Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, July 6, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page B:5



Mountain Views News Saturday, July 6, 2013 

HOWARD Hays As I See It

From The Right

TOM Purcell

 “I can’t 
really picture a 
female governor 
by women, 
signing a bill 
that mandates a 
colonoscopy for 
any man who wants a prescription 
for Viagra.”

- Randi Rhodes

 President Obama Tweeted, 
“Something special is happening 
in Austin tonight”, followed by a 
link to the live video feed from the 
Texas Statehouse, and the Twitter 
There were 200,000 viewers 
tuned into that feed a week ago 
last Tuesday, as State Sen. Wendy 
Davis (D) stood for eleven hours 
to filibuster the state’s effort to 
assert jurisdiction over one of the 
most personal decisions a woman 
can make. Senate allies held the 
floor for an additional two hours 
and then, as the clock ticked 
down, some 700 supporters in the 
gallery made sure the midnight 
deadline passed without a vote.

 SB5 was intended to deprive 
Texas women of autonomous 
control over their reproductive 
decisions and access to 
reproductive healthcare; except 
for those able to afford one of 
the top metropolitan hospitals or 
travel out of state. The number 
of facilities state-wide providing 
abortion services would drop 
from 42 to 5. It would criminalize 
abortions after 20 weeks of 
pregnancy. (In California, the 
cut-off is when the fetus becomes 
viable – to be determined by 
doctors, not politicians.)

 The bill failed that night, but 
within hours Gov. Rick Perry (R) 
called another special session to 
bring it up again and this time 
gets it passed. He gave a speech to 
supporters in which he reminded 
that Sen. Davis was the daughter 
of a single, teen-age mother, and 
then became a single, teen-age 
mother herself – before going on 
to earn a Harvard law degree and 
serve as a Texas State Senator. “It 
is just unfortunate that she hasn’t 
learned from her own example”. 
Sen. Davis argues it’s not a matter 
of choices she has made, or that 
other women have made, but 
of protecting the right of every 
woman in Texas to make those 
choices for herself. As for the 
governor’s remarks, “They are 
small words that reflect a dark 
and negative point of view. Our 
governor should reflect our Texas 
values. Sadly, Gov. Perry fails that 

 For a legislative hearing last 
week, Republican leadership ruled 
that no more than 140 members 
of the public would be allowed 
to speak, though over 1,900 had 
signed up to testify. They chose 
a room with only 67 seats; a third 
already reserved for lawmakers 
and media. Republican leadership 
refused Democratic requests 
to allow more Texans to have 
their say in front of their elected 
representatives. Over 5,000 
Texans showed up last Monday in 
front of the State Capitol to have 
their say, anyway.

 Over the past couple of weeks, 
Sen. Wendy Davis has been the 
most visible figure on the issue 
of protecting a woman’s right to 
make her own choices. Her story 
also brings attention to another, 
separate issue prominent in the 
recent news.

 As a Fort Worth City 
Councilwoman, Wendy Davis 
won her Senate seat in 2008 with 
support from her district’s large 
black and Hispanic population; 
a constituency largely ignored 
by the 20-term(!) Republican 
incumbent. Davis is white, but as 
the daughter of a single mother 
with a sixth-grade education, a 
divorced, single mom herself at 
19 working multiple jobs to get 
through college on a scholarship, 
“I have a story that’s very similar 
to so many people that I see 
struggling in the district that I 

 Republicans couldn’t win 
elections in their districts, so they 
changed the districts. Before 
the gerrymandering following 
the 2010 census, there were 
94 precincts in Davis’ district 
that were more than 70% 
black and Hispanic. After the 
gerrymandering, there were 46. 
According to Davis, minorities 
“were being separated very 
purposely from each other - and 
therefore from the power to ever 
express their preference at the 
ballot box again.”

 Wendy Davis went to the U.S. 
Dept. of Justice and sued under 
Section 5 of the Voting Rights 
Act. A Federal Court ruled in her 
favor, that the state had sought 
to dilute the power of minority 
voters. The Court saw through 
other schemes, that “The map-
drawers consciously replaced 
many of the district’s active 
Hispanic voters with low-turnout 
Hispanic voters in an effort to 
strengthen the voting power of 
Anglo citizens”. Federal Judges 
found that “substantial surgery” 
had been performed in largely 
black districts.

 However many challenges 
were brought nation-wide under 
Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, 
the ones upheld by Federal Courts 
during the 2012 election cycle 
were in Texas.

 An hour before Sen. Wendy 
Davis began her filibuster, the 
U.S. Supreme Court nullified 
Section 5 of the Voting Rights 
Act. Barely two hours later, the 
Texas Attorney General moved to 
have those previously disallowed 
redistricting maps reinstated. 
In addition, new voter-ID laws 
would be imposed, where an 
expired gun license from another 
state would allow one to vote, but 
a photo student-ID from a local 
university would not.

 Texas Republicans will do what 
they can to see that Wendy Davis 
does not return to office. They 
realize changing demographics 
are likely to turn Texas blue within 
a couple decades, so to delay the 
inevitable they’ll suppress the vote 
and dilute the influence of groups 
threatening their power.

 It’s questionable, though, how 
long that will be effective. A 
bipartisan poll the week of the 
filibuster showed 80% of Texans 
opposing their legislature’s taking 
up the abortion bills, with 71% 
saying the focus should be on the 
economy and jobs, instead. 74% 
feel private decisions about an 
abortion should be made by the 
woman, her family and her doctor 
- not by politicians – and that 
includes 61% of Republicans,

 Regardless of how they try to 
cling to power, Republicans will 
see that those 700 supporters 
in the gallery, the 5,000 on the 
statehouse steps and 200,000 tuned 
in to the live video feed are just 
the beginning – as more and more 
throughout Texas, and throughout 
the country, are determined to 


In the course of human events it is necessary, 
now and again, to reaffirm some of the thoughts 
and principles we have lost sight of. 

And so it is that we need to renew our independence. 
More than 55 percent of Americans now 
receive some form of federal government benefit 
— and many of us need to get off the dole. 

I cite the findings of Richard Vedder, a professor 
emeritus of economics at Ohio University and 
an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise 

In The Wall Street Journal, Vedder argues that 
more Americans are not only becoming more 
dependent on government benefits, but that their 
dependence is adversely affecting the growth of 
our economy. 

Consider: From the mid-17th century to the late 
20th century, Vedder says, the American economy's 
growth averaged a robust 3.5 percent a year. 
Compare that to economic growth for the last 
quarter, which was revised down to 1.8 percent. 

A key reason for the stumbling economy: Fewer 
able-bodied Americans are working because government 
programs give them incentive not to. 
Vedder offers four examples: 

• Food stamps, now known officially as the Supplemental 
Nutrition Assistance Program. Approximately 
48 million Americans receive food 
stamps — 30 million more than in the year 2000. 

• Social Security Disability. This program was established 
for people with genuine needs, but its 
numbers are soaring. In 1990, 3 million Americans 
received such payments; today, there are 
nearly 11 million — 6 million have been added 
since 2009 — despite widely reported fraud and 

• Pell Grants, which pay people to go to college 
instead of entering the workforce. The concept 
sounds reasonable enough — educate people so 
they get better jobs and pay more taxes — but 
Vedder says nearly half of college graduates now 
work in jobs that require no college degree. 

• Extended unemployment benefits. Vedder says 
that since the 1930s, unemployment insurance 
has been about lending a short-term hand to 
folks losing their jobs. But in the past four years, 
the traditional 26-week benefit has grown to a 
year or more — peaking 
at up to 99 weeks in some 

Vedder's argument makes 
sense. When government 
incentivizes people 
to stay home rather than 
seek work — when it 
gives them the opportunity to avoid jobs where 
pay and conditions do not meet their expectations 
— they will avoid work, and that will have 
a negative impact on the economy for all of us. 

Which is why we need a renewed declaration of 
independence — from our own government. 

The American dream has long been about the 
freedom to pursue one's own passion and success 
— not about being lured into the trap of getting 
by on a variety of federal and state programs. 

And make no mistake, many more Americans 
are enjoying expensive government goodies — 
grants and tax breaks for crony capitalists, health 
insurance provided to employees tax-free, low-
interest mortgages and deductions for vacation 
homes backed by Uncle Sam, etc. — than we like 
to admit, and these costs are killing us. 

The American dream requires a robust economy 
that affords every American an opportunity to 
find meaningful work, but an undisciplined government 
carrying high debt and deficits stands in 
the way of a robust economy. 

Heck, our government was formed to secure our 
unalienable rights, among them life, liberty and 
the pursuit of happiness — not to inhibit them. 

If we have any hope of carrying on the American 
dream, we have to declare our independence 
from government all over again. We all have to 
get our hands out of the government cookie jar 
and scale back government goodies across the 

I hope and pray that we have the will to get our 
affairs in order, so that younger generations may 
freely pursue their dreams, but I worry plenty 
these days. And I wish you a happy Fourth of 

Tom Purcell, author of "Misadventures of a 1970's Childhood" 
and "Comical Sense: A Lone Humorist Takes on a World Gone 
Nutty!" is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is 
nationally syndicated.

We’d like to hear from you! 

What’s on YOUR Mind?

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mountainviewsnews AND Twitter: @mtnviewsnews



HAIL Hamilton My Turn

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



 KABOOM!! Happy 
Birthday, America. Another 
year has gone by. This is 
probably as good a time as any 
to look back and reflect upon 
some recent changes. Among 
the most obvious changes that have occurred 
over the last few years are the accepted American 
attitudes toward race and homosexuality. The 
overall reaction to the rapid acceptance of same-
sex marriage demonstrates the way American 
attitudes can change in a very short time. It is 
now necessary in polite society to never make 
disparaging remarks about gay people and their 
right to marry and I agree that this change is 
completely appropriate.

 The attitude change has been so rapid that not 
only is a total acceptance of same sex intimate 
relationships required but also it is universally 
recognized that individuals that have any problem 
with this acceptance are nothing but ignorant 
bigots who have no right to be heard in the public 
forum. This, I think, can be problematic.

 A very similar phenomenon has occurred 
regarding discussions of race. The only acceptable 
attitude in polite society is to understand that no 
race is better than any other. Any individual who 
would maintain a different opinion is someone 
completely unworthy of respect and should 
be shunned. In fact it seems to be common 
knowledge that any White person who has ever 
used the word, or even uttered it secretly to 
himself or herself, is by definition an unrepentant 
bigot unworthy of respect.

 My own self-respect at this time requires me to 
assure you that I am not a racist or a homophobe 
and some of my best friends are gay, lesbian, 
transsexual people of all colors and ages and 
educational levels. Still, this whole judgmental 
business really troubles me. It reminds me of a 
comment I heard right after college. The comment 
was, “he’s cool—he smokes dope.” I knew even 
then that “coolness” or any other kind of merit 
could not be measured that easily. Character is 
a combination of many factors and it cannot be 
determined by a one question test. Somehow it all 
reminds me of the worst aspects of McCarthyism 
when presence at a political meeting decades 
earlier demonstrated that a person was a threat to 
society and should never be allowed to travel in 
the presence of right thinking Americans.

 I admit that I am capable of this kind of 
overreaction myself. I think organized religions 
are manipulative nonsense meant to prey on 
ignorant people who are taught not to think 
for themselves. I am told that something like 
40% of all Americans are fundamentalists who 
believe that the stuff written in their Holy Books 
is the actual word of the creator. Strangely 
though I keep chancing upon devout people 
who hold strong religious beliefs and yet are 
intelligent, creative, and interesting. Did you see 
the Discovery Channel Special showcasing the 
tight-rope walker who walked across the Grand 

 Every third step this guy took involved a Thank 
You Jesus or some other comment addressed to the 
Almighty. How silly I thought; but after hearing 
the post-walk interview I had a different opinion. 
The walker explained that he used his religion as 
a way of focusing himself. Without his religious 
devotion he could not do what he wanted to do 
with his life. Of course, for me, walking across 
canyons isn’t exactly what I wan to do with my life 
but I admire the man’s achievements.

 Similarly, I imagine that a good percentage of 
the 19 Arizona firefighters recently killed fighting 
the Arizona wild fires were devout religious men. 
These were brave men committed to performing 
a valuable service and their deaths make it clear to 
me that individuals should be judged not by some 
simple standard but rather by the consideration of 
their full lives. 

 I think the nation has learned a great deal during 
the five years of the Obama Administration. 
Although we would never want to admit it, many 
of us just loved voting for then Senator Obama 
for the very reason that he was Black. That was 
enough. Well, I think we have all learned that being 
Black isn’t enough. Being an effective President 
requires a combination of skills, experience, and 
luck and maybe all that isn’t enough? Was the 
President an unacceptable bigot eighteen months 
ago when he admitted that he had a problem with 
same-sex marriage? Is he a completely acceptable 
person now that he has evolved and changed his 
position on this one issue?

 Of course, I used the word “evolved” purposely 
in the above-paragraph. Can one be an intelligent 
person and not accept the theory of evolution 
based on current evidence? Similarly can one be 
a responsible, rational person and ignore all the 
scientific evidence and the continuous run of 
calamitous weather that now confronts the world? 
Well, based on what I have been saying it seems 
clear that no one question can provide sufficient 
information to allow for a reasoned judgment but 
….. Does all that mean that smoking dope isn’t, 
and wasn’t, ever cool? 

 Granting amnesty, of any 
kind to undocumented 
immigrants, is not only a 
slap in the face to all the legal 
immigrants, it is a serious 
breach of our national 
security. Have we all forgotten that the 9/11 
attack was, among other things, a failure of U.S. 
immigration policy and FAA security standards. 
Although the alleged 9/11 hijackers entered the 
U.S. legally, they had all overstayed their visas for 
years without ever being asked to leave? 

 If, as the government claims, these potential 
threats to our national security were being 
watched, why weren’t they deported? Viewing 
the security camera recordings of them boarding 
at Logan Airport does say much about our 
airport security at the time.

 During the past few months I have been 
following the debate over the current attempt 
at immigration reform. I may be suffering from 
a bad case of Alzheimer’s but what I’m hearing 
sounds an awfully lot like the 1986 Immigration 
Reform and Control Act (IRCA) signed into law 
by President Reagan -- An act, according to polls 
at the time, most Americans didn’t support. 

 Not surprising to its critics, the IRCA never 
lived up to its promises to:

 Require employers to attest to their employees’ 
immigration status.

 Make it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit 
unauthorized immigrants.

 Legalize certain seasonal agricultural illegal 

 Legalize illegal immigrants who could prove 
they entered the United States before January 1, 
1982 and had resided there continuously with the 
penalty of a fine, back taxes due, and admission 
of guilt. 

 Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Worse still is 
the fact that IRCA has proven an utter failure. 
Today the number of undocumented immigrant 
living in the U.S., depending on who’s counting, 
is estimated between 11 to 22 million! In 
California it is estimated that 1 in 10 workers is 
undocumented! But I digress. 

 To repeat, amnesty is a breach of our national 
security. Among other things, 9/11 was a colossal 
failure of U.S. immigration policy and FAA (now 
TSA) security protocols. We are all still paying for 
it; our troops are putting their lives on the line 
in Iraq and Afghanistan, and wherever else the 
War on Terrorism takes them. Yet, our borders 
and airports are no more secure than they were 
before 9/11.

 Recently I watched two documentaries that 
changed my thinking about this amnesty-
national security conundrum we find ourselves 
in today. These two films illustrate far better than 
I can in words the challenges we face as a nation 
in the near future.

 Dennis Lynch’s They Come To America 
(2012) covers it all, and from every perspective: 
the undocumented job market, unemployed 
American workers, drug smuggling criminals, 
ranchers under siege on the border, law 
enforcement, activists on both sides. It is clear 
there is a violent war being fought along our 
southern border between local ranchers and 
“coyote-narcotraficantes”. A war all but ignored 
by Washington and the mainstream press.

 While the Border Patrol visibly enforces 
areas near border towns with strong fencing no 
there are no agents in locations with inadequate 
fencing. As one rancher says, “It’s past being a 
joke — it’s deliberate.” Lynch reflects, “We can’t 
have ranchers defending America’s border. Yet 
they live life like that every day — every single 

 Rob DelGaudio’s Please Remove Your 
Shoes (2010) is troubling, frightening, film 
that examines the Transportation Security 
Administration’s (TSA) role as protector of the 
American skies, raising serious questions about 
the disturbing gap between the federal agency’s 
avowed purpose and actual airport safety since 

 It is a story about a broken government process, 
and about a dozen public servants who try to fix 
it. And it is a familiar topic to all of us who have 
flown in the last fifteen years: the security routine 
at the airport, first the FAA and now the TSA. 

 Most importantly, this film asks the question 
that should make us all squirm: “Is it safer to 
fly to today than it was before 9/11? The short 
answer, according to this documentary, is NO!”

 So how serious are we about our national 
security? Not very, apparently. Which makes me 
wonder how serious is the threat of terrorism? 
Despite the claims of the last two administrations 
that since 9/11 they have successfully prevented 
any further terrorist attacks by the fact that none 
have happened, only makes me wonder: 

 If terrorism is such a serious threat to our 
national security then why do we allow such lax 
border and air transportation security to continue? 
It just doesn’t make any sense... any sense at all!



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