Inside FBI HQ

Brett Kavanaugh, TrumpThe Director: OK, McMullian. I know you are fairly new but, son, we’ve got a hot one for you.

McMullian: Yes Sir!

The Director: 35 or 36 years ago a seventeen-year-old boy is alleged to have grabbed a 15-year-old girl and thrown her on a bed. He is alleged to have tried to make out with her and he is alleged to have sexually assaulted her.

McMullian: Do we have the police report, Sir?

The Director: No.

McMullian: Witnesses?

The Director: Four, or maybe five. Not sure on that Agent.

McMullian: They were in the room?

The Director: Well she says one of them was and he “jumped on them” which let her escape.

McMullian: And where did this happen?

The Director: We don’t know.

McMullian: No problem…When?

The Director: We don’t know.

McMullian: Were the witnesses under oath?

The Director: Yup.

McMullian: So they remembered what happened?

The Director: Not exactly. They don’t remember any party at all.

McMullian: OK, so I’m to investigate a sexual assault which might have happened thirty-five or six years ago at an unknown location on an unknown date.

The Director: That’s right. And I need your report on my desk in 72 hours.

McMullian: Yes Sir.

The Director: And while you are at it McMullian, there is also an open case on a report of an incidence of unicorn farting in Maryland at roughly the same time. See what you can pick up.

McMullian: I’m on it, Sir.

The Director: POTUS want’s updates on the investigation. This could make your career.

McMullian: Does POTUS know there are no such things as unicorns?

The Director: I doubt it. But get’er done. Your country is depending on you.

McMullian: Yes Sir.

 

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Dealing with Tantrums

Democrats, Brett KavanaughAs any parent will tell you a three year old can make an awful lot of noise when he does not get what he wants. Parenting is about what to do when the three year old goes ballistic.

One thing which sometimes works is speaking calmly and rationally to the kid. That can take a while though and is often of little effect in the supermarket. You can go the other route and become angry and hope shock and awe will put out the tantrum. That sometimes works but, honestly, it probably does more harm than good. You can, of course, simply pick up your child – to the relief of bystanders and change venue.

Or you can actually hear what the child is screaming about and see if there is a way to fix the problem.

The Democrats are in the midst of a tantrum royale about Kavanaugh. The fact this is a problem of their own making is not something they are capable of hearing. Nor are they willing to look at the facts presented to date if only because there are so very few actual facts that scrutiny will collapse their narrative. Screaming “Rapist, FBI, #metoo, believe women” is the closest the Dems have come to an argument.

The trouble is that the Democrats have climbed a very long way up the tree of crazy, so far that it is now actually dangerous for them to climb down. Which is a problem for the Republicans and for Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Much as I despise Senator Flake, his decision to vote the nomination out of committee but threaten to withhold his vote unless there is a short FBI investigation is a stroke of parenting genius. An FBI investigation does not reach conclusions – as Kavanaugh pointed out yesterday. Rather it looks for evidence and reports back on that evidence. There is no reason an investigation into Dr. Ford’s allegations needs to take very long. Five interviews. One with Ford and four with the people (they are not “witnesses” because they are saying there was nothing to see) who have all given sworn testimony that what Ford said occurred didn’t occur.

Now, were I Grassley I would want to secure Democratic buy in on the FBI probe – time limit and the single allegation. I suspect the Dems will hold out for the Ramirez allegation to be looked into as well. That would mean another dozen interviews. But the FBI is a big, sometimes efficient, organization and that is not beyond their capacity.

Will the FBI investigation resolve the allegations? No, because it will simply report the evidence and that evidence will be very much like the evidence we currently have. But the mere fact of an FBI investigation might just be enough to let the saner Democrats begin to carefully climb down the tree.

The objective here is not to prove or disprove the allegations against Kavanaugh – 35 years on, that is essentially impossible – the objective is to end the tantrum.

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Politics and Process

I watched a bit of Dr Ford’s testimony before the Senate Committee and I watched a bit of Judge Kavanaugh. I also have been paying attention to the various statements of the people said by Ford to have been at the party – they all denied ever having been there or that there was even a party – and heard the increasingly crazy other accusers. I am quite sure that Ford thinks something happened and I am equally sure there is no uncontradicted evidence that it did. Personally, I think you need more than an uncolaborated thirty five year old recollection to make an accusation like that stick.

Which brings me to process. Both Ford and Kavanaugh were abused by a process which, itself, was corrupted by the worst sort of partisan politics.

Senator Feinstein is a political animal. As the ranking Democrat on the Justice Committee, she was the person Ford’s initial letter went to. Something on the order of eight weeks ago. Sen. Feinstein had a very basic obligation to ensure that this serious and potentially disqualifying allegation was investigated. She has been in Washington long enough to know how that could happen and she undoubtedly has FBI Director Wray’s number.

Had she behaved properly, once she had verified the authenticity of the letter, she would have told her Committee Chair, in confidence about the letter and they would have jointly submitted it for investigation to the FBI. With eight weeks in hand, the FBI would have done its investigation and collected evidence one way or another. This would have gone into the background report. Sen. Feinstein and the Chair would also have alerted the White House to this issue.

Had the allegation been substantiated, the White House would have had the option of withdrawing the nomination. Or it could have decided that the events of 35 years ago fell short of disqualifying and proceeded. Everyone would have had the FBI’s evidence and that could have formed the basis of part of the hearings into Judge Kavanaugh.

If the allegation could not be substantiated the FBI would still have submitted its report to the White House and the Committee and chances are nothing more would have been said.

This would not, of course, have been a criminal investigation but rather part of the significant background vetting the FBI performs on all manner of Presidential appointments.

This, apparently, didn’t have enough political torque for Sen. Feinstein. So she sat on the letter, found Ford legal representation, leaked – or had someone leak – the letter to friendly members of the press and then demanded delays and FBI investigations and the automatic disqualification of the evil attempted rapist. The media bayed in unison with the Wicked Witch of San Francisco and all of a sudden we were asked to “believe the woman” because #metoo. Assorted loons came out of the woodwork yelling #metoo “I think but I was too drunk to really know”, and “as a twenty one year old college girl there was nothing I liked better than going to high school rape parties until I was forced to pull the train”.

All because a partisan old harridain was willing to ignore process and abandon honour for the potential partisan advantage defeating or delaying a Supreme Court nominee could bring.

She was, of course, aided and abetted by her own Party.

I was delighted when Kavanaugh called her out and named names. It speaks well of his temperament. A Supreme Court Justice has to have a sense of Justice and be willing to fight for that Justice. He needs to be genuinely outraged by sleezy, underhand practices and be willing to make his outrage crystal clear.

Senator Lindsey Graham understood just how well Kavanaugh qualified himself for appointment against such scumball partisan tactics, “This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics!”

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Music for Max

Justin Trudeau told the New York Times Magazine,

“There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada.” (link)

And I suspect he believes this. Why not? It makes easing into a post national world all that much easier.

Maxime Bernier seems to think that this may not be true.

So a suggestion for Max. While public choice theory is all very well, and right more often than not, music is visceral. It hits our hearts not our heads.

I was buzzing around the ‘nets tonight and ran across this benefit concert for John Mann, the lead singer for Spirit of the West who, sadly, has early onset Altzheimers. Take a watch and give what you can:

And, yes that is the divine Sarah and Jim Burnes and a bunch of other Vancouver musicians. But like any other red blooded Canadian male I needed to know who the beautiful, blonde, fiddler was in the middle of the pack. (And, no, that isn’t Peter Garrett…that would be Australian Max.)

The answer was Kendel Carson who you can see here with Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea singing Barrett’s Privateers in a none to sober evening in Halifax.

And there is grand stuff from Quebec.

Fiddles, a beat, and a calling back of traditional music.

Poor Donald Trump seems to think that the pleasures of the Rolling Stones – not to be discounted – are the way to open rallies.

Max needs to be smarter. Whether recorded or live, he needs to begin his own appeal for a better Canada with an appeal to our hearts. This music goes there.

(And, yes, I have no doubt that all the performers are soibois to the n’th degree. But that is what you have staff for. A great fiddle band to open with could flip the switch in a lot of ridings.)

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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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.

It’s Complicated, Intentionally Complicated

Transmountain pipeline, First NationsCanada’s Federal Court of Appeal ruled against the Trans-Mountain pipeline’s going ahead. It is a long decision but it came down to two things: first that the Federal Government did not sufficiently consult with First Nations, second, that the National Energy Board’s report upon which the Federal Government relied in finally approving the pipeline did not consider the impact of the shipping required to carry the oil.

There are lots of political angles on this most of them entirely predictable. But what interested me was that the consultation requirements and the consideration of shipping seem so self evidently a necessary part of the process.

The NEB seemed to have taken the position that its expertise did not extend to oil tankers, potential spills and attempts to mitigate marine risks. Which, realistically, is almost certainly true. However, it would not have been beyond the Federal Government to order up a seperate risk assessment from people with the necessary expertise.

The issue of the adequacy of the Federal Government’s First Nation consultation is much more difficult. The decision outlines what the government did in terms of consultation, but it also describes what the government did not do which includes taking account of traditional First Nations knowledge and several other fairly vague deficencies.

What the Court essentially asked was, “Did the Federal Government consult  enough?” and then concluded, “No, not enough.”

How much is “enough”? That is a question which this decision really does not answer. And I suspect it does not answer it because there is actually no answer which is even close to true.

In a normal process a reasonable level of public consultation would be reached when the public has been given an opportunity to comment on the matter at hand. Which is a bit vague but there is case law which fleshes out what such an opportunity might look like.

However, once environmentalists and First Nations are engaged it is not at all obvious that merely having the opportunity to comment is sufficient. Unlike a rezoning application, an application to build a pipeline (or, realistically, virtually any other large undertaking) creates the opportunity for First Nations to talk about everything from ancient hunting rights, to sacred grounds, to former village sites, to disruptions to present First Nation culture and so on. Having the enviornmentalists involved ensures that the relatively easy solution of simply paying the First Nations’ people for their consent, is off the table. That solution will be denounced by the enviros as cultural genocide and worse.

All of which creates, and might arguably have been intended to create, a Gordian knot when it comes to considering major projects. Consultation becomes an endless task and one which has no defined parameters. The decision today indicates that an extensive consultation process is not enough but it does not indicate what might be enough.

Delightfully, the shareholders of Kinder Morgan – which owns TransMountain – voted today to sell the project to Canada’s feckless Federal Government for several billion dollars.

I suspect the CEO danced a little jig relieved that he no longer had to guess at how far consultations have to go. But Canada is stuck with a completely disfunctional system which is being exploited by enviornmentalists and First Nations to prevent infrastructure from being built. That will have to be fixed.

[A fix in this sort of case might well be to sit with the FN people at the outset and ask what they would like to be consulted about. Make a list, discuss the list and then take the list to a supervising court for certification. Once that list is certified it would then be incumbent upon the proposing party to consult on those topics and only those topics. If a new concern arose it could be taken back to the supervising court which might add the topic to the list if there was a good reason or if the parties had no objection. But, if people are thinking about spending several billion dollars on a project, they have to have a process they can be certain of rather than being blindsided well down the road.)

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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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Max

Maxime BernierMaxime Bernier is a smart, charismatic, libertarian leaning guy with significant voter appeal. So it made sense that the Conservative Party, not wanting to worry the Liberals, chose the other guy to be their leader. Andrew Scheer is an earnest, anti-charistmatic, middle of the road guy with pretty much no voter appeal. It was going to be tough not to beat the feckless Trudeau in the next election but the Conservative Party seems to have found a way.

Max is having none of it. Today Bernier announced that he was leaving the Conservative party and beginning his own “movement”.

He has been hitting themes like abolition of the dairy supply management system, a serious re-evaluation of multiculturalism and a reduction in imigration levels. He pretty clearly thinks “climate change policy” is a hoax and he is a pretty solid fiscal conservative.

He makes the valid point that the Conservatives are not going to beat the Liberals by running as “Trudeau-Lite”.

The push back is already starting with the MSM rushing to figure out if Bernier is a Nazi or merely a fascist and the Conservatives making the usual “split the right and the Liberals have won” noises. The Lying Jackal is chortling:

What does it say about Consevatives? It says that they never ever change: Tea Party vs. Establishment Republicans, Reform vs. PCs, and so on and so on. Conservatives are always at war with themselves.

This also proves my Justin Trudeau theory, yet again: he may not be as smart as his Dad, he may not be as politically skilled as Chretien, he may not be as principled as Dion. But, Jesus, is he ever lucky.

When your main adversaries are The Mango Mussolini, Blandy Scheer, Mad Max and the Guy Who Leads the NDP, you can’t help but win.

In fact, if Bernier is clever about it, the Liberals might be heading for a bigger defeat than Scheer alone could deliver.

A couple of points: Max is just coming off a very successful run for the Conservative leadership. He came very close and one of the reasons he did was that he had good organizations in literally hundreds of ridings across the country. He still has those phone numbers and emails. So he is starting with the skeleton of an organization.

Second, he has a seat in Parliament – something which he keeps even if he resigns the Conservative whip.

Third, unlike previous 3rd Party candidates, Bernier is popular in Quebec and, hey, he is fluently bilingual.

Most importantly, Bernier does not have to play the traditional Canadian political game. The world has changed. First off, he does not have to run a candidate in every single riding in Canada. While he said he would today, he needs to rethink that position. Thirty or forty will be more than enough to ensure his new party has a national presence. But, and this is important, he can make a virtue of this necessity by making sure not to run against the many actual conservatives who currently sit, silently, in Parliament. Even better, he can endorse them.

Using a targetted riding strategy would put paid to the idea that a vote for Max is a vote for the Liberals.

With a targetted riding strategy Max can also avoid the always looming disaster of a crazy person – actual Nazi, major anti-Semite, massive homophobe – gaining a nomination in a hopeless riding and then being pinned to the party by a hostile media. Finding 30 or 40 really excellent candidates and then backing them hard pre-Writ might create the conditions for multiple wins.

Which ridings to target will be a tough choice but other than making sure to have a couple in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal – for media exposure – they should be ridings without a currently sitting Conservative and where the demographics do not massively favour the Liberals (thus suburban and rural). And they need to be air accessible because Bernier is going to spend his campaign on an airplane.

Most importantly, Bernier needs to create a positive message. One of the problems the Conservatives have is that they are barely against most of the Trudeau Liberal positions and don’t seem to have any of their own. Bernier needs to define a Canadian message. Free Trade, economic expansion, jobs are one side of it, Canadian unity instead of division could be the other. Bernier’s objection to increased immigration and the fragmentation of multiculturalism will resonate if he can package them in a “making Canada stronger” theme.

Right from the go Bernier should avoid any suggestion that his party will form a government. Instead he should be talking about keeping the politicians in Ottawa honest and in touch with Canadians. Balance of power is the goal.

 

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