Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, September 21, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 16



 Mountain Views News Saturday, September 21, 2013 

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


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder


It ticked in 1901, 1934, 1965, and it’s beginning to tick now.

 Yesterday, I was coming back from Downtown LA and got caught in some 
traffic. I got off the freeway and went along surface streets and somehow made 
the mistake of entering San Marino. San Marino, although it has the same initials 
as friendly Santa Monica and homey Sierra Madre, is a very different place. It is 
dreaded rich people land and has been that way for a very long time. The streets 
are structured in some maze-like way such that you can keep driving around in 
circles and never find your way out. For some reason (really I know the reason) 
my momentary confusion greatly angered me.

 Sentences began entering my head. Those rich people live at a permanent party and the rest of 
us (all 99% of us) exist just to cater to them and clean up their messes. They are all too big to fail 
and break laws and ethical rules without punishment. The Banks are the worst of all as their top 
executives receive huge bonuses for screwing the rest of us. Look around you. We’re surrounded by 
Bank of America, Chase Morgan, Citibank and the rest of them. The evil 1% has even taken over even 
the names of our Sports Stadiums and our newspapers. Every time there is a new calamity the rich 
manage to make more and more profit.

 I could keep ranting like this but such thoughts are everywhere and yet the problems get worse. TV 
shows like the Bill Moyers Journal explain in awesome detail how the super –rich dominate election 
campaigns and control the votes of their owned and operated candidates. Programs like Jon Stewart’s 
Daily Show and the Colbert Report and the folks on MSNBC make us all aware of the problem but 
really never present anything like a hopeful solution. Is there anything upbeat, any reason for hope?

 I generally tape the Daily Show and didn’t get around to watching it until this morning. I awoke 
really angry at the Dodgers for losing their fourth in a row to the second place Snakes even though 
the belly-crawlers had only two hits. It’s strange that I am again such a rabid Dodger fan, because at 
first I was sickened by their wealth, then angered by their failure, but as they found a solution to their 
problems I jumped back onto the band wagon. It took a little magic and now I am with the Dodgers 
all the way. The efforts of a magical Cuban, leaving his homeland in a canoe, leaping into the ocean to 
save his mother and himself seems to have been the start of the solution. Who knows what starts the 
ball rolling but now I tape every Dodger game and expect victory. 

 After I reviewed the tough Dodger loss, I turned on the taped Daily Show and Robert Reich was 
being interviewed by Jon Stewart. Do you know who Robert Reich is? Yes, he is a Rhodes Scholar, an 
ex-Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration (that’s Bill not Hillary) a professor at Berkeley, 
and he’s a dwarf. Automatically, I guess, I believe in what Robert Reich says. Clearly nothing came 
easy to him and there is no doubt that he knows his stuff. When Stewart asked Reich if there was 
a solution to our problems, Reich said that there was a clear solution and pretty soon the inactive 
dysfunctional Congress would make the necessary reforms that would lessen the unacceptable 
differences between the lives of the super wealthy and everyone else. The solution will come from 
the people at the grass roots, who will begin to make it clear that they are simply not going to take it 
anymore.. The Occupy Movement and the demonstrations in Brazil are the tip of a global iceberg that 
will rise and demand change. Reich says this is exactly what happened in 1901 when the emerging 
class of robber-barons and billionaire industrialists attempted to dominate the Country. 

 Eventually, the public woke up and the Progressive Era began and the huge trusts were busted 
and protections were enacted. A similar thing happened in the thirties, after the Great Depression. 
Reacting to the demands of the People in the Street and the threat of Revolution, the New Deal 
Reforms were made law to save the entire system from being overthrown. In the 60’s, the same thing 
happened again. The Country was sickened by the lies concerning Viet Nam and the continuing 
racial discrimination that existed and was now exposed. Solutions were found because the people 
woke up and demanded they be found. Reich says that we all must listen closely to hear the People 
of the world wake up and demand change. It will only take a little time. Maybe it will take a little 
magic and require some heroics like jumping into the ocean or finding a magic dwarf to spur us on. 
Maybe the new symbol of the world should be a huge ticking clock with numbers everyone can read. 
Numbers like 1901, 1934, 1965, and 201???. 


In our house, we have a rule 
that has enabled us to live at 
peace with one another for 
over 42 years. That rule is 
simple, "Don't mess with my 
space and I won't mess with your space."

 I must admit some rather close calls have challenged 
that relationship during those years. I will 
not say from which side of the house it came 
from; just that it was not my side of the house.

 It must be quite difficult for someone like the 
Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage whom, I must 
confess is a neat freak, and Yours Truly who is just 
a plain old messy freak.

 My wife cannot relax if there is something out 
of place. On occasion, I will catch her glancing 
in the direction of "my space" and I know exactly 
what she is thinking. I do not always know what 
she is thinking, because that would be very taxing 
on my thinking machine. I know exactly what she 
is thinking. She wants to clean up my mess. "Do 
you need any help tidying up your office?"

 I know it is a ploy for her to get her organizing 
paws on my things and arrange them so I cannot 
find anything I want when I want it. Although it 
may not look like it to her, I am quite organized.

 I guess we have a different idea when it comes to 

 When I go to the cupboard in the kitchen, I 
know everything will be in its place. In the bathroom, 
the same thing goes. Everything is neatly 
put in its place. She knows where everything is 
and everything is where she wants it. Well, maybe 
not quite everything. There are those issues with 

 To make matters worse, she has this idea of 
cleaning the house on a regular basis. Do you 
know how annoying it is to hear the vacuum 
cleaner running when trying to take a nap? Like 
clockwork, "our" vacuum cleaner takes its weekly, 
if not more, run throughout the house. Do you 
know how much electricity it takes to do that on 
a weekly basis?

 If I had to choose between dirt and electricity, I 
would choose dirt every time.

 My space is just a little bit different. I like to 
think of my space as actual living quarters. It may 
look like a mess to some Philistine, but I can assure 
you everything has a place and everything is 
in its place. I can find what I want when I want 
it, which is the only thing that really matters. If 
I cannot find what I need when I need it then I 
do not really need it. Life is that simple when you 
accept "messy" as a lifestyle.

Just recently, my wife suggested that perhaps she 
could help me organize my office space. I just 
scowled at her and said, "Don't mess with my 
space and I won't mess with your space."

 She smiled one of those sympathetic smiles she 
gives everyone she thinks does not know what 
is going on in the world. Quite frankly, I do not 
need to know what is going on in the world. All 
I need to know is what is going on in my world 
and I have several piles in my office I can consult 
on that topic.

 All offers to help me tidy up "my mess" go unheeded. 
I like my mess because it is my mess. I 
made it, I am proud of it and I love it.

 I have grown quite uneasy as of late. Every time 
I go away I come back to find some new remodeling 
project completed in our house. I am beginning 
to think she watches too much of "This Old 

 I spent a week in California only to come home 
and find the kitchen completely remodeled. Now, 
as I think the plan was, I do not know where anything 
in the kitchen is. All the old cupboards have 
been replaced by newer and bigger cupboards.

 I am afraid at this point to raise any kind of an 
objection. After all, we do have that "my space/
your space" policy and I really do not want to 
jeopardize that in any fashion.

 My basic concern is this; I fear when I go for a 
week and come back "my space" will be so completely 
remodeled and organized that I will not 
recognize it and will not be able to find anything 
I need. What would I do then?

 If I compliment her on her remodeling jobs, 
it might make her confident about doing more 
remodeling jobs which may spill over into "my 
space." Can you imagine how awful it would be?

 It would be a sad day if I came home from some 
trip and found "my mess" completely gone. What 
would I do with my life? I would have to start life 
all over again and you know how expensive that 

 It is tough married to a fix up guru; then again, 
I suppose it is just as hard to be wedded to a mess 
up guru.

 I have one concession in this area. David said 
it so well, "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be 
clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" 
(Psalms 51:7 KJV).

 God specializes in cleaning up messes and preparing 
people like me for heaven.

 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



HOWARD Hays As I See It

GREG Welborn


Bashar Assad’s exclusive interview on Fox 
News demonstrated two very important points: 
1), as Charles Krauthammer put it, “[Assad] is 
very smart, extremely sophisticated, and one of 
the great liars of all time;” and 2) Assad, and his 
Russian cohorts, are not yet finished humiliating 
the U.S., and especially its naïve president.

 Sometimes lies are difficult to unearth because 
they are buried amongst extraneous information, 
are couched in some aspects of truth, or are 
just such small throw-away-lines that they go 
unnoticed. Not so with Assad’s speech. Despite 
the sophistication, despite the intelligence and 
polish, almost everything the man said was a lie. 

 Assad would have us believe that Syria’s civil 
war was started by Al Qaeda type terrorists. Al 
Qaeda, he says, is the reason he began the war, 
decimated cities, killed thousands and created 
millions of refugees. The ugly, ugly truth is that 
the war began when school children in Daraa 
demonstrated against Assad, prompting him 
to torture those children, which then sparked a 
popular uprising. All this at least one full year 
before the cause was joined by anyone evenly 
remotely identifiable as a “terrorsist”. If you 
doubt that, go back and read the news coverage 
of the kids, the torture, the uprising, and the 
bravery of ordinary decent Syrians.

 Assad further proclaimed to Fox News that for 
the sake of stability and peace in the region (with a 
nod toward the larger international community) 
he must eradicate the terrorists lest their ideology 
grow, corrupt other impressionable minds and 
cause further, more widespread, death. Are 
we really supposed to conveniently forget that 
Assad is the guy who supported, transported 
and outfitted Al Qaeda in Iraq? Were it not for 
Assad, the terrorist forces in Iraq would have 
been defeated much earlier and at a much smaller 
cost in American lives and treasure. Assad was, 
and one suspects still is, completely comfortable 
with murderous ideology so long as the target is 
wearing an American flag arm patch. Now that 
Al Qaeda types may have sensed some advantage 
in trying to take over his country for a new base 
of operations, he is concerned about the stability 
and peace of the region and the world beyond. 
Were it not such a masterfully audacious lie, it 
would be laughable.

 The deeper trouble, though, is the future damage 
which will befall President Obama, the U.S. and 
ultimately the free world. Assad teased us in the 
interview with some of the elements he is going 
to raise in the negotiations surrounding the 
dismantling of his 
chemical weapons. 
We have the demand 
that the U.S. foreswear 
any future use of 
military force against 
Syria or there won’t 
be any negotiations 
at all. Then we have 
all those wonderful 
logistical issues which 
almost guarantee this 
task won’t be accomplished. Assad spoke with 
concern about the potential environmental 
and monetary costs of safely transporting and 
destroying chemical weapons. It was almost 
enough for us to believe that the world would 
be better off if we just left those pesky chemicals 
were they were. God forbid some poor hired 
hand tips over a jar.

 Assad gently reminded us that his presence 
and guidance in Syria is now almost fundamental 
to the removal program. His protective police 
forces, his transportation infrastructures, 
his governmental agencies will all have to be 
coordinated to allow the inspectors to travel 
safely about the country, locate the stockpiles, and 
move them to wherever is yet to be determined 
a safe location. In one grand swoop, Assad went 
from being a “war criminal” and a “pariah” to an 
almost indispensable partner in this great task. 
Those who listened to the interview, and the 
after-commentaries from administration and 
mainstream media types, almost got the sense 
that Assad is our new, and equal, partner in this 
great cleansing task. 

 The further humiliation of the Obama 
administration is, as it has so often been, a self-
inflicted wound. The President took a significant 
hit to his credibility when he backed down from 
his own red lines, but Assad offered President 
Obama an opportunity to recover. He only 
needed to be strong enough to take it. Consider 
the response Ronald Reagan would have 
delivered had he been told the agreement might 
not be negotiated after all, it would be totally 
unverifiable, and the U.S. better be prepared to 
compensate the aggressor for its costs. Well, 
we don’t need to imagine; we already know the 
answer because Reagan went down this path. 
Libya’s Gaddaffi tested U.S. resolve, only to 
see one of his presidential tents blown up, and 
quickly agreed to surrender his WMDs without 
further preconditions or delays.

 President Obama once again failed to rise 
to his responsibilities as leader of the free 
world. There was no warning shot across 
the bow to demonstrate that this agreement 
is non-negotiable, will be verifiable and will 
be completed on the aggressor’s dime. Nor 
was there even a forceful verbal response. 
The fact that his face saving agreement 
would be further watered down was simply 

 The U.S. is retreating into isolationism 
without truly understanding the costs. 
We’ve done this before, and the results 
weren’t pretty. We stood down for awhile 
in Europe, and WWII was the result. We 
stood down in Vietnam, and a reign of 
terror and genocide engulfed the region. As 
we do so again, we shouldn’t be surprised at 
what will come.

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 

 “. . . to your question about 
those poor, beleaguered bankers 
who have been forced to do so 
much to keep from not being able 
to pay their debts that they can’t 
lend money; if they really are 
running businesses that are so 
stressed that they can’t do their 
basic work, why are they paying 
themselves so much money? 
Where did these enormous 
salaries come from if they were in fact in such 
serious trouble?”

- former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) on “Meet The 

 I was struck not so much by the events of last 
week as I was by the reactions to them.

 I don’t follow beauty pageants, but did take 
note of the reactions to the crowning of Miss 
New York, Nina Davuluri, as Miss America 
2014. Her mother, a software engineer, and 
father, a gynecologist, both emigrated from 
India. Nina was born in Syracuse and hopes to 
become a cardiologist. She earned a degree in 
Brain Behavior and Cognitive Science from the 
University of Michigan, with honors including 
the Dean’s List, National Honor Society and 
Michigan Merit Award. She’s also proud of her 
heritage, and studies traditional dance in yearly 
visits to India.

 Fox News personality Todd Starnes reacted 
by complaining “liberal Miss America judges” 
passed on Miss Kansas because she “actually 
represented American values”. Other tweets 
followed: “How the f**k does a foreigner win 
Miss America? She is a Arab!”; “Well they just 
picked a Muslim for Miss America. That must’ve 
made Obama happy.”; “nice slap in the face to the 
people of 9-11 how pathetic”

 “I always viewed myself as first and foremost 
American”, responded Ms. Davuluri (neither 
Arab nor Muslim, as if it matters). The best 
response came from Stephen Colbert. Noting an 
observation that 705 tweets connected our new 
Miss America with terrorism, Colbert pointed 
to a smashing photo of Ms. Davaluri in a tiger-
print bikini and said, “That’s right. 705 people 
saw a woman in a bikini and thought: ‘Muslim 
extremist’.” Then Colbert lost it – which rarely 

 President Obama’s garnering world-wide 
support for a deal to rid the Mid-East of the threat 
of Syrian President Assad’s chemical weapons 
brought reactions from Republicans confirming 
their inability to subordinate political posturing 
to national security. There were charges of 
“weakness” and “appeasement” related to the 
president’s deferring to Congress on the question 
of military force. But, as Michael Tomasky wrote 
in The Daily Beast, “If he’d bombed without going 
to Congress, they’d be drawing up articles of 
impeachment right now in the House.”

 I wrote last week how President Reagan’s 
reaction to the deaths of 241 servicemen in the 
bombing of our Marine compound in Lebanon 
was to invade Grenada. President Bush reacted 
to the attacks of 9/11, with 15 of the 19 hijackers 
from Saudi Arabia, by launching a decade-long 
war in Iraq. Last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham 
(R-SC), who refused to back President Obama’s 
request for authorization to use military force 
against Syria, reacted to the confirmed use of 
Assad’s chemical weapons by calling for the 
authorization to use military force – against Iran.

 In the wake of the shootings at the Washington 
D.C. Navy Yard, former Bush speechwriter 
David Frum predicted what the reaction of the 
gun-nuts would be, and in a series of tweets 
explained the “rules” they’d be following, such 
as: “It is ‘ghoulish’ to suggest in any way that 
the easy availability of guns might in any way 
enable gun slaughter”; “All gun owners are to be 
complimented as responsible and law-abiding 
until they personally have hurt themselves or 
somebody else”; “Any attempt to stop mass 
casualty shootings is ‘political’. Allowing them to 
continue is ‘non-political’; and “Gun ownership 
is essential to freedom, as in Serbia & Guatemala. 
Gun restrictions lead to tyranny, as in Australia 
& Canada.”

 On CNN, Piers Morgan reacted by hosting 
a panel to discuss Iowa’s granting blind people 
permits to carry guns in public. (Headline in 
the Des Moines Register: “Sheriffs and advocates 
divided on whether that’s a good idea.”) When 
fellow CNN personality S.E. Cupp defended the 
idea as protecting “law-abiding people”, Morgan 
reacted, “When somebody like you, with your 
intelligence, looks at me down the camera and 
says, ‘blind people having guns is not an issue’, I 
think you’ve gone stark raving mad.”

 Reactions were strong overseas. In the U.K., 
Jonathan Freedland wrote in the Guardian, 
“America’s gun disease diminishes its soft 
power. It makes the country seem less like a 
model and more like a basket case, afflicted by 
a pathology other nations strive to avoid.” In 
Moscow, a Foreign Affairs chairman in the 
Russian Parliament reacted by gibing at President 
Obama’s recent speech: “ – a lone gunman and 
7 corpses. Nobody’s even surprised anymore. A 
clear confirmation of American exceptionalism.”

 Last May, a disgruntled customer shot and 
killed four people in a bank in southern Israel 
before turning the gun on himself. The Israeli 
press reacted by referring to him as “an American-
style lone gunman.”

 Last week also marked the fifth anniversary of 
the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which brought 
on the Great Recession - $14 trillion sucked from 
the economy; millions of Americans losing jobs, 
homes and retirements. Meanwhile, “too-big-
to-fail” institutions got bigger, hoarding trillions 
and “investing” in ever-larger multi-million 
compensation packages, rather than in the 
taxpayers who bailed them out.

 The context of the opening quote was a 
discussion of a recent NBC / WSJ poll showing 
Wall Street firms getting a 14% positive and 42% 
negative favorability rating from the American 
people – of how unfair this is, with bankers 
having to struggle under 
government regulations 
and a sluggish recovery 
along with everyone else.

 The reaction to Barney 
Frank’s question about 
“enormous salaries” was 
momentary stunned 
silence, nervous laughter 
from former Treasury 
Secretary Hank Paulson, 
and host David Gregory 
quickly changing the 

 Sometimes no reaction 
can be the most telling 
reaction of all.