My Picks for Top Tweets: 26 September 2017

The CBS ’60 Minutes’ interview with Steve Bannon finally came to NZ on Sunday night. A few anti-Bannon tweets made it into the local Twittersphere as a result.  As with the Evangelical nationalists, he’s another where it’s scary he’s so close to the president of the most powerful country in the world.

He’s clearly an intelligent man, but his logic circuits need some major re-wiring. There were several things in the interview that made no sense to me at all.

For a start, he made much of growing up in a desegregated neighbourhood and going to a desegregated school to prove his lack of racism. I would have thought that as a child those things were his parents’ decision, not his. Further, his parents may not have had a choice and were resentful of the situation. That could have had a great influence on a child. In fact, at 63 years of age, why is he still going on about going to a desegregated school? Is that a normal thing to think about in the US? Perhaps the fact that we’ve never had such schools influences me, but it was a surprise to me he would even mention it.

Another aspect of his logic I couldn’t get my head around was what he said about Trump’s White House. On the one hand he had a lot of praise for the fact that there were “divergent views’. He thought that it was healthy for the president to hear lots of different opinions. I agree with him there. A president must have people around him who will disagree and give him alternatives. However, Bannon also insists that those who aren’t on board with the president’s point of view should leave his employ. You can’t have it both ways.

The third area where Bannon goes wrong is that he insists the US elected Trump because they love his message of economic nationalism. He uses that to attack Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, for example. Bannon says Trump should just do what the people want him to do and that’s go ahead with a programme of economic nationalism.

However, there are two errors here. Firstly, the US did not elect Trump, their Electoral College did. The US people gave the majority of their votes to Hillary Clinton. Secondly, even if you accept that the US did vote for Trump, that assumes that all those who gave their vote to Trump want economic nationalism. That’s patently absurd. Many Republicans gave their vote to Trump simply because he was the Republican candidate, including McConnell and Ryan. It was that, or vote for Clinton.

The Republicans have actually always been the party of free trade in the US. I would guess that at least half of that party still supports free trade. Certainly influential conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation do. The last two GOP presidential candidates, Mitt Romney and John McCain, who still command a great deal of respect and support, trumpet a free trade message too.

Bannon is out of the White House but is now back as editor of Breitbart News. That gives him a lot of influence on the right, but I don’t think it will last. I think USians as a whole are rejecting extremes and the centre is coming back into its own. Bannon has a voice at the moment, but I think the majority of his country reject his ideas. Further, given the way the Mueller investigation looks to be going, his patron is unlikely to last beyond one term.


Cat Tweets

Cats just aren’t what they used to be!
(Via Ann German.)


A lovely rescue cat already making demands of its new staff.


Not too sure about the name, but he’s lovely.

Dog Tweets

Giving a new home to an animal that’s been abandoned is a wonderful thing to do.


Another very cool adoption story!

Other Animals Tweets

Cotton the hedgehog is making a nest to keep warm for winter!


Not sure I’d be putting my hand anywhere near a hippo’s mouth, but I suppose they’ve been training her since birth!
(Via Ann German.)


In case you were wondering …


It’s very cute …


Marine Tweets

One of the things on my bucket list is to see a sea turtle in the wild. I think they’re so cool. It looks like the chances of that happening just got better, which is fantastic news!


I would love to do this too. I used to SCUBA-dive in my late teens and early twenties, so I know what to do.
(Via Ann German.)


Clown fish on time lapse.




No comment.


Political Tweets

Syria and Russia are getting away with this sort of thing every day. Russia isn’t just doing it in Syria either.

The moral of the story …


Space Tweets

Another excellent educational video which explains why scientists want to use the ALMA telescope.


Science Tweets

They’re taking over.


Scientists are nerds. That’s probably why I like them.

Religion Tweets

I wonder if Steve Bannon’s wife ever used this excuse? (He’s a Catholic.)

In France a couple of FEMEN protestors stormed the stage to oppose the message from a couple of imams. Naturally they were removed. Perfectly understandable, especially given that FEMEN the protestors were topless, as they usually are. What’s not acceptable is that the men who took them from the stage can be seen beating and kicking the women!!! (See the story here which I found out via Tweeter Archie Debunker.)


Healthcare Tweets

I often imagine what my life would be like if I was a US citizen instead of a NZ one. Among other things, I wouldn’t be doing this website. My computer and some other equipment I need to do it came from our Accident Compensation Corporation to enable me to have a better life. I couldn’t do it without them because I couldn’t afford it.

It must be so scary for these people (below) wondering what’s going to happen to them under a Republican government. The hearing room is extremely small for such an important hearing, and there should be more room for people with disabilities who are naturally going to have a strong interest.

Having said that, they do need to be quiet during the hearing. However, as their needs haven’t been considered when they need to be part of the hearing, I can understand why they are making such a noise.


I understand that Senators McCain and Collins have both said they will vote “No” now, so hopefully this won’t go ahead.


Human Rights Tweets

Check out this Iranian man showing his support for the White Wednesday campaign to overturn the compulsory hijab law. He is wearing a hijab, but his wife and daughter aren’t!


For those of you who don’t already know this.

As a non-USian, I know very little about Le Bron James. This is enough to convince me he’s one of the great and the good.


Whether or not you agree with these sportspeople protesting by kneeling (I do), you should support their right to peaceful protest in a free country. As employees of a private organization, their employers have the right to stop them, but as they are choosing not to do that, there should be no opposition to what they are doing.


Members of the military in democracies fight to retain the freedom of a democracy.


Weather Tweets

It’s good that President Trump has declared Puerto Rico a disaster area, which I assume allows extra aid. However, he’s not talking about it like he did about those states that gave him their vote. He’s too busy tweeting about the #TakeTheKnee campaign.


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22 Responses to “My Picks for Top Tweets: 26 September 2017”

  1. Jenny Haniver says:

    Following some of your tweets to their sources sometimes leads me to very strange sites, some quite removed from the site of the tweet shown in your blog,, and I always enjoy falling down the rabbit hole; never know what I’ll find. Today, for instance, I fell into a weird RC twitterverse rabbit hole, and was led to this crazy clip from an old Brazilian film depicting the momemt that St. Joseph of Cupertino went into ecstasy while saying mass. Best seen on full screen.

    Also fell into some great science twitter sites, would list ’em all, but that’d be overkill. Here are a few interesting tweets from a few of these interesting sites: “bioturbation with and without soil fauna” – from DrRossPiper

    ref=tw-v-share (best on full screen).

    Video of a cool protozoan here, lacrymaria or Tear of Swan: (best on full screen).

    And this video of a crab daintily, and I stress dantily, snacking on a cherry suspende dover its head leaves me slack jawed in wonder. Why, I’d love to have him or her as a dinner guest, instead of being dinner.

    And don’t know if you’ve seen this, but it’s one of my favorite animal videos:
    “honey badger don’t care” (trigger warning; can be gross and full of puerile humor

  2. j.a.m. says:

    Clinton got 48 percent of the popular tally. That may be a majority in your part of the world, but not in the world of math. It’s kind of cute to imply that the electoral college is some kind of alien entity, but it’s how we elect the president in a federal system, and it is a key part of the system of checks and balances. Clinton ran up a two-point advantage thanks to a couple of areas that lack a functioning two-party system and are wildly unrepresentative, but that has absolutely no bearing on the fact that the country as a whole elected someone else. She ran for a third term, she ran far to the left, she ran incompetently, and she lost. Nightmare avoided.

    • Linda Calhoun says:

      “Clinton ran up a two-point advantage thanks to a couple of areas that lack a functioning two-party system and are wildly unrepresentative…”

      This description is also true of Trump’s lopsided support in small rural areas. The difference is in the absolute numbers. 71% of Americans live in densely populated urban areas. So Clinton’s larger total of the popular vote reflects a certain cultural leaning, and Trump’s smaller total reflects a different one.

      Gore won the popular vote by half a million votes. Clinton won the popular vote by 2.85 million. As the population continues to concentrate in urban areas, if future presidential elections are lost by ever larger pluralities, or even by majorities, at what point does that need to be addressed?

      If your position on that is, “Never, as long as my party is winning”, perhaps you should think about Trump’s opinion of the electoral college before it benefited him personally.


      • j.a.m. says:

        Sure, from the earliest days of the republic there always have been many fault lines — cultural, economic and otherwise — and federalism has served us very well in managing those fissures. Part of a rational solution would be to lower the stakes of a presidential election by limiting the federal government to its proper constitutional role. (By the way, do you hear anyone complain that, in the European Parliament, Luxembourg and Malta hold 10X the representation per inhabitant compared with Germany? That Cyprus is at 6.5X, and many other states at 2-3X or better?)

        Obviously we need a better vetting and nomination process for president, and for sure need a better procedure in the event of deadlock. We should allocate the electoral vote more proportionally.

        But ultimately, e pluribus unum comes down to political leadership. And that presents a bit of a quandary, since in America the best and brightest don’t go into politics. (Thank God.)

        • Whenever I’ve said, in at least three posts before the election, that the US should distribute the Electoral College votes for President more proportionally, you’ve criticized me. I’m glad to see to see we’ve made progress re fairness. I’ve never said it should change Senate representation as in the number of senators. There’s a case to be made for keeping that as it is.

    • Mark R. says:

      The only way and the only reason republicans win is because they cheat and lie and divide with hate. They cheat by gerrymandering (you should check out HBO VICE’s cover of North Carolina gerrymandering), voter suppression (ever heard of ‘cross-check?), allowing dark money with no transparency, supporting limitless money in campaigns (I know the dems get a lot of money too, but they don’t support citizens united), they cheat by disallowing a vote or even a debate for a President’s appointment for the Supreme Court. Presently, many aren’t even that concerned about Russian meddinling in US elections, but they set up an entire mock-committee investigating ‘voter fraud’…hmmm, I wonder why they’re doing that? It all stinks to hell; I know you can’t smell it because you’ve drunk the Kool-Aid and are consumed by the cult. And let’s talk about republican lies; lied us into the Iraq war, continue the lie that ‘tax-cuts for the rich is the solution to all your financial woes’, lie about climate change, lie about the deficit being the worst evil of the American economy, lie about immigration being the worst evil of the American economy, lie about their monstrous not-health care bill. Current POTUS not only lies as much as he tells the truth, but I don’t think he knows the difference. Perhaps he did once, but like Gollum convincing himself that his ring was actually a birthday present, Trump also has the ability to convince himself of what he wants to be true. I’m actually surprised he’s not religious, he so easily convinces himself of his own bullshit. As far as dividing with hate, that’s so self-apparent I needn’t bother expounding. I came to a simple conclusion many years ago about modern (Nixon on up) republicans, but trump has solidified this conclusion beyond reproach: republicans are immoral and lack any hint of credibility.

  3. j.a.m. says:

    Health care for the disabled is covered by Medicare, and disability income is covered by Social Security, neither of which have anything to do with Obamacare or Graham-Cassidy. But never let the facts get in the way of leftist ideology.

    (And let’s not even get started on our tort system.)

    • Linda Calhoun says:

      Do you seriously think that if they succeed in repealing the ACA, that Medicare and Social Security wouldn’t be next?

      Paul Ryan has repeatedly said he wants to eliminate both.

      Trump lied about Medicaid. What makes you think he didn’t lie about Medicare and Social Security?


    • The amount going to Medicaid is being reduced by 1 trillion dollars over ten years under Graham-Cassidy. I heard Cassidy saying on CNN yesterday that was essential because it’s going broke. That is a gross distortion of the facts. States get to decide who’s covered in those programmes under the Bill. So yes, it does effect them.

      I didn’t mention Social Security.

  4. Lee Knuth says:

    The Electoral College was set up by the founding fathers to ensure that no despot could gain the office of president. The electors were to vote their conscience, sure didn’t work this time.

  5. Mark R. says:

    I was actually in the waiting room before a doctor visit when I read your musing about what would happen if you were an American. It’s sad, isn’t it? There are millions w/o health care still, and we don’t have any peripheral programs like you mentioned. At every convenient store, and on almost every point of purchase at other stores, there are programs asking for money to help children, hunger, diabetes, heart disease etc and there are even more billboards, radio and tv ads asking the public for money. Americans have to count on each other when life happens. I know many conservatives think that’s perfectly fine, but any human being with a moral compass knows that this is an insufficient way to help one-another. Goes back to the Maori saying you posted yesterday. Anyway, I asked my doctor (a cardiologist) what he thought about the republican health care plan. I didn’t know his politics, but figured any doctor would have a problem with trumpcare. Indeed he did…he said the American healthcare system is a travesty and he backed Sanders’ Medicare for all. I knew he was a good doctor. 🙂

    Thanks as always for the warm and fuzzies!

    • Cheers Mark. USians give more to charity per capita than any other country, which is great. (NZ comes in 2nd.) The problem with letting the private sector do it is that they decide who deserves help. That means, for example, the people of your own religion get a lot more than atheists, for example because so many think a bad Christian deserves help more than a good atheist. The government distributes help on the basis of need, which is much fairer.

      I watched a CNN debate on healthcare a couple of days ago, and that Cassidy a$$hole brought up the Charlie Gard case as a reason the US shouldn’t have single-payer. That sort of thing always happens when you try to talk to a conservative about healthcare. It sickens me.

      • Mark R. says:

        Cassidy is done, which is a good thing. He said he wouldn’t seek re-election…the writing is on the wall. Cassidy was an unknown, then a known, and now an unknown again. Good riddance. I’ve been enjoying HC’s pissed-off attitude. She’s on fire right now doing the book tours. Love it!

      • j.a.m. says:

        “The problem with letting the private sector do it is that they decide who deserves help. That means, for example, the people of your own religion get a lot more than atheists, for example because so many think a bad Christian deserves help more than a good atheist. The government distributes help on the basis of need, which is much fairer.”

        Everything in my knowledge and experience tells me that’s a pile of baloney, but knowing you as a strong rigorous empiricist, I know you can back up your opinions, however eccentric, with solid, airtight, substantive, unimpeachable, unbiased, reproducible hard data that you will generously share with us. Thanks in advance.

        • Just look at NZ. Our average wage is quite a lot less than yours (around NZ $50000) but there are a lot less people in poverty, we live longer, we have much lower corruption, more freedom, lower taxes, a higher rating in economic indices such as ease of doing business, single-payer healthcare for all, more press freedom, better wage parity etc. We’re even more peaceful. This is despite our unemployment rate currently being slightly higher than yours – 4.9% vs 4.3%. (Both are low by international standards.

          • j.a.m. says:

            All very fascinating, but you’re changing the subject. The claims before us are as follows:

            1. Private organizations practice religious discrimination and do not provide services on the basis of need.
            2. Many people think a bad Christian deserves help more than a good atheist.
            3. Direct government aid is always “much fairer”.

            Did this information come to you in a dream, or do you have the data?

          • j.a.m. says:

            P.S. On population, New Zealand would rank 25th if it were a state, just ahead of Louisiana. On GDP, it would rank 29th, just ahead of Oklahoma. (Just some context to bear in mind the next time we try to draw comparisons between New Zealand and the USA as a whole.)

    • j.a.m. says:

      I’d give a doctor’s opinion about health care economics about the same weight that I’d give an astrologer’s opinion about astrophysics.

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