More Of This And Less Of That . . . We’d Likely Live Longer.

The last while I have found myself fixated on getting older. Now this isn’t new for many but it is for me because I have now reached a place that I never thought I would get to. I am now moving toward being as old as my grandparents were when I knew them. For that matter I was never going to be as old as my parents but I passed them by recently. Frankly I don’t like getting older much, at all, but one has to face the inevitable and we can either fight it and deny it or we can try to accept it as part of life. So I made an executive decision which was that I would try to embrace it as a part of my life cycle–enjoy my granddaughter and my children, pay less attention to convention and thank the the good Lord for a life that, to this point has been pretty darn good all things considered.

BUT–then I got thinking about what might happen to all the other folks who aren’t quite at that age when leaving the planet begins to creep into momentary daily thoughts, feelings and even some regrets. It really does come down to lifestyle decisions and how we want to spend the reminder of our time here. What I now consider important and actually some of the things that I had considered important mean very little now. Simplicity is more the goal. Pleasure with the basics.  I have come up with a few items that ALL of us could or need to consider when plotting our next few years. Why should it just be those in the twilight of their lives who benefit from this list when everyone could benefit from it.

7 Tips for living longer and healthier lives: 

1. We live longer now than at any other time in our existence –‘why’? It certainly isn’t because we eat better or the environment is healthier. Perhaps it is because we have access to better drugs-pharmaceuticals. Today’s meds keep us ticking longer because they are more effective at symptom management than ever before. So if I eat as healthy as I can and manage my stress and my stressors (the real killers) my hope is that I will need less pharmaceuticals. If I can use fewer drugs of any kind perhaps I can last longer and in better health.

2. Stay away from ‘fast’ foods. Big pharma loves it when we eat them–health care systems not so much. Pay attention to what goes in and indulge in ‘off the list’ stuff every once in a while. It’s good for you regardless of what they say. A step out of bounds periodically helps to reduce the stress of trying to stay away from them. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

3. Get rid of toxic people. This is good advice for all folks. I’m speaking about those who are ALWAYS negative, complaining, bitching about this and that–those who find it difficult to see any good in anything. What do they bring to the relationship? I just don’t have time to indulge ‘downer’ people around me.

4. Stop measuring the state of your life by the numbers you see. Bank account balances, ages, waist lines and body weight. So you don’t wear a size 8 dress or where a pair of 34 inch jeans now and you are 10-15 lbs. over the limit. Does anyone but you really care anyway? It’s time to judge the world and your quality of life by what you give back to it  and not what you can no longer take from it.

5. Don’t listen to people who say you need to act your age. I have not been this age before so how am I supposed to act? I still love riding my motorcycle, for instance, and I’m no ‘puppy’ anymore. I refuse to let other people tell me what I should and should not be doing just because they can’t or because they have no more life left in them. If they are happy in the rocker they’ll get no criticism from me but I won’t be sitting beside them for any length of time.

6. Be sure to watch a good movie at least once a week. Not the crap they put out and call entertainment but a good movie with actual dialogue, little or no profanity and a plot line that makes you think. Toss in a good comedy with real comedians who know their craft.

7. Limit your interaction with technology. Cell phones, smart phones, tablets–leave them at home at least once or twice a week. You can do it–you’ll be surprised. We have become far too dependent on them. I get using them but let’s decide not to be held prisoner by a bell or a chime that says ‘you have got mail.’ They are supposed to work for us and not the other way round. We don’t need them to survive-never have and, who knows, maybe we will learn how to communicate on a personal level again. Person to person is always best and it feels good and whatever feels good can’t be bad for our health-at least not in my world.

There are many other things we can do to live longer but try these first to see how it feels. Remember the image attached to the article–I wonder what grandma is thinking about now

Anyways, that’s how I see it–all the best, Jim

He Said He Would But He Did’t…Didn’t What?

Of all the words that have been bastardized over the years I believe that ‘transparency’ is the one that has been treated the worst. Any time someone says that they want things to be more transparent or they will work tirelessly to be more transparent my B..L S..T meter goes nuts. I do not trust anyone who talks about how they want more transparency.

A quick re-cap:

-Mr. Harper always talked about (certainly while campaigning) senate reform being a ‘must’ but never made a move to do anything about it. But then again where would he put all those folks he owed.

-Prorouging parliament-twice-ignoring the will of parliament and therefore the citizens of Canada.

-Pushing through Bill C-59 and going against the recommendations of the Federal Information Commissioner, Suzanne Legault, to retroactively change the access-to-information law that will, eventually, absolve the RCMP of breaking the law with regards to the abolition of the long gun registry. Like the sly fox he is he had the bill buried amongst the minutiae of an omnibus bill that few really cared about anyway and I’m sure the thinking was that few would notice.

-Election impropriety (robo calls) could become a non issue and therefore a much greater threat and concern. Aren’t elections and the electoral process the backbone of our society? Just askin.’

Contempt for Democracy

Ethical and Transparent Politics?  Secrecy and control have been the name of the game

One of the most important issues in Canada is healthcare, yet I struggle to remember any meaningful discussion had about that portfolio in the last 5 years.  Transparent politics under Harper has meant discussion of issues on his terms, and his terms only.

Muzzling the Press

Harper restricted media access to parliament and the government in unprecedented ways- again this from someone who pledged to increase transparency.   He declared he would no longer take questions from journalists, refused to allow the media to participate in ‘scrums’ after cabinet meetings- a time when journalists ask candid questions of politicians (questions said politicians have not been able to rehearse and censor).  It’s clear that Harper’s main priority in office has been control, and muzzling the media has been a major part of that.

Senate Reform

Recall that a major policy platform of Harper’s previous campaigns was senate reform, such that senators would no longer be appointed for political favoritism, but would rather be elected.  Doesn’t ring a bell?  Harper apparently forgot all about it too, immediately after taking office.

Here’s a quote from Harper, addressing the senate. On senate reform.

“As everyone in this room knows, it has become a right of passage for aspiring leaders and prime ministers to promise Senate reform – on their way to the top. The promises are usually made in Western Canada. And these statements of intent are usually warmly received by party activists, editorial writers and ordinary people. But once they are elected, Senate reform quickly falls to the bottom of the Government’s agenda. Nothing ever gets done.  And the status quo goes on.”

Senate reform didn’t happen.  The conservatives appointed a record 32 senators, all of them Tory backers there to ensure Harper’s bills were passed, and to squash those he doesn’t support. Environmental concerns are consistently discussed as important to Canadians, yet the Harper government did absolutely nothing about it during his 5 years in power.

 National Post (Andrew Coyne) – A telling 24 hours in Stephen Harper’s world

(A damning piece by a columnist who is not known to be anti-Harper.)

If one were to draw up an indictment of this government’s approach to politics and the public purpose, one might mention its wholesale contempt for Parliament, its disdain for the Charter of Rights and the courts’ role in upholding it, its penchant for secrecy, its chronic deceitfulness, its deepening ethical problems, its insistence on taking, at all times, the lowest, crudest path to its ends, its relentless politicization of everything.

Toronto Star (Editorial) – The high price of speaking out in Ottawa

Forthright government watchdogs have a way of disappearing in Ottawa. They are quietly replaced. Their mandates are terminated or not renewed. They are suddenly found to be unqualified.  Seven government watchdogs and three senior bureaucrats have been stifled or impugned since the Conservatives took office. 

What did Mr. Harper not do that he said he would do. . . he hasn’t done a thing to create a greater transparency in what is supposed to be a democratic institution. I think this word has lost it’s credibility now. I guess you get what you elect.

Anyways, that’s how I see it–all the best–Jim

 Let me know what you think-pro/con by contacting me at jim.lifechoice@gmail.com or through my web page: jimcloughley.com

5 Reasons Why Dads Are So Important

 

Greetings to all: Father’s Day is on the horizon.This marks a time when the traditions get pulled out of hiding and the dust gets blown off them. I have always thought that we should honour our Fathers and Mothers every day for the job they do raising a family under some extremely adverse circumstances. It is great to draw attention to what Fathers and Mothers do but they are parents for more than a day a year. Sadly, as with most of our other national holidays , this occasion has morphed into a money making occasion and very little has been dedicated to acknowledge what they really do as Fathers and Mothers.

So, with that in mind, I have put together what I believe are 5 of the most important reasons why a father’s presence and his influence are vital to the success of the family. This is not to take away what mothers contribute but the social science speaks for itself. I refer people to CCRC-Canadian Childrens Right Council and Dr. Wade Horn, Ph.D and President of the National Fatherhood Initiative as sources for research outcomes. I have spent the past 10 years investigating, reading and talking to moms and dads about what they see and think regarding the important role that fathers play in the success of family. I used much of what I learned from these folks and many examples of the available research to formulate the outline for a book I wrote called: “A Man’s Work Is Never Done: A Novel About Mentoring Our Sons.”

(In no particular order) ( I’ll refer to sons more often only because of the male connection between us).

  1. Fathers provide an important role model for their kids especially their sons. For example it is important they demonstrate the need to be respectful of not only women but of ALL human beings. Currently there are far too few father’s  out there doing this work with their sons. Consequently, we can see how well that is working out. We are ALL human beings who deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect as each other. Period. Fathers demonstrate how to live in harmony with strength and courage but also with dedication and decisiveness. Our Children watch us constantly for direction and guidance. We are our children’s true teachers.
  2. Fathers help to set the boundaries and expectations for appropriate behaviour and are seen as the ‘authority’ when it comes to being stern or direct. Dads create a greater sense of accountability and responsibility. Children ascribe this position to fathers first it seems. I believe much of this to be inherent and  many scholars and scientists agree that the idea has a great deal of merit given the discoveries in genetics in the last two decades.
  3. There are messages that a son can or will only hear from his father. Mothers don’t live in the male realm nor do fathers live in the female realm. Watch a little guy with his dad and you will see admiration, security, wonder and fearlessness evident in the child’s eyes. He feels assured that all is right with the world and that he is ‘bulletproof’. He wants to know all that his father knows so that he can grow into the man that his father is. It is so devastating when that dream is crushed. Many young men never return from that darkened place in their souls.
  4. Fathers are their children’s ‘real life coach.’ He shows them how to handle adversity and how to problem solve. He also shows his children how to use their skills and talents to their advantage. This often happens with mom’s help and when the parents tag team these situations the child benefits dramatically. It is like being protected by a solid front–‘if both my mom and dad are saying so then it must be true.’ BOTH parents need to be a part of this learning experience. Each parent needs to support the other when having to implement consequences for poor decision making. However, they each need to show confidence and support for each other when dealing with life issues especially those vital to a child’s social and emotional development.
  5. Fathers bring a different perspective to the world than mom’s do. For the most part, dads encourage their kids to be competitive. Winning is not a bad word to a father. He teaches the value of competition, of giving your best effort, of putting yourself up against someone else and then trying to be the best out there. This is what real life and competition are all about and that perspective is what we lack in the real world right now. Watch when fathers play with their kids. They are rougher and pay less attention to scrapes, bumps and bruises. Moms tend to protect where dads tend to say ‘go for it.’

So what do we do now:

  1. We start giving dads some respect and equal time as far as being seen as important to the family unit is concerned. He is more than just a pay check and needs to be seen as an integral part of the unit and treated that way. Moms are not the only parents out there so they need to learn how to share more and blame less.
  2. Fathers need to start growing a pair. Quit feeling sorry for yourselves. Stand up and fight for what is yours–this is your family too. And stop looking over the fence to see what colour the grass is. Your children need a father who loves them not just one who ‘says’ he loves them. Moms needs a hand too. She’s doing the work of two.
  3. The court system needs to get out of the dark ages and into being a helping partner or get out of the family court business all together. Put it into the hands of a tribunal that has the power and the willingness to facilitate positive interventions instead of meting out punishment for ‘bad guys.’ There are actually very few dead beat dads out there but there are a large number of men who are lost, do not know where they fit in anymore and are very frustrated because they want to be a part of the family but don’t know how to do that anymore (read my book-I’ll tell you how). It’s not the kids that need help and support it’s the parents.

That’s how I see it, anyways–Jim

PS–AND HAPPY FATHERS DAY YOU GUYS–ENJOY

If you want to connect with me or deliver any comments pro or con please contact me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com   OR  my web site at: jimcloughley.com

If I Could I Would . . .

I’m not sure where the thought came from and it really doesn’t matter but the idea of what would I do–what changes would I make if I had the power to make change happen is intriguing. In my case this idea will always remain a fantasy so I have the luxury of doing this tongue in cheek for the most part but with a certain amount of sincerity and truth involved. You can be the judge as to which is which.

I need your help to do this however. I’m considering writing another book–a small one that would be about what the people who pay taxes and those who may be fed up with certain things the way they are would do if they could. Consider this a possible research project. What I am asking is that you respond back to me with your comments or solutions regarding some situations I am about to put forth. You don’t have to agree with me of course but please send your comments along anyway. If I get sufficient responses then I would consider putting the answers in a book for the public to read and hopefully enjoy. Here we go:

  1. I’d sell Queen’s Park. Nothing of any value seems to go on there anyways. We could sell it off as a tourist attraction–“This is where democracy used to reside.” That way we could keep Hydro One and Ms. Wynne would have to go home to her own riding and do her thing from there. We have the technology to vote electronically and to ensure our security. Votes on bills and business could be done on line from constituency offices or from home for those who are shut in but still want to vote.
  2. We could do the same thing with Parliament Hill for the same reasons. Ever watch question Period? What an embarrassment and a mockery of Canadian Politics. Half the time it sounds and looks like an episode of SNL.
  3. We should have a ‘straight pride’ parade for all the heterosexuals out there who are proud of their orientation.
  4. Folks who are having babies as fast as they can and are receiving social assistance need to decide if they would have as many kids if they weren’t receiving assistance. People need to be free to have as many as they want–not a problem. However, If YOU cannot afford them then keep your knickers up until YOU can.
  5. During an election campaign when one politician makes a claim or comment about another candidate during a public discussion of any sort but it can’t be substantiated or proven immediately with concrete evidence he/she should step down and out of the race. It’s slander and should be treated as such. Same thing for when a party does it. Say it and you had better have proof. No wonder there is such apathy at election time. Politicians need to answer direct questions with direct answers. If you can’t or don’t then get out of the race.
  6. Let’s give the elected party 100 days to fulfil at least one of the major promises it made during the campaign. If an elected party fails to produce what they promised in a specified period of time with no plausible explanation and no exceptional circumstances then they need to vacate the position of ruling party-call another election and be directed by whatever happens at those polls. This would force governments to rule with more honesty if they were held accountable for their claims.
  7. People should be allowed to practice their religious beliefs without prejudice or fear provided they respect the cultural and religious rights of the host country. If they organize and threaten the rights and freedoms of their hosts we should grant them the right to return to any other country in the world that will have them.
  8. We need to have a stronger voice and more input into those major federal issues that determine the rights and freedoms of those who cast their votes. As taxpayers and true citizens we need to have a say in the abortion issue, capital punishment, going or not going to war, and increasing taxes beyond the ability to combat inflation and, by the way, stop whining about funding CPP. It’s our money so just give it back to us and stop giving it to some tin pot dictatorship in a foreign land who cares nothing for us.
  9. Leave unions alone. They are not the problem. People buying from WalMart is the problem. When contracts are about to expire tell unions/employers they have 30 days from the end of the contract to come up with a reasonable settlement proposal so bargain in good faith. The employers need to be held to the same standards. No deal–then strike action is possible–for 30 days. They must lock themselves in a hotel room somewhere and bargain during any job action. If still no settlement then the whole deal goes to arbitration and both sides take their chances.
  10. Leave the teachers alone. It’s not the teachers union that needs to be overhauled it’s the system that is headed by the ‘old boys’ network that needs overhauling. Take Ms. Wynne with them. Why not let the real teachers build the new program and keep the other idiots out of the deal. The classroom should not be the home of our moral compass either.
  11. BONUS POINT–Let’s get rid of political correctness before it kills us all. IF we got rid of gender identified issues and just treated everyone with the same rights, dignity and respect deserved by any and all human beings there would be no need for PC.

There are many others but these are the ones that most folks talk about when they talk about what frustrates them and what spawns that anger within.

Anyways, that’s how I see it for today.

Please forward your thoughts and solutions to what I have written about above. I really would like to hear from you and I really am considering putting this information into a book of some kind.

I also have a new web site that I invite you to check out. It is bare bones at the moment but is up and running: jimcloughley.com

You can email me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com      I look forward to hearing from you, all the best, Jim

I Know You’d Want One But Should You Get One?

Dog
(Photographer Unknown To Me)

“I believe in second chances. I’m not sure everyone deserves one”

Therein lies the dilemma. I want to believe that everyone should have a second chance to do the right thing or to change an action or an event that happened as the result of a regrettable impulsive decision. But then how do second chances get meted out? Who decides who gets that chance and who doesn’t? Based on what? Does it matter the severity of the event? Are there degrees to consider? I’m a black and white thinker most of the time. I’m not saying that is a good thing or not but that’s who I am. I agree that it is not always the best way to be nor is it always the most fair way to be but it is how I see the world I live in. I try to be as fair and as unbiased as I can be but that isn’t always possible or enough.

How do you do things when it comes to second chances? What criteria do you use? What standards do you employ? Would you want to be treated as you treat others-by the same measures?

Here are a few scenarios to consider and I would appreciate hearing your thoughts and comments about what you would do-second chance or not: (Remember this is about giving someone another chance to right a wrong. It is not about what is fair according to your idea of right or wrong)

1. John Doe murders someone in a rage because the victim was thought to have sexually assaulted his child. He says he’s really sorry for what he has done and should have let the law do it’s duty but the anger and outrage took him over and he lost it. He asked for a dramatically reduced sentence with the promise of never doing that again. He didn’t have a record of violent behaviour. He had no legal involvement at all. John Doe was a model citizen. (It later turned out that the person who died didn’t do what he was accused of doing but that was not known at the time.) Does he deserve another chance to live his life with some purpose? Wouldn’t most respond as he did because it involved his child?

2.You hear of someone who beats his/her partner because they got drunk and angry about something they did and as a result of the beating inflicted serious head injuries and permanent damage. The person who did the beating pledges to get help with the drinking problem and given another chance will dedicate his/her life to helping others who have similar problems. His/Her point was no one knows a drunk like another drunk and he/she could help others. He/she was impaired and not responsible-right?

3. A man is caught breaking into your home in the middle of the night. You later find out that the burglar was an unemployed man who had just been cut off his benefits and had a young family to support with no means to do so. However, he didn’t get to take anything and was very remorseful and stated that he would never do that again. Does the court punish him or should the court let him off with a warning and community service?

4. How about the politician who gets caught using his/her power and position to, fraudulently, access public funds for personal gain. He’d been a faithful and dedicated public servant for a lengthy time and had a spotless record of public service. He was not only apologetic for his actions but wanted to run again and promised to donate half his salary to a local charity. His riding could really benefit from his experience and the charity could help more people in need.

5. What about the smoker who has to have a lung replaced because it is cancerous and life threatening. He had learned about the dangers of smoking from his doctor and knew it in plenty of time to avoid the eventual need for a transplant. He vowed to cut down his smoking but would not commit to quitting altogether. Does he get the operation?

6. How about the father who walked away from his family for a variety of reasons but was seen as someone who was a ‘dead beat’ dad. He was not able to pay what the court suggested he had to pay for support and therefore was banned from seeing his son until he made restitution. He found that the grass wasn’t greener and wanted to come back and try to rebuild his damaged relationship with his child but was forbidden to do so by the other parent. Should he have the right to be involved again? Hey he left once–he’ll probably run again when he gets the chance. He made his choice that’s it.

These are but a few of the scenarios that we are faced with most days as a community. They are often managed with inconsistency which creates an on-going under the surface resentment and anger among citizens. Anger and resentments mostly come from a feeling or a sense of injustice so perhaps when our systems find a way to be more consistent and fair we will experience less stress and violence in our everyday living.

So what is fair? Who gets to enjoy a second chance at turning their life around? Based on what? A big part of me wants to revert to that black and white thinking and say sorry for what is going on for you but the law is the law and there are no second chances. Would these folks have felt the same had they not been caught or otherwise held accountable for their actions–likely not. If there is no consequence for our actions then what do we learn? SHould another chance be tied to the amount of money one has?

This would be a great exercise to do with your children so that fairness and consistency could be highlighted. A great ‘teachable’ moment. Would you treat your kids the same way as you would treat the strangers outlined in the scenarios or would they ‘deserve’ different treatment. What makes it right for yours but not right for others?

Anyways, that’s how I see it, Jim

Please send along your thoughts and comments on what you would do–would you grant second chances or not and why?

I look forward to hearing back from you.

I Was Gently Reminded This week That . . .

Albion Falls, Canada

Albion Falls-Canada-Photographer Unknown To Me

I was reminded, this week, that the world is truly a most remarkable place. There is so much beauty and wonder around us and so much to be excited about. I understand that there is a great deal of strife, misfortune, pain and discomfort. I know that there is hopelessness and greed and challenges in most places we look. I am truly saddened by all of this. But I was also reminded that there is much to be grateful for and it is with this in mind that I offer those who wish to view them my four favourite videos of what is going on in the world around us and some of those who try to make it a better place in their own way. The beauty and skill, the talent and desire to bring something other than negativity to the world every day or at least to try is commendable and most needed at a time when it is so easy to see just the down side of things and to complain about how horrible things are.

So in no particular order of importance here are my four favs at least for this week. Pick one and watch it and then another tomorrow or watch them all at once. There’s about 15 minutes worth if you watch all of them. They are worth the watch.

1. www.flixxy.com/trumpet-solo-melissa-venema.htm –This young woman is an incredible musician who astounds people with her talent and her sensitivity.

2. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=377067949058685 –This video could well change the direction of your life and certainly the quality of your life.

3. https://www.youtube.com/embed/tjJc8xLYhak –This one is really funny and there is no foul language or ‘f’ bombs to have to listen to. The Brits do this type of humor really well.

4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1T9-I3wx8I –This is an amazing wee story and the untrained pure voice is incredible. It is the absolute story of how the human spirit can triumph over near anything if given the chance to do so and demonstrates so clearly that if we would only give people a chance to shine the world would be a much brighter place.

That’s how I see it anyways, all the best, Jim

Please feel free to comment on which one had the greatest impact on you or be welcome to ask me anything you like. Those who know me will say that I am never short of an opinion. Connect with me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com OR jamescloughley.com

I’m Just Sayin’ . . .

Blue Eye Perspective

(Photographer Unknown To Me)

People either love getting involved in a debate/discussion about the need to separate the business of the church from the business of the state or they try to stay clear of the topic altogether. When I listen in on discussions that others are having I am struck by the passion that many bring to the table. Usually the conversations swing around to represent each others’ personal philosophy. It gets personal. Questions get asked: ‘Do you really consider yourself a ‘Christian’? What is a Christian anyway? What right does the church have to tell me what to do?’ Do you really believe that the church provides the best moral compass for us and our children? What about all the sexual abuse stuff that is happening in the church? Then someone responds by asking–‘Do you really think that our elected officials and government folks aren’t and haven’t been caught in scandals abusing sex trade workers, child porn rings, fraud, theft, stealing right out of the public purse? Whose better than who? Of course what does any of this have to do with anything connected to separation of church and state–absolutely nothing but this is how easily the topic gets diverted–it brings a great deal of passion and heat.

I have some thoughts and information that I can share:

–One very striking coincidence I have noticed since we have continued to limit the presence of ‘God, church and church teachings’ in our daily lives has been our general move toward becoming a more hedonistic society. The increases in the incidence of violence and the denial of others rights have become more than a cause for concern. I’m just sayin’ . . .

–Vatican City is likely one reason why the separation of church and state is a fallacy. VC (Vatican City) has never been separate and will never be separate from the political scene that is the world stage. There are 1.2 billion adherents connected to the Catholic Faith most of which would follow the direction of the church council regardless of what was being asked of them. These folks are spread world wide meaning that they are ingrained in the politics of small villages to huge cities around the globe. They hold political offices and are expected to adhere to political doctrines regardless of their religious convictions or affiliations.

–The Pope is, according to several dictionary explanations, a dictator. A dictatorship is often considered to be a ‘political’ description. BEFORE people come to burn my house down let me say that I am not anti-pope. One has to admire the man for all that he has done and for withstanding the stress of the office he holds. I’m certainly not suggesting, in any way, that he is other than the guy who runs the show for the ‘Church’. But by the true sense of the word he is the absolute ruler of the Faith and certainly of the Vatican itself. His word goes. He decides and creates policy–a very political thing to do.

–Remember–the Vatican–Vatican City (estimated population 900-1000 people)–is, for all intents and purposes, a walled state with it’s own security, intelligence and police force, it’s own political structure, and it’s own work force where, by the way, only Catholics are allowed to work. That smacks a bit of discrimination to me although I understand why this is but none-the-less it is a political issue that has not been discussed or questioned. It is political by it’s very nature. The Vatican exists inside another city which is located in another country. VC has declared itself neutral when it comes to armed aggression as it did during the war. The Vatican explained that it declared itself as neutral, not to pick or defend a particular side or issue but rather to not offend any of its membership around the world–rather political as well.

–The Vatican has a seat at the United Nations, a pretty political group if I’m not mistaken, with all the privileges of a member state but it does not have a vote. It can’ however’ weigh in on political matters as can anyone else. By doing so they are still able to exert pressure or sway opinion.

–Regarding world politics the majority of world governing bodies have accepted and recognize the Vatican as an Independent State–a political designation.
–I can’t attest 100% to this next point, of course, but I wonder how many Vatican intermediaries have participated in sorting out world treaties or have been arbitrators in behind the scenes negotiations and even peace settlements??

–The UN has described the Vatican as an “Absolute Elective Monarchy” and the Pope as an “Absolute Monarch” the only such designation in Europe. He does possess TOTAL POWER considering Church and State issues.

There are other examples of when world issues blurred the lines between religious interests and political interests but I think that the Vatican and it’s ‘arrangement’ satisfies the assumption that there is no separation of Church and State that exists. Not really. Governments and churches have agreed that they will not ‘publicly’ spit in each others’ eye. Speaking of eyes the picture that I attached to this article represents the wary eye of churches and governments alike when paying attention to what and how each goes about doing their business. Let’s stop pretending that there is a line that defines where one stops and the other starts. According to history churches have been political beyond the 1300’s and they will continue to be involved in the politics of the world. I’m just sayin’ . . .

That’s how I see it, Anyways

All the best, Jim

As always please feel free to comment. You can send your comments to me at either: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com OR jamescloughley.com

Please pass this along to others to read as well-with thanks

Our Kids Will Feel It The Most . . . Unfortunately

Sunset and Birds

Is That A New Vision On Its Way? (Photographer Unknown To Me)

It has been stated many times that the definition of insanity is making the same decisions over and over and expecting a different result each time.
Unfortunately the ‘insanity’ continues.

I realize how easy it is to stand on the sidelines and be critical and mocking. I am trying not to be either. What I am, however, is very concerned and nervous that the regular folks ‘out there’ will believe the manure that is being passed off as common sense and progress. The ‘ole’ election time bundle of empty promises and double talk that often baffles the best of thinkers has been dusted off and will be paraded in front of the public at regular intervals for the next few months. Quite similar to brain washing actually. For example: The so called 1.4 billion dollar ‘surplus’ is money pulled out of the ‘incidental crisis pool’ that the feds had socked away just to purchase votes by giving us what is/was ours in the first place. All this after telling us that they have no money for CPP and seniors needs. Thanks guys. And the insanity continues. It will be our children who will begin to pay the price for it.

Although it was a close race I think the ‘Darwin Award’, awarded to the most insane act/behaviour, needs to go to the Supreme Court of Canada. It’s really hard to top what these people have done in the recent past. Let’s start with banning prayers to start public meetings and gatherings. My hope is that people will see for themselves how idiotic this really is. Won’t the ‘rights’ of that one person have stripped away the ‘rights’ of thousands? Do I-we-not have a constitutional right to practice a religion of our choice? The rights of the one DO NOT eliminate or out weigh the rights of the many. The bone headed decisions that are being made lately are serious dents in our armour of freedom and self determination. The latter, for the most part, is disappearing at an alarming rate and few deterrents seem to be in place in order to counter such ‘give aways’. Our children will pay dearly for this because the slippery slope has now been established.

But the two that still grab me the most are those that the provincial Liberals put together. Selling off our assets to private concerns is one and the ever present concerns about the ‘new’ school curriculum is the other. To comment on the first: the Liberals have traded the future for the present. They have mishandled most everything they put their hands to and now will rob Peter to pay Paul. They have squandered money at a rate that is basically unprecedented and now hope to dangle public transit in the face of those who are about to feel the pinch. Many economists would say that you don’t sell off your assets because they only pay off once.

The second move that also garnered a strong consideration for a ‘Darwin’ is the misguided and ill thought out ‘new’ school curriculum.

The school thing may be best illustrated by this story: “THE ANIMAL SCHOOL FABLE”

The Administration of the School Curriculum with References to Individual Differences:

Once upon a time, the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of a “new world.” So they organized a school.

They adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all of the subjects. The duck was excellent in swimming–in fact better than his instructor–but he made only passing grades in flying and was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to stay after school and also drop swimming in order to practice running. This was kept up until his web feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming. But average was acceptable in this school, so nobody worried about that except the duck.

The rabbit started at the top of the class in running but had a nervous breakdown because of so much make-up work in swimming.

The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the tree top down. He also developed a “charlie horse” from over-exertion and then got a ‘C’ in climbing and a ‘D’ in running.

The eagle was a problem child and was disciplined severely. In the climbing class he beat all the others to the top of the tree, but insisted on using his own way to get there.

At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceedingly well, and also run, climb and fly a little, had the highest average and was valedictorian.
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The prairie dogs stayed out of school and fought the tax levy because the administration would not add digging and burrowing to the curriculum. They apprenticed their children to a badger and later joined the ground hogs and gophers to start a successful private school.

Dr. George H. Reavis, Assistant Superintendent, Cincinnati Public Schools, 1939-1948

Does this fable have a moral? Yes it does and it is this: Let’s encourage adults and children alike to become who and what they want to be. Let’s start to celebrate our differences. Let’s remind those who come seeking a better life to stop complaining about the very freedoms that attracted them in the first place. Respect us and we will respect you in return. Let’s keep the government out of it-they only screw it up to begin with. Let’s understand that everyone is good at something and no one, Boards of Education in particular, should have the right to try to make someone into something they are not or have no desire to be. This is true for adults-this is true for our children. School needs to be a place for experience and investigation for all not just for the ‘gifted’. (See Premier Wynnes’ great vision for more).

Our children will suffer the most because of the mess we will leave them unless we stop making the same flagrant mistakes over and over expecting a different outcome each time.

Anyways, that’s how I see it, James

Comments can be sent to me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com OR jamescloughley.com

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Isn’t It About Time . . . ?

Time

Photographer Unknown To Me

The purpose of this article is not to get all weepy and sloppy or down and negative but rather to encourage people to understand that they have been presented a gift and with each new day they will be presented another gift called ‘TIME’. It will last exactly 24 hours and not any longer. And it is an finite resource meaning that we only have so many ‘new’ days to receive it before it no longer graces us. Each day that goes by is a day we will never experience again. Some will be gifted with 30 years some will have, perhaps, 80 years to share and experience our humanity. There is no way, really, of knowing who will get what or for how long and there is no chance of creating more time. One of the great tragedies in human development is that young people, meaning little ones to those in their mid to late 30’s, don’t understand the importance and the value of ‘time’. This fact helps explain why some people try to relive their 20’s–they just refuse to grow up. We even have a name for this time frame–we call it ‘our mid-life crisis’.

Time is the ultimate gift and yet few give it much thought. We get so caught up with facing the world with all its complexities that we offer little thought about how each day will never come again and that we need to live life to its fullest every day doing what we enjoy doing. Most of us just assume that the next day will continue to appear-forever. They are wrong.

I remember when I was a little guy and I would look at my parents and my grand parents and say or think:’I will never be as old as my parents and certainly not as old as my grand parents. 40 was old and such a long ways away. Younger kids are often heard to say they can’t wait to get older so that they could do ‘older things’ like drive a car or go to the pub to drink and party. However, the older we get the more important time becomes and the faster it goes by. There is an inner sense that makes us aware that ‘time’ is growing shorter. There is just no way to slow down the passing of time. There is a panic of sorts that sets in and an urgency to do as much as you can before you can’t. When nearing retirement what near senior hasn’t said if only they could have known at 40 what they know now how different their life would have been. Some lessons are only taught by time and this is one of them.

So how can we manage our time differently. To assume that ‘we will have plenty of time afterward’–when we retire that is– is playing a fools game. What has to happen for us to get more from the time we have been given? One thing we can do is downsize–learn to live on less. If we can do this then we can quit working earlier and enjoy more. Many are beginning to do just that. As has been said:’You can’t take it with you’ so why not enjoy the fruits of your labour while you can appreciate the gift of time. I believe this process starts with introspection. We need to start asking ourselves some questions about how we have managed our lives to date and are we doing what we want to be doing or do we feel as though we are just hanging on for our very lives.

I have come to understand that there are two things that will suck the life out of us if we let them and by doing so will they will ‘steal’ our time. One of those is plotting our revenge to demonstrate what? Too many people don’t understand that to hang onto plotting revenge is to allow the ‘other guy’ to win. You are spending time thinking about someone other than yourself and the likelihood is that they don’t even care. The other thing is not allowing ourselves to forgive. That can mean forgiving ourselves for something we have done or something that someone else has done. Forgiveness means that I will no longer allow guilt, shame or anger power over me. I choose to forgive-not for ‘them’ but for me. It helps me to regain my control over my emotional stability. I become free again.

Other things to consider:

1. Do I live to work or work to live?
2. Do I (we) really need the secondary income to make ends meet or do we do it so we can have more toys?
3. What is the cost attached to chasing more money especially if more money isn’t necessary to maintain a particular standard of living?
4. Do my or have my relationships with family and children suffered because of my decision to chase more money?
5. Given that money can provide comfort to some degree does it buy me happiness?
6. How much money is enough?
7. If you could retire right now what would you really enjoy doing?
8. If you could go back in time and make some other decisions what would you do/decide differently?
9. What is one thing that you could begin to do now that would provide you with more happiness or contentment?
10.Is it true for you that time is going by much more quickly now that you are getting older? (The older you get the faster it goes)

Too of us many live in the future–the I wish place. In doing so we forget how important it is to live in the present. If you have things you want to do–get them done. Life is to be experienced not endured. It’s a matter of perspective. Are you in charge of your life and if the answer is ‘yes’ then what is stopping you from having or experiencing some of the things that you want to do. If the answer is ‘no’ then what is it you need to do to change that? If you truly believe that you have all the time in the world to do whatever you want to do then you are destined to be very disappointed with the choices you made when your time comes. “Time stops for no man” is a valuable saying. True happiness is directly related to how you choose to spend your time. Spend it wisely.

Anyways, that’s how I see it.

All the best, Jim

Please feel free to comment on this or any other articles in the archives by contacting me at jim.lifechoice@gmail.com OR by commenting on the Wordpreess site at the bottom of the article. Please pass this on if you know of anyone who might benefit–thank you

How Can Anyone Feel Good About This Happening ?

Owl In FLight-

Photo Credited To ‘Hurricane-thoughts.blogspot.com’

A little while ago I wrote a piece and titled it ‘What were they thinking’? It was about what was happening on some of the university campus’ and some of the truly dumb decisions and behaviours that were being demonstrated-they were head scratchers and it was difficult not to ask yourself or anybody for that matter–‘What were they thinking?’Over the past three days two instances presented themselves and I couldn’t decide which one I would choose to comment on so I wrote about them both. I promised to keep them short (shorter) so perhaps you might comment back to me what you think about the dumb things that are going on out there.

The first is about, no surprise here, government short sightedness and lack of imagination. Now if something is happening with this situation that I am not aware of I would gladly stand corrected. This program is called “Ontario Christian Gleaners” and the people involved with this program have dedicated their time to help feed at risk people in parts of the world where decent food is hard to find. Click the link here and a three minute video will help explain it much better than I. Note that all the produce used here is donated by growers and is considered to be ‘surplus’ food that would otherwise go to waste.

So I’m thinking that instead of just throwing money at countries who struggle to feed their own, we call it ‘foreign aid’, and knowing that substantial portions of this money never gets past the greasy hands of the government officials that run these countries, we could build plants in this country creating jobs for our unemployed construction workers, we could hire people to work in these plants and have their wages paid for out of the very program that we already have in place. That would be the one called ‘foreign aid’. By doing so we would be reducing our own unemployed numbers yet still using the same money that we would otherwise throw away by giving it to folks who don’t share it with those it is truly meant for. The bonus would be saving the dollars that we would otherwise be paying out for unemployment benefits. We could also help build fresh water wells which are required in the process and we would know that thousands upon thousands of men, women and children are being fed healthy balanced meals everyday. It’s a win-win.

So the obvious question is: “What are they thinking about’? “Why wouldn’t someone-anyone who collects a political salary be looking at this program and say-“Hey–we could do that”.

The other example, and perhaps more concerning in differing ways, involves stepping back 5 decades to a time of discrimination that was pretty sick stuff. The adults involved in this situation, if there are any, have no thought or consideration of what this lunacy says and indicates to their children. What lessons are to learned from this. If the salient points are in deed accurate the following information seems to be the crux of the discussion. And I thought that discrimination was finished in this country. I thought that we welcomed ‘newcomers’ to our fair land and everyone was treated equally based on who they were and what they were. I guess I had that wrong. In New Brunswick English speaking students and French speaking students are not allowed to ride on the same school bus together. Sounds a bit like the Southern States a few decades ago. The name Rosa Parks comes to mind. New Brunswick faces a 68 million dollar bill for transporting 90,000 students and much of that high cost is due to duplicating services for English and French students. They are in the midst of trying to figure out how to deal with a 500 million dollar problem funding the Education ministry and they won’t consider saving over 33 million dollars by treating their own citizens with some semblance of respect. This is all in the face of the people whose children are involved saying that using the same buses is OK by them. It’s the politicians who are the pain in the ass here. It appears that it is more important for kids to ride on different buses than it is to preserve the jobs of the teachers some of which could lose their jobs due to budgetary cut backs. HELLO! Is anybody home over there? If this doesn’t demonstrate blatant discrimination I’m not sure what does. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck–you know the rest I’m sure. They, the politicos, are trying to hide behind the 2000 Supreme Court Ruling regarding Summerside, PEI that, among other things, stated school buses and transporting kids to school is not part of the legal decision. In other words it doesn’t affect transporting students from different cultural backgrounds to school using the same bus.

Mr.Rouselle, the current Education Minister, needs to grow a pair and show some leadership instead of trying to protect his generous pension. It’s always interesting to see the spin boys at work but it is hard to see how this whole idea of multi-culturalism is being dismantled right here within our boundaries and no one will call it for what it is–a disgrace, shameful, petty and embarrassing.

That’s how I see it anyways–Jim

Comments are always welcome when respectful. I can be contacted on my web page: jamescloughley.com OR jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

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