Friday, January 30, 2015

A call to arms. We're going head first and at full speed down the slippery slope.

My blood is absolutely boiling. Some days, I have hope, today is not one of those days. Today I am sick to my stomach, getting sicker and sicker with each and every bullshit propaganda filled quote that came out of Harper's mouth.

Whether you're a conservative, a liberal, or NDP, or Green or whatever listen up because I really want you to think about what I have to say next. Reading many of the comments on news articles I see a lot of Harper supporters with blind faith this is good. It's good because Harper did it. Their trust and faith in Harper's intentions provide a blanket of security and ignorance to the slippery slope we're now on. So I'd like to ask you, Harper supporters, how would you feel about this bill if Justin Trudeau were to pass it? How well do you trust the Canadian institution as a whole that is repeatedly caught lying on both the "left" and "right" sides of the government? How would you feel about these laws being on the books if Trudeau were to take power, or the evil socialist Thomas Muclair? As conservatives often like to quote: most brutal dictatorships start under socialism and they use these types of laws to accomplish their task, don't they?

I ask these things because these laws represent a vote in confidence in not just the current state of the system, but all future states as well. Laws like these don't come off the books once they're on, how confident are you that if Harper doesn't use these laws for malicious purposes no one in the future will either?

Liberals and NDPers, how confident are you that Trudeau or Muclair would advocate these laws are repealed? The "war on terror" and using spies on American citizens, such as during Occupy, has continued apace under Obama. All of Obama's anti-war rhetoric has vanished now that he has power, overseeing the overthrow of multiple governments and plunging the Middle East into chaos as a result. Remember that the anti-terror slippery slope began in Canada under majority Liberal rule. How confident are you this system won't be used against you?

Am I mad at the Harper government? You bet. But honestly, Canadians, I'm much more mad at you. I'm mad that you didn't protest and call the government to task over it's support of the Libyan rebels, which were heavily co-opted by al-Qaeda of Iraq and the Levant. You might have heard of them, they now go by the name ISIS. Funny how we didn't have a problem with their barbarism then huh? No, we were too busy eating up the mainstream media's bullshit and felt it was our duty to deliver the Libyans freedom from Gadaffi because our media told us so. Thank god we did that huh? Yup, us Canadians can pat ourselves on the back knowing we saved those people from Gadaffi and all it cost was the rise of ISIS and the destruction of Libyan lives.

I'm mad at you for believing our media's bullshit about Assad. For years he claimed he was fighting not rebels but brutal al-Qaeda terrorists. Canadians en-masse bought into it and blamed him for "bombing his own people". Turns out he was right, now our planes and soldiers are over there bombing and shooting "at his own people". We kill with impunity and no sense of remorse, rather we kill with a sense of entitlement that only we shall do the killing.

I am mad at you Canadians for allowing the G20 investigations to go down in a farce of utter disappointment where the only cop charged doesn't even have to go to prison and both the Liberals and the Conservatives want Bill BLiar as an MP who stood on national T.V. and claimed some nerd's LARP weapons were evidence of a "vast criminal conspiracy" to justify his flagrant disregard of Canadian law and the spirit of freedom itself. No criminal conspiracy was ever proven and all evidence has now been shown to be unrelated, or outright lies. The martial law imposed on downtown Toronto though was very real.

What's that? yes, that's right, both parties want this lying scumbag fascist rights violating Blair which shouldn't be surprising as he's been protected by the system the entire time, he is a man of the cloth. I don't care what political team you play for I've got news for you: like sports political teams trade players too there is no such thing as ideological loyalty. Your political parties are bullshit, wake the fuck up.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, G20 was a glimpse into the future, a test run, a training exercise and a social experiment. Our failure to bring those who orchestrated the G20 security demonstration is now escalating in to these new anti-terror laws. Then it will escalate further of course because we will fail as a people to reject these now too. Your votes are a sham, you can not vote out fascism and no marijuana law will compensate for that, it's populist bullshit.

A vote for the Liberals, or the Conservatives (as for as I know the NDP don't want him) is a vote for people who believe what Bill Blair, Fantino, CSIS and Harper did to 1000 innocent Canadians was A'Ok and are not concerned with the fact that he was able to lie with a straight face on national television, slander the character of innocent citizens with falsified evidence, and get away with it. In fact that's probably why they want him. That is the sort of people given power with these new anti-terror laws does anyone honestly believe they won't abuse laws on the books when they believe in someone who was enforcing and mass arresting people based on a law that didn't even exist?

I am hopping fucking mad at you Canadians for standing idly by and allowing this to happen. This country is in critical need of a revolution but now realize that calling for such a thing is terrorist speech. These laws are not about protecting you or the nation of Canada, it is about protecting the government, protecting the status quo, protecting the business elite from what they suspect is soon going to be a very, very, disgruntled population as the euphoria from 7 years of hocus pocus economics wears off.

There is a reason police in Canada have a "higher standard" of proof required before they can destroy and interrupt someone's life: long ago when we were a somewhat free society we knew that that right was essential to prevent a slide into tyranny. There is no government in history that felt it necessary to "lower the standard of proof" for a good reason. They're all corrupt, tyrannical. It is this very reasoning that is one of the cornerstones to what has now become a very distorted view of ourselves that we're so moral, ethical and fucking great. Not any longer, though I imagine as with everything else we'll continue to believe in our own myths of exceptionalism.

Between the mass data collection (which is so massive it doesn't actually allow you to "prevent" anything) and laws like this the stage is now set for the government to target anyone they please. The mass data collection doesn't lend itself very well to detection and prevention, it does however lend itself well to pulling up a ton of data on a target once that target is created. With the scale of data retention you could basically build a case against anyone when the standards for building that case are so flimsy. Everyone gets mad, I'm sure everyone has posted something that could be misconstrued or manipulated into whatever they want. LARP WEAPONS!!! VAST CRIMINAL TERRORIST CONSPIRACY!!! Get the picture?

This post is a call to arms, a call for all Canadians to stand together against tyranny and the continued degradation of freedom itself. Not much can be done about this short of mass protests, but I don't see that happening. My next best suggestion, something I have been and will be continuing to do personally so long as I'm not arrested on "terrorism related charges" is to include the hashtag #AttackCanada in each and every tweet. The purpose being to shine a light on the truly arbitrary nature of the words themselves and to remind people that in our society people are punished for crimes after they commit them because it is the action and not the thought that is criminal. For once I'm asking everyone to join me in doing this and to spread this post and join my "campaign" such as it is, unless you have a better idea because I'm all out.

If the thought of joining me strikes fear in you, then perhaps that is reason enough to look deep inside yourself and this country and ask should Canadians doing nothing wrong at all be afraid of their government? A people afraid of their government is not a free people, are they? I choose to show no fear.

It is not a crime to say "I'm going to rob a bank". It is a crime to rob a bank. It isn't even a crime to say I'm going to kill someone (though you may be investigated, and hospitalized for a mental disorder). Not to be confused with telling someone you're going to kill them, then it's a threat.

Pre-crime is thought-crime. Even if someone boards a plane intending to join a "terrorist organization" they may arrive and decide against it. They may meet someone on the plane who changes their worldview. Just as many of these supposed "Jihadists" converted to Islam maybe they convert back. My point is that until they actually do join the group they haven't done anything wrong and the chance exists they won't (I'm using "wrong" loosely as the "right/wrong" of everything in the bullshit 14 year 'war on terror' is highly questionable). This is the difference between "us" supposedly and "them". It's an important distinction.

The ball is in our court; it always has been.

Addendum

Here is why open-ended expansionary "anti-terror" law just isn't a good idea:
Mocking Jordan's monarch is a criminal offence punishable by prosecution in a military court, but when King Abdullah of Jordan (pictured above with the French president, Fran├žois Hollande) attended the demonstration on January 11th in Paris to express support for free speech in the wake of the Paris attack, some found ridicule hard to suppress. How could he march in defence of freedom of expression abroad, they asked, when he is such a serial abuser of that freedom at home? Last June he expanded the remit of an anti-terrorism law to include public criticism of the king or his allies. His spooks trawl social media for dissenting Jordanians to arrest. On December 18th the deputy leader of Jordan's branch of the Muslim Brotherhood was tried before military judges for a colourful posting on his Facebook page denouncing Jordan's allies in the Emirates. Salafi preachers who decline to opine in favour of coalition attacks on Islamic State are sent back to jail. "Everyone in Jordan is assumed to be a terrorist until proven innocent," says an embittered Islamist.


 

Never forget what this government is capable of...


Or the system we operate under...




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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The terrorist in you

Oh yea, this is great. Great great great. Look at Canada now eh?
The bill is expected to include provisions to allow "preventative arrests" and criminalize the "promotion of terror" -- measures law enforcement has indicated would help detain potential terrorists before a crime is actually committed.

Asked to explain how the government will criminalize the promotion of terrorism, Blaney said the Criminal Code already contains provisions on "supporting hatred or violence."

"It is really criminal to incite terror, to support terrorism or to encourage to use violence to achieve your means," Blaney said.
I hope you people see what's going on here because this is downright scary shit. Before a crime is commited. Pre-crime. Thought crime. Speech crime. Notice the double language here, it's before a crime is committed but allegedly you're committing a crime. Who defines what is terrorism? Is "eco-terrorism" terrorism? Hmm, who are the terrorists exactly? If I post The Offspring's 'Kill the president', am I now a terrorist? Is my blog a terrorist blog because I believe in extreme circumstances violence does have to be used to get out from under tyrannical rule? A belief I'm pretty sure the government shares does it not?


Oh here's another one.
Existing law requires a fear that someone “will commit” a terrorism offence before a peace bond may be granted — a standard the government is looking to lower in the legislation.
Like what in the great white fucking fuck people? I just.. ugh..




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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Greece, central banks, and the real life idiocracy

I love the movie Idiocracy it was simply brilliant. If you haven't seen it you really should. One aspect of the movie really marks a parallel to the events happening in Greece now though. *Spoiler Alert*.

In the movie the protagonist ultimately has to complete the mission of getting the plants to grow. The entire world has been suffering from a great dust storm and no plants will grow anywhere no matter what they try. He discovers the problem is that two hundred years or so ago the corporation Brawndo took over the FDA and was basically then able to say anything they liked about the product that they wanted. They proceeded to tell the public that Brawndo is what plants crave and eventually convinced them to "water" their plants with Brawndo because "it's got electrolytes".


The protagonist manages to convince them to try using water instead and assures them if they use water "like from the toilet" and not Brawndo the plants will grow. But something unexpected happened, what was clearly a very needed and necessary action had a very negative effect on the stock market.

It turns out that as Brawndo grew larger and larger it consumed more and more companies and at current employs like half the US. Demand for Brawndo crashes, their stock tanks, and everyone is out of work as the "auto fire thingie" in their company's computer executes.

I think you get the idea, everyone gets mad, etc. What does this have to do with Greece you may be wondering? Well...
ATHENS, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Leftist Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras threw down an open challenge to international creditors on Wednesday by halting privatisation plans agreed under the country's bailout deal, prompting a third day of heavy losses on financial markets.
A swift series of announcements signalled the newly installed government would stand by its anti-austerity pledges, setting it on a collision course with European partners, led by Germany, which has said it will not renegotiate the aid package needed to help Greece pay its huge debts.
Tsipras, who was congratulated by U.S. President Barack Obama in a phone call for his decisive election victory on Sunday, told the first meeting of his cabinet members that they could not afford to disappoint voters battered by a plunge in living standards under austerity.
After announcing a halt to the privatisation of the port of Piraeus on Tuesday, for which China's Cosco Group and four others had been short-listed, the government indicated it would put the whole programme on hold.

It said it would stop the sale of stakes in the Public Power Corporation of Greece, Greece's biggest utility, and refiner Hellenic Petroleum, and put other planned asset sales of motorways, airports and the power grid on ice.

The government also plans to reinstate public sector employees judged to have been laid off unfairly, including a group of finance ministry cleaners whose case attracted publicity last year, and announced rises in pensions for retired people on low incomes.

Uncertainty over the new government's relations with the European Union went beyond economic policy. A day before the EU is expected to extend sanctions against Russia for six months, Greece's energy minister said the country was against sanctions. Athens had already dissented over a joint statement from the bloc on Ukraine on Tuesday.

Tsipras, who met Russia's ambassador to Athens on Monday and the Chinese envoy the next day, told ministers that the government would not seek "a mutually destructive clash" with creditors. But he warned that Greece would not back down from demanding a renegotiation of debt.

"We are coming in to radically change the way that policies and administration are conducted in this country," he said.

Financial markets have taken fright. Greek bank stocks plummeted more than 26 percent on Wednesday, taking their cumulative losses since the election to over 40 percent.

The overall Athens stock market fell over 9 percent, while Greek five-year government bond yields hit around 13.5 percent. This marked their highest level since a 2012 restructuring which wrote off a large proportion of Greek debt held by private investors.


Reflecting the concern, Standard and Poor's cut its outlook on Greek sovereign debt to negative from stable.

Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis sought to reassure markets, saying private investors would be taken into account when the administration implements actions, but the business world remained sceptical.

"You've got a government that's anti-privatisations, so I think all privatisations will be put on hold," said one industry banker, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "The reality is, if you're a new owner, do you want to have a government who doesn't like you? Best to move on to the next thing."
Greece embodies the modern feudalism I talk about often on here. Every western nation will one day be like Greece as their ponzi-conomies, infinite growth, the demands of the people, the greed of the elite, the limits of the earth, collide in an epic frenzy of revolutionary awesomeness. The media is emphasizing the label of "leftist" despite the fact that SYRZIA formed a coalition government with a right-wing party. I'm neither left or right, but the media's insistence to label this party as "leftist" rather than what they truly are: anti-feudalism, and anti-usury, is telling in the need for division. Usury and feudalism, eternal debt servitude, is what the Greeks were facing and they've had enough and this coalition government for once reflects the wills of the Greek people as a government should. The Greeks are united in their desires so division must be inserted into the situation and kept within the false left/right paradigm of party politics.

This is a great development, but don't be fooled for this is not a victory but merely the start of the war. Greece still exists within the ponzi-conomy of Europe and it's debts still exist. Like the characters in Idiocracy there are likely to be some very unexpected developments as the house of cards their economy depends on comes crashing down. Already their stocks are dropping, and there are serious questions how the country will fund itself. They're being downgraded by credit rating agencies. If the debt that the European Union and the IMF have put upon them can't be paid in Euro's (which they have to borrow from the ECB), and the EU and the bondholders are not willing to swallow the debt in a jubilee, then the Greeks will have no choice but to default, leave the Euro, and return to their own currency.

This is the correct path forward for the Greeks to have any future, just as in Idiocracy the correct path forward was to give the plants water, but an entire system of man-made bullshit was built up upon the lie of Brawndo, or in the Greek's case that they're "lazy", which supported an infinite growth debt ponzi-scheme. As the people worked in their own best interest this ponzi-scheme which may have been vital to the "operation" of day to day life but was ultimately killing them collapsed and the short term pain was shocking. In Idiocracy the people blame the protagonist for causing the destruction unable to comprehend that the destruction of the flawed corrupted system designed to benefit the few at the expense of the many had to collapse before something new could be built to replace it. The hardships were endured, they created new jobs for themselves, and life went on. Facing reality became more important than faking prosperity.

Electrolytes are that fake prosperity in this analogy. 2% inflation targets. An ECB that is engaging in "QE" of it's own to supposedly battle deflation while at the same time demanding Greece essentially deflate it's own economy and sell everything it has that the people paid for and built. The long overused promises of growth and prosperity from asset bubbles.

Absolutely if the new Greek government goes ahead with it's planned reforms with no alternative plan for financing (though it does look like they're eyeing 'team Eurasia' for that) their economy will collapse. But it needs to collapse, they need to default. The government needs to introduce a sound money policy which will help to realize their real wealth and rebuild with reality at the forefront. With little in the way of resources this won't be easy for Greece and they may very likely turn on the government working in their favour as the short term effects cloud the long term vision though with what the Greek people have been through in the last 7 years I feel like they're ready to face it head on, they know the stakes, and they've got nothing left to lose.

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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

Silly citizens, NAFTAs are for corporations

NAFTA probe of Alberta's tailings ponds blocked
Representatives of the Canadian government, along with Mexico and the United States, on Tuesday passed a resolution behind closed doors to stop the Commission for Environmental Cooperation from looking into whether the federal government is failing to enforce the Fisheries Act. 
Two environmental groups and three private citizens had asked the commission to investigate whether tailings ponds were leaking into nearby rivers and creeks in northern Alberta. 
Allowing toxic material to get into water is against the federal Fisheries Act. The commission secretariat agreed last year there was a case, and told all three countries it wanted to go ahead with an investigation, called a factual record.

"It's disappointing," said Dale Marshall of Environmental Defence, one of the groups that asked for the investigation.

"It shows that the Canadian government is willing to circumvent institutions that make sure Canada upholds environmental laws."

It's the third time in a year Canada has successfully stopped NAFTA's scrutiny of its environmental behaviour. In 2014, with Mexico's support, it stopped investigations into polar bear protection and B.C. salmon farms.

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation was set up under the North American Free Trade Agreement to make countries follow their own environmental laws.

But this time, its reasons for not looking into tailings ponds are legal not environmental.

Canada originally tried to stop the investigation by saying there was an ongoing legal case into the tailings ponds by a private citizen in Alberta. The rules say if that's happening, the NAFTA watchdog can't conduct its own case.

However, the Fort McMurray, Alta. man behind that legal action told The Canadian Press he considered the matter closed, and the appeal period on the suit ended last fall.

Despite assurances from their own secretariat staff that the Alberta case had been dropped, Mexico and the United States sided with Canada and agreed a lawsuit could potentially still go ahead.

"Accordingly, the secretariat should have proceeded no further in its analysis and terminated the submission," said the written decision by the council instructing its staff "not to prepare a factual record with respect to this submission."
NAFTA was never meant to ensure countries follow their own environmental laws, quite the contrary, NAFTA was setup to ensure corporations and their operations are protected from the country making laws in favour of it's own citizens that may negatively affect the profit or operations of the corporation such as environmental laws. Of course all 3 "committee members" voted against it: silly citizens, NAFTAs are for corporations.

Click here to recommend this post on progressivebloggers.ca and help other people find this information.

Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Update-1: Sorry folks, "the recovery has been delayed until the end of next year"

Another year of non-recovery now 7 years on from the "great recession" which it seems few remember was caused by a combination of Wall-Street and financial elite exuberance and hubris, derivative trading, and most importantly $147 / barrel oil which quickly ate through the middle class's credit as bank breaking high gas prices made scooters an appealing mode of transportation.

Today the Bank of Canada lowered it's overnight lending rate "unexpectedly" (for some people it seems, not for anyone who is well aware that Canada's one trick pony of extreme energy production known as the oilsands has now become completely reliant on these low rates just as U.S. energy production has) and also declared "the recovery has been delayed until the end of next year". Yup, delayed again, fancy that eh?
The Group of Seven’s biggest crude exporter is already feeling the effects of crude oil dropping below $50 a barrel, as companies such as Calgary-based Suncor Energy Inc. reduce staffing and investment. The central bank said today said the economic recovery will be delayed until the end of next year and the needed rotation from indebted consumers to growth fueled by business spending is less certain. 
Of course everyone is pointing to the decline in oil prices as the culprit for why the "recovery" has been delayed (this time) completely ignoring the fact that no recovery can happen with expensive energy prices either. But here is the best part: "needed rotation from indebted consumers to growth fueled by business spending is less certain". This has been a central theme on this blog, for all the talk of how "strong" the Canadian economy is and how well we "weathered the storm of the recession" very little attention is being paid to the fact that the way in which Canada decided to "weather the storm" was by pumping up it's own housing bubble to extents beyond even where America's debt-to-income ratio was in 2007 which has provided the illusion of a "growing middle class".

Of course try and tell Canadians that their housing is in a bubble and you're quite likely to get an earful of the talking points they've heard on TV. "It hasn't happened yet" or "something, something something, stable banks and regulations and Jim Flaherty". Most Canadians still believe our banks don't engage in the same sort of derivative trading that has destabilized the financial world and prevented true wealth and price discovery to take hold as in the U.S. where as in reality there is no difference in terms of their operations.

Canada's ability to weather the storm can be chalked up to nothing more than circumstantial chance and the fact that our housing bubble has been buoyed by abnormally expensive energy, and the velocity of the increase in the price of oil (not the price itself, see: When it comes to #oilsands a stable price is a low price no matter how high it is), as well as an accommodative interest rate policy meant to encourage more lending to supposedly "boost inflation" (in reality to prevent a collapse of the credit market as old debt requires new currency to pay off as there is always more principal + interest owing than there is currency to pay it in our "growth" oriented ponziconomy).


It's very simple to understand why whether with high oil prices, or "low" oil prices, the "economic recovery" just isn't going to happen and that is because what we now refer to today as a low price of oil was extremely high just 10 years ago in 2005, the year that conventional peak oil occurred and thus the world faces a growth conundrum in that consumption requires a cheap price (not an expensive price which is relatively cheap) and that production requires a relatively more expensive price far beyond the sustainable price of consumption. Looking at historical economic situations won't provide any answers for growth today. Today things are different.

It's almost hilarious, if it weren't so sad, that even though North America is screaming about how this "cheap price" is too cheap to support extreme oil production on one hand, then on the other the same people are saying "peak oil doesn't exist, that it was a hoax". T. Boone Pickens the U.S. oil tycoon certainly believes and understands peak oil, and the media talking heads certainly don't.

It is not a coincidence that since 2005 the price of oil skyrocketed. It is not a coincidence that since the price of oil triggered the beginning of the collapse of the U.S. (and western) economies (yes this is only the beginning still) growth has been at a standstill despite the historically lowest and prolonged emergency interest rates ever. These facts are just glossed over in your daily media as the tiring mantra of "recovery" is front and center. For everyone but the richest 0.1% there isn't ever going to be a recovery as your wealth is based on a return on your work, and their wealth is created by being close to the source of inflation.

Anyone can be a "job creator" when practically free currency is "loaned" to them. The magic and entitlement to free currency the "job creators" proclaim is based on the absurd idea that nobody but them can create jobs. I could hire numerous graphic artists and bloggers to write these posts I make and do a much better job of it then I do and maybe even a few people would see value in that but overall none of the jobs I created would be generating new wealth. They'd be paid by loans, I'd pay the loans by taking out new loans so I could roll over the old loans, and so on. Job creation? Yes. wealth creation? no. So when you see "job creation" being touted as a sign of economic health remember that those jobs are simply existing on the fumes of wealth generated prior to 2005, the year of conventional peak oil, and on borrowing from the future with no chance it can ever be repaid robbing our children and grand children of their inherited wealth. They will be left with nothing, and nobody really seems to care.

The only peak oil hoax is the hoax that relying more and more on extreme low quality, low EROEI energy production can ever hope to reproduce the wealth and prosperity experienced in the lead up to 2005. Instead what we're getting are empty promises, year after year, "the recovery will take hold for main street next year". Next year the recovery will be delayed again, the year after it will be delayed again, and each and every year the real economy on the ground, the one that feeds you and me, will continue to deteriorate. You don't have to be an economist to know that, in fact it's probably better that you're not, all you have to do is realize the return we're getting on energy today pales in comparison to the returns of yesterday and that prosperity is not growth and growth is not prosperity; they are mutually exclusive. It is only the excess energy bounty which has allowed for both growth and prosperity to occur simultaneously.

We have entered the great deflation of the biggest bubble ever blown by central bankers in history. The banks themselves are out of ammo and Canada will soon join them as we don't have very far to fall now to 0% interest rates, and then negative interest rates. Worrying about what the financial landscape is going to look like when interest rates finally do rise is pointless as by the time banks are forced to raise them bigger economic stability troubles will be on our doorstep. Low rates have now become normal, and required, for the continued stability of the western poonziconomies and so long as some form of illusion of financial stability is maintained they will remain low for that reason. For the last few years economists and the Bank of Canada have been continuously warning about the "imminent" rate hikes and I've called bullshit on them every time. Not a hard call to make when you understand the fundamentals of a market adverse to the reality of fundamentals.

Those in charge of course are not as stupid as they appear, they're well aware of all of this and it's again no coincidence that despite the public reasons proclaimed for their policy choices all of the policy choices from monetary to security reflect this deterioration.

The explosion of "terrorism" is also a part of this. Frankly if you believe that the operation carried out with military precision and ice-cold-blooded murder at the Charlie Hebdo office was done by some early twenties kids who went for a few months of Jihadist training (and not western intelligence lead mercenaries as many foreign politicians are claiming) and you're now calling for more security, more surveillance, and denouncing the Muslims then you're playing right into the system's hands and you're so far gone I doubt I can help you. Everywhere I turn now I see "suspected homegrown terrorists arrested". charged with.. traveling, or "sympathizing with terrorism". Free speech be damned I guess as we all rally around supposed free speech. No it's only free speech, protected speech, when you're saying what the system likes to hear. I was reading some letters to the editor yesterday on the subject in the National Post and the opinions of the "tolerant Canadians" are downright scary. If you want to understand how the German people could allow the rise of Hitler look no further than the kneejerk fear oriented reactions of your fellow citizens.

Here are a few excerpts but pretty well every single letter is equally disturbing in their blind faith that terrorism is what we're being told it is on TV, notice how all of the talking points are just regurgitation of the junk heard on TV:
Canada has done a very good job to date of intercepting and stopping terrorist attacks at home. Our military has done yeoman’s service overseas and continues to make a very solid contribution. It is time, however, to take the kid gloves off and start arresting and rounding up all those known to be planning domestic or overseas terror attacks, as well as those who mentor, encourage and finance such attacks.John Moodie, Bobcaygeon, Ont.
The Harper government has already taken a step in the right direction by strengthening the powers of CSIS to closely monitor the activities of militant Islamists. CSIS should be in close liaison with border security and the RCMP to prevent known terrorists or their supporters from entering Canada in the first
place. If they leave Canada, every effort should be made to prevent radicalized potential terrorists from returning. Canadians must also report any suspicious behaviour or activity to the authorities. Educate the public, including school children, on how not to fall into the terrorist trap.
Fred Perry, Surrey, B.C.
Canada should rearm to both defend ourselves and project power to confront the likes of ISIS. We are a shadow of our former selves. Our RCAF contribution to the ISIS war is laudable but almost invisible. Long forgotten are the days when the RCN was the world’s third-largest fleet, and one in every five soldiers landing in Normandy was Canadian. Canada is uniquely qualified to field highly trained, bilingual specialty forces to confront militant Islam’s barbarians. We only need public willingness to man up for this decades-long task.Francis Patrick Jordan, White Rock, B.C.
There are many, many, many, more just like these calling for roundups, praising the surveillance state which it seems few remember that intelligence agencies have far more power than they were ever letting on thanks to the Edward Snowden leaks, yet apparently they need even more. The insanity has reached all new extremes. We're now going back and charging regular criminals as terrorists (now that it's popular to do so) because they supposedly were trying to aid a terrorist group or some other fucking bullshit none of which will ever be proven and could easily be fabricated in our kangaroo terrorist courts.

Stephen Harper just recently said that "the terrorists have declared war on Canada" but Canada has been at war with "the terrorists" for 14 years. Nobody even bats an eye at the fact you can only declare war once and then guess what? YOU'RE AT FUCKING WAR! We're so propagandized that we believe we should be able to kill them, but they shouldn't be able to kill us. If we kill them it's freedom and democracy, if they kill us it's terrorism, not unlike the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. This is just an extension of that mentality.

You may not believe me today, and with the level of highly advanced propaganda bombarding Canadians everyday on every matter you may never believe me even being an actor in exactly what I describe but you ARE ALL the home grown terrorists. One day in the near future as the economic situation deteriorates further and you're no longer willing to believe in the fairy tale of a delayed recovery and realize that a massive robbery and wealth transfer has taken place right under your nose and that you're a victim and that the government was never looking out for your best interests in their pursuit of "jobs and growth", you might just decide you need to fight back.

You might realize one day that the sham of democracy we cling on to for dear life as some form of mental ground of stability and sanity doesn't exist either in any way shape or form and that the only way to provide a country reminiscent of the freedom we've all enjoyed prior to the "war on terror" (whose propaganda an entire generation of children have now grown up under) to our children will be to fight for it. On the streets if necessary, and when that day comes if our mental state hasn't been warped to the point of no return what you will find waiting for you is an advanced security apparatus, paid for with your hard earned currency, that will label you the terrorist for fighting the system that has been rigged and stacked against you in an effort to return to feudalism. Maybe "being anti-government", etc. That day is coming, will you realize when it's here?

Update-1

It's really too bad I didn't see this link before I wrote this post as it really fits right in but I couldn't resist adding it now as it really illustrates the situation the entire world is dealing with. It's delicate description of the modern feudalism the people in the formerly known as middle class class are to find themselves in is just exquisite. The last two paragraphs summarize it nicely:
"With two thirds of the world's wealthiest being first generation wealth creators, the coming years will be the first time they have been involved in wealth succession planning," the report said.

"Those in the second or third generation of wealth will have had greater experience with wealth transfers, and will have most likely had the opportunity to learn about wealth succession planning from their parents."
Meet the new royalty, with more assets than governments and all the citizen plebs in their lands. The "first generation".




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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Update-1: Trends and forecasts for 2015

I've been really unmotivated to write any posts as of late. The barrage of lies coming from the establishment media is just overwhelming, where to even begin? The most dangerous lie of all being that a new era of "cheap energy" is here. It's actually just a temporary period of expensive energy being sold at an unsustainably cheaper price.

Since my last post on geopolitics and oil price my theory about what's going on here has evolved a little bit. One of my Twitter followers which I believe has ties to the Russian and Arab oil markets claims that Saudi Arabia is working with Russia, and the Chinese, to artificially lower the price of oil beyond the margins of profitability for the majority of North American oil production. With the way things are shaping up I'm inclined to believe her.

The most common cover story being played by the media is that this really is just a simple matter of demand and supply, that demand is low and America's "fracking boom" has contributed greatly to oversupply. This analysis refuses to take into account a number of factors namely that the perception of future oversupply is being driven by the words and promises of Saudi Arabia and ignores the dropping rig counts across North America. As I described in my last post there isn't going to be an oversupply for long, but there is very likely going to be an undersupply and resulting oil price shock.

Oddly as a culture North Americans would be much better off if we were just told the truth about our situation but instead those in power are opting to lie likely in some hope of keeping this corrupt house of cards together. These lies are in the way the situation is framed particularly in the sense that the economic impacts of these oil prices in the east, and the west, are on par or in some cases worse in the east than what the west is likely to experience.

Something I've noticed reading the dozens of articles on "breakeven" costs and whatnot is that western media when comparing these breakeven costs are comparing the cost to produce a rig (like the literal breakeven cost of the rig and company) Vs. the breakeven cost to operate an entire country. We are comparing the breakeven cost of western oil production itself against the breakeven cost of using oil to finance roads, healthcare, the entire system! These countries are producing oil much cheaper than we are, they maybe can't afford their social services, but we can't even afford our rigs! (Or oil sands here in Canada). That's a big discrepancy when you consider that in this condition these high risk or insolvent companies will barely be contributing to the operation of the state, or jobs to provide taxes. Alberta and the U.S. are comparing themselves to Saudi Arabia now but Alberta has been running a deficit from oil revenue for awhile. Alberta has been borrowing from the future to pay for it's "capital expenditure" and it's "operational budget" while technically "balanced" is woefully inadequate to cover the overhead and  "growth" the oilsands booms created.

As we delve deeper into the situation it's useful to keep this fact in mind that not only are the energy companies leveraged on the promise of returns that will never materialize, so too are the provincial and state governments that have taken out loans to provide the massive infrastructure expansions these projects require; again on the promise of returns that will never materialize. This is how the peak oil story will play out.

Once I realized the Saudi's, Russia, and China were working together on this a bunch of other dots fell into place for me. I no longer believe this oil price war is about oil at all. As I mentioned in my last post the market share story just doesn't make sense (I then theorized that perhaps the Saudi's felt their oil trade with the U.S. was in danger, this is incorrect). I now believe that this move is directed not at oil production, but rather using oil production to weaken and destabilize the western banking system ahead of the launch of the BRIC international currency and development bank expected this year (whatever form that takes shape in) and their replacement to the SWIFT transaction system that they've also claimed will be ready this year. 2015 is also the year it is projected that the amount of GDP generated by $1 of new debt in the U.S. falls below $1. The "fiscal cliff" hasn't gone anywhere.

Bankers See $1 Trillion of Zombie Investments Stranded in the Oil Fields
There are zombies in the oil fields.

After crude prices dropped 49 percent in six months, oil projects planned for next year are the undead -- still standing upright, but with little hope of a productive future. These zombie projects proliferate in expensive Arctic oil, deepwater-drilling regions and tar sands from Canada to Venezuela.
In a stunning analysis this week, Goldman Sachs found almost $1 trillion in investments in future oil projects at risk. They looked at 400 of the world’s largest new oil and gas fields -- excluding U.S. shale -- and found projects representing $930 billion of future investment that are no longer profitable with Brent crude at $70. In the U.S., the shale-oil party isn’t over yet, but zombies are beginning to crash it.

The chart below shows the break-even points for the top 400 new fields and how much future oil production they represent. Less than a third of projects are still profitable with oil at $70. If the unprofitable projects were scuttled, it would mean a loss of 7.5 million barrels per day of production in 2025, equivalent to 8 percent of current global demand.
How Profitable Is $70 Oil?



Making matters worse, Brent prices this week dipped further, below $60 a barrel for the first time in more than five years. Why? The U.S. shale-oil boom has flooded the market with new supply, global demand led by China has softened, and the Saudis have so far refused to curb production to prop up prices.

It’s not clear yet how far OPEC is willing to let prices slide. The U.A.E.’s energy minister said on Dec. 14 that OPEC wouldn’t trim production even if prices fall to
$40 a barrel. An all-out price war could take up to 18 months to play out, said Kevin Book, managing director at ClearView Energy Partners LLC, a financial research group in Washington.

If cheap oil continues, it could be a major setback for the U.S. oil boom. In the chart below, ClearView shows projected oil production at four major U.S. shale formations: Bakken, Eagle Ford, Permian and Niobrara. The dark blue line shows where oil production levels were headed before the price drop. The light blue line shows a new reality, with production growth dropping 40 percent.
Even $75 Oil Crashes the Shale-Oil Party



The Goldman tally takes the long view of project finance as it plays out over the next decade or more. But the initial impact of low prices may be swift. Next year alone, oil and gas companies will make final investment decisions on 800 projects worth $500 billion, said Lars Eirik Nicolaisen, a partner at Oslo-based Rystad Energy. If the price of oil averages $70 in 2015, he wrote in an email, $150 billion will be pulled from oil and gas exploration around the world.

An oil price of $65 dollars a barrel next year would trigger the biggest drop in project finance in decades, according to a Sanford C. Bernstein analysis last week.

A pause in exploration and development may sound like good news for investors concerned about climate change. A vocal minority
have been warning for years that potentially trillions of dollars of untapped assets may become stranded due to climate policies and improved energy efficiency. The challenges faced by oil developers today may provide a small sense of what's to come.

However, these glut-driven prices can’t stay low forever. Oil production hasn’t slowed yet, but as zombie projects go unfunded, it will. This is how the boom-bust-boom of the oil market goes: prices fall, then production follows, pushing prices higher again. The longer this standoff goes, the more zombies will languish and the sharper the rebounding price spike may be.
While Russia's production will be clearly affected I believe they are well prepared to weather the storm and that the Kremlin sees this as a necessary step in their war with the U.S. dollar and will take the losses on oil as I believe they fully expect a larger gain. The state of the Ruble I don't think is very relevant except in the short term in regards to the unexpected actions that can take place. I fully expect if this continues that there is going to be an implosion in the credit and derivative markets this year and it will likely be timed to coincide with the rising of BRIC international finance.

Perhaps what's most aggravating in this situation for me is that the North American people should have seen a situation like this coming from a mile away. The very idea that extreme energy production can remain viable and profitable in a highly volatile post peak oil world is simply crazy. The morale boosting bullshit of "energy independence" and other media fables combined with ultra low interest rates designed to encourage you to spend spend spend! Rather than prepare prepare prepare! I can't believe we fell for it, hook line and sinker.

Update-1

Nevermind, I guess Alberta's "operational surplus" doesn't exist anymore now either.


Click here to recommend this post on progressivebloggers.ca and help other people find this information.

Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Questions for Danielle Smith and the #WRP

The Wildrose party of Alberta wants to better define their image, so I have a few questions for Danielle Smith or any other representative of the Wildrose. I've posted this comment here and emailed them as well.



Hi Danielle,

I would definitely consider myself one of those who has no idea what the Wildrose stands for. I used to think you were an ultra-right wing extremist party masquerading as Libertarian, particularly during the media circus around Allan Hunsperger (which I wrote about here http://www.canadiantrendsblog.ca/2012/04/youre-welcome-to-your-conscious-but.html ) though your more recent views and policy announcements have me less convinced of that. I don't know what label to apply to the Wildrose currently, and I'm perfectly ok with that, maybe you're just a "people" party, lord knows it's about time. So instead of attempting to figure out what label you are I'm simply going to ask some direct questions and if you'll answer them and I like your answer you can consider me a supporter and voter in the next provincial election. First I need to provide some context for them so you can see where my concerns are deriving from.

I personally am a political atheist. I don't believe in taking partisan sides, or even the phony "left" and "right" wing labels. In fact I am one of a younger generation that's quickly losing faith in a political and economic system that routinely puts their children, grand children, and unborn children on the chopping block for supposed "prosperity" today. It's clear that while politicians talk a good game about the concerns of a disenfranchised youth and the world they will be inheriting, actions always seem geared to maintain the status-quo and ensure any unaffordable or unforeseen costs of this great prosperity the older generations have enjoyed is promptly shifted onto the backs of their children.

From low interest rates which prevent those with little in assets to be able to save, to massive cost inflation that's routinely just excluded from government CPI calculations so subsequent costs don't increase with it, to public services at all 3 levels of government being routinely cutback or simply not expanded at the proper rate to account for population growth ( http://www.canadiantrendsblog.ca/2014/01/mp-brian-jean-resigns-to-concentrate-on.html ), to the addition of numerous "fees" for everything and red tape, the cumulative effects are continually and increasingly squeezing everyone, but especially those who are attempting to build a life, pay off student debt, pay off a mortgage, a car loan, and also save for retirement. It's so unrealistic it's laughable and yet it continues. The fact that Canada's central banker Stephen Poloz just recently told those being squeezed to just "wait for the recovery to take hold and take a job for free in the meantime" I think highlights what I'm saying here ( http://www.canadiantrendsblog.ca/2014/11/poloz-advocates-adult-children-take.html ).

I find the skewed reality of what's really going on to be especially bad in Alberta where a relatively small number of high paying oil jobs unbalance the cost-of-living for everyone else, further drive up the cost of housing beyond the bubble already created by low-interest rates, and pigeon-hole Alberta into a one-industry economy. The fact that this is occurring is seemingly ignored by the PC government (and the Federal government for that matter) with an attitude of "well just go get an oil job" which is hardly going to encourage industry diversification and economically suppresses those who choose not to or can't work in the oil industry. Which brings me to my first question: What would you do to help mitigate and raise awareness of this discrepancy and loss of opportunity?

QUESTION #1) What would you do to help mitigate and raise awareness of the skewed economic discrepancy and loss of opportunity Albertans not in the oil industry experience?

The problem, I fear, is that Alberta in general just doesn't have a very good grasp on what the future global economic situation looks like. We're constantly stuck in and trying to revive the past.

For instance, much of Alberta's current expectations on what economic growth and returns from oilsands development are supposed to look like are based on our experience from the run on oil prices leading up to 2007. The era of "The Alberta Advantage" and even though that time is long gone now in the rear view mirror of time it doesn't seem that Alberta's politicians are any closer to understanding why.

Even at $80, the price of oil compared to just 10 years ago is extremely high and yet now we talk as though this is a "low oil price". What I never see acknowledged though is the climate of the market at the time. Alberta's prosperity didn't come from the price of oil, it came from the fact the price of oil was always going up. If the price of oil hadn't continually gone up and levelled off for any significant amount of time (as it has done for the last 5 years) we would have hit these economic problems sooner. If you remember when oil was $40 the government went ahead and declared they needed a target of $70. When $70 was hit the target changed to $90. And so on. But the oil market has now reached the upper limit of affordability where a move from $80 to $110 causes a rash of frontpage articles about "pain at the pump". Given the rest of the economic environment and the stagnation of wealth natural market forces will not be pushing the price of oil beyond $110 barring the exception of some sort of supply disrupting geopolitical event - but if Alberta's future economic hopes are based on geopolitical destabilization (as the many news articles that come out around war declaring "such and such military action could be good for Alberta") then we're truly up s**t creek.

A few years ago "The minute" interviewed you and asked about Peak Oil ( http://itstheminute.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/the-minute%e2%80%94danielle-smith/ - Unfortunately it seems the video of the interview itself is gone, Jason Lamarche quit his 'The Minute' project awhile ago). However, suffice to say I wasn't very impressed with your answer.
But that said, it's nearly 4 years later and the effects of peak oil are becoming a lot more noticeable. There's been a lot of articles lately that declare the fracking boom in the U.S. and the oilsands are evidence against peak oil but in reality, with a proper understanding of peak oil, they are proof of it. Conventional, cheap oil is on the decline, and it's being increasingly replaced with expensive to produce oil such as fracking and the oilsands. Peak oil theory isn't about oil depletion, and it's only those who didn't take the time to understand the supply downside who were saying the price of oil will be going to $200 due to supply constraints. Few theorists considered that perhaps it would not be the oil supply that would be constrained but rather the ability for economic growth to truly ramp up.

The oilsands are encountering serious issues in financing, and these are only going to become progressively worse. Keep in mind that we are in an unprecedented low interest rate environment, credit has never been cheaper, and yet even still financing for these projects is a problem (and the U.S. fracking companies are experiencing the same issues - I've written more extensively about this here: http://www.canadiantrendsblog.ca/2014/11/oil-price-and-economic-recovery-pendulum.html ).

I very much appreciate your environmental outlook on oilsands development, and you're absolutely right in that something needs to be done before Alberta's image (which frankly has been rightfully earned due to the deception and propaganda the government has used to try to convince people otherwise instead of addressing the issue) deteriorates further and also, you know, the environmental situation there gets worse, but I think you're underestimating the challenges ahead.

With conventional 'cheap' energy declining (which inherently subsidizes aspects of more extreme energy extraction) projects like the oilsands are only going to become more difficult to maintain even at current environmental levels but what's more likely to happen to reduce costs is more and more corners will be cut as we continually lower the bar on what's acceptable to maintain profits. It's great that you believe that some "technology which doesn't exist yet" is going to save the day, but my second question is: what your contingency plan is if one doesn't materialize as I don't believe one is going to be forthcoming any time soon?

QUESTION #2) what's your contingency plan if "some new technology" doesn't materialize which can viably reduce the ever increasing environmental destruction of oilsand development if not eliminate it entirely?

QUESTION #3)  Likewise given what I've described above in terms of an accommodative financial sector which still barely keeps production's head above water and the understanding that peak oil doesn't necessarily describe diminishing supply but rather diminishing energy returned on energy investment (EROEI) what is your opinion on peak oil now and do you believe your policies are compatible with a future in which peak oil is a reality? If not, what gives you the confidence that the old normal in terms of growth can resume to the point the risk need not be considered?

On infrastructure and debt: You're definitely on to something here in regards to the ever-increasing overhead of Alberta's growth. This problem has been compounded by a government that has ridden on the illusion that they paid off the debt when in reality all they did was deter the costs and overhead of growth into the future where the investment now required to catch-up, let alone prepare for the future has risen multiple times over.

I've seen a few commenters on here mention that we shouldn't be afraid of taking on new debt to catch up our infrastructure because "interest rates are favourable". I believe this is an incorrect assessment, it's based on living in the past when the capacity to even have higher interest rates was possible. We've entered a new normal where low interest rates will likely be perpetual (the recovery is always right around the corner, right?) and as a result while the interest on new debt may be cheap such low rates of growth and rapidly growing costs will mean less resources available to pay it down in the future. The assumption that growth will resume is not a certainty and taking on large amounts of debt on the backs of the youth in hopes one day soon the economy will pick up is paramount to gambling, especially since most of Alberta's income is projected based on market moves. Not even day-traders would be so careless.

From my perspective Alberta has a serious problem on it's hands due to how far behind infrastructure already is. A more austere approach isn't going to provide what people need as Alberta pissed it's 30 years of decent oil profits down the drain rather than keeping up (Highway 63 is a perfect example: http://www.canadiantrendsblog.ca/2013/11/lack-of-foresight-dangerous-like.html ), but catching up with debt is also very risky and if the government's lofty hopes for growth and revenue don't pan out (which they likely won't as their projections and beliefs are still based on pre-2007 growth and I don't know if anyone has noticed this lately: always wrong - http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/05/23/jim-prentice_n_5379875.html ) then we will simply once again be deferring the problem into the future where costs are once again sure to be a multiple of what they are now and available resources much less. I don't see an easy way out of this conundrum for us  so I'd like to hear a lot more from your party on how it can be addressed.

I really have a lot more concerns regarding Alberta's future and the path we're on but I've written a lot already and as is these aren't easy questions. I'm happy to see your party is embracing new media and directness as it's method of communication and perhaps you might consider incentives for citizen media as a policy initiative.

Thank you for your time.

Richard Fantin



I'll update should I get a response.

Click here to recommend this post on progressivebloggers.ca and help other people find this information.

Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.