A thousand words and so on

A young girl from Flint who became the face of the city’s water crisis got opportunities this year to meet both President Obama and, later, Donald Trump. Here are photos from each of the events.

That is all. Enjoy your weekend.




Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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148 comments on “A thousand words and so on
  1. ywwp says:

    i think i can solve water crisis problem. welcome to http://yourwellwisherprogram.wordpress.com

  2. Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

    Lindsay Graham, the recently deemed “sane” Republican for not supporting Trump, is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and you would think that someone on the Judiciary Committee might value…I don’t know, the Judiciary, but you would be wrong. Not unlike some GOP members of the Science committees don’t tend to like science.

    WIth regard to the suspect in the NYC bombings, Graham says,’

    “Now, I hope the Obama Administration will consider holding Rahami as an enemy combatant for intelligence gathering purposes. The suspect, based upon his currently reported actions, clearly is a candidate for enemy combatant status.

    Right now, we should be focused on gathering intelligence from this suspect that can help our nation understand how these attacks were planned and carried out. Holding Rahami as an enemy combatant also allows us to question him about what attacks may follow in the future. That should be our focus, not a future domestic criminal trial that may take years to complete.”

    It seems worth noting that the suspect is an American citizen, living in the US, and here we have a Senator wanting to strip this citizen of his constitutional rights.

    I guess we probably did the same thing when McVeigh blew the heck out of the Federal building or when the Dylan Roof shot people in a church…oh wait, no, we seemed to handle those with normal criminal proceedings.

    We seem awfully willing to get our panties in a wad and fundamentally change the way we run the country when random brown people with ineffective suitcase bombs do bad stuff. We have an idiot who is pissed off at the government and yells something about Allah becoming an international mastermind terrorist.

    • flypusher says:

      ‘Right now, we should be focused on gathering intelligence from this suspect that can help our nation understand how these attacks were planned and carried out. Holding Rahami as an enemy combatant also allows us to question him about what attacks may follow in the future. That should be our focus, not a future domestic criminal trial that may take years to complete.” ‘

      This guy was such an inept dumbass that I doubt ISIS wants to claim him. Even terrorists have standards. IFAIK they haven’t glommed onto his attack.

    • Stephen says:

      You are right the suspect is a citizen. What we can do is if he does not cooperate is put him in general prison population. That may change his mind.

    • flypusher says:

      Also there was a 50-something White dude busted by the FBI in Houston for trying to buy bomb making materials. That doesn’t seem to be getting equal national play.

  3. Sir Magpie De Crow says:

    From Donald Trump Jr on the subject of the U.S. providing sanctuary to refugees:


    “If you had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you.
    Would you take a handful?”

    “Trump/Pence: Make America Great Again”

    Do any of these @$$holes on Team Trump really know what makes America great? Do they not know the history of Ellis Island? Pretty sure alot of refugees went on and led productive positive lives whose descendent have become impressive citizens and even political leaders in this country. They didn’t let wars, personal traumas, civil unrest or even death of loved ones in their past keep them from building a better future.

    People need to remember that.

    Do the Republicans not realize the poison of inhumanity they are unleashing into the body of the party? I am not religious but people like Mike Pence are a complete fraud whenever he claims to be a “Christian”.

    Reza Aslan perhaps said it best on his twitter account…

    “Like piece of sh** father, like piece a sh** son.”

    What I firmly believe is that 20 years from now, regardless of how this election shakes out, all the people who voted for Trump or supported him will be hard to find.

    Like the thousands/millions of people who threw in their lot with groups like the Klan (or had family that were involved with the Klan) and all of the sudden after the 60’s they disappeared… Sorry sir, don’t know what you are talking about…

    That was not the result of magic.
    Not unless shame or the realization of making a horrible mistake constitutes sorcery.

    There is a price to be paid when you dehumanize people like that, and that price will be high.

    Yeah, Skittles.

    • flypusher says:

      “What I firmly believe is that 20 years from now, regardless of how this election shakes out, all the people who voted for Trump or supported him will be hard to find.”

      Unfortunately for them, there’s lots of photos and video of Trump rallies, screenshots of some of the spectacularly dumb social media posts, etc. Some of them won’t be to hide.

      The Apple is still on the tree.

    • RobA says:

      This election is so counterintuitive. Conventional wisdom says that terror attacks are good for Trump. But really, theyve been bad, mostly because he overplays his strongman hand and comes across more as a dangerous dictator then a strong leader. I expect this one to be more of the same. Trump was on the stump last night, complaining that now we have to give medical care to this assailant and he’ll be provided with a lawyer and get a fair trial (the horror!).

      I really think there are enough sane ppl to understand the lunacy of those things. These are absolute bedrock constitutional principles he’s stepping all over.

      • flypusher says:

        “If you had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you.
        Would you take a handful?”

        If Trump Jr. told me the sky was blue, I’d step outside to look for myself.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Rob – I would like to think so as well. But these tightening races are beginning to worry me. Ohio which was so critical to Obama is now favoring Trump. Hillary seems to be incapable of shooting herself in the foot and the media in its race for higher ratings has simply ignored Trump’s multitude of transgressions.- he has literally been caught bribing the Florida AG, yet nothing but Hillary’s emails and complaints about the Clinton charity that has the gall to actually help people.

        This should not be a horse race and it is a sad indication of where we are as a nation.

      • 1mime says:

        I agree, the very people we might think would denouce Trump for his rhetoric on the bombing or anything else absurd, are giving him high fives. It’s mind boggling and frightening that our nation has devolved to this point.

      • Turtles Run says:

        At least the people of skittles understand that people are people not candy.

        Please excuse the YUGE picture

  4. Griffin says:

    Sorry if I’m spamming but as someone whose into econ I though these were interesting articles. Bruce Bartlett and Paul Krugman on modern uses for “protectionism”. Though neither, with VERY good reason, is in favor of going full-protectionism or retroactively tearing up trade deals like the Donald is it is nonetheless interesting that many prominent economists are starting to shift a bit away from REFLEXIVE “free trade” and looking for modern uses for “protectionism”:

    Bartlett: http://blogs.ft.com/the-exchange/2016/04/05/donald-trumps-protectionism-has-a-good-pedigree/

    The Krug: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/09/a-protectionist-moment/


  5. Griffin says:

    “Since the outcome of the presidential election remains in doubt, Paul Ryan doesn’t yet know if, come November, he will be working hand in glove with the incoming Republican president or delivering a heartfelt speech about how he never agreed with Donald Trump in the first place. In the meantime, he is promoting his domestic plan, “A Better Way,” which simultaneously serves both functions. If Trump wins, Ryan can use the plan to support his case that Trump should rubber-stamp his bills; if he loses, Ryan can use it to distance himself from the wreckage.”


    The GOP still doesn’t understand how unpopular/batshit its economic proposals are.

    • 1mime says:

      Do you really think they care? That they aren’t in lock-step with him? He got unanimous approval for this proposal from the House Repubs. They know exactly what they are doing and who will and won’t benefit. Republicans haven’t cared about middle class and poor people for a very long time, Ryan. I don’t see any major changes in this plan over previous positions.

      • Griffin says:

        I think to an extent they really have drank the kool-aid due to years of being influenced by fringe Austrian schoolers, Randian Objectivists, and various hardcore supply-siders. However I honestly don’t know if it’s scarier if they’re knowingly lying or they are true believers (or some mix of the two).

    • 1mime says:

      It pays to look closely at how Ryan is going to pay for this largesse…one of the agencies that will be cut is the CFPB, the agency E. Warren crafted that just prosecuted a fine of over $186Million for the WF debacle…I’d say they’re doing a bang-up job, but then, what do I know about priorities! Dodd-Frank is also on the cutting floor as is, as mentioned, the ACA….which replacement is still TBD.

      Republicans are clearly celebrating their win of POTUS and Senate and SCOTUS early….Yippeee!

  6. Griffin says:

    More and more right-winger intellectuals are wising up to the “conservative media”. If only they’d done it sooner…


    • Griffin says:

      BTW Lifer are you planning to write out a full post about the “managerial class”, so to speak? I don’t see a future version of the GOP without them, especially considering the Democrats have basically cornered the market on post-industrial jobs? Any functional version of the GOP years from now will very, very likely be a protectionist party that promises to restructure the economy in a way that benefits this class, even though I’m not sure how that would even work apart from the likely promises of trade protectionism that would come with such a platform.

  7. Kenneth Devaney says:

    This link is added due to its clear and concise complaint regarding the Wisconsin Supreme Court handling the John Doe case that may be taken up by SCOTUS.


  8. Shirley Adams says:

    You are a gift to those who want to stay involved.

  9. tuttabellamia says:

    I just heard the coolest made-up word on the Esquire Classics podcast. Instead of meritocracy:

    MIRROR-TOCRACY: A system in which people hire and help those who look like themselves.

  10. Griffin says:

    From Progressive Republican Luke Phillip: the concluding paragraphs of the book “The Political Principles of Alexander Hamilton” by Clinton Rossiter for anyone whose interested:


    • 1mime says:

      Most interesting reading, Griffin. How well Alexander “speaks from the grave”.

      “The worst of political ills is a weak government unable to cope with the convulsions of anarchy, because the next step beyond anarchy is not chaos but despotism.

      The most likely candidates for the role of despots are demagogues.”

      Know anyone who fits that description?

  11. 1mime says:

    I’m incensed about what’s been happening in TX regarding denial of services for special needs children in the public school system. (TX has set an “informal” cap on number of children who may be served through special ed, which has left thousands of kids and families without help and is being investigated for illegality.) The author and chief researcher for this story with the Houston Chronicle responded to my note and said the paper is going to stay on this story…that interest is huge. He provided a link one can access to follow the multi-part series. It is here. Further, the paper would be very interested in learning about any children who have been denied services. Contact Brian M. Rosenthal, Houston Chronicle if you have any information to provide.


  12. unarmedandunafraid says:

    In the previous posting, we talked about voting methods. I found this site that leads me to believe that Maine may be going from the frying pan to the sauté pan.

    From the site, “This is called the “center squeeze” effect, because the broadly appealing centrist is squeezed from both sides by candidates who absorb most of the support of the two main sides of the political spectrum. Warren Smith, a Princeton math PhD who has specialized in election theory for over a decade, even argues that IRV favors “extremists””


    A lot of info on various voting methods for those of us that were not poli-sci majors.

  13. Griffin says:

    The American Conservative believes that the “insurgents” in both parties are a reflection of a class war but not one between workers and capitalist but instead between the “managerial class” and the “New Class”. It sounds similar to your idea Lifer that the “middlemen” who made up the middle-class are becoming obsolete.


    • goplifer says:

      Those guys at AC are smart. They’re often weird, but they’re smart. And I think they’re on to something.

      It reminds me of something Richard Horsley wrote about conditions in 1st Century Palestine. He observed that the difference between a failed revolt and a successful revolution is, in most cases, the alignment of what Gerhard Lenski called the “retainer” class. In ancient societies they were what passed for a middle class – merchants, lower level clerics, imperial bureaucrats.

      In our world they would be people like middle management types in industrial jobs, lawyers in solo practice, sales professionals in construction and real estate, solo accountants in small towns, people with state or county jobs. People who make a good income and have some education, but live far removed from the booming industries that have surged since the financial collapse. Think about folks you know in those categories and their political alignment.

      They are doing pretty well financially, but the feel left behind – because they are being left behind. They feel disrespected and overwhelmed. They may not be rich or powerful in a conventional sense, but as a class they are enormously influential and they vote. That’s the slice of America that seems to be feeding Donald Trump. Let them lose their investment in the political system and you face risk of serious, lasting destabilization.

      • Griffin says:

        Wow that actually goes a looooong way to explaining why so many family members and suburbanites I know who make $80-$140,000 dollars a year are Trump supporters and seem to feel as though their government is waging a war/plotting against them, which was always easy for me to write off as mere paranoia. They all work in those professions: Business or building manages, owners of sole proprietorships, independent lawyers, investors in land but not in stock or tech, etc. I don’t think usually they put their finger one WHY they feel that way, just that they do.

      • Griffin says:

        “who make $80,000-$140,000 dollars a year…”

      • tmerritt15 says:

        I believe Griffin nails the income range, though his upper income may be a bit on the low side. President Obama essentially included people making up to $250K in this category. It includes most engineers, many physicians, attorneys and other lower level professionals. People in that range make enough money to be comfortable, for the most part they depend on employer furnished health care insurance, they have ample homes, but not mansions, and the 401K plans are extremely important to their retirement. They are also the groups that are being hit very hard by the exorbitant tuitions at most state universities, not to mention the elite schools. Nevertheless, they do not make enough money or have enough capital to really be able to benefit from the various tax writeoffs available to the upper 1% of the income spectrum. Today even the upper 1 percentile is really not sufficient, either. These are the people who pay a large percentage of their incomes in taxes – federal, state and local. Their tax load is just about maxed out. They could be classified as the upper income middle class. In general this group feels that they are being left behind and as Chris stated they are being left behind. Maybe not a badly as the lower income middle class and the working class, but still they are stressed severely. They are crucial to maintaining a stable society.

      • >] “That’s the slice of America that seems to be feeding Donald Trump. Let them lose their investment in the political system and you face risk of serious, lasting destabilization.

        Sounds like that’s where we’re headed then. How do you appease interests that are in fundamental opposition to one another? One wants things to go back to the way they were and everyone else is hurtling into the future. Sounds impossible to me.

        Maybe I’m missing some really simple answer here though? If anyone has some insight on it, I’d be glad to hear it.

      • Griffin says:

        @Ryan I think that’s the rational behind the basic income. Cutting out the “middleman” saves costs yes? So take some of the money you saved and put it back into the hands of citizens. I’m not sure that would be enough though, and we couldn’t give back nearly as much as we cost them.

      • goplifer says:

        A basic income would be great, but it wouldn’t help here. Your small-town lawyer or accountant is not going to benefit from a basic income in any meaningful way. They are falling behind in a race for dignity, respect, power and influence, not money.

        Had an interesting conversation along these lines back in the spring with former Rep. Bob Inglis. He and his wife made a decision after law school to go back to his small South Carolina hometown instead of taking a job in DC or NY. The impact of that decision gradually built up over the years, first in terms of diminished income, then in terms of eroded power, prestige and influence. He felt good about what that decision meant for him, but his kids are all leaving and wouldn’t consider going back. And it’s clear that his decision left him way outside the mainstream for his career.

        Basically, the entire economic and political world has pivoted very hard over the course of a single generation away from formerly affluent rural and suburban enclaves and toward major cities, creating a powerful concentration of money and influence. If you’re not working in one of America’s top six or seven major metros (and that’s “major” in terms of capital and income, not population), or one of the global top 15, then you’re trailing your career peers in almost every category. And if you decided to go back home to start a career in Greenville, SC, or Amarillo or Topeka or Sioux Falls, or Ft Wayne, you might as well have moved to Alaska. You’re in a world apart, connected to the economy by little besides a freeway and cable TV.

        This is creating some weird political dynamics and I’m really not sure what policy response would help.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Chris

        I really really don’t see the effect you are talking about
        In my old field there were some leading companies – if you weren’t with them you fell behind BUT none of them were based in the sort of Urban hell holes you are describing

      • Griffin says:

        A year ago I never thought I’d say this but perhaps cultivating a non-ethnic based, healthy variant of American patriotism could somewhat help? Reassure this class, and everyone else, that they are law-abiding Americans who are a net benefit to the country, that their services are needed and respected, that they are the quintessential “American businessman/businesswoman” and that they are an important part of the countries legacy/”identity”, so to speak. You know how firemen or doctors command respect just by their professions, regardless of their actual income? Perhaps something like that can be done with the managerial class through a thoughtful invocation of the image of the “American entrepreneur/businessperson”.

      • Griffin says:

        “A year ago I never thought I’d say this but perhaps cultivating a non-ethnic based, healthy variant of American patriotism could somewhat help? ”

        Err I worded that poorly what I never though I would say would be suggesting cultivating American nationalism, since I grew up during the Iraq War debacle so my experiences with nationalism have been mostly negative. Sorry if I’m over explaining but I was worried that the way I worded that makes it sound like I was once in favor of ethnic nationalism which I’ve always considered a really bad/nasty concept.

      • 1mime says:

        When America finally gets to the point that race and ethnicity really don’t matter, this whole nationalism thing will resolve. Why does it matter? We should be able to be friends with, colleagues with and neighbors with anyone we want to without considering race or ethnicity. I am so weary of this discussion when the solution is for people to stop classifying others. Live and let live.

      • moslerfan says:

        The history of the Federal Reserve Bank (est. 1913) with its regional branches distributed around the country was apparently an attempt to disperse financial power from New York. It seems that the marginalization of the hinterlands that Lifer is referring to isn’t new. Although with agriculture being far less economically important today than it was 100 years ago, the problem is that much more intractable.

      • tmerritt15 says:


        To a large extent you are correct regarding the concentration of wealth and the necessity of working in the top metros. However, one’s career path has to be in the top 1% or so of where the concentration of talent is in the industry. Seattle is certainly in the top tier of software development and also in aeronautical engineering. But if one is an ordinary engineer, even in software development, in aeronautical engineering or any of the other fields say classical electrical, mechanical, civil, etc., he or she will still be losing power and influence. The salaries will lag and the career path will max out at an intermediate salary. When one is competing against individuals making millions per year, a salary around $100K-$150K doesn’t count for much. A good share of those people support Trump or really feel disillusioned about the path the global economy is on, with only the top 1% or so in any field getting any recognition. Don’t focus so much on the rural and suburban enclaves, because the same phenomenon is occurring in the top urban areas as well.

      • 1mime says:

        Doesn’t this all go back to the wealth divide?

      • For a lot of people, “well-off” is defined not by how well they’re doing in an absolute sense but how well they’re doing relative to other people. They need there to be people worse-off than them in order to feel comfortable. I can’t quote a study offhand but it’s a documented effect.

        As Chris points out, if you hold such a mindset then the sight of others doing very well is a nightmare. A basic income would make it even worse. The rise of India and China makes it worse still: now even being from the First World isn’t enough to guarantee that others are worse-off than you. Even your

        (The level of poverty in the BRICS nations is far higher, of course, but this is irrelevant: what matters to such a person is that a minority of people in those countries now live at a first-world level.)

        I have no sympathy for anyone who holds this mindset. Like racists, they are wrong and it is their responsibility to stop being wrong, not my responsibility to coddle them. However, they do get to vote, and therein lies a problem.

    • Armchair Philosopher says:

      This article in politico says much the same thing: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/09/donald-trump-ideas-2016-214244

      • 1mime says:

        I am not so much concerned with challenging the status quo as I am with the messenger. The fact that Trump (and his surrogates) have tapped into the concerns of Americans who feel left out is to their credit. The problem is, Trump has no serious intellectual interest or commitment to lead this group into a new world order – and that appears to be the inference in the article. Once more, Trump is neither genuine in his concern, nor committed to the hard work that pulling these disparate forces together will require. He is talented at arousing fear and anger but lacks the depth and judgement, IMO, to channel these real concerns into positive outcomes.

      • Griffin says:

        I’m actually all for most of those ideas but Trump is playing his own identity politics. A good chunk of more enthusiastic supporters are white nationalists/populists he’s appealing to. Nonetheless a good read, maybe one day the Republican Party could stand for those values instead of throwing minorities under the bus and endorsing every crackpot idea AM radio hosts come up with and when that happens I’ll consider voting for them. But until then “Globalization and obsessive Identity Politics” is still definitely the lesser of the two evils at the moment.

      • 1mime says:

        The earlier article about middle managers reminds me of a post by Chris that dealt with the disappearing middle class in America. In so many ways, this cohesive, strong and stable group served as a “center” for American politics and culture. With its decline, people no longer have group identify and are expected to make it individually – which many have and far more – haven’t. Technology hasn’t been very kind about the reveal of the changes in our social and economic order, which still didn’t matter so much until the end of industrialization and the loss of jobs. There’s lots to be worried about if you are part of that sector that had no where else to go. Along comes Trump with his vacuous rants and promises and the irreverent finger at the establishment that hasn’t cared about the workers – not just blue collar, but white collar too, as we are learning. Never mind that he hasn’t a serious clue about how to run things…as the article points out – he’ll figure it out as he goes – because that ‘s how he thinks. Sure sounds hopeful, but not realistic.

      • Griffin says:

        I think actual white nationalists who don’t have any connection to the “managerial class” are a slice of Trump’s support. White populists are his most enthusiastic supporters, but the disaffected managerial class are probably his most IMPORTANT supporters (in political terms I mean). They have more money, organization, and (I suspect) better turnout than poorer whites motivated purely by race. Perhaps the Trump campaign is really something of an alliance between the two (alongside much smaller numbers of various hardcore nationalists, religious fundamentalists, Die-Hard Republicans, and ideological economic libertarians).

        I think almost everyone, including Trump and the Alt-Right, mistakes his most enthusiastic supporters for his most important ones, thus Trump keeps trying to appeal to voters on the basis of white nationalism.

  14. 1mime says:

    Explosions in NYC and NJ…and a potential commander in chief that Russia and China are drooling over….Will this play to the fears Trump has been stoking? Then, an extraordinarily candid story about a man down on his luck who never leaves home without a weapon…

    And, we’re worried about old people in retirement?

    “Terrorism is one of the defining fights of our time. But terror, of course, is designed to elicit fear and change policy and behavior in ways that benefits terrorists. We unfortunately know that a precedent exists for terrorists impacting a western government’s elections. We’ll need to steel ourselves and hope that Americans vote with their head as well as heart on November 8th.”



    • 1mime says:

      And this from Former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, about the two main presidential candidates.


    • formdib says:

      Yeah, New York has been busy lately, law enforcement wise, after the news of this hit. My friends’ve been posting videos of DHS, FBI, and NYPD vehicles land, air, and waterborne all day, some of which may in fact be kabuki theatre since Mr. Mayor has already spoken about “showing to New Yorkers that they can feel safe.”

      Honestly I’m surprised at the reaction to this. I thought this would go insane nation-wide crazy with a few global “Oh shit…” statements,

      and instead it seems New Yorkers quickly switched to “Eh, we didn’t like that dumpster anyway” and the media switched to “We don’t know what it is yet so stay tuned!” after it sorted that nobody was killed.

      But I guess it isn’t Monday yet. People haven’t woken up to the week.

      • 1mime says:

        And Trump hasn’t figured out how to spin it to his “shock and awe” advantage.

      • 1mime says:

        Has there been any speculation that the bombs could have been domestic “political” terrorism? IOW, a nationalistic creating incidents that were harmful but didn’t kill anyone, but generated a lot of fear? There certainly has been vitriol that suggests people are capable of and desirous of such actions.

      • formdib says:

        This is old news now that the dude has been captured, but at the time the speculation was between Muslamic rayguns and some Tumblr manifesto posted by a distraught gay dude.

        Turns out it was the Muslamic raygun. Specifically an Afghani-American citizen named Ahmad Khan Rahami caught in a shootout. http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/19/us/new-york-explosion-investigation/

        I honestly haven’t been following the whole spiel but apparently the whole thing was a shitshow. There was a second bomb …. that was accidentally defused by thieves. http://metro.co.uk/2016/09/19/thieves-accidentally-defused-second-new-york-bomb-by-trying-to-steal-it-6138665/ The first wasn’t really placed anywhere highly trafficked….

        Seriously, the joke in the area right now is we’re more afraid of the event being used by the rest of the nation to justify fascism than we are of the Muslamic rayguns.

      • formdib says:

        Gotta hand it to the errorist, however. He timed his pressure cooker precisely at the right moment in the news cycle between Hillary’s pneumonia and the debates, probably giving more momentum to Trump leading into them.

        So, you know, the stars are aligning for that lucky lump of subhuman offal.

      • formdib says:

        Sums up the situation, really:

  15. tuttabellamia says:

    And I thought Mr. Trump was taking her pulse.

  16. 1mime says:

    OT but relates to a frequent topic in Ladd’s posts, regarding a guaranteed universal benefit plan for America. This article graphically points out how great the need is to find a way to help people who are not covered by employer retirement plans – some 55 million persons, per AARP. Several interesting concepts are being tried in a handful of states, with California leading the way – as they so often do….good for CA, that bastion of liberal thinking!

    It’s really like health care. If people can’t get coverage because of cost, taxpayers end up paying more for their care which they will have to have – via more expensive trips to the ER and illnesses that could have been addressed more effectively and less expensively, through early intervention in clinics and check ups. Same is true with the retirement concept. People who get old and lack adequate savings will require government assistance, through medicaid and other programs. So, why not incentivize and make mandatory, automatic retirement enrollment plans? At the very least, the pilot efforts of CA and the other states that are trying some version of it should be carefully monitored.

    One of the intriguing and valid questions about the guaranteed benefit is how will America pay for it. The CA plan might offer an idea in this regard, whereby, much like social security, people are automatically enrolled in a savings plan that would create a source of funds to pay for the universal benefit. Yes, I know this is the ultimate re-distribution plan, but if this idea continues to be discussed, surely the CA automatic retirement enrollment could be married with the universal benefit concept. It may come down to something as simple as “pay now or pay more later.”

    People who live paycheck to paycheck are particularly vulnerable. I know people in this situation and it’s not that they are not working hard, they simply lack education and skills to earn enough to meet their needs. Of course, I am a big proponent in family planning to reduce financial demands, but until there is more support for inexpensive (or even free) contraception, this is not going to happen as it should. Another, “pay now or pay more later” situation.


    • fiftyohm says:

      Mime – Isn’t this exactly what Social Security is/was supposed to be? Or are you simply suggesting expansion of that program with higher benefits? What’s the difference?

      • 1mime says:

        This would supplement SS, per the 8 state models that are being piloted. The key difference is that there is no employer match, the contributions are automatically deducted (with an opt-out), and grow tax deferred up to a maximum amount. This concept focuses primarily on small businesses that presently do not offer any type of retirement plan due to number of employees. The whole idea, Fifty, which I think is very positive, is to teach people how to save, reward them by making this savings tax deferred, and encourage lifetime savings aggregation. Very few people “opt out” in plans like this and it is less painful because the amounts are small – but, key to its success – steady, automatic deductions.

        People like ourselves have access to a myriad of company-based savings instruments. Working people, typically hourly employees, don’t. Again, the premise is, deduct it before you “see” it and watch it grow. If you open some of the links within the article, you’ll see that it would be similar to a 529 plan which most people take advantage of who have children.


        Teaching people to save who have grown up in difficult financial situations, is challenging when income is small, but isn’t it better to encourage people in a safe, small way to contribute to their retirement? Chile instituted a mandatory savings program with no opt out which has helped that country and its people achieve much more financial stability.


        It is entirely possible that SS could be collapsed into a broad national plan such as the guaranteed universal income. The point here is to address a specific area of employment and wages who have not participated in the traditional work-related programs due to size and income limitations.

    • fiftyohm says:

      And regarding Kalifornia, that fair state has so well managed their public employee’s pension system, that they find themselves with north of $64 billion in net unfunded liabilities. This places them, in a recent study by George Mason University, at #44 of fifty states on the scale of financial condition – only three steps ahead of our Host’s state of Illinois at #47. Great example for us all there, kid.

      • RobA says:

        Um….are we talking about the same California? The big state in the SW corner of the country?

        California is absolutely a model right now for how the rest of the country should be. Its going through an economic miracle. CA is booming right now, with a 3.9 growth rate that is the envy of the developed world (CA economy would be the 7th largest economy if it were a country, and of the top 10 global economies, none come close to CA growth rate), and over half a million jobs created in the last year (more then the next two largest states, TX and Fla, combined).

        To dismiss CA as a bad model due to “unfunded liabilities” is like dismissing a star MLB pitcher because he’s not a good hitter. Sure, hitting matters. But for a pitcher, it’s not close to the most important attribute.


        And CA is performing this economic miracle with relatively high taxes and relatively high regulations. Weird.

      • RobA says:

        I should add……compare the state most in line with Dem economic policies (CA) with the state most in line with GoP policies (KS).

        It’s not pretty.

        Also, I dug a little deeper into the numbers. You’re making the same overly simplistic argument Trump says when he rails about the debt. ANY economist (whether right leaning OR left) will tell you numbers like that are meaningless on their own, without comparing it to GDP overall as a ratio.

        A debt number, no matter how large, is irrelevant without factoring in ability to pay. It’s the same in personal finance: if I tell you I owe $10 million, you cannot grasp if that’s a problem or not without knowing my ability to pay. If I make $100,000/yr, then yes, that’s a big financial problem. However, if I make $50 million/yr, it really isn’t.

        With regards to the debt, the truth is, it’s been much, much higher AS A PERCENT of GDP then it currently is. It’s on the high side, but the debt to GDP ratio is still well within the normal historical range.

        Likewise, to say “California has $64 billion in unfunded liabilities” is meaningless without factoring in how big that is relative to their economy. With a $2.29 trillion economy, California’s $64 billion in unfunded liabilities is, frankly, not really significant, representing about 2.85% of its GDP. I.e. it’s not an issue.

        When we compare that to the conservative gold standard of low tax/low regulations over in KS, again, it’s not pretty.


        KS unfunded liabilities are $9.4 billion. As a % of its GDP (the only number that matters) KS unfunded liabilities are roughly 6.3% of GDP ($149 billion in 2015).

        So not o ly it does CA have much higher growth then it’s conservative peer and way more job creation, even by your metric (unfunded liabilities) KS has roughly 3x the unfunded liabilities as CA does.

        So yeah, CA is about as good an economic model as one can hope to find.

      • 1mime says:

        Rob, that was an excellent response and explanation. I hope you had time to look at the link that shows (2011…most current) unfunded pension liability by state….I’ll leave it to you to figure out if red states are performing better than blue states on a per capita basis. Of course, as you noted, the real comparison rests with comparing debt to income, or GDP.

      • fiftyohm says:

        RobA – The dismissal was not based entirely on pension liabilities. http://mercatus.org/statefiscalrankings

        Profligate spending and financial irresponsibility are very poor models for state policy. During the first quarter of 2016, California was no where near the top in terms of GDP growth – in fact, it was about the same as Michagan! http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/gdp_state/qgsp_newsrelease.htm And it needs to be to at the top to pay off it’s mounting debt. States can’t just print money like Washington can.

        And comparing California to the rest of the world is like comparing US poverty rates to Somalia. The RoW is sucking wind, and for a host of reasons, that pretty much explains why we aren’t.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Unarmed – *big smile*

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      I remember some studies that compared “opt-out” rather than “opt-in” for savings plans. Of course, the “opt-out” had much better participation.

      But, there was an even more interesting scheme. Entering each contribution into a lottery with payout every so often. If I remember correctly, the payout was as good or better than state lotteries, even with most of the contributions kept as savings for the contributor. But this plan is opposed by present lottery officials and beneficiaries of todays lotteries. Not sure where I saw this info. I’ll try to find it, but it was years ago.

      • fiftyohm says:

        unarmed – Oh my, oh my. 538 tallied the percentages for state lotteries nationwide. http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/what-percentage-of-state-lottery-money-goes-to-the-state/

        Some states pay out less than 10% of what they take in as revenue. Others are more ‘generous’, but the average is about 60% or so of revenue. Any casino offering such odds would be out of business in a week. (The typical rake of a casino is on the order of 5%.) Lotteries are a horribly regressive stupidity tax that prey on the poor, hopeless, and uninformed. Encouraging this kind of behavior with payroll deductions is a very, very bad idea. Actually, it’s about the worst idea I can think of at the moment.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Fifty

        Here (NZ) and the UK we have a variation on the lottery theme
        Here it’s called “Bonus Bonds”
        It’s like a savings account – you put money in but the interest is awarded by lottery

        The prize distribution is such that most if not all of the gamblers get a small return – $20 at a time
        BUT a proportion of the return is in the form of bigger wins – $1Million

        It’s like a bank account with an average return PLUS a chance at a windfall

      • 1mime says:

        To entice people at the lowest rung of the ladder to give up precious income, education will be needed so that they can understand how they will benefit. As far as the lottery is concerned, I’ll bet most of the working poor already purchase lottery tickets. For mandatory savings programs to succeed in their long term goal, i.e., helping people attain greater retirement security through small, sustained saving, they will have to be educated to understand that future entitlement support is unsustainable in its current form.

        One of the things I have often thought about (as a senior on Medicare) is that there should be a way for to encourage participants to offer ideas and make choices that result in cost savings for the entitlement programs. Business does this and, it works. Yet we see cuts to home health which saves medicare and medicaid expenses through hospital avoidance and attendant costs. As an example, my husband was hospitalized recently for 6 days with the discharge care plan requiring daily antibiotic infusions for 4 weeks. I had two options: I could place him in a skilled nursing facility with all costs paid (Medicare) or brought him home, with a 60% out of pocket for the medication and infusion supplies. I chose to keep him at-home, learned how to perform infusions, and paid the costs that would have been covered if I had chosen the skilled nursing setting. In sum, we saved medicare a ton of money but were essentially penalized for bringing him home. That’s crazy, but it was better for him, so that’s the route I took knowing I would have to fork over a nice little chunk of change…(which I will declare on our income tax for whatever benefit we will be allowed.)

        For all the good entitlement programs offer, and I believe in their importance and necessity, they could be more cost-effective, as demonstrated by our decision for home care (me). We as a country need to deal with challenges like this and retirement realistically. I do what I can as one person, probably could do more, but fundamentally, the over-arching solutions are beyond our ability to impact. Congress and our agencies need to work together and they can hardly talk to one another.

        Getting back to the mandatory retirement contribution plans, whatever we can do to encourage more people to contribute to their own needs, we should support. Let’s see what these pilot programs achieve and model the best of them more broadly, or even on a state by state basis…however it is more effective.

      • fiftyohm says:

        mime – You used the words “encourage” and “mandatory” in the same sentence.

        Listen: I don’t know how to ‘make’ people more financially responsible. I do know that we’re not about to allow the aged to inherit fully the foul winds of their past financial indiscretions. My philosophical problem is that if we, as a free society, remove the possibility of failure, (and here I’m referring to lousy life decision-making), I have no idea how we can even define success, let alone ‘encourage’ it.

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, there are undoubtedly many who have reached retirement and have been irresponsible in setting aside sufficient savings. I guess I move in a different circle than you do because I see people struggling who have worked hard, have saved, but through either job issues, health issues, or family issues (kids/divorces), have simply struggled to stay afloat. That doesn’t make them irresponsible, it makes them unfortunate. Not all people have the intellect, educations, and opportunities to perform at the highest economic levels. Either you understand the difficulty many people have with making a living, or you don’t. In which case, none of what I’ve said will make a difference. I have no patience for those who can work, but don’t, or whose incomes are sufficient to live and save and don’t, but that is not the majority of people who find themselves in trouble come retirement. I choose to believe that most people try as hard as they can to contribute and prepare for life’s exigencies, but shit happens. A lot. I am cynical about a lot of things – politics, stupidity despite education, arrogance but I try to never forget that there are millions of people who didn’t have my advantages and health and in many cases, good luck. Those who are trying to make it have my support and understanding. They deserve what help I can offer and I am happy to give it.

        As for California – that is a state that cares about its people. Witness the difference with Texas where there is so much emphasis on balancing the budget (while building billion dollar walls) that they cut 1.2 BILLION dollars from special education depriving an estimated 20,000 children with congenital issues from services….but that wall, it’s a priority! There are many ways to assess the quality of a state, and on the metric of priotitizing its people, California has much to admire.

        As for using mandatory and encourage in the same sentence…why you find that pairing incoherent is amazing. What I said was this: “Getting back to the mandatory retirement contribution plans, whatever we can do to encourage more people to contribute to their own needs, we should support.” The CA program is mandatory with an opt-out feature, but the state “encourages” people to participate by educating them on the necessity and the long term benefits to their retirement. I stand by what I said, Mr. Ohm!

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        fifty – We now have low income people spending large amounts of their income on lotteries that pay out poorly. The suggested alternative would be a lottery that gives them savings that might make retirement more comfortable.

        You say,” Lotteries are a horribly regressive stupidity tax that prey on the poor, hopeless, and uninformed.” I agree.

        You say, “Encouraging this kind of behavior with payroll deductions is a very, very bad idea.” I agree. I should have made it clear that the suggested plan would be voluntary, like lotteries are now and not a payroll deduction. It would replace or compete with present lotteries.

        Although, as I think about it, a voluntary, opt-in, payroll deduction for a combined lottery/retirement plan for those who want it might be a good idea. I would settle for a replacement for state lotteries for now.

      • fiftyohm says:

        mime – Read carefully what I said, please. I specifically distinguished bad luck from poor decision-making. Furthermore, taking additional money from the poor who already are incapable of saving much is no solution to anything.

        I wasn’t talking about Texas, regardless of whether I agree with you or no regarding the specifics of your comment. (I do.) You know what such a rhetorical device is called.

        As to my objection to your oxymoron, let me further specify: “Mandatory” and the ability to “opt out”, are incompatible concepts.

        I think that about covers it.

      • 1mime says:

        “I think that about covers it.” Hmm, someone else recently said something similar about President Obama’s birthplace…..I didn’t buy that dismissal either.

        I will parse words with you, Fifty. A program may require mandatory enrollment while still allowing an individual freedom to opt out. A good example is the requirement for all 18 year old males to register for the draft. They don’t have to serve, but they do have to register. The same is true with Medicare registration. It is mandatory to sign up but one has an option to participate or not. Since we know that people would benefit from the automatic payroll contribution, it seems axiomatic that we would encourage them to do so.

        I think that about covers it, for me (-;

      • fiftyohm says:

        unarmed – ‘Encouraging” the poor, (or anyone else for that matter), to gamble with their retirement savings is evil, pure and simple. Sorry.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        ooh, I feel so bad! If I still had a mustache, I would twirl it.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Unarmed – See above!

      • fiftyohm says:

        Heya Duncan!

        What you’re talking about is nothing like a lottery. In a true lottery, the only party that wins with regularity is the state. The majority lose their principle. (To the state, in this case.). The concept you propose is better, but still encourages, (and preys upon), a fundamental flaw in human firmware – our BIOS, so to speak – that encompasses wishful thinking. Now we know how this evolved. Without it, we’d have probably not survived the horrific times in our pasts when we were unlikely to survive an event, and if we believed that, we wouldn’t have. We’re past that. (And this is at the core of religion too, but that’s another topic for another day.)

        I don’t think sound social policy should encourage this. Yes, life has winners and losers. But if we cannot convince people that the primary determinant of who wins or loses is more than simple chance, we might as well just pack it in.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Fifty

        Yes – it’s not ideal but it does encourage some savings

        I’m comfortable – so I’m gambling a certain small income (that I don’t need) against the possibility of a life changing win

        We are hard wired to gamble – why not take advantage of this?

        “Yes, life has winners and losers. But if we cannot convince people that the primary determinant of who wins or loses is more than simple chance, we might as well just pack it in.”

        But but – the primary determinant of who wins or loses IS simple chance!

        And the most horrible thing about the people (like the Donald) who were born to money is that they think its NOT simple chance

        To enlarge – YES you can make a difference – but only a small one 90% of the outcome of your life is simple chance

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mime – There is no provision of which I am aware that allows an individual to “opt out” of the mandatory Medicare contributions to the program. QED.

      • 1mime says:

        You cannot opt out of Medicare Part A, but you can opt out of Part B, which many who continue to work past age 65 may elect if their employer offers health insurance.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Now mime, you know good and gosh darn well that was not what we were talking about. Admit it, or I will be mightily disappointed.

      • 1mime says:

        Actually, Fifty, I do need to make a clarification with my statement on medicare, which was: “The same is true with Medicare registration. It is mandatory to sign up but one has an option to participate or not. ”

        If you elect to receive SS benefits, you will automatically be signed up for Medicare Part A, which is “premium-free” (pre-paid through FICA contributions). If you elect not to receive SS, there is no requirement to sign up for Medicare.

        If you sign up for Medicare Part A, Part B is voluntary and has a premium pegged to income. Many people who work past age 65 waive Medicare Part B sign up as they prefer to participate in their employer’s insurance plan until retirement.

        Have I explained myself more clearly, or am I still in trouble with Mr. Ohm?


      • fiftyohm says:

        Duncan – If we encourage the belief system, wish-thinking, that everything is simple chance, free societies are doomed. First off, it’s demonstrably false. Secondly, the effort of the individual contributor has brought us *everything* we enjoy and rely on today. Of course we benefit from collective effort, but great things never start there.

        It’s a sorry state of mind indeed that holds that one’s situation is “90%” without their control. To quote TR, ” Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

        How unEuropean of him! To think otherwise is positively toxic, in my view.

        And of course, Trump is an asshole. We all know that. It doesn’t matter what he thinks. You should know that.

      • fiftyohm says:

        OK, mime. Yes there are provisions within Medicare that are optional for retirees or recipients of Social Security. I’m pretty certain though we were talking about Part A; contributions to which are not optional. Either way, I think we can lay this to rest.

      • 1mime says:

        FICA is a Witch, I agree, but when you finally benefit through Medicare from the contributions to FICA, it all seems worthwhile. I think we both learned something from the exchange, Fifty, and that’s a good thing…

  17. Bobo Amerigo says:

    While hemi demi semi listening to an NPR interview of the president of the Fraternal Order of Police, which has endorsed the ridiculous Republican candidate for president, I found this Guardian article.


    When it comes to those who enforce laws, it’s definitely relevant to ask if any of a candidate’s supporters are in trouble with the law.

    The article touches on lawsuits, charges made, and compensation paid to victims of law enforcement bad behavior.

    As to the president of the cop union, he said he didn’t like Hillary’s emphasis on reform of law enforcement because it’s a professional that doesn’t need to be reformed.

    He also seemed angry that the mothers of children shot by police were on the stage at the Democratic convention.

  18. fiftyohm says:

    I must say, all the lead in the water appeares to have caused her to shrink substantially. Trump only has an inch on the president, but look at her with Trumpie! She’s at least two feet shorter!

    • johngalt says:

      Given that the girl’s hips are about a foot north of Obama’s in that picture, I’m guessing she has jumped into his arms. She also appears jumpy in the pic with Trump, but not quite in the same way.

      • 1mime says:

        The little girl looks scared in the Trump photo….he is not holding her hand, he is holding her wrist and she seems very uncomfortable and is moving away from him. Whereas, you’d be hard-pressed to see a tighter embrace than the one between Obama and the young girl….Guess she just doesn’t like orange……

      • fiftyohm says:

        JG – Oh, well then, that’s different. Never mind…

        (It is Saturday Night, don’t you know!)

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mime – My take is that judging by the expression of the guy standing to the rear of Trump, as well as that of the girl, his posture, and look of sublime relaxation, (or perhaps effort), a rather unfortunate social gaff has just occurred. I’ll not be more specific here, and will let you write your own caption!

      • 1mime says:

        Nah, reading you “loud and clear” (uh hum) but that wouldn’t explain the little girl’s worried expression. No, I think she was genuinely uncomfortable with the strange man holding her by the wrist for a photo op….Can’t go with your sly explanation….

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, I’ve decided you’ve been imbibing in too much of your own brew (-;

      • fiftyohm says:

        She’s thinking, “What the hell was that?!”

  19. objv says:

    Okay … and where is the photo of Hillary and the little girl? Was Hillary afraid that she would cough all over her? She hugged a different girl outside Chelsea’s apartment after her peumonia was diagnosed to show she wasn’t ill.

    It would be nice for Hillary to start showing she cares about people. Whatever you say about Trump you’ve got to hand it to him. He went down to Mexico to meet with their president and to Louisiana after the flooding. Where has Hillary been? Oh yes, she’s been fundraising with rich people.

    • Griffin says:

      Have you also ever noticed that we’ve never seen Hillary and Benghazi in the same place at the same time?

    • 1mime says:

      Ob, come on….Trump went to Mexico to meet their president? Trump went to Mexico for a photo op. He then came back and lied when he said the President of Mexico agreed to pay for the wall. Some diplomacy….I don’t think Trump would be welcomed back by this Mexican President. Going to LA was a nice gesture, but it was also a photo op, as are most visits to disaster areas by politicians – Clinton included. Just don’t lie about what happens there.

      I don’t know why you would make such a small comment about Clinton reaching out to the little girl outside her daughter’s apartment on 9/11. Clinton’s condition was bacterial pneumonia, not contagious, but serious enough that she should have rested per doctor’s instructions. She probably received an IV for hydration and meds and laid down and rested…as she should have days earlier.

    • >] “Whatever you say about Trump you’ve got to hand it to him. He went down to Mexico to meet with their president and to Louisiana after the flooding.

      Why, exactly, should I do that? Trump went to Mexico, managed not to make an utter buffoon out of himself for a few short hours (goodness, what a high bar we set) and then came back to make a virulent immigrant speech.

      And he went to Louisiana for nothing more than a photo-op. Did he actually do anything to help? No.

      >] “Where has Hillary been? Oh yes, she’s been fundraising with rich people.

      Uh-huh, so Clinton’s fundraising like politicians do and we’re supposed to find that uniquely terrifying? Oh, the horror…

      Honestly, objv, get off this bullshit train of yours and trying to make Trump seem even slightly less repugnant a human being and using Clinton as a scapegoat. Whatever your problems with Hillary are, they mean less than nothing when faced with the genuine chilling danger that is Trump, and the same goes for myself, mime, Rob, Chris, Homer and everyone else here.

      • RobA says:

        Ryan, you forgot that his trip got a Mexican cabinet minister canned, and then Trump bragged about it the next day.

        He’s a human wrecking ball who leaves a trail of wreckage everywhere he goes and then brags about that later because the only thing that matters to him is winning his dominance game. In his world, everything is zero sum, the world is divided in two groups: winners and losers, and you “win” by humiliating and dominating the other guy.

        This is a guy you wouldn’t representing you at a PTA meeting, let alone as commander in chief of America.

    • Fair Economist says:

      There are lots of photos of Hillary hugging, smiling, and/or laughing with people. The media chooses not to show them. She’s very personable and likeable in person by all accounts.

    • johngalt says:


      Seriously, objv, I wonder sometimes about your motivations. Videos like this one are not hard to find. Hillary has said that she does not intend to meet with foreign leaders until after her election; Trump has a photo op. Clinton doesn’t want to be a distraction during a disaster; Trump comes with a truckload of play-doh. Clinton gets shredded for “pay-for-play” with her charity, which is spending $200 million a year helping children in the developing world. Trump’s “charity” launders money from other rich people into donations that pay for catering in his resorts. Clinton gets trashed for a lack of transparency on her health; Trump appears with the quack Dr. Oz to brag about his testosterone levels. Hillary has gotten two years of shit about email, when the Bush administration “lost” 100 times more messages off a server owned by the Republican party, and got little but a passing notice. Hillary is attacked for giving high dollar speeches to Wall Street; Trump’s son admits that releasing his tax returns would be politically damaging, so he’s not going to do it.

      Objv and Vladimir Putin: on the same page in the American election. Be proud of yourself!

  20. texan5142 says:

    The kid knows, trust her instincts, for myself, I would have the same reaction. I am frightened, this isn’t funny anymore.

  21. That doesn’t look like a smile at all. That looks like an orangutan baring its teeth threateningly, trying to warn off hostile intruders.

  22. lomamonster says:

    Trump grasping her wrist so she can’t get away, picture taken a bit too soon for real reaction from black girl, Trump flashes cheap smile for reality show…
    What else is new?

  23. RobA says:

    Apropos of nothing, but has anybody heard Trump laugh?

    Even his smiles seems less like a real smile then an anthropomorphic sweet potato that occasionally peels back it’s lips to expose it’s teeth in such a way as to evoke the principle of “smiling”.

    Whatever it is, this little girl instinctively understands something that the 40% of American adults can’t quite grasp.

  24. antimule says:

    I am not at all comfortable around children (not that I have any), and I am not a Trump supporter.

  25. Griffin says:

    Is Japan’s answer to religious fundamentalists going to get the chance to change the Japanese constitution? Right-wing nationalist lobbyist group Nippon Kaigi have come close to getting the numbers they need but are still pushing for a grassroots movement, but they’re falling just short for now. We just dodged a bullet when a few of the candidates in Eastern Japan lost but they’re still doing relatively well overall.


    • duncancairncross says:

      Hi Griffin
      I think this article from Aeon tells us what we need to know about Japan’s “religious fundamentalists”

      The Japanese seem to take whichever religion suits the moment

      “it is entirely unremarkable for a Japanese person to be taken to a Shinto shrine to receive blessings as a young child, get married in a Christian service, and eventually have a Buddhist funeral.”

      “for many Japanese, the decision to marry in a Shinto or a Christian ceremony is not made according to religious beliefs but instead by the bride’s preference for wearing a traditional kimono or a white wedding gown”

      As a heathen I find this attitude absolutely superb!

      • Griffin says:

        Yes among the mainstream Japanese people that’s the norm but Nippon Kaigi and groups like it HATE that norm, seeing it as an insult to Japanese culture. They generally want a return to some form of State Shinto (though perhaps not enforced as extremely as it was) and have been advocating this position for decades while refusing to allow to flex their beliefs. They would attempt (though probably fail) to ruin Japaneses success as a tolerant, post religious society.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Griffin

        I don’t think I would be too worried about “some form of State Shinto” when it looks like only about 10% of the people would pay any attention
        Probably have less power than the Church of England
        In fact certainly have a HUGE amount less power than the C of E

      • Griffin says:

        Yes it would be interesting to see what would happen if they had the numbers to change the constitution when most of the population, even in a fairly conservative country like Japan, would gawk at them… either Abe would have to kick them out of the government/LDP or the LDP would be voted out of office en masse if they went through with it. Still the short term effects of having to deal with such a debacle wouldn’t be pleasant.

      • Those are extremely interesting links. Thank you, Griffin and duncan.

  26. 1mime says:

    I think Clinton’s tv ad with children watching Trump go through his litany of vulgar, hyperbolic vitriol is one of the most honest and best of her campaign.

    I would have been interested to see how this little girl would have reacted to Hillary Clinton…..
    She’s not as warm a personality as Barack, definitely not as scary as Trump, but how would the little Black girl have responded? I think Hillary would have held out her arms to envelope the child, as she has done many times. This, in contrast to Trump who is rarely in a photo op with kids.

    • Robin R. says:

      “This, in contrast to Trump who is rarely in a photo op with kids.”

      I am resisting the urge to post link after link of cringeworthy Trump family photos. He doesn’t look comfortable even when they’re his own children.

    • Shiro17 says:

      The ad with the kids was really good . . . the first 50 times I saw it. It’s been blasted to overkill by now to the point that some people I know are openly mocking it.

      • 1mime says:

        I am reminded daily on radio talk programs as well as tv about how many people are just now tuning in to the campaigns. Assuming they are correct, it is highly possible that they have not been watching these ads…those of us who have been following this campaign ad nauseam are tired of it all….but, I’d rather see a good ad a lot than a bad ad at all. I guess each campaign has to decide when to pull these ads and how much money to spend on new ads. The days of yard signs are long gone….

  27. Kenneth Devaney says:

    Children know and show when something feels right and when it doesn’t. When do we lose that?

    • Griffin says:

      Nah children are generally gullible. Heck I just convinced one to give me five dollars in return for two dimes, can you believe that?! What a deal! (Just kidding)

      This little girl in particular is just very sharp is all.

  28. Bobo Amerigo says:


  29. Stephen says:

    It is said a picture is worth a thousand words. Sure is true with these two. Thanks lifer for this jewel.

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