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MurphTheSurf3 On October - 27 - 2012

UPDATED: 10-27-2012

I met with the grocer for a pleasant Sunday brunch on October 21. I had contacted him a couple of days earlier saying I had a copy of the note he had given his employees and that I was puzzled by it. We chatted for a while and he agreed to meet.

At the brunch I outlined my disagreement with the content of the note and my concern that it was misleading his employees. He told me that the information came from the professional associations to which he belonged and from others in the association.

I gave him a packet of information containing copies of articles from conservative but reliable publications and offered to send them all to him via e-mail as well so he had the links. He asked me to do so. We parted with a handshake and his assurance that he would look at everything.

Yesterday, at his store, the night manager handed me an envelope with the following in it. I have confirmed it was in all of their paychecks on Wednesday.

Remarkable! I called him last night and thanked him. He volunteered that he had sent a copy of the note with all of the references he used to the members of his grocers’ association. As a result he has had what he calls “some interesting conversations.” SO, there you go.

THE GROCER RESCINDS HIS MESSAGE TO HIS EMPLOYEES:

 October 24, 2012

Dear Friends and Neighbors who happen to also be my employees,

I am writing you because a note I gave you in your last paycheck has raised some questions. A well informed customer saw the note and has brought a number of facts to my attention. My intentions were honorable. I was sharing information with you that came from those I trusted. It now appears that I was misled.

Please disregard that note. I suggest that you look into each of the claims that were contained in it. I suggest that you use national and trusted news sources to do so. There is a lot of misinformation on the internet and television. In particular I recommend the Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, Time Magazine and Bloomberg News.

I am willing to share the information I now have available with any employee who would like it. I have made copies of that information and it can be found in folders in the employee lunch room.

In that pack of material you will also find information regarding how large national and international corporations like Wal Mart are trying to drive stores like ours out of business. What is especially disturbing is that they often get help from local governments in setting up shop at bargain prices.

I have had to rethink my own vote and while I have not reached a final decision I promise to base it on what I now know.

I look forward to working with each of you for many years to come.

Sincerely,

XXXXXX

======================================================================

(Original Post:)

IT’S NOT JUST THE BIG GUYS WHO ARE DOING THIS

Siegel, Allen, the Kochs and fellow plutocrats have generated headlines for letters to employees warning that a vote for Obama is a vote against their own employment.

Midsized and small business owners are doing the same

I shop for a multi-family cooperative.

We have agreed to shop at a local Independent Grocer who has been in business in our area for 100 years rather than at one of the superchains.

Three nights ago one of the staff slipped me a sheet of paper when I was checking out.

The paper was a note from her employer, the sole owner of the grocery store.

In the note the employer said that a vote for Obama was a vote to close the store BECAUSE

a) Obamacare would force him to get health insurance for his employees.

(He has far fewer than the required 50 full time equivalent employees.)

b) Obama intends to raise corporate taxes to 40 percent

(Obama has proposed lowering it to 28 percent (from 35 percent) and is open to a drop of another point or two)

c) Obama intends to put in a 1 Percent Financial Transaction Tax to fund Obamacare

There is no basis for this

d) Obama’s energy policies are responsible for the high cost of gas which is driving up costs

Gas is an international commodity and  Presidents have virtually no impact on gas costs (recall that Bush had gas prices of $4.18 for nearly a month in early 2008. Even so the U.S. is producing more oil than ever.

e) Obama is opposed to the family farm and local production.

Which Party killed the Farm Bill which provided for drought relief aimed at small farmers, and which Party is aligned with Wal Mart which is the most direct threat this small grocer now has?

I called the employee who gave me the note and asked if the employees were taking the note seriously. Absolutely. She also told me that the note was largely copied from a model handed out to the Independent Grocers Association to which the owner belongs.

Here is the thing of course. Having Health Care via the pool options that will be available to his employees will actually encourage them to stay with him. Having an administration that wants to keep small farms and local business strong would be good for him and other small town vendors. AND the reduction in corporate rates and small  business loan programs proposed by the Obama adminstration will be of direct benefit.

SO THE OWNER IS TELLING HIS EMPLOYEES TO VOTE AGAINST THEIR INTERESTS AND HIS!

Some have suggested that we should boycott the store. But supporting the local grocer is supporting those employees and commerce in our small town. I do not want to get the employee in trouble.I do not want to hurt the business of a store that is now in competition with two mega stores within driving distance.

So I am going to wait a few more days and then assemble several articles from conservative sources and on line government documents that address each of the points the owner made in his employee note. My effort will be to do this in a friendly manner and suggest that he is working against his own interests.

The owner is the third in his family to run the story that opened its doors in 1902.

He is a good man and cares for his town, his employees and his customers. But he is a small town, country kind of person and not very sophisticated. I suspect he is just passing on what he has been told by his grocers’ association and by his church. In this he is a victim as well.

PLEASE NOTE: The image accompanying this story IS NOT a picture of the store in this article. It is taken from WikiMedia Commons.

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Written by MurphTheSurf3

Proud to be an Independent Progressive

73 Responses so far.

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  1. glenn says:

    WOW! Good job, Murph. I especially like the part about the owner sharing your information with his association. Perhaps it’s not too late to reach people who have been so misled. Good on ya!

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  2. bito says:

    Good job Murph, It’s unfortunate that some of the bigger employers can’t or don’t want to see the light like your small town grocer did.
    He is truly a small businessman and many associations that say they represent him ,like the Grocers Association, Independent Business Association and the Chamber of Commerce, don’t represent them, the real small business owners. They too often represent the interests that want to put your friend OUT OF BUSINESS!

    If there is one thing that all the government agencies need is one and one only definition of “small business.” It can’t be 50 or less employees for one agency and 500 or less for another agency all calling them “small business.” Your friend can’t compete nor be really represented by the same association that represents a billion dollar hedge fund can they even though they are both considered a small business.
    Sorry, a bit of a diversion but that is where he gets his information from, groups that don’t really represent the small store owner.

    Good job, Murph and as Sue mentioned it so often takes one person at a time.

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    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Bito…Your comment has some real meat to it. I think I will take the points you made about who is and who is not guarding his interests and put them into an e mail.

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  3. SueInCa says:

    Good job Murph. Educating the populace one person at a time is just as good as anything out there. You have fortitude and guts and I thank you for stepping up to the plate.

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    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Appreciate the support and the kind words. I think this guy is good person and that he was trusting of those who were not really looking out for his interests or who took the word of others who were doing the same to them. I will be interested in any followup he offers. He seemed to be cool and calm during our conversation but his own research seems to have turned him.

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  4. SueInCa says:

    Good luck with that one, Murph. This guy is being hurt by the big guy but is still voting against his own best interests and telling employees what to do? Personally no employer could tell me who to vote for, as no church can either. But I understand there are people out there who truly believe he can somehow find out who they voted for.

    I just do not understand that mentality. Perhaps it is because of where I grew up and the politics in our home but I just do no understand how these people think. I know exactly how the Kochs and Waltons think.

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    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Had a nice brunch with the grocer on Sunday. Gave him a bunch of material and sent him the links for it. He went through it on Sunday and Monday. I called him tonight and he said that he was checking out a couple of items with his accountant and the Independent Grocer’s Association. He had a couple of questions. He promised that he would act on the information before the end of the week. I asked if he had found anything I gave him to in error and he said no and that he was beginning to think he had been taken for a ride. So….more later.

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      • SueInCa says:

        Murph

        You are truly a man who walks the talk. I hope you have convinced him that he is being played. You would think people should know this, but the evidence in this country is to the contrary. I wish someone could put a finger on what makes people go against their own interests. It is puzzling to me. I can understand non-educated people but obviously this man knows how to run a successful business so he has to have some smarts. It is just weird.

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        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          In our conversation over lunch, I asked him why he did not verify the claims being made. A google search would have done it. He admitted that when he saw my sources were conservative business newspapers he knew he was in the wrong. So I asked. He just stared at me and said that he needed to think about that and get back to me. We are having lunch tomorrow.

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          • SueInCa says:

            Murph Good luck to you tomorrow. I hope he sincerely means it when he says he will check your sources. You are doing the right thing. Will be cheering you on from California.

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      • bito says:

        Sounds promising Murph, let;s hope he makes a decision before it’s to late. When does your early voting open?

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        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Mo. has absentee but no early voting. So the only votes that have been cast so far are the absentees and those are few here.

          We meet tomorrow for lunch.

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      • choicelady says:

        Murph the Surf -- changing the world for good, one grocer at a time.

        Wow.

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  5. SallyT says:

    Murph, I put a link to Bill Moyers show in the Off Topic section. It was:
    When Bosses Push Their Politics
    I probably should have put it here but I goofed. I will put the link here, too, for you.

    http://billmoyers.com/segment/bill-moyers-essay-when-bosses-push-their-politics/

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  6. AdLib says:

    Reading your recent comment, it is ironic that the true cause of this man’s business problems is the corporate Republican mentality that has brought a Walmart into town and drained away his customers and revenues…and instead of recognizing his true adversary, he has been manipulated by the Repub/Fox propaganda to fear the black President for a variety of trumped up lies.

    It’s all about re-directing the justifiable anger such people should have for the system controlled by the Repubs/Corporations/The Wealthy and aiming it at those who represent a threat to perpetuating that system.

    This businessman is being used and manipulated and is oblivious. It’s hard to penetrate the denial and desperately needed “enemy” mentality such folks are conditioned to be addicted to but sometimes, there’s a little opening to slip some reality in and get them to re-examine their misguided views.

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    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      I am having brunch with him after church today. We will see how it goes.

      Your thoughts here are helpful in formulation my approach. I am thinking of opening up with the gambit that his current financial woes are the result of the Wal-Mart takeover in the region (four super stores in 7 years). As you probably know, Wal Mart Realty (also organized under THD) works out deals with local government that give it preferred tax rates/exemptions, roadway realignment and coding exceptions under the rubric that its presence in an area is good for the local economy. We now nave more than enough information to know that this is not so, but Wal Mart has a long reach into every political campaign that favors their interests. Citizens United extended and broadened that reach.

      He has been grousing about this for more than a year. If that opening works we can move on to discuss the info and the sources of it that he is passing along to his employees. Like I said, I know this guy. He lives in a modest home in the town in which he was born and raised. He works at the store doing what has to be done (including pushing in grocery carts from the parking lot, stocking shelves, doing repairs). His wife does the basic accounting. His daughter trains the cashiers. His son is a butcher.

      I will bring a long a folder with articles from the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Financial Times, and Bloomberg News. All with bona fide conservative credentials. And as a followup send him the links.

      I am going to suggest that he consider this information and that we talk again in a day or two. I will make the point that I, and the members of our cooperative, have a real interest in having our political perspective accurately presented and are concerned about the real long term good of the store and its employees. We believe that given Mr. Romney’s record it is clear he would regard this little store as a bad investment and a poor use of resources with Wal Mart as the “cure” and not the “ailment.”

      I will let you know how it goes.

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    • bito says:

      According to Murph, the owner even said he had grown sales every year since 1990 until Wally World opened last year ( http://planetpov.com/2012/10/18/business-owners-vote-romney-or-else/comment-page-1/#comment-190609 ). So now that’s Obama’s fault? The president should have blocked Walmart and electing Mitt will close them? Can this guy be this naive and be a successful businessman? Blaming PBO for local building codes? Something smells about this whole story and it’s not a pleasant smell.
      My experience shows that businesses that fight building codes, health and safety codes, is done for selfish reasons many times.

      I have a hard time buying into his excuse, more like it’s an attempt to move up a peg in the local, county REC. I may be completely wrong, just having a hard time believing he is this naive and is buying into this and selling it to his employees.

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      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        Hi Bito,

        I left a long reply to Ad Lib’s comment to which you replied. I think it might give you some insight into the owner and his problem.

        A word about the codes. The federal government has raised the standard for fire prevention and fire suppression significantly since the grocery opened. States have largely complied with these standards. I spoke with a liberal friend who is also an architect and he confirmed that this is so….all public accommodation tends to be lumped into the same category which means that stores, restaurants, hotel lobbies and meeting spaces (people do not sleep there but they congregate there). The grocer told me that if he were to expand the store by opening up the wall between his store and the retail space next door (in a building he owns) he would have to update his entire alarm and response system (both active and passive). The cost: $175,000. The architect confirmed that the figure is probably correct (he knows the store too)if not more.

        So, the owner blames the government for imposing safety standards on him that he does not believe are reasonable or necessary given that the store has done just fine for X number of years without.

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        • bito says:

          Like I said above, I am unfamiliar with this situation where it seems to cross with rural fie settings/suppression/ and urban installation and pricing so I can’t speak to this. However does he just blame Dem. government and not government?

          ( I’m sure that before many a fire occurred that there were many that had had X number of years before a fire before the usage in h building was changed.

          Once again does he just chose the Dems and why does that justify intimidating his employees political activities and blackmailing them ?

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          • MurphTheSurf3 says:

            Having had breakfast/brunch with him I feel I know him a bit more. His anger is against all government and he believes, without merit, that the GOP is more on his side than the Democratic Party.

            One big piece is that he sees the Dems transferring money from working stiffs like him to those who do nothing for themselves. He is clear in his understanding that there are the deserving and the undeserving poor. Of course, it is too easy to decide who is who.

            I pointed out that money is also being transferred and in even greater amounts to the wealthy via the tax code, deals made to “attract” business, and the impact that so many of these deals have on local long established business.

            He said he was willing to look at the material I had available and to discuss it with me.

            It is on the way.

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  7. Kalima says:

    Thought you might find this story I posted on this morning’s MB interesting Murph. Looks like Romninny is in the thick of it this election. Noise from the top goes to the heart of the problem in your post.

    —-

    Mitt Romney’s advice to business leaders on employee voting – it’s legal

    Thanks to the Citizens United ruling, a company telling its workers how to vote is perfectly within the law. But should it be?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-news-blog/2012/oct/18/mitt-romney-business-leaders-employee-voting

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    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Thanks for this….shortly after the story of Top Dog communication to their minions re. right voting (in their terms), this audio came to light. I found the Guardian’s take on this, which I had not seen before, of real value.

      In particular from the article:

      ” Corporations can send political mailings to employees. And since the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision, corporations appear to have new freedom to force employees to attend political events like the Romney rally in Beallsville, Ohio, in which coal miners were forced to appear as campaign props.

      Citizen United’s generous interpretation of corporate speech means that employers “may now be able to compel their employees to listen to their political views at [workplace] meetings on pain of termination,” wrote Paul Secunda, an associate law professor at Marquette University, in the Yale Law Journal. “Although federal law does still prevent employers from issuing explicit or implicit threats against employees who vote for the ‘wrong’ candidate, short of that, nothing prohibits employers from requiring employees to participate in one-sided political propaganda events.”

      Employees have little real-life protection from aggressive attempts by employers to sway their votes, Secunda said in a phone interview Thursday.

      “Workers are facing a constant stream of political pressure, 16 hours a day, a stream of literature,” he said. “This stuff has always taken place, especially in the blue-collar workplace. It’s generally legal.”

      The federal voter intimidation statute, which makes it illegal to “intimidate, threaten, or coerce” voters, is rarely called on to protect workers, he said.”

      I will be referring to this and other statements in the article when I get told that “those tactics are illegal” when they are not. A real bonus. Professor Secunda is widely respected and his (and yours) tie in to what Citizen’s United has done beyond increasing the amount of undisclosed and untraceable money flowing into the system. Excellent. Thanks.

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      • Kalima says:

        Glad it was useful. I find it ridiculous that in a country with so many laws, this isn’t illegal. It’s worker intimidation with threats of dismissal. The company has the right to tell you how to behave only at work because it’s their property and you work for them. They don’t have the right to tell you how to think or how to vote. The threat of dismissal sounds like blackmail to me, and should be investigated as such. I find it outrageous to hear that some interpret this as a part of CU, how can this be in a 2012 America?

        Everyone should be made aware that this is going on, and much more of it in this election cycle with Romney giving the orders to the top idiots who are voting for him. Seems to me that it’s not in the ruling from the SC, but people can do it because their ruling doesn’t stipulate it either being legal or illegal, and so far no one has challenged it yet. They should.

        Scandalous. Sometimes I just have to scratch my head at the people who will let them get away with this by not standing up for their individual rights. Mind boggling. In Europe, people have taken to the streets in protests for much less than this. This is what happens when governments try to eliminate the unions. Chaos and treachery in the work place; a corporate dictatorship.

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        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          I have the same feelings. After reading the article, I did some research and had a chance to speak with an attorney who specializes in election law.

          I did this before reading your comment. He agrees with you and wishes that there were the resources and the desire to take it all on. Of course, he points out that all roads eventually end up at the Supreme Court which is the cause of our pain. He doubts that the court will overturn itself.

          He suggested I read a fine article in The New Republic…http://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/105744/dismantling-the-gops-odious-philosophy-voter-suppression# It captures a deeper reality- the GOP have been at this for a very long time.

          And I too wonder why we have not taken to the streets- all I can think of is the success the GOP have had in associating public protest with that pernicious evil called “Socialism.”

          Again, my thanks.

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          • Kalima says:

            Murph, my last thoughts on this is that I don’t believe that the brightest legal minds have seats on the SC. Somewhere there has to be someone who will take their decision/ruling apart after what we have witnessed this election cycle. Somewhere there are principled lawyers who will find a way to stand up for the people, for democracy, and make a case so convincing that even though that alone won’t get the SC to overturn their own ruling, it will shame them and bring to light a decision that is the worst in recent history, or maybe ever. You need a “justice for All” lawyer, you need an Al Pacino. You need the best legal minds in the country to come together to take on the SCOTUS, and I feel that nothing is impossible if you at least try.

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  8. glenn says:

    Murph,

    Thanks for posting this. This seems to be a growing trend among business owners. To me, it’s reminiscent of the old song, “I Owe My Soul to the Company Store.” In my opinion, business owners are overstepping their boundaries, as well as being uninformed. The only thing I will give republicans/tpartiers credit for is being able to spout lies with absolutely no basis in fact, and get people to believe those lies. It absolutely astounds me that they continue to get away with this.

    I can’t quite wrap my mind around the fact that, although corporate profits are at an all-time high and the stock market is way up from 2008, business owners keep wanting more. How in the world did businesses survive before this presidency? In one part of this thread, you talked about how the owner wanted to expand, but couldn’t because of the expenses associated with building codes. Does this owner truly think that President Obama is responsible for these codes?

    In addition between union busting and minimum wage jobs, just who do business owners think are going to buy their products/services if the middle class has no “disposable income”?

    Anyway, just wanted to add in my “two cents worth” to encourage you to keep trying to inform people as best as you can. Good luck to you.

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    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Hello Glenn….

      I don’t know if we have met…I think not, but I thank you for your insight here.

      There are those who spout the lies and know they are doing it- the lie creators who know the truth but it does not serve them so they invent a new reality.

      There are those who spout the lies because they are repeating what they have been told by those they trust AND what they have been told fits into their world view and reflects their fear, anxiety and anger.

      But the results are as you say- those in small business who will not hire, will not invest, will not consider that perhaps “they” are not only not trying to get you but might be out to help you…are making decisions like the one I describe in my post.

      The kind of thinking needed to understand why the wage of the little guy is the key to the wealth of the big guy; or how unions as partners with business do work and work well.

      I am hoping that a little bit of truth might bring enlightenment. We will see.

      Thanks for your thought and hope to see a lot more of you around the Planet.

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      • glenn says:

        Murph,

        I don’t think we have met, in the sense that I don’t think I have replied to one of your posts, although I have replied to a couple of other people on the Planet.

        Your explanation of the difference between those who create the lies and those who believe them is so true. And your comment that “the wage of the little guy is the key to the wealth of the big guy; or how unions as partners with business do work and work well” is also spot on.

        I wish this election was more about what is best for the country than placing blame. That being said, I don’t understand how people, most especially those on the right, can keep talking about personal responsibility without taking personal responsibiity themselves. How is it that business owners can place all of their frustrations, and in some cases, failures, on President Obama, without owning up to, or at least acknowledging, that even the President of the United States does not have that much power in our system of government? I also do not understand how, in the republican/tpartier mind, the history of the United States only began on Jan. 20, 2009.

        Those on the right keep talking about personal responsibility, yet want to tell others how to vote. They keep urging all those “lazy, unemployed people” to go out and get a job, yet have no sense of irony when they then tell people who have jobs that employed people will most likely lose those jobs if they do not vote the way they want.

        The republicans/tpartiers decry the “lazy, unemployed people” who want the government to give them everything, yet again, show/have no sense of irony when complaining that the government won’t give them “handouts” in the form of fewer regulations regarding employees’ safety, the environment, and/or wages/unions.

        In my opinion, these dichotomies make their words meaningless.

        How do we get good people, like the busines owner you describe, to understand this?

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        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Really hope I see a lot more of you around these friendly environs. Have you checked out Vox Populi, our Friday night free for all chat room? You can just stand off to the side or weigh in, up to you. I think you would have something to offer.

          I am impressed by the paradigm you set up here of the GOP as the Apostles of Responsibility and Accountability who then operate contrary to their own Gospel. Your examples are precise and on target.

          As to my grocer friend….saw him this morning at the store where they are holding a fall festival- nice community event that his store hosts and contributes to….he is a good guy.

          We got a chance to chat AND I was able to introduce the matter in the note. We have set up breakfast after church tomorrow. So I have homework to do.

          Thanks for your interest.

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          • glenn says:

            Thanks for your kind words. I will definitely check out the Friday evening chat next week.

            I am interested to hear how your meeting goes tomorrow. I hope you will post about it when you get a chance.

            Nice chatting with you.

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            • MurphTheSurf3 says:

              Look forward to seeing you there. I think you will find it of great value and I think you will bring value to it.

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  9. This goes along with my theory that business which is run by mostly conservatives have done what they could to collude with GOPTEA obstructionism all along by keeping hiring at a minimum. They have become so hateful of the president that they are no overtly saying what their real intentions are. This election is going to be close enough and I already here people using the most idiotic logic ever to vote for Romney but face it much of it has to do with people thinking Romney just looks the part of being president better than Obama.

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    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      A close election makes more room for suppression, collusion, and corrupton….all to steal the election. I am stunned how few in my part of the world see this.

      Yes….while I believe that the owner of this small grocery store believes in what he has written, his circle is Republican and conservative and in that circle the lies are like air.

      The decision to squeeze the employees, to squeeze those seeking loans, to hold off on almost any capital investment….this is something carefully considered by the power brokers and the money giants which filters down to this small grocer’s level as gospel. And he believes.

      So…we will see if the truth has any impact at all.

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  10. choicelady says:

    Murph and anyone encountering this -- make your own flyer with references. Give it to everyone in the store who works there AND the owner.

    These things cannot go unchallenged.

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    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      I have spoken with those in my coop and they want to approach the owner first- as one put it- “anything public will get his back up and stubborn pride will keep him from ever opening up his mind. ” So that is the plan. If it fails, we will talk again.

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  11. Nirek says:

    If I worked for the store and was told who to vote for I would vote the opposite out of principal!

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    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Unless you believed him and I think that many do. Again, nice guy who has looked out for his employees in a small store that is clearly struggling against the big guys and is fearful of government intrusion. The store was looking to expand into a space next door (in a building the man already owns) and could not afford to because opening up the wall between the store and what used to be a small pharmacy next door would have required major rewiring and replumbing because of codes that would have nullified their previous approvals. So he didn’t. Not affordable. So the space next door is still empty.

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  12. kesmarn says:

    I wish you all the best, Murph, in trying to enlighten this grocery store owner and educate the employees he’s trying (unethically) to influence. There are so many people like him; and — amazingly — so many of them really are “nice” guys (at least nice to people they approve of).

    More and more, though, I’m beginning to realize how incredibly difficult it is to break through their thick shell of denial. The only thing I can compare it to is trying to influence a person who is infatuated with an abusive partner. Extremely difficult, if you’ve ever tried it.

    They will tell you that you don’t know the “real” person behind the abusive exterior. Or that the person has changed and things are going to get a lot better “real soon.”

    They’ll get angry at you for trying to wise them up. “You just wish you had what we have!” “You’re envious!”

    Even if you showed them video tape of the abuser making cruel remarks about them (47%, anyone?) they’d say you were just trying to cause trouble and the abuser just didn’t express himself very well. That he really does love them.

    After a while you just groan and throw up your hands in frustration.

    The only problem is, when those people vote, we ALL get to suffer at the hands of the abuser they’re so in love with. Lucky us.

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    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Yes..there is great power in ignorance, anxiety, fear, anger….and the struggle to make the facts fit into the world view they nourish. SO, I am sure this will be an uphill struggle with the owner but also with the employees.

      Still, I think this is a good guy who has chosen to keep his business open in very difficult times and to keep it growing UNTIL Wal Mart came to the town 20 miles away. SO, those he trusts in his own association (and his church) are feeding him lines about who to be really angry with. Not Wal Mart and its corporate power which makes land and tax deals that benefit it to such an extent that it can afford to run at a loss for a year or two until it kills all of the other business nearby and becomes the only game in town.

      I will try though.

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      • bito says:

        I am having some difficulty thinking of this guy as “all around good guy.
        Why did he keep his store open in the face of Wal-Mart, in the customers interest or the employees interest? In light of the fact he doesn’t respect his employees political views, it seems to follow 50% of his customers political views. His staying open seems more of a self interest to me. Instead of pepping of his employees and saying that we will get through this recession one way or another he gives them a veiled threat that also matches his self interest.

        His complaining about the building codes, is the epitome of him showing nothing but self interest; building codes are there with a purpose, mostly health and safety of his neighbors and the public. Should the public allow him to do shoddy work like fire hazards from faulty wiring, water and sewage contamination of others water supply because of some code eats into is bottom line? Same with walls and roofs failing because of construction shortcuts?

        Sorry, but from your sketch of him, I find him a bit selfish. In fact, I know this guy, I have done some remolding and building for him in a couple of down towns.

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        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Hey Bito,

          I hope you have a chance to read my response to Ad Lib.

          Why is the store open? It is a good question. It certainly is not a cash cow. I shop there often. It has that old, tired look of local, small town stores but the food quality is good and the prices while a bit higher that the super stores are still within our range.

          So….I have spoken with this man a number of times since he works there all the time. Last night he was bagging groceries when the lines got a bit long.

          He buys from the local farmers. In his store flyers he makers the point that his produce may not look as nice as that which comes from the superstores but his is actually grown in the ground, is fresh from a farm, and supports local farmers….and just tastes better. I have been there when a worn out truck pulls up and the driver with a stocker unloads watermelons, or apples, or tomatoes….

          He pays as well as the big stores do AND I think when he (if?) he realizes what ACA will do for his workers will realize that he might be able to hold on to some of them longer.

          He is very proud of his family’s devotion to our little town and can tell you when the local hardware store, the local five and dime, the local pharmacy closed and how it was Lowe’s, K Mart (and then Wall Mart) and Walgrees that did it.

          I was there yesterday at the annual fall festival that the store hosts. The store sits on a big piece of land and there are two fields bordering it. So there was bbq, tractors, antique farm machines, kids games, local musical talent, etc. He furnished the food at his cost (or for free in the case of soda and water AND local produce).

          As to political connections….don’t know about that. I am not aware of any but I imagine he is tied into the GOP. And yet, one of the things stirring people up around here is the threat of the Post Office closing which they realize will choke them…especially the old and the poor. The local GOP has been strong in its opposition and there is a growing awareness that UPS and FedEx are big players in the whole thing and that both are big GOP supporters at the national level.

          So…I meet with him today. We shall see.

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          • bito says:

            Murph, I think I best end my commenting on this, it seems that I don’t have all the facts or that as they are added it changes the out come.
            I don’t see how he can get thrown into a group that places him under federal rural fire suppression laws and then also placed under urban systems and price settings. That seems to add some weight to his anti-Obama stance and I don’t follow it. Nor do I understand that he can accept the fact that big boxes under a republican administration wiped out his downtown but that’s OK, however if it when Obama is in office it’s not OK with him and he feels it’s completely acceptable to suppress his workers political activities including trying to change how they vote and who they support.
            He is like a walking ” What’s wrong with Kansas” book with employment blackmail thrown in.

            I wish you luck on your quest of turning him around but he seems quite happy with this one hypocritical position. He does sound like he is an all around pretty nice and decent fellow, he could almost “pass” as a “Dem” ;-) except for this blind spot.

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  13. To me, this seems like outright voter intimidation.

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  14. SallyT says:

    Murph, isn’t this a shame that people can be mislead into voting against themselves. Do you have a local small newspaper, like are usually in stands at the groceries stores? If so, perhaps you could get an article in one. I think your idea to wait a few days and then present the information you have gathered to show how the store owner has been mis-informed himself. Not as a challenge to him but to give him more information so he can be more informed himself. Obviously, you and those supporting his store are for his business continuing as it faces off the onset of the big grocery chains coming in or already in your area. He should see that you are not against him, his employees, or his business. You want him to succeed and continue. That should allow him to give some thought to the information you want to share with him. I wish you luck and I have to compliment you again for your hard work in this campaign. Thank you, Murph, for that and so much more.

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    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      I think this newspaper idea is a good one but it is also one that would seem to be “bullying” on my part and not at all what “neighbors” do. SO I think I will go the route of back channeling with him.

      I think that a public wrangle will just harden his position and that of many of his employees who share with him a fear of government, a belief in conservatively labeled values, and have a lot of fear, anxiety, and anger making his note believable. So I will try to treat softly.

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      • SallyT says:

        Murph, I don’t see an article saying “did you know” and listing the information as you have is “bullying”. Bullying is saying that if you don’t do this, this is going to happen to you. Giving people additional information to help them make a decision is not bullying to me. I wouldn’t go in saying that this guy is lying to you but instead just give more information that gives the facts. This isn’t facing the bully on the playground. This is just sharing more information to help them be more informed. However, if they really fear for their jobs, well, the decision has been made.

        BUT, my husband came home last week from his union meeting (their contract is up this year, so, they are starting negotiations) and he had gotten a bumper sticker: TEAMSTERS FOR OBAMA. I asked if they told him to vote for Obama and he said no, they just said you can take a sticker if you want. They all took stickers. TEAMSTERS FOR OBAMA, lets hope those delivery trucks to that store have the stickers!

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        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          I think that any public confrontation -- and an article, letter, in a newspaper or giving out the info to his employees- is stage two. Stage one is to approach him from the side and rather nicely. Missouri small town, rural stubbornness is mighty and a public effort will be labeled as liberal bullying from those socialists (that would be me and my friends). So…we may have to move this into a more public venue, but that will be midweek next week.

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          • SallyT says:

            I haven’t lived there for several years but it is the “Show Me State”. Don’t wait too long as time is short now.

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            • MurphTheSurf3 says:

              I ran into the owner this morning at his store- He hosts a community fall fest that is a great event…big parking lot, field next door, donates food and drinks, games and prizes. Other local business gets involved too. Small town life.

              He and I got a chance to chat (among other things he is good at is delegating to his staff and once the day starts, it rolls.) I brought up the subject and he did not seem disturbed. He told me he thought he was sharing a reality with his staff. He told me that the store has grown in sales every since 1990 until last year when the Wal Mart Opened up. Now he is having a down year and since he has always existed on a small profit margin, what he wrote about is what he is concerned about. We agreed to meet for breakfast tomorrow after church. So we shall see. I have homework to do.

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