Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, February 8, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 11



Mountain View News Saturday, February 8, 2020 






Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 



Mary Lou Caldwell

Kevin McGuire

Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Lori Ann Harris

Rev. James Snyder

Dr. Tina Paul

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Jeff Brown

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden

Rebecca Wright

Hail Hamilton

Joan Schmidt

LaQuetta Shamblee

When future historians look for the last, documented instance 
of Republican political courage in the Trump imperium, 
they’ll look to one man: Sen. Mitt Romney.

In one extraordinary speech on the floor of the United States 
Senate on Wednesday, the Utah senator made remarks that 
were both utterly moving in their absolute humanity and totally 
damning in their vivid rebuttal of GOP capitulation to a 
bankrupt White House.

â€oeI swore an oath before God to exercise impartial justice,†
Romney told a nearly empty chamber around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, two hours before 
the Senate voted to acquit President Donald Trump.

As The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank wrote, Romney, fighting back tears, paused 
for some 12 seconds to collect himself before continuing.

“The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the president 
committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a high crime and 
misdemeanor. Yes, he did,†Romney said, as the Senate gallery filled with journalists 
recording his remarks for the ages.

For me, the most profound part of Romney’s speech was his reminder to his GOP colleagues 
of the responsibilities invested in them by the Constitution, the very responsibilities 
they so thoroughly abdicated during the Trump’s fixed trial.

Dressed in a dark blue suit, white dress shirt, and blue tie, Romney, a devout Mormon 
and the GOP’s 2012 presidential standard-bearer, looked like a throwback to a less 
complicated time - when there were politicians that most Americans would recognize 
as textbook Republican.

That matters because the Republican Party that Romney represented just eight years 
ago is dead and buried, never to return. If impeachment proved anything, it proved 
that the GOP is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Trump Organization.

Romney’s remarks were all the more striking when they’re placed along the spineless 
surrender of fellow Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, 
who were both viciously lashed by Trump in 2016, but who nonetheless fell into line 
and voted to acquit.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who plays a maverick on television and who voted in favor 
of calling witnesses, sided with her Republican colleagues on acquittal, even as she 
called Trump’s behavior wrong.

It was the same kind of transactional and fleeting courage pioneered by former Arizona 
Sen. Jeff Flake, who made late-career fame out of publicly holding up the nomination 
of now-Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, but who ultimately 
voted to confirm a flawed candidate.

Not Romney.

“I am aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously 
disapprove of my decision, and in some quarters, I will be vehemently denounced,” he 
said Wednesday. “I am sure to hear abuse from the President and his supporters. Does 
anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences other than from an 
inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?”

In this space last week, I compared the current U.S. Senate to the weak-willed Roman 
Senate of antiquity that caved to the excesses of the most tyrannical emperors out of 
sheer self-interest.

History also remembers that the Emperor Nero ordered Seneca, his onetime counselor, 
to commit suicide when he fell out of favor. Romney might well have committed 
political suicide. And it was equally clear that, like Seneca, there were principles more 
important to Romney than mere self-preservation.

“With my vote, I will tell my children and their children that I did my duty to the best 
of my ability, believing that my country expected it of me,” he said adding, “... we’re 
all footnotes at best in the annals of history. But in the most powerful nation on earth, 
the nation conceived in liberty and justice, that is distinction enough for any citizen.”

In this diminished time, it’s more than enough.An award-winning political journalist, 
John L. Micek is Editor-in-Chief of The Pennsylvania Capital-Star in 
Harrisburg, Pa. Email him at and follow him 
on Twitter @ByJohnLMicek.

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 Even though 
it’s highly possible, 
perhaps even probable, 
that the Trump electoral 
victory in 2016 was the 
result of some sort of 
nefarious manipulation, 
it is the sad truth that he 
was declared the victor 
and became our 45th 
President. Yes all the 
preceding Presidents 
were Males and maybe 
that was the reason Hilary was not elected. 
Or maybe the result was connected to the 
fact that a non-White person had served 
with distinction as President for eight years 
and we progressive-minded right-thinking 
individuals were now certain that the United 
States was on the road to creating a society 
that conformed to our long expressed, but 
often forgotten ideals. Or maybe we right-
thinking folk just got too confident and 
neglected to campaign strongly in Middle 
America which was suffering from a loss 
of jobs. Or maybe there was a streak of 
dormant racist, sexist, xenophobic angry 
people who felt isolated and ignored and 
frankly just wanted to blow everything up. 
Oh, and one more thing; they didn’t want 
anyone to even threaten to take away their 
guns. Of course there was that consistent 
group that opposed abortions and cared 
about little else and especially did not care 
about social programs that might make 
live a little more livable after people were 
actually born.

 It’s hard to remember way back prior 
to the 2016 general election that there were an 
entire stageful of Republican candidates all 
of whom seemed infinitely more acceptable 
than Donald Trump who had absolutely no 
political experience, or political knowledge, 
and really seemed as crazy then as he has 
proved to be now. Remember then when 
the pundits talked about how long it would 
take him to be Presidential. Maybe he 
would not have been elected had then FBI 
Director Comey not alerted the country 
right before the election as to some question 
about Hilary’s e-mails. Now I think Comey 
is getting rich after the publication of his 
book. In fact, all the resigning and fired 
Cabinet members and reporters are profiting 
from their book sales. Meanwhile the rest of 
us are having to live with that erratic stable 
genius in the White House which makes it 
difficult for us to sleep through the night. If 
Trump is comfortable with chaos he must be 
sleeping very soundly these days.

 Hey maybe it’s all a giant conspiracy 
to give the cable news interesting, if 
repetitive, stuff to talk about. After all 
the news is dramatic even though it never 
amounts to anything. Think back; the 
Access Hollywood Tape, Stormy Daniels 
and the Playmate, The Mueller Report, the 
firing of the Generals, the firing of Omarosa 
Manigault, Anthony Scaramucci and the 
indictments and imprisonments of Michael 
Flynn, and Michael Cohen. Oh it was all so 
memorable at the time but now it all seems 
forgotten and Trump is still the President and 
there is the possibility, that even after being 
impeached but not convicted, he will be 

No, I wish we could believe it was all a 
giant conspiracy and that the election was 
influenced or even decided by Russian 
manipulation. Yes, it does seem true that 
Trump does follow Mr. Putin’s game plan and 
it is true that Trump has managed to keep his 
tax records hidden which when revealed, will 
show some questionable Russian connection. 
Still, I believe that if this government can 
manage to take note of the CLIMATE CRISIS 
the ecological emergency that threatens the 
whole species and can manage to prevent 
one crazed nuclear power from starting a 
worldwide annihilation there is some hope.

Why do I believe this? I guess it’s because 
since my birth in 1945 there has always 
seemed to be progress in a positive direction. 
The war got us out of the Depression. It is true 
that the victorious allies carved up Europe 
in a way to put Eastern European Countries 
under the domination of the Soviets but the 
Soviet Empire collapsed and East Germany, 
Finland, Poland, Hungary have reemerged as 
independent countries. Yes Ronald Reagan 
was there when Mr. Gorbachev tore down 
his wall. The eloquent rhetoric of John F. 
Kennedy made us all proud and after his 
assassination in 1963 Lyndon Johnson, who 
many of us baby-boomers scorned managed 
to bring about the Civil Rights Acts and other 
legislation that pointed the United States 
in a new egalitarian direction. Sure the 
assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and 
Bobby Kennedy in 1968 was a chaotic and 
horrible time and the Democratic Convention 
in 1968 was a huge mess in which even the 
reporters got beaten up. But that that election 
gave us Richard Nixon who is reviled now but 
did go to China and really did a lot to settle 
foreign policy. Really there is no need to keep 
going through American recent history. The 
point is that the pendulum swings back and 
forth and if one is optimistic one can find the 
signs of a swing back in a positive direction. 
The decision of Mitt Romney, Republican 
Presidential Candidate of 2012, to vote to 
convict President Donald Trump and to vote 
for his removal is a possible sign that the 
momentum of history is switching back to 
a positive direction. This sharp dissenting 
voice from the President’s own party will, I 
believe be vindicated by history. Romney’s 
explanation for his action he makes clear in 
a speech made in front of four people, but 
captured on tape, is that his decision is not 
based on any political consideration. He 
states that he is well aware that he will be 
attacked in the short term by his colleagues 
and constituents but votes to convict because 
he knows it is the right thing to do.

Let’s see what the future will tell us in 
November. Strangely, I am confident that Mr. 
Trump will not be reelected. 

Maybe Seasonal 
(SAD) is 
bringing me 
down - or not.

Overcast winter 
triggers SAD. 
Lack of exposure 
sunlight can 
cause higher levels of melatonin 
and lower levels of serotonin in the 
brain, which can cause depression-
like symptoms.

But then again, maybe it’s the 
news - and not SAD - that’s triggering 
my listlessness.

According to The Washington Post, 
the latest Congressional Budget Office 
estimates show the federal deficit 
â€oereached $1 trillion in 2019, 
for the first time since the Great 
Recession, and, under current law 
will average $1.3 trillion through 

It gets worse: â€oeFederal debt held 
by the public will grow from 81 percent 
of gross domestic product to a 
post-1946 record of 98 percent.†

Didn’t Republicans used to care 
about this spending stuff? Didn’t 
President Trump, as candidate 
Trump, promise to end the deficit 
in eight years?

This gets me so down, all I want to 
do is curl up in a blanket and sip hot 
toddies by a roaring fireplace.

Regardless of who’s president, 
Democrat or Republican, America 
has been on a serious spending 

Consider: When George W. Bush 
assumed office, the national debt 
was $5.7 trillion. He nearly doubled 
it in eight years to about $11 trillion.

President Obama added nearly $9 
trillion to our debt load during his 
eight years in office.

President Trump is on track to add 
another $5 trillion to our debt during 
his first term.

Sure, I get it - partly. Entitlement-
program spending continues to 
grow faster than revenue.

Some blame Republican tax cuts for 
reducing revenue, though overall 
tax receipts have increased and are 
higher than ever.

Spending is higher, too.

Maya MacGuineas, president of the 
Committee for a Responsible Federal 
Budget, tells The Hill that more 
than half of the deficit’s increase 
lately results from new laws that increase 
debt forecasts.

All I know is that the debt has 
jumped from $5.7 trillion in 2000 
to more than $22 trillion in only 
20 years - which makes me want 
to escape with a big plate of comfort 
food, digging into hot meatloaf 
and mashed potatoes smothered in 

To put the magnitude of federal 
spending, deficit and debt into perspective, 
think of a typical family 

Say Mom and Dad earn $36,500 
this year. That’s not a lot because, 
as food and housing costs keep going 
up, mom and dad will spend 
$47,500 this year to meet their 

To address this year’s $11,000 
shortfall, they borrow. Repaying 
that $11,000 on their small income 
will be awfully hard. But their situation 
is far worse than just this 
year’s shortfall.

Their greater challenge is that 
they’ve already borrowed 
$220,000 in prior years - and they 
keep piling on more debt every day.

How long such a borrowing charade 
can go on is anyone’s guess. 
But common sense says the whole 
thing will come crashing down 
sooner or later.

This makes me want to take a long 
winter nap, hoping I’ll awaken to 
find that it was all just a bad dream.

But it’s not a dream - and SAD is 
not causing my sadness.

No, its ESD - Excessive Spending 
Disorder - that’s getting me 
down. And too few Americans seem 
to care that it is afflicting our politicians 
in Washington so heavily.

Which makes me even sadder.

Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures 
of a 1970’s Childhood,” a humorous 
memoir available at, is 
a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor 

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