28 Feb Imposter Fallacy – FT#69
The Imposter Fallacy is committed when someone claims without sufficient evidence that a member of their group who is making them look bad is actually an infiltrator from another group.
We started out by talking about this tweet from Trump:
and then we discussed the various attempts of right-wing voices to claim that the attack on the Capitol was actually done by Antifa.
Mark’s British Politics Corner
Mark is having to take a few weeks off from the podcast due to work, so Jim talked about this clip of former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell:
Campbell was referring to the people featured in this Guardian article, many of whom were too young to be involved in the organizations he’s referring to.
Fallacy in the Wild
We talked about this clip from South Park:
We followed that up with this clip from Archer:
Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game:
- I was in Washington in my entire life, DC,17 times. Never slept over, ever. Not once. And all of a sudden I’m riding down Pennsylvania Avenue and I’m with a beautiful woman on my right named Melania. Think of this. And I had about 400 motorcycles in front of me and we’re in a cavalcade of about 128 cars, most of them having about 15 submachine guns inside.
- I look out and there’s all these people, and a lot of police, a lot of military, and they all look so proud, they’re saluting, some of them have got tears in their eyes. It’s a beautiful – it’s like a movie, but better. And I turn to Melania and I say “Do you believe this?” And then I get to the White House, this incredible, like this really incredible place. I tell you, I’ve been in some amazing places, I own a lot of them, and it’s one of the places. It’s gorgeous.
- And I’m up at the incredible suite level and there’s Abraham Lincoln Suite it’s called the Lincoln Bedroom. Remember Clinton used to lease it out to people for money – they never change do they? Remember when Barbra Streisand, she’s another beauty, by the way. But remember Barbra Streisand used to stay in that suite, which was the only problem I had with it, but tell me – no, but I do like her voice. I do. I really do. Some of them I don’t like even their voices but she used to stay there, and I’m standing in the Lincoln Bedroom. The history, the whole thing. The bed. The desk. The Gettysburg Address
Click below for the answer
My guest Frank got it right this week, and is currently on 25%
Acquittal is not a logical fallacy
We covered some of the highlights of Trump’s second impeachment and inevitable acquittal.
The stories we really didn’t have time to talk about
- Back when Presidents didn’t commit crimes on a daily basis, media pundits had to find other reasons to yell about them, like wearing a tan suit or ordering posh mustard. And now that Presidents aren’t committing crimes on a daily basis anymore, Tucker Carlson, who, remember, you are legally required not to take seriously, has decided that his best argument against Joe Biden is his obviously faked 44 year marriage to Jill: “So it’s official: The Bidens’ affection is totally real. It’s in no way part of a slick PR campaign devised by cynical consultants determined to hide the president’s senility by misdirection. Not at all! Their love is as real as climate change.” Tucker’s apparently unaware that he’s just proving to everyone that he’s never experienced genuine affection from another human. Listen to the anger in his voice at the thought of a wife being considered an equal: “No, ladies and gentlemen, Jill Biden is not Joe’s caretaker. She isn’t his nurse. She’s his fully equal romantic partner” Fuck me.
- Nearly 500,000 people have died and millions more have had their lives upturned – largely because of the GOP’s negligence, but they’ll have you believe the real enemies are the liberals impinging on your freedom by asking you to wear a mask. And true to Republican form – ‘don’t do anything for your constituents just blame the other party’ – the big freeze in Texas that has brought the power grid to a standstill and left 4.3 million without heat or light, and has Republicans not asking questions of Texas Governor Greg Abbott as to why the state wasn’t prepared. Rather, they’ve encouraged Abbott to go on TV and blame the Democrat’s Green New Deal. “Cos windmills don’t work when they’s frozen y’all!” Problem is, renewables only account for 7% of Texas’ energy generation AND the state isolated its power grid from that of the rest of the nation because it didn’t want it to be subject to federal regulation. So no power available from beyond the borders AND the power supply is deregulated and underinvested in the private hands of owners who are more interested in generating profit than energy. And most of the gas-powered turbines providing the other 93% of energy froze solid and stopped working. But Abbott doesn’t care; he’s already planning to run for third term in 2022. He’s probably going to win too. They’ll have to pry that state from his cold dead hands – could happen!
- And while Texans shiver and starve, Texas Senator Ted Cruz decided it was the perfect time for a holiday in Cancun. So he and his family packed up and headed to the airport, leaving their ironically named poodle, Snowflake, to freeze in their cold, dark mansion. And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for those meddling people at the airport who filmed him and tweeted about it, and the people on his flight to Mexico who confirmed it was definitely him. Cruz sprang into action, blaming his kids for wanting to go in the first place and lying that he was just being a good dad and had always planned to head straight back to Texas after dropping them off at the Ritz Carlton. Once people easily proved that he only changed his return flight after people pointed out what an asshole he was being, he accepted that the trip was a mistake. Meanwhile, Beto O’Rourke has been working to connect Texans to water, food, transportation and shelter, and New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez launched a fundraiser that has raised over $5 million to provide desperately needed supplies.
- Just as no-one else could quite believe that Mayor Quimby er sorry Texas Senator Ted Cruz decided to fly to the heat of Mexico rather than support his frozen constituents, some Texans themselves, with their tiny torpid minds chilled by devotion to the cold-hearted Republican party, can’t believe their snow is real. They are making conspiracy theory videos go viral on TikTok, Facebook and Twitter. Videos that say the severe snow was actually “fake” and “government generated” (like that’s a thing) as part of a sinister plot instigated by shadowy “elites”. “This goes out to our government and Bill Gates. Thank you Bill Gates for trying to fucking trick us that this is real snow,” a woman says in one video as she holds a cigarette lighter to a snowball over her bathroom basin. Of course they are so busy uploading they’ve no time to watch science writer Phil Plait’s 2014 video from last time it happened in Georgia; “As the snow melts, the remaining snow absorbs the water. That’s why it doesn’t appear to drip; the snowball becomes a slushball” Either that or they didn’t film the bit where their own snowball eventually melted. Well what’s the use of confirmation bias if you can’t blame the government for what your State is shit at dealing with. Q is dead Long live the QAnoners!
- As someone who wrote a bestselling book about how conservative voices are being silenced you wouldn’t expect Don Jr to understand, well, anything really. And you would not be disappointed. Today he tweeted “Apparently The Muppets have now been canceled. There’s nothing these psychos won’t destroy. Liberalism is a disease.” As a lifelong Muppets fan, I was surprised that we’d cancelled them, until I checked and found out that… yeah, we didn’t. In fact, since the original run in the 70s, almost every rerun, home video release or DVD release has been incomplete thanks to rights issues, missing episodes, removed songs, etc. Now Disney+ has restored all the episodes to their original content and the Muppets are more freely and more completely available for watching and rewatching than ever before. Whatever the opposite of cancelling is, that is what has been done to the Muppets. So what the fuck is Junior talking about? Well, Disney+ have added a few seconds of disclaimer to the front of 18 out of the 120 episodes to point out that they contain negative stereotypes of people or cultures, but that they decided to leave that content in, to acknowledge it, learn from it and spark conversation. I think Jim Henson would be proud.
- Okay, you know how Trump gave up all his business interests to concentrate on being an altruistic people-focussed selfless leader rather than find ways to make his presidency earn as much money as he could for the Trump Organisation in the ultimate expression of Corporate America er no, I forgot that’s what he did do. Anyway, doesn’t matter, he’s apparently giving all that up again cos the US has been a Corporation since former president Franklin D. Roosevelt ended the gold standard in 1933, when the value of the dollar was no longer pegged to gold, and as one TikTok user wrote: “Listen, patriots, y’all can relax. We’re going back to being a republic not a corporation come March.” And yep you guessed it, that means Trump will be President again. This nonsense, with no apparent mention of votes or anything, is brought to you by the Clutching-at-straws Department of the Amalgamated Bat-shittery of Qanon and the Traditional Fuck-wittery of the Sovereign Citizens Movement. When all the nutjobs start to coalesce do we need to get less concerned or more concerned?
- Yes, Trump has been acquitted by his co-conspirators, but some juries might not be so kind, and prosecutors in Fulton County Georgia have officially launched a criminal investigation into Trump’s attempts to overthrow the election, including his call to Brad Raffensperger demanding he find more votes. Meanwhile, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which is investigating Trump and the Trump Organisation for criminal tax fraud, has hired white-collar prosecutor Mark Pomerantz, a high-profile lawyer who helped bring down mobsters including John Gotti. And today, the Supreme Court declined Trump’s final request to stop a New York Grand Jury from seeing his tax returns. But I’m sure they’re totally fine. I mean he’s just been fighting like hell to stop anyone seeing them for four years because they’re so damn legal, probably.
- In British politics this week we continue to live in a wheel within a wheel in a circle ever turning, from lockdown where case numbers drop, ’til senior Tories persuade Boris to remove restrictions too soon against scientific advice, so we all go out again, and case numbers rise, then senior Tories persuade Boris not to impose restrictions too soon, against scientific advice, and far too many lives are lost, until we all go into lockdown again, too late. Like a record player; round, round, round, round. Meanwhile when found guilty of doing so this week, Matt Hancock said it’s okay that the government broke the law – it did – for awarding contracts to their mates and their wives with no tendering process early on, cos it solved the PPE shortage – it didn’t. All the PPE that was procured/made/hastily-cobbled together was not fit for purpose, caused unnecessary deaths, diverted funds away from the NHS and delayed any procurement possible through normal channels. I had hoped to suffocate myself with this government-issue plastic bag (*rustles plastic bag*) but like everything else; there’s no end to it.
That’s all for this week, thanks for listening!