The Thanksgiving season is a time to be grateful.

I am grateful for our military leaders like Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and our professional military personnel. We all owe them a debt for their service and willingness to put the interests of the country first, most prominently protecting us from harm.

On the flight to Phoenix for the holiday I rode with some Army truck drivers who had finished training at Camp Williams.  Such fine people.

In Arizona, I had a chance to view Pres. Trump’s broadcast to the military. If anyone had doubts the man is unbalanced, they should spend 20 minutes watching that video. Rather than focusing on the service of our military he bashed the caravan, blasted various judges, and bragged about the tremendous job he is doing.

My favorite moment was when he belittled the new, amazing electromagnetic catapults being deployed on the new carrier Gerald Ford, while praising the old steam catapults.  It was apparent he doesn’t understand the technology, claiming: “Steam is very reliable and the electromagnetic, unfortunately, you have to be Albert Einstein to really work it properly.” The naval officer, probably biting his tongue, responded: “You have to be Albert Einstein to run the nuclear power plants we have here as well, but we’re doing that very well.” 

I trust our military leaders to keep this president in check.

I am very grateful for statesmen like Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Bob Corker, Republicans who reacted in horror to Trump’s bizarre white-washing last week in a statement of the murder and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi, directed by the Saudi crown prince, according to the CIA. 

Graham this last weekend labeled the prince as “crazy” and specified that he needs to go.  Corker wondered why the White House was acting as a public relations firm for the Saudis.

The editors of the conservative Weekly Standard put it best:

If Trump’s statement was ugly and embarrassing for what it contained, it was equally disconcerting for what it left out: American values. There was nothing about the protection of human rights as a key component of our relations with other nations; nothing about freedom of speech; nothing about freedom of the press; nothing about the right to due process or the right to life.

Despite the president’s babbling about arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the Congress will likely impose stiff sanctions. I am grateful to those who put American values (ie. not chopping dissidents up with a bone saw) first. 

Sen. Jim Risch will play a key role as the new Senate Foreign Relations chair and I trust him to make Saudi Arabia pay a stiff price for this outrage.

I am also grateful for the thoughtful way Gov.-elect Brad Little is moving forward to take the reins of Idaho state government.  His transition team includes a broad range of individuals.  His priority of making an Idaho a place where our kids can build a prosperous life is spot on. He’ll do a fine job for our state.

I am grateful for Gov. Butch Otter’s service.  He guided us through a harsh recession and has put Idaho in a position to move to the next level.  I hope he enjoys his life after January.

I am grateful for Idaho’s dairies, ranches and farms who, despite the buffeting of trade policies and low prices, keep plugging along. The folks I know in Idaho agriculture are so hard working and give their all to put food on our tables. Many are in severe financial trouble and I fear a substantial number will not survive.

I appreciate in particular my own son who reminded me this weekend that politics is not everything, that the news shouldn’t drive our daily life.  All of us should remember that our friends and family, not current events, should be our first priority.

Steve Taggart is an Idaho Falls attorney specializing in bankruptcy (www.MaynesTaggart.com).  He has an extensive background in politics and public policy. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..