Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ethical Ignorance

So, has anyone else noticed that "Ethical Oil's" news feed has been dead since September, 2012? I guess it would be quite difficult to write about how ethical Canada is over other regions as we turn to more and more unethical practices to save our ailing economy.

B.C. companies in Eritrea at risk of using forced labour, watchdog claims Human Rights Watch says conscripted workers face torture, imprisonment if they try to leave

Now, correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't Ethical Oil's whole argument favouring foreign investment rooted in the belief that because unethical companies were operating under Canada's "ethical" laws our "ethical oil" remained "untarnished"? I wonder then exactly how Ethical Oil would justify Canadian companies operating unethically in country's one can only assume Ethical Oil would consider "unethical". Which is the unethical party? The country they're operating in, or the practices they are taking advantage of? I guess ethics just aren't as important when your economy is going down the tubes...

Canada Lags Behind the Pack in OECD Data

The OECD data fits my early 2013 forecasts quite well. There are "signs of a rebound" in the U.S. and China and other economies which as we discussed yesterday is the result of what can be considered a current "cheap" energy price. Of course, as always, cheap is relative - the price is definitely on the high-end of the "cheap" scale, and it's a scale which seems to grow all the time being that 10 years ago it would be considered quite "expensive".
“Pretty much out of the six components, there are only two that show a relatively positive performance, share prices and consumer confidence,” Gyorgy Gyomai, head of the cyclical indicator unit in the statistics directorate the OECD, said in an interview with Canada Real Time.
Share prices are generally just a function of consumer confidence anyway and of course we can attribute the consumer confidence to the carefully propagandized reports on our economic well-being.

Canada's dirty economic secret: we're as indebted as the rest of you
Redford faces budget woes, accelerates spending reductions

Our economic well-being is a dirty little secret held deep in the bowels of what alleges to be a "conservative government". With the right play on words they can make anything - even a bailout - sound great. Here in Canada we think it's an incredible economic achievement to say complete the twinning of a highway over a decade later while Asian societies pass us by with leaps and bounds. Rarely, if ever, is Canada's infrastructure advancing but rather merely trying to keep up with our "pace of growth", a pace and demand which we are going into debt trying to accommodate. It's one thing going into debt to provide advanced state-of-the-art infrastructure, it's another going into debt to keep up with the bare minimum of society's needs and maintain ancient 1970s (or earlier) technology. If we're so rich, where's the evidence? where's the investment in the future? There is none, there is merely an investment in the present on the back of the future; the complete opposite direction of where we should be going. We have a complete lack of foresight and real vision here in Canada with economic and infrastructure policy pretty well developed on an ad-hoc basis coming from governments which make grandiose claims about their long-term plans for the future.

Canadians have become so complacent with our easy-money "sell-the-pond-not-the-fish" economic policy that we are either completely oblivious to the economic whirlwinds heading our way or at the very least don't take them as seriously as we should.

ANALYST: At This Point, We Have To Assume That The [U.S.] Government Is Going To Shut Down
Fitch warns on U.S. rating as debt ceiling fight looms
It Begins: Bundesbank To Commence Repatriating Gold From New York Fed

You can now begin to see the shape of what going head-first over the fiscal cliff looks like. As I stated before the path the U.S. chose to go down by essentially avoiding all of the cuts is itself a cliff, not the avoidance of said cliff.
At this point, we have to assume the government shuts down, even if temporarily and in coming days, we’ll have more on the economic/market effects of the last government shutdown. In addition, if Republicans opt to allow sequestration to take effect as planned rather than agree to a deal without “significant” spending cuts, we would have to revisit our market/economic forecast. It might have been reasonable to assume the spending cuts wouldn’t take effect until later in the year or even 2014. That seems increasingly less likely and if so, the fiscal drag on the economy in the second half would be larger and by extension, the outlook for (select areas of) the equity market more difficult.
If investors and firms lose their confidence or begin operating on the assumption the government is going to shut down then it isn't really going to matter whether the government shuts down or not, much of the damage will already be done. Notice now, also, that the fear of "spending cuts" is completely gone and the "fiscal cliff" has evolved now into a government shutdown since the fiscal imbalances were not dealt with. Repatriation of Germany's gold probably isn't going to help that confidence much either.

So in the long-term for Canada (and the mid-term for the U.S.) where is all this going to end up? You might be asking. Spain provides some insight.
As the WSJ notes, Spain has been quietly tapping the country's richest piggy bank, the Social Security Reserve Fund, as a buyer of last resort for Spanish government bonds - with at least 90% of the €65 billion ($85.7 billion) fund has been invested in increasingly risky Spanish debt.
Getting an idea yet...?

And in addition

Somehow I missed this "report" back when it happened but apparently Alison Redford has in fact "reported" on the "achievements" made at the Bilderberg conference. Want to know what she accomplished?

The Premier's participation advanced the Alberta government's more aggressive effort to engage world decision makers in Alberta's strategic interests, and to talk about Alberta's place in the world. The mission sets the stage for further relationship-building with existing partners and potential partners with common interests in investment, innovation, and public policy.
No, seriously, that's it. That's the entire "report": a single paragraph of umbrella terms which says absolutely nothing and which was noted before as being completely contradictory to the actual mission statement of the Bilderberg group.
The Bilderberg website itself states:

Invitations to Bilderberg conferences are extended by the Chairman following consultation with the Steering Committee members. Participants are chosen for their experience, their knowledge, their standing and their contribution to the selected agenda.
There usually are about 120 participants of whom about two-thirds come from Europe and the balance from North America. About one-third is from government and politics, and two-thirds from finance, industry, labour, education and communications. Participants attend Bilderberg in a private and not an official capacity.

So contrary to her statement:

"participants are chosen for their experience, their knowledge, their standing, and their contribution to the selected agenda."
"Participants attend Bilderberg in a private and not an official capacity."

So according to her she is going to this meeting in a non-official capacity on public funds to push Alberta's agenda? That somehow she has been selected to tell them her agenda, not because she has "contributed to the selected agenda"? Right, the lies are bursting through the seams.
The only aspect of her paragraph on "results" I believe to be truthful is "to talk about Alberta's place in the world". I'm sure that the "decision makers" told Redford exactly what place that is.

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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 CenturyLink

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.

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