Voice Suppression

free speech, walled gardenOn this holiday Monday I was lolling around in bed flipping through websites on my phone.

Over at Drudge I came across the fact that Apple and Facebook had taken down pages and podcasts from Alex Jones on the basis that they constituted “hate speech”. Apple’s spokesperson said,

“Apple does not tolerate hate speech, and we have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users.”

Facebook was a bit more specific, the pages were removed “for glorifying violence, which violates our graphic violence policy, and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies.”

I have no interest in Alex Jones per se – my own sense has always been that he was crazy rather than dangerous – but I was interested in Apple and Facebook both denying him access to their platforms. Something which, as private companies, they are entitled to do.

I then had the interesting experience of watching the brownshirts of the liberal left engage in the silencing – in a very noisy way – of a young black woman.

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These children were not really protesting what Miss Owens was saying so much as her mere existence as a young, female, black, conservative.

The idea of silencing people you disagree with rather than actually engaging with them and debating the points they raise is gaining traction on the left because, in the face of Trump, they have really run out of arguments which hold any appeal for the broader public. Yelling, blowing whistles, banning and mobbing opponents are all tactics suggesting desperation.

And no one is more desperate than the dwindling, ragtag army of global warming/climate change believers. Concern about climate change is fading fast in the US (and, more slowly in the rest of the world) and those pesky, heretical, skeptics seem to have begun winning the policy debate. So, what to do?

Media Matters knows: “Zuckerberg has expressed concern about climate change, arguing last year that the U.S. should not pull out of the Paris climate agreement and noting that rising temperatures are melting the glaciers at Glacier National Park.

But he is not using the immense power of his platform to halt misinformation about climate change. To the contrary, Facebook is enabling and disseminating climate denial on multiple fronts. In addition to the problems outlined above, the platform helps bogus climate stories to spread — like a hugely popular climate-denial storyfrom YourNewsWire, a fake news site that Facebook refuses to ban even though fact-checkers have debunked its stories at least 80 times. And one of Facebook’s most high-profile scandals involved handing user data over to Cambridge Analytica, a shady political consultancy that has close ties to fossil fuel companies and climate deniers.”

For outfits like Media Matters yelling at Facebook to ban opinion they do not like is a very effective strategy. They are taking the street tactics of the little Antifa brownshirts and aiming to silence dissent. They are well aware that the climate scare message is floundering largely because alternative perspectives are being offered. Rather than trying to address those alternative perspectives, leaning on Facebook or Twitter or YouTube to have those perspectives silenced is an effective strategy.

It worked with Alex Jones so why won’t it work along other vectors of wrong think?

The power of entities like Facebook and Twitter and YouTube rests on their capacity to deliver audiences to content. Unfortunately, any number of content providers have succumbed to the temptation of larger audiences and have started publishing their content directly on these platforms. Which, of course, means accepting the Terms and Conditions these private companies impose. And if these Terms and Conditions are interpreted to exclude particular points of view, well, tough nuggies.

A more robust – and realistic – approach is to publish content on websites which you actually can control and relegate FB and Twitter to their proper place as publicity machines for your content. It is not, of course, a perfect solution – after all, ISPs and my pals at WordPress have their own Terms and Conditions – but it takes away a good deal of the power Facebook, in particular, has accumulated over public discourse.

I suspect, over time, FaceBook will go the way of MySpace and cease to have much of a role in the public square. Were it not for Trump, Twitter would already be on the downslope of public popularity. However, the promise of the internet in allowing dissident voices to be heard, can be destroyed if those voices voluntarily walk into the walled gardens of Facebook or Twitter or Apple. The good news is that there is nothing which compels anyone to stay inside Facebook’s walls.

Time to #Walkaway.

 

 

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Canadian Trade Debacle

“It is highly unusual, after more than a year of three-party talks, for Canada not to participate in the new discussions between U.S. and Mexican negotiators,” said Chris Sands, head of the Center for Canadian Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Indeed, recent developments point to a steady souring of relations between Ottawa and the White House. Formal, three-way talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement have not been held since May, though had been expected to restart after the Mexican presidential election earlier this month.

A third source briefed on the negotiations said the U.S. side, fuelled in part by Lighthizer’s dislike of Freeland, has decided to not even let Canada back into the process until it makes some kind of substantive concession. national post

If you are not in the room you are not part of the deal. The dimwitted PMO and Trade Pixie Chrystia Freeland seem to think that “standing up to the Americans” is good trade policy as well as political catnip. After all, if Trudeau can be cast as Canada’s champion tilting with big, mean, Trump he should win the next election in a walk. (Or so the Ottawa thinking, I am inclined to think Canadians are not that dumb; but I’ve been wrong before.)

The politics of trade are one thing, the actual effects of “no deal” are quite another. The combination of no trade deal with the US and the anti-business consequences of the national “carbon” tax make investment decisions in Canada very easy: why would any US company or Canadian company for that matter, build a factory in Canada when that same factory could be built in the US or Mexico and enjoy access to the US market?

No one has to love Trump to figure out that Canada is better off with a trade deal with our largest trading partner. If that means abandoning our weird desire to enshrine gender equality in such a deal or, more substantively, accepting a negotiated sunset clause or the gradual elimination of tariff barriers in the dairy industry, we should get on with it.

Unfortunately, the political class in Canada – and our awful media – seem to be holding on to the idea that somehow Trump is not the “real” President and that, even if he is, he’ll be gone soon because he’ll be impeached or convicted criminally. Bouncing around Washington to speak to mainly Democratic Senators and Representatives in the name of a “charm” offensive likely re-enforced the perception that Trump is just a bad nightmare which will be over soon. And, hey, mid-terms!

The happy thought of Trump’s departure is the bedrock of leftist delusions about many things. The reality that Trump is going nowhere and that he seems to be accelerating his agenda apparently does not register in the collective Ottawa political brain. It is too horrible to contemplate. So long as the Liberals and their enablers in the media cling to the vision of the quick demise of Trump’s America (and a restoration of those nice Democrats) they will blunder along gaining no traction at all in trade or on any other file.

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Faisal Hussain

The slaughter on the Danforth was awful. It needs to be investigated and we need to know as much as we can about the puke who killed two women and injured another dozen people.

When his name was released – 24 hours after the shooting – a message, purportedly from his family, was also issued. In this statement, the claim was made that Hussain suffered from what was apparently an untreatable mental illness. It was a beautifully written statement which you can read here. It is possible Hussain’s parents actually wrote it. But as immigrants from Pakistan, in a moment of incredible stress, the language was a bit too professional to pass the smell test. But that might be wrong. (I note that we have not actually seen either his father (who is apparently in hospital) or his mother, whereabouts unknown.)

It is not unreasonable, even in light of the claim of mental illness, to ask a few questions:

  • where was he treated for this mental illness?
  • by whom and with what result?
  • where did the handgun come from?
  • has he travelled since he was an adult?
  • if so, where?
  • was he on any police or RCMP watchlists?
  • what happened to his social media (if any)?
  • if his social media was deleted, who gave the order to do that?
  • What evidence, if any, does the RCMP or CSIS have as to his online or RL contacts?

Here is the problem: at this point, we have his parents’ “statement” as to his mental illness and not much else.

You don’t have to be an Islamophobe to wonder if this man had motives other than being plain nuts for shooting up the Danforth. And, if it turns out that he did have other motives, what were they and did they connect to Islamic terror? These are reasonable questions and they need to be answered, publically.

We also need to know what efforts have been made to shape the narrative. My own sense is that the “statement” was not written by a family of Pakistani immigrants or a grieving father from his hospital bed.

The great and the good in Canada, like their peers in Europe, go to great lengths to minimize the Islamic aspects of these acts of terror. “Mentally ill” is a fairly common and difficult to refute explanation. And it might well be true – in which case the psychiatric paper trail should be released.

Hussain may very well have been known to the authorities. But was it as a nutter or as a potential terrorist?

Pulling a veil over the entire, horrible, episode and waving away public concern with a parental claim of “mental illness” is simply not going to cut it. We have all heard it too often. The shooter is dead. He no longer has privacy rights. Let’s find out how he came to be in possession of a handgun and why he chose to use it – and let’s make sure that the public knows exactly what happened.

A Second Thought Where Hussain got his gun is an obvious question for police. As various people have pointed out, unless you have a licence you need a very good connection to get a pistol in Canada. Who has those connections? Well, gangsters and terrorists (usually through gangsters). Was Hussain gangster connected? It is quite possible. And if he was it is very likely that he’ll be in a police database. While it may not look like it, the Canadian police and the RCMP are actually pretty good at tracking the members of the various gangs who operate in Canada. So was Hussain in such a database? Oddly enough, I would be relieved to know he was. Because that would go some distance to ruling out a terrorist angle.

But here is the thing, the police need to let the public in on what they have. We have a right to know if this crime was committed by a crazy person, a gang banger or a terrorist.

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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.

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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Trump having more fun

Oh my gracious. Donald Trump suggests that the issues between the US and Russia might have something to do with both countries.

Chorus: Treason!

Then the man notes that Putin denies he interferred with US elections (which he so did) and that Trump is willing to pay attention to the denial and disregard the “Intelligence Community’s” assessment (based on a non-examination of DNC servers conducted by a non-governmental entity so, well, totally true).

Chorus: Double Dog TREASON!!!

And so on.

It is well past time for Trump to release every single document, unredacted, going to the origins of the “Intelligence Community’s” political investigation of the Trump campaign. The originating communications, the FISA applications, the internal communcations in the DOJ and the FBI as well as the documents held by the “Intelligence Community”.

The sources and methods have all, largely, been leaked. There are no secrets here except how the IC and the FBI and the DOJ behaved poorly (and likely illegally) in their efforts to “get” Trump.

Chorus: Double Dog Treason!!! with a Stinky Finger!

And it is time for Trump to tell Sessions to tell Rosenstein to tell Mueller he has until September 1 to provide evidence of a crime directly related to the 2016 election or he’s fired. No more funding and we want all your documents too.

Chorus: Obstruction and Treason and Impeachment!!!

And Trump should invite Putin and Xi to Mar Largo for a few days of golf. Just for shits and giggles. No press, no press conferences, just a few guys having a bit of guy time together.

Chorus: Impossible! Sexist, Racist, Treason, Death to America – ooopps- like Death to the Dictators!

So giddy up Donald…the swamp is not going to drain itself and the MSM are running so fast that they will turn to butter. Like little African American Sambo’s tiger.

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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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#YouToo?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Canada Day!

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

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

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

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

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

It isn’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Canada Day!

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Milk Fight

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

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

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

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

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