Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, October 14, 2023

MVNews this week:  Page 13



Mountain View News Saturday, October 14, 2023 






Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


Peter Lamendola


Stuart Tolchin 

Harvey Hyde

Audrey Swanson

Meghan Malooley

Mary Lou Caldwell

Kevin McGuire

Chris Leclerc

Dinah Chong Watkins

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




Join me in prayer and support 
for our Israeli brothers 
and sisters victimized by 
this week’s inexplicable savage 

(This week’s column has a 
slight humorous feel to it. After considering 
what I should do in light of the mideast 
savagery. I chose to leave the column as-is 
because the message in the column is meant 
to be uplifting…and we can sure use that.)

I infuriated someone this morning. I have 
no idea why. I was headed south on a regular 
city street, doing the speed limit…almost. 
A car came up (and I mean right up) 
behind me. I had no place to go or even pull 
over. When I got to the stop sign, I pulled to 
the right to let the maniac go by. Leadfoot 
stopped right next to me, making an angry 
face that would stop a clock. She gestured 
using HER hands in a tearing motion, over 
and over again, like ripping phone books in 
half. And sped off.

Ironic talking about gestures. I wanted to 
write about gestures this week. But (calm 
down Rich) not those kind of gestures. Gestures 
that improve the quality of people’s 
lives. Look on many of the internet social 
platforms, like Facebook, and you can find 
videos of people going up to homeless people 
on the street and blessing them with a 
gesture like, buying them new clothes, or 
feeding them.

Witnessing these short video encounters 
caused me to do a 180 in my thinking. A 
real change of heart on my part as I would 
never give a homeless person cash. I convinced 
myself it would be spent on drugs or 
booze (and it very well might be). God told 
me to take the risk. If I come across a homeless 
person, I now carry a few extra $5 or $10 
bills and share it with them. You can always 
buy and distribute gift cards from fast food 
places. If you live in San Marino you should 
know Mercedes Benz sells gift cards.

Because I am a man of faith, I always tell the 
homeless person this is a gift from me and 

You never really know what your slightest 
gesture or act of kindness might ultimately 
result in. In the 1980’s AIDS had everybody 
frightened. We didn’t know what it was and 
how it might be transmitted. Only thing 
we knew for sure is it was killing people. In 
1987, Princess Diana visited a hospital in 
London and was photographed shaking the 
hand of an AIDS patient. That wonderful 
selfless gesture of hers changed the dialogue 
regarding AIDS worldwide.

Luz Long was a German Olympic long 
jumper noted for winning gold medals in 
international sporting events. Preparing 
for the long jump at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, 
Luz noticed one of his fellow competitor’s 
fouled out on his first two jumps. Luz 
could see the runner was worried. Luz came 
up to the American and pointed out what 
he was doing wrong. The American runner 
took Luz’s adjustment suggestion and 
ended up winning the gold medal beating 
out Luz who got stuck with the silver medal. 
The gold medal winner and beneficiary of 
Luz’ advice? Jesse Owens. Needless to say, 
Adolph Hitler was displeased.

Desmond Doss… was in the Army during 
World War I. He was a conscientious objector 
who refused to touch a gun or hurt an 
enemy. But he was willing to help and heal 
others as a combat medic. The army finally 
agreed to it. Good move. The conscientious 
objector ended up being wounded 4 times 
and, in one experience, singlehandedly 
saved the lives of 75 infantrymen carrying 
the 75 wounded soldiers to safety one at a 

Shameless plug gesture: If you find yourself 
in the vicinity of Nano Café, they are 
celebrating my birthday (Halloween) early 
on Saturday, October 28, inviting JJ Jukebox, 
the band I have the pleasure of jointly 
making noise with (sometimes in key) to 
perform a dinner concert. Its filling up, so, 
if you can, come harass me and the band, 
enjoy good food and dance. (626) 325-3334 
if you dare.

Have a great week.



morning I began 
to understand 
a number of 
things that I had 
not thought much about before. 
Yesterday I heard a quote from 
Benjamin Netanyahu, the present 
Prime-Minister of Israel. Yesterday, 
or the day before, he voluntarily 
relinquished some power and created 
a temporary unity government 
naming his rival Benny Gantz as co-
Prime Minister of Israel. Netanyahu 
is not the kind of person who 
generally relinquishes power even in 
troubled times. This act combined 
with Netanyahu’s statement that 
“every Hamas person is a dead man” 
roiled around in my brain and lead 
me to think about a lot of things.

 I am an almost eighty-year 
old Jewish man, a life-long atheist 
who has had absolutely no religious 
instruction or training. Still I 
proudly identify as Jewish and what 
that means to me is a commitment 
to fairness, equality of opportunity, 
service to others, the importance of 
social mobility, and a strong distaste 
for symbols of class distinction 
and elitism. I believe every human 
is valuable and I abhor a winners 
and losers mentality specifically 
manifested by a creature such as 
ex-President Donald J. Trump. I 
do not know if these attitudes are 
particularly unique to Jews, I wish 
they were universal, but for whatever 
reason they are my beliefs, and if 
anything is true they are the correct 

 How do these beliefs connect 
to the actions and statements of 
Netanyahu? I believe that his 
behavior can be understood as an 
underlying need for safety that 
is basic to all European Jews for 
whom the Nazi experience still 
resonates. “Never again” sums up 
the Jewish community’s attitude 
toward preventing a repeat of 
genocide. It underlies everything---
the remembrance and the continuing 
need for safety. For me there is a very 
personal meaning to this need existing 
long before the holocaust. Both 
my mother’s family and my father’s 
family, similar to all Ashkenazi Jews, 
escaped from Lithuania and Russia 
(today’s Ukraine) under harrowing 
circumstances. In order to make the 
move one family member managed to 
get to the United States, save enough 
money, and pay to free the rest of the 
family from Europe and bring the rest 

 I still remember 53 years ago, 
just after my marriage, as my new 
wife and I planned a honeymoon in 
Europe, “Why do you want to go to 
Europe—we worked like Hell to get 
out of there” my father said. Let me 
tell you some other things about my 
father. About thirty five years ago, 
ten years after his death, I got a call 
from someone asking for Al Tolchin. 
I told the caller that was my father’s 
name but that he had passed away 
and asked why the caller was calling. 
He said to me, “Are you the kid who 
used to write the stories?” “Yes”, I 
said to which he explained that he 
had been a teenage delivery boy at 
Stuart Food Mart (named for me of 
course) and had never been able to 
get to work on time. He was afraid 
of being fired, but instead of firing 
him my father gave him a new watch. 
Forty years later the ex-delivery boy 
was calling my father to thank him.

 A few other things about my 
father. I can only remember being 
punished twice. Once when I lost the 
ten dollar bill that I was supposed to 
give to the orthodontist as a monthly 
payment. My parents prohibited me 
from playing in one Little League 
game. I later learned that this made 
the entire team very sad as my father 
always brought oranges from his store 
for the whole team to enjoy during 
the game. This time there were no 

 The connection with my 
father always related to sports. I 
think, similar to many immigrants, he 
was an avid baseball fan. Whenever 
possible we would look at yesterday’s 
box scores in the newspaper. (The 
owner of the LA Times has, as far 
as I am concerned, committed a 
moral wrong by eliminating these 
box scores.) Before he lost his vision 
my father and I attended quite a few 
Dodger games together including the 
1958 game honoring injured catcher 
Roy Campanella who never played 
for the Los Angeles Dodgers. As 
my father lay in his final coma I read 
him the box scores from the paper 
which seemed temporarily to help 
regulate his-post heart attack blood 

 A final memory regarding 
my father. His only concern prior to 
approving the marriage of my sister 
at the age of seventeen was that her 
chosen husband have at least ten 
thousand dollars in the bank. The 
belief was that money brings safety

 Perhaps this all helps to 
explain why in the midst of the 
Israeli/Hamas conflict the Dodgers 
elimination from the playoffs still 
struck me so deeply. For me it 
reminded me of the loss my father 
and the perils of the Jews in Israel. A 
promise like Netanyahu’s vowing to 
kill all Hamas adherents (which may 
include all inhabitants of Gaza) to my 
mind is the ultimate NON-JEWISH, 
non-life-affirming statement. Yes, 
Netanyahu is well aware that Gazans 
are humans but it is only his fear for 
the safety of Israel and the realization 
that money cannot be counted on to 
save them that would account for a 
Jewish Man to make such a statement.

 As they used to say in 
Brooklyn prior to 1955, when the 
Dodgers actually won the World 
Series, “Wait ‘til next year.” I just 
want this year to be done with and 
hope there is a next year and an 
Israel and a safe Middle-East. If you 
have something to say relating to the 
article please email at stuarttolchin@ You don’t have to wait ‘til 
next year! 

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Last week the MAGA brats in the U.S. House ousted their Speaker and basically 
crashed the chamber because that’s what nihilists do, they seek and destroy. But 
now come the consequences.

A major Middle East crisis has rocked the world, and, for the gang that can’t 
govern, play time is suddenly over.

Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, 
one of the adults in that benighted chamber, said it well when asked on 
CNN whether he and his colleagues can adequately respond, especially by aiding 
Israel to the fullest financial extent.

“I look at the world and all the threats that are out there, and what kind of message 
are we sending to our adversaries when we can’t govern, when we’re dysfunctional, when we don’t even have a Speaker of the House?” McCaul said. “I mean, how 
does Chairman Xi in China look at this when he says democracy doesn’t work? How does the ayatollah look at this, knowing that we cannot function properly? And I 
think it sends a terrible message… We’re just in too dangerous of a time right now to be playing games with national security.”

No kidding. But this is what happens when a cult gets a whiff of power. It weakens the country it purports to love, and never more glaringly than when an international 
crisis flares and the western world looks to us for leadership – ideally, unified bipartisan leadership. Instead, we’re hampered not only by the clowns in the dysfunctional 
House, but by a pair of clowns on the Senate side – most notably dumb jock Tommy Tuberville, whose blockade of military promotions has left us without a Chief of 
Naval Operations, a job that seems a tad important right now. There’s also Rand Paul, the Covid conspiracy theorist, who has been blocking a string of ambassadorial 
appointments – which means that, in this urgent moment, we don’t have a U.S. ambassador to Israel. Or to Egypt, Jordan, or Lebanon.

Nevertheless, cultists have been quite voluble about the breakout of war, taking refuge in lies. The biggest whopper – which you’ve likely heard because it has landed in 
the mainstream media via relentless cult repetition – is that President Biden funded Hamas’ terrorist attacks. Because he (supposedly) bribed Iran to recently release 
some American-dual citizen inmates by giving it $6 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars; Iran then (supposedly) gave that money to Hamas, which then (supposedly) used it 
to finance its terrorist attacks.

All nonsense. The $6 billion wasn’t U.S. tax dollars – it was Iranian oil revenue that the U.S. had frozen. The money didn’t go back to the Iranian government, and, indeed 
it hasn’t even been released yet –it’s being held by third parties in Qatar, and the U.S. will have a role in overseeing how it’ll be spent. And it’s all earmarked for humanitarian 
needs like food and medicine.

But the lie is still being recycled because it’s so much easier than actually doing stuff.

There once was a time when both parties worked together in the wake of an international crisis, but today that ethos is as archaic as the videocassette.

Some Republican congressmen seem to understand the urgency of the moment. Rep. Brandon Williams of New York wrote on social media “the nation in the world needs 
America’s Congress to be functioning,” while fellow New York Rep. Michael Lawler warned “uncertainty and chaos in the U.S. breeds vulnerability around the world.”

It’s clear the most destructive cultists could use a good dose of James Madison.

In the 10th Federalist Paper, the architect of the Constitution lamented that zealots who exploit “human passions” have all too often “divided mankind into parties, inflamed 
them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good.” He envisioned 
that a Congress would quell such passions. It would be “a chosen body of citizens whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism 
and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations.”

That would be nice. But, as the late singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith once penned, “If wishes were changes/ We’d all live in roses.”

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