Politics and Economics

It’s a Mess … and silver linings

Subterranean Homesick Blues, Bob Dillon, from the album “Bringing It All Back Home”, 1965

Whenever I start to get depressed about the state of our local economy and the morality of our Socialist Progressive governments (see last post here) I tend to take a step back and consider all the good things globally, that’s right, I see many good things globally — good for Canada and Alberta at least.

Friend or Foe in the Middle East

Friend or Foe in the Middle East

On the right is a wonderful chart from one of the many newsletters I read …  as a proud resident of the only province in Canada with a future (in spite of looking grim right now) I see reason for hope on the horizon. Alberta’s future is intimately tied to energy and the production and export of energy resources.

To say that the Middle East is a powder keg just waiting for a spark is actually an understatement of the reality on the ground, at least as far as I can determine reading all the international news feeds, newsletters and blogs.

Now God forbid that we should pray for a major melt down in the Arabian peninsula but any way you paint a situation where our mortal enemies and OUR major competitor in global oil markets destroy themselves without our intervention is just plain good news for western Christian oil producing nations (there’s just got to be a sin in there somewhere). And Canada is at the head of the pack when it comes to production and proven reserves amongst nominally Christian oil producing nations.

OPEC Oil Exports 2014

OPEC Oil Exports 2014

One can safely assume that literally anyone trying to pretend that things there will be OK and we don’t need energy independence is taking the same drugs as the Main Stream Media and the “Trump Hate” crowd.

A determined terrorist campaign in Saudi Arabia would (hopefully) completely revise the global economy. Do you think that world oil production just might be impacted by a full scale war in a more chaotic Arabian peninsula?

Do you suppose that such an event wouldn’t be great news for North American oil and coal producers? Do you think passing laws against coal and oil consumption makes the resource mysteriously disappear? Seriously folks, “Stupid is as stupid does”, and a firm belief in a fantasy  no more alters reality than writing “Darkness!” on the wall of your padded cell extinguishes the Sun.

“Alberta”, Bob Dylan, from the album “Self Portrait”, (June 1970)

While the Progressives crow about our coreligionist’s lack of proof of God and the foundations for our religious beliefs, they never think to question the complete absence of any evidence for their own beliefs or, for that matter, for any intelligent consideration of the impacts of their own religious beliefs on the populations over which they claim to rule. C.S. Lewis’s mandarins of N.I.C.E. in his book “That Hideous Strength”  haven’t got a patch on the modern crop of mandarins in the halls of power in our fair land.

Current reality places Canada (Alberta) as the 7th largest oil producer in the world, but three of the highest producers ahead of us on the list are Muslim nations who are prominently center stage in the chaos of the Arabian peninsula. In fact it is not unreasonable to attribute all the chaos in the geopolitical environment found today in the Arabian peninsula to the internecine rivalry between these three Muslim nations.

Countries by Oil Production

Countries by Oil Production – CIA factbook 2013

Any significant change in the geopolitics of the Middle East could catapult Canada (Alberta) to 4th place in the production charts at 3.6 million barrels a day after Russia, U.S.A. and China.

This in spite of the willful stupidity of her government(s). Even the NDP are essentially powerless to screw up the global economy, and I am optimistic that they will not be able to permanently damage the most productive Province in Canada.

An even more important part of the picture is the proven reserves picture. Another slice of reality is that Canada (Alberta) is currently in 3rd place  after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia in proven reserves. In a world economy suddenly deprived of access to half of global energy resources “Who Ya gonna Call?”. If you are looking for stable sources for your energy supplies do you pick a nation where violence and corruption are the rule of the day, or do you pick the nation where peaceful rule of law prevails?

Now a little corruption goes a long way to grease the wheels of governance and Canada has fallen a long way from the 50’s when we had the international reputation as the most honest bureaucracy on the planet. I suspect only the slightest nudges would be necessary to move our political masters in the appropriate direction. After all, our current governments are full fledged players in the “Pay to Play” schemes historically developed in other world capitals.

Oil Producing Countries

By Ekrub-ntyh at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1914119

It may come as a shock to some but we have enough energy reserves right here in Alberta alone, including all sources, to fuel current and projected demand in North America for the next 4 to 5 hundred years. You read that right, enough energy to fuel current and projected demand in North America for the next 4 to 5 centuries.

Back in the late 70’s early 80’s I worked as a contract administrator for a company called JOY Manufacturing. Among other things we produced electrostatic precipitators and bag filter systems for heavy industries like steel mills, foundries, paper mills and especially for coal fired electrical generation plants.

For at least 40 years now we have had the technology to clean emissions from coal to at least approximately the levels produced by natural gas. These systems are currently in use all over the world. The only thing preventing their adoption here is religion and politics.  Canada also developed and produces the safest nuclear reactors on the planet and a large chunk of the fuel for those reactors

But using that clean energy technology flies in the face of the religious position of the Socialist Progressive ninnies in our governments. It’s just A-OK with them to impose their version of the “final solution” to eliminate inconvenient babies and seniors but Gaia forbid we should use clean coal technology to give every one cheap electricity.

The only thing standing in the way of Canadian global dominance in oil production is weak prices and government policy. The Venezuelan government did a pretty good job of destroying the rosy future for it’s people and Alberta’s government is looking to try the same path right now.

Given the current state of “Rule of Law” in Canada I think we are a long way from following the Venezuela model. Notwithstanding the rule of law there are still legions of zombie voters in Redmonton who could conceivably keep the NDP in power for more than 1 election. We will no doubt see that play out since we are not considering moving away just yet.

So the point of this polemic is that there are actually lots of reasons for optimism despite current conditions in the neighbourhood.



cooling stacks steam plantSo we can pay $100.00 per month for electricity using steam , or $1200.00 per month for electricity using wind and solar.  Seems like a no-brainer to me. So come on voters, we’ve had our Friday night stupidity binge, let’s change the landscape of Canadian politics and turf the Progressive parasites out.



Life in a small town, Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, Politics and Economics

A Grey Day …

“Deep Peace” Bill Douglas, from the album of the same name, (1996)

They say our moods are affected for better or for worse by the weather of any given day. Here we are in mid November with the thermometer standing at +6 (Celsius of course) and not a snow flake in site and folks are still harvesting like crazy trying to make up for the lost weeks back in September & October. Just checked the window and damn me for a fool – it is starting to snow – Awwww!  Time for a double Old Number 7 and kick back and relax.

EeyoreBy all standards this is pretty damned good for this time of the year. And yet it is irredeemably cloudy and grey and we are glum and very much mired in Eeyore’s Gloomy Place. Business is down 25% to 30%. This translates into a daily struggle with “Who do I pay first and how much?”

I don’t suppose Rachel, and Justin, and Barry, and Hillary and all the rest of those lords and ladies who so enjoy running our lives and our economy have even noticed the “downturn”. But for the little folks, of which there are many, it is really kind of a let down when the economy is so bad that you actually owe your accountants more than you owe the government.

las_vegas_nevada_kid_crawford_of_las_vegas_chants_during_a_proteestSouth of the border the howler tribes are doing what they do best – howling their displeasure with reality and smashing poor shopkeepers windows and looting in some sort of ritualistic revenge against some straw man who actually works for a living having thwarted their drooling dreams and fantasy’s after 8 years of gravy and delirium.

02-demonFortunately the ballot items for the legalization of pot passed in most of those jurisdictions, and it won’t be long before all this disturbance degenerates into a miasma of smoke and fornication. I can understand why some might find that prospect attractive and who knows, they might even go back to the classroom to finish up the social studies they were mastering  when they were so easily distracted.

Way up North, at least in the West, there is some anticipation that The Donald might just get the local oil economy going for a short while anyway by encouraging or even expediting the Keystone Pipeline project in the name of energy independence and 10 or 20 thousand much needed jobs. That would be good for Alberta because it would mean re-starting the now on hold Hardisty Terminal Project which feeds Keystone, and that would bring a few thousand jobs to our slowly freezing neighborhood.  That would be a good thing for real working folks all over the West even if it disturbs the chattering classes in Redmonton.

01-devils-advocateWatching the televised performances of the howlers and listening to commentary within and without my own extended family the thought “Love to All” comes to mind. We use this without thinking about it as an interesting and common colloquial greeting or dismissal used with those with whom one is familiar, such as relates, friends, and acquaintances.

But we are to love others sacrificially. The parable of the Good Samaritan as an example of sacrifice for the sake of others, even for those who may care nothing at all for us, or even hate us. Sacrificial love is not based on a feeling, but a determined act of the will, a joyful resolve to put the welfare of others above our own.

7013831-christmas-girlBut this type of love does not come naturally to humans. Because of our fallen nature, we are incapable of producing such a love. And that fallen nature is very  much on display for all to watch these days. Xmas is just around the corner – I wonder whatever happened to Christmas?

If we are to love as God loves, that love—that agape—can only come from its true Source. This is the love which “has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us” when we became His children (Romans 5:5). Because that love is now in our hearts, we can obey Jesus who said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. As I have loved you, you should also love one another” (John 13:34).

Holy FamilyThis new commandment involves loving one another as He loved us, sacrificially, even to the point of death. But, again, it is clear that only God can generate within us the kind of self-sacrificing love which is the proof that we are His children. “By this we have known the love of God, because He laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1 John 3:16). Because of God’s love toward us, we are now able to love one another.

But …

Arrogance, pride and immorality, greed, rivalry, fraud, drunkenness, drugs, adultery, fornication, promiscuity, deviance, prostitution, gluttony, recourse to the courts, brother against brother, sister against sister, mother against father and father against mother, slavery, mutilation, bestiality, sacrifice and taxes, an endless list of human travail.

03-pool-of-worshipAll of us are “knowledgeable” and does not knowledge puff us up with self importance, does it not invite us to hold forth about things about which we know nothing based on our perceived expertise in another area?

If anyone thinks he knows something he has not yet realized that he knows nothing. It is what we don’t know we don’t know that bites us to death. We easily follow dumb idols, wealth, power, sex, self importance, self esteem, influence, affirmation, possessions, standing in the community, what are our personal idols?

I speak in poetry and wisdom  in honeyed tones. All shall LOVE ME and despair. All shall abide by my directions. I understand mysteries, I prophecy a future of comfort and plenty for all.


Book to read:  “Why Nations Fail” Really interesting read –  Habits, habits, habits, habits of a lifetime, unquestioned, and informing everything one thinks and says. I started out to write a post about extractive economies and was completely derailed by my emotional reactions to a remembered conversation with my sister to the effect that I was to “Spare us your facts, we don’t care about facts, we just want to have a friendly conversation with our friends.”  Wow, FaceBook – The Howler Jungle – … instead of charged ‘debates’, one witnesses the other extreme: people inhabiting artificial cyberworlds where they rarely hear anything but the voices of those who most agree with them.

A lifetime of sin, uncharitable, judgmental,  lacking compassion … hurting others if spoken out loud. Aren’t you glad we can’t read each others mind. Wow, what a bumpy trip that would be. Trying to understand the mindset of these people and the world they live in – talking to my sister and understanding that she and most of my family and friends live in that universe, that I am the odd one in the extended group.

Not suggesting anything in the right or wrong domain, but rather trying to understand how superficially nice people can be apparently comfortable living with so many untested assumptions. Trying to understand how they can be so absolutely certain that they are correct about all their assumptions. Trying to understand how they can be so absolutely certain that anyone who doesn’t hold the same view (for any reason) is a “Homophobic Nazi Racist”, or a “Knuckle Dragging Neanderthal Redneck”,  both of which curses I have been handed by members of my extended family when they cast about for their self justification, their credo of narcisism.

So many little sins such that we are swimming in a sea of sin and all the while telling each other and our selves that “It’s OK, ’cause we are really rather nice people, not bad people at all, not like those “fill in your favorite group or person here“. I feel a posting coming on about the myriad minutia of daily minor sin for which we continually excuse ourselves so that we never change for the better and it taints every facet of our lives.

Well, enough glum for one evening – until tomorrow – a shot of Jack Daniel’s old Number 7 and a good cigar, well maybe if I smoked but I gave the smoking up decades ago. AAAAAHHH.



coptic-desert Vanity, vanity, all is vanity …


Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

Winding down January – what “Economy”?


Overheard in passing “This drop in oil prices is going to destroy the economy”.  The heads all nod and the chins wag and the coffee goes down. Members of the natural ruling party here in the west are bailing out as fast as you can say “rats”.  Fair weather redistributers can’t handle the bad times and they haven’t even seen them yet. I guess they don’t want to be the bearers of cutbacks and shutdowns and hiring freezes and so on when the music stops and someone has to pay the bills of the last two terms of political promises. Maybe we can subpoena the Red Queen and hold her accountable for all the high spending under her firm entitled hand. Fat Chance!!!

Of course talk about “destroying” the economy makes about the same sense as talk about “destroying” the planet. We will still have an economy and we will still have a planet. Maybe it won’t be exactly what the policy wonks wanted it to look like but hardly “destroyed”. The economy continues and perhaps the winners and the losers change seats in time of cataclysm but we are a long way from that and the ones who always take it in the neck in the long run up to that are the ones on fixed monetized incomes, Pensioners, bond holders and the like are the true “beneficiaries” of the problems coming with “fiat” money. Of course the progressives have a solution for their suffering elderly which has already been embraced in parts of northern Europe under the euphemism of “Death with dignity” and questions about  “quality of life”. Alter all we already murder several million children annually through state program support of “reproductive health”. What’s another million or so seniors who are past their productive prime and becoming a burden on society.

Oh right!  We were talking about the “destroying of the economy”  As FOX often says “We interrupt regular programming for some important news”. In case you missed macroeconomics 101 in first year … the “economy” is about creating money out of nothing. What do you think happens to those dollars you stashed in your savings account,  (assuming you actually have a savings account or dollars to stash in it). I think they are called something like 451K or something like that – NO! wait, that was Fahrenheit 451  – wasn’t that some scientific paper about global warming?  – NO! wait I know!!! that was a Michael Moore film – I am sure of it – so where were we???

Did you know money saved in banks is lent out? … Guess who is borrowing? … Or what a “bond” might be? … And have you ever wondered where all the money that goes into stock markets comes from? … Or why people flip shares, when they used to live patiently off the dividends? Deflation and inflation are twin heads on the same beast. As David Warren puts it: “The Japanese have pioneered a system in which we can enjoy both at the same time, and thus have perfect economic stasis, through generations of demographic collapse”. I remember something about a bird that flew in tighter and tighter circles until it finally flew up … well you know where that’s going. Nuff said.

I live in what is known amongst the coastal chattering classes as flyover country, you know,  that part of the country where all food and energy come from. But of course we are all knuckle-dragging neanderthals clinging to our guns and religion and don’t know what’s good for us so our betters in Ottawa and Washington have to figure things out for us and tell us how we should spend our money and what is needed by the “country”. I read somewhere that “Magical Thinking” is a symptom of narcissism. Some suit in a corner office in Ottawa or Toronto or Washington or Chicago deciding what the price of grain should be to match up with some policy objective is classic “Magical Thinking”.

Personally,  I “believe” in the price mechanism. We had a great wheat crop last summer. Too much wheat, price goes down.  Duh! There’s more of it around than we can eat so no one wants it – “demand” is low. I agree with David Warren that the “price mechanism” is no longer working in our western economy. Nixon gave us Watergate, curse him forever for serving that one to the press, now every witless commentator has a “something”gate. But worse than that he uncoupled money from things, and linked it to “policy” instead, So now it appears that there is not one person left on the whole planet with the faintest idea how our economic system works.

Try suggesting that the drop in gas prices is not some evil conspiracy by the oil companies, but rather might have something to do with the Saudis being afraid of the Iranians …  “The WHO???”  Or maybe they are afraid of “frakkin’ “.  So what do I know anyway.  It’s always about someone being afraid of something – fear and hunger – the root of all human travail. The forecast is for “normal” temperatures for this time of year which is a complicated way of saying “sub-zero and variable”. And there is always hockey…