Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What Happens When You Give Basic Income To The Poor? Canada Is About To Find Out

Poverty is increasing in most industrialized countries and represents the biggest enemy of our society. Whenever a country experiences a high rate of poverty, crime goes up. Increased crime means the cost for policing and incarceration goes up. What also goes up are social behavior problems, racial profiling, social costs in general )food stamps, housing allowance and medical costs, health insurance etc. etc.

What goes DOWN is productivity, and consummation, with other words the overall economy. The USA has a 14% poverty rate equaling 46mill. Americans and  Canada doesn’t look much better.

  • 1 in 7 (or 4.9 million) people in Canada live in poverty.
  • In Edmonton, 1 in 8 individuals are currently living in poverty.
  • Poverty costs Canada as a whole between $72 billion and $84 billion annually; Ontarians pay $2,299 – $2,895 per year, while British Columbians pay over $2,100 per year.
  • Precarious employment has increased by nearly 50% over the past two decades.
  • Between 1980 and 2005 the average earnings among the least wealthy Canadians fell by 20%.
  • Over the past 25 years, Canada’s population has increased by 30% and yet annual national investment in housing has decreased by 46%.

         Source: http://www.cwp-csp.ca/poverty/just-the-facts/

If major problems with economy and society shall be avoided It is quite clear that a sustainable solution needs to be found fast.
Several countries are considering to establish a guaranteed income system, which will eliminate a lot of other social costs, like the ones mentioned above. The Province of Ontario is now discussing a basic income project to all residents:


Ontario is poised to become a testing ground for basic income in 2017 as part of a pilot program. Hugh Segal is the special advisor to the Canadian province and a former senator. He believes a supplemental income of $1,320 a month could provide a viable path to poverty abatement—effectively replacing welfare programs and a system he described as “seriously demeaning” in a paper discussing this basic income pilot project.

Segal suggests this pilot project would provide real evidence to whether basic income is the solution to poverty many governments have been seeking. It would answer many of the burning questionsand concerns regarding such a system:

  • Can basic income policies provide a more efficient, less intrusive, and less stigmatizing way of delivering income support for those now living in poverty?
  • Can those policies also encourage work, relieve financial and time poverty, and reduce economic marginalization?
  • Can a basic income reduce cost pressures in other areas of government spending, such as healthcare?
  • Can a basic income strengthen the incentive to work, by responsibly helping those who are working but still living below the poverty line?

In the United States, welfare programs are the staple of big government—a Republican nightmare. Paul Ryan has indicated he wants to phase-out these entitlement programs, however, he’s alsoconcerned about solving the poverty issue in America. If Ontario’s proposed three-year project provides compelling evidence that basic income could do both, we may have a bi-partisan solution.

Segal is a conservative. In his view, welfare programs help alleviate some of the symptoms of poverty, but provide no long-term program to get people out.

“Testing a basic income is a humane and useful way to measure how so many of the costs of poverty (in terms of productivity, health, policing, and other community costs, to name only a few) might be diminished, while poverty itself is reduced and work is encouraged,” Segal says in the report.

A guaranteed income would provide a floor no one would fall beneath and citizens would receive it regardless of employment status. Conservatives like it because it provides an elegant solution that could replace the welfare state and the left love it because it provides a greater social architecture.

However, many question how giving people free money could fix many of our socio-economic issues. But we won’t know if we don’t try—if we don’t do the research to find a solution, which is what Segal suggests.

"There cannot be, nor should there be, any guarantees about what results a pilot might generate,” Segal writes. “The objective behind this endeavor should be to generate an evidence-base for policy development, without bias or pre-determined conclusion."

This test of basic income won’t be the first. Researchers and governments across the globe have started implementing similar tests to see what happens when you give people no-strings-attached cash. Finland, the Dutch city of Utricht, and Kenya all have plans to create programs to test this system. Segal believes a program in Ontario could add to this growing body of research.

"This Ontario initiative takes place at a time when other jurisdictions, in Canada and abroad, are working in different ways toward a Basic Income approach to better reduce poverty,” he wrote. “The opportunity to learn from and engage with these other initiatives should not be overlooked, nor should approaches being tested elsewhere be necessarily re-tested here."

A study in Manitoba, Canada done back in the 1970s provides us with an idea of what a community receiving basic income would look like. Many believe people would stop working, and become lazy. They would be half right, some people did stop working in Manitoba. But when you look at the data a little closer, we begin to see how poverty starts at an early age and how basic income could help them get out.

Allow me to explain: People in the town received a set income of $9,000 a year (by today's standards) from the government. Evelyn Forget, an economist and professor at the University of Manitoba, who looked over the data from the study says there was a 9% reduction in working hours among two main groups of citizens.

Here’s the kicker: New mothers were using their additional income to extend their maternity leaves and spend more time with their infants, and teenage boys were using that income to stay in school.

“When we interviewed people, we discovered that prior to the experiment, a lot of people from low-income families, a lot of boys in particular, were under a fair amount of family pressure to become self-supporting when they turned 16 and leave school. When Mincome came along, those families decided that they could afford to keep their sons in high school just a little bit longer,” Forget told PRI in an interview.

Poverty affects all of us in some way (at some point 3 in 5 Americans experience it personally in their lifetime). All of us pay for its upkeep through taxes and can see how it wears down the institutions within our local communities. Basic income could be the solution. We have some data; we need more in order to make the proper call.

Ontario’s experiment will show what would happen if people between the age of 18 to 65, living below the poverty line, received a monthly income of $1,320 ($1,820 if they are disabled). Would they be better able to save and find work?

“There’s no magic bullet,” said Jennefer Laidley of the Income Security Advocacy Centre. “So it’s key that government is now exploring various solutions — reforming existing social assistance programs, improving the quality of work, and considering basic income.”

Monday, November 28, 2016

How Many Of Us?

When I went to school our teachers told us that we humans make up for 2 Billion individuals on earth. I went to school from 1959-1970. I just learned more about it. Watch the below video.

We tend to think that humans rule the earth. But do we? Natural disasters can strike any time. Huge pandemics can break out, maybe a nasty virus spread by the most numerous living creature on earth, Insects, or a huge meteorite hitting earth.
Yet, we are able to start our own extinction, f.ex., through a nuclear war.
We are capable of ruining our natural fresh water supplies, we can ruin the soil so it cannot produce food for us, we can pollute our seas so fish will die all over the globe.
Our time on earth is limited and in many scenarios we are holding the key to survival or extinction.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

When Our Journey Is Over

This posting has been written as a friend’s wife has passed.

We are born into this world for a limited time only. Most of us grow up with our parents taking care of us until we can stand alone. It is the ultimate fulfillment of every parenthood to enable the offspring to start its own life. We then start our journey with all the learning, succeeding and failing which no one can live without.
We meet the love of our life, get married and continue to walk together. It will be the ultimate test of our life. Patience and understanding being the main ingredients of a long and beautiful journey.  If we are lucky, we get really old together.
But one day out in the hazy future our journey together will end. When illness or accidents strikes we ask for mercy. We refuse to accept. We can get angry. We can sink into utter darkness and desperation. Our grieving is part of the human soul. We seem not to be able to control our thoughts anymore. We want to cling to the happy past we once enjoyed. But the cover of time has a way of healing our sorrows. That also is part of our human soul and quite necessary to be able to continue wandering to the end of our own days.

But until then, we hopefully have some family or friends to be with.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Hoping everybody has a peaceful Thanksgiving with family around.
For any single males considering moving to Canada marrying a Canadian girl I have this little “story”:

Three men getting married.

The first man married a Greek girl. He told her that she was to do the dishes and house cleaning.  It took a couple of days, but on the third day, he came home to see a clean house and dishes washed and put away.

The second man married a Thai-girl. He gave his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes and the cooking. The first day he didn't see any results, but the next day he saw it was better. By the third day, he saw his house was clean, the dishes were done, and there was a huge dinner on the table.

The third man married a girl from Canada. He ordered her to keep the house cleaned, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed, and hot meals on the table for every meal. He said the first day he didn't see anything, the second day he didn't see anything either but by the third day, some of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye, and his arm was healed enough that he could fix himself a sandwich and load the dishwasher. He still has some difficulty  when he pees.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Trash Is Starting To Cost Big Bucks And WHAT Is Trump Up To? Now You May Immigrate to Canada!

1-Fullscreen capture 11222016 103832 PMEven the most stubborn Trump supporter and Breitbart watcher has probably heard the news that the Trump family refuses to move into the White House. And what else did you expect. Really…. it should be very understandable to anyone as the three floors of the Trump Tower, the family occupies, are glittering in gold and riches. Naturally, compared to their glitzy NYC abode the White House must seem like a social housing complex to them.  And you, who supported Trump, are already looking forward to chip in for the tax bill. Right? How about 1 Mill. bucks a day to protect the “Royal Family” from those vile democratic New Yorkers.

You still believe in all those great things your Messiah promised you, right?
1-Fullscreen capture 11222016 110959 AMLuckily for the rest of us, Trump is about to be much more of a typical politician than we ever expected he would. Lots of promises, lots of lies…but as soon as the throne is occupied they go down the drain, pardon me, disappear in the Washington swamp.
1-Fullscreen capture 11202016 81606 AM                           ”The Washington Swamp”
1-Fullscreen capture 11202016 75212 AM     re-defining law……..not an offense anymore

Does that sound familiar? It’s gonna be a long walk taking back most of his enthusiastically thrown out promises. And it might just piss off a few of his most radical supporters.
1-Fullscreen capture 11132016 45426 PM
Remember the “Lock her up” chant? His Excellency has graciously offered to not throw Hillary into jail, but rather contribute to “healing”.  He has also asked white trash to stop harassing the poor minorities, he has even denounced the KKK (better cancel that parade in SC folks) and, most recently, the “alt-right” folks. (sorry Bannon you might get fired) And he has acknowledged that the USA already has a fence along a good stretch of the border and that the wall doesn’t have to be all that high. He still hasn’t secured Mexican financing of this project though, which actually might end that project in the ditch as well.  And the removal of 11 mill of undocumented residents has shrunk to a few criminals across the country. A bit of sour wine would be that the GOP is seriously thinking of fading out your medicaid and medicare, so you can soon start calling your favorite health insurance crooks you have been so happy with before.
While you guys are scrambling to earn the money for your new health insurance, His Excellency Trump will enjoy a fair game on his Golf Course with his good friends and have a nice evening supper with his Queen at the most expensive NYC restaurant.
Life is good. Cheers!

PS.: If you should NOT like these changes I have good news for you. Canada is actually opening up for Americans moving north across the border. Americans were making the Canadian Immigration Website crash right after the results of the election became known. Really, check it out! We love you guys.
1-Fullscreen capture 11232016 73852 AM

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Havin’ Fun In The Kitchen

When the weather turns out its uglier face I am enjoying our kitchen.  With only 4 weeks left to Christmas, my thoughts are circling around Christmas cookies and a lot of other delicacies. First off, I started on an old family recipe: Chocolate lard cookies!  Yes, these cookies are made with lard – not butter. They are simply the best. Want to know the recipe? Ok, here it is:1-DSC_0622
1 pound of lard
1/2 pound sugar
3/4 pound all purpose flour
1 tsp, baking soda
cocoa or melted chocolate chips


Mix lard with sugar, add flour and all other ingredients, knead a lot like a bread. Dough must get quite solid. If too soft add more flour. Put the dough away for cooling in the fridge overnight.
Next day form little balls and put on baking paper.
Bake at 350F for 10 minutes. Make sure they are not overcooked, as they are gonna loose their delicate softness. Cookies will show small cracks on the surface when done.
The same cookies can be done also without chocolate/cocoa but with added vanilla.

Ok, another thing I did was making jelly of rosehips.
These read fruits are appearing on wild roses, also called beach roses or (latin) rosa rugosa.
The fruit contains a lot of pesky seeds. Now, if one wants to make jam, the seeds need to be removed, which is a lot of work. When I picked the fruits, they had gone too far and were too soft to get the seeds cleaned away. So I decided to do jelly instead. Making jelly one only has to remove the small leaves, then cook the whole stuff. I had to add a lot of water as the fruits are getting were sticky and can burn to the pot. When the fruits are all mashed and enough liquid is in the pot the whole stuff has to be put through a cheese cloth. The liquid will run through and build the base for the jelly. I had a shopping bag full of rosehips and got 2 jars of jelly out of that. Tastes delicious if you add some lemon or apple juice. Rosehips contain tons of vitamin C and are especially good during the fall season when there is an increased chance of catching a cold. A funny story about rosehips occurred when an American lady inquired during a sightseeing tour whether the red fruits would be “Beach Tomatoes”!  LOL.
A little flower sticking out of a lot of brown leaves.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Soon To Be Christmas

Oh holy night or holy smokes! You remember The Griswolds? Only a few weeks left until we are in the middle of Christmas. So when this Saturday turned out to be on the mild side, (still over 50F) Bea mentioned that I should use this kind of weather to mount the Christmas Lights along the porch and she had already positioned 2 boxes full of Christmas decorations in the entry. So I knew what I had to do. I remember a couple of years back when hanging those lights my fingers almost fell off due to an icy cold wind. I sure wanted to avoid that so I started moving and got the little stepladder out. And then the fun started when trying to unwind umpteen meters of seemingly never ending Christmas light chains. We have a rope between the porch posts and that is where I am hanging the lights. Naturally, over the course of the past summer 15 lights had gone haywire and needed replacements. Whenever we got those light chains we also got a supply of dozens of spare bulbs. See, the whole stuff was picked up at a series of yard sales. People somehow get fed up with the whole Christmas business and they throw all the lights and stuff into their next yard sale where you can pick it up for pennies on the dollar.
These pictures are from last year
So no, it wasn’t cold today but not pleasant either.

Back in my IKEA chair, I happened to “leaf” through my picture folders and come across last years pics.
December 05 20015
Seems it was mild last year as well. Global warming! So far I’ve got nothing against a warmer winter. If we get winters like they have in Arizona I’d be happy. Fact is our garden is still producing lettuce and flowers are still in bloom.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Puttering Around The House And A Walk In The Forest

I forced myself to get my mind of the terrible news coming out of the United States. And luckily, I have small projects around the house. First off this morning was finishing the painting of our small guest bedroom. Armed with a roll and a pail of paint I went about it.
1-DSC_0606 1-DSC_0607
First the ceiling then the walls. Bright white paint makes this little room appear a lot bigger. Next thing will be to sand down the old hardwood floor. 
1-DSC_0605-001 1-DSC_0605-002
I also hung an old lamp we already had in Norway. We wanted it over the kitchen sink, so I had to drill a few holes through the cupboard. Looks nice and gives off a lot of light.
1-DSC_0608While I was in the kitchen I also hung an antique coffee grinder we once got from Bea’s family.
While all this was going, on Bea continued going through cardboard boxes of stuff. From time to time she was asking me whether I wanted to keep this or that, and I have to say it is darn hard to quit yourself of things you have memories about. But we don’t want to build some big addition to the house just to have enough storage. So we throw out a lot of stuff.

Between meals, Molly needed a walk and that was just the thing I needed. So while Gracie was still here, we went on a forest walk through the Provincial Park.
Molly still enjoys outings like this, but for Gracie this was too much. She is over 16 years old and her legs are too short for this kind of uneven terrain.

1-DSC_0570It is November and late fall so many bright colours are gone. Yet, there is a lot red in the forest. The bright red berries of the Mountain Ash Tree are lasting until December of when ever the birds have eaten them. They have a bitter taste but can be made into both wine and jam by freezing the berries first.

And there is more red on the forest floor.
I received a link to a video from a German distant relative who owns a big-rig dealership. European trucks are so much more modern in technical solutions and design than American Trucks. Since Canada has signed the CETA trade agreement with the European Union we might even see these trucks imported to Canada one day.
Thanks for dropping by!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Yesterday It Was The Jews, Tomorrow It Could Be Hispanics, Asians And Folks of Colour

This entry was written by Mona Althaus (* 1987)

Youth as a Jewess in National Socialism

Interview with a Jewish artist Mrs. W. (1928)

On October 12, 2004, I met a Jewish German (born March 2, 1928) and asked her how she had experienced the time under Hitler.

Hitler gets into power
"When Hitler came to power in 1933, something began to change for us, primarily for our parents:

It began quite " harmless ", with our names being entered into lists where every Jew had to register. In addition, the Jewish women and girls, men and boys received a second first name: Sarah and Israel. Everyone got a card with a photo, on which the left ear had to be seen.
The identification card was pure control and harassment. It was provided with a large "J", a Jew, after which everyone, wherever the card had to be shown (food markets, etc.), knew how to deal with the person.

In 1934, when I was six years old, I was trained in a village school in the district of Osnabrück, like any other child. The two teachers who taught us were very friendly and helpful. During the breaks I played with the other children and I participated well in the lessons. "

Nuremberg laws
"But in the course of the second class, in 1935, everything suddenly changed. The Nuremberg Laws, which were passed on 15 September, deprived all non-Aryans of civil rights. This was particularly the case for me at school. I was hardly allowed to participate in the lesson. Our teachers ignored me, even if I snapped my fingers. I remember that we should write an essay on stones, and mine was the best of all. But my essay was not graded because I was Jewish. Although no one said it explicitly, everyone knew that this was the reason.


My sister Inge, who was trained in the summer, was treated as passively as I was in September. During the breaks, we, the only Jews on the school, were locked together with gypsies in a fenced yard. The other children insulted us by calling us names like "Judenschwein" (Jewish pig, or similar). This was very humiliating for us.


“Jew” marked store

None of the classmates or parents have protected my sister or me, or encouraged us, or at least shown their compassion in any form. My friends have turned away from me; I guess because of the influence of the parents, which was very painful. Except for my sister, I only had a single human trust, a teacher at school. But because of the tense situation during this time, I was avoided because of reprisals. He was worried about his job and I faced even more harassment.

After the class we were regularly attacked by boys on the way home. They came running behind us and shouted loudly at us throwing stones and insulted us.

We were only women at home, making our situation even more difficult and unsafe. For example, we could not understand why neighbors, with whom we have understood each other for years, would not have touched us from one second to the next. There was only one family that had been with us, but my mother did not want contact to prevent something from happening to her.

The Reichspogromnacht
"We had been humiliated, abused, and expelled for years. Until November 10, 1938, when we were finally expelled from school. One day before, the so-called Reichskristallnacht,
innumerable Jewish shops and synagogues - were plundered and ignited, Jews were killed in the street by the SS or deported to the concentration camp.


Jews on their march to concentration camp and gassing

That night my father and his two brothers disappeared without a trace. My mother desperately went from authority to authority, but no one wanted to tell her. She also inquired in the neighboring villages, until she finally learned what had happened. He had been taken to Buchenwald concentration camp! We were all shocked and at the same time very sad and anxious. Worst of all was the uncertainty about what would happen to him. The whereabouts of my two uncles were still unsettled.

Finally my father came home. After six weeks of forced labor, he was released with the order not to tell what he had experienced in the concentration camp. "

Escape to Holland
"A few days after the Reichspogromnacht, a children's transport to Holland was organized. My mother accompanied us to the transporter. The neighbors asked what she was doing, she said, "I bring my children to safety." So we were brought to Holland with many other Jewish children. At the station in Holland a relative picked us up. We were afraid, because it was still a trip to completely strange people, whom we had never seen before, a journey into the unknown, without parents, who gave courage. Also, it was very bad for my sister and me that we could not live together.
In the new school I was lovingly received and it was a comfort that I could see my sister there every day. Everyone was delighted to have a Jewess among them. I quickly found friends and had a lot of fun learning.
I have enjoyed my new freedom.

My sister Inge and I had the need to return to Germany to say goodbye to our grandmother. We were young, but no children, because these terrible experiences made us "small adults". With 10 and 7 years, on 05.05.1939, we did put our decision into action and drove to Germany alone.

At the Hamburg main station, we met our parents again by a fortunate coincidence. We were overjoyed and also relieved "

Escape from Germany
"My parents had meanwhile decided to leave Germany. In order to get the necessary money for the emigration, one had to sell his house at ridiculously low price to Aryans, which my parents also  did with a heavy heart. Although the borders for the Jewish people were closed, our parents were given permission to leave for Paraguay by means of a false visa. However, they had to pay for the return trip, because in the time many people wanted to earn a golden nose on the distress of others. But the main thing was that we were on the ship "Monte Olivia" and had our tickets to freedom and back to life, heading to Montevideo. After a long time, we were treated the same way as any other third-class passenger on the ship. It was a nice feeling.
In Buenos Aires, Argentina, we did not have permission to leave, so we were to spend eleven days on the boat. But on the ninth day "we were allowed" into a detention center. Our joy did not last long, because we were imprisoned there for six long weeks, it was like in prison. We could walk in the garden, of course only under supervision. The hygienic conditions were not very good, but the food.
The "guards" in the camp were very nice and human, which was very unfamiliar.
We were then told that you could only stay in Argentina if you had family there or paid money. We had neither family nor money and so we had to decide whether we wanted to be taken by ship to Bolivia or Santiago ... "

The new life
"In Chile my experiences from the war influenced me very strongly. Whenever I saw a policeman, I froze. Although the worst times of the war I have been spared, like the Jewish Star, which had to be worn visibly, or when in September 1941 the first gassings were carried out.

On April 30, 1945, Soviet infantrymen rifled their flag on the Reichstag in Berlin. This ended the war. I sat with my girlfriend in the cinema when I learned this wonderful news. I was euphoric, and we walked home with joy in our eyes, to our parents. "

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Saturday Blues

I don’t know what it is about Saturdays, but every Saturday I wake up in the most happy mood. I can’t explain it otherwise than it might derive from the days where weekdays were filled with a “get-to-work-routine”, while Saturdays were days off.  It used to be the day when breakfast was taken later than usual, and plans for the day could be made freely. And when the weather is great and the music I listen to good, then I stay happy all day. While we were going through our cardboard boxes we found one of Bea’s old diaries. Bea started reading from the first day we spent together and where she had written “…the guy seems to be in a fantastic mood even early in the morning and he can COOK”.  There you have it. I ensnared my wife with a happy attitude and good cooking.  We were both laughing.  Smile

I am happy to say that mostly I am still the same, even though almost 30 years have passed. And life has been so good to us. We have lived in the most beautiful spots in the world, never really had to spend a lot of time in any big city, we traveled a lot, had wonderful pets and interesting work. Moving to Norway in 1977 and to Canada in 2002 were highlights I never will forget. ADVENTURE was my calling.

These days we enjoy living on Campobello Island.
And there is hardly a day going by without me feeling the urge to go out hunting for beautiful pictures I can take. The coming 4-5 months are only the 2. winter we will spend at home. The peace out here is so all-enveloping that one is tempted to forget the ugly things happening afar. But our internet and social media is making sure that that will not happen. And after all we are only part of a larger society which, naturally, runs it’s own course.
Time to take a little nap for Gobbin

This morning Gobbin’s owners showed up to pick up their pet parrot. And I already miss this little bird.
1-DSC_0486When we were a lot younger we both had budgies. Bea once did a painting of her budgies. I could imagine to have a couple again.

Molly hoping for a piece of boiled egg

Molly is missing Gobbin as well. She had so much entertainment with watching him.
1-DSC_0480 1-DSC_0490
Gracie is still here but her owners will return from NYC soon and then we will be alone again with Molly.
Molly and I did a great little walk this afternoon right before sunset. Met a neighbour along the road and had a little chat too. That is why I love living in a small community.

The below pictures are from the village of Welshpool.
1-DSC_05121-DSC_05141-DSC_05161-DSC_0518           Our old Anglican cemetery
Really old graves of the first settlers family Adm, William Owen

The Anglican Church of 1855 where the Roosevelts attended Sunday Service


The Anglican Assembly hall 

Before I took a trip to Lubec today, I stopped by Mulholland Lighthouse and was delighted to see the seals feeding in the tidal current.
Those are “Grey Seals” which get up to 800 pounds heavy.
1-DSC_0559-001   Above: Mulholland Lighthouse as seen from Lubec
1-DSC_0560Old fish processing buildings in Lubec with International Bridge in the background  

Have a great Sunday!