Argument by Vehemence – FT#97

Argument by Vehemence – FT#97

Show Notes

The Argument by Vehemence is committed when someone gets loud, angry or indignant in place of making an actual argument.


We started out with this clip of Trump failing to answer a question about COVID:

We followed that with this clip of Trump shouting over Biden in their first debate:

Mark’s British Politics Corner

Mark talked about this clip of Boris Johnson shouting at Kier Starmer:


Fallacy in the Wild

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

Then we looked at this clip from The West Wing:

And we finished with this clip from Citizen Kane:

Fake News

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

  1. I made a hole-in-one. It took place at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, on the 7th hole, which was playing 181-yards into a slight wind. I hit a 5-iron, which sailed magnificently into a rather strong wind.
  2. As soon as I hit it, Ernie Els, great golfer, winner of four majors, turned to me and said “That’s a hell of a drive, Sir.” The we all watched it bounce on the green and roll into the hole. Everyone got very excited and started cheering.
  3. The match was Ernie and me (with no strokes) against Gene, Mike, and Ken. I won’t tell you who won because I am a very modest individual, and you will then say I was bragging — and I don’t like people who brag!

Click below for the answer

Mark got it right this week, but is still on 49%


Confirmation hearings are not a logical fallacy

We talked about the racist shit-show that constitutes today’s Republican Party  and their behavior at Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing.


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

  • There’s been no shortage over the past six years of people with actual legal expertise pointing out that Trump has committed actual crimes that any normal person would be prosecuted for. These claims have generally fallen into two categories. Those which are true but won’t make any difference for some fucking reason, and the significantly rarer category of those which are true and might actually turn into something. In category one this week, we have Manhattan prosecutor Mark Pomerantz who resigned from the Manhattan DAs office last month when it became clear new DA Alvin Bragg was reluctant to prosecute what Pomerantz described in his resignation letter as “numerous felony violations” that Trump committed. In the much more exciting and colorful category two is the ruling from Judge David Carter in the case we talked about last episode where attorney John Eastman was trying to avoid giving the January 6 Committee a number of documents. Judge Carter ruled that 101 of the 111 documents were not privileged, one of which was specifically because “Based on the evidence, the court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6th, 2021”. That, by the way, is a federal crime, and the document that quote specifically refers to also seems to implicate Rudy Giuliani directly in the criminal conspiracy. Mind you, if we just waited a bit Rudy would inevitably butt-dial a reporter and confess to it anyway.
  • Just occurred to me that phrases about the truth are sometimes related to clothing – “a lie is halfway round the world before the truth has got its pants on” and “liar liar pants on fire”. Something about dressing up to appear better than others perhaps? It’s what Republican Madison Cawthorn seems to striving to do, apart from recently still calling the 2020 election fraudulent, rigged and stolen, he’s having a go at his own party now, saying in a podcast this week that he saw some of his own party members doing cocaine in a car park and was invited by fellow republicans to an orgy! Both of which he later admitted to lying about when taken to task by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Impetuous youthfulness aside – he’s the youngest Republican representative – is he attempting to make himself appear better by being above the allegedly debauched behavior of his colleagues having been accused of sexual misconduct himself? Or does he think this is what you just do to please Trump in Trump’s GOP, after Trump endorsed candidate Lynda Bennett instead in 2020? Y’know  – lie about being turned down for Naval Academy after injuries sustained in a car crash, nope he was just turned down, and lie about being pronounced dead in said crash – nope officially pronounced incapacitated. When you tell lies to clean the swamp – you are the swamp – did Donnie teach you nothin’?
  • Now I know that during my last headline you were all shouting at your cell-phones and smart speakers “But Jim, doesn’t 18 USC 1512 C2, attempting to obstruct an official proceeding require criminal intent? How will they prove Trump had corrupt intent Jim?” and I would expect nothing less. Frankly, if you weren’t shouting that then you’re not the listeners I know and love. But you’re also forgetting that Trump is a fucking idiot, and commits all his crimes out in the open like a naked man robbing a bank because a witch sold him an invisibility potion and he doesn’t think you can see him.  Of course the Judge had plenty of evidence that Trump acted corruptly, but it’s always nice to have more, like, say, someone deliberately concealing or tampering with evidence. In unrelated news, the Washington Post reported this week that the White House Presidential phone log which was provided to the Jan 6 Committee is curiously absent of any phone calls between 11.17am and 6.54pm on January 6th. We know from the extensive reporting of that day that during that period Trump spoke on the phone to Senator Mike Lee, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Mike Pence and it would be a bit surprising if he didn’t speak to anyone else, since it was a bit of a busy day, what with fomenting an insurrection and everything. So did he borrow someone else’s phone for some reason? Did he use a burner phone? Of course, Trump claims he not only didn’t use a burner phone, but he doesn’t even know what that term means, despite using it three times in his lawsuit against his niece Mary.
  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has issues – I suspect it’s because he is furious that he’s one letter away from sounding like General Patton. He recently fired a letter off to the Austin Independent School District saying “By hosting ‘Pride Week,’ your district has, at best, undertaken a week-long instructional effort in human sexuality without parental consent. Or, worse, your district is cynically pushing a week-long indoctrination of your students that not only fails to obtain parental consent, but subtly cuts parents out of the loop. Either way, you are breaking state law.” Of course those aren’t the only choices – other choices include what the school district’s superintendent Dr Stephanie Elizalde fired back. “I want all our LGBTQIA+ students to know that we are proud of them and that we will protect them against political attacks,” and that Pride Week is “a time to highlight the district’s commitment to creating a safe, supportive and inclusive environment” for LGBTQ students. As a dangerously rich well-fed cis white male you’d think Paxton wouldn’t have to be blowing the dog-whistle so damn hard to continue to be voted in by similarly bigotted Texans. But hey, as we’ve learned this week, if you can’t be right be STUPIDLY FUCKIN’ VEHEMENT OR ELSE PEOPLE WILL FIND OUT!
  • Trump claims to be the best at a lot of things, and in almost every case, he’s either delusional or… end of sentence. However, one thing he truly seems to be better than pretty much everyone else at is losing in court. To be fair, he gets a lot of practice. He’s having another swing at it now, having recently sued Hillary Clinton, The DNC and 26 other people and entities for conspiring to undermine his 2016 campaign by making up lies about him and Russia.  I’m not sure exactly what damages he’s claiming he suffered, since – I don’t know if you remember this, but – he won the 2016 election, but I guess it gives him something to do between poorly attended rallies. On hearing about the lawsuit CNN reached out to some of the defendants for a comment and FBI agent Peter Strzok’s lawyer said “We haven’t had a chance to read the complaint, but knowing the former President there’s probably very little in there that’s true.” which is extremely judgemental and probably highly accurate. One person who did get the chance to read it is First Amendment lawyer Ken White, who described it as “freakishly unprofessional and legally bumptious. Rather than a serious effort by serious lawyers, it’s a performative caper by injudiciously barred clowns.” Of course, when I hear the phrase injudiciously barred clowns, I think of Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell but they’re too busy being investigated for being terrible lawyers, so this lawsuit was filed by Trump’s old military academy classmate Peter Ticktin, a Florida lawyer who’s been suspended twice for conflict of interest violations and who writes fucking awful poetry that he proudly displays on his law firm’s website. He was also apparently responsible for getting Trump the award of ‘Ladies Man’ in the military academy yearbook. Trump has previously claimed it was because of his ‘great feeling’ for women, but Ticktin says “Somebody else got ‘Most Popular,’ and we wanted to give him something, so we made him ‘Ladies’ Man,’ which to us was kind of an inside joke because there really were no ladies,” I don’t think he’s going to last long as Trump’s lawyer if he keeps revealing stuff like that.
  • Right the whole Stop the Steal, overturn the election, bring down Biden thing was all to do with horned shamen and proud boys and working-class Americans stirred up by billionaire care-nothings on Jan 6th yeah? Except, no, well, you know Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas? You know he’s married? Texts sent by his wife Ginni to Trumps Chief of Staff Mark Meadows have been obtained by the Jan 6th committee The Washington Post notes that the committee is in possession of 21 such texts sent by Thomas to Meadows in the wake of the Nov. 2020 election. “Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!…You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice,” one sent on Nov. 10 reads. “The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History.” and on Nov 5th – “Biden crime family & ballot fraud co-conspirators (elected officials, bureaucrats, social media censorship mongers, fake stream media reporters, etc) are being arrested & detained for ballot fraud right now & over coming days, & will be living in barges off GITMO to face military tribunals for sedition.” But of course she’s a private citizen, completely mad mind you, but is entitled to say such stuff surely; not that she uses her husbands clout to influence any decisions nooo of course not – it’s not like she invoked her husband in an effort to woo Florida Governor Ron DeSantis into participating in an event hosted by a conservative group or anything in emails saying that the governor should be familiar with her because, in addition to seeing him at a state dinner at the White House and having interviewed him for the Daily Caller, her “husband has been in contact with him too on various things of late.” Well good to know that the supreme court is beyond the reach of the likes of Lady Macbeth.  
  • If there’s one thing Republicans are sure of, it’s that your children are constantly in imminent danger of being kidnapped by pedophiles. If there’s a second thing they’re sure of it’s that being a Republican instantly absolves you from any accusations that you might be involved in anything inappropriate around children. Just look at Matt Gaetz. Or Roy Moore. Or Mark Foley. Or Jim Jordan. Or Dennis Hastert. Or George Nader. Or Lauren Boebert’s husband. Or… there’s a lot, is what I’m saying. In unrelated news, former Washington State representative Matt Shea, who is a Republican, by the way, who was suspended by the House Republican caucus and urged to resign after a House commissioned report found that he had planned and participated in domestic terrorism against the United States THREE TIMES between 2014 and 2016, showed up in a small town in Poland this week with over 60 Ukranian children. Weronika Ziarnika, an aide to the mayor of the town was contacted by local people who were concerned about the situation. She asked to speak to whoever was legally in charge of the children and Shea told her he’d spoken to the mayor and everything was fine. Ziarnika says she knew that wasn’t true, because it was the mayor who asked her to speak with him. Shea got really angry, refused to tell her his last name, and asked to see her ID. She asked him “What are you going to do with these children” and he said “None of your business”, which, of all possible answers to that question, is not one that fills you with confidence. Speaking on a right-wing religious Polish TV show later, Shea claimed that he was there on behalf of a Texas group called either Loving Families and Homes for Orphans, or Loving Homes and Families for Orphans depending on which part of the interview you listen to. He claimed that the group has been facilitating adoptions for years and while a group by that name is registered with the Texas Secretary of State, they are not registered as an adoption agency or affiliated with international adoption organizations and the group’s website is just a parked domain. But sure, it’s probably fine, because we only need to protect children from Democrats.
  • Britpol this week in numbers – Rishi Sunak promises a tax cut in ooh… look 2024 election year having announced tax rises worth 2% of GDP in just two years – the same as Tony Blair and Gordon Brown did in ten. Oh and reinstated car parking fees for NHS staff! Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is freed from Iran and Fox News wannabes GB News accuse her of being ungrateful when she said “what took them so long” – after all the UK just paid £400 million to get you out – nope it was Iran’s money from a tank order unfilled in 1979. Homes for Ukraine gets 28,000 applications, only 2,700 visas are issued. COVID lateral flow tests will no longer cost nothing despite new cases topping 74,000 after the end of restrictions. P&O ferries knowingly break the law by laying off 800 staff at short notice and the government, familiar with knowingly breaking the law, is issued with 20 fines for COVID law breeches but Boris still maintains rules were followed. Commons Liaison Committee member calls PM “pretty much toast” if he had been issued one surely, Boris replies: “I think you’re just going to have to hold your horses and wait until the conclusion of the investigation when there will be a lot more clarity.” Spoiler alert, and let me be perfectly clear – there will be no clarity, only bread-like opacity. Would that we could afford enough energy to actually make toast with!

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

Jim Cliff

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