Mage Wins Kentucky Derby

Really, did a magus or wizard win the storied horse race? Of course not, but from that headline alone (and yes, it was a real headline), a few might initially think so, but from the context, most people would fill in the blanks and figure out that a horse named Mage won the race.

The problem is that, today, in far too many areas, particularly law, economics, and politics, far too many Americans don’t know enough to put headlines, deepfakes, political statements, and economic news in the proper context. And it doesn’t help that various spin doctors and politicians, and even judges, are trying to distort or misrepresent the context.

A recent example of misleading political context is the Republican “Debt Ceiling” proposal, where the GOP claims that they’re only asking for a 1% cut in spending. Nope. They’re asking for a 1% percent cut from the fiscal year 2022 budget, and the country is now in FY2023, and the cuts will apply to FY2024 spending, which means that, because of the high inflation over the past two years, a wide range of cuts in both federal employment and spending will be required, because most Social Security and federal retiree programs and medical benefits cannot be cut, nor can most DOD spending. Since the GOP plan also insists on no new taxes, even on corporations paying no taxes, the cuts will affect lower-paid Americans, a wide range of non-defense spending and businesses supplying the government. Those substantial cuts will increase unemployment and decrease consumption and production to the extent that some economists [and not just “liberal” ones] have calculated that the result of the GOP proposal, if enacted, would result in greater economic damage than a failure to lift the debt ceiling.

The anti-abortion far right claims that they’re pro-life. They’re not, no matter what they think, because they refuse to see the problem in context. So far, the principal result of anti-abortion laws, not just in the United States, but around the world, is an increase in women’s death rates. The more restrictive the laws governing abortion, the higher the percentage of pregnant women dying or suffering permanent health damage, without any decrease in abortions. Already, in Texas, more women are suffering permanent health damage or death because, under Texas law, doctors can’t act to save them because they fear being sued or being sent to prison, even though their lives or long-term health are at risk, and even when the fetus wouldn’t survive. Currently, the U.S. has the highest maternal death rate of any first world nation, largely because of the impact of anti-abortion legislation. Further restrictions on abortion will make matters worse.

Seeing things in context means looking at the facts in real world context, not the pie-in-the-sky invented facts or facts skewed or misrepresented.

6 thoughts on “Mage Wins Kentucky Derby”

  1. Dan Evans says:

    The whole debt ceiling has seemed to me to be a “if we don’t get our way we are flipping the table and won’t play” from both parties. The GOP does seem to have the idea of reducing costs by breaking things (except their pet programs) which would result in unnecessary suffering for the average american. I miss the cooperation, if grudging, and balanced budgets of the Clinton Era.

    On the other hand something does need to done before the gov’t spending gets even more excessive than it already is. Rational evaluation with cooperation between all parties and a focus on efficiency and cutting bloat would be sooooooo much better than these fights.

    1. Grey says:

      “From both parties”?

      The GOP house has taken the credit-worthiness of the United States hostage and is threatening to shoot that hostage unless the Democrats agree to a series of cuts that affect only Democratic Party policies.

      The Democrats have never done this, no matter how much they disagree with Republican priorities on the budget. For example, they agreed to increase the debt limit three times during the Trump presidency (and, you know, every other time it is come up with a Republican president because again, they have never done this). Can you please help me understand why you feel this is a “both sides” problem and if you think it is OK for the Republicans to use these tactics.

      1. Dan Evans says:

        The near shutdowns prior to and actual shutdown in 2013 over including the affordable care act when Obama was in office. Obama said “I’m not going to negotiate. I’m not going to negotiate.” and it eventually got through. Most federal contractors got the missed pay made up later, but it was rough for some.

        The GOP did pass the requirement to HAVE a debt ceiling as it isn’t a historic requirement, but budget fights between the parties get ugly. I don’t think it is right. I think we should fund our responsibilities that have been promised (keep our word as a nation) but work to improve the issues that have increased the federal budget to a bit over 40% of our GDP over the last few decades. We could be much more efficient with our money.

        1. Bill says:

          The budget issues are confounded by a Big Lie. The lie is that the government is always spending too much money. You may have seen the meme about things that are bad if you are poor but cool if you are rich – the answer is getting money from the government. That doesn’t mean the government should waste money, but more money goes to the corrupt than the poor. Look at all the people who tried to steal money through false covid filings.
          In addition, everything is lumped into one bucket which is misleading. Social Security and Medicare should be removed from the bucket. We have paid into Social Security and should get that money back. A small group of wealthy people are deciding they want to keep every penny they grab from others and don’t care what happens to anyone else.
          It isn’t just that they want to keep the money, they are using this situation to stay in control. Their ideology is that they can keep suffering people fighting among themselves and not paying attention to who is responsible for their problems. Look at the boomer vs millennials nonsense. It is a magician’s trick of misdirection. That is all that is going on here. If there hadn’t been huge tax cuts, then this wouldn’t be such a problem.

          In better news, From the Forest is finally available for pre-order in hard cover.

  2. Chris says:

    Without context then voters are unable to hold their representatives accountable. When politicians are, in many ways, left free to act as they please then they pursue power as blatantly as they can. The debt ceiling issue is just another power play hidden behind platitudes that constituents are unable to see around.

  3. RRCRea says:

    There is another major factor that contributes to the high maternal (and infant) mortality rate in the US, lack of access to health care (meaning health care availability depending on access to health insurance). In fact, when examined demographically, the “age at death” graphs for the US don’t look like any first world nation at all. They are barely different than those from poorer countries or those from all of history and prehistory.

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