Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

The populism of the coronavirus.

Saturday, April 18th, 2020

We live in an age of populist political solutions but we never expected to have to deal with a populist pandemic. The problem is that a populism pandemic is blind. It strikes the rich and powerful one per cent as easily as the person in poverty. It can kill the old and infirm and the very young, and, carelessly, many in between. It is a leveler.

But it is how the politicians respond to the concerns and needs of their populations at this time that tells you much about them. Their grades are there for all to see.

For that man-child, Trump, in the American White House, his ditty for the day is. “Pandemic, pandemic go away, little Donald wants to play.”

Did you ever expect to see a subdued prime minister such as Boris Johnson in the United Kingdom? He looked a bit rocky after his harrowing experience with covid-19. We will have to wait to see if he learned anything.

Canada’s prime minister sits in the cat bird seat at Rideau Cottage, the nation’s media at his beck and call. His elitist solutions to a financial fix are still allowing hundreds of thousands of Canadians to slip through the sewer grates—the detritus of Canadian humanity. And it is at a time when Bell Canada and other telecommunications companies are reaping the profits—encouraging others to raise prices and profiteer from the silent death.

And then there are the phonies filling in for premiers in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan. Their bluster and promises are as hollow as their complaints about reaping the results of inadequate support and control of the long-term care facilities for the old and the frail and the incurable and incompetent in our society. The provinces promote inadequate facilities and pay the caregivers next to nothing—all in the interest of higher profits for their supporters.

Yes, we do measure our society on our treatment of the very young and the very old and those who cannot help themselves. This populist pandemic has found us wanting.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

The impatience of Donald Trump.

Thursday, April 16th, 2020

While Canadians have mostly been enjoying the unusual unanimity of their federal and provincial leaders in this time of the pandemic, the situation in the U.S. is reversed. In a frightening replay of the Spanish flu of 100 years ago, the states and their federal government are fighting their own battles. Last time, about 675,000 Americans died. With today’s modern medicine, only 20,000 Americans have died from covid-19, so far. President Trump is impatient for it to be over and wants to declare the pandemic has been beaten.

With the patchwork solutions—or lack of solutions—by the various states, there is no way to reasonably predict any resolution of the pandemic in the country. President Trump will have to keep moving his end dates. He blithely missed his first prediction of Easter. Undaunted, the blowhard-in-chief has now predicted the end of the pandemic is the end of April. He will be likely to keep moving his dates and his followers will believe his excuses.

What he really should be thinking about is the need for the states to agree to mail-in ballots for the November election. The reality is that the Americans are likely to want to vote in unprecedented numbers in November. And if the recent Wisconsin primary experience is any indication, the election officials will be loath to help people mark their ballots. Long line-ups with angry, frustrated voters are not a good idea.

If Trump continues to move his forecast to end of the pandemic, month by month, it could even shake the confidence of some of his followers. If someone lies to you for eight months in a row, would you not be taking his opinion for what it is worth—nothing.

What is really concerning in all of this is that Donald Trump has available to him some of the best medical science laboratories in the world and some of the finest minds in the medical sciences. If he would just listen to these experts for a change, think of the good he could do.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

A man and his ideas.

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

Bernie Sanders has taken himself out of the race for the democratic nomination for president. He left his legacy behind. The Vermont senator is probably tired but he can be very proud of what he achieved. He left most of the pundits, arguing about the policies on which presumptive candidate Joe Biden will have to run on this fall and the future of America’s democratic party.

All the party is focused on at this time is making sure presumptive candidate Joe Biden defeats incumbent U.S. president Donald Trump. It has little to do with any strong showing by Biden. It is more a choice of what Sanders was proposing that can carry the day. If Biden, for example, forgets a government run, universal health care system, the voters might, in turn, forget him.

It is the same with the proposed minimum wage. If there is one idea that all voters can understand, it is having a minimum wage that is also one on which people can live. Sure, the republicans can rail against this socialism all they like but voters who are motivated by the idea are more likely to vote than voters who do not care.

Biden’s greatest problem is in bringing out the younger voters. He has to motivate them with ideas not the picture of him in the White House. Much is being said about the geriatric candidates for the presidency but ideas can bridge that age gap. Besides, it is not an argument at this stage. The two major party candidates for president will both be in their 70s and it is a little late to do anything about that.

It was amusing the other day in reading some e-mail threads of conversations on the American side of my family. The writer was proposing that candidates for president should only be between 35 and 65 years of age. And here I had always considered the requirement to be at least 35 was highly discriminatory. And now they want to also discriminate against seniors?

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

The lost year.

Thursday, April 9th, 2020

It was when sitting through the excruciating ignorance of a Donald Trump briefing with his Gong Show covid-19 crew that it occurred to me. With this kind of leadership in the U.S., the country will be lucky to be out of the woods before Christmas, 2020. North Americans still have most of a lost year ahead of us. And here was forecaster-in-chief Trump telling the American audience that there could be a turn-around by Easter!

I have an image in mind of a republican senator sitting reading a report on the numbers of constituents who are dying of covid-19. He, or she, is asking: ‘Why didn’t I impeach when I had a chance?’

But we still have close to a year of pain to endure. We could be on the backside of the first wave of the disease by summer. How many months will we need to physically impede a second wave from causing more deaths. And what about the possibility of a third wave?

Of course, the optimists among us are hoping for a vaccine. You do not want to tell these people that we have not even come up with a vaccine for SARS yet. Vaccines take a lot of time and patience and many failures along the way. There is a remarkable world-wide effort at this time but in the meantime, the disease is running its course. Let’s just try to stay out of its way.

The last time a virus of this type ran rampant around the world was the Spanish flu (H1N1) that killed indiscriminately from the First World War until into the mid 1920s. The reason the U.S. was so ill prepared at that time, was the war was not yet over and there was no national direction to the effort to fight the disease. With about a third of the population catching the disease in Canada, 50,000 Canadians died. In the U.S. (where the disease is believed to have its start) it killed 675,000.

What the U.S. is once again showing the world is that a poorly co-ordinated, irrational response to the disease is not the answer.

And do not even bother to replace common sense with make-believe surgical masks. The only non-medical personnel who need masks are the people who are showing symptoms of covid-19 and are on the way to get medical help.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

What Value Trust?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020

Do you trust U.S. president Donald Trump? Why would you when his actions are erratic, his decisions changeable, his sources of information questionable and his attention span so limited? In approving the revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), did the parliamentarians consider this man’s weaknesses and frequent whims? They might have, if they understood the executive power he wields over American foreign trade.

The reason the first version of NAFTA worked so well for Canada is that the Americans wanted guaranteed access to Canada’s resources such as the tar sands and grandfathered the Auto Pact in exchange.

It was a few years until the fracking for oil in the U.S. proved that the U.S. was actually self-sufficient in oil resources. At the same time, Eastern Canada had rebuilt its manufacturing to supply auto parts and was attracting auto assembly operations from Asia. The Americans felt the rules of origin in NAFTA were under threat. What started as ruffled feathers over soft-wood lumber on the west coast became steel and aluminum barriers in the east. Donald Trump saw the free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico as an easy target in stirring dissent with the status quo in political America.

When Trump found recently that he was in the cross-hairs for not managing the panic in the U.S., he saw a chance to lay blame on 3M for selling critical N95 surgical masks to Canada and Latin American countries. Despite the new NAFTA agreement, that he had congress approve, Trump used his executive power to stop shipments to Canada and others outside the U.S. This was also despite the fact that the major material for these masks comes from Canada. Trump was very lucky that the Canadian government did not choose to retaliate.

But that is the trust that countries place in trade agreements. The agreements are not just for sunny days. Situations change, needs change but the countries that make these deals have to be able to trust their trading partners. You do not make unilateral changes. A dire need on one side of a border can be just as dire as the need on the other side. And it is in times such as this that the unilateral actions of one country can be long remembered by the population of the other.

Trust cannot be written. It can only be earned.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Can a conman cure a coronavirus?

Friday, March 27th, 2020

U.S. president Donald Trump is impatient with the progress in curing covid-19. As a perpetual con artist, he will grasp at any straw as a solution. It is his nature. It is what also makes him a continuing pain in the ass in politics.

Trump is deluding his followers and nobody else listens to him. He has a feeling for a random solution—when the World Health Organization is showing 465 studies in process in reputable hospitals and universities around the world. He wants the solution to be found in America. Does he want his country to profit from the solution? The rest of the world could care less who comes up with the solution. Just do it!

And the Donald thinks the solution to covid-19 will be found by Easter?

Even if we found the answer today, we could not have the first plant manufacturing the serum ramped up to full production before the end of April. And then ‘boys and girls,’ you can be out playing together in the sunshine?

The only good news in that scenario would be that we could have Mr. Trump out of office and a new U.S. president inaugurated as soon as next January.

But turn the tables and consider the problems if we have not solved covid-19 by November? The democratic convention could be no problem. All the voting and hoopla can be live streamed into the computers and TVs of the nation. There is no need for any democrats to meet face to face.

But Americans would be left with the problem of Donald Trump. If we have not reached the turn-around on the pandemic by then, the silly bugger might think he has to cancel the election. Ponder that!

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Trudeau is in the catbird seat.

Saturday, March 21st, 2020

Canadians have never seen anyone so well positioned at the moment than prime minister Justin Trudeau. Popping in an out of Rideau Cottage like a cuckoo in a clock, the PM has the stage to himself. The news media await him. In his self-imposed isolation and working from home, to care for his wife and family, he is setting the scene for what can be a very long lock-down of our country.

It should be explained that the ‘catbird’ seat is an idiomatic American political expression for being in a position of importance when needed. And Trudeau has full advantage of the situation.

The first challenge to our government is to lower the curve of incidence of the disease while science struggles to find a cure. And next we have to keep the economy from a complete collapse. We will be paying for this pandemic for years to come.

What worries me is the number of my fellow Canadians who are falling through the cracks in what are still elitist solutions. Trudeau, his finance minister Morneau and Ontario premier Ford are all elitists and do not seem to understand the real needs of a varied society. I do not want to keep beating a dying horse here but they do not seem to be aware that there are marginalized people out there who are looking more desperate all the time.

Looking at what detail is available in some of these elitist solutions, is not a pleasing experience. Take the deferral of mortgages. That sure is a nice touch for the couple who were going to be evicted tomorrow. The only problem is that they still have to pay eventually and there will be additional costs for more interest. You do not get the lowest interest rates on mortgages.

At least we are in better shape than Americans. It looks like that jerk Trump has driven the American bus straight into a full-blown depression. The richest country in the world has been felled by a coronavirus.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Bridging the American Divide.

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

The democratic party achieved a breakthrough of sorts last weekend in Las Vegas. It was a win for leftist Bernie Sanders and was the first clear indication of why Sanders is the answer to Trump. It also looks like the first proof that the old-time democrats need to draw up their sphincters and recognize that social democracy is their future.

For the first time last weekend, we saw Latinos, blacks and other thinking Americans coalesce behind the man who believes in the same type of America as they dream about. It is these Americans, as well as youth and women standing up against the billionaires of privilege.

Bloomberg’s billions did not impress them. Trump is but an entertainment for the vacuous of middle America. Trump seeks to divide people while social democracy can bring them together.

No country should ever allow its billionaires to define it for their own greed. A nation is for the benefit of all peoples and their future.

But be warned. The stronger the delegate strength that the Sanders team can put together, the stronger will be the democrats heading home from the convention, committed and together vowing to rid America of the scourge of Trump.

It will be a new beginning. It will be an executive of government by and of the people. It will spell an end to the challenges against women’s rights. It will open opportunities for the forgotten of America. It will mean government-run Medicare for all. Nobody left behind.

Americans could usher in a new beginning without bigotry, without discrimination and prove once again to be a leader among nations. It will be a world where America is listened to and respected, Americans will enjoy a new security, a time to look beyond that daily search for trust in today and the future.

In the four years of the Sanders Presidency, there will not be much time but it will herald a new attitude. It will give the country time to reform its politics and decide what is important.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Major moments in life.

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

No doubt each of us has had one or more major moments in life that help to define us. I was wondering about that during the recent State of the Union address by Donald Trump. It seems to be one of his many excesses that define his presidency.

I thought he reached the ultimate in political overdoing it when he introduced one of the few remaining Tuskegee airmen from World War II in a U.S. Airforce uniform whom he had promoted to (honorary) general.

What was wrong was that the general is 100 years old and Trump was so obviously pandering to the black vote.

In an interesting counterpoint, Trump also had his wife on the balcony to put a medal on radio trash-talk host Rush Limbaugh. While we can all sympathise with someone newly diagnosed with cancer, Limbaugh has really had enough years of preaching to the ignorant of America. When he goes to meet his maker, let us hope that the Lord does not pitch him back.

In each case, Trump had overdone it. It was like the rest of the overly long and less than accurate spiel that was not so much the state of the nation as the state of a sick and deluded mind.

You listen to Trump for a while and you expect his next claim to be that he made the sun shine. Yes, people are working in America. Many are employed at jobs at below a living wage. They are working at jobs that make money for Mr. Trump’s fellow climate change deniers. Millions are still working with no guarantee of health benefits.

Many Americans seem unaware that a critical part of the state of their nation is its relations with other countries. While there was reference to trade and the new deal with Canada and Mexico, there was nothing to help Americans understand the North American pact.

Frankly, Mexicans have a right to be more than annoyed at the continued insults to their country by Trump and the building of his fence. He has earned a reputation for the U.S.A. throughout the Americas for being bigoted, cruel and selfish. America does not do well by Donald Trump.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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

Can an atheist claim ‘divine right?

Saturday, February 1st, 2020

This might not be a theological question. How can a well-known American lawyer stand in front of the senate and the nation and tell us a man elected by the self-serving rabble of America, is really the choice of God? When Alan Dershowitz defended Donald Trump in his senate trial by claiming that he was not guilty of abuse of office because of his divine right as president, he held the country up to ridicule by the rest of the world.

But the problem with God selecting Mr. Trump to be the leader of the world is not for him to be the next Noah and build an ark. Donald Trump is the flood.

Thankfully, the white house will not float. Nor will any of the Trump pleasure palaces up and down the east coast of America.

The last English-speaking person to be defended on the claim of divine right of kings was Charles 1 of England. A week or so after using that defence, Charles stepped out a window and they chopped off his head.

Since they stopped beheading kings with delusions, we have been more practical about this divine right business. What it comes down to in today’s world is a basic contract. If you choose, or a party chooses you to run for a certain political position, there is a usually a defined role applied in that position. Nobody gets a carte blanche to do as they wish in any position. It would not make sense.

The theory is that the public purse pays you a defined amount during the contract to carry out the job. No matter how high up the position and generous the salary, nobody pays you to break the law. There is no place in this contract that allows God to intercede and bestow additional powers on you or enable God to forgive you your crimes.

We do have to admit though that Donald Trump has led something of a charmed life. There are people who consider him a thief and a scoundrel. He is a womanizer and person who has been known to scoff at those who obey the Ten Commandments. Maybe, it is about time, God got in a few licks of His own.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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