Appeal to Anonymous Authority – FT#70

Appeal to Anonymous Authority – FT#70

Show Notes

The Appeal to Anonymous Authority is committed when someone cites an authority to back up a claim, but the authority is unnamed, vague or similarly uncheckable.


We started out by talking about this clip of Trump claiming the best analysts predicted a stock market crash if Biden was elected

Then we talked about this clip of Trump claiming some people say you can do too much testing:

We followed this up with this tweet from Trump:


and finally we discussed this exchange between CBS reporter Weijia Jiang and Biden’s amazing Press Secretary Jen Psaki:


Mark’s British Politics Corner

Mark is having to take a few weeks off from the podcast due to work, so Jim talked about this tweet from Iain Duncan Smith, because in the associated Sun article, his £160 million figure is attributed simply to ‘experts’.


Fallacy in the Wild

We talked about this clip from Kill Bill Vol 2 (and here’s that article I mentioned with links to the studies I cited):

We followed that up with this clip from Friends:

And finally we discussed this clip from The Simpsons:


Fake News

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

  1. Biden has put us back into the very expensive and very unfair Paris Climate Accord that I brilliantly walked away from. Everyone says it’s a bad accord. He didn’t even negotiate, he just gave them everything they wanted. It’s disgusting, frankly.
  2. I handed the new administration what everyone is now calling a modern day medical miracle. Some say, it’s the greatest thing to happen in hundreds of years, two vaccines produced in record time with numerous others on the way
  3. Many people have asked, “What is Trumpism?” A new term being used more and more. I’m hearing that term more and more. I didn’t come up with it. But what it means is great deals, great trade deals. Great ones, not deals where we give away everything, our jobs, our money

Click below for the answer

My guest Frank got it right this week, and is currently on 40%


A literal golden statue of Trump is not a logical fallacy

We covered some of the… I guess technically we’d call them ‘highlights’ of CPAC 2021.


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

  • Right wing voices lost their fucking shit a couple of weeks ago, at the news that Mr. Potato Head was being cancelled by the left. As a lifelong Mr. Potato Head fan, I was surprised that we’d cancelled him, until I checked and found out that… yeah, we didn’t. AP reported that Hasbro, the makers of the carb-based plaything, announced that they were renaming the overall toy brand as simply ‘Potato Head’. The article was apparently enough to push right wing author Mark Dice over the edge, as he tweeted “It’s time for Republican states to secede”. I say the article, but really, it’s the headline that caused him to tweet that, since if he’d read the article he would know that it’s only the overall brand that’s changing, but Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head aren’t going anywhere. Of course, Ben Shapiro, Matt Gaetz and just about everyone on Fox News failed to read the article as well, preferring instead to yell about this being “The end or freedom in America” – an actual direct quote from Glenn Beck – and stopping just short of demanding Hasbro include actual stick on dicks and vaginas in the next box they buy so they can be absolutely clear which spud is which.
  • There was a rare moment of hope last week, that maybe Republicans can actually show empathy. A single Republican Congressman, Lance Gooden of Texas, broke away from the rest of his party and voted in favor of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a bill which would ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants, establish a national database of police misconduct and make it easier for citizens to file civil claims against officers. Was Gooden actually moved by the death of so many people of color at the hands of police officers and the desperate pleas for change?  No, he just hit the wrong button because he’s totally incompetent.  Desperate to avoid the possibility that anyone might think he’s a good person, he took swift action and filed a form to change his vote in the official record before posting the evidence on Twitter. Don’t worry Lance, we never doubted that you were an asshole.
  • Fox News fucking lost their shit for almost two full days last week because beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss was being cancelled by the left. As a lifelong Dr. Seuss fan, I was surprised that we’d cancelled him, until I checked and found out that… yeah, we didn’t. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the private company that looks after Seuss’s legacy, decided they would no longer publish new copies of 6 of the author’s less well known works, including If I Ran The Zoo and McElligot’s Pool, because they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong”, a decision Glenn Beck called “fascism”, Tucker Carlson claimed would “have consequences that extend for generations”, and my 12 year old daughter described as “completely reasonable”. In what may be a record-breaking amount of Straw Manning, Fox talked about this story over 150 times in two days and only showed the offensive images once, preferring instead to talk about the Sneetches, the Cat in the Hat, and all the other books that are NOT being withdrawn.  Here’s what I don’t get – aren’t Republicans supposed to be in favor of the free market, with private companies entitled to do whatever they want and then be rewarded or punished by the invisible hand of the economy?  Well, in response to the outcry, conservatives have punished Dr. Seuss Enterprises by buying Dr. Seuss books in record numbers, rocketing them to the top of the bestseller charts – not the books that are being withdrawn of course, just the ones people actually read, like Oh The Places You’ll Go.  Checkmate, libtards!  
  • Republican Senator Josh Hawley was a central figure of the January 6th insurrection, leading the charge of objections to certifying Biden’s election win, and pictured raising a fist in direct support of the rioters outside the Capitol. He also serves on the Senate Judiciary committee, so he got to ask questions during the committee’s hearing on the insurrection. He was especially keen to question FBI director Christopher Wray about exactly what cellphone data they were collecting from the riot, nervously asking about location metadata and call records, and what authority the FBI has to gather and retain this information, saying “ How are we going to know what you’re doing with it, and how do we evaluate the bureau’s conduct if we don’t know what authorities you’re invoking, what precisely you’re doing, what you’re retaining?” I know it sounds crazy, but it’s almost like Hawley is worried about something.  
  • The Supreme Court has been hearing oral arguments about Arizona voting laws and whether they violate the Voting Rights Act, and the newest Justice Amy Coney Barrett asked the lawyer defending the GOP-backed laws: “What’s the interest of the Arizona RNC here in keeping, say, the out-of-precinct ballot disqualification rules on the books?” The lawyer, Michael Carvin, then did something we’ve been waiting years for a Republican lawyer to do – he told the truth. “Because it puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats.” I mean, this isn’t a revelation. We all know that the GOP tries to restrict voting as much as it can because if more people vote, they can’t win, but it’s… refreshing, I guess, to hear them admit it in open court.
  • Trump confirmed at CPAC that he wouldn’t be starting his own political party because that would split the Republican vote and he wouldn’t want to do anything that would hurt the GOP’s chances of getting voted in. Bit weird then, that his lawyers sent cease and desist letters to three of the largest GOP fundraising organisations demanding that they stop using his name and picture in their emails and merchandise. This may be the first time we’ve ever heard of Trump wanting his name taken off something, but don’t worry, he’s not growing as a person and shedding his narcissistic need for self aggrandisement, or accepting that it’s time for the GOP to find a new leader to stand behind.  No, it’s because some of the funds raised by those organisations support the political careers of the ten Republican members of Congress who voted to impeach him and the seven Republican Senators who voted to convict.  Hey, if not using his name when emailing his rabid followers makes it harder for the GOP to raise money, we’re here for it.
  • The Senate has finally passed the Democrat’s $1.9 Trillion COVID relief bill, which includes funding for stimulus checks, vaccine distribution, an expansion of child tax credits, increased unemployment benefits, money for schools, state and local governments, and $34 billion to expand Obamacare subsidies.  It wasn’t an easy process, and Wisconsin GOP Senator and disingenuous asshole Ron Johnson tried to make it harder by having the 628 page bill read out loud before the debate. 10 hours and 44 minutes later, at around 2am, Johnson was the only Republican left in the Senate chamber, and he left as soon as the Senate clerks finished storytime, presumably to avoid being mobbed by said Senate clerks. Once he’d gone, the Democratic Senator for Maryland, Chris Van Hollen, motioned to reduce the debate time for the bill from 20 hours to 3.  With no Republicans left to vote against it, the motion passed and Ron’s pissy time wasting stunt ended up shortening the whole process by about six hours. Yay Ron!
  • In UK politics the morality gap widens as Boris and the current Mrs Boris think about starting a charity fundraiser to redecorate their flat in Downing Street, cos they’ve spaffed all the nation’s money up the wall by giving it to their friends and asking nothing accountable in return.  Which of course means they simply have to deny anything more than a 1% rise for the public sector which includes the Health Workers we’ve all been staying indoors protecting. Protecting for what? so they can earn an extra £6 a week which won’t even cover the cost of the fee for parking at the hospital they work at? As the schools go back, Gavin Williamson the education secretary is thinking about lengthening the school day and shortening holidays so the kids can catch up on their learning – I don’t know whether he’s referring to his cabinet colleagues who despite having allegedly been hard at work for an entire year have learned nothing, but I suspect he is. 3 out of 10 must try harder. Meanwhile we all feel for Elon and his exploding rockets – mainly cos he’s our only hope of getting off this island! Batteries Elon, use batteries!!

That’s all for this week, thanks to our newest Patrons, SKC and Steven Bickle, and thanks for listening!

Jim Cliff

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