Homily: Logic Fails (plus Tweets)

I follow the tweets and Facebook postings of Economist Robert Reich. As a result I just found out that not all USians contribute the same proportion of their income to Social Security. There’s a cap at US$120,000. So people who earn big salaries – exactly the people who can afford it most easily – pay much less as a proportion of their salaries. Can you imagine that happening in New Zealand with ACC levies for example? No wonder they’re having problems!

Check out this short video from Reich: ‘The Next Big Fight: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid‘. It explains exactly what I’ve been saying on this site for years about this topic. Most of you have agreed in the comments too, so I think you’ll enjoy the video.

However, that’s not what I was going to write about today, though it does fit in with the general theme which is logic fails. We all do it all the time of course. I recently made a major logical error, and I’m currently hoping I haven’t destroyed a friendship because of it. There are a couple of logic fails though that most of us have to live with every day – some more than others.

Thoughts and Prayers. Cartoon by Mike Luckovich.One is so common we don’t even think about it most of the time. Most of us are atheists, but we live in a world where billions accept there is a God or gods. Sometimes though the belief gets really annoying. One of those times is every time there is a natural disaster, people send their “thoughts and prayers” to those suffering.

That phrase isn’t used much in New Zealand thank goodness, but we hear it a lot from overseas. I just heard it last night when watching the CNN broadcast of the US State of the Union. The talking heads praised Melania Trump for the way she’s always amongst the first offering “thoughts and prayers.” Her caring nature is praiseworthy of course, but I for one, feel fingernails on the blackboard of my brain every time I hear it.

This acceptance of God came up in another CNN show a couple of nights ago. This time it was ‘Amanpour’. Christiane Amanpour is one of the journalists I admire most. Her strong faith in God creeps into her work sometimes though, and that’s what happened this time.

The occasion was a story about Larry Nassar, the doctor going to prison for abusing multiple young girls, most famously several Olympic gymnasts. We only know about his crime because of the work of Indianapolis Star investigative reporter Tim Evans and two of his colleagues. At the end of the trial Assistant District Attorney Angela Povilaitis made the comment, “Thank God for journalists.” Amanpour endorsed that comment, also thanking God. She interviewed Evans, and he spoke of the important work being done by journalists all over the country despite the difficulties the industry is facing. I thoroughly endorse that. Good on the journalists who exposed Nassar’s crimes. However, even if there is a God, I’m not sure he can be thanked.

Given that Nasser committed his crime in the US, and his victims were young, I think it’s safe to say that a majority were believers in God. Therefore, I think it’s also safe to say that most, if not all, prayed for the abuse to be over. Where was God then? The abuse began in the 1980s, and so far 265 victims have been identified. Why thank God for journalists? That’s a logic fail. If this mythical God cared about the girls, the abuse would never have occurred.

The other logic fail I keep hearing is in relation to US politics. Republicans keep saying that Trump won the election and therefore what he’s doing is what the US people want.

It is quite true that, in the broken US electoral system, Trump won the election. However, you cannot extrapolate that Trump’s policies are therefore what the US people want. The truth is, most people voted for Hillary Clinton. Therefore, they prefer her policies and those of the Democrats. In fact, public polling from reputable firms bears this out. On virtually every policy question since Trump took power, the majority have been opposed to his positions and supportive of those of the Democrats.

It annoys me every time I hear another Republican announce that Trump is doing what most people want. And I’m quite sure they would see the logic fail if the positions were reversed and Clinton was in the White House having lost the popular vote.

Political Tweets

Un-fu€ki₦g-believable. He’s turned the State of the Union speech into a fu€ki₦g Telethon! And I thought nothing else could surprise me.
(Via Ann German.)


This is the Robert Reich video I linked to in the homily. He’s also putting a series of lectures he’s giving at Berkley on his Facebook page, which I’ve put on the Heather’s Homilies Facebook page. (There are two so far.)

Human Rights Tweets

It’s important people who stand up against injustice are remembered by everyone the world over.
(Via Ann German.)


More on Fred Korematsu.
(Via Ann German.)


This woman is inspiring!


Waving a white hijab while wearing her legal hijab so they can’t arrest her! That might be a logic fail too in Iran, but good luck to her!


Good on her!


There are snowflakes, and then there are snowflakes! If you need a peacock to help you fly, you have no business flying! If that turns me into an Alt-Righter, I’ll just have to live with it! FFS. SMH.
(Via Al Lee.)


Religion Tweets

Trevor Mallard (Speaker of the House) did well here. The parliamentary prayer has long been an embarrassment. Now, all reference to Jesus has been taken out and it’s only delivered in Maori, not English. When asked why he did it he simply said that most New Zealanders are no longer Christian. That’s true. At the last census, Christians came in at 48%. Unaffiliated were 42%. The remainder were other religions.

But seriously, who do Christians think they are? Why should they have their deity in our parliament? Parliament is supposed to serve ALL the people.


Scenic Tweets

Lovely pic of Rome’s Colosseum.


I Don’t Know Where Else to Put Them Tweets

Marijuana is dangerous after all. Who knew?
(Via Ann German.)


Cool gif, but the consequences are scary.


Ha ha!


Space Tweets

Now I have to finish this post today to make sure the news is out in time in case any of you don’t know about this otherwise!


Well, obviously I didn’t get this finished yesterday. And I missed the Big Event because it was raining here after several weeks of clear weather. I haven’t been sleeping for several nights and finally exhaustion overtook me, so I probably wouldn’t have woken up anyway. (It started at 2.38 am in New Zealand.)


Paleontology Tweets

This is very cool, and what a fabulous job to have!


Marine Tweets

And again, octopuses are cool!


Creepy Crawlies Tweets

Gorgeous colour.


It looks like a flower!


Other Animals Tweets

30 January was National Croissant Day in the US. I hope this cutie got out okay!
(Via Ann German.)


Sylvanian Families celebrated with their Mrs Tiggywinkle lookalike. I think this is gorgeous!
(Via Ann German.)


And that tweet led me to this one. Sylvanian Families are so cute, so I’m going to be including more of them in the future.


Oh wow! A real life Sylvanian animal!


Bird Tweets

This is lovely!


Very sweet.


You’re being watched!


Dog Tweets

This is so sweet!


Cat Tweets

Looks more like dog behaviour to me!


So cute!
Someone’s (the name’s in Mongolian script) translation in another tweet reads:

“Two baby leopards looking over. Photo by Tulgazana Darikhuu, herder of Noyon soum Umnugovi prov. #Mongolia”


Awww …




It’s dragging its prey between its legs like a wild cat!


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69 Responses to “Homily: Logic Fails (plus Tweets)”

  1. j.a.m. says:

    The logic is pretty solid: We hold an election, we have one chief executive for the next four years, and we get on with it. We had that nincompoop Obama in there for eight miserable years, and the loyal opposition did damage control as best it could, but there was not the endless hysterical whining and chest-beating and sore loser marches. And at least the tea partiers had the fashion sense to don festive colonial costumes rather than weird genitalia-shaped headgear.

    • No, the Republicans just wouldn’t let anything happen. They brought no legislation up except the same stuff over and over again that they knew Obama would veto. Once there was no Obama there to veto their crap legislation, they proved they were incapable of coming up with anything good enough for them all to agree on. The only reason there was a tax bill was because of what voters would say if they failed again to get anything done. They’re clearly incapable of governing, and Trump is incapable of leading. It’s time they were gone. Roll on the mid-terms.

      He couldn’t even present a SOTU. He started off with talk of his Righteous Mission to keep the Evangelicals happy, he lied constantly, and he kept talking about unity while taking constant pot shots. It was pathetic. He needs to grow up too.

      • j.a.m. says:

        You give Obama too much credit. He only vetoed ten bills that passed under Republican control of both houses.

        Five were not actually laws, but resolutions reversing bad regulations Obama enacted. Trump and Congress have since gone ahead and rescinded those bad regs.

        One of the Obama vetoes derailed the Keystone pipeline. Trump took care of that early on. Obama had vetoed a bill allowing Americans to sue foreign governments who helped the 9/11 hijackers. Congress overrode that veto nearly unanimously (i.e., bipartisan).

        A couple of other Obama vetoes had to do with routine military appropriations and expenses for ex-presidents.

        The tenth was the Obamacare repeal that indeed Congress has so far failed to get done.

        All in all, a huge improvement. You say pathetic, I say well done.

        • So well over 50 attempts to repeal Obamacare didn’t even make it to the President’s desk? An even bigger waste if time than I thought.

          And I was a supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline, if you’d like to check. It makes better environmental and economic sense than any other option.

    • Diane G. says:

      I hate to break it to you, j.a.m., but the pussy hats are not genitalia-shaped.

      (Comment edited at Diane G.’s request.)

      • j.a.m. says:

        I stand corrected. I used the wrong word. I should have said regalia, not merely headgear.

        • Diane G. says:

          Fair enough.

          BTW, Heather, when you have a chance, would you please delete the last sentence of my comment (the one to which j.a.m. is responding to)? I’ve been regretting it ever since I posted. I apologize, j.a.m.

          (Was gonna ask you to delete the whole thing, but that would leave j.a.m.’s reply hanging in the wind.)

        • Jenny Haniver says:

          Used the wrong word? I doubt it. That was not a lapsus calami. You wrote what you meant and now are trying to wriggle out of being called out. “And at least the tea partiers had the fashion sense to don festive colonial costumes rather than weird genitalia-shaped headgear.” “Regalia” cannot be substituted in that sentence for “genatilia.” and make any sense, and you know it. At least be a man. Where’s your male regalia? Don’t be such a wuss. Sand up for what you say, or don’t say it. But I guess you’re just taking a page from the Republican playbook.

      • Indeed. They’re sewn together the way they are so they appear to look like the top of a cat’s head and ears. I’ve got a pattern myself.

        • Diane G. says:

          Unfortunately I’ve just learned that they’re now a subject of debate amongst some of the women march organizers/participants themselves. The issue–because the hats are pink, they’re discriminating against women of color, whose, er, regalia, don’t look like that…

          …despite the protestations of the women, who came up with the hat idea and prototype in the first place, that they only chose “pink” because of its traditional (& cliched, I might add) association with women.

          • Exactly! It was the whole pink=girls thing. Third wave feminists are so desperate to be victims they make issues up that don’t exist. We’ve got enough real issues to be getting on with. I suspect that because some of the younger women have never suffered the same issues we older ones have they unconsciously feel guilty about not having problems with being a woman. There are plenty of other women who still suffer discrimination – they should focus on them instead of feeling the need to make up a personal victim story.

          • Diane G. says:

            “Here’s my gun. And here’s my foot. BANG!”

            –says no one ever actually doing so..

    • Yakaru says:

      Two responses to that from me; the second is a bit more positive, but I find this statement from you disgraceful:

      “We hold an election, we have one chief executive for the next four years, and we get on with it.”

      Obama put up with idiotic racist attacks from idiotic racists like Trump for years. Do you think Obama was born in Kenya? Are you embarrassed at having to answer that question?

      the second-

      “but there was not the endless hysterical whining and chest-beating and sore loser marches”

      In a way I agree (though I do recall reports of plenty of protest marches). I think the Dems would be much better off focusing on Trump’s incompetence, ignorance of policy, weakness, submissiveness to foreign leaders, and betrayal of former allies. That’s what has caused the sudden collapse in previously dependable international alliances for the US.

      • Diane G. says:

        Submissiveness to some foreign leaders. Then there are the ones he’s bullying. (Remember the leader he shoved out of the way in that photo op just so he could get center stage?) 😉

        • Yakaru says:

          Yes– it’s either dominance or submission, based entirely on his own perception of his personal status relative to the other, not on his perception of what his position is supposed to represent.

          And his fans, having submitted to him, can perceive only the dominant behavior.

          • Diane G. says:

            Well, at least Montenegro knows we’re not gonna put up with any guff from them.

            Surprising how Trump’s base seems to care so little about the Putin appeasing. Thought they were the ultimate damn-commies crowd. OTOH, if you like bullies…

          • Putin is seen by a big chunk of Trump’s fan base as the preserver of “traditional” white Christian values. He partly sponsors a lot of those international “Christian values” conferences.

          • They only see dominant behaviour even when he’s being submissive, and praise dominant behaviour even when it’s entirely inappropriate, such as with GB, Germany, and Aus.

    • nicky says:

      “We hold an election, we have one chief executive for the next four years and we get on with it” yes, (apart from the fact he was elected by fraud- but let us rest that for now) let us get on with it. Why is this ‘one chief executive’ so obsessed with the candidate he ‘defeated’, and who acknowledged her defeat? Why can’t he get ‘on with it’ and let HRC rest? It is not normal, excessively peculiar.

      • And I wouldn’t call government shut downs getting on with it. No other proper democracy ever has government shutdowns. The only other examples worldwide are places as dysfunctional as Venezuela.

  2. MFD says:

    Whether or not you intend it, one message emerges loud and clear from just about every one of your posts:

    Rather than live in a world that you and those who agree with you find entirely satisfactory, it would be better to be dead — or never to be born at all.

    • If you can’t be bothered to come up with an actual constructive argument, but just want to throw around insults, I’d rather you didn’t bother commenting at all. I’m not interested in the pathetic musings of someone who is incapable of forming a cogent line of reasoning.

      • MFD says:

        My comment was not aimed at you or your website. It was aimed at the comments of j.a.m., but I made some kind of mistake in posting it.

        I will continue to read your website but will never comment again.

        • Steven in Tokyo says:

          Heather certainly wasn’t the only one who misunderstood the intent of your comment. I was thinking, “Oh, not another one!” It would be a terrible pity if a misunderstanding like this caused you to stop commenting!
          I myself have given up on j.a.m., finding it nothing but a waste of time to even comment on its posts. But that won’t stop me from reading, or commenting when it might mean something.

        • Thanks for clearing that up. It appeared out of the blue as your first comment on my site and indeed appeared to be addressed at me as a gratuitous insult. You’re free to comment again. It must have been a bit of a shock to get that response when your comment wasn’t directed at me..

  3. Diane G. says:

    Wow! So Catholicism is actually an occult society for homopteran worship!

  4. Linda Calhoun says:

    “It annoys me every time I hear another Republican announce that Trump is doing what most people want.”

    You’re lucky, Heather, that you can be far away and be merely annoyed.

    I find it way more than annoying.

    Start with the election. Our system as it stands currently favors geography over population. Gore won the popular vote by half a million; Clinton won by almost three million. The population continues to concentrate in the urban areas, which means that the disproportion is getting worse and worse. At what point do we start talking about that? Would it be acceptable for the “winner” to have lost by ten million? Twenty?

    Then, the way our government is currently operating, the minority party is freezing out pretty much all participation by the majority party. The “memo” thing coming out of the Republican dominated House is a perfect example. It is being done in such a way as to preclude any refutation, either by Democrats, or by the FBI. Propaganda, anyone?

    The country still wants our tax money. “Tax cuts” are a scam, at least for the majority. (I’m old enough to remember the Reagan “tax cuts”, introduced while I was still working in public mental health. My “tax cut” amounted to less than $2.00 a month.) So, we in the majority have taxation without representation. That is what our original Revolution was fought over.

    Localities are fighting back, passing local laws in support of net neutrality, environmental control, and ethnic diversity. The Republican mantra of “local control” is being shown to be horseshit, as Republican state legislatures attempt to limit the ability of municipalities and counties to pass their own laws. In South Dakota, for example, an overwhelmingly passed ethics law was voided by their state legislature, which declared a “state of emergency”. (What the hell was the “emergency”, anyway?) The citizens are bringing it back as a state Constitutional amendment. The legislature is attempting to limit their citizens’ ability to do that, too. And this is a deep red state!!

    Republicans are arguing both sides of the gerrymandering issue. In two states, Michigan and Pennsylvania, they are defending their Republican gerrymanders, saying that the legislatures have the right to draw districts. (They lost in PA. They will appeal to the US Supreme Court, but it doesn’t look good there; the SCOTUS doesn’t really have jurisdiction over State Constitutions.) In Maryland, the Republicans are challenging a legislature-drawn gerrymander as being unfair to THEM!! So, they take whichever side of the argument benefits them.

    These people really don’t want to live in a democracy. When they lose an election, they scream about voter fraud, but when they win, it’s an honest election. In Alabama, where they just lost a Senate seat, there is a bill before their state legislature to eliminate special elections, and have empty seats filled by appointment.

    The whole thing is utterly terrifying.


    • Linda Calhoun says:

      Should read: The majority party is freezing out all participation by the minority party.


    • I’m really shocked by the memo thing. I’ve made pages of notes in the hope I can find the physical capacity to write about the situation. It just blows me away what happened. Two GOP representatives lied to CNN reporters while I was watching, saying the head of the FBI approved the Republican memo. A third, Steve King, was in full cognitive dissonance mode. There was a major logic fail there as he argued on CNN that the 4 page GOP memo exposed shocking things about how the FISA warrant was obtained, and he didn’t need to read the at least 50 page FISA warrant to know that was true. And Trump was caught on a hot mike saying he would release the bogus memo today 100% despite what the Republican-led intelligence agencies are telling him. The voting down of the Dem memo is outrageous. The behaviour of Devon Nunez more so. I can’t believe it’s happening in a democracy.

      Before the FBI even saw the so called dodgy dossier (most of which has been verified) there was already an investigation in place. The FISA warrant the GOP are attacking didn’t even start a new investigation, it extended an existing one. And lawyers can weigh in, but my understanding is that there is no way a warrant would have been approved or granted or whatever happens if the dossier was the only evidence. Even if it was the main thing, it would have to be backed up by supporting documentation verifying what’s in the dossier.

      The fact all these men are prepared to tell outright lies to protect Trump makes me wonder what he has on them.

      • Mark R. says:

        My takeaway of the Nunez memo is that the republicans are extremely desperate to end the Mueller investigation. The only question a normal thinking person has to ask is: Why? Obviously they know Mueller has and/or will uncover serious crimes that have the potential to bring down the whole house of cards that is the Trump presidency. Mueller’s been “following the money” and I’d bet good money that he’s found abundant proof of money laundering…let alone obstruction of justice, and who knows what else.

        I look forward to reading your analyses (if you get around to it). 😉

        • I think mostly, for people like Paul Ryan and McConnell, it’s about retaining power. I can’t help wondering if Trump has something on Nunes to make him compromise himself so completely. You’d think someone who managed to be elected to federal government would be personally stronger than he displays.

          Other Republicans, like Lindsay Graham, are doing/saying the honourable thing in this situation.

          • nicky says:

            In my pantheon of evil, Mr McConnel, highly intelligent, has a special place, Mr Trump is just a ‘dude’, albeit admittedly a nasty one.
            I mean, Mr Trump is just like a devious second-hand car salesman -one you would not buy a car from-, while Mr McConnel appears more like an evil little kobold.

          • I can never forgive him for what he did over the Supreme Court vacancy, and it’s not even my country! He’s truly Machiavellian.

          • nicky says:

            @ Heather, I fully agree, but it is not just his despicable and unforgivable politicking against the highly qualified Mr Garland, it is his filling the vacant circuit and lower courts with ‘judges’ that are wildly partisan and often hardly qualified.
            There are few, if any, people I find more dispicable than Mr McConnell.

          • Yes. Remember the one who was so embarrassed he had been put forward he pulled out after a Republican questioned him. Dems didn’t even have to do the work.

  5. Claudia Baker says:

    The irony of J.A.M. calling Obama a nincompoop is probably totally lost on him (her).
    Pot/kettle anyone?

    • nicky says:

      It is not a pot/kettle comparison, since in this case there is only one nincompoop (and -spoiler alert- it is not Mr Obama).

      [Columbia University, Harvard Law School, President of the Harvard Law Review, professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago Law School, not to mention his stellar political career. Nobel Peace prize winner. Left office with a 60% approval rating, the third highest since WW II. Not exactly the summary of a nincompoop]

      • nicky says:

        On these approval ratings since WE II:
        The highest for Bill Clintoyn (!) at 66%, Ronald Reagan at 63%, Barack Obama 60%, about ex aequo with Dwight D. Eisenhouwer.
        The lowest approval ratings: Richard Nixon 24%, Harry S. Truman 32% (!), and both George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter at 34%
        Note that different sites give slightly different numbers, but they mostly concur on the order. The ‘(!)’ mark’s my personal surprise.

      • j.a.m. says:

        “Left office with a 60% approval rating”.

        No surprise there. I totally approved of his leaving office.

    • j.a.m. says:

      Except that I’ve never claimed to be qualified to be President.

  6. Lee Knuth says:

    It’s not only the fact that there is a cutoff for payments, the government has been raiding the Social Security trust for its own purposes for years.

  7. Mark R. says:

    Reich just makes too much sense; apparently too much sense is antithetical to republican thinking…as well as kindness, fairness, decency and empathy.

    I also find it ironic that tRump is so proud of the economy he inherited from Obama; another glaring display of the “emperor has no clothes”. He brags about the economy and stock market, but he should be thanking Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve Chair. But he’s replacing her instead since she was an Obama pick. As Ezra Klein tweeted: “Janet Yellen was the person in government most responsible for the good economic news Trump is touting tonight, and yet he declined to reappoint her to Fed Chair.” Capriciousness is a terrible trait for a POTUS.

    A tally of some of his lies:

    “We enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history”…nope…its the 4th largest since 1940 and 7th as a percentage of GDP. And this of course says nothing as to the effectiveness of tax cuts; there are no facts to back up that tax cuts help the economy overall.

    “After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages”…nope…they went up during the first three quarters, but they fell in the fourth, wiping out the gains. Plus wages began their climb during Obama’s final years.

    Says the visa lottery “randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of our people”…nope…and nice dog whistle. Lottery applicants must meet education and work experience requirements and are vetted by the US government before being allowed to emigrate.

    “As we rebuild America’s strength and confidence at home, we are also restoring our strength and standing abroad.” This is laughable…there is no survey that shows America’s standing abroad to be rising…Pew, GfK, Gallup, and Edelman Trust Barometer all found a large drop (substantial says GfK) in our standing; only 30% approval rating from the rest of the world which is lower than the lows under W. Bush. Edelman Trust Barometer found that trust in the US “has suffered the largest-ever-recorded drop in the survey’s history…”

    “African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels.” This is true, but again, he’s taking all the credit for a trend that began under Obama. During the Obama administration, unemployment for these groups fell by more than half.

    That’s enough of the lies, it’s tiring keeping track of them all.

  8. nicky says:

    The thing is, as far as job creation and economy go, I think the US will survive Mr Trump relatively easily. The devastating damage to the environment,the judiciary and the state department (and probably education) and the US standing in the World not so much, it will take great effort to undo or even mitigate.

    • Mark R. says:

      I pretty much agree, though I think our standing in the world is the easiest thing to reverse. We just need to get rid of the current dickhead and elect a progressive president. But another devastating blow to our democracy is taking place in states that gerrymander and “cross-check” and pass anti-voting laws. Add to that a republican congress that seems to think it’s A-OK that Russia is manipulating our elections and electorate…these are the republican evils that hinder a healthy democracy and a progressive presidency.

      • A Republican presidency can be positive, but not as long as the party is dominated by the conservative and tea party wings. However, the whole party is currently too hawkish for the rest of the world to be completely comfortable with any Republican government in the US.

    • I agree. The economy will survive. The country’s reputation will recover quickly with a better leader. It will take time to fix damage to treaties etc. People won’t recover so easily – some will be permanently damaged (physically, mentally, or financially) and some will die.. There will be irreversible environmental damage too, and the US was improving well.

      • j.a.m. says:

        Our republic has been tested by many grave calamities, and always survives and thrives. (We even slogged through the dreadful Obama years.) We’ve had plenty of presidents and lesser politicians who were a little rough around the edges. So far, this one is doing a fine job in spite of himself, and every American will be better off at the end of his term. That’s the only standard that matters.

  9. nicky says:

    I did not just mean Mr Trump’s erratic, uncouth and frankly childish behaviour. The reputation of the US was damaged by how he came to power (it already started in 2000).
    Voter disenfranchisement, Crosscheck, counting ‘irregularities’ as illustrated by huge discrepancies between exit polls and count, partisan overseeing of voting, gerrymandering, smearing campaigns on internet (that’s where the ‘Russians’ come in) etc. etc. It damages the US as beacon of democracy and leader of the ‘Free World’.
    I do not think that one ‘good’ president can undo that damage easily.

    • Linda Calhoun says:

      It would help a lot if we had a President who cared enough to try, though.


    • Yes, as you say, many of the rest of us have a pretty dim view of US “democracy”. That won’t change with a better president.

      • j.a.m. says:

        That’s okay, we take a dim view of divinely appointed rulers-for-life in jewelled hats.

        In any case, we’re too busy managing the flood of people fleeing your pitiful countries to worry too much about misinformed bloggers.

        • Diane G. says:


          As far as I can tell, we (the US) are the most religion-besotted country in the Western world. I am unaware of any NZ-fleeing influx. To do so would be nuts!

          Now I know just how reality-challenged you–and by extension, most Trumpites?–are. I could not have imagined it would be worse than I could have imagined because I what I’d imagined was already pretty unimaginable.

        • Yakaru says:

          Excuse me? If you are referring to NZ (or Australia, my country of nationality) having a “divinely appointed ruler in a bejeweled hat” you don’t understand our systems of government.

          Beyond that, I am not sure which commenters/countries you are referring to, as the origin of migrants fleeing to the US. Which ones?

        • If you don’t like what I write, go away. You’re adding nothing to the discussion, and haven’t for months. I can do without your personal insults. They’re a step too far.

          • j.a.m. says:

            I apologize for unintentionally giving offense. When you or others correct me, I may be chagrined, I may disagree, but I am not personally insulted. People who never correct me are not my friend.

            I tried to point out, however clumsily, the “logic fail” of critiquing American democracy while at the same time defending the practice of annointing a head of state by means of divine intervention, descent, denomination, and birth order. I know: I don’t understand that the old gal is powerless (not exactly true), and that most of your citizens are blissfully oblivious to the fact that she alone, and not they, are sovereign (not exactly a confidence-inspiring rejoinder). Seriously, though: This question was decided in the 18th century, and some of us have some catching up to do.

            I could also point out (but I won’t) the colossal logic fail of claiming to oppose racism and white supremacy while at the same time requiring officeholders and new citizens to swear allegiance to the ghost of brutal global white supremacist imperialism.

          • Who’s uninformed now? And the US never did anything bad in other countries? They’re still murdering civilians in unnecessary wars this century. NZ wasn’t involved in Iraq, and the Queen had no authority to make us join GB there. Kissinger and Nixon carried on a war to win the Republicans an election. Reading Christopher Hitchens’ book about Kissinger might open your eyes to some things your country has done.

          • j.a.m. says:

            Do you really want to go there? Hitchens excoriated the monarchy, renounced his allegiance to same, became an American, and supported those so-called “unnecessary” actions. (All war is unnecessary, inasmuch as appeasement and capitulation to evil are always options.) Britain’s crimes vastly outweigh anything America may have done, but that’s neither here nor there. As someone I deeply admire likes to say, two wrongs don’t make a right.

            What do you say I concede that I don’t understand your system, and you do likewise?

  10. Randall Schenck says:

    If I might move over to the subject of Medicare, Soc. Security and Medicaid, understanding these things for folks in other lands is going to be confusing but Robert Reich is the guy to listen to. Some in the U.S. will tell you, I cannot live on social security alone. That is true but it was never suppose to be a total retirement system. It is better said to be an important supplement. It is also true that the rich don’t really pay into this system at all compared to the normal population. Remember another thing, congress also does not pay in or participate in social security. There is nothing like making laws and excluding yourself from them. So naturally, someone like a congressman, Ryan could care less – it does not affect him. Medicare came to be much later than social security but it is extremely important. The whole reason for medicare is that insurance companies in America will not cover old people. No profit in it for them. It’s like living in a place where you might want flood insurance. You can’t get that either. So medicare is very important because at 65 everyone goes on medicare. You should still try to carry some supplimental private insurance to cover anything not covered by your medicare coverage. Things like prescriptions and the last few dollars of other things. But the big part of your covered costs will be medicare.

    Medicaid is a newer coverage, primarily for poor folks who still make some money but cannot afford any insurance. It also has become a big part of coverage for nursing home care and without it, there would be lots of people in very bad shape because nursing home care is very big.

    Remember also, the amount of money you get from Social Security depends on how much you paid in and how long you worked and when you start taking it. So do not think that everyone makes the same or gets the same. It does not work that way.

    • I think Medicare should be available for everyone. Perhaps those under 65 could pay premiums. The extra people in the scheme would mean it would be in a stronger negotiating position to get lower costs because of bulk buying.

      In NZ, for example, prescription medication (except for some exceptions) is free for everyone under 15, over 65, with a serious chronic or terminal condition, and below a certain income threshold. Everyone else pays $5 per item up to a maximum of $100 per family, per year. The government can do that because they negotiate with drug companies for all the drugs for the entire population and therefore get a really good deal. There must be insurance companies, states, etc who serve much bigger populations than NZ that could do the same.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Veterans’ Administration do some good negotiating. In fact, they’re a pretty good model that could be rolled out across the country. The stuff in it that doesn’t work seems to me to be because the federal government, while it wants to care properly for vets, doesn’t want the rest of the population demanding the same system. So there’s a failure to fund things like computerisation of old records which leads to cases that look bad in the media, like people getting called in for treatment after they’ve died.

      • j.a.m. says:

        There are two main reasons other countries can bargain for lower drug prices: [a] They get a free ride on R&D because they and the drug companies know Americans will pay for it; and [b] they’re willing to settle for less choice than Americans would ever sit still for.

        • The USians get lumped with any extra costs because your system allows them to get away with it. NZ has indicated that they’re prepared to wear things like a longer time before generics can be released to the market. That doesn’t happen because it’s not part of international agreements. And of course NZ has no capability of influencing international policies on drugs.

          As for choice, we can rely on our government to buy the best drugdrugs available for different conditions, and it’s not just one for each condition. If our doctor thinks a different one would be better, we can still be prescribed it and pay for it ourselves. I currently do that for one of my medications. Choice is not an issue.

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