Factoid Propagation – FT#122

Factoid Propagation – FT#122

Show Notes

The fallacy of Factoid Propagation is committed when someone uses a ‘fact’ they heard to support their position, without knowing (or caring) if the fact is true or not.


We started out by discussing this clip of Trump calling into a PA Senate hearing on the 2020 election:

Then we talked about this clip of Trump lying yet again about the equipment left behind in Afghanistan:

Mark’s British Politics Corner

Mark talked about Rishi Sunak lying about Labour’s asylum application backlog and asylum seekers themselves:

He then looked at both Suella Braverman and Rishi lying about both the demographics of abuse scandals in the Midlands and the reason the police were ineffective in dealing with them:

Fallacy in the Wild

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

Then we discussed this clip from Desperate Housewives:

We followed that up with this clip from Law and Order: Special Victims Unit:

And we finished by talking about this clip from About Last Night:


Fake News

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

  1. When I went to the courthouse, which is also a prison in a sense, they signed me in and I’ll tell you – people were crying. People that worked there, professionally work there, that have no problems putting in murderers and they see everybody. It’s a tough, tough place and they were crying. They were actually crying. They said “I’m sorry,” they’d say “2024 sir, 2024!” and tears are pouring down. There is… I’ve never seen anything like it. Those people are phenomenal.
  2. When I dealt with President Xi, I was with him the whole weekend. He had an incredible… I’m not allowed to say it because it’s very impolite and very politically incorrect. A beautiful female interpreter. She was very beautiful. Today if you say it, they’ll say, “This is terrible”. You’re not allowed to say that. But she was very professional. She spoke every word for him, very professional. And another couple of them, too. But she was there.
  3. With Putin, the thing you have to remember is, he didn’t go into Ukraine when I was there. He wanted to. I know he wanted to but I told him “Not on my watch.” We had a very good relationship, although he… I treated him harder than anyone else. I was the hardest on Russia anyone’s ever been so he really didn’t like me very much, but we got along and in the end he liked me. The same with Abdul, the Taliban leader. Abdul. He liked me a lot. Doesn’t like Biden.

Mark got it right this week, and is now on 48%


Clarence Thomas is not a logical fallacy

We talked about Clarence Thomas’s friend – GOP megadonor, billionaire and Hitler enthusiast Harlan Crow.


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

  • In case Trump needed a reminder that the Manhattan DA’s case is far from the only legal jeopardy he’s facing, the Washington Post reported this month that obstruction of justice charges in the Mar-a-Lago documents case are looking more and more like a slam dunk. According to the Post, “Investigators now suspect, based on witness statements, security camera footage, and other documentary evidence, that boxes including classified material were moved from a Mar-a-Lago storage area after the subpoena was served, and that Trump personally examined at least some of those boxes” This isn’t super surprising, given this exchange he had just last month with Sean Hannity: “I can’t imagine you ever saying, ‘Bring me some of the boxes that we brought back from the White House. I’d like to look at them.’ Did you ever do that?” Trump:”I would have the right to do that, there’s nothing wrong with it.” Hannity: “But I know you, I don’t think you would do it.” Trump: “I don’t have a lot of time, but I would have the right to do that. I would do that.” Hannity: “All right, let me move on” Trump: “Remember this, this is the Presidential Records Act. I have the right to take stuff.” Honestly, if Trump actually paid his lawyers, they still wouldn’t be getting paid enough but, like Trump’s favorite poem, The Snake, they knew what he was when they took him in. Maybe they see having a client who relentlessly confesses to crimes on TV even when people are trying to hand him legal defenses on a platter as some kind of challenge to prove to themselves how good they are at lawyering, but as final bosses go, Trump is Mike Tyson in Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. He’s impossible to defend, but it’s nice to see that on top of his regular public confessions they ALSO have witness statements, security camera footage and other documentary evidence!
  • Okay yep its March Madness – the NCAA basketball tournaments- we’re in April now but, tsk, Americans! – and associated with sports refreshment; Budweiser also celebrated trans activist Dylan Mulvaney’s 365 days of womanhood, and sent her a Bud Light can with her picture on it – way cool right!? It’s a one-off can just for her to celebrate and treasure, but not if you’re anti-trans anti-woke grizzled right-wingers like say Kid Rock – and just how much longer can he legitimately call himself Kid? – who suddenly thinks Budweiser is now the beer of the trans movement. Though seeing how Dylan’s whole journey has been documented on the friendly, caring platform of choice for yoof; Instagram, it’s difficult to know how your average Bud drinker would stumble across the ad, much less thus conclude the some sort of endorsement by brewer Anheuser-Busch argument. Nevertheless Kid Rock posted in response, on bad-tempered, ugly, argumentative platform of choice for MAGAs; Twitter, a video of himself flipping the bird and firing an MP5 submachine gun at a couple of crates of Bud Light, missing some of them entirely. Must have been cos of the tears he had in his eyes with which he began the video, he concluded it “Fuck Bud Light, and fuck Anheuser-Busch,”. If he’s advocating a boycott then the right’s gonna go thirsty, with gross annual sales of $53billion Anheuser-Busch is the world’s largest beer company whose brands include, Budweiser, Corona, Stella Artois, Beck’s, Leffe and Hoegaarden, Skol, Brahma, Antarctica, Quilmes, Victoria, Modelo Especial, Michelob Ultra, Harbin, Sedrin, Cass and Jupiler. Yeah you might wanna choose your battles…nobody likes a sober MAGA (oh yeah or a drunk one!)
  • Yes, Ron DeSantis is an asshole who just in the past week has signed a six week abortion ban, loosened Florida’s gun laws even further, and totally ignored a historic flood in Fort Lauderdale while he’s on his ‘book tour’ in Ohio, but he’s also a completely useless politician who got his ass handed to him by Mickey Mouse. In March of last year, following a lot of pressure from their employees and customers, Disney finally spoke out against DeSantis’s Don’t Say Gay law, and the Governor decided the most sensible thing to do was go to war against Florida’s largest employer and the source of $75 billion dollars of revenue to the State every year. In a direct act of retaliation, he announced a planned bill enabling the government to take control of the self-governed zone known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which has allowed Disney to operate with a large amount of autonomy for the past 50 years or so. The Governor appointed a new board of five members, including three Republican donors, a Christian Nationalist and a Parents’ Rights activist who has spoken out against LGBTQ+ inclusivity and critical race theory. At the time, a lot of people were wondering why Disney didn’t use some of its huge financial resources to fight this in court, since it’s a blatantly unconstitutional case of viewpoint discrimination. But Disney had a different plan. They held a public meeting of the existing Reedy Creek board on February 8th, 19 days before DeSantis signed his bill. During that meeting, that anyone could have attended if they wanted, the board voted to devolve almost all their powers to the Disney corporation, leaving the new board with only the ability to maintain the roads and basic infrastructure within the zone. Even better, since DeSantis referred to Disney as a ‘corporate kingdom’, they added a rule that says the new situation will stay the same “until twenty one years after the death of the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III, King of England living as of the date of this Declaration”. Because in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.
  • In the eternal mélange of voices going around in Trump’s head; ‘must keep quiet about the Stormy Daniels thing’ for instance versus getting everybody else to “just shut the fuck up and listen to me”, we are tied up again in the logic of what the fuck is Donnie up to now? He’s  filed a $500 million lawsuit against his former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen, alleging that he violated attorney-client privilege when he issued a tell-all book about the hush payment he helped Trump facilitate to adult film star Stormy Daniels. “So if he was breaching attorney-client privilege, you’re doing that by telling things that were said to you in confidence. But so, is he saying things that Michael Cohen is saying are true because I told him in confidence, and now he’s breached that privilege? Or is he saying that the things are false? Because if they’re false, why didn’t he bring a defamation claim? “ thus puzzled the presenters of CNN because it implicitly requires Trump to admit that everything Cohen said, which he is now denying by pleading not guilty to criminal charges against him in New York, is actually true. CNN concluded that actually there’s probably no logic other than Trump’s usual intimidation tactics; to Michael Cohen and others who might want to come forward and give testimony in any situation against Donald Trump. It’s a warning. It’s, look what I’ll do to you.” increasingly though it seems that Trump actually looks like he’s holding less power over people… I suspect Cohen’s just saying “So sue me! After all, you never paid me for being your attorney!!” 
  • The Tennessee State Legislature has spent the past couple of weeks learning about the Streisand effect after they tried to silence the gun control debate following yet another school shooting. In the week following the school shooting in Nashville, the Democratic Representatives in the House tried to bring the subject up and repeatedly had their microphones cut off and were ruled out of order. With no other way to have their voices heard or air the grievances of their constituents, Justin Jones, Justin Pearson and Gloria Johnson, Democratic Representatives for Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville respectively, led a protest on the House floor calling for common sense gun laws in a state where anyone over 21 can carry a handgun, open or concealed, without a permit. The Republican Majority responded by voting to expel Representatives Jones and Pearson, and narrowly voted against expelling Johnson. Why the disparity? Well, as Gloria Johnson herself put it “I think it’s pretty clear. I’m a 60-year old white woman and they are two young Black men”. The unusual, disproportionate and clearly racist response to the peaceful protest garnered national and international attention on the Tennessee State Legislature and gave a massive platform to the ousted Representatives who were both quickly voted back into their seats by their local councils, but will have to stand in special elections to keep those seats on a more permanent basis. I don’t think they’ll have much trouble winning those special elections. Meanwhile, a little disinfecting sunlight has spilled onto Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton, who not only led the charge to expel the Democrats, but said their peaceful protest “was equivalent, at least equivalent, maybe worse depending on how you look at it, of doing an insurrection in the capitol”. Sexton, who thinks breaking the rules of the House is just unforgivable, has apparently secretly bought a house 6 miles from Nashville and been living there with his family instead of in the Crossville community he represents, raising questions about whether he can legally remain their Representative. He’s also been claiming travel expenses of $234 per day which is available to Representatives who need to commute to the Capitol and stay in hotel rooms. Perhaps, when the Democrats wanted to beg the GOP supermajority to consider sensible gun laws that have no chance of actually passing in Tennessee he should have shut the fuck up and  just let them have their say. 
  • Former Trump White House Press Secretary – I’ll give you the name, there were quite a few – Sarah Huckabee Sanders, has taken a leaf out of her own playbook and lied about… er corrected the misapprehension whilst going on the attack and blaming everyone else and anyone who’s asking, when News broke this week that the online application for people hoping to serve on one of Arkansas’s dozens of boards and commissions included the question, “What is an accomplishment of the Governor’s that you admire the most?” That’s Governor Sarah Sanders of course – a proper “let’s go round the table and have you praise the Dear Leader…” one of the many rituals Trump got from his admired dictator friends (not friends). The following day that section had gone from the online application proforma, with Sanders’ representatives blaming the web designers saying the question was meant only for summer intern applicants. Yeah who among us hasn’t applied for a summer job and typed out 500 words of praise for how great the CEO is!! Oh yeah er Twitter maybe…. A perfect prompt for ChatGPT – write a 500 word essay fawning over all the marvellous achievements of Sarah Huckabee Sanders please HAL – “I’m sorry Dave I can’t do that”
  • Henny Youngman said “When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading”, and that is essentially the Republican party’s approach to science – even their own scientific reports. Take, for example, the GOP-led Indiana Senate who just last year passed a bill requiring the use of the “best floodplain mapping data available” when deciding whether to approve a building application. The trouble is, the best floodplain mapping data available has resulted in a lot more building permits being denied than they used to under the old maps from FEMA, so now the Senate is proposing a new bill to remove that requirement to use the best data and go back to the FEMA maps. Sure, the FEMA maps are up to 40 years of of date, don’t take account of steadily increasing annual rainfall and don’t even include some of Indiana’s floodplains, but if we ignore all that we get to build more houses and pretend we didn’t know that they would be underwater in the next big storm. Meanwhile, in Florida, Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo put out some scientific data last October to back up his recommendation that young men should avoid getting the Covid vaccine because it would increase their risk of cardiac-related death. Well last week the Tampa Bay Times got hold of an early draft of that data, which included the risk of cardiac-related death for young men who get Covid which, what do you know, was substantially higher than the increased risk related to the vaccine. But that data was cut from the report before it was released and, as we all know, ignoring science changes reality, so I expect any day now the new official Republican position on climate change will be to stick your fingers in your ears and shout LALALALALA. You know, just like their position on mass shootings. 
  • In British Politics this week the Tories are set to lose possibly 1,000 seats in the upcoming local elections. Constituents vote for their MP to represent their local constituency in Parliament, the number of MPs from each party thus make up the comparative legislative voting power of the parties in parliament. Despite being the governing party the Tories would effectively have no operational majority and would be lame ducks between now and the general election in 2024. Such luminaries as Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg could actually lose their status as an MP. Boris is almost certain to lose his, cos he’s an arse, and even the traditionally right-wing flavour of his Uxbridge and Ruislip constituents have had enough and like many of the other boroughs around the country are tactically voting for whichever party isn’t the Tories and is likely to win, regardless of political leanings. One journalist described it as the reckoning for the party who, like an old and discredited school tried to recruit some young trendy teachers only to find that they spent all their time smoking, drinking and going on skiing holidays, spending all the school’s funds and not doing any actual facilitation of learning. Well that’s what happens when you put a bunch of over-privileged self-promoting yet stupid Eton graduates in charge. And in the week when both Matt Hancock and Rishi Sunak are being investigated for conflicts of interest from gaming the system and granting privileged access to government funds for their mates and wife, perhaps the reckoning is indeed coming, ah the rapture the rapture!!

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

Jim Cliff

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