How we got jobs easily after we moved to Australia
Uploaded on Aug 23, 2010
Heidi and Rob emigrated from the UK in January 2010 Two children Settled in Pacific Pines on the Gold Coast Both finding work quickly The transition was straig ...Moving to Australia? Living Down Under is full of information for Migrants and Students moving to or coming to study in Australia
Picture this: one month from now you find yourself more upbeat and energized as you go through your day. Youíre sleeping better, are ten pounds lighter, and your skin is more clear and vibrant than ever. More time passes by you find youíre able to recover from sickness/injury quicker and stomach/muscle pains that used to bother you have disappeared. According to It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways, you can achieve all of that and much more just by changing your diet. The Hartwigís encourage reverting to a form of the Paleo diet, which basically means eating the same stuff our caveman ancestors ate. By adapting to this diet youíll feel better, look better, and live a happier and healthier life.
It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Waysisnít just a book telling you what to eat and what to avoid. It does that (and goes into great detail sitting the scientific research that backs it up) but it also goes much further. Aside from breaking down why things like meat, nuts and vegetables are the only food you need; they challenge the reader to try this diet for 30 days so you can see the results for yourself. The first few days are all about cleansing your system, while in the last couple weeks your body gets used to the diet and youíre able to see all the positive effects that come from eating like a caveman.
What NOT to eat
The book starts off by asking you to cut all the garbage from your diet. Not some, ALL. On the top of that list is sugar. Although sugar tastes great it adds nothing of value to your system. In fact, it only creates problems by making us fat and zapping our energy.
Sugar can be broken down by the body and used for energy more easily than fat. If thereís sugar in your system your body will break that down, meaning your body is not breaking down fat (for people looking to lose weight, thatís a problem). Additionally, although sugar consumption can provide a brief burst of energy it inevitably leads to a crash. As a result we end up feeling lethargic and tired at various points throughout the day.
Carbohydrates also get the axe. The problem with carbohydrates is mostly the effect they have on our hormones. When we eat carbs (bread, rice, and other grains) the brain ends up sending and receiving the wrong signals. Keep in mind the whole point of eating is to get the nutrients/energy your body needs, and hunger is your bodyís way of telling you ďI need more nutrients/energyĒ. Since grains are not very dense in nutrients, we have to eat a lot more of them to get the good stuff our body needs. We end up overeating because it takes much longer for the brain to send out the ďok thatís enoughĒ message since the body isnít getting what it wants.
Another problem with carbs is that they are broken down similarly to sugar. They are broken down before fat, provide a quick burst of energy before making us crash, and whatever carbs are left over are then converted to fat (This is why calorie counting isnít necessarily a great method for weight loss. It completely ignores the way food is broken down by the body). In short carbs cause us to eat more than we need but zap our energy so weíre too tired to burn off what we ate. The result is weight gain and bouts of sleepiness throughout the day (and these are just some of the problems carbs/sugar cause that the book mentions).
ďBut what about whole grainsĒ you may ask. Even those are not nutrient-rich and everything healthy you can get from them you can also get from meat/veggies. Since grains are procreateing up our hormones, weíre better off just cutting them off and getting those nutrients elsewhere.
The Hartwigs also advocate cutting out dairy, beans, alcohol, and everything else that isnít Ďmeat, vegetables, nuts, and maybe a little fruití. The basic reason behind this is that all the healthy things your body needs that youíd get through something like milk (calcium, protein) can be obtained more efficiently through the right meats/veggies.
So then, with all those chunks taken out of the food pyramid (a pyramid which is pretty much B.S. if you believe the Hartwigs and all the research they use to back them upÖwhich is quite a lot) weíre left with four basic food groups.
What you CAN eat
Red meats are okay (keep it lean), but really you should focus on fish, poultry, and eggs. If youíre worried about all that cholesterol that comes with filling up on eggs, donít be. The majority of the cholesterol in our system is produced by our bodies. For very science-y reasons I wonít fully get into (but the Hartwigís will), when we eat carbs/sugar our bodies end up creating extra cholesterol. Basically eating a lot of carbs/sugar has the additional problem of causing tissue damage. Our bodies produce this extra cholesterol in order to deal with all the havoc the excess carbs/sugar is having on our system. If we stop eating carbs/sugar our body can better regulate itself, wonít make as much cholesterol, and thereís no problem eating those eggs for breakfast.
Sugar is a terrible source for energy and what our bodies should be burning is fat. During the diet nuts will serve as a great source for fat. Keep in mind eating fat is not what makes you gain weight. Eating fat along with lots of carbs/sugars so that fat never gets burnedÖ that will make you gain weight. If our bodies are working efficiently then eating fat isnít a problem and is in fact necessary to give you the energy you need for the day. Itís a better energy source because it provides a constant stream of energy so you donít end up feeling groggy a few hours later (like you would after eating a lot of carbs).
While nuts and meat give you the protein and fat you need, veggies give you everything else. The book details exactly which veggies to look for in order to get all the nutrients you need. Listing them here would take a while so letís just move on with the understanding that veggies=awesome and you should eat as wide a variety of them as possible.
Fruit has a lot of good stuff but the Hartwigís argue that you can get all that same nutrients from the right veggies. Plus fruit has fructose and too much of it will cause the same problems that come with too much sugar (since itís basically the same thing). However if you cut out other sugars then itís unlikely that fruit alone will be enough to cause the types of problems mentioned earlier. So fruit is optional and if you want to have a serving or two a day itís absolutely fine.
Enough Jibber Jabber, Bring on the challenge!
Once you start this challenge you donít have to mess with meal times very much and can still have a base of 3 meals per day (eat big meals to limit snacking). Shoot to have a high protein breakfast within an hour of waking up so your body can start to process the fat/protein that will help you get a constant stream of energy throughout the day. If youíre hungry after a meal and want another serving they encourage you to wait about 20 minutes before having seconds. Waiting gives your body time to tell the brain youíre full, so you donít end up overeating. (A benefit from following rules such as this when doing their challenge is you gain the ability to listen to your body and learn exactly what it does/doesnít want)
Thereís yet another cool outcome from this challenge. By cutting out the super-sweetened foods that have become a staple of the American diet youíll also find that after a few days your taste buds become much more sensitive. Suddenly something like a carrot seems as though itís packed with flavor, when just weeks earlier it tasted bland and boring.
Dealing with the challenging parts
ďPlease donít tell us this program is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hardÖdrinking your coffee black. Is. Not. HardÖItís only thirty days, and itís for the most important cause on earth- the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetimeĒ Ė It Starts with Food
Obviously, this challenge wonít be all sunshine and roses. After all, itís called a challenge. There are going to be times you crave your old foods, especially the sugary ones. This has nothing to do with hunger, and more to do with habit. By giving in to the cravings you simply reward the cravings and they become stronger. Part of taking this challenge allows you to break that cycle of craving unnecessary foods. When you start to feel these cravings the best thing to do is eat protein. Itíll help you feel full and has a funny way of quieting that voice thatís been screaming for ice cream.
Craving old food isnít the only issue. After the first few days youíll be shitting up a storm. It wonít be pretty. You may find youíre often hungry, lethargic, and a little grumpy. Thatís natural because this is such a big change for your body. Keep plugging away and as time goes on youíll begin to see and feel a positive shift. About 15 days in youíll feel more energized and begin to see just how much youíre old eating habits were zapping your energy and ruining your mood. Youíll be losing weight and feeling more fit and healthy. You may even find youíre sleeping better and your skin is clearing up.
Once you finish the 30 days itís time to slowly re-introduce those old foods back into your system. Thereís a whole step by step process outlined in the book so that you can introduce foods in a way that will help you see what effect each type of food has on your body.
Get the book
You no doubt have a bunch of questions about what you can/canít eat and most likely disagree with some of the points mentioned about what is/isnít necessary. I assure you the answers to any question you might have can be found by picking up a copy of It Starts With Food. They take their time explaining exactly what the ideal diet consists of and why thatís the case. It will give you all the information and motivation you need to start the challenge. They even throw in some recipes to make it that much more enjoyable.
The cool thing about offering this challenge is it means you donít just have to take them at their word. You can actually experience the change and see the effect the diet has. In essence you turn yourself into an experiment and you find out what works for you. When itís all done youíll have developed good eating habits and as well as a higher sensitivity when it comes to listening to what your body needs. You donít have to stick to it forever and the authors donít expect you to. The idea is that moving forward youíll have an easier time making smarter, healthier decisions when it comes to what to put in your body.
Side Note: My Experience
Someone posted this challenge on the AoC alumni FB page and a bunch of us ended up doing it. It wasnít the easiest thing in the world. I know I could never really feel full for more than a half hour at a time and it was annoying having to be super selective when out eating with friends (and being DD for a month). However the positives far outweighed the negatives. Across the board the AoC guys were happy with the results. I know I lost weight (15 pounds even though I was actively trying not to lose weight), found a few ab muscles I didnít know existed, had way more energy, my skin looked better than ever, and I developed new eating habits that have stuck (turns out kale is pretty good, who knew?).
One funny thing I didnít expect from the challenge came after my 30 days were up. I had been craving pizza all month and finally let myself have some. In my head I was going to stuff my face and finish it off but after 2 pieces I realized that I didnít even want it anymore. Clearing out my system changed my response to food and my stomach wanted nothing to do with all this bread and cheese. It was basically yelling ďwhat the procreate are you eating this shit for!?Ē The fact that Iíd pass up pizza in favor of salad was something I never thought Iíd do. Sucking it up and doing the challenge taught me way more about my body and the effects food has on me than I ever expected.
Get your copy of It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways | Amazon
Checkpoints (some would say illegal checkpoints) have been popping up quite frequently in the USA. As you see in this video, you DO NOT have to comply with their question's or demands. Don't forget, you have rights. For more checkpoint refusals search: "CheckpointUSA"
Also, Check out this great example of a checkpoint refusal from youtube user donhector87 below.. (he was the 2nd clip in this video) I did not include the ending of his video; but click the link below to see the ending.. and to see how it's done. And don't forget to subsribe to him.
It's citizens like donhector87 who get 100% credit for this video. Much respect.
3 Easy Steps To Change Any Negative Behaviour Or Emotional State
Published on Aug 1, 2012
Use these 3 easy steps to change any negative behaviour or emotional state that is stopping or holding you back in your life. For example, you can change the feeling of depression, stress, anxiety, procrastination, or a specific pattern such as binge eating, sleeping in, or sitting on the couch.
Discover what I, Stefan Pylarinos, do first thing in the morning to start off my day with unstoppable momentum and set myself up to win. If you create a morning ritual, also known as hour of power, similar to this - I can guarantee that you'll be on fire for the rest of the days and live a more happy, healthy, successful life.
WARNING: There is adult language used in this video! If you are the type of person that is easily offended by this, then this video isn't for you. The intense language isn't intended to be directed towards anyone, that isn't what I'm about, it's intended to break your pattern in the moment so that you're open to new input.
My Morning Ritual Ė How To Be Unstoppable Everyday Of Your Life
by Stefan ∑ 50 comments
Have you ever wondered how some people wake up happy, vibrant and full of life?
You know these crazy people Iím talking about Ė theyíre energetic, productive, confident, and passionate. They move about the day as a force to be reckoned with. And no matter what happens, nothing seems to phase them. Theyíre a beacon of joy and energy, and as a result, people are naturally drawn to their radiance.
What makes these people different from the rest is NOT a ďnatural abilityĒ or an inherent talent that they were born with. They possess no clear advantage over anyone else. The difference is that theyíve made a CHOICE to be this way.
These people have DECIDED to live their life the way they want and have cultivated a consistent, daily ritual that makes them the way that they are.
You are what you repeatedly do everyday.
You are defined by your RITUALS Ė what you do on a consistent basis.
If youíre always miserable, unhappy, anxious, living in fear, etcÖ itís because you have RITUALS that may not even be aware of, that are creating these emotions in your body on a consistent basis. Youíve literally TRAINED yourself to be this way through practice and conditioning.
Can you change? YES.
Can you be happy, confident, and passionate each day? YES.
My Morning Ritual
I want to share with you below my most powerful video yet. In this 35-minute video blog, I will take you through my ENTIRE MORNING RITUAL Ė what I do every single day to set myself up to win.
How you start the day is how you end the day.
This is EXACTLY how I do it Ė my secret to self-confidence, happiness, and vitality. By doing this morning ritual, I feel literally UNSTOPPABLE everyday. It creates a powerful momentum and allows me to start off the day with energy, be productive, focused, healthy, and happy. As a result, negativity doesnít seem to affect me much and Iím able to live my life PROACTIVELY, instead of out of reaction.
If you sew the same seeds, youíll reap the same rewards.
The notion behind having a Morning Ritual is to gift the most scarce resource you have, which is time, to YOU. To make you the most important thing in your life, and to ensure that youíre at your best.
Let me ask youÖ if you REALLY LOVE someone, how do you show them that love?
The most obvious answer is that you spend time with them. Well, how much time do you spend time with yourself? Iím talking about real, quality time Ė time that is spent GIVING to yourself and becoming more as a human being.
Not only that, but you might do things to make that person feel INCREDIBLE Ė perhaps compliment them, tell them how much you love them, or celebrate together. Again, how often do you take the time to compliment yourself, love yourself, and allow yourself to feel incredible?
Most of us are too busy beating ourselves up Ė and Iím sure if you did that to someone else, you wouldnít be in a relationship with them very long.
Doesnít it only make sense to nurture the most important relationship you have, which is with yourself? This Morning Ritual, or ďHour of PowerĒ if you would, accomplishes that.
If you want to take your life to a whole new level, then create an empowering Morning Ritual that youíll stick to everyday and COMMIT to it. Make it non-negotiable. I donít care if you have to wake up earlier or sleep less, just do it Ė no excuses. If you actually do this, I promise you that life will never be the same again.
Watch the video of my Morning Ritual below:
(Or, you can watch the video on YouTube by clicking here!) (Or, click here to download the MP3) Iím going to break down my Morning Ritual here for you guys and go more into details on what I outline in the video.
This is the first and most important thing to do the moment your eyes open.
First, it reminds you to be HAPPY and APPRECIATE the fact that youíre alive Ė itís an act of gratitude. Second, it is engaging your physiology, which changes your state. There are over 50 muscles in your face, and most of them are being used the moment you smile. You will begin to feel good immediately.
Next, stretch out and loosen up your body while still in bed. You want to make sure your muscles are ALIVE and AWAKE for the beginning of an incredible day. You need to get out of zombie-mode and get the blood-flow circulating through your body.
Every cell of your body is made up of oxygen, which it is starving for first thing in the morning. Most of us have impaired breathing while asleep, and so taking the time to consciously take in deep breaths from your diaphragm will begin to fully oxygenate your cells and start getting rid of waste that has accumulated while asleep.
Not only that, but the brain needs oxygen Ė so youíre instantly providing your red blood cells with more oxygen, which go through the river of life, and then is transported to your brain. Youíll instantly feel more alert and energetic.
I usually start the day with a certain breathing pattern, where I inhale at a count of 5 seconds, hold for the count of 20 seconds, and then exhale at a count of 10 seconds. Alternatively, Iíll immediately get out of bed and go for a walk outside, in which case Iíll do something called Breathwalking.
4. Drink Water
For most of us, our bodies are severely dehydrated the moment we wake up. Your cells not only need oxygen, but water as well. 70% of your body is made up of water, and so it only makes sense to fully hydrate your body so that it can be start off the day at a peak level.
I personally drink Kangen Water, which is filtered, ionized, alkaline water. A Kangen Water ionizer isnít cheap, but itís well worth the investment for your health in the long run. At least make sure youíre drinking filtered, purified water for now. Sometimes Iíll add in some lemon to further alkalize the water, or mix with my water some Greens powder and make it into a Green Drink.
And donít just drink a sip of water Ė literally down 1-2 glasses. You have no idea how much your body needs it.
5. Move Your Body
The fastest way to change your STATE is through MOVEMENT. When you change the way you move, it immediately begins to change how you feel. Emotion is created by motion. And the word E-MOTION really just means ďEnergy in MotionĒ.
The way you use your physiology biochemically changes how you feel.
So, itís important to engage your physiology immediately. I like to use something called a Rebounder, which is a mini-trampoline. Itís also known as a Lymphasizer, since it stimulates your lymphatic system, which immediately begins to eliminate waste. Not only that, but every cell of your body gets stimulated and massaged. It gets your metabolism going, you start to feel energetic immediately, and it boosts your state. Thereís SO MANY other amazing benefits to rebounding, which Iíll be sure to talk about in a future blog post.
Any form of exercise or movement will do. During summertime, Iíll step outside and immediately go for a walk near the water. Or Iíll start doing jumping jacks, sit-ups, or jump on a treadmill. Just do whatever you prefer, but again, the key is to GET MOVING!
6. Engage Your Emotions
The next most powerful way to change your state is by changing your FOCUS. This allows you to start off the day feeling remarkable through flooding your body with positive emotions.
Whatever you focus on, you feel.
You want to make sure that youíre controlling your focus first thing in the morning, and directing it towards the way that you want to feel. The way that I personally do that is by asking myself a series of Empowering Questions, which change your focus, thus changing your state.
Hereís the questions that I ask myself everyday:
What am I happy about in my life right now? What am I excited about in my life right now? What am I proud of in my life? What am I grateful for in my life? What am I passionate about in my life right now? What am I committed to in my life right now? Who do I love? Who loves me?
You have to make sure you really FEEL the emotions, not just intellectually answer the questions Ė but FEEL it. I do this by asking the follow-up question, ďWhat about this makes me happy?Ē and ďHow does this make me feel?Ē
I also like to do this process OUT LOUD, not just in my head. When I speak it out loud and use my body, I am engaging my state further and it will intensify the feelings.
These Empowering Questions are taken from Tony Robbinís Awaken The Giant Within book, which I highly recommend.
7. Your Driving Force: Vision & Purpose
Everyday, I like to make sure that Iím reminded of what my VISION and PURPOSE for my life is. This is what really motivates me and gives me juice Ė it reminds me of what Iím made for and what I want my life to ultimately be about. Also, by simply taking the time to read your vision or goals for life, you will begin move towards it.
Where focus goes, energy flows.
I have my Ultimate Vision for my life written in my Life Planner, in my iPhone, as well as a spreadsheet on my computer. Your Ultimate Vision is simply what you want your life to be about Ė the ultimate plan and vision of who you want to be and what you want your life to look like.
Your Ultimate Purpose is the reasons WHY you want this Ė why youíre committed to living your life this way and why you want to make this vision a reality. This is what will create the fuel and drive to move forward.
I also read my Identity (who Iím committed to being), along with my Code of Conduct (the standards I hold myself to each day), as well as my Values and Rules for my life. This might sound complicated to you, itís all stuff I will share at a later time in another blog post. Itís all based on Tony Robbins Time Of Your Life program and his RPM Life Management System. Itís what I use to design and manage my life.
The key is to make sure youíre reading and focused on your goals and who you want to be each day. Focus on what you want and you will move towards it. It could be just taking a few minutes to visualize yourself achieving a goal or staring at your vision board each day.
8. Feed Your Mind
Iím always learning new things, whether itís reading a book, listening to an audio program, or going through a video program. Itís important to feed your mind with POSITIVITY, rather than turning on the news and feeding it with the negative. The act of consciously taking time each day to do this will do wonders for your state and help you develop yourself as a human being.
I commit to reading at least 10 pages of a good book a day. Through this simple act, Iíve read hundreds of books. And I have so many more sitting on my shelf to read and go through. I like reading books that will help me at the current state of my life that Iím in Ė whether itís self-help, spirituality, health/fitness, finance, business, biographies, etcÖ anything that will improve the quality of my life.
By the way, 10 pages a day equates to 300 pages a month Ė thatís a book a month, 12 books a year! Think about how much better youíll be in your life and the results youíll produce just by making this simple action a daily habit.
9. Plan The Day
To be as productive as possible throughout the day, you need a plan. Like I said earlier, I use my RPM Life Planner by Tony Robbins, but find something that works for you.
Having a plan for each day of your life helps you be PROACTIVE instead of REACTIVE. You arenít just reacting to the demands of others, but youíre consciously designing and creating your day, while moving in the direction towards your goals and dreams.
When you talk about something, itís a dream. When you envision it, itís exciting. When you plan it, itís possible. But, when you schedule it, itís real. Tony Robbins
I usually capture all of the things I want to get done that day. Then, I chunk them into specific outcomes that Iím after. For example, I may have an outcome for my physical body, for my businesses, or for friends/family, or my social life. I make that outcome compelling, then write down why I want it. I then categorize my capture of ďaction itemsĒ under each specific outcome, and then prioritize them. The most important actions, I schedule in my calendar for specific times so I know what Iím doing and when.
Iíll be sure to share in-detail my planning method in another blog post.
10. Accountability Call
Every morning, I have an ďAccountability CallĒ with a friend that Iíve been doing for over a year now. Iíve found having an accountability buddy to make sure Iím following through each day does wonders for being productive and making progress in my life. When you run a home-based business like I do, it definitely helps having someone youíre accountable to (since I donít have a bossÖ).
Our calls are usually around 5-10 minutes.
The structure goes as follows:
Did you get done yesterday what you committed to? How was your day? What did you learn yesterday? What are the top 3 outcomes and top 3 actions youíre committed to getting done today?
Simple as that. We want to make sure weíre improving each day and making progress in our lives.
Also, we try to make things simple Ė instead of talking about EVERYTHING weíre going to do that day, we pick the top 3 highest leverage outcomes/actions. This is following the 80/20 rule, which is the notion that 20% of your actions will produce 80% of the results.
Now, the kicker is, if one of us DID NOT get done something we committed to, we then owe $20 to a charity. By having this consequence, it creates further leverage and accountability for ourselves. Weíve ended up donated A LOT of money to charities over the year, but itís also something you can feel good about since itís also to a good cause and making a contribution.
The final important piece of my Morning Ritual is to make sure that Iím exercising and hitting the gym each day. For me, if I donít exercise early in the day, I never get around to it. My day ends up filling up with work and demands, and my physical body gets left out of the picture. Thatís why itís important for me to do it BEFORE I start my work.
Once Iíve completed an intense physical workout, I feel physically unstoppable. It gives me this ďhighĒ and it starts my day off as a success.
Iím usually in the gym for 60 to 90 minutes each day, but thatís only because I love it and because Iím competing in the WBFF fitness competition. For others, you have to find a workout program or form of exercise that is right for you. It could be walking outside, jogging, weight lifting, swimming, or even yoga. But, strengthening and improving your physical body is something that has to be made important in anyones life to have a balanced, happy, healthy life.
Create Your Own Morning Ritual And Commit To It
Thatís it! Thatís my complete Morning Ritual as it stands today.
It has changed and evolved over the years. It used to be much longer, but now Iíve made it simple and customized it to the way that I like it for now. It may change tomorrow, who knows. Iím always changing it up, to make sure that I donít get too bored with it.
Now itís your turn. You donít have to create the same Morning Ritual as mine, but create SOMETHING. Make it specific to you and make it something that you will enjoy. This is what works for me and itís based on things that Iíve learned over the years, so it may be completely different for you. Just use mine as an example, take what works, and discard what doesnít.
The key is to make sure you COMMIT TO IT NO MATTER WHAT. I suggest doing a 30-day Challenge where you commit to doing something like this everyday for 30 days straight, or perhaps even try it for a week.
If you actually do take the time to do this each day, I guarantee you that your life will transform and go beyond to a level youíve never before imagined for yourself. And in my honest opinion, NOTHING you do throughout the day is more important than doing something like this for yourself.
Give yourself this gift Ė you deserve it.
The truth is, you already have a morning ritual that you may not even be aware of. It could be you wake up, drink coffee, turn on the news, check your e-mail, or visit Facebook. But, are those things really empowering you? Are they nurturing your body, making you happier, or bringing you closer towards the vision of who you want to be?
If the answer is ďNoĒ and youíre looking for a change, then perhaps this is for you.
I hope you enjoyed this lengthy, detailed blog post and video Ė I really wanted to be completely transparent with what I do each day and hopefully it will benefit you. If it does, I would love to hear what you think and what your experience is. Be sure to leave a comment below.
"All that is necessary for evil to succeed, is for good men to do nothing." Sir Edmund Burke
"Let our children judge us for the fight we engage in on their behalf." Ulf Andersson
Pilloried, broke, alone National Post ( Canada's 2nd largest national newspaper ), by Donna Laframboise, Saturday, March 25, 2000 Divorced fathers get a bad rap for not supporting their children. The truth is, many can't. And, tragically, some are driven to desperate measures, including suicide. In his suicide note, Jim, the father of four children, protests that "not all fathers are deadbeats." Jim hanged himself because he couldn't see any alternative. Even now, his children are unaware of the circumstances of their father's death. Meeno Meijer, National Post George Roulier is fighting to regain money wrongfully taken from his wages by the Ontario child-support collection agency. Chris Bolin, National Post Alan Heinz, a Toronto firefighter, has gone bankrupt fighting for the return of his daughter, 3, from Germany. No one will help him, but German authorities are trying to collect child support from him. Whenever fathers and divorce are discussed, one image dominates: the 'deadbeat dad,' the schmuck who'd rather drive a sports car than support his kids. Because I write about family matters, I'm regularly inundated with phone calls, faxes, letters and e-mail from divorced men. It's not news that divorced individuals have little good to say about their ex-spouses. What I'm interested in is whether the system assists people during this difficult time in their lives, or compounds their misery. From the aircraft engineer in British Columbia, to the postal worker on the prairies, to the fire fighter in Toronto, divorced fathers' stories are of a piece: Though society stereotypes these men relentlessly, most divorced dads pay their child support. Among those who don't, a small percentage wilfully refuse to (the villains you always hear about). What you haven't been told is that the other men in arrears are too impoverished to pay, have been ordered to pay unreasonable amounts, have been paying for unreasonable lengths of time, or are the victims of bureaucratic foul-ups. Today, and on Monday and Tuesday, the National Post will tell you the stories of fathers who have been driven to suicide by a system deaf to their pleas. We'll introduce you to a man who is still paying child support for a 23-year-old employed daughter. We'll tell you about an executive with take-home pay of $7,455 a month who is left with $302 after handing over child support and alimony to his ex-wife. Their lives are being devastated by courts and governments who consider no measure too punitive in their war against "deadbeat dads." Last July, in a run-down part of Regina, a 39-year-old divorced father tied a rope around his neck and hanged himself in his basement. His children, ages eight, nine and 11, and an older adopted child, have not yet been told how their father died, so his family has requested that his real name be withheld. We'll call him Jim. Jim was tall and thin, with dark eyes and hair. He worked as a mechanic at an auto dealership, specializing in transmission repair. In addition to four fatherless kids, he left behind grieving parents, two sisters and a brother. And a neatly written, two-page suicide note: "The last five years has been very difficult emotionally and financially for me, since the separation I tried my best to support my children and make a living," it reads. "The end result was that it forced me into bankruptcy ... This is the only solution because I just see absolutely no light at the end of the tunnel." Jim is not the only divorced father driven to desperate measures. Last week, police recovered the body of Darrin White, 34, of Prince George, B.C. Mr. White hanged himself after being ordered to pay $2,070 a month in family support -- even though he'd told the court he was on stress leave from work and had a take-home pay of about $1,000 a month. Despite doing everything in their power to live up to their obligations, many divorced men receive little sympathy. In his suicide note, Jim, the father of four children, protests that "not all fathers are deadbeats." Jim hanged himself because he couldn't see any alternative. Even now, his children are unaware of the circumstances of their father's death. Meeno Meijer, National Post George Roulier is fighting to regain money wrongfully taken from his wages by the Ontario child-support collection agency. Chris Bolin, National Post Alan Heinz, a Toronto firefighter, has gone bankrupt fighting for the return of his daughter, 3, from Germany. No one will help him, but German authorities are trying to collect child support from him. In his letter, Jim protests that "not all fathers are deadbeats" and expresses his anguish at being stripped of "the right to parent" his children after his former wife was awarded sole custody. "Twice in the past five years I wanted to take my own life but because of the love and the good times I had with my kids I could not go through with it," he wrote. "I hope someday my kids will understand and forgive me for leaving them." In October, 1995, Andrew Renouf of Markham, Ont., left a similar suicide note. Describing how the Ontario government had seized all but 43 cents from his bank account on pay day three days earlier, he wrote: "I have no money for food or for gas for my car to enable me to work." Although he had tried to explain his situation to the child-support enforcement office, he said, "their answer was: 'we have a court order' several times. I have tried talking to the welfare people in Markham, [but] since I earned over $520 in the last month I am not eligible for assistance." Mr. Renouf said in his note that he had no contact with his daughter in four years. "I do not even know if she is alive and well," it reads. "There is no further point in continuing my life. It is my intention to drive to a secluded area near my home, feed the gas exhaust into the car, take some sleeping pills and use the remaining gas in the car to end my life. I would have preferred to die with more dignity." Hazel McBride, a Toronto suicide researcher and psychotherapist, says she has encountered a number of such cases since the early '90s. One involved a small businessman who'd faithfully made his child-support payments until the recession hit. After the support-enforcement office seized money from his business bank account, his business went under, his house was repossessed and he suffered a heart attack. Eventually, he blew his head off with a shotgun. "These are not unusual cases," she says. "I had a man who came to see me, and he had cancer and had to leave his job as a long-distance truck driver. Being self-employed, he had no long-term disability. His wife had remarried and was living quite well, and she had the children. The only thing he had left was a house that he had inherited from his parents. Not a very big house. And once he made his support payments, he had no money for heat." "It's one of the reasons I stopped doing the clinical work," says Dr. McBride, "because the stories were so terrible and there was so little you could do for people. This man said, 'I want to go out and kill myself. It won't get better.' And he was right, it wasn't going to get better." Fathers pushed close to the breaking point rarely attract media attention because everyone assumes they are deadbeat dads. Government fact sheets call men whose support payments are in arrears "delinquent parents" who "hide from their child support debts" and need to be "forced to live up to their obligations." The Ontario government claims that such parents owe $1.2-billion in outstanding support in that province alone, and that only 24% of registered support payers are in full compliance. A damning portrait of all divorced fathers has been painted. But the issue is far more complicated. For starters, support-enforcement records are notoriously unreliable and out of date. Last year, Wayne Sagle of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., was told he owed $51,000 in arrears. Only after the National Post contacted Mr. Sagle's former wife did the government admit the $51,000 was an illusion. With the former wife acknowledging the children had lived with their father since 1990, it became clear the real problem was out-of-date paperwork. In another instance, months after a support payer committed suicide, Ontario's enforcement agency continues to send notices to one of his previous mailing addresses, and, no doubt, to count his arrears in the total tally of money owed. (One U.S. study found that up to 14% of the men listed as deadbeat dads in state records were, in fact, dead.) In some Canadian provinces, men who religiously pay support every two weeks on pay day are classified as being in arrears for half of each month -- because the enforcement agencies' bookkeeping is based on a monthly cycle. No research is available on Canadian child-support payers, but studies elsewhere indicate the vast majority of divorced men meet their obligations -- and that those who don't often have good reasons. According to Roger Gay, an internationally recognized child-support expert based in Stockholm, the only meaningful child-support statistic is the percentage of support ordered by the courts that actually gets paid. In the U.S., he says, "fathers overall pay between 70% and 80% of what is due." What's more, the highly publicized garnishments, suspension of drivers' licences, revocation of passports and jail sentences have accomplished little. Despite the efforts of the 50,000 people employed by the U.S. child-support collection bureaucracy -- which costs $4-billion a year -- Mr. Gay says the percentage of child support paid hasn't changed since the mid-'70s. "We've let too many years go by without admitting to the public that these measures have been a failure." The difficulty in collecting the remaining 20% to 30% is due largely to the fact that the war against deadbeats is really a war against the poor -- against men who have always been economically marginal or have been impoverished by the divorce process itself. According to the Institute on Poverty, half of non-paying fathers in Wisconsin earn less than $6,200 a year and only one in 10 earns more than $18,500 annually. Other research shows the unemployment rate is one of the most accurate predictors of child-support compliance. (Although even then, half the men who were out of work in one sample still managed to pay the full amount of support.) In 1996, an Oklahoma child-enforcement officer, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, accused politicians "hungry for the perfect scapegoat," of demonizing non-paying fathers. "Most deadbeat dads are frightened, angry and depressed men," wrote the official, who admitted to putting hundreds of them behind bars. "Not only are many deadbeat dads destitute, it is often their failure as providers which led their ex-wives to divorce them. I prosecuted one deadbeat dad who had been hospitalized for malnutrition and another who lived in the bed of a pick-up truck. Many times I prosecuted impoverished men on behalf of ex-wives who had remarried successful men and were living in comfortable conditions." Yet the stereotype of the divorced father with scads of money who mean-spiritedly refuses to hand it over persists -- and negatively influences the courts. In the words of Pauline Green, a Toronto family lawyer, "Some judges think men have gotten off much too easy in the past with things like child support. [Their position is:] 'that's it, I don't care what anybody says, I don't care what the excuses are.' " Adds Susan Baragar, a Winnipeg lawyer and feminist: "There isn't equality within the family court. I mean, there's a standard joke among us family lawyers. We say: 'If you're the guy, just put on your helmet and duck.' There are injustices that go the other way, on a case by case basis. But generally speaking, I know if I represent the woman it's going to go easier for me in court." While society insists that divorced fathers be "held accountable" some researchers are asking whether our desire for accountability results in persecution. In Throwaway Dads, co-authors Ross Parke and Armin Brott present a litany of horror stories -- including the case of a janitor wrongly accused of murder. After spending nearly a decade in Texas prisons, the man was released, only to be handed a $22,000 bill for child-support arrears that accrued while he was behind bars. Support payers are also automatically assumed to be in the wrong. In late 1997, George Roulier's former wife, Carol McIntosh, signed a sworn statement claiming he was in child-support arrears by $1,220. Five weeks later, the Ontario government instructed Mr. Roulier's employer to begin garnisheeing his pay cheque. Rather than conducting an investigation, the enforcement agency appears instead to take support claimants at their word. "They told me they tried to send me a letter," says Mr. Roulier. "I said 'Okay, please send me a copy of that letter.' And they said, 'No, we won't do that.' " Seven months later, when Mr. Roulier presented a judge with his cancelled cheques for the period in question, the judge declared he had paid "everything owing up to 31 Jan. '98 directly to Carol McIntosh" and that "there were no arrears of support." Mr. Roulier is still trying to get a full refund for the arrears collected that the judge said were not owed. In September, 1998, the enforcement agency sent him some of the money. But in October, David Costen, acting director of the agency that had failed to verify information before acting on it, washed his hands of the matter. "The question of whether or not the recipient has misinformed the plan or failed to provide accurate information," he wrote to Mr. Roulier, "is a legal matter between you and the recipient." At the same time that society is demanding divorced dads pay up, our courts, governments and social services fail to recognize the huge effect losing daily contact with one's children has on men's ability to earn a living. "No government and no court should be allowed to take a child from a parent unless there is a very, very, very good reason," says Dr. McBride. "Because to have a child ripped from you, it's the same as a child dying. It's absolutely uncivilized, barbaric and devastating for any parent. It's not uncommon for these people to suffer depressive breakdowns." And while a large, expensive system exists to collect child support from divorced fathers, no parallel system helps ensure children's and father's rights to close and frequent contact. After his marriage broke down in late 1997, Toronto firefighter Alan Heinz's wife told a court three job offers awaited her in Germany. He reluctantly agreed to her relocation there with the couple's daughter, who is now 3, but became disturbed when she went on welfare shortly afterward. While no one in authority will help Mr. Heinz secure his daughter's return, the Youth Welfare Office in Neuss, Germany, is trying to collect child support from him in an attempt to recoup the social-assistance costs. Mr. Heinz has gone bankrupt trying to fight a legal battle that has spread to two continents. At 41, he now lives in his parents' basement. Edward Kruk, a professor of social work at the University of British Columbia who has studied divorced fathers for the past 15 years, says that despite the more active role many contemporary fathers take in their children's lives, "fathers today are less likely to obtain custody if they contest it in court than they were in the '70s." In other words, society's message to divorced fathers is that the only thing required of them is money. It's a message some of them find too difficult to bear. Among Jim's personal papers are documents indicating that, in the year prior to his death, his financial situation had worsened. In late 1998, he missed nearly three months of work due to a back injury. In mid-November of that year he received a letter from the Saskatchewan Worker's Compensation Board advising him his compensation benefits were being garnisheed. According to an affidavit Jim signed a few months before his death, between August, 1998, and January, 1999, his expenses consistently exceeded his earnings by more than $100 a month. Paying a modest $460 plus utilities for accommodation, he had spent only $40 on clothes in the past year, and only $52 on tools -- even though mechanics are expected to make regular tool purchases as a condition of their job. George Seitz, a friend, says Jim lived in "a very rough neighbourhood, a place in Regina that I would not live, ever" because rents were cheap. When the two men got together with their children, Mr. Seitz rarely remembers Jim eating. "I think because of his financial position, he would buy his kids something and he wouldn't have anything himself." As Jim's affidavit notes, out of a monthly take-home pay of about $1,650, "My most significant monthly expense is the [$800] support payments I make in relation to my children." But that wasn't good enough. Although Jim had owned the matrimonial home prior to his marriage, which lasted five years, a judge granted his ex-wife a half interest in it when the couple divorced. Based on a formula that valued the house higher than it actually sold for, Jim was ordered to pay his former wife more than $8,000 and was held responsible for a $3,400 credit-card bill. Arguing that he had no conceivable way of raising these funds, Jim attempted to declare bankruptcy. In March, 1998, Judge Maurice J. Herauf ruled that the amount of money in question "is not large and should be paid in full." He added, "It has to be made clear to the bankrupt that he will be held responsible for his actions." In June, 1999, the same judge denied Jim's appeal, declaring that his "intransigence toward paying anything to his ex-wife on the property judgement is as apparent now as it was at the time of the discharge hearing." At both these hearings, an extra $500 -- to cover the legal fees of his ex-wife, who vigorously opposed his bankruptcy -- was added to Jim's debt. The judge decreed that the now nearly $13,000 Jim owed would be deducted in $100 instalments from every pay cheque for the next six years, leaving him about $650 a month to live on. Less than two weeks after he lost the appeal, Jim's family buried him in a Regina cemetery. Neither his former wife nor his children attended his funeral. Three years after Andrew Renouf asphyxiated himself in his car near Markham, Ont., because he, too, could see no way out, a small group of people held a memorial service outside the provincial support-enforcement office. During his sermon, Rev. Alan Stewart, of Toronto's Westview Presbyterian Church, made the following remarks: "The terrible reality of this story is that everyone lost. A daughter lost her father, a former wife lost her support, society lost a good and productive member and Andrew lost the most precious thing: his life. Surely a system that makes everyone a loser has got to be wrong."
SWAT team with guns drawn kicks Watertown residents from their home
Published on Apr 23, 2013
On Friday, April 19, 2013, during a manhunt for a bombing suspect, SWAT teams and federal agents spent the day searching people's homes in Watertown, Massachusetts. While residents cooperated with law enforcement, some were kicked out of their houses under the barrel of a gun with their hands raised. This left many questioning the tactics used by police. This raid was conducted at 14 Oak Street, Watertown, MA. Courtesy http://www.youtube.com/rambone5 Find RT America in your area: http://rt.com/where-to-watch/ Or watch us online: http://rt.com/on-air/rt-america-air/