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Unfinished Business: Exodus and Eric Greitens
Parson will sell everything that isn’t nailed down.
When the media, crooked businessmen, and corrupt politicians were in the midst of their coup against Eric Greitens, a friend told me, “If they get rid of Greitens, Parson will sell everything that isn’t nailed down.”
My friend was wrong. Governor Mike Parson (who may or may not have been a conspirator in the coup) is selling everything in Missouri, but he isn’t stopping at the loose items. Parson is selling out things that are nailed down, bolted down, and welded together.
Parson has taken a pry-bar to Missouri taxpayers. If re-elected, Parson will leave Missouri with a reduced credit score and a powerful oligarchy of crooked, rent-seeking millionaires running the state for generations.
Moses and Eric Greitens #
At the suggestion of another friend, I am reading Exodus: God Slavery, and Freedom by Dennis Prager. (I recommend it.) In it, Prager points out that Moses was driven by hatred of injustice. Prager points out that Moses displayed heroic courage three times before God revealed Himself personally to Moses:
Moses kills an Egyptian who is beating a Hebrew slave.
Moses breaks up a fight between two Hebrew men.
Moses defends seven Midianite (non-Hebrew) women from harassment by shepherds.
In each case, Moses ignores his personal safety in order to stop an injustice. After those three proofs of his heroic courage in the face of injustice, God finally speaks to Moses at the burning bush.
The Book of Exodus does not say this, but we may reasonably infer that God put Moses to the test. Moses proved himself an enemy of injustice, not just a Hebrew nationalist. Nor a sexist.
Likewise, when Eric Greitens ran for governor, he spoke almost exclusively of one mission. Greitens’s mission was to attack injustice in Missouri. In particular, Greitens wanted to end the injustice of tax dollars enriching the rich and powerful oligarchs known as the “Tax Credit Syndicate.”
The Syndicate is a group of four men—Jefferey E. Smith of Columbia, Joseph Shepherd (aka, Mr. Claire McCaskill) of Kirkwood, Stephen Holden of Dexter, and Mark Gardner of Springfield. Together, they bought up about $130 million in tax credits every year before Governor Greitens turned off the spigot in 2017.
A group of politicians with deep personal and financial ties to the Syndicate led the coup against Greitens.
Eric Greitens was driven from office under the unbearable weight of false charges. Instead of investigating the charges, crooked reporters served as propagandists for the coup-plotters.
Once he resigned, the “case” against Greitens evaporated. The oligarchs had gotten what they wanted: unfettered access to your tax dollars and complete control of Missouri’s political class.
It would seem that, in this case, crime paid. While Kim Gardner could face felony charges soon, the rest of the cabal that conspired to end Greitens’s crusade against the Syndicate seems to be doing very well. Jay Barnes is over in Madison County, Illinois making millions from class-action lawsuits. Scott Faughn is still shilling for lobbyists on television and in Jefferson City. The Syndicate is still rich and getting richer. And the rotten Post-Dispatch is still managing to borrow enough money to stay in business.
It would seem, then, that heroic courage in the face of injustice doesn’t pay. Perhaps Missouri is too corrupt even for God to fix.
But the story of Moses didn’t end after Pharaoh rejected Moses' first plea to let his people go and worship Yahweh.
It Took 10 Plagues #
Exodus tells us that it took 10 plagues to break Pharaoh’s pride. With each of the first nine plagues, the Pharaoh’s stone heart grew harder. The Israelites had long given up hope in Moses and Aaron. Rather than hope in the men called by God to free them, the Israelites grumbled that Moses' efforts were only making their lives more miserable, as Pharaoh ordered them to reach their brick quota without straw, a necessary ingredient in 15th century BC brick-making.
While the Israelites gave up, Moses and Aaron did not.
The 10th plague, a retribution for the Pharaoh’s order to kill all male children of the Israelites, broke Pharaoh. God killed the first-born male child in every home that failed to protect themselves with the blood of a Paschal lamb. The loss of Pharaoh’s male heir finally caused his surrender. Pharaoh sent the Israelites out of Egypt.
I was naive to think anyone could clean up Missouri’s vast corruption in one shot. Even a Navy-SEAL-boxer-Rhodes-Scholar-humanitarian-veterans-charity-founder-philosopher like Eric Greitens was no match for these generational rent-seekers who live high on the hog from the Missouri treasury. The Syndicate owns judges, lawyers, politicians, and the press in the same way the Corleone Family owned New York City in The Godfather.
Under the relentless attacks on Greitens in 2018, many conservatives cursed Greitens and his early and zealous supporters, myself included. Like the Israelites in Egypt, the people seemed to prefer bondage to the Pharaohs of the Tax Credit Syndicate over a hard fight for freedom.
But not all Missouri conservatives are ready to capitulate to the Syndicate. And some plagues could be coming down on the Syndicate and its taskmasters very soon.
Break the Syndicate #
Before the Post-Dispatch sold out to the Syndicate, it championed reforms and vilified the Syndicate’s members. In this 2014 article, Post report Virginia Young meticulously details the way the Syndicate operates and enriches itself at taxpayers' expense.
Young’s story explains that, of every tax-increment dollar Jefferson City doles out for low-income housing, 44 cents go to housing for the poor and 56 cents go to make the richest Missourians even richer. It looks like this:
Young also points out that the Syndicate reinvests its massive wealth in Jefferson City politicians who are sworn to protect the Syndicate and its scam against all enemies, foreign and domestic. With generous campaign contributions, the Syndicate built a wall of protection that former State Senators Brad Lager and John Lamping could not penetrate. (The Post was very favorable to Lager and Lamping’s efforts in 2014.)
During the 2018 witch-hunt against Eric Greitens, then-Lieutenant Governor Mike Parson announced he would re-open the spigot of tax dollars to the Syndicate, all but announcing, “I’m with the coup!” As governor, Parson has yet to keep his “coupaign” promise. But media reports indicate he will open the floodgates as Election 2020 demands more campaign contributions.
Bring Back Greitens #
Just as Moses and Aaron returned again and again to Pharaoh, delivering more disastrous plagues upon the Egyptians with each iteration, I am 100% in support of bringing back Eric Greitens—again and again—to deliver more plagues upon the Syndicate and their patsies in Jefferson City, St. Louis, and the media.
It might take 10 plagues to finally break their grip on Missouri’s wallet, but, until we do, Missouri will continue to fall behind its neighboring states. And, until we do, Missourians will be little more than slaves to four wealthy men who control the state the way Mr. Potter controlled Bedford Falls.
As impossible it seemed in 2018, today the prospects of Greitens II look promising. Kim Gardner is being exposed as a corrupt half-wit. Her hired-gun William Tisaby is looking at seven years in federal prison. The Clean Missouri law (which I opposed and still oppose) is setting up lobbyists for a big fall. (They’re circumventing the law rather clumsily, as I observed during a day in Jefferson City this week.) Missouri’s honest legislators are fed up with Parson’s corruption. And Governor Greitens’s fanbase is fed up with being slaves.
A Facebook group trying to cajole Greitens to run again has popped up with over 1,200 endorsers and growing every day.
Missouri was once among the fastest-growing states in the union. That was the 1840s. Since then, thanks to corrupt and short-sighted politicians, Missouri has struggled even to hold on to US House seats. Missouri, though, can prosper again, but only if we break the grip of the Syndicate (and other corrupt oligarchs).
To do that, we need a Moses. We need a leader with heroic courage who will return to the Pharaoh again and again until the Pharaoh—in this case, the Syndicate—cries “uncle.”
Let’s break that syndicate.
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