The news of John McCain’s doctors suspending treatment of his aggressive brain cancer is indeed sad. It means that we are about to lose one of America’s greatest heroes. As a Navy Officer and pilot, he had his airplane shot down in Vietnam.
McCain was captured and held in a little pit underground. Because he was the son of a famous Admiral his captors offered to let him come home early. McCain refused, saying he would wait his turn. I still find this astonishing. If I had been in this situation I would have jumped at the chance to get out. So would everyone else I have ever known.
I did not know McCain personally until he ran for President in 2008. I served on his Agriuculture Policy Committee. I gave the maximum personal contribution allowed by the law. He had never been good on farm policy, but I always believed that some things trump our parochial interests. Of course he lost, but I will never regret trying to help him.
There is no standard for who gets laid in state in the Capitol Rotunda. When I first came to DC to work on the Capitol Police Force and go to law school, I had the honor of standing guard in the Capitol Rotunda for General Douglas McAuthor. His life has been described in the terrific book “The American Caesar” by William Manchester.
Also two Capitol Policemen who gave their lives in defending the House from an armed shooter were given this honor. So was civil rights hero Rosa Parks. The only person who I knew personally was my friend Hubert Humphrey, as described in my book “The Death of Civility and Sense”.
I hope people who read this will contact their Members of Congress to ask for this honor for John McCain. There should be calls to President Trump as well. He has said that McCain was not a hero because he was captured. These were strange words indeed for a guy who managed to avoid the draft and never serve in the military at all.
In 2006 former Vice President Al Gore published his book about global warming “An Inconvenient Truth”. He also did a documentary from which he reportedly made several millions of dollars. He then did subsequent books about global warming.
I was a skeptic. I thought Gore was just trying to stay relevant and make money. However, this year’s record high temperatures and terrible wildfires on our west coast has convinced me I was wrong. Even our climate scientists have been surprised.
For our future, we will put more emphasis on solar power and less use of fossil fuels. China is already there. Two years ago I visited China and saw that every large open space had solar panels on it.
It was announced today that President Trump’s Escalation of his trade war with China will result in a 12 billion dollar bailout for American farmers. Ever since Congress passed the Freedom to Farm Act in 1996 our government has tried to reduce direct payments to farmers.
The author of this legislation was then Congressman Pat Roberts of Kansas. Over the years Senator Roberts has been the leading advocate of the Federal Crop Insurance Program as a replacement of repeated Federal farm bailouts. As the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture he is in a good position to do so. Gradually farmers have been weaned of the expectation of a bailout every time there is a failure in either price or weather.
When I incorporated the American Association of Crop Insurers (AACI) in 1980 only weather disasters were insurable. However, in 1997, AACI Chairman Rick Gibson pioneered Crop Revenue Insurance as a pilot program. It gradually caught on and the program now known as Crop Revenue coverage or CRC. It is the majority of all coverage sold. Farmers need to insure the revenue they receive each year.
We never had a trade war since the Smoot -Hawley tariffs precipitated the Great Depression in 1929. It is unfortunate that the Trump Administration finds it necessary to bail out farmers because of its trade wars. Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. This is a quote from George Santayana..
The fallout from the Helsinki meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin has sent shockwaves around America. The outrage was reported in the news media ranging from the Washington Post to the more conservative Wall Street Journal. In television reports Trump’s coverage was also very negative. Even Chris Wallace of Fox News had an interview with Putin and he was very critical of Putin.
This time Republicans in Congress did not go to Trump’s defense. Some were openly critical. This performance by Trump is very different from the 1987 leadership of Republican icon Ronald Reagan in West Berlin. He said in a historic speech “Mr. Gorbachev-tear down this wall”
This was the most historic speech ever made by President Reagan. His willingness to stand up to Russian tyranny made it possible for East Germans to be free from tyranny. It is too bad that Trump doesn’t know history.
Even though there has already been record staff turnover in the one year and 177 days that Trump has been in office, there will now be more. One example is Dan Coats, Trump’s National Security Advisor. He has had a long and distinguished public service that includes time as both a congressman and senator from the State of Indiana. I will be very surprised if he chooses to remain in the Trump Administration.
Michael R. McLeod
In my 2016 book “The Death of Civility and Common Sense” I lamented how dangerously polarized our nation had become. At that time most people did not believe that a guy new to both politics and government would like be the nominee, much less the President.
However Donald Trump did win the Presidential election with a majority of the electoral college votes. His detractors pointed out he lost by a large margin in popular votes. However, it is the electoral college that determines Presidential elections under our Constitution.
I spent my entire career working inside the Senate and later with members of both bodies of Congress. I observed that, for the most part , members of Congress were gentlemen and ladies who treated each other with respect. This was particularly true in the Senate, where my old friend and mentor Robert C. Byrd was the leader.
That was why I was so shocked by a hearing in House Judiciary Committee this week. FBI agent Peter Strzok has been removed from the investigation of Russian interference of the 2016 Presidential election. He was removed because of anti-Trump texts that were found on his electronic devices. Agent Strzok agreed to testify without invoking the Fifth Amendment.
What struck me was how brutally partisan these hearings were. That feeling is made stronger when you review the hearings on your YouTube account. I have known some of these members of Congress. Chairman Bob Goodlatte has always been a very courteous and fair man.
Thus, we will have an even longer and more difficult road back from the partisanship that has paralyzed our government.