Sunday, October 05, 2008

burned out

picture from here

Interesting week, it has been. There is the bail-out down south that went from a three page, $700 Billion Bill, to a 440 page, $840 Billion Act. That is $2,545.454545454545454... per man, woman and child in the US. I would not feel so good, as an American, to be so indebted with nothing material to show for it. (And do you notice the weird numerology in that number? Just asking.) That is not going to do it though, I don't think. There are still many banks in the US that are lined up to collapse, and OJ is finally going to prison!

Of course, we are well insulated in Canada, and especially in Vancouver. The more wester you go, the more betterer you are. Case in point - the Wester Side, and Wester Vancouverer. But still, we have our problems hanging over our heads no matter what douche, Dove, Krassh/thumbupbum and Steve the Harper have to say. Last week, the Bank of Canada (our very own bank! Yippee!) pumped another $20 billion into the system to keep the wheels turning. That is only $606.06060606060606060606060606061 per capita. (morer, weird numbers!). Not so onerous as the US, but wait! The BoC has been pumping billions into the system for over a year, and bought a bunch of ABCP a while ago. So, Canadians are on the hook for a lot more than is indicated above.
Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge said on Dec. 21 that the country faces a greater risk of recession now than it did six months ago, as growth slows around the world and the risk of a “disorderly” adjustment increases. link
That is old news, but still holds true.

So, I don't know if you watched the debates last week (I have had no chance to write for a few days), but it was interesting, to say the least. The professional pundits have better analysis than I can give here, but the over-riding theme for me was that Harper has still not released a platform, and continues to say that Canada is not the US, and that our economy is strong. The economy certainly has been strong - in light of commodity prices such as oil, potash, lumber, etc., but those are all falling in price, and there is a global problem. We are not insulated, and Harper knows it. My (rhetorical) question is, if there is no problem, and the Conservatives have no plan, why are we in an election right now? All of the other parties (even the Bloc) have a vision, and a plan for Canada, but the Cons do not. Maybe that is why their polling numbers are sliding.

The Liberal/Green plan makes more sense to me than the status quo plan of Harper's group. Harper misled and distracted from those plans in the debate, but his plan (as far as climate change/global warming) is to not have a real plan, and his plan for Canada has not been made public. That is because if Canadians knew what it was, it would be rejected.

I am weary of slamming the Conservatives and Harper, and I think that you must be weary of reading it, but my favourite moments of the debate were;

- Layton asking Harper why he had no platform, and wondered if Harper had it under his sweater. (I find it mighty suspicious that Harper calls an election, but does not even reveal a platform. We were supposed to be brain-washed by all of his negative advertising for the last two years, and not notice, I guess...)

- Duceppe pinning down Harper and making him admit that he had made a mistake vis-a-vis the Iraq invasion in 2003.

- Duceppe using his water glass as a prop to represent a barrel of oil, then chugging it down, and banging his glass down on the table as if it were a shot of scotch, or such. He's a real man.

I thought that Elizabeth May was very compelling, and had the biggest nads of anyone at the table. She is no flake, in my view. I thought, watching the debate, that the best possible result we could have from this election would be a coalition betwixt the Greens, NDP, and Liberals. They are the only ones who made any sense at all.

Lots of reading for you here -

The gloom spreads north - This is a must read from the G&M Report on Business, if you think that we will not be affected.

The biggest losers in this campaign? You and me

Conservative(?) supporters remind of Brown Shirts - endangering lives of Liberal supporters - who find their brake lines cut while children are in the car.

Election Is a Test of Canadians’ Conscience

critics of the government accuse Mr. Flaherty of inaction, and warn of serious troubles ahead for the housing sector and the wider economy

Harper Watch

Show us the platform, party leaders dare Harper on economy

How News Creates “Reality”


frank said...

The best we can hope for is another Conservative Minority- then we hit the recession, and the next election the Conservative get relegated to third place.

This election was rushed in by Harper to get in before the recession took off.

solipsist said...

This election was rushed in by Harper to get in before the recession took off.

I concur frank, (it caught him with his pants down, though! Smarmy so-and-so.) but - if things are really going sideways, we need a group of critical thinkers, representing the majority of Canadians, to work together in consensus. That is the attraction of coalition, or accord government for me. It's almost like having proportional representation.

The problem with another Con minority is that Harper wiill continue to make everything that we find distasteful (pretty much everything) subject to a confidence vote. He has had a de facto majority for two and half years. Weird how we are worse off, eh?

A coalition (which is, I think, a reasonable possibility) could do some good work. There are a lot of good minds in all of the lefter parties, and they are just not as angry as the Conservatives are. The root of anger is fear, and I don't like the idea of frightened, childish people making decisions about my fortune, freedoms or future.

It all started with VHB, and then the pope, and mohican, and lots of others, expressing that RE was totally out of whack. I've been muttering about a depression since 2003, but quietly, because the tin foil comments are attracted to such musings. Look at us now. The whole world economy is hanging on by its finger nails, and the scotch tape of other peoples money - that they do not have to start with, is not going to stop it. Boom, bust, rubble and ruin. The bust is here.

Here is another tin foil prediction - in the next report from the guv, we'll find out that the guv is running a deficit - and the action has just started. Harper will drown the Government in a bathtub (he said he would), and us like kittens in a rain barrel.

Wayne said...

I put the environment at the top of my list of important issues. The unwillingness of the NDP to find common ground with the Green Party has been a frustration for me for years.

I agree Sol, Elizabeth May is a smart cookie and Canada needs people like her in government.

It looks like the Libs, Greens and NDP will fragment the anti-Conservative vote and we'll have spent all these millions (which we apparently don't really have) on another minority gov't.

Anonymous said...

What Garth Turner says about his former boss...

I have worked with Stephen Harper and his crowd long enough to know their game. They speak disparagingly of the voter. They talk about ‘retail politics’ and the gullibility of people – about how they can be manipulated by simple messages. They see public service as marketing and have utter disdain for the democratic process.

This election motto: ABC. Anybody But Conservative.

foo said...

I don't understand the faith people have in the Liberals to do something about the environment. They had 12 years after the Kyoto Accord was signed, and not only did they do nothing, they actually made things worse.

The Green shift plan is bogus - deliberately exempting everything that the consumer would see directly (most particularly gas), completely destroys the whole point of the plan - changing people's behaviour.

Ironically, Harper's done more in the area of reducing pollution/toxic chemicals than the Liberals did. Which is to say that the Libs did absolutely nothing.

Really, only the Greens could conceivably be trusted to do something about the environment. Beyond that, it doesn't matter who's in power, nothing's going to change.

kabloona said...

Interesting comments, all.

Foo, I agree the Libs didn't do much beyond signing Kyoto (Chretien in particular wasted the opportunity, and Martin was too weak politically) but I will say Dion had some plans as Enviro minister that got killed once the Martin Gov't lost the election....(thank you, Jack Layton). Also, look at the home retrofit program killed by Gary Lunn ( I just had the pleasure of voting against the little bastard on Saturday, heh-heh!)and the ecoAuto program they have cancelled as of Jan 2009. Not to mention their de facto abandonment of the Kyoto standards, which at least offered us a target to aim for....rather than bogus "emissions intensity" standards which essentially means emissions continue to rise indefinitely.....

By the way, if Harpo fails to pick up a lot of seats, the Governor General is under no obligation to ask Harpo to try and form a govt, particularly since he claimed he wuz unable to function in the last minority Parliament! In that case, The GG could ask the other parties to try and form a coalition's unlikely, particularly if harpo gets a plurality of votes, but not impossible. Would be an interesting situation, but I have no particular desire to see Layton with more power. During the debate, Dion made the point that it was Layton who dumped the Martin gov't and along with it the National Childcare program and the Kelowna Accord.

I think Jack suffers from delusions of grandeur, something he must have contracted from all those years braying away on Toronto City Council.... ;-)

foo said...

Well, I don't really have a problem with Harper abandoning Kyoto. IMHO, it's more honest than the "talk a good enviro-policy" that we had before.

Also, after seeing some engineering analysis of intensity targets, I'm not convinced they're a bad thing. It's certainly better than the crap of buying "environmental offsets" that's currently trendy.

The thing with intensity targets is that you have to keep the pain at home - you can't pollute like there's no tomorrow, and just pay off some slob in the third world to feel better. Also, it's not true that emissions rise indefinitely in this case - I'll see if I can find the studies on industry that showed differently.

The bottom line is that no politician is going to get real about the environment (except maybe the Greens), because getting real means real pain for us all. Take the BC carbon tax as a perfect example. Funny how the people of BC (and the NDP) suddenly became less environmentally friendly when they realized it actually costs to do things differently

Strataman said...

solopsist " well you did good on this blog was leaning heavily towards Dion but your constant degrading of Harper reminded me that your pretty well a Palin kinda guy! (Nothing constructive so lets get negative). You and what's his name McCain pretty well the same personality! Had a good talk to Lorne today decent sort of guy who is in touch with reality. So thanks!! Changing my vote to conservative! :-)

sutluc said...

I'm kind of hoping for a conservative majority.
I'm hoping that the coming financial catastrophe (which is a product of runaway capitalism, and not something politicians of any stripe can fix) will leave such a bad taste in voters mouths that they will obliterate the conservatives, wipe them out for a generation or two.
However I worry that if the conservatives are in a minority government position again they will be able to deflect the blame. "We would have fixed it but the opposition just wouldn't let us..."

Note that I said that I believe the present situation is un- fixable, it is a hard time that will play itself out, no matter what. This does not mean that I think it wasn't preventable.

Strataman said...

sutluc "However I worry that if the conservatives are in a minority government position again they will be able to deflect the blame. "We would have fixed it but the opposition just wouldn't let us..."
YESS!! You said it! short sighted opposition only two choices a conservative Majority or either NDP has a majority (in which case the CDN dollar and economy is toast) or a Liberal Majority (not gonna happen Dion hasn't got it yet). Greens okay I'll believe them when they deliver no less then 30 seats otherwise big waste of time. In fact if the leader can't win her's then write them off as a protest wasted vote or don't even vote same thing!

Anonymous said...

solipsist said...

Nothing constructive so lets get negative

Yes, I recognised that, and it left me kind of...empty.

When you mention Lorne, I presume that you mean Mayencourt, and I wholly support voting for the candidate, over the party. It will be interesting to see how he does if he wins. My (limited) impression of him is that he says what he thinks and feels. It will be interesting to see if he goes the way of a Bill Casey, or a Garth Turner, if he does speak up against top-down policy.

I'm not sure about the Palin reference, and frankly, I do not see any one group that I can throw my support to. I did not have a lot of good things to say about Layton either, and Dion did not get an endorsement. I find it difficult to say anything positive about any, but May.

I am still undecided. I hope to have a better idea after I attend the All-Candidates Meeting in my riding.

All I can really say, is that I do not like the direction that we are all headed. It all seems a bit surreal to me.

patriotz said...

I'm kind of hoping for a conservative majority.
I'm hoping that the coming financial catastrophe... will leave such a bad taste in voters mouths that they will obliterate the conservatives,

Problem is the Cons would have four years to obliterate Canada first.

A Cons minority looks inevitable now and it suits me fine. Let Harper take the rap for the recession (as incumbent governments always do), and then be turfed out of office in a year or two.

solipsist said...

I agree with patriotz re: destruction of Canada under a Con majority, and what does worry me is the allusion I made to the de facto majority that they have had, continuing.

Further, the knives will be all out for Dion, and I would rather him than Ignatieff or Rae (both unsuitable for different reasons). I don't know much about Kennedy, but he doesn't seem to fit for me.

Frank McKenna? Paging Mr. Frank McKenna.

condohype said...

I hear Lorne's a good guy but I'm not much for his stunts like when he "played poor" in the downtown eastside in a bid to better understand homelessness. That he's running for the Conservative Party doesn't work for me at all. I'm a big supporter of equality rights and the Conservatives' opposition to same-sex marriage is unforgivable in my books. Even Mr. Dithers managed to make the right call on that one.

sutluc said...

Yes, the destruction of Canada is possible. We're already about 90% of the way there in my view.

sutluc said...

By the way strataman, I think you didn't understand what I wrote.
This is not a fixable problem. It's like a propane tank on fire. You stay back and wait for it to burn itself out. It doesn't matter what party gets a majority the economy and dollar are going in the crapper.

I repeat: this is not a problem politicians can fix. It could have been prevented, it cannot be fixed. It has to work itself out, and out of all the parties in this country I would prefer to see the far right wear it.

Anonymous said...

sutluc, you are absolutely correct. This situation is way beyond partisan politics. None of the sock-puppets we 'elect' are capable of dealing with this meltdown. It didn't have to happen, but now, we are stuck with it.

We're on our own.

solipsist said...

None of the sock-puppets we 'elect' are capable of dealing with this meltdown.

That is why I think we need a coalition of intelligent, capable people, in which no one has an over-arching voice. Ralph Goodale in Finance, to start with.

By the way strataman - I did a bit of reading this AM, and have my doubts about Mayencourt winning (but stranger things have happened). I agree with condohype's comments. It seems to be an attempt to jam a round peg into a square hole, to me.

Anonymous said...

I don't get the love affair you guys have with the liberals. I am not a fan of the conservatives but I do think they are better than the liberals. On what issues do you think the conservatives are worse on? Can you guys give some specifics. And since this is a real estate blog I am assuming you blame the conservatives for the real estate bubble. But in all fairness the bubble was in full swing for years before they got elected. And the gains have been minimal since they got in. the only thing you can fault them for is not popping it sooner. But you have to know that is not popular and the liberals would not have done it either.


solipsist said...

I don't get the love affair you guys have with the liberals.

Which love affair would that be? I have not yet endorsed any party, and I have never voted for the Liberals in 28 years of voting - provincially, or federally.

I just got back from the all-candidates meeting in my riding. Liberal Wendy Yuan will not be getting my vote - not because she is a Liberal, but because she did not inspire confidence. I liked the Communist, and Marxist-Leninist candidates the best. Not their "ideology", but the candidates - in what they had to say, and in their grasp of the issues. I will not likely vote for them either. My other two choices are between the NDP, and Green candidates. I think that the NDP guy (Don Davies) is the stronger, and more fluent-in-the-issues candidate, but I don't think much of Jack Layton. Mr. Davies is a lawyer, and is a better speaker than the Greens' Doug Warkentin, but Mr. Warkentin did well, and I like the Green platform and leader better than the NDP's. So, ted, no love affair with the Libs from this camp.

As far as what issues the Libs are better on than the Cons, just about every one. You profess to like the Cons better, but have given no rationale. Care to?

To make an assumption that I blame the Cons for the RE bubble is simplistic, and frankly, simple-minded. Try reading the last couple of weeks of posts, or even the last almost 3 years of posts, before you make assumptions. Who would it have been unpopular with to "pop the bubble" sooner? The idjits that took 0%/40-year mortgages? The idjits who paid way too much for tear-down POS? The government just does not have the power to pop bubbles.

Finally, this is an RE blog, but a couple of weeks ago, I hi-jacked it to be an anti-Conservative majority blog (by popular demand), and promised to return to my regular horse shoes on the 15th of October (though, the 15th will probably be a de-construction of the results).

I hope that clears things up.

solipsist said...

I forgot to mention that the Conservative candidate, Salomon Rayec, did not show up to the meeting. Qu'elle surprise!

I saw a website, that I'll dig up, that was reporting Conservative candidates who couldn't be bothered, (or were not permitted) to attend debates and all-candidates meetings, etc. The number that I saw was 41. Now it is 42.

I tried talking to Emerson when he was the MP, and never heard a word back - though, I am probably "on a list". Who, in their right mind, would "think" to vote for someone who is either too afraid, or too arrogant to not even show up?

That is just weird.

sutluc said...

Love affair with the liberals? Not hardly.
I just really despise some of the far right agenda. I'm anti-far right, not pro-liberal party.
That said, my take on politicians and politics: none of them are any good.
In order to win office you have to be a two face lier, if you are not you won't be able to keep enough people happy to get anywhere in politics. Therefore anyone in elected office is going to be someone you don't want there.
Politicians hate voters, though I doubt if many of them are even conscious of it. Consider: you have a good job, pays not bad, you can pork barrel all your friends, pretty good, yes? Only one fly in the ointment, every few years you have to run around telling lies, kissing butt, and sucking up to the nameless masses in order to keep your job. How would you feel about voters if you were in their shoes?
Democracy is the best system ever designed for the transfer of wealth from the "middle class" and the poor to the rich. It works, and the people remain acquiescent because they have the illusion of participation, of being able to make a difference to the outcome. After all, if the guys in power screw you you can get rid of them and get some new better ones, right? Yes, except that politicians, by their nature, and the nature of the game, the flow of money and influence, are going to end up screwing the voters.
The ones that start out with high ideals (I believe there are a few) will either lose those ideals or they will be unsuccessful as politicians. They may make out okay in their riding but they will never be in a position to make a real difference.

There, you have my dim view of politics. They're all the same, on a macro scale you'll get screwed.
On a micro scale however some have policy points that I find more odious than others. I find many of the right wing policy points particularly odious.


Anonymous said...

sutluc can you define far right. I can't think of any far right governments in the world. In fact Harper is pretty centrist. As for George Bush and the Neocon's their beliefs are the product of disenfranchised trotskyites.
I would call wealth redistribution a leftist ideal. You see making wealth by shifting numbers around in the parasitic way today's stock market works is wealth redistribution. Most of these traders and CEO' actually got rewarded for destroying wealth ie. shipping jobs overseas, creating artificial highs and lows through speculation. The fip side of the same coin is the spoiled union member who demands more money even though he has no real skills and is already getting paid more than a doctor.

Sadly today it seems these are the two choices I face. I choose neither. And I am not happy with most politicians. But Please stop calling being right wing when they support gangster capitalism. And as for assuming its right wing to invade other countries, the Bush doctrine has more in commone with wilsonianims than traditional conservatism. I would call Bush right wing as much as I would call the people who bought in vancouver and think they have a right to be millionaires by taking out loans and waiting for their house to appreciate savvy businesman.


solipsist said...

ted - I would hardly call the "neocons" Trotskyites, whose schtick is for a proletariat revolution, and are further "left" than the Marxist-Leninists. Our Dear Leader in Canada is a Straussian, and a capitalist extreme. That is antithetical to Trotsky's views.

To see where Canadian parties land on the political compass, look here. Look around there for other world leader ratings.

sutluc said...

Well, I tossed out what I thought might be some controversial opinions and what came home to roost was a request for definitions.
I'll try and address it as best I can Ted.
I think you're right that the term "right wing" is probably over used and has lost it's true meaning, certainly it's use today does not match that of it's origination, but most people understand what is meant when it's used.
A better word might be "corporatism" in it's modern sense, which means government that conducts it's business to the benefit of corporations rather than to the benefit of it's voting citizens. Both the main parties in Canada, Liberals and Conservatives, are corporatist parties. They could both be said to be "right leaning" according to popular usage of the term.
When I say "far right" I mean a corporatist party or organization that also has a socially conservative agenda. I don't have a problem with social conservatism per say, I do have a problem with trying to legislate it. For instance it's easy to lock little kids that commit violent criminal acts up, but the fact is that when you have little kids committing violent criminal acts you have social problems that jails won't fix, and you need to be looking at those, and fixing them. Unfortunately that would require some real work and (gasp) some real redistribution of wealth rather than the transfer of wealth from the peons to the lords that goes on today, so that isn't going to happen.
Trotskyites, sorry but that was funny. See what Solipsist has to say. I do get a kick out of listening to some politicians in the states talking like the bailout is a socialist move, when it is the probably the largest, most upfront, transfer of wealth from the many to the few that the world has ever seen. I have this image in my head of some dosing old congressman all of a sudden jolting awake during the debate and screaming: "We've gone commie! We have to nuke ourselves!"
The guy next to him says: "No, it's okay, you misunderstood. We're privatizing the gains and socializing the losses."

Wilsonianism. Yes, there is an air of that around Bush, but it's fake. It's a cover for the real agenda, which is keeping the moneyed interests happy.

What unions are you hanging around with? Can I join? I'd like to forget my trades and get payed a bunch of money. (No, I'm not a union member.)
Actually I expect a fair number of union members in trade unions make more than a resident, and there are probably some electricians and pipefitters and welders working around fort mac that are working 80 and 100 hour weeks and making more than some G P's. Those will be few and far between, not the norm.

solipsist said...

Thanks for the expansion sutluc.

Just one thing: A better word might be "corporatism" in it's modern sense, which means government that conducts it's business to the benefit of corporations rather than to the benefit of it's voting citizens.. A more apt term for that is fascism. But why split hairs? I just see the "corporatist" tag as another bromide.

Dang! If it wasn't for icepicks, I might just dig Trotsky.

Anonymous said...

guys I think you need to look up the history of the neo cons and who they are. There are some good articles out there on the neocons. I do recommend the site You guys are just plain wrong.

As for the neo cons being fascist what a joke. The fascist's were nationalists while the neocons are intertanionalists. They couldn't care less about their countries or cultures just the mighty buck.

and as for you not caring about social conservatism and just wanting the goverment staying out of cultural issues, I guess we can agree here. So lets stop the social engineering of the leftists in power. And as for kids who commit crimes your right there are problems jails can't deal with like living in a culturless and amoral society. The problems came about with extremist leftist governments getting into people's lives not social conservatives. But I do agree the solution is not for the government to get into people's lives to fix what it created but to get out.