Her out of control behavior has been normalized by party leadership
by Caren White

Everybody’s favorite Bad Girl, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has managed to get herself into hot water both in Washington and back home in Georgia.

Greene, you might remember, came to Washington spouting QAnon conspiracy theories. She claimed that 9/11 was a hoax because there are no photos of a plane hitting the Pentagon. I guess she never saw the video of the plane hitting the Pentagon.

She also believed that the Parkland and Sandy Hook school shootings were staged. Perhaps no one has told her that there is a video of her harassing David Hogg, a Parkland shooting survivor, on his stance on gun rights.

And then there is her off-the-wall claim that wildfires in California were caused by space lasers controlled by Jews.

Her social media posts advocating the execution of Nancy Pelosi were enough to get her stripped of her committee assignments. By Democrats. The Republicans refused to discipline her.

That had the unfortunate effect of allowing her more time to run amok in the halls of Congress, setting off metal detectors, demanding AOC debate her on green energy, putting up an anti-trans sign on a wall across from the office of a representative whose child is trans and screaming at AOC through a mail slot:

“I am an American citizen. I pay your salary through the taxes that you collect from me through the IRS. I am a woman. I am a female business owner and I’m proud to be an American woman. And I do not support your socialist policies. If you want to be a big girl, you need to get rid of your diaper and come out and be able to talk to the American citizens.”

[NOTE: SERIOUSLY? Who’s on their knees peeking and screaming and harassing a member of Congress through a mail slot to have an ADULT conversation?]

Nancy Pelosi suggested that an Ethics Committee open an investigation into Rep. Greene’s behavior after she confronted AOC on May 14 after a vote demanding to know why she (AOC) supported Black Lives Matter and Antifa terrorists

Notice that once more it is the Democratic Party disciplining a Republican member because her own party refuses to do anything to moderate her behavior.

Meanwhile, Greene has teamed up with everyone’s favorite pedophile, Matt Gaetz, to form a joint fundraising committee and launch what they are calling an “America First” tour around the country.

Back home in Georgia, it has come to light that Greene and her husband are double dipping in a little income tax scam. They have claimed two Homestead exemptions on two separate residences.

The problem is that Georgia only allows one Homestead exemption per couple no matter how many homes the couple owns. The penalty for violating this statute is a fine that is equal to twice the couple’s tax bill which in Rep. Greene’s case works out to $12,000.

Not earthshattering but definitely annoying.

When asked by a reporter about this, Rep. Greene told the reporter to “mind his own business.” She also put out a statement calling the report about her little tax dodge a “pathetic smear.”

Since the Republicans find nothing wrong with her egregious behavior, it’s safe to assume that they are okay with her breaking laws and terrorizing her fellow legislators.


So let’s imagine how the Republicans would react if it were a Democrat filing false income taxes, threatening fellow legislators, screaming through mail slots and putting up offensive signs.

They would be all over them like a pack of rabid dogs.

This is exactly what’s wrong with the Republican Party.

They are willing to tolerate behavior in their members that is so far outside of the norms of our society that it is illegal.

Tolerate? Encourage would probably be a better description.

Violence and the threat of violence has become the standard. Anyone who doesn’t agree with them is automatically declared an enemy.

Not a fellow citizen who holds different views.

The enemy.

Even the party’s former chairman, Michael Steele, says that the “the GOP has morphed into one of the largest anti-Democratic movements in the world.”

The math is truly frightening. Republicans, aka the largest antidemocratic movement in the world, control 30 state legislatures, 27 governorships, 212 (out of 435) seats in the House of Representatives and 50 seats in the Senate.

The largest antidemocratic movement in the world controls more than half of our states and close to half of our federal government.

The midterms will be here soon. Elections that traditionally favor the party out of power. We are looking at the very real possibility of Republicans gaining control of both the House and the Senate in 2022.

Even scarier than that, thanks to the census and a healthy dose of gerrymandering and voter suppression, Trump or a Trump wannabe could win the election in 2024 and become president.



They seem to think that I don’t understand what they stand for
by Tessa Schlesinger

Photo courtesy of M. White

So let’s talk about your point that all conservatives are not the same.
It boggles my mind every time a conservative wants to discuss his views with me. I have yet to meet one that doesn’t seem to think that I don’t have a good knowledge of what they believe and stand for. They appear to think that because I’m a progressive, I must be misinformed.

The truth of the matter is that I have been a progressive since 1966 — that’s probably before they even knew the word existed. I grew up in a political family and I have lived, voted, and worked in several countries. I have lived under a variety of political systems, including apartheid, welfare states, neoliberalism (laissez faire capitalism), and mixed economies (democratic socialism).

So Let’s Forget About Trump and the Crazies for the Moment

Let’s talk about traditional conservatism — the type that upholds American traditions (or British ones, if you’re living in the UK), less government rather than more, Judeo-Christian beliefs, American exceptionalism (Oh, yes, and British exceptionalism), individualism, a strong military and police force, limited welfare options, and Christian prayer in schools.

I have no time for outmoded traditions. Traditions belong to tribes, and there is no place for tribalism in the world anymore.

I am a hardcore atheiest — Judeo-Christian beliefs are primitive myths. They have no bearing on reality, and a great many of their so called ethics are anything but ethical. It’s perfectly okay to be gay, to sleep with people before one is married, and to have an abortion.

Individualism is the root of narcissism. People who grow up been taught that they are entitled to do and have anything they like without checking the consequences of their own actions on others are not good people. They are self-centered, and, over a period of time, communities comprising them fail. That’s because communities only work when the people within them work collectively for the greater good. Virtually all religions have been based on the greater good — individualism has no place in any civilization. Nor do I have any interest in the pursuit of happiness. I am in pursuit of fairness and dignity for all people — black, white, pink with purple spots, and dark green.

American exceptionalism boggles my mind. Sorry, but there is nothing great about America. America is technologically behind Europe. Its food is both more expensive and very unhealthy. It’s misinformed about a great many things, and because most Americans don’t travel to Europe, to New Zealand, to Australia, etc. they have no idea how limited and retrogressive they really are. American exceptionalism lives only in the minds of a percentage of Americans (the conservative type).

“Welfare only for those who are genuinely in trouble” is a diatribe that I constantly hear. I happen to believe that it’s welfare for everybody who wants it. I firmly believe in Universal Basic Income, and having studied Modern Monetary Theory, I think it’s true that governments can print their own money, and there won’t be any negative consequence. We are producing twice what we need on this planet, and most of it is being trashed and going into landfills and the seas. I am a strong believer in the Welfare State. Germany has the third largest economy in the world, and she is very, very much a welfare state, and she pays her people well. So Margaret Thatcher’s famous statement “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money” is poppycock. Welfare is part of the political system in Western Europe.

While I accept that there needs to be a core military and a police force (there will always be crime and wars), what I don’t accept is that 60% of American taxes must go to the military. Nor do I think it’s sane to provide military weapons to the police. In no other western country are the police militarized.

Small government, i.e. privatization, is a serious misunderstanding of the goal of government. Yet conservatives constantly put the profits of business above the business of government. I am keen to shut down 50% of business to stop producing all the excess that is causing climate change, as well as completely removing lobbying (state capture) from government. I don’t believe that business should have any input whatsoever in government. And I believe that government is elected in order to serve the needs of the people. The more the population grows in numbers, and the more complex society becomes, the bigger government needs to be.

Prayer in schools. I don’t believe that mythology about non-existing entities who live in the invisible world ought to be taught to children as facts. Nor should they be encouraged to believe that their prayers will be answered. This leads to delusion. To my mind, schools are there to teach people working skills, the sciences, the numbers, the liberal arts, and language. That’s it. Religion ought to be totally abolished.

Ah, yes. Capitalism — the great love affair of conservatives. Well, capitalism is responsible for making most of the world poor. Modern civilization is the result of the Enlightenment — not capitalism. Capitalism (like totalitarianism) effectively slowed down progress. Marx pointed out the long-term outcome of capitalism a century and a half ago, and he was right. I’m also tired of conservative ignorance confusing totalitarianism with communism and socialism. Then, again, they also don’t know the difference between liberalism and progressivism.

Family values. Oh — lordie. Which family would that be? The ones where the husband shoots his wife and 2.5 children because he had a bad day? The ones where the husband forces his wife into submission because the bible tells him that women are to submit to him? The ones who are interfering in woman’s contraceptive choices because they don’t want women to have sex outside marriage? The world has moved on. Jesus Christ does not exist. And there are more important things in life (like climate change, poverty, billionaires) than trying to prevent a woman from sleeping with the men she chooses to sleep with.

They’re all dead now. All the unofficial fathers of modern conservatism: William F. Buckley, Russell Kirk, Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan. All of the self-anointed torch bearers for Edmund Burke are dead, and you might be tempted to think that these men (always men) … were men of principle. Good men. Strong men. … That is because the entire philosophical foundation of conservatism is a template for exploitation. William F. Buckley was a rich asswipe with an affected accent who never had to worry about money a day in his life. There must be a moral order, although whose morals should be adhered to isn’t quite clear. You cannot create a Utopian society, so there’s no point in trying. Change is bad and dangerous. Inequality is not only inevitable but necessary. Men should only count on their fellow man for help, and not on any kind of state-created support system. Source.

My Disconnect with Conservatism

Of course, I have not gone into details here. I don’t have the time. I don’t have the inclination. And I really am sick and tired of going over and over the same thing again and again. I’ve been going over it for half a century. So forgive me, if I don’t want to debate or discuss conservatism with one more conservative. I understand exactly what it is. It worked in a tribal world — it does not work in a global one.

Nor do I have time for the type of people who are enamored with guns, think America is the most free country in the world (if only you knew), and that America won WWII on behalf of the Allies.

All Conservatives Are Not the Same

When I tell a conservative that I have no desire to debate him, and that I don’t debate conservatives, I am told “But all conservatives are not the same.”

Oh, I’m sure that there is a green one with yellow dots, tall ones, ones that speak two languages, others that don’t own a gun, and more. However, none of this eliminates the core philosophy and value system of conservatives. And it’s the core philosophy that I have a problem with.

A RUSTY PORTAL – photo by P. Williams

So, no, I’m 70 this year. I have lived in enough countries, read enough books, and have sufficient inches of qualifications to reach an accurate decision. The fact that many conservative men have an issue with my not wanting to discuss conservatism with them has more to do with their belief that they can influence me than anything else.

Not going to happen.

I’m a kick-ass woman with a mind of her own.



Could this be someone you know? Or even you?
By Brooke Meredith

There are the obvious signs of a not-so-great person, such as habitual lying, being manipulative, cruel, etc.

And then there are signs that are less obvious. Those we might need to pay closer attention to, which signify someone with not such stellar character.

Here are a few of those sneaky, less obvious ones.

They Don’t Give Much Thought or Care to Their Behavior With Regards to People Around Them

This includes behavior or thought toward strangers, not just people they already know and like.

Think examples of people who act like this:

Taking loud cell phone calls on an otherwise silent public bus

Blasting music or videos from their phone in an otherwise generally quiet public space

Not making space for people on public transport

Spilling something and not cleaning it up

Always taking the bigger slice, or the better seat, or the more enticing looking option and leaving the lesser ones for others

Leaving dribble all over the toilet seat for the next person to have to deal with

Taking the last piece of chocolate every time so your partner/family doesn’t get it

In general, it boils down to a lack of thought or concern for others, for their feelings and thoughts, and for being kind and generous in the direction of others.

Dogs Don’t Like Them

Now, of course, this isn’t a blanket rule. There will be times a dog’s initial impression is skepticism or dislike, and it’s more a reflection of the dog than the person.

But, if a generally good-natured dog doesn’t like someone, this might indicate several things about the person. An aura that is…off. Aggressive body language or energy. Lack of boundaries (as in, a person who oversteps and touches or does things without thought for the other person’s feelings). A person who isn’t especially thoughtful to those around them.

evaluating personalities, feeling comfortable, sensing danger, insulting behaviors
DOG comfortable in surroundings

Dogs sense things. Emotions, auras, body language, etc. So if a dog’s hackles are raised, this might be indicating something.

So while it’s not a certain statement if a dog is hesitant or even dislikes someone, it can be a sign worth noting.

They Leave the Spaces They’ve Entered Worse Than They Were Before

This includes things like:


Leaving a huge mess in the kitchen after you’ve cooked for someone else to deal with

Not bothering to take off your outdoor shoes when entering someone’s home and tracking dirt everywhere

Leaving dirty clothes all over the floor

Walking away from the pile of dog poop your pooch just left

Going to visit someone when you’re in a terrible mood and letting it ruin the occasion.

This applies to both, leaving a physical space literally worse off, or tainting and wrecking the emotional atmosphere.

They Don’t Ever Apologize For Anything

And, when or if they do, it either sounds forced, fake or gives off the impression they are doing it for personal gains.

Why is this problematic?

It either means someone is disconnected from the feelings of others and doesn’t particularly care about them, or that they are arrogant, defensive, and self-righteous.

Either one is troubling and a sign of poor character.

They Are Not Truly Interested In Others

We all have known people like this who, for the most part, only talk about themselves. All conversational topics lead back to them. Their favorite topic? Them, their own dramas, their feelings, and their opinions.

They might ask you questions, though you can often tell it’s out of obligation or surface social nicety, but not for genuine interest. When you do talk a bit and answer a question they’ve asked, you can see their attention wandering.

All of this indicates someone who is quite self-centered and entrenched in their own world, without much room left for anyone else. They might be painfully lonely or not, which is part of why they are so fixated on sharing things about themselves with others. It could be a desperate means of trying to feel heard and seen by others, of trying to get attention and connect.

Either way, it’s unlikely to be a mutually satisfying, fulfilling relationship with someone like this, who lacks legit curiosity in others.

They View Other People Through Black and White, Good or Bad Lenses

Check out The Coddling of the American Mind (The NY Times bestseller by two insightful, progressive, liberal professors) for more on this. It’s a superb, eye-opening read. In short, though, this is becoming a common American way of thinking. Of regarding others as “good” or “bad”, “right” or “wrong”, based on surface, simplistic, singular moments of judgment.

We look at someone who is saying or doing something we don’t like in a single moment and now often decide right off the bat that, “they are racist,” or “they are bad,” or “they must be a republican and are, therefore, not good,” or “they read this book by this author I don’t like so that means we could never be friends.”

You see where I’m going with this, yes? Swift, black and white judgments based on simple things made way before you get to know someone in a deeper, more complex way. This is a strong sign of people who live their lives in fear-based, shallow, simplistic, immature thinking.

They Dismiss Wisdom and Truth

This could be anything, from refusing to admit they behaved in a cruel, dishonest, manipulative (you insert the adjective here) way in a certain situation to someone.

It could be that when a loved one presents a counter-argument to something they’ve said that holds merit and logic, still they don’t allow themselves to be swayed because they are so attached to their own opinions and what they feel a need to keep believing.

It could be when someone who cares about them tells this person they’re worried about a certain behavior they’re doing that is either hurting themselves or others, they then grow enraged, dismiss them, and no longer speak to them because of the painful truth they were saying.

This can actualize as many different things, a refusal to acknowledge and listen to wisdom and truth. It’s a problem because it doesn’t make one’s life better, it makes it worse, and it also likely causes problems for the people around them too.

They Don’t Keep Their Word

This can be anything, from always showing up thirty minutes late, to promising they’ll call and they don’t, to saying they’ll help you with something and then bailing, to always canceling plans.

Watch out for these types.

You cannot feel trust toward someone who you cannot rely on, whether they are a nice person or not. And without trust, it’s going to be hard to have a good relationship with someone. This type of behavior also shows a lack of thought, respect, or care for those around them.

They Don’t Give You the Respect of Their Attention and Focus

We all have occasions when we feel scattered, are distracted, are not feeling good, or are struggling, which might make us subpar listeners. This is human.

But, if it’s a frequent occurrence that this happens with a particular person in your life, it’s a huge red flag. As in, a red flag that showcases a serious lack of respect, lack of interest, and lack of investment in the connection with you.

What might this look like? Here are a few examples:

Someone who is regularly checking their phone when in your company, looking at it, reading texts, responding to them, simultaneously doing Instacart when hanging out with you, etc.

A person who, much of the time, when you are telling them something, you see their gaze wandering, they appear distracted, disengaged, or not particularly interested.

Someone who is constantly bringing everything you say back around to themselves, their life, their feelings, their opinions.

A person who feigns interest and asks obligatory questions but with whom you can tell, the interest isn’t legit.

They rarely to never remember the details of things you tell them. The specifics of what is happening in your life or the things you told them last time you met up, they do not recall or ask about any of it.

They don’t retain knowledge about you as a person, things you’ve revealed to them over the relationship, such as food preferences, big things that have happened to you, your basic likes and dislikes, your main life goals and dreams, etc.

You realize that in a particular relationship in your life, you know a lot about that person, and they don’t know nearly as much about you.

All of this indicates someone who is just not that interested, and someone who isn’t giving you respect, effort, or thought. It also implies a person not actually capable of connecting with others.

The above behaviors and traits imply a person who does not have great character and thus, is likely to be someone you will not have a healthy or satisfying relationship with.

I’d recommend ceasing effort with these people and investing your time elsewhere, with those who do not act in these ways.

It’s likely to result in far happier, healthier social connections.


by Jessica Wildfire


For the last year, I didn’t take Tucker Carlson seriously. I ignored him. Then he told his viewers — millions of angry, aggressive orks— to harass me and my daughter for wearing a mask. He wants them to call the police on us and have her taken away from me.

My daughter starts preschool soon. We chose a school with stringent policies on masking and vaccines. There was a moment this month when I felt halfway relaxed, even hopeful about the future. After more than a year in isolation, she’s going to interact with other kids again.

Tucker Carlson ruined it.

He’s put my family’s future in jeopardy, just like every person who’s digging in their heels on vaccines and masks.

Now I feel a looming sense of doom.

Thanks to men like this, I’ll spend this next year waiting for a phone call that some lunatic Fox News addict harassed my 3-year-old on a playground. I’ll be waiting to hear there was an “incident” where someone exposed her or a teacher to a mutated version of the coronavirus.

I’m not going to get my life back after all.

Millions like me won’t get a break from the hell of quarantine parenthood, even if their kids return to school, because Tucker Carlson needed to run his mouth on national television. He needed attention, to keep his ratings up, to keep raking in millions, and he doesn’t even believe half of what he’s saying. Fox News will keep him on air because he’s good for business. Let’s be clear. What Tucker Carlson did wasn’t just selfish or stupid.

It was an act of terror.

Tucker Carlson called millions of loving parents child abusers.

There’s no ignoring Tucker Carlson, not anymore.

Not only did he tell his viewers to harass me for wearing a mask “outside,” he told them to call social services on me if they see my child wearing one. He told them to report me for child abuse. He called masks “repulsive,” and described them as a threat to democracy.

I live in a red state.

Here, people listen to him. The local news runs stories asking me to feel sympathy and show support for anyone who was fired for refusing to get vaccinated. That’s what I deal with.

If Tucker Carlson thinks making a child wear a mask in public is abuse, then I can only imagine what he thinks about parents who’ve kept our toddlers home for a year because they’re too young to understand anything about this pandemic. He would probably strip us of custody altogether and have us committed to an institution.

Maybe Tucker Carlson doesn’t believe this, but people actually take him seriously. Some people even do what he says. In a worst case scenario now, I could lose custody of my daughter — simply for trying to protect her life. Even if I didn’t, we would both be subjected to endless encounters with non-maskers and anti-vaxxers. We would have hearings and court dates and lawyers, not to mention periods of separation.

Think it couldn’t happen?

Years ago, we watched horrified as border agents ripped children out of the arms of their parents and locked them in cages, sometimes without food or water. Some of those children never saw their parents again. Some of them died alone without family. Even if we empathized, we knew we’d never fully understand that kind of loss. We could only imagine it as a kind of twisted nightmare. Well, it feels real now. Tucker Carlson has accomplished something no airhead with a microphone could.

He’s instilled terror in me.

He’s proud.

Tucker Carlson knows exactly what he did.

There’s no speculating about what happens next. Someone out there is going to take a liberal interpretation of Tucker Carlson’s words. They’re not going to hear “outside.” They’re going to feel emboldened to harass parents and children wearing masks anywhere.

It’s already happening in some places, where groups of anti-maskers are gathering outside schools and shoving leaflets in kids’ hands.

Anyway, let’s define “outside.”

If you’re like me, you put your mask on in the parking lot before you head toward the entrance of a store. Maybe you put it on in your car before you climb out. You don’t take it off the minute you walk back “outside.” Maybe you keep your mask on until you reach your car. Maybe you’ve gotten so used to wearing your mask, you just wear it when you’re running errands period, regardless of whether you’re “inside” or “outside.”

Anyone who actually wears a mask on a regular basis understand this. Tucker Carlson doesn’t wear a mask. So he doesn’t understand shit about what life is really like during a pandemic.

Tucker Carlson also knows his viewers won’t make these nuanced distinctions. They’re not exactly calm and considerate. They don’t listen to him for his careful discussion and analysis of trends and events. His viewers turn to him for one reason — permission to get angry.

He gives it.

Tucker Carlson acts like a terrorist.

A woman from Iowa is currently standing trial for attempted murder. She tried to run over two Hispanic children with her car. She admits she was targeting them because of their ethnicity.

She wanted to kill them.

These are the kind of people who watch Tucker Carlson.

Until recently, it was hard to hate liberals on sight unless they had a different skin color or haircut. Now they have an identifier.

It’s masks.

Wearing a mask shouldn’t say a lot about your political views, but it does now because people like Tucker Carlson are making it so.

Here’s his logic:

Mask = liberal = enemy.

That’s terrorism, even if it’s hard to believe. Our own federal agencies use the term stochastic terrorism to classify violence that doesn’t follow conventions. It’s not organized or predictable. It doesn’t follow a coherent set of beliefs or ideologies. There’s no single group or cell.

It’s chaotic and random.

Let’s put it in simple terms: Stochastic terrorism doesn’t sound like a big deal until you really think about it. It’s just ordinary dirt bags spitting on healthcare workers and making death threats while they try to save lives. It’s just hateful QAnon believers spreading a virus whose lethality increases every time it mutates, knowing it will kill people but choosing to believe it’s all a hoax, to relieve their conscience. It’s just repressed evangelicals walking into spas and shooting Asian women or blowing up vans on Christmas morning “without any traceable motive.”

Angry voices like Tucker Carlson encourage all of this. They know by now what happens when they use phrases like “trial by combat” or “you have to show strength.” They know what their fist pumps and angry rants do to their followers and fan base. Their words keep their viewers in a constant state of agitation, and then they encourage them to go off and start confrontations with anyone that bothers them.

Now he’s sending them after me and my daughter. I’m terrified. And that’s the whole point of terrorism.

It works.

This is how terror operates.

Despite all our talk about terrorism, Americans don’t seem to know how it actually looks. They’ve seen too many movies.

Terrorism isn’t crowds running from bombs or suspicious-looking powders. That’s a theatrical version that sells popcorn. Real terrorism can be quiet, and hard to call out. It’s acts of severe violence when you least expect them, followed by a litany of threats too vague and indirect for people to take seriously, unless they’re targeting you. It’s the impact on your daily life, like whether you choose to leave the house after an influential media personality tells people to accost and verbally assault you.

It’s not a building blowing up.

It’s all the thousands of tense interactions we’ll be having over the oncoming weeks as we stand in checkout lines. It’s all the dirty looks we’ll give each other. It’s not macro violence.

It’s micro.

That’s Tucker Carlson’s goal, and that’s the thing tearing this country apart. Real terrorism isn’t some guy in a turban waiving an AK-47 in the middle of a desert. That’s what Americans have been taught, because it distracts us from the more tangible threat of our own homegrown, domestic terrorists — the white supremacists and neo-fascists down the block.

Real terrorism can be someone on prime time television demanding the state take your children away.

That’s what happened the other night. A white man who claims to love America told millions of other Americans they had a moral duty to take my child from me, for trying to keep her safe.

Now I’m scared.

Tucker Carlson will get people killed.

There’s no comfort in dismissing Tucker Carlson and those like him as “just some nut job,” because there’s dozens if not hundreds of police officers and local officials who agree with him and can manipulate the system to make it happen. Even if they couldn’t make it stick, they could separate families. They could put children in facilities and expose them to the very thing we’ve given up so much trying to protect them from.

Now I live in fear. My child could die. Tucker Carlson will have killed her. Even if that doesn’t happen, he wants us to be afraid it could — unless we start doing what he says, and abandon masks.

That’s terrorism.

That’s forcing people to comply with your politics, out of fear that something could happen to you if you don’t.

Tucker Carlson crossed a line. He didn’t just express his own opinion. Like his kind always do, he advocated for other people to have their rights taken away and their families torn apart. It’s not easy these days, but he did it. Tucker Carlson is the most hateful man in America.


NOTE: Ceremonial figure ASH BLOWER MASK used in indigenous healing ceremonies for the sick. Blowing ashes over the ill person was believed to heal them.

So be it, let’s all blow some ash Tucker’s way!

art by T. BLEN PARKER.



Lessons from a guy who had severely low self-esteem.
By Anthony J. Yeung


When I look back on what I did and didn’t do in life, I don’t regret the deals or investments I missed out on, or the chances I didn’t take.

After all, if I start regretting those things, I’m going to spend my life living in the past and second-guessing everything. Also, those moments made me who I am—they forced me to learn, challenge myself, and create opportunities that I enjoy today.

You can’t know everything. As long as you’re making the most wise, educated, and ethical decisions possible, based on what you know at the moment, that’s all you can do.

But the only thing I truly regret—and I figuratively kick myself over—is one head-slapping mistake I repeated countless times in the past.


I didn’t stand up for myself when I had the chance.

When someone was being rude, mean, or hurtful, I didn’t say anything.

When some business cheated me right in front of me, I didn’t say anything.

When I was the target of racism, I didn’t say anything.

I didn’t challenge people when they needed to be challenged.

Instead, I got angry, went blank, and walked away.

I let it happen too many times in my life — and each time, I felt so fucking disappointed and frustrated at myself.

Now, some people might say that it was the “mature” or “right” thing to do. But where I currently am in my personal development journey, I disagree.

Standing up for yourself is not about cussing at someone, throwing punches, or being an asshole. Instead, it’s about calling people out for disrespectful behavior in a firm, fair, and civil way. It’s about putting your foot down, not letting yourself get pushed around, and speaking your piece to the aggressor, to yourself, and to the universe.

It’s about training the world how to treat you.

Looking back on it, I believe played a big part in those aggravating situations. Sure, they were wrong to be disrespectful, but I still allowed those situations to happen.

“You’re the trainer of your external world. Your world is a reflection of you. Everything in your life right now is simultaneously what you tolerate and what you’re committed to.”
— Dr. Benjamin Hardy

Due to childhood traumas, I grew up with severely low self-esteem and had a “freeze” response (part of the fight-or-flight response)—this is where, in moments of extreme stress, fear, or danger, rather than attacking or fleeing, you actually can’t move, can’t think, and go blank.

It was my survival mechanism, which blocked me from standing up for myself because I always made the excuse, “I didn’t know what to say; it caught me off guard.” (Of course, I’d think of something to say moments later when it was too late.) But the truth was I froze and my mind went blank—it had nothing to do with not knowing what to say or being surprised.

And having a freeze response can lead to some serious consequences:

“For survival, we then utilize either the flight (withdrawal/capitulation), fight (aggressive assertion), or freeze (avoidance of pain trauma) response — whichever originally worked for our survival will be our method for life. If freeze is chosen — the genesis of TMS [Tension Myositis Syndrome] begins. The physical symptoms that result from the freeze response are the TMS symptoms discussed throughout this book. These symptoms result from a lack of discharge of the energy pent up by a fight or flight response that never took place — expressions of conflict that desire to be known, and yet for personal reasons, cannot.
—Steven Ozanich

Obviously, you don’t need to fight over every little thing. (Also, you should know when someone is threatening you and the best action is to flee.) But when someone’s cheating, bullying, or taking advantage of you, you have every right to stand up for yourself and say something. Here’s the best way I’ve learned how:

How to Stand Up For Yourself
Sure, you can learn phrases to say—like making “I statements” instead of “You statements”—but the only way to learn how to stand up for yourself is to take action in the moment, even when your heart’s pounding and your legs are shaking, and start reshaping your identity.

You might be afraid of upsetting people or putting yourself in a vulnerable situation. But speaking from my years of regrets, I can tell you that the alternative is always much, much worse.

Once I promised myself to always train the world how to treat me, I never missed an opportunity. I stood up to people in foreign countries with a bunch of mean faces glaring at me. I stood up to people who made racist insults. I put my foot down when countless people tried to take advantage of me.

But I didn’t insult them, I didn’t return their negative energy, and I didn’t “release” all my buried anger from the past at these people. Instead, I gathered myself and calmly stated my feelings, explained my frustrations, and let them know I wouldn’t tolerate it.

Every time I did so, even if I resolved the problem or not, I felt a million times better.

Ultimately, the outcome didn’t matter—what mattered was I asserted myself and confronted the situation. And by doing so, I felt proud for proving that I had the confidence, courage, and self-worth to stand up for myself.

Ultimately, to unfreeze, I had to force myself to take action. I had to practice being comfortable with the uncomfortable. And as crazy as this sounds—and don’t take this the wrong way—I had to stop being so nice to people.

You see, I was always taught that showing anger was bad and that I needed to be “nice“ at all times. I never learned (or was allowed) to express anger appropriately; so while I may have “acted” nice on the outside, inside, I was royally pissed.

Look, I’m all for being kind and loving, even towards unpleasant people. But in my specific case, forcing myself to be kind was just repression that buried my rage and led to more problems:

“Trying to be too nice — all things to all people — is a self-denial that sends increased energy into the shadow. To deny that one has been sexually molested, abused, or abandoned, and that there is no hatred toward the one who did these things gives great power to the shadowy complex. To deny that one hates his job or spouse, or life has a shadow-building effect… If fake-niceness rules, then there must be an equal counterbalance — and that counterbalance is pure rage. The opposing psychic force to feigned niceness is blinding rage which happens to be the root of [Tension Myositis Syndrome] pain, and most likely all illness. So, life is a constant dance for balance between intellectualization and feeling — repression and expression.”
— Steven Ozanich

If you’re not used to standing up for yourself, it will take practice. It will be uncomfortable. And there will probably be times you accidentally go overboard. But when that happens, do not beat yourself up and do not stop standing up for yourself.

Imagine a superhero movie: A person suddenly gets their new powers, but at first, they don’t know how to use them—so they’re awkward and clumsy and accidentally breaking shit.
That’s where you are right now. You’re developing a new power you’ve never used before so there will be times you go too far or not far enough. But as you practice, you’ll learn over time. As you keep taking action, you will improve.

And as you commit, you will change.
You’ll finally train the world how to treat you.
And ……. you’ll never regret it.