26 Aug Appeal to Force – FT#32
Appeal to Force, or Argumentum Ad Baculum, is a fallacy where someone tries to use pressure or threat to get their opponent to accept their position instead of using logical arguments and persuasion.
We started out with this excerpt of an interview the Donald did with Breitbart:
You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. OK? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump—I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough—until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.
Then we talked about this tweet in which he threatened the Democrats with Senate investigations unless the House stopped looking into his crimes:
If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level. Two can play that game!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2018
In Mark’s British Politics Corner, we talked about the following three clips of Nigel Farage comparing the fight for Brexit with an actual fight:
And then we discussed Corbyn’s invocation of Shelley’s poem, written in the wake of the Peterloo massacre, to get the masses fired up against their oppressors:
In the Fallacy in the Wild, we talked about this clip from Star Wars: A New Hope:
Then we discussed a clip from Transformers: Age of Extinction:
Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game:
- Because of what I stand for and represent and nobody has ever had, I think 93 percent — it came out the other day, 93 percent, and I’m talking about stories that should be good, they make them bad or should be great, they make them like neutral. And yet I won, and I’ll win again. So when they say it’s the most powerful, it may be, but they were against me. Facebook was against me. They were all against me.
- We have a huge problem in this country and the truth is that it’s very sad and, frankly kind of disgusting, and I call it hate. I don’t know another word for it. The hate coming from the left is so strong it doesn’t matter how great I am or how great I make America, they just fight me at every turn. And they have all these made up reasons for hating me — first it was Russia, now it’s racism.
- It’s a phenomena that started two years ago. It’s disgraceful. I’m going to maybe and I’m looking at it very seriously, we’re doing some other things that you probably noticed like some of the very important things that we’re doing now. But we’re looking at it very seriously because you can’t do that. You can’t have what’s happening — where police officers are getting sick just by walking the beat.
Click below for the answer
Mark got it right this week, and now he’s on 13/31, or roughly 42%.
We then talked about the apparent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein and discussed the conspiracy theories on both sides and what the facts actually point to.
And finally, here are the stories we really didn’t have time to talk about:
- As an international businessman of some repute, Trump refuses to limit his financial crimes to just the US. The Huffington Post has compared official documents filed by Trump in the US and the UK regarding Trump’s Scottish golf courses. According to his 2018 public financial disclosure forms to the US Office of Government Ethics, the two courses were worth a combined $100 million, and earned an income of $23.8 million that year. However, his filings with the UK’s Companies House tell a different story. One where the courses lost $6.3 million during that period, and claims that they have a combined value of negative $68.4 million. HuffPo found similar discrepancies in previous years, and for Trump’s Irish golf course at Doonbeg in County Clare. In his attempt to appear super wealthy to the US and very poor to the UK tax man, he’s either lied on his financial disclosure forms, which carries a jail term of up to five years, or he’s criminally defrauded the British government out of millions of pounds. Or both. Let’s face it, it’s almost certainly both.
- Whilst the rest of the world was reeling at the ‘send her back’ racist nature of Trump’s speech in Greenville last month Paul Hardesty West Virginia’s State Senator didn’t pay much attention until the third caller on his phone complained about Trump using the Lord’s name in vain; when Islamic State militants would be “hit so goddamn hard”, and non-Trump supporting wealthy businessmen would be “so goddamn poor”. Never mind Trump’s two divorces, extramarital affairs, and historic support for abortion rights it’s this issue that has recently hit a nerve among white evangelicals who are some of the president’s most reliable supporters and constitute much of Hardesty’s district. “Carelessly invoking the Lord’s name in a fit of anger is one thing,” said one of the pro-Trump pastors. “But repeatedly doing it for shock value … that does raise questions about the president’s respect for people of faith.” I have questions about his respect for humanity.. Quote continues “We all wish he would be a little more careful with his language, but it’s not anything that’s a deal breaker, and it’s not something we’re going to get morally indignant about.” Neither apparently is separating parents from their children and keeping them in cages. What would Jesus have to goddam say about that d’ya think?
- There’s three days between me recording this and you hearing it, so it’s impossible to say what Trump’s stance will be by then on background checks for gun purchases. After the Dayton and El Paso shootings, Ivanka apparently lobbied for background checks, and Donald was totally on board, saying we can do very meaningful background checks like you’ve never seen and explicitly dismissing the NRA’s slippery slope argument against them, saying “I don’t agree with that”. Then last Tuesday, after he spoke with Wayne LaPierre, head of the NRA, he told reporters we already have very strong background checks, but there are weaknesses to fix, and then expressed concern that whatever they do, Democrats would want more, and literally called it a slippery slope. Looks like Ivanka’s going to have to try harder if she wants to compete with the NRA. Maybe a lower cut top or a tighter dress would do it.
- Illegitimate, manifestly-unfit, corrupt, popular-vote-losing U.S. President Donald Trump is eyeballing a new real-estate purchase, the Wall Street Journal reports: Greenland. Apparently Trump has listened with interest in discussions about Greenland’s abundant natural resources and asked about acquiring it for the US, like that’s even a thing you can do – well without going to war! Greenland is an independent self-governing part of the Kingdom of Denmark and Denmark has a strict rule on not selling real estate to non-Danes, perhaps Donny had his eye on a casino but was not eligible to buy it so like Victor Kayam he thought “hey I’ll buy the whole island – that way he gets to be King and “make my own rules – ner ner ner ner ner” Either that or he thinks Superman’s retreat is real and that would make a good hideout and what better place to be cryogenically frozen than in the Arctic Circle whilst still being able to walk around – ah no dur he’s doing that already…
- Last Monday, Trump accused the 80% of American Jews who voted Democrat of showing ‘either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty’, and not a single Republican politician thought that might be a bit anti-semitic. It also wasn’t even the most batshit crazy thing he would say about religion last week. On Wednesday he sent a series of three tweets quoting conspiracy theorist and Evangelical Christian Wayne Allyn Root about how much Jewish people love Trump, including saying that they “love him like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God.” Then later that same day, while talking to reporters about Chinese tariffs, Trump looked up to the heavens and said “I am the chosen one”. I know that sounds like I made it up for the fake news game after sustaining a serious head injury, but unfortunately, that one…. is real.
- The 1973 Endangered Species Act bans harassing, hurting or capturing species deemed endangered, and it requires agencies to enact rules designed to protect their ecosystems. The survival and recovery of the American Bald Eagle, no less, is attributed to the protection afforded by this act. Trump is of course scaling back the act cos it’s a burden to businesses. But of course the views of all those dozens of bear-fur hat manufacturers and eagle-feather pillow–stuffing distributors have swayed Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross over the hundreds of thousands of objections from scientists, wildlife experts and the American people who overwhelmingly support the Endangered Species Act – a poll by Earthjustice found 90% support it vs 7% who don’t support it. I kinda jest about the fur and feather brigade but really to change it so that regulators are required to take economic costs into account when making decisions related to protecting species from extinction, rather than as previously only relying entirely on science in their decision-making, drives to the very heart of the matter – it WILL cost the earth – and Trump knows all about cost and nothing about value.
- Depending on your point of view, Sean Spicer has either been rewarded or punished for his six month role as Chief Propaganda Officer with a slot on the upcoming season of Dancing With The Stars. Spicer will be paid at least $125,000 to make a fool of himself on a weekly basis alongside people who hate him, on a show hosted by a man who has felt the need to make a public statement pointing out he had nothing to do with the casting and was against it from the start. Meanwhile, Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been hired as a Fox News contributor, with her debut performance set for September 6th on Fox and Friends. Normally, former White House staffers are in demand in the job market, but these days the best they can hope for is trying not to mess up a foxtrot or sitting on a curvy couch next to Brian Kilmeade. I think that seems about right.
- Some good news now – The petition posted on moveon.org asking for the block of Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets to be renamed after the 44th president has topped 400,000. If successful, this would mean that the Trump Tower address in New York would be 725 President Barack H. Obama Ave. A spokesperson for Mayor de Blasio has this reaction: “We’re always happy to see New Yorkers finding creative outlets for resistance. Ultimately, we’ll let the council determine how this should proceed.” My reaction is “that would be so good – if you haven’t signed it yet do so oh please God do!”
That’s all for this week, thanks for listening!