Appeal to Ridicule – FT#54

Appeal to Ridicule – FT#54

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Show Notes

The Appeal to Ridicule occurs when someone mocks their opponents argument instead of making a counter argument, often by taking the argument to an illogical but ridiculous conclusion.



We started out with these tweets by Trump talking about letting the FBI know when hostile foreign powers offer you dirt on your opponent

Then we looked at this clip of Trump claiming Biden wants to get rid of windows:


Mark’s British Politics Corner

Mark talked about Matt Hancock laughing rather than answering this question:

And then we heard Boris Johnson segue from offering sympathy to the families of those lost to COVID-19, to making a joke about Keir Starmer being a lawyer.


Fallacy in the Wild

We looked at this clip from Dave Gorman’s show Modern Life is Goodish:

And we followed that up with this clip from House:

Finally in this section we looked at this clip from Friends:


Fake News

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

  1. We saved tens of thousands of lives, but we actually saved millions of lives by closing — by closing up. We saved millions… potentially millions of lives. Could be a number that we’re actually working on but it could be two to three million lives. So we’re at 135,000 which is terrible. One is too much but we would have had millions of people dead from this curse that came at us but we did what we had to do.
  2. When we came here, the cupboard was bare, in a medical sense. There were no ventilators. None. And suddenly everyone needs ventilators, and I’m getting calls from Governors –“Where are the ventilators?” But I did a tremendous job with the Purchasing Act, which nobody even knew existed, but it was a wartime thing. I did some deals and nobody who needed a ventilator didn’t get one. It was beautiful.
  3. We have agreements with Honduras, Guatemala, with El Salvador. We have great agreements. Where when Biden and Obama used to bring killers out they would say “Don’t bring them back to our country, we don’t want them”. “Well we have to”. “We don’t want them”. They wouldn’t take them. Now with us they take them. Someday I’ll tell you why… someday I’ll tell you why, but they take them and they take them very gladly.

Click below for the answer

Mark got it right this week, so now he’s on 24/54, or 44%.



This week’s sponsor was Hopheads, a subscription box where you get 12 bottles of beer sent straight to your house!  Click here to sign up!




Testing is not a logical fallacy

We talked about the all the ways you can tell that the increase in coronavirus cases in the US cannot be attributed to increased testing.


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

  • Law and Order President Trump commuted the sentence of his friend and confidante, the oddly-shiny Batman villain, Roger Stone, because it doesn’t matter if you break the law, so long as you were doing it to protect Trump. Despite having been convicted of seven felony charges including witness tampering and lying to Congress, Stone won’t serve a day of the 40 months he was sentenced to after Bill Barr’s Justice Department intervened to reduce the originally recommended sentence. Most Presidents rely on the Office of the Pardon Attorney to recommend people for clemency, but Trump just picks a name off the long list of his personal acquaintances who are in prison or on their way there. According to the less redacted version of the Mueller Report, and some remarks made by Stone in the past few weeks, he definitely knows stuff that would be bad for Trump, but I’m sure that had nothing to do with the decision to save him at the last minute.
  • Just when you thought it was safe to go into the newly open Waterstones bookstores – Mary Trump’s (no me neither) book about her Uncle Don hits the stands. Call me cynical – two years of studying weird-haired politicians will do that to a guy – but does she have an eye on sales dipping after the election defeat? Or maybe she thinks it’ll help bring that about? We learn some new things I guess – one that Mary Trump is a licensed clinical psychologist – appeal to authority right there! And that Trump paid someone to sit his SAT tests so he’d get into the University of Pennsylvania, other than that “…3yr old child… yada yada”, “…nobody loves him yada yada…” It looks a right-riveting read tho being “based on her own memory, and in parts she reconstructed some dialogue based on what she was told by some members of the family and others, as well as legal documents, bank statements, tax returns and other documents.” So basically the factual stuff is not what happened or what was said, cos that’s all made up from hearsay – or as a clinical psychologist would no doubt point out – from memories somewhat distorted by time and trauma – it’s fundamentally misery-lit about how the Trump’s family destroyed her family and the “hell if I let him destroy my country” – Which raises the questions a)where you bin? 2nd) is it not destroyed already?, and 3) if you think your book’s so damn powerful why didn’t you bring it out like on Nov 7th 2016!!  We’re putting it on the pile with John Bolton’s book.
  • In what seems to be a Guinness World Records attempt on most crimes committed by a Presidential administration, Ivanka Trump clearly, proudly and blatantly violated Federal ethics laws by posing with a can of Goya  beans on Twitter and captioning it with the company’s advertising slogan in English and Spanish. And then, because none of this matters any more, least of all ‘ethics’ or ‘laws’, Trump lined up several Goya products on the fucking Resolute desk and sat behind them with his thumbs up, grinning like a former child star in a used car commercial on a local cable channel. But at least it was in a good cause – Ivanka and Donald making efforts to reach out to Hispanic Americans, oh no, wait, it’s just because the CEO of Goya said something nice about him, and he’s a pathetic narcissist.  
  • In a world hit by a pandemic data about the number of infections and deaths and recoveries geographically would help local authorities prepare their health services and implement local measures to curb the spread and protect people where they live. Seems reasonable, nay absolutely vital. Recently in the UK Leicester district council learned too late from National Health England what the actual figures were and people died before they could reimpose a lockdown, so all the figures are now made available to all local councils (why not before – well exactly). In the US the CDC is the natural place to register and compile statistics so State authorities can refer to them and keep informed. Except of course when a vain inadequate bully only sees truth, transparency, bald data, facts and information as a criticism of how well he is tackling the virus outbreak (spoiler alert; he isn’t) that’s the last thing he wants happening, Therefore in the US Trump has ordered hospitals and health authorities not to report their stats to the CDC any longer but send them direct to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Yep the administration, who will of course tell everyone everything warts and all to keep them safe. Just like Stalin did with his 5 Year plan announcements hailing bumper harvests whilst the farm workers starved cos there was nothing growing. In the UK our vain inadequate bully is no longer having the government publish the stats daily for much the same reasons – so all is well every other day at least. 
  • It turns out that seven of the nine Supreme Court justices, including Trump appointees Gorsuch and Kavanagh, don’t think the President is above the law, ruling last week that the Manhattan District Attorney does have the right to subpoena Trump’s tax records. While it may still be possible for Trump’s lawyers to run out the clock and delay the release until after November’s election, it’s looking more and more likely that accounting firm Mazar’s could be forced to turn them over by late September. Of course, there’s probably nothing dodgy in them, Trump dn his lawyers have just spent years and untold amounts of money desperately trying to keep them secret because he doesn’t want anyone to feel bad when they find out just how rich and successful he really is.  Sure.  That’s probably it. 
  • When a New York Times poll found 67% of registered voters trusted Fauci for accurate information about Covid-19, while 26% trusted Trump. That’s gotta sting. But since Fauci’s been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for 36 years, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush, USA Today calls him a “national treasure” for heaven’s sake, what better way to behave therefore than to welcome him into every health briefing, and seek and implement his learned advice. Nope! Instead, writing an op-ed in a response to USA Today, Peter Navarro, the Trump administration’s White House trade advisor, wrote that Fauci “has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on.”
    Nice! I think however Pete, you’re confusing “factually-correct” with “in-my-opinion-politically-inexpedient-for-me-and-my-boss-at-the-moment” – the Op in Op-Ed is short for that! And indeed USA Today added online that Navarro’s piece “did not meet USA Today’s fact-checking standards…several of Navarro’s criticisms of Fauci…were misleading and lacked context.” yeah no shit! And now apparently the White house are saying they didn’t approve Navarro’s piece and he did it without permission. Listen, over the sound of screeching U-Turns on Pennsylvania Avenue USA Today can be clearly heard announcing that Fauci “is an annoying truth-bomb that keeps going off in” Trump’s “hardened party of falsehoods and blame-shifting.”
  • For a while now, with Florida leading the world in new cases of coronavirus, Ron DeSantis has been the clear frontrunner in the coveted ‘Worst/Stupidest Governor in America” competition.  But his arch rival Georgia Governor Brian Kemp isn’t taking it lying down.  Up to now, he’s only been amazingly bad and stupid, but he’s taken the competition to a whole new level by writing an executive order banning cities in Georgia from ordering people to wear masks in public and suing Atlanta to challenge their mask mandate, saying “We will fight to stop these reckless actions and put people over pandemic politics”.  It’s a bold move, and the ball is very much in DeSantis’s court. Can he do anything anywhere near as stupid to win back control of the competition? I mean, it is Ron DeSantis, so… Yeah, probably. I expect next week he’ll make people lick that big ball thing at Epcot.
  • Britpol – Boris Johnson told the daily press conference the UK can ‘turn the tide’ in the fight against coronavirus within the next 12 weeks. – no not just now – but on Mar 19th (yeah over 12 weeks and another month ago), Canute-like he’s continuing his Boy’s Own Adventure obsession playing War and Army and now says “It’ll be over by Christmas” – It wasn’t then and more than 100 years later it won’t be now – the same toffs are sending working class oiks to the front line to be cannon-fodder whilst disguising it all with patriotic rhetoric – thank gawd Vera Lynn has finally died or she’d be wheeled out across the rapidly re-locking down regions singing “we’ll meet again – don’t know where don’t know when” – I do – indoors again, in about 2 months time! Meanwhile Permasmirk Racism Tsar/Home Secretary Priti Patel went before the Commons Home Affairs Committee to answer how many people coming into the country have coronavirus now quarantine restrictions have been lifted – she gave a proportion – 0.5% so Committee Chair Yvette Cooper asked her undersecretary Mathew Rycroft – listen for the gap where the word “NO” should have been:

          It’s almost as if covering asses is the more important task. Still good to know that the government’s all over it like a rash – which of course is also the latest Covid symptom to be announced!

That’s all for this week, thanks for listening, and thanks also to our newest Patron, Anders Hersvik and to Patron Loren Said, for the very generous pledge increase!

Jim Cliff

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