Category Archives: Politics

Tocqueville’s Democracy in America – As a Framework for The Future

It’s the most important work on American democracy and the US in the 1830s. Democracy in America is a very long book 1000 pages though. The truth is that every American and every Political Scientist should read it.

Two ways to look at it:

  1. It’s a historical artifact: it’s historical.
  2. Work of political science and sociology.

The French Revolution ruined the de Tocqueville family wealth. The author studied, Voltaire, Rouseau, Pascal. In the 1830 July Revolution , Tocqueville takes the oath for the new Burbons. Tocqueville wanted to try looking into the US for prison reform. However, he wanted to identify lessons from US democracy, it’s inclination; what should we fear or hope for in this new democratic movement emerging in the US? The Trail of Tears occurred in the 1830s….Also the Nullification Crisis. There was also slavery; bu Tocqueville observed a ‘classless’ society.

Funny Associations:

  • The Voluntary Association / Local Sovereignty
  • American Bible Society; Temperance Society;
  • The Lady’s Association for the Benefit of Gentle Women of Good Family Reduced In Fortune Below the State of Comfort To Which They Have Been Accustomed.
  • Voluntary Associations: don’t rely on the government to solve their problems.
  • Democracy at the local level then is far more robust. Tocqueville and his co-author won a cash prize for their research.
  • The federal government was very small; voluntary association was central and patriotism is evident.

  • The Hierarchies of Power could be crushed as long as we are all being treated free and equal….and meeting up to talk about it.
  • Freedom and Equality are mutually re-inforcing. But then we asked;
  • Freedom and Equality seem to pull in different direction….
  • Locke wanted to separate powers; but it’s an institutional device.
  • How to combine popular rule with political wisdom?
  • “1835 Democracy in America”
  • America is a blank slate. Tocqueville thought that France would become like America: democracy is likely to revert back to monarchy.
  • Equality of conditions: this is the equality of conditions (equality of opportunity). It’s a gradual spread of the concept.

Features of American Democracy:

I) Local government: localism: local democracies are the cradle of civil society in townships. The institutions of putting the democracy in the reach of all the people were not that expensive to build. The people are legislating and organizing. Alexis de Tocqueville told his readers to read Rousseau every day;

The township format itself is Aristotelian. The township exists by nature. There is the old Polis character described by Aristotle which Tocqueville believes is very important for a democratic society.

II) Civil Association: these voluntary groups are immensely powerful and energizing. There is the mother science concept; uniting in associations. Trying to fix common goals; civic association.

Robert Putnam: happy for social capital. The decline in association is the Bowling Alone phenomenon. These are not natural times; It’s a learned activity; the Civic Society goes into decline as our isolation cripples our Civic Associations.

Are we in a couch potato crisis? Yes, in 2018!!

III) Spirit of Religion: America is primarily a puritan democracy; early Puritanisms. Religion will not disappear because of the decline of faith; it’s rather a shift in faith. We can’t separate faith: dignity of the individual. Tocqueville looked at religion purely for social effects.

Increase the number of factions in order to prevent anyone from being the dominant one.

The idea of democracy does claim that this idea that political correctness is a danger.

Moral of the State:

  • Compassion, restiveness,
  • Democracy has made us gentler: broadcast tv has made us indifferent to others in our group.
  • Bill Clinton “I feel your pain.”

Political Educator: – There is a divine

  • Restful. We want to ask what kind of people we create.
  • What is the democratic statecraft? A new political science; it’s based on a novel history of human agency; as any reader knows there is a power in history.
  • It’s like we are part of an immense process. 
  • Certainly the pendulum has swung away from civil society in many ways. But generally online interactions are positive.

Leadership Under Duress: 2 Technologies Used by Officers of the Law – Gwent

These Welsh Police officers showed real courage, professionalism and calm under true duress. In this video, the assailant refused to put his knives down, after so many requests to obey law enforcement. Follow the law, obey police officers (if you live in an advanced western democracy). The guy didn’t do that. And he even asked that they not record the situation etc. Clueless! The police are an extension of the government that we pay for as citizens.

What’s really interesting is the use of tasers and body cams; the police (who are serving their community at great personal risk) managed, through quick action, to disarm this dangerous person. While some may argue that statistically other professions are more risky (Alaskan Crab Fishing), I would argue that the kind of risk needs to be included in an stat used to evaluate risk. Stabbing death is a bit more horrendous than falling off a boat. And yes, police get compensated for their hard work and they are aware of the risk but this kind of courage is commendable. Unfortunately, taser guns do not completely incapacitate an assailant, hopefully that technology will be available soon.

 

How Finance Is Used In Business Operations | Appreciating Depreciation!

Dollarama: Looking at their Industry leadership in Canada and Earnings Management 101

  1. competing on price
  2. cost leadership
  3. cheap product retailer

Dollarama IPOed in 2009 and become a Canadian darling trading as TSX:DOL. Then in June 2014 which is the first quarter of their 2015 financial year (fillings standard), they changed the useful life of all their stores & additional fixed assets from 10 years to 15 years. So what? Well, this spreads the rate of depreciation over a longer life time. Assets stay on the balance sheet longer and that means that Dollarama has a lower amount of depreciation expense per year. Since depreciation expense take away net income, the effect is that: in Dollarama’s case:

  • they gained $0.04 per share increase by in effect tweaking the depreciation rates of their stores.
  • David Milstead of the Globe and Mail said the reasoning behind this is that “Dollarama needed to keep the P/E at 21 versus 16.”

What Milstead is arguing is that Dollarama had to hit analyst expectations. Gross margin was down in the first quarter so how was that going happen?

You can imagine the C-suite discussion: “We wanted to maintain a premium valuation.” What’s a bit shocking is that adjustments on the depreciation rate of their stores made up for exactly the short-fall. Weird right? Although Dollarama could legitimately set depreciation for their stores at 15 years; it is plausible deniability. The kind of activity that draws similar behaviour in both corporate and political decision-making. Only through a premium valuation can Dollarama maintain its $21 Price over Earnings ratio. However in the long term, this C-suite decision would have a future impact on CAPEX. Cost leadership by gross margins were down and trending lower. They can’t increase prices; they have nothing to divest. They have few receivables (i.e. beyond gift cards). They could delay paying suppliers? Or they could only fiddle with depreciation. What’s the future impact on depreciation? The net income goes down in future years!

Depreciation as Form of Earnings Management

Recall that Depreciation is used to explain how much of an Asset’s value is used up. And then it is matched the expenses of an asset against the income that asset earns. Depreciation is used for income tax purposes to degrade assets thus reducing the tax burden on a business.

A straight-line depreciation would have a tangible asset worth $500K with a 5-year useful life. Every accounting year, the firm expenses $100K which is matched with the money that the tangible asset creates each year. Therefore, when you change the Depreciation from $500K over 5 years to 10 years, that means you would expense $50K per year rather than $100K which means the asset stays on the books for longer.

Depreciation sits on the balance sheet as a reduction from the total gross amount of a company’s long-term Property, Plant and Equipment PP&E. In other words, if you keep the PP&E longer on the balance sheet, it will benefit the earnings / net income. When an asset is retired or sold, the total amount of the accumulate depreciation associated with that asset is reversed, completely removing all record of the asset from a company’s books.

Depreciation expense is a non-cash expense because the monthly charge on a company’s income statement is made by a monthly recurring depreciation entry. A depreciation expense on a company’s income statement is debited and a company’s accumulate depreciation expense is credited on its balance sheet. If you reduce the depreciation expense over a specific period, it is the depreciation expense itself that reduces the earnings as a non-cash charge on a company’s income statement.

Off-Balance Sheet Assets: Leasing – Capital vs Operating

Operating lease is off the balance sheet only appearing in the Income Statement.

A true lease

Capital Leases: the lessor transfers ownership of the asset to the lessee who gets the depreciation for the asset. The lessee has to list the capital lease and gets the depreciation from that asset.

Operating Leases: are where the lessor owns the asset and all the costs and benefits (depreciation) associated with it. The lessee merely rents out the asset and pays a lease fee. The tangible asset is off the balance sheet.

Knife-edge criteria e.g. – under US GAAP, a lease is a capital lease if any one of these four hold:

  • Length of Lease extends to >= 75% of Useful Life
  • Ownership is transferred of title at end of the lease
  • Bargain Basement clause at the end of the lease
  • PV(Payments) @ “appropriate” discount rate >= 90% of Fair Value

Firms will often structure leases to ‘just’ avoid capital lease. i.e. Many Operating Leases be a Capital Lease in disguise.

Operating Lease:

Debit                    Rent Expense

Credit                   Cash

You have no application on the balance sheet:

Capital Lease:

Debit                    Asset

Credit                   Liability

Plausible deniability: you have a plausible justification that masks (convincingly!) another objective. Create your own schedule, flexibility, aim for the highest support, money. The true economic reality of a firm and what is presented in the financial statements: The role of financial statements in valuation does not rely solely on reported profit.

Operating Lease versus Capitalized Lease

Operating lease: the transaction appears on the Income Statement. >= 75% of it’s useful life. Ratios are better: Return on Assets (sales are not in Operating Lease). Fewer journal entries. ROA is Return on Assets = Net Income / Average Total Assets. Capitalized Lease is BS + IS

  • Debit Rent Expense
  • Capitalized Lease; the transaction appears on the Balance Sheet and Income Statement.
  • Debit into Expenses
  • Debit Liability
  • Credit Cash

Who is Fooled?

Banks can observe this activity as well. They are not fooled.

Off Balance Sheet Finance

Debit Covenant: when a company is given a target performance range by investors that they must follow.

Ebit/Int

Off Balance Sheet Finance

But

Ebit/Int+Rent

Moody’s Agencies: {Not Fooled Either} Air Canada – standard metrics + Moody’s standard adjustments. 8.3 billion adjust to long term debt. Balance Sheet: -> present value of Capital Lease

Air Canada Case

You need to get the present value of capital leases. Air Canada added Cap Leases. Investors trade on heuristics: so yes, Investors can be FOOLED. Take Operating Lease for the next 5 years. Cost of Debt 7.32% You can almost double the debt load. If you capitalize your Operating Leases the firm looks totally screwed. Take all the debt to the end of 2004

Intangible Asset (Off the Balance Sheet)

  • Intangible assets include intellectual property, brand equity and goodwill.
  • Intangible assets are categorized into two categories;

1) those that appear on the financial statement and;

2) those that do not appear on the financial statement.

R&D Expenses are almost always expensed. There are some expections; software firms where accounting standard allow for the capitalization of development expenses after product feasibility has been demonstrated. This rule applies for internally generated intangibles.

If the pharmaceutical firm develops a patent, that patent is not recognized on the balance sheet.

If the pharmaceutical firm purchases patents form other: the value of the patent appears on the balance sheet. It is difficult to determine the value of intangibles. Spending money on R&D or advertising does not guarantee a benefit to the firm. However, when assets are acquired there is an explicit or implicit valuation for the acquired intangible asset.

Is R&D an Asset?

In the US all R&D is expensed. On the balance sheet; there is a liability. There matching entry is on the shareholders’ equity and deferred taxes.

What about Advertising: Energizer Bunny didn’t improve Duracell’s sale

Goodwill              |                            <- Intangible

|

Net Assets           |

|

Valeant Case R&D is expensed in the US but R&D is Goodwill and Intangibles.

What are the future benefits of its assets?

Goodwill: I can’t sell that much.

Intangible assets are massive: you can put the intangibles in the Goodwill and not in Net Assets. ROA (return on assets) was low 1.2% organically

The telltale signs of distortion on in the ROE, firms with intangible industries will have ROEs much higher than firms in other industries and also much higher than their costs of equity.

ROE =                   Net Income / Total Shareholder’s Equity

ROA =                   Net Income / Total Assets

You have R&D of $10 billion as Intel. But your balance sheet shows under $5 billion of identifiable intangible assets. Intel R&D using a three year straight line amortization period; what this means is that you don’t expense R&D as incurred but capitalize it and amortize it over a three year period.

Intel is close to steady state which means the impact is more muted.

You only grow Goodwill by acquisition.

  • 13 Billion Down
  • 2 Billion
  • ROA 8.4%

ROA inflates if the most important assets isn’t in the denominator. You are growing by acquisition. Synergies: not tangible, you can’t give to another firm. 11 Billion out 13 billion means you have negative equity.

On Balance Sheet – Intangible Assets

Why On Balance Sheet distorted?

In this case, the intangible assets are overstated on the balance sheet.

Two types of intangible assets:

  • Amortization period not appropriate (for finite lived intangibles): these are patents which expire after a set duration. Finite lived intangible assets are amortized over their useful life.
  • Impairment not taken (indefinite life intangibles): these are goodwill or trademarks. Indefinite duration assets are typically evaluated periodically for impairment.

Where Crucial

In addition to I.P. intensive industries, also M&A intensive firms/industries. HP and CGI for example.

Telltale Signs
Others taking impairments, especially for goodwill while this firm is not taking impairments.

Firms hate to take goodwill impairments as these are a tacit admission that the acquisition was a failure: goodwill will reflect overpayment.

Remember that Goodwill impairments are not tax deductible while fixed asset impairments are! Therefore with Goodwill impairments, the impact will be felt in Net Income and Correspondlu in Shareholder’s equity.

Hewlett Packard | Autonomy

The HP acquisition of Autonomy: ‘Get Rid of Goodwill?

You need to do an Impairment Test (for your information) there are 4 steps.

PV = FCF/(r-g)

The g will massively impact your PV, so in terms of financials you can massively miscalculated the PV.

Valeant doesn’t tell you about the inputs into the Goodwill impairment and we get wildly different results. HP had a 9 billion 2012 impacted due to the Autonomy situation.

Autonomy $9 billion, they paid a premium of 65% over the target’s trading price. HP recorded a $6.9 billion goodwill and $4.3 billion of other intangible assets. HP overpaid and they had to write down $8.8 billion. $5.7 billion was written off goodwill, while $3.1 billion was written off the intangible assets.

On the Income Statement you see charges for both these impairments; The balance sheet, impairments of $8.8 billion totally towards goodwill and other intangibles and an entire impact of $8.8 billion on equity as these impairments are non-deductible.

  1. flexibility of write downs

+

  1. Poor profitability

Therefore, it’s possible that there was a Big Bath: Autonomy founder suggests as much: it’s a write off quickly. Write off over 10 years versus write it all down now.

They choose to write it down NOW, indicating a Big Bath.

HP’s Big Bath

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HP_Autonomy

Liability Distortions

RRSP and 401K are Defined Contribution Plans:

Remember: Conservative Accounting Versus Aggressive Accounting

  • Being conservative is Asset DOWN Income DOWN
  • Being aggressive Assets UP and Income UP

Deferred Revenue

Why do deferred revenues get distorted? Deferred revenues can get distorted when firms manipulate the criteria for revenue recognition. If a firm is aggressive, it may choose to recognize revenue prematurely, increasing revenue and thereby income, and lowering the deferred revenue liability.

Where it matters?

Deferred revenues are important in businesses where the operating cycles are long; where project often span multiple years and where there is a mismatch between the receipts of payments from customers and provision of goods/services.

Example, Microstrategy was accused of aggressive revenue recognition. Essentially, had multi-period contracts for software service Instead of deferring the revenue and recognixing it over the life of the contract. For the year 1999, Microstrategy admitted to overstating approxiametaly $50 million in revenue.

Deferred Revenue

  • Instead they should treat it as deferred revenue
  • When firms get paid, before they provide a good/service, they should not treat it as revenue.
  • In the future year, they recognize revenue (cr.) and remove the deferred revenue (dr.)
  • Often firms are aggressive and prematurely recognize revenue
  • Adjustments are similar to channel stuffing with an increase in liability (deferred revenue) instead of decrease in an asset (accounts receivable).
  • Micro-strategy example – prematurely recognized 50 million of revenue (and 2 million of associated cost)

Reserves

When you recognize the impact of the expenditures before the expenditures actually occur.

  • Warranty Expenses Debt $5 million
  • Warranty Reserves Credit $5 million

Reserves can be distorted at both times either at origination or at the time when then the expense is incurred. You can have expenses diverted to reserves instead of the income statement.

Where Might This Be Crucial?

In industries where warranties are crucial. Restructuring reserves are crucial as often the ‘turnaround that has been shown by the new management can be a fiction of the accounting treatments.

Telltale Signs:

Unexpected improvement in cost ratios on the income statement, along with a corresponding decline in reservices.

Pensions

Defined Contribution Plans:

  • You have Assets and Liabilities which are equal to each other.
  • These plans tie you to a given company for example:
  • GM: $50 BILLION liability because they had a contribution plan.
  • Car company: $2500 per car went to cover Post Retirement Healthcare costs.
  • The risk is with the employee.
  • Contribution Plans are portable?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defined_contribution_plan

Defined Benefit Plans:

  • Risk is to the employer.
  • The present value of the future payments to be made to the pension plan is the PBO (projected benefit obligation). If the Net Assets of a pension exceed the PBO, the pension plan is adequately funded.
  • If the Net Asses are lower than the PBO, then the pension is underfunded.
  • This is a portable plan which you can take with you anywhere you like.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individual_Pension_Plan

Pension Plan sits under the COGS, SG&A or some other expense category. Pension Expense has three components: a) service cost, b) interest cost and c) return on plan.

Distortion in Pension Accounting:

Some because of the complexity of the standard and some because of the manipulation.

Where might this be crucial? Pension related issues are important in labour intensive and unionized industries, usually more so in older legacy companies.

How old are my fixed assets: accumulated breakdown: Apple outsources to Foxconn. Apple has Operating leases for their Apple Stores.

Discontinued Operation

When firms discontinue a line of business, the results are then restated for past periods: usuall past 3 income statements and last 2 balance sheets….

They want to prevent firms from disposing of entire lines of businesses in order to improve net income. Amy gains and losses will be reported separately. The Net Assets from discontinued operations: this represents the assets less liabilities of the discontinue operations.

Changed in Accounting Principles

You could change accounting principles regularly in order to confuse Equity Researchers.

Cumulative Effect of Accounting with Pro-Forma Disclosure

  • Say a company changes from one method of depreciation to another.

Governments love depreciating assets;

  • New assets get depreciated well before new investment.
  • Citizens hate to see reinvestment in older infrastructure.
  • The government only wants to invest in older infrastructure when it really really needs to be fixed.
  • They have to issue debt or raise taxes to get more revenue.

Grss PP&E                                                        Acc Dep

_______________                          _____________________

11billion                                                                           Credit 4billion

10.7bilion                                                                        Credit .700billion

Net PP&E

7 |

BA versus Luftansa:

  • BA’s long-haul planes depreciate at a lower rate because they have fewer take offs and landings.
  • Luft has less turnaround times, smaller planes therefore higher rates of depreciation.

British Airways

Gross PP&E                                      Depreciation                                     Assets

Layer useful left                              high

18 to 25 years for their assets

Lufthansa

  • When you balance those two together you get
  • 12 years for their assets.

Lufthansa has smaller planed, depreciation is much fast, more takes and landings. Gross PP&E/Useful Life = Depreciation Expense. 12 years depreciation with a 15% salvage value.

Average Gross PP&E

  • Useful Life

BA          .60                        .61

Luft        .63                        .64

Gross PP&E                                       Acc Dept

Dr.          |                                                          | Cr.

$23.2B    |                                                          |$12.6B

Net PP&E

Dr.          |

19.6B      |

So if you were to use the same depreciation. Equity increases when you depreciate faster…

How Mainstream Publications Overlook Their Own Weirdness and Just Blame Facebook…

[Disclaimer this is a non-partisan publication]
And I am no Facebook apologist, but I thought it was worth raising awareness about the following:

[Transcript] Hey, I had to talk about this because I noticed, this morning, something really interesting, and I mean, more interesting than your standard cat video while you’re scrolling through Instagram. I was on Twitter and I clicked on a link to a really cool story called “Watch a Robot ‘Hen,’ Robot Chicken, with some chicks, flock of chicks.” And when you scroll to the bottom of this article, you’ll notice some moderately spooky or weird links from Outbrain and I think we need to look at Outbrain, but let me just show you on my phone what it looks like.

So, on my phone, I don’t know if you can see here, but the link at the bottom… Where’s my… Yeah, there’s my finger. The link at the bottom, one of them says, “Justin Trudeau about to legalize something controversial.” You click on that link, it takes you to this web page, which I will provide a link to in the video. You can see it right now probably. So I’m just voicing over what I see. Now, isn’t it kind of interesting this content is basically false or low-quality news? It’s not from the CNN website. If you look at the top URL, it’s not from CNN. It’s from something called insiderentertainment.com, and Outbrain is promoting it. At the bottom of the page, you can see what it’s really about. It’s about bingo. Fair play. I know that Wired is a reputable publisher and I know that Outbrain is really reputable as well, and so they post this in order to draw traffic to commercial interest.

Now, imagine if this was actually not true (which it obviously is not true): Justin Trudeau has legalized gambling to cover costs. It’s, basically an attack on the current liberal government in Canada. So this is Outbrain directly on Wired magazine, a reputable technology publication, which has probably seen hard times. Why are they seeing hard times? Facebook is eroding their revenue. YouTube is eroding their revenue. PewDiePie is getting 2 million hits per video and “The Washington Post” is only getting 1 million hits. This isn’t fair. So, what do we need to do? We should be attacking Facebook as publications. We should be criticizing them in particular and there’s some legitimate arguments. There are very legitimate arguments regarding Facebook, but what’s being overlooked is this hilarious Outbrain and Taboola redirection network.

So what they do is, as you can see at the bottom of the article, there are sponsored stories from third parties. You click on it and it’s about driving traffic from Wired, as reputable site, to, you know, whatever you wanna sell these folks on the internet. Now, why would Wired work with them? Because ad revenue, they need the money. They’re desperate actually in many cases because people don’t wanna pay for what they feel is free even though 10 years ago, 20 years ago you’d have to buy Wired Magazine to read these great articles. So you’ve got Outbrain, they are reputable, they look at the content, they tie the articles to that content and boom, it’s great.

They have to vet their publishers, but it’s a chicken in the end. They need the publishers and at the same time, they need the suppliers, the actual companies that will publish articles to drive traffic. And it’s this weird situation where they might not necessarily vet and approve of every story and say, “Oh, valid. This is a legitimate story.” They’re happy to take the money and run, and Wired magazine is complicit in this. Now, another company that is even more famous for ingenuity for sure, for having that ability to create a click worthy the article is Taboola, and they’re based in Europe, Israel, in the US and they publish articles on places like “Huffington Post.”

So, when you scroll down to what appears to be, you know, a reputable website, “HuffPost,” sure, you read this article about Cambridge Classica or Analytica, whatever it’s called, and then you scroll at the bottom and you have “You May Like” a bunch of ads for things that are like. Some of them are pretty dubious. You click on “Forget Lithoium. We’re advocating You Buy Electric Cars.” Fine, I suppose. It’s not pretending to be CNN, the website, but it’s interesting what’s going on here. So the media isn’t actually going after these two publications and the other publishers that redirect people from these websites to often questionable, sometimes questionable, not all I’d say, you know. Let’s just pretend it’s 20% ballpark, a number I made up, but it’s clearly some of these publishers are dubious and are not legitimate. But let’s look at “Wired Magazine’s” business model, let’s look at “Huffpost” business model and analyze what’s really going on here.

These companies are under duress, you know. What, with me, you could say, but they’re going after Facebook and no publisher, mainstream publisher, will go after what’s directly on their own web pages, again, because that’s how they make money. And this speaks to the broader problem of what I call $ad Revenue. So that’s ad revenue that is clickbait driven, that is about intensity of the viewership, about entertainment over factual information, the goal of which is to drive traffic to their sites, CNN or Wired or whoever other…Fox News, whatever.

They’re all in the game of eyeball collection and then redistributing those eyeballs or selling those people off to various business commercial interests, which is fair play. But they’re not auditing the quality and the veracity of the claims on these click-worthy, little, crazy articles on the bottom because they need the money. And these content redistributors don’t have the time to vet everything themselves, so we all point at Facebook. Facebook this and that because Facebook’s a multi-billion dollar company. It should be able to solve this, but we don’t look at the Taboola and Outbrain. So, I guess, even the reputable publishers are saying things like, “Donald Trump is about to cause World War III. Click on this link. Find out more about his evil and crazy actions, and while you’re at it, look at the bottom. Take a look at this weird article and try some bingo.” So thank you very much. I thought that’d be kind of a cool thing to share.

“Trumpocracy” by David Frum + “How Democracies Die” by Steven Levitsky & Daniel Ziblatt

[David Frum is an ardent ideologue, historian and political scientist. Frum is a Bush era Republican from Canada. The following is in no way supportive of the current US President. Any statement to contrary is intellectually deficient.]

Trump’s Business Partnerships: Disassociation between Trump and his commercial interests has not been satisfactory according to Frum. Trump is driven by greed, he’s doing this in part so he can gain access to the best commercial deals for his company….Trump is in the payroll of foreign leaders. Putin is the obvious one but then there is a list of other countries that Frum doesn’t like and Trump is aligned with.

Criticism of Business Partnerships Assessment: David downplays the Israeli “Jerusalem capital” issue, and based on his other writing as an advocate for Israel over the years. Trump has wanted a tower in Tel Aviv according to the New York Times article Trump’s Business Ties to Middle East Precede Him and has close connections to the Jewish business community in New York, Toronto etc. So where does the line get crossed for Frum? Only when Trump does business with other ethno-religious groups is it a conflict of interest? It seems at a minimum disingenuous to not mention the Israeli connections here, although you’d have appreciate the nuance of Israel as a heterogeneous, complex political society. Frum does not give Trump the benefit of the doubt elsewhere in the Middle East, but never touches on Israel…(Unless he does mention this in the book, which I have not read…I’m extrapolating from interviews)…. A second point here is that basically anyone who is successful in business or even moderately successful should not be able to hold public office, especially if we think we know this person to be corrupt looking. In other words, Frum just doesn’t like Trump and is rationalizing his dislike by suggesting this particular individual is corrupt.

Being Unpredictable = Bad Governance: David says that Trump skipped a portion of a speech in which the writer has positive things for Trump to say on NATO therefore Trump is Putin’s lapdog or Trump is a fool or he doesn’t want to be told what to do therefore Trump is a bad politician. Trump does not defer to democratic convention which is what Frum would prefer as a prerequiste to leadership.

Criticism of Bring Unpredictable = Bad Governance: Frum fails to recognize the reality that being unpredictable is critical to power. Doing what no one expected in order to gain advantage is a law in the 48 Laws of Power for example. For Frum, Trump is non-ideological and therefore not reliable and as a result Trump’s staff could get cut down at any moment because they say one thing and Trump does another. David Frum is yesterday’s political analyst here. The old school model is one where, you back a candidate and then have to follow that candidate over a cliff if she or he decides that cliff jumping is a good idea. Trump is however a non-ideological and more importantly not subject to political science categorization much like the debate about whether Fascism is social democratic or totalitarian or right wing…it’s complicated and non-rational therefore academics freak out about such scenarios. Trump drives Frum crazy for the same reason.

Trump is Not A Centrist: Frum is saying that Jeremy Corbyn is also a dangerous force in British politics for similar reasons because Frum does not like social democratic principals and populists of some sort. Berney Sanders just the same. So these politicians are just freakish but the trend is worrying for Frum. David is concerned about the Democrat Party nominee for 2020, worries that it might be a Sanders-type leading to further extremism and or things he does not support.

Democracy Should Not Be Direct or Voting From Home Is Bad: Stopping certain people from voting is wrong and that democracy can be undermined by having people vote on a Tuesday in 14 hour window called election day. Conservatives supported suffrage because women would crack down on alcoholism and bash unions according to David Frum.

Counter Arguments for Democracy Should Not Be Direct or Voting From Home Is Bad: Sounds like Frum is a bit annoyed that the uninformed and misinformed have the vote….

Collaborators with Trump: The people who lie for him because they think that Trump can effect change. Frum is concerned that they will get mullified in the end. The Republicans support Trump and may do so to the point at which it is too late.

Authoritarianism is Growing and Democracy is Dying: Frum thinks democracy can be extinguished quickly and easily. He also thinks that it will be too late to stop its collapse when the end is near. It’s a sanctimonious point to be sure, but certainly resonates with lawyers and other such types.

Counter Argument for Authoritarianism is Growing: I just wonder if Frum is exaggerating a bit? Analogies aren’t effective arguments. Germany 1933 does not equal US 2016….Trump is not really a threat to democracy, in fact, we can see that he is flouting convention with the effect of garnering more and more media attention. He appears to get viral because he thinks democracy is ineffective *and many people agree with him* and there is ample evidence that American democracy is not a high functioning model from the electoral college to the jerry mandering.

General Maddis is the Defence Against Trump: Frum thinks Trump has no faculties of reason such taht only Mad-dog Mattis is the only guy protecting the US against Foreign policy disasters because Maddis not fire-able by the president…Mattis is a four star general.

Confront the Alt Right or any Extremist Groups: You need to meet them, isolate and then address the underlying concerns they have. Frum also points out that telling white men that they are privileged because of their skin and gender while living in their parents basement and weighing 300 lbs is counter productive for sure.

Counter Argument for Confronting the Alt Right or any Extremist Groups: Ironically, the book doesn’t emphasize these points when in reality, he’s correct.

Facebook Should Control Its Users: Unlike the Washington Post, Facebook as a publisher does not have responsibility for the content of its users. Like WordPress, Facebook is able to avoid that responsibility. Frum suggests that it is not the individuals on Facebook but rather Facebook itself who should editorialize everyone’s posts on its platform.

Counter-Argument on Facebook Should Control Its Users: Well, this is a trending topic based on the Russian Gov’t Interference investigations. Frum must know he saying something very unrealistic here in terms of logistically controlling Facebook users like the Washington Post editorial staff control their content. Frum totally misses the point. It’s $ad Revenue that is at the heart of Facebook and the Washington Post…in both cases i.e. keep those eye balls coming back for those advertisements on the sidebar, folks!

[Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt are Harvard professors and political scientists with some partisan leanings towards the Democrat Party in all likelihood. The following is in no way support for the current US President. Any statement to contrary is intellectually deficient.]

Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt and Revenue: Trump is a threat to democracy. Remember that just like $ad Revenue from any online publications (ie. click here to see a toothpaste add + look at this controversy! and look at this direct rebuttal to the current president), book sales are also tied to drawing intense readership, ie. willingness to buy their book. So say Trump = devil will sell a lot of books indeed.

Trump Acting Like an Authoritarian = Being an Authoritarian: Trump encouraged violence at his rallies, threatened to jail Hillary Clinton etc. Trump is attacking the media because of unfair reporting. While some might think those are just words, to Steven and Daniel, this is all too real.

Counter-Arguments on Trump Acting Like and Authoritarian = Being an Authoritarian: Steven and Daniel under appreciate the level of deadlock under Obama. While deadlock was not Obama’s fault for the most part, Obama was not able to get much done and therefore was not all that effective in translating his ideas into action. Trump was saying, he would smash the deadlock by circumventing democratic norms. It is possible that he might turn the US into a dictatorship if he is able to murder most of the Republican party and the Democrat party + burn down Congress + trigger a terrorist attack on US soil + perhaps a nuclear detonation in an a major urban centre. But that might be a stretch. Steven and Daniel do not go into HOW Trump would destroy the robust institutions that exist in US democracy as flawed as those institutions may be…The critical error Stephen and Daniel are making is that being crass, direct and non-presidential = authoritarianism, when it obviously is something else, something that academics can’t categorize yet. Ever ask an academic to categorize Fascism both on the left and right? Political scientist Academics is weak at these kinds of activities because ideologies defy logic and are persuasion more than logical entities.

Best Way to Stop Authoritarianism…Stop Them From Getting Elected: You need to prevent a democracy from allowing an authoritarianism. George Wallace ’60s, MCarthey in the ’50s, Barry Goldwater ’70s, these are authoritarians according to Steven and Daniel getting about 35% of the vote. Just like the Trump approval ratings in February 2018, some polls say different things. Trump is a demagogue. When do we (the Republican enablers) draw the lines in the sand to prevent Trump from doing what are authoritarian policies? Hugo Chavez was released from jail by the Venezualan president who wanted to get Chavez’s supporters. Same with Mussilini in Italy.

Counter-Arguments on Best Way to Stop Authoritarianism You have Stop Them From Getting Elected: The obvious problem here is analogies do not explain different circumstances. Trump is uniquely not beholden to political donors and is thus his own leader, perhaps purely self-interested, but not owned by any one interest group. Authoritarians often have financial sources from book sales but not like Trump. Another analogy failure is that the approval ratings do not measure support accurately while Stephen and Daniel seem to believe that 35% approval rating = accurate polling, check the ’16 pre-election day polling guys! Then the political allies from the establishment think they can control the authoritarian, true. The only issue here is that Trump has yet to do overt and significant authoritarian shit like restricts freedom of movement, shutdown this/that and shutdown newspapers. In fact, the Republican enablers as Stephen and Daniel see it, can’t really just fire their president, that doesn’t really work unless Trump were to do something totally criminal….words don’t count in that category….None of the authoritarian actions in other context have happened and the logic that it will be too late to stand up against him when it does happens is really silly, you do know that Clinton had 3 million more votes right? Like the American public can fire Donald Trump obviously IF the Democrat candidate kicks-ass. Trump has done little in terms of pure authoritarianism, it’s a stretch here obviously. Meanwhile these academics are avoiding being too overt in their predicting the future because academia frowns upon that kind of behaviour…because they get it wrong more often than not.

The Constitution Will Not Save Us: Forbearance and Legitimacy: Constitutions don’t actually work without the people’s support. You need to accept your opponent in public and private as having a legitimate claim to the job you are both competing for…. Institutional forbearance; under utilization of power. Trump could pardon anyone and could expand the Supreme Court to 11 members. Congress can shutdown the government. Politicians can exploit the democracy into hardball mechanisms to screw democracy. But a shared forbearance is what soft guard-rails of democracy. There were partisan impeachments in Bill Clinton. Politicians in the 2008 election questioned Obama’s loyalty to the US, so the Republicans are to blame for decline.

Counter-Arguments on The Constitution Will Not Save Us: Republicans were not the only ones to abandon the forbearance. Republicans refused to let Obama appoint a Supreme Court justice. The truth is that the Republicans are more hardball yes, but Bush was also not super popular with the Democrats either. Basically losing the majority ethnic Daniel suggests that immigration didn’t start to be diverse until the 1960s…not sure Catholics considered the same as the Puritans. Extreme polarization is not the underlying cause.

Fight Like Republicans = Democracy Will Collapse: They need to fight like Democrats, not like the nasty Republicans according to Stephen, instead Democrats need to deliberate freely. If they build hard ball tactics Democrats need to not be drawn into a partisan spiral and it can be even worse. Abraham Lincoln was not democratic, so there was an erosion of trust between politicians. The norms of mutual tolerance is not possible in an ethnically diverse country where the Democrats are mostly multi-cultural and Republicans are mostly white and religious.  Republicans have churches and NRA associations, but the Democrats don’t have that infrastructure according to Stephen so the Democrats should be careful how they tread….

Counter-Argument on Fight Like Republicans = Democracy Will Collapse: It seems that the Democrats in the current model, really have to fight back and hard. Or they can work with Trump to push forward policies that Democrats really want like infrastructure spending. Co-operation does not mean supporting Trump, co-operation means getting things done in Washington. But obstruction is obviously what Obama had to endure so it seems like retaliation time. Stephen and Daniel clearly are over emphasizing the minor value of ideology and playing up identity politics as the core issue that drives the democratic process. Primaries are more homogeneous in recent years according to Stephen which is probably one of the weirdest claims. Both political parties are big tents for many different values. If anything the diversity is growing as more information is more easily available.

Criticism of “It Doesn’t End Well for America”: this is what they every time they get to the logical conslution of their views. The issues here is that, it’s more sophisticated that than, they can’t really maintain intellectual credibility AND predict the future because that would not be academically viable.

Criticism of “US Democracy Created Most Democratic Norms”: ever heard of Britain? France? Stephen and Daniel are Ameri-Centric or at least for their audience.

Criticism of The Media Has Been Very Effective in the Last Few Years: Daniel Ziblatt believe the media has been very active because the New York Times has 3x the number of subscription at 51:00 in the video above…Um, the media is obsesses with click bait in order to drive viewership. Do you think that might be why Trump has to spend almost no money on campaign advertising? The media is not objective, Ziblatt. This statement is pretty ridiculous; that’s not a partisan statement, US media is too commercially debilitated to reliably provide citizenry with non=partisan information.

Citizenville is Directionally Correct, the Messenger is an Old Fogie, Though

Local Government is non-ideological, because it is result oriented. Local government is the solution to the federal and provincial governments in the sense that leadership from that level of government aren’t bound by ideological restrictions. This is the first killer point from Newsom’s book Citizenville; How can we connect to the remarkable wisdom of the crowd, asks Newsom? Town-Halls do not work because there is no filter to prioritize the loudest issues and articulate the individuals positions. With some wiggle room, Newsom argues that the danger is to impose on the community the insights to win in politics. He likens politics to a vending machine, you put your money in and you get your policy out the bottom. You, as voters, don’t really contribute to that policy and that should change….

Perhaps the Government should operate like a platform, says Newsom. “We need more voices and choices.” One issue he brings up is that as Lincoln says in the 2012 film, we are all born originals but we die copies. When a politician is termed out, the politician gets destroyed by the system. We need to give way to a new governance system, say Newsom. Millenials are digital natives and babyboomers and GenXers are digital immigrants. We are still debating desks in school because voters can understand that. Newsome concludes that we should stand on our heads and go local government. Newt Gingrich agrees.

Presentation wise, Gavin has a serious problem. He is an ego-maniacal, anti-Obama Democrat. He is  a political creature having been in politics for 21 years and guess what? We can tell! He’s a total phony. Phony Gavin will be the attack line in 2020 if he runs for the Democract nomination. In this speech above, he says “I don’t memorize speeches” and then he rings off the exact same speech he did at Google…..phony. And he sounds like Joe Biden, copy-catting Joe Biden’s style and cadence. Lame, I wish him well and he will probably be governor of California. He says lines like “the most celebrated man in America today is Bill Gates, you know that.” Say what? Just a bit derivative for me…still a cool policy direction here, so I’m conflicted.

Verbatim Notes on Lament for A Nation by George Grant

Notice: These notes are sometimes verbatim even when not in quotation. All text is therefore George Grant’s; George Grant is the Guest Blogger in this post! Therefore, I don’t agree or disagree, it is what it is. 

Lament for a Nation: George Grant

Chapter 1: LAMENT FOR A NATION

• “Emancipated journalists were encouraged to express their dislike of the small-town Protestant politician, and they knew they would be well paid by the powerful for their efforts” (1)
• “It is interesting to speculate why Diefenbaker raised the concentrated wrath of the established classes” (4).
• Most of his critics claim he is egotistical.
• There must be something false or something missing in this description of his actions…to search for a consistent description is partly why I have written this book. “We are fish left on the shore of a dying lake” (5)
• Grant Laments the passing of the nation called Canada.
• TO be Canadian was to be a unique species of North American.
• Fh.H Underhill’s “Stop being British if you want to be a nationalist” seemed obviously ridiculous.
• “Lamenting for Canada is inevitably associated with the tragedy of Diefenbaker” (6). His inability to govern is linked with the inability of this country to be sovereign.
• “In the last years, many writers have described the confusions, contradictions and failures of the Diefenbaker government” (6).
• BUT Newman “rejoices{s} that we have back in office the party of the ruling class. (6). For twenty years, the Liberal Party had been pursuing policies that led inexoberably to the disappearance of Canada.
• “Its polices led the impossibility of an alternative to the American republic being built on the north held of this continent.
• King leads to Canada’s surrender. Diefenbaker knew this but the media establishment turned against him.
• “No credit is given to the desperate attempts of Diefenbaker and his colleagues to find alternative policies, both national and international, to those of their predecessors.” (6)
• “Diefenbaker’s confusions and inconsistencies are, then, to be seen as essential from which Canada will recover under the sensible rule of the established classes.” (6)
• The 1957 election was the Canadian people’s last gasp of nationalism” (7) Diefenbaker’s government was the strident swansong of that hope.
• ALTHOUGHT THE CANADIAN Nationalist may be saddened by the failures of Diefenbaker, he is sickened by the shots of sophisticated derision at his defeat.
• “In their derision THEY SHOWED, WHETEHR THEY WERE AWARE OF IT OR NOT, THAT THEY REALLY PAID ALLEGIANCE TO THE HOMOGENIZED CULTURE OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE” (7)

Chapter 2: LAMENT FOR A NATION

• How did Diefenbaker conceive Canada and why did the men who run the country (ruling class) dislike him so much? The answer explains Canada’s collapse
• Diefenbaker’s’ personality is central for most journalistic analysis of Diefenbaker’s failures.
• “Influenced by Time magazine, politics is served up as gossip, and the most titillating the better.” (8)
• “Reducing issues to personalities is useful to the ruling class” (8)
• Media focused on “Diefenbaker’s indecision, arrogance, and ambition than by writing about American-Canadian relations.
• “The man had a conception of Canada that threatened the dominant class” (8).
• The ruling class control private government which co-ordinates the activates of these corporations. NA is the base of the world’s most powerful empire to data.
• Since 1960, Canada has developed into a northern extension of the continental economy. C.D. Howe and his men helped it along..
• Our ruling class mirrors that American accept that we look across the border for our political and cultural directions.
• People move in and out of corporations, civil service and politics.
• Pearson had the courage to stay away from the retreat of politics. (10)
• Diefenbaker came to power after the Conservative Toronto elite had failed to make a national party under Drew.
• Diefenbaker made it to power despite the Howe era dominant classes.
• The Liberals were arrogant: St. Laurent was defeated the regions were colonies of Montreal and Toronto.
• “Young men, ambitious for a life in politics, could not turn to the Liberal party, where the positions of power were well secured by the old pros.” (12)
• “In the Defence Crisis of 1963, his nationalism occasioned the strongest stand against satellite stats that any Canadian government ever attempted.” (12).
• He maintained his stand even when the full power of the Canadian ruling class, the American government and the military were brought against him.
• Grant sees Dief’s nationalism as misguided.
• Diefenbaker was not specific about what Canada should be. And he failed.
• There was tension between the chartered banks and Diefenbaker. Fleming’s appointment as Finance Minister was in contrast to everything hoped for.
• Nearly all the economic power deserted Diefenbaker.
• Populist democracy was a dying force in contemporary America: A Diefenbaker’s increased welfare payments and aid to ‘outlying regions” showed him turning to the people.” (14)
• Diefenbaker against old Conservative interests. Central Canada was an industrial complex and any prime minister who wanted to stay in power had to yield though their desires.
• “The Conservatives handled the machine of state capitalism less skilfully than had the Liberal smoothies.” (16)
• The northern vision was a pleasant extra, but no substitute for national survival.
• During his years in office, American control grew at a quickening rate.
• “The populate in that area was rushing toward cultural and economic integration with the US” (16)
• Diefenbaker wasn’t very close to the business elite in Ottawa.
• Diefenbaker still believes that capitalists were nationals after one term.
• He could not appraise the class structure realistically and then could not pretend to be a self-respecting nationalist
• Diefenbaker suffered from the confusion of populism, free enterprise and nationalism when dealing with Coyne.
• Diefenbaker’s free enterprise led to actions that were anti-nationalist. The Glassco Commission was appealing to an American conservative.
• The Civil service would not wear it.
• Most civil servants had too closely associated with liberal man and the liberal party.
• “No modern stat can be run without great authority in the hands of its non-elected official. In such an uncertain nation as Canada, the civil service is perhaps the essential instrument by which nationhood is preserved.” (19)
• “If diefenbklaer was to foster nations, he needed to win the respect of the civil service”
• The best civil servants were devoted to both the British account and a sovereign nation.
• “The most bewildering aspect of Diefenbaker’s nationalism was his failure to find effective French-Canadian colleagues. The keystone of a Canadian nation is the French fact; the slightest knowledge of history makes this platitudinous.” (20).
• The One United Canada appeal didn’t work for Quebecers who saw it as assimilationist dogma.
• Henri Bourassa wanted Quebec’s protection from the Saxonistes.
• “Interpretation of federalism is basically American. I could not encompass thus who were concerned with benign a nation, only those who wanted to preserve charming residual customs” (22) immigrants.
• “Canada is predicated on the rights of nations not just citizens” (22)
• “As the price of that liberty, American society has always demanded that all autonomous communities be swallowed up into the common culture.” (22)
• Diefenbaker kept nuclear arms off Canadian soil.
• “The very nature of Diefenbaker’s Protestantism made him unsympathetic to Catholic Quebec” (24)
• “Did not Diefenbaker know that the existence of Canada depended on a clear definition of conservatives?” 25)
• Diefenbaker didn’t have support from the intellectual community.

Chapter Three: LAMENT FOR A NATION

A view of the launch of a CQM-10A Bomarc target missile.

• Defence Crisis of 1962 and 1963 revealed the depth of Diefenbaker’s nationalism.
• He was a demagogue yearning for recognition. But his actions during the Defence Crisis make it clear that his nationalism was a deeply held principle for which he would light with great courage and would sacrifice political advantage.
• One comedy in these tragic events was that the intellectuals could not recognize that Diefenbaker was standing on principle.
• Diefenbaker was painted as the politician interested in succeeding at all costs. (26).
• Pearson changed his defence policies to suit the interest of the powerful. After the Cuban Crisis, Pearson acted with great political skill to unite the powerful forces of continentalism around him.
• After the missile crisis: Pearson who had previously argued that Canada should not accept nuclear arms, turned round and asserted that any government of his would promptly negotiate their acceptance.” (27)
• General Norstad made a press conference in Ottawa in which he suggested that Canada was not doing its part.
• The American State Department issued a memorandum denying the veracity of the Canadian prime Minister on the matter.
• “It took the full weight of the North-American establishment to bring him down” (28)
• Green and Diefenbaker trusted each other. They were old and trusted friends, deeply shaped by the same tradition of Canadian conservatism. Green had nominated Diefenbaker for the leadership of his party as long ago as 1948 when George Drew won the contest.
• He believed that Canada’s acquisition of nuclear arms would add to nuclear tension and diminish Canadian influence abroad.
• Green publicly admonished the Americans.
• “Can an ant be an ally with an elephant” (29)
• Diefenbaker was determined not to allow American defence policy shape his actions.
• Kennedy’s friends of Newsweek attacked Diefenbaker. A conspiracy for Liberal Victory.
• Grant says changing traditions make it difficult for Canada to build an alternative civilization. Canada is to build a civilization against the Americans.
• Diefenbaker said that acceptance of warheads was conditional. Bomarcs were useless without the warheads.
• It was event claims that he might have understood the nature of the original commitment. In refusing to make up his mind about accepting warheads, he was accused of being ‘indecisive’ and a bad ally and the man of indecision for the liberals.
• Defence technology was in constant flux and it was not longer clear that warheads were necessary. He maintained that the decision should await the NATO meetings in May of 1963.
• Two false assumptions: 1) Diefenbaker assumed the NATO was an alliance and not simply an American instrument.
• “Canada’s sovereignty entailed that our defence policy be determined in Ottawa.” (32).
• THE RULLIN CLASS WERE NOT INDEGINOUS.
• Decisiveness was aligned with Canada’s nee to have atomic arms: I don’t agree. Do we really need the nuclear weapons.
• “Can it be denied that the actions of the Kennedy Administration were directed toward removing an unreliable government in Ottawa rather than to guaranteeing a specific commitment?” (33)
• “Diefenbaker and Green must have seemed too suspicious of American motives to be allowed to remain in office” (33)
• Keened was a postmaster in the use of power for personal and imperial purposes. Historians will only be able to speculate about what Pearson and Kennedy discussed before dinner for Nobel-Prize winners at the White House in 1962.
• The British connection had been a source of Canadian nationalism. The west-east pull of trade – from the prairies across provided a counter-thrust to the pull of continentalism. (34).
• Britain became American before we stopped being the UK.
• “The role of Canada was to mediate between the United States and Western Europe, particularly Great Britain.” (36)
• The sincerity of Diefenbaker’s nationalism is established by the fact that he stood by Green, and would not accept the American demands, even when it was in his overwhelming interest to do so. (36)

Chapter Four: LAMENT OF A NATION

• The Canadian establishment’s instrument is the Liberal Party of Canada.
• Three argument of nationalism to justify the Liberals:
• 1) the Liberals are the realistic defenders of this country, policing us through the shoals of foreign control and internal dissension that might shipwreck Canada.
• 2) it is inevitable that Canada should be swallowed up; since in 1940 this should have been obvious to any political analyst. The Liberals have taught us to accept this.
• 3) Canada’s disappearance is not only necessary but also good.
• The Liberals are the image of Canada’s unity.
• “The Liberal Party gave brilliant leadership to the development of the country; the corporations ran an economy that was blessed by a benevolent government; certain complementary needs were met by the judicious use of Crown corporations; injustices were palliated with limited social services” (38)
• Beyond economic policy, the argument continues, the Liberals alone have understood that French Canada is the keystone of Confederation.
• Cooperative federalism is the only basis on which Quebec will stay.
• “The whole argument for the Liberals as realistic nationalists breaks down with their actual achievements” (39)
• It was under Liberal leadership that our independence in defence and foreign affairs was finally broken.
• The Liberals failed to recognize that the real danger to nationalism lay in the incipient continentals of English-speaking society, rather than in any Quebec separatism.
• The society produced by such policies may reap enormous benefits, but it will not be a nation.
• “Where can people learn independent views, when newspapers and television throw at them only processed opinions?” (41)
• In society of large bureaucracies, conscious and unconscious processes legitimize power. Ontario’s centralized power in continental capitalism was also a Liberal strong hold.
• Canada has to recognize the limitations on sovereignty in a nation that lives beside the most powerful country on earth (42).
• Capitalist imperialism is harder to resist than communist imperialism.
• Intention is hard to phantom.
• The personalized political journalism, associated on this continent with TIME and exemplified in Canada by MacLean’s has done much to obscure this fundamental distinction.
• 2 part of the argument: It has been necessary to join the US. Canada has made that transition smoothly. BUT was there another way?
• Resistance to western imperialism has taken two main forms.
• 1) establish a rigorous socialist state that turns to the Community empire for support in maintain itself: CASTRO style
• 2) is to harness the nationalist spirit to technological planning and to insist internationally that there are limits to the western alliance. GAULLISM.
• Gaullism is only possible when nationalism is such a dominant motive among certain elites that they are able to control the economy so as to stop the tendency of capitalism to become international. There are no such elites in the Canada of 1965.
• MacDonald’s National Policy was Gaullist.
• Business interests are assumed to run the country. This is what sells Canada out.
• “The Liberal politicians and civil servants always acted within that assumption because they knew their limited power depended on it. No government that acted on other principles would have lasted long.” (46)
• No class in Canada more welcomed the American managers than the established wealthy of Montreal and Toronto, and who had once seen themselves the pillars of Canada. Capitalism is about profit making this is the most important activity.
• “If there had been an influence group that seriously desired the continuance of the country after 1940, it would have needed the animation of some political creed that differed from the capitalist liberalism of the US.
• The Ottawa Men rule Canada as secular priesthood (48)
• Why did the civil service elite do so little?
• External Affaires have some felling for the continuance of their nation. Yet they were the instruments of a policy that left Canada a satellite internationally.
• When they gain power they carry on with the ideas they learnt thirty years before. (50).
• “In the Defence Crisis of 1963, Green and Diefenbaker did not receive loyalty from their civil service” (51)
• International civil servants.

 

Chapter 5: LAMENT FOR A NATION

• Politicians, businessmen and civil servants cannot alone count for Canada’s collapse.
• The United States believed in homogenizing and universality.
• They are the progressive force in the 20th century.
• Americans spearhead progress (53)
• Where modern science has achieved its mastery, there is not place for local cultures. 53
• Canada was created in the age of progress.
• Progress is American therefore Canada is American.
• Two Groups Deny This Marxists and American ‘Conservatives’.
• Marxists contend that the US is reactionary and not progressive as they rely on a system of property relations and consequent world policies. Marxists argue that to be progressivism in Canada is nationalism. THIS IS WRONG, says Grant, because modern political theory says that man’s essence is his freedom. (54)
• Deny freedom is not his conception of the good (55)
• North American liberalism makes s more sense: Social order is a man-made convenience, and its only purpose is to increase freedom. (55)
State capitalism is a opening up of society: in the private sphere all kinds of tastes are permitted. (56)
• But “in the public sphere, such pluralism of taste is not permitted” (56)
• “Western civilization was committed in its heart to the religion of progress and the emancipated passions. Those who accepted such a doctrine found corporation capitalism was a much more suitable regime than the inhibiting polices of socialism” (58)
• Socialism is not progressive but rather a regression because it stagnates innovation.
• De Gaulle will not be able to resist in the long run. His polices will sow the seeds as the principles of American civilization. The old restraints in society.
• The PApuascy didn’t : there are no limits in the democracy it’s destructive. Church aristocracy, class and tradition.
• Literatur, musicians and a subculture that resists the American AEmpire.The New Left: Joan Bios
• Quebec was the inheritor of that tradition
• Conservatives believe that America is the defender of western civilizations. US were based on British principles mostly not Rousseau and Marx of communism.
• The appeal to English-Speaking Unity has destroyed an hope of Canadian independence. (61).
• The British supported Pearson over Diefenbaker because the rejection of American arms was an attack on English-Speaking unity.
• Grant questions whether the Loyalists actually did something meaningful by creating Canada. “If there was nothing valuable in the founders of English-Speaking Canada, what makes it valuable for Canadians to continue as a nation today?” (62)
• “Internationally, the imperial power of these corporations has destroyed indigenous cultures in every corner of the globe” (62) American capitalism dissolves indigenous cultures.
• “They are ‘conservatives’ only in terms of the short history of their country” (63)
• Local culture has a last ditch-stand “But it is doomed to disappear as much as an indigenous French Canada” (65)
• American conservatives believe in order and societal norms.

Chapter Six: LAMENT FOR A NATION

• “The Impossibility of Conservatism in our era is the impossibility of Canada” (67)
• Modern history is against Canada. (67)
• The point of Canada was not to become the Republic.
• French and English accepted the common value of preserving their integrity outside of the United States of America.
• Diefenbaker was right when he said that “the similarity between the views of the Montreal merchants in 1849 and the wealthy of Toronto and Montréal in 1963. In neither case did they care about Canada” (68).
• “Only in dominant nations is the loyalty of capitalists ensured” (68)
• Canadians have been much more willing than Americans to use governmental control over economic life to protect the public good against private freedom: Crown Corporations.
• “That we never broke with Great Britain is often said to prove that we are not a nation but a colony” (70).
• The world war ended British connection in Canada: after WWI and WWII.
• “British conservatism was already largely a spent force at the beginning of the nineteenth century when English-speaking Canadian were making a nation” (72).
• “because of the Births tradition, socialist movements have been stronger in Canada than in the United States” (73).
• We see the shift to bureaucratic state capitalism.
• To turn to the more formidable tradition, the French Canadian are determine to remain a nation (74).
• Canada intends to stay together for greater prosperity.
• “In such a scheme the continuance of Confederation is simply a question of convenience” (75)
• “If they work for continental corporations, will they not identity themselves with those corporations and vote for governments not interested in preserving national control of the economy?” (77)
• “Corporations make concessions about management personnel for the sake for better relations with the alien community” (77)
• Quebecers want a Castro-Like State in Quebec.
• Page 78 “This enormity in the break from the past will bring in intense beatness. US supports this.There beats titillate the status quo. We bureaucratize it seilf. Quebec will internalize the culture of decent. Pete Seagre Joan Beas.
• Anti-Globalization is bull-shit.
• Protest is part of the conformity. Protesters are part of the cathasis
• “Levesque appears to be aware how difficult it will be to preserve the French fact on this continent” (82)
• An Appeal for Realism in Politics: continuance of Confederation against the various parochialisms that threaten it.
• An elite will speak French but what other traditions will they uphold.
• “The belief in Canada’s continued existence has always appeal against universalism” (83)
• “If the writers are to be truly liberal, they cannot escape the fact that the goal of their political philosophy is the universal and homogenous state. If this is the noblest goal, then the idea of Canada was a temporary and misguided parochialism” (84)
• In the language of new bureaucrats, our nation was not a viable entity (85)
• “Our social and economic blending into the empire will continue apace, but political union will probably be delayed” (85)
• A branch-plant satellite.
• Quebec, there will be strong elements in the United State that will dislike their admission.

Chapter Seven: LAMENT FOR A NATION

• Why fight it: America is so much more important to human development than Canada could ever hope to be.
• Those who worship evolution or history consider that what much come in the future will be higher more developed better freer than what has been in the past.
• The discussion of the goodness of Canada’s disappearance must therefore be separated from a discussion of its necessity. (87)
• “The forty-ninth parallel results in a lower standard of living for the majority to the north of it” (87)
• This book sis a celbration of a civilization and tradition.
• Sacrifice of the standardof living. 
• “The disadvantages of being a branch-plant satellite rather than in having full membership in the Republic will become obvious” (88)
• A way of life shaped by continental institutions will produce political continentalism. (88)
• Lament the loose of connection within Britain and France.
• After the horrors that nationalistic wars have inflicted on this century, how can one have any sympathy for nationalism? (89)
• “This note of comedy went further in the summer of 1963, when the CBC made misty-eyed television programs about Pearson’ return to the UN as the true Canadian internationalist, at a time when he was negotiating with the US for the spread of nuclear arms to Canada” (91)
• “If the best social order is the universal and homogenous state, then the disappearance of Canada can be understood as a step toward that order.” (94)
• Grant’s wife says he wasn’t pessimistic….
• It’s all a big draw bakl look at what happened Rome. It’s a lament: look at Rome when the republic fell apartr. As Christians: religious. All agents of a homogenized state. Technology in the Mass Age by Grant.
• Vietname is a perfect  example of US. Canada shuttle diplomacy between US and Hanoi.
• Cutlrual and sociological forces will not permit Canada’s demise. Or Quebecs demise. Institutions are perpetuated. The resistance from the New left (78)
• The Shores of Heaven where Virtue plays a great role. Grant says, I am a believer. He makes too many classical. Better hope of the underworld.
• We find conscilationas individuals: our character can’t be taken away in that fundamental sense. Even if we are shaped by the pacifiers.
• Canada is a causuality it’s institutions still persist.
• Dominion status int eh Railway Age: He’s talkn about an intellectual tradition.
• When we think of the classical ideal: we don’t think that of corporation.
• He is optimistic about Liberalism that America is winning agians thte Marxist.
• His optimism is in the supreme natural. The connection between the classical ideal which located human destiny outside of this world. There is hope and perfection are not ot be found in this life. He quotes the Anglican theologan. He invokes a classical Christian world view which is an alternative to situation we find ourselves in.
• What about the Jews or distinct minority groups?
• We are cogs in a system. 

USA Inc Analysis as A Way to Communicate The State of A Country, Province or Town

Preface

This presentation style would be invaluable for communicating to the public what is going on with their country, province or town. Imagine if all town’s had to present their annual report in the form of a power point. It would be game changing democratically speaking. Mary Meekers say the US is not a business but then spends the entire time treating as such in order to illustrate her points…hm. She is unconsciously biased but aren’t we all? The presentation is a powerful remind too that talking heads, broadcast media and the public generally are more interested in the horse-race, the drama of politics rather than the quiet policy committees that create legislation. In other words, even if this is a great power point, it’s still boring for 95% of the target market (i.e. citizens of the US). Taking a further step back on the numbers, Piketty has shown that it isn’t debt but the concentration of wealth that is the bigger of the problems facing the US; debate-able but interesting. The public pocket book ain’t great but the private pocket books of US citizens are increasingly concentrated and massive.

T<G

The Government must management money like any other organization according to Meeker’s. The first issue is that the US has been spending more than it is taking in in tax revenue. To over spend, the USA must issue bonds to get the loans needed. So the question is how long can the USA continue to lose money? With more bonds, the easy money in the market is in government bonds. That means that financial investment in government bonds is eating away available funds for entrepreneurial invests and the like.

Entitlements Are A Big Expense

Meeker is obsessed with entitlement programs and what to do about it. The financial obligations are healthcare, medicaid and medicare and social security. The entitlement expenses are 73% of all entitlement expenses in 2011. Entitlement and interest expenses exceed revenue according to projections from 2011. The US’s mission is to provide the common defense, liberty etc. The US is not trying to maintain a profit but the government should be able to afford the service it is providing. In many ways, the costs are hidden in terms capital allocation in the economy….more research required.

Public Opinion on the Deficit and Debt

Citizens were very concerned at a 93% rate regarding the debt but they also oppose cutting back on services. Instead, politicians should commit to learn the facts about the numbers according to Meeker. There needs to be a slow and steady effort to pay down the debt.

The Family Unit is not like the US government but Meeker thinks if the US was a family they would be pretty irresponsible. But unlike a family, the US government can get away with it because they are only game in town. If the US was a family, that family might take in a renter, post-pone family vacations for a decade and stop spending on music lessons for little Timmy who has no musical talent anyway….but is it all about spending? It seems that Meeker’s is obsessed with spending and not increasing the T (tax).

Spending Has Grown

24% of GDP is the spending rate in 2011. Federal income grew at 2.9% over 40 years and spending grew at 3.1% over that same period. Through the power of compounding interest, Expenses has grown to be almost 50% greater than revenue.  Over spending has been facilitated by increasing the debt which means that government bonds are the sure thing that many investors put their money in.

Health Care Expenses are 8.2% of Spending

Healthcare spending is much higher. The US has the highest obesity rates in the world. And their healthcare is expensive as ever relative to other OECD coutnries.

Babyboomers + Fewer Workers

The perfect storm that Meeker’s describes at 19:45 is subject to new information. Namely that we anticipate that there were will be fewer jobs that require menial tasks in the future (generally). Meanwhile, the babyboomer’s will retire, handing over the power and revenue generating potential to a smaller pool of workers than the BB generation has. The net effect of reduction in menial labour may be nullified by fewer more productive workers.

Bankrupt Companies

Financial institutions can go bankrupt. And the US government bailed them out. You want to make sure that your debt is attractive to foreign countries. To sell our debt to the China, the US needs to ensure they trust that this debt is not going to default. If the US defaults on it’s debt, all the shit will hit the fan. One way to undo the entitlement super-structure is to default and restructure like GM….dangerous thinking to be sure.  In GM’s 2009 bankruptcy, it went negative in 2006. Employee pensions were a commonly state cause for lack of competitiveness. The GM focused on eliminating old entitlements and then turned cash-flow positive.

Why Are We Not Investing In Education?

Meeker notices that the R&D investment is becoming difficult and less common. Again, Meeker is overlooking the individuals who are investing in the education system virtually and through sell-directed learning rather than institutional learning.

Social Security Fixes are Straight-Forward

You either increase the retirement age to 73 or you cut payments. Simple.

Defense Spending is Well Below the 40 years Average

The $80 billion spent on pet projects. Or the $225 million Naval base in Iceland for example. The programs should be run more efficiently according to Meeker’s. Meeker’s believes that defense spending could be allocated to other services.

Changing Tax Policies

Only 49% pay income taxes. The % of Americans who pay 50% tax is down from 1965. To raise taxes, you could double income tax rate. Revenue could be raised through tax benefits of deductions. Increasing tax revenue is another approach. You could try to get an increase in GDP and an increase in tax revenue. However, Meeker’s doesn’t seem convinced that increasing taxes is the right move, rather reducing deductibles is a quiet way to move forward. Like the family that has renters in the basement to pay off their debt….

The US is Falling Behind

Restore competitive growth. The tax structure should be reformed according to Mary Meeker’s. The US has been a global leader in many fields. So the needs to address the sacrifice of Americans. Major cuts could hurt but we need to get a return on the investment.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/kpcbweb/files/USA_Inc.pdf 

In Defence of Diefenbaker (if it’s possible): The Defense Crisis and Its Implications

A Defiant Defence of Diefenbaker: The Defense Crisis and Its Implications

One of the most tumultuous periods in Canada-U.S. Relations was the Defense Crisis of 1962 and 1963. In order to examine the American presence in Canada during that period, this article will accomplish four objectives. First, it will explain the background of the Defense Crisis. Secondly, this article will provide a historiographical analysis of John G. Diefenbaker. Thirdly, it will argue that the Defense Crisis led to explicit American intervention in Canadian politics. Finally, this article will defend George Grant’s significant contribution to analyzing this history and will reach the conclusion that Diefenbaker’s indecisiveness was not a product of personal tension with John F. Kennedy, but a product of an irreconcilable vision of Canadian Nationalism.

The historical background of the Defense Crisis begins on October 15th, 1958.  On that day, the Canadian government authorized negotiations with the US government “for the acquisition and storage of defensive nuclear weapons and warheads” [1]. Bomarc-B Missiles were to be placed in North Bay, Ontario and La Macaza, Quebec to neutralize a surprise Soviet attack. The Canadian cabinet knew that “in taking the nuclear-[fitted] U.S. Bomarc weapon, Canada ran the danger of falling under greater U.S. military control in North American air defence” [2] given Canada’s obligations under NATO and NORAD. However, in response, Diefenbaker continued through five years of government to stall making a final decision to accept or reject the required nuclear warheads. Eventually, the government collapsed when the Minister of National Defense Douglas Harkness tendered his resignation in protest[3]. Among historians, it is widely accepted that Bomarc controversy was a key contributor to Diefenbaker’s political demise because it highlighted indecisiveness caused by personality problems. This article will suggest an alternate cause of this indecisiveness.

Most historians have a vastly different interpretation of Diefenbaker compared to George Grant’s interpretation of the lucky 13th Prime Minister. The question is how has this history been interpreted through the lenses of political biases? Before assessing Grant’s perspective – which plays a central role in this article – a historiographical analysis of the various competing interpretations of Diefenbaker’s behaviour must be taken into account. It is the next step in this article to contrast these differences and to suggest why such a divergence with Grant’s perspective exists on foreign policy. A general consensus among historians suggests that Diefenbaker was indecisive on accepting the nuclear warheads. What remains to be observed is each author’s claim to the source of this indecisive foreign policy.

A recurring pattern of pro-Liberal Party historians is to attack the character, not the ideological motivations behind Diefenbaker’s demise. Nash and Robinson both take this interpretative position. Among the most popular interpretations of the period is Knowlton Nash’s Kennedy & Diefenbaker: Fear and Loathing Across the Undefended Border. The books major fault is its overemphasis on the personalities of John F. Kennedy and John G. Diefenbaker. Nash first notes that the two world leaders backgrounds do not complement each other as Kennedy was a Bostonian Catholic elitist and Diefenbaker was a Saskatchewanian Protestant populist. Although Nash shares this descriptive tendency with most other historians, he characterizes Diefenbaker as a messianic demagogue full of exaggeration and infectious charisma. Nash also repeatedly calls him ‘insecure’, ‘irrational’, ‘obsessive’ and a small-town lawyer. This is juxtaposed with friendly adjectives calling Kennedy ‘young’, ‘ambitious’ and ‘witty’. For Nash, a series of altercations illustrates the international friction between the two nations. In January of 1961, Diefenbaker visited Washington and argued with Kennedy over sport fishing and the War of 1812[4]. Their personal tension were further exacerbated in May 1961, when Kennedy visited Ottawa, insulted Diefenbaker’s French and then asked for a ‘two-key’ nuclear warheads policy with Canada. Diefenbaker’s response instead was a peculiar proposition to accept nuclear warheads only during the initial phase of the supposed Soviet attack[5]. Nash’s conclusion was that as a consequence of personal clashes, both politicians grew to hate each other resulting in a foreign policy rift[6].

Prime Minister John Diefenbaker is seen here with U.S. President John F. Kennedy in Ottawa in 1961. (CP PHOTOS)

One major historiographical problem in Nash’s interpretation is that he implicitly suggests the lack of friendship between leaders caused the disagreement on the Bomarc missiles. This is misleading. George Grant seems to have indirectly attacked the specific work of Knowlton Nash by stating that the media had “reduc[ed] issues to personalities”[7] for the purposes of the ruling class. Far too much credence is given to the friction between the two world leaders because of a simple truth; personal anecdotes are amusing and they give a simple but false explanation for the poor Canada-U.S. Relations during this period. Another problem with Nash’s interpretation is that in reality Diefenbaker’s policy was not endearing to either American presidents Kennedy or Eisenhower. Evidently, Nash overlooks the smooth personal relationship with Eisenhower despite serious policy disagreements between the Canada and American governments from 1957 to 1960. This misleading historical interpretation must be highlighted in order to demonstrate the flaw of overemphasizing personality clashes. In addition, it seems unlikely that Diefenbaker could position himself as leader of the Progressive Conservative party and then become what is described as a petty and irrational person upon meeting John F. Kennedy. There must be more to Diefenbaker’s indecision over the Bomarc missile. Nash does not differentiate between actions motivated by personal tension versus political tension.

Sharing a similar Liberal bias with Nash is another civil servant’s interpretation called Diefenbaker’s World. Basil Robinson openly admits to being a continentalist Pearsonian who witnessed Diefenbaker’s disintegrating leadership from within the foreign policy bureaucracy. As will be explored in detailed below, a continentalist is an individual who believes in a closely unified North America. Adding more substantive insight into this history, Robinson analyzes the underpinnings of Diefenbaker’s internal indecision by noting the dichotomy between two wings of the Progressive Conservative caucus. Howard Green and Douglas Harkness each represented competing wings of the caucus. Green was appointed the Secretary of External affairs and admonished nuclear proliferation while Douglas Harkness became the Minister of National Defense in 1960 and called for nuclear weapons on Canadian soil. While Green attempted to make international disarmament a reality, Harkness had to constantly make excuses for “the failure of negotiating with the United States and NATO authorities on nuclear warheads”[8]. Robinson also heavily implies that the Prime Minister was negligent and indecisive because of his natural tendencies and demeanour. This is flawed and serves Robinson’s personal self-defence from fundamentally disagreeing with Diefenbaker’s vision of Canadian Nationalism.

The more conservative leaning analysis, Peter C. Newman adds greatly to the interpretation of the growing Defense Crisis. Newman wrote Renegade in Power within several years of Diefenbaker’s fall in 1963. Newman took the necessary time in a balanced historical interpretation to focus on the philosophy that drove Diefenbaker to reject the rules of international subservience. For Newman, Diefenbaker believed in national building in the tradition of John A. MacDonald, although in a modern era of increasing continental interdependence. Diefenbaker was surprisingly left leaning on welfare policy and desired closer ties with Britain, which American continental interests despised[9]. Newman continually emphasized in contrast to the Nash and Robinson readings that the Canadian Nationalist rhetoric damaged the influence of the “continentalists in the American State Department who believe that what’s good for the U.S. us automatically good for Canada”[10]. “Diefenbaker never managed to make convincing his often-repeated boast that his anti-Americanism was actually pro-Canadian”[11]. Although both Newman and Grant agree that a clear vision of Conservatism was allusive, they both point to the institutions and entrenched structures that usurped Diefenbaker from power. The indecisiveness was political, not a product of irrational fool, but of serious discord with the rhetoric and the realities of Canada’s position in North America. It was not that Diefenbaker’s indecisiveness was a product of character, but a product of untenable principle.

It could be argued then that the forces of continentalism overthrew the Diefenbaker’s Progressive Conservatives. With serious policy missteps regarding to the Coyne controversy, cancellation of the Arrow, growing monetary crisis, unabated unemployment rates, Diefenbaker’s defeat in 1963 can be attributed to many factors. This article, however, will present conclusive evidence that among the most significant factors was the American desire for regime change in Canada.

The Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 reopened the debate over nuclear warheads in Canada. For Kennedy’s Secretary of State Dean Rusk, “Diefenbaker’s ‘introspection and nationalism’ were the biggest problems in Canada-U.S. relations”[12]. On the Canadian side, continentalists like Sevigny believed that “the need for…a closer association with our NATO partners…[was made] very clear by [the] tragic Cuban incident”[13]. From the American perspective, the intense crisis proved resolutely that Diefenbaker was either indecisive or stubborn with regard to American security needs. Following the failure to swiftly declare ‘DEF CON 3’ on October 21st, 1962, the Diefenbaker government was the target of a replacement campaign that would allow American Cold War objectives to be achieved. Similar to Vietnam in October 1963, Canada required a discreet coup d’etat. In quick succession, the Kennedy Administration struck three strategic blows against the Canadian government to achieve that end.

The first blow occurred with an incident of frankness, revolving around retiring NATO General Lauris Norstad; an American. On January 2nd, 1963, whether by accident or design, Norstad told reporters that Diefenbaker had not fulfilled his obligations under NATO regarding accepting nuclear warheads. This was an open attack on the Canadian government that would spark major controversy. Criticism in the Conservative caucus put Diefenbaker on unstable ground as indecisiveness seemed to give way to utter incompetence.

The next blow was the Pearsonian Re-Alignment on missile defence. On January 12, 1963, newly anointed Liberal Party leader ‘Mike’ Pearson decisively declared that he was ‘ashamed we accepte[d] commitments and then refuse[d] to discharge them”[14]. In a complete reversal of Liberal Party policy, the Liberal leader fulfilled the desires of the ‘Establishment’ by calling for the acceptance of nuclear weapons. The infamous about-face was the consequence of repeated consultation with the JFK. Many insiders “felt sure that Pearson had made a deal with Kennedy that in exchange for Pearson’s switch on nuclear warheads, Kennedy would help destroy Diefenbaker”[15]. As two Nobel Prize winning internationalists, Kennedy and Pearson had good personal relations, but far more importantly; Pearson had a malleable ideological preference for continentalism.

The final blow was a reaction to a miscalculation on the part of Diefenbaker. On January 21, 1963, Diefenbaker claimed in Parliament that a ‘rethinking’ had occurred between the leaders of America, Britain and Canada at the Nassau meeting. This was a crass attempt to justifying indecision concerning the nuclear warheads[16]. The implication of this gaffe was that a public denial in a U.S. Government press release was necessary and tremendously embarrassing. In essence, the Kennedy Administration had explicitly intervened in Canadian affairs in what would “deliberately foster an anti-American thrust in the tactics…[of[ the coming election campaign”[17]. This evidence of interference was openly accepted by future Liberal leader Pierre Trudeau who confirmed in the Cite Libre that “Diefenbaker was beaten by ‘les Hispters’ around Kennedy”[18]. The 1963 Diefenbaker campaign was had the best of his political career according to most sources, but it was not enough against the full force of the United States. The ultimate consequence was the collapse of Diefenbaker and re-installation of the Liberal regime. The nuclear warheads were brought into Canada immediately by Pearson’s new government.

The most plausible conclusion for why Diefenbaker’s government fell is articulated by Sevigny: “…by choosing to listen to the dreamers in his entourage and discarding the opinions of the realists, John Diefenbaker committed his most serious mistake, one which broke up his party”[19]. From the evidence, Diefenbaker’s dream of Canadian nationalism assumed that NATO was an alliance, not an extension of American foreign policy. Pearson’s acceptance of the latter gave him the advantage of American influence. During the election of 1963, Diefenbaker tried to paint the Liberals as co-conspirators with Washington and that a vote for the Liberals would lead to nuclear war[20]. This did not resonate. However, there was some credence given to Diefenbaker’s nationalist position after U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara revealed that the Bomarc missiles were in fact designed to draw fire away from American cities without much regard for Canadian civilians below the aerial interceptions of a Russia attack[21].

To recap, the article first explained the Defense Crisis of 1962 and 1963. Subsequently, a historiographical analysis of Nash, Robinson and Newman interpretations showed that Liberal historians attempted to focus on Diefenbaker’s character over the true source of conflict. Then, the evidence was examined showing the Kennedy Administration’s intervention in Canadian politics. The article will now address the unique historiographical interpretations proposed by George Grant. It will conclude that Diefenbaker’s political principles were his ultimate downfall.

To understand more clearly the underlining framework of American manipulation, George Grant’s interpretation of Diefenbaker’s demise is most salient. George Grant’s Lament For a Nation is a direct reaction to the fall of the Progressive Conservatives in 1963 and its implications for Canadian Sovereignty. As part of his analysis, Grant states that “lamenting for Canada is inevitably associated with the tragedy of Diefenbaker”[22]. According to Grant, Diefenbaker’s political failure occurred because he challenged American continentalist, progressivism, and capitalist designs in Canada. The “prairie blowhard”’s downfall was rooted in his ideology of Canadian Nationalism. Part of the great disappointment from historians like Peter C. Newman was that Diefenbaker’s larger than life expectations fell well short of their mark. His “One Canada[23] campaign rhetoric admonished voters against the Liberal desire for “a virtual forty-ninth state in the American Union”[24] but this socialist nationalism could not stand a chance in an already submissive Canada. In the end, the Bomarc missile fiasco was the tipping-point for an American coup d’etat that was in the making upon Diefenbaker’s rise to power.

To elaborate on Grant’s argument, American imperialism relied heavily on the ruling class within Canada that had become continentalized in its views. These complicit Canadians were Diefenbaker’s adversaries. They include the King, St. Laurent and subsequent Pearson Liberal governments, as well as the entrenched continentalist bureaucrats such as Robinson and Pearson, in addition to the Central Canada’s anti-rural ‘Establishment’. Whether collaboration was intentional or accidental, the Liberal Party achieved hegemony during this period of the 20th century in part because of their acceptance of continentalism. Grant suggests that the march to American annexation was moving faster with Liberal pro-capitalist policies that “paid allegiance to the homogenized culture of the American empire”[25]. As a consequence of compliance, American universalizing and homogenizing free-market forces within Canada benefited the willing Liberals and disadvantaged the Saskatchewanian who was a populist that rejected the ‘Establishment’. Liberal rule was only interjected by a lapse from 1957 to 1963, which would be marked by a constant struggle between the three groups and the antagonist to their self-interest; Diefenbaker.

 

A view of the launch of a CQM-10A Bomarc target missile.

If this is true, as the evidence suggests, then this prairie, Protestant, orator served merely as a sacrificial lamb for American Cold War objectives in 1963. It also shows that the demise of Diefenbaker’s government was the tip of an iceberg that has inevitably sunk Canadian political autonomy. Diefenbaker was unavoidably wrong in contradicting the conventional wisdom of the American led progressive age. From Grant’s account, Canadian sovereignty was no longer viable since no alternative could be found, as demonstrated by Diefenbaker’s failure. In truth, Diefenbaker seemed to be an irrational protestor because a truly rational leader would have submitted to American desires. In his concluding optimism, however, Grant argues that the overwhelming forces of American imperialism left Canada as a satellite state destined to desire annexation for the betterment of Canada’s citizens[26]. The gravitational forces of progressivism, globalization and assimilation of cultural distinctions will ultimately result in the amalgamation of Canada into the American super-structure. This is Grant’s solace which Diefenbaker’s nationalistic rhetoric, so passionately, hoped to avoid but could not.

It would be erroneous to not mention, at this point, that George Grant was a leading proponent of Red Toryism. Compared to Liberal historians such as Nash and Robinson, Grant’s politics may too appear to mask biases. He may have simply developed a skewed perspective of Liberals who “led inexorably to the disappearance of Canada”[27]. However, his claims are justified because they can be qualified with compelling evidence. Both sides have a point, eh?!

The goal of historians is to the piece together the past and synthesize it into tangible explanations of those events. It stands to reason that the Diefenbaker’s flawed personality, described by pro-Liberal academics, is a distraction from the actual source of Diefenbaker’s demise. Instead of the rampant character assassinations, historians should note that the causal arrow moves from Diefenbaker’s conceptualization of Canada to political indecision with regard to the Defense Crisis of 1962 and 1963. What becomes resoundingly consistent among historians is the sense that Diefenbaker was a disappointment. Intrinsic in their view is that he failed to achieve what his rhetoric so sincerely promised. Regardless of the bias of the various historians, there is a compelling argument within Grant’s work that may help change the commonly held perception about the outsider prairie populist and the Canada-U.S. relations in that period. The tragedy of Diefenbaker needs to be re-written to pay homage to his perilous and courageous attempt to carve out a sovereign nation despite forces more overwhelming than anything ever witnessed on this earth.

 

Work Cited

Diefenbaker, John G. One Canada: Memoirs of the Right Honourable John G. Diefenbaker: The Years of Achievement 1956 to 1962. A Signet Book: Scarborough, 1976

Grant, George. Lament for a Nation: The Defeat of Canadian Nationalism: 40th Edition. McGill-Queen’s University Press: Montreal, 2005.

Nash, Knowlton. Kennedy and Diefenbaker: Fear and Loathing Across the Undefended Border. McClelland & Stewart Limited: Toronto, 1990.

Newman, Peter C. Renegade in Power: The Diefenbaker Years. McClelland and Stewart Limited: Toronto, 1963.

Robinson, Basil H. Diefenbaker’s World: A Populist in Foreign Affairs. University of Toronto Press: Toronto, 1991.

Sevigny, Pierre. This Game of Politics. McClellan and Stewart Limited: Montreal, 1965.

Smith, Denis. Rogue Tory: the Life and Legend of John G. Diefenbaker. MacDarlan Walter & Ross; Toronto, 1995.

Stursbeg, Peter. Diefenbaker: Leadership Lost: 1962-67. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1976.

[1] Robinson, Basil H. Diefenbaker’s World: A Populist in Foreign Affairs. University of  Toronto Press: Toronto, 1991: pp 106.

[2] Nash, Knowlton. Kennedy and Diefenbaker: Fear and Loathing Across the Undefended Border. McClelland & Stewart Limited: Toronto, 1990: pp. 76.

[3] Newman, Peter C. Renegade in Power: The Diefenbaker Years. McClelland and Stewart Limited: Toronto, 1963: 367.

[4] Nash, 96

[5] Nash, 119

[6] Nash, 100

[7] Grant, George. Lament for a Nation: The Defeat of Canadian Nationalism: 40th Edition. McGill-Queen’s University Press: Montreal, 2005: pp 8.

[8] Robinson, 227

[9] Newman, 254

[10] Newman, 261

[11] Newman, 262

[12] Nash, 65

[13] Sevigny, Pierre. This Game of Politics. McClellan and Stewart Limited: Montreal, 1965.

[14] Smith, Denis. Rogue Tory: the Life and Legend of John G. Diefenbaker. MacDarlan Walter & Ross; Toronto, 1995: pp. 469.

[15] Nash, 255

[16] Smith, 466

[17] Robinson, 307

[18] Nash, 301

[19] Sevigny, 261

[20] Newman, 387

[21] Newman, 391

[22] Grant, 6

[23] Diefenbaker, John G. One Canada: Memoirs of the Right Honourable John G. Diefenbaker: The Years of Achievement 1956 to 1962. A Signet Book: Scarborough, 1976: pp. 21

[24] Grant, 13

[25] Grant, 7

[26] Grant, 94

[27] Grant, 6