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Elizabeth Iden supports Cheryl Cullers for Warren County Board of Supervisors

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It is time for “politics and business as usual” to change in Warren County. Cheryl Cullers is the candidate who can offer positive change for our community in South River.

Cheryl was raised in southern Warren County and lives there still on the family farm. A nurse, she worked at Warren Memorial Hospital, local assisted living and nursing homes, and for 17 years served as the school nurse at Ressie Jeffries Elementary. Busy with her family, her family’s farm, and her nursing career in Warren County, Cheryl never got involved in partisan politics, real estate deals or business partnerships. But her work as a nurse did give her a unique perspective on the needs of every demographic in our county – she knows firsthand about the lives of our children, our seniors and those who struggle with health. Successful in her profession, she takes a solution-oriented approach to problems. For many months, Cheryl attended town and county meetings and civic group gatherings to educate herself on the issues important to our community. She believes every single citizen needs to be represented no matter their political party, their job, their age – every citizen counts for Cheryl Cullers.

If we expect public service to replace corruption and greed in our local government, we have to elect people who will reject the old politics and the business as usual approach that has brought scandals and broken promises. I want positive change for our county, and I will vote for Cheryl Cullers for South River Supervisor on November 5.

Elizabeth W. Iden
Browntown, Virginia

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Opinion

New Special Grand Jury needed

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With the announcement of charges against Mr. Poe being dropped by the new Prosecutor, the lack and complete absence of any further indictments by either the Special Grand Jury or the Federal Grand Jury, and the growing rumors of a plea agreement for Ms. McDonald, it is apparent that the judicial/law enforcement system has broken down.

Investigations are noteworthy in the complete lack of focus. Investigators have yet to talk to Mr. Egger who could provide a treasure trove of information. They haven’t interviewed any of the Supervisors, any of the EDA Board members and may not have even interrogated Jennifer! Her Attorney has tried to contact the VSP to set up an interview but they have not returned his call.

The new Prosecutor has already complained that he can not focus on the charges. The understaffed VSP has been overwhelmed with information provided by the Feds when they dropped out of participating in the Grand Jury. Several heroic citizens have done a remarkable job in uncovering evidence and providing it to Law Enforcement. But, is that really their job?

We need a Special out of County Prosecutor focused only on this outrageous crime. The Special Grand Jury has turned out to be infected with personal relations and incredibly strong bogus charges (misfeasance of the Supervisors) that cost citizens more money in paying for the defense of the Supervisors (against patently bogus charges).

We need a completely new Special Grand Jury. Held out of County, made up of non-Warren County residents eliminating any hint of conflict of interest.

We need a dedicated Virginia State Police Task Force that focuses on this County and this investigation.

True, the Prosecutor and Law Enforcement have other crimes and issues (training, travel, etc.) that precludes their full time efforts. They have highly qualified Special Agents trained in investigative accounting.

What do we need to do to get these programs? Let your Governor know, let the Attorney General know.

Fred Schwartz
Warren County

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Missile Attacks

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historically speaking

If anyone was hoping for a calmer more peaceful decade, then surely by now they are disappointed. With just a few days into 2020, the major news story already is a drone strike and death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. Instantly political sides were drawn as Trump supporters praised the president’s actions as a strike against terrorism and protection for American lives. Trump detractors criticized the decision as dangerous. Presidential contenders have all denounced the president, calling him basically a war monger and a murderer. As always, I am not here to comment on the president’s decision. There is enough of that already. But historically speaking, the president’s actions are far from new. We have seen presidents strike Middle Eastern targets as far back as there have been Middle Eastern issues. You can claim he had ulterior motives, the same as previous presidents, but you can’t claim his attack is out of the ordinary.

Though most modern presidents have used missile strikes, I want to focus on two, President Clinton and President Reagan, both of whom made similar decisions. When Reagan took over in 1981, one of the principal “bad guys” was Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi. Similar to Iran today, Libya in the 1970s and 1980s was a principal supporter of terrorism. They were outspokenly anti-Israel and supported terrorist groups in Palestine and Syria. Like Iran, they were also actively trying to start a nuclear program.

The 1980s saw an uptick in Islamic terrorism when 239 marines were killed in a bombing in Lebanon in 1983. 1985 saw bombings in Vienna and Rome airports, the high-jacking of a TWA plane and an Italian cruise ship, both with American deaths. Finally, in 1986 American service men were killed and injured in a disco bombing in Berlin. Libya had ties to them all. After the disco bombing, Reagan ordered Operation El Dorado Canyon, which were air strikes against Libya hoping to kill Gaddafi. Unfortunately, Gaddafi was warned of the strikes and escaped before the bombs fell on his compound, sparing his life. The bombing did very little to curtail Libya’s support of terrorism as they continued throughout the 1980s. The United Nations condemned the attack, but Americans overwhelmingly supported Reagan’s actions, strengthening his popularity.

Two presidents later President Clinton launched his own Middle Eastern attacks. The first time was in June of 1993 when Clinton hit sites in Iraq. Supposedly the attack was in response to an assassination attempt against former President H.W. Bush while he was visiting Kuwait. Saddam Hussein was seen as a leading sponsor of terrorism and, like Iran, was supporting terrorism around the globe. The missiles hit the building where the assassination was planned but did little to curtail Saddam Hussein’s support of terrorism. The show of force did help Clinton’s poll numbers, which had dropped in recent months.

Clinton’s second strike came in August of 1999 and targeted a then little-known terrorist origination known as Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda had recently attacked American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Clinton’s response was a missile attack against Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. The attacks killed 24 but missed Osama bin Laden. This attack has more in common with Trump’s recent attack as it was seen more skeptically. Clinton was in the midst of his own impeachment issues and many saw it as an attempt to divert the nation’s attention. The catch phrase of the day was “the tail wagging the dog.” Clinton had taken a hit with the Black Hawk Down incident and was hoping this show of force would help his image. In the end the attacks on Al Qaeda did little to stop their growth as we all found out on 9/11.

Trump’s latest missile attack has some differences and some similarities. Iran is a supporter of terrorism, both in Iraq and Syria, and Soleimani was behind much of the violence. As with Reagan and Clinton, Soleimani and Iran can be tied to several key attacks. Last May they supported the terrorist group that attacked Saudi oil fields. In June two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman and a U.S. Navy drone was shot down. In July they captured a British oil tanker. In September they once again supported a terrorist group that attacked Saudi oil fields. In December rockets killed U.S. service men in Kirkuk. Finally, in December they attacked the American embassy in Iraq. Also, all the while, they continued to work towards nuclear weapons. Yes, during the escalation the president and Iran carried on a verbal battle which seemed childish considering the consequences, but the list of terrorist activities is not unlike the list from Libya or Iraq.

The key difference between all these attacks seems to be that Trump was the only one to hit his target. Another difference is that outside of the bin Laden attack, the other attacks occurred in the target’s own nation. Soleimani was not in Iran, but Iraq. What we cannot know is the retaliation. Libya, Iraq, and Al Qaeda all vowed retaliation for the bombing. None of the previous presidents stopped the terrorists and we did see more mass destruction, though we can never know if attacks were a response or would have been carried out anyway. Iran did launch missiles at American bases in Iraq, but there were no casualties. Maybe that will be enough for the Iranians to save face. Only time will tell. They do not want to look weak, but are they willing to escalate?

The other major difference is the American response to the attacks. Clinton took some flack, but most of the attacks by American presidents, including Bush and Obama, have been met with positive reviews. Obama was even praised by both parties for taking out Bin Laden. With Trump, as expected, the attacks have come swiftly and brutally. All the major candidates trying to secure the Democratic ticket have condemned Trump. Historically speaking, maybe what Trump has done is no different from past presidents. Maybe it’s we who are different and more cynical.


Dr. James Finck is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma and Chair of the Oklahoma Civil War Symposium. Follow Historically Speaking at www.Historicallyspeaking.blog or Facebook at @jamesWfinck.

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A Christmas poem for our troops

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TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS,
HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE MADE OF
PLASTER AND STONE.

I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY
WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE,
AND TO SEE JUST WHO
IN THIS HOME DID LIVE.

I LOOKED ALL ABOUT,
A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,
NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS,
NOT EVEN A TREE.

NO STOCKING BY MANTLE,
JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES
OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.

WITH MEDALS AND BADGES,
AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT
CAME THROUGH MY MIND.

FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT,
IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER,
ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.

THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING,
SILENT, ALONE,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR
IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.

THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE,
THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER,
NOT HOW I PICTURED
A UNITED STATES SOLDIER.

WAS THIS THE HERO
OF WHOM I’D JUST READ
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO,

THE FLOOR FOR A BED?

I REALIZED THE FAMILIES
THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS
WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.

SOON ROUND THE WORLD,
THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE
A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.

THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM
EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS,
LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.

I COULDN’T HELP WONDER
HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE
IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.

THE VERY THOUGHT
BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE,
I DROPPED TO MY KNEES
AND STARTED TO CRY.

THE SOLDIER AWAKENED
AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
“SANTA DON’T CRY,
THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE;

I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM,
I DON’T ASK FOR MORE,
MY LIFE IS MY GOD,
MY COUNTRY, MY CORPS.”

THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER
AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN’T CONTROL IT,
I CONTINUED TO WEEP.

I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS,
SO SILENT AND STILL

AND WE BOTH SHIVERED
FROM THE COLD NIGHT’S CHILL.

I DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE
ON THAT COLD, DARK NIGHT,
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR
SO WILLING TO FIGHT.

THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
WHISPERED, “CARRY ON SANTA,
IT’S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE.”

ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH,
AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.
“MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND,
AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT.”


Written by a Marine stationed in Okinawa, Japan

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2019 Silent Ideas

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How do college students mentally “wrestle with a wide range of ideas” when they prevent those ideas from being expressed? This is not a rhetorical question. It is spawned by remarks made by a dean of a prestigious American college.

That dean stated, “education requires them (students) to wrestle with a wide range of ideas which sometimes means engaging speakers with controversial messages, and sometimes, it means making use of their own free speech to combat objectionable ideas.”

This dean — Michele Murray, dean of students at Holy Cross – failed at both logic and leadership with this one statement. Why?

How can students wrestle with a wide range of ideas if they refuse to hear those ideas? One can neither agree nor disagree with that which one has not heard.

Dean Murray says her students were “making use of their own free speech to combat objectionable ideas.” But the students had not heard the “objectionable ideas” when they, in a premeditated action BEFORE THE LECTURE, blocked many others who wanted to listen to the talk by filling up the venue’s seats. This, the Dean fails to notice, is not a response!

No, this was no “unruly student protest” during a talk at College of the Holy Cross. It was premeditated, planned, and executed with chants of “my oppression is not a delusion” and “your racism is not welcome.” The target of this action was Conservative scholar Heather Mac Donald, an American political commentator, essayist, and attorney. She is a Thomas W. Smith Fellow of the Manhattan Institute.

But the students knew all this beforehand. So did Dean Murray.

And the college? College of the Holy Cross is a highly respected college of Jesuit Catholic tradition in Worcester, Mass.

Two of my neighbors are Holy Cross alumni. They are among the smartest people I know. And yet?

Wouldn’t we expect such deny-first-amendment antics from Stanford or U. Cal Berkeley? Anti-intellectualism seems to be contagious! Perhaps Dean Murray might wish a transfer.

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Historical Christmas II

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Christmas is the time of year when everyone seems a little happier and are a little nicer to each other. It is when we look forward to spending time with family and friends enjoying all of our favorite Christmas traditions. Yet, historically speaking, this was not always the case. Especially in America, we did not celebrate Christmas until the 1820s with the publication of a couple of important novels.

What was originally called the Feast of the Nativity reached England in the sixth century and began being called Christmas. Don’t think of it as the same holiday as we celebrate today. It was more a drunken party similar to Mardi Gras or Halloween than Christmas. It was gangs of poor going door-to-door demanding gifts. Think of some early Christmas carols. In “Here We Come A-Wassaling” there is the line, “We are not daily beggars that beg from door to door; but we are neighbours’ children, whom you have seen before.” In “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” we sing about going house to house basically demanding food.

This debauchery at Christmas played a part in America’s founding. The radical religious sect known as the Puritans wanted to rid the Church of England of all things Catholic, including the pagan practices that had crept into the Church. One of those practices was Christmas. There is no mention of Christmas in the Bible and no set date for the birth of Jesus. The Catholic Church had set Christmas during the winter solstice to help convert the Germanic tribes by claiming their religious feasts. The practice of Christmas was one of many doctrinally differences that led the Puritans to the New World to set up their “City on the Hill.” With Puritanism being one of the most influential institutions in American culture, Christmas was not practiced in the colonies. During and after the Revolutionary War, many British practices, including Christmas, were seen as taboo. In fact, Christmas does not become an official American holiday until 1870.

Christmas as we know it comes in the 1820s because of two important works of fiction (reading really does change the world). America’s first great author was Washington Irving. We had many writers at that point, but they mimicked British writing. Irving was the first to write something uniquely American. In 1819 he wrote The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent that includes some of his most famous stories such as “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle”. The one entitled “Christmas” showed an English squire inviting peasants into his home for Christmas. Irving believed Christmas should be a peaceful time where all classes could live in harmony. In his story he invented ancient customs such as family members returning from far away “once more to assemble about the paternal hearth, that rallying-place of affections.”

The second book, of course, was The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This 1843 novel, even more than Irving, shaped our current idea of Christmas. The message of charity and good will to all struck a chord in America. I don’t have room to discuss this here, but childhood had only recently become a thing. Before, children were just small adults. Now with childhood, parents had a day to lavish their children with gifts without appearing to spoil then.

Reading these stories, Americans came to assume this is how Christmas was supposed to be. Christmas quickly became seen as a family holiday, with peace towards all firmly part of the Christmas celebrations.

Being my last article of the year, I want to give a quick thanks to everyone who makes Historically Speaking possible. A huge thank you to my wife Melissa Finck and Dr. JC Casey who edit all my stories. I could not do this without them. I now have a student assistant who does all the distribution. So, thank you Chris Wilson. Thank you to the editors who run these stories. Lastly, thank you to all the readers, especially those who have sent me positive feedback. I put a great deal of time into these stories and it makes it worth it knowing so many of you enjoy them.

I hope this season does bring you the happiness that Ebenezer Scrooge and Irving’s English squire found in their lives. From my family to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas.


Dr. James Finck is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma and Chair of the Oklahoma Civil War Symposium. Follow Historically Speaking at www.Historicallyspeaking.blog or Facebook at @jamesWfinck.

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Second Amendment Sanctuary

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I couldn’t contain my amusement from afar when Warren County became a Second Amendment Sanctuary, particularly as local Democrats regurgitated worn out talking points. The Chairman of the Warren County Democrats claimed to see similarities between the sanctuary and the Massive Resistance of the 1960’s, and another of Warren County’s “best and brightest” took the curious position that resistance to unconstitutional usurpations was unconstitutional. Their Confederate forefathers would be quite proud.

Such dogma has clouded the unique history of these constitutional disputes. The doctrine of nullification was best articulated by Thomas Jefferson in 1798 in opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts. It played a unique political role in the years preceding the Civil War. In his Farewell Address to the Senate in 1861, Jefferson Davis condemned the Northern states for their “disregard of its constitutional obligations.” Just what were these obligations? Enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act.

The most heroic instance occurred in Wisconsin. The state legislature called for “positive defiance” of efforts by federal marshals to capture and return runaway slaves. “Personal liberty” laws were common in the North at the time. But local Democrats, then as now, seem to think that this act of resistance was just simply awful. Then as now, they would defer the matter to the Roger Taney’s of the courts for settlement. (Apparently the Second Amendment’s protection as an individual right hasn’t been settled by the Supreme Court according to local Democrats. But I digress.)

To their ignorance they have built common ground with the proponents of Massive Resistance of the 1960’s. In 1680, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation making it illegal of a black person to carry any weapon. In 1723, they specifically forbade firearms. Predictably enough disarming blacks received support among the terrorist wing of the Democratic Party, the Ku Klux Klan. Rosa Parks recounted that her husband “slept with a gun nearby for a time,” and Frederick Douglass recognized that “A man’s rights rest in three boxes. The ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.

From the apocalyptic outrage at the election of a Republican president to Ralph Northam’s classless costume choice, Virginia Democrats are certainly living up to their Confederate heritage.

Devon Downes

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