What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

Our democracy might recover from Trump’s 4 years and get stronger. It will not, in my opinion, recover if Trump wins reelection.

One of Trump’s supporters asked: “Can you say anything positive about Trump’s accomplishments”? And I thought about it for a while. And here is my answer:

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

And by “what” I mean Trump and his party.

Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher, famously said: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

Our naive founding fathers did not anticipate today’s situation, when a totally inept man would be elected President of the United States.

The “rule of law”, the country of laws, our Democracy only works if citizens willingly participate in upholding democracy, upholding the laws and the Constitution of the country. Unfortunately this is not the case in Trumpland.

Below is a brief list of ways Trumpism is testing the ability of our country to overcome the stress that our Democracy is subjected to.

It took the arrival of such a leader (Trump) to reveal how many things that had always seemed engraved in monumental stone turned out to depend on those flimsy norms, and how much the norms depended on public opinion. Their vanishing exposed the real power of the presidency. Legal precedent could be deleted with a keystroke; law enforcement’s independence from the White House was optional; the separation of powers turned out to be a gentleman’s agreement; transparent lies were more potent than solid facts. None of this was clear to the political class until Trump became president. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/04/how-to-destroy-a-government/606793/

Systematic efforts to intimidate the media. “The president’s tweets can have an impact and consequences for the press both at home and abroad. His rhetoric has given cover to autocratic regimes: world leaders from Cambodia to the Philippines have echoed terms like “fake news” in the midst of crackdowns on press freedom. And the rhetoric has sometimes resulted in harassment of individual journalists in the U.S., where the CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists) is aware of several journalists who say they were harassed or threatened online after being singled out on Twitter by Trump. “ https://cpj.org/blog/2019/01/trump-twitter-press-fake-news-enemy-people.php

Building an official pro-Trump media network.“CNN is a voice that really seems to be the voice out there and it’s a terrible thing for our country,” Trump said, diverging from his speech on protecting Medicare for seniors at an event in The Villages, Florida. “We ought to start our own network and put some real news out there, because they are so bad for our country.”

“United States (1971) The freedom of the press, protected by the First Amendment, is critical to a democracy in which the government is accountable to the people. – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black in New York Times Co.

Politicizing the civil service, military, National Guard, or domestic security agencies.

“The politicization of the FBI has been swift and extreme. According to Reuters polling, just two years ago, 84 percent of Republicans viewed the FBI favorably. By February 2018, 73 percent agreed that “members of the FBI and Department of Justice are working to delegitimize Trump through politically motivated investigations,” according to a new Reuters poll. Thanks to a president eroding long-standing norms and America’s extreme political polarization, the FBI may not be alone. We are at risk of becoming more similar to struggling democracies, where most security and law enforcement institutions are simply assumed to be aligned with a political party.” https://www.justsecurity.org/55383/politicization-security-institutions/

Using government surveillance against domestic political opponents.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/johntorpey/2020/01/31/will-american-democracy-survive-the-trump-swamp/#53fcb9b06900

Trump’s attacks on courts undermine judicial independence

“..Language in the article suggests that the framers wanted the judicial branch to serve an independent role free from political pressure. It stated that judges should “hold their Offices when they exhibit good behavior.” This meant judges could only be removed for misconduct.”

“The American people should be deeply troubled and scared as to the status of their rights and liberties over the next three to four decades,” said Daniel Goldberg, legal director at the progressive Alliance for Justice.

The most troubling part for me is that Trump is replacing all the professional career department heads with his loyalists.

Our democracy might recover from Trump’s 4 years and get stronger. It will not, in my opinion, recover if Trump wins reelection.

As long as I can remember, my mother dreamed of leaving the Soviet Union.

As long as I can remember, my mother dreamed of leaving the Soviet Union. When I introduced Nathan to my parents, my mom’s first question was if Nathan would be open to the idea of leaving the Soviet Union. Only after receiving a positive answer from him did she give her blessing for us to marry.

My mom
Anna

When I introduced Nathan to my parents, my mom’s first question was if Nathan would be open to the idea of leaving the Soviet Union. Only after receiving a positive answer from him did she give her blessing for us to marry. In 1977, the borders opened up and Jews were allowed to leave the Soviet Union. Although my parents could not leave, my mother insisted on Nathan and I applying to leave with our newborn, Inna; she didn’t want us to miss this opportunity. What struck me was the courage my mother had to push her only child and only grandchild (and of course her only son-in-law) out of the country. She did not know if and when there would be another chance and if they would be able to join us later. But the dream of a better life for her children prevailed over any argument as to why now might be a wrong time to leave.

me and mom 1967
Me and mom 1967

I do not remember lots of hugs and kisses from my mother. I do not remember conversations praising me on my achievements. I do not remember my mom saying, “I love you.” But I do remember the sacrifices she made to feed my sick dad and I at a time when food was scarce and their paychecks were not enough. I do remember the efforts my mother made to get us out of the country despite every obstacle. I do remember her enormous help around the house despite her dislike of housekeeping when she and my father came to this country. I do remember her learning English at the age of 56. She was in a new country with a new language and she wanted to be able to talk to her grandchildren. She did not want to depend on her children if she needed to make a phone call, fill out an application, etc.

She still does not like to trouble us if she needs something. The only thing she asks is for us to call once a day. I love my mom because she does not wait for my call – she calls us every day.

(I would have said “she calls once a day” but this is a massive understatement according to Nathan)

Sequester Convenience and Inept Congress.

This means that the programs for the children, the disabled, the sick, education, research, etc. will remain in the sequester. It looks to me like Congress is trying to patch up the mistakes they made in the sequester and they are playing the favorites game. Is that why we elected them?

 

He is being polite!
He is being polite!

“Policymakers included the threat of sequestration in the Budget Control Act because they believed the fear of the thoughtless, across-the-board nature of these budget cuts would force more thoughtful and productive deficit reduction measures.”http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2013/04/30/the-sequester-cuts-air-travel-and-the-absurd-us-congress

“The $1.2 trillion in budget cuts would be spread over nine years and are equally divided between domestic and defense-related

Sequester affects the poor and sick.
She is the culprit!

spending. During the remainder of the 2013 fiscal year, $85 billion worth of cuts are set to go into effect. The budget cuts would end in 2021…” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/01/what-is-the-sequester_n_2783917.html

“The military will see $550 billion in cuts, drawing funds away from national security and military operations. On the domestic side, cuts will affect health care, education, law enforcement, disaster relief, unemployment benefits, non-profit organization funds, scientific research and more.

The sequester stipulates certain areas of government spending that will see no cuts. No money will be drawn from spending on wars and military personnel. Funding allocated for Medicaid, Social Security, Pell grants, veterans’ benefits and some low-income programs will not be affected, either.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/01/what-is-the-sequester_n_2783917.html

Sequester cuts school lunch programs.
Not important

What will be next?

Oops, the meat industry does not like the sequester because meat inspectors will not be able to do their job of inspecting meat. Therefore, according to the regulation, meat companies would have to close. Congress said OK, we will reinstate that funding – Americans cannot live without meat.

And then came April 26, 2013. Congress heard complaints from all over the country about lines at the airport. And guess what? Congress has to fly during their spring break so yes, they found money to reinstate cuts to air traffic control.

Dear Congress – I created a Facebook Page called “Sequester Cuts Stories” and I am inviting you to write your airport horror stories.

If the sequester reinstatement by Congress will continue in this manner, then only those programs with the biggest mouth and strongest voices will be spared. This means that the programs for the children, the disabled, the sick, education, research, etc. will remain in the sequester. It looks to me like Congress is trying to patch up the mistakes they made in the sequester and they are playing the favorites game. Is that why we elected them?

sequester and gopStop playing games and get back to work!

Why Obama’s reelection will benefit Republican Party

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?

Nobody knows what Romney.s convictions.
Multifaceted

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.

 

Tea Party misleads ignorant
Ignorant Fanatics

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.

My question to Romney

In August 2012 he became the Republican nominee. He had become very unpopular among women, immigrants, the unemployed, even veterans. Time to switch. Time to get to the center.

I am trying to understand Mitt Romney’s campaign.

Mitt Romney reverses his positions on issues as needed
Where is real Mitt?

First he was the governor of Massachusetts – a very moderate Republican – pro-choice, pro-universal health care, pro-immigration, pro-regulations and so on.

Then he became a presidential candidate from the Republican Party in 2006 for the 2008 election. But he lost – he was too moderate.

In 2011 he began campaigning for the 2012 Republican nomination. This time he decided to be smart and play the Republican Party card. He became “severely conservative”: He was anti-choice, he promised to overturn Obama’s healthcare reform, he spoke against immigration, against public education. He promised to remove regulations, to cut taxes, and so on.

In August 2012 he became the Republican nominee. He had become very unpopular among women, immigrants, the unemployed, even veterans. Time to switch. Time to get to the center. During his first debate on Oct. 6, 2012, I could not believe what I heard: There are no new changes to Roe v. Wade that Mitt knows of; some of the provisions of Obamacare are good; illegal immigrants who were brought here as children and got an education do not have to go back.

I am all you want me to be.

Some of my friends say Romney will be a centrist President – not far right. Ignore what you hear now, they say. It is just a campaign.

So, my question:  Our Congress is very conservative now.  If Congress brings him a reversal of Roe v. Wade, repeal of Obamacare, anti-immigration bills, bills against public education, bills to defund arts, science, clean air, what will President Romney do?

Voting with our stomachs.

Considering what the country had to go through in four years after the worst economic recession of our time, it does not look that bad. Yes, promises were made. Yes, mistakes were made. But the majority of experts agree that we are on the right path. So, why go back to the same rules and policies that created this recession in the first place? And what happened to the idea that the economy grows independent of policies?

Why social issues are more important than economic issues: According to the Gallup Poll from August 9-12, 2012, 65% of voters believe that economic problems are the main problems facing this country. 

Our freedoms and religion,
Religious right

So, I ask myself, is this right?

Are we going to be happy with our stomachs full, but with our rights substantially diminished by a political party, heavily influenced by money?  

Does it mean that money won?

Does it mean that extreme religion won?

When I lived in the Soviet Union, the government provided everything for the people:  Free education, free medical services, jobs for everybody, subsidized bread, subsidized housing.  Everybody had basic food, everybody had a job and everybody had an income.  Very few had a good income, very few had power.  And those few dictated everything for the country, decided everything for the people of the country.  But those in power made sure that the stomachs of the people were full.  Because when the stomach is full, people do not complain.

So, when the Republican candidate and those who support him tell me that the main issue of this campaign is the economy, and, by the way, we will reduce women’s freedom of choice, we will not recognize basic rights of all people, we will reduce government programs to support science, research and development, education, Medicare and healthcare, it reminds me of the Soviet Union.  The Republican Party is promising that we all will have a full stomach at the price of reduced salaries, increased working hours, increased air pollution, reduced healthcare access.  And, by the way, we will have more guns on the streets, more bigotry and more religious fanatics, less educated people.  Why?  Because big money holders want more money, more power.  The less educated people we have, the more people have to work, the less they think, the easier it is to influence their brain.

I have heard from Republican supporters:  Let’s fix the economy, let’s put people back to work, then we will worry about our freedom.  It’s like saying one step forward, two steps backward, especially if all three branches of the government are Republican.

Back to the economy:  Considering what the country had to go through in four years after the worst economic recession of our time, it does not look that bad.  Yes, promises were made.  Yes, mistakes were made.  But the majority of experts agree that we are on the right path.  So, why go back to the same rules and policies that created this recession in the first place? And what happened to the idea that the economy grows independent of policies?

So, please educate yourself and vote with your conscience, not your stomach.

Conservatives without conscience

During this Presidential campaign we see more then ever how much Republicans hate our President. Republicans hate Obama so much that they reject anything that comes out of the White House, even those proposals or policies that used to be popular among Republicans or that Republicans themselves had proposed before the White House adopted them.

GOP Chameleons.
Mitt is not a leader

During this Presidential campaign we see more then ever how much Republicans hate our President. Republicans hate Obama so much that they reject anything that comes out of the White House, even those proposals or policies that used to be popular among Republicans or that Republicans themselves had proposed before the White House adopted them.

The problem for Republicans is that now they have to play catch up, because the ideas that come out of the White House are too popular among Americans to ignore.

Here are some examples:

  1. Immigration reform. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the Dream Act bill in 2010. The bill passed the House but did not go through the Senate. The Republicans who voted for the bill lost their seats or did not seek reelection. Because of this failure and thanks to the Patriot Continue reading “Conservatives without conscience”

Does She Know?

Does Ann Romney know what it means to decide to work instead of staying at home, because this is the only way to get health insurance for one’s children? So, instead of bashing Hillary Rosen for misusing words, we should talk more about what women do care about and what Ann Romney’s husband is offering.

The author
Anna

Can a man win the National Presidential Election if, on women’s issues, he consults his wife?

Mitt Romney:  “Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.”

This phrase alone makes me think,  “How much does Mitt Romney know about 99% of women?”

In a bubble.
Financial consultant

Ann Romney is lucky to have a husband that provides for the whole family and more, and she can make a choice to stay at home and raise the children.

How many women can do that?  52% of working women feel bad at not spending enough time with their children.  Does Ann Romney know what it means to make a decision to go to work instead of staying at home, because there is nobody else to provide for food and home, or because one paycheck is not enough to make ends meet?  Does Ann Romney know what it means to decide to go to work instead of staying at home with the children, because you want your children to go to college and subsequently to achieve in life more than their parents?

Does Ann Romney know what it means to decide to work instead of staying at home, because this is the only way to get health insurance for one’s children?

So, instead of bashing Hillary Rosen for misusing words, we should talk more about what women do care about and what Ann Romney’s husband is offering.

Many women don't have a choice. They have to work to support the family.
She doesn't do it by choice.

What do women care about?

  • Healthy family
  • Healthy food on the table
  • Decent paycheck
  • Affordable and accessible healthcare
  • Good education for the children
  • Safe neighborhoods
  • Clean environment

What can Romney as President offer to these women?

  • Cuts in Medicaid for children
  • Cuts in regulations
  • Running the country like a business:  no auto industry bail-out, letting the process of foreclosure run its course, destroying unions.  “Corporations are people, my friend.”
  • Market driven healthcare.  Cuts to family planning programs.
  • Privatizing education.  If you cannot afford a college education, you should not go to college.
  • Give firearms to everybody to protect themselves.  No gun laws.

I was a working mom.  I wanted to work.  I was lucky to have a college education, to get a job that paid enough to have our children in good day care, and to be able to build an American dream.

I always admired women who decided to stay at home and raise their children.  This is a much tougher job than my choice.  I admire Ann Romney for having 5 boys and for raising them – they look like good boys.  She should be proud of her job and achievements.  But she cannot claim that she knows what average American women struggle with.  No matter how many times she says that what women really care about are economic issues, we have to keep reminding our political leaders that we, the women, care about health, education, the environment, freedom of choice and equal pay.

Mitt Romney, if you want women’s votes, listen to the majority of women, not just your wife.