This video references, Pennebaker and his work on writing as therapy. Below is an article from Psychology Today on the power of pen to paper. Try it!
What’s on your mind and in your heart?
Expressive writing is the cornerstone of wellness and writing connections. If you are not familiar with expressive writing you may be asking: “Just what is expressive writing, and how is that related to my wellness?”
Expressive writing literally comes from our core. It is personal and emotional writing without regard to form or other writing conventions, like spelling, punctuation, and verb agreement. Turn off your resident Dr. Comma Splice. Expressive writing pays no attention to propriety: it simply expresses what is on your mind and in your heart.
Expressive writing pays more attention to feelings than the events, memories, objects, or people in the contents of a narrative. Like narrative writing, expressive writing may have the arc of a story: beginning, middle, and end. Sometimes expressive writing behaves like a story that swells to crest and resolves itself on firm ground. But often, expressive writing is turbulent and unpredictable, and that is OK. Expressive writing is not so much what happened as it is how you feel about what happened or is happening.
The connection between expressive writing and wellness was discovered by Dr. James Pennebaker, Chair of Psychology, at the University of Texas, Austin.1 In his landmark research project, Pennebaker developed an expressive writing prompt to uncover the potential health benefits of writing about emotional upheaval. Pennebaker’s research project has been replicated hundreds of times with positive outcomes. The prompt and subsequent studies are often referred to as the Pennebaker Paradigm.
Become Your Own Researcher
To help you get a better understanding of expressive writing and what it can do for you, I am asking you to become your own researcher. Try out this exercise and report on your findings by commenting to this blog post. The writing prompt is at the end of these guidelines. Remember, you are asked to write for 20 minutes each day for four days.
Please read these general instructions completely before you begin writing.2
1. Time: Write a minimum of 20 minutes per day for four consecutive days.
2. Topic: What you choose to write about should be extremely personal and important to you.
3. Write continuously: Do not worry about punctuation, spelling, and grammar. If you run out of things to say, draw a line or repeat what you have already written. Keep pen on paper.
4. Write only for yourself: You may plan to destroy or hide what you are writing. Do not turn this exercise into a letter. This exercise is for your eyes only.
5. Observe the Flip-out Rule: If you get into the writing, and you feel that you cannot write about a certain event because it will push you over the edge, STOP writing!
6. Expect heavy boots: Many people briefly feel a bit saddened or down after expressive writing, especially on the first day or so. Usually this feeling goes away completely in an hour or two.
The Pennebaker Writing Prompt (Write for 20 minutes)
In your writing, I would like you to really let go and explore your very deepest emotions and thoughts about the most traumatic experience in your entire life. You might tie this trauma to other parts of your life: your childhood, your relationships with others, including parents, lovers, friends, relatives, or other people important to you. You might link your writing to your future and who you would like to become your future, or to who you have been, who you would like to be, or who you are now. Not everyone has had a single trauma, but all of us have had major conflicts or stressors, and you can write about these as well. All your writing is confidential. There will be no sharing of content. Do not worry about form or style, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, or grammar.
Give yourself some time after writing to reflect on what you have written and to be compassionate with yourself. If you are worried about someone else seeing what you wrote, put your writing in a safe place, or simply tear it up or shred it. But if you are not concerned that someone may read what you wrote, you may want to keep your writing, so you can come back to it after you have completed the four-day exercise.
A week or two after you have completed the four days of expressive writing, you may want to reflect on what you notice in your life, how you feel, and how you behave. And perhaps you will share what you discovered with our readers.
1)James Pennebaker’s Web Site:
2) Pennebaker,JW. (2004) Writing to Heal: A Guided Journal for Recovering from Trauma and Emotional Upheaval.(18-26)
Sent from a friend…..if you’re watching Homeland on Showtime, the storyline is strangely familiar.
Two or more sides disagree on who runs the country. And they can’t settle the question through elections because they don’t even agree that elections are how you decide who’s in charge.
That’s the basic issue here. Who decides who runs the country? When you hate each other but accept the election results, you have a country. When you stop accepting election results, you have a countdown to a civil war.
The Mueller investigation is about removing President Trump from office and overturning the results of an election. We all know that. But it’s not the first time they’ve done this. The first time a Republican president was elected this century, they said he didn’t really win. The Supreme Court gave him the election. There’s a pattern here.
What do sure odds of the Democrats rejecting the next Republican president really mean? It means they don’t accept the results of any election that they don’t win. It means they don’t believe that transfers of power in this country are determined by elections.
That’s a civil war.
There’s no shooting. At least not unless you count the attempt to kill a bunch of Republicans at a charity baseball game practice. But the Democrats have rejected our system of government.
This isn’t dissent. It’s not disagreement. You can hate the other party. You can think they’re the worst thing that ever happened to the country. But then you work harder to win the next election. When you consistently reject the results of elections that you don’t win, what you want is a dictatorship.
Your very own dictatorship.
The only legitimate exercise of power in this country, according to Democrats, is its own. Whenever Republicans exercise power, it’s inherently illegitimate. The Democrats lost Congress. They lost the White House. So what did they do? They began trying to run the country through Federal judges and bureaucrats. Every time that a Federal judge issues an order saying that the President of the United States can’t scratch his own back without his say so, that’s the civil war.
Our system of government is based on the constitution, but that’s not the system that runs this country. The Democrat’s system is that any part of government that it runs gets total and unlimited power over the country.
If the Democrats are in the White House, then the president can do anything. And I mean anything. He can have his own amnesty for illegal aliens. He can fine you for not having health insurance. His power is unlimited. He’s a dictator.
But when Republicans get into the White House, suddenly the President can’t do anything. He isn’t even allowed to undo the illegal alien amnesty that his predecessor illegally invented. A Democrat in the White House has “discretion” to completely decide every aspect of immigration policy. A Republican doesn’t even have the “discretion” to reverse him. That’s how the game is played. That’s how our country is run. Sad but true, although the left hasn’t yet won that particular fight.
When a Democrat is in the White House, states aren’t even allowed to enforce immigration law. But when a Republican is in the White House, states can create their own immigration laws. Under Obama, a state wasn’t allowed to go to the bathroom without asking permission. But under Trump, Jerry Brown can go around saying that California is an independent republic and sign treaties with other countries.
The Constitution has something to say about that.
Whether it’s Federal or State, Executive, Legislative or Judiciary, the left moves power around to run the country. If it controls an institution, then that institution is suddenly the supreme power in the land. This is what I call a moving dictatorship.
Donald Trump has caused the Shadow Government to come out of hiding: Professional government is a guild. Like medieval guilds. You can’t serve in if you’re not a member. If you haven’t been indoctrinated into its arcane rituals. If you aren’t in the club. And Trump isn’t in the club. He brought in a bunch of people who aren’t in the club with him.
Now we’re seeing what the pros do when amateurs try to walk in on them. They spy on them, they investigate them and they send them to jail. They use the tools of power to bring them down.
That’s not a free country.
It’s not a free country when FBI agents who support Hillary take out an “insurance policy” against Trump winning the election. It’s not a free country when Obama officials engage in massive unmasking of the opposition. It’s not a free country when the media responds to the other guy winning by trying to ban the conservative media that supported him from social media. It’s not a free country when all of the above collude together to overturn an election because the guy who wasn’t supposed to win won.
Have no doubt, we’re in a civil war between conservative volunteer government and a leftist Democrat professional government.
That is how WARS START from within.
Revolution and Worse To Come
On the domestic and foreign fronts, the Trump administration has prompted economic growth and restored U.S. deterrence. Polls show increased consumer confidence, and in some, Trump himself has gained ground. Yet good news is bad news to the Resistance and its strange continued efforts to stop an elected president in a way it failed to do in the 2016 election.
Indeed, the aim of the so-called Resistance to Donald J. Trump is ending Trump’s presidency by any means necessary before the 2020 election. Or, barring that, it seeks to so delegitimize him that he becomes presidentially impotent. It has been only 16 months since Trump took office and, in the spirit of revolutionary fervor, almost everything has been tried to derail him. Now we are entering uncharted territory — at a time when otherwise the country is improving and the legal exposure of Trump’s opponents increases daily……
Each cycle of hysteria demands another, as the race to the bottom has descended into which celebrity or politician can discover the most provocative — or crude — Trump expletive. “S***” and “f***” are now the ordinary vocabulary of angry Democratic politicos and officeholders. Are we reaching a point in the so-far-failed Resistance where little is left except abject violence in the manner of the Roman or French Revolution? The problem for Trump’s pop-culture foes is not whether to imagine or advocate killing the president. That’s a given. They just need to agree on the means of doing so: decapitation (Kathy Griffin), incineration (David Crosby), stabbing (the Shakespeare in the Park troupe), shooting (Snoop Dogg), explosives (Madonna), old-fashioned, Lincoln-style assassination (Johnny Depp), death by elevator (Kamala Harris), hanging (a CSU professor), or simple generic assassination (a Missouri state legislator).
The Resistance and rabid anti-Trumpers have lost confidence in the constitutional framework of elections, and they’ve flouted the tradition by which the opposition allows the in-power party to present its case to the court of public opinion.
Now the Democratic party — whose presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, hired Christopher Steele to find dirt on Trump with the aid of Russian sources to warp the 2016 election — is suing President Trump, alleging collusion with the Russians. If Clinton were called as a witness, what would she say under cross-examination — that she did not hire Steele, that he never purchased Russian dirt, or that there was no collusion effort to enlist foreign nationals such as British subject Christopher Steele and Russian propagandists to warp an American election?
Insidiously and incrementally, we are in the process of normalizing violence against the elected president of the United States. If all this fails to delegitimize Trump, fails to destroy his health, or fails to lead to a 2018 midterm Democratic sweep and subsequent impeachment, expect even greater threats of violence. The Resistance and rabid anti-Trumpers have lost confidence in the constitutional framework of elections, and they’ve flouted the tradition by which the opposition allows the in-power party to present its case to the court of public opinion.
Notes and Articles I’ve Been Watching;
Military and NSA against FBI and CIA?
The military stays loyal to Trump and has raided the CIA’s Langley, Virginia office.
The military is now destroying the funds coming into the CIA from drug networks that were being used to fund ISIS and other terrorist organizations. https://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/obama-hezbollah-drug-trafficking-investigation/
The military is knocking out the insiders behind a network of CIA and FBI agents behind a sedition attempt.
They’re dismantling the inner government’s influence and putting them in their place.
They’ll also dismantle the media propaganda tools that they use as well. There’s a big power struggle on right now.
That’s why Trump has surrounded himself with the military. The CIA can’t move the heroin and coke without them.
Congressional Hearings and FISA – FBI
HERRIDGE: Was the ethics complaint legitimate?
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): No, I think this was just a clear design by the left working in conjunction with parts of our government to keep information away from me and the House Intelligence Committee.
HERRIDGE: Nunes publicly confirmed for the first time a month-long probe that goes well beyond the Russia case into the surveillance of Americans through the FISA, or the national security courts.
NUNES: I believe we have evidence that there is definitely abuses have occurred.
HERRIDGE: And Nunes pointed to the leaked conversation of the General Mike Flynn with the Russian ambassador and the Congressman said he is unaware of any leak investigation by the FBI or Justice Department.
NUNES: I hate to use the word corrupt, but they’ve become at least so dirty that who is watching the watchmen? Who is investigating these people? There is no one.
The Deep State Watergate https://mises.org/wire/why-deep-state-war-trump
Of course, that would punch a deep hole in the entire RussiaGate witchhunt because NSA, in fact, did record Flynn’s late December conversations with Russian Ambassador Kislyak. And there was not a single word in them that related to alleged campaign collusion or otherwise inappropriate communications by the in-coming national security adviser to a newly-elected President who was three-weeks from inauguration.
Indeed, as explained below, Mueller has effectively told us that Flynn’s communications with Kislyak were clean as a whistle.
Accordingly, there was no reason whatsoever — as in none, nichts, nada and nugatory, too — for the FBI’s January 24th interview of Flynn. Four days after the inauguration, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and the FBI were wasting the time of the new President’s national security advisor for no earthly reason except to administer a “gotcha quiz” on what they knew from the transcripts to be completely innocent conversations with the Russian Ambassador
The content of the calls was entirely about pending policy matters. That is, the UN security council resolution condemning Israel’s settlements policy and Obama’s belligerent new anti-Russia sanctions. With respect to both of these matters, the incoming President had a publicly known policy position different from the incumbent’s, and about which his team was completely entitled to communicate with official foreign ambassadors.
So the January 24th interview itself was a Nixonesque abuse of the nation’s law enforcement machinery to strike at a political enemy — albeit a mighty legitimate one who had just become occupant of the Oval Office by will of the American people.
These new-style Deep State “plumbers” who openly broke into the White House that day, in fact, conducted a blatant entrapment exercise with malice aforethought. Its only possible purpose was to bait Flynn into contradicting the word-for-word transcripts in the FBI’s possession — intercepts which had been illegally “unmasked” by Brennan’s political witch-hunt for Russian election malefactors.
And we use the “illegal” word purposefully to underscore that the only ultimate justice here is for Obama’s rogue CIA director to be locked-up.
The deep state believes that they are the permanent government who serve the public (with their own views of what constitutes good governance), not elected officials who come and go with each election and merely pander to the minority of the public that votes. The deep state believes that they and they alone are “experts” who should apply their special skills and knowledge for the good of the public. In a very real sense, that is what the progressive movement made popular by Woodrow Wilson believed — government should be divorced from electoral accountability and composed of benevolent, unelected, unaccountable expert bureaucrats, kind of modern day Mandarin class.
Additionally, according to a report by The Intercept:
“[Maguire] said there were people inside the CIA who joined in the previous eight years [under Obama] and inside the government and they were failing to give the president the intelligence he needed,” said a person who was pitched by Maguire and other Amyntor personnel. To support his claim, Maguire told at least two people that National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, in coordination with a top official at the National Security Agency, authorized surveillance of Steven Bannon and Trump family members, including Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. Adding to these unsubstantiated claims, Maguire told the potential donors he also had evidence H.R. McMaster used a burner phone to send information gathered through the surveillance to a facility in Cyprus owned by George Soros.
As it turns out, Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) has an interesting theory on that question which he shared during his questioning of FBI Director Chris Wray last week. To summarize, Jordan’s theory is that Strzok received the controversial “Trump Dossier” from the Clinton campaign then went to the FISA courts where he passed it off as a legitimate piece of intelligence in an effort to obtain the warrants necessary to effectively spy on the Trump campaign.
“Here’s what I think Director Wray. I think Peter Strzok, head of counter intelligence at the FBI, Peter Strzok the guy who ran the Clinton investigation and did all the interviews, Peter Strzok, the guy who was running the Russia investigation at the FBI, Peter Strzok, Mr. ‘Super Agent’ at the FBI, I think he’s the guy who took the application to the FISA court…and if that happened…if you have the FBI working with the Democrats’ campaign, taking opposition research, dressing it all up and turning it into an intelligence document and taking it to the FISA court so they can spy on the other campaign…if that happened…that’s as wrong as it gets.”
Grassley’s letter reads:
“Yesterday, the Justice Department released a subset of text messages requested by the Committee. The limited release of 375 text messages between Mr. Peter Strzok and Ms. Lisa Page indicate a highly politicized FBI environment during both the Clinton and Russia investigations. For example, one text message from Ms. Page proclaims to Mr. Strzok, “God(,) Trump is a loathsome human.
Some of these texts appear to go beyond merely expressing a private political opinion, and appear to cross the line into taking some official action to create an “insurance policy” against a Trump presidency. Mr. Strzok writes the following to Ms. Page:
I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office – that there’s no way he gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40…
Presumably, “Andy” refers to Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. So whatever was being discussed extended beyond just Page and Stzrok at least to Mr. McCabe, who was involved in supervising both investigations
Another text from Ms. Page to Mr. Strzok on April 2, 2016, says the following:
So look, you say we text on that phone when we talk about hillary because it can’t be traced, you were just venting bc you feel bad that you’re gone so much but it can’t be helped right now.
That text message occurred during Mr. Strzok’s involvement in the Clinton investigation and days before he interviewed Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills on April 5, 2016 and April 9, 2016, respectively. Thus, the mention of “hillary” may refer to Secretary Clinton and therefore could indicate that Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page engaged in other communications about an ongoing investigation on a different phone in an effort to prevent it from being traced.”
Grassley then asks the following questions of the DOJ:
- On what date did you become aware of the text messages between Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page and on what date were they each removed from the Special Counsel’s office?
- Are there any other records relating to the conversation in Andrew McCabe’s office shortly before the text described above on August 15, 2016? [the “insurance policy” text] If so please produce them to the Committee.
- Please provide all records relating to Andrew McCabe’s communications with Peter Stzrok or Lisa Page between August 7, 2016 and August 23, 2016.
- What steps have you taken to determine whether Mr. Strzok, Mr. Page, and Mr. McCabe should face disciplinary action for their conduct?
- My understanding is that the Inspector General’s current investigation is limited to the handling of the Clinton email matter only. What steps have you taken to determine whether steps taken during the campaign to escalate the Russia investigation might have been a result of the political animus evidenced by these text messages rather than on the merits?
- Has the Department identified the referenced “that phone” Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page used to discuss Secretary Clinton? What steps has the Department taken to review the records on this other phone that allegedly “can’t be traced.”If none, please explain why
Grassley also tweeted “FBI owes answers abt “insurance policy” against Trump victory,” adding “…why would senior FBI leaders use secret phones that “cant be traced” to talk Hillary?”
Grassley grilled Senate Democrats last week for their unwillingness to investigate Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration, stating that the Democrats on the committee he oversees “only want to talk about [President] Trump.”
There are two major controversies plaguing the credibility of the Justice Department and the FBI right now. On the one hand the Trump Russia investigation, and then on the other hand the handling of the Clinton investigation. Any congressional oversight related to either one of these topics is not credible without also examining the other. Both cases were active during last year’s campaign. Both cases have been linked to the firing of the FBI Director.
These questions go to the heart of the integrity of our federal law enforcement and justice system.
With Chuck Grassley on the warpath in the Senate, and the House Intel Committee chasing down FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, one has to wonder how long the FBI and DOJ are going to be able to maintain this farce before shutting it down – especially if in fact other members of Mueller’s team also sent anti-Trump messages as journalist Sara Carter has claimed.
Excerpt: “…when it emerged that the White House was refusing to disclose at least 22 communications Obama had exchanged with then-secretary Clinton over the latter’s private e-mail account, we knew that Obama had knowingly engaged in the same misconduct that was the focus of the Clinton probe: the reckless mishandling of classified information….”
Some You Tube Background
Jim Jordan GRILLS Rod Rosenstein: Calls For Second Special Counsel 12/13/17
Sarah Sanders Explodes On Reporters Over Fake Russia Collusion Stories About Trump
Trump Executive Order December 23rd – 2017 – Target Clinton Foundation?
In a report by Tucker Carlson, a former long-time executive of now-defunct D.C. lobbying firm, The Podesta Group – who has been interviewed extensively by FBI special counsel Robert Mueller, claims that Tony Podesta was “basically part of the Clinton Foundation,” frequently meeting with the charity to discuss the Uranium One deal. Meanwhile, Tony’s DNC operative brother John Podesta reportedly recommended that the Podesta Group hire David Adams – Hillary Clinton’s chief adviser at the State Department, giving them a “direct liaison” between the group’s Russian clients and Hillary Clinton’s State Department. Hypothetically, if the Uranium One deal is deemed corrupt by the Trump administration, and “Russian nuclear officials” indeed routed millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation, and Tony Podesta lobbied on behalf of the deal for the Clinton Foundation – it stands to reason that this Executive Order could freeze the US-housed assets of quite a few individuals. Of note, assets can be frozen with no prior warning, as trump has declared a national emergency due to the “scope and gravity” of the threat posed by said individuals.
To simplify this complicated legal document a bit, keep in mind:
Goulnara Islamovna Karimova, 45, daughter of former Uzbekistan leader Islam Karimov, headed a powerful organized crime syndicate that leveraged state actors to expropriate businesses, monopolize markets, soliciting bribes, and administers extortion rackets.
In early 2016, Amsterdam-based telecom giant VimpelCom (now VEON) admitted to a conspiracy in which they paid millions in bribes to Karimova for entry into the Uzbek telecom market. In a series of related cases, the U.S. Justice Department has sought the forfeiture of $850 million in bribe money from various bank accounts across Europe. In July, Uzbek officials arrested Karimova for fraud, money laundering, bribery, and embezzlement and a variety of other claims.
In 2009, a WikiLeaks cable notes that Karimova set her sights on Bill Clinton to gain access to then-Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
Three years later, Karimova co-sponsored a 2012 Clinton Foundation fundraiser in Monaco. Hillary Clinton’s State Department was asked to weigh in on Bill Clinton’s contacts with Karimova. Pictured below with Bill Clinton at an AIDS charity event in Cannes, France.
Dan Gertler is an Israeli billionaire mining magnate revealed by the Paradise Papers to be chief negotiator between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and his primary business partner – mining company Glencore, founded by Marc Rich – who was pardoned for corruption by Bill Clinton on his last day in office after his wife gave $450,000 to the Clinton Library Foundation.
Glencore immediately cut ties with Gertler following Trump’s Executive Order.
In 2001 Gertler gave $20m in cash to DRC President Joseph Kabila to use to buy weapons and fund his war against rebels to consolidate his grip on power. In exchange, Gertler’s company IDI was granted a monopoly on the DRC diamond trade, worth hundreds of millions a year. In 2013, Gertler sold the DRC rights to mine oil for $150 million, a 300x increase on an asset he purchased from President Kabila 7 years prior for just $500,000.
In 2012, Kabila offered Bill Clinton $650k for a speech in the DRC – for which Clinton sought State Department approval – only to have his speaking agency recommend against the appearance which would require photos with the dictator.
Based on what the FBI knew – including evidence which purportedly includes a video of Russians preparing briefcases of bribe money – the Uranium One deal never should have gone through. Moreover, both Robert Mueller and current deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein were directly involved – and current Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other Justice Department officials appear to be covering for them.
In short, the FBI had ample evidence of the Russian bribery plot before the Obama administration approved the Uranium One deal thanks to their embedded mole in the Russian nuclear industry.
The informant – outed as energy consultant William Campbell – was “threatened” by Obama admin AG Loretta Lynch to keep quiet with an iron-clad gag order, according to his attorney – former Reagan Justice Dept. official and former Chief Counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee Victoria Toensing. After Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-VA) demanded Campbell be allowed to testify in front of Congress, the gag order was lifted.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions originally tried to claim that there was no connection between Uranium One and the nuclear transport bribery case, however several congressional republicans pushed back:
The implication that the highest levels of the FBI and DOJ, along with the State Dept are all, at the very least, complicit of collusion to commit fraud on the US government… Having pre-knowledge of Russian influence in the US uranium market and then covering it up reeks of treason…
Yahya Jammeh is the former President of Gambia who came to power in 1994 and stepped down in 2017. He has a long history of serious human rights abuses and corruption – creating a terror and assassination squad called the Junglers that answered directly to him.
Yahya and Zeinab Jammeh with Barack and Michelle Obama, 2014
Jammeh was installed as President during a 1994 CIA-led coup in Gambia authorized by the Clinton administration, and in 2014, the Obama administration effectively sidelined an attempted coup. Indeed, Jammeh appears to have been a friend to both the Clinton and the Obama Administrations.
Angel Rondon Rijo; Dominican Republic – Sanctioned for funneling a $92 million bribe from Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht to Dominican Republic officials as kickbacks. Odebrecht Donated $50-$100k to the Clinton Foundation.
Benjamin Bol Mel; Sudan – Financial Advisor to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and president of ABMC construction company accused of corruption. Hillary Clinton pushed for a waiver from the Obama Admin on the prohibition of military aid due to the use of child soldiers in South Sudan.
Artem Yuryevich Chayka; Russia – Son of Russia’s Prosecutor General, Yuri Chayka (Chaika) – used father’s connections to win state owned contracts. Curiously, Russian Attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya met with Yuri Chayka before her involvement in the infamous Trump Tower meeting arranged by Fusion GPS associate Rob Goldstone – a meeting many believe was one of several schemes used by the Obama administration to justify wiretapping the Trump campaign. Of note – Donald Trump Jr. reportedly shut down the Trump tower meeting when Natalia Veselnitskaya began discussing lifting sanctions under the Magnitsky act – the very legislation Trump’s Executive Order is now leveraging against Artem Chayka.
Mukhtar Hamid Shah; Pakistan – surgeon specializing in kidney transplants, believed to be involved in kidnapping, wrongful confinement, and the removal of and tracking in human organs from Pakistani laborers.
The rest of the 13 individuals have engaged in a variety of corruption and human rights abuses ranging from a Serbian arms dealer believed to be linked to a $95 million deal with Yemen, to government officials who ordered journalists murdered, to several instances of serious human rights violations. (h/t @HNIJohnMiller)
One wonders if perhaps the purpose of this Executive Order addressing serious human rights abusers and corruption – a national emergency, was intended to ensure the much talked about swamp renovation comes in ahead of schedule and under budget. We’ll know for sure if Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin starts freezing bank accounts after the holidays.
Read more at: it the Steele dossier that so frightened the FBI? I think so. There is a great deal of information to follow. But let’s cut to the chase: The Obama-era FBI and Justice Department had great faith in Steele because he had previously collaborated with the bureau on a big case. Plus, Steele was working on the Trump-Russia project with the wife of a top Obama Justice Department official, who was personally briefed by Steele. The upper ranks of the FBI and DOJ strongly preferred Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, to the point of overlooking significant evidence of her felony misconduct, even as they turned up the heat on Trump. In sum, the FBI and DOJ were predisposed to believe the allegations in Steele’s dossier. Because of their confidence in Steele, because they were predisposed to believe his scandalous claims about Donald Trump, they made grossly inadequate efforts to verify his claims. Contrary to what I hoped would be the case, I’ve come to believe Steele’s claims were used to obtain FISA surveillance authority for an investigation of Trump.
There were layers of insulation between the Clinton campaign and Steele — the campaign and the Democratic party retained a law firm, which contracted with Fusion GPS, which in turn hired the former spy. At some point, though, perhaps early on, the FBI and DOJ learned that the dossier was actually a partisan opposition-research product. By then, they were dug in. No one, after all, would be any the wiser: Hillary would coast to victory, so Democrats would continue running the government; FISA materials are highly classified, so they’d be kept under wraps. Just as it had been with the Obama-era’s Fast and Furious and IRS scandals, any malfeasance would remain hidden. The best laid schemes . . . gang aft agley.
Why It Matters Strzok’s text about the meeting in McCabe’s office is dated August 16, 2016. As we’ll see, the date is important. According to Agent Strzok, with Election Day less than three months away, Page, the bureau lawyer, weighed in on Trump’s bid: “There’s no way he gets elected.” Strzok, however, believed that even if a Trump victory was the longest of long shots, the FBI “can’t take that risk.” He insisted that the bureau had no choice but to proceed with a plan to undermine Trump’s candidacy: “It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.” The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that, “according to people familiar with his account,” Strzok meant that it was imperative that the FBI “aggressively investigate allegations of collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.” In laughable strawman fashion, the “people familiar with his account” assure the Journal that Strzok “didn’t intend to suggest a secret plan to harm the candidate.” Of course, no sensible person suspects that the FBI was plotting Trump’s assassination; the suspicion is that, motivated by partisanship and spurred by shoddy information that it failed to verify, the FBI exploited its counterintelligence powers in hopes of derailing Trump’s presidential run.
How Could Something Like This Happen? We do not have public confirmation that the dossier was, in fact, used by the bureau and the Justice Department to obtain the FISA warrant. Publicly, FBI and DOJ officials have thwarted the Congress with twaddle about protecting both intelligence sources and an internal inspector-general probe. Of course, Congress, which established and funds the DOJ and FBI, has the necessary security clearances to review classified information, has jurisdiction over the secret FISA court, and has independent constitutional authority to examine the activities of legislatively created executive agencies. It appears that the FBI corroborated few of Steele’s claims, and at an absurdly high level of generality. In any event, important reporting by Fox News’ James Rosen regarding Tuesday’s hearing indicates that the FBI did, in fact, credit the contents of the dossier. It appears, however, that the bureau corroborated few of Steele’s claims, and at an absurdly high level of generality — along the lines of: You tell me person A went to place X and committed a crime; I corroborate only that A went to X and blithely assume that because you were right about the travel, you must be right about the crime. Here, the FBI was able to verify Steele’s claim that Carter Page, a very loosely connected Trump-campaign adviser, had gone to Russia. This was not exactly meticulous gumshoe corroboration: Page told many people he was going to Russia, saw many people while there, and gave a speech at a prominent Moscow venue. Having verified only the travel information, the FBI appears to have credited the claims of Steele’s anonymous Russian sources that Page carried out nigh-treasonous activities while in Russia. How could something like this happen? Well, the FBI and DOJ liked and trusted Steele, for what seem to be good reasons. As the Washington Post has reported, the former MI-6 agent’s private intelligence firm, Orbis, was retained by England’s main soccer federation to investigate corruption at FIFA, the international soccer organization that had snubbed British bids to host the World Cup. In 2010, Steele delivered key information to the FBI’s organized-crime liaison in Europe. This helped the bureau build the Obama Justice Department’s most celebrated racketeering prosecution: the indictment of numerous FIFA officials and other corporate executives. Announcing the first wave of charges in May 2015, Attorney General Loretta Lynch made a point of thanking the investigators’ “international partners” for their “outstanding assistance.” At the time, Bruce Ohr was the Obama Justice Department’s point man for “Transnational Organized Crime and International Affairs,” having been DOJ’s long-serving chief of the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. He also wore a second, top-echelon DOJ hat: associate deputy attorney general. That made him a key adviser to the deputy attorney general, Sally Yates (who later, as acting attorney general, was fired for insubordinately refusing to enforce President Trump’s so-called travel ban). In the chain of command, the FBI reports to the DAG’s office. To do the Trump-Russia research, Steele had been retained by the research firm Fusion GPS (which, to repeat, had been hired by lawyers for the Clinton campaign and the DNC). Fusion GPS was run by its founder, former Wall Street Journal investigative journalist Glenn Simpson. Bruce Ohr’s wife, Nellie, a Russia scholar, worked for Simpson at Fusion. The Ohrs and Simpson appear to be longtime acquaintances, dating back to when Simpson was a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center. In 2010, all three participated in a two-day conference on international organized crime, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice (see conference schedule and participant list, pp. 27–30). In connection with the Clinton campaign’s Trump-Russia project, Fusion’s Nellie Ohr collaborated with Steele and Simpson, and DOJ’s Bruce Ohr met personally with Steele and Simpson.
Read more at: But the choices are wise for reasons beyond public support, however well earned. Most Americans can’t possibly understand the immense challenge of leading large formations in the modern military. A general is a warfighter, yes, but he’s also a human-resources officer, a procurements expert, and a manager. A general is accustomed to dealing with bloated bureaucracies and making them bend to his will. The military has an extremely sharp and deadly spear, but behind that small tip is a bureaucracy so unwieldy that it can make you weep with frustration. No general has been capable of stripping down that bureaucracy — no person has proven that powerful — but the best generals can at least shape it, command it, and accomplish the mission. Selecting retired generals for key national-security posts is a key signal that Trump is shunning a law-enforcement approach to the war on terror. For the time being, the longstanding debate about whether terrorism is primarily a police challenge (like fighting a Mafia on steroids) or a military challenge is over. And that’s very welcome news. Jihadists present a military-scale challenge to American lives and treasure, and we must counter that with a consistent military-scale response.
Civilian control of the government is indispensable to the American republic, but if the Founders of that republic had the slightest concern that former officers were less qualified to govern, they wouldn’t have wanted the commander in chief of the Continental Army to become our nation’s first president. It was that retired general who established many of the traditions and customs of the presidency — traditions and customs that limited the control and influence of that office. He could have been a near-king, a warrior-leader of our new nation. Instead, he chose to be a constitutional president. Trump’s generals aren’t “dangerous.” They fit within a long and distinguished line of military leaders who went on to serve their nation as civilians. We now hope they will serve as well in business suits as they did in combat boots.
How Trump is empowering the military — and raising some eyebrows (CNN)
By Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Updated 9:31 AM ET, Mon June 26, 2017
Trump administration officials have described the changes as a deliberate effort to empower the military and reverse the protocols that defined the Obama administration’s oversight of military campaigns that much of the top brass described as micromanagement that needlessly hamstrung commanders. Although not to the same extent, some of those complaints also stemmed from the era of President George W. Bush, military experts said.
“No longer will we have slowed decision cycles because Washington, DC, has to authorize tactical movements on the ground,” Mattis said in May. “I have absolute confidence as does the President, our commander in chief, in the commanders on the ground as he’s proven by delegating this authority to me with the authority to further delegate it and they’ve carried it out aggressively.”
The sentiment is widespread in military circles.
Retired Gen. John Allen, who forcefully criticized Trump during the campaign, expressed support for some of Trump’s moves to empower military commanders. The former top commander in Afghanistan and later Obama’s special envoy for the anti-ISIS coalition recalled how he and other top military officials have long craved “greater flexibility” to more effectively carry out their mission and “maintain the momentum against the enemy.”
The Trump accusers include makeup-artist Jill Harth and Katie Johnson. Harth – who allowed a Lisa Bloom donor to pay off her mortgage before she accused President Trump of sexual assault, approached the Trump campaign about doing Donald Trump’s makeup, was rejected, and later cropped up as an accuser shortly before the 2016 election. Another Trump accuser, Katie Johnson fabricated a story of Trump raping her when she was 13 at one of billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s notorious ‘sex parties.’ Johnson, another client of Lisa Bloom, withdrew her case against Trump days before the election, while the Daily Mail reported that she made it all up.
Brock is no stranger to meddling in Trump’s affairs to try and influence the 2016 election – having spearheaded an army of Correct the Record “nerd virgins” who were “crammed into a newsroom-style bullpen in the back corner of the offices of American Bridge 21st Century” to attack then-candidate Donald Trump while vehemently defending Hillary Clinton. Various Brock-linked anti-Trump groups Media Matters, ShareBlue, American Bridge and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) set a $40 million budget to fight Trump at the beginning of 2017.
Brock is also no stranger to funneling money to people – once having paid $850,000 to a former domestic partner of over 10 years after he began dating D.C. pizza restaurant impresario James Alefantis. Brock’s scorned partner, William Grey, threatened to expose damaging information involving Media Matters donors.
4) Other than Andrew McCarthy of National Review, few have written about the FISA-court application(s) for surveillance of Trump-campaign officials that the FISA court rejected in June 2016, shortly before Trump was nominated as the Republican candidate. Given that 99.97 percent of FISA requests are eventually granted, why exactly did a federal judge quite extraordinarily reject an Obama-administration FBI-DOJ request? Was it too “broad” or insufficiently sourced in June? And what (or who) had changed by October, when a subsequent request was apparently granted? Was Strzok’s July investigation of Papadopoulos better grounds to surveille Trump associates? Was the dossier (which apparently became known to the FBI as early as June or July 2016) initially used to obtain a warrant, to no avail? Or was the dossier instead used first in October, on a subsequent attempt, and in this case the FISA court granted the warrant? 5) The talented, Trump-hating Peter Strzok was a sort of ubiquitous Zelig of FISA-gate and the most interesting of all the players named so far in the case. He probably convinced Comey to change the wording of his report on Hillary Clinton to prevent criminal liability. He may have started the whole shebang off by investigating George Papadopoulos. He texted away to his mistress and fellow FBI investigator Lisa Page the court secrets of the FBI and Mueller investigations, saying his gut sense was that there was “no big there there” to the entire effort. He interviewed Mike Flynn without Flynn’s lawyer being present, and he probably compared Flynn’s responses in that interview to FISA intercepts. He also met with Andrew McCabe to ponder ways to nullify the Trump ascendency. And unlike his far less talented superiors, he may have been careful to avoid strictly breaking the law. 6) Even less has been written about the Obama administration’s public attitude to the ongoing efforts of its own DOJ and FBI to seek FISA warrants to surveille Trump associates. Trump (apparently tipped off to prior FISA surveillance of his campaign associates) presciently tweeted on March 4:
At some distant point, investigators and the media will conclude that the nexus of wrongdoing was likely Barack Obama himself. Aside from the massaged investigations of Hillary Clinton’s wrongdoing, during the election of 2016 and the Trump transition of November 2016 to January 2017, Obama allowed his DOJ and the FBI to manipulate the FISA courts to surveille an American citizen and indirectly target others. He then made sure such data were disseminated among as many administration hands as possible. And he further allowed his subordinates to unmask surveilled citizens, whose identities and (in some cases conversations) were ultimately leaked to news organizations. That was a process of leaking and sensationalism that sought first to damage the Trump campaign. Ultimately, it succeeded in creating overwhelming public and official Washington pressure to justify James Comey’s later efforts to angle for the appointment of a special counsel. The House Intelligence Committee’s “phase one” memo, as Nunes has described it, limits itself to the likely wrongdoing of DOJ and FBI officials.
‘NEW FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS!’: Trump blasts out revelations about new messages between FBI lovers showing Obama wanted to be briefed on EVERYTHING happening in Clinton email investigation
- Lisa Page wrote her lover Peter Strzok about the Clinton probe: Obama ‘wants to know everything we’re doing’
- Obama had said he could ‘guarantee’ he wouldn’t interfere and there would be ‘no political influence’ in the FBI investigation
- The September 2, 2016 text message was among more 50,000 texts the pair sent during a two-year extramarital affair
- Page was an FBI lawyer, and Strzok was a leading investigator on both the Clinton probe and the more recent Trump-Russia investigation
- Strzok, though expected to be nonpartisan, also called Trump ‘a f***ing idiot’ and texted Page about a cryptic ‘insurance policy’ against a Trump presidency
- ‘NEW FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS!’ President Trump tweeted on Wednesday
Looks like Lisa Page is the weak link.
Strzok confided everything to her about the “insurance policy” and the “Plan.” It should be obvious to everyone, even Sessions, that the policy and plan was to help Hillary win, and destroy Trump if he won by spying on his campaign.
I believe Sessions is waiting for the Horowitz IG report which will give him political cover to appoint a Special Counsel to investigate the Comey investigation of the Hillary “matter,” which is directly related and mixed with the FISA warrants.
Strzok is the main operator in both. Page will give up Strzok, then Strzok will have to decide if he takes the fall for McCabe and Obama. Strzok reported to McCabe. He will give up McCabe.
I doubt McCabe will take the fall for Obama.
And we have James Comey who knows what happened. He seems to have some remnant of conscience when he detailed Hillary’s criminality during his July 2 press conference while giving her a pass. Comey is the wild card.
Federal prosecutors want to drop charges against the four remaining defendants in the Bundy Ranch standoff case, including two militia members from Arizona.
Attorneys for the Nevada U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a motion late Wednesday asking the court to dismiss the remaining cases “in the interest of justice.”
Dave and Mel Bundy, and Arizona residents Joseph O’Shaughnessy and Jason Woods, were scheduled to stand trial Feb. 26.
They were the last of 19 defendants originally charged with taking up arms against federal agents to prevent a roundup of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle from public lands in 2014.
The motion is the latest twist in a legal saga that has included three trials, two acquittals, a handful of plea deals, two mistrials and a judge’s finding of prosecutorial misconduct. It represents an ignominious loss for prosecutors. They saw their cases disintegrate last month when a judge dismissed charges against Cliven Bundy and other standoff leaders, saying federal prosecutors had violated the men’s rights to a fair trial by withholding evidence.
In the motion, federal prosecutors referenced a separate motion Wednesday asking the judge to reconsider the dismissal of charges. In the interim, they said, they had no choice but to drop the remaining cases.
“The government believes that under these circumstances and in the interest of justice, it is appropriate to move to dismiss the superseding indictment,” they said.
Federal prosecutors handling the case could not be reached for comment Wednesday. They have so far refrained from any public comment.
- Undercover FBI informant William Campbell has given written testimony to Congressional investigators after an “iron clad” gag order was lifted in October
- Campbell was a highly valued CIA and FBI asset deeply embedded in the Russian nuclear industrywhile Robert Mueller was the Director of the FBI
- Campbell was required by the Russians, under threat, to launder large sums of money – which allowed the FBI to uncover a massive Russian “nuclear money laundering apparatus“
- He collected over 5,000 documents and briefs over a six year period, some of which detail efforts by Moscow to route money to the Clinton Foundation
- Campbell claims to have video evidenceof bribe money related to the Uranium One deal being stuffed into suitcases.
- The Obama FBI knew about the bribery scheme, yet the administration still approved the Uranium One deal.
- To thank him for his service, Campbell was paid $51,000 by FBI officials at a 2016 celebration dinner in Chrystal City
- When it emerged that Campbell had evidence against the Clinton Foundation, a Yahoo News articleby Michael Isikoff (of FISA warrant application fame) slammed Campbell as a “disaster” potential witness
An undercover FBI informant embedded in the Russian nuclear industry who was made to sign an “illegal NDA” by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch has finally given his testimony to three Congressional committees.
William D. Campbell became an FBI counterintelligence asset after spending several years as a CIA operative who developed working relationships in the nuclear industry in Kazakhstan and Russia.
“For several years my relationship with the CIA consisted of being debriefed after foreign travel,” Campbell noted in his testimony, which was obtained by this reporter. “Gradually, the relationship evolved into the CIA tasking me to travel to specific countries to obtain specific information. In the 1990’s I developed a working relationship with Kazakhstan and Russia in their nuclear energy industries. When I told the CIA of this development, I was turned over to FBI counterintelligence agents.” –saracarter.com
First, Campbell discovered that Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm, Transport Logistics International (TLI) in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act – which bribed a Russian nuclear official in exchange for a contract transport Russian-mined U.S. uranium, including “yellowcake” uranium secured in the Uranium One deal.
Second, Campbell says that Russian nuclear officials told him of a scheme to route millions of dollars to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) through lobbying firm ARPCO, which was expected to funnel a portion of its annual $3 million lobbying fee to the charity.
“The contract called for four payments of $750,000 over twelve months. APCO was expected to give assistance free of charge to the Clinton Global Initiative as part of their effort to create a favorable environment to ensure the Obama administration made affirmative decisions on everything from Uranium One to the U.S.-Russia Civilian Nuclear Cooperation agreement.“ -William Campbell
Campbell told Congressional investigators that the Uranium One deal along with billions in other uranium contracts inside the United States during the Obama administration was part of a “Russian uranium dominance strategy” involving Tenex and its American arm Tenem – both subsidiaries of state-owned Russian energy company Rosatom.
“The emails and documents I intercepted during 2010 made clear that Rosatom’s purchase of Uranium One – for both its Kazakh and American assets – was part of Russia’s geopolitical strategy to gain leverage in global energy markets,” he testified. “I obtained documentary proof that Tenex was helping Rosatom win CFIUS approval, including an October 6, 2010 email … asking me specifically to help overcome opposition to the Uranium One deal.”
“Rosatom/Tenex threw a party to celebrate, which was widely attended by American nuclear industry officials. At the request of the FBI, I attended and recorded video footage of Tenam’s new offices,” he added.
An FBI informant connected to the Uranium One controversy told three congressional committees in a written statement that Moscow routed millions of dollars to America with the expectation it would be used to benefit Bill Clinton’s charitable efforts while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton quarterbacked a “reset” in U.S.-Russian relations.
The informant, Douglas Campbell, said in the statement obtained by The Hill that he was told by Russian nuclear executives that Moscow had hired the American lobbying firm APCO Worldwide specifically because it was in position to influence the Obama administration, and more specifically Hillary Clinton.
Campbell added in the testimony that Russian nuclear officials “told me at various times that they expected APCO to apply a portion of the $3 million annual lobbying fee it was receiving from the Russians to provide in-kind support for the Clintons’ Global Initiative.”
“The contract called for four payments of $750,000 over twelve months. APCO was expected to give assistance free of charge to the Clinton Global Initiative as part of their effort to create a favorable environment to ensure the Obama administration made affirmative decisions on everything from Uranium One to the U.S.-Russia Civilian Nuclear Cooperation agreement.”
A favorable ruling on transferring one-fifth of our uranium supply, a commodity we heavily import, is exactly what the Russians got for their efforts. As investigative journalist Sara Carter reports, Campbell testified on how the Clintons traded our uranium supply for Russian cash, but also how they were aiding Iran’s nuclear program even as the denied doing so:
An informant who spent years gathering information on the Russian energy and uranium market industry for the FBI, met staff members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, House Oversight, and House Intelligence Committees on Wednesday. He gave explosive testimony on his years as an undercover informant providing information to the FBI on Russian criminal networks operating in the United States. He also contends in his testimony, and written briefs, to the FBI that Russia attempted to hide its ongoing aid to help sustain Iran’s nuclear industry, at the time the Obama administration approved the sale of 20 percent of U.S. uranium mining rights to Russia.
William D. Campbell, an American businessman, provided extensive information on other counterintelligence issues to the FBI for decades and he had also provided information to the CIA on various issues during his time overseas…
The informant’s attorney, Victoria Toensing partner at the firm DiGenova & Toensing, said the following:
“Mr. Campbell testified for over four hours until he answered every question from three Congressional committees; the Senate Judiciary, House Oversight and House Intelligence committees. He recounted numerous times that the Russians bragged that the Clintons’ influence in the Obama administration would ensure CIFIUS approval for Uranium One. And he was right.”
Given the tight control Obama exercised over every part of his administration and agenda, the idea that any of these appointees and loyalists freelanced their activities without at least his tacit approval or that of his White House strains credulity.
These kinds of abuses of power were nothing new, given the Obama team’s long history of this type of misconduct on everything from the Benghazi terror attack to the political misuse of the IRS. They weaponized the most fearsome government agencies to target, monitor and presumably illegally unmask political opponents, including members of Congress, journalists reporting unfavorable stories, Trump allies and average Americans.
These dark institutional offenses didn’t just materialize out of thin air. One of the criticisms of President Nixon was that even though he wasn’t aware of the Watergate break-in, he had created an environment in which such an action was acceptable.
Decades later, Obama created a climate in which the potentially criminal misuse of the DOJ and the FBI, as currently being unraveled, was not just acceptable but perhaps encouraged, thereby giving rise to what could be the most dangerous scandal in American history.
It’s increasingly apparent that these recently exposed abuses of power served two ostensible purposes: to secure Hillary Clinton’s candidacy by shielding her from prosecution stemming from the use of her unauthorized private server, and to derail the candidacy and presidency of Donald Trump.
(From Mike Rowe’s Facebook)
Returning the Favor
A couple years ago, when Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were getting divorced, Jolie was quoted as saying, “It never even crossed my mind that my son would need a father.”
I was struck by her comment, and I remember wondering how many other Americans might share her view. At the time, I didn’t think many. But today, I’m convinced the number is significant. I’m also amazed at how quickly fatherhood has fallen out of favor. Can you imagine a celebrity – or anyone for that matter – saying such a thing just twenty years ago?
This week’s episode of RTF is about a guy named Carlos who found an effective way to deprogram bullies. Please watch it. It’s a great story about a great guy making a real difference around a serious issue. It occurred to me though, half way through filming, that bullying – like so many other social ills in today’s headlines – isn’t really a problem at all; it’s a symptom. In my view, a symptom of a society that seems to value fatherhood less and less.
The facts seem pretty clear.
• 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes – 5 times the average. (US Dept. Of Health/Census)
• 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
• 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Center for Disease Control)
• 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes – 14 times the average. (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
• 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report)
• 43% of US children live without their father [US Department of Census]
Is it really so surprising to learn that a majority of bullies also come from fatherless homes? As do a majority of school shooters? As do a majority of older male shooters?
I know this is controversial, and I’m sorry to inject an uncomfortable element into a post about a “feel-good” show, but I think it’s important to consider the possibility that this thing we like to call “an epidemic of bullying,” is really an “epidemic of fatherlessness.” I also think it’s reasonable to conclude that our society is sending a message to men of all ages that is decidedly mixed.
Think about it. On the one hand, we’re telling them to “man-up” whenever the going gets tough. On the other, we’re condemning a climate of “toxic masculinity” at every turn. If that strikes you as confusing, imagine being a fourteen-year old boy with no father figure to help you make sense of it.
Anyway, the bullying crisis is real, but the root cause has nothing to do with video games, or guns, or social media, or rock and roll, or sugary drinks, or any of the other boogymen currently in fashion. Nor is it a function of some new chromosome unique to the current crop of kids coming of age. Kids are the same now as they were a hundred years ago – petulant, brave, arrogant, earnest, frightened, and cocksure. It’s the parents who have changed. It’s the parents who have put their own happiness above the best interests of their kids. It’s the parents who actually believe “the village” will raise their kids, when the village is profoundly incapable of doing anything of the sort.
Of course, I could be wrong. I often am. But I can tell you with certainty that whatever the root causes of bullying may be, Carlos Flores is part of the solution. Watch the video and see for yourself. And if you’d like to see more men like him, doing similar things in other places, do me a favor and share his story. It’s a good one. And imitation is also part of the solution…
“You have a first class education from a first class school. And so you need not, probably cannot, live a ‘paint-by-numbers’ life. Decisions are not irrevocable. Choices do come back. And as you set off from Wellesley, I hope that many of you will consider making three very special choices.
The first is to believe in something larger than yourself, to get involved in some of the big ideas of our time. I chose literacy because I honestly believe that if more people could read, write, and comprehend, we would be that much closer to solving so many of the problems that plague our nation and our society.
And early on I made another choice, which I hope you’ll make as well. Whether you are talking about education, career, or service, you’re talking about life — and life really must have joy. It’s supposed to be fun.
One of the reasons I made the most important decision of my life, to marry George Bush, is because he made me laugh. It’s true, sometimes we’ve laughed through our tears, but that shared laughter has been one of our strongest bonds. Find the joy in life, because as Ferris Bueller said on his day off, ‘Life moves pretty fast; and you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you’re going to miss it.’
The third choice that must not be missed is to cherish your human connections: your relationships with family and friends. For several years, you’ve had impressed upon you the importance to your career of dedication and hard work. And, of course, that’s true. But as important as your obligations as a doctor, a lawyer, a business leader will be, you are a human being first. And those human connections — with spouses, with children, with friends — are the most important investments you will ever make.
At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend, or a parent.
Now maybe we should adjust faster; maybe we should adjust slower. But whatever the era twenty — whatever the era, whatever the times, one thing will never change: fathers and mothers, if you have children, they must come first. You must read to your children, and you must hug your children, and you must love your children. Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends not on what happens in the White House, but on what happens inside your house.”
It has been more than a decade since Pope John Paul II observed that “[o]ne of the most significant aspects of our current situation . . . is the ‘crisis of meaning.’” Some mental health professionals have linked this crisis to the surge of mental illness in our society.
Health professionals say it’s quite common to cope with feelings of meaningless like the people in Rafferty’s song—late nights, booze, one-night stands. (And, of course, there are additional ways to cope or distract ourselves that are more common to modern man: texting, workaholism, Twitter, internet porn, day-trading, etc.)
The point of the song gets at what I believe is an important truth: our lives often turn into sad patterns that are difficult to escape. This is especially true, I think, if people lack clear purpose and meaning in their lives.
I’m reading Victor Frankl’s famous book, Man’s Search for Meaning. If you haven’t read it, you’re missing out. Frankl was a Jew that was deported to the worst of the worst Nazi concentration camps from 1942 to 1945. In his professional life, Frankl was a physician/psychiatrist. His detailed account of the stages of psychological break down of the prisoners is riveting and left me wondering how on earth someone could survive such despair.
The hypothesis fo the book was that survival in such terrible conditions hinged on a prisoners hope in a better future, their ability to serve others, their faith (which manifested into fate), and the bonds and community prisoners created during the darkest days.
Wikipedia – After enduring the suffering in these camps, Frankl concluded that even in the most absurd, painful, and dehumanized situation, life has potential meaning and that, therefore, even suffering is meaningful. He said, “What is to give light must endure burning.”
An example of Frankl’s idea of finding meaning in the midst of extreme suffering is found in his account of an experience he had while working in the harsh conditions of the Nazi concentration camps:
We stumbled on in the darkness, over big stones and through large puddles, along the one road leading from the camp. The accompanying guards kept shouting at us and driving us with the butts of their rifles. Anyone with very sore feet supported himself on his neighbor’s arm. Hardly a word was spoken; the icy wind did not encourage talk. Hiding his mouth behind his upturned collar, the man marching next to me whispered suddenly: “If our wives could see us now! I do hope they are better off in their camps and don’t know what is happening to us.”
That brought thoughts of my own wife to mind. And as we stumbled on for miles, slipping on icy spots, supporting each other time and again, dragging one another up and onward, nothing was said, but we both knew: each of us was thinking of his wife. Occasionally I looked at the sky, where the stars were fading and the pink light of the morning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds. But my mind clung to my wife’s image, imagining it with an uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look. Real or not, her look was then more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise.
A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which Man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of Man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when Man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way – an honorable way – in such a position Man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, “The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.”
The Power Of Community and Deep Relationships
The power of deep relationships and connection to community continue to be themes that I’m exploring. Basically, we as humans have evolved to be a social being. I’ve blogged about the role of social media starving our ever-connected world from truly connecting.
Check out the Art of Manliness interview with Emily Esfahani Smith about her book, The Power of Meaning, Finding Fulfillment in A World of Obsessed with Happiness. Emily details how the pursuit of happiness is shallow without meaning.
We begin our discussion talking about the difference between happiness and meaning and why the latter brings more fulfillment. Emily then highlights research that shows more and more Westerners are reporting that their life lacks meaning and the theories as to why that is. She then breaks down what the three pillars of a meaningful life are and what we can do to experience them. Emily and I then discuss whether it’s really possible to create meaning by yourself and whether or not it requires being embedded in a religious or spiritual tradition.
Jonathan Haidt’s book, The Righteous Mind, is another of my favorites. Haidt details how we evolved as social beings and how connecting with others was important to our survival. He digs into 6 Moral Matrices which outline how we are and which ‘tribes’ we pick. His analogy of influencing the elephant and not the ride was enlightening.
Life Can Be Difficult – Hope and Meaning Help Us Bear The Pain
Another theme that continues to surface for me is the ‘What is to give light must endure burning.’ theory. To truly enjoy happiness you must also manage the pain of difficult times in life. Do the difficult time crush us, as they did to so many people in Frankl’s account of the concentration camps or do we take events in stride? From Angela Duckworth and her book Grit, to the Stoics and Marcus Aurelius’ meditations to Lettie Cowman and her devotional, Streams In The Desert, the theme of managing struggles, taking accountability, holding tight to faith in things working out in the future are valuable lessons that keep getting explained to me.
This was sent from a good friend of mine. The question to me, from him, was;
What is our (mine and his, we work together) legacy?
What do we stand for?
How will we be remembered?
How do we choose to spend our time?
What is our investment in our families?
What will people say about us when we are gone?
May I stand by my convictions, even when no one else is looking…
May I be the defender of the weak….
May I have a zest for life and the first one to laugh and the last one to stop laughing….
May I be an advisor, mentor, friend, shoulder, and encourager to those in my life and those strangers that cross my path….
May I always do the right thing…
May I seek the truth….
May I live courageously….
May I leave a legacy.
Learn More About Colson;
I’m complaining an essay on the 7 Deadly Sins, and how they reside in each of us. Here’s a short clip from Colson, reflecting on the sin of pride. Colson was a Marine, lived a life of integrity, took steps to keep himself from conflicts of interest. He lived an honest life, the modeled the puritan work ethic.
The powerful quote is ‘you can be so self-righteous that you don’t see what’s going on…..’ and ‘the human beings have the infinite ability to rationalization.’
Chuck on where we are at…..ethics and morality in society;
Good True and Beautiful vs Opinion
How Did We Get Here? Over time, the Christian moral foundations that allow you to make these judgments have deteriorated. Why are we surprised?