Mark Caserta: Sanctuary cities are not above the law

16 Mar


Mark Caserta:  Free State Patriot editor

Mark 16, 2018


sanctuary pic

March 16, 2018


Illegal immigration is one of the most politically charged topics of our time, and rightfully so. Dealing with it is one of the promises that helped Donald Trump win the presidency. So true to form, President Trump is honoring his commitment to the American people.

Last week, Attorney General, Jeff Sessions announced he was suing California over “sanctuary” laws for illegal immigrants. While the definition is vague, sanctuary cities place themselves above the law by imposing local or state laws prohibiting city employees, funds or resources from assisting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in enforcing federal immigration law.

Understand, Sessions isn’t asking California to “enforce” any immigration law – simply to get out of the way and allow ICE to do its job!

This reckless disregard for federal law endangers the lives of U.S. citizens, as well as the lives of law enforcement working to protect Americans. Two weeks ago, Oakland, California, Mayor Libby Schaaf audaciously notified residents of an imminent raid by ICE, preparing criminals in advance.

This should be outrageous to any sensible human being, but understand these are liberals, and the term “sensible” doesn’t apply to liberals from a conservative perspective.

In fact, in stark comparison, look at what the ultra-liberal Obama administration did in 2010, when they sued Arizona over the state’s efforts to “enforce” federal law by cracking down on illegal immigrants. The Arizona law, signed by then Gov. Jan Brewer, gave police the power to question anyone who they had a “reasonable suspicion” was an illegal immigrant. While the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of the law (5-3), it let stand a provision allowing police to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws.

So, why are we at risk by not enforcing border security?

The U.S. Department of Justice documents “that in 2014, 19 percent, or over 12,000 criminal cases filed by prosecutors in the U.S., were for violent crimes, and over 22 percent, or 13,300 cases were for drug related felonies.” The same year, the U.S. Sentencing Commission reported that “75 percent of all criminal defendants who were convicted and sentenced for federal drug offenses” and “one-third of all federal prison sentences” involved illegal immigrants, as reported in a 2017 column by Roy Martinelli, a columnist for “The Hill.”

This liberal fight for open borders isn’t about civil rights or compassion. It’s about progressive Democrats building a dependable voter base. And frankly, “damned” be the rights of U.S. citizens and our nation’s sovereignty. Liberal Democrats seem more passionate about protecting the rights of illegal immigrants in the U.S. than they do for protecting lawful U.S. citizens.

And liberals never discuss crimes committed by illegal immigrants related to procuring fraudulent Social Security numbers, obtaining false drivers licenses, using fake green cards and flooding our social welfare system on your nickel!

The radical, liberal desire for open borders spells danger for every American.

We are a nation of laws. There must be consequences for states, cities, jurisdictions and people who harbor illegal immigrants. California, hopefully, will be the first of many.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: W.Va. leads the nation in troubling statistic

9 Mar


Mark Caserta:  Free State Patriot editor




A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report was released last week, and once again the Mountain State received dubious recognition.

Per the report, about 1 in 14 women who gave birth in the United States in 2016 smoked cigarettes during pregnancy. This equated to about 7.2 percent of all expectant mothers. But while the percentage of pregnant smokers varied from state to state, guess which state led the pack. West Virginia.

The prevalence of pregnant mothers smoking was highest in West Virginia, where 25.1 percent of women reportedly smoked at some point during their pregnancy.

With what we’ve learned about nicotine, this is very troubling.

Growing up, my parents didn’t know the risks involved in smoking. In fact, cigarette ads were prevalent in all forms of media until 1970, when our nation was alerted to the health risks involved with smoking cigarettes and advertising was banned.

Sadly, I watched as cigarette smoking caused my mother and father multiple health issues, eventually taking them from us, way too early in life. I still have family members and friends who struggle with tobacco products. I understand nicotine is a terribly addictive substance.

Today, per the CDC, cigarette smoking causes about 1 of every 5 deaths in the United States each year. That’s staggering. Electronic cigarettes, while generally having fewer harmful substances than cigarette smoke, are still not safe to use during pregnancy.

Here are the risks associated with smoking while pregnant, per the CDC:

n Smoking slows your baby’s growth before birth, and the child may be born too small.

n Your baby may also be born too early (premature birth). Premature babies often have health problems.

n Smoking can damage your baby’s developing lungs and brain. The damage can last through childhood and into the teens.

n Smoking doubles your risk of abnormal bleeding during pregnancy and delivery, which can put both you and your baby in danger.

n Smoking raises your baby’s risk for birth defects, including cleft lip, cleft palate or both. A cleft is an opening in your baby’s lip or in the roof of the child’s mouth (palate). He or she can have trouble eating properly and is likely to need surgery.

n Babies of moms who smoke during pregnancy, as well as babies exposed to cigarette smoke after birth, also have a higher risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

A CDC column shared a smoking mother’s experience.

Amanda smoked while she was pregnant. Her baby was born 2 months early and was kept in an incubator. “I’ll never forget her tiny little cry,” Amanda said. “It wasn’t like the cries you hear, you know, a loud, screaming, typical baby cry. It was just this soft, little cry.”

Please understand, I’m not being judgmental. I’m asking you to think twice before you light up that cigarette, anytime, but certainly when the health of your beautiful baby is at risk.

May God give you the strength and wisdom to make the right choices for your health and your child’s.

I’m believing you’ll do the right thing.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.


Doug Smith: Checks and Balances: Part 2

4 Mar

doug 2

Doug Smith:  Free State Patriot history and social editor


checks and balances

Now these founders of ours were educated men, and as such, very aware of the recent history in England of the Stuarts, Civil War, and disquiet over the rule of Kings. It must surely have occurred to them that had Charles I disarmed his subjects early on, he might have kept his throne, and, not incidentally, his head. But the outlook for the British people would have been very different, and worse.

There are 3 joined concepts that are not talked about nearly enough, to our detriment. They are authority, responsibility, and accountability.  Authority means I have the power to achieve my will. Responsibly means that the results of my actions are my property. And accountability means that I reap what I sow, for good or ill.

Now if I have authority without the other 2, I can do pretty much whatever I want, and there is nothing to stop me from abusing my power to settle grudges or take what I want. Would you care to come before the court of Judge Roy Bean? Or, for that matter, before Henry VIII. Ask Anne Boleyn about authority without accountability. It’s an easy way to lose one’s head. (Sorry, Anne.) Power without checks has led to some pretty awful behaviors.

Responsibility alone is a pretty crappy deal as well. Ask Captain Charles McVay. The CO of the Cruiser USS Indianapolis, he was sent into the South Pacific on a top-secret mission. Denied information on Japanese Submarines in his Op Area, and refused his Destroyer escort, and having his SOS ignored, and not being reported as overdue for 4 days due to the top-secret nature of his mission, he had the misfortune to lose his ship, and hundreds of his crew to shark attacks. The safety of the Indy was his responsibility, but he was shackled. He was the only CO in WW2 to be Court Martialed for losing his ship in combat. He committed suicide in 1968.

As for accountability without the other 2, that was beautifully summed up by Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist: Oliver Twist:

Mr. Brownlow: The law assumes that your wife acts under your direction.
Mr. Bumble: If the law supposes that, then the law is a ass, a idiot! If that’s the eye of the lawthen the law is a bachelor.

Married men will smile, hoping their wives do not notice. But the point is made: if you hold me accountable for that which I cannot control, then you are a ass, a idiot.

Which brings us back to Checks and Balances.  It is the common sense and wisdom earned through conflict and suffering that inspired the founders to build a system of laws and governance in which, to the best degree they could, authority was check, and balanced with responsibility and accountability.

The system works well, when it works. It has had some appalling failures. The President has executive authority to enforce and carry out laws. If he does not do so, or if the people find that the laws, once enforced are not palatable, they can seek redress through the courts, which may rule on their Constitutionality, or through the Congress, which may repeal or enact new laws.

The repeal of Prohibition was a fine example of checks and balances correcting poorly thought out unintended consequences. Carrie Nation hated liquor, but never imagined that the pressure to enact a national prohibition would create Al Capone.

A fine example of the failures is the many laws Congress passes on the rest of us, while exempting themselves. For example, if I know my company is about to do something that will likely push its stock price up, I’m forbidden by law from acting on that knowledge for a certain period. It is called insider trading, and is considered unfair advantage, and Congress has made it illegal.

Except, of course, for Congress. A Congressman or Senator may buy up stock in a company in the morning, then vote to give them a billion-dollar government contract in the afternoon. If you or I did such a thing, we would join Michael Milken or Bernie Madoff in prison. When Harry Reid did it, he became wealthy.

And this brings me back to my premise: we need a return to understanding Civics, and the basis of our society. Everyone, not just the history buffs, need to be outraged and abuses and violations of our Constitutional laws. But we can’t if we have no idea what they are. And that is how many entrenched in the halls of power get away with it. To our detriment.

The design of the founders was that the 3 branches, co-equal, would balance total power in any one, and each would have the power to check the excesses of the other. Congress may pass laws, which the courts may strike down and unconstitutional. Congress, in turn, may redefine the area of the Courts’ concern. The President may pressure Congress for laws he desires and must enforce the laws that are passed. He may veto bills, but Congress may overturn his veto. And ultimately, we, the people, carry the awesome responsibility of the vote. If we continue scoundrels in office because they are the party of our daddy, or our union, or our buddies, we will deserve the rule of scoundrels which plagues us.

Understanding our laws and the basis of our society also pushes us toward certain norms of behavior, simply because “it just is not done”.  When I was in school, I had guns. I had a gun and could shoot it accurately by the time I was 12. I also got angry at people. Occasionally, that erupted into us rolling on the ground bashing each other’s faces. (You should have seen the other guy) It resulted in some responsibility and accountability (guard your mouth, lest at some point you inspire someone to bash it. Ah, lesson learned.) It never occurred to me, or to any of us, that the solution was to run home and get a rifle. It simply was not done. Nor did we dare to hit a girl. Certainly, not if anyone could see. It just was not done. And we knew, would not be tolerated. In our rush to tolerance, we seem to have forgotten that there are things we ought not to tolerate.

Now, like government checks and balances, norms are not perfect, and surely you can imagine exceptions. But like our government, it works better than most, and learning about it, and those norms, is a good first step toward more civil society. Eliminating the checks of the people on our elected leaders, and the checks of disapproval and shame on our fellows is a path toward chaos.

Can we fix all this? I don’t know. Can we try? Surely. Is it worth it?

Mark Caserta: Voters must remember U.S. decline during Obama era

2 Mar


Mark Caserta:  Free State Patriot editor



Former President Barack Obama waves as boards a helicopter to depart the US Capitol after inauguration ceremonies at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)


The very foundation of liberalism is being shaken beneath the impact of massive political reconstruction.

And the “demolition man” is Donald J. Trump.

As we draw nearer to the mid-term elections, it will be extremely important to remind voters of the nation’s downhill spiral under the Democrats and Barack Obama, one which nearly reduced the U.S. to a third-world nation.

Just before Obama’s election in 2008, he made the following statement, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America,” Obama said at a campaign rally in Columbia, Missouri.

The next eight years were painful as Obama strategically attempted to dismantle America in favor of a new progressive matrix.

Remember Obama’s “apology tour” at the beginning of his presidency. He couldn’t wait to travel around the globe apologizing for past American actions and attitudes. At a town hall meeting in Strasbourg, France, Obama said, “There have been times where America [has] shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive” toward Europe.

Obama’s actions, supported by liberal Democrats, lead me to believe he never subscribed to American exceptionalism.

And Obama’s economic legacy isn’t one in which Democrats should be proud. Remember the “shovel-ready” jobs Obama told us would follow his $787 billion stimulus? Never happened. In fact, our nation’s labor participation rate dropped lower than it’s been since the early ’70s.

Look at the economy and jobs now. And Trump turned the tide in just over a year.

And how about the healthcare debacle? Obama repeatedly pledged that under Obamacare, Americans could choose to keep their healthcare plan and doctor. We all know that ended up being the 2013 Politifact “Lie of the Year.” Imagine if Donald Trump had lied so incredulously!

And don’t forget the premise of Obama’s healthcare scheme was to force healthy Americans to purchase healthcare as to “spread the wealth” to cover others lacking coverage. And if Americans failed to succumb to his individual mandate, they would be penalized.

It didn’t take President Trump long to rid Americans of Obama’s individual mandate shackles.

Under Obama’s rule, our nation witnessed the rise of the ruthless Islamic group known as ISIS. Remember, President Obama wouldn’t even recognize our enemy for what it is, Islamic terrorism, and even downplayed the threat in an interview with The New Yorker by referring to ISIS as a “JV team” in terms of the threat they posed to the U.S.

Again, in the interest of Americans, President Trump was quick to empower his commanders to leverage the strength of the U.S. military and bring ISIS to its knees.

Incredibly, liberals long for the Obama era. The wins of the Trump presidency on behalf of Americans fail to overshadow the disdain progressives have for his demeanor and “political incorrectness.”

Remember that when someone calls Trump a liberal.

I submit Americans have had their fill of liberals and progressivism and will recall “from whence we came” as we prepare for the November election.

And while President Trump is hurriedly “dismantling” Obama’s legacy, he is the “architect” of making America great again.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Read Democrat’s Rebuttal Memo Here!

24 Feb


Mark Caserta:  Free State Patriot editor

Click here to download or read below:      Democrats rebuttal memo


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Doug Smith: Checks and Balances

24 Feb

doug and mark 1

Doug Smith:  Free State Patriot history and society editor


Civics has lost its way.

Once we taught our potential citizens, both immigrants, and high school students, who would, we hoped, one day be productive and functional citizens and part of our society.  Today, however, we are an increasingly less civil society, and that we do not adequately teach what once was called “Civics”.  Both are mistakes.

It is important to understand the rules and framework by which our society functions, so that we can be good and functional citizens of that society. Equally, it is important that we teach civil behavior and discourse. There were both norms of behavior that most of us would never dream of violating, and an understanding of the norms and conventions of how our society, and republic, operates.

This brings me to a part of high school civics that was once taught to every student, or potential citizen, the concept of checks and balances.

Thanks, “Sarge” Tom Gibbs, for teaching me these lessons.

The idea among our Framers was that for every seat of power, there was another to balance their authority, and, through accountability, to hold them in check. It is telling that they saw the need for these protections. They understood, as we must understand, that our government does not govern angels, and hence must have laws and power, but neither is it made of angels, and thus must have checks and balances. It is a difficult and intoxicating thing to wield power over others.

Our founders grew to adulthood under a system based on the rights of kings, delegated, and unchecked in Royal Governors, the nobility, and the gentry of England. Their “rights” were merely privileges, granted to them as subjects of the king. Or revoked, by his whim.

The lawmaker who spends, for the first time, more money than he has ever seen, will get a certain thrill from the experience. In time, he can become jaded, and far too ready to spend other people’s money. Then we have a problem.

The late Senator Everett Dirksen said, “A billion dollars here, a billion dollars there, and next thing you know you are talking about some real money.” I’m not sure how much humor was intended, but you see the problem? A billion dollars IS a lot of money. Unless you never have to pay for as much as a cup of coffee, then money loses its reality to you and becomes simply a way to exercise power.

Now when Congress, or a Governor, spends a billion dollars, they do not plan to write a check. They plan for you and I to write fewer checks: for food, for gas, for homes. We will be the ones to do without, so we are responsible when they exercise authority. Now, when one has authority without responsibility, that is a recipe for disaster. Without accountability.

And that is where the Checks and Balances come in.


Mark Caserta: Common sense approach needed on gun safety

23 Feb


Mark Caserta:  Free State Patriot editor


gun control



A parent’s love for his or her child is an indescribable emotion, one which transcends words.

How unfathomable it must be for a mother or father to have a child taken away in a senseless act of evil.

Horrific mass shootings, like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school last week, have become agonizingly common in recent years. Some of our deadliest shootings in the United States have occurred in the last 10 years.

I’ve no doubt those engaged are sincere about addressing the problem, but new laws simply aren’t the answer.

There are no new or proposed gun laws that would have prevented these shootings. Laws only work with law-abiding citizens. That’s a premise that can’t even be argued. Making guns 100 percent illegal would not keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

Yes, the purchase of a firearm is something we must take very seriously. Only individuals properly trained in the use of a firearm should own one. And only those individuals who’ve successfully passed a thorough background check should be able to purchase a gun.

The fact is, guns are readily available for anyone wishing to own one. Per the Pew Research Center, the United States has more guns than any other country with as many as 310 million firearms in circulation. So, while not much can be done to keep guns from criminals, I believe there are some common-sense steps we must take.

First, let’s spread the background check net wider. Currently, background checks are only required if you purchase a gun through a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL), which includes retailers ranging from gun shops to Walmart. While FFL laws vary per state, you don’t need to undergo a background check if you buy a gun online, through a gun show or a private sale. That needs to change. We must be more responsible given our present-day challenges.

Next, we must use some common sense in eliminating soft targets, or “gun-free” zones. It’s time we conduct security assessments in all schools, churches, movie theaters, etc., and take steps to provide trained, properly armed, adequately staffed security posted at key locations to protect the people. And the excuses about “cost” or “sending the wrong message” have been rendered mute by the expansive loss of life. I’m only concerned about sending a message to a would-be assailant.

We must also, immediately, increase our awareness of our surroundings. If you see or hear something that doesn’t seem right, say something. And make sure your words are heard! We’ve got to watch out for each other!

Finally, be personally prepared. I believe as more people are trained in the use of a firearm and carry responsibly, it will deter criminals and save lives, perhaps yours. Your local FFL retailer will have the information you need.

It’s true, we should live our lives. But we must live them intentionally and with forethought.

These are “last line of defense” measures we must take, immediately. We must never look back and “wish” we’d been prepared.

That’s how tragedies happen.



Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

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