Honoring Sen. John McCain; Investigating Trump/Russia

Senator John McCain died yesterday. Newspapers and television news programs are providing well-earned tributes across the country and around the world.

In Vietnam he flew 22 successful sorties before being shot down and winding up as a prisoner of war for more than 5 years. I wonder how his life would have turned out if he had continued successful bombing runs and left the Navy as an aviation hero without enduring the physical and mental torture as a POW.

When he ran for President in 2008, he was admired by the press for his “straight talk,” openness, fairness, honesty and humor. They loved him as a candidate. But in the 2008 election a large majority of these same journalists and commentators voted for the other guy (Obama).

Although defeated, McCain was still a Senator and those same journalists continued to admire him, partly because he was known as a maverick who refused to follow the mandates of his fellow Republicans.

It may seem odd that Democrats are proposing to change the name of the Richard Russell Senate Office Building to honor John McCain. They not only liked Sen. McCain for his “middle-of-the-road” votes, but for Democrats today, Senator Russell of Georgia, who served from 1933 until his death in 1971, was far too conservative to be aligned with current Democrat policies. Removing his name may not be the same as tearing down a Robert E. Lee statue, but it’s pretty close. Honoring Senator McCain by renaming the building for him would be a well-deserved gesture, but don’t be surprised if Georgia opposes the change.

The Mueller investigation of Trump/Russia continues and they caught a couple of big fish this week. At least seven Americans and 25 Russians have pleaded guilty or been charged. Mueller is tight-lipped about progress of the investigation, but a syndicated columnist in “The Columbus Dispatch” today stated, “We know without a doubt Russia did interfere.” Maybe Mueller should interview this columnist, who also stated, “It is illegal for candidates to accept help from foreign governments.” Yes, but which candidate?

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“The trouble with Senators is that the ones that ought to get out, don’t.” WA #323, March 3, 1929

“All we got to do in this country to find out anything is wrong is just to investigate it.” DT #1577, Aug. 12, 1931

“Our investigations have always contributed more to amusement than they have to knowledge.” DT #1878, Aug. 11, 1932

Socialism, Capitalism, and the First Amendment

Socialism is gaining popularity, at least among Democrats. A poll showed that 57% of Democrats are favorable to living under Socialism, and only 47% are favorable to Capitalism. For that Democrat majority, they likely point to a few successful “socialistic” programs we have in this country and figure it can work on everything else. But what they forget, or never learned in school, is that our socialistic programs depend on Capitalism to pay for ‘em.

Young folks think that because public schools are free, so should college. And everybody should get at least $15 an hour, even if they aren’t working. Ask ‘em who will pay for free college and free health care and they will tell you, “The rich. And big corporations.” Well, they’re in for a shock. On that $15 an hour minimum wage they would pay half in taxes. And if they somehow rose to a high salary, they might pay 80 or 90 percent.

I’m a few days late but I want to join with the 400 newspapers who wrote editorials on Thursday proclaiming their right to stand up to government officials and defend democracy, civilization and the First Amendment. I may be the only one who admits that much of what I write is fake news. And it’s “free speech,” even freer than theirs, because I don’t get a dime for it.

For most readers, these editorials were seen as a rebuttal to President Trump because he constantly criticizes them for only publishing “fake news” about his Administration. Well, even if 90% of the stories about the President are negative, they can’t all be fake. So here’s my suggestion to those 400 papers. Next Thursday, publish a list of their Top Ten national or international stories since Trump’s election Nov. 8, 2016. Do this independently, no colluding. Then let their readers decide if they agree with the list and the ranking.

Speaking of the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech, did you know that over a million former government officials have “Security Clearance?”  It surprised me to find out those folks continue to have access to the same Top Secret materials as when they were working for us. Here is a shocker: those same former employees claim that if we don’t give them access to top secrets, it eliminates their freedom of speech. Well, my speech has been free for years, and I never had even a hint of security clearance. So, here’s to free speech, but not with our top secrets.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“We got a Socialist out here [in California] running, Upton Sinclair, darn nice fellow, and just plain smart, and if he could deliver some of the things he promises, should not only be  governor of one state , but president of all of  ‘em. Upton has got some sort of scheme where us old boys over 45 retire and get a couple of thousand a year.” WA #603, July 15, 1934

“If Socialists worked as much as they talked, they would have the most prosperous style of government in the world.” There’s Not a Bathing Suit in Russia, Chapter 5. 1927

 “The [American] Communist teaches his doctrines, but he wants to do it where he is enjoying the blessings of Capitalistic surroundings. He preaches against the pie, but he sure eats it.” WA #420, Jan. 11, 1931

“Every day just shows us what a lucky country we are… [Our newspaper press is free, so] you can write whatever you want to. The only trouble is getting somebody that will read it.” DT #2091, April 17, 1933

More California fires, and political splits

California is still on fire. The fires have burned more acres and destroyed more houses than in any previous year. Governor Brown and The Washington Post agree on the cause: global warming.

It is always easier to blame something out of your direct control instead of policy decisions that created the fire-prone situation. Droughts and fires were just as common a hundred years ago as today. But with a population one-tenth of todays, they were less likely to build rows of luxury houses on steep, brushy hillsides.

A lot of folks thought they were protecting the environment several years ago when they outlawed timber cutting and grazing by cattle or sheep on public land. Dead trees remain in the woods, and the underbrush grows unchecked. No wonder fires spread rapidly.

As long as we have arsonists and others who are careless or plain stupid, there will be fires. But with good policy and good management those fires are usually small and put out before they become gigantic and out of control. Environmentalists can be nutty; their heart may be in the right place, but protection for the Spotted Owl in Oregon and the snail darter in California created unintended consequences.

By the way, there’s no lack of water to fight fires. President Trump is wrong on that one. He is correct that California requires that 25 percent of river flow be allowed to run unimpeded to the ocean.  Regardless of drought and desperate needs for crops, industry and a morning shower, that 25 percent cannot be touched.

I have always claimed “I don’t belong to any organized political party… I’m a Democrat.” But it’s not just the Democrats that are unorganized; so are the Republicans. Instead of two parties we are looking at four. And that’s not even counting the Greens and folks registered Independent.

The young woman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, got only 16,000 votes in her New York City Congressional District, yet she won the nomination. Not only won, but she’s the new face of the Socialist wing of the Democratic Party. (Bernie Sanders is the old face.) The other wing is Liberal or Progressive, and Nancy Pelosi says her face belongs up front on that one.

The split for the Republicans is harder to define. They have pro-Trump and not-so-hot on Trump.  Or maybe Conservative and moderately Conservative. And like the Democrats they find plenty to argue over.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

          “We need rain [in California]. I will make it a motion, that it be called a prayer… It hasn’t rained here since Noah took two of every kind of moving picture actor and actress into the Ark with him… This is mighty dry humor, but, friends we would welcome the Johnstown flood right now.”  DT #1074, Jan. 3, 1930

“California is happy today. It’s raining! It’s raining! When you haven’t seen a drop of water that hasn’t come through a faucet in ten months, why rain looks like a miracle from the Democrats.” DT #2013, Jan. 16, 1933

“It’s getting so if a man wants to stand well socially, he can’t afford to be seen with either the Democrats or Republicans.” How To Be Funny, Sept. 1929

Fires, hot air, and (possible) Lame-Duck Congressman

COLUMBUS: California is on fire. At least parts of it, and other states, too. I’m wondering if the fires are partly to blame for the intense heat out west. Of course, others may feel the heat wave is contributing to the fires, and they’re probably right.

We feel sorry for the thousands who have lost homes. It makes you wonder why they build in the middle of dry woods where the government won’t allow old or dying trees to be cut and removed for timber.

Europe is dealing with record heat, and they can’t blame forest fires. The heat wave is blowing north off the Sahara Desert.

It’s hot in central Ohio and we know what to blame it on. There’s a special election for Congress on Tuesday (Aug. 7) and there’s more hot air spinning over Columbus than above those California fires. Millions of dollars are being spent on both sides and it is only for a short term Congressman. Television shows are interrupted by a commercial for one candidate, followed by one for the other guy, followed by one against the first guy, followed by another against the second candidate. The program no sooner starts up again than the telephone rings with a recorded message begging you to vote for one or the other. Text messages and ads on Facebook constantly annoy, and you almost hate to open the mail box. Did you ever complain that polls never contact you for your opinion? Well, everyone in this District has been polled at least sixteen times. The polls are so annoying I’m ready on the next call to hit ‘em with a 10-foot pole.

As I say, this is a short term Congressman because the same two square off November 6. If the man who wins Tuesday loses in November he may set a record as the only Congressman to be in Washington more days as a Lame Duck than before he was defeated. See, Congress is off the month of August, then back to work a couple of weeks in September, and off campaigning the entire month of October.  For the half-dozen nights he is there, the poor fellow should pitch a tent beside the Capitol. I mentioned Lame Duck, but honestly I don’t know whether the one elected in November takes over immediately or has to wait until January. The ways things are going, Congress may pass more laws in a Lame Duck session than in the previous 22 months.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“So much money is being spent on the campaign that I doubt if either man, as good as they are, are worth what it will cost to elect them.” DT #687, Oct. 8, 1928

“(This lame-duck Congress) knows exactly how the people voted on every question that they will be asked to decide on. So when any question comes up all they have to do is read the election returns. Course if they want to still be on the minority side of all these things we will know exactly why they was defeated.”  DT #1976, Dec. 4, 1932

“(A lame-duck Congress) is like where some fellows worked for you and their work wasn’t satisfactory and you let ‘em out, but after you fired ‘em, you let ‘em stay long enough so they could burn your house down.” DT #1980, Dec. 8, 1932