Outrageous, isn’t it? What is going on with airport security? Yes 9-1-1 is a violent, frightening reminder that airport security needs to be extremely careful with who it admits onto airline flights. Most security (so far as I know) do a sensible, decent job. They aren’t out to harm people. They simply want to do their job and prevent tragedy from slipping by them and into the country. At the same time airport security has to field anger and suspicion from the public for doing their job. Not an easy position to be placed in, I’ll agree to that. Watch this video where airport security scan a 9-year-old boy in a dignified manner and playfully tease a younger child by assuring him a scanner doesn’t hurt. This is a dignified airport search. It isn’t odd that the guard is searching children; there are weird people (yes, they live among ug) who hide drugs and weapons on their children to get the stash over the border. Airport security is right to search children in a non-invasive, reassuring manner.
However, airport security around the world is earning a bad reputation in a number of occasions. The video above is outrageous. I’m no fan of Dr Phil but (oh no, not the word but!) this video is worthwhile and so is the woman’s testimony.There is another equally disturbing video that has gone viral. A woman became emotional after a female security guard “inspected” her by feeling her breasts. The woman declared this was illegal and asked for airport police to assist her. No one called them and she became hysterical, weeping and yelling for help. Her husband and son were nearby, but (!) they seemed helpless and didn’t intervene. The son, however, had enough sense to film the entire incident. Airport security reacted by insisting the man stop filming the incident and leave the area. A police officer approached him and made no action against him. It turns out information came forward that revealed the woman had been violently raped years earlier by 5 men and the assault brought back emotional trauma. Whether or not the woman had a traumatic past in terms of sexual assault, what the airport security did was entirely unreasonable. Who hides a lethal weapon between her breasts or in her bra? This isn’t a James Bond movie.
On the security’s side, (I’m NOT defending either of the aforementioned situations), stats from somewhere or other revealed that 90% of people who carried a gun on their person were not searched by airport security and were permitted to attend their flights. I don’t know which airport this was or how many people were involved but egads, that is a scary fact. Hence the reason why airport security is probably trained on an ongoing basis to be ever vigilant about people entering airplanes. And the manner in which criminals smuggle weapons and drugs over the border is nothing less than amazing. Weaving cocaine into wigs and swallowing small parcels of cocaine is not uncommon. It is airport security’s job to prevent these oddities from succeeding.
I am in agreement with careful screening. I want to know the airplane I am on is safe. I want to know the passenger beside me won’t pull out a gun and blow my head off because she doesn’t like my hairdo. I want to know that none of the passengers can hijack the plane at gunpoint and send us into another 9-1-1. These are important responsibilities of airport security and airports. They have to ensure my safety (and yours) whenever I take to flying with friendly spies….oops….I mean skies. However I also want to know that airport security won’t molest my breasts or private or rectal area in case I am carrying more than 3 ounces of a liquid (shampoo, you know, is extremely volatile at high altitudes…as an aside, 3 ounces of a liquid is acceptable, but 4 ounces ….we’re all doomed. Who thinks up this stuff?) I also believe that many people are being unfairly accosted, assaulted, and treated just plain rudely.
Recently my brother went on a flight to some place or other in the States from Canada. (Interestingly, he has never been searched or assaulted in any manner by airport security and he travels frequently for his work). An elderly lady in front of him was being spoken to very rudely by a young, male security officer who was asking her routine questions, yet behaving in a hostile manner. My brother intervened and said politely, “this lady is elderly and unlikely to have a lethal weapon on her person. Also, could you be more polite in speaking with her? She is being cooperative and hasn’t done anything to deserve this treatment.” The security guard snapped back at him in some manner, but he did let the woman go through security right afterward. He even let my brother through. This isn’t to say, however, that the woman being elderly exempts her from security procedures. All we’re asking is for a little more respect. Check this video.
Recently, airport security accused of insulting and laughing at people’s bodies beneath their clothing as they passed through new scanners that allow security to see beneath our clothing (collective gasp). Betcha didn’t know about those scanners, did ya? (Next time you’re passing through an airport, be sure to wear your kinkiest underwear – and gentleman, consider wearing your wives’ pantyhose….we’ll give them something to laugh about). This information was revealed on a Youtube video that went viral by a person who claims to be a former TSA agent. The most outrageous reaction however was that of the airport manager who stated quite stupidly, “everyone has the right to their opinion.” Seriously. That was his idea of good PR. I’d love for someone to turn the tables and force airport security to walk through the scanners, then get laughed at by the entire airport. Serves them right. Nyah nyah. I had to drop this video into my blog – if all of us went through the scanners the way this woman reporter sits on camera, there wouldn’t be a need for body searches.
Here’s a weird fact about TSA training: there is a list of 70 suspicious behaviours passengers make that indicate potentially high risk situations. Many of the indicators, as characterized in open government reports, are behaviors and appearances that may be indicative of stress, fear or deception. Allegedly none of them refer to or suggest race, religion or ethnicity, but one addresses passengers’ attitudes towards security. It reads: “Very arrogant and expresses contempt against airport passenger procedures.” TSA officials said that no single indicator is used to identify travelers as potentially high-risk. Travelers must exhibit several indicators before officers subject them to more thorough screening. On the other side of the fence, Michael German, a former FBI agent who works for the American Civil Liberties Union, stated, “expressing your contempt about airport procedures — that’s a First Amendment-protected right.”
Guarding national security is a fine, difficult line. I’m glad I don’t have that job. I also believe the public has to fight back against airport abuse, whether it is you yourself who is being assaulted, or someone else. Don’t just walk on by when someone is being abused or begging for help. Stop and call 9-1-1 or find an airport police officer. They do not work with the airport security company. The police are real cops – not cop wannabes like security guards (had to get that one in there). Let’s help each other out and force airport security to conduct their job in a manner that is dignified for themselves and the public. We are all in this together.
There are famous porn stars, porn films, and hookers in our midst from decades gone by and current times. The Happy Hooker, Debbie Does Dallas, Monica Lewinsky, and Tracey Lords to name a few, tend to be familiar names. A courtesan, by contrast, was a woman who offered her sexual services in exchange for cash, jewellery, furs, a luxurious life at court, and bedding down with highly powerful men (like the President). However, certain types of courtesans weren’t held as low as whores or hookers, as is mistakenly thought. Prior to the Renaissance, courtesans conveyed information that wasn’t trusted to servants to visiting dignitaries. In Renaissance Europe, respected courtesans played an extremely important role in upper-class society. During this time royal couples led separate lives so aristocratic men and women sought gratification from people living at court. The most intimate companion of a ruler was called the favourite.It wasn’t easy to become the favorite as there was a lot of competition for this role. If you saw the movie Marie Antoinette, Madam du Barry was a perfect example of the King’s favorite. She was a divorced woman, a scandalous social position, and although she was the king’s favorite she was held in low regard by the court society (a fact of which she was blissfully unaware). Marie, as it were, hated her due to her crass nature and questionable reputation, but that’s another story.
Types of Courtesans
In one category was a type of courtesan known as the honest courtesan, who was an intellectual. In the other was a lower class of courtesan. Although the latter was better than an average prostitute, the former was treated equal to women of the nobility. One factor that separated an honest courtesan from the lower class was that her primary source of income was not her sexual role at court. They held a full-time job usually as artists and their court role was a secondary income. Courtesans from non-wealthy backgrounds were charming companionship. They were subject to lower social status, and religious disapproval. This courtesan was solely dependent on her benefactor making her vulnerable. Courtesans serving in this capacity began their career as a prostitute. If the courtesan satisfactorily served a benefactor, that benefactor would pass them to another benefactor of wealth, or set them up in an arranged marriage. In the event that the courtesan dissatisfied a benefactor, she was cast out of wealthy circles, reduced to street prostitution. She wasn’t even able to create designer handbags or sign a Hollywood contract and get rich that way. Sucks (pun).
- payment in gems, furs, cash, financial security
- sometimes they became mistresses to powerful men (until they got old, then they were on their own)
- free room and board at the royal court (depending on how in-demand they were)
- sociopolitical freedom that most women only dreamed of
- they procured significant wealth for retirement built significant court networking
- if living alone, she had a personal servant to do her daily chores and run her errands
- the king’s company
- affordable luxuries
- highly educated - in a time when literacy was unheard of among most people, this was no small feat
- knowledgeable about politics and current events
- able to sing or play a musical instrument
- willing to entertain the court (no, not that way, you) with her musical aptitude
- absolutely glittery and glowing at all times – she had to be bedecked with diamonds, wear white face powder, adorn herself in
- adorned in luxurious expensive gowns and furs
- be able to speak more than one language
- be able to sexually satisfy renowned men or women
- financially able to entertain friends with lavish dinner parties
- willing to forego motherhood for her social and financial status
Some courtesans were educated and raised by other courtesans who were nearing retirement and were willing to pass on their courtesan-ly knowledge to the up-and-comers (pun). They usually charged a price for this education (they charged money for everything), thus ensuring even more retirement equity. From the time a girl was very young (around 7) she was brought to live with a courtesan where she received music lessons, was formally educated, learned to develop perfect posture and a ladylike grace when she walked, was taught makeup and hairstyling efficiency, and as she reached her teens, learned about sexually pleasing a man in bed. Courtesans usually lost their virginity to a client who paid great money for this honor. If her mentor arranged it, she received a significant amount from this payment. Her pupil also learned about her financial worth and not to accept anything less than significant financial sums for her sexual services. Becoming a courtesan was a lifelong pursuit and usually had nothing to do with stepping into high heels and walking the streets in a shabby muskrat jacket and too much rouge. Courtesans were careful not to get pregnant or if they did, they worked hard to cause a miscarriage or obtained an abortion quickly from a trusted doctor. If the courtesan survived the abortion no one was any the wiser. Children were a liability as no one wanted to picture a courtesan as a mother….not sexy. It was rumoured that some courtesans “disposed” of unwanted children but this was rare: murdering a newborn was of course punishable by death. However women who did complete a pregnancy might be fortunate enough to have the illegitimate child of a king or an emperor. Although the child did not have sociopolitical status, often she or he was generally well provided for by the father.
Those from wealthy backgrounds, by birth or marriage, who were acting as courtesans only for the social or political advancement of themselves and their spouses, were treated as equals. They were respected by their extramarital companions, both placing one another’s family obligations ahead of the relationship. Affairs of this sort were short-lived, ending when the courtesan or the courtesan’s spouse received the political position desired. The benefactor was aware of the political or social favors expected by the courtesan, the courtesan was aware of the price expected from them and the two met one another’s demands.
Murder Most Foul
Prior to the Victorian era, courtesans were limited in their apparel by sumptuary laws and were restricted in where they could appear at social functions. Periods of overt religious piety in a city led to persecution of the courtesans. In many cases it led to being executed following public trials that left them appearing to be evil, or power-hungry. Courtesans also betrayed one another in attempts to climb into higher positions of power. There are many cases throughout history where one courtesan tried to supplant the mistress to a king by discrediting her, and divulging secrets that could lead to her being cast aside. However, if a courtesan of “lower status” attempted to replace a courtesan of great power it resulted in the lower courtesan being exiled from the royal court, married off to a lesser noble in an arranged marriage, or murdered.
Out to Pasture
Most courtesans had enough sense to know when it was time to retire: they were in less demand and rather than suffer the humiliation of being put out to pasture, they let it be known they weren’t in the “business” anymore. This saved courtesan face and allowed her to retire with dignity, rather like receiving a gold watch and a good-bye dinner. As with most men in history (and today), men desired younger courtesans, and those who reached middle-age if they were particularly skillful in bed. Beyond that, mandatory retirement was expected or enforced upon her. However, there were many young courtesans who were also rejected at court and by benefactors depending upon their usefulness. There were also courtesans who were able to extend their careers into or past middle age and retire financially secure; is a good example. By the late 19th century, and early in the early 20th century, courtesans enjoyed social acceptance to the extent of becoming a friend to the wife of their benefactor. More often than not, a woman serving as a courtesan would last in that field as long as she could prove herself useful to her companion This, of course, excluded those who served as courtesans but were already married into high society. When referring to those who made their service as a courtesan as their main source of income, success was based solely on financial management and longevity. Many courtesans obtained the position of mistress to a king or a prince early on, but few lasted long, and after serving a prince or king there was nowhere to go but down.
Courtesan Trickery (pun)
One courtesan invited friends and acquaintances to her home for dinner where guests ate off solid gold plates. After dinner the courtesan insisted everyone throw the plates into the river beside her home to demonstrate her wealth. The next morning, she retrieved the dishes from a fishing net she strung alongside the riverbank.
A courtesan was the mistress of an affluent man yet she was happy to entertain clients in the apartment he afforded her. One afternoon he arrived unexpectedly at her apartment and she was forced to push her unfortunate client onto the interlocking brick road beneath her balcony so as to prevent her lover from discovering him. He broke a few bones. She saved her neck.
Sometimes a man who had a contract with a courtesan sought to control this independent woman since he couldn’t marry her. However it was she who brought a man under her sexual and financial control. In order to retain her contract yet keep him at a safe distance, she remained sobre while she got him drunk during dinner, she used secret communications with him which was not allowed in the contract. Keeping him at bay while enjoying his wealth was a favorite ruse of the independent, clever courtesan. In certain eras and cultures, this was held in low status, however this may have been due to the courtesan’s ability to function as an independent woman and not be owned by husband, father, or brother.
Mata Hari - a courtesan, exotic dancer, and accused spy, executed by the French for working as a spy for Germany during the First World War. Madam Mata was 41 years old when she met a violent death in front of a French firing squad, but what a life she enjoyed prior to her execution….almost made that whole mess worthwhile. Margaretha enjoyed a lavish early childhood that included exclusive schools until the age of 13. At 18, Margaretha answered an advertisement in a newspaper placed by Colonial Rudolf MacLeod who was looking for a wife. Margaretha married Rudolf in Amsterdam on 11 July 1895, a significant move as the marriage enabled her to move into the Dutch upper class. The marriage was a disappointment.MacLeod was an abusive alcoholic and blamed Margaretha for his lack of promotion. He kept a concubine. No wonder this dude had to advertise for a wife. However, Margaretha plunged ahead and revealed her artistic name: Mata Hari, Indonesian for “sun” in 1897. In 1899, her children fell ill from complications relating to the treatment of syphilis. Jeanne survived, but Norman died. The couple separated in 1902 and divorced in 1907.
By 1905, Mata Hari began to win fame as an exotic dancer. Promiscuous, flirtatious, openly flaunting her body, Mata Hari was an overnight success from the debut of her act on 13 March 1905. She became the long-time mistress of a millionaire industrialist. She posed as a Java princess of priestly Hindu birth. The most celebrated segment of her act was her progressive shedding of clothing until she wore just a jeweled bra. She wouldn’t remove the bra as she was self-conscious about being small-breasted.Mata Hari was a successful courtesan, who had relationships with high-ranking military officers, politicians (happy birthday, Mr, President….)Her relationships took her across international borders.
In January 1917, the German military attaché transmitted radio messages to Berlin describing the activities of a German spy, code-named H-21. French agents intercepted the messages and identified H-21 as Mata Hari. Mata Hari was arrested in Paris, put on trial, accused of spying for Germany and consequently causing the deaths of 50,000 soldiers. Neither the French or British intelligence produced evidence against her but she was found guilty and executed by firing squad at the age of 41. German documents unsealed in the 1970s proved that Mata Hari was a German agent. She had entered German service, and was instructed that her reports were to be sent to the Agent mission in the German embassy. She was indeed given the code name H-21. Mata Hari wasn’t just well-versed in politics, as was expected of a courtesan. She lived and died by them. Cool.
Madame de Pompadour - was the official chief mistress of Louis XV from 1745 to her death. She claimed that, at the age of nine, she was taken by her mother to a fortune teller and told she would someday reign over the heart of a king. Her mother believed the prophecy and nicknamed her “Reinette” (meaning “little queen“). At the age of nineteen, Jeanne Antoinette was married to Charles-Guillaume Le Normant d’Étiolles, who provided large financial incentives. on the night of 25 to 26 February 1745, Jeanne was invited to a masked ball at the Palace of Versailles By March, she was the king’s mistress. On 7 May, the official separation between her and her husband was pronounced. She wielded power and control behind the scenes, especially when another of the king’s mistresses, Marie-Louise O’Murphy attempted to replace her. The younger and less experienced Morphyse was married off to an Auvergne nobleman, not a bad deal considering he was rich and she could have been beheaded. Ouch.
Madame de Pompadour had enemies among the royal courtiers. However there were several reasons for her lasting influence over Louis. First, she established a cordial relationship with Marie Leszczyńska, realizing that showing respect for Marie eased Louis’ guilt. The Queen often said “If there must be a mistress, better her than any other.” She put all of her effort into bringing fun into the melancholy life of the King. She threw dinner parties for him and put on plays that exalted him. The royal mistress reminded Louis of her beauty by commissioning paintings that highlighted her exquisite features and hid her ageing looks. Madame de Pompadour is said to have arranged lesser mistresses for the King’s pleasure to replace herself.Although they had ceased being lovers after 1750, they remained friends, and Louis XV was devoted to her until her death from tuberculosis in 1764 at the at the age of forty two. Many enemies were relieved and she was blamed for the Seven Years’ War. Pretty cool considering very few women in history have been blamed for an entire war and especially one that lasted 7 years (is that anything like the 7 year itch?)
Marie-Louise O’Murphy de Boisfaily was one of the younger mistresses of King Louis XV of France. She enjoyed only a short-term run as a courtesan due to her own stupidity. Giacomo Casanova relates that he found her “a pretty, ragged, dirty, little creature” of thirteen years. Struck by her beauty when seeing her naked,he had a nude portrait of her painted, a copy of which found its way to the King, who took her as one of his mistresses. She quickly became a favourite, and, after a miscarriage in 1753 (which apparently deeply affected the King), she gave birth to Louis XV’s illegitimate daughter. After serving as a mistress to the King for just over two years, O’Murphy made a mistake that was common for many courtesans, that of trying to replace the official mistress: she tried to unseat the longtime royal favorite, Madame de Pompadour. This ill-judged move resulted in O’Murphy’s downfall. A marriage was arranged to Jacques Pelet de Beaufranchet. A marriage was the punishment for her poor political move. Interesting.Her husband was killed in action on 5 November 1757. Two years later, O’Murphy married, a widower with three children. O’Murphy gave birth to another daughter, who might have been another illegitimate daughter of Louis XV. This husband died on 24 April 1783. Twelve years later, O’Murphy married again. Her new husband was twenty-eight years younger than her. Demi Moore has nothing on her. This union failed, and after three years, they divorced (another page out of Moore’s diary). O’Murphy never married again. During the French Revolution, O’Murphy was imprisoned because of her royal connections, but she survived the Reign of Terror. She died in 1814 at the age of 77.
Catherine Walters, also known as “Skittles“, was a fashion trendsetter and one of the last of the great courtesans of Victorian London. Her nickname is thought to have originated from her working at a bowling alley (skittles is the game which evolved into bowling.) Walters was rumoured to have had intellectuals, leaders of political parties, aristocrats and a member of the British royal family amongst her benefactors . Her classical beauty was matched by her skill as a horsewoman, for which she was equally renowned. During her life as a courtesan, her discretion and loyalty to her benefactors became the focal point of her career. There were many rumours about her being involved with certain wealthy men of the time, but she never confirmed or denied these rumours. This gave her great weight in the courtesan lifestyle, and made her a sought-after commodity. It also gave long life to her career, and helped her to retire a wealthy woman of society. Well done, old girl.
Madam du Barry
Jeanne Bécu, comtesse du Barry was the last Maîtresse-en-titre of Louis XV of France and one of the victims of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. Her true father was not known. At the age of fifteen, Jeanne left the convent as she had ‘come of age.’ Jeanne was then employed as a companion to an elderly widow, Madame de la Garde, but was sent away when her youth and beauty began to meddle in the marital affairs of la Garde’s somewhat middle-aged sonsher. Her beauty came to the attention of Jean-Baptiste du Barry, a high-class pimp/procurer.. Du Barry made her his mistress and established Jeanne’s career as a courtesan in the highest circles of Parisian society. Jeanne could not qualify as an official royal mistress unless she had a title; this was solved by her marriage to du Barry’s brother, comte Guillaume du Barry. Jeanne was a tremendous triumph at court. She wore extravagant gowns of great proportions. With diamonds covering her delicate neck and ears, she was now the king’s maîtresse déclarée. Jeanne was installed below the King’s quarters. While Jeanne wasknown for her good nature, she grew unpopular because of the king’s extravagance towards her. Her relationship with Marie Antoinette was contentious. The princess defied court protocol by refusing to speak to du Barry. Madame du Barry furiously complained to the king. During a ball on New Year’s Day 1772, Marie Antoinette threw into the air these words for du Barry to take or leave, “there are many people at Versailles today,” the last time the two would speak. Following the death of Louis XV, du Barry was exiled and suspected of financially assisting émigrés who had fled the French Revolution. The Revolutionary Tribunal of Paris accused her of treason and condemned her to death. On the way to the guillotine, she collapsed and cried “You are going to hurt me! Why?!” Terrified, she screamed for mercy and begged the crowd for help. Her last words to the executioner were: “One more moment, Mr. Executioner, I beg you!”. Madame du Barry was beheaded by guillotine. Her corpse was disposed of in the Madeleine Cemetery, where many victims of the Terror, including Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, had also been buried.
Mary Boleyn (the other Boleyn girl)
Mary Boleyn was the elder sister of English queen consort Anne Boleyn. Mary was one of the mistresses of Henry VIII. It has been rumoured that she bore two of the king’s children, though Henry did not acknowledge either of them. Mary Boleyn married twice: in 1520 to Sir William Carey, and secretly in 1534 to William Stafford, a commoner and a soldier. This secret marriage to a man so far beneath her station angered both Henry VIII and her sister, Queen Anne, and resulted in Mary’s banishment from the royal court; she spent the remainder of her life in obscurity. At some point, Mary became Henry’s mistress. The liaison was never publicised, and Mary never enjoyed the fame, wealth and power that Henry’s earlier mistresses enjoyed, which was usual for other acknowledged mistresses in France and other kingdoms. Although Mary was alleged to have been more attractive than her sister, Anne seems to have been more ambitious and intelligent. When the king took an interest in Anne, she refused to become his mistress, being shrewd enough not to give in to his sexual advances. Henry was determined to marry her. Mary and her husband remained social outcasts, living in retirement in a house which was owned by the Boleyns. After Anne’s execution, their mother retired from the royal court, dying in seclusion just two years later.
As Canadians we have a lot to be proud about in terms of living in a wonderful country like Canada. The best country in the world, in fact. Where else can you retire on nothing and still be taken care of (see my previous blog Ridiculous Retirement Advice). However the stats for the average Canadian as a person are considerably less impressive:
- the average male is slightly overweight (think of that ugly beer belly many middle-aged men sport) and only earns $30,000 a year
- Many Canadians spend $2,000 on fast food and/or restaurants annually yet they save zero for retirement (again, that relates to my previous post if you are interested in the no-frills retirement option)
- the average Canadian is $112,000.00 in debt …. watch cbc a living wage instead of minimum wage
- Canadians spend more on booze than fresh fruits and vegetables
- these stats don’t jibe with the fact that most Canadians have graduated from college or university
- most people are happy with their economic situation
- if you live in a house larger than 1,900-sq.-feet, contribute anything at all to your RRSPs and don’t have a mortgage, you’re doing better than most
- The average household debt, including mortgages, credit cards and personal loans equates to a monthly payment of about $1,140 …. watch canada’s growing debt
- There’s no evidence that we have a retirement crisis since overall Canadians contribute 30% to their RRSPs
- If your family brings in more than $68,000 a year, you’re doing better than average
The average household rake in between $68,000.00 and $86,000.00, but that is only if both spouses are working. It is the combined salaries that raise the household income from a single person (on average only $30,000 to $40,000) to these higher amounts. Usually those who are university educated fare far better financially. An individual can make as much money annually as a combined household income with 2 adults who haven’t graduated from a post-secondary institution.
The stats seem rather disparaging to me, personally but in comparison with the United States they really aren’t so bad:
- In 2006, the median annual household income rose 1.3% to $50,233.00
- The real median earnings of men who worked full-time, year-round climbed between 2006 and 2007, from $43,460 to $45,113
- For women, the corresponding increase was from $33,437 to $35,102 watch thomas sowell – gender bias and income disparity – a myth?
- households with an income exceeding $60,000, had two income earners
- The educational attainment of the U.S. population reflects that the vast majority of the population has completed secondary education and a rising number of college graduates outnumber high school dropouts.
- As a whole, the population of the United States is spending more years in formal educational programs
- an average per person of more than $43,000 in debt
- the American mortgage debt works out to over $60,000 in housing debt for every adult in the country
- the average debt for every adult in the United States is $113,360
- Average credit card debt per household with credit card debt: $15,956
You’re no better off if you skip to the States to try to capitalize on lower-income taxes as a senior retiree. Stats seem to bear this out. The numbers sound abysmal but apparently if you fall in that range somewhere, you’re doing okay. It seems the average Canadian and the average American have a lot in common. Who knew?
Although I’ve pretty much been doom and gloom about Canada’s ongoing recession, job losses, and the European euro crash, I found some interesting (and hilarious) non-investment retirement advice in MoneySense Guide to Retiring Wealthy that has lifted my spirits. I always wondered what happened to people who either couldn’t or wouldn’t invest a cent for their retirement. I know people in the latter situation, if you can believe it. One family blows their money at the racetrack every week (how they can afford that while living on a government-funded seniors’ pension, God only knows). The other is a young man who is more than capable of holding down a job, yet he works the welfare system and collects every month because he doesn’t like work. No, seriously. There just seem to be people like that in the city, don’t there? They learn barely legal loopholes and they live on us while we live on … us. But I digress….
I am reading the updated 2012 edition of MoneySense and found, on p. 58, the most hilarious retirement advice ever. Now the book states it can help you to retire wealthy, however it seems to have thrown in a codicil here for people who just want to retire, wealthy or not. It presents the no-frills retirement option:
- rental property with utilities
- no car – public transport only
- no cable, internet, etc
- 3 meals a day
- no extras – even a bottle of booze every week
- it didn’t mention food and clothing banks or soup
kitchens…consider those your luxuries
- it didn’t mention begging or busking …
consider those your optional additional income
If you can live happily under these rigid conditions (and some people can) the total amount required to save for your retirement is: zero. Seriously. Where does the money come from to finance the aforemementioned, you say? 3 very solid government systems: OAS (Old Age Security), GIS (Guaranteed Income Supplement) and CPP (Canada Pension Plan). It is not true that CPP and OAS are in danger of vanishing. Poppycock. Those rumours have been swirling around since the 1970s but the two systems are still paying out annually to ever senior in Canada. watch the canada pension plan with malcolm hamilton
This provides a couple with a combined income of approximately $24,000.00 annually, every year. I do not know what a single retiree is given but I do know (and I quote) “you won’t have to live on cat food.” watch 88 year old stand up to harper government
While it’s reassuring to know that if, for some tragic reason, you wind up on skid row, that you will still be cared for financially, it just rips me that you can plan for a basic retirement by investing nothing. I cannot stop snickering over that one. Can you imagine watching a commercial like that? So for all of you very laissez-faire types who have been late to the investment party, or who may never make it, relax. You live in Canada. Let the elderly Americans eat cat food…or to COIN a phrase…let them eat cake. watch make your money worth more
I wonder why is it that many people worldwide think Canada is so Polly-Anna-ish with our ethics? After slamming the immigration door on Jewish refugees during WWII, today a Canadian takes pride in reminding us of our hypocrisy some 6 decades later. Luba Kramrish of Toronto, Ontario has been charged with involvement in a plan to steal from a “Holocaust survivor’s fund.” Kramrish falsified documents to “claim financial support ” from a German fund created ”to compensate those who lived through the Holocaust.” Must be a pretty small fund. Kramrish’s bag of tricks involved the recruitment of Jewish people who hadn’t actually “survived the Holocaust” since they had never lived in an occupied area. Kramrish managed to obtain their funds for a small fee, of course. Last count Kramrish had conned the German fund 25 times. The frauds took place in the U.S. office that distributed the funds. In the 1990s, an employee in the office realized many of the claims had discrepancies and an FBI investigation verified the $60 million dollar fraud. Read Holocaust Fraud Probe Leads to Charge Against Toronto Woman.
In Germany, restrictions on the fund have been tightened, unfortunately for true Holocaust survivors. They are all elderly people. The Holocaust was decades ago. Now these victims are expected to answer detailed questions about their lives during the war that they can barely remember. The U.S. scandal has caused damage on so many levels. How proud Kramrish must be and what a notch in the belt for Canada’s reputation. Before you know it, people will be confusing us with Americans…then we’ll not only have to fight a terrible reputation, but we’ll have to be even more diligent at detecting Al Quedas at our airports. watch when canada said no: the abandoned jews of the ms st louis
Wonderwall: A barrier which separates the mundane from the Transcendent Reality. A true Wonderwall will always have a crack, or a slit or an opening which allows anyone a glimpse of what lies beyond the Wonderwall.
Suspend any disbelief you may have for a moment and consider a wonderwall to be a glimpse into the present on another plane, or maybe a parallel universe, or some such hocus pocus. Was there a wonderwall, invisible and elusive with its hairline crack on Bloor Street in the Yorkville area of Toronto, when Darcy Sheppard and Michael Bryant collided on August 31, 2009? Had there been would either man have acted differently? Probably not so with Sheppard, who was quite intoxicated and irate for God only knows what reason. Bryant however, with so much more to lose than Sheppard ,would have chosen a different path, setting in motion a different set of events that night.
I would believe that much more readily if only Bryant wasn’t working with Penguin Publishing to release 28 Seconds, his account of that fateful summer night. Whatever he has received in the way of an advance on royalties hasn’t been released but you can be certain it’s a tidy nest-egg. Bryan claims he is going to donate a “portion” of the book sales to the Pine River Foundation, an adolescent mental health and substance abuse clinic. What percentage of those profits, he hasn’t said.
It seemed as though the Wonderwall was well sealed on that evening; even Sheppard’s former girlfriend attested to the fact that her late boyfriend “had been drinking heavily earlier that evening“. Perhaps she was offered a “monetary incentive” to accuse the late father of her child to substantiate Bryant. Et tu, Brute?
Soon after the “incident”, as the papers described it, the public was duly informed about Sheppard’s unfortunate profile: 33, the father of 4 children; born into a low-income Métis family in Alberta,; at 5 adopted by another family then returned to the adoption agency and foster system at 10; criminal records for both his juvenile and adult histories, and (gasp) substance abuse addictions. Certainly the villain in this scenario had to be Sheppard?
Publishing Director Diane Turbide claims Bryant ”has never lost sight of the fact that a man died.”
In hindsight, perhaps, alas, without foresight.
Where is that Wonderwall when you need it?
Welfare: the right to well-being, security and safety, including fulfilling basic needs to ensure survival. This is the general idea behind the term but welfare carries with it a negative connotation: those lucky enough not to need it imagine lazy folk who simply won’t work for a living, or who aren’t trying hard enough to find jobs. Poppycock. This may be true for a small percentage of Canadians and landed immigrants, but guaranteed this is not the norm: most people want to work; are skilled and educated enough to work; and do not want to live with the stigma of receiving welfare.
Racism being what it is in Canada, many Caucasians believe it is landed immigrants and minorities who are bleeding the welfare system dry through a lack of initiative and illegal manouevers. Not so. There are more Caucasian multi-generational Canadians receiving welfare (including those who are not in need of it) than there are minorities and LI’s. As subjective as my own experience is, the only people I know who rip the system are Caucasian Canadians whose family have lived in Canada for generations. In fact, many Canadians receiving welfare once belonged to the “middle class”, evicted from their homes after job loss during the start of the recession. Others do not receive welfare for more than one or two months to keep them afloat until (presumably) they find another job. watch judy graves on why welfare matters to everyone
Many people who receive welfare are known as the “working poor“. They have jobs but through no fault of their own, are employed part-time, or they work for the paltry minimum wage of $10.25 an hour: hardly a financial means for raising a family. In fact since Harper’s House of Horrors came to be, social assistance is nearly non-existent. Why, you ask? Duh. You voted for him and then you wonder why so many hard-working Canadians ... oh never mind. I’ll just get all in a tizzy. What was I saying? Oh yes. Harper’s agenda is not for individual citizens, such as you (who voted for him) and me (who did not). It is for large, multi-national corporations, the recipients of his glorious tax breaks and other financial incentives to keep them afloat during the recent recession. Well there’s always May 2012 for you to get it right (although you probably won’t). Enough blasting my faithful blog followers of precisely one (hi Damien). Watch income inequality and child poverty in Canada
To receive welfare in Ontario you must earn or live on $800.00 a month or less. The website doesn’t tell you that of course but if you want to test my theory give your local welfare office a call and inform the clerk that you currently receive $850.00 or $900.00 per month to live on. She will interrupt you to tell you that if you live on more than $800.00 a month you are ineligible to receive financial assistance. If you live on $810.00 or more you are out of luck. In the event you do live on $800.00 a month or less you are entitled to … not much. You might get $200.00 or slightly more a month but you won’t be laughing all the way to the bank. Poor no more – there is a way out
Along with receiving absolute minimal financial assistance for the working poor, anything these people have in the way of financial assets has to be depleted before qualifying for welfare: RRSPs, homes, cars. It may seem as though this is reasonable: if you can afford a house, you can afford to live without assistance. But is it reasonable to tell people to spend their RRSPs in order to receive social assistance? What happens when it is time to retire? They must continue to ask for more assistance and never get off the treadmill. How about a car? If a person needs a car to get to work where they make that $10.25 an hour, how will they be able to hold a job after selling their cars? Ditto houses. Rentals are not cheaper than ownership depending on where a person lives. Like it or not, everyone needs shelter. watch homeless middle class
The Canadian welfare system is not designed with dignity in mind. Nor is it designed to truly assist anyone. If assistance comes with the price tag of losing one’s retirement security, transportation and shelter in a safe, secure part of town, I’m betting many people would hedge their bets on going hungry and losing sleep at night over their bills, if they’re lucky to avoid eviction. In Canada, it’s a better guarantee for one’s well-being.
Now take every piece of advice in that article and flush it down the section of your brain reserved for intellectual sewage. Canadians and Americans will NEVER be debt free and the reason is so simplistic (and nauseating) that it could be tattooed on your forehead every time you look in the mirror:
- The Middle Class – rapidly deteriorating due to credit card debt, variable mortgages, and the Republican Party of Canada and the U.S.A.
- Your neighbours, friends, acquaintances, and strangers on the street.
What’s that? The Republic Party of Canada you say? Harper and (formerly) Bush were political bedfellows. It’s all about the almighty American and regressing Canadian dollar and always will be. I am well aware that Obama is one of my own, a Democrat, however it isn’t enough: Bush and Harper relations secured doctrines protecting Republican interests that even the good man Obama cannot undo. What does this mean to you, oh Canadians who were so happy to vote Harper in again even after the scandals that rocked his feeble-minded Harper House of Horrors 2 years ago?
- Corporate tax breaks means higher taxes for the little guy, in other words we of the disappearing Middle Class. Who do you think is picking up the slack? No you’re not aware of any additional taxes levied against your income in the previous 5 years. You do if you’re a senior living on a fix income fund: you know, that retirement fund that Harper promised during his first ever campaign that his party would not tax then within the first year of his reign of terror he taxed it? Maybe you aren’t a senior. So what? No wo/man is an island. Taxation for seniors who cannot afford a tax levy means seeking other means to increase one’s livelihood: what other choice do these fine people have but to apply for welfare so they can enjoy a nourishing can of cold beans now and then? Whose paying the additional (if utterly meagre) financial assistance for these people (and rightly so, you’re the ones who voted for Big Brother, ye of the Ministry of Non-Truth).
2. To continue to quote John Donne: we are all a piece of the continent, a part of the main. You and everyone around you are
part of an intrinsic network, a human internet if you will. Let’s say you somehow bail yourself out of all consumer debt and are now
living a puritanical lifestyle, strictly on cash and good intentions. Your neighbours and strangers are still up to their eyeballs in debt.
Their debt is your debt. Their debt continues to enable the mechanics of the recession, thereby increasing inflation rates. Their debt
means your job is on the line due to lay-offs as much as theirs. Their debt is your debt. The bell tolls for thee as much as anyone else,
You were forewarned in so many media by so many financial experts, financial writers, and humble bloggers such as myself. So many people warned you to be careful about what you vote for, in the event you might get it. You are getting it now (although I won’t say where).
Sieg Heil, Republicans.
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