Outright lying is not the only way to deceive in public discourse. For more than 2,000 years, those who care about getting the truth have universally agreed on a number of fallacies that have nothing to do with an issue being discussed. In such cases, the purpose is to win the argument, not to get at the truth.

Examples of this were on full display by the Republican minority in the House Judiciary Committee's first impeachment session. Here are a few of their misleading tactics:

They used arguments against the persons testifying rather than against what they were saying. Whatever might be said about those testifying (good or bad) has nothing to do with the validity of their testimony.

Several threw out the red herring of investigating Hunter Biden. Whatever could be discovered about Biden's activity (good or bad) has nothing to do with what Donald Trump did or did not do.

Others used what is known as the Gish gallop. The tactic is to talk nonstop in the effort to overwhelm without regard to accuracy.

Some appealed to pity ("look how badly we're being treated").

Those who used these tactics were not discussing in good faith.

Boyce Brawley


Trump owes Russia; our military at risk

Donald Trump proudly brags about his criminal behavior, including compromising the security of our entire nation. His supporters, Sen.Marsha Blackburn and AG Bill Barr, happily applaud these actions.

Donald Trump is the worst kind of deplorable human that can walk on the planet. He is a self-serving, self-aggrandizing criminal who hates democracy because it means equal rights for minorities and women.

Yes, we are a divided country because, just like during our first Civil War, nearly half of Americans admire, support and endorse obviously despicable policies led by a misogynist, racist criminal.

But I am concerned for those serving in the military and those who are contemplating serving. Serving in the military is an expression of the highest devotion to country. Because the Trump Organization allegedly owes Russia/Putin hundreds of millions of dollars, and Trump is the commander in chief, our military is now serving Putin's interests with full support of Republican voters.

Do you have a loved one serving? Think about it. Donald Trump is the military's top commander who could possibly send your loved one in harm's way for no other reason than to pay down his debt to Putin. In the 2020 elections, D=Democrat, R=Russian.

Jonathan D. Nessle


'Packing' the court

I could not believe Peter Certo's commentary in the Sunday Perspective section, "Progressives need to pack the court."

Basically he says that "stacking" the Supreme Court with conservative judges is wrong but "stacking" the court with progressive judges is good.

Because he is a liberal, he thinks having liberal judges on the court will vote in favor of his political opinions, and conservative judges will not. He obviously doesn't understand the purpose of the Supreme Court. It is to uphold the laws of the land no matter political affiliation. If the law does not agree with his politics then he needs to get over it.

Lee Heidel

Signal Mountain