Mountain Views News, Pasadena Edition [Sierra Madre] Saturday, September 8, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page B:3



 Mountain Views News Saturday, September 8, 2018 



Mountain Views



Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Richard Garcia


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


Kevin Barry


Kevin McGuire

Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Lori Ann Harris

Rev. James Snyder

Dr. Tina Paul

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Jeff Brown

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden

Rebecca Wright

We have been informed, 
twice now 
this week, that there 
are alleged “adults” 
in Donald Trump’s 
White House who 
are supposedly 
acting as a hedge 
against the 45th 
president’s worst 

And this, in some weird way, is both weirdly 
comforting and profoundly depressing.

Comforting because it means that there 
are apparently some hardworking souls 
trying to preserve a semblance of order in a 
White House dedicated to knocking down 
the norms of a liberal democracy and undermining 
the very institutions that make 
government function.

Depressing because, well, no one elected 
this college of cardinals that is now apparently 
functioning as a shadow government. 
As The Washington Post’s Jennifer 
Rubin sagely remarked, when this happens 
in other countries, it’s referred to a “coup 

Let’s take these revelations in order.

Earlier this week, the blitz of coverage accompanying 
veteran Watergate reporter 
Bob Woodward’s new book “Fear: Trump 
in the White House,” confirmed things 
that most Americans either knew or long 
suspected about an unstable chief executive 
who is routinely derided by his most 
senior advisers. Woodward reveals a president 
who has zero intellectual curiosity 
and even less impulse control, and who 
boasts an obsession with his media image 
that scores a 12 out of 10 on the Kardashian 

Woodward’s book is a tragicomic catalogue 
of life in a White House lorded over 
by an apparently unmoored president, 
even as top officials such as former economic 
adviser Gary Cohn snatched potentially 
destructive documents off the president’s 
desk so he wouldn’t sign them. 

From former White House lawyer John 
Dowd, we learned - or rather had confirmed 
- that Trump is incapable of getting 
through a single blustery sentence without 
uttering some spectacular falsehood, making 
him a prime candidate for perjury in 
any potential sit-down with Special Counsel 
Robert Mueller. 

Barely two days later, the New York York 
Times took the extraordinary step of publishing 
an anonymously penned op-ed by 
a “senior Trump administration official” 
who claimed to speak for an internal resistance 
movement that “[wants] the administration 
to succeed and think that many 
of its policies have already made America 
safer and more prosperous.”

Through the Times’ anonymous correspondent, 
we also know that “many Trump 
appointees have vowed to do what we can 
to preserve our democratic institutions 
while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided 
impulses until he is out of office.”

We also know, but shouldn’t be surprised 
to learn that “the root of the problem is the 
president’s amorality. Anyone who works 
with him knows he is not moored to any 
discernible first principles that guide his 
decision making,” the anonymous staffer 

And “given the instability many witnessed, 
there were early whispers within the cabinet 
of invoking the 25th Amendment, 
which would start a complex process for 
removing the president. But no one wanted 
to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So 
we will do what we can to steer the administration 
in the right direction until - one 
way or another - it’s over,” the anonymous 
op-Ed writer opined. 

Predictably, Trump has lashed out at 
Woodward, calling his book “a con on the 
public.” Senior White House officials, including 
Chief of Staff John Kelly and Defense 
Secretary James Mattis, have denied 
the words that were attributed to them in 
the meticulously researched and reported 

The White House can rage against Woodward’s 
book all it wants.

Other White Houses, Democrat and Republican 
alike, have done the same in the 
half-century that the respected journalist 
has chronicled their triumphs and failures. 
It hasn’t worked. There is little reason to 
think Trump will be any more successful.

The Times’ op-ed, while well-intentioned, 
is more problematic on at least two levels.

While it’s true that the paper’s editors 
knew their correspondent’s identity, the 
op-ed’s anonymous allegations will only 
fuel Trump’s one-man war on the media 
and add fire to his ridiculous and damaging 
claim that journalists are the “enemy 
of the people.”

And if there are, indeed, adults in the 
White House working to short-circuit 
Trump’s authoritarian impulses, they 
should step up, speak out, and then resign, 
putting the good of the nation ahead of 
their future professional viability.

If not, it will only fuel and confirm the 
hard-right’s paranoid delusions that a 
non-existent “deep states” is actively working 
to thwart Trump’s agenda.

An overly compliant and supine Republican-
controlled Congress has utterly abdicated 
its responsibilities as a co-equal 
branch of government. 

Some Republicans, including the the conservative 
columnists Max Boot and George 
F. Will, have argued that the only way to 
restore sanity is vote out the GOP and 
install Democratic majorities in the U.S. 
House and Senate.

Given the hard truths America faced this 
week, a divided government is the only 
way for the nation to ride out whatever 
time remains before Trump is either removed 
from office or defeated.

-An award-winning political journalist, 
John Micek is the Opinion Editor and Political 
Columnist for PennLive/The Patriot-
News in Harrisburg, Pa. 

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Let’s begin with a biographical sketch, a very 21st-century 
American dream.

 When David Hallquist was a child attending Catholic schools 
in Syracuse, New York, he always felt female. He knew he was “different,” but he couldn’t 
find a word for it. He hid his impulses and played men’s sports at school. He pursued a 
career in energy technology, got married, raised a family, and finally, in 2004, he began the 
long process of coming out. Six years later, he confided his secret side to his family. And in 
2015, his son made a movie, entitled “Denial,” that publicly tracked his transition to who 
she is today, Christine Hallquist.

 Then, at a women’s march in Montpelier, Vt. this past January, Hallquist had an 
epiphany. She later said, “One of the things the Me Too movement has been pushing is 
that we need to get involved in politics.” So she did. She filed as a candidate for governor of 
Vermont, and in the state’s Democratic primary, she became the first transgender woman 
in America to win a major party nomination.

 Christine epitomizes the 2018 Democratic zeitgeist. On the cusp of the autumn general 
elections, grassroots Democrats have sharpened their message that diversity will make 
America great again. Despite the Trumpist Republicans’ relentless attempts to turn back 
the clock, the inexorable future awaits confirmation in November.

 With virtually all the primaries completed, Democratic voters have made it abundantly 
clear that they want more women in elective office. At this point, 200 women – 155 of 
them Democrats – have won their House primaries in 2018. That’s a record, trumping all 
previous records. Viewed from another angle, 41 percent of all Democratic nominees – 
and 48 percent of all non-incumbents - are women. That too is a milestone. (Women are 
only 13 percent of the GOP’s nominees.)

 This surge of women candidates, with heavy support from Democratic women voters, 
may be historic, but it’s not a huge surprise – given how fervently most women (with the 
probable exception of blue-collar white women) have come to detest Trump. If his goal 
this year was to talk and behave in ways designed to guarantee a female backlash against 
the party he purports to lead, he can probably chalk that up as one of his few tangible 

 Let’s scan the updated national map. Connecticut Democrats chose, as one of their 
House candidates, a black woman – the first to carry the party banner in a Connecticut 
congressional race. Minnesota Democrats chose, as one of their House candidates, a 
Somali-American woman – who’s likely to join a Muslim woman from Michigan in the 
next Congress. 

 In addition, a lesbian recently won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 
Texas, a bisexual woman - the sitting governor of Oregon - recently won her Democratic 
primary, and a black woman recently won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 

 Gender news aside, Democratic Party leaders are pinning their hopes on one particular 
midwestern male. In Speaker Paul Ryan’s Wisconsin district, ironworker and union 
activist Randy “Ironstache” Bryce defeated a female for the right to contest the Ryan-
endorsed Republican, businessman Bryan Steil. Bryce has been buoyed by a sizable war 
chest, an endorsement from Bernie Sanders and a grassroots Democratic hunger to 
occupy the seat held by one of Trump’s most spineless enablers. It’s not an impossible 
quest, considering Barack Obama won the district’s presidential balloting by one point in 

If Bryce can pull off a win in November, despite some personal baggage (arrests for 
driving under the influence, late payments for child support), it would truly signal that a 
blue wave was cresting.

 And a working-stiff white guy nicknamed “Ironstache,” joining the swelling ranks of 
women, would be another victory for Democratic diversity.

 Jennifer Rubin, the center-right columnist, took it even further, declaring that a 
“demographically diverse repudiation of Trump up and down the ballot will have obvious 
consequences for the remainder of his term. It may also be the final opportunity for 
Republicans to get off the sinking ship, push Trump aside and try to regain their sanity.”

 I wince at her confident certitude, but those are indeed the stakes in November.

 Dick Polman is the national political columnist at WHYY in Philadelphia and a “Writer 
in Residence” at the University of Pennsylvania. Email him at



Our rapidly growing incivility started with the invention of the 
telephone-answering machine.

 Before the answering machine’s widespread adoption, people 
answered their landline phones with a pleasant “hello,” eager to learn who was calling.

 To be sure, says social scientist James Katz, answering machines were considered rude 
in the ‘70s. 

 By the ‘90s, however, most homes had them and lots of people were using them, quite 
rudely, to screen calls - people like my pal, Griffy.

 Calls to Griffy’s landline always made me grumpy:

 “Hello, this is Griffy, leave a message at the beep.” 

 “Pick up the phone, Griffy, I know you’re there!”

 Griffy demanded his friends leave messages on his machine, but always hung up on 
mine - until the invention of the “star 69” feature.

 When you punched “star 69” into your phone keypad, you’d get the number of the jerk 
who had last hung up on your machine. 

 Boy, did that technology innovation escalate rudeness!

 I had a telephone confrontation once with a fellow who had hung up on my machine. I 
keyed in star 69, got his number, dialed it, then got his answering machine:

 “Hello, this is Bill. Sally and I aren’t in right now … .”

 I didn’t know who the fellow was - I figured he’d dialed my number by mistake - so I 
hung up.

 Later that day, after returning from a business meeting, I saw that someone had hung 
up on my machine again. 

 I dialed star 69, got the number, dialed it, then heard, “Hello, this is Bill. Sally and I 
aren’t in right now … .” 

 I hung up again. A few moments later, my phone rang. I picked it up.

 “Hello,” I said.

 “Who is this?” said the man. I recognized the voice. It was Bill.

 “You called me and hung up!” I said.

 “You called me and hung up!” said Bill.

 “Nuh-huh!” I said.

 “Yuh-huh!” he said.

 Email was another innovation that escalated rudeness. I remember reading a Wall 
Street Journal story about two Boston lawyers whose email exchange went viral. 

 One lawyer, a 24-year-old woman, sent an e-mail to an older, established lawyer, 
declining his job offer. 

 The older lawyer, miffed that the woman would email her rejection after she’d already 
accepted the job offer in person, fired off an email telling her she wasn’t very professional.

 She replied that if he were a real lawyer he would have made her sign a contract. He 
replied, in so many words, that she was a snot. She sent one last reply: “blah, blah, blah.”

 These are just some examples of how earlier technology innovations made us ruder. 

 And now, the era of smartphones and social media - the era of nasty tweets and 
Facebook insults - is making rudeness, reports Psychology Today, “our new normal.”

 The magazine cites research, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, 
that finds technology-enabled anonymity and “a lack of eye contact” are chief contributors 
to our growing incivility.

 To wit: Technology is making it easier than ever to be rude to our fellow man, but 
we must fight this impulse, or else our already overheated public discourse will become 
increasingly uncivil.

 It’s not going to be easy, though.

 Even my parents use their answering machine to screen calls from my sisters and me. 

 Mom and Dad, I know you’re home. Please pick up the phone!

Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s Childhood,” a humorous memoir available 
at, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is nationally 
syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. For info on using this column in your 
publication or website, contact or call (805) 969-2829. Send comments to 
Tom at

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