Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, November 25, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page B:3

B3 Mountain Views News Saturday, November 25, 2017 OPINION B3 Mountain Views News Saturday, November 25, 2017 OPINION 

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Integrity will be our guide. 

Once again, our fearless leader has insinuated himself into the national

dialogue. Don’t get me wrong, the president is entitled to his opinion,

just as you are or I am. The difference, however, is that when words are

impulsively spouted by someone in a position of leadership, the message

being conveyed sometimes sounds ominous.

While criticizing the separation of powers to a talk-radio host earlier this month, President Trumpwhined about his inability by law to direct the FBI and Justice Department in matters related tocriminal or civil investigations. He stated emphatically, “I’m the only one who counts!”

Not according to the Constitution.

The president’s latest distraction from corruption investigations, as well as domestic and worldaffairs is, once again, the NFL; specifically, Oakland Raiders’ running back Marshawn Lynch.
Apparently, the Quarterback-in-Chief was dismayed by Lynch’s standing for the Mexican nationalanthem, while sitting it out for the “Star Spangled Banner” during this past Sunday’s game againstthe New England Patriots, in Mexico City.

In the wake of published photos showing Lynch allegedly dissing the flag, the president proclaimedthat he should be suspended from play. It’s apparent the president has never personally tangled withenergized Raiders fans. While respectful in their own inimitable fashion, they do not take lightlyslings and arrows launched against their beloved team. This was in evidence during a ferocious battlebetween Raiders fans and Miami Dolphins fans a few weeks back.

The brawlers in question, unfortunately, did not have members of the Secret Service in betweenthem. It was brutal. Had the president attended the game, he may very well have cheered them on.
Especially if one of the maligned fans was wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap.

During the 70’s, another presidential armchair quarterback - one who failed to earn a varsity letterwhen he played in college - regularly called then-head coaches George Allen, of the WashingtonRedskins, and Don Shula of the Dolphins to offer advice. Yes, former President Richard Nixon tooktime away from plotting bombing missions over Laos to strategize over the downfield movements ofplayers with those who knew better. But, hey, he was the president of the United States.

There is a difference however. Nixon offered behind-the-scenes opinions, unwanted or unsolicitedthough they may have been. Trump dictates. Publicly. There is a distinction between private opinionversus public edict. While many readers may share the president’s sentiments, he huffs, puffs, andthrusts out his chin Mussolini-like, before launching broadsides at whoever he deems to be his 

Take for instance, Minnesota Senator Al Franken, the latest casualty of inappropriate behavior.
Evidently, sexual misconduct is not reserved solely for church-going Republican conservatives likeAlabama senatorial candidate Roy Moore. Democrats and liberals are equally as culpable whencommitting this type of an offense. As is the president.

Tweeting and opining away about matters regarding unwanted touching, groping, grabbing, andmolestation is a hot topic the president should probably avoid. But he can’t. Even when there is clearindication that claims related to the president’s own intrusiveness and unwanted sexual advances isdocumented on tape.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Whether the subject matter of a photo are theactions of a U.S. Senator or those of a professional football player. In the president’s case, however,
a thousand words more or less - even spoken off-camera - are equally as telling as pictures. Thepresident’s taxed and selective memory probably doesn’t include his infamous bus ride with reporterBilly Bush of “Access Hollywood,” where he confessed that he could do anything.

Of a daytime television actress: “I did try to ‘F’ her.” For the sake of propriety, I removed a fewletters. 

How about this gem: “...I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. Andwhen you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

Sounds like something Sen. Franken and candidate Moore have been accused of and mightbelieve. 

Or the most infamous of all: “Grab ‘em by the p---y. You can do anything.”

Which is clearly how he feels about being president. To the umpteenth degree. Nice to know whenthe person in question possesses the ability to blow the entire planet to kingdom come.

Many readers familiar with Scripture may recognize this verse from John 8:7. “Whoever is withoutsin among you, let him be the first to cast a stone...” The president is probably unfamiliar with one ofthe great cultural, moral, and religious lessons of all time. 

When asked by a radio talk-show host during his presidential campaign whether he had a favoriteBible verse, candidate Trump replied: “An eye for an eye.” Which Jesus actually repudiated duringhis Sermon on the Mount. Makes sense that this is President Trump’s favorite verse though. “An eyefor an eye” is the guiding principle of his life. That and “Lock her up.”

Words count. Words matter. But when issued as commands and decrees by the President of theUnited States, we are on the threshold of tyranny.

Blair Bess is a Los Angeles-based television writer, producer, and columnist. He edits the online, and can be reached at 



It’s admirable, in a way, that so many left-leaners are calling for Al

Franken to quit the Senate.

Columnist Paul Waldman says Democrats have “a good

opportunity” to take the high road against sexual harassment.
Activist-podcaster Sally Kohn tweets, “Wrong is wrong. Democrats need to show theystrongly and consistently stand for women’s rights.” The same sentiment is echoed byprogressive groups like Credo Action and Indivisible.

But let’s not be hasty here.

I’m warning against haste not because Franken is a Democrat; if he were to quit,
Minnesota’s Democratic governor would keep the seat blue anyway. I’m warning againsthaste simply because, amidst the flood of raw info about predatory misogyny in high places,
and with so much we still don’t know, the allegation-and-punishment process threatens toveer out of control before we’ve even established a fair and balanced system of justice.

I’ll explain what I mean in a moment. But first, here’s Waldman’s argument. He wroteon Monday that Democrats should call for Franken to resign, as penance for the twoaccusations lodged against him, because “it would demonstrate that they’re willing to puttheir actions where their principles are, that they want to take this opportunity to beginreally changing the culture of male supremacy ... If Democrats want to show that they’redifferent [from Republicans], now’s their chance.”

I get what he says - with one massive caveat.

He’s basically advocating unilateral disarmament. Democrats can walk the high roadand set whatever noble example they want, but there’s no way Republicans will follow suit.
At virtually the same time that Waldman and other liberals were calling for Franken’s head,
Trump propagandist Kellyanne Conway was telling Fox News that Roy Moore, accusedrepeatedly of pedophilia, was perfectly acceptable because “we want the votes in the Senateto get this tax bill through.” If self-policing Democrats stand up for morality, amoralRepublicans will try to leverage that to their advantage.

In that view, I’m hardly alone. Kate Harding, a feminist author and podcaster who wantsFranken to stay, points out that, like it or not, we have a two-party system, and that unilateralDemocratic disarmament will empower the other party: “If we [compel Franken to quit] inthe interest of demonstrating our party’s solidarity with harassed and abused women, we’reonly going to drain the swamp of people who, however flawed, still regularly vote to protectwomen’s rights and freedoms. The legislative branch will remain chockablock with old,
white, Republican men who regard women chiefly as sex objects and unpaid housekeepers,
and we’ll show them how staunchly Democrats oppose their misogynistic attitudes byhanding them more power.”

But, as mentioned earlier, I’m most concerned that we’re at risk of losing all sense ofproportion. We’re at risk of ushering in an era of mandatory sentencing (Franken must go!)
before we even set up a fair system of justice.

Step back from Franken and look at the big picture. Not all accused male lawmakers(the ones we know, the ones we will soon know) have erred equally. Should an isolatedgrope be deemed as serious as a serial pattern? Should verbal harassment warrant thesame punishment as physical assault? Should accusations that involve the use of taxpayermoney be treated more seriously than other accusations? Should bad behavior outsidethe congressional workplace be deemed as dire as bad behavior with underlings at theworkplace? Should any exculpatory weight be given to testimonials from professionalwomen who were treated with respect by the accused?

In Franken’s case, he has gotten such testimonials. And neither of his two accusers werein the workplace. If he is frog-marched out of the Senate - if quitting one’s seat is deemedthe appropriate punishment for non-consensual kissing and groping - it surely means thatall lawmakers accused of anything more severe should summarily resign. Heck, if Frankenis compelled to quit, then surely Donald Trump (with 16 accusers) should do the same.

Even Waldman, whose work I admire, acknowledges that “we need to make sure we don’tlose our ability to make moral distinctions between different kinds of sexual misconduct,
and whatever punishments we mete out are proportional and just ... A man who doles outthe occasional unwanted kiss might deserve a vigorous public shaming, but still be allowedto have a career.” 

All the more reason to take a deep breath. We need proportion. We need just punishmentsthat fit the alleged offenses. And rest assured, our Thanksgiving will be better thanFranken’s. 

Dick Polman is the national political columnist at NewsWorks/WHYY in Philadelphia( and a “Writer in Residence” at the University of Pennsylvania.
Email him at Hail the Quarterback-In-Chief 



Thanksgiving’s the day we Americans are all supposed to give 
thanks and show appreciation for all the good people and 
things we have.

I’ll do that - and like most Americans I have a lot to be 

thankful for. 

But first, here are some political and personal things I’d like to have the chance to 
be thankful for someday but now can’t.

I’ll give thanks ...

... when the president quits taking everything so personally.

... when CNN and MSNBC report all the news.

.... When the mainstream media finally announces that there was nothing to the 
charges that President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.

... when the members of Congress actually does something to fix the health care 
system they destroyed.

... when all the members of Congress are forced to live under the same laws they say 
we have to. 

... when Congress tells us who it was that put together its $15 million-plus “hush 
fund” to pay off the women and men its members are accused of sexually harassing.

... when Congress reveals the names of the members who’ve had to pay their 
accusers to go away - and what their offenses were.

I’ll give thanks when the Republicans in Washington can find their rear ends with 
both hands. 

... when the Republican Party can find a way to work together for the greater good.

... when the GOP and President Trump quit trying to pass vindictive tax reform 
legislation designed to punish high-tax Blue States like California and New York for 
not voting for them.

... when the liberals who run Hollywood quit punishing the conservatives who 
work there. 

I’ll give thanks when I can watch entertainment award shows and be proud, not 

... when I can start watching late-night talk shows again and really laugh at the 

... when pro football players begin to stand again.

... when pro football players -- no matter what their grievance and whether they are 
black or white ‒ understand they live in the greatest country in the world.

... when the Dodgers win Game Seven of the World Series.

... when we stop hearing new stories about politicians, prominent media 
personalities and famous actors who’ve spent their careers groping, harassing or 
assaulting young women or men. 

... when PBS’ dirty-old man Charlie Rose puts his clothes back on - and keeps them 

Seriously, I do give great and sincere thanks on Thanksgiving, and every day, for 
my five greatest treasures - my wife Colleen, my daughter Ashley, my son Cameron, 
my daughter-in-law Susana and my granddaughter Marilyn. 

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and 
the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press). 

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