Author Archives: Jay Currie

The Deal

Donald Trump, Kim Jong UnThe Spectator speculates that The Donald a) might be in line for a Nobel Peace Prize over North Korea (never happen, look at the Committee), b) might be willing to follow Bannon’s advice and pull US troops out of South Korea in exchange for denuclearization.

I suspect “b” will be on the table if only because, after 60 years, it is sort of pointless to keep troops in South Korea. The South Koreans have a perfectly good army and really, seriously, advanced weapons. The US can pull out, save money and reassure the NORKs.

But my bet is that Trump, like the Sham Wow guy before him, will say, “Wait, there’s more.”

Trump sold condos for years and part of the condo sale was the “amenities” package. The pool, the gym, the roof top party room. In North Korea’s case the amenities package is investment, economic growth and trade. Getting rid of the sanctions pulls them up to a few points below zero. But, say, 5 billion from South Korea into factories and another 5 billion from China into infrastructure begins to look like a real deal.

For sixty years the whole American approach has been about a lot of stick and very little carrot. This has not worked.

Trump sitting in a room with Kim Jong Un is making a sale. “We’ll stop kicking you if you drop the nukes.” is an opening, but it is not a close. Dropping sanctions makes the pain go away, but it is not an enticement. Trump has done a lot of deals and part of deals is giving people more than they expect.

Something Trump knows.

Trump does not need this deal. He can rachet up the sanctions and, at any moment, vaporize North Korea. To say he has bargaining power is to entirely understate the case. But Trump would benefit from a real, enforceable, deal on the nukes. So would China, so would South Korea, so would Japan.

So, instead of playing “hardball” Trump has the luxury of closing the sale. Tossing in the Wolf Stove and the marble foyer. And he won’t even have to pay for it. In fact, by pulling the US troops, he is saving billions a year.

Should be fun to watch.


Colten Boushie – The Crown gets it wrong

The not guilty verdict in the Colten Boushie case has managed to elicit wildly inappropriate tweets from our Prime Minster and the Minister of Justice – and thank you for making an appeal all the less likely.

From what I have read this was a huge error on the part of the Crown.

The error began when the Crown charged 2nd degree murder. A charge which requires intent. Proving intent in a melee is next to impossible. A wiser, less political, Crown would have charged manslaughter which does not require intent.

The defense, rather courageously in my view, decided to claim “the gun did it”. This is not a position criminal lawyers tend to take simply because it can be refuted with decent forensic evidence and the sheer implausibility of a gun “hang firing”.

The Crown’s job is to block the exits. One of those exits was the gun firing itself and Stanley having no intent. It appears, and I have not read the transcript, that the Crown was content to prove that the gun in question killed Colten Boushie. Which might have worked in manslaughter but falls short in 2nd degree murder. In 2nd degree murder there has to be an intention on the part of the accused to cause the death of the victim. Absent that intent there is no case to meet.

Lefty friends, as they lament the end of the “reconciliation” effort, are happy to point out that the jury which acquitted was “all white”. They are waving the bloody shirt and convinced that a jury of Saskatchewan peers could not render a fair verdict. Besides being deeply racist, it is a dog which will not hunt.

The Crown was aware of the jury and the likelihood that they would seize any reed, no matter how thin, to acquit a man who was doing nothing more nor less than they would have done if a group of drunk Indians arrived in their yard. Which meant the Crown needed to refute every exonerating theory, no matter how unlikely, for the win. The Crown failed to do that and so Stanley walked.

The “#justiceforcolten” hashtag will loom large for a few days. But the fact is that Colten got the justice the Crown was able to argue for. Is it enough? I don’t think so. Not because the jury got it wrong, rather because the jury understood Colten all too well and managed to find a hole in the Crown’s case. A better Crown would have bolted the “hangfire” door. A better Crown would have understood the jury he was given and the fact that Colten was operating within a context of First Nations crime against farmers. A better Crown would have resisted the political pressure and charged manslaughter.

Every death is a tragedy. But Colten Boushie was a tragedy waiting to happen. The jury understood this without having to be told. They found a way to justice. The Crown let them. It’s done.

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BMW Electronics, coding and repair…Children grow up

Victoria BMW Coding and DiagnosticsSam, my son, has opened his own Victoria BC BMW coding and diagnostics business.

I call him The BMW Whisperer.

Full computer set up, all the software needed to fix error/warning lights on E90, E46, E60 and E39. Five series and Three series and most other BMW models as well.


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Donald Trump, US politicsAt the beginning of last week, before the State of the Union and before the release of the Nunes memo, the Democrats could still hold out hope that, somehow the not very Presidential Trump would be taken out either by a rather vigorous reading of the 25th Amendment or by Special Counsel Mueller finally finding proof of Russian collusion and then proof that President Trump covered up that collusion in a manner which would attract an indictment for obstruction of justice. These were pretty implausible to begin with, but after a brilliant performance at the SOTU and the confirmation that the FBI/DOJ played silly buggers with the FISA process I think it is safe to say Trump will be serving out his term.

Which is not to say that the FBI/DOJ follies will now be buried. Quite the opposite. The Nunes memo raises more questions than it answers. And other Committees of both the House and the Senate are investigating the FBI/DOJ as well as the State Department. The behaviour of the top echelons of the FBI/DOJ revealed in the Nunes memo and factually uncontradicted suggests that there was a pattern of partisan behaviour which should never exist in a police force or a Department of State responsible for prosecuting the law. And that pattern of behaviour goes well beyond the (Trump) Russian collusion fable. In the first instance, it raises the question of the Clinton Russian collusion. After all, the DNC and the Clinton campaign financed the efforts of a foreign national to obtain information from, well, Russians to compromise an American Presidential candidate. Those Russian individuals were closely tied to the Russian state. And the Clinton campaign and DNC made it their business to push the dossier into the hands of the FBI/DOJ. How all that happened and how to prevent it from happening again is an obvious matter of national interest.

Then we have the emerging, and very queer tale, of the Clinton emails on the Weiner computer and the bizarre spectacle of FBI Director Comey announcing, ten days before the election, that the Clinton email investigation was being re-opened. It appears that now “retired” Assistant FBI Director McCabe had known about the Clinton emails for a month before it occurred to him to tell the Director that there might be a tiny problem. Comey must have been furious but realized that he had no choice but to re-open the investigation. Particularly as FBI agents in New York, as well as NYPD personnel, were aware of the emails. This might appear to be small potatoes however many political observers suggest that the re-opening of the investigation re-enforced the doubts many people had about Clinton and caused more than a few to stay home rather than vote for the likely criminal Clinton. It may not have added any votes to the Trump tally, but Comey’s announcement certainly took a few away from Mrs. Clinton. Figuring out how that happened and trying to make sure it does not happen again is another, obvious matter of national interest.

We are looking forward to the Inspector General’s Report on the Department of Justice which is likely to focus on the overall behaviour of the department with respect to the Clinton emails and, perhaps, with the decisions surrounding the investigation of the IRS targeting of conservative groups. While the Nunes memo has been attacked as “partisan”, the IG’s report will not be vulnerable to such attack. It should be very interesting and should open up many avenues for Congressional Investigation.

My own view is that the “original sin” of the FBI/DOJ was the decision to ignore the clear wording of the law and find that there was a requirement for “intent” in the law regarding the handling of classified materials. This novel interpretation – apparently worked out by the FBI before it had actually done interviews with the principals involved in the Clinton email disaster – of the law allowed Mrs. Clinton and her people to avoid prosecution. In hindsight that corrupted the FBI in a profound way. The FBI should not interpret the law in any case, that is the DOJ’s responsibility. (The recusal of Mrs. Lynch after her tete a tete with Hilly’s husband needs to be looked into as well.) But if the FBI is stuck interpreting the law it needs to stick to the letter of the law rather than inventing requirements which the law does not contain. While it might have been shocking to see Mrs. Clinton charged it would have been less shocking than seeing the Director of the FBI contort the plain words of a law he is pledged to uphold. (I note that had Clinton and her aides been charged the matter would likely have been pled down to a misdemeanor level and life would carry on. Even with a guilty plea to a minor charge, Hilly would have been in better shape to explain her conduct to an electorate which would likely have forgiven it.)

Digging down to that “original sin” and the circumstances which surrounded will take some time. Time which will only be available if the Republicans can manage to hold at least the Senate and, ideally, the House. In the fevered imaginations of Democratic partisans, the Democratic party will win the House in November and begin impeachment proceedings as soon as a new House of Representatives has been seated. Which is why the SOTU speech and Trump’s overall performance is so important.

To get to the bottom of the Obama administration’s corruption of the justice system in the United States there needs to be a Republican House and Senate. Otherwise, the committees will be chaired by Democrats and all this will be swept thoroughly under the carpet. And for the Republicans to win they need a leader for their party. For better or worse, Trump is that leader and how he does and how he perceived to be doing is critically important. While Trump will never be treated fairly by the American mainstream media, he seems willing to end-run that media. Events like the SOTU give Trump the opportunity to be the President for all Americans. It also gives him the opportunity to underline what a partisan, sour and rather nasty bunch the Democrats actually are. He has nine months to close the sale with the American people. The Democratic Party is broke and in a state of civil war as the “woke” shoot up the “business Democrats” and Mrs. Clinton remains like a bad smell. The Trump tax cuts are about to kick in and the Atlanta Federal Reserve is forecasting 5.5% growth in Q1. American companies are bringing home their offshore billions and showing willing to hire Americans. The Democrats have locked their ankle to the DACA anchor and are seen as putting America last when it comes to immigration. And so on.

To win, Trump and the Republicans do not have to be brilliant, they simply have to be less stupid than the Democrats. Fortunately for Trump this is not difficult.

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Memo II

Pretty much as expected the Nunes memo exposed the fact that the FBI/DOJ sought FISA warrants on the basis of a dossier which they knew was the product of people retained by the Clinton campaign. And, apparently, they failed to disclose the dossier’s origins to the FISA Court.

There is a lot of partisan back and forth about the appropriateness of the memo and whether it is factually correct and if it discloses all the facts; but none of that matters. The simple, non-partisan and non-disputed pith of the thing is that the FBI/DOJ used unvetted evidence from a questionable source to obtain the Court’s permission to spy on an American citizen.

As I said in my earlier post, this memo is the beginning of a process. It opens the door for further and deeper investigation. While it should lead to the appointment of special counsel to look at actual crimes – fraud upon the Court is an actual crime – I doubt the memo, in itself, will be enough. The Democrats and the mainstream media are going to fight every step of the way because they know that once a special counsel is appointed it is only a matter of time before the misconduct of the FBI/DOJ with respect to the Clinton email server and the Clinton Foundation comes to light. And they also know that the behaviour of the Obama White House with respect to the unmasking of American persons (for no good national security reason) will be scrutinized. And the behavior of the DOJ with respect to the Clinton server and the IRS investigations. And so on. The term “can of worms” barely begins to cover what will occupy much of political Washington over the next couple of years.

It is too early to tell if the assertions in the Nunes memo as to the misconduct of the FBI/DOJ before the FISA Court will affect the Mueller investigation. I have no doubt that lawyers for Flynn, Manafort and Gates will be suggesting that the evidence against their clients is tainted by this misconduct; but that is a long bow to draw on today’s disclosures. A position which may change as more information surfaces.

As usual, the big winner in today’s revelations is Donald Trump. He said he’d been wire tapped and was laughed at. The memo does not say Trump was wiretapped, but it does suggest that the FBI/DOJ was not above using phoney documents to surveil a minor member of Trump’s campaign team. Which, in its turn, suggests that Trump claiming to have been wiretapped is not such a crazy, outlandish thing to say.

Tick tock.

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While we await the next sock to drop – and where is Sophie – the American political world is fixated on a 4 page memo which summarizes nefarious deeds by the FBI, DOJ and Lord knows who else. Who will be named? What did they do? Apparently, Trump is cool with releasing the memo with few, if any, redactions. The Democrats are calling for Chairman Nunes head because…well, stuff. The FBI is saying it leaves stuff out. The DOJ is claiming release would be reckless.

To be honest I am not expecting much. A bit of confirmation that the “dirty dossier” figured in FISA applications. Possibly a little more information on how the fix was put in to prevent Hilly from being charged. But that will be about it factually.

Which is not really the point. The point is that the Obama administration politicized the DOJ and the FBI. Once that is out with a bit of evidence to back it up, the wheels begin falling off both the Obama administration and the Hillary campaign. Which would not matter much in a normal transition; but the Trump transition was being undermined from the get go. How it was done and who did it matters a lot.

The memo is the first piece of a multi-piece operation. It will, I suspect, give grounds for the appointment of a special counsel to examine the conduct of the FBI and the DOJ vis a vis the Trump transition and the Hillary email decisions. It may not be enough. Enough will likely come with the report of the DOJ Inspector General who is looking into the behavior and the adherence to standards and norms of the DOJ and the FBI in these matters. The memo is a partisan document, the Inspector General’s report is deeply non-partisan.

My argument for voting for Trump – who I did not like going into the election and remain skeptical about now – was always that Hillary was a criminal surrounded by people who were either criminals or indifferent to the law. Trump, foolishly in my view, said he would not charge Hillary. However, as the facts emerge, I suspect it will be out of his hands.

The memo is going to bare certain facts. In themselves, they will be damning but they will also provide the base for further investigation. Those investigations will, gradually, reveal the full extent of the corruption which permeated the Obama White House and the Clintons in all their guises.

For the moment, the memo is knocking down FBI people like nine pins; but they are just the froth on the sewage. The bigger players, Lynch, Powers, Rice, Huma and a host of others need to be exposed, criminally charged and either pled out or sent to jail. The pleas will be interesting. Huma is a dead woman walking because she absolutely knew about the email traffic to Hilly’s “unauthorized” (and, hence, illegal) server. The other ladies unmasked or had quiet chats with Hilly’s husband when her plane happened to meet his.

This will all take a while but if Trump #freesthememo the first step will have been taken.


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Justin Trudeau, #metoo, Warren Kinsella, Canadian PoliticsWarren Kinsella aka the “Lying Jackal” is a dirt bag and pond scum all wrapped in a nauseating odor of fake sanctity. He is also the go-to guy for a certain sort of Canadian Liberal when there is a family crisis in the Party. He is good at putting out fires.

Over at his place today, (fully screenshotted as he is scummy enough to bury his mistakes), we have this wee gem:


“Before I board the plane, I hear from a former Prime Minister. I tell him what an honour it was to work for him – a man who married his high school sweetheart. A man whose conduct was beyond reproach. A man who never tolerated such conduct by his staff or his caucus or his cabinet. Ever.

“It was different, many years ago,” he says. “It was difficult for women to complain.”

He paused.

“Those days are gone,” he said. “And that’s a good thing.”
Why would Jean Chretien call the Jackal? They are buddies and everything but I kinda doubt JC just buzzes the Jackal for the sheer hell of it. If Chretien is calling the Jackal it is likely because the Jackal is a go-to guy to put out Liberal fires.

A few paragraphs above Kinsella suggests,


“There are other men who are about to be exposed. Count on it. The media have been on their trail for many weeks. Once it gets through the editors – once it is okayed by the lawyers – other men will be going down. It is overdue. It is needed.

One of these men is very, very powerful. The stories have been known about him for three years. They are in affidavits, plural.

His name will shock you.”


And, finally, in the comments, which the Jackal watches like a, well, Jackal lest a word of contradiction punctures his bubble, appears this:


Matt says:

If it’s the same person who I’ve been told has multiple sworn affidavits against him, you can’t get bigger in Canada. I know one of the people who’s signature is on one of the affidavits.

This person has told me the contents of the affidavits. Explosive doesn’t even begin to describe it. I will not repeat what I was told here because haven’t personally seen them, and even if I had, I don’t want to make legal trouble for Warren.

What I will say…… if they do get out, they will destroy this persons very carefully crafted public image and reputation.



If the affidavits floating around really are about a guy who likes “themed socks” there is an inferno about to break loose…Who ya gonna call if you are an ex-Prime Minister who loves the Liberal Party and, incidentally, Canada…The Jackal.

Could be huge.

h/t LOLWUT commenting at Blazing Catfur


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Susan Hutchinson+ RIP

Susan HutchinsonMy friend Susan Hutchinson died. Her funeral is tomorrow and I am too ill to attend. Though I might not have in any event because I do not like funerals, even of friends.

Susan was a friend from college. Model Parliament in fact. And the Liberal Party.

Even then she was a round peg in a series of square holes.

Susan had a huge problem. She was a social justice warrior, a third wave feminist, a burr under the saddles of the ambitious from a very young age. Long before any of that was “a thing”.

She’d grown up on military bases. Her father, William “Bill” Hutchinson, in the Princess Patricia Regiment – which he eventually commanded – and which, I suspect gave her her middle name, Patricia. A year here, two years there. Her mother could run up a set of curtains for every style of military accommodation. She had two younger siblings, Bill Hutchinson who once said of my middle son as he, at ten, tackled a kid who rather obviously shaved on the rugby field, “That was courageous”, and her sister, Barbara, who writes songs for children and is filled with grace.

From the go, when I knew her, she kept a perfectly domestic sense of the feminine with a deep sense of what men (or boys as I was then) needed at two in the morning when their night had not gone well. A glass or two of whiskey and a shortbread cookie and intelligent conversation. She read Vogue, sewed clever patterns and lived for Dorothy Sayers, the Royal Family, the Regiment and a deeply intelligent grasp of politics at the macro scale and a disastrous inability to hold her tongue at the micro-scale.

Her contemporaries and friends, people like Colin Hansen (ex-Finance Minister of British Columbia) or Pamela MacDonald (ex-BC desk, PMO, Jean Chretien) played the microgame far better but, so far as I could tell, remained friends even as Susan dove deeper into the feminist depths which, while they are paid lip service to now, were never a route to political success. Or, should I say, appointment.

We lost touch over the years as we lived on different coasts. Through the grapevine, I heard that she had been ordained in the Anglican Church. Which made a certain sort of sense within the Dorothy Sayers’ world of cultural Anglicanism. Off she went to the Gaspe Bay in Quebec to minister to flocks of dying grey headed Anglos. (Interestingly, we are pretty sure she held the benefice (if that is what it is called these days) of a church my great grandfather endowed.) She blasted down the roads of the Gaspe Peninsula (I think) at her usual breakneck speed to deliver Communion to a dozen parishioners here and then another Church twenty five miles of icy road away. Chatting about it years later the driving was the hard part, the liturgy a Gift from God.

She moved on from the Diocese of Quebec and moved on back to BC where she ended up in Prince George. Along with getting T-boned at an intersection she found herself at odds with her congregation and, once again, moved on. Once again, a round peg in a square hole.

At this point she came into Victoria and we reconnected.

The same Colonel’s daughter, the same sense of humour and wide reading – often of the brilliant second rank women like Joanna Trollope and Mary Wesley which England seems to produce so effortlessly – and the same sense of engagement. Susan introduced my younger boys to “Top Gear” and British television lying on a couch in our house. She sewed curtains having taken my Susan and the boys on a high-speed race to Fabric Land.

And then she was gone. Places to go, things to do. But, in fact, she was, essentially, living in her car. Ever the Colonel’s daughter she didn’t want to overstay her welcome. But she did and we lost contact again.

From there, ten years back, I heard nothing from Susan. I wrote a couple of times but, nothing.

The conceited ass that I am I suspect Susan was a little in love with me decades ago, and, honestly, I was a little in love with her. We’d moved on.

In a funny way, Susan reminds me of Sarah Leighton in “The Jewel in the Crown”. Completely competent to chastise Prime Ministers, kick disorderly Bishops about and revere the Queen as she should be revered. In another, more serious, way she reminded me of Barbie Batchelor in that same sequence. While Sarah was the Colonel’s daughter, Barbie simply did not fit. A round peg in a square hole.

I’ve been missing Susan since Pamela sent me the news. Her politics were whackadoo, her theology and liturgy annoying, her heart and head sound and loving.

Susan Hutchinson touched many lives, some deeply, and I am lucky to have been one of the deeply touched.

Go in Peace, Dear Lady. I don’t need to commend you to God…he knows.



Won’t take “Yes” for an answer

Last week we had the hilariously abortive two and a half day government shut down when the Democrats refused to fund the government unless their immigration demands were met. That went well. The Democrats caved in record time and, in the process, pretty much destroyed the “shutdown” as leverage.

Then Trump floats a comprehensive immigration/Dreamer/wall/visa lottery/chain migration package.

The nationalist right went crazy. 1.8 million Dreamers, 15 million related family, villagers…Froth, foam…Betrayal. Never going to vote for Trump again and so on.

But the reaction of the Democrats, particularly their base, was brilliant. “The burning cross,” was mild. Faucahantus is livid tweeting “By ending DACA, @realdonaldtrump subjected 800k Dreamers to deportation. Now he wants to hold them hostage to Steven Miller’s anti-immigrant wish list. It’s insulting.” And so on.

Both reactions were entirely predictable.

From the Democratic side of the table, the deal Trump offered is never going to be acceptable because the Democratic base sees immigration as a must “win” piece of the “resistance”. Winning on the Dreamers while conceding on the wall, etc. is essentially out of the question because it would give the hated Trump something he might want. So long as wall/chain/visa lottery we included the Democrats will support no Trump proposal.

Which Trump knew going in.

What Trump also knows, but which the Democratic base has not taken on, is that the Dreamers turn to pumpkins when the Obama executive program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) expires in early March. Trump didn’t renew the program so, as it required an Executive Order to be renewed, it is dead. Deportations will not follow immediately, but they will most certainly be on the horizon unless Congress can enact some sort of legislation. (Which, Trump says, is exactly what Congress should do rather than relying on a continuing, likely unconstitutional,  bit of Presidential legislation by pen.)

If DACA ends there is very little downside for Trump and minimal downside for the majority of GOP Representatives and Senators. Illegal immigration is not particularly popular in the US. But if DACA ends and is not replaced with legislation the Democratic base will go nuts. Unfortunately for the base, the legislative proposal floated by Trump is far and away the best offer he is going to make. His base is already furious that he has gone this far and while Chamber of Commerce Republicans and GOPe types are in favour of more permissive immigration solutions, Trump Nation is not.

DACA supporters are very likely to go over the top in the next few weeks bringing home the idea that these are not the sort of people America wants to bend over backward to accommodate.  The Kamala Harris/Elizabeth Warren wing of the party will grow shriller and loonier as the days pass. Chuck Schumer might try for another government shutdown but the politics of that are unattractive after the previous failure.

All of which Trump and his people know.

So what happens? Schumer has no choice but to turn down a very generous deal. Then, “tick tock”. The deadline approaches. Mitch McConnell makes good his pledge to let a bill “legalizing” the current DACA regime reach the floor of the Senate for a vote. That bill, I suspect, will be much less generous than the current offer and it will certainly have the wall/visa lottery/chain migration provisions baked in. And then? Well then the genius Democrats will vote against it and, with no time left on the legislative clock, the Dreamers will lose their, always provisional, status.

Trump will have maneuvered the Democrats into voting against legislation which their core constituency desperately wants. DACA will die, but it will die at the hands of the Democratic Party.

At that point, Trump can dictate his terms. He does not have to deport every dreamer the day after DACA dies; in fact, there is pending litigation which will prevent deportation for months if not years. But now Trump can cheese slice immigration reform. He can work with the Republican majority to create legislation which will provide routes to citizenship and he can work with that majority to fund the wall, eliminate chain migration and kill the visa lottery. There is no legislative necessity for more than a simple majority on any of these measures except and unless the Dems decide to filibuster. Tough to filibuster a bill that lets, say, 400,000 or so of the registered Dreamers in provided that they meet fairly strict criteria.

It has taken Trump a while to figure out the game in Washington. Lots of errors and missteps along the way. But The Donald seems to be a quick study and he certainly knows how to drive wedges between Democrats. As the economy continues to improve and as the Mueller investigation descends into farce for want of any actual evidence of any actual crime, Trump is building political capital. He is beginning to understand how to deploy that capital. As he gets better at the job my bet is that his approval ratings will rise. If he breaches 50%, because the media have created such low expectations, he is going to be seen as a serious and effective President.

And then the indictment of Clinton cronies will begin. Do you think Huma will sing? I do.

Can’t wait.

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