The Reporter covers Miller, Morgan and Camden County in Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks and is published once per week on Wednesdays.
(Updated March 14, 2018)
Guest Editorial - Finding Russians
There was a 1960s movie, “The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!” In it, a New England town panics when a Russian sub runs aground. Crazy hijinks ensue, and rationality goes out the window.
For those of us who haven’t bought into the whole, “the Russians colluded with Donald Trump to steal the election from Hillary Clinton” scenario, the last 15 months or so have seemed like that.
We’ve been told on a daily basis that it was Russian interference that tipped the election in Mr. Trump’s favor, that his presidency was illegitimate, and that he is a puppet of Vladimir Putin. Despite millions and millions of dollars spent on a special council probe, no evidence to that effect has appeared.
Recently, Special Council Robert Muller did indict Russians and Russian organization for actions against the U.S., but not for colluding with Candidate Trump. The left, the Democrats, and the mainstream media say all these groups were working for a Trump victory, but you come to this conclusion only if you refuse to open your eyes and take your head out of the echo chamber that has been the collusion narrative. The candidate thought by almost everyone to have the least chance of winning the election was Donald Trump.
If you start from the premise that the Russians assumed Mrs. Clinton would win, (as did all the experts), then a simpler scenario emerges: do whatever possible to damage a Clinton presidency and make America weaker. Little discussed in the media, is that the Russians were supporting everything they could to cause division. Even pushing both sides of issues. They boosted Bernie Sanders, another candidate thought to have no chance. Have you heard any shouts of Sanders collusion? The Russian goal was to brew anger. Black Lives Matter, immigration, Muslims, police shootings, all were targeted. After the election, they promoted both pro- and anti-Trump rallies.
There is no doubt that Vladimir Putin is a bad actor. He’s a former KGB officer and those guys weren’t chosen for their sunny dispositions and helpful manner. He has a long history of acting ruthlessly in the Russian (Putin) self-interest.
A few months ago, NPR’s Planet Money ran a fascinating piece about how Russia used propaganda to help ignite civil war in the Ukraine. The Russians generated the story that the Ukrainian government was “neo-nazi”, “fascist”, “ultranationalist”, and was “illegitimate.” Sounds like the same charges leveled against Donald Trump. Reports in the Ukraine described gangs of neo-nazis rioting and other “news” that wasn’t true, and the country became fearful and divisiveness spread. The NPR report did not draw any parallels with the U.S., but it does sound pretty familiar.
Ever since the election, we’ve been told that President Trump is the most evil man ever, that it was white supremacists, neo-nazis, the Klan and the alt-right that elected him. It is uncertain how this narrative got started, but the left and the media have worked overtime to advance it.
An argument can be made that the only evidence of collusion discovered so far is with the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee spending millions to create an opposition research document that was then labeled a dossier. Much of that money was spent with Russians to provide dirt.
Vlad is bad, and no doubt he wants division in the U.S. The weaker we are, the stronger his position in the world. There is no argument that many people now rely on social media for most of their news. Much of that “information” is pure unadulterated garbage. Legitimate internet news sites usually fail to label what is opinion. The lines between the two have become so hazy as to be indistinguishable. Americans as a whole ought to be doing some soul-searching about how badly we fall for propaganda, whether it be from outside actors or a political party. - Frank Mercer
Guest Editorial - Taking a realistic look
There has been another horrific school shooting, this time in Florida, and 17 are dead with 14 wounded. Immediately, the call went out for “sensible gun control measures” to stop such massacres. And, they must be done now.
Republican lawmakers and the NRA are once again being blasted for standing in the way of these “common sense” proposals and because they won’t act now.
Can we just all be honest here? The only way to stop this (and by addressing only guns) is a total ban and confiscation of all privately owned firearms. That’s it, only a revocation of the Second Amendment and stripping every American of a Constitutional right would stand even a small chance of success. Let’s lay out the facts why dealing with guns alone won’t work, and not just listen to the propaganda.
The anti-gun lobby says a ban on AR-15 and similar “assault weapons” is what is needed to stop these mass murders. They are lying and any knowledgeable person on either side of the debate knows it. The undeniable fact is that “assault weapons” are simply scarier looking semi-autos dressed up to look like military weapons.
In function, all semi-autos are the same. Banning one without banning all accomplishes nothing. A ban on high capacity magazines is also offered. The fact that magazines can be changed in a couple of seconds takes most of the power out of that argument. But suppose all semi-auto long guns could be banned, what next?
The deadliest school shooting ever was at Virginia Tech where 32 were murdered with two semi-automatic pistols. Autoloading pistols have been used in many other school shootings, so they have to go as well.
Don’t leave shotguns off the list. They’ve been used in multiple school murders, and if the other weapons are gone, they’ll go to the top of the list.
One thing all sides agree on is that there is no acceptable number when it comes to students being murdered in school. After you eliminate the semi-autos, will smaller numbers be killed when only shotguns, revolvers or hunting rifles are available be tolerated? Of course not. And that is why only a complete ban on all firearms has any chance of stopping all school shootings if you are only going to address guns as a solution.
Both sides know it. They also know that a complete ban cannot happen without changing the Constitution and darn few of us would agree to it. And even if we did, it is not going to happen now. So, put the focus on steps that might be taken without decades of debate.
If the lock breaks on your door, you don’t put up a sign saying, “Door is unsecured 24-hours a day.” Yet, we’ve assured these insane killers that schools are “gun free zones.” Across the country we’ve spent millions on special locks for glass doors that would stop no gunman. At the same time, only a few states allow armed security guards.
I’ve long advocated starting something similar to the air marshal program for schools. Use teachers and administrators who volunteer for the assignment and pass rigorous training and evaluation. Like the air marshals, their identities would be kept secret. Potential shooters would have to assume there were multiple armed defenders waiting to stop them. That, is a deterrent.
Over the past few decades, we’ve made it nearly impossible for people with severe mental issues to be given help unless they volunteer for it. Many people warned that the shooter in Florida was potentially dangerous, and he was banned from carrying a backpack on campus. Even after disturbing posts on social media, nothing could be done until after. And we need to have a serious discussion about what has changed in our society that has led to all these horrifying crimes. - Frank Mercer
Editorial - A deeper problem
Another school shooting and another chance for liberals to
ban guns. Calls have started right away using the tired old mantra of needing
“common sense gun laws.”
What “common sense gun laws” would have prevented this?
The shooter legally bought the gun, he legally passed a background check and even though people claim that there were a lot of warning signs about the shooter, no one did anything. Even the FBI (the Federal Bureau of Incompetence) received a tip that there was a problem with the person before the shooter acted and they did nothing.
So what “common sense gun laws” could have prevented this?
Whenever there is a horrible tragedy like this the ones who speak out the loudest prove they have no idea what the issue is and the issue is not guns.
Guns have been common since the 1800’s (and even before) so why didn’t these mass shootings happened back then?
Let’s take the Thompson submachine gun. It was invented in 1918 and was available for sale to the general public around 1921.
Do you remember reading about all the mass school shootings with a Thompson from those days? No? Why not?
Because they didn’t happen.
Restrictions were placed on the gun in 1934 due to its use by gangsters.
The problem is not guns but a deeper problem of morality. Each of you reading this (and this writer) were made fun of in school at some time, maybe we were bullied and left out of the “popular” people but did you ever seriously consider getting a gun and going to the school and killing people?
No. The thought of doing that never entered into the minds of the majority of us who were put down or bullied. One of the reasons is we had morals and were brought up knowing right from wrong.
That is no longer taught in public schools today. Right and wrong can be whatever you want and it’s all relative.
If a Muslim terrorist wants to strap a bomb on himself and blow up a bus-load of Jewish women and children, some may see it as wrong but if you look at it from the point of the bomber, then to him it is right so right and wrong depends on how you look at it.
That is what is being taught in today’s society and it’s a giant lie. Right and wrong is black and white, cut and dry, whatever phrase you want to use.
It’s wrong to violently murder an unborn child out of convenience. It’s wrong to blow yourself up trying to kill innocent people. It’s wrong to go into a gun-free zone (school) and murder people.
Right and wrong is black and white (and we’re not talking about race so don’t start reading things into this that were not saying).
The truth will never be found in the gray area. It is either on way or the other.
The focus during times like these always turns to banning those “evil guns,” shutting down the powerful “gun lobby” or attacking the NRA. Everything else is blamed except for the real underlying problem and that’s a lack of moral teaching and a common sense view of the sanctity of life.
That life could be the life of someone else or a love for the life and freedom we have. The bully in school is not worth throwing the rest of your life away. If we would have brought a gun to school and did the same thing many do today, we would either be killed (by the police or by the death penalty) or be sent to prison for the rest of our lives.
These idiots in school (teachers or students) are not worth losing our life and freedom over. You deal with it for a few years and then when you graduate you walk away and never talk to them again. They’re not worth it.
The Florida shooter’s life is over. He’s been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. Were the people in school worth throwing his life away?
But acceptance by your peers is the main goal in life in today’s world and receives heavy focus, instead of the teaching of simple common sense morality.
But none of this truth will be focused upon by the majority of people after this event. The problem is guns and all guns are evil and all guns should be banned. There is a deeper reason here and it has nothing to do with guns but will the schools, the mainstream media or the clowns in Washington address this deeper problem?
Don’t count on it. – Dale Johnson
Guest Editorial - Bombshell
The much anticipated memo by Republican Congressman Devin Nunes, head of the House Intelligence Committee, was finally made public Friday after days of hand-wringing by the media and Democrats. First and foremost, it shoots down any claims of causing damage to national security, because nowhere in it does it contain any secrets about gathering vital intelligence.
What it does contain are charges that put upper levels of the FBI and Department of Justice in the spotlight for using their offices for political purposes. According to the memo, the primary reason the FBI and DOJ were able to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant was that they went before a judge and cited the “Trump Dossier,” a document bought and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign. Go through that slowly for a minute.
The campaign of one political party, the one then in power in the Executive Branch, decides to come up with some dirt for an October surprise against the candidate from the other party. They spend a lot of money with a company known for digging up dirt, and that company, Fushion GPS, hires a former British agent, Christopher Steele, who spreads the money around with a bunch of Russian characters. The result is a “dossier” so salacious and unconfirmable, that no media outlet, none, will run with it before the election.
According to Nunes and the investigation conducted by the House Intelligence Committee, that same sleazy document produced by the Hillary Clinton campaign was taken before a FISA court and presented as legitimate foreign intelligence. It’s origins were of course hidden. The reporting by Yahoo News was cited as corroboration of the “dossier,” but the source for that reporting was Steele. Never during the initial request or subsequent renewal did the FBI or DOJ note the connection to the Clinton Campaign, or the fact that Steele had revealed himself to be virulently anti-Trump, both things of which they were aware. DOJ official Bruce Ohr, who worked closely with Steele, was married to an employee of Fushion GPS and her opposition research material was also used in the case.
That connection was not relayed to the court. All of this, as well as the multiple desperately anti-Trump text messages between two top FBI officials conducting a bit of personal undercover work (wink, wink), point to clear politically charged action by agencies sworn to never operate in that area. Democrats have spent the last couple of weeks raging that the Republicans would dare say anything negative about the top law enforcement officials in the land or question their motives.
But, seriously, if George W. Bush’s FBI and DOJ had gone after candidate Barack Obama on the basis of opposition research paid for by John McCain’s campaign, they would have screamed, “Constitutional crisis,” and rightly so. The mainstream media spent last week demanding that Nunes’ memo be suppressed. Those calls even came from the New York Times and Washington Post who have not been shy about reporting on top secret government programs that when exposed damaged the U.S. effort to battle terrorism.
The FBI and DOJ are two institutions that must remain above reproach. It is unfair to expect that individuals there have no political bias of any kind. But if the people in charge act to advance their political preferences, how are they different than the KGB in the old Soviet Union? In the not too distant past the FBI leadership strayed into the political arena. J. Edgar Hoover kept secret files to intimidate anyone who might cross him. He ordered investigations of prominent members on the left and of civil rights activists including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Democrats would do well to remember those times and fight to see that such situations do not return, even if they are not the targets this time. - Frank Mercer
Guest Editorial - Hoping for change
Government shutdown! Government shutdown! We’re all gonna die!
That’s the level of hype we woke up to Saturday morning, but for most of us it’s not that dramatic a situation. The government shutdown is just about the craziest dance performed by the legislative branch. It has very little to do with persuasion and negotiation and a whole lot to do with showmanship.
The shutdown has become such a media favorite that way, way before it should be on anyone’s radar the grumbling starts. Like a low, ominous chant, “shut down, shut down, shut down.” Imagine a boy’s locker room when two combatants start to square off while the others egg them on. “Fight, fight, fight!”
The shutdown has become a favorite of the Democrats because during the last two editions, in 2013 and 1996, they got to heap enormous amounts of abuse on the Republicans. The political consensus now is that Republicans get hurt by shutdowns and Democrats are buoyed by them. The Dems, this time as a minority, party, were happy to stand their ground and force the shutdown, knowing that their allies in the mainstream media have got their back...as always. The GOP, terrified of the endless coverage painting them as the bad guys yet again, bent over backward to make a deal, but it didn’t happen.
The catalyst for this round has been protection for “Dreamers,” illegal immigrants who came here as children and have lived much of their lives here. The Democrats know that this a group for which most Americans have a great deal of sympathy and compassion, so they were more than ready to take a chance on the outcome.
Most of us never feel any real effect of a shutdown. Unless your paycheck is stopped, a shutdown is just something on the news. For those people living paycheck to paycheck, not knowing when they’ll get paid again, it’s rough. Through it all, the essential parts of government will continue to function.
First, and most important to them, Congress will continue to get paid. Rare is the action that actually has a hurtful effect on a member of the legislature. The military, air traffic control, the post office, USDA, the FBI, all that and more, keep operating. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Veterans Hospitals, will also continue to function.
The director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney said before the shutdown, that steps would be taken to minimize hardships. “We're going to manage the shutdown differently. We're not going to weaponize it," he said. "We’re not going to try and hurt people, especially people who work for the federal government." Mulvaney said that, in 2013, agencies were not told to use their carry-forward funds or to transfer authority. “They could have made a shutdown in 2013 much less impactful, but they chose to make it worse,” he said. “The only conclusion I can draw is they did it for political purposes.”
Back then President Barack Obama saw the shutdown as a way to score major points off the Republicans. While it was obvious his actions were designed to make the shutdown as painful as possible, the media refused to notice that part. Actions like cutting the number of TSA screeners radically so lines at airports were hours long. Most memorable, President Obama ordered the national parks shut down as a surefire way to spread the pain to more people.
There was money to rope off the open air World War II memorial but no money to allow elderly veterans a chance to visit. This one backfired when it turned out a barricade wasn’t enough to stop men who had brought down the Axis powers 70 years earlier, and the public rallied behind the vets. It’s hard to say how long this shutdown will last, but it will certainly be over before the public starts to ask why we’re funding nonessential parts of government in the first place. - Frank Mercer
Guest Editorial - Hoping for change
It is possible that we are on the cusp of a seismic shift in the Middle East. If the protests in Iran ever result in the overthrow of that Islamic regime, the entire picture there could change.
That is admittedly a long way from happening, but it is good to see an American administration supportive of change there. Before the Islamic revolution in 1978, Iran was one of the United States’ key allies in the Middle East.
Just months after the revolution took place, Iranian students took 52 American diplomats and civilians hostage and held them for 444 days. Relations have never thawed in the years since.
Anti-Americanism has always been the backbone of Iran’s foreign policy. “Death to America” guides their activities and is the chant at their rallies. Iran has supplied weapons to the Taliban and ISIS. They supplied I.E.D.s, shoulder fired missiles and other weaponry used against U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For example, in 2007 over 100 big .50 caliber sniper rifles were recovered in Iraq. They had been part of a larger order from the Austrian company Steyr legally made by the Iranian government. It took the weapons less than a year to travel from Iran to Iraq. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard uses Hezbollah, the Syrian militant/terrorist group to do their dirty work.
Over the years, Hezbollah has been responsible for attacks pretty much all around the world. They are active in Latin America which puts Hezbollah close to our porous borders. The most obvious threat that the Iranian regime poses has been with their pursuit of nuclear weapons. They have been under crippling economic sanctions for many years because of their never ending quest to become a nuclear power.
In 2015 the Obama Administration along with several other countries negotiated a deal that would lift sanctions in return for Iran backing away from the nuclear quest. The deal was one of President Obama’s proudest accomplishments, but others weren’t as excited because it seemed that Iran got nearly everything they wanted while the west got very little. Critics said that even if the Iranians follow the deal to letter it leaves them with a clear path to a nuclear bomb in 10 to 15 years.
While the U.S. was crowing about the deal, Iran’s Supreme Ayatollah announced, “Our policy will not change with regards to the arrogant U.S. government.” President Obama was so intent on making diplomatic inroads with the mullahs that he forgot the first rule in negotiating with people who hate your guts: deal from a position of strength. It is being reported, barely, that the Obama Administration was so intent on making the nuclear deal that they stymied law enforcement efforts to stop Hezbollah from running drugs into the U.S.
“They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down,” said David Asher, who helped establish Project Cassandra as the project was called.
Earlier, widespread protests broke out in Iran over election fraud in 2009 and hundreds of thousands took to the streets. The protests were brutally crushed. President Obama was widely criticized by the American right for not speaking out firmly for the protesters. But that might have harmed the nuke deal.
This time around, President Trump was quick to speak up. “Such respect for the people of Iran as they try to take back their corrupt government,” Mr. Trump said. “You will see great support from the United States at the appropriate time!” So you have to forgive anyone who has hope that the unrest currently happening in Iran leads to a more moderate country. An Iran less hell-bent on terror and destruction would be readily welcomed across the free world. - Frank Mercer
Editorial - Dodging a legal bullet
The city of Osage Beach came close to a possible lawsuit
accusing them of religious discrimination, even though they probably never
thought of that happening.
The problem was a Mennonite contractor wanted to do work in the city for a business but he doesn’t believe in insurance because of his religious beliefs.
The city requires contractors to have insurance, so a bill was brought before the board to make an exemption for religious beliefs if the contractor can show sufficient proof of financial responsibility.
Adamantly against the very idea was Aldermen Jeff Bethurem, who (coincidently?) works for the insurance industry.
We have no problem with insurance and think it’s a good idea for everyone to have some type of insurance but the man has a sincere religious belief against insurance.
The potential for a lawsuit, in our opinion, was very clear depending on the outcome.
In business, an employer is required, by law, to make reasonable accommodation for a person’s religious beliefs. A city may also be required to do the same. If they don’t, they can be sued for religious discrimination.
So let’s boil the Osage Beach problem down to basics: Someone wants to do work in the city but is unable to because of the city will not accommodate their religious beliefs.
That is illegal and if a lawsuit were to be filed in that situation – and it should be – the city would easily lose.
As it was finally passed (with Bethurem voting no) an accommodation now exists so the contractor can do work in the city if they show “irrevocable evidence of creditworthiness for the period of the contractor’s license.”
So in the end things worked out for the contractor, unless what the city passed is not “reasonable” and we think it is, but only time will tell. – Dale Johnson
Editorial - Bah Humbug!
(Editor’s note: We ran across this editorial that we printed in December of 2007. We forgot it existed but thought it was worth running again, since it’s still relevant today.)
That’s right, bah humbug.
The decorations hit the stores right after Halloween in order to get people in the “holiday spirit” but rarely do you find the name of Jesus mentioned.
The bell ringers hit the stores and people drop their coins and dollars in the little red bucket, but how many give all year round to help people instead of the once a year to ease their conscience?
The music begins to play in the stores in order to get you into the “spirit” of the season but what spirit do they wish you to have? The spirit of love, the spirit of giving, the spirit of thankfulness that a savior was born to bear the sins of the world?
No, they want you to get into the spirit of the season so you can buy things for their profit.
And the music that does play will be “Jingle Bells” or “Here Comes Santa Claus” or one of the other songs that have nothing to do with Jesus. Only in rare circumstances will you hear a song about Jesus played during the “holiday” season.
Though Jesus was not born on December 25 and most of the customs that are celebrated come directly from paganism, it is the one time of the year when the world allows Christians to celebrate the birth of Jesus and even that is being attacked.
Disagree? Then try to celebrate the birth of Jesus in July. Try to sing Oh Holy Night or Away in the Manger or Silent Night in July and see how people react. It’s forbidden.
You’re only allowed to sing about His birth one time a year and only when they tell you it’s okay.
They tell you that they don’t want to offend the Jews or the Muslims or the Atheists or the Satanists or whoever so they use the word “holiday” instead.
And if they knew the meaning of the word “holiday” and its origins they wouldn’t use that either because according to Merriam-Webster the word “holiday” comes from Middle English, from Old English hāligdæg, from hālig holy + dæg day.
In other words, the “holiday” season means the “holy day” season. Chanukah is more than one day and Kwanzaa is not even a real holiday so what one day during this season is a Holy Day? The one they are afraid to mention.
Jesus said it best in John 15:18-19 “If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Back to the dictionary: Bah - used to express disdain or contempt. Humbug - something designed to deceive and mislead, a willfully false, deceptive, or insincere person, an attitude or spirit of pretense and deception, nonsense, drivel.
To all the anti-Christs who are working to remove Jesus from the season, just a few words for you.
Editorial - Obsession
Definition of obsession: a persistent disturbing
preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling; broadly: compelling
Many years ago the mainstream media would report on the news of the day and would do just that – report on it. In today’s world the lamestream media will pick a subject and become completely and unreasonably obsessed with it until we are tired of hearing about it.
The main example of their obsession is the fake news story of President Trump’s “collusion” with Russia to win the election. They have been obsessed with this for over a year and have come up with absolutely nothing to prove their accusations.
That, however, has been temporarily put on a back burner to focus on another obsession: sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is not a good thing and people who are guilty of it should be dealt with but when the media gets a hold of this topic they start foaming at the mouth and it becomes the focus of their existence.
A recent example is host Matt Lauer.
On the (unfair and unbalanced) Fox news website the obsession was glaringly obvious on November 30. Under a photo of Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera all of the following headlines were listed.
1. Old clips of Lauer talking about sex toys in office now seen in disturbing new light
2. What did CNN boss Jeff Zucker know about Matt Lauer’s sleazy past?
3. Gillian Turner infuriated by Matt Lauer's apology
4. OPINION: Matt Lauer's out at NBC. Here's what would make this a true watershed moment, America
5. Matt Lauer was known to cheat on his wife, report says
6. NBC: Matt Lauer's sexual harassment accusers could number 'as many as 8' women
7. Brent Bozell: Matt Lauer and the sexual harassment hypocrisy
8. Matt Lauer could lose New Zealand farm for not being 'of good character'
9. Matt Lauer: Allegations mount against the fired 'Today' anchor
10. Matt Lauer on sexual assault allegations: 'I am truly sorry'
Are the idiots at biased Fox news serious? If Lauer is guilty of any wrongdoing then he’ll answer for it but to have 10 stories on one subject is ridiculous.
And don’t for a minute believe that the liberals and Hollyweird have suddenly grown a set of morals in regards to this subject. We believe there is a deeper motivation behind this and that is to destroy free speech.
It’s gotten to the point that if a male compliments a female coworker on her outfit or her hair then that’s sexual harassment and he’s fired. But if he doesn’t say anything complimentary to her then it’s discrimination.
This was the direction this country was heading during the reign of Bill “Bubba” Clinton. You couldn’t talk about certain subjects at work anymore and then Bubba had his encounter with Monica Lewinsky and all of a sudden people at work could stand around the water cooler and discuss oral sex.
But the move to restrict free speech is on fire from the liberals and accusing every man of sexually harassing women is becoming common place. It’s to the point where you have to be careful of everything you say or better yet, don’t exercise your right to free speech.
There are several colleges in the United States that restrict free speech and designate “free speech zones”. In other words, your First Amendment rights do not apply unless they say they do.
I got some news for you liberal idiots: every single inch of the United States is a Free Speech Zone. If you don’t like it, move to North Korea where you’ll feel right at home.
So the obsession will continue and if left unchecked, it’s only a matter of time before you will be told what you can say every minute of every day. – Dale Johnson
Guest Editorial - Finally
It’s said that if you can’t say anything good about the dead, say nothing at all. Were I to follow that advice I would not be able to write this column. To paraphrase Moms Mabley, Charles Manson is dead. Good.
If you don’t know who Manson was then stop reading now, your life is immeasurably better not knowing. Charlie, as he was affectionately known by his “family,” was one of the faces of evil of the last half of the twentieth century. It wasn’t that his body count was high, officially it was only seven victims. What made Manson, so terrible was his unrepentant glee and the way he basked in the limelight his notoriety brought him. Manson was the personification of everything that went wrong with the sixties.
He preyed primarily on young women who were lost, trying to find their way in all the nonsense that permeated that era. He gathered his followers to him preaching a philosophy of love, while filling them full of drugs and separating them from their families.
Manson thought that through the Tate/Labianca murders he could start a race war that would be won by blacks. A war that he and his cult would ride out in a secret underground city in the desert. It requires a lot of mind-altering drugs to make this seem even marginally believable. But, the crazy doesn’t stop there.
Racist Charlie told his followers that after the blacks had won the war, Helter Skelter, they would be incapable of governing themselves and would come to him for leadership. That is once he emerged from the secret underground hiding place. It is pretty easy to see that all of Manson’s plans were just delusions, the product of a sick mind, but at that point in the sixties he and his followers were not so far out that they were shunned.
They were able to mix with the less mind-numbed hippies, and even with celebrities like Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys and record producer Terry Melcher, the son of Doris Day. Those two worked with Manson to try to get him a recording contract, but it just didn’t happen. Manson was not able to find fame as a rock star, although the Beach Boys did record one of this songs. It was only after he sent his followers out to murder that he found the attention he so desperately wanted. Once his trial began, Charlie had found his stage.
From carving a swastika on his forehead, (his followers on trial did the same), to outbursts and stare downs and even ordering the murder of one of the defense attorneys, Manson relished the notoriety. And the media gave him all that he wanted and more. Manson and the women on trial cheated death.
After being found guilty and sentenced to execution they were spared when the Supreme Court abolished the death penalty in 1972. The media fascination never ended and periodically there would be rehashes of the story, or prison interviews or dramatizations on television. You can understand why the interest never died.
The 60s and the hippie movement were supposed to be about peace and love. The Family and their messiah were about evil and death. We’ve seen cults and their leaders since with many more victims. Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple and Heaven’s Gate are most notable. Those ended with the tragic deaths of their members, not the murder of outsiders.
The times are right for another cult movement. Many young people believe they are being oppressed in the U.S. They see hatred directed against them on every front: gender, race, sexual orientation, climate, pick a cause and you can find an angry group.
What some share in common with those from the 60s is a belief that things are not moving fast enough in the direction they want and that society needs to be pushed. There may be another charismatic leader out there to tell them what they want to hear, but it won’t be Manson.
Charles Manson has finally died, and Hell is undoubtedly now a worse place. - Frank Mercer
Guest Editorial - Take a break
Can we just take a break from politics? Please?
I understand that politics is perhaps the number one spectator sport in the United States. Sport, because it seems that scoring points off the other side is often more important than what’s good for the country. It’s true that politicians, talk-show hosts and pundits need politics to make a living. But there are times when, for decency’s sake, politics should go dormant, at least long enough to grieve and show respect.
A mass shooting, a terrorist attack, or a deadly hurricane would all fit into that category. Wait to pontificate until enough time has passed to speak with a modicum of intelligence. There is plenty of room for discussion about guns, mental illness, and radical religion. But to figuratively step over the bodies of the dead to promote your agenda is disgusting. Unfortunately, what we often get is cynical self-interest.
Rahm Emanuel, former chief of staff to President Barrack Obama and current mayor of Chicago, explained the goal, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” That is why as soon as the first reports start coming down the wire, we hear from the experts all pushing their agenda.
November 5, after the horrific shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, which left 26 dead, the “experts” were out in force before the details were known. The calls for and against gun control started while relatives were still being notified that their loved ones had been murdered. That’s politics.
The following day, Ted Lieu, a Democratic Congressman from California, walked out of a moment of silence at the House, saying, “We cannot be silent. “We need to act now.” That’s politics.
When Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot and six others killed, focus fell immediately on the influence of the Tea Party. The gunman turned out to be crazed, not political, but the talk continued to blame the Tea Party. That’s politics.
When another nutjob shot up a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., murdering 12, he was immediately named as a Tea Party member. He was not, but someone who had a similar name did belong. Some reporter’s first reaction was to check the list of political opponents. That’s politics.
President George W. Bush was criticized for not going to New Orleans soon enough after hurricane Katrina. President Obama was criticized for golfing instead of visiting flooding in Louisiana. President Donald Trump was criticized for going to Houston too soon after Hurricane Harvey. The first lady was criticized for the shoes she wore to get onto Air Force One. That’s politics.
Neither side, left or right, is without blame. You just have to look harder to find examples of the right doing it. That is because the left is more skilled in the art, and because the media naturally calls out Republicans when they try it.
A good measure of the problem stems from the 24-hour news cycle and the need for high ratings. Measured, thoughtful coverage does not attract viewers in the same way yelling invective does. There are multiple reasons we live in a representative republic and not a true democracy. The founding fathers were smart enough to understand that the citizenry when brought to a fevered pitch by some event would demand action now.
Think lynch mob in an Old West movie. They put the House of Representatives and especially the Senate in place to be more deliberative in action and slow down the mob mentality. To see members of those institutions, and the ever hysterical media, try to further incite the population for political gain is just wrong. - Frank Mercer
Editorial - What would Sam think?
Many years ago we made the habit of listening to the great
Paul Harvey on the radio. One of the points he always stressed was the nice,
courteous nature of Walmart and their employees.
The customer comes first was the theme that was proudly touted by Harvey repeatedly in his broadcasts. It’s good that he passed before seeing what the company has devolved into these days.
What would Sam think?
Not long ago the Camdenton Walmart remodeled the checkout lanes and eliminated all the express check outs. They added a large number of self-checkout lanes. They claim it is a faster way for you to check out. That may be true to a point but there is another main reason for doing so: profit. More and more profit.
If they would have more checkout lanes open that were ran by people, then the self checkout would not be needed.
Even in the past there would be a few lanes open and most of them closed. Why? Screw you, that’s why.
What would Sam think?
Harvey used to love the idea and taught that if you came within 10 feet of a Walmart employee, they would greet you with a friendly greeting. Now you can almost physically bump into one and not a word will be said.
What would Sam think?
The main reason behind the self checkout lanes is more profit. Don’t be deceived into thinking that it’s a benefit to you, the customer. After picking up their items to purchase (profit for them) and going to the checkout lanes now you have to check yourself out. That way they don’t have to hire a person to check you out and the less employees then the more profit for them. And the main goal is profit first, customers second and don’t believe them if they say otherwise.
What would Sam think?
According to one report Walmart made a quarterly profit recently of 34 billion dollars. You think with that much profit they could afford to hire some real people to service the paying customers at the checkout but you would be wrong.
Years ago we would go into a Walmart store and look for the United States Flag hanging up. It used to be all over the place in the stores, promoting an alleged pro American stance.
For fun we would go look at the items directly under the USA flag to see which country they came from and it wasn’t the good old U.S. of A.
Yes they do have stuff made in USA but you have to look for it and read the labels and on some items they don’t tell you what country it was made in.
What would Sam think?
But profit is the bottom line and making their shareholders happy is far more important than convenience in the checkout lane for the customers and now that the Christmas season is coming up, profit is the main thing on their minds.
It’s sad that a once great idea started by Sam Walton has become the profit-driven machine it is today with customers delegated to a far second behind the almighty dollar but that’s the way this world works.
There’s a quote that we ran across attributed to Sam:
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
So what would Sam think? We think that if he were still around today that he would be following his own advice and spending his money somewhere else besides the stores that bear his name. – Dale Johnson
Editorial - A slap on the hand
Let’s pretend for a minute that you are a soldier in the
United States military, you’re in a combat zone and you decide to call it quits.
So you mail your belongings back to your family and send an email to your parents saying you are ashamed to be an American and you walk away from your post.
You are then “captured” (or did you join?) the Taliban and are held “prisoner” for five years.
In the mean time your fellow soldiers (the real ones) start a search effort to rescue you, endangering their lives and leaving some severely wounded.
Then President Barack Obama trades four terrorists for your “release” and you come home and are welcomed with open arms by Obama and other liberals even though desertion charges are flying around.
You are then charged with the crime and plead guilty to “desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.”
What should be your punishment, you deserter? How about a gentle slap on the hand and freedom?
That’s exactly the story of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
After pleading guilty, he received no prison time, a reduction in rank, a dishonorable discharge and will forfeit his $1,000 per month pay for 10 months.
This is not a joke. That is the sentence for this deserter handed down by some brainless politically correct idiot judge named Col. Jeffery R. Nance.
Nance didn’t explain why he didn’t do the just thing and sentence him to prison but he did give hints and that was a dislike for his Commander in Chief, President Trump.
Article II Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the Commander in Chief clause, states that “[t]he President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.”
During the trial Nance ruled that comments made against Bergdahl by President Trump during his campaign would be considered as mitigating evidence at sentencing.
What evidence? That’s a lame excuse to ignore the advice of your Commander in Chief and give him the finger and set the deserter free.
We blame this travesty of justice on a politically correct military leadership in Washington, D.C.
Don’t misunderstand us; we have respect and sympathy for the soldiers in the military it’s just a shame that their leaders are spineless in many areas including this one of discipline.
Proof of this lack of a spine by military leaders was mentioned in an editorial we did in June of 2014 entitled “The Rainbow Brigade”.
On June 30, 2014 Fort Leonard Wood held a “Pride Month” celebration and the speaker for the celebration was Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa Duncan, 787th Military Police Battalion, who “realized” halfway through her military career that she was a lesbian.
The “pride” celebration wasn’t pride in the United States or pride in the military accomplishments; it is a celebration of pride in sexual diversity.
Not heterosexual pride - that is never celebrated at public events anymore. This is homosexual pride, transgender pride and bisexual pride.
This politically correct way of thinking has infected the military leadership in all facets in this country and is a disgrace to all the men and women of the past who have given their lives fighting for freedom.
Someone pleads guilty to desertion they need to be punished accordingly, not given a warm hug and sent home. There is a price to pay and in this case the price was paid for by the true soldiers who were severely wounded searching for Bergdahl.
This Saturday is Veterans Day. In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words:
“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”
So as you honor the military on Veterans Day, remember one person who doesn’t deserve any honor on that day: Bowe Bergdahl. – Dale Johnson
Guest Editorial - Remembering Jack
(Editor’s note: Jack Krier, who contributed to this paper [and many others] for decades, died on October 12 of this year. This editorial is from his business partner Frank Mercer.)
I became familiar with Jack Krier the same way most of you did, right here on these pages. His editorials and columns expressed strong conservative opinions and an unwavering belief in God, America, and the importance of family. He was never shy about saying what he thought, and never bowed to political correctness.
When I first discovered his writing, there weren’t very many conservative voices out there. It was surprising, almost shocking, to see someone who was unapologetic about his conservatism.
We were at neighboring papers and had not met in person when the great flood of 1993 drowned his printing plant. He called to see if we could print a few of his publications until the water went down. Some of the other printers he called saw this as an opportunity to make some big bucks. I figured it was a chance help out a neighbor, and he appreciated the fact I didn’t try to gouge him. During those weeks we struck up a friendship that became a business partnership. Both lasted over 20 years.
Jack was looking for someone to help so he could expand his business and gave me a shot. Amazingly, during most of our time as business partners, we did not have a contract. We made an agreement and shook hands. That was the thing with Jack. When he told you he would do something, he did it. And he did it with enthusiasm. Jack was never one to wait until tomorrow if it could be done today. He said you never know what might happen, so get it done now. Something may come up tomorrow that will keep you from it.
Rural newspapers lost a champion with Jack’s death. He spent his entire life operating newspapers in small towns. Newspapers that were too small to show up on the radar of the big chains. He did it all. That’s the way it was and is in small newspapers. You sell ads, write stories, take pictures, lay out the pages and deal with customers.
He started with hot type on Linotype machines (and had the burn scars to prove it) through the photo-mechanical typesetting days all the way into the computer age. When changes came to the business in the 1990s it became much harder for small circulation owner/operators to keep the doors open, much less make a decent living. Small newspapers began to close. Jack believed strongly that towns need a newspaper in order to thrive, and even to survive. He had a vision that would help keep some of those small newspapers in operation.
Jack saw that by absorbing many of the day-to-day functions into a central location he could keep costs down. That meant the newspaper employees could focus on the things that matter to the readers. There are multiple towns in Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri that still have a newspaper today thanks to that vision. Jack worked tirelessly to make it all happen. There was nothing unusual about him starting the day early writing a story, editing, then interviewing, making sales calls and doing layout through the day then driving for hours in the night to a school board meeting, or ball game. In fact you could always count on Jack to volunteer to make that late-night newspaper delivery run even if it meant getting back at two in the morning. Driving wasn’t work to Jack; it was a chance to unwind. As long as he had XM radio and a supply of Diet Pepsi, it was no problem.
And drive he did, hundreds of thousands of miles. His Olds Silhouette minivan went through two motors and three transmissions. The dash was held down with a couple of lag bolts and if you didn’t catch the sliding door it would roll off onto the ground. We all told him to junk it, but he was certain the van had 500,000 miles in it. Darned if it didn’t.
Jack was so much more than what appeared on these pages. He volunteered his time for causes he thought important. He quietly helped people out financially, knowing that the loans would probably never be repaid. He listened when people had problems and was an AA sponsor. And so much more that could never possibly be detailed in so little space. So, Jack has earned a rest, although it’s hard to imagine him wanting or taking one. In the old days, journalists used the number thirty to tell the typesetter they were finished. It meant “the end.” I think that is perhaps the most fitting sendoff for Jack. -30-
Editorial - Hollyweird
The recent allegations about Hollywood’s Harvey Weinstein
should not really shock anyone. “Hollyweird” is a den of immorality and the
casting couch is nothing new.
For decades there have been stories that women (and a few men) have been offered roles in movies or even the industry if they do sexual favors for some important person. Now it seems that everyone is shocked that this kind of thing would go on in a liberal left-wing industry.
And now all these “stars” are coming out saying they knew about it and didn’t say anything or they were a victim and boo hoo, cry me a river.
If they knew about it years ago or were a victim then why didn’t they say anything then? Simple, they’d rather have a very well paying job and fame rather than stand up and speak out against the person. After all, what’s one sexual favor in exchange for fame and millions of dollars?
We have no idea how many good actresses and actors have been prevented from ever becoming stars because they refused the casting couch but they made the right choice in saying no.
We do have many examples of this habit from the past, according to Variety.com
Louis B. Mayer, who co-founded Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios in 1924 is said to have also participated in this behavior. “If women didn’t comply, he’d threaten to ruin their careers or those of their loved ones,” Variety said. “Mayer also allegedly groped the teenage Judy Garland, according to Gerald Clarke’s book ‘Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland,’ and held meetings with the young woman seated on his lap, his hands on her chest.”
It’s also claimed that Marilyn Monroe in her memoir said “I met them all. Phoniness and failure were all over them. Some were vicious and crooked. But they were as near to the movies as you could get. So you sat with them, listening to their lies and schemes. And you saw Hollywood with their eyes — an overcrowded brothel, a merry-go-round with beds for horses.”
Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino also said in an interview that he knew about the sexual allegations against Weinstein and regrets not doing more.
“I knew enough to do more than I did,” Tarantino said in an interview with The New York Times. “There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip. It wasn’t secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things.”
Then why keep silent? Oh, that’s right, your career and bank account are more important than helping prevent the sexual abuse of women. So, Quentin, what then is the difference between you and Weinstein? You’re both enablers.
So this will destroy Hollyweird or reform them into a bastion of morality, right? Not a chance. This will be in the news for sometime and then it will slowly fade away because as much as the mainstream media loves a sexual scandal, they love Hollyweird more.
This will become a minor part of history and things in that fantasyland will go back to the way they are now and the casting couch will continue to be occupied. We won’t hear about it because the actors and actresses will keep their mouth shut (at least in terms of speaking out against it) because they want the fame and fortune.
Weinstein’s career and life may be done for but another powerful person will take over his habits and fill the void because the immoral sewer that is Hollyweird has no desire to change. – Dale Johnson
Editorial - Rest in Peace
We never met Jack Krier. It seems kind of strange to realize
that after dealing with him for 10 years but we never had a chance to meet him.
We talked many times over the telephone but never got together in person. Distance and work always prevented it. Once he retired to nearby Warsaw we thought about finally meeting him but the old quote by John Lennon is true “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”
Jack spent many decades in the newspaper business and gave us, and the previous owners of The Reporter a lot of sound advice.
We found his column in an older issue of this paper (August 2, 2000) and he was the same Jack Krier, with a combination of political opinions (anti-Democrat) and corny jokes, like this one from that issue.
“Playboy Mansion hosts Demo Fund-Raiser – Yup, Hugh Hefner and his daughter are hosting a Democratic fund-raiser at the Playboy Mansion next month. Al Gore won’t be there but he has already accepted thousands of dollars in donation from both Hefners. I just hope the Playboy bunnies don’t pass out cigarettes. Never mind if they are clothed or not. Cigars, though, will be available.”
Many of our readers will miss Jack but not everyone. In the past 10 years we have received only two complaints about Jack’s columns and guest editorials and though they didn’t mention him by name specifically, we know who they were talking about.
One said that we should not disrespect the president (Barack Obama). That is the same thing as saying you should never say anything negative about any president and that is nonsense.
The other was a phone call that we received one day. We answered the phone and the first thing the person on the line said was “Why do you hate black people?”
That question completely confused us and we told him we don’t have the slightest idea what he was talking about. He explained that since we criticize Obama we hate black people.
(As a point of information to those out there in newspaper land, Obama was not a black president. His father was black and his mother was white [if all that is true]. That means he was mixed race and saying he was a black president is the same as saying he was a white president, neither are true.)
We eventually told the man that if he doesn’t like the newspaper, then don’t buy it. He laughed and said he will continue buying it.
Jack’s columns will continue for a while since he usually wrote them ahead of time and we may run some old ones as the “Best of The Town Krier” but eventually his column and words of wisdom will end.
Though we never had the chance to meet him in person we can hope to be a part of that great reunion one day in a better place and finally get to meet him there. – Dale Johnson
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