by Sean Kernan
I was drunk with false expectations. Adulthood ambushed me.
I felt like a porcupine who’d just wandered into a balloon shop. The disappointments, brutal heartbreaks, and personal failures seemed to exceed their quota.
Yet it was all so normal.
A part of me dies when I see a teenager on Facebook, posting idealistic, corny poems about how much she loves her boyfriend. Not because I don’t want her to be happy. But because I know, statistically, she’s probably in for a big letdown — just as many of us still are.
Embracing the ugly truths of life is like bringing an umbrella to an outdoor event. You don’t want it to rain. But if it does, you are ready. You’ll still enjoy the show. You are prepared to be uncomfortable.
My uncle was a leading neurosurgeon and worked at, arguably, the best brain surgery hospital in the world (John’s Hopkins).
On a Sunday morning, he had a massive heart attack and was dead by the time he hit the treadmill he was running on. He was 50 years old. He died in the hospital gym while jogging next to a trauma surgeon.
Many years earlier, I was a young child, laying in bed with my mother tucking me in. I can vividly remember asking, for the first time, “Will I ever die?”
My mother, very kindly said, “We’re all going to die, eventually.”
It’s an unpleasant, albeit necessary conversation that many of you probably had early on. And with it, there was the implicit idea that it was mostly old and sick people who died.
Just remember that good, kind, moral people — who you are close to — could go at any moment.
Between 4%–10% of heart attacks happen before the age of 45. Death doesn’t owe anyone a calendar invite or a ‘warning shot’. Sometimes you’ll lose loved ones in rapid succession.
Life isn’t just short, it’s chaotically short, picking and choosing on a whim. This ugly truth should give you perspective and urgency.
Make it count.
So many of the world’s problems would be solved if people who aren’t prepared to be parents just stopped.
Yet, alas, people have this weird obsession with their gene pool — or they treat sex and contraceptives like it’s a game they can hack.
It’s worth repeating the obvious: becoming a parent should be a calling, a deep and long-held desire. Not something you do on an impulse. You don’t have to go far on the internet to find grown adults talking about how terrible their parents were.
In fact, many people spend the rest of their lives trying to recover from bad parenting.
My ex-GF raged behind the wheel. In bad traffic, this 5’4, 100 lb woman morphed into a 600lb raging gorilla of an alter-ego.
If someone cut her off, she acted as if they’d just hit her pet. She’d shout swear words at her steering wheel, holding her hands up, calling down god’s curses on their futures.
Meanwhile, if she cut someone else off? It was just a cute little oopsie.
“B-b-b-but, I’m just a sweet little girl! <bats eyelashes> ”
I suspect many of us do this (a lighter version I hope).
We tend to view the world through an overly-adversarial lens. Modern media machines don’t help. They turn every public act into one of malice, rivalry, and deception.
It’s all so much simpler. Hanlon’s Razor asserts that:
‘Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by neglect.’
More plainly, you can attribute most misunderstandings to innocent ignorance (and idiocy) rather than aggression.
Most of your many issues with other people won’t be about ‘you’ per se.
Save yourself the mental hot air.
I was born in a great country. I have awesome role models. My family is educated and has access to resources. These blessings were never more apparent than when I traveled to third world countries.
Yet the moment an employer passed me over for another candidate? I immolated myself as a cursed failure.
It never occurred to me that, “Hey, maybe the other candidate just nailed the interview or had a great reference.” And maybe I should remember just how good I have it.
Contrary to popular opinion, I think society has done a rather good job of teaching the importance of accountability and perseverance. Parallel to that, those who embraced those lessons usually set high bars for their lives.
If you count yourself as one of them, just remember that you are one individual, working to bend a very large future in your direction. There are lots of outside forces — timing, the economy, feuds, goodwill, competition — that will shape your outcomes, without you even knowing it.
Someone can stop loving you for no reason. You can be the best partner there’s ever been, checking every box. It can still end. Humans are fickle and irrational. The why’s of it won’t matter. How much you loved each other in the past won’t matter.
Even further, statistically, a majority of you will be fired at some point in your career.
You won’t always be able to reconcile these experiences in your mind. Surrender to the fact that you are helpless to change the past. Let that pain be a source of growth.
For many, it already is. A study by Inc revealed that 91% of executives who were fired, ended up in as good or better jobs than the one they were terminated from.
There’s no research that supports one can significantly increase their intelligence or 10x their work ethic. In fact, those traits tend to stay relatively stable over time. Yes, you can improve. But keep your expectations modest.
The bigger message here — stop trying to be something you’re not. Society has done a great job of confusing us about happiness. Being the smartest, hardest working person in the room isn’t happiness.
You are you. Love the factory version.
Even the most generous people out there are selfish at times. In fact, altruism is often a form of self-interest: they are doing charity to feel better about themselves.
So expect people to view the world through a ‘me’ lens. It’s how they’re programmed to interpret reality. They will respond to incentives, their kindness often magnified by what is in it for them.
And when there is danger, figurative, or literal — don’t expect them to take a bullet for you.
Self-reliance is your best hope. The number of people you can count on in moments of great need is shockingly small.
The one side benefit I’ve taken from this — most of my most embarrassing moments aren’t really things anyone else remembers. Everyone is too busy reliving their own embarrassments to remember mine.
I’ve always found it curious when people would go confront people and try to start fights because someone was ‘talking smack about them behind their back’.
At the end of the day, none of it matters. Terrible things will be said about you. Don’t expend energy trying to convert people into friends.
Let the people that want to be in your life, be in your life. Don’t sweat the rest of it. Best of luck.The Ascent
You are not here on this world to be alone. You have many personalities that come in and out of your life to teach you and force you to grow. Our interactions with the world hold deep experiences.
This is your motivator. No matter what you do, this person is in your corner cheering you on and encouraging you to continue following your dreams. And when you are feeling down, the cheerleader is the one that finds light at the end of the tunnel. They are the voice of motivation.
This is that one person who knows everyone, or has the means to find another who can help you. The connector is magical. He/she connects you to the next person who can better guide you to your goals. This type of personality is the go-to person. They might not have the answers but they will send you to the person who will while making it easier for you to navigate in this life.
This is your mentor. The teacher will teach you through examples and will make sure that lessons are being consciously observed and acknowledged. The teacher is the Yoda of the group. This person uses metaphors and world events to put you back in your place while forcing you to see the dark and light parts of yourself. Knowledge is power and the teacher is that one person whose guidance is priceless.
It’s important to have that one person you can share your deepest fears and secrets without judgment. The therapist has the ability to hear you through words and your actions. This person knows you so well that he/she can analyze what you haven’t considered. This is the person who can be the devil’s advocate and you don’t take offense because they see past the issue at hand.
You always need a friend who can make you laugh, especially at yourself. The joy of having this friend is that life is taken as a joke. Sometimes you need to step back and see that nothing is as it seems. The comedian can turn any event into a sarcastic stand up routine. And, in this person you begin to find light.
Just as we need these type of people in our lives to support and love us, we also do not need other types who bring out the worst in us with their toxic energy.
This person will talk to you about everyone and when he/she turns their back will talk about you as well. They raise their attention by putting others in the worst scenarios. The gossiper has no problem sharing stories and creating some along the way. They are toxic and emotionally draining.
This is that person whose life is constantly under some kind of drama. The complainer feeds on the negative attention of others by feeling sorry for him/herself. They will look at your life and complain about everything as well while instilling their story into it. At the end of the day you have nothing good for them because they are victims of society.
You know this person well. This is the one who agrees on everything you say and do without truly supporting you. This type of person is passive aggressive. They seek approval by being hypocritical in nature. You don’t know their motives until it’s too late and you been sucked into some of their drama. They don’t care about you. They care only about themselves. The super-agreeable person is looking out for what’s best in their world. If they can use you to get it they will.
This is the greatest burden in your social group. No matter what you share there is constant gloom and doom. This is the kill-joy dweller. The pessimist is the angry, resentful, and bitter soul who is constantly reminding you that you will not succeed and will challenge you to it. They love to instill their fears and anxieties. Their negativity is unhealthy and distressing.
We love someone who knows things, but what we cannot tolerate is the one who is an expert of all! This is that one person who says things without truly checking their facts. They know everything about anything. They are the con artists, the emotional vampires sucking on your lack of knowledge in a specific area. Most times they are so full of insecurities that in order to feel superior they must make you feel stupid. These are the self-reliant liars.
Surround yourself with folks who bring you to your best. You can easily spot those others who suck on your emotional needs and stories. Always be yourself and attract the best types of people who enrich your life with joy.
By Bill Quigley, Loyola University New Orleans, firstname.lastname@example.org
Four and a half months after two hurricanes ripped apart Louisiana, tens of thousands of people are still suffering. While the national election has absorbed the attention of the nation, thousands of people are still not back in their homes. Many have had to move a half dozen times. Some are living in tents. It is past time the nation turned some of its attention back to these mostly forgotten people.
Forty-three days later, on October 9, Hurricane Delta, a category 2 storm with winds over 100 miles an hour, hit 10 miles away. Laura caused $19 billion in losses and Delta caused another $2.9 billion.
The brunt of the destruction has been in Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes. Calcasieu has a population of 203,000, according to the Census. Lake Charles, home to 78,000 people and the sixth biggest city in Louisiana, is the biggest city in Calcasieu. Cameron Parish, south of Calcasieu on the Gulf of Mexico, is populated by about 6900 people.
Nearly 47,000 homes were damaged by Hurricane Laura alone, 16,000 of which are in need of major repairs, according to Rebecca Santana of the Associated Press. Most of the damaged homes are in Calcasieu Parish. Though there are many fewer homes in Cameron, more than half were completely destroyed, according to local government authorities.
Sherry Bourque and her disabled father James Baker used the last of their money and bought two tents at Dick’s Sporting Goods and lived in them in the back yard of their destroyed home. They had to stay close to deal with the insurance adjustors and contractors.
It is not at all unusual for homeowners and renters to have lived in five or more places since Hurricane Laura hit. For example, a retired homeowner of limited income with health issues left Lake Charles for College Station Texas for the first mandatory evacuation for Laura. Her home suffered so much damage it was unlivable. So she joined with other displaced members of her family and rented a small house in Lafayette, 70 miles away.
RELATED: Do Something
The family was forced to evacuate a second time weeks later as Delta approached spending several days in Port Arthur Texas. Once the insurance people and the contractors advised her it would be spring 2021 before her home was repaired, she moved into a small home in Lake Charles which had to have its roof replaced while she was living in it. Because she has homeowner’s insurance FEMA is not helping her. She has to pay utility bills at both houses in order to keep power on in both places to slow down the mildew damage on her unoccupied damaged home. She does not even have a final estimate of what the damage is on her house from insurance company yet despite having gone through 3 different field adjustors and five different desk adjustors.
Homeowners insurance is helping some but not helping many. Estimates of insured loss from the hurricanes added up to nearly $10 billion. Over $5 billion in claims have been paid out so far. Over 190,000 claims for damages to homes from these two hurricanes were filed with insurance companies in Louisiana. Tens of thousands of insurance claims were closed without any payment at all. Many people had deductibles as high as $20,000, making it impossible for them to repair. The Louisiana Legislature has received many, many complaints about the way the insurance companies are operating. Complaints focus on two problems. One, insurance companies are sending out as many as six different adjustors to a single home causing communication problems. Two, there are big gaps between what insurance adjustors are estimating as replacement costs and the prices estimated by contractors.
Renters remain in deep trouble. One couple with four children renting a house in Lake Charles rode out Laura in Alabama. They returned to find standing water in their house. Red Cross sent them to Baton Rouge, which in turn sent them to Alexandria and then to New Orleans. They were then sent to Dallas briefly, then back to New Orleans. The father took a job in Shreveport but fell off a ladder and severely hurt his back. The family returned to Alexandria and then back to New Orleans. In mid-December the Red Cross found them a house in Lafayette but only paid for the first month’s rent. They worry they are going to be evicted and have to move again. They have received nothing from FEMA. The four children have not been in one place long enough to attend school yet.
And when available the rents have risen. Many complexes like the 191 unit Wilshire apartments in Lake Charles were so damaged that all the residents had to leave and are not yet able to return. Homeowners with damaged properties are competing with displaced renters for the few apartments available.
In early October Red Cross reported it was providing housing to more than 12,000 evacuees. FEMA told the Washington Post it was housing nearly 8000 people were put up in hotels in Louisiana and Texas. Government agencies ended the hotel stays for many people who only got 24 hour notice on papers slipped under their room doors. They were told to return home but for many there were no homes to return to. People were taken by bus to a government center Alexandria, 100 miles away from Lake Charles, to plead their cases. If their homes are still uninhabitable, they were reassigned to another hotel. On December 9, FEMA quit providing free meals to people in hotels according to Sam Karlin at The Advocate.
Elizabeth Cook has worked as a volunteer with many of the displaced people who were evacuated to hotels in New Orleans. She collected clothing for people who had only the clothes on their backs. After FEMA cut off meals at hotels, she helped people get hot plates and small grills. She sees massive housing problems remaining. “I am working with a woman in her sixties who is finally staying in a hotel in Lafayette. She lived in her car in Lake Charles for several months until mid-December. And she has never been offered a trailer and has yet to find any kind of housing. She is now searching for an apartment in Lafayette. I am assisting her in this search for housing utilizing the internet. She is under incredible stress.”
Government officials say it will be spring or even summer before people can move out of hotels.
As 2020 ended some people were still living in tents. At the end of December, Fox News reported that many of Katelyn Smith’s family members are living in tents. Ms. Smith’s trailer flipped several times in the hurricane. It was destroyed. Her whole family lived in tents for months and though she has moved into a donated trailer, the rest of her family remain in tents where their mobile home was. “People like us are still out here going through this situation. I think Lake Charles has been forgotten,” Smith said. “It has only been a little while and it’s going to be a long time before we are back.” Shocking photos of their living situation taken by Associated Press photographer Gerald Herbert show the family still living in third world conditions.
Small businesses are struggling from the effects of two hurricanes and the pandemic. For example, a family bakery in Lake Charles, Mrs. Johnnie’s Gingerbread House, was open for seven weeks before Laura hit, followed weeks later by Delta. It took another three months to fully reopen. Many of the local grocery stores which sold their bread are still closed. The owner told Marketplace, “The hurricane, it’s going to affect the bottom line for quite a while. So not only myself, but all the small businesses. It’s going to be tough for a while.”
Areas remain devastated. In early December, Lake Charles officials estimated that nearly 3.3 million cubic yards of debris was collected in that city alone. That is the equivalent of over 500 football fields. Nearly 2 million more cubic yards still wait to be picked up.
Despite thousands needing housing, FEMA reports it has only provided housing units on site in Calcasieu Parish to 469 families. No FEMA trailers at all were installed in nearby Cameron Parish as of December 2020.
With 47,000 houses damaged, 16,000 of which need major repairs, evacuees are nowhere near coming home. At year’s end, churches and volunteer organizations continue to provide supplies to homeless people.
Elizabeth Cook says the administration of assistance “has been a disaster. The entire process to help these folks has been badly coordinated. The state which is overseeing this process has allowed or looked the other way as entire families were evicted from hotels in New Orleans with nowhere to go. No one should be evicted. Louisiana already had an affordable housing problem and this has made more people homeless. It is shameful. The state of Louisiana, FEMA, the Red Cross have all caused unbearable stress for families and individuals.”
The Mayor of Lake Charles, Nic Hunter, is also quite frustrated. On December 26, 2020, the Mayor told American Press in Lake Charles that he estimated that 5% of the city’s housing stock is still offline. Hunter wrote FEMA after Christmas complaining about the slow process of getting temporary housing, saying that while thousands need help only 383 temporary housing units have been installed and “the number and pace of those installations is grossly inadequate” a performance that is “just not acceptable.”
All of this is aggravated by Covid. Over 15,000 people have tested positive in Calcasieu Parish, nearly 300 have died. On January 4, Nic Hunter, the Mayor, announced on Facebook he tested positive for Covid.
SAY THEIR NAMES….
by C.C. Campbell-Rock
Civil rights activists have always “called out” those who were against the movement for justice, fairness, equality, and civil/voting rights. They do this to inform people. We shine light on the evil people do. And we send a message to the offenders that their behavior is unacceptable. Justice will prevail.
In that grand tradition, Think504 calls out the enemies of the American people, within and without, who attempted to overthrow our government, democracy, and subvert the rule of law in real time.
Wednesday, January 6, 2021, is a day that will live in infamy. It was the day that a Trump mob of insurrectionists stormed the United States Capitol. They fought Capitol police and went on a rampage, stealing, ransacking offices, and, yes, killing, and injuring Capitol police officers. When the tear gas cleared the treasonous criminals were escorted out of the Capitol building. Five people are dead, and 50 Capitol police injured. U.S. Capitol Pro-Trump rioters killed Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick.
Trump invited his cult to Washington D.C. to challenge the results of the presidential election. The same day Congress voted to confirm the election of Joe Biden, Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Donald J. Trump Jr., Representative Mo Brooks, Jr. (R-AL), and others stood behind bullet-proof glass. They whipped the massive crowd of misinformed sycophants into an angry lynch mob, reminiscent of the KKK and Night riders.
And estimates are that at least 40,000 were in the nation’s Capital to pull a seditious coup. They came from all over the U.S. Among the crowd were members of the Proud Boys, Neo-Nazis, Neo-Confederates, and White Supremacists waving Trump flags and Confederate flags and wearing cheap Trump merch and shirts with anti-Semitic slogans. .
Primed and pumped, they tried to overthrow the U.S. government. Brooks was one of the opening speakers at Trump’s “Save America” rally. Brooks told the crowd, “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.”
Giuliani suggested that the Trump supporters conduct a “trial by combat.”
“Trump told followers, ‘You will never take back our country with weakness,’ and, “We are going to have to fight much harder.” Trump called the election results, an “egregious assault on our democracy, before ordering the crowd to “walk down to the Capitol.”
While Trump’s mob was pillaging the Capitol, senators, representatives, and media were whisked away to safe, undisclosed locations.
An array of insurrectionists stormed the Capitol. Among them were:
The Q Shaman/QAnon Shaman, the dude dressed up like a wolf with hours. His name is Jake Angeli, and he has been a regular at right-wing political rallies in Arizona, where he is from, since 2019.
Derrick Evans , a Republican Delegate in the West Virginia legislature, filmed himself and fellow Trump supporters banging on the Capitol’s door. Wearing a helmet, he jumps in the building and shouts: “We’re in” Keep it moving, baby!”
In addition, another Trumpster, a Neo-Nazi, wore a ‘Camp Auschwitz’ shirt at the U.S. Capitol.
Pictured walking through the Capitol with a stolen lectern as he waved at photographers, was Adam Johnson, a psychology graduate from Florida.
Richard ‘Bigo’ Barnett’s picture went viral. The self-described white nationalist is the one with his feet on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk. He showed a New York Times reporter a letter he had taken from her desk. Barnett said he left a note on her desk . It said, “Nancy, Bigo was here, you b****.” Police arrested him. His charges include entering and remaining on restricted grounds, theft of public property, and violent entry, according to NBC.
The Proud Boys were out in force and many other slimy, criminally insane people who follows Trump were present. One man was arrested with an assault weapon and 11 Molotov cocktails. Some of the insurrectionists shot ammunition into the House chamber, according to news reports.
After the Capitol Hill Police escorted the mob out of the Capitol, the Senate and House of Representatives continued the certification process.
And of course, the majority of the Louisiana delegations showed their true colors and sided with the Racist-in-Chief. Five of the seven Louisiana lawmakers objected to the certification of Electoral Votes for Arizona and Pennsylvania.
During the U.S. House vote on the objection to electoral votes for Arizona, Rep. Clay Higgins (LA-03). Rep. Mike Johnson (LA-04) and Rep. Steve Scalise (LA-01), all Republicans, voted to oppose the Arizona election results. The three have voted in lockstep with Trump. And they even repeated the “big lie” that there was massive voter fraud in Arizona’s election.
Scalise has long sided with racists. Although Scalise apologized for speaking at a David Duke rally in 2002, one has to wonder how he remains so loyal to Trump, who is obviously a racist. His own actions confirm that fact.
Rep. Cedric Richmond (LA-02), the state’s lone Democrat Congressman, and Rep. Garret Graves (LA-06), voted to accept of Arizona’s electoral college votes.
In the U.S. Senate, Sen. Bill Cassidy voted in favor of the certification of Arizona’s Electoral College votes while Sen. John Kennedy voted for the objection to both Arizona and Pennsylvania’s electoral college votes.
To be sure the Republican Party is fractured. New factions range from moderate to extremely right wing. Commend Senator Cassidy for doing the right thing.
As for John Neely Kennedy, if he moved back to his native Centreville, MS, he wouldn’t be missed. According to govtrack.us, Kennedy is next up for reelection in 2022 and serves until Jan 3, 2023. “Kennedy is a member of the so-called Kraken Caucus- Republican legislators who fomented the terrorist attack on the Capitol. They aimed to prevent the election of the next president of the United States. And they even called for entire states to be disenfranchised in the 2020 presidential election. They want to change the outcome of the election from Democrat to Republican — an attempted coup.
A photo of Donald Rouse Sr., the owner of Rouse’s Markets, show him and a former employee cheesing for the camera at the Trump coup. After the photo went viral, Rouse released a statement admitting he attended the “rally” as a supporter of Trump. Rouse said he left before the violence began, and he condemned the violent behavior of his fellow Trump supporters.
Rousse’s statement has not placated black New Orleanians who are calling for a boycott of his stores. It’s one thing to support a Republican if you’re a Republican. But Donald Trump has insulted every brown and black person in America and called black women horrible names. He has put brown and black children in cages. Anyone who supports or contributes to Trump obviously doesn’t give a damn about the way he treats people of color. He’s a racist, full stop, and birds of a feather…
The Insurrection has unveiled serious concerns over the way police treated Trump’s white mob vs. the way they treated Black Lives Matter protesters. An investigation may be imminent.
Video doesn’t lie. There it is in our faces. The Capitol Police opened barricades and let rioters in. Some took selfies with the insurgents. Another stood by and watched while the looters broke windows. Still others gently escorted the lawbreakers out of the people’s house.
According to a New York Times article, “Six days before the storming of the Capitol and Trump’s Civil War, Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) asked the chief of the Capitol Police about his preparations for various scenarios: Were the rooftops secured? Would streets be blocked off? Did he know that violent groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers were vowing to stir up chaos? Waters said her concerns was met with a similar response from Chief Steven Sund. “He assured me that they have everything under control, that they were on top of everything.” They weren’t.
“Instead, an angry mob of pro-Trump extremists swarmed the barricades around the Capitol on Wednesday. Spraying chemical irritants and wielding lead pipes, injuring more than 50 officers. They battered doors, broke windows and scaled the walls, rampaging through the building as congressional leaders made desperate calls for help.”
The Capitol Police should have arrested everyone of the people who breached the Capitol. Police only arrested 55 insurgents. The FBI estimates that it may take a year, to track do the other offenders.
But in June 2020, when Black Lives Matter protesters walked the streets, more than 200 were arrested, while others were tear-gassed, beaten with batons, and assaulted. The double standard of it all is glaring.
Those responsible for the failed law enforcement response on January 6, should have to testify at a Congressional hearing as to why the National Guard, the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia police didn’t arrive until 90 minutes into the siege.
Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who served as the Joint Taskforce Commander during Hurricane Katrina, told MSNBC reporters that law enforcement’s response should be investigated. “They were complicit,” the General added.
The Good the Bad and the Ugly
By Kenneth Cooper
“After Ashli was shot in the chest, we bashed a Capitol police officer in the head with a fire extinguisher, then crushed another between a doorway until he spat up blood, the president sent out a tweet. He said he loved us. We were moved by his words, vindicated actually, especially by that one “love.””
He wasn’t the smartest guy in the room, I’ll say that. Not satisfied with just putting his foot in his mouth, he also showed a penchant for munching on his toes. Aides would spend their days scrambling, cleaning up one mess after another, trying to intervene before he devoured his ankle bones. Yet as president, he proved insatiable. Some say because the effort garnered so much adulation. Every day 88 million people hung on to the incessant tapping of his thumbs.
I’ll always remember him as a racist, pure and simple. Yeah, I said it. The dude was a flat out racist. I mean, I ain’t no dog or nothing, but I know a dog whistle when somebody blows one.
He did it all for the culture, the white racist culture that is.
Pure unadulterated idiot. Hands down. Good riddance President Trump.
He said he’d be right there with us, but when we looked around, there was no president. There was just us, climbing walls, kicking down doors, battling it out with Capitol police. Next thing we know, he’s on TV, if you can believe it, on actual TV, disavowing us, talking about how we should be arrested. I’m not gonna lie, that was kind of disappointing, you know. Here we are out there warring for the man, and he just abandons us, just leaves us literally hanging out to dry. He’s like the friend who throws the rock that breaks the neighbor’s window, then leaves you there to take the charge. That’s the president I’ll always remember.
The power was just too much for him. It corrupted him like the precious in Lord of The Rings. That’s what the swamp does.
I want his ass impeached and thrown in jail, no passing go, no collecting $200, just straight to jail. And rip up the Get Out Of Jail Free card. No, I’m not overreacting. Did he not just incite a riot? And did he not try to disenfranchise millions of voters? Did he not try to pressure the Georgia Secretary of State into overturning the results of a free and fair election? Did he not do the same with electors in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, the Vice President? Congress needs to act, and they need to act now.
What kind of man wields the two biggest media platforms in the world (the presidency and Twitter), then loses them both in the short span of 4 years? Un-frickin-believable. The presidency is one thing, but Twitter is another. He instantly lost any chance of staying relevant during the Biden years. There’s no other outlet with the exposure of Twitter to turn to. Trump has nowhere to go. He might as well reboot The Apprentice on Newsmax or something.
And he delivered us a Conservative Supreme Court, tax cuts, a roaring economy, and forever exposed the mainstream media as a bunch of biased liberals. Yeah, he made some mistakes along the way. Who hasn’t? But he was almost sacrificial in his ways. He sacrificed himself. Now our politics are forever changed. If the Civil War was a defining moment for this country, so was his presidency. America will always be remembered in the context of before and after Trump.
Our fractured political system produced Trump. In an environment rife with extreme partisanship, the populace was left vulnerable to the rantings of populists on both sides. He proved to be the most charismatic and convincing of them all. He took to our TVs and microphones and appealed to the base interest of conservatives, preyed on their racism and distrust of government until he had them right in his palms. Wherever he went millions followed. Some say he was putting on an act, pretending to be something he wasn’t. I say the political arena gave him the platform to fully express who he was all along. And he loved it, so did the media, though they’d never admit it. But now he’s gone. And the country is smoldering and tattered. And we’re standing here wondering what the hell just happened, and how can’t we stop it from ever occurring again. That’s his legacy.
President Donald J Trump, 45th president of The United States, 2017-2021. Good riddance President Trump.
By Jeff Thomas
The misguided gang of Trumpers who stormed the halls of American government proved to be a bunch of miscreants and thugs. They personify Trump’s childish impulses of selfishness and short sightedness. They were more interested in causing a scene than creating any meaningful change. And their failure to accomplish anything significant is reminiscent of their glorified leader’s track record.
But you have to just wonder if this is a moment, like Black Lives Matter, that will simmer and spark a national movement. The shadowy threats of the white supremacist’s desires lurk just under the Trump blanket. Will we see protests across America or was this just a flash in the pan?
Roundly criticized by most US Senators and Representatives and the national media, these protesters were shamed on the international stage. Yet, the lack of arrests and grants of white privilege may embolden others. Trump refuses to concede and continues to stoke the fire. And the ingredients for continued rage persist.
Oddly, as quickly as the mob formed and stormed Congress, did they leave without any clashes with the police. Contrastingly, Black Lives Matters protesters were blocked from the halls of government. Their protests are relegated to the streets. Police do not see themselves or their relatives in the BLM protesters and use tear gas, rubber bullets and even lethal force to quell these usually unarmed protesters. Yet armed, violent and destructive mobs of white men are able to force their way into Congress and threaten sitting members of our government.
Standing guard are police officers. If those officers are not actually related to the protesters, they empathize and even sympathize with the men who yell. Officers are in now way shape or form threatened. So they can calmly escort the the protesters out. Afterward, all involved leave feeling satisfied with their political statements. So, these white male dominated protests are generally peaceful – except when the protesters themselves become violent.
Expressing anger makes you feel great! Anger can induce a discharge of dopamine epinephrine and norepinephrine — also referred to as adrenaline and noradrenaline. The adrenalin rush contributes to a sense of strength and invulnerability. Like a cocaine high, anger is euphoric. So, from the display we saw in DC, white men get a great sense of strength and fulfillment. Their sense of victory and invincibility creates exuberance. And they can go peacefully back to their hotels, campers, trailers and mobile homes feeling like they just made a difference. By golly, they are taking their country back.
The late great Paul Beaulieu always said that. So, we shouldn’t be shocked when we see armed protesters storming the halls of government and police officers taking selfies with them. White privilege is a sacred American birthright for white men. White men have the ability to walk up to the treason ball and kick it. Then privilege rolls it back and even suggests a stronger kick next time.
So even if we see more protests across the country, white men will not destroy their homeland. But they might just toss the furniture around for kicks and giggles.
by Noam Shpancer Ph.D.
Here’s a quick thought experiment: Consider your mood right now. Rate it on a scale of 1-bad to 100-good. Now, think about three good things that happened to you today: things you’ve enjoyed or achieved; things that worked well. These can be as small as getting coffee or as large as getting married. Then, for each one of these three positive events, think about what made it good, and why you liked, enjoyed, or succeeded at it. Once you’re done, reflect on your mood (using our scale of 1-100). Are you feeling a little bit better than before?
Source: Image by GDJ on Pixabay
For much of its history, psychology has focused on understanding the troubled side of human experience, looking to ameliorate emotional pain and disorder. This, of course, is a worthy undertaking. Yet the effort to repair what’s broken, while necessary, is insufficient for producing optimal health and wellbeing.
For one, this being human life, something is always broken. The supply of problems–past, present, and future–to occupy our attention is never-ending. Our quality of life depends heavily on where we direct our attention. If we’re focused solely on trouble, then trouble becomes all we have, and then it becomes all we are.
Moreover, a sole focus on fixing weaknesses can limit the pace and reach of our development. Our improvement ceiling for those aspects of life for which we lack aptitude or interest is often low. We tend to do better at things we like better, and we also feel better while we’re at it. As sports fans know well, a team wins more when it plays to its strengths.
Finally, we understand today that health and illness are not two sides of the same coin but rather two related yet distinct conditions. Health is not the absence of illness, just as wealth is not the absence of debt. Thus, treating or curing illness does not automatically translate into the creation of optimal, abundant health. The fact that you are no longer depressed doesn’t mean you’re happy. Plugging the hole in the boat solves the problem of buoyancy, but it does not address the issue of where and how to sail—the reasons for having a boat in the first place.
In recent years, accumulating evidence from the emerging field of positive psychology has suggested that when it comes to improving people’s overall happiness and wellbeing, focusing on strengths may be a better strategy than targeting weaknesses.
Much of the early work in this area was conducted by positive psychology pioneers Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman. They set out to find whether different cultures and religions may share a common view of the most important human virtues. The questions they asked were: Is a person of “good character” recognizable around the world? And if so, by which traits?
To be considered a “character strength” in Peterson and Seligman’s framework, a trait had to possess certain qualities, including:
a) contributing to one’s sense of fulfillment
b) being valued in its own right
c) not diminishing others
d) being universally valued.
Such traits should also be measurable and distinct from one another, and they should vary among people, with some scoring high and some low on each trait.article continues after advertisement
Using these criteria, the research yielded a list of 6 virtues that are universally valued, each consisting of several “character strengths,” representing the ingredients, expressions, and means for developing each virtue:
1. Wisdom and Knowledge: creativity, curiosity, open-mindedness, love of learning, perspective, innovation
2. Courage: bravery, persistence, integrity, vitality, zest,
3. Humanity: love, kindness, social intelligence
4. Justice: citizenship, fairness, leadership
5. Temperance: forgiveness and mercy, humility, prudence, self-control.
6. Transcendence: appreciation of beauty and excellence, gratitude, hope, humor, spirituality,
In this model, character strengths are distinguished from talents (e.g., a musical ear) and abilities (e.g., academic success) in that they’re more malleable, demand more effort of will, and pertain to morality. Peterson and Seligman developed this framework further by proposing the concept of “signature strengths,” which are the individual’s strongest positive traits, those that matter most to them and form the core of their identity.
Signature strengths share three key features:
1. They feel essential to your identity as a person.
2. Enacting the strength feels natural and effortless.
3. Using the strength energizes and uplifts you, leaving you feeling happy.
The advantages of investing in strengths are manifold. For one, we are usually pulled more strongly in the direction of our strengths, since engaging them is more intrinsically rewarding. Moreover, learning comes easier in our areas of strength. Engaging our strengths is also more likely to produce excellence, which is rewarding in itself (and in the world), as well as the experience of “flow,” the state of complete, energized absorption that is associated with subjective wellbeing.article continues after advertisement
A focus on strengths may also benefit the work of therapy. For the past 50 years, a growing body of research from various helping disciplines such as positive psychology, solution-focused therapy, counseling psychology, and social work has pointed to the benefits of capitalizing on clients’ strengths, as therapists may integrate strengths-focused approaches and techniques toward increasing clients’ hope, resilience, courage and other coping qualities.
A focus on client strengths may also help correct some of the limitations of the traditional deficit‐oriented approach to assessment and therapy, which often creates an incomplete (and biased) picture of the client, reduces clients to diagnostic categories, and facilitates a power differential that may hinder rapport and reduce therapy efficacy.
Now, a focus on strengths (whether they are of character, talent, or ability) does not mean that we neglect our weaknesses. Rather, it means that we need not allow them to alone dictate our outlook, agenda, and resource allocation. The point is not to disown or deny those parts of our lives that are deficient, but rather to create a fairer and more productive balance between the effort we put toward addressing them and the effort we put toward celebrating and building on our strengths.article continues after advertisementhttps://b99403615b61661b469e7ad114979f22.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
In addition, it is important to remember that one’s ability to focus on developing strengths is not independent of the conditions of one’s existence. The environments in which we find ourselves affect the extent to which we can identify, nurture, and invest in our strengths. A child who is suffering from chronic hunger and food insecurity will find it hard to focus on schoolwork, even if they have a high aptitude for it. A child with high scholastic interest and aptitude needs a good school with good teachers in order to develop their strength. The wellbeing of a morally kind and honest person will be undermined rather than enhanced by a corrupt social system. Individual strength and happiness, in other words, are never wholly about the individual. At the end of the day, we can breathe well only to the extent that there’s clean air around us.
Waiting to Exhale
As we shift into a new year we must first exhale the staleness of 2020. Then inhale the newness of 2021. TS Eliot once said, “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language, and next year’s words await another voice.” It is time for us to find a new voice and silence the voices from this past year.
It is time for us to reset and fix our gaze on new opportunities, new interests, and the new journey ahead. So, I ask, are you ready? Are you ready to breathe in the freshness of 2021? Are you ready to break new ground and walk into new territories? If so, then continue reading. This message was tailored to not only encourage you but awaken the triumphant warrior that is dwelling inside of you. You can make 2021 your year.
I proclaim boldly, that 2021 will be an amazing year. If you can’t muster up the courage to say it for yourself, I will say it for you. “2021 will be an amazing year!” In Proverbs 23:7 , it says “As a man thinketh so is He.” So, that means we are a product of our thought life. If negative thoughts consumed you in 2020 make it your duty to renew and focus your mind on the goodness of life. Begin speaking into the atmosphere, what you want your reality to be. Remember, you are in charge of creating the reality that you desire, including your happiness. Therefore, leave the excuses behind. And assume your position because you are more than equipped to deal with anything that comes your way.
Make up your mind to stay motivated. Become stubborn when it comes to going after your goals for 2021. Don’t give in when trouble knocks at your front door. Go back to school or go for that new job. Forgive that person who wronged you. Or start saving for that new house. Take that leap of faith, I dare you. I dare you to work on yourself for the first six months of this year. I dare you to abandon your distractions and run after every dream, goal, and achievement you have set in your heart.
So, as you go forth and embark on your new beginning, I speak over your life and destiny right now, that this upcoming year will bring forth new opportunities for you. I speak that doors will be opened that no “man” can shut. I proclaim that your name will be mentioned in rooms that you have yet to walk into and that your finances will stabilize and increase, no more living from paycheck to paycheck. No more living in fear and in doubt. Lastly, know that the toughest obstacles that you will ever face are the ones you create, so don’t limit yourself this new year go forward and excel beyond your greatest imagination.
~ Exhale 2020 and Inhale 2021
Make 2021 Your Year!!!!!
Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Michelle Nichols and Reuters bureaux; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Grant McCool
6 MIN READ
(Reuters) – World leaders on Wednesday expressed their shock as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump stormed here the U.S. Capitol building where Congress meets in a bid to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 election won by Joe Biden.Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump climb on walls at the U.S. Capitol during a protest against the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress.
Here are reactions from around the world:
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven in a tweet described the scenes as “an attack on democracy”. “President Trump and many members of Congress bear significant responsibility for what’s now taking place. The democratic process of electing a president must be respected.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a tweet called the events in the U.S. Congress a “disgrace”, saying the United States stood for democracy around the world and that was it was “vital” now that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said democracy’s enemies would be cheered by scenes of violence at the United States Capitol, and he called on Trump to accept U.S. voters’ decision.
In a Tweet, Maas said the violence had been caused by inflammatory rhetoric. “Trump and his supporters must accept the decision of American voters at last and stop trampling on democracy.”
“Quite Maidan-style pictures are coming from DC,” Russia’s deputy U.N. Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy posted on Twitter, referring to protests in Ukraine that toppled Russian-backed President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich in 2014.
“Some of my friends ask whether someone will distribute crackers to the protesters to echo Victoria Nuland stunt,” he said, citing a 2013 visit to Ukraine when then-U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland offered food to protesters.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the scenes in Washington as “distressing.” “We condemn these acts of violence and look forward to a peaceful transfer of Government to the newly elected administration in the great American democratic tradition,” he posted on Twitter.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called the violent protests in Washington “shocking scenes” and said the outcome of the democratic U.S. election must be respected.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a tweet: “I am following with concern the news that are coming from Capitol Hill in Washington. I trust in the strength of America’s democracy.
“The new Presidency of @JoeBiden will overcome this time of tension, uniting the American people.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his concern about events in Washington. “Obviously we’re concerned and we’re following the situation minute by minute,” Trudeau told the News 1130 Vancouver radio station. “I think the American democratic institutions are strong, and hopefully everything will return to normal shortly.”
Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne on Twitter: “Canada is deeply shocked by the situation in Washington DC. The peaceful transition of power is fundamental to democracy – it must continue and it will. We are following developments closely and our thoughts are with the American people.”
New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta posted on Twitter: “Our thoughts are with the American people. Violence has no place in thwarting democracy. We look forward to the peaceful transition of the political administration, which is the hallmark of democracy.”
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said in a statement: “The attack on Capitol Hill in Washington DC is a very serious and worrying matter. It shows how important it is to firmly and strongly defend democracy at all times.”
Turkey’s foreign ministry issued a statement expressing concern about the violence and called for calm and common sense while urging its citizens to avoid crowds and the protest area.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Twitter: “The violence against the American institutions is a grave attack on democracy. I condemn it. The will and the vote of the American people must be respected.”
Charles Michel, chairman of EU leaders, on Twitter expressed his shock at the scenes in Washington. “The US Congress is a temple of democracy…We trust the US to ensure a peaceful transfer of power to @JoeBiden”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “I believe in the strength of US institutions and democracy. Peaceful transition of power is at the core. @JoeBiden won the election. I look forward to working with him as the next President of the USA.”
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted: “Venezuela expresses its concern for the violent events that are taking place in the city of Washington, USA; condemns the political polarization and hopes that the American people will open a new path toward stability and social justice.”
Norwegian Prime Minster Erna Solberg posted on Twitter: “This is an unacceptable attack on the U.S. democracy. President Trump is responsible for stopping this. Scary images, and unbelievable that this is happening in the United States.”
Ireland’s foreign minister Simon Coveney called the scenes in Washington “a deliberate assault on Democracy by a sitting President & his supporters, attempting to overturn a free & fair election! The world is watching! We hope for restoration of calm.”
Argentine President Alberto Fernandez tweeted: “We express our condemnation of the serious acts of violence and the affront to Congress that occurred today in Washington DC. We trust that there will be a peaceful transition that respects the popular will and we express our strongest support for President-elect Joe Biden.”
By Reuters Staff
A Collection of Political Cartoons by John Slade