Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, February 10, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page B:3

B3 Mountain Views News Saturday, February 10, 2018 OPINION B3 Mountain Views News Saturday, February 10, 2018 OPINION 
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“The country is divided. The political rhetoric is getting worse. The 
world seems to be in a mess.” 

“Relax, my friend. If you step back from the noise and emotion, 
you’ll realize things are pretty good.” 

“Pretty good? Democrats and Republicans are fighting like cats and dogs. Half the country 
sides with one party as it demonizes the other. President Trump calls Democrats in Congress 
nasty names as Democrats call him even nastier names.” 

“That is regrettably true. The political hyperbole is awfully intense. But, believe it or not, 
it has been worse. Google the name-calling Thomas Jefferson and John Adams used against 
each other during the presidential campaign of 1800!”

“But the rich are getting richer, thanks to Trump’s tax plan!”

“Ah, more hyperbole from politicians. Look, thanks to the recent tax-system overhaul, 
corporate taxes have been reduced and U.S.-based companies doing business overseas are 
bringing billions in overseas profits back to America. Combined with Trump’s undoing of 
hundreds of overzealous regulations that have been inhibiting investment and growth, the 
economy is booming.” 

“But Democrats in Congress are saying that average guys like me will end up with crumbs 
at the expense of the fat cats.” 

“The truth is that, because of tax reform, many companies are giving employees bonuses 
and pay raises. They are announcing plans for new plants and hiring thousands more 
Americans. And have you looked at your paycheck recently? Now that the new tax-cut 
rules are active, the vast majority of workers are seeing a decent bump in take-home pay. A 
thousand bucks or two is more than crumbs.” 

“But socialism is on the rise. Look at the younger generations in America who, surveys 
show, think capitalism is bad.” 

“We’ll see how so many Bernie Sanders supporters respond to a robust American economy 
that produces good-paying jobs that will finally allow them to move out of Mom and Dad’s 
basement. Meanwhile, capitalism and democracy have been spreading across the globe 
in recent years. Latin America, the Philippines, Indonesia and almost all of East Asia are 

“Which benefits them how?” 

“According to philosopher Michael Novak, ‘capitalism better helps the poor to escape from 
poverty than any other system. … (C)apitalism is a necessary condition for the actual success 
of democracy.’ You see, as the world flourishes economically, millions will have better lives.” 

“But North Korea has gone rogue with its missiles. The Middle East is a powder keg. 
Terrorist incidents are increasing around the world. We’re all doomed.” 

“Sure, we have challenges in North Korea, unrest in the Middle East and global terrorism. 
There is always some kind of evil in our fast-changing world trying to rear its ugly head — 
Nazism, communism, totalitarianism, a rogue dictator somewhere. We’ve successfully faced 
down such challenges before. I’m confident our best strategic thinkers will have the wisdom 
to do so again.” 

“But as the baby-boom generation ages, how are we going to pay for Social Security and 
Medicare and other rapidly growing entitlements?”

“By applying the creativity and innovation that former communist countries are using. 
Slovakia is funding retirement through personal savings accounts, a simple concept that has 
proved to be very effective in other parts of the world. With robust economic growth and 
creative leadership, we can solve our problems in America.” 

“But our culture is in decline. Look at the garbage on television and the web.” 

“But this is really a sign that our culture fully embraces freedom — real, genuine openness.
Freedom opens the floodgates to everything that is bad in the human heart, an abundance ofwhich is available through technology, but it also opens the floodgates to everything that is good.” 

“How can you be so optimistic with so many things going so wrong?”

“How can you be so pessimistic with so many things going so right? In a relatively short 
time, the American experiment has unleashed the most productive, energetic, prosperous 
nation in the history of mankind. It has created a gregarious and generous people, and 
the countries that emulate its ideals are beginning to enjoy physical, mental and spiritual 
prosperity that is the envy of the world. The fact is, things are pretty good in the world and 
going to get better!” 
Copyright 2018 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 Amazon.
com, 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 



So President Donald Trump, noted fiscal conservative, 
swamp-drainer, and compulsive saber-rattler, wants a massive 
military parade through the streets of downtown Washington 

Of course he does. 
On Wednesday, as Congress scrambled to avoid yet another shutdown, we learned 
that officials at the Pentagon and the White House are starting the planning for a 
display of military might that wouldn’t look out of place on the streets of Pyongyang, 
Moscow, Beijing or Berlin in 1939. 

Trump’s desire for a parade, modeled on one he saw during a trip to France last 
year (Quelle horreur!) apparently emerged during a Jan. 18 meeting with senior 
military officials in a room at the Pentagon known, fittingly enough, as “the tank,” 
The Washington Post reported. 

In Trumplandia, everything is grand and great and huge and beautiful - like his 
“great military,” or the “beautiful chocolate cake,” he enjoyed with Chinese President 
Xi Jinping while he bragged about American airstrikes in Syria last year. 

So it’s entirely logical, if entirely offensive, that Trump would glory in the sight of 
tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and other weaponry, along with soldiers, 
marching at attention and saluting, filling the streets of the nation’s capital.

Because Trump, as commander-in-chief, can order those soldiers to salute him. 

Not so much for Democratic members of Congress, whom Trump accused of 
treason, for failing to stand and applaud during his State of the Union speech last 
week. What apparently eluded Trump was that his political opponents - from a coequal 
branch of government - were exercising a constitutionally protected right to 
remain silent. 

But for Trump, the Constitution is a technicality, a mere formality on the way to 
exercising his will. In any event, we now know that he nodded off after the Fourth 
Amendment, so there’s no actual proof that he’s conversant with the actual text. 

Meanwhile, it’s unclear how the military would cover the cost of moving its 
equipment to Washington, an effort whose price-tag could run to the millions of 

If Trump really wants to show his support for the military, he’d work with 
Congressional leaders to solve the perennial pickle over the passage of a defense 
appropriations bill. 

As The Post reports, the government’s new fiscal year started Oct. 1, but Congress 
had, as of Wednesday, yet to pass a military funding bill. 

The U.S. Senate was set to vote Thursday afternoon on a two-year budget deal 
that would add more than a half-trillion dollars in federal spending. According to 
The New York Times, federal limits on military spending would be increased by $80 
billion this year and by $85 billion in the new fiscal year that starts this Oct. 1. 

Defense Secretary James Mattis told a Congressional committee this week that the 
military needs “predictability” in its funding if it’s going to flourish.

“Let me be clear: as hard as the last 16 years of war have been, no enemy in the 
field has done more to harm the readiness of the U.S. military than the combined 
impact of the Budget Control Act’s defense spending caps, worsened by operating 
in 10 of the last 11 years under continuing resolutions of varied and unpredictable 
duration,” Mattis, a former Marine general, said, according to The Post.

With those kind of problems looming, it makes zero sense for the military to 
spend an indeterminate amount of money to simply gratify the whims of the 45th 

There are far better ways for Trump to show he cares about the military. Putting the 
nation in the same company as our strategic rivals and outright adversaries isn’t one 
of them. 



You watch Fox News - “We love President Trump.” 

You watch MSNBC or CNN - “We hate President Trump.” 
Is there any other news going on in the world that isn’t about 

I swear, if the World Trade Center had come down yesterday, 
the top story today in the mainstream media would be all about Donald Trump. 

What did he do wrong or not do? Say or not say? 

While Trump and his daily reality TV show have become a profit center for the 
media, the rest of us can’t even mention his name. 

Trump has become a cuss word - “Trump you! Trump you and your whole 

I can remember when everybody in the media loved Trump before they hated 

CNN loved him to have him on their air because he could be counted on to bring 
higher ratings. 

Going back five, 10 or 15 years ago, when Trump was a celebrity billionaire golferfrom New York, every TV network or cable channel courted him because they 
knew he’d drive up their audience numbers. 

Now you have two angry Love Trump/Hate Trump camps holed up in their own 
media bunkers, talking only to their hardcore followers. 

For me, it’s sad to see that nobody is willing to have a fruitful conversation with 
the other side the way they did when my father was in Washington. 

On Tuesday, when we marked my dad’s 107th birthday at the Reagan Library, his 
chief of staff ,James Baker III, reminded us how my father dealt with his opponents. 

He never demeaned or degraded them or called them names. And even if they 
didn’t agree with him politically, or were supporting some other Republican for 
president, they liked him personally. Baker was a perfect example. 

My father hired him to be his chief of staff after he had run two tough presidential 
primary campaigns against him, one for Gerald Ford in 1976 and one for George 

H.W. Bush in 1980. 
Unlike Trump, who constantly uses tweets to attack his critics and opponents, my 
father always took the high road. 

When he was in a debate he didn’t try to destroy people. He knew at some point 
he’d have to go back and work with them to get things done.

That’s how he and Tip O’Neill were able to get the largest tax break in American 
history passed through Congress in 1981.

It’s almost impossible to make that kind of deal anymore in Washington. We 
live in a very angry, angry time, and President Trump doesn’t seem to want to do 
anything to make people get along any better.

Meanwhile, both parties in Congress want 100 percent of everything they desire, and when they do come to a rare agreement like they did Wednesday on thebipartisan budget deal, there are people who can’t control their anger.

The two-year budget, which adds $300 billion in spending to the federal deficit, 
has made the military and national security folks happy, but it has set some fiscal 
hawks’ hair on fire. 

It’d be nice to think that the rare display of bipartisanship on the federal budget is 
a sign that good things are going to start happening in Congress.

But it’s really just the latest proof that there’s only one thing that can consistently 
bring the two parties in Congress together - spending money it doesn’t have. 

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