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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Can You Guess What Is The ‘New’ Opiate For The Masses?

Poppy Fields

(Photographer Unknown To Me)

Karl Marx said that “Religion is the opiate of the people”. I certainly don’t consider myself an expert on any of this. But, to me, I don’t think he was condemning religion at all but rather was just stating that, to him, he saw religion and all of its peculiarities, branches and differing philosophies as an opiate–a psychological and spiritual drug which became the perfect diversion or panacea from having to live life day after day trying to sort out and deal with life’s disappointments, distractions, conundrums, coincidences, violence and it’s fears. It’s easier to place that burden, some possible solutions and the responsibility on the shoulders of a higher and more capable deity–the supreme commander of an unexplained and impossible to ‘prove’ existence in a different realm. There are many ‘challengers’vying for the chance to become the new ‘opiate’, such as Prozac and cannabis and alcohol has always been in the background yelling ‘what about me–take me.’ But the one that has shown to be the more resilient and a more powerful ‘opiate’ for the people is MONEY. People today will do most anything to acquire it, get more of it and to keep what they have of it at present. It has become the single most important driving force we have known and partly because of the power that often comes with it. We will cheat to get it, lie to those we care for to get it and we become secretive around how much of it we have. We have been known to sell our soul for it as well. Sounds like a religion of sorts.

This is only my perspective (something that we all have and exercise) of course but I believe money is the most dangerous ‘opiate’ for the people–ever. I use the word perspective here in this context. Let’s consider the word ‘hot’ for instance. Heat can be used as a good thing like using it to purify or it can be used to harm someone or something–to destroy. If we consider ‘assistance’ it can be seen as ‘charity’ and ‘enabling’ or it can be seen as ‘helping and caring’. No right or wrong. With money it can be seen as a tool for good or an instrument to gain power in order to get more money. So ones’ perspective is important when we consider ‘opiates’ for anything.

Where I am going with this is back to Parliament Hill where 40 ‘new’ Senators are being investigated for, allegedly, fudging their expense accounts. In some cases involving hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money. And this just isn’t Conservative Senators but Senators from all parties. Again, for me, this is just about greed and entitlement but the real concern is that they believe that what they are doing is justified–that is is OK. There is no remorse or contrition here. Even with their hands implanted firmly in the ‘cookie jar’ they stand defiant. They have no reasonable perspective–there doesn’t seem to be another view to explain their behaviour. That’s what makes it dangerous to me. Move over Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy. This has become the new ‘opiate’. People will now corrupt themselves, work two jobs, all but abandon their families and their responsibilities to their children for the chase and the capture of money. Many have given up their ‘religious’ affiliations to pursue yet more money because they have more time and offer out less in terms of the collection plate at church. The good service work that many churches do both domestically and on foreign soil is stopping because there is a dwindling sense of purpose. Just as Marx saw ‘religion’ as the perfect diversion for many the pursuit of money has now supplanted it as the next or new ‘opiate’. No matter however much you have it is never enough and more effort is put into gaining and controlling more of it. Mr. Harper is throwing our money around like it is his. He is buying personal favour in the world following his defeat in the next election. He may be many things but stupid is not one of them. His latest bit of federal business will cost the Canadian taxpayer $528,000,000.00 in exchange for one years military service to the ‘alliance’ to bomb the hell out of people they can’t or don’t know. This ‘generosity’ comes at a time when seniors are told that their complaints about the rates of CPP and OAS are greedy and ill founded and not going to happen. Can you imagine the politicians telling US that we are greedy. The arrogance is near criminal. But this is how the ‘opiate’ works. It kills pain and it kills perspective–both casualties attributed to this group in Ottawa.

My recommendation would be this: for all and any of those who are found to be guilty of padding their expense accounts–in effect wilfully cheating the taxpayers–would be enough cause for them to lose their pensions-completely and immediately, then they should be removed from the senate, immediately’ and for there to be a referendum called and placed on the next federal ticket at election time so that the whole country gets to decide how much longer we would like to be fleeced by those who seem to have difficulty keeping their hands in their own pockets and have lost or misplaced their perspective. If fraud is committed should they not be charged just like an ordinary citizen? Actually I think they should be held to a much higher standard because they are in breech of the public trust. Perhaps a jail term of some kind would be appropriate as well.

I end this with a simple thought. What do our children learn from the adults around them and how could we expect anything different than what we are seeing from many of our kids right now. We need to be ashamed of ourselves, as adults, for letting our kids be a part of what is allowed to happen today.

That’s how I see it anyways, Jim

To make any comments please contact me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com OR jamescloughley.com
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3 Tips For Living Your Life With More Passion And Emotional Freedom.

Diannes Flight

Creation By Diane Cruttenden

It’s no secret I enjoy studying human beings and their behaviour, their choices and hearing about their dreams and aspirations. I’m fascinated by what there is know about people doing what they do and perhaps why they choose to do them. Over the years I have come to believe two things and I admit I have no real way of proving them to be true or not other than people have proven me right more often than not.

What I found out was this:
1. That we are fear driven people and we make choices and decisions more often out of fear or ignorance than anything else.
2. That we often decide to act in a certain way based on what others might say about us or how they might see us.

In both cases, the good news is that we, definitely, can have control over both of the factors that influence our decision making. We can learn to control our fear instead of us being controlled by it and 2.–we are not who others think or say we are. We are in charge of who we become. How others see us is simply their perception.

SO the tips for living a life with more passion and emotional freedom are these: We need to ask ourselves three simple questions: 1.Where is the evidence that supports the idea that my fear has valid source; 2.That other people’s perceptions are correct and 3. Is it possible that others are always right and I am always so wrong? Of course not.

Glancing back at the photo I would say that this is a woman who is not afraid of much and doesn’t really care too much about what people say about her or how they might see her. She likely enjoys a spirit free of guilt and regrets which would lead her to more peace and excitement. These are life’s true gifts.

The key to living a life of freedom and joy and passion is for us to recognize what our fears are and then challenge them. When we can do this we will likely be much happier, more contented and more healthy people with fewer mental health problems, illnesses, and mistrust.

That’s how I see it anyways, James

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It’s Not Much Fun Being Us . . .

Sitting On The Edge Of The World

“The world has become a very lonely place for many men these days”–(photographer unknown to me)

When I first saw this photo I instantly identified with how difficult it is to find our place in the world. On the surface of it it looks rather tranquil and peaceful but it could easily be lonely and empty.

Having said that the one thing that I believe we, as men, need to do is stop listening to everybody who has an idea of what and who we should be. The changing world has become a place that is increasingly more difficult to understand for men these days and the speed or the rate of change is very difficult to cope with. A man’s world, for many, is a place where there is confusion, frustration, fear, judgement, emptiness, loneliness and anger. We have gone from a place of being dominant and dominating to a place where we are basically a shadow of who we used to be and, for many, ineffectual in terms of providing true leadership. I’d be among the first to agree that we needed to back off the dominating place we had assumed and also among the first to agree that we have become mere shells of who we were. Instead of being leaders and decision makers and strong family oriented people we have become disconnected, displaced and found guilty of what I’m not sure by those who have no idea what it means to be male and won’t be happy until men are subjugated. How sad. How sad that we cannot find a middle ground that promotes and encourages women to strive for the success they deserve and, at the same time, allow men to be men-to be who they really are in the world. I, for one, am tired of the whining and the threatening and the posturing and the manipulating on both sides of this struggle. There can be no clear winner. If there were a winner that would mean that someone would be a loser. The only thing that might happen then is a change in social structure but not disposition.

We are supposed to be adults, whatever that means, so how do we navigate these treacherous waters and have both men and women feel as though they each won the day. Men need to allow women the freedom and the support and the respect they deserve so that they can pursue their dreams just like men want to pursue their dreams and feel that their gifts are appreciated and recognized. Some might say that it is all about feeding the ego and frankly I don’t care what it’s called. We are destroying ourselves, as a society, and we don’t seem to recognize it or care. The folks on either end of the spectrum in this fight are so stubborn that they would rather go down in flames than to wave the flag and negotiate a meaningful peace that suits and serves us all. It’s doable but only if both sides want it and are willing to work for it. That means give and take on BOTH sides.

I can only speak to the men’s side of things but we, men, need to wake up and accept that this is a new world and it will not go back to the ways and days of old. Good. But this new world must see us and accept as viable, important, meaningful, creative, intelligent, an equal partner. We are natural hunters, warriors, care takers, protectors and the one who takes the bullet for the village and for the family. Those who try to mess with this set up will be confronted with anger, resentment and aggression if need be. We are not much different now than we were hundreds perhaps thousands of years ago. Men will only hear this message from other MEN. Why is this so hard to grasp? Men need to be sure that they have the backing and the acceptance of other men before they will begin to feel OK about being seen as other than who they think/feel they are. We ask: Is concession the same as weakness? Is granting women an equal part of respect and acceptance the same as caving in and giving up? Why is it so difficult for women to accept that men are who they are? STOP trying to change us into something we are not and won’t be. This doesn’t mean that we can’t coexist and be accepting partners in the world. Besides respect, opportunity and freedom what is it women want? Why is it so difficult for men to drop their opposition to changing some of the ‘rules’ and recognize that there are many women out there who are intelligent, very capable, creative, driven and just want what other human beings want. That is a chance to demonstrate they have a rightful place in society and that they can be and are, rightfully so, key players in how the world spins.

If we don’t come to some actual agreements as to how we will choose to live our lives for the betterment of ALL, the big losers, of course, will be our children. They are the next generation of soldiers in this unnecessary struggle for?????

My hope is that we teach our children about human rights and leave the gender issue out of the conversation. No one gender is more deserving than the other. I believe that many more people would get on board if the changes were about treating each other with the same degree of respect and dignity. We all need to be provided with every opportunity to succeed as human beings.

That’s how I see it anyways–Jim

As always your respectful comments and thoughts are welcome. You can connect with me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com OR
jamescloughley.com

It’s Free To Our Children But Priceless Concerning The Giver: What Is It?

Grandparents With Family

“I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots”–Albert Einstein

I doubt most folks have any idea of what ‘it’is. It is not a new gadget or piece of technology. Actually it is only found in people who are about 60 years old and older. It is not generated by a computer and computers can’t make it. It isn’t taught in schools but kids could benefit immensely from this and it is free to them. It is, arguably, one of the most important things that many kids of this day lack. The giver, however, spent a lifetime gathering this and in so many instances it has been found to go beyond any stated or quantified value. It is truly priceless.

‘It’ is knowledge, information and experience.

It is true that computers have done much to add to science, space travel, medicine, education, architecture and design and so on. The list is very long and very impressive. What I suggest is this: While computers have changed our lives dramatically they have also, inadvertently, created less need for what we used to call human interaction. Life has sped up considerably and many are having a hard time keeping up. Along with this diminished need for human interaction we don’t have time for the age old practice of sharing wisdom and insight through conversation. This sharing was often referred to as the ultimate education.

Grandparents, who are our true teachers, used to be treated with reverence and respect for what they had experienced and for what they had survived. Many of our 20th century cultures revered their elders and respected their wisdom. Our elders knew and understood how to live in harmony with others. They understood the unwritten guidelines that kept us functioning as a large community. Today we seem to lack that same clarity and our vision has changed. Interestingly enough that has been coincidental with the lack of respect paid older folks and the messages they bring from another time. Where their words meant much they mean little today. Families don’t seem to have the time to spend with their elders anymore. More than many are in a rush to put good old dad or mom or both in nice comfortable homes for their own good. They tell us that it is in our best interests and that we can be with others of like circumstances. We are not seen or known for our learned wisdoms and our experiences are no longer sought or valued.

The seniors of this day understand the intricacies and the nuances of human life and what it is like to love, to hurt, to witness joy. They get the inner value of rolling up your sleeves and hard work. They learned how to adapt to an ever changing world filled with hardship because they had to or perish. They know about the lessons connected to being successful or not being successful and how to deal with disappointment. They didn’t run to the doctor’s office looking for a script. They learned how to deal with this stuff. They internalized the idea that you had to work and sacrifice for all you wanted and needed but the rewards were great and built character. They didn’t trade their future for their want in the present. They are the living proof that human beings can survive almost anything including loss and tragedy which are part of life. Todays’ computer cannot help us with these events because it cannot feel.

As important as seniors are we are allowing them to slip away from us in the trade off that is called progress. Parents used to live with their families in their retirement. They could share their wisdom with grand kids around the dinner table and on the porch. Now families don’t invite mom and dad or grandma and grandpa to come live with them-at least not often. Not many have time for us now. Not only have we become irrelevant but so has our message and so we are placed with other ‘old’ people in assisted living communities. The tragedy to that is all our knowledge,information and insights we have gained are never shared with those who need them the most. Those would be our grandchildren. They have become or are in the process of becoming Einstein’s greatest fear and concern–‘a generation of idiots’. Granted many of our grandchildren have become extremely good at utilizing their technological skills but that’s a one-trick pony. Outside of that realm they seem to demonstrate little in terms of ‘living in community and harmony’ with others. I believe that is what Einstein meant when he spoke about ‘idiots’. They are not stupid but rather ill-informed and ill-prepared to live amongst their peers in harmony and a sense of community.

Computers and technology have enriched our lives. We have built amazing things and discovered many more. But in doing so they have created a society that requires or encourages less human interaction. At a time when so many of our kids are struggling with hopelessness, fear, depression, suicidal ideation and a lack of direction regarding their futures I would think that this information and potential leadership would be sorely needed and sought after. I am concerned that this oversight will cost us much if we don’t tap into the treasure chest that is filled with our seniors experience. Our children need to re-evaluate the importance of learning what we seniors know about life and living. This is the stuff that can’t be taught in schools. It is up to our children to help our grand children understand that not everything of value comes out of a box that has no soul. These are the important messages and lessons concerning life and what it is all about. The circle of life isn’t about stages we go through. It is about the decisions we make to pass on the knowledge we have gained so that the next generation can benefit and do the same for their kids. This is the circle of life as I understand it and it is or can be infinite.

Anyways,that’s how I see it–Jim

Comments are always welcome pro or con. You can connect with me by email at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com
OR
through my web site at: jamescloughley.com

As Canadians Are We Really As Free As We Think We Are?

Soon But Not Yet . . .

Photographer Unknown To Me

Just recently I was involved in a conversation with 7-8 others about a topic that many of us seldom speak about: the extent to which we feel “free”. I must confess that I am or was one of those people who was born into freedom. As many of us did, I had family relations go to war in it’s name and am reminded of the value of those freedoms fought for and won every November 11th.

So my thoughts/questions to you are: How free do you feel considering how you live your life each day? Fine isn’t an answer. You need to be able to share, at least with someone close to you, what it means specifically.

I love this country. There is no greater country to live in than Canada. And yes we are free to do most things. We can travel anywhere we want at any time we want and with anyone we want. We can vote for the candidate(s) of our choice in free elections. We are free to practice the religion of our choice. We are allowed to speak our minds in public and protest, in a peaceful manner, our government without penalty–I think? I am free to write about things that displease me or that I find contentious and I can be critical of others if I want to be. I can buy what I want from whomever I want and I can sell whatever I want to whomever I please. I am free to smoke, drink and be merry anytime I want. I am free to love anyone I choose and to marry the love of my life regardless of their gender, race or religion. We are free to assemble and we have a free press and language rights. On the surface I agree that this sounds like a really good deal and for the most part it is. However, I’m very concerned that many have begun to forget how important it is not to take our freedoms for granted. And yet, those precious gifts of freedom are being eroded by folks who have other agendas and those agendas are not all that honourable.

Basically what I outlined above is true but not accurate. The Charter Of Rights And Freedoms provide for the entrenchment of our rights but there are now laws either passed or soon to be passed that would compromise those very rights. There are exceptions, consequences and penalties attached to some of these ‘freedoms’now. The untouchables have been touched. Just because we believe these freedoms can’t be taken away from us does not make them forever.

We maintain that we are free to do whatever we want. But freedom of speech does not allow one person to defame or lie about another in order to slander them or implicate them unjustly in a crime. There are penalties for that and so there should be. So there are limits as to what freedom of speech allows and means. When considering voting it’s true we can vote for anyone on the ballot without coercion or threat. Any of us can seek office if we meet the criteria to run. We are free to smoke, to drink and be disruptive and obnoxious in public but only in certain places. Again I agree that this is for the greater good. Free press and media is ruled more by political correctness now than at any other time so they aren’t quite ‘free’ to write or do what they want if staying in business is a priority. This is where it starts to get a bit contentious for me however. We are said to be free to practice the religion of our choice, for instance, and yet that is not true. While others are free to openly pray in public, Christians are not. If we do then we are sanctioned. That is not freedom. While major pieces of legislation are being run through parliament we don’t have much of a say, really, in whether that legislation passes or not. When was the last time your federal member stopped by your house to ask you what you thought about capital punishment, going to war or raising taxes-again. Mine either. How then is this true democracy and yet democracy is outlined as a must in the charter. The proposed anti-terrorist legislation will give the government many many opportunities to spy on us and to monitor phone calls, emails, web site surfing all in the name of our national security. I don’t trust them with that sort of power. They have proven themselves untrustworthy. I’m all for stopping terrorism and terrorists from gaining a foot hold in this country but at what cost to us as citizens? How much liberty do we sacrifice? What’s the old saying: “Power is always dangerous. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best”–Edward Abbey. Legislation, once passed, is nigh on impossible to undo.

And then there is freedom of speech. How free is it–really? If the following is true Mr. Harper needs to answer for his statement in a public forum. He seems to have forgotten that he works for us and not the other way around. If this statement is true then he is nothing but a bully. Bullies don’t lead they threaten. If the quote is accurate then perhaps Mr. Harper doesn’t concern himself with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms after all. So much for free speech. The following contains a quote from a memo that, apparently, was attributed to Mr. Harper: “You’ll never believe what a leaked RCMP memo from last week says about you (as a citizen). If you oppose the furious rush to build pipelines and expand the tar sands like I do(says the writer of the article), then you’re considered to be a “violent anti-petroleum extremist.”

**The memo literally says that those of us who oppose pipelines should be seen and treated as potential criminal and security threats. I honestly could not believe what I was reading.’

So with a Prime Minister who feels that way about freedom to speak your mind the question is: Are we really as FREE as we think we are?

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

Comments are always welcomed: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com OR jamescloughley.com

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