Whataboutism – FT#127

Whataboutism – FT#127

Show Notes

Whataboutism occurs when someone who is accused of something tries to distract and derail the conversation by talking about something somebody else did, which is implied to be equivalent.


We started out by discussing this clip of Lindsey Graham invoking the ‘But Her Emails’ defense:

Then we talked about this clip of Trump defending the alt-right at Charlottesville:

And we followed that up with this compilation of Fox News whataboutism from John Oliver:

Mark’s British Politics Corner

Mark talked about these questions and answers from a recent Prime Minister’s Questions featuring Rishi Sunak:

Fallacy in the Wild

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

Then we discussed this clip from Dallas:

And we finished by talking about this clip from House MD:


Fake News

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

  1. We have aggressively canceled job-killing regulations, and we’re unleashing job-creating American energy like we’ve never unleashed before. We’ve ended the war on beautiful, clean coal, and it’s just been announced that a second, brand-new coal mine, where they’re going to take out clean coal — meaning, they’re taking out coal. They’re going to clean it — is opening in the state of Pennsylvania, the second one.
  2. What a lot of people don’t realize is that — the Obama administration didn’t understand this. Remember? They said we’re going to get rid of coal miners. But coal — actually, I don’t even call it coal, I call it clean coal. Beautiful clean coal. Because they can do things now that nobody ever even thought of before and what it does is it cleans the coal so it’s better than even wind, which frankly, is a disaster. It’s clean coal.
  3. My stance on coal is very simple. We right now are destroying an industry. We are destroying an industry and coal was, you know, it did things for us for many, many years. And we send our coal to China and China burns the coal and whatever — they have no cleaning method. They don’t care about it. I felt — feel very strongly, you know, they have clean coal now. They have machinery that cleans coal. And my stance on coal is very positive.

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


Clinton’s Socks are not a logical fallacy

We talked about the Clinton’s Socks case, and why it isn’t the great defense Trump thinks it is.


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

  • Even Alan Dershowitz has called the audio of Trump showing people classified documents “If not a smoking gun, certainly a gun with Trump’s fingerprints on it”, but the man himself is undaunted and continued his usual practice of telling people they didn’t hear what they very clearly heard. He told Semafor and ABC “I would say it was bravado, if you want to know the truth, it was bravado. I was talking and just holding up papers and talking about them, but I had no documents. I didn’t have any documents.” Juries love it when your defence is “I was lying then, but now I’m telling the truth”, so that’s sure to work. Even Fox News pointed out to Trump that he’d specifically said on the audio, they were plans he was showing, to which he replied “Did I use the word plans? What I’m referring to is magazines, newspapers, plans of buildings. I had plans of buildings. You know, building plans? I had plans of a golf course.” Which is a really weird lie when you’ve already claimed that the papers you’re audibly waving around aren’t what you were audibly claiming they were. You don’t have to make up an extra bullshit lie to justify the use of the word plans when you can just say. “I’ve already said it was bravado. I didn’t have any plans”. He’s so bad at lying, which if anything, totally disproves Malcom Gladwell’s 10,000 hours theory, because Trump’s hours of lying practice must be in the hundreds of thousands by now.
  • When I was little, stores used to encourage loyalty by issuing their own coupons the size of postage stamps and if you got enough stuck in a book  you could redeem them against products in that store, you couldn’t spend them in other stores, nor were they worth anything, I can remember reading the tiny small print that stated this is has a face value of 0.00003 pence. There was also a series of metallic coins with pictures of the space race stamped on them issued at Shell gas stations during the early years of the Nasa space programme, and even as kids we knew the candy store was never going to take those! However some of Trump’s most ardent/ignorant patrio/idio tic supporters have been buying up Trump Bucks – and believing, cos who wouldn’t; after all why hasn’t he got his head on a dollar bill or a nickel – he’s every bit as good as Franklin or Lincoln. The sellers of these products kinda claim that they’re endorsed by Trump using an AI generated Trump voice – or Jim – to say as much. And those who buy these items, the ads from Patriots Dynasty, Patriots Future and USA Patriots suggest, will be rewarded when Trump unveils a new monetary system that will turn these products into legal tender worth far more than the purchase price. At which point I’d be all shark-tanky and “I’m out!” But no, one Alabama grandmother, and yes there’s others from Florida of course, says she was initially fooled by the AI version of Trump she saw in the ads. She trusted Trump’s supposed business acumen and thought this was a good investment to have something to leave behind for her children. “Now I realize, well, that was stupid,” she said. “But I bought them because I believed President Trump, because he knows all about finance, and he was going to help the real Trump Patriots get rich.” Her grandchildren had to get her to go into the Bank of America to try and cash them in order for her to believe it! They must’ve also gone next door to the local law office to get a living power of attorney over her finances surely! Noah Christopher administrator of WeLovetrump on Telegram is incensed that such fakery is being proliferated using Trump’s “brand” and warned his subscribers to be wary – Well Patriots you’re gonna reap just what you sow – except it’ll be worth a lot less than what you’ve sown – yeah there is that! Especially if you watch one of the Trump Bucks ads right to the end the (AI) narrator ‘John’ says in the equivalent of tiny print “Trump Bucks are not legal tender.” Meanwhile someone – possibly Trump is getting rich – so there’s that!
  • It was the Supreme Court’s last week of rulings before they break for the summer, so naturally they pulled some evil shit, most of which we’ll talk about on our next episode, but for starters, they ruled that a web designer was totally allowed to put up the modern equivalent of a ‘No Blacks, no Irish’ sign on their website because she believed in the right invisible sky wizard. Colorado web designer Lorie Smith does not make wedding websites, nor has anyone asked her too. But she felt that if she did decide to start making wedding websites, she would obviously have to write something on her homepage to make it clear she wouldn’t work for any icky same sex couples because ewww. But because of those pesky anti-discrimination laws in Colorado, some people might think SHE was the one in the wrong here. So despite the fact that she has never been asked by anybody to make a website for a same sex wedding, she sued the State of Colorado and obviously lost, because she’s the one in the wrong. She appealed to a federal court and obviously lost again, because courts have to follow the law, and the law is very clear. So she appealed to the Supreme Court, which doesn’t have to follow the law and gets to do whatever they want, or at least whatever the billionaires who fund their lavish lifestyles tell them to do. The fact that there was no ‘live case or controversy’ meant that the various courts should not have been able to rule on this at all, because they want to discourage people from using up court time and resources on hypothetical questions, so Smith claimed a same sex couple called Stewart and Mike had asked for a website she didn’t want to make, and even included their contact details in the lawsuit. Unfortunately for her, journalists exist and the ones at The New Republic decided to do more due diligence than any of the courts or lawyers involved in the case and actually called Stewart. He was surprised to hear that he was named in the lawsuit, especially since he’s already married, he’s not gay, and he’s actually a web designer himself, so wouldn’t need to avail himself of Lorie’s services.  
  • Of course the Trump presidential candidacy campaign would tell you their man is on fire, and bound to burn up the other contenders in a six-pumper conflagration (well if they were good at multi-syllabic metaphors they would). Turns out they’re not wrong – in a thing that reminds me of when a company asked the general public to name a new exploration ship only to end up with Boaty McBoatface, it appears that residents wrote in to the Hubbard Rural Fire Protection District to propose people to sit on the board – and Trump got proposed, by two write-in votes, and won out over five other candidates who also got two votes, by a roll of a dice. Apparently unperturbed by the solely mail-in balloting or by the actual throwing of multiple rolls of 12-sided dice in a tiebreaker to decide a vote, Trump’s presidential campaign has not yet responded to a request for comment. However since residency in the 5,000-strong district is a prerequisite for taking up the position, there’s a chance that local fire chief Michael Kahrmann will ask one of the other local candidates if they want the role. Astonishingly election records show Trump also earned two votes to serve on the board of the nearby Marion County Fire District in the county’s local election, though he was beat out by other candidates in that race. Among the other write-in candidates for that role were Smokey the Bear, Snoop Dogg, Snoopy (the dog), actor Timothee Chalamet and…. Mickey Mouse, who earned six votes.
    Okay so a former president of the USA couldn’t get sufficient votes to beat Mickey Mouse in a local election – I wonder what kind of phone Trump was calling around on to try and get those one or two tens of thousands of votes with a hope in hell!!!? 
  • Imagine being a right winger so unbelievably awful that even Marjorie Taylor Greene can’t stand you. Well, that’s Lauren Boebert for you. At first glance you’d imagine these two screeching bigots would be BFFs and rule Congress like the Heathers, or Regina George and the Plastics, but in fact they are so unpleasant to be around that they even irritate each other. The running feud between the Real Housewives of DC came to a head last week when MTG called Bobo a “little bitch” on the House floor, and when asked to elaborate by Semafor, she clarified that “She has genuinely been a nasty little bitch to me”. You’re probably wondering where this deep-seated resentment comes from. Did Boebert make fun of MTG for thinking someone was trying to kill her through her TV this week? Did MTG make fun of Boebert because professional wrestler Stan Lane took two DNA tests so he could prove he wasn’t her father because people saying he was was tarnishing his reputation? No, the reason for the feud is of course the stupidest one possible. They’re fighting over who gets to be the one to try to impeach Joe Biden despite having no actual basis to do so. Each one is yelling that the other one is only doing it for publicity and fundraising purposes. They’re both right, of course, which is probably the first time that’s happened. Let them fight.
  • An Indiana chapter of the group Moms For Liberty – and let’s face it any group that divides itself into sub-groups called chapters is asking for comparisons to ever-so-slightly-extreme groups like, say, the Hells Angels perhaps? Anyway they have objected to being called an extremist group. We are not an extremist group they insisted, publishing as much in their recent newsletter called “The Parent Brigade” – again I don’t know about you but I’m hearing some tiny alarm bells! To express their zeal and enthusiasm for supporting youth in their dedication to “parental rights” and focus on fighting school programs aimed at promoting LGBT inclusion, awareness of racism, and diversity they included the quote; “He alone, who OWNS the youth, GAINS the future.” The keen-eyed historians among you will note that it’s not using the reductio ad Hitlerum fallacy – this time –  to point out that the quote comes from one A Hitler’s speech from 1935. “We condemn Adolf Hitler’s actions and his dark place in human history,” Paige Miller, the chairwoman of the Hamilton County Moms For Liberty, wrote in an update posted to the group’s Facebook page. “We should not have quoted him in our newsletter and we express our deepest apology.” After posting the update and apology on Thursday, the Hamilton County Moms For Liberty Facebook group returned to its normal business, which apparently includes attacking a local school and performing arts center for hosting LGBTQ pride events and initiatives. So yeah condemnation of Hitlerian ideals indeed!   
  • The Washington Post reported last week that after losing the November 2020 election Trump called the Republican governor of a southern state which Trump lost by around 11,000 votes to pressure him into trying to overturn the election by ‘finding’ the right number of fraudulent votes. No, I didn’t press the wrong button and start playing a headline from episode 66, and the Washington Post hasn’t started recycling stories to save on journalists salaries. This story is about Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, who received a cut and paste call from Trump in late 2020, but unfortunately, unlike Georgia’s Brad Raffensperger, didn’t record his one. According to the Post, “four people familiar with the call said Trump spoke specifically about his shortfall of more than 10,000 votes in Arizona and then espoused a range of false claims that would show he overwhelmingly won the election in the state and encouraged Ducey to study them.” As of yet it’s not clear whether Jack Smith has contacted Doug Ducey yet, but then he only spoke to Brad Raffensperger last Wednesday, so there’s still plenty of time!
  • Britpol – This last week in the UK – yes unnervingly bank lending rates have gone up to 5% cos inflation isn’t where it is vis-a-viis Rishi’s pledge when he came into office i.e. half of the current 10%, as with all the other pledges they are shifting chimeras of foggy sand, the kind of thing that if it goes well and according to plan there is electoral credit to be had, but if it all goes horribly wrong, cos they’re the kinds of things the government, even this out of control government, has no control over, then Rishi can wash his tiny hands and walk away back into his mousehole whistling the tune Cameron did when he fucked up the referendum. Speaking of control – Nadine and Jacob who bleated on about how we could take back control of our sovereignty and have government police itself rather than from Brussels, were found to be very probably in breach of the ministerial code for bringing the committee investigating Boris into disrepute by peddling the kangaroo court angle. The pair are now, in the face of parliament sovereignly and firmly taking control of policing the government, now bleating that it’s not fair and what about freedom of speech, yeah what about libel and slander you dimwits sorry Sir Dimwit! More control has been exerted by a British sovereign court of appeal who deemed that Braverman’s Rwanda shipping refugee deal is actually illegal and that Rwanda isn’t safe thus breaching the UN Human Rights treaty. Not satisfied with that Braverman in true Tory fashion will simply leave the club that has those rules – thus threatening to withdraw the UK from the Treaty – one that the UK actually wrote most of in the first place. Vanity vanity all is vanity and the sooner they’re on the bonfire of it the better. It’s actually quite relaxing being in riotous France in comparison!

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

Jim Cliff

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial