As Napoleon Bonaparte said: “In politics stupidity is not a handicap.”
“Canada and the United States have one of the world’s unique relationships: two sovereign states, occupying the bulk of North America and sharing the world’s longest undefended border, each reliant on the other for trade, continental security and prosperity. Despite radically different beginnings, as well as a history of war, conflict and cultural suspicion, the two countries — one more powerful than the other — stand as a modern example of inter-dependence and co-operation that is a model to the world.”
It was Euripides who said “Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness.” Unfortunately, at this time nothing is more certain than an acute awareness in Canada of a profusion of black storm clouds looming on our U.S. border. In times of storms one normally takes shelter with family and friends alike. We are one, so to speak. This time it is different.
Canadians in general have an admiration towards our friends living to the south of us, in addition to which many Canadians have close family ties in the U.S. going back generations.
Yet, with the upcoming United States Presidential Election just a few months away we are seeing a shift away from admiration to a weltschmerz – a mood of sentimental sadness towards a society that politically seems to have lost its will and direction. Both presidential candidates are intensely disliked, with Trump on the top of the heap. He’s thriving to light the destructive match of hatred between Muslims and Christians, between blacks and whites, between the poor and the rich, between its Mexican population and those born in the U.S. The similarity to Dr Strangelove is unnerving. He embellishes all that is distasteful in an individual who could well be the next President of the United States. He is the archetype of a destructive lost soul whose aim in life is to put fear into people. If it wasn’t all so sad he probably could be a character right out of a Thomas Pynchon novel!
And as for Clinton, to quote, “she enters the summer damaged by perceptions that she violated the law by using a private email system while serving as secretary of state, a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds. More than half of Americans think the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee broke the law by using a private email account and server at the State Department and nearly 4 in 10 think she did so intentionally, according to the poll.”
As of Thursday, July 20 a variety of Presidential Polls show Clinton as having a spread of up to 4 points. So, if you’re a Democrat and feeling smug, be very careful. Don’t expect Republicans, who earlier this year said that they were against Trump, not to vote for him. Churchgoing Republicans, are a case in point. This past week Pew Research Center announced that “Churchgoing Republicans once skeptical of Trump, now support him.” God help America!
The bottom line is, this is politics at its nastiest and the game is to win by whatever means possible!
What is so painful, from the perspective of a Canadian, is to observe a presidential candidate being so negative towards his own country. Trump regards the U.S. as a barren doom and gloom economic wasteland, taken right out of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, which, in general, is a contradiction to the recent Conference Board‘s, “consumers were less negative about current business and labor market conditions…”
- A report from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows that June’s increase reflected higher sales of motor vehicles and parts, food and sales in gasoline stations. In addition, sales of furniture, building materials and garden equipment bounced back from a contraction in May to an expansion in June. Meanwhile, the closely-watched core retail sales index (or control group) that excludes cars and car parts also showed a healthy increase in June.
- FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect unemployment to average 4.8% in 2016… For 2017, the panel expects the unemployment rate to drop to 4.6%,” a remarkable achievement from the 2011 figure of 8.9%.
- Consumer confidence rebounds and jumps to eight-month high in June 2016
- Housing prices remain healthy. According to S&P, the home price increases reflect the low unemployment rate, low mortgage interest rates, and consumers’ generally positive outlook. One result is that an increasing number of cities have surpassed the high prices seen before the Great Recession. Currently, seven cities – Denver, Dallas, Portland OR, San Francisco, Seattle, Charlotte, and Boston – are setting new highs.
To quote Trump: “I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me …” He’s right on this one. No other presidential candidate has done more to build a wall that has fractured American society than Trump.
The Government of Canada has also seen the need to respond to the U.S.’s political shenanigans by saying:
- History has shown that trade is the best way to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.
- Since the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement came into force in 1989, Canada’s two-way trade in goods and services with the United States has more than tripled. Thanks to this agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement, the trading relationship between our two countries is so strong that we exchanged approximately $2.4 billion in goods and services every day in 2015.
America’s largest customer
- Canada is the U.S.’s largest customer, purchasing US$338 billion in goods and services in 2015.
- Canada buys more from the United States than does any other nation – including all 28 countries of the European Union.
Nearly nine million U.S. jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada
- Canada and the United States are the world’s largest trading partners: more than US$670 billion in goods and services were traded in 2015.
- The United States is the most important destination for Canadian direct investment abroad, which totalled $448 billion (stock) in the U.S. in 2015.
Numerous governments, friend and foe alike are preparing themselves, both economically and militarily for the likelihood- perhaps that’s a tad too strong – the possibility of a Republican victory. For Clinton, she’s not as strong as many expect at this stage of the game. Some might say she is somewhat losing it! And just remember what happened to her against Obama in 2008.
Alan Simons is the publisher of jewishinfoNews. email@example.com
(Featured image credit: lightstalking
OVER SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”