Appeal to Freedom – FT#110

Appeal to Freedom – FT#110

Show Notes

The Appeal to Freedom Fallacy is committed when someone claims that they should be entitled to something because any restraint of personal freedom for any reason is unacceptable.


We started out by discussing this Trump tweet:

We followed that directly with this clip from Alexandra Pelosi’s documentary American Selfie: One Nation Shoots Itself:

Then we talked about this clip of Trump failing to understand the First Amendment

And we closed with this clip of Trump failing to understand Article II of the Constitution:

Mark’s British Politics Corner

Mark talked about the many appeals to freedom in Liz Truss’s Tory Party Conference speech. Here are a few clips:


Fallacy in the Wild

In the Fallacy in the Wild we looked at this clip from South Park

Then we discussed this clip from Desperate Housewives

And we finished with this clip from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia


Fake News

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

  1. When will they investigate and prosecute Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George Bush, and look into what took place with George Bush’s father – a very nice man — and the warehouse of documents, and what about Barack Hussein Obama? Are they under potential prosecution? I don’t think so. I don’t think they are. A Chinese restaurant at a bowling alley with no security and a broken front door.
  2. Under the Socks decision, by the way they actually call it the Socks decision, having to do with Bill Clinton, there is no crime. Same thing as what we have, except his was much more egregious, ours was nothing, there is no crime and they should give me back everything that they’ve taken. Under the Socks agreement I’m allowed to keep what I want. It’s personal, it’s personal. Likewise, under the Presidential Records Act everything should come back and there is no crime.
  3. It’s just a process. Every single other President was treated differently. Obama took millions of documents and left them in an abandoned furniture store in a bad part of Chicago. Just left them there for months and months. You never hear about that. But we have a two-tier system of justice and the American people are sick of it. I’m talking on behalf of you, because they’re acting like it’s some huge crime.

Mark got it wrong this week, and is on exactly 48%


Culture wars are not a logical fallacy

We talked about the recent right-wing freakouts about Lizzo playing a flute, an alien being non-binary, and an obviously gay cartoon character turning out to be gay.

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

  • So far, none of Herschel Walker’s many, many lies seem to have had any impact on his Georgia Senate campaign against Raphael Warnock. But that’s probably because, while Republicans claim to care about the things he lies about, like law enforcement, running businesses, and family values, all they really care about is getting back into power so they can oppress women, minorities and poor people.  But Herschel’s testing that to its absolute limit now, by lying about the one thing Republicans claim to care about pretty much more than anything else, abortion. Walker is strongly against abortion, with no exceptions at all. Well, maybe just one exception, which would be if it was his girlfriend having the baby. That’s what a woman alleged last week, when she claimed Walker not only encouraged her to have an abortion in 2009, but paid for it as well. Herschel claimed this was a flat out lie and he didn’t even know who this woman was. The woman was surprised about that, since she’s the mother of one of his secret children.  One of the ones he’s already acknowledged after initially lying about. In fact, she says he tried to get her to abort that child too, and ended their relationship when she refused. It’s not just her word against his, she’s brought receipts.  In this case, a literal receipt from the abortion clinic, as well as a personal check and get well card signed by Walker. Not to worry, though, Republicans don’t really care about abortions, so it will have no impact on his campaign. As right-wing radio host and former NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch said, “I don’t care if Herschel Walker paid to abort endangered baby eagles. I want control of the Senate,” 
  • Okay so you’re trailing in the campaign for governor of Michigan behind Gretchen Whitmer and your funding’s a little on the low side when it comes to making a video for a TV ad. Jim and I are no strangers to low-budget, high concept, high-production-value style video work that appeals broadly, connects at a personal level and, frankly, opens hearts and wallets. So what we wouldn’t recommend is getting a bunch of non-actors to read badly from a script and then not editing out big unnatural pauses between lines, oh and also don’t ask awkwardly over-costumed edge-of-society bikers to be representative of all disaffected Republicans, geriatric bikers at that. Oh and then have them not say things that they seem to be very uncomfortable about saying – like they’re not exactly true or something! But hey what do we know, when it comes to voting for, as the bikers describe her, “the other chick” Tudor Dixon, it appears the old “Give my Regards to Broad Street? it’s Paul McCartney, who are we to stop him spending his money in our direction” video-making method has come into play. We’d also recommend to Tudor Dixon that if she’s keen to illustrate how effectively this has attracted support and future funding she shouldn’t include a tweet from Jeff Timmer, former head of the Michigan Republican Party who is now supporting the Democrats; which said “Tudor Dixon is not a serious person and calling her campaign shitty and amateurish is an insult to shitty amateur campaigns.” Ouch – better watch yourself at the screening down the clubhouse for the Hells Angels Michigan Chapter Tudor!!
  • Apparently not learning from Herschel Walker’s shenanigans, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is walking an abortion themed tightrope as the midterms loom into view. Back in 2019, Kemp signed a heartbeat bill into law, prohibiting most abortions in the state. This had the dual benefit of making him look cool among his abortion-hating GOP buddies, but doing absolutely nothing at the time thanks to Roe v Wade still being a thing. When Roe got struck down, the law went into effect, and it became clear just how many people there are in Georgia who think that’s not great, so Kemp hasn’t exactly been shouting about it on the campaign trail. The ACLU challenged the law in court, and Kemp requested the hearing be delayed until after everyone’s decided whether to keep him in the job or not. Last week, Fulton county Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney denied that request, writing “The State has filed a motion seeking to either ‘cancel’ (not a term of civil procedure with which the Court is familiar) or postpone the trial. The State has offered four reasons for this ‘cancellation,’ which can be summarized as ‘We are really busy with other things,’ ‘There are no facts in dispute,’ ‘We don’t know what facts are in dispute’ and ‘You can’t do what you are trying to do.’ “The Court’s response, detailed below, can be summarized as ‘Who isn’t?,’ ‘There are,’ ‘You do,’ and ‘I can,’” The hearings will proceed towards the end of October.
  • Keen to employ what in itself sounds like the false dichotomy fallacy Will Adler, senior technologist for elections and democracy with the Center for Democracy and Technology said of Big Hat, Big Head, Big Tache, Deep State, Big Conspiracy Arizona Secretary of State Republican Q-anominee Mark Finchem’s – website; “There are two possibilities here, One is that the Finchem campaign has incorrectly set its site not to be indexed. The other is that the campaign purposely set it to not be indexed, so Finchem could falsely blame ‘the algorithm’ for his website not being indexed.” A third possibility is of course the very one Finchem is espousing on Twitter that “Google & the crooks in California refuse to rank my website in their deep state algorithm. Please share my website & link to it so that the voters can see it.” Adding the same day on big-tech giant Twitter that big-tech giant Google was deplatforming him etc etc yada yada yada! Of course they weren’t, someone at Finchem’s campaign office had set the code on the website to include “noindex” – perfectly visible in the html; i.e. don’t allow the Google search engines to index the site and thus not have it turn up on searches. “In the software Finchem’s team appears to be using “a person would have to click ‘no’ on the option, ‘show in search results,’” Adler said, “which seems like a strange thing to do when you’re running a campaign, frankly.” Stranger and stupider things have happened for sure and building your entire campaign and Trump endorsement wooing on conspiratorial bogus claims of election corruption is one of ‘em, so it’s not surprising that he would also make the bogus claim that his bogus claims are being censored. Bogus – As Bill and Ted would no doubt attest –  and I’m not talking Clinton or Cruz!
  • Back in episode 68 we talked about Failing Occam’s Razor, which is when someone studiously ignores an obvious answer which fits the facts, often preferring a more bizarre or far-fetched hypothesis.  It’s always fun to find examples in the wild, but I was a bit surprised to find it in an article from NBC about the disparity in Covid death rates among Democrats and Republicans. The article describes a couple of studies which found that Republicans were dying of Covid in greater numbers than Democrats and then includes the phrase “But experts are still puzzling over why these differences exist.” Are they?  Experts in what, exactly? The article touches on all of the obvious answers – vaccine hesitancy in Republicans due to misinformation by their leaders, less mask wearing, less social distancing, living in counties with less lockdowns and so on, but seems insistent that none of these factors alone can account for the difference without ever seeming to figure out that none of those factors occur in isolation from each other. Honestly, we’re two and a half years and over a million US deaths into this now. How are people still not sure whether taking it seriously might lead to not dying as much?
  • Speaking of Mark Finchem – one of his promoters Look Ahead America finds him very supportable, including him in their grassroots efforts to spread lies about widespread election fraud during the 2020 election. In further pursuance of that they are reframing those who took part in the Jan 6th insurrection and storming of the Capitol, and have been charged and convicted of domestic terrorism and conspiracy to “concoct a plan for an armed rebellion to shatter a bedrock of American democracy” as hard-done-by political rallyists who are themselves being persecuted for merely supporting Trump, and who deserve to be given as equal an opportunity as say people who didn’t smash and maim and threaten to lynch public officials. “We decided to create a ‘Jobs for J6’ program to help connect these people to patriotic employers who are gonna give them a chance,” Matt Braynard, executive director of Look Ahead America, told VICE News. So if you’re looking to give employment to someone who actively and violently took part in threatening the lives of law enforcement officers and democratically-elected representatives on the say-so of a petulant aggrieved narcissist then there’s a website for that. Of course there is, like there’s a website for showing the resultant pictures of cats being put on a document scanner – momentarily amusing but I wouldn’t want to have to trust my livelihood to one of the perpetrators.
  • Speaking of people who can’t seem to see the bleeding obvious right in front of their face, Trump’s newest attorney Christopher Kise managed to fuck up almost immediately by suggesting they cooperate with the DOJ and do like a double check to make sure Trump doesn’t have any more of those pesky  Presidential Records lying around. Kise, who presumably ignored all the throat clearing, elbowing and under-the-table shin-kicking in the meeting where he proposed this plan, was immediately sidelined in favor of attorneys with the ability to read a room. Coincidentally, the DOJ and the Archivist have said that they think Trump might have more records, and the FBI have been asking multiple witnesses about the possibility that Trump might have stashed documents at Trump Tower, his Bedminster golf club, or one of his other properties. No word yet on whether they plan to dig up that part of the Bedminster golf course where they buried Ivana, but, well, I would. 
  • In the last 10 days or so new PM Liz Truss and her chancellor Kwasi  Kwarteng blew up the economy, boosted the income of Tory/hedge funders happily shorting the pound like they knew it was about to happen, blamed the Queen for the shitty state of the budget; “she died so I had to rush it”, blamed the chancellor, “it was all his idea, cos didn’t get approval in cabinet”, blamed everyone who disagreed with it not being a shitty budget as being the new enemy – the anti-growth coalition – despite the UK’s National Debt when Tories took office being £1Tn and now it’s £2.4Tn – which admittedly has grown. As a result of the 20 seconds of the chancellor’s speech announcing that £45bn worth of unfunded trickle down tax cuts the actual bank of actual England actually had to intervene in order to stop Britain’s Government causing Britain’s gilts tanking and thus impacting everyone’s pensions… and interest rates went up so now we all have to pay more for our mortgages as well as energy, but it’s fine cos it’s Putin’s fault and KamiKwasi Kwarteng has reversed the top rate cut which was only £2bn so it’s all gone back to normal what are you worrying about, ‘cept it hasn’t cos now benefits and public services will be cut, but that’s fine cos they don’t contribute to Truss’ definition of growth and it’s fine cos Tory voters are still swallowing the line that Labour are the ones who can’t run the economy. Also new Home Secretary Cruella Braverman, further to the right than Priti Patella the Hun, wants to do the opposite of Biden and make cannabis a class A drug to be able to arrest people rather than legalise it and make a shedload of money by taxing dealers. Unsurprising perhaps cos this comes from the same Cabinet that also brings you “let’s have a baby boom so we can replace the need for immigrants” – reductio ad Hitlerum or Hungarium dictatorum anyone?  And another question that occurs is if Elon isn’t going to spend quite so much on Twitter will he be building more passenger seats in his Mars-bound rockets? Asking for a friend, no, many, hundreds, thousands, several million friends…

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

Jim Cliff

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