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CSotD: Beliefs vs. Facts

 

 

In today’s Non Sequitur (AMS), Wiley Miller explains how to avoid popularity.

It’s a simple formula, though it varies depending on how much people have invested in beliefs that don’t jibe with the truth.

Not to be confused with beliefs that don’t jive with the truth. Jiving with the truth is our topic today.

 

Joel Pett lays out the current situation, granted from a slightly left-of-center point of view.

There are problems in our nation, but it’s foolish to expect Biden to have solved them all within less than a year and dishonest to pretend they all arose on his watch.

Nothing new there: People blamed Obama not only for the cratered economy he inherited, but for corrective actions taken during W’s lame duck session.

Which, by the way, has a specific meaning: A “lame duck” is someone who has been voted out of office but remains in power pending the inauguration of his successor.

I point this out because there are partisans who consider anyone prevented by term limits from running for re-election a “lame duck,” and I’ve even seen a hyperpartisan or two refer to Biden that way because they doubt he’ll win in 2024.

In case you wondered who was shooting paperwads instead of taking notes in eighth grade civics.

Getting back to the present day, it’s not surprising to see people blame Biden for not having cleaned up the mess he inherited, and who deny that the mess is not entirely of his own making.

However, I agree with Pett that, this time around, the alternative is blatantly dishonest and counter to American values. And if the conspirators weren’t afraid to testify, we’d see where beliefs and facts differ.

But Mussolini didn’t really make the trains run on time, either.

It didn’t matter: He only had to make people believe that he did.

 

Constant Readers will know I rarely agree with Michael Ramirez (Creators), but I do today.

Okay, I’m being facetious: I agree with Janet Yellen that the current bout of inflation is temporary, but I realize Ramirez does not.

We can get into all sorts of complex arguments that would put everyone to sleep, including that the “frogs in a pot” metaphor is not biologically accurate, but also, for instance, that raising interest rates can kill spending, even as it lowers inflation.

It’s probably more constructive to point out that economists have been tracking the current bout of inflation for more than a year, and that their most pessimistic observation is that it has persisted in part because of the resurgence of the Delta variant, which they hadn’t predicted, but that could have been brought under control.

Y’know: If people had gotten vaccinated and worn masks.

Not blaming anyone. Just pointing it out.

 

 

Marshall Ramsey (Creators) is hardly the only cartoonist to suggest that the 6.2% rise in prices is going to make Thanksgiving incredibly expensive.

To start with, six percent shouldn’t put even a lavish meal out of reach, assuming you were going to be able to afford it before inflation, but I’ll concede that meat prices have risen faster than the prices of other commodities.

OTOH, you can bet that grocers will be offering turkeys as a loss leader, as they do every Thanksgiving and Christmas, so that you only really have to worry about the price of sweet potatoes and bread crumbs.

My local grocery is offering 3 pounds of sweet potatoes for $4.19, but, since nobody cooks from scratch anymore, the canned ones in syrup are marked down from $3.39 to $2.69. And stale bread is more than 6% cheaper than prepared stuffing.

And remember that, 10 days for now, cartoonists will show people complaining about the leftovers, so divide the price of that supposedly lavish meal by the number of actual meals it represents.

If you never learned how to celebrate on the cheap, your problem isn’t inflation.

It’s privilege.

For a more beliefs-based view of inflation, however, Robert Reich points out that setting prices is in the hands of plutocrats who are swimming like Scrooge McDuck in mountains of profit and could cut you a break if they saw you as a real person rather than a cash machine.

 

 

A More Serious Example

I also rarely agree with Mike Lester (AMS), but the Kyle Rittenhouse trial is definitely turning into a case of beliefs vs reality.

And it sure would be nice if more people on both sides had stayed home.

I have been at a police riot where innocent protesters were beaten, I have been at a street riot where tear gas was heavy and things were out of control, and I’ve been on a jury.

I know, then, that there is a difference between protesting and rioting, and between testimony and evidence.

You don’t have to believe everything Kyle Rittenhouse said on the stand to realize that the story of a stupid kid who crossed a state line to shoot peaceful protesters is not holding up.

Nor is the issue before the jury whether or not Kyle Rittenhouse is a dumbass. I think he is, but being a dumbass is not only legal but wins GOP primaries.

The legal issue is when confrontation — including, apparently, physical attacks — may be countered with deadly force, and his surviving victim even testified to pointing a gun at Rittenhouse’s head.

You can mock him for crying — assuming you don’t believe in PTSD — but he didn’t just wander into town: Most of his family lives in Kenosha and he had a job there before being laid off in the pandemic. It’s 20 miles away and a regular part of his life.

He also had formal training with both the police and fire departments and was certified in several emergency medical techniques. The Antioch, Il., police had even given him a bullet-proof vest.

He had reason to think of himself as a first-responder, and he testified to having put out a fire or two and attended a few injured protesters before the fatal encounters.

Be glad you’re on the public opinion jury that only has to judge based on personal beliefs, not the jury in Kenosha that is required to weigh actual facts.

The facts appear shaky, but you can still believe.

Just be careful what you believe in.

 

Community Comments

#1 mark johnson
November/14/2021
@ 12:48 pm

Hard not to pay attention to this trial as the shootings occurred 2 blocks from my office and now, here we are, national news.
One takeaway for me is this question,, who is the “good guy with a gun” often promoted by the NRA after mass shootings? Is it Rittenhouse or Grosskreutz ? Each thought they were the good guy.

#2 Bill Harris
November/14/2021
@ 3:33 pm

I’m not an economist nor do I play one on TV, but it always seemed to me that the Feds dropping $5 trillion in the economy with no corresponding increase in production was a classic recipe for inflation. Am I not right or why is everyone suddenly shocked that inflation has returned?

#3 Mary McNeil
November/14/2021
@ 5:14 pm

Twice I have had to have the rescue squad called for me – once for sever illnedd, once for a broken knee cap. Neither time (2 sifferent squads in two different townships) did the EMT’s have AK-47s. Was I in danger and unprotected ?

#4 Mike Peterson
November/14/2021
@ 6:42 pm

Were people setting the building on fire? Did anyone point a gun at the EMT’s head?

I’m not excusing him for being a dumbass, but the town was full of dumbasses that night. To pretend the other people there were holding hands and singing Kumbaya is to ignore the facts.

As said, he shouldn’t have been there, but he’s hardly the only person who shouldn’t have been there. Singling him out is an act of politics, not of logic.

#5 ANDREA DENNINGER
November/15/2021
@ 3:49 pm

Mark: FWIW, I drove that area of 60th Street for over 30 years; my library at Reuther Central High School overlooked Civic Park; if I’d still beem working, I could’ve watched it all [and been terrified as the crowd broke our first-floor windows]. I lived in Kenosha from 1956-2015, and this entire ‘incident’ breaks my heart. I knew Bruce Schroeder just as he was made a judge, and I’m gobsmacked at some of his comments and rulings.

#6 Mike Peterson
November/15/2021
@ 3:59 pm

I liked Abbie Hoffman’s explanation that their entire defense was based on giving Julius Hoffman a heart attack.

Unfortunately, when the judge is determined to manage an acquittal, you lose the ability to appeal his eccentricities.

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