Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I heard of Cameron Muir on CBC this AM, saying that Vancouver RE has corrected by 12% since March, and will correct another 18% over the next year. Wait a minute! Wasn't he saying earlier this year that price increases would moderate to 8% this year, and a bit lower the next? Now he is talking about a 30% correction. If we extrapolate the errors of the forecasts of the experts, we ought to see a 70% correction before this is done. Why does anyone even bother to interview these bobble heads? They have their heads so far up their arses... If it was me, I would be too embarrassed to get on the radio and make another prediction. And the interviewers... I would ask "well, you were so drastically wrong over the last 8 months, why should we give your statements any credence now?" Pulitzer must be weeping in his grave. Maybe rename it The Puh-leasitzer Prize, and award it to the most vapid "journalist".

I did my bi-monthly MLS search for all of East Vancouver today, and came up with 3 properties under $400K. That is a slight improvement over the one that I found last time. Pushing the maximum price up to $500K provides 35 properties - pretty much all of which are junk. The place that I wrote of on Oct. 10 has been "slashed" from $499K to $469K - not nearly enough.

The blurbs are not so over-the-top anymore; no real mention of heritage features such as original, cracked concrete walkways, and such. I found the place featured below ($419K), and thought the photographs to be simply weird.
Attention Builders or 1st time Buyers, cute 3 bedroom rancher on 41st/Earles in sought after Killarney area, renovate it to your hearts desire or build your new dream home, steps to all amenities, sunny south facing backyard/garage with lane. V727568

This wondrous house of character and fortitude comes with a door knocker and letter slot on a dove grey door!

A lovely, original fireplace (converted to gas!), with energy saving, candle-powered coach lights! These fine chattels are included in the purchase price!

Here is a close-up of one of the coach lights. The discerning value buyer will instantly recognize the antiquity of these features - as evidenced by the layers of dust. Sotheby's is interested!

There were 5 such pictures of the property. No over-view shot, no shots of any rooms, just fixations on mundane fixtures. Sad sellers.

I feel myself preferring (again) the fun of the housing crash over the over-all crash. It is easier to laugh.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

fool on the hill

(Globe) Ottawa bled $1.7-billion in red ink in August, offering the latest sign that Canada is in serious economic turmoil and that balancing the federal books will be a tricky challenge this year.

“We’re in for rough times. These are difficult times. Canadians should not underestimate what we’re facing. We’re not an island. We’re a trading nation,” Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said yesterday.
From Garth Turner's blog. (he apparently lifted it from the G&M).

When you have the Finance Minister making dire warnings, it is time to head for the hills. I know that he is incompetent, but still, he should be whispering sweet nothings in Canadians' ears to keep them from panicking. The point is, it is always much worse than is officially revealed. It was just a couple of weeks ago, during the election campaign, when we heard such things as "Canada is insulated", "We have planned for this", "We will not run deficits", and so on. Then it is revealed that there was a $1.7 Billion deficit in August, and that was before this melt-down got under way.

There has been trillions of dollars pumped into banks world wide, and Canada has probably pumped in 100 billion or more by now. Businesses still have trouble getting credit for inventory and operating expenses. I am not sure about mortgages right now, I won't bother thinking about that for some time to come. We hear that the problem is with liquidity, but the real problem is debt. The whole world is up to its eyeballs in it, and now the money tap is turned off. I've always called it "The Big Grab". "They" use the peons to generate vast wealth, and then "They" take it all back. It's just a huge shell game. My question is, why are we pumping money in to create more debt? How does this address the sea of debt that we are drowning in? How will that debt be reconciled when nobody has a job? It's too late to go back to basics, nobody knows them anymore.

I caught a bit of the Senatorial Inquisition into this sub-prime debacle - featuring Alan Greenspan. A Democrat by the name of Waxman (supposedly widely feared) was grilling Greenspan, who ended up having to admit that his whole ideology was fatally flawed, and that the whole economic structure of the global economy is a house of cards. My first thought on hearing that was that it was deliberate, and calculated - a conspiracy on an unbelievable scale. Derivatives, and all of the other legerdemain that is pulled off. Layers upon layers of pyramidal rip-offs. How could any body, in its right mind, allow banks and markets to regulate themselves? Why bother having transportation safety agencies, food inspection agencies, medical and drug standards, workplace safety standards?

This is going to be wild.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

blah, blah, blaffelgab

Home price slide may be over-stated.
Canadian home prices cooled last month, but the depth of the correction may have been exaggerated by distorted data, says...TD Securities Inc.

The average price of a resale home across the country's 25 major markets fell by an estimated 6.2 per cent year-over-year in September, according to a report last week from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

The decline was larger than many market watchers had expected, and added to fears the Canadian housing market could go into a U.S.-style freefall.

However the price drop was led by a 43 per cent plunge in the number of homes sold last month in Vancouver, the country's most expensive market.

“The crux of the issue is that unless the underlying cities are properly weighted...the results can be biased by dramatic changes in the volume of the sales in certain cities,” said the report by TD economists Millan Mulraine and Eric Lascelles.

Currently, the average existing home price is calculated by using an average that gives each city a weighting based on its contribution to overall sales, Mr. Mulraine said. TD recalculated the data by fixing the weighting to last year's data instead, which is a more standard method of calculating year-over-year comparisons for economic data, he added.

Under the new weighting system, last month's average existing home price decline would be a more moderate 1.3 per cent from Sept. 2007, the TD report said.
Here we go; if you don't like the numbers, just change 'em, or at least, change the way they are interpreted. This same thing has been done with inflation numbers, unemployment numbers (if you are not receiving benefits, or have given up in despair, you are not unemployed!), and who knows what else. It is just so much Newspeak - a la 1984. The stock market has not really crashed since July, it is up significantly since 1934! Trillions have been made! You are not really older than you were 20 years ago, your hair is not grey, and you don't really weigh more than you did in high school - you are actually younger than your parents! (and your hair less grey), and you weigh a lot less than Luciano Pavarotti! There, don't you feel better now?

Prices 8% less than last year are prices 8% less: who gives a flying fig what the volume of sales is?

Monday, October 20, 2008

crash of the titans

This pic has been used beyond redemption..., I redeemed it

Slow motion train wrecks and all...

I'm still digesting the last weeks, and there is ever-more to digest. It is difficult (for me) to look at markets, bail-outs, etc., without getting into politics, but I'll do my best.

Trillions of dollars lost in the stock markets, and governments pumping trillions into the banks to "save" them, but who, and what, is being saved? Those trillions (or, in the case of Canada, billions), are not magic dollars pulled out of a hat, they are dollars from central banks, and have interest attached to them. We, or more accurately, our children and grandchildren, will be on the hook for that. Who benefits? It could be said that we benefit; by not having bank failures (yet), by not having our economies wiped out (yet), by saving jobs (so far), by propping up RE markets, and businesses that have made record billions (and collectively, trillions) in profits. Nobody "knows" if these cash infusions are going to make any real difference (well, I know that they won't), but what the heck, eh? It's just Other People's Money. My own feeling is that it is just delaying the inevitable, and we are still going to have a global recession, or worse (worse is my feeling). It's a bit like the guy who is over-leveraged, and keeps borrowing more to make the payments on what is already borrowed. It just can't end well.

85% of Canadians' wealth is in their homes, and those homes have fallen almost 7% in value nationally, and 8% in Vancouver since May. And it has just begun. American RE is still falling. But, it's different here, right? Then there are all of those hedge funds and mutual funds and such that make up the rest of the wealth. That has only fallen 40% since July. Oil has fallen 50% since July, and with all of that, a large chunk of government revenues. Just wait for the lay-offs, when even more tax revenues will be lost, and unemployment benefits, welfare benefits, CMHC insured mortgages go belly-up, etc., start to suck evermore money. Then there are the consumer goods that will not be purchased, leading to even more tax revenues foregone, plus more unemployment.

The only prediction that I can make right now, is that it is going to get very ugly, soon. I know that my predictions are worthless - I am not an expert, or highly educated and paid economist, but were they not the ones talking about slowing appreciation in the housing markets that would be confined to single digits? Were they not the ones saying that oil was going to $300/bbl within a year? That the Canadian economy was as "solid as the Canadian Shield"? That the government would never run deficits? Insert your own platitudinous reassurances here ___________.

I've got more to say on this, but have not the time right now. I'll be back.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

थे gleaners

The Gleaners - by Millet

There is weird stuff happening with Blogger these days. I keep getting Sanskrit-like font, and I don't know why. I kind of dig it though.

So yeah, here we are - back in much the same position (politically) that we were 5 weeks ago. A record low participation rate, which is very sad. I put that down principally (and ironically) to a lack of civics education in schools, and a break-down of the family structure. I really sound like a Conservative in writing that, wot? But I think that it is at least partly true. I gained an interest in Canadian politics by spending a lot of quality time with my Grandmother. We were "ideologically" opposed, but had great, respectful discussions and debates about those differences. In the long run, we agreed on the same principles of fiscal conservatism, and social progressiveness.

Another problem is the lack of proportional representation. The Conservatives won the Government with 20% of the votes of eligible voters. Some 10 million people chose not to vote. Why? Is it because people don't believe that their voices count? (they do, and they don't, but...) To put that 20% into perspective, the Greens got ~20% of the votes that the Cons got.

It was an election about "leadership", and then, by default, became about leadership/economy. The Conservatives knew that this shit storm was coming, and that is why they triggered the election (well, plus the Cadman thing coming to a head, the In-and-Out scam coming to a head, the Couillard book coming out - what a flop - etc.), but they had no plan. Sadly, ironically, Harper's plan is Dion's plan - to call together the Premiers, heads of banks, have meetings with global leaders... - which Harper dismissed as "a plan to make a plan". Dion is a singularly decent man, in the words of Rex Murphy, and that is a rarity these days. He had a vision for something new, but was unable to articulate it to Canadians. It was not just the accent, but he had a battle against the impression that two years of Harper's negative advertising cemented into peoples minds, and he does not have the support of the Liberal old boys' club. That is too bad, in my view. He reminds me of Joe Clark in 1979 in some ways (decency, sincerity, etc.) - just before we ended up with Trudeau, who paved the way for Mulroney. That was a grim decade and a half.

Just a week ago, Harper was saying that everything was a-ok, and that there would be no "bail-outs" for banks. Then, we "found out" that everything is not a-ok, and that the guv was pumping $25 Billion into the economy (banks). That does not instill confidence into me.

I have read most saying that Dion is finished, and that the knives are out for him. He has done nothing to dispel that rumour. The thing is, who will replace him as leader? Ignatieff? He does not have the party, or Parliamentary experience. Plus, he is a goof. Rae? Too much baggage, too old, and he is creepy in the same way that Clinton is creepy. It seems to be a common trait amongst Rhodes Scholars. Manley, in a come-back? No thanks. Frank McKenna. Frank McKenna. Wherefore art thou, Frank McKenna? I'm not holding my breath.

I don't think that there can be a coalition betwixt the Libs and NDP. Jack wants to be PM, and would settle for nothing less. The ideologies are a fair bit different too. Further, it looks as if the Liberals are going to be in a mess for a while. Harper doesn't really need a majority, he will continue to stress the Liberals, and will continue with his incremental dismantling, and sale, of Canada. We will wake up some day 10 years from now, and wonder WTF happened while we were watching American Idol, American politics, and whinging about those damned Americans. We will be those damned Americans. (Disclosure; I have American uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends. They are all good people, just like us.) Harper said that we "won't recognize Canada when (he is) done with it", and it is true. I already don't recognize it.

I read someone - whom I have great trust in - that we will live in totalitarianism for the next 200 years, and I think that he was correct. "We" "have given" Harper a "new, stronger mandate" to "implement his agenda". Some 20% of eligible voters have, anyhow. His agenda is in the public domain, although not enunciated at any point during the campaign, and it is tragic. Codex Alimentarus (control of your food). North American Union. Supplantation of our sovereign dollar with the Amero (some day - I predict just months before the Olympics, we will have 60 days to trade in all of our dollars for Ameros.) We will have American military providing security in Vancouver and Whistler during the Olympics. Even though we have a decent copy right law, and a levy on all blank DVDs, CDs, cassette tapes, etc. that goes to the recording industry, it must be harmonized with the American laws. We will have more pesticides as we lower our standards to the US's, we will be de-regulated left, right and centre. Prisons will be privatized to meet the demand as our drug laws are harmonized, and we import the war on teen-agers, hippies, people with chronic diseases, etc. who smoke a little weed. We will have wistful memories of a publicly funded health care system.

They say that you get the government that you deserve, but I have to wonder - what did I, or my 19 month-old son do to deserve this?

I have much more ranting to do, but it is fruitless, and pointless. And, I am trying to keep my screeds to under 10,000 words.

There is a lot of ill wind coming. House prices are down ~6.5% nationally, and "the most expensive markets" (like Vancouver) are faring worse. The Infinity project sounds as if it is dead. The stock market rallies of the last couple of days were suckers' rallies - as I suspected. The global economy is totally flacked, no matter what we do. All of those billions - nay, trillions - that the governments are pumping in is just a huge theft from us all. Last week's bail-outs put every single Canadian some $3,600 further into debt. Your Social Insurance Number is a chit for that (and all) government debt. I heard today that the Finance Department is forecasting a $10 Billion deficit at year-end March 2009. That is 5 months from now, so are they going to be borrowing $2Bill/month, or have we been in deficit all along? (as I forecast last week) Inquiring minds (mine, at least) would like to know.

Did you get what you voted for?

Monday, October 13, 2008

thanks given

picture from Garth Turner'स blog (ask him where he got it)

Almost there. Thanks given for that. On Tuesday, we will go to the polls as the markets continue to roil and twist. It's great that we will have a PM that talks soothingly of us not being the US, and that his steady hand on the tiller is just the ticket in an incomprehensible future. I was so reassured when he spoke of no bail-outs for banks - no socialization of the risk that some of us have so "astutely" avoided. I was not even surprised when "we" bought a bunch of unknown quality mortgages from our Big 5 Banks - that collectively made over $19 Billion in profits last year, and record, multi-billions in profits for the last ten years. (almost the $24 billion that we just gave 'em!) Reportedly, they are backed by CMHC/YouAndMe. I'm wagering that they are the 0% Down-40 Year Amortization variety. 40% of mortgages last year were of that flavour.

Harper had no platform until 4 days ago. He expected that his millions of dollars of negative campaigning against Dion for the last two years would let him cake walk it. He thought that the average Canadian is a willing denizen of a "Northern European welfare state", and more than a little slow in the head. That is the thing about narcissistic, sociopath, ideologues - they truly revile "ordinary" people, and think that we are stupid. We are (collectively), but not that dumb. Only about 30% of the population that are first past the post (because they have been tied to it) are.

On Friday came news that Harper's own special FBI forensic audiologistic super-G-man with all kinds of fancy oscilloscopes, and anti-matter x-ray glasses (and whatever else they have down there in Warshington) determined that the Zyartuk tape of Harper discussing the (alleged) attempted bribery of Chuck Cadman - is authentic, and not tampered with in any way. Harper now will not answer any reporters' questions in the last two days of the campaign. I guess it must be pretty awkward for him - running to be PM, and all - to answer questions about perjury, and bribery - not to mention interference in the workings of Parliament. Those are criminal charges by the way. Transparency, Accountability, and Standing Up and Urinating on Canada.

I am still undecided. I know that I will definitely not vote Conservative. The candidate was too arrogant, or was not allowed, to show up at the all-candidates meetings. That seems to be a very strong pattern, and who would vote for that? I'm still pretty partial to a semblance of democracy, and to the illusion that my vote is a sacred trust. I don't have any use for Harper, or any on his front bench. They are, the bunch of them, bellowing, bellicose, buffoons, and I dearly hope to see them disappear up their own Points of Order.

It won't be Liberal, because the candidate is a twit. I'll say no more than that.

NDP? The most likely, and probably, most effective prospect for MP. But the platform, and the leader,, unlikely, ungainly, unrealistic. Romantic though, and Layton was good with the platform-under-the-sweater quip.

Green is good. I like the leader, and I like the platform, but the candidate was uninspiring.

I liked both the Marxist-Leninist lady, and the Communist guy, a lot, but I don't do "isms" of any kind. I might vote for one of them though, just to please my unruly rebel side.

The Libertarian was a joke. I was probably the only one who clapped for him. Hey, he had the guts to run, and paid the registration fee, so I thought he deserved some recognition.

So there you have my point of view. I hope that I have not gagged too many with my rants. I hope that you have read beyond my own diatribes, and cast an informed ballot - no matter who it is for. I just hope that it isn't for those guys - you know who. I am glad to live in a riding where my vote will have little effect on whether or not a Con gets in. I'm glad to not live in Van.-Quadra, or other of those tight ridings. Then I would feel compelled to hold my nose.

I thought that the quote below (from MacLeans) summed it up more concisely than I.(but with regrettable formatting)
comment by RyanD on Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 1:48 pm:

Soccermom- “Harper’s too good of a PM for this whining, entitlement-driven country anyway.”

Well, apperantly you and Harper both agree on the fact that you hate the country he wants to lead (see “failed European welfare state comments, etc…). Geee….I wonder why Canadians wouldn’t want a PM who doesn’t like them?!
Just to be clear, what do you use as your criteria for “good”? Is it the plagiarism (also see- “theft”), the desire to send adolescents to jail for life (except in Quebec because it might lose him votes), the support for a disasterous war (Iraq) that he now denies even though it is on the record. Maybe it is putting people in cabinet who leave top secret documents with their criminally connected girlfriends or tell business not to invest in the country’s largest province. Or, perhaps “good” is what we use to describe a sitting PM who breaks his own election law to call an election that will likely give us what we had before he called the election (thus wasting 300 million dollars). On the other hand I was very ammused by his choice to run constant attacks on his opponant while saying little or nothing about his own plan and only releasing a minimal platform with 5 days left before an election. Of course, who can forget the greatness that led to squandering a nearly 12 billion dollar surplus on tax cuts that NO reputable economist think will help (though it is a good way to buy people’s votes). Wait…the really good part must be when he tried to bribe a dying man to vote with his party (supreme class there) or the fact that he and his party defrauded tax payers to help fund their ads in 2006. Maybe he was at his best when he gave his MPs instructions to intentionally obstruct the work of the House of Commons (Canada’s main instrument of democratic expression).

The other leaders may beI’ll tell you this much- the only time I’ll ever say “Good” about Harper is when I say “Good Riddance!”

Then again I am probably just being a whiney and entitlement driven. The nerve of me thinking I am entitled to have an honest, decent human being as my PM. You’re right Stevie is far too “good” for me! (sic)
Then there was this from a Conservative blog which does not deserve a link. I thought it only fair to show the Conservative mindset too. I had to recognise the clever word play, even if the message is rancid.

OMMAG said...
That's just the physical manifestation of his New Handicap .... it's leprosy ... he's not the Lyin King his the Leper Prince... so start feeling sorry for him and vote liberal...

3:13 PM, October 12, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

the more things change...

The Vancouver real estate market does not seem to be pricing in the new realities yet. This place on E. 39TH AV, Fraser, is one of the 24 places in all of East Vancouver that is priced under $500K It's for sale at $499,000.00. Are they freaking serious? The blurb says;
This existing 3 level home offers more square footage than can be re-built on this 2947 sq. ft. lot. House is in need of structural work & updating. However, character features such as original staircase, doors, window casings, & floor mouldings could be highlighted after renovation.
Character features? Floor mouldings can be highlighted? Wow. Hold me back. I still have a few days to get a 0%/40. Building codes won't even let you build something of this modest size. And, can it really be called "three level" with a straight face?

Somebody ought to tell the vendor that the TSX is down over 40% since July, and that it lost 16% in the last week alone. People have lost 30% of their retirement funds. Cut the price on this disaster to $250K, and get the bleeding over with. The MSM described today as a "bloodbath". The pigs are being slaughtered. Don't be a pig.

Then there is this beauty for $508K. note: it's a 3 level, 3 bedroom palazzio too.

Good starter, renovate or build your home. CD1 Zoning. This 3 level 3 Bedroom, 2 Bath solid home is situated in desirable Renfrew Height Area, South facing with view potential. Quiet neighbourhood, central location.
You will get an 800 sq' bigger lot than the one above, and this one in is the desirable Renfrew Height Area (sic).

This is no sport at all. Van. RE is frozen in time like so much ABCP. Somebody complained about my pictures, and posts the other day, and suggested that I was becoming deranged. If all of this madness seems "normal" to everyone else, then I am truly unhinged. I must be suffering some kind of Joan of Arc, or Nostradamus delusion. Is this some kind of reality TV show? Like that Jim Carrey film where he lives in a TV set?

It was weird switching channels. Somehow, looking at RE right now seems more of a madness than looking at national, and world events.

...the more they stay the same.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

if the cap fits,

let him wear it


Did I hear someone say;

- The TSX closed at 9600 - down 4.5% on the day? That is just a measly 1/3 from the peak. Oil down, and the dollar down.

Batten the hatches, this is just the leading edge of the storm. The market was as over-valued when flirting with 15,000 as the RE prices were last May, so it is no big surprise. I feel that if things hadn't been messed with so much by scoundrels and fools, the TSX is about where it should have been. But it will see 6,000 or less before it turns back. (It might not ever do that.)

- Harper say to Peter Mansbridge that there are good buying opportunities in the stock market? For who? His mother? Does he not read newspapers? Have advisors? If he does read a paper, it must be The Stars and Stripes. His advisors must want to see him fail. Who calls an election without having a platform?

Harper is completely out to lunch, and it seems to be showing in the public sentiment. What foolishness will he utter next? Let them eat corn flakes!? His narcissistic nature leads him to believe in the Noble Lie, and that he is smarter than everyone else. He is clever, but that ain't smarts. Duceppe pinned him down in the debates. So did May. Layton openly laughed at him. Dion made him look like a chump.

When Mansbridge interviewed Harper, he swallowed hard a few times when Mansbridge threw the truths at him. Harper forced this election because he knew that the sheet-storm was coming, but it caught up to him, and he has blown it. $300 Million so that he could have an even smaller minority than he had, and my bones are starting to say that he might not even get that (so are some other commentators, I believe). There are around 20% of voters undecided the last I read, and I doubt they will go Cons. A coalition of the left is starting to look like a strong possibility.

- That 230 Canadian economists, teaching at Canadian universities, say that a carbon tax is what is needed at this time - even without the tax cuts? The Greens' plan would be even better, in that case.

What a sham. Harper looks the complete fool in this one. Cold, hard irony. Whap!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

not pretty

original image

Yikes! That picture is horrible, but man, the meltdown.

TSX closed below 10K, and so did Dow Jones. The $850 Billion is now a trillion, with much more to come. It's all over for the US. We are not insulated, and all of our banks are exposed to sub-prime (probably even the co-op banks). Thanks to Paul Martin (and others before them) our banks don't have the reserves to cover their er, assets. There is always the CDIC, but what happens when they don't have the cash? And what happens when the guv doesn't have the funds to back CDIC? Ask Iceland. Their guv was on the verge of bankruptcy today, until the Russians helped them out. (I know, Iceland is Iceland, but they have great hot springs, Bjork, and some high-powered, but otherwise unintelligible, bands.) A while ago I revised my TSX forecast to 6,000 from a previous forecast (Jan. 2008) of 8,500. I am wondering if that was too generous.

Mansbridge did a wicked interview with Harper tonight. He's (Harper) goin' back to the NCC next month. Christmas in a condo in Calgary. Comfy with a nice cerulean cardigan.

Building permits are down 18%+ in Vancouver. That is about $650 million out of the local economy. Things are unwinding fast, and big. I have more to rant about, but it's past my bedtime, and I'm tired and grouchy, and want my blankie. Manana.

search for Nancy W.

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”

Thursday, October 02, 2008

the beat goes on

Wow, TSX down 814 points - about 7 per cent - at the last I heard, and this on the news that the latest bail-out package in the US has passed the Senate (now up to $800 billion). It still has to pass the House of Representatives though, and that is the body that rejected it last week. Will they pass it this week?, and if they do, will it save the American economy? I doubt it (on both counts).

The pain is coming, whether we like it or not. The only question that I have is, how bad will it get, and how will that affect the Vancouver RE market? (a pure, rhetorical question) Draw your own conclusions, but the RE market was already on it's way down - before all this global doom and gloom hit. Any investor with a modicum of sense will be looking for deals in the stock market, and will be staying well away from Vancouver RE, IMHO. The tanking price of oil is a bell-weather (unintended pun), I think. Potash Corp. was a big loser today - down almost 20% - anther bell-weather? Is the TSX a true measure of our economy? It doesn't look so good right now.

So, to slip into election schtuff; Harper said in the French debate last night that Canada is not the US (yet), and that we have solid fundamentals. Like the Potash Corp.? Or, oil production? What about manufacturing (Auto workers), tourism/service, etc.? How is that doing? RE is tanking across Canada, what about those soon-to-be unemployed realtors, mortgage brokers, conveyance clerks, construction workers, home stagers...? I don't see a strong outlook, fundamentally. Harper said not to worry. OK, he pretends to be not worried, but are you? Do you have faith in someone who says to ignore the train barreling down the track toward you with its horn blaring? Are you thinking of buying a new car? Plasma TV? New computer? Buying a house? Going on vacation? Buying an Olympic ticket package? Are you going to take a HELOC, or rack up your credit card going out for dinner and drinks? If you are not, do you think that any government is responsible in saying "don't worry, spend with a big Prozac smile"?

I have to say that I didn't take much away from last night's debate. I found it hard to follow because I couldn't watch it live, and saw a translated version. The problem for me was that the translation was over the French, and my mind kept on switching back and forth, and leaving me lost. I also have a hearing problem, and tend to watch people's mouths, which threw me off even more. I felt that Duceppe was the best speaker, and that Dion is not the right guy (not because of a lack of sincerity, ideas, but because of his style, and challenges with English). Neither is Layton, and Harper is certainly not. His body language was revealing, and it was obvious that he had complete contempt for everyone, including you and me. May did well - considering that she was out of her language depth. As after every federal debate, I have to ask the same question that so many do: Why couldn't Duceppe be the leader of a national party not bent on Quebec secession? He would take it.

Unfortunately, the salient election issue is on the personalities put forth by the leaders (at least, the personality that is wanted to be seen), and not about the real issues. How shallow is that?

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

message media

The markets bounced back a bit today, huh? But the trend is down, and volatile. Today was a suckers' rally. The big boys bailed yesterday, and the sheep followed. Then the big boys bought back in, and more sheep will think it's okay, and the big boys will dump again, and so forth. Okay, so I have a pet theory of the looting of the people's wealth. I'll get to that at another time.

I read this quote over at Garth Rurner's blog (warning: Turner is has auto-run ads on his blog, so turn your speakers down so as not to be annoyed) and thought it worthy of reproduction here.
Harper has the manner of a man who will drive a car off a cliff, just to prove that he doesn’t need to ask for directions. Is that the kind of person you want to lead this country?
Did you hear about Harper's plagiarising speech regarding Iraq in 2003? I'll let the CBC fill you in. (watch the video - about 4 minutes)

UPDATE: Here is the comparison on Youtube (2:53)

Sorry, it is from he Liberal party. I do not endorse any party at this point.

This is on the front pages of newspapers around the world today. The Cons are playing it down, but the rest of the globe is laughing at us. Harper and his government are an embarrassment to this once highly respected country. That is a big deal.

Youtube treatment of the plagiarism. (check some of the other videos too)

Hip Hopping on Harper

I don't get the March 17th reference, but vote anyhow - on October 14.

Amero warning

Musicians don't like NAU/SPP (on the loud side)