Just Because – FT#124

Just Because – FT#124

Show Notes

The Just Because Fallacy occurs when someone refuses to give a reason or evidence for their assertion, instead expecting others to trust their authority just because.


We started out by discussing this clip of Trump failing to give a reason why Mexico would pay for his wall:

Then we talked about this clip of Trump claiming to be an authority on lying and liars:

Mark’s British Politics Corner

Mark talked about Rishi Sunak skipping straight to claiming that the British people trust him with the economy:

“I know the British people trust me to manage the economy and they will not trust the Labour party. The right hon. and learned Gentleman might be focused on reparations around the world. We are focused on creating a strong economy here at home and that is what we will do.”

He then looked at Kemi Badenoch implying her status as Trade Secretary should be all the proof you need to ignore facts about trade:

And he finished with Jacob Rees Mogg waxing lyrical on the happiness of fish:

Fallacy in the Wild

In the Fallacy in the Wild we looked at this clip from Little House on the Prairie:

Then we discussed this clip from Sanford and Son:

And we finished by talking about this clip from Diff’rent Strokes:


Fake News

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

  1. People don’t realize, he was very upset when the Civil War started and if he was President at the time a lot of people say it never would have happened. We wouldn’t have had a Civil War if Andrew Jackson was in charge. Think of it. They tried to impeach him too, just so you know.
  2. He was able to handle pressure very well. If you think about a man that handled pressure, he was being bombed, it was over. Hitler was unstoppable at the time. I mean, people forget that at that time Hitler was virtually unstoppable. He was going through countries like cheese.
  3. You know they’re very good fighters, the Taliban, but they never fight at night, because they don’t have binoculars. We have given them brand new – thousands of binoculars. Better than what we have, far better than what we have, because they’re brand new. They’re the best.

Mark got it wrong this week, and is now on 47%


CNN is not a logical fallacy

We talked about CNN’s disastrous decision to hold a Trump Town Hall.


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

  • Trump is appealing, but only in a legal sense, after it took a New York jury less than three hours to find Trump liable for defamation and sexual abuse of E Jean Carroll last week. Newsmax somehow managed to claim this was a ‘major win’ for Trump, and Mike Pence said he’d never seen Trump sexually abuse anyone, while Trump himself of course claimed that it was a disgrace, and complained that the case was brought in New York, where the attack happened and where both parties lived at the time, because he could never get a fair trial there. The verdict was unanimous, despite one of the jurors saying he got his news from the right wing podcaster Tim Pool, who he described as ‘balanced’. It’s possible it wasn’t the makeup of the jury, so much as the complete lack of case put up by Trump, who couldn’t even be bothered to show up to the trial leaving the jury instead to watch his deposition in which he doubled down on the Access Hollywood pussy grabbing tape, called Carroll ‘mentally sick’ and said again that she is not his type moments before mistaking a picture of her for his second wife Marla Maples. For some reason Robbie Kaplan did not ask the follow up question I would have asked – “So are you saying that if a woman is your type, then you would consider raping her?”. Must be a lawyer thing. Trump’s lawyer Joe Tacopina went with attacking the victim as his brilliant strategy, asking why she didn’t scream or report the attack to the police, but stopping just short of asking what she was wearing. As attorney Andrew Fleischman noted on Twitter, ‘New York juries are so biased they will find a dude liable based on nothing more than eyewitness testimony, contemporaneous accounts of that testimony, other victims, failure to testify, a disastrous deposition, and a taped admission to doing the thing he’s accused of’.
  • I’m pitching a version of Dougie Howser MD but set in the world of politics where a precocious young upstart know-nothing becomes an amazingly capable Republican. He has a natural proclivity for cheating, lying, claiming unemployment benefits during Covid whilst he had a decent well-paid job. He inspires people to donate to his election campaign funds and then spends it on nice suits and shirts, vacations and hey yeah just giving it to his friends. The cliff-hanger for the end of season 1 would be him getting found out for all of those, but we’re so enamoured with his potential-to-be-president-one-day that we’re rooting for him and mouth along with “it’s a witch-hunt” in his Trump mini-me hairpiece and stupidly long tie. Hot tears of parental pride spring to our viewing eyes as he demands to be able to conduct his own defence, cos of course he can be a lawyer, he told so many lies about his education, his sporting prowess and how well it suited him for office, then why not law school as well as Yale, Harvard, MIT and playing for the Harlem Globetrotters even though he’s still only 8 years old. Wait? What? What do you mean it’s already on TV? Give me that remote – oh yeah, there it is, it’s already being played out by George Santos, live arrests and everything. Yeah no one’s gonna believe that, surely we can still option it as a reality show? We’ll take it to CNN to give it some credibility – oh no hang on…  
  • Ever since M&M fetishist Tucker Carlson was gloriously fired from Fox quote-unquote News, we’ve been wondering which straw broke the camel’s back. Was it his part in the Dominion libel case, the hostile work environment  that led a former producer to sue the network, calling Rupert Murdoch a ‘cunt’,  or, as I theorized last episode, was there something else yet to come out? Well, plenty has come out since then, largely thanks to Media Matters for America, who have released so many behind the scenes clips of Tucker being a huge misogynist or trashing Fox platforms that Fox asked them to stop all the news reporting please, because it was embarrassing them, which strongly suggests there is more and worse to come. However, the leak that everyone seems to accept as the smoking gun came from the New York Times, in the form of a text from Tucker to a producer. The text is a narrative about Tucker watching a video of a group of Trump supporters, as Tucker describes it, ‘pounding the living shit out of an Antifa kid’. Tucker recalls hoping they would kill him, and then feeling ashamed of that desire. On reading this, I wasn’t sure which of those expressed emotions Fox was more likely to have fired him for, but it turns out I’d glossed over the pertinent phrase. Earlier on in the text, Tucker had written “Jumping a guy like that is dishonorable, obviously. It’s not how white men fight.” I’d skimmed past this phrase not because it’s OK, of course, but because it’s exactly the kind of thing I expect from Tucker. Because it’s significantly less racist than most of the things Fox paid him to say to millions of viewers on a daily basis. And yet this, according to the New York Times, at least, was his undoing. We’ll see.
  • In a kind of Shark Tank for real moment Ron De Santis sought to prove his presidential suitability in the world of international business by finishing his tour of Israel, South Korea and Japan promoting economic ties with Florida with a visit to London last Friday. Once outside of the razzamatazz of his own circus sideshow and in a room of, shall we say, grown-up adult actual UK businessmen, DeSantis’ schtick didn’t impress. Like panelists on our own Dragon’s Den various business chiefs described the hopeful Floridian as “horrendous” “low-wattage” and lacking “stardust” adding “nobody in the room was left thinking, ‘this man’s going places’.” Needless to say, the U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch thought he was great and whilst they are desperate to do as many post-Brexit deals as possible to fill the immense hole in the growth of their home nation, the optics of striking some sort of “special economic relationship” with Florida might not go down well with the bigger fish they’re hoping to fry with Biden.
    In a true British understatement one business leader did have the good grace to describe DeSantis’ shoe-gazing performance as “fine”. Way to go Ron you’ve got the whole world on the edge of its seat, albeit so they can see around you for the next actual likely presidential candidate. Nope not for me I’m out! 
  • Herschel Walker’s Senate campaign was pretty unbelievable. By which I mean both that it’s hard to believe it really happened, and that you definitely shouldn’t believe anything he said. It’s certainly the only campaign I know of which featured the candidate revealing whether he’d rather be a vampire or a werewolf, but I’m hoping that will now be a standard question in the televised debates.I know it’s been a few months, but try to remember the fake plastic police badge he brought to a debate as proof of his law enforcement experience, his claims of graduating at the top of his college class when in fact he didn’t graduate at all, or his ever shifting number of children. And now imagine how monumentally stupid you would have to be to be tricked out of half a million dollars by Herschel Walker. Because that’s what happened to billionaire Dennis Washington. To be fair, it was an intricate scheme, worthy of Danny Ocean and his ten friends. See what Herschel did was email Washington and… ask for half a million dollars. And then, instead of giving him the account details for a super PAC, he gave him the account details for a company that Herschel ran, but didn’t disclose in his financial statements. By indicating the money was for his campaign, and funneling it into a private business, there’s a good chance Herschel committed wire fraud. And you would think he would know that, given his vast experience working in law enforcement!
  • Weirdly eye-patch-wearing-under-his-glasses leader of the Oath Keepers Stewart Rhodes is facing sentencing as the ringleader of a seditious conspiracy on Jan. 6, 2021 remember that? – the large and violent concerted 21
  • effort of Magas and Trumpists to prevent Joe Biden from becoming president? Rhodes looking at 25 years but is seeking leniency based on his years of good homespun service in having founded and run, a local, yet nationally-focussed, community organisation called er… The Oath Keepers! Yes indeed his lawyers argue “It is imperative that the Court give great deference to Mr. Rhodes for the 12 years of service and dedication of the Oath Keepers” The self-same organisation, that the government explained, Rhodes “exploited his vast public influence as the leader of” as well as “his talents for manipulation,” to inspire “twenty other American citizens into using force, intimidation, and violence”. Community service? Well I guess in the twisted world of protectionist survivalist conspiracy theory Q-lovers they’ve been doing a great job, him and his similarly patriotic brothers-in-arms the Proud Boys organization. Four members of which were also found guilty Thursday of seditious conspiracy in connection with the Jan. 6 attack. Their defense attorneys countered that the Justice Department was using the group as a scapegoat for the real person to blame for Jan. 6: Donald Trump. Who, as memory serves, isn’t, as far as I know, not being held to account for his part in it, or did I imagine that block-busting mini-series where Trump was quite heavily implicated in doing stuff?   
  • As we know, Trump hires only the best people. The trouble is, Trump thinks he is an example of the best people, so when he hires people just like him they end up being lazy, stupid and bad at their jobs. Take, for example, whoever makes Trump’s Facebook ads. Late last month they started running one with the caption “Under Joe Biden, America is a nation in decline” which features a picture of Uncle Joe looking kind of determined and badass, surrounded by a montage of images showing just how bad America has become under his leadership. The images are a burning police car during a riot, two gas station signs, presumably representing the rise in price, a group of migrants crossing a river, and that Chinese spy balloon superimposed on a Chinese flag. The only trouble is, the burning police car is from May 2020, when Trump was President. The cheaper of the two gas station signs is from November 2013, under Obama, and the photo of migrants crossing a river was taken in January 2020 – again, under Trump. And the migrants in the photo are traveling south, from Mexico into Guatemala.
  • The usual mid-term grumbles is how Sunak would like to have us think about the local elections in the UK last week. An utter disaster for the Conservatives is how everyone will actually think about it. Of 230 councils the Tories lost control of 48, and they lost 1,000 seats across those councils, including my local council which in 2015 had nothing but Tories now has no Tories at all – and also has one new yet familiar Labour councillor – me. Labour now controls 71 councils and the Tories only 33, Starmer hails this as a “prepare for government moment” but analysts are a bit more chary about it, saying the actual swing to Labour would, on these numbers, only give them a 1-seat majority in government. And whilst Starmer’s rhetoric is designed to get people to vote Labour so he can possibly enjoy a landslide victory à la Blair in ‘97 or even as large a number of vote as Corbyn gained in 2019, it may be more pragmatic of Labour to join with the other parties in coalition, usher in proportional representation, and guarantee the Tories never get in again. Meanwhile Sunak’s back must be filled with holes from myriad Brutuses – Brutii? – who seem to be gathering together even further to the right of sanity, Attila the Hun and even Nadine Dorries to try to slice Sunak out of the frame and usher back in that vote-winning son of a gun, the only one with a mandate, he was two leaders ago, but could be the new broom, drum roll please for the unforgettable, the trust-worthy, the recipient of several fines and criminal records, Bojo the Clown, let’s make the Tories Grate Again – I’m spelling that G R A T E of course. What else? Oh yeah the UK came second from last in Eurovision, Abba and Edward Scissorhands came first, whilst Labour-led Liverpool smashed being-the-best-host-city-ever out of the park!

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

Jim Cliff

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