Now for a few short stops and high hops in the world of fake news — borrowing from the great Phil Rizzuto.
First, getting high. There’s a huge amount of talk about how the country is sinking into oblivion because of over-prescription of opioids like Percocet. These supposedly lead to the use of heroin and to woozy thinking and bad judgments that lead to crime and death.
Fair enough. We want people to be clear headed and sober.
We want a nation of clear-eyed, straight-shooting men and women who can and will do things intelligently.
Opioids dull the brain and cause unclear thought. So out they go, even if millions of patients need them for intractable pain. Even if they are prescribed by doctors.
But how do we square that with the nationwide mania to legalize and glamorize the use of marijuana for “medical” uses and for pleasure? Have you ever smoked modern marijuana? It’s potent stuff. One of two puffs and it’s as if you’ve taken three martinis, only it lasts for many hours. You’re floating. You’re hallucinating. You’re crazy, man, crazy, gone, gone.
And let me tell you, as an old man who has toiled in the vineyards of sobriety for decades now, marijuana is unequivocally a gateway drug. It leads to cocaine and heroin not just sometimes, but often. Why are we having our TV stars tell kids how cool dope is and telling their grandmas they can’t have Norco for cruel, biting pain? This is a strange set of contradictions. Marijuana good. Codeine bad. Why?
The media and the Democrats are screaming about Trump’s use of ‘back channel’ representatives to talk to Russia about easing tensions in the world. This is as if it’s a rare and scary thing for the White House to go around the State Department for foreign policy initiatives.
But the exact opposite is true. Presidents have not trusted the striped pants boys in Foggy Bottom with anything vital for a century or close to it.
When Woodrow Wilson wanted to talk to Britain and France about helping them in their struggle with the Central Powers, Germany and Austro-Hungary, he didn’t dare send the ultra-isolationist William Jennings Bryan, Secretary of State, for the task. He knew Bryan and his State Department would never help the struggling Brits and French.
Instead, he sent his pal and aide, Col. Edward House, to see the lay of the land. Col. House sent reports to Wilson that eventually led to the U.S. entering the war. Bryan was furious and so were his pals in the Senate. But the U.S. entered the war.
When FDR wanted an honest appraisal of the looks of World War II, and the danger of Hitler, especially from the viewpoint of beleaguered London, he did not bother to ask the gangster, bootlegger, anti-Semite, pro-Nazi U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, Joe Kennedy. He knew Kennedy wanted a Nazi Britain and a pro-Nazi Ireland. He could not be trusted to tell the straight story.
So FDR sent his trusted aide, Harry Hopkins, secretly to London and then to Moscow to get the lay of the land.
This was crucial in making the U.S. “the Arsenal of Democracy” and helping Britain stay in the war. In every way, this use of “back channel” diplomacy by a non-professional diplomat was indispensable in saving the world.
In the Cuban Missile Crisis, John Kennedy, Joe’s son, did not trust the State Department to work things out with Russia to avert nuclear catastrophe. Instead, Jack Kennedy sent his clever, trusty brother, Robert F. Kennedy, to meet with the Russians and work out a deal with the Soviets to avert nuclear Armageddon. The details of the deal were not made public for years.
In every vital foreign policy situation, the President uses back channels. Nixon used the genius Henry A. Kissinger, not Secretary of State Bill Rogers, to work out the opening to China that led to the end of the cold war and the collapse of Communism in Europe. (It is making a big comeback at colleges and universities, though, here in the USA.)
The State Department has its uses. I worked there in 1966 and it was there I met my future bride, Alex. We were both summer interns. But speed, flexibility, and audacity are not parts of its skill set.
My point is that it’s just nonsense to see Trump’s use of back channels to Russia as at all unique or dangerous. It’s standard.
It hasn’t been proved that it’s happening
The link to whatever is happening from man’s activities is far from clear.
The plan of the Paris Treaty was fine with me. I’m not a coal miner. I’m not in West Texas. But for those people, it’s bad news. The treaty shackles the U.S. and allows China and India and most of the rest of the world to run free. Why? We have been so ultra-generous to the rest of the world. Why doom millions to unemployment to please do-gooders who don’t even know what a day’s work is? Why do that unless a clear, genuine gain to my granddaughter’s life is involved? For a conjecture? For letting the Chinese get way ahead of us? No, thanks.
On the other hand, I worship clean air. If the treaty were proved to measurably clean the air, I would be all for it. If it does that, I am all for it right now.
Now, time for dinner.