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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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Oh Dear…

Who could have seen that coming?

Cryptocurrency is a very good idea. It is not going to be a popular idea. At least in the real world of banking/government/central banking. And, hey, do you really think Visa is going to fight that world…they are that world.


Moore’s the Pity

Roy Moore lost. But a tiny margin and there may be a recount but I suspect the result will stick. It was a nasty campaign but enough of the mud stuck that Republican voters stayed home. Turnout was low all round but the Democrats managed to get the black vote out in huge numbers and they were having none of Judge Moore (and really, who can blame them?). I suspect that had I been an Alabama voter I might well have stayed home simply because I find Moore’s socon message deeply unappealing.

Of course we will never hear from any of Moore’s teen dates again. They’ve served their purpose, why run the risk of exposure? And, with a little luck, we have heard the last of Roy Moore.

What we have not heard the last of is the Bannon insurgency. Bannon is a bright guy and he’ll learn from the Moore defeat. I am hoping he learns that to defeat a determined Democratic Party enemy you have to have a candidate with a few less negatives than Roy Moore. And you need a candidate entirely prepared to respond well to whatever dirty tricks the Democrats (or GOPe) come up with. Poor Moore was simply overwhelmed by the deeply deceitful attacks on his behaviour forty years ago.

The second thing Bannon needs to get right is the need to actually nominate candidates for whom the black vote is a locked box. There is a Trumpian message of jobs, jobs, jobs which will resonate in black communities if Bannonite candidates are willing to do the legwork to ensure it is heard.  The Democrats tend to see that vote as locked up with only the need to get the black voters to the polls. Bannon needs to hone a message which can reach black voters and break a few of them away from the Democratic plantation.

The third thing Bannon needs to do is understand that the media is the enemy and act accordingly. This is not about yelling “fake news” every ten minutes – the Donald has that covered – it is about providing a counter-narrative to the Democratic talking points so routinely parroted by MSM. But that counter-narrative cannot be the whole socon check list of guns and fetal rights (there is room for that but that is preaching to choir); instead the counter narrative needs to be about working Americans having a hard time because of the swamp creatures in Washington. Teddy Roosevelt got great mileage out of “the Square Deal” and his rather weak attempts to “trust bust”.

The Bannonites can put flesh on the Trumpian bones by taking a serious run at the Googles/Amazons/Apples as essentially monopolists of the internet. And they can take a solid run at illegal immigration as taking the jobs which ordinary Americans, and black and Hispanic Americans, need to get on the economic ladder.

Bannon sees his mission as economic nationalism. There was not a hint of this in Roy Moore’s campaign because, I suspect, it flew right over Moore’s head.

Right now Trump is presiding over a remarkable American recovery. He is winning on any number of fronts and this is likely to continue for some time. Surfing that wave Bannon needs to talk about ensuring that Americans gain the benefits they deserve from America’s economic resurgence.

Finally, Bannon needs to develop a deployable ground game. It does not need to be huge; but it needs to be effective and easy to roll out. Having a couple of hundred activists for each state Bannon wants to contest is an achievable goal and one which is a matter of networking and training. Putting together a mobile campaign school and hitting the key states where Bannon wants to target GOPe incumbents or candidates is a matter of a few million dollars and a bunch of organization.

Alabama was a closely fought battle narrowly lost by a man who, if elected, would have likely been more trouble than he was worth. The Bannonites likely learned a lot. And one of the things they learned is that the GOPe and the Democratic establishment will not let the swamp be drained without a fight. A nasty, street by street, fight.

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Bob Turner

1959814_10152284087003223_1216141924_nI met Bob Turner when I edited Common Ground Magazine a couple of decades ago. He was our “distributor” which meant he drove around in a series of doubtful vans and dispatched his swampers to drop off the magazines at dozens of locations in Vancouver. When I met him I was out for a smoke which, Bob being Bob, was a good thing. He joined me, in a beaten up leather jacket looking like he’d rolled out of bed an hour before, and we enjoyed the first of, perhaps, 1000 cigarettes together.

Somehow he became my friend. And the friend and useful uncle to my elder son Simon.

He died two days ago.

There are dozens of stories I can tell about Bob. My youngest son Max is hearing the more respectable ones now. But there are two which stand out.

Years ago, Susan and I took Simon and went to stay on Galiano Island. I invited Bob. He arrived with a fold out trailer and his van and several bottles of rum. Alex Jones played late into the night. Susan was pregnant with my second son Sam but it was early. So, one morning, I suggested a short hike – I thought – to Coons Bay at the top of the island. Bob was game. So was Susan and so was a delightful German girl who, in a moment of absent mindedness, I had invited as well. Blonde and healthy she was ready to climb alps. Susan, not so much, Bob, not at all. We’d reached the quarter way point where there was a steep bit where you had to pull yourself up on a rope. It had begun raining. Quite hard. Bob looked at Susan and announced, “The Currie forced march ends here.”

As he finished his sentence, gunshots began ringing out. (Long story, not actually at us.) We scampered. As we retreated Bob looked at our German companion, “Of course you know, as the youngest member of our party, we eat you first.” Deadpan.

Susan has loved him from that day to this.

We’d circle round and connect year after year. Bob was very much involved with my elder son Simon who was not living with me and leading what Anthony Powell would describe as a very rackety life. He gave Simon a job as his swamper, which lasted on and off for four years, and sat in his van smoking at the kid and giving him no bullshit advice whether Simon wanted it or not.

Once in a while, Bob would email or, more often call. We’d talk business and then we’d roll around to Simon. Much discussion. But, ultimately, given what Simon the teenager was up to, Bob said something very wise – as he usually did: “There are just two things to worry about, he gets killed or he kills someone. If he makes it to twenty he’s good. The rest is bullshit and can get fixed.”

Simon made it to 20. He had many fathers but I suspect that the father who got him from 16 to 20 without being killed or killing someone else was Bob. Kind, patient, no bullshit Bob saved my son when I couldn’t.

I am so grateful to the man. And I will miss him. So will a lot of people in a variety of worlds where Bob felt at home. We’ll all miss him.



You Can’t Do That

donald-trump (1)American Media (no doubt to be followed by what is left of Canadian media) are having a collective meltdown about President Trump’s Tweets.

Reaction ranges from tsk, tsking “not Presidential” all the way through to “this is evidence that Trump should be removed from office via the 25th Amendment because he’s crackers.”

Of course Trump is having a whale of a time because a) he loses nothing, b) the media are making themselves look like precious idiots, c) his base loves his body slams on what is generally seen as a corrupt and partisan media elite. Where Ronald Reagan was a movie actor (used to taking direction), Donald Trump was a reality TV entertainer where a good deal of the fun is in the ad lib.

The nice ladies in pantsuits and the chaps in the bow ties and horn-rimmed spectacles are, of course, shocked and appalled at these goings on. Largely because they know that they have no one who can play the game at the same level. In fact, they really have no response at all other than running to the principal and demanding that this disruptive person be medicated or something.

The right response would be to mock and be funny while mocking. But the po-faced media and left in general simply don’t have the sense of humour necessary. So they bleat and eash time they bleat Trump, and legions of righty, 4-Chan, Twitter enabled, meme shapers take the piss out of the media bleaters.

For the media and the left generally Trump’s election is still beyond comprehension. My pal Dr. Dawg wrote a long and mighty screed on the Trumpian Ending of the American Dream. Well worth reading to get a picture of just how deeply adrift intelligent lefties are in the face of Trump.

All of which Trump seems instinctively aware of. Where other people might have stopped at a food fight with Morning Joe, Trump wades ever deeper into the swamp of the media’s lefty derangement. He is completely willing to keep pushing their buttons and yanking their chains until he reduces them to howling, gibbering caricatures. It isn’t hard to do. Trump’s great insight was that the media had no sense of humour or proportion at all. Which means that there will be an over the top reaction to even the tiniest taunt. And that reaction will make the media look even sillier and petty and Trump will take another trick.

At some point some media type will realize that to preserve a shred of credibility the MSM are going to have to stop responding to Trump’s taunts. Which will give them tons more time to objectively report the news. And if they get on with actually reporting the news – rather than breathlessly whinging on about Trump’s taunts – they will cease to be a laughingstock for much of the American electorate. As every parent has said to a child being teased by another child, “Just ignore him and he’ll stop.”

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I suppose the Conservative Party of Canada is where libertarian dreams go to die.

Scheer is respectable. Nothing wrong with him.

But he is not going to change much.

Too bad. Bernier would have actually represented an alternative to the endless middle of the roadedness of Canadian politics.

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There really has never been a President anything like Trump. Or a Presidency.

There was a fair bit of anti-Bush sentiment, and Reagan was often attacked, and, of course, Nixon was vilified long before Watergate; but for sheer, sustained, noise, anti-Trump campaigning by the Democrats and the mainstream media is an order of magnitude or two greater. Everything is a potentially impeachable offence or an indication that Trump is mentally unbalanced or both. The never-Trumpers in the RINO section of the Republican party are having a great time suggesting that Trump is a threat and a menace and needs a good impeaching.

In the hysteria virtually any bit of information, regardless of source, so long as it is anti-Trump, is a page one story. Anonymous sources say Trump revealed super secret stuff to the Russians? Perfect, Wapo is on the job and he’s a traitor or an incompetent or both. Doesn’t matter that the people in the room heard nothing of the sort. Impeach him! Guy phones the NYT with a pull quote from a memo that former FBI Director Comey wrote to file on a meeting with Trump? Quote says Trump said, ““I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump allegedly told Comey, according to the memo. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”” which is clearly the biggest obstruction of justice since Nixon wanted Archibald Cox fired.

At this point, Trump supporters usually say, “but the White House could have handled this better.” I don’t. I don’t say that because there is no “handling” the mainstream media, rabid Democrats and charging RINOs.

Trump and his people have to make a choice between conforming to the norms of a Washington Presidency or simply saying that was what Trump was elected to fix.

“I didn’t get elected to serve the Washington media or special interests,” Trump said. “I got elected to serve the forgotten men and women of our country, and that’s what I’m doing.” (Breitbart)

It is an audacious position to take. It will only work if Trump sticks to his guns and backs up his people. And it will only work if some of those people are smart enough to be silent officially while working very hard and very quietly. Trump was elected as an oppositional President and he does best when he is opposing.

An encouraging sign is the Congressional reaction to the Comey “memo”. Unlike the NYT, Congressional  Committees have subpoena power. They want to see the Comey memo. And, perhaps more to the point, Senators and Representatives are asking to see Comey memos on his conversations during the Obama administration. In particular, they are looking for memos to file vis a vis the decision not to prosecute Hilly.

The Trump remark about Flynn, assuming it was made as Comey is reported as having recorded, is not an obvious candidate for an obstruction of justice charge. It might be an impeachable offence as an abuse of Presidential power but, as written, that would be a stretch. But, by leaking the contents of his memo to file, Comey has put his archive of such memos into play.

I don’t have any sense that Trump or the White House staff know much about “damage control”; however, they have a good deal of capacity to, in the words of a former President, punch back twice as hard. To do that they need to ignore the storm and fury of the Washington establishment and the legacy media and go for kill shots with live ammunition. The Comey memo archive is a great place to start.

Writers’ Guidelines

images (1)We at Voices Publishing (thanks to the Canada Council, Heritage Canada and the Ontario Arts Council for their generous support) in light of recent events, wish to make clear our writers’ guidelines for all fiction, non-fiction and poetry. We are committed to hearing the voices of Canadian writers and welcome manuscripts of inclusion. Please note:

1. We have a zero tolerance policy for cultural appropriation in all its forms.

2. Cultural appropriation occurs when a writer appropriates the voice or lived experience of a person or persons whose lives are outside the lived experience of that writer by including such a person in their story.

3. To avoid offending any marginalized or oppressed persons no white writer shall include in his or her manuscript any character or situation in which non-white persons are portrayed.  For consistency, this same rule applies to First Nations writers, POC writers and foreign born writers. (Note, for greater clarity, we have adopted the time tested “one drop” rule for determining race. If you have a white ancestor or think you might have a white ancestor you will be deemed white regardless of self-identification, lived experience or other extenuating factors. Check your privilege.)

4. There is obviously a huge problem with ageism. Many middle-aged writers submit manuscripts in which characters in their teens or even younger appear as protagonists. We regret that we cannot publish manuscripts in which such ageist appropriation occurs. To that end, we will not be accepting manuscripts in the children’s category or young adult category without positive proof that the mss was written by a child or a young adult. All characters in your mss must be +/- five years of your own age at time of submission.

5. Gender appropriation: many of the mss we are offered are written by men and contain female characters and vice versa. Needless to say we are unwilling to publish mss in which male writers’ attempt to claim the female voice and vice versa. In unusual circumstances, we may allow the visual depiction of a female character by a male writer or vice versa providing always that the character so depicted remains entirely silent.

6. The appropriation of sexual experience: We have been disturbed to receive mss in which hetrosexual authors include homosexual or bisexual characters. And, just as bad, homosexual authors are often guilty of portraying straight characters. These provocations will not see the light of day under the Voices colophon. You’ve made your beds now lie in them.

Many of you may regard these guidelines as simplistic or censorious. Shame on you. For each of our authors there is a simple solution which can ensure that the marginalized and oppressed voices in the great Canadian mosaic are heard. Whenever your story requires white person, a First Nations person, or homosexual, or POC, or female/male, or child/adolescent voice go and find a writer with the correct characteristics and invite them to contribute their voice and lived experience to your book. (We will, of course, require a Certificate of cultural authenticity to accompany such contributions.)

Voices Publishing believes that by following these simple guidelines we can all work together to eliminate the implicit priviledging of the individual author’s voice and build a new, inclusive, Canadian literature.

Thank you for your attention and your commitment to the elimination of the retrograde, individualist, authorial literature which has disfigured so much of Canadian Literature to this moment. Voices Publishing is committed to the celebration of our diversity.



Is it Something I Said?

Pooktre-man-tree-shapeSince moving to Vancouver Island twelve years ago we’ve lived in Oak Bay, the Cowichan Valley and North Saanich. All three ridings seem to have gone Green tonight.

My own sense is that Green voting is a class and virtue signifier. Oak Bay and North Saanich are very, very well off communities. Cowichan is less affluent but it is very much a retirement world where people live on not terribly generous pensions. But they are fairly secure knowing that their cheques will come.

These three ridings are also, compared to Vancouver and its suburbs, remarkably white.

The NDP and the Liberals have a see-saw battle in the Chinese and Sikh communities. In First Nations communities both parties are competitive. (I note that the winning Green candidate in my riding is a First Nations person named Adam Olsen.) But the Greens are currently confined to largely white enclaves.

Now, here is the thing: in 40 ridings the Green Party broke 15%, in 17 they broke 20%. They ran second in 6 and won 3.

There are two losers tonight: the Liberals and the NDP. And there is one winner: the Greens. They managed to split the NDP vote and likely cost the NDP a majority government.

However, where the NDP and the Liberals have no obvious room to grow their electorate, the Greens have a very good shot at expanding theirs. The fact is that the people who shop at Whole Foods, send their kids to “French Immersion” if they can’t afford private (not for racist reasons of course) and think recycling is an act of benediction are legion. They used to vote NDP, now they have an alternative.

Andrew Weaver may be a lousy climate scientist but he is not an unintelligent man. He can count (so long as it does not involve climate change time series) and there are six ridings where the Greens came second. A rational, non-coalition, support of the Liberals would let him pass legislation of greater consequence than a ban on mandatory high heels for women in serving jobs. The Liberals, who will likely be reduced to a rural rump despite having likely won the most seats, are basically being elected by BC’s version of “deplorables”.  Nice people think they are a bit, well, common.

Dr. Weaver, well educated, Oak Bay resident and articulate guy that he is should be able to target those nice, white, very liberal people and peel them away from both the Liberals and the NDP. Plus, Weaver has the children who have grown up on Green ideology masquerading as education.

One winner tonight: the Greens.

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Bernier, O'LearyPaul Wells suggests that Kevin O’Leary was a clown. No kidding. But the clown served a purpose in corralling all the silly votes – the people who think Canada needs its very own Trump – into one big cotton box. Now they have been released and asked to support the only adult in the PC zoo: Maxime Bernier.

Over at Kate’s place there are assorted dimwits nattering on about “French guy”. Let them natter. In actual fact, Maxime is the one actual conservative in this race. Libertarian on social policy, free market on economic policy. Our Red Tory friends will take to their fainting couches at the possibility of a real conservative winning.

Meanwhile, conservatives who like to win elections have to take a serious look at Bernier. He’ll carry Quebec seats, likely quite a lot of them. He’ll play well in the West because, other than really fossilized old anti-Quebec bigots, he understands a free market spirit.

In “vote rich” Ontario? Hard to say. He’ll certainly get up the nose of the Star and I am not entirely sure he is polite enough for the Globe and Mail; but I can see the guy doing well in the ‘burbs. He’s not a Rob Ford populist, he’s about 90 times smarter than Ford; but he can throw a softball and, I bet, cook a hot dog.

What Bernier is not, and why I think he should win, is an elite Central Canadian. He is willing to look at pipelines, the end of supply management on the farm, killing the CBC. Detail stuff which actually matters.

It is tough to find a CPC candidate with much going on, with that bit of charisma which matters. It is even tougher to spot one who might just take down our boy Justin (who apparently thinks its cool his dad got his little brother off pot charges).  Bernier looks like and sounds like the adult in the room.

And now he likely has the votes. Quick, can you remember four CPC candidates’ names other than O’Leary and Bernier? You might get one or two but Bernier pulled out in front two months ago and looks likely to stay there.

In spite of the the Ontario, Red Tory, dummies it is possible that the CPC might just elect someone who can beat Trudeau. Pure fluke but there you go.

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