Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Two Kingdoms … A Tale Of …

“En Priere”, Bill Douglas, from the album “Kaleidoscope”, (1993)

Hong Yi

Hong Yi (23 October 1880 – 13 October 1942; Chinese: 弘一; pinyin: Hóngyī), born Li Shutong (李叔同) was a Chinese Buddhist monk, artist and art teacher.

My last thought, in my last post was “Sitting under a tree, weeping, thinking … praying …” accompanying the above image by Hong Yi. I think the image is intended as “the Buddha sitting under the tree rather than as a self portrait – the source site is unclear.

My prayer would be something like “O Lord, because the frailty of man without thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful.”

A GOES-13 satellite image captured at 17:45 UTC on January 2, 2014,

A GOES-13 satellite image captured at 17:45 UTC on January 2, 2014, depicting an ongoing blizzard across portions of the Ohio River Valley and the Northeast United States as cold air from Canada moves across warm air from the Gulf of Mexico

I purged over 4 thousand emails yesterday from assorted accounts. Found an item from my pre-blog era when I was busy annoying email contacts with long rambling emails about what was wrong with the world IMAO. Can’t hear myself think over the barking of my EGO.

So out of my personal Way-Back machine from the dark winter of 2014, back before I started my ranting in this blog … this monster rises from the slab of my Atelier …

A writer of great talent and no small amount of clarity regarding our daily grind and happily, at last call, still amongst the living, at least we are happy he is still around even though his mileage may vary, finding as he does that the Hoi Polloi for the most part do not share his sensibilities with respect to eternity. It sometimes seems to us that the Progressive idea of eternity is how long it seems between coffee breaks. But that for another day.

Anyway, he once remarked on ways to lose readers … mention church (and hell) … mention the poor … criticize a (any) Liberal Bureaucracy. And in a “Me Too!” sort of way I leapt on board his wagon.

The Church Militant ...

The Church Militant …

On the topic of Church:

Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, in his Erasmus Lecture for 2014:
If we ignore the poor, we will go to Hell. If we blind ourselves to their suffering, we will go to Hell. If we do nothing to ease their burdens; then we will go to Hell. Ignoring the needs of the poor among us is the surest way to dig a chasm of heartlessness between ourselves and God, and ourselves and our neighbours.”

Or the poor:

This is so true that, it would seem, the opposite is also true. This is Christ’s dismissive reply to some liberal posturing from Judas, when He said, “the poor you will always have with you, but me you will not always have.”  suggesting that if we ignore God, we will go to Hell.”

Or criticize a (any) Liberal Bureaucracy:

Ambassadors

Ambassadors of … a Big Red Shiny …

“Our progressive society has programmized fraternal charity in a desperate ongoing attempt to sanitize and manage reality out of existence and has created the perfect system to facilitate ignoring our neighbours.

Enter the The Nanny State, queue marching bands … Big Red Shiny Maple Leaves Forever … long may they wave from Sea to Shining Sea … over the home of the brave and the land of the free lunch, in which daily we willingly participate, and which State provides us with a wonderful opportunity to ignore the poor, in our spare time while we are ignoring God full time.

The Pool of Worship ...

The Pool of Worship …

After all, there’s not much time or room left for God when every waking moment of consciousness is totally focused on self worship. Said State even gives cover and plausibility deniability for the murder of any fellow inconvenient souls in the name of dignity and health care, at least until our turn comes … It allows every enfranchised taxpaying citizen to declare glibly, “I gave at the office.”

Meanwhile, the bureaucracy itself ignores the poor, reducing them to an economic transaction, within an administrative routine, whose heartlessness must be experienced, to be believed.

So what’s the point here?  Who’s the target here? What are the goals which lead to the perpetuation of these heartless situations? What are the Brass Rings of goal, desires, and rewards of this life, this road, this set of choices for a secular self centered society?

REALITY CHECK FOR PROGRESSIVES: Not too many years ago I spent 18 months pushing the bureaucratic system strings to get a 50-something year old handicapped man enrolled into a program to assist the handicapped for which he had been manifestly qualified as a candidate for almost 50 years.

running Rachel ...

running Rachel …

Nobody cared enough to ever do anything about him. Because nobody cared, nobody helped, everybody thought somebody was looking after the poor handicapped nobody.

Then I got involved!  WTF! Why has nobody ever done anything for this somebody? And even with myself, a motivated, talented highly vocal, champion working hard on his case, phoning and following up and visiting face to face, and – well you get my drift –  it took a whole bloody year and a half to get get him enrolled in the program.

The government agency and program which existed solely to help people like this man was mired in requirements and vacant positions and proofs and every conceivable bureaucratic obstacle to prevent people from qualifying instead of helping them to qualify.

Truly, Truly, Heartless. The real goal of the managers and directors charged with overseeing these programs is to PREVENT candidates from qualifying because then you can preserve your budget for doing the things the management bureaucrats think are important. Actually Helping Candidates?  Where’s the fun in that?

I’ve was told many times, over the years, by those infinitely my superiors, while working in Social “Services”, “Justice”, and “Health Care”, that the situation merely has to be properly “managed”. Heartless, the putative target of my self-righteous anger and judgement is the uncaring self centered bureaucrat and his/her self centered goals and objectives. But didn’t someone famous recently say “Who am I to judge”?

“Eternity’s Sunrise”, Bill Douglas, from the album “Eternity’s Sunrise”, (2000)

Lots of going to hell and pissing in other people’s soup in the above topics, BUT, IMAO, the ultimate fart in the elevator show stopper is to mention Man’s (or even worse – Woman’s) frailty, especially in a spiritual context:

Frailty  from an old site called “Liturgy that Works” even thought some of the links therein seem to no longer work as they originally might have.

Let us pray (in silence) [that we and the whole church may be kept by God’s love]

pause

“God of grace and goodness,
you know that by reason of our frailty we cannot but fail;
keep us always under your protection
and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation;

through Jesus Christ our Lord
who is alive with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.
Amen.”

New Zealand Prayer Book p. 571b

Glenstal Abbey House

Glenstal Abbey House

The old monk was asked, “So what do the monks do here in this monastery?” To this he replied, “We fall, we get up. We fall, we get up. We fall, we get up.” It is a story just as applicable to ordinary Christian life. Another version has it ending with variations of “…one day we fall and we get up in heaven.”

For you Latin Scholars, this Gelasian Collect for Trinity 15 in the Sarum Missal (11th century) read, “Custodi, Domine, quaesumus, ecclesiam tuam propitiatione perpetua: et quia sine te labitur humana mortalitas, tuis semper auxiliis et abstrahatur a noxis et ad salutaria dirigatur.”

Cranmer translated this for 1549 (Epiphany 5) as:
KEPE we beseche thee, O Lorde, thy Churche with thy perpetuall mercye: and because the frailtie of man without thee, cannot but fall: Kepe us ever by thy helpe, and leade us to al thynges profitable to our salvacion; through Jesus Christe our Lorde. Amen.

An Irish Abbey ...

An Irish Abbey …

The 1662 revisers restored “for all things hurtful” (lost again in the collect at the top):
KEEP, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy Church with thy perpetual mercy; and, because the frailty of man without thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

International readers of this page may echo my surprise: I cannot find this collect revised in any Anglican prayer books except New Zealand’s! Do let me know if your province’s revised prayer book has it. Just when the church needs all the prayer it can get – as well as acknowledgment of our frailty!

Roman Catholics have this collect tucked away for Tuesday in the second week of Lent, where ICEL has it translated as:
Lord watch over your Church and guide it with Your unfailing love. Protect us from what could harm us and lead us to what will save us. Help us always, for without You we are bound to fail. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.”

The great roaring hairy legged EGO

The great roaring hairy EGO devouring all …

Our frailty, never more immediately obvious than in my own comments here, designed to provoke those who may not share my own views of reality and eternity. How does what I have said above conform to what I wrote on September 23rd, Saturday last.

Everything mentioned may be provably true but the focus is on the frailty of the undefined persons embracing the problems by ignoring them or just walking away, “Sniff …” obviously crass lower castes, every mother’s son of them. The great roaring hairy legged EGO strikes again.

So behold the position of man, with respect to the spiritual life, like  a young childe who, finding himself at a fork in the road, cannot proceed alone and knows not which road leads to his home. Two roads lie before him, one leading to the kingdom of the spirit, the kingdom of God, and the other to the kingdom of this world, the kingdom of the flesh, of Mammon.

Which to choose, the calm peaceful kingdom of the spirit? I think we all inherently wish to choose the kingdom of God, but unfortunately the Kingdom of Mammon also has it’s attractions, and these attractions try to seduce us to their path. We struggle against these attractions and allurements, “For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary one to another, so that you do not the things that you would.” (Gal 5, 16-24)

Oliver Ridge, 2016

Oliver Ridge, 2016

So just where WAS I going with this?  Oh yeah!  Two Kingdoms, two paths, two realities, two universes, one centered on self and spiritual stagnation and the other centered on God and spiritual growth, and the choosing, Ah yes, the choosing … seems obvious when regarded at leisure, in calm thought, seems obvious, the path of Peace is rooted in humility, the path of Mammon is rooted in pride.

Pride in seeking the first place, at table, at meetings, the first place spiritually, the esteem of others, the regard of others, our self love always tries to make us take a higher place than that which is due us.

There is great harm and great evil in wishing to elevate ourselves above what we are and in preferring ourselves. And we choose the direction in which we proceed, and from these choices flow our joy or our unhappiness.

Last Days Of Summer, 2016

Last Days Of Summer, 2016

If we have trouble translating these ideas into real life then perhaps a tangible media example of this idea works for us, as portrayed in the film “Last Days Of Summer” which won a gaggle of prizes and critical recognition in late 2016. This Festival Circuit darling, produced by British born OLIVER RIDGE, appeared at the Whistler Film Festival.

Having taken the grand prize for best feature at the Rhode Island Film Festival, the acclaimed drama starring WILLIAM FICHTNER competed at the prestigious Canadian event.

And our point is: “The film tells the story of a suburban husband whose quiet life is turned upside down when he becomes obsessed with the beautiful young woman who moves in next door”. Obsessed with the things of this world, earthly affections, sensual pleasures, all the golden rings of our material society.

The Beatitudes”, from the album “Biscantorat – The Sound Of The Spirit From Glenstal Abbey” – The Monks of Glenstal Abbey – (2009)

In the face of all that life has to offer, honors, satisfaction, affection of creatures, comforts and riches, the path of peace offers humility, to desire nothing more than what one has, even to give up what one has, not to be eager for riches and pleasures, consolations and fame, or any earthly affections and sensual pleasures. And we choose the direction in which we proceed, and from these choices flow our joy or our unhappiness.

Son rise …

The things of this world, the golden rings of our material society, do not occupy our soul nor cause it harm. The things of this world are neutral with regards to man.

But out of the will and desires of man spring all the evils and joylessness which plague our lives. When we remain attached to our own will and ideas, or remain too fond of our independence, we are “rich in ourselves”, in our self love and pride.

It seems to me that if we seek the affections and approval of creatures and the joys and satisfactions which they can give us, we find only increasing hunger for more.

We find unhappiness with what we actually get, and instead of satiation we get misery with what we find. And we choose the direction in which we proceed, and from these choices flow our joy or our unhappiness.

DP130155, 2/7/06, 11:18 AM, 16C, 6856x8852 (180+693), 100%, Rona Copywork, 1/30 s, R93.8, G57.6, B56.4<br /> Working Title/Artist: The Great Wave at Kanagawa (from a Series of Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji)Department: Asian ArtCulture/Period/Location: HB/TOA Date Code: 10Working Date: 1831-33<br /> photography by mma, Digital File DP130155.tif<br /> retouched by film and media (jnc) 8_17_11

Choose Wisely, lest we be overwhelmed … (The Great Wave at Kanagawa (from a Series of Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji))

We choose … so choose wisely … so far I am trying to choose NOT to be critical of the choices of others, at least not vocally.

I am choosing NOT to preach about how I think things should be done (and why).

I am choosing not to express my annoyance when things are not going my way.

I am choosing, so far with mixed results, but lots of opportunities to try again keep showing up so I will keep on trying.

And praying … “O Lord, because the frailty of man without thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful.”

Cheers

Joe

This Purgatorial struggle to choose the right path, to choose to put away self and make room in my soul …

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Politics and Economics

Environmental Scan’s …

Listening to this

Trying to evaluate destinations for the next move, should we have to bail here. Was looking at New Zealand. The dream is something like this:

Hobbiton, near Matamata, North Island, New Zealand

Hobbiton, near Matamata, North Island, New Zealand

In my green fantasies of the kind of world I wish to live in that lovely pastoral scene takes front stage. It’s a lot like that scene here on the Canadian prairies, but mostly flatter, with more cows and horses, less sheep and a few oil pump jacks.

Reality tends to be a little more gritty, as explained in:

OECD Economic Surveys
NEW ZEALAND
JUNE 2015

and this article

Mission Bay - Auckland New Zealand

View from Mission Bay, Auckland, New Zealand (Photo credit: Jaafar Alnasser Photography)

Anyway, the daily routines of running a small business go on and we will keep our options open over the next one or two years.

Cheers

Joe

currency war2From certain perspectives everything looks bad. This is usually unrealistic.

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Politics and Economics

“plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”

220px-Alphonse_Karrplus ça change, plus c’est la même chose“, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (24 November 1808 – 29 September 1890) was a French critic, journalist, and novelist. His epigrams are frequently quoted, and the title line is one of his best. Another was on the proposal to abolish capital punishment, “je veux bien que messieurs les assassins commencent”  “let the gentlemen who do the murders take the first step”, or “I wish the assassins to go first”, a view which I share.

Any time the system rewards bad behaviour the society always and everywhere get more bad behaviour. The never was a time in history when treating bad folks well caused them to rehabilitate themselves.

So, as anyone who is even slightly awake can attest to, the river of change is never ending, and yet we always seems to repeat the mistakes of the past.  I often think of time and change as the wind that blows away the chaff of our lives leaving only the important kernels of value behind.

Of course, to benefit from those kernels one has to actually pick them up and digest them and their wisdom and change one’s behaviour if one wants to “improve” one’s life.  Unfortunately, many seem to trundle along like so many cattle, chewing their cultural cud and treading the grains underfoot, the proverbial pearls before swine.

Still working away on my year-end. Have mostly fixed all the disasters resulting from the chaotic family disaster of May and June 2014 and will be wrapping things up shortly.  Had a nice long conversation with a friend, who also happens to be my accountant. I’ve known him for almost 20 years now. He informs me that there are major changes in our tax structures pending over the next two years. Seems that our tax rate here is set to increase from 14% to around 32% over the next two years. Hmmmm. Not great looking down the road.

NDP imagesNo surprise at that development since the cattle (OOOps, voters, my bad) here elected a mob of rabid socialists/communists known popularly in the resistance as Rachel and her Merry Band, robbing from the “rich” and giving a little to the poor along the way for good photo ops. Of course, most of their loot always goes to their Organized Labor voting base with little left over for the genuine poor and seniors and all those “useless” folks for whom we will soon be buying a new fleet of Mercy Vans to help recycle the used parts. What’s that you say??? “MOOOOOO’ve on”!  Right!  Whole lot of thinkin’ goin’ on there.

Combine a local tax rate of 32% with an exchange rate of 1.32 against the US dollar where a lot of our vendors are based, and the possibility of interest rate hikes following the next Federal election  to fix the exchange rate plunge, which would almost  certainly trigger a hike in the inflation rate (maybe double digits like we saw in the 80’s)  and the rosy complexion of the face of Canada starts to look decidedly Liberal, Leprous and Loser!

Rickards400Our jurisdiction is steadily moving from  the most business friendly Province in the Dominion to the most hostile and restrictive, and the so-called “Alberta Advantage” has been pissed away in an orgy of “TAX THE RICH”. And of course the “RICH” who usually have significantly more brains and a better understanding of how the world works, have already left or are in the process of leaving and the brunt of this will fall on the small business owners who have enough brains to see and understand what is going on (legal now in Canada) but not quite as much money as the “Rich” to take flight until the storm blows over.

Canada is not immune to “hitting the wall.” It doesn’t happen just to Third World countries. Some examples of OECD countries that experienced foreign exchange crises related to large government and current account deficits are Italy (1974), the United Kingdom (1976), Denmark (1980), Italy (1981), Ireland (1981), Belgium (1982), New Zealand (1984), Australia (1985), Sweden (1992) and Italy (1992). The typical response was a serious devaluation of the country’s currency, rising interest rates (double digit), fiscal austerity (major cutbacks in all government programs), and sharply rising unemployment in all sectors except those employed by governments at all levels.

Italy’s experience (1992) and New Zealand’s crisis (1984) and its aftermath may provide some insight into what Canada could expect if the Liberals or NDP take power in the upcoming Federal election and as they have promised, reverse the steady Conservative trend towards budget surpluses and reducing debt. Not only are Liberals and NDP unwilling to take the necessary actions to reduce the debt burden and spending but have promised in writing and in the media to dramatically increase spending. Don’t take my word for it, just take a look at all the information online and short order you will have “the facts M’am, just the facts”.  Of course they might go against what you get from your cool aide in which case just … “whatever …”.

The New Zealand crisis in 1984 provides an interesting example of what happens when a country “hits the wall” and its government has the political will to take longer-term corrective action. For a short time investors refused to buy New Zealand government bonds. The New Zealand dollar was devalued and a strict fiscal austerity program was introduced. The government removed subsidies from all sectors and virtually abolished quantitative import controls. State business enterprises were “corporatised” and, in many cases, sold off. Monopoly rights were removed from all government departments and internal product markets were significantly deregulated. Over a number of years, the New Zealand tax system was overhauled.

Canada dodged the bullet in the 80’s  by actually cutting back enough on spending and raising interest rates such that we wiggled through. Of course the Liberals giggled all the way to the bank because they also encouraged high inflation, and indexed everything except tax brackets. It was a massive “stealth” tax hike which moved even the poorest Canadians much higher in the tax brackets and no one in authority has ever acknowledged the scam.

So, is it time to start restructuring to adjust to the coming evils, or is it time to start looking abroad?  Many factors to consider in such a search.  Economic Performance, Social Networks, Cultural Factors, Crime, Housing, Business Climate, Natural Climate, Rule of Law, Education, and so on. My personal bias’s are towards English Speaking nominally Christian cultures and countries in the British tradition, that is tracing their roots to the British Empire and it’s traditions.

First thoughts are balanced between adjusting the business model and staying put OR cashing in all the chips and emigrating to somewhere like Australia or new Zealand, or wherever. I am cognizant that the grass is always greener and every culture and economy has it’s own set of problems. I think both the Australian and New Zealand economy is in about the same crappy shape as Canada’s, and I have seen a good part of the crappier social side of Canada in the Justice Dept, the Education system and the Healthcare arena, and I believe that Progressive Bureaucracies are a Global plague. So one needs to be very careful before jumping lest one wind up in the fire yelling W.T.F!!!! For example, just take a short read at Forbes about New Zealand.

Anyway, as the Socialists and the Progressive takers take more and more of the maker’s resources the maker’s will make less and less and eventually move on. The problem is “WHERE in the World …?” Meanwhile, batten down the hatches and prepare for a storm. Of course we can always hope that John Cleese got it right and no-one will get hurt

Cheers

Joe

cdn-ddh-heavy-weather-87471.jpgOh well, been there, done that, how bad can it get?

 

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