Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

Looking south; looking askance.

Friday, May 25th, 2018

While cheerfully ignoring the Trump presidency as much as possible these days, I am sure most of my readers do not mind. I find that he can be boring. He is as awful and as dangerous to world peace as ever but it feels good to ignore the bastard for at least a while.

But you cannot ignore America’s Congress. The situation there is going from worse to bad. I got a wonderful dissertation on neoliberalism the other day from one of our favourite readers on the left coast. My vote is to give him his doctorate for that alone. He even invoked my favourite speech by Theodore Roosevelt. I thought it was long forgotten.

I also seem to have forgotten that the best example of neoliberalism is the American congress. It would do wonders for democracy in the United States of America if the anger about the lack of gun control could be used to  rid America of lots of those bought-and-paid-for senators and representatives in November. Only in America could the Vice President be a bought-and-paid-for representative of those foul Koch brothers of New York.

And only in America can the corrupt of industry and the National Rifle Association fund the re-election of their Quislings. It hardly makes you wonder if it was the system itself that lead to the election of Donald Trump?

But we still seem to be in the dark about the involvement of the Russians in electing Trump. Hell, the Russians do not understand democracy. How can they be the people to defeat it?

The only good thing about it is that Trump is so busy fighting with the American Department of Justice, he is forgetting to screw up the negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement. Every once in a while, he stops to take a poke at the Chinese but they are learning how to handle him. They are playing at being inscrutable.

I was watching TV news of the supposed leader of the free world and his son-in-law in Jerusalem the other day and all I could see was that damn fool Netanyahu grinning like the cat that swallowed the canary. If someone smarter does not get between Benny and the Iranians, there is going to be another bloody holy war in the Middle East.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Our ‘Pollyanna’ foreign minister.

Friday, May 11th, 2018

You have to be very gullible to believe the statements Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland has been making after each of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) sessions. It seems lately that only Mexico is being obdurate over those proposed clauses that will harm that country’s positions. And yet the current deadline was set to accommodate Mexico’s upcoming presidential election.

But what deadline is Canada working towards? While Freeland is basking in the limelight, she also seems to be accomplishing very little.

It seems that her objective of keeping NAFTA alive is becoming riskier. Nothing is really happening. As we expected would happen all along, the question is hung on the vestiges of the old Canada-U.S. Auto Pact. Did emissaries from General Motors and Ford get to Trump and tell him that it would take as much as six years, rather than six months, to untangle their North American auto production?

And when President Trump is proving for all to see that he is unafraid of unilateral decisions that can lead to world wars, why should he worry about auto parts? He just keeps making impossible demands that nobody can satisfy. Few of us have ever followed a simple auto part from manufacture, through various assemblies and finally to a customer. It is a long journey across many borders and through many hands.

But Canada’s Pollyanna foreign minister keeps on mugging it for the cameras and talking about progress when what she really should be doing is talking to the American negotiators about is how to cancel the deal. These people are deluding themselves anyway, why not throw some cold water on them?

What she needs is a comic book presentation of what NO-NAFTA looks like for Mr. Trump and his claque. It will start with absolutely no automobile production in North America because nobody could afford cars that cost three times as much to build. And Americans could hardly count on imports when their government would have to apply huge import tariffs to protect the few American jobs that can be retained. And there would be fewer jobs in America anyway as other countries throw up tariff walls to preserve their industries.

It has been interesting watching Freeland play the Pollyanna approach but at some time we need to throw in a dose of reality. We just need to make sure that it is communicated in a simple form that Trump and his foolish followers can understand.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Waiting for Mr. Trump.

Friday, April 13th, 2018

Is this the day Mr. Trump sends the world to war? We wait. We wonder. It might not be a good day to plan next year’s vacation. The man has his finger on the button.

He makes jokes about it. Who else knows when he is just kidding? He exchanges insults with a mindless puppet of a dictator. He threatens the world’s second largest nuclear power. He is a narcissist and a womanizer, a xenophobe and a crude and ignorant Islamophobe.

What does Mr. Trump really know about other countries, world affairs, the ups and downs of world trade, the economics and the concerns? And, come to think of it, what does he know about the United States of America?

There are no Trump Towers to build in Nebraska. There is no Trump Casino in Utah. And what was the last book about America Mr. Trump enjoyed reading? The Trump view of America comes from his travels between his building projects and his golf courses that are mostly on the East coast of the United States. For leisure, he travels to his golf courses up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

This is a shallow person with insomnia who has embraced the use of social media to make himself feel important. He brings in serious people who want to help him but they soon tire of the impossibility of the chore. Yes, ignorance can be cured but only when the ignorant person wants to learn.

Mr. Trump is not interested in learning. His ego does not allow it. He is a septuagenarian who lives in the bubble of extreme wealth. People come to him. People are there to serve him. What he wants, he can buy. The losers, the bikers, the unwashed, the born again, the desperate and the angry, see him as their saviour, as he speaks to them and, they think, for them.

Mr. Trumps current press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is an excellent example of that Trump following as she reflects the same distrust of the traditional news media. The media might consider her boorish and ignorant but she is the best they are going to get from the Trump White House.

And if you are among those who think Mr. Trump will be impeached at some time, you better help get it started. Impeachment is not something that happens overnight.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Trump-lite is not Trump.

Sunday, April 8th, 2018

Have you been reading the media pontificators who are comparing Ontario conservative leader Doug Ford with U.S. President Donald Trump? It is a sad comparison. It would annoy Donald Trump, if he cared. Doug Ford is a wannabe. He would dearly love to have as much money as Trump and to have ripped off so many in business. It is hard to compare the ups and downs of a label printing business to the successes and failures of Trump.

And what makes anyone think that a blowhard such as Ford is going to win in Ontario? Ford is a loser. It was his brother who created Ford Nation. It was his brother who won the Toronto mayoralty. It was brother Rob who created the legend. The only political success Doug Ford has ever had was winning his late brother’s council seat in the City of Toronto. That is hardly the route to the premier’s chair in Ontario.

The reason many of us think of Ford as Trump-lite is that he shares the same failure in not being very political. Trump has made a game of being a political fool. Doug Ford just cannot help it. Ford is trying to be political. Trump does not care. Trump is a pig with women while Ford tries to act like his mother taught him manners. Both hate the news media but that is because the honest media tell the truth about them. Trump is simple. Ford is conflicted.

The one thing that we see in both of these pseudo politicians is that they have pushed the boundaries of unsuitable for office into despised. There seems to be absolutely no need to listen to either for the purpose of learning anything.

But to suggest that the political system in Ontario is similar to the corrupted federal situation in the United States shows a lack of understanding of the two systems. Trump, somewhat unwittingly, mixed the losers, the angry, the religious right, the lunatic fringe and the bigots of mid-America into an election day force that worked to give him the electoral college. It was also something like the situation with the errors the Ontario conservatives built into their leadership voting. If we understand this properly, Ford won over Christine Elliott despite the fact she had more votes and more electoral districts supporting her.

Luckily, in Ontario, you need to have more of your party elected in more electoral districts. It is simple. It is one-person, one-vote. It is hard to get confused. You get who you get because that is the way people want it. It is the best safeguard against losers like Doug Ford to be found.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Ceding civility.

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

It is the same in every country. It is obvious that simple civility is missing in our politics. Whether elected or self-appointed, our politicos are turning nasty. We are even electing cretins who think the thing to do is revile rivals, turn on their own, reject diplomacy, dispatch pacts, and make sure the needs and wants of the politicians come before promises to the populace.

What the hell are we achieving in this world? The highly successful European Union is being turned on by the losers it was designed to help. The Brits are putting Brexit to bed before teatime. We are seeing continued growth of the extremists of the right throughout Europe. President Emmanuel Macron in France has been under attack since before the honeymoon got started. And the Greeks seem mad at everybody.

How about the Russians—you remember those people who lost the cold war do you not(?)—they keep acting like they are still a world power. They think they can walk all over the Ukrainians and terrorize the Baltic states. Vladimir Putin in Russian thinks he is as important as Xi Jinping of China who is already president for life in that country.

And if you think that democracy is a better answer, look what it got you in the United States of America. That incompetent, Donald Trump, in the White House is giving democracy a bad name. And do not expect the U.S. Congress to save the day. That organization forgets who sent the individual members there on the day they are elected.

And what is really frightening about Donald Trump is that he trades insults with a lunatic in a small country who thinks he can lob a few intercontinental nuclear missiles at the U.S. A small error in calculation in Pyongyang and one of those things could land in our laps here in Canada. It would be a lousy way to end our commentaries favouring liberal democracy.

The good news/bad news is that Donald Trump has a play date coming up with North Korea’s Dear Leader Kim Jong-un. Since Kim only travels by train. Trump is flying to visit him. And considering neither of them has a clue about international diplomacy or relations between sovereign states, we will be keeping our fingers crossed that they play nice.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Trump should not bully China.

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump is a bully. That is how he negotiates his way through life. He bullies women for sex. As a developer, he bullied politicians for building rights. He bullies lawyers and courtiers, underlings and peers, wives and children, and lately, countries and their leaders. It is his nature.

But he probably should not try to bully the People’s Republic of China. Xi Jinping has just been made president for life in that country and he might just want to show off by stomping on that upstart Trump.

And as much as many of us would enjoy watching the stomping, it would not turn out well. Everyone loses in a trade war. A trade war is the application of onerous duties on each other’s products by two or more countries. It adds to the cost of specific products from each country. When each country reciprocates with duties of its own, it tends to stifle trade between the two countries.

In addition, companies who also make the tariffed products in the country charging the tariffs, can now charge more for their products because the tariff items become much more expensive. Check softwood lumber prices in the western U.S. and you will see the new reality.

Basic economics tells us that free trade is good for the economy and heavy tariffs are bad for the economy. And the object lesson is that trade wars are bad for all the participants. Nobody can really win. And if it is a case of outlasting your opponent, there is some reality to face here.

The Chinese tend to be more disciplined than Americans. They have suffered hardships and famines over the years. They can be more stoical.

Americans, by way of contrast, are liable to be annoyed by hardships brought on by bad management of the economy. They can be resentful. Heck, it was the way the people in London were managing their economy that set off the American Revolution. And they have not been all that amenable to the politicians who screw things up ever since.

What we can be confident of is that the Americans will have a regime change long before the Chinese. And that is why it would be really stupid for the Americans to have a trade war with the Chinese.

But, then, nobody ever accused Mr. Trump of being practical.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The last adult has left the White House.

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

President Donald Trump has fired secretary of state Rex Tillerson. He fired him on that children’s program Twitter. And, in case Tillerson might not have checked Twitter, Trump phoned him from Airforce One and made sure he knew he was fired.

Tillerson will, regrettably, go down in history as the least effective American secretary of state in the history of the office. He could not win his arguments with Donald Trump and was resented by the experts at Foggy Bottom—as the area of Washington is called where the Department of State Headquarters is located.

He came into office with the high hopes that he could bring some good management to an administration that was shaping up as a total screw-up. His efforts were wasted.

The one area where it was expected he could help was with the Russia file. He faced too much interference by the alphabet soup of U.S. government agencies starting with the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. as well as a special counsel appointed to dig into the external interference in the election that resulted in Trump winning.

In the neighbouring countries of North America, Canada and Mexico, Trump was making enemies while Tillerson was trying to make friends.

But the major obstacle between Tillerson and Trump was the North Korea file. Tillerson wanted to use diplomacy and the support of allies. Trump wanted to call the North Korean leader names and ridicule him. Trump wanted to use threats.

It was North Korea that broke with all diplomatic protocols and invited President Trump to visit that country. It was a schoolyard dare and Trump grabbed at it. He must have realized at that point that secretary of state Tillerson would never agree to such a meeting without all the diplomatic niceties of preparation and protocols. For Trump to be the ‘Big Man on Campus’ in this situation, he needed to get rid of his secretary of state.

And he had the perfect fall guy and spook to take on the job. Trump has nominated Mike Pompeo, currently director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), to replace Tillerson. Pompeo is best known as a pit-bull representative of the fourth district of Kansas, where he was considered a Tea Party adherent. His one endearing quality to Trump is that he does not like the news media and does not talk to them.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

‘Chuckles’ Scheer, meet Donald Trump.

Saturday, March 10th, 2018

Did you hear that Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer, Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in Ottawa, wants to move the Canadian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem? He must have heard that is what U.S. President Trump intends to do. That is a very bad move by Chuckles.

The problem is that the Canadian conservative leader wants to pander to the Jewish vote in Canada. He assumes it is the same reason as Donald Trump is supposedly pandering to the American Jewish vote. That is wrong.

Chuckles does not seem to be aware that Donald Trump is not political. He never has been and he panders to nobody but his lumpenproletariat followers. He has been doing business with New York Jews all his adult life. They have likely influenced his attitude about Arabs and Muslims. It boils down to: Jews good; Arabs bad. It would take a good psychiatrist to break that down into the whys but it means Trump sees Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu as an ally.

Netanyahu was visiting Washington the other day and in their joint news conference, the news media tried to get some clear answers from the American president about his proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum. Netanyahu was visibly amused by the byplay. It seemed to this political apparatchik that Netanyahu should be asked by the Canadian Jewish community, why he thought the proposed tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum were that funny?

The preponderance of Jewish voters in three electoral districts in Toronto and two in Montreal can be important in federal elections. Those five MPs are usually Liberals. Stephen Harper used ever trick in his book to try to win Irwin Cottler’s Mount Royal seat in parliament when Cottler stepped down at the 2015 election. Despite the concerted effort, a Liberal still won.

What Scheer also does not seem to understand is that Canada has maintained a very clear policy. As a friend of Israel, we maintain Israel’s right to exist and believe the time for moving embassies around is when there is a clear and lasting peace established by Israel and its Arab neighbours.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

“We stand on guard for thee.”

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

The last time our parliamentarians screwed around with Canada’s national anthem, they were trying to make it gender neutral. What they accomplished was to have some of us singing different words, others of us confused and all of us stuck with awkward phrasing. And it is tough to fake that you are singing along under those conditions.

But we can all be robust in song when we come to standing on guard. We know those words and we all concur in their meaning.

And, these days, we all want to stand on guard against that incompetent ass Donald Trump in the American White House.

But be warned. That bastard is trying to get us angry, He wants us to retaliate. It will launch a trade war that he will win only when he puts North America into the grip of a depression. He is more than willing to damage his own country to prove himself right. He will blame Canada. We all know of his disrespect for Mexico.

Foreign minister Chrystia Freeland can threaten retaliation but no wise person would carry it out.

Trump will do that for us. He is raising the price of softwood lumber on the west coast of the United States. Canada has already passed the 50 per cent mark in shifting our B.C. softwood lumber sales to China, Japan and Korea.

The steel markets he is threatening are more complex. It would take several years for America to replace the rolling mills in Hamilton and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario that supply much of the rolled steel to America. Americans will hardly appreciate the cost increases inflicted by Trump in the meantime. Nobody is worried about aluminum tariffs as Canada and Norway share the ability to supply world markets of aluminum at the lowest costs. Trump’s lumpen proletariat will just have to bite the bullet of a higher cost for their beer cans,

In the meantime, we should let our friends and relations know that a loony spent in the United States might be less than 78 cents but it helps pay for Trump’s pomposity. We are already paying too much for products from the United States and it would pay us to cut back when we can.

And after the winter we are presently experiencing, is the southern U.S. that much better a place for a holiday? Why not enjoy a Caribbean holiday or a trip to Mexico instead?

Frankly, we should all be doing what we can to give Mr. Trump the one-finger salute.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The Bully Pulpit of Donald Trump.

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

President Theodore Roosevelt said, more than 100 years ago, that the White House is a bully pulpit. It means something very different to the bully in today’s White House. Roosevelt saw the bully pulpit as a position for good. Trump sees it as a position to abuse the less powerful. He is a bully in the full sense of the word.

Even Trump’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiators, meeting in Mexico City in the past week were caught off guard by the tariffs Trump proposed on aluminum and steel. He was so proud of this that he twitted his plan to bully his country’s neighbours. He is going to bring them back to the table cowering to accept his conditions for an American version of NAFTA. (Otherwise known as ‘beggar your neighbours.’)

Trump’s negotiators have repeated told him that there is little reason for Canada and Mexico to want to “Make America Great Again” the Trump way. A trade agreement such as NAFTA can be of great benefit to the economies of the participating countries but it requires goodwill and fair dealing.

The bully in Trump tells him that it should be the most powerful nation that makes the rules. While neither Canada nor Mexico are the largest producers of steel, there has been a brisk three-way business in steel between the three countries. It has meant lower prices, more variety, adequate supplies and a fair market between the three countries. Trump is sure as hell, he is going to fix that. His tariffs will greatly increase the costs for American construction and products made with steel. He is trying to put thousands of Canadian steelworkers out of work in Hamilton and Sault Ste. Marie but will jeopardize the jobs of even more in Pittsburgh and Gary, Indiana.

Trump’ followers will likely pay the higher cost for their aluminum beer cans. Canada’ aluminum smelters are located in the middle of an area of the cheapest hydro power production in North America and will carry on regardless.

Trump is waiting for Canadians to retaliate to the repeated tariff challenges for soft-wood lumber, dairy products and now aluminum and steel. He wants a trade war. He needs Canadian retaliation to get approval in his country for his trade war. It would be the end of NAFTA. That is why Canada is carefully counting to ten each time the bully makes a move.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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