Onward, Christian And Muslim Soldiers, “Man Found Shot, Unconscious, In BMW”

Ed Raymond

I caught this headline in a newspaper last week. I think it’s a sign of the times. Would the newspaper use Ford, Chevy, or Honda instead of BMW in the headline? Why identify the car? Because it’s expensive? Does it matter if the guy had been shot in a Ford Focus or GMC pickup? The story changes a little, doesn’t it?  What if the guy had been shot in a heap, clunker, or junker? What’s a gangbanger doing in a BMW? Adds a secret spice to the story. Is he a frat boy?  The subject of inequality is always with us these days.
In our inexorable march to third world oblivion, I thought three news stories last week were close to a perfect-storm trifecta about inequality. It was reported we had too many horses, too many whores, and too many haves-nots. No wonder we’re in serious trouble. On top of that, 500 years after Henry VIII broke with the pope over sex and lies, the Vatican challenged the Church of England to a cricket match last week. Now what is all that about?
A story about the tremendous overpopulation of wild horses in the West illustrates how we cannot even solve simple problems. It seems “Wild Horse Annie” Velma Johnson got Congress to pass the Wild-Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 which prevented the slaughter of wild horses. The law requires the Bureau of Land Management to care for wild horses. It now has 179 “herd management areas” scattered around 31.6 million acres in the West. The BLM currently has 40,000 wild mustangs on over-grazed range in 10 states. It also has rounded up 50,000 horses and burros and is feeding them in expensive corrals and pastures. The BLM estimates that the 40,000 mustangs will grow into 145,000 by 2020. Goodby range.  Goodby water.

Solution For Too Many Horses: Eat Them!

What is the solution? It’s simple. We must eat them so they have some value. Horsemeat in Europe is a delicacy selling for between $20 and $40 a pound. It’s more nutritious and is just as tasty with less fat than beef and pork. Prior to the recession horses were selling for between $350 and $1,000. Now it’s tough to get more than $50 for an old Man of War.
The cost of keeping a horse for a year by a private owner runs about $2,300 for shelter, feed, and medical care. Horses are more susceptible to disease than beef cattle. Since the economic downturn many owners cannot afford feed for their horses so they just turn them loose to starve.
Last year 176,000 American horses were sold in Canada and Mexico for slaughter, ending up in pots and on grills in all parts of the world. Let’s take advantage. It’s the Year of the Horse in China. The Chinese eat everything from dogs to snakes to other unmentionables. 4-H kids in the U.S. become fast friends with sheep, goats, and cows they raise for prizes–before they send them off to slaughter. Horse owners have to grow up and have the farmer attitude. Meat is food.
A 1,000-pound horse will provide about 600 pounds of meat. Horses for slaughter bring between 35 cents and 50 cents a pound. Horsemeat producers can still make a good profit buying that 1,000-pound horse for $350 if they sell to the European markets. Otherwise we will have to hire bureaucrats to chase the wild horses around injecting the females with  contraceptives—or putting condoms on stallions at the proper moment.

Nevada: The Home Of Too Many Mustangs And Mustang Ranches

Perhaps the best indicator we have the biggest rich-poor income gap in the world is that the Oldest Profession in Nevada is discounting its product. Nevada, with the nation’s highest unemployment rate of 9.5 percent, has debilitating excesses. It has over half of the country’s mustang population destroying its ranges and water sources. Rich gamblers have so much money they no longer seem excited winning huge pots at the tables. Of course, the middle class doesn’t have any money to gamble, so gambling receipts in Vegas are down and unemployment among whores is up.
In 1985 Nevada had 36 legal brothels. Now there are 19. Because of the recession the number of clients at the Mustang Ranch is way down. The competition is getting very intense among prostitutes in legal houses and the so-called “escort services” advertised everywhere on the Internet. There are 500 separate “escort” listings in Las Vegas alone. Escorts often go horizontal. And the “ambiance” is changing. Brothels now need armed security, panic buttons in rooms, timers, and minimum listed prices. Sounds somewhat like a busy hospital emergency room. Poor Nevada: the perfect-storm trifecta of too many horses, too many whores, and too many have-nots.

Signs The One Percent Is Starting To Worry

Out of the French Revolution came the proverb: “When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich.”  Billionaires are beginning to accuse have-nots of picking on them, of “starting progressive wars against the rich.” Billionaire Tom Perkins, the owner of $8 billion and at one time the largest yacht in the world and three Los Angeles estates and a London Elizabethan mansion, wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal with references to the anti-rich Nazi Kristallnacht (The breaking of window glass in Jewish stores)  sponsored by Hitler against “rich” German Jews in the 1930’s.
The Wall Street Journal is turning out to be a typical Rupert Murdoch “Fox News” rag. Evidently Roger Ailes, who runs Fox News for Murdoch, is also getting nervous about  99 Percenters hunting him down. Multi-millionaire Ailes has installed a “panic room” bunker in the basement bedrooms of his New York mansion. It’s rumored he has a six-month supply of freeze-dried food and water stored in it. My prediction that World War III between the rich and poor has started is coming to fruition.
The fact that members of Congress can be bought cheap has been known in the Washington Politician Flea Market for a long time. The Supreme Court with its Citizens United decision only cemented the idea that votes and politicians can be bought at so much per word. Will Rogers made a fortune laughing at and with Congress in the 1930’s. He concocted this story to show how Congress operated at that time: “Diary of the United States Senate trying to find two billion dollars that it had already spent, but didn’t have.

Monday-Soak the rich.

Tuesday-Begin hearing from the rich.

Tuesday Afternoon-Decide to give the rich a chance to get richer.

Wednesday-Tax Wall Street sales.

Thursday-Get word from Wall Street: lay off us or you will get no campaign contributions.

Thursday afternoon-Decide “we are wrong about Wall Street.”

Friday-Soak the little fellow.

Saturday-Find out there is no little fellow. He has been soaked till he drowned.

Sunday-Meditate. Next week-Same procedure, only more talk and less results.”

The Saga Of Too Many Have-nots

Tom Dickinson in the 29 January issue of Rolling Stone listed “27 Shocking Numbers That Reveal The True State Of The Union” following President Obama’s State of the Union address. Here are just a few to keep your mind in the game:

• New income generated since
2009 that has gone to the top
One Percent: 95 percent.

• Financial wealth controlled by
the bottom 60 percent of all
Americans: 2.3 percent.

•What the minimum wage
would be if it had kept pace with
gains in worker productivity since
1968: $21.72.

• Number of U.S. workers labor
ing at or below minimum wage:
3.6 million, equivalent to the
population of Los Angeles.

• Taxpayer subsidies to the fast
food industry, paid out as safety-
net benefits to McWorkers earn
ing poverty wage: $7 billion.

• U.S. defense spending as in
2012: $682 billion.

• Amount spent by nearest riva
China for defense in 2012: $166

• Total U.S. citizens
incarcerated, or on probation
and parole: 7.1 million.

• Number of people who can’t
vote because of felony convic
tions: 5.9 million.

• Number of jobs the U.S. is still
down from employment peak in
2008: 1.69 million.

Over a hundred years ago Henry Ford started to pay his workers $5 for an eight hour day, the equivalent of $116.48 a day when adjusted for inflation. So actually Ford was paying his workers about $15 an hour. During his State of the Union Obama called for increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from $7.25. That would still be not even close to what it should be.

Oliver Twist: “Please Sir, I Want Some More”

In a graphic novel about poverty in 19th Century England the author Charles Dickens has the very young Oliver Twist, a resident of an English workhouse for children, ask for more porridge: “Please sir, I want some more.” The staff and the other children present are shocked by his request. Now, in our unequal world of the 21st Century, we have 85 billionaires in the world who have more cash and assets than 3.5 billion people at the bottom of the financial ladder, demanding the same treatment as Oliver--but with a different tone: “I want–and need–some more.”
For those who don’t believe billionaires are psychotic, I suggest you read an article by Sam Polk in the New York Times Sunday Review titled “For the Love of Money.” Polk made millions as a trader and derivatives salesman during an eight-year tour on Wall Street. He reveals: “But in the end, it was actually my absurdly wealthy bosses who helped me see the limitations of unlimited wealth....I heard the fury in their voices at the mention of higher taxes. These traders despised anything or anyone that threatened their bonuses. Ever see what a drug addict is like when he’s used up his junk?  He’ll do anything–walk 20 miles in the snow, rob a grandma–to get a fix. Wall Street was like that. In the months before bonuses were handed out, the trading floor started to feel like a neighborhood in “The Wire” when the heroin runs out.”
There are a couple of stanzas in the poem “Organized Crime” by Ethan Miller and Kate Boverman that explain our present situation better than a Nobel Prize economist:

“Making shit wages
working until your head throbs
They’re making a profit by
robbing you blind They say it’s
 just business, it’s organized crime
Well the tide of prosperity lifts
every boat They say as you fall
down and drown in their moat
It’s a game of roulette that you’ll
lose every time This economy’s
nothing but organized crime.”

Roman Catholic billionaire Richard Riordan and Jewish billionaire Eli Broad combined to write an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times defending their pursuit of the Almighty Dollar by writing that income inequality is “stark and disturbing” but insisted at the same time that it isn’t “a sin to be rich.” Excuses, excuses. I guess they have been so busy going to the bank they have not spent much time with the Bible or the Torah lately. In the Bible there’s something about rich camels trying to squeeze through the eye of a needle–or whatever. And what does the Torah say about wealth? The Torah puts it this way: Who is wealthy? Someone who enjoys his lot. Most rabbis say that true wealth is dependent on the fulfillment of our unique gifts and lot in life.  Was Jesus-Yahweh wrong?