Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, July 29, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page B:3

B3 Mountain Views News Saturday, July 29, 2017 OPINION B3 Mountain Views News Saturday, July 29, 2017 OPINION 
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President Donald Trump, who went to a private military

academy and avoided service in Vietnam while heroes like Sen.

John McCain languished in North Vietnamese prison camps,
has made one of the most appallingly cynical calculations of his appalling cynicalpresidency. 

In a series of Tweets, and apparently without apprising the Pentagon, Trumpannounced Wednesday that he was banning transgender Americans from serving inthe military, possibly expelling thousands who are already serving. 

“After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that theUnited States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to servein any capacity in the U.S. military,” Trump wrote. “Our military must be focused ondecisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendousmedical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” 

It rapidly became apparent, however, that when Trump talks about “overwhelmingvictory,” what he actually means is shoring up his base in the Rust Belt states he wonor narrowly won in 2016 (including my home state of Pennsylvania.). 

Speaking to the online news service Axios, an “administration official” quickly laidbare this dysfunctional White House’s true motivations for the ban:

“This forces Democrats in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsinto take complete ownership of this issue,” the unnamed official told White Housereporter Jonathan Swan. “How will blue-collar voters in these states respond whensenators up for re-election in 2018 like [Sen.] Debbie Stabenow [of Michigan] areforced to make their opposition to this a key plank of their campaigns?” 

Even by the odious standards of this administration, that’s a politically disgustingcalculus and a morally repugnant argument to make. 

As The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent reports, citing a RAND Corp. study, about4,000 transgender Americans now serve in the military. Their blood, one assumes, isjust as red as any other soldier’s. And they serve, one presumes, just as proudly as anyother soldier. The only difference being one of gender identity. 

Trump’s about-face (surely, he remembers the term from his years at New YorkMilitary Academy) reverses an Obama administration policy. 

Defense Secretary James Mattis, who supports trans service, and who, as Slatereports, “vigorously lobbied” against a narrowly defeated amendment barring themilitary from providing transition-related medical services to trans soldiers, wasconducting his own review of the policy. 

That review was supposed to be completed in December, as The Post reported. Andit’s not clear why Trump put it on the fast track. Nor is it clear, as Slate notes, which“generals and military experts” were pushing for a ban on trans service.

As Slate reported, the trans policy formulated by former Defense Secretary AshCarter enjoyed “broad”support,” particularly in the wake of the successful lifting ofthe “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that barred gay and lesbians from serving openly.

In June, Mattis imposed a six-month delay, citing, per Slate, the “views of themilitary leadership and of the senior civilian officials now arriving” in the DefenseDepartment.

Trump was also facing external pressure from conservative activists, such as theFamily Research Center, to undo the Obama-era policy.

Still, there is no evidence to suggest, as Trump claims, that transgender serviceimposes unreasonable costs on the military. A 2014 journal article indicates that theopposite is true. Nor is there any deleterious effect on unit morale or cohesion –
which was the same ridiculous argument made to keep women out of certain militaryroles. 
The only answer, sadly, is naked politics. And that’s an insult to every service memberwho has pledged to defend the Constitution that protects all Americans, including thetransgender ones whom Trump so cruelly targeted with his heartless announcement. 

An award-winning political journalist, Micek is the Opinion Editor and PoliticalColumnist for PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Readers may follow himon Twitter @ByJohnLMicek and email him at 


I went to an outdoor event in Washington, D.C., last week. Boy, wasit hot under the noon sun. 

It was so hot, I saw a mother swipe a Popsicle from her own child.
I saw a Republican share an air-conditioned cab with a Democrat.
I saw senators engage in civil conversation with each other so theycould spend more time in their air-conditioned chambers.

In any event, I read, with interest, a Washington Post story thatdescribed how D.C. used to be, prior to the advent of air conditioning.

As it goes, in 1909 President William Howard Taft used electric fans blowing over bins ofice in the attic to attempt to cool the White House. It didn’t work so well. Taft slept outsideon a specially built White House porch to keep cool at night.

In 1914, Woodrow Wilson avoided the unbearable heat by moving into a tent in theRose Garden. 
President Calvin Coolidge “fought the humid summer months by making sure ‘a gadgetfilled with chemicals supposed to purify, or at least deodorize, the air’ was on his desk at alltimes,” according to .

Air conditioning sure has changed Washington and the rest of the country - and notalways for the better.

Before air conditioning, the heat drove us outside and brought us together. In the olddays, friends sought the shade of trees or a refreshing dip in a lake or river. In the evening,
neighbors sat on front porches, sipping lemonade and telling stories. At night, folks slept ingroups at parks or, in Washington, along the banks of the Potomac.

Even in the 1970s, when I was a kid, few homes had air conditioning. Our windows werealways open. At night, you could hear neighbors talking, a distant baby crying and Piratesannouncer Bob Prince calling a game on somebody’s porch radio: “He missed it by a gnat’seyelash!” In the mornings, I’d wake early to the sound of chirping birds. I could smell thecool dew outside my window and the toast and scrambled eggs my father was cooking inthe kitchen. 

But air conditioning has ruined such sensations. In the neighborhood where I grew up,
every house is sealed these days. All you hear outside is the constant hum of air conditionersrunning.

Air conditioning has changed our architecture. Homes used to have high ceilings, cross-
ventilation and large hallways to dissipate heat. Now we live in efficient ranches or over-
designed suburban monstrosities that put the porch in the back and the garage in the front.

Commercial buildings used to have windows that opened, but that isn’t necessaryanymore. Today’s glass-plated buildings are designed to keep the light and air out, so thatwe are oblivious to whatever season it may be.

But these annoyances are nothing compared to the way air conditioning has changedWashington. Before air conditioning, federal agencies routinely shut down when the heatgot too high, giving them that much less time to think up ways to spend our money.

When Congress got air conditioning in the late 1920s, America took a turn for the worse.
Before air conditioning, Washington was empty from mid-June to September. Now, freefrom worries about the heat and humidity, our Republican Congress is finding all kinds ofopportunities to renege on their promises to fix health care, lower our taxes and unleashthe economy.

Perhaps if we shut off their taxpayer-funded AC they might be more prone to come to amuch-needed consensus? 

We’ve had enough of their hot air. Maybe a dose of Mother Nature’s hot air will bringthem to their senses. 


©2017 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s Childhood” and 
“Wicked Is the Whiskey,” a Sean McClanahan mystery novel, both available at,
is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist 


Succinctly stated, President Trump needs all the friends he canget. When Trump was a 1,000:1 long- shot presidential candidate,
then-Senator, now Attorney General Jeff Sessions went to batfor the embattled real estate mogul, a courageous move thatestranged him from most of his congressional colleagues.
Sessions was drawn to Trump because of his strong immigrationenforcement platform. Since Trump’s election, much of his immigration agenda,
including most prominently the wall, has been stalled. President Trump has waffledon several immigration pledges, too, like ending deferred action for childhood arrivals,
DACA, and tightening up on employment-based temporary visas. Only Sessions’vigorous commitment to internal enforcement – vigorous at least when compared toprevious administrations – has saved President Trump from an open revolt championedby his base. 

Under the new administration’s leadership and prompted by President Trump’sexecutive orders that gave broader authority to agents, Immigration and CustomsEnforcement’s stepped-up removals have led to a sharp decline in illegal border crossings.
ICE has arrested more than 41,300 aliens since President Trump’s inauguration andthrough April 29, a 38 percent increase from the same period in 2016. Nearly 75 percentof the arrested aliens have convictions for violent crimes that include homicide, rape,
kidnapping and assault. The AG’s next removal targets are criminal aliens harbored inthe nation’s 300 sanctuary cities. 

Sessions has overseen the escalated campaign to remove aliens, especially criminals,
but also as Department of Homeland Security John Kelly stated in February anyoneillegally present. 

But the recent dust-up between President Trump and Sessions threatens all theAG has accomplished. In, of all places, a New York Times interview, President Trumpexcoriated Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation, and piled onwhen he said that he would never have appointed the Alabama senator had he knownbeforehand his intentions. The media, always eager to stir up trouble, made much ofPresident Trump’s criticism, and futilely hoped that Sessions would resign. 

President Trump can count on one hand his Capitol Hill friends, and last week hecalled out GOP leaders for their failure to get on board. In a series of frustrated tweets,
President Trump wrote that it is “very sad” that Republicans “do very little to protecttheir president,” including those in Congress during the 2016 election who he carried“over the line on my back.” 

Although President Trump didn’t name names, top on his list should be SenateMajority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan. McConnell, duringhis 30-year Senate career, has supported more overseas workers, and been weak onending amnesty enticements. Ryan isn’t much better, and is a particularly strong refugeeresettlement advocate. McConnell and Ryan should be President Trump’s staunchestadvocates, but they’re more aligned with the Democratic opposition.

President Trump is the nation’s first dogless chief executive since William McKinley,
1897-1901. Without a pet pooch, President Trump needs to keep his friends close.
Sessions’ credentials as an ally are impeccable, and President Trump is foolish topublicly malign him. 

Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contacthim at and on Twitter @joeguzzardi19. 

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