06 Jul Appeal to the Law – FT#53
The Appeal to the Law is committed when someone equates the legality of an act with its morality, i.e. saying whatever they did was fine, because there’s no law against it.
We started out with this clip of Trump talking about the payments his organisation made to Stormy Daniels:
Then we looked at this clip of Giuliani claiming collusion isn’t a crime:
And then we looked at Louie Gohmert disrupting a Congressional hearing like a small child:
Mark’s British Politics Corner
Mark talked about the rules we Brits had to follow during lockdown, which were made pretty clear and given the full force of law in this speech:
And then we heard Dominic Cummings, who broke these rules, claiming that what he did was legal
Fallacy in the Wild
We looked at this clip of Air Bud:
And we followed that up with this clip from Frasier:
Finally in this section we looked at this clip from Terminator 2: Judgement Day:
Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game:
- This was a steel ramp. It had no handrail. It was like an ice skating rink! And I said, “General, I have a problem,” and he didn’t understand that at first. I said, “There’s no way!” He understood. I just saluted almost 600 times, I just made a big speech, I sat for other speeches, I’m being baked. I’m being baked like a cake. I said, “General, there’s no way I can make it down that ramp without falling on my ass, general. I have no railing.”
- Now he’s standing there, big strong guy, and he’s got these shoes, but they’re loaded with rubber on the bottom. Because I looked, the first thing I did, I looked at his shoes. Then I looked at mine. Very, very slippery. So I end up saying, “Okay, general, let’s go. I will only grab you if I need you.” That’s not a good story, falling would be a disaster. It turned out to be worse than anything. I would have been better off if I fell and slid down the damn ramp. Right?
- So we start the journey, and it’s really bad — it’s really steep, but really slippery like an ice skating rink, but also really steep, right? You all saw. So we’re walking, step, step, step, and even the general turns to me and he says “I almost slipped, Sir”, and he’s this big general. So I get to maybe halfway down the ramp, maybe two thirds, and I think “Okay, here goes” and I run down the last ten feet, but they didn’t show that.
Click below for the answer
Mark got it wrong this week, so now he’s on 23/53, or 43%.
This week’s sponsor was Jim, whose new book on how to start a podcast is free on Kindle from July 6th to 8th. You can download a copy here.
Bounties are not a logical fallacy
We talked about the reports that Russia has been paying the Taliban bounties for killing American soldiers. You can read more about the story here.
The stories we really didn’t have time to talk about
- The US is currently experiencing a massive second spike in coronavirus cases reaching 50,000 in a single day on Wednesday, which is way higher than the first peak in April and we’re recording this before the July 4th weekend. Of course, you wouldn’t know it to listen to the administration, which is full of optimist ICU-is-half-full types like Trump, who is still inexplicably saying the virus “will just disappear” and Pence, who held a coronavirus task force briefing last week and said that compared to April, America is “in a much better place”. To be fair, depending on your belief system, you could argue that at least 100,000 Americans are indeed in a much better place, but I don’t think that was what he was going for. Meanwhile, master of understatement Anthony Fauci said “Clearly we’re not in total control” and warned that new cases could hit 100,000 per day unless things turn around. In a bit of good news, a new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research has confirmed that the Black Lives Matter protests have not contributed to the spike in coronavirus. Studying data from more than 300 of the biggest cities in the US, researchers say that, while there may be an increase in cases among the relatively small proportion of the population who actually got out and protested, it is more than offset by an increase in social distancing in the rest of the population as people avoided public places where protests where happening and stayed home due to additional congestion and road closures.
- Much as I enjoy seeing seniors triggering each other from their mobility carts and getting into fights in slow-motion with the added frisson of likely osteoarthritis brittle-bone breakages if ever it should get physical, it ceases to be funny when the Leader if the Free World (registered trade mark) deliberately retweets one such geezer shouting White power. Even with the most-innocent “nowwhadidido?!” face on it “the fellas got white hair, hell they all have”, its surely patently obviously not the thing to do around Juneteenth and following the murder of George Floyd. Fairly reprehensible if you’re an ordinary citizen, much less the “fairly-elected Saviour of the US” (reg trade mark). Thankfully the whole of the White House saw it for what it was and burst into flames. Indeed officials said it “set off a five-alarm fire”. Well I don’t know about you but If it’s that big of a fire I’d want the fire dept to arrive to put stuff out quicker than the 3 hours it took for the tweet to be deleted. Something to do with Trump having put his phone down cos he’s playing golf – and aides trying unsuccessfully to reach deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino to ask him to delete the retweet – as Yoda would say “there is no try” or if it’s taking 3 hours you’re not trying hard enough does no one know where he lives, surely security knows which golf course Trumps at!? Yeah but it’s mostly something to do with an election in November and 82 million followers on twitter – some of whom won’t be bots and will have voting rights. Eventually Donald agreed to take it down, and officials said the president gets a deluge of content from aides and allies, with one of them saying the “white power” incident was a “lesson to all of us in the White House to be more aware of what’s out there.” Yeah no shit – and most of it Trump is writing!
- Trump’s agenda is pretty straightforward. Stack the courts and own the libs. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to remember that, but of course, Trump is no rocket scientist, so when Sean Hannity lobbed him the softest of softball questions in a recent interview, he panicked and spewed out this lump of bullshit instead: “Well one of the things that will be really great: you know, the word experience is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience. I’ve always said that. But the word experience is a very important word. It’s a very important meaning. I never did this before, I never slept over in Washington. I was in Washington I think 17 times, all of a sudden I’m the president of the United States, you know the story, I’m riding down Pennsylvania Avenue with our First Lady and I say, “This is great.” But I didn’t know very many people in Washington, it wasn’t my thing. I was from Manhattan, from New York. Now I know everybody. And I have great people in the administration. You make some mistakes, like you know an idiot like Bolton, all he wanted to do is drop bombs on everybody. You don’t have to drop bombs on everybody. You don’t have to kill people.” Imagine being so crushingly incompetent that four months out from a Presidential election you have absolutely no answer for “What are your priorities for your second term?” It’s almost like he doesn’t think he’s going to get one.
- Remember way back last year when we learned Devin Nunes was suing a cow, well we’re delighted to say that this week Judge John Marshall dismissed Nunes’ defamation case brought against Twitter for allowing the account Denis Nunes’ Cow and Denis Nunes’ Mom to, well basically, take the piss out of Nunes. Stating that Twitter was “immune from the defamation claims” due to federal law that says social media companies are not liable for what people post on their platforms. Nunes “seeks to have the court treat Twitter as the publisher or speaker of the content provided by others based on its allowing or not allowing certain content to be on its internet platform,” Marshall wrote. “The court refuses to do so.” Neither the cow nor his Mom made any comments but Liz Mair – also named in the case against Twitter said that this is a good thing cos basically Nunes, like many notable Republican Twitter users with the handle Potus say, “took an oath to support and defend the Constitution — all of it and not just the bits he likes”. I think as we said at the time it’s all very well doling out the bullshit but when the cow and yer mom flings it back in yer face it’s a different matter – as Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth once advised “if you can’t take the action, don’t fake the style” and also Bart “Don’t have a cow man!”
- In a late night Friday News Dump on June 19th, US Attorney General and baby from Dinosaurs, Bill Barr, announced that Geoffrey Berman, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, would be stepping down from his position and be replaced by Chairman of the SEC and Trump’s golf buddy, Jay Clayton. Berman, when he heard about this in the press, said he hadn’t resigned, he had no intention of resigning, and since he was appointed by a court, Barr couldn’t fire him. The next day, Barr wrote to Berman and told him that since he wouldn’t resign, Trump himself had fired him. When reporters asked Trump about this, he said “That’s his department, not mine… I’m not involved”. Before we could figure out whether Barr or Trump was lying – let’s face it, it’s somehow always both of them – Berman agreed to resign on the basis that his deputy, Audrey Strauss, would take over. Strauss is reportedly unlikely to give in to political pressure, so whatever they were trying to achieve hasn’t worked. What they were trying to achieve is probably a mixture of petty retaliation for the SDNY’s prosecution of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, and interference with the SDNY’s current investigation of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. In a fun extra detail, the SDNY has today announced the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, which they are hoping will lead to further arrests of Epstein’s inner circle, maybe including Trump lawyer and alleged sexual abuser Alan Dershowitz.
- Carl Bernstein is famous for being a friend of the author of the book Fear:Trump in the White House that we read in our special show for patrons of this one; Bob Woodward – which is about as convoluted as Bernstein’s opening paragraph in his CNN Politics report from June 30th. The report says what we’ve kinda known all along that Trump’s phone calls are filled with teenage-trash-talk about the last guys who used the phone, blue or red!, wilfully ignorant of advisers’ counsel and viciously abusive towards world leaders in general and female ones in particular, especially those heretofore regarded as allies, oh yeah except for Putin who he can’t do enough heavy-breathing down the phone at, which seeing as he’ll be in office til he’s 89 is gonna need a lot of wheezing. The list of former officials and advisers grows daily; Kelly, Bolton, Tillerson, Mattis, McMaster; basically everyone who got fired or “left” all now lining up to say “actually you know that’s kinda risky behaviour, if not a security risk for the US itself, kinda treasonable in that regard”. Bernstein seems to be quite right in surmising that it’s all very well telling us this for a price via your memoirs/personal appearances/public speaking circuits, why weren’t you doing that at the time cos if ya had we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now. A bit like Carl I can’t see how this is news now mainly cos we read it in Woodward’s book like two years ago by which time it was a year old! And saying now` that if people listened to witnesses to this stuff and read the transcripts ooh they’d, they’d think twice about his fitness for office, is a bit like Mueller never happened or hey the impeachment never happened. Are they doing the political equivalent of social distancing ready for the fall out from the landslide defeat come November, sorry fellas; “you go one you go all!”
- For a while now Trump has been claiming his border wall is ‘fully financed’, in fact in his Tulsa rally – is it a rally if you just have a few friends round? – anyway, in his Tulsa rally he claimed he could build multiple walls with all the money he’s got. Surprising that only three miles of new barrier has actually been built, then. Well, turns out he might have to give back $2.5 billion of that money because the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that he violated the constitution in bypassing Congress and claiming that he needed the money for ‘unforeseen military requirements’. After all, who could have foreseen Trump’s need to build a wall prior to January of 2019? Certainly not thousands of baying red-hatted, red-necked, pink-faced deplorables chanting ‘build the wall’ in arenas around the country since 2015. If THAT is the phrase they were relying on, I’m beginning to see why Trump and his lawyers lose so many lawsuits. It’s like he’s in a weird Brewster’s Millions style competition with Devin Nunes to see who can spend the most on lawyers without having anything to show for it.
- *sigh* this is the bit where I update you about Boris and stuff in the UK – JESUS H FUCKING CHRIST IT’S AWFUL – that is all! No really even with the lens of Fallacious Trump to look through and possibly make light of it, the industrial strength blame-shifting, blowing of dog-whistles, COVID-death-count-responsibility-shedding and FDR-New-Deal parodying sorry homaging these last two weeks have made even the cheeriest of souls seriously consider backing Elon Musk’s bid to terraform Mars, despite his immobile top lip. It’s as if they’re holding up shiny things, which on closer inspection are just pools of fresh bullshit reflecting the sun’s rays, to distract us from the £2 billion cuts to be made to public spending including the police who they said they’d increase by 20,000 (they haven’t) having cut it by 20,000 prior to that (they had), the end of free movement in Europe for all UK citizens, the looming imminence of the no-deal crashout of the EU with inevitable price rises despite Bozza’s much pre-election touted promise that a deal was oven-ready. And most depressing of all, some of the social media comments praising the fuckwit cockwomble himself AREN’T generated by government-funded bots. Skynet where are you? – we’re done – wipe us out!
That’s all for this week, thanks for listening!