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

MVNews this week:  Page 11



 Mountain Views News Saturday, March 26, 2011 

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



Publisher/ Editor

Susan Henderson

City Editor

Dean Lee 


Patricia Colonello




Richard Garcia


Lina Johnson

Chris Bertrand


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

Dorothy White


John Aveny 

HAIL Hamilton My Turn


 Last night, my wife, 
son, and son’s girl 
friends attended the 
retirement party of 
an old friend of ours. 
After 37 years as a cop, 
Roxanna was retiring 
and was being honored 
by a couple of hundred 
really brave people who described 
her exploits and achievements. As 
they spoke, a video ran depicting her 
in the midst of various death defying 
adventures. The whole evening was kind 
of unbelievable as she, a retiring watch-
commander and Sheriff’s Lieutenant, 
was described as a strict taskmaster, 
a meticulous disciplinarian, a single 
mother of three beautiful kids, and a 
rock for other police personnel to lean 
on. Contrast this with the fact that even 
after thirty-plus years as a sworn officer, 
my friend still is a beautiful girl, five feet 
two or so, maybe 110 pounds, shoulder 
length blonde hair and a generally 
and pretty constant sweet personality. 
Beneath this congenial persona lies a 
complex, many-layered individual who, 
like all of us, reveals different levels of 
identity to others and to herself. 

 Multi-faceted layers are an integral 
part of the description of awareness 
contained within the book The Social 
Animal by David Brooks. This book, 
with which I am presently obsessed, is 
a discussion of the complete dominance 
of the unconscious over what most of 
us think of as our rational mind. We, as 
individuals, attempt to hide our lack of 
understanding and control from other 
people by wearing a series of masks 
designed to portray ourselves as dictators 
of our own life. In fact, Brooks more 
than suggests, these masks are designed 
more to fool ourselves than to fool 
others. Perhaps all there is are masks, 
pretense, all the way down. Brooks 
cites Franz Kafka, one of my all-time 
favorites, as saying, “How pathetically 
scant my self-knowledge is compared 
with say, my knowledge of my room. 
There is no such thing as observation 
from the inner world, as there is of the 
outer world.” Invariably our actions are 
something very different from what we 
think of as our values and are completely 
independent of whatever resolutions we 
might make.

 Now let me try and cobble this thing 
together. My friend masquerades as a 
cute, sweet blonde girl. I first met her in 
1975 when she and her then-boyfriend 
moved in next door to me on the fourth 
floor of an apartment building in a pretty 
rough part of Venice, California. They 
were dropouts, about half my age and 
one night invited me to play Scrabble 
with them. At this time in my confused 
life I had just left my first wife and two 
children under the age of three, and 
was living in an almost empty two 
room studio apartment doing nothing 
but going to work, reading Kafka, and 
listening to despairing country-music. 
I was holding on to my job as a Legal 
Aid attorney and part-time Law School 
instructor but I had lost the knack of 
falling asleep and spent nights wandering 
around and being pretty miserable. One 
of my few attributes was that I had never 
lost at Scrabble and, when Roxie and her 
friend offered to play me, I was pleased 
at the thought of avoiding myself for an 
hour or so. How long could it take to beat 
these kids? They killed me game after 
game and we all got a kick out of it. After 
Scrabble, at about three in the morning, 
we headed to the beach and hit the 
swings. That’s when I first realized that 
Roxie had another identity: she could fly. 
They thought I was some kind of College 
Professor and I thought they were hippie 
drop-outs, and yet the Scrabble results 
showed us that life was different from 
what we had expected. What is relevant 
about this past is that it was a time that 
enabled us to see ourselves differently 
and to shake off some of our old 
identities. I really wasn’t some betrayed, 
tragic figure, intelligent, alone and 
depressed. I was a temporarily displaced 
father who really wasn’t that intelligent 
but was tough enough to gain custody 
of his kids and who had enough support 
from his new-found friends to make it 
work. I like to think, and actually believe 
that it’s true, that I was of some help to 
my friend. We started scuba classes 
together, airplane lessons, and I helped 
her learn to drive a stick. Over the years 
we have hung together. My profession 
allowed me to be of some help to her 
after she sustained a work-related injury 
and her profession was instrumental in 
saving my life. Twenty some years ago 
I became lost in the mountains and she 
was connected to the Search and Rescue 
Team that found me, drenched and 
suffering in a thunderstorm at four a.m. 
Maybe it’s always a lucky break to have a 
friend that is a lawyer but in my case it 
was even a luckier break to have a friend 
that is a cop and who knows what she is 
doing. Wow!

 All right! Now we’re in a new 
phase. Retirement. More mask-lifting. 
What am I going to do? What do I want 
to do? Certainly, I can’t figure it out. 
The best I can do is get-out-of-my own 
way and notice what I like doing and 
let my unconscious guide me. I guess 
it will anyway but I do have a choice 
about trying to hold on to what is gone 
versus being more accepting of what is 
emerging. We’ll see. The unconscious 
will be our guide.

Afghanistan: The Straw That 
Is Breaking Our Backs

Traumatic Brain Injury Cases on the Rise

 The statistics 
of veterans with 
traumatic brain 
injury (TBI) are alarming. Consequently, 
the United States is facing a growing 
public health problem. According to 
the RAND report, since October 2001, 
roughly 1.64 million troops have been 
deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Of 
the total number deployed, 19.5% of 
them have experienced a TBI. This 
means that approximately 320,000 
troops have sustained some type of 
TBI during deployment. The United 
States’ continued involvement in the 
conflict in Afghanistan suggests that the 
number of troops sustaining TBI will 
continue to grow. The projected lifetime 
treatment costs of these injuries are $35 
billion. The Defense and Veterans Brain 
Injury Center confirm the growing 
incidence of TBI and suggest that the 
prevalence may be even higher than 
the official statistics. This increased 
occurrence is because of the pervasive 
use of the signature weapon of the war: 
the improvised explosive device.

 Traumatic brain injury causes 
temporary - and often permanent - 
changes in physical, cognitive and 
behavioral functioning. Everyday tasks 
like getting washed and dressed, eating, 
walking, cooking, cleaning, managing 
a home, and going back to work 
become difficult and often frustrating 
to perform. The standard of care 
for these individuals is an intensive, 
multidisciplinary approach along a 
continuum of services. These begin with 
treatment in the intensive care unit, 
extend into acute rehabilitation settings, 
and broaden to include community-
based services. However, many persons 
with TBI do not fully recover and 
experience persistent cognitive, physical 
and behavioral limitations that interfere 
with their ability to live independently 
in the community. The Centers for 
Disease Control and Prevention 
confirm that “at least 5.3 million 
Americans currently have long-term 
or lifelong needs for help to perform 
activities of daily living as a result of 
TBI.” It can therefore be presumed that 
many of the Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, 
and Airmen injured at war will require 
lifelong services to safely and effectively 
re-integrate into the community and 
contribute to society.

 The number of TBI community 
based programs is limited and the need 
for them is critical. The Brain Injury 
Association of America pleads that 
it is the time to “expand cooperative 
relationships to avoid treatment delays, 
unnecessary high levels of disability, 
and greater taxpayer burden in the 
years to come. “Civilian and military 
personnel are faced with the challenge 
of identifying, developing, and 
implementing these necessary services. 
United States citizens are urged to 
identify solutions and ameliorate 
the unmet needs of injured military 
personnel with ongoing limitations 
related to TBI. Hence, the question 
remains: Who will care for the injured 
Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen 
with long term needs? Where will they 
go to find the appropriate level of care, 
in the least restrictive environment? 
What will happen to them once parents, 
spouses and families are unable to care 
for their loved ones due to age or fatigue? 
Will they be able to maintain the sense 
of camaraderie and community with 
fellow servicemen? Where can they go 
to live purposeful and satisfying lives 
with people who honor and appreciate 
their service and sacrifice to America?

If you care about this growing problem, 
please check out the following 
citations and sources – and if you find 
other good ones, please let us know.

Tanielian T and Jaycox LH, eds.,Invisible 
Wounds of War: Psychological and 
Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences 
and Services to Assist Recovery, Santa 
Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, 
MG-720-CCF, 2008, 492 pp., available 

Meagher, IIona, The War List: OIF/
OEF Statistics: PDF from http://

Centers for Disease Control and 
Prevention: Traumatic Brain 

Brain Injury Association of American, 
Traumatic Brain Injury in the United 
States: A Call for Public/Private 
Cooperation, 2007 All on-line citations 
/ fact sheets being re-worked. Check 
back at:

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 As I See It

 I feel guilty when 
submitting my column right 
at, or after, the deadline - 
though Susan hasn’t gotten 
on my case about it (yet). It’s 
not always procrastination; 
dealing with current events, 
each additional hour might 
bring news which transforms the topic.

 Colleague Greg Welborn might’ve been a bit 
premature in writing last week that President 
Obama “didn’t lift a finger” in helping oust 
Moammar Qadhafi in Libya, or that Qadhafi 
“has likely by now recaptured much of the 
rebel capital”. Maybe Greg was unaware that 
U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice was then getting 
a no-fly zone resolution through the Security 
Council, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was 
conferring with allies and regional opposition 
leaders, and President Obama was authorizing 
the positioning of warships and other assets in 
the Mediterranean.

 It seems premature to submit an opinion 
column while partisan positions remain unclear. 
On Libya, Congressional critics of President 
Obama include Progressive Caucus members as 
well as Tea Party favorites.

 There’s still no clarity in Republican talking 
points. Some complained the president “wasn’t 
doing anything”. Then, after he did something, 
there were complaints he should’ve conferred 
more, explained actions better, defined 
objectives, whatever.

 The need for a coherent partisan position 
was addressed by Republican Pollster Frank 
Luntz, who warned, “I can imagine the line that 
opens the presidential debate on foreign policy: 
‘Six presidents have talked about getting rid of 
Qadhafi. Six presidents talked. One president 
acted.’” This lack of coherence is reflected in our 
relationship with Libya over the past forty years.

 Qadhafi in the 1970s pushed oil embargos 
as a means of weakening support for Israel, sent 
arms to the Provisional IRA as “punishment” 
for Britain, embraced Uganda’s Idi Amin and 
broadcast the hangings and mutilations of 
dissidents on Libyan television.

 In the 1980s, Qadhafi applauded the 
assassination of Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and the 
massacres at Rome and Vienna airports, and 
in 1986 bombed a West Berlin nightclub with 
3 killed and over 200 injured. In response, 
President Reagan targeted Qadhafi’s compound 
in Tripoli, killing several of his military officers. 
Qadhafi responded to Reagan’s response by 
bombing Pan Am 103 over Scotland with 270 
killed. President Clinton responded by pursuing 
the bombers and enforcing U.N. embargos 
isolating Libya. 

 President Bush responded by deferring to 
Vice-President Dick Cheney’s observation 
that “The good Lord didn’t see fit to put oil 
and gas only where there are democratic 
regimes friendly to the United States.” It was 
arranged for Qadhafi to forswear development 
of nuclear weapons, though he wasn’t really 
developing any. Embargos would be lifted and 
relations restored, though Cheney’s company 
Halliburton had maintained relations and 
ignored the embargos anyway. A culprit in the 
Pan Am bombing was released from prison 
because of a terminal illness, but miraculously 
recovered upon returning to a hero’s welcome in 
Tripoli. Qadhafi morphed from the “mad dog” 
described by President Reagan to “a model” for 
other leaders as described by Secretary of State 
Condoleezza Rice.

 Relative to recent history, President Obama’s 
explanations of our country’s actions and 
objectives have been refreshingly clear. (It’s 
fitting his comments came during a trade mission 
to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador - countries that 
emerged from U.S.-imposed dictatorships to 
become democratic allies.)

 On March 17, as Qadhafi referred to 
dissidents as “cockroaches”, pledged to “cleanse 
Libya house by house” and “show no mercy” 
to the people of Benghazi, U.N. Ambassador 
Rice noted that “Qadhafi and those around him 
continue to grossly and systematically abuse 
the most fundamental human rights”, despite 
imposed sanctions. U.N Resolution 1973 was 
passed with some abstentions, but no opposition. 
The matter was discussed in Senate hearings and 
confidential briefings.

 On March 18, President Obama warned, “If Col. 
Qadhafi does not comply with this resolution, 
the international community will impose 
consequences. The resolution will be enforced 
through military action.” Congressional leaders 
met at the White House while others joined by 
phone. In talks with French President Sarkozy 
and British P.M. Cameron, it was emphasized the 
resolution’s aims were to force Qadhafi to pull 
forces back from cities, restore water and power, 
and allow humanitarian aid.

 On March 21, the president spoke from 
Chile: “Our military action is in support of an 
international mandate from the Security Council 
that specifically focuses on the humanitarian 
threat posed by Col. Qadhafi to his people. Not 
only was he carrying out murders of civilians but 
he threatened more.” 

 President Obama, two days after the attacks 
began, wrote to House Speaker John Boehner (R-
OH) and Senate President Pro Tem Daniel Inouye 
(D-HI) explaining that military actions were 
taken “to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe 
and address the threat posed to international 
peace and security by the crisis in Libya. . . . Their 
purpose is to support an international coalition 
as it takes all necessary measures to enforce the 
terms of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. 
. . . Qadhafi has forfeited his responsibility to 
protect his own citizens and created a serious 
need for immediate humanitarian assistance and 
protection, with any delay only putting more 
civilians at risk.”

 Nobody knows what the situation will be 
when this column appears, and speculation 
might be premature. It could be that by the end 
of President Obama’s first term, we will have seen 
a transformation in the Middle East that reshapes 
the world to an extent not seen since the collapse 
of the Soviet Union a quarter-century ago.

 Within six months of taking office, President 
Obama chose Cairo as the site of his first major 
foreign policy address. He declared that we 
“share common principles - principles of justice 
and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all 
human beings”. He also warned leaders of the 
region that “ . . . you must maintain your power 
through consent, not coercion.”

 At the time, many dismissed the speech as 
naive and irrelevant; that the words were nice, 
but the problems in the region were intractable 
and the ruling regimes immovable.

 As I see it, such comments might’ve been a 
bit premature.

Social Insecurity 

& Election Frauds

GREG Welborn

If the Republicans don’t confront 
entitlement programs to fix our budget, 
they will deserve to lose the next election, 
but if they do confront them, they may lose 
anyway because there appears to be no 
honest broker of information to reveal the 
truth to voters. Despite claims to seek the 
truth and fairly present the issues to the 
American public, the mainstream media 
has shown itself once again more than 
willing to remain mute in the face of the 
Obama administration’s cynical lie about 
social security. Now, it’s not as though 
the administration is any more truthful 
about the other entitlement programs, like 
Medicare and Medicaid, it’s just that the 
Social Security lie is so obvious.

 The Obama administration’s director of 
the Office of Management and Budget, 
Mr. Jack Lew, took to the pages of USA 
Today to inform the American public that 
the Social Security trust fund will remain 
solvent for the next 25 years and that 
therefore the Social Security system will 
not be subject to budget discussions. This 
is one of those times when I wish I were in 
politics. The ease with which otherwise-
serious men can lie must make the job a 
walk in the park.

 You see there are no real assets in the 
Social Security trust fund. The whole fund 
is an accounting gimmick. Here’s what 
really happens to Social Security taxes and 
payments. When you or I pay our FICA 
taxes out of our paychecks, the money 
goes into the system, and then goes right 
out again in the form of benefit payments 
to current retirees. If there is anything left 
over, the Social Security administration 
lends the money to the U.S. Treasury to 
pay for other government spending. In 
return for lending Treasury the money, 
the Social Security trust fund receives an 

 So at any given moment in time, there 
are no real assets in the Social Security 
trust fund. There are just a bunch of 
I.O.U.s. When you and I retire, the I.O.U.s 
can only be paid back by raising taxes, 
additional borrowings or from reductions 
in benefits. I suppose we could excuse the 
charade of there being a real trust fund 
with real assets being saved to meet the 
real obligations owed to you and me if the 
amount coming into the system equaled 
the amount going out. If, in this sense, the 
system were “balanced”, we could excuse 
some amount of accounting slight of hand. 
But that is not the case. 

 As of 2010, the pay-as-you-go system 
went broke. That’s really the only thing 
you can call it. As of 2010, there were 
more benefits being paid out of the system 
than there were taxes being paid into the 
system. Any household or business that 
operates in that fashion is considered 
broke, bust, bankrupt and kaput. The 
current deficit in this system is $37 billion, 
and it’s not going to get better. 

Based on the present 
payment and benefit 
formulas and on the 
continued aging of our 
population, it’s pretty 
easy to see that as time 
marches on, there will 
be fewer and fewer 
workers contributing 
into the system at the same time that there 
will be more and more retirees drawing 
benefits out of the system. 

 Anyone who claims the system is solvent 
today and will be so tomorrow is simply 
lying, and any reporter capable of eighth 
grade math could figure it out. But they 
don’t even have to do that; they can simply 
rely on the OMB’s own statement. “The 
existence of large trust fund balances, 
therefore, does not, by itself, have any 
impact on the government’s ability to pay 
benefits.” “Trust fund balances do not 
consist of real economic assets that can be 
drawn down.”

 What makes the administration’s lie so 
cynical is that the fix is easy. All it takes 
is admitting that currently promised 
benefits can’t be fully paid, slightly raising 
the earliest retirement age, adjusting 
the inflation formula and means-testing 
benefits. Relatively small changes to the 
system would allow for it to again become 
a pay-as-you-go system generating a small, 
but healthy, surplus.

 Instead, the administration would 
rather play politics with it. In the cynical, 
selfish world, which forms the basis for 
liberal political thought today, it is better 
to deny there is a problem at all, let the 
Republicans propose a fix, then pounce 
on them as heartless and uncaring, when 
the actual villains are those who would let 
the system deteriorate thereby hurting real 
Americans all in the pursuit of political 

 The most cynical aspect of all this is the 
calculation that the mainstream press 
won’t lift a finger to point out the truth. 
There is no other way this could be. If the 
major networks each reported what I have 
just written, Americans would be honestly 
informed and unanimous in their demand 
that the necessary changes be made to 
deal with this problem now. The Obama 
administration has made its political 
calculation here, showing in the process 
that it has lost all respect for the media, 
confident that the mainstream press has 
jettisoned all remnants of journalistic 

 About the author: Gregory J. Welborn is 
a freelance writer and has spoken to several 
civic and religious organizations on cultural 
and moral issues. He lives in the Los 
Angeles area with his wife and 3 children 
and is active in the community. He can be 
reached at

Mountain Views 

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newspaper and 
the concerns of 
our readers are 
this newspaper’s 
top priorities. We 
support a prosperous 
community of well-
informed citizens. 
We hold in high 
regard the values 
of the exceptional 
quality of life in our 
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the magnificence 
of our natural 
resources. Integrity 
will be our guide.