Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, June 1, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page B:5



 Mountain Views News Saturday, June 1, 2013 


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder

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




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



 For reasons I don’t 
quite understand 
this week-end is 
being very difficult 
for me. I think 
back to 1955 and 
remember being horrified by the death 
of the racecar driver Bill Vukovich. 
His death occurred during the Indy 
500 and devastated me. I was 11 years 
old and Vukovich was one of the most 
popular people in America. I think 
he had won the race the previous two 
years. He was comfortably leading the 
Memorial Day Race on this day when 
the guy calling the race on the radio; 
yes, the radio, said there was some 
sort of crash involving other cars but 
suddenly it was impossible to locate 
Vukovich’s car. Soon it was announced 
that Vukopvich’s car had flipped over a 
fence after being hit by another car that 
had gone out of control. After some 
confusion I learned that although 
Vukovich had been leading the race he 
was not going to win because he was 
now dead.

 At least that’s how I remember it. 
That impossible juxtaposition of going 
from caring about the race and who 
was winning and then suddenly the 
leader, one of my favorite guys was 
Dead. I was distraught and wandered 
out of our second floor apartment 
searching for someone to talk to. 
There was a man working on his car 
on the other side of the alley. He 
was one of my Little League Coaches 
and I tried to talk to him about the 
race and the accident. I think he said 
something about not spending much 
time listening to the radio and that I 
would be better off spending the day 
doing something productive. It was 
one of those moments when one feels 
alone and you go about searching for 
someone to talk to and after talking 
you (me) feel even more isolated.

 Almost forty years later I remember 
a similar moment when I was listening 
to the radio as I was doing some my 
Legal Work in my office on Wilshire 
Boulevard. It was the end of the day 
when I heard the announcement that 
Magic Johnson had AIDS. Magic 
Johnson having AIDS, that was 
impossible. AIDS was some mystery 
disease that affected only little gay 
people and Magic was anything but 
little, he was a giant, a hero a Laker. 
This was about twenty years ago 
before iphones or texting or much 
understanding about AIDS. I wasn’t 
a kid anymore, I was almost fifty but 
I had that same bewildered feeling 
again. I needed someone to talk to—
someone to explain how Magic could 
have AIDS and what this meant to the 
world. I got into the elevator and went 
up and down in the building trying to 
find a friend.

 Eventually I ran into some other 
lawyer who was working late and 
needed to get some work done by the 
next day. He was a pretty nice guy 
and even though I don’t remember 
his name and probably never talked to 
him again he was there when I needed 
him. I think we concluded that Magic 
was probably gay. In fact I think I 
remember going upstairs and creating 
a list entitled 10 things that let me 
know that Magic is gay. Of course I 
didn’t know what I was talking about 
but at least I was trying to make sense 
of a world that wasn’t conforming to 
my expectations.

 It’s worse today. I know now 
that Leonard Cohen has been right all 
along, “The Rich get richer and the 
poor get poorer. The War Is over and 
the Bad Guys won .” Everything I read 
seems to agree that everyone is working 
for the Man and the Man doesn’t care 
very much about anything besides 
making more money. Meanwhile the 
whole ecological disaster gets more 
noticeable every week and yet no one 
seems to connect one tornado with 
last month’s hurricane. I feel like it’s all 
falling apart and there’s no one to even 
talk to about it.

 Or maybe that’s not the problem. 
Probably there’s too much talk and too 

action. A few months ago I had 
hoped that the various Occupy groups 
were the harbinger of a new People’s 
movement to take control of our lives. 
Where have those movements gone 
and why haven’t you and I participated 
in them. Are we all too comfortable 
even though we secretly feel frightened 
and isolated? 

 Everyone I talk too seems very 
busy; so busy that they don’t have time 
to notice that the sky is falling. Am 
I Chicken Little—just an alarmist 
making people uncomfortable and not 
accomplishing anything positive. I’m 
glad I have this column to complain in. 
It doesn’t really accomplish anything 
but at least I can read my own articles 
and imagine I have someone to talk 
with. Sure it’s all make believe and it’s 
me talking to myself but at least I can 
pretend. Sort of like John Lennon’s 
IMAGINE---My, and perhaps your 
favorite song. 

 You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not 
the only one. 

 I hope some day you’ll join us

 And the world will live as one.


 Is that all there is to it. Just dream 
that everything will be okay and then 
everything will be okay until it isn’t. 
Sweet dreams until next Memorial Day. 

Sometimes it is best 
to err on the side of 
caution. This, however, 
has not always 
been my modus operandi down through 
the years. In fact, I am not very good when 
it comes to practicing anything, just ask 
the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. 

As of late, though, I have been practicing 
caution like I was going to Carnegie Hall. I 
am not very good at it yet, but my goal is to 
come to the point of perfection in the area 
of caution as it touches my person, particularly 
my health and well-being. This may 
be because I have reached that age when 
most men go through a midlife crisis.

You can always tell when a man is going 
through his midlife crisis. He usually 
wants to prove he is as good at 60-something 
as he was when he was 20-something. 
Carelessly throwing caution to the 
wind, he attempts to do something beyond 
the energy of his existing body. One sure 
way to tell if a man is having a midlife crisis 
is to notice his recent injuries.

Personally, when I was 20 I was not good 
at anything, which has enabled me to skip 
my midlife crisis. I am glad to be 60 (okay, 
maybe I am a tad over 60) because now 
when I get tired I can say I am tired and sit 
down. At 60-something I have absolutely 
nothing to prove. I am no better or worse 
than I was when I was 20. It is, as my wife 
notes, the ageless wonder of incompetency.

The difficulty with growing older is that the 
old memory juices do not flow as swiftly as 
they once did. Of course, some of us never 
had a real gusher in that department anyway. 
The more memories I have, the less I 
am able to recall them in the innocency of 
their reality. Like the fisherman who tells 
the size of the one that got away. Memory 
seems to add or subtract according to 
the benefit of the person conjuring up the 

A big problem a man in mid-life crisis has 
is that he does not remember how good 
he actually was when he was 20, unless of 
course, his wife knew him at that time. If 
he could, he would not have to try to replicate 
it when he is 60. This is one of the 
unique advantages of maturing. Forgetting 
always leads to exaggerating. Exaggerating 
at 60-something leads to injuries. The only 
purpose of this is to impress people who 
really are not being impressed.

As we grow older things begin to change, 
and some things change for the better. 
When I was 20, I could not admit to anybody 
that I was tired. I would have been 
the laughing stock in my community if I 
would admit any such phenomena. You 
know what they say about the unlimited 
energy that young people have. Now that 
I am in my 60s, I can blame my advancing 
years on just about anything.

"I love to do that, but at my age I don't 
have the energy." This has covered a multitude 
of sins, for which I am so grateful. Of 
course, it does have one drawback, when 
someone in their 80s invites me to go for 
a walk, what in the world can you say to 

This next one has to be one of my favorites. 
"I would love to do that but I have to 
get home for my afternoon nap." The person 
will look at me, notice my maturing 
features and understand that I desperately 
do need a nap, or something resembling 
beauty sleep.

I found one the other week that has proved 
quite beneficial. I was invited to a function 
during the evening, which turned out to be 
a rather boring affair. Once the meal was 
over people were milling around engaged 
in small talk. Nothing bores me quicker 
than small talk. Not knowing what to do, 
I pondered the situation for sometime. 
Then, like lightning from the heavens, I 
was struck with a brilliant idea. I went up 
to my host and said, "I'm sorry, but it is 
getting near my bedtime and I have strict 
orders from my doctor to go to bed early. 
You'll have to excuse me."

It worked like a charm. Everybody understood 
that a person of my age needs to go 
to bed early. I do not know who thought 
this up, probably Benjamin Franklin, but 
whoever it was, I owe them a steak dinner 
at the restaurant of their choice. It has now 
become part of my get-out-of-boring-situations 

I was thinking about this the other day 
another good excuse popped into my 
head. Somebody invited me to come and 
play softball. At the time, they caught me 
off guard and I was trying to wiggle out 
of such an invitation. Then it dawned on 
me. "I am sorry, I would like to but my 
health insurance does not cover that kind 
of activity."

Whether my health insurance would cover 
that, I have no idea, but neither does anybody 
else, only my doctor knows for sure.

While I was pondering this, I was reminded 
of a word from the Proverbs. "Whoso 
boasteth himself of a false gift is like 
clouds and wind without rain" (Proverbs 
25:14 KJV).

Whoever boasts to others about their 
physical prowess is only fooling himself.

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HOWARD Hays As I See It


 We need to be outraged at what 
the IRS has done, not just mad at a 
couple of rogue agents. This is the 
“rogue agent” excuse, and if it’s allowed 
to stand as the truth, then not much 
will be done to collar the tremendous 
power placed in the IRS’ hands or the 
institutionalized abuses that seem to be 
practiced elsewhere in the government.

 The Washington Post recently 
quoted an IRS staffer explaining 
“everything comes from the top”. The 
Associated Press also put the head of 
the IRS agents’ union on record stating 
that “no processes or procedures or 
anything like that would ever be done 
just by frontline employees without 
any management involvement”. The 
final nail in the coffin comes from the 
New York Times which reported that 
the IRS agents received a directive 
from their managers in 2010 to 
disproportionately scrutinize certain 
tax applications and returns based on 
purely political considerations. 

 If rogue agents didn’t do this, I 
would hope that my colleagues on 
the left would join us in demanding 
a fair and thorough investigation, as 
well as suitable punishment for an 
abuse of power that threatens our 
democracy and freedoms. After all, 
the left is supposed to be the champion 
of individual rights and freedoms. 
Nothing quite rises to the level of 
intimidation as siccing the IRS on 
someone, although there are some 
other, as I describe below. 

 The key question in the IRS abuse 
case concerns how high the abuse goes. 
Here Cincinnati’s Fox 19 News has lead 
with the most thorough journalistic 
investigation. They’ve learned that 
the IRS agents involved had different 
managers, who themselves had 
different territory managers. The 
directive therefore came from a 
supervisor at least three levels up. Fox 
19 actually identified that Supervisor 
as Cindy Thomas, who is the same 
person who signed off on releasing 
confidential tax return information 
to liberal activists who in turn were 
able to harass donors to conservative 

 Fox 19 also discovered that the blocking 
of conservative tax applications began 
in early 2010 and that these actions 
would have generated serious alert 
notifications within the IRS. If a 
charitable application isn’t processed 
in 270 days, the agent must explain 
why the delay is necessary, and an alert 
is generated each month thereafter 
prompting someone to review the case 
and justify the continuing delay. The 
IRS started 
Tea Party 
in 2010 
and didn’t 
approve a 
single one 
for two years. 
The number 
of alerts 
requiring supervisory review is in the 

 We need to know how high this goes. 
Someone had to approve the continuing 
delay. With the number of alerts that 
were generated over the length of time 
detailed above, it’s inconceivable that 
the oversight stopped a mere three 
supervisory levels above a field office. 
With a top IRS official now pleading 
the 5th amendment, we may yet find 
that this abuse came from the top of 
the political chain. 

 More seriously, it appears this issue 
extends well beyond just the IRS. 
There is another element that must be 
explored to determine how deep the 
abuse has gone – and thus how much 
our freedoms have been eroded.

 As many of you may remember, 
Gibson Guitar was raided by the F.B.I. 
for allegedly importing illegal wood 
to make its guitars. The company’s 
inventory and many of its finished 
products were hauled away, and 
production was shut down. It faced 
bankruptcy. The company settled and 
paid $300,000 to the feds in order to 
get back into business. 

 Now, if the company was guilty, 
there’s really no complaint to be made. 
But what if the raid and penalties 
were politically motivated? There 
seems to be a lot of support to that 
claim. Gibson submitted written proof 
that the lumber was legal. Gibson’s 
competitor, which imports the same 
wood from the same countries didn’t 
get raided or investigated. Gibson’s 
founder contributed to conservative 
Tea Party candidates, while his 
competitor’s founder contributed to 
liberal candidates.

 We need to be angry about this. 
None of us –left or right – can afford 
to have our business shut down for a 
couple of weeks, let alone a couple of 
months or a year. If the government 
can do this, then none of us are truly 
free to speak our minds. Should this be 
allowed in America? I hope everyone 
say wholeheartedly, No! This needs to 
be fully exposed and fully expunged, or 
none of us will be truly free.

GREG Welborn

“Why are you guys so anti-
dictator? Imagine if America 
was a dictatorship. You could 
let one percent of the people 
have all the nation’s wealth. 
You could help your rich 
friends get richer by cutting 
their taxes and bailing them 
out when they gamble and 
lose. You could ignore the 
needs of the poor for healthcare and education. 
Your media would appear free but would 
secretly be controlled by one person and his 
family. You could wiretap phones. You could 
torture foreign prisoners. You could have 
rigged elections. You could lie about why you 
go to war. You could fill your prisons with one 
particular racial group – and no one would 
complain. You could use the media to scare 
the people into supporting policies that are 
against their interests. I know this is hard for 
you Americans to imagine . . . “

 - Admiral General Hafez Aladeen, ruler of 

 - aka Sacha Baron Cohen in “The Dictator” 

 Watching the latest from Sacha Baron Cohen 
(“Borat”, “Bruno”, Master of the House in “Les 
Miserables”) was the movie highlight of my long 
weekend. A highlight every weekend, of course, 
is the MVN – especially the opinion columns 
– even when I don’t appear in them. On the 
Left, Bill Press wrote, “The Justice Department’s 
raid of AP phone records is nothing less than 
a totally unjustified, wholesale trashing of 
the First Amendment . . . This is the one real 
scandal . . .” On the Right, Greg Welborn wrote, 
“We have a global war in which the other side 
shows absolutely no signs of stopping. We need 
to get serious.” Okay, I’ll say it – I agree with 
Greg, and think Bill has it wrong. 

 Barely out of college, my heroes were reporters 
Woodward and Bernstein, ferreting out the 
Watergate scandal. Years later, during the Iran 
hostage crisis under President Carter, columnist 
Jack Anderson scooped his colleagues with 
news of an impending hostage rescue mission 
(prior to, and apart from, the later tragedy of 
Desert One.) Having been thus exposed, the 
erstwhile secret mission had to be scrubbed. 
We’ll never know how history might’ve 
changed had that mission proved successful, 
because Anderson effectively vetoed it by what 
he probably considered an appropriate exercise 
of First Amendment rights.

 Press did address other “scandals”. On 
Benghazi, President Obama has made his three 
objectives clear: 1) Find out what happened, 
2) Take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen 
again, and 3) Bring those responsible to justice. 
Republicans’ objective is to fret about the 
talking points.

 For the IRS “scandal”, if we’d been paying 
attention last summer, we would’ve learned, 
as former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman 
testified before Congress in August 2012, that 
you don’t even need to apply to the IRS for 
501(c)(4) status – you simply declare it, then 
report your expenses on a Form 990.

 However, we had a situation where not 
only does an organization apply for the status 
when it doesn’t need to, but hundreds do – 
at the same time – and most have the words 
“tea party” or “patriot” in their names. They 
unabashedly devote themselves to political 
activity while signing forms attesting that they 
don’t, “under penalty of perjury”.

 I’ve got to take issue with Bill on the AP 
matter, though.

 The “target” is not the AP, nor the press, nor 
the First Amendment; it’s leaker(s) in agencies 
with access to confidential information. The 
N.Y. Times quoted a former National Security 
Council spokesman describing President 
Obama’s view: “He makes the case that we 
have 18-year-olds out fighting wars and acting 
like adults, and we have senior administration 
officials quoted in stories acting like children.” 
The article described the concern of top 
officials that “some leaks put Americans at risk, 
disrupted intelligence operations and strained 

 In May 2012 the AP reported the CIA had 
foiled a plot to blow up a US-bound airliner 
on the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin 
Laden. The plot had similarities to the 2009 
“underwear bomber”, but the explosive had no 
metal content - and could pass through airport 

 The individual who was to bear the explosives 
was an undercover operative, trained by Britain’s 
M15, placed in the al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen. 
Once the CIA’s involvement was revealed, the 
cover was blown. The Washington Post quoted 
a “former CIA official”; “This would have been 
a collection mission — what you’re trying to do 
is get him in as deep as you can possibly make 
him go. . . You don’t send him in there with the 
purpose of ‘Get a bomb and come back.’”

 The administration asked AP to hold off on 
the story but they went ahead anyway, tipping 
off al-Qaeda to the presence of a number of 
undercover operatives planted in their Yemeni 
organization. House Intelligence Committee 
Chmn. Mike Rogers (R-MI) bemoaned that 
“opportunities were lost” because of leaks 
coming from our own intelligence community.

 There’s also the Justice Dept. subpoenaing 
e-mails and phone records of Fox News reporter 
James Rosen. Back in 2009, Rosen reported on 
North Korea’s anticipated response to further 
sanctions, on actions “the Central Intelligence 
Agency has learned, through sources inside 
North Korea that the regime of Kim Jong-Il 
intends to take . . .”, thus informing the North 
Koreans of the penetration of operatives in 
their government, jeopardizing both their 
covers and their lives.

 Bill Press complains the Justice Department 
“offered no explanation how (the AP story) 
in any way jeopardized our national security.” 
Atty. Gen. Eric Holder doesn’t owe anybody 
such an explanation. He does, however, need to 
assure that those assigned to our most secretive 
agencies are at least able to keep secrets.

 It’s possible, as Greg says, to “get serious” 
about threats to our national security while still 
protecting our constitutional rights, although, 
as Admiral General Aladeen might say in 
addressing Bill Press and others on the ”left”, “I 
know this is hard for you Americans to imagine 
. . . “

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