Kevin O’Leary has just announced that he is running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. His qualifications? He has built a business, understands business, has negotiated deals, and knows his way around financial statements. This background, O’Leary argues, makes him uniquely qualified to stabilize the Canadian economy, deal with a newly nationalistic U.S. on trade matters, and address such varied and complex issues as tax policy, international relations, and climate change. Mr. O’Leary believes that his business acumen, as well as his lack of political experience, would make him the right man at the right time to lead the country.
Since Donald Trump improbably parlayed his business background and his position as a political outsider to occupancy of the White House, many critics have focused on Trump’s temperament, his questionable policies, and his continuing lack of familiarity with facts. Some have questioned the actual success of the Trump business empire. Very few, however, have questioned his basic premise – that a business background produces good, effective political leaders. Now that O’Leary wants to travel the same route as Trump, let’s look at that premise. Continue reading “Do business leaders make better political leaders? A look at Kevin O’Leary”
You know the mainstream media is on the defensive when The Globe and Mail, with a host of issues to comment on, devotes a year-end editorial to defending and praising the media. Maybe it’s not surprising, when we’ve come through a year full of fake news, outrageously biased opinions masquerading as news, and widespread criticism of reputable news providers for even reporting the news accurately. When anyone with a laptop can now broadcast “news” to a potential audience of millions without any regard for journalistic integrity or even truthfulness, maybe it’s appropriate to throw a bit of praise to those who do maintain some standards. Continue reading “Media Matters: The Relevance of Walter Cronkite”
The overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that anthropogenic climate change is a very large and growing problem that affects us all. The scientists reached this conclusion through decades of research, modeling, observation and analysis. They are the professionals, and the science is settled.
Donald Trump agrees with the scientists. Maybe. Sort of. He recently admitted to the New York Times that he thinks “there is some connectivity [between human activity and climate change]. He said that “there is some, something. It depends on how much.” One can’t read too much into this statement, however. Over the past 7 years Trump’s position on climate change seems to have (quite literally) changed with the weather. He signed his name to a public statement supporting “meaningful and effective measures to control climate change, an immediate challenge facing the United States and the world today.” Then he described climate change as “bullshit,” a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. He called it a “very expensive form of tax.” But, he also saw fit to build a sea wall at his Irish golf course in order to protect the property from erosion caused by ”a sea level rise as a result of global warming.” Continue reading “The U.S. Heads Towards a Science-free Science Policy”
As depicted in the 1973 movie The Sting, the big con is successful if the mark, or target, doesn’t realize he’s been taken until well after the con is completed and the con men are long gone. In the movie, Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw) “escaped” from the betting saloon oblivious to the fact that the saloon was a facade, and that the pair he just saw “killed” had gotten up, wiped off the fake blood, and divvied up the loot. Lonnegan was out $500,000, but didn’t know who to blame.
American voters willingly, energetically, have thrown their hopes and trust to a man who offers grand promises of jobs and prosperity, to be delivered by someone who supposedly has unparalleled business acumen and deal-making abilities. According to Mr. Trump, he will be “the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” He will “bring back our jobs from China, from Mexico, from Japan, from so many places.”
Slowly but surely over the following 4 years, America will realize that it has been conned. By the time reality sets in, however, Americans won’t be able to do much about it. Continue reading “Donald Trump and the Big Con (Part 1)”