Archive for the ‘American Politics’ Category

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

Exploring electoral ennui in America.

Saturday, August 25th, 2018

The one overriding perception of the 2016 American presidential election was that people were angry. Their disgust with Democrat and Republican party politics was visceral. A wise host and hostess tried to avoid discussions of politics among their guests. There was the common feeling that politics in America was not working. Washington was a quagmire. Politicians were failing to represent the people and there were many answers to the “Why?”

But what was at the root? Your senator or representative, Democrat or Republican, could always point at the other guy. There was no easy answer.

Take a look back at the campaign of Donald Trump. He broke all the rules. He hardly cared. The more the man proved himself shallow and unqualified for the presidency, the larger his claque grew. They supported him despite his limitations. They dug in their heels. They would shout down common sense.

And with the election of Donald Trump as president, the barbarian had breached the gate. As the incumbent, he was able to command centre stage as the court jester. What are you supposed to think?

Donald Trump has given succor to every tin pot dictator and aspiring tyrant in every country around the world. Let a mantra of lies carry you to your destiny, he tells them.

And yet this is a man who is becoming increasingly paranoid as he also realizes that the job of president is far beyond his capabilities. He is becoming the buffoon who entertains the troops. His rambling screeds at his ego-boosting rallies are becoming more and more incoherent.

Mr. Trump is not making America great again but destroying friendships with America. Under Trump, America stands alone, a pariah among nations.

But it is the lessons others are learning from the Trump experience that cause concern. Where can politics be headed when these egotistical supermen (and some ladies) decide they alone represent ‘Truth, Justice and their country’s Way’ in your local elections?

All the candidate needs to do is: Build on bitterness—conquer civility—defy definition—encourage evil—foment feuds—galvanize the gullible—hasten hostility—inculcate ignorance and the list goes on.

And candidates always have to remember that the news media are your enemy. Keep them guessing. You only have to pander to the needy. Promise them anything for their vote. Deliver at your whim.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Is Trump really the king of Twits?

Friday, August 24th, 2018

No, we do not shun social media. I have tried a few of them and I simply find them wanting. It came as a surprise that when I decided they were a terrible waste of time, I could not get rid of them. It is insidious but I guess it substantiates some of the outrageous membership figures they tell us about. It would be like the New York Times keeping the names of deceased subscribers on their daily circulation figures forever.

I am pleased to say that I am not included in the numbers who follow the real president Trump on Twitter. The last figure I looked at was over 50 million. It does seem odd that the news media have to subscribe to Twitter to be able to tell us what is going on with the American administration. It is also odd but it is more shocking that the president of the most powerful nation on earth uses such poor language skills.

When Twitter was first presented to the public, I thought it was an interesting challenge to people to communicate in just 140 characters. What it is really achieving is the destruction of English as well as many other languages. It has been embarrassing for me that I have never figured out what many short forms for words such as ‘LOL’ really mean. And those emoticons are a poor substitute for words at any time.

Luckily most politicians who use Twitter to communicate with voters have professionals who do the final writing and placement. What foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland placed in Twitter recently about human rights in Saudi Arabia was unfortunate. There was nothing new about what she tweeted. What she did was gravely insult the Saudis by using Twitter in English to reach her voters in Toronto. It’s a World Wide Web, lady!

Of course, Trump is no diplomat. When he insults some foreign leader from Trudeau in Canada to Erdogan in Turkey, they do not recall their ambassadors. They probably have multiple meetings with high-priced staff and consultants and nothing happens. It is just the news media that goes crazy. And Trump gets off again—because he can.

What the world needs to do (and to think I used to charge huge fees for advice like this) is to stop allowing it to go unpunished. Just insult the bastard right back. Do it intelligently. Do it with humour. If you can get the Americans laughing at him, you win. What the hell have you got to lose?

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

 

The troubled trials of Trudeau and Trump.

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018

It’s embarrassing. Our prime minister cannot handle Donald Trump. We might as well admit it. It is doing less and less good to keep hoping Justin Trudeau will grow into the job. He does not have the gonads of his father. He lacks the wit and gumption to put the American president in his place.

And he is hardly solving the problem with our half-pint foreign affairs minister. Her problems with the Saudis are a perfect example of our failed foreign affairs situation. If Trudeau had the American president under control, do you think the Saudis would have the nerve to complain about her?

If Trudeau could manage Trump do you think we would be undergoing all this crap about the North American Free Trade Agreement? Do you think Mexico would dare negotiate separately—not having Canada at the table—if Trudeau was managing the file properly? Donald Trump is going around saying Canada has some unfair advantage. That is nothing but horse manure and we are letting him get away with it.

Canada has all its foreign affairs resources going around telling American underlings that President Trump might be incorrect. What needs to happen is that some one has to take Donald Trump to the woodshed. It is like the way President Johnson addressed Prime Minister Pearson about his speech at Temple University in 1965. Better that a friend shouts at you, instead of someone who really dislikes you.

The problem is that Canada’s relations with the United States of America are at their lowest point in over 150 years. And this is not what the saner members of either congregation want. And president Trump has been the cause. He has to clean up his act.

And what is really annoying about this situation is that the Conservatives and the NDP are all encouraging the PM to be a wus! Why? Do they also lack the intestinal fortitude?

What nobody seems to understand north of the U.S. border is that Trump is laughing at us. This guy negotiates by telling lies. He bluffs his way through life. If nobody calls his bluffs, he wins.

Some people think Trump is a bully. That is true.

But inside every bully is a coward. Donald Trump is a coward. He needs to be treated accordingly. And Trudeau better get off the dime or we will get somebody else to do it.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Trump trumpets truth?

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Every time you see president Trump at one of his campaign rallies, the people around him are all too busy with their cell phones to pay any attention to him. It makes you wonder what the point is of these rallies. Oh sure, it feeds his ego and serves to reinforce the image of his support. It is also an opportunity for him to harangue the news media.

And the media do not dare not go. They are penned in as prisoners—for protection, we guess. Trump points at them as a prosecutor making his case. The audience roars its approval. There is no judge to call for quiet.

But is there not a small bit of unctuous truth to what Trump says? Every media outlet that accepts paid advertising is guilty of hypocrisy at some level. It has to, to survive. And surprise, surprise, reporters, rewrites, editors and publishers have their own view of the truth. Truth is not an absolute. You have supreme court judges for that!

But this does not give Donald Trump carte blanche to call the media ‘disgusting.’ It makes him the fool and his claque with him.

But Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Donald Trump’s hillbilly press secretary appears proud that she needs Secret Service protection for standing up for Mr. Trump’s (and her) version of the truth.

And is Donald Trump not entitled to a little annoyance with the news media when they question the value of his meetings with Kim Jong Un of North Korea? Frankly, this observer thinks Kim Jong Un did a better job of representing his military handlers than Donald Trump did in representing the American people. Of course, that is opinion—and is not presented as fact.

But how in hell can Trump say one thing for the cameras in Helsinki at his meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia and then two days later tell us he misspoke? The man said what he said. He denied the information given to him by the American security agencies and alibied the Russian president who poisons and imprisons his opposition. So where does the truth begin?

Somebody paid for that ridiculous rally for Trump in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania last week. It was all in aid of the embarrassing republican candidate for senate in Pennsylvania this November’s mid-term election. Maybe Donald Trump should let nature take its course and let the voters decide. They could hardly all be as ignorant as those people with their cell phones at this recent Trump rally.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Trump rides the Tiger.

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

When you choose to ride the tiger, there is no option but to stay aboard. This situation with Donald Trump is increasingly serious. It was emphasized and underlined the other day when the publisher of the New York Times warned the American president that he was endangering lives with his inflammatory rhetoric. While the publisher was obviously more concerned about the safety of members of the news media, the problem can have an equal and opposite impact on the safety of the president.

When the president of the United States so blatantly chooses to lie with the cretins of the National Rifle Association (NRA) can he be safe from the crazies within the organization? We would hardly expect that anybody has to send a note from their analyst along with their membership dues.

And the American Secret Service can hardly be expected to admonish the person they are supposed to protect. Could they catch him sending twits in the middle of the night and take his iPhone away from him? Maybe they could just turn off the White House Wi-fi at night and let everyone get a decent night’s sleep?

Trump seems terrified of letting the news media do their job. If the information is about his administration, it is obviously ‘fake news’ to the president. The New York Times publisher was also very concerned that the president’s claims about the negative coverage are endangering journalists. The publisher does not want his employees shot just for doing their job.

But is the situation worse than that? Is America heading towards another civil war? If California and New York cannot be divided into six states, will federal elections in America continue to be dominated by the red states?

Or will the blue states rise again?

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Trump’s Divide and Conquest.

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

It has been worrisome lately that Justin Trudeau was heading off on a track that would take him too far from the liberalism we shared with his father. It is therefore important to note that he has done something with which a liberal can easily concur.

The younger Trudeau has made it clear to all that he stands for a three-country North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Both Trump and his agriculture secretary have stated that they would prefer to close a deal with Mexico before trying to resolve the remaining problems they say they have with Canada.

It would seem that the Americans are seeing Mexico as more desperate to maintain any level of trade agreement and Canada as the problem. They think they can bully the Mexicans to bring them on side and then, with Mexico locked in, they can strong-arm Canada to roll back some of the terms of the initial auto-pact that predated the Canada-U.S. NAFTA.

But when Donald Trump admits that he dreamed up the supposed deficits in trade with his country’s North American neighbours, he is not helping make his case for changes. His demand for a sunset clause coming every five years in the agreement would cause permanent instability. Companies dealing in major trade deals need to make long-term commitments to trading partners.

As things stand at this time, Mexico has a regime change in process that will take until December 1 to be completed. The incoming president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has already said that he stands with Canada on it being a three-country agreement. What the Trump negotiators are going to offer to change his mind, we will likely learn the seriousness of his commitment on that this coming week.

The strategy was obvious when the Mexican negotiators were invited to Washington this week and Canada’s lead negotiator foreign minister Chrystia Freeland is staying in Ottawa.

It was originally the intent to put NAFTA on the back burner for the three countries during the period of the Mexican presidential election that took place July 1, and then through the American mid-term elections in November. Should the American House of Representatives and the Senate come under the control of the Democratic Party at that time there could be a concerted effort to take control of trade away from President Trump.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Division in the Land of Lincoln.

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves:

Donald Trump freed the truth.

America is a nation divided as never before. It is increasingly vulnerable to its enemies. It has heaped scorn on its friends. Its inner anger is spilling over its borders to the north and south.

Those betrayed are its own people. They have been used. They been told egregious lies. They have brought a spoiled man-child into the White House and he has betrayed all of what America once stood for.

Donald Trump has turned the welcome of Miss Liberty in New York Harbor into hatred. He authorizes the destruction of the mountains of Appalachia for the coal to choke an uncaring nation. He builds walls that discriminate. He cheats the disadvantaged of health care. He robs the poor to please the rich.

He is a willing tool of the wealthy, a foil of America’s enemies, golfs while the gullible go to Mass, postures and preens for his followers and twits confusion.

In a time of #MeToo, he grabs women by their privates and displays his trophy wife and in vanity uses his progeny.

Trump’s triumph is power. Would that he knew how to use it.

Trump trails trouble wherever he goes. He confounds other world leaders with his combination of confusion and lack of concern or knowledge. He says one thing and tweets another. He is busy destroying the Internet tools that could have meant much to the world and to understanding.

Donald Trump fails the great leaders of America who came before. He is without the intellect of a Coolidge or the energy of a Teddy Roosevelt, he besmirches the honours earned by an FDR, JFK or LBJ. He stands so insignificant in comparison to a giant of an advocate such as Abraham Lincoln or a statesman such as James Monroe.

And an economist, he is not. His arguments on trade are based on lies and false premises. He hurts America more each day he remains at the helm of state. He continues to tear down the belief in America that others before him gave their all to build.

We know that Mr. Trump can never make America great again. While posing as a builder, we find he is a destroyer.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Trump versus Trump-Lite.

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

It seems that we have spent enough time by now to have taken off our sackcloth over Doug Ford and the conservatives winning the Ontario election in June. Yes, I pooh-poohed the outrageous idea that Doug Ford could lead anybody anywhere. And we have certainly had enough recriminations about Kathleen Wynne handing the conservatives the election on a platter.

But the hardest part of this has been the realization that we had learned so little from the Trump fiasco in the United States. We were still in denial when Doug Ford won the Surprise Follies—otherwise known as the unexpected Ontario conservative leadership race of 2018. In denying Ford his due as Trump-Lite, we were whistling past the graveyard.

I admit that we were terrified that Doug Ford was likely to win. And he really is Trump-Lite, despite our earlier denials.

There is no longer any reason to deny it: Canadian voters can be just as stupid as American voters. The same frustrations and anger that fueled the Trump win in the United States were present in Ontario.

Our boy Ford might not be as rich as Trump but you do not buy Canadian elections the same way you buy elections in America. And you can be sure that there was no way that Trump intended to spend much of his own money. People who manage to accumulate a lot of money are usually very reluctant to part with any of it. It is after they die that the money starts to flow back into the economy.

Donald Trump’s real skill is in typing with his little thumbs. He is best when twitting. This all started by dumbing down what you want to say to less than 140 characters and then convincing people to read what you said. The most effective way to do this is to say more outrageous things about people than the next guy. Donald Trump is the winner. Trump-Lite still has to learn how to do that.

But other than that, our pony in Ontario is just as incompetent as the horse in the White House. Both are busy tearing down the accomplishments of their predecessors. Both are embarrassing us over their ignorance about global warming. Both recharge themselves with the adoration of their acolytes. Both tell us outrageous lies. Both are accumulating anger against them.

Damn, we really do live in interesting times.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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