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John McCain discontinues medical treatment for brain cancer

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Senator John McCain was the Republican nominee for President in 2008. A decade later, he has removed himself from treatment for brain cancer. A statement from his family says his condition has worsened.

John McCain to discontinue medical treatment for brain cancer

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/08/24/mccain-to-discontinue-medical-treatment-for-brain-cancer.html“Last summer, Senator John McCain shared with Americans the news our family already knew: he had been diagnosed with an aggressive glioblastoma, and the prognosis was serious. In the year since, John has surpassed expectations for his survival. But the progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict.”

They said, “With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment.”

The “Maverick,” as he is often called, has been arguably the strongest opponent to the President from the Republican side of the Senate since before Trump won the election. He went so far as to ask the President not to attend his funeral and to send Vice President Pence instead.

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Economy

Note to Nashville: Privatization is good, except when it’s idiotic

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Note to Nashville Privatization is good except when its idiotic

This will be the first and hopefully the last time I speak out against a government plan to privatize anything. But as much as I like a blanket approach to taking control away from government in the vast majority of situations, the plan to privatize public parking in Nashville is so loaded with problems, it shouldn’t move forward.

I first heard the details of the plan when I read about the rare occurrence of a Democratic mayor wanting to privatize an element of city government. Generally, Democrats push for more control over their territories, not less, which is why I was hoping to find an instance where the realities of limited-government federalism and capitalistic privatization was seeping into the psyche of a Democratic leader. What I found was appalling: a desperate mayor, David Briley, throwing anything he could against the fiscal walls in hopes of making it stick. His city faces a woeful budget shortfall, something that should not be happening in a city as vibrant and growing as Nashville.

But, they need money immediately to make up the shortfall before the end of the fiscal year and this seems to be their last resort following an atrocious set of attempts to sell off public land to make up the cash difference. The attempt was so botched, the city council passed a resolution preventing such an attempt from being used in the future to cover operating expenses. But now, they’re ready to push the parking privatization scheme through with a rubber stamp and hopes nobody will look closely at the details.

The latter is unlikely, as many are already speaking out. Mayoral candidate Carol M. Swain urged the city to halt the plans, clearly pointing out it’s a very bad deal:

Nashville must oppose Mayor David Briley’s public parking privatization plan

We the People of Davidson County and surrounding areas will be adversely impacted if Mayor Briley, who is up for re-election, can push through this deal that would entail a 30-year commitment.

No agreement of this magnitude should be for more than any one term of the mayor’s office.

Once they have the contract, there is nothing to prevent the bid-winning private company from also raising rates until they match rates common to larger cities such as Chicago and New York City.

As Swain noted, this is a 30-year deal that essentially turns a public revenue source into a for-profit scheme that will sacrifice the people’s control for decades in exchange for saving a single year’s budget. The loss of future revenues and control aren’t the only things at stake, though. The deal will include increases across the board for citizens of Nashville, including:

  • A rise in the number of parking spots designated as paid that will essentially double them over four years
  • Increased cost per hour by 25 cents
  • More than doubling fines from $11 to $25
  • Decreasing free parking times by four hours per weekday
  • Removing free parking on weekends
  • Removing free parking for green vehicles

The mayor is pushing the deal as a way to innovate and catch up with the rest of the nation, citing technological improvements. But any such improvements could be made by the city, as could the changes to the times, costs, and fines, so his points are moot. The reality is this: They need cash now and they don’t have any other schemes that can work this quickly.

There’s a solution to all this: cut budgets. Fiscal responsibility should not be obfuscated by get-cash-quick schemes that will harm Nashville’s citizens. Make cuts. Increase revenues long term. Make Nashville as business-friendly as possible. These are the ways that work in America. Corrupt land deals and desperate privatization schemes always hurt in the long run. This time, they’re hurting Nashville in the short term as well.

Nashville’s parking plan is the equivalent of taking an important part of many citizens’ daily lives and pawning it off to pay the city’s bills. They’re giving up 30 years of control to save a single year’s budget.

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Opinions

Remembering OKC

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Remembering OKC

I was born in Northeastern Oklahoma. But my family first left there when I was 6 years old. After I did Elementary School on the south Oregon coast, we were back in Oklahoma for just a short period when I was in 6th and 7th grades. But, I haven’t lived in my childhood home area since 1962.

I finished Junior High and High School and wandered the smoggy streets of West Los Angeles until I joined the U.S. Air Force at the height of the Vietnam era. Even though I wasn’t in Oklahoma, Oklahoma always has been and still is in me. Hawaii has now been home for many years, but my roots are still in Oklahoma’s Green Country.

On April 19, 1995 I was working here in Honolulu. It was from a good friend and co-worker who was also from Oklahoma that I first heard what had happened in Oklahoma City that day. Just saying it was a shock would be very much an understatement.

That was the day after my aunt had passed away down in Humble, Texas. My parents drove from their home in Northern California for her funeral. The 19th was a Wednesday and the following Saturday, I flew to join them in the Houston area.

I mention that because I would have certainly been able to more closely follow the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing if loss in the family had not happened concurrently. Remember, this was before we had internet and smartphones 24×7.

I found out from my cousin in Oklahoma that her adult daughter had been scheduled for an appointment there at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building at 9 a.m. on April 19, 1995, but it had been cancelled. I hesitate to say it was through the grace of God, because only God knows why young toddlers were killed that day at their preschool. It just wasn’t my cousin’s time to go.

I don’t want to go into things that are already well documented about that tragedy. It was the 2nd anniversary of the ATF raid at Waco, Texas under Attorney General Janet Reno and President Bill Clinton. Timothy McVeigh was a sick man and we won’t go into his own perverse rationalizations.

I do however want to say a few things about his accomplice Terry Nichols. The FBI immediately dismissed any kind of conspiracy theory with international ramifications. But that’s typical FBI speak.

Terry Nichols wife was Filipina. He traveled at least twice to the Philippines in the early 1990s within just a few years before what happened at OKC. 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [KSM] was there during the same time span plotting Operation Bojinka which would have taken down multiple jumbo-jets over the Pacific Ocean and would have assassinated Pope John Paul II in Manila as a distraction and prelude.

Their concurrent presence in the Philippines is factual. Whether they were actually in the same place at the same time is something our American law enforcement and intelligence agencies don’t want to talk about.

There is absolutely no evidence, and it is not prudent to conclude, that either Terry Nichols or Timothy McVeigh was a convert to Islam or that OKC was an act of jihad. Such does not appear to be the case.

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But it is reasonable to consider that Terry Nichols could have learned the art of bomb-making from KSM and/or Ramzi Yousef in the Philippines.
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Today, we see Mexican drug cartels in cahoots with Islamic terrorists and learning methodology even though they do not share ideology. We see Communist North Korea and Islamic Republic of Iran cooperating with one another against mutual enemies.

Timothy McVeigh hated the U.S. government. Whether Terry Nichols was a co-planner or just accomplice isn’t the issue now. KSM also hates the U.S. government. I say that in present tense. McVeigh was executed but KSM is still in Guantanamo. He’s so evil that even Obama wouldn’t release him.

The tragedy in Oklahoma City 24 years ago today is very personal to many good people who lost family and friends there. A professional colleague of mine was friends with one of the two U.S. Customs agents who died there on that dismal day, Claude Arthur Medearis. The other slain agent was Paul D. Ice.

But we must learn lessons from these horrific attacks. One such lesson is that domestic terrorism and international terrorism are not always mutually exclusive.

McVeigh is in hell as Nichols and KSM await their turn. But there are many more with evil in their hearts both within and beyond our borders who would do us all harm. Today, social media facilitates identification of those with common objectives. Physically crossing borders isn’t always necessary for them to communicate and conspire.

As we remember all those who died in Oklahoma City nearly a quarter-century ago and their families who still grieve, let us be circumspect of dangers that lie ahead. Today, national news is hung up on the Mueller report and politicians are trying to use it against one another.

OKC symbolizes terror. So now also does Christchurch. If we’re unprepared, another city will soon join that unenviable list of terror symbols. Will it be your hometown? Don’t let that happen! We all need to take a deep breath and focus on things that really matter.

Oklahoma Today Magazine

My letter of condolences written from Hawaii to Oklahoma Today Magazine was published in their special issue entitled “The Official Record of the Oklahoma City Bombing”. I still have a copy available but cannot locate it in a timely manner today. I just spent a considerable amount of time researching the Oklahoma Today online archives, but this issue is not included. It apparently was published as a book in its own right in 2005 and can be ordered from Amazon.

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Guns and Crime

Trey Gowdy on the future of investigations in wake of Mueller report

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Trey Gowdy on the future of investigations in wake of Mueller report

Former Congressman Trey Gowdy took to Fox News to talk to Martha MacCallum about the release of Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference from 2016. His interview was arguably the most impressive take on the release so far.

As MacCallum notes, the divide really started with the Bill Clinton impeachment. Lawmakers ran to their respective political party corners and one can argue they never returned to the middle to become a single Congress again.

As for Gowdy, he pointed out the unfortunate reality that the American people are going to have to suffer (and pay for) more investigations from Congress and other entities who are not and will never be satisfied with how the Mueller probe concluded.

But perhaps the biggest takeaway from Gowdy is his belief that former FBI Agent Peter Strzok should and will be investigated in the wake of the Mueller report. This is important because Gowdy has never been one who shied away from the Mueller investigation, nor did he believe it should be made public.

Watch this video. Gowdy is in rare form by giving the cold, hard truth while not playing partisan games. Best take of the investigation so far.

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