Tuesday, October 11, 2016

UPDATE-2: Peeling the onion of propaganda

In the last post in the 'Thing Break Down' series we briefly explored why I think the U.S. election is a complete fraud. It was really all I could stomach writing at the time, but there will be a part 4 which will explore beyond the election into what an empire that breaks down looks like.

However, while I prepare that content a recent Twitter exchange has inspired me to go a bit deeper into the propaganda being deployed against an unsuspecting western populace that is at the moment obsessed with despising Donald Trump.

The fact that someone with as despicable a character as Donald Trump is running in this election should be raising a few eyebrows, and I am convinced it is no coincidence. People hate Donald Trump, absolutely hate him, with a passion. This is a hugely emotional response and I believe that the status-quo is milking that for all it's worth. When you despise someone you are not inclined to listen to evidence that may defend them, you will be inclined to believe anything and everything you hear about them because why not right? Even if it's not true so what? It's not like you'd care.

You should care though, that attitude of not critically examining incoming information even if it may oppose your emotional viewpoint provides the groundwork to layer other lies on top of it that may support nefarious agendas.

The latest propaganda to further efforts of war with Russia comes from Newsweek and the last paragraph really caught my eye as it truly reveals the intention of the article. It's not about Donald Trump at all, it's about Russia, U.S. interests and.. Israel?. Let's take a look.
For now, though, Americans should be outraged. This totalitarian regime, engaged in what are arguably war crimes in Syria to protect its government puppet, is working to upend a democracy to the benefit of an American candidate who uttered positive comments just Sunday about the Kremlin's campaign on behalf of Bashar al-Assad. Trump’s arguments were an incomprehensible explication of the complex Syrian situation, which put him right on the side of the Iranians and Syrians, who are fighting to preserve the government that is the primary conduit of weapons used against Israel.
 Very last paragraph, the author throws everything and the kitchen sink at you. Observe the language being used, the claims being made. "regime", "working to upend democracy". Much as Chris Martenson wrote in his extremely important MUST READ post on the propaganda strategy being deployed here you'd have to forget everything that has happened in the last 5 years to believe this. I'd bet that if much of this propaganda wasn't riding on the hatred of Donald Trump people wouldn't believe it.

But fuckin' Donald Trump, Am I right?

After the Newsweek article had already gained popular support the Washington Post, and The Intercept have come out with information that counters, or at least demonstrates that Donald Trump wasn't "fed the information from the Kremlin" much as the author would have you believe and that it's likely that Sputnik having realized their mistake and misinterpretation of the email removed it. The only one still running with this farce is Newsweek, but that's enough to trigger the mob (herd?) mentality needed to sew the idea that evil Russia is bein' all aggressive again.

The Trump-Putin link that wasn’t
But Sputnik either misread or misrepresented the contents of the email. The original makes clear that Blumenthal was passing along a news article — from Newsweek, by Eichenwald — and not sharing his own thoughts. (In fact, the original email suggests that Blumenthal was passing along the article because it mentions himself, if for no other reason.) This isn't a “falsification” of the email, as Eichenwald puts it, since the email is there in the batch. In the most charitable interpretation, it's a sloppy misreading of it. 
At about 6 p.m. Eastern, Trump was scheduled to take the stage at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. During his speech, he pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket and said, “This just came out a little while ago.” The “this” appears to have been the alleged confession by Blumenthal that was misreported by Sputnik. The crowd, as Eichenwald notes, began to boo Hillary Clinton. 
How could Trump have gotten that? He could have gotten a secret message from a KGB agent posing as a hot dog vendor in the rally arena, the two surreptitiously meeting after Trump gave the appropriate hand signal. Or maybe one of his allies, who follows Sputnik, saw the article and was like, “Hey, Donald, check this out.”
Read that Newsweek article and observe how the author insults Russia. He calls their hackers stupid, their plans stupid, like they're a bunch of fools bumbling around despite the fact that none of the claims of Russian involvement have been proven and the stupid Russians have been quite effective of halting U.S. ambitions in Syria with nearly surgical precision while the U.S. has struggled to keep their bullshit story consistent. If you need a history lesson in what has lead to the situation with Russia and Syria I'll let the Council on Foreign Relations explain it to you again (from the time before the "ISIS" narrative took hold):
Al-Qaeda is not sacrificing its "martyrs" in Syria merely to overthrow Assad. Liberation of the Syrian people is a bonus, but the main aim is to create an Islamist state in all or part of the country. Failing that, they hope to at least establish a strategic base for the organization's remnants across the border in Iraq, and create a regional headquarters where mujahideen can enjoy a safe haven. If al-Qaeda continues to play an increasingly important role in the rebellion, then a post-Assad government will be indebted to the tribes and regions allied to the Jabhat. Failing to honor the Jabhat's future requests, assuming Assad falls, could see a continuation of conflict in Syria. 
Thus far, Washington seems reluctant to weigh heavily into this issue. In May 2012, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta publicly accepted al-Qaeda's presence in Syria (Guardian). And in July, the State Department's counterterrorism chief, Daniel Benjamin, rather incredulously suggested that the United States will simply ask the FSA to reject al-Qaeda. The unspoken political calculation among policymakers is to get rid of Assad first—weakening Iran's position in the region—and then deal with al-Qaeda later.
Remember that? Trump's statement that "Assad is fighting ISIS" is 100% accurate. Russia is also fighting ISIS. There is only one actor in this theatre of war that isn't fighting ISIS, and that's the U.S. and Putin takes every opportunity to point this out. There is a reason why Russian media relations have been so successful in the last few years and that is because their propaganda has a much stronger grounding in truth while the west's is sloppy and inconsistent and relies on irrational emotional drivers, like the hatred of Trump, to ensure nobody stops and thinks too hard about what it is they are being told.

Obama administration considering strikes on Assad, again

But fuckin' Donald Trump, Am I right?

You see, the U.S. doesn't have the truth on it's side regarding Russia, or Syria, what it does have however is that disgusting lump Donald Trump who is an expert actor whose best character just happens to be Donald Trump. And there is nothing Donald Trump loves to do better than play up Donald Trump. A person no one likes and says a lot of bullshit with a little bit of truth mixed in but it is these aspects of truth which the U.S. is attempting to associate with Donald Trump. Discredit Trump, and you discredit everything he has ever said, true or not. You see how that works?

This is why I said it should be no surprise that the U.S. state department is trying to tie Trump to Russia, because the anti-establishment views he is expressing are also now being tied to Russia. Suddenly now if you speak out against U.S. actions in Syria you must be a "Russian sympathizer", yadda yadda, even if you were saying the same things 4 years ago that you are today long before Russia's involvement, long before ISIS, long before "chemical weapons", or failing to convince the American people it's in their best interest to overthrow Assad. The U.S. story has changed so much over the last 5 years you'd almost think it's a different war. It's not.

The same motivations driving the war then, drive it now. The U.S. is still violating international law by operating in Syria. The U.S. is still supporting terrorists to overthrow Assad. Israel is still utilizing the war to expand their territory and cement their position in the Golan Heights - also against international law. None of this has changed.

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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.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Things Break Down - Part 3

We've finally arrived. I now feel I have enough information to provide my opinion on this "election", and frankly it's not good. The political divisiveness has reached hysterical levels and based on what I'm seeing, this entire thing is fraud.

I don't mean a fraud in the sense that there are two shitty candidates running in an election, I mean this is a straight up fraud, a Hollywood production, it's entertainment and not even good entertainment at that.

During tonight's episode of political Jerry Springer, while the audience waited for Clinton's expected knockout blow to Trump - much as the world awaited Wikileaks knockout blow to Clinton only to be equally disappointed - a large number of lies and propaganda were slipped into the conversation regarding U.S. foreign policy but with the various lewd comments, sexual assault accusations, and other "issues" front and center of this "debate" it would be understandable if you missed that.

Recently Chris Martenson put out an extremely important publication regarding clear propagandizing of the western nations, particularly the US, in preparation for a war with Russia. He compares it to the same propaganda techniques used to gain social license for the invasion of Iraq. He points out talking points and phrases you can expect to hear a lot more of many of which were featured in tonight's "debate" the few times real policies actually came up. These phrases and keywords were not injected by the candidates, but by the moderators, asking questions based on the lies regarding Syria, and Russia repeated in every western newspaper about the "humanitarian crisis" in Aleppo. The candidates of course play along, answering these questions with additional lies. The answers have to be lies, as the only truthful response would be to correct the person asking the question regarding the historical context of Syria. A historical context that since Russia's invitation into syria the west has been trying to rewrite.

They've done a good job and repeat "Russian aggression" so often that people I know, who should know better, believe it. To go hand in hand with this the U.S. state department has without evidence of course tied "Russia" to the DNC hacks, and it should be no surprise that Russia is being tied to Trump too.

Lets stand back and take a look at what you're really voting for. On the one side you have Hillary Clinton, the front(wo)man for the status-quo. You're not really just voting for Clinton though are you? Behind her stand all of the other shitty presidents and members of the status-quo and architects of the financial and military quagmire the west has been drawn in to (when did the opinion of George W. Bush start to mean something to 'progressives'?). She doesn't represent the Democrats, she represents a continuation of exactly everything that has already been done.

On the other hand you have Donald Trump, a complete buffoon that says a lot of lewd remarks, inbetween other sensible statements like regarding the low-interest ponzi-conomy and the Federal Reserve. Statements that echo the likes of Ron Paul or Jill Stein. The anti-establishment viewpoint. There are a lot of people these days with anti-establishment viewpoints and isn't it interesting that they've been provided such a useless mascot to represent them? A mascot that just happens to be getting tied to Russia at the same time the U.S. is trying to start a war with Russia? And where does this leave your dear voter? Between Trump and a hard place.

Is it even a real election if the entire status quo everyone ever voted for ever is all sitting under the same umbrella, thus providing a default mandate to continue doing exactly what they've been doing while giving you this guy for the opposition and barring the third party candidates from the debates? Isn't it interesting how the media has people convinced Jill Stein or Gary Johnson is too crazy, or too stupid to debate against the likes of Trump, and Clinton? Surely with Trump running Stein couldn't possibly be "too crazy" to debate, could she? And yet much of the mainstream talk simply dismisses her based on some misquoted hyperbole about vaccines. How convenient.

Isn't it interesting how all of the GOP powerbrokers now backing Clinton were "helpless" to stop his rise? And why was that, because Trump has money? They have more. But what's more interesting is that they all know each other. Trump talks frequently about golfing with Clinton, and yet somehow some of these obviously easy to obtain recordings which would have easily vetted him out just couldn't be found? All of these guys who have business dealings just weren't around? All of these people now coming out against his character just weren't around? The big money resources of the GOP just couldn't find anything huh? You have to be in a complete state of cognitive dissonance to believe the GOP story about the rise of Trump, they had unlimited resources to stop him they weren't helpless and yet, they didn't. One can only conclude they never wanted to stop his rise in the first place.

I see a lot of talk of the U.S. becoming a fascist state if you vote for this candidate, or that candidate. The hyperbole is equal on both sides. I have a different theory: the U.S. is already a fascist state and this is exactly the type of election such a fascist state would run. A race that isn't really a race at all, a race where at the end of the day the population is left with no alternative but to vote for the fascist policies that have been active for nearly 2 decades now, and of course war with Russia.

The emotional exchanges those observing this election are being drawn into are intended, as so long as you are emotional you are not thinking critically. When you're not thinking critically you are much easier to influence, your defenses are down and you can have your opinion formed by carefully planted suggestion.

I think I've made my point, if you have any specific questions comment below.

I called this post 'things break down', and what you are observing this "presidentual race" is what happens when an empire starts to break down. Fascism is already here. War is already here. If you're concerned about these things and think that voting one way or the other will make a difference then you haven't been paying attention to the events unfolding while you've been distracted by the presidential reality show.

When you don't control your government...

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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, October 6, 2016

USA's Day of Reckoning

USA's Day Of Reckoning - Hidden Secrets Of Money  Episode 7 - Mike Maloney

Episodes 1 - 6

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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, August 3, 2016

Things break down - Part 2

As I mentioned in my last post, I came across a link during my research for what was going to be a post solely on the U.S. election, I didn't link it then however. The significance of this particular post needs to sit within the context of other, perhaps lesser, but similar events to start to paint the picture.

I titled this series 'Thing break down", as that is really what's happening here. This presidential election (and the scenes outside) combined with the amount of other divisive issues, the Brexit, the civil strife, the wars... the sheer volume of it. The photos of riot police and protesters used to be somewhat rare just 5-6 years ago. It was a big event. Now it's everyday. In more places.

Much of the world has already reached the violent stage of this collapse. We're hearing a lot about Venezuela in the news and their collapse - for instance, but little as to the major contributor of what set it off instead most articles focus on the government's response to a situation they are increasingly powerless to control which is that they are quite near to the point where they will no longer be able to generate electricity due to a drought and haven't built the infrastructure to prepare for this problem. Their currency is hyper-inflating, and their society is falling apart. The corruption in the government means nothing ever gets done and their focus is on maintaining control.

Much as ours will be.

You'll notice no matter how much currency they print, they can't buy wealth. What their electricity shortage hasn't destroyed economically has been by the oil price dilemma.

Venezuela of course is an extreme example. They are much, much further on the curve of decline and much less robust than the advanced western world. However, the same principals apply to us - just as they can't print their wealth into existence neither can we. The oil price is only a problem because the overall cost to produce this oil is much greater than it used to be due to peak conventional oil which means the margins are much smaller or as in the case of a much of our extreme energy production: negative.

This means we have less surplus energy everyday to work with, to apply to sciences, to technology, to improvement, to maintenance. Venezuela squandered it's returns for it's surplus energy. It should have invested in new infrastructure. You don't just dream that shit up overnight it takes time to build it good and build it right.

It's difficult to build good infrastructure when you are in a state of collapse. You need to invest in it before that collapse, when you actually have the wealth. This is something that the western world also didn't do, but our mass of infrastructure is vast, and old and the amount of time it would take to repair it all is frankly, staggering. If we had the money to do it that is.

The scope of the world we live is really astounding when you think about it, isn't it? What we've built in the last 100 years is just mind boggling. That we haven't just built the physical structures, but computing devices which now model in incredible fidelity smaller versions of that same massive scope of a world is mind boggling. That I can play Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, on my phone (which I like to call my "Star Trek pad" - you know, cause they called them pads?) is mind boggling. Unfortunately there are also downsides to this scope and scale... maintenance, which is also mind-boggling in it's scope and scale.

Let's start with a small example and work our way up to the article I was mentioning earlier and in the last post.

Whitemud Drive flooding likely too expensive to fix, city officials say

So the basic premise here is that with the anticipated increase in extreme weather events and the increase in flooding not to mention the potential damage and costs that flooding may do the City of Edmonton is instead opting to look to the cheapest solution which does the bare minimum of the objectives which is to reroute traffic and ensure no one gets stuck under there again. A noble cause, but also shortsighted with it's minimalist objectives as another should be to maintain infrastructure to the highest standard at the lowest cost.

Things always seem to be "too expensive" and yet we exist within a monetary paradigm that *hopes* for inflation - that is, for them to get even more expensive and at the same time we complain about how expensive things are. It isn't going to get significantly cheaper, so the modifications should probably be done now and since we squandered all of our real wealth we will probably have to borrow from the future to do it and hope the wealth we're borrowing actually manages to exist when the bills come due.

This is of course but one overpass in a sea of overpasses. And this is also an example of a decision, deliberately made because of cost. Because of budgets. Whenever political talk of budgets arises two unproductive commentator camps emerge, both militant in their belief. One cares only for 'balanced budgets', the other cares only for 'adequate spending', and neither try to really... understand, each others position. For they are opposites. Aren't they? We act as though they are.

Rarely do I see anyone ask: what if both positions are true, at the same time? I don't see many people asking that question I believe because the answer isn't a very nice answer. It has no light at the end of the tunnel for those that feel they are entitled to infinite growth like the faith in one of those ideologies or the other does. This revelation instead presents a stark mindfuck, a reminder, that what we are doing and how we are living and the resources we are consuming at the rates we are consuming them at, is not sustainable.

Next up we have an interesting little piece on the state of elevators in Canada, lets take a gander.

Broken elevators reaching 'crisis' proportions across Canada

This link not only provides a great example of the scale that I am talking about, it also provides a great example of collusion and corruption, along with general greed for profits, hampering what should be considered to be critical infrastructure to all types of operations across Canada. This situation should hardly be considered to be unique to Canada though I'm sure if similar investigations were conducted in other "advanced" western nations you'd see the same thing. The scale and money required today to fix these problems is simply staggering, but we're not fixing them today and tomorrow doesn't look good either.

You can see it everyday in the discussions about infrastructure and it's pretty hard for anyone to deny the truth that we just can't keep up when every day new cuts are made, the economic situation worsens, and the wear and tear of ill-maintained infrastructure becomes more apparent. From the oil spill in Saskatchewan and our aging pipeline infrastructure, to New York's fragile subway to a collapsing bridge in India to Fukushima to nuclear plants in the U.S. where according to the EIA "Almost all U.S. nuclear plants require life extension past 60 years to operate beyond 2050". Where exactly do people think the "money" to do all this is going to come from? And yes while the maintenance of this infrastructure temporarily creates jobs it doesn't create wealth. We already have a bridge, for instance, and after we deploy the materials, time, and effort to maintain that bridge we still only have one bridge. This is what the death of growth and the reality of that looks like. Until we accept that rebuilding the same things over and over again isn't growth  - and is in fact an expense as the banks like to claim it is - we've got some serious problems on the horizon.

Fort McMurray fire won't devastate economy, says new report
"Overall, we expect the rebuilding efforts to add roughly $1.3 billion in real GDP to Alberta's economy in 2017 — or about 0.4 percentage points to economic growth. Construction will likely remain elevated in 2018, and possibly into 2019 as well until rebuilding is completed," states the report.
 Oh yea, "hardly noticeable". Rebuilding what they once had will even add GDP! Today's growth. You can almost picture the bankers licking their lips at the destruction, some much needed stimulus. And if your entire purpose in life is to employ people in jobs rebuilding the same old 1960s and 1970s tech over and over again while racking in tons of printed currency then all is well. But if your view of a healthy economy is improvement in standard of life and well being, surpluses of energy and time to do what you love, you're shit out of luck.

But here's the big one.

Inside the aging lock that is one breakdown away from crippling North America’s economy
In other words, the Poe is the only link from Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean beyond, and it’s living on borrowed time. In two years, the Poe turns 50, and, with Congress reluctant to fund a new lock, concerns are growing about its reliability. The lock broke earlier this week, blowing an O ring on a hydraulic line that feeds the gate activator. Luckily, mechanics fixed it in 45 minutes. 
It was not a moment too soon. The North American economy needs this lock. The iron ore that passes through here each year becomes more than US$500 billion worth of cars, trucks, fridges, bridges and other things made of steel. A bigger failure would spell catastrophe and it’s an increasing probability. 
This spring, the Detroit Free Press obtained a classified report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which calls the Poe, “the Achilles’ heel” of the North American industrial economy. 
“A six-month shutdown of the Poe Lock … would plunge the nation into recession, closing factories and mines, halting auto and appliance production in the U.S. for most of a year and result in the loss of some 11-million jobs,” the report warns. 
Alarm bells are already ringing for U.S. ship owners. 
“Last year, we had the MacArthur Lock down for two weeks and the Poe Lock went down for an hour,” says Jim Weakley, president of the Lake Carriers Association, whose 17 members own 56 ships. “For the first time in my memory, you had the Army Corps of Engineers unable to move a ship. The scenario of a six-month outage isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem.” 
Canadian steel mills also depend on the lock. More vitally for Canada, eight million metric tonnes of prairie grain travelled by train last year to Thunder Bay, and then loaded onto ships headed to the St. Lawrence Seaway. Much of the grain then moved across the Atlantic to help feed Africa and Europe. 
“What’s concerning me is that the Mac lock is the same vintage as the Poe and has had a noticeable failure,” says Kirk Jones, president of the Canadian Shipowners’ Association and a vice-president at Montreal-based Canada Steamship Lines. (The Mac actually opened in 1943 and the Poe in 1968). “We’re nervous that the same thing could shut down the Poe and shut down shipping in its entirety.”
We're going to leave it here, I want that to sink in. See you in part 3 where we will start to get into the U.S. clownshow as Tom Morello is so elegantly putting it..

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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.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Things break down - Part 1

My posts this year have been becoming increasingly unfocused, and the reason for this is that the sheer number of events that are occurring around the world - all connected - is also increasing. It comes down to time as each post as is takes me hours to compile, write, and connect the dots and even still I leave information out as to include it would mean more hours on top of those. I do have a life outside of this blog and the lengthy posts are taking a toll. Information quality has gone down, and the length of my posts I find tends to scare off readers. Historically it's been my shorter posts that do well while my longer posts don't, for understandable reasons.

I was originally going to write a post tonight about the U.S. election, even though I promised myself I wouldn't write one much earlier in the year. I promised myself I wouldn't write one because frankly my forecasts for this U.S. election are so disturbing that I'd honestly hoped they weren't true. I didn't want to put it out there as just it's very existence may have created the situation I feared may happen which considering the whole point of writing my forecasts is to avoid these events, it seemed counter-productive. Sadly many of my internal forecasts seem to be coming true anyway and so the harm factor in writing these forecasts has greatly diminished. We will get to what these forecasts are.

In my research phase for this post I came across an interesting, and very indirectly related article, which has caused me to rethink my approach. In my day job as a programmer we refer to this as "scope creep", and as I mentioned earlier is the reason largely my posts have become so unfocused. The number of links I post to Twitter has increased ten-fold, and what's worse the links I post are simply a fraction of the links I am finding to be of importance to the trends at play. As the number of events have increased I've had to become increasingly selective of the criteria that signifies a significant event (the links I tweet all have some significance to the grand story I've been trying to tell, they often indicate turning points or confirm trends I've written about in the past) meaning that links I would have posted in the past no longer meet the minimum criterion I use to determine what is a significant event.

That all said, I feel that I've been sitting on a lot of important information that I really wish to share with my readers, I just haven't been able to figure out how. Until tonight.

We've covered a lot of ground over the years. From the root causes of much of the world issues: peak oil and infinite growth, to forecasts of the probable symptoms of these issues (Alberta's increasingly dire financial situation being a prime example), to descriptions of the steps the various states will take to mitigate these issues most of which involve an increasingly Orwellian surveillance and police state, to the current trend of the great deflation and the inevitable arrival of negative interest rates in "strong stable" Canada. Our next stop due to all of the above is going to be a period of time where things break down (and where there's no money to fix them).

This phase will likely be the phase in which the infinite growth monetary paradigm is exposed as ineffective, and counter-productive. Over the next few years I anticipate that the question of "what is solvency?" will take shape in various forms as the status-quo appears increasingly incompetent in face of mounting critical failures, and where "free market" (in reality rigged market) economics fails to transition us to anything other than procrastination.

However, these topics are all to be covered in later parts of this series, as the very first thing that's breaking down is the ability to simultaneously comprehend all of the problems we are facing, and design insulation to them that is not showered in cognitive dissonance. The more complex the situation becomes the harder it's going to be to see the big picture, and the harder it becomes to see the big picture the more likely it is that people are going to expend energy on supposed "solutions" that are doomed from the start due to simple oversight.

My realization tonight was that my inability to focus my posts coherently is in itself a symptom of things breaking down as complexity ramps up. So for this series each post is going to be small, and focused on a single specific topic. I hope it turns out better, and that you all enjoy it. Part 2 coming soon.

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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, June 9, 2016

Canada's housing hotbed of denial

Writing about Canada's housing situation is always a frustrating experience for me. For years many of us, sceptical of Canada's debt-fuelled "recovery", have said Canada's housing situation is absolutely insane. Cheap loans have been allowing us to limp along on the back of what we're likely to discover is a bunch of fake wealth we conjured up out of thin air.

Bank Of Canada Warns Of "Higher Possilbity" Of Housing Downturn, Sees Vancouver, Toronto Prices Unsustainable

Governments terrified of popping foreign-buyer housing bubble: Don Pittis

It's ironic isn't it, that the bank of Canada is only now warning that Toronto and Vancouver are "unsustainable" since other overheated parts of Canada - like Calgary - are already "un-sustaining"? Even this admittance by the Bank of Canada is a better sounding understatement than the true situation. The Bank of Canada, along with the federal government, has manufactured this situation and for years they have been using this artificial asset bubble to "prove" the recovery is real.

A few years ago I wrote some commentary titled 'The magic of minimum wage and inflation hocus pocus'. It is without a doubt one of the most important things I've written about the state of our economy and the belief in economic fixes that attempt to fix the unsustainable within that same unsustainable box. A significant portion of the piece is spent on housing, in which I show that the author of the work I was commenting on actually believed that devaluing your purchasing power to create the illusion of rising equity was a "good thing" because it supposedly fought off "evil deflation". How so-called "economists" are blind to the unsustainable and inevitably deflationary nature of that arrangement I'll never know, yet here we are. The rabbit is out of the hat now.

Back in September of last year I caught a little-noticed article.

Canadian banks helping clients bend rules to move money out of China
Some Canadian banks allow wealthy Asian investors to skirt Chinese law by helping them bring in large amounts of money that is often used to buy real estate in Vancouver. 
Financial institutions in the area have flagged more than 8,200 suspicious transactions since January, 2012, the year China began cracking down on citizens they suspect of corruption. 
Ninety-six per cent of those transactions were also facilitated by the banks, however, even though the vast majority of that business involved suspected money laundering, according to FinTRAC, the federal agency responsible for tracking money laundering. 
These findings, obtained by The Globe and Mail through an Access To Information Request, come as a debate rages over the source of foreign investment and Vancouver’s soaring luxury housing markets. A recent study by Macdonald Realty said 70 per cent of clients who paid more than $3-million for Vancouver houses last year were from China.
This housing situation didn't happen by accident, the government and the banks have been relying on foreign currency to prevent it from collapsing in the first place. It's been obvious as day with millennials moving home and wages stagnating that there was a disconnect between reality and the housing market. It was clear with Canadian household debt hitting ever increasing highs and constant low interest rates to "spur borrowing" that this would be the result. All those who have been saying "don't worry" for the last 3 years as they drank the economic koolaid should be ashamed of themselves; if they call themselves an economist? resign. This situation couldn't have been more obvious for those not mesmerised by the belief in infinite growth or easily fooled by non-sensical "there's no bubble" propaganda.

"The Whole Shebang Is Broke" - The Only Thing That's Growing Is Debt

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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.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

"Cancellation fees and jobs", "empty words and double standards"

Central to the international human rights system is the essential principle of universality. States are committed to fulfill their obligations to promote universal respect for and the observance and protection of all human rights for all. The international system does not declare that the rights of individuals and peoples matter more or less because of where they live, or that there should be more or less international level concern about human rights protection in certain countries over others. From the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 to the advent of the Universal Periodic Review 60 years later, in 2008, universality has been fundamental to international human rights protection. An important dimension to the principle of universality is that Canada’s implementation of human rights should be measured against its capacity and history: whether it is progressing, regressing or stagnant, and in light of what should be reasonably expected of a country with such an abundance of resources and wealth.
From "Empty Words and Double Standards: Canada's Failure to Respect and Uphold International Human Rights" / Amnesty International
 I've been observing an exchange on Progressive Bloggers that I can't help but interject on. The subject matter covered in the last volley is of particular interest to me as I don't particularly feel that either has provided a true analysis. Montreal Simon's is written in partisanship, and Mound of Sound's in haste - while also failing to correctly identify the issue.

Rather than quote and comment on those posts though I'm instead going to comment on the source material they are both commenting on.

Canada would face multi-billion dollar penalty if it cancelled armoured vehicle sale to Saudis

The focus here will be on the issues with Simon's post as Mound's entire take was based on a statement I'm assuming he either misread, or misunderstood, and which is actually attributed to John Baird - Montreal Simon explains this aspect within his own response so I won't explore that further.

The reason I call his post written in partisanship is that he deliberately omits certain quotes and re-frames the Liberals actual position as "getting screwed".
When Harper announced the $14.8-billion sale in 2014, he and land systems officials touted the 3,000 jobs to be created — mostly in London, Ont. — and the importance of Canada working with Saudi Arabia, a key regional security ally in the Middle East. 
The Liberals did not oppose the sale during last year’s federal election, with a campaigning Trudeau at one point calling it a commercial contract for a bunch of “jeeps.” 
Once in power, foreign affairs minister Dion signed off on export permits in April to approve the shipment of the LAVs based on an assessment the Saudis would not use them against its civilian population but would use them to defend Canada’s common security interests with the desert kingdom.
Here is another one missing from Simon's post:
On Thursday in the Commons the NDP demanded to know why the government would not create a committee to oversee arms exports to guard against human rights abuses
Pam Goldsmith-Jones, Dion’s parliamentary secretary, said “the government takes every opportunity to raise critical issues with senior Saudi officials with respect to humanitarian issues, consular issues, and human rights, as the minister did in his visit to the region last week.” 
Asked later how the government intends to monitor whether the LAVs would end up being used by Yemeni military forces against civilians, she said, “We’re watching that situation very closely. Of course, as you know, with regard to our permit process, monitoring the human rights situation is of utmost importance, so that’s all I can tell you at this time.
My personal favourite:
In fairness to the Liberals,” Baird said, “this was successfully negotiated by General Dynamics Land Systems under the previous Conservative government and you shouldn’t blame the Liberal government for that. Contracts should be sacrosanct, and the new government is honouring that and it’s the right thing to do.” 
Fast’s and Baird’s views are in sharp contrast to the position taken by the Conservatives’ current foreign affairs critic, Tony Clement, who said information now available about Saudi Arabia’s actions in Yemen wasn’t available at the time the deal was struck. He said the deal should be shelved.
And there it is, the false left/right paradigm and continuity of government wrapped up in a simple two paragraphs. As I wrote yesterday:
It's how the system manipulates the public: a politician comes in, makes many unpopular changes then a popular one comes in and doesn't change much at all and simply utilizes the changes passed by the previous government. The anger about those changes leaves with the previous political party but the changes themselves? Those remain.
And there is Baird telling you to do exactly that, while the "opposition" takes on their role pretending to give a shit as with nearly every other major issue we never see change on.

Ironically just today the Saudi-led coalition has been removed from the blacklist, "pending review":
Following a complaint by Saudi Arabia, however, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon agreed to a joint review by the world body and the coalition of the cases cited in the annual report of states and armed groups that violate children's rights in war. 
"Pending the conclusions of the joint review, the secretary-general removes the listing of the coalition in the report's annex," Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement. 
But Saudi Arabia's U.N. ambassador, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, said the removal of the coalition from the blacklist was "irreversible and unconditional." 
"We were wrongly placed on the list," he told reporters. "We know that this removal is final." 
Mouallimi, who described the removal as a vindication, earlier on Monday said the figures in the U.N. report were "wildly exaggerated" and that "the most up-to-date equipment in precision targeting" is used. 
Saudi Arabia had not been consulted prior to the publication of this year's report, Mouallimi added. 
Coalition spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed al-Asseri said in a statement sent to Reuters late on Sunday that the U.N. had not based enough of its report on information supplied by the Saudi-backed Yemeni government. 
The Saudi-led coalition began a military campaign in Yemen in March last year with the aim of preventing Iran-allied Houthi rebels and forces loyal to Yemen's ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh from taking power.
Yes, you read that right, the U.N. "had not based enough of its report on information supplied by the Saudi-backed Yemeni government". And we're supposed to believe that Canada "is watching the situation very closely"? That we take "every opportunity to raise critical issues with senior Saudi officials with respect to humanitarian issues, consular issues, and human rights"? If you believe that I have a bridge to sell you.

Deals always have cancellation fees. Considering Canada spent 1 billion dollars beating it's own citizens, I think we can probably afford a "multi-billion" cancellation fee, don't you? To ensure we are not involved in the oppression? This is of course if that fee can actually be enforced. I'm sure if Canada is actually "watching things closely" it wouldn't be hard to fight the legal ramifications at the WTO or whatever secret corporate court would handle it. If we actually had any interest in doing so, anyway. We don't.
So who's he to pretend he's a great defender of human rights? Why would he twist my words? When he's the one who is siding with the Saudis by suggesting that we should pay them billions so they can buy armoured cars from another country.

So we could lose $20 billion dollars, and throw thousands of Canadian workers into the street, for nothing.
First of all, the deal is only worth $14.3 billion. The cancellation fee is cited at "multi-billion" - probably less than the value of the deal. Second, the Saudi's don't need our billions - in fact they are trying to dump their reserves in preparation for a new monetary system that is not based on the USD. This deal is just one of many that the Saudi's, the Russians, and the Chinese are carrying out sending their stored U.S. debt back to the west where it came from and getting real material and assets in return. Third, it's not "for nothing" - if not for at the very least Canada and Canadians having a legitimately clean conscious about our involvement.

As I've been writing about over the past year, the Saudi's along with the Russians, and the Chinese are all moving away from trade with the U.S. dollar. Canada is working to establish itself in this new alliance. "Screwing the Liberals?", no, this about serious things - not the political circus. Governments everywhere love to talk about human rights, meanwhile the neoliberal agenda works to eradicate them and turn everyone into a debt slave in a new world of feudalism as the industrial age and the control system of a taste of luxury disintegrate due to limits to growth taking hold. We're up against very powerful forces here and they don't play the same political bullshit we do.

The Amnesty report on Canada is named perfectly "empty words and double standards". The Canadian public gets all in a huffypuff that a journalist was "berated" by a Chinese ambassador here on a business trip representing the very same alliance our Saudi deal is connected to and yet when our government that claims to "uphold the value of human rights" has a real chance and window to actually make a difference all it takes is the mention of some debt based fiat currency and some jobs to change our tune, even though "money and power" is where most human rights violations stem from anyway.

"Empty words and double standards", indeed.

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.