08 Jun Argument by Rhyme – FT#51
The Argument by Rhyme Fallacy is committed when someone uses a rhyming slogan in place of an argument in an attempt to sway opinion or simplify a complex issue.
We started out with this tweet from Trump:
….These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2020
Then we looked at this clip from the SOTU:
And then, we had ‘fun with words’ with Kellyanne Conway:
Mark’s British Politics Corner
Mark talked about Boris’s attempts at using rhetorical devices like rhyming to sound like a man of the people with these two clips from his first speech as Prime Minister:
Fallacy in the Wild
We looked at this clip of Johnnie Cochran:
And we followed that up with this ad jingle from 1926:
And here’s the psychology paper we discussed in this section, Birds of a Feather Flock Conjointly.
Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game:
- Tremendous progress is being made on vaccines — in fact we have, ready to go in terms of transportation and logistics, we have over 2 million ready to go — if it checks out for safety and it’s also, the nice part is we have 4 companies, I guess you could even say 7 or 8 companies that are doing some similar and some very different on the vaccine front and some similar and some somewhat different on the therapeutic front. So tremendous progress is being made on that.
- They have to receive fair treatment from law enforcement. They have to receive it. We all saw what happened last week, we can’t let that happen. Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that’s happening for our country. It’s a great day for him, it’s a great day for everybody. It’s a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality. It’s really what our Constitution requires and it’s what our country is all about.
- The experts all said — and these are genius people, some of these people I have a lot of respect for, I watch them all the time and they say good things about… things. And they were all saying, because although they say they’re experts they really don’t know anything and they couldn’t have gotten this more wrong but it’s because they didn’t have any faith in me and they should have, but I proved them wrong. So we’re really doing amazing.
Click below for the answer
Mark got it right AGAIN this week, so now he’s on 23/51, or 45%.
This week’s sponsor was Hopheads, a subscription box where you get 12 bottles of beer sent straight to your house! Click here to sign up!
Tear gas is not a logical fallacy
We talked about the incredible scenes of DC Park Police attacking peaceful protests outside the White House so that Trump could walk to a church and hold a bible upside down in his stubby little hands. I mentioned a lawyer who was compiling a twitter thread of incidences of police brutality during these protests about police brutality. The thread is now up to around 400 entries. You can check it out here.
The stories we really didn’t have time to talk about
- Tom Cotton, a Republican Senator from Arkansas, advocated sending in the military on Twitter on Monday, calling for “No quarter for insurrectionists, anarchists, rioters, and looters”. Cotton later claimed that ‘no quarter’ means not treating them kindly, and even found a dictionary definition to back that up, but others pointed out that he was specifically talking, in the same tweet, about the military being sent it to suppress the looting, and in a military context, and for that matter a legal dictionary, that’s not what no quarter means. In that context, quarters are where people stay, so if you give them no quarter, you don’t give them somewhere to stay. Because instead of taking them prisoner, you kill them. Even if they try to surrender. Which is a war crime. Which sounds about right for an Arkansas Republican to be honest.
- Where’s the best place to go when you’ve constantly fomented civil unrest for years and it finally comes home to roost? The presidential bunker of course, you’d think! But in another blatant display of “I didn’t do what you all saw I did” old Jodie Foster film-re-enactor Donald was at great pains to painfully deny he didn’t get rushed to the underground White House panic room during the protests happening outside the gates, but that he was just coincidentally inspecting it and was in there for a tiny amount of time – well compared with the period of time dinosaurs ruled the earth yes it’s tiny. And what’s more it was apparently another routine inspection visit like those he occasionally undertakes having done so “two and a half times” before – how do you half visit somewhere? Go there but spend time tweeting on your phone? so it doesn’t really count?, a bit like popping to the church across the square to visit in a half-arsed way – not to actually worship just to clutch a bible and kind of inspect the place. For someone who thinks no-one is watching he sure behaves like everyone is watching!
- After three years and more than 18,000 lies, Twitter finally had enough and flagged two of Trump’s lie-tweets a couple of weeks ago. Trump claimed that the Governor of California was sending mail-in ballots to “anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there” which, it hardly needs saying, is bullshit. Twitter added a note at the bottom of the tweets with a link saying ‘Get the facts about mail-in ballots’. Trump, who is virulently anti-facts, got a bit upset by this and decided to do his usual vengeance thing by writing an executive order threatening Twitter’s liability protections under section 230 of the Telecommunications Decency Act. Section 230 is the part of the law that says Twitter isn’t legally responsible for literally every tweet anyone tweets. Now I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me that if Trump requires Twitter to take responsibility for all the tweets, the only reasonable thing that Twitter can do is ban people who tweet obviously false and libellous stuff. You know, like Trump.
- In a direct response to Trump’s use of the law enforcement agencies to clear the battlespace of Lafayette Square of protesters basically complaining in a first amendment kinda way about how things are being run, that well known pinko commie left-wing sympathiser ex Trump Defense Secretary General James “Jim” Mattis (soon to be Never-Trumper I suspect) made an extraordinary statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday fundamentally saying “We do not need to militarize our response to protests. We need to unite around a common purpose. And it starts by guaranteeing that all of us are equal before the law.” and that “We are witnessing the consequences of three years of Trump’s deliberate effort to divide the American people. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.” He pretty much concludes “We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution. ” Wowzers! Now THAT’S presidential talk right there – this man worked for you Donnie – you idiot and you forced him out – you idiot and we know why – you idiot!
- One of the obviously false and libellous things that Trump tweeted during that week when he was desperately trying to distract people from coronavirus news and before the world started burning, was a bizarre conspiracy theory about former congressman and current TV host Joe Scarborough. Joe and Trump used to be buddies until Trump went full… well, Trump, and since Joe started speaking out against him, Trump has been using his old vengeance tactic again. Cue many tweets ‘just asking questions’ about an aide of Joe’s who died in 2001 and about whether Joe had got away with murder. So many tweets, in fact, that the dead woman’s husband wrote to Twitter to ask them to remove Trump’s tweets and pleading with Trump to stop trampling on her memory. Well, now it turns out that in 2017, Trump had albino mannequin Jared Kushner contact the National Enquirer and try to get them to run the story. They looked into it, but couldn’t find any evidence of wrongdoing. So the takeaway here is that the President of the United States is continuing to push a conspiracy theory which didn’t meet the high editorial standards of the National fucking Enquirer
- Good News – Heeding the advice from that well-known liberal centrist Republican – yeah right – Mitch McConnell, the good Republican people of Iowa (very fine people on both sides remember) have ousted nine-term congressman Steve King – who is notable for having questioned whether minorities have contributed anything valuable to western civilization and displayed a Confederate flag on his desk. He has wondered why it is offensive to be called a white nationalist, and once argued to a far-right Austrian publication that elites were trying to reduce the white population and increase minorities. It seems even the Republicans eventually tire of such extremists – Nine terms though people sheesh come on!! In beating King in his re-election race Randy Feenstra said he’d promise he would deliver “results for the families, farmers and communities of Iowa” which implies King hadn’t. I wonder if Iowa might think twice again about voting for a Republican in the White House now, could happen, they voted for Obama in 2008!
- You probably thought 2020 had thrown everything it could at us, right? Well last week in Meerut, India, a group of monkeys attacked a healthcare worker and stole a batch of coronavirus blood test samples. No news yet on what the monkeys were planning to do with the samples, but whoever had Rise of the Planet of the Apes on their 2020 bingo cards, congratulations! I, for one, welcome our new monkey overlords.
- Britpol news – Well what a fortnight it’s been since we last spoke – Boris Johnson the committed politician and self-titled people’s Prime Minister has been throwing everything that the government has got in its power at the crisis facing us all in the coronavirus pandemic; saving lives? Protecting the NHS, controlling the virus? No saving face, controlling the media and protecting his personal adviser and actual leader of the country Dominic Cummings. Who in the midst of the peak “stay where you are and don’t leave your house especially if you have the Virus” bit of lockdown, left his house in London, with the virus, got in his car with his wife and son who may not have had the virus – at first! – and drove 260 miles to another house cos his instinct was to seek help with child care from his parents cos there’s none of that in London where his friends are like 3 miles away. But Boris says its okay cos he followed his instincts. Whereas other people who had done so to check on aged parents had been fined and others still who’d not done that and weren’t with their loved ones as they lay dying were obviously foolish cos they didn’t follow their instincts. Desperate to show he was still on the side of the people not the elites – his invented term during Brexit btw – Cumnmings held a press conference in the garden of Number 10 like ordinary people do – and thus proved he was one of the elite and as we’d all suspected all along that the rules we’re asked to follow don’t apply to them. When asked about this for several days afterwards Boris said he thought the British People – yes them again – had had enough of this and would like to move on, when he’d plainly had enough of this pretence at being all mindful and caring and supportive of the nation and would like to move back to how it was before. Still only 4 more years to election, or 4 more months til the next lockdown!
That’s all for this week, thanks for listening!