Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, May 12, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page B:3



 Mountain Views News Saturday, May 12, 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



“You’ve lost your sense of humor, and you need to get it 

 Such was the admonishment my mother gave me many times over the years 
when one of life’s temporary failures gave me license to indulge in self-loathing.

 “Life is full of difficulty,” she’d say, “and you can either find the humor in life or 
let its continuous challenges make you miserable and self-absorbed!”

 In my mother’s world, nothing is worse than self-absorption - nothing is worse 
being trapped in the narrowness of your own point of view.

 During each of her “corrective sessions,” she’d have me laughing out loud before 

 `You see, laughing loudly at life’s foibles was the greatest gift she ever gave my 
five sisters and me.

 Most nights after dinner, when I was young, my sisters and I sat around the 
table, relating stories about we’d done that day or week and laugh deep into the 

 On her 80th birthday a year ago, each of her family members (including 17 
grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren) shared stories, on video, about how 
her nurturing, love and humor has touched us all - a video presentation that was 
side-splitting funny.

 One of my mom’s funniest stories dates back to the 1980s.

 While other moms got real jobs in companies, my mom, much to my family’s 
embarrassment, staged children’s birthday parties as Clown Clara. She wasn’t 
embarrassed, though; she couldn’t have cared less what other people thought. She 
loved nothing more than making children laugh, and children loved her Clown 
Clara character.

 Regrettably, a male thief dressed as a clown had been robbing area banks; the clown 
robber had been widely reported upon in the local media. One Saturday morning, 
the clown robber struck again and the cops were on high alert.

 Coincidentally, my mother, dressed as Clown Clara, was speeding to a gig that 
same morning (she still has a lead foot). A police officer spotted her and the chase 
was on. He barked at her to exit the station wagon, hands up, no funny business! 

 It took some time to clear up the confusion - at one point, the cop thought my 
mother was in cahoots with the guy who’d hired her to stage his kid’s party. When 
the confusion was finally ironed out, my mom had but one response: a giant burst 
of laughter.

 My mother knew of laughter’s benefits long before scientific studies confirmed 

 Laughter, reports Forbes, releases endorphins in the brain and induces euphoria. 
It “activates the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin,” which provides a 
similar effect to antidepressants. It helps us form social bonds and strengthen our 

 My mother also knows that not all laughter is created equal. Self-deprecating 
humor is the best kind. It uplifts us and brings us together. By poking fun at 
ourselves, we escape ourselves and focus more outwardly on others.

 However, she greatly dislikes sarcasm, mockery or ridicule - “humor” that is 
popular with many late-night comedians in our divided and polarized times.

 Such “humor” does not uplift. It demonizes those we disagree with. It encourages 
us to harden our thinking. In increases polarization. It tears us apart.

 Regardless of one’s politics or ideology, most of us agree on the issues of the day 
more than we disagree. Our differences have to do with approach, not necessarily 
the outcome. All of us want to eradicate poverty, educate our children, and solve a 
zillion other problems.

 We need to re-engage in civil conversation to more effectively do that. One way 
to get started is to heed my mother’s advice.

 “Hey, America, we’ve lost our sense of humor and we need to get it back!”


Copyright 2018 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s 
Childhood,” a humorous memoir available, 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 Sales@ or call (805) 969-2829. Send comments to Tom at

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 For a man who likes to brag about what a big builder he is, President 
Donald Trump spends a lot of time burning stuff down.

 From his pursuit of protectionist tariffs and withdrawal from the Paris 
climate accords, to his routine attacks on the norms of a liberal democracy, 
the developer from Queens has taken a wrecking ball to the United States’ 
place in the world, isolating us on the world stage, and marginalizing our 
moral voice.

 Even his cherished wall, the one he promised the United States would build and that someone 
else - the American taxpayer, as it turns out - would pay for, remains frustratingly out of his grasp.

 So it wasn’t a surprise Tuesday to find that Trump had taken a torch to the Iran nuclear deal, 
unraveling the signature foreign policy achievement of former President Barack Obama, and 
further straining relations with western European allies who had passionately lobbied the White 
House to stay in it.

 Writing in Slate, Fred Kaplan said Trump, driven either by rank ignorance, bald-faced malice, 
or some combination of the two, had dismantled the most significant arms-control deal in modern 

 Even worse, the administration premised its argument for withdrawal on at least two fraudulent 

 First, that Iran is cheating on the deal. There’s no evidence to support that. If anything, Iran was 
complying with the terms of the agreement and, as Vox reports, it was giving inspectors the room 
they needed to do their jobs. 

 Second, Trump claimed the agreement required the United States to “pay” Iran $100 billion. 

 The United States froze that amount in Iranian assets, and the deal was conditional on returning 
them. That’s the carrot in this carrot-and-stick arrangement.

 Trump’s move to kill the deal came despite the pleadings of French President Emmanuel 
Macron, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, dozens of past 
and former diplomats, and even House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, 
R-Texas, who no one would confuse for a dove, Kaplan noted.

 Right on schedule, Iranian officials announced that they’d negotiate with European leaders, the 
Chinese and Vladimir Putin’s Russia about staying in the deal.

 As was the case with Trump’s announcement of the withdrawal from Syria, he opened another 
power vacuum that America’s geopolitical rivals will be only too happy to fill.

 On its face, Trump’s announcement appeared to be less about securing any long-term foreign 
policy goal than it was about dominating the news cycle, proving to his base that he could deliver 
on campaign promise, and perhaps most importantly, sticking a finger in Obama’s eye.

 In a statement, Obama called the withdrawal a “serious mistake.”

 “Walking away from the [agreement] turns our back on America’s closest allies, and an 
agreement that our country’s leading diplomats, scientists, and intelligence professionals 
negotiated,” Obama said. “In a democracy, there will always be changes in policies and priorities 
from one Administration to the next. But the consistent flouting of agreements that our country is 
a party to risks eroding America’s credibility, and puts us at odds with the world’s major powers.”

 The former president’s words were a refreshing blast of policy sobriety in the face of the standard 
Trumpian hyperbole that accompanied the White House’s announcement.

 “This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” Trump said. “It 
didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”

 The problem ladled on top of this short-sighted decision is what the withdrawal means for 
the upcoming summit with North Korea. We already know that its leader, Kim Jong Un, is 
pathologically incapable of keeping his word.

 Will Trump’s withdrawal undermine whatever faith North Korea has in the United 
States keeping its word? That looming question could render the summit an elaborate bit of theater 
without any tangible result.

 No one’s arguing that the current Iranian regime is a good one. That’s not what this is about. It’s 
about effectively keeping tabs on the nuclear ambitions of a dangerous rival. 

 “We know more about Iran’s program with the deal than without it,” former CIA director 
Michael V. Hayden told The Washington Post. 

 “The Iranians lie. They cheat,” Hayden told The Post. “That’s why you need to have the best 
possible verification regime in place.”

 By scrapping the agreement, the White House has made it potentially easier for Iran to build 

 Trump may have scored a political win, but that’s a foreign policy loss by any measure. 


Copyright 2018 John L. Micek, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

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


 So Donald Trump has a date with Kim Jong Un in Singapore 
on June 12.

 Good deal - so far.

 As long as the president doesn’t get arrested for chewing gum 
or hanged for spitting on the sidewalk, his meet-up with North 
Korea’s “Rocket Man” in that spotless city might actually become a 
historic summit.

 Singapore 2018 might even become one of Trump’s legacies, though I suspect at this 
point he’s not as fixated on legacy building as most presidents.

 He’s more focused on making a deal with a nasty communist regime that no previous 
president has been able to make.

 We’ll know soon enough if Singapore is for show or for real.

 Meanwhile, I hope when Mr. Trump sits down to negotiate with Kim Jong Un he’ll 
remember what happened when Ronald Reagan went to Reykjavik in October of 1986 to 
meet Mikhail Gorbachev.

 My father’s meeting in Iceland with the General Secretary of the Communist Party 
of the Soviet Union was a “session” and not an official summit, but it was a huge, huge 
geopolitical deal at the time.

 The hope was for the two superpowers to discuss ways to put limits on strategic nuclear 
weapons arsenals and to come up with a sweeping arms-control agreement that would 
bring about the major mothballing of their nukes and missiles.

 I remember when my father’s administration was putting the Reykjavik trip together. It 
was his second meeting Gorbachev, and hopes were sky high for a historic agreement that 
would end the scariest part of the Cold War.

 Everyone in the administration - including Nancy - was excited because they thought 
Reykjavik was going to be Ronald Reagan’s greatest legacy.

 Everyone was pushing him - relentlessly - to make a deal with Gorbachev. Almost any 

 But when Mr. Gorbachev said he wouldn’t sign the document unless the United States 
gave up the Strategic Defense Initiative - the proposed “Star Wars” ballistic missile defense 
system - my father said “Nyet.”

 He got up and walked away from the table.

 Everyone was shocked and concerned by what my father did, but the rest was history. 
The Soviet Union soon went bust. The Berlin Wall came down. The Cold War was over.

 Saying no to the USSR when it wanted the United States to give up something was not an 
audible my father called on the spot. It was something he had been hoping to do for a long 

 I remember in 1976 at the Republican National Convention when he lost the nomination. 
I walked over to his hotel room and asked him, “Why in world would you even want to run 
for president?”

 “Michael,” he said, “for too long I’ve watched presidents of the United States meet with 
Secretary Generals of the Soviet Union.

 “Every time we sit sit down with them they’re asking us to give up something to get along 
with them.

 “I want to be the first president who says ‘Nyet.’ That’s the reason I wanted to run for 

 In order for President Trump’s meeting on June 12 to be a success, and he certainly has 
it in him to make it one, he also has to be willing to walk away.

 You can’t make a deal just because you’re thinking it’s going to be good for your legacy.

 Your legacy might be when you stand up and walk away from a bad deal.

 The only way you’ll ever win real victories against the people who run hellholes like the 
USSR, North Korea and Iran is if you’re willing to walk -- and they know it.

 Anyone can make a bad deal - look at the one President Obama made with Iran.

 So my suggestion to the president is, “Don’t make a deal with North Korea just to make 
a deal. Sometimes the best deal is to walk away.”

 And anyway, Mr. Trump, with three American prisoners safely back home from North 
Korea, you’ve already got a win.

 Copyright 2018 Michael Reagan. 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 Send 
comments Follow @reaganworld on Twitter. Mike’s column 
is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For info on using columns 
contact Sales at

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