Argument by Slogan – FT#59

Argument by Slogan – FT#59

Show Notes

The Argument by Slogan Fallacy is committed when someone uses a short snappy phrase to avoid making an argument that actually requires some nuance, explanation or evidence.



We started out with this clip of Trump’s rally crowd chanting “Lock her up!” in 2016:

We followed that up with this clip of Trump joining in with a chant of “Build That Wall”:


Mark’s British Politics Corner

Mark talked about the many and varied slogans the UK government has employed to combat COVID, including “Stay at home, Protect the NHS, Save lives” and “Hands, Face, Space”.


Fallacy in the Wild

We talked about this clip from Friends:

And we followed that up with this collection of rejected slogans for Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation Gin:

And finally in this section we talked about this slogan from the Colombian Tourist Board:


Fake News

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

  1. I said to my great First Lady — our great First Lady. Melania. I said “Melania. First Lady,”  I said “First Lady, oh I’m going to watch television tonight. I’m going to come home early,” because let me tell you 6.30 is very early. I stay in there late but “I’m going to come home early. I’m going to show you what a great job — I just got nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and we’re going to sit there and I’m going to just soak it in. Darling, let’s turn on NBC fake news”. Lester Holt. Number two rated show. He’s number two, heading south.
  2. So I thought this is big news, it’ll be the top story, but the first story was about some rain. There was some rain some place and that was important, apparently. And then they had a story about some — it was about Jimmy Kimmel. Jimmy Kimmel. He’s never winning the Nobel Peace Prize, that I can tell you. The whole time I’m thinking “it’ll be the next story” and the First Lady is asking me “Darling, when will it be on?” and we watched the entire program and they never mentioned it once. When Obama won for who knows what, they never shut up about it. Remember that?
  3. The following day I got nominated for another one.  I called her up, I said you know “maybe they forgot — so let’s go home and turn on the television” — it was the same thing. They had another story that this time they’re cleaning up the rain, another one, another one, another one, got to the commercial, never ended, got back, a little tiny piece, and I said “they didn’t cover two Nobel Prizes”. I got two in one week. Did you ever hear that one? For different things — totally unrelated. And my only complaint is I should have gotten about seven or eight because if you knew some of the other… some of the other things I’ve done are much better — I should have gotten seven.

Click below for the answer

Mark got it right again this week, so now he’s on 26/59, or 44%.


The Notorious RBG was not a logical fallacy

We talked about the tragic loss of the incomparable Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the implications for American democracy.

Spurred on in part by RBG’s legacy and her drive, we talked about how everyone should go right now to to check your voter registration, request your absentee ballots, and find whatever other information you need to vote safely and efffectively.

We also want advice from our listeners – as Brits, we can’t donate to candidates or PACs, but we want to help, so please contact us with advice on organisations we can donate our September Patreon money to in order to do some good for democracy.

Finally, if you can afford it, please donate too.  You can become a Patron – and we’ll pass your money on when we make our donation, or you can donate directly to the candidate of your choice, or ActBlue or anywhere it will have a positive impact.  Take a screenshot of whatever confirmation page you get and send it to me at We’ll pick a winner out of a hat and send you a signed book and a t-shirt as a thank you.  There’s no minimum donation to be included in this, so please just donate whatever you can.  Thank you.


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

  • With just weeks to go before election day, and early voting already begun, you might imagine that even someone as politically inept as Trump might dial back a bit on the open hostility towards half the country he’s supposed to be in charge of. But this is Trump, so instead he decided to come right out and say that he doesn’t really care if people in blue states live or die.  While making excuses for the appalling coronavirus numbers, which this week passed 7 million cases, Trump said “if you take the blue states out, we’re at a level I don’t think anybody in the world would be at”. Unusually for Trump, he’s almost correct, but not in the way he thinks.  You see, about 47% of the cases so far have been in red states, so even if you only count the red states, there have been about 3.3 million cases, which is indeed a level that hardly anyone in the world is at.  In fact only Brazil has a worse record than just the red states alone.  I wonder if the Trump voters who live in those blue states mind that he doesn’t give the tiniest shit about them?  Nah.
  • So hold on let me get this right – if the stories you fabricate about other people fail to get you the results you want, because the victims you say had the thing done to them turn out to have been paid by you to say that, then what do you do? Yes folks our favourite five-star idiots Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman are baaaak! I dunno they’re like buses, nothing for ages then two episodes of fuckwittery come along in as many weeks. So what do you do? Well, Wohl claimed on a Telegram post that “the “unconstitutional predawn raid” wouldn’t stop him and Burkman from investigating Mattis.” What raid’s this? Yes of course it’s a fake FBI raid that’s been carried out on your business partner, as you do, well if you’re Wohl you do. In an email to The Daily Beast, Burkman claimed that the FBI raid had been meant to punish him for investigating Mattis’ position on the board of scandal-plagued blood-testing company Theranos. Turns out it was not so much a raid as a bunch of out of work actors dressed in what Wohl and Burkman imagine FBI raiders wear having watched too many episodes of “CSI Street Blues and Lacey” turning up as instructed at Burkman’s offices asking for one Jacob Klein with regard to $400 dollars cash they’ve been promised for the use of the footage of them walking to the building that they’re now apparently in. Turns out there’s no cash, they’ve got to email their details to Jack Burkman so he can mail them a cheque – ever mindful of covering up their true identities – the suspicious actors worked out that it was “Oh THAT Jack Burkman stood next to the nice Mr Klein d’uh Wohl” and like the kids in Scooby Doo revealed the idiots for who they really are – idiots. In the email to the Daily Beast – Burkman wrote “We press on, undeterred.” and apparently unencumbered by any self-awareness or shred of intelligence either.
  • Back in 2016 Trump was telling anyone who would listen that he was going to repeal and replace Obamacare on day one.  He’s been saying the same thing ever since, and he’s even spent the last three months promising that we were always just days away from a brilliant new healthcare plan, like some kind of demonic mixture of Annie, Daddy Warbucks and er… someone who comes up with healthcare plans.  Well now he’s finally revealed his plan, and it was totally worth waiting for. Here it is.  Are you sitting down? An Executive Order protecting pre-existing conditions.  Wait, didn’t he already do that?  And aren’t they already protected by the law that he’s been trying to repeal for four years?  Oh, also he said that we actually already have a better healthcare plan, because the awesome way that his administration has been managing Obamacare means it’s not Obamacare any more, because it’s better now. Honestly, he might as well just say the real healthcare was the friends we made along the way. He’s really missing a trick, too.  After all, there’s obviously no time to actually do anything about it before the election so why not just present an aspirational plan that sounds good? It’s not like they’re going to have to actually figure out how to do it?  Trumps so politically inept that the best he can come up with is “it’s already better and if we win our court case to overturn it, we’ll do something even better.”
  • D.C. National Guard Maj. Adam DeMarco has been giving testimony about Trump’s casual saunter across Lafayette Square to grip a book outside the church the other week, you remember, that brutal act of indiscriminate violence against peaceful law-abiding citizens disagreeing with the way the inept narcissist was doing things, like acknowledging the existence or importance of other humans. Turns out the National Guard had been emailed asking whether they had an ADS or an LRAD. An ADS – Active Denial System was developed for combat in Iraq – basically a heat ray that when fired at human people makes them feel as though their flesh is burning, but, and I quote, “there have been concerns about its safety as well as the ethics of using it.” Really? Even the Pentagon didn’t sanction its use in Iraq and even that ever-friendly humanitarian soul, former Homeland Security boss Kirstjen Neilsen refused its use by Trump on migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border days before the 2018 midterm elections. The LRAD – Long Range Acoustic Device was apparently used to forewarn all the socially-distanced protesters prior to being baton-charged by mounted Park Police, DeMarco contradicted the Park Police report tho – nope all the saw was a microphone attached to a loud hailer that even he couldn’t hear 30 feet away. His report also contradicts Trump’s administration’s testimony that the protestors were violent. When asked about the request for these banned-in-Iraq weapons the Defense department said – “oh that, just routine checks to see what was available” which is a bit like Crippen ringing Home Depot to enquire if they had any strychnine and chainsaws in stock.
  • We all knew that Tucker Carlson shouldn’t ever be taken seriously, but it’s nice to have that enshrined in law.  Former Playboy model and Trump affair haver Karen McDougall was suing Carlson for defamation after he accused her of extorting Trump and threatening to ruin his career and humiliate his family.  I assume part of the defamation suit was that Tucker must have been calling her stupid if she thought news of an affair would have any impact on Trump’s career or family.  In any case, this week a Trump-appointed federal judge dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that the “general tenor” of Carlson’s show should “inform a viewer that he is not “stating actual facts” about the topics he discusses and is instead engaging in “exaggeration” and “non-literal commentary.” … Given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism”. In other words, you are now legally required to dismiss anything Tucker Carlson says as bullshit. 
  • Okay we’re pretty sure you’re the kind of people who know and appreciate the work of the Monty Python team – a recently unearthed sketch from Python’s remastered TV shows in the BluRay Boxset puts us at home with the head of the Mongol Hordes – Attilla Grunts “Fight China — got it,” the scribe says while writing. Attilla grunts again “Attack big government — yeah.” Attilla grunts finally “Eliminate the liberal scribes … uh oh,” the scribe says in response and looks at the camera. Scene Ends . Narrator then says, “More conservative than Attila the Hun.” and oh no, huh? we’re thrust back into the 21st century, no John Cleese no nice Mr Palin, it’s Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia boasting about her “100% Trump-voting record.” Like that’s a good thing, and how she’s more conservative than Attilla the Hun like that’s  a good thing. But when you’re up against another Republican Doug Collins in the upcoming election that’s possibly important?, especially since he’d taunted her with being “insufficiently conservative”. Jeezus Georgians do you really want someone who even by Collins’ admission is worse/ or maybe better than “an open-borders globalist who killed christians and practiced postnatal abortion”. Weirdly only part of that is 100% Trump, and actually none of that is really something to crow about, unless you are a death-dealing dictator hell-bent on killing over 20,000 innocent people so they live in fear of you sufficiently to not question your position of power – oh yeah I see it now – what was I thinking? carry on, as you were.
  • As the QAnon movement continues to move into the public eye, more and more GOP Senate candidates are turning out to have links to or to have promoted the bunch of nutters. If you don’t know what QAnon is yet, well, lets just say maybe you should become a Patron. Winner of the Delaware GOP Senate primary, Lauren Witzke has been accused of supporting QAnon, but I’m delighted to say that’s all in the past.  I’m simultaneously fucking horrified to say that it’s not because she realised it’s a dangerous, ridiculous and illogical conspiracy theory that you’d have to be stupid to believe, no – she stopped promoting it because, quote: “it’s a mainstream psyops to get people to ‘trust the plan’ and not do anything.” She’s meta-conspiracied it!  She thinks the existence of the conspiracy theory is just a conspiracy to render people inactive!  It’s conspiraception!  Forget the fact that almost immediately after RBG died she was tweeting lies about her legacy. Forget the fact she has in the past called herself a flat-earther!  Just the fact that she is too stupid even to believe in QAnon should be enough to make sure you get out and vote for Chris Coons if you live in Delaware.
  • Meanwhile back in dear-old Blighty I dunno it seems like lockdown gets earlier every year, I was walking to the store to buy a hundred toilet rolls again the other day and saw someone watching Tiger King and downloading box sets of Dancing with the Stars already, it’s only September, and they’re dressed in a mullet and unkempt beard already! For me Lockdown doesn’t really start til I’ve baked my first banana bread, hey ho, I guess it’s gone as commercial as everything else! Meanwhile curiously shrunken-headed Home Secretary has encouraged everyone to snitch on their neighbours about disobeying whichever set of rules applies to anyone regarding mask-wearing, much to the absolute spit-flecked gammon-faced chagrin of a Tory minister photographed on the London tube not wearing an actual mask, he then accused the whole of the country of being under the control of the stazi, which actually in a Kelly Loeffler kinda way must make her feel Priti special – yeah welcome to your world you dipshit! Everything else – track and trace, companies given millions of pounds to make things to combat the pandemic when they’ve no qualifications other than being friends of someone in government, and others being elevated from running right-wing newspapers to being chair of the non-partisan body that oversees the running of the public broadcast services – all that – business as usual as you catch the tail end of Britain spiralling down the greasy grey plughole of a no-deal Brexit into oblivion and darkness when the lights go out and we’re plunged into endless black, black, blaaaaaaack, ahahahahahahahaaaaaaa…….


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

Jim Cliff

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