Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

Pompeo’s Rebellion.

Saturday, December 8th, 2018

It makes you wish you were there to see the look of astonishment on the European’s faces as American secretary of state Mike Pompeo explained his version of Donald Trump’s ‘Brave New World.’ It happened last week in Brussels. It might have contradicted the agreement Mr. Trump made with China’s president Xi Jinping a few days before in Argentina but since nobody on the Trump team ever talks from the same play book, why start now?

Pompeo pompously postulated that in Donald Trump’s world, no bilateral or multi-lateral agreement between the U.S. and other nations is sacrosanct. It seems as head of this brave new world order, Mr. Trump can change or jettison agreements with other countries at will. (And he does, as Canadians have discovered.)

Mr. Pompeo explained that this onerous role Mr. Trump has taken on for himself is fitting in a new liberal(?) world order. It seems Mr. Trump can unilaterally decide which agreement or treaty should or should not be honoured.

The Europeans are still mulling over president Trump dumping the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal made by a Pompeo predecessor, former secretary of state John Kerry. The European Union has strongly supported those two agreements and feel betrayed by the Trump’s cavalier and unilateral decision to end American participation. In a speech in the United States recently, a European Union spokesman said it was more like a “rule of the jungle replacing a rule of law.”

What Pompeo was really doing in his speech which, at best, drew some polite applause, was to criticize the European Union as a supranational body interfering in the wishes of member states. He mentioned the UK’s Brexit as an example of the problem—which surprised the Europeans who knew far more about that situation than did the American.

In Pompeo’s pompous ‘Brave New World of Mr. Trump’ there is one constant impediment to this world of liberal co-operation and vision: Mr. Trump himself.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

American capitalism betrays us.

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

Since 1908, when Sam McLaughlin started building auto bodies in Oshawa for William Durant’s Buicks, Canada has been part of what became General Motors. Through good times and bad times, in World Wars and in boom times Canadians have supported GM. Today, we stand betrayed.

The relationship was always a consideration through the Auto Pact and the first Canada-U.S. free trade agreement and then the North American Free Trade Agreement. We always trusted General Motors. It was always a consideration. We willingly put up the loans that GM needed to survive the American debacle of capitalism in 2008.

We should have been alerted when General Motors did not take up all the incentives the previous Ontario government was offering for the development of electric cars. To now say that Canada cannot be part of the electric trend is insulting.

But we know that American capitalism is uncaring. American industry is an oligarchy without morals. It cares not for honour.

American capitalism funded Donald Trump as president. American capitalism and American politics share an unholy corruption that works against the real needs of the American masses.

And America is a land that insults and belittles its neighbours. It is a land that references its Gods but is steeped in bigotry. It is a land that corrupts politicians, police and parsons. It is where lawyers are amused by the overwhelming corruption.

Canadians spent a long time struggling with the confusion of negotiating a better free trade agreement. They were dealing with public servants who also had to struggle with their own leadership.

But the point all along was that such a deal has to be based on fairness, not greed. It must be based on honesty, not advantage. It needs to be based on all parties building something better together.

But General Motors’ oligarchs have wiped away the frosting on the cake. They have told those Canadians: Fuck you.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

And a possum shall lead them.

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

Are you old enough to remember American Walt Kelly’s sage words: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”? And if you knew what those words meant, there is still hope. Cartoonist Kelly died in 1973 but people still make pilgrimages to the Okefenokee Swamp to seek the wisdom of his possum.

Maybe it was just an up-dated Pogo that was the inspiration for Master Yoda in the Star Wars series.

But it was the tight mid-term races in Florida and Georgia that made me think of Walt Kelly’s denizens of the Okefenokee. The swamp area straddles the north-south border of the two states and encompasses more than 1700 square kilometres of wetlands.  Despite the Okefenokee being mostly protected under federal and state parks, it continues to be polluted by inconsiderate tourists and locals who consider the parks theirs to despoil. That must be like the difference between declaring an area a protected wetland and providing the funds to help protect it.

It is also similar to the mid-term election recounts that came down heavily on the side of the people doing the recounts.

Someone needs to explain the American electoral system to me. How is that so different from the system in Russia where Mr. Putin and his friends count their own ballots? At least in Russia, they do not say that the opponent lost by less than one per cent. That just rubs salt in the already grievous wound.

Somehow, the results of those American mid-term elections still feel like one-step forward and two-steps back. There is a strong feeling that the status quo prevailed.

Yes, we have been told that things will be different with a democrat-controlled House of Representatives. Somehow, we expect there can be no guarantee of that.

In two years, there will be another election in the U.S. of A. We expect the Republicans will be too cowed or too stupid to try to dump Trump. Will he run for re-election with another horde at the gates of America? Or will another incident just happen that will set him up? Will bigotry continue to work for him? Will nobody call him out for his lies and what an ass he is?  Or was Pogo right all along: the enemy is us.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Underlining the ignorance of Trump.

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump is but an immature child playing at being the leader of the most powerful nation on earth. The point was so perfectly positioned the other day for all to understand by French President Emmanuel Macron. Vive la France!

It is when as a tourist you stand under the majesty of the Arc de Triomphe, trying to blot out the incessant horns of vehicles caught in the endless route of that traffic circle, that you understand the pride of the French. Macron was destined to say what he did in that setting.

The president named no names but listeners, including Donald Trump, could only add his name to each indictment. Macron told the world leaders in attendance that “patriotism is exactly the opposite of nationalism.” It was his belief that the millions killed in War I fought against the selfishness of nations fighting only in their own interest.

Macron denounced nations who stepped away from their treaties. He denounced those who put their own interests first. He believes it is their moral values that nations are denying in this way.

Mind you, after listening to Trump’s diatribes for the Deplorables during his run-up to the mid-term elections, you would assume those Americans had no moral values anyway. And the mixed results of those elections lead you to question both the common sense of the voters and the morals of the elected.

In an interesting follow-through to the French president’s speech, Canada’s Justin Trudeau took part in a peace forum where he put in a strong defence for the news media in their independent role of defending society’s institutions. He said that attacking the news media only fuels the cynicism that citizens have to all institutions that are there to protect us as citizens.

The world leaders had gathered in Paris to mark the 100 years since the armistice that ended World War I, also known as the Great War and as the War to End All Wars—it did not.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The Hordes are in the House.

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

Donald Trump can stop worrying about the hordes heading north in Mexico. They served their purpose during the run-up to the mid-terms. They gave him a target for his bigotry. And it worked for him. It brought out a streak of meanness and uncaring in Americans.

But the mid-term elections also left President Trump with a divided Congress. With no ability to finesse, he is now reliant on others to get his agenda—such as it is—through Congress.

But do not assume this will leave Trump a lame duck president for the next two years. The person who controls the White House can cause a lot of trouble. Pity the soldiers camped on the Mexican border. Pity the news media condemned to reading those maniacal tweets from Trump.

What everyone will be waiting for in the next two years is the sorting out of the leadership of the Democratic Party. This is a party that needs to restore the honour in being liberal. It is a party that has to recast a reform agenda that people can understand. And the party has to lead, not follow.

And a refreshed, renewed and reformed Democratic Party has to defeat Trump’s lies with truth. It is critical that America restore its credibility with the rest of the world. Americans have to be sold on the need to look outward at a complex and concerned world.

And, given the opportunity, they might want to help save that world from global warming. By all of us doing the bit that we can, we can save our world.

It is really too bad that Donald Trump became president of the United States at a time when traditional news media are in decline. Trump is a liar and perpetual prevaricator and this is a problem that needs continual analysis and denial. To give him any freedom because of a weakened news media is license to prevaricate and confuse the deplorables and create serious problems for America and the world.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The Fall of the House of Trump.

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

It might have been the beginning of the end we saw the other day. Donald Trump’s words on the tragedy in Pittsburgh were the final bullets in a fool’s arsenal that ricocheted around the world. He complained that there would not have been the deaths involved if the synagogue had an armed guard at the door.

If any place of worship, anywhere, feels it needs an armed guard, there is something seriously wrong in that society. And if children cannot go to school safely, that society is failing its most precious assets. There is no excuse.

Too many people are describing the current situation in the United States of America as the demise of America as a world leader. It has traded its democracy for a tin-pot dictator. It is following him in a downhill path to isolation, to xenophobia, tariff barriers and consorting with fellow dictators.

You have to wonder who motivated the current march north by refugees from Honduras and other Central American countries? The timing is suspect because Donald Trump can now tell his claque that the hoards are at the gates. He is sending more soldiers to defend the borders than there are marchers—who are many weeks from the American border.

(Though somebody should compliment the Mexicans on their hospitality and caring about these people.)

But the American mid-term elections are next week and that should tell the tale. There is little information available as to which side might prevail in the elections. Nobody seems to have much hope for the Senate elections but there is a strong possibility of the House of Representatives ending up with a democratic majority.

What occurs to me is that if the democrats just had some leadership, they could win both houses of Congress. It is hard to imagine that the majority of Americans would want to give Donald another two years of free rein in Washington. Has he not done enough damage to America, to other countries that Americans could count on as friends and to democracy around the world?

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Trump’s deniers call for the ‘End of Times.’

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

And here we thought the Christian Bible was there to forecast the End of Times. The Donald Trump administration in Washington has taken over in the forecasting business. They appear to believe that the End of Times is set for the year 2100. They are so convinced of this date that they are foregoing any further efforts at protecting our environment or efforts at reducing carbon emissions. The advice they give to Americans is ‘live it up and pollute as you wish and forget about the future of our earth.’

Hey, I am serious here! Our only hope is that this announcement was not by anyone at the Environmental Protection Agency. Would you believe it was reported as buried deep in a 500-page environmental impact report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration? The report was likely written to justify President Trump’s order to freeze fuel efficiency requirements for autos and trucks built after 2020.

While it is hard to imagine anyone writing this report in a serious manner, it goes to prove that people will go to some lengths to keep their job.

The report claimed that since the average temperature of the earth will rise by four degrees Celsius by the end of this century anyway, why bother with further savings in carbon emissions? The writer of the report seemed to conclude that any uptick in carbon dioxide by U.S. cars and trucks after 2020 would make no significant difference.

President Trump had decided to take the U.S.A. out of the Paris Agreement on the environment when he first took office. Since then he has opened up unrestricted coal mining and approved highly polluting pipelines such as the Keystone XL from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast. Mind you, America already had the distinction of being the most polluting country per capita in the world.

But we will solve all of that with the catastrophic coming of the End of Times. Our world will die with many a whimper as the icecaps melt, the seas encroach on our coastal cities and the unleashed storms and other extremes of intemperate weather challenge our ability to grow the food to feed ourselves. It will be too bad that Mr. Trump will not be there to answer for his ignorance.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Donald Trump’s Win?

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

We might as well let Donald Trump think he won. You hate to give a bully the victory but he would just go away and pout if we did not. What he really got was the right to rename the deal. That way, he can tell his claque that he got rid of NAFTA. It is now called the United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USMCA). It sounds like a branch of the United States Marine Corp, but what the heck—as long as it works for everybody involved.

It might be that Canada let the U.S. in on a bit of its milk market but the farmers can easily be compensated for that small encroachment. It leaves the fresh milk market to Canada’s farmers and that is the important part for consumers.

I would say it is a win for Justin Trudeau and his foreign affairs minister. They held the course throughout the negotiations. They did not let Trump’s irresponsible twits rattle them and they held the course to the end when the Americans had to agree to the deal or look terribly stupid.

The best part of the win was Canada sticking to its guns on bringing Mexican auto-worker wages into line. The $16 minimum wage for the Mexicans making autos and trucks is a huge jump and the impact it will have in Mexico will change that country a great deal. It will help drive up the costs of a holiday in Mexico for Americans and Canadians but that is fair too!

The other part of the deal that was vital to Canada was the continuation of the dispute settlement clause as it was in the original deal. The idea of submitting disputes to America’s highly politicized judicial system was a guarantee of constant harassment.

It also looks like Canada came out ahead on the automobile part of the deal. It looks like we have strengthened our position on auto parts and there are fewer concerns about the bleeding off of final assembly.

All in all, we can have the pleasure of looking south and giving Mr. Trump what Americans often refer to as the Canadian salute. Middle finger at the ready…go!

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

Dragging down the dialogue.

Friday, September 28th, 2018

That Donald Trump is at it again. The diplomats laughed at him in the United Nations in New York the other day. Prime minister Justin Trudeau of Canada was walking by in the U.N. building the next day and did not want add to the American president’s discomfort and stopped to commiserate. Trump brushed him off.

It could have been left at that. It is just that Donald Trump never knows when it is best to shut up. In a no-holds-barred bear baiting with the news media the next day, where the media was the bear, Trump insulted the chief Canadian negotiator on the NAFTA file, lied about and maligned Canada’s prime minister and made it almost impossible for America’s chief negotiator to bring anything positive to the NAFTA table in future negotiations.

It begs the question as to whether there is any point to further discussion of the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the United States?

The point of this is that Mr. Trump knows that the Canadians are not going to tell him to ‘Get Stuffed.’ They, of course, know they have a right to tell him to but they are also being diplomatic and it is inappropriate for prime ministers and foreign ministers to tell the head of another nation to ‘Get Stuffed.’ No nation has gone to war over the head of the nation being told to ‘Get Stuffed,’ though there could always be a first time.

In all my years in politics and communications, this is the first time I have seriously felt that it is time to break with the diplomatic protocols and call a spade a spade.

There is no question but that Donald Trump is enjoying spewing all this garbage because he knows he can get away with it.

It is to Canada’s credit that our negotiators and prime minister have put up with this crap from Trump without responding in kind. Never let it be said that Canada walked away from NAFTA because of that disgusting Donald Trump.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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

The con of the carnival barker.

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

I remember as a child listening with awe to carnival barkers. I had learned young that the bearded lady and world’s tallest man were just hot air to impress the gullible. What impressed me even then was the glibness and ease with which the con man lied to the public. It is the likely reason I have for continuing to come back to writing about that bastard Donald Trump.

Listening to him and his sycophant the other day trying to bully Canada’s negotiators into signing on to their NAFTA terms, left me cold and angry. And I would hardly be the only Canadian to feel that way. We never know from day to day or week to week as Canada’s negotiators refuse to negotiate in public and Mr. Trump does not know when to stop tweeting.

While P.T. Barnum might or might not have said there is a sucker born every minute, Mr. Trump seems to have no problem finding lots of them to listen to his rants, his lies, and his crudity. This man-child and his tantrums might confound the diplomat confronted by the irrational but anyone who has any experience with a wayward child knows some ways to handle it.

First of all, somebody has to be the adult in the room. You can hardly send Trump for a time-out if you cannot take his smart phone away from him. He is certainly too big to spank—and he might like it. He needs to be told in plain language what will happen if he carries through with his foolish threats. He has to realize what will happen if he kills NAFTA.

Trump could leave a legacy as the guy who bankrupted General Motors. Ford would just be a footnote as another casualty in that scenario.

But the best guess is that Trump needs a win of some sort to show his supporters before the mid-term elections. He is obviously concerned that without something going his way, he could lose the House to the democrats—and maybe even the Senate. Without the republican support, Trump can do little and he would face the next two years in the White Hose as a lame duck.

The thing for our negotiators is to remember that it is Trump’s deadline that is closing in on him. Our people can take their time, be thorough, be fair and be firm. We cannot let the carnival barker con us.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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