Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Year-End, Prayer, and Fasting … Lent

Yashi No Mi (Ohnaka), Jean-Pierre Rampal, from the album “Rampal: Japanese Folk Melodies”, (1978)

Well, my Year End accounting efforts are bearing much fruit. For the first time in 8 years I am up to date and almost done on time.

This will be a first ever to be down to two months worth of accounting = about 2 weeks worth of work, and I am on track to get everything out to the accountants by mid April. WooHoo!

The fasting is progressing nicely alternating between total fasting for a week and 1 meal a day for a week. Have stopped all meds both for diabetes and blood pressure and the numbers continue to improve. Weight continues to drop.

All good on that front except that I wonder in passing if my pride at how well I am doing negates the spiritual benefits of atonement and and mortification.

Pride is such an insidious vice, informing almost every thought of every day.

A prayer for Lent – taken from my Carmelite meditation book “Divine Intimacy””

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“O God of my soul, what am I in Your presence! Have my acts ever been free from faults — my words, my will? But You, O Lord, are good and Your right hand is merciful.

O Physician of my soul, show me the fruits of my avowal. I confess because the admission of my miseries awakens my heart and keeps it from slumber; but even while saying I am incapable of doing good, my soul awakes again in the love of Your mercy and the sweetness of Your grace, by which every sick soul feels strong and becomes aware of its weakness.”

“I shall love You, O Lord, and return thanks to You and exalt Your Name because you have pardoned so many of my guilty acts.  If my sins have melted away like ice, it is the work of Your grace and mercy. All the evil I have not committed was likewise the work of Your grace. Was there any sin I could not have committed, I who have loved evil with so light a heart? I confess that all my sins have been forgiven, both those that I committed as well as those that, with Your help, I did not commit.” (St. Augustine)

O my God, You who by one single act of Your will created light — and light was made — speak again Your all-powerful creative word: fiat lux, and light will be created in my soul; and in Your light I shall be able to see myself as I really am in Your sight.

But light is not enough for me who am so weak and cowardly; I need strength, O Lord; I need a strong, resolute will to hate evil in all forms, to have a horror of my self-love, my pride, my sloth, to renew and strengthen my resolution to overcome myself for love of You.

Yes, Lord, with Your help I wish to conquer myself, not for the vain satisfaction of thinking that I am doing better, but solely to give You pleasure, to avoid even the smallest thing that displeases You.

O my God, infinite Perfection envelop and penetrate my soul with the reflection of Your holiness, and just as the sun illumines, purifies and makes the earth fruitful with its rays, illumine, purify, and sanctify my whole being.

Teach me to look at myself with Your eyes, to know myself as You know me, to consider my miseries in the light of Your infinite perfections, to open my soul to Your purifying, sanctifying light.”

*****

Cheers

Joe

Always remember, “be charitable in your judgements, never take yourself too seriously” and of course “Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.”

Sometimes when I post, I look at my sig and wish that I’d follow my own damned advice.

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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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Life in a small town

Year End is Pressing …

I have to take a break from this blog for a short while to finish up my corporate year end before the government and the accountants get on my case. One rule of happiness in the small business world is “Never attract the attention of Revenue Canada for any reason”.

Annie Lennox

so in parting I leave you with

Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you” Ephesians 4.31 – 32

Cheers

Joe

Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.

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Life in a small town

Year-end – Reality Check …

Every year it roles around again, that wonderful exercise that determines whether or not one is still in business or just digging a grave, and how much blood are the sparkly vampires in the corner offices going to suck this year to buy the zombie voters.

What’s good about things?  Woke up feeling refreshed and good about life in general. Steak and eggs for breakfast. And good hot strong espresso roast coffee, 3 cups. Aaahhh.  It’s sunny and +2 Celsius, that’s 36 degrees in America. Wind is 6 kph, about 4 mph so no wind chill to speak of, I think actually they don’t calculate wind chill above 0 degrees anyway, since it is a factor of how fast skin freezes.

All the customers and staff are smiling and cheerful so far, and everything is working fine in the business. The oldsters are chatting in front of the post office across the street, and the young mums are pushing their strollers and or leading their flocks about their daily round of mail, grocery store, bank, and home for lunch. And around here it has been pretty much the same for the last 100 years.

No one telling other folks how they should live their lives, ’cause they are just too busy living theirs and the assumption is that we are all in this working together … we ARE the town.

Town government consists of part timers meeting monthly to decide if we all agree that we need to put in a new sewer line in main street, and stuff like that …we think we might have a water line leak on the north side of town but we have to replace some of the older valves to be able to isolate it down. I guess we will do what we can afford now and wait to fix the rest. That pretty much sums up the good life, as far as I can tell. Folks working together in peace and good will with the freedom to be left alone unless they want to do something together.

I have the comfortable sense that this is pretty much how small town folks have been living for thousands of years. And every year the Tyrant’s representatives come around to take their cut of the fruits of our labours, some places more, some places less, some places all.

So we get to year end, and why the Tyrant takes so much (although not all). One late unlamented Tyrant, of not so recent memory, was recorded as remarking “The art of good governance is in squeezing the goose just hard enough to get all the eggs but not hard enough to kill it”.

And we all remember how that worked for the Great Northern Magus, another old member of the elite vampire establishment by the name of Trudeau. Remember “Fuddle Duddle”?  Remember the “National Energy Program”?  Remember “Petrocan”?

Remember that golden personification of arrogant, know-it-all, narcissism, such a shining example for all the drooling young liberals just moving out of diapers and into university at mummy’s expense. And now his son wants to run the country? Because, because, because his name is “Trudeau”,  I guess hmmm, and he has nice hair, and …

Yes, he sure left his imprint on our culture, did Pierre, with such gems as the “Canadian Charter of Rights”, which basically moved the goal posts from a world where everything not explicitly forbidden by law was permitted, to a brave new world where everything not explicitly permitted by law was and is forbidden, and gets more forbidding every day.

And of course they need money, lots of money, to give all the zombie voters what they are told they want and of course you have to pay all those ministers, and deputies, and directors, and managers, and chiefs, and all the way down to Andre. I remember a picture of Andre, shoveling away in the bottom of the excavation for a broken sewer line, being supervised by about 8 others who obviously were higher up in the food chain … The caption read: “Layoffs coming, Andre better look out”.

So we have year-ends, that annual ritual of blood-letting, for the good of the vampires and zombies. Didn’t ya’ll get it? We ARE living in the zombie Apocalypse right now.  But everybody has to pay taxes and we “need” all these things, these programs, these lives. Everybody pays! Riiigghhhht!

Here’s the scene, picture a nice estate, the big back yard, A Porsche and a Bentley in the garage, there are rolling lawns and nice shade trees, and hedges and flowers, and it is always sunny and happy, and right in the middle of this chill paradise for beautiful people is a nice big swimming pool, full of beautiful, and some not so beautiful people for balance, all playing and splashing and throwing water up in the air and generally enjoying themselves at this great big happy pool party.

Now, every few minutes someone in a work-stained coverall with a bucket of water in each hand, comes out of a hole in the hedge and walks across the rolling lawn up to the pool and dumps the buckets into the pool and then walks quietly away back out the hole to … somewhere else … presumably where the hewers of wood and drawers of water, and bucket makers, and coverall makers live and work … anyway, you can see this idealic picture in your mind’s eye, right?

But you need a little more information to really see the picture for what it is. The big swimming pool is “the government”. The water everyone is throwing around is “taxes”. The beautiful people in the pool are all the people who draw their sustenance through the “process of governing”. The only folks in the picture who are actually “Makers” are the folks with the buckets in the coveralls, and they don’t count because they have to look after themselves. All the rest are “Takers”.

So when a Taker is literally swimming in the tax pool and all the waters are taxes that someone else put there, please explain how the swimmer is paying “taxes” when everything he/she does, has, believes, owns, breaths, eats, is totally dependent on something someone else made?  Those “someone else’s” called Makers. So explain again how “Everybody Pays”.

Now the “Takers” sincerely believe that they run the world and make everything possible … that they are doing “good” for others. They don’t even understand the Makers or what they do, because the Takers are doing “everything!”, right?  So, if the makers are a null set, and the takers are doing everything, then who exactly are they doing it for?

Cheers

Joe

CSR

Again for the nit pickers, yea, it’s simplistic, so what? Simplistic truth trumps complicated BS every time.

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