SocraticGadfly: 6/9/24 - 6/16/24

June 15, 2024

Yes but, on Trump and Biden lying

This one's for you BlueAnons who complain that the mainstream media treat Diaper Don with kid gloves.

We start with a tweet by Nathan J. Robinson about a NYT article in which he noted it's Dementia Joe that's treated with kid gloves on his lies.

As I noted in both a response tweet and a quote tweet? That Biden claim about first to go to college was not only a lie, it was also plagiarism of British Labor MP and prime minister candidate Neil Kinnock.

Even Snopes, which I dropped from my links list a few years ago for being too BlueAnon, fully details it, including the fact that Biden stayed in denial about it after being confronted:

"I did not intentionally move to mislead anybody. And I didn't. To this day I didn't."

And, that denial was in spite of being confronted with other instances of plagiarism!

So, #PlagiaristJoe, your claim is "Mostly False." So is the spirit of it.

One instance of plagiarism, as known from lawsuits in the music world, might be unconscious.

But, having plagiarized many years earlier in a law school class, gotten busted and gotten failed, then doing it MULTIPLE times after?

About as believable as Slick Willie saying "I did not have sex with that woman." Or, about as believable as head-fish-rotter Mike Dukakis trying to distance himself from the leaks to the press about Biden by his staffers, per a Time backgrounder.

Ditto on the civil rights arrest, which he told in 2018, while comfortably out of office and not running for one, at least officially.

His Naval Academy lie, per that link, is such a whopper it's one that he would have to believe for himself first before thinking other people would believe it. (And, psychologists show that's how we develop our strongest lies — by self-focused practice.) That said, there's potentially a bonus lie about how Biden avoided military service in general at that link.

As for the Biden pull quote? I think he honestly believes that. But, the biggest lies are the ones we tell ourselves.

Trump, I think in some corner of his mind, knows he's bullshitting and just doesn't care. That doesn't make his lies less bad that Biden's. Or less effective. It does make them more psychopathic in some way.

June 14, 2024

Abortion sanctuary city lies by Mark Lee Dickson et al

These lies by any fundagelical Protestant Christian, or Catholic or Orthodox equivalent, done willfully and knowingly (and yes, they're knowingly) are a violation of the Eighth Commandment.

AND, this is more egregious since Mark Lee Dickson is a Protestant pastor of whatever damnation, or non-damnational independent church he has.

Let's dive in with the lies that Dickson presents at a typical small-town governmental meeting.

First, he claims Biden administration supports abortion any time, any reason. 

Lie: Majority of national elected Democrats, including Biden when in the Senate, supported the Hyde Amendment. In addition,  presidents have repeatedly taken a pass on codifying Roe. 

Claim: “Biden Administration committed to abortion access in every zip code.” 

Lie: See above. 

Then he'll likely mention George Soros. 

Lie: Soros has never indicated abortion is a primary focus. 

Dickson will then claim the power of these ordinances could cross state lines, that an abortion provider in Kansas or New Mexico would be afraid of Texas lawsuits. 

Doubt it. Look at the folks in Washington state telling Paxton to go fuck himself on transgender and transsexual treatment records. And, a Texas district court upheld. (Some state appellate court could overturn, yes.) And, on New Mexico, we're still waiting for the state Supreme Court to rule whether or not the state can outlaw local sanctuary city ordinances. They're sure taking their sweet time.

Not a lie, but a reference to a liar?

Dickson claims Abby Johnson among supporters.

Fact: Nutbar alert! And a liar herself. And, like most such liars, a big old grifter off of it too.

The big lie is either actual misinformation or misframing of what these people say about human reproductive biology.

A canard, rather than a straight-up lie, is the suits against transportation of fetal remains. Did not the Texas Lege pass, and Abbott sign, a bill requiring burial of fetal remains inside Tex-ass? Shouldn't the concerned pro-lifers want other fetal remains to get a burial, too?

And, the biggest lie of all is the self-brainwashing behind this.

Beyond all this? 

What I would ultimately like to see is what it was talked about some librul states might do after SB8 was passed. Gun control was mentioned, but it would be hard to do a lawsuit enforcement on that.

What would not be so hard to do is, in an anti-death penalty state, allow citizens to sue over:

  • any chemical used in lethal injections being transported through the state;
  • any citizen of that state driving to a state execution in another state, or a citizen of another state driving through that state for one;
  • any steel, concrete, etc., for a lethal injection room being created in that state or transported through it;
  • and anything else like that which I am missing.

Mark Lee Dixon isn't a Catholic, but the residents and civic leaders of Catholic-heavy small towns are. And, I know what the Church teaches about the death penalty, and I know there's a lot of conservative cafeteria Catholics out there. Run into them, high hypocrisy levels and all, on Twitter.


Per the Trib, the pair has also meddled in New Mexico. The New Mexico Supreme Court temporarily blocked such laws when it got the case last December but has yet to issue a permanent ruling. 

Also per the Trib, the city of Clarendon told him to go fuck off.

Meanwhile, his co-thug, Jonathan Mitchell, has scared people, on issues related to this, but the former state solicitor general has yet to garner a single deposition.

And, per Mimi Swartz at the Monthly, there's payment shenanigans between Mitchell and Dickson on fees for a lawsuit he won for Dickson. Bottom line is it looks like Dickson is doing the moral equivalent of money laundering.


Amarillo has continued to punt, though may consider it again June 11. The constitutionally untenable travel ban is why. And, it officially said no on June 11; Mark's Minions are now trying to decide whether to gather signatures for a referendum.

June 13, 2024

Jamie Metzl: Disingenuous on Gaza, at a minimum

"Disingenuous" is one of those words that has a clear denotative as well as connotative meaning, and in fact, in common use, the denotative often takes the lead, with insinuations of something like earned opprobrium behind it.

So, I use it reluctantly of Metzl, the Clinton Administration National Security Council staffer who was one of the early, leading, non-conspiratorial voices on COVID discussing the possibility of a lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, while admitting he didn't know for sure and remained open-minded toward a purely zoonotic origin.

I was nosing around his site last week, seeing if he had updated his main post on COVID, re the Fauci investigation by the House subcommittee last week Monday, when I noticed a piece that he had entitled called "Response to Gaza Open Letter."

Here's the background:

On March 17, 2024, I received an email regarding the Gaza conflict from six of my former colleagues from when I served in the White House and State Department during the Clinton administration. The people who sent the letter are among the people I respect most in the world, and so their invitation to sign on to the open letter to President Biden they had drafted was something I took with the utmost seriousness. Upon reading the letter, however, I realized I could not sign and responded with a letter outlining my reasoning.

What follows is an originally private response to them that he made public after their letter was published.

OK, we'll look at the why.


While the letter focuses on the actions of Israel, it is largely silent on the responsibilities of Hamas in deliberately fomenting this crisis.

Well, maybe it primarily is about Israel, the original letter, but not totally.

Then there's this:

Hamas leaders extolled the October 7 terrorists to commit the worst possible abuses and desecrate the dead bodies to highlight Israeli outrage and undermine Israel’s deterrence.

We know that many of those claims (maybe not all, but yes, many) by Israel are nothing more than hasbara. And Metzl either does know that or should know that himself. 

Metzl then mentions the infamous tunnels, which, IIRC, were already being discussed mid-March.

Then there's the nutgraf on how Metzl said the letter should have started:

“As former U.S. foreign policy and national security officials who served several presidential administrations, we write to express our deep concerns about the situation in Gaza. We call on Hamas to release all the hostages immediately and to surrender unconditionally and for Israel to wage its justified war to defeat Hamas with the greatest care possible. We also write to encourage your administration to continue and substantially strengthen efforts to protect civilians and promote a just and durable peace.

Zionism 101.

"Surrender, Hamas and throw yourself on the tender mercies of Bibi."

What fucking planet do you live on?

The planet where the IDF gets a pass:

Third, it would be hard for any of us to declare with certainty, as the letter does, that “military tactics employed in that response have been indiscriminate, created a humanitarian catastrophe, jeopardized the potential for further progress toward regional stability, and undermined U.S. credibility and influence in the region and around the world.”

That was bad enough as of March 18. It's godawful as of now. (Speaking of which, the letter to him looks ahead to Rafah, which Metzl ignores.)

He then goes on to reject a negotiated ceasefire because:

Doing so would hand Hamas an historic victory and, in my view, give Hamas a controlling veto on any future political arrangement. If the second, Israel has already offered a negotiated temporary cease fire in exchange for the release of some hostages.

Oh, so, despite hating Bibi, he's a full-on Zionist by that point, re the first sentence. Re the second, no, news sites generally called that a "pause." It should also be noted that his blog, and his website as a whole, do not have a search function. I'll assume, based on everything up to this point, that he simply doesn't discuss the background to Oct. 7, 2023, and surely doesn't even use the word "Nakba."

Now, to show how disingenuous Metzl is, to the point of duplicitousness? Here's Reuters' piece on the letter to him.

In its letter, the group said that an Israeli military operation against Hamas was "necessary and justified."
But Israel's operations "have been marked by repeated violations" of international law banning indiscriminate killing and the use of weapons that do not permit discrimination between combatants and civilians, the group said.

You lying sack of shit. That's hardly "largely silent," contra the first pull quote from your letter.

And, that letter explicitly mentions international law. Yours does NOT.

And, on background? The Nakba, or Israeli actions that precipitated it, actually started in 1947, before any Arab League member attacked Israel.

The background in general? Mondoweiss has it for you, Metzl.

Congrats, Metzl. You totally earned the "disingenuous," both connotatively and denotatively.

June 12, 2024

RIP Jim Stiles and good riddance to your cult fanbois

Via a commenter on High Country News' Facebook page, on its story about a Moab developer planning (and now putting on hold) a new development named after Ed Abbey characters from The Monkey Wrench Gang (my take) ...

I heard the news about Stiles, long-time publisher of The Canyon Country Zephyr. His obit, on its website.

A few interesting thoughts, from that obit, and many more after that.

First, he was a true Cactus Ed groupie, if he moved to the Moab area after a friend of his dad gave him a copy of Desert Solitaire.

Second, why did he move to Coldwater, Kansas, of all places? Obit doesn't say. It does say he was born in Louisville, Kentucky. For the unknowing, Coldwater is a far more godforsaken place, at least to the Western White person's eyes, than Moab, and less scenic, too. It's about 100 miles west southwest of Wichita, Kansas, where the mixed-grass prairie changes to shortgrass. It's been eons, but I've been through there, Ashland, Protection, and all around on US 160, as well as US 54, US 400 (the old KS 96), etc. It's under 1,000 people; its whole county, which borders Oklahoma just east of the Panhandle, is under 2,000. It's a town of a bunch of old White farmers, average age over 55.

Third, this ties to the Zephyr. Good old Jim moved to Coldwater BACK IN 2011! In other words, per a Gannett, a Cherry Road, or some other "hollowing out" newspaper company, he was publishing the Zephyr remotely for THIRTEEN YEARS. What a fraud.

Indeed, it may be MORE than 13 years. I quote from this High Country News piece about Stiles in 2006:

We have been on a daylong memory-lane tour that’s a show-and-tell for Stiles’ first book, Brave New West: When Worlds Collide in Moab, Utah, which is under contract from the University of Arizona Press. The book ties together 30 years of experience and observation into what Stiles calls “a chronicle of Moab’s demise.” It is, truth be told, more a chronicle of his love affair with the town. ... 
To Stiles, [Abbey's] trailer’s fate is just another example of all that has gone wrong in the Moab area since Abbey came and went. In fact, three decades after having a “this-is-the-place-I’m-going-to-call-home-the-rest-of-my-life” epiphany, Stiles has pulled up stakes and moved to another town. 
But he hasn’t fled Canyon Country (he asked that I not reveal his new town) and he sure as hell isn’t backing down with The Zephyr. After 17 years of publishing, during which time he has tackled almost every imaginable issue in this poster-child region of the New West, he has found himself in a heated in-print brouhaha with the environmental movement. Specifically, he’s wrestling with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) — a group he once championed with enthusiasm. The resulting fracas has been downright ugly.

So, he had apparently left Moab by then, even if not yet moved to Coldwater, Kansas, and yet kept pontificating for 20 years? In other words, if he started it in 1989, and moved, in let's say, 2004 for some round numbers, that's publishing the Zephyr for 15 years while in Moab and 20 years while not.

(I am curious where he was at from 2006, or earlier, however much earlier, wherever in Canyon Country it was. Paradise? Tropic? Escalante? Or, if his bromance and boner for Mormons had already started then — Monticello? Blanding? Bluff? And why Coldwater? He was born in Louisville, Kentucky.)

Per one person in comments at his "official" obit, which will probably become about as hagiographized as Abbey's, I don't know what will happen to the Zephyr; obviously, if said person wrote a check, and made it out to Stiles personally, it gets returned. But, what if it was made out to the Zephyr?

Per another commenter there, and its online masthead on its homepage, who is running it now? Has it been a semi-ghost ship since the end of 2022? As that commenter noted, to the degree it had comment since 2022, it was a one-man band. And, much of that, per the commenter, in 2023 and early 2024, was recycled old material. (Apparently nobody's running it. Stiles' obit is the top item on the page, and the latest dated. RIP Zephyr.)

It's funny, even the world population clock below Stiles' mug is antiquated. As of the time I started working on this on May 18, it was still below 8 billion, whereas all reputable sites will tell you we've already passed that, by more than 150 million.

And, re the cult of Abbey? The Zephyr's Facebook page is now "fans of," and Stiles gave some insiders admin privileges before he died. It's clear a cult of Stiles will continue to mushroom, like mushrooms do, under a dark pile of shit.

As I said there, per the link up top about the development in Moab, it's too bad a Chuck Bowden isn't still alive to take the last measure of Stiles the way he did of Abbey.

That said, per the post making that announcement? This steaming pile of shit: 

Prior to his passing, Jim Stiles gave admin privileges on this page to a number of his close associates, with the hope that we would keep the page alive and dynamic. His articles going back decades still have great relevance to current events, and in light of the disheartening conflicts over Western lands, his wisdom seems timeless. There is currently a push to create a new national monument that would gobble up beautiful and resource rich lands in western Colorado. 
Stiles' research uncovered many disturbing details about the genesis of the Bears Ears National Monument which was imposed on San Juan County, Utah--against the will of the local people--by the Obama administration in January of 2017. To a large degree the Bears Ears movement was inspired and funded by Swiss billionaire, Hansjorg Wyss. 
It appears that Wyss' is involved with the "Monuments for All" coalition, now pushing the creation of the "Dolores National Monument" which is also vehemently opposed by those who live and work within its proposed boundaries. 
Below is but one of Stiles' numerous articles detailing the involvement of the Swiss billionaire's meddling in western lands issues. If you visit the Zephyr website and type "Hansjorg Wyss" into the search field, you will find many relevant articles.

Which got this response:

Good fucking doorknob. So, the "friends of Stiles" are conspiracy theory wingnuts who support extractive industries (uranium) and (like Stiles himself to fair degree) don't give a rat's ass about actual American Indians? Got it.

Beyond that? I've seen enough on Twitter to know that Hansjorg Wyss is kind of the new George Soros to wingnuts.

Nuff said for now, til we get to some old blog posts by me.

Oh, per that page? This 2020 article about romancing the way of the cowboy? Big ag cowboying today ain't no romance, but, on the Colorado Plateau, it is an extractive industry as well.

OK, now to my old blogging about him.

First, in 2008, at the start of the Great Recession, he was talking about "what America needs." TL/DR? A return to Eisenhower's America. Left unsaid? That America had good White people behind the white picket fences and everybody else was supposed to know their place. Coldwater, Kansas was about right as his final stopping place. That said, not all of it was bad. On the third hand, that Cowboy Bob piece also reflected his Eisenhower America mindset. And, yea, Jim, it IS "welfare ranching" with below-market BLM lease rates compared to what private land charges in the same area. Ditto to your Mormon blowhard friends. More on that immediately below.

Second, a decade later, in 2018, I called him at least half a blowhard. I left open the possibility of full blowhard. I'll split the difference now and call him three-quarters blowhard, specifically because he was already 100 percent full of shit back then about Bears' Ears, as well as being half full of shit about the recreational economy. Per Bears' Ears, and his comments then on its name? He was at a minimum hiding in a Whites-only enclave, and at a maximum, albeit with a different target, as much a racist as Abbey, per my response above to his groupies. (That includes, per the end of that piece, his becoming a Mormon propagandist. That, in turn, explains the flunkies/groupies/fanbois/cultists above.)

Third, in part in response that that, I blogged myself about the creation of Bears' Ears and the Trumpian reversal. As far as Friends of Cedar Mesa selling private tours? Maybe Stiles' Mormon friends were afraid that would interrupt their illegal pothunting, assuming some of them still do it. In his Cowboy Bob piece, he claims the feds are the biggest pot destroyers while claiming the Mormons were just innocents from a century earlier.

From the Cowboy Bob piece:

More than a century ago, when Mormon pioneers first settled parts of southeast Utah, they found these artifacts, thousands of them, abandoned hundreds of years ago, by ancient Native Americans. They found pots and projectile points and burden baskets, metates and manos, and the still intact remnants of their homes. The Mormons, exiles themselves, gathered the artifacts up and they took them home. They were beautiful, no one else seemed to want them, and it seemed to them logical to get them out of the weather. Most thought they were doing something good. Universities even hired the locals to lead archaeologists to the better sites.

Bullshit, refudiated by David Roberts and friends of his like Winston Hurst, who probably didn't color the pages of the Zephyr. (A search has Roberts only showing up once, in a sidebar reference to his Everett Reuss book. Hurst is even more briefly mentioned in one piece.)

Frankly, that was when I lost most remaining respect for him. I guess he forgot to get the new Mormon temple in Coldwater built before he died.

Further confirming my take on this? In my googling about Stiles, I saw an r/Moab subreddit with discussion of this. I posted a link to the 2006 HCN piece and said I considered him a fraud. The next morning, I discovered the moderator, a guy named ReaganCheese (with St. Ronald of Reagan icon, not your standard Reddit kit, showing the groupie this guy is), not only made some Dum Fuq response, but also gave me a flair called "Jim Stiles cucked me." Unfortunately, I hit the block on him before I posted my final edits to my response to him. And, unfortunately, since I blocked him, I don't see a way of reporting him, which I should have done first. I eventually figured out a way to do that, that may have gone to Reddit rather than him as moderator of the Moab site, and that's enough time wasted.

Of additional interest? Despite me telling Jeff St. Clair about it, no Stiles obit at Counterpunch. Nor has St. Clair managed to work in a satirical piece by me about Abbey, Stiles and Bates Wilson — despite saying it was in the hopper. And, St. Clair dropped an occasional piece for HCN in pre-2006 days, as did Stiles.

June 11, 2024

Texas Progressives talk library books, Democrats, VD Hooks

The Fifth Circuit says Llano County Library must reshelve 8 of the 17 books it hauled down and a federal district court said it had to reshelve; the other 9, per a split ruling, will stay down while the appeal of that district court ruling plays out. And, doesn't this sound like a Trump-appointed judge would sound?

Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan, a nominee of former President Donald Trump, dissented fully. "The commission hanging in my office says 'Judge,' not 'Librarian.' " Duncan wrote. "Imagine my surprise, then, to learn that my two esteemed colleagues have appointed themselves co-chairs of every public library board across the Fifth Circuit."

SMH. Oh, and Duncan sucks in general. 


Texas Democrats are divided over Israel and Hamas, and over border issues, the Trib claims in its reporting from their state convention, and then Jasper Scherer, who's been mentioned in these pages before for craptacular writing, offers basically zero evidence in support of that claim. (We're getting close to putting a Peter Principle tag on this guy.)

In reality, at least for public consumption, among elected Texas Dems with any level of authority, there's near-unanimity on both issues. 

Related in an inverse and perverse way? At the Monthly, CD Hooks can call out Texas GOP hypocrisy over Orange Jumpsuit for going on eight years now; will he say anything about Texas Dems caving to #GenocideJoe? He hates Greens, that's established. Per that link, I forgot he was at the Observer before jumping to the Monthly; in turn, that shows how semi-craptacular at times the Observer was years ago already, as that's from back in 2016. And, because of that background, Hooks will never, ever write such an article.


SocraticGadfly offers up a trifecta of campaigns and elections-related pieces, starting with a Biden-Trump "duopoly" update, followed bythird-party and indy candidate news, and capped with a roundup of three big international elections.


State Health and Human Services is proceeding with its plan to reform deform Texas Medicaid.

Donald Trump might wish he were so lucky: Henry Cuellar has gotten his corruption trial delayed until March 2025.

Joe Biden is a semi-Trumpian level liar, and at least one of his lies was actually plagiarism from British Labour Party PM candidate Neal Kinnock. So, the NYT treats him with semi-kid gloves on its fact check. And, the powers that be ignore that.

Biden also hates immigrants. Latest proof.

Off the Kuff looks at recent trends in early and mail voting in Harris County.

The AfD was CRUSHING IT in Germany in EU-wide elections for the European Parliament, with Chancellor Sgt. Scholz and his Social Democrats being the chief crushees. 

David French got French-fried by the Presbyterian Church in America and lives to talk about it (linked via a schadenfreude post by Lawyers, Guns  and Money). I wonder if that's happening much in the conservative Lutheranism of my childhood. Scratch that; I wonder HOW much that happens. (NOTE: The PCA has a history of racism which it alleges it is now past, by 2016 doctrinal statement. I'm sure that has NOT trickled into the pews that much.)

Neil at the Houston Democracy Project said Houstonian Brent Sullivan spoke to City Council about clear & present threats to democracy in Houston, but received no reply.  (Neil's too dum a fuq to know that by Texas law, councils, school boards, etc. can NOT respond to public forum comments or questions, I guess. If he ever submits something like this for a Roundup again, it will be unpublished, rather than getting a Dum Fuq note.)

Your Local Epidemiologist discusses sunscreen and skin cancer.  

The Bloggess makes more progress in solving her art mystery. 

The Current imagines the classic movie Blazing Saddles in a modern context. 

 The Dallas Observer reports on a mass closing of Alamo Drafthouses in North Texas. 

 Reform Austin notes a decade of tough times for teachers in Texas.

June 10, 2024

Yes, Nolan Arenado is overpaid, Cards fans

I think a majority of halfway knowledgeable fans know that the St. Louis Cardinals are past the break-even point on their contract with third baseman Arenado, but a willful contrarian or something on this r/Cardinals post wants to handwave about deferred money, overestimate the value of a WAR point and more while trying to defend the team and Arenado's current value both, and be wrong on both.

And, we're going to tackle that in further detail here.

Mojowo11 starts:

I get why people don't understand his contract because the financial terms of the trade were incredibly complicated, but Arenado is pretty cheap, all things considered. The Cardinals owe him something like 3y/$60m over the next three seasons. They also owe him a few million a year in deferred money each season after that until 2031 (there's some interest math here I don't want to do, but it's 2%), and then $3M each year from 2031-2041.
It's no fun that Arenado appears to be going from sure-thing-Hall-of-Famer to average regular faster than anyone anticipated. Certainly the hope was that he'd be affordable and at least very good on the back end of his deal, which makes the result a disappointment no matter how you slice it. But the Cardinals did a pretty good job of structuring things so that he can't really be an albatross contract at any point. Even if he's just a 2 WAR guy for the next three seasons, he'll justify his pay. The rest of the end-of-contract "bad money" will be spread out in a mix of low-interest and no-interest payments over the next decade and a half.

I respond:

Is WAR really worth $10M/WAR point now? I'd still put it closer to $7M which means an overpay. But, let's look at actual dinero owed by the Cards, after Rockies pay, but not doing the deferment money. It's $30M this year, $27 in 2025, $22 in 2026 and $15 in 2027.
Even if a WAR is worth $10M, he has to be a 3-WAR guy for the team to break even this year, and close to that next year.
I'm not holding my breath on that, so I'll respectfully disagree on him justifying his pay.
That's if he's still a 3 WAR guy, and so far this year, he's not only not on track for even 2 WAR, he's in the hole. Now in 2027, he's only getting $15M, so maybe it will be break-even there. Or maybe not.

He replies:

This is not the first time I've had this conversation with someone on this subreddit where they just wanted to ignore the time value of money when evaluating the rest of this contract. You don't just get to ignore really important parts.
The Cardinals will pay Arenado $24M this year, not $30M. They will pay him an additional $6M in about a decade, with no interest. The deferment is hugely important both in terms of the real impact that Arenado has on the payroll today and the total cost of his 2024 season to the club overall. $6M in a decade is worth much less than $6M today. Ignoring that is nonsense. I get that it's simpler to ignore it, but it's just wrong.

I fire back:

You yourself said the deferment interest was 2 percent per year, so it's not that big of a deal. If you want to drop that down over a whole decade? Fine, it's $4.5 million and thus, the Cards are paying Arenado $28.5M on **this year's contract at this year's value.** #fify.
What's wrong is your overestimation of his value, as well as the overestimation of the contract worth of a WAR point.

And, that's where we're at on Reddit, other than him getting friends, bots and doppelgänger accounts to downvote me.

Well, I have the last word here.

At $28.5M, it's laughable that that's break-even pay if Arenado is a 2-WAR player. I said earlier WAR isn't worth $10M per point; it's certainly not $14.25. So, I'm going to skewer you on the two horns of a dilemma.

Let's say WAR is worth $9.5 million. OK, if Arenado becomes a THREE-WAR player, then the Cards break even this year.

But, you know what? 

The team has played one-third of a season already. For Arenado to do that? He'd have to get to 3 WAR in two-thirds a season. That's the equivalent of a 4.5-WAR year, and that's as laughable as your idea that $14.25 million is one WAR point.

There's the two horns of your dilemma, bub, bots and doppelgängers.

But, we're not done.

Extrapolating? The team owes him $27M for next year, which will adjust to approximately $25M with deferral discount. (Again, per dude's own language, this is NOT Ohtani, and the deferred portion of Arenado's contract is a relatively small portion of the total.) It's $22M in 2026, or $20M with deferral adjustment, we'll say. Then, the $15M add-on year in 2027 does not, AFAIK, have any deferral portion.

The way Arenado is declining, so that he's now a defensive negative at 3B, he could be more of an overpay yet next year. He's three years younger than Goldschmidt, and despite a much higher BA, doesn't have much higher SLG. He'll be hard to move, and he's not a long-term answer at 1B.

And, he's one of these dudes who calls Matt Carpenter "Marp." Blech.