Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Waiting for Mr. Trump.

Monday, February 6th, 2017

The reporters and pundits are causing unnecessary concerns. Does anyone really believe that Justin Trudeau cannot handle a meeting with Donald Trump? What is to worry about? Trudeau meets Trump; each takes a couple selfies; they ask about the respective families; tell each other, we’ve got to get together for a state dinner sometime and kissy, kissy, goodbye. And then act coy with the media.

It is a no-brainer for both leaders. Is there anything that Donald Trump does not think he knows about Canada? Is there anything that Donald Trump might know about American history that school teacher Trudeau does not already know?

Do you think it might be a contest of egos? They both have lots of that. We have never seen Trump without a shirt but he is a lot older than Trudeau and arm-wrestling might be out. Nor would either care to try to outdrink the other. These guys have nothing in common. The possibility that Trump might be a billionaire is not something that would matter to Trudeau. He is comfortably off and would not be impressed. And he knows better billionaires.

And does Trump even know that Canada is a signatory to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)? Does he have a clue as to how the Canada-U.S. Auto Pact came about and what the almost 50-year old agreement means to both countries?

If Trump dares to tear up NAFTA, Americans are going to find that the fool is playing a zero-sum game. Trade is a two-way street. For every Canadian or Mexican he puts out of work, he can count on losing an American job. Trump could drive all of North America into a depression.

The truth is that Donald Trump is a bully. We all saw how he backed off when he met the Mexican President during last fall’s campaign. He gushed like a school girl when meeting British Prime Minister May recently. He will be hopelessly jealous of Trudeau’s relative youth and good looks.

But he does not seem to multi-task well. That can be beneficial to a business person who takes on one task at a time but the U.S. presidency requires an incumbent who can quickly move from one problem to the next. The Canadian’s visit will be a vague memory the day after they meet.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

The fix in foreign affairs.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

When Stéphane Dion was so unceremoniously dumped from foreign affairs by Prime Minister Trudeau, all most people could say was they hoped it worked. How would you feel if you were the new foreign affairs minister and the PM kept casting about for the advice needed to handle the situation in Washington? And how does anyone keep tabs on that fast-changing scene?

And it hardly matters a damn if our new Minister Chrystia Freeland knows all about Washington. If she does not understand Donald Trump, she is just going to be one more example of road-kill on the Beltway. Nor does it help if she has the keys to Foggy Bottom. (Foggy Bottom is an older area of the District of Columbia where the Department of State is located.) The bad news is that anyone of any importance at State Freeland might have known is gone. They were not fired. The department leadership listened to Trump, studied Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State and quit en masse.

And there is little hope for Freeland’s second line of defense, her media contacts. Those of her contacts still in the profession are busy digging their foxholes around the White House as Trump and his alternative facts people check their Ouija boards for the news facts of the day.

Frankly there is more reason for concern about our day to day relations in Washington with Trudeau appointee David MacNaughton heading up our embassy. After the pitiful performance MacNaughton turned in during the 2015 election campaign, his political pay-off should have been a poorly located shoe-shine stand on Sparks Street in Ottawa.

And if Trudeau is waiting anxiously for an invitation to meet Trump, frankly he should be busy that day. Trump has already shown his hand. With the Mexican president already having told Trump to get stuffed, Trump wants to make allies of those nice Canadians. What he also expects is a quid pro quo for approving the damn Keystone XL pipeline. Obviously, we need to convince the fool that it is more to his benefit than ours. He probably moved on it prematurely because he wants to keep Trudeau and Mexican President Peña Nieto from ganging up on him. He has probably been told by now that renegotiation of NAFTA would take from two to three years and would probably not benefit the U.S.

And Freeland could never pull a stunt with Trump such as she pulled in the deal with the European Union. She would be playing right into his hands. If she walked out on him, she would find herself declared persona non grata.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

May comes; May goes.

Monday, January 30th, 2017

Did you see that lovely picture of British Prime Minister Theresa May and President Donald Trump holding hands outside the West Wing? It was all the lady came to Washington to get. And it was all she wanted.

You really do not think anything substantive was agreed to, did you? It was entirely a public relations gesture for both parties. Trump had just been told to get stuffed by the president of Mexico. He needed some other country to reassure him that he really was the boss man in Washington. This guy is going to need constant reassurance.

May’s objective was to build some standing back home in Westminster. She is in nothing but trouble with the Brexit file in the Commons. If she cannot win a vote for her handling of the file, her entire house of cards collapses. Without getting the Brexit vote through the Commons, she can lose everything—not the least, her job.

But this lady is determined to hold on to her position. She is also much smarter than the late Baroness Thatcher. May’s handling of Trump was masterful. She played that misogynistic bastard like a Steinway. She eased him through the diplomatic rough spots until he was eating out of her hand. No doubt she hurried to her digs afterwards for a good bath.

But it is still a gamble for her to use the Trump in the way she did. The United Kingdom can hardly replace the billions of Euros in trade with Europe with some few U.S. dollars of growth some new trade with America might provide. And England would need a new Marshall Plan to pull it out of penury if the United Kingdom loses Scotland and Northern Ireland to the European Union. Imagine England and a dyspeptic Wales trying to survive as a quaint tourist attraction across the Channel from a thriving E. U.

May’s major problem is that her opposition will ask ‘so what’ if President Trump liked her? Will he remember her tomorrow when someone else catches his eye? The visit was nothing more than an exercise in optics. It worked, but for how long?

What Theresa May did not realize is that while she made Trump’s Best Friend Forever list, he has the attention span and loyalty of a sexually active 16-year old.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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

Orwell Observed.

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

There must be a dearth of honest work for lawyers these days. It seems more and more of them are devoting billable hours to being published. It must be part of their contract to get their firm noticed and to attract real lawyering work. One such example of this phenomenon is the recent op-ed in the Toronto Star by former Ontario premier as well as former interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada Bob Rae.

It seems Bob is also a reader and his op-ed provides an interesting discourse on the similarities between Donald Trump’s rather sketchily defined plans for America and the dystopian views of the British author who wrote under the pen name: George Orwell. Bob might as well make the observation that U.S. President Donald Trump has characteristics of the leader referred to as ‘Big Brother’ in Orwell’s book 1984.

While it is not our intention to spoil a good read for anybody, the entire point of the book seems to be to explain how those of us in the middle class of a rebellious or left-of-centre political bent can also come to love Big Brother.

Bob’s intent though is to show how President Trump—as Big Brother—knows what his people want and is providing for their desires. It has always been our opinion that Orwell purposely never defined Big Brother as the vagueness of his character could attract a greater cross section of the populace. The more flexible the politicians’ policies the bigger their success.

The trouble with Trump is that there is the strong possibility he is promising things that even the President of the United States cannot deliver. There is even a growing awareness that building that wall for Mexico is impractical. Big Brother would never be called to account for such an error.

What Bob finds disturbing though is the “dark, grim nature” of Trump’s view of America expressed in his inauguration address. Like Big Brother, he is the only person who can fight off this “carnage.” He is convinced that only he can save the nation because only he knows what the people want.

Bob finds it fascinating how many in business and politics are willing to placate Trump’s protectionist policies. He thinks that too many business people are trying to accommodate Trump’s views without realizing the ultimate harm they will cause.

What Bob Rae does not seem to realize is that Trump is hardly the first American President seeking to create a world dominated by America’s self interest. He is just the first to handle it so blatantly and badly.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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