the Tory government tried to block the appointment of Mary Beard (ibid.) as a trustee to the British Museum for her pro-europe, and let’s face it, learned and informed long view grip of history and how it doesn’t particularly favour fat, blonde, public-school-educated, self-important, ignorant, entitled arse-faced, Latin-manglers! “#where’s Boris” and “#johnson fiddles whilst Rome floods” also trending.
That’s all for this week, thanks for listening!