Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, May 11, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 15



 Mountain Views News Saturday, May 11, 2013 

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


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Pat Birdsall


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


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

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Greg Wellborn

Dr. John Talevich

Ben Show

Sean Kayden

Jasmine Kelsey Williams



 I remember this 
old Winston cigarette 
commercial that 
presented some cool 
looking guy at a ski-
lodge. His buddies 
were all taking off 
to go skiing but he 
couldn’t go because he had broken his 
foot and had to keep it elevated. The 
buddies all took off and he was left 
all alone. He reached into his pocket, 
pulled out his Winstons and lit one up. 
He inhaled deeply, exhaled contentedly, 
subtly smiled to himself, and contentedly 
looked across the room. And what did he 
see but an appropriately good-looking 
Babe of appropriate, age, and social 
status. Need I say more?

 I saw this ad probably fifty years ago. 
Now when I think of the ad it makes me 
sick. Of course smoking is poisonous 
and so was presenting luxurious ski 
lodges and beautiful girls to someone 
like me who at that time had absolutely 
no familiarity with either girls or skiing. 
Probably at that time if the girl and I had 
been the only people in the ski lodge I 
would have been afraid to talk to her 
and she probably wouldn’t have liked 
me anyway. So why do I still remember 
her? I hate to admit it but I think that ad, 
combined with many others, had some 
influence over me. I can remember trying 
every kind of cigarette until I managed to 
acquire the smoking habit and regularly 
smoked almost three packs a day for 
probably twenty five years. 

 As a smoker I really did have the feeling 
that the cigarettes were my one true 
friend. I remember smoking to celebrate 
wonderful events and I remember 
smoking to stabilize myself after traumas 
like car accidents or as I waited for the 
birth of my first child. Perhaps you’re old 
enough to remember those movies that 
showed husbands anxiously smoking 
cigarette after cigarette as the waited for 
news of the birth in the waiting room. I 
remember something like that and as I 
smoked I had the feeling of now being part 
of some huge club of anxious, expectant 
fathers on their way to adulthood. 

 As to the fantasies about talking to 
strange girls, over the years I have become 
quite expert at talking to strangers. Oddly, 
I feel quite free and comfortable talking 
to people I don’t know and probably will 
never see again. This is a very different 
feeling than actually talking to relatives 
or even close friends. In these situations 
I often feel guarded, competitive, and 
uncomfortable and would rather be doing 
something else. I wish I had the feeling 
that this kind of experience entitled me to 
membership in an identifiable group like 
the anxiously awaiting smoking fathers-
to-be of yesteryear but, I’m sad to report, 
it does not. When I have these feelings of 
discomfort I feel very alone and wish that 
I could smoke a cigarette to get a kind of 
break from myself.

 You know what I think takes the place 
of cigarettes today? The cell phone. I 
feel that same kind of connection to 
my cell phone as I check to see if it’s in 
my pocket when I leave a restaurant or 
leave my house in the morning. I often 
notice in restaurants two or three people 
sitting together while actually talking 
to other people on their cell phones. 
Maybe everyone is a little embarrassed 
or uncomfortable actually talking to 
people in person. Maybe the distance 
makes it easier to talk, even in places 
where it’s hard to hear very well. Maybe 
talking on the cell phone allows one to 
fantasize about the person in a way that 
is prevented by actual personal contact. 
Maybe that’s the secret of the girl in the 
ski-lodge in the memorable Winston 
commercial. She never says anything; 
she’s just possibility untainted by reality. 
After all it’s been fifty years and I still 
haven’t forgotten about her.

 I wonder if any of you unidentified and 
perhaps non-existent readers have similar 
feelings? Do you too feel abandoned? 
The Lakers and Clippers season have 
come to disappointing conclusions. 
The Dodgers and Angels are spending 
millions and are embarrassments. Their 
failures remind me of the overall state 
of the country. I am experiencing crisis 
fatigue from the constant attention paid 
to the bombings, the murders, the fiscal 
cliff, the sequestration, the threats of new 
wars in the Middle East and North Korea 
and the seeming continual grid-lock in 
Congress. I want more attention paid 
to the world’s overpopulation and the 
environmental catastrophe that lurks just 
around the corner.

 Do any of you have similar feelings? 
Maybe we can recognize that we belong 
to the same club and are not alone. I 
can feel a kinship right now without any 
desire to risk my life on ski slopes or 
light up a cigarette. Maybe we can stay 
strangers and have a nice conversation 
some time. Cinco de Mayo has already 
passed. Maybe St. Patrick’s day is a good 
day to forget restrictions and lift a glass to 
good cheer and conviviality.

 Alas, I have diabetes and don’t drink. 

In growing up one 
of the outstanding 
things in my relationship 
with my 
mother had to do with her memory. She 
could remember everything.

All I had to do was ask dear old mom and she 
knew the answer. She knew everything. No 
matter the topic, she had an opinion about 
it, which truly amazed me as a young person.

Before I went to school, my mother was my 
entire world. From the time I got up in the 
morning until she tucked me in bed at night, 
she was the master of my world. Whatever I 
could do, she was the one who allowed me 
to do it.

Looking back, I can remember when my father 
got home from work in the evening he 
gave my mother a little break from looking 
after me and my brother and sister. If memory 
serves me correctly, my father watched us 
by lying on the couch snoring. I never could 
figure out how he could do that but it was his 
way of watching us and helping mom.

As a young person, anything I wanted I had 
to requisition it from dear old mom. The 
thing that always amazed me was that she 
always had what I needed. I have often wondered 
how she could do that. But then, she 
was mom.

My weekly allowance came from my mother. 
It took me a long time to realize the money 
for my allowance came from my father. I always 
believe mom had all the money there 

I remember coming home from the second 
grade with homework to do that just baffled 
me. All I had to do was ask mom and she 
could explain it to me like nobody else could. 
Mothers are like that.

They know everything and remember everything. 
What my mother knew only my mother 
could know. It was as if she could read my 
mind. It was as if she had eyes in the back of 
her head.

It was so bad that I could not get away with 
anything. Believe me; I tried very hard to get 
away with something. For some reason my 
mother knew what I was going to do days before 
I actually thought about doing it.

I am not sure who is credited with designing 
the first memory board for computers, but I 
know who designed the memory board for 
people. I firmly believe that mothers were the 
first computer designed and wired by God. 
Why in the world do you think they call it 
the "motherboard?" It is no accident that they 
come up with this term.

My mother had a tremendous memory. This 
is the difference between mothers and fathers. 
Mothers cannot forget anything and 
fathers cannot remember anything. Together 
they make an invincible team for raising 

It was not until I became a teenager that a 
little click developed between my mother 
and me. I began to realize that my memory 
did not always harmonize with hers on some 
issues. As I got older, the harmony was less 
and less.

For example. My mother would tell me, "You 
must be home by 10 o'clock."

At least, that is what she said she told me after 
the fact. When I came in at 11 o'clock, she 
reminded me of what she told me. For the life 
of me, I could not remember her telling me to 
be home by 10 o'clock.

"I told you to clean up your room."

Searching my memory board, I could not 
find any indication that she told me this. I am 
not saying that she did not; I am just saying 
that our memories did not coincide on a variety 
of issues when I became a teenager.

What struck me about my mother was she 
could remember conversation she had with 
me three years ago word for word. As I get 
older, I began to doubt the accuracy of her 
memory. The problem with that was, I had 
no memory of anything and so I had to rely 
upon her memory.

Now that I am a parent, it is apparent to me 
that memory is a rather funny thing. I am 
not sure that my mother was in this category, 
but my memory is of such a nature that I can 
remember things that never took place. Not 
only that, I can describe it in detail.

As a teenager I remember coming into the 
room and my mother sitting there looking 
out the window with a little smile on her face.

 "What are you thinking about?"

 She just looked at me, smiled and said, "Oh, 
I was just remembering some things." Then 
she turned and looked out the window again 
and I left her to her memories.

In celebrating Mother's Day, I cannot help 
but think of the many wonderful memories 
each mother cherishes. Their children will 
always be children. No matter how old their 
children get, they will always be their little 

 Memory is a delightful thing and sometimes 
can be very selective. I am sure, when 
a mother engages in the fine art of memory, 
they are all good memories.

 Solomon was probably thinking about his 
mother when he wrote, "Her children arise 
up, and call her blessed; her husband also, 
and he praiseth her. Many daughters have 
done virtuously, but thou excellest them all" 
(Proverbs 31:28-29 KJV).

 You cannot put a price on a good memory.

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GREG Welborn

HOWARD Hays As I See It

“I can predict with 
absolute certainty that 
within another generation 
there will be another 
world war if the nations of 
the world do not concert 
the method by which to 
prevent it.”

- Woodrow Wilson, 1919

 Greg Welborn last week 
singled out “Obama and other liberals” 
as those who’d find the presumption of 
“the United States (having) the right to 
determine the composition or general 
philosophy of another nation’s government” 
to be “unthinkable and morally repugnant”. 
I can’t imagine anybody, across the political 
spectrum, who’d consider such a notion 
to be not only “unthinkable and morally 
repugnant”, but decidedly un-American and 
decidedly stupid – at least anybody over the 
past hundred years, going back to President 
McKinley and gunboat diplomacy.

 President Wilson used the phrase “manifest 
destiny”, but gave it a different meaning than 
when it was coined decades before. In the 
mid-nineteenth century, the term was used 
to justify our nation’s westward expansion, 
and to dismissively rationalize whatever 
might befall those who were there before us. 
Wilson, however, saw it as an expression of 
our duty to help other nations secure what 
we’d fought for ourselves; the opportunity to 
determine their own destiny, to make their 
own history.

 Wilson spent his academic career 
immersed in, and shaped by, the lofty pageant 
and ideals of American history. He was 
also aware of those who loudly proclaimed 
American ideals and exceptionalism as 
slogans to promote costly and unpopular 
ventures, such as wars, for the sole purpose 
of making a buck.

 “Since trade ignores national boundaries 
and the manufacturer insists on having the 
world as a market, the flag of his nation 
must follow him, and the doors of the nations 
which are closed must be battered down ... 
Concessions obtained by financiers must be 
safeguarded by ministers of state, even if the 
sovereignty of unwilling nations be outraged 
in the process. Colonies must be obtained or 
planted, in order that no useful corner of the 
world may be overlooked or left unused.”

 - Woodrow Wilson, 1907

 During WWII, war-profiteering was 
considered tantamount to treason. Ten 
years ago, we went to war for control of 
Iraqi oilfields, and saw an unprecedented 
outsourcing of tasks previously performed 
by those serving their country to those 
serving the interests of corporate profit.

 From 2006 on, private contractors in Iraq 
outnumbered our troops. Commissioned 
officers complained how their pay 
(including combat bonuses) was a fraction 
of that of the contract employee ladling 
out their oatmeal in the chow line. Of 
the $800 billion (conservative estimate) 
spent on the Iraq War, $160 billion went 
to private contractors – including the $7 
billion quickly and quietly awarded Dick 
Cheney’s former company, Halliburton, for 
restoration of Iraqi oil fields.

 Halliburton’s subsidiary KBR (since 
relocated to Dubai) made news by charging 
us $75 to wash a bag of dirty laundry, then 
paying an Iraqi subcontractor $12 to do 
the washing. KBR battled accusations of 
shoddy electrical work in latrines causing 
the electrocution of our soldiers, and is 
appealing a decision holding it negligent in 
the poisoning of eight soldiers by exposing 
them to “extreme carcinogen” chemicals - 
now arguing for U.S. taxpayers to foot the 
bill for its $15 million in legal fees.

 The private mercenary force Blackwater 
had a $1 billion contract by 2005, and in 
2010 agreed to a $42 million settlement for 
illegal arms trafficking. (The company’s 
founder, Erik Prince, has since moved to 
Abu Dhabi – not far from the Halliburton 
CEO’s residence in Dubai.)

 Any hopes of winning “hearts and minds” 
of Iraqis were erased by the photos from Abu 
Ghraib. The abuse which turned so many 
Iraqis against us and shamed us around 
the world came from private contractors 
– primarily L-3 Services and CACI. 11 
U.S. soldiers were convicted of abuse at 
Abu Ghraib. Earlier this year, L-3 Services 
settled with 71 victims tortured (on behalf 
of the people of the United States) between 
2003 and 2007 for $5.28 million.

 “Do you never stop to reflect just what 
it is that America stands for? If she stands 
for one thing more than another, it is for the 
sovereignty of self-governing peoples.”

 - Woodrow Wilson, 1916

 We went to Iraq upon warnings of 
Weapons of Mass Destruction. Greg 
confidently asserts that “Syria’s Assad 
has now used chemical weapons in his 
fight against the rebels . . .” while the U.N. 
human rights commission found evidence 
of “proof of the use of sarin gas” by the 
rebels themselves. Greg accuses the Obama 
administration of doing “nothing”, while 
as I write this the administration, which 
acknowledges evidence of Assad’s use of 
chemical weapons, is making plans for 
arming Syrian rebels, and Secretary of 
State Kerry is in Moscow eliciting Putin’s 
withdrawal of support for his client Assad.

 Greg contrasts the differences between 
a “liberal” and “conservative” approach to 
foreign policy. He bemoans the fact we 
“lost” Libya and Egypt. Here’s the difference: 
“Conservatives” may consider nations 
as ours to “win” or “lose”, but “liberals” 
recognize the “sovereignty of self-governing 
peoples”, entitled to determine their own 
destiny, to make their own history.

 Presidents Wilson and Obama both 
had academic backgrounds; Wilson with 
American History at Princeton, Obama 
with law and the U.S. Constitution at 
Harvard. The question is whether we’ll be 
guided by the “liberal” principals embodied 
in that history and Constitution, or by 
“conservatives” who’d turn our government 
over to those who regard those principles 
as marketing slogans, and the sacrifice of 
our blood and treasure in war as a business 

 As President Woodrow Wilson put it 
exactly one hundred years ago, “If there are 
men in this country big enough to own the 
government of the United States, they are 
going to own it; what we have to determine 
now is whether we are big enough, whether 
we are men enough, whether we are free 
enough, to take possession again of the 
government which is our own.”

 If the Democrats are supposed to be 
the champions of the little guy against 
the vast arrayed forces of big oil, big 
banking, big pharma, and big everything 
else, then why did the Democratic 
controlled Senate just pass a sales tax bill 
which will kill small entrepreneurs in 
every state of the union? 

 This last week, the Democrats in the 
Senate passed their little tax masterpiece 
under the cynically deceptive title of 
the Marketplace Fairness Act. Should 
this legislation pass the House and be 
signed by Obama, it will fundamentally 
transform interstate commerce and 
bankrupt several thousand businesses 
along the way. Under the false rubric of 
“fairness”, the legislation discriminates 
against Internet-based businesses by 
imposing on them a burden which does 
not apply to brick and mortar companies. 
On-line sellers would be forced to 
collect sales taxes for every single taxing 
authority in the United States. Every 
state, every county, every region and 
every city which has a sales tax will be 
included in the calculation that every 
on-line seller has to make. Even if the 
on-line seller is a mom-and-pop home 
based business selling a measly $1,000 in 
merchandise, it will have to calculate the 
taxes of approximately 9,600 state and 
local taxing agencies.

 This is an impossible task that 
would quickly drain away whatever 
meager profits a small on-line business 
could generate. But even if the small 
business owner somehow made those 
calculations, he or she would still be 
subject to audit and penalty by any of the 
tax agencies involved. The mere threat 
of an audit and a law suit would drive 
that business under.

 The burden is so great that the U.S. 
Supreme Court recognized it as the 
predominant reason for ruling in the last 
century that catalog sellers did not have 
to collect sales taxes for areas in which 
the catalog house didn’t have a physical 
presence. In other words, the simple rule 
was: if you have a distribution facility or 
a store front in an area, then you have to 
collect local taxes, but if you don’t have a 
physical presence there, you don’t.

 The logic behind the rule was equally 
as simple. If the seller isn’t located in 
the area, then the seller doesn’t have 
any representation (no taxation without 
representation), and the seller isn’t 
consuming any local services such as 
sewers, schools, etc. Therefore, the seller 
shouldn’t have to collect sales taxes. The 
Marketplace Fairness Act turns that logic 
on its head (fundamentally transforms it 
in the words of our President) and in so 
doing discriminates against sellers who 
happen to use the internet.

the example of 
two retailers in 
Oregon. Oregon 
doesn’t have a 
sales tax, and 
many residents 
of Washington 
drive across the 
state line to buy 
stuff at stores 
in Portland, Oregon. Still other people 
call the Portland store on the phone to 
place an order which is then shipped to 
their house. The Oregon store does not 
collect sales tax for the order which is 
picked up or shipped to the out-of-state 

 But!!! If the buyer from Washington 
happens to buy the merchandise from 
an Oregon retailer who sells across 
the internet, then this on-line Oregon 
retailer would have to collect sales taxes 
for Washington State and the county and 
city in which the buyer resides.

 Small on-line retailers won’t be able 
to compete, but even if they make the 
sale, they won’t be able to afford to 
comply with the law. The burden will be 
immense – easily a doubling or tripling 
of the bookkeeping staff to keep track of 
every sale and to remit the taxes on the 
timing demanded by each tax agency.

 It’s no surprise then that the legislation 
is supported by brick and mortar 
stores like Wal-Mart, nor should it be 
surprising that giant Amazon supports 
the law. At first blush it seems a bit 
counter-intuitive, but it really does make 
perfect sense for Amazon. They’re huge; 
they have a tremendous bookkeeping 
staff any way. They compete against 
the small businesses which uses E-bay 
to sell their wares. What better way 
to eliminate that competition than by 
demanding that the little guy foot the 
same compliance burden of the big 
million dollar on-line seller.

 So, under the fearless and shameless 
leadership of the “bash-the-rich”, “tax-
the 1%ers” Democrats, big business and 
big government have teamed up to stick 
it to the little guy. On a certain level, 
you have to admire the chutzpah of the 
Democrats that can look the voters right 
in the eye, promising to help them, while 
stabbing them in the back, but there’s 
nothing to admire in the effect this 
legislation will have on the economy.

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 

Mountain Views News

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