Bob Turner

1959814_10152284087003223_1216141924_nI met Bob Turner when I edited Common Ground Magazine a couple of decades ago. He was our “distributor” which meant he drove around in a series of doubtful vans and dispatched his swampers to drop off the magazines at dozens of locations in Vancouver. When I met him I was out for a smoke which, Bob being Bob, was a good thing. He joined me, in a beaten up leather jacket looking like he’d rolled out of bed an hour before, and we enjoyed the first of, perhaps, 1000 cigarettes together.

Somehow he became my friend. And the friend and useful uncle to my elder son Simon.

He died two days ago.

There are dozens of stories I can tell about Bob. My youngest son Max is hearing the more respectable ones now. But there are two which stand out.

Years ago, Susan and I took Simon and went to stay on Galiano Island. I invited Bob. He arrived with a fold out trailer and his van and several bottles of rum. Alex Jones played late into the night. Susan was pregnant with my second son Sam but it was early. So, one morning, I suggested a short hike – I thought – to Coons Bay at the top of the island. Bob was game. So was Susan and so was a delightful German girl who, in a moment of absent mindedness, I had invited as well. Blonde and healthy she was ready to climb alps. Susan, not so much, Bob, not at all. We’d reached the quarter way point where there was a steep bit where you had to pull yourself up on a rope. It had begun raining. Quite hard. Bob looked at Susan and announced, “The Currie forced march ends here.”

As he finished his sentence, gunshots began ringing out. (Long story, not actually at us.) We scampered. As we retreated Bob looked at our German companion, “Of course you know, as the youngest member of our party, we eat you first.” Deadpan.

Susan has loved him from that day to this.

We’d circle round and connect year after year. Bob was very much involved with my elder son Simon who was not living with me and leading what Anthony Powell would describe as a very rackety life. He gave Simon a job as his swamper, which lasted on and off for four years, and sat in his van smoking at the kid and giving him no bullshit advice whether Simon wanted it or not.

Once in a while, Bob would email or, more often call. We’d talk business and then we’d roll around to Simon. Much discussion. But, ultimately, given what Simon the teenager was up to, Bob said something very wise – as he usually did: “There are just two things to worry about, he gets killed or he kills someone. If he makes it to twenty he’s good. The rest is bullshit and can get fixed.”

Simon made it to 20. He had many fathers but I suspect that the father who got him from 16 to 20 without being killed or killing someone else was Bob. Kind, patient, no bullshit Bob saved my son when I couldn’t.

I am so grateful to the man. And I will miss him. So will a lot of people in a variety of worlds where Bob felt at home. We’ll all miss him.

 

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When Steve Bannon Leaves the Room

Donald Trump, McMaster, generals

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with H.R. McMaster (L) as his national security adviser at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on February 20, 2017. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

“I want to pardon that Sheriff. I’m not kidding. That son of a bitch judge had it in for my friend. So the Hell with him. I’m going to pardon him. I can do that right.”

“You can Mr. President. But to weather that storm you have to clear the decks. Look Presidential. And nothing looks more Presidential than committing a few thousand of our soldiers to let Afghanistan be Afghanistan.” said a General.

“But that is lame. Go big or, better still, go home. I said that. The people loved it. Every deplorable knows no one wins Afghanistan and we’re all about winning.”

“Yes Sir!” said Kelly snapping to attention. “And we’re going to win. Win bigly. Because no one has ever had the commitment to winning in the Stan that you do, Sir.”

“Great. We’ll be great and we’ll make Afghanistan great again. Just like the US of A. Just like that. But we do the pardon for my buddy.”

“We do Sir.” said another General. “But we have, as the expression goes, a person of colour in the woodpile.”

“We do? Well, let’s nuke that woodpile. I hate disloyalty. Don’t much like the sort of people who hang around in woodpiles. But won’t they call me a racist? I mean, you told me that once we hired a person of colour there was just no way to say “You’re Fired.””

“Good news, Sir. He’s not actually a POC, he’s an anti-Islam, British Hungarian American. You can fire him anytime. He’s a friend of Bannon’s and Flynn thought he was a good guy.” said a General.

“Hungarian? Sad…My first wife was Hungarian.”

“Czech actually, Sir.” said a Colonel bucking for a promotion.

“Same fucking thing. Nasty bunch. Cost a lot of money that divorce. And then Marla. Wasted a lot of money there but how did this guy get into the woodpile in the first place?”

“Bannon.” said two Generals and a Colonel.

“He told you Gorka was a smart guy. You believed him and now look what he’s done. He basically said your Afghanistan strategy was idiotic. He had to go.” said a General. “But now that he has you can pardon that Sheriff  guy.”

“Great. That will be huuuuuge”

“It will, Sir.” said a General, “Unless I miss my bet, it will be bigger than Charlottesville. Too bad about the hurricane. Steps on the message a bit.”

“Hurricane, Smeriscane, Texas had it coming. You just watch. I’ll handle the hurricane.  Sure, the hurricane is coming in like Merryweather, (which is pretty funny ok), but I’ll hit it like McGregor. You guys got any money on that fight? Vegas is going to get pasted. I am so pissed that the Secret Service won’t let me sit ringside.”

Two Generals and a Colonel snap to attention.

“Yes Sir. Pardon papers will be on your desk in ten minutes. We already have the Gorka resignation. Troops out to the Stan next week. Sir!”

“And, Mr. President, I have a hundred bucks that says McGregor doesn’t land a punch. Not one.” said the very ambitious Colonel.

“Done.”

POTUS wandered back to the Family Residence secure in the knowledge that the Colonel had never heard of “clients golf”. He looked like an excellent candidate to run a firebase in…well, some God forsaken place in Afghanistan.

 

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The Incoherence of the Left’s approach to race

Now my real leftie pals want nothing to do with Warren Kinsella but in terms of the pious left Lib he’s tough to beat. Here is a tweet he’s very proud of “There are no races. Every “race” has intermingled so many times over the centuries the whole concept of racial purity is fucking idiotic.”

“There are no races. Every “race” has intermingled so many times over the centuries the whole concept of racial purity is fucking idiotic.”

Now the brilliant part of this is that the Lying Jackal and his ilk are perfectly happy to support BLM and all sorts of affirmative action predicated on the idea that there are, indeed, races.

Because, in fact, people like Kinsella only care about race when it provides an opportunity for virtue signalling. Wouldn’t it be fun if Warren, armed with the courage of his convictions, marched up to the leaders of the next outing of Toronto Black Lives Matter and announced, “There are no black people. You are all mutts just like me. All lives matter.”

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Ritual

Boston…3000-10,000 lefties and antifa people are going to go and crush a free speech demo. Vancouver, I am informed that 1800+ antifa and allies will go and disrupt an anti-immigration event at city hall. Apparently, there are other demos and counter demos planned for Saturday.

Delightfully, even the rational right can provoke the irrational left into creating the conditions of its own destruction. I don’t have the time nor the inclination to parse whether or not the Boston event or the Vancouver event will be infested with Nazis or if they are events organized by reasonable people in support of reasonable positions. And neither, I am happy to say, does the left. There will be bad think at these events and that is sufficient.

Now, antifa has a short half-life. It managed to avoid exposure at Charlottesville largely because some whack job in a car killed someone. But they can’t count on that every time. Taking a sack of bricks with you to a “counter protest” is pretty much reckless negligence. In Boston the police are setting up a cordon and plan to strip participants of such tools of free speech as bats, two inch thick flag poles, guns, knives and, yes, bricks and really big rocks. Might work. Hard to say. Antifa better hope it does because the first time they actually manage to kill a Nazi – or more likely a bystander – they are on their way out.

Plus, and I suspect the Vancouver activity could produce this, when the antifa rioters are denied their preferred target of suspected Nazis and white supremacists and guys in polo shirts, what are they going to do? At a guess heave a few bricks through the windows of assorted icons of capitalism. A block or two away from Vancouver City Hall, and pretty much on the route to the Skytrain station, there are all sorts of windows to smash and, hey, stuff to “liberate”. Again, a perfect opportunity for the antifa drones to demonstrate their radical cred and lose any, limited, sympathy the general population and the political classes might have for their “anti-Nazi” activity.

I leave you with Sir Mick and Keith’s lyric,

“Street Fighting Man”

Ev’rywhere I hear the sound of marching, charging feet, boy
Cause summer’s here and the time is right for fighting in the street, boy
But what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock ‘n’ roll band
Cause in sleepy London town
There’s just no place for a street fighting man
No
Hey! Think the time is right for a palace revolution
But where I live the game to play is compromise solution
Well, then what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock ‘n’ roll band
‘Cause in sleepy London town
There’s no place for a street fighting man
No
Hey! Said my name is called disturbance
I’ll shout and scream, I’ll kill the king, I’ll rail at all his servants
Well, what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock ‘n’ roll band
Cause in sleepy London town
There’s no place for a street fighting man
No

As I think about the Vancouver scenario it occurs to me I am thinking too small. The famous Stanley Cup riot in 2011 attracted bridge and tunnel kids from all over the Lower Mainland. At some point, antifa events will gain the same sort of following. After all, where else can you get social licence to loot, punch and generally behave badly.

Update: Saturday has come and gone. In Boston, while there was a bit of bad behaviour on the part of the massive anti-free speech crowd, everything was pretty calm. In Vancouver, while antifa were present, many, much smarter people showed up at the anti-imigration rally. The very few anti-imigration people who showed up didn’t stay long. Rumour has it that they were sprayed….with silly string. Now this is genius. Nazis have about as much of a sense of humour as 3rd wave feminists and ridicule is far more effect that a sharp jab to the chin.

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After The Rebel….Breitbart Canada

My sense is that the Rebel is swirling round the drain. Canadaland reports that Kory Teneycke, ex of Harper’s PMO and ex of Sun newspapers was the guy who spoke to the English chaps who are suggesting Ez may not be entirely straight with his contributors’ money. That’s a lot of fire power to send to calm a couple of disgruntled contract workers. Ez says he’s being blackmailed. Could be.

The resignations continue and it is not at all obvious who would be interested in climbing on board the heavily listing Rebel.

The brand has become pretty toxic pretty quickly.

At the same time, the need for a Canadian, right of center, media outlet is apparent. There has been talk of Breitbart Canada for several years but there was little movement, in part because The Rebel had effectively occupied the niche. Now? Well, Bannon is back and looking to expand Brietbart’s influence. Ez has to be looking for a way out and his few remaining assets are a mailing list, some You-tube subscribers and some video equipment. Buy those assets, say good-bye and good luck to Ez but retain him as a consultant for a six month grace period, then look around for some decent presenters and some smart, “not a Nazi” rightie, journalists. Voilà, Breitbart-Canada.

Bannon out, Swamp wins

If you go back and read this blog you’ll find that, at best, my support for Trump per se was lukewarm. The negative reason for my support was that I thought and think that Hillary is a crook and would have made a terrible President. But the positive reason really came down to the fact I liked Steve Bannon and thought he had a pretty clear grasp of what has been going wrong in the US.

Now he’s out. Jumped or pushed? No doubt we’ll find out in due course. But it is the end of any chance of a usefully disruptive Presidency. Without Bannon Trump will become an increasingly conventional President. Any chance of actually changing the largely corrupt Washington culture vanishes.

Which means we are left with Trump and no good reason (other than at least he’s not Hillary) to support him. The markets surged on the announcement. (Update: and then fell back) More business as usual. No danger of disruptive change. In fact, with Bannon gone, there will be next to no pushback to GOPe policy or lack thereof.

Now the Trump administration will continue to careen from screwup to screwup but without even the possibility that there will emerge constructive change as well as endless goofs. Worse, the focus of the Whitehouse will switch to preserving the Trump Presidency which will mean a strict policy of risk avoidance. No doubt many of my American friends will welcome a renewed commitment to not rocking the boat. It is much less terrifying to simply sink beneath the waves of bureaucratic and political corruption without making too much fuss.

On the upside, as my son pointed out to me, with Bannon gone, I can join in the fun of mocking the orange vulgarian secure in the knowledge that whether he stays or goes, nothing is going to get any better in America and there is every chance things will get a great deal worse.

(Update for a pal: At a guess the Sage of Minnesota will be wrong as to Trump’s departure by Labour Day, it will probably be worse than that. Essentially, with Bannon out of the White House, Trump will remain President in name only. He’ll sign what is put in front of him, make the occasional, well-scripted speech and behave himself. He will become increasingly “Presidential” and his press will improve. But he will actually accomplish nothing at all.)

Upper Date: Steve Bannon himself is thinking along the same lines as he says in an interview with The Weekly Standard:

Bannon believes that those who will now try to influence Trump will hope to turn him in a sharply different direction.

“I think they’re going to try to moderate him,” he says. “I think he’ll sign a clean debt ceiling, I think you’ll see all this stuff. His natural tendency—and I think you saw it this week on Charlottesville—his actual default position is the position of his base, the position that got him elected. I think you’re going to see a lot of constraints on that. I think it’ll be much more conventional.”

 

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Losing Faith

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To be honest I have found Faith Goldy a bit much on The Rebel. Cute as a button but a little over the top.

And she made a rookie mistake speaking to The Daily Stormer in Charlottesville. Pretty dumb but, perhaps, understandable given that an idiot had just killed someone behind her.

But Ez, champion of free speech, takes this as an excuse to fire the woman. He’s scrambling on all fronts, he’s lost his cruise, his access to the new leader of the PC’s, he’s being “extorted” by a couple of Brits and his staff list is dwindling by the hour. So, of course, the smart move is to fire one of his most engaging reporters.

Ez needs to be in front of the camera and let smart people run the business. But, I fear, it is too late for that. Holed below the waterline The Rebel is going down.

Pro-tip Ezra. Saying “fuck” a lot does not make you tough. As I say to my boys, it makes you stupid. The audio is out there and, I fear, you sound like a suburban kid trying to use foul language to sound tough and hip. You are neither. I realized that when we had our wee moment vis a vis Richard Warman’s bluster and your capitulation. The f-bombs were flying and I was bemused. I knew you could do better but, sadly, you didn’t.

Faith was very nice. Forgiving. Down right Christian about you firing her for simply speaking.

You are about to be pushed into a very dark place. Unfairly for the most part. But arrogance and hubris are their own rewards. You never understood Breitbart’s essential truism that culture is upstream of politics. You wanted to be political without the plinth of culture.

And now you’re done.

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We Saw What You Did There

rebel media, ezra levant

As my readers know I have very little time for Ezra Levant and RebelMedia. However, the SJW bullies are now well offside.

From the remarkably self-rightous Independent:

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has bowed to pressure and cancelled a booking for a “neo-nazi” conference which was set to take place on one of its ships.

Rebel Media, a far-right group based in Canada, had planned to hold a week-long meeting on-board a NCL Caribbean Cruise. The trip was scheduled to leave in November from Miami and would take in Honduras, Belize, and Mexico. link

The quotes around “neo-nazi” don’t disguise the move. It is a move we are seeing a lot of recently.

Step 1: Ask if a person or organization was on the “right” side on something like Charlottesville. The right side here being unwavering support for the people who “opposed” the Nazis/KKKers/white supremacists who were, if you are woke, the only people who were demonstrating for the retention of the Robert E. Lee statue.

Step 2: If there is a hint, an inkling, of anything less than full Maoist denunciation of the obviously evil alt-right creeps, take that as an indication of support for Nazis. (Same applies to any less than full support for the antifa thugs confronting the alt-right creeps.)

Step 3: Where Step 2 has been successful, you are now able to call the person or organization “Nazi supporters” or “neo-Nazis” and then, and here is where the brilliance of the manoeuvre becomes apparent, you can then ask decent people – such as Norwegian Cruise Lines – if they want to be associated with Nazis, neo or otherwise.

It is a page right out of the Joe McCarthy playbook. Take a lie, turn it into a smear, spread it around.

Is Ez a Nazi? Hardly. Is RebelMedia “neo-Nazi” and is it correct to characterize any conference or cruise put on by RebelMedia as “neo-Nazi”. No and no. And is it correct to repeat the libel as Warren “Lying Jackal” Kinsella did this morning?  Frankly, calling a news organization “neo-Nazi”is libelous on its face. Ez has been known to be a bit trigger happy on the litigation front but filing in Ontario and in London might sober the smearers up a bit.

I suspect RebelMedia is going down in any event largely because it has been seduced into pushing right wing causes of the moment rather than building a solid reportorial reputation. Ez seems to think that, having got his name in the news with an epic rant what is required are epic rants on every topic which pops up on the right wing radar. Combine that with endless fundraising and you will begin to lose the audience you have worked hard to build.

But RebelMedia should not go down as the result of a nasty, fascistic, smear campaign.

Update: It may, however, go down if anything in this video is true.

Upper Date: Which, Ez says is not true and simply an attempt at extortion.

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Bannon Uncut

This is a very interesting but rather surprising interview with Steve Bannon in, of all places, The American Prospect. Go read the whole thing but a couple of quotes:

“We’re at economic war with China,” he added. “It’s in all their literature. They’re not shy about saying what they’re doing. One of us is going to be a hegemon in 25 or 30 years and it’s gonna be them if we go down this path. On Korea, they’re just tapping us along. It’s just a sideshow.”

“There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”

The reason why Steve Bannon draws so much fire is that he really does not give a rat’s ass for the established formulations of the Washington Establishment. “They got us” never passes the lips of the right sort of people. 100,000 artillery tubes pointed at Seoul are just not the sort of thing people talk about. But Bannon does.

My sense is that Trump’s Presidency is on the edge. If the MSM/GOPe/Dem narrative gains much more traction he’ll be locked in the White House with pretty much zero power until he quits, is hit by the 25th Amendment or is impeached for some sort of high crime the likes of which have never been seen before.

There is exactly one way out for Trump and that is to embrace Bannon and embrace his base. The trimming, the business councils, the McMasters down the hall. Ivanka and Jared down the other hall. None of that is actually getting the job done. For Trump to come out of the Charlotteville idiocy intact he needs to get back to his populist base. He needs to wage jihad against antifa and the demonization of the right as “Nazis”. And to do that he needs a real strategist. Bannon is the only one he’s got. Tell Kelly to keep the trains running, tell Bannon to figure out where they should go.

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Free Speech, Business and Donald Trump

Business, especially big business, has a complex relationship with free speech. On the one hand, companies like to be able to advertise their products and they like to be able to contribute money to the candidates of their choice. On the other, many feel the need to police their employees’ speech for fear of either offending other employees or their customers or both. In the US, while companies enjoy First Amendment protections for their speech, they are under no obligation to extend those protections to their employees or to users of their products. Twitter or Facebook are perfectly entitled to shut down the accounts of anyone they chose and there is no “free speech” legal leverage to protect those accounts. Firing an employee for expressing opinions at odds with a company’s diversity policy is on iffier legal ground (as Google is likely going to find out) but not for 1st Amendment reasons.

The CEOs of big companies have an odd relationship to free speech. They are, after all, the public face of their company and where they chose to place themselves may have an impact on that company. If they sit on a charitable board or a government advisory commission they may be accused of supporting the more controversial positions taken by that board or government. Which is why, when the furor over Trumps various remarks on Charlottesville blew up, a number of CEOs announced they were leaving his business advisory councils. So many that Trump has shut down the councils.

A couple of points. First, dropping off the advisory councils was a weird sort of virtue signalling on the part of the CEOs. They wanted to be seen to be putting daylight between themselves and Trump’s alledged support for, or lack of effective condemnation of, Nazis, white supremacist and the other eviltons who marched on the right in Charlottesville. And, because the entire Charlottesville furor has been framed as binary, had they not done so they were open to being accused of supporting Nazis. Better to go because the left is in full smear mode.

But there is another element to this: what was a populist President doing with councils composed of CEOs in the first place? An American President from either party is well advised to cultivate relationships with business leaders. But formalizing that into councils is unnecessary. In normal course the CEOs will try to meet with the President to push their agendas.

It is a mark of the general incoherence of the Trump administration that these councils were created in the first place. By all means have the occasional, informal, round table but what is the point of a business council with formal membership and, therefore, the possibility of formal resignation?

Business councils are the stuff of GOPe and guys who worked at Goldman Sachs. They are the very sort of thing Trump ran against. The Bannonite faction in the White House (and yes I do know Bannon worked for Goldman) was pushed out of the way when the councils were set up. Now that they are gone it might be a good idea for Bannon and his people to come up with a less formal, more effective, way for Trump to get the business perspective on the affairs of the nation.

 

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