Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, June 8, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 15



 Mountain Views News Saturday, June 8, 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



 Lately many things 
have been isolated 
as threatening 
civilization as we 
know it. There’s 
too much carbon 
dioxide in the air; 
the continued use of fossil fuels will 
inevitably cause the ruination of the 
planet, unexplained meteorological 
disasters are a weekly occurrence; wars 
continue and Americans can’t tell the 
good guys from the bad guys. In the 
United States the whole legislative 
process is gridlocked and simple gun-
control legislation cannot be passed 
although such legislation is supported by 
a huge majority of the electorate. Half 
the world’s population, about a billion 
people are starving while exist multi-
billionaires controlling a huge percentage 
of the world’s wealth ignore the problem. 

 The future looks bleak in that once 
respected institutions such as the 
University of California system, almost 
free of charge in my lifetime, has now 
become almost prohibitively expensive 
to almost all but the already wealthy. 
Furthermore, even after obtaining an 
expensive education and faced with an 
overwhelming debt, many graduates find 
themselves unable to find work. 

 There are other kinds of problems 
that I see in Court every day. There is 
a tremendous number of people driving 
cars while under the influence of alcohol. 
If society is serious about wanting to end 
the problems associated with drunk-
driving, there is a simple solution. 
Sensors could be installed in all vehicles 
which would prevent the car from 
starting if the driver has a measurable 
amount of alcohol in his or her system. 
Even if these additional sensors make 
automobiles cost a bit more, this is 
far better than the danger to everyone 
caused by drunk drivers.

 Yes, all of these problems exist and 
perhaps mankind is doomed but, 
underneath it all, most of us believe 
solutions will be found that will make the 
problems go away and that other areas 
of concern - like overpopulation, plague, 
water shortages, and global economic 
depressions - will soon take center stage. I 
am no wizard at predicting the future but 
there is one problem that I see every day 
in Court that I find terribly disturbing. 
This is the problem of domestic violence. 
Whole departments of the Court deal 
with only domestic violence matters.

 It’s bad enough that about half the 
marriages end in divorce requiring 
expensive litigation and decisions by 
outsiders to settle the disputes between 
former lovers, but violence is another level 
of horror. Afternoon talk shows are filled 
with stories of spouses killing spouses 
and the public seems satisfied with a 
final punishment of guilty perpetrators. 
The problem isn’t the need to identify 
the evil-doers but, instead, there should 
be some huge overall societal attempt to 
assist us in getting along with our chosen 
partners. Barriers between people such 
as race, religion, and age have generally 
disappeared and we are free to marry 
anyone we want, so long as the other 
person agrees.

 Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Just 
about everyone I know who ever got 
married described themselves as totally 
in love at the time of their marriage. 
Yes, everything was dandy yet, within a 
decade or so, about 75 per cent of these 
marriages ended in divorce. Sure, the 
kids of the marriage were damaged by the 
break-up and probably never understood 
what was going on. Kids are invariably 
influenced by what they see, or think they 
see, as going on between their parents. 
In his book The Soul’s Code, James 
Hillman reveals that a study of identical 
twins separated at birth demonstrates 
something extraordinary about the style 
of romantic love. These twins, who he 
calls monozygotic adults raised apart, 
are identical in many ways. They often 
have chosen to use the same toothpaste, 
shaving lotion, cigarettes, and hair 
tonic. They often have chosen the same 
professions; all of which demonstrates 
that genetic influence accounts for 
a significant part of an individual’s 
character or destiny. There is one great 
difference between these identical twins 
raised apart. That great difference is what 
Hillman calls their “style of love”.

 Hillman has concluded that “romantic 
love styles, unlike almost everything else, 
are not strongly influenced by heritable 
factors.” According to the research he 
discusses, individuals’ styles of loving are 
highly influenced by observing parents’ 
relational styles. This conclusion gives 
me some hope. If society can help 
spouses to relate in non-destructive 
ways this may well impact the way their 
children relate to their future spouses. 
Maybe it would be possible in the future 
for couples to stop beating each other up 
and to actually provide loving models for 
their children to follow.

 How does society help its married 
couples? Do we have to be trained to 
be nice to one another? Could there be 
marriage training just like driver training 
or swimming lessons? Well, it’s worth 
thinking about and if people keep going 
to School, I think learning to help people 
to get along will have as great an impact 
on our lives as anything else. After 
all, who needs money, food, or water 
when you’re in love - even if you are 
unemployed? Nevertheless, if we want a 
more livable world, I think this is a great 
place to start. 

 I was minding my own business last week, which is the only 
business I am concerned about, when the Gracious Mistress of the 
Parsonage posed a question. 

 It is in the area of questions I feel the most inadequate. Maybe it 
is because I have not heard all the questions yet, but I think I have come close. I should 
know that any question that comes from my wife has a hidden agenda. Usually, she asks 
questions that have no answers.

 “Let’s go out for lunch today,” she said rather chipperly. Experience should have 
taught me that when she is chipper, I am in trouble, because I am always the chippee. 
“We have,” she explained, “some gift cards for a restaurant across town.”

 Then she smiled and that should have been a giveaway for me.

 When you mention lunch, and when you add the word “free” to it, I lose all sense of 
proportion and sanity, if I had any. Actually, to be honest about everything, it does not 
take much to scratch between my ears and get me purring.

 Then she threw in a perk that sold me completely on the idea. I love perks.

 “I’ll drive.”

 When you think you have heard every trick in the book, somebody writes a new 
book. Usually, I forget some old trick that she has played, and here was an old one she 
was playing on me again.

 On the way to the restaurant, I had a little uneasy feeling, but as we sat down and began 
ordering, all suspicion faded into thin air. It was a scrumptious lunch and we both 
enjoyed being together, carefree and enjoying the ambiance.

 When the check came I casually said, “You know, we ought to do this more often.”

 She smiled and nodded her head.

 When we got into the car, she said somewhat nonchalantly, “Oh, by the way, since 
we’re here I need to run into the mall and pick up an item.”

 When I heard those words, I froze. Not the mall! I hate shopping, especially at the 
mall. In my mind, the word “mall” is the acronym for May All Lose their Loot. Since I 
do not have that much loot to lose, I do not like going into a place designed to relieve 
me of my loot.

 Every time I walk down the center of the mall, I feel eyes glaring at me and piercing to 
the core of my wallet trying to suck out all my money. And, by the way, they take credit 
cards. Boy, do they “take” credit cards.

 When we parked at the mall parking lot, I indicated I would stay in the car and wait 
for her.

 “Oh, no,” she exclaimed, “come on in, you need the exercise. I’m just going to run in 
and run out.”

 Here is where the language differential between husbands and wives shows itself. 
Unless you are familiar with English with a feminine twist, you are going to get trapped 
every time.

 For example: when a husband says the word “run,” he is referring to speed. When 
his wife uses the same word it means she is going to run into every store in sight within 
the mall with one agenda, and that is to buy. For which I can say bye-bye to my money.

 Why don’t local universities offer a degree in wifeology? They have degrees in everything 
else, why not here where it would be most useful. By the time I reach the equivalent 
of a doctorate in wifeology, I would be too old to do any good with it.

 Those who insist there is no difference between a man and a woman have never been 
married to a woman. Husbands get into trouble assuming their wife is just like them 
and thinks just like them.

 Exiting the shopping mall my wife looked at me, smiled and said, “Now, wasn’t that 
good exercise.”

 I nodded as I walked to the car with both my hands filled with recently purchased 
items from the shopping mall. Now I know my part of the exercise was hauling her purchases 
to the car. Halfway to the car I had to stop and catch my breath and wondered if 
I would really make it to the car.

 “Come on, we’re done shopping for the day. Let’s get to the car.”

 While driving home I was afraid my wife was going to wear out her smile.

 “This has been a great day. We’ll have to do this more often.”

 Then she began humming a song, “We’ve only just begun.” I think this is her theme 
song; in fact, I am afraid it is.

 About half way home, I had a wonderful thought. It was a good day. I can always 
earn more money, but I can never get another wife quite as nice as the one I have. Then 
I began humming, “We’ve only just begun.”

 A verse of Scripture began playing in my mind as we continued our journey home.

 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; 
that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3 KJV).

 Driving into the driveway, I realized this was not our final destination. God has a 
wonderful place prepared for those who have put their trust and faith in Him. No tricks 
about it.

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HOWARD Hays As I See It

GREG Welborn


This week, we witnessed the 69th anniversary of D-Day, and 
it is altogether proper and fitting that we commemorate the 
day when so many of the greatest generation gave their lives 
in the military campaign that largely determined the course 
of victory in WWII. Had they not paid the price, and had 
they not established that beachhead in northern France, it’s 
likely Hitler would have prevailed. But D-Day was not the 
only substantive event which determined the outcome of that 
war. As Churchill commented soon after the war’s end, WWII 
would have been prevented if only a previous generation of 
leaders had risen to the occasion. Sadly, today we are seeing a replay of that previous 
generation’s moral and political failures in the actions of our current administration’s 
handling of the Syrian war. We may ultimately look back in righteous anger at a war 
that could have been stopped were it not for the fecklessness of President Obama.

Many readers will be tempted to right off that assessment as nothing more than partisan 
ravings. But the assessment is not mine alone. In a remarkable burst of candor, Bill 
Clinton said, “Obama doesn’t know how to be president. He doesn’t know how the 
world works. He’s incompetent. He’s an amateur!”

Because of that incompetence, it is becoming increasingly clear that Obama’s handling 
of the Syrian conflict is dramatically increasing the probability of a more wide spread 
pan-middle east conflict. Should that happen, it will be a war the U.S. will have to enter. 
President Obama has chosen to sit out the conflict since its inception. The standard 
line is that this is simply an internal struggle between a secular dictator and the people 
he has ruled. But this “sectarian” war is now being correctly seen as the proxy for a 
wider Sunni-Shiite conflict. Such a Sunni-Shiite conflict, which will involve the entire 
Middle East, was avoided in Iraq because of the U.S. military and diplomatic presence 
in that country in 2006. The offshoot of the Bush doctrine was the full engagement of 
the U.S. in preventing the Middle East tinder box from fully igniting. 

In contrast, the Obama doctrine calls for the U.S. to abdicate it leadership position, to 
lead from behind, to allow the Russians and the Iranians to guide events. So, Assad’s 
minority sect government is being supplied militarily by Russia, enabling it to retain is 
control over a majority sect population. This inflames religious tensions within Iran, 
Lebanon and Hezbollah. Today, we’re close to the tipping point of that wider pan-
Middle East war.

The administration’s response is to float the idea that if the conflict prompts a larger Al 
Qaeda vs Hezbollah war in the region, the bloodbath might actually benefit the west. 
Why, after all, should we care if one murderous faction of Islam wants to wipe out 
another murderous faction of Islam? Better that they fight each other than us. Perhaps 
if both sides were narrowly focused territorially, it would be tempting – although 
highly immoral given the civilian casualties – to let events play out. But neither faction 
here is fighting just for territory. This isn’t about Syria. This isn’t about ruling one little 
spec of ground on a big planet.

Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Russia and Iran are engaged because the victor will gain a 
stronger base from which to wage religious war against the west. Because the Obama 
administration has been AWOL here, there are no legitimate civil libertarian or secular 
democratic forces on either side. Because the U.S. was engaged in Iraq, there is a 
fledgling democracy and civil libertarian movement in that country. Of course, that 
Iraqi democracy struggles now because Obama has decreased our presence there as 
well, but at least we were there long enough to midwife the movement, and it still fights 
for life. Without any meaningful U.S. involvement in Syrian events, there is nothing 
but stillborn remnants of democrats in Syria.

Syria, like Egypt, Libya and even that brief moment of civil unrest in Iran, is becoming a 
lost opportunity because of the Obama doctrine. Unless we see courageous leadership 
of the type that Churchill found so lacking among the leaders who preceded him, we, 
too, will see a wider war - this one unconstrained by the borders of the Mediterranean, 
the Black or the Arabian Seas. Those who vie for dominance in this conflict will 
ultimately focus their attention on Israel, Europe and the U.S. We need to engage now 
– forcefully and fully – in a region literally dying for stability, or we may yet see the 
world at war again.

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 

“The chicken-hawk has 
no idea what it means to 
have the courage to put 
your life at risk to defend 
this nation, but they’re 
quick to disparage those 
who did sacrifice. I don’t 
understand how their 
conscience permits them to 
challenge Senator Kerry’s 
commitment to our nation’s 
defense. . . The reality is that the chicken-hawks 
in this administration are doing a lousy job of 
bolstering our nation’s defense and supporting 
the troops.”

 - 2004 floor speech by Sen. Frank Lautenberg 
(1924-2013) (D-NJ) (U.S. Army 1942-1946)

 A new Quinnipiac University poll shows 
that although Americans feel the IRS “scandal” 
is more important than Benghazi or the Justice 
Dept.’s seizure of Associated Press records, 
they also, by a wide margin, think Congress’ 
attention would be better focused elsewhere. 
By 73% to 22%, Americans would rather see 
Congress focused on jobs and the economy 
than on any of those three “scandals”.

 This IRS “scandal” goes back to 1959, when 
the agency took it upon itself to revise the 
statute governing 501(c)(4) status. It directed 
that the word “exclusively”, as in “exclusively” 
engaged in social welfare activities, be 
interpreted as “primarily” – thus inviting 
arbitrary determinations. 

 The problem was self-inflicted by the IRS, 
but I see an ulterior motive to Congress’ 
obsession with it: to divert attention from 
the fact that by far the largest, most egregious 
“scandals” involving the IRS are the result of 
actions taken by Congress itself.

 Here’s what’s scandalous:

 According to the SEC, in the five years since 
the Great Recession of 2008, corporate profits 
have doubled from what they were ten years 
ago. But, while their average effective tax 
rate in the twenty years prior to the crash was 
22.5%, the rate in the five years since has fallen 
to 10%, though for many it was lower:

 General Electric reported $81 billion in profits 
over the past five years, with a negative tax rate 
– receiving refunds of $3 billion. Refunds also 
went to Boeing ($21.5 billion profits), Verizon 
($48 billion), Kraft Foods ($13.5 billion) and 
Dow Chemical ($10 billion).

 Exxon/Mobil paid an effective tax rate of 1% 
over the period, reporting $45 billion in profits 
for 2012 – and sharing in the $2.4 billion per 
year of taxpayer subsidies.

 We’ve heard of the $1.7 trillion that 
corporations have stashed abroad to avoid 
U.S. taxes. Now, many aren’t even bothering 
with the pretense of holding deposits overseas 
in the Caymans, Bermuda or Singapore. As 
reported in a January WSJ article, they just 
report money to have been earned by foreign 
subsidiaries and then keep it here, in dollars, in 
U.S. banks. Microsoft and Google have more 
than three-quarters of their revenue reportedly 
from foreign subsidiaries sitting here at home 
– and tax-free.

 Some suggest high taxes lead companies 
to leave California. Well, Apple is still 
headquartered up north in Cupertino. They 
set up an office in Reno, though, to invest their 
profits and avoid state taxes. They established 
subsidiaries in Ireland to handle intellectual 
property, so royalties on a patent for a Silicon 
Valley invention, and taxes on those royalties, 
are collected in County Cork. To avoid 
Ireland’s 12.5% tax rate, Apple developed the 
“Double Irish” strategy, adopted by others, 
where profits earned in low-tax places in 
Europe are transferred again to zero-tax 
locales in the Caribbean. A study cited by 
the NY Times figures that by these strategies 
Apple avoids paying some $2.4 billion a year 
in U.S. taxes.

 The scandal is that Congress writes the tax 
code to appease the interests that bankroll 
their careers, not those who actually vote – 
and, especially since “Citizen’s United”, those 
interests are primarily corporate.

 Unlike a corporation, when we make 
money, we’re not able to search the globe for 
jurisdictions with the lowest tax rates in which 
to report that income. 

 If we have to pay a fine on a speeding ticket, 
it costs us alone. If Wall Street banks have 
to pay an $8.5 billion settlement for tanking 
the economy; if BP has to pay $36.5 billion in 
fines, settlements and oil cleanup costs, they’re 
able to deduct it from their taxes – so it costs 
the rest of us, too.

 Homeowners rebuilding after Hurricane 
Sandy can deduct from their taxes only 
expenses exceeding 10% of their annual 
income. Corporations have no such limitation.

 If we suffer a loss one year, we get a tax break 
for that year only. A corporation, however, 
can carry that loss from one year to the next 
up to seven years – an option the rest of us 
don’t have.

 Americans working overseas have to report 
and pay taxes on their income every April 15 
- whether they’re staying on for another year 
or not. American corporations, however, 
can “defer” paying taxes on overseas income 
indefinitely – until they “bring it home”. 
It’s estimated that not treating American 
corporations like American citizens in this 
regard costs us some $60 billion a year.

 We know any money we give to a presidential 
candidate isn’t deductible – and if it’s fifty bucks 
or more, it can’t be anonymous. As reported 
in Pro Publica last August, tax-exempt 501(c)
(4) groups had by then spent $71 million on 
presidential campaign ads, to which, thanks 
to “Citizens United”, corporations could 
contribute unlimited amounts anonymously. 
The amount spent by liberal 501(c)(4) groups 
totaled $1.6 million. The amount spent by 
just two conservative groups, Karl Rove’s 
Crossroads GPS and the Koch Brothers’ 
Americans for Prosperity, totaled $60 million.

 Last year during “fiscal cliff” talks, 
Republicans were amenable to President 
Obama’s suggestion to lower tax rates while 
closing loopholes and trimming deductions 
– until they were asked to identify loopholes 
they’d be willing to close and deductions they’d 
be willing to trim. Then, after rates were raised 
on incomes above $450,000 a year, they took 
the whole idea off the table. 

 Congressional Republicans remain intent 
on pursuing this IRS Tea Party “scandal” 
rather than pursuing means to assure every 
multi-national corporation pays its fair share 
of taxes just like every individual middle-class 
earner is expected to. 

It’s scandalous. 

Mountain Views News

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