Magical Thinking Fallacy – FT#105

Magical Thinking Fallacy – FT#105

Show Notes

The Magical Thinking Fallacy is committed when someone claims that a real world outcome is the result of a magical cause or process, such as a wish, jinx or curse.


We started out by discussing Trump’s superstitious early morning call to Fox and Friends on the day of the 2016 election:

We followed that with this clip of Trump trying not to jinx himself:

And we closed with this tweet three days after Derek Jeter broke his ankle in a baseball game:

Mark’s British Politics Corner

Mark talked about Boris Johnson’s ‘magical incantations’ of things the Tories have done (most of which they haven’t actually done) which somehow convince people to give them a pass.


Fallacy in the Wild

In the Fallacy in the Wild we looked at this clip from The Handmaid’s Tale:

Then we discussed this clip from Friends:

And we finished with this clip from the Garfunkel & Oates song 29/31:


Fake News

Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game:

  1. I gave $28 billion of the China money to the farmers, our great American farmers. Nobody ever got China to pay 10 cents before, even Presidents who were in for eight years, twelve years, in one case sixteen years, I only had four, and it was cruelly cut short by a rigged election. Maybe I’ll have four more, who knows? We’ll have to see. But nobody ever made so much from China and I gave it all to the farmers who were so badly treated by previous administrations. They never got anything from them.
  2. I said to the Secretary of Defense and others in the room, it’s been verified now. They said 10 to 20,000. I thought I said 10, but they said, “No, you said from 10 to 20,000.” If you had 200 national guardsmen or military, January 6th would not have been January 6th as we know it. But as you know, Nancy Pelosi is in charge of security of the capital, along with the mayor of Washington DC. And they turned it down. They didn’t want it. I believe the mayor turned it down in writing. There’s a letter out there somewhere.
  3. I walk in and they wanted me to sign this contract for $5.8 billion. I said, “Who made the deal?” They said, “Obama”. I said, “I’m not signing it.” “Why?” “Because it’s too much.” They said, “You don’t know anything about it.” I said, “I know, but it’s too much.” I told Boeing, “Dennis,” I said, “Dennis, we’re not going to buy those planes.” “What do you mean, you’re not going to buy them?” I said, “Do we have a cancellation clause?” The general told me “Yes, sir.” I said, “Good. Let’s cancel.”

Mark got it wrong again this week, and has dropped to 48%


The seventh public hearing was not a logical fallacy

We talked about the seventh public hearing of the Jan 6th Committee.


The stories we really didn’t have time to talk about

  • Ok, we’re 105 episodes in now, and I feel like we’ve given our listeners a pretty good grounding in how to spot shitty arguments, but it’s important to remember that not everyone’s been listening from the beginning. Maybe this is even your first episode. If that’s the case, welcome, and you specifically are forgiven if you somehow still believe that Republicans are actually pro-life. Don’t worry, you’ll figure it out. I mean we could start with the fact that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a man who looks like he got cosmetic surgery from the woman who painted Monkey Jesus, is suing the Biden Administration for the right to let more women die in treatable medical emergencies. There’s not a lot Biden can do right now about Roe vs Wade being overturned, but one thing he has done is release updated guidance to doctors around the country about terminating pregnancies in order to save the life of the mother. The advice, from the Department of Health and Human Services, essentially just clarifies the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act to make sure everyone understands that not only are doctors protected by Federal law if they perform an abortion to save the mother’s life, they are legally required to do so.  This advice was sorely needed, since healthcare providers in states where trigger laws outlawed abortion after the Dobbs decision came out have received mixed messages and have in some cases been justifiably too afraid to perform procedures.  But Ken Paxton, who looks so much like a potato I’m shocked he’s not the Attorney General of Idaho, has argued this violates the rights of doctors not to participate in terminating a pregnancy. When a healthcare provider takes federal funding, they must provide treatment to people in a medical emergency.  So if a doctor doesn’t want to do it, they have the right to go and work in IT instead, where this very rarely comes up. 
  • On Tuesday, the House passed the Respect for Marriage Act—which would legally protect same-sex and interracial marriages even if the Supreme Court were to strike current Constitutional protections down—by a bipartisan 267-157 vote. As the Wall Street Journal noted, more than 90 percent of Americans oppose interracial marriage bans, while more than 67 percent oppose same-sex marriage bans. And moreover the Democrats were able to peel away 47 Republicans—a quarter of the GOP caucus to vote for the Act. Other Republican senators were more skeptical; Marco Rubio called the House bill a “stupid waste of time.” Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, wouldn’t commit one way or another on the bill but when asked about whether he supports same-sex marriage said, “Yeah, if that’s what you want to do, fine.” His response fell into the Sure, maybe, whatever, is that even a thing? category. Mike Braun of Indiana joined 4 or 5 others in category 2 with “Until I see the legislation, I’m … not going to make a comment on whether I’d support it or not.” Chuck Grassley of Iowa created the “Nothing like that should even be thought about by anybody because it’s not endangered in any way.” category despite Justice Clarence Thomas’ saying that the court should reconsider rights like marriage equality that were based on the same reasoning as the struck down Roe v. Wade. Lindsey Graham confused some people by declaring “I’ll support the Defense of Marriage Act,” which is defunct, instead of the new RFMA law. So, the exact opposite thing of what is being proposed. And of course Marco Rubio played the old “I’m not a… some of my best friends are…” card with “I know plenty of gay people in Florida that are pissed off about gas bills.” And in a refreshingly dee dum dum tish kinda way Republican Nancy Mace, who voted for the bill, quipped “If gay couples want to be as happily or miserably married as straight couples, more power to them. Trust me, I’ve tried it more than once”. Just when we thought our the Right don’t do funny theory was sealed shut, maybe, just maybe a small amount of sunlight might be shining through in the House.
  • Multi-shirted former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, who looks like he just staggered into a bedouin tent after being lost in the desert with no food or water for a week, is currently on trial for defying a congressional subpoena from the January 6th Committee. This month hasn’t gone well for him, starting with virtually all his pretrial motions being denied, largely on the basis they were all bullshit. Among many other things, the judge didn’t let him claim executive privilege, didn’t allow him to call every single Jan 6th Committee member and Nancy Pelosi to demand they explain their reasons for subpoenaing him, and didn’t let him argue that defying the subpoena was not illegal, actually, because he was acting on the advice of his lawyers. Said lawyer, David Schoen, came so close to understanding reality when he exasperatedly asked the judge “What’s the point in going to trial here if there are no defenses?” So close. Missed it by that much. The prosecution rested their case after two days, which is actually quite a long time since they only called two witnesses – one to testify that a subpoena had been issued and the other that Bannon hadn’t shown up. The Defense, meanwhile, rested today without presenting any evidence or witnesses at all. Closing arguments and jury instructions are scheduled tomorrow followed by what I expect will be quite a short deliberation period.
  • Remember that Sacha Baron Cohen show This is America, and the sequence when a character he was playing demonstrated a handheld airport security style so-called paedophile detector wand that beeped whenever it got near Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, well you’ll also recall that Moore sued Baron Cohen in a $95 million defamation lawsuit. Yep the right don’t do funny! Well hilariously the last laugh’s on Moore cos the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upheld a lower court’s ruling in favour of Baron Cohen. Meaning Baron Cohen had won already and Moore appealed and the appeal was then overturned on the basis that the three judges also found it was “clearly comedy”, which I suspect is court ruling speak for they laughed out loud, and that “no viewer would think the comedian was making factual allegations against Moore.” The ruling further stated “Baron Cohen may have implied (despite his in-character disclaimers of any belief that Judge Moore was a paedophile) that he believed Judge Moore’s accusers, but he did not imply the existence of any independent factual basis for that belief besides the obviously farcical paedophile detecting ‘device,’ which no reasonable person could believe to be an actual, functioning piece of technology,” Whilst the appeal court had noted that it was indeed a ruse that got Moore to appear on the show they also noted that Moore signed a binding release waiving all legal claims. In an all-too-familiar response, no-reasonable-person-Moore texted a statement to The Associated Press “For far too long the American people have been subjected to the antics of Sasha Baron Cohen. His pusillanimous and fraudulent conduct must be stopped. We will appeal.” Yeah good luck Roy cos let me tell ya you don’t appeal to no one! Har har!
  • As we may have mentioned once or twice before, Trump lost over 60 court cases following the 2020 election, and while he’s been a loser for a very long time, those losses, be they in court, in business or just in life were spread out over many years, so it must have been quite exhilarating to lose so much in such a short time. It seems like maybe Trump misses just feeling something and is now going out of his way to find fights he can lose. His latest was with the Pulitzer Prize board, and, by proxy, the New York Times and the Washington Post. Both of those esteemed publications won national reporting Pulitzers in 2018 for their reports on the Trump administration’s links to Russia and the subsequent investigation. Trump demanded the Board revoke those awards, based largely on the fact that he keeps saying it was all a hoax, so… yeah, no that’s it actually.  The Pulitzer Board must have been having a quiet one, so they commissioned two separate reviews from individuals with no connection to either paper. Their report, released this week, said “The separate reviews converged in their conclusions: that no passages or headlines, contentions or assertions in any of the winning submissions were discredited by facts that emerged subsequent to the conferral of the prizes” Knowing that this wouldn’t satisfy his need for a fix of those sweet sweet court losses, Trump already promised earlier this year that if the Pulitzer Board didn’t ‘do the right thing on their own’, he would file a lawsuit. Don’t worry Trump, there’ll be plenty more losses to come for you. We won’t let you down. 
  • Car and Driver magazine reports that Ben Moss incoming state House representative in North Carolina’s District 52 is running on the get mad at electricity ticket! He is proposing in House Bill 1049 tearing out the public Electric Vehicle Charging points unless gas and diesel pumps are installed next to them, cos lets face it EVs are a menace to health and jobs and locally US produced electricity and everything. Never mind that VinFast is building a 2000-acre factory just up the road that will employ 7500 people, and Toyota is building a battery factory outside Greensboro that’ll employ 1750 people. But let’s remember that House Bill 1049 would also create a job, for the person who goes around and rips out the free public chargers—until that’s done, which would probably be the better part of a week. He’s not just after the public ones, he’s determined to have private businesses like restaurants who have an EV charger in the parking lot detail in the bill for all patrons what proportion of the bill goes to subsidising the charger. It’s a bit like asking why am I paying taxes for street lamps when I don’t have one outside my house, or why are there libraries I can’t read and schools who needs em I’m not a kid! Still, that’s the American way as far as Moss sees it, fomenting the suspicion in the voting population that someone might just be getting something out of this, like say a job higher up in the GOP hey Ben?  
  • I once heard tell of a thing called ‘Good News’. I’m not personally convinced it’s real, but as a good skeptic I’ll keep an open mind. The strongest evidence I’ve seen for a while is a story in Axios about the gap in fundraising results between GOP and Democratic Senate candidates in this midterm cycle. For example, in Arizona, the leading Republican candidate, Blake Masters, raised just $827,000 in the last three months, compared to $13.6 million for Sen. Mark Kelly, the Democratic incumbent. In New Hampshire, Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan raised $5.07 million, compared to just $538,000 for her leading GOP challenger, state Senate President Chuck Morse. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania,  Dr. Oz raised $1.6 million against Democrat John Fetterman’s $10 million. And Fetterman doesn’t even need all that money, since he keeps going viral for trolling Oz in fun and creative ways. For just $393.75, Fetterman got Jersey Shore’s Snooki to make a Cameo video for Oz, telling him she doesn’t know why he would ever want to leave New Jersey just for a job, but not to worry, because it’s just temporary and he’ll be back in Jersey soon. Despite the fact that Snooki clearly has no clue who Dr. Oz is, Oz fought back, kind of, by claiming on a radio talk show “She’s been on my show. I know all these celebrities. I could actually have celebrities do my campaign for me,” which simultaneously proved that he had completely missed the point of the video, and made me wonder which celebrities he could get, given his rapidly dwindling campaign funds. I hear Kevin Sorbo’s got a lot of time on his hands. And he’s only $80 on Cameo.
  • In the car crash dumpster fire cat fight all-in wrestling debacle that is British Politics this week we have seen the same lawmakers who all demanded honesty, integrity and transparency when resigning en masse to get rid of Boris Johnson, resort to all the usual duplicitous opaque tribe mentality in selecting, supporting then character-assassinating the nominees to be the next leader and prime minister. From 9 candidates, including one or two complete unknowns insofar as they weren’t tainted by ever having worked in  Boris’s cabinet, and would therefore provide the clean start several lawmakers said the party needed in their resignation letters, we are now down to 2; Rishi Sunak the former chancellor who started the whole headlong resignation rush, and the right-wing Boris-continuation candidate Liz Truss. Truss, to put not too fine a point on it, is utterly shit! She is Trump to Boris’ Dubya! She is merely there so the right-wing Brexiteer puppet-masters who manipulated unwitting idiot narcissist Boris into believing he was in charge can continue to be in charge. Truss is equally unwitting and idiotic – the perfect Boris-continuation candidate, and she also really believes she is very good and is there on her own merits – she’s not and she isn’t. What I am looking forward to is the absolute laugh-fest that PMQs will be if she gets to be PM. I’m not looking forward to the continuing wreck she’ll make of the UK. God we thought May was wooden Truss gives your eyes splinters just looking at her! You might say it’s not a coincidence that I am recording my bit in France for the next 3 or so episodes, you might be right!

That’s all for this week, thanks for listening!

Jim Cliff

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial