Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Molovinsky, Monkey Momma and Me

Most of my stories are local. They are based on attendance at meetings, interviews with those affected and an occasional Right-to-Know request. My stories differ from the mainstream in that I'm more than willing to share my own perspectives, right or wrong. I make a huge effort to get my facts right, even to the point of recording meetings so I quote participants accurately. Although I was recently derided as "Jimmy Olsen, Boy Editor," I believe what I do is an important public service at a time when the corporate owners of daily newspapers have decided it's no longer important that you know what is happening in your own community. I am only one person, but my primary goal is to deliver as much information as I can, especially about local communities overlooked or no longer covered by the dailies.

A perfect example of this is a story from last week concerning UGI's request for a 78' high liquefied natural gas facility in Bethlehem. Though this proposal is opposed by Lower Saucon Tp, it is Bethlehem's Zoning Hearing Board who will make the decision. I attended and sat through a three and a half hour hearing. I also did some independent research about the safety records at other liquefied natural gas facilities and, of course, wrote the account. It took me about eight hours.

Neither of the daily newspapers thought it was important that you know about this proposal.

I did.

Saucon Source and The Home News, both of which are listed on my sidebar, do provide some local news coverage in the Saucon Valley and Northampton-Bath areas. In addition, Matt Dees and Ron Beitler are two locally elected officials who make a diligent effort to keep readers in West Easton and Lower Macungie informed. But that's about it, other than me.

Alcoholism stripped me of the one thing I hold most dear - my integrity. I can tolerate and even laugh and join in disparaging remarks about what I do. But over the years, this has really been an attempt to restore my honor, as corny as that might sound, by serving the public.

Since I began blogging in 2006, I've published over 10,000 stories. Weekday readership has gone from about 30 when I started to between 5,000-7,000 now. Some posts are very ordinary, like notices of an upcoming town hall. Others have been significant. The dailies often data mine this blog for stories. That's fine with me. I want to see the public informed. That is the source of this blog's only real power. It is no help to anyone running for office. But it does help set the public agenda.

The most controversial feature of this blog is the anonymous comment feature. There can be ugly remarks, and I am often blamed for allowing them, even if I delete them. But anonymity also encourages spontaneity. It enables people to say things they could never say if you knew their identity. There have been useful tips, too. So I will continue to allow anonymity and monitor the trolls. Besides, there has been a drastic decline in civility, even when readers are required to sign their name. I see that both on Facebook and at other blogs.

I've been unable to line up anyone willing to take over for me when I'm gone. I did have one recently retired lawyer interested, but she came to her senses. It requires a thick skin. I've endured calculated insults and snubs by politicians and even other news outlets.

I accept no ads. I did have Google adsense. I loved it because, other than ruling out certain types of ads, I had no say on who or what was advertised here. It was a perfect firewall. But they fired me twice because some readers thought they were doing me favors by clicking on my ads.

I refuse to solicit locally. That could compromise my independence and integrity. I am paid by no one. I do get paid for stories I submit to a small weekly, but if you saw the amount, you'd laugh. If I support a candidate for public office and am writing about him, I try to make that clear. I also will disclose any monetary contributions I make in those rare cases when I can afford it. I was once slammed for failing to disclose more fully my support for AG candidate John Morganelli. I have no idea how much more transparent I could have been.

I post only as me. I never use sock puppets, here or anywhere else. I owe you honesty. I have sued people who attack my integrity with knowingly false accusations that I attempt to manipulate discussions by posting either anonymously or through pseudonyms. I feel strongly about this and Allentown blogger Michael Molovinsky knows this because I told him many times.

Yesterday, in a Memorial Day post about the Pope and Trump, Molovisky on Anything But Allentown writes, "As a Jew, it's nice to say nice things about the Pope." Isn't that nice? He then proceeds to rip the Holy Pontiff for daring to preach that we need to forgive our enemies, even them Muslims. Imagine that! The spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church teaches forgiveness. Molovinsky also again slams Morning Call columnist Bill White for calling him dour a few weeks ago.

Molovinsky received a critical comment from "Monkey Momma." She has been commenting in the blogosphere for years. "This is an odd post for Memorial Day," she starts.

"To those who gave their life defending our freedoms here in the United States, I am thankful," she continues. "We live in a country that tolerates and encourages the exchange of varying opinions, and that is not something I take for granted. Our freedoms have been clouded lately with anger and extreme partisanship. I believe this blog has, in its own small way, lately contributed to the hate we see blooming in our society. You need only read comments from the last few posts to see the venom of which I speak."

Molovinsky responded by accusing her of being me. "I will give you this; when it comes to contributing to hate, you remain the master."

Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle.

Molovinsky is wrong. Monkey Momma writes well. I suppose I should be flattered. But as he knows, I only write as myself. He is attacking my basic integrity. He is doing so with reckless indifference to the truth.

I have no problem being demeaned as "Jimmy Olsen, Boy Editor."  But this latest reckless and false accusation is a smear on more than me. It's a slur on a woman, and someone with whom I've often disagreed, for telling an authoritarian that he's an authoritarian.

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do not always agree with you Bernie, but greatly appreciate your journalistic efforts and enjoy your clever prose. Locally,the "mainstream media" has deteriorated to the point of being irrelevant. When I lived in the Hazleton area many years ago, we would kid about the lack of substance in the Standard-Speaker. It was a newspaper you could throw up in the air and read on the way down! Our local papers are now nearly as flimsy in coverage. You have filled in big gaps in local community news. You have been a champion of government transparency and accountability. You allow civil discourse by your readers. You are a great outlet for satire. We appreciate your commitment to this blog. You have proven that past mistakes can be resolved by serving others. Thanks for keeping it real.

Anonymous said...

Lets no be that hard on old O'Hare. We all know he can be a bit of an ass. He will protect his friends and attack his enemies with his cleaver use of twisted facts and partial truths. However, unlike Molovinsky, O'Hare does not believe America should be run from Jerusalem.

michael molovinsky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Bernie, Thank you for what you do. Haters are going to hate. Keep up the good work and thank you for your service.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie O'Hare said...

MM, Do not comment here again until and unless you apologize for your defamation. Your slur was really unnecessary. As for the above comment that you claim is softly anti-Semitic, it will stand. The truth is that you are a Zionist who would be perfectly happy to see this country run from Jerusalem. Your blog makes that very clear. There is nothing anti-Semitic about noting your Zionism. You are quick to accuse others of playing the race card when you and your readers make racist remarks, but look at how quickly you bristle at something that only you would consider anti-Semitic.

Bernie O'Hare said...

7:33, I am not going to stoop to MM's level and allow your personal attacks against him.

Monkey Momma said...

Well, would you look at that?! I'm (anonymously) in a headline here!

I can't possibly convince anyone that I'm me. Asserting ownership of my anonymous name is a bizarre exercise in futility! But...I am me, and I am not Bernie. I am just a suburban mom who has been fond of monkeys ever since I was a child. My own mother calls me "Monkey" to this day, so the handle "Monkey Momma" came about when I wanted to make my first comment on the old Morning Call comment system that ran through Topix. If my kids were otherwise occupied, I would really get into it with some guy (?) who called himself "Deal With It." I still wonder what happened to him after the Call eliminated that snake pit of insanity.

Now my kids are teens, and they are frighteningly well informed citizens. It's not unusual for them to tell me about a breaking news story before I hear about it anywhere else. (Kids today and their Reddit and Twitter instant news.) They follow the Wehr's Dam controversy closely, and they've brought Molovinsky's blog into their classroom as evidence for argumentative papers that support maintaining the dam and letting it remain. They read many of O'Hare's posts about the NIZ and futilely tried to understand our local and state taxation system. They think I am totally weird for continuing to post comments as "Monkey Momma," but on the list of weird things that I regularly do, posting comments is usually rather benign. I know they can read my comments at any time, so I try to keep that in mind before I hit "publish." I really do not want to contribute to the growing pile of hate in the world, though - so, I try to play nice, with the understanding that being critical isn't necessarily "mean" - it's just criticism.

I have learned that nobody ever changed anyone else's mind with a comment. Molovinsky prefers not to have a back and forth dialogue in his blog's comments, so I did not reply to yesterday's accusation that I was a sock monkey. (I prefer the term sock monkey to sock puppet. Obviously.) I noticed today that Molovinsky deleted his last comment from yesterday stating that it was clear to him that I am Bernie. Did he change his mind or just get spooked? I do not know.

I never intended to "sound" like Bernie. Molovinsky's conviction that I was....not me....struck me as another example of his recent odd behavior lately, but who am I to point fingers at odd behavior? And when I say "odd," I don't mean that I simply disagree with you, Mr. Molovinsky - I mean, you just do not sound like the same person you were a year ago. But, it's true that I do not know you, and I could have that totally wrong. I am sorry to have contributed to the widening rift between O'Hare and Molovinsky, though. I have a lot of respect and admiration for both blogger's entire body of work. I really appreciate the opportunity to join in the conversation at both blogs, too. In terms of integrity, Bernie's blog speaks for itself. There is absolutely nobody who has made a larger contribution to the Lehigh Valley's "news" scene than Bernie. He is a trusted source - one that is astonishing in consistency and volume of varied, high quality work. I would pay for a subscription to Lehigh Valley Ramblings, and I suspect many other readers would, too.



Anonymous said...

religion is the root of all evil

Anonymous said...

"Alcoholism stripped me of the one thing I hold most dear - my integrity. I can tolerate and even laugh and join in disparaging remarks about what I do. But over the years, this has really been an attempt to restore my honor, as corny as that might sound, by serving the public."

Really? Serving the public? By sitting like a coward behind a keyboard slinging shit and complaining about elected officials? Since 2006? Thats 11 years ...count 'em....you do not know how to serve the public. Do you run for office to try to correct all the perceived wrong-doing in governemnt that you relentlessly complain about? Have you offerred to do anything in the public sector? Have you volunteered? Do you donate time or money to worthy causes?

Stop acting like such a vile hypocrite. Those who see this blog already know you are a terminally ill psychopath with no life at all, and enjoy harming the good names of others, purely for sport. You are the King of hate. Nothing else to see.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I take full responsibility for my words and sign my name, unlike you. Yes, since 2006, I have been trying to hold local government accountable. That is just as much a form of public service as running for office. This is a form of volunteerism. People like you don't like it and have attempted to marginalize me. But you have failed and have yourself become marginalized, which is why you no longer sign your name.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, you portray yourself as a public servant who is here to help all of us and as you stated,try to redeem your integrity. You further indicate that you do not receive any funds for maintaining or advertising on your blog. You no longer spend significant time at Courthouse searching titles,so I wonder how you can causally move through life criticizing others without a 9 to 5 like the rest of us.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You make false assumptions in an effort to disparage me and what I do, and to create the false impression that I am a hired gun. I do spend several hours nearly every day, searching titles, both at the courthouse and remotely. Civil dockets are online, and land records can be reviewed via Landex. I do prefer being at the courthouse. And as mentioned, I also do receive small sums of money from a weekly newspaper.

E Mest said...

Bernie, I've told you before. Your blog is the first thing I read daily. You write on what's going on in our communities. Things our communities don't want us to know.You get to the bottom of the facts. And yes, you open the cans that need opening. Hats off to you Bernie, The newspapers can all go you know where. They carry nothing of interest. That is why I've cancelled both the local papers and check Lehighvalleylive AFTER reading you.
Thanks Bernie for a great job!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

This was a great post sir. I have a newfound admiration for you. Job well done.
Having said that if you are referred to as Jimmy Olsen would 'what's his name' be Perry White (or Lois Lane?)

Canary_In_Coalmine said...

Bernie is a valuable community asset. Devoted daily readership proves there is substantial community benefit from LVR. Bernie's legal experience is rare in a journalist, and enriches his coverage. FWIW, all news outlets are criticized, sometimes viciously, by people whose continued readership means more than their criticism. And the critics have no idea what it takes to produce accurate stories every day, five days a week.

As the Washington Post says, Democracy Dies in Darkness. Keep shining your light, Bernie!



Anonymous said...

BOH 8:27 - Don't let the bastards get you down. Although we disagree on much and your delete finger IS nimble, you provide an invaluable service to the valley.

Bernie O'Hare said...

@922, Thanks. Molovinsky's petty jealousy has no impact on me or my writing. But when he defames me, as he did, it is important to respond. I no longer consider him a news or even opinion source. I will review his blog solely to guard against continued defamation. He deleted his false accusation, but has provided no retraction or apology. He also makes this accusation in a previous blog entry, which I never noticed until last night, in a remark to Monkey Momma.

"over the years some people have even suggested that you are a bernie sock puppet."

I have never once heard anyone suggest that I am Monkey Momma until Molovinsky this false assertion himself. If such an accusation has been made over the years, why have I never heard it? I believe Molovinsky is the only person who has made this suggestion. No one else has ever made such a claim. His statement that such accusations have been made is an attempt to justify his defamation, but actually proves his lie. He is making accusations with reckless indifference to their truth or falsity. He spoke to no one about this over the years.

I take this quite seriously. It is important that I be totally honest with my readers. The suggestion that I am not is very damaging and hurtful to me. I have sued over false accusations that I post under the pseudonym Clinton Oxford or anonymously. I have taken Easton's Mayor to task for using pseudonyms. Molovinsky's statement is defamatory. I have to guard against this kind of deceitful behavior.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, as a Nazareth and Northampton County resident - I applaud and respect what you do. Like others have stated here, I don't always agree with your opinions/view points on certain subjects/topics, but do know that you and this blog provide our region with a very valuable service and hope you are able to continue it for years to come.

Scott

Anonymous said...

Your retiring? When?

Resident of Allentown said...

I used to check into M's blog for the local news, some of it is still worth noting, such as the posting about the annoying Toyota Stoplight on Lehigh street (which he wrote that the owner of the car lot just happened to give the mayor 10K to support Pawlowski's campaign). But for the most part now I read it to discover how the Ult-right mind works to justify the unjustifiable. The rants against any logical counterpoints in politics, if posted at all, are snidely dismissed by comments from M and his small posse of Hard Right Wingnuts.
I enjoy checking into LVR every day for the local politics and also the varied opinions. I admit to cowardly caution when I post anon and look forward to the day when I need not depend on maintaining an income for a family. Thank you for allowing myself and others to do so and thanks for LVR.

Bernie O'Hare said...

10:51, not sure.

Anonymous said...

UNBELIEVABLE!!! He poOfed so much content over at his blog. I haven't any respect for a blogger who does that without noting that he is doing it. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and be tolerant, but he has now poOfed too many of his posts and comments within the past few months. But removing his own posts and own comments, this behaviour seriously marginalize him, make him look petty, and really paint his lack of credibility. He demonstrates his true colours of bigotry.

Anonymous said...

Mr. M dares cry anti-Semitism when in fact he uses it as a crutch in his attacks. he gleefully attacks the Pope and Catholics but heaven forbid someone call into question some irrational policy emanating out of Tel
Aviv. What Mr.M does not say is that half of Israel thinks Bebe is an ass.

So yes Mr. M. Your blog is a hate blog. You allow this right wing hate. So please do not cry about others and do not play the victim card when someone points out your own hypocrisy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Without question, Israel deserves our complete support. That country is a beacon of decency and humanity in the Middle East. In some ways, I consider myself a Zionist. But our foreign policy should be established here, not in Israel.

I do not consider Molovinsky's blog a hate blog. But he certainly has become ground zero for purveyors of hatred and intolerance. One of his readers thinks that the average IQ of Somalis is 78. Molovinsky has enabled this hatred by posting rants aimed at Allentown's minorities, who actually are a majority. He even blames them for Allentown's litter.

Another of his readers, Rolf Oeler, aka IronPigPen, has a tendency to start ranting in German. On Election Day 2012, he threatened to kill President Obama in a hateful rant here. I reported him, as I would do for anyone who threatens to kill the President. He was never charged, but I know he received a visit. He is banned here, though he posts anonymously. Molovinsky allows him to pursue his hate on his blog, so long as he pretends to be pro-Israel.

Molovinsky himself is sliding away. I do not consider his a hate blog yet, but it is headed in that direction.

Anonymous said...

"Without question, Israel deserves our complete support"

Good. However, you don't support the President of the United States.

Knit Knee Lion said...

You call MM petty yet he has remained loyal and kept a link to your "blog" on his sidebar whilst you have banished his from ye olde blog roll.

I'd say your treatment of Ken Heffentrager was very hateful, it was a real punch and judy show.


Barbara Diamond said...

Thank you Bernie for reporting on local issues. I don't always agree with you, but my impression is that you care about integrity of government and spend your time & energy so that we will be informed. As I read your blog especially the part about wondering who would take over for you, I was afraid you were announcing your retirement. Was glad to find that was not the case. Keep up the good work; know that your efforts are much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, Keep up the good works.

Bernie O'Hare said...

3:19,I have no obligation to link to a blog that repeatedly attacks me. You'll have to look elsewhere for a masochist. Also, I stand by every word I wrote about Heffentrager.

Bernie O'Hare said...

2:45, any president who calls a judge who rules against him a "so called judge" is "so called president." He also engaged in obstruction of justice so, no, he has no support from me. MM overlooks Trump's criminality bc he supports Israel. I don't.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there Bernie you are the most gutsy guy i know.

Jeffrey Anthony said...

I'm not weighing in on either side, but it is a shame you and MM are at odds.

The Lehigh Valley has more than its share of serious problems, and both of you are to be commended for bringing those problems to light in your own unique fashions from your own unique perspectives.

Both of you are part of the solution to those problems and neither of you are part of the problem.

I would be delighted if the two of you would allow me to invite you to dinner -- either at the restaurant of your choice or prepared by my lovely wife with her extraordinary culinary talents.

As long as you two are fighting, the bad guys are winning...

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jeffrey, I made the mistake of considering Molovinsky a friend twice. It will not be made a third time. He falsely accused me of posting under a pseudonym, and did so with reckless indifference to the truth. That person does not merit the trust required for even a casual friendship. Thanks, but no thanks. As someone who bashed the pope for forgiving enemies, MM should understand.

Anonymous said...

And did the Secret Service find any merit to this alleged threat? Or was it a wild goose chase? Are the local neighbors whom the Secret Service interviewed STILL laughing their heads off because some clown blogger who lost his license to practice law wasted a whole bunch of people's valuable time?

A decent journalist asks follow-up questions and follows a "story" to its conclusion.

From what I understand, the Secret Service agents concluded that the stories told by blogger who lost his license to practice are extremely far-fetched.

Better luck next time.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, you too like the baseball law as three strikes your out, f me once f me twice, the third time f you!

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I enjoy reading your blog for the wide variety of topics you cover although I rarely post. I certainly disagree with many of your opinions, but your ability to express yourself without denigrating others or posting self-congratulatory and recycled posts are what set you apart from Molovinsky.

Monkey Momma's perception of Molovinsky is spot-on. He's always been offensive for shock-value, but this recent presidential election has dialed him up a few notches.

Lastly, thanks for your self-deprecation. Much like Trump, Molovinsky is lacking in that skill.

Anonymous said...

Anti-Semitism can come in many forms. It is a sad testament to our times.

Bernie O'Hare said...

True. But calling a Zionist a Zionist is not one of them.

Bernie O'Hare said...

6:59, aka PigPen, aka Rolph Oeler, your comment was sent to Secret Service and was serious enough to prompt an investigation. What they do is their business but by your own admission, they were concerned enough that they spoke to your neighbors. If it were up to me, you'd be behind bars or committed. Consider yourself lucky.

George Baker, Jr. said...

Bernie, i'm glad that you hold what you do in high regard. reporting on local government and community news is surely needed, but you have two problems: your less-newsworthy items rely on "sources" who may have an agenda and supply you with nothing close to facts in the hopes that you further their agenda (whether or not you are aware). Because you partake in this, and allow anonymous commentary where there is no justification of facts, or a desire for balanced reporting, you are completely undermining your attempt to give back to your community and to right the personal wrongs of your past. either you are a legit reporter of facts and news or a scum-sucking blogger with no legitimacy. you can't be both. end anonymous commentary and aim for complete transparancy in your reporting. that's a better attempt at redemption than what you are doing now.

Anonymous said...

You don't get to make the same accusation over and over again. You took your best shot and your case got tossed. You lost. Make up some new bullshit if you must. But you are 0 for 1, scum-sucking blogger with ZERO credibility.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Actually, I won. Twice.

Bernie O'Hare said...

George Baker, All sources have agendas. That's what makes them sources. Also, what I write and what some anonymous person like you write are two different things. But feel free to ignore this blog.

George Baker, Jr. said...

see what i mean? i can write what i want anonymously, Bernie. Because you allow it. and when you like what someone has to say, what information they can add, what colorful comments support your or your source's agenda, all is good with you. but when someone disagrees, offers counter-facts, attacks or shows support for someone that you or source have targeted with little use of facts or an effort to be objective, then you always come back to using this anonymity as a defense--the anonymity that YOU allow on the blog. ("sign your name, i sign mine.") it's ludicrous! and you are right, YOUR sources seem to have agendas, because they feed you in the dark and stay hidden. if it were simply a matter of serving your public (in an effort of balanced reporting, let's say...), then name the sources! show them the light of day. and likewise, so should people commenting on the blog. i try to ignore your blog, as much as possible, but it's easy to get roped in when people i know are on the receiving end of blog posts and anonymous comments spouting falsehoods.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I did not like what you had to say but allowed it bc you did not get personal. So that pretty much disproves your point, but I doubt you'll see it. When you do get personal, I point you out for what you are, an anonymous coward. That's what bothers you, and that's too bad. I rely on anonymous sources very infrequently because they, like you, have agendas. And when I do rely on them, I usually characterize my story as a rumor or based on anonymous sources. What I do is no different than anyone else who writes stories. You don't like the anonymous comments but I find that when people ID themselves, they can still be pretty ugly. As I said, you are free to ignore this blog. I wish you would.

George Baker, Jr. said...

my agenda is truth and balanced reporting. i do appreciate the research and coverage of local governmental news that has relevance to our community, but do yourself a favor and take a closer look at some of the sources who feed you. they are not good people and are using you as a means to an end. you have the potential to do some really good work and this blog could explode in popularity, filling a much needed void. otherwise, you lay with dogs, you get fleas.

Anonymous said...

Fleas? His best friend is Ron "Socks" Angle Bernie has hemmehroids of the soul.

Anonymous said...

One thing MM and BOH agreed on and got totally wrong was the success of the PPL Center.

Anonymous said...

You don't get to make the same accusation over and over again. You took your best shot and your case got tossed. You lost. Make up some new bullshit if you must. But you are 0 for 1, scum-sucking blogger with ZERO credibility.

And you are douche. Nice around here without the inane posts of gibberish.

Anonymous said...

"And you are a douche"

Whatever you say, 3:38 PM. Tell Bernie next time he wants to drop a dime on somebody, things will go much better if there is actual merit to the accusation(s) in question. Investigators are like that, they need a little something called "probable cause" to speak nothing of actual "evidence".

Any moron can make any moronic accusation they want.

That's what investigators do, find out what is real and what is made up bullshit.

You just don't like the results of a fair investigation conducted by the Secret Service --- and that is YOUR problem ... but if it makes you feel better to call me "douche", then, hell, go for it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The above comment comes from Rolf Oeler, aka PigPen, writing for once in English. There is nothing for me to investigate. You threatened to kill the President of the United States on this blog on Election Day 2016. I reported you, both to the Secret Service and Allentown police. Thanks to your own admission, we know Secret Service visited your neighbors. If it were up to me, you'd be behind bars or in a mental hospital. As further evidence of your mental instability, you seem to be proud of your criminal behavior. Go bray in German on Molovinsky's blog and pretend to be pro-Israel there. The rest of us know you are just awaiting the return of Der Fuhrer, but Trump will do.

Anonymous said...

Rolf should ask how that attitude is working out for Kathy Griffin.