Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, July 21, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page B:3



 Mountain Views News Saturday, July 21, 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


By Tom Purcell

 “Can you believe that a man dumped a drink on a 
teenager because the teenager’s baseball cap favored the 
president? What’s happening to civil discourse in our 

 “That’s a question on a lot of people’s minds. Our 
political discourse is at a fever pitch. Like or dislike President Trump, his sharp 
rhetoric isn’t helping matters.”

 “So what if he attacks his opponents with nasty comments and tweets? He’s a 
rough-and-tumble New Yorker fighting back the way New Yorkers do!” 

 “Maybe so, but a president has the power to set the tone, and the tone 
President Trump is setting is getting people fired up. Other political leaders are 
also stepping over the line. But the truth is civil discourse has been on the decline 
for years.”

 “If you say so, you jerk!”

 “Psychology Today reports on a recent study that found people are ruder to 
each other online for the simple reason that they don’t make eye contact, as they 
do in face-to-face discussions.” 

 “That explains why so many dirty rats leave nasty remarks on my Facebook 

 “Look, it’s easy to be rude. Being civil and polite requires effort. Civility is the 
cornerstone of all well-functioning societies.”

 “Says who?”

 “Did you know the word ‘etiquette’ originated under Louis XIV in the 1600s? 
Etiquette and manners define what social behavior is and isn’t proper.”

 “I ain’t following rules drafted up by snooty old French people!”

 “Then consider someone nearer and dearer to your heart: As a teenager, 
George Washington hand-copied ‘The ‘Rules of Civility,’ a list started by French 
Jesuits in the 1590s that was translated into English around 1640.”

 “His mother probably put him up to it!”

 “Washington’s 110 rules are still relevant. Here’s one that we all should heed: 
‘Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another though he were your 

 “You mean we ought to stop posting items on Facebook that gleefully celebrate 
election losses by our most reviled politicians?”

 “Something like that. Here’s another Washington rule that we ought to heed: 
‘Speak not injurious words neither in jest nor earnest. Scoff at none although 
they give occasion.’”

 “If Trump heeded that advice, he’d have to shut down his Twitter account!”

 “Washington’s rules include this one about the company we keep: ‘Associate 
yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation. For ‘tis 
better to be alone than in bad company.’”

 “If people started doing that, Congress would have nobody to talk to!”

 “You get the point. Look, Judith Martin, better known as Miss Manners, says 
good manners are the philosophical basis of civilization, that it’s essential folks 
have a common language of civil behavior that restrains their impulses.”

 “But impulsiveness is my favorite hobby!”

 “She says that what used to be an insult is now called slander. What used to be 
meanness is now called hate speech. What used to be boorishness is now called 
sexual harassment. If the rules of civility and etiquette were stronger, fewer 
people would engage in actions that are now considered crimes. We all can and 
must do better. Civility and incivility are contagious. If we want more civility, 
we each need to practice it. And press our political leaders to do likewise - by 

 “Slander, meanness and boorishness is against the law? There goes the 


Copyright 2018 Tom Purcell. 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 Tom@

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Feel free to tell yourself that Donald Trump chose Brett Kavanaugh 
for the Supreme Court because the guy went to Yale (Trump 
reportedly loves Ivy League creds), or because the guy has been 
thoroughly vetted by the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist 
Society (the right-wing groups that have long been funneling conservative judges to the 

 But if you really want to know why Trump chose Kavanaugh, just check out the article 
he wrote in 2009 for the Minnesota Law Review. He said that serving presidents should 
be exempt from all criminal and civil investigations - because they’re just too darned busy 
doing the people’s business. He teed up his argument on page 1,460:

 “I believe it is vital that the President be able to focus on his never-ending tasks with 
as few distractions as possible. The country wants the President to be ‘one of us’ who 
bears the same responsibilities of citizenship that all share. But I believe that the President 
should be excused from some of the burdens of ordinary citizenship while serving in 

 Then came this, on page 1,461:

 “Congress might consider a law exempting a President - while in office - from criminal 
prosecution and investigation, including from questioning by criminal prosecutors or 
defense counsel… Even the lesser burdens of a criminal investigation - including preparing 
for questioning by criminal investigators - are time-consuming and distracting. Like 
civil suits, criminal investigations take the President’s focus away from his or her responsibilities 
to the people. And a President who is concerned about an ongoing criminal 
investigation is almost inevitably going to do a worse job as President.”

 There you have it, folks. Trump has purchased survival insurance.

 Yes, Kavanaugh’s ascent will virtually cement a 5-4 conservative majority for decades, 
tilting America further rightward on everything from civil rights to corporate power, but 
Trump would’ve punched that ticket by choosing anyone on the Federalist Society’s wish 
list. As they say at Wharton, Kavanaugh is “value added.” He has the requisite conservative 
creds, plus he’s on record saying that presidents should be exempt from investigation. 
Trump’s knowledge of jurisprudence could probably fit in a thimble, but he has a feral 
instinct for saving himself. Indeed, it has been confirmed in news reports that Trump’s 
aides flagged that law review article for his edification.

 So if or when Robert Mueller’s investigation lands in the laps of the justices, on some 
crucial point of law, Trump can probably count on Kavanaugh to serve his interests by 
arguing that Mueller is burdening a very busy man and that therefore Trump shall not 
deign to honor a Mueller subpoena. That’s the kind of fealty Trump craves.

 Senate Democrats, who are virtually powerless to block Kavanaugh’s ascent (in part 
because some of the red-state Democrats up for re-election could vote Yes), may well 
argue during the confirmation process that Kavanaugh should recuse himself if he’s confronted 
with the Mueller probe, or with the current defamation suit that accuses Trump 
of sexual harassment - on the grounds that he shouldn’t sit on any case that involves the 
president who nominated him. Good luck making that stick.

 By the way, there’s a very funny moment in the Law Review article when Kavanaugh 
unveils his exempt-the-president argument and quickly adds: “This is not something I 
necessarily thought in the 1980s or 1990s.” Yeah, no kidding. Because in the 1990s, as a 
lawyer with a Republican track record, he served on Kenneth Starr’s team, in criminal 
pursuit of President Clinton. 

 At one point Kavanaugh told Starr in a memo, “I am strongly opposed to giving the 
president any break.” So he had no qualms then about investigating a serving president 
(of the opposing party, anyway). Suffice it to say that he has since changed his mind.

 Can Trump count on Kavanaugh’s loyalty when the chips are down? Perhaps the nominee 
gave us a hint on Monday night, when he thanked Trump for the honor and immediately 
went into hyperbolic overdrive: “No president has ever consulted more widely, or 
talked with more people, from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court 

 How could he possibly know that? Why should we believe that? If Brett Kavanaugh 
wants the American people to believe that he’ll function as an independent member of 
the supposedly independent judiciary, and that he’ll have an open mind when confronted 
by a potential constitutional crisis, it would surely behoove him not to sound like the 
daffy doctor who said that Trump was virtually the healthiest human specimen since the 
dawn of man.


 Copyright 2018 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper 

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



 Yes, President Trump screwed up in front of the whole world at the 
Helsinki Summit.

 But Democrats and the anti-Trump media have a much more serious 
long-term problem - they’re still out of their minds.

 They still actually think the Great Russian Collusion Hoax is going 
to win them the House and chase President Trump out of the White 

 It hasn’t been widely reported, but after last week’s indictment of 
Russian intelligence officers by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office for trying to disrupt the 
2016 election, half the Democrats in Congress had to sneak over to Chris Matthews’ office to get 
an emergency Trump Derangement Syndrome booster shot.

 “Russia Tried to Sway 2016 Election!!!” is now the crazy Democrats’ favorite new front-page 

 Trump of course is somehow supposed to be responsible for Russia’s meddling, according to 
the fake media, even though all the hacking and swaying occurred when the Obama gang was in 

 Not that the Trump-hate media care, but here’s an old newsflash I found under my desk:

 The Russians have been screwing with other people’s elections forever.

 We’ve been screwing with other people’s elections forever.

 Here are some other newsflashes for the media:

 The Russians have spies in America. We have spies in Russia.

 China has spies in America. We have spies in China.

 Basically, every country with a GDP greater than Chad’s has spies in other countries.

 Yes, Trump took a hit in Helsinki. Vladimir Putin was this week’s one-and-only big winner, 
thanks to the media’s hatred of Trump and the president’s gaffes.

 While Trump was cleaning up his mess and “clarifying” his press conference quotes to keep the 
intelligence agencies from defecting to Russia, Putin probably was in a dacha somewhere laughing 
his butt off and drinking Stoli.

 His dirty work is done. No one laid a glove on him in Helsinki and he’s disrupted everything in 
America he set out to disrupt.

 Our political system has been in chaos for two years over Russian collusion and nonstop Trump 
hate. We no longer trust our president, our elections, our political parties or our major media, 
though that’s nothing new.

 Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha - everyone is playing partisan gotcha politics.

 When Trump is involved, of course, the liberal media cover each new crazy tweet, gaffe or 
controversial executive order like it’s a war crime that has never been committed by a president 

 But to be fair, the left and the right tribes both play the gotcha game.

If it had been President Obama slow-dancing with Putin in public at that press conference, imagine 
how Fox News, talk radio and the rest of the conservative media would have reacted.


 Obama did get caught playing footsies with the Russkies in March of 2012 when he accidentally 
spoke into a hot mic, telling then-President Dmitri Medvedev to assure then-good guy Putin that 
he’d have more flexibility on a nuclear missile deal after the fall election.

 A few Republicans, like presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, made a stink.

 But the words “collusion” and “traitor” and “impeachment” were never uttered in prime time 
or on page one because the entire Bicoastal liberal media-sphere rose up as one Andrea Mitchell 
to explain away or downplay Obama’s shifty promise.

 For the record, the New York Times ran its March 26 story, “Microphone Catches a Candid 
Obama,” on Page A14. That’s not the front page.

 President Trump will never get that kind of sweet deal from the liberal media for the next six 
years, so he needs to learn a few basics I picked up in the second grade.

 He has to think before he speaks. And he has to stop taking everything so personally.

 At that press conference in Helsinki the president was his own worst enemy. He would have 
saved himself a lot of grief if had just come out, turned to Putin right away and said, “Cut this 
hacking crap out, Vlad. First question?”


 Copyright 2018 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political 
consultant, and the author of “Lessons My Father Taught Me: The Strength, Integrity, and Faith 
of Ronald Reagan.” He is the founder of the email service and president of The Reagan 
Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at and Send 
comments to 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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