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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