Holding Court – Gospel Of The 1 Percent

Holding Court Headerby Benjamin T. Moore, Jr.

I Was Offended!

What follows is the account of an encounter I had the other day in our local Meijer grocery store. I see this more and more frequently these days. Some Apostle of the GOP, spreading the gospel of Fox News and the 1%, will begin loud talking someone. Most often this is a person whom they perceive to be uninformed or under informed and they promptly get busy planting the seeds of their delusion in what they perceive to be fertile ground.

I do try and mind my own business… However, when someone is playing to an audience and seeking converts… I don’t do “audience” well. I tend to talk back, object and ask questions. Hopefully you will enjoy the following exchange and perhaps join me in pushing back against these charlatans who seek to pull the wool over the eyes of people they believe are beneath them. Enjoy!

Holding Court – Gospel Of The 1 Percent

The other day I had to go down to our “City Hall” to pay our property taxes… I’ve had several bad experiences with their security check point – read: damn near had to strip – so, I figured I’d put on some sweat pants and a sweat shirt with nothing on me other than my wallet, keys, checkbook, a pen and my smart phone. All in all? I looked pretty grungy.

Weather report called for sub-arctic temps, so I figured while I was out I’d swing through Meijer’s and grab a few items so I wouldn’t have to go out again for a couple of days. Thus it was, with visions of a glowing fireplace in mind, I found myself on the dairy aisle heading towards the eggs.

Holding Court - Dairy Aisle My first intimation of an unusual exchange came when I heard this older white guy talking in what I call his “holding court voice.” I’m sure you’ve all heard and experienced this. When people talk way too loud for a conventional conversation such that people 20 or more feet away can hear clearly and follow along whether they’re interested or not. The second thing I noticed was… damn if they weren’t standing dab smack in front of the egg section!

Let me paint the picture for you. The older white gent was wearing some designer jeans, loafers and something like a members only jacket. He had silver hair, was about 6′ tall and exuded wealth and power. The poor employee he had “buttonholed” was maybe in his late 20’s, early 30’s. Rather scraggly faced. Ponytail, tall and lean. I’d seen him around numerous times. He was always pleasant but quiet and reserved.

My intentions were to grab my eggs and get the hell out of there… glowing fireplace, remember? What stopped me in my tracks was, I heard the younger employee defending himself by saying, “Meijer made quite a profit this year… to me that means they ought to be able to give us employees a raise.”

My eyes narrowed as the alarm bells begin to go off. This older fellow must have been pressing the employee quite a bit because this isn’t generally the topic of conversation that goes well… *on* company time and on company *property.* The older fellow – again in his “holding court voice” – proffered, “well, all these grocery stores are running quite a lean ship and there’s just not as much money as you think there is…” He rocked back on his heels smugly and gave a knowing smile.

Holding Court - Silver FoxI slowly turned, looked at him and said, “you seem to be as old if not a bit older than I? I’m sure you recall when we grew up, things really weren’t all that bad… back in the days when the CEOs of corporations didn’t make 700 times what their front line employees make? We did pretty well back then didn’t we? Just because something is a certain way, doesn’t mean it has to be, or should be that way…” Jamie Dimon, the CEO of Chase just got a $20 million bonus package… this same year Chase paid out over $29 Billion in fines… but the board still gave him a $20 million bonus package.

I noticed his spine stiffen a bit. Clearly he had foreseen things going a different way. He was game however and immediately argued that, “the federal government almost put a gun to J.P. Morgan Chase’s head and made them buy several banks which is how they incurred those fines.” At this point I tried to sort of clue him in that it is unwise to judge a book by its cover… namely me. I informed him that I knew all about it as my wife happened to be an executive vice president for the bank. I then pointed out that this did nothing to explain the investigation being carried out by the U.S. Attorney General’s office into criminal wrong doing at Chase.

At this point he became almost apoplectic! I had to step back a bit to keep from being sprayed as spittle formed at the corners of his mouth. “Eric Holder is a criminal he spat!” I did try to make allowances even though I felt myself begin to do a slow boil… nevertheless, I pushed the fury down, looked him directly in the eyes and said, “he’s the United States Attorney General and I choose to respect him as such.” A more prescient man would have detected the edge in my voice and noticed the fire that had begun to flicker in my eyes. Not so with this fellow…

“Well then he needs to start prosecuting criminals he bawled!” He had just crossed the Rubicon and there was no going back now. The game was afoot! Okay, I said. “Tell me which crimes he isn’t prosecuting.” “Well he can start with all those guns coming in from Mexico!” “Uh huh,” I said, “that’s ‘Fast and Furious’ and that was under George Bush.” “Next? Have you got anything else???” He turned beet red and began to sputter. No time like the present to start my evisceration of this fool. “Your problem” I said conversationally, “is you get all your news from Fox News. Studies have shown that people who don’t watch any news at all, actually know more about the news than people who watch Fox.”

At this point he literally began to shake, his fist clenched as he exclaimed, “I don’t watch Fox news… and I don’t watch CNN, ABC, CBS or NBC… furthermore, *watching any other station is useless!”* The more agitated he grew, the calmer I became. Lowering my voice a level I said, “so you’re a liar! You do get your news from Fox! You just admitted to it.” His mouth flew open and he began gulping air. Attempting to recover, he exclaimed, “no I don’t! I don’t watch any of the news channels!” He was shaking now… and I had him. Time to deliver the coup de grâce. “So where do you get your news?” I asked pleasantly. “Or do you just pull it out of your ass???”

I didn’t think it was possible for him to become any more red! He began to shake and then with the almost plaintive wail of a child, he said, “I get my news from sources…” “Which sources” I pressed. “Sources that *I* trust!” At this point I looked over at the employee, spread my arms, shrugged my shoulders and with a smile and a nod I said, “Fox!” I shook my head and calmly walked away, eggs in hand, to get the rest of my items.

A moment or two later the employee located me, walked up to me, shook my hand and said, “thank you so much. I really can’t debate these people while I’m working.” I smiled and said, “no worries, I had you covered.”

Syria Is Not Iraq – Don’t Get It Twisted

Syria Is Not Iraq - Headerby Benjamin T. Moore, Jr.

Syria Is Not Iraq

Have you ever noticed how our Presidents seem to age right before our very eyes? These are the problems and issues that cause this apparent rapid ageing. As President Obama once pointed out, all the easy decisions are handled before they ever reach his desk. The problems that reach the “Oval Office” are the ones only he can make a decision about. What to do about Syria’s use of chemical weapons on its own people is just such a decision. Contrary to what some of the pundits would have you believe, Syria is not Iraq.

 This Is Not His Daddy’s War

Syria Is Not Iraq - GW BushThere is no doubt the shenanigans of “Bush 43” left a very sour taste in the mouths of the  American people when it comes to military operations in the “middle east.” The analytical amongst us figured out early on, the primary reasons for going into Iraq following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, had more to do with the oil cartels wanting to get their grimy mitts on the 2nd largest oil reserves in the world and our military industrial complex looking to loot this country. Add to these facts, G.W. would get to finish the job his daddy only started, and it was a done deal.

The United States is still paying for the criminal incompetence of G.W. Bush. In the words of Obi Wan Kenobi, “who’s the bigger fool? The fool or the fool who follows him?” I think we’ve answered that question and at an extremely high cost.

Chemical Weapons Actually Used

Unlike the cobbled together justification for going into Iraq, Syria has actually used chemical weapons on its citizens. We’ve seen the videos and the dead bodies have been examined. Did Saddam use chemical weapons on the Kurds? Yes he did. We sold him the chemical weapons he used. However, this occurred back in 1988. At the time of this writing, Syria used chemical weapons against its citizens just 10 days ago. Syria is not Iraq.

Mission Is Not Regime Change

Syria Is Not Iraq - Saddam Statue Pulled DownPresident Obama is not interested in changing the Syrian regime. Not only does the United States have no Constitutional authority to go around changing the regimes of sovereign nations, who is to say that the regime replacing the current one would be any better? Although many nations in our global community are expressing trepidation about taking action, it has been long established policy – global policy – that the nations of the world will not tolerate the use of weapons of mass destruction. Chemical weapons fall under this prohibition. Had Assad detonated a “tactical nuke” I suspect there would be no hesitation in the global community for taking action. The reality is, using chemical weapons is philosophically no different.

Syria Is Not A Major Oil Producer

Syria Is Not Iraq - Graph Of Oil Producing NationsIn point of fact, Syria has not been able to export any oil since the 2011 sanctions. If Syria were a major oil producer, you’d best believe the Republican lap dogs would be getting calls from their corporate masters and they’d be itching to go into Syria. Syria is not Iraq.

Destabilizing Civil War Already In Progress

When we went into Iraq under George Bush 43, Iraq was not at war and was relatively stable. You may not have liked Saddam’s administration, but his people had food, they had electricity and there was law and order in the streets. We went in and destabilized Iraq, seized their oil production and destroyed their infrastructure. As Colin Powell advised Bush 43, “it’s the pottery barn rules; you break it you bought it.” We’ve been paying to keep Iraq together ever since.

Syria is already in the middle of a civil war that is destabilizing the region. If tomorrow you awoke to tanks rolling down your street and bombs falling, what would you do? If possible you’d take your family and get the hell out of Dodge. Those in Syria who can are doing that very thing. Where are they going? They’re going across their borders where possible and that means the surrounding nations are inundated with refugees. Over time, this will serve to destabilize those nations. Thus, the longer this conflict continues, the more dangerous it becomes for that region. Syria is not Iraq.

What To Do?

What should we do in Syria? Frankly, I don’t know. I’m not the President and I’m damn glad I don’t have to make this decision. I’m definitely not an advocate for “boots on the ground.” We can’t simply blow up his chemical weapons stock piles because that would release them into the environment.

I also am not naive enough to believe we shouldn’t do anything. We’ve seen what happens when despots get away with even the least bit of genocide. It always grows and it sets a precedent for all the tin horn dictators watching to see what the consequences might be.

I might recommend what I call the “Moore Doctrine” of modern warfare. Under my doctrine, when dealing with a nation that refuses to see reason, you take out one third of their military assets. You then give them the opportunity to negotiate. If they remain recalcitrant, you take out another third and so on. Assad wants to maintain power. If he loses his military, he’s done for. Reduce his military by one third, you haven’t removed him from power, thus further destabilizing the region, but you may have taught him a valuable lesson and a lesson, more importantly, that those watching will appreciate.