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James Caserta: Finally stepping into the light

10 Mar


James Caserta: Christian conservative, patriot and blogger

Friday, March 10, 2017

Day One

For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,    and the complacency of fools will destroy them ~Proverbs 1:32

If you are taking time to read this, first of all you have my gratitude. My vision for this series of entries is to reach as many people as possible, and even if it helps just one person, I will have considered it a success.

I’ve always been drawn to writing, and I knew it wasn’t just a coincidence; I believe writing is something God has always had planned for me, to share my story, to be a light in a world full of darkness. This is a new adventure for me, so by doing this blog I am definitely stepping out of my comfort zone, but the way I see it, I have been comfortable for far too long.

My life has been filled with blessings, I have a great family that loves and holds each other up, and my parents have always strived to be examples of good work ethic and Godliness.

From the time I was born, I have been surrounded by love and many memories over the years. If I could summarize my personal journey from childhood to adulthood in one word, I would say “complacent”, meaning everything I did was routine, everything was taken care of for me, so there was never anything to worry about; I was in the perfect comfort zone. I went through life on autopilot (cliché I know but it’s true 😉 ) while shirking my responsibilities at home and in my personal life; after all, I have parents who are always there and a God who will never leave nor forsake me, and my life has been great so far, so why worry right?

Little did I know I was being suffocated spiritually by the darkness of complacency, blinded to my own faults by stubbornness, barred from God’s promise of a prosperous future filled with His grace and favor because I chose to appease the temptations, promising to make everything better, convincing me to forget about it for one more day.

I snuffed out my own light in exchange for a “comfortable life”, and it wasn’t until I met my life partner that I was made to see just how broken I was.

Once the mirror was turned on me, I didn’t recognize the person staring back at me, and I hated him. I still do most days. Hate is kindling for evil to grow, so naturally my habits and my priorities became more and more corrupted. As the verse above stated, my foolish complacency was destroying me from the inside out.

Today, as I sit here, I weigh 508 lbs., literally carrying the weight of all my life choices everywhere I go…and I’m done. I’m over this life.  I’m fed up with feeding myself to the point of an early death, losing my wife because my weight has caused me to become near infertile, the hope of a family becoming more and more distant.

The little things I used to take for granted, even putting my socks and shoes on or going up stairs have become arduous tasks, sometimes requiring assistance. I think back to whom I was versus who I am now, and my heart breaks.

So I’m taking a step forward, into the light, little by little, this time by pursuing weight loss surgery. I had my consultation today with Dr. Blaine Nease, and I can say that I am very excited for what my future holds. I’m doing weekly meal prepping with my amazing wife, without whom I could not hope to make all these delicious meals I have to choose from 😋.

I will be using this blog to document my journey through the next six months, leading up to the big day, and then the following weeks and months, watching my life change before my eyes.

Each day brings more hope, more light, and I feel more determined than ever. However, I cannot do this alone, so I’m sharing my story with all of you to keep myself accountable, and to ask for prayers as I leave my comfortable life behind, one step at a time.


James Caserta at 5:51 PM



  Finally Stepping Out Into the Light


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Doug Smith: Discrimination versus Prejudice

13 Feb


Doug Smith: Author, historian, patriot and lead contributor to Free State Patriot

February 13, 2017

boones       chateau

When I was a wee lad, I once ate food off a dirty dish that had sat overnight. I took a brief, disgusting sip of turpentine. When I was a foolish lad of 16, one of my friends decided the time had come for me to experience a new vista. He bought me a bottle of Boone’s Farm Apple “wine” and a pepperoni and banana peppers pizza from a Huntington, WV pizza shop who shall remain nameless and blameless for what occurred. The wine, by courtesy only, in that it does derive from fruit, is more closely associated with embalming fluid and starter fluid, with artificial flavorings. Someday I hope to repay him for the favor, and the next day’s misery, and the violent rejection of all that horrible combination in my stomach.  With a hammer.

Some years later, when I was actually old enough to do so, I bought for myself a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild Bordeaux, 1976. Produced in the Bordeaux Region of France from a mix of cabernet, merlot, and Malbec grapes, it has a high tannin content for a rich, fruity flavor and pairs nicely with lamb or beef dishes, and pungent cheeses.  I enjoyed a few glasses of it with a filet mignon, rare, coated with blue cheese crumbles, and slices of aged Sharp Cheddar.

Mind you I have not shifted from writing about politics, social issues, and history and taken up the Food Critic chair at Free State Patriot. This is personal history, and illustrates a point I wish to make.

In both cases I drank some wine and ate some food. While the latter was a gastronomic delight, the other was an object lesson on foolishness, or “Why we do not treat 16 year olds as adults. “ My stomach and head made the point very succinctly, both times.

In one case a friend paid 5 dollars for that foul liquid and the pizza (Ok, this was 1972) with a nefarious purpose. In the other, I paid, well, quite a bit more for an excellent meal.

The difference in the two experiences was my discrimination, born of experience and study. Because I had learned to be discriminating.

In our modern and poorly used lexicon, “discrimination” has become a bogey man, a veritable evil and flaw in character. But that is the result of poor understanding of the word, its meaning, and its vital importance in becoming an adult.

We all need to learn to discriminate between better and worse, wrong and right, wise and foolish, dangerous and safe, nurturing and destructive. Otherwise, not only do we miss out on some wonderful meals, but we continue to act from the same foolish notions as a child, with the same unfortunate results.

One discriminates between foods that are tasty and nutritious compared with that which is vile, and so eat better as we learn. I would happily have subsisted on peanut butter and chocolate ice cream when I was 8. I would not eat asparagus or okra, and wanted only the drumsticks from a turkey. Now, I understand that peanut butter is fine, but not the only real food on my menu. Chocolate Ice cream is wonderful, as an occasional dessert, but moderation is called for. Grilled asparagus is wonderful, and the breast meat from that bird is perfect for those after Thanksgiving sandwiches.

Okra, of course, is still a vile, slimy disgusting weed, that falls into the genre of food reviews by Dr Johnson who wrote in his dictionary “ Oats: a grain, eaten in England by horses, but in Scotland by people.”

But I digress. Where was I? Oh yes. Mature, adult humans learn to discriminate. On the food front, we learn, and in the arenas of life we learn as well. Or we stay children.

We learn that the man who lies to us about the little things will likely lie about anything. So we discriminate, based on experience, as to which people we will trust to repay a loan, or return a tool, or show up on time. Or we suffer the results.

We discriminate, based on experience and reading, the areas in a town that are safe or not to walk about at night. Or we suffer the results.

We discriminate about which places we would like to visit on vacation. I would love to travel to Ireland, but would never willingly fly to Iran or Somalia. Does this mean I hate Persians and Somalis? No. It means I can discriminate between a place where I can walk about and see sights and share meals and stand next to Molly Malone ( well, her statue), and places where warlords attack UN convoys of food and steal them, or Western citizens are imprisoned routinely and held for ransom. I discriminate between a country that is friendly and has good ties to my own, and those which demonstrate their hatred of my country, and by extension, me.

Common sense, or wisdom, or, discrimination, tells me I will never drink Boone s Farm, or eat okra (ok, on that one I concede some may differ with me, but yuck!) or put myself at the mercy of people who hate my country and my countrymen. To do these things would be foolish.

To avoid those places and people who hate me, to seek to keep them away from me and my countrymen, to love my own country and people, and put our interests foremost, these things signal reasoned, sober, discrimination.

They do not signal hatred, or unreasoned fear, or some character flaw.

These are the reasoned thoughts and actions of an adult. Those who insist on moral equivalence in everything and everyone, and refuse to learn and practice discrimination are still eating cold eggs from that dirty dish, and calling it steak.

Playing games with the words will not change what ends up in their stomach. Or their community.

Mark Caserta: Liberals trying to slow down the Trump train

10 Feb


Mark Caserta: Free State Patriot Editor

February 10, 2017


Winning the 2016 presidential election was possibly the single most important conservative victory in my lifetime, for many reasons. But paramount to the win is the pending balance of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Liberals, having been reduced to lamenting, ad nauseam, the election of Donald J. Trump, will no doubt seek to bog down the pace at which our new president is working to re-align our nation with our founding fathers’ original intent.

And look for them to do so using the federal court system.

The progressive movement has been notorious for attempting to fundamentally change interpretation of the U.S. Constitution for political gain. The assertion that “any” individual, regardless of religious affiliation, has a constitutionally protected right to enter our country illegally, without comprehensive vetting, is fundamentally and constitutionally unsound.

Citing the First Amendment as justification for violence, property damage and rioting in the streets is simply unabashed lawlessness and nothing short of domestic terrorism.

Understand, our nation’s top security leaders already have told us we don’t have an adequate system of vetting individuals from terror-ridden countries. Last year, FBI Director James Comey told a congressional committee that we could “query our database until the cows come home” but if Syrian terrorists have never been on the law enforcement radar, it won’t do any good.

As a candidate, Trump pledged to protect Americans through “extreme vetting” of people from countries representing significant terror concerns. His recent executive order temporarily banning travel from these countries was simply fulfilling a promise to the American people.

But despite the fact voters decisively elected a president willing to compromise Washington political correctness rather than the lives of Americans, some on Capitol Hill are willing to stay the course.

Last Friday, a federal judge in Seattle issued a temporary nationwide restraining order on Trump’s executive order, questioning its “rationale.” The Department of Justice is appealing the ruling, but this may be one of many such cases eventually decided by the Supreme Court.

Currently, the Supreme Court (operating shy one justice since the passing of Antonin Scalia) is fairly balanced. Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are arguably extremely liberal, while Samuel Alito, John Roberts and Clarence Thomas are widely considered conservatives. Justices Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy could be considered moderates.

But two of the justices (Ginsburg and Kennedy) are over 80 years of age, and Breyer is 78. The remaining justices range in age from 55 to 67. Besides the replacement of Justice Scalia, we could see any number of Supreme Court nominations by the current administration.

President Trump intends to nominate Supreme Court justices who will not attempt to “legislate” progressive views from the bench. And obviously, a GOP-controlled Congress and conservative-leaning Supreme Court would be beneficial to his cause.

Trump could, in fact, determine the court’s balance for decades!

So, while the left may be successful at “slowing down” the Trump train, Americans will ensure he succeeds.

Liberals can get on board, but they may have to “sit in the back seat,” just as President Obama suggested in 2010 that Republicans should do in likening running the economy to driving a car.

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


Mark Caserta: Team Trump shows it’s ready to go to work for Americans

27 Jan

Despite liberal obstacles…


Mark Caserta: Free State Patriot editor






President Donald J. Trump wasted no time, following his inauguration, going to work for the American people.

Wielding his own version of a “pen and phone” legislative approach, President Trump signed his first executive orders in the Oval Office last Friday evening. His initial actions addressed national security, healthcare and, arguably, the economy.

Minutes after taking the presidential oath using two bibles, one presented to him by his mother and the other used by President Lincoln at his first inauguration, President Trump made his official entrance into the White House, where he commissioned Gen. James Mattis as secretary of defense and John Kelly as secretary of homeland security.

He also signed executive orders instructing federal agencies to “minimize the burden” of his predecessor’s signature healthcare law, essentially “stopping the bleeding” of Obamacare by preventing any further potential actions being taken to preserve the presumably outgoing piece of failing legislation. All this per CBS News live coverage of the Trump inauguration.

Understand, this sort of decisive approach is Donald Trump’s “brassy” way of setting the tone for his next four years as president. Skeptics have already begun mocking Trump’s “first 100-day plan” as overly ambitious. But, it’s apparent they don’t understand effective management skills and the art of networking, delegation and accountability.

An integral competency President Trump sought in his choices for cabinet members was the proven ability to manage people and resources. Frankly, this was an aptitude the Obama administration was sorely lacking and adversely consequential to his legacy and success. This faculty will play heavily in Trump’s execution.

I assure you, part of the Trump interview process included the candidate’s vision for formulating their teams and their detailed plans as to how they would achieve their respective goals.

Pursuant to fulfilling his promises to the American people, I believe the Team Trump has already begun laying the foundation for the major initiatives which got him elected to the presidency.

President Trump will waste no time addressing some “low-hanging fruit” and negating his predecessor’s executive orders, which largely ignored the wishes of most Americans. Eliminating government regulations unduly impacting American workers will be at the top of his list.

President Trump will rely heavily on his strengths as a businessman and negotiator and set into motion his intentions to renegotiate deals adversely impacting American jobs, such as NAFTA, or deals compromising our nation’s safety, such as the Iran nuclear deal.

I suspect engineers are finalizing plans for the wall he will build at the southern border. He will then circumspectly begin removing the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from our country and canceling visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back.

Any day now, Trump will select a Supreme Court replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia, who will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Additionally, Trump’s first few weeks in office will be spent identifying his resources and providing clarity as to his expectations.

The stage is set and the wheels are in motion.

Team Trump is ready to “Make America great again.”


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

Mark Caserta: Liberal fear of Trump isn’t for the country

20 Jan


Mark Caserta: Free State Patriot editor

  • 1.20.2017


Since the election of Donald J. Trump, nearly every liberal columnist, pundit or commentator has expressed some sort of panic, fear or distress over the thought of this multimillionaire businessman becoming our next commander in chief.

Allow me to cut through the veneer of compassionate concern and tell you what I believe progressives are really afraid of.

Liberal Democrats are afraid of losing nearly every progressive step they’ve taken over the past eight years – in the first 100 days of the Trump administration.

And frankly, the liberal national media attempts to unfavorably brand the forthcoming changes by the Trump administration are welcome ones. Conservatives recognize the American people are ready for a change.

Yes, conservatives welcome a media distinction from progressives. It may be the single most valuable service they’ve provided in years! Americans have seen what eight years of progressivism can do to a nation. It’s time, once again, to employ Reagan conservatism.

Shamefully, liberals hypocritically focus on creating a narrative which engenders the alleged conservative disenfranchisement of those benefiting from progressive fundamental change, while totally disregarding the millions of people harmed by it.

Obamacare is a perfect example. Liberals are quick to misemploy the statistic of individuals who could potentially lose their insurance under the repeal and replacement of the health care law, but never factor in the thousands of families who’ve already lost their policies or have seen rates skyrocket under the pressures of an unsustainable program.

And I’m still waiting on any progressive to adequately address the multiple lies told to the American people enabling the passage of Obamacare.

The concocted jobs numbers are another example of how liberals are willing to sell the American people down the river, simply to maintain power.

Progressives know the current jobs numbers don’t include individuals who’ve given up looking for work or are severely underemployed. Yet they continue to paint a false narrative of jobs growth with meaningless government numbers, while families across the country suffer.

Lies just don’t seem to matter to liberals if they’re advancing their agenda.

This sort of false hope and dishonesty propagated by liberal Democrats is the reason Donald Trump will become president at noon today.

 The notion of “fake news” is also being bantered about as being influential in the defeat of Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.

But when the news involves the character assassination of Donald Trump or a nominated Cabinet member, the national liberal media seems eager to err on the side of falsehood.

The recent decision by the website Buzzfeed to publish a series of dated memos alleging inappropriate sexual conduct by Donald Trump, without a shred of evidence, (as reported by multiple news agencies, including the New York Post) is a display of how far some will go to delegitimize Trump’s presidency.

And the fact that CNN also made the decision to run with this defamatory information is very telling, indeed.

So, if “making America great again” elicits fear in liberals, let not your heart be troubled.

It isn’t fear for the country, it’s fear for progressivism.

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

Doug Smith: Truth, Lies, and for goodness sake Harry, call it manure.

2 Jan


Doug Smith: Author, historian, patriot and lead contributor to Free State Patriot




“Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society.”

John Adams

“I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [hard-core pornography]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.”

Justice Potter Stewart

“For goodness sake, Harry, can’t you call it manure?”

Bess Truman


Ok, admittedly, that last one is an assumption, borrowed from a quip by Ronald Reagan, to wit, that Bess had for years tried to get Harry to call a certain substance found in abundance around cattle and politicians “manure”. But to that point, this may be the year when truth suddenly mattered a lot more than it had for years.

Follow me down the path a bit, kind reader, and I’ll try not to get us lost. Some clever wag has noted ““If you want to make a Conservative mad, lie to him. If you want to make a Liberal mad, tell him the truth”. (Sometimes attributed to Teddy Roosevelt, but whoever said it, it makes me smile.)

Hillary Clinton gave a series of ever changing answers, redefinitions, and diversions to questions regarding her business and political dealings for the entirety of her 40 years in the public eye.

Bill Clinton famously told us:

“I want you to listen to me. I did not have sexual relations with that woman. Miss Lewinsky.

And, 8 months later;

“Indeed, I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely responsible. I know that my public comments and my silence about this matter gave a false impression.”

Too bad he didn’t see fit to say it all on the same day.

So, to look at the truth from the underside (the preferred angle for the Clintons, and the progressives they have led for a generation) what, we might ask, is a lie?

Well, sir, Justice Potter to the rescue. In speaking of pornography, which was the issue before SCOTUS at the time of his famous quip, he noted that he might not be able to define it, but he could certainly recognize it when he saw it!

What exactly is a lie, coming from a politician? Well, we said in our millions, I might not be able to define it for you, but I can sure tell when somebody slaps me in the face with it like a dead fish. Parenthetically, the 2 smell largely the same.

Lest you assume that I am only able to see lies when perpetrated by Liberal Democrats like the Clintons, which is, as we used to say in the Navy, a “target rich environment”, I note that the leader for some years of my own exasperating, infuriating Grand Old Party, Mitch McConnell, had a pre-November and a post November side of his mouth in regards to repealing or defunding Obamacare. (We wait with baited breath, now that he has it all, both Houses of Congress, POTUS, and over 2/3 of statehouses firmly in GOP control, if he will finally, to quote, well, him, “repeal it, root and branch.”)

Now here is a curious phenomenon. I am (Ok, Bess, you could never tame Harry, but I’ll filter the Navy out of the boy) angry with Mitch for lying to me. The Democrats who stood in lock step supporting Bill on the steps of the Capitol were not angry with him in Aug when he admitted he had lied, and got them to swear to it. They were angry with Ken Starr. They were angry with the GOP for making a big deal about it. They were angry on an individual basis with conservatives who dared to say, See, I told you so. Bill Clinton is a liar. (Or moving forward, after Hillary contradicted her own story for the 4th or 5th time, HRC is a liar.) It did not matter that they lied, only that they gave at least lip service to the right ideas.

When Barack Obama promised most faithfully those “shovel ready jobs”, and then chuckled later, that oops, they were not as shovel ready as we thought, (in point of fact, they were nonexistent), when his lies on Obamacare unraveled, when he campaigned in favor of medical marijuana, then worked against it as POTUS, (now THAT one ought to have the lefts undies bunched up!), no Liberal Democrats were outraged and angry at him. Instead, they joined in merry chorus of RACIST! Against anyone who opposed him or pointed out his lies.

Now, in 2016, for better or worse, the truth became important. What Obama had done, instead of what he promised or took credit for, mattered. The constant lies of Hillary Clinton became too much to swallow for too many people. And it was part, if not all, of a political tidal wave.

And in all of it, conservatives and Republicans were outraged at the leaders of our party for lying to us, and gave rise to the year of the insurgency candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. Trump may be far from perfect, but so many times he called the same things Bull… sorry, Bess, I m trying, manure, that we did. And it struck a chord.

Meanwhile, Democrats angrily, hysterically, denounced any who failed to kow tow to party orthodoxy, and many, too many, or enough, depending on your point of view, said, Nope, not this time.

The party outraged by the truth slid behind the ones outraged by the lies to its lowest ebb since Woodrow Wilson. The Progressive movement has been set back a generation, and the work of undoing their damage is about to begin.

Sophistry has about run its course. Truth is gaining ground.

Taking on the most extreme, out of touch, fringe elements of society, desperately waiting to be insulted or aggrieved, does not make you a major political influence, it makes you a fragmented party of wackos, who eventually, and finally, make it clear that my job, my housing value, my paycheck, my retirement, my life and safety and that of my children and grandchildren, is less important to you than wedding cakes and Kardashians.

Common sense folks, trying to live their lives, have been aware of these truths, if hesitant to say them for fear of the (Democrat) mob.

So, here’s another bit of truth: that is all about to change.

The last time the Democrat party was this weak, Babe Ruth hit 138 home runs, The Republic of Ireland was formed, a famine began in Russia, FDR developed polio, and John Glenn was born.

If you are a Democrat, perhaps you need to find a safe place and make some playdough Unicorns.

Because the Lions are back.







Mark Caserta: What path will the liberals take in 2017?

30 Dec


Mark Caserta:  Free State Patriot editor


As we prepare to move into arguably one of the most important first years of any U.S. presidency, I have but one question for liberal Democrats.

Will you consider the resolution to unify with the Trump administration and the “principled” members of the GOP to make America great again?

Regrettably, rather than learn from the election, liberals have been busy lamenting over their November loss and exhausting every excuse possible for the landslide electoral college defeat of Hillary Clinton.

 It began with the charge that the Russian government hacked into the Democratic National Committee and provided WikiLeaks with thousands of emails designed to boost Trump’s chance of victory over Hillary.

Aside from the fact that no definitive evidence has ever been offered proving this allegation, I simply offer a common-sense rebuttal.

First, Hillary’s unethical standards created her own email nightmare. She alone is to blame.

Second, as reported by multiple news outlets, Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, firmly denies the assertion that Russia provided the emails.

Third, given the fact that Vladimir Putin has, for all intents and purposes, moved at will against Hillary and the Obama administration, with whom do you suppose he would rather confront, Trump or Clinton?

Subsequently, as the hacking allegation began to lose steam, Hillary supporters started blaming “angry white men” for the loss. Her hubby, Bill Clinton, offered his boisterous perspective on Trump’s win at a New York bookstore earlier this month per Politico.

“He doesn’t know much,” Clinton said when asked if Trump was smart. “One thing he does know is how to get angry white men to vote for him.”

Have you looked in the mirror lately, Willy?

Actually, based on Pew Research Center data, Trump won white voters by a margin “almost identical” to that of Mitt Romney, who lost the popular vote to Obama in 2012. Trump also fared better among blacks and Hispanics than Romney did four years ago.

This same report shows Trump carried 42 percent of the female demographic, despite liberals attempting to tarnish Trump’s history with women using dated audio-video clips.

But I believe the “coup de grace” ensuring Trump a victory over Hillary was the evangelical vote.

 Christians came out in droves to support the millionaire businessman, who often honored them and promised to stand with Israel during his campaign.

But progressives sought to play every card in their blame game.

Some were even willing to blame the defining element of our Republic, the Electoral College system, for stacking the odds against the “judicious” election of Hillary to the presidency. In their view, apparently, crippling the Constitution would be a small price to pay for a liberal victory.

But despite the tenacious efforts of the left, Donald J. Trump will be sworn into office as the 45th president of the United States on Jan. 20th, 2017.

So, what path will liberal Democrats take in 2017?

Will they continue to pursue a debilitating progressive agenda? Or will they join the new administration in putting Americans and our country first?

Future voters will be watching very closely.

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

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