The Secret To Short Term and Long Term Happiness is a Click Away: Saturday’s Good News

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Scottish Natural Heritage / YouTube

Lots of reasons to be unhappy these last couple of years.  Even now, in our third year of this sh*t show, I still find myself surprised by my level of sudden shock and distressed when something reminds me that Donald Trump truly is the president of the united states of America.

And yet, I am filled with hope and, at least part of the time, filled with joy.

I see some other people out there like me: filled with purpose, hope, and joy.  Frequently angry, often sad, but also determined, hopeful, and yes, joyful.  However, I see many other people having a very hard time dealing with these awful, scary circumstances.  And, in all honesty, I’ve gone through times in the last years when hope and joy felt like distant memories.

So I have been asking people how they are dealing with this mess and how they are feeling about it. I’ve been trying to figure out if there are some good predictors for feeling hopeful and (occasionally) even joyful in these times.

One way to stay temporarily ok is to ignore everything.  I see a lot of people doing that.  They tell me the only way they can function is to cut themselves off from information.  That might kind of work temporarily, but then there is the awful jolt when you hear some of what is going on.

Plus, that only looks at your short term happiness.  Do you really think, when this all is over, that you are going to be proud of yourself and content when you tell people “I just kept my head down and ignored this huge threat to our democracy and world.”  That is what a lot of Germans did during the Holocaust and it is nothing to be proud of.  It’s not something you want to face on your deathbed.

So what have I found from the people doing the best through this?  It’s not the ignorers and its not the wallowers.

From talking to person after person I have learned that the people doing the best are the people who are actively engaged in saving our democracy and world.  The people who have gotten involved with politics.  the people writing postcards to voters.  The people donating money.  The people making calls.  The people writing letters.  The people organizing.  The people pitching in with non-profits.

Getting involved gives you a feeling of agency.  It makes you feel like you are making a difference in this world (because you are making a difference) and that is the key to contentment and joy.  Getting involved also links you with like-minded people which brings contentment and joy.  Getting involves fosters hope with brings contentment and joy.

And the long term happiness will come.  Because that deathbed is waiting for each and every one of us eventually.  And when we get to the end of this road, this non-simple highway, a peaceful heart comes back from looking back at a life where we pushed ourselves, connected to others, and gave things a try.

Live that life.  Get involved.  Be a part of the solution.

Do it for America.  Do it for the planet.  Do it for yourself.

Now onto the good news

Good News for the Good Guys

House Dems set sights on the President’s men — Barr and McGahn

Democrats on Tuesday will twist the vise of accountability around President Donald Trump one notch tighter, marshaling the power of the House to compel cooperation from two of the President’s men.

The House Judiciary Committee does have a win to cheer after forcing Attorney General William Barr to make available some redacted material from the Mueller report after weeks of delays consistent with the administration’s broad bid to frustrate Democratic oversight.
The agreement staved off a formal contempt vote against Barr and will give House Speaker Nancy Pelosi new evidence to put before her restive caucus to show that her strategy of pursuing investigations over impeachment is working.
The House will instead vote on a motion to authorize the House Judiciary Committee to go to court to enforce subpoenas against McGahn, and if necessary Barr if the truce proves short-lived.

House to investigate Secretary Elaine Chao corruption allegations

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, chair of the House Marine Transportation Subcommittee, tells Rachel Maddow that he has been given the green light to investigate corruption allegations against Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao for using her position to benefit her family’s company and her husband, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Swalwell calls for impeachment inquiry into Trump

Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Eric Swalwell (Calif.) on Thursday called for an impeachment inquiry to be launched against President Trump.

“Congress has no choice: we must begin an impeachment inquiry against @realDonaldTrump,” Swalwell tweeted.

“He has invited the Russians to again sabotage our elections. And he has obstructed (& obstructs) justice. Time to be held accountable. Our democracy is worth saving.”

Russian investigative journalist freed after days of protests

Russian authorities dropped charges Tuesday against an investigative reporter whose arrest last week sparked protests and an unprecedented wave of media solidarity with even pro-Kremlin outlets expressing outrage.

The announcement by Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev represented a stunning reversal by Russia’s powerful security agencies. It also marked a rare bow to public outrage that underscored the Kremlin’s sensitivity to shifts in public opinion.

More U.S. businesses making changes in response to climate concerns

Many U.S. companies are taking note of the urgency of recent climate reports and are changing corporate policies. From carbon credits to eco-labeling to energy use, companies are responding to warming temperatures and consumer concerns. Those that do not can run into some unflattering public relations issues, as Procter & Gamble recently discovered when it was accused by an environmental group of cutting down trees in Canadian boreal forests to make Charmin toilet paper.

In a survey by the consulting firm Deloitte, 84 percent of business decision-makers said they were aware of grave U.S. and global climate-change reports issued in late 2018. And two-thirds of those familiar with the reports have reviewed or changed their energy management strategies in response, the survey said.

Progressive Challengers Defeat Incumbent Prosecutors In Virginia Primary

Two progressive challengers unseated incumbent Democratic prosecutors in northern Virginia, notching another win for the national movement for a more compassionate criminal justice system.

The wins show growing liberal support for criminal justice reform

Rep. Adam Schiff vows to subpoena FBI over Russia investigation

House intelligence committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff on Wednesday threatened to subpoena the FBI for information about the bureau’s counterintelligence probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“We are determined to get answers, and we are running out of patience,” he told reporters after a hearing on Russian influence in the 2016 election.

“We have made requests to the FBI,” Mr. Schiff continued. “They are required to answer those questions. They haven’t yet, and if necessary, we’ll subpoena the director and require him to come in and provide those answers under oath.”

Democrats roll out proposal requiring insurance to cover OTC birth control

House and Senate Democrats rolled out a proposal Thursday that would require insurance companies cover over-the-counter birth control at no cost to patients.

The measure, introduced by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), would ensure birth control that is available to women without a prescription is covered by insurance companies.

Bad news for the bad guys

Liz Cheney clashes with NRCC chief behind closed doors

Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, privately battled with the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee Monday night, where she raised concerns from members about the direction of the party’s campaign arm as they try to win back the chamber.

The NRCC has been in some hot water lately. Last week, the committee sharply criticized Democrats for seeking a pay raise for members of Congress, even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) were in negotiations with Democrats to hike lawmakers’ pay for the first time in a decade.

‘It’s been a disaster.’ Inside the Trump super PAC struggles

A few numbers stick out on the public spending report for Donald Trump’s flagship super PAC, America First Action.

There’s the $33,000 spent last year on a single event at the Prime Rib, a swanky DC steakhouse, the $120,000 paid to two firms tied to former Milwaukee sheriff (and Trump super-fan) David Clarke, and the more than $460,000 spent over two years at Trump-owned properties.
This kind of spending is only part of why some Republicans are angry over what’s going on at America First. Two years after it launched, the group has gained a reputation, not as a financial powerhouse for a sitting president, but as an aimless operation struggling to deliver for Trump politically.
Interviews with six GOP operatives and donors reveal a deep frustration, not just over the group’s spending habits, but also its lackluster fundraising.

Trump, ‘respect’ and toilet paper

“The moment that I saw him board Air Force One with toilet paper on the back of his shoe, I said, ‘They don’t like him.’ Everyone around him who works with him, they cannot stand him. They have no respect for this man,” Sykes told me at the 92nd Street Y in New York this month during a conversation about her new stand-up special on Netflix. “I mean, you would stop a stranger to get toilet paper off their shoe. I’ve almost missed a flight because I’m at my gate and I see someone walking by with toilet paper [on their shoe], and I’m like ‘I can’t let that happen’ and I run down and get the toilet paper off.”

Trump’s transgender military ban is losing support even his own party

new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute shows that nearly two-thirds of Americans oppose the ban. And while there is, generally speaking, little change from when Trump first made the announcement in 2017, there is a notable shift among one group: Republicans.

While 37 percent of Republicans supported the idea of transgender personnel in the U.S. military two years ago, that number has now increased to 47 percent.

And recent history suggests this kind of issue is headed in one direction — away from Trump’s position.

Republicans whistle past the ‘legislative graveyard’

The Senate is going to get back to good old-fashioned legislating any day now. Republicans swear it.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Senate has been almost entirely focused on confirming President Donald Trump’s personnel and judges and has had little in the way of recent legislative victories.

“It is frustrating,” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a top Democratic target in 2020, said of the Senate standstill.

The paltry list of accomplishments has given Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer an opening to portray the GOP as devoid of any agenda and could endanger Republicans at risk in a tough election cycle. And there’s a growing recognition within the GOP that it needs to do more.

Hearing erupts in laughter at Jim Jordan after John Dean humiliates him with lesson on parliamentary rules

At a hearing on Monday, former Watergate witness John Dean schooled Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) about the rules of the Judiciary Committee.

While appearing before the committee, Jordan suggested Dean was biased against President Donald Trump by reading some of Dean’s tweets.

“When you said the president of the United States was incapable of doing anything, were you thinking about the embassy in Jerusalem?” Jordan demanded to know.

“I think that under the parliamentary rules of the house, I’m refrained from addressing a full answer to your question,” Dean replied, prompting the gallery to erupt in laughter.

Supreme Court rejects challenges to silencer laws

he Supreme Court on Monday left intact a federal law that requires the registration of some firearms, including silencers, and turned away a request to consider whether such firearm accessories are protected by the Second Amendment.

Must Have Been Some Pigs Flying This Week

Fox News host Bret Baier pushed acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Sunday amid reports that President Trump‘s deal with Mexico to avert U.S. tariffs in exchange for tighter border security is largely the same as one that had previously been agreed upon.

“How much of this is new?” Baier asked McAleenan after Trump denied a New York Times report that Mexico had agreed to take action at the border months ago.

Watch Fox News host call Trump statement ‘fake news

Following an interview with President Trump on D-Day, Fox News host Laura Ingraham had to clarify that Trump’s claim that the interview held up the D-Day ceremony was “fake news.”

George Will: Trump’s ‘public and constant’ damage to country worse than Nixon’s

Conservative columnist and Republican Party ex-pat George Will slammed President Donald Trump on Thursday for causing more damage to the United States than former President Richard Nixon.

When asked by CNN’s John Berman on “New Day” about his previous comments that Trump has done more lasting damage to the country than Nixon did, Will highlighted Trump’s “public and constant” approach.

Why Ted Cruz Wants to Team Up With AOC to Make Birth Control Available Over the Counter

On Wednesday, Sen. Ted Cruz made common cause with his new pal, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In response to a 5-day-old tweet in which Ocasio-Cortez called for oral contraception to be made available without a prescription, Cruz wrote, “I agree,” suggesting the two legislators “team up” on a bill that would help make it happen.

The Office of Special Counsel has recommended the removal of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway from federal office for violating the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in political activity in the course of their work.

The report submitted to President Trump found that Conway violated the Hatch Act on numerous occasions by “disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.”

The counsel said Conway was a repeat offender and recommended that she be removed from federal office.

The Office of Special Counsel is charged with enforcing the Hatch Act and is not to be confused with now-former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation. The office is run by Henry Kerner, whom Trump nominated to the post.

‘Fox & Friends’ Host Brian Kilmeade Attacks Trump for Saying He Would Take Foreign Intel

Fox & Friends’ co-host Brian Kilmeade directly criticized the president Thursday morning for saying he would welcome foreign intel on his political opponents. The rare attack followed Donald Trump’s candid remarks to Good Morning Americaanchor George Stephanopoulos in which he indicated that he would not immediately alert the FBI to more interference in U.S. politics.

“Put it this way: Nothing is free in this world,” Kilmeade said. “You don’t want a foreign government or foreign entity giving you information because they will want something back.”

Friends’ co-hosts Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt fought from Trump’s corner, agreeing that the FBI did not have enough agents to field every call and repeating the old talking point that the Democrats were to blame for the Mueller investigation.

Kilmeade wouldn’t have it

Trump ally Lindsey Graham ready to revoke president’s emergency power on arms sales

One of President Trump’s closest congressional allies is ready to strip him of certain emergency powers in response to the administration sidestepping lawmakers to secure 22 arms sales benefiting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“Do away with the emergency exception,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said Wednesday. Doing so, he added, would prevent the executive branch from repeating such a move in the future. “I would not have agreed to that before, but after this maneuver by the administration, count me in.”

Have a great weekend everyone.  So glad to be in this with all of you.  ❤️ ✊  ❤️

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