Saturday, January 31, 2009

The real reason for the credit crunch

Inspired by visiting Garth's new blog. Why waste a good Apocalypse?

Budget anyone?

What with being occupied with other things I haven't had much time to look at the budget, but having begun what will likely be a long and arduous task, I start with Chapter 3 Action to support Businesses and Communities as this would be one of the main areas that will directly impact people and the economy and hopefully quickly.

I haven't come across a detailed analysis anywhere yet so if anyone has, kindly post it so we can give it the once over.

First item of note under Tax and Tariff relief is a 100% Capital Cost Allowance (temp) Jan 09 to Feb 2011 on computer purchases.

I'm thinking, well that was random. Why computer purchases? The government does know where most of the components for these things are made. Don't they?

Next item was another CCA related item regarding purchasing new equipment for manufacturing or processing equipment. Umm...aren't we worried about keeping the current manufacturing and processing capability active, and isn't the idea of stimulus to stimulate with all due haste?

The fourth item is based on the next 5 yrs. and again concerns purchasing new manufacturing equipment.

Next is Sectoral Competitiveness.

First and second items relate to forestry and farming, and are ok at a glance, but the amounts seem relatively insignificant, unless targeted for special interests.

Third item is 50 million to increase slaughter house capacity. Hmm...Maple leaf and Cargill? Are there any others left?

Next is amendments related to Farm Improvement and Marketing Cooperatives Loans Act and a few other things that look as if they might have some worth, but that depends entirely on whether they mean to do anything significant or are just blowing smoke.

Then on to Supporting shipyards with $175 million for the procurement of 98 new Coast Guard vessels and related items. This item would take some brushing up on, but at face value it appears to relate to helping the ship building industry get ready to bid on the above mentioned items. Worth a look into this to get the full picture. I wouldn't think the 175 million would go far in actually building 98 new vessels and refits on 40 more. I think it worth mentioning that one of the 11 Disciples owns the Saint John N.B. drydocks and ship yards. Imagine that.

Next is the auto sector short term loans and that is vague.

The following 3 items appear to have value and the funds could have reasonably quick impact, but the amounts are not large.

Next are 2 items related to magazines, newspapers and the Canada New Media Fund involving 58.6 million over the next two years and 14.3 million thereafter. That is an interesting choice. Considering reports of desperate times at the National Post and that the same Disciple I spoke of above owns very significant Newspaper holdings may shed some light here.

Skipping the Televison fund item and going on to; $40 million to the Canadian Tourism Commission. Looks ok, but not a lot of money really.

Then this; $12 million per year in 2011–12 and 2012–13 for infrastructure to promote international cruise ship tourism along the Saint Lawrence and Saguenay Rivers. Huh?? Where did that come from? The 40 million is to be sprinkled about, but this 12 million is very specific.

Lastly in that category is $150 million for such things as Park's Canada and campgrounds, as well as upgrades to National Historic sites.

Sigh........Isn't this one obvious to everyone? Spend the frikkin' money on things that grease the wheels of commerce in a fair and non partisan manner, and focus on things that actually have a real chance of generating economic activity. In Canada, our Home and Native Land, tourism goes into the tank faster than restaurants when our Southern Cousins are in trouble. So other than the jobs and er...contract moneys provided to complete these tasks and projects, where is the spin off money going to come from, and more importantly, when?

That's all I can stand for now. Next installments are Environment and Supporting Small Business.

The link for the above items is as follows;

Link to the entire budget;

Cats and Rats and Elephants

I came across some noise this morning concerning Cats, some potential Rats and an Elephant in the room. A mini furor seems to have evolved over some comments made by a main member of the Ignatieff team, and I thought it worthy of a little reflection. I also came across a blog site of a bright young fellow and thought I would give him a nod as well .

Apparently the dust up concerns some remarks made by said Ignatieff man on his blog and in a video that refer to Chinese cuisine and Cats. You can see how some might be offended, wot?

Canadian Spades also has an interesting take on Ignatieff's reaction to the budget and his, er...strategy. It is written in a blog entry on his site entitled, Ignatieff: We get the government we deserve.

It is an opposing view to the one I have about all of that, but I am always up for an opposing view and if nothing else, I thought it is at least a concise excuse.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Trudeau, Visionairy or Mad Social Engineer?

My last post got me to thinking this morning. I do my thinking in the morning usually, once the fog clears. In the "Last Post", pun fully intended, I touched on what it was that once made the Liberal Party attractive to so many Canadians and this morning I thought that might be a subject worth pursuing.

I am beginning to think that much of their success in recent decades comes from an aura associated with the Party, not so much one of natural governing party, but one that began during the Trudeau years. A certain magic if you will, where love him or hate him, Trudeau defined the Liberal Party as a Party of the People. A Party that associated itself with new trends and mindsets, and above all else, a Party that was progressive and on the side of the People. The Street People.

If one is going to discuss the merits of Trudeau's years, or the perceived successes and failures, this could be a lengthy discussion. Particularly if any of the Conservative supporters were to show up. Hindsight of course being as it is, allows for a much clearer picture than looking ahead to the year of the Ox. Many of the programs implemented during Trudeau's years in government, both the Pearson years and his own governments, have become pillars in what we now view as Canadian Society. Still, depending on political allegiance, many love to pick and howl about what they percieve as bad, while at the same time not giving a moments thought to how PO'ed they would be if any of the entrenched programs that came from that time were eliminated. Kind of a short view of things really.

Moving on from thoughts of official bilingualism and NEP and back to my main point, the aura. Trudeau was seen by many as a champion of the little people, and not a representative of big corporations and old world power. Certainly, he had to deal with those aspects too, but managed that and brought forward many forward thinking programs at the same time. Costly yes, but forward thinking just the same. One also has to consider that everything begins somewhere, and unless it remains under the stewardship of the same people, it will change and evolve. As did both major considerations above. It is up to subsequent generations to determine what becomes of the original ideas and programs. Even in cases such as the NEP, remnants remain. So does the concept and the knowledge that it can be done.

Contrast all of this with the new guy, Mr. Nowhere Man. Think Beatles song. Even the bright minds of the Liberal blog world have come to see it as it is. Either accept this guy who keeps contradicting himself when he does speak, or stand apart in a second sphere of liberalism. Looks to me like a lot have chosen to go that way, and a lot more are sitting on the fence playing in both worlds so as to be sure they are not out of the loop at the end of it all. Those are the politicos whose skin can be shed quickly as necessary.

Mr. Nowhere Man seems conflicted on just about everything as in his quest to not take positions that may stick to him in the future as some of his past positions have, he comes across as indecisive by design. Guns or Roses? At least with Harper, we know it's Guns, he has made that clear. But he's not so bright. Right?

As long as Mr. Iggnatieff and organizers play peek a boo with this, Canadians wait for the real Mr. Iggnatieff to please stand up. I say who needs it? Play the game if you wish, but some of us can see through it. Pick a persona, take a stand, stand up and be counted. As it is, you are a long way away from the aura. Trudeau would likely disapprove too.

I'm not going to run on endlessly about this, but I wonder about placating oneself with the thought of changing generic soda pop A for generic soda pop B, and how is it exactly that one gets their passions all in a whirl over such thoughts? And the Great Canadian Society awaits the winner by default. Continuing on the path of being Nowhere Man, brings thoughts of another Trudeau era politician, Bob Stanfield. There are similarities and differences. The greatest similarity is that neither could be perceived to have the fire in their bellies. The differences were background and that Stanfield actually had positions, and made them clear for people to understand.

To bring this mornings musings to a conclusion, I will offer this for your consideration. Ringo Starr; It Don't Come Easy.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Last Twerp Standing

So it's a fait d'accompli...

And the forces of the wimpy wight, wait for their time in sun. Wow! Gee! Golly gee whiz! How is it I'm not surprised?

The Liberals have no money, no leader and no sense of what it was that once attracted so many to their party. They've lost that on the alter of politicking. Ya ok.

Mr. Smug is licking his paws some, as that nasty little collection of me firsts that he has been cultivating for some time, are making noise about his almost costing them power, and the trough along with it.

Iggs has ditched the NDP, and isn't even putting on a brave face to make proper excuses. Why should he, they are only Bolsheviks after all. And we know how White Russians feel about the Bolsheviks. Right?

I expect Mr. Duceppe need only mutter, Anglo's, what do you expect? That should do it.

So picture this in your mind; out there in right field, hugging the foul line, is the Iggs and his main man, the guy who sues and gets sued a lot, with their fielders mitts. Waiting their chance at that big fat juicy foul ball.

Come to Papa baby!

Moeofthesame, Moeofthesame, good God Almighty, Moeofthesame!

Sire, the Peasants are revolting, and we are fresh out of cake...

Sorry for my absence. To compound issues, we have been without hydro since 6:30 a.m. No internet! THE HORROR!

Apparently the Citizens of the Revolution are getting restless;

France gripped by mass strike to protest fallout from global economic crisis.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Old World, meet New World. And Vice versa.

I haven't much time to blog right now, am occupied with dealing with some aspects of New and Old today. Doing some usual things, balancing New World realities and trying to help out with some New World meets Old, Old World meets New.

Besides trying to cater to, and help those of the New stay on track and instill in them that changes are coming, and their material world isn't going to be quite the same, I had a call this morning. It was from friends and I learned that one of my old American buddies is in trouble. Big trouble. Cops and guns and jail and courts, old anger and stuff like that. Never mind he once stood for his Country.

The good news is, he is still alive. For now.

The last time we spent time time together, we discussed the decimation of his 401k and I sensed all wasn't well, but I couldn't quite see the bomb coming.

Nothing much left to do now but try to pick up a few pieces.

All the Kings Horses, and all the Kings Men, can't put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Monday, January 26, 2009

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on "a new global order."

"British Prime Minister Gordon Brown insisted that the crisis, which has forced his government to intervene to shore up banks, should give rise to "a new global order."

"As some want, we could close our markets -- for capital, financial services, trade and for labour -- and therefore reduce the risks of globalisation," he said, according to the text of a speech issued by his office.

"Or we could view the threats and challenges we face today as the difficult birth-pangs of a new global order -- and our task now as nothing less than making the transition through a new internationalism to the benefits of an expanding global society."

Benefits you say Gord? Hail Britannia.

Budget could offer more than $2B for social housing

But this one would be a good thing;

"The Harper government is expected to use Tuesday's federal budget to pump more than $2 billion into social housing across the country, a move that would help seniors, the disabled and aboriginal people, according to a report."

That's a lot of Igloos.

Remember the Northwest Passage?

Bet you think I am going to don that minstrel hat again.

Remember all the hoopla about Arctic Sovereignty, the True North Strong and Free and all that stuff? Well maybe we had best file 13 that. Seems there is rumor circulating;

" The tender call for the 12 mid-shore Arctic patrol ships Mr. Harper promised has been canceled, and a promised icebreaker will not be brought into service until 2017."

I picked up this ditty over at Big City Libs blog but I can't find any mention of it in the MSM.

Maybe they will build 12 Igloos and send some undesirable Mounties instead.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Inflation falls to 1.2 percent, but not Grocery

But not grocery, it went up 7.3 percent last month according to statistics Canada. Some fodder there for research buffs.

This was discussed briefly on a previous thread and at other occasions. The near monopoly situation that exists in the Canadian grocery industry will be an essential factor in this, given not only their dominance in the industry, but the way they compete as well. Pricing is not their choice of competitive tactics. Rather plush looking stores with what seemed like ever expanding offerings of specialty and prepared foods. As demand for such things declines under the pressures of overall price increases in grocery and declining incomes sources, these initiatives remain a significant part of the overhead structure and thus are factored into overall pricing.

Meanwhile, Monsanto's stock has done very well as they go about manipulating third world food producers into using their once only genetically modified seed. I was told that the price for corn paid to farmers in Ontario never went up significantly when production costs related to energy were skyrocketing and people were worried about how Ethanol production was affecting World food supplies. Another item that defied the law of gravity.

Meanwhile, Kuwait has had a great year.

"KUWAIT CITY (AFP) - Kuwaiti government revenues reached 18.55 billion dinars (64.4 billion dollars) in the first nine months of the fiscal year, almost covering full-year budgeted spending, the finance ministry said on Sunday."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Feud.

If you don't want shit to stink, don't poke it with a stick.

I'm not going to moderate comments forever, so if you are sensitive I suggest you don't respond to idiotic comments. It's only an internet site, not a local meeting hall.

If you don't care for another posters views, skip them. Kindly do not respond with personal attacks and attempts to out others or banish them from the site. I'm not interested in personal attacks and it doesn't add to greater discussions.


From the Preacher.

The Feud; a story in itself.

"A man like Wales lives by the feud."

"Whooped 'em again, didn't we Josey?"

Some more imagery of sorts.

Josey- You'll be Ten Bears?

Ten Bears- I am Ten Bears

J- I'm Josey Wales.

TB- I have heard. You're the Grey Rider. You would not make peace with the Blue Coats; You may go in peace.

J- I reckon not. 'have no where to go.

TB- Then you will die.

J- I came here to die with you... or to live with you. Dying ain't so hard for men like you an' me, it's livin' that's hard. When all you've ever cared about's been butchered and raped... Governments don't live together; people live together... Governments don't always give you a fair word or a fair fight. Well, I've come to give you either one. Or get either one from ya. I came here like this so you know my word of death is true; and my word of life is then true... The bear lives here, the wolf, the antelope, the Comanche, and so will we. We'll only hunt what we need to live on, same as the Comanche does. Now every Spring when the grass turns green and the Comanche moves north, we can rest here in peace. Butcher some of our cattle and jerk beef for the journey. The sign of the Comanche, that will be on our lodge. That's my word of life.

TB- And your word of death?

J- Here in my pistols, there in your rifles, I'm here for either one.

TB- These things you say we will have, we already have.

J- This is true. I ain't promisin' you nothin' extra. You're just givin' me life and I'm givin' you life. And I'm sayin' men can live together without butcherin' one another.

TB- It's sad that governments are cheaped by the double tongue. And there is iron in your word of death for all Comanche to see. And so there is iron in your words of life. No signed paper can hold the iron. It must come from men. The words of Ten Bears carries the same iron of life and death. It is good that two warriors such as we meet in the struggle of life... or death. It shall be life.

The Outlaw Josey Wales.

A good joke never hurt anyone

Pope rehabilitates Holocaust denier, angering Jews

"VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict Saturday rehabilitated a traditionalist bishop wh denies the Holocaust, despite warnings from Jewish leaders that it would seriously harm Catholic-Jewish relations and foment anti-Semitism."

The Pope went to Colludge too didn't he?

Before going for a swim in this pond, I say I am not Catholic or Jewish. Nor am I Hindi, Buddhist, Evangelical or any other identifiable religious group. I am Comradian. Who or what is that you might ask? I'll get to that some other time, but for now I want to talk a bit about wtf is the matter with these people?

Regular readers of old Gart's blog may remember recent discussions about religion as a tool, and I want to expand that thought today and point out my sentiments on how Religious leaders are often Tools too. To what end is the question?

Given the situation in Gaza, and the overall volatility in the World presently, what would possess someone who is supposedly a great leader of millions to make a move such as this at this time? The Pope is old, his advisor's are mostly old, they are supposed to be wise. How wise is it to poke shit with a stick? Furthering that thought, how wise is it for a German Pope to poke that particular turd? Please excuse my Okie vernacular here, but dressing it up with nice words doesn't change the essence of it.

In my view, Religion is mostly a business, and represents various group interests. If the interest here is to further inflame emotions and lever umpteen million Catholics and non Jews toward antagonism and umpteen million Jews further down the road of them or us, then I understand the motivation. I neither agree with it, nor like it, but I understand. A moment of reflection here. Isn't Western Civilization supposed to be the evolved ones?

This move on four Bishops has no practical advantage for mankind that I can see, or significance beyond symbolism, and any States person, or messenger of Peace, Love and Goodwill toward mankind should see that.

If the old fart was truly wise, he would know that people are becoming to see Israel as representing the interests of some peoples vision of what Israel is and should be, and that this view is not shared by all Jewish people. If news reports are any indication, a lot of Jewish people don't share that view. He would also realize that these people have done far more harm to the reputation of Israel via recent actions, than he could with this approach.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bank of Canada

Submitted by poppavox.

Just to put things in minor perspective.
The assumptions the BoC based its projections on are,,, baseless.
Garth reported Cdns are $1T in debt. The latest figure is $1.3T with housing slower and retail sales not as weak as the US consumer, credit card debt could easily have doubled in the last year from $100B to $150B. As bad as that sounds other countries are in worse shape as the BoC notes.
As we are all well too well aware our economy is export based so our biggest customer has to get turned around before demand for our commodities even start to address the massive government revenue shortfall from reduced commodity royalties and taxes.
Somehow all this is going to turn around in 6 months,,, all based on deficit spending by Cdn tax payers... I should add the GDP is directly affected by government spending so estimates of GDP growth is based on the possible size of deficit stimulus spending and not any increased production by Cdn companies involved in global trade or most small self employed small business and others.
It is only a `technical` increase in GDP but in fact it`s long term debt.
Further, deficit stimulus spending in a mild recession is only moderately successful when the needed results are understood and relative to conditions.
A moderate recession holds substantial risk by implementing deficit stimulus.
In a serious recession the odds of success are about as good as a hail mary after the gun.
The more stimulus with an increasing downturn increases the depth of the resulting disaster exponentially.
This `plan` so far doesn`t even meet the criteria of a mild recession compared to a global mild, moderate or worse downturn.
Conclusion, the government including all the tentacles in a desperate attempt to use deficit stimulus spending to cover the real deficit. Why else would they build such a ridiculous argument for creating a disaster unless it was their jobs the`re worrying about?
No deficit, cut government spending and balance the books. That`s the only good budget for Canada

Thursday, January 22, 2009

AHAR! Ye scurvy dogs, hoist the Jolly Roger!

What defies the law of gravity? Gas prices.

As the price of oil bobs around in the $35 to $45 range, pump prices are averaging around 80 cents per litre across the land. Having spiked after Israels latest military action in Gaza by some 7 cents a litre, yesterday another 7 cents was added to the pump price. How come? Could it be Somali Pirates? Bush Pirates maybe?

"Jason Toews said he sees gas prices going higher than their current levels because of a slowdown in Alberta's oilsands and expected production cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exploring Countries.

"With lower supplies of crude oil in the market it's going to push crude oil prices up, especially if the economy starts to recover a little bit,'' Toews said. "Once the summer demand for gasoline comes, we're going to see gas prices go up quite a bit from where they are right now. We're going to see a return of a $1 per litre gas for sure and we may even see up to $1.20 per litre.''

What if it doesn't work some ask? Bank of Canada says everything rosy in 6 months.

"OTTAWA — Canada's economy is set to post healthy growth in the second half of 2009 and recover at a quicker pace than previous downturns on the basis of, among other things, "substantial" fiscal stimuli from the federal government, the Bank of Canada said in its updated outlook Thursday."

So there you have it. A dash of stimulus, a pinch of Southern Magic and presto! And you were worried.

Moderation (Sigh)

Well folks it looks like I am going to have to enable moderation. (We don't need no steenking moderation PTBD)

I was going to do that at the beginning, thinking that some of the winged monkeys might follow from the old place, but decided to try to make a go of it without doing that unless it became necessary.

Looks like it will be necessary. I'm not going to engage or encourage people who won't listen to reason, so moderation seems the best option for the time being.

It appears some would like to hamper our efforts to have free flowing discussions, and have a little fun sometimes too. I'm not sure if the problem is just a carry over of petty grudges from the old place, or if that's just smoke. No matter.

So please be patient if a post takes a little time to get up. I don't have a mobile device so I need to be at a computer to moderate.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Canadiana. Part Two

The following is a six part tribute to the life and work of the late Stan Rogers. It is called One Warm Line. Total time is approx. 40 minutes. His untimely passing was a great loss.

The last piece is about a ship called the Mary Ellen Carter, and it's about rising from adversity.

And you, to whom adversity has dealt the final blow
With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go
Turn to, and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain
And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.

Rise again, rise again - though your heart it be broken
And life about to end
No matter what you've lost, be it a home, a love, a friend.
Like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.

A little Canadiana. Lest we forget. Part One

Thought I would do something a little different this morning. Some clips and songs that help me to remember.

1. Northwest Passage Stan Rogers
2. Working Man Rita McNeil
3. Bluenose Stan Rogers
4. Don Quixote Gordon Lightfoot
5. Til I am myself again Blue Rodeo
6. Rain down on me Blue Rodeo

Rita McNeil's Working Man makes me think of the Westray and Springhill N.S. coal miners among others.

I want my Canada back too. To begin, we might start by finding the Heart we left on the altar of greed.

Just call me Preacher.

The Worlds best economic minds went to Colludge too ya know.

"In the quest to clean up troubled banks and get them lending again, Mr. Obama's economic team has settled on a strategy that was ditched early on by the Bush administration: something ominously dubbed Bad Bank.

The idea for what's left of the $700-billion (U.S.) in bailout cash is to create one or more government-run “aggregators” that buy up bad loans and investments that are choking the banking system. It's worth trying, because nothing else has worked, some economy watchers say. And it will not be any more costly to the taxpayer than the so far unsuccessful strategy of injecting capital directly into major banks.

“When you order dirt to put in a hole and you empty the dump truck and the hole still isn't full, you've got to order another truck,” said Robert Brusca, head of FAO Economics in New York. “That's basically the problem.”

The drastic retooling of the rescue plan comes amid fresh evidence that officials around the world seriously underestimated how paralyzed even relatively healthy banks would become from the toxic waste spread throughout the financial system.

In Britain, officials have similarly launched another round of emergency relief after earlier capital infusions failed to spur lending, and public confidence in the banking system reached new lows. The government yesterday increased its stake in Royal Bank of Scotland to 70 per cent after the bank revealed that its losses for last year may total a staggering £28-billion ($41.3-billion), which would be a record for a British company."

Facing credit crisis, Obama team revives Bad Bank strategy

I especially liked the dump truck analogy. I wonder if those are Tonka trucks?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Speaking of saying nothing

"Insiders concede Ignatieff would prefer more time to rebuild the party and prepare for an election. Moreover, Liberal strategists see little upside to Ignatieff taking the reins of government at the start of what is promising to be a deep, severe recession. They'd rather let Harper take the blame for the economic pain."

I wonder who the Liberal strategists are?

It is really beginning to appear the strategy, if that's what one wishes to call it, is to wait for another Coronation. Like the Chretien deal, where victory comes by default, and all that's important is being in the right place at the right time.

What about a moral duty to the Country? What about all that depth of talent they keep telling us about? Platitudes is depth?.

With Liberal bloggers and a significant amount of commenter's to their blogs, stating displeasure in the choice of and direction of this new regime, many of which seem to be saying au revoir, been nice to know you; one would think the strategists might take notice.

This upcoming budget is going to provide a lot of answers. Such things as who does want the reins? If Harper comes out spending like mad, then he wants to continue. He will back off the Liberals, and likely end the chances of a coalition ever coming to pass. If he puts poison pills in along with big spending, Ignatieff, will be between a rock and a hard place. Similar to Dion, but minus the leaks. If he comes in with a budget void of significant assistance for the most needy, then he retains his ultra conservative base, forces Ignatieff's hand, leaving him the choice of voting against it, or losing face.

Much will depend on whether the Harperite egos can consider risking power, after having supped from the Holy Chalice.

We shall see.

Measuring Success

Well Comrades, no ticker tape parade or cork popping events yet, but 409 hits and refreshes in a little over 24 hrs isn't too bad in my way of thinking. Especially given the fact that we have just begun!

It is possible that people may have an appreciation for a place to read the thoughts and views of a cross section of society, not just how things appear from one side only and to participate if they wish. Besides that, I think it is important to be serious as necessary, but not to forget there are many facets to the human entity. There is nothing more universal than a smile.

I am thinking about how important it is to analyze information, and to share viewpoints. A regular pointed to how leaks from the Liberal party seem to have ended recently as example. Something I read recently on American Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan is an example as well. Article stated 30 to 40% of returning Vets were being diagnosed as having mental illnesses. From the strict view being presented, that appears very severe, but from the perspective of someone with experience, they realize a significant amount of those represented by these figures already suffered from mental irregularities before they ever went overseas. So all is not as it appears in all cases, and sharing knowledge helps to expand our understanding.

So onward and upward fellow Troopers, if we build it, they will come.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Monetary union has left half of Europe trapped in depression

Events are moving fast in Europe. The worst riots since the fall of Communism have swept the Baltics and the south Balkans. An incipient crisis is taking shape in the Club Med bond markets. S&P has cut Greek debt to near junk. Spanish, Portuguese, and Irish bonds are on negative watch.

Thanks to Charlesius One for providing this link. As difficult as it is to read news like this, it is best if we do, even if we have to cover one eye and peek with the other. As for the Apocalypse guy Charlesius, he could scare the bejeepers out of Godzilla. I'm writing this from the closet.

Someone is a little Batty. Question is, who?

Kinsella defence says plaintiff cultivated links to 'outlaw state'

In a defamation suit that gets stranger by the day, the court learned of an alleged eco-terrorism plot involving bats, fruit flies and caves that was set to "wreak havoc" and lead to an ecological meltdown in North America.

You will have to copy each line of the link separately and paste it into a browser. Sorry, still working on that glitch.

Survey Says!

I have added a poll at the bottom of the blog. Scroll down to have a say.

This is a neat feature that Blogger offers, and I thought it would be a good way to find out what people are thinking. Suggestions for possible future polling questions are welcome too.

I've also taken a bit of time to familiarize myself with customizing the blog page, and will add features as we go along. I've got the counter now, so next project will be to link up with some of the aggregates I guess. I've been thinking progressive bloggers would be a decent fit, but am also considering Liberalsonline. That poses a question though.

Should a Centrist non partisan hook up with a group of self proclaimed Liberals? What do you think? Maybe I should post a poll on that too. That would be in keeping with digital democracy, right?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lisa Raitt's Town Hall Meeting

Inspired by Dee.

She posted a reference to this and then a link to Jennifer Smiths blog. Excellent blogger btw. Sharp and has a dry wit that I like. Below is a link to her second blog, Halton Watch and the entry of Jan 12th on Raitt's town hall meeting is there.

Why Halton you may wonder? Not like we haven't heard enough of that strange little burgh recently, wot? Well, read Jennifer's take on the meeting and the substance of it. It's pretty much self explanatory.

Now for a little commentary. Holding town halls and offering an exchange on issues of interest to the general public doesn't necessarily mean the conservatives intend to listen, but it sure does play well with the masses. Is The Group of One getting it? Could be.

Now on to Ignatieff briefly. Connecting with the street folk is something I have felt is a problem for him. I have stated this elsewhere and to his #1 organizer, but it appears to me they know better. Ok, I didn't run a successful political campaign against a badly divided right. Something for which the bows never seem to cease. But, I do have a sense for people, and while #1 organizer guy is busy kissing butt for bucks, the street people have 4 things they can associate to Iggy.

1. No democratic leadership convention.

2. When he talks publicly, he doesn't say anything or contradicts what he has said before. (Except Gaza)

3. He mimicked the conservatives on Gaza.

4. When he speaks publicly, he is very Stately and composed, while he is dodging giving meaningful answers and engaging in straight talk.

None of that has anything to do with spin, like the coalition issue. Them's the facts.

My impression of the Ignatieff camp so far, and I apologize if someone else has used this twist of Ignatieff's words first;

A Liberal if necessary, but not necessarily a Liberal

Gilligans Island

Before dropping off the edge of the World last evening, I thought about Gilligan's Island for some reason, and how our little community of cast aways had something in common with this theme.

We now have a similar number of followers and regular participants as there were cast aways on The Minnow. I guess all that leaves is for us to pick a persona.

I've got dibs on Gilligan.

For Herb. Who must have been held hostage somewhere in the 60's/70's.

Click the link, I have figured out how to get short links to post.

The Future

A submission by Dee.

I put a title to it, hope you don't mind Dee.

Now if you still don't 'get' what the Libs were trying to sell then I suggest you pray that your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren don't hold it against you for what is about to happen and what type of life or legacy you will be leaving behind for them.

We are living in a day and age where speed of things 'happening' are hitting us so fast, so fast. The U.S. economy is a perfect example. And as time progresses it will get faster.

Dion, a handful of Libs and the economists understood.

This is the last time I will ever mention the Green Shift. But I hope it explains to those of you who never 'got it' why I supported the plan. Needed tweaking, I won't argue with you there.

We needed to give ourselves and future generations the tools to keep up for what is to come.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Peter McKay, of the Clan McKay

One of these days I may just have a good rant about the old Nova Scotia / Newfoundland Tory Cartel, but for now I'll satisfy myself with some facts on Minister McKay actions. There is of course the relationship between Brian Mulroney, Frank Moores, Elmer McKay, Karl Heinz Schrieber, Air Bus, Thyssen Industries, Helicopters and Military equipment in general to consider as well.

That said, Minister McKay and co-horts have once again decided to go outside the country to purchase a significant amount of Military equipment as most of us know. Many are asking why? And rightfully so in my opinion.

From a Green Party release;

"Although Minister MacKay denies the shipbuilding contracts were destined for off-shore bidders, his denials were contradicted by Public Works Minister Christian Paradis who previously suggested that if Canadian built vessels for the Navy and Coast Guard were too expensive, he would buy them elsewhere, threatening thousands of Atlantic jobs. Meanwhile, MacKay has promised funding for Canadian shipbuilding, but he has fallen short of actually committing to building the required naval and coast guard vessels in Canada. Especially in the context of the economic downturn, these contracts must remain in Canada.

"Economic stimulus starts with spending taxpayers' dollars on made-in-Canada
purchases," said Ms. May. "We were promised a more responsible approach from
the government but it continues to export the good jobs in return for

As if carrying on this way isn't bad enough when times are good, these people forge ahead doling out contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars to foreign companies when we have the capacity to build these things here. Public Works Minister Christian Paradis also deserves due recognition here. He says if it costs to much to build them here, he would buy them elsewhere. Hasn't Minister Paradis heard of economic spin off? Or is that too complicated a concept? We have all heard of situations where governments, both federal and provincial allot large sums for questionable pet projects on the basis of economic spin off and not much else. Projects that haven't a hope in a warm place of making money on the strength of the project, yet they are justified by virtue of the overall benefit to surrounding communities. Well, duh!

The release above also talks briefly about the recent decision on the trucks for the Military. They don't go into much detail, but a consideration worth noting is that Trucks to be used for general purpose aren't all that difficult to build. A great number of the components are sourced from OEM manufacturers, such as International engines, and borg warner transmissions. Frames can be custom built in just about any fabrication facility worth it's salt and Cabs, wheels, electrical components etc. can also be sourced if a facility isn't set up to manufacture such things. Technical ability is no problem, and facilities abound. So Peter McKay of the Clan McKay really and truly hasn't much justification for his decisions affecting the big money. Except of course, big money.

How do you help Canada's most needy?

Besides the fact that it is January 16th, and Parliament resumes January 27th, and the Harper Government is still undecided on the economic moves they will make to help Canadians, the "Great Minds", seem to be focusing on personal tax cuts to help those who are most in need.

"We have to help the vulnerable and those affected most severely by the downturn. But you can't do that and leave the middle class to fend for itself. A program like that would not be successful," Harper said.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has said his budget would contain some form of tax cuts to spur spending.

But the final budget could depend upon the wishes of Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.

"There is a distinction between the kind of tax cuts that I favour, and the broader tax cuts that Harper and Flaherty are talking about," Ignatieff told reporters in Vancouver on Thursday. He said those tax cuts should be aimed at the "least fortunate."

Last week, Ignatieff said it's going to be very important to get stimulus into the Canadian economy fast.

"So we may be looking at tax cuts very quickly — tax cuts targeted at medium- and low-income [earners] to boost their purchasing power fast," he said.

In almost all cases I am in favor of tax cuts, but.. what taxes can they cut that would help the most vulnerable? If you are unemployed, an income tax cut isn't a great deal of help. In general, a further cut to GST isn't going to make great difference either. Unless they eliminate it altogether and there is little chance of that. So if their goal is in fact to stimulate spending and thus the economy overall, and to help the most vulnerable, what taxes could they be talking about that would achieve these things without further significant reduction of the Governments ability to fund the social net?

Something for Harper and Ignatieff to think about.

1. Low income earners have very little to no disposable income and do not engage in any significant amount of discretionary spending.

2. If you don't have a job, and even worse any EI benefits, what tax cuts are going to be of significant benefit?

3. If you cut income taxes for what politicians conceive as the middle class, isn't that going to result in even higher deficits or cuts to social spending ala Paul Martin?

4. When do you guys start pitching in and suffering a bit of the pain too, like ceasing and desisting with the PORK?

What do you get when you cross Dumbo with a Cod's Wallop?

John Baird.

Minister Baird is quoted recently as having said " the legislation is antiquated in that they protect tiny creeks.", in regards to changing the Environmental Assessment Process.

I wonder if Baird has ever walked the length of a tiny creek to see where it goes? I wonder if he paid attention in Science class when he was a kid and listened to discussions about how creeks flow into bigger creeks or rivers, and rivers into etc. etc.? I guess it depends on what you intend to construct on or over the creek, but that's where the the Green Parties position comes in. If you let those who do the development hire the people doing the Environmental assessment, just about anything can happen. I believe it is referred to as grease, in some circles.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Stock markets, Oil prices and misc doom and gloom

Just a few thoughts on the machinations of the wise and crafty wizards of the world of finance and related things.

My morning tour of usual haunts reveals the stock market ebbing again, gold down considerably from past weeks and oil prices tumbling. Financials are getting a bit of a drubbing as well. So what else is new eh?

Well, remember that little company called Zenn Motors? They are up, and actually have been up ever since Ontario's gov announced a plan to allow the LSV's on Ontario roads. Just thought I would give them a plug.

Besides that, Nortel stock has bounced 33% and trading heavily as of this a.m. Interestingly, the upward swing for both of these stocks is related to government actions. Given that at a quick glance, I couldn't find much else that was positive, I thought I would mention that small consideration. Anyone tinkering in or considering tinkering with stocks at the moment might want to be watchful for such things, and as evidenced recently, the effects of world events on certain commodities such as the price of oil. These are about the only avenues I have been able to identify which could actually show some short term profits in an ugly market. Zenn's stock went from about $2.00 a share to approx. $2.70 within a few days of the announcement.

I'm not advocating that anyone invest in the stock market, but for those with high risk tolerance, make of it what you will.

Then there is the more conventional and longer term safe route, which could encompass preying on the lower real estate prices. I wouldn't be in any hurry to jump into that though. Timing will be very important there. I drafted an Okie's survival plan some months ago while involved in the swirl of Garth's reports on the economy and didn't post it because I thought it might be a bit difficult for many to associate with. Particularly Garth's target audience. That being the households earning a minimum of $80,000 per annum. I had the sense that Garth had trouble associating with folks whose income levels were less than that. That could be a result of a number of things, but I would only be speculating.

I will dig up the draft and give it some fine tuning before posting it. Garth did address some of the suggestions I had in mind over time, but a number of them he didn't. Which brings me to my next consideration. That being how negative should we allow ourselves to be?

No reasonable thinking person, or person with significant business background could or should ignore what is going on around us, and especially in the US, but constantly dwelling on the negativity can't be good for a persons state of mind. Can it? Having kicked the can around for a while, and in a number of industries, past experience tells me that when the effects of the job losses in the US hit us full tilt, there is going to be a lot of impact. But on the upside, based on previous downturns, this one has sent out a letter of intent, and gives those paying attention a step up and time to make some preparations.

No one is hiding the truth now and even the Group of One has publicly acknowledged that the soup is going to thicken. Ok, they have had their coming out, and we hear the message. So for the geezers with the tweezers (PTDBD), it takes on considerations relative to them, and to the other age groups the same.

The main point I am trying to make here, is what should people do to prepare psychologically? There is only so much one can do to prepare financially, depending on ones circumstances, but what people do about how to address this in ones own mind is very important as well. We can succumb to the doom and gloom, and go a hunting for the nearest rabbit hole (Charesius), or we can give ourselves a not so gentle boot in rear and go in search of some positive thinking and considerations of how we might make a positive difference some how. I read something yesterday; somewhere in cyber land, I forget where, but it was a story about fear in the big city and exploding demand at food banks from the recently unemployed. Kind of a downer, until you read the whole story. It went on to say how a significant number of off duty fireman and police officers were donating their time and helping out at the all volunteer facility and by virtue of their efforts, the food bank was able to keep up with the heavy increase in demand.

That's just an example, as there are lot's of ways to help out. From creating credit counseling services, to working to organize co-oping for daycare. Services to help people with need for short term and occasional labor connect with those who are willing is another service that people could organize. There are many many ways that people can use their individual talents to help each other out, and to support their communities. Never know, people might even get a sense of community again, and actually come to know who their neighbors are and something about them. Some might even break through the carefully crafted barriers of mistrust that are associated with speaking in funny tongues, having a different colored skin or wearing funny clothes.

From this blog;

Comes a link to this blog and a very interesting post;

"In effect, the Israeli siege of Gaza has transformed the aid industry into one of Israel’s biggest exports—companies that would normally provide domestic services have become sources for foreign currency, which contributes to Israel’s overall economic strength and has already eliminated Israel’s trade deficit almost entirely."

Canada votes alone for Israel

"OTTAWA–Canada stood alone before a United Nations human rights council yesterday, the only one among 47 nations to oppose a motion condemning the Israeli military offensive in Gaza."

And then this;

UN Headquarters in Gaza hit by Israeli artillery.

I came across the article from the Star last evening while perusing the winged monkeys site looking for targets. In keeping with the usual theme over there, they were voicing support for der Party and it's position. No surprise there. I had to take some time to digest this, and try to analyze it rationally so I could make an attempt to write about it rationally. This morning, just before starting to write, I discovered the second article.

There is a lot to say, and I will start with kind of an odd thought, a line from our National Anthem;

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. Question. Is that what our government is doing? Are they standing up for Canada and the values of Canadians? I know this issue has a great deal of varied opinions and views attached, but should we not look at the opinions being voiced around the World and be very serious when considering our government stood alone amidst 47 countries with it's position to oppose the UN motion? Are they so busy hunkered down with the billionaires and seeing visions of gold dancing in their heads, that they didn't notice even the Bushbots have stood aside in their unfettered support of Israels actions?

O Canada. O CPC Lords, I cannot help but feel you have lost your way, and you are dragging the rest down with you.

Then comes the news of yet another aggression against a UN facility, and not a minor outpost this time either. Perusing some of the disaffected Liberals blogs this a.m. reveals some who are questioning the sanity of Israel's Mr. Olmert. Not sure if they had heard about the UN headquarters yet. I didn't see any mention of it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Trunk Monkeys (Best damn laugh I've had in weeks)

Many thanks to Charleius, the artist formerly known as Oxley. If this works, it will be the best entry yet! Opens in it's own window.

Ok Ok, this is cranky. Just copy the link and paste it into your browser.

Conclusions, convolutions, revolutions and regurgitations

Submitted by poppavox

The answer to the question. What if deficit spending doesn`t work.
Baird; It`s better to do something than nothing.
Question, what if it doesn`t work?
Baird changed channels to the American situation which has to recover before ours does.
Conclusion, it`ll flop, better to do nothing than the wrong thing and government even knows what the right thing to do is.
economic conditions will force the changes required

Quebec father asks court to clarify parental rights

12-year-old girl got a lawyer after father cancels trip

This may be of interest to those who have children and or grandchildren. As things now stand, there are many variations in the interpretations of parental rights. In the case of Children whose parents are not together and where custodial parents are held to different standards than parents of Children who remain together, who suffers the most?

Anyone with significant experience in parenting teens realizes that modern parents are faced with an increasingly disproportionate amount of vague and ever changing criteria that threatens both structure in the Children's lives as well as structure within the home environment as a whole. Reactions to situations like this one will vary for sure, as some will agree it was excessive and others will support the parents decision. Which brings me to the question, who has a right to say? This isn't polygamy, or even a case of corporal punishment. It is simply a case of a parents choice of means to guide or exercise control of a Child's acknowledgment and compliance with parental guidance. Isn't it?

Then there is the consideration of great variances when it comes to the State involving itself in these matters. When it is a case of a Child in the custody of a person addicted to drugs and there is no other upstanding member of society offering full time care for the Child, then the system goes to great lengths to keep that Child with the parent. Having discussed this issue with people who have had lengthy direct experience, and having read of a number of cases where Government Agencies have turned a blind eye so to speak, I am left to wonder how a parent is to know what to do?

Would it be fair to assume that confused parents would only heighten the confusion of the Children?

The Good Ship Nortel has hit a berg

"Shares in Nortel were halted on the TSX, but were down 24.5 per cent on Tuesday, worth 38.5 cents on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

At their peak, and before another more recent consolidation, Nortel shares hit $124.50 on the TSX in July, 2000."

Two days ago, ex Deputy Prime Minister John Manley had this to say;

"Despite the threat, Nortel officials such as former federal finance minister John Manley are putting on a brave face.

"I think all of the bad stuff is behind us," said Manley, who is on the company's board of directors and said it is focused on building its future.

"Nortel has been our Canadian flagship. It has history, it has thousands of patents, and that's the kind of thing it's very hard to create ... and when you've got it, you really need to do everything you can to preserve it," he added."

Ok, I get it. I guess. Don't panic??

Silencing the voices of dissent

Something is bothering me. Over the course of the recent election campaign, I was disenchanted with Liberal Party strategy and my instincts told me that the Green Shift policy was a political time bomb and it's introduction was in effect, going to hand the election to the CPC. It seemed to me that any politically astute person should see that. It certainly appears that my instincts were correct. Couple this with the difficulties of selling Mr. Dion, and a united Right and I could see no chance for Liberals to form a government.

As I searched for a place to hang my ideological hat, I perused Green Party sites looking for a venue similar to where open exchange was taking place. I did not find such a thing, but was informed that only Green Party members were allowed to post on the blogs. I wasn't very impressed and this in itself was enough to keep me from buying a membership in their party, even though I agree with many of their policies and overall outlook. The fact that I didn't receive a response to an email I sent to Elizabeth May didn't help either.

I can't find any comfort zone with the NDP, as Jack Laytons style, ideas and methods are inconsistent and seem to lack realistic basis and are opportunistic. So that pretty much leaves them at the gate in my mind.

The CPC have of course developed a working machine that outright destroys independent positions and that is no place for a free thinker. Which brings me back to my main point of silencing the voices of dissent.

I came up with a small list of campaign cuties a while back when Comrade Herb asked for a slogan that could be used against the CPC in the near future. I came up with a number of them, but the one I think I like best is this;

"The Group of One". Very Canadian, don't you think?

But there was something else nagging at the back of my mind. This was around the time of Ignatieff's rise to the Liberal throne and I was having some difficulty reconciling in my mind that there was a great difference here between the two entities. So I also came up with a gem for them;

"Lefibrillators". Heh Heh. Me make much mischief. The essence of the thought was related to injecting some juice into a dying entity and of course a reference to acknowledgment of past sins.

In recent days there has been much discussion about the Liberal Party moving to the right under Mr. Ignatieff's camps guidance. Many previously dissenting voices have shuffled about and some are calling themselves such things as "disaffected Liberal". The situation in Gaza seems to have ripped open a hole in the tenuous mesh that was holding the left and right camps together under the big tent and having read many sources of differing opinions on this recently, I am rather perplexed. I have a sense that dissenting voices are not welcome, and there is no willingness to hear them either.

Something I have tried to convey to the Liberal establishment whenever an opportunity arose was the concept that like many others, I don't owe them my allegiance or my vote. They have to earn it.

What say you Comrades?

Government, what is it good for

Our first submission. From Got Rope;

Comrade One said...
We who are old, and supposedly wise, have a responsibility to speak softly, and make best efforts to assist younger minds to understand that all that glitters, is not gold.
Government, what is it good for
Sung to the music of War.
By got rope?
We are leaving the younger generation a mountain of problems. How the government will justify starting them out on the climb from a collapsing hole from deficit spending will be a challenge not even the huge government propaganda machine will not nullify.
We know massive deficit spending will have no influence on our situation, or globally, it will only deepen the hole while propping up a failed system.
Yet the government, with incredible arrogance will continue to push ahead with an even bigger mistake than ignoring the 1998 report `For the Sake of the Children`. I was in on the team that exhibited the data and studies and warned them youth problems would increase exponentially. Their response was to tell the police to stop arresting our youths and they pushed forward until we now have a generation outnumbered by seniors and increasing `real` crime rates, possible hyper-inflation with new massive deficit spending collapsing the hole and much more.
I suspect my experience with this broken system should garner a little consideration so I`ll repeat, deficit spending has one purpose, to prop up a failed system that has failed for decades.
The government will stop at nothing to protect themselves, from cooking the crime rate stats to massive deficit spending and more, including leaving nothing but bills and problems to future generations.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

BMO buying AIG Life of Canada

BMO buying AIG Life of Canada for $375M

"AIG Life of Canada has about 300 employees and 400,000 customers. Bloomberg said the business posted about $571.4 million in revenue through the first six months of 2008."

In what seems a positive move, a Canadian Bank is to acquire a significant part of American International Group Inc. Should this be seen as a positive sign for Bank liquidity? Given Minister Flaherty's recent comments and efforts, are we beginning to see some reaction from the Banking and Investment community representative of these efforts?

Olmert Says He Made Rice Change Vote

I said, ‘Get me President Bush on the phone,’ ” Mr. Olmert said in a speech in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, according to The Associated Press. “They said he was in the middle of giving a speech in Philadelphia. I said I didn’t care: ‘I need to talk to him now,’ ” Mr. Olmert continued. “He got off the podium and spoke to me.

I found this to be interesting and it raised some questions, beginning with, what was he thinking? Was his intent to elevate his political stature within his own country and community or was he being a tad spiteful? Or other? Certainly speaking out as he did, makes one wonder.

New Beginnings

Hello all. It begins.

I have just completed setting up a simple blog, and I'm sure I will have a lot more work to do to bring it up to a standard close to what we were used to at That said, I am hoping that all who are interested in an effort to provide a comfortable venue for those who used to post on Garth's political and current affairs blog, will drop a line and sign their offering with their old handles.

It will take a while to establish some guidelines, but one of the aims will be to temper flaming and eliminate cussing at each other. Some having been more guilty than others. Who me?

One objective I think worthy to work toward, is encouraging those who would like to submit their own entries/topics to be posted. If things work out somewhat similarly to past blog topics, there will be an open exchange of thoughts and concerns that are not always related to the topic of the day or the hour.

Let me know what you think Comrades. Everyone is welcome as long their purpose isn't to cultivate hatred toward others.