Archive for the ‘American Politics’ Category

Trump’s deniers call for the ‘End of Times.’

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

And here we thought the Christian Bible was there to forecast the End of Times. The Donald Trump administration in Washington has taken over in the forecasting business. They appear to believe that the End of Times is set for the year 2100. They are so convinced of this date that they are foregoing any further efforts at protecting our environment or efforts at reducing carbon emissions. The advice they give to Americans is ‘live it up and pollute as you wish and forget about the future of our earth.’

Hey, I am serious here! Our only hope is that this announcement was not by anyone at the Environmental Protection Agency. Would you believe it was reported as buried deep in a 500-page environmental impact report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration? The report was likely written to justify President Trump’s order to freeze fuel efficiency requirements for autos and trucks built after 2020.

While it is hard to imagine anyone writing this report in a serious manner, it goes to prove that people will go to some lengths to keep their job.

The report claimed that since the average temperature of the earth will rise by four degrees Celsius by the end of this century anyway, why bother with further savings in carbon emissions? The writer of the report seemed to conclude that any uptick in carbon dioxide by U.S. cars and trucks after 2020 would make no significant difference.

President Trump had decided to take the U.S.A. out of the Paris Agreement on the environment when he first took office. Since then he has opened up unrestricted coal mining and approved highly polluting pipelines such as the Keystone XL from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast. Mind you, America already had the distinction of being the most polluting country per capita in the world.

But we will solve all of that with the catastrophic coming of the End of Times. Our world will die with many a whimper as the icecaps melt, the seas encroach on our coastal cities and the unleashed storms and other extremes of intemperate weather challenge our ability to grow the food to feed ourselves. It will be too bad that Mr. Trump will not be there to answer for his ignorance.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Donald Trump’s Win?

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

We might as well let Donald Trump think he won. You hate to give a bully the victory but he would just go away and pout if we did not. What he really got was the right to rename the deal. That way, he can tell his claque that he got rid of NAFTA. It is now called the United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USMCA). It sounds like a branch of the United States Marine Corp, but what the heck—as long as it works for everybody involved.

It might be that Canada let the U.S. in on a bit of its milk market but the farmers can easily be compensated for that small encroachment. It leaves the fresh milk market to Canada’s farmers and that is the important part for consumers.

I would say it is a win for Justin Trudeau and his foreign affairs minister. They held the course throughout the negotiations. They did not let Trump’s irresponsible twits rattle them and they held the course to the end when the Americans had to agree to the deal or look terribly stupid.

The best part of the win was Canada sticking to its guns on bringing Mexican auto-worker wages into line. The $16 minimum wage for the Mexicans making autos and trucks is a huge jump and the impact it will have in Mexico will change that country a great deal. It will help drive up the costs of a holiday in Mexico for Americans and Canadians but that is fair too!

The other part of the deal that was vital to Canada was the continuation of the dispute settlement clause as it was in the original deal. The idea of submitting disputes to America’s highly politicized judicial system was a guarantee of constant harassment.

It also looks like Canada came out ahead on the automobile part of the deal. It looks like we have strengthened our position on auto parts and there are fewer concerns about the bleeding off of final assembly.

All in all, we can have the pleasure of looking south and giving Mr. Trump what Americans often refer to as the Canadian salute. Middle finger at the ready…go!

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Dragging down the dialogue.

Friday, September 28th, 2018

That Donald Trump is at it again. The diplomats laughed at him in the United Nations in New York the other day. Prime minister Justin Trudeau of Canada was walking by in the U.N. building the next day and did not want add to the American president’s discomfort and stopped to commiserate. Trump brushed him off.

It could have been left at that. It is just that Donald Trump never knows when it is best to shut up. In a no-holds-barred bear baiting with the news media the next day, where the media was the bear, Trump insulted the chief Canadian negotiator on the NAFTA file, lied about and maligned Canada’s prime minister and made it almost impossible for America’s chief negotiator to bring anything positive to the NAFTA table in future negotiations.

It begs the question as to whether there is any point to further discussion of the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the United States?

The point of this is that Mr. Trump knows that the Canadians are not going to tell him to ‘Get Stuffed.’ They, of course, know they have a right to tell him to but they are also being diplomatic and it is inappropriate for prime ministers and foreign ministers to tell the head of another nation to ‘Get Stuffed.’ No nation has gone to war over the head of the nation being told to ‘Get Stuffed,’ though there could always be a first time.

In all my years in politics and communications, this is the first time I have seriously felt that it is time to break with the diplomatic protocols and call a spade a spade.

There is no question but that Donald Trump is enjoying spewing all this garbage because he knows he can get away with it.

It is to Canada’s credit that our negotiators and prime minister have put up with this crap from Trump without responding in kind. Never let it be said that Canada walked away from NAFTA because of that disgusting Donald Trump.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The con of the carnival barker.

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

I remember as a child listening with awe to carnival barkers. I had learned young that the bearded lady and world’s tallest man were just hot air to impress the gullible. What impressed me even then was the glibness and ease with which the con man lied to the public. It is the likely reason I have for continuing to come back to writing about that bastard Donald Trump.

Listening to him and his sycophant the other day trying to bully Canada’s negotiators into signing on to their NAFTA terms, left me cold and angry. And I would hardly be the only Canadian to feel that way. We never know from day to day or week to week as Canada’s negotiators refuse to negotiate in public and Mr. Trump does not know when to stop tweeting.

While P.T. Barnum might or might not have said there is a sucker born every minute, Mr. Trump seems to have no problem finding lots of them to listen to his rants, his lies, and his crudity. This man-child and his tantrums might confound the diplomat confronted by the irrational but anyone who has any experience with a wayward child knows some ways to handle it.

First of all, somebody has to be the adult in the room. You can hardly send Trump for a time-out if you cannot take his smart phone away from him. He is certainly too big to spank—and he might like it. He needs to be told in plain language what will happen if he carries through with his foolish threats. He has to realize what will happen if he kills NAFTA.

Trump could leave a legacy as the guy who bankrupted General Motors. Ford would just be a footnote as another casualty in that scenario.

But the best guess is that Trump needs a win of some sort to show his supporters before the mid-term elections. He is obviously concerned that without something going his way, he could lose the House to the democrats—and maybe even the Senate. Without the republican support, Trump can do little and he would face the next two years in the White Hose as a lame duck.

The thing for our negotiators is to remember that it is Trump’s deadline that is closing in on him. Our people can take their time, be thorough, be fair and be firm. We cannot let the carnival barker con us.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The whitewash wears on the White House.

Sunday, September 16th, 2018

It was two years ago when that jaw dropping campaign saw a braggart and a bully win the White House. It was obvious that politicos, both in America and abroad where dumbfounded by the brashness, ignorance and foolhardiness. It was a campaign that collected the angry, the bigots, the jealous, the lawless, the self-entitled, and gave them justification. It gave succor and a savior to self-destructive lemmings.

To this Canadian commentator, America was clearly a nation divided. It failed as a democracy. It failed in its aspirations. It failed to produce the leadership it needed. With the weakness of the electoral system, the voters opted for autocracy.

What is important for Americans to understand is that this is not an internal matter. Their opting for Donald Trump has impacted the world. We all have a stake in America’s choices.

And it has taken the subsequent two years for us to understand America’s dilemma. The deplorables are not the voters but the elected. Congress is in the hands of the Huns. And they have Mr. Trump to thank for their transcendence.

The key question though is how can Trump continue? Can the con-man continue to con the voters? Or has the sheen worn off his shining?

How far has Trump come? How long is the journey that lies ahead of him?

Trump has proved he is a bigot. Muslims beware. He has fought Obamacare and seems to be losing. He wanted to build a wall and has hardly drawn a line in the sand against the Mexicans. He says he wanted to Make America Great Again but first he must tear the country down. He offered tax cuts and is starting by giving cuts to the wealthy.

Trump said the Canadians were taking advantage of the North American trade agreement. His solution is to sign a separate deal with the Mexicans and then try to bully the Canadians to accept his terms. He is destroying relationships that have stood America well over time.

Donald Trump is a man conflicted. He reaches out to his claque for approval. His paranoia becomes a more dominant trait. He is so obviously fearful of the probe of his relations with Moscow. America’s foreign relations are in tatters.

The world has not seen the last nor has it seen the best of Donald Trump. God help us if we see the worst.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Obama’s Oratory Opens Opportunity.

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

That is how it is done! The former American president has finally directed his skilled oratory at that disgusting Donald Trump. Obama brought honour to the office of president now held by Trump. Somebody had to say it. Mr. Trump dishonours the office. Enough is enough.

But so what? What good does it do? The bigots in Trump’s claque of voters never liked Obama anyway. He was not even talking to them.

Trump tried to brush off what Obama said. There is nothing he can do to Barack Obama and nothing Obama can do about him—except tell it like it is.

Obama was talking to students at Illinois State University at Urbana-Champaign. He was also speaking to the wider audience of democrat voters across America. Somebody has to bring that disorganized rabble to their feet and to the polls in November. The prospect of a republican senate and house after November would lose America any credibility it has left. It could spell the bitter end of what is left of American democracy.

Maybe that is why Obama launched his campaign in Illinois—the Land of Lincoln. America can no longer afford to have less than a third of its potential voters make decisions for the country. He held back little in an erudite and scathing denunciation of the Trump presidency.

He sees the Trump situation as more of a symptom of the problem though than as a result. He delivered a scathing indictment of republican politics in Washington. He pointed out that republicans have been fanning the flames of resentment in America for many years. This is how the right wing redirects the anger that rightfully belongs to the very rich who control Washington to their own benefit.

What America needs now is for other opinion leaders across the U.S. to join in the chorus of condemnation. Even leaders of concerned neighbouring countries such as Canada and Mexico could express their concern for the directions American politics have been taking. For Donald Trump to lie constantly about the supposed benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement for others was hurting American efforts to expand trade and denying jobs to Americans. His wall of bigotry across the south has disgusted fair-minded people around the world.

Trump’s arguments about NAFTA are based on ignorance. Trade agreements can only work when they satisfy the mutual needs of the countries involved—not the foolish demands of a person who does not understand the objectives.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Keeping calm in chaos.

Monday, September 10th, 2018

Not being a big fan of Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland, I must admit that she is very good at handling the news media. Being a former journalist certainly helps. And you have to admit that she is under a great deal of pressure from the media to tell it like it is about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations.

For her not to admit that some of the chaos created by president Trump has to be impacting the negotiations is just not credible. It is like when you are in the eye of a hurricane, it might feel calm but you can see the surrounding mayhem of the storm.

Nor can Freeland and her team not feel the tensions of the people on the other side of the table. Their work is compromised daily by the irresponsible carrying-on of their commander-in-chief. Nobody is capable of negotiating in good faith in such an atmosphere.

In the same way, it is impossible for prime minister Trudeau’s team to give in on any of the key issues that Trump is demanding. Boiling it down to supply management of dairy products, fair dispute resolution and protection of Canadian culture makes resolution even harder as there is really nothing left with which to negotiate.

It is almost as though the U.S. negotiators are complicit with Freeland in the role of Ulysses’ wife, Penelope, unraveling her daily stint of weaving the shroud for Ulysses father. That is great but it makes us all wonder about the end game when the Canadians flip Trump the bird. (That is also known as the Canadian salute.)

It is hardly possible that they could be hoping it would cause the American president to have a stroke. That child-man has been practicing tantrums for 70 years and it is just a daily exercise for him. If anything would cause him a stroke, it would be finding out who on his staff wrote the recent anonymous opinion piece for the New York Times. America’s better media are bent on destroying Trump and lately have been showing some muscle.

But Freeland’s problems are in the here and now. She needs to understand that she might have to fall on her sword and take the blame if the entire negotiation fails. It is what the good soldier does.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Poker playing politicos.

Monday, September 3rd, 2018

It has been a while since playing poker at the local casino. The people who work the tables as a team, at that place, play a rough game. I stick to blackjack and craps at the casino and play poker monthly with a group of friends who have played together for years. The more interesting games when I was younger were the late-night games with politicos at party conferences.

This comes up because someone asked me the other day if I would want to play poker with Donald Trump. Expletive deleted, I said ‘No.’ The simple reason was that I would have no reason to not expect him to cheat. This is a man whose entire business career was a constantly cascading house of cards.

With Mr. Trump, you can always tell when he is lying. He opens his mouth. That is something of a cliché but he exemplifies the branding.

The same person then asked me if I would like to play poker with Justin Trudeau. I thought about that. I finally said ‘yes’ because I would certainly like to add some of the Trudeau wealth to my bank account.

But I would feel guilty. The Canadian prime minister is an easy read. I have been fascinated watching that man turn his public persona on and off. And as that gal from Timmins sings, “That don’t impress me much.”

And it makes Trudeau a ‘patsy’ for Trump. The American is holding up our prime minister to ridicule. He is holding Canada in contempt. He needs to be told in no uncertain terms to ‘Get stuffed.’

That is not a diplomatic term but its use would do him a favour. He has no understanding of diplomatic. “Get stuffed,” the jerk is likely to understand.

To be honest, we would be doing the dummy a favour. As the best friends America has ever had, Canada has the right to use plain American English. We have no need to pussy-foot with Trump. Why would you ever want to?

This game of his with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a deep insult to Canada and, win or lose, Canadians are not going to be forgiving. If Trudeau caves in on even one of Trump’s stupid demands, Trudeau will be out on his ass in next year’s elections.

Canada could be facing a few tough years without NAFTA, but in the long run, we might be better off without it. And no tin-pot dictator is going to hold our country up for ransom.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Trudeau trusting Trump?

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

Is that nice of Mr. Trump or is it not? He has given Canada this week to cave in to his absurd demands on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The U.S. president has proved to Trudeau on many occasions now that he is a liar, a braggard, a boor and a bad neighbour. His negotiators just finished putting the screws to the Mexicans, offering them a bilateral deal without Canada in the mix.

And now he is allowing Canada to come to the table. “Do it this week, if you do not mind.” Do it for the convenience of the Americans—after all, they are including Canada as an afterthought.

All Trudeau and his half-pint foreign minister have to agree to is giving up something on dairy supply management, agreeing to a sunset clause and letting the Americans weaken the dispute settlement clause. “And when you agree to those, we have another half dozen clauses you can cave in on.”

Mind you the reason the Americans have such a glut of milk to sell is that government subsidies account for more than half of their dairy farmers’ incomes. If the Americans would consider their own supply management of dairy products, their government could save as much as $20 billion per year.

The proposed sunset clause is also something of a red herring as any trade agreement is subject to partial or full review at any time. A sunset clause is always a worry for business. It threatens their long-term planning. They do not like uncertainty.

And, if anything, Mr. trump has proved that a dispute resolution clause in the agreement is essential. What if every occupant of the U.S. White House unilaterally imposed tariffs on America’s trading partners at a whim?

Despite Mr. Trump not being very respectful of laws, customs, decency and ethics, America is a country of law. It is a country with ambitions for world leadership. It is a country yearning for democracy.

They will need to admit that Mr. Trump’s current tenancy in the White House is an aberration and they should try not to let it happen again. Mr. Trump might seem to be having a fine time as Commander in Chief but he should remember that his occupancy is only a rental. He should try to leave things in decent shape for the next incumbent.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

John McCain: Honesty, Honour, Humour.

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

Senator John McCain of Arizona was old school. He was Republican by tradition. He was a gentleman. He was a warrior, from a family of warriors. He was a politician who believed in serving the people first. He brought decency to government. He wanted no truck with that asshole Donald Trump in the White House.

John McCain will always be known as the politician who saved Obamacare. He is no devotee of the plan. He did it because it was needed. He did it because he could. It was the honest thing to do.

As a warrior, he brought honour to his country. When the Viet Cong offered him amnesty as an injured prisoner of war, he refused release without his fellow prisoners joining him.

He was a politician. He served in the House of Representatives. He was a pillar of integrity in the Senate. John McCain was nominated by Republicans to be President. He ran against Barak Obama and ran an honourable and respectful campaign.

It could only have been his sense of humour that enabled him to accept Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate.

It was because of his sense of decency that he requested that Mr. Trump not attend his funeral.

John McCain was an American hero.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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