Archive for the ‘American Politics’ Category

The Trials of Trump’s Trekkees.

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

We knew that U.S. President Donald Trump would be a continuing problem as long as his followers remained loyal. They certainly kept mute as mounting evidence of his narcissistic personality complex became irrefutable. (Maybe they were unaware that it meant he only loved himself.) They appear to think he is still true to them. They cheered when he supported coal. They applauded when he told companies to keep the jobs stateside. They whistled when he insulted Canada and Mexico. And we have been looking for their wedge issue.

We might just have found it. Trump just rained on his own parade. He did the one thing that could ultimately disillusion his devoted followers. He convinced the entire world that the United States of America does not keep its word. And that is not easy.

Trump has not made America great again: he has made it look mean and money grubbing again. He showed us that nobody can trust America under Trump. The bloated capitalist image of America has become Trump. Trump has become a parody of himself.

The world used to be jealous of America’s wealth and power. Now the world has a focus for hate.

The America we loved showed leadership and goodwill in signing the Paris agreement on combatting climate change. Trump has thoroughly trashed his country’s honour, its trust and its leadership in world affairs.

Not that his followers would notice. You can sit these people down and you will find that they are very complex people. It is the fact that they cannot see beyond their own small world that is worrisome.

But when Trump’s promises disappear in the coal dust. When his pledge of jobs is found to be fiction. When your small patch of land is flooded. When your trailer sails off down Tornado alley. When your medical insurance is no longer in force, you will wish you never heard of that son of a bitch: Donald Trump.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Trump’s travels as ‘The Ugly American.’

Saturday, May 27th, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump has been out of the country this week. Life in Washington has been more peaceful. While Congress is despairing, trying to make sense of his budget, they have sent Trump to the Middle East and Europe on a pilgrimage to find his true religion and meaning.

What Trump is really doing is a reprise of Eugene Burdick and William Lederer’s 1958 novel The Ugly American. His first visit to the House of Saud was the classic example of the American tourist; flattered to be fed American foods, spoken to in American English and sleeping on an American style bed.

Trump was either unwilling to understand or unaware of the Saudi’s duplicity in funding Islamic extremists and where those American arms are ending up in Mid-East wars. Like Trump, the Saud family have too much money for anyone’s good.

Having learned nothing of the religion of the Prophet Muhammad, he was off to Jerusalem. Here at least, he was taken to the ancient Western Wall of the Second Temple. He appeared to have no prayer to leave in the wall.

Air Force One barely had time for an oil change before heading on to its next stop in Rome for the President to visit Pope Francis. It would have been interesting to know what the President and his wife were having a difference about. When leaving their multi-million dollar plane on the tarmac in Rome you saw Trump reaching to hold her hand and she batted it away. Being Catholic, maybe she wanted to appear more virginal for the audience with His Holiness.

The First Lady and her (Jewish) step-daughter Ivanka wore mantillas as head coverings out of respect for the Pope. As in Trump’s visits with the two other hosts, there was no insight into what was said during their meetings.

It was a pushy Trump who headed on to Brussels to meet with his peers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He lectured them instead of listening. He complained they were reluctant to pay their way. Is this the organization that told its members to keep their remarks of Twitter size? They seem aware that Trump has the attention span of a nine-year old.

But it was in a palatial Sicilian hotel overlooking the Mediterranean, that Trump really left the largest pile. As just one of the four new leaders of the G-7, Trump was the untrained elephant in the room. He criticized the Germans, reiterated his denial of climate change, insulted his hosts and probably told a horrified chef to burn his steak.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

When the Pope meets the Antichrist.

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

The arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump in Rome needs a Cecil B. DeMille style Hollywood epic production. It would have trumpets and bass drums, rolling black clouds in the sky, flashes of lightening. We would see a Donald Trump dressed in black, towering over the gargoyles of Hell in his retinue. He would be met by a cowering claque of priests led by their Pope holding tightly to his cross.

That would be a bit melodramatic but Trump would like the showmanship involved. He certainly has no idea of how to act with a pope. There would be a considerable hypocrisy to him referring to the pope as “Your Holiness.”

There will be no epiphany. Trump would no more think that he is representing his country’s Catholics to the Vatican as he would be representing America’s Jews in Jerusalem. The Saudi’s had no thought of inviting him to drop in at Mecca as representing America’s Muslims.

The trouble with Trump is that he has no idea what he is doing or who he represents. He never seriously believed he would win the presidency. All he did was feed on the anger of the people coming to him. Tea Party darling Sarah Palin introduced Trump to the Republican convention as beloved of the rock ‘n’ rollers and holly rollers but she left out the bikers and white supremacists, the losers and the angry, the people mired in poverty without hope and anyone else that ‘civilized’ Americans had written off.

This American proletariat knew that Trump was a bigot, a chauvinist, ignorant and ill-equipped to be president but they all helped set up the accident that was the Electoral College. They chose him in anger and bitterness in a country of denied promises. They knew the weaknesses of America’s claim to greatness. They wanted their share and, if they could not have it, they simply wanted to get even.

And now they think Trump is serving them. He serves no one other than his own ego. They delude themselves and they delude Trump with their continued devotion. For Trump is the Antichrist.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

The darkening clouds of the Trump presidency.

Saturday, May 20th, 2017

President Donald Trump took his case to the graduating cadets at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy the other day. They did not rise up in support. They were surprisingly polite. And probably dumbfounded. Trump’s problems are not their concern.

When you are commissioned as a junior officer of the United States Coast Guard, your interests are in the right billet and career growth. You expect very little of America’s current, erratic and incompetent President.

But as he heads down the road to an inevitable attempt at impeachment, Trump grasps at any and all straws. No matter how many wiser and more knowledgeable advisors told him not to talk as he did to the cadets, he was steadfast in his determination to follow his path to destruction.

This is not a man to be humbled. He would neither understand the feeling nor has he the capacity to act humbled. He believes he can brazen out all they can pitch at him.

But his detractors should also weigh carefully their cause. Would they really prefer the ultra-conservative Mike Pence as president? Why trade a fool who does not know what he is doing for a fool who does?

The prospect of having President Pence dancing to the Koch Brothers tunes is both sad and frightening. If you thought Trump was ignorant about the environment, the Koch Brothers’ businesses make billions out of defiling the environment.

If you were not aware, the Koch Brothers of New York are the principal donors of the Republican Party in the United States. They spend hundreds of millions on Republican politicians and virtually own the extreme right-wing Tea Party. If Mike Pence becomes president, the Koch Brothers would own the White House, the Congress and the United States of America. God help America then!

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Spicer embarrasses all press secretaries.

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

Donald Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer is earning press secretaries a bad name. You would like to think it is not because he is totally incompetent. He might just have an impossible task for an impossible client. President Trump does not make the job any easier.

We used to refer to President George W. Bush as Bush-league but Donald Trump has brought forward an entirely new perspective.

Can you imagine the White House news media hounds finding the president’s press secretary hiding in the White House bushes?

He said if they would turn out the lights, he would talk to them. We understand imparting deep cover stories but we never insisted that they be imparted in the dark.

But what we are finding out now is that President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey might not have been as non-partisan as it was originally reported. (Is anything Trump does non-partisan?) It seems President Trump was in a pique about Comey wanting to dig into Trump’s relations with his friend Vladimir Putin of Russia. He just wanted to end Comey’s tenure before Comey could interfere with Trump’s tenure in the White House.

Which is surprising. Judging by what Trump has been saying, he does not even seem to like the White House. It probably is less significant to a guy who likes building great phallic towers.

Nor does Trump seem to like the job of president. He would rather play golf. All these interminable briefings and meetings are starting to bore him.

Luckily, he is going to travel shortly. He is ignoring the tradition of visiting Canada first. Some 33 million Canadians are pleased.

But he will visit the Pope in Rome. The Pope is known for his calm and patience. Trump will try that.

And then he will be off to visit Prime Minister “Bibi” Netanyahu in Israel. On his trip, he will also get to be lionized by the Royal House of Saud. Then he can come back and tell Americans how tough the job of president can be.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Conrad Black on Donald Trump.

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

“He knows what he wants,” was the message by Conrad Black to a parliamentary committee examining the current situation on trade relations with the United States. The former Canadian and now an ex-convict and Lord Cross-the-Pond or some such title, was telling the committee about his friend Donald Trump who is currently President of the United States. He said “We are not dealing with a monster here. We are dealing with a reasonable person.”

In thinking about that claim of reasonableness, we need to consider who is making the claim. Since his childhood in Toronto, Conrad Black has been swathed in a context of entitlement. It was the same for a young Donald Trump growing up in New York City. Donald Trump devoted his learning to the horse-trading skills of the confidence man in the development business. Along the way, he tried various routes to gaining excessive wealth. He won some gambles and he lost others. He also pulled off some elaborate development schemes and made money.

In some ways, it was the same for Conrad Black. From the foot-hold he gained in Argus Corporation and its anchor Massey Ferguson, he fashioned a business empire that he then converted to a publishing empire. He raced against the clock building his media empire as the news business fell away behind him.

But for the vagaries of American justice and the time he spent in incarceration for fraud and obstruction of justice, Black would today be enjoying the perks of the British House of Lords. Instead, a non-citizen, he is sequestered in his ‘modest’ retirement home among the multi-millionaires’ mansions on Toronto’s Bridal Path.

But one must still put on the right attitude and do one’s bit for Queen and non-country. Conrad was pleased to share his knowledge of his friend Donald Trump with the Canadian parliamentarians.

He explained that in his business dealings with Trump, the man proved quite consistent in the positions he “ultimately takes.” One gets the impression from Black that Trump can take you on a rather violent roller coaster ride before you find out what he really wants.

Black assured the politicians that any suggestion of Trump being angry with Canada were overblown. He suggested that the current slamming of Canada’s supply management and the tariffs on soft-wood lumber were just Trump’s way of getting our attention.

It seems to work.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

The myth of America’s FBI.

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

There is a very bad television show on television these days called Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. A weak spinoff from the highly successful Criminal Minds show that is now ending its twelfth year on CBS, the Beyond Borders version tries to replace strong characterizations with travelogues and requires that the viewer be foolishly gullible. Any similarity between that program and the actual responsibilities of American Federal Bureau of Investigation agents abroad is purely coincidental.

And it was seeing FBI Director James Comey before the Senate Judicial Committee the other day reminded us of the further fictions of the fallible FBI. Since the days of Director J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI has been a failed and fallacious organization that sucks the blood of America rather than serving its people. Hoover was a warped and devious director who was more interested in gaining advantage for himself than any concept of service to the country. Comey seems no better.

And why Comey has not been dismissed from his position is an indictment of the American system of justice. There is no question that his interference in the election in October 2016 propelled Donald Trump into the presidency. In the face of Clinton’s healthy lead in the election, Comey deliberately interfered to help Trump. Despite the votes of three million more American voters than Trump, Clinton lost the Electoral College and the presidency.

Both Director Comey and his victim Hillary Clinton consider that Russia’s involvement was also harmful but no clear proof of this has been made public.

It was the combination of the Trump tribes’ idiotic cadence of “Lock her up,” Comey’s false charges and Clinton’s inability to shake the suspicions that ultimately took her down to her core vote—leaving enough for Trump to win.

If Clinton is true to her disappointed supporters, she has only herself to blame. Trump was the neophyte during the campaign and she constantly struggled to figure out the best way to handle him. If she had settled on a basic strategy in the beginning when she saw why Trump won the Republican nod and stuck with that strategy, she would have won easily.

Instead, she treated Trump as a politician. Her realization too late that even he did not expect to win could only serve to confuse her campaign.

Clinton’s main regret in losing was most likely that she lost the privilege of signing the executive order to fire James Comey.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

A hundred days in America.

Monday, May 1st, 2017

Marking his first 100 days in office, U,S. President Donald Trump told the media that he thought the job as president was easier. It is an admission that he has neither the training, nor experience nor temperament to handle the position. He has proved to the world that he is incapable of doing the job.

While marking the accomplishments of the first 100 days in office worked well for President Franklin Roosevelt in the heart of the Depression, nobody was eager for the actions of Donald Trump. It was a different time with different concerns. In a period of economic recovery, Trump’s attempts at imperial rule are counter-productive.

His actions in regards to the Middle East encompass bigotry, ignorance and none of the desired consequences. His executive orders fly in the face of his legal capabilities and cause little more than chaos.

His twits to the Trump troops cause confusion and consternation as a new news system supplants the more ordered news patterns of the past. It has become mantra that Trump lies, his press secretary lies and Trump’s media supporters lie. We all have our own truth.

What Trump does not understand is that the presidency is a responsibility, not a triumph. Even President Eisenhower let the job interfere with his golf.

Trump also fails to understand that the role requires that he calm the concerns of the world, not cause constant consternation.

Maybe the Chinese thought he was running a ruse in asking them to intervene with North Korea. The problem is that Trump has no idea of how to handle a lunatic such as North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

But then he is just as clueless when it comes to America’s friends. He has spent more than a year now vilifying the Mexicans. To turn and piss off the Canadians at the same time will go down as a classic in bad international relations. Any general can tell him if you want to win, you do not try to fight on two fronts at the same time.

Hell, Trump is not just a bad president. Neither Canada nor Mexico wants Trump’s America as a neighbour. What have been amicable relations for the past 100 years, Trump has destroyed in his first 100 days.

Neither the Canadian nor Mexican leaders have been saying very much but they are well aware of the anger that is building among their citizens.

Another 100 days like the first 100 and Canada and Mexico will build their own damn walls.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Donald Trump has a plan?

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Heard any good conspiracy theories today? It is amazing how many pundits are writing about Trump’s real plans for world-wide dictatorship. They see Trump’s actions in the White House as part of a scheme. They think it is designed to keep outsiders confused.

But it should be obvious to everybody that Trump is the one who is confused. He is erratic, unprepared, unaware and badly advised. And if you can figure the conspiracy in that, good luck!

Just look at those decrees that he so grandiosely pens in the Oval Office. They are a sham. They are window dressing for his supporters to show that he is working for them. He could save time by sending the presidential decrees to the courts for vetting. Most make no sense. The ones that the departments try to implement such as the restrictions on Muslims coming to America are basically racist and cause nothing but problems.

And the promises he made to squash Obamacare were blocked in Congress by his own Republican Tea Party supporters. How he expects to get his budget passed might be the most serious problem he will ever face. He would need a new book on the art of the deal for that.

Judging from what we have seen so far, Trump’s idea of getting things done is to be the bully who shouts the loudest.

His version of foreign affairs is to trade insults with the crazies of North Korea and hold hands with the British Prime Minister. Now the poor lady is facing an election and that interaction with Trump could cost her job.

Justin Trudeau of Canada also had a friendly meeting with Trump and Canada has been dumped on ever since. Trump thinks it is Canada’s fault that the steroid-fed cows of Wisconsin are producing too much milk. Or maybe he thinks supply management is something his wife does when she is mad at him. Anyway, he does not like it and he talks about screwing around with or just dumping the North American Free Trade Agreement to get even.

At least the courts will settle his recent tax on soft wood lumber from Canada. That has become routine. The Americans impose a tax on Canadian lumber. It goes to dispute resolution and gets thrown out. They can hardly expect it to be fourth time lucky. In the meantime, the price of new homes in the U.S. has gone up. And the Canadian lumber barons are missing the peak buying season for home building in the U.S.

Does Trump really think he is the only person who can negotiate better deals. What he does not seem to realize is that the first thing to establish when negotiating between countries is good faith. That might be a novelty for him.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Is Justin the adult in the school yard?

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

Has Prime Minister Trudeau been getting advice from psychologists on how to handle a bully? It is certainly to his credit that he is keeping his cool. Donald Trump continues to lob his ignorant taunts over the longest undefended border in the world and Canada’s prime minister just says, “We can discuss that.”

As angry as that loudmouth boor Trump makes most Canadians, it is important that our prime minister stay above the fray. As he says, Canadians will be pleased to discuss the problems with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). And to help, we have our own list of problems with the agreement ready for the negotiations.

When dealing with any irrational bully, you have find out what is behind the screaming and yelling. For you to scream and yell back at the irrational juvenile will do you no good.

For example, we really need to find out where this recent mention of the energy market came from. Many Canadians took exception to the American demand for full access to our energy reserves in NAFTA. They thought that was being too generous. And with what we now know about the pollution problems with tar sands oil production, there is growing pressure to leave it in the ground.

What is common knowledge on both sides of the border is that the Canadian milk producers have nothing to do with the disastrous over-production of milk in Wisconsin. When you consider that there are more steroid-fed cows in Wisconsin than there are cows in Canada, nobody but Trump would think to blame Canada. Wisconsin voted for Trump and helped put him in the White House. Now that he is there, he needs to play nice with the other world leaders—whether he likes them or not.

The one thing that we have understood from Trump’s tiresome tirades is the concern for soft-wood lumber on the west coast. That NAFTA argument has been in and out of the courts a number of times. How renegotiation would solve it is anyone’s guess. All we do know about this complaint is that the lumber kings of Oregon and Washington are going to be able to charge a lot more for their products when they do not have to compete with the lumber kings north of the border. Only the American home buyer will get screwed.

We do not always agree with Justin Trudeau but it is nice to see him handle this problem with Trump in an adult manner. He gets his handiwork stuck on the refrigerator for this one!

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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