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The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People

How to succeed at self-sabotage.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/aastock

Most of us claim we want to be happy—to have meaningful lives, enjoy ourselves, experience fulfillment, and share love and friendship with other people and maybe other species, like dogs, cats, birds, and whatnot. Strangely enough, however, some people act as if they just want to be miserable, and they succeed remarkably at inviting misery into their lives, even though they get little apparent benefit from it, since being miserable doesn’t help them find lovers and friends, get better jobs, make more money, or go on more interesting vacations. Why do they do this? After perusing the output of some of the finest brains in the therapy profession, I’ve come to the conclusion that misery is an art form, and the satisfaction people seem to find in it reflects the creative effort required to cultivate it. In other words, when your living conditions are stable, peaceful, and prosperous—no civil wars raging in your streets, no mass hunger, no epidemic disease, no vexation from poverty—making yourself miserable is a craft all its own, requiring imagination, vision, and ingenuity. It can even give life a distinctive meaning.

So if you aspire to make yourself miserable, what are the best, most proven techniques for doing it? Let’s exclude some obvious ways, like doing drugs, committing crimes, gambling, and beating up your spouse or neighbor. Subtler strategies, ones that won’t lead anyone to suspect that you’re acting deliberately, can be highly effective. But you need to pretend that you want to be happy, like everybody else, or people won’t take your misery seriously. The real art is to behave in ways that’ll bring on misery while allowing you to claim that you’re an innocent victim, ideally of the very people from whom you’re forcibly extracting compassion and pity.

Here, I cover most areas of life, such as family, work, friends, and romantic partners. These areas will overlap nicely, since you can’t ruin your life without ruining your marriage and maybe your relationships with your children and friends. It’s inevitable that as you make yourself miserable, you’ll be making those around you miserable also, at least until they leave you—which will give you another reason to feel miserable. So it’s important to keep in mind the benefits you’re accruing in your misery.

• When you’re miserable, people feel sorry for you. Not only that, they often feel obscurely guilty, as if your misery might somehow be their fault. This is good! There’s power in making other people feel guilty. The people who love you and those who depend on you will walk on eggshells to make sure that they don’t say or do anything that will increase your misery.

• When you’re miserable, since you have no hopes and expect nothing good to happen, you can’t be disappointed or disillusioned.

• Being miserable can give the impression that you’re a wise and worldly person, especially if you’re miserable not just about your life, but about society in general. You can project an aura of someone burdened by a form of profound, tragic, existential knowledge that happy, shallow people can’t possibly appreciate.

Honing Your Misery Skills

Let’s get right to it and take a look at some effective strategies to become miserable. This list is by no means exhaustive, but engaging in four or five of these practices will help refine your talent.

1. Be afraid, be very afraid, of economic loss. In hard economic times, many people are afraid of losing their jobs or savings. The art of messing up your life consists of indulging these fears, even when there’s little risk that you’ll actually suffer such losses. Concentrate on this fear, make it a priority in your life, moan continuously that you could go broke any day now, and complain about how much everything costs, particularly if someone else is buying. Try to initiate quarrels about other people’s feckless, spendthrift ways, and suggest that the recession has resulted from irresponsible fiscal behavior like theirs.

Fearing economic loss has several advantages. First, it’ll keep you working forever at a job you hate. Second, it balances nicely with greed, an obsession with money, and a selfishness that even Ebenezer Scrooge would envy. Third, not only will you alienate your friends and family, but you’ll likely become even more anxious, depressed, and possibly even ill from your money worries. Good job!

Exercise: Sit in a comfortable chair, close your eyes, and, for 15 minutes, meditate on all the things you could lose: your job, your house, your savings, and so forth. Then brood about living in a homeless shelter.

2. Practice sustained boredom. Cultivate the feeling that everything is predictable, that life holds no excitement, no possibility for adventure, that an inherently fascinating person like yourself has been deposited into a completely tedious and pointless life through no fault of your own. Complain a lot about how bored you are. Make it the main subject of conversation with everyone you know so they’ll get the distinct feeling that you think they’re boring. Consider provoking a crisis to relieve your boredom. Have an affair (this works best if you’re already married and even better if you have an affair with someone else who’s married); go on repeated shopping sprees for clothes, cars, fancy appliances, sporting equipment (take several credit cards, in case one maxes out); start pointless fights with your spouse, boss, children, friends, neighbors; have another child; quit your job, clean out your savings account, and move to a state you know nothing about.

A side benefit of being bored is that you inevitably become boring. Friends and relatives will avoid you. You won’t be invited anywhere; nobody will want to call you, much less actually see you. As this happens, you’ll feel lonely and even more bored and miserable.

Exercise: Force yourself to watch hours of mindless reality TV programs every day, and read only nonstimulating tabloids that leave you feeling soulless. Avoid literature, art, and keeping up with current affairs.

3. Give yourself a negative identity. Allow a perceived emotional problem to absorb all other aspects of your self-identification. If you feel depressed, become a Depressed Person; if you suffer from social anxiety or a phobia, assume the identity of a Phobic Person or a Person with Anxiety Disorder. Make your condition the focus of your life. Talk about it to everybody, and make sure to read up on the symptoms so you can speak about them knowledgeably and endlessly. Practice the behaviors most associated with that condition, particularly when it’ll interfere with regular activities and relationships. Focus on how depressed you are and become weepy, if that’s your identity of choice. Refuse to go places or try new things because they make you too anxious. Work yourself into panic attacks in places it’ll cause the most commotion. It’s important to show that you don’t enjoy these states or behaviors, but that there’s nothing you can do to prevent them.

Practice putting yourself in the physiological state that represents your negative identity. For example, if your negative identity is Depressed Person, hunch your shoulders, look at the floor, breathe shallowly. It’s important to condition your body to help you reach your negative peak as quickly as possible.

Exercise: Write down 10 situations that make you anxious, depressed, or distracted. Once a week, pick a single anxiety-provoking situation, and use it to work yourself into a panic for at least 15 minutes.

4. Pick fights. This is an excellent way of ruining a relationship with a romantic partner. Once in a while, unpredictably, pick a fight or have a crying spell over something trivial and make unwarranted accusations. The interaction should last for at least 15 minutes and ideally occur in public. During the tantrum, expect your partner to be kind and sympathetic, but should he or she mention it later, insist that you never did such a thing and that he or she must have misunderstood what you were trying to say. Act injured and hurt that your partner somehow implied you weren’t behaving well.

Another way of doing this is to say unexpectedly, “We need to talk,” and then to barrage your partner with statements about how disappointed you are with the relationship. Make sure to begin this barrage just as your partner is about to leave for some engagement or activity, and refuse to end it for at least an hour. Another variation is to text or phone your partner at work to express your issues and disappointments. Do the same if your partner is out with friends.

Exercise: Write down 20 annoying text messages you could send to a romantic partner. Keep a grudge list going, and add to it daily.

5. Attribute bad intentions. Whenever you can, attribute the worst possible intentions to your partner, friends, and coworkers. Take any innocent remark and turn it into an insult or attempt to humiliate you. For example, if someone asks, “How did you like such and such movie?” you should immediately think, He’s trying to humiliate me by proving that I didn’t understand the movie, or He’s preparing to tell me that I have poor taste in movies. The idea is to always expect the worst from people. If someone is late to meet you for dinner, while you wait for them, remind yourself of all the other times the person was late, and tell yourself that he or she is doing this deliberately to slight you. Make sure that by the time the person arrives, you’re either seething or so despondent that the evening is ruined. If the person asks what’s wrong, don’t say a word: let him or her suffer.

Exercise: List the names of five relatives or friends. For each, write down something they did or said in the recent past that proves they’re as invested in adding to your misery as you are.

6. Whatever you do, do it only for personal gain. Sometimes you’ll be tempted to help someone, contribute to a charity, or participate in a community activity. Don’t do it, unless there’s something in it for you, like the opportunity to seem like a good person or to get to know somebody you can borrow money from some day. Never fall into the trap of doing something purely because you want to help people. Remember that your primary goal is to take care of Numero Uno, even though you hate yourself.

Exercise: Think of all the things you’ve done for others in the past that haven’t been reciprocated. Think about how everyone around you is trying to take from you. Now list three things you could do that would make you appear altruistic while bringing you personal, social, or professional gain.

7. Avoid gratitude. Research shows that people who express gratitude are happier than those who don’t, so never express gratitude. Counting your blessings is for idiots. What blessings? Life is suffering, and then you die. What’s there to be thankful for?

Well-meaning friends and relatives will try to sabotage your efforts to be thankless. For example, while you’re in the middle of complaining about the project you procrastinated on at work to your spouse during an unhealthy dinner, he or she might try to remind you of how grateful you should be to have a job or food at all. Such attempts to encourage gratitude and cheerfulness are common and easily deflected. Simply point out that the things you should be grateful for aren’t perfect—which frees you to find as much fault with them as you like.

Exercise: Make a list of all the things you could be grateful for. Next to each item, write down why you aren’t. Imagine the worst. When you think of the future, imagine the worst possible scenario. It’s important to be prepared for and preemptively miserable about any possible disaster or tragedy. Think of the possibilities: terrorist attacks, natural disasters, fatal disease, horrible accidents, massive crop failures, your child not getting picked for the varsity softball team.

8. Always be alert and in a state of anxiety. Optimism about the future leads only to disappointment. Therefore, you have to do your best to believe that your marriage will flounder, your children won’t love you, your business will fail, and nothing good will ever work out for you.

Exercise: Do some research on what natural or manmade disasters could occur in your area, such as earthquakes, floods, nuclear plant leaks, rabies outbreaks. Focus on these things for at least an hour a day.

9. Blame your parents. Blaming your parents for your defects, shortcomings, and failures is among the most important steps you can take. After all, your parents made you who you are today; you had nothing to do with it. If you happen to have any good qualities or successes, don’t give your parents credit. Those are flukes.

Extend the blame to other people from your past: the second-grade teacher who yelled at you in the cafeteria, the boy who bullied you when you were 9, the college professor who gave you a D on your paper, your first boyfriend, even the hick town you grew up in—the possibilities are limitless. Blame is essential in the art of being miserable.

Exercise: Call one of your parents and tell her or him that you just remembered something horrible they did when you were a child, and make sure he or she understands how terrible it made you feel and that you’re still suffering from it.

10. Don’t enjoy life’s pleasures. Taking pleasure in things like food, wine, music, and beauty is for flighty, shallow people. Tell yourself that. If you inadvertently

find yourself enjoying some flavor, song, or work of art, remind yourself immediately that these are transitory pleasures, which can’t compensate for the miserable state of the world. The same applies to nature. If you accidentally find yourself enjoying a beautiful view, a walk on the beach, or a stroll

through a forest, stop! Remind yourself that the world is full of poverty, illness, and devastation. The beauty of nature is a deception.

Exercise: Once a week, engage in an activity that’s supposed to be enjoyable, but do so while thinking about how pointless it is. In other words, concentrate on removing all sense of pleasure from the pleasurable activity.

 

11. Ruminate. Spend a great deal of time focused on yourself. Worry constantly about the causes of your behavior, analyze your defects, and chew on your problems. This will help you foster a pessimistic view of your life. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted by any positive experience or influence. The point is to ensure that even minor upsets and difficulties appear huge and portentous.

You can ruminate on the problems of others or the world, but make them about you. Your child is sick? Ruminate on what a burden it is for you to take time off from work to care for her. Your spouse is hurt by your behavior? Focus on how terrible it makes you feel when he points out how you make him feel. By ruminating not only on your own problems but also those of others, you’ll come across as a deep, sensitive thinker who holds the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Exercise: Sit in a comfortable chair and seek out negative feelings, like anger, depression, anxiety, boredom, whatever. Concentrate on these feelings for 15 minutes. During the rest of the day, keep them in the back of your mind, no matter what you’re doing.

12. Glorify or vilify the past. Glorifying the past is telling yourself how good, happy, fortunate, and worthwhile life was when you were a child, a young person, or a newly married person—and regretting how it’s all been downhill ever since. When you were young, for example, you were glamorous and danced the samba with handsome men on the beach at twilight; and now you’re in a so-so marriage to an insurance adjuster in Topeka. You should’ve married tall, dark Antonio. You should’ve invested in Microsoft when you had the chance. In short, focus on what you could’ve and should’ve done, instead of what you did. This will surely make you miserable.

Vilifying the past is easy, too. You were born in the wrong place at the wrong time, you never got what you needed, you felt you were discriminated against, you never got to go to summer camp. How can you possibly be happy when you had such a lousy background? It’s important to think that bad memories, serious mistakes, and traumatic events were much more influential in forming you and your future than good memories, successes, and happy events. Focus on bad times. Obsess about them. Treasure them. This will ensure that, no matter what’s happening in the present, you won’t be happy.

Exercise: Make a list of your most important bad memories and keep it where you can review it frequently. Once a week, tell someone about your horrible childhood or how much better your life was 20 years ago.

13. Find a romantic partner to reform. Make sure that you fall in love with someone with a major defect (cat hoarder, gambler, alcoholic, womanizer, sociopath), and set out to reform him or her, regardless of whether he or she wants to be reformed. Believe firmly that you can reform this person, and ignore all evidence to the contrary.

Exercise: Go to online dating sites and see how many bad choices you can find in one afternoon. Make efforts to meet these people. It’s good if the dating site charges a lot of money, since this means you’ll be emotionally starved and poor.

14. Be critical. Make sure to have an endless list of dislikes and voice them often, whether or not your opinion is solicited. For example, don’t hesitate to say, “That’s what you chose to wear this morning?” or “Why is your voice so shrill?” If someone is eating eggs, tell them you don’t like eggs. Your negativity can be applied to almost anything.

It helps if the things you criticize are well liked by most people so that your dislike of them sets you apart. Disliking traffic and mosquitos isn’t creative enough: everyone knows what it’s like to find these things annoying, and they won’t pay much attention if you find them annoying, too. But disliking the new movie that all your friends are praising? You’ll find plenty of opportunities to counter your friends’ glowing reviews with your contrarian opinion.

Exercise: Make a list of 20 things you dislike and see how many times you can insert them into a conversation over the course of the day. For best results, dislike things you’ve never given yourself a chance to like.

—–

I’ve just listed 14 ways to make yourself miserable. You don’t have to nail every one of them, but even if you succeed with just four or five, make sure to berate yourself regularly for not enacting the entire list. If you find yourself in a therapist’s office—because someone who’s still clinging to their love for you has tricked you into going—make sure your misery seems organic. If the therapist enlightens you in any way or teaches you mind-body techniques to quiet your anxious mind, make sure to co-opt the conversation and talk about your misery-filled dreams from the night before. If the therapist is skilled in dream analysis, quickly start complaining about the cost of therapy itself. If the therapist uses your complaints as a launching pad to discuss transference issues, accuse him or her of having countertransference issues. Ultimately, the therapist is your enemy when trying to cultivate misery in your life. So get out as soon as possible. And if you happen upon a therapist who’ll sit quietly while you bring all 14 items on this list to life each week, call me. I’ll want to make an appointment, too.

Cloe Madanes is a world-renowned innovator and teacher of family and brief therapy and one of the originators of the strategic approach to family therapy. She has authored seven books that are classics in the field: Strategic Family Therapy; Behind the One-Way Mirror; Sex, Love, and Violence; The Secret Meaning of Money; The Violence of Men; The Therapist as Humanist, Social Activist, and Systemic Thinker; and Relationship Breakthrough. Contact: madanesinstitute@gmail.com.

 

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A woman dragged from her wheelchair for protesting the health care bill speaks out.

It’s an unforgettable image.

Just a few hours after Senate Republicans released their health care bill, a woman in a wheelchair chanting “No cuts to Medicaid” is rolled down Capitol office building hallway by police.

About 10 seconds into the shot, the officers lift her out of her chair and carry her off-screen and outside as her chants grow louder and louder.

Her name is Stephanie Woodward. She’s a disability rights lawyer and activist.

She had traveled to D.C. with a group of around 60 protestors to call on the Senate majority leader to preserve the program.

“People with disabilities depend on Medicaid for our lives and for our liberty,” she says in an interview.

The group piled into McConnell’s office with others lying down on the floor just outside. Members were taken into custody about 20 or 30 minutes later.

View image on Twitter

Medicaid is important to disabled people. We raise our voice and get answered with handcuffs

The Senate bill contains major cuts to Medicaid, a program that funds a large portion of medical care for Americans with disabilities.

The current proposal caps the amount of money the federal government provides the states to cover the program, which funds home care for disabled adults in addition to general medical care. With drastic funding reductions, Woodward fears, many disabled adults would be forced into nursing homes, losing their independence in the process.

“My parents were working-class people,” says Woodward, who was born with spina bifida. “They couldn’t afford to keep me alive if it wasn’t for Medicaid. Medicaid paid for all my surgeries growing up, paid for my wheelchairs. I wouldn’t be who I am today … without Medicaid getting me here.”

Woodward would like to see senators revise the bill — and bring people with disabilities into the process.

High on her list is making sure the law does not reduce the ability of people who need intensive, frequent medical care to do more than just survive.

Photo by Don Emmert/Getty Images.

“We have the right to not only live, but live just as every other American in the community,” she says.

In the meantime, she has no regrets about the protest.

“I’m certainly a bit sore, but it’s worth it,” she insists. “It’s what we need to do to fight for our lives.”

For her, it’s about the values in the Declaration of Independence: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

“We don’t see that as just restricted to people without disabilities,” she says. “I think that’s for all Americans.”

 

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What are Thinking Distortion’s, how do they really affect me, and if intellect alone is not the answer, what is?

by Stephen Ulrich –

I spent the day yesterday, a long day, with good friends and family.   My buddy invited me fishing up at Lake Merwin.  My wife was going to be up there anyway, with his and a few of their old girlfriends.  It is really sweet, they are all in their 50’s and have been together since high school.

I had been working on my own boat all week to get ready for the season, so the conversation started, but Ricky said he was taking his boat up early for the girls, so I didn’t need to bother with mine.  Sweet.  I know Ricky is a solid guy and a good friend, his equipment is all top notch, and he doesn’t do anything half-assed so there is nothing to worry about.

Ricky told me he would pick me up at 4:20AM, and I grumbled just enough that he shouldn’t get used to this kind of hour, but FISHING after all…    I set the alarm, chased the dog upstairs at 9:30 and pulled the blackout curtains to get a good night sleep.  Sleep is critical for me.

3:40 came, and I popped out of bed to pee, slapped the alarm off the table and fed the dog.  The dog eyed me incredulously as she is used to waking ME up. Hour later we were up at the lake and my wife was out in the driveway in her nightgown ta meet us.  It was a hot evening, never got below 75’ all night, so the girls were all up.  We said our hello’s and jumped down to the boat and got out on the water.   It was a gorgeous warm morning, and watching the sunrise neither of us really gave a darn about fishing.  We got a cycle of putting all the gear together, and considered it good prep for someday when it was cooler and the Kokanee might be a little bit more important.  They eat good, but not much of a fight.

The rest of the morning was spent touring on the lake, some of the favorite places of Ricky’s youth.  Leisurely ride back, replete with local Fried Chicken Tenders at Amboy Booze and Bait dumped me home around noon.  We were just in time to meet my wife’s brother and his wife and kids downtown Vancouver for one of their weekend get togethers at Esther Short park.  Great flea market type atmosphere and an amazing violinist (Aaron Meyer) that reminded me very much of the 1960’s phenom David LaFlamme of It’s a Beautiful Day fame.

Point being that it was a wonderful, fulfilling, day.  Crashed and burned and woke up positive and hopeful.

I have a morning meeting I go to at Kaiser, to help me with some anxiety issues.  Seems like drinking too much for much of my life was at least in part, self-medication for some other issues.  Like Ana says, we all have our demons.

The therapist has us list what our feeling number is, and mine is an 8.  I am happy, focused and optimistic.  What is working for me?  I made a conscious decision to enjoy the drive down to the meeting.   At the stop lights, I was enjoying my sports talk radio and the fact that people are still making fun of LeBaby for not being a team player, and trying to run the NBA on his own.  I am thankful my heart is back to sinus rhythm, and when I get telemarketing calls I am thankful for having a roof over my head to take the calls under, and a phone to take them on.

The Distorted Thinking we discuss runs the gambit around all sorts of delusions that range from overgeneralization and expecting perfection, to either/or thinking and other forms of straight negative thinking.  We banter back and forth all of the tools we can us to tell ourselves we are OK, to remind ourselves that most of our phobias are just that, and to predict triggers and convert all of this exercise to good old-fashioned practice.  If this sounds a bit like mindfulness practice, of Buddhist influence, that is because it is.  Kaiser has taken great strides towards incorporating its wellness programs with substance abuse and general mental health programs, and this is no exception.

I asked the therapist point blank:

“OK, I get the recognition of the negative, and the need to remind myself of the fallacies of distorted thinking. I get the logic. I do the practice.  I breathe. I meditated for an hour and a half this morning –  I get that part.  NO WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO.?

There was a palpable hush in the room.

She finally broke the silence, “Well, just practice.”

Me: “Yeah, I get that.   That does not seem to be working, I still feel totally messed up.”

“Well, you are not the only one.   75% of all human thought is negative.”

“Even the Dali Lama?”

“Yes, that is why he practices all the time……”

I had left for the meeting in a wonderful mood.  The self-hypnosis was actually working.  This deflating news hadn’t broken my spirit.  I chose to enjoy the drive home as well, and it worked.

Then a few other things started going wrong.  My dog is still upset that my wife left us for three days, so to punish her, (the dog) won’t eat.   My wife is now going to have to be in Boston at the end of next week, and not only do we have our own puppy, we have another.  It will be fine but its just another thing. The Myrtle Tree between our house and the neighbors looks like it is dying from the 95+ heat of the past few days….

I got depressed.  Something I never do.  Went in and told all of this to my wife who basically said, “Honey, it’s something we all struggle with day to day.  Get used to it.  You are not alone.”

Yeah, I think:  Misery likes company.   So, I am relegated to a life of meditation, counseling, meetings and self-help.  This sucks.  There is nothing more I can do.

Then, the little light bulb goes off.

That is why people pray.  There IS something else.  I know that, because the last time I was in the ER for a week with Pneumonia, it WAS a miracle I survived.  ALL THAT IS, still has the power and has never let me down.  All, I need to do is tap into the I AM and things always work out.  Maybe not the way I want or expect them, but they work out.

It is hard to feel alone when I remember my place in all that is.  Not larger, or smaller.  Not smarter or more important, or less important.  Just part of.  Humility is not a weakness, it is a blessing.

Yesterday was a good day.  So Is today.  I am happy to be present.

 

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Can we use the shootings as an excuse to unite the parties?

Here we go again.

By Stephen Ulrich –

Washington (CNN)Rep. Steve Scalise, a congressional staffer and members of the Capitol police force were shot Wednesday in Alexandria, Virginia, during Republicans’ early-morning practice ahead of a charity baseball game.

 

Another day, another shooting.  This time it was not a terrorist.  We think.  Who knows, who cares?  It has gotten so that I really dread watching the news any more. I have scores of friends who have dropped out of the social media sites, like FaceBook, etc.  They, like me, are weary of the election, the divisiveness, the killings.  We are weary of the hatred.  We are weary of ISIS, Conspiracy, Investigations, Russia, FBI, CIA. …   the word “recuse.”

Recuse:  challenge (a judge, prosecutor, or juror) as unqualified to perform legal duties because of a possible conflict of interest or lack of impartiality.  We have attorney generals that cannot be impartial?  God save us.

Back to that – God, indeed, save us.  Whatever your belief, whether it is Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Rhastafarian, Buhddist, or you just believe that the Mountains, Creator, or something is bigger and more powerful than I am.  Please compel it in whatever way you feel drawn to , to have it save us.

Save us from the hate, the shootings, the blaming, the contempt. Yes, the contempt.  I remember when people could respectfully disagree and still break bread and hug each other and  mean it.  It has gotten so bad, there are households that have broken up over Trump vs Clinton?  Goodness people, grow up!

People are dying in the streets and we are debating whether we feel the Warriors should go to the White House or get in a last snub at the president.  I’m not a fan (of the current holder of the office) but for goodness sake, GET OVER IT! First of all, it is the office of the President of the United States, not one single man.  Also consider this – What if Trump decides he doesnt want to handle the drama, and DOESN’T INVITE THEM?  What are we going to spew the pages of twitter with then?

We could, however slim the odds, use this latest horror to unify us.  There IS somewhere, back there somewhere, a great Country of hard working people that overcame all odds and braved all adversities to occupy this land.  Then, when the europeans that moved over took it from them…………..(oops.  That’s another story).

We could use this as a rallying point to begin to unify the two “parties.”  To acknowledge our differences but respect and cherish our bonds and the commonality of the human condition.  We all, after all, do want the same thing right?  We want to be fed, have a safe roof over our heads, have the love of community and family…we are a very blessed nation.  Yet we whine like two year old spoiled children being deprived a sucker.

In the imortal words of Antsy McClain “Can’t we all just get along?”

 

 

 

 

 

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With Trump out of the Paris climate deal, France looks to poach top researchers

Last week, President Donald Trump announced he will withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord. Other world leaders are not hesitating to capitalize on that decision.

The day before Trump’s announcement to leave the international commitment to fight climate change, French President Emmanuel Macron trolled Trump, retooling the U.S. president’s campaign catchphrase in a speech, encouraging everyone to “Make Our Planet Great Again.”

This week, Macron doubled down on the sentiment and launched a website to help those passionate about climate change research emigrate to France.

And what’s the address to this digital one-stop shop for those looking to move to France?

www.MakeOurPlanetGreatAgain.fr.

Oh snap! GIF via “The Maury Show.”

The site serves as a clearing house for information about education, work, and research opportunities as well as links to the necessary applications and documents one would need to emigrate to France.

For those unsure if France is right for them or overwhelmed by the daunting process of emigration, users can describe where they’re from and the work or research they do and receive information appropriate to their situation. There are different pages for students, researchers, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs.

While this particular call to acton is not limited to Americans, Macron has previously invited American scientists to continue their research in France.

Macron made an appeal in February, before he was elected president, encouraging Americans to consider working in France in the wake of Trump’s skepticism about climate change.

GIF via Tristan Oliver/YouTube.

With the launch of the site, it’s clear Macron is standing by his campaign promise and looking around the globe for top talent, no matter whose toes he may step on.

And his offer to researchers isn’t just lip service; there are funding opportunities to back it up.

After successfully submitting project proposals and other relevant documents, senior and junior researchers may be eligible for a four-year grant covering their salary, staff and student salaries, and work expenses, up to 1.5 million euros.

That may be a difficult offer to turn down, especially as America’s local and federal governments grapple with potential budget cuts, especially for climate related research.

A NASA flight crew member works inside a NASA Operation IceBridge DC-8 research airplane. NASA’s Operation IceBridge has been studying how polar ice has evolved over the past eight years. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Macron and 193 other world leaders have committed to getting serious about climate change.

Trump’s efforts to put politics over the planet will not stop climate change or the people working to solve it.

No matter our countries of origin, this is a global problem that will require global solutions. Kudos to Macron and other world leaders who are giving this issue the time, attention, and resources it deserves.

Share image: Twitter, Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images .
 

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Republicans think disabled Americans are gaming the system, so they want to make the ADA harder to enforce

by Jake Flanagin –

The Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives is considering a major reform of the American With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990—a federal law which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in the public sphere (at work, in schools, riding public transit, and in all spaces open to the general public, including privately-owned businesses). For example, under the ADA, businesses open to the public, such as restaurants or pharmacies, need to be wheelchair accessible.

The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (HR 620) seems like a rather innocuous bill at first glance—it compels the Department of Justice to formulate a program that educates state and local officials and business owners on “strategies for promoting access to public accommodations for persons with a disability.” A prime example of fatty, ostensibly meaningless Washington wonk-speak. But it goes further—the bill, if passed, would prohibit civil suits arising out of a failure to provide adequate access to public accommodations for the disabled unless the plaintiff provides offending property owners with a written notice specifying the deficiency. Owners would then have 60 days to respond with a written plan for improvement, and an additional 120 days to correct the deficiency, or at least demonstrate sufficient progress towards a correction.

As of now, if a disabled individual cannot access a business open to the public, they can immediately file a complaint with the Justice Department, which will investigate and determine whether a legitimate ADA violation has occurred. If a violation is identified, most plaintiffs opt to mediate with the offending business under the Justice Department’s moderation. If a business fails to cooperate, the Justice Department may sue on the disabled individual’s behalf. These individuals may also file lawsuits against businesses in civil court without federal involvement, sidestepping the entire mediation process.

“The cornerstone of current enforcement options is that the violation can often be resolved swiftly,” Robyn Powell, an attorney and disability law and policy consultant who disabled herself, writes for Rewire. With the passage of HR 620, individuals with disabilities will be forced to wait 180 days, and likely longer, to seek vindication of their federally-protected civil rights.

Sponsored by Texas representative Ted Poe, a Republican, along with two Republican and three Democratic colleagues all from Texas and California, HR 620 aims to “curb frivolous lawsuits filed by cash-hungry attorneys and plaintiffs that abuse the ADA,” according to a a Jan. 2017 press release.

Poe contends that most small business owners in the US “believe that they are in compliance with the ADA and have even passed local and state inspections.” However, “certain attorneys and their pool of serial plaintiffs troll for minor, easily correctable ADA infractions so they can file a lawsuit and make some cash.” He points to an alleged “whole industry” comprised of “people who prey on small business owners and file unnecessary, abusive lawsuits.”

And he’s not entirely wrong. Indeed, according to a report compiled by attorneys with the employment/labor law firm Seyfarth Shaw, ADA Title III lawsuits—the aforementioned suits filed in civil court sans Justice Department intervention—surged 37% in 2016. But only a fractional minority of these suits were filed by so-called serial plaintiffs, with only 12 having filed more than 100 ADA Title III suits respectively. (A group including two broader disabled-rights advocacy organizations, among some notable ADA abusers.)

While frivolous ADA Title III suits, also known as “drive-by lawsuits,” are certainly a problem worth addressing, disabled-rights advocates view HR 620 as a bill that addresses symptoms over root cause.

“There is no active monitoring of ADA compliance,” writes Kim Sauder, a disability studies scholar, in a Dec. 2016 entry published to her blog, Crippled Scholar. “Dealing with infractions of laws governing accessibility [in the US] is often primarily done through complaints. So while the law may say what needs to be done, unless someone actually complains there is little incentive to actively comply. There is no independent body doing regular inspections and meting out fines for non-compliance.”

In effect, measures like HR 620, which stifle the complaints process, actively obstruct enforcement of the ADA as it is currently formulated. “Enforcement depends on people with disabilities who know their rights to challenge violations,” Robyn Powell explains. “Filing lawsuits is timely and expensive. Finding an attorney that is knowledgeable about the ADA is very challenging. I say this because I believe it is fairly safe to assume that there are far more ADA violations occurring than we will ever hear of. As a disabled woman, I encounter violations daily.”

Still, a few notable cases of ADA abuse (such as Florida’s prolific drive-by plaintiff, Howard Cohan), supplemented by high-profile exposés that only substantially consider one side of the issue, have instilled a widespread misconception: That ADA regulations are overwhelmingly weaponized against small-business owners to the enrichment of a few slick-haired lawyers and system-gaming plaintiffs. It’s a bilateral shoving-match that excludes the individuals the ADA was specifically crafted to protect.

Parking regulations are among the most frequently cited in arguments against the current system of ADA enforcement. “What opponents don’t understand is that the width of parking spaces matter for people with disabilities who drive, such as myself,” Powell says. “I drive a wheelchair-accesible van. If someone parks too close, I am literally stuck because no one besides me can drive my van. This has happened to me more times than I [can] count, leaving me stranded outside for hours, until the person returns to their car.”

The solution disabled-rights advocates call for revamps ADA enforcement methods entirely, sidelining citizen complaints as the chief vehicle for compliance, and inspiring more evenly-spread regulation. “It would be better if government took an active role in monitoring and enforcing accessibility legislation,” says Kim Sauder. “It would likely create a more accessible environment. It would also remove the need for mass lawsuits. It would also remove the proprietor-as-victim narrative because the law would be enforced more uniformly. People would not be able to opine that they had been hit with an infraction when the guy down the street did not.”

Of course, this is a long shot in the current political climate. The Trump administration, and our Republican-dominated legislature, have demonstrated an outsized affinity for the interests of small-business owners—at least on paper—and an active hostility towards federal regulation. Neither is likely to recognize stricter federal regulation as a solution to any problem, not least enforcement of the ADA.

 

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If we handle it like we would a sexual harassment case, Trump is guilty as hell

          Bill O'Reilly lost his job for it, and that was not about national security
by Steve Ulrich

Trump did not “order” Comey to break the law, but he sure tried to badger him into it.

I have just been watching the Comey Testimony.

I made a comment that Trump appears to have been “shady” enough not to have ordered Comey to drop the investigation.  He kept saying he appreciated Comey’s loyalty, he HOPED that the “Russia investigation” would be dropped.  He “hoped” that Mikel Flynn would be left alone because “he’s a good guy.”  Sitting with the President of the United States (the office, not the man) can be intimidating enough.  This a ruthless, bully of a man that is used to pounding through negotiations and getting his way.  Comey is a very honorable, if not somewhat timid man, who didn’t have the temerity to just tell his “boss” that it would be illegal for him to conduct himself that way, and to go to hell.  You have the President of the United States telling you to stop an investigation, to virtually commit treaason. He was stunned.  Sure, it would have been better if he had just said “Mr. President, you cannot ask me to do this.”

Your colleagues are shocked and want to know what they should do with the information.  The leaders of the FBI didn’t know if they should share with the leaders of the Justice Department.  The attorney general was about to (and later did) recuse himself from the case. Frankly they didn’t know what to do with this. Comey has now come forward in a public, non-classified environment to share this.

The esteemed Republican senator from Idaho, after placating Comey by praising his character and record, was quick to point out that “nobody has ever been charged with hoping.”

I took this at face value, and point of law. Trump never made a direct order for Comey to break the law here.  It was pure innuendo and suggestion.

Trump has weaseled out on a technicality once again.

­­­­­­­­­­Until my wife brought up the fact that if this were a sexual harassment case, he would be fried.  “Oh, Jane Doe, I would love for you to stay, I hope you will have sex with me.”   “I am the president, and it would really do you and your career good if you stayed and screwed me.” Oh, you won’t?  You’re fired!

SAME THING.  If the prosecution goes after this as a pure “harassment” case, we would have successfully prosecuted him.  Fortunately, for the American People, this harassment was an enticement to suppress evidence, medal with an ongoing classified security investigation, and commit treason.  THAT, is grounds for impeachment and imprisonment.

SEND THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW – LETS DEFEAT TRUMP’S DEFENSE BY CALLING IT JUST WHAT IT IS, ILLEGAL HARASSMENT.

 

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