Independent Voice

Dangerous New Tide of Tyranny

This Independent Voice column appeared in the Spirit of Jefferson on August 16, 2023. On August 14, a fourth indictment, similar to the third one, was unsealed in Fulton County, GA.

The three indictments of former President Donald Trump represent a new tide of tyranny.  If not stopped, this type of tyranny threatens to destroy our nation.

We see a lawless campaign to stop President Trump from running again using any and all methods.  Virtually everything about this campaign against Trump is exactly the opposite of what reality actually is.

First, we have the so-called January 6, 2021 “riot” at the United States Capitol.  In reality, this was a set up from the beginning.  The FBI still will not answer questions about the federal agents who were in the crowd and what they were doing.  Why were protesters let into the Capitol building?  Why do those on the left and the right, like Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell have such a vendetta against the protestors?  The guilty verdict was in before the protestors even arrived at the Capitol.

The third indictment alleges that Trump interfered in the counting of votes on January 6th, 2021, thereby defrauding the rightful choice of the American people.  The indictment says that he was told that the election results were legitimate.  Somehow, questioning the election results, which is protected by the First Amendment has become a crime, according to this indictment.  No court of law or investigation has ever determined the veracity of the 2020 Presidential election.  Yet those accusing Trump are the ones who bent election rules, processed hundreds of thousands of supposedly legit mail in ballots in Pennsylvania with no observers allowed, and stuffed drop boxes with thousands of questionable harvested ballots and have failed to investigate or even acknowledge many other instances of election fraud.
These same Trump antagonists say that if Trump is elected he will never relinquish power, when it is they themselves that have used subversion to gain and keep power.
They accused President Trump of interfering in Ukraine for asking for an investigation into Hunter Biden’s dealings at Burisma, and tried to impeach him over that phone call.  But in reality President Biden is actually on video bragging about how he got the Ukrainians to stop investigating corruption that we now know was tied directly to his son Hunter.  And more and more evidence directly points to President Biden as being compromised by these tens of millions of dollars in payments to his family, and very likely, himself.  So, again, we see the strategy of accusing President Trump of the very crimes that the accusers are committing themselves.

This is a dangerous path, indeed.  We have a sitting President directly trying to persecute and prosecute, jail and prevent from running his direct opponent.  It matters not whether your support President Trump or not.  Anyone can be targeted by the Justice Department and be accused of crimes.  Whether you are proven guilty or not, it could well ruin your life.

Let’s also look also at the first two indictments of Trump.  The first one, based on the raid of President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, claims he mishandled classified documents.  In fact, presidents can de-classify documents, and disputes over presidential documents have frequently occurred, including right now with President Biden.  It is not hard to see that this is an effort to intimidate and persecute President Trump.

The second indictment by Prosecutor Alan Bragg in New York has to do with fees paid to different people or companies to not publish negative information, including fees paid to Stormy Daniels.  This fee was later repaid, and not saying what the repayment was for is considered a misdemeanor altering of business records.  However Bragg has elevated this to a felony without saying what the underlying felony charge is.  This seems patently unfair, and a “gothcha” scheme, to boot. It is ironic since President Biden and his family have received tens of millions of dollars and Biden has even bragged about his influence in stopping a corruption investigation in Ukraine. 

Jack Smith, the prosecutor in two of the three Trump cases, previously prosecuted and gained a bribery conviction of the former governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnel. The Supreme Court overturned that conviction in an 8-0 decision. That says a lot about the integrity of Jack Smith’s operation.

Another sinister motive of bringing dubious charges in the January 6th case would be to attempt to have Trump be ineligible to run for office by applying the “insurrection” clause from section 3 of the 14th amendment, which was actually applied to a delegate in Oklahoma to remove him from office.  Again, this is the greatest irony.  Why didn’t Congress, on January 6, 2021 move to investigate the many credible reports of election fraud?  Seeing things from this viewpoint, it is the members of Congress who did not vote to investigate credible allegations of election fraud who committed an insurrection, just the opposite of what Jack Smith is trying to put forward with this dubious case.

Republican candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said “It is un-American for the ruling party to use police power to arrest its chief political rivals. We need to know what Biden told Garland & what Garland told Jack Smith. We should know whose invisible hand is guiding these indictments”

We all should be alarmed at the brazen political persecution and attempted prosecution of President Trump.  Those who think that the ends justifies the means would be well advised to look at the legacy of Communism, which claims that dialectical conflict will lead to a future peaceful utopia.   Over 100,000,000 have been murdered under Communism and the promised utopia has never arrived.

President Biden should resign immediately over his corruption and the weaponization of law enforcement and the Justice Department against political opponents.

Independent Voice

Every Child Deserves a Safe Learning Environment

This Op-Ed appeared in the Spirit of Jefferson newspaper on July 19, 2023.

On July 11th, at the regular meeting of the Jefferson County Board of Education, a discipline advisory committee of six teachers and one community member reported their findings about what effective discipline looks like, how to combat chronically disruptive classroom behavior and what causes this problem in Jefferson County schools.

     Mary Reagan, a Blue Ridge Elementary School kindergarten teacher of 29 years said
“I am here to tell you, we are losing teachers as well as students.  But this is why we’ve got such a teacher shortage….When you look at some of the things in like, say the policy, we really felt like, we have to be more consistent. Here are the laws in place, here’s what the consequences are.  These principals need to follow them, period.”

     In response, Board of Education Member Donna Joy, a former Jefferson High School teacher, said “It was long before COVID, it’s been dwindling for years. and from my perspective when the state scorecard gives you points, or a letter if you exaggerate, boost, graduation rates and if you can increase attendance, increase achievement, and lower discipline. So for many years…these students were pushed through.  They did not deserve to graduate because they didn’t even show up.  So that, from my perspective was done to boost those numbers.  ….I agree that administration does not generally follow through equally….if that person knows that child’s parent, well, you can forget it.  And I have never ever gotten a response as to any kind of discipline that was administered to a child no matter what they did.”

     West Virginia Board of Education policy 4373 was extensively referred to during the committee’s report, as it sets out the clear statewide guidelines for school discipline.  House Bill 2890 was also referenced, which became effective June 9, 2023.

     Most concerning was that students do not feel safe at school.  Ms. Reagan shared that, among 15 to 21 year old students from Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan counties who were in her 4H camp discussion class group “every single one of those children, in that class one of those campers in that class, one of those campers in that class said that they did not feel safe in their school….. It is unacceptable…..We have to stop torturing our good children that are in these schools because they are not feeling safe….Enough is enough.  We have to stop the behaviors and teach, here’s what we expect.  If you don’t, here are these consequences.  You have to be held accountable for your actions.”

     It is not a right of children with behavioral issues to torture other children.  According to West Virginal school and legislative regulations, these students can be excluded from the classroom and consequences can be administered.  However, this is generally not happening now.  The Jefferson County Board of Education should make it an utmost priority to make sure that a safe environment is provided at all Jefferson County Public Schools.  Following the advice of the discipline advisory committee will go a long way in achieving this goal.  The teachers and citizen on the discipline advisory committee deserve a lot of respect for taking the time and making the effort to work on this report.

     Furthermore, thought should be given and actions taken to change the long term outlook for our children.  Right now 47 percent of children in West Virginia are born outside of marriage.  It is a fact that even in high crime inner city neighborhoods, well over 90 percent of children who grow up in safe, stable two-parent homes do not become delinquents.
    Creating policies that will help in breaking the generational cycle of outside of wedlock birth is a step that will be necessary for the long term solution to school discipline problems. One of these policies should be setting the expectation that sexual abstinence is the expected standard for school age youth.
     Not only will this help in the long term, but also in the short term.
Young teens who are abstaining are much less likely to use alcohol, smoke cigarettes or marijuana, run away from home, be arrested and are seven times less likely to be suspended from school.  Young teen girls who are abstinent are also six times less likely to attempt suicide.
Jefferson County Schools need to set high expectations for behavior.  This includes not only rules regarding appropriate classroom and school conduct, but also the expectation of sexual abstinence for all school age youth.
Parents concerned about improving the environment in public schools and helping our children to succeed are invited to join the Strengthening Families and Communities Forum on July 22nd, 2023 in Harpers Ferry.  The topic is “Stopping the Sexualization of Children in Public Schools; Providing a Positive Alternative.”  The premise is that we need to break the generational cycle of outside of wedlock birth through a revolution of abstinence-centered education.  Featured speakers are Father Bayo B. Adrien, Rev. Becky Basford, Commissioner Jennifer Krouse and Richard Urban.  Register and get more information at