Broken Clock Fallacy – FT#116

Broken Clock Fallacy – FT#116

Show Notes

The Broken Clock Fallacy occurs when someone suggests that because they were right once (even if it was for the wrong reason) they should be trusted generally.


We started out by discussing this list of things Trump claims he was right about:

Then we talked about the fact he appointed Jerome Powell as Fed Chair because he thought the previous Fed Chair, Janet Yellen, was too short to do the job.

And finally we talked about this tweet from Trump:

Mark’s British Politics Corner

Mark talked about Rishi Sunak’s five promises to do things that will probably happen anyway:

Followed by Jeremy Hunt doubling down on halving inflation despite having very little control on it:

And finally he talked about Boris Johnson taking credit for the UK’s vaccine rollout and the 2012 Olympics


Fallacy in the Wild

In the Fallacy in the Wild we looked at this clip from BBC’s The Traitors:

Then we discussed this clip from The Mentalist:

And we finished with this clip from National Treasure: Book of Secrets:


Fake News

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

  1. The legendary actor, 007 Sean Connery, has past on to even greener fairways. He was quite a guy, and a tough character. I was having a very hard time getting approvals for a big development in Scotland when Sean stepped in and shouted, “Let him build the damn thing”. That was all I needed, everything went swimmingly from there. He was so highly regarded & respected in Scotland and beyond that years of future turmoil was avoided.
  2. Well, I want to begin today by expressing my condolences to the family of a person I knew well – she worked for me on numerous occasions; she was terrific – Aretha Franklin, on her passing. She’s brought joy to millions of lives, and her extraordinary legacy will thrive and inspire many generations to come. She was given a great gift from God: her voice. And she used it well. People loved Aretha. She was a special woman.
  3. Melania and I were very sad to learn of the loss of my good friend Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She was an amazing woman who was very gracious and beautiful to us when we were there in England. People said she didn’t get on well with us but actually we got on very well. We liked each other a lot and what people don’t know is that she had a great sense of humor. We share the sadness of people all over the world.

Mark got it wrong this week, and is back to exactly 50%

The Biden Documents are not a logical fallacy

We talked about the right-wing’s desperate attempt to paint the dozen or so documents found on Biden’s property as much much worse than the thousands of documents Trump refused to hand over from Mar-a-Lago.


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

  • House Republicans spent much of their first week in power being right for the wrong reasons about the fact Kevin McCarthy would be a terrible Majority Leader, but once they got their shit together – sorry, once they got all the shits to vote together – they got straight to work on the important work of governing. Among their most pressing business, apparently, was passing a bill to defund the IRS and make it easier for rich tax cheats to stay rich, which will definitely not make it through the Senate, removing metal detectors from the House chamber, and repealing the rule against indoor smoking in the House. They passed a rules packages that effectively guts the Office of Congressional Ethics just days after seating George fucking Santos as a Congressman, and handed out committee assignments, including placing nut-jobs Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar on the Oversight Committee. This being the Republican Party, those committees will overwhelmingly be chaired by white men – in fact, there are twice as many white men named Mike chairing House Committees than there are women in total. Somehow they are still less regressive than the GOP led Missouri House of Representatives, who used their first day in office to enforce a stricter dress code on female lawmakers, requiring them to wear jackets  and ensure their arms are covered at all times. Sounds like someone needs to remind the Missouri Republican party that even women have the right to bare arms. Ok, that joke admittedly works better written down, but still…
  • In a kind of reverse Darth Vader ostentatious display of machismo and power, Michael Schmidt’s book, Donald Trump v. the United States, recounts how Trump wanted to nuke North Korea but make it look like it was somebody else that did it. Risking Jedi chokeholds the then chief of staff John Kelly, who’s time in office the book covers, reportedly responded, “It’d be tough to not have the finger pointed at us.” In a manner not unlike Darth Vader’s stubborn refusal to brook any contrariness, apparently it took bringing in military experts and explaining the balance of power, which requires congressional approval to launch a military attack on North Korea, for Trump to understand how the executive branch worked. Trump of course was “baffled and annoyed” by the entire process and the mention of the loss of innocent lives apparently had “no impact” on him. Kelly eventually averted needless planetary destruction by appealing to Trump’s “skills” in the “Art of the Deal” telling him he would be seen as the “greatest salesman in the world” if he tried to form a “diplomatic relationship” with Kim instead of continuing an antagonistic war of words. Props to Kelly, “the most flawed person” Trump ever met, according to Trump, for knowing the flaws of the Orange from the Dark Side – the Pith Lord if you will – and in that simple ego-stroking act ensured our continued existence globally for a few more years. Let’s hope Kelly’s been studying, DeSantis, or Santos, or Boebert, hell, any and all the GOP crazies as well!! 
  • Back in the early days of the podcast, all these headline slots tended to be US focussed, but over time there were more crazy British stories we needed to cover and at some point I just started writing ‘Britpol’ in the final headline slot and let Mark do his thing. Similarly, don’t be surprised if we have to set aside a regular space in this section for lies told by George Santos, because it’s looking like there’ll be a steady flow. For example, this week we learned about the shifting timeline of his 2020 bout of Covid, which he has claimed is nothing to worry about, but also that it put him in hospital, unable to breathe, and he was bedridden for two weeks, which he attributed to being immunocompromised from radiation to treat a brain tumor a couple of years before. Incidentally, nobody has been able to verify his claims of having had a brain tumor, and when a Washington Post reporter pointed out he appeared completely healthy when appearing on Fox Business four days into his supposed infection he simply changed the dates he was ill, several times actually, eventually claiming he was first treated on March 5th, which would have made his one of the first 11 cases in NYC. While Santos has largely gotten away with all the lies so far, there are a couple which maybe could take him down. Firstly, if we learned one thing from John Wick it was “you absolutely don’t fuck with someone’s dog”, so the fact that Santos allegedly raised $3,000 to pay for the cancer treatment of a homeless veteran’s service dog, but then kept the money for himself, might move the needle a bit, although, let’s face it, probably not with Republicans. For the GOP, the allegation that Santos used to be a drag queen in Brazil called Kitara Ravache is ironically the most likely thing that will take him down, since it’s legal, perfectly fine, and not something he’s previously lied about. I say previously because he went on Twitter today to call the claims “categorically false”, which, since it’s him, is basically as good as confirming the story.
  • In a kind of vindication of that ‘List Identifying the Rise of Fascist States’ meme that did the rounds when Trump got in, and Boris, and Bolsanaro and Erdogan oh and the guy in Poland, okay, when does a meme become reality? Perhaps when it turns out that “fake news”, a term Trump once tried to lay claim to inventing, is ironically a near-direct translation of Lügenpresse, the derogatory term used by Nazis against the “lying press.” And the irony is cos Trump is filing a lawsuit against CNN for defaming him in ultimately saying he’s “Like Hitler” in a perfectly justified reductio ad Hitlerum. The court filing goes on to attack CNN for repeatedly drawing comparisons between Trump’s right-wing, nationalist, and anti-democratic MAGA movement and Adolf Hitler’s right-wing, nationalist, and anti-democratic Nazi Party. Trump’s lawyers say that “being compared to Hitler in this manner causes and did cause reputational harm.” To which one of them of course is the unposed question? Trump’s lawyers go on to say “CNN’s statements seriously attempt to falsely state that the plaintiff intentionally used a Nazi-like propaganda technique to preserve his political power.”  without providing any evidence to the contrary – cos you know ““there is no case law requiring a plaintiff to plead facts that show why a false statement is, in fact, false.” Trump’s lawyers also in a non-Hitlerian kind of way of course, argue that consequently now is the “perfect” time to peel back First Amendment protections for American journalists. Perhaps Hitler’s mob were equally unable to do irony if it’s a right-wing thing – Herr Trump scheint das nicht ironisch zu finden that in filing this defamation lawsuit against CNN he is also adopting the Nazi strategy of attacking journalists as liars, with the court papers claiming that “Americans are split when asked if the media is actually an enemy of democracy.” Ahhh poor old Adolf er Donald can’t stand the truth being found out hey! Yeah but he would look terrible with a combed over blonde toothbrush moustache as well – more terrible I mean.
  • So it turns out gas stoves are second only to guns in their importance to conservative values. Weird we didn’t know that already. I feel like I’ve literally never heard a Republican mention how much they love their gas stoves, or how America is a country founded on God, guns and gas stoves or anything like that until Biden’s Consumer Product Safety Commission mentioned it might consider regulating them after a new study showed the air pollutants they produce are responsible for over an eighth of childhood asthma cases. At that point, once a government agency said they might take science into account, the right wing went nuts. Both Florida sex-trafficker Matt Gaetz and  former White House pill pusher Congressman Ronny Jackson tweeted that they would have to pry their gas stoves FROM THEIR COLD, DEAD HANDS and, here’s a fun thing – remember that God, guns, gas stoves comment I made earlier as a joke? I wrote that before I discovered that jacket-deficient assault-ignorer Jim Jordan tweeted literally exactly that phrase in response to this latest attempt at manufacturing a culture war. It’s really not fair of them to do the things we make up in an attempt to satirise them.
  • In an hilariously matted web of intrigue, suing and countersuing that the Daily Beast do their usual great job of reporting on whilst at the same time making it no less complicated, the Finman Freedom Phone debacle folds in on itself like an origami made of mobius strips! Remember the Freedom Phone? The Summer of ‘21s big hit created by Bitcoin mogul Erik Finman, who promised customers a phone loaded with conservative apps and free from liberal Silicon Valley influence. Turns out it was an unbranded Chinese smartphone like the one I bought off TikTok for $80 the other day, rebranded and marked up to $500 to the delight of the likes of Candace Owens who posted on Instagram “I’m holding a freaking phone that is not controlled by Apple or Google”. Such endorsements and Finman’s viral video led to $4million dollars of sales! But payment processors handling the orders refused to hand the money over to Finman, apparently concerned that the phone was a scam. Mmmm prescient! Unable thus to buy them from China, Finman cut a deal with Utah-based company ClearCellular to make the phones. And now in recently posted court filings Finman claims ClearCellular missed deadlines, failed to unfreeze access to funds such that Finman had to pay endorsers out of his own, admittedly enormous, pocket, and when phones arrived they didn’t work! Founder of ClearCellular Michael Proper didn’t help when he encouraged angry Freedom Phone customers to launch a class-action consumer fraud lawsuit against Finman. And When $400,000 of the money was unfrozen, Finman alleged that Proper blew $10,000 in a “shopping spree” at Costco buying video games and other electronics. (Whereas making 3 or more hundred dollars each time profit buying phones off Wish was okay?) In return Proper accused Finman of merely handing over a spreadsheet that he’d knocked up himself when Proper asked for the Freedom Phone accounts. Whilst it’s unseemly I suppose to laugh at the business machinations of stupid rich right-wingers, it’s the unwitting stupid right-wing punters who did or did not get a non-functioning cheap uncle-sammed Chinese cellphone brick for their half a thousand dollars I feel sorry for, because they are doubtless sometime in the not too distant future going to be voting one or other of Proper or Finman into office!
  • In the grand tradition of the Grand Old Party making up things to worry about, a Texas Republican has proposed a law requiring labelling of all food which contains or is manufactured with human fetal tissue or if it was the product of research that used such tissue. Seems like this is a problem that could be solved by saying OK, clicking your fingers and saying “It’s done. All food that contains human fetal tissue is now labelled as such”. Texas State Senator Bob Hall is convinced it’s tricker than that, though. The statement released by his office reads in part “Unfortunately, many Texans are unknowingly consuming products that either contain human fetal parts or were developed using human fetal parts,” which is only accurate if you use consume incredibly broadly, since Hall also includes medicine in the proposed law and there are some medicines that are developed with the use of cell lines from fetal kidney cells from the 1970s. Hall and co are clearly trying to make this sound like Democrat researchers are sprinkling aborted fetuses on your nachos and hiding it from you, but if this law passes then hey, at least you’ll know which brands have the fetus bits on and you can make an informed decision.
  • Well same old same old in Broken Brexitland – hateful sad squashed hairy raisin-faced three-time breacher of the MPs’ code of conduct Tory MP Andrew Bridgen has been suspended for likening the vaccine rollout to the Holocaust! as has another Tory Councillor for saying Bridgen was right, they’ve, of course, both bleated about cancel culture since – yeah some things you just do, as a moral imperative, have to cancel. Speaking of which; Rishi Sunak, has been flying around the country several times this week (and it’s only Thursday) like a faded wannabe A-lister on a taxpayer-funded jet cos he’s very busy and can’t thus go by train. Also cos he’s at war with the trains as was revealed in a report that the government asked the rail firms to prolong the strikes cos they were cheaper than settling a pay dispute. He’s been busy visiting those Northern and Midland Blue Wall constituencies blethering on (to invited vetted and easy-touch and thus wholly unrepresentative audiences) about levelling-up. Levelling-up is another empty ex-Boris promise meant to convince people that they weren’t just bunging money to their London-based mates but were going to spread the love and the funds around the country exactly where they’ve been disenfranchising them for decades. And then weaponising them to blame Europe and vote Brexit as well by the way. Also this tarmac-hopping is in the wake of findings that a) billions more levelling-up funds got diverted, including by him, to Southern, richer, Tory constituencies than Northern ex-labour constituencies and b) cos those ex-red wall seats on the lear jet flight path are polling 99% in favour of flipping to the Labour Party in the next local and general elections. What we are seeing is what Kissinger called shuttle diplomacy, fly, in a jet to placate people who’d dream of having a jet at their disposal, tell them bland unverifiable things about how they are so important to the country, so much so that he can’t possibly answer whether he is 100% behind funding say the North-South rail system to allow them to get down to London where the money is. Bridging the North-South divide and destroying the environment whilst not going to Davos; all in a day’s work for the greenest most globally business-focussed liar we’ve had since the last one, like say Chancellor for 25 minutes or so Nadim Zahawi who has just had to pay millions of back taxes he failed to declare! And yep he’s still in office!

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

Jim Cliff

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