Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

The Pathetic Pretenders.

Saturday, February 16th, 2019

Gilets jaunes (yellow vests) protestors are a particularly French phenomenon, as French law requires all automobiles be equipped one of those fluorescent vests in case of emergency. It made for a rather colourful, beehive-like mob scenes across France, when the emergency was determined to be the increase in taxes on gasoline and other real or imagined errors of the Macron government. The French do tend to take to the barricades when annoyed with their government.

But that does not suggest that they would want to franchise their form of protest to North Americans. Attempts to emulate the French passion for protest in Canada, have, so far, proved pathetic and immaterial.

The main difference is that the French right and left on the political spectrum can find themselves fending off ‘les flics’ (cops) together. In Canada, the fight would be between the right and left, and the cops would be trying to keep them apart.

Canadians might be better at picking up American themes when looking for a cause. The least successful in this regard were the wannabes in Toronto who picked up the American “Black Lives Matter” name but not the cause and tried to use it on this side of the border. They managed to dishonour what the name means in the U.S.

All they really managed to do here was annoy the local black community and then, ultimately, piss off the police and the Pride parade organizers. They were annoying, self-serving, trouble-makers who needed to find something useful to do.

And while you would expect that the Trump name would not travel well north of the U.S. border, he does have support here. There are the occasional covens that worship him, but so far, they have wisely kept their admiration to themselves.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Trump and Trudeau fail Venezuela.

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

Venezuela’s oil-based economy continues to collapse. The Americans are helping it collapse. And what the Canadian interest is, defies imagination. The corrupt and destructive Nicolás Maduro regime in the country, after the incompetence of the Hugo Chavez era, has created economic chaos. The world watches as China and the Russians pay lip service to supporting the Maduro regime.

One in ten of Venezuelans has already fled from their once stable country to neighbouring countries. The Americans keep imposing more sanctions that are causing increased suffering for the people. Millions are starving. Medicines are scarce or non-existent. The streets are full of hungry and angry people. The country is a powder keg ready to explode. And what the hell is Canada doing to really help?

Frankly the American interest in Venezuela is easier to understand. Venezuela has the world’s largest reserve of bitumen-based heavy crude oil that is far less polluting to refine into synthetic crude oil than Canada’s dirty tar sands bitumen. And the Venezuelan product is readily available to the Americans, being conveniently located on the south side of the Gulf of Mexico. The Americans would be crazy not to ensure their easy access to that cheap oil. Many of their Texas gulf coast refineries are set up to handle the Venezuelan bitumen. So, what do they use as sanctions? They refuse to buy or pay for the Venezuelan heavy crude!

While Maduro might have been busy stealing billions from the country, he has obviously been generous with his generals. Their continued loyalty to his regime is making new elections or a reasonable transition to the self-proclaimed president Juan Guaidó more difficult as the turmoil continues. You can hardly solve problems caused by undemocratic actions by encouraging undemocratic actions on your behalf. The people appear to be more and more desperate and it would likely take some very small events in Venezuela to light the tinder of civil war.

If it comes to an armed conflict, neither Canada nor the United States have a role to play beyond providing humanitarian aid. The two northern countries would not be welcomed by either side.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

A nation in a state of stasis.

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

A nation in stasis is a state that can neither move forward nor back as the forces in play remain equal and opposed. And this is the State of the Union as reported by American president Donald Trump. His report of exaggerations and lies and threats was of a quarreling nation, going nowhere.

In a nation two years from possible resolution in another election, the report should have been on the efforts to conciliate, to seek compromise, and to ensure nobody suffers. Mr. trump is too self-centred for simple solutions.

But he was ominously quiet in preparing for his speech. He is treating it as important. While others were setting odds on the number of lies, he would tell, he was seriously working on what lies to tell.

Whatever that intent was, it failed.

It was a fatuous address by a petty person. It was hyperbole, built on careless claims. It was racism doubled down. It was the same-old, same-old introductions of exaggerations of small people in the audience clawing to claim their 30-seconds of fame.

It was your typical routine of meaningless standing ovations. Yet, who counts? When the Vestal Virgins in white of the democratic party disagreed, they remained seated.

A pained Speaker Pelosi and a pensive Vice President Pense formed a backdrop of a divided nation.

The military chiefs of staff sat together as witches brewing the pot of the Kool-Aid of war.

The man stood before a nation divided and told them they were fools. He told them he would again shame the nation with a government shutdown if he does not get the blackmail needed for his wall.

He disgraced his nation with his intemperate remarks. A racist, a bully, a narcissist of note, Mr. Trump brings no honour to his nation.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Lies, hyperbole and alt truths.

Monday, February 4th, 2019

What has happened to politics? And what has happened to the decency that it used to have? We all know that U.S. president Donald Trump creates his own truths but we also know that he is not really a politician. He does not know any better.

Justin Trudeau knows better. He was raised in politics. His father was quite good about telling the truth—and, sometimes, regretted it.

But that did not stop Justin Trudeau from using some hyperbole (exaggeration for emphasis) last week in the House of Commons. He claimed that his government has “helped more than a million Canadians find affordable housing.”

Defending the prime minister’s exaggeration, Adam Vaughan, parliamentary secretary to the minister of social development, explained that while the actual results created housing for less than a million Canadians, some double counting was involved. He stated that this was necessary to provide “rhetorical advantage.”

What it sounds like, is Vaughan is saying that Justin Trudeau, who used to be a school teacher, could stand up in front of a class and tell the children that it is alright to lie, to make your point. This is a frequently used rationale for telling lies.

But reality is that there is no need to lie. There is a long journey from truth to the way station of hyperbole and on to the alt truth. We see the alt (alternative) truth everyday in television commercials such as the current heavy saturation of ads for what Alberta calls an “oil” pipeline. What they do not want you to know is that it is to carry the highly-polluting bitumen from the tar sands. They want the public to think of it as just crude oil.

In this election year, we are going to hear many more alt truths. My favourite Alt truth last year was Ontario conservative Doug Ford’s slogan, ‘For the People.’ We spend a lot of time trying to figure out what people Ford meant. I am waiting for this year’s campaign when Andrew Scheer’s conservatives try to convince us that we should not be concerned about the environment. I bet the Tories will have a slogan for that.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Politics in anxious times.

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

If prime minister Justin Trudeau had his druthers, he would not want an election this year. It is simply bad timing. Canadians are anxious. It is not any one thing. The world is just not behaving as it should. Not even the weather is acting as normal. People are concerned. There is that clown in the White House in Washington. You can hardly blame everything on him, even if you would like to.

And what can you count on? The stock market is just perverse. The Brits are stupidly leaving the European Union and do not admit why. The rich are getting richer and the rest of us are getting poorer. And have you seen the price of bread recently?

People are pissed. They are looking for scapegoats. They hardly need another stupid politician to get in their way. Justin Trudeau and his little friends have worked their hearts out for our approval. Sure, they blew a few promises. Yes, you will be using first-past-the-post voting in October. Maybe they did save the North American trade agreement from that terror Trump. Who knows?

But do not ask for the right to die in a frivolous manner. There is more than one way to default on a promise.

The liberals are going to spend the election telling us how well the economy is doing and how much they love the middle class. The opposition are going to tell us, it can be better. The liberals will tell us what a great job they are doing for the environment. The opposition will tell us the environment is just fine, thank you. The liberals want a price on carbon. The opposition will tell you it is just a tax grab.

But why did the liberals buy the Trans Mountain pipeline to ship highly polluting bitumen from Alberta to countries that do not care about pollution?

The liberal cabinet spent an expensive weekend retreat in Quebec recently planning their messaging for the campaign. The message is ‘vote for us and take another selfie with Justin.’

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

John McCallum is no diplomat.

Friday, January 25th, 2019

Canada’s ambassador to China never was a diplomat. He is a politician. Maybe he has always been too much of a neoliberal to my taste but he finally did what Justin Trudeau could not. He told the truth about the situation of chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou of Huawei. And he made it public.

As much as it might have been an error to appoint the Markham, Ontario, politician to the ambassadorial post, it certainly paid off when Justin Trudeau and his staff did not seem to understand the political implications of the Huawei executive’s detention and possible extradition to the U.S.

Trudeau was wrong to simply use the argument that Canada is a country of law, conflicting with the Chinese oligarchical system of governance. U.S. president Donald Trump opened a door by saying that the U.S. could use the charge against Weng as leverage in the current China-U.S. trade dispute. For the U.S. to use the case as leverage in a trade dispute could be grounds for a Canadian judge to deny the extradition.

Also, ambassador McCallum mentioned the extraterritorial factors, without elaborating. It is assumed that he was referring to the U.S. lawmakers’ penchant for creating laws that pertain to actions in countries other than the U.S. These are rarely recognized in Canada.

And that is the third factor the ambassador mentioned. He noted that the Iran sanctions on which the case against Huawei is based are not recognized in Canada. John McCallum is not a lawyer but it sounds like he had some good advice from some lawyers before he made his comments.

McCallum can even say he was out of line, later. He is unlikely to want to put that genie back in the bottle.

And when the prime minister goes out of his way to not criticize his former cabinet colleague for going off the approved (?) talking points, one wonders if the entire scenario was not planned carefully? It is certainly possible but I do not think the denizens of the Prime Minister’s Office are that smart.

Bravo John McCallum.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Wishy-washy on the Wall.

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

It is beginning to look like there is some daylight between president Donald Trump and a faction of his Republican followers. It happened last Saturday during Trump’s speech to save his wall. He was using people already in the U.S. to trade for the $5.7 billion he needs for the initial parts of his wall. He was offering a stay of deportation for the DACA people (Dreamers) who know no other home than in America.

And, as expected, the Democratic leadership in Congress told Trump to ‘Get stuffed.’ Not that anyone can be proud of their stance while hundreds of thousands of American government employees continue to be unpaid. Mr. Trump continues to hold these people up as hostages.

But that is Mr. Trump’s choice. He has chosen to make the government employees suffer while he petulantly demands that the American taxpayers pay for his ill-considered wall. He promised that wall to his claque of followers in the 2016 election. He even promised them that it would be at no cost to Americans. He, somewhat stupidly, promised those people that the Mexicans would want to pay for the wall. Since then, the Mexican government has made it very clear that they do not pay for obscenities such as walls.

In this current Trump fiasco, he is going tit-for-tat with a very experienced politician in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She has even disinvited him to make the customary State of the Union address to congress at the end of the month. His only response, so far, is to cancel the Air Force jet that was going to take Pelosi and a House of Representatives delegation to the Middle East.

And so, it continues: Mr. Trump would rather play childish games. He would rather have close to a million government workers and their dependants angry with him for keeping their paychecks from them. At one time, he had almost 63 million Americans vote for him. He keeps finding ways to cut down that number of supporters.

And, even worse for Trump, he is angering his extremist supporters who want him to start deporting the DACA people right away. They think he is going soft on them.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Trump can: You can’t.

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

Social media are a trap just waiting for the unwary politician. While I have tested some of the major social media apps, I try to stay away from them like the plague. They are not mainstream. They are not only overrated but they are for people who need to get a life. And what makes you think you can convince a non-voter to go to the polls and vote for you?

But social media do present a problem for the serious politician. It has become part of the communications mix. You should always be careful to understand the demographics of the programs. You need to have people from within that demographic to look after what you feed it. I never advise candidates to do their own entries. Check it occasionally but you have far more important things to do.

Your job is called pressing the flesh! And you best keep the pressing to a firm handshake. Meeting the voters and making a favourable impression is your job. And if you do not like doing that, stay out of politics. And do not say or write something in Mandarin or Punjabi or Urdu that you think is exclusive to your supporters. The listeners and readers are not all your supporters.

And it is very important that you remember that Donald Trump in the United States can get away with saying something stupid. It is expected of him. He can say something stupid and he is still president and a billionaire. You say something stupid and you might be toast like the gal who was supposed to be running for the liberals in the Burnaby South by-election.

It would also be wise, if you are supporting a particular political party and want to be a candidate, to stick to supporting the party’s positions on the current issues. And it is also wise to be very careful of adding anything to the party position. What seems logical to you might not be logical to other party members and candidates.

A candidate is always criss-crossing the electoral district, meeting groups, attending all-candidate meetings, coffee parties, and talking to individual voters. You have to be everywhere and be noticed as being everywhere. It is what candidates do.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Mr. Trump as a savant?

Monday, January 14th, 2019

The other day, reading something from a forgettable writer, I started out laughing at the presentation of U.S. president Donald Trump as a savant. Please understand that a savant is someone with debilitating mental problems or deficiencies but also has one or more remarkable skills. In Mr. Trump’s case, I would suggest his skills are like those of a stopped clock. He can get it right, once or twice a day.

But when the writer suggests that Trump got it right to withdraw all American troops from Syria, he seems as lost as Trump. I do not care what Trump’s advisors said as to why the Americans should stage the withdrawal; Trump was signing a death warrant for the Kurds.

And no matter how Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin handle it, genocide is a crime against humanity. They must think they can back the Kurds into the hands of the remaining Daesh fighters in Northern Syria and claim it is the Daesh that did the dirty deed. Trump is helping by pulling out the witnesses for them.

The writer goes on to claim that Daesh only exists as a result of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. This is wrong as Daesh (under the ISIS name) was already pledging support for al-Qaeda, three years before President George W. Bush made the mistake of invading Iraq again.

What the writer really proves is that he does not understand Mr. Trump. In fact, Mr. Trump frustrates him. He claims Trump does not read and insults him unnecessarily by saying he does not think.

Maybe Mr. Trump thinks too much. As an insomniac, he seems to do his most irresponsible thinking early in the morning, when he feeds his more ridiculous thoughts to his followers on Twitter.

But he is certainly no savant. What he is good at are those things that made him very successful in his father’s business. It is a business that attracts the showman type, the bluffer and the consummate liar. Trump is just your garden variety womanizer and con man. His very serious weakness is his narcissism.

Mr. Trump represents a real and present danger to the United States of America in its foreign relations. He is a child playing with grenades. The country can eventually recover most of its reputation and regain some of its leadership among nations. It can hopefully fix the weaknesses in its political structure that allowed him into office.

But the next two years in Washington will not be fun.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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

Don’t send a boy…

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

Maybe if they draw pictures for us, we might understand why prime minister Justin Trudeau would ask U.S. president Donald Trump to help with Canada’s current problems in China. Talk about the old adage of never sending a boy to do a man’s job! Why would you ask someone who has proven himself incompetent to help solve a problem that the incompetent’s country has caused?

This is an embarrassment to all Canadians. It is probably just as embarrassing to millions of Americans. The supposition is that the two Canadians (and maybe more) are being used as a tit-for-tat for Canada arresting a Chinese business executive. It seems the legal warrant is from the Americans and as Canada and the United States have an extradition agreement, the warrant was served on her when she landed at Vancouver on her company plane.

Canada was doing what it is obligated to do under the extradition agreement. Canada also protected her human rights under the treaty and is allowing her to challenge the American order. Her hearing is set, expeditiously, for early February. Her lawyers can then set forth her objections to the extradition.

In the meantime, the lady is enjoying a restful time at her modest Vancouver home and not languishing in prison.

But the tit-for-tat Canadians might not be enjoying their visit in the Chinese prison system. It seems the Canadian ambassador was allowed the courtesy of a visit but no charges have been discussed and no lawyers are allowed. The Chinese do not seem to understand the concept of a legal system that recognizes human rights or democracy. The Chinese ruling party propagandists will tell you that everything runs quite comfortably, thank you.

And that brings us back to another person who does not understand. Why would the prime minister embarrass himself by talking to the U.S. president about the matter? That could make it worse. Do we have to prove that we are lap dogs for that incompetent in the White House?

What the Chinese do understand is the concept of ‘face.’ And you do not want to play the game with the Chinese where you take one of them, they take two of yours. They have the advantage of numbers in that game.

Best of all, you should leave the problem to diplomats who understand the Chinese. Let them figure out a way to let the Chinese save face.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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