It’s a well known fact that the corporate news industry attracts dumb people who want to be on television in the same way the porn industry attracts troubled kids from broken homes. This is especially true at Fox News — where the talent contracts seem to come, these days, with a full-frontal lobotomy.
Just consider Sandra Smith.
Smith is not a journalist —she’s pretending to be one on TV. She’s never done any investigative reporting in her life. She was a stock trader who briefly worked at Bloomberg News before moving to the Fox Business channel — and she did not distinguish herself in any of these roles. This was self-evident when Fox’s top airhead conducted an interview with Rep. Mo Brooks this weekend that went viral on Twitter because Mo Brooks essentially ended her career on air.
Sandra Smith felt the need to make one of those idiotic “there was no cheating in the 2020 election” statements probably written by Paul Ryan himself. She then pushed back on Mo Brooks because she “had been reading the Wall Street Journal” — another Rupert Murdoch media property! — which she wanted to be very clear she was quoting from verbate!
That really sums up the TV career of Sandra Smith in one word: verbate!
She means verbatim, of course, but what do you want from a woman whose reporting experience in the world of politics is so thin that it might as well be a starving model? (Could she pass a 5th grade civics exam? I have my doubts. Mo Brooks has to explain to her that Congress is in charge of federal election law!) Sandra is also the only human being who thinks that the old British propaganda outfit Reuters is some kind of international fact-checking NGO! She’s a wacky liberal who probably declined to vote for Joe Biden in 2020 because, at the last minute, she filled out her ballot with the name of the more deserving candidate: her hairdresser.
This leads to my final point: the only reason to watch Sandra Smith is because you want to get your information from someone who knows less than you do.
The rest of the interview was just as disgraceful: Smith harassed Brooks about so-called “red flag” gun laws, about the NRA’s endorsement of Brooks, and about calling for a return to traditional moral values.
Now you would think that a call for returning to traditional moral values would be uncontroversial at Fox News — but you would be wrong. You forgot that you’re dealing with Sandra Smith who manages to twists the words of Mo Brooks into an insult of single parents!
Just watch the entire interview.
Notice that Sandra Smith is trying to talk over Mo Brooks throughout the interview. She thinks it’s her job to get the last word on everything. When he brings up various facts about election fraud, she interrupts him to bring up whether he’s been “subpoenaed about January 6th.” It’s a hostile hit-and-run interview conducted by a Murdoch bimbo.
This is the smirking face of neo-liberalism haunting America. “How can anyone bring up election fraud on our channel? We’re Fox News! And we called it early for Biden!”
The good news is that Sandra Smith will soon join her discredited Fox News colleagues Chris Wallace (“Jen Psaki is the greatest press secretary in history!”) and Melissa Francis (“Don’t bring up George Soros!’) and Jedediah Bila (“Who cares if Josh Hawley’s book gets canceled!”) in the dustbin of history where they belong. There was a time when closet liberals could work at Fox News in plain sight without annoying their core audience — but those days are long gone. There’s no middle ground left in American politics (or in American society) in the post-Trump wasteland created by the Biden regime.
We’re all living in the nightmare created by the frauds who called Arizona early. Pissed off doesn’t even begin to describe the mood of the GOP electorate. There’s no time slot in existence where Fox News can hide Sandra Smith from the wrath of its viewers until the whole thing blows over — because it’s never going to blow over.
And you can quote me on that —verbate!
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Left critics and self-hating Democrats believe that Obama was a Republican-indulging compromiser. So did Biden and his appointees, who were determined to outdo Obama using narrow Democratic control of Congress. Why they blew it.
This is a piece from a new source for me called the Washington Monthly. Many of the articles are left leaning, but this one does make some sense. I’ll highlight some of the comments I agree with. Most of this article is Bullshit. But I felt all should see how the left thinks.
In July 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank banking bill. Its passage marked his administration’s third major legislative accomplishment, joining the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Affordable Care Act. The former, known as “the stimulus,” helped cut short the Great Recession. It also powered a clean energy revolution. From the beginning to the end of the Obama administration, wind power capacity tripled and solar power capacity increased by an astonishing 2,500 percent. The ACA, or “Obamacare,” expanded health insurance coverage, helping to reduce the percentage of uninsured Americans from 14.7 in 2008 to 9.2 in 2021. To fund expanded coverage, the ACA imposed new taxes on the wealthy, which, in concert with subsequent tax code changes, subjected the richest 1 percent of households to their highest tax burden since 1979. And Dodd-Frank’s reorganization of the financial regulatory system, according to the financial reformers at Better Markets, succeeded in “making a financial crash much less likely.”
At the same point, 486 days into his administration, Joe Biden’s scorecard is not as full. His biggest victory is the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Biden signed was significant as well, but his failure to extend the law’s poverty-fighting child tax credit expansion beyond December 2021 mars its legacy.
From the new book This Will Not Pass by the New York Times reporters Alex Burns and Jonathan Martin, we know that Biden had hoped to surpass Obama’s legislative output and impact. The president is quoted as saying to an adviser, “I am confident that Barack is not happy with the coverage of this administration as more transformative than his.” (And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is quoted as having told a friend, “Obama is jealous of Biden.”)
But 16 months into Biden’s presidency, it seems unlikely to be as transformative as Obama’s. It may succeed in many respects; great foreign policy achievements may be in store; a burst of bipartisanship could dampen our polarization. But the window for sweeping progressive legislation appears to be closed. Any last-ditch “reconciliation” bill this year, somehow earning Senator Joe Manchin’s approval and a barely sufficient 50 Senate votes, will have to be much smaller than the Build Back Better bill, meant to be Biden’s crowning legislative achievement. Truly ambitious party line legislation beyond this year would necessitate a Republican collapse, allowing Democrats to control Congress despite high inflation and Biden’s poor approval ratings.
The value of comparing these two administrations is not to settle some presidential pissing contest but to determine how best to enact progressive change.
We learn from This Will Not Pass that the Biden administration was heavily influenced by critics of Obama’s conciliatory approach, some of whom came from within that administration itself. According to Burns and Martin,
The people [Biden] had put in place at the highest levels of the White House largely aligned with [Senate Majority Leader Chuck] Schumer and Pelosi in their view of congressional Republicans. Mostly veterans of the Obama administration, they were haunted by their party’s last experience governing in an economic crisis, in 2009, when a newly inaugurated Democratic president and his top staff had spent months pleading and horse-trading for Republican support on various essential priorities and come away with little to show for it. [White House Chief of Staff] Ron Klain was among the Biden aides who [were] clear-eyed about the early missteps of the Obama administration …
The Obama administration, Klain believed, had moved too slowly in its early days to address the recession, and it had done too little to explain to the public what it was doing … Klain fretted that there was a risk Democrats would make the same mistakes again: allowing a drawn-out negotiation over dollar figures and time-tables to overshadow the real benefits the administration wanted to give voters.
Such a narrative became popular in progressive circles, driven by pundits like the New York Times columnist and economist Paul Krugman. In January 2009, Krugman deemed Obama’s $775 billion stimulus proposal “not enough” to deal with an estimated $2.1 trillion of lost production in the Great Recession. Five years later, Krugman called the stimulus, despite its positive policy elements, a “political disaster” that ended up “discrediting the very idea of stimulus.” Krugman also criticized Obama in August 2009 in response to reports that he was “backing away” from a “public option” during health care negotiations: “It’s hard to avoid the sense that Mr. Obama has wasted months trying to appease people who can’t be appeased.”
Obama revealed his real-time response to such complaints in his memoir, A Promised Land. Attempts to include a public option were dropped toward the end of the process at the behest of moderates in the Democratic caucus, enraging many progressives. Obama wrote,
I found the whole brouhaha exasperating. “What is it about sixty votes these folks don’t understand?” I groused to my staff. “Should I tell the thirty million people who can’t get covered that they’re going to have to wait another ten years because we can’t get them a public option?” It wasn’t just that criticism from friends always stung the most. The carping carried immediate political consequences for Democrats … all the great social-welfare advances in American history, including Social Security and Medicare, had started off incomplete and had been built upon gradually, over time. By preemptively spinning what could be a monumental, if imperfect, victory into a bitter defeat, the criticism contributed to a potential long-term demoralization of Democratic voters—otherwise known as the “What’s the point of voting if nothing ever changes?” syndrome—making it even harder for us to win elections and move progressive legislation forward in the future.
I find Obama’s explanation sensible. Yet inexplicably to me, many Obama administration veterans favor the Krugman view. Even more bizarre, Biden, after pushing back on progressive Obama critics in the 2020 primaries, surrounded himself with such critics once in office. The result was a Biden administration less attuned than his Democratic predecessor’s at determining what could be achieved with the Senate votes available.
Yes, Obama had more Senate Democrats to work with than Biden’s 50. Obama began his presidency with 58 Democrats. In late April 2009, Senator Arlen Specter switched parties to make it 59. In early July 2009, Al Franken was sworn in as the 60th Democratic senator following a grueling recount. Then the number was knocked back to 59 in February 2010 after Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown won the special election to succeed the deceased Senator Ted Kennedy.
With such a big majority, you might think that Obama could have plucked just about anything off the progressive wish list and made it law, using budget reconciliation—the procedurally complex filibuster-proof process Biden used last year to pass the American Rescue Plan with just 50 Senate Democrats. But Obama’s big majority included a sizable and stingy moderate faction, and not just in the Senate. In 2009, the House had 255 Democrats, but 49 were moderate Blue Dogs, more than enough to deny Pelosi a majority.
As Michael Grunwald explained in his history of the 2009 stimulus, The New New Deal, Obama “had to make sure Blue Dogs in the House and centrist Democrats in the Senate didn’t jump ship,” because even before the inauguration, “they were already sounding alarms about runaway spending.” In December 2008, then Vice President–elect Biden was compelled to publicly state that the emerging package “will not become a Democratic Christmas tree.” That effectively cut off any talk about using reconciliation for the first major bill of the Obama administration. And when a Senate version of the stimulus grew to $930 billion, a group of moderate Republicans and Democrats came together to scale it back to $780 billion.
Following the February 2009 passage of the Recovery Act, Democratic leaders wanted reconciliation available for the rest of Obama’s agenda, but fellow Democrats stymied them. When putting together the budget resolution—the parliamentary precursor to a budget reconciliation bill—Democrats agreed to include health care and education as eligible for the reconciliation process. But a Republican motion explicitly denying the same privilege for any climate change bill was embraced by 26 Senate Democrats and passed overwhelmingly—an omen that the Senate was not going to be hospitable to any ambitious climate change bill.
Even though health care made the cut, Democrats said at the time that the reconciliation option was a last resort. Reconciliation bills can only include budget-related provisions, and many health care reform proposals wouldn’t qualify (a procedural obstacle that fatally compromised Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare using reconciliation in 2017). Then Senate Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad said, “Virtually everyone who has been part of these discussions recognizes that reconciliation is not the preferred way to write this legislation. But the administration wants to have a reconciliation instruction as an insurance policy.”
In turn, Obama calibrated his legislative agenda to meet the limits of what the 60th vote would allow. For the Recovery Act, after helping to limit the price tag, the 58th, 59th, and 60th Senate votes came from Maine Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, and—before his switch—Specter. (Senate Democrats were united in support, though eight House Democrats broke ranks.) For Obamacare, the 60th vote came from Democrat-turned-independent moderate Joe Lieberman, who refused both the public option as well as a Medicare buy-in option for those turning 55. For Dodd-Frank, it came from Scott Brown (offsetting the loss of progressive Democrat Russ Feingold), who demanded that a proposed tax on banks be stricken from the bill. It was.
Student loan reform did piggyback on a reconciliation package used to finish up the Obamacare process, accommodating changes sought by the House weeks after Senate Democrats lost their 60th seat. Fifty-six Senate Democrats passed that follow-up bill, with three Democrats joining Republicans in opposition.
Some progressives never cottoned to the horse trades required to win those votes and partly blamed watered-down legislation for the poor Democratic performances in the 2010 and 2014 midterms and even Donald Trump’s 2016 victory. The Biden presidency offered the opportunity to prove the alternate theory of the case. Don’t strain for the 60th vote. Use the reconciliation process. Go big with 50 votes. Don’t even bother with Republicans.
But whatever the merits of reconciliation, basic legislative competence still requires accommodating the determining vote, be it the 60th vote in regular order or the 50th vote in reconciliation.
Biden simply did not do that in his pursuit of a wide-ranging Build Back Better bill. In December, he didn’t rush to take Manchin’s $1.8 trillion offer, apparently because it left out an extension of the expanded child tax credit. As Biden hesitated, Manchin announced his opposition to the entire bill and revoked the offer. Biden was understandably reluctant to give up on a program that had successfully slashed child poverty and had the makings of a signature policy achievement. But it was politically foolish to presume that the one-year expansion of the credit—slipped into the American Rescue Plan reconciliation measure—would be extended indefinitely without first securing Manchin’s support.
Krugman and others charged Obama with having “wasted time” by trying for months to win Republican support for the Affordable Care Act, support that never materialized. But Obama wasn’t just chasing Republicans; he was also chasing Senate Democrat moderates. However long it took, he found the votes he needed. Notably, Obamacare (and the student loan reform that rode along with it) was an anomaly. Every other bill Obama signed into law was passed thanks to mathematically necessary Republican support. It’s far more accurate to charge Biden with having wasted time on Build Back Better, as he spent months trying to wear down Manchin and ended up with nothing. Biden took less time getting the 60 Senate votes needed to pass an infrastructure bill precisely because he let those moderates who held the determining votes take the lead on negotiations.
Getting the historical narrative correct matters. Democrats should have been telling a positive story of Obama’s presidency, one where landmark laws made America better, and he became the first Democratic president to win reelection with more than 50 percent of the popular vote since Franklin D. Roosevelt. Instead, Democrats told a narrative that lacked historical perspective, blaming an inevitably imperfect legislative record for midterm losses, even though such defeats are common for the president’s party. Amazingly, Joe Biden, of all politicians, a figure who has lived through decades of Washington history, got suckered into accepting a flawed narrative. No wonder his legislative strategy was similarly flawed.
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If you have to try to be cool, you will never be cool. If you have to try to be happy, then you will never be happy. People these days are just trying too hard. The key to finding happiness is to stop looking for it.
When you’re raging pissed and throwing a socket wrench at the neighbor’s kids, you are not self-conscious about your state of anger. You are not thinking, “Am I finally angry? Am I doing this right?” No, you’re out for blood. You inhabit and live the anger. You are the anger.
And then it’s gone. Hopefully before the cops arrive.
Happiness, like other emotions, is not something you obtain, but rather something you inhabit. It is temporary1. Always.
What this implies is that finding happiness is not achieved in itself, but rather it is the side effect of a particular set of ongoing life experiences. This gets mixed up a lot, especially since happiness is marketed so much these days as a goal in and of itself. Buy X and be happy. Learn Y and be happy. But you can’t buy happiness and you can’t achieve happiness. It just is—once you get other parts of your life in order.
Happiness Is Not the Same as Pleasure
When most people seek happiness, they are actually seeking pleasure: good food, more sex, more time for TV and movies, a new car, parties with friends, full body massages, losing 10 pounds, becoming more popular, and so on.
But while pleasure is great, it’s not the same as happiness2. Pleasure is correlated with happiness but does not cause it. Ask any drug addict how their pursuit of pleasure turned out. Ask an adulterer who shattered her family and lost her children whether pleasure ultimately made her happy. Ask a man who almost ate himself to death how happy pursuing pleasure made him feel.
Pleasure is a false god. Research shows that people who focus their energy on materialistic and superficial pleasures end up more anxious, more emotionally unstable and less happy in the long-run3. Pleasure is the most superficial form of life satisfaction and therefore the easiest. Pleasure is what’s marketed to us. It’s what we fixate on. It’s what we use to numb and distract ourselves. But pleasure, while necessary, isn’t sufficient4. There’s something more.
Finding Happiness Does Not Require Lowering One’s Expectations
A popular narrative lately is that people are becoming unhappier because we’re all narcissistic and grew up being told that we’re special unique snowflakes who are going to change the world and we have Facebook constantly telling us how amazing everyone else’s lives are, but not our own, so we all feel like crap and wonder where it all went wrong. Oh, and all of this happens by the age of 23.
Sorry, but no. Give people a bit more credit than that.
For instance, a friend of mine recently started a high-risk business venture. He dried up most of his savings trying to make it work and failed. Today, he’s happier than ever for his experience. It taught him many lessons about what he wanted and didn’t want in life and it eventually led him to his current job, which he loves. He’s able to look back and be proud that he went for it because otherwise, he would have always wondered “what if?” and that would have made him unhappier than any failure would have.
The failure to meet our own expectations is not antithetical to happiness, and I’d actually argue that the ability to fail and still appreciate the experience is actually a fundamental building block for happiness5,6.
If you thought you were going to make $100,000 and drive a Porsche immediately out of college, then your standards of success were skewed and superficial, you confused your pleasure for happiness, and the painful smack of reality hitting you in the face will be one of the best lessons life ever gives you.
The “lower expectations” argument falls victim to the same old mindset: that happiness is derived from without. The joy of life is not having a $100,000 salary. It’s working to reach a $100,000 salary, and then working for a $200,000 salary, and so on.
So, I say raise your expectations. Elongate your process. Lay on your death bed with a to-do list a mile long and smile at the infinite opportunity granted to you. Create ridiculous standards for yourself and then savor the inevitable failure. Learn from it. Live it. Let the ground crack and rocks crumble around you because that’s how something amazing grows, through the cracks.
Happiness Is Not the Same as Positivity
Chances are you know someone who always appears to be insanely happy regardless of the circumstances or situation. Chances are this is actually one of the most dysfunctional people you know. Denying negative emotions leads to deeper and more prolonged negative emotions and emotional dysfunction.
It’s a simple reality: shit happens. Things go wrong. People upset us. Mistakes are made and negative emotions arise. And that’s fine. Negative emotions are necessary and healthy for maintaining a stable baseline happiness in one’s life.
The trick with negative emotions is to 1) express them in a socially acceptable and healthy manner and 2) express them in a way which aligns with your values.
Simple example: A value of mine is to pursue non-violence. Therefore, when I get mad at somebody, I express that anger, but I also make a point to not punch them in the face. Radical idea, I know. (But I absolutely will throw a socket wrench at the neighbor’s kids. Try me.)
There’s a lot of people out there who subscribe to the “always be positive” ideology. These people should be avoided just as much as someone who thinks the world is an endless pile of shit. If your standard of happiness is that you’re always happy, no matter what, then you need a reality check.
I think part of the allure of obsessive positivity is the way in which we’re marketed to. I think part of it is being subjected to happy, smiley people on television constantly. I think part of it is that some people in the self-help industry want you to feel like there’s something wrong with you all the time.
Which brings me to what actually drives happiness….
Happiness Is the Process of Becoming Your Ideal Self
Completing a marathon makes us happier than eating a chocolate cake. Raising a child makes us happier than beating a video game. Starting a small business with friends and struggling to make money makes us happier than buying a new computer.
And the funny thing is that all three of the activities above are exceedingly unpleasant and require setting high expectations and potentially failing to always meet them. Yet, they are some of the most meaningful moments and activities of our lives. They involve pain, struggle, even anger and despair, yet once we’ve done them we look back and get misty-eyed about them.
Because it’s these sorts of activities that allow us to become our ideal selves. It’s the perpetual pursuit of fulfilling our ideal selves that grants us happiness, regardless of superficial pleasures or pain, regardless of positive or negative emotions. This is why some people are happy in war and others are sad at weddings. It’s why some are excited to work and others hate parties. The traits they’re inhabiting don’t align with their ideal selves.
The end results don’t define our ideal selves. It’s not finishing the marathon that makes us happy; it’s achieving a difficult long-term goal that does. It’s not having an awesome kid to show off that makes us happy; it’s knowing that you gave yourself up to the growth of another human being that is special. It’s not the prestige and money from the new business that makes you happy, it’s the process of overcoming all odds with people you care about.
And this is the reason that tryingto be happy inevitably will make you unhappy. Because to try to be happy implies that you are not already inhabiting your ideal self, you are not aligned with the qualities of who you wish to be. After all, if you were acting out your ideal self, then you wouldn’t feel the need to try to be happy.
Cue statements about “finding happiness within,” and “knowing that you’re enough.” It’s not that happiness itselfis in you, it’s that happiness occurs when you decide topursue what’s in you.
And this is why happiness is so fleeting. Anyone who has set out major life goals for themselves only to achieve them and realize that they feel the same relative amounts of happiness/unhappiness knows that happiness always feels like it’s around the corner, just waiting for you to show up. No matter where you are in life, you will always perceive there to be one more thing you need to do to be especially happy7. But it too, will be a mirage.
And that’s because our ideal self is always just around that corner, always three steps ahead of us. We dream of being a musician and when we’re a musician, we dream of writing a film score, and when write a film score, we dream of writing a screenplay. And what matters isn’t that we achieve each of these plateaus of success, but that we’re consistently moving towards them, day after day, month after month, year after year. The plateaus will come and go, and we’ll continue following our ideal self down the path of our lives.
And with that, with regards to finding happiness, it seems the best advice is also the simplest: Imagine who you want to be and then step towards it8. Dream big and then do something. Anything9. The simple act of moving at all will change how you feel about the entire process and serve to inspire you further.
Let go of the imagined result—it’s not necessary. The fantasy and the dream are merely tools to get you off your ass. It doesn’t matter if they come true or not. Live, man. Just live. Stop trying to be happy and just be.
Got Emotional Baggage?
We all let our emotions get the best of us from time to time.
Don’t let attention and glory be your main motivators in life. If you can’t find pleasure in the simple or the mundane, then you won’t find it anywhere.
There’s a paradox that is stumping psychologists right now and it’s this: Over the past 50+ years, despite the standard of living rising dramatically in the western world, happiness has stayed level, while mental illnesses, anxiety disorders, narcissism, and depression have all gone up.
When you study marketing, the first thing you learn is that fear sells. If you make a person feel inadequate or inferior, they will shut up and buy something in order to feel better. A capitalist system markets to everyone constantly, therefore it promotes a society where people constantly feel inadequate and inferior.
It’s funny, a lot of people who travel to the third-world claim that people are “happier” there. They often follow it up with some banal statement about materialism and how we’d all be so much happier if we knew how to live with less.
This is completely wrong.
Poor people in developing societies aren’t happier, they’re simply less anxious and less stressed. People in the developing world don’t care how many friends you have or if you bought the latest hot item or not. They’re much more family- and community-oriented. They’re also more socially accepting and less socially anxious simply because they have to be. It’s how they survive. When you take hyper-individualistic westerners — especially ones who have killed themselves at a desk job to make a ton of money — when they’re exposed to this, they perceive it as being a “happier” or “healthier” way of life. In some ways, it is. But at the same time, it’s exactly what our system gave up to gain its abundance of material wealth.
The philosopher Alain de Botton has written about this in his book Status Anxiety. In centuries past, he says, people knew where they fit into the social order. If you were born a peasant, you knew you were a peasant. If you were born a lord, you knew you were a lord. There was no mobility or opportunity, and so there was no stress about getting ahead. You weren’t responsible for your birthright, so you accepted it and moved on.
But in a meritocratic society, something changes. In a meritocracy, if you’re poor, or you gain success and then lose it, it’s not an accident. It’s worse. It’s your fault.You’re the failure. You’re the one who lost everything. And this causes people to live shackled with a constant fear of inadequacy; all the world’s hustle and bustle motivated by a baseline status anxiety.
De Botton doesn’t argue that feudal societies or poor societies were somehow better. He simply makes the point that when a society goes from feudal and destitute to meritocratic and wealthy, the price its people pay for that increased standard of living and social mobility is an increase in stress and anxiety.
After all, the greater the opportunity one has, the greater the anxiety of somehow squandering it. Thus, we stress: we need to make better grades, to get a better job, to date more attractive people, to have cooler hobbies, to make more friends, to be more liked and more popular. Simply being content with what we have isn’t good enough anymore. In fact, for some it’s tantamount to giving up.
Today we live with more information than any other point in human history. According to Google, the internet produces as much information every two years as the rest of all of human history combined. And all of that information is theoretically instantly accessible by us all. It’s truly amazing.
But when you combine a capitalist system with an infinite flow of information, a side effect is a population who is reminded of the infinite amount of ways that it’s not good enough.
In the early 1900s, a phrase became popular, “Keeping up with the Joneses.” It described the pernicious effect of consumerism. The neighbors got a new car, so now we feel like we need a new car. Your brother-in-law landed seasons tickets to the local baseball team, so now you need season tickets. Your coworker just booked a trip to China, so now you need to travel somewhere exotic.
Now, most of us aren’t douchey enough to feel these types of envy consciously. But unfortunately the “Keeping up with the Joneses” afflicts us all, whether we realize it or not. As humans, we are unconsciously measuring ourselves up against one another constantly. It unfortunately plays a large part in how we define ourselves, whether we want it to or not.
Now imagine that there are two million Joneses to keep up with, and suddenly you have the internet.
This isn’t an argument against capitalism. And it’s definitely not an argument against the internet. I’m simply making observations and stating facts. In today’s world, it is impossible to not be reminded of how somebody, somewhere, is doing something that is much cooler than you, and be reminded of it constantly.
In a bitter irony, through open-sourcing information, the internet has also open-sourced inadequacy and insecurity.
One example: The whole “Make Money from Home, Travel the World” thing that Tim Ferriss started over a decade ago. Truth be told, it’s an extreme lifestyle that is probably not emotionally sustainable in the long-term, and likely doesn’t suit most people’s personalities. Most people who give it a go end up giving it up after a few years, including Ferriss himself.
Yet if you look around online, you’d think the concept cures cancer or something. I have probably half a dozen people who pop onto my Facebook newsfeed all the time going on about the merits of creating your own career path, following your passion, building a personal brand, living off the grid, doing something crazy and then blogging about it. Ironically, I think many of the people saying this stuff are still living at home with their parents and not making any money. It’s almost like they’re trying to convince themselves more than anyone else.
Everybody I know who actually lives this way generally shuts up about it because they find talking about it too much alienates people back home. Being special is nice, but that’s not where our real needs get met. It’s not a sufficient metric for our overall well-being.
If everyone quit their desk job and tried to monetize a blog about quilting or created an app that counts how many times you pass gas each day, the economy would come to a standstill. Some people are wired to be loners and eccentrics. And others are wired for routine. Some enjoy taking risks. Some like stability.
There’s something admirable about finding satisfaction in the simple, everyday pleasures of life, and it’s becoming harder and harder to do. We’re bombarded every day: here’s the brave soldier who saved a school bus full of kids with nothing but a crowbar and fishing line; here’s the 30-something billionaire who is going to cure aging so we can all live forever; here’s the 12-year-old who can play Stravinksy’s Rite of Spring on seven different instruments with her feet.
The implication is always the same: What have YOU done lately?
Oh, you flossed today? Way to go, you lazy sack of shit. Now let me just retweet that real quick.
If you can’t find pleasure in the simple or the mundane, then you won’t find pleasure anywhere.
As they say, wherever you go, there you are. Being special isn’t so special. You will still feel frustrated. You will still feel lonely. You will still feel like you could have done more.
Don’t sell yourself out for the sake of attention and false glory. Not that attention and glory are wrong, but they should not be prime motivators that drive your life.
Instead, focus on simplicity. On nuance. Slow down. Breathe. Smile. You don’t need to prove anything to anybody. Including yourself. Think about that for a minute and let it sink in:
You don’t have to prove anything to anybody, including yourself.
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In 1942, Catalina Island was closed to tourism and shifted to support the American troops as a training center for the U.S. Maritime Service, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Army Signal Corps, and the Office of Strategic Service (O.S.S.).
Today, we give our respects to those who have fallen in the service to this great country. In honor of their sacrifice, we are pleased to announce that in 2022, the 80th anniversary of Catalina’s involvement in WWII, we will be hosting “Norman Rockwell in the 1940s: A View of the American Homefront”.
“Norman Rockwell in the 1940s: A View of the American Homefront” has been organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, May 27, 1944
Norman Rockwell Museum Collection
SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN. All rights reserved. CurtisLicensing.com
Liberty Girl, 1943
Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, September 4, 1943
Norman Rockwell Museum Collection
SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN. All rights reserved. CurtisLicensing.com
Rosie the Riveter, 1943
Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, May 29, 1943
Norman Rockwell Museum Collection
SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN. All rights reserved. CurtisLicensing.com
The Homecoming, 1945
Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, May 26, 1945
Norman Rockwell Museum Collection
SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN. All rights reserved. CurtisLicensing.com
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WASHINGTON, D.C.—After being denied communion in her home city of San Francisco, House Speaker Pelosi has retaliated against the insult by introducing articles of impeachment against Pope Francis.
“Denying me the Eucharist is a high crime. It’s not even the Pope’s job to deny communion to anyone,” said Pelosi to gathered reporters in Washington. “Who does he think he is? He’s gone mad with power! It is, therefore, my solemn Constitutional duty to draft articles of impeachment to be sent to the Senate so Pope Francis can be tried for his crimes.”
In the ensuing investigation, Congress found the Pope may have engaged in a quid pro quo, offering access to the Eucharist in exchange for not being a corrupt politician who advocates for the legal slaughter of millions of innocent babies. Political pundits are already calling on the Pope to step down if the charge is true.
“I do this with a very heavy heart, but it’s the right thing to do,” said Pelosi while fidgeting with her dentures. “Good morning, Sunday morning.”
When pressed as to whether Congress actually has the authority to impeach a pope, Pelosi responded that “we have to impeach him first in order to find out whether we can do it.”
This is satire that is too close to reality for comfort.
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Facing an uproar for its support of the transgender agenda, State Farm Insurance says it is dropping its alliance with a transgender group that wanted to supply indoctrination materials aimed at children to schools and libraries.
State Farm had said it would support a group called GenderCool, which was targeting children as young as 5 with books titled “Being Transgender,” “Being Inclusive” and “Being Non-Binary.”
On Monday, the conservative group Consumers’ Research responded with a video titled “Like a Creepy Neighbor.”
“State Farm tells us they’re a good neighbor,” the narrator begins. “But would a good neighbor target five-year-olds for conversations about sexual identity? That’s what State Farm is doing.”
State Farm spokesman Roszell Gadson told The Washington Post that the partnership ended after it had “been the subject of news and customer inquiries.”
“Conversations about gender and identity should happen at home with parents,” Gadson said in a statement. “We don’t support required curriculum in schools on this topic. We support organizations providing resources for parents to have these conversations. We no longer support the program allowing for distribution of books in schools.”
“As a result, we have made the decision we will no longer be affiliated with the organization,” the company said on its website.
According to a report from RedState, Rand Harbert, State Farm executive vice president and chief agency, sales and marketing officer, sent out a voice message to agents and others about the book project.
The outlet, citing a transcript it obtained, reported that Harbert said, “First and foremost, I want you to hear directly from me that we made a mistake with our involvement in this program — and we’re sorry. As soon as we fully understood the issue Monday morning, the first decision we made was to cease our involvement with this organization.
“Let me be clear, our position is that conversations with children about gender and identity need to happen at home.”
Harbert then made it appear as though State Farm was not fully aware of to whom it was giving money and what would be done with the cash.
“As much as we would like to be aware of every program and involved in every decision, it’s simply not possible as most of these gifts are small. In this case, it was $40,000,” Harbert said, according to RedState.
“However, we recognize even small decisions can have a big impact, and we’re taking the necessary steps, so nothing like this happens again,” he said.
RedState also reported that a source at State Farm’s corporate offices said all of its philanthropic ventures are being reviewed.
The outlet described conversations it had with agents whose names were not used.
“We’re an insurance company who’s known to be conservative,” one agent from the Midwest was quoted as saying. “That is why this is so shocking. I can assure you (I’m on a private Facebook page for agents only at 4,000 members) that 99 percent of us are beyond pissed.”
“A big ‘why’ that was circling among agents and in private Facebook groups Monday night was: ‘How in the world was something like this green-lighted and not run by agents’ groups for vetting?’” RedState quoted another agent as saying.
“No way this would have ever been green-lighted had this been run by agents.”
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A new study conducted by scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Moderna Inc. showed that mRNA vaccines hurt the long-term immunity to Covid-19 after contracting infection compared to unvaccinated people.
Researchers performed a placebo-controlled vaccine efficacy trial published at medRxiv last month, to evaluate anti-nucleocapsid antibody (anti-N Ab) seropositivity in Moderna vaccine efficacy after Covid-19 infection.
“To evaluate for evidence of prior infection in a person with a history of COVID-19 vaccination, a test that specifically evaluates anti-N should be used. Past infection is best determined by serologic testing that indicates the presence of anti-N antibody,” according to the CDC.
The study analyzed data from 1,789 participants (1,298 placebo recipients and 491 vaccine recipients) with Covid-19 infection at 99 sites in the US during the blinded phase (through March 2021).
The study concludes that anti-nucleocapsid antibody (anti-N Abs) may have lower sensitivity in patients vaccinated with Moderna who become infected. The study also mentioned that the anti-N Ab response in unvaccinated persons has been reported to be durable, with half-life estimates ranging from 68 to 283 days.
Among the participants with confirmed Covid-19 illness, only 21 out of 52 (40%) of people who received the Moderna shots had antibodies compared to the placebo recipients, 605 out 648 (93%).
Unvaccinated people are much more likely to develop broad antibody immunity after Covid infections than people who have received mRNA shots, a new study shows.
Researchers already knew that many vaccinated people do not gain antibodies to the entire coronavirus after they are infected with Covid.
Unvaccinated people nearly always gain antibodies to the nucleocapsid protein, which covers the virus’s core of RNA, as well as its spike protein, which allows the virus to attack our cells. Vaccinated people often lack those anti-nucleocapsid antibodies and only have spike protein antibodies.
The researchers examined the development of anti-nucleocapsid antibodies in people who had been part of Moderna’s clinical trial and were infected with Covid. As they expected, the scientists found that the vaccinated people were far less likely to develop the anti-nucleocapsid antibodies. Only 40 percent of people who received the shots had antibodies, compared to 93 percent of those who did not.
But they then went a step further. Because the infected people had been in the trial, their viral loads had been precisely measured when they were found to have Covid. So the researchers were able to compare vaccinated and unvaccinated people who had the same amounts of virus in their blood.
Once again, they found that unvaccinated people were far more likely to develop anti-nucleocapsid antibodies than the jabbed. An unvaccinated person with a mild infection had a 71 percent chance of mounting an immune response that included those antibodies. A vaccinated person had about a 15 percent chance.
The chart that should worry the vaccinated: the yellow line shows the odds that an unvaccinated person will develop anti-nucleocapsid antibodies to Sars-Cov-2, stratified by viral load. The blue line shows the same odds for a person who received an mRNA shot.
An unvaccinated person has an almost 60 percent chance of developing antibodies even with an extremely mild infection; a vaccinated person needs almost 100,000 times as much virus in his blood to have the same chance.
As the Gateway Pundit previously reported, a new report released earlier this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that unvaccinated people who recovered from COVID-19 were better protected than those who were vaccinated and not previously infected during the recent delta surge.
The researchers evaluated the data from 1.1 million Covid-19 cases among adults in California and New York (which account for 18% of the U.S. population) from May 30 to Nov. 20, 2021.
“When looking at the summer and fall of 2021, when Delta became predominant in this country, however, surviving a previous infection now provided greater protection,” CDC epidemiologist Benjamin Silk said.
The study confirmed something that we’ve known for a long time that “natural immunity” acquired through previous infection of COVID is more potent than experimental vaccines.
Here is the abstract from the above referenced study:
Importance The performance of immunoassays for determining past SARS-CoV-2 infection, which were developed in unvaccinated individuals, has not been assessed in vaccinated individuals.
Objective To evaluate anti-nucleocapsid antibody (anti-N Ab) seropositivity in mRNA-1273 vaccine efficacy trial participants after SARS-CoV-2 infection during the trial’s blinded phase.
Design Nested analysis in a Phase 3 randomized, placebo-controlled vaccine efficacy trial. Nasopharyngeal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 PCR testing were taken from all participants on Day 1 and Day 29 (vaccination days), and during symptom-prompted illness visits. Serum samples from Days 1, 29, 57, and the Participant Decision Visit (PDV, when participants were informed of treatment assignment, median day 149) were tested for anti-N Abs.
Setting Multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial at 99 sites in the US.
Participants Trial participants were ≥ 18 years old with no known history of SARS-CoV-2 infection and at appreciable risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or high risk of severe Covid-19. Nested sub-study consists of participants with SARS-CoV-2 infection during the blinded phase of the trial.
Intervention Two mRNA-1273 (Moderna) or Placebo injections, 28 days apart.
Main Outcome and Measure Detection of serum anti-N Abs by the Elecsys (Roche) immunoassay in samples taken at the PDV from participants with SARS-CoV-2 infection during the blinded phase. The hypothesis tested was that mRNA-1273 recipients have different anti-N Ab seroconversion and/or seroreversion profiles after SARS-CoV-2 infection, compared to placebo recipients. The hypothesis was formed during data collection; all main analyses were pre-specified before being conducted.
Results We analyzed data from 1,789 participants (1,298 placebo recipients and 491 vaccine recipients) with SARS-CoV-2 infection during the blinded phase (through March 2021). Among participants with PCR-confirmed Covid-19 illness, seroconversion to anti-N Abs at a median follow up of 53 days post diagnosis occurred in 21/52 (40%) of the mRNA-1273 vaccine recipients vs. 605/648 (93%) of the placebo recipients (p < 0.001). Higher SARS-CoV-2 viral copies at diagnosis was associated with a higher likelihood of anti-N Ab seropositivity (odds ratio 1.90 per 1-log increase; 95% confidence interval 1.59, 2.28).
Conclusions and Relevance As a marker of recent infection, anti-N Abs may have lower sensitivity in mRNA-1273-vaccinated persons who become infected. Vaccination status should be considered when interpreting seroprevalence and seropositivity data based solely on anti-N Ab testing
Question Does prior mRNA-1273 vaccination influence anti-nucleocapsid antibody seroconversion and/or seroreversion after SARS-CoV-2 infection?
Findings Among participants in the mRNA-1273 vaccine efficacy trial with PCR-confirmed Covid-19, anti-nucleocapsid antibody seroconversion at the time of study unblinding (median 53 days post diagnosis and 149 days post enrollment) occurred in 40% of the mRNA-1273 vaccine recipients vs. 93% of the placebo recipients, a significant difference. Higher SARS-CoV-2 viral copy number upon diagnosis was associated with a greater chance of anti-nucleocapsid antibody seropositivity (odds ratio 1.90 per 1-log increase; 95% confidence interval 1.59, 2.28). All infections analyzed occurred prior to the circulation of delta and omicron viral variants.
Meaning Conclusions about the prevalence and incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in vaccinated persons based on anti-nucleocapsid antibody assays need to be weighed in the context of these results.
This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases through grants UM1AI068635 (to H.E.J.), UM1AI068614 (to L.C.), 3UM1Al148575-01S2 (to H.M.E.S.), and UM1AI069412 (to L.R.B.). The mRNA-1273-P301 study is sponsored by Moderna, Inc. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
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Biden’s ousted disinformation czar on Friday whined about conservatives who criticized the DHS’s ‘Ministry of Truth.’
Earlier this week, the Biden Regime announced it is ‘pausing’ the Department of Homeland Security’s ‘Ministry of Truth’ after conservative media hammered the lunatic Marxist chosen to run the Orwellian agency.
Nina Jankowicz, the far-left lunatic chosen to lead the DHS’s ‘Disinformation Governance Board,’ resigned on Wednesday.
Now Jankowicz is attacking Americans for exercising their First Amendment right to criticize the so-called ‘disinformation board.’
Jankowicz claimed conservatives are putting the US’s national security at risk.
“The Disinformation Governance Board was the victim of disinformation,” Jankowicz said. “Disinformation is false information spread with malign intent and clearly there was a malign intent on some actors in the media and in politics…”
[Critics] completely mischaracterized its mission and frankly, this childish behavior is endangering our national security now,” Jankowicz added.
Even Whitney –who died in February, 2012 — currently has more brains than this loon does.
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