Are Your Goals Getting In The Way Of Your Happiness?

The other day, I was pawing through a box of books I had stored in the garage and was trying to decide if they were something I should drop off at The Salvation Army when I came upon Stephen Shapiro’s 2006 self-help gem, “Goal Free Living: How To Have The Life You Want Now.”  It has been at least a decade since I read the book, but as I flipped through the pages I remembered it distinctly, and thought it would be a great reminder to pass on to my Calamity Politics readers to help them enjoy a healthy, happy 2018.

Taking A Few Minutes To Re-Read Parts Of “Goal Free Living”

Shapiro is the first person that I can remember that gave me permission to release the religion of goal making that permeates our culture, and try to live without the restrictions  of a set of goals.

I have been told since I was a kid, that goals of all kinds, big, small, wildly ambitious were all within my reach. I just had to want them bad enough. The rule seemed to be,  if you can visualize it, you can have it; if you don’t know what you want  (can’t visualize it), you might as well be lost at sea without a life preserver.

Shapiro disputes this American myth.  In fact, Shapiro argues that if you want to be happy in its most broad interpretation, you need to throw that “five-year plan,” and the “life-time to do list,” into the garbage can.

Originally Shapiro was a motivational researcher.  While doing interviews with business leaders for a book he discovered that after interviewing 150 of the country’s most successful people and traveling over 12,ooo miles the most fulfilled people were also the most spontaneous,  and believe it or not, the least goal oriented. What?  How could that be true?  It goes against everything he, or I, have been taught.

Shapiro Traveled 12,000 Miles And Interviewed 150 Top Achievers

After interviewing those 150 successful people in all fields of enterprise, from all parts of the country, Shapiro discovered that most of the successful people had taken a circuitous route to their eventual success, and it seems that the circuitous trip was what made the result, all the more satisfying.

Shapiro became convinced that the key to happiness comes from checking out the back roads and detours, both literally and figuratively, without fear of changing course. Shapiro is convinced that following goals may lead a person to financial wealth, but there is a good chance that if you follow the plan unquestioningly you will lose yourself and potential happiness.

First, “Ask yourself, whose goal is it, anyway?” According to Shapiro, “Most people’s goals aren’t their own. They tend to be driven by society and family pressure.” Second, when you focus on a goal he believes, it is like putting on a pair of blinders, you lose your peripheral vision, causing you to miss out on all kinds of great opportunities. Third, you will always be living for the future.  You sacrifice today in the hopes that something wonderful will happen tomorrow. Goals are like that, you are always chasing them. Four, you are “courting failure” because you become attached to one outcome, and even if you achieve it, reality seldom matches the dream, and worse, it closes other doors to exploration and opportunity.

Shapiro Suggests We Use A Compass Not A Map To Get Us Where We Want To Be

But all this seems to go against every core principle that I have been taught since childhood.  How could all those books, seminars and teachers have been so wrong. I need those scraps of paper, those directions to success. I need my goals.  Or, do I? How can I achieve anything if I don’t have a goal, no matter how much fun wandering around in the wilderness having great moments may sound?

Shapiro counters with, “Goal-free living isn’t about aimless, or things are getting tough” and I’m going to bail out, but rather it is about “being passion-driven in the moment, while knowing you can change course.” It is also about “getting out, playing, and trying lots of new and different things.”

The central message here is that you can’t find out what you love by just sitting around thinking about it, you must get out and experience it.

I am a goal-aholic, I can’t just toss away all my goals. Or, can I? I think Shapiro is saying “do you have the right goals and are you relating to them the right way?”  Shapiro believes some people abuse goals, “as a way of escaping from being present in the here and now. They distract themselves by looking ahead. Life should be more into enjoying every single moment for what it is and allowing things to unfold.”

Hmmm, maybe I can do this.

I  have been an RN for nearly 4 decades and one of the foundations of nursing is the Nursing Care Plan. The care plan for a patient provides direction and continuity of  care. That mind-set is hard to just sweep away. However, I can see where a care plan to direct the care of a patient over a short-term period is not the same as the life time goal setting we do for ourselves. But, initially that professional methodology got in the way of me spreading my wings, and in fact still does in many ways. I wish I were better at this discarding everything I know.

A Nursing Care Plan Is A Short Goal Plan

Shapiro wants us to think about aspirations (working in government) versus goals such as (getting elected to congress on November 8th, 2018) because  a broader aspiration will give you pleasure today and “success” becomes more broadly defined.  The biggest complaint he has is with the institutionalization of SMART goals. In other words, Specific, Measurable, Achievable,  Results Oriented, and Time based. Sounds very similar to a Nursing Care Plan.  The idea that you will know right away whether you’ve succeeded or failed is misguided and crippling.

The cure to the pain of a failed goal is to step back and ask yourself whether you defined the desired outcome too narrowly and whether you tried to control the uncontrollable.  Shapiro reminds us, “Not only have you set yourself up for failure, but you’ve put a time limit on everything. Life is unpredictable, so give up control. Create many paths. And play hard.”

Above all, trash the idea that if you don’t succeed by Saturday morning at 11:30 you are a failure. Shapiro proclaims, “I’m not going to be done with what I’m doing till I’m dead. It is really about applying creativity to every aspect of your life.”

I  like that, “applying creativity.”

Don’t Be Afraid To Take A Detour

Shapiro’s eight guide posts for living a Goal-Free Life:

1.) Use a compass, not a map. Allow yourself to take the less traveled path, allow yourself to try new things.

2.) Trust that you are never lost–every seemingly wrong turn is an opportunity to learn and experience new things.

3.) Remember that opportunity knocks often, sometimes softly–while we are blindly pursuing our goals. Sadly, we often miss unexpected and wonderful potentials.

4.) Want what you have. Measure your life with your own ruler. Appreciate who you are, what you do, and what you have, now.

5.) Seek adventure-treat your life as the one time only journey it is, and revel in new and different experiences.

6.) Learn to be a people magnet. Constantly seek, build and nurture relationships with new people gaining support and comradeship of others.

Keep Up Relationships–Be A People Magnet

7.) Embrace your limits. Transform your shortcomings and perceived inadequacies into unique qualities that you can use to your advantage.

8.) Remain detached. Focus on the immediate. Act with a commitment to the future and stop fretting about how things will turn out.

I think Shapiro was on to something.  I think he is right. Goals are by their very nature, self limiting. So, with 2018 just hours away I am giving you permission to toss that goal list  and start living life.

Calamity Politics is a political news magazine with a Progressive agenda.  Join us for comment and opinion. Join the Resistance.


10 Terrible Environmental Choices Of 2017

Greenpeace took a look at the actions of the Trump Administration in 2017 and listed the following as just plain terrible.

Whale Entangled In Fishing Net Leading To It’s Death

1.)Canceled rule to protect whales from fishing nets.
2.)Ordered review of National Monuments. *The recommendations from Ryan Zinke are hair-raising and I will discuss them in another post.*
3.)Revoked rule preventing coal mining companies from dumping in local streams.
4.)Rejected ban on potentially harmful insecticide which has been linked to lower IQ’s in children and colony collapse in bees.
5.)Overturned ban on hunting predators in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge, allowing road building and the Tax bill opens 1.5 million acres to oil drilling.
6.)Withdrew guidance for federal agencies to include greenhouse gas emissions in environmental reviews.
7.)Ordered review and “elimination” of rule protecting tributaries and wetlands under the Clean Water Act.
8.)Rolled back limits on toxic discharge from power plants into public waterways.
9.)Roll back provisions of the Clean Power Plan with goal to repeal the Obama-era regulations many of which have been slashed by Trump agency heads.
10.)Delayed rule aiming to increase safety at facilities that use hazardous chemicals.

Regulations serve an important purpose, they save lives, they save wildlife, they save the water we drink, they save the air we breath. The damage that the Trump Administration is doing cannot be emphasized enough. The risks to our environment are terrifying. Keep your eyes open, they have a lot more damage and chaos on their agenda.

Calamity Politics is an on-line political news magazine with a Progressive Agenda. Join the Resistance.


The Stability Of U.S. Food Supply In Danger

Bees Pollinate Over 33% Of The Food We Eat

In a 12 month period from April 2014-2015 the honey bee colonies in the United States decreased by more than 40%, the highest annual loss ever recorded. The massive losses compelled researchers to coin a new term to describe the problem. They named the massive losses as “colony collapse disorder.”

With over 40% of U.S. honeybee hives now dying each year it is important to note that 40% of invertebrate pollinator species according to a recent UN sponsored report face extinction. Bees and butterflies are now approaching the brink.If you add that, “one of every three bites of food that you and I eat is pollinated by bees and other pollinators,” warns Friends of Earth, an environmental action group struggling to save the bees, the calamity of the situation is front and center. Seeing the bee die-off as part of a larger insect decline cannot be overstated. A group of UK scientists are calling it an “ecological Armageddon.”

Do the math, it doesn’t require a genius IQ to see the threat. Earthjustice a legal fund fighting for bee protection, believes that, “Bees are the canaries in the coal mine, warning us of an imminent and frightening threat to our food.” Our time is limited if we are going to save the bees and ourselves.

Beekeepers & Scientists Are Sounding The Alarm

The stability of the supply is facing imminent threat.

As previously noted, Honey bees, vital pollinators of more than one-third of our nation’s crops, including “super foods” such as berries, nuts and avocados are dying in record numbers. The rapid loss of honey bees threatens to unravel agricultural production all across the country.

What was a battle between big business and the environmental community within the state and federal court system has intensified since the election of Donald Trump. Trump and his Republican allies in Congress and his cronies in the corporate sector intend to dismantle long-established safeguards created to protect food safety, farm workers and the overall public health.

The Current Administration Is Devoted To Preventing Restrictions On Neonics

Today, with possibly the most anti-environmental administration and Congress in history we are facing a difficult challenge to enact regulations surrounding toxic chemicals and pesticides needed to protect the pollinators, and human beings.  I am hoping for a Democratic tsunami for 2018, otherwise I have little hope for the survival of the bees, or the nation’s safe food supply.

The fight for the future of the honey bees–America’s greatest pollinator–and for the future of our nation’s food security and public health in general is a fight we cannot lose. Honey bees are the unsung heroes of American agricultural productivity, working diligently to pollinate no less than 1/3 of U.S. agricultural crops. It is time that we recognize their hard work and make it our mission to insure their safety and recovery.

Half Of The Produce In Your Local Market Will Disappear If The Bees Disappear

Scientists world-wide after analyzing more that 800 environmental studies determined that the major cause of the bee die offs can be directly attributed to a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, or “neonics” for short. These chemicals in even microscopic doses can harm a bee.

Repeated exposure to neonic pesticides start to change a bee’s life and later the entire hive. Science has tracked a number of different outcomes after exposure. 1.) Illness and Death: Neonics make it hard for bees to groom themselves, making them susceptible to disease and mites, and weakening their immune systems. 2.) Colony Contamination:If a bee is able to return to the hive, they return covered in contaminated pollen. As other bees store the pollen, they all become contaminated 3.) Lost and confused: Neonics affect bees’ ability to navigate back to their hives. Unable to find their way home, they die. Worker bees supply the colony’s food. When they are lost and don’t return, the entire colony can die from starvation.

These “neonics” are systemic chemicals. That means that the pesticide is absorbed into every part of the plant. As a result, it not only kills insects that come into direct contact with its droplets, but renders the entire plant–flowers, nectar, and pollen–highly toxic for weeks, or even months after application.

Neonics are approved for use on the majority of crops in the United States. The bee die off has spiked and has so disturbed scientists that the US Dept of Agriculture issued the following statement:

“Currently, the survivorship of honey bee colonies is too low for us to be confident in our ability to meet the pollination demands of US agricultural crops.”

Although bans in other countries have been successful–Italy went from losing 37.5% of its hives in 2008 to only 15% after restricting neonics–the US has been frighteningly slow to act. And, with an EPA administration and Congress stocked with Trump’s corporate cronies, it is even less likely that our government will act to regulate bee-killing pesticides.

Honey bees may be small, but they play a huge role in making food available for our tables. Bees have an electromagnetic charge that turns them into flying magnets, carrying and transferring pollen from flower to flower. It takes 60,000 bees, about two hives, to pollinate just one acre of orchard. Each spring across the United States honey bees pollinate almonds, apples, oranges, apricots, lemons, squash, zucchini and dozens of other fruits and vegetables a truly amazing accomplishment.

Orchards and Field Crops Depend On Bees

Whole Foods working with Time magazine showed that honey bees are of vital importance to the nation’s food security by dramatically removing all the produce that depends on bee pollination from their produce shelves for a photo-op to dramatize the impending loss. Of the about 450 items usually found in the average American supermarket half will disappear if America’s crops don’t get pollinated. That realization is a serious threat to the nation’s ability to produce food, as well as to our food security. This is really scary stuff.

The largest producers of these pesticides are Bayer, Dow, Monsanto and Syngenta, whose own studies–obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request–show that neonics cause significant harm to bees and other pollinators. A study commissioned by The European Food Safety Authority indicated that the same class of pesticides killing the pollinators “may affect the developing nervous system of children.” If you weren’t scared before, this should light your hair on fire.

There are more than 500 neonic products on the market. I don’t expect the Trump administration to take any action that will help native bees, bumblebees, butterflies or other pollinators, like the nearly extinct rusty patched bumblebee, which was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act last year.

Butterflies Are Another Endangered Species That Pollinate Plants

As the fight to save the bees intensifies another neurotoxic insecticide is coming under scrutiny. Chlorpyrifos, commonly used in agriculture has been shown in EPA studies to lower children’s IQ’s and is “likely to adversely affect” over 1700 plants and animals, many of them critically endangered, including bees.

Because of such scientific studies, chlorpyrifos were banned for home use in 2001, and in 2015 the Obama administration recommended revoking its use in agriculture. As soon as Scott Pruitt took charge of the EPA, he announced he would reverse the Obama-era ban.

Scott Pruitt Trump’s EPA Head Has Vowed To Dismantle the Agency

The fight to save the bees is becoming more urgent by the day. Remember, bees and other pollinators are critical in growing 2/3rd of our global food crops.  From nuts, soybeans, squash and cucumbers, to apples, oranges, avocados and melons, pollinators play a critical role in producing the food we eat. Bees are the tiny forces behind more than $20 billion worth of U.S. crops each year.

Five Ways To Help Save The Bees and other pollinators:

BEE SAFE: Plant flowers such as Aster, Black-eyed Susan, Oregon Grape, Snowberry, Wild Lilac, Huckleberry, and Lupine in your garden using only organic starts or untreated seeds to provide good food and a safe haven for bees. **(One study found many of the so-called “bee friendly” plants in garden centers have been pre-treated with neonics, at levels that can harm or kill bees. Please only buy certified organic plants and reject garden products laced with bee killing pesticides.)

Plant Only Certified Organic Flowers & Plants For Bee Safe Garden

BEE AWARE: Use alternative pest control methods, like landscaping to attract beneficial insects, and use only eco-friendly pest-control products.

BEE VIGILANT: Read labels and steer clear of products containing neonicatinoids or chlorpyrifos. **(A list of the common brands containing neonics can be found at the end of this article.)

BEE VOCAL: Tell you friends and family about the importance of bees and how they can help save these invaluable insects.

BEE ACTIVIST: Write your legislators, state and federal. Write the EPA. Sign Petitions demanding protection for the pollinators. Ask your grocer to stop carrying products containing neonicolinoids and chlopyrifos. Protest.

BEE GENEROUS: The cost of fighting the assault on bees and our food supply is expensive. Donate to organizations like Friends of the Earth and Earthjustice to be our voice in the courtroom.

It Takes lots of Money To Take On The Big Chemical Companies

This is going to be an uphill battle for the next three years of Trumpism, but we can’t stand by and let Donald Trump think for one minute that we as a people will stand by and let him get away with destroying the environment all in the name of corporate greed.

In 1962 Rachel Carson wrote a meticulously researched book, “The Silent Spring” in which she described how, the now banned pesticide DDT, entered the food chain and accumulated in fatty tissues of animals and humans. She took on the chemical industry and her work led to DDT being banned. Her work has been credited with starting the environmental movement. We need to understand that each of us can make a difference in this world, but it requires action. It is up to us to stop the second “silent spring.”

I challenge you to make a copy of this list of killers and put it in your wallet, or your purse and use it to say “no”  to products laced with Acetamiprid, Clothianidin, Dinotefuran, Imidacloprid, Thiamethoxam all of which are toxins killing bees. If you see any of these ingredients listed on products in your home or on your local vendor’s shelves do not use them.

It seems nearly impossible to imagine but neonics hide everywhere including in these popular brands: Aloft, Arena, Allectus, Atera, Bithor, Caravan, Coretect, Derby, Dino, Dominion, Equil Adonis, Flagship, Flower (Rose & Shrub Care), Gaucho, Grub-No-More, Grubout, Hawk, Imaxxpro, Ima-Jet, Imi Insecticide, Imicide, Imid-Bifen, Imida-Teb Garden SC, Imidapro, Imigold, Lada, Malice, Mallet, Mantra, Marathon, Meridian, Merit, Nuprid, Optigard Flex, Pasada, Pointer Insecticide, Premise, Pronto, Prothor, Safari, Sagacity, Sparkle:Bounty, Tandem, Temprid, Triple Crown Insecticide, Tristar, Turfthor, Xytect.

Calamity Politics is an on-line political news magazine dedicated to protecting the environment and removing Donald Trump from the presidency of the United States. Join us for comment and opinion. Join the Resistance. We are Indivisible.


Another Holiday Survival Plan

Surviving Christmas Requires Forethought

If you are becoming anxious about Christmas, you are not alone. The holiday season is a difficult time for many people. If you have mounting angst about Christmas and New Year’s I have gathered some tips to help you survive the season.

Most experts warn us not to make comparisons. Do not compare your life to a Hallmark movie. Life is what it is. We can enjoy the reality if we leave expectations behind. Expectations are often the basis of many unhappy holidays. Accepting life for what it is, and not allowing the fantasy world of social marketing and Hollywood to alter our reality. If you can escape the expectations you will have taken the first step to improve your holiday experience.

1.)How can I Limit self-criticism? Try a dose of self-compassion. What is self compassion? Self compassion is a combination of recognizing that all humans make mistakes and that life is not a script and life experience is often unfair, flawed and imperfect. If you accept that reality up front it may lessen those awkward or frustrating moments when a family member makes a painful, or thoughtless comment.

Hurt Or Angry Feelings Have Disrupted Many Holiday Celebrations

2.)Hurt or angry feelings? Do not engage. Walk away. Take a short drive. A few minutes at a local park or nearby viewpoint can do wonders. I live at the Oregon coast and am just a few minutes from staggeringly beautiful viewpoints. Watching the crashing waves as they slam against the shore and then float away can help calm anger. Or, get physical. Go bowl a couple of lines, the physical sensation of throwing something heavy and head shaped down a long wooden alley may be all you need to restore your emotional equilibrium. **In 4th century Germany bowling was viewed as a cleansing ritual to remove the participant of sin. In 16th century England commoners were prohibited from bowling except on Christmas. So, combining the two you may find a recipe for holiday relief**.

3.) How to avoid an awkward situations? Excuse yourself and take a walk. Exercise is proven to reduce anxiety and depression. If it is a situation requiring more than a short walk put on your sneakers and take a run.

4.)Feeling Tired? Excuse yourself and take a nap. Sleep is important. Taking a nap is good self-care and is regenerative. Being well rested has a significant impact on our sense of well-being and sense of happiness.

Sometimes Taking A Nap Is The Best Response

5.)Feeling Cranky? Sometimes our body tries to send us messages, but we have lost touch with its clues. Frequently, irritability is triggered by thirst. Go for the water. Re-hydrate and see if your mood isn’t improved.

6.)If you are challenged on your politics? Let it go. Change the subject, or exit gracefully from the conversation. From personal experience I have learned that the holidays are not the best time to work out relationship problems. The holidays are too emotionally charged to choose it as a time to resolve conflict. In fact, it is probably time to recognize that we can’t change people, especially those in our family, so don’t even try.

7.)Need to escape? You are trapped, without a car, or for other reasons can’t leave. Try headphones and escape, or, take a luxury bath, or start reading that book that has sat next to your bed.

If You Can’t Escape The House Take A Bath Break

8.)No gift? It all depends on the situation. I suggest that you buy several bottles of moderately priced wine at the beginning of the holiday season and put each of them in dressy wine sacks and if you have a surprise guest that drops by a gift, you are always ready. What you don’t give away you can always drink yourself. If you are away from home and are given an unexpected gift and have nothing to offer in return, be gracious and appreciative, you can always follow-up with a gift or a card later.

9.)Feeling offended? Meditate. Take a break from your incessant mind chatter.

10.)Feeling lonely? Get outside yourself. Go volunteer. Connect. Give a hand to people who are struggling.

Feeling Lonely? Volunteer.

11.)Feeling sad? Make a list of your blessings. Practice gratitude.

Yale University researchers discovered that friends influence your happiness, and vice versa. So, it sounds like we are responsible for the company we keep. Surround yourself with happy people as much as possible.

Remember, if you are experiencing an especially bad time, please call for help. Lines for Life hotline is there 24/7 at 1-800-273-8522.

Calamity Politics is a Progressive on-line news magazine offering irritable comment on the current administration. Join the Resistance.

Merry Christmas,


10 Plus 1, Election Night “Ratherisms”

Election Night Ups & Downs

About three months ago I was wandering around a second hand bookstore in Seaside, Oregon when I came across a a book that I instantly loved; “Uncle John’s FAST-ACTING LONG LASTING Bathroom Reader.” The reader is published by Bathroom Readers’ Press, Ashland, OR. I bought the book, the 18th edition, and brought it home and it now has a small shrine on the counter next to the toilet in the master bath. The following quotes are from that book.

Television news anchor Dan Rather is known for his reserve and professional presentation of world news. But apparently, old Dan had a habit of dropping some pretty funny ad-libs now and then, especially during election night coverage. Check out the following election night “Ratherisms.”

Dan Rather Is A Well Known Broadcaster & Humorist

1.) “This race is hotter than a Times Square Rolex.”
2.) “Bush is sweeping through the South like a big wheel through a cotton field.”
3.) “In the southern states, Bush beat Kerry like a rented mule.”
4.) “His lead is as thin as turnip soup.”
5.) “The re-election of Bill Clinton is as secure as a double-knot tied in wet rawhide.”
6.) “The returns are running like a squirrel in a cage.”
7.) “He’s sweeping through the South like a tornado through a trailer park.”
8.) “This race is spandex-tight.”
9.) “This race is shakier than cafeteria Jell-O.”
10.) “His lead is as thin as November ice.”
11.) “This race is as tight as the rusted lug nuts on a 1955 Ford.”

Hope Dan gave you a couple chuckles. Thanks again, Uncle John for tracking down this sort of thing.

Calamity Politics is a Progressive on-line news magazine. Join us as we look at the good, the bad, the planned and unplanned that is Washington, DC. Join the Resistance.


Yuletide Poem

A Twitter friend, @ArcturusOrdo sent me the following image and poem from his 4th book, “Yuletide Sequence”.







Poems are a still

golden mirror

of soul shining

glimpsed in quiet

solitude shared

as words

trailing softly

on the white

page like snow

falling through

Yuletide sunrise.

Calamity Politics is a Progressive on-line news magazine focusing on the Washington DC nightmare with caustic comment and mildly jaundiced opinion. Join the Resistance.


Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Our image of Santa is pretty much the result of an effective advertising campaign. Santa Claus wasn’t always a rotund omniscient gift-giver who circumvents the world on December 25th propelled by flying reindeer, assisted by an army of adorable elves. The Santa we know today, a jolly man in a red suit and full white beard was the vision of Haddon Sundblom. Sundblom was commissioned in 1930 to develop advertising images for Coca-Cola to use during the next Christmas season. Sundblom used the 1822 classic poem “A Visit From St. Nick” by Clement Clark Moore as his inspiration for his new image of Santa Claus. Previous images of St. Nicholas had ranged from a tall gaunt religious man to a tiny elf creature. Moore and Sundblom together created the image of our Santa as a warm, friendly, pleasantly plump humanoid.

The historical basis of Santa Claus is St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas was the renowned Bishop of Myra-a Roman town near Demire, Turkey, around 300 A.D.  St. Nicholas even before he was appointed Bishop was known for his generosity. A well told story was one in which he came to the assistance of a poor man who could not afford a proper dowry to marry off his three daughters. In those times, it would mean that the daughters would remain unmarried, making it likely they’d be forced into prostitution.  St. Nicholas wanted to spare the family any embarrassment yet wanting to help, he traveled to the man’s house in the dark of night, and threw three purses filled with gold coins through the peasant’s window.

After St. Nicholas died he became a beloved patron saint, but during the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, the importance of Catholic saints was rejected and St. Nicholas’ popularity dwindled across Europe. However, in the Netherlands he remained popular, living on as a mythical figure, known as Sinterklass, who went from house to house on the eve of St. Nicholas’s name day, December 5th, leaving treats and gifts for children.  Sinterklaas traditionally wore red bishop’s clothes and employed elves, and he traveled with horses that could walk across rooftops.

When the Dutch emigrated in droves to America during the 17th and 18th centuries, they brought the kindly St. Nick to the new colonies, but it wasn’t until the 1930’s that Coke and Sundblom introduced today’s version of the beloved winter visitor.

Merry Christmas.

Calamity Politics is a Progressive on-line news magazine featuring news of the day accompanied by comment and opinion.


3 Million Children Die

Doctor’s Without Borders is a world recognized international medical humanitarian organization. The international medical relief organization was awarded the Nobel Peace in 1999. DWB delivers medical care to patients with NO political or religious agenda. The organization goal is to treat people where the need is the greatest. Helping people threatened by violence and social upheaval, neglect, natural disasters, epidemics or other health emergencies.

An MSF medical worker measures the arm of a boy to help determine if he is malnourished, at an outreach clinic in Am Timan, in eastern Chad. MSF has launched an emergency response to treat children under five who are the main victims of the current food crisis.

Worldwide, malnutrition accounts for 50% of deaths in children under 5 years old. Malnutrition claims 3 million children, making malnutrition the single greatest threat to child survival. Doctor’s Without Borders sends mobile clinics out into the most rural areas, where often conditions are untenable. Malnutrition in these regions is a huge problem. The DWB mobile teams have saved thousands of lives.

In the middle of emergency situations DWB medical teams work to break malnutrition’s cycle. Children under 2 years of age have small stomachs and very specific nutritional needs. If their diets are deficient in just one of the 40 essential nutrients they need, it weakens their young immune systems, and their chances of dying from even a minor infection or disease increases dramatically.

Continue reading

GOP’s Sneaky Tax Plan

The American tax system is not broken and it certainly does not need the type of disastrous overhaul being rammed down the throats of the 99.8% of the American tax payers all for the benefit of about five thousand people, and a boat load of international corporations. Trickle down economics was debunked 30 years ago and why we have allowed the Republicans to bring it back into the tax conversation is beyond me.

Empty Senate Chamber

On December 2, 2017 at 2 a.m., in the dark of night, without a single public hearing, Senators passed a 479 page tax bill, which included several illegible hand written notes in the margins. GOP Senators passed what could become one of the most important legislative bills in recent history. If the Republicans actually maneuver this monstrosity through the congress it will revamp the national tax code, disrupt our national health care system, while adding trillions of dollars to the national debt, thereby impacting every person in the United States.

From personal experience, I know that 2 a.m. decisions are usually stupid decisions. Decisions, that when viewed from the light of the following morning are often regrettable. So, we ask, why are the Republicans so desperate to pass such important legislation in the middle of the night? Without public hearings, written seemingly by corporation lobbyists, and supported by almost no one, we keep asking, why?

Continue reading

10 Simple Dream Interpretations

Dreams May Reflect Our Waking Lives

Dream content varies from person to person, but there are common themes. Psychologists have long claimed that dreams are nothing more than a reflection of our waking lives. See if you recognize any of your dreams.

If, in your dream:
1.)You are being chased, you are probably avoiding or running away from something in life. Being unable to run in a dream indicates feeling overwhelmed with daily pressures.
2.)You die. It doesn’t mean you are about to die, it suggests insecurity and/or anxiety.
3.)You are falling. It is a subconscious response to real-life stress, something as simple as a leg spasm.
4.)You can fly, you have conquered a stressful situation. If you can control your flight, it is a sign of confidence. If you fly aimlessly you are cautiously optimistic about your success.
5.)Your teeth fall out, you are unhappy with your physical appearance.
6.)You watch a car crash, a big undertaking in your life seems doomed to failure.
7.)You dream of water, it is a representation of your general emotional state. Clear water means satisfaction with work and home. Muddy water is a sign of skepticism and discontent.
8.)You are naked, you are dreading an upcoming event due to feelings of shame, or vulnerability.
9.)You are giving birth, great change is unfolding. Dreaming about babies indicates a desire to behave more maturely.
10.)You are peeing. You may be expressing desire for relief from a difficult situation. Or you may really have to pee, or you may already be doing it.

I love Sundays it lets me do silly things. Dream on.

Calamity Politics is an on-line news magazine directed at the politics of the United States. Join us for comment and sarcasm. Join the Resistance.