Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, December 29, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page B:3



 Mountain Views News Saturday, December 29. 2018 



 Remember the skinny, little 8 year old Guatemalan refugee, 
Javelin Caal Masuin, who died December 7, while in Border 
Patrol custody. DHS has now reported that an 8 years 
old boy, Felipe Alonzo-Gomez, also from Guatemala, died 
late Christmas Eve, also while in the custody of U.S. Border 
Patrol. The deaths of two refugee children in less than 
a month, both legally seeking asylum regardless of entering 
the U.S. illegally (see Equal Protection Clause of 14th 
Amendment), raises grave concerns about the cruelty of both 
DHS policies of “No-Tolerance” and “Catch and Return”—as well as the possibility 
of less than professional treatment of refugees by Border Patrol officers themselves.

 These deaths also illustrate the heartless lengths President Trump is willing 
to go to enforce his un-constitutional and unlawful asylum-ban, and cruel 
treatment of Central American refugees trying to escape the violence, poverty, 
and almost certain starvation from in there dysfunctional autocratic homelands—
autocratic oligarchies that we have supported for two hundred years.

 It also shows Trump’s willingness to use desperate refugees to blackmail 
Congress to fund his wall. Not surprising, his ignorance of the crisis facing 
the economies of the Central America nations, where these refugees come 
from, caused by recent the worldwide crash in the prices of coffee and sugar. 

 More troubling is the testimony by DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen before the shutdown 
after the death of Javelin Masuin. Grilled by Democratic members of House Judiciary 
Committee about how many migrants—children and adults—have died while in 
Border Patrol custody? Secretary Nielsen couldn’t answer with a definitive number, and 
instead replied, “I will get back to you with the numbers.” Most importantly, Nielsen’s answer 
mirrors the utter depravity of Trump’s racist views of minorities, women, and people 
of color as unintelligent, inferior “Enemies of the People,” both from home and afar! 

 Now, just days before Democrats take control of the House, the President has shut 
down the government, like a spoiled crybaby, because is unwilling to drop the $5 billion 
seed money to get his wall started. Everybody knows a 30 foot high by 2,000 miles long 
wall of any kind, except paper is going to cost a lot more—like maybe $25 to $40 billion! 

 And a Cruel Holiday Card to some 420,000 federal government employees, 
forced to work for free or sent home without pay with the prospect of being 
permanently cut from their jobs— not to mention all of the rest of us who depend 
on them for the services they provide—Happy Holidays, Donald J. Trump. 

 Critics of the wall all agree its purpose could be much more easily, more cheaply, 
and much more effectively filled by a combination of immediately hiring, training 
and deploying 10,000 more border patrol officers. Add to that increasing the use 
of surveillance drones, motion sensors, and require (with mandated fines) the federal 
e-verify program to make certain all people who work within the U.S. have the 
right to do so—nothing very clever there, but it sure costs a lot less than $5 billion! 

 We could instead possibly placate Trump’s wall obsession by tearing down the 
Statue of Liberty as a monument to immigrants and replacing it with a Russian-financed 
monument to the President, “Trump Liberty Tower.” Unthinkable, you say? Think again!

 Then there’s the 30 of 43 the top federal officials who have either resigned or 
been fired this year. Most importantly, former Marine Corps 4-Star Generals Chief 
of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, both highly respected by 
the Pentagon and, until now, able to keep Trump’s administration from careening 
off the rails entirely! Who will replace them? Best bet more Trump cronies.

 It’s no exaggeration, to say, working for President Trump is like sailing with 
White Star Lines Captain Edward Smith on the doomed 1912 maiden voyage of 
the RMS Titanic, listening starry eyed to his band of cronies singing his favorite 
tune, “Lies, lies can break my bones, but the truth can only hurt me..,” until 
they all drown together under a moonless black sea of hate-filled controversy.

 Trump is like the Energizer Bunny. He keeps insisting building a hideous, ineffective 
2,000 mile wall separating the United States from Mexico. It is a boondoggle, 
only surpassed by the Great Wall of China—even a Republican-controlled Congress has 
refused to fund it for the past two years! It is totally political; it’s about pleasing his base 
before in-coming Democrats take over the House. It is why Trump has been backpedaling 
after telling Nancy Pelosi (D-SF) and NY Senator Chuck Schumer in the White 
House televised Tussle with the Muscle, “I will take responsibility for a shutdown!”

 Cruelty —Is this what America is all about? God, I hope not— for the whole world’s sake!

HAIL Hamilton

Mountain Views



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Mary Lou Caldwell

Kevin McGuire

Chris Leclerc

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Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Lori Ann Harris

Rev. James Snyder

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Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

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Jeff Brown

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden

Rebecca Wright

Hail Hamilton

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“I alone can fix it.”

 That’s what the current occupant of the Oval Office told cheering 
delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention.

 He pointed to “war and destruction abroad” as one of the 
most critical challenges facing the United States. And he told the 
American people that he alone could “fix” it.

 Unfortunately, the only thing Donald J. Trump appears capable 
of fixing is the 2016 election that put him in office. 

 Despite denials and repeated lies that he took no part in violating 
federal election laws, the Justice Department has clearly identified 
him in court documents as an unindicted co-conspirator. 

 More criminal is Trump’s unilateral decision to pull 2,000 American troops out of Syria, thus 
ending a critical mission that supported rebels intent on ending the authoritarian regime of 
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The move places at risk our longtime allies, the Kurds, stymies 
the progress we’ve made against ongoing threats posed by ISIS, provides solace and assistance 
to Russian troops and the Iranian military, and could lead to a terrorist staging ground for 

 In addition, Trump’s misguided actions have compromised the security of our chief ally in the 
Middle East - the State of Israel. 

 In Trump’s perverse world view, making nice with murderous heads of state in Saudi Arabia 
is far more constructive to maintaining stability in the region than taking them to task and 
expressing outrage over the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 
Responsibility for the murder has been placed squarely at the doorstep of Saudi Crown Prince 
Mohammed bin Salman by the president’s own intelligence advisers. The same prince whose 
government is committing ongoing war crimes against the people of Yemen. With the full 
support of this president.

 At the outset of the Trump presidency, many in Washington were comforted when Trump 
surrounding himself with experienced, competent advisers like Chief of Staff John Kelly, whose 
feet are now halfway out the door of the Oval Office. Also among that group: National Security 
Adviser H.R. McMaster - gone. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson - gone. And, now, Defense 
Secretary James Mattis - gone. 

 Syria was the final straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back for Mattis, prompting this 
much-decorated Marine Corps general with forty years of experience leading our nation’s most 
elite troops to sever his ties with the Trump administration. 

 In Mattis’s letter of resignation, the defense secretary wrote, “My views on treating allies with 
respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly 
held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues.”

 Contrast Mattis’s decades engaged in helping to formulate the strategic military and 
defense goals of the nation (as well as combat experience in various theaters of war) versus 
Trump’s boyhood time served in a military school due to incorrigible behavior and two years of 
diplomatic, military, and economic chaos while occupying the White House. 

 Mattis went on to say, “I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those 
countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours. It is clear that China and 
Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model - gaining 
veto authority over other nation’s economic, diplomatic, and security decisions to promote their 
own interests at the expense of their neighbors.”

 And there lies the rub, plain and simple: Russia. Remember, “No collusion?” Why then, within 
hours of the commander-in-chief’s move to withdraw troops from Syria, did Russian President 
Vladimir Putin laud Trump’s action? And why did Putin take it one step further and question 
when we would be withdrawing our forces from Afghanistan, only to have Trump acquiesce 
hours later by ordering the draw-down of half our forces now based there? No collusion, indeed.

 Under this administration, our country has been on life support. We are nearing a 
Constitutional breaking point and in danger of forfeiting our place as the shining light and spirit 
of free democratic societies throughout the world. 

 What is most frightening is that the true leaders Americans had counted on to guide us 
through the Trumpian debacle have either thrown up their hands in disgust and resigned, or 
have been unceremoniously kicked out the door of the Oval Office like rusty tin cans.

 Not to worry, though. The “fix” is in. Because as long as Trump is in the White House and 
he has allies like Vladimir Putin to guide him, our nation’s position in the world will be forever 

 Blair Bess is an award-winning journalist and columnist. He can be reached at bbess@



Did my ears deceive me? Did I actually hear Pat Toomey, a 
Pennsylvania Republicans and one of Trump’s infamous abetters, 
actually warn us that the president is a clear and present danger 
to our national security?

 In so many words, yes. And it’s about time. Maybe, just maybe, 
the Republicans in Washington - most notably, the Senate Republicans who might be tasked 
with voting in a 2019 impeachment trial - are finally rousing themselves from their long 
shameless slumber. If Toomey’s willingness to speak out is any indication, maybe it means 
they’re finally awakening to the long-proven fact that Trump is betraying their party 
principles, imperiling our increasingly fragile democracy, and wreaking global havoc. And 
heck, maybe they’ll actually do something about it.

 Granted, Trump’s racism, serial lies, and endless scandals (both foreign and domestic) 
should’ve triggered Republican ire long ago, but, hey, in this desperate hour we’ll take what 
we can get. If Trump’s impulsive military retreat from Syria - which blindsided the military 
and the anti-terrorism experts - is the seminal event that wakes up the Republicans, fine. 

 When Toomey was asked earlier this week whether he was disturbed by Trump’s foreign 
policy wreckage, he replied, “Yes.” 

 “The president has views that are very, very distinct from the vast majority of Republicans 
and, probably, Democrats, elected and un-elected. And I think the president does not share, 
I would say, my view that the Pax Americana of the post-war era has been enormously good 
for America,” Toomey said. “I don’t think the president shares that view nearly to the extent 
that the rest of us do. And I think senators need to step up and reassert a bigger role for the 
Senate in defining our foreign policy… I think senators should speak out. And look, we were 
elected separately from the president. We don’t report to the president.”

 We should hold our applause, of course. Trump would not be where he is if Republicans 
had stepped up in 2016. Instead, they succumbed to the laughable fantasy that this guy could 
be controlled by “adults.” But we are where we are, and, at this point, it’s nice to hear rumblings 
of dissent from a Republican who will still be on the job in 2019. Because, frankly, I’m tired of 
hearing from Bob Corker.

 The lame duck Tennessee senator is heading for the exit, and whenever he talks the truth 
about Trump, I can’t help but remember that Corker did nothing with his subpoena power as 
chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. No oversight, no probes, no signals to 
Trump (beyond occasional verbal jibes) that he’d pay a price for his wanton behavior.

 Remember when the GOP prided itself on being the national security party? Some 
Republican senators clearly do. Last week, in a letter to Trump, four of them (Tom Cotton, 
Joni Ernst, Lindsey Graham, and Marco Rubio) said that his decision to cut and run from 
Syria was “a premature and costly mistake” that “threatens the safety and security of the 
United States.”

 It’s a noteworthy development that such a quartet is essentially calling Trump a threat to 
American security. David Frum, the conservative commentator and ex-Bush speechwriter, 
offers this perspective: “So long as Mattis stayed on the job, Republicans in Congress could 
indulge the hope that responsible people remained in charge of the nation’s security. That hope 
has now been repudiated by the very person in whom the hope was placed… And now the 
question for Congress is: The Klaxon is sounding. The system is failing. What will you do?”

 What indeed. A former Trump aide, a self-described “Trump ally,” told Axios last weekend 
that if Republican senators become sufficiently terrified about Trump’s threats to our national 
security, many will be less willing to save him in the wake of a House impeachment. The 
Trump ally said: “Once Republican lawmakers start rebuking the president publicly like 
this over policy, it makes it easier for them to say, ‘It’s not Mueller or ethics. There are other 
concerns.’ Then it’s a slippery slope.”

 But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. What are Senate Republicans prepared to do in the short 
term? Assuming that Trump nominates a new Defense secretary to replace Mattis, would 
they vote to confirm someone who supports Trump’s pro-Putin weakening of America? 
Would Toomey vote to confirm such a person?

 His reply: “The president’s views are so divergent, certainly, from mine that I think I’ll be 
much - this one - this one’s going to be tough. I’m going to be looking for a defense secretary 
that shares a more traditional view about America’s role in the world.”

 Is it actually possible - at this eleventh hour of peril - that some Republicans are rediscovering 
their spines? What a gift to America that would be.


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

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