Archive for the ‘American Politics’ Category

Mr. Trump’s Stupid Wars.

Friday, May 29th, 2020

It is hard to say what the Americans have done wrong to deserve this. They have the best equipped standing army in the world and they elect a guy like Donald Trump as commander-in-chief. It’s enough to make you cry. That jerk could not understand the strategy for a snowball fight against seven-year old girls. What he is doing loose in the free world is the wonder.

The scary problem is who told him to launch a trade war against the Chinese? It is a dumb idea. It is bad foreign relations. It is a war that neither side can win and neither side can afford to lose. The only thing worse would be to threaten the use of nuclear weapons.

You get the impression from this that if the Chinese leadership had a better sense of humour, all could easily be resolved. The problem is that through the 19th century and into the 20th, the Chinese knowledge of Europeans was taken mainly from the British. They saw the Brits as stuffy, humourless and dull. And the Brits accused them of being inscrutable, so they worked on it.

And just try to convince them of the benefits of democracy when the Americans elect an incompetent like Trump. Well, nobody says that democracy is perfect but Trump is certainly pushing the envelope.

The hardest part of this is that the Chinese cannot understand an aberration such as Trump.

But neither do we. Our major problem is that Trump is not a politician. If he was a politician, we would have some idea as to what he might do next. Nobody knows what a spoiled child will do next.

I think we should take the advice of the child psychologists. Distract him. Let him go to war against Twitter. Who cares? Maybe Facebook can get in a few good licks. Let him build a moat around the white house to try to keep out the democratic party interlopers. And you only wish that Trump would go stick beans up his nose.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Who’s voting for stupid?

Tuesday, May 19th, 2020

The ignorant and the gullible are on the march in America. They are coming to his rallies and buying his snake oil. Donald Trump has his eye on the prize: the November election. That is quite a prize for a serial killer who has already helped the pandemic take the life of more than 90,000 Americans—and this year is not even half over.

Is this not the guy who belittled the declaration of the pandemic and cut off the U.S. funding of the World Health Organization? Do you know that his followers think America is lucky to have him? They can watch people close to them dying and they think Trump is a gift from some funny farm Heaven.

These people are mixing and drinking their own Kool-Aid. Trump says he is taking an anti-malaria pill. Maybe he will also drink bleach.

He is promising his followers a vaccine by the end of the year. He sees the race for a vaccine as an economic contest to make money for Americans, instead of something that will be distributed freely around the world. In addition to this miracle of medical science he is also promising his supporters a miracle economic recovery in the next year.

Trump supporters tell us that we are lucky to have a businessman like Trump running things. They think that, as a businessman, he can help the economy to recover. He is certainly no businessman. People who really understand Trump know he is just a gambler who typically uses other people’s money. As a developer, he is used to promising much and delivering little.

If Trump had been more of a scholar, he would understand why the lack of organization in his country during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918/1919 killed so many. It is disgraceful that his ignorance, disinterest and partisan approach make it impossible to create a co-ordinated approach in 2020.

But maybe the real villains in this event are Trump’s supporters. Theirs is hardly a statement of political allegiance. Trump is not political. He is too selfish and self-centered to be part of any party. And yet, it is likely die-hard republicans that are giving Trump a narrow edge—while helping him do irreparable damage to their party.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

And the show goes on.

Thursday, May 7th, 2020

Just when you have lost all interest in America’s president Trump, he finds something more ugly, more tawdry with which to entertain you. There seem to be none of the deadly sins of pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, anger or sloth that do not entice and enthrall him.

Is this man’s pride so great that he can abuse the memory of Abraham Lincoln? How dare he use the Lincoln Memorial as a set for his virtual rally? In the time of the novel coronavirus, he invited the disgusting Fox News organization into the place wherein sits the figure of a great man—a man who has inspired generations of Americans.

Not that Fox News and Donald trump are not of the same ilk. Fox News glorifies Trump. Trump is Fox News—bad news. They hit bottom together as sleaze interviews sleaze. Even the magnificence of the setting could not help.

It was an open invitation for Trump to brag. He wants to tell his followers of his triumphs, his triumphs over imaginary foes—in the Congress and the news media. He wants to spread his paranoia and his braggadocio and his lies.

It was not so many years ago that the wife and I drove to Washington in late May to enjoy the city as though we were tourists. I remember getting off the tour bus to stand at the bottom of the steps up to the Lincoln Memorial. It was a quiet moment to honour Lincoln.

In all the times I had been in the District of Columbia on business or a speaking engagement, I had never seen any of its monuments close up. Washington is a city of monuments to the great and not so great of American politics. Yet, whether major or minor players on the political scene, each, in their way, leaves their legacy. I seriously wonder how future historians will explain Donald Trump.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Making a stand, in Dixie.

Monday, April 27th, 2020

It is only appropriate. If any music is right for the coronavirus in the United States, it is Dixie. In the American Civil War, Dixie was the song of defiance and it took many from the American South to a needless and untimely death.

This came to mind the other day while trying to decipher one of those complex graphs in The Economist that was being used to try to explain the pattern of occurrences and rates of death from covid-19 across the United States of America. (This was in the North American edition of the British journal.)

Giving up on the confused graph, the real shock of the story, for me, was the comment in the last paragraph of the article that the states of Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee were relaxing their lock-down restrictions. Those rednecks in the heart of Dixie have probably had enough of governments telling them what to do and have decided to take things into their own hands.

The point of the Economist article was that the mortality rate for covid-19 was much higher in areas of higher heart disease and diabetes and with fewer hospitals equipped with intensive care units. That is a good description of that part of Appalachia.

The article also noted that the disease is also more prevalent in places where people are crowded together, such as in New York City. The difference is that in New York, there are good hospitals and a willing population that supports a governor who took the reins and knows what he is doing. Those factors can contribute to a lower death rate.

But we have been seeing on the news how the citizens of many of the southern states have been becoming more and more dissatisfied with restrictions forced on the population because of covid-19.

It is really a shame that the United States lacks effective national leadership in this time of crisis.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

“Are we there yet?”

Sunday, April 19th, 2020

That man-child in the American White House reminds me of taking the kids on a road trip. How soon they would tire of their prison in the back seat of the family sedan. And, no matter how many games you had lined up for them, you eventually hear what every parent does not want to hear, the whine, “Are we there yet?”

Donald Trump’s impatience with a pandemic, that has inconvenienced him, should come as no surprise. He has been telling us when it will end practically from before it became too serious for him to ignore. And the fact he belittled the coronavirus from those early stages was just the usual childish reaction to things Trump cannot control.

Lately he has decided to blame the World Health Organization (WHO) for the pandemic. It is hard to tell if he is complaining about them telling him or not telling him what was coming down the turnpike. In a typical Trump reaction, he has cut off the U.S. funding for that very critical body. “That’ll teach ‘em!”

It certainly helps to prove what a lackey vice president Mike Pence can be when he is still at Donald Trump’s beck and call. For him to head up that Gong Show gang running the federal pandemic circus is not only frightening but is liable to extend the pandemic effects in the U.S. for another two years.

One thing is for sure, Mr. Trump is still supposed to be driving the bus in the U.S. until January of 2021. The only thing that he might have in mind is how to stay in office beyond that date.

Of course, many Americans have assured me that Mr. Trump is going to have a very difficult time getting re-elected in November. I am impressed with their confidence, but it seems to me, we heard something similar four years ago. I remember how disappointed we were back then.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

 

The impatience of Donald Trump.

Thursday, April 16th, 2020

While Canadians have mostly been enjoying the unusual unanimity of their federal and provincial leaders in this time of the pandemic, the situation in the U.S. is reversed. In a frightening replay of the Spanish flu of 100 years ago, the states and their federal government are fighting their own battles. Last time, about 675,000 Americans died. With today’s modern medicine, only 20,000 Americans have died from covid-19, so far. President Trump is impatient for it to be over and wants to declare the pandemic has been beaten.

With the patchwork solutions—or lack of solutions—by the various states, there is no way to reasonably predict any resolution of the pandemic in the country. President Trump will have to keep moving his end dates. He blithely missed his first prediction of Easter. Undaunted, the blowhard-in-chief has now predicted the end of the pandemic is the end of April. He will be likely to keep moving his dates and his followers will believe his excuses.

What he really should be thinking about is the need for the states to agree to mail-in ballots for the November election. The reality is that the Americans are likely to want to vote in unprecedented numbers in November. And if the recent Wisconsin primary experience is any indication, the election officials will be loath to help people mark their ballots. Long line-ups with angry, frustrated voters are not a good idea.

If Trump continues to move his forecast to end of the pandemic, month by month, it could even shake the confidence of some of his followers. If someone lies to you for eight months in a row, would you not be taking his opinion for what it is worth—nothing.

What is really concerning in all of this is that Donald Trump has available to him some of the best medical science laboratories in the world and some of the finest minds in the medical sciences. If he would just listen to these experts for a change, think of the good he could do.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

A man and his ideas.

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

Bernie Sanders has taken himself out of the race for the democratic nomination for president. He left his legacy behind. The Vermont senator is probably tired but he can be very proud of what he achieved. He left most of the pundits, arguing about the policies on which presumptive candidate Joe Biden will have to run on this fall and the future of America’s democratic party.

All the party is focused on at this time is making sure presumptive candidate Joe Biden defeats incumbent U.S. president Donald Trump. It has little to do with any strong showing by Biden. It is more a choice of what Sanders was proposing that can carry the day. If Biden, for example, forgets a government run, universal health care system, the voters might, in turn, forget him.

It is the same with the proposed minimum wage. If there is one idea that all voters can understand, it is having a minimum wage that is also one on which people can live. Sure, the republicans can rail against this socialism all they like but voters who are motivated by the idea are more likely to vote than voters who do not care.

Biden’s greatest problem is in bringing out the younger voters. He has to motivate them with ideas not the picture of him in the White House. Much is being said about the geriatric candidates for the presidency but ideas can bridge that age gap. Besides, it is not an argument at this stage. The two major party candidates for president will both be in their 70s and it is a little late to do anything about that.

It was amusing the other day in reading some e-mail threads of conversations on the American side of my family. The writer was proposing that candidates for president should only be between 35 and 65 years of age. And here I had always considered the requirement to be at least 35 was highly discriminatory. And now they want to also discriminate against seniors?

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

The lost year.

Thursday, April 9th, 2020

It was when sitting through the excruciating ignorance of a Donald Trump briefing with his Gong Show covid-19 crew that it occurred to me. With this kind of leadership in the U.S., the country will be lucky to be out of the woods before Christmas, 2020. North Americans still have most of a lost year ahead of us. And here was forecaster-in-chief Trump telling the American audience that there could be a turn-around by Easter!

I have an image in mind of a republican senator sitting reading a report on the numbers of constituents who are dying of covid-19. He, or she, is asking: ‘Why didn’t I impeach when I had a chance?’

But we still have close to a year of pain to endure. We could be on the backside of the first wave of the disease by summer. How many months will we need to physically impede a second wave from causing more deaths. And what about the possibility of a third wave?

Of course, the optimists among us are hoping for a vaccine. You do not want to tell these people that we have not even come up with a vaccine for SARS yet. Vaccines take a lot of time and patience and many failures along the way. There is a remarkable world-wide effort at this time but in the meantime, the disease is running its course. Let’s just try to stay out of its way.

The last time a virus of this type ran rampant around the world was the Spanish flu (H1N1) that killed indiscriminately from the First World War until into the mid 1920s. The reason the U.S. was so ill prepared at that time, was the war was not yet over and there was no national direction to the effort to fight the disease. With about a third of the population catching the disease in Canada, 50,000 Canadians died. In the U.S. (where the disease is believed to have its start) it killed 675,000.

What the U.S. is once again showing the world is that a poorly co-ordinated, irrational response to the disease is not the answer.

And do not even bother to replace common sense with make-believe surgical masks. The only non-medical personnel who need masks are the people who are showing symptoms of covid-19 and are on the way to get medical help.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

What Value Trust?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020

Do you trust U.S. president Donald Trump? Why would you when his actions are erratic, his decisions changeable, his sources of information questionable and his attention span so limited? In approving the revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), did the parliamentarians consider this man’s weaknesses and frequent whims? They might have, if they understood the executive power he wields over American foreign trade.

The reason the first version of NAFTA worked so well for Canada is that the Americans wanted guaranteed access to Canada’s resources such as the tar sands and grandfathered the Auto Pact in exchange.

It was a few years until the fracking for oil in the U.S. proved that the U.S. was actually self-sufficient in oil resources. At the same time, Eastern Canada had rebuilt its manufacturing to supply auto parts and was attracting auto assembly operations from Asia. The Americans felt the rules of origin in NAFTA were under threat. What started as ruffled feathers over soft-wood lumber on the west coast became steel and aluminum barriers in the east. Donald Trump saw the free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico as an easy target in stirring dissent with the status quo in political America.

When Trump found recently that he was in the cross-hairs for not managing the panic in the U.S., he saw a chance to lay blame on 3M for selling critical N95 surgical masks to Canada and Latin American countries. Despite the new NAFTA agreement, that he had congress approve, Trump used his executive power to stop shipments to Canada and others outside the U.S. This was also despite the fact that the major material for these masks comes from Canada. Trump was very lucky that the Canadian government did not choose to retaliate.

But that is the trust that countries place in trade agreements. The agreements are not just for sunny days. Situations change, needs change but the countries that make these deals have to be able to trust their trading partners. You do not make unilateral changes. A dire need on one side of a border can be just as dire as the need on the other side. And it is in times such as this that the unilateral actions of one country can be long remembered by the population of the other.

Trust cannot be written. It can only be earned.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Can a conman cure a coronavirus?

Friday, March 27th, 2020

U.S. president Donald Trump is impatient with the progress in curing covid-19. As a perpetual con artist, he will grasp at any straw as a solution. It is his nature. It is what also makes him a continuing pain in the ass in politics.

Trump is deluding his followers and nobody else listens to him. He has a feeling for a random solution—when the World Health Organization is showing 465 studies in process in reputable hospitals and universities around the world. He wants the solution to be found in America. Does he want his country to profit from the solution? The rest of the world could care less who comes up with the solution. Just do it!

And the Donald thinks the solution to covid-19 will be found by Easter?

Even if we found the answer today, we could not have the first plant manufacturing the serum ramped up to full production before the end of April. And then ‘boys and girls,’ you can be out playing together in the sunshine?

The only good news in that scenario would be that we could have Mr. Trump out of office and a new U.S. president inaugurated as soon as next January.

But turn the tables and consider the problems if we have not solved covid-19 by November? The democratic convention could be no problem. All the voting and hoopla can be live streamed into the computers and TVs of the nation. There is no need for any democrats to meet face to face.

But Americans would be left with the problem of Donald Trump. If we have not reached the turn-around on the pandemic by then, the silly bugger might think he has to cancel the election. Ponder that!

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me