Tag Archives: Donald Trump

The real emergency: Turning Canada into a global economic power without dependence on the U.S.

By Gerry Barker

April 15, 2019

Opinion

Two city councilors, Phil Allt and James Gordon, both former defeated NDP candidates for the Ontario Legislature, and former defeated mayor, Karen Farbridge, are raising the alarm for the city to declare a “Climate Change Emergency.”

It made the bells ring about all the efforts, and tons of misspent public money, of which the three of them planned and were aided by some fellow travelers. They took action to develop what they perceived was power self-sufficiency. Add in the millions spent on squeezing vehicle lanes to provide bike lanes for a tiny but noisy user group operating two-wheeled self-propelled bicycles on major roads, facing 3,000-pound motor vehicles.

I have experienced a few close encounters with those active transportation riders, particularly when the sun goes down. It has scared the living daylights out of me.

These riders are unlicenced and uninsured operating on busy streets without rules or regulations governing their movement on public streets.

I know, I know you’ve heard all this before, but fasten your seat belts because we are going national,

Are the Trudeau Liberals about to do a Wynne swoon?

Let us count the ways.

The SNC Lavelin affair is sticking to the Liberals like stepping on a wad of bubble gum. Complicit is the tag team of the former Attorney General, Jody Wilson Raybould, and Health Minister Philpot, who ended up booted out of the Liberal caucus.

It was the price of defying the boss who caused the problem in the first place. How many times has that happened to you?

The Tories are pounding the table daily, demanding the Prime Minister resign for interfering with a decision by the A-G to pursue SNC Lavelin. As Guelph is Liberal/NDP/Green country, for – fill in your own reasons. Mine is the Guelph Tories have not elected a member to the Legislature or House of Commons in 16 years.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg of the Liberal’s re-election blues. It helps explains why Canadians are angry and feel cheated by the Liberals and the Prime Minister.

Let’s start with the immigration file

Refugees entering from the U.S. are not being controlled. The casual walk-in asylum seekers at border points are allowed into the country. Even those arriving by plane from other parts of the world land without any authority to enter the country but a demanding asylum for fear of their lives.

The Trudeau government has allowed thousands to walk in, an estimated 60,000 in two years to enter our country without prior vetting by Canadian Immigration staff. This practice is the policy of the Liberals who say they are obligated by International Law to admit them. The result is that those folks wanting to come to Canada and who are checked out by immigration before they arrive are sidetracked by the walk-ins.

Some 250,000 immigrants arrive annually and are approved by Canada Immigration. This is designed to replace those Canadians who no longer live in the country. That includes those who apply to Canada before coming to the country. Also, a number of Caribbean citizens arrive to help the agriculture community to grow their harvest. They wisely leave before the snow flies.

Solution? Any refugee who claims asylum arriving from the U.S. is immediately denied entry. If U.S. Immigration let them into their country, they can look after them.

There is evidence that some of these refugees have identification from several countries that would make them ineligible to enter Canada.

Also there is an active industry of immigration groups being paid to get refugees into Canada. A Haitian group based in Florida encourages Haitian refugees to take the bus to the border point just south of Montreal and walk-in claiming asylum. The fact the Haitians speak French is a plus. Many have been temporarily housed in the former baseball stadium known as the Big O.

Southern nights at the border

You don’t have to look too far to see what’s happening along the Rio Grande as the U.S. government has separated families and has custody of 2,700 children and has no record of the parents or their location. Now they are planning to set up tented facilities to hold what they call illegal’s. The Trump government has turned this debacle into a deliberate political issue without compassion or any legal basis.

It is important to remember that following the election victory of the Democrats winning the House of Representatives last November, the president shut down the government for 35 days. His decision caused thousands of federal workers to go without being paid. He finally attempted to obtain $5.7 billion to build a 3,200-mile concrete wall to stop the people attempting to seek a better life in the U.S. It never passed Congress.

Solution? Stop watching the cable news channels. Sorry, I can’t help myself.

The General Motors shut down of the Oshawa Assembly plant

Several months ago, General Motors announced it was closing its Oshawa assembly plant by the end of 2019 resulting in a loss of more than 3,000 jobs. The company chose not to close as yet; its engine plant in St. Catharines or the SUV jointly operated assembly plant in Ingersoll.

Lest we forget, when the Federal and Provincial governments spent billions to finance GM in 2008 that has already declared bankruptcy. The province, to protect workers, turned over $10 billion while the Feds matched it or more to Chrysler and GM.

The Province was eventually recovered some $7 billion that shored up the two auto corporations. Ford remained solvent. It now turns out that some $3.5 billion was not returned to the Federal government. That was ten years ago.

While Unifor, the Oshawa workers union struggles to save the jobs, GM did not changing its mind. This all occurred while the US and Mexico and Canada were renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. Parliament or Congress or Mexico has never approved the new deal. The three leaders portrayed a settlement in a photo-op ceremony in Argentina that was part of the G20 meeting.

Solution 1? The Trudeau government should serve notice on GM to either pay up or transfer the title to the federal government. This would include the plant property, inventory, production equipment and all non-proprietary documents; pertain to the production of vehicles.

This could take time, as a court challenge will emerge. The statement of the Government’s claim should include the entire additional government funding request ted and received by GM since it has operated the plant. That goes back to the time when GM bought the plant from the McLaughlin family who built the McLaughlin Buick in Oshawa.

We’re in deep in this one, folks.

Solution 2? Actively research and attract foreign auto producers to take over the plant for $1 plus other tax incentives and agree to build vehicles to service North America and the world markets.

What Canadians needs now

It’s the right to look back at what we have achieved in 74 years. By declaring an emergency to mobilize our governments, to work together toward exporting our resources, skills and lifestyles across two oceans, selling free trade that works both ways without tariffs, threats and trade impediments.

We can become a world trading power to creating financial stability, justice and health for all in our new partner states, employing ingenuity and instilling pride.

We have the stuff and political democratic systems but are unable to move it and share with other nations who are seeking a better life, jobs, education and freedom.

The beginning would be a series of workshops led by the Federal government to develop an action plan to clear the obstacles facing the oil and natural gas pipeline expansion. In concert, open access for shipping our commodities and products from both the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean ports.

A series of programs will be developed to export our agriculture products and expertise, our forestry and home building products to new customers at fair prices and delivery; exporting our communications expertise including 5G high speed Internet development; building systems to produce ships, aircraft, vehicles, agriculture equipment. The world-class Canadian financial institution’s expertise will play a major role in developing opportunities and systems for our trading partners.

Most of all create more good jobs and opportunities for all Canadians.

Our most important export is our knowledge base professionals that have already made Canada a world leader in all aspects of the human existence.

In short, we can do all of that and bring endless prosperity to our country as well as that of our trading partners.

Is this the end of our trading relationship with the United States? Absolutely not. Canada will be open for business to any society that shares our established Free Trade and democratic principles. This is a long-term project that will survive the changing political leadership facing our trading partners.

Looking back, this is not the first time we’ve mobilized to win

In September 1939, Canada joined Britain declaring was on Nazi Germany. The country with a population of about 11 million became a major power in the European Theater, North Atlantic, Asia and North Africa.

By the end of war in Europe, Canada had the largest Allied land army in Normandy, France, Belgium and Holland. In addition, we had the fourth largest navy in the world and Canadian aircrew made up 1/3 of the RAF. The RCAF operated squadrons in Bomber Command attacking Germany; South East Asia Canadian and Commonwealth pilots supplied Allied troops by parachuting supplies against the Japanese; by air patrolling the east coast and escorting convoys heading access the Atlantic searching and sinking enemy submarines.

On the home front our country manufactured tanks, combat aircraft, trucks, weapons including field pieces, ammunition, food and fuel to be shipped to Britain and Italy where our army units were battling their way through the country fighting the Germans.

We became the breadbasket and quartermaster of the collection of Commonwealth Allies fighting on three fronts.

Canada was turned into a mighty war machine that trained through the Commonwealth Air Training Plan more than 500,000 aircrew on many bases across the country. Almost every citizen who was able rolled up their sleeves and changed Canada in almost six years.

But we paid a huge price. In World War 1 more than 52,000 Canadians were killed and thousands more maimed for life. In World War 2, 44,000 Canadian lives were lost and many others severely wounded.

In August1945, the war ended when the Japanese surrendered. Our returning service men and women were given opportunities to go to university, own property and get jobs. Most important, it created the biggest baby boom in our nation’s history.

The end of the war was the beginning of Canada’s Golden Age of growing up. Our country was led by the wartime Liberal government of Prime Minister MacKenzie King. He was critized through his long tenure as PM. Both Churchill and Roosevelt tolerated him regardless he got job got done.

Our country opened it doors to refugees from all parts of the world that made great and noble contributions to our country. Even in the Seventies, following the defeat of the U.S forces in Viet Nam, Canada accepted 65,000 Viet Nam refugees escaping Communism and called the “Boat People.”

As Canadians, that is what we do.

Today we are at a crossroad in which our largest trading partner, the United States is trying to force us to knuckle under to destroy a Free Trade Agreement that has benefited both our countries.

In my opinion, this is ultimately not going to work out well for Canada at all. We are facing a despotic president who doesn’t care, has no compassion for his two major trading partners, Canada and Mexico.

He is in the process of destroying the greatest free trade agreement the world has ever seen.

This is not the time to make hollow declarations of emergencies of climate change. It is time to collect ourselves and protect and enhance what we have.

It’s time for us to mobilize as a nation and take care of number one.

Our imperative should be to open our resources and establish free trade with China, India and all members of the Trans Pacific free trade organization of which the U.S. refuses to belong. We should also reopen the free trade agreement with the European Union without Great Britain that is bifurcated by Brexit.

Until we take action we will remain at the whims of a megalomaniac president with power to destroy what we have achieved in good faith

By any stretch, that’s a dangerous position in which to be.

How bad can it get?

Think what will empower Trump if he is re-elected in 2020 for another four years.

Prime Minister Trudeau, your time is now to unite our country and take it forward without the baggage of division, denial and negativity that is flooding the airways, Internet and social media.

October will come soon enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Fascist President who believes he is the American Fuhrer

By Gerry Barker

November 5, 2018

Opinion

Tomorrow is Election Day in America.

President Donald Trump is not on the ballot but in reality, he is.

Last Friday night in Toronto, thousands turned out at Roy Thomson Hall to protest the two guest speakers’ presentation of the new America. The occasion was the Munk lectures inviting the public to hear the voices of politics, arts and culture.

Steve Banion, former senior advisor to President Trump and a far right American nationalist, and David Frum, son of the late Canadian broadcaster Barbara Frum were the two speakers. Mr. Frum was a senior advisor to former president George W. Bush and frequent guest on cable TV in the U.S. He is currently a senior editor of the Atlantic magazine and an author.

Both speakers were met with a coalition of some 40 organizations, protesting the guest speakers’ political points of view and recent performance proponents of the conservative far right agenda. It would be unfair to label Mr. Frum as a Trump supporter, far frum (sic) it. He has spoken and written often about how Trump is degrading the Republican Party in the U.S.

The presentation started 45 minutes late due to the crush of protesters and people trying to get in the hall. It ended with a glitches outcome that stated Bannion won. It was reversed. Perhaps the Munk organizers should recalibrate their lectures and debates.

Dumping the Trump effect

So the protestors leaving 12 persons hurt, a few charged and a long period of shouted chaos surrounding the hall dismissed the Trump fake doctrine.

This election on Tuesday is the first time that Trump can be judged, following his first two years in office, by the voters. It has been two years of chaos in the White House where the president munches on cheeseburgers and diet cokes, eyes glued on Fox News, while tweeting streams of invective lies and self-serving messages to his core supporters.

Trump is never wrong, never apologetic, and is frequently dishonest or displays the intellect of a five year-old.

And yet, according to the media, the real media not the fake media that he excoriates, some 40 million supporters believe him for a variety of reasons.

Any negative story or statement concerning him or his performance is attacked using pejorative descriptions of legitimate reporters and editors. No one is safe who dares to criticize him. The Washington Post team of 11 fact-checkers has determined that in two years, Trump has told 6,700 lies.

His targets were identified a couple of weeks ago by a Trump supporter who mailed explosive pipe bombs to 15 persons. All recipients were Democrat leaders and supporters including two former, two-term Presidents, Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama.

Don’t bother me with the details

Trump never contacted either former presidents offering support.

Quick work by the coalition of law enforcement agencies arrested the guy who was living in a van, plastered with photos of Trump and a picture of Hillary Clinton with a gun sight circle super imposed on her face. Evidence revealed the bomb maker was a Trump supporter who attended a number of his rallies.

It represented a metaphor of the Trump Presidency, making and mailing pipe bombs is one thing, getting them to explode is another matter. Trump tweeted only referring to the threat as “the bomb thing.”

Fortunately, not one of the devices exploded but the nation was appalled and frightened over these attacks on the Democratic leadership and billionaire Democrat investor, supporter George Soros, who was sent one bomb to his home that was intercepted by security and another in his New York office.

Just eight days following the arrest of the bomber in Florida, a lone gunman, armed with a modified AR15 assault rifle and three Glock handguns, entered a Synagogue in Pittsburgh and killed 11 worshippers on the Jewish Sabbath.

Although wounded, the man told police that he wanted to kill all the Jews.

The Following Tuesday, against the advice of Synagogue officials, Trump, his wife, daughter and husband attended the murder scene. Some 25,000 protestors assembled nearby, shouted their objections to Trumps uninvited appearance. Trump later tweeted that there were only a few protestors who were far away.

Your Commander in Chief needs his army

Trump sloughed off the “bomb thing” and turned up the volume about the thousands of Central American asylum seekers heading toward the U.S border in a caravan, on foot and many without shoes. These people included women and children who are escaping from Honduras because it is nation in total economic chaos, with daily murders, high unemployment and incompetent government.

Trump called it an invasion of America and ordered 5,000 regular army troops to the border to join the 22,000 border patrol officers and some 2,900 National Guardsmen reservists, already backing up the border guards.

Trump justified his decision claiming the caravan-contained murderers, people from Middle East countries, thieves and rapists, determined to take over America.

The fact the unarmed caravan of some 4,000 were some 700 miles away from the U.S. border, moving at 20 miles a day, did not deter Trump from attacking them daily. In one of his tweets he claimed that persons in the caravan threw rocks at Mexican army troops and police.

One wag quipped that the NRA gun organization should now be called the National Rock Association.

OOPS! Judgment alert

Of course, none of this should ever happen because the US constitution prevents U.S. armed forces from firing weapons at anyone on U.S. soil. The last time that happened was when Ohio National Guard soldiers fired on unarmed students protesting the Viet Nam war at Kent State University. Eight students were killed in the fusillade.

That slaughter of the Kent State student’s shocked America and the world. It marked the beginning of the U.S. withdrawal from Viet Nam.

The president, stoking the fires of fear shortly after, claimed the Honduras caravan contained bad people that were “invading” the U.S. He then ordered the U.S. Army to send up to 15,000 regular soldiers to defend the border against the Honduras horde. He went on to say at his rallies to make America Great again, that if the “invaders” threw rocks hitting the troops they would fire on the group wanting to enter the U.S.

If there was ever a reason to vote tomorrow, it is to elect candidates to stop these incessant Trump attacks on a group of unarmed people just wanting a better opportunity to live and work in America.

The Trump fear-mongering assault on the helpless and the innocent replicates the fantasy remarkably similar to those narcissistic personalities, Napoleon and Genghis Khan, two ambitious strongmen who he emulates.

He keeps saying: I am the President.””

His thesis of protecting the southern U.S border from immigrants seeking asylum is a Fascist ploy to stoke fear among U.S. citizens. The President is a fake, a Fascist and pathological liar. Why should any thinking person believe him now?

Get the hell away from my country

It remains just one of many reasons to stop the accusatory rhetoric by a President. He is a man who has made America worse again. He cozies up to dictators, the neo-Nazis and U.S white supremacists. He denigrates people of colour. He has alienated powerful allies and he is incapable of telling the American public the truth.

He frequently blames Canada as unfair traders who have ripped off America. Actually, the U.S. has had a trade surplus with Canada for the NFTA lifetime.

He and his sycophantic sidekick, Mike Pence, have taken America down a perilous path leading to isolation and economic disaster.

Tomorrow, hopefully will be the beginning of the end of Trump power and that of his followers.

The early indicator of a record-breaking advance voter turnout is the surging numbers of people who have already voted. Power change is coming to Washington.

Mr. President, your bunker is ready, sir. While Mr. Pence joining you?

 

 

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A collection of news snippets people are talking about

By Gerry Barker

October 2, 2017

How council sabotaged the property tax infrastructure levy

Last fall when the council was finalizing the 2017 city budgets, the staff proposed a one per cent special levy on properties. The levy was to pay for the backlog in needed infrastructure repairs and replacement.

Well, Councillors Mark MacKinnon and Karl Wettstein proposed that the levy be increased to two per cent with one per cent being used for “City Buildings.” Council in its wisdom, decided to postpone spending $700,000 for new parking meter heads downtown until this year’s 2018 budget, with negotiations starting next month.

Instead, those funds were diverted to help pay an estimated $3.5 million for the designing process of the proposed South End Recreation Centre projected to cost $63 million. So instead of installing the meters this year, it would have alleviated the downtown parking problems and generated an estimated $650,000 annually. They went ahead and approved preliminary funding for a major project without any prospect in the ten-year capital budget to pay for it. This is the budget that CAO Derrick Thomson admits is currently $170 million in the hole.

It is yet another case of “kicking the can down the road” with a net result that nobody wins. The city does not have $63 million for this project but MacKinnon and Wettstein have successfully committed the city to build it. Or so they may think. Isn’t this an election year coming up?

Yet this council approved spending $20 million to build the Wilson Street Parking garage that will be mostly used by city hall employees using monthly passes. Toss in the $34 million police headquarters renovation and the financial cup runneth over.

The financial hole keeps getting deeper and deeper.

*            *            *            *

Go Figure department: Trump fiddles with the NFL while Puerto Rico perishes

Wrapping his toga around his Imperial rotunda, Donald “Nero” Trump takes on the National Football League calling the players “Sons of Bitches” who protest disrespect by certain police officers towards people of colour. His Romanesque rants came on Twitter two days after the U.S. island territory of Puerto Rico was flattened by two Hurricanes. He hardly mentioned the fact that 3.411 million Americans were desperate for the basic needs of life.

This malignant narcissist billionaire demonstrated yet again that he doesn’t care about people. Besides he said that the governor of Puerto Rico was delighted with his government’s support as was the Mayor of San Juan. Wrong! Nine days after the second of two hurricanes hit the Island, they were pleading for more help and news reporters on the scene confirmed this was a disaster of historic proportions.

Last week was a lousy one for the Trumpster. The third attempt by the Republican Congress to repeal Obama Care and replace it with a cobbled-together bill never came to a vote in the U.S. Senate. The independent Congressional Budget Office said if the bill passed, “millions” would immediately lose their health care plans. In the end, it was not even brought to a vote in the U.S. Senate because three Republican Senators said they would vote against it. In 255 days in office, Trump has failed to advance any of his campaign promises for congressional approval.

But he found time last weekend to sharpen up his golf game at his Bedminster golf club in New Jersey. His current approval rating is 36 per cent according to the Gallup Poll.

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Surprise! The storm water levy revenues exceed projections

Back in July, council said it favoured rebate to taxpayers who are charged a monthly fee to maintain the city storm water system. Last year, the city Engineer, Kealy Dedman, presented a detailed plan to service the city’s storm water system. The revenue projection was exceeded in 2017’s Q2 by $600, 000.

This report prompted council to seek a rebate to customers. If any clear thinking councillor thought this out, the administrative cost to carry out the proposal could cost more than any increase in revenue.

While expectation of increased revenue makes most of us shudder because we know it is another boo-boo in forecasting budgets. Better it’s a surplus and not a deficit.

*            *            *            *

We lose $2.5 million in recycling waste and the investigation will take nine months

The failure to reduce waste processing costs. The waste management service review report is delayed until next March.

The previous administration spent millions on collecting and processing waste to protect our environment. At the same time, the management disregarded areas in the city that did not receive the waste collection and disposal. The reasons are varied, including bad planning by the city, union work rules, incompetent financial management, terrible contracts and intransigence to fix it.

The estimated 6,000 households and businesses were forced to pay private contractors to collect and dispose of their garbage but still pay for the service through their property taxes.

Will someone explain why we spent $34 million on an organic waste processing facility seven years ago to serve the needs of Waterloo and Simcoe County? The compost produced by the plant is not available to the people who built and financed the facility.

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Trashing the city 101

The University of Guelph Homecoming Weekend resulted in students and assorted drunks trashing the city with garbage, lewd behaviour and disregard of public property standards including the right to live in a safe and clean city.

The Guelph police admitted they could not cope with the calls by citizens to put a stop to the behaviour and carnage in many residential areas where there is student housing.

Now it’s ironic that the Guelph Police Services announced its two-month “Safe Semester” program to maintain, we assume, law and order. Instead, much of the city was treated like Animal House complete with intoxication, lewd behaviour and property trashing including the University’s permanent residences.

The U of G President apologized, as did Mayor Cam Guthrie.

The questions remaining: Who was responsible, how many carousers were arrested, who cleaned it up? If the city staff had to do it, send the bill to the University.

After all these years of Homecoming Weekends and St. Patrick’s day celebrations, one would think that the Safe Semester programs in the future should include the resources to prevent such a civic transgression as this was. It calls for strict and severe penalties for carrying open carry of alcohol and use of cannabis or any other drug. It also needs a strong police presence with equipment to arrest revelers who get out of line.

The message from the top should be, this will never be tolerated again and those who ignore the law and rules of behavior will be charged and spend the night in jail.

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Don’t mess with Tuxedo, our neighbourhood cat

We live in an enclave of 22 homes where we know each other and enjoy our secluded collective lifestyle.

And we are blessed with a very unusual cat named Tuxedo. He is black and prowls the neighbourhood checking any infiltrators and gratefully enjoying the odd saucer of milk.

Tuxedo maintains a route every day to keep the chipmunk and bunny population to a minimum. He is the Great Black Hunter who wants to make his human boss proud and never hungry. Look what the cat dragged in!

This is one cat with personality. He’s our cop on the beat and the subject of many conversations driven by neighbour’s sightings and reports.

Tux is no ordinary mouser. He dropped by the other day for a lactose-free milk snack and I asked him who would win the first game of the NHL season Wednesday night: Toronto or Winnipeg?

He thought for a moment and said: “Toronto has depth but it will be close. Toronto 4-2 with Marner getting an empty-netter with 33 seconds left on the clock.”

Igasped. Where did that come from? Tux hopped down from the table and was gone.

If you are ever in our neighbourhood, look for Tuxedo. If you don’t see him he’s either sleeping off that last saucer of milk, busy stalking a squirrel or studying the Vegas odds sheets for the Sunday NFL games

This cat’s work is never done.

 

 

 

 

 

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Donald Trump, America’s Nero, fiddles while the country burns

By Gerry Barker

March 27, 2017

After only 63 days, U.S. President Donald Trump has faced two defeats as he rushed to fulfill his promises to his supporters. They were the ones that he promised to get their manufacturing and coal mining jobs back.

He promised to protect the country from radical Muslim attacks by ordering travel bans from countries where the majority are Muslims. Two bills have been challenged in the courts. He promised to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. to stop the “criminals and rapists” from entering the country. He promised that Mexico would pay for it. He promised to deport the estimated “bad” illegal immigrants to their home countries.

Maybe it’s not the right time to take off the training wheels.

Last Friday, his promise to repeal The Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, and replace it with a better plan that was to cost less and be run by the states. It failed before the vote occurred in the U.S. House of Representatives.

He promised to do all this in the first 100 days in office.

His attempt to destroy the rights of all citizens to affordable health care died as the Republican-dominated House of Representatives did not have enough votes to pass the bill. Speaker Paul Ryan pulled it off the table. The bill included tax breaks for the upper two per cent of the U.S. population the cancelling of federal support of Planned Parenthood and would leave 24 million Americans without federal supported healthcare by 2026. Some 14 million would have been affected in 2018 according to the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

But most alarming was the virtual elimination of Medicaid, the last support of millions who required medical attention, because, the individual states would now be responsible. What may work in California will not work in Mississippi. It illustrates the need for a National healthcare plan that allocates recourses to those states where there is need. Finally, no matter where you live or move in the U.S., the Federal umbrella will cover you.

America is the last in providing universal health care to its citizens

Yes, it is creeping toward universal healthcare for 325 million Americans. The U.S. is the only country in the G20 of countries with the top economic power in the world that does not have universal, single-payer health coverage.

Following the bill’s failure, Trump did not admit the defeat was a loss. Instead, he blamed the Democrat minority in the House for the defeat saying they own Obamacare that remains as the law of the land. Four times he said that Obamacare would “explode” and be a disaster, harrumphed Trump.

But here is the truth. Trump not only fails to understand his job but also has little knowledge how the U.S. government works. He fails to know the party he leads. It is composed of factions that worked fine when in opposition. The House of Representatives voted more than 140 times to repeal Obamacare in the past seven years with each attempt either dying in the Senate or being vetoed by President Obama.

The so-called ultra right-wing Freedom Caucus of the Republican majority in the House was chiefly responsible for derailing their own party’s bill. It marks the differences that exist within the GOP (Grand Old Party) the party of Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and, did I mention, Richard Nixon?

It is convenient and easy for Trump to blame the Democrats for the failure of his lousy statute that came within a few votes to become law. But Trump’s arrogance and a willful House Speaker, Paul Ryan, were confident they had the votes without the Democrats who were obviously not in favour of the Republican American Care Act (ACA).

Here’s another historical tid-bit. The cost of Canada’s universal, simgle-payer health care system, averages, per person, just half that of the the U.S. system. The U.S. plan does not cover all its citizens, is frequently described as the finest medical system in the world … that is if you can afford or access it.

When you believe you are omnipotent, failure will magnify incompetence

Even the most ardent Trump supporters must now question their president’s ability to fulfill his wide range of promises made during the campaign. It is obvious that his so-called business acumen does not easily translate into running the world’s largest economic and military power.

Remember during his rallies that he said he knew more than the Generals, then turned around and hired four of them for his cabinet. General Flynn was dismissed early in the term.

His inability to understand his job and how his government works will haunt him for his term in office if he survives. He will discover that insulting and threatening your friends and allies will not work and only diminishes the reputation of a great country and people.

I call it impeach creep

The man has neither conscience nor the ability to admit he made a mistake trying to placate his supporters with his reputation of being decisive. They believed Trump would “drain the swamp” of Washington bureaucracy. There are still 100’s of federal government management positions unfilled.

It has affected productivity across many federal goverment departments.

He has fought publicly his own intelligence services. He was forced to fire his National Security advisor, General Mike Flynn, for lying to Vice President Mike Pence, about contacts he made with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S.

His cabinet is loaded with millionaires, billionaires and generals. His Secretary of the Environment is an Oklahoman who doesn’t believe in climate change. His Health Secretary is Tom Price, a doctor and author of the ACA who has managed to alienate the American Association of Retired Persons, (AARP), the various doctor organizations, veteran’s and hospital organizations across the country.

The benefactors of this terrible bill were the Health Insurance Corporations who were salivating over passage of the bill. Such an event, if it had happened, would have pushed American healthcare back to the dark ages of the 50’s and 60’s. That’s when millions, particularly the disadvantaged and poor, could not afford health insurance and were dependent on Medicaid and the generosity of hospitals who had to scramble to raise money to pay for services to the non-insured.

He promised to renegotiate trade deals, especially the 30-year North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in which Canada and Mexico along with the U.S. are partners. He keeps repeatedly calling it a disaster and it will be re-negotiated. He ignores the fact that Canada is America’s largest trading customer and the U.S. is Canada’s largest trade customer. He repeated the NAFTA disaster comment during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkle as if she cared.

The guy is a legend in his own mind.

He has insulted the leaders of Britain, Germany, and the member nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,(NATO). It is a 60-year mutual defence combine to prevent attacks on European nations as well as North America. He has accused the member nations of not paying their share, citing Germany as one of those failing to spend two per cent of Gross Domestic Product on defence. Canada is up to date in that regard.

He has promised to spend $58 billion to upgrade the military that he claims has been neglected and weakened under former President Barack Obama.

The man and his words

He is continuing to run a campaign of fear, loathing, insecurity, lies and unfulfilled promises.

And it’s not going to get any better.

In Canada, we can only wait and see how he attempts to destroy the world’s most effective free trade agreement. That’s not saying there are things that should be fixed including the softwood lumber agreement in which American lumber interests accuse Canada of dumping product at lower prices.

The U.S. wants access to our agriculture markets that are currently controlled by producer-operated Marketing Boards. These include milk, eggs, poultry, cheese, pork, beef, and grains.

These various Boards were originally designed to protect the interests of the producers of these products. The winners are obviously the producers. The problem is that it’s not so good for the Canadian consumer because the Boards control prices.

These are some of the obvious changes that will come up when Trump attempts to dismantle NAFTA.

The most dangerous proposal by Trump is to establish a border tax for non-American goods and products entering the U.S. Already cooler heads are saying such a move will drive up prices to U.S. consumers.

It won’t serve to create jobs that no longer exist in manufacturing or coal mining. It is due to technological change and reduction of coal usage to drive power generation across the country. Yet Trump continues to promise a return of those jobs.

Mr. Trump, I hope is a quick study and abandons the shallow promise of America First. His country has always been first. It’s just that he doesn’t care and creates these problems that incite a segment of society.

Impeachment is on the move. But it has to be generated by the congressional members within his own party.

If the GOP is smart, they will separate themselves from Trump and leave those who believe in him to function as the Trump Party.

 

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The potential Trump effect on Guelph and the Canadian auto industry

Bt Gerry Barker

January 23, 2017

The new U.S. President Donald Trump, promised his supporters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin that he would bring back the jobs that have left the country.

Of his dark threats to a number of established issues, not the least of which was trade, border tariffs, make America first and great again, ad nauseum.

He made promises he will not be able to keep because he insulted the very people he will need to carry out his agenda, the members of the U.S. Congress. They, for the most parti sat in stoney silence as he threatened to get rid of the politicians that looked after themselves but turned their backs on the people.

“Friday,”  he roared, “mark this the first day of returning the power back to the people.”

He went on out to say that America will come first, including renegotiating free trade deals with countries around the world including Canada. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 30 years, has resulted in the world’s largest trading partnership. America is our biggest customer and we are their biggest customer.

So why is Trump threatening NAFTA? It’s because he is placating the voters who elected him in the so-called rustbelt states, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. These four states delivered his presidency, sufficient votes in the peculiar and antiquated Electoral College system used to elect the president. Even though his opponent, Hillary Clinton, won more that 2.8 million more popular votes across the nation than Trump.

While it’s interesting that Trump continues to rail against the Mexican border, still promising to build a wall that claims Mexico will pay for.

I can not recall in 18 months of his divisive broadsides of a very personal nature against not only his opponent but to members of his own party and more particularly minority groups and women.

It will be only a matter of time before Canada and more particularly Guelph, could be seriously affected if the Trump administration follows through and erects trade barriers.

In Ontario, there are more that 32,000 workers employed in the automotive sector of the province’s economy. In recent years the number of workers has declined as major automakers restructured due to major changes in technology.

The largest private employer in Guelph is Linamar that operates internationally but has 19 plants in Guelph, turning out transmissions, drive trains and a variety of parts most on which are shipped to U.S. assembly plans.

In 2008, Canada, both Federal and Provincial governments, supported President Obama’s plans to save the U.S/Canada auto industry. Ontario, for its part, invested $10 billion along with Canada and the U.S. This tripartite action resulted in General Motors and Chrysler, entering chapter 11 of the bankruptcy act, and the three governments funded the restructuring of both companies. Ford declined any financial aid.

Today, the NAFTA North American auto industry is healthy and profitable as are the Canadian auto parts manufacturers.

It may come of some surprise that Trump keeps talking about the jobs going to Mexico at the expense of U.S. workers, but doesn’t mention Canada. Ontario has a larger piece of the assembled-car business sold in the U.S. than NAFTA member Mexico, 27 per cent compared to 18 per cent,

I think this portends a threat to our Ontario auto manufacturing. Granted, it’s early in the game but Trump is determined to return jobs to his country by fair means or foul.

Many of those manufacturing jobs in the auto industry plants in the rustbelt are gone forever, not because of the free trade agreement but due to automation and the use of robots replacing people.

If Trump succeeds in placing tariffs on our borders, it will price our automotive industry out of business and add fodder to a full-blown trade war if he scraps NAFTA.

His judgment illustrates his glaring lack of understanding how his country and the role it plays in the global economy. Having never been elected to any level of government or served his country in any way, including military service, impairs his judgment. He was eligible for the draft during the Viet Nam war but received deferments.

So if Trump initiates his plan to install a 35 per cent tariff on all cars assembled outside the United States and landed at its borders, there will be a major trade war that could lead to a depression.

The last time that was tried was 1931 when President Herbert Hoover attempted to stop imports into the U.S. using excessive tariffs. The result was the Great Depression from which America did not recover until World War II.

Here is just one example how a 35 per cent tariff at the border for assembled vehicles could affect our Guelph economy.

The new Chrysler Pacifica SUV is manufactured in Windsor; this is the only plant to make these cars, most of which are shipped, tariff-free, across the border to supply U.S. dealers.

The Trump “America First” agenda would cripple Chrysler, make the Pacifica too expensive to sell in the U.S. and destroy the U.S./Canada Auto Pact that is part of NAFTA.

This isn’t going to happen right away but the threat of renegotiating NAFTA, (to which our Prime Minister has already agreed to) could have a devestating impact on our economy.

 

 

 

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Your GuelphSpeaks Weekender

By Gerry Barker

Posted December 20, 2015

This week:

                    City Council’s Dear Santa letters

                     Conrad Black, Vladimir Putin and The Donald

                     Barbara Barker’s Scottish shortbread

 

City Council’s letters to Santa

Leanne Piper – Dear Santa, please put financial administration for dummies under my Christmas tree. If you can’t manage that I’ll settle for an abacus. Don’t eat too many cookies as you go around the world. Leanne

June Hofland – Dear Santa, my smart phone isn’t smart at all. Please give me a landline for Christmas. Wait a minute, I think I have one of those at home. June

Cathy Downer – Dear Santa, please give me a chair so I can sit higher in the council horseshow, er horseshoe, horse feathers, heck, you know what I mean. Cathy

Christine Billings – Dear Santa, ditto for the better council chamber chair. You’re not going to get me on the horse thing. I’d also like a vacation in St. Lucia if it can be arranged. Christine

Karl Wettstein – Dear Santa, I’d like a leather-bound copy of Bartlett’s Quotations so I can add some zingers to my presentations during committee and council meetings, Karl

James Gordon – Dear Santa, please set up a concert in Carnegie Hall so I can present my folk music repertoire to a new audience. Santa, I have some great new material to introduce. James

Andy Van Hellemond – Dear Santa, please leave the morning line on a horse named Doubling Down at Santa Anita. Hey, that’s a double Santa, Santa! Help me out here. Andy

Mark McKinnon – Dear Santa, I could really use a new snow blower. The prices on snow removal equipment are really low right now. Make sure it’s assembled in my garage, thanks muchly. Mark

Phil Allt – Dear Santa, Do you think you could move June over to the other side of the council table, to be next to Leanne? While you’re at it, I’d like a Darth Vader outfit to wear at the next union meeting. Phil

Dan Gibson – Dear Santa, I’d like to have a full-service grocery store in the east end. If that’s not possible how about building a public washroom downtown? Say hello to Rudolf or is it Randolph? Dan

Mike Salisbury – Dear Santa, My Harley needs a new tranny and I need a pair of Foster Grants for the open road. A Swiss Chalet gift card would go well over the Holidays. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, send some roses to Marie at Tim’s. Mike

Bob Bell – Dear Santa, if you ever need a stand-in double I’m your man. I could use a couple of elves to work in my shop to help us keep up with the demand for my bike accessories. Bob

Mayor Cam Guthrie – Dear Santa, I could use some vacation with my family. I really need a new set of drums to play with the band. Most of all, I want to wish the citizens of Guelph happy holidays and a prosperous New Year. Think you can handle that, Big Guy? Cam

*            *            *            *

A troika for all seasons: The Donald, Conrad and Vladimir Putin

Conrad Black, that non-Canadian allowed to live here, expressed his support for U.S. Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump. Black still carries and undying hatred for U.S. justice system that locked him up for six years. He was charged for attempting to cover up evidence in his trial of stealing money from his American Publishing enterprise.

Black was never convicted of stealing from his own company. His partner, David Radler, was convicted and brokered a deal to spend his time in a Canadian jail in return for testifying against his old partner and former friend, Conrad Black.

When Black was finally released, the Harper government allowed him and his wife to return to Canada and their Bridle Path mansion in Toronto. Trouble is that Black renounced his Canadian citizenship when the British government made him Lord Black of Cross Harbour and a member of the House of Lords.

Jean Chretien, who was Prime Minister at the time, refused Black’s attempt to keep both Canadian citizenship and his House of Lords gig. The PM said no and Black opted out.

Now he is supporting Donald Trump the realty TV star and billionaire builder who is trampling and insulting almost every faction of U.S. and foreign citizens. He has single-handily destroyed the Republican Party with his racist and personal attacks on individuals, organizations, allies of America and the National Rifle Association.

Now isn’t that the odd couple?

But wait there’s more. Enter the President of Russia who endorses Trump for the presidency.

Bumper sticker of the day “Trump-Putin in 2016.”

Kinda restores your faith in the political process, no matter where it happens. Also, it’s time for Conrad to leave Canada, the country he has renounced, for Britain where he belongs.

Question: Is Black receiving the Canada Pension and other benefits unique to Canada?

*            *            *            *

A Christmas ritual at our house, baking shortbread

About two weeks before Christmas, Barbara gets out the biggest mixing bowl in her collection and prepares to make shortbread. The recipe is basic but the system of making melt-in-your mouth shortbread is a real test of endurance and stamina.

What is shortbread? It’s a delicious treat that we believe originated in Scotland many, many years ago.

This year it was no different except that both of us struggled to mix the butter, sugar and flour, there’s a lot of that, by hand using a wooden spatula, (it’s a Scottish thing). As you gradually add flour the batter get harder to blend. It calls for determination and muscle to create the final product.

Once the ingredients are thoroughly blended, it’s time to fold into a shallow glass-baking pan measuring 9 inches by 13 inches. Final step is to score the batter into squares. Some folks like to bake their batter in those non-stick cupped pans.

Barbara prefers flat shortbread like her mother used to make. The final step is to use the spatula to flatten the air out of the batter and make it as even as possible across the breadth of the pan.

The ingredients: Butter – one pound; Icing Sugar – one cup; Flour – four cups; sprinkle salt very lightly.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until the edges turn brown. Allow to cool then cut into squares with a sharp knife.

Taste and have a have a Merry Christmas sharing shortbread with your family and friends.

Enjoy! Barbara and Gerry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How Big Bird stole the U.S. election

Posted November 8, 2012

The fallout from the Republican ranks is hilarious. Caution, they do not take defeat lightly. Here’s a compendium of the Legion of Losers or how greed, money, and arrogance failed to elect Mitt Romney and his Tea Party running mate, Paul Ryan.

My favourite dumbkiss is Senator Mitch McConnell, minority leader in the U.S. Senate, who pledged in 2009 that his primary job was to defeat President Barack Obama in 2012. Mitch, how’s that working for you?

Take real-estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump, please. Romney reluctantly accepted his support on the stage of a Las Vegas Casino. He looked like he had just swallowed hemlock that, in retrospect, may have been an election night alternative. Who is the Donald’s brain surgeon? Time for a transplant.

Former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, business czar and author, accused the Department of Labor’s employment statistics for September, claiming they were rigged in the president’s favour. And 5 million Alabamans believed him.

You have to feel sorry for all those billionaires and millionaires who ponyed up more than a billion dollars to elect Romney. The winners? TV and radio stations across the swing states. Never has so much been given to so few in the name of self-righteousness.

Take the billionaire Koch brothers who put their money where Mitt and his Republican fellow travelers were. These willful characters tried to buy an election that was not for sale. Thank-you notes to follow.

Bill Reilly, the Fox News commentator’s post election mildly racist comment about the white folks in America being in the minority. Bill, the stats show there were more “white folks” who voted for Obama than Romney. Memo to the GOP: Go back to the drawing board.

The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart commenting about Republican political guru Dick Morris who predicted a Romney sweep. Post election interview with Morris said he was covered with mud because of his failure to predict the outcome. Stewart: “That’s not mud.”

Remember Karl Rove? He was a commentator on Fox News. Rove was famous for engineering the election of George W. Bush. Well, mastermind Karl struck out Tuesday night insisting that Romney had won Ohio, even after the President had been declared the overall winner.  Guess the magic dust didn’t work this time.

What happened to CNN? It used to be a middle of the road news operation. Now it’s populated by latter day Republicans (I can’t help myself) whose conservative bias filtered through the noise. Don’t bother, you know who they are.

The Libertarian Tea Party remains a force but its strength is waning as the Republicans form the circular firing squad to establish blame.

Grover Norquist is the author of the no-tax increase pledge that was signed by most Republican members of the House of Representatives. The Tea Party members of the House will be under the gun in the next seven weeks as the end of the Bush tax cuts and several cuts to entitlement programs, kicks in January 1, 2013.  Will that be Orange Pekoe or cyanide?

Marty Maroun owns the 84 year-old Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit. He spent $34 million to foist a proposition on the Michigan voters that would require them to vote statewide, to approve any new bridge linking the two countries. His proposition failed by a wide margin. Even when you are a billionaire, aged 85, there is never enough.

And then there is Florida. Two days after the election, the result is still not determined. This time, the rest of the country does not have to wait for Florida to count the ballots. This is what happens when you elect a multi-millionaire executive to be governor. In defeating multi-millionaire Romney, did the country dodge a bullet? Wake me when it’s over.

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