The time is fast approaching when to call a man a patriot will be the deepest insult you can offer him. Patriotism now means advocating plunder in the interest of the privileged classes of the particular State system into which we have happened to be born ~ Leo Tolstoy (9/9/1828 to 11/20/1910) a Russian writer known primarily for his novels "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina".
"Relax, it's just a tax write off", Slade Leeds assured his friend William Hartenbaum. "By the way, I heard you've been hanging out with those two assholes Russ Teafeur and Vincent Vanderschmit lately". "You heard wrong Slade, I haven't seen either of them for months", William lied. Slade continued, "it's a premium charity, not a lemon as you have suggested. Anyway, I was thinking of donating some money to Johnny MooMoo's homeless shelter, but when I called him this morning I was told he hadn't been seen since yesterday".
"That's strange", William lied again. "Indeed" agreed Slade. "In any case, these friends of yours insulted me when I asked if they'd like to donate to my charity. Russ called me a bleeding heart Liberal ass-wipe, and Vincent told me to do something nasty to myself. And he called me a do-gooder. But, as I explained, the charity is just a tax write off. Those shitheads know we both belong to the same Moderate organization, so I don't know where they get off calling me a Liberal".
"I love Russ, you know that. He wasn't serious. He's just a provocateur. Slade, you just can't let him get under your skin". "Look William, I'm sick of you making excuses for Teafeur's bad behavior. You know, before I knew he was such a dick I actually invited him over to my place for a cocktail party". "This story again!" William laughed, cutting his friend off. "You've told it a million times. Yes, he took a dump right next to the hors d'oeuvre AND the glass swan. Like I said, he's a provocateur. He knew some of your Liberal donors were in attendance. Specifically that miscreant Cliff Thesage".
"That is total nonsense, my friend", Slade retorted. "You don't have to be able to read between the tea leaves to figure out Russ Teafeur is a major league a-hole".
Just then a slight Asian woman entered the room from a doorway behind the bar. "Here is the bottle of Champagne you requested my dear", she intoned. Slade's wife Sassy Leeds was originally from Beijing, and although her native language was Mandarin, she spoke English with only a slight accent.
"Thank you Sassy" said Slade, popping the cork and pouring himself and William a glass of bubbly. "This is a $700 bottle of the finest Champagne from the South of France. Sassy just received a case from a client as a thank you". Sassy was an interior designer who decorates the homes of the wealthy and powerful in the DC area.
"The client was Samah Norquist. This Champagne is compliments of Grover himself", Sassy explained, laughing. She knew how much Moderates like her husband and his friend disliked the man. "His money, and his Champaign are as good as anyone's, even if he is a right-wing radical", Slade said, draining his glass and quickly pooring himself another.
"In any case, I've instructed my broker to invest in the same fund as Eric Cantor, the one that's betting against United States debt. If the US defaults or is downgraded we both stand to make a pile of money!".<,/p>
William mulled that over for a while, downed his Champagne and then responded, "Some may say Cantor has a conflict of interest, or that because of his investment in such a fund he'd deliberately sabotage the negotiations. While I do not agree with his actions during the debt ceiling negotiations, I think his bet against US debt indicates he is a prudent investor. I'm sure conspiracy theorists on the Left are having a field day with this revelation. Myself, I'm going to take your advice and also invest in the fund".
Sassy reminded her husband she needed to get to work and exited the room. "Goodbye" she said, giving her husband a firm handshake. It was an inside joke William had never inquired about, even though he had seen the "goodbye handshake" numerous times before. Perhaps it had something to do with Slade's irrational fear of protocol.
Slade then explained the situation as he saw it, "Of course neither of us wants the credit rating of the United States to be downgraded, but anyone investing in treasuries would stand to make more on their investment with a increase in interest rates". "I'm in complete agreement" William concurred. "As is often the case, what is not beneficial to the middle class and poor is often beneficial to the wealthy. I'd thank the gods if any existed that I was born one of the productive members of society".
"Excuse me dear friend, but you inherited your money. I earned mine. If either of us is one of the so-called productive members of society that would be me". This was a disagreement they had before. It caused William to wonder if his friend was Society material. "Sometimes I wonder if the Higher Ordered Person's Society is a good fit for you", William wondered out loud. "Next you'll be telling me capitalism is a rigged system that works to the benefit of the wealthy and to the detriment of the poor".
"That is a truthful observation", Slade answered his friend. "But, don't get me wrong, I'm a true believer in capitalism. It may not be perfect but it's a hell of a lot better than the European Socialism pushed by the radical Leftists". William nodded his head in agreement, mollified that his friend and he shared similar worldviews. There was no place in the Society for radical Leftists or radical Right-wingers. HOPS members traveled the morally superior middle path. They agreed with the Left on some social issues, but more strongly with the Right when it came to fiscal matters.
"Us capitalists shall be magnanimous in our treatment of the less fortunate. So long as they put forth an effort. Let them toil in our factories and service industries and we will see they receive the bare minimum needed to survive, even if that entails some government welfare". Slade, who was in total agreement with his friend, added, "The greedy Left with their tin-cups always seek to steal our wealth, threatening the use of force if necessary".
"I've said it before and I'll say it again", William concurred, "A frigging bum off the streets can do that. Extend their tin cups, that is. Which reminds me of what you said earlier... I can't believe you're considering donating money to Johnny MooMoo's homeless shelter. You do realize all the vagrants he's attracting are depressing the property values in the area? Why, just yesterday Voltron, um Vincent Vanderschmit told me that he might lose some of the tenants in an office building he owns nearby".
"That is sad", Slade mocked his friend. "I know how much you loathe bums, but I think some of them, at least, are redeemable. They just need a leg up". "Perhaps some are redeemable", William reluctantly agreed, "but the majority are not. They'll just take whatever money you give them and spend it on rot-gut. I strongly contend that any money spent trying to save a worthless bum is money wasted. The dregs of society don't deserve, and have not earned, our compassion".
"And your buddies Vincent and Russ agree with you on that, I presume?" William's friend queried him. "It just so happens they do", William responded. Then he thought better of his answer, adding, "Or at least I presume they do, it's been awhile since I last spoke with either of them, if you recall".