Nirvana Fallacy – FT#43

Nirvana Fallacy – FT#43

Show Notes

The Nirvana Fallacy is committed when someone dismisses an argument or an option because it is flawed in some way, even though it may be the best of all available arguments or options.

We started out with this clip of Trump lying about the Iran deal:

In Mark’s British Politics Corner, we talked about Nigel Farage complaining about Boris’s Brexit deal:

In the Fallacy in the Wild, we looked at this tweet from Will Menaker, host of Chapo Trap House:

Then we discussed this clip from Penn & Teller – Bullshit!:


This week’s Fake News game was a little different.  Jim played three clips from Trump’s State of the Union speech, two of which were based on stories that weren’t entirely true. Mark’s job was to pick the true statement:

  1. This is the first time that these deserving communities have seen anything like this. It’s all working. Opportunity Zones are helping Americans like Army veteran Tony Rankins from Cincinnati, Ohio. After struggling with drug addiction, Tony lost his job, his house, and his family. He was homeless. But then Tony found a construction company that invests in Opportunity Zones. He is now a top tradesman, drug-free, reunited with his family, and he is here tonight. Tony, keep up the great work. 
  2. In 2017, doctors at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City delivered one of the earliest premature babies ever to survive. Born at just 21 weeks and 6 days, and weighing less than a pound, Ellie Schneider was a born fighter. Through the skill of her doctors and the prayers of her parents, little Ellie kept on winning the battle of life. Today, Ellie is a strong, healthy two-year-old girl sitting with her amazing mother Robin in the Gallery. Ellie and Robin, we are glad to have you with us tonight.  
  3. For too long, countless American children have been trapped in failing government schools. To rescue these students, 18 states have created school choice in the form of Opportunity Scholarships. The programs are so popular that tens of thousands of students remain on a waiting list. One of those students is Janiyah Davis, a fourth grader from Philadelphia. Janiyah. Janiyah’s mom, Stephanie, is a single parent. She would do anything to give her daughter a better future. But last year, that future was put further out of reach when Pennsylvania’s governor vetoed legislation to expand school choice to 50,000 children. Janiyah and Stephanie are in the Gallery. Stephanie, thank you so much for being here with your beautiful daughter. Thank you very much. But, Janiyah, I have some good news for you, because I am pleased to inform you that your long wait is over. I can proudly announce tonight that an Opportunity Scholarship has become available, it’s going to you, and you will soon be heading to the school of your choice.

Click below for the answer

Mark got it wrong this week, so now he’s on 16/43, or 37.2%.


We then looked at the various ways that Bill Barr has been working to destroy the rule of law since Trump was acquitted.


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

  • As you may have heard, all but one of the Republican Senators did exactly what we all knew they were going to do and acquitted Trump, despite many of them confirming that they believed he did do everything he was accused of doing.  Senator Susan Collins said she was pretty sure Trump learned his lesson – and he sure did. He learned that he can get away with any fucking thing he likes. Within days of the acquittal he fired both Gordon Sondland and Alexander Vindman because they testified to the truth under subpoena, and just for shits and giggles, he fired Vindman’s twin brother too. Yes, firing people in retaliation for testifying against you is a whole new crime in itself, but nothing matters anymore. He then announced he’s thinking of stopping the long standing practice of having administration officials listen in on his crimes – sorry, calls to foreign leaders.  Which is what anyone who only makes perfect calls would do.
  • Good ol’ Son-of-a-Trump Eric – Vice President of the Trump Organization – was pleased to tell us last year how the government “saves a fortune” by staying at the president’s properties rather than other nearby hotels “If my father travels, they stay at our properties for free — meaning like, cost for housekeeping,If they were to go to a hotel across the street, they’d be charging them $500 a night, whereas, you know, we charge them like 50 bucks.” – Hey guess what yep – he’s lyin’ – Secret Service records obtained by The Washington Post reveal Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach charged Secret Service a rate of $650 per night “dozens of times” in 2017 before charging them $396 “dozens more times” in 2018, according to the report. The initial cost was more than three times the $182 nightly limit for federal employees in the area and was even higher than what State Department staff were charged to stay at Mar-a-Lago around the same time. Who gets that money – yep Trump – who pays for it – yep you, ya dummies, out of your taxes, and he pays less corporate tax than you do and less personal tax cos he’s like the President and he can? – er no cos he’s a crook…and you voted him in!
  • The Democrats have started whittling down their candidates from infinity to about ten or so by having some votes.  Kind of. They started, as always, with the Iowa caucuses. If you don’t know what a caucus is, it’s where people who have three hours to kill on a Tuesday evening and don’t have to worry about childcare or working late go to a school gym and stand in an area that represents their favourite candidate. Then if their chosen one didn’t get enough people they get to move to another group. It’s a bit like that 80s Mike Reid gameshow, Runaround, which is a reference only British listeners of a certain age will understand.  Anyway, the Democrats somehow managed to fuck up standing in a room, and nobody could figure out who won for about a week. Then New Hampshire did an actual vote, where people just vote, and Bernie Sanders came out on top. He kind of tied Iowa with Pete Buttigieg, in that one of them got more votes and the other one got more delegates, and apparently even though those two overwhelmingly caucasian states only contain a total of 65 of the 1991 delegates a candidate needs to be the nominee, everyone seems to care what happens there despite Super Tuesday being mere weeks away.
  • Birmingham Alabama State Representative Rolanda Hollis put forward a bill “in response to the fact that there was no restrictions on the reproductive rights of men” – the bill would “mandate every Alabama man to undergo a vasectomy within one month of his 50th birthday or the birth of his third biological child, whichever comes first.” I suspect this was a rather elegant way of pointing out the inequality of the anti-abortion laws being discussed yet again by the Republicans, a move likely to provoke thought and a considered appreciative response – ‘cept not from Ted Cruz who fell straight into the trap peered through the descending red mist and tweeted “Yikes a government big enough to give you everything is big enough to take everything…literally!” mwahaha went the whole of the internet who shouted straight back at him “yeah what kind of government would legislate over what you can and can’t do with your own body? huh huh! Once again we’re proud of the nation’s grasp of irony and embarassed by Ted Cruz’s continued grasp of stupid! Way to self-own Ted!
  • Trump is stealing more money from the Pentagon to build his wall, but instead of just taking money that was designated for houses for military families like before, the $3.8 billion he’s taking this time was supposed to provide combat equipment like fighter planes, ships and other vehicles.  Boy, he sure does love and respect the military. About the only thing that could make this story worse is if that money was going to fund a wall so useless that illegal border crossings had doubled in the last three months compared to the same period last year because people were climbing over the new wall using $5 ladders made of rebar which is really hard to spot because it’s the same color as the wall.  Oh, wait, all of that happened.
  • You know in Dallas when JR Junior wakes up and the entirety of season two has been a dream? All true yes the drunk, an tramp and an unfit mother herself Hope Hicks is back – like when Daisy Duke returned in series 4 but was a different actress – Hope’s back!: dismissed for lying on behalf of Trump and latterly Fox News she’s back as Trump’s personal counsellor – Monica Lewinsky anyone? – ooh impeachment! And Waldorf and Stadtler have given up sniping from their theatre box and are returning as Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus like dancing with the Stars wasn’t bad enough we’ve got to relive all this again. Fresh from the Revenge tour it appears Trump has no one to turn to but people he didn’t fire last time around. I’m just going to list the self-same people in our Fireswamp game. This is like watching the Force Awakens and realising its a remake of Star Wars – only this is way better!   
  • As anyone who listens to Trump for five minutes knows, he has ushered in an era of unprecedented financial success in the US.  Everything is amazing, everyone has jobs, people are richer than ever before and life is good in what Trump compulsively calls “the best economy in US history”.  Kind of weird, then, that the White House has announced the planned 2.5% pay raise for all civilian federal employees in 2021 will now only be 1%, due to what they call “national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare”.  Presumably, those serious economic conditions are also why Trump’s budget proposal cuts a combined $1.8 trillion from Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security over the next decade.  In a strong contender for the most blatant gaslighting ever, literally hours before the budget was released, Trump tweeted “We will not be touching your Social Security or Medicare in Fiscal 2021 Budget. Only the Democrats will destroy them by destroying our Country’s greatest ever Economy!”   The phrase “I can’t even” has always kind of annoyed me, but actually, I can’t.
  • Britpol news – in the ghastly post-Brexit world of Boris Island even the Chino (Chancellor in name only) Sajid Javid – the worst chancellor of the exchequer we’ve ever had, who was for a time the worst home secretary we’ve ever had – well since Theresa May and til Priti Patel came along – has had enough of Boris’ post-election revenge tour, and resigned cos of the Machiavellian chicanery of Dominic “don’t call me Bannon” Cummings in asking Javid  to sack all his advisors and install ones that are controlled by Boris and Dom in number 10. Fair enough, principled you might even say – honour amongst thieves possibly – but Boris hasn’t learned or reflected or changed their behaviour to be a bit more presidential as a result – no chance, they merely replaced Javid with another puppet anyway.  That and a recent Trumpian attempt to only brief the Murdoch press was thwarted by all the journalists, including the Murdoch ones, walking out of the briefing.  The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, even if it’s uphill!

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

Jim Cliff

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