Friday, August 18, 2017

Bannon Out?

Donald Trump has apparently given Steve Bannon his pink slip.

President Donald Trump on Friday fired Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist in the latest high-level White House shake-up, removing a powerful and controversial figure known for far-right political views, two people familiar with the matter said.

Bannon’s ouster comes with the president increasingly isolated over his comments in the aftermath of white supremacist violence in the Virginia college town of Charlottesville.

A champion of economic nationalism and a political provocateur, Bannon, 63, is a former U.S. Navy officer, Goldman Sachs investment banker and Hollywood movie producer.

Bannon's ejection proves very little.  We learned all we needed to know about Trump's loyalty to those close to him in the way he abused elder-racist, Jeff Sessions.

If anything, Bannon could become far more interesting beyond the White House than he ever was within it. Bring on the aftermath. Now, what about Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka?


Did Bannon's failed coup at the State Department trigger his firing?

[Soon to be 'former'] White House chief strategist Steve Bannon rocked Washington Wednesday night with an interview that ran the gamut of political bombshells, from economic war with China to the political knife fights dogging the administration. In the midst of this, Bannon said he wanted to sack a career State Department official close to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Bannon, speaking to the liberal magazine American Prospect in a surprise, off-the-cuff, and potentially accidental interview, boasted of plans to sideline one of Tillerson’s most trusted aides, the current acting envoy for East Asia. “I’m changing out people at East Asian Defense; I’m getting hawks in. I’m getting Susan Thornton [acting head of East Asian and Pacific Affairs] out at State,” Bannon said.

“The secretary asked Susan Thornton to lead in a very important role, and he continues to rely on her to lead the State Department’s diplomacy in Asia,” a State Department spokesperson told FP when asked about Bannon’s comments. The spokesperson added that she “continues in her capacity” as acting assistant secretary but declined to comment further.

On Thursday morning, Tillerson made a point to shake Thornton’s hand before a meeting with top Japanese diplomats at the State Department.

Was Bannon's attempted coup the last straw? Did Trump's generals, along with Tillerson and perhaps a few others, force Trump's hand? A threatened mass mutiny perhaps? Stay tuned. There's probably a lot more to this story and it'll probably be juicy.

Assange Went Hard on Hillary, Limp on the Kremlin

A lot of people started smelling a rat when Julian Assange went a little bizarre during his latter years holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.  Something wasn't right. Something else was going on.

Now it's reported that, while Julian Assange focused on dumping emails intended to damage Hillary Clinton's chances in the 2016 presidential election, he spiked a treasure trove of leaked documents damaging to the Kremlin.

In the summer of 2016, as WikiLeaks was publishing documents from Democratic operatives allegedly obtained by Kremlin-directed hackers, Julian Assange turned down a large cache of documents related to the Russian government, according to chat messages and a source who provided the records.

WikiLeaks declined to publish a wide-ranging trove of documents — at least 68 gigabytes of data — that came from inside the Russian Interior Ministry, according to partial chat logs reviewed by Foreign Policy.

“We had several leaks sent to Wikileaks, including the Russian hack. It would have exposed Russian activities and shown WikiLeaks was not controlled by Russian security services,” the source who provided the messages wrote to FP. “Many Wikileaks staff and volunteers or their families suffered at the hands of Russian corruption and cruelty, we were sure Wikileaks would release it. Assange gave excuse after excuse.”

The Russian cache was eventually quietly published online elsewhere, to almost no attention or scrutiny.

In the months leading up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of potentially damaging emails about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and her campaign, information the U.S. intelligence community believes was hacked as part of a Kremlin-directed campaign. Assange’s role in publishing the leaks sparked allegations that he was advancing a Russian-backed agenda.

Back in 2010, Assange vowed to publish documents on any institution that resisted oversight.

Is this conclusive evidence that Assange has gone rogue? Not really. Then again I haven't seen the stuff Assange rejected and, I suspect, neither have you. It could be a smoking gun, I don't know. What I do know is that this adds to previous evidence suggesting that Julian Assange may be using WikiLeaks selectively to advance a personal agenda. That I find all too believable.

A Brilliant Idea from a Time Long Past

Ancient Arab cultures were known for great advances in science and mathematics. With the intervention of Alexander this led to the great library of Alexandria, actually two libraries. Julius Caesar is said to have accidentally destroyed the main library when he used fire to defend Alexandria against a maritime assault. The second was destroyed in the 4th century A.D. by the Christian emperor Theodosius. All that knowledge wiped out.

But not quite all. There is something that has survived, something that may become more vital than ever - the Windcatcher.

We know that many deserts are insufferably hot by day and unbearably cold at night. A Windcatcher uses the cool of night to cool the day inside a structure. Windows are only placed in walls that don't face the sun. Tall towers or chimneys are likewise constructed to use prevailing winds to draw hot air out of the structures beneath in a system that draws cooler air upward from cellars. It's a technology that goes back to 4000 years B.C.E.

The beauty is that it's all natural, after initial construction. It can work without electricity or fossil fuel energy. There's even something along the same lines in the subterranean village that once housed a Tatooine farmboy, Luke Skywalker.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Is the FOX News/Donald Trump Lap Dance On the Rocks?

Some dude named James Murdoch has taken a sharp stick to Donald Trump.  Murdoch, son of Beelzebub Murdoch, really unloaded on the Cheeto Benito for his infuriating pronouncements on the Charlottesville violence. Mein Gott, what will Fox & Friends do if their umbilicus to Trump is severed before the end of his term?

The Inner Trump - Deutsche Welle

A timely article in Deutsche Well explores what Hanna Arendt would have made of Donald Trump. It's less and yet much more than you might have imagined but Arendt's philosophy is compelling.

Arendt helps us understand what Trump is not: He's not a totalitarian. There are a number of ideas in Hannah Arendt's work that I think are very helpful in understanding what Trump is. While Trump is not a totalitarian in her understanding, he incorporates what she calls "elements" of totalitarianism. She thinks that one of the core elements of totalitarianism is that it's based in a movement. A movement doesn't actually pursue achievable policies because if you achieve the policy, the "Bewegungsgrund," - the driver, or the reason for the movement - is lost and the movement will lose its energy.

Trump has explicitly called himself the mouthpiece of a movement. That's a very dangerous position for a politician. Because it actually means that what he cares about more is the mobilization of people rather than the achievement of some particular aim. Whether he understands and cares about that, I don't know.

Who knows what policies he wants to enact or achieve; he changes his mind every day. He's much more interested in exciting and mobilizing a base of people. He feeds on that and that's dangerous because you constantly have to continue to push the boundaries. Anytime something is achieved, you have to find something else that is transgressive and shocking, that will keep the people excited and mobilized. Hannah Arendt understands that deeply and she argues that movements are particularly attractive in the modern era. They are important in our society because what movements do is give people a sense of purpose in their lives.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

An American President as Nazi Sympathizer.

There are no more do-overs for Donald Trump.

After debasing himself and his office in the aftermath of the Charlottesville riot on Saturday and Sunday, Trump was dragged to the podium on Monday - two days after the fact - to finally lay the blame on the alt-right and all its constituencies including white nationalists, white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.

It was an unconvincing performance. Trump read what was on the paper in front of him but he plainly did it begrudgingly. It was obvious that it was hard for the Cheeto Benito to digest. However, for Trump's die-hard backers in the Republican Party it was hailed as the real Donald Trump, a man who, despite initial wavering, was truly fit to be president.

Until today. Then Trump took a moment before the cameras in the lobby of Trump Tower to revive his early message that "both sides" were to blame including the "very, very" vicious left, the protesters, a number of whose bodies ended up in emergency rooms, one in the morgue, the price exacted for standing up to racism, anti-Semitism and Nazism.

Trump was now unquestionably rallying to the aid and comfort of his base - white nationalists, white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Klansmen, all members in good standing of Team Trump. Yes, in addition to his qualifications as misogynist, deviant, philanderer, serial sex offender, pervert, cheat, racist and pathological liar, Trump can now add white supremacist, anti-Semite and Nazi sympathizer. That's quite a resume.

The Great Acceleration

Hardly a day passes when I don't ask if our leaders are crazy, out of their minds. I keep coming back with the same answer - it's either that or something far worse.

There's been a discernible - and welcome - shift in climate science lately. Instead of the constant focus on anthropogenic global warming, many of the leading science types are beginning to recognize that the problems confronting the world include associated issues such as overpopulation and over-consumption. They're all connected, inter-related and each compounds the others.

For example, we know we must sharply slash greenhouse gas emissions starting now, right now. However, when it comes to population and consumption, we're heading in the opposite direction just as far and fast as we can possibly manage. Listen to our prime minister. He almost never passes up an opportunity to champion growth, GDP growth. We must grow the economy, must expand trade. Real, perpetual, exponential growth. And, while we do that, we're going to save the world and slash our greenhouse gas emissions. Only we're not.

This brings us to the theory/reality of the Great Acceleration. This neat video gives you the idea:

For all the challenges that will face the world, including Canada, over the balance of this century, the pursuit of perpetual, exponential growth is akin to a lung cancer patient choosing to go from a two pack a day habit to three packs a day. You would think that person crazy. Why do you think better of your political leadership?

The International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme tracks the Great Acceleration. It's all laid out in handy charts at their home page.  Here are a few that demonstrate what is underway today.

Here are a few charts illustrating mankind's global footprint.

Isn't it curious how all these graphs seem so similar. They all start out low on the left and high on the right, some very high.  At the risk of boring you all I'll repeat that at my birth the global population was in the vicinity of 2.5 billion. Today we're past 7.5 billion heading to 9 billion, perhaps 10 billion. At today's 7.5 billion we're gobbling up the Earth's resources beyond the planet's carrying capacity by a factor of 1.7 and that's a deficit that grows with each year. We would need almost another entire Earth to meet our resource consumption levels.  Only we're stuck with just this one.

We're facing a perilous problem at every level - globally, regionally and nationally. Some now predict we'll be all but wiped out by 2030. Others are more optimistic and forecast our numbers will be in a sustainable range of between 500 million and one billion by 2100. Do the math - 9 billion minus X equals one billion. X represents how many people will have to be eliminated over the next 70 years or so to get us back to what might represent a sustainable population in the degraded world we'll inhabit by 2100.  The Great Acceleration seems to be taking us to a Great Die-Off in the magnitude of 8 billion people.

Despite all this data, all the science, we have a "business as usual" government that pays it not the slightest heed. Our planet is already grossly overstressed yet our government believes a rosy future awaits us in the pursuit of perpetual exponential growth. Does that strike you as sane? Do you think they're crazy, out of their minds? Or do you think there's something far worse in play?


One of the most elusive statistics to hunt down is per capita GDP growth. It is a measure of output but it also reflects energy and resources consumed, production of goods, services and waste. Record keeping in Britain has allowed per capita GDP to be charted from today back to 1270.  The results are impressive. Per capita GDP first reached 2,000 pounds (adjusted to 2013 sterling) in 1832.  By 1900 the Industrial Revolution had swelled that to 4,800 pounds per capita.  The 12,000 pound mark fell in 1970.  That doubled again to 24,000 pounds per capita GDP in the year 2000, increasing to 28,000 just before the crash of 2008. To make sense of this, the average Briton's production increased from 4,800 pounds in 1900 to close out that century at 24,000 pounds per capital GDP. In the course of one century, the 20th, that's a five fold increase in per capita GDP. In 1900 the global population stood at 1.6 billion. We closed out that century at just over 6 billion and now stand at 7.5 billion. Taking total per capita GDP in 1900 and total population in 1900 we have now grown humanity's ecological footprint by something in the order of 30 to 40 times. And we're still trapped in perpetual, exponential growth. It's still going on. We can't stop it. We won't stop it. No, it will stop us.

Trump - Alt.Left Also Responsible for Charlottesville

That racist, misogynist, sexist, deviant fascist bastard can't help himself.  A day after he so reluctantly had to appear on camera to denounce the white supremacists, white nationalist, neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan thugs who ran amok in Charlottesville on Saturday leaving one woman dead and 19 others seriously injured in their wake, Trump today had to prove that he can't help himself. He corrected yesterday's disingenuous statement by announcing that the alt.left (is there such a thing) was also responsible for the violence in Charlottesville.  Trump added, "nobody wants to say that." Not quite, Don. You did you racist bastard.  You wanted to say that. It's your message to your constituency - the white nationalists, white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members, your base.

More from The New York Times:

Mr. Trump repeated that assertion on Tuesday, criticizing “alt-left” groups that he claimed were “very, very violent” when they sought to confront the nationalist and Nazi groups that had gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from a park. He said there is “blame on both sides.”

Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee,” Mr. Trump said. “This week, it is Robert E. Lee and this week, Stonewall Jackson. Is it George Washington next? You have to ask yourself, where does it stop?” 

Mueller, get off your arse. Bring the cuffs.

Who Isn't Quitting Trump's American Manufacturing Council?

Elon Musk walked weeks ago. Then Google took its leave. Now, in the wake of the Charlottesville alt.right, neo-Nazi, KKK, white supremacist rally and Donald Trump's refusal to do what was right and denounce these fascists until his hand was forced, there've been more departures.

Merck pharmaceuticals, which has a black CEO, was first out. Intel followed shortly thereafter. UnderArmour and the Alliance for American Manufacturing, round out the second wave of departures.  Good for them but who is staying?

Dow Chemical, Harris Corporation, Dell, NuCor, Whirlpool, Johnson & Johnson, United Technologies, Lockheed Martin (well, duh), General Electric, United Technologies, AFL-CIO (really?), Campbell Soup, Boeing, Caterpillar, International Paper, 3M and Corning are among those who are still standing with Trump.

There is a way to fight/bite back, at least with some of the prime suspects. There's a free app, Buycott, for your smartphone, iPhone or Android. It's a bar code scanner and it'll tell you if a product you're considering is manufactured by any one of several manufacturers, i.e. Nestles or the Koch brothers, that you want to boycott. Most of these brands have a variety of other products. Campbell's, for example, owns Prego, Pace, Pepperidge Farm. You wouldn't believe the number of consumer brands owned by the Koch boys, Wolfram und Helmut. I absolutely refuse to buy Nestle products but their owned brands are nearly impossible to track without something like the BuyCott app.

It sounds like a real hassle and it is, the first time or two you scan a grocery shelf. What I've found is that it doesn't take long before you learn to associate a brand, such as Delissio frozen pizza or Kit-Kat, DelMonte, Carnation or many other products with Nestle. Sometimes there is no alternative. Try getting some napalm except from Dow Chemical and you'll have a tough time. Just sayin'. However far more often there's plenty of choice and it feels good not to put your money in their pocket.

Fascism Within

It's not hard to spot resurgent fascism. Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Israel, the United States, India among others. It's also struggling to get a toe hold elsewhere - Germany, France, the U.K., the Netherlands come to mind.

What about here in tolerant, gentle Canada? Do we have fascism taking hold here? Is it a threat?

Consider Canada in the context of the British experience. The Guardian's columnist, Owen Jones, asks "Who has fanned the flames of fascism?" and settles on his country's politicians and its newspapers.

They pour the petrol and then wonder why it burns. Fascism is on the rise in the west, and it is emboldened, legitimised and fuelled by “mainstream” politicians and newspapers. When we mourn a hero like Bernard Kenny – who courageously tried to stop a fascist terrorist murdering Jo Cox – we have to ask ourselves: who are those with power and influence who helped create the conditions in which racists and fascists breed?

“Cannot believe we’re seeing Nazi salutes in 21st century America,” tweets Nigel Farage about Charlottesville, dragging a can of petrol behind him. Perhaps next the chief executive of a fast-food company will express disbelief at levels of obesity; or a tobacco company will issue a press release spluttering about lung cancer deaths. Farage: the man who stood, arms outstretched, in front of a poster featuring dark-skinned refugees and the words “Breaking Point”. Farage: the man who expressed his “concern” at having Romanians move in next door, and made apocalyptic warnings of Romanians and Bulgarians flooding Britain. Farage: the man who cheered on the ascendancy of Donald Trump, a US president whose most fervent supporters are now triumphantly chanting “Heil Trump!” as they menace minorities and progressives.
...Across the western world a media and political elite scapegoats migrants for the crimes of the powerful, portrays Muslims as a homogeneous violent fifth column, and demonises opponents as unpatriotic saboteurs and internal enemies. Trump’s initial refusal to attribute blame to racists and fascists after a far-right terrorist attack – his subsequent coerced denunciation is worthless, and was followed by his retweet of a leading “alt-rightist” – underlines why those marching in Charlottesville see him as their leader.
And then the media report on the frothing racist and fascists of Charlottesville – and Britain, for that matter – like David Attenborough in a nature programme. Where did they come from? The truth is their hatred and bile are legitimised and echoed by media moguls and mainstream politicians alike. In this country, the rightwing Brexiteers portrayed immigrants as a morass of potential criminals, terrorists, rapists and murderers; in the aftermath of their repellent campaign, they portray critics and progressives as enemies of the people and saboteurs who need to be crushed.

Yes, racists and fascists are enabled and empowered by elites on both sides of the Atlantic; and yes, not just by their hatred, but by an economic order that generates needless misery and insecurity, which the bigoted can exploit.

They are the guilty men – the hatred, the chaos and the violence is on them. And as the racists and the fascists continue to march and unleash violent chaos, their enablers must be held accountable.

Is Canada immune to this sort of venom? Is it fomented and spread by our political caste and our corporate media cartel? Think Kelly Leitch. Think Omar Khadr and the opinion pages of our newspapers.  Think Levant and Rebel Media. The difference between Canada and so many other countries is that we have the benefit of so many examples where this contagion was dismissed or ignored and allowed to establish a toe hold. We don't have to go down that same path.

Old Harry Catches the Stench of 1939 In the Air

For a 94-year old guy, Harry Leslie Smith intends to see his voice heard. Smith splits his time between the U.K. and a home he maintains in Belleville, Ontario.  Ever outspoken, in July Smith gave an interview to The Tyee in which he compared Trudeau to his predecessor, Harper. In 2013 the WWII vet bemoaned the death of democracy he and so many of his friends had fought, and died, to preserve.

Now Harry is back with a warning. War is coming and "its thundering approach can't be ignored."

In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia eviscerates Yemen with the same ferocity as Mussolini did to Ethiopia when I was child in 1935. The hypocrisy of Britain’s government and elite class ensures that innocent blood still flows in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Theresa May’s government insists that peace can only be achieved through the proliferation of weapons of war in conflict zones. Venezuela teeters towards anarchy and foreign intervention while in the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte – protected by his alliance with Britain and the US – murders the vulnerable for the crime of trying to escape their poverty through drug addiction.

Because I am old, now 94, I recognise these omens of doom. Chilling signs are everywhere, perhaps the biggest being that the US allows itself to be led by Donald Trump, a man deficient in honour, wisdom and just simple human kindness. It is as foolish for Americans to believe that their generals will save them from Trump as it was for liberal Germans to believe the military would protect the nation from Hitler’s excesses.

Britain also has nothing to be proud of. Since the Iraq war our country has been on a downward decline, as successive governments have eroded democracy and social justice, and savaged the welfare state with austerity, leading us into the cul de sac of Brexit. Like Trump, Brexit cannot be undone by liberal sanctimony – it can only be altered if the neoliberal economic model is smashed, as if it were a statue of a dictator, by a liberated people.

After years of Tory government, Britain is less equipped to change the course of history for the good than we were under Neville Chamberlain, when Nazism was appeased in the 1930s.


This August resembles too much that of 1939; the last summer of peace until 1945. Then aged 16 and still wet behind the ears, I’d go to pictures with my mates and we’d laugh at the newsreels of Hitler and other fascist monsters that lived beyond what we thought was our reach. Little did we know in that August 1939, life without peace, without carnage, without air raids, without the blitz, could be measured in days. I did not hear the thundering approach of war, but as an old man I hear it now for my grandchildren’s generation. I hope I am wrong. But I am petrified for them.

Harry's lament reminds me of a warning published by the leading German financial newspaper, Handelsblatt, in 2014 that we in the West are being "mentally mobilized for war." It's not clear yet what country or countries we'll be exchanging death counts with but given the spurt of new technology weaponry from stealth warplanes to directed energy weapons to modernized nuclear arsenals it appears we're prepping for something we haven't known since WWII, peer-on-peer warfare. That's when, instead of pounding the living hell out of (or into) little people with limited or no ability to pound back, we really get into it in a major league donnybrook.

Old Harry is right. The wheels are coming off our little red wagon. The environment is degrading much faster than we ever imagined. What's underway in the Arctic is really difficult to grasp and that's just one flash point. Illiberal democracy is on the rise. It's the same story with failed states. The world, as Harry senses, is becoming destabilized. And what are we doing to arrest this descent? Nothing really, nothing.

Charlottesville Rebound

Protesters in Durham, North Carolina, toppled a statue of a Civil War Confederate soldier in reaction to the fiasco in Charlottesville, Virginia on the weekend.

Hard to tell where this is going but that may be clear this coming weekend when further confrontations between protesters and the alt.right, white supremacist and Klan demonstrators are expected.

Trump Says He May Pardon Sheriff Arpaio

He's calls himself "America's toughest sheriff" and now he's facing a stretch in the Greybar Hotel for refusing an order to stop traffic stop patrols targeting Latinos as suspected undocumented immigrants. Convicted of contempt, Arpaio awaits sentencing.

Arpaio has been accused of various types of misconduct, including abuse of power, misuse of funds, failure to investigate sex crimes, improper clearance of cases, unlawful enforcement of immigration laws, and election law violations. A Federal court monitor was appointed to oversee his office's operations because of complaints of racial profiling. The U.S. Department of Justice concluded that Arpaio oversaw the worst pattern of racial profiling in U.S. history, and subsequently filed suit against him for unlawful discriminatory police conduct.

I am seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio,” the president told Fox News on Sunday.

He said the pardon could come within days if he decides to act on it. Arpaio, 85, could be sentenced to up to six months in jail, though a court may avoid jail time because of his age.

You Can't Tell If It's Safe If You Don't Know What It Is.

The folks in Washington state aren't impressed with the Trudeau/Notley/Kinder-Morgan pipeline initiative. Among other things they're a little pissed off that no one will tell them what's in the dilbit the pipeline pimps want to force through to the coast.

You've got bitumen. That's bad enough. It's laced with carcinogens, acids, abrasives, heavy metals, and granular coal called "petcoke." But what's in the other stuff, the diluent, the light oil that has to be mixed with bitumen just to pass the stuff - under heat and high pressure - through a pipeline at all. Kinder-Morgan doesn't seem to want to talk about that. Neither do Trudeau or Notley.

The data is crucial for spill response planning as the company proceeds with a proposed $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that would triple the daily flow between Edmonton, Alta. and Burnaby, B.C. to 890,000 barrels. From the company’s Burnaby site, the oil would be shipped to Asian markets in tankers through Vancouver Harbour and then through the waters of the Juan de Fuca Strait shared by British Columbia and Washington State.

The pipeline company has suggested in responses to National Observer that it has been transparent enough, publishing a list of 52 products that Transport Canada has approved for the pipeline, as well as components listed on for various types of oil. It has told Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) it would quickly disclose ingredients in the event of a spill.

Yet officials in Washington State’s Department of Natural Resources voiced grievous doubts in internal memos dated January 2017. “What is frustrating is ... tar sand oil manufacturers’ lack of transparency on what is used for diluents and those diluent properties, which in my mind (alludes) to dishonesty,” wrote the state’s oil spill response coordinator.

What? Did they say "dishonesty"? Well that would be a first on the Trans-Mountain pipeline, wouldn't it? Actually no. Even the Dauphin has been completely dishonest when it comes to that pipeline, an inveterate liar. Remember - and we do - when he said there would be no pipeline without "social licence" and the backing of First Nations. Remember - and we do - when he said he would "follow the science" which, despite his boastful claims, he's never produced. Remember - and we do - when he criticized the Harper National Energy Board's rigged environmental review and promised it would be done again if only he became prime minister.  Lie, lie, lie and lie. That's Trump-grade lying from Cap'n Selfie. 

South of the border, worries date back to at least 2004, preceding Kinder Morgan’s expansion plan, when a study by the Washington State Department of Ecology concluded that a major oil spill would cost the state 165,000 jobs and US$10.8 billion in economic impacts.

State ecology officials in the spill response section wrote to the Washington State governor in 2013 that, “B.C. lacks authority over marine waters, and their federal regime is probably a couple of decades behind the system currently in place in Washington State. When it is spilled, we are concerned that dilbit oil may be considerably more toxic and damaging, and far more difficult to clean up, than conventional crude from Alaska."

The Washington State oil spill response coordinator expressed acceptance of the need for oil in the current economy, but added that “without unbiased research” governments cannot have an honest debate on many questions. Among the questions: "how fast the diluent will evaporate in real life conditions, how explosive is the air in an oil spill due to properties of diluent and how does this affect a response, how soon will the oil sink, how well will sinking oil be addressed if at all, how will sunken oil be tracked, what will be the impact of that oil on ecosystem(s), how will it be monitored and recorded, and how will we gauge mitigation plans proposed to repair or at least compensate for damage?"

The documents connect the spill questions to the 2010 British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The same oil spill response official asks, “Without these questions being answered to an exhaustive degree, how can the public be asked to accept these risks? ... How can we honestly say that we are ‘prepared’?

"The times of oil companies asking the public to trust them are over, as we still seek to understand the full implications of the BP oil spill.

And it's pretty obvious that, when it comes to Justin Trudeau, the times of him asking British Columbians to trust him, well, they're also over.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Rebel Media - Ezra's Giant Shit Sandwich

In the wake of the Charlottesville fiasco, Alberta Tories are turning their backs on Ezra Levant's Rebel Media over its ties to the alt-right white supremacist movement.

Doug Schweitzer, facing a tough battle against leadership frontrunners Jason Kenney and Brian Jean, took to Twitter on Saturday to accuse the right-wing media outlet of defending the white supremacists during its coverage of the violence.

In a tweet over the weekend, UCP leadership candidate Doug Schweitzer accused The Rebel of "defending Nazis" in its coverage.

Just before the fatal collision, Rebel personality Faith Goldy was livestreaming from the scene and condemning authorities for allowing counter protesters to rally, after they declared the white supremacist march an illegal gathering.

Goldy was still live when the car crashed into the crowd where she stood.

"We heard the Rebel Media providing coverage on it and right before the individual was hit by that car and died, they were offering soft support to some white supremacist groups that were out there," Schweitzer said to CBC News on Monday.

He said Rebel has evolved from a site that offered a "fresh voice for issues" into a platform for the alt-right.

Ezra runs for cover.

Levant himself issued a memo on The Rebel website Monday distancing his organization from the neo-Nazis marching through Charlottesville.

He also distanced the organization from the alt-right label, saying it has evolved from "unashamed right-wingedness, with a sense of humour" to something driven by white nationalists focused on race.

"That term now effectively means racism, anti-Semitism and tolerance of neo-Nazism," he wrote.

Brian Lilley takes a powder.

The co-founder of Rebel Media, Brian Lilley, has decided it's time to di di mau

The departure, he wrote, was “a long time coming. What may have started as a concern over the harsh tone taken on some subjects came to a head with this weekend’s events in Charlottesville, Virginia. What anyone from The Rebel was doing at a so-called ‘unite the right’ rally that was really an anti-Semitic white power rally is beyond me.”

What The Rebel suffers from is a lack of editorial and behavioural judgment that left unchecked will destroy it and those around it. For that reason, I am leaving.

“As a serious journalist with nearly 20 years’ experience at the highest levels in this country, and abroad, I cannot be a part of this.

“I am not comfortable being associated with a group that, rightly or wrongly, is being increasingly viewed as associated with the likes of Richard Spencer. Like many of you, I had family that fought the Nazis, I never want to be in the same room as one. I am also not comfortable with the increasingly harsh tone taken on issues like immigration, or Islam. There are ways to disagree on policy without resorting to us versus them rhetoric.”

Trump Was Warned

The Trump administration was warned of the danger of violence by white supremacists groups.
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security released a joint report on May 10, 2017. has published the report in its entirety here.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security in May warned that white supremacist groups had already carried out more attacks than any other domestic extremist group over the past 16 years and were likely to carry out more attacks over the next year, according to an intelligence bulletin obtained by Foreign Policy.

Even as President Donald Trump continues to resist calling out white supremacists for violence, federal law enforcement has made clear that it sees these types of domestic extremists as a severe threat. The report, dated May 10, says the FBI and DHS believe that members of the white supremacist movement “likely will continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the next year.”

The FBI ...concluded that white supremacists, including neo-Nazi supporters and members of the Ku Klux Klan, are in fact responsible for the lion’s share of violent attacks among domestic extremist groups. White supremacists “were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016 … more than any other domestic extremist movement,” reads the joint intelligence bulletin.

The report, titled “White Supremacist Extremism Poses Persistent Threat of Lethal Violence,” was prepared by the FBI and DHS.

The bulletin’s numbers appear to correspond with outside estimates. An independent database compiled by the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute found that between 2008 and 2016, far-right plots and attacks outnumbered Islamist incidents by almost 2 to 1.

The cases cited in the intelligence report include an 18-year-old Chinese student in Nashville, Indiana, who was attacked by a white supremacist with a hatchet; the murder of an African-American man in Fort Wayne, Indiana; and the stabbing of Klansman in East Yanceyville, North Carolina, by other KKK members, who believed the victim was Jewish and secretly working for law enforcement.

Too bad the FBI didn't call out the white supremacists embedded within Trump's West Wing.,

The New York Times Flays Trump Alive

The editorial board of The New York Times has torn the hide off president Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Trump is alone in modern presidential history in his willingness to summon demons of bigotry and intolerance in service to himself. He began his political career on a lie about President Barack Obama’s citizenship and has failed to firmly condemn the words and deeds of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan leaders and other bigots who rallied behind him. A number of these people, including David Duke, the former Klan imperial wizard, and Richard Spencer, self-styled theorist of the alt-right, were part of the amen chorus of bigots in Charlottesville.

“We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump,” said Mr. Duke, whose support Mr. Trump has only reluctantly disavowed in the past. “That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump.”

Mr. Trump’s fear of naming the source of Saturday’s violence sharply contrasts with his eagerness to call out Islamist terror.

All day on Sunday, Mr. Trump remained silent, as H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser, and Mike Pompeo, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, whose jobs are to understand and combat hate-based threats, covered for him on the television news shows. Ivanka Trump, her father’s senior adviser and self-proclaimed moderating force, issued a single tweet of protest.

“There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis,” she wrote on Sunday, apparently blind to her father’s accommodation of those forces.

One aide not heard from was Steve Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, whose nationalist theories and Breitbart dog whistles helped summon the rage on display in Charlottesville.

On Sunday, the White House issued, anonymously, another weak statement, saying that the president’s words on Saturday “of course” included “white supremacists, KKK, Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.”

Meanwhile a handful of congressional Republicans have condemned the hate on display in Charlottesville, and in our politics. Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado said of white supremacists, “We don’t want them in our base, they shouldn’t be in a base, we shouldn’t call them part of a base.”

 But Mr. Trump does, and in his desperation to rescue his failing presidency, he again clung to them.

Paul Krugman, meanwhile, used his column today to denounce Trump as a blatant white supremist.

"Donald Trump’s refusal to condemn the murderous white supremacists in Charlottesville finally confirms what has become increasingly obvious: The current president of the United States isn’t a real American.

Oh sure, Don, We Believe You.

Finally, under enormous pressure for two days, Donald Trump has denounced the radical rightwing thugs that savaged Charlottesville on Saturday.

It's bullshit of course. He doesn't mean it. Those thugs are Trump's people, his Freikorps. They're also an essential component of his political base.

Perhaps Trump has had an epiphany. Perhaps he's finally come to his senses. Perhaps he know grasps the magnitude of what actually transpired in Charlottesville on Saturday. Perhaps he has turned against the fascists, the white nationalists, the Klan and the white supremacists.  Nonsense.

If Trump had come around you would see at least three individuals carrying out boxes of their personal stuff from the White House - Sebastian Gorka, Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon. There's no sign of that.

Consider this from The New Republic:

The Atlantic reported that national security advisor General H.R. McMaster had removed a former Pentagon official named Rich Higgins from the National Security Council after discovering that Higgins had written and circulated a paranoid and wildly inappropriate memo, which argues that conducting “political warfare” against Trump’s enemies is a matter of dire urgency for the country.

Last week, Foreign Policy obtained the memo and published it online. It is seven pages long and completely demented. Higgins posits a vast alliance spanning establishment Republicans and Marxists who together with Islamists employ “Maoist insurgency” tactics, including the formation of a “counter-state” which “function[s] as a hostile competing state acting within an existing state,” aimed at eventually “seizing state power.” It is all the way around the bend. But its existence is no accident, and its content reflects a non-outlying viewpoint, held by many senior officials in the administration, including the president himself. According to Foreign Policy, the memo made its way from the NSC to Donald Trump’s eldest son. Trump, Jr. reportedly shared it with his father who “gushed over it” and became “furious” when he learned that Higgins had been fired.

The memo is, in a critical sense, a governing incarnation of the notorious pro-Trump treatise “The Flight 93 Election,” published in September of last year. That essay, nearly as unmoored from reality, held out similar enemies as foils to motivate Trump-skeptical conservatives to vote for him nonetheless. First, saving the country from imagined forces like “cultural marxism,” and real forces like white demographic decline, required conservatives to abandon their moral bearings. Now that he’s president, it requires enlisting the national security apparatus into political war against those same enemies—their own countrymen. “The Flight 93 Election” was published pseudonymously, then revealed to have been written by Michael Anton, who now serves—where else?—on Trump’s National Security Council.

The arrival of these ugly people and their ugly views into the halls of power would be alarming even if they hadn’t infiltrated the security services. Upon Trump’s election, the National Rifle Association transformed almost overnight from an organization that posed as a civil liberties advocacy group into, essentially, a pro-government paramilitary outfit. The fantasy of mowing protesters over with cars became so potent among Trump’s core supporters that Republicans in several states introduced legislation aimed at indemnifying motorists who strike protesters with motor vehicles.

The killing in Charlottesville wasn’t an unintended consequence of allowing white supremacists to coexist with others in the conservative coalition. It was the realization of concerted efforts to make their vision of politics a dominant strand within the party. That white supremacists and Nazis feel redeemed by Trump’s election, permitted by his words to stir up more Charlottesvilles, isn’t a consequence Trump and his brigade of racists have simply made peace with. It’s the thing in itself.

Cops, Outgunned, Scurried for Cover in Charlottesville.

Governments claim to themselves a monopoly on organized violence. This is exercised via police agencies and military forces. Nobody is supposed to be more powerful than the state which has a fundamental duty to respond to such challenges.

Only not in Charlottesville on Saturday.

Plenty of observers watching the chaotic violence commented on the apparent absence of any police presence. There were about a thousand local and state police on the scene but they were nowhere to be found where they were needed. They abandoned the protesters to the fascist, neo-Nazi, and white supremacist horde. Many paid for that with injuries. Some were critically injured. One woman lost her life.

The explanation? The fascist side showed up with assault rifles. The cops, outgunned, kept their distance. The gutless bastards in blue folded.

Virginia governor, Terry McAuliffe, was long on excuses. 

“You saw the militia walking down the street, you would have thought they were an army ... I was just talking to the State Police upstairs; [the militia members] had better equipment than our State Police had,” McAuliffe said. “And yet not a shot was fired, zero property damage.”

McAuliffe's response that law enforcement's handling of the violence was successful because there were no bullets fired and "zero property damage" would appear to ignore that dozens were left injured and a 32-year-old woman, Heather Heyer, was killed when an apparent white supremacist plowed his car into a crowd.

Does this mean that protesters now are on their own? Should they start showing up, militia-style, their own assault rifles "locked and loaded"? Is America regressing to the era of the settlement of the West when newcomers had to organize vigilante forces to exterminate the lawless that preyed upon them?

It turns out there's a Virginia national guard armoury right there in Charlottesville. If it was firepower the local authorities needed McAuliffe merely had to pick up his phone.

Better Than Al Gore?

A recently retired physician from British Columbia, Peter Carter, has taken up the fight against climate change. This video may be the most informative state-of-the-climate address you have ever seen. It explains this golden opportunity we still have and the forces, in industry and government, that will block it until it's lost.

Dr. Carter gives you a yardstick by which you should take the measure of our political leadership - Liberal, Conservative, NDP and Green. Carter presents the long overdue adult conversation we'll never get from Ottawa.

State Sponsor of (Domestic) Terrorism?

Undercover FBI agent, Michael German, says the Trump White House has empowered white supremacist terrorism. That would make the United States a true, "state sponsor of (domestic) terrorism.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

What Was Really on Display Yesterday in Charlottesville

You might have thought Ezra Levant's Rebel Media would be all over yesterday's riots in Charlottesville, Virginia. Haven't heard a word. Can't find any reaction piece online either. Nothing.

We've found out a bit more about yesterday's murder when a neo-nazi slammed his car into a street jammed with anti-racist protesters.  The guy charged with murder is James Fields who, earlier in the day, appeared in the company of fellow members of Vanguard America. Fields is the guy in the middle with the round shield emblazoned with the Vanguard logo.

Vanguard believes that only fascism can save America from its mortal threats which are pretty much anyone not white or protestant. That is a lot of anyone - Muslims, to be sure; people of colour, absolutely; Jews, yeah, them too. Brace yourselves. Here are a few excerpts taken from their web site.

"Our America is to be a nation exclusively for the White American peoples who out of the barren hills, empty plains, and vast mountains forged the most powerful nation to ever have existed. Vanguard America stands indomitably opposed to the tyranny of globalism and capitalism, a system under which nations are stripped of their heritage and their people are turned into nothing more than units of cheap, expendable labor. Vanguard America, and our nationalist allies across the Western world, see a world of nations ruled by their own people, for their own people."

"Human nature should be the foundation of all civilizations, and the starting point for ideologies, not something to be rejected in pursuit of unnatural aims which contradict it. The ideal structure of a family is one in which a hard-working father and nurturing mother instill strong values in the children of our nation. This family structure is, and has proven to be, the strongest core foundation for any nation, and thus any assault on the family must be met with swift and decisive action. We realize that equality does not exist in nature, and a government based in the natural law must not cater to the false notions of equality."

"Like all independent nations, America should strive for a truly national economy. An economy that is self-contained, and free from the influence of international corporations, led by a rootless group of international Jews, which place profit beyond the interests of our people, or any people. Neither for the rich or the poor, ours should be an economy directed to act in the interest of our people and our people alone. America should protect the man’s right to fulfilling work, so that every hardworking man can provide for his wife and children. His labor will be directed to serve the interests of the national community."

As for Israel and those pesky Jews, well anyone who reads his (not 'her', his) bible can see that God didn't intend Israel to be a Jewish homeland. It's for real Israelis, Christians.

"The Body of Christ replaced the Jewish people as the true Israel once the Messiah’s own people rejected Him, reflecting that it is the people, not political matter, which is most important to God in His plan of salvation for all who believe."

Sure doesn't sound like they're leaving much room there for rebels like Ezra, does it?

And what about them homos? Hell, they're no better than the Jews.

"People should be made aware that the destructive actions of the LGBT community are not kept behind closed doors, as their sexual abuse and diseased ideology has been parading down city streets and promoted on the airwaves. You would be surprised how often they show up in the police books and in hospitals, too. For as much as this sick-minded clique enjoys getting nude in public, they cower away from public exposure of the naked truth."

That little passage is the only part I could excerpt. The rest of it is unfathomably darker. It's beyond odious.

Then, naturally, there's the call for a fascist redemption of America while there's still time. Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Fuhrer.

"The American nation has always been unique and motley compared to its European counterparts, a mix of some of the most entrepreneurial and individualistic Whites on the planet. The nation and its people are still in flux, still evolving. The nature of this evolution, however is being altered by the influx non-whites into our lands coupled with the use of our institutions as weapons against us.

"Now the very situation that threatens our survival is molding us into something new, something stronger and something very dangerous to our enemies. In this increasingly unstable world, and this most critical point of human development, we find that which we took for granted previously under direct threat of being lost forever. That is, if we do not act. Our people are under threat of losing political self determination, their way and standard of life, and even their lives in many cases. The ability to be able to choose the future for future generations will be lost if trends continue.

"This nation within a nation that now forms inside the American Empire will be something no one has ever seen before. White Americans will have a new nation and that nation’s ideology will be Fascism; born out of necessity. Fascism has always manifested itself from nations facing existential threats from enemies without and traitors within, in America the case will be no different."

Cultural Marxism

"In every case, that existential threat was Communism, Cultural Marxism or the invasions of populations with incompatible cultures. The history of the Frankfurt School and of the Soviet Union’s plan to infiltrate and destroy our society from within could be seen as the definitive trickle to the torrential downpour of societal degeneration we see today. American Fascism, grown from the deepest roots of our people, will be expanded upon by the best of our folk and tempered in the flames of struggle against our enemies...

"Cultural Marxism spreads degeneracy; American Fascism will uplift morality and righteousness. Cultural Marxism isolates and atomizes White men; American Fascism will promote the brotherhood and unity of White men. Cultural Marxism renders our women race mixers and promiscuous rags; American Fascism will teach the women of our race that virtue and modesty are the most desirable traits. Cultural Marxism targets and destroys our families. American Fascism will support and honor our families. This, the cultural side of American Fascism could be described as being alongside traditionalism. The cultural aspects of American Fascism could be argued as the most important aspect of the ideology. A nation is the sum of its parts and a nation built of morally strong, intelligent and determined people will not only survive but thrive."

Being a stranger to these circles I twigged at the "cultural marxism" reference. I had read that before quite recently and wondered what it meant. Then I remembered. I had come across it in the Higgins' memo that circulated inside the National Security Council and made its way to the desk of Donald Trump. The president was said to have liked what he read. It was the Higgins memo that caused Gen. H.R. McMaster to purge radicals, including Higgins, from his agency. Trump was angry to learn that Higgins had been sacked. If you haven't read it, do read it in its entirety here at The Guardian offers this interesting take on the Higgins memo. It's a paranoid, xenophobic, racist screed, one apparently much to Trump's liking. That is a litmus test for the sickness that lurks within Donald Trump's White House and in the offices of some of his closest advisors.


BTW, when I searched Vanguard I found entries for Vanguard Canada. Relax, it's a hedge fund. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Faces of Charlottesville

Here are a few photographs of what transpired in Charlottesville, Virginia, last night in preparation for today's murderous rally. These are the faces of Charlottesville that Donald Trump couldn't bring himself to condemn.

Because nothing says free speech quite like a crowd of hateful white guys with torches marching at night in a southern town.

Dear Brits. You Welcomed This Pompous Ass into Your House of Lords. He's Yours. You Take Him.

I've never closely followed the life and times of our once and former fellow citizen, Conrad Black. I know the basics. He fleeced his investors, usually legally. Then he crossed the line and landed in an American prison serving a stretch mainly for illegally attempting to make off with boxes of documents or, as those uppity lawyers like to call it, evidence. It was all recorded by security cameras. Pretty much open and shut.

Black said they were personal papers but he left himself wide open for the prosecutor, Sussman, who said,  "We will probably never know what Mr. Black took - we do know what Mr. Black returned." 

Three years in the pokey and then he and Barbara were shown the door, Conrad being told to scram and never come back.

Now at that point events in his lordship's life became a bit hazy. The power couple seemed to migrate to Toronto which struck me as curious given that, having renounced his Canadian citizenship, Conrad was a foreigner, a British citizen, and a convicted felon, a full-fledged jailbird. Yet back in Canada he was venting his arrogance in columns for The National Post. 

Why, I wondered, didn't he just go back to his adopted homeland where he remains a member in good standing of the House of Lords? This is the same guy who had jettisoned everything for that peerage and said some pretty nasty things about Canada and Canadians on his way out. If he went back he could pocket 300 pounds a day, tax free, for showing up at the House and signing the day book. That'd keep him and Babs in steak and kidney pies, maybe enough left over for a pint or two.

I finally figured out why Connie the Con may be hanging out in Toronto instead of Mayfair.  Life in the Greybar Hotel he could bear. Being shunned by the people of elevated station that matter to him he cannot. It's not that he didn't try when he threw an after-prison gala in 2012.

The guest list could hardly have been more impressive.

Invitations had been sent to London Mayor Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary William Hague, supermodel Elle Macpherson, Liz Hurley and Princess Margaret’s son Lord Linley.

Sadly, not one of these A-list celebrities turned out for the party this week for Conrad Black, the former newspaper baron whose media empire once included the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, The Spectator, Chicago Sunday Times, Jerusalem Post, and 500 titles across the U.S. and Canada.

The event was held at the very swanky private members’ club Loulou’s in the heart of Mayfair, to launch Lord Black of Crossharbour’s new book, A Matter Of Principle (available free in pdf here.)

Now he is back in Britain for the first time in seven years. He returned in typically pugilistic form on Monday, loudly proclaiming his innocence — as he has done all along.

And it is clear that his years behind bars have done little to invest him with humility, for he arrived on our shores this week excoriating old enemies and threatening revenge on all those he claimed had done him wrong.

He warned his biographer Tom Bower — whose book in 2006 painted a far from complimentary portrait of Lord Black and his wife Barbara Amiel living a billionaire’s lifestyle on other people’s money — to stay clear of him.

‘We’ll take the fillings out of his teeth and the roof off his house when we finally get round to dragging him into court here,’ Black growled at one interviewer. ‘He’s a dead man.’


Black’s lively, knockabout appearances on television cannot hide his over-arching desire — along with that of his wife Barbara, who is currently in Los Angeles for a four-day birthday party thrown by Elton John for his husband David Furnish — to claw himself back to respectability in British society.

After all, when he was last here, he was one of the world’s most influential newspaper barons, a man who surrounded himself with powerful figures from Margaret Thatcher to Henry Kissinger, the former U.S. Secretary of State. Guests at dinner parties at Lord Black’s magnificent £13 million mansion in Kensington included Cabinet ministers and showbusiness royalty such as Sir Elton.

He may talk defiantly about returning to the House of Lords, having been elevated to the peerage in 2001, when he was such a revered figure in Tory circles that Lady Thatcher and Lord Carrington, who was her first Foreign Secretary, introduced him to the Upper House.

But he has not dared set foot in their Lordships’ House since 2003, when questions about his business career first started surfacing, and some elements of the current Tory leadership regard him as a political pariah. One former Tory minister, who sits in the Lords, says: ‘He’s the last thing we need right now.’


‘Conrad is discovering this week it’s hard to come back,’ said one Tory grandee, who preferred to remain anonymous. ‘His whole demeanour suggests he has learned nothing from prison.

‘Barbara is urging him to come back to London because she can’t bear Toronto, which she thinks is ghastly. She wants to be back at high table with royalty and the cream of London society.’
But whether the cream of London is ready for the return of Conrad and Barbara is very much open to question.

Donald Trump Just Can't Quit the White Supremacist Vote

Donald Trump erased any doubt today about his soft spot for white supremacists. After staying mute most of the day following the Charlottesville rampage, Trump finally took to the podium to deliver a message dripping with hypocrisy including this line, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides. On many sides.”

Hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. Right, Donald. Everyone's to blame and therefore no one.

That wasn't good enough for Trump's faithful supporter, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who fired back:  “I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists.

The governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe didn't share Trump's convenient ambiguity. He told a news conference that he had a message for “all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today: Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth.

Trump's problem is that he courted the racist, white supremacist, white nationalist vote and it's an important segment of his dwindling base. That's why he has to pull his punches, hedge his words, blur his message. He's got them working in his own White House, a couple of them - Bannon and Miller - are close advisors.  Then there's Gorka.  If the racists abandon the already weakened Trump what support remains? David Duke is right. It was the white supremacist vote that put Trump in the presidency.

Trump sought out these bigots on his campaign to the White House. He preached the politics of division, suspicion and hate and reaped the rewards on January 20 when he was sworn into office. He can't distance himself from them now, they won't have it. He's attacked Muslims of all ethnicities. He's attacked Mexicans. He's attacked Asians. He's pushed a Sarah Palinesque notion of what constitutes a "real American." Trump energized the Alt.Right. He's their man, their president. They voted him into office. And standing before the microphones today he made it clear that's the way it is, that's the way it's going to stay.

What Might It Look Like If/When Neoliberalism Crashes Down?

The Brits are openly discussing what we've lacked the conviction to raise in Canada, the need for a new political party.

Ever since Layton/Mulcair and Ignatieff/Trudeau followed dutifully in Harper's steps as he shifted Canada's political centre well and truly to the right, the left/centre-left has languished in Canada, largely unrepresented by parties that had embraced the free market fundamentalist orthodoxy.

The game is up. Neoliberalism, while still practised by Justin Trudeau, has run its course. John Ralston Saul proclaimed the neoliberal era dead in his 2005 book, "The Collapse of Globalism." Since then the IMF and the World Bank have denounced the sham of neoliberalism. Apparently neither Justin nor the Tory or NDP leaders got the memo. The political spectrum in Canada has been so narrowed as to crush any hope for real change from this lot.

There has, however, been movement in Britain, a desire even among the Tory ranks to chart a new path, abandoning the old, corrupt and failed neoliberal model or what Theresa May's campaign literature called "the cult of selfish individualism."

The Guardian's Paul Mason says nothing short of a clean break, a new party not bound by Tory or Labour ties, will save Britain from the iron grip of dying neoliberalism.

James Chapman, a former Daily Mail journalist and former spin doctor for George Osborne and David Davis, who now works for the PR firm Bell Pottinger, wants to launch a new centrist party called the Democrats, consisting of diehard anti-Brexiters from all parties. He claims that two cabinet ministers, several former Tory frontbenchers and even members of the Labour shadow cabinet have been “in touch”.

Chapman’s gambit is welcome because it comes after the early summer promise of a Tony Blair-led move to create a new centre party (emulating Emmanuel Macron’s) fizzled out. Private Eye claims that Blair asked Labour donor and Brexiteer John Mills for money, to no avail. At the annual conference of Progressthere were few takers for my suggestion that they “do a Macron”; in fact, Progress itself is a shrunken force inside the Labour movement and does not look capable of launching anything in the near future.


I want to suggest to those contemplating a new party a different course of action.

The global system is in trouble because it does not work. The European Union likewise. $12tn worth of unconventional monetary policy by central banks has bought time, and filled the cities of the world with speculative apartment blocks and shopping malls, but it has not restored dynamism to the world economy.

That is because the model is broken. A model based on wage stagnation, excess financial profit, relentless privatisation and stagnant productivity was always going to blow up – and that’s what happened in 2008. The decade since has been wasted because, among the wider elite that now fantasises about a new party, there was actually no new thinking.

It is not just political careers at stake: if neoliberalism is dying, thousands of PhDs are worthless; entire legal codes will evaporate; career paths will have to be rethought. Easier to blame the electorate for their stupidity in reaching for the gun of national-centric solutions than re-examine your own flawed assumptions.

Britain has a new and unstable relationship with Europe, in which the EU27 will always have the upper hand, and the resulting frictions will always threaten a repeat of June 2016. And the difference between Corbyn and the Tory right is clear: under no circumstances could Labour present to parliament a deal worse than the present situation, let alone vote for it.
For people who really cannot live with that, who would rather idealise the Europe that smashed Greece while tolerating racists and antisemites in power across eastern Europe, maybe a new party is the only place they’re going to be happy.
But the world has still changed. The global system is fragmenting and demands radical answers that neither Blairism nor Coalition-era Conservatism can offer. A new party would form an emotional comfort blanket: braver to expose yourself to the strategic problem of the age – to ditch the economic strategies of the past 30 years and rethink.