Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Yikes! Ouch! The TSX gave up 840 points today, DJ took it's biggest single-day loss ever. Tokyo closed down 340-something just a bit ago, Hang Seng down over 400 with an hour or so to go. Stephen Harper said today that the Canadian economy has "good fundamentals", and that what is happening down south, well, we are insulated. It's different here. Jeebies, doesn't that sound familiar? I might have felt better had he been wearing a cardigan when he said it.
The TSX is down 9% today, and my memory bank echoes with the words that the losses were $104 B-B-B-Billion - out of Grampa's retirement pension fund. Out of those Mutual Funds that were sold to you so adroitly. Market-linked GIC's? They did not sound good to me, and I didn't buy 'em. Oil down 10 and a half bucks on the day. What else?
The meltdown is upon us. I made sure today that all of our cash holdings were spread out to be covered by CDIC. I would advise you to do the same. I have to say though, that I do not even trust CDIC solvency if this keeps going. This is historic. Remember it. Oh, never mind my admonition, you will remember it. Alberta's boom may be on hold for a while if this continues (and I am sure that it will).
I'm looking forward to buying a house in Shaughnessy for $300K when this is over.
Still want a Harper majority? A Dion majority? Forget it. The only hope we have is for coalition gov't. A co-operative government, where decisions are made by consensus amongst the parties that represent the majority of Canadians. Don't want to see Young People Fucking? How about All of Us are Fucked? Pardon the vulgarity, but it is that stark.
There are those who say that this is a manufactured crisis, and I lean toward that. Here we have right-wing governments - under Bush and Harper gutting our treasuries, cutting taxes while increasing spending. Harper's gov't has turned a 14 billion $ surplus into a near deficit in 2.5 years. Some say that the only reason we are not in deficit, is the sale of frequencies to cell phone companies (reaped about $3.4 billion, if I remember correctly. We would be a billion-seven in the red else). That was a one time deal. Kinda like when Campbell sold BC Rail, and tallied a surplus. And look where that got us. 400,000 jobs have disappeared under Harper's regime, with plenty more to be lost.
Watch The National on CBC tonight. It is worth the watch. There is a very good interview with Elizabeth May. The Greens are the most centrist party of all of them, but they don't have the vicious experience of the House. I think that May could tame the Liberals, and pull them back to the centre in a coalition. That is what Canadians really are. We also pull together in difficult times.
Here are some vids to relieve you from my rantings - which will continue manana. Some of the vids are amusing, some stark. A good few have tunes. I hope you like at least one. There is some really heavy schtuff to come.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
The bail-out package has been rejected in Washington. TSX crashed 900 points today.
Make sure that all of your deposits are covered by CDIC. The shite is hitting the fan - now.
Back to testerday's post...
There are lots of media to speak, so I'm cutting short my rants, and will try to entertain you instead.
First viddy is Rick Mercer on the Cadman scandal. (2:10 in length)
The second (2:52 in length) is Stephen Harper, in his own words, regarding the "financial considerations" that were offered to Mr. Cadman.
Mr. Ignatieff asked: "Is it the prime minister's position that the people close enough to Chuck Cadman to know are lying, and if so, how are Canadians going to believe that he alone is telling the truth?"
CPAC-Nanos Tracking CP 36, LP 27, NDP 19, GP 9, BQ 9
With their 15 point margin last week, the campaign was looking like a runaway freight train for the Harper Conservatives. However, a number of new factors have diminished the Conservative lead, which is still comfortable, to 9 points.I hope that trend continues.
First, Harper’s culture comments renewed BQ support in Quebec. Combine the Richardson comments related to immigrants causing crime and Harper’s comments asserting Dion wanted the economy to perform poorly and the gap narrowed from 15 to 9 points. These two comments represent a tenuous lifeline to the Liberal campaign.
Harper tried to ridicule "the arts" and cut funding. The CBC was once a great Canadian institution, and now is just a shadow of what it was. We have tens of thousands of people directly employed in BC's film industry. A lot of our clients work in it, and are already hurting. They (and we) won't be turning on the TV and getting pissed off with elitist galas, because things like cable are the first to go when money is short.
Speaking of elite galas;
Harper at an 18 course dinner (just hours after a 14 course lunch) at a conference on the global food crisis (exacerbated by ethanol production). (Too bad he doesn't have the class to keep his elbows off the table. My Grandma would straighten him out!)
Summit that's hard to swallow - world leaders enjoy 18-course banquet as they discuss how to solve global food crisis
Laureen Harper at the Gala Juno Dinner
Then there is the elite Conservative caucus, and Laureen Harper rubbing shoulders with every-day Canadians at a literary gala; H/t to James Curran
Laureen Harper at literary gala with Minister of Environment John Baird in background
Minister Jay Hill (and House Speaker Peter Milliken) at the same gala with Julie Couillard (she sure gets around...)
Minister Jasob Kenney and his "date" (well, he doesn't have a girlfriend, or wife.) He seems to like terrorists too. Tory MP attended rally for group on terror list
And here is the very elite Vic Toews (and his son - who's evening you paid for!) at that same gala.
In my riding (Van.-Kingsway, it looks as if the NDP candidate is the only one who actually lives here, and is involved. It looks as if the Con. candidate is not attending - he needn't bother anyhow, he hasn't a hope in hades. I have some questions to pose at the all-candidates' meeting. Are you going to your local meeting? Ask them how long they have lived there, and whether they were nominated by the riding association. I'll bet that most Con. candidates will not be present. Try sending an e-mail, or calling them. See if they will answer your questions.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Breaking local news!
There is a line-up tonight in North Delta!
First new subdivision in 25 years in N. Delta! Would that make it Alpha? It might just be the Omega for the next 25 years.
There are 25 new town homes, starting at $319k for three bedroom units. One potential buyer gushed that: "it's the same price as a 30 year old fixer-upper in Burnaby" (not to mention quite a bit more of a commute). She also said that: "things have slowed down a bit, but they are going to pick up again!"
Uh huh. Like, fer shur!
The Priznidenshul Rumble
I saw a part of the first debate tonight (by accident), and I would argue that Obama will win. He has a vision to the future, and reminded me of RFK - if a bit condescending and arrogant, pragmatic, and unemotional. But that is requisite in an American President. It is interesting how "the left" in Amurika are so much to the right. I think that he took charge though, and as a disinterested on-looker, I think he is the better choice.
McCain has empty eyes, and has too much layed down in layer after layer of hurt. I have read that he is a classic figure for a Manchurian Candidate, and I can see it. Not that he is brain washed with Communist ideology, but he is shattered, and will likely have flash backs when the phone rings at 3:00 AM. I don't think that he has had a dump for thirty years. He reminds me of Ronald Reagan.
I would say that the Vice-Presidential debate will be more decisive. McCain has the look of a not so healthy. man. The guy is in his 70;s, or so, and to use the cliche 'Palin is a heartbeat away from being President', will not be lost on many. She is going to lose it for him, in my view. I don't know anything at all about Biden, and frankly, don't care much.
I have been over-loaded with our own scene, and have loaded a lot on you, the readers too. I have lots more to say, but I need to figure out how to abbreviate things. The manifestos that I have been writing must be as hard to read as they are to scribe.
Say, do you think that Okanagan RE is set to boom some more now that there are no tolls on the Coquihalla? Commuters will save at least two minutes, and 10 bucks each way!
Credit score required for a mortgage is up to 640 from 580. That is going to bite a bit.
It was exciting to find out something new about Lower Mainland RE though!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I think that an anger management intervention is due for this double-speaking blow-hard. Just another of Harper's angry henchman. I'd much rather see Elizabeth May as Minister of the Environment, wouldn't you?
Short and sweet today. I am rather exhausted, and am having trouble typing - let alone thinking. Others can speak today.
I could write about Merrill-Lynch Canada saying that we are on the verge of a mortgage meltdown in Canada as bad, or worse as that in the US, but Garth Turner does a better job of that with his post Wake Up Canada, and more. (I am not a Turner sycophant - truth be told, he irritates me. I would likely vote for a Liberal for the first time in my life if I could vote for him though. He is MP of the riding that I grew up in.), but he has the nuts and bolts there, that I don't have here. My brain just is not functioning well - due to exhaustion.) He writes today what this election is really all about (mostly). There are a couple of very erudite people who comment there regularly too. According to M-L, Canadians will take it even harder than the US, as we have greater levels of personal debt.
The video below is from vote for environment.ca who is targeting ridings where the difference in the vote was 10% or less (in some ridings, it was by as few as tens of votes, and if I recall correctly, there was a Conservative who won by 29 votes).
This graphic is from the same site, and as you can see, a split vote strongly indicates a near Conservative majority. If that happens...I can't express it. Canada will be finished.
Forward the links, and get friends and family to vote - but not for the Black-Hearted Overlords in blue cloaks! Vancouver Quadra is a hot contest, and there are others. That is why the leaders are coming here.
Speaking of which, did you hear that Dona Cadman is running for the Cons, but is not taking questions, is not campaigning, and last night, fled with Harper and a police escort (he is doing a lot of that - with the RCMP keeping reporters away, not letting reporters off of buses so that they cannot film protests at campaign stops, etc. Sounds a lot like Bush tactics, non? I wonder what inducement he has offered Ms. Cadman to sell her husband's name. (that might be unfair, but...)
This is another site that targets key ridings. I know that there are readers from all over who come here (even Calgary!) - the photo at the top came from a reader in Kingston (Ontario, I presume), and I photoshopped it in my own wicked way.
So, if you live in one of these ridings, get out and vote, and drag every one you know to the polls with you. Then go have a beer and nachos party. It will be fun! And it is so important this time. In the last election, voter turnout was only 63% nationally, and Harper won with 36% of the vote! If they won't give us proportional representation, let's take it! And let's take Canada back.
I have doubts about a coalition (as I suggested, Layton would demand to be PM, and the Libs would never go for that. Wht would they?), but we could have a Lib minority, and I like minorities. The Cons would be unlikely to call an election any time soon after, and the NDP would keep the Libs honest, or bring them down with the Cons like they did last time.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I have made it clear that I don't like Harper - perhaps too clear, as I have taken liberties with photoshop, and with word play with his name That has provoked at least one commentator from Calgary - who incidentally, was much more vituperative than I - in alluding to Obama as a "nigger", and Dion as a "frog". That is unacceptable here. many franks pointed out that it was all getting over the top, and distracting from the issues at hand, and I agreed. I will do my best to keep my own dispeptic ranting under more control, because this is not about my feelings on Harper, it is about the futures of us all.
Harper's 1997 speech to the Council for National Policy, a right-wing U.S. think tank, while vice-president of the National Citizens' Coalition (opens up a Google page with many links).
A few choice lines from that speech;
...your country, and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world... like most Americans, you know almost nothing except for your own country. Which makes you probably knowledgeable about one more country than most Canadians. (Is he talking about the same Canada that we live in?)Isn't that a nice thing to say about Canada, and Canadians, by a future Canadian Prime Minister? He said that it was humour. OK, and Gerry Ritz was being funny when he talked about 'dying of a thousand cold-cuts' (in reference to the listeriosis outbreak, which has killed at least 17 people, and is arguably a result of the de-regulation of food inspection last April), and said that he hoped that it was Liberal Wayne Easter who had died of it in PEI.
Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it. (Does he think that Canada is in Northern Europe?)
In terms of the unemployed...don't feel particularly bad for many of these people. They don't feel bad about it themselves, as long as they're receiving generous social assistance and unemployment insurance. (I really enjoyed my times of unemployment, how about you? That 60% cut in income made me really happy.)
Out of the mouths of babes and fools, wot? Shucks, can't you take a joke?
Harper will open up a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union Not a good thing in my view. NAFTA is not a good deal for us, and this would be worse. It is also another increment in the movement to a World Government.
Described as a negotiation of deep economic integration, “the proposed pact would far exceed the scope of older agreements such as NAFTA by encompassing not only unrestricted trade in goods, services and investment and the removal of tariffs, but also the free movement of skilled people and an open market in government services and procurement – which would require that Canadian governments allow European companies to bid as equals on government contracts for both goods and services and end the favouring of local or national providers of public-sector services.”Read; Health Care, Education, Correctional Services, etc., etc. - the privatisation of our institutions. Do you want such a thing? Have you even heard of this plan?
Read The Harper Index, and get a good synopsis of who this guy is, and what he is doing. Read up on The Security and Prosperity Partnership too. To be fair, Paul Martin signed the first part of the agreement, but Harper signed the second part in the spring - which allows American troops, Black Water, etc., to take command and control of you and me 'in the event of an emergency'. Guess who will be on the streets of Vancouver, and all points between here and Pemberton for at least a few months before, during, and after the Olympics.
Leaders of Canada, the US, and Mexico have been meeting to secretly expand the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with “deep integration” of a more militarized tri-national Homeland Security force. Taking shape under the radar of the respective governments and without public knowledge or consideration, the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP)—headquartered in Washington—aims to integrate the three nations into a single political, economic, and security bloc.
The SPP was launched (by) Presidents George W. Bush and Vicente Fox, and Prime Minister Paul Martin, in Waco, Texas...The SPP is not a law, or a treaty, or even a signed agreement. All these would require public debate...Canada’s...Department of National Defence;...on board as well. They’re committed to ramping up the nation’s military spending and linking with America’s “war on terror.” (All of Harper's military spending - a half trillion dollars- is to enjoin us in the never ending war on terror, drugs, and your human rights.)
The SPP created the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC)...composed of representatives of thirty giant North American companies, including General Electric, Ford Motors, General Motors, Wal-Mart, Lockheed-Martin, Merck, and Chevron. (That is how Lockheed-Martin got the contract for the Canadian Census)
Elizabeth May on Harper and Health Care We know the horror stories on American Health Care. Do you want that for your family?
On Harper's assertion that the Liberal Green Shift would lead to a recession
...Harper never produced any research to support this assertion,...Harper has made attacking this levy a cornerstone of his election campaign, warning it would tip Canada into recession by raising fuel prices.So, besides the lie that government was dysfunctional, a cornerstone of his campaign is also a lie!
"It [would] wreak havoc on Canada's economy, destroy jobs, weaken business at a time of global uncertainty," Mr. Harper told a Montreal crowd during the first week of the campaign.
But University of Calgary tax economist Jack Mintz, whose expertise the Harper government has previously praised, says he can't see the Liberal plan leading to a recession.
Ottawa Citizen/Harvard economist on the carbon tax
Stephen Harper says the Liberal "green shift" proposal -- a carbon tax on most forms of energy with matching cuts to income, corporate and other taxes -- could do "catastrophic" damage to the economy. He is proposing instead to cut the federal tax on diesel, which will, he says, reduce shipping costs and the costs of goods in stores. (this is really meaningless - a half-cent/litre cut per year over 4 years...)"Harper a threat to democracy"
But Gregory Mankiw suggested something considerably different when I called him at his Harvard office. Gas should be taxed much more, he said. So should lots of other energy-related products. But be sure to off-set those taxes with cuts to income and other taxes.
A former Conservative candidate who was sidelined by the party after he refused to participate in a controversial in-and-out financial transfer in the last election, is warning that a Conservative majority government could pose a threat to democracy in Canada.He has written a book about the In and Out Scam here.
In a sharply critical attack on the party he once supported, David Marler, says he has come to realize that candidates who stand up for their ideas and speak their mind are not welcome in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's party.
"The pattern emerging from the Harper Conservatives' control of the selection of the candidates makes one wonder if Mr. Harper would not prefer to be the top guy in a presidential republic," Marler writes in a book he has self-published on his website. (Another Conservative candidate had stolen this man's name, and when you tried to go to his website, you ended up on another Conservative website. That has been remedied in the past few days. Marler is running as an Independent.)
There is so much to write (for me), and so much to read (for you - here, and in the links), and I must stop here. I have been burning the candle at both ends doing this, and it is taking a toll on me. I just ask you, please, if you are thinking of voting Conservative, make sure that you know what you are voting for (and that goes for any other party too). Both the Cons and Libs have us down a road to the SPP, and I am dreadfully afraid that there is little we can do about that now. These Conservatives are not the Progressive Conservatives of your Grandparents, nor the ones that I have voted for more than once in the distant past. This is an overwhelming lot of information, but you still have a bit less than three weeks to read.
I am going to scale this back a bit now, and get back to RE and economics, and such. I have been so busy gathering links, and writing, that a war could have broken out, and I wouldn't even know about it. I am going to post more links, and try to keep it brief, but this should give you an idea of who Harper is.
Take care of yourselves and your families, and get some sleep. Thanks for reading.
Steve Harper - before he became Stephen Harper.
Steve's wikipedia page
On Elizabeth May (compliments of saskboy). There is a little video clip of her. I like her, myself.
As promised, a look at the plans the various parties have on carbon taxes (yes, they all have them, in one form or another - even the Conservatives).
There are a lot of lies being spread by the Conservatives (Well, by Stiff Heartless, anyhow. The clones that keep opening their mouths just reveal the vindictiveness and small-minded nastiness of the whole party, and it is a top-down party. Those clones "lose" their jobs, or Snide Humpler backs them up) about "A Tax on Everything", (Herplex Attacks Everything!) - that the other parties would raise the GST, cut the (taxed) child care pittance, throw the country into recession (aren't we there yet?), and so forth. I will address those lies first.
First, the GST. I still think that the GST is a good tax, and think that 8-10 percent is not unreasonable. It could be tweaked to a table of necessity, so that home new purchases, renovations, etc., could be at 5%, but cars over a certain engine displacement, emission level, whatever, would be taxed at 10%. Eliminate the GST on other taxes, which is a big scam.
Elizabeth May says that she will raise the GST by 1%, and give that to the cities for infrastructure (I have seen and heard her say so). That would be $6 billion a year. The transit in Vancouver is appalling, and we are already paying more than that for hokey "Gateway Projects". The car, as we know it, is on the way out. Just think what it would be like if we had electric cars that would top out at 70k. We would save billions on insurance pay-outs to victims of vehicular crashes, auto thefts, etc. (it wouldn't be much of a joy ride in a Zenn that tops out at 50 km/h).
Read about the Greens' carbon tax here. It is comprehensive, and succinct (much more so than my ramblings). I like their plan the best so far - easy to absorb, and the middle class Vancouver household will have a Total Impact as % of Household Income - 0.3%. Oh, ouch. Rural peeps will be hit with 0.7%, (that hurts a bit more). High income households will be hit with 0.8% (I think they can a handle that, don't you?), and unemployed people will see -2.6% (and there are 90,000 that have lost their jobs this year). Is that so onerous?
People need to stop thinking about what they will pay, and start thinking about what they can save. It's a mental paradigm shift. It really involves getting over the me-me-me that is pumped into our heads by manipulative advertising. /end rant
Dion says that he will not raise the GST (I have seen and heard him say so) unless fiscal circumstances require it to stay out of deficit. That is an extreme likelihood, because The Loathsome One has spent the cupboards bare, but intends to have a $50 billion tax cut to corporations. Those taxes are already down to 14 - odd % (before Paul Martin got onto it, it was 29-odd percent), but still, corporations off-shored everything, and don't have much presence in Canada itself. Our jobs went with them and their capital. It is our government, and it can no more live on credit cards than we can. Harper repeats his lies every time there is a radio ad, TV ad, interview, scrum. There is no truth in him. Harper does have a hidden agenda. I'll get to that tomorrow.
From Dion's Green Shift pdf;
...in a revenue neutral way – putting it in law that every dollar that is raised from carbon pollution will be returned to Canadians in tax cuts. The Auditor General will ensure the Green Shift’s revenue neutrality on an annual basis.
The price will begin immediately at $10 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions and steadily rise by an additional $10 per tonne each year, reaching $40 per tonne within four years. Since the existing excise tax on gas at the pump is already at the equivalent of $42 per tonne of carbon, the tax at the pump will not rise. Likewise, because there is already a tax on diesel and aviation fuel of four cents per litre, the tax on these fuels will see no increase in the first year.
The NDP plan is a "cap-and-trade as the carbon pricing system that targets big polluters best—in line with the European Union, all US presidential contenders,..." Firstly, I don't think that cap and trade is where it is at. Secondly, I'm not big on the mess that is the EU, and third, why does Layton want to be just like the Americam contenders? No original ideas? The page that his "outline" is on starts with a few paragraphs attacking the Liberals, then moves on to attacking the Conservatives. That does not show much confidence, or leadership to me. Chump. Where are Tommy Douglas (ok, he's gone), Ed Broadbent, Bill Blaikie, Alexa McDonough? Sad.
The Conservatives also have a cap and trade plan, but it looks like a bunch of voodoo bullshite to me (you try reading it!), and is likely deliberately obfuscating, and ponderous. Their cap and trade program means that above a certain level of emissions, the tax will kick in @ $65/ton. There is no tax relief whatsoever to us, just $50 billion to the corporations so that they can pay that tax, after we pay for the "increased input costs".
I do ramble on, so I hope that I am not putting anyone off, but the links to all of the parties' plans are above. Please look at their truths, and lies.
It is notable that the Liberal plan is basically an adaptation of the Greens' plan (the Greens had it first).
I had a meeting tonight with someone who knows some key Liberals on a very personal basis, and I asked her to put the plea for a Liberal/Green coalition into their ears. I am hearing rumblings of a Lib/NDP coalition, but I like the former. The NDP will hold the balance of power for a while to come though, and I think that would be a very difficult marriage. Layton is going on about being Prime Minister, so I think that will be his demand for the dowry.
Our election is much more exciting than the American one, in my view. Obama will win that. I want to write more - my very innocent musings - but the Secret Service has Internet access too, and I do not want to be misconstrued.
We are in critical times. Pay attention. This election is more about the course of this country than any since the FTA and NAFTA. I want my kids to be sovereign Canadians, and to make their purchases in Canadian dollars, and travel on Canadian passports. Don't you?
Tomorrow - Harper's History: Revealing the Man Behind the Lipstick. (and some more about how the Green plans came about. A teaser, Harpier's buried, government commissioned report says that the plans are the way to go. Most economists agree.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Thanks to everyone for voting. I am gratified by the interest, and the discussion. I am so, because it seems that more people are invested in our social futures than not. I hope that those who are not interested in this election are visitors from other countries, and not Canadians (but then again, I am always interested in their elections, so why not?). I feel everyone ought to take an interest, because so much is dependent on what our governments (and agencies, like Health Canada, CFIA, BoC, CMHC, EI, for starters) are doing. A new Free Trade Pact with the EU if Harper is re-elected? (I'll get to that)
I have to disclose that I made the first answer on the poll @ There is an election?. I put the question about Obama in for fun, and I don't know if the votes are from American visitors who are actually voting for him, or people having fun back. Both are totally cool with me. Overall though, it seems that there is an interest, and so I will rant on as I can. Mostly, it will be a deluge of links, with some commentary (I really don't have a lot of time!) I like that the comments have been measured and reasonable too. I don't mind what your brand of politics, it's great that you have them! I like debate, so I will counter stuff like "a tax on everything", "he can't speak English", "she's a fat American who worked for Brian Mulroney"... you get it. I admit to being facile with my photoshop, but that was just the artist in me. Plus, it was funny! Harper didn't look sinister at all, he looked like a kid - all dressed up. My point is, let's not make slurs and such. Let's talk about facts, with links. I am obviously not too keen on Hapless and his henchmen though.
I'll toss a bone to those who just want RE, and do my best to illustrate how RE and this election are joined at the hip. And I will intersperse it with Vancouver RE stuff - 'cause I still care. Besides, it's only 3 more weeks, so house prices will only slide $15 G's or so. Inventory will start to swell even more, Foreclosures will start kicking in. Employment will be down a bit. A couple of projects will go into receivership, or be cancelled... Further, more people are going to vote for Obama, and the other two that didn't know there is an election (unless of course everyone is pulling my leg!) beat out the Survivor fan and CTV.
And that is why this is not Nanos (but here is a link )
Tomorrow: Debunking the Green Shift Prevarications. And Turning The Corner - Only To Find a Washed-Out Bridge.
Oh, and farewell to summer. Tomorrow there will be more night than day, and it won't be equitable again until The Waters of March. Sigh.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
We are all wondering quite a few things these days;
What on Earth is going on with the financial markets? Down 1500 one day, up 800 the next. Why did the US bail out private companies to the tune of hundreds billions of dollars? Will this spill over into Canada?
The BoC ponied up with $12 billion the other day to stabilize things - hey! isn't that our money? What about the billions in ABCP that the BoC bought over the last while? Did we get that back? What would happen to us if the Gov't of Canada de-regulated banks? Would we be in the same mess? Are we headed for the same mess?
Steve Hapless promised some kind of tax refund, or a rebate, or a grant (or whatever the heck it was) to first-time home buyers, to help with the closing costs. Is this a good idea? Do the poor bastidges that bought at the peak with 0% down really want to subsidize my home purchase when I buy at the bottom? Is it just like a cash-back mortgage? Is it an attempt to re-ignite the flagging RE market? Will that save it?
Are we on the verge of a recession, or worse? Are tanking housing prices, volatile (to the extreme) markets, declining oil demand and prices (but not so much for gasoline), job losses, plant closures, and all that other wild stuff, just background noise?
I have some questions too.
The other day, I ventured into talking about politics, and I'm not so sure that is what you want to read about here. I did so because I am concerned about all of what is mentioned above, and more, and I think that our government policies are quite relevant to them. I feel like I am watching a train hurtling towards a washed out bridge, and the engineer can't hear me yelling to stop because he is asleep.
Are you glad to get more in-depth/background information on what the issues, and the candidates/parties' backgrounds? Do you like it that I stray from the narrow confines of inventory, prices, and such?
I don't want to end up just ranting at myself (the last time I did that, I ended up in a jacket with extraordinarily long arms), so I made a poll about the polls. Have your say!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Wow, the shite is hitting the fan. Lots of talk about 1929, global depression, doom, gloom, and despair - and that is just the MSM! The commentary runs from the apoplectic, to the apocalyptic, to the apathetic, to the apologetic - and that is just the A's! I thought that I ought to add to the mix with some brimstone, bitter nettle, bone heads, and just a little braying.
Speaking of boneheads;
The picture is from this article - a nice synopsis, and I redact;
Let's take a look at America 's...entire financial system...in the process of blowing up...over $500 billion in bank losses, with over $1 trillion more to come. Over one dozen banks have failed, with hundreds on deck. A handful of large hedge funds have blown up, with hundreds more on the way...over $1 trillion has been transferred from the Fed to the banking cartel...estimate another $1.5 trillion will be needed to maintain liquidity as banks de-leverage over the next few years. Unemployment is now over 6% and inflation is over 5%, even with Washington 's manipulation of the data. Virtually every metric in the housing market is at multi-decade lows, except for foreclosures which are hitting new highs.Those clowns up there are the architects of all of this, but they won't be affected by it, they have made out like foxes in a hen house. My rough estimate of the debt that 330-odd million people just accrued (whether they wanted to, or not) is tens of thousands of dollars each, and that does not count the wars, and such. All to bail out banks, mortgage companies, and insurance companies whose directors and CEO's collected tens of millions of dollars in bonuses. AIG alone cost $2575 per man, woman and child. Sounds fair to me! Everybody loves an insurance company.
Taxpayers are on the hook for billions of dollars of potentially worthless debt held by Fannie and Freddie. It's now official. America 's free market economy is really a socialist system for corporations. One could argue this to be a form of Fascism. My best estimate for losses due to the Fannie and Freddie taxpayer bailout are between $200 to $500 billion. The worst case scenario would be $800 billion. When Superman fails to show up, Washington might consider giving David Copperfield a call. Get the popcorn ready.
And yet more clowns, chimps, chumps, cheats, whatever (I promise not to go through the whole alphabet).
The mental midget. The picture says it all - RESPONSIBLE. Responsible for 0%/40 year mortgages, responsible for blowing the surplus, and very likely for putting the gov't into a deficit situation. Responsible for leaving a $5-6 billion deficit in Ontario after just one term as provincial finance minister. He is no economist, or financier, he is a lawyer. Let us not see the likes of him return to the finance portfolio.
Heil Harpler. (complete with lip-stick on the pig)
What an unfortunate (if defining) photograph of this clown. I find it hard to believe that he has pulled the wool over so many people's eyes (as evidenced by poll numbers). Have Canadians not been paying attention to the chimps in the first picture these last 8 years? I find that to be very disconcerting, though I ought not to be surprised; after all, so many Canadians drank the RE kool-aid, I really ought to have lower expectations.
The picture above leads right into the photoshop below, though instead of looking like an evil dictator, Harpler ends up looking more like the incompetent Sgt. Shultz from Hogan's Heroes. I really hope that people wake up in the next 3.5 weeks, and get rid of this prick for good.
Things are not looking so good. I predicted back in January that we would see the TSX back at 8,700 before this is all over- I am now revising that to below 7,000. I also predicted that we were heading to a depression (in 2005), and now the MSM is predicting the same thing (that is my braying).
Good luck everyone, I hope that you don't have debt, and do have lots of savings, you are going to need it.
More reads -
The Ultimate Wall Street Nightmare
Vancouver leads fall in house prices
So much to write about, and so little time...
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Here is an alternative to the 2,100 sq. ft. junk boxes that plague our fair landscape - a mobile mini-manse that has less of a foot print than a Cadillac SUV. Low cost, and low emission, it costs only $6/month to heat, and $10K to build. No landlords either. Why throw your money away on rent? It is an answer to the land shortage - there are so many roads, and soon, nobody will be able to afford to drive.
Spiced by some other of my readings on the dark days that are rolling down upon us, my mind turned to The Grapes of Wrath, and the Joads' plight. This little love shack would have been perfect for them.
Okay, so that might do for a single, or maybe a very loving couple, but what about the kiddies? I'm glad that I asked, it seems that there is a solution for that too - the folding house!
It looks a bit problematic as far as the furniture and appliances though, I guess you would need a 5 ton truck to carry that stuff around, and tow the trailer. Need a crew cab for the kids.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Yesterday, they fired up the HADRON super collider in Switzerland. There had been some consternation that they might create a black hole that would swallow up the Earth, and all of us with it. Reportedly, no black hole was created, and so we are all safe...except for RE "investors".
Urban real estate values set to plunge, UBC expert forecasts. Oops. I went down the memory hole because I thought that I remembered that Tsur Somerville was a pumper, in denial. I was wrong about that, this is what I found him saying in 2005:
"It is an issue for the person who says real estate is great and I'm selling all my stocks and buying real estate in the Lower Mainland," said Somerville. "For that person, it's a problem."I wonder if Somerville has bought, he must have, because we have peaked, and are heading down into a dark hole, perhaps even a Black Hole.
And while Somerville is reluctant to make exact predictions about when Vancouver's hot housing market might begin to cool, he can't help himself from making just one.
"You'll know when the market has hit its peak on the day that I buy a house," he said.
The stock markets are flopping around like a beached cod fish; TSX down almost 1500 points in a week, and then bouncing up by 350 points yesterday. Can you spell v-o-l-a-t-i-l-e? Oil still sinking, even as OPEC cuts production. I guess demand for oil is like demand for housing - fickle, and not nearly as strong as people have claimed. I read again yesterday that the oil prices were driven up by speculators. Hmm. Sounds familiar. I don't know about you, but it irks me that speculators make piles of cash off of our backs, and we pay for it. What a tangled web. Burn babies, burn.
Politics this week? That could be a whole, new blog, but it has been fascinating. I can't wait for the 15th of October, just please, please, let us not have a majority Conservative government...though that would accelerate a return to "fundamentals" (and that is an intended pun, even if it is facile).
I heard talk on CBC yesterday of condohype, and they were quite tickled by our friend's writings - describing them as "very funny". Congratulations on receiving such recognition, condohype! I did not catch the whole piece unfortunately (li'l solipsist keeps me hopping, and has a voice larger than the CBC's). It is great to hear the MSM finally helping us bring down the market.
Things have been spotty here vis-a-vis ideas, and posting, and I sense that I am gradually fading away. I hope to be here still to remark on the trough, and to write about a purchase, and the renovations that will ensue, but we will see - unless, of course, the Hadron collider did create a black hole that they have not reported (don't want to panic anyone!), and we are all just goo on a shrinking planet. Kind of the opposite of "making more land"...
Sunday, September 07, 2008
TSX gives up 6%, and with it, all of the gains of the last year. Gold way down, oil down, and like the TSX, RE has pretty much given up its gains YOY. This game has not even started yet.
The bulls are not saying any more that there will be no losses, now a bullish statement seems to be "we'll see a 10% correction, then the cycle will start again", or other such drivel. What happened to flat prices, and plateaux?
How quickly the MSM reports the turn-around. The US is in its economic death throes, and will see no recovery in their economy until the RE market finishes unwinding. It has been said that they are only half-way there! The US government has finally had to take Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into "preservership" (WTF is that?), and so add another few trillion to the national debt. Egads.
So what for us? Well, we just follow in the footsteps of our corpulent cousins, so in the next couple of years, there will be lots of social housing owned by CMHC, unless, of course, there is no government left to meet CMHC's liabilities. Harper has committed the ritual hari kari, and we are on our way to a "new" government, of some sort. What a freaking mess. Nobody is steering any of the ships of state anymore, except for guys like Putin, Ahmenibidijab (or whatever), Zeng Chow Min (Ka-pow, or whatever), lots of nut-bars here and there, and a deep ennui, and hypnosis in most of the "free world". The media directs us (as a society), and that has been evident so often. It will be interesting to see who wins this election, but judging from what I have heard so far, I fear that it is a foregone conclusion.
The media hyped the RE market up, and will now hype it down, and it is going down fast already, down 4-something% since May. My neighbour has now taken her place off the market because she cannot sell it without taking a loss. I presume that bankruptcy looks better. There is always the CMHC, I guess.
Just a random, unattributed quote for dessert;
Adrian Mastracci, president of KCM Wealth Management, said this may not be a time to panic, but it is a time to be cautious. "...a global slowdown and investors are waking up every day to a new piece of data" which affects markets. His advice is you don't like the risk, stay out -- at least for now. Bebee suggests re-examining your tolerance for risk. "How much money can you really lose and still sleep at night?" she asks. She also advises if you have money to invest, consider using it to pay off debt, especially high-cost debt like credit cards..."Sounds good to me.