Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, April 28, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page B:3



 Mountain Views News Saturday, April 28, 2018 

Mountain Views



Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Richard Garcia


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


Kevin Barry


Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Merri Jill Finstrom

Rev. James Snyder

Dr. Tina Paul

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Renee Quenell

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden




We, in America, have been living in alternate states of reality 
for quite some time. They are neither red or blue. They are 
states of consciousness and perception.

New borders and boundaries have been erected to divide us. 
They’re often alphanumeric in construction; rising and falling with every stroke of a 
keyboard, button-push of a remote control, or swipe of a touchscreen. They open the 
gates to awareness, while simultaneously shutting the door on reason.

 How we perceive our world is increasingly defined by the cable channels we view, 
the radio stations we listen to, the websites we surf, and to a lesser extent - sadly - the 
newspapers we read. 

 For as long as the printing press has existed, journalists have expressed differing 
points-of-view. In their earliest incarnations, books, pamphlets, and newspapers 
were put out by individuals who voiced their opinions in hopes of moving their 
readers; to convince them to take a similar stance even more than they factually 
covered events. The “news” was an extension of those who had the means to publish.

 Newspapers historically followed this pattern in cities and towns, large and small. 
People “took” papers that reflected their personal values and worldview. In many 
communities, multiple print news outlets existed, whose coverage and advertising 
targeted those with similar sensibilities. Broadsheets appealed to traditional 
conservatives, some to more progressive audiences. Tabloids often spoke to the 
working-class and, sometimes, to immigrants or the radical fringe. 

 Reporters who wrote for those publications covered the same stories, fought for 
the same scoops, and spun their coverage based primarily upon those owners and 
publishers hoped to influence. The papers were run by upstanding citizens and civic 
leaders. They wielded considerable power but were not demagogues. Most sought 
to open readers’ eyes to new realities and societal changes. Few propagated lies and 
deception. If only this were true today.

 Demagoguery does exist, and it is motivated by both profit and perspective, no 
matter how distorted the prospect may be. Major media conglomerates, whose 
leaders have included families with names like Murdoch, Sinclair, and Breitbart, 
often host those who are not beyond expressing outright lies. They also accuse other 
mainstream outlets of purveying “fake news,” no matter how well-substantiated the 
facts may be. 

 Brakes are rarely applied to the editorial ramblings of many of these news outlets. 
It’s even worse online where bloggers, creators of what are truly “fake news” sites, as 
well as some that are more legitimate, preach to choirs comprised of the angry and 
disaffected; giving voice to extremist positions. And let’s not forget those sites under 
the control of outside influencers whose sole intent is to foster discord among us. 

 It would be disingenuous to avoid examining the voices of other cable networks, 
those whose ownership is associated with corporate logos more so than surnames; 
the usual suspects, like MSNBC and CNN, that are targeted by right-leaning ranters. 
Sorry to disillusion their critics, but what is seen interspersed with opinion on those 
channels is news; based on hard, well-documented facts. And when mistakes or 
errors in judgment occur (and they sometimes do), those responsible are subjected 
to intense scrutiny; with public apologies, corrections, or retractions being made.

 While some mainstream conservatives may cringe when extremist or ignorant 
sentiments are expressed by friends and colleagues, by the president, or on the 
channels and sites that serve as their platforms, they are loathe to publicly denounce 
them. Self-preservation and careerism is clearly more important than veracity.

 Ongoing cries of “fake news” and the constant repetition of lies and half-truths 
only strengthen the borders and boundaries that divide us. Those on both sides 
oftentimes remain cloistered, living in separate states of reality to the detriment of 
us all.

 In the days before cable news and online websites ran amok, legendary journalist 
Walter Cronkite ended his television broadcast each weekday evening with the 
phrase “And that’s they way it is…” And we believed him. These days, many of us 
don’t really know who or what to believe. That’s just the way it is.



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

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U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, a Republican who hails from northeastern Pennsylvania’s 
coal country, likes to brag about the fact he was one of his 
state’s earliest supporters of President Donald Trump.

 Insofar as he rewards displays of loyalty, Trump is backing Barletta’s 
bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., this fall in one of the country’s 
more closely watched U.S. Senate contests.

 So it was entirely unsurprising that, in a recent interview, Barletta, who’s running in a two-way 
primary for the GOP nomination this spring, toed the Trump party line.

 He fulsomely praised the president’s successes and papered over his failures, both foreign and 
domestic, even as he wondered aloud about “what there is to be unhappy with” under the 45th 
president’s chaotic reign.

 It was about as thorough a display of sycophancy as you were likely to see from a card-carrying 
member of a Republican Party whose principles and convictions have been left to scar horribly 
on a portrait hidden in the attic, even as GOP lawmakers try to present a sunny, tax-cutting, and 
unlined face to the rest of the nation.

 But on the day that the nomination of White House physician Ronny Jackson’s nomination to 
run the Department of Veterans Affairs went up in a mushroom cloud, Barletta was still maintaining, 
with a toothy grin that verged on rictus, that Trump had done an effective job of draining 
Washington’s swamp.

 “People want the swamp drained,” Barletta said. “I know it’s nice cliche, but we’re at interesting 
time in history. People want change in Washington.”

Which depends, one supposes, on how one defines “change.”

 Jackson, in case you’ve forgotten, is the Navy vice admiral whose nomination to run the VA 
was put on seemingly indefinite hold amid questions about his dispersal of medication; the fostering 
of a hostile work environment and possible drunkenness on duty that date to his time in 
the former Obama administration, The Washington Post reported.

 That comes on top of revelations about Environmental Protection Administrator Scott Pruitt’s 
and HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s pricey redecorating habits; Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s flying 
the friendly skies with industry lobbyists; former Health & Human Services Secretary Tom 
Price’s similar proclivity for pricey flying; ditto for Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin; and, of 
course, who can forget former VA boss David Shulkin, who got bounced after his own ethics 

 And never mind Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing probe of Russian meddling and 
the indictments and guilty pleas left in its wake. Nor the scandal surrounding Trump’s personal 
attorney Michael Cohen, or the ongoing media mastery by the adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

 Swamp drained? How, exactly?

 Let’s not forget that Trump also engineered the firing of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, 
and ushered former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster out the door. Former Chief 
of Staff Reince Priebus was also among those who headed for the exits. 

 In the vacuum created by their departures, Trump has surrounded himself with a Team of 
the Like Minded, in the form of new National Security Advisor John Bolton, Secretary of State 
nominee Mike Pompeo and economic advisor Larry Kudlow.

 Current chief of Staff John Kelly, who was supposed to serve as a check against Trump’s worst 
excesses, has proven spectacularly unable to accomplish that basic task. The former Marine general 
even walked in his boss’ footsteps when he engaged in an own ill-chosen war of words with 
a Florida congresswoman.

 The reshaping of Trump’s inner circle that puts personality above party and principle is reflected 
by a wave of GOP retirements on Capitol Hill. Republicans running nationwide this primary 
season, meanwhile, are embracing the Trump mantle, loudly proclaiming their loyalty to 
the White House. 

 That approach might work in the primaries. And Trump may be cheered by a GOP remade in 
his own image. But the White House and Congressional Republicans could pay dearly for it in a 
season that is expected to favor Democrats.

 So Barletta and his ilk can go on whistling merrily past the graveyard that holds the remains of 
the Ed Gillespie and Roy Moore campaigns. But they may yet wonder what kind of deal they’ve 


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


 The Trump Haters in Washington are desperate.

 They can’t find a way to bring down the president, so they’re carpet 
bombing everyone around him.

 Their latest victim is Ronny Jackson - the White House doctor the president 
chose to become the new secretary of Veterans Affairs.

 Dr. Jackson - a Navy rear admiral - has decided not to pursue the job.

 Some people thought he didn’t have the experience to run the VA, which 
last I saw took care of 9 million vets with almost 400,000 bureaucrats. 

 But his administrative skills weren’t what sunk him . It was the slimy 
attack on his moral character by Trump-hating Democrats and their pals in the liberal media.

 Until about half an hour ago everyone loved the good doctor.

 He was a great guy, a good man. He had worked for both President Obama and President George 
W. Bush.

 Then came the unsubstantiated and anonymous attacks. Suddenly, Dr. Jackson was Public Enemy 
Number One. 

 He was basically accused in the media of being a drug dealer, an alcoholic and, worst of all these 
days, being a boss who created a toxic workplace environment.

 Rather than be trashed in public, he withdrew his name.

 The attack on Dr. Jackson’s morals reminds me of the cheap remark made about President 
Trump by James Comey, the former FBI director, admitted leaker and professional truth-stretcher.

 Comey has famously said he doesn’t think Donald Trump has the moral qualifications to be 

 During his triumphant book tour I’ve been waiting for one of Comey’s friendly interviewers to 
ask if he thought Hillary was morally qualified to be president in 2016.

 Or if he thought lying about Benghazi, erasing emails, destroying hard drives, attacking the 
women who accused her husband of rape, etc., etc., did not disqualify her?

 And what about her husband Bill, who would have been her co-president?

 Did Mr. Comey think Bill has the moral qualifications to be trusted with the keys to the White 
House again - and left alone with the interns?

 While we’re asking, does Comey think JFK was morally qualified in 1960. Or do serial philandering 
and adultery not count ? 

 JFK was not morally qualified to be Prez - even by today’s standards. 

 But he stared down the Soviets in Cuba, pushed for lower taxes and built a strong military.

 So d o I really care who Jack was diddling in his spare time? Not really.

 Comey’s remark about Donald Trump’s morals was not just another of his cheap shots. It was 
also a dumb thing to say. 

 J immy Carter was probably the most morally qualified human on the planet ever to be president.

 What did he accomplish?

 He gave Iran to the mullahs and he gave the rest of us gas lines, a dead economy and a sky-high 
“Misery Index” (the rate of inflation plus the rate of unemployment).

 Carter proved there’s no connection between a president’s good or bad private morals and his 
ability to be a good or bad president.

 Trump’s doing the same thing. 

 Despite his less-than-saintly morals and his other faults, so far he’s given us tax cuts, a strong 
economy and historically low black and Latino unemployment rates.

 Plus he looks like he’s on the verge of solving the North Korean nukes problem after three 

 Of course it won’t matter what President Trump accomplishes. 

 Democrats and the liberal media will never give him credit for anything. 

 They hate him more than ever, but now they’re beginning to realize they can’t bring him down 
for collusion or anything else.

 That’s why they’ve begun attacking the moral qualifications of people who want to work for 
President Trump like Dr. Jackson. 

 More than 200 of Trump’s appointments are being held up. Good luck to them if they’ve ever 
had a speeding ticket.

 The way things are going now, Trump’s enemies would not support Jesus Christ for secretary of 
anything because he was pro-life, was seen talking to prostitutes and turned water into wine without 
a permit.


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


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