Argument to Moderation – FT#114

Argument to Moderation – FT#114

Show Notes

The Argument to Moderation Fallacy is committed when someone assumes that true or most reasonable answer is a compromise between two given answers (when in fact one of the given answers may be right)


We started out by discussing this excerpt from Trump’s Art of the Deal:

Then we talked about this clip of Ted Cruz claiming Trump is prepared to compromise:

And finally we talked about this tweet from Elon Musk:

Mark’s British Politics Corner

Mark talked about Rishi Sunak compromising on taxing oil and gas companies:

Then he talked about Keir Starmer pointing out that it was a shit compromise that didn’t achieve anything:

And finally he talked about Mick Lynch asking for more balance from the BBC:


Fallacy in the Wild

In the Fallacy in the Wild we looked at this clip from Lost in Space:

Then we discussed this clip from The Big Bang Theory:

And we finished with this clip from South Park:


Fake News

Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game, which, as a special festive treat, featured three sets of tweets from Alpha Male and Trump sycophant Nick Adams:

  1. Prince Harry is a beta male who takes instruction from his wife and has never been to a Hooters.
  2. Herschel Walker was one of the strongest candidates for US Senate in recent history.
  3. John Voight is a better actor than Tom Hanks will ever be. Audiences hate woke beta males.


  1. Nobody knows the Constitution better than Donald J Trump, full stop.
  2. If Donald J Trump had been President in 1939, Hitler wouldn’t have invaded Europe.
  3. Alpha males should strive to have a better relationship with their butcher than their wife.


  1. I am in Europe right now and the people here LOVE President Trump. The media is lying when they say President Trump’s policies are not popular here.
  2. This morning, I was asked if I wanted “Oat Milk” in my coffee. I informed the girl behind the counter that it’s not physically possible to milk an oat and immediately left the coffee shop. I will never return.
  3. Melania Trump is the most impressive female world leader since Cleopatra and it’s not particularly close.

Mark got two of them right this week, and ends the year on 50% exactly

Jack Smith is not a logical fallacy

We talked about the special prosecutor appointed by Merrick Garland to investigate Trump.

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

  • Of all the many many legal cases involving Trump, it’s a bit of a shame that the tax fraud case against the Trump Organisation and the Trump Payroll Corporation didn’t feature Trump himself as a defendant, particularly since the jury found them guilty of 17 counts of criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records. So the Trump Org is a convicted felon, but we’ll have to wait a bit longer to say the same about Trump, since CFO Allen Weisselberg insisted on claiming Donald didn’t know anything about the cheques Trump signed to pay for Weisselberg’s grandchild to go to a private school, or the rental agreement Trump signed for Weisselberg’s luxury apartment. While it’s nowhere near as good as Trump getting convicted of anything at all, it’s not nothing. On top of the roughly $1.6 million fine, the Trump Org will have to declare the fact that it is a felon any time it wants to borrow money to buy or develop any property, which is the kind of thing that makes banks stop lending you money. The verdict also makes it very clear that it’s possible to secure a conviction against something Trump-shaped despite the ever-present danger of at least one red hatted nutter being on the jury.   
  • In what might be seen as an allegorical parallel to the question mark hanging over the future of Gareth Southgate as manager of the England national football team; having managed not to win the World Cup by missing several penalties – again! – RNC chair Ronna McDaniel may be out of a job after three stints. Stints during which her team lost the house and the senate, the presidential election and in the midterms her team fell far short of expectations. Still I guess it could be worse; there coud be someone who fancies their chances in the role who’s as stupid and ill-suited as say oh I don’t know that MyPillow fat-Rupert Pupkin guy Mike Lindell. No what? Wait *checks notes* yep yep he reckons he’s standing. In an online interview with Steve Bannon Lindell said, in true Trump-fashion “I’m all in … and one of the things that one of the big donors said to me, he said, ‘Mike, everybody wants you to be head of the RNC, some of them just don’t know it yet.’” Well it looks as though he’s truly got the RNC running through his veins; after all he was seen at the White House after the Jan. 6 attack with a paper with the words “insurrection act” and “martial law if necessary” on it. And the House select committee investigating Jan. 6 subpoenaed his records, and more recently the FBI served him with a search warrant two months ago, and at the time, agents seized his cellphone. So either he’s a perfectly qualified shoe-in for the job or Ronna McDaniel could be feeling a little bit more confident about staying for a fourth term!
  • In more Trump-isn’t-going-to-prison-yet-but-this-doesn’t-hurt legal news, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and co-defendant Kelly Meggs were found guilty of seditious conspiracy for their part in planning the January 6th insurrection. Naturally we can’t talk about Stewart Rhodes without mentioning, in the words of the Guardian article about the verdict, that he “wears an eye patch after accidentally shooting himself in the face”, but arguably more importantly he shot himself in the foot by putting so much of the planning in writing, with his many text messages playing a key role in his conviction, along with a recording the FBI obtained of him saying his only regret was that they hadn’t taken rifles with them on the day, because if they had, they would have hanged Nancy Pelosi from a lamppost. This is the first seditious conspiracy conviction for almost three decades, but it probably won’t be the last, since four other members of the Oath Keepers go on trial this month. Crucially, Rhodes didn’t even enter the Capitol on January 6th, so what the prosecutors in this case have shown is that they can get a conviction against people who fomented the insurrection even if they didn’t take part in it. Which is exactly the kind of result that should scare certain other insurrection fomenters.   
  • On December 13th the Respect for Marriage Act was signed into law. It  requires the U.S. federal government and all U.S. states and territories to recognize the validity of same-sex and interracial civil marriages in the United States, and protects religious liberty. As Indiana Republican Senator Todd who voted for the act said “Dignity and respect are not a zero-sum proposition. We can and should strive to ensure all citizens enjoy them in equal measure. The Respect for Marriage Act moves us closer to that ideal.” But it didn’t stop him receiving letters of censure from the local Indiana Republican party who want to have the right to determine whether the legality of same-sex, interracial or inter-religion marriages can be overridden at their state level  if they feel like it. Nor did it stop Laura Ingraham from ranting on Fox News that it was  “A bill that moves to restrict freedom of religion and freedom of speech, even. Meaning, whether you’re Catholic or evangelical or maybe Muslim, any serious person of faith, you will not necessarily have the rights tomorrow that you had yesterday.” No. Laura. you’re wrong. That’s the opposite of what it does. It secures marriage and religious rights so they don’t go the same way as Roe v Wade. What it actually does is take away your rights on the right to take away the rights of non-cis non-WASP people you just happen to not like and think you know better than! Of course you have the right to whine your ranty, biased, homophobic, racist opinion but we have the right to call you out on all your fractal wrongness!
  • If you consume mainstream media you definitely won’t have heard of a thing called the Twitter Files. I’m reliably informed by responsible journalists such as Tucker Carlson, Dinesh D’Souza and Charlie Kirk that the woke leftists at the Washington Post, MSNBC and the like have actively suppressed stories about the most explosive evidence ever uncovered of election interference, first amendment violations and bombshells that prove every conspiracy theory Trump’s followers ever theorised was undeniably true. It’s definitely not the case that the reason the ‘lamestream media’ have ignored the Twitter Files is because they are a series of boring internal communications that reveal no new information to anyone who has paid even the slightest attention over the past few years. The Twitter Files, as Elon and his minions seem determined to call them, started as a 36 tweet thread by Matt Taibbi about Twitter’s suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story. As listeners to this show will already know, Twitter disabled links to the story in the New York Post due to their policy against hacked material and doxxing, and then looked into the specific case and reversed their decision the very next day.  This inability of Twitter’s users to follow a link to a story for a day apparently lost Trump the election, leading to him calling this week for a termination of all rules including the ones in the constitution. Which seems like a bit of an overreaction. One of the smoking guns that various right wingers pointed to as evidence of the government using Twitter to violate the First Amendment was an exchange of emails in which one content moderator sent a series of links to tweets which the Biden campaign had alerted them to. A reply came back simply saying ‘handled’. Setting aside for the moment the fact that Trump was President at the time, so a private citizen asking a private company to take down tweets has nothing to do with the first amendment, some proper journalists actually looked up what those tweets involved, and they were all pictures of Hunter Biden’s dick. Twitter’s policy against posting nudes without the consent of the subject meant they were right to remove them. I could go into more detail about the rest of the Twitter Files, but ultimately every single one comes down to ‘Private company moderates content on their own platform’. 
  • Little-ray-of-sunshine Brian K. Pritchard, is running in a Jan. 3 special election to replace former Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston, who died shortly after winning the election last month. Pritchard isn’t a ray of sunshine; he’s straight out of Central Casting, right-wing online webshow ranty, cat’s-arse of a mouth piggy-eyed, spray-on grey hair, fat loud-mouthed election-denier – you know, the kind of description you type into an AI image generator. He’s a prime candidate since the the office of Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr—one of the officials Pritchard accused of being “complicit” in the “stolen” election – said in a filing that Pritchard had illegally voted five times in 2008 and four times in 2010 whilst still on probation after he pleaded guilty in 1996 to felony forgery and theft charges in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. In Georgia, former felons aren’t allowed to vote until they’ve completed their sentence, which includes probation. In further proof of the suitability of his candidacy as a potential lawmaker Pritchard said he was “not aware he was considered a felon when he cast his ballots.” He also said in an intimidating and bullying phone call to Dawson County News, “I will not be intimidated. I will not be bullied. No one’s going to keep me out of this race.”  Kinda true as the hearing vis-a-vis his nine stolen, illegal and fraudulent votes is requested for the week of 9th Jan which is technically after the special election, though he faces up to $45,000 in fines and, if criminally charged… well who knows, he may end up being a Presidential candidate alongside all of the other deliberately unwitting fuckwit crooks in the GOP! 
  • I’ve been waiting with baited breath all day, because yesterday as we record this, Trump announced that today he would be making a major announcement. The last time he announced an announcement in advance, it was the launch of his campaign to get re-elected, so obviously everyone was expecting something big. Social media sites lit up with speculation that he was running for Speaker of the House, or that he would shun convention and name his Vice President, who everyone was pretty sure would be Kari Lake. I briefly enjoyed the idea that he might announce he’d had enough of the lies and corruption and he was giving himself up to the authorities to face whatever judgement he had coming. I mean, obviously it wasn’t that. But nobody expected that the Major Announcement would in fact be his dumbest, most pathetic grift, well, this year, at least. Yes, he’s releasing a series of digital NFT Trading cards featuring his face crappily photoshopped into various outfits including astronaut, cowboy, fighter pilot and sheriff, like the worst possible combination of the Village People and Mr Benn. You can own one of these jpegs by just right-clicking and saving it to your hard drive. But you can own it in the far stupider NFT sense by paying Trump a mere $99 per card. But don’t stop at one, like some kind of woke, beta male cuck! If you buy just 45 of the shoddily drawn useless pieces of shit, you’ll get to have dinner with Trump himself!  That’s less than $4,500 for an overcooked steak with a man who definitely will not talk about anything other than himself, and that’s assuming he bothers to go through with it rather than bailing on the dinner like he did to various winners of ‘who-can-donate-the-most-money’ competitions during his first campaign. Don’t all rush at once!
  • Here in free, fair, equal and supportive Blighty, postal workers, rail and bus workers, airport baggage handlers, border force security, driving instructors, nurses, ambulance workers and other health staff are among the hard-working people of Britain celebrated on millions of doorsteps during the pandemic for being key workers. They are also the representatives of hard-working people currently asking for their pay and conditions to be improved through an ongoing series of industrial action/strikes throughout December, and they appear to be being supported by the vast majority of other hard-working people of Britain, despite this month’s Tory Prime Minister  Rishi Sunak saying it is damaging the lives of the hard-working people of Britain. It’s such a long list that that’s a bit disingenuous of Rishi at the very least, cos they pretty much are all the hard-working people of Britain!  Since the billions spent by the Tory government on tax cuts for bankers,and VIP-laned dodgy PPE and track and trace deals for their mates, pay rises for anyone else are apparently unaffordable; unaffordable apart from simply enacting say; a 1% wealth tax on household worth over £1 million pounds, or windfall taxes on billion-profit-making energy firms. But ever mindful of strike protocol; Rishi cannot conceive the notion of crossing the picket lines of dogmatic Tory thought and simply speak to the unions representing the interests of the hard-working people of Britain as it might compromise the position of the non-dom-people-whose-hard-working-businesses-are-in-Britain-but-who-pay-no-tax-in-Britain-one-of-whom-was-Rishi’s-wife-until-very-recently/Tory party Donors/think tanks. We are nearly 50 years on from the Winter of Discontent that saw the downfall of Edward Heath’s Tory government in the 70’s. And in their lauding of the union-bashing ghost of Margaret Thatcher the Tories seem to have learned nothing, and of course, as ever since Dickens’ time; the hard-working people of Britain are suffering as part of their little-bit-of-history-repeating lesson. Let’s hope it doesn’t take a General Strike or the appearance of three conscience-driven ghosts in Rishi’s pyjamas to change the fuckers’ stance! “God bless us every one!” Yeah Merry Xmas to you an’ all Tiny Tim!!

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

Jim Cliff

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