My latest: NO MAGA

As in politics, as in comedy: it’s all about timing.

Take MAGA, for instance (please). The Make America Great Again movement indisputably revolutionized American politics. Possibly world politics, too.

Whether you like MAGA or not, it can’t be denied: “Make America Great Again” transformed a reality show host into the most powerful man on Earth.

And Donald Trump’s MAGA timing was perfect.

White, 50-something American men — the ones who used to run the country — were angry. They felt like they had been forgotten.

They had lost power they once had. Technological change and globalization, they believed, had cost them their jobs. Cultural change — feminism, civil rights and immigration, mainly — had left them feeling they’d lost their relevance at home and in Washington.

And economic change had cost them their way of life — their ability to provide for their families. So, circa 2016, they were angry. Really angry.

They didn’t want an experienced member of the elites anymore. They didn’t want Hillary Clinton, who they saw as the literal (and liberal) embodiment of everything they hated.

They wanted a maniac, basically, to disrupt everything. They wanted to upend every apple cart. They wanted to break everything and start over again.

Brexit came first, in June 2016, and basically was the British version of MAGA. And then, a few months later, came Donald Trump — whose red-hatted “Make America Great Again” arrived at precisely the right moment.

MAGA, as this space has suggested before, wouldn’t have worked if it had just been MAG – Make America Great. The addition of that single word, Again, is what connected Trump — a billionaire, Fifth Avenue New Yorker — to those forgotten, angry white 50-something men.

They were prepared to overlook his (many) sins and shortcomings to get back to how things used to be. So they put a man wholly unsuited for the job in the Oval Office. And Trump kept up his end of the bargain, and got to work breaking everything.

And now? Well, now, MAGA isn’t so great anymore.

NBC News released a big national poll on Wednesday. As NBC put it: “Just 24% of Americans have positive views of the movement, while 45% voice negative views … A slight majority of Republicans — 52% — view the MAGA movement positively, as well as 53% of those who define themselves as conservative.

Independents also rated the movement negatively, with just 12% viewing it positively, while 45% say they have negative views of the movement.”

And that independent segment is key. In the US, the Democrats and the Republicans each hold about a third of committed voters. So it’s that middle third, the independents, who decide who controls the White House and Congress.

And independents don’t like MAGA. Outside of their white, rural, high school-only base, MAGA lost support everywhere, with every demographic.

Why? The NBC poll doesn’t say. But it may simply be a case of timing: it’s hard to remain angry forever. And, with job growth growing, and inflation fading, the MAGA folks simply have fewer targets to shoot at.

Which is why President Joe Biden targeted MAGA in his big announcement this week — that he’s running again. Said Biden: “MAGA extremists are lining up to take bedrock freedoms away.”

Biden isn’t as popular as he should be. Trump remains the favourite of Republicans. Which presents the biggest irony of all: the Democrats may have the wrong guy, but they have the right message. And Republicans may have the right guy, but they’ve got the wrong message.

Which is MAGA. And which is the reason, more than any other, that Joe Biden is going to win.

Kinsella has worked on the campaigns of Clinton and Biden.


My latest: not government funded, but I sure wish it was

Twitter, Elon Musk, CBC and the federal workers’ strike are all connected.

Stay with me, here.

A few days ago, Twitter’s troll-in-chief, Elon Musk – who attended Queen’s University in the early Nineties, and we suspect only ever listened to the privately-owned CKWS – slapped a label on CBC’s Twitter account. He’d done the same thing to PBS and NPR and BBC, but how he labelled CBC caused a great big stink up here in the Great Blighted North.

Musk affixed “government-funded media” on CBC/Radio-Canada’s Twitter account. It was partly true, because a big part of CBC’s budget comes from the federal government, as it did under socialists like Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper.

Much stürm und drang ensued, with a spokespersonage at Mother Corp. huffing and puffing about Musk’s mischievousness. “Twitter can be a powerful tool for our journalists to communicate with Canadians, but it undermines the accuracy and professionalism of the work they do to allow our independence to be falsely described in this way,” said CBC spokesman Leon Mar.

CBC thereafter announced it would be “pausing” its tweets on its corporate and news-related Twitter accounts. Musk, who most days strongly resembles a walking Irish bar fight, changed CBC’s label to “69 per cent government funded.”

With a war still raging in Ukraine, mass-shootings happening in the U.S. every single day, A.I. replacing humans, starvation and genocide reigning in Sudan, and – closer to home – China undermining our democracy, it’s comforting to know that the biggest news story is what Elon Musk calls public broadcasters, isn’t it? Yep.

So, let’s get serious for a moment and recall three unassailable facts, all addressed to the CBC.

One: good folks at the CBC, be under no illusion. Every sentient being in Canada knows you are government-funded. Saying you are “government-funded” isn’t news, as it were. It’s factual.

Two: CBC apparatchiks, was Musk implying that you are biased in favour of the government led by Justin Trudeau? Of course he was. Big deal. Millions of Canadians, Pierre Poilievre among them, say you favour Justin Trudeau several hundred times a day. Just as many say that this newspaper isn’t his biggest fan, which possibly has a partial ring of truth to it.

So what? Readers, viewers and listeners know what our biases are when they read/listen/watch us. Give them, us, credit for a modicum of intelligence, would you?

Three: CBC tall foreheads, take note – Elon Musk is, as noted, a troll. Like Yours Screwly, he likes irritating people. He likes provoking a reaction, even if it’s negative. In particular, he likes taking perfectly good social media platforms and reducing them to rubble, and he’s damn good at it.

Having a guy like that as a critic? That’s a badge of honour, boys and girls. If any label should be on your Twitter account, it’s that: “Elon Musk doesn’t like us.”

Which leads us, in a typically-circuitous route, to this point, addressed mainly to conservatives who have made it this far in this proudly-biased opinion column: I’d wager every single one of you is “government-funded,” too.

And, if you posses a Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or (God forbid) TikTok account, you should ‘fess up, too. If you’ve ever gotten something because of the Canadian Pension Plan, or Old Age Security, or the GST/HST credit, or Canada child benefits, or veteran disability programs, or treaty annuities, or any direct deposit whatsoever for any federal program whatsoever, ever, you’re kind of “government-funded,” too.

And – this where the aforementioned strike action comes in – you’re not going to be getting any of that “government funding” again anytime soon. Sorry. That may make you unhappy, and it should.

This final fact will make you even unhappier: guess who has received at least $4.9 billion in government funding since 2015? You guessed it: Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity.

You know, Elon Musk’s companies.


My latest: take a permanent vacation, for the love of God

As Andrew Coyne memorably said: they‘re just trolling us, now.

The Trudeau Liberals, that is. “Trolling,” generally, is Internet slang for a person who intentionally tries to instigate conflict, hostility, or arguments with someone else. In this case, specifically, it’s Justin Trudeau signalling – once and for all, beyond any reasonable doubt – that he doesn’t give a rat’s ass what you, his employers, think.

That’s the bad news.

The good news – and Lord knows we could use some, as you will shortly see – is that the CBC still knows how to publish stories that are highly, highly damaging to Justin Trudeau.

Just a day after Elon Musk’s Twitter labelled the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation “government-funded media,” thereby implying that the CBC is effectively on Trudeau’s political payroll, the Mother Corp. struck back.

First thing Tuesday morning, CBC’s French language news team broke a pretty big story:
Trudeau and his family spent the Christmas holidays at something called Prospect, an uber-rich seaside estate owned by the Green family in Jamaica.

Who, CBC reported, had previously made a huge donation to the Trudeau Foundation.

Which, as we all know, is now at the very epicentre of the metastasizing Chinese election and influence-peddling scandal.

Well done, CBC. Take note, Elon Musk.

The trip cost taxpayers – you and me – some $160,000 because of security and personnel costs. Trudeau’s staff, CBC noted, had been billeted at a nearby resort. All-inclusive, natch.

Trudeau’s fart-catchers will claim, and have, that the trip was cleared by the Ethics Commissioner. Said office now being led by the sister-in-law of one of Trudeau’s cabinet ministers, who also happens to be one of his best friends.

But nobody outside of Ottawa cares what the “Ethics Commissioner” says, anymore. From Whitehorse to Windsor, regular Canadians don’t need an “Ethics Commissioner” to tell them what is right and what is wrong.

Morally wrong, ethically wrong. Regular folks know Trudeau’s latest vacation on the public dime is wrong – and profoundly, deeply disgusting – for two big reasons.

One, it’s Trudeau – a multi-millionaire, remember – spending other people’s money recklessly. At a time when the vast majority of them can’t afford a trip to the grocery store, let alone an exclusive retreat in Jamaica.

Two, it’s wrong because it shows the Liberal Prime Minister’s utter disregard for the seriousness of the Chinese election and influence-peddling scandal. When the foundation that bears his family name has been used as a vehicle by Chinese agents to influence Trudeau, is it wise to spend the holidays at the Caribbean mansion of a known Trudeau Foundation donor?

No, it isn’t. And that much is obvious to everyone else – the leaders of the Conservative, New Democratic and Bloc Quebecois parties, included. They, like the rest of us, were shocked and appalled by what CBC reported. Even unnamed Liberals were disgusted. “We wonder why he goes to places like that,” a source told Radio-Canada.

Said another: “I can’t explain why he provides [the Opposition] with ammunition and feeds these kinds of attacks.”

I can tell you why. And it’s the bad news, mentioned right off the top.

It’s this: Justin Trudeau just doesn’t care. He doesn’t care what any of us think, anymore. He doesn’t give a sweet damn. And he’s going to keep doing things like this until he can’t anymore.

Which is up to us. Because, at the earliest opportunity, we need to vote the jerk out.

Enough is enough.


Government-funded™️


My latest: Telford, Butts and the truth

There’s a reason why Katie Telford is testifying before a Parliamentary committee on Friday, and why Gerald Butts is not.

Telford is smarter than Butts.

He, after all, had to resign in the midst of the SNC-Lavalin scandal. He said some things to Jody Wilson Raybould that he shouldn’t have said, and he had to resign in disgrace.

But here’s the interesting thing: Katie Telford also said some very unhelpful things during that scandal. She talked about engineering some fake news to protect her boss, Justin Trudeau.

But Telford didn’t have to resign. Butts did.

When you consider that Gerald Butts has been one of Justin Trudeau’s closest friends since they both attended McGill University, that is noteworthy. Telford only met Trudeau much later on, when she had abandoned the Ontario Liberal team in Toronto and moved up the 401 to Ottawa.

But she survived. And Justin Trudeau’s closest friend didn’t.

Why?

Three reasons, all of which need to be kept in mind when Telford sits down to testify about another Trudeau government scandal, the Chinese election interference one.

One, Katie Telford is not going to make a big mistake.  She has testified before Parliamentarians probing other scandals in the past. In every case, she did not lose her cool, she did not make a mistake, she did not even break into a sweat.

She knows that sounding as boring as possible is the best strategy in these situations. So count on her to be boring and avoid any pratfalls.

Two, she has more facts than the Parliamentarians. As the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister of Canada, Telford would be the only political aide who has sat in on national security briefings with the Prime Minister. She is the only one who knows the full truth and nothing but the truth.

Based upon some fine reporting by Global News and The Globe and Mail and others, we know – or we strongly suspect – that Trudeau and Telford were told about Chinese election criminality in both 2019 and 2021. And we know – or we strongly suspect – that neither of them did anything about it.

So, yes, she knows more than your garden-variety Member of Parliment. But, in fairness to her, it is against the law for her to disclose national security matters in public.

She would go to jail if she did so. So she may know a lot – but she can’t say a lot when she appears to testify.

Three, she isn’t going anywhere. When the last helicopter lifts the last Trudeau government survivor from the roof of the Langevin Block, like in Saigon in 1975,  Telford almost certainly will be the one leaving last.

She has been discreet, she has been low profile, and she has been – more than anyone else – unwaveringly loyal to Justin Trudeau. If she wants five Senate appointments for herself, not just one, Justin Trudeau will give them to her.

She can ask for anything her heart desires, in fact, because she has been able to do what Gerald Butts could not.

Namely, stay out of trouble, stay quiet, and stay loyal.

Expecting fireworks when she testifies tomorrow?

You will be disappointed.