Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

Shilling for the politicos.

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Full disclosure requires me to admit that I was a political spin doctor before I knew what a spin doctor was. I am not as proud of it as I should be. Maybe it is because I always felt embarrassed for people who claimed such expertise.

Case in point is Barbara and Murray Frum’s son David. He could never find anyone right-wing enough for him in Toronto, so David headed for the U.S. where he could be a spin doctor for President George W. Bush. The junior Bush was probably the dumbest president the U.S. had ever produced before Donald Trump. Frum proudly told anyone that he was the one who wrote the “Axis of Evil” line in George W’s State of the Union address in 2002. He even wrote a book calling George W ‘The Right Man.’

Sure, George W might have gone to Harvard and Yale, he still did the stupidest thing he could have done in going to war over some mythical weapons of mass destruction. One thing you learn early in politics is that a candidate’s education does not guarantee s/he will not do something stupid.

And being a spin doctor does not mean that you will always give the incident the right spin. I remember one evening, a Toronto Star reporter entertaining half the passengers on a full Air Canada DC9 from Ottawa lampooning a statement from me, trying to rescue the Liberal Party from embarrassment. My effort was caught on national television. Luckily, it was the unintended but amusing twist on the story that saved the day.

The problem with Frum is that he is not in the fawning clack around Donald Trump. He made it clear from the beginning that he would prefer to vote for a real politico such as Hillary Clinton.

But that sorry bunch around Donald Trump are hardly spin doctors. They are users. They are using Trump for their own agenda. They would turn on him in a second. Even the Trump progeny are referred to in the Wolff’s Fire and Fury as dim and spoiled. Trump treats his wife as arm candy and it is obvious she despises him for it.

And yet an obviously intelligent person such as Rex Tillerson remains as Secretary of State in a cabinet made up of a cluster of clowns. Is it a sense of duty to the nation that keeps him on the job? I would spin it that way.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

In Trump land, I’ll make my stand.

Sunday, January 14th, 2018

For some reason, the tune for “Dixie” was running through my mind this morning as I read of the latest exploits of U.S. President Donald Trump. We did know he was a racist—did we not? We did know he was not fit to appear in polite company—did we not? So why is everyone surprised at his latest outburst about other countries? Can he even spell ‘diplomacy’?

Maybe the Brits have the better idea. No, not the idea of lines of proper Englishmen and their ladies mooning Mr. Trump. You simply withdraw the invitation to visit the Queen. The lady has enough problems without having to put up with a clod such as Trump.

And just how many lines of copy can the writers come up with about the American President referring to some struggling countries as “shit holes”? And he sure embarrassed the Norwegians. They could not have liked the racial slur with its comparison of them.

Donald Trump could be the first American President to be declared ‘personna non grata’ in both the United Kingdom and half of Africa. Just wait until he tries to plan a holiday off-shore and the Secret Service explains that there is no place safe for him. I was thinking of the Aga Khan’s private island in the Bahamas but you have to remember that Ismaili leader is a Muslim. Good luck on that!

The most disturbing after-shock of Mr. Trump’s racist rants are the mentally ill who consider his words as license for random attacks on people who might be Muslim. It must have been a very slow news day the other day when it was reported that man took after a child’s hijab with a pair of scissors. It turned out that the incident was just a child’s cry to not be seen as different. Yet, the attack made it all the way to  national and international news feeds. We now hear it was fake news

And we are blaming it all on Trump. He is telling his ignorant mob that it is alright to act out your racist tendencies. He is playing to the dregs of North American society with his ongoing racism. His Mexican wall continues to enrage Latinos as well as other clear-thinking Americans.

Next thing we know, Mr. Trump will have removed the New Colossus plaque from the Statue of Liberty. Trump has perverted the sonnet by Emma Lazarus for all the world to ridicule. He has extinguished “the lamp beside the golden door.”

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

No, no Oprah!

Friday, January 12th, 2018

The people advising Oprah Winfrey about going into politics seem to have as little knowledge about politics as does Donald Trump. We have seen many of these dilettantes over the years and experience says that no good comes of it.

And at this stage, Donald Trump can supply most of the reasons why not. A campaign for the American Democrat or Republican nomination for president is a year out of your life that you will always want back. And since Trump never believed he would win, it was a shallow and frustrating year that culminated in the shock of winning.

The only pleasure gained in that year was the adulation of the Trump camp followers. It was hard to tell if Trump found his voters or they found him. We laughed at his bikers. We made jokes about his holy rollers, the Tea Party and the American Gothic farmers. He gathered all those losers around him like a Messiah preaching to the multitude.

He had few delusions of their adjustment to the realities of life—but they loved him. He still goes back to that campaigning mode with those lumpen proletariat. They are so suited to each other.

The point is Ms. Winfrey, you lack the right followers. The housewives who watched you on daytime television are not all Democrats. Some of them are just lazy Republicans. You might have spoken well to the feelings of your peers in Hollywood last weekend. You might have dazzled your audience across the nation but your most important audience had more important things to do than tuning in to a self-congratulatory Hollywood love fest.

The people you need to be talking to today are the political apparatchiks who saw clips the next day and smiled knowingly. Nobody is saying that your heart is not in the right place or that you are dreaming in technicolour. Sure, it is doable. You can overcome the baggage you carry. You can likely raise the millions needed. You still have time to get out on the backroads of America and win the support needed. You are able to study the questions and develop the strategies. The remaining question is; are you ready to give up the life with which you are comfortable?

A campaign requires tireless dedication. You forego privacy and personal life. You learn to say what the listener wants to hear. Unlike Mr. Trump, you would learn the words of diplomacy. You would come into the job, still eager and vital. You would leave four or eight years later grey and drawn. You go into the job to do what is right and proper. When you leave, you can be proud to have kept the peace.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Tales of the Trump White House.

Friday, January 5th, 2018

The Brits have a saying that no gentleman is a hero to his valet. And in politics, all the apparatchik insiders are a form of valet. The politician has to hire carefully and fire even more carefully. We all have a book in us.

As Donald Trump has none of the instincts of a politician, we can observe that in his run up to the presidency he hired carelessly and fired casually. A case in point is senior strategist Stephen Bannon. The past and again head of Brietbart News, Bannon seems to be the hero in a tell-all book on the Trump Presidency by writer Michael Wolff.

Why Trump gave access to the White House to Wolff, is just another chapter in the incompetence of Donald Trump. Why he allied himself, even briefly, with Bannon, is another story. It seems Bannon still loves Trump but Trump seems to lack the same enthusiasm for his once confidant.

The good news is that all the juicy parts of the book are being broadcast by the news media and it will save us the time and expense of acquiring and reading the book.

Not that there is much new in the book. For a deputy chief of staff to say that dealing with Trump is like dealing with the whims of a child does not surprise us. Trump is childlike in his attention span and his choices.

What is causing the most consternation in the white House are the writer’s allegations against Donald Trump Junior. The claims that Junior was involved in negotiations with the Russians during the presidential campaign is going to have the FBI scurrying around to check out the story. The fact that Wolff claims Bannon fed him this story seems to make it less credible than more.

I particularly liked the excerpts about Melanie Trump. She so obviously hates her husband, it is easy to understand her reluctance to be trapped with him in the White House. The denials by her spokesperson are lame.

Maybe for a few days Trump will tweet vociferously about Bannon and the book but soon they will find him a new toy. If you really want to have a copy of the book, you will probably be able to buy it on the remainders shelf in the next six months. There will be more books about Trump out by then.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Trump’s Terrific Triumph?

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

We have been told that U.S. President Donald Trump wants to have another inauguration this month. This time he wants a proper count of all his supporters out in the cold of Washington and a second chance to do things right. This is despite all those writers who have summed Mr. Trump’s first year as a terrific triumph.

Even a writer as sedate as John Ibbitson of the Toronto Globe and Mail thinks President Trump ended 2017 as a winner. He actually believes that Trump has done a fine job of screwing things up. We do get the impression that Mr. Ibbitson is not a Trump fan.

But we are not giving Ibbitson high marks for humour. He seems serious when he says that Trump’s predecessors had built an orderly world since the Second World War and Mr. Trump is busy wrecking it. It might help if Mr. Ibbitson got out of his pajamas, went outside and looked around. If he can find this orderly world that Trump’s predecessors created at such great supposed expense to Americans, good luck to him.

Frankly, the fact that Trump has got this far into his presidency without starting a war is one hell of an accomplishment. If you just ignore his nocturnal twits, you might even think the guy is more peace loving than both of the Bushs—father and son.

And for Ibbitson to suggest that Trump has pushed America’s allies into spending more on defence has it backwards. They are under the impression that they need to improve their defenses against the U.S.A. With someone as erratic as Donald Trump, there is no telling what he might do as Commander-in-Chief.

The Globe and Mail writer seems to miss that point that what Trump does not understand, he does not like. Take the economics of trade. Trump called off American participation in the Trans-Pacific Pact without bothering to ask the experts. And he has no concept of the US$17 trillion in trade flowing between the three North American countries. All three countries benefit. Trump does not understand that the American economy will be hit the hardest if he cancels NAFTA.

What Trump really wants is longer holidays. He goes up and down the east coast staying at one or the other of his golf resorts. He actually gets the American people to pay out millions to his companies so that he can recuperate from the ardors of being President. He might be the only U.S. President that profits on the taxpayers’ generosity—and gullibility.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

A New Year rich in political opportunity.

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

This political junkie is looking forward to 2018. Starting with the Ontario election in June, Quebec scheduled for October 1 and then the American mid-term elections in November, there will be much on which to comment. The only recommendation we can make at this stage is to ignore the pollsters.

And one other suggestion at this stage is that you should be cautious about what you wish for. Much can happen over the year. Our moods and our priorities can easily change. Even our well-read Morning Line, issued five to six weeks before the vote, can see sea change.

While pollsters gain accuracy as the final polls get closer, it is their lack of people on the ground feeling the changes that jeopardize their accuracy. You have to be able to feel what voters are thinking.

The ups and downs of the Trudeau Liberal government in Ottawa is impacting the positions of both the Wynne Liberals in Ontario and the Couillard Liberals in Quebec. Both provincial parties are philosophically to the right of the federal party and yet each is being challenged by a more right wing party.

The mistake the Ontario Tories are making is that they are trying to prove they are at the political middle. Frankly, Ontario voters would be more inclined to vote for them if they were honest about being right wing.

But my neighbours and I in the riding of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte would dearly love to have a good Liberal candidate to support and defeat a puffed-up Patrick Brown who needs to be beaten—and can be beaten.

The situation in Quebec is quite different. Quebec Francophone voters tend to park their vote when asked by pollsters and the Coalition Avenir Québec seems to be the current parking choice. The thought of this right-wing bunch of separatists making it to the top spot next October is a sad comment on the condition of Quebec politics. It would be ideal if the threat gets Premier Couillard off his butt and into action.

The fun stuff south of the border will be in full swing after the Quebec election and U.S. politics will get most of our attention until the November vote. Change in the House in Washington is possible but just three additional Democrats in the Senate will do wonders in controlling Trump for the last two years of his Reign of Terror.

We are all looking forward to that!

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

The trying times of Trump.

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Canada’s prime minister told Global News the other day that there is “a level of unpredictability” to the current trade talks with the Americans and Mexicans. What is really amazing is that one man, on a whim, can be allowed to jeopardize US$17 trillion in annual trade between the three countries. And yet, he might. U.S. President Donald Trump could order an end to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) within the next couple months.

Trump will explain that it is because of the intransigence of the Canadians and the Mexicans that cancellation is the only option. That is likely true. The problem will really be that the unreasonable demands of the Trump administration made it impossible to agree.

To date, the NAFTA negotiations have been a charade. Proposal and counter-proposal have been met with a stone wall. Instead of a give and take of an honest deal between friends, this has been the sham of a real estate developer’s deal, attempting to maximize the potential for one party’s profit.

How can the Mexicans take it seriously with the continued threat of a wall of discrimination and hate between their country and America?

Canadians entered these negotiations as neighbours and friends and find themselves vilified as abusers and users.

But that light we are seeing at the end of Trump’s tunnel vision is the realization that he can do far more harm to the United States than he can do to Canada. While the U.S. administration has been busy alienating the rest of the world, Canada has been out there making friends. We can never entirely end our cross-border trade with the U.S. but we can certainly reduce our dependency on it.

But Trump is doing that for us. We read the other day that his next target before ending NAFTA itself is Canadian newsprint. Along with driving up the cost of new homes in the U.S. with Trump tariffs on soft-wood lumber, he wants to drive the marginal daily newspapers in the U.S. out of business. Then more of his followers will have to rely on Trump tweets for news.

Canada’s most serious failing in this Trumpian trade fiasco is to look like we care. The end of NAFTA is hardly the end of the world. We are an industrious and creative society. There is a six-month transition to the end of NAFTA and the only industry likely to be completely screwed is the automotive. That will take years to sort out and you can figure that General Motors will have more clout than foreign minister Chrystia Freeland—so let GM solve it! And they had better remember that Canada helped the company survive the last time the American economy collapsed.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Isn’t it supposed to get easier?

Friday, December 29th, 2017

With two years in office behind him, you would expect Justin Trudeau to be getting more adept at his job. He is not. This has been a year for criticisms, errors, lectures, let-downs and too many apologies. Were he with us, Justin’s father would not be pleased with his son’s performance. He would likely agree with us that the arrogance and elitism, his son has been exhibiting is hurting his performance.

If the fiasco with visiting the Aga Khan’s island last Christmas was limited to accepting a ride in the host’s helicopter, we could have laughed it off. It was Conflict Commissioner Mary Dawson who pointed out that Justin Trudeau had last seen the Ismaili Leader at his father’s funeral and their friendship had only become rekindled when the Aga Khan had a project in Canada that needed another $15 million in support that could be provided by the government. That had a bad smell.

What is also serious is Trudeau letting his finance minister take the opposition heat for his attempts at tax reform. If this is important enough to do, then you do it properly. Trudeau either had to fire Morneau or defend him. He did neither. He pushed him aside.

This writer has yet to forgive the prime minister for his support for pipelines that are proposed to transport diluted bitumen from the Athabasca and Cold Lake tar sands exploitation. That is in direct conflict to all his claims to protecting the world environment. He cannot have it both ways.

Our prime minister might think he is invulnerable but he cannot say he is standing up for Canada around the world and then abstain from the U.N. vote condemning the U.S. president’s promise to move the American embassy to Jerusalem. He just blew any chance of Canada taking its rightful seat on the United Nations Security Council in the next few years.

Trudeau’s excuse is probably that he did not want to annoy Donald Trump. Why not? That bastard does not respect people who will not stand up to him. We already know how Trump is trying to destroy any vestige of fair trade between our countries. Look what he did to Bombardier and our soft-wood lumber exports. You hardly use diplomatic language with a bully who does not use it himself.

To be fair to the prime minister, there are some programs of his government that have my approval. I’ll try to mention them sometime.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Trump trends to tyranny.

Tuesday, December 26th, 2017

No American President in living history has earned the thoroughness of study and the resulting derision as has Donald Trump. Soon to celebrate his first year in office, he has earned the enmity that he himself heaped on his opponents for that high office. He has let down the American people. He has lost the respect for that office earned by his predecessors. He has betrayed the American trust in democracy. Luckily Trump is still a tyrant in training.

It was the role he chose. His was a bitter campaign, based in his belief that he could only lose. He lacked the ground organization of the classy Clintons. He lacked the savvy political advisors and would not have listened to them anyway. He was damned as a womanizer. His lack of ethics was exposed. He flaunted his wealth and let nobody in on its details. He had none of the credentials considered needed for the highest office in the land. The news media hated him and he screamed ‘false news’ back at them. He was as shocked as everyone else when he won.

His transition to the White House reflected Trump’s lack of understanding or concern for the customs, rituals and exigencies of democracy. His rush to serve his base brought him in conflict with the courts and the limitations of the the checks and balances imposed on presidential power. He tried to rule by edict. He tried to use the powers of his office as though he was a tyrant with unlimited possibilities.

Those first months of his administration were a constant war with the news media and a truculent Congress. All it proved was that as much as he despised those Republicans in the House and Senate, he needed them to have his way. It was an imposition on his tyranny.

His solution was to give the Republicans what they wanted. He broke new ceilings on American debt, his tax cuts were extreme for business and the rich while offering short term cuts as a sop to the middle class. Myopic Republican politicos stuck their riders to the bill, adding further pain and suffering to those that their ideology leaves behind. Millions will suffer to enable the millionaire funders of Republicanism to add to their wealth.

Donald Trump signed with a flourish a flawed tax bill he had never read. As a tyrant, need he care?

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

By jingo, Trump’s a xenophobe.

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

In an era of social media on the Internet, people are having a hard time deciding what is suitable for private conversations and what is suitable for public discussions. Nobody illustrates the problem more effectively than the American President. Donald Trump seems to have it all backward.

Certainly, the most frightening aspect of Trump is his penchant for war. And, for a war-loving jingoist, he seems to have little understanding of what war involves. His childlike braggadocio and threats thrown at the dictator of North Korea are both unseemly and stupid.

But his xenophobic dislike and distrust for other countries is costing America its allies. How should the American Ambassador to the United Nations feel when she has to veto the United States being censored by every other Security Council member country over Mr. Trump’s wanting to move the U.S. Israeli embassy to Jerusalem?

He already has the entire Middle East rioting. He has infuriated the Mexicans, pissed off the Brits and Canadians, annoyed the Japanese, insulted the Chinese and brushed off the Russians. And the French President seems to think he could catch a communicable disease if he goes near him.

And the piece de resistance came the other day when the fool announced his security strategy to the generals who have to figure out how to implement it. Since he has such a limited vocabulary, Mr. Trump used the same language he used on the campaign trail over a year ago.

First of all, Trump tells them America is “in the game” and “America is going to win.” It is supposed that he meant some game other than ‘Tiddlywinks.’

Trump’s strategy is to first protect the homeland. Second, he wants to make lots of money—mostly for the rich. Somehow, he wants to demonstrate that peace is good. And fourth, he wants to advance America’s influence.

How the American generals are going to achieve any of this, is a matter on which we can all conjecture.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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