Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, December 5, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 12



 Mountain Views News Saturday, December 5, 2020 






Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 



Stuart Tolchin 

Audrey Swanson

Mary Lou Caldwell

Kevin McGuire

Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Lori Ann Harris

Rev. James Snyder

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Jeff Brown

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden

Rebecca Wright

Hail Hamilton

Joan Schmidt

LaQuetta Shamblee

That’s the game, isn’t it? You and I 
need to believe that everything is going to 
be okay. In order to get the feeling of safety 
to put down our guards and relax enough 
to get to sleep and then have the courage 
to get up and face the world we have to 
fool ourselves into believing that we are in 
control enough to be safe. 

 A specific way I have attempted 
to gain a sense of safety is by believing there 
was something powerful in the information 
contained in books. My parents worked 
all day in our eponymous market world 
two blocks from our apartment. Stuart Food Mart was what we call 
now a Mom and Pop store and existed in a very rough neighborhood in 
Southside Chicago unsafe for a 6 or seven year old to be left alone outside 
to play. My maternal grandmother, a Lithuanian immigrant and I learned 
to read English together and I knew how to read before I went to School. 
Actually this worked both to my advantage and to my disadvantage. My 
reading ability made it appear to teachers and to myself that I was a lot 
smarter than the other kids (turns out I probably wasn’t) and I just never 
fit in very well. I wanted to know the other kids and join Cub Scouts but 
when my father drove me over to the meeting place which turned out to 
be a church I was never allowed to go there again. I still want to become a 
Webelo although I never knew what that meant. (still don’t)

 My parents told me we were Jewish although it was never made 
very clear to me what that meant, either. I knew no other Jews, had no 
sense of Jewish tradition or the religion itself and learned only from my 
grandmother not to sing along in class when Christmas songs were sung 
because Jews didn’t believe in Jesus or Santa Claus. Let’s not be too hard 
on my grandmother; who had immigrated to the United States alone 
and probably knew little about being Jewish other that she spoke mainly 
Yiddish. In order to survive in the world I believed the information was 
contained in books. The only books in our apartment was a multi-volume 
encyclopedia set and I read all the volumes in the hope that would allow 
me fit in and feel safe. Maybe the right the right term is “anxiety” but 
whatever the term is, I don’t feel very safe right now. My feeling today, 
after a lifetime of reading books and going to College and even Law School 
and practicing Law for over fifty years I still don’t what the rules are or if 
there are any rules. 

 During this time of the pandemic I have been forced to stay at 
home much like when I was a child. I watched the news constantly until 
I could not take it anymore and could not find any information in my 
thousands of books which were of much help. This past Saturday was 
the birthdate of both my children born two years apart. Although, up 
until now, we have remained separated complying with the applicable 
Covid restrictions, we all agreed that on this one day there could be an 
exception. Saturday we would gather together in a Pasadena park, keeping 
our distance and wearing masks. As my wife, my son, his girlfriend and I 
walked towards my daughter who was present with her family she asked 
me if it was okay to meet in the park. Suddenly I felt this attack of anxiety. 
I didn’t know the rules which kept changing every day and I felt nowhere 
near being safe. Nevertheless, I faked it, told her everything was okay 
and doubted my own words. Books, education, and advanced age could 
not help me here. I would like to believe the pandemic, the economic 
crisis, the coming planet inhabitability, international instability poverty 
and disease and widespread starvation, and the last four years is all a lie, 
an alternative fact, a hoax; but it’s not very easy. Maybe, I can believe it’s 
all a dream and after a good night’s sleep I will all awake and notice that 
everything is okay and normal just the way I believed it was when it really 

 Merry Christmas and a Happy January 20, 2021. 

Mountain Views News 
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A member of 







It’s nice to get good news for a change.

On Monday, two more swing states certified Joe Biden’s solid victory. 
And in Washington, MAGA doctor Scott Atlas quit his job.

In the spirit of a famous children’s book, I say to him: “Good night, 

As Trump’s criminally negligent regime withers and dies, it’s imperative that we sift the 
wreckage and vow – via the ballot box – never to wreak such havoc on America again. 
If the Biden administration can succeed in restoring faith in governance – particularly 
in the realm of public health – it would be a gift to humanity. It would be the ultimate 
rebuke to death-cult dolts like Scott Atlas.

Atlas, the White House pandemic adviser, was the ultimate MAGA appointee: ill-qualified 
for the job he got, woefully over his head while doing it, and people died because 
he did it. One former senior White House official reportedly said, “He was the worst 
thing to happen to Trump in 2020.” Actually, that’s not quite true. Atlas didn’t “happen 
to Trump.” Trump made Atlas happen.

Atlas was not an infectious disease expert. He was not an epidemiologist. He had 
no background in public health. He’s a radiologist; hiring him to fight the pandemic 
was like hiring a plumber to drill your teeth. But Atlas got the job for two reasons: 
He looked good on Fox News (silver hair, distinguished demeanor) and he spouted 
Trump-pleasing gibberish on Fox News.

His pitch, as you probably know, was that masks were overrated, social distancing was 
overrated, the pandemic was nearly over and would wane further if we simply allowed 
the virus to spread among young healthy people, thus helping America reach “herd 
immunity.” This quack advice, which Trump lapped up, was so Orwellian that the faculty 
at Stanford University (where Atlas was a fellow) passed a resolution stating that 
his “disdain for established medical knowledge violates medical ethics.”

Trump had basically given up on curbing the pandemic – his surrender was arguably 
the biggest reason why 80.2 million voters ousted him – and Atlas gave him permission 
to fail. Former Bush White House medical adviser Jonathan Reiner said the damage 
Atlas wrought, in terms of spreading lies and causing needless deaths, “is incalculable.”

“He understood something that really resonated with the president. He understood 
that it’s easy to convince somebody that you’re right when you tell them exactly what 
they want to hear. He told the president exactly what he wanted to hear,” Reiner said 
Monday. “Other than that, it was a bravura performance.”

And what a performance it was. Atlas aped his imbecilic boss in all kinds of ways. 
When the Michigan governor imposed new restrictions, Atlas tweeted some militia 
machismo: “The only way this stops is if people rise up. #FreedomMatters #StepUp.”

Another time, when Atlas tweeted that masks were not effective in slowing the spread 
of the virus – directly contradicting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – 
Twitter removed Atlas’ lie because, according to a Twitter spokesman, it “was in violation 
of our COVID-19 Misleading Information Policy.” But Atlas had other ways to get 
his message out, like sitting for an interview on Russia’s RT network on the eve of the 
presidential election.

And his most infamous claim – that the virus would be curbed if only 25 percent of 
the population is allowed to get infected – was denounced by one prominent infectious 
disease expert as “the most amazing combination of pixie dust and pseudoscience,” a 
prescription for more needless deaths. And speaking of needless deaths, that toll has 
now topped 267,000. On Atlas’ last day on the job, more than 1,000 Americans died. 
That’s double the number of Americans who died each day during the Civil War.

In his resignation letter, Atlas said that “my advice was always focused on minimizing 
the harms,” whereas in truth he violated the Hippocratic oath that (in its origin language) 
compels doctors to “utterly reject harm and mischief.”

Leave it to Trump to sideline Anthony Fauci and bring in a guy who commits malpractice. 
Atlas may be gone – and his boss will soon follow (escorted from the building, if 
necessary) – but neither will ever able to scrub the blood from his hands.

I collect my hate mail. Not because it makes me angry or because 
I want to obsess over it. It’s just so interesting and I want 
to understand it.

I receive a lot of emails in response to columns, and most are 
generally positive. But the negative ones are really negative. 
This fascinates me.

For example, in a recent piece on how the media will miss 
President Trump when he’s gone, and vice versa, a reader unleashed 
a stream of conscious under the subject “Absurd!” He went on to call me “demented” 
and then took a shot at Kentucky, where I currently live. Mind you, he sent this 
email to me on Thanksgiving.

The funny thing is the piece wasn’t really partisan in any way, and I still can’t figure out 
how it could enrage someone to the point where he would still be thinking about it a 
week after it was published.

There’s a lot of anger out there, folks, though that’s not exactly breaking news.

Here’s another.

“Your column, ‘Lessons learned from the 2020 election,’ validates the axiom ‘to assume 
makes an ass of you and me.’”

That was it, the entire email. I’m not sure how the axiom applies in this case, but these 
things don’t have to make sense. I sometimes read my hate mail to my students, who 
find it entertaining and often sit slack-jawed and incredulous that people can be so mean.

In response to a column about California Gov. Gavin’s Newsom’s draconian rules for 
holiday celebrations, a reader responded with a question.

“What overdramatic nonsense did I just read?” It got worse. She called me “dim” and 
“childish.” She ended with “keep your uninformed views in your own disastrous state.”

Again, a swipe at Kentucky? I never realized there was so much latent Kentucky hate 
among the populace.

Prior to the election, several readers responded with dire prophecies. Interestingly, predictions 
of the “end times” came from both sides of the political aisle. My favorite was 
from a man who began his email with, “I’ve got news for you pal….” The poor guy was 
so worked up he wrote some 500 words on the pending disintegration of our economic 
and political systems.

I respond to every email I receive, even the mean ones. It seems to me that those of us 
who do this kind of writing have a responsibility to at least attempt to understand why 
someone who disagrees with me believes what he believes. This is not always easy, of 
course, especially when the one who disagrees begins his email, “Dear boil on journalism’s 
rear…” That’s me, if you didn’t put it together.

The reader was responding to a column about the conduct of reporters and the president 
at White House press briefings. I was critical of both but the reader didn’t see it that 
way. We had a back-and-forth during which he seemed to gradually soften. Then, after 
about the sixth email exchange, he wrote, “Thank you for your conversation. I wish more 
people would talk or argue viewpoints…”

It struck me that maybe the man just wanted someone to listen to him, about anything. 
We never came to an agreement on the issue at hand but, by the end of the conversation, 
that didn’t seem to matter.

Not all of these exchanges have happy endings. One concluded with a simple suggestion: 
“Shut up!” Not necessarily bad advice.

In the New Testament, James writes, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak 
and slow to become angry…” James 1:19. I’m challenged by this because, apart from my 
dependence on the grace of God, I can’t do it.

I’d much rather do exactly the opposite – react, quickly and angrily, and get my adversary 
in checkmate. Twitter and other social media outlets understand this better than anyone. 
They’ve turned this basic, human inclination into a multi-billion dollar phenomenon.

I don’t claim any unique insight into the human condition but I have realized that if we 
are willing to listen and keep our mouths shut for a while, we’ll take a significant step 
toward understanding one another.

That doesn’t mean everyone is going to like us. But as I tell my students, if everyone likes 
us, we’re probably doing something wrong.

Mountain Views News

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