Monday

Warren Buffett: All Successful People Have This One Rare Thing in Common

Warren Buffett
CC™ Digest - By Marcel Schwantes 

The difference between successful people and really successful people, according to the Oracle of Omaha..... 

Have you ever wondered how the most successful people achieve so much when they have the same number of hours in the day as the rest of us? To Warren Buffett, the 89-year-old chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and the third richest person in the world, it's not a mystery at all.

In the words of the Oracle of Omaha, "The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything."

Hang on, they say NO?

It feels counterintuitive, but give it some thought and Buffett's advice will ring true in virtually any context, whether it's investing, work, or your personal life.
So often we spread ourselves thin by saying "yes" constantly, and we end up taking on more commitments than we can handle. If you've been there, you know the outcome: increased stress and lower quality, whether it's of work, life, or just decisions in general.

Successful people say no to these 4 things 

The good news is that you can turn things around just by saying no. Does that mean it's easy? Of course not -- but it's worth the effort.

1. Exciting opportunities that aren't a good fit.

Always remember that devoting attention to something, whether it's an investment opportunity, a new project at work, or a new hobby, means taking time away from something else. This year forgo all those opportunities with potential in order to focus on the ones that are the most important.

2. 80-hour work weeks that cost you time with family.

Our culture has glorified the struggle of the entrepreneur and businessperson to the point where people feel like 60- or even 80-hour workweeks are something to brag about. Show me an 80-hour zealot and I'll show you a family or personal life that's been sorely neglected. Successful people choose balance over burnout.

3. Superficial networking events.

While some people slog through speed dating style networking events that go by in a blur of business cards, the smart ones spend their time nurturing a few truly valuable relationships. Successful people choose quality over quantity.

4. Going to incredible lengths to please people.

Spend too much time trying to please the people around you and you'll find you've neglected your own most basic needs. Successful people aren't self-absorbed, but they're also not going to cater to the people around them at the expense of their own lives and happiness.

Putting "no" into practice

As we start a new year (and a new decade!) it's the perfect time for you to step back and rethink your priorities. If you're still saying yes to the things above (and everything else that comes your way), you'll be amazed at what can happen when you finally start to say no. It won't be easy, and here's a quick exercise that proves it designed by Buffett himself.
Write down a list of your 25 most important goals. That may seem like a lot at first, but you'll hit that number quickly when you think about all the different directions you're trying to go in life. 
Next, circle the top five, and then (this is the painful but important part) cross out the rest.
No one -- not even the most productive person in the world -- has room for 25 goals. The really successful people are the ones who recognize that fact, accept their limited bandwidth, and choose to allocate their time to a few things that matter the most. Try emulating this practice and you'll be able to join their ranks.
Source: Inc.

Sunday

Eddie Murphy to receive Lifetime Achievement honor at Critics' Choice Awards

CC™ Entertainment News

The critics are paying the ultimate homage to Eddie Murphy.

The "Dolemite Is My Name" star will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for his stellar movie career at the 25th Annual Critics Choice Awards on Jan. 12. Murphy is already nominated for the best actor award for his role as Rudy Ray Moore in Netflix’s "Dolemite."

Murphy will be feted for a career which places the "SNL" star on the short list of actors who have starred in multiple $100 million pictures over the past three decades, from "Beverly Hills Cop" (which just turned 35) to "Daddy Day Care." 
Some of Murphy's other hits include "48 Hours," "Trading Places," "Coming to America," "Harlem Nights," "Bowfinger," "The Nutty Professor" and the voice of Donkey in the "Shrek" franchise.
In 2007, Murphy won the Critics' Choice best actor for his portrayal of James “Thunder” Early in "Dreamgirls," a performance which earned him his first Academy Award nomination.
Murphy told USA TODAY before the release of "Dolemite" that his banner 2019 year is not a comeback, despite fans insistence.
"People are saying, 'You’re back! It’s a comeback!' " said Murphy. "I’m like, no, I’m not trying to do a comeback. I’ve just been enjoying sitting on the couch so much. A few years ago, I was like, 'I could sit on this couch and stay here watching 'Little Women: LA' and their exploits.' "
Murphy had a stellar return to "SNL" on Dec. 21 and will undertake his first comedy tour in three decades in 2020.
"Dolemite" director Craig Brewer has finished filming Murphy and Arsenio Hall in a sequel to 1988's "Coming to America," which is set for theaters in 2020.
Source: USA Today Entertainment 

Saturday

Political blackmail as U.S. threatens to block Iraqi access to key bank account if American troops are forced to leave

U.S. President Donald Trump
CC™ Global News

While a good chunk of Iraq's parliament wants American troops to begin a safe withdrawal from the country in the wake of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran, Washington is in turn threatening to block Baghdad's access to its central bank account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in an effort to keep the forces in place, Iraqi officials told The Wall Street Journal.
Iraq, like many other countries, maintains government accounts at the New York Fed, which helps them manage national finances, including revenue from oil sales. If the government can't access those accounts, it'd reportedly due some significant damage to an already-struggling Iraqi economy. An official in Mahdi's office said the prime minister received a warning about the bank account during a phone call Wednesday.
The warning appears to have some members of the Iraqi government on edge, with officials stressing the need to maintain friendly ties with the U.S. despite pressure from pro-Iran militias. Some have pointed out that international pressure on Iraq's economy would hurt Baghdad's efforts to answer to its citizens, who have launched massive anti-government protests in recent months. "The U.S. Fed basically has a stranglehold on the entire [Iraqi] economy," said Shwan Taha, chairman of Iraqi investment bank Rabee Securities.
Others, like Mahdi adviser Abd al-Hassanein al-Hanein, think the U.S. is bluffing. "If the U.S. does that, it will lose Iraq forever," he said. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

On "State TV" Fox & Friends' Steve Doocy wonders what would happen if the U.S. accidentally shot down a jet. Geraldo Rivera reminds him 'we did.'

CC™ Politico

What would happen if the United States accidentally shot down a jetliner like Iran apparently did this week? There's no need to speculate, as Fox News' Geraldo Rivera just pointed out.

The hosts of Fox & Friends on Friday discussed news that officials believe the Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed near Tehran earlier this week, killing 176 people, was mistakenly shot down by Iran. "Can you imagine if the United States of America accidentally shot down a jetliner," Steve Doocy asked.
"Well, you know Steve, we did in 1988," Geraldo Rivera noted, referring to Iran Air Flight 655, which in July of that year was mistakenly shot down by the USS Vincennes in the Persian Gulf, killing 290 people. As CNN notes, the USS Vincennes' captain was wrongly told the passenger jet might be an Iranian F-14, which the U.S. military believed to be equipped with Maverick missiles.
"If the unknown aircraft was carrying those Maverick missiles, the U.S. captain had less than five minutes to decide if his ship was in danger," and he gave the order to fire, CNN writes, citing the U.S. Navy report on the incident. After Iran sued the U.S. government, the suit was settled in 1996, and the U.S. paid $62 million.
"It was something that took us years to live down," Rivera noted.
Commentary: The US "paid a lot of money" after fighting Iran in international courts for eight years. Ultimately, and without apologizing or admitting responsibility, the US paid out about $62 million to victims' families -- or a little less than $250k per person killed.
Source: This Week

Friday

Confirmed: American businesses and consumers are paying 'approximately 100%' of Trump tariff costs

CC™ Business and Finance 

President Trump made over 100 claims about China and tariffs in 2019, stating that Beijing was paying “tremendous amounts of tariffs.”

However, new research from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) found the opposite. 

“U.S. tariffs continue to be almost entirely borne by U.S. firms and consumers,” the NBER working paper stated. “Similarly, we also find that the substantial redirection of trade in response to the 2018 tariffs has accelerated.”
The Trump administration has placed tariffs on $550 billion worth of imports from China, and China has slapped tariffs on $185 billion worth of imports from the U.S. since the trade war between the two countries began in March 2018.
On August 3, 2019, Trump claimed that “our consumer is paying nothing” in regard to the tariffs, but NBER stated that “approximately 100% of these import taxes have been passed on to U.S. importers and consumers.”
American consumers and businesses paid at least $42 billion for the tariffs as of October 2019, according to an analysis from Tariffs Hurt the Heartland (THH). In October 2019, the trade war cost an additional $7.2 billion through tariffs, an $1 billion increase from October 2018. 
Trump has made several inaccurate claims about the tariffs on China: he’s said that the U.S. is taking in “billions” from China, that the money is being passed along to American farmers bearing the brunt of the retaliatory tariffs, and that the tariffs would boost blue-collar jobs in the U.S.
recent study from the Federal Reserve indicated that the tariffs have actually led to a loss of jobs, especially in manufacturing. 
“While the longer-term effects of the tariffs may differ from those that we estimate here, the results indicate that the tariffs, thus far, have not led to increased activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector,” the Fed study stated.
Steel is one of the industries hit hardest by tariffs, with foreign firms preemptively lowering prices and American firms struggling to compete with the market reaction. Detroit-based company U.S. Steel was forced to lay off 1,545 employees back in December 2019, partially due to struggles from Trump’s steel tariffs. 
“The data show that U.S. tariffs have caused foreign exporters of steel to substantially lower their prices into the U.S. market,” NBER’s paper stated. “Thus, foreign countries are bearing close to half the cost of the steel tariffs. Since China is only the 10th-largest steel supplier to the U.S. market, these costs have been largely borne by regions like the EU, South Korea, and Japan.”
Source: Adriana Belmonte - Associate Editor for Yahoo Finance.

Wednesday

THE FUTILITY OF WANTS AND DESIRES

CC™ Introspective - Yahaya Balogun

"The best way to predict the future is to create it" -- Peter Drucker

"When you come from nothing, you appreciate everything.." - Nathan Kyle Sr.

"....and sometimes, when you come from something that has everything, out of ignorance and greed, you will appreciate nothing.." - Yahaya Balogun

Some men of yesterday basked in the euphoria of yesterday. To their chagrin, yesterday has now expired. "No condition is permanent!" The bitter and sweet lessons learned from the history of yesteryears' politicians must serve as a guide regarding how to live your best life today and going forward.

In our quest to meet our needs today, we must constantly engage our minds to avoid the pitfalls of yesterday. Nigeria's political elite seem to forget the not-too-far-tomorrow! If a man knows the brief history of time, man will always remember that today is a great opportunity to predict and create tomorrow. Most of us see the workaday of existence as the end of life, we get fixated and relish with the selfish-proclamation to meet what we desire instead of what we need. Some of us don't realize that there is a difference between WANTS, NEEDS, and DESIRES!

When we allow our WANTS and DESIRES to override our NEEDS, we will be etching towards getting all of them (wants, needs and desires) at the same time, whereas, WANTS and DESIRES are inconsequential to people who are contented with the possession of their NEEDS. The insatiable quest for grabbing money has already been man's burden. Money like a sensual woman is a very seductive object. A greedy person will never be contented with wealth, and when the wealth is acquired, man tends to want to flaunt it ostensibly for ostentatious style. In the process of showing off their wealth, politicians tend to want more to maintain the status quo. 

In this cycle of ignorance, they forget that they are representations of the people with whom they are accountable! This is the orbit most of our politicians ignorantly and dangerously live today. The aftermath and consequences of their narcissistic behavior are always disastrous for them and society.

Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to do anything drastic to improve your life. Just follow these basic guidelines and your life will change for the better:

1. Believe in yourself, and the incredible power of 'being or self' in you. Believe very strongly in the courage of your convictions, and the power of "yes, I can do it!" It's called audacity to life adventures.

2. Have contentment through identifying your needs and be happy with what you possess. Do not compete with anyone or the man whose sources of income are very questionable with doubt and mystery.

3. Do not be too self-subsumed in what you want and desire to acquire. It seems there's nothing wrong with desiring of good things; there's nothing wrong with wanting something nice for ourselves, but we must avoid gazing at mundane things that will encumber our needs and at the detriment of society.

4. Life is beautiful! Make it beautiful for yourself and society. Do not allow greed and distractions to take your joy and the joy of other people around you.

5. Be a responsible representation of yourself, your people and society. Live in the itinerary of integrity, and you always get to the destination of rectitude, uprightness, honesty, humility, probity, etc. Remember, you can never live in isolation of people around you. Even, the nitwits and wise persons who live among us see the good and bad things we do, only time can process and tell our antecedents. We will ultimately give an account of the stewardship of our actions and inactions.

In conclusion, in our dwelling of today, we must always remember the mistakes of the past (yesterday) while we're determining tomorrow. Yesterday is gone and can never be recovered. You can only use yesterday's mistakes today to determine the outcome of tomorrow: that is how we know we have made amendments and ready to move on. Let's watch what we do. We must always mumble (self-talk) responsibly to ourselves in the process of living a worthy life.

Monday

Troubling reports of Iranian-Americans being questioned on their political allegiances upon entering US

DOMINICK REUTER / REUTERS
CC™ News

More than 60 Iranians and Iranian-Americans have been detained at length and questioned at the US border with Canada, according to advocacy groups, as the crisis over the killing of Qassem Soleimani escalates.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported those who were detained had their passports confiscated and were questioned about their political views and allegiances.
“These reports are extremely troubling and potentially constitute illegal detentions of United States citizens,” Masih Fouladi, the executive director of CAIR-Washington, said in a statement.
The advocacy group has also claimed a source at US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said a national order has been issued to report and detain anyone with Iranian heritage entering the country who is deemed “potentially suspicious”, regardless of their citizenship status.
CBP has denied any such directive is in place and insisted reports of Iranian-Americans being detained on social media were false.
“Social media posts that CBP is detaining Iranian-Americans and refusing their entry into the US because of their country of origin are false,” CBP wrote on Twitter.
“Reports that DHS/CBP has issued a related directive are also false.”
However, the National Iranian American Council also said it had spoken to Iranian-Americans who were detained for hours at borders and airports over the weekend and asked about their views on Iran.
The allegations come amid heightened tensions between the US and Iran after top Iranian general Soleimani was killed in a US airstrike order by Donald Trump last week.
His death marks a major escalation in tensions and has been followed by threats of further attacks by both countries.
On Sunday, Iran announced it would no longer respect restrictions on enrichment of uranium introduced under the 2015 international nuclear agreement.
Meanwhile, Iraqi MPs passed a non-binding resolution calling for foreign troops, including about 5,000 US soldiers, to leave its country in response to the attack.
Mr Trump has threatened severe sanctions and attacks on cultural sites if Iran retaliates against the US over the killing.
Pramila Jayapal, a Washington congresswoman, has said she is “deeply disturbed” by reports of Iranian-Americans being detained at the border, while Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington, has said his office is “closely tracking” the situation.
Mr Inslee later added that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had told his office there was no order issued to detain or refuse entry to Iranian-Americans but his team was continuing to seek answers from officials.
One woman, who was allegedly detained and interrogated for more than 10 hours at the border crossing, said the majority of people who were held were American citizens.
“We kept asking why we were being detained and asked questions that had nothing to do with our reason for travelling and were told ‘I’m sorry this is just the wrong time for you guys,’” the woman told CAIR.
On Saturday, DHS updated its National Terrorism Advisory System to warn that Iran could retaliate against the US through cyberattacks or attacks by “homegrown violent extremists”.
However, the department acknowledged that it had “no information indicating a specific, credible threat” at this time.
CAIR Washington has said it believes everyone who was detained has now been released but the group will continue to monitor the situation.
Source: Independent

Sunday

Bill Gates calls for higher taxes on the rich

Bill Gates
CC™ Introspective

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates started the last decade worth more than US$50-billion and with a pledge to give away his fortune to charity.

By the end of the decade, he'd donated billions of dollars to fight poverty and improve health care and education. But his fortune also more than doubled during the period, a result of soaring stock markets and favourable tax policies.

And so in a fitting end to the decade, the world's second richest person said he wants his fellow billionaires to pay much higher taxes.

US lawmakers should close loopholes, raise the estate tax and hike the capital gains tax so that it equals the rate on labour income, Gates wrote on Monday in a year-end blog post.

He also called for states and local governments to make their taxes "fairer" and reiterated his support for a state income tax in Washington, where he lives.

"I've been disproportionately rewarded for the work I've done - while many others who work just as hard struggle to get by," he wrote. "That's why I'm for a tax system in which, if you have more money, you pay a higher percentage in taxes. And I think the rich should pay more than they currently do, and that includes Melinda and me."

Gates, 64, has a net worth of $114 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world's 500 richest people.

At an event in November, Gates expressed reservations about the wealth tax proposed by presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. In his blog post, Gates said he won't take a position on the various proposals being debated during the campaign.

"But I believe we can make our system fairer without sacrificing the incentive to innovate," he said.
"Americans in the top 1% can afford to pay a lot more before they stop going to work or creating jobs. 

In the 1970s, when Paul Allen and I were starting Microsoft, marginal tax rates were almost twice the top rate today. It didn't hurt our incentive to build a great company."

Source: Tech Central