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Reaction to Roger Bianchini’s July 26 editorial notes

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I consider Mr. McCool a friend and supported his 2020 candidacy for Front Royal Mayor.  Mr. McCool’s willingness to permit Mr. Bianchini to post editorial opinions that may be inconsistent with his own is a testament to Mr. McCool’s commitment to the First Amendment.

With that said, there is history between Mr. Bianchini and me since we’re on opposite ends of the political spectrum.  On more than one prior occasion he has authored counter perspectives to Letter to the Editor postings I’ve published.  Previously, his editorial comments on my posts were made via a separate and distinct follow-up letter under his name. I acknowledge his right to post viewpoints contrary to mine, however, instead of publishing a separate letter with his editorial comments this time, he chose to attach them at the end of my posted letter.

This technique was unprecedented, and in my opinion, was a scurrilous attempt to discredit my comments without me having an opportunity to promptly rebut them so I voiced a complaint to the Senior Editor and requested that Mr. Bianchini’s response be removed from my posting.  My request was granted and you now see Mr. Bianchini’s comments as a separate post on the Royal Examiner site instead of having been initially attached to my letter.  Having provided this preface, I want to specifically address Mr. Bianchini’s editorial post.

His first comment relates to my assertion that ‘individual freedom’ is a core principle of the Constitution. He references some goals stated in the preamble and focuses particularly on the goal to promote the general welfare and states that the individual freedom text is not specifically referenced. However, he conveniently overlooks the fifth goal, and secure the blessing of liberty…, which is synonymous with individual freedom in my mind, when he claimed there were only four goals.

It’s no coincidence that Mr. Bianchini focuses on the general welfare goal because I think that is consistent with the progressive ideology which has over expansive government at its core, regardless of the ill consequences associated with such a concept and at the expense of individual freedom. My interpretation of Mr. Bianchini’s first comment is that it implies that the massive government social programs expansion in the Reconciliation Bill is intended to further the general welfare promotion goal in the Constitution’s preamble. The problem there is that the advertised cost of the Bill is deceptive in that economists have warned that it is partially paid for with dubious accounting techniques and suspect revenue estimates.

The Bill’s cost has been advertised at 3. 5 trillion dollars but there are sources that project the real cost at over 5 trillion dollars.  This is totally understandable because who can trust numbers from politicians with an unquenchable thirst for spending money others have earned?  This proposed gargantuan spending Bill has been reported to be the largest spending proposal in our history. It is in addition to the trillions of dollars of prior approved Covid spending and more than a trillion dollars proposed for legitimate infrastructure spending under consideration now by Congress.

The Federal budget for 2021 is approximately 4.9 trillion dollars with over 2 trillion expected to be deficit spending. Thus, the Reconciliation Bill would create an economic nightmare.  The public is already witnessing inflation and grossly expanded deficit spending would almost certainly increase inflation.  The country has over 28 trillion dollars of debt and no credible plan exists to address that liability. Our massive debt is being passed to future generations to address and both Parties are responsible.

Throughout history, socialist governments have consistently shown to be abject failures. You might recall that the definition of stupid is ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result’!  Democrats claiming this Bill would promote the general welfare fail to recognize the consistent historical disasters of socialism. The expansion of government that the Reconciliation Bill represents is a substantial transition towards socialism. Socialism is a philosophy alluring in principle but has proved to be unsuccessful in real-world practice.

What is being witnessed in Cuba now is a perfect example of the effects of total government control versus a system based on capitalism and individual freedom.   Isn’t it ironic that the Cuban people are screaming for liberty when freedom is at greater risk in America than ever before?  I heard it said somewhere that, ‘ if socialism is so successful, then why are people attempting to escape it in boats constructed from trash’?

Also, the first ten Constitutional amendments, (Bill of Rights) is a crucial part of our guiding document, and affirm many individual liberties as opposed to the granting of government authority and control.  Readers can judge whether Mr. Bianchini intentionally ignored the sections of the Constitution I referenced above, was a benign oversight, or that he might be blinded by underlying support for a progressive ideology.

Mr. Bianchini’s second comment takes issue with my statement that only half of America voted for Joe Biden.  He reports that Joe Biden registered 7 million more votes than Trump, who in 2016 received 3 million fewer votes than his opponent.  Biden is credited with receiving 51.3% of the November 2020 cast votes, so technically that is only SLIGHTLY more than half.  His comment also changed my fractional reference (half, 1/2) to a digital vote count (apples/oranges), which injects confusion in my opinion, whether intended or not. Mr. Bianchini fails, in what I believe, is an attempt to suggest, that if my comments weren’t 100% accurate then my other arguments should be suspect as well, a tactic he has unsuccessfully employed relative to at least one of my prior Royal Examiner posts. I also see this as a common technique used by Democrats that is infrequently successful in fooling readers.

Democrats rarely give the public the credit it deserves in their commonsense ability to separate misinformation from the truth.  Also, I think he tries to employ the sly tactic of distraction to discredit my statement that Democrats have no mandate in their effort to grossly transform America. The distraction being a shift to referencing other information that doesn’t contradict the reality that Americans voted to expand conservative influence in the House, as I said, regardless that the vote count details he offered were accurate.

In the end, I make no retraction regarding my half of America statement because it is generally correct and logically supports my opinion that Democrats have no mandate for transformative change.   Only a fool or one with a serious bias cannot recognize that capitalism, free markets, and liberty have produced the best quality of life on the planet for people and provide opportunities for everyone to attain their dreams. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!

One other factor that is relevant to his second comment is that the 2020 vote count included illegal votes.  Article II, Section I of the Constitution clearly designates election procedure authority as the exclusive domain of state legislatures. Secretaries of states, Governors, and state judges have no election procedures authority that is not legislatively granted.

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.

Democrats have repeatedly labeled that as the big lie from the former President with the full-throated support of the biased social and mainstream media who censure conservative opinions and ignore truths that do not support a progressive narrative. It’s a tactic that if something is repeated enough times it can actually influence public perception. I’m doubtful that the 2020 election will be objectively and thoroughly investigated while Democrats maintain control of the Executive and Legislative branches of government because it might undercut their legitimacy.  Also, how odd is it that Democrats obsess on making negative arguments involving the prior President, now out of office for over 6 months, when there are so many failings with the present Administration that are ignored?

Mr. Bianchini’s third comment attempts to diminish the advancements made by Republicans in the House of Representatives in 2020 by shifting the focus to the fact that Republicans are no longer the Senate majority.  The Senate is now comprised of 49 Democrats and 50 Republicans. One Senator from Vermont is not technically in the Democrat party but caucuses with them which results in a 50-50 Senator count. Since Vice President Harris is a Democrat and can vote to break ties, the Democrats function as the Senate majority. Loss of the majority by Republicans in the Senate in no way diminishes their gains in the House of Representatives.

The House of Representatives is called the People’s House because its members are subject to election every 2 years rather than the 6 Year term of Senators. Thus, the House is seen by many political experts to be more reflective of the political leaning of the American public. Had the Democrats made gains in their representation in the House, they would have a better claim to have a mandate, but the opposite is true. Thus, I feel my argument on the issue remains valid.

Mr. Bianchini’s last comment is directed against my criticism of the Democrat’s inclusion of an amnesty provision for illegal aliens in the proposed Reconciliation Bill. He does so indirectly by asserting that the prior Administrations’ immigration policies unfairly limited access without providing evidence.  I’m doubtful any subsequent effort he might make to provide clarification would represent all aspects of the issue but would only attempt to justify a progressive narrative. He goes all-in with the allegation that the prior administration was responsible for immigrants being illegal when the truth is that they are illegal because they don’t adhere to laws that dictate that they present themselves at established border entry points, where adequate staff and resources are available to address asylum applicants rather than anywhere else.

The fact is that the prior Administration instituted policies to enforce existing laws that had been established by both Democrat and Republican governments.  Social and mainstream media bias and control have prevented the general public from being fully informed about the reality of our southern border crisis for political purposes.

While we graciously welcome 1 million legal immigrants into our country each year, we’ve recorded over 1.2 million persons seeking asylum at our southern border already in 2021 at multiple crossing points and evidence exists that most won’t meet the lawful criteria for asylum. That figure doesn’t even reflect the unknown number, termed ‘get aways’, who purposely evaded Border authorities and are now embedded in our communities.

The infamous Wall was not a structure to prevent potential legitimate refugees from attempting legal access to this country but was intended to guide them to staffed entry locations where they could be properly assessed and lawfully processed.

The present Administration has blatantly abandoned its duty to enforce existing immigration law. President Biden terminated international agreements and procedures instituted by the previous Administration that safeguarded America’s sovereignty and protected our citizens.  Biden’s open border policy endangers national security, subjects American citizens to increased criminality, enables drug cartels to expand their influence, and causes a substantial risk to those seeking to immigrate here with assistance from ‘coyotes’ and gangs.

Permitting persons from every country in the world to come across our southern border at any location without adequate controls also introduces unnecessary health risks to Americans at a particularly tenuous time, imposes a significant economic burden, and adds strain to our education system which already has enough challenges.

Granting amnesty to all illegal aliens in this country would amount to rewarding them for their disrespect of our laws, encourage more illegal immigration and present a tax burden to existing citizens who would have to fund social programs those new citizens would qualify for. The unprecedented number of new asylum seekers caused by candidate Biden’s invitation gives foreign criminals free rein to smuggle drugs and undesirables into our country.

Fentanyl smuggled from China has dramatically spiked overdoses which have killed tens of thousands of Americans.  It is logical to deduce that Democrats are willing to accept all the shortcomings of the southern border crisis because of the potential for future election benefits.  It’s shameful that the Democrat party doesn’t seem to be as concerned about existing citizens as they are about people from other countries, but expanding their political power seems to be their priority.

Considering all the shortcomings with Mr. Bianchini’s response to my letter to Senator Manchin that I’ve brought to light here, I’ll carefully scrutinize any editorial comments or news reporting published by him in the future. I’m convinced his July 26 posting purposefully intended to sow doubt in the accuracy of the arguments made in my July 25 post because it was inconsistent with his political beliefs when my comments here demonstrate that his reaction is what actually qualifies as misinformation.

However, I do want to applaud him though for his transparency, in my opinion, by so boldly clarifying his support of progressive ideology which I believe conflicts with the majority conservative perspective of our community. Additionally, I hope Mr. McCool gives greater scrutiny to Mr. Bianchini’s editorials in the future when they may not fully represent the opinions of his online media and potentially damage his standing in the community.

Gary Kushner
Bentonville, VA

 

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Opinion

The Good Idea of America

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In July of 1776, the American Congress approved the Declaration of the Independence of the 13 United States of America. One of the key figures behind the Declaration was Thomas Jefferson, whose writing in “Defense of Liberty and Rights of Man” was the intellectual force behind the Revolution. Jefferson distilled many of his ideas in the Declaration itself when he wrote the following familiar lines:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…”

Of course, these are the more famous words of the Declaration but there is another part that is equally important but less well knows. Jefferson goes on to say:

“…that whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness.”

On this July 4th celebration, as a Christian and an American, I would like to make a few comments about Jefferson’s ideas that echo as true today as they did over 200 years ago when he penned them.

1. Good ideas are powerful

Jefferson played a key role in the American Revolution because he was able to crystallize and express an idea that burned in the hearts of the people who had built this young nation. At the time, America was outgunned and outnumbered by the British, but it had a better idea for social progress than its old-world cousins, and that is what made the difference in the end.

The “idea” of America, where every person could pursue individual happiness in freedom with the actual support of its government was so superior to the stifling grip of feudal Europe that when the spirit of the Declaration was set loose, no political or social or military force could stop it.

The old maxim is true, “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” In 1776 the idea of “freedom” and safety from one’s enemies and one’s own government permitting the pursuit of individual happiness, all enshrined in law, was an idea whose moment had come and over 200 years later we are still celebrating its arrival.

2. Good ideas produce good results

There have been a lot of powerful ideas that have affected the world in the last 200 years, but not all of them have had good results:

  • Friedrich Nietzsche produced the powerful idea that man should control his own destiny and the more powerful the man, the better the destiny. This idea was hijacked by the Nazis in Germany as they tried to build a super race and create a better destiny; WWII was the result.
  • Karl Marx had the great idea of a social utopia where there would be no rich or poor, where all could be equally shared and managed by a central government. This led to 75 years of Communist aggression and misery for untold millions.

So as you can see, not all-powerful ideas produce a good result. But the idea of a government elected by the people, and charged with protecting the safety and freedom of the people; the idea that individual life is sacred; the idea to develop laws to maintain and promote the social and moral fabric of a nation; the idea that the people have a legal right and duty to change a government so that it will preserve these basic freedoms and rights; these were good ideas and the proof is that despite the imperfect ways these ideas have been carried out, this nation still has the greatest wealth potential; has made the greatest progress; is the most desired location for immigration from other nations.

That America is the nation most envied for its wealth and success is due to the fact that it is based on a powerful and good idea.

3. Good ideas have a good source

Jefferson as well as most of the founding fathers of this nation were men who believed in God and knew their Bibles. Most of the key ideas in the Constitution that deal with the way man treats other men are based on Biblical concepts.

Recently the Human Genome Project that mapped out the 3.1 billion chemical letters that makeup human DNA discovered that the entire human race of 6 Billion people can be traced back to a founding population of some 60,000 people. In other words, there is very little genetic variation in the entire history of man. In still other words, this means that genetically speaking, all human beings throughout history have been and are pretty much the same.

How wonderful that 200 years later science has proven Jefferson’s words to be true: that all men are created equal. Not just theoretically but now scientifically so.

But what is truly wonderful is that Jefferson and the others had the wisdom to base their good ideas on God’s perfect ideas contained in the Bible.

In II Timothy 3:16, Paul the Apostle says:

Every Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.

On this glorious day as we celebrate the ideological foundations of this country, we can also say that “Every Scripture is inspired by God and also profitable for building a great nation.”

I hope and I pray that as we go forward we will remember the good ideas that made the USA the country that it has become. I also hope and pray that in charting our future we will go to the source for great ideas, God’s Word, whenever we want to inspire us as a people; build us up as a country; protect our borders; renew us as a nation; point us in the direction that we need to go.

We love to say, “God bless America” but let us always remember that the Bible says

How blessed are the people whose God is the Lord. (Psalms 144:15)

America began with the great source idea that God was her Lord and she seeded her laws with His Word; America will remain great if she maintains those great ideas and renews her efforts to be the nation whose God is the Lord.

Mike Mazzalongo

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Commentary: Lipstick on a Pig

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Before I begin my commentary, I have to clear up some confusion. I say, in my commentary that no one famous has stayed in the Afton Inn – now called “The Afton”. I was challenged by a critic who said, “King Edward II and his jaded American wife Mrs. Simpson stayed there to get away from Washington publicity following his abdication from the British throne.” Well, that should have made some records someplace, so I called the British Embassy. After explaining what a Front Royal is, I was eventually connected to one of their historians. Nope, no records of a romantic tryst on the banks of the Shenandoah.

Off to the Heritage Society. Great place! Incredibly nice, informed ladies (and Tony Carter) were very helpful. Here’s what we found: The nearby Weaver House – 35 North Royal was built by State Senator Aubrey Weaver, who used money from fees for securing Mrs. Simpson’s divorce in Baltimore. With family in the area, Shirley McClain and Warren Beatty played there during a visit at what was later the law offices of Pond, Pond, Athey & Athey, Napier, et al.

The Afton Inn, built circa 1866 (at least the brick part), was once named the Monte View Hotel, circa 1876. But by any name, due to a lack of supporting evidence my statement that nobody famous stayed at the Afton/Monte View holds. If you have proof otherwise, let me know, it would be a great addition to the Heritage Society.

Now, back to Commentary business.

The Afton in its porched heyday during the early days of the motorcar, one of which driven by someone apparently more used to steering a horse according to our Historical Research Department, took out that front porch assemblage. Below, ‘The Afton’ in bloom today.

On a recent jaunt down Main Street of our “beautiful town” (from the toxic waste site bordered by Stokes on one end and the famed “Historic Afton Inn” on the other) revealed beautiful indigenous flowers, painted by a local artist, covering the oh-so-familiar vacant windows of the Afton Inn. The developer, creeping along with little bitty steps of random construction (consisting mostly of moving one pile of debris to another), hired this artist to “beautify” a potential “Walking Dead” movie set.

One could write a book about the machinations of this historic rubble pile (deemed historic by decree, no one famous ever slept, died, or ate there; no Civil War entities, no space Aliens; as a matter of fact, the only famous person who has been in there was the famed The Tederick. The history of the place includes time as a “bawdy house,” a homeless shelter, and allegedly a crack joint. Mostly inhabited by rats, it has posed a threat to the Town Hall by collapsing in a shower of bricks.

The “who’s who” of who owned this mess ranges from the EDA, to the Town, to a Northern Virginia-based developer named Barros who became so enamored of our community he eventually threatened legal action against any Town or EDA official who attempted to contact him after the Town sued itself to derail his rather elaborate redevelopment plan, circa 2007-08, that would have left the restored Afton structure slightly taller than the courthouse across the street, apparently a local zoning no-no. I don’t know who really owned it before but let’s just say Jennifer McDonald’s magic EDA touch really started the ball rolling.

True, I have always recommended turning it into a tourist haunted house ride or bulldozing it and selling the bricks. We could advertise them as “historic magic bricks” and sell them at the Wine and Crafts Festival.

But kudos to the new owners for at least attempting to spruce the place up, and I wish them luck in their plans. Still, it’s akin to putting lipstick on a pig. All you get is a very weird-looking pig.

A pig without lipstick; below, pig with lipstick – weird looking pig

(Editor’s Note: Apologies to Mr. Schwartz, our resident staff satirist, for the delay in getting this commentary published in a timely manner, as it was temporarily lost between the lines of a crashed computer and distracted editorial staff. Oh, and informed of Mr. Schwartz’s research the “critic” claiming the Edward II and Ms. Simpson stay at the Afton, contacted us to point out the couple likely checked in under false names without alerting the British embassy of their “Helltown” hideout plan – a plan he assured us he had verified via Quija Board.)

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‘Right to Life’ – or Condemned to Death?

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You have no idea of the detrimental results of the recent overturn of Roe vs Wade. There will be plenty of reports for you to read in medical journals, newspapers etc. such as:

The increase of infant mortality (already high compared with other industrialized countries).

The increase of women’s deaths due to complications because of a lack of adequate prenatal and post-delivery care of mothers and newborns.

The increase of deaths because of laws being passed where certain medical procedures are denied because of a lack of understanding of complications of pregnancies.

The decline of OB-GYN specialists will continue as laws prevent them from properly treating their patients, and malpractice insurance costs soar.
Women, once again, will be put in desperate situations that give them no choice but to take matters into their own hands. Some will survive but others will die of excessive bleeding or infection.

The majority of people today support birth control and women’s rights to choose. If you don’t, follow your religious beliefs, but do not force your beliefs on me or the majority of people of this nation.

If you want to protect the living, add mental health care with health insurance, increase psychiatric units for longer stays and incentives for people to enter this needed field – and pass real gun safety laws.

After these things are done, maybe you will have earned the right to say “I AM A RIGHT TO LIFE PERSON”.

Carol Poulson
Staunton, VA

(Editor’s note: Mrs. Poulson is a retired nurse, former Front Royal resident, and WCHS graduate.)

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The White House Plumbers (Watergate-50 Years Later)

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Some of us are ancient enough to remember the Watergate burglary that brought down the President of the United States 50 years ago, June 17, 1972. The burglary became the ostensible reason for President Richard Nixon’s political downfall. Shortly after the burglary, Nixon’s handlers initiated a series of schemes to insulate the White House from responsibility for the bungled political espionage plot. No one knows if Nixon ordered the Watergate break-in or if he was aware of it beforehand – but we do know that he participated in covering it up or ‘containing’ information once it occurred.

In hindsight, the intelligence gathering mission against the Democrats wasn’t necessary at all and revealed that Nixon’s paranoia had gotten the best of him in the end. Nixon ended up winning the 1972 Presidential Election by a landslide margin against George McGovern. Unfortunately, this incident consumed his remaining time in office and ruined what till then had been a rather impressive presidential legacy. This tale is steeped in intrigue and has been portrayed in various movies and tons of books over the last 50 years. Allow me to provide a small Cliff Notes version for now. It all started with the White House “Plumbers”.

The White House Plumbers: Late in 1971, Attorney General John Mitchell and White House chief of staff H. R. “Bob” Haldeman decided that J. Gordon Liddy should be given the green light to lead an espionage program against the Democrats at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate Office Complex.

Gordon Liddy had a colorful past and was one of several men referred to as “the Plumbers” for their ability to “stop leaks” in the White House. Amongst White House staffers, these men were referred to by several names: The Plumbers, The Room 16 Project, and more officially, the White House Special Investigations Unit.

The Plumbers were a covert White House unit created to respond to the infamous leaking of the “Pentagon Papers” that revealed the secret U.S. expansion of the war in Vietnam. At the time, that was an enormous embarrassment and the resulting public outcry threatened to impede Nixon’s re-election. There is one thing that every first-term president wants and that is a second term. With that in mind, the Plumbers transitioned their efforts to assisting the Committee to Re-elect the President.

Gordon Liddy became general counsel on the Committee to Re-elect the President and worked with Campaign political-intelligence operations. John Ehrlichman, the Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs and Special Investigations Unit gave the Okay for Liddy’s intelligence-gathering operations against the Democrats during the 1972 election year.

During the pre-dawn hours of June 17, 1972, Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard Baker and James McCord were apprehended by guards while installing electronic listening devices in the national Democratic Party campaign offices located in the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. Liddy controlled this operation from another location. A phone number found on the burglars led reporters to E. Howard Hunt, a man that worked for the White House. Soon tips started coming in to reporters within the Washington Post. Bob Woodward, a reporter working for the Post, was assigned the story. He was subsequently informed by a secret source that senior aides of President Nixon had directed these men to obtain information about Nixon’s political opponents. At this point, the story took on a life of its own with unimaginable consequences and intrigue. Woodward began working with a fellow Washington Post reporter, Carl Bernstein on the Watergate case. As time went by, their secret source became known as Deep Throat. But where pray tell did Deep Throat get his information? That piece of the puzzle was a secret that intrigued Washington for the next 30 years. The results of this steady supply of information mesmerized the nation while the U.S. was engrossed in getting out of Vietnam and in the wake of Nixon’s strategic overtures with Mao Tse-Tung’s Red China.

Deep Throat: Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward pursued the Watergate burglary story for two years – stoking the public’s thirst periodically with juicy information coming from within the White House – provided by their informant – Deep Throat. The continuous volume of damning information positively drove the President and his cabinet out of their minds. They could not figure out how the Washington Post was getting the information and accusations and finger pointing mounted.

Soon many of the President’s inner circle began turning on each other. One of them, White House counsel John Dean, fearful that he was being made a scapegoat – resigned. Soon after, he exchanged leniency for testimony against his former Nixon aides. By now, the country was in a frenzy with ongoing congressional investigations revealing wrongdoing and a cover up. As more and more evidence mounted, the scandal eventually implicated many members of Nixon’s White House, culminating in Nixon becoming the first United States president to resign.

Woodward and Bernstein wrote a book about the Watergate drama a few years later entitled, All the President’s Men. It was followed by a movie thriller with the same name starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Woodward and Bernstein. In the book, they noted that key information in their investigation had come from an anonymous informant whom they dubbed “Deep Throat”. The transition of information from the informant to the reporters was rather elaborate and clandestine. Woodward and Deep Throat often met in secret at an underground garage at 1401 Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn, VA at 2 a.m.

Today, a historical marker is at the location. Interestingly, Deep Throat’s identity remained secret for more than 30 years and was one of the biggest mysteries in American politics until 2003. Woodward and Bernstein insisted that they would not reveal his identity until he died or consented to reveal it. Alas on May 31, 2005, former FBI agent, Mark Felt revealed that he was Deep Throat in an article published in Vanity Fair magazine. Felt was a highly placed FBI agent and had access to all FBI investigative findings surrounding the Watergate drama. His disdain for the Nixon administration prompted his actions. Shortly after Felt’s confession, Woodward and Bernstein corroborated the fact and detailed their relationship with him in Woodward’s book, The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate’s Deep Throat.

The “Smoking Gun” – White House Tapes: President Nixon secretly recorded tapes of daily conversations and phone calls during his administration – presumably for posterity purposes. The tapes Nixon made of his White House meetings became a central element in the drama when their existence was leaked to the press. Investigators wanted access to them. The White House resisted. Later, the White House gave up some of them grudgingly but refused to release all of them. When one tape was found to have an 18 minute gap, the public immediately assumed the President was erasing key information about the Watergate burglary cover-up.

This prompted the U.S. Supreme Court to direct Nixon to turn over all of the tapes. The result was the discovery of the “smoking gun” long sought by prosecutors. One of the tapes revealed a conversation that occurred just a few days after the break-in in which Nixon discussed with H.R. Haldeman a plan to have the CIA tell the FBI to stay clear of the situation because it involved national security. It proved that Nixon himself was involved in the cover-up. With impeachment looming on the horizon, after being told by key Republican Congressmen they now supported that impeachment, Nixon resigned from office.

When the dust cleared: Watergate is usually considered shorthand for a story about five burglars caught in the midst of a covert operation to impact the outcome of the 1972 presidential election. Yet the reality of the case is obviously much larger than that.

First, the burglars went to jail. J Gordon Liddy — along with Bernard Barker, Virgilio Gonzales, E. Howard Hunt, Eugenio Martinez, James McCord and Frank Sturgis – were all indicted in 1972 by a grand jury for involvement in the break-in at the DNC headquarters. In 1973, Liddy and former CIA employee James McCord, security director of the Committee to Re-elect the President, were found guilty of conspiracy, burglary and bugging the DNC headquarters. They went to jail. Next the President’s inner circle were found guilty.

The full scope of Watergate boggles our mind. By the time the scandal’s flames had finished consuming Richard Nixon’s administration, 69 people had been charged with crimes, including two of Nixon’s Cabinet secretaries, Attorney General John Mitchell and Commerce Secretary Maurice Stans. Nearly all pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial. The White House tapes implicated dozens of companies, from Goodyear to American Airlines for illegally financing Nixon’s reelection campaign. Nixon aides, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman were subsequently convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of justice by other White House disclosures – largely from John Dean’s testimony. All of the aides served jail time as well.

The evidence that forced Nixon to resign — the famous “smoking gun” conversation — proved that Nixon tried to prevent the FBI from investigating the matter by lying about it. The tapes and subsequent testimonies from aides also revealed that Nixon approved giving hush money to Watergate conspirators. Simply put, that’s obstruction of justice. But how high White House involvement went in planning the break-in was never established. Given the scale and breadth of the crime and corruption that surrounded Nixon’s presidency, it’s all the more surprising that no one was ever charged with ordering the burglary of the DNC.

Today most of the key players in the Watergate drama have passed on but we do have a few that are still with us. Only John Dean survives from the Nixon inner circle, but both reporters, Woodward and Bernstein are still around. Meanwhile, you can be sure the Washington Post and the Watergate Hotel will take time out to commemorate the 50th anniversary Friday on June 17, 2022.

Now you know.

LanceLot Lynk

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Congress Needs New Leadership – Vote June 21

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Congress has a 14 percent approval rating. Nearly everyone agrees that Congress needs new leadership, yet Americans keep reelecting incumbents. Virginia’s 6th district has been dominated by the same political machine since 1993. In that time, our district had just two Congressmen. The second Congressman, Ben Cline, was Chief of Staff to the previous Congressman. Rep. Cline has never faced a primary challenger. He was installed as his boss’s successor in a convention and without the input of voters. Ironically, Rep. Cline talks about wanting to drain the swamp. Well, I’m here to help him do that. I’m Merritt Hale and I’m running to bring new leadership to our 6th district. I’d like to tell you why I’m running for office and how my views and values differ from those of Rep. Cline.

I was born and raised in Virginia. I graduated from the University of Virginia and then served as a Naval Officer. I now work as a systems engineer supporting the intelligence community. What inspired me to run for office was my father. He was a 20-year Navy veteran who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014. After seven incredibly difficult and frustrating years, my dad passed away last Christmas Eve. While this was obviously a very hard time for my family, what made it even worse was dealing with all of the bureaucratic inefficacy surrounding the health care system, including the VA. You shouldn’t need a Ph.D. in government bureaucracy and tax codes to be able to take care of a dying loved one. One’s political affiliation doesn’t change the fact that we will all need end-of-life care at some point and that the current system is broken.

While Congress created these agencies, it continues to abdicate its duty to fix them. Congress’s lack of action on healthcare, elder care, veteran’s issues, and the devastating impact this had on our family, was what first inspired me to run for office. I then looked into what Congress was doing to help people in our 6th district. We need infrastructure to support agriculture and industry, we need funding for high-speed internet, and we need funding to maintain and expand I-81. We’ve all driven on I-81 and know that two lanes simply aren’t getting the job done. Virginia’s 6th district needs new representation focused on representing the needs of its constituents, which is why I’m running for office. There are two main staples of leadership I will bring to the office which aren’t currently being employed: proactive leadership and servant leadership.

Whether dealing with foreign policy issues or issues at home such as ballooning inflation impacting everything from gasoline to grocery costs, we need leaders that will proactively address issues before they become problems. Ben Cline is a reactionary politician who addresses every issue by blaming Biden, Pelosi, or the Squad. He blamed Biden for the invasion of Ukraine but espoused essentially the same solution as Biden before the invasion! Taking American deterrence off the table by guaranteeing no American response resulted in disastrous results. Ronald Reagan had a superior approach to peace through strength. Cline-Biden had it wrong with strategic weakness. Rep. Cline never addressed our need to be energy independent. Russia has leveraged its oil reserves, causing our petroleum prices to soar and inflation has skyrocketed, leaving our citizens to try to navigate an increasingly rocky economy. I addressed all of these issues prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I’m tired of reactionary politicians who do nothing but blame others, yet provide absolutely no solutions or leadership.

Rep. Cline has also flipped-flopped on Ukraine more times than I can count. Most recently he voted to send $40 billion of taxpayer money to Ukraine for a war that could have been prevented in the first place. His vote is all the more confusing because Rep. Cline often votes against programs that could help Americans at home. For example, he voted against the PAWs act which would cost $10 million over four years and provide service dogs to wounded veterans. I’ve personally seen how veterans aren’t receiving the care they deserve for protecting our country. I have friends who have died in service to this country, and I have people close to me who suffer from PTSD. While I believe we should help Ukraine to succeed against Russia, there are far more effective ways to do so than a $40 billion giveaway when Americans are struggling with high gas prices, inflation, and a baby formula shortage.

In addition to proactive leadership, we also need servant leadership. This means we need leaders who are willing to stand up for what they believe in and be transparent with their constituents. Rep. Cline has held just three in-person town hall since 2020. To date, he has refused to debate me. How can he stand up to the politicians in Washington if he refuses to debate opponents or face his own constituents?

When I’m elected, I will hold regular town halls, I will sincerely listen to the voices of my constituents, and I will be transparent and consistent in my goals for moving forward. If you’re going to hide behind the establishment and refuse to debate your opponent or interact with your constituents, it is clear that you’re not working for the people you represent, you’re in it for yourself. That’s not the type of leader our sixth district needs.

My background as a Navy veteran, a systems engineer, and a Washington outsider will bring a unique perspective to Congress and our country’s overall health. I encourage all registered voters in the 6th district to please go vote on June 21, because that’s the only way to effect change and get new leaders in office. Otherwise, we will be back with the status quo and the 14 percent approval ratings of a do-nothing Congress.

Merritt Hale
US Congress
VA 6th District Candidate

 

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Opinion

Warren County Sheriff’s Office Community Advisory Council (CAC) is looking for new members and new leaders

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The WCSO CAC was established in July 2020, as the Covid-19 virus was raging and everyone was trying to figure out how to deal with it, continue working, and persevere. The first meeting was just to get acquainted with all the applicants and to begin the process of nominating officers. We were all masked and we all abided by the social distancing protocols. It was comical but constructive nonetheless. We’ve come a very long since then.

The first official meeting was in August 2020 and during that meeting, the current chair and vice-chair were elected and the CAC got to work. The CAC officers were elected to 2-year terms. The role of the CAC is twofold. The members represent all the different areas of the county and the Town of Front Royal in bringing community concerns to the attention of the sheriff’s office, and they also receive updates on all the initiatives and operations of the WCSO on a bi-monthly basis. The CAC meetings are not a place for people to come and vent or register complaints (the WCSO has a very good process for that) but rather for the free exchange of information on issues and topics that are important to the community. The CAC meets on the third Thursday, every other month. The current secretary assumed that duty in early 2021 when the original secretary had to step down due to personal reasons.

I was fortunate and humbled to be elected as the first chair of the CAC and I have truly enjoyed the time and commitment. Getting the CAC going and organized has been rewarding and fun. Since its establishment two years ago the CAC has assisted the WCSO in applying for a grant to hire more deputies; endorsed its application for accreditation as a Certified Crime Prevention Community which, if approved, would make Warren County one of only 13 in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia with that certification (and enable the WCSO to apply for many more grants); and challenged the WCSO leadership when incidents demanded it. The WCSO has always been willing to share any relevant information with the CAC members, within legal guidelines, and has offered all the CAC members the opportunity to “ride-along” with deputies after proper coordination.

There is much work left to be done and I am excited about the future of the CAC, the WCSO, and Warren County in general. That’s why I am asking that the people of this beautiful community think about becoming members of the Community Advisory Council. We meet for two hours, once every two months. It’s not a large time commitment, but a very worthwhile and rewarding one. It’s a great way to give back to the community in a small but meaningful way. I’ve enjoyed my time as the chair immensely, but my term is just about to expire and it’s time for me to hand off the duty to a new chair. I intend to remain active on the CAC but as a member, not the chair. If there is one area I really would love to see improve, it is to grow the membership of the CAC from its current 13 members to at least 20.

The next meeting of the CAC is on Thursday, June 16, 2022, at 6 PM. We meet at the Warren County Public Safety Building in the meeting room. We hope to see you there. The CAC needs you.

Bruce Townshend
Chair, Warren County Sheriff’s Office Community Advisory Council

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