Worst Case Scenario – FT#135

Worst Case Scenario – FT#135

Show Notes

The Worst Case Scenario Fallacy occurs when someone argues as if the worst case scenario is the probable outcome rather than an unlikely situation.

Trump

We started out by discussing this clip of Trump claiming he saved two million lives:

And then we looked at this clip of Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo lying about vaccines

Finally, we talked about Dick Cheney’s approach to potential terrorists, as told by Ron Suskind:

Mark’s British Politics Corner

Mark talked about Jeremy Corbyn fighting Worst Case Scenario with Worst Case Scenario:

And he followed that up by talking about this clip of Rishi Sunak scaremongering about AI:

Fallacy in the Wild

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

Then we discussed this clip from Frozen:

We followed that with this clip from Tangled:

And we finished by talking about this clip from Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice:

 

Fake News

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

  1. I’m for us. You know how you spell us, right? You spell us U.S. I just picked that up. Has anyone ever thought of that before? I just picked that up. A couple of days I’m reading and it said us, and I said you know, if you think about it us equals U.S. Isn’t that – now if we say something genius they’ll never say it. You know, we get 25, 30, 40, 50, 80,000, 100,000 people to speeches, they’ve never said Trump’s a great speaker.
  2. John Kelly is a very stupid person. Very dumb, with a very big mouth. He said that I said some horrible things about Veterans. It’s not true – I love Veterans. Before I fixed VA Choice – which, by the way, people had been trying to do for decades. Nobody could get it done, but I did it very easily. Before I fixed VA Choice, Veterans had to wait 20, 30, 40, 50, 65 days to see a doctor.
  3. We have the worst education almost in the large world. The – the world that people know about. Let’s say if you take the top 40 countries we’re about at the bottom of the list. We’re number 38, 39, 40. Norway, Denmark, Sweden, China. Think of that, China is a top five. We spend double and triple what every other country, there’s no country that comes close. We spend more per pupil and we’re at 40.

Mark got it right AGAIN this week (that’s seven in a row!), and is on 49.6%

 

Dominoes are not a logical fallacy

We talked about all of Trump’s lawyers and co-defendants who are pleading guilty in Georgia.

 

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

  • Hoo boy, was I wrong last episode when I said Republicans would need to pick a more moderate candidate to fill the vacant Speaker chair. Sure, after another couple of rounds of Jim Jordan votes where he lost support each time, they did nominate Minnesota Congressman Tom Emmer, but then Trump called him a Globalist RINO and after less than five hours he withdrew from the race when it became clear the MAGA Republicans wouldn’t support him. But then, out of the darkness, came the hero we didn’t need and definitely don’t deserve unless we’ve been very bad, Mike Johnson. Who? Yeah, that’s what pretty much everyone said, including politicians in his own party, like Senator Susan Collins, who told a CNN reporter she didn’t know him but would be googling him later, and Senator Todd Young who said “We just need a warm body at this point, right? And I think he qualifies” Oh, he thinks he qualifies, but he’s not prepared to commit 100%. Meanwhile, across the aisle, Senator Tim Kaine admitted he couldn’t pick Johnson out of a line-up, Congresswoman Summer Lee said “I don’t know anything about that man. Nothing at all”, and Congressman Jeff Jackson said he’d already googled Mike – a bit quicker off the mark than Susan Collins – and said “I know he’s from Louisiana, and that’s about it”. So, who is he? Well, I googled him, and it turns out he’s an election-denying young-Earth creationist who thinks homosexuality is inherently unnatural, wants to outlaw abortions and make it harder to get a divorce, and has blamed mass shootings on feminism and the teaching of evolution. So… fuck.
  • I seem to recall Trump said he’d throw himself in the path of the next mass shooting to protect potential victims – didn’t see him in Maine last week stumbling into view like an orange and more disheveled version of Will Smith’s drunken, overweight superbum Hancock. But never fear cos Hannity is here! Yep Fox News’ own superhero Sean Hannity has come up with his solution to prevent such appalling events happening again, and without upsetting the NRA donations to the Republican Party or upsetting the misguided, viewership who confuse any control of angry Fox channel viewers needing to actually own and carry an assault weapon in a downtown suburban environment especially if you’re not actually a soldier at war engaged in street to street combat with whoever has been declared the enemy; with an attack on the very Constitooshun of ‘Murica itself. Yep if ol’ Sean was faced with such an attacker on public premises he says he has a “personal security plan. I train in mixed martial arts.”  Now whilst his plan might seem to him to have worked this time, he’s still alive, that might have something to do with the fact that the Fox studios are a 7 and a half hour drive from Maine, so he didn’t have to put it into action. There is though, the thing that whilst the physics of solid materials maybe one of the things that the zen of martial arts teaches you to distrust, on the face of it going “hoowahhhhheeee” and stepping into a Bruce Lee crouch to gesticulate with a crook of your outstretched fingers “come get me” isn’t going to stop 40 rounds a minute of 9mm cartridges going at 2400 miles an hour tearing you to pieces, no matter how quickly you move, and let’s face it Hannity is no lithe Bruce Lee! Thankfully real MMA experts laughed at Hannity’s tweet pointing out the holes in his plan! What nobody has done though is call out the delusional stance about guns and “the 2nd amendment” that continues to ensure future mass shootings will occur and yet more thoughts, prayers and mixed martial arts will continue to be useless to stop them. Gun control now you idiots!   
  • In Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York, Judge Arthur Engoron is dealing with the Donald’s inability to keep his mouth shut by fining him. First it was $5,000 when it turned out Trump had not removed a disparaging post doxxing the judge’s clerk from his website as instructed, and then another $10,000 after Trump did one of his stand up routines outside the courtroom in which he called the judge partisan and added “with a person who is very partisan sitting alongside him, perhaps even much more partisan than he is”, very clearly referencing the judge’s clerk again. Judge Engoron didn’t believe Trump when he said he was talking about the witness, Michael Cohen, and said “Using imprecise language as an excuse to create plausible ambiguity about whether defendant violated this Court’s unequivocal gag order is not a defense; the subject of Donald Trump’s public statement to the press was unmistakably clear,”. Soon after, Trump stormed out of the courtroom and told the press “The witness just admitted that we won the trial and the judge should end this trial immediately”. Which is not how trials work, and also not what has been reported. This is exactly why Trump’s trials should be televised. Georgia will be, and Judge Chutkan is currently considering motions in DC. If she decides not to allow cameras, Trump will spend the end of every court day saying things like “Hillary Clinton showed up and confessed that she was behind everything, and she said I won in 2020, too. Then everyone cheered.”
  • You might not be surprised to learn that Tennessee currently ranks among the lowest per-pupil spending in the United States and among the top 10 highest states in teen birth rates. Thankfully there are billions of dollars of federal funding available designed to prevent and treat HIV and money that would help clinics serving low-income women as well as nearly $1.8 billion in federal education dollars — much of it targeted to serve low-income students, English learners and students with disabilities, and tens of thousands of dollars in federal grants that help monitor teenagers’ sexual behaviors and try to lower rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. But of course Tennessee being Gilead-in-waiting, the lawmakers there would rather not have access to any of the funding, and turn down those billions because it comes with strings attached. The strings seemingly being: help the poor, teach young people about safe sexual practices, and lower teenage pregnancies. House Speaker Cameron Sexton (Rep) comments “We should do everything that we can to be whole and autonomous and independent from the federal government,” “When you take federal government money, their philosophies and what they want you to do is different than probably what the state wants to do.” Memphis Democrat Raumesh Akbari points out of course that the Republicans “do not want to have to comply with education around sexual orientation and gender” included in the US Dept of Education’s curriculum advice along with the billions. Whether Tennessee can actually refuse the money given that federal funding is about 20% of Tennessee’s education budget, and whether Tennessee can find it from somewhere else without having to advocate cuts is yet to be seen. Of course the Dept of Education is right when it criticized the idea earlier this year as “political posturing” but it appeals to voters, and gives the Republicans the chance to set up the federal government as an enemy creating a problem only they can solve, whilst hiding the “let’s defund the poor” and “impose our own ridiculously strict philosophies but not like those nasty federal ones” subtext!
  • The deadline for Motions to Dismiss in Trump’s DC election interference case was midnight on Monday, and his lawyers had a few bullshit motions sitting around half finished, so they shoved them all in at the last minute just in case Judge Chutkan wasn’t paying attention and accidentally signed one of them. Their first motion claimed that all the stuff Trump did was fine actually, because you can’t prove the election wasn’t stolen and stopped just short of lighting a joint and saying “What is ‘truth’, anyway? Can you ever really know something? What if my reality isn’t the same as yours, man?” Motion number two argued that Trump was selectively prosecuted because Joe Biden pressured the DOJ. The evidence cited for this includes some of Trump’s own posts asserting as much on Truth Social. Motion three makes the bizarre claim that he can’t be prosecuted for all the crimes because he was already acquitted by Congress during one of his impeachments, and his lawyers once watched a movie called Double Jeopardy, and is that a thing? Seems like that should be a thing. Spoiler, it’s not a thing. And finally, they tried one where they claim the statute about conspiring to defraud the United States requires “deceit or trickery” and I assume while trying and failing to suppress laughter, the lawyers wrote “To assert that President Trump, as one voice among countless millions, was somehow capable of unilaterally “tricking” or “deceiving” these individuals, who include some of the most informed politicians on the planet, simply by advocating his opinions on this contentious issue, is beyond absurd”. Sure, it’s not like we have documentary evidence of exactly that happening thousands of times.
  • The Public Religion Research Institute PRRI has conducted a poll, they have asked the question designed to elicit a measure of whether American politics have gotten so far off track that “patriots may have to resort to violence” to save the United States. Save from what, fight whom, and to what end isn’t made clear by the survey or the respondents, but it doesn’t seem to matter. The results do – it shows that support for the use of violence has gone up in the past two years, peaking in its most recent survey at 23 percent going, this year, above 20% for the first time. One-third of Republicans surveyed believe “patriots” may have to resort to violence, up from 28 percent in 2021. In 2023, 13 percent of Democrats believe violence may have to happen, compared to 7 percent who said so in 2021. Twenty-two percent of independents now say violence may be an option, up from 13 percent two years ago. Breaking it down further the PRRI reports that Trump voters and those who think the election was stolen are more likely than their counterparts to say patriots may have to resort to violence (yeah duh!). 33 percent of white evangelical Protestant respondents said violence may be an option (*chin stroke emoji*), up from 24 percent. 38 percent of Trump supporters say it is acceptable to use violence to stop Democrats from achieving their goals and 41% of Dems think that’s what Republicans think. The poll doesn’t go into who patriots are, or what about violence from non-patriots? And what about violence from non-christians – ah glad you asked – non-Christian respondents jumped the most, from 9 percent two years ago to 23 percent in 2023 vis-a-vis violence is okay! So much for turning cheeks and just getting along and loving one’s neighbor etc non-christians includes Buddhists ffs!. Terrifying bloody stuff but thankfully the survey was conducted among only 2,525 adults, so that’s far fewer than the crowd of misguided, violent patriots that tore down democracy to save an orange man’s frail ego that Jan 6th – so that’s okay then… oh no wait aaagh!
  • The guilty pleas of Chese and Kraken deprived us of some entertaining TV trials to round out the year, and also deprived the other defendants of an early peek at the Fulton County DA’s case, but we did get a look at the defense strategy when it came to choosing a jury, because they submitted a questionnaire to Judge McAfee for his approval, which detailed the kinds of questions they wanted to ask potential jurors during voir dire. Traditionally, this is a process where you find out if any jurors have personal bias that they can’t put aside due to previous knowledge of the case, relationships with defendants, negative experiences with law enforcement, and so on. But it seems the attorneys representing Trump’s co-defendants have found a new and potentially time-saving strategy. Simply ask them if they plan to vote guilty or not guilty before the trial starts. Sure, that wasn’t literally one of the questions, but it might as well have been. Here are some of the statements they wanted to put to the jurors and ask if they agreed or not: “I think every single person who is accused of helping Donald Trump try to overturn the election should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.” “I think MAGA Republicans are mostly made up of radicals and White supremacists.” “I think anyone who publicly claimed that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump is guilty of spreading misinformation that undermines our democracy.” It’s a bold strategy, Cotton, and I’m sad we didn’t get to see it play out.
  • In British politics lately, Rishi 5 pledges are, predictably, in tatters – he is of course taking credit for the one that is slightly improving which still has nothing to do with him;, slight economic upturn of 0.3% in the 3 months to August, NHS waiting lists, inflation, small boats crossings and National debt all still remain above where they were when he made the pledges in January and are increasing in size. He of course is blaming everyone else for the fact that they aren’t making him look good, and thus also sidestepping the big blue elephant in the room; 13 years of Tory rule who asset stripped the country and gave it to their mates and then effed off to a lifelong ex-pm pension and peerage in the house of Lords. Speaking of spaffers – Boris Johnson has gone the way of every right-minded disgraced politician and got a job on GB News, so you can pay even more through the nose to be assailed in the ears by populist self-serving claptrap. Speaking of which, chancellor Jeremy “rhymes with” Hunt, is fiddle-arsing around the edges of the mahoosive £57bn hole in the budget to try to be able to offer tax cuts for the 4 remaining super-rich Tory voters before the next GE. He’s already scrapped the cap on banker’s bonuses – you know the thing that was put in place after the last world banking crash in 2008 to prevent unscrupulous bankers flogging dodgy stuff simply to boost their end of year extras. However, to be seen to be bringing about the change he said he would, before acting exactly the same as every Tory PM before him, Rishi has been advised to go one better and cut the actual Jeremy Hunt himself! Of course this won’t make any savings ultimately as he will be entitled to a life-long pension, possible peerage in the House of Lords and job on GB News. Still what’s the worst that could happen – oh no it already has – roll on 2024 – not just the Olympics, the General Election!

That’s almost all for this week, but here’s our AI-aided and minimally hand-edited transcript which is at least quite accurate, but not totally:

Worst Case Scenario – FT#135 Transcript

Jim: Hello, and welcome to Fallacious Trump, the podcast where we use the insane ramblings of the last shitty pumpkin left in the store the day after Halloween to explain logical fallacies. I’m your host, Jim.

Mark: And I’m your other host, Mark. A logical fallacy is an error in reasoning that results in bad or invalid arguments. And the logical fallacy we’ll look at it this week is the worst case scenario fallacy, also known as the just in case fallacy. Pumpkin, that is brilliant. It’s starting to collapse.

Jim: Uh huh.

Mark: And it’s kind of awful.

Jim: It’s a bit soft.

Mark: Soft. Yeah. Everybody’s fingered, picked up and went, no, I don’t want that, and put it back.

Jim: So the worst case scenario fallacy is kind of a version of the appeal to fear, which is an appropriate one to do for Halloween week. Yeah. And it is when someone argues their case based on the worst case scenario, rather than the much more likely probable scenario. In doing that, they’re appealing to fear and saying, look, if we don’t do something, or if we do do something, this is what will happen, and it’ll go as bad as it could possibly go.

Mark: It’s almost like living in the end result of the slippery slope.

Jim: And in our first example, we’ve got a thing that Trump has just referred to so many times in saying what a great job he did with COVID.

Donald Trump: Our early and aggressive action saved over 2 million American lives. We saw it. We had to make a decision. We closed it up, we understood it. We saved remember, we’re supposed to be 2.2 million people were going to die.

Jim: So he’s suggesting that 2.2 million people were going to die at this point. This was October 2020, so only about 200,000 had died in the US. Which is still quite a lot these days. It’s a bit higher than that. And he’s saying, So we saved 2 million lives. That’s just math, isn’t it? That’s how that works. What he always ignores is the fact that that 2.2 million people was a model that was done by the Imperial College in London based on no mitigation of the pandemic whatsoever. Not just nothing that the government like, not them not taking the appropriate steps to deal with it, but like, no individuals spontaneously changing their behavior in reaction to the pandemic. No one staying inside washing their hands more, no one wearing masks. The assumption was, if no one changes their behavior at all, that’s how many people could die. And regardless of however much Trump did, to tell people it wasn’t a big deal and they should just go out their lives. In those early days before he acted aggressively and early and locked down the country against Chinese people, some people were still going to take this seriously and go, actually, we should maybe just not go to Granny’s house. And that would have made a difference and did make a difference. So some of the stuff that the government ended up doing too late and too little usually made a difference. But that isn’t why 2.2 million people didn’t die. Basically, that would only have happened if they didn’t tell anyone it existed at all. And everyone went about their daily business.

Mark: Which is almost kind of what he did. Do it. He just got away. Yeah. Nothing to worry about.

Jim: Certainly at the beginning, he was saying, Ah, this is fine. First of all, they were saying, it’s not going to get to us, when it was just in China, won’t get to us. And then he was saying, there’s only like 20 cases and it’s going down, it’s going to go down. It could be zero very soon.

Mark: That’s right, yeah.

Jim: So he’s comparing how successful he’s been against how bad it could possibly have been.

Mark: Yeah.

Mark: Which it was never going to be.

Jim: Yeah. Not really the responsible, logical way to do it. Still on public health, our next example is from Ron DeSantis’s, surgeon General in Florida, Joseph Ladapo, who in October of 2022, put out new guidance from the Florida Department of Health saying that males between 18 and 39 should not take the coronavirus vaccine.

Tucker Carlson: The response to this is shocking. You would think people would want to know, because unless I’misreading that summary, this is a big deal finding, is it not?

Joseph Ladapo: Tucker, It’s an enormous deal. I talked to people and there’s been so much confusion, as you know, over the past few years, that people have trouble sometimes even identifying when something has so clearly crossed the line. So I ask people sometimes who are still hemming and hawing about this vaccine. If it had been known two years ago or so that this vaccine would increase cardiac deaths in young men by 84%, would they have approved it? The obvious answer is no. You would never give something to someone who was young and healthy and increased their risk of dying.

Jim: So that’s the basis on which they released that guidance in October of 2022, saying that they had new evidence that it substantially or significantly at least, increased the risk of cardiac death among males aged 18 to 39. The thing is, that is obviously a bad adverse event, a bad reaction if it is due to the vaccine. The evidence that those events that he’s talking about were due to the vaccine is insubstantial at best. He actually linked to the study that was done, and I’m kind of using study in inverted commas in a bit because what they did was they looked at, specifically in Florida, death rates for various causes. And they were looking at death certificates rather than medical records. They excluded people who had COVID from those numbers, supposedly, or people who’d been diagnosed with COVID The end number wasn’t big in terms of the number of people they were looking at, because they were looking at people who had died, who had, in the past 28 days, and in another part of the study, in the past 25 weeks, had the COVID vaccine. So the number was already reasonably small, and the number of people who had died of cardiac events in that group was quite small. And then when they reduced that out into the various different groups of males aged 18 to 39, 40 to 59, 60 plus under 18 females of those age groups, then they separated those out into those who had had mRNA vaccines and non mRNA vaccines, or didn’t know which vaccine they’d had. You ended up with about 20 people that they’re basing this on.

Mark: Okay.

Jim: It wasn’t published, this study. It wasn’t peer reviewed. When he released the guidance and linked to the study, it didn’t even say who the authors were or any other kind of conflict of interest information, anything.

Mark: About it at all, which you’d normally get with a medical study published and, ah, peer reviewed and all that.

Jim: Yes, absolutely. So Robert Wechter, chair of Department of Medicine at University of California, when he was asked, ah, to look at this, said we’re talking about a very small number of deaths. An extra death or two would potentially change the results, make them either more significant or less significant. I am hesitant to even call it a paper. It isn’t published anywhere. The idea that the analysis is being used to change policy, it doesn’t have the scientific chops to do that. If you submitted it to a peer reviewed journal. This is Daniel Salmon, the Institute of Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Uh, he said if you submitted it to a peer reviewed journal, unless you were paying them to publish it, it would get rejected. Putting out half baked reports from a Department of Health is a dangerous thing to yeah, yeah, that’s fair. The thing is, there’s benefits to getting the COVID vaccine. There’s benefits not only to the individual, but to society. The more people who are vaccinated, there’s no argument that there are never side effects to vaccines. Side effects do happen. Sometimes they’re fatal. Very rarely, and that’s a really bad case. But, um, cardiac events due to COVID way more common yes.

Mark: Than due to the vaccine without having COVID. Yes. So basically it’s the chocolate biscuit fallacy, isn’t it, where if we give every individual a chocolate biscuit, some people will die of heart failure, some people will fall pregnant, some people will miscarry, some people will get cancer. But it’s nothing to do with the fact that they had the chocolate biscuit. It happened afterwards.

Jim: And this fallacy is essentially saying if there’s even a chance that that heart attack or miscarriage or whatever was due to the chocolate biscuit, if there’s even a possibility, then we need to make everyone stop eating chocolate biscuits. That’s the only plausible thing. And that’s what Ladapo was saying, is that this evidence, this study suggests that this increases the risk of cardiac related deaths in this age group. Again, they separated it out into all the age groups. That was the only one where they found significance. Found it. And when you do a 5% p value, a 5% likelihood of that, these results are not due to chance. And you spread it out across almost 20 different groups one of them just is going to come up as significant. Yeah. They weren’t able to separate out any confounding variables of underlying health conditions or anything like that. They couldn’t do that. One of the things that they mentioned in the study is that there may be reasons why particular demographic groups might be more likely to have had an mRNA vaccine rather than a Johnson & Johnson. And we haven’t been able to separate out for that or suggest why those demographic groups might just be more prone to cardiac events and so on. So there was even within the study that he cited, they were saying, this is very small, we’re not really sure about know, don’t take these results to heart. And he’s like, well, everyone needs to stop taking COVID vaccines. That’s a bad thing. You’ll die.

Mark: Wow. Yeah. Let’s find the meager scrap of evidence that will back up what the stance we want to.

Jim: Take. And our third example is actually it’s a Dick Cheney example, but I haven’t got Dick Cheney talking about it. I’ve got Ron Suskind, who wrote a book about Dick Cheney called the 1% Doctrine.

Ron Suskind: It’s two months after 911. The Vice President has been given harrowing intelligence. Pakistani nuclear scientists have been sitting with bin Laden and Zawi Hiri right before 911, tenet and the CIA brief from NSC people are there. Cheney says something fascinating. He says, for these low probability, high impact type events, we need to think about them in a different way. Then as the briefing goes on, he stops the proceedings and says, here it is. If there’s even a 1% chance that WMDs have been given to terrorists, we need to treat it as a certainty, not in our analysis, but in our response. Those two things are fascinating. He separates… 

Wolf Blitzer: and that jumped out at you right away. On page 163, you write, a key feature of the Cheney Doctrine was to quietly liberate action from such accepted standards of proof, and it was affected. Suspicion both inside America and abroad became the threshold for action. Understandable, after 911 right?

Ron Suskind: It will be debated. The point is here it is. Here’s the real secret to the playbook talk it out. Is this what we want for America? We see both sides here, and the fact is, making suspicion the guiding principle of the world’s most powerful nation, creates enormous backlash. For instance, as somebody says, 99 innocent men are worth arresting so that one guilty man is captured. Reversing the normal equation.

Jim: Yeah, that’s the key to Cheney going by the worst case scenario. Yes, it would be really serious and bad if terrorists had weapons of mass destruction. So if we think it’s possible, we have to assume it definitely is true and react in that way. But that reaction has its own costs. And m, that’s part of the problem with this fallacy. By looking at the worst case scenario, you’re only looking at one side of the cost benefit analysis. You’re only looking at what would happen if the worst case scenario happened. All of the stuff you need to do to mitigate that possibility or to kind of deal with it if it were to happen, is the other side of it. And in the case of something like this, what that results in is suspicion becoming the threshold of you taking action. And that action impacting people who weren’t going to do anything, didn’t have the capability to do anything, and has a huge effect, and even not necessarily the obvious effects. The responses to just air travel. For example, first of all, the citizens’ reactions to the newly perceived danger of air travel given terrorist activity. But also the TSA starting up all kinds of new screening procedures and all of that stuff meant that it was harder and longer and more troublesome to get through an airport and meant it put people off going on planes. What that meant was, in the US. Where people were taking domestic flights, people started driving more and driving way more dangerous than going on a plane. Way more dangerous, yeah. So there’s a study called Driving Fatalities after 911 the Hidden Cost of Terrorism that says in late 2001, there were an additional 327 driving deaths per month in the US. That they believe based on what the research they’ve done were due to people driving more instead of going on planes for on domestic flights because of the perceived danger of the potential for the worst case scenario happening. The potential for another 911, or in some cases, just not wishing to be delayed by the TSA’s response to that potential worst case scenario since 911. In the kind of decade following that they were looking at, after the kind of initial backlash had fallen away and people started going on planes again, Even then, they say that in the following decade, there were as many as 2300 driving deaths that are probably attributable to the 911 attacks because people were driving. Wow. So that’s a thing. I wouldn’t have thought of that as an actual consequence.

Mark: Yeah, because immediately there was all the kind of hate crimes against anybody non-white.

Jim: Oh, sure, there’s many other consequences

Mark:  but that wow. Yes, that’s amazing, isn’t it? Wow.

Boris Johnson: And now is the time, I think for Mark’s British Politics Corner. 

Mark: So we’re going to whizz back to 2019 and in the run up to the 2019 general election, the labor leader was Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May was the Tory leader. And the campaign that Corbyn ran was based around the fact that he had got hold of some internal documents that proved that the National Health Service would be up for grabs for the US for the ongoing privatization of the National Health Service. It’s been going on for 40 years. He maintained that under the Tories and their Brexit deal, the NHS would hemorrhage 500 million pounds a week with the post Brexit deal with the US, which was kind of up against the 350,000,000 pounds a week that we gave to the EU. And that’s why we should get out of the EU. That could go to the NHS. None of it was true. So this 500 million pounds is actually based on a worst case scenario of the UK paying what the US pays for drugs, but it’s not based on what really would happen. The NHS in England spent about 18 billion on medicines in 20, 17, 18, running up to the year of the general election. The US spent 2.5 times as much per head according to the OECD. So multiplying 18 billion from the NHS in England by 2.5 gives 45 billion, which is 27 billion a year or 509,000,000,000 a week. But in actual practice, it’s highly unlikely that the NHS spending on medicines would end up being the same as the US’s because of where they get their medicines from and the practicality of all that stuff. Channel Four’s Paul McNamara accuses Corbyn of doing the same as Boris’s 300 million a week bus.

Paul McNamara: You once said that Boris Johnson’s 350,000,000 pounds on the side of the bus wasn’t just misleading, he was downright dishonest. You just said that 500 million pounds could be taken out of the NHS and handed to big drugs companies. That figure that comes from a report based on if every medicine in the UK costs the same as in the US after betrayal. The report also said they’re crude estimates and not precise analysis. Aren’t you misleading voters under your 500 Million pounds/

Mark: coming up with this figure as a scaremongering figure, It’s a policy decision to say, look, this is as bad as it could get, but then turn that into this is how it’s going to be, rather than it could be under these circumstances, it could be as bad as this. It won’t be because it’s not how it works, but comes up with a nice number that we can shout about and put on the side of the bus. In fact, they did a spoof of the bus with that printed on it. However Corbyn neatly turns the worst case scenario accusation to his advantage. In replying to Paul McNamara.

Jeremy Corbyn: Our figure of 500 million comes from an analysis of figures from the World Health Organization and drug prices and what we know of the discussions that have taken place between the NHS and US. Drug companies. And I believe it to be an accurate and a credible figure. Otherwise I wouldn’t be quoting it, and I’m very happy for anybody else to analyze it and tell me if I’ve understated the case and it’s actually worse.

Mark: so, notwithstanding his strange emphasis of and i believe it to be, he neatly plays the worst case scenario thing back at channel Four’s. Paul McNamara, by saying, yeah, you can come and analyze the thing. And he kind of restricts the way that you can do your analysis along the same lines. But it’s a good gag, very neatly done. Yes, you can come and analyze it, and you can tell me that it’s Worse than I thought.

Jim: maybe this isn’t the worst case scenario. Yeah.

Mark: Which is quite a nice way of, um, almost kind of refuting the accusation. Yeah. But surely you’re just using the worst case. You think that’s bad? It could be much worse than that. Ah, the second example this week, Rishi Sunak has been desperately trying to be a world leader. And he’s been in Washington attempting to position the UK as a thought leader in the world about worrying about security around artificial intelligence, AI. And actually, throughout the entire speech that he gave, he employs the worst case scenario fallacy in order to grab the headlines, because that’s kind of what it’s about. The whole thing with Corbyn was to grab people’s attention to, hey, look, we could lose this amount of money. He said, yeah, but only under specific, really bad circumstances in the same way that Trump said we’ve saved 2 million people. So what Sunak is doing, he’s employing the worst case scenario fallacy, whilst at the same time denying that he isn’t. So he ends up talking to Sophy Ridge on Sky News.

Sophy Ridge: Your AI task force chair, Matt Clifford, frightened me, certainly, because he said that we could be just two years away from II, being able to kill many humans, and the situation could be terrifying. It’s confusing. Can you paint a picture of the risk? 

Rishi Sunak: Well, I’m not going to get into this business of scaremongering people, because I think what people will say, well, hang on, there’s a new technology which we don’t fully know yet what it’s capable of doing. The creatives themselves have talked about risks on a scale, on parallel with nuclear war and pandemics. And when people hear that, they’ll rightly be worried about that.

Sophy Ridge: Do you disagree?

Rishi Sunak: No, but that’s why I’ve actually been bringing the companies together to talk about the right guardrails, to put in place to prevent those kind of things from happening.

Mark: I’m not in the business of scaremongering, but even the people that have invented it said it could be as bad as nuclear war.

Jim: Yeah, sure, it could be terminator.

Mark: Don’t worry, sophie ridge. I like that. Sophie Ridge refers to aye-ayes, those kind of sort of strange marsupials with one long finger in the middle that could at any point rise up and kill humans. Uh huh.

Jim: That’s the quiet ones you want to watch.

Mark: Watch for that long middle finger sticking it to the man. Yeah, but she says the advisor, your AI advisor has said, oh, yeah, this could kill all humans. Well, of course the AI advisor said that, because that’s what you want to be seen to be doing

Jim: it’s literally their job

Mark: Yeah. Can we come up with the worst case scenario so we can grab people’s attention, so that we can thrust me center stage, to talk about this shit so that I can have some kind of legacy?

Jim: Absolutely.

Jim: Imagine if the AI advisor was like, It’ll be fine.

Mark: Yeah.

Jim: It’s nothing to worry about. No, we don’t need to it’s fine.

Mark: Basically, we’re going to get people generating pictures of Taylor Swift.

Jim: I think people might go, um, I’m not sure we need you then.

Mark: Yeah, it’s fine. All the AI kind wrote a report generated by AI that just told him the prompt was, give me a report that Rishi Sunak will believe and be able to save his ignominious ass from his paucity. The poverty of leadership that is demonstrated.

Jim: Up till now, I imagine most of the reports from the AI advisor start have you seen 2001?

Mark: Yeah. So he’s not scammer angry, he’s using catastrophizing, a worst case scenario, basically, to distract from the actual worst case scenario that’s currently playing out for him and the Tories, insofar as he’s lost key by elections, MPs are being suspended for sleaze, which will trigger another by election that they will lose.

Jim: Yeah, I don’t know if you had the same difficulty that I had, but when I was googling trump worst case scenario, all of the articles were just Trump is the worst case scenario.

Mark: Yeah, exactly. That’s the thing. How does he talk about it when we’re living in the worst case scenario? So you’ve got to come up with something spectacular to distract people. And, um, Sunak is not spectacular. It’s basically some attempt to make some sort of legacy for his year, brackets S in office, and then he’ll be consigned to the sidelines for decades when the Tories lose the next general election. And the third example can’t talk about worst case scenario without mentioning Brexit. And the 2016 Leave campaign dismissed the then Prime Minister David Cameron’s remain campaign pitch with its couple of simple messages. Britain would be stronger, safer and better off in the EU, and leaving would be a leap in the dark economically. And Leave campaign dismissed these as catastrophizing and using the worst case scenario accusation and dismissed it in those terms, calling it Project Fear, which is a very useful phrase because the whole lead campaign was about nothing but two. Or three word memorable phrases that you could then hurl at anyone and it would ignore any objection point of fact economic warning signal as merely using the worst case scenario and thereby ought not to be listened to. And everything actually is just going to be fine. Don’t listen to those Remoaners. But if you fast forward to the present and even the right wing Daily Telegraph newspaper who advocated leaving in 2016 admitted in an article entitled six Years Later, project Fear was right all along.

Mark: The Hoosiers there with worst case scenario

Jim: So in the fallacy in the wild, we like to talk about the fallacy of the week from a non political perspective. And our first example this week is an example that represents this fallacy in anxious people, really, because catastrophizing is a common thing that people with anxiety tend to do in some cases. They see a situation in its kind of worst case form and see the bad and scary things about it. And that’s what sometimes makes it difficult for them to approach that scenario. Chidi in the Good Place great example of this. Uh, he often has trouble making decisions.

Chidi: Making decisions isn’t necessarily my strong suit.

Michael: I know that, buddy. You once had a panic attack at a Make Your Own Sundae bar.

Chidi: There were too many toppings, and very early in the process, you had to commit to a chocolate palette or a fruit palate. And if you couldn’t decide, you wound up with Kiwi Junior Mint raisin and just ruined everyone’s night.

Jim: The fear that making the wrong decision while making your own Sunday is going to ruin everyone’s night makes it impossible for him then to be able to cope with even simple decisions. That’s definitely a kind of worst case scenario. Thinking is, what if the choice I make or the way I act in a particular situation goes wrong? And how could that snowball into something really awful happening?

Mark: And that’s basically his entire raison d’etre throughout the whole of Good Place. I must come back to that. I’ve got two series to go. So good.

Jim: Such a good show. Yeah. So, sometimes people kind of impose this on themselves through that method of thinking. Sometimes they are just trying to protect someone that they care about, and they want to do whatever is necessary to protect them without necessarily looking at other side of the cost benefit analysis, such as in our second example, which is from Frozen. And this is where Elsa has accidentally, thanks to her ice powers, injured her sister Anna.

Grand Pabbie: Listen to me, Elsa. Your power will only grow. There is beauty in it, but also great danger. You must learn to control it. Fear will be your enemy.

King Agnarr: No. We’ll protect her. She can learn to control it, I’m sure. Until then, lock the gates. We’ll reduce the staff. We will limit her contact with people and keep her powers hidden from everyone, including Anna.

Jim: So, in an attempt to keep their children safe, elsa and Anna’s parents isolate their two children completely from the world. They don’t help huh her to figure out how to use or control her powers or teach her to not be fearful about them, because, as the troll said, fear will make it worse. They separate their two kids. So that the worst case scenario of Elsa hurting Anna again, like, worse, in a way that they can’t help doesn’t happen. They avoid that from happening. And what they end up doing is giving their two kids ah, a lifetime complexes, essentially a childhood where they grow up on their own, lonely and away from society. And that’s quite a big cost to.

Mark: The benefit they get. Yes, those kind of unforeseen circumstances, because the foreseen one is seen to be much, much worse than anything else. So we’ll avoid that at all costs. But some of the costs are this, which turns Elsa actually into some sort of icy psychopath.

Jim: Basically, she’s very misunderstood, Elsa. She wasn’t supported by her parents to use her powers wisely. Blame the bloody stupid parents. Anyway, speaking of bloody stupid parents. And it’s all their fault.

Mark: It’s a bit of a fairy tale.

Jim: Kind of consistent thing, really.

Mark: Yeah.

Jim: I was toying with doing a Disney exclusive one, but I had to use that Good Place clip. So, this one comes from Tangled. And this is where Rapunzel’s mother but not really her mother it’s an old woman who’s kidnapped her and kept her in a tower because Rapunzel’s hair is magic, and it keeps the old woman young. Uh, so she wants to keep her there. She doesn’t want her to escape into the world.

Mother Gothel: Mother knows best. Listen to your mother. It’s a scary world out there. Mother knows best. One way or another, something will go wrong, I swear. Ruffians, thugs, poison ivy, quicksand cannibals and snakes. The plague, yes. Also large bugs, men with pointy teeth and stop. No more. You’ll just upset me. Mother’s right here. Mother will protect you, darling. Here’s what I suggest. Skip the drama. Stay with mama. Mother knows best.

Mark: Skip the drama. Stay with mama.

Jim: Brilliant. Love that. So one of the ways she keeps Rapunzel there is to tell her that it’s absolutely terrifying out there. There’s cannibals and the plague and big bugs.

Mark: Yeah.

Jim: And if she leaves, she will definitely.

Mark: Encounter all these things, come across all of those.

Jim: So it’s just know I’ll keep you safe. So it’s a manipulation tactic, as the appeal to fear so often is. And our final example, I had to put four in this week, because this one, you might see a familiar.

Mark: Bit of familiar American idea.

Jim: This is from Batman v. Superman, dawn of justice, which is fucking awful. And Bruce Wayne in this film, he’s suspicious of Superman.

Bruce Wayne: Jesus, Alfred. Count the dead. Thousands of people. What, what’s next? Millions? He has the power to wipe out the entire human race. And if we believe there’s even a 1% chance that he is our enemy we have to take it as an absolute certainty. And we have to destroy him.

Jim: So who knew that Bruce Wayne was such a big fan of Dick Cheney?

Mark: There? Uh, you go, yeah, it’s such a right wing Republican.

Jim: I mean, he is a billionaire. So, um, I can’t say I’m super surprised.

Mark: I’m not too surprised. He’s tough on crime. Michael Keaton bruce Wayne was a lot less radical.

Jim: Absolutely.

Mark: He was just kind of nice guy.

Jim: I mean, in some instances, he’s quite a philanthropist. So, again, it may go the other way. I mean, that’s just so the Dick Cheney line that Superman, because he’s powerful, because he has the ability to wipe everyone out, we can’t assume that he is going to stay good as he seems to be at the moment, and trying to help people, chances are at some point, he’ll try and wipe us out. So if there’s even a possibility that that might happen, we have to assume it’s definitely going to happen. And we have to kill him.

Mark: Because we’ve all said by this point when this film is made, we’ve all seen Superman Three. So we know that it’s possible that he gets a bit dark. Yeah, bit like Spiderman Three, where same thing happens. It goes all dark. And his suit is made of licorice.

Donald Trump: So we’re going to play fake news, folks. I love the game. It’s a great game. I understand the game as well as anybody. As well as anybody.

Jim: Yes, it’s time for fake news. The game where I read out three Trump quotes, two of which are real, and one I made up. And Mark has to figure out which one is fake news.

Mark: Because I’ve realized that if I don’t play at all, that’s the only way to prevent appalling manipulation of the laws of averages and gameplay, and luck and fairness. And that would lead to the end of civilization as we know it. You mark my words.

Jim: Our theme this week is times when Trump couldn’t decide on a number to claim about something. For some reason, that just seemed to be a thing with a couple of these quotes that came up, and one of them has gone a bit viral and been in the news. So you might be in for an easier week. I don’t know if you’ve heard it, but I know a lot of our listeners will have heard it. So we’ll see about that. But.

Mark: I’m in France. I don’t give a shit about… it’s the only way to remain sane.

Jim: I’m suspecting most of our patron, um, and Facebook contestants will have already heard At least one of these. Statement number one:

I’m for us. You know how you spell us, right? You spell us U.S. I just picked that up. Has anyone ever thought of that before? I just picked that up. A couple of days I’m reading and it said us, and I said you know, if you think about it us equals U.S. Isn’t that – now if we say something genius they’ll never say it. You know, we get 25, 30, 40, 50, 80,000, 100,000 people to speeches, they’ve never said Trump’s a great speaker.

Mark: Yeah. that yeah. He’s going to also work out any minute now. That dog is God backwards. Yeah. It’s like he’s discovered marijuana really late on. Ah, you look at us, right? It’s like us. The US is us. What an idiot.

Jim: Yeah.

Jim: Statement number two:

John Kelly is a very stupid person. Very dumb, with a very big mouth. He said that I said some horrible things about Veterans. It’s not true – I love Veterans. Before I fixed VA Choice – which, by the way, people had been trying to do for decades. Nobody could get it done, but I did it very easily. Before I fixed VA Choice, Veterans had to wait 20, 30, 40, 50, 65 days to see a doctor.

Mark: Do you wait for 20? And then you have to wait? And then they go, no, you got to wait for another 30. It’s the Trump Bump. I was listening to somebody talking about Trump, and somebody like Tiger woods was playing on one of his courses. It wasn’t tiger woods. It was somebody like that. It’s the only golfer I can remember. And he said, oh, how did it you know, I managed to get one over par. But then Trump was he heard Trump telling somebody in the clubhouse later, oh, yeah, he went round four under par. He just, like, makes it up. And then he heard him again later on saying, yeah, he did a record 20 strokes for 18 holes. Did it?

Jim: What?

Mark: Yeah.

Jim: Statement number three:

We have the worst education almost in the large world. The – the world that people know about. Let’s say if you take the top 40 countries we’re about at the bottom of the list. We’re number 38, 39, 40. Norway, Denmark, Sweden, China. Think of that, China is a top five. We spend double and triple what every other country, there’s no country that comes close. We spend more per pupil and we’re at 40.

Mark: Yeah, but that’s because you don’t spend more per pupil, turns out.

Jim: Yeah.

Mark: They’re in three places 38, 39, and 40. Wow. And then there’s only four countries that he knows of. Okay. Um, almost in the large world quite like that. That has a genuine ring about it. Um, okay, if spell us right. Spell us us. That’s a long ranty thing. I’m not sure that would occur to you as a thing to write. Why would uh, then that little aside, he said I said some horrible things about brothers. It’s not true. I love brothers. Via fixed VA choice. Which, by the way, people have been trying to do for the case. Uh, suddenly now I’ve read it again. That feels very genuine.

Donald Trump: No.

Mark: Okay.

Mark: The large world, the world that people know about. Oh, no. Okay. Uh, it’s a toss up between two and three. I’m going to plump four, even though I think that little aside, which, by the way, people have been trying to do for decades, is a Jimism. Okay. Uh, worst education almost in the last world.

Mark: Okay.

Mark: I think number two is the one.

Jim: That you made up.

Mark: Okay.

Jim: And of the other two, which are you more convinced by?

Mark: More convinced by us. US. Picked that up. Anyone thought about that? Now I’ve said it. That feels like you’ve made it up.

Jim: And number one. Is real.

Donald Trump: And for us, you know how you spell us, right? You spell us U-S-I just picked that up. Has anyone ever thought of that? I just picked that up a couple of days, I’m reading, and it said and I said, you know, if you think about it, us equals us, isn’t it? Now, if we say something genius, they’ll never say it. We get 25, 30, 40, 50, 80,000, 100,000 people to speeches. They’ve never said, Trump’s a great speaker.

Jim: It’s weird. That revelation that U-S equals us was the thing that made him think, you know, no one talks about how great a speaker he is. I come up with brilliant stuff like that all the time. No one ever talks about it.

Mark: Anyone thought of that before? No. Nobody’s ever thought of that before?

Jim: Not since second grade.

Mark: 1776.

Jim: That’s the one that went viral. And I thought, there’s a good chance you might have heard it. I’m pretty sure that a lot of listeners will have heard it.

Mark: Uh, that is so good.

Mark: Wow.

Mark: And then that yeah, absolutely. That’s the thing. Dog is god backwards. Has anybody thought of that before? Yeah. And then we get 25 people up to 100,000 people, but they’ve never said, Trump’s a great speaker. Well, yeah. Weirdly, because he isn’t. He’s an awful speaker. We’ve been doing this for 135 episodes, and he’s not ever said anything great. Well, there’s been some good presidential type things that have been written for him, but then he can’t resist going off and making them not great by going off script.

Mark: Yeah.

Jim: So you also think that number three is real?

Mark: Yes.

Jim: The large world number three. Is real.

Donald Trump: We have the worst education, almost, in the large world, the world that people know about. Let’s say if you take the top 40 countries, we’re about at the bottom of the list. We’re number 38, 39, 40. Norway, Denmark, Sweden, China. Think of that. China is a top five. We spend double and triple what every other country there’s no country that comes close. We spend what, per pupil, and we’re. At 40, we spend double and triple. There’s no country that comes close.

Mark: Well, that’s not true. Because denmark. China. Norway. That’s why they are I’ve got a.

Jim: Really good yeah, except why are we assuming that any of this is true?

Jim: Yeah.

Jim: You’re using his words as evidence that the first obviously those bits aren’t true either.

Jim: No.

Mark: It should fall at the world that people know about. That is the moment where you kind.

Jim: Of he was obviously searching for a word there.

Mark: The whole wide world is basically.

Jim: I think he probably meant the First World, which is not so politically correct to use. If he said, like, the global or something like that, that would be fine. But he doesn’t understand that kind of concept.

Mark: You don’t think he was just thinking.

Jim: Whole wide world, the large world, the world people know about. Not the shitty bits that no one nobody knows. Yeah.

Mark: Important countries.

Jim: Yeah.

Mark: The stuff that people know. But he’s talking to an American audience, and I’m going to say it. That don’t know all of the states. Uh, anything outside Tennessee? Nope. Yeah, it’s all here. That’s.

Jim: All you like? I feel like it doesn’t need saying, but obviously this isn’t true. Right. The US does not spend more money than it’s certainly, like, nowhere near double or triple. That would be mad. These are figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. They look at public spending on lots of different things. And in 2020, the country that spent the most per student this is from primary to post secondary, but non tertiary. So not university education. Uh, it’s like up to 6th form college. I don’t know what grade that is, but Luxembourg spends the most by some way. They spend the equivalent of $24,864 per student on average for those years. The next one down is Norway, which is 16,484. So that’s quite a drop. That’s like two thirds of Luxembourg. And pretty much everyone else is in that kind of ballpark. Uh, the US is about fifth in the world. That’s about $15,000 per student.

Mark: Right.

Jim: When he says double and triple, everyone no one else comes close. There’s literally five countries that spend more. And to go down to double, you have to go down to Chile. Wow. They spend about half of what the US Spends. Greece. Uh, Croatia. Those are the kind of, uh yeah, if you’re thinking about just the countries people have heard australia, United Kingdom, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Korea, Iceland Austria, Norway, France, Italy, Ireland, Japan all spend basically the same. It’s like within kind of a couple of grand per student as the US. And in terms of how well those countries then do, because they say we’re 40th in the worst education in almost the large world. No, that’s not true either. That’s a lot harder to quantify because there isn’t a measure of who’s the best at education. Yeah, that’s a bullshit stat. That doesn’t mean anything except in, you know, how would you even measure that? I’ve found multiple different sites that claim to kind of rank the countries in educational order, and the US. Is usually in the top three or four of those countries. The worst one I could find is an organization called Pisa which is actually the Program for International Student Assessment. Uh, and they work with the OECD, and they do put China top. Right? But the reason for that is because China’s scores are based on pupils in Beijing, Shanghai, and kind of the provinces immediately around there. They just don’t look at the rest of rural China.

Mark: Right?

Jim: So the educational achievement in the biggest cities in China, where in those provinces, there’s 183,000,000 people out of 1.4 billion in China. So it’s a large number of people, but a small chunk of the population, they do well in those big cities across the rest of China. They just don’t look at that. So there’s no measurement for that. So you can’t say that. And where they fit on that list of how much they spend is way down, because a lot of that is in rural areas. They don’t spend much money, and there’s a lot of people in those places. And that’s the only list I could find that puts China in the top section at all. And again, it’s skewed by that. Even in that list, the US. Is in the top 20, and it’s surrounded by people like Norway, Switzerland, France Poland, Ireland. United Kingdom is a bit higher, like twelveTH. But the scores they’re getting, like, the United Kingdom gets 1511, US gets 1485, and they’re about ten apart. So it’s pretty close. We’re not doing twice as well as the US. On whatever arbitrary scale this organization ranks you. The Pisa system is testing the critical thinking of 15 year olds in math, science, and reading. That’s how they look at what the educational quality of those countries. Again, it’s quite a specific small section of education, and they are not necessarily looking at a representative portion of students in those countries. But that was the table, I found, that had the US. Doing the worst. Everyone else put them in the top kind of five or ten countries in the world.

Mark: Wow. So are they 40th anywhere?

Jim: No, not anywhere that I could find.

Mark: Right.

Jim: No.

Mark: Yeah.

Jim: And in no way do they spend twice what other similar countries spend.

Mark: No.

Jim: So, yeah, that’s all bullshit as usual. Yeah, of course. But I like to check in case one day he’ll say something true.

Mark: You never know, it could happen.

Jim: Uh, to keep an open mind.

Mark: maybe that’s the worst case scenario. That actually one day he says something that’s true. And we’re appalled by the thing that he says, and it turns out to be true. And he knows that it is.

Jim: Yeah. Okay. So from our contestants on the socials. We’ve got on Facebook, mary says, these are so good. I’m sure I’ve heard number one. Number three makes no sense in a way that is so Trumpian, it must be real. And I reckon two is fake. So yeah.

Mark: Well done, Mary.

Jim: Okay. Yeah. Rebecca says, I think it’s number three. I don’t think he thinks one wit about education. Andrew says, I want number one to be real, so I’m picking number three as fake news.

Mark: Yeah.

Jim: No, fair enough.

Mark: Yeah.

Jim: And on Patreon, Anders says, number one is the one you made up says which one are you most convinced about? I’m guessing number two. Uh, and I can’t beat Mark. I’ve already gotten it wrong 34, 50, 80 times.

Mark: By now. Very good. If they’re falling into the trap that I always fall into, which is I can’t believe that he would have that thought process. He doesn’t give a shit about any of that. So you just get angry rather than go no, actually, wait a minute. Is that a Jim tell or is that a thing? Yeah.

Jim: Well, your incredible streak continues. Seven in a row, something like that And it’s all going to you’ve only Got one more to go to be on 50%.

Mark: Have I ever been on 50%?

Jim: I think early on when the numbers were lower and one win could make more of a difference. Right then.

Mark: Yeah. Episode two, I might have been no.

Jim: I think.

Mark: It’s wrong. Probably up till up to.

Jim: Episode six next week, you could be on 50%. Wow.

Mark: For that blimey. Yeah. No, you’re not. Don’t patronize me.

Jim: I’ve got your back. And it’s time for the part of the show that this week at least, is called Dominoes Are Not a Logical Fallacy. Because nice. Trump’s lawyers are all pleading guilty in Georgia.

Mark: Yeah.

Jim: Not just Trump’s lawyers, because we mentioned it. Um, last time we mentioned that Scott Hall, who was one of the co defendants in the Georgia case, had pled guilty. Uh, but he was kind of a minor player. He was involved in the Coffee County incursion into voting machines and kind of attempt to take a voting machine. Um, so when he pled guilty, we were like, oh, yeah, that’s interesting. And he might have some stuff to kind of talk about. He might be able to testify against other people and give them more information. That’s great. One of the people who was also involved in the Coffee County thing and was charged with some of those crimes was another co defendant and Trump’s lawyer. And she pleaded guilty pretty soon after scott hall actually, she, um, pleaded guilty to election interference and made a deal. Basically, she was one of the two. Her and Ken Chesebro were the two who had asked for a quick trial, speedy trial. It was due to start on Monday, 23 October, their trials. And that’s, I guess, why the pressure started mounting, that either their trial was going to start or they needed to come to an agreement, come up with some sort of deal. And so Sydney Powell came to an agreement, which included her testifying truthfully against other co defendants and also paying some restitution and writing a letter of apology, which sources say that one hasn’t been released, but sources say might have only been one sentence long. Um, so I don’t know how heartfelt it was.

Mark: Okay.

Jim: I’m so really very sorry. I’m.

Mark: So sorry. I’m sorry if you felt.

Jim: Some offense, an apology to the people of Georgia, supposedly. But I don’t think the people of Georgia have got to, uh and in response, she didn’t actually end up with any jail time or even any felonies. Uh, she was on probation, essentially having pled guilty to misdemeanors. So, yeah, she’s been spared jail time, but has agreed to cooperate with the prosecutors and will testify in the upcoming trials of the other co defendants. Soon after that, Ken Chesebro, the other one whose trial was expedited, he pled guilty. He got a felony on his record, but also no jail time. Also had to write a letter of apology to Georgia people and also had to agree to testify truthfully in the upcoming trials. Wow. So the reason that I said dominoes, essentially, is because it seems like every time someone pleads guilty, it means the prosecution then get them as a witness, which is bad for all the people.

Mark: They did stuff for. The next bunch of then the next one along the line said, well, if they’re going to be the witness in my case, then I should actually plead guilty, because I’m just going to be found out.

Jim: There’s no point in exactly. And the thing is, Sidney Powell was involved in quite a lot of the Trump stuff. She was in that December 2020 meeting at the White House about how to deal with all of the kind of upcoming January 6 stuff. Um, and she will be able to testify to that. Um, the slight snag on that is the fact that it’s Sydney Powell who is not a credible witness in any way. Yeah. So that’s going to be interesting. And I don’t know how they deal with statements outside of court, because she’s already started saying she still thinks that the election was rigged and she was extorted into making her plea deal. But that’s through threats of jail works. Yeah. Absolutely anyone would ever make a plea deal. Yeah. Essentially, they’re saying, if you don’t plead guilty, we will have this trial and you will go to prison. And she’s like, well, you’re just extorting.

Mark: Me now. That’s the equivalent of blackmail. No, you will pay for the stuff. Okay, I’ll agree to say all that stuff. But somehow she’s got to protect her. I hesitate to use the word integrity.

Jim: No, you can’t.

Mark: She’s not protecting her position by saying, I only squealed because they made me. They ganged up on me and threatened.

Jim: To put me basically the reason why she will testify. But I, um, don’t know how it will go with the fact that all the time, between now and then, she will be saying out of court I did nothing wrong and I was made to plead guilty. And all of the people who I will be testifying against did nothing wrong and then going and saying completely different.

Mark: Stuff when she’s actually testifying in the yeah, yeah. Under oath, where she’s got to promise to tell the truth, otherwise she’ll end up in jail.

Jim: Yeah. Trump said, Sidney Power was never my lawyer, despite the fact that there is documentary evidence of her being his lawyer, including him. I never paid her, including him, saying, here are some of my lawyers. One of them was Sidney Powell. Uh but one of the people who was definitely one of his lawyers was Jenna Ellis, who has also seen the light and decided to plead guilty.

Mark: Right.

Jim: Uh, she worked very closely with Rudy Giuliani uh huh. And also Sidney Powell. So she is probably going to be able to say lots of nice things about what Giuliani did and the things that he knew and when he knew them and what he said in private and all that kind of stuff. She has said in her apology letter, which she read out in court, that she was essentially kind of led astray by bigger boys, by lawyers who had much more experience than she did. And if she knew then what she knows now, she would never have agreed to be Trump’s lawyer and all of that stuff yeah. If she knew then that she was going to be prosecuted for it and was, she wouldn’t have done it.

Mark: Yeah. That’s a post that kind of, um posits the delicious idea that Giuliani will take a plea deal

Jim: It’s not certain Giuliani to get a plea deal. I think Giuliani would have to specifically give them information against Trump because he’s one of the higher up ones. That’s the thing, is, you go up the tree. These ones are kind of, ah, sidney Powell’s pretty important in terms of the amount of access she had and the amount she worked with Giuliani and with Trump. But yeah, one of the benefits that Fani. Willis the DA gets by giving these plea deals this early, essentially, is that, first of all, she gets the guilty pleas that she doesn’t have to go through the trial. Trials, ah, are a bit unpredictable, even if you’ve got lots of evidence. Also, she doesn’t have to present all of her evidence for everyone to see, which was one of the slight drawbacks of having two of the co defendants kind of going for a speedy trial was that everyone else would get to see their case, the prosecution would provide all of the evidence in trial. So now she doesn’t have to do that. They have avoided needing to present all of their evidence. Which means that Trump and Co don’t know exactly what they’ve you know, they’ll have a good idea from what discovery they’ve got and any kind of attempted well, they won’t have had any deals offered by the DA. Because know, you deal to get someone higher up and Trump will be the one they’re trying to get mostly. But yeah, some of his co defendants will have been offered. In fact, we know that some of his co defendants have been offered deals because CNN has reported that Fulton County prosecutors have discussed potential plea deals with at least six additional co defendants wow. Who are charged alongside Donald Trump. So again, having got these people now on the prosecution’s side and given them fairly good deals to flip this early in the process, that is more of a kind of push towards the others to you know, there’s still time. The door is closing, but there’s still time to come over to the light side and testify against all the other bad guys. Uh, there’s still a few nice deals to be had, but it won’t be here forever. Um, so we don’t know exactly who all those mean. A couple of the others, I think. Misty Hampton, former elections supervisor in Coffee County, and Trump campaign official Mike Roman. Sources say they’ve been in contact with the DA’s office. Robert Cheely, one of the lawyers his lawyers say that they’ve been offered a plea deal, but turned it down. But we don’t know, obviously, all of the ins and outs and we won’t know until more dominoes start to fall. One of the interesting things is that Sidney Powell and Ken Chesebro are also unindicted co conspirators in Jack Smith’s DC trial. They’re mentioned, or they’re not by name, but they’re described enough that we know who they are in the election interference federal trial, having now pled guilty to a lot of the things that they have pled guilty to, if they become indicted co conspirators in DC. They will find it hard to go to court and say, I’m not guilty of these things having already said they are guilty of them, of those things in Georgia court. So that’s going to make it a lot easier for Jack Smith to get them to testify in that case as well, I suspect. And the other thing is, Jenna Ellis has been under fire. Not by Trump, who, as far as I know at the moment, hasn’t denied that she was one of his lawyers, but from MAGA. From MAGA supporters, because she initially asked Trump for money, essentially for her defense. And he was like, Right. Who are you?

Mark: I don’t know money. I just want you to pay me for the stuff that I did for you, and then I can use that for my defense.

Jim: So she did a kind of right wing kickstarter GoFundMe type thing right. Um, and raised $200,000, $216,000, I think, to fight her um, case, and.

Mark: Then pled guilty.

Mark: What happens to that money? And then has suspiciously bought an enormous RV.

Jim: Yes. Laura Luma, pro Trump nut job, wrote on Twitter, jenner Ellis scammed all of you who donated to her. I told you not to donate.

Mark: To this disloyal wow, that’s excellent. Hastily covering up the fact that she had wow.

Mark: Brilliant.

Jim: So, yeah. Um, I don’t know who will be next, but I would not be at all surprised if there are more.

Mark: It’s almost worth a fallacious Trump sized bingo card, isn’t? Could we could do that kind of.

Jim: Who’S going to be yeah.

Mark: Yeah.

Jim: We could do a sweepstake.

Mark: We could have a pool. Yeah. And finally, some things we really don’t have time to talk about.

Jim: Hoo boy, was I wrong last episode when I said Republicans would need to pick a more moderate candidate to fill the vacant Speaker chair. Sure, after another couple of rounds of Jim Jordan votes where he lost support each time, they did nominate Minnesota Congressman Tom Emmer, but then Trump called him a Globalist RINO and after less than five hours he withdrew from the race when it became clear the MAGA Republicans wouldn’t support him. But then, out of the darkness, came the hero we didn’t need and definitely don’t deserve unless we’ve been very bad, Mike Johnson. Who? Yeah, that’s what pretty much everyone said, including politicians in his own party, like Senator Susan Collins, who told a CNN reporter she didn’t know him but would be googling him later, and Senator Todd Young who said “We just need a warm body at this point, right? And I think he qualifies” Oh, he thinks he qualifies, but he’s not prepared to commit 100%. Meanwhile, across the aisle, Senator Tim Kaine admitted he couldn’t pick Johnson out of a line-up, Congresswoman Summer Lee said “I don’t know anything about that man. Nothing at all”, and Congressman Jeff Jackson said he’d already googled Mike – a bit quicker off the mark than Susan Collins – and said “I know he’s from Louisiana, and that’s about it”. So, who is he? Well, I googled him, and it turns out he’s an election-denying young-Earth creationist who thinks homosexuality is inherently unnatural, wants to outlaw abortions and make it harder to get a divorce, and has blamed mass shootings on feminism and the teaching of evolution. So… fuck.

Mark: Perfect. Republican fodder.

Jim: Wow.

Mark: I seem to recall Trump said he’d throw himself in the path of the next mass shooting to protect potential victims – didn’t see him in Maine last week stumbling into view like an orange and more disheveled version of Will Smith’s drunken, overweight superbum Hancock. But never fear cos Hannity is here! Yep Fox News’ own superhero Sean Hannity has come up with his solution to prevent such appalling events happening again, and without upsetting the NRA donations to the Republican Party or upsetting the misguided, viewership who confuse any control of angry Fox channel viewers needing to actually own and carry an assault weapon in a downtown suburban environment especially if you’re not actually a soldier at war engaged in street to street combat with whoever has been declared the enemy; with an attack on the very Constitooshun of ‘Murica itself. Yep if ol’ Sean was faced with such an attacker on public premises he says he has a “personal security plan. I train in mixed martial arts.”  Now whilst his plan might seem to him to have worked this time, he’s still alive, that might have something to do with the fact that the Fox studios are a 7 and a half hour drive from Maine, so he didn’t have to put it into action. There is though, the thing that whilst the physics of solid materials maybe one of the things that the zen of martial arts teaches you to distrust, on the face of it going “hoowahhhhheeee” and stepping into a Bruce Lee crouch to gesticulate with a crook of your outstretched fingers “come get me” isn’t going to stop 40 rounds a minute of 9mm cartridges going at 2400 miles an hour tearing you to pieces, no matter how quickly you move, and let’s face it Hannity is no lithe Bruce Lee! Thankfully real MMA experts laughed at Hannity’s tweet pointing out the holes in his plan! What nobody has done though is call out the delusional stance about guns and “the 2nd amendment” that continues to ensure future mass shootings will occur and yet more thoughts, prayers and mixed martial arts will continue to be useless to stop them. Gun control now you idiots!

Jim: In Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York, Judge Arthur Engoron is dealing with the Donald’s inability to keep his mouth shut by fining him. First it was $5,000 when it turned out Trump had not removed a disparaging post doxxing the judge’s clerk from his website as instructed, and then another $10,000 after Trump did one of his stand up routines outside the courtroom in which he called the judge partisan and added “with a person who is very partisan sitting alongside him, perhaps even much more partisan than he is”, very clearly referencing the judge’s clerk again. Judge Engoron didn’t believe Trump when he said he was talking about the witness, Michael Cohen, and said “Using imprecise language as an excuse to create plausible ambiguity about whether defendant violated this Court’s unequivocal gag order is not a defense; the subject of Donald Trump’s public statement to the press was unmistakably clear,”. Soon after, Trump stormed out of the courtroom and told the press “The witness just admitted that we won the trial and the judge should end this trial immediately”. Which is not how trials work, and also not what has been reported. This is exactly why Trump’s trials should be televised. Georgia will be, and Judge Chutkan is currently considering motions in DC. If she decides not to allow cameras, Trump will spend the end of every court day saying things like “Hillary Clinton showed up and confessed that she was behind everything, and she said I won in 2020, too. Then everyone cheered.”

Mark: Excellent. I love that. Using imprecise language as an excuse to create plausible ambiguity, that’s exactly what Trump does. And actually, Boris Johnson. That’s superb. You might not be surprised to learn that Tennessee currently ranks among the lowest per-pupil spending in the United States and among the top 10 highest states in teen birth rates. Thankfully there are billions of dollars of federal funding available designed to prevent and treat HIV and money that would help clinics serving low-income women as well as nearly $1.8 billion in federal education dollars — much of it targeted to serve low-income students, English learners and students with disabilities, and tens of thousands of dollars in federal grants that help monitor teenagers’ sexual behaviors and try to lower rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. But of course Tennessee being Gilead-in-waiting, the lawmakers there would rather not have access to any of the funding, and turn down those billions because it comes with strings attached. The strings seemingly being: help the poor, teach young people about safe sexual practices, and lower teenage pregnancies. House Speaker Cameron Sexton (Rep) comments “We should do everything that we can to be whole and autonomous and independent from the federal government,” “When you take federal government money, their philosophies and what they want you to do is different than probably what the state wants to do.” Memphis Democrat Raumesh Akbari points out of course that the Republicans “do not want to have to comply with education around sexual orientation and gender” included in the US Dept of Education’s curriculum advice along with the billions. Whether Tennessee can actually refuse the money given that federal funding is about 20% of Tennessee’s education budget, and whether Tennessee can find it from somewhere else without having to advocate cuts is yet to be seen. Of course the Dept of Education is right when it criticized the idea earlier this year as “political posturing” but it appeals to voters, and gives the Republicans the chance to set up the federal government as an enemy creating a problem only they can solve, whilst hiding the “let’s defund the poor” and “impose our own ridiculously strict philosophies but not like those nasty federal ones” subtext!

Jim: The deadline for Motions to Dismiss in Trump’s DC election interference case was midnight on Monday, and his lawyers had a few bullshit motions sitting around half finished, so they shoved them all in at the last minute just in case Judge Chutkan wasn’t paying attention and accidentally signed one of them. Their first motion claimed that all the stuff Trump did was fine actually, because you can’t prove the election wasn’t stolen and stopped just short of lighting a joint and saying “What is ‘truth’, anyway? Can you ever really know something? What if my reality isn’t the same as yours, man?” Motion number two argued that Trump was selectively prosecuted because Joe Biden pressured the DOJ. The evidence cited for this includes some of Trump’s own posts asserting as much on Truth Social. Motion three makes the bizarre claim that he can’t be prosecuted for all the crimes because he was already acquitted by Congress during one of his impeachments, and his lawyers once watched a movie called Double Jeopardy, and is that a thing? Seems like that should be a thing. Spoiler, it’s not a thing. And finally, they tried one where they claim the statute about conspiring to defraud the United States requires “deceit or trickery” and I assume while trying and failing to suppress laughter, the lawyers wrote “To assert that President Trump, as one voice among countless millions, was somehow capable of unilaterally “tricking” or “deceiving” these individuals, who include some of the most informed politicians on the planet, simply by advocating his opinions on this contentious issue, is beyond absurd”. Sure, it’s not like we have documentary evidence of exactly that happening thousands of times.

Mark: Yeah, and it still bloody happens. Which is why, yes, speakers don’t get elected. Jesus Christ. The Public Religion Research Institute PRRI has conducted a poll, they have asked the question designed to elicit a measure of whether American politics have gotten so far off track that “patriots may have to resort to violence” to save the United States. Save from what, fight whom, and to what end isn’t made clear by the survey or the respondents, but it doesn’t seem to matter. The results do – it shows that support for the use of violence has gone up in the past two years, peaking in its most recent survey at 23 percent going, this year, above 20% for the first time. One-third of Republicans surveyed believe “patriots” may have to resort to violence, up from 28 percent in 2021. In 2023, 13 percent of Democrats believe violence may have to happen, compared to 7 percent who said so in 2021. Twenty-two percent of independents now say violence may be an option, up from 13 percent two years ago. Breaking it down further the PRRI reports that Trump voters and those who think the election was stolen are more likely than their counterparts to say patriots may have to resort to violence (yeah duh!). 33 percent of white evangelical Protestant respondents said violence may be an option (*chin stroke emoji*), up from 24 percent. 38 percent of Trump supporters say it is acceptable to use violence to stop Democrats from achieving their goals and 41% of Dems think that’s what Republicans think. The poll doesn’t go into who patriots are, or what about violence from non-patriots? And what about violence from non-christians – ah glad you asked – non-Christian respondents jumped the most, from 9 percent two years ago to 23 percent in 2023 vis-a-vis violence is okay! So much for turning cheeks and just getting along and loving one’s neighbor etc non-christians includes Buddhists ffs!. Terrifying bloody stuff but thankfully the survey was conducted among only 2,525 adults, so that’s far fewer than the crowd of misguided, violent patriots that tore down democracy to save an orange man’s frail ego that Jan 6th – so that’s okay then… oh no wait aaagh!

Jim: The guilty pleas of Chese and Kraken deprived us of some entertaining TV trials to round out the year, and also deprived the other defendants of an early peek at the Fulton County DA’s case, but we did get a look at the defense strategy when it came to choosing a jury, because they submitted a questionnaire to Judge McAfee for his approval, which detailed the kinds of questions they wanted to ask potential jurors during voir dire. Traditionally, this is a process where you find out if any jurors have personal bias that they can’t put aside due to previous knowledge of the case, relationships with defendants, negative experiences with law enforcement, and so on. But it seems the attorneys representing Trump’s co-defendants have found a new and potentially time-saving strategy. Simply ask them if they plan to vote guilty or not guilty before the trial starts. Sure, that wasn’t literally one of the questions, but it might as well have been. Here are some of the statements they wanted to put to the jurors and ask if they agreed or not: “I think every single person who is accused of helping Donald Trump try to overturn the election should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.” “I think MAGA Republicans are mostly made up of radicals and White supremacists.” “I think anyone who publicly claimed that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump is guilty of spreading misinformation that undermines our democracy.” It’s a bold strategy, Cotton, and I’m sad we didn’t get to see it play out.

Mark: Wow.

Jim: Because they just Go, oh, yeah, you basically said they’re guilty. I don’t think we’ll have you as a juror.

Mark: Yeah. In British politics lately, Rishi 5 pledges are, predictably, in tatters – he is of course taking credit for the one that is slightly improving which still has nothing to do with him;, slight economic upturn of 0.3% in the 3 months to August, NHS waiting lists, inflation, small boats crossings and National debt all still remain above where they were when he made the pledges in January and are increasing in size. He of course is blaming everyone else for the fact that they aren’t making him look good, and thus also sidestepping the big blue elephant in the room; 13 years of Tory rule who asset stripped the country and gave it to their mates and then effed off to a lifelong ex-pm pension and peerage in the house of Lords. Speaking of spaffers – Boris Johnson has gone the way of every right-minded disgraced politician and got a job on GB News, so you can pay even more through the nose to be assailed in the ears by populist self-serving claptrap. Speaking of which, chancellor Jeremy “rhymes with” Hunt, is fiddle-arsing around the edges of the mahoosive £57bn hole in the budget to try to be able to offer tax cuts for the 4 remaining super-rich Tory voters before the next GE. He’s already scrapped the cap on banker’s bonuses – you know the thing that was put in place after the last world banking crash in 2008 to prevent unscrupulous bankers flogging dodgy stuff simply to boost their end of year extras. However, to be seen to be bringing about the change he said he would, before acting exactly the same as every Tory PM before him, Rishi has been advised to go one better and cut the actual Jeremy Hunt himself! Of course this won’t make any savings ultimately as he will be entitled to a life-long pension, possible peerage in the House of Lords and job on GB News. Still what’s the worst that could happen – oh no it already has – roll on 2024 – not just the Olympics, the General Election!

Jim: So that’s all the bad arguments and faulty reasoning we have time for this week. You’ll find the show notes at fallacioustrump.com and if you hear Trump say something stupid and want to ask if it’s a fallacy, our contact details are on the contact page.

Mark: If you think we use the fallacy ourselves, let us know. And if you’ve had a good time, please give us a review on Apple podcasts or wherever you get podcasts. Or simply tell one other person in person about how much they’d like our podcast and you can support the show patreon.com/ftrump. Just like our straw man level patrons Laura Tomsick, Renee Z, Schmootz, Mark Reiche and Amber R. Buchanan, who told us when we met her at QED we could just call her Amber, though another listener recognised her at QED this year because we keep using her full name all the time. And Our true Scotsman Level patrons Melissa Cytek, Stephen Bickle, Janet Yuetter, Kaz Toohey, Andrew Hauck, and our top patron, Loren. Thank you so much for your continued support. It really is very much appreciated.

Jim: You can connect with those awesome people as well as us and other listeners in the Facebook group facebook.com/groups/fallacioustrump

Mark: All music is by the Outbursts and was used with permission. So until next time on Fallacious Trump we’ll leave the last word to The Donald.

Jim Cliff
jim@fallacioustrump.com


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