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 June 13, 2019)

Editorial - The impeachment dilemma

(Published June 12, 2019) 

If there is one solid truth about national politics, it is that nothing is ever entirely what it seems. Take, for example, the demand by many on the left to impeach President Donald Trump. Some of it’s real, some of it’s pure politics.

That talk started back before Mr. Trump was inaugurated and has continued with certain levels of ebb and flow ever since. The cries of “impeach!” got louder recently when Special Council Robert Mueller stepped to the microphones to announce he was resigning from the post and then made comments relating directly to the report. Many Democrats heard a battle cry to start the process of removing the president from office.

Like Congressman Jerry Nadler, “...Special Counsel has clearly demonstrated that President Trump is lying about the Special Counsel’s findings, lying about the testimony of key witnesses in the Special Counsel’s report, and is lying in saying that the Special Counsel found no obstruction and no collusion.”

Many of the Democratic presidential candidates got on board, calling for impeachment proceedings within minutes of Mr. Mueller’s remarks.

Impeachment is purely a political process. The ability to get it done rests with the will of Congress and not solely in the law. President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives for perjury and obstruction of justice. The vote was 228–206, and 221–212 respectively. The charges were then tried in the Republican controlled Senate where they failed to get a majority vote, much less the two-thirds required for conviction and removal. That doesn’t mean the charges weren’t true, just that there wasn’t the will to convict.

Mr. Clinton was later fined, had his law license suspended by the Arkansas Supreme court and ended up surrendering his license to keep from being disbarred. Yet he wasn’t driven from office. Now, Democrats, hungry for impeachment, want us to believe they think a two-thirds vote against Mr. Trump in the Republican controlled Senate is a slam dunk. Not, hardly.

What is really going on is optics and what happens next will be dictated by shrewd political operators. Say what you want about Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, she knows how the game is played. For now, talking about impeachment is better for keeping the Democrat base engaged and money coming in than actual impeachment. Continuing to talk about it offers a whole lot more freedom and cover for all the players than starting the process would. The more radical left members of Congress are free to shout “treason” and “impeach,” and their radical districts love it.

The less-left members can throw stones and demand more investigations while coming off serious and concerned. Those from more conservative districts can stay off the radar by adopting a wait and see attitude. Speaker Pelosi knows that if they open impeachment proceedings, there is a pretty good chance it will backfire.

Republicans were damaged by the Clinton impeachment back then, and there is no reason to think that team Trump wouldn’t deliver a solid counter-punch now. Currently, only the Socialist wing of the Democratic Party has a platform, the Green New Deal, Medicaid for all, etc. The more-moderate Democrats have been pursuing nothing but a message of stop Trump.

Talking about impeachment keeps that message preserved and hot through the 2020 campaign. Democrats need that if they want their presidential candidate to have any hope. A failure of impeachment efforts in either the House or the Senate undercuts the entire message. For now, instead of a clear path, impeachment offers only a tightrope. - Frank Mercer

Editorial - Oh, this modern world

(Published May 22, 2019) 

It would be hard to argue that we are not living in the best of all possible times. As stressful as things may get, it’s giant steps ahead of what earlier generations dealt with. That statement includes not just lifesaving stuff, like CAT scans and vaccinations, but lumps in the things that make life more pleasurable. Things like air conditioning and having fresh produce all year round. While that is true, there are many things about modern life that make you want to scream.

A clever politician could turn these gripes into a successful platform.

There should be a special place in hell for the person who came up with the technology for camouflaging phone numbers for telemarketing as local ones. It’s called spoofing. You know what I’m talking about. The phone rings and it’s a call from your prefix or a town just up the road. When you answer, it’s an ad for a cruise, or health insurance or paying off the student loan you don’t have.

It’s a big enough problem that a recent survey claimed half of phone calls in America go unanswered. If a presidential candidate wants to bring this country together, just run on a platform of banning spoof calls. That’d get enough serious attention to get you into the primary debates.

Along the same lines is spam email disguised as someone you know. They always have a name you recognize and a list of people who also got it, again, many you know. The subject line is something like, “I thought you’d love this,” and, of course there’s a link to something. For heavens sake, don’t click the link. No telling what will happen, but it won’t be something you’ll love. That same presidential candidate could promise to use swat teams to track the spammers down anywhere in world and bring them back for a good old-fashioned tar-and-feathering. After that vow, could an Iowa caucus victory be in the making?

Under the heading of annoying and stupid, is the habit of constantly attaching Twitter addresses to stuff. Can’t you just say, “Donald Trump is a big idiot,” instead of “@realdonaldtrump is a big idiot.” We’d all still get your point. When Notre Dame burned, the media reported the mayor of Paris sending out a message that said something along the lines of “@parisfiredepartment is working real hard and the city is in close contact with @localdiocese.” What’s next? Baby’s first word is “@mama?” Third leg of that presidential platform: Names are names. If you want to find something on Twitter, go look it up yourself. That alone could seal a victory in the primaries.

Next up is hatefulness via anonymity. It used to be that when you wanted to be a jerk and not have anybody know it was you, your only option was basically an unsigned letter. Now through the wonder of the internet, you can go on forums and say the most horrible things safe in the knowledge nobody knows you as anything but your user name. Even worse is how comfortable people are saying really hurtful things to others they actually do know on social media. Things you would never say face-to-face, even to Hitler. For them, that keyboard is a suit of armor.

The situation is multiplied because, in person, only a few people might hear it. Facebook or wherever puts it is out in front of hundreds or even thousands instantly. Next presidential promise: Everybody uses their own name on forums; and, if a panel of peers thinks you’ve been too mean on Facebook, you have to go repeat it within punching distance. With all of those promises, a presidential victory could be within reach?

Finish the campaign off with fixes for auto-correct, people having super-private conversations on cell phones in public, foreign call centers, nearly impenetrable blister packaging and 200+ channels yet nothing to watch. Look out, it’s a landslide! - Frank Mercer


Editorial - Destroying the USA

(Published April 24, 2019) 

If there is such a thing as political rabies then the Democrats have a fatal case of it. You can almost see them foaming at the mouth when they don’t get their way.

Since their goddess (Hillary Clinton) lost the election fair and square they have tried to find and invent ways for this to never happen again. In other words, they want to change the laws so they will always get their way – even if it destroys this country.

Their lackey, Robert Mueller, spent untold amounts of money investigating something that people with a brain knew was not true from the beginning. And when the report came out (surprise!) there was no collusion between Russia and Donald Trump.

But that wasn’t good enough for them because the rabies had progressed and they want the full report – without any redactions – to feed their sickness and to continue a coup against a legally elected president.

But that’s not the biggest danger they are bringing to this country. The biggest danger is the push to eliminate the Electoral College. Many people (who are ignorant) think this is a good idea and the Electoral College is some outdated antiquated fossil from the past. They are wrong.

Our founding fathers were very intelligent men and they saw the danger of making this country a true democracy. And in case you aren’t aware, the United States of America is not a democracy but a republic and there is a difference.

In a true democracy, the mob rules whereas in a republic, everyone has a say. If you look at a map of the Trump-Clinton race you will see the majority of counties in this country went for Trump. Heavily populated liberal areas voted for Clinton.

If we were a true democracy then those tiny areas of the country would rule and those in the rural areas would never have a vote anymore.

The push to eliminate the Electoral College is a complete change in the type of government that this country was founded on. China, for example, is a communist country. If they want to change to a democratic way of doing things it would change their entire government system.

Look at the example of the Soviet Union, a communist form of government. When they fell they had to change their entire government structure to a democratic system.

If the liberals have their way and get rid of the Electoral College, this country will no longer be a Republic but a true democracy and the founding fathers knew the dangers of that form of government and choose a republic because that serves the people and not the mob.

Pay attention to the following quotes from some of these very intelligent men.

“We are now forming a Republican form of government. Real liberty is not found in the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments. If we incline too much to democracy we shall soon shoot into a monarchy, or some other form of a dictatorship” - Alexander Hamilton

“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!” – Ben Franklin

“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.” – John Adams

In the Federalist Papers, James Madison wrote that pure democracies “have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”

The push by liberals to get rid of this republic form of government and turn it into a pure democracy will be the beginning of the end to this country. Nothing good will come out of it. And all this is happening because a bunch of whining babies had their sandbox taken away from them.

As one article put it “The Founding Fathers despised democracies. They desired democratic principles, but not a democracy...a democracy can easily be commandeered to establish a totalitarian state. The Founders inherently understood this and wholly rejected forming a democracy.”

True Americans should fight – any way needed – to keep this republic form of government. The wolves are not at the door; they are already inside, rabies and all. – Dale Johnson


Guest Editorial - Assange

(Published April 17, 2019) 

Back in the 1970’s, when Saturday Night Live was still more concerned about being funny than hounding political opponents, they did a sketch featuring Idi Amin as a houseguest who wouldn’t leave.

The Ugandan dictator had recently been deposed, and the sketch imagined him sleeping on the couch of some unfortunate couple. If memory serves, they were politely trying to get him to leave after he slaughtered a gazelle in the kitchen and had a political opponent tied up in a closet.

Ecuador must have been feeling a bit like that after having granted amnesty to Julian Assange for the past seven years. Mr. Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, had been camped out in their London embassy after jumping bail in Britain on Swedish sexual assault and rape charges.

He had been operating WikiLeaks from the embassy until last week when his hosts turned him over to the Bobbies. (But not his cat, who presumably was a better roommate.) According to officials, Mr. Assange was anything but the perfect guest. First, he ignored the whole don’t stay too long rule. On top of that, it’s said the WikiLeaks founder was riding scooters up and down the hallways, being rude to the staff, and “smearing feces on the walls.”

No mention if he was nabbing other people’s clearly marked take-out leftovers from the fridge. Most likely, the ejection had even more to do with Mr. Assange turning his WikiLeaks spotlight on his hosts. He tweeted out about a corruption probe in Ecuador, and linked to a web site full of leaked emails, text messages, and other documents embarrassing to their president. He also sued the Ecuadorian government for violating his civil rights when they gave him house rules he didn’t like. That behavior seems pretty revealing about Mr. Assange’s personality.

Important tip: When the only thing keeping you from being arrested and extradited is asylum, don’t irritate the host country to the point they toss you out. Lawsuits can do that. Working in opposition to the president can, too.

Now, Mr. Assange is facing charges in the U.S. for conspiracy to commit unlawful computer intrusion. The Justice Department says he offered to help Chelsea Manning crack a computer password and break into a military network. The reactions to Mr. Assange’s arrest are interesting because he has been absolutely loved and also despised by both the Right and the Left. At different times, for different reasons.

Starting in 2010, working with Manning, WikiLeaks published information alleging war crimes by Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also dumped an enormous number of diplomatic cables that were an embarrassment to the U.S. The left heralded Assange as a great journalist and truth teller; the right denounced him a lawbreaker and dangerous to the country. Then, in 2016, WikiLeaks began to publish emails and documents hacked from the Democratic National Committee’s server, as well as emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.

The posts showed what looked like an overwhelming effort by the DNC to hand the nomination to Mrs. Clinton and steamroll Bernie Sanders. A legitimate argument can be made that releasing the content of those hacks cost Mrs. Clinton the election. The right turned to celebrating Mr. Assange while the left wanted him drawn and quartered. The truth is there is plenty to dislike about Mr. Assange, no matter which side of the political divide you call home.

The man is a cyber anarchist who doesn’t seem to care who he goes after, as long as he gets attention from it. He’s found fame and fortune, but it doesn’t mean he’s someone you want camping out on your couch. - Frank Mercer

Guest Editorial - Will there be a reckoning?

(Published April 3, 2019) 

For the rational observer, making predictions about the Mueller investigation was as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. Why? Because the entire thing was the result of what will go down as perhaps the biggest political dirty trick ever in American politics.

As more and more details emerged it became obvious that the only people 100 percent convinced of the collusion narrative were the ones who really, really, really wanted it to be true. Here is another easy prediction: the end of the Mueller investigation will change nothing for those people.

They’ve spent the last two years believing a never, ending barrage that paints Donald Trump as the single worst individual who ever lived. When the report came down with zero evidence of collusion, there was about twenty minutes of shock, but then the mainstream media, Democrats and anti-Trumpers immediately shifted gears and rolled ahead.

You would have thought the media would have taken some time for a bit of somber reflection about how they got it so wrong. It is impossible to count the number of times the American people were told that the evidence of collusion was undeniable and that it was only a matter of time before charges were filed.

There have been a few sober voices willing to take some blame, darn few, and they were quickly drowned out. In fact most, like Carl Bernstein, who had scoop after scoop proven untrue, are taking a victory lap for having done such a good job. Those who had their hopes crushed by the results of the probe have now attached themselves to obstruction of justice as their great hope.

Mueller threw that lifeline when he refused to draw a obstruction conclusion and deferred it to the Justice Department. We’re still waiting for somebody who is clinging to charges against the president to explain. How is proclaiming your innocence loudly in public, obstruction?

There should be a reckoning, but it isn’t clear there will be. An investigation should ferret out exactly where this fraud started, how it was perpetuated to a point that a special council was brought in. If criminal charges are warranted, they should be pursued with the same vigor that went into the Mueller investigation.

The very worst thing about all of this is the underlying action. For political and financial gain, large numbers of the media, Democratic party, and anti-Trump Republicans were willing to destroy trust in the U.S. election system. Even after the results of the Mueller report were issued, a poll showed that 48 percent of Americans still believe that collusion happened.

Worse, last November a YouGov poll showed that 16 percent of those surveyed believed it was definitely true and 26 percent thought it was probably true that Russia had changed votes in the 2016 election. That is 42 percent of the people polled believe that Valdimir Putin altered American votes to elect Donald Trump. The people who pushed the false narrative had to know this would be the result, and they flat-out didn’t care.

The idea that Russia changed votes was never presented as part of any investigation, nor was it claimed by the intelligence community or any state’s voting authorities. In fact, the Obama adminstration specifically denied that it could have happened. So where did 42 percent of American get the idea that it did? From totally unscrupulous people willing to cast doubt on our most important right in order to get a short-term gain.

In a reasonable world, all of the people who so cynically pushed this narrative would soon find themselves unemployed. Unemployed by being voted out of office or driven from their media jobs by consumer demand. The truth is darn few of them will be ousted, and it’s unlikely that they’ll ever face real consequences. If that is the case, just be ready for when they try it again. - Frank Mercer


Guest Editorial - A crimeless victim

(Published 3-13-2019) 

A Chicago grand jury filed 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct last Friday against actor Jussie Smollett.

In case you’ve been hiding in your bunker, cut off from all news since the first of the year, Smollett’s case has spun 180 degrees from what he first reported.

Back on January 29 at 2 a.m. the Empire actor said he got a hanker’n for some Subway when he was attacked by two white men in ski masks in the sub-zero Chicago night. He reported the men beat him, put a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him, and yelled. “This is MAGA country,” and other racial and homophobic slurs. Smollett suggested that it may have happened because he is a very vocal critic of Donald Trump.

The media and celebrities went crazy with outrage over the attack. Smollett’s family released a statement calling the attack “domestic terrorism,” saying these “targeted hate crimes” were happening, “on a monthly, weekly, and sometimes even daily basis all across our country.” The prevailing story was that the homosexual, black actor, was only the latest example of rampant violence, all caused by President Trump and his supporters who are intolerant and generally white supremacists.

Three weeks later after being heralded as a hero and making as many public appearances as possible, Smollett was arrested by Chicago police. Police had statements from two brothers, first reported as Nigerians, but actually U.S. citizens, who said Smollett had staged the attack. Police had a $3,500 check Smollett had written them as well as video of them buying the rope. They said Smollett staged it all after a fake threatening letter he sent himself didn’t cause enough uproar.

A very angry Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, himself black, had some harsh things to say about the case. “Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile?” At this point the coverage immediately dried up. What little there was stressed financial and career gain as a motive. Completely forgotten was the fact that he was trying to get there by embracing the current favorite trope: the country is in danger because of white supremacists and the alt-right.

Smollett’s plan was brilliant because he gave the media and the left exactly what they wanted. Could there be any clearer picture of “Trump’s America” than two thugs shouting MAGA slogans while beating up a member of two minority groups? There are certainly attacks by horrible people on innocent ones every day in this country. Some are by reprehensible racists who don’t like the color of the person they assault’s skin. But the narrative that every person who doesn’t actively denounce President Trump is human filth is also causing damage. That is why people were so eager to believe that the Covington Catholic High School students were the equivalent of Hitler youth.

It’s the same reason you’ve seen a rash of stories about people wearing Trump, messaged apparel being attacked. Smollett’s story never would have been questioned by the media, but the cops weren’t buying it. For one thing, the execution was pathetic. Here are some helpful tips if you’re planning your own fake attack for fame, fortune and political gain.

1. Always pay cash. 2. If you’re going to claim you’ve been beaten, go ahead and ok some actual non-life threatening injuries. At least let them smash your sandwich. 3. To get endless loops of the attack on cable news, confirm which direction the surveillance camera is aimed ahead of time.

Or, better yet, tone down the hateful rhetoric before it drives you so far off the deep end you find yourself facing multiple felony charges. - Frank Mercer


Guest Editorial - Keep public notices public

(Published 2-27-2019) 

(The following editorial is from the Jefferson City News Tribune.)

Again this year, bills in the Missouri Legislature would effectively hide public notices from the public. Public notices, also called legal notices, are required by law to be published in newspapers. The idea always has been to provide transparency in government, and the practice long has been required under state law. The notices inform Missourians about advertisements for bids, contracts, unclaimed property, school/government finances, court proceedings, foreclosures and assessments, among other things.

House Bill 686, sponsored by Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, would drop the requirement for property foreclosure notices to be printed in newspapers, and allow them instead be posted on the foreclosure trustee’s website. But here’s the problem: Most people would never see those websites. There are hundreds — possibly thousands — of trustees doing business in Missouri. So it would be incredibly difficult for people to track down upcoming foreclosure auctions on all those obscure websites. Plus, not everyone has a computer or internet access.

If a foreclosed property is being sold on the courthouse steps, for instance, only the select people who can find the public notice for the sale will be able to bid. The few bidders who do know about the sale, then, would have an advantage — perhaps an opportunity to buy properties for far less than their value. Just to be clear, this newspaper does have a dog in the fight. Trustees would benefit by saving the cost of paying newspapers to print the notices. Newspapers, on the other hand, would lose that revenue.

Newspapers remain the best avenue to inform the public about public notices. Newspapers still are read by the majority of the public, and they expect to find public notices in their paper. A hearing for HB686 by the House General Laws Committee was held Feb. 20, and a similar bill has been introduced in the Senate. If you, like us, believe that public notices should be open to the public, not hidden on obscure websites, we encourage you to speak out or contact your elected state officials to let them know how you feel.


Guest Editorial - High level dominos

(Published 2-13-2019) 

It appears there is no statute of limitation on being young and stupid, or having lived in a different time.

Forget the Superbowl, February’s excitement has been the political dustup in Virginia.

First, Governor Ralph Northam found himself under attack from both conservatives and liberals.

A page from his medical school yearbook showed a man in a KKK outfit and another in blackface. It was presumed that the governor is the one in blackface in the 1984 shot.

Calls for Northam’s resignation were instant and loud. Both of the state’s U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner and former Governor Terry McAuliffe, all Democrats, called for him to step down.

They are joined by a chorus of other Democrats including basically anyone planning to run for president. The state’s conservatives were already after Northam’s head because just days earlier he appeared to condone infanticide while discussing a proposed abortion law.

“The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable,” he said. “The infant would be resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother."

That bill was shot down, but the governor’s comment enraged a med school classmate with a long memory who tipped off a conservative website about the racist photo. Northam apologized but then later said he wasn’t in the photo. Yet he did admit to appearing in blackface while doing a Michael Jackson impression in a dance contest.

I have no idea if Gov. Northam was or is a closet racist. His 1981 nickname in the VMI yearbook doesn’t help his case though.

The current climate is zero tolerance for past behaviors by politicians. Now couple that with the fact that attitudes change with time and watch out. For example, the 1983 hit movie, “Trading Places,” featured comedian Dan Ackroyd in blackface as a disguise. The scene caused no uproar.

Ask liberal icon, Ted Danson, about how fast attitudes changed. In 1993 he did a roast for girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg in blackface and got savaged.

All these years Ralph Northam’s yearbook picture has been sitting there like an unexploded landmine. I bet Republican Ed Gillespie who lost the governor race 2017 is now demanding a refund from whoever did his opposition research.

Virginia Dems were comfortable being quick to call for Northam’s resignation because they had, for them, an awesome replacement. Democrat Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax, who is black, was ready to step up when he was accused of sexual assault.

That’s when things went beyond exciting. Fairfax strongly denied the incident back in 2004 and accused Northam’s supporters of smearing him with it. Then later a second accusor stepped forward. Fairfax said he had been approached by the Washington Post about the first claim in early 2018 and they had investigated it for “several months.” His office stated that, in “the absence of any evidence corroborating the allegation, and significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegation, the Post made the considered decision not to publish the story.” Not exactly the standard the media used for Brett Kavanaugh, but I digress.

The state was reeling from the first two scandals when the man second in the line of succession made his own announcement. Attorney General Mark Herring, also a Democrat, admitted in 1980 he too dressed up in blackface. Herring got ahead of any pictures popping up by releasing a statement. He said that as a 19-year-old college student he and some friends went to a party in dark makeup and wigs to perform a rap song and he regretted it.

The next person in line if those three go out is Speaker of the House of Delegates Kirk Cox, a Republican. I suspect his background is right now being gone over with a fine tooth comb, in what is known as outrage archeology. - Frank Mercer

Guest Editorial - They got clipped

(Published 1-30-2019) 

So much of what passes for news anymore is sensationalism, or even propaganda. Take for example the recent hot-button issue of a “teens in MAGA hats taunting Native American elder.”

It was presented as the perfect example of how President Donald Trump has caused white supremacists to flourish, causing a threat to our way of life and our country. The story exploded both in the mainstream media and on the internet. Pundits, celebrities and just plain folks raced to express outrage and even disgust for the young men from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky.

Without question it was eagerly accepted that snotty private-school, Trump’s supporting boys surrounded a Marine veteran Native American man and treated him with great disrespect. The proof was right there in video. Absolutely no one was asking when the standard of behavior at protests become similar to that of a tea party?

Standing silent with a smile, even a smirk, seems much more civilized then throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails like Antifa famously does. The standard changes when one supports a Conservative cause like a pro life rally. Yet not even Conservatives cut the teens any slack and it wasn’t long before a tsunami of hatred was pouring at the school boys. Then something happened that really isn’t that uncommon. Footage of the entire incident was released and a different picture emerged. Soon people were backtracking their over-the-top comments and saying they wished they had waited before attacking.

It turned out that the Covington boys had shown admirable restraint after being the subject of verbal abuse by a group called Black Hebrew Israelites. The language from this group was absolutely vile. Also, the native American man wasn’t surrounded. He walked to the students and got right in the face of the young man who was later singled out for so much hatred. The smiling young man said he was just standing still. "To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me."

Once all the video was out there, the first narrative was shot full of holes. That didn’t stop much of the left from sticking with their original claims. They just ignored it. Congressman Thomas Massie said the boys went to advocate for the unborn and learn about the capital and got, “...a lesson in the unjust court of public opinion and social media mobs.” Mob is a very accurate description of the attack through the internet and media. Mobs allow otherwise rational people to feel safe with outrageous behavior.

Imagine posting “#MAGAkids go screaming, hats first, into the woodchipper,” as one Hollywood producer did, with accompanying graphic video. There have been plenty of calls to cause the students physical harm. The threats were taken seriously enough that the entire school was closed. Others are trying hard to pressure universities into refusing admission to any Covington grad. Somebody using a small bit of cell phone video to push their agenda is common. In fact, a wise person when seeing a new viral video, would hold back. Wait a bit to see what develops before issuing some frothing at the mouth pronouncement.

Mobs can be dangerous. We have seen what can happen too often in our history. Our founders knew the threat of mob reaction. That’s why we are a representative republic instead of a simple democracy. Were we a pure democracy, by two days after the first video there would have been a ban on MAGA hats and maybe on Catholic school boys. Even though by now we all know better, people are still quick to jump when they’re fed a piece of sensational video. That’s what the propagandists are counting on. - Frank Mercer

Guest Editorial - Can’t figure him out

(Published 1-16-2019) 

It is obvious that much of Washington still doesn’t have a handle on President Donald Trump. Most of them have latched onto the narrative that he is stupid, incompetent, corrupt or even insane. Everything must be framed to fit this scenario. Yet, at the same time, they expect him to behave in the same way any other run-of-the-mill politician would.

Take the record-setting government shutdown for example. Shortly before Christmas, the budget negotiations were at an impasse over funding for border security. The president said he wouldn’t sign any deal that didn’t have money for the wall. Democrats refused to move forward anything that did have money for a wall.

In typical fashion, the Republican leadership caved and came up with a plan that would move everything back until Democrats controlled the house. Kick the can down the road...again. The media began reporting that the president would sign the deal to avoid a shutdown. Like so many times before, the “confidential inside sources” turned out to be completely wrong.

Suddenly, everyone was amazed when Mr. Trump did exactly what he said he would do all along and refused to sign. It shouldn’t have been a surprise. The border wall is one thing that he started talking about on the opening day of his campaign and has brought up nearly every day since.

Not to worry, Democratic leadership said they could be reasonable. Just forget about funding for the wall and they’d agree to talk about it some time in the future after the government had reopened. Even if Mr. Trump is every bit as stupid as the left says he is, he wasn’t dumb enough to fall for that.

Their very refusal to do anything about securing the southern border and the talk within the party that doing so is immoral, made it is obvious that the Dems are unlikely to ever come willingly to an agreement.

Those of us with a memory longer than a goldfish recall multiple occasions when politicians from both parties agreed it was time to fix the border situation. Even conservative icon, Ronald Regan, fell for the bait and switch back in 1986 when he signed legislation granting amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants. The promised funding for border security somehow never got going. Since then, countless promises have been made, and bills have been passed and signed.

And over the years, nothing has really changed except the supposed 5 million illegal aliens has changed into 12 million undocumented migrants. Those numbers are fuzzy. No one really knows the total. A Yale and MIT study released last year set the number at between 16.5 and 29.1 million. They settled on 22.1 million people here illegally.

Last week we were treated to the story that the president acted in a childish fashion by storming out of a negotiation with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. This was presented as Mr. Trump having a fit when he didn’t get his way. Missing in this “balanced” reporting was the fact that the two Democratic leaders insisted at the start of the meeting they would not allow any funding for the wall. That sounds less like “negotiation” and more like a decree. It sure doesn’t seem to leave much room for discussion.

Mr. Trump considers himself a master negotiator. I doubt that this is the first time he has walked out of a room when there was no common ground. In the meanwhile, there is no indication of when the shutdown will end, although we all know it will eventually. Whatever the result for the president, the only safe bet is that in the end, the media will say that he lost. - Frank Mercer


Editorial - We hope 2019 is better

(Published 12-26-2018) 

While reviewing the roundup stories for 2018 we discovered one interesting thing: There were a lot of killings in the lake area in 2018.

Compared to cities like St. Louis and Chicago, what we had here was nothing, but for those of us who have lived in this area for many years, we see it as a major change and not for the good.

In the past we could go many years without a murder and being from the big city that was a shock to this writer. We hear about murders every day in the big cities so you can become immune to the news but in the friendly Ozarks, it’s something we don’t like to hear.

Why is this happening? There may be many reasons but it appears that worldwide people are just plain going nuts and that is infecting the lake area also.

One of the sad stories was the murder of Joe and Brandy Allen of Tunas, MO. Allegedly a couple of lowlifes from Camden County went out to rob the couple and the couple – rightly so – defended themselves and there was a shootout.

Unfortunately the couple lost and they both died. We prefer to hear the story the other way around: The bad guys died from the homeowners defending their property. If the killers are convicted, they need to become occupants of a nearby cemetery.

Hopefully these types of incidents will be absent from Camden, Miller and Morgan Counties in 2019. A return to the days when multiple years go by without a murder would be more than welcoming. – Dale Johnson

Letter to the Editor

(Published 12-12-2018) 

(Editor’s note: Camden County Commissioner Don Williams sent two letters in response to our November 28 article “Atheist group attacks courthouse over two pictures.” One letter was from him as “Commissioner Williams” and the other was from him as a citizen. Both letters are printed below).

I read your article regarding the communication the county has received from the “Freedom From Religion Foundation” with great interest. I believe this group, like many atheist groups, is twisting both the meaning and the intention behind the religious-related language in the United States Constitution.

Research into both the personal and professional correspondence of our Founding Fathers makes their motives in establishing the First Amendment crystal clear – their intention was to prevent the establishment of a state religion and to protect the free expression of religion. The Founding Fathers’ focus was freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

But throughout our national history, the brief, general nature of the wording in the First Amendment has been twisted and forced into promoting the cause of atheists who have removed God from our schools and from the public square. They seem bent on removing God from our culture, our society and from everyone’s daily life. This is born out by the atheist group’s objection to the 9/11 related painting in the hallway.

That painting is a reproduction of an event that occurred naturally. The fact that, when the towers came down, two of the steel beams from the Twin Towers happened to form a cross, and the fact that many people take comfort from that, is objectionable to them. As it hangs in the hallway, the 9/11 painting is under the jurisdiction of the County Commission.

The painting will remain where it is.

The state and federal government protects the right of government employees to have religious and spiritual items in their work space. Many county employees do – myself included. The County Commission fully supports the right of County Clerk Rowland Todd - and all county employees – to keep any personal religious materials that they choose to keep within their workspace.

Regards, Don Williams Second District Commissioner Camden County, Mo.

On a personal level, I feel very strongly about this. On the morning that we received the letter from the “Freedom From Religion Foundation”, I personally visited Rowland in his office to let him know that I would stand behind him 100%. Atheist groups work very hard to obscure the fact that America is, culturally and historically, a Christian nation.

One thing I’ve always especially loved about Camden County is that, whether you are driving down a major highway or a country back road, you can’t go more than a few miles without passing a house of worship. Christianity is currently being relentlessly attacked around the globe. Too often, Christians’ rights are trampled upon. We can’t allow this in Camden County.

Don Williams Camden County, Mo.

Editorial - Satan's minions

(Published 11-28-2018) 

“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” – Psalms 53:1

Satan’s followers are attacking the courthouse and in actuality, Christians in general.

Now don’t get us wrong, we are a major supporter of the separation of church and state but the attack by the Freedom from Religion Foundation has very little to do with that separation and more to do with the eliminating of God and all religions from existence.

The organization’s agenda is just that – eliminating God in anyway –and that is what makes a difference.

In their veiled threat to the Camden County Clerk, they said the depiction of the World Trade Center Cross is “is draped in cloth, similar to crosses displayed at Easter.”

That’s why we put the photo of the actual cross on the front page and how it was found in the rubble (on page 3).

Courts have ruled that the World Trade Center Cross is not a violation of church and state and does not promote Christianity. If these anti-God people don’t like the painting in the courthouse then get a court to rule that what it depicts (the actual memorial in New York) is a violation of the establishment clause.

If they can do that then any image of that in any government building would be illegal.

Others have tried and failed, so, go for it.

The Freedom from Religion foundation looks for ways to threaten and intimidate people, just like their evil brothers the ACLU. Threats of a lawsuit are designed to scare people into bowing and scraping before these minions of Satan and the recent letter to the courthouse is just that.

So what will the courthouse do? The decision is mainly on the shoulders of the commissioners. Do they want to deal with another lawsuit or cave in to the terrorists?

What will the voters in the county think if the elected officials don’t take a stand? Well, the elections are over so maybe people will forget about all this when the next time a commissioner or county clerk or whoever is up for re-election.

You can guarantee that the Prince of Darkness is sitting on his throne, smiling, thanks to their courthouse threat. – Dale Johnson

Editorial - Election results

(Published 11-14-2018) 

There was no surprise in the results of the local elections, if you knew anything about Camden County.

We were going to write an editorial for last week’s paper predicting who was going to win but didn’t have time to do so. If we had done that, we would have predicted 100 percent correctly and the reasons (to us) are obvious.

First, there were two libertarian party candidates on the ballot, one for Presiding Commissioner and one for County Clerk. Nice try but no chance of winning. At this time in history a Libertarian will not win a county office.

We do have to give credit to the Democrat party for trying. Many years they don’t even put up a token candidate for county offices. This time they put two, which is better than none.

This is a Republican county and it has been quite a few years since a Democrat won a county office and we knew this was not going to be one of them.

Jo McElwee had a lock on her bid for re-election to the office of Circuit Clerk and here’s why we knew that.

Her challenger, Melissa Mackay, ran on the Republican ticket against McElwee in August and lost. Special circumstances allowed her to run again against McElwee in November.

Mackay jumped from the Republican ship to the Democrat one and we saw this as a strike against her from both sides.

Republicans will see her as a traitor for going to the Democrats and the Democrats will see her as desperate to get elected and they are simply electing a Republican pretending to be a Democrat.

Both of those factors are negative and though she did bring in 5,431 votes in the November election, which was more votes than she received in August, the percentages were far worse.

In the August Primary she received 46.59 percent of the republican votes while McElwee received 53.41 percent.

In the November race Mackay received 27.72 percent compared to McElwee’s 72.21 percent. We feel her jumping to the democrat ticket is what destroyed her chances.

In the County Auditor race we knew many months ago that Jimmy Laughlin would win and the simple reason is Michael Dorf ran as an independent. We don’t know when (if ever) an independent won an office in Camden County, so we feel he was doomed from the start.

The only thing we’ll say about the Missouri races is that useless Claire McCaskill lost, which is a good thing, but we feel it would probably be wrong to sing that song from the Wizard of Oz “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.” Notice we used the word “probably.” – Dale Johnson

Guest Editorial - Round up

(Published 10-31-2018) 

Some weeks, there are so many things happening that are worthy of comment it is impossible to restrict a column to just one topic. This is one of those weeks.

To start off with, the media has been pushing President Donald Trump to come down hard on Saudi Arabia over the death and apparent murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Turkey and was never seen again. There has been horrifyingly gory speculation about his fate including being grabbed by 15 assassins and dismembered so his remains could be smuggled out in diplomatic pouches. The Saudis now confirm he is dead, but claim it happened in a fight.

This incident serves to remind us that not every American ally shares our values. We only stand beside them for strategic reasons. Sometimes it’s a matter of picking the less bad option. There really shouldn’t be this much shock at the incident. The Saudis execute hundreds of people each year for such crimes as murder, apostasy, adultery, and sodomy. And they do it by beheading. Now blame is being spread around, but you can rest assured it won’t fall on the Saudi royal family.

On a much less grisly note, Bill and Hillary Clinton are going to do an arena tour! Everyone is “super excited!” Like a surprisingly large number of Democrats who are asking, “What will it take to make them go away?” Former President Clinton has a long and costly history with harassment claims.

Mrs. Clinton, former Senator, secretary of state and presidential candidate, has always been his chief defender. That defense often consisted of completely trashing the accusers. Today, none of that behavior is fashionable. Add that both Clintons were bestest buddies with #MeToo’s number one troll, Harvey Weinstein, and you’ve really got a P.R. problem.

When Mrs. Clinton said recently that the Lewinsky affair wasn’t an abuse of power, it did not go over well, at all. The Clintons have also just about run out of influence to peddle. When it seemed extremely likely that Secretary Clinton would be the next president, people couldn’t run fast enough to throw money her way. It’s tough to picture anyone paying Mrs. Clinton $200,000 per speech for the entertainment value. Now they are betting that thousands of people will shell out from $70 to over $700 per ticket for “An Evening with President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton”. Now that is a catchy title.

If you forget to buy your ticket in advance, don’t worry. There are sure to be plenty available at the box office right before the show.

Speaking of a show, who organized the big caravan of immigrants from Honduras headed for the U.S.? One would suppose that the left is hoping they will arrive just before the mid-term election and that the news will be filled with images of children being separated from their families by that meany, Donald Trump. That could be a big election bump for Democrats. The reverse of that may play out.

That’s because the thousands in this caravan are also a reminder that the Democrats have blocked the President’s efforts to strengthen the southern border security, including building a wall. Come to think of it, maybe the RNC is sponsoring the caravan.

Finally, speaking of South Americans, Senator Elizabeth Warren released her DNA results showing she has a tiny percentage of ancestry on this continent. It didn’t do much to bolster her claims of being a Native American and even the fawning media told her so. It’s hard to fault the senator for believing what she was told growing up. It’s another matter though to claim to be a minority for career and political advantage.

The test results didn’t even compare Sen. Warren to the peoples she claims heritage with. Researchers had to go farther south for the genetic markers. That’s because there is no Native American DNA available in the database. Could it be that after centuries of being cheated out of everything, the tribes view DNA with major suspicion? Who could blame them if that’s the case. - Frank Mercer


Editorial - “Trump’s” trade war?

(Published 10-17-2018) 

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill has been constantly speaking against what she has described as “Trump’s Trade War” and how we’re all gong to starve to death and die because of it.

Useless McCaskill has been attempting to defend the poor farmers who will be “devastated” by the evil Donald Trump and his unnecessary “trade war.”

She is doing this for two reasons: one, it’s an election year and she wants to get reelected to her cushy job as one of the clowns in Washington, D.C., and number two (a very minor reason) she “cares” about us tiny little peons.

What she and many others fail to see it that the tariffs have a major purpose and that is to even out the trade with other countries.

Communist China, and don’t forget that commie China is a communist country that severely oppresses its people (recently they have begun to crack down harder on Christians in their country, tearing down churches, burning Bibles and forcing people to renounce their faith). They have been dumping their cheap garbage in this country for years.

And we go out and buy things made in commie China because we can allegedly save a few dollars on something that will not last that long.

But hey, if it breaks, it’s cheap enough to go buy another one made in commie China.

So President Trump decides that we have to even out the trade balance and, since the clowns in Washington (including useless McCaskill) have done nothing to fix the problem, he orders tariffs to be placed on certain goods coming in this country.

People need to look at the big picture and that is evening out the trade and bringing economic growth to this country, but instead, the liberals and one of their main leaders, useless McCaskill, are crying about the evil Trump trade war.

Here are some samples from her campaign emails:

• “McCaskill is backing a bipartisan effort to bring greater Congressional oversight to tariff decisions to protect Missouri farmers, producers, and manufacturers from unnecessary tariffs and trade wars.” – September 4, 2018
• “As this trade war continues, one thing is clear—hundreds of Missourians have already lost their jobs because of the Administration’s trade policies, and thousands more are at risk if we don’t reverse course.” – September 7, 2018
• “I want Missouri businesses to have the opportunity to appeal these harmful tariffs, but they’ve been waiting patiently for months while their businesses suffered and are now being told there’s a whole new process? I’m going to continue to do anything I can to help the Missouri manufacturers hurt by these tariffs, but this is more evidence that these tariffs weren’t thought out at all and this trade war needs to end.” – September 12, 2018
• “The testimony of every single one of the roundtable participants was clear as day - Missouri businesses are hurting from these reckless and chaotic trade policies,” McCaskill said. “We’re already losing jobs in Missouri, and I’m worried we’ll lose more if we don’t reverse course.” – September 19, 2018
• “McCaskill has called on the Administration to end the trade war, and is working across the aisle to bring greater Congressional oversight to tariff decisions. She has also conducted ongoing, bipartisan oversight of the Administration’s trade policies. Additionally, McCaskill sent a set of bipartisan requests to investigate the tariff exclusion process.” September 24, 2018
• “Missouri businesses just want to understand the rules of the road when it comes to getting relief from this trade war that’s harming their businesses—but I’m hearing from them over and over that they’re frustrated with the process,” McCaskill said. “Our manufacturers can outcompete anyone, but right now they’re just not getting the level playing field they need to do it.” – October 11, 2018

There are many, many more examples from her minions attempting to keep her in power but you get the idea. Apparently she is more in favor of commie China making billions than making the United States great again.

Why else would you speak against tariffs on Chinese goods? She has been part of the Washington D.C. swamp for years and she has done nothing to even out the trade with commie China. After that amount of time we should have seen some progress from her and her fellow swamp rats on evening out trade but we haven’t.

The bottom line is the trade with all other countries needs to be balanced and now that someone is trying to do what congress has refused to do, they’ve got their diapers all in a bunch. Looking at the big picture, the efforts at balancing trade is a good thing for this country and if a candidate for office disagrees, the voters need to send them packing. – Dale Johnson

Guest Editorial - All-out political war

(Published 10-3-2018) 

Let’s put aside for a minute whether or not the accusation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is true. Sixty-five of Christine Blasey Ford’s school mates have signed an open letter praising her honor and dependability. Over two hundred women have signed a letter declaring the same things about Judge Kavanaugh. Supporters on both sides say their side is unimpeachable and the other is low-down slime. Got it.

The left says Ford must be telling the truth because no one would ruin their life just to stop a Supreme Court nominee from being confirmed. Right, because we don’t have examples of people doing things every day that most of us would never dream of doing. Theft, murder, child abuse top the list, but you can tone it down and add the things people are willing to do or say to be a reality show or internet star. The news is also full of examples of people saying they would never have dreamed their friend or family member was a serial killer, because he was always such an upstanding citizen. So, there’s that side, too.

Now it’s left to the individual to decide who they believe, and most of that is going to come down to your politics. Roles were almost perfectly reversed during Bill Clinton’s scandals in the 1990s. Still, there is a relevant question we should all be asking: “Is there anything remotely resembling honor left in American politics today?”

If you follow the political scene closely, you know it’s often like staring at a train wreck; fascinating and appalling at the same time. This incident is shaping up to encompass everything that most people feel is disgusting about politics. Again, setting aside the truth of what may or may not have happened in high school 35 years ago, look at the political gamesmanship here.

Kavanaugh has a long judicial and public service record. After a series of increasingly shrill partisan attacks, he was poised be confirmed to the Court. It was basically all over but the voting, when California Senator Diane Feinestein came forward with the revelation that somebody who wished to remain anonymous was making a complaint involving a major impropriety in the past. All very vague. In the real world, this would never happen.

When a company is hiring a new CEO, and a complaint is lodged, the first move isn’t to sit on it for months and then go public. But that’s how this worked. Sen. Feinstein not only leveled charges against Kavanaugh that could ruin his career and his private life, but went agains the wishes of Dr. Blasey who asked to be kept confidential. He was outed within days. Feinestein had the letter in her possession since July. Any argument that there has been no time for investigation is nonsense. The reasonable conclusion is that the honorable senator intentionally held the letter back knowing that it stood the best chance to delay the nomination process if it were held back until the last second. And that is what this is really all about.

The Democrats want desperately to stop a vote to confirm until after the mid-terms when they hope to take control of the Senate. If that happens, they will be able to block any nomination made by President Trump. Democrats demanded that the vote be delayed until the accuser is heard. Republicans agreed to that and offered to go make the hearing public or private. They even offered to go to Ford in California to make it happen. That is unprecedented. At the time this column was written, the lawyers handling Ford’s interests have agreed to testifying Thursday of lastweek.

But, true or false, this accusation was a perfect political attack. Polling shows that it is working as Judge Kavanaugh’s favorable rating has plummeted. Whether the accusation against Kavanaugh is true or false, the mission of the Democrats was to derail the nomination. Now we’ll wait and see if they succeed. - Frank Mercer


Guest Editorial - Advertising Protest

(Published 9-19-2018) 

Suppose three years ago someone had predicted to you that in the near future a large athletic wear company would base an ad campaign on an out-of-work pro quarterback embroiled in controversy for disrespecting the U.S. flag.

And then suppose they also predicted that the campaign would cause that company’s sales to rise. You would have laughed and happily taken a bet against those predictions coming true. And you would have lost. That’s because all of that happened recently.

Nike, the swoosh company, signed a deal with (in)famous anthem kneeler Colin Kaepernick to help them sell their products. The first ad that dropped featured Kaepernick’s face with the words, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” My goodness, but don’t ad copy writers get carried away.

I think a more correct example of “sacrificing everything” might be Medal of Honor winner Jack Lummus, who played end for the New York Giants; Al Bozis, who played tackle for the Giants; Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick, or Bob Kalsu, who played guard for Buffalo. None of these men are household names, likely because they all died young in military service.

A more recent example of “sacrificing everything” would be Pat Tillman who turned down a $3.6 million dollar NFL contract to enlist in the Army. He was tragically killed by friendly fire during a battle in Afghanistan in 2004.

There is no reason to doubt Kaepernick’s sincerity for his cause, but the sacrifice everything narrative assumes that he was at the height of his career. The reality is that the quarterback had been struggling on the field and with injury. The line that he sacrificed everything ignores the fact that he had already made millions in the NFL and that he walked away from the final year of his contract with the 49ers.

Also ignored is the fact that his protest, supposedly to start a conversation about the oppression of minorities, has instead largely generated a conversation about his method of protest. Seriously, when discussion turns to kneeling during the national anthem, how often does it move from disrespect to the flag and the military to social justice? Rarely? Almost never? Never?

Nike supposedly is taking a big risk signing Kaepernick during all of this. It’s not certain that they did. A recent Kaiser poll showed that only 38% of people 18-29 thought it was never appropriate to kneel during the national anthem. That number jumps to 63% for people over 50. It ain’t people over 50 buying most of the Nike line to start with. It’s been written that Nike has spent billions over the years to position themselves as the brand for rebellion.

According to an article by Jane Coaston on Vox, “In short, Nike doesn’t need older Republicans and conservatives, or Trump supporters, as consumers, if the company has the eye of younger, nonwhite Americans living in urban areas, with cash to spend on Nike’s products.” So maybe their giant risk also wasn’t that big a risk.

Initial reports say that the sportswear behemoth saw an increase in sales online following the kickoff of the Kaepernick campaign. Those numbers reflect only a couple of Labor Day weekend days, and reports for their retail stores hadn’t been released at that time. The ad campaign has enraged a lot of people, with good reason. It’s sad to say, but it appears that this act of disrespect for the flag, the country, and the people who serve or have served in the military is on its way to being normalized.

Even as the country becomes more polarized, one thing we shared was honor for the symbols of the nation that allows us to freely voice our disagreements. Now, even those small rituals of respect are controversial. - Frank Mercer


Guest Editorial - Not great?

(Published 8-29-2018) 

Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, started a short-lived firestorm recently when he declared in a speech, “We're not going to make America great again. It was never that great.” Many people were shocked that a high-ranking Democratic politician would say such a thing. Those people have not been paying attention.

There is a thought process among many on the left that says, “Because American does not 100 percent meet every one of the goals we believe in today, it has always been terrible.” If you don’t believe that idea is widely accepted on the left, then consider: the governor of one of the largest states in the union included the above remarks in a prepared speech while running for election. Neither he nor his advisors expect those remarks to hurt him at the polls.

You can see this idea that America is not a special place gathering more support, and certainly more activism, all the time. Every single positive thing that has ever happened in the United States is tossed out as insignificant because of wrongs in the past. Take your choice: slavery, Jim Crow laws, the treatment of Native Americans, and a whole host of other issues make a seemingly endless list of examples of why the U.S. can’t be allowed to claim anything but shame.

When proponents who share this philosophy are involved, no discussion of Thomas Jefferson or George Washington can exclude, “But he was a slave owner.” If the topic is World War II, the only part that interests them is the interment of Japanese Americans. No rational person says every single action the U.S. has ever taken is perfect; but, you also cannot examine history only using a magnifying glass made of current values.

Our country evolved through time to get to where it is today. The things in our past that upset people the most now were societal norms of the day. Not just here, but usually around the globe. Yes, the country had slavery when founded. Hundreds of thousands of men shed their blood to abolish the practice. It’s true women couldn’t vote. They also couldn’t join the military, serve on juries, or get a credit card. It was an acceptable standard at the time that is now long gone.

Every practice now used as fodder to say America wasn’t ever great was also the topic of intense disagreement in the country at the time. Importantly, disagreement lead to change. Ignoring the progress that took place cheapens what our country has always been. What made America great from the founding was the idea that people have individual rights, including the right to change what they see as wrong.

It’s useful to look at history with clear eyes and see what might have been if things were different. But that’s only an exercise in “What if?” Now, Cuomo was obviously taking a shot at Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” That wasn’t it for Cuomo. “We have not reached greatness. We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged. We will reach greatness when discrimination and stereotyping of women, 51% of our population, is gone, and every woman's full potential is realized and unleashed and every woman is making her full contribution,” he added.

It’s politics, and he was throwing red meat to a substantial portion of his base. Yet, why trash the country just because it’s not reached all of his goals. Goals that undeniably change all the time. Using Cuomo’s standard, he would have to agree that the Democratic Party, the party of Jim Crow segregation, has never been great either. If you want to argue that America has never been perfect, then I’ll agree. But to not see that for over 240 years the United States has set an example for the world of how to be great and get even better is to be willfully blind. - Frank Mercer


Guest Editorial - Get government more involved

(Published 8-8-2018) 

For those who think government is the answer to every problem, sometimes it’s a good idea to look at places where that is close to happening. For example, you rarely need to look outside the borders of California.

San Francisco, bastion of Liberal policy, has proposed a law banning companies from building cafeterias in their new offices. That’s because one of the perks of tech giants is free food for employees. San Francisco leaders say it hurts restaurants in the area. It probably does.

You can’t really picture anybody making their way out of the office to buy their own meal when the boss is opening the cafeteria and serving up the chow at no charge. It would have to be some pretty nasty slop before people flee from free. After all, these are people who cliché has living in mom’s basement in their 30s and subsisting on Mountain Dew and Hot Pockets.

The companies work hard to make the meals tasty, because it’s considered a job perk for retaining key employees.

Why is it any of government’s business if an employer wants go give workers something extra?

What about the free massages, laundry rooms, acupuncture, hair cuts, child care, and gyms some offer? Don’t those hurt existing business?

What’s next, no Christmas ham? No coffee in the break room? Seriously, if Facegoogle wants to give every employee a free papaya and an electric razor with their pay envelope, that’s their business.

There’s an open secret to why the tech companies rely so much on having everything available on their campuses. It’s because they figured out that if their employees don’t have to leave to take care of the mundane aspects of life they stay more focused. They may even work longer hours.

The ironic part about all of it is that while San Francisco’s Liberal government says employers can’t provide a free lunch for their hard-working employees, they want to tax those same business to provide for their giant homeless population. Still in California, jail space may soon be at a premium as city after city there grapples with one of the biggest problems facing the state...the threat of plastic straws.

Santa Barbara has passed an ordinance that goes into effect next January, which carries a maximum fine of $1,000 or up to six months in jail for repeat offenders who distribute the dangerous plastic tubes. Several smaller cities already have similar bans in place, and San Francisco is moving a measure along. That would bring the interesting juxtaposition of authorities there relentlessly hunting down drinking straw scofflaws while continuing to ignore the use of sidewalks and streets as outdoor toilets by the large homeless population mentioned earlier.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a shill for Big Straw. In fact, I rarely use the infernal things. I’m the oddball you see in a fast food booth drinking straight from the cup, just like mamma taught me when I became a big boy. It is common sense to ask people to cut down on their use of things like plastic straws. They generate waste plastic, but you would expect good Liberal cities to put on a tax instead of criminalizing them. That’s the path with sugary drinks.

Already businesses are discussing using plastic lids that are built to work like “sippy” cups. Since these lids are generally thicker than standard drink tops and require more plastic to form the “sippy” part, one wonders just what the savings would be. The push against plastic straws is bolstered by a statistic citing 500 million cylinders of destruction thrown away in the U.S. each day. That number, according to the New York Times, is from research done by a nine-year-old fourth grader in 2011.

He says he just made up an estimate. His count has never been verified. Estimates are the actual number is hundreds of millions per day less. - Frank Mercer


Guest Editorial - Russian Charges

(Published 7-25-2018) 

The Justice Department announced charges recently against 12 Russian intelligence agents for interfering in the 2016 presidential election. The Mueller probe says these are the people responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee servers and the ones who spear phished Clinton advisor John Podesta’s emails. Both political parties have erupted over the news by putting their own spin on the indictments.

Even after this, you have to wonder when the two major parties will stop playing politics and get serious. When will they quit posturing that this was a plot to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign or help Donald Trump’s? When will they unite and recognize this as what it was, an attack to weaken America. There is little doubt that Russia’s goal to do just that continues to this day; yet, we’re still mired in politics. The whole point of the Mueller probe is to look for collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. That’s something that even with these charges has not been discovered.

“There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime," Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said when announcing the indictments. The only American involvement he mentioned is people trying to get their hands on dirt being presented by Russian agents pretending to be civilian hackers. We’ve lost perspective on what the Russians were up to because we’ve adjusted to the reality of Trump as president and forgotten how nearly everyone handicapped the race. Go back in time less than two years and recall that right up until the votes were tallied on election night, barely anybody gave Trump a chance to avoid a landslide loss, much less win. The polls, the pundits, the consultants, all said Mrs. Clinton would win.

Vladimir Putin’s trolls weren’t trying to get Donald Trump elected, almost nobody anywhere thought that was possible. What they were trying to do was damage the person who everybody “knew” would be the next President. They wanted to harm her ability to lead after her landslide win. Immediately following the election, the Russians organized both pro- and anti-Trump rallies for the same day. Again, the goal being to spread hate and discontent throughout the U.S. What else have they been doing to keep this country as fiercely divided as possible?

Russian-spread claims of fascist and neo-nazi gangs in the Ukraine were effective there. It seems more than coincidence that the same stories started appearing here shortly after Trump’s election. A divided America is much less effective as a counter-balance to Russian interests. That is the goal of Putin, who has a dream of rebuilding the old Soviet empire under his iron rule. His is a regime that does not play by the rules. Outspoken critics are not safe anywhere in the world. If you don’t believe that, just look at the attacks on dissidents in the UK which British officials link to Russia. The 12 men indicted recently are all members of the GRU (a Russian intelligence agency) acting in their official capacity according to the indictments. Those charges will result in absolutely nothing. If that solution would work, then Attorney General Biddle could have indicted Hirohito, Tojo and Yamamoto on Dec. 8, 1941, and single-handedly ended the war in the Pacific. This was a state-sponsored assault by the country Mitt Romney was ridiculed for calling our biggest geo-political threat. In this case, the Russian agents stole information on 500,000 voters and attempted to break into voting systems.

"There is no allegation that the conspiracy altered the vote count or changed any election result," Rosenstein said Friday. If we want that to stay true, then it is time to quit playing politics and start acting united. - Frank Mercer


Guest Editorial - Play nice

(Published 7-11-2018) 

It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt.

For those of us who enjoy a good political scrap, heated disagreement is part of the game. Much of it is like professional wrestling: chaotic and dangerous looking, but heavily scripted. Today’s climate seems different. As the partisan divide has ramped up, so has the rhetoric. It’s time to start worrying that violence may be the next step.

The Resistance, that group on the far left with the goal of blocking everything the Trump Administration does and driving him from office, is incredibly angry. They’ve been ratcheted up past the point of reasonable debate since day one.

The most extreme members of the club have been calling for, and sometimes using, violence and destruction as part of their game plan.

The idea that violence is sometimes okay, and even necessary has taken a foothold with significant numbers. A recent poll of college students showed that 10 percent approve of violent disruption to stop speakers they don’t approve of. At least one faculty member has ended up in the hospital because of a “disruption.”

The newest angle of attack is to confront members of the Trump Administration wherever they may be, at a restaurant or a movie. There have been multiple examples of this approach recently.

Those confrontations are finding a wider range of acceptance, both in the mainstream media and what should be responsible Democrat party members.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters told supporters, “And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

Several members of the Democratic leadership pushed back (gently) against Waters’ comments, but she got support elsewhere.

When Steve Scalise, House Majority Whip, said on Twitter, “Civility and respect always prevails over harassment and disrespect,” he was savaged in return.

Scalise is somebody who knows full well what can happen when the political discord becomes too extreme.

Twitter users were having none of it and called him a Nazi and regretted that he hadn’t died when he was severly wounded last year by a gunman stalking Republicans at baseball practice.

The left’s favorite labels for the opposition these days are “Nazi” and “racist”. Disagree with a left wing position and you stand to be labeled one or the other. Sometimes both.

Many see these labels as a call to arms. If your opponent is the lowest of the low, any action you take to stop them is acceptable.

David Harsanyi, editor of The Federalist, pointed out that the rhetoric is a pathway to violence, because if you really think the Trump administration is engaging or endorsing Nazi behavior, or anything close to it, “’re a depraved coward for not taking up arms and stopping them.”

The danger isn’t that Nancy Pelosi or Charles Schumer are going to grab clubs and go after the crowd at the next Trump rally.

The danger is that all of this feverish, hysterical hyperbole will push another deranged individual over the edge. Someone else like James Hodgkinson, the man shot up the Republican baseball practice.

It’s hard to think that Americans would stop talking and start hurting people, but it wouldn’t be the first time. The loud but peaceful protests by members of the Boomer generation in the 1960s morphed into shootings and bombings by extremist groups like the Weather Underground and the Symbionise Liberation Army in the 1970s.

The Right doesn’t get a pass on this either. After Congresswoman Waters’ remarks, she had to cancel events because of credible death threats. Enough. Others take it too far, as well. Let’s dial it back. Your political opponent may take positions you don’t like, but they don’t deserve to die for it. - Frank Mercer

Guest Editorial - Of course there’s no bias

(Published 6-27-2018) 

The Inspector General’s report on the FBI’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal has come in and reaction is divided right down the political aisle.

Democrats say it proves the FBI, specifically Director James Comey’s unprecedented announcements, harmed Mrs. Clinton’s election chances. Republicans say it proves the fix was in to prevent an indictment of Secretary of state Clinton for mishandling classified information.

The oddest part was the I.G.’s finding that there was no political bias involved in what happened.

“Our review did not find documentary or testimonial evidence directly connecting the political views these employees expressed in their text messages and instant messages to the specific investigative decisions we reviewed.”

Seriously? Boiled down, that statement means, nobody specifically wrote or said, “I’m all in for Hillary Clinton and I’ll do everything I can to get her off the hook and hurt Trump.” Maybe not, but when you look at all of the combined evidence, there is plenty to argue with that conclusion.

The report does recommend further investigation of five FBI employees and hits hard at their behavior: “...the damage caused by their actions extends far beyond the scope of the Midyear investigation and goes to the heart of the FBI’s reputation for neutral fact finding and political independence,” the I.G. said.

Let’s take a look at some of the pronouncements made by FBI employees revealed in the report to see if any kind of political bias is apparent. Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who were having a personal relationship at the time, are most infamous for their texts.

Strzok was deputy head of counterintelligence for the FBI at the time, was working on the Clinton email case and even led the Trump-Russia probe. Page was an attorney working on the Clinton email investigation.

Page, about watching the Democratic National Convention “Yeah, it is pretty cool. [Clinton] just has to win now.”

Page: “God, Trump is a loathsome human.”

Strozk: ““Trump is a disaster. I have no idea how destabilizing his presidency would be.”

Strzok: “Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support....”

The biggest bombshell between the two was this exchange:

Page, “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”

Strzok, “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”

Check out the instant messages from the person identified as FBI Agent 1 who had interviewed Hillary Clinton for the email probe:

“...I’m done interviewing the president.”

An FBI employee answers: “you interviewed the president?”

Agent 1: “You know –HRC,” “future pres,” “Trump can’t win,” And Agent 1 again on election day in a series of IMs:

“You should know;.....that I’m..... with her.”

Or this from someone identified as FBI Employee, “Trump’s supporters are all poor to middle class, uneducated, lazy POS that think he will magically grant them jobs for doing nothing. They probably didn’t watch the debates, aren’t fully educated on his policies, and are stupidly wrapped up in his unmerited enthusiasm.”

The I.G. summarizes this and more: “At a minimum, we found that the employees’ use of FBI systems and devices to send the identified messages demonstrated extremely poor judgment and a gross lack of professionalism.”

The key words here are: “At a minimum.” To finish, let’s list all the anti-Hillary, pro-Trump exchanges found in the report. Oops, there aren’t any. Nope, no bias at all. - Frank Mercer

\Editorial - A victory, but not for the constitution

(Published 6-13-2018) 

It’s a bit ironic that in last week’s editorial we said we were not going to report on the lawsuit between Camden County Clerk Rowland Todd and Commissioners Greg Hasty, Don Williams and Beverly Thomas until something happens. We said:

“Something major may possibly probably maybe happen in the next decade or two but until that happens, we see no reason to report on the back and forth arguing of attorneys.”

Well, something did happen sooner than we thought and that was an end to the case thanks to the decision by Federal Judge Brian Wimes.

Wimes said that Todd, who claimed the letter he wrote criticizing the county commissioners, was written and sent as an individual citizen and not as County Clerk.

Wimes disagreed saying the letter was written on County Clerk letterhead and would be released if someone requested it via a Sunshine Law request.

The Sunshine Law applies only to government and not to private citizens so if Todd did say it was available by Sunshine Law request then it is a document from a government official and not a private individual.

Since everything rested on that letter, once it was decided the letter was not from a private citizen, then everything else didn’t matter anymore.

The facts are still the same as stated in the case, they just don’t mean anything anymore.

The decision by Wimes, an Obama appointee, is a bit disturbing because of his ruling that the contents of the letter, sent by an elected official, is not protected speech. That means the First Amendment does not apply. We always thought every citizen in this country had a right to free speech but apparently not.

We also wonder if the other part of the First Amendment, Freedom of Religion, no longer applies either.

What this also means is anything an elected official says is not protected speech.

So if Hasty did publicly accuse Todd of stealing, that too is not protected speech under the First Amendment and could be defined as slander and you can sue someone for slander.

A legal definition of slander that we located says:

“Slander is the oral communication of false statements that are harmful to a person's reputation. If the statements are proven to be true, it is a complete defense to a charge of slander. Oral opinions that don’t contain statements of fact don’t constitute slander.”

So Todd could have (and still can) sue Hasty for slander but not for restricting his freedom of speech.

All of that is the most unsettling of the decision and courts all over this country find excuses to ignore the constitution of the United States.

The Second Amendment gives all citizens the right to own and carry a weapon but many places can restrict that right and take it away from you.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it state that a felon cannot vote but because someone higher up in the political food chain decided they can’t, their constitutional rights are taken away.

You can’t be tried twice for the same crime but it happens all the time. We can give you one example: O.J. Simpson.

He went to trial for the murder of his wife twice, once in criminal court and once in civil court. Isn’t that being tried twice for the same crime?

The Tenth Amendment states that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

But how many times have the federal courts (un-elected judges that basically answer to no one) overruled and taken away the rights guaranteed by the tenth amendment?

There’s nothing we can do about it because we are nothing but tiny peons who need to bow and scrape to the almighty ones in the robes.

So the commissioners won the lawsuit but people need to remember they did not win because they were innocent, they one on a technicality. The facts stated in the court documents and in the Husch Blackwell report are still noteworthy.

But a victory is still a victory and the commissioners won and Todd was exonerated in the judges ruling of any wrongdoing except for one thing:

He should have sent the initial letter on plain paper. – Dale Johnson

Editorial - Two subjects

(Published 6-6-2018) 

This week we have two subjects to editorialize on. The first is the ongoing lawsuit of Rowland Todd against Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty, Commissioner Don Williams and Commissioner Beverly Thomas.

We’re tired of reporting on it. The reason is nothing is happening. It is the perfect example of the ability of lawyers to prolong something and pad their bank accounts.

The commissioners were sued as individuals but the attorneys (plural) for them are getting paid from elsewhere: county tax dollars or county insurance that’s paid by tax dollars.

There are two schools of though regarding this case: One, the attorney’s (plural) for the commissioners are stretching things out as long as they can to enhance their bank accounts and in the hope that Todd, who is using his own money for his attorney (singular) will run out of money and give up.

The other school of thought is this is normal for discovering facts before going to trial. Guess which one we think is true?

All that’s happening is many depositions, this lawyer objecting to something the other lawyer said or filed and that lawyer coming back with a rebuttal and blah, blah, blah.

As interesting as it is to read the depositions from various people, it is more to satisfy curiosity (though some very pertinent facts can be gleaned from the depositions). So we are not going to report on the case until something major transpires.

The second reason for that is financial. We, unlike the Lake Sun, are locally owned. We don’t have a multi-million dollar parent company behind us so we have to be careful with our finances.

What does that have to do with this case? The case is filed in Federal Court and every document that we want has to be paid for. So since we are locally owned we have to look at this from a financial point of view.

For example, we were very interested in reading the deposition (or witch hunt) of Lake Sun reporter Joyce Miller. The problem was the long deposition would cost us $32 to get. We are not going to make $32 off of that one story. So we did not obtain it.

Something major may possibly probably maybe happen in the next decade or two but until that happens, we see no reason to report on the back and forth arguing of attorneys.

Subject number two: Eric Greitens.

We hope the liberal loonies are having multiple orgasms now that they have succeeded in getting rid of Greitens.

In their warped little minds, Greitens had three things against him:

1. He was one of those evil Republicans
2. He was one of those evil conservatives
3. He admitted he was not perfect and made a mistake in his life

So, foaming at the mouth with their political rabies, they went after him.

No proof was ever presented that the allegations were true, no proof of a nude blackmail photo was ever produced. It was the “she said and we don’t care what the facts are” situation.

In this uncaring world we live in today once someone makes an accusation, they are guilty. No proof is needed but the accusation. So once the accuser barfed out the accusations, Greitens was guilty and should be removed from office and burned at the stake.

So now he’s resigning. Oh and by the way, many if not all the charges filed against him by the liberals in St. Louis have been dropped.

They claimed they will re-file but now that they have removed the evil (in their minds) one from office, destroyed his political career and maybe did major damage to his marriage with a subject that already caused pain between his wife and him and was settled and overcome by them in the past (according to Greitens) why bother filing anything against him?

Now the question comes to mind about the new governor, Mike Parsons. How long will it take before the brain-dead democrats dig up some unproven garbage to remove him from office?

We think that it will happen sooner than later. After all, to the liberal loonies, he is one of them evil Republicans. – Dale Johnson

Guest Editorial - Dog reflections

(Published 5-30-2018) 

If you are cat person, or someone else who does not care for our most faithful companions, I suggest you skip over this column.

Miss Elaine and I recently had to say goodbye to Oliver, our trusty friend of 12-1/2 years. Oliver was a Shetland Sheepdog, or Sheltie. Think miniature version of Lassie if you are unfamiliar with the breed. Ollie was a Christmas present for daughter Elizabeth, but was actually a bargaining chip for a long time before he was even born. Lizzy desperately wanted a dog. I didn’t, but spotting an opportunity, I told her if she could prove she could act responsibly we would get her one.

During her “trial” period she did all her chores without complaint. Any misdeed, like dirty laundry left on the floor was met with, “that’s not being very responsible,” and the situation would be resolved in a flash. After about two years Miss Elaine declared I was just milking it, (I was), so I’d better get her a dog, (I did). Any of you parents out there with children clamoring for a pooch are welcome to this idea, no charge.

Of course, once said pup is in child’s hands, expect all rigidly moderated behavior control to evaporate. When dogs are young and full of energy, sometimes calling them by one name just doesn’t get their attention. We found in those situations, like children, a middle name is most helpful. Since we neglected to give Ollie one, we ended up appropriating Elizabeth’s for her canine charge. Thus, “Oliver Anne” became the ultimate attention getter.

Groucho Marx once said, “Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.” Grouch was most wise. Dogs are easy roommates. Let’s face it, how cheery would you be if every day you had the same meal? Yet dogs are always excited and appreciative when you fill the bowl. “Oh, man! It’s dog food again! How do they keep coming up with this stuff!” Cats sometimes turn down their favorites just to keep you on your toes.

The all-time best movie dog, hands down, was not Lassie, but Dog from Big Jake (1971). John Wayne as Jake and his pal Dog traveled the countryside righting wrongs, and the only command Jake ever gave his canine sidekick was, “Dawg!” “Dawg!,” and Dog bites the bad guy’s gun hand. “Dawg!,” and Dog knocks the hostage off a horse to keep him from getting shot. “Dawg!,” and Dog goes to law school, gets his juris doctorate and successfully sues the polluters despoiling the grazing land.

Ok, I made that last one up, but Dog was awesome. And it turns out he was actually Lassie’s son, Laddie, dyed black so you couldn’t figure out that he was a collie. My father had a favorite joke, and it was related to dogs.

It went thus; “A boy went to stay with his grandfather at a lake cabin. No electricity, no running water, it was very primitive. When they sat down to their first meal together the boy said, “Grandpa, this fork doesn’t look very clean. It’s kinda greasy.” “Don’t worry about it, boy, that’s as clean as cold water can get it.” “But Grandpa, this plate’s not clean, either. There’s still some egg stuck to it.” “Quit fuss’n and eat up, boy.” That’s as clean as cold water can get it.” After they eat, the boy gets up to go outside, but grandpa’s old dog is laying in front of the door and gives a low growl when he gets close. “Grandpa, your dog won’t let me out.” The old man yells at the dog. “Get out of the way, Coldwater!”

They say that man is the master, and the dog is a faithful servant. We spend all day working, paying bills, and even arguing politics. Dogs sleep, eat, enjoy a nice scratch on the ears and a walk. Which is really the species that is better off? - Frank Mercer


Guest Editorial - It’s not funny

(Published 5-16-2018) 

Comedian Rob Schneider has had some pointed criticism for Saturday Night Live recently. Schneider is an alum of the show and says that, by going full-out on a left-wing agenda, they’ve weakened their comedy. He says that, by consistently Trump bashing, SNL telegraphs the punch line. “...I think makes it less interesting because you know the direction the piece is going.”

Schneider is also not a fan of Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of the president, citing his, “fuming, seething anger.” Schneider is onto something. So much of what passes for comedy these days is little more than thinly disguised hatred. What a far cry that is from when comedians told jokes on both sides of the political spectrum. SNL once could find humor in a variety of ways about both parties.

In a classic routine, Phil Hartman started with the standard comedic shorthand of President Ronald Reagan; genial, and clueless, leaning toward senile. Then, when the guests were ushered out of the Oval Office and the doors shut, his Reagan did a 180 and became the master leader, totally in charge and knowledgeable about every detail. It was the unexpected twist that made the sketch funny. Today’s SNL stops at the easy shorthand portrayal.

The late night shows long functioned as a last bit of light entertainment before America fell asleep. Now they are only slightly less political than the news channel round tables...and often not as funny. Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Trevor Noah, Samantha Bee and Jimmy Kimmel are known for delivering brutal attacks on the president and members of the GOP. Mr. Colbert went so far off the rails with a diatribe that sanitizing it enough to make it printable here would render it totally undecipherable. The others aren’t far behind.

The attacks, while heart-felt, aren’t always funny. You can only shout “he’s an idiot,” for so long before it’s just boring. Still, there is also enormous pressure to keep it up. Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show doesn’t give Donald Trump a pass, he just doesn’t attack with the viciousness the others do. He gets blasted for it. After a pleasant interview with then Candidate Trump, the media was apopolectic.

“If Jimmy Fallon had any credibility left as a thinking comedian with a point of view, he lost the last shred of it last night,” Variety reported. An article in the Guardian suggested that viewers, “...want late-night hosts to sound the alarm, to provide a comedic bastion against what amounts, at best, to a flailing, shambolic presidency.” And here we thought the point of comedy was to cause laughter. The pressure to escalate culminated recently with the Washington Correspondent’s Dinner. Host Michelle Wolf, who is apparently famous somewhere for something, took advantage of her time in the spotlight by savaging as many people as time allowed. As CNN’s Chris Cillizza put it, “She wanted to napalm the room. And she did. Unapologetically.”

Wolf’s attacks on Presidential Press Spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders were singled out by most commentators. Partly because Sanders was within spitting distance. Once, the Correspondent’s dinner was more like a Dean Martin roast, sharp, but with an underlying respect for those involved. Wolf’s material was so angry and unfunny that the audience greeted most of it with silence or shocked gasps. Yet, Wolf accomplished what she set out to do. She was the number one topic on the internet and political shows the following day and got tons of P.R. for her new series on a streaming service.

For comedy to work, it should have an element of truth, and should, most of all, be funny. Simply repeating the current talking points doesn’t qualify on either count. - Frank Mercer


Editorial - Guilty until proven…never mind, you’re guilty!

(Published 5-9-2018) 

(Editor's note: In our print edition we mentioned that Governor Eric Greitens was a conservative Christian. Greitens is Jewish and not Christian, though he does seem to promote Judeo-Christian values and does claim to be a conservative. The Reporter regrets the error.)

At what period of time did we become a society where people become offended by everything? One word or phrase and people have a fit and demand the one saying the words or the one accused needs to go away or even better yet, leave the human race.

In today’s world just an accusation can destroy your life – even if it’s a lie. Any kind of inappropriate word or perceived action can get the wolves after you and those wolves are the mainstream media along with politicians who will sell their souls to keep their office.

The case against Missouri Governor Eric Greitens is one of those.

He admitted that he cheated on his wife in the past but that has all been settled between him and his wife and is a thing of the past.

But Greitens has claimed to be a conservative and that is enough for the Satan-worshipping liberals to seek his head on a tray.

The accusations against Greitens and just that, accusations and they have not been proven true but that is not necessary for the wolves. A simple accusation – true or false – is all they need to begin the gathering of wood in preparation for Greitens to be burned at the stake.

Greitens has been accused of being mean to the lady who was willingly having an affair with a married man and threatening to expose her – literally – with an alleged nude photo he took of her.

There has never been any word that the photo was real or that it was ever taken. In fact, in the deposition, the lady said she may have just dreamed that the photo was taken.

Her testimony before the House Special Investigation on Oversight also indicates she was attracted to him and was willing to meet him privately, even though she was married also.

In March of 2015, Greitens returned to the woman’s place of employment for a haircut. This is how she said she reacted.

“[W]hen I saw Eric was coming in that time, I was super nervous because he was one of – you know, really, my only client that I had somewhat of a crush on and thought he was this great guy, and so I just felt kind of nervous having him come in, and because I thought that maybe he didn’t come in to see me after that time because he felt bad flirting with me, because he was having a baby soon.”

On March 21 she went over to Greitens house willingly. He had some sexy clothes for her to put on and she willingly did that and willingly went onto the basement with him. Why did she go?

“And at this point I thought – we hadn’t worked out together ever, so I thought, Oh,
maybe it’ll be some sort of – I don’t know – sexy workout.

As far as the alleged photo, the report from the house casts major doubt on it even existing.

“After Greitens pulled down her pants, Witness 1 testified, ‘[T]hen I hear him kind of, like, step back – take a step back and I hear – I can hear like a, like a cell phone – like a picture, and I can see a flash through the blindfold.’
Witness 1 testified that she felt like her ‘privacy was invaded.’
Witness 1 testified that she never saw an actual picture. Nor did she recall ‘the first time she saw his phone.’”

So there is some doubt in the entire story but that doesn’t matter, Greitens is guilty, even though no court trial has decided that. Calls have abounded from politicians concerned about their careers for him to resign.

Whatever happed to innocent until proven guilty? What can’t he have his day in court to defend himself?

Maybe Greitens did take the photo, maybe he did abuse her in some way and maybe he did blackmail her but isn’t all that supposed to be decided in a trial?

Apparently not. He’s guilty and that’s all there is to it.

Missouri lawmakers will meet on May 18 to decide the fate of Greitens based solely on unproven allegations and our prediction is he will be removed from the office of Governor.

In our modern times, an unproven accusation is worth more than a trial to prove a person’s innocent or guilt. The Lawmakers in this state who vote against Greitens on an unproven accusation should be ashamed of themselves and the people should remove every one of them from office. – Dale Johnson

Guest Editorial - James Comey

(Published 4-25-2018) 

Finally, something most Republicans and Democrats can agree on: Contempt for James Comey. The former FBI director has been out flogging a book he has written titled “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership.” Nether the book or Comey’s interviews are setting well with members of both parties.

Comey appeared on an episode of ABC’s 20/20 where he was interviewed by former Clinton war room operative George Stephanopoulos. Comey stressed that it was important to prosecute Martha Stewart and David Patraeus because they lied to the FBI. Yet he doesn’t see any problems with Hillary Clinton’s emails issue because she did not have “intent.”

Her work emails showed that classified information was routinely sent on her non-government account. When Congress subpoenaed them, 33,000 “personal” emails were deleted and the server was wiped in a way to make them unrecoverable. That kinda sounds like intent.

On the flip side, though, Comey came out and excoriated Mrs. Clinton for her handling of classified material. It was unprecedented the way he talked about a case where charges were not going to be filed. Democrats were livid at the time, with good reason. Comey told Stephanopoulos he took that step so that the American people would know that a fair an honest investigation had been done. Except when you look at how the case was investigated, including giving immunity to key Clinton underlings involved, it doesn’t look like a serious effort.

Democrats felt if a case wasn’t going to be prosecuted, the FBI director shouldn’t have ripped into the Democratic nominee. Republicans felt if it were as bad as Comey said, there was no way Mrs. Clinton shouldn’t have been charged. Then less than two weeks before the election, Comey announced that thousands of Mrs. Clinton’s emails had been found on the laptop of Anthony Weiner and that the case was being reopened.

Weiner is a disgraced former congressman and husband of one key aide and Clinton Campaign Vice Chairman Huma Abedin. This announcement rocked the presidential campaign. It was an October surprise of record proportions. Comey told Stephanopoulos that his decision to do so was influenced by the fact that he was certain Mrs. Clinton would win, and he didn’t want to cripple her presidency. She says he cost her the election. No one will ever know if that is true, but it sure didn’t help her.

On the other hand, it is often overlooked that Comey exonerated Mrs. Clinton again just two days before the election. This action certainly rallied her troops and depressed Mr. Trump’s. The way Comey goes after President Trump in all these interviews goes a long way toward revealing his true character and motivations. Comey made a big deal out of how defensive Mr. Trump was when he told him about the Steele dossier. In his narrative, becoming upset about something like that is not a normal reaction.

When Stephanopoulos asked if Comey had told President-Elect Trump that the Steele dossier was financed by the Clinton campaign and the DNC, he said he hadn’t. Mr. Comey admitted that the “dossier” was unverified. Could he not see the relevance of it being paid opposition research? How much different would the last year have played out if the American public had known the document was the work product of the DNC and Clinton Campaign and not actual, “intelligence.” Comey even admits to being a leaker himself in order to get a special prosecutor hired, yet he tries to paint himself as a helpless victim of circumstances throughout. He did everything only because he was forced to is his claim.

It all comes off as incredibly self-serving. Neither party is buying it. History won’t look kindly on him. - Frank Mercer

Editorial - The continuing witch hunt

(Published 4-18-2018) 

There’s a scene in the classic movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the peasants bring out a woman to Sir Vladimir and claim she is a witch. During the very silly discussion on why they think she is a witch, King Arthur comes up and the discussion turns into how they can find out if she’s a witch.

Sir Vladimir: “There are ways of telling whether she is a witch.
Peasants: “Are there? Well then tell us!”
Sir Vladimir: “Tell me... what do you do with witches?”
Peasants: “Burn’em! Burn them up!”
Sir Vladimir: “What do you burn apart from witches?”
Peasants: “Wood!”
Sir Vladimir: “So, why do witches burn?”
Peasants: “Cuz they’re made of... wood?”
Sir Vladimir: “Good. So, how do we tell if she is made of wood? Does wood sink in water?”
Peasants: “No. It floats!”
Sir Vladimir: “What also floats?
King Arthur: “A duck.”
Sir Vladimir: “Exactly! So, logically...”
Peasants: “If she weighs the same as a duck... she’s made of wood!”
Sir Vladimir: “And therefore…”
Peasants: “A witch!”

The current witch hunt against President Trump is sounding more and more like the gang from Monty Python wrote it.

For well over a year this load of nonsense has been burning up our tax dollars on the completely phony Russian collusion idea.

No one has yet to tell us exactly what the Russians did to “change” the election and get Trump elected.

They didn’t hack into voting machines and change the results. They allegedly hacked into some databases to get voter registrations but that had no affect on the election.

It was claimed that the Wikileaks information about Hillary Clinton’s criminal email antics was given to Wiki by Vladimir Putin, but Wiki has said it did not get the information from Russia.

Another point is not one part of the Clinton information on her criminal email situation has been proven wrong, so what they really are saying is that Putin helped give voters more truth about Hillary.

Earlier in March, according to the New York Times, Mueller’s investigators looked into attempts by the United Arab Emirates to funnel money to the Trump campaign to buy political influence.

Since when is Russia located in the United Arab Emirates?

So the witch hunt against Trump has gone far beyond the scope of the goal of the investigation. The latest is alleged payments to a porn star named Stormy Daniels by Trump’s attorney.

These two incidents have nothing to do with the fake “Russian collusion.” The fact is there was no Russian collusion and Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, is desperate to find some dirt on Trump so he can be burned at the stake.

And by the way, Daniels is paid to have sex with people (in front of a camera) doesn’t that make her a prostitute? And the word of a prostitute is credible?

Another point to consider is one of common sense, but the problem with common sense is it’s not that common but we’ll try anyway.

Do you think Putin would have an easier time exerting his power in the world with Clinton or Trump as president?

Trump has repeatedly said that he wants to make the United States his first priority and make America great again. He even said this in a speech overseas.

That is something that Barack Obama and Clinton would never say. Clinton would more than likely have continued the tour of the world (started by Obama) apologizing for everything this country has done in the past.

Putin would have had an easy time with Clinton as President. Helping to elect Trump would make it difficult for Putin to continue his efforts at world domination.

But we’re supposed to believe that he helped Trump get elected.

One more point: Has this county grown so weak that our presidential elections can be changed by almighty Russia?

If that’s true and Russia did change our elections, then Obama is to blame for weakening this nation during his reign.

Since this witch hunt will obviously continue for a while – if not for the entire four years (or eight) of Trump’s term – we can expect more nonsense from Mueller and the left-wing loonies.

Maybe what Mueller needs is a set of large scales and a duck. – Dale Johnson

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