Monday, April 22, 2013

YYC Ward 7 Councillor Dru Farrell: We are reaching a fiscal cliff with the cost of growth

Contained in a video exclusive by Global News which centers around backroom deals to control the Calgary City counsel. Perhaps more important though than the backroom deals we all know happen already but choose to ignore are some comments made by Calgary Councillor Dru Farrell starting at the 3:20 mark:
"[The] old way of doing things simply won't work any longer. We are reaching, if we haven't already reached a fiscal cliff with the cost of growth."
A pretty good summary of what I've been trying to raise the alarm about since before even my Hellberta blog.

Canadian Trends: Alberta's Biggest Challenge Yet


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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.

Alberta's biggest challenge yet

Alberta faces a significant and unrecognized challenge, one not of the environment or financials but of disbelief and if we're to fix the problems in this province then the people of Alberta are going to have to drop a number of preconceptions they have about our situation.

Alison Redford has noted a significant loss of support for the Progressive Conservatives since the revealing of the 2013 budget.

Some may simply chop this up to the repeated cases of wasteful spending by the PCs, and if you look at most comments that is where the criticism stops. In general, based on the commentary surrounding this situation I would have to say the basic perception is that Alberta is more or less stable if the government wasn't wasting all the money.

However, our situation runs much deeper and I forecast that even if the PCs lose the next election whatever government that comes in will simply discover the situation isn't nearly as rosy as we've all been lead to believe over these years.

This really is the primary challenge that any person or party or whatever is going to come up against if we try to change anything in Alberta to adapt to our current situation, that Albertans have been lied to for so long about how rich they are that it's gone to their heads.

This all comes back to the concept of 'oilsands prosperity being a lie'. Note that despite that the temporary bitumen bubble has disappeared the financial issues remain. This is to be expected as the bitumen bubble was never really the problem but rather the bi-directional price of oil as a whole over these last few years.

What needs to be understood by everyone, all parties, all Albertans, is that the incredible profit we were seeing prior to the collapse of 2008 was due to the exponentially rising oil price. It was not the significance of the actual oil price that mattered but rather the velocity and direction in which it moved. This has all been explained countless times on this blog.

The current need for spending derives from the massive infrastructure requirements needed to facilitate these projects and unless the oil price velocity and direction resume what they were doing previous to 2008 (which they won't) we will never see the sort of profits we were making again.

Alberta's biggest mistake, which can not be reversed, is that it wasted all of the profits it got on stupid gimmicks instead of investing it in the future. On this I will not argue, but the fact is it's done, that money was spent, and it's never coming back.

If you're going to be upset about anything, don't be upset about the spending happening today but rather be upset about the lies of prosperity that were told in the first place. Be upset that the government by over-hyping the "total recoverable reserves" and downplaying the "daily production" has convinced some Albertans that we are of the same energy production capacity as Saudi Arabia.

Maybe this is why support is dropping so fast for the PCs after this budget, because for the longest time Albertans have been told of how superior their debt-free status is and of how prosperous their oilsands industry makes them. There is a lot of programming that needs to be undone. Convincing Albertans that the tasks at hand need to be done may be harder than actually pushing through the tasks.

Any incoming government will either have to address or cover-up this issue of such a low energy return on energy invested with the oilsands. It's getting harder and harder to cover the gap in revenue vs. the need for infrastructure. Question is, will anyone believe them?

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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.

The foiled terror plot - initial thoughts

I've decided to end my CISPA blackout early in light of the "foiled" terrorist plot here in Canada. The purpose of this post specifically is to clear up some of the initial information and arguments that are already brewing.

First, the 'timing' conspiracy. I do not believe this was timed to coincide with the #S7 debate. Quite frankly, if it was then it has failed miserably as A) The fact the plot was foiled would seem to indicate to me that we don't need S7 to capture terrorists and B) the impact on public opinion has been negligible, almost joke-like. If there is a conspiracy to the timing, I would have to say that it's more likely an attempt to distract from how quickly the Boston mess is being pulled apart. Aka, law enforcement needed a "win" which shows the anti-terror system works (Boston showed it to be a failure).

Another statement which has become popular is that Al-Qaeda can't possibly be involved because they are at religious odds with Iran. This is true they are at religious odds with Iran which is why the fact the RCMP said it's not "state-sponsored" is extremely important.

I'm not saying don't question the events by the way, what I am saying is make sure you fully understand what's being reported before spreading misinformation.

Strange bedfellows -- Iran and al Qaeda
The Iranian regime likely saw the al Qaeda operatives as useful bargaining chips with the United States in the event of some kind of peace negotiations with the Americans. That peace deal, of course, never happened.

Of course, for Iran the adage, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" may have also come into play, although there doesn't seem to be evidence that Iran and al Qaeda have ever cooperated on a specific operation.

That said, the 9/11 Commission found that of the 19 hijackers, "8 to 10 of the 14 Saudi "muscle" operatives traveled into or out of Iran between October 2000 and February 2001." Whether this was with any degree of Iranian complicity is still an open question.

The fact that leading members of al Qaeda were based in Iran from 2002 on
was known to the U.S. government at the time. (In fact, in early 2003 counterterrorism officials briefed me about this development).

There is something of an irony here. This was during the same time period in which senior administration officials under President George W. Bush were citing the alleged presence of al Qaeda members in Baghdad and a supposedly burgeoning alliance between al Qaeda and Iraq's leader Saddam Hussein as a key reason to go to war against Saddam, Iran's bitter enemy.
Iran, al-Qaeda relationship is showing cracks, U.S. officials and analysts say
At the same time, Western intelligence agencies see steps by Iran to preserve ties with al-Qaeda by allowing the group to use Iranian territory as a transit route to and from Afghanistan, U.S. officials and analysts say.

“We believe that Iran continues to allow al-Qaeda to operate a network that moves al-Qaeda money and fighters through Iran to support al-Qaeda activities in South Asia,”
David S. Cohen, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in an interview.

Highlighting the sometimes contradictory nature of the relationship, Cohen said the same transit networks send “funding and fighters to Syria,” where militant Islamists linked to al-Qaeda are battling pro-government forces supported by Iran. A group of fighters from the militant ­al-Nusra Front, which the State Department has said is linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq, is regarded as one of the most powerful anti-government forces in Syria.
Now, here is where it gets really interesting. It's widely reported that Iran is essentially a transport conduit for funds, equipment and soldiers with Iran essentially turning a blind eye. Again, remember the RCMP: "this is not state-sponsored", so who did sponsor it? Well one might have to assume that if funds can travel into Syria, they can probably travel out too, right?

Militant rebels in Syria announce merger with al-Qaeda
US approves additional $123m aid to Syria

It is however very plausible to believe that somehow, directly or indirectly, the U.S. sponsored the attack. As more information comes out we'll review this situation.

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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.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

UPDATE-3: Dangerous Precedents

It's always difficult for me to decide whether to comment on tragedies such as Boston or not. I am not one to publicize my grief, if I choose to comment it's because I feel a comment is necessary. I've had to think particularly hard on this Boston event, I pride myself on providing accurate information and I don't like to jump to conclusions. Throughout these last 5 days a continuous theme of confusion and misinformation has been on display for all to see and I do not wish to take part in that and as such only now do I feel confident to say at least something about it.

This whole thing stinks. There, I said it, call me a conspiracy theorist if you want but there are way more questions than there are answers and from the start the important questions have seemed to be ignored. In fact, before the media themselves begun questioning events they had already begun criticizing those who were questioning events. Now, just because this stinks doesn't automatically mean I think this is an inside job however, a lot of information is still coming out but based on information currently available there are just a few things one has to wonder. I've seen three predominant and sourced theories about the attack.
  1. Inside Job - Before It's News has put together several pieces on what they find interesting:
  2. Double-Agents - DEBKAfile's analysis has lead them to believe that the brothers were CIA assets turned double-agent.
  3. Iran - Reza Kahlili (not his real name), a former CIA spy in the Iranian regime believes Iran hired these attackers.
For this post I'm going to focus primarily on events before and after the attack, and not on the actual bombing itself as I find the surrounding events even more puzzling and crucial to question.

Why are local news reports of bomb sniffing dogs and spotters on rooftops for an apparent "drill" not being followed up with? The reports coming from NBC for god's sake, this is a reputable news agency. Why is this being ignored? Until the U.S. government can at least declare a motive, no evidence should be discarded and people should remain ever vigilant. Let's all remember this is a "suspect" and not a convicted felon, right? Is there even a difference anymore?

Back in December I caught a piece put out by Russia Today which described a complete lockdown of a small American town. I titled that article "Lockdown in U.S. appears imminent" and here we are just 4 months later and already a metropolis has been locked down. Sure, it was only for a day. Sure, there were "extreme circumstances". But it seems if anything over the last decade of the "war on terror" and "economic crisis" that extreme circumstances can quickly become the normal. It's the normalacy of abnormal.

This lockdown didn't just come out of the blue, this is happening already in smaller American towns and it's now built up to a major metropolis. What I find the most interesting about Friday's "lockdown" is that it didn't work, they didn't find the guy until "just minutes" after the lockdown order ended. The lockdown order ended when the police had completed their sweep 100%. What I'm getting at here is that if this were, say, a "dry run" as it's called then completing the search 100% would be paramount to the "mission". Before I continue, I just need you all to visualize the search process:






They're in backyards, houses, seems pretty thorough, right? Yet the suspect that they failed to find during their search and was found "just minutes" after the search was completed by a civilian was found here under a tarp in a boat that can be seen clearly from the road? It's been widely reported he was there the whole time "weakened by blood loss", how was a guy under a tarp missed by what was literally an entire army? Their helicopters have infrared, which was defeated by a tarp?



It causes me to wonder if finding the suspect was job #1, or if completing the "dry run" sweep was job #1.

I just want to leave you with one closing thought here. Now that this precedent has been set for a manhunt, what's next? Will it now go for all murders? Where do we draw the line of "this calls for a complete shutdown of everything"? Is it reactionary, or precautionary? If we expect trouble, do we shut it down now preemptively just as we arrest organizational leaders before major events (like the G20 in Toronto). All of this feels wrong, and unfortunately I think this is only a glimpse of events to come.

Update-1

While I was sleeping it occurred to me that there is another interesting piece of information one can gather from the available photos of the "search". What iconic manhunt police tool is missing?

Dogs. Where are the dogs? They had personal items from these people it seems to me that a dog would have easily detected the suspect in the boat. Where are the dogs? Again, it seems that the "manhunt" portion was secondary.

If you have pictures from the search Friday showing any dogs please submit them to ct-tips@openintellect.ca.

Update-2

 
There is what I believe is a police dog in this video, this video also shows how "thorough" they're being. Yet somehow, they missed him, seems they got just about everybody else though, doesn't it.


Update-3

"They didn't search the boat, not once" - 10:08




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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, April 10, 2013

#yegarena: Borrowing more on borrowed time

Edmonton city council's "Plan B" to fund the arena is well basically this:

source

These 3 bullet points present so many problems I don't know where to begin. Let's start with point 2 "Assume MSI is to be on-going". Assume? based on.. what? The province's MSI initiative is part of the "capital plan" and not the "operational plan" which means that to begin with the MSI money we're getting has been borrowed and the reason why? To help prepare for the influx of population we expect to be getting. So this assumption is based on the assumption that Alberta's economic situation can only get better, not worse, or if it does get worse that it will continue to borrow at the same or what will more likely be required greater rates than they are now.

Edmonton is then going to get a loan of it's own of $45mil (seems we're still missing $55mil, but what-ev) which will be repaid with what we can only assume will be ongoing MSI funding levels (don't worry no cuts are coming in the future as sustainability fund runs dry). Attached to both of these loans is interest, so you are paying interest on the provinces loan and you will now also be paying interest on the city's loan which is to be serviced by a portion of the province's loan. Next year we can only assume the province will have to borrow more unless "things turn around" and the influx of population is apparently needed to do that.

Quite frankly, the province is borrowing for the "capital plan" for a reason and we should be using it for that reason before it's no longer available. This is just the beginning of a long downward trend, do you think Alberta is going to continue being so liberal with it's borrowing in 5 years? 10?

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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.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

UPDATE-1: The poor farm

It appears RBC has blown the lid off the TFW can of worms to the public's discontent. The predictable reactionary responses have of course followed, such as "Boycott RBC" with the faint cheers for Trudeau 2015 "hope is change" in the background. Yes, we're all shocked here at the fact it was discovered that RBC was taking advantage of a slanted economic stage we're all well aware exists. It's shocking we discovered it, it's not shocking really that it exists in the first place or were we all really so naive as to believe that it wasn't happening? Here's a better question, what's a supposed fundamentally free market government doing interfering in wage competition? Oh sure there is "rules" against replacing Canadians, because those are a great balance against the possible millions saved breaking them.

It seems pretty simple to me that if the goal with the temporary foreign worker program is to have a Canadians First policy then removing any incentive to break that policy is the solution, if the problem the temporary foreign worker program is to solve is an apparent "labour shortage" then why are two tiered wages needed? Do free market fundamentals not dictate that the increased demand and competition for labour should result in increasing wages? Yet our policy is completely counter intuitive to this goal, not only do we allow companies access to larger pools of workers but they are also cheaper. Why did we even set the stage to allow for this situation in the first place?

This line of thinking inevitably leads to even more questions such as 'why have we been so hasty in allowing them but so slow in addressing the issues they bring?'. Probes and studies are needed to prove it's a program that's prone to abuse which allows employers to sideline labour rights yet no study or probe is done to prove that introducing multiple wage tiers and levels of worker rights won't harm anything. Basically, if you support the TFW program you support direct state intervention in the wage market to allow for employers to not have to respect wage competition which has resulted in a job market where despite constant rhetoric about labour shortages which under normal conditions should be pushing wages up is instead either pushing wages down or keeping them "frozen".

Result here actually isn't correct, the TFWs are themselves a result of margins being squeezed by energy prices and the requirements of infinite growth. If the economy was a living organic being then right now it'd be digesting it's own fat tissue as a result of starvation. The economy is no longer a vehicle to propel real production or innovation but rather to destroy and dismantle what little we have left. Markets recently hit all time highs with economic chaos and suffering at it's grandest. Some say that this is because the market has lost touch with reality, I say the market is trying to show you reality but you're either not listening to it or not believing in it. Believe every time you see the DOW go up real production and the subsequent jobs has been lost. Our society has nothing left to eat but itself now to grow.

Canadian Trends: Two Tier Wage Scales

The reality is now that our infinite growth ponzi-conomy is broken and allowing TFWs papers over this critical flaw and allows it to maintain the appearance of something sort of functional. If you still see the illusion of a "strong stable Canada", or "a recovery", or any of that other nonsense that's only because the portion of the economy you rely on hasn't been devoured yet. Yet.

I was going to do another post today on balancing "private property" with "social responsibility" which was to center around this news article, but it also serves well as an example here of the insane measures of economic cannibalism the human race is currently subjecting itself to, unnecessarily.
Richmond County sheriff’s officers were called Tuesday to fend off crowds outside an Augusta grocery store hoping to make off with merchandise that had been set out during an eviction.
...
Officials said onlookers became angry when they learned they would not be allowed to take away food and other sundries that were piled outside the grocery as “abandoned property.”
...
The crowd dissipated after a swarm of deputies arrived, along with Sheriff Richard Roundtree, to assist the three marshals who had been initailly assigned to the eviction.

“There is the potential to have people fighting and causing problems,” said Lt. Calvin Chew. “That’s not something we want.”
...
Serles was watching with several friends while workers scooped up the food and other merchandise in trash cans which were in turn, dumped into two waiting garbage bins that officials said were destined for the Richmond County Landfill.
On top of the TFW situation, consider also that a whole lot of you have already been slated for the chopping block due to the 3D printer.

Here's something for you to ponder, Cyprus' "unique resolution" of a "bail-in" happened after our budget was revealed and yet our budget contains this same "bail-in" language. Sure, there are many that are saying that "bail-in's" are what should have been happening in the first place and maybe they should have been but the fact they are happening now is a little suspicious isn't it? After banks have been getting taxpayer money they will now start getting the depositor money instead (too?). A second chance, not to mention double the profit. This tax haven leak and it's timing is interesting too especially since offshore havens would be the sort of places people might try to use to avoid taxes on their deposits, eh? Sure we cheer because they're rich and "we don't like that" but consider that if all of the ways out are closed for them, they'll be closed for you, too. You do know all of the elites had their money hidden long ago, right?

Coming back to two tiered wage scales, you all need to realize this all ties into a much larger picture: All of the bridges to prosperity are being nuked to hell and despite Trudeau's rhetoric (or anyone else's for that matter) about the middle class and the future and crap as we speak all of the avenues out are being closed off. The real criminals ran off with the tax dollars long ago all of this is to nail you to the wall and send you to the poor farm.

The message at this point is loud and clear 'we don't need you'. Does anyone hear it?

Update-1

List of 'accelerated' TFW approvals reveals widespread abuse of program
Ottawa admits it approved request for foreign workers to replace RBC employees
Outsourcing bank jobs is common practice, say employees

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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.