Appeal to Fear – FT#34

Appeal to Fear – FT#34

Show Notes

People often make decisions based on emotion rather than logic, so appealing to that emotion can be a very useful technique when you’re trying to persuade someone. However, to be part of an effective logical argument emotion has to be used to back up the argument, rather than form the primary basis of the argument. When, instead, you simply try to scare them into agreeing with you, your argument is fallacious.

We started out with this clip from a rally where Trump tried to scare people about horrible hardened criminals being released from sanctuary cities:

Then we talked about this early claim that there would be ‘more World Trade Centers’:

And we discussed this tweet in which he kind of threatened another civil war (by quoting someone else):

In Mark’s British Politics Corner, we talked about Priti Patel fearmongering about freedom of movement in the EU:

And then we discussed Boris Johnson questioning why Labour is so afraid of a general election:


In the Fallacy in the Wild, we talked about this clip from Arrested Development:

We followed that up with this clip from Mean Girls:

And finally we discussed a clip from The Simpsons:

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

  1. Mr. President, they’re all saying what a great relationship we have, and they’re actually correct. It’s not fake news. Finally, it’s not fake news. So it’s a great honor, great honor that you’re here. But we do have a very special relationship. In fact, I’ll get that little piece of dandruff off; you have a little piece. We have to make him perfect. He is perfect. So it is really — it is really great to be with you, and you are a special friend.
  1. But Dr. Jackson — I don’t know do I — should I call him “admiral” or “doctor” — I’ll call him both. Doctor slash Admiral. He’s a doctor, he’s an Admiral, his son is a top — really a top, like a top, top student at Annapolis graduating this year. An incredible wife, incredible family.  You know I feel guilty. I feel guilty. Admiral Jackson was getting ready to leave service and he served many years admirably. Not a blemish. Perfect. Beautiful person. A lot of you know exactly. He actually said I was healthy.
  1. John Kerry did a terrible job with Iran. Terrible. I kept waiting for him to get up and walk away. Sometimes you have to walk away. If they’re not giving you what you want you walk away, but he didn’t. The only time he walked away — this is perfect — was when he entered a bicycle race and broke his leg. At 73 he enters a bicycle race. Perfect. I tell you something. I’ll never enter a bicycle race when I’m negotiating a nuclear deal.

Click below for the answer

Mark got it wrong this week, and now he’s on 14/33, or a rather pleasing 42.424242%.


We then talked about Trump’s call to Ukrainian President Zelensky and the ensuing impeachment inquiry.


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

  • This week I thought I might do a special headlines section, where each one talks about a different crime Trump has committed since the impeachment investigation started, but we’ve been off for a month, so there is quite a lot of other news, so I’ll limit it to the incident where Trump committed the crime he’s claiming the whistleblower falsely accused him of, live on TV.  While claiming he didn’t put any pressure on Ukraine to investigate Biden, he then said that they should, and also that China should investigate the Bidens, 30 seconds after saying “I have a lot of options on China, but if they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous power”. It’s basically like if Colonel Nathan Jessup was asked if he ordered the Code Red, and after saying “You’re Goddamn right I did”, ordering Kevin Bacon to give Tom Cruise a Code Red right there in the courtroom.  
  • In what looks like an attempt to be King Canute, The Wizard of Oz, something out of Raiders of the Lost Ark and a 1970’s bond movie villain – or maybe just a designer for a level of Fortnite, Trump is back in the “why can’t I just have my wall, my way” asking for a moat with alligators and snakes in it, and electricity running through it and spikes on the top, as well as trying to recategorise shooting people in the legs as something one is allowed to do, after all they’re wielding stone age firearms – no sir they are stones. Despite the fact that this is all illegal, inhumane and just batshit crazy, The UK’s Independent newspaper reports that the moat and alligators were actually costed. One day of course one of them will swallow a clock and haunt Trump’s every tweeting moment, a fitting end to the boy who never grew up!
  • Trump has a long history of inviting foreign leaders to the White House, holding a joint press conference, and totally making it about him. But last week, when Finnish President Niinisto visited, Trump took questions and rather than answering, delivered a series of unhinged, barely coherent rants.  When Reuters reporter Jeff Mason asked him again to actually answer his question Trump channeled Travis Bickle, saying “Are you talking to me?” and then loudly and repeatedly insisted Mason ask the President of Finland a question instead. Niinisto, meanwhile, just looked at the camera like Jim from The Office.
  • Can I have a fanfare please – cos he’s back – our favourite professional liar (well second favourite after the Tangerine Scarecrow) is back – yes Jacob Wohl is back holding press conferences with his far-from-trustworthy sidekick Jack Burkman to announce their latest scoop, newsflash, byline, okay out-and-out bullshit – apparently Elizabeth Warren gets her septuagenarian jollies by paying gigolos for 3-somes. Give it up Jake surely you know your stories are getting far-fetched when even Breitbart and Fox don’t turn up at your presser, and when the bouncers refuse to throw people out for laughing. Warren did of course confirm she once went to Houston University and that she does therefore root for the cougars!  Rarrrrr!
  • The VERY FIRST witness in the big huge impeachment investigation, former US special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, (only former because he resigned immediately after the whistleblower story broke), has given Congress over 60 pages of text messages and other documents, some of which are really quite bad for Trump. For example, there’s the text from former US Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, which said “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” This was replied to by Gordon Sondland, US Ambassador to the EU and major Trump donor, who didn’t sound anything like a mobster who thought his brother might be wearing a wire when he texted back “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The president has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign. I suggest, we stop the back and forth by text.”
  • So in moments of crisis who do you turn to – someone who might have formed a plan, based upon experience, legal principles, and intelligence rather than say the mastermind behind such game-changing moments as firing James Comey from the FBI and thus ushering in the appointment of one Robert Mueller and what was that thing he did? Oh yeah the investigation! Yeah and who was that mastermind ah good ol’ son-in-law Jared Kushner, who Trump has turned to again in his hour of need to defend his position in regard to casually asking Ukraine to interfere in the upcoming US elections and the attendant impeachment enquiries. “Oh no” you say :”who’s gonna solve the Middle East problem now” and also of course  “Goddam if only Jared had, like, studied law or somethin’”. Still when you’ve fired everyone else, there’s always (and only) family left, The Borgias anyone? mwahahahaha!
  • If you’re still curious whether Democrats or Republicans are the good guys, look no further than the North Carolina State House, where a morning without any votes was scheduled on September 11th to allow lawmakers to attend memorials for the victims and first responders.  While Democrats mourned, Republicans had a secret plan, ensuring that enough stayed behind to hold a surprise vote to overturn the Democratic Governor’s veto of the state budget. 
  • Boris – anything interesting happened this month? – Only a lifetime of British politics in 1 month – and I’ll attempt to do it in 60 seconds! Which lets face it is longer than Boris has ever done anything real in politics – Okay Jim start the clock:
    • A member of his Tory party joined the Lib Dems walking across the floor of the House live in the middle of a Boris speech – effectively removing the working majority of 1,  Boris’ own brother then resigned his ministry of transport job cos of Boris’ stance. Boris then went on to sack 21 members of his own party who voted for the Benn Act and decimated his majority further.
    • The Benn act is a law Parliament has passed which means the PM would have to ask the EU for an extension to Article 50 beyond the 31st October if he cannot get a deal agreed by parliament, i.e. we cannot leave with no deal, but he continues to espouse the existence of Shroedinger’s Brexit in that he says he will not break that law but that we will leave on the 31st deal or no deal. 
    • Boris has put 7 motions to the vote in the Houses of Parliament since he took office as PM and lost all 7 of them.
    • The Supreme court of England ruled that his prorogation of parliament was unlawful – he did it for political ends and was thus “void and of no effect should be quashed” so he had to stop being asked awkward questions by members of the public in the street and come back and get asked them by members of the house of commons. 
    • He stands accused of giving public money during his time as mayor of London to a US company owned by a woman with whom he was having an affair at the time.
    • The ex- Tory chancellor Philip Hammond (sacked by Boris) is publicly declaring that unseen financial puppet masters are instructing Boris to crash out of the EU with no-deal cos they are all shorting the pound and will earn billions overnight.
    • And today in Uxbridge, his own constituency, an old lady when asked about Boris said (CLIP) which probably doesn’t need translating just visualising! 
    • And yet and yet – The Tories are still leading the opposition by 15 points in some polls! Sound familiar – no wonder Corbyn says this is a Trump Brexit!

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

Jim Cliff

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial