Archive for the ‘World Politics’ Category

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

The world’s worst walls.

Sunday, January 6th, 2019

There are walls to keep people in. There are walls to keep people out. They all ultimately fail. Walls to keep people in are just a challenge to human ingenuity. Walls to keep people out can be subject to siege. The truth is walls do not show strength, they show weakness. Walls are built by frightened people.

The Berlin Wall was probably the best example. It was built in 1961 to keep Western ‘Fascists’ from entering East Germany and undermining the German Democratic Republic—at least that was the story. The truth was that since the end of the Second World War, Berlin had been an open door for more that 2.5 million Germans to go from East Germany to the west. Though there were those who died trying to cross it, the wall did not stop everyone who considered it a challenge.

When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, it was followed by the reunification of Germany in 1990.

The second ‘wall of shame’ was built by Israel in 2003. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is quite proud of this wall. He even twitted that “It works.” He is encouraging the Twitter King in the White House to build his wall across the southern United States.

Nobody expected Netanyahu to say otherwise. His wall stands as a monument to Israel’s inability to resolve the conflicts with its neighbours. This wall of hate was condemned by the United Nations General Assembly by a vote of 144 to 4 and 12 abstentions. The votes in favour of the wall were reported to be Israel, U.S.A., the Marshall Islands and Micronesia.

The Mexican government is understood to be extremely annoyed at Israel for encouraging president Trump to build his wall. You will please note that the American president has stopped talking about the Mexicans paying for the wall. That will happen after the Gulf of California freezes over and the NHL admits a Mexican hockey team to play on the frozen gulf as their home ice.

Mr. Trump does not seem to care how many government employees his actions have furloughed. He does not care how many government employees he is forcing to work with their salary withheld. He is a mean selfish little man and is disgracing the United States of America.

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Copyright 2019 ? Peter Lowry

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

Would a gold piano sound tinny?

Monday, December 31st, 2018

Most commentators write a recap about the preceding year on New Year’s Eve but I only thought back a week to an ‘oops.’ I realized that this Canadian missed the Monarch’s message to the Commonwealth. It is with fond memories I note that mother used to always insist that her brood gather round the radio for it on Christmas morning.

My first recollections of this go back to King George VI struggling with his stammer. You could hear his consort, Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother), in the background helping him.

Googling Queen Elizabeth II and her speech this year was a bit of a disappointment. It seems that many of the ungrateful in the United Kingdom complained about the opulence of the gold piano behind her. They thought it was incongruent with a speech about the struggles of the poor and despondent around the world.

But I am sure there were some positive parts to the speech. Queen Elizabeth has had a good deal of time to perfect the genre over the years. She records the speech weeks ahead though as she has other duties on Christmas and Boxing Day. On Christmas there was the traditional sighting of royals as the young ones traipsed down the road to the local church while the 92-year old Queen came in one of the royal limousines.

It seems as though the young ones have already taken over the public interest in the Brit royals. Kate and William, along with Meghan and Harry have become the Brit version of the American Kardashians. Would you believe there is an entire industry built around the royal gossip produced for people who really need to get a life.

But all this silly gossip passes and becomes of less interest in Canada and other Commonwealth countries. It is of dying interest in Canada particularly as more and more we have to pay attention to what is happening to the south.

When Pierre Trudeau compared Canada’s position as sleeping with an elephant, he had obviously never met someone such as Donald Trump. We are beset today in trying to sleep with an insomniac who is the Twitter King and who plays at his own fantasy Game of Thrones.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

Rules of entitlement.

Saturday, December 15th, 2018

The recent troubles in Paris have brought to mind a week I spent in Paris on business back in the 1970s. My business ‘host’ and tour guide for the week was part Vietnamese and he provided an unusual but perceptive insight into the Parisian sense of entitlement.

Working for an American company, he had just returned from his five-week summer holiday during which, he had been sailing between the Greek Islands in the Aegean. As the son of a French Army officer, he was well educated but obviously harboured a deep resentment for the bigotry of Parisians.

Yet, he never took me to a restaurant that was not listed in the Guide Michelin—to the point that I came home desperate for a Harvey’s hamburger. Luckily the wife and I had done the tourist things in Paris–from Napoleon’s tomb to the Eiffel tower–a few years before, so my host and I had a lot of work product to show for the trip.

But it was the growing awareness of how different Paris was from the rest of France and language schism between the French and French Canadians that caught my interest. Parisians can be about the rudest people you will ever have to deal with in life, but I think the experience is worth it. You certainly learn what it is like to have someone to look down on you for using your Ontario high school French. They will likely deny it, but I also know that Parisians can be among the warmest, generous, caring and decent people in the world.

But they seem to have absolutely no tolerance for queuing. They like to ape the Brits at being snobs but lack the centuries of inbreeding that can make that Brit snobbery so cutting.

It was all William the Conqueror’s fault. I think he confused the gene pool and the French and Brits have far more in common than they like to admit.

But I wish that the French could just export some of that ‘Yellow Jacket’ rebellion across the Channel. The Brits have to come to grips with the BREXIT mess and get their shill-shallying politicians back in line. Nobody in Westminster seems to care about the average Brit and that is who will suffer whatever way the politicians take it.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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

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

The woe of women in politics.

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

Last weekend there was a trifecta in political opinions in the Toronto Star that were equally wrong. The paper must be desperate for more knowledgeable opinions other than their usual scribes. To my surprise, I was appalled at the opinion expressed by new democrat Robin V. Sears, concerned at the meandering thoughts of conservative Jaime Watt and then in further disagreement with Professor Penny Collenette, a normally very astute liberal commentator.

One reason I have tended to agree with Ms. Collenette is that I have known her husband since he was in high school and while I stayed away from the Prime Minister’s Office in Ottawa over the Chrétien years, I admired her perseverance there.

But if I had to pick the competent women in critical positions in world politics, I would leave American Nancy Pelosi and Brit Theresa May far down the list. Contrary to Penny Collenette’s opinion, neither is right for the job they are attempting to do.

First of all, Theresa May is trying to do the impossible task of putting through a policy that she never did believe in. She is supporting BREXIT because she wants the job of prime minister, not because she is committed to the cause. She does not have a horse in the race. And people are following her? Where to? What kind of legacy is that? It would be like Winston Churchill being a Nazi sympathizer throughout World War II. May’s predecessor did the honourable thing and resigned. And yet Theresa May is putting her voters and their ancient homelands at risk. The United Kingdom does not have a future as some minor adjunct of the European Union. It has to have a leadership position that can help keep the EU together with the UK in common cause.

And putting Theresa May and representative Nancy Pelosi together is a farce. Pelosi is the wrong generation. She is from the past, a manipulator and a conniver from the old school. What the Democrats need in the House of Representatives is leadership. There has to be a democrat under 50 in that house who knows what the hell it needs in the way of leadership. Let Pelosi do the backroom backstabbing and let the country have some decent leadership for a change

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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

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

In the grip of the political vortex.

Sunday, November 11th, 2018

Friends, foes and the pubic ask: “What the fuck is going on?”

The answer is that nobody really knows. Did you see the polls before the American mid-term elections? You got a lot of words but no answers. The pollsters knew that they had no answers. For years this politico has been producing a morning line that was noted for its accuracy in forecasting results. Not any more. My ability to forecast has disappeared into that vortex.

And it is a vortex. It is a vicious maelstrom, a state of constant confusion, a whirlpool sucking us into its oblivion. Politics has reached its own end of days. It is its time of self destruction. It turns into itself and eats its young. It has become perpetual confusion.

It staggers this apparatchik how the tables have turned. There are no rules of the political road left to ignore. What started out years ago as simply political manipulation has turned into deplorable duplicity. Where people used to just be annoyed at the unkept promises and self aggrandizement of politicians has become a palpable hatred.

The last provincial election in Ontario saw the destruction of a party whose leader quit rather than lead her party into oblivion. Instead of fighting it out to what could have been the obvious end, she cut her party adrift to the vicissitudes of a sea of angry and now confused voters.

Mind you, we used to say that nobody trusts politicians and not mean it. Now, we mean it. Nor do people trust the elites. They are losing confidence in the social safety nets and they are looking askance at the dog-eat-dog politics of today. Trust is gone. The one per cent are out for themselves and you can see the evidence to prove it.

Never, since the world-wide depression of the 1930s, have people been so distrustful. They are grasping at political demigods for surety they know does not exist. They are looking aghast at the money spend on political campaigns and are wary of the politicians and their backers.

And the Tammany Halls of politics stopped looking after their devotees years ago. If your parents were conservatives are you joining the party? And why would you even trust a political party?

There is more on this subject to come.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to? chơi đánh bạc onlinepeter@lowry.me

Exploring electoral ennui in America.

Saturday, August 25th, 2018

The one overriding perception of the 2016 American presidential election was that people were angry. Their disgust with Democrat and Republican party politics was visceral. A wise host and hostess tried to avoid discussions of politics among their guests. There was the common feeling that politics in America was not working. Washington was a quagmire. Politicians were failing to represent the people and there were many answers to the “Why?”

But what was at the root? Your senator or representative, Democrat or Republican, could always point at the other guy. There was no easy answer.

Take a look back at the campaign of Donald Trump. He broke all the rules. He hardly cared. The more the man proved himself shallow and unqualified for the presidency, the larger his claque grew. They supported him despite his limitations. They dug in their heels. They would shout down common sense.

And with the election of Donald Trump as president, the barbarian had breached the gate. As the incumbent, he was able to command centre stage as the court jester. What are you supposed to think?

Donald Trump has given succor to every tin pot dictator and aspiring tyrant in every country around the world. Let a mantra of lies carry you to your destiny, he tells them.

And yet this is a man who is becoming increasingly paranoid as he also realizes that the job of president is far beyond his capabilities. He is becoming the buffoon who entertains the troops. His rambling screeds at his ego-boosting rallies are becoming more and more incoherent.

Mr. Trump is not making America great again but destroying friendships with America. Under Trump, America stands alone, a pariah among nations.

But it is the lessons others are learning from the Trump experience that cause concern. Where can politics be headed when these egotistical supermen (and some ladies) decide they alone represent ‘Truth, Justice and their country’s Way’ in your local elections?

All the candidate needs to do is: Build on bitterness—conquer civility—defy definition—encourage evil—foment feuds—galvanize the gullible—hasten hostility—inculcate ignorance and the list goes on.

And candidates always have to remember that the news media are your enemy. Keep them guessing. You only have to pander to the needy. Promise them anything for their vote. Deliver at your whim.

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Copyright 2018 ? Peter Lowry

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