Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, May 19, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page B:3



 Mountain Views News Saturday, May 19, 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



It sat in my parents’ dining room for 30 years or 
more: an old oak stereo console with large speakers 
concealed by green fabric. It filled my childhood with a harmony and 
clarity we could use lots more of about now. 

 Sundays after supper, the sweet smell of coffee and pot roast and 
pineapple upside-down cake still in the air, my father (the Big Guy) 
loved to play his favorite albums on it. He liked Barbra Streisand in those 
days. He loved Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. And he’d go nuts when 
he played “The Stars and Stripes Forever!” by John Philip Sousa. 

 He’d turn the volume high and begin marching through our small 
house, lifting his legs and arms high and making exaggerated faces the 
way comedian Red Skelton did with his Clem Kadiddlehopper character. 
We’d jump from the table and follow behind him, marching and laughing 
until tears filled our eyes. 

 That old console played nonstop during the Christmas season. Our 
stack of records usually began with the “Holiday Sing-Along with 
Mitch Miller” followed by “Christmas with the Chipmunks.” Then came 
“Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” and Bing Crosby. As soon as Bing finished, 
we restacked the albums and played them again. 

 My mother used the stereo more than anyone. She loved to listen to 
it while working around the house. She loved to whistle, too, a habit she 
learned from her father (and one she passed along to me). 

 Hers was a high-pitched whistle - the sound of a happy robin singing 
on a sunny spring morning - and she could harmonize with most tunes. 
Sometimes she tuned in to an AM station that played Frank Sinatra and 
Dean Martin. Other times she’d play her Doris Day album. I still can 
hear her whistling to “Que Sera, Sera.” 

 I’ve been thinking about the old stereo console lately. I’ve been longing 
for the sweet, simple music that it brought into our home - a simple 
harmony and clarity for which the world is in desperate need. 

 There is so much yapping and shouting on television and the radio. 
There is an obsession with Don Imus and Anna Nicole, and every yapper 
under the son is beating both stories into the ground. 

 And while the experts weigh in on the idiotic statements uttered by 
Imus, few criticize the words and images on so many other channels that 
are 20 times more vulgar and demeaning; few are critical of so many 
real woes we face in a culture becoming more crass and cynical by the 

 The shouting and hooting and hollering has gotten so loud, it’s getting 
hard to hear anymore - it’s getting hard for folks to distinguish between 
what is worthwhile on the tube and the radio and what is garbage. 
This must be the case. Why else would so many crude, silly and stupid 
programs litter the airwaves every night? 

 Some weeks - a week just like this one - I just want to escape it all. My 
family doesn’t have the old stereo console anymore, but I did buy a new 
turntable recently. My mother’s cousin gave me dozens of old albums she 
no longer listens to and I’ve been working my way through them. 

 I listed to an old Sinatra album recently. It was wonderful to transport 
myself from our noisy world into one of clarity and harmony and 
simplicity. It was wonderful to travel back to the 1950s and 1960s. 

 Human nature and the world were messy then, too, but the noise level 
was much lower. There was no cable then - no channels to allow the 
yappers to yap. The average citizen was certainly a lot more civil then 
than the average fellow is now. 

 Perhaps we’d all be better off if more folks started collecting old albums 
- if more folks tried re-creating the simple childhood memories of the 
old stereo consoles that once sat in their parents’ dining room. 

- This is an excerpt from Tom Purcell’s humorous book, “Misadventures of 
a 1970s Childhood,” available at 

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 The U.S. Constitution has been reduced to a scrap of parchment, rendered 
irrelevant by the profiteer-in-chief.

 President Trump relentlessly railed against China on the campaign 
trail (“It’s the greatest theft in the history of the world, what they’ve done 
to the United States, they’ve taken our jobs!”), but days ago he suddenly 
tweeted his desire to save ZTE, China’s telecommunications giant, to help it 
“get back into business fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed 
to get it done!”

 Wait, did Trump’s fans care about Chinese jobs? Is that why they voted for him? Funny, I must’ve 
missed that.

 When Trump shared his sudden love for ZTE and Chinese jobs, he somehow omitted an important 
development that occurred 72 hours prior to the tweet: China agreed to pump $500 million into an 
Indonesian theme park that will feature Trump-branded properties, a boon to the Trump Organization. 
In other words, Trump has gone belly up on China because China has pledged to line his pockets.

 Until this week, ZTE was deemed to be a threat to our national security. It has violated U.S. sanctions 
by selling its smartphones to Iran and North Korea. And the Pentagon has banned the use of ZTE 
phones on its military bases, fearing that the phones could be used to track the location of our soldiers. 
The Trump regime recently announced that American firms would stop selling components to ZTE, 
and as a result, ZTE was on the verge of shutting down. But now, all of a sudden, Trump wants to help 
it “get back into business fast.”

 It’s amazing how speedily Trump can flip on national security policy when his wallet is being 
fattened. As one press report points out, “marketing materials … refer to the theme park and Trump 
properties as flagship elements of the development, and corporate filings and internal documents 
show the Trump Organization and the president’s sons have been directly involved in various stages of 
its planning.”

 This is what happens when an ostensibly democratic nation devolves into a craven kleptocracy. 
For what it’s worth, Section 1, Article 9 of the Constitution specifically bars all federal officials (no 
exceptions) from profiteering while in office. From the emoluments provision:

 “… no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the 
Congress, accept any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatsoever, from any King, 
Prince, or foreign State.”

 In the wake of Trump’s election, there was a brief flurry of concern about his blatant and 
unprecedented conflicts of interest. White House ethics lawyers, from past Democratic and Republican 
administrations, warned Trump in a letter that presidential profiteering is unAmerican: “You were 
elected to the presidency with a promise to eliminate improper business influence in Washington. 
There is no way to square your campaign commitments to the American people, and your even 
higher, ethical duties as their president, with the rampant, inescapable conflicts that will engulf your 
presidency if you maintain connections with the Trump Organization.”

 And Trevor Potter, a former Republican chairman of the Federal Election Commission, presciently 
sounded the alarm: “Some foreign businesses and foreign leaders will want to cozy up to the Trump 
family, because that is how they are used to doing business and conducting foreign policy. The children 
will get a raft of proposals for new hotels and golf courses … This is a colossal mistake. It will produce 
conflicts of interest of an unprecedented magnitude…We will look like the very sort of kleptocracy we 
criticize in corrupt dictatorships elsewhere.”

 But now we’re so numb to the Trump family’s abuses that few of us bat an eye. Trump is being sued 
in federal court for violating the Founding Fathers’ emoluments provision, but as we all know, these 
kinds of cases proceed with the speed of a snail. And when a Trump White House spokesman was 
asked whether China’s decision to enrich Trump was a breach of the Constitution, the flack basically 
shrugged it off: “You’re asking about a private organization’s dealings that may have to do with a foreign 
government. It’s not something I can speak to.”

 Actually, the press corps was asking about a president’s dealings. The flack’s attempt to hide behind 
the “private organization” precisely illustrates the abuse.

 Some Senate Republicans were stunned earlier this week about Trump’s ZTE flip flop, and they 
reportedly vowed to raise the issue during a closed-door Tuesday meeting with the profiteer. You don’t 
have to be a seer to know what happened next. None of them had the guts to tell Trump that China has 
found the perfect way to play him for a sap.

 And none of the Republican senators, confronted with Trump in person, had the guts to say 
anything that even remotely approximates what Alexander Hamilton warned about in 1788: “In the 
general course of human nature, a power over a man’s subsistence amounts to a power over his will.”

 I can’t top that one.


Copyright 2018 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

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

 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 deal.

 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 time.

 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 

 “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.


 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 www.reagan.
com and Send comments to Follow 
@reaganworld on Twitter. 

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