It Can't Be Christmas

Many are wondering it really can't be Christmas especially after this past years election. The travesty of it all. Through-out the land perplexed and bewildered individuals numbering in the millions remain shell shocked in disbelief. The horror of it when our vote really didn't matter after all. Confused and in denial a nation sits on edge where the nightmare is just beginning or could it be the end. America you see has been teetering ready to fall.

For over forty years now the decline was being written by the elitists who already have it all. This great experiment that our founding fathers forged has morphed into an imperialistic state where wealth flows to power then to control. We were to blind to see through the web of deception of what continues to be. The precious rights of freedom, choice and liberty have been stripped away by the power that money can buy.

When elections now are nothing more than dog and pony shows has turned this nation away from the past. We have endless campaigns where so much money is foolishly spent. We have become a nation so transfixed by media hype. We have become a nation without substance or control as evident when surges of people trample each other in the mad Black Friday holiday rush. To many of today's political figures hurl insults at each other which so often triggers more hostilities. All of these instances have transformed this nation into an unrecognizable state.

Many of us Baby Boomers can recall a time more civil in tone. The Christmas seasons of so long ago was a time of year that nourished the soul. The common courtesy and civility that prevailed symbolized a nation whose greatness rests not on military might or the wealth of the power elite but with the simplicity of a tempo so smooth and sweet. All that we find today is a tempo so rushed and hurried. No time to waste, not a minute to lose is the frantic pace of society today. This has to be one of the main reasons why this nation has ended up this way.

To all those so enamored by what this election has brought be very careful of what you have wished for. It has already turned out to be not what you bargained for and you can expect more pain and misery. A charlatan for sure so masked in the lime light of media popularity hidden from view lies hate and bigotry. History is about to repeat in so many ways. The deceit and deception was so convincing beguiling the public with promises that he won't be keeping.

We are now in dangerous waters with a nation already sinking. Like the captain of the Titanic he remains oblivious to our fate. The outrage continues over the ill gotten gains where Trump now assumes he can right this ship of state. Never before has there been such an outrage where a candidate looses the general election only to be crowned victorious by a system put in place to safeguard this country from the type of politician that will be soon sworn in. It just can't be Christmas, not like this!
By Dr. Tim G Williams

Happy 241st Birthday to All United States Marines

On November 10, 1775, the United States Marine Corps was founded by the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Fittingly, "Tun Tavern" was the place where history was made, with the first Marines enlisting under Commandant Samuel Nicholas.

Since that date, Marines have been in uninterrupted service to our nation and have distinguished themselves "in every clime and place," in far off lands and on distant, remote beaches "from the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli," in France during World War I at Belleau Wood, on Iwo Jima and throughout the Pacific Islands during World War II, at Inchon and the Chosin Reservoir during the Korea War, at Khe Sanh and Hue City during the Vietnam War, throughout Iraq in such outposts as Fallujah and the Anbar Province, and in bloody combat in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan--just a few of many places, a scant mention of the many battlefields where United States Marines have been called to duty.

Marines have heroically, without hesitation, answered our country's call, never faltering in their dedication nor swerving in their allegiance. "Semper Fidelis" (Always Faithful) is every Marine's motto, and "Once a Marine, Always a Marine" their creed.

The Marines' Hymn proclaims "... if the Army or the Navy ever look on heaven's scenes, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines."

Competently so.

To formalize the Marine Corps's founding, on November 1, 1921, Major General John A. Lejuene, Commandant of the Marine Corps at that time, issued MARINE CORPS ORDERS No. 47 (Series 1921), part of which read as follows:
In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our Corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term "Marine" has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue. This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the Corps. With it we have also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our Corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age.
In World War II, on one particular island in the Pacific Ocean, Iwo Jima, the iconic 1945 photograph of six Marines raising a United States flag atop Mount Suribachi during the battle was taken by Associated Press combat photographer Joe Rosenthal. That photo later became the most recognized symbol of the United States in the world, and is the basis for the Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial) a national monument in Arlington, Virginia. Admiral Chester Nimitz reflected on the incredible sacrifice of the Marines who fought at Iwo Jima by saying, (Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima) "Uncommon valor was a common virtue," words inscribed in the granite at the base.

As do all Marines--active duty, retired, or former, where ever they may find themselves today, November 10th--I pay silent tribute to those who went before me--and after--having given so much in service to their Corps and country. Now decades older, I clearly remember the faces of those with whom I served--then steadfast young men and women, unselfish in their devotion, unwavering in their loyalty, never questioning their solemn duty to defend our nation from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Always displaying a Gung Ho attitude, Marines have stood ready to fight our country's battles "on the land, in the air, or at sea" for two hundred forty-one years wherever and whenever called upon to do so.

And so, on this special day, I will hoist a toast to all Marines, past and present, who have risked their lives for their country. I will pay special tribute to those Marines who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Their memory bolsters my faith in our nation's youth, our steadfast values, and our blessed United States of America.

Happy 241st Birthday, Marines!

Major Dennis Copson is a retired United States Marine and is a resident of Oceanside, California. He is a freelance writer and editor.

Economic Development Assistance Brings Back the American Dream

It all starts with a dream. You have an idea, you start a business, you work hard, and you send your kids to college. For many, the American Dream has increasingly become difficult to attain. It is harder for the average American to navigate the country's economic climate. Regional institutions, such as a city's Chamber of Commerce or a state's Economic Development branch, provide Economic Development Assistance services and incentives. Representatives from these institutions act as mediators between aspiring professionals and the challenges of the modern marketplace, and they even arrange for more commercial interactions. Natural "solopreneurs" still emerge, but having help drastically improves one's chances of success.

Individual Success Fosters Overall Market Success

Leaders cannot ignore the crucial role companies play in the overall well-being of their communities. When businesses do well, the entire economic ecosystem flourishes. Small businesses have generated over 65 percent of the nation's net new jobs since 1995. Keeping this in mind, it is in everyone's interests to have several robust and thriving companies operating or headquartered within a community. Furthermore, higher employment rates generally correlate with lower crime rates. The continued growth of economic opportunities is essential for the health of any region. Still, these benefits cannot come to fruition unless commercial operations begin. That's where Economic Development Assistance comes in. These services can help guide both entrepreneurs and large corporations through site selection, government contract documentation, financing options, incentives, and more.

Incentives Fuel the Dream

Areas seeking to see a spurt in economic growth often offer incentives. Economic Development Assistance programs highlight these opportunities and provide information on how to take advantage of these rewards. Some incentives are offered in general terms to every commercial enterprise in the district. In other cases, a local municipality may offer specific tax breaks to attract a certain operation. It is important for site selectors to take regional tax practices into account, as higher costs can restrain growth.

It's an Interactive World

Many times, institutions are excited to connect people in the local business community. Some contemporary urban planning designs even incorporate creative collision zones. These areas are strategically located in business districts. The collision zones feature paths and sidewalks where professionals walk and naturally cross paths. The concept behind this urban planning theory is that with increased natural interactions, professionals will have more chances to interact and potentially collaborate. By creating interactions, city planners are creating more economic opportunities for their communities. Besides these physical interactions, institutions also hold regular networking events and meetings to promote Economic Development Assistance programs and offers. By spreading the word, more entrepreneurs will become more aware of potential services tailored to help them succeed.

Information Age

Even with the availability of local statistical information, it can be difficult to understand and interpret the regional economic climate. Economic Development Assistance institutions actively work to make this information obtainable through, for example, infographics and animated charts, which are much more useful than raw data. They may also offer interactive platforms, which allow individuals to collaborate with current leaders and other potential professional allies.

By acting as a liaison between local assets and potential developers, Economic Development Assistance representatives increase the likelihood of success for both the developers and the region as a whole. As long as existing companies can be sustained and new firms can emerge, the American dream can survive.

When considering economic development assistance, Flint MI residents visit Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. Learn more at

Stop Blaming The Government

I cannot count the amount of times I've heard someone passionately rant about the issues with the government. With social media now a day, you really can't get away from the posts, statuses, videos, pictures and articles. Everyone complains about different things. So many people want to see a difference. We can feel that the world around us is ready for a positive transformation and it's frustrating to sit back and watch the government control how we live as a society especially if we don't agree with the system that is being applied. But how can we not be angry? We have no control. The only control we have is that special moment when we get a chance to vote for a new master and hope that they will save us. So we pressure each other to VOTE because we have rights! Then we sit back and we watch our society morph a little bit, then go back to feeling powerless and waiting for yet another change... and the cycle continues.

The thing is, we consider issues and opinions about the government as a very "grown up" topic. We often tell children that we are engaging in "grown up" talk when we're discussing these issues. But the truth is, the act of this, at it's core, is far from "grown up". That may be a huge shot to your ego but the fact is complaining about authority figures is something children do. A five year old refusing to be happy because the rules of their house aren't to their liking is something we would consider childish behavior. A group of teens whining to each other about how terrible their parents are is something we would look at as immature and ignorant. It's something we did as children though, and at that time, our opinions and feelings around the situation felt very important and very valid and we believed that they deserved respect.

So wouldn't it make sense that once we grew up and moved away from our parent's care into a world where we no longer live under the authority of them that we would project those same "childish" authority-blaming traditions onto to something else... I don't know let's say The Government? I'm not saying that your points are not correct. Let me put it this way, although a child can claim they are incapable of happiness because they've had their iPhone taken away, it's clear to us that if they picked themselves up and played with the earth around them that they could turn their own world around. Yes, they've had something that belongs to them taken away, out of their control. Does that seem fair? No. They could spend all day sitting on the couch inside blaming their unhappiness on the situation OR they can stand up and make a choice, if this is issue seems that important to them, they can:

A. Reason with their parent to get it back
B. Earn money to buy a new one
C. Gather up their pals and wave picket signs outside their parent's house about the unfairness of the situation

Which are all great ideas to achieve the goal of getting what they want in order to make them happy.

If one of strategies worked then great! They got what they felt they deserved and they feel accomplished!

In the case, that they have zero control. Their parent is especially strict and determined to deprive the child of an iPhone.

The child in this case has these three options:

A. Complain about the situation. Result - sadness and powerlessness
B. Keep fighting. Result - Strain and defeat
C. Go play outside. Result - Who knows?

The need for power is one of the most common issues we have with the government. In our society, money is where we believe the power comes from. The higher ups suck the common folk dry for the need to feel powerful through having immense amounts of money. We feel like victims of their control much like the child whose iPhone is taken from them. We blame their need for power for the problems in our society.

How can they take so much and ignore our cries? It's their fault for all the problems in our world. This blame strategy never got us anywhere as children and will not take us anywhere as adults either. Is it really someone else's need for power that suffocates us or is it ours? Our desire to have power. But what's wrong with wanting to have power over our own lives? Well, maybe we need to change our view on what power looks like. If power looks like deciding what outcome you need to feel happy and being able to get it then if you end up in a situation like The iPhone deprived child, you are incapable of having power unless someone else gives it to you which in turn gives them power over you which is the opposite of what you really want, right? YOU want to have power over your life. But if you KNOW there is definitely no way of getting that outcome that you want. Are you doomed to powerlessness? If the definition of having power comes from having control over something of value to you like an iPhone or money or the rules of your society, but you are unable to have control over it at the time then you are unhappy and you are powerless. But if that in which you place value on is something that you always have guaranteed control over then how can you ever become powerless? The answer is: You can't! So what is something that you have guaranteed control over at all times.


Place the value in yourself. You always have control over who you are and what YOU do in the world to make a difference. You may not be in the ideal situation but that still does not remove your control of how you deal with it. If your value is placed in yourself then you can never become powerless. You always have the option to make a move, you always have the option to give, you always have the option to try, to change, to devote your own daily lifestyle to what ever you believe in. You may not have control over receiving more money but you do have control over if that homeless man across the street does. You may not have control over the entire education system but you have control over how you treat children, you may not have control over all the depressed people in the world but you have muscles in your face and if you use them just right you can form a smile. You may not have control over the government's ways. But if that fact makes you unhappy then you are placing your value in something other than yourself because you always have control over your own ways. Place you value in the right place. Take your power back.

Take control over you.

Stop blaming the government. By Skye Johnson

Cities Sprawl Higher

Residents of the Western Hemisphere may not know it, but we are living in the age of the "megatall" skyscraper.

First came "supertall" towers, those topping 300 meters (984 feet). But as of a little more than a decade ago, construction began on the first megatall building, defined as one that stands 600 meters (1,969 feet) or more. The first megatall structure was Burj Khalifa in downtown Dubai. Since its completion in 2009, the Burj Khalifa has been the tallest artificial structure in the world.

But it will not hold on to that designation much longer.

Construction is already underway on the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia. Also called the Kingdom Tower, the structure is planned to reach 3,281 feet upon completion, expected in 2020. The tower will house a hotel, offices and residential apartments, as well as a 157th-floor observation deck.

The Kingdom Tower will shoot past the Burj Khalifa and other existing megatall structures, including the 2,073-foot Shanghai Tower, Saudi Arabia's existing 1,971-foot Abraj Al-Bait and the 1,965-foot Ping An International Finance Centre in Shenzhen, China, mostly complete and slated to be finished next year. New York's supertall One World Trade Center, reaching a patriotic 1,776 feet, is the only building in the Western Hemisphere to make the current top 10 list, and it may soon find itself pushed out completely.

Even the Jeddah Tower may not have long to enjoy its place at the top. British-Iraqi architecture firm AMBS announced plans in late November for "The Bride of the Gulf," a proposed tower in Basra, Iraq, to reach 230 stories, or about 3,780 feet. While there is no definite site yet dedicated to the project, it is another indication of the appetite to push architecture ever upward.

Some tall and supertall skyscrapers are purely residential, especially in the United States. Advances in engineering and technology, as well as increased population pressure in urban areas, make living dozens of stories up a more appealing prospect than it once was. But among the megatall structures that are cropping up around the world, dedicating an entire tower to purely residential use is rare.

Instead, many of these megatall buildings include business and residential portions, along with hotels, restaurants and a variety of in-house amenities. In effect, they are the most prominent evidence that cities today are as apt to sprawl upward as outward. In size and in function, they are effectively several skyscrapers in one.

Mixed-use towers offer some economies of scale. The restaurant where workers grab lunch on Tuesday will happily serve brunch to residents and hotel guests on Sunday. The shops, gardens and health services offered to residents will, in effect, make the tower a relatively self-contained community. The climate control system will be able to draw cooler, cleaner air from the stories far above street level, saving on cooling and filtration costs. And infrastructure such as a water mains and electricity will obviously be consolidated.

For some residents, too, there might be individual savings. Office workers may rent apartments in the tower where they work, reducing their commute to an elevator ride. Visitors seeing friends or family will be able to stay in hotel rooms just a few floors away.

Much as ocean liners have sometimes been described as "floating cities," multiuse towers like the one underway in Jeddah may represent "climbing cities." As such, they will need redundancies and safeguards for power, sanitation and emergency services. Some of these will simply be a matter of planning ahead; others may require innovative solutions.

For example, how do you fight a fire on the 70th floor of a building? In Dubai, the proposal is to outfit firefighters with "jetpacks," powered by helicopter blades rather than streams of gas, but still intended to allow individual first responders to rescue stranded civilians. While New Yorkers should not expect to see the FDNY flying around One World Trade Center's upper levels any time soon, futuristic skyscrapers already demand unusual solutions to unique problems.

Modern design also allows these towers to be built with increasing efficiency of materials. Engineering techniques such as a weight-bearing "exoskeleton" on the outside of tall buildings and the availability of stronger steel and concrete mean that builders can execute architects' designs while keeping costs manageable and buildings safe for the people who will live, work and relax in them once they are complete.

In North America and Europe, land use and zoning rules often prevent mixed-use buildings like those gaining prominence elsewhere. Such structures are either banned outright or require zoning variances blocked by people who would may not be directly affected at all, but dislike the idea of such a project in their backyard on principle.

And by international standards, the United States is fairly adaptable where building permissions are concerned. It is harder to imagine supertall, mixed-use skyscrapers gaining a foothold in Berlin or Milan, let alone Paris, where the announcement of a 590-foot tall combination hotel and office building created hand-wringing and outcry just months ago.

In some ways, supertowers may offer what urban living advocates have championed for years. They reduce the need for cars and other transportation, allow communities to deploy resources more efficiently and offer improved amenities through economies of scale.

On the other hand, these towers stand in opposition to calls for "human scale" development. Some urban planners have argued that focusing too much on efficiency can lead to isolating and even dangerous results for individuals. To remain viable, mixed-use towers will probably need common spaces such as gardens, courtyards or gallerias, as well as the proposed restaurants and shops that will make life social, not simply efficient, for the people who live and work in such places.

While megatall skyscrapers pose a variety of challenges, more nations are tackling these problems all the time. Towers like the one rising in Jeddah are one vision of the future, and one that is arriving first in the global East.

For more articles, please visit the Palisades Hudson Financial Group LLC newsletter or subscribe to the blog.



Veterans Day

Just by coincidence, my trip most recent trip with Uber included a conversation that got a little political. Per usual, the driver struck up a conversation asking standard questions:

Q: Did you grow up here?

A: No. I'm from San Diego. I moved here to go to school.

Q: Did you go to CU?

A: Yes. It is a beautiful campus. I met my husband there and we decided to stick around here in Colorado. He is from here, I can't imagine him moving.

Q: What did you study?

A: English and communication. (He laughed.)

Q: What do you do for a living?

A: I was an admin assistant for an oil and gas company but was laid off not too long ago when the industry took a hit.

I answered all these questions and more. When I told him the general area we were heading, his interest peaked. "You're over by the high school, huh? My son used to have wrestling matches there."

Now, whenever a driver opens up about their family, it is a perfect way to steer the conversation away from me. A lot of times I don't have much to say. I rather be the one asking questions and have them talk. I asked, "You have a son that wrestles that is cool."

"I have three boys. Triplets!" he replied proudly.

"Wow, you must have your hands full then," I said.

"Well, they are no longer at home. They enlisted in the army right after they graduated high school."

He talked a little further about his boys. They were all spread out over the country and were involved in different aspects of the armed forces. He laughed, "It's funny. One of my sons' can't even talk about what his work is about. I've learned it is not worth asking anymore." He continued on and then revealed that another one of his sons' served in Iraq.

When he had finished talking, I said, "That's great. I appreciate their service for our country."

He got a little more political as the drive went on, which was okay by me. It wasn't like we debated about anything, more like him expressing how proud he was to have family serving our country. One thing he did mention though, was some of the things his son experienced over in Iraq. Seeing others get hurt and unfortunately seeing others die.

"These service men and women. The things they see. They certainly don't come back the same way as when they had left to serve over there."

I was curious about some of the common neurological effects war has on our veterans. My thought being that brain injuries do occur, so some must have seizures or develop epilepsy because of that. Research conducted by the office of Veterans Affairs found many Veterans' seizures are tied to traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The thought being that the increased anxiety and stress PTSD and TBI cause can trigger a seizure. To be clear, the study points out that this doesn't necessarily mean that these veterans will develop epilepsy.

"VA treated more than 87,000 Veterans with seizures diagnoses during fiscal year 2011. While a relatively small number of those, only 3,792, served in operation Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, or New Dawn, Veterans diagnosed with seizures from those conflicts were proportionately much more likely to also have TBI than their peers who have not had seizures. Previous research has pegged TBI and PTSD rates as high as 22 percent for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. The new study suggests that nearly 70 percent of Veterans with seizures also have TBI and PTSD." Research: Many Veterans' seizures tied to TBI and PTSD, not epilepsy, VA Office of Research and Development, January 15, 2014

I can sympathize with these veterans as stress and anxiety seem to be a trigger for my seizures. I know how frustrating and scary it is to have a seizure out of the blue. Once again, I can only hope and pray that one day there will be a cure for these complex neurological disorders. Thank you to all of those who have served our country. Your good deeds do not go unnoticed.

I think it is important to share that anyone can develop epilepsy. It is fourth most common neurological disorder that affects over 1 million Americans. A common trigger for seizures is stress. There are both positive and negative ways of dealing with stress. My hope is that not only our veterans but every American develops a proper way of managing their stress in order to steer clear of disorders, like epilepsy. Some ways I have found to help is exercise, meditation, and prayer. We all need to learn how to cope with it.

It is important that we keep a close watch on our Veterans that come home and develop PTSD. A seizure may be triggered from having PTSD which just adds to the list of health issues our Veterans face. By Danielle Watkins

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