Saturday, May 9, 2020

The emperor's new cloak

I haven't written in awhile as I have been waiting for events to stabilize a bit and allow the inevitable new messaging to take hold. As I wrote in 'Russia moves for N.A. production and banking death blow while Kenney's agenda disintegrates over-night':
The fuckwad UCP's social license and benefit of the doubt to do as they please to implement the Kenney agenda just expired. Kenney it would appear is out of time to get the rich off the hook and I suspect the next week is going to be an incoherent mess of announcements as he bides time figuring out what to do regarding the reinvigorated price war.
This hasn't stopped Kenney from continuing apace however with his agenda now out in the open and now backed by a much weakened propaganda message of "don't criticize us because that would be political", and "we're having bad luck".

Now instead of Buffalo declarations of independence, Albertans are "herding like buffalo" towards the federal government providing the outright handouts and well cleanup Kenney has been gunning for all along (and that I believe Trudeau had agreed to back during Kenney's trip to Ottawa but of which the federal government was waiting for an appropriate crisis to cover for the public perception of bailouts of an industry that prides itself on thumbing it's nose at everyone else, as was somewhat hinted at in the quotes from Trudeau and Kenney in 'Is the divisive, coordinated, push (and potential rejection) for Teck Frontiers actually designed to justify a quid-pro-quo?').

Those who think Kenney and Trudeau are actually opposed in any way outside of the need of political theatre don't understand the full picture. Left vs. Right is for you, dear peasant, to give you an ideology to believe in. The reality of Trudeau's oil bailouts as I pointed out in 'Alberta's Great Panderer' isn't about saving Alberta, it's about saving Bay Street, which the federal government very much has a vested interest in protecting. Left, or right. Remember, the Supreme Court Redwater ruling had a negative effect on the banks and it was Bay Street and the appeal of banker investment that Kenney has been concerned primarily about as we discussed in 'Alberta's plan for the $2.4B? Helping defunct oil companies circumvent the Supreme Court'.

Of course Kenney and the oil companies are claiming they are "unhappy" with the huge amount of risk the taxpayer has kindly taken on for them which conveniently makes Canadians feel righteous and ok with "cleaning up the environment". In fact numerous people on Twitter have debated with me and my stance that well remediation produces nothing of tangible value, the argument being that restoring the land has tangible value.

Well sure, yea, not living in a trashpile is nice, but ending up where you started out means you didn't produce anything. If it did, people would be knocking down doors to cleanup each other's messes. It produces nothing more for you to eat. It produces nothing more for you to build with, or drive with. It produces nothing which is why the Supreme Court after decades of deliberate neglect finally ruled that oil companies had to cleanup their wells before paying their creditors. They made the profit, or their creditors did, hence they should pay for the non productive task of cleaning up the damage.

Instead Canada handed them a blank cheque and a promise that all they have to do is wait until their financials go south and then Canada will rush to the rescue. Of course this has always been the plan anyway. And it is most certainly also the plan regarding tailings ponds which havent had hardly any progress in 40 years, and all of the other damage.

The gift of environmental cleanup isn't enough though apparently, they ultimately actually need "liquidity" according to Kenney:
More liquidity than the $4.7 billion tax cut that went straight into stock buybacks?

The truth is they've been needing "liquidity" for a long time, and the bigger truth here is that Kenney knows full well they are not going to get it, because as the Teck CEO recently admitted, they wouldn't invest in oilsands again and the entire premise of doing so was based on their misreading of.. wait for it.. PEAK OIL!
“If I go back in time to when Teck first went into the oil sands business, at that time we had quite a number of reasons why we thought it was appealing,” Lindsay said, referencing the then-prevailing theory of “peak oil,” barrels trading above US$100, and the emergence of large Calgary-based energy firms.
Effectively, Alberta's entire modern oilsands dominated oil industry exists because a bunch of dumbass fuckwad "Calgary school" greedy idiots figured that a barrel of oil could skyrocket to the moon and somehow the economy would remain stable. That the $100 barrels were all gravy and their costs would never increase to reflect the decreasing EROEI that extraction represented and you can damn well bet this means they never bothered to have any plans to address the damage as the economic premise of operating them was based on this was "the last of the last".

The oilsands don't represent a sustainable future at all, they represent a bet, a cash grab, one that has required a perpetual lie of forever prosperity for Albertans while those in charge knew full well there was an inevitable end to it (as early as 2012, and probably a decade or more before that).

These are the same fucking idiots who are now claiming taxpayers need to bailout the oilsands industry because if they don't people won't have cellphones and all sorts of nonsense even though the world is in a (temporary) glut of real oil (not the far lower quality bitumen Alberta passes as oil). More and more I'm seeing this line of reasoning coming from the increasingly detached pro-oilsands crowd conflating the issue of shutting down oilsands with the world shutting down actual oil production as if Alberta actually matters in the grand scheme of oil production.

Its amusing, because the world is basically shutting down oilsands for us. We've been priced out of the market (much as the US has and other unconventional jurisdictions as well, but their infrastructure can take a lot more hits)

$0 Oil Forces Canada To Shut Down Crude Production

Idle North Sea oil rigs point to fresh crisis

We're about to reach the inevitable next chapter of the oil crisis: The industry shuts down

US Oil Rig Count Collapses As Wave Of Shale Well Closures Begins

Enbridge cuts spending after falling oil demand hits crude flows

This has always been inevitable. The mistake of Alberta's dumbfuck "Calgary School" economic leaders was thinking the good times would last longer than they did. As I covered in Alberta's Great Panderer, even in January of 2019 when Harper was giving his private talk to investors there was still some optimism but that optimism clearly subsided by the time Kenney took office with "cost cutting" becoming the new mantra on Bay Street.

The parade of corporations leaving Alberta hasn't subsided with Murphy Oil the latest to depart. I am happy however to see more Albertans now questioning the very foundation of the UCP: that Kenney is actually trying to "save" the oil industry at all.

This fits with the observation I made in Alberta's Great Panderer, that despite Kenney being in power now, favorable taxes, a propaganda centre dedicated to 24/7 promotion of the industry via tax dollars and misused TIER funds, and their claims that it was all "Notley's fault": they're not leaving under Notley they're leaving under Kenney and with much shinier balance sheets than they would have under Notley. Coincidence? I doubt it.

The anger in Alberta is only increasing and this is of course why Kenney's adoption of the flimsy Krause Conspiracy was so integral to his message and win: it's much better for Albertans to blame the problems the industry always knew were coming on the Great Green Conspiracy, and foreign oil billionaires because every other countries' oil industry is apparently ruthless and corrupt and Canada's just shits roses. Kenney's had to quickly wrap up his corruption and agenda in a new cloak.

Kenney's messaging has been falling apart ever since. Without the great green conspiracy to lean on his outright attacks on Alberta's wealth, public service, and property have become much more obvious. His new "wars" against COVID-19 are not nearly as effective as rallying the useful idiots; they were ready to go to war against the environmentalists and Ottawa, wars the Harper conservatives have been pushing now for years in a carefully crafted propaganda narrative meant to capture liberty minded Albertans.

The new wars are not very effective in garnering Canadians support either after Kenney's initial propaganda messaging and wars relied heavily on Albertans separating themselves from Canada and increasingly isolating from common-sense (as we discussed in 'Albertans' emotionally abusive relationship with the UCP').

The new narratives are not carefully crafted, they do not have the work and the support and the mockingbirds repeating the messaging and planting seeds to later grow. Worse for Kenney, the new messages require re-programming those who believed the old ones and its not going so well. The new narratives don't speak to Alberta's carefully crafted culture and they don't provide sufficient redirection of the anger. Some is splashing back on Kenney:
The main problem for Kenney now is that his messaging isn't appealing to anyone and it's causing the propagandist parade to have to work overtime acting as though there is support for ideas the UCP is putting forward when in reality there is little. His rabid supporters want him to stay the course, separate, stick it to Ottawa, take back all of "Alberta's money", and go after the "foreign attacks on Alberta" that they've been brainwashed into believing exist. It's going to be very difficult now for Kenney to convince them Ottawa's handouts are good without losing his legitimacy in the process.

It should also be obvious now to Albertans given the disaster that the corrupt privateer Tyler Shandro has created for the UCP and that Kenney still "backs", that Kenney doesn't give a fuck if he is re-elected (as we last discussed in 'Buffalo Theatre' - and which frankly I need to pat myself on the back regarding this one and Kenney's subsequent 180, who else called that? Anyone?). Clearly Tyler Shandro is part of Kenney's little agenda and can not afford to be replaced as health minister. I highly doubt very many backbench MLAs are in on Kenney's agenda thus I doubt Kenney has much to choose from regarding a cabinet shuffle. It would be a simple nod to the conservative base to replace Tyler Shandro and avoid further embarrassment for them especially since even prominent conservatives like Licia Corbella think so.

Yet, he doesn't, and that speaks 1000 times louder regarding his intentions and associations. There is a lot of simple dog whistles Kenney could make to revive his falling popularity, it's not like UCP supporters are that smart in the first place it doesn't take much to fool them (remember, these are the folks that thought Kenney getting into power and a corporate socialist propaganda centre would revive Alberta and have been making excuses ever since about why it hasn't).

The pandemic itself isn't partisan at all and plenty of conservatives have also been noticing the blatant bad faith of the government regarding doctors. Remember, conservatives are people too. They have health problems, they have doctors, and I'm sure they don't appreciate receiving letters from their doctor about how shitty the UCP is. They didn't get those about the NDP, and you can bet most of those rural docs vote UCP. Hmm.
I'm sure they also aren't appreciating their "savings" from the "carbon tax" going straight into their increased insurance premiums. I'm sure they're not appreciating the UCP's focus on selling Alberta's parks during a pandemic. You can be sure even their supporters are starting to notice that the UCP seems to do nothing but offload risk on to taxpayers and liquidate Alberta's holdings. Which is exactly what Harper and the IDU helped him steal his leadership, and go on to aid the general election campaign for in the first place. Is there any doubt now?

Even fucking Doug Ford is polling better.

It should be very clear now that Kenney has a specific agenda, that Kenney does not care about being re-elected (because after this term he will probably be accepted into the world of elite banking), and that he is on a time table to have it completed. A time table so tight he's had to piece together new propaganda to cover for it on the fly and hasn't even been able to stop long enough to revive his popularity. This will have lasting repercussions for the UCP as already stories of "regret" from UCP voters have been making the rounds. But the UCP is just a means to the ends for Harper and Kenney anyway, they are a lamb to be sacrificed on the alter of the new feudalism coming at us fast as those in the know already know the fate of the party given the problems that are coming doesn't matter. None of them plan to be in Alberta when that happens, I assure you.

The lack of liquidity for the oil industry is simply a Harbinger of the economic doom to come for Alberta as the other shoe of unfunded environmental liabilities hasn't dropped yet and the rich are running out of time to run for the exits.

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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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