Tag Archives: POW

Letter to congressman seeking ‘no’ vote answer on its way

Well … I have done it.

I wrote a letter to my congressman and sent it to his district office in Plano. It says, in part:

I have to know: Why did you vote against the measure in the House to approve the formal impeachment inquiry pushed by Speaker Pelosi?

I fail to understand how members of Congress can demand more transparency in these impeachment proceedings, argue with those on the other side who kept the proceedings out of public view, and then vote against a measure that provides the transparency you demanded.

I would appreciate an explanation from you.

Look, I consider you to be an earnest and dedicated young man. I salute your service in the Marine Corps and your service overseas in a time of war. I hope you do a great job in Congress and I am confident you will.

Your “no” vote on the impeachment inquiry puzzles me. I cannot fathom the reasoning behind rejecting a measure that answers the very concern you and others on your side of the aisle had expressed.

Good luck to you. I look forward to hearing from you.

My congressman is Van Taylor, a Republican who has represented
the Third Congressional District of Texas for all of about 10 months. He succeeded longtime Rep. Sam Johnson, a legendary figure in North Texas politics, given his history as a Vietnam War prisoner who endured torture and many years of captivity in the hands of a brutal enemy.

Taylor has been a quiet congressional freshman. he has towed the GOP line since joining their congressional ranks at the start of the year.

My note explains the nature of my concern about the GOP’s stance regarding impeachment. They want it to be made public, then vote against the measure that creates the transparency they demand.

I don’t know if Rep. Taylor will answer my question. If he does, I will be glad to share his response here. I truly would hate to believe he doesn’t care enough to give one of his constituents an explanation of a vote he has cast ostensibly on our behalf.

My congressman is being seen more than heard

I had a chance to visit for a few minutes this week with my new congressman, a young man named Van Taylor. He’s a Republican, a former Marine and a former Texas state legislator from Plano.

I have no clue on Earth what kind of lawmaker he will become as he represents Texas’s Third Congressional District. However, I want to say something positive about the style he has adopted while settling in to his new responsibilities writing federal law.

He’s been quiet. One does not see Van Taylor on TV during every news cycle. Why? I reckon he wants to earn his spurs before he stands before the media to pontificate about this or that public policy matter. He says he prefers trying to build bipartisan bridges, working quietly across the aisle with Democrats.

I will concede a couple of points about Taylor.

First, he succeeds a legendary congressman, Sam Johnson, the former Air Force pilot who had the back fortune of being shot down during the Vietnam War and was held captive for seven years in the Hanoi Hilton; he spent most of his confinement in solitary quarters. It would be terribly bad form, therefore, for young Rep. Taylor to hog the spotlight while serving under the enormous shadow of the man he followed into the House of Representatives.

Second, he is a member of the minority party in the House. Democrats took control of the body after the 2018 midterm election. That means in many cases, Republicans’ voices aren’t as, oh, meaningful as those that come from Democratic throats.

Make no mistake, the Democratic majority has its boatload of media blowhards. They’re all rookie lawmakers, too. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is everywhere, it seems. There’s also Rashida Tlaib of Minnesota, Katie Porter of California and, I don’t know, maybe a dozen or more of them out there.

My representatives is taking a much more respectful approach to working his way into the limelight, if he ever gets to that point.

I just prefer the newbies in the House and Senate to earn their place before swallowing up all that air time and newsprint.

You’re off to a good start, Rep. Taylor.

GOP remains silent as Trump trashes a party statesman

Donald Trump has taken the Republican Party hostage, tossed its leaders into a dungeon and is disparaging one of its longstanding, long-serving and long-admired political figures.

The president keeps hammering away at the memory of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, the former Vietnam War prisoner and two-time candidate for president of the United States.

He said most recently that he never received a “thank you” from the senator’s family for granting him the funeral he deserved. Yeah, sure thing, Mr. POTUS. Except that you had nothing to do with the funeral McCain received. Yep, you lied about that one, too!

It just baffles me that the late senator’s friends in the Senate and elsewhere have remained largely silent about the classless, crass and juvenile attacks against him by the drafter dodger in chief.

Yes, some of them have offered some pulled-punch rejoinders. Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Sen. McCain’s best friends in the Senate, has been largely mute; Arizona GOP Sen. Martha McSally, who is sitting in the seat McCain once occupied, has offered tepid criticism.

GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia has spoken out, as has Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

But the vast bulk of the nation’s Republican establishment keeps enabling the president to keep up his idiotic bitching about a senator who died of brain cancer in August 2018.

McCain developed many friendships over the course of his three decades in Congress. His Democratic friends have been quite outspoken against the president’s rants; but that’s to be expected.

I would have expected more outrage from Republicans as well, given the stated and understood admiration for a man who endured five-plus years of torture as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam before being elected to Congress.

These chicken-hearted politicians act like they fear the president who took over their party by storm in 2016 without ever devoting a single minute of his prior life to public service.

Someone needs to launch a rescue mission to free those GOP hostages, release them from their dungeon and tell them it’s OK to speak ill of the guy who captured them in the first place.

Oh, wait! We have an election coming up. Maybe that’ll do the trick.

Trump keeps blurring the line of decency

I cannot let Donald Trump’s incessant, relentless and utterly classless attacks on a genuine American hero pass without comment.

The president launched the Mother of Twitter Tirades over the weekend. One of Trump’s targets, not surprisingly, was the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, the war hero who got under the president’s skin because of his fearless resistance to the president’s policies and pronouncements.

McCain died in August 2018 of brain cancer. He voted dramatically against a plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He also has challenged Trump’s style of confrontational governance and sought to restore a semblance of what he called “regular order” to the U.S. Senate.

Trump continues to attack the late senator. Why he persists is absolutely beyond me.

His latest attack against McCain challenged the senator’s release of information related to the “dossier” related to allegations that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral system. Trump lied about the timing of when McCain leaked the dossier information to the FBI, saying he did so to harm Trump’s presidential campaign; the leak came after the November 2016 election.

Trump infamously declared in 2015 that McCain is “not a war hero. He’s a hero only because he was captured. I like people who aren’t captured. OK?” McCain served the nation heroically by any measure possible during the Vietnam War. He was shot down over Hanoi, taken captive and held for more than five yeas as a prisoner of war.

For the president of the United States — the commander in chief — to denigrate a war hero after avoiding military service during that war because of the questionable existence of bone spurs wreaks of indecency of the lowest order.

The McCain-Trump relationship went downhill from that moment.

And now that the senator has succumbed, the president continues to attack him. He continues his assault on the memory of a fellow Republican who contributed more in service to this country than the president ever will contribute. Ever!

Quite obviously none of us is privy to the president’s personal thoughts. We instead get to read his public pronouncements that, I’ll presume, put many of his private thoughts on the public record.

Donald Trump has shown us time and again what many of us already believe . . . that he disgraces this country.

The daughter’s voice keeps Dad in the game

John McCain is no longer among us, but his voice lives on.

You see, he produced a daughter who has become quite vigilant in protecting the late senator’s legacy. Moreover, she has become a vehement critic of the man who once had the indecency to denigrate Sen. McCain’s valiant and heroic service during the Vietnam War.

Meghan McCain clearly is her father’s daughter. She most recently said she wished that Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, had not attended the memorial service where Meghan McCain eulogized her father.

Meghan McCain speaks to Stephen Colbert

It was candidate Donald Trump who once said infamously that Sen. McCain was a “war hero only because he was captured. I like people that aren’t captured. OK?” That profoundly callous utterance drew much-deserved condemnation from many millions of Americans; I was one of them.

McCain was a Navy aviator who was shot down over Hanoi in 1967 during the Vietnam War. He was held captive for more than five years. He rejected an offer for an early release and for that he suffered more torture from his captors.

Meghan McCain has taken that particular criticism personally, as she should. Moreover, she has taken personally the continual slights and digs that the president slung at her father while he was battling the cancer that took his life this past summer.

As one American who took Donald Trump’s hideous statement about someone who fought bravely for his country I continue to embrace the passionate views expressed by the valiant warrior’s daughter. She speaks not only for herself, but for many others who believe as she does about the (lack of) character the president continues to exhibit.

Sen. McCain got the sendoff he deserves

It’s been said over the past few days that the pomp, circumstance and pageantry associated with U.S. Sen. John McCain’s funeral is reserved usually for presidents of the United States.

Well, to my mind, the senator deserved all the tributes — and the accompanying ritual — that he received.

The great man’s six decades of public service all alone was worthy of the salute bestowed to him.

The eulogies delivered in Phoenix by former Vice President Joe Biden and in Washington by former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush spoke volumes about the nature of the ceremony that the late U.S. senator planned for his farewell.

It was Vice President Biden who introduced himself to the crowd assembled by saying, “I’m Joe Biden; I am a Democrat: and I loved John McCain.”

And so it went as the nation poured out its heart to memorialize the iconic Republican lawmaker.

I was glad that the ceremonies didn’t dwell too heavily on the single aspect of McCain’s service to the country — his five-plus years as a Vietnam War prisoner. But it was there. It was impossible to set that part of his sacrifice aside.

The last public figure to get this kind of sendoff was President Ford, who died in 2006. Then it fell to others to deliver such a heartfelt salute to a man who fought a valiant battle against disease.

He already had battled his wartime captors. And he won that fight.

Sen. John McCain was the rare public figure who emerged even bigger after he lost the toughest political battles of his life: his unsuccessful campaign for the GOP presidential nomination in 2000 and his losing bid for the office in the 2008 election against Barack Obama.

With that, the nation has bid farewell to a gallant warrior and a true-blue American hero.

May this sometimes irascible man rest in peace.

As he said of himself, Sen. McCain “lived and died a proud American.”

The country he loved and served with honor and distinction is better because he came along.

Why praise someone on the other side?

Roger Kimball, a conservative writer for The Spectator, thinks the New York Times’s praise of the late Sen. John McCain rings hollow.

Indeed, he takes aim at liberals for their high praise of the senator, given his own conservative voting record in the House and the Senate over more than three decades.

Well, I beg to differ with his assertion about the hollow ring of such high-minded rhetoric.

Read Kimball’s essay here.

I consider myself a liberal. Or a progressive. I have stated on this blog many times that I didn’t vote for Sen. McCain when he ran for president as the Republican nominee in 2008. I have opposed his policy and have challenged his constant griping against the man who thumped him in that landmark presidential election a decade ago.

However, the man’s public service is worthy of salute and high praise. His courage in the face of his hideous captivity during the Vietnam War is as well. Sen. McCain’s dignity during his valiant but futile fight against the cancer that took his life commends high praise.

I have been saddened in the extreme by Sen. McCain’s death. He was a man of deep courage, conviction and dedication to his country. He paid a huge price for his service when he was shot down in 1967. He endured more than five years of captivity, came home and continued to serve his beloved country.

Sen. McCain said it well himself by declaring that he “lived and died a proud American.”

How can a liberal look away from such dignity?

White House makes a mess of standard tribute

Let’s call it what it appears to be: a major-league clusterf***.

Someone at the White House — where Donald J. Trump resides with his wife and young son — lowered the flag atop the building to half-staff immediately after U.S. Sen. John McCain’s death this past weekend.

Then the flag went back to the top of the staff.

And then it came down again today. The president issued a “thoughts and prayers” statement to Sen. McCain’s family initially, and then issued a statement saying that despite the two men’s differences over “politics and policy,” the president said “I respect his service” to the country.

Gosh. Overwhelming, yes? Well … no. It isn’t. But you know that already.

Read CNN.com’s report here.

Actually, the president has yet to make any kind of statement saluting the late senator’s enormous contributions to his nation, his 60 years of public service — including his more than five years as a Vietnam War prisoner as a captive of North Vietnam. Trump denigrated McCain’s war service and the heroism he displayed while being held captive. And as McCain fought the cancer that killed him, Trump continued to blast the senator over his “no” vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Of course, McCain issued a directive that the president shouldn’t attend his funeral. Instead, the senator asked former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama to deliver eulogies in his honor. And, yes, Vice President Mike Pence — a former congressional colleague of Sen. McCain — will represent the Trump administration.

Dear reader, we are witnessing yet again the clumsiness and ineptitude of the Donald J. Trump administration over a ceremonial duty that should be second nature.

Shameful.

Wishing this prediction had panned out

I’m in a strange mood this evening. I am feeling a bit of a mea culpa urge entering my aching body.

A little more than three years ago, I “predicted” the demise of the Donald John Trump’s presidential campaign after he uttered the infamous phrase that U.S. Sen. John McCain was a war hero “only because he was captured” and that he he liked “those who aren’t captured.”

I thought at that moment that Trump had just self-immolated his campaign for the presidency.

Oh, man, was I ever wrong about that.

So, I want to send it out one more time as my attempt at self-deprecation.

Hey, no one’s perfect.

This is when Donald Trump’s candidacy died

 

 

 

McCain keeps fighting the good fight

I want to offer some kind words about John McCain.

One year ago, Sen. McCain received a medical diagnosis no one wants to hear: He had contracted an aggressive form of brain cancer, glioblastoma.

I don’t know what the docs told him about his prognosis. Sen. McCain has indicated it was grim.

But he’s still with us. For that I am grateful.

I’ll be candid about Sen. McCain. I disagree with his conservative political views. I did not vote for him when he ran as the Republican nominee for president in 2008.

However, I long have admired Sen. McCain for the valiant public service he has given to his country. It spans many decades, including his years as a Navy officer.

In 1967, the young aviator had the extreme misfortune of being shot down over Hanoi during the height of the Vietnam War. He was taken captive and held for more than five years. He was injured when he ejected from his jet fighter; his wounds never were treated properly. He was tortured and submitted to solitary confinement.

He persevered. McCain ran for Congress, being elected to the House and then to the Senate.

His courage has never been doubted. His heroism in a time of war is well-documented. I long have admired this man’s service and I have saluted him — through this blog — many times.

I just feel compelled to wish Sen. McCain well as he continues his valiant battle. I consider him a heroic figure.