Archive for the ‘American Politics’ Category

A note from a neighbour.

Sunday, March 24th, 2019

“The depths of winter are about over and it will soon be time for spring clean-up and to lean on our rakes as we catch up on the neighbourhood gossip. I see that there has been little progress on that southern wall you have been promising. You would not need the wall if your Uncle Donald would stop frightening the neighbourhood children. While you are at it, please get him to shut down the Air B&B he is running in your White House.

“Mind you, if this is going to be another summer of your Uncle Donald exposing himself in the Rose Garden, there will be trouble in Paradise. And that boy band with which he practices heavy metal music (steel and aluminum) is annoying and you better do something about it sooner than later. We have a new North American Free Trade Agreement to sign off and breeches in the agreement such as tariffs are a no-no.

“Sure, we can be sympathetic to the problems of looking after a septuagenarian such as Donald but he does Tweet some awful nonsense. Has this child-man ever had to deal with the truth? It seems to be something of a foreign language to him.

“Does your Uncle Donald think he is a fascist? The only people he seems to want to help are his rich friends and dictators. I hardly know what he would ever possibly say to a poor person.

“And, as much as I hate to tell you this. Your Uncle Donald is a bigot, and a braggart, and a bully. I do not think there was ever a more heart-wrenching exodus of people from troubled countries than we saw heading north last year for the promised land of America.

“But there was no promised land, because Donald Trump thinks he is the Pharaoh. The only way those people are ever going to make it to America is to hide their children in bushels of Mexican produce and the adults in the trunks of those expensive American automobiles that are made in Mexico.

“But your Canadian neighbours have their own problems. They have discovered that politicians lie. I bet you knew that already.

“We are already driving north from Florida after a winter of golf with your Uncle Donald. See you soon.”

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

“But I have promises to keep.”

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

Vermont senator Bernie Sanders knows where he is from. He went back to his roots in Brooklyn, New York last week to launch his campaign against the presidency of fellow New Yorker Donald Trump. At 77, senator Sanders is likely to be the oldest person bidding for the Democratic Party nomination.

But the democratic socialist would probably just quote poet Robert Frost and close the discussion of age with the famous line “But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep.”

Nobody doubts that Bernie Sanders can likely defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 elections. In fact, many are firmly convinced that the fatuous Donald Trump will defeat himself.

The real job for the next president will be the task of healing the harm Mr. Trump has done to the entire world. He has trashed America’s reputation. He has lowered expectations of fairness. He has favoured his friends and hurt the poor and struggling. It is hard to say where the job of the new president needs to begin.

But the hardest work begins at home. America is a land divided. It is a land rife with the hypocrisy of privilege. It desperately needs electoral reform. It needs cooperation between the administration and both houses of Congress.

America must restore its fairness with its allies. It has a critical leadership position in world affairs that requires care, compassion and continuity. It will be a radical change from the confusions and concerns of the Trump presidency.

The difference in this democratic race from the one four years ago will be that Bernie Sanders will not be the only voice from the political left. He drew a lot of interest and enthusiasm for his policies and proposals last time and voters will be looking for a better understanding of them this time around.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Time to grow up Bernie Sanders.

Friday, March 1st, 2019

It’s okay. I can say that to him. I am a Canadian and am also a democratic socialist. I understand his problems. And Bernie Sanders is too old to be President of the United States of America. He was showing the strain last time he ran against Hillary Clinton for the nomination. He did a good job of pulling her to the political left. He made Americans pay attention to the ideals of democratic socialism. He made it clear that the government’s job is there to serve the people—not to serve special interests.

But he has a far greater task open to him. It is not that he needs to admit that he cannot win the presidency from Donald Trump. Defeating Mr. Trump is the easy part of the job. It is whether he has the ability to work with and mentor a younger person who can offer democratic socialism and leadership and a better future to a divided nation. This is the person needed in the White House. It is the person who can help build a better United Nations. This is the person whom the whole world needs to firmly guide and rebuild the American role in world leadership.

Sorry, it is not you, Bernie. The job is hardly just to rid America of Trump. This job will need a solid eight years of hard work just to make the country whole again.

Americans no longer know what truth means. They have been lied to for too long. The American reputation around the world has been trashed. The American dream has to be made a reality, again.

America is still one of the richest countries. It should be a leader in social reforms—free medical care as well as prescription drugs, free tuition all the way to post-graduate studies, and the guarantee of affordable shelter for all. A full life in a land of liberty is the ambition of people around the world. It needs leaders who know the way.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

The ties of Trump and Toad.

Monday, February 18th, 2019

It is doubtful that American president Donald Trump, has ever bothered to read Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows. Published in 1908 in the United Kingdom, it is a book that has delighted children everywhere for more than a century. What would surprise Mr. Trump today is how much he is like Mr. Toad of Toad Hall.

Take this one line from the Wikipedia description of the character: “Toad is intelligent, creative and resourceful; however, he is also narcissistic, self-centred almost to the point of sociopathy, and completely lacking in even the most basic common sense.”

Now, change the name to Trump. Can you tell the difference? Now I know why I often think of Mr. Trump as a big orange toad.

It is not that I particularly care about Mr. Toad or Mr. Trump. In fact, my favourite character in the book was called Mole. I saw him as the more thoughtful of the characters created by Mr. Grahame.

But Mr. Trump really needs a Mole to help him get over the hissy-fit he is having over his damn wall. He has to have someone explain to him that there is no national emergency to be perceived.

You would swear that the damn fool is proud that he shut down the U.S. government for the amount of time he did. He had no concern nor care for the people he hurt in the process. He seems to think he made the point and his claque of clowns approves.

Now that he has declared his emergency, only Trump would create the story that the barbarians are at the southern border of the United States of America plotting to assail the United States to rape and plunder. That statue lighting the way into the New York harbour with her lamp must be weeping while Mr. Trump affronts the entire world.

It can be expected that 100 years from now, American mothers will call on the spectre of a big orange toad to get their children to behave.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

A nation in a state of stasis.

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

A nation in stasis is a state that can neither move forward nor back as the forces in play remain equal and opposed. And this is the State of the Union as reported by American president Donald Trump. His report of exaggerations and lies and threats was of a quarreling nation, going nowhere.

In a nation two years from possible resolution in another election, the report should have been on the efforts to conciliate, to seek compromise, and to ensure nobody suffers. Mr. trump is too self-centred for simple solutions.

But he was ominously quiet in preparing for his speech. He is treating it as important. While others were setting odds on the number of lies, he would tell, he was seriously working on what lies to tell.

Whatever that intent was, it failed.

It was a fatuous address by a petty person. It was hyperbole, built on careless claims. It was racism doubled down. It was the same-old, same-old introductions of exaggerations of small people in the audience clawing to claim their 30-seconds of fame.

It was your typical routine of meaningless standing ovations. Yet, who counts? When the Vestal Virgins in white of the democratic party disagreed, they remained seated.

A pained Speaker Pelosi and a pensive Vice President Pense formed a backdrop of a divided nation.

The military chiefs of staff sat together as witches brewing the pot of the Kool-Aid of war.

The man stood before a nation divided and told them they were fools. He told them he would again shame the nation with a government shutdown if he does not get the blackmail needed for his wall.

He disgraced his nation with his intemperate remarks. A racist, a bully, a narcissist of note, Mr. Trump brings no honour to his nation.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Politics in anxious times.

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

If prime minister Justin Trudeau had his druthers, he would not want an election this year. It is simply bad timing. Canadians are anxious. It is not any one thing. The world is just not behaving as it should. Not even the weather is acting as normal. People are concerned. There is that clown in the White House in Washington. You can hardly blame everything on him, even if you would like to.

And what can you count on? The stock market is just perverse. The Brits are stupidly leaving the European Union and do not admit why. The rich are getting richer and the rest of us are getting poorer. And have you seen the price of bread recently?

People are pissed. They are looking for scapegoats. They hardly need another stupid politician to get in their way. Justin Trudeau and his little friends have worked their hearts out for our approval. Sure, they blew a few promises. Yes, you will be using first-past-the-post voting in October. Maybe they did save the North American trade agreement from that terror Trump. Who knows?

But do not ask for the right to die in a frivolous manner. There is more than one way to default on a promise.

The liberals are going to spend the election telling us how well the economy is doing and how much they love the middle class. The opposition are going to tell us, it can be better. The liberals will tell us what a great job they are doing for the environment. The opposition will tell us the environment is just fine, thank you. The liberals want a price on carbon. The opposition will tell you it is just a tax grab.

But why did the liberals buy the Trans Mountain pipeline to ship highly polluting bitumen from Alberta to countries that do not care about pollution?

The liberal cabinet spent an expensive weekend retreat in Quebec recently planning their messaging for the campaign. The message is ‘vote for us and take another selfie with Justin.’

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Wishy-washy on the Wall.

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

It is beginning to look like there is some daylight between president Donald Trump and a faction of his Republican followers. It happened last Saturday during Trump’s speech to save his wall. He was using people already in the U.S. to trade for the $5.7 billion he needs for the initial parts of his wall. He was offering a stay of deportation for the DACA people (Dreamers) who know no other home than in America.

And, as expected, the Democratic leadership in Congress told Trump to ‘Get stuffed.’ Not that anyone can be proud of their stance while hundreds of thousands of American government employees continue to be unpaid. Mr. Trump continues to hold these people up as hostages.

But that is Mr. Trump’s choice. He has chosen to make the government employees suffer while he petulantly demands that the American taxpayers pay for his ill-considered wall. He promised that wall to his claque of followers in the 2016 election. He even promised them that it would be at no cost to Americans. He, somewhat stupidly, promised those people that the Mexicans would want to pay for the wall. Since then, the Mexican government has made it very clear that they do not pay for obscenities such as walls.

In this current Trump fiasco, he is going tit-for-tat with a very experienced politician in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She has even disinvited him to make the customary State of the Union address to congress at the end of the month. His only response, so far, is to cancel the Air Force jet that was going to take Pelosi and a House of Representatives delegation to the Middle East.

And so, it continues: Mr. Trump would rather play childish games. He would rather have close to a million government workers and their dependants angry with him for keeping their paychecks from them. At one time, he had almost 63 million Americans vote for him. He keeps finding ways to cut down that number of supporters.

And, even worse for Trump, he is angering his extremist supporters who want him to start deporting the DACA people right away. They think he is going soft on them.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Mr. Trump as a savant?

Monday, January 14th, 2019

The other day, reading something from a forgettable writer, I started out laughing at the presentation of U.S. president Donald Trump as a savant. Please understand that a savant is someone with debilitating mental problems or deficiencies but also has one or more remarkable skills. In Mr. Trump’s case, I would suggest his skills are like those of a stopped clock. He can get it right, once or twice a day.

But when the writer suggests that Trump got it right to withdraw all American troops from Syria, he seems as lost as Trump. I do not care what Trump’s advisors said as to why the Americans should stage the withdrawal; Trump was signing a death warrant for the Kurds.

And no matter how Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin handle it, genocide is a crime against humanity. They must think they can back the Kurds into the hands of the remaining Daesh fighters in Northern Syria and claim it is the Daesh that did the dirty deed. Trump is helping by pulling out the witnesses for them.

The writer goes on to claim that Daesh only exists as a result of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. This is wrong as Daesh (under the ISIS name) was already pledging support for al-Qaeda, three years before President George W. Bush made the mistake of invading Iraq again.

What the writer really proves is that he does not understand Mr. Trump. In fact, Mr. Trump frustrates him. He claims Trump does not read and insults him unnecessarily by saying he does not think.

Maybe Mr. Trump thinks too much. As an insomniac, he seems to do his most irresponsible thinking early in the morning, when he feeds his more ridiculous thoughts to his followers on Twitter.

But he is certainly no savant. What he is good at are those things that made him very successful in his father’s business. It is a business that attracts the showman type, the bluffer and the consummate liar. Trump is just your garden variety womanizer and con man. His very serious weakness is his narcissism.

Mr. Trump represents a real and present danger to the United States of America in its foreign relations. He is a child playing with grenades. The country can eventually recover most of its reputation and regain some of its leadership among nations. It can hopefully fix the weaknesses in its political structure that allowed him into office.

But the next two years in Washington will not be fun.

-30-

Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Would a gold piano sound tinny?

Monday, December 31st, 2018

Most commentators write a recap about the preceding year on New Year’s Eve but I only thought back a week to an ‘oops.’ I realized that this Canadian missed the Monarch’s message to the Commonwealth. It is with fond memories I note that mother used to always insist that her brood gather round the radio for it on Christmas morning.

My first recollections of this go back to King George VI struggling with his stammer. You could hear his consort, Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother), in the background helping him.

Googling Queen Elizabeth II and her speech this year was a bit of a disappointment. It seems that many of the ungrateful in the United Kingdom complained about the opulence of the gold piano behind her. They thought it was incongruent with a speech about the struggles of the poor and despondent around the world.

But I am sure there were some positive parts to the speech. Queen Elizabeth has had a good deal of time to perfect the genre over the years. She records the speech weeks ahead though as she has other duties on Christmas and Boxing Day. On Christmas there was the traditional sighting of royals as the young ones traipsed down the road to the local church while the 92-year old Queen came in one of the royal limousines.

It seems as though the young ones have already taken over the public interest in the Brit royals. Kate and William, along with Meghan and Harry have become the Brit version of the American Kardashians. Would you believe there is an entire industry built around the royal gossip produced for people who really need to get a life.

But all this silly gossip passes and becomes of less interest in Canada and other Commonwealth countries. It is of dying interest in Canada particularly as more and more we have to pay attention to what is happening to the south.

When Pierre Trudeau compared Canada’s position as sleeping with an elephant, he had obviously never met someone such as Donald Trump. We are beset today in trying to sleep with an insomniac who is the Twitter King and who plays at his own fantasy Game of Thrones.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Mr. and Mrs. Trump go to war.

Saturday, December 29th, 2018

In the last half of the 20th Century, Hollywood star Bob Hope was famous for his Christmas shows for American military. These shows took place in areas of conflict where Americans where deployed around the world. Hope’s compensation was that he could edit the recordings of the shows and run them as television specials.

His formula was a variety type show of musicians, dancers, comics and always a particularly voluptuous Hollywood star. My favourite was when he took Rachel Welch, a lady who could just stand there and you could appreciate her. It was Hope’s contribution to the American service men’s morale.

It was obvious the other day that Donald Trump was also aware of Hope’s formula. He took his wife Melania to Iraq to meet the troops. It guaranteed him a positive response from the men. He might be on the outs with his generals but he was appreciated by the rank and file who got selfies with Melania.

Trump might have got a mixed reaction to his speech though when he told the troops that he intended to bring them all home. His line was that “We’re no longer the suckers, folks.” And he told them that he is committed to bringing them all home despite the advice of the experts.

To placate the service people he was talking with, he told them he had no plans to leave Iraq. He told them Iraq was a good staging point if at some later date, America went to war with Syria or Iran.

He told the troops that the United States cannot continue to be “the policemen of the world.” Trump said, “It is not fair when the burden is all on us.”

You have to figure that Mr. Trump’s words were annoying to the Arab countries as well as allies who have backed up the United States over the years.

The Trumps’ visit to the Iraq airbase was kept secret until Air Force One returned to the relative safety of Washington.

-30-

Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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