Category Archives: Politics

Trump Russia Plot Thickens

So why does Donald Trump Jr. feel compelled to hire a criminal defence attorney if there was nothing unscrupulous, unethical, or illegal about his meeting with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin during his father’s election campaign? Why should he need a lawyer when at every turn regarding the Russian investigation, Donald Trump, the President is espousing “fake news?” What is one to think when the President’s son in law makes oversights on disclosure forms regarding contacts with Russian officials? Why would an attorney general of the U.S. also withhold information relevant to contacts with Russia? Why would a U.S. attorney general be receiving payments from Russia? Why would the President of the U.S. even consider a son in law for such position of “adviser” when a volume of other candidates would be much better equipped for the role? What is one to think when the President’s son is forced to reconcile his motive behind a meeting once information comes to light via Trump’s ex-campaign manager, Manafort that the intention was to acquire Democratic campaign party dirt? If there had been Clinton damaging campaign material provided to Donald Trump Jr. via this meeting with the Russian lawyer, what would he have done with it in the event that the material was elicited through surreptitious means? Why is Russia afforded any diplomatic grace at all in the context of operating under U.S. sanctions for the incursion of Crimea?  Why can’t we get the straight goods from the President of the U.S. regarding his absolute position of Russian election meddling given that the FBI has proven that Russia in fact attempted to interfere? Does the president not subscribe to findings made by the FBI? Is the President privy to evidence unavailable to the FBI? Has President Trump been briefed on the evidence behind the FBI’s conclusion that Russia attempted to interfere in the election?  If not, why not? Could it be that the FBI is mistrustful of the president given what they’ve already discovered? Is the relationship between the White House and the FBI now fractious in the context of Comey’s firing? Is President Trump reticent to besmirch Putin in lieu of President Trump’s business activities in Russia? Why would President Trump in private ask fired FBI Chief Comey to stop the Russian investigation in spite of material evidence if the President didn’t have something to hide?  Did the President have something to hide inside his tax return regarding Russian income sources?  Why all the buffoonery over a tax return and not just disclose it?  Why the kind words toward the leader (Putin) of a corrupt occupying nation of a sovereign state during an election campaign?

 

Further Examination of Trump

A friend of mine has expressed that President Trump’s motives were purely altruistic as he sought the presidency and that he has “looked beyond” the immature behavioural idiosyncracies of the man in lieu of the independence and platform that he brings to the White House. Much of our discussion referenced border protection and the prospect of western values and security being undermined. In spite of my assertion that his character as exhibited through behaviour could negatively impact military decision making, I was at many moments of our healthy debate transfixed by my friend’s passion and degree of confidence that the “deep state” had a lock on influence peddling through the Clintons and Obama.

Consequently, I’m compelled to further examine the purported benevolence of Donald Trump when Trump’s propensity to wield personal insults expresses otherwise.

  1. Although closed door, it’s been reported that he has directly challenged Putin (G20) on proven evidence of Russian attempts of interfering in the November general election despite my perception from reading that he’s not entirely convinced himself.
  2. Sincere testimonials of his good deeds and treatment of minorities were exhibited in his election campaign rallies.
  3. Conviction on policy platform as advertised. (Immigration, border security, trade)
  4. There’s no denying his fight and there’s no bigger battle to win than a better future for all.
  5. Donation of first quarter’s salary toward restoration of war  historical structures. Gesture should not be minimized in context of his means.
  6. Just motive can be ascribed in a yearning to apply skill set of private sector deal making toward public policy and international agreements.
  7. Despite business ties to Russia as cited by Heather Timmons of qz.com, it could be perceived that any such commercial ties to Russia by Trump do not entail any conflict in representing U.S. interests and that “trusts” administered would provide arms length comfort to U.S. citizens.
  8. I’ve not read of any account (not that there’s been none) of any domestic interest group seeking favour from Trump in exchange for political funding.
  9. No executive order within the first 100 days of office has any appearance of contributing to any Trump business gain.
  10. Men of integrity in the twilight of their careers with much to lose have aligned with Trump.

Journalists’ Time To Shine

I’ve been blogging for a good number of years now and never in my wildest imagination did I see my blog playing any kind of a role other than the one where I simply sound off about what’s on my mind, make a movie recommendation, or espouse the benefits of exercise.  I certainly don’t consider myself a journalist and I’m not equipped with either the time or resources in order to undertake any serious investigative journalistic endeavor, however; lately there’s been an increasing propensity to provide opinion when particular current events unfold that have the potential to illicit the kind of societal change which your grand children would find discomforting.

Obviously, the elephant in the room right now is Donald Trump.  It’s become apparent now that it’s not only Democrats who find the man ill equipped mentally and emotionally to execute the power of his office but Republicans are now actually taking legislative measures in order to limit the extent of his power in international affairs.  In lieu of the FBI’s investigation of Russia’s effort to influence November’s general election, Trump’s praise of Putin during the election campaign, Michael Flynn’s (former Trump National Security Advisor) deceit with U.S. officials in response to a Russian relationship, it shouldn’t be surprising that the Senate voted 98-2 in favor of blocking any Trump authority in rolling back Russian sanctions.

Law professor Paul Schiff Berman has commented on the recent resignations of journalists Thomas Frank, Eric Lichtblau, and Lex Haris from CNN for a recent mistake in insufficiently sourcing a story.  Surprisingly, none of these men were green journalists.  In fact, Mr. Lichtblau was a pulitzer prize winner.  Schiff Berman points out that during the Watergate era, the team of Woodward and Bernstein had made “a few errors” prior to their ultimate revelation. Hence; the question becomes, why now are careers put in jeopardy in the context of a chief White House spokesman via twitter that references “fake news” more often than any policy initiative when during the natural course of discovering news and meeting tight deadlines that historically a journalistic mistake has been made without career reprisals? Perhaps, the industry is actually feeling some heat.  Perhaps, this question is best left to Morning Joe hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough.

Trump’s Pickle Put Plainly

Allow me to draw some logic to the legitimacy of the Trump presidency. Trump empathizes with Vladimir Putin as a credible leader during election campaign. Russian public demonstrates in the streets over corruptive behavior of Russian government. FBI investigators cast no doubt on Russia’s covert attempt at influencing the 2016 general election. The FBI head (Comey) is fired having firmly established in his mind that the Russian attempt to influence the U.S. election is of national significance and should be provided resources accordingly. One particular individual close to Trump who had been assigned the position of National Security Adviser lied to the Pentagon regarding income he had received from Russia and lied as well referencing “insubstantial contact” with foreign nationals when in fact he had sat two months earlier beside President Putin at a national gala (NY Times).  Today we learn that Trump untrue to his word has not yet isolated himself from his business empire which possesses international sources of revenue.  The conflict of interest arising incites law suits from two state attorney generals.  Per Comey testimony, Trump asked ex FBI Director Comey for his “loyalty”. Trump, as testified by ex FBI Director Comey, requested Comey to drop any investigation of disgraced ex National Security Adviser Flynn in spite of Flynn’s association with Russia and deceit with U.S. authorities.  Then there’s whatever else could be lurking and not yet presented.

If The Flames Leave

You know it’s not going to happen because Calgary is a good market for an NHL franchise and the whole executive of the Flames organization knows it.  Brian Burke would be well served to keep his tongue wagging about hockey instead of what he thinks Calgarians need.  There are enough marginalized hockey fans in Calgary obediently paying their income tax, their excise tax, their property tax, their GST, while transferring wealth toward some neighbour’s Child Tax Benefit payment in our socialized way of life that if you piss him off just a little bit more, he’s likely to just give you the finger and walk away from those season tickets.

Here in Calgary there’s been a destructive force working on city revenues, namely commercial property tax from an office sector which is staggering through vacancies in the downtown core.  Consequently, the city has had to shift the tax burden outward and if you don’t think they’ll come for you out there in the burbs, think again once saddled (pardon the pun) with an enormous capital expenditure via one new unnecessary arena. We’ve become a people of want instead of need.  We want to keep up with the Jones’.  We want the upgraded BMW.  We want to have a nicer arena just like our rivals because our ego is bruised when the competition comes to town and they know what we know about their nice place.

Income taxes went up in 2016.  The top marginal rate is now 47 per cent and this is only of those pesky income taxes you get to pay.  Yes, the rate grows incrementally until you get there, but it was supposed to be temporary to fund world war one.  Then you and yours decided you needed an awful lot from your governments like sports arenas and a health care system that has doctors laughing at you for paying them so much.  That’s okay. They laugh in private.

Here you are in a conundrum because your favourite musician is skipping the Saddledome because of some idiosyncrasy associated with this practical structure of strength seating some 17,000.  Some beer glutton thinks he needs the extended bathroom that a new facility would provide ’cause he apparently can’t be entertained on anything less than a six pack of Molson’s best.  Then there’s the “revenue model” referenced by the silver haired hockey has beens now execs sitting lofty in their glass enclosed perches claiming more from the parking, more from concession, and more from the city ’cause “we are the culture that Canada craves”.

I say no.  I say call their bluff with a Bon Voyage to Quebec City – that market that couldn’t sustain the Nordiques back in the ’90’s.  We know that the Stampede can pack the Saddledome for the first two weeks of July.  For some reason acts still show up.  The Hitmen and Roughnecks would retain their home turf while the Circus, the Cirque….and soccer could find fame from the departed Flame. Yes Soccer and the River Dance and more music with more dates on the calendar.  There could be variety shows, acrobats, art shows and exhibits.  A modernization of the Dome’s innards could accommodate for sets made to order.  Figure skating competitions and showcases could return with frequency.  Events representing human splendour and wonder could grace a stage tired from the moribund movement of a puck too many days out of the year.  Your venue could be revived as a city centre piece for cultural reform with a return on investment actualized through solid management and imagination.

 

ABC Reports Cringe Worthy Comey Testimony

I’d call it something different than “cringe worthy”.  I’d call the details espoused by Comey in his testimony of Donald Trump nothing more than the typical bully like egocentric behavior representative of Trump’s conduct throughout the presidential campaign and what also seems now apparent in his business conduct throughout the years evidenced by the volume of law suits thrown at him.

I’ll let the lawyers dual on the subject of “obstruction of justice” but as far as my coherent rational mind sees it, if a sitting president makes a request of the FBI to drop an investigation, one should not even need to delve into the motive for such a request.  The FBI is independent of the White House and operates on behalf of the security of the nation with classified information which passes between and throughout presidential tenures.  If the FBI is confronted with data which it deems is compromising to the security of the nation, it has an incumbent responsibility to act on the data while incorporating its sense of relevancy.  These men and women are specialists in what they do and should be availed necessary funding if at their core they believe a matter requires investigation in the spirit of defending their country.

The United States citizens chose a president with values inconsistent with those necessary to occupy the oval office. It’s that simple.  However; in the two party system, I would place the blame entirely on the delegates bestowed a responsibility for anointing a genuine leader with integrity.  The sad footnote to the story is that some of the man’s ad hoc platform is what the U.S could use but now with Trump’s credibility undermined, the execution of such platform is cast in doubt.  How does the old saying go….if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, then it’s a duck.  If it tweets like a child, emotes like a child, insults like a child, and refers to its genitalia like a child, then it’s likely a child.  Unfortunately, more drama at the executive branch will be unfolding while the U.S. copes with a national debt growth rate at the highest in its history and a dysfunctional parliament refusing to cooperate for the good of the nation.

 

Canadian Bail Out of Softwood Lumber

When you first embarked upon your career, you may have stumbled, adjusted, retooled, and re-evaluated.  Then you found your path.  If you are a highly capitalized business in Canada burdened with plant and equipment and a claim that jobs will be lost in the face of market forces, you get teary eyed and whine to governments for bail outs.  This is becoming endemic to the Canadian corporate psyche.  If you have business operations in Quebec – then governments not only wipe your tears with oodles of cash but roll out the red carpet in a direct line to the treasury.

Your governments get themselves into trouble because they cannot balance a cheque book.  Then they think in order to keep the funds flowing, they’ll need to “invest” in the plumbing that keeps the cash flowing.  They’ve got it wrong.  Capitalism is the driver of economic success.  Taxpayers expect services related to the common good and not targeted bail outs for losers irrespective of international trade agreements and barriers.

In a capitalist environment while facing international trade pressure, manufacturers curtail production until the environment once again turns friendly.  Those involved in the industry have every opportunity during a down turn in a land fostering freedom to redirect their energies just like every other Canadian is expected to do during times of career / job pressure.

I expect more of my governments handling my tax money and I bet you do too.

 

The Obvious Question in Comey’s Dismissal

Since the Deputy Press Secretary basically wiped the floor with journalists today, I’ll ask the obvious… was this Director of the FBI onto something in regard to the Russia / Trump connection which the White House came to learn leading to the firing?  Not only are there allegations that Russia interfered with the U.S. election, but Donald Trump was praising Russia during the election campaign peculiarly when Russia had recently invaded an autonomous nation while sympathizing with the Syrian Assad regime.  What is one to think?  Is it some financial interest in Russia which has had Trump adorning Vladimir Putin with praise during the election campaign?  When you fire the Director of the FBI who possesses a ten year term representative of an office needing distance from political influence, there are going to be some very serious questions that arise.  When both sides of the political aisle voice both confidence and non-confidence at various times during this man’s sensitive post and tenure, could it be that his objectivity in alignment with a purpose of national security was executed dutifully in the face of political pressure?  When nobody is happy with a man operating with such responsibility, it frankly leaves me comforted.  Upon witnessing the immature bully like behavior of this President of the United States during the election campaign, I would not put it past him to fire the Director of the FBI for fear of potential reprisals arising from actions undertaken by a smart man doing his job.  If you behave like a moron, don’t be surprised if people question your capacity for leading the free world with responsible unselfish decisions.

Thoughts on New Leader Kenney

Frankly I think Alberta would have been better served by someone different.  He’s a crony of the by-gone elitist Harper era on the federal scene and is polarizing on the controversial matters of same sex marriage and abortion.  While being taxed exorbitantly (47 per cent highest marginal rate with the new tax bracket), Albertans have little patience for their leader to be preaching social policy from a righteous pulpit.  Albertans want absolute action on fiscal responsibility so that tax rates can be lowered measurably.  While a minister in the federal government of Canada, I heard little from Mr. Kenney on the topic of measurably reducing core tax rates for Canadians.  It may have been a belief of his at the time but Mr. Harper liked to keep the media in the dark and his round table muted.  The old Harper administration tinkered with tax credits for families but did little to incite the capitalist spirit in our country for free enterprise.  I do admire Mr. Kenney’s passion and sincerity for his work but at a time when the current administration has lost control of our finances, the last thing Alberta needs is an ultra idealist being long winded on how he thinks we should run our lives. I hope I’m wrong and this man will find a way to shelve his dogma surrounding your bedroom and your doctor’s office and appeal to centrist thinking Albertans along with Wildrose supporters in a way that propels him to success in uniting the right.  As a reminder to you staunch Wildrose supporters, Danielle Smith sold out on you.  She crossed the floor – remember.  The movement is dead.  Get on board.  The alternative is socialism forever.

Islamophobia Government Motion

I premise my remarks by exclaiming that religion does not belong in the halls where governments administer legislation nor should legislation in any way be impacted by the interests of a religion.  Secondly, I harbour absolutely no bias toward one religion versus another.  Every individual should have their absolute freedom to express their religion so long as their expression does not impinge upon another’s ability to do so or for the activities of a group to function.  Symbols of a religion should not be permitted in the premises of a secular legislative assembly.  Law enforcement must dutifully execute hate laws to the letter of the criminal code and in fact if hate legislation needs to be strengthened in the context of a modernizing world, then so be it.  In fact, if it wasn’t for indifference by administrative officials in our education system, adolescent lives could have been saved from bullying.

In lieu of my premise, the more I see these headlines of special interest groups attempting to garner comfort from my government, the more I see red.  What is becoming of my governments?  Have they become counselling chambers for the dispossessed?  Have they become social engineering committees for those ill equipped to compete in a capitalist market?  Have they become meeting places for lobbyists to sojourn?  Have they become trading pits for swapping wealth?   Could there be a swath of Canada growing impatient with government overreach emerging similar to the U.S. rust belt which thrust Donald Trump into power?  Here is a message for Justin Trudeau and Rachel Notley from this tax accountant who has now witnessed a 47 per cent top marginal Alberta tax rate pinned upon the most successful.  Our forefathers did not serve dutifully in war for their descendants to become extorted from financially by you! (extortion – oppressive or illegal exaction, as of excessive price or interest).  Start delivering an agenda that serves folks who fuel the salaries of those sitting on the public purse!  Get our $160 million dollar per day debt paid down by doing the responsible thing.  Rein in spending and get our country’s financial health in order so that Canadians can become unencumbered by an irrational tax rate!