Assuming a Tell – FT#121

Assuming a Tell – FT#121

Show Notes

The Fallacy of Assuming a Tell is committed when someone convinces themselves that they’ve identified a way of spotting secret information and then uses that as evidence in their reasoning.


We started out by discussing this clip of Trump claiming he could tell Dick Cheney was lying:

Then we talked about this clip of Trump explaining one of the ways he knows the 2020 election was rigged:

Mark’s British Politics Corner

Mark talked about Boris Johnson describing how you can tell it’s not a party if there’s an official photographer there:

He then looked at the media’s tendency to take Prime Ministers expressing ‘full confidence’ in underlings as a sure sign of their imminent ousting; and, paradoxically, seeing the PM’s unwillingness to express confidence in them as the same sign. He used these clips to illustrate his theory:


Fallacy in the Wild

In the Fallacy in the Wild we looked at this clip from The Admirable Crichton:

Then we discussed this clip from Scream VI:

And we finished by talking about Chris Moneymaker’s amazing win at the 2003 World Series of Poker.


Fake News

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

  1. Mail in ballots are automatically corrupt. If you have mail in ballots you’re going to have very dishonest elections. France had mail in ballots, they had to go away from it, they had an election, they went back to paper ballots and by 10 o’clock in the evening everybody was happy, it was announced and that was it. You want paper ballots, you want same day voting ideally, because we have elections where they sit around for 62 days.
  2. You could end up in a nuclear World War which will make World War 1 and World War 2 look like pattycakes, OK? This… unbelievable because we have people that don’t know what they are doing. But if it’s not solved, I will have it solved in 24 hours with Zelensky and with Putin and there’s a very easy negotiation to take place, but I don’t want to tell you what it is because then I can’t use that negotiation, it’ll never work.
  3. They’re trying to cancel conservative voices and shut down free speech, and it’s a direct attack on our democracy. We need to fight back, Sean. We need to be louder and more aggressive than ever before. We need to call them out for what they are: a bunch of socialist, America-hating, freedom-sucking, cancel-culture-loving lunatics. We need to take our country back and make America great again, like I did when I was in office. And we can’t let the radical left win.

Mark got it wrong again this week, and is now below 48%


A Trump Indictment is not a logical fallacy

We talked about the historic indictment of Donald Trump, which happened just a few minutes before we started recording!


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

  • I’m sure that in one of your frequent re-listens to our back catalogue you’ve stumbled upon episode 92, where we talked about Ron DeSantis setting up a special law enforcement department called the Office of Election Crimes and Security. Well, it’s been running for over a year now, and it’s burned through the initial $1.2 million it was allocated despite only filling 3 of the 15 staff positions they were allocated. Nonetheless, DeSantis recently asked the legislature for an increased budget of $3.1 million and 27 staff positions. Is this due to the huge success they’ve had so far? Great question. They sure have investigated a lot of complaints – 3,000 investigations were opened in the first year. Around half of those were immediately closed because they couldn’t even find enough bullshit to pretend a crime had happened. Of the remaining cases, officials announced they would be charging 20 people with voter fraud, almost all of whom were former felons who thought they were allowed to vote because the state sent them voter registration cards. At least three cases have been dismissed on a technicality. The technicality being that they didn’t commit a crime that the State prosecutor can actually charge them for. Other charges have been dropped, one case ended in a plea deal in which the defendant pleaded No Contest, which means she didn’t admit to any wrongdoing, and in return the state didn’t punish her at all or even make her pay court costs, but somehow still got to claim it as a successful prosecution. In the only case that has actually made it to court, a man was acquitted of illegal voting charges but convicted of lying on his voter registration form. And hey, if a partial win in one single case isn’t enough to convince the State legislature to triple the office’s budget then.. Wait, no, it’s  Florida – that’ll definitely be enough. 
  • It isn’t shocking that these ideas are being thrown around,” one source told Rolling Stone magazine. “People who are still there want it to make money, but it’s just insane brainstorming to figure out how.” No, not Twitter but lagging-behind-Gab-Parler-Rumble-and-Trump’s-own-Truth-Social; social media whatever-the-socially-acceptable-word-for-the-opposite-of-giant-is Gettr! Self-proclaimed strong-influencer over the company Guo Wengui, a billionaire fugitive from the Chinese Communist Party, has been coming up with fistfuls of ideas, knocking several out every day as it were. One idea firmly in Guo’s hand is to remake the site to add an online clearinghouse for human sperm from men who haven’t taken any of the vaccines against Covid-19. In a Feb. 22nd livestream he announced “All the fellow fighters’ sperm and eggs will be put for auction on our Gettr between June 1 and June 6, 2023,” he went on to claim to have amassed nearly 6,000 eggs and “millions” of sperm from unvaccinated donors – how did he count them millions!) Gettr is understandably keen to distance itself from Guo, possibly cos he was arrested by the FBI on Wednesday morning on federal charges that he orchestrated up to $1 billion in fraud, largely by targeting retail investors with phoney opportunities and using the money to buy luxury items, but also cos maybe Guo’s theories that unvaccinated “purebloods” will one day be called upon for mass breeding efforts – usual basement dwelling online wanker fantasy stuff, and his assertion that the auction “will be the most meaningful event of this year auctioning off the best sperm and eggs, which of course include my own sperm.” Was just too much to swallow! One of the Gettr staff told Rolling Stone ‘it’s “the most ludicrous fucking thing to come out of pro-Trump social media in a long time, and that is saying something.”’ Looks like the “Covid-Unvaxxed Jizz Market” plan might just be one in the eye for a presidential nomination coming soon after all!
  • We’ve talked a bit about the Fox News Dominion lawsuit and the amazing emails and messages that come out in discovery, and I expressed skepticism as to whether Fox News viewers would care at all that they are being lied to openly. Well, I’m very happy to say that my skepticism in this case was misplaced, and there are actually a few Fox News viewers who mind being called dumb cousin fucking terrorists. Not many, but a few. According to a survey by Variety, 21% of Fox News viewers find they trust the information provided by the channel less, after seeing concrete proof that all the hosts are actively lying to them on a daily basis about the most fundamental issues of democracy. Which is somehow simultaneously shockingly low and reassuringly high. A full 45% continue to trust the lying liars who lied to them, I assume because while the information itself is false, at least it demonises the people they hate, so continuing to believe it makes them feel happy. Meanwhile, following the litany of messages from their favorite TV hosts saying the exact opposite of what they said on the air, 16% of Fox News viewers now have a less favorable opinion of Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, while 52% have apparently no complaints about being treated like credulous morons by stochastic terrorists who only take occasional breaks from lying so they can sell more lumpy pillows and life insurance.
  • I’m sure there was an episode of the West Wing where the entire White House was in chaotic uproar as they tried to track down an official foreign gift that had been borrowed, sold and rebought throughout the hours airtime, boy was it tense, transparency, respect and the credibility of the entire American nation were at stake – gripping! Pure fiction of course, much like Trump’s excuses for the fact that a life-sized portrait of Trump from El Salvador and a set of golf clubs from Japan are missing from the Trump administration’s White House gift ledger. Far be it from us to commit the fallacy of “well it’s the kind of thing that would go missing cos Trump”, it does seem oddly “fitting”(?) shall we say, that those are the items not seen entering he White House or the National Archives. A House Oversight Committee report reveals that these are among more than 100 foreign gifts — with a total value of nearly $300,000 — that Trump and his family failed to report to the State Department – in violation of federal law. Whilst Trump repeatedly told advisers that gifts given to him during the presidency were his and did not belong to the federal government (natch!) the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act of 1966 prohibits officials from personally keeping gifts from foreign entities worth more than $415 and if an official wishes to retain a gift, they have the option of paying full value. While there are no records of Trump personally purchasing any of the foreign gifts he received, other family members did legally purchase gifts. Trump’s portrait which Jared Kushner declared “very nice” doesn’t appear on any White House purchase documents after it left El Salvador as a gift for the White House nor is it in the White House. Investigators concluded certain records suggest the portrait may have been moved to Florida ‘as property of the former President’ in July 2021,” alongside several boxes of “personal top secret documents no doubt! However in a reassuringly Boris Johnson-esque turn of phrase the Director of Correspondence for the Office of Donald Trump certified ‘full compliance with the final disposition of gifts’ in April 2021 – so that’s not a tell we need assume then!
  • If there’s one thing I learned from Knight Rider it’s that big hair, a leather jacket and a nearly indestructible talking car are all you need to fight crime. But also, that one man can make a difference. That’s an ideal embraced by Florida’s conservatives, who truly believe in the power of the individual. Take, for example, the individual parent who looked at Michelangelo’s David, a 17ft masterpiece of Renaissance art depicting the biblical hero who represents the entire concept of standing up against powerful oppressors, and noticed it had a dick. And is therefore pornography. Ironically, this person is clearly a philistine and therefore David’s natural enemy. However, since it’s Florida, this fucking hick wasn’t dismissed as the drooling idiot they so clearly are when they complained to the school that their sixth grader was being taught that penises exist during a lesson on Renaissance art. Instead, the school board fired the Principal of the school for not warning the ignorant asshole that their precious little tween would be looking at one of the most important and revered artworks of all time in art class. Not to be outdone, another individual Florida parent fucked it up for everyone else by complaining about the 1998 Disney movie Ruby Bridges, which tells the true story of the the first Black student in an integrated elementary school in New Orleans in the 60’s. The movie has been shown every year during Black History Month in elementary schools in Pinellas County, until one parent complained that “the use of racial slurs and scenes of white people threatening Ruby as she entered a school might result in students learning that white people hate Black people”. Rather than saying “Well, duh” and telling her to fuck off, the school banned the film “until a review committee can assess it.” because nothing says Black History Month like letting a white woman dictate whether children are allowed to learn about racism.
  • That good ol’ GOP stance of “dagnabbit pesky big government a-messin’ with our local healthcare laws! We’ll show ‘em” has turned out to be a bit of an unholstered firearm discharge into the foot of current Republican legislation around banning of abortions in Wyoming and Ohio. During the Obama-era introduction of healthcare access for all, Republican administrations were so incensed at the interference in state legislation that in 2012 they passed an amendment providing that “each competent adult shall have the right to make his or her own health care decisions” in Wyoming which led to a judge there recently to temporarily block a state law that would make performing nearly any abortion in that state a felony. Among other things, Judge Owens rejected the state’s argument that the health care amendment was “only adopted to push back against the Affordable Care Act,” and should not be construed to protect abortion rights. Ohio’s anti-Obamacare amendment provides that no state law “shall prohibit the purchase or sale of health care or health insurance.” Nor may it “impose a penalty or fine for the sale or purchase of health care or health insurance.” Thus, as long as a patient seeking an abortion pays for that treatment, the Ohio amendment appears to provide very robust protection to abortion rights. Whilst we can enjoy the sight of Yosemite Sam-style lawmakers cursing their past selves under the guise of – “oooh that Obama!” they’ll no doubt turn their narrow, impotent, tiny minds to working out some other way to control bodies that are not their own.  For the moment, however, let that be a lesson that a state constitution is a foolish thing to change for the sake of a political stunt, much less let run for president!
  • While Trump is the front runner for the 2024 GOP nomination, Mike Pence still seems to think it’s worth being out in public on the off chance people might want him to be President. He hasn’t announced his campaign yet, although he’s travelling around the country loudly not announcing it, and he’s polling at around 6 or 7%, which is surprisingly high, given that nobody likes him. According to an Atlantic article looking at Republican focus groups of two time Trump voters, those who still support Trump blame Pence for not having the guts to overturn the election, while those who don’t want Trump to run in 2024 say that Pence is tainted by his association to Trump and hasn’t got a chance. Focus group members said things like “He’s only going to get the vote from his family and I’m not even sure if they like him”. So why is he still polling around 6%? Sarah Longwell, the political consultant who ran the focus groups, speculates that there’s a “cohort of GOP voters who are not particularly engaged who don’t want Trump to run again and Pence is the only other name they know.” Ouch! Despite all this, Pence is currently 66/1 to win the Presidency according to bet365, while the only Democrat to have officially announced her candidacy, crystal-loving nutter Marianne Williamson, is at 200/1. Just to put that in perspective, here is a short, real list of people bet365 considers more likely to become President than Marianne Williamson: Stephen Colbert, Tucker Carlson, George Clooney, Eric Trump, Meghan Markle and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Fucking ouch! 
  • A rather depressing fortnight in British politics – er right when is it not! Suella Braverman was photographed laughing demonically next to a refugee camp in Rwanda, and then accused the press who didn’t fawn and slaver over the righteousness of it all and her, i.e. those papers that weren’t invited on the trip i.e. everyone except the Daily Mail, of disrespecting the fine upstanding not-corrupt-and-despicable-at-all regime of Rwanda. You know if you don’t want to be accused of laughing maniacally by a refugee camp then don’t be photographed laughing maniacally at a refugee camp – just saying. Meanwhile on the left, is it left though? Speaking of foolish political stunts; Keir Starmer has insisted that Jeremy Corbyn who has won every election he has ever stood for on behalf of the Labour Party in his London constituency since the 1980s, be deselected from standing in the upcoming elections on behalf of the Labour Party. I’m a bit conflicted cos I hope Corbyn will stand as an independent and certain that he won’t cos he nobly won’t want to completely screw Labour’s election chances! I look forward to this year’s Glastonbury crowd singing Starmer’s name to the tune of Seven Nation Army in celebration of the largest swelling of support for socialist values since ironically Tony Blair’s election in 1997! Once, just once it would be nice for Labour to win on its own merits, not just cos the right are so heinously awful and self-serving that the electorate are so sick of them they’ll vote for anyone or anything who’s not them. With that in mind; vote for me as I stand in the election for my local town council in May!

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

Jim Cliff

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