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 December 14, 2018)

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

Editorial - Communist China

(Published 4-11-2018) 

We receive a lot of email here at The Reporter and a large percentage of it is garbage – even if it’s not spam.

Recent examples are people complaining about President Trump wanting to put tariffs on Communist China.

That phrase is one that is rarely spoken today but it’s the truth. China is a communist country that oppresses its people, severely (including Christians) and is taking over the world financially by dumping all their inferior products in the United States and in the rest of the world.

Don’t think that when you buy something from Communist China that some Chinese person is getting rich off of it. It’s the government that benefits the most because it is a communist country and communism benefits those in power not the people.

Start reading labels to see how much stuff we buy comes from Communist China. Then stop buying it.

The trade balance between the United States and Communist China is not even close to being a level playing field. The communists have the upper hand and we, like sheep being led to the slaughter, go right along with it because we can save a dollar or two by buying some Communist China-made junk instead of paying more for Made in USA and keeping American jobs.

So President Trump announced tariffs against Communist China and the liberals got their diapers all in a bunch and started complaining. It appears by their words and actions that they favor Communist China over the United States and extreme left-wing liberal Clare McCaskill is one of them.

In an email last week from one of McCaskill’s minions (McCaskill for Missouri Communications Director Meira Bernstein) any tariff against Communist China is wrong for Missourians.

“Missouri farmers and ranchers have been crystal clear that these tariffs will hurt them. That's why Claire joined her Republican colleagues in opposing the tariffs, while still supporting efforts that would hold China accountable. Josh Hawley, however, endorsed the tariffs despite opposition from Missouri farmers and ranchers. Hawley’s support for the tariffs tells you everything you need to know about this race: Claire McCaskill will always put Missourians first. Josh Hawley will not.”

Hawley is trying to beat McCaskill in the upcoming election and she is worried because she has been joined at the hip with liberals Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and voters realize that she is just like them.

These are the voters that put Donald Trump in the White House.

So it should be no surprise that McCaskill wouldn’t want to hurt poor old Communist China. What is surprising is the Missouri Farm Bureau agrees with her.

We understand that selling produce to Communist China is important for the farmers’ bank accounts and we have no problem with them selling the commies all they can, but something has to be done to stop Communist China from financially destroying this country more than it already has.

Have we gotten to the point where we will sell our souls and our country for the almighty dollar? The bottom line is Communist China needs us more than we need them.

If we were to cut off Communist China for six months and not allow any of their products into this country, they would be on their hands and knees begging us for forgiveness. They would lose billions because we would tell them to shove their commie garbage.

We have printed the Missouri Farm Bureau commentary at the bottom of this page where you can read them complaining about President Trump making poor Communist China mad at us.

President Trump is not an idiot, despite what the left-wing loonies think. It’s very possible that the last paragraph of their commentary is exactly what Trump is planning by announcing the tariffs.

It will scare Communist China into leveling the trade with us and there will be no tariffs.

If we continue to let Communist China dominate our markets in this country, then we better learn to speak Chinese and get used to calling each other “comrade.” – Dale Johnson

Guest Editorial - It's out there

(Published 3-28-2018) 

The best bet is to assume that if you are active on the internet, somebody has all of your personal data. That way you won’t be surprised when you find out somebody really does. Just last week was the news that a company called Cambridge Analytica had harvested the information of some 50 million Facebook users. The media is going bonkers because Cambridge Analytica worked with the Trump campaign.

The information was gathered when people took an online personality profile by an academic. Something in the fine print allowed the gathering of information about all of the quiz taker’s Facebook friends. If you were one of those who took the quiz and feel bad about not reading the details, don’t, no one ever does. Hey, it could have been worse.

You could just as easily have agreed to allow Uber to harvest your head to control one of their self-driving cars. You’d never know it until somebody came to your door with a saw, a gunny sack and a screen shot showing where you pushed the “agree” button. Y

ou people who read through all the fine print on internet notice pages, should go gather in a phone booth somewhere and discuss how stupid we mere mortals are. But you don’t have to get fooled for your personal information to get out there. Yahoo had a data breach a couple of years ago that they said exposed the info of 500 million users to hackers. Later, they admitted they were off a little bit and the count was actually more like 3 billion.

Equifax had a breach that left vulnerable about 143 million people. This is a credit rating company, heavily guarding the type of info that nobody wants getting into the hands of hackers, yet somehow they still got breached. Lots of people willingly dump a whole lot of information out there in the open for just about anybody to see. When you’re on vacation, it seems counter-intuitive to stop your mail delivery and put lights on timers, when you’re giving real-time updates that you and the whole family are zip lining three states away.

The Cambridge Analytica rage is because the Trump team harvested the information to help get him elected. Using media math, one equation is always right Trump=Evil. Convenient amnesia has appeared about the fact that the gathering done by Cambridge Analytica had been pioneered by the Obama campaign. Back then, Facebook willingly allowed it, and the media did stories about what geniuses the Obama computer gurus were. The similarities between what was done for Obama and what was done for Trump are darn close.

Person one gave the okay, and all of their “friends” got dragged into it without permission. The big difference is that one set of people thought they were dealing only with a professor somewhere, and the other set knew they were subjecting their friends to the Obama political campaign’s magnifying glass.

Quick note, if you give access to somebody’s personal data to a politician without their permission, you are not really their friend. Carol Davidsen, who at the time this went down was Director of Integration of Media Analytics for Obama for America, (try putting that on a business card and have it still be readable) came clean on all this.

“Facebook was surprised we were able to suck out the whole social graph, but they didn’t stop us once they realized that was what we were doing. They came to office in the days following election recruiting & were very candid that they allowed us to do things they wouldn’t have allowed someone else to do because they were on our side,” she said. It was cool and revolutionary then; it’s sinister and underhanded now. A good rule of thumb going forward, before doing anything on the internet, decide, “Do I want the whole world to have access to this.”

And then be ready, because that just might be the result. - Frank Mercer


Guest Editorial - Finding Russians

(Published 3-14-2018) 

There was a 1960s movie, “The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!” In it, a New England town panics when a Russian sub runs aground. Crazy hijinks ensue, and rationality goes out the window.

For those of us who haven’t bought into the whole, “the Russians colluded with Donald Trump to steal the election from Hillary Clinton” scenario, the last 15 months or so have seemed like that.

We’ve been told on a daily basis that it was Russian interference that tipped the election in Mr. Trump’s favor, that his presidency was illegitimate, and that he is a puppet of Vladimir Putin. Despite millions and millions of dollars spent on a special council probe, no evidence to that effect has appeared.

Recently, Special Council Robert Muller did indict Russians and Russian organization for actions against the U.S., but not for colluding with Candidate Trump. The left, the Democrats, and the mainstream media say all these groups were working for a Trump victory, but you come to this conclusion only if you refuse to open your eyes and take your head out of the echo chamber that has been the collusion narrative. The candidate thought by almost everyone to have the least chance of winning the election was Donald Trump.

If you start from the premise that the Russians assumed Mrs. Clinton would win, (as did all the experts), then a simpler scenario emerges: do whatever possible to damage a Clinton presidency and make America weaker. Little discussed in the media, is that the Russians were supporting everything they could to cause division. Even pushing both sides of issues. They boosted Bernie Sanders, another candidate thought to have no chance. Have you heard any shouts of Sanders collusion? The Russian goal was to brew anger. Black Lives Matter, immigration, Muslims, police shootings, all were targeted. After the election, they promoted both pro- and anti-Trump rallies.

There is no doubt that Vladimir Putin is a bad actor. He’s a former KGB officer and those guys weren’t chosen for their sunny dispositions and helpful manner. He has a long history of acting ruthlessly in the Russian (Putin) self-interest.

A few months ago, NPR’s Planet Money ran a fascinating piece about how Russia used propaganda to help ignite civil war in the Ukraine. The Russians generated the story that the Ukrainian government was “neo-nazi”, “fascist”, “ultranationalist”, and was “illegitimate.” Sounds like the same charges leveled against Donald Trump. Reports in the Ukraine described gangs of neo-nazis rioting and other “news” that wasn’t true, and the country became fearful and divisiveness spread. The NPR report did not draw any parallels with the U.S., but it does sound pretty familiar.

Ever since the election, we’ve been told that President Trump is the most evil man ever, that it was white supremacists, neo-nazis, the Klan and the alt-right that elected him. It is uncertain how this narrative got started, but the left and the media have worked overtime to advance it.

An argument can be made that the only evidence of collusion discovered so far is with the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee spending millions to create an opposition research document that was then labeled a dossier. Much of that money was spent with Russians to provide dirt.

Vlad is bad, and no doubt he wants division in the U.S. The weaker we are, the stronger his position in the world. There is no argument that many people now rely on social media for most of their news. Much of that “information” is pure unadulterated garbage. Legitimate internet news sites usually fail to label what is opinion. The lines between the two have become so hazy as to be indistinguishable. Americans as a whole ought to be doing some soul-searching about how badly we fall for propaganda, whether it be from outside actors or a political party. - Frank Mercer


Guest Editorial - Taking a realistic look

(Published 2-28-2018) 

There has been another horrific school shooting, this time in Florida, and 17 are dead with 14 wounded. Immediately, the call went out for “sensible gun control measures” to stop such massacres. And, they must be done now.

Republican lawmakers and the NRA are once again being blasted for standing in the way of these “common sense” proposals and because they won’t act now.

Can we just all be honest here? The only way to stop this (and by addressing only guns) is a total ban and confiscation of all privately owned firearms. That’s it, only a revocation of the Second Amendment and stripping every American of a Constitutional right would stand even a small chance of success. Let’s lay out the facts why dealing with guns alone won’t work, and not just listen to the propaganda.

The anti-gun lobby says a ban on AR-15 and similar “assault weapons” is what is needed to stop these mass murders. They are lying and any knowledgeable person on either side of the debate knows it. The undeniable fact is that “assault weapons” are simply scarier looking semi-autos dressed up to look like military weapons.

In function, all semi-autos are the same. Banning one without banning all accomplishes nothing. A ban on high capacity magazines is also offered. The fact that magazines can be changed in a couple of seconds takes most of the power out of that argument. But suppose all semi-auto long guns could be banned, what next?

The deadliest school shooting ever was at Virginia Tech where 32 were murdered with two semi-automatic pistols. Autoloading pistols have been used in many other school shootings, so they have to go as well.

Don’t leave shotguns off the list. They’ve been used in multiple school murders, and if the other weapons are gone, they’ll go to the top of the list.

One thing all sides agree on is that there is no acceptable number when it comes to students being murdered in school. After you eliminate the semi-autos, will smaller numbers be killed when only shotguns, revolvers or hunting rifles are available be tolerated? Of course not. And that is why only a complete ban on all firearms has any chance of stopping all school shootings if you are only going to address guns as a solution.

Both sides know it. They also know that a complete ban cannot happen without changing the Constitution and darn few of us would agree to it. And even if we did, it is not going to happen now. So, put the focus on steps that might be taken without decades of debate.

If the lock breaks on your door, you don’t put up a sign saying, “Door is unsecured 24-hours a day.” Yet, we’ve assured these insane killers that schools are “gun free zones.” Across the country we’ve spent millions on special locks for glass doors that would stop no gunman. At the same time, only a few states allow armed security guards.

I’ve long advocated starting something similar to the air marshal program for schools. Use teachers and administrators who volunteer for the assignment and pass rigorous training and evaluation. Like the air marshals, their identities would be kept secret. Potential shooters would have to assume there were multiple armed defenders waiting to stop them. That, is a deterrent.

Over the past few decades, we’ve made it nearly impossible for people with severe mental issues to be given help unless they volunteer for it. Many people warned that the shooter in Florida was potentially dangerous, and he was banned from carrying a backpack on campus. Even after disturbing posts on social media, nothing could be done until after. And we need to have a serious discussion about what has changed in our society that has led to all these horrifying crimes. - Frank Mercer


Editorial - A deeper problem

(Published 2-21-2018) 

Another school shooting and another chance for liberals to ban guns. Calls have started right away using the tired old mantra of needing “common sense gun laws.”

What “common sense gun laws” would have prevented this?

The shooter legally bought the gun, he legally passed a background check and even though people claim that there were a lot of warning signs about the shooter, no one did anything. Even the FBI (the Federal Bureau of Incompetence) received a tip that there was a problem with the person before the shooter acted and they did nothing.

So what “common sense gun laws” could have prevented this?

Whenever there is a horrible tragedy like this the ones who speak out the loudest prove they have no idea what the issue is and the issue is not guns.

Guns have been common since the 1800’s (and even before) so why didn’t these mass shootings happened back then?

Let’s take the Thompson submachine gun. It was invented in 1918 and was available for sale to the general public around 1921.

Do you remember reading about all the mass school shootings with a Thompson from those days? No? Why not?

Because they didn’t happen.

Restrictions were placed on the gun in 1934 due to its use by gangsters.

The problem is not guns but a deeper problem of morality. Each of you reading this (and this writer) were made fun of in school at some time, maybe we were bullied and left out of the “popular” people but did you ever seriously consider getting a gun and going to the school and killing people?

No. The thought of doing that never entered into the minds of the majority of us who were put down or bullied. One of the reasons is we had morals and were brought up knowing right from wrong.

That is no longer taught in public schools today. Right and wrong can be whatever you want and it’s all relative.

If a Muslim terrorist wants to strap a bomb on himself and blow up a bus-load of Jewish women and children, some may see it as wrong but if you look at it from the point of the bomber, then to him it is right so right and wrong depends on how you look at it.

That is what is being taught in today’s society and it’s a giant lie. Right and wrong is black and white, cut and dry, whatever phrase you want to use.

It’s wrong to violently murder an unborn child out of convenience. It’s wrong to blow yourself up trying to kill innocent people. It’s wrong to go into a gun-free zone (school) and murder people.

Right and wrong is black and white (and we’re not talking about race so don’t start reading things into this that were not saying).

The truth will never be found in the gray area. It is either on way or the other.

The focus during times like these always turns to banning those “evil guns,” shutting down the powerful “gun lobby” or attacking the NRA. Everything else is blamed except for the real underlying problem and that’s a lack of moral teaching and a common sense view of the sanctity of life.

That life could be the life of someone else or a love for the life and freedom we have. The bully in school is not worth throwing the rest of your life away. If we would have brought a gun to school and did the same thing many do today, we would either be killed (by the police or by the death penalty) or be sent to prison for the rest of our lives.

These idiots in school (teachers or students) are not worth losing our life and freedom over. You deal with it for a few years and then when you graduate you walk away and never talk to them again. They’re not worth it.

The Florida shooter’s life is over. He’s been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. Were the people in school worth throwing his life away?

But acceptance by your peers is the main goal in life in today’s world and receives heavy focus, instead of the teaching of simple common sense morality.

But none of this truth will be focused upon by the majority of people after this event. The problem is guns and all guns are evil and all guns should be banned. There is a deeper reason here and it has nothing to do with guns but will the schools, the mainstream media or the clowns in Washington address this deeper problem?

Don’t count on it. – Dale Johnson

Guest Editorial - Bombshell

(Published 2-7-2018) 

The much anticipated memo by Republican Congressman Devin Nunes, head of the House Intelligence Committee, was finally made public Friday after days of hand-wringing by the media and Democrats. First and foremost, it shoots down any claims of causing damage to national security, because nowhere in it does it contain any secrets about gathering vital intelligence.

What it does contain are charges that put upper levels of the FBI and Department of Justice in the spotlight for using their offices for political purposes. According to the memo, the primary reason the FBI and DOJ were able to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant was that they went before a judge and cited the “Trump Dossier,” a document bought and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign. Go through that slowly for a minute.

The campaign of one political party, the one then in power in the Executive Branch, decides to come up with some dirt for an October surprise against the candidate from the other party. They spend a lot of money with a company known for digging up dirt, and that company, Fushion GPS, hires a former British agent, Christopher Steele, who spreads the money around with a bunch of Russian characters. The result is a “dossier” so salacious and unconfirmable, that no media outlet, none, will run with it before the election.

According to Nunes and the investigation conducted by the House Intelligence Committee, that same sleazy document produced by the Hillary Clinton campaign was taken before a FISA court and presented as legitimate foreign intelligence. It’s origins were of course hidden. The reporting by Yahoo News was cited as corroboration of the “dossier,” but the source for that reporting was Steele. Never during the initial request or subsequent renewal did the FBI or DOJ note the connection to the Clinton Campaign, or the fact that Steele had revealed himself to be virulently anti-Trump, both things of which they were aware. DOJ official Bruce Ohr, who worked closely with Steele, was married to an employee of Fushion GPS and her opposition research material was also used in the case.

That connection was not relayed to the court. All of this, as well as the multiple desperately anti-Trump text messages between two top FBI officials conducting a bit of personal undercover work (wink, wink), point to clear politically charged action by agencies sworn to never operate in that area. Democrats have spent the last couple of weeks raging that the Republicans would dare say anything negative about the top law enforcement officials in the land or question their motives.

But, seriously, if George W. Bush’s FBI and DOJ had gone after candidate Barack Obama on the basis of opposition research paid for by John McCain’s campaign, they would have screamed, “Constitutional crisis,” and rightly so. The mainstream media spent last week demanding that Nunes’ memo be suppressed. Those calls even came from the New York Times and Washington Post who have not been shy about reporting on top secret government programs that when exposed damaged the U.S. effort to battle terrorism.

The FBI and DOJ are two institutions that must remain above reproach. It is unfair to expect that individuals there have no political bias of any kind. But if the people in charge act to advance their political preferences, how are they different than the KGB in the old Soviet Union? In the not too distant past the FBI leadership strayed into the political arena. J. Edgar Hoover kept secret files to intimidate anyone who might cross him. He ordered investigations of prominent members on the left and of civil rights activists including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Democrats would do well to remember those times and fight to see that such situations do not return, even if they are not the targets this time. - Frank Mercer


Guest Editorial - Hoping for change

(Published 1-24-2018) 

Government shutdown! Government shutdown! We’re all gonna die!

That’s the level of hype we woke up to Saturday morning, but for most of us it’s not that dramatic a situation. The government shutdown is just about the craziest dance performed by the legislative branch. It has very little to do with persuasion and negotiation and a whole lot to do with showmanship.

The shutdown has become such a media favorite that way, way before it should be on anyone’s radar the grumbling starts. Like a low, ominous chant, “shut down, shut down, shut down.” Imagine a boy’s locker room when two combatants start to square off while the others egg them on. “Fight, fight, fight!”

The shutdown has become a favorite of the Democrats because during the last two editions, in 2013 and 1996, they got to heap enormous amounts of abuse on the Republicans. The political consensus now is that Republicans get hurt by shutdowns and Democrats are buoyed by them. The Dems, this time as a minority, party, were happy to stand their ground and force the shutdown, knowing that their allies in the mainstream media have got their always. The GOP, terrified of the endless coverage painting them as the bad guys yet again, bent over backward to make a deal, but it didn’t happen.

The catalyst for this round has been protection for “Dreamers,” illegal immigrants who came here as children and have lived much of their lives here. The Democrats know that this a group for which most Americans have a great deal of sympathy and compassion, so they were more than ready to take a chance on the outcome.

Most of us never feel any real effect of a shutdown. Unless your paycheck is stopped, a shutdown is just something on the news. For those people living paycheck to paycheck, not knowing when they’ll get paid again, it’s rough. Through it all, the essential parts of government will continue to function.

First, and most important to them, Congress will continue to get paid. Rare is the action that actually has a hurtful effect on a member of the legislature. The military, air traffic control, the post office, USDA, the FBI, all that and more, keep operating. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Veterans Hospitals, will also continue to function.

The director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney said before the shutdown, that steps would be taken to minimize hardships. “We're going to manage the shutdown differently. We're not going to weaponize it," he said. "We’re not going to try and hurt people, especially people who work for the federal government." Mulvaney said that, in 2013, agencies were not told to use their carry-forward funds or to transfer authority. “They could have made a shutdown in 2013 much less impactful, but they chose to make it worse,” he said. “The only conclusion I can draw is they did it for political purposes.”

Back then President Barack Obama saw the shutdown as a way to score major points off the Republicans. While it was obvious his actions were designed to make the shutdown as painful as possible, the media refused to notice that part. Actions like cutting the number of TSA screeners radically so lines at airports were hours long. Most memorable, President Obama ordered the national parks shut down as a surefire way to spread the pain to more people.

There was money to rope off the open air World War II memorial but no money to allow elderly veterans a chance to visit. This one backfired when it turned out a barricade wasn’t enough to stop men who had brought down the Axis powers 70 years earlier, and the public rallied behind the vets. It’s hard to say how long this shutdown will last, but it will certainly be over before the public starts to ask why we’re funding nonessential parts of government in the first place. - Frank Mercer

Guest Editorial - Hoping for change

(Published 1-10-2018) 

It is possible that we are on the cusp of a seismic shift in the Middle East. If the protests in Iran ever result in the overthrow of that Islamic regime, the entire picture there could change.

That is admittedly a long way from happening, but it is good to see an American administration supportive of change there. Before the Islamic revolution in 1978, Iran was one of the United States’ key allies in the Middle East.

Just months after the revolution took place, Iranian students took 52 American diplomats and civilians hostage and held them for 444 days. Relations have never thawed in the years since.

Anti-Americanism has always been the backbone of Iran’s foreign policy. “Death to America” guides their activities and is the chant at their rallies. Iran has supplied weapons to the Taliban and ISIS. They supplied I.E.D.s, shoulder fired missiles and other weaponry used against U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For example, in 2007 over 100 big .50 caliber sniper rifles were recovered in Iraq. They had been part of a larger order from the Austrian company Steyr legally made by the Iranian government. It took the weapons less than a year to travel from Iran to Iraq. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard uses Hezbollah, the Syrian militant/terrorist group to do their dirty work.

Over the years, Hezbollah has been responsible for attacks pretty much all around the world. They are active in Latin America which puts Hezbollah close to our porous borders. The most obvious threat that the Iranian regime poses has been with their pursuit of nuclear weapons. They have been under crippling economic sanctions for many years because of their never ending quest to become a nuclear power.

In 2015 the Obama Administration along with several other countries negotiated a deal that would lift sanctions in return for Iran backing away from the nuclear quest. The deal was one of President Obama’s proudest accomplishments, but others weren’t as excited because it seemed that Iran got nearly everything they wanted while the west got very little. Critics said that even if the Iranians follow the deal to letter it leaves them with a clear path to a nuclear bomb in 10 to 15 years.

While the U.S. was crowing about the deal, Iran’s Supreme Ayatollah announced, “Our policy will not change with regards to the arrogant U.S. government.” President Obama was so intent on making diplomatic inroads with the mullahs that he forgot the first rule in negotiating with people who hate your guts: deal from a position of strength. It is being reported, barely, that the Obama Administration was so intent on making the nuclear deal that they stymied law enforcement efforts to stop Hezbollah from running drugs into the U.S.

“They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down,” said David Asher, who helped establish Project Cassandra as the project was called.

Earlier, widespread protests broke out in Iran over election fraud in 2009 and hundreds of thousands took to the streets. The protests were brutally crushed. President Obama was widely criticized by the American right for not speaking out firmly for the protesters. But that might have harmed the nuke deal.

This time around, President Trump was quick to speak up. “Such respect for the people of Iran as they try to take back their corrupt government,” Mr. Trump said. “You will see great support from the United States at the appropriate time!” So you have to forgive anyone who has hope that the unrest currently happening in Iran leads to a more moderate country. An Iran less hell-bent on terror and destruction would be readily welcomed across the free world. - Frank Mercer


Editorial -  Dodging a legal bullet

(Published 12-27-2017) 

The city of Osage Beach came close to a possible lawsuit accusing them of religious discrimination, even though they probably never thought of that happening.

The problem was a Mennonite contractor wanted to do work in the city for a business but he doesn’t believe in insurance because of his religious beliefs.

The city requires contractors to have insurance, so a bill was brought before the board to make an exemption for religious beliefs if the contractor can show sufficient proof of financial responsibility.

Adamantly against the very idea was Aldermen Jeff Bethurem, who (coincidently?) works for the insurance industry.

We have no problem with insurance and think it’s a good idea for everyone to have some type of insurance but the man has a sincere religious belief against insurance.

The potential for a lawsuit, in our opinion, was very clear depending on the outcome.

In business, an employer is required, by law, to make reasonable accommodation for a person’s religious beliefs. A city may also be required to do the same. If they don’t, they can be sued for religious discrimination.

So let’s boil the Osage Beach problem down to basics: Someone wants to do work in the city but is unable to because of the city will not accommodate their religious beliefs.

That is illegal and if a lawsuit were to be filed in that situation – and it should be – the city would easily lose.

As it was finally passed (with Bethurem voting no) an accommodation now exists so the contractor can do work in the city if they show “irrevocable evidence of creditworthiness for the period of the contractor’s license.”

So in the end things worked out for the contractor, unless what the city passed is not “reasonable” and we think it is, but only time will tell. – Dale Johnson

Editorial -  Bah Humbug!

(Published 12-20-2017) 

(Editor’s note: We ran across this editorial that we printed in December of 2007. We forgot it existed but thought it was worth running again, since it’s still relevant today.)

Bah Humbug

That’s right, bah humbug.

The decorations hit the stores right after Halloween in order to get people in the “holiday spirit” but rarely do you find the name of Jesus mentioned.

Bah humbug!

The bell ringers hit the stores and people drop their coins and dollars in the little red bucket, but how many give all year round to help people instead of the once a year to ease their conscience?

Bah humbug!

The music begins to play in the stores in order to get you into the “spirit” of the season but what spirit do they wish you to have? The spirit of love, the spirit of giving, the spirit of thankfulness that a savior was born to bear the sins of the world?

No, they want you to get into the spirit of the season so you can buy things for their profit.

Bah humbug!

And the music that does play will be “Jingle Bells” or “Here Comes Santa Claus” or one of the other songs that have nothing to do with Jesus. Only in rare circumstances will you hear a song about Jesus played during the “holiday” season.

Bah humbug!

Though Jesus was not born on December 25 and most of the customs that are celebrated come directly from paganism, it is the one time of the year when the world allows Christians to celebrate the birth of Jesus and even that is being attacked.

Disagree? Then try to celebrate the birth of Jesus in July. Try to sing Oh Holy Night or Away in the Manger or Silent Night in July and see how people react. It’s forbidden.

You’re only allowed to sing about His birth one time a year and only when they tell you it’s okay.

Bah humbug!

They tell you that they don’t want to offend the Jews or the Muslims or the Atheists or the Satanists or whoever so they use the word “holiday” instead.

And if they knew the meaning of the word “holiday” and its origins they wouldn’t use that either because according to Merriam-Webster the word “holiday” comes from Middle English, from Old English hāligdæg, from hālig holy + dæg day.

In other words, the “holiday” season means the “holy day” season. Chanukah is more than one day and Kwanzaa is not even a real holiday so what one day during this season is a Holy Day? The one they are afraid to mention.

Bah humbug!

Jesus said it best in John 15:18-19 “If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Back to the dictionary: Bah - used to express disdain or contempt. Humbug - something designed to deceive and mislead, a willfully false, deceptive, or insincere person, an attitude or spirit of pretense and deception, nonsense, drivel.

To all the anti-Christs who are working to remove Jesus from the season, just a few words for you.

Bah humbug!

Editorial -  Obsession

(Published 12-13-2017) 

Definition of obsession: a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling; broadly: compelling motivation.

Many years ago the mainstream media would report on the news of the day and would do just that – report on it. In today’s world the lamestream media will pick a subject and become completely and unreasonably obsessed with it until we are tired of hearing about it.

The main example of their obsession is the fake news story of President Trump’s “collusion” with Russia to win the election. They have been obsessed with this for over a year and have come up with absolutely nothing to prove their accusations.

That, however, has been temporarily put on a back burner to focus on another obsession: sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is not a good thing and people who are guilty of it should be dealt with but when the media gets a hold of this topic they start foaming at the mouth and it becomes the focus of their existence.

A recent example is host Matt Lauer.

On the (unfair and unbalanced) Fox news website the obsession was glaringly obvious on November 30. Under a photo of Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera all of the following headlines were listed.

1. Old clips of Lauer talking about sex toys in office now seen in disturbing new light
2. What did CNN boss Jeff Zucker know about Matt Lauer’s sleazy past?
3. Gillian Turner infuriated by Matt Lauer's apology
4. OPINION: Matt Lauer's out at NBC. Here's what would make this a true watershed moment, America
5. Matt Lauer was known to cheat on his wife, report says
6. NBC: Matt Lauer's sexual harassment accusers could number 'as many as 8' women
7. Brent Bozell: Matt Lauer and the sexual harassment hypocrisy
8. Matt Lauer could lose New Zealand farm for not being 'of good character'
9. Matt Lauer: Allegations mount against the fired 'Today' anchor
10. Matt Lauer on sexual assault allegations: 'I am truly sorry'

Are the idiots at biased Fox news serious? If Lauer is guilty of any wrongdoing then he’ll answer for it but to have 10 stories on one subject is ridiculous.

And don’t for a minute believe that the liberals and Hollyweird have suddenly grown a set of morals in regards to this subject. We believe there is a deeper motivation behind this and that is to destroy free speech.

It’s gotten to the point that if a male compliments a female coworker on her outfit or her hair then that’s sexual harassment and he’s fired. But if he doesn’t say anything complimentary to her then it’s discrimination.

This was the direction this country was heading during the reign of Bill “Bubba” Clinton. You couldn’t talk about certain subjects at work anymore and then Bubba had his encounter with Monica Lewinsky and all of a sudden people at work could stand around the water cooler and discuss oral sex.

But the move to restrict free speech is on fire from the liberals and accusing every man of sexually harassing women is becoming common place. It’s to the point where you have to be careful of everything you say or better yet, don’t exercise your right to free speech.

There are several colleges in the United States that restrict free speech and designate “free speech zones”. In other words, your First Amendment rights do not apply unless they say they do.

I got some news for you liberal idiots: every single inch of the United States is a Free Speech Zone. If you don’t like it, move to North Korea where you’ll feel right at home.

So the obsession will continue and if left unchecked, it’s only a matter of time before you will be told what you can say every minute of every day. – Dale Johnson

Guest Editorial -  Finally

(Published 12-6-2017) 

It’s said that if you can’t say anything good about the dead, say nothing at all. Were I to follow that advice I would not be able to write this column. To paraphrase Moms Mabley, Charles Manson is dead. Good.

If you don’t know who Manson was then stop reading now, your life is immeasurably better not knowing. Charlie, as he was affectionately known by his “family,” was one of the faces of evil of the last half of the twentieth century. It wasn’t that his body count was high, officially it was only seven victims. What made Manson, so terrible was his unrepentant glee and the way he basked in the limelight his notoriety brought him. Manson was the personification of everything that went wrong with the sixties.

He preyed primarily on young women who were lost, trying to find their way in all the nonsense that permeated that era. He gathered his followers to him preaching a philosophy of love, while filling them full of drugs and separating them from their families.

Manson thought that through the Tate/Labianca murders he could start a race war that would be won by blacks. A war that he and his cult would ride out in a secret underground city in the desert. It requires a lot of mind-altering drugs to make this seem even marginally believable. But, the crazy doesn’t stop there.

Racist Charlie told his followers that after the blacks had won the war, Helter Skelter, they would be incapable of governing themselves and would come to him for leadership. That is once he emerged from the secret underground hiding place. It is pretty easy to see that all of Manson’s plans were just delusions, the product of a sick mind, but at that point in the sixties he and his followers were not so far out that they were shunned.

They were able to mix with the less mind-numbed hippies, and even with celebrities like Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys and record producer Terry Melcher, the son of Doris Day. Those two worked with Manson to try to get him a recording contract, but it just didn’t happen. Manson was not able to find fame as a rock star, although the Beach Boys did record one of this songs. It was only after he sent his followers out to murder that he found the attention he so desperately wanted. Once his trial began, Charlie had found his stage.

From carving a swastika on his forehead, (his followers on trial did the same), to outbursts and stare downs and even ordering the murder of one of the defense attorneys, Manson relished the notoriety. And the media gave him all that he wanted and more. Manson and the women on trial cheated death.

After being found guilty and sentenced to execution they were spared when the Supreme Court abolished the death penalty in 1972. The media fascination never ended and periodically there would be rehashes of the story, or prison interviews or dramatizations on television. You can understand why the interest never died.

The 60s and the hippie movement were supposed to be about peace and love. The Family and their messiah were about evil and death. We’ve seen cults and their leaders since with many more victims. Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple and Heaven’s Gate are most notable. Those ended with the tragic deaths of their members, not the murder of outsiders.

The times are right for another cult movement. Many young people believe they are being oppressed in the U.S. They see hatred directed against them on every front: gender, race, sexual orientation, climate, pick a cause and you can find an angry group.

What some share in common with those from the 60s is a belief that things are not moving fast enough in the direction they want and that society needs to be pushed. There may be another charismatic leader out there to tell them what they want to hear, but it won’t be Manson.

Charles Manson has finally died, and Hell is undoubtedly now a worse place. - Frank Mercer

Guest Editorial -  Take a break

(Published 11-22-2017) 

Can we just take a break from politics? Please?

I understand that politics is perhaps the number one spectator sport in the United States. Sport, because it seems that scoring points off the other side is often more important than what’s good for the country. It’s true that politicians, talk-show hosts and pundits need politics to make a living. But there are times when, for decency’s sake, politics should go dormant, at least long enough to grieve and show respect.

A mass shooting, a terrorist attack, or a deadly hurricane would all fit into that category. Wait to pontificate until enough time has passed to speak with a modicum of intelligence. There is plenty of room for discussion about guns, mental illness, and radical religion. But to figuratively step over the bodies of the dead to promote your agenda is disgusting. Unfortunately, what we often get is cynical self-interest.

Rahm Emanuel, former chief of staff to President Barrack Obama and current mayor of Chicago, explained the goal, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” That is why as soon as the first reports start coming down the wire, we hear from the experts all pushing their agenda.

November 5, after the horrific shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, which left 26 dead, the “experts” were out in force before the details were known. The calls for and against gun control started while relatives were still being notified that their loved ones had been murdered. That’s politics.

The following day, Ted Lieu, a Democratic Congressman from California, walked out of a moment of silence at the House, saying, “We cannot be silent. “We need to act now.” That’s politics.

When Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot and six others killed, focus fell immediately on the influence of the Tea Party. The gunman turned out to be crazed, not political, but the talk continued to blame the Tea Party. That’s politics.

When another nutjob shot up a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., murdering 12, he was immediately named as a Tea Party member. He was not, but someone who had a similar name did belong. Some reporter’s first reaction was to check the list of political opponents. That’s politics.

President George W. Bush was criticized for not going to New Orleans soon enough after hurricane Katrina. President Obama was criticized for golfing instead of visiting flooding in Louisiana. President Donald Trump was criticized for going to Houston too soon after Hurricane Harvey. The first lady was criticized for the shoes she wore to get onto Air Force One. That’s politics.

Neither side, left or right, is without blame. You just have to look harder to find examples of the right doing it. That is because the left is more skilled in the art, and because the media naturally calls out Republicans when they try it.

A good measure of the problem stems from the 24-hour news cycle and the need for high ratings. Measured, thoughtful coverage does not attract viewers in the same way yelling invective does. There are multiple reasons we live in a representative republic and not a true democracy. The founding fathers were smart enough to understand that the citizenry when brought to a fevered pitch by some event would demand action now.

Think lynch mob in an Old West movie. They put the House of Representatives and especially the Senate in place to be more deliberative in action and slow down the mob mentality. To see members of those institutions, and the ever hysterical media, try to further incite the population for political gain is just wrong. - Frank Mercer

Editorial -  What would Sam think?

(Published 11-15-2017) 

Many years ago we made the habit of listening to the great Paul Harvey on the radio. One of the points he always stressed was the nice, courteous nature of Walmart and their employees.

The customer comes first was the theme that was proudly touted by Harvey repeatedly in his broadcasts. It’s good that he passed before seeing what the company has devolved into these days.

What would Sam think?

Not long ago the Camdenton Walmart remodeled the checkout lanes and eliminated all the express check outs. They added a large number of self-checkout lanes. They claim it is a faster way for you to check out. That may be true to a point but there is another main reason for doing so: profit. More and more profit.

If they would have more checkout lanes open that were ran by people, then the self checkout would not be needed.

Even in the past there would be a few lanes open and most of them closed. Why? Screw you, that’s why.

What would Sam think?

Harvey used to love the idea and taught that if you came within 10 feet of a Walmart employee, they would greet you with a friendly greeting. Now you can almost physically bump into one and not a word will be said.

What would Sam think?

The main reason behind the self checkout lanes is more profit. Don’t be deceived into thinking that it’s a benefit to you, the customer. After picking up their items to purchase (profit for them) and going to the checkout lanes now you have to check yourself out. That way they don’t have to hire a person to check you out and the less employees then the more profit for them. And the main goal is profit first, customers second and don’t believe them if they say otherwise.

What would Sam think?

According to one report Walmart made a quarterly profit recently of 34 billion dollars. You think with that much profit they could afford to hire some real people to service the paying customers at the checkout but you would be wrong.

Years ago we would go into a Walmart store and look for the United States Flag hanging up. It used to be all over the place in the stores, promoting an alleged pro American stance.

For fun we would go look at the items directly under the USA flag to see which country they came from and it wasn’t the good old U.S. of A.

Yes they do have stuff made in USA but you have to look for it and read the labels and on some items they don’t tell you what country it was made in.

What would Sam think?

But profit is the bottom line and making their shareholders happy is far more important than convenience in the checkout lane for the customers and now that the Christmas season is coming up, profit is the main thing on their minds.

It’s sad that a once great idea started by Sam Walton has become the profit-driven machine it is today with customers delegated to a far second behind the almighty dollar but that’s the way this world works.

There’s a quote that we ran across attributed to Sam:

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

So what would Sam think? We think that if he were still around today that he would be following his own advice and spending his money somewhere else besides the stores that bear his name. – Dale Johnson

Editorial -  A slap on the hand

(Published 11-8-2017) 

Let’s pretend for a minute that you are a soldier in the United States military, you’re in a combat zone and you decide to call it quits.

So you mail your belongings back to your family and send an email to your parents saying you are ashamed to be an American and you walk away from your post.

You are then “captured” (or did you join?) the Taliban and are held “prisoner” for five years.

In the mean time your fellow soldiers (the real ones) start a search effort to rescue you, endangering their lives and leaving some severely wounded.

Then President Barack Obama trades four terrorists for your “release” and you come home and are welcomed with open arms by Obama and other liberals even though desertion charges are flying around.

You are then charged with the crime and plead guilty to “desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.”

What should be your punishment, you deserter? How about a gentle slap on the hand and freedom?

That’s exactly the story of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

After pleading guilty, he received no prison time, a reduction in rank, a dishonorable discharge and will forfeit his $1,000 per month pay for 10 months.

This is not a joke. That is the sentence for this deserter handed down by some brainless politically correct idiot judge named Col. Jeffery R. Nance.

Nance didn’t explain why he didn’t do the just thing and sentence him to prison but he did give hints and that was a dislike for his Commander in Chief, President Trump.

Article II Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the Commander in Chief clause, states that “[t]he President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.”

During the trial Nance ruled that comments made against Bergdahl by President Trump during his campaign would be considered as mitigating evidence at sentencing.

What evidence? That’s a lame excuse to ignore the advice of your Commander in Chief and give him the finger and set the deserter free.

We blame this travesty of justice on a politically correct military leadership in Washington, D.C.

Don’t misunderstand us; we have respect and sympathy for the soldiers in the military it’s just a shame that their leaders are spineless in many areas including this one of discipline.

Proof of this lack of a spine by military leaders was mentioned in an editorial we did in June of 2014 entitled “The Rainbow Brigade”.

On June 30, 2014 Fort Leonard Wood held a “Pride Month” celebration and the speaker for the celebration was Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa Duncan, 787th Military Police Battalion, who “realized” halfway through her military career that she was a lesbian.

The “pride” celebration wasn’t pride in the United States or pride in the military accomplishments; it is a celebration of pride in sexual diversity.

Not heterosexual pride - that is never celebrated at public events anymore. This is homosexual pride, transgender pride and bisexual pride.

This politically correct way of thinking has infected the military leadership in all facets in this country and is a disgrace to all the men and women of the past who have given their lives fighting for freedom.

Someone pleads guilty to desertion they need to be punished accordingly, not given a warm hug and sent home. There is a price to pay and in this case the price was paid for by the true soldiers who were severely wounded searching for Bergdahl.

This Saturday is Veterans Day. In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words:

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

So as you honor the military on Veterans Day, remember one person who doesn’t deserve any honor on that day: Bowe Bergdahl. – Dale Johnson

Guest Editorial -  Remembering Jack

(Published 11-1-2017) 

(Editor’s note: Jack Krier, who contributed to this paper [and many others] for decades, died on October 12 of this year. This editorial is from his business partner Frank Mercer.)

I became familiar with Jack Krier the same way most of you did, right here on these pages. His editorials and columns expressed strong conservative opinions and an unwavering belief in God, America, and the importance of family. He was never shy about saying what he thought, and never bowed to political correctness.

When I first discovered his writing, there weren’t very many conservative voices out there. It was surprising, almost shocking, to see someone who was unapologetic about his conservatism.

We were at neighboring papers and had not met in person when the great flood of 1993 drowned his printing plant. He called to see if we could print a few of his publications until the water went down. Some of the other printers he called saw this as an opportunity to make some big bucks. I figured it was a chance help out a neighbor, and he appreciated the fact I didn’t try to gouge him. During those weeks we struck up a friendship that became a business partnership. Both lasted over 20 years.

Jack was looking for someone to help so he could expand his business and gave me a shot. Amazingly, during most of our time as business partners, we did not have a contract. We made an agreement and shook hands. That was the thing with Jack. When he told you he would do something, he did it. And he did it with enthusiasm. Jack was never one to wait until tomorrow if it could be done today. He said you never know what might happen, so get it done now. Something may come up tomorrow that will keep you from it.

Rural newspapers lost a champion with Jack’s death. He spent his entire life operating newspapers in small towns. Newspapers that were too small to show up on the radar of the big chains. He did it all. That’s the way it was and is in small newspapers. You sell ads, write stories, take pictures, lay out the pages and deal with customers.

He started with hot type on Linotype machines (and had the burn scars to prove it) through the photo-mechanical typesetting days all the way into the computer age. When changes came to the business in the 1990s it became much harder for small circulation owner/operators to keep the doors open, much less make a decent living. Small newspapers began to close. Jack believed strongly that towns need a newspaper in order to thrive, and even to survive. He had a vision that would help keep some of those small newspapers in operation.

Jack saw that by absorbing many of the day-to-day functions into a central location he could keep costs down. That meant the newspaper employees could focus on the things that matter to the readers. There are multiple towns in Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri that still have a newspaper today thanks to that vision. Jack worked tirelessly to make it all happen. There was nothing unusual about him starting the day early writing a story, editing, then interviewing, making sales calls and doing layout through the day then driving for hours in the night to a school board meeting, or ball game. In fact you could always count on Jack to volunteer to make that late-night newspaper delivery run even if it meant getting back at two in the morning. Driving wasn’t work to Jack; it was a chance to unwind. As long as he had XM radio and a supply of Diet Pepsi, it was no problem.

And drive he did, hundreds of thousands of miles. His Olds Silhouette minivan went through two motors and three transmissions. The dash was held down with a couple of lag bolts and if you didn’t catch the sliding door it would roll off onto the ground. We all told him to junk it, but he was certain the van had 500,000 miles in it. Darned if it didn’t.

Jack was so much more than what appeared on these pages. He volunteered his time for causes he thought important. He quietly helped people out financially, knowing that the loans would probably never be repaid. He listened when people had problems and was an AA sponsor. And so much more that could never possibly be detailed in so little space. So, Jack has earned a rest, although it’s hard to imagine him wanting or taking one. In the old days, journalists used the number thirty to tell the typesetter they were finished. It meant “the end.” I think that is perhaps the most fitting sendoff for Jack. -30-

Editorial -  Hollyweird

(Published 10-25-2017) 

The recent allegations about Hollywood’s Harvey Weinstein should not really shock anyone. “Hollyweird” is a den of immorality and the casting couch is nothing new.

For decades there have been stories that women (and a few men) have been offered roles in movies or even the industry if they do sexual favors for some important person. Now it seems that everyone is shocked that this kind of thing would go on in a liberal left-wing industry.

And now all these “stars” are coming out saying they knew about it and didn’t say anything or they were a victim and boo hoo, cry me a river.

If they knew about it years ago or were a victim then why didn’t they say anything then? Simple, they’d rather have a very well paying job and fame rather than stand up and speak out against the person. After all, what’s one sexual favor in exchange for fame and millions of dollars?

We have no idea how many good actresses and actors have been prevented from ever becoming stars because they refused the casting couch but they made the right choice in saying no.

We do have many examples of this habit from the past, according to

Louis B. Mayer, who co-founded Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios in 1924 is said to have also participated in this behavior. “If women didn’t comply, he’d threaten to ruin their careers or those of their loved ones,” Variety said. “Mayer also allegedly groped the teenage Judy Garland, according to Gerald Clarke’s book ‘Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland,’ and held meetings with the young woman seated on his lap, his hands on her chest.”

It’s also claimed that Marilyn Monroe in her memoir said “I met them all. Phoniness and failure were all over them. Some were vicious and crooked. But they were as near to the movies as you could get. So you sat with them, listening to their lies and schemes. And you saw Hollywood with their eyes — an overcrowded brothel, a merry-go-round with beds for horses.”

Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino also said in an interview that he knew about the sexual allegations against Weinstein and regrets not doing more.

“I knew enough to do more than I did,” Tarantino said in an interview with The New York Times. “There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip. It wasn’t secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things.”

Then why keep silent? Oh, that’s right, your career and bank account are more important than helping prevent the sexual abuse of women. So, Quentin, what then is the difference between you and Weinstein? You’re both enablers.

So this will destroy Hollyweird or reform them into a bastion of morality, right? Not a chance. This will be in the news for sometime and then it will slowly fade away because as much as the mainstream media loves a sexual scandal, they love Hollyweird more.

This will become a minor part of history and things in that fantasyland will go back to the way they are now and the casting couch will continue to be occupied. We won’t hear about it because the actors and actresses will keep their mouth shut (at least in terms of speaking out against it) because they want the fame and fortune.

Weinstein’s career and life may be done for but another powerful person will take over his habits and fill the void because the immoral sewer that is Hollyweird has no desire to change. – Dale Johnson

Editorial -  Rest in Peace

(Published 10-18-2017) 

We never met Jack Krier. It seems kind of strange to realize that after dealing with him for 10 years but we never had a chance to meet him.

We talked many times over the telephone but never got together in person. Distance and work always prevented it. Once he retired to nearby Warsaw we thought about finally meeting him but the old quote by John Lennon is true “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

Jack spent many decades in the newspaper business and gave us, and the previous owners of The Reporter a lot of sound advice.

We found his column in an older issue of this paper (August 2, 2000) and he was the same Jack Krier, with a combination of political opinions (anti-Democrat) and corny jokes, like this one from that issue.

“Playboy Mansion hosts Demo Fund-Raiser – Yup, Hugh Hefner and his daughter are hosting a Democratic fund-raiser at the Playboy Mansion next month. Al Gore won’t be there but he has already accepted thousands of dollars in donation from both Hefners. I just hope the Playboy bunnies don’t pass out cigarettes. Never mind if they are clothed or not. Cigars, though, will be available.”

Many of our readers will miss Jack but not everyone. In the past 10 years we have received only two complaints about Jack’s columns and guest editorials and though they didn’t mention him by name specifically, we know who they were talking about.

One said that we should not disrespect the president (Barack Obama). That is the same thing as saying you should never say anything negative about any president and that is nonsense.

The other was a phone call that we received one day. We answered the phone and the first thing the person on the line said was “Why do you hate black people?”

That question completely confused us and we told him we don’t have the slightest idea what he was talking about. He explained that since we criticize Obama we hate black people.

(As a point of information to those out there in newspaper land, Obama was not a black president. His father was black and his mother was white [if all that is true]. That means he was mixed race and saying he was a black president is the same as saying he was a white president, neither are true.)

We eventually told the man that if he doesn’t like the newspaper, then don’t buy it. He laughed and said he will continue buying it.

Jack’s columns will continue for a while since he usually wrote them ahead of time and we may run some old ones as the “Best of The Town Krier” but eventually his column and words of wisdom will end.

Though we never had the chance to meet him in person we can hope to be a part of that great reunion one day in a better place and finally get to meet him there. – Dale Johnson

All content is Copyright 2018 by Reporter Publishing, L.L.C. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited without written permission.