Gotcha Argument – FT#87

Gotcha Argument – FT#87

Show Notes

The Gotcha Argument is used by people who are backing into a corner and unable to answer a tough question. So they accuse their opponent of asking a ‘gotcha’ question.


We started out with this clip of Trump unable to answer a question about Islamic military leaders:

We followed that with this clip of Trump reacting to a question about Jared Kushner claiming the US National Stockpile is not actually for the states to use:

Mark’s British Politics Corner

Mark talked about this clip of Matt Hancock repeatedly avoiding a question about free school meals:

Then we looked at Boris’s (lack of) answer when asked who paid for the refurbishments to his Downing Street residence:


Fallacy in the Wild

In the Fallacy in the Wild we looked at this clip from Game Change:

Then we discussed this clip from Veep.

And finally, we talked about this wonderful clip from Parks and Recreation.

Fake News

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

  1. It’s weird… it’s not doable. And they’re outside. I would say that if I had gun, number one I’d point it in the air and pull the trigger a couple of times I think just by natural. You know, they’re outside in this big open space, there’s nobody around, I think I probably… I would have pointed it up in the air but you can also look to see whether or not it’s loaded. But who would take a gun and point it at a cinematographer and pull the trigger and she’s dead?
  2. As bad as it may have been kept meaning, you know, the people that take care of the equipment and the gun and everything else, but even if it was loaded – and you know, that’s a weird thing – maybe he loaded it. Who – remember this – who would put a gun – “Here Alec, here’s your gun,” “oh good,” lift it up, point it at a person and pull the trigger and “Oh man, a bullet came out, she’s dead”. So there’s something wrong with him, he’s a sick guy.
  3. He was for a long time a very troubled and frankly, a little crazy person, that’s what I’ve read. He did Saturday Night Live and that’s – I don’t care about that, I watched him, he was very bad at what he did, but he’s just someone who, you know, in my opinion he had something to do with it, who knows what? And she wasn’t even an actress, she wasn’t even someone in the movie. Why would you point a gun, loaded, not loaded whatever, at someone who’s not even in the movie?

Click below for the answer

Mark got it right this week, and is now back up to 51%


Off year elections are not a logical fallacy

We talked about the results of the 2021 elections, including the Virginia Governor’s race.


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

  • Trump got tired of winning a long time ago, but it seems like he’ll never get tired of losing, and we are definitely not tired of him losing.  The latest in a seemingly infinite string of court losses for Trump came last Wednesday when US District Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled that Trump couldn’t exert executive privilege to prevent the National Archives handing over documents to the House Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection. The committee asked for records including a log of people Trump and senior Republicans met and spoke with on January 6th, notes of talking points prepared for Kayleigh McEnany, and various handwritten notes regarding the events that day. Naturally, as a man with no liability and nothing to hide, Trump immediately sued to stop the release of the record to the committee, citing executive privilege, but Biden, who is actually the one who has executive privilege, on account of, you know, being President and everything, said Nah, it’s OK, you can release the documents.  Anticipating things might not go his way, Trump’s team made a desperate last minute motion on midnight Monday for an administrative stay of the judge’s ruling, which the judge rejected within a couple of hours based on the fact she hadn’t actually made a ruling yet, so that’s not how any of this works. She promised to rule soon though, and indeed she did, pointing out that whatever executive privilege Trump still had didn’t supersede Biden’s, and saying in the ruling “Presidents are not Kings, and Plaintiff is not President”. She didn’t actually write “mic drop” after that, but it’s definitely implied.
  • In a weird inside-out moebius strip of looking-glass logic Republicans and the right-wing this week decried a made-up character speaking fictitiously about the covid vaccine. Big Bird, for it is he, has been reflecting childhood life since 1969 and continues to be 6 years old even 53 years on, and has been getting whatever shots kids get since he got the measles shot in 1972. Last week he tweeted (of course) that got the covid shot – his wing’s a bit sore but he’s just fine. Of course none of this is real, it’s all made up in order to stimulate the curiosity of pre-school and school kids. Hasn’t stopped the right getting grouchy and taking fictions they don’t like all seriously; garbage-can dwellers Ted Cruz called it propaganda, Fox News; brainwashing kids, and both Fox News and Newsmax came up with their own made up stories that kids are not at risk of COVID-19. But that’s okay cos they’re allegedly grown-ups and they made it up so that’s not made up or propaganda; not even when posting gifs of Big Bird being served up for thanksgiving after vaccine-induced myocarditis on Twitter like those miserable carping Waldorf and Stadler-alikes Robby Starbuck and Cernovich – who look really tough now cos they took a dump on a tall yellow children’s tv character. Now if Sam the Eagle had done it that’d be a completely different story – cos he’s a real ’merican!
  • Asking you to remember one out of the many many people fired by the Trump Administration would be like asking you to find one specific piece of shit in a large pile of shit, so I’ll do a quick recap on Johnny McEntee. He’s Trump’s personal aide who was fired in March of 2018 because the Homeland Security investigation into his various gambling related crimes meant he couldn’t get a security clearance. Trump hired him back a year and a half later to run the Office of Presidential Personnel, where his job was to hire new people in the administration and get rid of anyone who wasn’t loyal to Trump. Thanks to Jonathan Karl’s new book Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show, we get to have a look at a memo McEntee wrote to make the case for firing Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Here are just a few of the reasons why McEntee thought Esper should be fired: He approved the promotion of Lt Col Vindman, who testified against Trump in the impeachment trial; he publicly opposed using military force against protesters; he barred the display of the Confederate flag at military bases; he didn’t support Trump’s military transgender ban, instead pointing out that he had found active duty transgender soldiers perspectives helpful; and worst of all, actual quote here, he “has been actively pushing for ‘diversity and inclusion’” What a bastard.  Well, I think you’ll agree, Trump really didn’t have any choice but to fire him, which of course he did, three weeks later.
  • How to continue to make conspiracy theories – recipe number 17. Ingredients  QAnon, Dallas Texas, JFK Jr, his Dad, key dates and times, wilful ignoring of party politics, utter gullibility, and followers with an apparent infinite travel budget. Gather your QAnons on Nov 2nd, on the 58th anniversary of your golden boy’s Dad’s death – but be sure to miss it arbitrarily by 20 days. Spread rumours that JFK Jr. isn’t dead but like everybody mentioned in Men in Black as a joke he’s been in hiding since 1999. At a depth of 6 feet maybe? Have your key conspirator Brian Protzman, The Gematria General – making meaning from meaningless numbers – which is why they were days off any dates with significance I spose – have him say things like “We are the storm … we’re the ones the devil comes to try and take down 1,000 years from now and a 1,000 years of peace, and he will have no effect, because we’re going from 3D to 5D,” this from the man who thinks the Kennedys were descended from actual Christ himself so …. errr yep! Stir in the idea that Trump will be reinstated and call JFK Jr. as his VP (ignore the nagging “weren’t they like properly democrats though but?!” question gnawing at your brain stem, along with that JFK Jr IS still DEAD right. Be sure to appeal to the likes of Ginny who travelled from Nebraska to be there, stoked that “JFK is going to be here, and that many dead celebrities are actually alive, are a part of a secret plan, and that there will be a big reveal later tonight at the Rolling Stones concert at the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas. “Robin Williams was here the other day… Michael Jackson is high in the movement.” (Okay so now we also have to ignore the embracing of Jacko despite all those recent revelations.) But never mind cos as flexible a thinker as ever Qanoner Neese said, still standing in the rain 2 hrs after the time of the second coming had passed, “part of faith is continuing to have it, EVEN WHEN you can’t see.  No matter what, I think the majority of us know that something is happening.” Yeah you see what’s actually been happening is you’ve all been cooking – with the microwave door open again haven’t you!
  • When I’m choosing which headlines to cover in this section I have certain blogs I go to and newsletters I read, but sometimes stuff just comes at you. For example, I saw this clip online, and didn’t know who he was, but I just figured it was being shared because this guy is a misogynistic asshole who is, like most misogynistic assholes, also monumentally stupid: “The idea that a woman doesn’t need a man to be successful, the idea that a woman doesn’t need a man to have a baby, the idea that a woman can live a happy and fulfilling life without a man, I think it’s all nonsense… From an evolutionary standpoint, it used to be women were attracted to your strength because you could defend them from dinosaurs”. Of course, then, I found out that this particular asshole is Trump-backed Pennsylvania Senate candidate Sean Parnell.  It will shock you to learn that Parnell was in court this week, strenuously denying abusing his ex wife and children. In a child custody hearing, his ex-wife testified about why she got two temporary protection from abuse orders against him during their marriage, claiming that he choked her until she bit him to escape, pinned her down, calling her a whore and a piece of shit and hit their children.  Needless to say, senior Republicans have uniformly failed to express any negative opinions about any of this, since being a dangerously aggressive, ignorant misogynist is not so much a bug as a feature in today’s GOP, so once again it’s down to us. Which is to say, if you’re in Pennsylvania, please vote next year! 
  • Jan 6th 2021 Texas real estate agent Jenna Ryan shares video of herself in the mirror saying ​​“We’re gonna go down and storm the Capitol. … That’s why we came, and so that’s what we are going to do.” takes a private plane to D.C. and then posts video of herself doing all that storming.
    March 26th 2021 Jenna Tweets “Definitely not going to jail. Sorry I have blonde hair white skin a great job a great future and I’m not going to jail. Sorry to rain on your hater parade. I did nothing wrong”
    Nov 2nd 2021 She definitely goes to jail – prosecutors argued “A defendant who believes she is immune from strict punishment because of her race and physical appearance may reoffend because the consequences for wrongdoing will never, in the defendant’s mind, be severe even when severity is merited” the judge agrees that she’s “been very upfront that you feel no sense of shame or guilt” and sentences her to 60 days in jail saying “​​I think the sentence should tell them that we take it seriously, that it was an assault on our democracy … and that it should never happen again.” And in a much less adult and measured way I simply add “Har-Har”.
  • Today is a wonderful day for awful people to smack right into the consequences of their own actions. Example number 1 – Alex Jones. Following the Texas lawsuit we talked about a month ago, a superior court judge in Connecticut has now ruled against Alex, based on much the same reasoning. Since he’s actively avoided engaging in all the parts of the lawsuit where he was supposed to provide documents to the court, the judge ruled that he was liable by default, making that all four cases of defamation that have now been decided against him. Juries will be empanelled next year in both Texas and Connecticut to decide on damages. Example number 2 – Steve Bannon. Bannon, who looks like a high school text book drawing  of a fat medieval peasant with the plague, surrendered himself to the FBI’s field office in DC this morning after a federal grand jury handed down an indictment for contempt of Congress, a crime he very clearly and publicly committed when he ignored a subpoena to testify and provide documents to the January 6th Committee. If convicted, Bannon faces between 30 days and two years in prison, and you know what happens to pretty boys like Bannon in prison. By pure coincidence, former NSA traitor Mike Flynn has now decided that he will in fact comply with the subpoena he got, and I suspect several others might do the same, which is just one of the advantages of actually prosecuting criminals.
  • In Little England it’s not been Big Bird getting the vaccine but actual Santa himself in the latest Tesco supermarket advert explaining he’s making sure nothing will stop him visiting this year. Consequently spittle-covered bleach-smelling ivermectin-gobbling anti-vaxxers have threatened to boycott Tesco – who consequently… don’t give a shit. Cos it actually means more people will feel more safe that there are fewer coughing maskless fools filthing up the shopping experience for vaxxed and masked shoppers. Meanwhile the other fat red-faced man Boris announced that the UK isn’t corrupt in one huge attempted gotcha-responding bit of bluster, in order to divert attention from actually having to answer to the increasing evidence showing the Government actually IS. Some of that evidence includes the accurate pointing out by everyone that it’s kinda wrong, when the Parliamentary Standards committee finds that Tory MP Owen Patterson has done some dodgy things and ought to be reprimanded, to then, as the government, attempt to abolish the Parliamentary Standards Committee and force party MP’s to vote for that rather than reprimand that one Tory MP. Only to have to then force a U-Turn 24 hours later and decide not to abolish it after all. Somewhat chastened by this, Boris refused to comment on Tory MP Geoffrey Cox’s having spent most of lockdown in 2020 in the Caribbean rather than his constituency beyond saying that “MP’s should be visible in their constituencies” I assume he doesn’t just mean on those TV holiday programmes, nor includes himself, who ended up hiding in a pharmacy when he visited his last. Despite all this sleaze apparently finally cutting through to the voting populace, people in the Tory stronghold of Sidcup say they’ll still vote Tory in the upcoming by-election because they don’t see a viable alternative – hope you’re listening Keir Starmer! And Marcus Rashford too – your time to govern the country using something other than politics has come.

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

Jim Cliff

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