Author Archives: Jay Currie

The Comey Diaries

Dear Diary,

I was shaking with anticipation as the POTUS Elect spoke.

James comey's diaryWould he keep me…or kick me to the curb?

He said so many nice things. He respected me. Other people liked me. I think I’m OK.

Love,

James


Dear Diary,

Tete a tete. Just a pretty little oval table between me and POTUS.

He kept going back to the pee thing. Ewww! But I had to tell him the mean girls say they, or that bad boy Putin, has the tapes.

He wants me to prove they don’t. How can I do that? He thinks his wife will be really angry and hurt and he’s right. I know mine would be.

But he really likes me. Wants me to stay. I want to stay.

What to do?

Love,

James


Dear Diary,

POTUS is so mean. He thinks my besty McCabe might not be honourable. What? Whoa! Just because his wifey took money from the Clintons?

Like, as if.

Andy is so true, so good.

Love,

James


Dear Diary,

Potus wants me to investigate the whole Russia thing. Which is so mean because, well, there is no Russia thing. He’s just being mean.

But I’ll fix him. He’s going to dump me but when he does…I’ll get Rosenstein to appoint my friend Bob to be a Special Counsel and then he’ll know he should have stayed with me.

I’m taller than he is.

Love,

James

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Wrong!

OK, I was hoping that Trump and Co would do something clever in Syria. I was wrong.

Shiny, new, smart missiles – well cruise missiles by and large – rained down on long evacuated targets in Syria last night. Another billion dollar fireworks display.

On the one hand I am delighted that there are no boots on the ground in this particular shit hole. On the other, there was so much more which could have been done with the Russians, Iranians and Syrians stuck in their bolt holes by Trump’s tweets.

Trump has made his point. There is a red line and he’s not letting it fade. But, as my elder son said over dinner, for 100 million the Syrians would probably have blown up their own buildings.

Sad.

War by Tweet

So yesterday Trump tweeted that he had “new, shiny and smart missiles”, or words to that effect, and he was thinking about answering the Syrian gas attack. The Russian fleet at Tartus scattered, The Iranian and Syrian forces rushed to Russian bases hoping that Trump is not going to start WWIII by hitting those bases.

Today Trump tweeted, “Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all! In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our “Thank you America?””

This is fun but it is also a fairly calculated effort to sow disarray in Syria.

The fact is that the Russian fleet is not particularly seaworthy. A lot of deferred maintenance. Floating around in the Med is not their best look and, in a week or two, ships are going to start breaking down. Nor is cowering beside the Russians a good look for either the Syrian regulars or the Iranian mercenaries. They may be safe – although likely not as safe as they think – but they are rendered ineffective.

“Keep’em guessing.” is a rather good tactical move by Trump and his commanders. There is no rush.

Scattering the cockroaches with a bright light is a painless way of making their position very clear indeed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Boom!

syria, donald trumpPresident Trump is rattling the sabres.  Tweeting that missiles, “nice and new and smart”, would be incoming to Syria.

The Russians, not being idiots, take the threat seriously enough that they have put their Syrian fleet – based at Tartus – out to sea. No point in restaging Pearl Harbour.

Hitting Assad and his Iranian allies is certainly something the Americans might want to do in the wake of yet another gas attack. But a missile barrage, even with shiny, new, smart missiles is not likely to do much other than annoy the Russians without defeating them. Is that worthwhile?

I don’t think much of Trump as a tactical thinker, he is more a limited strategic thinker able to identify “bad guys” and “America’s interests” without having any great insight into what to actually do. However, there are plenty of people in and around the White House who can figure out the tactics beginning with Defence Secretary Mathias. Mad Dog is not really a “fire and forget” kinda of guy.

The trouble with a missile barrage is that it really changes nothing. Some targets are obliterated, some low-level bad guys are killed. Its principal advantage is that it poses very little risk to American personnel. Tactically, a missile attack runs a small risk of interception by the Russian made air defences which are presently in Syria and taking out those defences ups the chances of escalation. But strategically, a pure missile attack is not going to move any needles.

Which is why, I suspect, Trump is tweeting about it. Telegraphing an attack is something Trump maintained he would not do. He likes secrecy when American forces are going into harm’s way. Trump haters will say Trump is incapable of keeping quiet but I don’t think they are right. Trump is making characteristically Trumpian noises and I suspect it is misdirection. If you are Secretary Mathias you know that you have a President who likes nothing more than to shake his tweeting fist. Why not use it?

The Americans are perfectly capable of inflicting real damage on the Syrians – and more importantly, the Iranians – but it will not be by means of shock and awe tactics. Special Forces, stealth munitions and precision artillery with down range spotters can have a devastating effect on people expecting an attack from a bunch of missiles. It is a more personal sort of warfare and it puts American troops at risk; but it would send a very clear message to the Syrians, the Iranians and their Russian backers. “We are willing to fight and fight smart.” A much more compelling message than a very expensive fireworks display.

At the same time, a very blunt message needs to be delivered to the Russians. “You need to leave Syria.” That message is only partially military – although silently taking out several of the S-400 air defence sites would underscore the message – its real thrust needs to be diplomatic and economic. As an economy, Russia is not doing very well in a world of inexpensive oil. Sanctions, plus accelerating the pace of LNG deliveries to Europe would hurt. So would leaning on the assorted oligarchs who prefer to live in the West while retaining Russian citizenship. Scouting around for Russian assets to sequester would also add to the pressure. Critically, the US needs to be very clear about what it wants.

I would think the ask would be along the lines of “Get out of Syria and support us in the sanctions we are about to drop on Iran.”

Get all that done and the US and its allies will not have to fire a single, nice and new and smart missile.

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Reducing Carbon “Pollution” – A Modest Proposal

It is easy to make fun of the Liberals and Catherine McKenna’s remarkably ill thought-out price on carbon “pollution” but what might work better? Well, obviously nuclear, especially given the advances in small, safe reactors; but that is a ten year program at minimum and would cost a lot of money. How can we cut Canada’s carbon pollution by over 2 million tons this year and for years into the future?

Here is a rather crappy looking spreadsheet which will, no doubt, break my blog. No matter.

It lists Canada’s top ten source countries for immigration, their per capita carbon footprint and the effect of having these people become Canadians with out 15.1 tonne per year per capita carbon footprint. You will probably have to scroll sideways to see the totals but, by brining in 165,000 extra people who, with the exception of our american friends, have lower carbon footprints than we do, we are adding 2.1 million tonnes of carbon a year to the load. Simply by closing the immigration door we would be saving that 2.1 million tonnes this year and for years afterwards.

 

Rank Country Number Percentage Carbon emissions per capita Total As Canadians Net Carbon Pollution
1 Philippines 50,846 18.70% 1.1 55,931 788,113 732,182
2 India 39,530 14.50% 1.9 75,107 612,715 537,608
3 People’s
Republic of China
19,532 7.20% 7.7 150,396 302,746 152,350
4 Iran 11,669 4.30% 8 93,352 180,870 87,518
5 Pakistan 11,329 4.20% 0.9 10,196 175,600 165,403
6 Syria 9,853 3.60% 1.6 WB 2014 15,765 302,746 286,981
7 United
States of America
7,522 3.00% 16.1 121,104 116,591 -4,513
8 France 5,807 2.00% 4.6 WB 2014 26,712 90,009 63,296
9 United
Kingdom and Colonies
5,451 2.00% 6.5 WB 2014 35,432 84,491 49,059
10 Nigeria 4,133 2.00% 0.5 2,067 64,062 61,995
165,672 Canadian Emissions 15.5 586,061 2,717,941 2,131,879

 

Can’t wait for Minister McKenna to announce the cessation of immigration from all countries with per capita carbon emissions less than Canada’s.

Take Time for this Minister

Catherine McKenna was on Evan Solomon’s CTV show and Evan asked a slightly difficult question about her carbon tax and its opponents.

“”I have no time for folks who are like, you know, ‘We shouldn’t take action,'” she said. “I don’t have time for politicians that play cynical games about climate action.” and “”I have time for Canadians who disagree with me, and I have conversations with them all the time…. But I don’t have time for politicians that pretend that climate change isn’t real.”

There are really only three questions which the Minister and the rest of the Liberal Government should be asked:

  1. How much will the proposed per tonne price on “pollution” reduce the emissions of this “pollution”?
  2. How much will this reduction – if any – reduce global temperature in, say, 50 years? (And with what degree of certainty?)
  3. How much will the “price on pollution” effect the Canadian economy?

Now these are basic questions and make no assumptions about the reality or unreality of “climate change”. They are certainly questions which a competent Minister proposing a significant tax should be able to answer. Now the answers will, necessarily be qualified: plus minus 10% is a reasonable standard. But the Minister has to be able to attach numbers to her proposals.

Otherwise she really will deserve the nickname “Climate Barbie”.

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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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Endgame

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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