Wheat and Heat

Huge grain storage bags are seen in Kandiyohi County, Minnesota in this 2012 aerial handout photoWe were promised that climate change would threaten food supplies…especially wheat.

Apparently not.

From Iowa to China, years of bumper crops and low prices have overwhelmed storage capacity for basic foodstuffs.

Global stocks of corn, wheat, rice and soybeans combined will hit a record 671.1 million tonnes going into the next harvest – the third straight year of historically high surplus, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). That’s enough to cover demand from China for about a year.

In the United States, farmers facing a fourth straight year of declining incomes and rising debts are hanging on to grain in the hope of higher prices later. They may be waiting a long time: Market fundamentals appear to be weakening as the world’s top grain producers ponder what to do with so much food. reuters

That is the pesky thing about the real world, it keeps breaking models.

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Bully! A Splendid Little War

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So The Donald has sent in the cruise missiles in response to the Syrian sarin gas assault on its own people.

Sending 59 cruise missiles with conventional warheads and then sitting down to dinner with the Chinese President pretty much establishes Trump as a “tough guy”. But will he be smart enough to leave it at that?

In a very real sense, Trump has redrawn the “red line” which Obama and Kerry allowed to fade to palest pink. Served notice that “there is a new Sheriff in town” to quote an awful lot of pro-Trump blogs. Which, I suspect, most international players had already noticed.

The question is whether Trump is able to enjoy an American casualty free battle and move on to the next thing on his agenda. Obama demonstrated in Libya that regime change may, or may not, be for the better. Generally, it seems to be a bad idea in the Middle East simply because the next regime may be worse than the one you “changed”. During the campaign, Trump seemed to get that. Does he now?

Assad needs to go. Murderous barbarian and all. However, he needs to go when there is some idea of a better thing to replace him. That might be a new regime or it might be the carve up of both Syria and Iraq and the end of the Sykes-Picot travesty which has haunted the Middle East for nearly a hundred years.

Regime change could be accomplished with a lot of money, a few Russian Spetsnaz and a dozen bullets. But what then?

Unwinding Sykes-Picot is a much larger and, strategically, more intelligent enterprise. Defeat ISIS and then carve out the Sunni, Kurd and Shia enclaves being sensitive to the worries of the Turks and the position of the minorities. That is the work of a negotiator and a statesman. And it is something which will involve Putin as well as Trump. No bad thing that.

Right at the moment, Russia is hanging on by a thread. Demographically, economically it is in huge trouble. For Putin to survive he needs to seem indispensable. Trump can give him that. Putin can give Trump essentially nothing. Other than his nukes and his special forces, he is the Tsar of a gradually dying nation and only massive help from America can really save him. Monkeys can climb a very long way up trees, it is the getting down part which is tricky.

Syria offers Putin the opportunity to act as and be seen as a statesman.  With Trump’s help, he can open the book on Sykes-Picot and facilitate the reformation of Syria and Iraq into a loose confederation of ethnically and religiously homogenous statelets. Between the Americans and the Russians, all of the factions can be brought to the table and, with luck, disarmed and sent on their way. None of the resulting states will be heard of again for generations.

Trump has played the first card of a strategy which will likely take a few years to play out. By being willing to punish actions which are against all agreed-upon international norms Trump makes it clear that hard power is a real thing for America again.

Trump knew the world was watching and he gave them a show. Now we’ll see what he does with the attention.

 

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The Long Good Bye

Vancouver Sun, David Beers, The Tyee

Hold The Presses!

It’s been a brutal three weeks of dread, tears, and colleagues suddenly forced to see each other as threats to their own jobs. That’s the picture painted by sources who were inside the recently merged Vancouver Sun and Province newsroom after layoffs were announced and the sorting of survivors and casualties began to unfold.

The cuts are nowhere near done, and with each round the newsroom is getting older, whiter and less versatile, said the sources.

The season of fear opened with word from Postmedia headquarters on March 10 that 54 employees, including 29 journalists, would be cut from its Vancouver-based operations, the Pacific Newspaper Group (PNG). The announcement was a startling blow, say inside sources, because when the last cuts — 20 per cent of positions across the company — were achieved with 38 buyouts at PNG just two months earlier in January, management gave the impression that would be it for a good while. “No one expected this so soon,” said a source. “We thought we’d hit the targets.” the tyee

David Beers who I know and respect was laid off from the Vancouver Sun back in 2001 and went on to found The Tyee which I have written for. The Tyee is entirely web based and supported by BC labour and assorted lefty funding organizations as well as its readers. So it is no surprise to read “If the latest cuts do happen, say insiders, the sparse newsroom will be populated mainly by grey-haired veterans with few around them to mentor. There will be fewer people under 35, and fewer people of colour.”

However, the fact is that the old newspaper model stopped working about 2001 when David, who could well have led the charge to make the Vancouver Sun, at least, useful in a digital age, got the boot.

The era of mass readership newspapers and mass viewership television is drawing to its natural close. And, yes the internet does have something to do with this. But at a number of different levels.

First off, the old cash cow of classified advertising was destroyed by Craigslist and its imitators. Classified ads were nice because they were straight revenue with no “service” component and no serious requirement for the sorts of metrics advertising agencies want.

Display advertising was also hit. Why buy a $15,000 full page ad that just sat there when you could go on line and incentivize customers in hundreds of interactive ways you could actually measure?

Yes, there are still car ads and still real estate ads but those come with the price of service copy and, frankly, if you want to reach someone under 35 is this your best ad spend?

The “movie” pages dwindled, book advertising (yes, that was a thing) shrank, business “appointments” notices – a great source of revenue because they were full price – began to be concentrated in business-focused publications. The governments still advertised but more and more of their budgets were going online where they could measure results.

It is all very well to say ““The old white guys in Armani suits in Toronto don’t.” understand journalism, but the problem was a lot deeper than an absence of journalistic understanding. The old guys – and not just at Post Media – have no idea what to do in the face of the internet and the world it created. They have yet to realize that information is no longer consumed the way my ninety one year old mother consumes it.

A lot of those old guys kept using their Blackberries after the iPhone arrived. They did their computing (aka browsing the net) on their laptops or desktops and were thrilled that their “phone” could receive email. They completely missed the fact that the kids were wondering around with high powered computers in their pocket which could, but seldom did, make phone calls.

They missed smartphones as tools of media consumption but they also missed the impact of digital on content creation. Beers’ article contains a good deal of lamentation for the “newsroom” and copyeditors and the sad fact Post Media centralized is page composition in Hamilton with the inevitable errors that has brought. All of which was outmoded thinking when David was laid off back in 2001.

Leading edge boomers took their cue from their parent’s generation: the people who won the purely mechanical World War II. Organization, heirarchy, unions, careers, pensions were all baked into that system. Unions and management spent years fighting over new technology, the end of hot metal composing, the use of freelancers and pretty much any innovation which changed the top down structure of the newspaper publishing business. Reading Beer’s article you can see how vestiges of this structure remain with the effect of ensuring that senior people are laid off last and those under 35, POC, people never stand a chance. Seniority is the mantra of the old craft unions and it is not quite dead at Granville Square.

There is simply no reason, in an age of Smartphones and WordPress based online publishing, for there to be a newsroom at all. A section editor with a laptop can and should be feeding his or her section with the best material freelancers pitch. Payment per word – ideally electronically – with daily and weekly budgets and news budgets set by way of a conference call or Skype. (Which, interestingly, is a model The Tyee used to a large degree from the go.)

The ritual of copyediting is a brilliant luxury and I am old enough to notice its absence and thank my lucky stars for Grammarly for both my occasional pieces and my professional writing. It is not perfect, but it is pretty good and the pro level is excellent. But it is easy enough to have material freelancers write sent to a freelance copyeditor before publication.

All of which assumes the end of the “print edition”. Something which should have happened a decade ago as the iPhone was launched. From time to time I go to a coffee shop or a pub: people are reading up a storm. On their Smartphones or laptops. I honestly cannot remember the last time I saw anyone under 40 reading a newspaper. And that was true five years ago. Dead tree newspapers are done and have been for quite a while. Their only purpose may be in the community format where they can act as wrappers for the flyers which still make a bit of money.

Beers makes a direct connection between the hollowing out of the newsroom and a decline in the value and usefulness of the content. I think he has a point there but not as much of a point as he would have had a decade ago. The problem is that the audience for general content, the meat and potatoes city desk news, fires, car crashes, criminal trials, the goings on at city hall, school news and such like, has fragmented. In a city like Vancouver, with a 50% recent Asian immigrant population, my “old white guy” news is unlikely to be of much interest to a person living almost entirely within a literal and figurative, ethnic enclave. Business news might have a following but, again, that following may be fairly seriously undercut by the fact that where “old white guy” business people look to Toronto and New York, successful Chinese business people may look to Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai. Arts and entertainment? Same problem and exacerbated by the fact the internet has rendered the idea of a general culture laughable and entirely fragmented the “youth market”.

Having a great newsroom when next to no one wants straight, objective, news about the quotidian affairs of the city, province or even country they are living in is essentially beside the point. It is not that people are uninterested, it is rather that they have their news fix on Google or Facebook. (Facebook is particularly corrosive to the idea of general news because people will share Facebook news with other people who are deeply interested in that topic. A general newsroom cannot possibly compete.)

I hate to see people lose their jobs. I especially hate to see people lose their jobs because the owners of the company they work for lost the thread a decade or more ago. But the reality is that the world has moved on from the print newspaper. David Beers recognized that when he founded the Internet only Tyee in 2001.

The bright lights at Post Media or the Toronto Star or the Globe and Mail might want to give him a call.

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How Trump Won

So this was Joe’s funeral. It was filled with Deplorables. They danced to Steve Earle.

No one who went to Princeton could do that…Well, except Kim, but she is very gifted indeed.

Most of elite thought is focused on the activities of other members of the elite. Dancing to Copperhead Road is not in the lexicon. More’s the pity.

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Doom and Disaster

The glee on the left at the defeat of the Republicans’s, and, more especially, Trump’s Obamacare reform package really knows no bounds. The human Cheeto stands exposed as incompetent and obviously unfit for office. And so on.

Realistically, the Paul Ryan inspired, three stage, series of rather lame changes to Obamacare deserved to die.  It is unfortunate for Trump that he aligned his White House with the bill and that is a mistake he’ll have to live down. But the fact is that the RyanCare version of ObamaCare was, at best, conceptually muddy.

With the withdrawal of this piece of legislation, the US is left with ObamaCare and it is a pretty good bet that this edifice will gradually collapse as its own contradictions and faulty assumptions are worked out in the marketplace. The ongoing collapse of the insurance exchanges, the rise in deductibles and the sheer expense of medical insurance for middle income families all suggest that the ObamaCare model is in increasing trouble. A fact not lost on Trump.

Now there are Panglossian interpretations of the defeat of RyanCare which cast it in terms of clever Trump suckering the establishment Republicans to make way for his own version of healthcare reform. While I suspect this sort of outcome may occur, it will be more an accident than a plan.

The underlying problem of healthcare in the US is the tension between free market principles and the desirability of people having decent healthcare at a price they can afford. Very smart people on both the left and the right have been arguing about this for decades. ObamaCare, for all of its flaws, was a solution which might have worked had the American economy expanded more rapidly. Coming up with a better plan build on the essential structure of ObamaCare, which is what RyanCare attempted to do, was always going to be conceptually muddy and very unattractive to the free markets end of the Republican world. RyanCare was not a better plan than ObamaCare and never aspired to be; rather it was an attempt at “less worse”.

At this point Trump can – as he has threatened – let ObamaCare explode simply by sitting on his hands and refusing to make the adjustments and spend the money needed to keep the exchanges functioning. Politically that might be smart or it might be incredibly short sighted as the voters will be deeply unimpressed when they lose their ObamaCare insurance.

A smarter approach is likely a complete re-conceptualization of healthcare in America and the government’s role in assisting people who need healthcare. There seems to be some consensus that the costs of  “catastrophic illness” should not be entirely borne by the individual and his or her family. And there seems to be a willingness to pay for the healthcare of the poorest people in the society which is, in fact, a welfare rather than healthcare question.

What would happen to the general insurance market if the costs of catastrophic illness was taken out of the mix to be covered by private insurance? The devil is in the details but, in principle, the cost of insurance which did not have to deal with catastrophic health events would go down. Likely quite significantly.

A TrumpCare package which “socialized” the catastrophic end of the risk pool would, in fact, be the thin end of the single payer wedge with some of the efficiencies such a system would create. Trump does not strike me as a free market ideologue and I doubt that thin end would worry him a bit. On the welfare/subsidy side it is not out of the question to essentially buy a set amount of insurance for the poorest people and ensure coverage.

Coming up with a simple, well costed, plan which deals with both expensive illness and poor people would be a huge step forward.

However, I would suggest a third element: a really serious look at how a) the incidence of catastrophic illness can be reduced, b) an initiative to create efficient best practices to deal with catastrophic illness and c) a drive to reduce the costs of treatment for catastrophic illness through everything from the use of single payer drug buying power to tort reform.

RyanCare, like ObamaCare, seemed to want to do far too many things all at once. Doing a few things very well might be a better model for Trump to follow as he cleans up the mess.

 

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Well, we can’t have that!

marc-emery-embrace

Regular readers and friends will know that I wrote a book last year entitled “Start and Run a Marijuana Dispensary or Pot Shop” (yes, hit the link and buy the book…I make about a buck). The book was written in anticipation of Trudeau’s legalization strategy here in Canada and the likelihood that many more American states would legalize recreational or medical marijuana in the November elections.

I don’t have a particular axe to grind in the pot wars. If I smoke pot I go to sleep in three minutes or less. So I don’t. If I had trouble sleeping, I would. But, politically, I think it is assinine to keep marijuana (and several other drugs) illegal. Doing media for the book I have chattered away on assorted Canadian radio programs and said, bluntly, that for the time being, opening a pot shop in Canada opened you to the business risk of “GOING TO JAIL”. My lovely publicist Hanna probably grimaces when she hear me say that but it is, absurdly enough, true.

Which was proven today.

Police officers in several Canadian cities raided illegal marijuana dispensaries linked to activists Marc and Jodie Emery on Thursday, charging them and several others with drug offences as part of an investigation led by Toronto police.

The raids were the latest attempt by local police forces to shut down pot shops that have been opening in cities across the country, even as the federal government prepares to fully legalize the drug with legislation this spring. It was also notable for the involvement of Vancouver’s police force, which has largely left dispensaries in the city alone, including those run by the Emerys.

The two were arrested at Toronto Pearson International Airport on Wednesday as part of a Toronto police operation called Project Gator. the globe and mail

Now, what is actually going on is that the prohibitionist faction in the Liberal Party, led by ex Toronto police chief Bill Blair, having lost the big argument to young Justin, is fighting a brutal rear guard action against the hippy libertarian pot people who don’t see the need for massively intrusive pot regulation. And there is no better place for such un-Canadian anarchists than court and then jail.

The game here is simple: legalization if necessary but not necessarily legalization. The dumbo Millennials who flocked to hip young Justin heard him say “legalization” and didn’t hear all the caveats. But Bill Blair did. And Bill Blair is not the sort of guy who likes any sort of disorder. (Disorder needs to be kettled in Blair world.) The emergence of a grey market in pot is disorderly. It means that the big money guys at Canopy and the other publically listed potcos might be cut out of a “bottom up” recreational marijuana market.

Blair said a day ago that Canada would not rush into the legalized recreational pot market. First there is the legislation which is expected in spring. Then there are the regulations to be worked out with the provinces…

Lawmaker Bill Blair — the former Toronto police chief leading Trudeau’s legalization effort — confirmed a bill is due in parliament this spring, but it won’t be the last hurdle as ample regulatory work remains. The federal government will take its time and work with provinces, territories and cities to build a framework and develop specific regulations, he said.

The government is also looking for ways to control production, distribution and consumption of legalized marijuana, while testing it for quality and keeping it out of the hands of minors, Blair said. bloomberg

All of which should give assorted police forces plenty of time to raid, charge and crush the emergent, unregulated, pot industry in Canada. (To save the children and ensure “purity” of course.)

Trudeau’s supporters are far too stupid to realize what is going on. In fact, Trudeau himself, who simply wants to legally be able to enjoy a joint after dinner, isn’t bright enough to realize the prohibitionists and the corporate pot guys are now running this show. He’s been played.

Marc and Jodie Emery are the go to people for media on the pot issue. Given the charges filed today, they may not be available much longer. Which is exactly what corporate pot in Canada has been pushing for.

 

(And…WTF? Vancouver too. Shame on you VPD.)

Update: 

Ottawa policeman raids pot shop

Ok, why the mask?

Masked police may make sense in terror situations but, so far as is known, pot shop owners don’t track down cops.

So why the mask. There are other pictures of the raids on Cannabis Culture with other masked officers. Why?

I can imagine the poor buggers are ashamed of themselves but that is no justification for wearing masks. I suspect the elephant gun is for taking down the maddened stoners frequenting the shops. But the mask?

The mask is about intimidation plain and simple. The hidden face of the big state showing those hippie libertarians who’s boss. Anti-terror cops sometimes wear masks although they shouldn’t because they should be proud of what they do. Secret police wear masks because they know they cannot be proud of what they do.

So, Justin, you might ask Bill Blair, just out of interest, why the masks?

 

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Cat Meet Pigeons

smoking-gunTrump has been tweeting again and this time he’s dropped the bomb on the Obama Administration’s alleged tapping of the Trump campaign.

Assorted Obama spokespeople have said that Obama himself did not order the wiretaps. Which many have taken as tacit confirmation that there were wiretaps but that the big O did not actually put them in place.

There is a bit of business about two separate applications to the FISA Court which grants wiretap authorizations for surveillance of agents of foreign states – but not Americans. And the wonderfully oily James Clapper told “Meet the Press”:

“For the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the President-elect at the time, or as a candidate, or against his campaign,” Clapper said Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Asked whether he could confirm or deny whether the FBI could have tapped Trump’s phones under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Clapper was unequivocal.
“I can deny it,” he said. “There is no FISA court order, not to my knowledge, of anything at Trump Tower.” CNN
That this activity was reported some time ago in the NYT is largely dismissed as the Times apparently relied on a report at Heat Street where the very excitable Louise Mensch reported that the FBI had been granted a FISA warrant.
Clapper has a bit of form as being willing to lie under oath but I can’t see any reason why he would lie in these circumstances when it is pretty much inevitable that a FISA application will or will not have been made and decided. There is a record and that record will come out.
At the same time, there is no reason to believe that Trump is not in possession of some evidence that his campaign was tapped. Otherwise, why make the allegation? (And, for sake of argument, let’s put aside the idea that the human Cheeto is simply a deranged lunatic liable to tweet anything.)
The  “Trump ties to Russia” story keeps surfacing as various members of the “intelligence community” leak material to MSM. There does not seem to be much there but what there is can be amped up and puts the Trump Administration on the defensive.  From his tweets and other statements, it is pretty clear Trump is, like many Presidents before him, annoyed with the leaks.
Unlike many Presidents whose response to leaks usually involves some sort of internal investigation, Trump seems willing to try and get to the source of the leaks. He has called for, and is apparently getting, a full scale Congressional investigation of his allegations within the context of an overall investigation of the “Russian influence” on the election.
One read of this is that Trump wants to put the Russian connection allegations on ice for a while and kicking the whole thing over to Congress might have that effect. It is a plausible explanation but it seems somehow inefficient. Very little reward for a significant risk.
My own sense is that Trump has, or thinks he has, a smoking gun. Something which will tie Obama and his administration to illegal activity. If there was a FISA application there would have to be affidavits in support of that application. There would have to be disclosure of the sources and methods whereby the DOJ (the only entity which appears before the FISA court) concluded that there was foreign agent activity at Trump Tower. And that would open several cans of worms.
It is also pure speculation. What is not speculation is that no one in the Obama administration ever, for a minute, believed that Trump would win. Playing a bit fast and loose with rules when there was a Hillary lock on the next administration might well have seemed like a good idea at the time.After all, the orangutang and his flying monkeys were hardly ever going to be in a position to find out.
If there is a “smoking gun”, Trump, by making his allegations and then calling for a Congressional investigation, is ensuring that its discovery will be the work of Congress and not the Trump Administration. Which is not to say the Trump Administration will not leave a trail of boulder-sized, glow in the dark, bread crumbs which even the thickest Congressional investigator will be able to follow.
Trump and his people know that if they are going to put the Russian claims behind them and, perhaps, tarnish the halo the MSM has placed on Obama’s head, the actual investigation has to be at arm’s length. Trump has got his arms-length investigation, now the question is whether he has the actual smoking gun.
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Gotcha!

EPSON scanner image

The continuing farce of the deep state versus Trump took another turn with the “revelation” that Jeff Sessions, Trump’s AG and a former Senator, may have met twice with the Russian Ambassador. And then, when asked a question during his confirmation hearings which was, at a stretch, tangentially related to his possible meetings, said he had no meetings about the particular topic he was being questioned about.

This is pretty much politics as usual except for one important detail. The Washington Post which broke “the story” was a bit coy as to its sources for the news of Sessions meetings. I have seen “intelligence sources” mentioned but that could really mean just about anything.

The partisan spin machines came up to speed this morning with the Democrats claiming perjury and demanding a special prosecutor, recusal and resignation and the Republicans suggesting that this is a “nothing burger”.

The accusations themselves may be meritless but the fact they have been made at all based on information fed to the Washington Post by people inside the government is significant. So is the ongoing attempt to implicate the Russians in Trump’s victory.

It is more than a little unlikely that the two meetings Sessions had with the Russian Ambassador will do any great harm, nor will his answer to the Senate Committee, simply because there is very little wrong with either. But that is not, I don’t think, the intent of this attack.

The objective is longer range. Taking on Trump directly is beyond the capacity of the Democratic party at this stage. They can and will snipe at him. But creating a climate of suspicion around Trump officials has the potential for long-term payoffs while keeping the administration off balance.

No single “gotcha” will take down Trump. A series of minor scandals and embarrassments punctuated by the occasional full on investigation, might succeed in rendering the Trump Administration timid and gun shy. At this point, it is the best option deep state Democrats and their media minnions have.

When Hercules battled the hydra – pictured above – one of the ways he won was to have a friend hold a torch to the hydra’s neck as Hercules lopped off the head thereby prevent the traditional two heads from growing in place of the severed one. At the moment Trump and his people are lopping off the media serpents’ heads as fast as they can; but they are not cauterising the wounds they are inflicting and the serpent keeps fighting. What is needed is a more serious strategy, a long term strategy of marginalising the media and responding directly and forcefully to any allegations made. Some guy once said, “Punch back twice as hard.”

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Trump and the Canadians

Trump, CanadaCanadians’ views on American politics are generally fairly predictable. Being Canadian means a degree of smugness blended with a drop or two of envy and a fairly constant need to assert moral superiority. In a very polite, but persistent way.

The candidacy, nomination and election of Donald Trump gave the better class of Canadian plenty of opportunity to show each other just how intelligent and enlighted they were. The Coynes and Kinsellas competed with each other in the political snobbery sweepstakes. Trump was Hitler, the Republicans the Nazi Party, Steve Bannon was a badly dressed Goring or, more likely, Satan himself. Breitbart News was Der Stürmer, the alt-right was universally the SS, the Trump regime overnight transformed America – save for the brave “Resistance” – into an anti-semitic, racist, fascist, misogynistic state in which freedom of the press and human rights in general were crushed under the jackbooted heels of Trump’s evil to a man (and pretend woman) Cabinet.

It has been tons of fun to watch ostensibly rational, intelligent, people reach immediately for the white supremacist smear tool kit in the face of the unthinkable occurring in our neighbour to the South.  The fact that, one month into the Trump Presidency, the worst he seems to have done is be rude to CNN and the New York Times doesn’t deter our good and decent Canadians one bit. They just know that Trump is an evilton and, at any moment, will open the concentration camps and start rounding up Mexicans, Jews, Blacks, Muslims, Women, Queers, NYT reporters and anyone else the human Cheeto and his henchmen find objectionable.

And, to make the entire thing even more ominous, there seems to be a belief that Trump was put into position by none other than Prince of Darkness, Vladimir Putin and that Trump is simply following orders. Or something.

Step by step refutations of all or some of this hysteria have next to no effect. the Canadian reaction to Trump is not a “political” reaction in any common sense of that term. It is far more visceral, more religious, more tribal: Trump could be a very good President, accomplish great things, improve the condition of black people, defend the 1st Amendment and preside over an economic boom lifting all boats and he would still, to the Canadian commentariat, be the Hell Spawn of Satan.

Now some of that commentariat, like Kinsella, are simply stupid partisans for whom nothing Trump says or does will ever be anything but evil. These were the people who, had they been Americans, would have eagerly voted for Hilly on her merits. (A touching act of faith performed by very few actual Americans – the “hold your nose for Hillary” voters constituted the bulk of her support.)

The mildly more rational, like Coyne, seem to see Trump as essentially impossible. Back before the election Coyne was rumbling on about not being able to see how anyone could support Trump. More recently, he is using the Trump re-alignment in American politics as a stick with which to beat up the Canadian conservative Manning Center conference for having rightish agenda items and some populist speakers.

The biggest worry, the nightmare scenario, for the Canadian media and political elite, is the possibility that Canada is not entirely unanimous in its fevered rejection of Trump and all he stands for. There is an awful possibility that we do not live to welcome refugees. And there seem to be some ungracious Canadians who believe that people who come to Canada should adopt Canadian ways and “fit into mainstream Canadian society”. Yikes!

There is some evidence that, once they realize what it costs and how little effect it will have, Canadians are not entirely willing to do whatever it takes to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

There are even some Canadians who are growing a tiny bit suspicious that mainstream Canadian media might not be reporting objectively. In fact, when Macleans let a bunch of its staffers go a few weeks ago, there were nasty Canadians saying “good riddance”.

Despite the frantic efforts of the Kinsellas and Coynes of this world, there are disturbing signs not every Canadian is thrilled with rule by the Laurentian elite.

For all of his foibles, the late Rob Ford’s success in Toronto, worried Canadian elites. I mean it’s one thing to have yahoos in Alberta electing hard core conservatives, but this was Toronto.

The three leading contenders for the Conservative Party of Canada’s leadership are all running from the Right. Leitch because that gave her an edge in the early going; O’Leary because, well, who knows what goes on in that strange little man’s head; Bernier because he has run and been elected as a libertarian conservative for years.

Mainstream media is bleeding out, unable to compete with online, unable to adapt to the internet and unable to attract revenue. It is being replaced by everything from VICE and The Rebel to news and views delivered by social media. The cozy relationship between the Globe and Mail, CTV, CBC and the Ottawa political world is collapsing because ambitious politicians can by-pass the media elite.

If our commentariat thought about it for a bit they would realize that the actual reality of Trump is not that he is orange Hitler; rather he and the people around him have figured out how to culture jam traditional media, traditional politics and, perhaps, the deep state. Thinking about how Trump managed to do that would be more interesting than thinking crapping on him from great height somehow matters.

The people, the Canadians, who realize that Trump was actually about something important and transformative will have a clue about what is likely to go on in Canada in the next few years.

 

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MILO…

Kathy Shaidle gets it about right:

Guys, seriously.

When you invite someone as gay as Milo to speak at CPAC or whatever, here’s the thing:

Gay people are not the angelic eunuchs of your Will and Grace straight fantasies.

As pretty much any of them will tell you — ask Tammy Bruce — a huge part of gay culture is the initiation of teen boys into the life by older men.

Five Feet of Fury

I’ve looked at the tapes and read MILO’s explanation and, frankly, the whole “advocating for paedophilia” thing is nothing more than a cheap hit job. Or it is if you know anything about gay culture.

At the moment I am reading Francis Spaulding’s wonderful biography of Duncan Grant. There is no doubt at all that Grant discovered a part of his sexuality because a nasty old man, likely all of twenty-five, touched him at a tender age. Not at seven or even twelve; rather in his mid-teens. Was that wrong? Yes. Does it happen? Yes again. MILO claims he was blowing a priest at fourteen which I find outrageous; but, like Kathy, I am unsurprised.

If you understand gay culture, if you have gay friends, you will know that the idea of men and boys together is part of that culture. Is the age of consent the issue? It might be, but while the vast majority of gay men stay on the legal side of the line, they certainly lust in their hearts for the “twinks”.

And if you understand straight male culture, if you chat with a bunch of guys, you will know that many men would just love to bang a seriously hot fifteen year old. They don’t actually do it any more than gay men do; but a pretty, nubile, underage girl does not go unnoticed. “Jail bait” is a thing and has been for centuries. (And the fashion mags are full of them.)

The nice people, the girls in the front of the class, don’t want to know the darkness in men’s hearts. MILO, to his great misfortune, did not maintain the official pretence with quite the vigor the great and the good require. For which he is punished with disinvitation to CPAC (a now, in the face of Trump, irrelevant organization) and a cancellation of his book deal (keep the money MILO) and, possibly, a parting of the ways with Breitbart.com.

The takeaway. Never tell the truth. Never, for a second, admit that you find a person less that a certain age, sexually attractive. Never allow that gay male sexuality may begin with a moment with an older man. The girls in the class room front row are quite sure that you have sinned even though you are sinned against. If you are straight, make sure you lust after only age appropriate women. Because, otherwise, whether you act on your impulses or not, you’re a perv. Even talking about the beauty of youth makes you a paedophile or worse.

What we are seeing here is a moral panic attached to a political agenda: the left have no counter to MILO, nor do the Rinos. Time to smear. And smear they have.

[And yes, I write that as the father of two “underage sons” who I will protect as well as I can from predatory men or women. But I am not enough of a hypocrite to pretend I have no idea what MILO is talking about. My fond wish is that my sons are as lucky as I was and able to avoid the paedophiles.  But there are no guarantees. Other than keeping your boys in a cotton box, the reality is that there are lots of nasty people out there. And worse, some very nice ones. Innocence is more often lost to the nice than the nasty.)

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