Government Overreach

This past Thursday, Representative Vicky Hartzler made stops around Missouri’s Fourth District in town hall/meet and greet events.  The picture that emerges from this trip across MO 4 is not a particularly flattering one for the first term politician. 

 

On April 5, Hartzler visited Warrensburg, Sedalia, Warsaw and Clinton.  From 10:00 AM until 5 PM, the Representative gave us a clear picture of her agenda moving forward in her first term in Congress. 

 

Her tour began in Warrensburg with a very particular tone and message.  The police would maintain order if necessary. “Disruptions and rudeness will not be tolerated,” her Chief of Staff was reported to have remarked under a doomsday-style debt counter. 

 

While in Warrensburg and to a small group, she went on to promote parts of her pro-corporate agenda, which includes:

 

Maintain and further lower taxes on the wealthy and corporations.

 

Cut social programs such as Medicare and Medicaid and food stamps.

 

Continue a crusade against rules and regulations that ‘restrict’ corporations and ‘job creators’.

 

Maintain historically high levels of defense spending.

 

In Sedalia, she repeated the same themes, from debt odometer and police presence to threats of China holding “29 % of US foreign debt” and warning of their “military buildup” to the imminent danger the Social Security Trust is in. 

 

She promoted lowering the tax rates on corporations and the wealthy to 25%.  To make up the difference in lost revenue, she supports a 10% tax on the rest of us.

 

In what quickly devolved into an intellectual downward spiral, Hartzler attempted to frighten the crowd with fears of Chinese spy technology.  When it was correctly pointed out how much US technology is tied to Chinese factories (such as the notorious ties between Apple and the Chinese corporation, Fox Conn. Their ‘employees’ commit suicide in order to escape.), Hartzler said she would look into it and make sure it stopped immediately. 

 

In the next breath she held China as the business model she hopes to see the US to aspire to.  The way to compete with factories who can force people to view suicide as a reasonable escape is clear, according to Hartzler. Placate ‘job-creators’, deregulate and create a more “business-friendly” environment. 

Ironically, Obama signed into law on the same day the JOBS Act, which effectively further deregulates the banking industry to a laughable extent exposing millions of Americans to financial ruin as the rules of Wall Street fall away, allowing them access to previously protected retirement funds, among other things.

 

Hartzler went on to profess her doubts about the President’s citizenship, as well, but minimized her own concerns, stating: 

 

“I have doubts that it is really his real birth certificate, and I think a lot of Americans do, but they claim it is, so we are just going to go with that.”

 

Blind consent and claimed ignorance is a recurring theme with Hartzler. 

 

Later, in Clinton, when asked about her vote on HR 347, which makes it a felony to protest anyone under Secret Service protection,  Hartzler said:

 

(The excerpt below is from a two-part report from Michael Bersen and Show-Me Progress on Hartzler’s stop in Clinton)

 

Uh, that’s what, uh, everybody I talked to, uh, you know, has said before the vote. And then afterwards we had a lot of, you know, people have been saying this ’cause it’s been going around the Internet that it takes away your free speech rights, but I double checked with attorneys and, and legal experts and they tell me that’s not the case. Uh, like I said, there’s a lot of misinformation. But, trust me, if, if it turns out there is a problem with that, I mean, I’ll be the first to vote against. I did support it at the time. It was, like I said, not controversial. Nobody called. I mean, it was, everybody said, oh, it was a simple bill, fix a, a, oversight in the statutes, so. But, keep, keep, uh, keep me apprised. If you hear anything different, if there comes problems in the, if, you know, somebody gets arrested for protesting, using a free speech, let me know. ‘Cause we’ll, we’ll vote to try and change it if we need to. You bet. Thanks for bringing that up.

Wow.

 

“…if, you know, somebody gets arrested for protesting, using free speech, let me know.”

“Cause we’ll vote to try and change it if we need to.  You bet.”

 

 

Hartzler stands on the frontlines of the War on American’s Rights.

 

With votes in favor of the NDAA, which allows for the warrantless apprehension and detention of American citizens without charge or trial, and her aforementioned support of (HR 347) a law that now makes protesting against anyone with Secret Service protection a felony, Hartzler has declared a very distinct legislative path.

 

Vicky Hartzler, by virtue of her voting record, has declared war on the Constitutional Rights of the citizens of the United States and MO 4. 

 

Her office has enforced the threats of her Chief of Staff, as they HAVE arrested those who seek a conversation.  Dissent will not be tolerated. Vicky Hartzler does indeed practice as she preaches.  She backs her extreme positions with the conviction of action. 

 

Vigilant Vicky Hartzler marches in perfect goosestep to the drumbeat of her constituents, and with each passing day and each successive vote we are learning it is an agenda that has a shocking historic precedent. 

 

We should have no fear however, as Hartzler’s faith is an “important part” of her life, as noted by the Daily Star Journal’s J.C. Ventimiglia in Warrensburg.  (NPG, the corporation that owns the Daily Star Journal, offers no free content.  As a result, I cannot include the rest of their coverage of the event.)  Hartzler’s record reflects a somewhat questionable moral compass, however.

 

A click on Hartzler’s official website reveals much.  Here, she uses a local problem in the Lake of the Ozarks area as an example of “government overreach” and a reason to use a manufactured crisis to do away with corporate rules. She also uses this site as a platform through which to impose a religious code on others in what appears to be a prolonged campaign designed to undo the separation of church and state.  The latest front opened in this advance of religion through government is to claim a woman’s sovereign right to privately use birth control is somehow a violation of someone else’s religious freedom.  In fact, it is an excuse to instead impose an employer’s religious view, through legislation designed to ‘protect religious freedom’, on their employees.  Perhaps this is what Hartzler meant by making Missouri and our country more “business-friendly”. 

 

To be fair to Hartzler, she was not alone in her rush to appease her benefactors.  To add context, Hartzler’s march across MO 4 comes along with a meeting with leaders in Jefferson City on how to best “protect and promote” Missouri’s military bases in the face of potential downsizing.  The best way to do that is to pass a rapid fire pro-corporate agenda that benefits companies such as Boeing.  In the rush to sell out Missouri, we have Cushing, the precursor for Keystone, cutting across our state and employers who will soon be able to dictate your bedroom behavior to their liking.

 

The Missouri State Senate weighed in on the birth control issue last week. They decided an employer’s religious views supercede a woman’s right to choose how to treat her body, to say nothing of the disgusting intrusion of privacy this presents. They also passed pro-corporate legislation designed to put Missouri’s workers at the mercy of the corporations, all in an effort to ease the minds of “job creators”.  They have repeatedly overturned the will of the people of this state in order to satisfy those who contribute most to their campaigns. 

 

Here, in my county of Camden, the local political leadership, along with the local branch of the Missouri Ministry of Truth, Gatehouse Media’s Lake Sun, is attempting to assume their way to passing a measure that would subsidize a tax break for the big ticket purchases made by the wealthy.  They are skillful in their sales pitch and their choice of language, as has been noted elsewhere in this blog, in attempting to tell a population whose median family income is $40,695 they must subsidize a tax break for the big ticket purchases of the wealthy, i.e. boats.

 

The people in this county are hurting financially and they would threaten us with cuts to our road service if we don’t accept the deal they are offering.   In my community, we are already at the mercy of Big Oil every day, and a trip to Camdenton’s Wal-Mart tells you all you need to know about a corporation.   The suddenly antiquated notion of customer service that built Sam Walton’s company is inconvenient and costs too much to keep up. Now, they hardly have any checkout lines open, forcing customers to wait in long lines.  This produces better bottom lines and besides, where else are you going to go and what else are you going to do? 

 

The media of the Ministry of Truth in MO 4 endorses it because it is in the best interest of their ownership to do so.  There is a profit motivation to create an ignorant, uninformed population.  The trip to Wal-Mart and to fill up says so.

 

The result of this philosophy has been Vicky Hartzler and her assault on our rights, the ultimate government overreach.

Who Owns The Media in MO 4?

The piece below began as a look at the lack of coverage of recent events to unfold in the state and Missouri’s 4th Congressional District. My intention was to show the editorial willingness to lead us like so many lemmings over a cliff. It took all of five minutes of digging to turn that original piece into this.  What I discovered was shocking, while it shouldn’t come as any great surprise.

This is a look at the daily newspapers that serve the 4th Congressional District of Missouri and more importantly, the ownership of these papers. When laid against Vicky Hartzler’s record against personal liberties and in favor of eliminating rules for corporations and taxes for the wealthy, it takes on a context all its own. There will be more on this in the coming days, but for now, take a look at what exactly, constitutes Missouri’s media ownership.

 

NEWSPAPERS SOURCED: Clinton Daily Democrat (Daily Democrat Publishing, Inc), Jefferson City News Tribune (WEHCO Media), Kansas City Star (The McClatchy Company) Lake Sun Leader (Gatehouse Media), Lebanon Daily Record (Lebanon Publishing, Inc), Nevada Daily Mail (Rust Communications), Marshall Democrat-News (Rust Communications), Sedalia Democrat (Freedom Communications, Inc), Warrensburg Daily Star-Journal (News-Press and Gazette Co), Waynesville Daily Guide (Gatehouse Media).

Let’s try looking at this list in a slightly different way.

First, we will remove the Clinton Daily Democrat and the Lebanon Daily Record, as they are very much owned and operated in the community. As such, they are the exceptions to the rule and will be placed to the side.

Jefferson City News Tribune: WEHCO Media,Inc.

This company, based in Little Rock, AR, has entered into a partnership with the LLC, Righthaven to sue bloggers for copyright infringements. WEHCO Media, Inc., led by Walter E. Huffman, emerged from a ‘newspaper war’ in which the conservative company purchased the competition. Huffman has also been noted for his position regarding content not being available for free online.

Kansas City Star: The McClatchy Company, ‘nuff said.

Lake Sun Leader and Waynesville Daily Guide: Gatehouse Media.

For a comprehensive look at Gatehouse Media and their recent history in MO 4 politics, click here.

Nevada Daily Mail and Marshall Democrat-News: Rust Communications.

Rust Communications is owned by the Rust family of Southeast Missouri. A longtime friend of Rush Limbaugh’s, former Republican Representative Gary Rust, positioned his company as a major player in rural Missouri media. That continues under the direction of the family today.

Sedalia Democrat: Freedom Communications, Inc.

Listing Freedom Communications, Inc. as the owner of the paper is a bit misleading. Freedom Communications is actually owned by three large Wall Street hedge funds.

Warrensburg Daily Star-Journal: News-Press and Gazette Company

The News-Press and Gazette’s president, David Bradley, a Republican, is a member of the UMB Financial Corporation’s Board of Directors. He was also nominated by Governor Jay Nixon to the UM Board of System Curators who claimed that Bradley “will help set the course for the state’s flagship university system as it prepares Missouri students to compete and excel in the global economy.” The tuition increases that have followed his appointment would indicate his position with United Missouri Bank dictates that course.

What happened to the liberal media?

Hell, what ever happened to a dissenting opinion?

Those of you who are journalists, who call yourselves such, are aiding and abetting the enemies of the truth, of liberty and justice. You aren’t reporting, you are marketing for the lunatic fringe; the hardcore, hard-line, extremism of far right wing conservatism, merged with religion, married to business. You are the propaganda machine, perfected from the lessons of history, maximized by technology and used to create an uninformed, apathetic readership.

It has worked.

Look at the low turnout in this week’s elections.

Look at the coverage of the recent events that concern the MO 4th. Look at the ownership of our papers. Read the articles they print. Read the language they use.

Our news is brought to us by a conservative conglomeration of pro-corporate ideologues. They have a vested interest in keeping us uninformed. It makes for larger profit margins.

For more commentary and conversation, follow on Twitter @AmericanSpring.

Missouri’s Ministry of Truth

At first pass, Gatehouse Media is an obvious force in Missouri’s rural media markets.  When one begins to sit down with the numbers and do as Big Oil mouthpieces would have us do and “drill, baby, drill”, a very specific picture begins to emerge regarding their influence on Missouri’s 4th Congressional District.

It is a picture that shows an abrupt turn from what had traditionally a stronghold for Democrats, to the election of Republican Vicky Hartzler as the district’s representative in 2010. 

When sitting down to take a look at the scope of the Ministry of Truth’s hold on the 4th, we first have to list the newspapers that fall under their corporate flag. The Ministry owns theLakeSun, Rolla Daily News, Waynesville Daily Guide, The St. James Leader-Journal and the Independence Examiner. 

These five Ministry newspapers have a circulation that covers the following 10 counties:Camden,Dallas, Morgan, Hickory, Polk, Laclede, Pulaski, Lafayette, Ray, and Jackson. 

Approximate population of Missouri’s 4th District (a proportionate estimation based on Census data for counties making up the 4th.   This estimation counts the entire population of counties that are only partially in the MO 4.  To maintain the ratio, the same estimation was used to count the population of Gatehouse’s potential audience.):  1,410,488

Approximate population (using same proportionate estimation as used above to maintain ratio) of Gatehouse Media’s area of influence in MO 4:   940,986 

Gatehouse Media reaches approximately 50% to 67% of MO’s 4th District.

For those of us who live in rural Missouri, this represents the worst possible scenario.  For those interested in a case study on the use of propaganda, it offers a window into the use of bias, misinformation and manufactured consent to influence the district’s acceptance of an agenda of extremism.

The Ministry of Truth has not had a mention of the following, as of the printing of this piece on Saturday, March 30.

The Missouri Senate passing a bill that will allow for an employer to decide whether or not to cover a woman’s birth control.  While the argument that is constantly presented to us is that this is to fight back in an imaginary ‘war on religion’, the result of the bill would allow for employers to impose THEIR moral judgments on the choices of your wife, your daughter, your sister.  It would also be a previously unconscionable intrusion on a person’s right to privacy.

Yet the Ministry has not printed a word on this.

Nor have they dedicated an inch of print to the Missouri Senate passing another piece of pro-corporate legislation, limiting a worker’s ability to sue.  

In previously noted Ministry Cliff Note coverage of the Missouri Congress overturning the will of the people regarding the Prop B puppy mill bill and the pro-Monsanto propaganda surrounding it, we see the use of manufactured consent.  We see the same sales pitch from the Lake Sun in the framing of a tax increase on the county’s residents that will offset a tax loophole for the wealthy.  They are asking us to subsidize the wealthy directly and they are using their best marketing skills to sell it along a united front.  It is funny how quickly the politicians, business owners and media unite in an attempt to bend the public in favor of voting for something contrary to their interest.   

What is not so funny how easily they slip into the full court press of propaganda to subsidize their friends.  Nor is it funny to threaten residents with loss of road service if the measure fails. 

Their silence on other issues indicates how compliant they truly are in the breakneck speed with which we are losing our liberties and our rights, while corporations enjoy laws written for them, by them, passed by their flunkies.  They abuse these purchased positions of absolute power while their extreme vision of marriage between moral superiority, corporate power and government is carried forward in the silence afforded them by organizations like the Gatehouse Ministry.  This is the definition of fascism. It is not hyperbole or language chosen to make an inflammatory accusation.

What that means then, particularly for those Missourians under the sphere of the Ministry’s product, is that we are treated to the full effect of a compliant media partner in the usurping of our democracy. 

This area was a traditional stronghold for Democrats, highlighted by Congressman Ike Skelton’s run of over thirty years in the Missouri 4th.  That changed in 2010 when Vicky Hartzler was elected.  A look at the results of the election illustrate the influence of the Ministry in the election of this candidate of extreme positions.

In the same ten counties listed above we see the following results, by county, for the MO 4th District.

County            Hartzler          Sketlon

Camden           58.7%              36.3%

Dallas              55.1%              36.9%

Hickory            45.5%              48.2%

Jackson            50.2%              45.0%

Laclede            56.3%              38.5%

Lafayette          41.4%              55.3%

Morgan            48.7%              46.3%

Polk                 54.3%              37.7%

Pulaski             39.8%              56.5%

Ray                  53.1%              41.9%

When you consider that Hartzler won the district by a small margin overall, the influence of the Ministry in rural areas is clear.  Seven of the sample counties went for Hartzler, most overwhelmingly.  The result is that now a small, minority view is representative of this district.  Since taking office, her votes have been absolutely predictable and follow in the aforementioned goosesteps of the fascist march that threatens us all.  Vote after vote, Tweet after Tweet (@RepHartzler) she unveils a dark vision for the citizens of this country while serving our country up to her wealthy masters.  This America is echoed in the editorial slant and bias of Gatehouse’s Ministry. 

Her office was the only one to feature an arrest during a visit from the Occupy movement, made up mostly of members of @OccupyKC.  She and her office have shown that they do indeed practice what they preach both by virtue of vote and by use of police to avoid conversation.  

History has shown that fascism (see also state-sponsored, unregulated capitalism) works best in a police state.  A police state works best with a compliant media willing to endorse these tactics openly or by casting a blind eye and swallowing their collective tongue.  . 

It is also worth noting that these same sample counties overwhelmingly put Republicans in the State House and Senate.  These same Republicans, by virtue of their voting records, have led the charge toward this American fascism at the state level.  They have had a willing partner-in-crime with the Missouri’s Ministry of Truth, Gatehouse Media.

Next from @AmericanSpring, Media Outside the Ministry and the Occupy KC eviction.  If you enjoy the blog, PLEASE share it with your friends and as always, if you are on Twitter, say hello.

Manufacturing Consent

Yesterday, the Missouri Senate passed a bill that will allow employers to decide what a woman can do with her body regarding her birth control choices.

Missouri media sought to minimize this by stating it was only ‘brought up to appease religious voters’.

Today, the Missouri Senate passed a veto override that would end the ability to sue a co-worker for job related injuries.

Missouri’s media softened this as well, suggesting it was only ‘tweaking’ an existing law.

Earlier this week, Gatehouse Media properties across Missouri, including a large portion of the 4th Congressional District, ran an article titled ‘What you need to know about rising gas prices.’  What followed was a list of links and apps to help me find the cheapest gas station. 

In the meantime, the Missouri 4th apparently has decided the following in recent weeks, of course after having kicked the year off with the support of the NDAA.  In no particular order:

We have apparently decided the government should sell off property and assets to corporations as a means of ‘debt reduction’.

We have apparently also decided that Wall Street shouldn’t have rules. The JOBS act bragged about via Twitter further deregulates banks, to a laughable extent.  Additionally, our ‘representative’ has been tweeting threats to the dead Frank/Dodd Act throughout the past days.

We have decided, via the US Senate, that Big Oil must be extended further incentives and subsidies.  This, while they are destroying us at the pump without remorse and prepare to build an oil pipeline across our state in order to lower their costs. 

I have seen few of these facts presented by Missouri’s media.

Earlier this week, the Lake Sun ‘assumes the sale’ as they present a tax proposal designed to subsidize the wealthy at our expense.  They even attempt to bully, emphasizing the potential threat to our roads by not accepting such a deal.

Earlier this month, the Lake Sun manipulated and inflated numbers of support for Rick Santorum during their coverage of the Missouri Caucus.  In fact, as we have seen, Ron Paul was strongly represented in the state, despite several attempts to hijack the process by minorities of Santorum supporters.

Regularly, in Gatehouse Media outlets across the state, readers are dunked in the baptismal waters of religious commentary in lieu of factual, intelligent reporting.  We are given marketing campaigns instead of exposes.  We are kept in the dark intentionally, because if we knew what they were doing, we would stop them.

They are manufacturing consent.

Look tomorrow for a full in depth look at Missouri Ministry of Truth, Gatehouse Media, and the larger media picture throughout the state. Follow on Twitter @AmericanSpring. Say hello….I will say hi back….lol.