Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, January 4, 2014

MVNews this week:  Page 11



 Mountain Views News Saturday, January 4, 2014 




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

Merri Jill Finstrom

Lori Koop

Rev. James Snyder

Tina Paul

Mary Carney

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Greg Welborn

Renee Quenell

Ben Show

Sean Kayden

Jasmine Kelsey Williams

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


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder


That is the Dilemma

 There is something very inspiring about seeing 
Michelle and Barack rocking out to the music of Santana at the 
Kennedy Center Awards presentation. They seem like such cool 
people. They are smart; they are beautiful; they are hip; they 
are reasonably young; and they’re tough. I guess Bill Clinton 
was also all of these things. I remember when I saw him on the 
Arsenio Hall Show with his saxophone and sun glasses making 
it clear that we were, at last, on the right track. So what happened?

 No, it wasn’t just that Bush Jr stole the election; and it isn’t just that 
Republicans are all evil lunatics; it’s not just that. Look at the nominees that the 
Democrats placed before the electorate as their choices for Vice-President. Can 
you remember back that far? In 2000 it was Senator Joseph Lieberman, Jumping 
Joe Lieberman who was so conservative that he actually became, more or less, a 
Republican. In 2004 the Democratic nominee for Vice President was that great 
American, Senator John Edwards. Really, in many ways the Country is very lucky 
that the scandals involving Edwards did not take place while he was a sitting 
Vice-President. Of course, Nixon’s initial Vice President, the deservedly almost 
forgotten Spiro T. Agnew, resigned from office because it was disclosed that he had 
received illegal payoffs and kickbacks while serving as Vice-President.

 My point is that no matter how cool and wonderful our political leaders 
seem to be, if you do a little research, you learn that all their glitters were not 
gold. When I first started paying attention to politics the great Democratic hero 
was Adlai Stevenson. In 1952 the Democrats were all primed to lead us all into 
the new half Century of an American enlightened world. Sure we had recently 
dropped the Atom Bomb perhaps needlessly incinerating hundreds of thousands 
of people but I guess everyone thought that was okay because we won the war, 
didn’t we? So who did the Democrats nominate for Vice-President in 1952 as 
support for their great intellectual Presidential nominee? You can look this up. 
The Democrats nominated a long-time Southern Senator, John Sparkman, an 
avowed life-long segregationist. This was the 1950’s; not so long ago. I think the 
Democratic nominee in 1956 was Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver, certainly not 
a civil rights advocate.

 Still, change was on the way but the change did not come down from the 
top. No matter how wonderful we like to pretend our political leaders are they are 
invariably creatures caught in a system dominated by the most powerful wealthy 
interests who are interested mainly in making more money. Do you remember 
who ran against Bush Jr. in 2004; why it was our present Secretary of State John 
Kerry, one of the richest men in America married to the incredibly wealthy Teresa 
Heinz who had already been married to the deceased super-wealthy Governor 
Heinz. Do you remember the tribute to Mrs. Kerry (Heinz) at the Democratic 
Convention when her sons urged us all to note how remarkable and lovely 
(and wealthy I guess) their remarkable mother was? Remember, these are the 
Democrats, the alleged party of the Common People. Right.

 Really it should be no surprise that while Climate Change threatens the 
whole world our political leaders do not seem very interested in doing anything 
to meet the needs of the public. In a system dominated by money political leaders 
who want to be elected cannot afford the luxury of offending the people who 
make huge contributions. What a mess! Will this country, this whole planet, 
be strangled by its own wealth? If reform comes about it will come about in 
much the same way as Civil Rights reform came about. People took to the streets 
and demanded change and change happened. Laws were changed not because 
JFK was some Civil Rights militant, he absolutely was not: or that Chief Justice 
Earl Warren, who authored the opinion ending racial segregation in the Public 
Schools, was some enlightened visionary. He was anything but; and in fact as 
California Attorney General was the main force in bringing about the internment 
of the Japanese in America during World War II.

 My point is simple. If this country is going to be able to make 
the necessary adaptations enabling it to cope with the needs of the coming years 
the force will have to come from below. One of the major organizing points for 
humanitarian reform in the United States has always been the groups connected 
to organized religion. Atheist that I am I still recognizes that most people who 
go to Church attend not so they can get rich but for some other reason that is 
connected to being a responsible person. Hooray for such people and hooray for 
Pope Francis. Will the Pope and other religious leaders have the strength to pull 
us all out of our monetary-induced blindness?

 For me, a life-long critic of the need for religious affiliation, it is refreshing 
and gratifying to have this new perspective. Time will tell. 

The Gracious Mistress 
of the Parsonage 
does not allow 
any pets in our domicile. 
Something about cleaning up their 
mess and fleas and other things that I cannot 
recall. When our last child moved out 
of the house so did all pets. They are now 
just fond memories, at least on my side.

So no pets are roaming around our house 
but I do have a variety of pet peeves. My 
wife graciously allows me to keep my pet 
peeves as long as I keep them to myself and 
that they do not mess up the house. For the 
most part, I try to do that, but occasionally 
one of my pets escapes from its pen.

A pet peeve that recently escaped from its 
cage is, people taking something out of 
context to prove their point. You can make 
anything say and mean anything you want 
it to say or mean. The politicians have perfected 
this art and I think it ought to remain 
within the confines of Washington DC.

It always amazes me that politicians can 
virtually say the same thing to different 
crowds and have it mean different things 
to separate crowds. Nobody can twist and 
turn words like professional politician. Just 
think what these politicians could do if they 
put this great talent to benefit the people of 
the United States who elected them.

Getting back to my pet peeve. Perhaps a 
few examples might help explain what I am 
talking about.

In Pennsylvania, we have a saying that if you 
do not hear the whole thing you might just 
misunderstand what it is about and jump to 
the wrong conclusion. The saying goes like 
this, "Throw Papa down the stairs..." and if 
you stop here, Papa may go tumbling down 
the stairs. However, it is the end of that saying 
that changes the whole meaning of that 
phrase, "... his hat."

If you focus on the first part of the phrase, 
you completely misunderstand what it is 
all about and poor old Papa will suffer the 
consequences. I wonder how many people 
have been thrown down the stairs because 
somebody just heard part of what was actually 

Another one has to do with my wife. We 
have been married for over 40 years and get 
along famously but every now and then she 
will say, "Who do you think you are?" The 
first time I heard this I was rather stunned.

If I would take that question by itself and 
divorce it from its context, I might flounder 
in the sea of despondency. After all, if my 
wife of 40 something years does not know 
who I am, something is amiss.

Perhaps, after all these years, she is losing 
it, whatever "it" is. On the other hand, after 
all these years she still cannot figure me out. 
I find that rather silly myself. I am a rather 
simple person. My wife has a different name 
for it, she calls it simpleton but it means the 
same, I think.

I distinctly remember one time when she 
asked this question she caught me off guard 
and I reintroduced myself to her. Let me just 
say, I will never make that mistake again.

Every so often, she will say in a voice loud 
enough for everybody in the house to hear, 
"Somebody in this house is getting to be 
very messy." The first time I heard this I 
went through the house looking for that 
"somebody" not knowing that it was me. At 
least I am somebody in this house, which is 
better than, "Who do you think you are?"

It is important to put everything together 
and in context.

Perhaps the most ridiculous example of 
this is people quoting the Bible. It always 
amazes me that those who claim the Bible is 
not really true, always cite the Bible to prove 
their point. Those who pick out fragments 
of the Bible to prove their point are rather 

Who has not heard somebody quote Matthew 
7:1? "Judge not, that ye be not judged." 
From that, they conclude that Jesus does 
not want us to judge anybody for anything. 
If they took the pains to read a few more 
verses they would find out that they are 
completely misunderstanding what Jesus is 
talking about.

I have yet to hear somebody pull out Hebrews 
12:6, "For whom the Lord loveth he 
chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom 
he receiveth." It sort of sounds like judging 
to me.

If somebody wants to excuse something 
they are doing, they will invariably pull 
some phrase out of the Bible, always out of 
context, and hide behind it. It would be like 
a two hundred pound man hiding behind a 
golf club thinking nobody can see him.

When our grandchildren were younger, 
they thought if they closed their eyes, we 
could not see them. Just because they could 
not see did not mean we could not see. That 
is okay for small children but when it comes 
into adulthood, it is quite silly.

Jesus also said, "Thou hypocrite, first cast 
out the beam out of thine own eyes; and 
then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the 
mote out of thy brother's eye" (Matthew 

I have read my Bible over one hundred 
times throughout my life and I have learned 
one basic truth that goes along with this. 
True love always judges without being 

Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God 
Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. E-mail His web site is www.jamessnyderministries.

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HOWARD Hays As I See It


GREG Welborn

“Our No. 1 focus is to make 
sure . . . that we have no 
loser candidates . . . That 
will be our mantra: No 
fools on our ticket.” - U.S. 
Chamber of Commerce strategist 
Scott Reed, quoted in 
the Wall Street Journal

Control of the U.S. Senate 
and House of Representatives is at stake in 
elections later this year, and with it the fate of 
President Obama’s agenda for the remainder 
of his term. It promises to be quite a contest, 
but not necessarily between Republicans and 

 The above quote pertains to a $50 million 
commitment from the U.S. Chamber 
of Commerce to support “establishment” 
Republican candidates over Tea Party challengers. 
This comes when the likes of Sen. 
Ted Cruz (R-TX) – who claims the Affordable 
Care Act involves “the IRS determining 
whether our mother lives or dies”, and likens 
his stand against it to one against Nazi Germany 
– is seen as presidential material, while 
Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) is dismissed as 
traitorous for having worked with the president 
the year before in helping his state recover 
from a devastating hurricane.

 It’s of particular concern for those mindful 
that, but for a handful of tea-baggers beating-
out more “moderate” candidates for their 
party’s nomination in 2012, the Senate could 
very well have been under Republican control 

 The task’s made harder as the media spotlight 
has turned to those who feel the goal 
of elected officials should be to subvert their 
government, who dismiss climate change as a 
“hoax” while calling hearings on UFOs, who 
blame high unemployment on those living 
high and easy off their $300-a-week unemployment 

 The change in the Republican “base” is apparent. 
Pew Research shows that while acceptance 
of “evolution” among Democrats 
and independents has remained steady over 
recent years at around two-thirds, among 
Republicans it’s dropped from 54% in 2009 
to 43% in 2013, with 48% maintaining that 
humans and other living things have existed 
in their present forms “since the beginning of 
time”. Science is a conspiracy among ideologues; 
truth is found on “Duck Dynasty”.

 The task is further complicated by the fact 
that arguments of 2013 won’t carry the same 
weight in 2014. Sen. Cruz, for example, confidently 
pronounced the Affordable Care Act 
a failure, months before it fully came into 
effect. Now, 2.1 million Americans (as of 
December 30) have enrolled through federal 
and state websites for coverage that began the 
first of the year.

 Already, American consumers have saved 
$5 billion from the provision that insurers 
spend 80% of premiums on actual healthcare. 
$1.2 billion has been saved by insurers 
cutting back on planned premium hikes because 
of the requirement that increases above 
10% be submitted for approval. More than 
7 million seniors have already saved an average 
$1,200 each because of closure of the 
prescription drug “donut hole”. Over 3 million 
young adults have already stayed insured 
by being able to remain under their parents’ 
plan until age 26.

 As of January 1, Americans no longer have 
to worry about ourselves, or our children, 
being denied or losing coverage because of 
“pre-existing conditions”; no more worries 
about being denied or dropped after having 
reached an annual or lifetime “limit”. About 
6 in 10 of the 41 million currently uninsured 
should be able to find coverage for less than 
$100 a month.

 Calls to “repeal Obamacare” will be a harder 
sell in 2014 than in 2013. And, it would be 
a questionable strategy to defend a record of 
unprecedented obstructionism, especially in 
the context of notable progressive victories 
won throughout the nation last year.

 Joshua Holland of “Moyers and Company” 
assembled a list of some of them:

 Corporate donations and support for the 
American Legislative Exchange Council 
(ALEC), the Koch brother’s premier state-
centered lobbying arm, took a big hit. Support 
was there when it stuck with lower taxes 
and less regulation, but dried up – and legislators 
distanced themselves – when it became 
better known for voter suppression, “stand 
your ground”, and pushing for “rebuttals” to 
climate change in science classrooms.

 A year ago, gay couples could get married in 
ten states. Now, it’s eighteen.

 Democrats ran against Democrats for 
mayor in both LA and NYC, and in both cities, 
the progressive won. Eric Garcetti, who 
campaigned on restoring public services, 
won over Wendy Gruehl – endorsed by the 
Chamber of Commerce in gratitude for her 
record of having supported corporate tax 
cuts as a councilwoman. In New York, Bill 
De Blasio campaigned not only on “stop and 
frisk” police policies but on the unacceptable 
level of income inequality in his city. He defeated 
the Bloomberg-and-business-backed 
candidate, Christine Quinn. 

 A grass-roots group, National People’s Action, 
got the FDIC to issue new regulations 
on banks it insures funds for, clamping down 
on predatory loan practices.

 As of last Wednesday, minimum-wage 
workers in thirteen states got raises as a result 
of legislation passed last year.

 41 new laws in 22 states will make it harder 
for people to buy and carry guns, and easier 
for the government to track them. Seven 
states passed universal background-check 
laws for gun buyers.

 Minnesota and Nevada joined California 
in enacting a “Homeowner’s bill of rights” 
which, among other things, prevents lenders 
from foreclosing on a homeowner with one 
hand while negotiating a loan modification 
with the other.

 To the great disappointment of many on 
the right, our objectives of ridding Syria of 
chemical weapons and preventing Iran from 
developing nuclear weapons have been advanced 
without having to go to war against 
either country. War appears to be returning 
to its place as a terrible last resort, rather than 
a preferable first option amongst the corporate 

 One of President Obama’s objectives for 
2014 is to pull the bulk of our combat troops 
from Afghanistan, as they are now gone from 
Iraq. When this happens, I don’t think we’ll 
see much campaigning in support of having 
our troops committed elsewhere. Nobody 
wants to have “loser candidates”.

Happy New Year.

As we close out one year and enter the 
promise of another, it seems altogether 
fitting to explore what the future might 
actually look like vis a vis the American 
dream. If we listen to President Obama, 
we’d have to conclude that the future looks 
dark and inhospitable as he speaks of 
intolerable “diminished levels of upward 
mobility”. The good news, as a recent 
Stanford University study reminds us, 
is that the American dream – properly 
understood – is alive and well.

The commentariat in D.C. sees only one 
aspect to the American dream. Theirs 
is a definition that almost exclusively 
defines the dream as an expectation of a 
steady increase in material wealth. Seen 
in this narrow vein, it is no wonder that 
every recession unleashes a frenqied shark 
feast among the talking heads as to who 
can compose the most eloquent, if not 
convincing, eulogy of the great American 

One of the great ironies in this process of 
resurrected doom and gloom is that the 
administration most outwardly focused 
on saving the dream, as they define it, 
is in fact the administration which has 
done the most to hobble it. Today, for the 
first time in 40 years, the median family 
income has actually fallen as much during 
the recovery as it did during the recession. 
To Liberals who have controlled our 
policy direction for the last 5 years now, 
the above-referenced statistic is ignored as 
one of those pesky inconvenient facts that 
don’t fit the established narrative.

But facts are funny things; they don’t 
go so quietly into the night. They 
remain stubbornly true and remind 
us that not only have Liberals failed to 
address the inequality they excoriate as 
a moral disgrace, Liberals have actually 
exacerbated the problem with their 
policies over the last 5 years. In previous 
centuries, America provided upward 
mobility because it was the land of the 
opportunity; the land where anyone – 
foreign or natural born, irrespective of the 
accidents of privileged or impoverished 
birth – could save a little money, invest to 
start a small business and work their tail 
off to achieve success. 

But entrepreneurship, to succeed, needs 
to be nurtured in a stable environment 
where the fruits of often times herculean 
effort aren’t taxed away and where 
the regulatory regime doesn’t present 
economically insurmountable hurdles. If 
this is in jeopardy – and the previously 
mentioned statistics seem to suggest 
it might be – it is a direct result of the 
stifling economic policies of the Obama 
administration and Liberals in Congress. 
Success is demonized, tax rates on the 
accumulation of wealth have increased, 
regulatory punishment has mushroomed 
and uncertainty prevails. The little 
guy simply worries 
whether the future will 
support his business 
venture, stares into the 
regulatory abyss and 
too often quits before 
he even tries.

If Liberals really 
wanted to expand the 
opportunity for greater material wealth 
for a larger number of Americans, they’d 
have to seriously rethink some of their 
most precious policies. That is unlikely to 
happen during the remainder of President 
Obama’s term in office, but fortunately the 
American dream is larger than material 
prosperity alone.

Properly understood, and perhaps best 
defined by James Truslow Adams in his 
book, “The Epic of America’, it is “not 
a dream of motor cars and high wages 
merely, but a dream of social order in 
which each man and each woman shall be 
able to attain to the fullest stature of which 
they are innately capable”. It is a dream of 
freedom: freedom to pursue one’s dreams, 
freedom to speak one’s mind, freedom to 
worship as one’s conscience dictates.

As the Stanford study chronicles and 
documents, this fuller, richer American 
dream is very much alive and well in the 
United States. The Stanford researches 
have asked a wide swath of both native 
and foreign born students what U.S. 
citizenship means to them. The stories 
are riveting. Tales of trials and tribulation 
abound. Kids watching their parents try, 
fail, try again, and ultimately succeed. 
In the interviews, these youths spoke 
with affection and pride of the freedoms 
provided by the U.S., whether it is their 
native or adopted land. They spoke about 
the pride they have in this country, the 
privilege its existence conveys and the 
responsibility it is due. This American 
dream is thriving, and thriving within the 
demographic group that matters most – 
those who will actually make the future.

So, if, as President Obama would have 
us believe for purposes of political 
calculation, the American dream is dead 
or dying, it is only that part of the dream 
which has been most hurt by his policies. 
This too shall pass. Meanwhile, the 
broader, richer and more enriching reality 
of the true American dream is alive and 
well. That is a very welcome New Years 
gift, so take heart. It’s going to be a good 
year after all.

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 reached gregwelborn2@gmail.

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