Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, September 24, 2011

MVNews this week:  Page 12



 Mountain Views News Saturday, September 24, 2011

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

HAIL Hamilton My Turn




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


Patricia Colonello




Richard Garcia


Lina Johnson

Ivonne Durant


John Aveny 


Jeff Brown

Pat Birdsall

Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Stuart Tolchin

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Hail Hamilton 

Rich Johnson

Chris Bertrand

Ron Carter

Rev. James Snyder

Bobby Eldridge

Mary Carney

La Quetta Shamblee

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Greg Wellborn

Dr. John Talevich

Meaghan Allen

Sean Kayden


My oldest friend Gene and I have almost 
stopped talking together. For over fifty years 
we have been having the same kind of arguments 
and I always enjoyed the process... Our 
major argument was about process versus 
products. Gene always took the position that 
the only thing that mattered was results. He 
argued that the way to judge the usefulness of 
anything was to look at it in reverse. If something, some action 
or change, resulted from the conversation then it was positive; 
if no change resulted then the whole thing was a waste of time, 
and Gene says he can no longer bear the frustration of beating 
his head against a stone-wall and not getting results. He wants 
now to avoid pain, be comfortable, and not talk about anything 
of substance.


 I maintained and still assert that what is important is intention. 
It is the trip that has importance, not just the final destination. 
Think of great innovators like Thomas Edison who kept trying 
and failing in his search for the proper filament to use in his electric 
light bulb. Sure, he felt frustration and anger, but he kept 
trying and eventually succeeded; but that’s not my point. What 
I’m focusing on is the strength to keep going without succeeding, 
but to take each failure as an opportunity for learning and to keep 

 I bring this up right now because my wife and I just returned 
home from the Tuesday night game of Trivial Pursuits which 
is conducted at Café 322. This week we competed without my 
daughter and we really got killed. My daughter only liked coming 
when we won and as we have not won for awhile, she has 
stopped coming. I truly understand her feelings and, after our 
devastating defeat tonight, I was complaining that I wasn’t feeling 
very good. The conductor of the game, Deana, noticed my mood 
and asked what was wrong. I told her I did not enjoy the feeling of 
defeat and was not having a very good time. She actually argued 
with me and said, now get this, “feeling bad was good”. She said 
the worst thing was not to feel; to just take the easy road and to 
not feel strong enough to endure pain. All at once I thought of my 
friend Gene whose very life now seems devoted to the avoidance 
of pain even at the cost of depriving himself of potential pleasure.

 Really though, it’s not just Gene, it’s all of us. It’s the whole 
world that seems to be going through times of horrific change 
that is painful to experience. It is difficult to just have the courage 
to stay aware and notice what is going on. It’s not just the 
continual meteorological disasters, it’s the realization that our 
whole political system is dysfunctional. All kinds of pundits seem 
to agree that the political system is not functioning. Politicians 
do not seem able to respond to the obvious economic needs of 
the country. Maybe democracy doesn’t work; maybe we never 
had a democracy in the first place and have just been deluding 
ourselves for a couple of hundred years. Maybe it’s time to create 
new parties; maybe it really is time for class warfare or time to 
tax the churches or time to let the old people die because keeping 
them alive is just too expensive.

 As I watched the Republican debates I was absolutely sickened 
to see the audience applaud Governor Perry for announcing with 
pride that he had executed 245 people without losing any sleep 
over it. I don’t really want to think about this. Is this what America 
has become? Or, even worse; is this what America always was? 
It hurts, and the only thing to do is to let this hurt be a good thing 
- to learn from it and act accordingly. Can we teach ourselves humanity 
before we participate in a possible planetary destruction? 
I wish there was an easier road around that didn’t require much 
effort or hard thinking, but I’m afraid that time has passed. We 
need now to think out of the box.

 As a way of expanding my own thinking I’ve tried to add cartoons 
to my articles as a way of expressing and simplifying my 
own positions. For the time being my wife has consented to supply 
the cartoons; but I know that won’t last long. It’s a kind of 
experiment to see if I can follow my own advice and deal with my 
own frustration of learning to do something that I find difficult 
and painful. It hurts, but it’s an opportunity and maybe, sometime, 
maybe my friend Gene will find it worth talking about. 

Conspiracy Theory and the 

Crime of Conspiracy

I can’t let the 10th anniversary 
of 9/11 go by without 
saying a word about 

Conspiracy is an agreement 
between two or more persons to engage jointly 
in an unlawful or criminal act, or an act that is 
innocent in itself but becomes unlawful when 
done by the combination of actors. Conspiracy 
is considered a serious crime separate from 
the intended crime because when two or more 
persons agree to commit a crime, the potential 
for criminal activity increases, and as a result, the 
danger to the public increases.

 Conspiracy is a very well-recognized crime in 
American law, taught to every first-year law 
school student as part of their basic curriculum. 
Telling a judge that someone has a “conspiracy 
theory” would be like telling him that someone 
is claiming that he trespassed on their property, 
or committed assault or stole his car. It is a 
fundamental legal concept. 

Obviously, many conspiracy allegations are false. 
Obviously, people will win or lose in court depending 
on whether or not they can prove their 
conspiracy claim with the available evidence. But 
not all allegations of trespass, assault or theft are 
true, either.

Proving a claim of criminal conspiracy is no different 
from proving any other crime, and the 
mere label “conspiracy” is taken no less seriously 
by judges.

 Even those who deny most conspiracies as merely 
“theories” have to admit some conspiracies have 
turned out to be true. In the 1950s, the CIA did, 
in fact, administer LSD and other psychedelic 
drugs under Project MKULTRA, in an effort 
to investigate the possibility of “mind control.” 
Republican operatives did, in fact, burglarize the 
Democratic National Committee headquarters at 
the Watergate complex and did, in fact, conspire 
to cover-up the crime at the behest of the White 

 Nevertheless, those accusing members of the 
government or some other group of powerful 
people of conspiring to illegally promote their interests 
are too often met with the argument that 
“someone would have spilled the beans” if there 
had really been a conspiracy. This has certainly 
been the case with the many conspiracy accusations 
about the events of 9/11. 

 But famed Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel 
Ellsberg points out:

“It is commonplace that ‘you can’t keep secrets in 
Washington’ or ‘in a democracy, no matter how 
sensitive the secret, you’re likely to read it the next 
day in the New York Times.” 

 These truisms are flatly false. They are in fact 
cover stories, ways of flattering and misleading 
journalists and their readers, part of the process of 
keeping secrets well... The reality unknown to the 
public and to most members of Congress and the 
press is that secrets that would be of the greatest 
import to many of them can be kept from them 
reliably for decades by the executive branch, even 
though they are known to thousands of insiders.”

History proves Ellsberg right. For example:

 It’s known (if not well known) that in 1933 a 
group of tycoons were so outraged by the election 
of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his 
proposed New Deal that they started organizing a 
coup. The idea was to enlist the revered two-time 
Medal of Honor winner Major General Smedley 
Butler to lead a private army of 500,000 WWI 
veterans that would demand FDR’s resignation 
-- and execute him on the spot if he refused to 
give up power. 

 The alleged plotters included the heads of Chase 
Bank, J.P Morgan, Standard Oil, U.S. Steel, GM, 
Goodyear, Heinz, Birdseye, the DuPont family 
and President George W. Bush’s grandfather, 
Senator Prescott Bush. They believed the United 
States should adopt the policies of Hitler and 
Mussolini to beat the Great Depression. 

 Moreover, these tycoons told Butler that 
the American people would accept the new 
government because they controlled all the 
newspapers. (If the “Business Plot” conspirators 
controlled the newspapers then, how much worse 
is it today with media consolidation.)

General Butler was popular enough to pull it off 
too, but he was loyal to the U.S. He collected 
evidence against the conspirators and took it to 

 The McCormack/Dickstein Committee 
investigated and confirmed the plot. However, 
the the names of the top conspirators were 
removed from the record and none of them were 
ever held to account. The theory is that FDR 
allowed the tycoons to walk away in exchange 
for ending their opposition to the New Deal. In 
the end, Butler’s testimony was ridiculed by the 
press as the ravings of a drunkard (he, in fact, 
was a lifelong teetotaler) and dismissed as “pure 

 I don’t claim to have any new information about 
9/11. However, I’m convinced that there is much 
more to the story than what we have been told. 

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OUT TO PASTOR A Weekly Religion Column


I’m not quite sure 
where the term “midde 
class” came from. I can 
never remember using it in any conversations I’ve 
ever had. In fact, the only time I hear the phrase 
is when some politician is speaking. From the 
context of the speech, I am quite sure he or she 
does not know what the phrase means, either.

 My wife and I were talking about that just this 
past week. The thing we could not quite figure 
out is, are we middle-class? And if we are middle-
class, what in the world does it mean? And, when 
do we graduate?

 In high school, I was neither in the middle of 
my class nor at the upper end. Unfortunately, I 
did not even come in last in my graduating class, 
for someone beat me to that fine distinction. My 
educational career was not a class act, to be sure.

 I understand what the word “middle,” means. 
And I know the word, “class.” What does it mean 
when you put them both together and use it in a 

 When I’m in the middle of a project, I am not 
at the beginning and the end is a far piece away. 
When I hear the word class, I am thinking of 
homework, teachers and all that jazz. Who wants 
to be a teenager the second time around? I’ve had 
enough of that in my lifetime.

 I’m not quite sure about all this middle-class 
politicalizing and I sure do not want to be the 
target of some political agenda. I would like to 
sponsor a bill that would outlaw this phrase for 
any elected official. If perchance they do mention 
the phrase, it’s a go-to-jail and don’t collect $100 

 Maybe we can come up with a new term. We 
have the term “racist” that people use at their 
discretion. Maybe we can coin a phrase like 
“middle-classist” and forbid its use in polite 
society. Of course, how many politicians are 
really found in polite society? Or, how many 
polite society venues would welcome a politician?

 If we try hard enough, we can make it one 
of the most offensive phrases in the English 
language. So offensive, that people will stop using 
it. Of course, they would have to come up with 
some other phrase and then we are back in first 
grade again.

 To be honest, this problem of the “middle-
classist” is not a Republican or a Democrat issue. 
One side is as guilty as the other side. And, as we 
all know, a politician by any other name is still a 

 Every politician courts the middle-class, and 
what a blushing bride she makes. All through 
the election, this “middle-classist” politician 
will romance those he believes are middle-class. 
And many of the middle-class falls for it. The 
courtship is wonderful; it’s the marriage that 
really stinks. This is the only case in which I 
would cast an approving eye toward divorce.

 The middle-class raises most of the money 
that gets these politicians elected who then in 
turn refuses returning the favor. After elected 
this “middle-classist” politician chums around 
with high-class people and then passes legislation 
that only benefits the lower class people whoever 
they are.

 Wherefore art thou, O middle-class?

 Certainly not on the agenda of this “middle-
classist” politician.

 The middle-class comes in at tax time. Hooray 
for the middle-class. I wonder if anybody has 
ever given the thought that most of the money in 
Washington DC has come from this group called 
the middle-class.

 The middle-class can help the neophyte 
politician get his political dream job with all the 
benefits that goes with it but the politician does 
not seem to know how to help other people get 
jobs for themselves. History has shown us that 
they know how to spend money but when it 
comes to saving money, they come to a stupefied 
and stuttering halt.

 Middle-class money earned by middle-class 
people working at middle-class jobs goes to 
Washington DC to be used by “middle-classist” 
politicians for everything but middle-class 
concerns. When will the insanity stop?

 In the Old Testament, the Jewish law required 
that every seventh year be a year of rest. Although 
I am not Jewish, I think there is something to 
be said for this kind of rest. I propose that the 
middle-class be given its due sabbatical.

 How many years have we’ve been working 
and then giving our money to Washington DC? 
We deserve a rest. If these “middle-classist” 
politicians look so kindly towards the middle-
class, why not give all of us middle-class people 
a sabbatical where we do not pay any taxes. We 
certainly will work, but all the money we would 
normally send to Washington DC, we put in our 
own pocket.

 Now, that’s change I can believe in.

 In fact, I have biblical authority for all of this. 
Authority from the mouth of Jesus himself. 
“And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to 
Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God 
the things that are God’s. And they marveled at 
him” (Mark 12:17 KJV).

 Not all those “middle-classist” 
politicians in Washington give a second 
thought to the middle-class. I think it 
is about time we gave them as much 

 I believe the primary problem in 
America is that we no longer know what 
belongs to Caesar what belongs to God. If 
we can ever figure that out again, “happy 
days are here again.”

 The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the 
Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, 
Ocala, FL 34483. He lives with his wife, 
Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him 
at 352-687-4240 or e-mail jamessnyder2@ The church web site is www.



People utter the most 
awkward remarks at funerals 
and memorials. Over the last 
year, I have attended several 
funerals and memorials. Can 
someone please tell me the 
difference between what is a 
funeral and what’s a memorial? 
I am sometimes appalled by 
the posturing that takes place 
as “some speakers” at these 
very sensitive events attempt 
to impart to the audience their 
love for and friendship with the 
deceased. One of my mentors, 
who is now deceased, always 
said to me ”tell me how you 
feel about me now, so I can 
appreciate your gratitude and 
thank you.”

I have attended funerals and 
memorials where speakers have 
said such things as “Your father 
(the deceased) and I had secrets 
that you all will never know,” 
“Come on people, you all know 
my name should have been 
mentioned in the Obituary,” 
and my all time favorite “Can 
we all just get along. Let’s stand 
and hug the person next to 
you.” I don’t know what it is 
about funerals and memorials 
that sometimes bring out bad 
behavior in people. Isn’t the 
deceased supposed to be Resting 
In Peace? I attended a memorial 
where an artist was called to the 
pulpit to sing a song he didn’t 
rehearse. Well, you can imagine 
what occurred, especially after 
he called another singer to the 
pulpit to help him sing the song.

I used to surmise that 
individuals who instructed their 
families on how their funerals 
should be programmed were a 
bit over the top, but with some 
of the antics I have seen recently 
- race, ethnicity, economic 
status, religion notwithstanding 
- I have changed my mind. I 
believe when someone passes 
away, their funeral or memorial 
should be a respectful event that 
is void of families and friends 
bickering. The family of the 
deceased should be granted the 
opportunity to mourn their loss 
in peace and harmony.

Ron Carter

Mountain Views News

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