The Export-Import Bank Story the Post-Dispatch Refused to Print

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Since the Post won’t run my reply a recent op-ed about the Ex-Im Bank, I’ll publish it here:

Huge multi-national corporations like to preach from the “small business” bible when it comes to the Export-Import bank. Unfortunately, most of the Ex-Im propaganda about how “small business” benefits crumbles under scrutiny.

Professor Stanford Levin of Southern Illinois University recently wrote an Op-Ed supporting reauthorization of the Export Import Bank. As the professor states, the Export-Import Bank provides cheap loans to foreign companies and governments with which to buy products sold by mostly large, multi-national companies with headquarters in the United States.
But the professor failed to mention the details of his various arguments for the bank. Here are some important details that might change Professor Levin’s view of the bank:
1. Stanford doesn’t mention the Export-Import Bank’s definition of “small business.” According to Ex-Im, a small business has up to 1,500 employee and revenue of $21 million. So the Ex-Im idea of small is relative. Yes, 1,500 employees looks small to AT&T and Boeing, but it looks enormous to the small business owners I know.
2. Stanford claims “90 percent of the agency’s transactions last year were for small-business exports,” but he doesn’t tell you that a “transaction” is an application processed, not the amount of financing provided. The distribution of applications to Ex-Im is a meaningless statistic that only an economist could like.
3. Stanford fails to disclose how Ex-Im allocates financing between large and “small” businesses, but I will. In 2013, “small businesses” received less than 20 percent of Ex-Im authorizations (source http://www.exim.gov/about/library/reports/annualreports/2013/FY2013-auth-summary-and-small-business-auth.pdf). As Heritage Foundation Research Fellow Diane Katz found: “Multinational corporations attract the largest proportion of Ex–Im financing, including the construction and engineering firm of Bechtel, ranked by Forbes as the fourth-largest privately held company by revenue, and Lockheed Martin, valued in excess of $50 billion. But the bank’s foremost beneficiary is Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company (with a market capitalization exceeding $91 billion). In the past five years, the company has profited from 197 Ex–Im deals totaling $48 billion. Last year alone, Boeing-related financing comprised 30 percent of all Ex–Im activity.”
4. Nor does Professor Stanford inform your readers that Ex-Im hurts American works. For example, Delta Airlines and the Airline Pilots Association sued Ex-Im last year for providing unfair competition through loans to foreign airlines for which US airlines are ineligible.
5. Sadly, Ex-Im provides a lot of funding to America’s adversaries. Last year alone, Ex-Im provided business assistance to Chinese companies worth $638 million and Putin’s Russia worth $630 million.
6. The Inspector-General of Ex-Im disputes Professor Stanford’s claim that “the Export-Import Bank exercises due diligence before issuing credit.” In its latest report to Congress, the Export-Import Banks’ IG says, “One of the consistent observations arising out of audits, evaluations, and investigations conducted by the OIG are weaknesses in governance and
internal controls for business operations.” (Source: http://www.exim.gov/oig/upload/OIG_Report_FA13_508.pdf.)
7. There is no evidence that Ex-Im creates American jobs, as the professor implies. According to Heritage Research Fellow Diane Katz, “the bank does not count actual jobs related to its projects but simply extrapolates numbers based on national data. This formula does not distinguish among full-time, part-time, and seasonal jobs. It also assumes that average employment trends apply to Ex–Im clients (who may not be typical).”
 
Clearly, the Export-Import Bank’s crony capitalist proponents like to play fast and loose with the facts. Just as clear the fact that the Ex-Im bank is a trough for feeding well-connected corporate welfare queens. It’s time to end the Export-Import Bank. 

Ferguson Shopping Ideas

Reading Time: 1
Here are some businesses people should frequent:

Eat at Sweetie Pies on W. Florrisant, or head to Paul’s Market on Elizabeth, Drive down N./S. Florrisant for Shop-n-Save, Chinese Food, local eats, bakeries, dollar tree, etc.  Ferguson also extends to New Halls Ferry and 270, where there is a Home Depot, another Shop-n-Save, Party store, UPS store, and more.
http://livewellferguson.com/main/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/FergusonMap5-1.jpg

Also, there is Ferguson Bike shop, The Whistle Stop,  and Sportsprint (where you might find an I heart Ferguson shirt).

So, besides the hard hit area I know you are planning on going to, there are other stores

http://www.sportsprint.com/contact.html
http://www.paulsmarketdeli.com/ (awesome meat/butcher shop and deli, with a mini store)
http://fergusonbicycleshop.com/wp/
https://www.facebook.com/CathysKitchenrestaurant
https://www.facebook.com/theflavorofmexico (El Palenque)
http://www.whistlestopdepot.com/index.html (Frozen Custard and food)
http://www.marleysferguson.com/ (bar and grill – cheap and good)
http://www.corkwinebarstl.com/ (upscale eating, great wine menu)
http://www.fergusonbrewing.com/ (local brew and good menu)
http://www.cose-dolci.com highly rated Bakery
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Faraci-Pizza-North/125001694200111?sk=info
http://vincenzosstl.com/
http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/28/322130/restaurant/St-Louis/Spencers-Bakery-Ferguson
http://www.andywurm.com/location.aspx (tire and wheel – not the looted rim store)
http://www.yelp.com/biz/drakes-place-ferguson
http://www.yelp.com/biz/sweetie-pies-saint-louis

And don’t forget!
Every Saturday Morning 8 am-noon – through October: http://fergusonfarmersmarket.com/

BUYCOTT FERGUSON!

Municipal Court or Kangaroo Court?

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Guest post by Lee A. Presser

On Wednesday, April 16, 2003, I was in Bel-Ridge, Missouri, Municipal Court to plead “not guilty.” The violation listed on the ticket did not match the reality of what actually happened on the road. In a file folder, I had documents and photographs to rebut the charge. The ticket stated that Court convened at 6:30 P.M. I arrived twenty minutes early.

Before 9:30 that evening, I had been tightly handcuffed twice, verbally abused by police, pushed into a depressing detention cell, and made an example of in front of seventy-five to one hundred people.

When I arrived by car at 6:10 P.M. to 8842 Natural Bridge Road, I spotted what looked to me to be a group of shabby buildings which made up the Bel-Ridge Municipal Complex. They had some parking spaces on their property but nowhere near the number of spaces for the amount of defendants their officers had netted for that night’s hearing. By that time the only parking available to me was on a nearby residential street which was a five minute walk from the Municipal Court door.

It was raining that evening. I was wearing a business suit. My umbrella was in my car but that night I was driving a rental because my car was in the shop. After walking the five minutes to where the crowd was lined up, we were made to stand in the rain for another ten minutes before the police officers processed us into the building. While in line, I was asked several times if I was an attorney.

Inside the door, I was told to empty my pockets into a small basket. This included my cell phone, which I had already turned off. The police officer ran a metal detector wand over me. When I went to collect my things from the basket, the police officer took my phone and put it on the floor with a large number of other cell phones taken from the seventy-five or more defendants already seated inside. I told the officer that I was concerned about making sure I got my phone back. He answered by saying, “That’s your problem.” At that moment my internal radar came on.

Again, I was asked, “Are you an attorney?” After stating that I was not, I was pointed to the check-in window. At the window I was asked again. Standing there in my suit, holding my file and a book, I said, “No.” The other defendants were in tee-shirts, slacks, and other casual clothes. They were mostly black, only a hand full of us were white. After check-in I moved toward a seat near the front so I could better hear the proceedings. One of the police officers stopped me and told me to “sit over there.” He directed me to a metal folding chair near the back of the room.

The room was long but very narrow. It had a low ceiling. I was sitting far from the judge, at least fifty feet back, maybe more. There were maybe twenty rows of eight chairs per row. The rows were divided into two sections. There were five seats in the right section, an aisle, then three seats in the left section. There were probably fifteen rows between me and the Court. Defendants filled almost every seat. There were maybe 120 people seated between me and the judge. I’m guessing there were 140 defendants in that small room.

As noted above, most of the defendants were black. We were surrounded by seven white police officers. They were not friendly, they were not helpful, and they treated the people in that room as if they were criminals. Many of the officers were verbally abusive to defendants.

When the Municipal Court proceedings were called to order by the judge, he spoke to this large crowd for about five minutes. We in the back could not hear what the judge was saying. Sitting next to me was one of the few white defendants in the room. He raised his hand, then waved it, but was not recognized by the judge. He then spoke out loud, “we cannot hear the judge in the back .” One of the officers shouted at him to “shut up.”

I brought a paperback book to read while I waited to plead not guilty. But, I was so disturbed by what I saw going on around me, I could not focus on the book. Quietly, in a voice that did not carry, I asked some of the people near me why they were there. One black man, Antonio D., stated that he had been stopped for speeding in a private parking lot. The white man from
St. Charles, Missouri, who was sitting next to me, stated that he had been stopped on the Interstate for doing 81 MPH. He said he was going fast but nowhere near 81 MPH. He immediately asked the officer to see the radar readout, the officer refused and wrote the ticket. An older black man was cited for driving without a license. He told me he didn’t know how to file the papers to get his driver’s license back after the suspension period ended and he did not have the money to hire a Traffic attorney.

Most of the people in the room did not look like they could easily afford an attorney. If they had hired attorneys, the attorneys would have settled most of the cases being heard that day. Instead a mostly black group of defendants was made to sit in metal folding chairs, some of them for hours, surrounded by seven white police officers, being judged by an all white Court.

A long time had passed since our first conversation. Finally, I quietly said to those near me, “I don’t like the police officers being so abusive to the people in the crowd. It’s not right.” I looked toward the seats behind us, and standing behind the last row, one of the officers was glaring at me.

Within a few minutes a different police officer approached me, asked my name, and walked toward the front. Everyone sitting near me was amazed. As far as we had seen, I was the only one in that room who was asked to supply their name. Later two officers approached and asked me to follow them. They told me to put my hands behind my back. They said I was being arrested for Contempt of Court. I asked, “for what?” One officer actually said I was being arrested for being a “disruptive influence because I was reading my book and talking to my neighbors.” In front of the remaining crowd, they roughly and tightly put handcuffs on me. While this was going on, I was looking at the people with whom I had been sitting. I said in their direction, “I’m being arrested for reading my book and talking to you.” The officer jerked my arms and growled, “shut up.”
I was taken out of that building by a side door and walked in the pouring rain to another building. My expensive suit was being soaked again. I said to the young man who was escorting me, “You know what they are doing is bogus.” He replied, “I only do what I am told.” Looking closely at his eyes, I said to him, “That’s what Saddam Hussain’s police say.” He shrugged but kept leading me toward a small, unpleasant looking building. Inside the lock-up building, the folder containing my documents was taken from me. I was told they were doing me a favor by allowing me to keep my book. He put me in a very small holding cell. It was three small steps long and one step wide. Being in there was shocking and depressing.

I saw no paperwork, no warrant, no nothing. No charges were read to me. I was not finger printed. “This couldn’t be legal,” I thought.

Time moved very slowly in that cell. I did not get any reading done. I was angry. I wanted to show them they could not get away with this. I wanted someone powerful to come and tell them to put a stop to this. After a while, I realized I was in their power and they could hurt me and keep me locked up in this terrible place.

Later, a different police officer came into the cell. I was being taken back to the Court building. He handcuffed me, this time squeezing them even tighter than the first time. The cuffs left marks on my wrist. Before we left that building, I told them to give me back my file. I could not see it on top of the file cabinet where the first officer had placed it before they put me in the cell. I refused to leave until they found it and gave it back. It was found and handed to the police officer escort.

Again, I was taken for a walk in the rain. Once we were back in the Municipal Court building, he removed the handcuffs and put me into a chair near the front, along the wall, where they make prisoners in jump suits sit. I asked for the folder. He refused to return it. Later I saw him and others looking through the papers in the folder. At one point I asked for some water. The answer was “no.”

Even at this late hour there was still a long line of defendants waiting to have their case heard by the judge. Now that I was up front, where I wanted to sit in the first place, I could hear how this Court conducted itself, and I wasn’t impressed. One hard-of-hearing older white woman was there because she had been cited for having trash in her yard. I believe she was told to pay $150 per citation. As she was leaving, I saw several of the officers laughing at her behind her back. Many other defendants were treated in what I considered an insensitive, if not abusive, manner.

When all the defendants were heard and out of the room, I was called before the judge. I was alone with the Court and the police officers. The judge said something to me which I can’t remember as I am writing this. My response caused him to tell me that he told this to the crowd at the beginning of the session. I told him that we in the back could not hear his comments. I said that the guy next to me had put up his hand, waved it, and then said out loud that we could not hear him. The judge stopped me, ignored what I said, and repeated for me the unheard statement.
The charges were read and I was asked how I would plead. “Not guilty,” I said. In reality, I wanted to say that I did not understand the reason the ticket was issued in the first place. But, being afraid for my well-being in this Court Room, I thought the best thing I could do was to say not guilty and ask for a jury trial. In that way, people other than this judge and this prosecutor would decide my fate. I told him that I wanted this case set for a jury trial. He said something legalistic that I took to mean that if I could not ask for it in the correct legal language than I could not have a jury trial.

I said to the judge that if he would take five minutes now to look at the documents and pictures in my folder, he would see that there was no need for this to go any further. Anyone looking at the material in the folder would immediately see that the ticket made no sense and that the charge should be dismissed. He again gave some legalistic answer that meant no. I had the feeling he did not want this settled. He wanted me in this room again.

After pleading not guilty, the judge proceeded to lecture me. He sternly told me that next time I was in his Court, I was not to fidget in my seat, make a nuisance of myself, or disturb the people around me. I wanted to respond but this was not the time. Rule 37.75(a) states that, “A criminal contempt may be punished summarily if the judge certifies that he saw or heard the conduct constituting the contempt and that it was committed in his presence.” If there were at least fifty feet and at least fifty people between the judge and I, could he have really seen me fidgeting in my seat or heard me talking to my neighbors? I believe the answer is no, he could not. I believe that he was told something by a police officer and then he allowed them to handcuff me and put me in the lock-up. Rule 37.75(a) does not say that police officers can report to the judge what they saw or heard. It says the judge must see or hear the conduct. In Bel-Ridge they have their own way of doing things.

After being dismissed by the judge, a police officer, acting as the Bailiff, handed me a notice which stated that my new court date was June 25, 2003.

I was in that courtroom because of a ticket issued on the afternoon of March 14, 2003. I was driving west on Natural Bridge Road. My intention was to turn left onto I-170 South. The light was green. I was driving in the left turn lane. As I was getting ready to make the left, I saw two east bound cars, one in each lane of approaching traffic, speeding toward the intersection. Had they not been speeding, I would have completed the left turn. Instead, I paused, waited for the cars to pass, and then proceeded through the intersection into the highway on-ramp. The light turned red before I was fully out of the intersection. Moments later the police officer stopped me. When he walked up to the car, he said I had been blocking the intersection. I did not understand what he meant. We talked. I still did not understand the violation. He asked for my driver’s license. I said, “You’re giving me a ticket! For what?” He came back with a ticket stating, “Impeded the flow of traffic by being in the intersection controlled by an electric signal.” The ordinance violated was listed as 300.010. Again, I said to him, “The light was green when I entered the intersection and I was gone the moment the two cars passed.”
After being in the Bel-Ridge Municipal Court, I have a better understanding of my traffic stop. In my opinion, that traffic stop was a moneymaker for Bel-Ridge, Missouri. In my opinion, the Bel-Ridge political establishment sends out its police force for the purpose of making money. Bel-Ridge police seek out every minor infraction and issue a ticket which helps pay the salary’s of all the public officials. Again, it is my opinion that Bel-Ridge and all other communities who use their police force as a moneymaker should be stopped. If they will not stop, these communities should be disincorporated, removing their ability to use police powers for that purpose.

In a small community like Bel-Ridge, I find it hard to believe there should be that many defendants sitting in Municipal Court. I believe my case should never have gone to court that night. But, as a result of being there, I have seen the shadier side of the Municipal Court system.

Editor’s Note: I stood for three minutes in furious disbelief when I first read this account of the abuse and degradation that Bel Ridge heaps on American citizens for minor ordinance violations. I can imagine one minor traffic or lawn violation could send an otherwise good person into a downward spiral. This story is not the tale of justice in America. It’s a nightmarish descent into psychological abuse. The police described in this story are not public servants but psychopaths. True psychopaths who get their jollies mentally and physically hurting innocent people. No one in America should endure this kind of abuse at the hands of judges and police officers.

Please see my previous story on the problems in North County

It’s Hard to Deny North County Has Problems with Police and Courts

Reading Time: 5 minutes

What did you think when you first heard reports of violence in Ferguson? I mean, after the shooting death of Michael Brown?

Did you ever for a moment think, “this is about more than just Michael Brown?”

I hate to say that. It’s embarrassing to admit that I’m so jaded as to think “that’s all” when a young man dies. Sorry. I’m just being honest.

I understand community grief and anger. I worry every time my son walks out the front door. I worry every day about son who lives with his mom. And endlessly about my son serving in the Navy. I’ve lost a child to disease, not violence. I don’t know which is worse, and I hope I never find out.

Still, I wasn’t the only one who thought, “there’s more here than just the shooting.”

Today, St. Louis police shot and killed an African-American man just 10 miles from Ferguson. A crowd formed, but it didn’t lose control. At least, it hasn’t yet. Granted, Chief Dotson and Mayor Slay handled this sad case elegantly. I know “elegantly” is an awkward adverb when talking about a man’s death, but that’s the first word that came to mind. The chief addressed the crowd shortly after the incident, explaining everything that happened, as he knew it, and expressing his regret. Via STLToday.com:

Afterward, Dotson said, “I want this message to be out as quickly and truthfully as possible.” The tension on the street seemed diminished.

Props to Alderman Antonio French, too, who helped the crowd hold its judgment while the chief spoke.

If relations between St. Louis government and the people were really bad, would Dotson’s and French’s words have satisfied the crowd?

There seems to be a fundamental difference between the relationship of people to government in St. Louis compared to the same relationship in Ferguson. And the two candidates for County Executive better be prepared to deal with it. Fast.

(Speaking of which, one of those two candidates might want to get in front of this issue. Just sayin’.)

In the past 24 hours, I’ve receive unsolicited stories of remarkable abuse at the hands of North County police and municipal courts. Yeah, I know: you’ve been hearing it from the protesters in Ferguson and from Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, too. You’ve heard it til you’re ready to puke. It’s same old tune of the man beatin’ down blacks.

Only, the two stories I got came from middle- to upper middle-class white, middle aged white men.

Maybe some of the protesters have a point. And maybe it’s time someone listen. And act.

To give you a feel for what the police/community relations are in North County, I’ll give you the two stories I heard last night—from middle-aged white men.

First, a friend of mine who lives in West County told me of a ridiculous ticket he received from a police officer in Bel-Ridge, Missouri. The ticket was for “pausing before making a left”—an offense I don’t remember reading in the handbook. So this gentleman showed up in court to challenge the ticket. He observed police officers acting like rogue guards in a Turkish prison, treating the people who’d come to plea their cases like dirt. He commented to the person sitting next to him, “I don’t like the way they’re treating people,” whereupon he was dragged into a jail cell and charged with contempt.

The judge did not charge him with contempt; the police did. Again, this is a white, middle-age, middle class man from West County. Just a hunch, but I bet a 22-year-old black male from Ferguson would have been treated no better.

Next, I received an email tonight from Dan, a middle-age white man (and Tea Partier), in response to a blog post on stlouisteaparty.com calling for a 10-second warning before opening fire on the crowds. Here’s what he wrote:

Bill,

I was down there the last 3 days.

1 Almost all the “protesters” are upset about the draconian treatment of them by police. The problem is that draconian police behavior [started] long before the shooting. The abusive municipal courts. And the attitude of “them”.  

2. The protesters were peaceful, and often festive. They kept talking about the cockroaches crawling out from the city at night causing trouble.  The people are concerned not bad.

3. Saturday  the churches had planned to provide security for the businesses for saturday night. But they put in a  curfew and the police did a poor job protecting the businesses.

Unlike many of my friends passing judgment on the people of Ferguson, this gentleman was there. Not once, but three nights. Notice the pattern developing here:

  1. Poor police-community relations.
  2. Municipal courts that abuse their authority and sponge off the accused.
  3. A huge discrepancy between what’s reported (chaos) and what’s witnessed (peaceful assemblies interrupted by thugs from outside the neighborhood.)

As I said, my dad was a cop. I have  a lot of friends on police forces or recently retired. I was a couple of months away from being a cop myself in 1995. The police in my part of St. Louis County treat us exceedingly well. The municipal police in the cities around me are wonderful—even when issuing me a speeding ticket. And I’m sure the men and women who patrol in North County are good people, too. That isn’t the point. The point is about changing attitudes and perceptions.

Somehow a lot of people who live and work in the area feel that there’s a huge wall in society. On one side are police and judges. On the other side, a bunch of people, mostly trying to get through life the best they can. No one trusts anyone from the other side of the wall. To the people, the legal side is looking for reason to ruin their lives. To the law side, there are only two kinds of people: victims and perps.

Perhaps, as Dan later pointed out, the Missouri Supreme Court needs to investigate the municipal court system, and he’s willing to work with an attorney who would like fight the corruption, abuse, and incompetence he sees in the North County courts.

Then, as my friend points out:

5. It is clear this was the proverbial scary traffic stop…. The cop  did not know it but he was stopping either a thief or a robber…a fight ensued, and someone got shot.

And Ferguson exploded.

Sure, out-of-state agitators descended on the scene. But they didn’t get here Sunday. The looters, I’m guessing, are local hooligans who will use any sad situation as an excuse to steal and destroy. The bottle-throwers and looters don’t give a hoot in hell for Michael Brown or anyone else. Like you, I hope they’re identified and prosecuted. But they’re actually not central to what’s going on in Ferguson. They weren’t here a week ago, and they won’t be here for long.

The dedication of the peaceful protesters, though, tells me that this story began before Michael Brown’s death. The question is, will it continue after the protests subside?

Which brings me back to the question of the day: what follows? 

What follows depends on how we resolve this and what we want to follow. If we take the fast, emotional, “easy” way out, the wall between Law and People will be taller, thicker, and less penetrable. The next incident will spark more violence. Eventually, St. Louis County will look a lot like Gaza.

The other solution is a lot harder, looking at it from today’s perspective. It means justice won’t be as swift or certain as our frayed nerves wish. It means peace won’t be secured as finally and violently as our sensibilities demand. It means people will have to show trust before they feel trust in their gut. It means politicians will have to stop throwing bones to poor neighborhoods and start charting real solutions that return business to a region in economic decline. (Yes, St. Louis City and County are falling fast on almost every measure of economic well-being.) It means political people of all stripes will have to spend less time schmoozing the rich and famous and more time building a real community.

I know. It sucks. I like hanging around with the powerful and rich, too. It’s a lot more fun than actually solving real problems.

Lasting solutions to big problems with sordid histories never come easy. Tearing down walls of distrust and dislike takes cooperation, planning, patience, and sweat. 

The alternative is to shoot it out and hope you’re the last one standing.

I’d rather tear down that wall.

 

P.S. Point number 4 that my friend wants everyone to know: Many of the businesses with broken windows are OPEN FOR BUSINESS.  Look for OPEN spray-painted on the plywood. Go ahead and shop. They need the business.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story mistakenly identified Bel Nor as the venue. 

BUYcott Ferguson **UPDATE** DETAILS ** MORE UPDATES

Reading Time: 3 minutes

DON’T STOP SHOPPING!

The Buycott is underway. Great turnout on Thursday. Fantastic support from the media. Even Senator Claire McCaskill joined the buycott. Read all about it here.

In the meantime, keep shopping Ferguson/Dellwood if you get the chance. And make an appointment on your calendar to shop Ferguson/Dellwood on Labor Day Weekend. Have out-of-town guests? Take them on a tour and have a meal in one of the great restaurants in the area.

Wherever you live in Greater St. Louis, the world judges your home town by what it hears. Let the world hear that Ferguson came back stronger than it went into the terrible riots of the last two weeks.

Finally, find out how you can help get a Sales Tax Holiday for Ferguson/Dellwood.

 

 

LATEST UPDATES: 20AUG14 @ 8:14AM

  1. Dress for very hot weather and hydrate.
  2. If you can’t make it today, that’s okay. See step 3.
  3. After your shopping spree, please email photos of your receipts to bill.hennessy@stlouisteaparty.com using the subject line “Ferguson Receipt.”
  4. After shopping, we’ll be heading to Fallon’s Bar & Grill in Overland.
  5. Thanks to Jamie Allman 97.1, John & Kane Show, Lisa Payne-Naeger, KMOX’s Brett Blume, and everyone else who’s helped spread the word.
  6. Please remember, this BUYcott is in the name of peace and prosperity. Smile. Those are both good things.

*****Original Post Follows*****

Thursday, August 21, 5:00 to 6:00 pm.

Dozens of Ferguson businesses have suffered damage. Not only do those businesses need healing, their customers need their services.

We can help. BUYcott Ferguson.

Just as we helped Whole Foods by BUYcotting September 1, 2009, we can help small businesses in Ferguson by BUYcotting Thursday, August 21, 5 to 6:30 pm.

Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Go to W. Florissant on Thursday between 5 and 6:30.
  2. Bring a shopping list: groceries, beer, smokes, something for the kids, whatever
  3. Look for businesses with boarded up windows and spray painted OPEN signs
  4. Shop

Why You Should Do This

Because there’s not much else you and I can do right now. Yeah, protests feel good in the moment, but they don’t really change things.

On the other hand, every store you shop will be one step closer to recovery. Every store that recovers makes life easier for residents. Every life made easier gets you one step closer to heaven. And that’s the only reason we’re here.

Please watch HennessysView.com in the coming days for more details. Pray for this mission. It’ll work.

I’d like to see 20 people join this demonstration of faith, healing, and free markets. Everything over that is gravy.

UPDATE: DETAILS

First, thanks for the great response. I’m excited.

Next, here’s the details for Thursday:

  1. The situation is fluid, and we don’t want to interfere with police OR with peaceful demonstrators. So WATCH THIS BLOG AND YOUR EMAIL on Thursday in case things change.
  2. Some stores might be low on inventory. If it looks that way, ask. We don’t want to leave local residents without stuff that we can buy somewhere else. With the traffic restrictions, Ferguson residents have a hard time getting out to distant shops.
  3. NO SIGNS OR SPEECHES. We’re not their proselytize or politic. We’re their to lead recovery, healing, faith, and free markets.
  4. MUSTER on the Sam’s Club lot, southeast corner, around 5:00 pm. If you’d like to start earlier, please don’t wait. Here’s a link to the map: Sam’s Club, 10735 W Florissant Ave Ferguson, MO 63136
5. OBEY POLICE and respect peaceful demonstrators. We have been in their shoes many times together in the past.
6. SMILE and be friendly. It’s been a hard week and a half in Ferguson, and a friendly smile will go a long way. 
7.  Listen to Jamie in the Morning at 6:10 am Wednesday for the latest updates.
8.  We’ll designate a post BUYcott meeting spot tomorrow if you’d like to get together for a little After Party. I’ll update this post.
9.  Thank you, again. You are wonderful people.
Finally, I read a story not long ago about a man who jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge. He passed about 40 people as he walked to a spot on the bridge. He looked around for a few minutes as more people rushed passed. Then he jumped.
When police investigated his apartment, they found a note. Among other thoughts, the jumper wrote: “If one person smiles at me, I won’t do it.”
You never know how your friendly smile will change a life. Or save one. 
God bless you.