Half the valley shakes

I went to Toronto for a bit and wow, I get how that place produced Doug Ford. If I had to drive on the 401 all day I would also sell drugs and start a sticker factory. Yikes.

Sometimes the thing is the important thing, but sometimes the other thing AROUND or NEAR the thing is more important. Like the chocolate around the Twix cookie or the clitoris, everything Calgary city council is saying AROUND declaring a state of climate emergency is more interesting than the declaration itself.

Hot on the heels of a pancake machine breakfast with our Beautiful Energy Leaders, newly minted Mayor Jyoti Gondek got right down to it - it’s an emergency! The climate is trying to kill us! Because we tried to kill it! We went for a backstab but instead got caught looking stupid. These heat domes and locust swarms and saltwater big bangs and dik-dik murder herds are our fault. But don’t let that stand in the way of big money opportunities!

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce said we can become “the Silicon Valley for energy transition technologies” and that there is “a lot of money on the sidelines looking to invest in the energy transformation”. A guy at the head of the impossibly-named cornball company Avatar Innovations said “the energy transition is the single greatest economic opportunity facing Calgary”. The mayor herself said the declaration was essentially a PR move “so we can actually attract capital and talent here”.

No big actions, no vast recalibration. Just lifting our skirts a bit and showing our garters so the true masters will disembark the Money Train at our station. That’s the real target, the real thing. So powerless are we that everything we do is just to see if the market will fix it.

And why would we do anything? We’re trying to get to net-zero by 2050, a goal that would be laughable if the laughs weren’t echoing off the Prime Question - at this speed aren’t we all effectively dead? Waiting for the market and this ceremony that precedes their genius seems dumb in that shadow. We’re trying to shut the stable door on climate change here in Cowtown, but the horse will be well gone, gone and away, off to a new city and to college. The horse has a new job, and a new wife, and a filly and a colt. The horse is educated enough now to see the end of the world, and is apathetic as the stable owners who so carelessly freed him into horrible Knowing. He hopes a market solution will present itself, and soon. The end, he says, is neigh.

🌔Flouride is coming back to Calgary water, but a couple of dullards remain on council.

🥠Brian Jean is trying to get back into the UCP and has moved on from jokes about beating women to propaganda about being scared of black men.

⛳️Businesses are suffering because of the daily dumb-fuck convention outside Without Papers Pizza, but the workers inside are the ones to feel the constant ache of having the dumbest people in the city swarm outside the window.

🎻Employee abuse at Activision Blizzard starts from the top and sluices down.

🏏This dork who looks like a half-assed John Lithgow is the reason why a bunch of rich people don’t pay their proper taxes. Bury him under the jail with his clients.

🧉IATSE has an electoral college (what the fuck) and they’re fucking everything up.

🍆Just because you’re rich doesn’t mean you’re smart.

🍖The unions at the New York Times are getting militant and we love to see it.

🍩Spain was in trouble before COVID, and now that trouble is more plain.

🍨Notes From Below is doing a survey of work in 2021 with collections of writing and data from workers. The first results are trickling in.

📉Forgotten Corner bagged an honest-to-goodness elected official to come onto their podcast.

🎧Take The Fight Back has Nora talking blogs and feminism in the digital age.

🔇Commons is doing a series on Canadian mining, the source of most of our extraction economy and a good amount of our mercenary hiring.

🎚️Alberta Advantage! The CCF! A winning combo!

🥦British Columbia is underwater and their governments are collectively shrugging their shoulders about what to do about it. Fortunately you can help! Help the cows if you have a boat.

🎋Pay attention to the land defenders at Wet'suwet'en this week as the RCMP, lacking anything to do, are sending troop-looking goons up that way. Help as you can.

🐩National Housing Day is November 22. In Calgary, ACORN Canada and Public Interest Alberta are planning a demonstration at Housing Minister Josephine Pon’s constituency office for November 26 at 3PM.

A Quick Note: if you want us to include an article, petition, link to an event, or just want to drop us a quick line, reply to this newsletter or reach us at albertaadvantagenewsletter [at] gmail [dot] com. We’d love to hear from you! If you want to send some old timey mail, grab those stamps and send tributes/cake/not anthrax to Alberta Advantage Podcast, PO Box 52167 Edmonton Trail, Calgary, AB, T2E 8K9.
Our editor is Clinton Hallahan. Newsletter subject lines are stolen from these songs.

Support us on Patreon

Here's health unto the union, which is very strong they say

I took a bunch of candy from my daughter this Halloween and, I swear to God, she looked at me and said “daddy, what kind of ideology would allow a grown man to take candy from a tiny, adorable child”, and I swear to God I started crying and Adam Smith came back from the dead and we all had a group hug and I gave her the candy back even though it was just one Smartie (Smarty?) from a whole pack and we cried and we laughed together. This really happened.

Kim got there a half-month earlier than me, as usual, but I’m going to write about coal and shit anyway.

Sleepy Joe is sleeping at some COPD conference this week, a cartoon bubble above his nose popping for a couple seconds so he can scream “MARKET SOLUTIONS” at full volume before falling asleep again. For the last time? Who knows. Someone find a Poke Flute and move this fucker out of the way. Let the rest of us eat haggis and tatties and think about TransAlta, a company that owns some power plants. The power plant business is a good one! Pulling down a billion in EBITDA per year, more or less, with $700m in fun money just sitting in the bank. A company that needs no help, but we should help immediately.

(Read all of this with some neon above your head, bent and formed and shock pink. It reads, and should read at all times, BARRING REVOLUTION, with an ellipsis at the end). When we talk about “Just Transition” trademark or “Green New Deal” registered, TransAlta is what we should be talking about. In mid-October the company, a place that turns coal into PornHub for Canadians, Americans, and Australians, announced it wants to get out of the coal business. They mine it, they ship it, and they burn it. A vertically integrated hill-to-bookmark folder electrified conglomerate, the peak of an industry on the cutting edge in 1765 delivering all the smut and Squid Games person could ask for. And they want to stop! To build windmills! That’s good!

Every one of those coal miners they might lay off, everyone in the power plants they planned to convert to natural gas, everything they’re about to shut down and everyone effected by this pivot to green energy should be loudly and completely smothered in the loving embrace of the welfare state. The coal miners should have their mortgage covered until they can retrain or be rehired in a different position or company. That training should be paid for. All those windmills should be nearly risk free for a period of time. Natural gas producers losing out on selling to TransAlta should be compensated. A red carpet should be rolled out reaching from Coleman, Alberta all the way to Ottawa, lined with shiny new Lauriers. Shovel Canadian dollars into the gaping maw of TransAlta, dividends be damned. It doesn’t matter if half the Saudi Royal Family gets our tax dollars and hire a new local boy to be an ottoman, pay the cost for a decade and shout it from the rooftops - this is what you get in Canada if you go green at the expense of your high carbon model. It’s the fucking PowerBall and, baby, you won it. Don’t delay, slots for the next giveaway are limited!

We don’t have a world war going on (yet) so there aren’t a bunch of guns just laying around, there aren’t a bunch of draft-produced NCOs being discharged into a simmering radical soup, and the treat cannon is intentionally aimed at the North American gullet to soothe our collective jimmies. Revolution needs rustled jimmies! We don’t have enough rustled jimmies or trained militia armed to the teeth and hungry for blood. So, we should try and seize the money printer to avoid disaster.

The ruling class is gearing up for blood. The global south-ish, the global, uh…belt? The equatorial masses being turned into human sous vide need to go somewhere and, bucko, they’re gonna find a wall and a bullet waiting for them here. The best shot we have is to feed Mr. Creosote, fill these swollen fuckers till they burst with our fake money. So long as they’re buying yachts maybe they’ll let us save the planet.

When the bill comes due maybe the biosphere will be in okay shape and we can fight about whatever comes next. Right now, I’m looking for low hanging fruit. Our ladders aren’t high enough to reach the good stuff on the top fronds and the saws at the bottom make us lose a rung every year. They’re mechanized, they’re organized, and all we can do is drown them on the balance sheet. What use is fiat currency if you can’t huck money at a predator and use the bills to sop their drool.


🤳The price of oil is (spins big wheel) up! Let’s shoot ourselves in the dong!

🥪Walk around your neighbourhood and wonder which businesses aren’t paying their taxes.

🍨Red-headed stepchild of the UCP tries again, and this time he means it!

🍱Sex Pest pitches pint! Pictures prove pinot provenance!

🍖COVID shortages are more accurately described as “I will never raise your wage” shortages.

🦊You can be the minister of a whole department and never actually know what goes on there. It’s true!

🦜There was a Saskatoon school strike.

🐕‍🦺Un bon coup. Et deuxième.

☂️Canadian learns consequences in wrong country, leading to public outcry.

🍍The heat is already here to kill us.

🩰Nobody deserves a union more than American healthcare vampires.

🌫Except maybe sex workers.

🦦Or maybe freelancers.

🐟And maybe laywers who dare win lawsuits against oil companies.

🌭This might be the only good use of “white lady does unusual thing, give her attention”.

📉Sandy Garassino is on the Progress Report to comment on a grifter doing some grimes.

🎧Anti-Girlboss invites Tyler Shipley onto the show to talk about the militarism of the season.

🔇Tech Won’t Save us explains why the Metaverse is stupid as hell.

🎚️I’m on the phone again talking about orphan wells.

🐚Want to help ACORN in Alberta put foot to some landlord ass? Click here to find out how.

A Quick Note: if you want us to include an article, petition, link to an event, or just want to drop us a quick line, reply to this newsletter or reach us at albertaadvantagenewsletter [at] gmail [dot] com. We’d love to hear from you! If you want to send some old timey mail, grab those stamps and send tributes/cake/not anthrax to Alberta Advantage Podcast, PO Box 52167 Edmonton Trail, Calgary, AB, T2E 8K9.
Our editor is Clinton Hallahan. Newsletter subject lines are stolen from these songs.

Support us on Patreon

I hope it stays dark forever, I hope the worst isn't over

Calgary has a new city council! And a new mayor! And some new trustees? And flouride in the water? Edmonton has some of those things? Oh wow okay I guess everything is fixed now. Phew.

I was talking to a guy the other day about how Chyna was making it hard to buy things. “Even propane will be hard to buy. Even propane! You never hear about [propane]”, he said. I nodded sagely about the propane shortage. “It’s all Biden. Fuckin’ Biden”, he said. I nodded and said yeah, fuck Joe Biden. He departed saying he was off to fill his work van with gasoline, grimacing at the prices and cursing. I waved goodbye, but instead of goodbye I said Joe Biden.

I’ve probably talked more about the price of gasoline in my life than most subjects. Like the weather or local sports it’s a subject that’s universal for small talk, or large talk if you’re quietly smoldering about decades old slights too spicy for the dinner table and want to pointedly avoid the subject. Yes it’s been uncommonly rainy this fall hasn’t it Midge, you spiteful harpy. Yeah you thought I fucking forgot. Yes it’s supposed to be quite warm next week, you shit. Yes, it was almost $60 dollars to fill up my Miata yesterday, I almost put my fist through the pump.

I think if you wanted to really fuck people up you could, as a shiny new mayor with a maybe sort of ideologically amenable new council, start a retail gasoline company. I’m pretty serious about this. Strike a new corporation or buy somebody out, build some pumps around town. I don’t think the masses would know what to do with themselves.

Stay with me on this: gasoline is much cheaper than the gas prices partly because of taxes but mostly because of profits. Your heart knows this but blames the government, at all levels, with all representatives, current policy be damned. If it isn’t their fault it’s the U.S. president, the Saudis, the Russians, or sometimes “the war”, which is weirdly the same war that will drive up oil prices and is good for Alberta. We’re a strange people that root for strange things.

But gas is cheap at wholesale, the spot price at writing being about 70 Canadian cents per litre. Federal taxes on gasoline are about 19 cents per litre plus GST at 5%. Alberta itself adds 13 cents per litre (very socialist). Add everything together in a way that is probably wrong and that I will probably be mocked for in the Discord immediately upon publishing this newsletter and you have gas for about a dollar per litre from our new city-owned gas stations. Calgas, or Gasgary, take your pick.

I remember when gas first played grab-ass with a dollar. I don’t think I’d ever seen the adults in my life so distressed. I thought my world was coming to an end because a year of 90 cent gas hadn’t prepared us for A DOLLAR PER LITRE. Lord and lady above. A dollar. But a dollar today looks small and stupid. It leaves you with a lot of wiggle room, a dollar per litre. I think I filled up last at a $1.80 per litre. I’m drinking a shot of mezcal every time I type “per litre” and I am now ineligible to care for my children.

Maybe Jyoti Gasgary Inc. adds on ten cents per litre for operating expenses, so what, they would still have line-ups around the block and less profit would go to the shareholders of Exxon or whatever. Maybe people with hybrid cars get gas at cost? Maybe a cent per litre goes to snow removal? The world really is your burrito on this one. Maybe some whiny gas station people argue about the government tipping the scales and making it impossible for them to make a buck but honestly fuck them. They’ve been complicit in a barely concealed conspiracy. Fuck them and the 100 years of long weekends they’ve bilked.

A gas station chain has downsides, like the contribution to climate change that will slowly kill us all, but the upsides are pretty attractive! Maybe cheap gas will save enough money to buy a new train! The material impact of cheap gas to working people is obvious, but being able to cap profits to a percentage of cost and add a couple little riders here and there to fund timely projects is pretty neat. You can even slap on some oilface and do the little jig that says “I support oil and gas in Alberta”. Every politician has to do the dance, might as well make it work for us. Cutting out the middleman for government fleets can save money on that side of the ledger, and maybe the little minimarts attached to Gasgary stations stock free naloxone and act as heated pickup stations for the DOAP Team. Maybe we install a little 311 kiosk where you can gripe about your neighbour Gary never shovelling the god damned sidewalk then it just gets all icy but he doesn’t care he just leaves out the back of his house every morning and he probably cooks meth.

But most of all a Calgary-owned gas station (or grocery store, or something else vital) can serve as a shiny new foothold for a key conversation: the privatization of public corporations was a con, public ownership can benefit you directly, and anybody arguing that 60 cents per litre going to a big oil and gas company in the United States is a great idea is a moron. Maybe that idea bleeds into others, like healthcare. What is the equivalent of $1.90 per litre gas when we privatize a hospital? Can we do a Gasgary for healthcare? Oh word, we already do? Well don’t that beat all.

🏧Fake report released, finds nothing but good jobs for report writers.

🧸People are still keeping the economy pumping and dying of COVID but benefits at all levels of government are expiring for no reason.

🚨Literally track all the women in the country instead of preventing men from doing sexual assault.

🎻Chevron goes green to power…oil extraction.

🥁New Zealand city commits act of ageism in dismissal of non-union employee.

🗻Rapidly realizing my dream of celebrating the deaths of Iraq War vampires. They’re going so fast! Luckily there’s dozens of them.

🪒Fear the deer (union).

🧷Company started by weird grain poop butt sex weirdo tries to attract scabs.

💠Georgia, a state famous for finding literally any black man nearby to convict of murder, uninvents the idea of tenure.

🔔The child labour is coming from inside the mutual fund.

🀄️Police ask COVID-19 to disperse, disease does not comply.

🏹Portugal seems pretty cool, in stark contrast with Brazil.

🎯A giant badass won an award.

📉Foodora and unions go together like spaghetti and milk - deliciously. Paris tells how it’s going.

🎧Left Turn talks about Strike Wave, the two sweetest words in English.

🔇Gender Troubles talks Ecofeminism, a word tailor-made to kill Keenan Bexte dead upon hearing it.

🎚️Don’t move to Southern Alberta, says local podcast.

🎬Sean Chu has to go and this protest on October 24 in Calgary aims to make it so.

🎳Students are finally, FINALLY organizing around insane cuts to public education in Alberta. Find out more here.

A Quick Note: if you want us to include an article, petition, link to an event, or just want to drop us a quick line, reply to this newsletter or reach us at albertaadvantagenewsletter [at] gmail [dot] com. We’d love to hear from you! If you want to send some old timey mail, grab those stamps and send tributes/cake/not anthrax to Alberta Advantage Podcast, PO Box 52167 Edmonton Trail, Calgary, AB, T2E 8K9.
Our editor is Clinton Hallahan. Newsletter subject lines are stolen from these songs.

Support us on Patreon


They pick up every movement, they pick up every loser

This newsletter is telling nurses to eat hardtack and swill while I bring in COOL ARMY NURSES for FREE.

No slop for the trough this week. I’m too busy sorting through the small army running for city council in Ward 11. Calgary needs new leadership and voting is SO IMPORTANT. Everyone runs on the same platform in Calgary so I went through some materials to find out what they all believe in.

If you’d like to see how I’m sorting through the bright lights in Ward 11, look at the spreadsheet I made. Apologies to my fellow arts majors.

🧸The NEP was good, actually.

🧱Tar sands pop Chubb.

⏰Your favourite local billionaires probably park their wealth in the Bahamas to avoid taxes and will never be punished for it.

🛸If you don’t invest in education you get labour shortages, simple as that.

⛽️Mike spy with my little (five) eye something that is Mike.


✂️Canada is a mosaic of mining companies that lube the gears of profit with foreign blood.

☢️Never trust a computer.

🆙Cool magazine hates being cool.

➕Just do the dumb coin.

🪒A relationship between American carceral systems and food labour.

📉Did you know they make visual podcasts now?

🎧Podcast crew snort a huge ideology loogie into the back of their Slovenian (Slovakian?) throats.

🔇Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who writes the worst fucking takes of all?

🎚️Alberta healthcare is bleeding out with no bandages.

A Quick Note: if you want us to include an article, petition, link to an event, or just want to drop us a quick line, reply to this newsletter or reach us at albertaadvantagenewsletter [at] gmail [dot] com. We’d love to hear from you! If you want to send some old timey mail, grab those stamps and send tributes/cake/not anthrax to Alberta Advantage Podcast, PO Box 52167 Edmonton Trail, Calgary, AB, T2E 8K9.
Our editor is Clinton Hallahan. Newsletter subject lines are stolen from these songs.

Support us on Patreon

Now Eisenhower he's a Russian spy

This newsletter is presented unedited in solidarity with people who had surgeries cancelled so your weird neighbour can pretend he is a victim of Nazis trying to save his life with a vaccine.

I was reminded this week about the time I went feral.

Junior high is a bad time! Everyone is temporarily brain-drunk as their body tells them to scream and grope and ~society~ suggests that assault is bad. I wasn’t immune, but I do remember a point in grade eight where, in the back of a Language Arts (ugh) classroom watching my cohort of hooting apes swing from the proverbial rafters, I sigh-chuckled and said to myself “oh wow this is really fucking bad”. We were uncontrollable! Anyone who teaches junior high should get medals and bullion. I can’t think of a worse job, abattoir positions included. At least there the beasts come tamed.

A post on a bad website reminded me that tweens still exist and they’re broadcasting their exploits. I remember being sociopathic, sans frontal lobe. I also remember being aware enough that in 2021 I would know that youth were making fat stacks becoming notorious assholes on YouTube and TikTok. When the former purged Daily Show clips and started profit sharing with content creators I don’t know what we expected. A cornerstone of North American entertainment is doing dumb shit to people in public, from the benign Francophonie of Just For Laughs Gags to the inspired misanthropy of Beat Kids, we love to watch smirking dickheads get reactions out of unsuspecting John Q. Public (et Publique). Also nut shots. We love to see guys get kicked in their twiddleberries.

The post I read was from a tired sounding bus driver lamenting that normal tween unpleasantness was experiencing a high-level buff in the form of TikTok production. I flashed back to the various indignities visited upon bus drivers in my day, back when 9/11 was a number you called for help and not blah blah 9/11 joke blah blah. It was bad and I can only imagine the stakes now.

I remember teachers saying that precocious teens writing board books and YA novels were all the rage, the marketing built in when a wunderkind produces grist for the money mill. You should do one, they said. Reap the rewards. It was a good idea! Kids aren’t stupid, and today they know that banking a few hundred thousand followers on these platforms can be turned into a healthy revenue stream for whatever they end up doing later. They see a hype house and say “yes, okay, me too, what do I have to do” and sometimes the market says pour a can of pork and beans on the head of a guy driving 60 kids in a bus to school at 50 km/h down residential roads. Wealth is forever! Evaluation of motor vehicle danger is for suckers! And fuck it, if you keep rolling the footage of the resulting rollover is probably good enough for a couple hundred follows.

A lot of things scare me about my kids living as rough cyborgs but none as much as the profit incentive now undergirding their adolescence. Advising them against posting their shit and getting the bag also seems borderline harmful. If your goal is to set your kids up for success in 2021 North America and they find a non-criminal source of insane, relatively easy wealth, how can a parent arm them with information? Sorry Susie, I know Fenty is sending the sponcon cheques but you should rebuff them, toil at post-secondary and plunge yourself into an uncertain employment market for fractions of the pay. It’s the right thing to do. I know little Bobby just paid for his full ride to Northwestern by kickflipping over a toddler and setting the video to “Bang the Gong” but you should hit the books and do the hard thing. That’s a hard sell.

Squeezing cash out of youth isn’t new but I don’t know that it’s felt this accessible. So long as billions follow thousands because they do stupid shit online we’ll reward the dumbest in our society, and they’re not dumb by choice, just vintage. Their audiences can, properly managed, float their lifestyle for decades. It’s a gold rush and all we have to offer in competition is black lung in the old shitty job mines while the early waves in the YouKon pull nuggets. Then they pull MORE NUGGETS posting the video of them nugget pulling, and then one more nugget doing a reaction video to the nugget pulling video. Game over, capital wins, B A B A L I T Y.

🦒Nobody is ever punished for anything.

🌪The NDP didn’t win the election for some reason.

🫒Man with tiny face makes lateral career move.

🍩What kind of asshole is on reddit enough to moderate the local subreddit, let alone be there for over a decade?

🏵A pandemic won’t stop this government from taking a shot at organizations that cater to immigrants.

🏎Starbucks can eat my pumpkin spiced butt.

⛱Saskatchewan determined to lead country in dumb court cases.

⛩Man owns wife, makes sure a nurse knows it because Joe Rogan told him stupid things, probably.

🧲The damned English can’t make soft drinks because they don’t have enough CO2 because they can’t make fertilizer because natural gas is too expensive so everyone is getting a bailout and wait what now

🧸Fuck Zillow!

📚McDonalds can eat my McButt.

📌Trickle down economics is real, actually.

♏️Manager is a fake job and everyone knows it now.

🆓If you’re reading this on September 23 you might still be able to get a free digital edition of How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney by clicking here.

📉Paris takes us through the union drive at Amazon in Canada on Tech Won’t Save Us.

🎧The Progress Report takes on the history of Muslims in the West, a compact little topic.

🔇Frog Corner (my new cool nickname patent pending) takes us through a dogshit time to be Albertan.

🎚️My podcast colleagues explain why IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID.

🔜Climate Strike Canada is having a day of action tomorrow, September 24, at locations all over the heckin’ place. Check out the map here and the event in Edmonton at the legislature here.

A Quick Note: if you want us to include an article, petition, link to an event, or just want to drop us a quick line, reply to this newsletter or reach us at albertaadvantagenewsletter [at] gmail [dot] com. We’d love to hear from you! If you want to send some old timey mail, grab those stamps and send tributes/cake/not anthrax to Alberta Advantage Podcast, PO Box 52167 Edmonton Trail, Calgary, AB, T2E 8K9.
Our editor is Clinton Hallahan. Newsletter subject lines are stolen from these songs.

Support us on Patreon

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