Archive for the ‘American Politics’ Category

Trump’s Presidential Pique.

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

It is not amusing. How long does the world have to put up with the childish back-and-forth of President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Neither of these men is competent enough to be allowed to play with firecrackers let alone weapons of mass destruction. It could be frightening many people around the world.

Thankfully, Congress is not about to let Donald Trump declare war on a postage stamp country tucked into the armpit of China’s Manchuria. The last time, the Americans sent General Douglas MacArthur there to straighten out the mess. Ultimately it brought the Chinese into the fighting. It created a worse standoff than before.

And why would the Americans be so foolish as to listen to the rantings of Kim Jong Un? Anywhere else in the world that nutcase would be certified, neutered and tucked away where he could do no harm. In North Korea, the generals who really run the country use him as a harmless puppet. Only nobody has explained that to Donald Trump.

This is not to suggest that the Americans should not take a few precautions. They have to be wary of high flying gifts from across the Pacific. They had best have some capability in place to shoot those things down if needed.

But once their defenses are in place, Donald Trump needs to shut up. He has been playing right into the hands of those North Koreans and used by the South Koreans. Neither country is worth the attention and aid they get.

And Mr. Trump hardly needs to give himself an ulcer playing into the Kim Jong Un playbook. It really is unseemly for a large and powerful country to play to the North Korean’s very silly game.

And, most pathetic, here is the omnipotent United States of America running to the United Nations Security Council about the big bad North Koreans playing (maybe) with nukes—and with ICBMs that could (potentially) reach North America. Here you have the Peoples Republic of China and Russia, who know a thing or two about skating around sanctions, agreeing to a U.N. resolution imposing about a billion dollars in sanctions against the North Koreans—that they might or might not honour.


Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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Mike Pence demurs.

Friday, August 11th, 2017

There is nothing a politician loves more than a boost from the media—especially a newspaper that normally disses him. Vice President Mike Spence considers it a win if the New York Times just mentions his name. For the newspaper to suggest that he might be a Republican candidate for the presidency in three years is more than he could hope for.

While deeply flattered and pleased at the mention, Pence is required to blush and say: “I am loyal to my President.” That goes with his job. Even though President Trump is unaware of the protocol of the position, Pence knows that Trump would cut him off at the knees if he ever looked like he was campaigning to replace the erratic and unappreciative Trump.

It is only when you try to imagine Trump running for re-election in 2020, that you understand the humour of the situation. With the approval to-day of less than a third of U.S. voters, Mr. Trump would have to do something very dramatic in the next couple years to bring himself into contention. And, hopefully, nuking North Korea is not what he will try.

The interesting situation here is that the real beneficiaries of this are New York’s Koch brothers. These are the major financiers of the Republican Party in the United States and Mike Pence, when Governor of Indiana, was bought and paid for by the Koch brothers. They are also major supporters of Donald Trump. They have the situation in hand whichever way it falls.

Obviously, the Koch brothers have very little confidence in Donald Trump. While he is furthering their program of killing Obamacare and tax cuts for the very rich, he considers himself their equal. He hardly follows their direction as faithfully as his Vice President.

But they have Pence for back-up. They have already launched a PAC to fund his back-door campaign for the presidency and they are setting him up to speak to their various front organizations within the Republican Party. This includes both gubernatorial and Tea-Party gatherings to ensure a broad base for him in the 2020 race.

And if Mr. Trump does not stay President for his full term, they have Pence ready to carry the ball. For Trump to try to stay in for a second term could spoil the Koch brothers and Mike Pence’s hopes.


Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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The Trump Technique.

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

The media were all atwitter the other day when they got some leaked transcripts from the White House of conversations President Trump had with other countries’ leaders. They got them and did not understand them. They did not seem to understand the technical term for the technique he was using; it is called B.B.S. (Better B.S.)

The American news media have never had to deal with anyone such as Trump in the White House. They do not understand a street fighter at his level of operations. He is a con man who has made a few billion. (Which means he knows his way with B.B.S.)

To accomplish what he has over his 70 years, you have to start by admitting that Mr. Trump is pretty damn good at this B.B.S. business. Does it really matter that he is vain, vulgar, erratic and has the attention span of a gerbil? He is using B.B.S. on the media, on his followers, on Twitter and now with people such as the President of Mexico.

What Mr. Trump does not want is his followers to know is that there is no way, short of war, he can get Mexico to pay for his stupid wall. The first thing he wants President. Peña Nieto to do is to shut up about who is paying for the damn wall. The second thing he wants is for Mexico and the U.S.A. to ally themselves against those jerks up in Canada. It is the old divide and conquer technique. As a developer, Mr. Trump has been using it for years.

So, he tells the Mexican that the Canadian Prime Minister is a nobody, a wus and not important. He implies that the Americans and the Mexicans can make short work of the Canadians and then solve all the problems with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between them.

Can you not just see the President of Mexico sitting in his office in Mexico City and listening to this developer’s B.B.S. He probably put in a call right after to Ottawa and said “Justin, you’re not going to believe the horse shit I just heard from that old fart in Washington.”

There is no question that President Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Trudeau are going to take that silly old fart to the cleaners!


Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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The Cabal.

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Writers search every day for the right words to describe the calamity in the American White House. You can hardly call it an administration. Though there is a school of thought that it might be referred to as a maladministration. It struck me that Mr. Trump might be attempting a hunta but for that, he needs more than one general. Since he does tend to bring in temporary help from the business community, I think we have to use the word cabal.

That might work. A cabal is supposed to be a secret group of advisors who serve at the pleasure of the potentate—and Mr. Trump certainly thinks of himself as a potentate. And Mr. Trump’s pleasure seems to be very brief, so they might as well be secret. They can be here today and gone tomorrow.

They come and go so fast that I did not even find time to scold that guy called ‘Mooch’ who used unprintable language in a magazine interview. Not even Hugh Hefner would let language like that go uncensored in his Playboy Magazine. Using vulgar language is Mooch’s way of trying to be pals with the reporter. It is considered an ingratiating technique by the ignorant.

The trained and experienced interviewee can visualize the story line as he or she talks to the reporter. Yes, you usually should appear relaxed but the questions are a clear indication of the possible bias the reporter brings to the story. You have to be wary without indicating it to the reporter. It also helps if there is a trained communicator listening who can step in later, if needed, and spin the story line a little differently than the path the reporter is taking.

But speaking of Mr. Trump’s cabal, I must admit that I have never heard of a cabal that all reported through a general—especially a U.S. Marine. I really wonder what the general is going to say the first time he sees Mr. Trump’s son-in-law just walk directly into the Oval Office. This lack of discipline has been one of things seriously wrong in Trumpland but how the general will handle it is the question. I would suggest the kid be sent to the Marine training base at Quantico for a month or so of toughening on the live-fire obstacle course, before the general gives him a dressing down.


Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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Our poster-boy PM is the answer?

Monday, July 31st, 2017

Despite the wild ravings of Rolling Stone Magazine, our Prime Minister has to whip Canada into shape before taking on the added burden of the American presidency. Donald Trump’s job is safe, for now.

In corporate terms, Justin Trudeau might be able to pull off a reverse takeover, (That is where the smaller business buys the larger company because of better tax advantages.) It would also get around the problem of Justin not being born in the United States. If it all became part of Canada, who would care?

And by combining the best parts of being the American President and the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin could issue an edict making himself Chief High Potentate of North America for life. Before anyone jumps on a horse and runs around the combined countries shouting about “one by land, two by sea,” both countries can finally end the rampant corporatism that is destroying their democracies anyway.

After a couple years of confusion with President Trump, Americans will be even more willing to welcome Justin as their saviour. All we have to do is spread the word among America’s born-again that Justin was born on Christmas Day for a reason.

And if the South does not rise to the occasion with hearty huzzahs, we can threaten that we will also welcome the Mexicans into the One Big North America. We could make Spanish the lingua franca south of the Mason-Dixon line, English north from there to the former Canadian border and then French across the North.

The problem of where the new nation’s capital will be can be quickly solved by building a new one in Nevada. Government is nothing but a gamble anyway. Potomac Mosquitoes cannot survive there and if you have ever been in Ottawa in January, you would wonder why nobody thought to do this a long time ago.

Another piece of good news for the Americans; Trudeau is used to appointing Senators—that will break the deadlock there!

But full disclosure forces me to admit that Justin is not perfect. The guy tends to shoot from the lip. He is not great in keeping promises. He loves travelling around the world being lionized like a pop star.

P.S. They call this part of the summer the silly season. I wonder why?


Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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Missing Sean Spicer.

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

President Donald Trump has no sense of balance. He also has very little sense of humour. We counted on his press secretary to give us that bit of fun that made the White House scene safe for family entertainment.

But Sean Spicer is gone. He has been replaced. It takes two to replace him. We are getting a blousy Monica Lewinsky look-alike to cover the media room platform and a wise-ass New Yorker to run the fake news show.

And it is all show business as usual. Any connection between the American president and what the news media are being told is probably co-incidental. It just surprises us that it takes two people to replace old Sean.

Whether Sarah Huckabee Sanders will last on the White House stage as much as six months as did Sean is anybody’s guess. She did a workmanlike job as Sean’s assistant briefer recently. We are just waiting for the time when she runs out of patience with the denizens of the White House news media.

Her boss, the new communications director for the White House, has much greater challenges. He is a glib character whose main experience seems to be as a hedge-fund manager. So far, the only people he seems to have conned are his company’s customers and Mr. Trump. Now his challenge is the United States and the rest of the world’s media. In a single appearance before the media, we got the impression that his strategy is to talk fast and smile a lot. (Which is what hedge fund managers do—don’t they?)

But can we ever again see a press chief playing peek-a-boo in the dark of the White House Rose Garden? Will there continue to be briefings that say one thing and presidential tweets that say something completely different?

But there could be one serious request of this new communications guy that would go a long way to correcting the impression that the White House is in the hands of a legion of incompetents. Please, please sir: add an editor to your staff. Somebody who knows the English language is desperately needed in that zoo. We are not talking here about the occasional typo. Nor do we care that Mr. Trump missed all his spelling classes during his obviously limited schooling. We are concerned about official documents and media material. Proper spelling would go a long way in raising respect and understanding.


Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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Who’s congratulating Trudeau?

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

Stephen Harper’s PMO had a revolving door for communications people, so it is not too surprising if we do not remember one of them. This is in reference to an op-ed in the Toronto Star last week by someone named ‘MacDougall.’ What was noticeable about the article was that he claims to be a Tory and was congratulating the Liberal prime minister. How rare is that?

This Conservative communications expert was congratulating Justin Trudeau for the smart way he is handling Donald Trump. What else can our prime minister do? Donald Trump is a 70-year old dirty old man who has landed in the White House. He acts like an uncontrollable 12-year old. And since he is president, you are not allowed to spank him.

Of course, Trudeau is trying to do a work-around. He had appointed David MacNaughton as ambassador to Washington before Trump rose to a level of concern on the horizon. The job was MacNaughton’s pay-off for the slip-shod effort he did in running Ontario for the Liberals in the last election. Trudeau might still have to replace him with someone with more diplomatic skills and knowledge of American politics and politicians.

Canadian diplomacy has come a long way since the quintessential diplomat Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson was dressed down by President Lyndon Johnson for “pissing on his rug.”

And only a conservative would think it was a win for Trump to approve the Keystone XL pipeline for Justin Trudeau. Pipelines for bitumen are the noose that will eventually hang our ’ecology-minded’ Trudeau.

And the writer might have thought we handled the milk production charges with derision but anyone knowledgeable knew that the NAFTA milk concerns sit entirely on the U.S. side of the border. Overproduction is a U.S. problem when you consider that Wisconsin has more dairy cows than all of Canada.

Usually in politics when someone pats you on the back as effusively as Mr. MacDougall, you expect he is checking for the best place to thrust the (rhetorical) knife. We better keep an eye on him.


Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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The history of image politics.

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

It must be your age that determines when history began. Reading an op-ed in the paper last week, there was a public relations guy who thought that image politics only went back to the time of American President Ronald Regan. He must have missed the lecture on the image of President Theodore Roosevelt.

Teddy, as he was known, was a hero of the Spanish-American War. He was the first ‘progressive’ to ever achieve the presidency of the United States. His ‘Bull Moose’ Party almost established third-party politics in America. He was the first president to stand up to big business. And where did you think his distant cousin Franklin Roosevelt got the idea for the ‘New Deal.’

And speaking of FDR, his use of the medium radio for his regular fireside chats created a lasting image of a caring and concerned national leader. It was a surprisingly few American voters who knew he was mostly confined to a wheelchair while serving them in the White House.

The image of John F. Kennedy through the medium of television was all it took to beat a stiff-necked Richard Nixon as early as 1960.

And what was the 1968 election federal election in Canada with its Trudeaumania? Pierre Trudeau was elected for his image, not for what he was saying. He almost lost the subsequent election in 1972 because he believed his own image.

Image control is a tightly woven tapestry with which people can be shielded from the confusion caused by exposure. Designing an image is as simple as drawing a line down the middle of a blank page. On one side, you headline ‘Do’s and on the other side, you headline ‘Don’ts.’ We will bet that public relation’s pioneer Ivy Lee drew up something like that for John D. Rockefeller in the early 1900s.

If any of his communications people had tried that with Pierre Trudeau, he would have perversely tried all the ‘Don’ts.’

We also had Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media available to us at that time and we have mistrusted the media ever since.

And what the late Professor McLuhan would make of the Internet-based social media of today would just be conjecture.


Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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A purchased presidency.

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

Is it possible to place a price on the American presidency? Can its worth even be determined? Whatever the price might be, it probably is nowhere near the damages being done to America’s honour and reputation by Donald Trump. And why nobody has thought to sue him remains a mystery. Does the American president have some form of immunity for stupidity?

Do we have to wait until Trump tires of the game? Do we have to wait until he retires permanently to his golf resort in Florida? Maybe then we can stop paying any attention to his ignorant tweets.

Admittedly, all our experience in politics told us that Trump would lose the election. We honestly never expected that there could be that many Americans who would not see him for what he was. (Or would see him for what he was and still vote for him.) Our assumption was that his supporters would not be motivated enough to vote. Nor did we think Trump would have much of a ground game to get his vote out.

Mind you, we have never dealt with election tactics so brutal and so corrupt. In the Land of the Free, buying an election is not a cheap process. Between super PACs and the ongoing struggle between the two dominant political parties, there seems to be little hope for meaningful reform.

Despite the lesson, Americans are now learning at the feet of school master Trump, what platform is there to launch much-needed change?

Can there even be an election law that says people have to tell the truth? Are all politicians liars? And, as a voter, can you tell when someone is lying?

Many Trump voters across the states were misled by the idea that once elected, he would have good advisors to whom he would listen and follow their advice. Those poor people could be somewhat disillusioned by now.

And who do you trust for truth? You know that Mr. Trump is a congenital liar. Hell, he lies to himself. He is a narcissist—which means he loves himself. He only loves his family because they are part of him.

Mr. Trump is also a misogynist—which means he dislikes women. He considers women to only be useful as mistresses and mothers.

All in all, you would not want your son or daughter to grow up to be president if they used Mr. Trump as a role model.


Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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The NRA’s ‘Call to Arms.’

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Anywhere but America, this would be considered an act of treason. Why anyone involved in directing the National Rifle Association of America is not locked away at this time is the question? Instead the argument rages as to the truth of a recent advertisement created to support the NRA. To understand the argument, you need to analyse the advertisement word for word. The pictures used were only designed to inflame.

The opening words are: They use their media to assassinate real news. You are supposed to know who “they” are? It seems strange the NRA cannot use a less volatile word than “assassinate”?

It continues: They use their schools to teach children that their president is another Hitler. This is where the hyperbole becomes straight lies.

And then: They use their movie stars and singers and comedy shows and award shows to repeat their narrative over and over again. Frankly, the tweets from the White House create the only narrative, until now, that is amazing people.

The next sentence is a puzzler: And then they use their ex-president to endorse “the resistance.”  It makes you want to find out where to sign up.

The following part needs no comment. It is just too off the wall: All to make them march. Make them protest. Make them scream racism and sexism and xenophobia and homophobia. To smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports, bully and terrorize the law-abiding–until the only option left is for the police to do their jobs and stop the madness.

The next part is chilling: And when that happens, they’ll use it as an excuse for their outrage. The only way we stop this, the only way we save our country and our freedom, is to fight this violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth. This is the incitement to riot. The only problem is, if they bring their guns, it is insurrection.

The ad concludes with the signature line: I’m the National Rifle Association of America. And I’m freedom’s safest place. Thanks for the advice but I think I will feel safer in Canada.


Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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