Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, February 6, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page 12



Mountain View News Saturday, February 6, 2021 




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



All my life I have had one major ambition. That 
ambition was not TO DO something; but rather 
to BE something. What’s the difference between 
doing and being? Well the answer is simple. If your 
ambition is about actually doing something and you 
manage to do it, what do you do next? It’s a never 
ending pursuit, incomplete and unsatisfying. Now, 
on the other hand, if one’s ambition involves simply 
BEING something, then once that goal is reached the 
game is over and you, or me, can be happy thereafter. 
For me the goal was always to be a GENIUS. I never 
knew exactly what the term meant I just wanted to be one. In pursuit of that 
goal I read every book I could find. In fact there are thousands (maybe just 
hundreds) scattered throughout the house right now. Reading all those books 
and. now in old age forgetting most of what I have read really didn’t do the trick. 

 At the beginning of the year, however, I stumbled upon this New York 
Times Spelling Bee Game that is available on my I phone right at midnight 
every sleepless night of which I have many. The game is displayed as a circle of 
six letters with a letter in the middle. The object of the game is to make as many 
four letter or more words using these letters always including the letter in the 
middle. It is permissible to repeat any letter as many times as one would wish 
and there is no time limit. I am capable of playing the game for all the early 
morning hours and to watch myself rise up the rankings entitled Beginner, 
Good Start, Moving Up, Good, Solid, Nice, Great, Amazing until I reach what I 
thought to be the highest, the peak, the ultimate ranking: GENIUS. (Clearly, I 
am not a genius at punctuating)

 Once reaching the Genius level I am assured of my true position in life 
and just to bask in the glory of this attainment I play a new game starting at 
midnight every night and reassure myself of my true worth and am usually able 
to fall asleep ready to awake a little after 6.lly spectacular sunrise. I am now 
ready to face the day at 7: am and brave enough to view the Democracy Now 
program which gets me depressed all over again. But I can make it through the 
day knowing a new Spelling Bee Game will appear at midnight at which time 
my genius will be affirmed anew although that shouldn’t be necessary.

Alas, yesterday I happened upon another New York Times app which described 
the popularity and the addictive quality of the game but regretfully explained 
that GENIUS was not the highest level attainable. There is a higher ranking, 
Queen Bee (I do not wish to honor this level with capital letters as it will only 
sharpen the pain of my disillusionment)) Not only are there people who 
regularly reach the Queen Bee Ranking, but they manage this achievement 
frequently within half an hour. 

As I write this I glance to the right of the computer and observe a book 
I obtained from one of the little donating house libraries in the Canyon. 
There it is, displaying across its bright red background in huge white letters 
have been asleep for the previous few years you should be able to predict the 
point I am going to make. Did Dr. William H. Cosby (yes he earned a doctorate 
in Education) who maintained a uniquely successful career for over 6 decades 
before being convicted of a number sex offenses in 2018 succeed in fooling us 
or himself. Sadly the sad truths emerged which are now revealed despite all of 
his degrees, awards, fame, and wealth.

Bill, no matter how much adulation you received from others you must have 
known all along how much of a fraud you really were. Similarly, I did know 
along that no matter what ranking I received I was in no way a Genius. At least 
I can be happy to know that I don’t have much to hide. Feeling good these days 
ain’t that easy but as you can tell, I’m trying.

If you have anything nice to say to me please contact me at stuarttolchin@gmail.
com. I await your copious responses but know I am probably fooling myself.

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President Biden 
is going full 
speed ahead 
with his plan to 
raise the federal 
minimum wage 
to $15 an hour. 
The Democrats’ 
latest approach 
to convert 
Biden’s campaign promise to more 
than double the existing minimum 
wage from $7.25, where it’s been since 
2009, is to include the increase in the 
$1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

Republicans are balking. They insist 
that extraneous issues thrown into 
the COVID legislation de-crease the 
credibility Democrats have in demonstrating 
their sincerity about helping 
Americans weather the pandemic. 
Democrats nevertheless pledge to press 
on with or without GOP support, another 
challenge to Biden’s plea for unity.

On January 26, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-
Vt.) and leading Democrats introduced 
the Raise the Wage Act of 2021 that 
would, in four installments and over 
a five-year period, boost the federal 
minimum wage to $15. Sanders, the 
incoming chair of the Senate Budget 
Committee, said that with or without 
Republicans, the government needs to 
pump money into the economy to ensure 
that “people are not working on 
starvation wages.”

The Raise the Wage Act would increase 
the pay floor to $9.50 an hour in 2021, 
then to $11 in 2022. The minimum 
wage would rise to $12.50 per hour in 
2023, $14 in 2024 and then $15 in 2025.

On its face, Sanders’ argument makes 
sense. In today’s economy, $7.25 an 
hour barely buys a pizza slice. But the 
current economy is pandemic-shattered. 
Small businesses are closing, and 
those that have managed to stay open 
are eking by with minuscule margins.

Nearly 100,000 businesses, those most 
likely to hire minimum wage workers 
–restaurants, gift shops, gyms, beauty
shops and mini-marts – have filed
for bankruptcy and are permanently
closed. Businesses that remain open
such as home improvement companies, 
contractors, plumbers, me-chanics and
towing outfits are unlikely to hire new
employees at the $15 wage.

Yelp’s Local Economic Impact Report, 
a monthly survey of small business listings, 
asked owners how they planned 
to staff in 2021. They replied that they’ll 
“transition to new operating models,” 
which are unlikely to include a major 
wage spike.

The most severely hit small businesses 
are minority-owned. A Federal Reserve 
Bank of New York analysis concluded 
that through April 2020, nearly half 
of all Black-owned business had shut 
their doors, and were more than twice 
as likely to close as their white counterparts. 
Published in August 2020, the 
New York Fed’s report wrote that Black 
businesses experienced the steepest 
closure de-cline, a 41 percent drop. Latino-
owned business fell by 32 percent; 
Asian-owned dropped by 26 per-cent. 
Contrasting these stats, white-owned 
small businesses fell 17 percent. A 
more recent survey conducted by Small 
Business Majority found that within 
the next three months, as the pandemic 
worsens, an additional 29 percent of 
Black-owned businesses anticipate that 
they will have to per-manently lay off 

Entrepreneurs of color said that, to remain 
open in 2021, they would have 
to “dramatically change” their business 
models, an operating shift that 
most certainly will not include paying 
a $15 hourly minimum wage. Since 
Black employers are likely to hire Black 
employees, the proposed $15 wage of 
Biden and Sanders will devastate those 
it claims it will help most – minority 
workers. Moreover, the nonpartisan 
Congressional Budget Office projected 
that $15 an hour would kill as many as 
3.7 million jobs and send many families’ 
annual incomes below the poverty 
threshold. And the first to lose their 
jobs will be the most vulnerable of all, 
Black teenagers.

CBO said that a federal minimum wage 
of $15 per hour would increase the 
wages of 17 million workers in an average 
week during 2025. While the $15 
federal minimum wage would boost 
some workers’ earnings, the CBO also 
said that some of the higher earnings 
would be offset by higher job-lessness 

 If the Biden administration is serious 
about helping American workers, 
and especially minorities, it should 
take a page from President Theodore 
Roosevelt’s playbook. Roosevelt, a progressive 
back when progressivism was 
considered a noble political goal, and 
something completely different than 
what it has morphed into today, said: 
“This country will not be a good place 
for any of us to live in unless we make 
it a good place for all of us to live in.”

A $15 minimum wage will hurt the at-
risk population. It’s an idea that Biden 
should set aside to re-consider once the 
economy has recovered.

It’s so lamentably easy to stew with the ongoing gush of bad news.

Punxsutawney Phil has fled to his hidey hole after glimpsing six more weeks 
of vaccine chaos. The insurrectionist in exile has hired two new lawyers – 
one of whom refused to prosecute Bill Cosby, the other was slated to defend 
Jeffrey Epstein. “Moderate” Senate Republicans, who suddenly care about 
fiscal conservatism again, want to give suffering Americans one-third of the COVID relief money 
proposed by President Biden. House Republicans seem to be fine with a member who thinks that 
Jewish space lasers cause wildfires and that a plane never hit the Pentagon on 9/11. All this and 
more, the usual detritus of our era. But believe it or not, I’ve found some good news!

Lest we forget, the electorate laid waste to the autocratic MAGA grifters and replaced them with 
credentialed people who actually embrace enduring American values. The new secretary of state, 
Antony Blinken, is Exhibit A. I’m still marveling at what he told the press corps on his very first day:

“President Biden said that he wants truth and transparency back in the White House briefing room, 
that fully applies in this room as well…I know we’re not always going to see eye to eye, that’s not the 
point of the enterprise. Sometimes we’ll be frustrating to you. I imagine there are a few times when 
you’ll be frustrating to us. But that’s to be expected. That’s exactly, in some ways, the point. But you 
can count on me, you can count on us, to treat all of you with the immense respect you deserve and 
to give you what you need to do the jobs that you’re doing that are so important to our country and 
to our democracy…It’s an adventure. I am really, really glad that we’re in it together. Welcome back 
to the press room. This is your press room.”

Pinch me now.

I suppose we shouldn’t applaud when an American official defends freedom of the press, but it sure 
beats “enemy of the people.” It’s a step up from Mike Pompeo, the back-bench House Republican 
hack who failed upwards all the way to the State Department, where he trashed the truth and shred-
ded our moral authority worldwide.

Here at home, we’re locked in a battle between democracy and incipient grassroots fascism. Ulti-
mately, it’s a battle between truth (the lifeblood of democratic self-governance) and lies (the toys of 
fascists). If lying wins, we will lose our national soul, perhaps forever.

Blinken plays a key role in that battle. A secretary of state’s core nonpartisan mission is to tout 
American values around the world – and press freedom is crucial to that mission. Blinken, by dint 
of his instincts and experience, understands that America has no business preaching to other nations 
about freedom unless it sets an example for all to see.

Pompeo, who lashed out at reporters who dared ask him about the impeachable acts of his boss, 
abolished regular press briefings and assailed journalists as “unhinged,” never seemed to grasp the 
State Department’s mission.

One priceless moment came in 2019, when Trump decreed in a tweet that North Korea was no 
long-er a nuclear threat. Shortly thereafter, Pompeo appeared on Jake Tapper’s CNN show.

Tapper asked: “Do you think North Korea remains a nuclear threat?”

Pompeo: “Yes.”

Tapper: “But the president said he doesn’t.”

Pompeo: “That’s not what he said.”

Tapper: “He tweeted, ‘There’s no longer a nuclear threat from Korea.’ That’s just a direct quote.”

And how embarrassing it was, for a secretary of state, to be lectured by an interviewer in Kazakh-stan.

One year ago, on the eve of a trip to that country, Pompeo had unleashed an F-bomb tirade on an 
NPR reporter who’d sought to ask him inconvenient questions, and had thrown another NPR re-
porter off his plane. His foreign interviewer brought up the NPR incidents and asked him: “What 
kind of message (about America) does it send to countries like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Belarus, 
whose governments routinely suppress press freedom?”

Pompeo’s answer: “It’s a perfect message.”

Suffice it so say that, on the eve of Antony Blinken’s welcome ascent, the world’s supposedly top 
democracy was no longer a champion of press freedom. According to the international rankings 
posted by Reporters Without Borders, America is currently 45th in the world – trailing nations like 
Botswana, Latvia, Lithuania, and Namibia.

As Blinken said, “This is a critical moment for protecting and defending democracy, including right 
here at home.” There’s not a moment to lose.

Mountain Views News

Mission Statement

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concerns of our readers 
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