Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, February 26, 2011

MVNews this week:  Page 13



 Mountain Views News Saturday, February 26, 2011 



Publisher/ Editor

Susan Henderson

City Editor

Dean Lee 


Patricia Colonello



Art Director

Allison Kirkham

Production Assistant

Richard Garcia


Jacqueline Truong

Lina Johnson


Teresa Baxter

Pat Birdsall

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Stuart Tolchin

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Hail Hamilton 

Rich Johnson

Chris Bertrand

Mary Carney

La Quetta Shamblee

Glenn Lambdin

Greg Wellborn

Ralph McKnight

Trish Collins

Pat Ostrye

Editorial Cartoonist

Ann Cleaves


John Aveny 

HAIL Hamilton My Turn


More random reflections about the Reagan Revolution

It’s true that Reagan is now considered 
one our most popular presidents. 
A CNN/ Opinion Research poll last 
October gave him the second-highest approval rating 
among presidents of the past 50 years, behind John 
Kennedy and ahead of Bill Clinton. But Reagan’s average 
approval rating during the eight years that he was in 
office was nothing spectacular - 52.8 percent, according 
to Gallup. That places the 40th president not just behind 
Kennedy, Clinton and Dwight Eisenhower, but also 
Lyndon Johnson and George H.W. Bush, neither of 
whom are talked up as candidates for Mount Rushmore.

During his presidency, Reagan’s popularity had high 
peaks - after the attempt on his life in 1981, for example - 
and deep valleys. In 1982, as the national unemployment 
rate spiked to 10.8 percent Reagan’s approval rating fell 
to 35 percent. At the height of the Iran-Contra scandal, 
nearly one-third of Americans wanted him impeached or 
to resign. 

 Only since Reagan’s 1994 disclosure that he had 
Alzheimer’s disease - along with heavy lobbying efforts 
by influential conservatives, such as Grover Norquist’s 
Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, which pushed to rename 
Washington’s National Airport for the president - has his 
popularity steadily climbed. 

 Economics is often difficult to understand, but 
Reaganomics is almost impossible to grasp -- even with 
hindsight. Deficits matter a great deal some of the time 
and not at others. To run huge deficits in good times as was 
the case in FY ‘84 -’87, again in FY ‘88 -’89 is absolutely 
unconscionable. Reagan built a “structural” deficit with 
his “voodoo economics” that would 
never go away unless someone changed 
Reagan’s structural nature of taxation 
and spending. Bill Clinton did move 
in that direction but not aggressively enough. George 
W. Bush went right back to the Reagan insanity and the 
deficits came roaring back in a really big way. 

Deficits during a recession are absolutely necessary IF 
they are targeted well at putting the unemployed back to 
work, thereby simulating economic activity, increasing 
demand and providing tax revenues to offset the deficits; 
this is the right way to run deficits. Running deficits for 
the purpose of enabling the undeservedly wealthy to hide 
more and more money in the Caymans or Switzerland or 
Monaco is the wrong way to run deficits. 

 Amping up military spending when the military hires 
a very small percentage of the “workforce” as grunts 
and produces weapons that don’t create productive 
infrastructure is an extraordinarily stupid way to run 
deficits. The weapons systems provide little that builds 
additional economic growth in the way that highways, 
communications, transit and new energy systems do. 

To claim that any kind of deficit is good “if the economy 
can support it” (whatever that is supposed to mean) is the 
height of simplistic stupidity and dishonesty... Some one 
said Reagan was entertaining. I thought he was a lousy 
actor. I thought his term was the worst thing I could 
imagine. Of course, George W. Bush hadn’t gone into 
politics yet.

 Reagan was the scariest President in my lifetime since 
Nixon. I spent the first several years of his administration 
afraid he would start a nuclear war with the Soviets, then I 
was sickened by his unwillingness to even mention HIV/ 
AIDS, his lying about Iran-Contra and “welfare queens,” 
and his callous closing of facilities for the mentally ill, 
adding hundreds of thousands of homeless to our streets.

Reagan neither had the intelligence nor the political 
savvy to effectively control the office of the President of 
the United States. This was particularly evident during 
his last years of failing health at the White House [he was 
diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1983, but his diagnosis 
was kept secret] where Nancy and his closest advisers 
guided his decision-making, policies and actions. Using 
obfuscation, ridicule, and outright lies his supporters 
whitewashed or covered-up every thing he did! 

 Throughout Reagan’s years in the White House, his 
every word and gesture -- from his flippant remarks to 
his “aw’ shucks” shake of his head to the American flag 
pin prominently displayed on his lapel like a silver star 
-- was managed by a small army of unseen handlers. He 
was packaged and sold to the public as a kind matinee 
cowboy idol who believed that trusting big government 
to solve your problems -- whatever they may be -- is a 

 Reagan’s said on more than one occasion, “The ten most 
dangerous words in the English language are ‘Hi, I’m 
from the government, and I’m here to help.’”


Former Gov. Howard Dean (D-VT) put it 
succinctly:Tthe problem with Republicans is 
“they can’t handle money.”

Past presidents took actions today’s party 
wouldn’t tolerate (Pres. Eisenhower investing 
in an Interstate Highway system, Pres. Nixon 
creating an Environmental Protection Agency), 
but the pattern’s now unwavering: Republicans sink the economy, 
Democrats take over to clean up the mess, Republicans blame 
Democrats for what they inherited, then Republicans regain power 
and we’re in Yogi Berra’s “deja vu all over again”.

Last week I related how George W. Bush wasted no time in 
blowing the surplus and strong economy left by Pres. Clinton. A 
similar scenario played out in Wisconsin over the past few weeks.

Wisconsin weathered the Great Recession better than most 
under two-term Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle. According to the Cap 
Times of Madison, WI, “the state has balanced budgets, maintained 
basic services and high-quality schools, and kept employment 
and business development steadier than the rest of the country.” 
The Fiscal Bureau reported retiring Gov. Doyle would leave his 
successor, Republican Scott Walker, a $121.4 million surplus.

Within a month of his inauguration, Gov. Walker turned that 
surplus into a $137 million deficit. The Cap Times explained, “it 
is not because of a drop in revenues or increases in the cost of state 
employee contracts, benefits or pensions. It is because Walker and 
his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for special-
interest groups in January . . . Walker has a political agenda that 
relies on the fantasy that Wisconsin is teetering on the brink of 
bankruptcy. Walker is not interested in balanced budgets, efficient 
government or meaningful job creation. Walker is interested 
in gaming the system to benefit his political allies and campaign 

It’s not just an inability to “handle money”. When Reagan tripled 
the debt, the intent was to starve remaining Great Society programs. 
When George W. Bush borrowed tens of billions to provide tax 
breaks for billionaires, it was payback for those who considered it 
their “due”. With Gov. Walker, it’s not acting to alleviate a deficit, 
assuming correlation between unions and blown budgets; it’s 
simply doing as he’s told.

Nevada, North Carolina and Arizona, states which don’t 
grant collective bargaining rights, have deficits in excess of 30% 
of spending, while Massachusetts, New Mexico and Montana, 
with unionized workers, have deficits of less than 10%. Affected 
workers in Wisconsin have agreed to whatever salary, pension and 
healthcare concessions were asked of them. But that’s not good 
enough for Gov. Walker; or rather, that’s not good enough for those 
who bought him his office.

Rick Badger, a Wisconsin AFSCME director, explained, “I think 
what people need to see in this is that it’s not just an attack on public 
service unions. It’s really a concerted attack by powerful interests 
that really want to see working class people be brought down.”

Koch Industries has extensive holdings in Wisconsin; timber, 
mining, pipelines, etc. It’s also one of the state’s biggest polluters. 
Brothers Charles and David Koch (net worth $21.5 billion apiece) 
put $43,000 directly into Walker’s campaign last year, and millions 
more through front groups attacking his opponent. One of those 
groups, the American Legislative Exchange Council, saw to it that 
before the new governor had barely settled in he’d pushed through 
corporate tax breaks, gutted environmental regulations and ended 
fifty years of protections for state workers.

Another of those groups, Americans for Prosperity, bused in 
Tea Partiers to counter-protest and remind us how our Founding 
Fathers would’ve fought for the right of billionaires to deprive 
schoolteachers of a secure retirement. 

The Koch brothers and other oligarchs have amassed fortunes 
through thirty years of union-busting, saving the expense of 
relocating overseas by assuring the availability of a third-world 
workforce right here at home. Over the past decade, virtually all 
growth in the GDP has gone to the top 2%. As explained in a report 
from Goldman Sachs, “The most important contributor to high 
profit margins over the past few years has been the decline in labor’s 
share of national income.” 

Organized labor remains the major obstacle to further decimation 
of the middle-class. The tactic now is to take those who no longer 
have the job protection and retirement security their parents had, 
and turn their fear and anger into envy of those who still enjoy 
them. The enemy is no longer Wall Street billionaires who gambled 
away our future, but teachers educating our kids and nurses caring 
for our grandparents. (“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my 
class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” - Warren 

Divide-and-conquer was tried in Madison, when police whose 
union was exempted from the legislation were asked to clear the 
capitol of protestors. After a “healthy discussion”, they declined to 
do so. A 19-year police veteran explained, “Governor Walker is not 
telling the whole story on what he’s trying to accomplish. It’s about 
breaking unions.” When asked why he was speaking out while his 
own union was protected, he replied, “You can’t bribe cops.” (The 
reporter added his reply was “greeted with grins and high fives from 
fellow policemen.”)

 Mike Lux, Public Liaison for the Clinton White House and 
Obama-Biden Transition Team, put it this way: “This fight is for 
all of us; it is about preserving the American middle class and our 
ability to organize collectively. It is about human rights. It is about 
focusing the blame for the economic crisis where it belongs, on 
bankers and policy makers, not teachers and cops.”

Which brings to mind another Republican who’d find no place 
in his party today: “All that serves labor serves the nation, all that 
harms is treason. If a man tells you he loves America, yet hates labor, 
he is a liar. If a man tells you he trusts America, yet fears labor, he is 
a fool. There is no America without labor, and to fleece one is to rob 
the other.” - Abraham Lincoln

RICH Johnson



 As I See It

Ahhh, the life of a 
baby boomer. Baby Boomers are 
those people born between 1946 
and 1964. That would make the 
oldest BB’er 65 and the youngest 
BB’er 47. They estimate there are 
about 76 million Baby Boomers 
in America. 

Generation X’ers were those 
born in the 1960’s and up to about 1982. So apparently 
there might be some people born between 1960 and 
1964 who qualify as both BB’ers and X’ers.

Generation Y’ers were born starting in the mid-
1970s and up through the early 2000s which would 
make many of those also X’ers. (Is that like dual 

The Generation X’ers and Y’ers to a lesser extent 
were also known as the MTV Generation referring 
the the 1981 advent of the Music Television Channel. 
A little trivia regarding MTV. The person considered 
to be the first rock video producer? None other than 
the Monkee himself, Michael Nesmith. His “first” rock 
video was entitled “Elephant Parts.”

Anyway, priorities and concerns have shifted over 
the years for the Baby Boomers and I would like to 
highlight some of those changes under a then and now 
comparison. Here goes:

Then: Long hair Now: Longing for hair

Then: Acid rock Now: Acid reflux

Then: Moving to California because it’s “cool.”

Now: Moving to California because it’s hot.

Then: You are growing pot. 

Now: Your growing pot.

Then: Killer weed (see above.)

Now: Weed killer.

Then: Trying to look like Marlon Brando or

 Liz Taylor

Now: Trying to NOT look like Marlon Brando 

or Liz Taylor

Then: Popping pills and smoking joints.

Now: Popping joints.

Then: Getting out to a new, hip joint.

Now: Getting a new hip joint.

Then: Hoping for a BMW. 

Now: Hoping for a BM.

And some of the 60’s-70’s music has altered titles.

Then: Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter

Now: Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Walker

Then: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart

Now: How Can You Mend a Broken Hip

Then: Fifty Ways to Lose Your Lover

Now: Fifty Ways to Lose Your Liver

Then: I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

Now: I Get By With a Little Help From Depends

Then: Poppa Was a Rolling Stone

Now: Poppa’s Got a Kidney Stone

Then: You Make Me Feel Like Dancing

Now: You Make Me Feel Like Napping

Then: It’s My Party and I’ll Cry If I Want To

Now: It’s My Procedure and I’ll Cry If I Want To

And finally that Willie Nelson classic

Then: On the Road Again

Now: On the Commode A-gain!

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STUART Tolchin..........On LIFE


On Sunday the N.B.A staged 
its annual All-Star game, which 
meant that there were no 
games scheduled for Monday. 
So, guess what happened? I 
was forced to watch the news. 
Holy cow! I realized that the 
60’s have broken out all over the world. There 
are people in the streets demanding change all 
through the Middle-East and in North Africa. 
Regime change had already taken place in 
Egypt and Tunisia and Libya seems about 
to go. This is in accord with my frequently 
stated belief that war is not necessary to 
bring about change or to combat evil; change 
will happen and it’s contagious. Think about 
Canada and the United States. Both present-
day countries, as many of you already know, 
were once colonies of England. One former 
colony had fought a violent revolution to 
gain independence, the other had not and yet 
they now each exist as completely sovereign 

Yes, strange as it may seem, I am opposed to 
War. I know that War is portrayed to us as a 
worthwhile goal from the time we are children, 
but I’ve never been convinced. I happen to 
have just finished reading a Scott Turow book 
called “Ordinary Heroes” which spends a 
long time describing the battles occurring in 
Europe at the conclusion of World War II. 
These events hold great meaning for me, partly 
because my Uncle was shot during the Battle 
of the Bulge and my ex-father-in-law had 
been present during the original allied-entry 
into the Concentration Camp at Dachau. One 
of my favorite passages of the book describes 
a Christmas Eve when the American soldiers 
readying for battle on the next day “gradually 
become aware of music. The German troops 
were in the woods singing Christmas carols.” 
The Americans heard the music and joined 
in the singing. “We sang with our enemies. It 
went on nearly an hour, and then there was 
silence again, awaiting the attack which all the 
soldiers on both sides knew was coming.”

This is the contrary nature of mankind. 
Throughout the book soldiers ask themselves 
questions like, Why was I born? Why do 
men fight? Why must I die now before living 
my life? The horrors described in Turow 
book seem to argue that even the defeat of a 
monster like Hitler is not worth the cost of 
war. Change, yes even change for the better, 
will eventually begin to take place. Now, all 
over the world this seems to be one of those 

Many times within my articles I have 
referred to the fairy-tale of the Emperor’s 
new clothes. Right now it is as if many rulers 
of countries are being seen as naked and 
vulnerable. This is a time of change and as 
has already been demonstrated in Egypt and 
Tunisia these changes can be made without the 
necessity of war. America too is involved in 
this time of change. The crowds of thousands 
making their wishes known in Wisconsin are 
demonstrative of the fact that formerly passive 
Americans are now ready to speak up. Even 
those of us who are shielded from a direct 
experience of war must still ask ourselves the 
same basic questions asked by people world 
wide. Why were we born? What principles 
shall we live by? A neighbor has presented 
me with an article written some years ago by 
the comedian George Carlin which describes 
present day America as follows:

“These are the times of fast foods and slow 
digestion, big men and small character, steep 
profits and shallow relationships. These are the 
days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier 
houses, but broken homes. These are days of 
quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway 
morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, 
and pills that do everything from cheer, to 
quiet, to kill”.

Seems accurate doesn’t it? There is 
something is very wrong with America the 
Beautiful. It is not just the rest of the world 
that needs to change but we must change 
ourselves. THIS IS THE TIME. Perhaps we 
must take to the streets but first we ought 
ponder those same basic questions. Why 
was I born? How do I want to live? What 
are my principles? Whatever your individual 
conclusions try and find your real self and 
follow George Carlin’s advice to “Give time to 
love, give time to speak, and give time to share 
the precious thoughts in your mind.” 

George Carlin, of all people; it just shows 
how complex, and contradictory we all are. 
I believe that we are a marvelously adaptive 
specie and, today at least, I am pleasantly 
optimistic about our world-wide planetary 
future. Human beings are really a wonderful 

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