Saturday, December 9, 2017

Call it Kate's Wall

Dane Hicks, Garnett Publishing, Inc. –

As 32 year-old Kate Steinle lay dying in her father's arms on trendy Pier 14 in San Francisco back in 2015, pleading with him to help her, she had no idea the bullet in her heart fired by a five-times deported illegal alien would amount to a reset in U.S. policy toward illegal immigrants.
    With an election coming in 2018 and Garcia Zarate's acquittal of murder and manslaughter charges in her death last week swelling "sanctuary city" policies more into the national spotlight,  the Kate Steinle incident may be the near equivalent to the shot heard round the world.
    While there is no comfort in the verdict for the Steinle family, it is likely that the San Francisco court indeed found the closest version of the truth. The homeless Zarate, confirmed as a convicted felon and five-time deportee to his home Mexico, claimed to have found the weapon in question wrapped in rags under a park bench, and bobbled it when it fired by accident. Forensics showed the slug ricocheted off the concrete pier deck before striking Steinle.
    At issue was whether Zarate fired the weapon purposefully, not whether he had previous felony convictions or was in the country illegally or whether San Francisco's status as a sanctuary city contributed to Steinle's death. The verdict itself was most likely a right one – one that illustrates the strength of the U.S. justice system when it works correctly. Zarate will do time for being a felon in possession of a firearm, then be deported back to Mexico. Again.
    But those other issues will indeed be a focus in the court of public opinion, and it is there that they will find their political weight toward the future of U.S. policy. Already in fact, a bill proposed by Indiana Congressman Todd Rokita would hold local city and county officials of sanctuary jurisdictions responsible for crimes committed by illegal aliens there. It's modeled off several other attempts in different states.
    It is a hard argument to make –  that the policies of sanctuary cities, which refuse to assist federal authorities in their efforts to curtail or detain illegal immigrants, are somehow not culpable in the crimes those illegal immigrants commit. In these days when bartenders can be held liable for the crime of one of their customers driving drunk, it's hard to imagine such a legal challenge to a sanctuary policy failing in court.
    Zarate's acquittal will hyper-fuel the efforts in Washington and in different parts of the country to push for construction of the wall between Mexico and the U.S., a project liberals shout down as preposterous but one that continues to gain popular steam among conservatives. Steinle will become the theme for the effort – watch for social media campaigns that call to name the wall project after her.
    Most notably Zarate's acquittal will be the latest rallying cry for conservative policy to drive the 2018 elections, and those outcomes may have repercussions far away from policies on illegal immigration. Republicans have plenty of ammunition and solid arguments to wage in their efforts to win over uncommitted voters – visions of "Women's Marchers" setting fires in American streets, kneeling NFL football players, millennial meltdowns on inauguration day – now the faces of Kate Steinle and Garcia Zarate held side by side.
    If the realities in this modern fight for the heart and soul of American culture are ponderous, the images are more so. In the tragedy of her death, Kate Steinle's contribution may be monolithic.
– Dane Hicks is president of Garnett Publishing, Inc., and publisher of The Anderson County Review in Garnett, Ks.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Media attempts fail to bury wonder of the Trumpconomy

 – by Dane Hicks

You have to dig pretty deep amid the muck of the anti-Trump media reports to find it, but it’s there – the story of just how good the American economy is doing since Trump’s election a year ago.

In fact, liberals in the Trump-hating media corps spread the news as sparingly as they possibly can, rarely allowing the sunshine of the country’s economic picture to shine through onto their latest incanted demonization of the president. You’ll notice the story instead is a looping narrative of factless, sourceless stories on Trump colluding with Russians, the ‘rebuke’ handed the president from some Democrat election wins last week, or Trump and the Japanese Prime Minister dumping their boxes of fish food into a koi pond. Does the mainstream media really have to wonder why we don’t trust them anymore?

The burgeoning economy is rarely discussed, usually only amid daily stock reports on the performance of the markets and in some obscure monthly unemployment report (which many mainstream media outlets have now taken to ignoring altogether).

It’s clear the news about the Trumpconomy isn’t going to be heralded with trumpets at the NBC building in New York. It’s going to sort of slip out between the lines.

First let’s look at jobs. Last week it was announced the U.S. unemployment rate had dropped 7/10 of one percent since January (4.8 percent to 4.1 percent), which translates to 1.1 million Americans back on the employment rolls. If you were among the ranks of the unemployed during the Great Recession, you know the difference in morale, self esteem and lifestyle which finding a job after protracted unemployment can make. Since Trump took office, 1.1 million people and families have experienced that same sense of substance.

The number of people working part time jobs for economic reasons last month (in other words, not because they chose part time work – typically what we would call ‘underemployed’ workers) declined by 369,000 to 4.8 million, and over the past 12 months since President Trump was elected, that number is down 1.1 million as well. Overall, the November report revealed the best U.S. employment picture since 2001 – or as millennials describe it – the prehistoric times before smartphones.

Perhaps buried even deeper in the bowels of those mainstream news copy piles is an explanation of just what those record setting gains in the stock market mean for the majority of Americans.

More than half of Americans – far and above the fabled ‘1 percenters’ – have money invested in market vehicles of some form or another. Anyone with an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), pensions, mutual funds, 401(k) accounts, 529 education accounts or Exchange Traded Funds – even about 20 percent of those earning $30,000 or less – has seen the benefit. For those investors, a stock market that has soared some 25 percent since Trump’s election to a record-setting score card of 23,000 is a new source of confidence and economic stability. That $5.4 trillion in market gains spread out across more than half the population is a fertile and solidifying backdrop for an economy that believes in itself – and that’s one of the most important attributes of an economy, after all.

Despite attempts by the Trump-hating media to discredit the president at every turn, those economic indicators are clear proof that the American business community, which invests and creates jobs when it senses opportunity, is indeed enamored with the prospects the president presents. It’s all a far cry from the nearly 400 point tumble the markets took the day after President Obama’s second election win.

This economic boom is an amazing story of benefit for our country and for the people who live here, but it’s being greatly sacrificed to provide airtime favoring the social and political agenda of a corrupt elite caste which really wishes this good news wasn’t happening.

More than half of Americans know the true story. And their wallets know it too.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Kobach, Trump on right track with RAISE Act

by Dane Hicks
Garnett Publishing, Inc.

         There is of course a huge difference in the public discussion of illegal and legal immigration and the impact of both on our nation, but the public debate confuses the two and confuses what should be the logical objectives of policy dealing with both.
         The point gets lost in the woods. Why do nations have policies dealing with immigration at all? When we step back to answer the question the objective is obvious: Like any other policy our leadership would seek to pursue whether on defense, economics, highway infrastructure, etc., the target should be the benefit of our nation and the people living in it.
         The fact that America is a great opportunity for immigrants is secondary, and should be.
In that vein, it’s clear that the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act now beginning a path through Congress is such a common-sense piece of legislation that it will have absolutely no chance of becoming law whatsoever.
         It is however being embraced by clear thinkers because it attempts to craft the nation’s legal immigration policy into something that’s actually good for our economy, instead of a feel-good, glowing chorus of Kumbaya that makes us all warm and fuzzy about how tolerant, diverse and inclusive we are.
         Kris Kobach, Republican candidate for Kansas governor who conferred with the Trump Administration and with Congress on the legislation, sees the value in prefacing our policy on points that admit (italic) better (end italic) immigrants who can make our country (italic) better (end italic). That’s a feather both in Kobach’s cap and that of Trump and his legislative supporters. RAISE awards preference points for prospective immigrants based on their level of education and technical skills, earning ability, their youth and their accomplishment as English speakers, among other factors.
The idea is that we want to be more exclusive in who we allow into the country – we want people who will succeed here and help make our nation successful and be beneficial to our economy. That’s important, because 51 percent of all present immigrant households (either legal or illegal) are beneficiaries of at least one federal government welfare program – compared to 30 percent of native born households – and that doesn’t include state assistance programs.
         The RAISE Act would also reduce the number of legal work visas or “green cards” issued  per year from a million to an estimated 500,000. It would eliminate “Diversity Lottery Visas,” a program that grants 50,000 visas per year for the purpose of “diversity” to countries that generally send few immigrants here. It would eliminate the ability for immigrants to sponsor visas for extended family members and adult children. It would also adapt a work visa system to one similar to those in Australia and Canada that establish a point system to give priority to younger applicants with established English skills, high-paying job offers and other high levels of achievement that can benefit our nation.
         The Act will of course be opposed by Democrats and by the mainstream media with charges of classism and elitism, first of all since it is offered by Republicans and supported by Trump, and second because Kobach contributed to it. Big Government-types need those poor immigrants, just like they need the remainder of poor and dispossessed America, to carry the banner for the Welfare State and to vote to maintain it.
         For Kobach, RAISE illustrates a clear philosophy that government should steer a path toward practicality, accomplishment and achievement that benefits the American people first and foremost. It’s an objective that many other nations already pursue, and it’s a laudable point in Kobach’s favor as he seeks the Kansas governorship.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The importance of being skanky

Garnett Publishing, Inc.
by Dane Hicks

One of the bitter ironies of feminist culture involves its love/hate relationship with being skanky. And our daughters, even in small towns in Kansas, are paying the price.

On one hand the message to teen girls and young women is “be skanky, be empowered,” and on the other is “don’t allow men to objectify you.” It’s a bipolar theme at best, and regardless, comes at a cost to be borne by those who choose to be loose.

         That’s not to say that there aren’t consequences for boys and young men who play their role in skank culture – think Anthony Weiner – and those consequences are completely justified. It’s a 50/50 deal, certainly – but there are unique impacts on women in the eyes of culture and society that make their repercussions different. That may not be fair, but it is the way it is.

         You can blame it on a host of factors – the third generation of the sexual revolution; the Internet and Social Media; a liquid-brained popular culture whose celebrities compete with their every Tweet for king and queen of skankdom in some effort to sell us something; and of course… the Russians.

         The elephant in the room is one you’re already wondering why I haven’t mentioned – parents. I was saving that one. I’ll go it even one better… I’ll lay so much more of the blame at the feet of dads.

         After all, who believes the dad who finds out his teenage daughter has been sending naked pictures of her body parts to boys is really shocked about it? Are you telling me there were no signs in advance? Really? Not since the Titanic hit the iceberg has a guy been more asleep at the wheel.

         C’mon, Dad. Maybe you’re trying to prove you’re a ‘hip’ dad or maybe you’re just not paying attention, or maybe you are paying attention but you just don’t have the belly for the fight sure to ensue with your daughter over skanky friends, skanky fashion, makeup, tattoos and behavior. If you’re a parent of a tween or teen and don’t occasionally commandeer your kid’s phone for an inspection, you’re an idiot. For dads, particularly dads of daughters, you are occasionally justified to be suspicious – even to be outraged – and to make it known.

         I hope I’m wrong, but I have a dismal feeling that skanky is an epidemic. If your kid is between the ages of 12 and 17, he or she knows someone – and probably more than one – who has sent or received intimate photos to or from the opposite sex. It’s undignified and stupid for boys, but it is maniacally lame-brained for girls.

         That’s because girls in particular will continue to pay the social consequences of that poor judgment, even without the Internet. These are the modern-day notches in the virtual bedposts – these photo collections held by some boys on their phones of all the girls they’ve been able to convince to send slutty selfies. And once it’s in bits and bytes, particularly once it’s on the Internet, it never goes away. So girls (and boys) live with that fact long after the crush has ended or the bet has been won. And you never know when or where it might pop up in the future.

         And girls, here’s some truth: No matter how much he pleads, it isn’t “love.” Think about it – he’s asking for a picture of your nether regions? Excuse me? Ask yourself this… why do you think there are so many unmarried baby mommas out there, trying to raise a kid on their own and usually still living with and leaning on mom and dad for the help they provide, while Prince Charming is still single and out there living the good life?

    Wise up, for Pete’s sake.

         It is a hard world for kids in this age of want and ego and deceit and digital treachery. Girls, don’t build a land mine out of false affection and then jump on it.

– Dane Hicks is publisher of The Anderson County Review in Garnett, Ks.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

U.S. Military must save manliness

By Dane Hicks 
The Anderson County (Kan.) Review

The more I read, see and experience first-hand the more I fear for the American Man. The younger ones are endangering our legacy, and I think the only solution for them may be the U.S. Military.

Yep, the non-so-silent assault of feminization directed at us by popular culture (I'm pretty sure the Russians are behind it) has found its mark in the 18-30 year-old Millenial age group primarily on or near college campuses. Treatment starts with immediate exposure to a drill instructor.

I know… the thought of a mean ‘ole staff sergeant ordering your baby boy around for a few months of basic training and then a minimum enlistment period of, let’s say, 3 years – it’s probably enough to force you helicopter mom’s & dads of the 1990s to seek your own solace in chai tea and valium. But trust me, I have the best interests of both your boys and America in mind.

You see, as they are right now, a lot of your boys aren’t going to make it. Though liberal, feminist culture works hard to convince us all otherwise, the Laws of Nature which still apply to the real world simply won’t condone the survival of many of your young men with as few Real Man traits as many of them now exhibit. Women, with whom your sons will eventually need to copulate in order to ensure the continuance of the species, are concerned as well.

 “There's just no masculinity anymore,” laments a 28 year-old woman replying in an article on a national women’s magazine website.  “Between wanting to talk about their feelings, drinking girlie drinks, and dressing like an Abercrombie and Fitch model, there just aren’t many men out there who act like men.”

Depending on where she’s looking, I have to concur. It’s less true in rural areas, where most young men to a large degree still have to have a job – as Dave Ramsey says, to “go out and kill something and drag it back to the cave.” Masculinity is sustaining itself in rural areas, but we all know rural populations are shrinking as suburbia and cities grow.

And college campus towns are the worst. Armies of them, laying off a semester in pursuit of yet another major and maybe delivering pizza or working in a call center part time. They still tap mom and dad for cash regularly. They whine a lot about themselves and voice an opinion on everything whether or not they know the topic. They’re pale and pudgy with soft, moist hands – physiques honed by sitting inside apartments away from sunlight watching Netflix, playing Warcraft and eating Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Ice Cream. What young gal wouldn’t swoon for a dude like that?

Call it coincidence, but they are the first generation whose fathers (us) did not face a military draft. My generation hasn’t been able to pass along any semblance of military bearing or heritage or values to our sons, because most of us never served after America’s military went "all volunteer.”

My father-in-law served in WWII, my dad was drafted Korean War -era, my older cousins were drafted for Vietnam – but the phenomena of having masses of men called by their country ended in the mid-1970s. Our own fathers taught us what they learned and what became ingrained in their character from their military experience, but our own sons – now in their 20s and early 30s – suffer with generational problems in choosing a direction, exhibiting gumption and getting off their rear-ends to get anything done.

Their fathers (us) never learned the valuable lessons of soldiering to pass along to them. We didn’t have to learn to absorb new information and learn quickly under compressed training and education timeframes; we didn’t have to learn to work as a team and be accountable for not letting that team down; we didn’t have to get used to functioning under stress; we didn’t have to learn that our attention to detail and our basic punctuality might be the difference between life and death – for ourselves or for someone else. These were the lessons taught so well by the military that men of my era were never forced to learn, so we couldn’t pass them along to our sons.

Instead we imagined they needed Ritalin for fidgeting in school, told them not to climb on the shed roof because they might die and assured them the reason they didn’t make the baseball team was because the coach just didn’t like them.

So we got what we got – sons who don’t know a drive belt from a Phillips screwdriver, who whine and moan too much and are more likely to idolize Ben Stiller than John Wayne.

If you’re one of the lucky ones with a son that bucks the trend, God bless you. For the rest, the cure starts by putting their feet on the yellow footprints.

–Dane Hicks is president of Garnett Publishing, Inc., and publisher of The Anderson County Review in Garnett, Ks.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Thanks to new president, a bright graduation future

by Dane Hicks, President, Garnett Publishing, Inc.

If you’re graduating in these commencement weeks you truly have reason to celebrate. Thanks to last November’s election, your hard work and accomplishment will gain traction faster and better now than at any time in the past decade.
To steal from another era of optimism born out of a previous and similar national malaise… “It’s morning in America again.”
Yes, despite all the continuing wailing, excuse-making and scandal baiting from the losing side who would have gifted you with a far gloomier graduation climate, you’re going to enjoy a surging economy. You’ll enjoy a more secure nation. You’re witnessing a renaissance of American spirit which is woefully overdue and already leaving its naysayers behind yearning for Russian fairytales, safe spaces and uterus hats.
Most demonstrated of course after the long American winter is the blossoming economy. Companies, employers, financers, innovators, risk takers – it turns out they’ve all been sitting on the sidelines waiting out the cold, dark skies of the Obama years and watching for the sun to come out. Trump’s election kick started pent up initiatives and immediately brightened business prospects in the country to the point that investor markets bumped up literally in weeks to record-setting levels in response to the new mood of optimism. The proof is in the numbers, and it is undeniable.
That is critically important for the country in which you will be, as a new graduate, seeking employment after college or determining a future course of training or education after high school. It means your college investment fund is worth some 15 percent more than it was on November 7 last year, along with all the other retirement funds and investment accounts now being contributed to by your parents or grandparents. The value of those companies is increasing and their stock prices going up because their stockholders are optimistic that things are going to be better for business and they’re going to make more money. It’s a powerful sign.
It also means your chances of finding employment – either a summer job painting vintage furniture for some eclectic boutique, part-time in retail, in food service, or a full time job for a Fortune 500 company anywhere across America – is better than when businesses were depressed and pinching pennies over most of the past decade. And make no mistake: A job equals empowerment.
The reason for all that? It’s because business believes a Donald Trump presidency will be more appropriate for making money than the previous administration. Remember: “making money?” That’s important. If you’re graduating and you haven’t figured  that  out yet, then you need to hand the diploma back.
Other national morale boosters executed by the new president: Trump froze federal hiring and reduced the federal deficit by $100 billion in is first 100 days as president (Obama increased federal spending 560 billion in his first 100 days, and later hired an additional 1,600 Internal Revenue Service agents to help ensure compliance with mandatory health insurance requirements – neither resounded well with tax payers).
In Trump’s first three months on the job the U.S. economy created 312,000 new jobs. Industries, saved from the choking “climate change” regulations championed by the previous president, are hiring. The U.S. manufacturing index (yes, we DO still manufacture things in this country) has skyrocketed to its highest mark since 1983 when Reagan was president. Housing sales are red hot. Unemployment nationally is at 4.4 percent. Newspapers like this one and job websites are teeming with vacant positions seeking workers.
The new president has set a tone of America First, and he shows a love for our nation and its interests the likes of which many of you haven’t seen since your childhood. He has pledged himself to the security of our own borders – illegal immigrant crossings from Mexico now down 67% – and against the world’s bullies and terrorists with deadly use of our military. He has re-established an American presence in power and in wealth on the world stage.
This is a time when graduates – as well as the rest of Americans – can thrive. That opportunity is what we want from a president, afterall.
Hopefully, you’ll never again know a time like we’ve endured most of the past 10 years. Hopefully you’ll never see a time when your country was nothing but a shell of itself and weakened by interests that shame America for what it is and what it can be, rather than embracing and celebrating it.
A bright picture for our graduates? Indeed, and long overdue.
–Dane Hicks is president of Garnett Publishing, Inc., a media company located in Garnett, Ks.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The financial hypocrisy of Kalamity Kate

Garnett Publishing, Inc.

Former Kansas Governor and defrocked Obama Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is beside herself over the state’s financial situation under Governor Sam Brownback’s tax cut policies. How odd – when she occupied the governor’s office and scuttled a $2.8 billion investment in the state’s electrical infrastructure with repercussions still felt in the state today, she seemed to have far more pressing concerns than the state’s financial picture.

“Kalamity Kate,” as she’s called out west by those whose fortunes were foregone when she sandbagged the Sunflower Electric plant upgrade at Holcomb, told a Kansas City public radio station recently it “would take decades” for the state to recover from Republican tax cuts that trimmed taxes without commensurate spending cuts during a continued sputtering state economy. “It breaks my heart,” she lamented to KCUR’s Steve Kraske.

Nearly 10 years later Sebelius has finally developed a financial conscience, after earning the moniker “most economically damaging governor in Kansas history” for pulling the plug on the Holcomb power plant expansion. As you recall, Kansas Department of Health and Environment staffers had already analyzed Sunflower’s plan for emissions control and other environmental impacts from a double power unit expansion plan at Holcomb and given the massive investment a green light, but secretary of KDHE and Sebelius appointee Rod Bremby suddenly refused to approve the project. When pressed, Sebelius stood by her man instead of overriding his veto. The whole thing smelled a little funny.

The reasoning of course was that before Sebelius botched her play as secretary of Obama’s Health and Human Services, she was an up-and-comer in the national Democratic party with a bright future and possibly even a VP or presidential spotlight upon her. She and the party desperately needed a way to get her on the national stage, and an appointment to Obama’s cabinet was the logical move. But she’d need to bow to the leftist playbook extolled by Obama’s administration – particularly in favor of environmental over-reach and copious regulation – so Sunflower’s project and all its benefits for Kansas was sacrificed for Sebelius’ ill-fated political ambitions.

So when she laments the possible long-term impacts of Brownback’s tax cuts, it seems all too fair to ask what the impacts of her Sunflower decision have been over the past decade. How many construction jobs never happened? How many dollars from those jobs never circulated in the western Kansas economy? How much was lost in sales tax from associated purchases? How much was lost in property taxes from the cancelled expansion, and in income taxes from Sunflower’s sale of power both to Kansans and to Coloradans to whom the company would have exported power over the grid? There’s little doubt the economic loss compounded the impact of the recession in Kansas. The benefits that could have, but which never happened, certainly contribute to the state’s continuing economic lethargy.

In all of Kansas’ statehood, no governor ever did comparable economic damage.

Subsequent to Sebelius’ exit to pursue her disaster at HHS, lieutenant governor Mark Parkinson took the governor’s office and brokered a deal to cut the project in half and get it approved, but a lawsuit by the Sierra Club stymied it again until the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in its favor this month. The embattled project may, one day, get off the ground in spite of hurdles that bolster leftist philosophy and politics over common sense and economics.

For Kalamity Kate Sebelius to wreak such economic havoc in Kansas and then pronounce judgment on what is partially her own legacy is inauthentic, at best.

– Dane Hicks is publisher of The Anderson County Review in Garnett, Ks., and can be reached at

Friday, March 10, 2017

Cop organizations block Kansas farmers' hemp crop bonanza

  by Dane Hicks, The Anderson County Review, Garnett, Kan.

 A curious spotlight is turning on the Kansas Peace Officers Association and the Kansas Sheriff’s Association in their opposition to legalizing industrial hemp in Kansas.

What is being illuminated is an embarrassing question: Why is it cops in a couple dozen states and numerous other countries which have legalized hemp for agricultural use can tell it from its cousin marijuana, but apparently Kansas law officers can’t?

That seems to be the big rub in Kansas law enforcement’s opposition to House Bill 2182, which would legalize industrial hemp and allow it to be cropped by Kansas farmers during a time when farmers need all the help they can get due to low commodity prices. Police and sheriff’s associations in Kansas seem resolute in their opposition: that they cannot tell spindly-looking hemp from stouter marijuana plants, and that they apparently cannot ever learn the difference.

Backgrounder: Industrial hemp is defined by having only 0.3 percent or less THC – the drug in pot that gets you stoned – compared to marijuana plants that contain concentrations of some 18%-30% of the drug. You could smoke a bale of industrial hemp and never want a single Dorito.

Identifying hemp doesn’t seem so complicated to cops in non-Sunflower State jurisdictions. The National Conference on State Legislatures notes hemp is grown for its thinner, more fibrous stalk and its seeds. “The plant is cultivated to grow taller, denser and with a single stalk. Marijuana, grown for the budding flowers, tends to be grown shorter, bushier and well-spaced.”

But Kansas law officers won’t budge, so Kansas farmers remain locked out of a market other states are developing, aiming to feed an estimated $600 million to $2 billion annual U.S. market for hemp products – most of which is now being provided to the American market by Canadian growers and processors.

See, you can buy hemp-based snacks, clothes, hemp oil dietary goods, beauty products, paper, textiles and construction materials to your heart’s content in Kansas or anywhere else in the country – and lots of people do – they’re as legal as a Snickers bar and a 7Up. But until 2014 it was illegal to grow or process hemp in the U.S.  For decades all those U.S. purchases funded growers overseas.

The 2014 Farm Bill legalized research and commercial use in states that approved it. So far, 16 states have approved commercial growing and 20 have approved pilot and research programs aimed at eventually giving their farmers the advantage of a new cash crop. Kansas could have harvested its first hemp crop ever this very year – except the same law officers’ organizations last year shot down enabling legislation by spooking distracted legislators with the hemp ID worry.

Not only does growing the product hold promise of more revenues for Kansas farmers, but processing facilities that turn the plant stems into fiber and which extract oil from the seeds also offer economic benefit through jobs and local tax base development. They could be constructed and operated by local commercial developers or by farmers’ cooperatives that would then direct those revenues back into their own communities via sales and dividends. Farmers’ fields as well as processing facilities can be easily inspected by authorities and fees charged to license them.

And if farmers and local businesses benefit, so do cops. More jobs and legitimate money in a market typically means less street crime; a richer tax base means less resistance to funding public services like police and sheriff’s offices. Kansans as a whole respect and honor the abilities and duties performed by their law enforcement – all you have to do is look at various support efforts and blue lights on people’s porches in the state. No one wants to legalize hemp to give cops a harder time.

What this spotlight on the cops shows is that their opposition to hemp most likely isn’t really based in some concern about identifying the plants. It’s most likely based in group-think fostered by a professional culture that has been anti-marijuana since the 1930s. In cops’ minds, hemp is pot, regardless of the science that proves otherwise.

That’s unfortunate, because it places those we trust to protect and serve in the position of hurting Kansas farmers and thwarting jobs in the communities they call home.

–Dane Hicks is publisher of The Anderson County Review in Garnett, Ks., and can be reached at

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

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