Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, May 18, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 15



 Mountain Views News Saturday, May 18, 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



 Did the heat this past 
week seem unbearable 
to you? I could not 
remember it ever 
being so hot—until I 
thought about it for 
a while. I have been 
living up here in Sierra 
Madre Canyon since July 3, 1979. The 
next day I looked out the window and 
saw that a bunch of people were walking 
down the hill. I joined the crowd and 
walked to the center of town and was 
privileged to see my first Sierra Madre 
4th of July parade. The parade in those 
days ended with fire engines spraying 
water over everybody. As I recall, that 
cool water was a great relief because, in 
those days, nobody had centralized air 

 The next year my son moved in with 
me and I can remember that on hot days 
our little 650 square foot cabin with its 
flat roof was just about unbearable. On 
hot days we would spend our time at 
the pool. Now, when I look around, I 
notice that everything is different. All 
the little houses in the canyon have been 
expanded or torn down and rebuilt Not 
only are the houses different but so is 
everything else. Yes, all the houses have 
centralized air conditioning and people 
don’t gather outside anymore on hot 

 Dogs are present in just about every 
house, but their lives are very different. 
In the 80’s I think dogs roamed pretty 
free in the canyon. It was very rare to 
see anyone walking a dog on a leash. I 
remember my little Chihuahua, Buddy, 
all 7 pounds of him, falling in love with 
a Labrador up the street on Sunnyside. 
The difference in sizes made it pretty 
impossible for the dogs to get together 
in an intimate way, but that in no way 
decreased Buddy’s fixation. He stood in 
front of that Labrador’s house day and 
night keeping other dogs away—almost 
to the point of starvation. At 2 or 3 in 
the morning he would race home and 
gobble down some food and then race 
back to the other house and resume his 
seasonal guard-duty.

 I mention these details in conjunction 
with a graduation speech given a few 
years ago by the writer David Foster 
Wallace at Kenyon College. The entire 
speech and a video appeared on the 
Internet last week and were forwarded to 
me by two different friends. The speech 
starts out with the anecdote about two 
young fish swimming along and meeting 
an older fish. “How you doing” say the 
young ones to the old timer” “Fine, 
how’s the water?” The older fish swims 
away and one young fish says to the 
other, “what’s water?’ The point of the 
tale is that often; especially when we’re 
young, arrogant, and full of ourselves, 
we fail to notice what is around us. I 
was thumbing through a book of Albert 
Einstein memoirs written sixty years 
ago and the same point is made in the 

 Of what is significant in one’s own 
existence one

 is hardly aware, and it certainly should 
not bother 

 the other fellow. What does a fish 
know about the

 water in which he swims all his life?

 The point that David Foster 
Wallace and Dr. Einstein are attempting 
to emphasize is that a lot of the enjoyment 
and appreciation of life can come from 
just noticing what is going on around 
us. The Wallace speech tells graduating 
seniors that what he thinks education 
should be about is helping young people 
to learn what to think about—not what 
to think—but what to think about. 

 After I read the speech and the 
introduction to the Einstein memoirs I 
took my usual morning walk with my 
present dog and friend, Milo. I thought 
about the changes in the canyon and how 
I missed my dog, Buddy. After the walk 
I looked around my house and noticed 
all the pictures of my deceased friends. 
I noticed the pictures of my deceased 
parents and missed them both. I noticed 
the pictures of my own kids when they 
were young, now they’re hovering on 
both sides of forty and I miss those little 
kids and I miss growing up with them in 
the little cabin that stood right here, flat 
roof and all.

 Time, the passage of time, is all around 
us and it is going along at break-neck 
speed. Each day passes and we barely 
have time to notice as we are occupied 
by the problems of a new day. With 
the internet and our iPhones we barely 
have time to notice the present and 
then whoosh it’s gone. It is these barely 
noticed and easily forgotten details 
of every day life, generally unnoticed 
by the rest of the world, that bring us 
individual satisfaction. Life is not out 
there, it is going on inside of us and it is 
absolutely worth our notice.

 I did think about my mother on 
the recently passed mother’s day and I 
was thankful for the reminder. I hope 
everyone else took the time to slow the 
world down for a little while and reflect a 
bit on a few details of your own precious, 
individual life.

I have a terrible 
confession to get 
off my chest. It is a 
secret I have tried 
to hide from family and friends for years. 
Up to this point, I have been fairly successful 
in hiding this but I believe the time has 
come to clear the air.

 Having a secret is a terrible burden to bear 
especially around people who know you. 
You always run the risk that somebody is 
going to find out and then tell everybody 
and then the whole world knows your secret. 
The purpose of a secret is so that nobody 
knows. If it gets out, it is no longer a 

 I even tried to keep this from the Gracious 
Mistress of the Parsonage, which comes 
as close to walking on water as I have ever 
come. Several times, she has come close to 
finding out this deep seated secret of mine.

 Even though this is risky business, I need 
to make a full confession. Someone has 
said that confession is good for the soul, 
but I am not quite sure.

 My confession is this, and please do not 
hate me because of it, I love to take afternoon 

 There, I said it. I am not sure what it did 
for my soul but I do not feel any happier 
about making this confession.

 I am a firm believer in what some people 
refer to as the "power nap." The problem is 
I live amongst a people that believe if you 
take a nap in the afternoon you are either 
very young are getting very old. The former 
is not the issue, and I will take issue with 
the latter.

 I must admit that there was a time in my 
life when I did not take time out for naps. In 
fact, I had a hard time going to bed before 
midnight. I hated going to bed and could 
not wait until morning came so I could 
jump out of bed and get back to work. Do 
not get me wrong, I was not a workaholic. I 
just liked what I was doing.

 I am not sure when it started but I noticed 
a few years ago I was not resisting going to 
bed like before. I did not fight it is much as 
I used to. If the truth were known, hopefully 
it won't be, as soon as my head hit 
the pillow the Sandman started doing his 

 It was not long before I started sneaking 
40 winks in the afternoon.

 I distinctly remember one afternoon when 
my wife came in and said, "You're not taking 
a nap, are you?"

 I know lying is not a good thing, especially 
to your spouse. Sometimes when you are in 
a fixed such as I was in at that moment, the 
truth scampers in the opposite direction.

 "No," I stuttered as she looked at me. "I 
was just meditating."

 "I guess everybody snores when they're 
meditating," she said with a smirk on her 

 From then on, it was a game trying to get 
in a nap without getting into trouble. I did 
find out that after one of my "power naps" I 
was able to do a lot more work. However, I 
kept that bit of information to myself.

 Then my whole world changed.

 Don't you like it when something happens 
proving you are right? It does not happen 
very often to me, when it does, I relish it 
like a freshly baked Apple Fritter.

 I happened to be watching some television 
news program. I confess I was half dozing 
and watching at the same time, but suddenly 
they said something that got my full 
salute attention.

 According to the news story, and they can't 
put it on TV unless it's true, right? But according 
to this story, research showed that 
there was a great deal of benefits associated 
with afternoon naps.

 That was enough for me and I, like the 
gentleman I am, called for my wife to come 
and watch this news story with me. Some 
things in life should be shared and this was 
one of them.

 Afternoon naps drastically reduce the 
danger of heart attack and improve a person's 

 "So," I said to my wife after the story, "what 
do you think of that?"

 She smiled and looked at me and said, 
"Well, it must work because you never forget 
to take a nap."

 I will forgive her for the hilarious laughter 
following her remark. Just so you know, 
the laughter did not come from me. I may 
have been smiling on the outside but I was 
snorting on the inside.

 For years, I thought taking an afternoon 
nap was rather beneficial. Now I have the 
proof and I can indulge in a daily "power 
nap" without feeling any sense of guilt at 
all. I love it when I have been proven right.

 Now I take great delight in one of my favorite 
Bible passages.

 "Come unto me, all ye that labor and 
are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; 
for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye 
shall find rest unto your souls" (Matthew 

A friend of mine often says, "Come apart 
and rest a while or you'll just come apart." 
An afternoon nap has unashamedly become 
part of my daily activity.

Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of 
God Fellowship,Ocala, Florida. He lives with 
his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. E-
mail His web site is

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GREG Welborn


HOWARD Hays As I See It

“Politics is supposed to be 
the second oldest profession. 
I have come to realize 
that it bears a very close 
resemblance to the first.” - 
Ronald Reagan


 The Tea Party is back in the news. Great.

 For a refresher, the tea party came about 
as a result of folks fed up with the cozy 
relationship between government and 
corporate power; tax breaks reserved for the 
elite only, monopolies consuming main street 
entrepreneurs, and leaders more concerned 
with corporate interests than those of the 
people they’re supposed to serve.

 The corporation in this case was the British 
East India Company, operating under charter 
of the Crown. The Company had a profitable 
tea trade going with the colonies overseas, 
but saw customers choosing instead to do 
business with their friends, neighbors and 
fellow-colonists who were establishing their 
own, independent firms. 

 To protect their market, the East India 
Company prevailed upon the monarchy 
to grant tax breaks allowing it to undercut 
prices offered by their competitors, while the 
duties imposed by the Crown on colonial 
entrepreneurs remained. The reaction became 
clear as the East India Company saw a sizable 
quantity of its product end up at the bottom 
of Boston Harbor. 

 Nearly 250 years later, a name once associated 
with a movement to replace the power of 
corporate oligarchies with representative 
democracy has been appropriated by a front 
group for corporatists intent on usurping 
control over our elected leaders from We the 

 Although tea-baggers made the news just a 
couple years ago, a recent study out of UC San 
Francisco traces their roots back to the early-
1980s, when the tobacco industry invested in 
third-party groups to combat excise taxes on 
their products and findings linking second-
hand smoke to cancer. In 1984, billionaires 
Charles and David Koch founded the group 
Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) and, 
over the next twenty years, received $5.3 
million in support from tobacco companies, 
primarily Philip Morris.

 The head of field operations for R.J. 
Reynolds Tobacco explained the strategy 
back in 1990, “. . . coalition building should 
proceed along two tracks: a) a grassroots 
organizational and largely local track, b) and 
a national, intellectual track within the DC-
New York corridor. Ultimately, we are talking 
about a ‘movement’, a national effort to change 
the way people think about government’s 
(and big business’) role in our lives. Any such 
effort requires an intellectual foundation - a 
set of theoretical and ideological arguments 
on its behalf.” Those now seeking to debunk 
scientific warnings of global warming are 
following the playbook of those who sought 
to debunk scientific warnings of the dangers 
of smoking.

 Most think of tea-baggers as a grassroots 
group appearing as anti-taxers in 2009, and 
the following year equating the Affordable 
Care Act with the demise of our Republic. 
Tobacco-backed CSE, however, was using the 
“U.S. Tea Party” label as far back as September, 
2002 – early in the Bush presidency. CSE 
split into the two groups, FreedomWorks and 
Americans for Prosperity, that fostered the 
tea-baggers we’re familiar with today.

 A major strategic opportunity came with 
the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” ruling 
of 2010. Corporate investment in purchasing 
government could be unlimited (so long 
as not being tied to a particular candidate’s 
campaign) and, if laundered through a 501(c)
(4) organization, could be anonymous – and 
tax-free. All it takes for such designation is 
for the organization’s primary function to 
be geared towards general social benefit; not 
the advancement of any political candidate 
or cause. Examples provided in 2003 IRS 
guidelines include organizations to help 
seniors find employment, raise funds to 
build a stadium for a local school district, or 
organize community festivals.

 According to the Sunlight Foundation, 
501(c)(4) groups pumped more than $300 
million in unaccountable, anonymous, tax-
free money into last year’s election. We’re 
not talking Habitat for Humanity and Meals 
on Wheels; one of the biggest players was 
Crossroads GPS, whose founder, Karl Rove, 
bragged about pouring millions into an 
ad blitz for Mitt Romney. There was also 
PrioritiesUSA, which supported President 

 When others saw Karl Rove getting away 
with passing off his cash-laundering front 
as a tax-exempt 501(c)(4), it opened the 
floodgates. Annual applications for 501(c)
(4) status jumped from 1,500 to more than 
3,400. And, for whatever reason, many of 
those applicants had the words “tea party”, or 
“patriot” in their names.

 There may have been politically-
incorrectness involved as the IRS sought 
to weed out the phonies; like beginning an 
investigation of Mafia activities by creating 
a sub-set of last names that end in vowels. 
This isn’t why Congressional Republicans are 
raising such a fuss; it’s more an effort to convey 
an unequivocal message to the IRS and anyone 
else that might target the organizations they 
rely upon for their livelihoods: Don’t even 
think about it.

 Also, with a third of all House committees 
engaged in targeting President Obama, 
they’re running out of “scandals”. Solyndra 
was the only one of forty programs in 
the Energy Department’s loan-guarantee 
program to go south – representing 1.3% 
percent of the portfolio of a resoundingly 
successful program. “Fast and Furious” 
resulted in the conviction of gun-runners, 
and hundreds of weapons from straw-buyers 
were allowed to “walk” across the border to 
criminal gangs in Mexico not because of ATF 
agents’ incompetence, but because federal 
prosecutors advised that, under Arizona 
law, there was insufficient “probable cause” 
allowing them to stop it.

 As for the charge President Obama engaged 
in a cover-up over Benghazi to enhance 
his re-election prospects, House Oversight 
Chairman Darrell Issa (D-CA) has been 
reduced to complaining the president referred 
to the incident as an “act of terror”, rather than 
a “terrorist attack”. Seriously.

 The big scandal for the IRS would be if 
they allowed the right-wing echo chamber 
to intimidate them into easing up on their 
inquiries. And while they’re at it, they should 
go after those 501(c)(4)’s set up by the Center 
for American Progress and, as 
well. As I see it, going after tax cheats should 
be a non-partisan endeavor.

 An appropriate subtitle would be “And If He Didn’t Know 
It, How Competent Is He?” We’ve learned that the Head 
of the State Department abandoned embassy employees in 
Benghazi and then lied about it, the Head of the Internal 
Revenue Service allowed harassment of conservative groups 
and individuals, and the Head of the Justice Department 
allowed spying on AP reporters. All of this makes for great 
political theatre, but there are serious issues to be resolved – 
issues which go to the heart of our democracy and freedoms.

 The most prominent issue is the President’s knowledge and involvement in these 
affairs and, accordingly, whether he has mortally compromised his ability to lead 
this country. It seems beyond reason that the heads of three major agencies of the 
Executive branch would undertake such potentially damaging or illegal actions 
without the President’s approval. If that’s the case, I would hope that even my most 
liberal of friends would agree that this President must be reigned in.

 How severe that is remains to be seen. Richard Nixon was ultimately forced to resign 
because of his part in covering up what was actually a very low level burglary of the 
Democratic National Headquarters at Watergate. The stolen data wasn’t important, 
and the burglary itself was a minor crime. But the fact that a president attempted to 
corrupt the democratic process was hugely important. As a conservative, I agreed 
with the President’s removal from office. 

 To be crystal clear, I am not at this time calling for the impeachment of President 
Obama. At the same time, I do believe some sort of punishment, censure, and/or loss 
of public trust will be appropriate as more facts are known. And I say that regardless 
of the outcome, as I implied in the title and subtitle.

 If President Obama authorized, or just failed to curtail these actions, he has 
assaulted our democracy and freedoms no less significantly than did Richard Nixon. 
If, on the other hand, he truly exercises so little control over his deputies, we also 
would be correct in concluding that this man may not have the chops for the job. 
Whether it rises to the level of dereliction of duty, we’ll have to see, but he can’t claim 
he’s innocent because he didn’t know about it. It’s his job to know that. His deputies 
are supposed to be carrying out his policy goals and obeying the law in the process.

 The more important issue goes beyond the name, reputation and ultimate 
disposition of this president. The more important issue is how much power 
government is to be given over the lives of the citizens and how that power is to be 
controlled. Our founders were great students of history and human nature. They 
realized that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely and that human 
nature in this regard had not, and would not, change much over time.

 Their solution was to limit the power of the federal government and then to 
make sure that whatever power was bestowed was divided among three competing 
branches. We often complain about the fact that Washington is so contentious and 
that there is so much bickering. We forget that it’s supposed to be that way. We are 
most at risk when there isn’t contention. If each branch isn’t jealously guarding its 
power, then it’s usually the citizen who is losing something.

 What these scandals should remind us is that whether we are conservative, liberal 
or independent, we should all be worried about the increased power that will be 
handed to the federal government with the implementation of Obamacare. The 
Affordable Care Act will give vast new audit powers to the IRS and create ever 
more opportunities for that power to be abused. The power to tax is indeed the 
power to destroy, but the threat of audit or a lawsuit is often sufficient to convince an 
uncooperative critic to tone it down. The IRS Inspector General is on record telling 
us that Obamacare represents the largest increase in IRS authority in more than 20 
years. The IRS is now building what will be the largest personal information database 
any government has ever attempted. To think that this vastly increased power won.t 
be abused even worse than existing IRS procedures is dangerous naïveté.

 Whether this president stays or goes, the power that we are about to hand over to 
the federal government will live on and will inevitably be abused. Perhaps not on as 
grand a scale as we’re seeing now, but little intimidations here and there of critics can 
do just as much damage to our freedoms and democracy.

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 gregwelborn2@ 

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