Talkin’ down to Grub Street’s Journalistsas

Chris Rogers

Chris Rogers, a reporter for the NBC outlet, KCEN-TV News 6

“And all the federales say, they could have had him any day…” – Townes Van Zandt

Waco – The posse was waiting when I arrived at the agreed place for the interview.

Bill Johnston, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, sat in the afternoon glare by the door of the coffee shop at a table with an attractive young lady on a Mac, cooling his heels.

When I strolled through the door, they exchanged glances, and I sat down at a table opposite to keep both eyes open.

Johnston went out to an uncomfortable place to sit on the porch in the glare of that evening sun, its merciless beams slicing slant-wise across a square block of pavement on the courthouse square. He chatted up a man with his back to the wall, seated at a table amid the swirling dust and confusion of a noisy construction site next door, complete with bouncing boards and the loud motor of a materials handling machine/forklift/scoopmobile doo dad scooting around and around in the miserable heat of a post-Dog Days afternoon.

No one in his right mind would sit in such a place if not for the appointed duty of serving as lookout at a listening post in an ambush. Johnston went away, and the little electronic beast in my pocket lit up to say that Chris Rogers of Channel 6 was at the place, waiting for my arrival.

Do tell.

Funny, he was nowhere to be seen – until he walked through the door of the long, narrow place decorated with excellent framed photos, dark-stained furniture and a bare, minimalist décor in pleasant contrasting shades of iron gray, a consignment of cool.

GET OUT! NOW! IT’S A SET-UP, my handlers texted. Whatever.

Had the walls been painted a dark shade to shoulder height and cream above, topped with a tin ceiling, lined with booths, and plastered with Pearl posters depicting the “Law West Of The Pecos” and Budweiser’s old trademark panorama of “Custer’s Last Stand,” we would have been back home in a Texas beer joint.

Here, two dollars and a half buys you a demitasse of excellent espresso and an old-fashioned glass of ice cold sparkling mineral water – a little something to get your old bony heart started.

Rogers, a youthful man with a close-shaved beard that barely covers his chin and a lot of peach fuzz unknown to the harsh touch of the razor’s edge, a boyish Adam’s apple hiding behind the loose Windsor knot of his tie, and a look that said, “I can see you, but I wouldn’t want to be you,” stood over the table and submitted to a snapshot.

He suggested we take a place at the table outside in the afternoon glare and noise, curbside at Sweathog Central.

I told him the same thing I had his News Director, a fella named Gebhart, when he proposed the interview. “Why not?” We were only running twenty minutes behind schedule, and I had said my prayers in the cool of the morning, long before I had ever heard of this duo, Gebhart and Rogers. So I didn’t object when he told me to sit with my back to the parking lot across the lazy expanse of Austin Ave.

Just another funky day in Six Shooter Junction, the place where the six refers to the shooter’s perspective – where the target is at twelve o’clock high.

It’s a nice town.

So nice that Rogers’ other contribution to KCEN’s news day that day was all about the former Baylor University football coach Art Briles’ abject apology over the fact that a co-ed had been raped by a varsity squad member, and for some reason, no one seemed to much care, until the gender politics of Title IX loomed on the horizon – long after the fact.

Alderman Bob and many flags unfurled, even old Judge Starr, the former Solicitor General of the United States of America, got slapped around on camera by infuriated wimmens as they lopped off his head and went off to teach some law. He was corrected when he said he didn’t have time to read every e-mail that came across his – ah, virtual – desk. Could they take that out of the interview? Could they start over? Non. The News Director for CBS’ outlet declined.

It was as confusing as this interlude. One was compelled to ask, “What is Briles sorry for? He seems to have kept it in his pants. He’s just unemployed, that’s all.”

Texas. When the pigskin is in the air, it is accompanied by flying banners and blaring brass, a holy crusade in a ritual of armored combat. Farm team of the corporate thugs who play on Sunday afternoons and Monday nights. The business of America is business. Ask Nixon.

Somewhere, a jukebox warbles, Willie and Julio, crooning, To all the girls I’ve loved before…

It turns out that Rogers is gifted in the art of asking the same question a half-dozen different ways, then starting over, and over, and over. Bright young man. He’ll go far in Six Shooter.

He got right down to business.

What is the idea of filing a complaint with the Attorney General? After all, the Sheriff, Thomas Parnell McNamara, Jr., was able to furnish him with a copy of the instruments that recorded his acquisition of two pricey lots in an exclusive development on the expansive alluvial plain of the Brazos.

Could we get a look at them, I asked.

He didn’t have them, he replied.

Would he send me a copy, by e-mail?

Certainly, he said.

No such thing has arrived, as yet.

No big deal. Such instruments are only the underpinning of the currency – a house of cards in a land of make-believe teetering on the brink of disaster and a time when, like the old-timers who lived through the Great Depression would ball their fists, grimace, and say, “There was no money! Why can’t you understand that?”

Besides, my confidential sources had intimated that I should establish all this – pronto – and get a complaint to the Attorney General of the State of Texas – right away!

I explained that I knew better. That office never gets involved in complaints from private citizens.

Then why did I do it, he asked, a small smile riffing around the corners of his stone face.

I put it to him. Who wants to play that classic of “The Games That People Play,” as described by Dr. Eric Berne, M.D. in his book of that title? He looked a little quizzical when I mentioned “The Little Professor,” that know-it-all and erudite feller who runs around lecturing his companions about his abundant experience and sophisticated posture in the wiser world unknown by present company – a relic from the paisley wallpaper of the dreaded sixties.

We didn’t get into “Let’s Pull A Fast One On Joey,” “Now I’ve Got You, You Son Of A Bitch,” or “Let’s You And Him Fight.”

Rogers is a quick study. You could see it in his eyes.

Why didn’t I ask the Sheriff himself?

Because most of my requests for information are automatically shunted to the able staff behind the bullet proof glass window in the lobby. My written request sent to the Attorney General, along with the requested material long since released to the mighty organs of public opinion, for review.

The Sheriff is only rarely compelled to answer my questions. I’m never invited to the “press conferences” in the big conference room with the easels filled with the orange-tinted mosaic of mug shots following mass arrests of sex fiends, motorcycle gangs, dope heads, and other such arch-enemies of society.

If my friends say send it to the AG, no problem. Coming right up.

Said Pat Davis of the AG’s office, a public information officer, “We litigate and counsel state agencies…If the DA wants us to be involved, yeah, we would become involved…Any allegation should be directed either to the DA, or the local district court.” Jerked the phone up and called me to say so. A half-hour before the interview was scheduled.

SHADES OF THE MASKED MAN…

Isn’t it true my confidential sources consist of only one person, an ex-employee who is retired from the Texas Rangers?

One is tempted to ask, “Where is the shame in that?” Rangers traditionally served with one-man, one-riot expedience to move through the people and teach them how to fight back against Indian attacks, range wars, fence cutting, and mass murder, prairie fire, gang rape, baby snatching, and scalping.

Ex-CUSE me! Mama dominoed in Oak Cliff. I guess that means I need a Green Card to “visit” with folks from the other side of the Trinity? Cue Jimmy Reed doing “Bright Lights, Big City.”

No. The truth is, my sources are the dozens upon dozens of professional peace officers who embody the process of investigations. He could look it up, but it’s yesterday’s news. I got the information after the Open Records Division of the Office of the Attorney General ruled that the reports are public information. Costs a lot of money in staff time. Our efforts – we the people – are abusive in the high and mighty face of the custodians of record.

The truth is, campaign finance records show that numerous heavy hitters are involved in the mortgage brokerage or home finance industries – in a non-judicial foreclosure state – in which the Sheriff’s Office has the Constitutionally enumerated and ministerial duty to conduct foreclosure sales and keep records thereof.

Therefore, the closing instruments on parcels of property owned by the Sheriff are as revelatory as any others. The industry serviced by the people so described is directly under the Sheriff’s jurisdiction in 254 Texas counties.

In other news, a Hollywood starlet was spotted topless on the beach at…and coeds wildly indignant about guns passed around giant dildos on the Old Main of the University of Texas At Austin…

CUT TO: A commercial about that which is NEW! and IMPROVED!

Wot dis mean, Cholly, is dat what you got is OLD! and INFERIOR!Go read: Beecroft, Tracee, “Foreclosure Fraud 101 – Uncovering The Secrets Banks Don’t Want You To Know, #1 How To Analyze Foreclosure Documents For Fraud,” Kindle Edition. Only 28 pages in length, it takes about a half-hour to read its brisk prose in the dialect of take a number, we’ll be right with you. It’s kind of like the “What we lost in the latest crash, boys, in Addis Ababa” style of pragmatic extremism. Go, baby! Go!

Strong. In the garlic sandwich department of STRONG!

As it turns out, in most cases of foreclosure litigated non-judicially in states like Texas, the first people know about the process is after the property has been sold at a Sheriff’s foreclosure sale.

There’s only one problem. The banks can’t really prove they owned the property to begin with.

Problem.

No interview has been broadcast.

Not a problem.

Now, what was that little ditty about the money supply and the fractional reserve?

Just put a twenty-dollar gold piece on my watch chain, so the boys will know I died standing pat. Chisel it on my tombstone: “Here, eternally consigned to the soil, is yet another $200 millionaire.”

One last thing: The folks at the McLennan Appraisal District and the McLennan County Clerk’s Office were as nice and obliging as anyone could be. The way I was treated in those venues is what public service is really all about. I am grateful.

And I am sincere.

So mote it be.

And then the cat on tenor say:

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