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Facts and Politics

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Want to attempt something difficult? Try talking with your grandkids about facts and politics. Problem is, facts are not the most popular of ingredients in today’s dialogs (true for grandkids, true for adults). Yet I remain convinced that given facts my grandchildren are capable of a rational understanding of issues. It probably helps that the youngest of them is beyond high school age.

Before we examine facts, let’s agree to keep in mind such things as campaign promises, stated priorities, and party platforms.

Facts: Looking back from 2016 to 1931, the Democratic Party held the majority of both the House and the Senate for 62 years. During those same 85 years, the Republican Party-held the majority in both houses for 22 years. So, from the Hoover presidency to the Obama presidency Democrats controlled Congress more than two-thirds of that time span.

Given a Democrat-controlled Congress for 62 of the past 85 years and given Democratic Party Presidents for 48 of those years, it ought to be easy to see the results of their leadership. Actually, it is easy. All we need to do is compare promises with results.

Let’s begin with education.

Facts: In 2015, fully 73 percent of Detroit’s 8th grade students failed to achieve basic proficiency in math skills. Those same Detroit students performed at only 44 percent proficiency in reading. And Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Cleveland ought not boast about scores at 58, 51, and 48 indicating scarcely half of their students can read at proficient levels.

So, what have these academic scores to do with Democratic Party majority for more than six decades? It should be readily apparent. Failure. Failure of promises. Deficiency of leadership. And this despite another fact: Per CNBC.com “Two-thirds of America’s 100 largest cities are controlled by Democratic Party mayors. “Let’s shift our focus to economics.

Fact: Detroit was declared bankrupt on December 3, 2013, with its $18.5 billion debt.

Fact: Illinois, according to valuewalk.com, “has $15 billion in unpaid bills, and has entered its fifth straight year without a budget. This has created a devastating situation for social programs within the state…. The prospect of an Illinois bankruptcy appears inevitable.”

Fact: The Democratic party since 2004 holds the majority in both houses of the Illinois General Assembly. No budget?

One final gut-wrencher. Crime.

Fact: In 2016, Chicago suffered 751 killings by gunshot. This year to date 318 have similarly fallen and 1,821 have been shot in Chicago although the year is but half complete. Now recall the April 2015 Baltimore riots and the high crime rates of Cleveland, Detroit, and Philadelphia.

Education, economics, crime. Dismal failure. And how does this relate to those 62 years of Democratic majorities?

Consider these 2016 Presidential election results favoring Democrat candidates:

  • Chicago (83%)
  • Detroit (68%)
  • Baltimore (84%>)
  • Philadelphia (82%)
  • Cleveland (75%)

These voters are victims of embezzlement. Votes delivered. Promises unfulfilled.

Fact: There is an inverse correlation between Democrat promises and Democrat results.

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Opinion

Response to Ben Cline on U.S.-Israel alliance

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Dear Representative Cline,

I write to you as the congressional representative for Warren County.

In my letter asking you NOT to vote for S.B. 3176 – the US-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2020 – you responded: Israel is one of our greatest allies, and because it is the sole democracy in the Middle East, our friendship with the nation is of great strategic importance.”

I beg to differ.

First of all, Israel is not the only “democracy” in the Middle East. Tunisia, which forms part of the Middle East, is also a democracy. And, your suggestion that Israel is a strategic U.S. asset is not a serious argument.

Second, I believe that Israel is not a “democracy” that has similar values with those of the U.S. In 2018, Israel passed the undemocratic nation-state law that stipulates “the right to exercise national self-determination is unique to the Jewish people.” Said in another way, Israel is a Jewish state that privileges only Jews.

Third, Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is sharply at odds with U.S. values. Israel commits human rights abuses against Palestinians living under its 50+ year military occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. These include injuring and killing Palestinians, detaining and abusing children, demolishing homes, uprooting agriculture, and denying freedom of movement and expression.

Finally, which brings me to the point of this letter, U.S. taxpayers give Israel $3.8 billion in military aid each year— of which Virginia taxpayers contribute $107,232,005. And, of that amount, taxpayers in Warren County contribute $298,992. With that money, we could fund one of the following: four elementary teachers, provided 199 people with food assistance programs, awarded 51 students Pell Grants, provided healthcare for 126 children, or funded four clean energy jobs.

In order to make things right, I urge you to support legislation that places conditions on aid to Israel to ensure that the taxpayers of Warren County are on the right side of history.

Sincerely,

Jeanne Trabulsi
Front Royal, Virginia

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Opinion

Good time for a Back to School Prayer Walk

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“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” Matthew 18:19-20.

Each year during the fall high holy days on Yom Kippur ancient Israel fasted and prayed and provided an offering to make atonement for the sins of the nation. Thus they were purified for a year before God. However, this was not all. The following week began the Feast of Tabernacles, during which the nation of Israel in turn sacrificed 70 bulls according to Numbers 29:12-34. Although God did not provide a specific explanation for the sacrifice of these bulls it is believed these sacrifices were meant to cover the other nations of the world. In a similar manner it is the Church’s responsibility to cover the planet and intercede for all humanity through our prayers.

For a number of years church congregations have prayed for Shenandoah Valley schools, families and surrounding communities in support of another school season. The Word of God commands us in Philippians 4:6-7 to not worry, but to instead lift up every concern to the Lord in prayer. When we do this, we are promised a peace that surpasses human understanding. Our church community is committed to prayer. Last year, many churches participated in “Back to School Prayer Walks” involving elementary, middle and high schools and facilities in various communities and townships throughout our great valley. The walkers casually strolled through the school yards and neighborhoods, praying and seeking the Holy Spirit to intercede for them.

Including children is crucial to the school prayer walk. Parents are always overjoyed about how their children are engaged during the walk. Every student wants to pray over their own school. The Church believes in the importance of demonstrating and teaching the next generation of Christians to pray over their neighbors and community and that it is our responsibility to engage in the spiritual welfare of others.

August is a very good time to conduct a School Prayer Walk. Prayer walkers can gather together in a school parking lot for a group prayer before splitting into teams. Each team can be given maps and assignments to pray over selected schools as part of a plan to spread out and provide coverage for current and future public school sites. The walkers then can drive to their assigned schools and surrounding communities to intercede for the thousands of students and staff.

Scripture is clear about its significance to the work in the Kingdom of God. In fact, God has chosen prayer to be one of the primary means by which He accomplishes His purposes in the world. Prayer Walking is an attempt to pray among those you are trying to reach. The goal is about obedience to God’s command to pray for others and faithfulness to join Him in His work.

Mark Gunderman
Stephens City, Virginia

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Royal Examiner staffer reply to: Retire the ‘Redskins’

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The issue of changing the Washington NFL team’s nickname due to racist connotations has arisen previously. And as this reporter/editor noted during one of those cycles of national attention, the origin of the term “Redskin” came about during the westward migration of primarily white, European ancestry Americans through the 1800’s when bounties were offered for killing Indians. Eventually it was decided it was too cumbersome to make a person transport the dead Indian or Indians’ bodies at distance to collect their bounty. So, it was authorized that an Indian scalp was sufficient evidence of the murder to collect your bounty.

At the time Indian scalps were commonly referred to as “Redskins” a term which evolved into a racial slur to Indians in general. And while over time the scalping reference receded from public consciousness as the murder/bounty practice stopped as the west was “won”, and eventually the racist origins receded from memory as well, that is the historical context of the name’s origin, as well as the practice of scalping in the old West.

That said, as a D.C.-born lifelong fan of Washington professional sports franchises, if often not their owners, I would offer one addition to Mr. Pickering’s alternate names list, at least for the tenure of Daniel Snyder’s ownership of the team:

  • Washington’s Irrelevant Reds
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Retire the Redskins

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The Washington Redskins National Football League franchise is a disgrace! In the year 2020, Washington team owner Daniel Snyder cannot possibly continue to rationalize keeping his ridiculously racist team name in the face of widespread, righteous public condemnation of Snyder’s racist recalcitrance.

Our nation’s capitol’s team name “The Redskins” will be retired before this football season begins, if Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) has anything to say about it: “The time [for the name] has ended. There is no way to justify it. You either step into this century or you don’t. It’s up to the owner of the team to do that.”

In 1997, Washington, D.C.’s National Basketball Association franchise willingly changed its name from “The Bullets” to “The Wizards”. So what’s Daniel Snyder’s problem (other than being a bigot)?

As silly as some of these monikers are below, any one of them would be preferable to Washington D.C.’s current NFL team name. Take your pick, Mr. Snyder:

  • Washington Redcoats
  • Washington Rednecks
  • Washington Redrums
  • Washington Red Dawns
  • Washington Red Foxes
  • Washington Red Lines
  • Washington Red Rovers
  • Washington Red Tides
  • Washington Red Riding Hoods
  • Washington Red Sparrows
    (Melania Trump could be the Red Sparrows mascot)

Sincerely,

Jake Pickering 
Arcata, California

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Why I Stand

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During RFD-TV’s The American presented by DISH, fans were treated to a moving video of Meredith Looney LaMirande’s poem, “Why I Stand.”

Read the complete poem below. “Why I Stand” by Meredith Looney LaMirande:

I don’t do it out of obligation,

I don’t do it because I’m told.

I don’t do it because I was trained,

I don’t do it to be bold.

I stand for our National Anthem because I’m forever grateful to be free.

I stand for the Anthem to respect, those before me.

The broad stripes and bright stars are symbols of freedom which is rare.

The type of freedom that was won, while bombs burst in the air.

I stand for bravery dating back, to the Revolutionary War.

Battling the greatest army, not knowing what was in store.

I stand for the heroes who stormed Normandy, that fatal day.

Accepting that the ultimate sacrifice might be the price to pay.

I stand for our twin towers, as a tribute that we have not forgotten.

I salute our military for ending, our fear that was Bin Ladin.

Our children are born, with rights and freedoms at birth.

How blessed are we to live, in the greatest nation on Earth.

Where democracy is our foundation, and there is opportunity for all.

A country free from oppression, our Lady Liberty stands tall.

A first-class military whose dedication is second to none.

Patriots ready to perform, when the war must be won.

We have wounded warriors who would return, if only they could,

Doing more for this country, than any single person should.

Heroes have fallen, their caskets draped in red, white, and blue.

Stand up, sing along, their lives were given for you.

So as long as the star-spangled banner, yet wave.

I stand for the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

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A perspective on Stanley’s service, removal

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Dear Sir:

I have spent considerable time in Warren County over the past several years and have been present on several occasions in which Doug Stanley was a prominent figure.  He was often the center of attention and you could sense the respect and pride others had in him.  That was also evident at his final Board of Supervisors’ meeting, where many of his staff were there supporting him.

Doug Stanley on the job in Warren County – Royal Examiner File Photo

I met Stanley several years ago and was impressed with his knowledge of government, knowledge of quality processes, empathy for the citizens under his care, his vision for the future of Warren County, his ability to lead his staff and communicate with its citizens.  I wondered why he wasn’t higher in government service for the commonwealth or at the federal level.  I thought Warren County was fortunate to have him.

Stanley served Warren County for about 25 years.  That is a full career for many professions; he gave the best years of his professional life to Warren County.  I was not there, but was told by others he was denigrated at a meeting reminiscent of The Jerry Springer Show with people yelling from the audience and no control from the Board of Supervisors.  In contrast, the meeting where he was terminated was closed and the BOS did not allow any speakers at the associated three minute open session.

Perhaps Stanley was caught up as a scapegoat in the Economic Development Authority scandal and debacle.  However, I understand he was totally exonerated and was instrumental in unraveling the mess.  He deserved a medal, not a pink slip.

This was a shabby way to treat this leader and citizen of Warren County and a man that gave much of his life and heart to Warren County.  I hope and expect he will rebound somewhere to a much more prominent position where the citizens will benefit from his vision and expertise.  I don’t think the members of the BOS knew what a special person they had.  This will go down in Warren County history as a sad and embarrassing event.

Robert Turner
Chesapeake, Virginia

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