Here is my thinking. We do not know what Mitt Romney believes in, what he stands for. Is he a “severe conservative”, or is he a Massachusetts moderate, or is he a more centrist Republican?
The Tea Party extremists have hijacked today’s Republican Party. Congress cannot achieve anything if it is not the Tea Party’s way.
Now, imagine that Mitt Romney becomes President of the United States. According to his behavior so far, he would want to satisfy the Republican Party. Why? Because if he did not work with them, the Republicans might not endorse him for a second term. Working with the Tea Party means conservative Supreme Court judges, cuts in social programs, no new revenues, more tax breaks for the rich, no more regulations for banks.
Now, imagine that Barack Obama is elected to a second term. The Republicans, in order to be relevant and have a chance at getting to the White House, would be forced to change their behavior. They would have to get more to the center, attract more minorities, represent different layers of American society. They would move more to the center, become more moderate.
And this would be good for the Republican Party and probably very good for the whole country. Two heads are better than one; two functional parties are better than one.
The author of this article is a psychiatrist I knew when I worked at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. I have great respect for her values and opinions. Please read this article before you vote.
Embryonic Personhood? What Is Going On in the USA?
By Nada Logan Stotland, MD, MPH | September 4, 2012
Dr. Stotland is a Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Rush Medical College.
Nada Stotland, MD, on abortion and acute psychiatric illness.
I have discussed psychiatric aspects of abortion on this blog in the past. Suffice it to reiterate that there is no credible scientific evidence that induced abortion is a cause of psychiatric pathology. Not surprisingly, abortion is associated, in a non-causal way, with disadvantage and pathology; women overwhelmed by existing responsibilities, women without social supports, women who are abused are more likely to have abortions than pregnant women in happier circumstances. Women with acute and severe psychiatric disorders are at increased risk for unplanned and unwelcome conception; they may be taking large doses of psychotropic medication; and they may reasonably have concerns about their ability to care for a baby while they are acutely ill. Nevertheless, alleged psychiatric sequelae are used as rationales for laws restricting access to abortion in several states, and some states require that physicians performing abortions provide this misinformation to their patients, under pain of prosecution.
The Republican Party has just adopted a breathtaking platform, including a plank demanding a constitutional amendment declaring that the fertilized ovum has all the rights of a human being. That would rule out abortion for rape, incest, and/or the life of the mother . . . but that is not all.
Would we be obligated to try to gestate every fertilized ovum? Would we prosecute and incarcerate women for child abuse when they fail to provide the optimal intrauterine environment—not only substance users, but also those who smoke, have a glass of wine, gain too much weight, or work too hard as medical residents? Probably those who support the platform would exempt those exhausted from caring for the children they already have, rather than providing maternity leave, day care, and other essential family supports.
If a fertilized ovum is a person, the law might well require a woman to have surgery on the fetus if it is found to have a condition possibly remediable by surgery. It is important to remember that our laws forbid the most miniscule invasion of an unwilling individual’s body for the benefit of another individual. We cannot legally force a person to give a drop of blood to save the life of a genius who is about to develop a cure for cancer.
Interviews of some delegates to the Republican National Convention (possibly not representative) by cast members from The Daily Show (possibly not neutral) indicate profound ignorance—including that notion that rape only extremely rarely results in pregnancy. There has been a lukewarm response to Todd Akins’ assertion that rape only very rarely results in conception and to the assertion by some candidates that contraception itself is wrong.
No doubt readers are aware of the platform and of at least some of the Draconian anti-abortion laws that continue to be passed by state legislatures and signed into law by state governors—and that are often upheld by state courts. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Republican Party, whatever else its virtues and flaws, is waging a war against women and, though not acknowledged or recognized, by extension on their families. The American Psychiatric Association has an official pro-choice policy, but I am not aware of any efforts on their/our part to fight these frightening developments.
It is up to each and every one of us to be informed about the scientific facts and to inform our medical and mental health colleagues, our communities, our elected representatives—and our patients. One of 3 women in the United States has an abortion at some time in her life. That’s 1 of 3 of our female patients.
OK . . . there’s a brief recap and an exhortation. Another psychiatric aspect of abortion under the current circumstances is an attempt to understand how policies restricting and even ending access to a medical procedure used by a third of women fail to evoke or at least female general consternation. The most cynical answer is that one political party, motivated by financial and selfish concerns, is demonizing abortion as a way of pandering to the far right and garnering votes from people who would be better served by the policies of the other party.
Psychodynamically speaking, there is a lot of rage against mothers. There are people who feel unwanted and unappreciated, and identify with the “unborn babies” they are trying to protect. I have a pro-choice friend whose dedication to that position is tempered by the fact that she was adopted as an infant and might well not exist had her biological mother had access to abortion. There are genuinely misogynistic motivations: intolerance of women’s sexuality and terror of women's potential power.
Nevertheless, where are those one-third of American women who themselves have used abortion services? The percentage must be significantly increased if one includes those whose friends and/or relatives have had abortions. At least some, if not most, of their male partners must have recognized the importance of abortion availability.
Here is how I explain the absence of general outcry. Abortion is not a pretty subject. An embryo or fetus, while not a fully developed person, has the potential to become one. No one is “pro-abortion.” At the same time, there are circumstances under which a girl or woman feels strongly that her pregnancy is untenable—that she is too young, too poor, too burdened, too ill to properly mother a child. Women have abortions because they take motherhood seriously.
In every place and at every time in history, many women have felt this so strongly that they accept pain, fear, and the possibility of death or prosecution to end pregnancies. Differently phrased questions asked by pollsters get very different responses. Many subjects report that they oppose abortion—but many or most people endorse the idea that no one but the pregnant woman can know her circumstances and that only she can decide whether to carry the pregnancy. Women can oppose abortion in the abstract, get abortions when the circumstances demand, and go back to opposing abortion. I was told by physicians who perform abortions in clinics besieged by anti-abortion picketers that every such physician has performed at least 1 abortion on a picketer—who goes back to picketing. It’s what I was taught in my psychoanalytically oriented residency is a vertical split. The conflicting feelings exist side by side.
Let me repeat my mantra. I have respect for people with heartfelt religious or philosophical objections to abortion. They have every right to make those arguments. I have no respect for what is going on in our country now—the all-too-successful attempt to sell abortion restrictions to the public on the very paradoxical basis of the well-being of women and to lie and force physicians to lie about its risks.
You have aged, Barack.
The weight of the world is on your shoulders.
You knew it would be hard, but not that hard.
You knew you would have to deal with difficult problems, but not so many, not that difficult.
You knew some people would not like you, but not that many, not so much hate.
You wanted to be a great president, you wanted to accomplish great things, you wanted to help fix what is wrong with our country.
Barack, you knew it would be hard, but you were full of energy and optimism.
You believed in America and its people.
You expected that Americans would support you and would be thankful for what you did.
You knew that politics might slow you down, but not that much.
You knew that the Congress might be divided and that the Republicans would not work with you. But you believed you could work with those people, with Americans who were elected to represent all of the country.
You talked to people about hope, and change, and optimism. “Yes, we can!”
Your energy, your optimism lifted America, gave it hope. And this optimism, this hope swept you into the presidency. The black guy, Barack Hussein Obama, became the President of the United States of America.
People felt good about the future.
Barack, you did not realize that there was another America, an America of money and greed, an America of hate and bigotry, an America of ignorance and stupidity. You did not anticipate that some Americans in Congress would not work with you, no matter what.
You did not expect such hostility from people whose job is to do what is best for the country, for all the people.
Barack, you did not realize that there was so much ignorance and hate in America, and you kept asking yourself why these people – average Americans – did not like you, no matter what you did.
You read, heard and saw a steady flow of poisonous lies and distortions about yourself, and it was so hard to remain optimistic, to keep going, not to get discouraged. After all, you are just human.
You knew it was a hard job to be a President, but you wanted to do it.
Barack, powerful forces are united against you, forces whose only objective is money and power.
Morality and compassion are not in their vocabulary. These people don't care about America or any other country.
For them you are the enemy. Not just because you are a black man with a funny name. You are their enemy because you dared to work against their interests, because you are working for a better America, not for them. You do not fit into their plans, Barack, and they will not forgive you. And these people that represent power and greed are skillfully brainwashing the weak and ignorant.
It is painful to know of all this hatred directed toward you. It is not fair. You have worked so hard, you have accomplished so much, and yet, they hate you even more. You are just a man, Barack, and doubts creep in, and disappointments in moments of weakness.
It is disheartening. You are just a man, Barack. It is so hard to be strong and optimistic, knowing that your enemies are waiting for every wrong step you make, and they are ruthless.
And, yet, there is another America, an America of the future.
An America that is smart and kind, brave and compassionate.
An America that represents everything that makes this country great and exceptional.
People of all walks of life--these people are with you, Mr. President.
Old and young, wealthy and poor, black and white, Christians and Jews, Muslims and Buddhists, immigrants who just came to America and the children of the Mayflower.
They are the reason you got the job, Mr. President.
They are the reason you work so hard.
There is a struggle going on in this country.
A struggle between the past and the future, between everything that is good in people and all that brings people down. A struggle for the future of America and the world.
You made history, Mr. President. Do not give up now. You accomplished a lot, but more work needs to be done. The job is not yet done.
America--its people--are counting on you, Mr. President.
You are not alone.
Good night, Mr. President. Tomorrow will be a beautiful morning.
By Ed McManus
I watched the debate last night. No, not the third debate. The first one. And I think President Obama won it. And no, I haven't lost my mind. Let me explain: On the evening of Oct. 3, I had a speaking engagement. I got home in time to hear all the TV commentary about how bad Obama was and how good Gov. Romney was, and of course we all have heard that ever since. So last night I decided to finally sit down and watch the debate--on YouTube.
It is true that Romney was much more dynamic. He was cheerful, and he acted like he was excited to be there and excited about maybe becoming President. Obama looked tired--who wouldn't be, leading the Free World and all?--and he came across as the university professor that he is. But that's what I like about Barack Obama. He's so authentic. He is not your typical politician, glad-handing and kissing babies and promising everybody everything. To the extent that he does some of that, it's because David Axelrod makes him do it, because that is how you get elected in America.
But the real Obama came through in that debate--an honest man, not a phony.
I consistently defended the President when all my liberal friends were trashing him for not standing tough against the Republicans in Congress. Obama stubbornly clung to the notion of bipartisanship when it obviously was a lost cause, but I firmly believe he did it because it is the right thing to do, regardless of the political consequences. (Also, frankly, as the first black President, he knew he would be held to a higher than usual standard.)
Many people believe it is foolish for politicians to not be political, and I guess they are right in that the only realistic way to win an election is to compromise some of your principles. But isn't that a sad commentary on America?
At least two other people in the nation think Obama won the first debate. My friend Sherry said, "If it were judged on honesty, knowledge of the debate subjects, and nuanced ways of dealing with the topics, he really won, but as many have said, it's form over substance." My friend Penny said Obama was trying to be polite. "He didn't feel he could keep telling Romney, 'You're lying.' Obama was trying to follow the rules of a debate."
Obama's associates say he hates doing things that he considers transparently political. Fortunately for us, he listened to his advisers and performed much, much better in the second and third debates. But the fact is that it is still a very close contest, primarily because of the public's reaction to the first debate.
The Obama campaign needs money for this final push, and I'm proud to say I am playing a part in raising it. I'm no longer ringing doorbells; now I have become a small-time "bundler." If you will go to the following link . . .
. . . you will find my own personal "Donate" page with a picture of my smiling face! This is my answer to the big spenders who are trying to dominate American politics. The Obama campaign has recruited little guys like me to solicit small donations.
Please consider donating something today. All you have to do is enter your name and credit card and hit "Donate Now." As you can see, the website is "donate.barackobama.com" so the money goes directly to them (not to me!). As of this writing I have raised $1,795, including three donations of $10 each and one for $500. I set a goal of $1,000 and eventually increased it to $2,000, and hopefully I can continue increasing it. If you have already given, consider giving again.
Many of us may wish that our candidate was a bit more aggressive and political. Me, I like the real Barack Obama. But I guess I have to admit that I enjoyed the second and third debates more than the first!
(Ed McManus is a Wilmette, Il, attorney and a former Chicago Tribune editor/reporter. Comments welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Romney is blaming Obama for high unemployment among horses. We have "fewer horses and bayonets," Obama admitted. It is regrettable that our President is neglecting this crucial aspect of our nation's security. We horses will remember Obama's unfriendly horse policies. Please vote for horse lover Mitt Romney and his wonderful spouse Ann who supports the dance school for us horses. Education is important for our national security and we horses are the proof that Mitt is our guy.
It is time to get tough and show our military might around the world. We need to increase our military spending, as proposed by the Romney-Ryan ticket. After all, we only spend 6 or 7 times what China spends on defense. And China now has a refurbished Russian aircraft carrier, while the U.S. only has eleven (11) modern aircraft carriers. Sure, we spend as much as the whole rest of the world on the military and policing the world, but what if the whole world, including all of our allies, turn on us?
Obama is reducing our troops in Europe. We’re down to under 80,000. What are we going to do if the Soviet Union comes back after 20 years? We need troops on the ground around the world, right? We have to increase military spending at all costs. How else are we going to remain No. 1 in military spending and maintain all of our bases around the world?
We create most of the weapons and ammunition used by the rest of the world. Arms and destruction are a key business – Big Business in this country. Policing the world is far more important than jobs, the economy, education, science, research, our infrastructure, Supreme Court nominations, energy independence and green energy, global warming, environmental issues, healthcare, and women's rights.
No one really believes in promoting the general welfare of the U.S. even though it is stated in the preamble to the Constitution, right? It’s far more important to police the entire world than to address justice or domestic tranquility here at home. Certainly policing the world is far better than providing for the common defense of our nation. And anyone who doesn’t think we should police the world is probably a socialist or a communist. There must be a lot of communists out there, since almost every Republican running for office calls their opponent a communist.
It just doesn’t matter that we’re ranked 14th in reading, 25th in Math, and 17th in Science. And that the World Economic Forum ranked the U.S. 48th out of 133 developed and developing nations in quality of math and science instruction. It doesn’t matter that other countries are exceeding us in science and engineering degrees. We’re now ranked 27th out of 29 wealthy countries in the proportion of college students with degrees in science or engineering. Forget all that, what’s important is that we are No. 1 in military spending and policing the world. Look at how many times the Republicans have made fun of people with advanced degrees and academic accomplishments. The Republicans know what’s important and it’s not education, right?
And God forbid we ever cut back on useless defense spending like the refurbishing of 2,000 tanks that are not needed according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Paul Ryan wants to cut every other agency and program in the budget, but not a dime from useless military spending and waste. And of course the Congress is backing him. We can’t have any reduction or loss of jobs in our military-industrial sector. Remember, weapons and destruction are big business in this country.
So let’s support the Romney-Ryan policies of policing the world, military might and no negotiations. Let’s elect a real bully to the White House and give him an uncompromising obstructionist ideologue as his running mate. We’ll show China, Russia, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba, and any other country that doesn’t agree with us.
News flash: Emergency RNC brainstorming session. Due to improving jobs situation in swing states, urgent
action neded to slow down the recovery and screw up the job market. And in case the Republicans are not able to sabotage the recovery, more Etch-A-Sketch devices needed to claim the improved economy as a GOP achievement. Please stay tuned.