Category Archives: #donaldtrump

No News is No News

Just watched the 20 minute Chrystia Freeland “news” conference.

Apparently she’s promised “not to negotiate in public” which means she is unwilling to address any substantive questions at all.

This week’s talks have ended but they will be back at it Wednesday of next week.

Just one problem, which Freeland, of course, dodged, Trump has basically said that he is not moving on any of the key points and that he’d be just as happy to drop a 25% tariff on Canadian made cars. Kinda tough to negotiate around that.

Which means that, after a week of “intense” negotiations Freeland is going back to Canada with nothing except the fact that The Donald is planning on taking his bilateral agreement with Mexico and notifying Congress that it will be signed 90 days from now.

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Here’s Hoping

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Sundance is a remarkably well informed American commentator who pays attention to trade. The above is not confirmed but if that turns out to be the Canadian position the politics will be fascinating.

A complete capitulation to Trump would make Trudeau look like the wimp most of us already think he is. It would also give us a chance to catch the tailwind of the current American economic boom.

It would, I suspect, cause the left in Canada to implode simply because it would suggest that their hero Justin takes business more seriously than posturing. And when you give up posturing what does the left have left?

As Trump would say, “We’ll see what happens,” but real Canadian patriots have to hope that common sense prevailed and that we are on the road to genuine free trade with our friends to the south.

[Note seeing much action on the CDN/USD front. If the above is true I would expect a fairly sharp rise in the value of the Canadian dollar.]

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So, Justin, nice little country you got there….

Trump, Trudeau, trade, Mexico“Canada will start negotiations shortly. I’ll be calling the Prime Minister very soon. And we’ll start negotiation, and if they’d like to negotiate fairly, we’ll do that. You know, they have tariffs of almost 300 percent on some of our dairy products, and we can’t have that. We’re not going to stand for that.

I think with Canada, frankly, the easiest thing we can do is to tariff their cars coming in. It’s a tremendous amount of money and it’s a very simple negotiation. It could end in one day and we take in a lot of money the following day.” President Trump in phone call with President of Mexico announcing bilateral trade deal

The orange bully, poopy head is being mean to our mighty Prime Minister and his trade negotiators. Basically the US, having been insulted by our PM and getting thoroughly fed up with the gender equality/climate change/social justice pretensions of the Great White North, cut a deal with the Mexicans. Sunset clause and all.

Now, Trump may call Justin – assuming Justin is in the office – and he may be willing to do a bilateral trade deal, but there is no particular reason the US needs a deal. And they certainly don’t need one with big dairy tariffs and gender equality.

See the big stick? Yup, auto tariffs. Which is to say the end of Ontario’s economy.

Now, our brilliant Prime Minister and his advisers are pretty convinced that the path to their next majority lies in running against Trump. Because Canadians hate Trump and they line up to demonstrate their patriotism by supporting Justin when he stands up to the orange ogre.

Here’s the thing: Trump and his people don’t care.

Justin’s tough guy stance has reduced Canada to the status of ankle biter among nations. We used to box above our weight internationally – or at least we told ourselves we did. Trump is a realist. He doesn’t need Canada. And he certainly doesn’t need a dim, virtue signalling Canadian Prime Minister to tell him about climate change and indigenous people.

So, realistically, it may be a while before the Prime Ministerial phone rings.

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State of Play

After the Manafort verdicts and the Cohen plea deal, if you were watching MSM, you could be forgiven for thinking that Trump would be packing his bags and getting ready to resign rather than be impeached. Forgiven but still more than a little wrong.

What has actually happened is that one former associate has been convicted on eight out of 18 counts of assorted financial irregularities a decade ago. No Russia, no Trump. But the Cohen plea deal is much more interesting. Essentially Cohen, as part of the allocution leading to the guilty plea, said that he was directed to make payments which would influence the outcome of the election and that this constituted a campaign finance law violation and therefore the person giving him the direction also violated the law.

Cue the Democrats and the MSM. Trump committed a crime, Trump conspired, Trump is not a legitimate President, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee should not be considered because Trump is only in the White House because he committed a crime…and so on. The theme of the day yesterday and I expect pretty much all this week is that Cohen admitted to criminal behaviour and therefore Trump is a criminal for telling him to commit the crime.

When it comes to Trump the MSM is willing to seize on any reed, no matter how slender, to come up with something, anything, to do him down.

Paying off the floozies, or settling lawsuits or paying out subcontractors is pretty normal course business. But wait, this was not billionaire Trump doing it, it was candidate Trump so that’s different…its a reportable campaign contribution and he didn’t report it. Probably not. Watching relatively sane people discuss the question, a reportable campaign contribution is a payment made to, exclusively, further the campaign. Buying a new suit may enhance a candidate’s appearance and therefore contribute to his campaign, but it is also just a normal course transaction and therefore unlikely to be found to be a reportable campaign contribution. And you can go a long way into those woods if you really start looking at the law going to reportable campaign contributions.

The fact that Michael Cohen, in his allocution, said it was a contribution designed to further the Trump campaign is immaterial, particularly as an allocution is only evidence as against the person making it. Cohen’s – or more precisely, the SDNY Assistant DA’s – characterization of the law is not actually the law and, because this will not be going to trial, is not in any sense a finding of law.

It also contradicts Cohen’s prior versions of his story. Plus, it is the statement of a man who has a prosecutorial gun to his head in the form of a sentencing recommendation on the other charges which are, pretty clearly, actual violations of the law.

From Trump’s perspective, Manafort and Cohen are now off the board. It is possible that one or both of them, faced with decades in prison, will “remember” some form of “collusion with the Russians” but, unless they have really solid evidence, those memories are unlikely to gain much purchase. Manafort is already fading from the headlines simply because nothing he was convicted of has anything to do with Trump. Cohen will have a slightly longer half-life if only because his lawyer is an old-time Clintonista and is more than willing to suggest that Cohen has the real dirt on Trump.

But the excitement of bringing these two rascals to court is going to fade fast. Meanwhile, the Dems are hollering for “Impeachment”. It is not very clear that failing to report a possible campaign contribution quite clears the bar of “high crime and misdemeanour”; but no matter, the Democrats want a chance to impeach the Orange Menace.

For the next two months, Trump will be on the road campaigning for Republican Congressional candidates. He’ll stage rallies, tweet his “full and total endorsement”, brag, goose the economy, invite people to the White House and push his band of deplorables to get out the vote. The Republican vote. The Mueller investigation will grind on but it is increasingly irrelevant simply because it has not managed to come up with any actual links between the Trumpsters and the evil Russians.

However, the Mueller investigation is not the only politically significant investigation in operation. The Congressional investigation into the activities of the FBI and the DOJ with respect to the Hillary emails, the DNC hack, the surveillance of the Trump campaign, the Steele dossier and its use to obtain FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign, the improper unmasking of American persons by Obama administration officials, the complicity of MSM in the partisan leaks of the FBI and the general corruption of the FBI/DOJ under Obama is coming to a boil. Unlike the Mueller investigation or the trial of Manafort or the plea of Cohen, Trump holds all the cards in the corruption scandal because he can declassify the documents, texts and emails which document what is almost certain to be the largest, most insidious, scandal ever to hit American politics.

Right now this scandal is missing two things: a convenient, memorable, nickname like “Watergate” and an insider whistleblower who can simplify and connect the dots. I suspect both things will be supplied around the second to third week of September. Real crimes committed by senior government officials all of whom supported, well, Hillary. The Democrats won’t stand a chance.

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High farce, shenanigans and treason

Hillary Clinton, Donald TrumpThe breathless revelations that Michael “not a consigliere” Cohen recorded his phone call(s) to Trump to discuss buying the rights to a Playmate’s tell all about the Donald were trumped by the rumour that Mueller was going to subpoena testimony from a famous New York Madame who was tied up in the Elliot Spitzer scandal and once worked for the very creepy Roger Stone. Special Counsel Mueller, unable to find any connection between Trump and Russians, has opted for the endless delights of exposing the seamy underbelly of the Big Apple. He’ll be busy for years with the “gotcha” just around another New York City corner. Some curmudgeons are complaining about the cost of Mueller’s Special Counsel sitcom. Not this one, I think the American People are getting great value for money. Entire television series have had less plot and fewer doubtful characters than the Mueller show and I, for one, am very grateful.

The serious minded, front of the room, kids do have a point that Mueller is serving as a distraction from the investigation of the previous administration’s abuse of the Intelligence Community, the DOJ and the FBI in the small matter of the assorted FISA Court applications for surveillance on minor Trump operatives. Which is true; but it is also largely irrelevant. Unlike the “Trump colluded with the Russians” farce, there are facts of the matter in the FISA case and general abuse of process by the last administration and those facts have been committed to paper. That exposing those facts is taking a very long time is frustrating but it is not fatal to the enterprise of exposing who did what. The FISA application and renewals were on paper and signed by identifiable people. The White House and UN Ambassador “unmaskings” of US persons left a paper trail. The use of the Steele dossier (and its very interesting manner of compilation) to obtain the FISA warrants are all ripe for exposure. The critical fact being that Trump, as the head of the Executive Branch, can declassify all of these documents. Why he has not done so until now is a bit of a mystery but, on a bet, I would say he is keeping his powder dry as the Mueller farce plays out.

But now we roll around to treason. The lengthy report of the DOJ Inspector General confirmed – as if confirmation were needed – that the “investigation” into Hillary Clinton’s illegal use of a personal server for government business was pro forma at best and a politically motivated whitewash at worst. The FBI’s finest reduced themselves to Keystone Kops in their zeal to protect Hilly (and her henchpeople) from the consequences of her choice to run her own, private, communications setup. It ignored the fact that this server and the classified information which went through it, was almost certainly compromised by multiple enemies and potential enemies of the American State.

There is simply no room for doubt left: Clinton, for her own purposes, created a private communications network which was then compromised by foreign state actors. Now, was this treason per the US Constitution. Probably not.

“Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

Treason requires that an individual actively give support to America’s enemies and while Clinton and her people were grossly negligent, it appears that they were simply too stupid to think through the consequences of the Secretary of State running an insecure server. (Or, as seems more likely, too arrogant to care about those consequences.)

However, despite the learned “Judge” Comely rewriting the standard of proof for the Espionage Act, no requirement of intent to give aid and comfort to America’s enemies is to be found in that Act. In fact, no intent at all is required for an action to attract the effects of that Act. Simply being careless with classified information is enough to attract charges.

If the FBI, at the conclusion of a good faith investigation had recommended charges against Clinton and her staffers, it would have discharged its duty and left the decision to prosecute where it belonged, at the DOJ. Instead, Comely and a number of other FBI staffers conducted a sloppy, irregular investigation and then Comely arrogated the charging authority from the DOJ on the basis of then AG Lynch’s ill advised tarmac meeting with Hilly’s husband Bill. This was entirely improper. The charging decision is the DOJ’s not the FBI’s and if Lynch believed herself compromised, she could easily have recused herself and allowed a deputy to make the call.

It might have gone the same way, but the DOJ exercises a supervisory role with respect to the FBI and an honest DOJ official would have wanted to review the investigation before reaching the odd legal conclusion that the Act required “intent” when it expressly does not.

The farce, shenanigans and near treason all go back to a common origin story: the cack-handed decision to let Hillary walk away from her actions in creating an illegal, private, communications network when she was Secretary of State. Once that decision was made the Intelligence Community, the FBI, the DOJ and the White House had to pray that Hillary would win the election and that these decisions would stay safely swept under the carpet. Some members of those communities did more than pray leading to the FISA applications, the Steele dossier, the unmaskings and the questionable surveillance of the Trump campaign.

It was the mainspring of what FBI man Peter Stzrok described as an “insurance policy”, a means of defeating Trump even if he actually managed to win the election. Because the IC, FBI, DOJ and ex-Obama Whitehouse operatives knew that if Trump won, they all were in huge jeopardy of prosecution for their roles in exonerating Hilly and spying on Trump.

Can’t wait.

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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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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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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.

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.

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