Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dec 23

It's almost Santa time, just a few more sleeps. Is it kind of spooky that moving the N from the middle of Santa, to the end gives you Satan? Kind of apre poe, when you consider the greed and commercialism that goes into the season I guess.
My gifts to my neices and nephews will all be late this year, since I haven't finished making them yet. In fact I've only just started...late I know, but better late than never....they're coming. Just gives them something to unwrap a few days after the big giftfest.

We spent the majority of the weekend cleaning our pigsty. It still has a long way to go. Being busy with the show and work, and having a bunch fo other projects on the go, has really made the housekeeping very low onthe priority list. Couple that with ripping the kitchen apart to install a dishwasher, and the mess I made painting, and it is one big intimidating disaster. It has finally gotten to the point where I don't feel overwhelmed by it any more and can actually see a light at the end of the tunnel. We will be using our break to get it all spick and span once again. I have some cabinet work to do in the kitchen now, to fill the space beside the dishwasher, and I want to install some lighting in the livingroom before I finish painting...but now I have time to do these things.

We don't have any hard and fast Christmas plans as yet. I got a turkey so we will do a dinner with the Bonds, and maybe Laura and Ray if they can come down, and Bertis and Colin if they're around.

I moved my baby clownfish into the fifty gallon grow out tank we set up for them. There are 14 that survived from the two batches of eggs I raised and they are all doing very well. I put a small anemone in with them and they took to it immediately. These guys are Clarkii Clownfish from our mated pair inthe 65 gallon reef tank. We have a pair of Tomato clown in the 135 gallon tank and yesterday they laid eggs, so next week I will try to raise the larva that hatch (if the eggs make it that long and don't get eaten by something else in the tank, or some such other disaster). The male and female do a pretty good job of defending them, so they should make it to maturity.
Here's some pics of the little guys in their new home. The largest of these guys is about and inch and a half long, so they're smaller than the images in the original sized picture...lol
Day 126 002

Day 126 003

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Very Disturbing article

OKay I just read something very disturbing and frightening reguarding our money and it's security on Garth Turner's blog. Since I can't figure out how to post it, I'll just copy and paste it.

From: http://www.garth.ca/weblog/

Toxic Cash

While the government cowers and the opposition squirms, while Stephen Harper licks his wounds and Stephane Dion contemplates rejection , while the economy disintegrates, houses devalue and Parliament is dark, there is something else for you to worry about. Something big. Disturbing.

Do you know what’s backing your money? You should. Because in the last 90 days this has changed drastically. There’s a big gamble been taken by politicians which was never explained, never debated, never questioned, and yet could affect us all.

Here is the way the system is supposed to work, and until this autumn, did.

* Our money’s printed by the Mint and backed by the Bank of Canada. The central is expected to hold assets equal to the amount of cash in circulation, which is more than $50 billion.
* Because our nation no longer owns gold reserves, our money is backed by the safest of securities, long-term government bonds and Treasury bills. This is what gives our money true value. At least, until recently.

But in the last 90 days, without public notice, the Bank of Canada has sold off more than $11 billion of those secure T-bills, plus cashed in billions more of its bonds. As stock market researcher John Paul Koning discovered last week, the central bank now lists on its balance sheet a stunning $32.4 billion in “other” assets, which comprises a whopping 42% of everything it owns.

That means more than two-fifths of the total assets backing our money supply is – what, exactly?

Well, let’s flip back a month to the middle of November, when finance minister Jim Flaherty announced the federal government was purchasing $50 billion in residential mortgages from the Big Six banks, following an earlier deal to buy another $25 billion in mortgages. “At a time of considerable uncertainty in global financial markets, this action will provide Canada’s financial institutions with significant and stable access to longer-term funding,” he said, adding, “with no additional risk to the taxpayer.”

So, the “other” assets the Bank of Canada has swapped for secure, near-cash holdings appear to be tens of billions of dollars in high-ratio mortgages. The money to buy those assets apparently came from the central bank, through CMHC, and ended up in the vaults of the Big Six banks. It’s also believed that the Bank of Canada has been buying up other commercial bank liabilities, such as credit card debt.

In fact, the central bank was at it again yesterday. On its web site, the Bank of Canada announced its buying another $1 billion in “private sector money market instruments” on Monday.

So, what are these mortgages with tens of billions that now stand behind a good chunk of our money? They are loans given to people who bought houses with little or no money down, many of whom purchased before October 15th, when it was still okay to buy a home with a 0% down payment and to take out an amortization of 40 years. The government, under intense criticism that these were Canadian equivalents of the disastrous US subprime mortgages, chucked them two months ago.

So, here we are. The Big Banks have unloaded tens of billions of dollars in potentially toxic assets to the Bank of Canada, which cashed in ultra-secure investments to hand over cash. The federal government orchestrated this in order to make the commercial banks more secure. But in doing so, what’s it done to our currency? As Koning wrote in an article in the Financial Post last week, “Our central bank has swapped a sure thing: a large chunk of liquid and non-volatile AAA-rated government debt, for a slew of ‘other’ assets whose nature remains uncertain to everyone but bank insiders, assets which are inherently more volatile and less liquid than government debt.”

That this compromising of our money supply could happen is alarming. That it could take place without citizens being told is shocking.

Why didn’t the finance minister explain his actions? Did he understand them? Where were the opposition watchdogs? What happens now if unemployment and falling house values turn some of those mortgages worthless, as happened in the US?

Let’s hope this comes to light on the floor of the House of Commons.

Oh wait. It’s been locked.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Sad Day for Democracy

The weasely little coward managed to get his own way after all it seems. The Governor General gave permission to Prorogue Parliament until near the end of January. This set a very dangerous president in Canadian Politics, because it sends the message that if the Prime Minister feels his government has lost the confidence of the house and is in danger of falling he can simply close down parliament and regroup.

Now the coalition has 6 weeks to implode, which will happen since the Liberal Party is already trying to back away from it. They have a leadership convention coming up and are in no way ready for an election (which seems to be the common thread for the survival of the minority Conservatives) so they will not bring down the government in January...it's pretty much a guarantee. If they were to topple the Government in January it is far enough away from the last election that the Governor General may call another one, and the Liberals know they can't win with Dion as leader. In fact Stephen Harper would probably end up with a majority government if that happened and nobody wants that.

What I don't understand is why the coalition didn't play their hand a little closer to their chests and keep their bloody mouths shut about their plan. Churchill didn't go on german Radio and say, "We're planning to hit the beach early next week."

If they had just made their agreements and shut up about it, they could've arrived in Parliament and when it was time to vote, everyone could've stood up against the bill and brought down the government nice easy. No fuss, no muss, and just like that Stephen and his merry band of idiots would've been sitting on the other side of the room next time parliament sat. Instead they have to hold a press conference (in front of the Canadian Flag) and give the game plan away so Willy the Weasel could find a way out of the predicament. Honestly....I think they may ALL be too stupid to be in charge, and Canadians should be very concerned.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Coalitions and Governor Generals, and Prorogueing...oh my!

The show has been over for nearly two weeks now, and I haven't had my post show depression, which isn't entirely surprising since we have been insanely busy. In fact I was in the middle of editing the OBAs during the run of the show, and had to finish that up in the early part of the week following, so I didn't have time to miss the show. I was actually relieved to have my evenings free to decompress from work. I have some projects at home that I need to get back to, and finally have the time, plus it's time to break out the sewing machine for Christmas stuff, so busy busy busy. All in all same old, same old.

Even if you don't follow politics, how could you not right now? This is about as exciting as the Government of Canada has ever been. Although, if the Governor General grants Harpers request to Prorogue Parliament, which she probably will, it is going to get very muddy in the coming weeks. There will be some serious slinging as a desperate man tries to cling to power, and I say desperate man, because basically that's what the conservative party has become "the Harper show". He wields all the power and is merciless with anyone who doesn't agree with him, just ask Garth Turner or Bill Casey.

I find it laughable that the Cons are calling the Coalition undemocratic, when it is the most democratic thing that's happened in Canadian Politics in Decades. This isn't a bunch of appointed senators or judges who haven't been elected trying to sieze the government. These are democratically elected Members of parliament, doing their jobs and following the rules of Canadian government forming a coalition to govern this country cooperatively. This is wonderful, it is what the Canadian Public have been telling the government for three elections in a row, by electing minority governments. We have been telling them, we don't want one party to run the country, we want want you to compromise in our best interests, and the Conservatives have been completely unwilling to do that. Stephen Harper has run this country like he has a majority. He has been like a playground bully who grabs your wrist and smacks you in the face with your own hand. He buries legislation that he knows the opposition can't support in legislation that they would have to support or look bad, then makes it a confidence motion. This worked in the past because the Liberals weren't ready for an election and wouldn't bring down the government so they were forced to abstain from voting and Harper got his way. He tried to do it again, and make them cut their own throats with an economic package that did nothing to address the current economic crisis (which the Cons contributed to by blowing a 32 billion dollar surplus trying to buy votes, and introducing no money down 40 year mortgages that contributed to a housing crisis similar to the US) and cut much needed funding to the parties, only this time the opposition wasn't going to be bullied, and in an historic move they sat down and came to a compromise. This is what we've been asking them to do ever since Cretien left office - work together, compromise, put the best interests of the Canadian public ahead of Party politics.

For the first time in a very long time, Canada will have a government that consists of MPs working together for Canada ahead of the interrests of their party. Isn't that what we want? MP to represent us first and foremost. This is the definition of democracy.

Let's face it Stephen Harper has lied so many times he doesn't deserve to run this Country anymore. He said his government wouldn't tax income trusted if they were elected, then once they were elected he did just that and thousands of seniors who invested in them based on his promise lost their life savings. He blew a huge surplus and promised that there would be no deficit while campaigning, now they project a deficit just a few weeks later. He broke his own law (which he teamed up with the Bloc to push through) by having the most recent election in the first place because he knew this economic crisis was set to boil and the Liberals were still not ready for an election, and by the time the fixed election date rolled around we would be deep in the throws of an economic crisis due in part to the Conservative mismanagment of the economy. Now he wants to Prorogue Parliament so he can stay in power for a few more weeks. He's hoping the opposition will lose their momentum and cracks will form during the break. There will certainly be a lot of mudslinging and lies coming from the Conservatives in the mean time, there already are.

The first lie is that the Bloc is involved in the coalition, which they are not. They have promised not to topple it within the next year if there are votes of confidence on three issues mostly dealing with the economy, that is all. If the coalition missteps on some other issue there is no such guarantee from the Bloc. By the way, Stephen Harper tried to form the exact same kind of deal with the NDP and the Bloc to bring down Paul Martin's minority government and seize power. Stockewell Day also approached the Bloc when he was leader of the Alliance Party to form a coalition. Talk about your hypocracy. Then when Stockwell Day was confronted about it in question period he denied any knowledge of such an offer until hearing about it just then, so either he is lying, or someone was making offered on behalf of his office without his knowledge which makes him incompetant. Liar or incompetant, which do you prefer?

I could rant on and on, but suffice to say the Harper Conservative are governing with only 36% of the popular vote, the remaining 64% rests in the oppositiong, so having a coalition government, actually means we will have a group that more people voted for representing us. Again that sounds pretty democratic to me. Now Harper can sulk like a spoiled child or he could actually do the right thing and try to find a way to participate in the government and compromise for the sake of Canada. I'm afraid that just won't happen in his case though, as he has already deomonstrated that he is a controll freak, a bully, a liar, and a narcissist. If this government falls, it's a pretty safe bet he will not be leading the Cons for very long after.... Ever notice that the Conservative starts with Con?