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Propaganda 2019

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I know propaganda. As a mother grizzly knows her cubs, I know propaganda. And what I have in recent days witnessed is propaganda of the type that raises the hair at the back of my neck!
There are among us those who are attempting to destroy the very fabric of our nation. The propaganda they create is sleight of hand worthy of praise from the 20th century master of the trade, Joseph Goebbels.

I shall not follow their lead. Nor is it for me to judge. God alone owns that task. You and I, however, can and should reveal that which may lead us and others on a path to self-destruction. Allow me, then, to expose what others have concealed in a current video series. This series is The Family, a recent Netflix offering.

The Family is billed as a documentary. If it is a documentary, it is both incomplete and ill-informed. By choice? You decide.

Let’s begin with the Netflix description of The Family. “An enigmatic conservative Christian group known as the Family wields enormous influence in Washington, D.C., in pursuit of its global ambitions. Investigative journalists expose The Fellowship, a Christian fundamentalist organization quietly operating in the corridors of power in Washington, D.C.”

Here is my characterization of The Family. This documentary is a thinly veiled attempt to undermine both the Biblical foundation of this Nation and our current President.

With that, let’s move to specifics. More than once a narrator makes a convoluted reference to Jesus and power. One such example: “Jesus says you must go to those who are in positions of power.”

Truth: Jesus said no such thing! Go ahead. Challenge me on that! What is the sole source for what Jesus did say? In fact, Jesus consistently modeled weakness, not power, as God’s preference for human behavior. “My power is made perfect in weakness.”

Another example: “If you are chosen (by God), it doesn’t matter what you do.”

Truth: This demonstrates complete ignorance of what the Bible records. Check Psalm 51 and ask yourself why David found those words necessary!

One more: “Who God cares about most is not the everyday people.”

Truth: This statement is absurd. It reflects nothing found within the Bible. A single reading of the Beatitudes refutes this moronic and demonic utterance.

Not yet convinced that Netflix is playing fast and loose with the Bible? Notice this from Episode 4:

“And it’s all scripturally based, Uh, Acts 9:15, you know, “Take my name, Jesus, to the Kings.”

Really? Let’s compare that quote to what the Bible actually says in Acts 9:15:

15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

Those who read the Bible will know that “this man” spoken of here is Saul shortly before he became the Apostle Paul. So Netflix scores a zero on Bible accuracy!

Before we continue, let’s review hallmarks of propaganda. Propaganda uses half-truth, omission of truth, and suppression of contrary views and actions to achieve its ends. To be most effective, propaganda uses just enough truth to mislead.

The Family features all of this, and more. We see both omission and suppression in this next example. In one episode – in an effort to reveal hypocrisy – the film reports details of two “fallen” political leaders. Two Republicans, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Nevada U. S. Senator John Ensign, had both been revealed in sensational extramarital scandals.

These two cases receive abundant attention in The Family. To be fair, yes, the Bible itself reveals not a few such examples of “fallen” leaders. Moses killed. David was an adulterer and arranged the killing of Uriah. The first human parents were given a single rule. This they promptly violated. One of their sons murdered the other. The list goes on. Diligent Bible readers do not shirk the negative.

Omitted from the Netflix film, however, are the cases of North Carolina U.S. Senator John Edwards and U.S. President Bill Clinton, both Democrats. Edwards’ case was particularly egregious given his infidelity to his wife, Elizabeth, who was a terminally ill cancer patient. Clinton’s case besmirched not only his wife but the White House itself.

Yet, neither of these two Democrat “leaders” were mentioned in The Family ostensibly owing to their lack of participation in the Fellowship. This despite the fact that both had attended The National Prayer Breakfast, a centerpiece of this documentary on the Fellowship.

Netflix continues it erroneous reporting on the content of the Bible. Consider this example:

“I remember hearing them asking, what if Christ came not for the sheep but for the wolves? This becomes more articulated in this parable of the wolf king. The idea is that the leader of the pack is the most powerful figure. And you can go to the most powerful figure and you can pry open that door and say, let’s come alongside you. The movement sought out wolf kings around the world.”

Truth: The Bible has no “parable of the wolf king.” But that fact does not deter the Netflix narrative which states, “Doug Coe preaches a parable of the Wolf King.” Then they move right on to connect this non-existent parable to President Donald Trump:

“Now at last Trump, the wolf king, has arrived at home. And it doesn’t matter that he’s a believer. The wolf king likes strength and you’re going to put your strength alongside his.”

Truth: The Bible does record Paul speaking of wolves. Alert readers will recall this from Acts 20:

28 Be shepherds of the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number, men will rise up and distort the truth to draw away disciples after them.

Are Paul’s words here prophetic? You decide.

In another instance, Netflix got the Bible quote almost correct yet still strikes a target other than truth. In this case by omission.

A quote attributed to Jeff Sessions: “I would cite Romans 13: “Obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government.”

I checked 29 translations of the Bible and came up with this from NIV:

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

The Netflix production shows itself more than a few times to be specifically disturbed by the words “established” or “ordained” by God. Is this because some of today’s Christians choose to see President Trump as so ordained?

In this case, both Netflix and some Christians arrive at erroneous conclusions. Why? Because both fail to read Scripture with a Paul Harvey “rest of the story” approach.

Were they to do so, they might discover this. In the absence of evil there is no reason for free will! Evil regimes present the need for humans to make choices. Shall we trust God’s sovereignty, or do we consider ourselves as His equal? Hence, God permits, even encourages, evil leaders, as He did with Pharaoh of the time of Moses.

If we read the entirety of Romans 13 (to which Sessions refers) and all of Romans 9, we would discover that God clearly demands that we recognize His sovereignty!

Notice this from Romans 9:

16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

The Netflix production does not take into account this factor of God’s sovereignty. Yes, God – clearly shown within the Bible – ordains leaders. His choice, His will, His sovereignty! And, yes, some of those so chosen will be or become evil.

So, back to the concept of free will. We humans have that gift, all of us. Why? We have it so that we can freely choose whether and how to respond to God and acknowledge both His love and
His sovereignty.

And this is precisely where the Netflix “Family” production reveals itself as propaganda. It selects from the Bible only what advances its cause.

In like fashion, a Netflix-granted interview with Religion News Service uses juxtaposition (one person in physical proximity to another) to suggest evil intent.

Example:
(Photo caption) Russians Mariia Butina and Alexander Torshin at the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast. President Trump later spoke from the podium in the background.

‘Spoke from the podium’? Surely, we see the problem here, right? President Trump did something potentially evil because he used the same podium two Russians used?

Now consider the portrayal of Doug Coe. One Religion News Service writer tells us, “Coe was the longtime head of the International Foundation, a secretive Christian organization known as The Fellowship and The Family, that was responsible for bringing together politicians, diplomats and presidents since Dwight Eisenhower to Washington each year on the first Thursday in February.”

That straightforward description – aside from the word ‘secretive’ – is counterbalanced by this description of Coe, “We see a man who is kind and we are willing to look away from a well-documented record of a person who, given the choice between power and a witness to the faith, chose power every single time.”

Here, the interviewer avoids mention that Coe’s “witness to the faith” is equally likely to be not a quest for power but a result of his adherence to this from Matthew 28:

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit….”

Truth? Again, you decide!

If Doug Coe’s goal was the accumulation of power, and given that he was successful –witness the National Prayer Breakfast – how is it that the record of his life shows no application of that power? The Netflix “Family” series does not address this omission!

Before concluding, allow me to offer a bit of icing to the cake. In researching this production, I came across an interview by Religion News Service Editor-in-Chief Bob Smietana. Being curious by nature, and having never heard of RNS, I decided to explore. I examined writers, articles, and, yes, a page identifying the organization’s Board of Managers.

Truth?

Of the six identified members of the board of Religion News Service, only one includes the word “Christianity” in the biographic statements. One board member states he “also serves as Communications Director for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA.”

My curiosity radar activated itself. What, pray tell, is the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community for which this Religion News Service board member is communications director?

So I visited that web site. The result? The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (AMC) are Muslims who believe in the Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908).

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, I learned, claimed to be the metaphorical second coming of Jesus Christ as foretold by the Prophet Muhammad. This “Muslim Messiah” explains how the original teachings of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other world religions eventually converge into true Islam. Christianity converge into Islam?

So, what has all this to do with the Netflix “Family” series?

In fairness, I suppose the Religion News Service interview of the Netflix director of the series has as much to do with the “Family” as did President Trump speaking from a podium earlier used by two Russians at the National Prayer Breakfast. Am I, like Netflix, using “guilt” by proximity? You decide!

Finally, let’s return now to Episode 1 where our narrator tells us that the “Family” was a “group with tentacles around the world.” The words “vine” or “branch” would have served as well. But “tentacles” has a more sinister ring to it. That choice is another of the tools of propaganda. The tool? Connotation. Right out of Joseph Goebbels’ toolbox! Connotation changes a neutral word into a potentially negative one.

Now you may see why early in this article, I said: This documentary is a thinly veiled attempt to undermine both the Biblical foundation of this Nation and our current President. Both the Bible and the President are seriously abused by this Netflix production.

Need more convincing? Netflix frequently speaks of secrecy as if everything secret is worthy of suspicion. Go ahead! Count the words “secret” and “secretive” within the series.
By my definition “The Family” is propaganda.

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COVID risks

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Does the council also object to professional licensure as a requirement for employment in hospitals?

The price Front Royal will pay for refusing to mask up, vaccinated or not, will be paid by the children who will sit in classrooms all day with high levels of virus swirling about, each a little incubator for viral mutations, to be carried home to the family at the end of the day. Are you really advocating risking their young lives, or the devastation of lifelong complications of COVID, for your personal “freedom”? This is not the same as foregoing mental health counseling or a lipid medication. This is a deadly, debilitating, and highly contagious disease that has already killed over 600,000 people nationally!

The risk of a side effect from COVID vaccines is minuscule compared to the huge risk of suffering and dying from COVID. If you want to live in a healthy and prosperous community, then mask up and protect your children. In the final analysis, the cost to FR will be a personal tragedy, lost income, exorbitant medical costs, long-term suffering, and economic decline. Is this what you are advocating?

Cheryl Wulf
Warren County, Virginia

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A challenging year at the Humane Society of Warren County

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Humane Society of Warren County

Much like every year, we are facing challenges associated with another difficult kitten season. When you think of our shelter kittens, we hope you think of clean fluffy bright-eyed youngsters, but the reality is much different. Kittens come to us from car engines, hotel ceilings, born at a construction site, covered in ticks, lice, ringworm; with broken legs, viruses, infections, you name it. A far cry from the end result that you are familiar with.

We struggle behind the scenes every year to save as many of them as can be done, with huge thanks to our foster families who fight alongside us. We have many successes, but also many are too far behind to be saved, despite every effort.

This year has been especially challenging, as one of those kittens born on the street came to us with a very deadly virus, panleukopenia. 90% of cats and kittens who get this virus perish. You may have seen that we have shut down all cat adoptions, cat intakes, and cat volunteering as we laser focus on our protocols to keep the 94 cats and kittens in our care safe. Your patience and understanding are much appreciated.

Additionally, we have recently lost our long-time Community Outreach Coordinator Sue, who has decided to step back from the incredibly challenging job of managing our foster program and volunteers. She will be greatly missed, but we will continue on with our work at the same level that you expect from us.

We are dealing with two big challenges at once, but we continue to hold our no-kill status, offer life-saving community programs, and the commitment to our mission. We hope you will “excuse our dust” as we work through things and emerge as strong as ever.

This year has been an excellent reminder of why we worked so hard to get our “HSWC Spay Clinic – Linda R. Lorber Campus” up and running. Perhaps next year will be a little easier on us, and a little more every year after that.

Meghan Bowers
Humane Society of Warren County

 

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Editor’s note on ‘Forced Medical Treatment versus Human Rights’

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Might I begin by observing that I think neither side of the COVID-19 vaccination debate has cornered the market on the type of “fear mongering” Mr. Randolph attributes to the pro-vaccination side. But my focus here is the way certain referenced data is presented toward anti-vaccine conclusions and whether such conclusions are borne out by that data.

Mr. Randolph states that, “Credible sources, such as the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) Voluntary Adverse Effect Reports System (VAERS), give thousands of examples of death and hundreds of thousands of serious side effects from the shots.”

However, a check of the CDC website offers this opening summary of VAERS work: “VAERS is an early warning system used to monitor adverse events that happen after vaccination. VAERS is the frontline system of a comprehensive vaccine safety monitoring program in the United States. It is one of several systems CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) use to help ensure all vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, are safe.”

So, obviously the CDC and Mr. Randolph do not draw the same conclusion from the statistics VAERS is reporting regarding COVID-19 vaccine use.

Perhaps a clue as to why might be found at the VAERS website under “Guide to Interpreting” and “Evaluating VAERS data” where it is explained that “When evaluating data from VAERS, it is important to note that for any reported event, no cause-and-effect relationship has been established,” adding that, “VAERS collects data on any adverse event following vaccination, be it coincidental or truly caused by a vaccine. The report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event.”

So, Mr. Randolph’s conclusion that: “The actual numbers of adverse reactions are said to be much higher” might certainly come under dispute – and one might ask, “said to be much higher” by who?

Mr. Randolph also states that, “Because of deficiencies in testing, many cases get reported when there are no symptoms.  Even the CDC admits that 94% of COVID deaths had underlying medical conditions.”

It is known that many healthy people can contract the COVID-19 Coronavirus without symptoms, become carriers and pass the disease on to others who may be more susceptible to severe consequences from the disease. – So, is detecting the disease in an asymptomatic person really “a deficiency in testing”? – I would contend not.

As to a CDC “admission” that 94% of COVID deaths “had underlying medical conditions” one might ask what that proves or doesn’t prove? Is it possible the Coronavirus impacted the pre-existing condition, launching the health consequences of a condition previously stabilized or in remission? I have personally heard several anti-vaccination advocates portray just such a scenario when pre-existing conditions are said to have flared up following COVID-19 vaccinations.

A referenced article Mr. Randloph included during our conversation about his letter, in support of his concerns about the role of pre-existing conditions in COVID-19 deaths was published by Michigan TV network WEYI in September 2020. That article quotes Michigan Department of Health and Human Services representative Lynn Stutfin observing that, “Since the start of the pandemic, older individuals and those with underlying conditions were considered the most vulnerable to this deadly virus and likely to have the most severe outcomes. This recently released CDC data reinforces that information.”

An accurate comparison of data regarding such disease and vaccine interactions with pre-existing conditions might give a more reliable reading of the relative dangers of being vaccinated or not. Does such data exist? Let us know if you believe you have found it, preferably with a medically driven direct cause-and-effect conclusion.

As to Mr. Randolph’s closing question, “Since when do politicians get away with practicing medicine without a license by mandating universal medical treatments?” I would suggest, after a slight rewording of the question – the answer is since contagious public health emergencies have been identified and vaccines to immunize from contagious diseases like polio, among others, have been achievable.

As to the rewording, I would suggest “politicians practicing medicine” would be better phrased as “politicians authorizing medical and public health professionals to proceed urgently toward development of public-health-emergency counter measures, including vaccines believed to be safe, if not tested in the protracted manner of a non-emergency public health situation.”

So, is Mr. Randolph “fear-mongering” in how he presents his data? Probably not, more likely he has fallen into a common trap of interpreting data in a manner that supports one’s pre-conceived notions about a topic. I have attempted to avoid that trap in focusing on what his referenced sources say about the issues raised in his letter. Was I successful? – That is for you readers, and Mr. Randolph, to assess.

I want to close with a look at Mr. Randolph’s root issue of “Forced Medical Treatment and Human Rights” in making public-health-emergency vaccination decisions. Let’s not lose sight that employer vaccine mandates are not forcing someone to get a vaccination against their will, rather they are being asked to do so to continue employment in sectors where contamination of a client base and/or co-workers is an issue. So, whose human rights have precedence – a person to continued employment after declining to be vaccinated or their customers’ and co-workers’, some perhaps particularly at-risk, in seeking maximum assurances they will not be infected with a potentially fatal disease by interacting with that employee?

One would hope that in seeking an answer to that question, both sides in the debate rely on the most verifiable and comprehensive data on the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic and the vaccines developed to fight it.

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Forced Medical Treatment versus Human Rights

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A recent letter to the editor said people know what’s being said about the division of American society over the pandemic and medical intervention called for to address it. Most people also should realize there’s no consensus over the safety of an unproven treatment that for many individuals might be worse than the disease.

mRNA injections such as those manufactured by Moderna and Pfizer do not have full FDA approval. In particular, there’s been no long-term testing. If these treatments are “safe and effective,” why have politicians dispensed the companies that make them from any liability from damage done to persons who receive them?

Even if courts have upheld the ability of a private company and even school districts to compel “vaccination,” that doesn’t make it morally right. Historically, U.S. courts have upheld the ability of private persons to keep other persons as slaves.

If fear of possible illness keeps you under self-imposed lock-in, then you are either free to do that or you are a slave to media-driven paranoia. If you are a victim of fear-mongering, what prevents you from venturing forth in a hazmat suit?

Credible sources, such as the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Voluntary Adverse Effect Reports System (VEARS), give thousands of examples of death and hundreds of thousands of serious side effects from the shots. This reporting system is cumbersome to use and offers no real incentive to enter cases. The actual number of adverse reactions is said to be much higher.

Government statistics show practically a 100% recovery rate for children and older people in good health. Because of deficiencies in testing, many cases get reported when there are no symptoms. Even the CDC admits that 94% of COVID deaths had underlying medical conditions.”

Since when do politicians get away with practicing medicine without a license by mandating universal medical treatments? There must be big money in it.

Michael Randolph
Front Royal, Virginia

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Editor replies to Kushner’s criticism and perspective on what a newspaper should be

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Mr. Kushner has always taken my replies, clarifications, whatever you want to call them, personally. I have told him more than once, they are not personal, but simply an editorial reaction to his presenting his opinions as facts, particularly when those opinions advance a partisan political ideology. It is a policy not reserved for him alone, but done on any Letter to the Editor sent to me for review that presents opinions as facts in any context. I’ve found on most occasions when explained that it is the wording presentation, rather than the expression of an opinion I might personally agree or disagree with, the writer is willing to reword to avoid confusion, and in some cases potential libel or slander liability which this paper will not risk. Mr. Kushner has made it clear he does not appreciate his submissions being suggested for rewording, particularly by me, so that course is not pursued. Hence, responses for clarification such as the one tied to his open letter to Joe Manchin.

And may I point out that while Mr. Kushner’s personal sense of “his space” on our editorial page may be offended by it, attaching an editorial response to reader submissions when necessary is not an unprecedented Opinion page methodology, though in a virtual world it may bear rethinking. And actually, I liked the separate, adjacent reply with its own headline better than the originally submitted editorial note at the end of his letter. But there was certainly no “scurrilous attempt” to conceal the response from him – but “paranoia does strike deep; into your heart, it will creep” (a musical nod to The Buffalo Springfield’s ‘For What It’s Worth’)

Let me begin where Mr. Kushner ended his 2214-word commentary on my 4-point reply to his Manchin letter, with his closing accusation that my belief system, which I have attempted to accurately represent below, as opposed to his negative stereotyping, doesn’t reflect “the majority conservative perspective of our community” and should perhaps disqualify me from continued employment at Royal Examiner.

I will say that my publisher and I, while we may not always agree on the national political scene, agree that our job, the job of any responsible newspaper, is not to represent a community’s majority political opinion, nor anyone else’s, as truth, but rather to accurately report what we cover, and ask appropriate questions to give context, motive, and any other relevant aspects to governmental and citizen initiatives and actions impacting the community. If we feel it necessary to deliver an opinion, it is so identified.

To bend reporting to reflect a majority’s, or minority’s for that matter, partisan political ideology is commonly known as “propaganda”. And in many totalitarian societies, such partisan ideology promotion masquerades as “news”.

Verbally and in writing, Mr. Kushner tends to present his highly partisan political opinions as objective facts. Consequently, on the letter-writing side, it has fallen to me in an editorial role to point out where his opinions and objectively supportable facts may clash. Since Mr. Kushner seems not to believe in any truth outside his partisan ideological perspective, that has brought us into conflict. And since we have personally talked enough about our relative socio-political perceptions for him to have developed a not entirely accurate perception of my politics, Mr. Kushner attributes political motive to my editorial comments on his letters.

As to Mr. Kushner’s assumptions about my belief system, let me say that I do not give blanket approval to social welfare programs not thought out to balance the “general Welfare” and the national economic means to achieve that welfare. Let me also say, I do not believe everyone or even a majority in need of social welfare are lazy people, often stereotyped as a specific race, seeking a free ride on the backs of hard-working people. I might add that Democratic Administrations are not the only ones to operate at a budget deficit, and Republicans generally manage to create their deficits without the variable of social safety net programs vilified as “free rides for the lazy”.

Let me reiterate several points I have made to Mr. Kushner verbally in the past, several of which he continues to ignore:

1 – I am a political independent, and have never been registered to ANY political party, in my life. I have not been a fan of either the Republican or Democratic Party national hierarchies since the 1970’s when I studied Political Science as an elective in gaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, with credits for a minor in Psychology from VCU. All three of those disciplines, I believe, gave me an excellent perspective to eventually end up in the field of journalism and political governmental beat reporting.

2 – My socio-political perspective guiding my personal beliefs is that a person must balance personal liberty with social responsibility to their neighbors, and to the nation as a whole. No, I don’t believe in unnecessary governmental influence in one’s personal business conducted at home or on private property. However, when one’s personal business is taken into the streets, into the general population, how behaviors impact others must be a concern of every citizen. People who couldn’t accept that standard, I believe used to be called hermits – because at least they had the courtesy to take their anti-social tendencies away from the society they did not want to be a part of.

3 – And yes, I do believe the wealthy, the truly rich, should be taxed more than the middle and lower classes to support general welfare and other governmental programs to a national and collective good because they can afford it.

Does that make Roger – OH, SHIVER-SHIVER – a progressive socialist philosophically aligned with leftist “demons” like Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders? Perhaps, though I have recently created a new political category for myself to explain conflicting perceptions of what I believe socially and politically. I have declared myself the first “Conservative Anarchist” – at least I think I’m the first.

What is the Conservative Anarchist ideology, you may ask: It means that while I don’t believe in any societal rules to limit my behavior, I don’t believe in breaking the existing rules either – hence, Conservative Anarchy.

That said, as to Mr. Kushner’s objection to my first point on the opening paragraph of the U.S. Constitution’s reference to “promote the general Welfare” as a fourth and “final” specific goal in establishing the rationale for the Constitution guiding the American nation while leaving out “and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” I will admit to looking at that final phrase differently than the four preceding it. That difference to my mind was the more general nature of the reference to “Blessings of Liberty” – Liberty from what, the British Crown and British taxes? Or perhaps from a notion 200-odd years later that an effort to minimize rampant domestic mass murder incidents by instituting legal controls on who could own and in what social settings firearms, hand-held semi-automatic weapons in particular (which didn’t exist in 1787), could be publicly carried?

Regardless of your perspective on that 21st-century liberty issue, it seemed to me that “Justice” (treat everybody fairly by a set legal standard), “domestic Tranquility” (a social expectation of general livability), “common defense” (an organized central defensive force), and “general Welfare” (survivable living conditions for the general population) were all more specific and easily identified references, while “Blessings of Liberty” was a more general end result of the previous four. If mistaken, I apologize. But I ask, how in 1787 might the Founding Fathers of the American experiment in democratically based representative government have viewed personal liberty issues of the 21st century? Since they’re not here to ask, we can only guess and express opinions, so here is mine:

Somehow I doubt it would be the “Me First/Every Man for Himself” personal liberties outlook of the late 20th and early 21st centuries that would arbitrarily judge an individual’s right to act their opinions out in a public context, above the group’s right to collective survival. Particularly with their introductory concerns about insuring “domestic Tranquility” and promoting “the general Welfare” – their capitalizations – I doubt the Founding Fathers would share the modern Sovereign Citizen or Libertarian perspectives on securing “the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”.

And that IS my opinion based on readings about them, and the written words of some of them on their collective desire for the new American nation to strive toward a more perfect union, including the final line of the Declaration of Independence in which the signees, some wealthy landowners: “mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor” in support of the creation of the new, independent nation” outside control of the British government they were about to go to war with.

And as to Mr. Kushner’s lengthy analysis of presidential election results, congressional majorities, and minorities, and legislative mandates I will say a few things:

In addition to gaining the White House by a nearly 7-million vote majority in 2020, the Democrats currently have working majorities in both houses of Congress, despite the gains Republicans made in the House in 2020 – This isn’t advanced math, Gary, a bigger minority (in the House of Representatives) is STILL a minority. So, it would appear that currently, the Democrats do have a legislative majority, coupled with a president, elected by the American people with which to forward proposals reflecting their socio-political agenda, just as Republicans do when they have the majority.

And in my opinion, Mr. Kushner’s level of outrage at that thought appears to reflect an increasing tendency of the American political right to stereotype people and legislation they disagree with as fundamentally “evil”, often in a religious context, and allied with shadowy figures of darkness like Communism, the Chinese (also Communists), Dr. Fauci and the medical establishment, or perhaps Satan himself, rather than simply Americans with differing social and political perspectives with whom one can negotiate toward a resolution regarding costs and details for a common American good.

Is believing in and striving toward an economically elevated common good such a sin?

Should people who believe in legislatively lending a helping hand to the less fortunate among us be characterized as shadow communists, or on a more fundamental level, evil? I don’t know, maybe we should reference the historical record of the teachings of Jesus for an answer. And while Jesus didn’t lobby for governmental legislation “to sell your possessions and give to the poor” he did threaten the withholding of heaven from those who failed to follow his instructions, and there were many given in this regard.

And on the subject of “Saviors”, including self-anointed ones, as to the rightful occupant of the White House, we’re back to square one with Mr. Kushner: “There is irrefutable evidence that voting activities occurred in 2020 in several states that were inconsistent with procedures approved by their legislatures which resulted in illegal votes that could have influenced the election outcome,” he wrote.

Opinion, Gary, not fact.

And in my editorial opinion, one verified by every court review – was it 30? – often overseen by Republican-appointed judges, and reported by reputable news sources (to some degree anyway, as opposed to online conspiracy websites) the only verified 2020 electoral fraud found by any court, or legitimate recount in any state, as I understand the reports, amounted to 12 votes here, 30 votes there, and the like – the type of individual pathological behavior fraud that occurs in every election, but not an organized institutional fraud in the numbers to have changed any state’s presidential result in 2020.

So, no matter how many places you read it, Gary – NO, the ghosts of Manuel Noriega and Fidel Castro did not rise up into 2020 voting machines to “white-out” – that’s the technology those ghosts would understand, isn’t it?!? – millions of Trump voters. Didn’t happen – and that IS my opinion, but one based in a factual, not an “alternate factual”, universe.

And while I have a hunch, you won’t agree no matter how many state courts and state legislatures contradict your opinion, I think we have both sufficiently made our respective cases – and will just have to agree to disagree.

Consequently, I have editorially recommended that publication of our conflicting perspectives on reality and journalism end here.

 

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Opinion

Pandemic Vaccine Si, Pandemic Vaccine No

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No one can really deny knowing what is going on around the world as the Covid-19 (and its variants) Pandemic continue to tighten their grip. Everyone in North America who reads a newspaper, watches television, uses a computer or talks to a friend knows about the division of American society over use of existing vaccine as a preventive mechanism against the Covid-19 disease and its dangerous variants.

When I first commented in the Blog/Newsletter on the Pandemic (August of 2020), the scourge was overcoming American and worldwide medical capability – resulting in illness and death rates not seen in over 100 years (including wars). Now, thanks be to God and tremendous efforts by healthcare workers and many others devoted to keeping us all going in spite of disease, we have several vaccines which have proven again and again to be effective in 1/ preventing the disease; and 2/ if a “breakthrough” case should happen, lessen the severity and increase the survivability of illness.

Yet, a huge portion of American society (at this writing – virtually half of U.S. adult population) currently refuses to take the vaccination even if they are “health-qualified”. I find this personally frustrating and terribly disappointing because my wife (known to many readers – Bryane Miller Lickson) cannot take the vaccination for valid health reasons. So, now she is in Day 521 of a self-imposed lock-in. When we do go out to shop, bank etc., she and I are both masked.

The other morning, I was listening and watching the news on television. A young woman in Alabama was interviewed and she expressed her view that vaccination was not necessary. She was 22 years old and, in very good health (in her opinion). She saw absolutely no reason to take the vaccine. Many people – especially in the U.S. – and other countries where vaccines are plentiful – are wrestling over a decision:

Vaccine – Si or Vaccine No.

Credible scientific sources have said many times at the highest levels of government and public health (including my own Alma Mater – Johns Hopkins) that the vaccines are both safe and effective. But there are people also all over the world and very out-spoken here in the U.S. who would make a two-pronged argument against taking the jab. They would assert 1/ that they have heard that the vaccines are not only not helpful, but may cause serous long term negative side effects – both physical and psychological. 2/ And they argue also that no one is going to compel them to take a vaccine.

A good and very bright female friend of both Bryane and me went on to say: “If you can compel one to take a vaccine, we can no longer call ourselves a democracy.” The case against compelling the vaccine reflects in many minds, the issue of freedom of choice – a freedom that they hold dear. In the United States, this includes half the adult population – not yet vaccinated and probably many people who have been vaccinated at least once.

Those of us who also hold that freedom dear, but also hold that human life has a dear value, would hope and maybe even plead for the U.S. to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we can. Medical and legal evidence is clear; without vaccination – maybe even by compelling it as many employers, schools and others do, we won’t win this battle – very possibly the biggest battle (including war) we will ever face.

As pointed out by Professor Lawrence Gostin of Georgetown Law (my law school alma mater) speaking about the possible clash between health and human rights – Gostin is an accepted expert on both Public Health and the Law – He has said the greatest value offered by government here or abroad is equity. He is quoted on the Smerconish CNN TV Show and Blog: “We need heath that is fairly allocated to everybody – health with justice.”

It is a fact that so far the courts have upheld the ability of a private company and even school districts to compel vaccination. The only exceptions that have so far been recognized, have been acceptable religious or valid health reasons not to vaccinate.

Several states have tried to limit the legal right of private companies to compel vaccination. Laws banning compulsion to vaccinate or offer proof of vaccination have been routinely over-ruled. It may be that the very survivability of life is at stake here. I’m afraid that many so-called “patriots” do not recognize the crisis the Pandemic has presented.

This Newsletter is about opinion, so, my opinion is: While I have great respect for our freedom of choice here in America, I value the continuation of human life in this country. I think – wish it were not so – that compulsion may be required and must be considered to force Covid vaccination or ban people from many positions, cruises, schools and maybe in serving in the military or other government service.

Charles P. Lickson
Front Royal, Virginia


(Charles P. Lickson, President of LALO, is a former practicing attorney turned mediator and writer He has stated his opinion here and invites reasoned opinions from readers. If you have something to say about the Pandemic or another subject – which might cause us some “conflict of choice”, please send your thoughts to: Webmaster@lalopublishing.com) First appeared in Lickson’s “Ironing Out Newsletter”)

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