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OPINION: Michael Cohen is no John Dean

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There have been a slew of comments about the so-called “John Dean Moment” when Michael Cohen was set to testify in an open hearing before a House of Representatives Hearing last week. It never happened.

Michael Cohen has now appeared before the House Oversight Committee. It may have been the longest and closest view (via television) that people ever had of Mr. Cohen. This piece does not presume to say whether or not he was being truthful in the Hearing. It does presume to say that there is both a circumstantial and personal difference in the two events and the two people.

When John Dean spoke, the country was already in a crisis which included members of both parties. The very continuation of Richard Nixon’s Presidency began to unravel as a result of Mr. Dean’s appearance and testimony.

When Michael Cohen spoke, there was a strong feeling by one political party that the testimony would portend the end of the Presidency of the other party. This is still far from happening, and Mr. Cohen’s testimony did not affect both political parties – only one.

When Mr. Dean spoke, here was a dignified (although young) lawyer whose testimony was clear and convincing to both parties. There really was no question of whether or not what was said was truthful. Dean emerged as a hero of the Watergate era.

When Mr. Cohen spoke and continues to speak, there is a question about whether or not what is heard is truthful. One political side says “yes” and the other side says “no”. Mr. Cohen is a convicted liar (via his own plea). He is on his way to a 3 year prison term. He may very well be telling the truth, but he clearly does not carry the same presumption of honesty that Dean did.

The issue of a Presidential pardon is the latest twist to this convoluted puzzle. Did Mr. Cohen probe a possible pardon or not?

What will happen next in this Presidential drama we are living through is certainly not clear. What is clear is that there is a world of difference between John Dean and Michael Cohen.

In full disclosure, I am a fellow Georgetown Law graduate and have had occasional contact with John Dean over the years. I have had no contact with Mr. Cohen.


Charles “Chips” Lickson | JD, Ph.D.
Front Royal, Virginia

Former practicing lawyer, mediator, teacher and Associate Professor of Political Science at Shenandoah University. Lickson is the author of eight previous non-fiction books. He is currently finishing a fact-based novel, REFUGE FOR A SCOUNDREL, due out in Fall, 2019.

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Where does Mr. Tharpe go to get his reputation back?

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The more I hear about the case against our former mayor the more it smells. If the information is correct that the prosecutor & police tried to force a witness to lie I can no longer keep silent. That action would be far worse than the perceived crime! If the case is dismissed, where does Mr. Tharpe go to get his reputation back?

This could happen to any of us! What can the defendant do get justice on the over jealous and questionable methods used against him. If there is a case OK, but if there is not quit slandering good people. Should there be punishment for unethical law enforcement practices?

Harry Reed
Front Royal

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Democrats and Deception

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A Lake Frederick resident calls Democrats to task!

Cal Thomas wrote (March 13), “The Democrat party has shown a lack of will to tell the truth.…” He might as well have said, “The Atlantic Ocean is wet!”

When it comes to “…a lack of will to tell the truth…” Democrats, I have observed, offer a bumper-crop. To be fair, most politicians – both sides of the aisle – have falsified truth. But with today’s Democrats it’s become an art form.

A liberal might say the same about Republicans. We could spend weeks drawing up lists. With our combined lists we could build stair-steps to the moon. But let’s stop a moment and dwell upon an uncomfortable truth.

We are allowing this to happen, you and I. We allow deception, perversion, evasion, and outright disinformation. Why? Why do we lack the will to demand truth? Why don’t we hold our leaders accountable for their statements, for their actions? I’ll return to this. But first let’s examine some recent Democrat examples of deception (A lie by any other name would smell as foul, to paraphrase Shakespeare).

In their attempt to gather voters, the Democrats would have us believe what they claim about global warming, now climate change. But here is what they’d rather we not know on this topic. Recent tests (2017) of Antarctica’s buried ice have revealed (again) that during the Pleistocene era – all without the interference of humankind – our earth experienced numerous periods of global warming. It’s part of what our planet routinely does.

If they sought truth, Democrats could check the Geology 101 textbooks of their college years. They’d find that New York City (long before it was populated) was buried under thousands of feet of ice. Actually, there were five “ice ages.” Guess what? It melted! Thank global warming!

To round up yet more voters, Democrats routinely claim they’ll solve our nation’s social and economic problems. Yet, from 1931 until today, with 62-years of Democrat majority in both houses of Congress, have they fulfilled their promises? Ask children in Detroit, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Cleveland why they cannot achieve basic reading and math proficiency standards. Has Detroit gone bankrupt? Does Chicago have street killings? Let’s compare truth — supportable, factual truth – to Democrat deception.

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.

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. All this despite another fact: Per CNBC.com “Two-thirds of America’s 100 largest cities are controlled by Democratic Party mayors.”

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%), and Cleveland (75%). These voters are victims of embezzlement. Votes delivered. Promises unfulfilled.

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

Finally, do Democrats – while catering to yet another of its voter bases – tell us that Margaret Sanger cared not a whit about women’s reproductive rights when she spurred our nation’s abortion movement? She was a racist. A eugenicist. Her goal was the same as Hitler’s, but the target was black Americans! She’s succeeding. Check it. I did. And it’s grim!

So, why are we allowing this deception to continue? We have become complacent! We don’t energetically seek out facts. I do, and, if you so request, I will give you the sources for each of the facts I’ve cited here.

We do not demand fact-based reporting. We do not call to account those who glibly pile falsehood upon falsehood into our newspapers and onto our broadcast airwaves! We can do this. We can cancel newspaper subscriptions. We can switch-off television stations. These actions send warning signals to advertisers. As print media readership declines, ad revenues follow suit. The same is true for broadcast ad revenue.

We must daily, you and I, demand quality, objective journalism. We must identify falsehood and deception and hold accountable those who persist in such.

If we do not, soon, we will see Democrats continue their sleight-of-hand, our Supreme Court will have term limits, the electoral college will be dismantled, and we’ll be saluting a socialist flag.

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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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Opinions are like shoes

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If Frank Tilton’s writings are anything, they are eclectic. Much like his life experiences. Much like his education. Much like the books he reads, the music he chooses, the ideas in his cranium.

Meet Frank Tilton.

Hence this column, as opinion pieces, reflect my own views. You are welcome to disagree. Still, keep this in mind. There is opinion and there is informed opinion. The distinction matters.

This is the page where you the reader find what the author wants you to know about himself. Typically, you’ll see Ph.D., Dissertation, a list of books and articles published, and a list of  emberships in professional organizations. Some of which they’ve actually attended within the past fifteen years. All this so you’ll know you really ought to read what they have to say. I don’t mean to belittle anyone here.

If they walk the walk of what they talk and talk, fine. They might be worth attending to. Some are. But, I, too, have Curriculum Vitae. And here they are (notice the plural):

  • grocery clerk (long before items were “scanned”)
  • chicken farm ranch hand (or was that chicken ranch farm hand?)
  • filling-station attendant (when window washing and a check of the oil was standard service)
  • gold mine dynamiter’s assistant
  • gold ore crusher operator
  • backwoods firewood splitter
  • rattlesnake exterminator (self-defense only)
  • telephone solicitor (lasted only one-day, detested it)
  • UPS route driver
  • typist for an Italian attorney (when keyboards were mechanical not electrical, and there was no spellcheck)
  • Air Force Morse radio operator
  • sports writer, sports editor, news writer, newspaper editor
  • Air Force historian (real books, some classified)
  • public affairs officer, USAF (24-year USAF career)
  • college instructor, English and Journalism
  • assistant professor teaching international officers
  • teacher, 9th grade English and middle school
  • German, 19 years
  • husband, father, grandfather …. whoa!
  • resident of California, Colorado, Montana, upstate New York, downstate Texas, Nebraska, Indiana, Virginia and a few other places such as Italy, Germany (both sides of the Iron Curtain), Libya (before Kaddafi), Egypt, Greenland, and oh my, the memory fades.
  • All right! I’ll fess up. Yes, I’ve also garnered one Bachelor’s degree in English, another in German, a Master of Science in radio-television, and state teaching certification for English, German, and Journalism, all at the secondary level.
  • And, no. I do not have a Ph.D. I needed some time in there for rattlesnake exterminating, firewood splitting, and those pesky little wads for the dynamiting.

Frank Tilton

Opinions are like shoes. Some shoes are stylish and colorful but aren’t die sort of footwear you’d want to walk a mile in. Others are of quality leather and crafted for support and comfort, and, yes, for walking far more than a mile. I could set this up as a quality vs. style dichotomy, but truth be told, both have their place and time. Stylish wins with formal attire; support and comfort win for day-to-day and distance.

So it is with opinion. Some gets by just fine in stand-alone mode, like stylish shoes. Some needs quality support to gain credibility. In my Preface I made the statement: There is opinion and there is informed opinion. I wasn’t just being loftily academic. There is a difference. And the distinction is important.

Consider this:
George says: Best car on the planet, that Chevy Camaro.
Phillip asks: Really? Have you ever driven one?
George says: Not yet. But that’s a really hot car!

Now consider this:
Al says: Best car on the planet, that Chevy Camaro.
Fritz asks: Really? Have you ever driven one?
Al says: This is my third one. Been driving these for 20 years. I’ve had over a 100,000 miles behind the wheel of each one. Terrific car!
Okay. No contest, right?
Al has given us an informed opinion. George not so much. So, if you apply this model to your listening and reading skills, you’ll have little trouble recognizing which opinion you find more credible. True with Camaros. True with politics. But not so true with soda pop.

Soda pop brings us to another variety of opinion – personal preference. Like die stylish shoes, personal preference has its time and its place. Your friend likes Coca Cola. You’d rather drink Pepsi. You can imagine the conversation, right? You and your friend could debate all day, but chances are at the grocer you’d both buy die product you prefer. It’s a matter of taste. Personal preference. But not always! It’s possible your beverage choice is based upon informed opinion. For example, if your concern is caffeine, you might choose either Coca Cola (39 mg) or Pepsi (38mg) over Mountain Dew (54mg). If sugar content is important to you, you’d likely select, Coca Cola (44g) or Pepsi (41g) over Mountain Dew (46g). A little more research might lead you to shop for a diet soda. The point remains; informed opinion is one thing, and personal preference is another.

With examples like Camaros and Colas it may seem of little importance to you, this matter of opinion whether informed or otherwise. Not so! In today’s world of misinformation, disinformation, media manipulation and downright skulduggery much is at stake. That’s why it is critical to recognize opinion in all of its forms. For a prime example of informed opinion, go to the article About those Democrats.

Any statement positing what is good, better, or best, (or any synonym of these) is opinion. Likewise, the word will. Will is future tense, and neither you nor I know factually what will happen tomorrow much less ten-minutes from now. Should, must, and ought are words of advice, hence opinion. Many adjectives – especially those ending with -able, -ible or -less – are opinion words.

Finally, let’s go back in history, to a time when folks could disagree with civility. A decade or so before or after the American Civil War, there was a British essayist by the name of John Stuart Mill. This fellow wrote a piece called On Liberty. He offered some advice I wish we’d heed these days. He wrote:

  • Opinions ought never to be suppressed.
  • There are three sorts of beliefs (opinions) that can be had—wholly false, partly true, and wholly true—all of which benefit the common good.
  • If an opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true.
  • Though the silenced opinion be an error, it may, and very commonly does, contain a portion of truth.
  • Since the general or prevailing opinion on an)’ subject is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by die collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being  supplied.

Even if an opinion be true, it must be vigorously and earnestly contested (in the interest of it being accepted and understood) so as not to be lost, or enfeebled, and deprived of its vital effect. (I have ever so slightly edited this last point to modernize it a bit without losing the intent.)

Today’s college and university campuses would surely benefit (yes, this is an opinion – mine) by returning to Mill’s recognition of the value of hearing-out opinions, even, or especially, those with which one might disagree. Such civil listening, however, is not much in evidence at this time.

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Warren County named after the greatest martyr of the American Revolution

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When Sondra and I moved to Warren County, I did not have a clue for whom the County was named. I asked dozens of folks if they could tell me; no one else knew either. So I did some research. It was named for, in my opinion, the greatest martyr of the American Revolution, Dr. Joseph Warren of Boston. So I began the job… maybe better, I went on a tare! I encouraged county leaders to elevate Joseph Warren’s memory to a place of honor in every citizens’ mind and heart.

Recently, a leaflet I wrote and produced that became a poster was placed in an exhibit in the Warren County Heritage Society Museum. The poster was my first PR piece which I put in front of leaders, boards… anybody who would listen. Things began to happen when folks learned who our county’s namesake was.

I am thrilled the County Supervisors approved that all County flags are lowered to half-mast on Dr. Warren’s birthday and remain lowered until his date of martyrdom, June 17. He died at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Later this year, every county public school will have a specially designed historical plaque erected in it’s foyer. These have been funded by the Knight-Patty Fund through the encouragement of our local SAR chapter president. All civic buildings will erect plaques… the court house, hospital, library, and more.

There are 14 counties and cities throughout the United States named for this “Forgotten Founding Father.” Ours is one of these. Further, our Board of Education has directed that Joseph’s life story will be taught in history classes. I am so happy this young doctor and Major General, dead at age 34, is forgotten no more! Our thanks to you, Joseph, for your leadership and sacrifice to make US free. Abigail Adams said, “Our dear Joseph would have been our President!”

Pictured with me at the Museum is the chief archivist, Deborah Corey, wife of our SAR President, Dale Corey. She builds great educational exhibits and is instrumental in designing numbers of Revolutionary War exhibits at the museum, along with husband Dale! Thank you both, and thanks to the School Board and Board of Supervisors. Let us all cheer and give thanks for our Free America!

Larry Johnson
Front Royal, VA

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Why I am concerned about the state of the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office

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The information released about evidence known by the Commonwealth attorney’s office regarding Jennifer McDonald is concerning at best. If that office had information that Ms. McDonald was misusing funds over a year ago then a Special Grand Jury should have been immediately impaneled.

Ms. McDonald should have been immediately indicted and not allowed to walk the streets for over a year. Who knows what evidence has been lost or destroyed in that time? With this information, along with the botched prosecution some months ago of Ms. McDonald, the people have a right to ask if the Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office is up to the job.

If not, they should step aside so that this investigation and prosecution can be handled properly from here going forward.

John Bell

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