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Happy Canada Day!

Canada Day, Canadian ElitesMy little town on the Saanich Peninsula really puts on a show for Canada Day weekend. Because of the competition from Victoria’s Inner Harbour, we have our fireworks on Canada Day Eve. My youngest son, a fireworks enthusiast, rode his fixed gear bike the five miles in and five miles back. Tons of fun. Today there will be a parade, concerts and a general sense of a holiday. There are Canadian flags everywhere – we are not quite American with our flag mania, but there are a lot of them on display. Curmudgeons such as myself make sure our kids know that the real name for July 1 is Dominion Day and all that.

Meanwhile, the CBC has been polling Canadians and found that “nearly 80 per cent of Canadians either strongly or somewhat agree with the statement: “My country is divided between ordinary people and elites.” CBC At that link there is a long article suggesting that populist politicians are making use of the term “elite” in a derogatory way and that no one really quite knows what “elite” means.

Given that, in democracies, there is a certain amount of delicacy which surrounds frank discussion of elites, it is not surprising that no one is able to precisely describe what makes up an elite. The CBC and the guy on the street they interview are clear that it is not “money” per se. In fact, culture is more important than money in determining a person’s elite status and that culture, while in principle accessible, is, in practice, exclusionary. And it is exclusionary in very subtle ways.

To give an example, a million years ago I arrived for my first day at a very elite law school. It was actually, on the numbers, harder to get into than Havard Law. If ever there was an elite in embryo it was the hundred and fifty young men and women in that class. After a silly welcoming speech, there were cocktails and we set about getting to know each other as only a group in which fully 50% had been their high school president can. After a while, it got a little tedious as people humble-bragged about going to a “Boston area college” and how doing a triple honours degree set them up for the rigours of a legal education. My mind wandered and I began looking at the actual appearance of this class. There were virtually no fat people. In general, both the men and women seemed a bit taller than average. There were few, if any, people of colour. There were lots of WASPs and lots of Jews (the school shut down for Jewish High Holidays). There were lots of what I later came to understand were “good” hair cuts and the clothes were casual but lots of Ralph Lauren. But what was most striking were the teeth. So far as I could see there was exactly one person in that class who had not either been born with perfectly straight teeth or had access to orthodontry from an early age.

Now, having straight teeth does not make you a member of the elite, not noticing how unusual it is for a group of a hundred and fifty people to have straight teeth, does.

The CBC interviewee, Tony Laino, at Fordfest, said describing elites, “”Those that think they’re better than me,” he said. “Because I don’t espouse their beliefs.”

Which misses the point. Elites really don’t think of guys like Tony Laino at all. Largely because, as Charles Murray points out in Coming Apart, the new upper class rarely, if ever, meets the Tony Lainos of the world. Murray was writing about white people in America but much the same social bi-furcation is taking place in Canada. Murray looks at education, wealth, marriage, access and what he refers to as the rise of the super-zips, areas where highly educated, well connected, well off people live with others of their class and kind. It is an accelerating phenomenon in the US and it is plainly visible in Canada. Murray quotes Robert Reich as calling this, “the segregation of the successful”.

Inside elite communities “the issues” look very different than they do in the more pedestrian parts of the country. A few pennies extra for gas or heating oil or natural gas to fight the universally acknowledged menace of “climate change” makes perfect sense if your income is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. It is downright terrifying if you are making $50K. Only bigots and racists could be anti-imigration when you, yourself, live in virtually all white, old stock, Canadian enclaves and welcome refugees and migrants who you will never see.

The populist moment has not yet come to Canada and, if Andrew Scheer’s brand of Liberal lite wins in October, there will probably be another decade of elite consolidation before a proper populist movement gets off the ground. Whether it will be right populism a la Trump and Farange, or left populism with a firebrand NDP leader, is hard to say. However, as the Canadian elite grows more insular and disconnected from the ordinary life of Canada and Canadians, that populist moment draws closer.

Happy Canada Day!

 

 

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The Politics of Climate Change

The Labour Party in Australia was widely touted as the sure-fire winner in the recent Australian election. One of its key policy position was a renewed commitment to fighting “climate change”. To the Australian media, polling and establishments complete astonishment, Labour lost.

There are multiple explanations for the loss but running with “doing something about climate change” as the central theme of a campaign figures prominantly. Australia is a resource rich, sparsely populated country and energy and mining issues are real pocketbook issues for many Australians. Labour’s climate change policies were seen as very hard on extractive industries and as, potentially, raising energy prices a lot.

The climate change issue in Australia was not fought on a skeptics vs. believers basis so far as I can make out. The Coalition – at least most of it – seemed to accept that the science was settled (big mistake in my view) and that climate change was real and that it needed to be addressed. But the Coalition was clear that it would not cripple the Australian economy or Australian consumers with measures which were very unlikely to make any difference at all to temperature now or in the future. Labour, on the other hand, stressed the urgency of “doing something” about climate change.

I suspect this divide between people who think “doing something” about climate change (no matter how futile) and people who do not accept the urgency of dealing with something they really don’t believe in will inform politics in the West for the next few years. Most particularly, it will inform the next Canadian federal election.

The Liberal Party of Canada has been going all in on its “tax on carbon pollution” (a fine bit of wordsmithing managing to attach “carbon” to “pollution”). Led by the remarkably scolding Catherine McKenna, the Libs seem to think that purporting to “do something” about climate change is a vote winner. So McKenna tours the country speaking to uncritical school children and assorted environmentalists about how important having a “carbon tax” is. The Liberals tax will save the planet, ensure sea level rise stops (easy because sea level is not actually rising), save the Arctic ice cap (already saving itself, thank you), keep polar bears from extinction (also easy because virtually all polar bear populations are growing) and reduce or eliminate climate change “caused” weather events. Plus, Canada will honour its Paris Accord commitments (we won’t) and serve as a beacon to lesser nations like China and India in their efforts to combat climate change (as if).

The Liberals think that the fact that a carbon dioxide tax in Canada will have a rounding error effect on worldwide emissions and no detectable effect on world temperature does not matter politically. What matters politically is that the Liberals believe that there is a large constituency out there which urgently wants to “do something”.

The NDP is fully on board and, of course, the Greens have been banging the climate change drum forever. Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives seem to be on the fence. Like the Coalition in Australia, the Conservatives endorse the “climate change is a problem” line and very few are willing to challenge the underlying science or economics for fear of being branded uncool “climate change deniers”. But the Conservatives seem to be, prudently in my view, dragging their feet on “doing something” about CO2.

Political virtue signalling on the climate file is the easy part. All that is really required is the abandonment of any sort of scientific judgement (easy when you are told that all the scientists agree that climate change is real and primarily human caused) and policy skepticism (we don’t need a cost benefit analysis, this is an emergency!). The hard part occurs when you try to “do something”. Because doing something means that people are going to see their expenses rise without actually seeing (in any tangible way) any actual benefit. In fact, as Ontario’s wonderfully disastrous adventure in wind energy demonstrated, tax dollars can be wasted and consumer prices increased all without making any difference at all to the climate.

Scheer could have the climate change issue nailed if he was willing to set a basic standard for any program designed to address climate change. The standard would be that such projects need to be fully costed and their benefits fully enumerated. Scheer can take climate change “seriously” by demanding that any attempt to address climate change have a provable effect on climate change. How much will a given program reduce CO2 emissions and how will such a reduction in emissions in Canada effect world average temperature. That standard would appeal to those of us who are skeptical about the science. But it should also appeal to people who completely buy the science and really believe there is a climate emergency.

The Liberals, NDP and Greens will be running on the “do something” ticket. The Conservatives have the option of running on the “do something effective” platform. Setting a minimum price for carbon dioxide emissions, in theory, should reduce those emissions in Canada. But will that reduction, in Canada and only in Canada, be enough to do anything at all about climate change? That’s a real question and one the Liberals have, so far, refused to answer.

 

 

The Climate Catechism

Our Minister of the Environment, when she is not touting science advice from entertainer Bill Nye, has taken it upon herself to introduce a motion in the House of Commons which affirms the articles of the climate alarm faith.

  • That the House recognize that:
  • (a) climate change is a real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity, that impacts the environment, biodiversity, Canadians’ health, and the Canadian economy;
  • (b) Canadians are feeling the impacts of climate change today, from flooding, wildfires, heat waves and other extreme weather events which are projected to intensify in the future;
  • (c) climate change impacts communities across Canada, with coastal, northern and Indigenous communities particularly vulnerable to its effects; and
  • (d) action to support clean growth and meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all parts of the economy are necessary to ensure a safer, healthier, cleaner and more prosperous future for our children and grandchildren;
  • and, therefore, that the House declare that Canada is in a national climate emergency which requires, as a response, that Canada commit to meeting its national emissions target under the Paris Agreement and to making deeper reductions in line with the Agreement’s objective of holding global warming below two degrees Celsius and pursuing efforts to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

This is a religious rather than political (much less scientific) document. It is framed in such a way as to make voting against the motion an act of heresy rather than a policy disagreement.

climate change is a real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity” is the equivalent of the ringing declaration of faith embodied in the Nicene Creed’s opening,

“We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.”

If you doubt that, if you cannot fully affirm that, you will have a very hard time being a Christian. So it is with Climate Barbie’s attestation of climate change faith.

Which is the challenge for Conservatives. Many, if not all, of the Conservative MPs will have legitimate doubts about elements of this motion, but dare they vote against it given that it embodies the fundamental doctrine that “climate change is a real and urgent crisis”? Can they go back to their constituencies accused of apostasy? Of denying the life-defining reality of climate change?

What McKenna and the Liberals are trying to do is elevate the truth of climate change above questions of policy much less science. Either you are a righteous person who accepts the truth of a national climate crisis or you are an evil climate denier, heathen and all round no-goodnick.

The sad fact is that, while there will be Conservative MPs willing to have the courage of their doubts, I suspect the vast majority will opt for the quiet life and give Climate Barbie their vote.

Henry IV of France is reported to have said, “Paris is worth a Mass.” I fear that even the more intelligent Conservatives, rather than fight the Liberals and their tame media, will make a similar calculation and affirm the cultish nonsense McKenna is peddling.

Sad.

 

Separated at Birth

My son, Sam, pointed out a potential source for Canada’s new gay dollar.

Kenny for the Win

Jason Kenny, Alberta ElectionI am not exactly surprised. 62/25.

Edmonton was the outlier but, realistically, where do the civil servants live?

Unlike many a provincial Premier, Jason Kenny has played in Ottawa. He’s done the ethnic politics thing. He knows how the mandarinate in Ottawa thinks and he is going to be a formidable foe for Justin Trudeau.

Best of all, he realizes what hogwash carbon taxes are and he’ll kill Alberta’s.

A great night for Alberta, likely a great night for Canada.

Amateurs

The great and the good huddled in a Commons Committee to consider how they would investigate the allegation that Prime Minister Trudeau or his gunsels leaned on the AG, Jody Wilson-Raybould with respect to the SNC-Lavalin affair (as the CBC so delicately puts it).

Here’s a hint lads: you call all the people who were involved or who might have been involved. Otherwise the “investigation” is a farce from the go.

Here’s the other hint, people notice this stuff.

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Bit Snowy…

And the power keeps going out…But pretty:

Br. John

My friend Br. John is hitting a bit of a wall.

https://www.gofundme.com/suitable-accommodation

Br. John is the Pastor of a wee flock in Youbou, BC…no really and he is a good and kind man.

I had the great priviledge of conducting his congressional ordination. I fear my bishop’s mitre was at the dry cleaners.

Br. John is a great gift to the little community of Youbou. There are very few actually Christian people in this world and Br. John is one of them.

If you can, please help him out.

https://www.gofundme.com/suitable-accommodation

Br. John and a parishioner.

 

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Perfect!

Rachel Notley ,Transmountain, pipeline, climate change Alberta will pull out of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national climate change plan until construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion gets back on track, Premier Rachel Notley said Thursday after the Federal Court of Appeal quashed approvals for the project.

“As important as climate action is to our province’s future I have also always said that taking the next step, in signing on to the federal climate plan, can’t happen without the Trans Mountain pipeline,” Notley told reporters in a live address Thursday evening.

“So today I am announcing that with the Trans Mountain halted, and the work on it halted, until the federal government gets its act together; Alberta is pulling out of the federal climate plan,” she added.

“And let’s be clear, without Alberta that plan isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” CBC

Of course the national climate change plan was idiotic from the get go; but I love Notley underbussing it when the Federal Court crashes Transmountain. It is, needless to say, purely Alberta political; but Notley is essentially saying that she only signed on to get “social licence” rather than to save the Earth. Faced with the delay, if not death, of a means of shipping Alberta oil to the sea, the Hell with “saving the Planet”. Ace!

Which goes to show just how seriously the great and the good take this “climate change” thingee. The national climate plan would have done sweet fuck all to reduce global temperatures because a) science, b) Canada’s tiny emissions footprint as compared to the Chinese et al, c) it’s virtue signalling all the way down. Alberta put up its virtue signal but it was just not enough for the Federal Court.

So she’s pulled. And good for her. And good for Alberta.

The wheels are coming off the climate change bus. The hypocrisy is being exposed and no one seriously thinks Canada’s efforts are going to make a speck of difference (even assuming the science is right which it isn’t.)

Trudeau, and the egregious “Climate Barbie”, are losing this tournament of idiots. They don’t have the science, they don’t have the policy and now they don’t have Alberta.

All good.

FISA….Boo!

Hillary Clinton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So the Carter Page FISA application and subsequent renewals were released in massively redacted form today. Like any redacted document it is difficult, if not impossible, to know what, precisely, the FBI based its application on but there are some pretty solid hints:

  1. The whole thing got rolling as the result of a concern at the John Kerry State Department which was transmitted to the FBI. Rumour had reached State that The Donald might have ties to Russians. (No actual evidence, but rumour is what diplomats deal in.)
  2. There was a dossier compiled by a trusted (albeit by the second renewal, fired) FBI informant – pretty quickly identified as British spook Christopher Steele suggesting that at least one Trump operative was communicating with Russian “sanctioned persons”. That operative was former FBI asset Carter Page now identified as a agent of foreign influence.
  3. There were media reports that the Trump campaign was in communication with the Russians.

This, despite a lack of actual verification, was enough for the FISA judge and the surveillance of Carter Page and, of course, people who were one, or even two hops, from him was begun and continued.

All of this pretty much comports with the story which has been emerging from the Congressional Committees charged with the oversight of US intelligence operations.

This would be the shenanigans I referred to earlier. The whole point of the FISA process is to demand, ex parte, at least probable cause for believing that a US Person was, in fact, acting as an agent of a foreign government. If FISA worked that probable cause would require actual evidence.

Rumour – even from the State Department – is not evidence. It might be a basis upon which to look for evidence but, in itself, it is simply rumour.

A dossier, prepared by a non-American based on reports from secondary Russian sources is not evidence. It is hearsay of a pretty pungent sort. Perhaps good enough for informal counter-intelligence work but hardly the stuff warrants are made of.

Media reports don’t even make it to hearsay. Especially given that the sources of the rumours the media were reporting would appear to have been Mr. Steele, his handlers and the FBI.

In fact, it would appear that the Obama administration through State and, probably, the CIA, manufactured a confection of innuendo which managed to fool no less than four FISA judges. (Which says a lot about the necessity of reforming the FISA process beginning with actually inviting the existing FISA cleared privacy attorneys to participate in the process to test the evidence and prevent this sort of abuse.)

Carter Page was obviously not the target. If he had been he would have been charged by this point.

So what was the target?

The answer seems to be having legal cover for a systematic program of spying on the Trump campaign. Trump was ridiculed for claiming his campaign had been “wiretapped”. It probably was not “wiretapped” in the fine old tradition of the FBI. However, it was certainly surveilled using Page as the pretext.

To what end? Now that is an open question at this point. It might have been that Obama and his gunsels were curious about Trump’s weird and, obviously, losing campaign. Or it might have been that there was a genuine belief that Trump had, somehow, been instrumental in hacking the DNC server and Podesta’s email account and that this needed to be investigated. After all, Trump said on stage that if the Russians had the emails he’d like to see them, or something like that. It was obviously a joke but liberals have a very literal sense of humour – if they have any at all.

But my own sense is that the concern was very much deeper. By the time Trump came down the escalator, the Obama Administration was well aware that Hilly had run her own server and her own private communications network. Obama himself had sent emails to that server. The Administration was also aware that the DNC server had been hacked (or, more neutrally, compromised) and they were, not unrealistically, concerned about what might have been taken from either server.

The Obama Administration would have had a pretty clear idea of what had been on both the Clinton server and the DNC server. There is all sorts of speculation as to what Hilly had to hide (“deliver the pallet of cash to Bill’s apartment”) but that may not have been the primary, national security, concern.

Servers receive information, they are also the point from which queries to databases are initiated.

We know that several people and entities – including Fusion GPS, the people who hired Christopher Steele – had been granted independent contractor’s access to the NSA databases which enabled them to conduct searches of particular persons. (Why the NSA would permit this is a question which should be asked and answered tout suite.) Could that same access have been granted to Secretary Clinton and, more troublingly, to the DNC?

The Clinton server was wiped, perhaps with a cloth, certainly with BleachBit, as soon as questions were raised about Hilly’s emails. (Phones, laptops and other computers were destroyed with the FBI’s co-operation as soon as the questions were raised. Poor Anthony Weiner didn’t get the memo and probably didn’t know that along with the kiddie porn he had Hilly’s emails (and likely some more interesting stuff) on his laptop – which is now imaged and waiting for analysis.)) The DNC refused to let the FBI look at its server and had private third-party Crowdstrike certify that the “break-in” was done by those darned Russians.

Hiding the servers suggests that there were things on the servers which shouldn’t have been. But now the servers are gone. Dead end?

Probably not. If there is one thing the NSA is good at it is logging who is querying its databases. It should have the IP of any computer which sent a query. While Hilly’s server may be in Bleachbit heaven there are very good records of every IP it ever operated on. The NSA is set up to do “About” queries.

This is only going to get more interesting.

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