14 Sep Argument by Gibberish – FT#58
The Argument by Gibberish Fallacy is committed when someone uses jargon or nonsense in place of an argument or an answer because they are unable to provide a coherent, useful or logical response.
We started out with this clip of Trump on the Dr. Oz show answering the question “What is your plan to replace Obamacare?”:
We followed that up with this much more recent clip of Trump giving his thoughts on Biden’s economic plan:
Mark’s British Politics Corner
Mark talked about this the UK government’s briefing note on testing:
Internal govt briefing note this morning says the UK govt’s line is that it is not testing like Germany because “When the WHO talks about testing, it is addressing the global system… there are countries that the WHO needs to press on testing” … but not the UK… pic.twitter.com/9y3aHSyXAG
— Alex Wickham (@alexwickham) April 1, 2020
and followed this up with some clips of Matt Hancock talking drivel about testing:
Mark’s last clip was Hancock again, talking twaddle about whether he knew about testing problems in Telford:
Fallacy in the Wild
We talked about this clip from Spies Like Us:
And we followed that up with this clip from a Peter Sellers comedy album:
We then looked at this brief clip from a 1993 ad for smokers toothpaste Clinomyn:
And finally in this section we talked about this clip from Billy Madison:
Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game:
- The police are under siege, because of things. They can do 10,000 great acts, which is what they do, and one bad apple or a choker — you know, a choker. They choke, shooting the guy in the back many times. I mean, couldn’t you have done something different? Couldn’t you have wrestled him? You know, I mean, in the meantime, he might’ve been going for a weapon. And, you know, there’s a whole big thing there. But they choke, just like in a golf tournament. They miss a 3-foot putt.
- And then they have cans of soup. Soup. And they throw the cans of soup. That’s better than a brick because you can’t throw a brick. It’s too heavy. But a can of soup you can really put some power into that, right? And then when they get caught they say “No, this is soup for my family” They’re so innocent. “This is soup for my family” It’s incredible. And you have people coming over with bags of soup — big bags of soup. And they lay it on the ground, and the anarchists take it and they start throwing it at our cops, at our police. And if it hits you, that’s worse than a brick because that’s got force. It’s the perfect size. It’s, like, made perfect.
- Democrats are cheaters. They’re cheating cheaters who cheat, and if they’re going to cheat, we have to cheat too, or it’s not fair, so you should vote more than once. Everybody vote for me twice, and that way I’ll win, but it’s not illegal because I’m the President and I’m telling you to do it. Vote by mail, and then vote in person. They’ll never know, most of them are too stupid to figure it out even if I say it on TV.
Click below for the answer
Mark got it right this week, so now he’s on 25/58, or 43%.
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!
Losers and Suckers are not a logical fallacy
We talked about this article in The Atlantic about Donald being his usual charming self when talking about dead American soldiers.
The stories we really didn’t have time to talk about
- The right wing blogosphere really thought they’d spotted a fact that supported their world view last week, but of course, they were just misunderstanding how numbers and various other things work. Conservative self proclaimed comedian Amiri King noticed that in one of the CDC’s weekly updates, they mentioned that for 6% of US COVID deaths, COVID was the only listed cause of death. King immediately decided that this meant the CDC were admitting they’d got the death count wrong by 94%. Because he’s a fucking idiot. Other fucking idiots like tiny-faced community college dropout Charlie Kirk, amplified the story, it spread through the Q Anon community like some kind of highly transmissable virus, and Trump retweeted one of their posts. Of course, what they all failed to realise, quite spectacularly, was that the CDC are saying that around 12,000 people who were otherwise completely healthy and had none of the known risk factors have still been killed by this disease. Ok, I ended that one on a bit of a downer, Mark, what have you got to cheer us up?
- Hurray – our favourite trump-licking fuckwits Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, who I suspect are a bit miffed at not having ever been noticed by the Donald once ever, even less chance now Q Anon exist, and seemingly ignorant of the likelihood that when Don goes all go, are up to their usual fuckwittery. This time they are sending robocalls warning black voters that mail-in votes means their details will be used to track old convictions, to trace credit card debts and to force people into vaccine programmes. All complete dog-whistle bullshit of course, and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says they are “working hard to find the bad actors behind this effort” – won’t be too hard – checking the number where calls came from – yep registered to John Burkman and his lobbying firm’s address. Of course they denied it, nobody said they didn’t deny it by using the old if-we-wear-dark-glasses-you-won’t-know-it’s-us-and-we’ll-be-invisible ostrich technique, which, given that the call itself says “this is from Project 1599 the civil rights organization founded by Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl” works as well as you might think in the hands of the two evil geniuses. Let’s just hope Biden gives them a job, or they’ll have nothing to do come November.
- The Trump campaign raised an impressive $1.1 billion from the beginning of 2019 through to July, and even more impressively, have already blown over $800 million, leading to cancelled TV ads in battleground states, and concerns that they may run out of money before the election. Among the ways they’ve wasted money are spending over $1 million on TV ads in D.C., where Trump has no chance at all of winning, but where he will at least see the ads himself during all the TV he watches, $60 million spent on Trump’s legal bills, almost $2.5 million in expenses that have gone directly to the Trump Organisation through events at his properties, and undisclosed millions which were routed through three LLCs controlled by Brad Parscale which included paychecks to Lara Trump and Kimberley Guilfoyle. Maybe it wasn’t the best idea to leave all that money in the control of a guy who’s bankrupted six businesses! Meanwhile, in August alone, the Biden campaign raised a record breaking $364 million in donations.
- So what do you do if the Dictators Club you’re prospecting for demands a military drive-by in honour of the dear leader but your budget won’t stretch to it, of course; you endorse people making statements by patriotically adorning their flotilla of tiny vessels – “Saturdays are for boat parades” tweeted the Trump War Room account (yes it IS called that). And the boats on Lake Travis in Texas went right ahead and paraded on the 5th Sept. Though very quickly, given the lovely positive interference of waves we learned about studying physics at school, the Travis County Sheriff’s office responded to multiple calls involving boats in distress tweeting “Several boats did sink.” Brilliantly, conspiracy theories in all seriousness popped up saying “The likelihood of all these boats sinking at Trump Boat Parade by accident is microscopic. We are dealing with terrorists” with even more brilliant counters saying yeah “invisible missiles from Antifa planes did it” with the superb hashtag; “dumbkirk” trending. There’s no excuse really, a) we know the trump administration is capsizing fast 2) it also happened at a Trump boat parade in Oregon last month and c) even the “bahble” talks about boats and water and such doesn’t it you god-fearing Texan testament-thumpers hey! It’s there right at the beginning people; Genesis chapters 6 thru 9, see it? right there next to your inflatable MAGA vest.
- If sometimes it feels like there’s a new tell-all book about the Trump Presidency every few days, maybe that’s because over the past couple of weeks there’s been a new fucking tell-all book about the Trump Presidency every few days! We started with Michael Schmidt’s “Donald Trump v the United States” which revealed that Trump’s sudden and unannounced trip to Walter Reed in November was serious enough that Mike Pence was told to be on standby in case he had to assume the powers of the Presidency. Trump denied this in a tweet, saying the trip was “to complete my yearly physical” which is odd, because in November he said it was to start his yearly physical. Next was Stephanie Winton Wolkoff’s “Melania and Me”, which contained lots of stories about how Melania really doesn’t care, especially about immigrants and Ivanka, and Wolkoff has the tapes to prove it. Melania’s Chief of Staff Stephanie Grisham said “Anybody who secretly tapes their self-described best friend is by definition, dishonest.” which may be true, but they also, by definition, have tapes to back up what they say!. Next was Michael Cohen’s “Disloyal: A Memoir”, which included a lot of unsurprising stories about Trump and one which I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting, about pre-election Trump hiring an Obama lookalike so that he could roast him and then fire him on video, like a mini Apprentice episode.Trump wanted to have the video shown at the 2012 RNC but it didn’t meet their high standards. and here is that video!
Finally, in the last couple of days, early pages from Bob Woodward’s upcoming book, “Rage” have been released, along with audio from some of the 18 interviews Trump gave Woodward for the book. The one getting the most press is the one from March 19th where Trump not only admits that he knows how deadly the coronavirus is, but that he is deliberately playing it down to the American people. You know, like you would if you just didn’t care how many people died. Trump claimed he didn’t want people to panic. Because if there’s one thing Trump avoids, it’s fear mongering.
- In the midst of Trump downplaying Covid so as not to panic anyone into keeping themselves and their loved ones safe from dying, it turns out Dept Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf instructed officials to modify intelligence assessments to suit Trump’s agenda and downplay Russia’s involvement in the US and the threat posed by White Supremacists. Which leads me to the horrifying thought that when Trump says I knew nothing about this, and “fine people on both sides, on both sides” he might have actually been telling the truth!! And horrifying thought number two he may well have read the intelligence briefings after all! Nah! as Trump-appointed heads of the Ministry of Truth Wolf and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli were also told to alter intelligence assessments to fit the Trump playbook about Antifa and leftists and the caravans of terrorists massing at the southern border. DHS whistleblower Brian Murphy (who unfortunately for Brits is the name of the actor who played a an emasculated hen-pecked husband in 70s TV sitcom George and Mildred) says he refused to modify intelligence assessments so that they more closely aligned with Trump’s rhetoric about Antifa and other groups, telling Wolf and Cuccinelli that he would only report accurate information as collected by the DHS. Murphy was promptly reassigned. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee (and a Republican don’t forget) said Murphy’s allegations outline “grave and disturbing” acts and “this puts our nation and its security at risk” Which either means more Republicans getting ready to jump away from the bus as Trump gets shoved under it – or Murphy will become one of the disappeared! A bit like poor old George behind the formidable bouffant of Mildred!
- Normally if I heard a Republican politician say he thought it should be legal to give guns to children without their parents permission, I’d assume he had been tricked into saying it by Sacha Baron Cohen. But no, that’s actually what Governor of Missouri Mike Parson was going for when he urged Missouri lawmakers to pass a new bill last month. And the Missouri legislature is controlled by Republicans. So they actually fucking passed it! Before we get to Mark’s Britpol roundup, I just want to say when we started this podcast I thought “things we really didn’t have time to talk about” was just a cute way to say we wouldn’t spend long on these stories, but these last two weeks have been fucking insane, and even though I crammed four different books into my previous headline slot, we still haven’t even had time to talk about the fact that the DOJ are trying to take over Trump’s defense in his defamation case against a woman who claims he raped her, the fact that various members of the Trump family have defended a 17 year old kid who killed two people with an AR-15, the fact that over 100 Austrians have received stimulus checks from Trump -in Austria – because the administration is just that incompetent, the fact that a far right Norwegian politician has nominated Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize, or the fact that Trump has added Ted Cruz and racebaiting senator Tom Cotton to his list of potential Supreme Court Justices in case he gets re-elected. Request your mail-in ballot NOW!
- In The Democratic People’s Free Republic of Britain this week Extinction Rebellion blockaded key newspaper distribution centres, not far from my house actually, which meant the opinions of a couple of right-wing supporting billionaires were delayed from hitting the soggy minds of manipulated right-wing voting proles for a couple of hours, speaking of which Home Secretary Priti Patel called for XR to be classified as a criminal organisation who threaten the UK way of life – i.e. doffing caps to the opinions of offshore billionaires, on the same day that the Council of Europe issued a media freedom alert against her own government after it blacklisted a group of investigative journalists and denied them access to information in retaliation for its previous critical reporting and editorial stance on the UK armed forces. Boris has added it to the one awarded in May for banning OpenDemocracy from asking questions at the coronavirus briefings. Not content with that Boris is in the process of tearing up the EU withdrawal agreement thus breaking international law, well in his defence (yes really) only those specific bits of it pertaining to the Northern Ireland/Irish and thus EU border, the same agreement that he himself had rewritten having resigned over that very bit in Theresa May’s agreement and got elected on the back of. As Matt Hancock would doubtless say it was all done at speed so you’ll have to bear with us/ forgive us everything/who cares we have an 80 seat majority/ you voted us in you fools. Speaking of whom, Matt Hancock was wheeled out to defend the appointment of Australian ex-Prime Minister and notable misogynist homophobe Tony Abbott as EU trade envoy on the basis that “He’s also an expert on trade” far be it from me to resort to the reductio ad Hitlerum fallacy but that’s like saying Hitler also “painted some nice pictures.” Still as Matt Hancock would doubtless say it was all done at speed so you’ll have to bear with us/ forgive us everything/who cares we have an 80 seat majority/ you voted us in you fools. Slide the revolver across the desk Jim, I’ll do the decent thing….
That’s all for this week, thanks for listening, and thanks also to our newest Patrons, Bill Black and Shad Malloy!