Monday, 4 September 2017

Hurricanes and Climate Change

Hurricane Harvey was called the third 500 year storm in the past 30 years before they called it a once in a 1000 year event. After  damage in Texas causing unprecedented damage with the worst flooding in the United States ever, in the Houston area, and substantial damage across the US south the next Hurricane named Irma is on her way headed due west into the Caribbean Islands. It is projected to hit the islands as Category 4 and then go on to hit the US East Coast somewhere. Nobody knows yet.

There is extreme weather almost everywhere and it has been getting more extreme for several years. It was an inconvenient truth and now the world accepts climate change except for the current administration in the United States. Fortunately there are many American leaders like California Governor Jerry Brown who are offsetting the current regressive steps taken by the Federal Government. Where I live in Canada we have a government that at least gives lip service to the fight against global warming and climate change.

If current weather trends continue it will not be long before humans are forced to act to stop the man made danger that is threatening our planet. At that point the other issues of the day will become trivial.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

O Brave New World, The Tempest: President Donald Trump

President Trump will not follow any rules.

The voters wanted change more than anything.  More than qualification, temperament, ideology, honesty and morality they wanted CHANGE.  Donald did everything he could to alienate everyone but white men, and somehow there were enough white men and even others from the groups Trump attacked who would still vote for him wanting change.  What will happen next nobody knows.  Donald Trump has no barriers or boundaries and will ignore the US Constitution.  Change will come and it might be bad and/or good.  He is so unpredictable.

When the Donald first announced his run for President I stated at this blog that if the Republicans would take him seriously and nominate him he would win the election.  He was able to win Primaries to beat establishment Republicans like Jeb Bush, which should have told us something about the desire for change. Over time my views of Trump's chances changed as I and many others became outraged hearing the ridiculous statements and attacks he made, and of course the video where he insulted women and even bragged of having assaulted women.  I thought he blew it and maybe even decided he did not want to win.  But he was the Master of media manipulation and somehow won anyway.  Fifty three percent of white women voted for Trump over Clinton.  When the election came on November 8th, the silent majority of Americans, mostly people outside of cities showed up at the polls and waited in line to vote Trump.

The Donald defeated the most qualified and capable candidate for President he could possibly face. But Hillary Clinton was a flawed candidate and Donald through his persistent attacks on "Crooked Hillary" helped create widespread belief that Secretary Clinton was corrupt in addition to being, like Bush, the ultimate symbol of the status quo.  Hillary was also hurt by a perfectly timed release from the FBI Director which may have changed the outcome of the election.  Even powerful support from Barack and Michelle Obama reinforced that Hillary would be more of the same.  The American voters wanted change and now they will have it.

The world is changing and the times they are a changing.  Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize is indicative of that.  Donald Trump is essentially an anarchist or nihilist who believes in nothing but himself, and he will change the world in ways we can only imagine.  It will not be what the Republicans want and they face a tougher task than if Trump had been defeated and they could return to normal.  There is no more normal not even a new normal.

Futurist writer Aldous Huxley predicted a "Brave New World" when he wrote the book in 1932.  The title came from Shakespeare's The Tempest where in Act 5, Scene 1 Miranda states to Prospero:

O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't!

Huxley died on November 22,1963 the day President Kennedy was assassinated.  Since then the world has continued to change at a faster pace than ever.  Now we have President Trump.  There is reason for fear, but there is also reason for hope.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Donald Trump Has Already Lost the Election. Maybe He Did Not Want to Win.

   Donald J. Trump could have become the next President of the United States, but this will not happen. At the Republican Convention he chose a traditional conservative Republican, Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate, which was a sensible popular move.  Since then, despite Pence's efforts to help, Trump has failed to "pivot" or shift to what must be done to broaden his base and win a general election.  It is like Trump intentionally has chosen to lose by continuing a polarizing campaign with a very narrow and shrinking base of support.  Since the Democratic Party convention, which nominated Hillary Clinton for President and Tim Kaine for Vice President, Mr. Trump's behaviour has alienated most of the people who wanted to give him a chance. He has fallen far behind in swing states and solid "red states" are turning blue.
    Hillary Clinton would not have been a difficult candidate to beat, if Mr. Trump did what was needed to appeal to more voters instead of doubling down on his extreme polarizing statements which only appeal to uneducated angry white men and very few women.  There are not enough angry white men in the USA anymore to elect a President.  Mr. Trump has lost the support of educated white people, who historically are in the majority conservative and do support Republican candidates.  This is particularly true of women who make the difference in the urban areas of swing states.
     With his reckless words, Mr. Trump has shown that he is not mentally stable enough to be a world leader and he has frightened the very people who he needed to have with him.  The national security establishment and big business leaders who normally support Republicans, are now supporting Hillary Clinton for President. Other Republicans are turning to the Libertarian candidates or elsewhere.  Despite Secretary Clinton's unfavorability ratings being higher than any candidate before her, Donald Trump, who had a reputation as a successful businessman, through his own words and conduct has made himself even more unfavorable.  Trump has completely driven away support of ethnic minorities including blacks and hispanics who now form large anti-Trump voting blocks.  Election coverage is trying to make it look like it may still be a close race but it is essentially over.  It is too late for Trump to redeem himself.  The Clinton Plan is a simple one: keep everyone talking about Trump and there will be a Clinton landslide win.
     Donald Trump may be a victim of his own personality disorder (narcissism) or sleep deprivation, causing unstable conduct or he may have decided that he just does not want to take on the onerous and perhaps what he considers boring duties of the President.  By running as the Republican candidate he will certainly have built the Trump brand, where all publicity is considered good, but he will not become President.  He has boosted his ego more by running for President than by anything else he could have done, and it may in the end translate into making more money in future business ventures.
     The Trump campaign is leaving the Republican brand in shambles and that party will need to rebuild.  Those who compromised themselves by sticking with Trump like Paul Ryan will never have the credibility and respect that they used to have.  It is almost certain that the Republicans will lose control of the Senate and there is a chance they may also lose control of the House of Representatives which would actually end the gridlock in Washington.
     Donald Trump has inspired fear among Americans and around the world.  The world will be relieved when it is all over and will look forward with hope to the stability of a Clinton return to the White House.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Donald Trump is Not Going Away

In an earlier blog entry on July 23,2015 I made the point that Donald Trump needs to be taken seriously as a Presidential Candidate.  The attacks on him have only helped him expand his support and he now has a strong and commanding lead for the Republican Nomination.  Mr. Trump has fired back effectively at his critics and the Republican field has gotten nowhere by attacking him.  Rick Perry who described the Trump candidacy as a "cancer" was the first to drop out of the race.  He was followed by other Trump critics Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker.  Jeb Bush is still there despite polling badly because he has the money to keep going for now.

The Republican base clearly wants an outsider and that is why Dr. Ben Carson was doing well for a while.  His support has dropped and some has gone to Donald Trump with more going to another outsider, Canadian born Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.  If the Trump and Cruz campaigns united the competition would be over but that is not likely to happen for a while.  By then each hopes they will not need the other.  For now neither will sharply criticize the other for fear of alienating potential supporters.  We will know more once the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary are over.

Of the "establishment" Republican candidates it now looks like only Senator Marco Rubio of Florida has a chance.  Jeb Bush is tainted by his brother's legacy and his own lacklustre performance, especially in debates.  Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is tainted by his poor reputation at home in New Jersey and the "Bridgegate" scandal where Christie enemies were punished with traffic jams in their cities.  That incident and some of the Christie style reminds people of the worst of Richard Nixon.  Nobody else in the Republican field running for President appears to have any chance.  Most seem to still be hoping The Donald will go away and everyone will start over giving them another chance.

This leaves Donald Trump as the likely nominee.  In my earlier post I gave the opinion that if Mr. Trump got the nomination he would win the election and become President of the United States. At the time I thought it highly unlikely that The Donald would be the nominee.  Now I do believe he will be the Republican candidate.  If he is the candidate I am almost certain he would win over self proclaimed Socialist Bernie Sanders.   The more likely Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton could win in a landslide with moderate and establishment Republicans backing her or she may lose due to Clinton Fatigue a condition similar to Bush Fatigue.  Donald Trump is certainly the most exciting and inspiring candidate.  His success will depend on his ability to appeal to a broader base and his choice of running mate for Vice President.

The stakes are very high and the outcome is still far from certain.  The world is nervously watching.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

A Lot Did Change - Justin Trudeau - A Destiny Fulfilled

American President Richard Nixon famously predicted when Justin Trudeau was 4 months old that he would become the Prime Minister of Canada.  The Nixon Prophecy has come true.  When Justin Trudeau was born on Christmas Day in 1972 he was immediately compared with Jesus and speculation about his future as Canada's saviour began immediately.  Justin Trudeau combines many of his father's political skills and insight with his mother's exuberant and playful personality.  He lacks the great intellect of his father which was accompanied by a great arrogance.  Instead of arrogance there is a humility and ability to inspire and empower those who meet him.  While the parents were mismatched the product of their relationship has the skills and qualities that were needed to not only defeat the unpopular Stephen Harper but to form a majority government taking his moribund Liberal Party from third place to first place with Liberals elected in every Province and Territory of Canada.

When the campaign began early Justin may not have been ready but Stephen Harper gave him time to show that he had the ability to do the job.  It took the full campaign to raise the Liberals in the polls from third to first.  Expectations of the younger Trudeau were low, much like they were in George W. Bush's run for the Presidency.  He shone at the debates far exceeding expectations.  Justin Trudeau's skills clearly exceed those of George W. Bush and with those skills he was able to establish a Trudeau Dynasty in Canada more like the Kennedy Dynasty in the US than the Bush Dynasty.  Justin's charisma was like that of John and Robert Kennedy, and like that of his father Pierre Trudeau.

Canada will now see 4 years of stable government very different from the one man Conservative Government which preceded this new Trudeau era.  At 43 Justin Trudeau is Canada's second youngest Prime Minister and he may be around for a long time.  Let's wish him well for the sake of the nation.