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Mark Caserta: “Which one do you want released, Jesus or Barabbas?”

14 Jan

Why do we allow the loudest voices in the crowd to prevail?

Mark Caserta has been an opinion columnist for over 22 years and is editor for Free State Patriot.

January 14, 2023


“Reproductive rights are human rights!  Border security is discrimination!  Mankind is responsible for climate change!  New gun laws will save lives!  The U.S. Constitution is antiquated in today’s world!”

“Crucify Him!”

Why do we allow the loudest voice in the crowd to prevail???

Now, it was customary before the Passover feast for the Roman Governor to release to the people any one prisoner they chose.  At the time, two of the prisoners they were holding were Jesus of Nazareth and Barabbas.

Jesus was the Christ, son of the living God, He had been arrested under the guise of treason.  Jesus had done no wrong, committed no sin.  In fact, He drew crowds by the thousands because of His compassion, His ability to heal the sick, restore sight to the blind and raise the dead.  The Bible depicts numerous stories of how enormous crowds followed Jesus, the Messiah for whom they had waited for years.  He emerged as the prophesied arrival of the Son of Man of whom John the Baptist had foretold and ultimately lost his life defending. 

Jesus’ arrival had stirred the hearts of the people and caused them to gather in masses!  They believed in Him.  They followed Him.  He gave them hope.

Barabbas was a notorious criminal, deserving of imprisonment. He has been arrested and imprisoned for being a murderer, an insurrectionist who wanted to overthrow the Roman government.  Barabbas was deserving of imprisonment. 

But Jesus was a threat to the religious status quo.  His popularity threatened the power of few, self-serving, individuals who sought only to exalt themselves above others.  He must be stopped.  The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd congregating to see the “judicial” reality show, to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death.

“Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” Pilate asked the crowd.

“Barabbas”, the crowd yelled.

“Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”  Again, they all said, “Crucify Him!”

“Why, what evil has He done?” Pilate asked the people.  But the few who had gathered had no legitimate reason for their response.  They kept yelling and yelling, “Crucify Him!”

Rather than starting a riot, Pilate took water and metaphorically washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.”

And the mob which had gathered, ignorantly yelled, “His blood shall be on us and our children”. 

Barabbas was released and Jesus, the Son of God, was put to death because of a few people who had been purchased by the leaders of the day to be the loudest, most vocal people in the crowd.

I’ve often wondered, where were the thousands of people who supported Jesus during his 3 years of ministry?  Surely, once they heard of this travesty of a trial they would rise to Jesus’ defense.

Surely thousands of Jesus’ followers would be heard above the few who had been lawlessly influenced to yell, “Crucify Him” at the trial!  Where were these people when Jesus needed them???

Can’t you see how this story is meant for us, today? Look around you!  Can’t you see that the voices of only a persistent few are being heard above the righteous – above Christians who follow Jesus!

Surely, these thousands of Jesus’ followers will be heard above the few who have been purchased and compelled to espouse anti-Christian beliefs among society!

Surely, they won’t allow the children to be murdered!  Surely, they’ll help uphold the laws of the land!  Surely, they’ll stand for Jesus, the one who willingly gave His life so that we can have life more abundantly!

Brothers and sisters, we are as guilty as those who hid in the shadows during Jesus’ crucifixion if we allow the minority of evil voices around us to control the events that unfold.

Our society is rapidly declining at a rate I never thought possible. And I refuse to believe it is the will of the majority of the people! It is a result of the minority, albeit loudest voices among us!

Are you hiding among the shadows?  Are you raising your voice in protest of the wrongs surrounding your children?

Would you be one of those who allowed Jesus the Christ to be crucified?  Or would you have risen to His defense?  What is justice worth to you?

It’s the same scenario! This story is meant for our day!

Willing or unwilling, this blood shall be on us and our children if we stay silent.  Just as it was on that sorrowful day, this blood will be on our hands and our children will pay the price.

What will you choose to do?

Mark Caserta: Wondering why our nation is upside-down. Here’s the answer!

3 Jan

Mark Caserta has been an opinion columnist for 22 years and is editor for Free State Patriot

January 3, 2023


Have you ever wondered how our nation got so upside-down?  Well, it didn’t happen overnight.

And that’s what made it possible.

The most concerning dynamic in this dilemma is we have a nation comprised of a generation (or two) which frankly have never experienced the beauty and success of government of the people, by the people and for the people.  They have no frame of reference to understand a viable, flourishing Democracy.  And we’ve allowed it to happen.

The only reference they have is what they’ve been exposed to in their lifetime. And sadly, Christian conservatives haven’t been as fervent and determined in the fight.  Don’t get mad at me.  It’s the truth.

 But it’s time we at least begin educating anyone who will listen to the reality that our nation is being destroyed by individuals who are willing to sacrifice our nation’s constitutional core to gain power.

It’s called the progressive movement and is driven by progressive, far left liberals.

In short, progressive liberalism is the perpetual attempt to undermine every pre-conceived notion of right and wrong. Values, principles or morality are predefined standards of behavior and have no place in the progressive vocabulary or playbook.

Liberalism is an ideology (Some say religion) that perverts and confounds every fact and precedent heretofore accepted as the norm.  It leverages the process of “desensitization”, or the constant exposure to standards outside the norm in a relentless fashion.

Morality, if even considered, is on a sliding scale, variable to one’s passion and personal belief system.

For example, In the 1970’s one had to visit what was termed an “X-rated” theater to see many of the behaviors or hear some of the language to which we are now exposed on television – in prime time!  Constant exposure is integral to the desensitization process.  You get “used” to hearing or seeing it and it becomes less offensive in nature and more readily accepted as the norm. 

Another example would be abortion.  When Roe v. Wade was initially passed in 1973, it was done so with conditions involving the viability of the baby and the health of the mother. Now, abortions are performed with very few limitations, the least of which is the viability of the baby!

It may be simpler now to get an abortion, than it is to get a root canal.  The murder of millions a babies every year isn’t even addressed by some politicians anymore.

I’m on a roll, so here’s another example. 

Politicians used to hide their socialist tendencies. Now they run campaigns on them!  Did you ever think you would see a day when U.S. politicians would openly run on socialist platforms and expect people to buy in?  But over the years, the government has forced more and more people into government dependency, hence socialism sprouts from the seeds of addiction to government.  

Campaigning on the premise “we will make your wildest dreams come true” has become the liberal Democrat mantra!  It’s no longer restricted to Pedro’s campaign promise in Napoleon Dynamite, “If you vote for me, all your wildest dreams will come true.”  Democrats have genuinely embraced that platform!

These current quandaries represent only a fraction of the present liberal state and are the result of individuals persistently applying pressure to expose the nation to more and more behaviors previously considered inappropriate.

 This liberal attack is also omnidirectional, in nature.  The tentacles of progressivism are regularly employed by corrupt politicians and right-wing media outlets who are espoused to the left and pledged to serve and protect this ideology. 

 Liberalism defiantly asks the question, “Who are you to define the norm?”  And any person attempting to define “normal” behavior in society is accused of being racist, a bigot, or homophobe, and is obviously filled with hatred.

 It’s the progressive theory of, “morality + conviction + common sense = discrimination”. 

Consider a pre-meditated plan for creating a sociological environment where children, as young as elementary age, are exposed to extreme violence, sex, foul language, gender “choices” and anti-capitalistic content in the classroom.  What if this methodology was employed years ago at a point in history where it would produce a generation or generations indoctrinated and desensitized to aberrations of these behaviors?

Do you know what we would have?  Of course, you do!  You’re living in it! Progressives had a plan to create a generation of followers and they’ve executed it perfectly!

Folks, this is progressive liberalism 101!  Liberals began infiltrating the classroom and brain-washing your children under your very noses! 

Why do you think liberal politicians have been profoundly against private schools and homeschooling?  They can’t control the content!  They can’t re-write history in their favor.  Progressives would never allow a good classical education to stand in the way of progressivism!

Liberalism can only be promoted in a world replete with historical revisions and lies!  It’s never worked and never will!

Remember, Progressive liberals and government hate anything or anyone they can’t control.  And their agenda involves controlling everything – including you and your family!

Abe Lincoln said, “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” 

Apparently, liberals were listening, while many of us were not. The fact is, Liberals work harder, are more united and more determined than conservatives. 

And we have got to change that!

Haven’t you ever wondered why the Bible and its principles have become so terrifying to liberals?  It’s simply because Biblical principles are the antithesis of liberal principles.

Even though our nation was built upon Biblical standards which can be found throughout all of our historical documents, progressives would be stopped dead in their tracks if “people who are called by His (God’s) name will humble themselves, seek Him in prayer and turn from their wicked ways”.  The Bible says, “God would forgive our sins and heal our land”.

But this “healing” calls for repentance.  Liberal progressives feel that they are gods within themselves and have nothing for which to repent.  Hence the prerequisite of eliminating God’s Word in every venue in our nation – especially the schools!

The Bible is God’s law and liberals don’t want law defined for them, by anyone – even God.  The Bible isn’t “inclusive” enough to suit their inclusive agenda, which ironically includes everyone except those who disagree!

The Bible offers a narrow gate passable only by the penitent.  Liberal progressives don’t want gates, walls, fences, borders or anything that holds them to a behavioral standard.  Their job is to question and redefine the standards – all of them!

So, now that you understand liberal progressivism, what are you going to do differently to prevent its advancement in society?

Whatever you do, don’t expect things to change rapidly.  We must be as fervent and as patient as liberals were in our gameplan.

Where would you begin and when do you start?  I’ll be sharing some answers in upcoming columns.

But imagine this: What would you attempt to do in life if you knew it were impossible to fail?  (Read Philippians 4:13)

Until next time – Be Blessed and be engaged.

FSP Columnist spends time with judicial champion – Judge Alfred E. Ferguson

30 Dec

December 30, 2022

Mark Caserta is an opinion columnist and editor for Free State Patriot


Judge Alfred E. Ferguson has served Cabell County in the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court for over 46 years.

It was a superb day for the first day of doe hunting season!  My friends and I had decided to take advantage of this unseasonably warm day in December in a tree stand in the woods of Wayne County, WV.

Now, being a rookie huntsman, I don’t claim to know much about deer hunting, but I do know they have an amazing auditory range.  I’m sure the fact I couldn’t stop asking questions of my hunting partner was a contributing factor in us leaving the tree stand empty-handed.  But only empty-handed in terms of harvesting a deer! I certainly didn’t leave empty-handed considering the memorable experience of conversing with a legendary defender of truth and justice for over 60 years, Judge Alfred E. Ferguson. 

Born and raised in Cabell County, Judge Ferguson graduated from Marshall University in 1959 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, subsequently earning a law degree from West Virginia College of Law in 1962.    Prior to being appointed to the bench, Judge Ferguson served 1 year as Assistant Cabell County Prosecuting Attorney and 2 years as Divorce Commissioner.  Judge Ferguson was also a lawyer in a private practice for fifteen years.

In 1977, then Governor John D. Rockefeller IV appointed him to the bench in the Sixth Judicial Court from which he has served the people of Cabell County for more than 46 years.

Judge Ferguson has also served his community as a part-time instructor at his alma mater, Marshall University, teaching criminal, juvenile, civil and divorce law for more than 20 years. He is a former member of the Judicial Investigation Commission and was the first presiding judge on the first Juvenile Drug Court established in West Virginia.  Additionally, Judge Ferguson has often been appointed to serve on the Supreme Court in place of a justice who was recused from a case.

In a campaign questionnaire, Judge Ferguson described the competencies required for his job. “A fair temperament, along with open-mindedness, courtesy, courage, firmness, compassion, ethics, and plain common sense are the most important traits a judge must have,” Judge said, “It’s essential a judge must be able to communicate with counsel, jurors, witnesses and all parties involved in a proceeding.”

One would think that years of experience in the judicial system would desensitize anyone to a degree, inadvertently, if not subliminally, causing them to become a bit callous in the face of seemingly increasing, often repeated transgressions.  But nothing could be further from the truth, with Judge Ferguson.

While adhering to the letter of the law, Judge Ferguson’s goal is to be the catalyst for positive change. He seeks to mentor, if not minister, to those who face judgement in his courtroom.  To the degree applicable, he seeks to guide defendants toward making better life choices, despite their past behaviors.

 I personally know individuals who, after receiving a fair sentence in Judge Ferguson’s courtroom, were able to transcend their past iniquities and become contributing individuals in society as a result of his circumspect, sensical approach in the courtroom.  

I listened to Judge Ferguson as he described how he wanted repeat offenders to understand their purpose in life and that their calling is to be much more than they have chosen to be.  They need only make better choices.

Over the years, Judge Ferguson has proven his determination to make decisions within the boundaries of the law while doing everything within his power to serve the best interest of the community AND the individual.

He is, in my humble opinion, a judicial hero.

Many ask Judge Ferguson if he intends to retire at the end of his term, in 2 years.  I humbly believe if any member of the judiciary deserved a lifetime appointment, Judge Ferguson does.

I suppose it’s a moot point, considering voters have opted to issue the judge his lifetime appointment at the polls.

Government, by the people, at its finest!

Thank you, Judge Ferguson for your service and the judicial legacy you are still building from behind the bench.

Well done, thou good and faithful servant!

Mark Caserta: Columnist spends time with true American hero – Joseph Whitt

25 Jun

Note: This column is a reprint of an article published in 2016.

Mark Caserta is an opinion columnist and editor for Free State Patriot
Judy and Joe Whitt

Americans love extolling our heroes, but it isn’t often you actually get to meet one. Recently I was blessed to share some time with one of our nation’s most esteemed living patriots – Joseph Whitt.

Joe was aboard the U.S.S. San Francisco during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and is currently one of four remaining survivors.

Joe is truly representative of the “Greatest Generation” our country has ever produced.

 While the years have stolen nearly all of his eyesight, Joe hasn’t lost his memory of that infamous day, which I believe tortures him still.

As I sat across the table from Joe and his lovely wife, Judith, in a restaurant near Bethel, Ohio, where they reside, I couldn’t help but politely ask questions about his experience.

I listened intently as Joe attempted to describe the indescribable.

“I saw the Arizona blow up,” Joe said, speaking of the U.S.S. Arizona, the most heavily damaged of all the vessels in what was called “Battleship Row.” He labored to describe the chaos of that day and his fallen crew mates.

The assault, which lasted nearly two hours, claimed the lives of more than 2,400 people and destroyed nearly 20 American ships and at least 300 airplanes.

At the age of 92, Joe understandably has some difficulty recalling the intimate details of his experience. I was touched by the way Judy (some years younger) would, at times, lovingly step in to finish a portion of Joe’s story. It became particularly difficult when he shared his ghastly recollection of the sharks that rapidly infested the waters to feast upon the ensuing carnage.

We cried.

My heart swelled with love, admiration and appreciation for Joe and Judy as they painted a haunting picture of Joe’s tumultuous experience.

One might think increasing apathy from some would callous the heart of an individual who gave so freely to his country, but Joe’s humility and entrenched love for America guide his path. My heart ached for this man obviously encumbered by a horrific memory that would never, ever go away.

Joe never mentioned it, but I learned he earned 17 battle stars in World War II and has been the recipient of multiple honors throughout the years. But he’ll never receive just recompense.

Joe Whitt represents an iconic America that’s rapidly slipping away.

He and others like him believe freedom is something worth dying for. And they’re prepared to do so, without question.

After talking with Joe and Judy, I have a renewed respect for those who’ve given their very best to purchase the freedoms we enjoy in this great country.

But amid this patriotic swell, I’ve also acquired a refurbished disdain for those who take this sacrifice for granted and mock our flag.

Words are darn cheap – cheaper than ever. And we’re getting loads of dung-ridden verbiage shoveled at us every day.

But the bravery of men and women like Joseph Whitt made America great.

It’s now up to us to keep it going.

God bless you, Joe and Judy.

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

Mark Caserta: Should I or shouldn’t I take the COVID-19 Vaccine?

13 Sep

Here are some things to consider…

Mark Caserta is an opinion columnist and editor for Free State Patriot

September 13, 2021

Should I or shouldn’t I take the COVID-19 vaccine?  It’s arguably the question paramount to our times and potentially to this century. As a Christian conservative, it’s certainly one I’m being asked most regularly by friends, relatives, and acquaintances.

Now, I’m not going to cite scientific studies or medical dissertation, because frankly I don’t know who to believe anymore.  As with nearly all the information we are force-fed daily by an irresponsible, negligent, liberally complicit media, the facts will be skewed by the degree of skin they have in the game and to whom they serve – money or man. 

They can’t serve both, so history compels me to believe it’s money, nearly 99 percent of the time.

To support my disbelief in the unprincipled media, I’ve chosen to take a sabbatical from the 24-hour, vomitous mass of so-called journalism designed to persuade rather than inform.  My decisions are made and validated by what I see happening around me and the unction I feel from the Spirit that dwells within me.  That is all I trust.

Conspiracy theories aside, I don’t trust government to do the job of protecting my family.  Historically, government fails at most everything.   Abe Lincoln assured us that, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.” I hope he was right. But it’s certainly on life-support, with failing vital signs, under our current administration. 

While I respect our form of government; I loathe the actions of the individuals responsible for it right now. “Why we continue to re-elect vermin to represent us” in government may supersede even the query of taking the COVID vaccine – it’s close. The old saying which asserts that a fool is someone who represents themselves, should also include those who hire another fool to do so!

I’m burdened over the number of COVID deaths in America.  I’m distraught over the number of individuals in our region who have lost their lives.  I’m devastated over the number of friends and loved ones who have lost their lives to this disease. 

Is this disease man-made or is it an anomaly of genetic research?  Is the COVID Delta-Variant an intentional perpetuation of the original virus or is it a random mutation?

I don’t much care at this point. I’m not in a position to research, investigate and determine the facts on my own and it serves no purpose for me to grasp to some television pundit’s view as my own.   

All I know, for sure, is that it’s my responsibility to make the right choices in life for my family. 

For me, there are criterion on which I make my decision:

  1. I absolutely will not allow my disdain for an administration or government to influence my decision to take the COVID vaccine or allow my family members to do the same.  Grandma called that, “cutting off you nose to spite your face”. 
  2. I will gather as much information as I possibly can regarding events confirmed by facts.  It’s too important of a decision to rely upon hearsay or opinion.  It’s my responsibility to do the work.  I’m not going to allow radio talk show hosts, Fox News or CNN to persuade me – period!
  3. I’m not willing to risk losing a family member simply to make a political point.  If you disagree, fine.  I don’t much care. I have other ways to fight for our Republic, the most important of which happens at the polls.
  4. I will have faith in my God, but I am not willing to test my faith with the lives of my family.  I also have faith that God has given us wisdom and a free will.  I believe He will honor our actions if we honor Him in all that we do, regardless of outcome.
  5. If we love God, and are called according to His purpose, all things work together for good.  I’ve been in situations where I try to “over think” an outcome.  I have learned God simply wants me to trust Him, even if it appears my prayer did not get answered the way I wanted it to be answered.  That’s faith.  God will prosper our efforts and perseverance in Jesus’ Name.
  6. Finally, I will seek God for the right answer.  I don’t need a burning bush or miracle. I just need fervent prayer and a relationship with my Heavenly Father. 

Anyone who attempts to tell you to either take the vaccine or not, turn and walk away. While they may be well-meaning, they don’t have a stake in the safety of your loved ones.  If it’s “freedom” you want to protect, then vote!

At the end of the day, the choice must be yours and made for the right reasons.  Anyone who tells you differently is likely selling something.

Godspeed.

Mark Caserta: Trump supporters, it’s time for the “eye of the tiger”.

28 Feb

Mark Caserta is an opinion columnist and editor for Free State Patriot.

February 28, 2021


Biden advisor:  “Mr. President, we need to discuss our position and action on a situation regarding the security and prosperity of the American people.  Do you have a moment?”

Biden: “What was Trump’s position?”

Biden advisor:  “He was for it.”

Biden:  “Well, we’re against it.”

Biden advisor:  “But, Mr. President, it may severely impact the lives of millions.  Shouldn’t we review it and discuss it based on its merit?”

Biden:  “Ask Kamala, for God’s sake! Leave me alone and bring my Geritol and slippers.”

Folks, while satirical in nature, this isn’t far from what’s happening in the Oval Office right now.

Just over 5 weeks after the inauguration of Joe Biden to the U.S. presidency it’s clear “Sleep Joe” intends to continue his Democrat predecessor’s strategy of “fundamentally changing America”. 

But before he can pick up where Obama left off, He must first nullify the successes of President Trump.

And it appears, he is attempting to surge his nullification of the Trump’s wins at the rate they were established – light speed!

As President Trump so masterfully negated the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama, Joe Biden and his liberal “chieftains” will absolutely “not’ be focused on being the commander-in-chief of our country, but rather on returning the United States to the disrespected, jobless nation it was under Barack and Michelle.

In other words, it’s “pay back” time for the reprobates who defied all the political postulates and elected an outsider – Donald J. Trump.

And so, it’s begun.  Borders are being re-opened.  Well-negotiated deals are being eradicated. Resources that made us energy independent for the first time in our nation’s history are being shut down.  And attacks against all things conservative, have been deployed!

And we find ourselves on the field of battle in the absence of the greatest strategic mind in history – the father of conservatism, Rush Limbaugh.  We love and miss you, Rush.  Godspeed.

What would Rush tell us?  I believe He would say, “Return to your roots – get the “eye of the tiger!”

That means understanding liberals and the progressive movement, as it is indeed a movement that’s “progressive” in nature.

Example? Roe v. Wade wasn’t always abortion on demand.  Initially, it had restrictions based on the viability of the baby and the health of the mother.  But liberals “progressively” challenged the status quo, winning baby step victories, until they achieved their goal – infanticide at the whim of the mother and the will of the state.

That’s the progressive modus operandi!  They never stop! They never give up!  If it involves restrictions, it isn’t liberal enough!  If it involves morality, principles, or convictions it’s not progressive enough. 

If it involves God…shut it down!

But we have questions – understandably so!

If the Democrats truly stole the 2020 election, why couldn’t it be exposed and properly expunged?  More importantly, what have we been able to deduce that will prevent it from happening again?

The fact that Democrats are so emboldened right now should give us all pause.  What do they know that we don’t?  Have they developed an algorithm giving them the power to influence an election? 

All we know, for sure, is the there is a doddering, frail liberal in the White House masquerading as the commander-in-chief, with an activist VP by his side chomping at the bits to advance progressivism in a manner unlike anything we’ve ever witnessed.

Friends, during this “unpleasant” political period of time, I’ve taken a sabbatical from writing.  Frankly, it’s been exceedingly difficult (as I’m sure it’s been for other patriots) to engage in the news of the day when so much had apparently gone extraordinarily wrong.

But, today, something prompted me to move forward.  I believe it was Divine in nature.  I believe many others heard it, as well.

I am convinced God is calling us to make a choice, to employ the free will He’s given each of us.  In the face of a giant, how do we react?  Do we cower in fear of the enemy or rise with boldness knowing God has never forsaken us? 

After all, David took a stone to a sword fight and was victorious.  Even after witnessing failure after failure, He chose to persevere in God’s Will.  He made a choice to win!

It is this choice that each of us must make that will determine U.S. history moving forward.

It is this choice that will determine what sort of a world our children and grandchildren will inherit. 

It is this choice that will remind God we have the wherewithal to be “His” servants or servants of the state.  He created us in His image – the image of a winner!

As hard as it may be – As cheated as we may feel – As disheartened and angry we may be – what are Democrats hoping to accomplish?  What would they have Trump supporters do?

Drop your weapons.  Lay down and be subservient to liberal rule.

Subservience is not within me.  I cannot acquiesce to the path of least resistance.  I will not allow my disgust and outrage to silence me. I plan to win.

I plan to continue writing and influencing on behalf of conservatism as never before.  If we lose, we’ve been defeated valiantly.

But if we win, God’s got our backs and our future.

“E pluribus Unum” or “Out of many – One”

Together, as one, is the only way we win.  Let’s make these next four years the most difficult liberals have ever witnessed, but let’s take the high road.  Let’s do it legally and with conviction.

That’s a strategy they don’t understand.

Mark Caserta: Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” offers timely perspective for us all!

17 Dec

Just a few days away from the most magical day of the year, I find myself reflecting on the lyrics from the first stanza of John Lennon’s 1971 Christmas song, “So this is Christmas.”

“So, this is Christmas. And what have you done? Another year over. And a new one just begun.”

This question is particularly thought-provoking for those who’ve been engaged this year in the state of our country, our city and our fellow man. Regardless of your political or religious persuasion, I think most would agree we’ve seen an unparalleled level of quarreling and animosity among people this year.

A few years back I wrote a Christmas column entitled, “Perhaps we should reflect on the chains we’ve forged.” I keep a copy with our Christmas decorations. Each year, when my wife has me carry the decorations upstairs for her to magically transform our home for the holidays, I’m greeted by the newspaper clipping resting in “mechanical” Santa’s lap!

Here’s a modified excerpt from my 2013 column.

The brilliance and imagery of the Charles Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol,” offers a timeless reflection of the magical consequences of human kindness.

Of his tale, Dickens wrote, “I have endeavored in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.”

And “haunt” us it has for over 170 years with its sustained relevance for mankind and its sobering look at the sanctity and opportunity of life.

Ebenezer Scrooge was a man, lost within his own maize of anxiety, stripped of his compassion for others whose significance diminished as his wealth grew.

Yet, while unworthy of his journey of recompense, Scrooge was given an opportunity to witness the chains he forged in life from the third person as he was led on a journey by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come.

I can only surmise Dickens chose Christmas as the setting of his tale of repentance because of the depth of purpose he envisioned it had for his fellow man and the opportunity it offered for reflecting upon one’s life choices.

I believe, however, Dickens is prompting us to invoke similar introspection.

How would your journey fare with the three apparitions? What chains have you forged?

Life’s choices in today’s world are exceedingly complex and follow a path dimly lit and laden with distractions unique to our times.

Ebenezer Scrooge had some ghostly mentors to influence change in his life and Dickens ensured his tale allowed Scrooge to alter his future.

Unfortunately, none of us have Dickens’ script guaranteeing our life tomorrow. And all too often we find ourselves wishing we’d made better choices or extended unselfish, random gifts of kindness to others.

I suggest using Christmas, as Dickens did, to reflect upon the chains we may have forged in life and begin working toward reducing the links.

Before we find it’s too late to impact our legacy and future.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Williamsport Sun-Gazette: Trump attorneys to take case to Supreme Court

27 Nov
MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, left, waves to the crowd as he arrives at the U.S. Federal Courthouse and Herman T. Schneebeli Federal Office Building Tuesday for a hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Matthew T. Brann Tuesday.

https://www.sungazette.com/news/top-news/2020/11/trump-attorneys-to-take-case-to-supreme-court/

Lawyers for President Donald J. Trump said Sunday that a federal court judge’s dismissal of their case Saturday on trying to stop the results of the election from being certified by state Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar gives them opportunity to bring their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Rudy Giuliani, attorney to President Trump and Jenna Ellis, senior legal adviser to Trump 2020 Campaign, said a decision by U.S. Middle District Judge Matthew W. Brann to dismiss the case will help them move the case to the higher court.

Brann dismissed the lawsuit against Boockvar and seven counties, brought by Trump’s campaign for reelection, dealing another blow to the president’s attempts to undermine Election 2020’s decisive results.

“Today’s decision turns out to help us in our strategy to get expeditiously to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Trump lawyers said.

“Although we fully disagree with this opinion, we’re thankful to the President Barack Obama-appointed judge for making this anticipated decision quickly, rather than simply trying to run out the clock.”

Trump is seeking an expedited appeal to the Third Circuit.

“There is so much evidence that in Pennsylvania, Democrats eliminated our opportunity to present 50 witnesses and other evidence that election officials blatantly ignored Pennsylvania’s law denying independent review,” the Trump team said.

“This resulted in 682,777 ballots being cast illegally, wittingly or unwittingly.”

“We are disappointed we did not at least get the opportunity to present our evidence at a hearing,” Giuliani and Ellis said.

“We hope that the Third Circuit will be as gracious as Judge Brann in deciding our appeal one way or the other as expeditiously as possible.”

“This is another case that appears to be moving quickly to the United States Supreme Court.”

However, civil rights and advocacy groups led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, the ACLU Voting Rights Project, Public Interest Law Center, and the law firm Covington & Burling LLP represented the Black Political Empowerment Project, Common Cause Pennsylvania, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference, and eight impacted voters as intervenors. Last week, hailed Brann hailed the ruling as a victory for democracy and the state’s voters.

“The court saw through the attempts by President Trump and his enablers in Washington and Harrisburg to interfere with democracy,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “The people of Pennsylvania have had their say, and it time to put this election behind us.”

MARK MARONEY

mmaroney@sungazette.com

Mark Caserta: Electoral Call to Action – Stand on God’s Word.

21 Nov
Mark Caserta is an opinion columnist and editor for Free State Patriot

November, 21, 2020


It was late Tuesday evening, November 8, 2016.

The liberal Democrat Party was in shock.  They had just lost the presidential election and their eight-year reign of power – to an outsider. 

It was unacceptable.  What just happened? 

Anger and tears fostered a demonstrable disdain for the American people.  It was those “freedom loving”, “flag waving”, “Bible thumping” basket of deplorables that did it!  How dare they challenge our power and attempt to control what we’ve worked so hard to accomplish!  Who do they think they are?

We’ll show them. We’ve got to make sure this never happens again.

Thus, subsequent to the inauguration of their worst nightmare, Donald J. Trump, the four-year nefarious plot to steal the 2020 presidential election and regain power began.

 As Trump’s wins and victories were applauded by the nation, the liberal hatred festered into a loathsome craze to extinguish conservatives at all cost. Socialist-minded politicians no longer cared if voters knew their intent was never to represent Americans. 

The liberal Democrat hatred for Trump began to far surpass any love they may have had for their country. 

Liberal Democrat allegiance to our country is contingent and relative to the portion of power they receive.  The more power they’re given, the more they will provide and care for you.

Joe Biden’s campaign slogan, “Build Back Better”, was the moniker for the greatest political heist in our nation’s history.  A masterful networking of complicit racketeers was constructed with the liberal media as a willing accomplice, to engage in a coup of the most powerful leader in the world.

 Yes, they would build an organizational structure that could empower and enable them to not only control the election, but the American people!

 Recruitment began at the highest levels of security for those with the adequate amount of disdain for Donald Trump required to undertake a massive ploy to undermine the presidency.  They initiated the distraction of Russian collusion to keep the administration’s eyes off the dirty little elves as they began to embed themselves in the nooks and crannies of the electoral process.

The spider web of activity spread across the nation, into all battleground states.  Outside interests from nation’s losing under Trump’s presidency were employed.  Criminal activities to manipulate the voting mechanisms, as needed, were engaged.  Preparations were made to subvert and overturn an overwhelming loss.  The enthusiasm from Trump supporters was too alarming, despite the fake news and polls designed to influence.

Four years later, Tuesday, November 3, 2020, the votes began to pour in in record numbers.  Liberal Democrats were panic-stricken.

Battle stations! Engage the plan!

And engage they did.  Votes for Joe Biden began appearing from literally nowhere. Counting was even paused in some instances to allow teams on the ground to deploy forces and employ the battle plan.  There was so much odious activity, it couldn’t be disguised.  Lying, cheating, and stealing were nearly omnipresent!    

The American people were never given a clear line of sight.  Media outlets, to include heretofore conservative-leaning networks, had sold their souls to the socialist-leaning Democrat Party, Joe Biden and his attack dog minion, Kamala Harris.  The plan was working!  Revenge is a dish best served cold!

And the cold, hard truth we are being given is Biden/Harris won the election, even though many know in their hearts it couldn’t possibly be true. 

So, here we are.  It’s literally the age-old combat between good and evil.

Is our foundation strong enough?  Have our Founding Fathers prepared us for such a time as this?  Do the American people have enough power and tenacity to squelch the impending evil to the left of us?

Losing is not an option, but often we do not get to choose our options.  Sometimes we have to play the hand we’re dealt.  A win or two would be comforting.

Faith has taught us that when we’ve done all we can do – stand.  God operates best when His people realize they are powerless without Him.

 Answers?  I have none.

All I know to do is pray and stand on what I believe.  I trust God will take care of the rest.

Mark Caserta: It will take every single voter to save Huntington on Nov. 3rd.

8 Oct

Mark Caserta is an opinion columnist and editor for Free State Patriot

October 8, 2020


“The devil went down to Georgia. He was looking for a vote to steal. He was in a bind, ‘cause he was way behind and willing to make a deal”.

This parody of the lyrics from Charlie Daniels’ legendary song seems to sum up the angle of most politicians today who seem willing to sell their soul for positional power.

The problem with positional power is that without wisdom and good intent, it’s very dangerous and negatively consequential for those subject to it.  It isn’t often that caring citizens have opportunity to literally save their city from such political embellishment.

 On November 3rd, local voters have an historic opportunity to participate in one of the “greatest comebacks in American history” in the healing of a city “ravaged by ruin.”

For 8 painful, arduous years, the city of Huntington has been on the decline. During that time, we’ve watched our city be overtaken by crime, drugs, and progressive ideology – all of which have a symbiotic relationship. 

What was once referenced as the Jewel City, is now one of the #1 crime and drug overdose cities in the nation.

Now, given the level of dissent among citizens and business owners remaining in Huntington, one would be compelled to expect a landslide victory was on the horizon for the conservative candidate, Scott Marshall Caserta, right?

Oh, but grandma, there’s a the fly in the buttermilk!

Mayor Williams and his complicit minions (which includes our share of fake news outlets) have focused the last 4 years on replacing hard-working, conservative voters who contribute to society, with downtrodden individuals caught in the liberal nets of benevolence and have little choice but to be beholden to the hand that feeds them.

It is a verifiable fact that some addiction facilities have gone outside our city and state to bring in addicts for treatment in Huntington rehab facilities.  I suppose we simply didn’t have enough of our own.  Supplemental to this madness has been an initiative to register the homeless to vote.

One might refer to it as election tampering through attrition.

What lies beneath the “spit shined” exterior of lifetime politicians who would feel emboldened to compromise the very heart of a city and her inhabitants simply to remain in power?

Would anyone who cared about our city and its citizens build an economic model around fewer jobs and a dependency upon government?

Only a liberal thinks that way.

And only a progressive aspiring to reign over disadvantaged subjects powerless to sustain themselves (much less contribute to an economy) would sell the jobs and futures of our citizens, simply to lavish longingly in the spotlight of spurious servitude.

I have nothing personal against Mayor Steve Williams. In fact, I’ve partially supported his decisions in the past, at the chagrin of those dear to me.

But the fact remains, his policies have crippled the city of Huntington in a devastating manner! Our city is now on life support emanating from the few remaining Huntingtonians willing to go down with their sinking ship as they struggle to correct her course.

Liberal larcenists stole the city of Huntington from us nearly 8 years ago.  It’s time to take her back.

But allow me to be perfectly and unapologetically clear.  It will take every single voter with the conviction of saving our city to get off their backsides and vote.  If you don’t vote – we lose – it’s that simple.

Not maybe!  Not if I have time!  Not if I can get off work!  If you don’t vote, you won’t have to worry about work!  It will be gone!

Understand, it will take more than a man to return our city to greatness.  It will take God.

Scott Caserta doesn’t have all the answers.  He will be the first to tell you that.  But He knows a God who does!  And I believe if we humble ourselves and seek God’s Face and Favor, He will heal our land and prosper our people. 

We can return to the city once known as a great place to live, work and raise a family.

The only conservative, Christian choice for mayor of Huntington is Scott Caserta.

Huntington won’t survive another term under our current mayor.  You know where to be on November 3rd

If you don’t…then ask someone.

  
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