Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, August 10, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 16



 Mountain Views News Saturday, August 10, 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




 During the past couple of days my wife and I saw two 
movies. The first was Fruitvale Station. The film deals with the 
real-life story of poor people struggling to survive in the Bay 
Area. The movie was almost documentary-like without being 
exploitive. The main character, who we know from the news 
and the beginning of the picture will be shot dead. The picture 
has been reviewed in many places and you don’t need to hear 
the plot repeated again from me. What is different is the way in 
which the actual lives of people are displayed. For those of us 
living in the rapidly disappearing middle class this film presents us with a picture 
of what it’s like to be without a job, to be a single parent, to be unable to trust even 
the ones you love, to sometimes not even be able to trust oneself. Still, there is 
something noble to be seen on the screen. People are doing the best they can. 
There is truth beneath their lies. There is humanity and there is love and there is 

 The next day at about the same time my wife and I attended the movie Blue 
Jasmine. This is a Woody Allen Movie that had received good reviews and I was 
very eager to see it. It had opened only in West Los Angeles which sort of made 
me hate it already. I know there is probably some reason to have these limited 
engagements before a movie opens city-wide but I hate reading about movies that 
traffic and wealth patterns prevent me from actually seeing. These days I only go 
to West LA for operations and to visit friends in hospitals.

 Anyhow this Woody Allen movie is much like his other movies in that it 
displays a city beautifully. This movie, like Fruitvale Station, takes place in the Bay 
Area in and around San Francisco, but it is a different San Francisco. Although the 
plot of the story focuses on a woman who is married to great wealth she loses that 
wealth and is left almost homeless. Soon she finds someone else with great wealth 
and that wealth is displayed throughout the movie. The crucial incident in the 
film is a past event when she is notified that her husband has inadvertently left his 
Rolex at the Ritz Hotel in Rome. Aha; she knows now that she has been betrayed 
and learns from her friends that she is the last to know.

 I quite enjoyed the film and highly recommend it but I admit that I was 
bothered by the fact that there were no characters in the film that I could respect. 
Everyone constantly lied to everyone else and pretended to be something they 
were not. The film sort of reminded me of my first impression of the TV Series 
Mad Men. which I disliked at first because all the characters seemed despicable. 
They remain despicable but after watching a few of the episodes I stopped caring 
about their ultimate character and just got absorbed into their adventures.


 That avoiding the question of ultimate character didn’t happen for me in 
Blue Jasmine and when I woke up this morning I remembered that somewhere 
alonmg the way I had taped the Woody Allen Movie, Annie Hall. This film is 
one of my all-time Woody Allen favorites. So this Sunday morning, even before 
watching Meet The Press, I watched the beginning of Annie Hall. The thirty five 
year-old film start out with a monologue by the young Woody talking about his 
regrets for the way he treated his lost-lover Annie. Woody makes few excuses 
for himself and just sort of laments that people himself included, are sort of an 
unworthy lot. They are always lieing and betraying and simply can’t and shouldn’t 
be trusted. I think this is his view of the world and I guess the message of his forty 
year totality of work is that although humans are scum they can build nice cities 
and prepare good meals and that fighting the depression inevitably associated with 
recognition of man’s lowly nature is just part of the business ofstaying alive.

 Thinking now about the two pictures I now prefer the Fruitvale Station. 
My opinion is not based upon the acting, which is pretty great in both pictures, but 
instead results from my feeling after I think about the movies. I want to believe 
that underneath it all, humans are pretty good guys. Often we get mislead and 
want to pretend that we are something that we are not. Often we only want what 
we don’t have and destroy that which is really most precious to us. We generally 
make too many excuses for ourselves and we can do better. It’s kind of a shame, I 
guess that perhaps wealth, success, and fame have contributed to indulgences that 
lead to unpardonable errors that have left him pretty isolated. It could be worse 
but, at least, he was not shot to death at some railroad station. Rich people seldom 

It was my birthday 
and I decided to 
celebrate it as low-
key as possible. I am at that stage in life where 
I really do not need presents from anybody 
reminding me of how old I really am. I know 
every present represents an obligatory return 
on the gesture and at my age, I do not have the 
energy to return anything.

 All I really need is just a friendly "Happy 
Birthday." I have developed a special rule 
along that line. For every "Happy Birthday" 
I receive, I am allowed one slice of birthday 
cake. So far I am on my 19th birthday cake 
and anticipating more.

 The rule about saying "Happy Birthday" is 
that as long as there is a six-month period either 
way, it is still in play. I am looking forward 
to a lot more "Happy Birthday" greetings.

 After all, what do you get a person who has 
had as many birthdays as I have had that 
would be original and surprising? Believe me, 
I have enough ties. Of course, cash is always 
in good taste.

 Throughout the years I have been known to 
pull a few surprises on the Gracious Mistress 
of the Parsonage's birthday but nobody has 
been able to reciprocate.

 That is, until recently.

 It was the day of my birthday when suddenly 
I began receiving emails and phone calls and 
they all had one theme. Not one of them was 
wishing me happy birthday but all were concerned 
about an email they allegedly received 
from me.

 According to this email, I was in Manila, 
Philippines on some mission trip.

 Actually that was not quite unusual because 
several years ago I did go on such a trip and 
most of my friends knew it. Now, according to 
this friendly email being sent to my friends, I 
was back in the Philippines on another mission 

 According to this anonymous friend, I 
was stranded in the Philippines. I had been 
robbed, my passport had been confiscated, 
and I needed money to get out of the Philippines. 
No wonder I have been feeling tired 

 Of all the birthday presents a person might 
receive this one really beats the birthday cake. 
I would not have thought of this in 1 million 

 My email account had been hacked into 
and all of my email contacts were sent what 
seemed to be an emergency email. Most of my 
friends were relieved to find out that I was not 
stranded in the Philippines.

 My Korean publisher actually was willing to 
put up money to rescue me from my situation. 
Two other people were trying to find out 
how to get money to bail me out.

 The thing that worries me along this line is 
of all of my friends only three were willing to 
bail me out financially. I must make a mental 
note of this and never get stranded in the 

 My birthday hacking became a little more 
than I at first thought.

 At first it was a little joke, ha ha ha, I am 
really not in the Philippines. A joke can only 
go so far. I thought it was the end of the joke, 
but boy, was I in for a wonderful birthday 

 My entire email account had been compromised 
and a new email address was inserted 
so all of the response would go to another 
person. I finally found out how he changed 
my account, changed it back and changed my 

 All of my emails for the past month, including 
important ones from my publisher 
and agent, were lost in the mysterious world 
of the Internet. Somewhere in that mystifying 
world, my emails are floating around not 
knowing whither to cometh or goeth.

 Delving deeper into my birthday hacking 
present I discovered that although my email 
contacts were missing, where I once had over 
600 email contacts, I now had exactly none. 
How do you deal with "none"?

 I now do not know who my friends really 
are. Their addresses are gone. How do I contact 

 I am beginning to think this birthday hacking 
present is not all it is hacked up to be.

 Now, my post birthday activity will be salvaging 
all of those email contacts. I suppose it is 
good every once in a while to start over again. 
I guess there is something good about getting 
a fresh start in life. I have often thought of it 
myself but never in this context.

 I would like to know who my birthday benefactor 
really is. I would like the opportunity to 
properly and fully acknowledge and express 
to this person my true feelings about him 
face-to-face, and not on Facebook. After all, 
"thank you" does not always say it.

 I think I now appreciate Joseph's feelings towards 
his brothers who caused him so much 

 "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; 
but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, 
as it is this day, to save much people alive" 
(Genesis 50:20 KJV).

 I am still looking for the good in this situation. 
For one, I am not stranded in the Philippines 
without any money. I am at home 
without money, but that is a different story. 
Although he hacked my email account, he did 
not touch my soul.

 A rumor can never hurt you if you really 
know the truth.

Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family 
of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 
34483. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver 
Springs Shores. E-mail 
His web site is www.jamessnyderministries.

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JOE GUZZARDO..........For The Right

JOE Gandleman...Independent’s Eye

It's a classic 
case of deja 
vu, and you 
get that sinking, 
And then a (momentarily) optimistic 

The sinking feeling: reports about a new 
al-Qaeda terrorist threat that sounded 
alarmingly like reports published in the 
summer of 2011 about confident terrorist 
chatter picked up by intelligence 
services prefacing 9/11 -- a catastrophe 
shown by history to be the culmination 
of managerial negligence on the part of 
administrations of BOTH parties. The 
optimistic feeling: the Obama administration's 
efforts to protect form and 
prepare for a possible attack received 
widespread bipartisan support. 

Who would have thought it's still possible 
in mega-polarized America? Over 
the past few years that has become a serious 

If America was genuinely threatened 
by another 9/11 could partisans put 
down their increasingly tiresome political 
posturing, agendas and 24/7 efforts 
to score points for their parties long 
enough to unite to back checkmating it? 
And if there was another big, terrorist 
bloodbath, could Americans come together 
like they did after 9/11, or within 
days would that become yet one more 
finger-pointing partisan battle and ratings-
bait booster fought out by the likes 
of the Martin Bashirs and Sean Hannitys, 
and breathtakingly predictable partisan 
websites on the left and right?

It's the agony -- a serious threat. And 
the ecstasy -- signs that there are still 
moments when America's political parties 
aren't entirely consumed by optics, 
cover-your-you-know-what actions, or 
"playing to the base" -- a phrase increasingly 
meaning playing to the basest of 
emotions and instincts of the left and 
the right. It's America's (fleeting) political 
Arab spring as political players focused 
on protection and prevention. 

In this instance, it's as if both parties 
seemed to have heeded the words of 
President Rutherford Hayes in his 1877 
inaugural address: "He serves his party 
best who serves his country best."

But it's not entirely surprising. You've 
heard of "fight or flight?" This choice 
was divide or survive.

The threat sparked the biggest closure 
ever of U.S. embassies and consulates 
due to a terrorist threat: 21 were temporarily 
shuttered in North Africa and 
the Middle East. According to reports, 
electronic communications picked 
up between Osama bin Laden successor 
Ayman al-Zawahri and and Nasser 
al-Wuhayshi, head of al Qaeda in the 
Arabian Peninsula, indicated a specifically 
timed attack or attacks were slated. 
Some reports suggested fears of surgically 
implanted bombs that could easily 
thwart airport security.

Both parties have bungled on foreign 
policy over the years. Washington Post 
columnist Eugene Robinson writes: 
"The truth is that U.S. foreign policy 
helped create the new decentralized al-
Qaeda, a branch of which is believed to 
be trying to launch some kind of strike." 
He points to George W. Bush's invasion 
of Iraq, Bush and Barack Obama's use of 
collateral-damage causing drones, and 
an "Arab spring" that bolstered jihadists.

Only a few in either party suggested this 
current threat wasn't serious. Texas's 
Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert said 
the administration was acting "like 
a bunch of cowards that go running 
away." Meanwhile, Guardian columnist 
Glenn Greenwald suggested that 
the problem was being exaggerated by 
the administration, and the embassies 
closed, to try and distract from revelations 
about how the National Security 
Agency collects data -- revelations reported 
on by Greenwald in his exclusive 
interview with Russia's newest and most 
famous refugee, Edward Snowden.

Greenwald's kind of response is not 
new. Partisans or those heavily invested 
in an issue will often assume that if t-
h-e-i-r issue is not totally front-burner, 
then another action or focus by the government 
is aimed at "changing the subject" 
-- when it may be actually because 
it's wise to change the focus. 

Fortunately, in this instance, concern 
for the country's national security united 
both parties. And again it seemed 
as if they had listened to the words of 
a President, this time Theodore Roosevelt, 
who said: "Nine-tenths of wisdom 
is being wise in time."

Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist who 
wrote for newspapers overseas and in the 
United States. He has appeared on cable news 
show political panels and is Editor-in-Chief of 
The Moderate Voice, an Internet hub for independents, 
centrists and moderates. CNN's 
John Avlon named him as one of the top 25 
Centrists Columnists and Commentators. He 
can be reached at jgandelman@themoderatevoice.
com and can be booked to speak at 
your event at

Last week 
the Supreme 
Court refused 
to delay 
the release of thousands of inmates 
from California state prisons. Severe 
overcrowding in the prison system has, in 
the court's eyes, led to substandard medical 
and mental health treatment. Despite 
Governor Jerry Brown's argument that 
setting dangerous prisoners free would 
create mayhem and put residents at risk, 
10,000 inmates must be released before 
December 31 as part of a longer term 
plan to reduce the prison population by 
30,000. The Court rejected Brown's plea 
that California has already transferred 
thousands of low-level and nonviolent offenders 
to county jails. Unfortunately, local 
officials have freed some inmates early 
to ease their own overcrowding issues.

For Californians looking for the bright 
side, they can take cold comfort in knowing 
that they'll no longer have to foot the 
huge bill for housing thousands of illegal 
immigrants. The latest data from the 
California Department of Corrections 
and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and originally 
reported by Bakersfield Eyewitness 
News found that a staggering number of 
illegal immigrants are housed in California's 
prisons and jails with beleaguered 
taxpayers picking up the tab. According 
to CDCR's findings, there were 16,902 inmates 
on hold for Immigration and Customs 
Enforcement. Also 3,962 prisoners 
were listed as potential ICE holds. 

The total, 20,864 illegal immigrant inmates, 
represents about 13 percent of 
California's prison count. Many come 
from nations known to sponsor terrorism 
like Afghanistan, Egypt and the Congo.

More silver lining, if you can call it that: 
at 13 percent, California's immigration 
prison population is lower than the nation's 
20 percent average. But more realistic 
Californians think they've gotten 
the double whammy. They paid a King's 
ransom to house foreign-born criminal 
inmates who, once released, might victimize 
them again.

The CDCR estimates the per-inmate cost 
at nearly $45,000 a year or an aggregate 
annual taxpayer expense of about $1 billion. 
The $1 billion is part of the overall 
cost of illegal immigration in California, 
estimated at $22 billion by the Federation 
of American Immigration Reform. 
Of the immigrants in state prison, the 
CDCR reports that most (15,985) are 
from Mexico with 14,037 illegally present 
but only 1,928 legal residents. More than 
1,100 aliens have been convicted of first 
degree murder.

Potential solutions include sending the 
foreign nationals home to serve out their 
sentences. Under California law, the governor 
or his designee is authorized to approve 
foreign prisoner transfers as part of 
the Department of Justice's International 
Prisoner Transfer Program, a combination 
of treaties, conventions, federal and 
states' laws.

But the transfer program is rarely used. 
Created in 1977, only a handful of prisoners 
have been extradited. When extradition 
has been to Mexico, convicts 
frequently return and create a futile revolving 
door pattern.

The simplest and easiest resolution is 
vigorous border security that would help 
keep aliens out of California and thus, by 
extension, reduce the numbers of crimes 
they commit. Border security has been 
talked about and promised for years. 

California Reps. Kevin McCarthy and Jim 
Costa agree that border protection is the 
key to keeping criminal aliens out of the 
state's penal system. But no matter how 
high illegal immigration's costs soar, little 
is ever done. In June, the Senate passed 
the Border Security, Economic Opportunity 
and Immigration Modernization 
Act, S. 744, that ironically subordinated 
secure borders to the instant legalization 
of illegal immigrants. The Senate 
made vague, down the line enforcement 
promises but in the end will rely on the 
Homeland Security Secretary's opinion 
to deem, without having to produce tangible 
evidence, that the border is secure. 

The House refuses to take up S. 744 and 
promises instead to do immigration reform 
piecemeal with a special emphasis 
on border security. With Congress on 
its August recess, wary Americans don't 
know what might happen. No wonder 
they're leery. When it comes to protecting 
the border, empty promises have 
been the rule rather than the exception. 

Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population 
Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow 
whose columns have been syndicated 
since 1986.For comments to Joe email joeguzzardi@ 





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