Is Canada Corrupt?

Is Canada corrupt? You go to work every day and pay your taxes. Your taxes are intended to provide services which benefit the public good. Naturally, human resources are required to administer such services. Your government also assesses your country’s standing in the world and maintains relationship with other nations in the context of preserving freedom and quality of life for citizens. 

Then we have a system of commerce which operates under the guise of “capitalism”. In a capitalist system, small businesses and large businesses operate with particular reasonable regulations relevant to their industries and such regulations are imposed also in the context of the “public good”. An inherent trait associated with “free enterprise” is the right of business to “fail” due to whatever underlying factors are confronted. It is not the business of governments to pick and choose winners and losers through political bias, personal relationships, or preferential treatment due to the geographic jurisdiction of stakeholders. If such a landscape was permitted to exist, free enterprise would lose its appeal as a viable commercial system to engage with freewill unencumbered by systemic bias. 

Today, as learned through an ethics report – your country has failed you because in spite of you playing by the rules, you’ve come to learned that your federal government has a interfered in the legal process of a defendant charged with improprieties in the name of “picking winning and losers” in the capitalist system.  One must ask, as a nation, are we any different from third world countries which make ever day habits of conducting affairs on such terms?    

Music Training Beginning in Adulthood

Apparently the plasticity of the brain is lesser in adulthood. Hence; you are going to be more challenged to identify pitch. In fact, musical scholars are claiming that an adult may not be able to develop perfect pitch but with training and could obtain proficiency in “relative pitch”. So, don’t despair, this relative pitch is what we need the most when picking out the next chord in a progression. A key has limitations with respect to which chords are available and consequently the adult brain now gets to work with finite possibilities in relative terms. 

My youtube channel has one song which I posted that I knew didn’t sound right but given the nature of my channel oriented around progress and learning, I didn’t think much of it during the upload. Today, I revisited the song and searched around on “ultimate guitar” (website) to review some reader feedback  associated with the chord structure of the selected piece and discovered two flaws. Somebody with a better ear than mine not only knew it didn’t sound right as scored but he was able to offer the two corrections. I now look forward to the “redo”. The process gives me comfort in that I may be going from the phase of “not knowing what I don’t know” to “knowing what I don’t know” in the context of chord recognition. At this stage of my development, I am still only reaching for a chord because of a memorized sequence and not because of ear sense.  This contrasts to a professional musician who made an exclamation on his youtube channel that he showed up at a weekend festival and was introduced to 18 new songs of which he went right to work on learning and in short order played rhythm for the band in support. The take away is that I must listen more carefully to the sounds instead of anxiously searching my memory.         

Recreational Bike Riding

I am what you could call a normal bike riding enthusiast. I don’t have the best bike and I don’t go the fastest but I break a sweat and burn calories in the spirit of active living. The occasional trek gives a non-competitive cyclist such as myself much to ponder while travelling the trails of North East Calgary.

Today got me thinking about common courtesies and the urge to rush. Occasionally, we’ll run up behind a pedestrian. From experience we’ve come to learn that mankind seems to have this propensity to deploy technology at every opportunity. In this case it would be the “bike bell”. I can see reasons to use it but not in every situation. When it’s a quiet morning and a pedestrian is sauntering along in thought, I’m inclined to find a way around like a wide pass that doesn’t jar him / her out of their serenity. Call me strange but I’m just not in that much of a rush. Then there are those vehicles which offer a wide pass when it’s safe for them to do so. You know they’ll be looking back in their rear view mirror. I’ll give them a wave. 

Many drivers have an urge to rush and this behaviour is elicited by vehicle incursions at intersections and through cross walks. You know they feel guilty when surprised by a bicycle. Traffic regulations require vehicles to stop in advance of the stop line or in absence of a stop line, slightly in front of the stop sign. If intersection visibility is unclear, drivers should then sneak forward.  When folks cheat, pedestrians and bicyclists can be put at risk. Law enforcement seems to have better things to do than patrol this poor driving habit. Always be on guard at intersections.

Distracted driving is a reality and it is a material hazard. Pedestrians will not mind sharing a sidewalk with a bicycle if the bicycle yields to pedestrians always, passes with care, and slows down while passing. It simply makes good common sense to use sidewalks when road conditions such as narrow shoulders are unsafe to share with drivers.     

Cursory Review Calgary Arena Deal

I’ve seen some initial reaction to this deal and thought…why not take a closer look at what is available for information. Did you know that there is a “land option” within this deal whereby the Flames have the “option” to acquire and develop nearby lands which have not been wholly disclosed in total? What’s the option price and the current market value of such lands? The “majority” of event revenue will go to the flames and it appears by induction we are lead to believe that this “majority” amount will be 98 per cent with 2 per cent ascribed back to the city as a “facility fee” capped at $3M for the first five years. CTV news has me believing this is all the city is going to get with respect to revenues. Just so this is clear….Calgary will pay half building costs and receive back 2 per cent of revenues. No parking. It’s Just 2 per cent of aggregate revenues. You best hope that people still like hockey in 20 years. 

Break even cash flow is what’s going to prevent a tax increase.  I’m suspect….yet the city apparently is promising no tax increase in lieu of the deal. The facility fee would be the biggest single revenue source with respect to the city’s interest and this is a huge variable dependent upon the Flames ability to book events in addition to its hockey games. The naming rights are chump change. Would there be finance charges associated with the City’s construction and demolition component? How is the non-sporting taxpaying Calgarian supposed to benefit from a non-descript “community engagement program” or “community sports funding”? Are these payments back to the city indexed for inflation? What if the Flames organization runs into financial trouble and becomes ill equipped to pay these amounts which are the second most material source of city benefit? Yes, benefit and not cash given the funds would be allocated to special interest group(s) and not available to appease shortfalls.  As for accessory tax revenue from adjacent businesses – well in theory alternative developments would also generate such revenues.

What Is A Market Maker?

A market maker was an investment industry professional who had a responsibility to create a market in an environment of low liquidity. This was manual job when automated trading was not fully deployed. The market maker represented a firm with a seat on the exchange and would put up a bid or sell order in order to create the market among stock issues of low or nil volume. With fewer retail investors looking to trade, the market maker has taken up business elsewhere. Why is this topic relevant you ask? Well, Jim Rickards – author of Currency Wars claims that when the next stock market crash arrives, it could be a quick turn south without market makers stepping in to purchase during a panic. Sure, there are triggers to seize trading amidst a panic but what about when the light turns green once again.

In a market which quickly turns negative, mutual funds would be relying on fund managers to be decisive and quick at the switch – but with mutual fund’s exposure to such large relative weighting in one stock compared to a retail investor, how orderly could an exit be? The mechanics of trading in a stock market are worthy of anyone’s attention. Are there hedge’s available to you, the retail investor, which are not being disclosed to you because of a misconceived “fiduciary duty” which a broker thinks he possesses. That is, a notion that you lack sophistication to understand a hedge. Education in finance is important to all. Bankers should not be suggesting you lack capacity and of course you’re familiar with your responsibility to manage your finances.     

Crass With No Class – That’s Trump

Yes. This is Donald Trump and he holds the highest office in the United States of America. You cannot defend the assertion of “crass with no class” by simply deferring to an alignment with his public policy. This is what’s been done over the past two years among those who have been defending him. You see, I actually draw a correlation between personality, personal conduct, derogatory references to minorities, and the potential for leadership mistakes. I also empathize with voters who have been disenfranchised with Washington lobbyists and governmental mismanagement leading up to a radical choice in the Republican nominee. For context, we have the latest “tweet” pertaining to the Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley, Tlaib “squad” suggesting they return to their countries despite three of the four who have only known the United States.   

The biggest trouble with these crass twitter remarks is the lack of condemnation by his peers. It’s apparent that his political peers are either afraid to rebuke his tirades in fear of reprisals or fear of becoming the actual target of yet one more of his rants. Oh yes, then there’s the fear of a defamation lawsuit in the back drop of man who threatens like a school yard bully.  It’s dysfunction at its finest and in spite of being conservative in my ideology, I’ll be looking deeply into the eyes of those who dismiss Trump’s abounding personal insults as frivolous. The evidence of him being intolerant is abundant within the public domain during his short tenure as President never mind any private relational discord he would have encountered prior.  

 Lindsay Graham has remarked but there was no rebuke. This is the same Lindsay Graham who endured insults from the tongue of Trump during the contest for Republican nominee. To be quiet amidst undeserving personal attacks of peers seeming to be racist is to condone if travelling in circles around the President. When a nation cannot conduct debate with dignity, good faith and confidence erodes.      

If “values” matter as a principal in governance, then Mr. Trump fails. If U.S “financial solvency” becomes the primary bench mark in which Trump presides and somehow his leadership facilitates the return to fiscal prudence, he’ll have a success. Or, his experience in bankruptcy and his capacity to offend may actually serve him well should the U.S. federal debt become unserviceable during his tenure.

Tennis on The Board

So, your game of the week got cancelled but you still want to work on your strokes. Do visit the board at your local community centre but practice with it the right way. The right way you ask? Since the set up is crucial as a prefix for delivering a ground stroke, it makes no sense to be scrambling with the board since the ball returns so quickly. Instead, feed the ball to the board –make your stroke and only set up for another stroke if in control and set up properly. The purpose of this practice is to develop consistency without producing bad habits which can arise when chasing down errant balls.

How important is this? It’s critical because the neural pathways need to be developed without the impedence of experience associated improper mechanics. Similar to golf, tennis is difficult to pick up without basic fundamentals learned from somebody. The teaching of tennis has positively evolved to incorporate larger more forgiving balls and smaller racquets for youngsters.  Becoming versant in fundamentals is definitely a prerequisite before approaching a board without a playing partner.  There is also no denying the strength in some of the youtube content. For those who have good coordination and average athleticism but lack a playing partner, the board can be a great resource having picked up fundamentals from youtube.  Naturally, there’s good and bad content on the net but it’s mostly good so fear not. You can always hire a tennis teacher because it’s only in the one on one setting whereby your strokes can be observed and corrected.

Yes, that’s right – I, Blair Sveinson, am a certified tennis instructor with Tennis Alberta and I invite adults to reach out if keen to take up this wonderful game. I can be reached at 403-397-3110. I’m in Calgary.

Lucroy Marisnick Collision

If a defending player makes a tag on an offensive player running the base paths but in the process loses control of the ball, so long as the base runner touches the bag or plate, the base runner will be considered “safe”. Hence; if it becomes apparent that if a base runner has made a poor decision to advance yet has committed to the play, within the rules of the came he can contrive a strategy to exert such force on the defender in order to produce a dropped ball. Without question, Mr. Marinich in the Angels Astros game on Saturday July 6th took such a strategy by deviating his path inside the baseline toward the presence of the catcher who was positioned inside the field of play to receive the inbound ball. Had this not been Mr. Marinich’s strategy, the logical path would have been outside the baseline thereby increasing his probability of success by stationing himself further from the ball.

Some MLB pundits are calling for suspension of Marinich given that catcher Lucroy has sustained an injury. It was indeed a brutal collision but I suspect Marinich was more motivated by achieving a “safe” call at home as opposed to hurting Lucroy. It’s apparent to me that the rules of baseball are more to blame that Marinich. This precise play should give cause for a rule change.

Mid Tier Gold Companies Since June 11th 2019

Yamana Gold, $ 1.92 USD to $2.55 USD for a 32 per cent move

Eldorado Gold (EGO), $ 4.11 USD to  $6.22 USD for a 51 per cent move

New Gold (NGD) went from $0.72 CAD to $0.94 CAD for a 30 per cent move

Detour Gold (DGG) went from $13.25 CAD to $16.58 CAD – 25 per cent

McEwen Mining (MUX) went from 1.39 CAD to $1.82 CAD for a 30 per cent change

Argonaut Gold (AR) went from 1.71 CAD to 1.84 CAD  for 7 per cent

Royal Nickel (RNX) – yes a gold company  went from $0.50 CAD to $0.64 moving 28 per cent

….and how much did the price of gold change from Jun 11, 2019 to July 3, 2019? Well, 9.6 per cent.

As you can see, a premium has been offered to companies with moderate market caps compared to the majors. Risk capital would have been well served with positions here. 

Not Achieving? Consider This

First of all, you are most likely achieving more than you think you are but society’s norms, customs and feeback mechanisms oftentimes communicate negatively. Hence; the conditioning you receive is not necessarily congruent with your output.  Unfortunately, there are also a few who overestimate their contribution as well. Then there’s your government with its officials who think they know who should be bestowed awards based on criteria unbeknownst to those too busy raising children, volunteering modestly, and invigorating their workplace with passion and commitment. Last time I looked, it was a hockey player receiving the Order of Canada. I’m sure she’s a nice lady. 

Here’s the thing. There is much repression in the spirit of those who have over reached with financial responsibility thereby compromising the pursuit of unique latent talent. The kicker is that it’s not just the variable of “keeping up with the Jones’” which has many stymied but also the subliminal familial and social suggestion that you are “not really good enough” or ‘how dare you be adventurous” with career when there are mouths to feed.

Here’s the other thing. You’ll never get yesterday back. It’s gone forever. If you spent yesterday by keeping your biggest aspiration tucked away in that dark closet of your mind, it’s one less day you’ll have available in fertilizing its fruition. You will have a legacy. What will it be?