Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, August 5, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page B:3

B3 Mountain Views News Saturday, August 5, 2017 OPINION B3 Mountain Views News Saturday, August 5, 2017 OPINION 
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“Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy

justice can have.” 

The words are those of the late writer and social activist 

James Baldwin. When tweeted by football player Colin

Kaepernick the other day to mark Baldwin’s birthdate, you

had to wonder who Kaepernick had in mind.

Was it the 32 owners of NFL teams who have conspired(my word, certainly not theirs) to keep Kaepernick out of football? Or, was the formerSan Francisco 49ers star aiming higher, perhaps all the way to the White House?

Kaepernick’s tweet came after the Baltimore Ravens owner, Steve Bisciotti, asked fansto “pray for us” as the team’s coaches dared to even consider signing the controversialquarterback. Kaepernick is blacklisted because, as a 49er, he joined a movementagainst police brutality by once showing up at practice wearing socks with a cartoonthat depicted cops as pigs and, more publicly, by taking a knee at games during theNational Anthem. 

The fact that several other players joined Kaepernick doesn’t seem to matter. Nordoes the fact that NFL owners have eagerly hired various wife-beaters, bar-brawlers,
gun-toters and drug-abusers. NFL owners have proved repeatedly that they are bothignorant and powerful.

The same day, on a larger and far more important stage, the Trump Administrationrevealed its xenophobic plans to sharply reduce legal immigration. Trump would cutthe number of immigrants in half under a proposed system that discriminates basedupon age, ability to speak English, and earning power.

It is the complete antithesis of America’s founding principles.

This from a president who has already sought to bar visitors from Muslim-majoritycountries, and slammed the door on many refugees from war-torn regions. This froma man who campaigned against illegal immigration while insisting that he supportedthe legal pathway that has for decades created our nation’s diverse social fabric.

Trump’s proposed changes to immigration law are touted as a way to protect the jobsof low-income Americans. In fact, most economists say that is nonsense. Moreover,
industries such as agriculture and tourism would suffer greatly under Trump’s plan.

Trump, the wealthy career businessman, is trying to operate government muchas the NFL owners he so admires run their teams. Play to the base—which is to say,
the fans. Bar those who are different—not just in appearance, but in terms of culture,
politics and style.

In the words of James Baldwin, “The price one pays for pursuing any profession, orcalling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.” 


Peter Funt can be reached at 

Peter Funt is a writer and speaker. His book, “Cautiously Optimistic,” is availableat and © 2017 Peter Funt. Columns distributed 
exclusively by Cagle Cartoons, Inc., newspaper syndicate. 

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Dear Forgotten Men and Women of America:

I bear sad tidings: President Donald Trump appears to have

forgotten all about you.

“Corporations have NEVER made as much money as they are making

now,” the nation’s 45th chief executive trumpeted on Twitter this week,
as he threw a shout out to his favorite show “Fox & Friends.” 

On July 31, Trump boasted that the nation was enjoying its “highest stock market EVER, besteconomic numbers in years, unemployment lowest in 17 years, wages raising, border secure,
S.C.: No WH chaos!” 

There are some structural problems with Trump’s claims, notably that while wages have beengrowing, they have been rising at a much slower pace than the rest of the economy.
That’s a long way from the Trump of “I am your voice,” at last summer’s Republican NationalConvention in Cleveland. And it’s light years away from the man who vowed that “the forgottenmen and women of our country will be forgotten no longer,” during his inaugural address inJanuary.

No matter how you slice it, the self-styled populist still has heart-eyes for Wall Street.
Take tax reform, for instance. 

Senior House Republicans have poured water on a plan, advanced by White House senioradviser Stephen K. Bannon, to impose a top rate of 44 percent on Americans earning more than$5 million a year.

U.S. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, told Fox News thathe didn’t “intend” to include Bannon’s top rate in his committee’s considerations.
“We’re going for growth, which means lower rates at every level,” Brady said.
House Speaker Paul J. Ryan, R-Wisc., said he supported a previous administration plan,
released in April, capping the top rate at 35 percent. Ryan told Fox that “We’re not in the businessof raising tax rates.” 

That 9-percentage point shift may not seem like a big deal, but it’s one of the clearest signsthat Trump, who ran as a populist, is being forced to behave like a rank-and-file conservative byWashington’s Republican establishment.

Lacking any substantive legislative victories, the White House appears willing to play along.

In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Matt Grossmann and David A. Hopkins, the authors of 
“Asymmetric Politics,” argue that most mainstream observers overstated Trump’s ability to bendthe GOP to his will. 

“Instead of transforming the Republican Party, Trump has assembled the most conservativeadministration and agenda of any modern president,” they wrote. “Analysts overstated Trump’sdistance from Republican campaign orthodoxy and expected him to be able to avoid the challengesof leading his party from opposition to governing mode. As a result, they underestimated theresilience of the GOP’s basic character.” 

And after vowing during the campaign to provide “insurance for everybody,” with “no cutsto Medicaid,” and that “no one will lose coverage,” Trump and his White House put its musclebehind Republican-authored healthcare reform plans that did all three of those things.

As an added bonus: Analysts further concluded that the GOP-authored plans wouldspecifically hurt voters in counties that went for Trump during the 2016 campaign.

“The white working class will very much be hit by the cuts in Medicaid that will be the majoroffset for the tax cut,” Dean Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic Policy & Research,
wrote in a July 4 column for The Huffington Post.

“The plan being considered by the Senate cuts projected spending by more than 10 percentover the period from 2018 to 2026, but the cuts increase in size each year. By 2026, the last yearin the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) projections, the cuts will be more than 25 percent.
They will get even larger in the years beyond the forecasting horizon,” he wrote.

Previously immune to external influences and criticisms, there are signs now that Trump’sbase may be tiring of his broken promises and his antics.

Barely a third of Americans, 33 percent, approve of Trump’s job performance, according to aQuinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

White men - Trump’s traditional wheelhouse, were divided, 47-48 percent, on the POTUS’job performance, the poll found. Three-quarters of Republicans (76 percent) said they approved,
compared to 17 percent who said they did not.

Critically, Trump is underwater, 41-52 percent, in his handling of the economy - a quality heargued made him best suited for the White House. Trump takes further dings for his handling ofthe ongoing probe of Russian interference in the election.

“It’s hard to pick what is the most alarming number in the troubling trail of new lows forPresident Donald Trump,” Quinnipiac pollster Tim Malloy said in a statement.

“Profound embarrassment over his performance in office and deepening concern over hislevel-headedness have to raise the biggest red flags.” 
But still he tweets on. 

© Copyright 2017 John L. Micek, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

An award-winning political journalist, Micek is the Opinion Editor and Political Columnist forPennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Readers may follow him on Twitter @ByJohnLMicekand email him at 



When I was younger, I asked my mother if I could add a vowelto the end of my name. “I want people to know that I’m Italian,
and with a name like Flowers they won’t.” 

The former Lucy Fusco just looked at me and shook her head, which was Italianfor “If God made us perfect, we’d have nothing to pray for.” I suppose it’s also why she 
named me after the patron saint of the mentally diseased. Really, look it up.

While only 50 percent of my DNA is from the bel paese, I feel completely Italian,
despite the freckled white skin which refuses to tan, the inability to cook anything thatdoesn’t come with reheating instructions and an aversion to homemade wine. These 
are all part of the stereotype of the paisano, along with the certainty that somewherealong the genealogical trail I would have tripped over piano wire.

You see what I did there? I made what some would consider an ethnic slur, and what 
others (the kind of Italians I grew up with) would notice as self-deprecating humor. I 
was surrounded by relatives who probably knew Mafiosi, and might even have invitedthem to social events, but who looked at that part of the heritage as an infamia, adisgrace, albeit one that you could joke about.

I love my origins. I may not be able to cook, but I know that God created everyother cuisine just so that people would realize you can’t beat pasta Amatriciana and aCaprese salad. I will never be mistaken for a Mediterranean beauty, but I can explainto you why Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida couldn’t stand one another. I have a 
mediocre voice, but I actually know what Violetta is saying while singing her tubercularlungs out in “La traviata.” 

That’s why I’m disgusted with Anthony Scaramucci, Donald Trump’s newest hire. Acommunications director who uses four-letter words like a street fighter is good if yourboss is the capo of the Genovese family. It is not so good if you work for the President 
of the United States. 

And let me be clear. This has absolutely nothing to do with politics. I would say thesame thing if Tony the Mooch worked for Hillary Clinton (and he did: John Podesta.)
I would say the same thing if he worked for Barack Obama, and in fact, number 44 alsohad a rank embarrassment in his cabinet. Rahm Emanuel was one of the most profane,
obscene, and arrogant people to ever inhabit the White House, and I don’t rememberthe media being particularly hard on him for his rough edges.

But two wrongs do not make a right, as Connie Corleone could tell you.

Anthony Scaramucci has been an obnoxious party crasher from the beginning,
using his stiletto-sharp elbows to barge into D.C.’s inner sanctum. Some people think 
that’s dandy, and liken him to Trump’s Mini-Me. They share a lot in common in theirorigin stories, their New York brashness, their absolute inability to feel shame.

They are not gentlemen.

And yet, I think it was a big mistake for the president to bring this viper into hispolitical family, because he is very clearly interested in making a name for himself at theexpense of the cohesiveness and reputation of the White House. Granted, this White 
House has a very big image problem, one that is not helped by the media’s obvioushostility toward Trump. I swear we’re one step away from CNN posting “BreakingNews: Trump Breaks Wind on Front Lawn.” 

But as I said before, two wrongs don’t make a right, and Scaramucci is very, very 

He embodies the worst stereotypes of the loud, slick, con man who is as adept withguns as he is with cannoli, a pompous pompadour infected with “Saturday NightFever,” a guy who thinks that you can intimidate with four-letter words. Here is what 
he said, on the record, to a reporter: “I want to f—ing kill all the leakers and I want toget the President’s agenda on track so we can succeed for the American people.” 

Italians are not the only ones who use the “F” word, not by a long shot. But that kind 
of Trumpfellas arrogance is disgusting.

Some might wonder why Scaramucci’s ethnicity is at all relevant. If he were black or 
Jewish you say, I wouldn’t dare write this column.

True, but then it wouldn’t be my column to write. This one is. 

I descend from Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Marconi, Vespucci, Verdi, Manzoni and theMedicis. My people are war heroes like John Basilone, sat on the Supreme Court, likeScalia, and revived dying industries, like Iacocca.

That future caricature on SNL doesn’t represent any of us. 


© 2017 Christine Flowers. Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the PhiladelphiaDaily News, and can be reached at 

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