Author Archives: Jay Currie

And it’s Coach Kavy for three points

Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a long way from the socon’s dreams of kicking Roe to the curb. He has a gold-plated resume, is judicially conservative in the best sense of that term, was in the Whitehouse on 9/11 and will be tough to defeat in the Senate. American legal beagles will have fun with some of his decisions and they are welcome to it. What I am interested in is how Trump has evolved.

Kavanaugh is a savvy pick. He’ll have all the Republicans – even the lovely lady Senators worried about Roe – and including the RINOs because of his Bush connections. He has fairly limited exposure in terms of red flags to the dwindling minority of Democrats who take Supreme Court nominations seriously. (He is, of course, Hitler to the loonies, but so would anyone Trump picked.)

Which means that, unless there is a tape of his grabbing someone’s nether parts, he’ll be confirmed and Trump will take the easy win. This is smart.

The difference between a professional and an amateur is in what they do when it is fourth down, six yards to go, on the thirty-five yard line with a 14 point lead going into halftime. Sure, you could run the touchdown play and rack up the points. But a pro will kick the field goal. It is the percentage move.

Trump has four months to the mid-terms. Winning the Senate should be fairly easy, but the House of Representatives is a bit more of a struggle. Being able to point to a string of victories – Gorsuch was a win, Korea was the beginning of a win, the unemployment rate and the worker shortage are wins, the black and Latino unemployment rates are big wins, a few days of summitry may turn up some wins – with which to build momentum. And a pro will anticipate losses – Mueller, even without an actual crime, is hurting, so are unneeded trade wars and the price of gas seems to be going up – and will understand that he has to take the hits.

But going into the locker room at halftime with a 17 point lead is way better than being ahead by a couple of touchdowns. Apparently, Trump gets that.

Winning the game means being re-elected in 2020. Being able to point to solid, confirmed, SCOTUS appointments will be a big part of that re-election campaign.

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#YouToo?

Much as I despise Justin Trudeau and the gang of gender-balanced incompetents he has surrounded himself with, I am afraid I can’t work up much indignation vis a vis the Creston grope. Nor do I think JT’s bumbling defence is anything other than another demonstration of his general unfitness for the Prime Ministership.

It is pretty clear that Justin, perhaps after several beers, touched a girl in a way which, the very next day, she wrote was inappropriate (or some such…I can’t be arsed to look it up). He compounded his error by saying that had he known she was reporting for a national paper he would not have been so forward. What a dweeb.

But, honestly, I don’t care. Partly it is the passage of time. Despite Kinsella’s attempts to turn this into a Harvey Weinstein moment, Trudeau behaved badly, is a sanctimonious idiot and a fake feminist, but it still does not amount to assault or anything close. (At least at this point, we may learn more down the road.)

Here’s big news. People go to beer company sponsored music festivals to get friendly with other people. I am told that, on occasion, people who have had several beers end up in tents with each other for no good reason and they are not even engaged. While I am, of course, shocked and appalled, I can’t quite see how this amounts to anything but a slightly embarrassing story.

Trudeau’s handling of the Jackel inspired story sucks. His comms department should be sacked. But the fact is that a young, unmarried, guy took liberties with a young, unmarried (so far as I know) girl at a summer music festival. I suppose we could shoot him. But I would rather shoot the comms idiots who did not say to JT, “Admit you did it. Apologize. Move on.” All the parsing in the world is not going to change the fact Justin grabbed her ass or boob or whatever. Bad Justin. Admit it and move on.

There are lots of reasons not to vote for this idiot. His behaviour 18 years ago might be one of them. But it is not the most significant nor will it be the last.

As with most things Jackal driven there is more going on here than we are seeing. Why did the Jackal trawl through the Creston paper on microfilm to get the story? And what else is there? Vancouver, Whistler – in the late 90’s,early 2000’s these were “party central”.

At a guess, the Creston “grope” is not where the Jackal is going with this. I suspect it is a ranging shot. Turning on the light to see where the cockroaches in the PMO scatter.

If there is another shoe, and I suspect there are several, it will drop in September just in time to force the resignation and the nomination of another leader in time for the next election. The Jackal learned from Wynne’s failure to make way. It is not enough to kick Justin to the curb…he has to be gone by Christmas.

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Canada Day!

Canada, Canada Day, Trump. tariffsThere is nothing I like being more than a Canadian. My compatriots may drive me crazy but our disagreements are political rather than patriotic.

Sadly, our current federal government thinks it can win an election – in a year – by picking a fight with our friends in the US. The PMO’s polling tells them that Canadians a) can’t stand Trump, b) will rally around a PM who stands up for Canada no matter how wrong we might be. I suspect that polling is right but premature.

No one wins a trade war and today the smartypants Liberals are embarking on a series of deliberately political retaliatory tariffs designed to hit Republicans where it hurts, at the polling booth. There are many things wrong with this strategy beginning with the fact it won’t work. Tariffing soy sauce because North America’s largest soy sauce plant is in retiring GOP speaker Paul Ryan’s district looks clever but isn’t. After all, at best, that plant ships about 10% of its production to Canada. Our tariff will be an annoyance rather than a game changer. And just as Canadians claim to be willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with Trudeau in opposing the Trump monster, Americans are perfectly capable of supporting the industries we target.

Canadians win when we come up with creative compromises. Flat out telling the US that we will not accept a five year sunset clause on NAFTA is stupidly beligerent. Intelligent compromise would have created a process – general review at 6 years, sectoral review at eight based on the general review and the possiblilty of revision at 10. It’s boring but it is very Canadian. Same thing with the steel and aluminum tariff. Figure out what the Americans are actually after (likely an end to the transhipment of Chinese commodity steel) and figure out how to make that happen while enhancing the Canadian position.

Unfortunately, this very Canadian approach is not very sexy. It is not going to save a floundering Liberal government. To do that, the geniuses in the PMO realize they somehow have to cast the next election as a referendum on Trump rather than a review of the Trudeau government’s meager list of accomplishments. To that end picking a fight with the US seemed like a good idea.

It isn’t.

With a year in hand, the US can pretty much destroy the Canadian economy and flatten what manufacturing is left in Ontario. They don’t need to do much, just impose a 20% tariff on all cars coming into the US and fail to exempt Canada. Boom, done. Like the rest of the world, Canada enjoys access to the American market because we have negotiated that access and the Americans, to date, have had no particularily compelling reason to restrict that access. Indeed, up until the fracking revolution, there was a strategic reason to keep Canadian oil and gas flowing to the US. That reason has gone.

It is a Canadian pasttime to bash Americans. All the more so with Trump in office. Where that comes from is not obvious but the reserves of anti-Americanism in Canada are, apparently, bottomless. And those reserves are filling fast as the American economy under Trump revives and thrives in contrast to Canada’s. I have no idea if Trump is Making America Great Again, however he is, unambigously, making America Rich Again. And he is doing that through tax cuts and deregulation which are anathema to the economic illiterates who surround Trudeau and infest the Finance Department. Normally, when the US economy surges, Canada enjoys a knockon effect. But between nitwit “carbon taxes” and unnecessary “trade wars” and an apparent inability to build pipelines, Canada is going in the opposite direction.

Between now and next Canada Day I suspect it is a good bet that Canada will make itself poorer. The only question is how much poorer.

If the PMO and the Liberal Party really think they will be able to run against Trump in a little over a year they have to pray that he does not continue to deliver jobs, growth, prosperity and a reassertion of American might internationally. They have to hope Trump will, somehow, be impeached, or lose the mid-terms decisively, or have his economic policies crash or walk into some other disaster – because if Trump’s successes continue and the Democrats fail to win big in November, he is going to be a much less attractive target.

Yes, if Trump does tariff cars at 20% he’ll be demonized all over the world. But where it counts, in the car plants in Ontario and in the parts manufactories, there is not going to be much left. Rail at Trump all you want, the fact is that it will be Trudeau who was dumb enough to poke the bear for political points.

I hope all my Canadian readers enjoy our National Holiday. And then I hope all my American readers enjoy July 4. In a year, we will still be celebrating Canada Day but, unless our politicians smarten up, we will be a poorer and less consequential nation than we are now. And, worse, that condition may very well be permenant as our jobs flow south.

This Canada Day our situation is serious but, with intelligence, not fatal. Next year?

Happy Canada Day!

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Milk Fight

shutterstock_175414571-1000x480The Donald seems obsessed with Canadian Dairy tariffs. As well he might be as they can go as high as 290%.

Over the next week or so, Canada and the US are going to have to climb down from their rather silly positions on everything from aluminium to felt pens.

A good place to start is with Canadian dairy. Why not announce a zero tariff on hormone/antibiotic free milk? It is a tiny percentage of American dairy production but a huge percentage of Canadian dairy is both hormone and antibiotic free.

Trump seems to be attracted by shiny objects and a “win” on dairy is very shiny indeed.

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True North

Justin Trudeau, Donald TrumpOnly in Canada would the rudeness of our Prime Minister to a departing guest be raised – admittedly by Warren “Lying Jackal” Kinsella – to a question of Canadian patriotism. Our Minister of External Affairs has wagged her stubby little finger at the Donald and called his response to Trudeau’s rudeness “inappropriate”.

In so far as there is any thinking at all in Ottawa I suspect some bright light in the PMO, in the wake of Ford’s victory in Ontario, has had the idea that the way for Trudeau to win the next election is to try and cast that election as an opportunity for good Canadians to vote against the monster Trump. It is just the sort of idea which will emerge from a gender-balanced brain trust a bit high on soy. Because decent, good Canadians hate Trump and if Trudeau is seen to stand up to the orange ogre we will all troop to the ballot box in Trudeau’s support. While I think that is unlikely, it is really all these clowns have left.

Which is very bad news for Canada. Because Trump is not kidding on tariffs and could care less if all the Canadas rise as one in support of the Little Potato. As I pointed out below, at virtually no cost to the American economy, Trump can pretty much wipe out the one bit of manufacturing which exists in the so-called “Golden Triangle”. And if Ms. Freeland thinks he is inappropriate now, imagine how fast her finger will have to wag if he hits oil and lumber with the same sort of across the board tariff.

A lot of diplomacy and trade strategy can be learned in a school yard. Six grade one students are unwise trying to take on the kid in grade seven. While they might be able to slow him down they can’t actually hurt him, but one solid punch from the big kid and a little kid is laid out flat. Is that fair? Of course not. But it is how the world works.

Poking a bear is never, ever, smart.

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Things just got real

Justin Trudeau, in a bizarre performance at the final press conference of the G-7 conference, managed to thoroughly piss off Donald Trump. To the point that Trump called him dishonest.

Now the Donald is going to be occupied with North Korea for the next few days and, at a guess, having withdrawn America’s consent to the G-7 communique may simply forget Trudeau’s deeply cowardly remarks. (It is cowardly to say things about a person when they have left the building when you had the opportunity to say them to that person’s face.) That is the best Trudeau can hope for. More likely, Trump will have detailed a hard man in a suit to run the numbers on Canada’s trade with the US and find out just how many cars we send south every year. These are not hard answers to find and when those numbers go back to Trump there is very little to stop him from dropping a 25% tariff on those cars.

I said over at Kate’s that the Americans see trade negotiations as business, the Canadians see them as politics.

From a business perspective, a 25% tariff on cars made in Canada will lead to more cars being made in the US. The transition will be a bit uncomfortable for a number of large US companies but in the overall American economy, it will be a blip.

In Canada? In Canada, more specifically Ontario, the destruction of the auto industry would be a full scale, all hands on deck, disaster. Realistically, the auto sector is Ontario’s largest private sector employer and the largest manufacturing sector. Being priced out of the US market would kill tens of thousands of well-paid jobs.

Trump has taken the measure of Trudeau and his tiny, annoying, Minister of External Affairs,¬†Chrystia Freeland and concluded they are featherweights. Which means that Canada is potentially screwed because Trump has no faith in our leadership. You don’t call people dishonest publically if you plan to do business with them.

It is unlikely that Trudeau will be aware of just how badly he has failed for a few days. The Canadian media are heavily invested in a narrative which has Justin standing up to the big, bad, Trump. Trudeau’s tone-deaf advisors are, no doubt, revelling in the fact they got lots of “gender” language into the communique.

It will take a few days for the more sober side of the media to realize what peril Trudeau has put us in. And a few more for the geniuses in the PMO to figure out that Trump is not playing the same game as they are.

When they do figure it out the question will arise, “What the fuck do we do now?”

As I am quite sure Butz and his posse read this blog I have a simple suggestion.

Normally, I would have suggested they get in touch with Simon Reisman who negotiated both the Auto-Pac and NAFTA. Alas, Reisman is dead.

Second best by a long shot? Brian Mulroney. A man I have next to no time for but who a) managed to get Canadians onboard for NAFTA, b) was a quite successful Canadian Prime Minister, c) is wired into both Trump World and broad swaths of corporate America.

If Trudeau could get Mulroney to do it Mulroney would be going into the US with a serious, well thought out, everything on the table, pitch. Likely starting with first principles – no tariffs, no subsidies, no non-tariff barriers. Be prepared to dump dairy and end transhipment of Chinese steel. And pitch it to the Trump people as the template for the deals which could be made with the EU, Japan, India and so on. (China is a whole other thing.)

The key point here is that Canada has to move, and move quickly, away from the finger-wagging politics of gender inclusion and climate change to a hard-nosed business approach to getting the best deal we can with an America which is now willing to put its own interests first.

Our leverage is that, while Trump is perfectly willing to talk tough, he also seems to like having a few friends. Canada, notwithstanding our dolt of a PM, has been and could be the staunch friend Trump needs.

Mulroney might just be able to pull this off. Here’s why:

[Back story: Peter Newman released a set of transcripts of Mulroney “unbuttoned” without Mulroney’s consent.]

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MOGA!

Amidst the wailings and the lamentations at the Ford victory in Ontario, (and Dr. Dawg is pitch perfect outside the Twittersphere here) a singular fact has emerged: voter turnout, which had been in decline for two decades bounced up to 58%.

I have no idea whether or not Ford is actually a conservative or a populist (which are not the same thing) but what he is is very different from the run of Progressive Conservative leaders of the past few decades. Those leaders had a tendancy to reflexively adopt bien pensant thinking on things like climate change for fear of alienating perceived elites. Ford was never going to win the Annex or in Ontario’s university towns nor was he going to win a lot of votes from well paid members of public service unions so he was free to take a somewhat more reasonable, conservative, line. That, in turn, meant that real conservative voters, instead of staying home because voting would make no difference, seem to have shown up to the polls.

It will take a bit of analysis to see if that hypothesis is actually true – the question being the relative voting strength of the Conservatives in this election compared to the last two or three – but it is an idea that other conservative parties in Canada should be looking at. Running real conservatives on real conservative platforms might just bring disenchanted conservative voters out to the polls.

One other thought: contrary to received opinion, being dubbed a mini-Trump is not quite the kiss of death it was thought to be.  There are, I suspect, a significant number of Canadians who rather like Agent Orange but are unwilling to take the social risk of saying so in the Great Progressive North.

 

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Tit for Tattle

Oh Good, a trade war….we’re hitting the Americans where it hurts. This usually works out well.

Here’s a counter suggestion: total, real, free trade. No tarriffs either way on Canadian or US made and manufactured goods. An open border for evrything from steel to cheese. (And yes, the dairy farmers will scream…let’em.)

Canada is not going to win a trade war with its biggest trading partner. It is a silly idea and one which only the Liberals could come up with. But we could be creative and say, unilaterally, that we are eliminating all tarrifs and other barriers to US made goods. That would swat the ball back into Trump’s court.

So far as can be seen, the biggest US gripe about Canada is transhipment of Chinese goods. We can deal with that with a value add requirement.

Trump is never going to give an inch to retaliation. He’d rather die. But a better deal for Canada and the US, now we are talking.

And, best of all, cheap cheese and wine and all manner of good things.

Preston Manning/Jordan Peterson….separated at birth

Driving along today I had an epiphany. Jordan Peterson and Preston Manning sound remarkably the same:

Here’s Preston:

And here’s Jordan:

Now this is not a huge surprise:

Peterson was born on June 12, 1962, and grew up in Fairview, Alberta, a small town northwest of his birthplace Edmonton, in Canada.

Manning was born born June 10, 1942 in Edmonton, Alberta.

Manning drove the Canadian left crazy for years, now Peterson is performing the same service. Is it the ideas or is it the dreaded “Edmonton” accent?

Now, if only someone could get Peterson to say “Reform Party”….

#FREETOMMY

Everywhere I hear the sound of marching, charging feet, boy
‘Cause summer’s here and the time is right for fighting in the street, boy
Well 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
‘Cause 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 just 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 just no place for a street fighting man
No
Songwriters: Keith Richards / Mick Jagger
Street Fightin’ Man lyrics ¬© Abkco Music, Inc

I am not a particular fan of Tommy Robinson. But his lightening arrest, trial and sentencing may serve the larger purpose of putting people in the streets in support of free speech.

5000 in London is not a lot. But it may be enough to bring the Football Lads Alliance (and here is the Vice article) into the street and then the outrage at Robinson’s railroading to prison will have some legs. As will the outrage at the publication ban which a) has cowed the British Press, b) created an international Streisand effect with everyone, including Donald Trump Jr, commenting, c) demonstrated just how lame Facebook and Twitter really are (#FreeTommy should be trending hard…instead it is nowhere).

To date, the regular Brits have pretty much shut up and hoped for the best. Jailing Robinson for essentially standing in front of a Courthouse and then putting up a suppression order to prevent any comment may be the step too far which brings those regular Brits into the streets.

 

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