Monday, February 09, 2009

crank it up

Dan Leger writes in The Chronicle Herald that after the bailouts, justice ought to be served.

THERE MUST have been millions of people grinning with satisfaction...when they read about...Obama’s plan to cap executive pay at companies bailed out by the American taxpayer.

After all, these are the greed heads in red suspenders who helped crush the world economy. They are the ones who caused the crisis now threatening the economic security of millions. It wasn’t accidental.

(It) would limit the top salary at bailed-out firms to $500,000.

That’s fine for many of the CEOs. But here’s what I’d propose for those whose greed caused the crisis: hard time in the house of pain.

Obama’s move...falls far short of what the banking bandits falls short (because) most of the latter-day bank robbers have already absconded with the loot. Most are lolling in the sun somewhere in Paradise, sipping champagne as they’re fanned by servant girls. They are far removed from the travails of ordinary people.

So why not send some of those underemployed anti-terrorism cops out to find, arrest and bring to justice the miscreants who have destroyed the security of so many?
Leger points out further into the article that Conrad Black was "a piker" by comparison, and he got six years...

This is part of why I think that much bigger trouble is coming. People are starting to awaken to the sham of governments, corporations, taxation, greed, graft and tazers, "free market" Milton Friedman tripe, and so on. There is going to be a mighty blow-back at some point, but by then, the banks will be bankrupt, the government will be bankrupt, and we will have RFID-enhanced secure documents, which will need to be produced for receipt of your food allotment. You can always plant a garden, but what is produced will be seized by thugs, or the government - same thing, maybe.

Forget about On The Beach, I am going to get into civil rights and the Olympics next.

But, all that gloom and disgust aside, here is another fun video. It's only 1:40 long, so wait 'til the boss goes for a smoke, and crank it up.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


I've been out traveling around, listening to music, playing, shunning serious thought. I think that we all could use some distraction - as if there was not enough - but a distraction from the distraction. To that end, I have embedded a couply videos that are just fun to listen too. patriotz will need his Flash...

Canada lost 169,000 jobs last month. Of those, 35,000 were in BC, and of those, 10,000 were in construction.. Ouch. The US lost some 600,000 jobs in comparison. Per capita, Canada lost twice as many jobs. So much for that Canadian Shield of an economy.

The problem, as I see it, is that we have a lot of uneducated people "running" the ships of state. They do not have a clue what is going on. These bail-out packages by government are ridiculous, and it is just pissing money away. It's all politics on our dime, because the populace is as uneducated as the grunts in Parliament, Legislature, City Hall, etc. Did you hear that the "twinning" of the Port Mann Bridge - at a cost of $1.5 billion - has been tossed for a brand new bridge that will cost $3.5 billion. Of course, the numbers keep changing, just like those of the convention centre, Olympics, etc. Do you realize that nobody is in control, unless you count the fox in the hen house?

A railway was granted 11% of the land on Vancouver Island a hundred-odd years ago. That railway company was rolled into a lumber company, which was rolled into another forestry giant, which was bought out by foreign interests, who are now going to develop that land. Make of that what you will.

Speaking of developers; Another major developer in Metro Vancouver has filed lawsuits against people who have defaulted on their contracts to buy condominiums. Of course, they are perfectly within their rights - both legally, and morally - but a lot of people are going to get burned on this. A lot of lawyers will get rich too, to off-set that. There is one couple, in their mid-late seventies, who bought a pre-sale for ~$460K, and now cannot complete. They can't sell the condo that they already are in, and the developer of the new condo is not only going after them for the $68K deposit, but also for the difference in prices (another $100K?). These folks could not complete if they wanted to, because the banks won't even give them the money. They are fragged. I feel sorry for them, they are going to lose all of their retirement savings, but still, they made a stupid decision. So did many others. Be bold, and move into an alley with a broken credit record.

There is some great writing over at The Republic of East Vancouver this week (and always). Potvin has slipped some in his editing, but it is the ideas that count. Potvin makes a case for cancelling the Olympics (in my dreams!), Chris Shaw makes the case for the homeless to take over the Olympic Village (I'm not quite sure if he is promoting sedition), and there are some other good articles as well. I encourage you to read it all. A madness has descended, and it does not bode well for the future of a civil society.

If you want to become really addled, read this.

Executive Summary

Very few people understand the “continental drift” that threatens with a fracture of the U.S. (and hence, the world) monetary system. There are two tectonic plates: one, the supply of Federal Reserve notes (FR notes), and the other, the supply of electronic dollars in the form of an inverted pyramid that rests on the supply of FR deposits. The fault line between the two tectonic plates, like San Andreas fault in California, is a worrisome source of unpredictable earthquakes that could cause massive and permanent damage to the U.S. and world economy.
Heck, I emboldened that whole paragraph. I've been very worried about my nut, how about you?

I don't have the time, or inclination to expand on what I have presented. There is so much more. There is no good news, and things are going to get much, much worse. I have been looking at windmills, shotguns, cob building, seeds, and other such end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it stuff. I have also been going back into music and art, and really digging my kid. Business is still keeping the rent paid, vehicles gassed and in good repair, good food, and decent wine. I'm just enjoying it while it lasts.

Enjoy the videos. Keep cash on hand. Buy 50 ponds of beans, and 50 pounds of rice. Think about worse-case scenarios, at least you will not be surprised.

Next, I want to write about Neville Shute's On The Beach. It's a good book, and I see similarities to what is going on right now.

I can hardly believe that you still want me to post this stuff...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

limp and limping

I have been wanting to

a) take this blog in a new direction

b) put it out of my misery

c) continue on lamely

d) ignore it (and I have been...)

e) escape

However, I am still vacillating like a wind vane. So, in the interim, I will post some scary movies that require little effort on my part. I will concretise things eventually.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

titular void

source had an unscientific poll (results pictured above) indicating that a whopping 64% were always against the Games Being Played. Are CBC readers more knowing than National Post readers? Are they more prescient than The Province readers? More cynical than The Sun readers? Who benefits?

That leads me to this;

I heard rumours of a possible criminal investigation around the whole Olympic Village debacle. There were a whole lot of "resignations" of City money people in City Hall since the municipal election. I have never had any doubt that there would be shenanigans around the Olympics. There are always shenanigans when billions of dollars are floating around.

So, those pre-sale flippers that thought that they can just walk away from their deposits and contracts are in for a surprise, the developers are suing for specific performance, and such, and will be flogging such units for what they can (25%-40% off to start...). The contract breakers will be on the hook for the difference, plus costs.

" many people who put down deposits at the market's peak are obliged to take possession of properties they don't want and can't finance because of tumbling values." link

Jayne sent me an e-mail with a link to this story. (thanks Jayne)
The Second Stage
Another Real Estate Crisis is About to Hit

For a picture of the US real estate crisis, imagine New Orleans wrecked by Hurricane Katrina, and before the waters even begin to recede, a second Katrina hits.

The 1,120,000 lost US retail jobs in 2008 are a signal that the second stage of the real estate bust is about to hit the economy. This time it will be commercial real estate...
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

Things are getting wilder every day.

Has it been foggy, or is it just me?

Sunday, January 18, 2009


A Vancouver real estate developer is making an unprecedented move to offer a liquidation sale of $350 million worth of its condominiums throughout the Lower Mainland.

The marketing strategy by Onni Group of Companies is aimed at selling off hundreds of condos in its inventory.

About 375 unsold condominiums in cities such as Richmond and New Westminster will be offered at 20 to 40 per cent off...
There goes the neighbourhood. Pity the fools who bought at full price. I caught a brief news clip, and the condo "owner" was flipping out. The poor bastidge probably thought that he would be selling at a tidy profit in a year, and now his condo is worth at least 20% less. This flo development is more like an ice floe that people were cast off on to perish.

In my not-so-humble opinion, the suckers buying at the sale prices will also be finding that they have bought depreciating assets. Then comes the earth quake that will literally put them underwater.

After a 20 hour "emergency session" of the Legislature, Vancouver has received the go-ahead to borrow the money to finish the Millenium (Under) Water fiasco. You, nor I, will be consulted. That will be at least $456 million, and the latest is that it could be as much as $750 million. The limit imposed by the Leg. is to be found somewhere between the Sea and the Sky. In other words, there is no limit. I don't know about you, but I don't think that a billion dollar decision should be made after 20 hours of deliberation. I know that my own head is not very clear after an hour of debate, let alone 20 hours. The silver lining is that the City of Vancouver can borrow the money at "around 4%", while the developer (and us since September) pays 11%. So how is it good that I can borrow money cheaper than you, to cover your arse?

Who did the 52% that voted for the Olympics think was going to pay for this? Who got a Senate seat? Why do we have to have a 60% majority to have proportional representation, but only a 51% majority to put on a party for the rich, that costs us untold billions - directly and indirectly - disrupts our city and lives for 7 years, fuels an RE bubble that sucks in tens of thousands of slogan-addled believers into a lifetime of servitude to own a decaying, poorly built, and over-priced condo.

After 21 years in Vancouver, I have finally had enough. I don't want to pay for this. I'm going to buy a windmill, some hens and a rooster, hand tools, ammo, seeds, some goats, a few dogs, a few friends, a ukelele, an electric 4X4, 99 bottles of beer, buy a lease, build a sod house, learn to love potatoes, trade them for corn liquor, trade that for tobacco, trade that for dental floss and boots, and maybe a paper clip. What? You think that's crazy talk?, Yeah, well, real estate never goes down, you know.

This is going to be one of my last posts here, I think. I still have some photoshops that I just have to do, and a few comments to make, but let's face it, RE is dying an ignoble death. There is no joy or fun in that, and I am over taken by other, more pressing things. I just don't have the time to put in a decent effort anymore, and I'm just embarrassing myself now. Grin.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

the unravelling ball of wax

So, you've probably heard by now that Vancouverites are the last bagholders on the Millenium(Under)water development - AKA "The Athletes' Village". A billion bucks. $2000 more debt for every man, woman and babe-in-arms in Vancouver. Say, I don't remember having the option to vote against that when I voted against the Olympics, and the $175 million in capital expenditures. Ah well, never mind, they/we can sell the 500 unsold condos after the Olympics, things will really take off then, right? Our calling card has been sent to the world, and we have ARRIVED!

Oh, and the $150 million for security, that we all knew was laughable, is now admittedly north of a billion $. That will be an extra $750 per Vancouverite to cover our share.

This really is TBPOE... to get screwed.

In other news: Alberta lost 16,000 jobs last month - the worst losses of any province. Wipe that smug smile off of your face Calgary. (By the way, have you finished paying for your Olympics yet?)

That's just the way it is these days.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

snakes, ladders, snow, snot

Image ripped off from Alaska education system

Grack! I, and the fambly have been sick as dogs...and you thought I didn't love you anymore... I'm still pretty sick, but the miniature ME is more settled, so I have a few minutes.

Did you hear about the guy who is renting condos from flippers, and hiding behind the RTA (Residential Tenancy Act) to rip off the condo "owners"? Seems that this snake on the property ladder is leasing condos from "accidental" landlords, renting them out to foreign exchange students, pocketing all of the cash, and telling the "owners" to go frag themselves. Ouch! Can you imagine? Rennie Robots, who were more than bold, bought pre-sales, that they then had to complete on. Faced with $3600/month mortgage payments, they desperately lease them out for $1800+/month to some scammer who re-rents them for $2400+/month, and pockets all of the cash. OMFG! The hairball, as interviewed by CBC, says that he only refuses to pay rent to landlords who "harass (him)".

Landlord: Uh, Mr. Jones-Smith-Brown, your rent cheques have bounced for the last 6 months, and my bank is freaking out on me because I am behind on payments. They are threatening to foreclose!

Mr. Snake-On-Your-Property-Ladder : Quit hassling me man! I'm never paying you now!

The cops say that they can do nothing, because it is difficult to prove "intent to defraud". Flippers in Paradise, indeed... Rule of Law, indeed!

So, how about those City services? Snow removal? Pshawww! The City's plan is to wait for the rain. Get out of your car and take public transit!
"Ooops! Sorry! The buses can't run because one of the two plough operators is on
holidays, and we can't afford to pay over-time".
My sister-in-law observed a City truck driver, with a plough, and a hopper full of sand and salt, snooze on her quiet corner for over two hours.

I saw the first taxi cab on my street in three weeks last night. He got stuck. I went out with a shovel to help him.

ICBC reports a 30% increase in claims since this weather has started. My question is; how many hundreds of millions of dollars in property damages, personal injuries, lost productivity, etc., has the City's lack of response cost the citizens of this city? I heard Raymond Louie last week going on about how this is a "40 year event". Horse shoes! This is the second year in a row, and is a building trend. Climate change is upon us (forget about the Global Warming BS, Climate Change is the reality).

And, all of a sudden, our Federal Transportation Minister is concerned about the 2010 Games, and how we will deal with it if it snows. We will get 4 more trucks. Yee haw!

I could go on, and I will, but is this really The Best Place on Earth? Hummph!