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.

Socialism with social programs. Not the same.

Capitalist countries with social programs have nothing to do with socialism as implemented in a “dictatorship by the proletariat”.

I keep reading all the time about people confusing social programs with socialism and/or communism.

Capitalist countries with social programs have nothing to do with socialism as implemented in a “dictatorship by the proletariat”.

What is Socialism and Communism?

In a pure socialist structure the government owns all means of production.

“In a purely socialist system, all legal production and distribution decisions are made by the government, and individuals rely on the state for everything from food to healthcare. The government determines the output and pricing levels of these goods and services. “

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/socialism.asp

Theoretically no social classes exist in socialist country. But of course classes will form in any society. So, in a socialist country there is a ruling Communist party, then the bureaucracy, then upper management of industry, then the intelligentsia, and lastly the workers.

Any private enterprise is illegal and is punished by law. It is called “dictatorship by the proletariat workers”. So by definition this social system is a dictatorship. There are plenty of examples of countries with a socialism system, and most of them have fallen apart. There are a still a few remnants of this dying system: Cuba, N. Korea, Venezuela. All of them are disastrous dictatorships.

The main principle of Socialism is: “from everybody according to their abilities, to everybody according to their work.”

Communism theoretically is the next evolutionary step, with the motto: “from everybody according to their abilities, to everybody by their needs.” There has never been a country with a true communist system.

But socialist countries are ruled by a communist party. The main goal of communist’s is to firmly establish communism everywhere on the planet.

So, to summarize, “social programs” do not mean socialism.

Religion over Science.

students can’t be penalized if their work is scientifically wrong as long as the reasoning is because of their religious beliefs.

The Ohio House on Wednesday passed the “Student Religious Liberties Act.” Under the law, students can’t be penalized if their work is scientifically wrong as long as the reasoning is because of their religious beliefs.

https://abc6onyourside.com/news/local/ohio-house-passes-bill-allowing-student-answers-to-be-scientifically-wrong-due-to-religion?fbclid=IwAR1KC9ii-vFqCD5mmCIM_y2FExQWaUqNpwIleWnUfOdaS8BmfXbewmzo2eo

Economic Grows and Consumption

His commitment to sustainability is not restricted to academic life, he is the scientist who also “walks the talk”: his cell phone was hip ten years ago, he avoids flying (which can be a challenging principle to follow at times) and actively encourages his environment to explore the joys of green living.

There got to be a better way

Miklós Antal, ecological economist, is a postdoctoral researcher at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He now studies macroeconomic aspects of sustainability transitions. Previously he was engaged in energy modeling at the Central European University in Budapest. He got his PhD in economics and MSc in engineering-physics at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics.

The Land of Mediocre.

Upon completion of this survey, it was found that although some departments noted no decrease at all, many of the most prestigious institutions saw a drop of up to 40% in international applications.

Science in Trumpland

In an extremely large survey of 49 of the largest physics departments in the country, representing 41% of all enrolled physics graduate students in the United States, an overall decrease of almost 12% in the number of international applicants was observed from 2017 to 2018.

This was a tremendous surprise, as no such study was even planned. The impetus for this study was prompted by a small number of American Physical Society members contacting the Office of Government Affairs to report a substantial decrease in the number of applications from international students. Upon completion of this survey, it was found that although some departments noted no decrease at all, many of the most prestigious institutions saw a drop of up to 40% in international applications.
Full article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2018/11/06/america-is-no-longer-attracting-the-top-minds-in-physics/#194a99e24a89

WHO NEEDS ENEMIES IF YOU HAVE FRIENDS LIKE THAT?

Just questions. After Trump betrayed Kurds and announced that they (Kurds) are not very nice people, he moved US military to protect oil fields in Syria.

How is that for a “friend”? “Pentagon officials said on Friday that the United States would deploy several hundred troops to guard oil fields in eastern Syria, despite Mr. Trump’s repeated boasts that he is bringing American soldiers home from Syria. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said that the United States would “maintain a reduced presence in Syria to deny ISIS access to oil revenue,” leaving what military officials said would be about 500 troops in the country, down from about 2,000 a year ago.”

We will see.

Trump declared that “ISIS” is defeated. “We defeated 100% of the ISIS Caliphate and no longer have any troops in the area under attack by Turkey, in Syria. We did our job perfectly!” he tweeted. Then-White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on March 22 used the phrase on Air Force One, telling reporters that the ISIS self-declared caliphate had been “100 percent eliminated.” https://www.rollcall.com/news/whitehouse/in-another-reversal-trump-walks-back-claim-of-defeating-100-of-the-isis-caliphate

Why then move military to protect Syria oil fields? From whom and for who?

Winter Is Coming

“You lose more heat through your head than any other body part.”  Do you remember your mother yelling, “Don’t forget your hat”?  No, that was not an urban legend; your mother was right.




A few thought on how to dress for the cold weather. From Herbalskincareblog.com

Dress warm for the cold weather
Fffrreezing!!

I grew up in Russia.  There are many differences, culturally and socially, between Americans and Russians.  Over time we have adapted, we understand and have come to accept many things that used to make us different.  But I refuse to accept some of the “ways of life” and accepted customs that make no sense to me…one of which is the strange way Americans dress during the cold season.

I have my own view on how to dress properly during winter. Since I was a kid, I knew to put on my hat before I ran outside to play in the snow; also warm boots.  I may not have worn a coat, but a warm hat was a must.

It was the same in the army.  In winter morning exercises were outside in our undershirts…but the hats were on.

Dressing in cold weather
The hat will ruin my hair!

I watch people on the streets during the blistering cold walking without hats and I can see that they are cold, freezing, miserable.  But no hats!  And I guarantee that, if they would put their hats on, they would feel much better!  And that simple act of sanity would prevent a lot of colds.

Some say that it is a myth that we are losing most of the heat from our head and we are losing heat equally from any other part of the body as well. And yet for some reason I do not see people going barefoot or bare-chested in winter.

Here is the wisdom of generations:  Always wear a hat!  And warm shoes if it is cold out.

You lose more heat through your head than any other body part.”  Do you remember your mother yelling, “Don’t forget your hat”?  No, that was not an urban legend; your mother was right. http://talkingtothefish.wordpress.com/page/9/

And if it contradicts the accepted view of highly educated professionals so be it. The arrogance of the “know it all” medical establishment is staggering. And if you disagree, why don’t you read up on some statistics. http://www.sweetliberty.org/issues/health/cause.htm Wrong diagnosis, wrong treatment, inability to diagnose. “According an extremely comprehensive and well-documented report (30 pages, including about 160 documented references with three MD’s & 2 PhD researchers as authors) March, 2004 Life Extension Magazine, Conventional Medicine is Now the #1 Cause of Death, followed by heart disease & cancer.”  (stroke must be #4 now?) 

And now “new breakthroughs” in medical science stating something people knew for generations:  that garlic is good for you; that a mustard compress treats a cold.  A lot of research is being done on “cupping treatment”:  http://www.pacificcollege.edu/acupuncture-massage-news/om-essay-contest/om-essay-contest/1084-the-magic-of-cupping-therapy-by-serra-reid-lac-diplom-.html  And the highly scientific result is that cupping may be beneficial.

Need to cover your head in winter
How about between your ears?

I do not state that all the advice our parents and grandparents gave us is totally correct or can be proved by science.  But these various advices have been proven by generations of trial and error, by millions and millions of people – adults and children.  Mayo clinic calls it “evidence-based”.

But if you do catch a cold here are some natural cold remedies: http://www.happy-mothering.com/03/health-2/wellness/10-natural-home-remedies-for-colds/ , http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6882/10/70

And please be careful with antibiotics.  As we are finding out even the mighty antibiotics can be fatal if over relied upon. http://www.mayoclinic.org/antibiotics/ART-20045720

Now if you want to prove me wrong, by all means please take a walk in the snow in your bathing suit.  Please do it for science. 

I personally will keep my hat on and will put on my warm boots to enjoy winter. Now if all you care about are your ears, then wear ear muffs.  You ears will be fine.  Your brain is another matter. So my friends, please enjoy winter and don’t forget the hat.


National Identity

It is a tide populists and racists (same) will not be able to stop. History, reality is against them. Global economy, the internet, social media, transportation and climate change will mix up the planet population and no wall will stop it.

I just came from our family reunion and want to share some thoughts.

It was great as it have been for many years.

But I thought of it in the light of current events in our country.

A populist President

The rise of hate, intolerance, isolationism.

Anti-immigration policies, growing divisions in American society.

Family reunion

Meeting relatives that came from different parts of the country

I look around

Old and young

White, Asian, Hispanic

Jews, Christians, atheists

Straight, gay, lesbian,transgender

Big, loud, joyful, friendly crowd.

Talking, playing games, eating and drinking.

Enjoying time together

So free, open, uninhibited.

And I thought about our country

Not the country we came from – the soviet Union

No. It was never OUR country.

I thought about America.

The country where all these people are accepted as equals.

I am watching young people

They don’t see skin color, sexual orientation

They don’t see race or religion

None of this matters.

They see each other.

They see relatives, friends.

This is America I thought, real America.

This is America that accepted us…Russian Jewish refugees.

This is America where we feel free.

Our new home, real home.

Home we did not have before.

Home for our children and grandchildren

I want it to be the America that we came to.

To raise our family, to build a new life.

I want it to be “America the beautiful”, the beacon of the world.

The shiny city on the hill.

And I thought about current events, the face of America under the current regime.

Who are we? How do you define an American?

What is America’s national identity?

I am looking at my relatives, my friends.

Americans.

The microcosm of the world.

America is exceptional because it represents the World.

And it is beautiful, it shows the way, the future for humanity.

It is young, energetic, colorful, open.

And we need to do all we can to keep it this way.

To not allow the dark, rigid and hateful side of America to take ower.

New populism and preservation of identity.

There is a wave of populism washing over the world. From the Philippines to Brazil, from Hungary to US, populists got into power on promises to save their country’s national identity.

But let’s take a look at history. Great civilizations, powerful empires. Where are they? Check the history of any nation. For how long does any nation exist in its present form, language? Babylonians, Philistines, Incas, Mayans – where are they?

Nothing is forever. The world is changing, population moves around. The Earth is changing constantly. Societies are changing and people move. And that is how it should be.

As many as half of the world’s 7,000 languages are expected to be extinct by the end of this century; it is estimated that one language dies out every 14 days. Endangered languages, much like endangered species of plants or animals, are on the brink of extinction. Apr 15, 2013 https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/List_of_extinct_languages

And it is inevitable as the world becomes smaller. What race, what nationality is America, Canada, Australia? How about the EU?

It is a tide populists and racists (same) will not be able to stop. History, reality is against them. Global economy, the internet, social media, transportation and climate change will mix up the planet population and no wall will stop it.

So let’s embrace it. The brave new world. Children are born without hate. Children don’t know races, religious differences. Children do not have preconceptions. We adults teach our children. And then they go into the world. And many discard these biases, these preconceptions. They, our children, accept the world, accept each other without hate and bias. They, the new generation, will build the better world.

I hope.

They will lead.