Red Herring – FT#33

Red Herring – FT#33

Show Notes

A Red Herring is a distraction, anything that sends a conversation off on a tangent and away from the original point. When someone completely avoids a question by bringing up another issue entirely, they are committing a Red Herring fallacy.

We started out with this excerpt from the the 2nd Presidential debate, in October 2016. Trump was asked about the Access Hollywood tape in which he was recorded talking to Billy Bush about grabbing women ‘by the pussy’.

Then we talked about this interview in which he responded to Khizr Khan’s speech at the 2016 Democratic Convention:

In Mark’s British Politics Corner, we talked about Boris using an actual smoked herring as a distraction:

And then we discussed his impressive avoidance of a question in Prime Minister’s Questions:


In the Fallacy in the Wild, we talked about this clip from Family Guy:

Then we discussed a clip from The Simpsons:

If you’d like to get involved in the Global Climate Strike on Friday September 20th, go to

  1. Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game: That sucker was brutal. That was brutal. I never saw anything like it. It kept coming in. It was taunting us. Have you ever been taunted? It was taunting. It would come in and you’d say, oh, great, now it’s — then it goes out, it reloads, it comes in. Then it dumps. Then it goes out. Then it comes — three times. And I’m paying for that. I’m saying, is this thing ever going to stop? Will it just go away?
  2. I said, let me ask you a question. When these boats, what happens? He said, well, they want to go out, they want to sort of play at the edge. But there was no edge to this big monster. And it gobbled them up. And these guys are going through it. I said, how big is a thing like that? You have great equipment, you have the greatest boats. They said, sir, we have the best boats in the world, but we hit that thing wrong, we don’t have a chance.
  3. They called it Harvey. Sounds like such an innocent name, but it’s not innocent, believe me. You know as well as anybody — bad things can happen. It’s called Mother Nature. And nobody’s ever seen anything like it. It pulled houses out by the roots, like a big — like a tornado, like a 50 mile wide tornado. They couldn’t get rid of it.  And they said it was, I guess, the biggest water dump in the history of our country.

Click below for the answer

Mark got it right this week, and now he’s on 14/32, or roughly 44%.


We then talked about the various ways Trump is breaking the law with regard to emoluments.


And finally, here are the stories we really didn’t have time to talk about:

  • Trump’s longtime personal assistant and recent Director of Oval Office Operations, Madeleine Westerhout, got a bit tipsy at an event recently and told reporters, among other things, that Trump doesn’t like having his photo taken with his daughter Tiffany, because he thinks she’s fat. Apparently, revealing something that ironic is a firing offence, and Ms Westerhout is now looking for another job. Trump then invented a new kind of tweet, which I’m calling a ‘forgiveness threat’, tweeting “While Madeleine Westerhout has a fully enforceable confidentiality agreement, she is a very good person and I don’t think there would ever be reason to use it. She called me yesterday to apologize, had a bad night. I fully understood and forgave her! I love Tiffany, doing great!” Yeah, sounds like he’s moved on already. And since he’s not able to write 280 characters without telling multiple lies, of course it’s not fully enforceable. Getting federal employees to sign confidentiality agreements is pretty much the definition of ‘prior restraint of speech’ which is prohibited by the very First Amendment. 
  • The Federal Election Commission is a good thing right – ensures that elections are conducted properly, that no malfeasance is committed during those elections and investigates interference in past elections and during preparations for upcoming elections, a body whose rules state is made up of no more than 3 Democrats and 3 Republicans – a pretty good way to ensure impartiality hey. But of course if you want to prevent investigations into say, campaign financing then is it me or is it a weird coincidence that since Touche Turtle’s Evil Twin and hater  of campaign finance laws Mitch McConnell became Senate majority leader in 2015, not a single commissioner, nominated at the rate of two per year, has been confirmed. And now that Mathew “never-stepped-inside-a-courtroom” Spencer “aborted-Trump-federal-judge-nominee” Petersen has resigned from it the FEC is inquorate and cannot actually operate or enforce  anything. Election year next year? coincidence? Perhaps Touché Turtle and Dum Dum aren’t so Dum – evil? yes definitely!  
  • If we needed any further proof that Trump doesn’t understand hurricanes, nuclear bombs, or anything else, really, we need look no further than the multiple occasions on which he has apparently suggested nuking hurricanes to stop them before they get to America. Axios documented several briefings where the President presented this brilliant plan. On one occasion, according to a source in the room “You could hear a gnat fart in that meeting. People were astonished. After the meeting ended, we thought, ‘What the fuck? What do we do with this?” Sure, Trump can’t be expected to know that hurricanes release more energy than a 10 megaton bomb every 20 minutes, but it doesn’t take a very stable genius to understand that the radioactive fallout from the bomb would then be carried onto land by the hurricane and liberally distributed throughout its path.
  • Meanwhile down at the not-wall the not-my-president has ordered officials to ignore environmental rules, fast-track construction contracts valued at billions of dollars and “take the land” needed by eminent domain – basically to do what he did ever since he started in real estate, but instead of fining, jailing and bankrupting them he promises he’ll pardon them. Okay two things; that’s not good, and would anyone believe any promise Trump makes anyway? In answer to queries as to whether this was true Deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley told the Washington Post: “Donald Trump promised to secure our border with sane, rational immigration policies to make American communities safer, and that’s happening everywhere the wall is being built.” which is rather carefully worded cos whilst those policies are not sane or rational or making anything safer – that’s okay cos the wall isn’t being built everywhere across 450 miles of border – certainly not where those policies are being enacted! Riiiight!
  • Trump tweeted classified military information last week. No it’s not the first time, not by a long way. But this time he did it just to troll Iran, which seems like a new milestone of sorts. You see, Iran tried to launch a satellite, but the rocket exploded on the launch pad.  Trump received a very detailed, extremely high resolution spy satellite image of the launchpad, complete with annotations by US intelligence, in his highly classified intelligence briefing. Naturally, he snapped a photo of the satellite image with his phone and tweeted about it. Astronomy experts have used the image to identify which satellite it came from, and no doubt enemies of the US are poring over it to see what they can tell about the technology that made it possible. Tweeting national security secrets to own the Muslims. 
  • In the Presidential limo – “very expensive, made of steel, space steel” – Trump has one of those yellow plastic steering wheels with the squeaking horn and the pink stick shift on the side affixed to the bullet proof glass by a big sucker, so he can feel like he’s actually in control and can steer when things look bad. Similarly at the G7 summit they gave him a Fisher-Price phone like the one in Toy Story to make him feel connected, bad news tho it had Made in China on it – so of course he “got a real call from China” and told everyone he’d “won the trade war” and “China were going to come to the table” and “they had a deal” – cue stunned G7 summit attendees. But despite Trump and Mnuchin tweeting that it was really real for sure double pinkie promise. It wasn’t. Geng Shuan said it wasn’t and he should know he’s from China’s Foreign Ministry. Instead, two white house officials have said Trump was eager to project optimism that might boost markets, and conflated comments from China’s vice premier with direct communication from the Chinese. You know like when parents explain away their godawful child’s sociopathic behaviour when they visit your house. Hmmm could it be that Trump was genuinely confused about communications coming from China? Sure. Could it also be that he’s desperate for a win after virtually an entire presidency of failures? Ah yeah there ya go that’s it!! 
  • A new book by Lonnie Bunch, the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, reveals some details about Trump’s visit to the museum in 2017. After refusing Trump’s request to close the museum for his visit on Martin Luther King Jr Day, Bunch was told by Trump’s aides that he was in a foul mood and he didn’t want to see anything ‘difficult’. Bunch writes “The president paused in front of the exhibit that discussed the role of the Dutch in the slave trade. As he pondered the label I felt that maybe he was paying attention to the work of the museum. He quickly proved me wrong. As he turned from the display he said to me, ‘You know, they love me in the Netherlands.’ 
  • Okay here’s a brief update on the Scheizzerkrieg that’s going on in the UK – especially translated for our American listeners: Boris has raided the tuckshop so no-one will get any scoff except him and his posh chums, to prevent anyone finding out, he asked the royal headmistress to close the school early – almost as soon as terms starts. Some of the prefects in Slytherin don’t like this – they’re used to having a bikkie at elevenses – and they have said they’ll gang up with the middle-class day-boarders in all of GriffleCluffPaw, who never get any bikkies and think they should be shared with the many not just the few, and change the locks on the school gates so Bozzer can’t even lock them – ya boo sucks. Bozzer’s got into a bit of a bish about that and said if that happened he’ll pile all the sweets and bikkies he took in the playground and shout “bundle!.” As we record this, the “changing the locks” strategy has been agreed by most kids, the date set for shouting “bundle” isn’t going to be agreed on cos they know that fatty mophead pants-on-fire Bozzer is a sneak and is bound to cross his fingers and say “feinites” when he’s out of earshot. Meanwhile Head Boy Speccy Four-eyes Rees-Mogg the Haunted Pencil has been caught lounging on the sofa in Matron’s office and putting his feet on the furniture, closing his eyes and everything – even whilst she’s talking and worst of all he says he doesn’t care so ner –
    I hope that’s made it all perfectly clear. 
  • Ok, usually Mark gets the last story, but just before we recorded tonight, our favorite idiot, Jacob Wohl, starting trending on Twitter. At first I thought maybe he’d put up another instagram photo claiming he’s in a new exotic location while standing in front of the same fence he stood in front of when he said he was in Tel Aviv.  And also Belarus. But no. After years of trying, it seems young Jacob has finally succeeded in attracting the attention of law enforcement, and is wanted for felony arrest in California. Is it for attempting to frame a mayor for sexual assault? Slandering a former FBI Director? Filing a false police report about death threats he sent himself? Fraudulently acting as a private investigator without a licence?  Using the images of Oscar winning actors on his fake company website without permission? No, none of that (and I could go on). He’s wanted for unlawfully selling unqualified securities. But I don’t know what that means, so I can’t make a joke about it.


This week Jim was a guest on the Drop the Pilot podcast and the Ministry of Swooping podcast.  Check them both out, and if you’d like Jim or Mark to be a guest on your podcast, get in touch!


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

Jim Cliff

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