Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

Lies. And Trudeau-Trump lies.

Sunday, March 26th, 2017

You have come to expect it in the daily reports from the American White House. You know that the man in the White House tells lies. You just do not expect it from the guy in charge in Ottawa.

And you already knew that the guy in charge at the White House does not give a damn about the environment. You are more conflicted by the guy in Ottawa. This guy says he wants to save the environment and makes a big show of it. And then he approves doubling the Kinder Morgan pipeline over the Rockies to pump diluted bitumen to an ocean port. And he is a cheerleader for President Trump approving TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline to the Texas Gulf.

Of course, there is nothing new about the guff that Trump spews for the American news media. He even believes there are American jobs to be had. He had Russ Sperling, president of TransCanada Corporation in his office for the announcement. Sperling would have tripled the number of jobs created by that pipeline to get more bitumen to that Texas port. Hell, he might consider putting Trump’s grandmother on the payroll if that would help.

But it is not going to pave the way past all those environmentalists in the American Midwest who are digging their own trenches for the coming Keystone Wars. This question is not resolved by a long shot. Trump can try to call out the Nebraska National Guard if he likes but Keystone is going to have to run over a lot of environmentalist barricades on its way to the sea.

Trump appears to be drinking his own bath water though when he uses the usual untruths about Keystone. The American jobs Trump was going on about will be fleeting and if the entire line from Alberta to Texas involves as many as 400 maintenance jobs, it will be generous.

But by no stretch of the imagination will Alberta tar sands bitumen make North America self sufficient in ersatz oil. Nor will bitumen-based synthetic oil be cheaper. The greedy bastards who want to pipe the bitumen down the line will hardly be happy until the price of crude oil again hits the US$80 mark. And if we really tried to use bitumen-based oil to supply North America, we would all be knee deep in bitumen slag from trying to refine so much bitumen into synthetic oil.

It seems to be common knowledge now that Donald Trump usually does not know what he is talking about. What is Justin Trudeau’s excuse?

-30-

Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Shell bites the bitumen bullet.

Monday, March 20th, 2017

This story takes us back to the 1970s and a lengthy discussion with a board member of Royal Dutch Shell. He was a “works committee” member of the board and our discussion was enlightening. He represented the employees of Shell on its board and was a highly-respected university professor. He was in Toronto visiting his son who was also a professor at York University.

At the time this writer was giving lectures at universities across Ontario on the social responsibility of business. We had been intrigued by the then current agreement with the union for Shell Canada’s workers at the Sarnia refinery. It was an intelligent document that recognized the responsibilities of both the workers and the employers. In effect, it seemed to say ‘we are all adults here and we need to carry out our responsibilities in a mutually respectful manner.’ That was not the usual preamble in other union agreements at the time.

To the European professor this did not seem unusual. He was more intrigued with the problems North Americans create with their more adversarial industrial relations. At the same time, he was interested in the concept of good citizenship for international companies in the countries where they operated. At the time, we recognized pollution from petroleum-based products as a mainly urban problem but was not yet being addressed as a world-wide problem. We were only starting to learn about recovering oil from tar sands.

But more recently the concern has been: What is a responsible company such as Royal Dutch Shell doing in the Alberta tar sands? Shell even had the Quest Carbon Capture project that was burying a million tons of carbon per year from upgrading tar sands bitumen to synthetic crude oil. Despite this and other efforts, Shell finally said “No” to the tar sands. It took a loss in the billions. It bought out minority investors such as Marathon Oil and sold out at billions less than cost to Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources.

It cost the Canadian conglomerate close to $13 billion but at the bargain price from Shell, it can make money at prices for crude of less than $50 per barrel.

But to make back the billions it cost, Canadian Natural Resources needs those pipelines to tidewater promised by Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump.

-30-

Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Is Trudeau fighting out of his weight class?

Friday, March 17th, 2017

The reason why boxing promoters will not allow a lightweight boxer to take on a heavyweight is that the lightweight might not last two minutes. The lightweight might be fast on his feet but the heavyweight only needs to land one punch. That is why Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs all the help he can get to take on U.S. President Trump.

The most urgent problem today is the proposed cuts in the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Trump hardly gives a damn about the environment. He has shown that with his decisions on pipelines and coal mines. Maybe he did not know that the EPA is responsible for U.S. federal support in keeping the Great Lakes clean and fit to provide water for millions of Americans. Those Americans include those in some states that were key in winning the presidency for Trump.

And it is not as though it is a matter of talking Trump out of some of his positions or getting him to like Justin Trudeau. He forgets. Even in his recent speech to Congress, he made several conflicting statements. He is erratic. He does not give a damn about Canadians. They are just like Americans to him. Only they seem to want to live where it can get cold.

One of the biggest mistakes Trudeau might have made is the Canadian ambassador in Washington. Of course, the choice of David MacNaughton as ambassador was made before the Trump disaster happened. No doubt with a Clinton presidency, MacNaughton would have been right at home. As it is now he is going to need constant hand-holding by the trained diplomats. He is no political problem solver. He proved that when he was Justin Trudeau’s point man for Ontario in the last election. The appointment was his reward for the Liberals winning, That was despite his being so obviously out of touch with what was really happening in Ontario.

To make matters worse Trump has Trudeau buffaloed as well. Trudeau thought he made the right impression when he and Trump met. Trump forgot the Canadian’s name as he went out the door. And how does he think he will handle Trump’s reopening of the mid-term emissions controls for new automobiles? It looks like an attempt to release all auto manufacturing controls in North America and is in direct conflict with Canada’s objectives.

Is Trump the Darth Vader who takes Trudeau over to the dark side.

-30-

Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Airing the rants of the Right.

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Canadians are too politically correct to accept a politician such as right-wing Geert Wilders who has been running in the Netherlands for that country’s parliamentary elections yesterday. At one point the pollsters were suggesting that the right-wing anti-Islam, anti-EU politician’s Freedom Party could get as much as 20 per cent of the popular vote. And in Holland, with proportional representation, that means 20 per cent of the seats.

But the question needs to be raised in Canada as to whether it is better to air those opinions or suppress them?

First, we know that Wilders and his party will not be able to be part of the government. The Dutch Liberals under Mark Rutte with more than 25 seats will be putting together the coalition that will rule for the next four years. There is no way that they would invite Wilders to be part of that coalition.

From the sidelines, Wilder will be shrill in his ongoing message of hate.

But does that not give us more time to refute the garbage he spouts?

And you should bear in mind that, compared to Wilders, President Trump is a diplomat.

Our home-grown right, such as M.P. Kellie Leitch have to use code words for bigotry or they would face the wrath of their own party.

The problem in Canada is that with our first-past-the-post electoral system is that the major political parties have to take the “big tent” approach to gather the voting support for a majority. You get the Liberals running with a broad left-wing appeal and then ruling with right wing gusto. The Conservatives never seem to mention their denials of women’s and gay rights during an election but you know the pressure is always there. And the New Democrat’s attempts at right-wing promises create their own nemesis.

Our failure in North America to face these issues directly could be part of the reason that so many of us were wrong in calling last year’s American election. From Hillary Clinton on down the chain, we failed to see the real strength of Trump. He was feeding the chauvinism, he was building a wall of ignorance, he believed in the bigotry. And he told the biggest lies.

We have to accept the blame. We have to block bastards like Trump. Their lies must be exposed. Their causes challenged.

-30-

Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Who’s sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom?

Friday, March 10th, 2017

It used to be that if you donated enough to the American President’s political party, you could get an invite to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom at the White House. There is a possibility that is where President Trump is trying to sleep when in Washington. And Honest Abe is now haunting him.

Why else would the poor man be awake so early in the morning creating wild twits for posting on Twitter? Not that Honest Abe would condone such conduct but twitting would be long after his time. And it would be possible for Lincoln to roll the roles of the three ghosts of the past, present and future into one spectre.

The spectre could take special delight in playing the role of events in the present. He could show the President how his cabinet selections denied his worse attributes at their hearings before Congress. It would be the ghost’s turn to be confused when Trump told him that he had told them to say that. He did not want them all turned down.

But even a ghost would have trouble figuring out what will possibly happen in the future. Trump already has his legacy built—Trump Towers in cities around the world. He built them for himself—his pyramids reaching for the heavens. They were built as the ideal resting places for the ugly Americans who want nothing foreign in their travels. These are Americans who want to say they are travelled but stay at American hotels with American food and American spoken there.

It is a legacy of shame. Most of these hotels are just franchised to use the Trump name. They will all be wanting to get rid of that name sooner than later. What started out as beacons to the rich and fastidious are now just focal points for protests against America and its xenophobic President.

But Trump will probably continue to be his own best customer at the Lincoln Bed and Breakfast. He bought himself that bed and now he can sleep in it.

What he has also bought himself the enmity of many millions of Americans as well as people around the world. He has lavished them with lies. And he has earned their distrust with his crudity, their displeasure with his misogyny and their derision for his bigotry.

-30-

Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

What would Dr. Goebbels say?

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

Did you miss the new lie from Donald Trump? He dreamed up a complaint that President Obama had his phones at Trump Tower in New York tapped during the campaign last year. It seems a novel suggestion but nobody can come up with any idea why Obama would bother. If you really want to know what Donald Trump is thinking about, all you need is a Twitter account.

Thankfully today, we have news media to keep up to date with the twits on Twitter for us. Since there is no more colossal waste of time than Internet social media (other than writing a blog), we can turn our minds to the more important concerns of the day.

Like what has happened with President Trump’s latest twits? He wants Congress to waste its valuable time investigating President Obama. The Congressional leaders do not seem very interested. Mr. Trump’s good friend running the Federal Bureau of Investigation thinks it is pile of something best handled with a pitchfork. The reviled news media are laughing.

What is a guy to do? Has Mrs. Trump’s little boy shouted “Wolf” too often?

It is time to call in the experts. Which is not something that Mr. Trump does very often. The only problem is that the world’s leading expert in the big lie committed suicide in 1945.

But even if Herr Doktor Josef Goebbels, Adolph Hitler’s propaganda Minister was around to give advice, he might tell Trump he is a ‘dumbkopf.’ What needs to be remembered is that there has to be some grain of substance on which you hang the big lie. It does not have to be something that would pass muster with intelligent people but could be accepted by people with a grudge.

For example, last year there was a very large number of very gullible people who bought the Trump lie that Hillary Clinton should not have used her private server for e-mails while Secretary of State. It was obviously an error in judgement rather than illegal. It is just that people who did not think Mrs. Clinton had the right to a personal life and personal friends during her time as Secretary, who would see anything wrong in it.

For Trump to continue to promote that lie would be actionable in court for anyone but a politician. And chanting “Lock her up” is not part of the Nicene Creed. Clinton had no idea of how much that chant would cost her on November 8 and she never handled it properly.

But President Obama is not running for anything. The fact that Donald Trump is so single-mindedly involved today in tearing down Obama’s legacy just makes Trump look meaner, less intelligent, less gracious and less of a person than the job of President requires.

-30-

Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Trump’s Throne Speech.

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Americans would not necessarily recognize what President Trump was doing in his speech to Congress the other night. It was easily recognized by any Brit or Canuck as a typical Speech from the Throne. It is a speech read by the Queen or the Queen’s Representative telling the assembled legislators what direction government legislation will be taking during the term of the current parliamentary session.

It was certainly not your typical American State of the Union address. And British or Canadian members of parliament would have been more restrained in their reaction to it. One rarely comments on the quality of such a speech as it, by nature, has gone through many hands, adding this and that and rarely has flights of rhetoric such as President Trump’s “The time for small thinking is over. The time for trivial fights is behind us.”

Nor would a throne speech include obvious contradictions such as ensuring jobs in the coal mines while later in the speech talk about the wonderful clean environment. The seeming tempering of his immigration stance during the speech was a bone to critics but the answer will be in the bills his administration sends to Congress.

Like a throne speech, much can happen between the aspirations early in the term of office and the actual legislation that is sent to Congress or the parliament. Bills can be added to or appended during their journey through committees and legislative bodies. The similarity between what was considered a boon to voters in the speech and the final law to be signed is sometimes co-incidental.

What you would not see in a Speech from the Throne in Canada or the United Kingdom would be someone like Donald Trump acting like a pompous fool in delivering the speech over more than an hour. His reaction to the Democrats sitting on their hands through most of his speech was obvious. He made the mistake of playing to them.

Typical of Trump, there appeared to be little thought behind most of his promises. Many left you wondering about their cost. The only specifics were his promises to the General Staff who were seated in the chamber for the speech like the three monkeys. As have many right-wing politicians before him, Trump thinks the money can come from increased efficiencies in government.

The only aspect of the speech that we had never seen before was the use of people introduced from the audience who were there as examples. It was a most embarrassing part of President Trump’s speech. You felt deeply for those people being used in such a crass manner by such a vulgar person.

-30-

Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Trumping the News Media.

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

The other day one of our American relatives asked: “Why are you writing so much about Trump?”

The simple answer is that President Donald Trump is an ongoing saga of the worst of things that can happen in politics. There are also the greatly increased readership statistics when writing about the political failures of Donald Trump. Canadians are equally fascinated by the subject. And if Trump were not so scary, he would be funny.

Take the ongoing battle with the news media. It is a battle we desperately want him to lose. In fact, he has to lose. In his vanity, he is attempting to destroy the very core of democracy in the United States of America: a free and independent news media.

Admittedly there are huge numbers of Americans who have deserted the traditional print and broadcast media but they are finding no solace in the Internet-based social media. Not everyone identifies with the chaos and confusion social media spreads. To perpetrate that chaos through the malicious condemning of respected news media has to be questioned and combatted by those who want to preserve democracy.

The best example of this disturbing approach during the 2016 election was the “Corrupt Hillary” line that Trump fed his followers. It took a destructive and the still unforgiven besmirching of the reputation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to keep that lie alive through the campaign. Thankfully, it is still harder to sell a lie than to stand by the truth.

Now Donald Trump has turned his attention to the news media. It is over what he calls, “Fake News.” He does not take kindly to criticism. He prefers adoration; it sooths his ego. At a recent White House news conference, Trump devoted time to telling Cable News Network (CNN, owned by Time Warner) why the reporter could not ask a question. As you can imagine, Time Warner can take that kind of criticism directly to the bank. It is worth a good deal in free publicity.

But the problem with that is Trump’s base of supporters want to believe him. They will go along with him that these news media are not telling them the truth about their hero.

But the key question for Trump supporters is why would CNN, the New York Times, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Guardian and the Daily Mail want to produce “Fake News” when what is going on in the White House is much worse?

-30-

Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Wasted hours in Washington.

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

Did you think President Trump was going to slice and dice our prime minister for lunch the other day? First of all, Donald Trump seemed to like Justin Trudeau. He would think of Trudeau as a younger version of himself. This young guy was manor born. It is all so easy for him. He was polite and always seemed to say the right things.

If he even thought about it, Trump would seek Trudeau’s approval. More likely it was just some down time to stay out of trouble.

Whoever dreamed up that stunt of the meeting with the female business executives was lucky Trump did not recognize he had been had. It was an effective piece of manipulation.

It is also lucky the current U.S. President is no student of history. He is too young to remember when U.S. President Johnson grabbed Canadian Prime Minister Pearson by the lapels in the Oval Office and told him not to piss on his rug. He would not understand that informality in the relationship between the two countries.

And it is certainly not Trump’s style to put his arms around Trudeau and hug him as President Obama could. Nor would Trump understand President Ronald Regan and Prime Minister Brian Mulroney singing Irish ballads to each other on a stage in Quebec City.

Mind you this could be the reverse of John Kennedy’s relationship with Prime Minister Diefenbaker. Diefenbaker gave Kennedy the creeps.

The worst president-prime minister relationship between the two countries was President Richard Nixon and Justin Trudeau’s father. Nixon was reported to have called the elder Trudeau an asshole. Trudeau later responded that he had been called worse things by better people.

It will probably be a long time before Trudeau writes a memoir and admits how he felt about Trump. It will probably not be flattering.

It was probably just as well that Trudeau brought a lot of back-up from his cabinet. It would have been a waste of time for what Trudeau and Trump got out of that meeting.

Trump looked bored; Trudeau looked wary. Neither could get on to their normal way of doing things soon enough.

The obligatory invitation to Trump to come to Ottawa will be some time in future. Trump is certainly in no rush. He will not be getting an invitation to address Parliament.

-30-

Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Donald Trump is not funny anymore.

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

The presidential oath of office in the United States needs to borrow a clause from the Hippocratic Oath of doctors: to do no harm. Come the time for an accounting, let us hope that the damn fool who told Trump about presidential directives gets his or her deserts. Trump is not only abusing his executive powers but he is doing catastrophic damage to the reputation of America around the world and for a long time to come.

“Land of the free,” be damned. Trump has tried to slam the door on the welcoming lamp of Miss Liberty in the New York Harbour. He has defiled the promise of freedom of religion. He has no concept or understanding of truth or justice. He mocks those who seek justice. And he mocks justice itself.

Trump does not just sit in the bully pulpit; he is a bully. He targets the weak and the vulnerable. He directs that Obamacare be scrapped without any concern for the millions of Americans who will be left without dignity in seeking medical care. And who will be his next target?

“The home of the brave,” is being ridiculed. America needs its heroes. Trump insults them. He has never worn a uniform and he is now commander-in-chief of the best-equipped military forces in the world. He rattles sabres at people he does not understand. He claims friendship with those who want to use him.

On America’s formerly welcoming shores Trump wants to build walls. He is a bigot, a womanizer, a racist and an uncaring person but he wants to be leader to feed his all-consuming ego. And when he spoke to the world at his inauguration, he chose to damn America rather than to laud it.

When he declared himself in on the crowded Republican nomination race, we were at first shocked. We then denied that he could ever win the nomination or the presidency. We felt anger at his brazen lies to the voters. We watched the bargaining between him and the Republican establishment seeking accommodation. We felt the guilt when he won the nomination of that party. It was through the rest of the campaign that the depression set in. And, even after the inauguration, it took a while to accept the facts. And if that sequence of feelings seems familiar, it is from psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ seven stages of grief following a death.

It is anyone’s guess as to what will happen next with Donald Trump in the White House. Whatever, it will not be good.

-30-

Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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