Tradition and history call for a balanced ticket in presidential elections. But the running mates chosen by presidential nominees this year may be more of a drag then a help.
Democrat Hillary Clinton picked former U.S. Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia as her vice presidential candidate despite serious ethical problems.
• Barr Pharmaceuticals gave him a ride on its private jet at a meeting in Aspen, Colo., when Barr was lobbying him over issues related to drug sales.
• Dominion Resources, Virginia’s electric utility, the same year flew Kaine gratis to the Final Four college basketball championship in Indianapolis, Ind.
• McCandlish Holton PC, a law firm that represents Virginia vineyards, gave him four cases of wine in 2007 after he signed legislation creating a new system for distributing wines in Virginia.
The New York Times reported that the gifts he received as Virginia governor and lieutenant governor totaled $160,000.
Bribery? Or business as usual for politicians?
TRUMP ALSO PICKS A ‘BEAUTY’
Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, picked a “beauty” as a running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana.
Truthout greeted Pence with an apt headline: “Pence Is a Loyal Friend to Polluters.”
The article, written by Janet Redman and Sarah Anderson, noted that Pence told President Obama in 2015 his state would not comply with the Clean Power Plan. They said the governor would “take a chainsaw” to Obama’s environmental policy, a plan setting targets for reducing power-plant emissions. Pence joined a lawsuit that succeeded in tying up the plan.
“He and other climate-crisis-denying policymakers have benefitted from a coordinated network of industry front groups, conservative think tanks and law firms bent on blocking the Clean Power Plan,” Redman and Anderson declared.
The Institute for Policy Studies said 23 of 40 publicly held utilities profitable in 2015 paid no federal taxes. Sixteen of them paid no state income taxes. Southern Company reaped $210 million in federal and state tax refunds despite $3.6 billion in pre-tax income.
VOTER ID STRUCK DOWN
Texas is determined to curtail black and Latino voting by passing a law requiring voter ID. The federal courts are just as determined to strike down such laws as an unconstitutional violation of the Voting Rights Act.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans recently ruled the law “a scheme to disenfranchise minorities and poor people.” Those blocs tend to vote Democratic but often lack photo identification like a driver’s license or a passport.
Texas pols argued that that ID is necessary to prevent voter fraud. It’s a ruse, the appellate court rightly noted. Adding: “Out of 20 million votes cast in the past decade, just two people were convicted of voter impersonation.”
JUST LIKE HOME
Headline on article by media critic Norman Solomon in Nation magazine: “The Most Important U.S. Air Force Base Abroad You Never Heard Of, an overseas hub for America’s ‘war on terror.’ “
“Ramstein serves crucial functions for drone warfare,” Solomon writes. “The U.S. Air Force base is a Grand Central Station for airborne war and a pit stop for enormous cargo jets.
“It’s a Little America with 57,000 U.S. citizens clustered around Ramstein and a dozen smaller bases. It has a gigantic shopping center– just like home.”
Ramstein sends video images of drone targets in Afghanistan to remote pilots, directing units on missions to Africa and sends munitions for airstrikes in Syria and Iraq.
The targeted killings are executions. So are deaths of bystanders. These deaths are violations of human rights, international law and the German constitution. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is as guilty as the United States for allowing the war crimes on German soil.
The operations soak up billions of taxpayer dollars but the nation never turns down money for its international war machine. The operation is like playing a deadly video game.
The so-called German democracy has 174 U.S. military bases. Why? World War II ended in 1945. Warmonger President Obama refuses to do anything about it.
GENTLEMAN TIM DUNCAN
Tim Duncan is perhaps the finest Gentleman ever to star for a professional basketball team.
His retirement recently after 19 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs was typical of the quiet and modest way he played throughout his NBA career:
• No tearful final news conference.
• No triumphant “farewell tour” at cities around the league.
• No canned quotes.
• No explanation of why he was quitting.
• No mention of the five NBA championships he led the Spurs to. (The record for NBA titles: Boston Celtics , Los Angeles Lakers  and Chicago Bulls .)
• No, just a simple goodbye.
Jake Highton is an emeritus professor from the University of Nevada, Reno. (firstname.lastname@example.org)