Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, June 10, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page B:3

B3 Mountain Views News Saturday, June 10, 2017 OPINION: LEFT TURN/RIGHT TURN B3 Mountain Views News Saturday, June 10, 2017 OPINION: LEFT TURN/RIGHT TURN 

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James Comey’s sworn Senate testimony basically confirms what anyonewith a smidgen of mental cognition has known since day one - that Donald 
Trump is a toxic narcissist whose animal instinct is to breach Amer

ica’s institutional restraints and enforce personal fealty in the manner ofa lawless mob boss. 

It’s all there in Comey’s meticulous statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee about hisinteractions with Trump. At minimum, it’s a damning indictment of Trump’s character (or lackthereof). At its worst, it’s a road map for Trump’s removal. In the words of Philip Allen Lacovara,
a former deputy U.S. solicitor general and counsel to the Watergate special prosecutors, “Anyexperienced prosecutor would see these facts as establishing a prima facie case of obstruction ofjustice.”

According to Comey, his one-on-one dinner with Trump on Jan. 27 was “an effort to have meask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship. That concerned me greatly, giventhe FBI’s traditionally independent status in the executive branch.”

Comey told the committee that he never felt the need to take notes after speaking with President 
Bush, and never did that after speaking with President Obama. But he decided to take notesafter meeting with President Trump because Comey “was honestly concerned that he might lieabout the nature of our meeting.” It’s an historic moment when a high-ranking career publicservant publicly calls the president of the United States a liar.

During that meeting, Trump allegedly sought Comey’s “loyalty,” but all the former FBI directorwas willing to offer was his “honesty” and repeatedly refused to play the loyal toady. As he said inhis testimony, referring to Trump’s attempts to interfere with the Russia probe, “it was importantto infect the investigative team.”

But Comey paid the price for resisting infection. He was summarily fired. And after lying for afew days about why Comey was fired, Trump told Lester Holt of NBC News - and, subsequently,
some Russians visiting the Oval Office - that the firing was indeed done to ease the Russia probe.

Lacovara, the ex-counsel to the Watergate special prosecutors, connects the dots: “Comey’sstatement lays out a case against the president that consists of a tidy pattern, beginning with thedemand for loyalty, the threat to terminate Comey’s job, the repeated requests to turn off theinvestigation into Flynn and the final infliction of career punishment for failing to succumb tothe president’s requests, all followed by the president’s own concession about his motive.” That’sobstruction of justice, which, according to the federal statutes, requires “corrupt intent.”

Naturally, that’s not how the senatorial Trumpkins see things. At one point during the hearingtoday, Idaho’s Jim Risch said it was no big deal that Trump wanted to kill the Flynn probe - because 
Trump didn’t specifically order Comey to kill it, he just said he hoped that Comey would letit go.

Risch: “He did not direct you to let it go?”

Comey: “Not in his words, no.”

Risch: “Again those words are not an order? He said ‘I hope.’”

Comey: “I took it as a direction. This is the president of the United States. I took it as a direction.”

Republicans on the committee kept asking: If Trump was abusing your independence so badly,
why didn’t you stand up to him more forcefully? Which was a hilarious line of inquiry, given thefact that most Republicans have been cowering in a fetal position for the better part of a year, saying 
and doing nothing about Trump’s serial lies, conflicts of interest, and abuses of power.

Trump’s lawyer, and most Republicans, are actually telling themselves that Comey’s testimonyexonerates their leader. They’re highlighting the part where Comey says Trump wasn’t personallyunder investigation (as of March, anyway), but ignoring the part where Comey says he refused tosay so publicly because Trump might be targeted in the future. Indeed, if Trump wasn’t a targetbefore, he’s likely to be a target now; Comey told the committee that he’s “sure” that special counsel 
Robert Mueller is looking at Trump for possible obstruction of justice.

Most importantly, Trump’s dwindling defenders are ignoring the overall thrust of Comey’sremarks -— the fact that a tinpot autocrat thinks personal loyalty trumps loyalty to the U.S.

Basically, it was the word of a boy scout, who took contemporaneous notes, against the word ofa demonstrably serial liar. For the sake of this nation, let’s hope the Comey episode can hasten thelatter’s departure. 

Copyright 2017 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Dick Polman is the national political columnist at NewsWorks/WHYY in Philadelphia (newsworks.
org/polman) and a “Writer in Residence” at the University of Pennsylvania. Email him at dickpolman7@ 

Dear Susan, 

I am writing to you about the Letter To The Editor in the June 3, 2017 issue of the Mountain ViewsNews titled “Rent Control In Sierra Madre” sent to you by JB of Sierra Madre.

I have mixed emotions when it comes to the subject of rent control. I know that there is a shortageof rental properties in California and that the demand is greater than the supply which is why rentsare increasing. I understand that older people on fixed incomes who have lived in their apartmentsfor years are finding it difficult to pay the increasing rents. However, I believe that the cause of the 
increasing rents is government imposed Rent Stabilization the very thing JB is supporting.

I am an industrial property manager but I have been managing a small three unit apartmentbuilding in Los Angeles for the past 15 years which is subject to the city rent stabilization ordinance.
I have seen the building owner’s income go down each year under rent control. The cost of 
maintaining the building goes up each year more than the allowed 3% rent increase. Because the 
owner knows that each year he will make less money than the year before there is absolutely noincentive for him, or any other apartment owner, to build additional units.

The reason the rents are going up is due to the lack of available units. As each city imposes rentcontrols fewer units will be built and the problem will get worse as a result of rent control, not better.

If rent controls were removed investors would be able to make a reasonable return on the 
significant investment of building more apartment units. This would result in a building boom and 
the number of rental units in the state would skyrocket. Soon the supply would equal or exceed the 
demand and rents would come down to a fair level. 
Still I have some mixed feeling knowing that some will suffer through this process. But I have to 
weight this against added government control of our lives. New York wants to control soda, salt, and 
trans-fat sales; Massachusetts requires that all preschoolers brush their teeth after lunch; in manycities children need a license for a lemonade stand. 

There are literally hundreds of laws that tell us what we must do or not do when it comes toliving our lives. Most are well meaning, but as more and more regulation are created we get closerto becoming automatons who are told by the government how many hours to sleep each day, howmany to work, what work we can do, what we can eat and drink, where we can live, what we canwear, how many children we can have, and the list will never end.

Rent control laws are a big step forward towards this socialistic, communal, controlled society ofthe near future. After rent control there will be price control. If the government can tell a landlordhow much he can charge for rent then they can certainly tell Target, Wal-Mart, or Vons what theycan charge for their products.
There will soon be no incentive for anyone to try to make a better mouse trap. There won’t be any 
more Steve Jobs, Sam Waltons, or Bill Gates. If this is the kind of world JB wants then rent control is 
a good thing. I believe the long term effects of rent control will be devastating. 

Barry GoldSierra Madre, CA 






Has anyone out there written the book “The Art of the Presidency”?
“I may have to do WHAT to receive my high school diploma?”

If so, please send Donald Trump a copy. Overnight.
“Pass a U.S. citizenship exam. The Civics Education Initiative is

Our billionaire president knows what to say or do when he’s makinghoping state legislatures will require high school students in all 50

a business deal or running a big business.
But it’s very obvious he still needs to learn that what is OK to say and do when you’re the CEO

states to pass the exam in order to graduate. Some states, such as

of the United States is entirely different.

Arizona, have already passed such a law.”

On Thursday it was painfully clear from the testimony of fired FBI Director James Comey that

“But my high school made me take American history courses, and I got straight A’s.”

Mr. Trump needs a lot of help from someone who knows how a president should behave.
“Great for you, but many studies show that many Americans are pathetically

Comey’s appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee was no day at Palm Beach forignorant of basic facts about their government and its unique history.” “If it becomes a

Trump. But it was nothing close to the death blow to his presidency that his enemies in the drool-
requirement for high school graduation, how will this citizenship test work?”

ing liberal media had hoped for.
What ex-FBI Director Comey said Trump said and did to him didn’t reflect well on Trump’s

“You’ll have to pass a test on 100 basic facts of U. S. history and civics taken from

judgment or his ability to tell the truth, to say the least.

the United States Citizenship Civics Test — the test all immigrants applying for U.S.

But at least “The Comey Show” made it clear to the whole country that Trump himself was

citizenship must pass. You’ll have to answer at least 60 percent of the questions correctly

never the target of an FBI investigation and that, according to Comey, some of the worst news stoto 

ries about the Trump administration’s Russian troubles in the New York Times and Washington“Can you help me prepare for these questions, sir?”

Post based were mostly fake.
“Sure, young fellow. What is the Declaration of Independence?”

Trump’s reign will continue for now and MSNBC and CNN’s ratings will stay high.
But before the president gets himself into another unnecessary self-inflicted fiasco, he needs to

“It is an amazing document, sir. Thomas Jefferson wrote to King George III, telling

quickly find a competent chief of staff.

him to stuff it. The Declaration said that all men are created equal, that the power of

It has to be someone he respects as an equal, who will stand up to him and who he’ll listen to.

government comes from the people, that people can change the government if they

Then Trump has to have him – or her -- surgically attached to his hip.
don’t like it, and that individuals have unalienable rights, among them life, liberty and

If from Day One Trump had hired a savvy and competent chief of staff like James Baker III, whothe pursuit of happiness.”

served my father, the Oval Office drama between Trump and Comey never would have happened.
“OK, why were the colonists so upset with the Brits that they declared independence?”

If a pro like Baker had been on the job instead of an amateur like Reince Priebus, when Trumpasked Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Priebus to leave him alone in the Oval Office with Com

“Well, sir, this was because of the Stamp Act, the high taxes imposed on every piece

ey, chief of staff of Baker would have stepped in immediately.

of paper they used. This ‘taxation without representation’ infuriated the colonists and

He would have told Trump it was totally improper to meet alone with Comey. Trump and

motivated their desire for independence.”

Comey would never have had their awkward and inappropriate chat and “The Comey Show”
“Fascinating. I didn’t know that, either, young fellow. OK, what was the Constitutional

would never have been aired. 

The lack of a strong chief of staff who will stand up to Trump and make him behave like a proper“Sir, this took place in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787, when 55 delegates

president is the major source of the problems in the Trump White House.
Until the president finds someone to trust, to respect, and to listen to — like James Baker III

from 13 colonies drafted the U.S. Constitution. It established a republic, which grants

— things are not going to get any better for him.
power to the people, who vote for officials to represent them. The Constitution divided

Meanwhile, it’s becoming harder and harder to support President Trump, who continues to be

government power among three branches — legislative, judicial and executive — to

his administration’s worst enemy and main saboteur.
ensure checks and balances.” 

Earlier this week I watched him make news by launching twitter attacks on his own Justice De“
Hey, that was some good thinking. What does the judicial branch do?”

partment and the Mayor of London when he should have been talking about his plans to reform“Its job is to review and explain the laws and resolve disputes between parties. Most

the VA health system and modernize the country’s clogged-up air-traffic control system.
It’s clear that after six months on the job he doesn’t realize why he came to Washington.

importantly, it is supposed to objectively determine if a law is in accord with the U.S.

He needs a chief of staff that will remind him every second that it was not to make news with his


morning tweets, fight with the liberal media every day or make his White House staff clean up after

“OK, what is the First Amendment? 

his mistakes with their Pooper Scoopers.
“It is from the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution that were

to protect individual rights. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech,

Copyright ©2017 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, areligion and assembly, the right to petition the government, and freedom of the press.

political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press). He is thefounder of the email service and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his

It is essential to the survival of a democracy that the press be objective and that it works

websites at and Send comments to Reagan@cagle

hard to root out corruption.” Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.

“I had no idea that amendment had so much stuff going on. What is the rule of law?”

Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For info on“That’s an important one, sir. In America, everyone must follow the law, including

using columns contact Sales at

leaders and government employees. No one should ever be above the law in America.”
“OK, name two or more ways that Americans can participate in their republic.”
“Americans should participate in their republic if they want it to survive. Americans

should vote. They should contact elected officials and say what they think about theissues. They should write letters to the editor. And why not consider running for electedoffice themselves?” 

“Young fellow, you know more about American civics than most people. It’s toobad all Americans aren’t required to pass the citizenship exam every now and then tounderstand basic facts about our government and its unique history.”

“Perhaps so, sir, but that would be unconstitutional.” 

©2017 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s Childhood” and 
“Wicked Is the Whiskey,” a Sean McClanahan mystery novel, both available at Amazon.
com, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is nationally syndicatedexclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. For info on using this column in your publication orwebsite, contact or call (805) 969-2829. Send comments to Tom at Tom@ 

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