Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, August 26, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page B:3

B3 Mountain Views News Saturday, August 26, 2017 OPINION B3 Mountain Views News Saturday, August 26, 2017 OPINION 
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In the wake of the tragic events in Charlottesville, Va. - in 

response to the anger, violence and loss of life -many

communities across the country are leading prayer vigils.

I think that is a grand idea.

I’m no theologian or philosopher, but at the age of 55, one

thing has become evident. There is good in this world and

there is evil - there is love and there is hate - and with everydecision we make every moment of every day, we are moving toward one andaway from the other.

Greek philosophers had names for what is good. They believed that prudence,
temperance, courage and justice were virtues that all people longed for and shouldstrive to master. By mastering these virtues, we are better able to do good works.

And while we’re striving for good, we need to fight the bad: excessive pride,
envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth. These are known as the Seven DeadlySins. 

To be sure, this world is a battleground between good and evil, love and hate.
That battle rages in every human heart. We saw hatefulness and violence rear itsugly head in Charlottesville, and we must denounce it forcefully.

And we must also pray.

Prayer, according to, is a “petition or entreaty.” It is a consciousattempt to embrace good and root out evil by asking God to give us the grace todo so. 

To me, prayer is like tuning a radio. It is a deliberate, conscious effort to hearand understand with greater clarity what good and truth and beauty are, and then,
hopefully, align ourselves and our actions with them. Hopefully, with prayer, webecome more understanding, forgiving, loving and peaceful.

Some may think the concept of prayer is silly - that reaching out to a higherpower to get closer to truth is silly. But you know in your own heart that it makessense - that we all long to be more virtuous in our deeds.

Would you really enjoy a movie in which the star is a coward who runs off whenthe pressure gets tough? Would you root for a character motivated by hatred, orfor one who risks everything for love? We are always moved by the hero who riskshis or her life to achieve a greater good. We always root for the hero who is willingto die because of the power of love and good and right, not hate.

The trouble is, even the most virtuous among us struggle to do good all the time,
which is why we must pray.

I’m not very skilled at praying - I certainly struggle to embrace 
the virtues taught to me by my Catholic faith -but I pray for 
the grace to become more kind, giving and understanding.

I pray that those in my country whose hearts are filled with anger and hate willbe given the grace they need to overcome these emotions.

I pray that our growing polarization and lack of civility in our politics give wayto peaceful, constructive discussion and unity, so we may address the many otherreal challenges we are up against.

Multiple scientific studies confirm that people who pray recover more quicklyfrom health issues than those who do not. Studies show also that people who haveothers praying on their behalf heal more quickly than those who do not.

Hopefully, the many prayer vigils taking place around the country will give allof us greater grace to become more virtuous - to become more understanding,
forgiving, loving and peaceful.

Let us pray. 

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




It’s already pretty clear that, in the Trump White House, the

left hand often doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

Now we have definitive proof that the right hand doesn’t

even know what it’s doing.

Days after announcing an escalation of the Americanmilitary prison in Afghanistan, President Donald Trump wants to prepare forthat build-up by firing some 12,800 of them, as he finally turns his heinouslycruel Tweets about bouncing transgender service-members into an actual policy.

Because wouldn’t you thin out the ranks of your company for no good reasonat all just as you were about to embark on a major project that could affect youand your long-term security for years to come? ‘

No, of course not. But that’s the logic at work in Trumplandia.

According to NPR, transgender service-members “would be subject to 
removal at Defense Secretary James Mattis’ discretion - and the service wouldbar transgender people from enlisting, under new White House guidelines forthe Pentagon.”

NPR reporter Tom Bowman confirmed “rough details” of the policy after thenoted leftists at The Wall Street Journal went public with the White House’s planfor the Pentagon.

Gay and lesbian service-members have been able to serve openly in the U.S.
military since 2011. In 2016, then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter extended that totransgender service members.

Trump abruptly changed course last month via a series of Tweets,. “Afterconsultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that theUnited States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals toserve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” he wrote.

“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory andcannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption thattransgender in the military would entail,” Trump concluded.

Never mind that Defense Secretary James Mattis was in the middle of studyingthe policy and hadn’t finished yet.

It also came as news to military bosses, who reaffirmed the service branches’commitment to inclusion and diversity. They also said they wouldn’t carry outthe policy until they got some kind of formal direction that wasn’t a derangedTweet by a septuagenarian with anger issues and the world’s shortest attention 

The New York Times reports that the ban, which would take effect in sixmonths’ time, “has not yet been finalized.”

But “once it is approved, it would allow [Mattis] to force out transgender servicemembers by setting a legal standard of whether they would be able to deploy towar zones or for other lengthy military missions,” the newspaper reported.

Like, for instance, an open-ended military commitment in Afghanistanwhere the standards for ascertaining victory are only slightly easier than nailingoranges to the wall.

So now there’s an actual policy, which in addition to barring transgendermembers from serving, would also direct the military to stop spending moneyon medical care for trans service-members (never mind the fact that the real costis beyond negligible).

Besides being slimy and probably not legal, the policy would also cause“significant disruptions” in the military and would “’degrade readiness evenmore than the failed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy,” the Palm Center, which helpedthe military devise its transgender admission standards, said in a statement,
citing the comments of some 56 retired commanders.

Speaking to The New York Times, Aaron Belkin of the Palm Center said it was“unconscionable” for Trump to “take aim at his own, loyally serving troops forpolitical reasons at a time when the military needs to focus on real threats.”

“Imposing one set of standards for transgender troops, and another set ofstandards for everyone else is a recipe for disruption, distraction and waste,”
Belkin told The Times. 

It’s also not the freedom that the 10 sailors of the U.S.S. John McCain were 
serving to protect when they were killed in a collision with an oil tanker.
Trump would do well to remember that. 

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


President Trump keeps making me look good.

Last week we repeated the sound advice we’ve frequentlygiven him but which he regularly refuses to take – knowwhen to shut up and listen to your staff.

This week he sabotaged himself yet again.

He totally wasted about 95 percent of the generallyfavorable media coverage and bipartisan huzzahs he got for his Afghanistanpolicy speech on Monday night.

He could have basked in the Afghan afterglow all week long and hit a fewhundred balls on the practice range.

But instead by Tuesday night he was in Phoenix and up to his old dumb tricks,
bashing Arizona’s Republican senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, rehashingwhat he said about Charlottesville and throwing old and new spitballs at the fakemedia. 

It’s hopeless.

He just can’t stop himself.

He can’t let anything go.

He can’t quit campaigning for the job he’s already won.

And he can’t keep from bashing the Republicans in Congress he so desperatelyneeds. 

It seems he’s doing everything he can to get his base to vote Republicans out ofpower in 2018.

He wants to get rid of Flake. He certainly doesn’t like McCain.

He’s rough on Republican Congressional leaders Mitch McConnell and PaulRyan – even though 70 pieces of legislation, some with bipartisan support andsome especially pleasing to conservatives, have become law in the last sevenmonths. 

Like the media he hates, President Trump says virtually nothing about thosemany legislative accomplishments and almost nothing positive about theRepublicans who got them passed.

But if he really wants to fix the tax system, get immigration reform or replaceObamacare some day, he’s going to need those Senate Republicans he’s beenpicking on.

The best way to get them to be a part of his team is not to hold a personal pro-
Trump rally and use them as punching bags and punch lines.

Maybe the president is just trying to be a nice guy and doesn’t want to pickon the leaderless, rudderless, just-say-no-to-Trump Democrats when they’re so 
hapless, pathetic and confused.

Maybe he has a long-term secret plan to blow up the two-party system, or provethat Republicans and Democrats in Washington are so much alike ideologicallythat it doesn’t matter what party you join.

But if he keeps it up much longer, President Trump will have a Democrat-
controlled Congress in 2018 and then we Republicans are going to be asking himnot to sign legislation to help us, but to help us by vetoing it.

Meanwhile, if the president stumbles any farther down this road to RepublicanParty ruin we might see him change his party affiliation.

He has no ideology, no party principles to uphold. What’s it matter to him if heconverts to a registered Democrat? It’s what he was most of his life anyway.

You never know with Trump. But even if he switched parties in 2020, itprobably wouldn’t matter much.

The same forgotten Flyover Country people that put Hillary out to pasture andDonald into the White House would storm his huge rallies, cheer their Nascarhats off and later pull the Democrat lever for Trump with delight.

He’d easily win the Democrat nomination because they have no one to runagainst him. The Hate Trump media couldn’t stop him.

And he’d easily get reelected president in 2020 as a Democrat because he’dhave spent four years destroying the Republican Party. 


Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, andthe author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press). He is the founderof the email service and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation.
Visit his websites at and Sendcomments to Follow @reaganworld on Twitter. 

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