A Choice: Genuflecting Before The Five Pimps Of The Plutocracy–Or Pitchforks

Ed Raymond

It must have been most pleasing for the five Supreme Court free market pimps for the American oligarchy to celebrate two events in Nevada. At the renown Chicken Ranch whorehouse, gentlemen came to satisfy their free market desires, while in Las Vegas Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire gambling house owner, was busy choosing the next political whores of the United States at another national “free market,” now called the Adelson Primary. At both sites candidates were preening, showing a leg-or more- and murmuring sweet somethings in the ears of the buyer, enticing him with their best “goods” on the runways of plutocracy.
The “conservatives” on the Supreme Court with their  Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions made it possible for the 80-year old Adelson to flash his $40 billion fortune before four invited governor-puppets for the Washington slave market. Would the winner of his millions of campaign cash be John Kasich of Ohio, destroyer of unions and creator of mile-long black voting lines? Would it be Scott Walker of Wisconsin, destroyer of collective bargaining and Wisconsin K-16 education? Would it be Chris Christie of New Jersey, the creator of closed bridge approaches to  important places?  Would it be Jeb Bush, the “should have been” and the white sheep in the Bush Dynasty?
Stay tuned for the ching-ching of Adelson’s cash registers. After all, he spent only $150 million on Newt Gingrich and other Republican sycophants in 2012. In 2014 he has to buy and maintain a  majority in Congress, and in 2016 he has to buy a president so the U.S. does not approve on-line gambling. But with $40 billion at his disposal, he shouldn’t have any trouble funding a majority government opposed to internet gambling. That is, unless the Koch brothers get in his way. They spent $400 million in 2012 fighting ObamaCare, climate change, moderate Republicans, oil, gas, and pipeline regulations, liberal Democrats, and buying Tea Party tea. The plutocratic Koch boys now know they can really raise hell in American politics with their $80 billion, thanks to their pimps on the Supreme Court.

When Does Wealth Become Excess?

Since the 2007 Bush economic disaster, the One Percent has gained 95 percent of our economy’s gains. We hear constantly from Republicans that One Percenters are the “creators” and the 47 percent at the bottom are the “takers.” Where are all the jobs created by the One Percent? Do they know how to “create” anything? Seven years since the Great Recession we still have fewer jobs than in 2008. The problem is we have 13 million more working-age adults now. Unemployment among 18-29 year-olds is at 11.4 percent, almost double the national rate.
   The One Percent has still not learned a lesson from Econ 101. In order to make money they must have middle class consumers. Why build factories and hire employees to build stuff for bankrupt consumers? So the One Percent buys $100 million homes, collects $142 million paintings and $45 million violas, flies $85 million jet airplanes, and continues the corruption of college sports by making it possible for football and basketball coaches to be paid millions, while full professors earn about five percent of what the Pitinos and the Sabans “earn.” University presidents, much lower than coaches on the pay scale, have been turned into lap dogs for the rich and fund raisers instead of educators.
This is one example of how wealth corrupts. An article in USA Today covers the latest research in the tonal qualities of 17th Century Stradivarius violins going for millions of dollars on the collector’s circuits versus new high-quality violins costing between $3,000 and $7,500. The National Academy of Sciences conducted a “blind” study by ten world-renown violin soloists on five Strads and five new violins. The players wore dark goggles and played two 75-minute sessions, one in a 300-seat concert hall and one in a rehearsal room. Six soloists preferred new violins and the rest said there was little difference. Because the Strads have always had the superior tonal reputation, such blind tests have been supervised for many years. New violins have always won out. So why do collectors pay as much as $16 million for a Strad when they have been proven to be inferior to modern violins?  A European music auction house is in the process of selling a Strad viola for a minimum bid of $45 million. Is a person who buys a viola for $45 million a candidate for a psychopathic study?  I think so.  Particularly when the viola is probably not up to 21st Century standards.

When One Percenter Leona Helmsley Said, “Only The Little People Pay Taxes”......

The five pimps, protecting the interests of their One Percent plutocratic patrons, have made sure that taxes on the rich remain low, elusive, or uncollectible.  The latest tax scam perpetrated by the wealthy is called the “cash-rich-split-off.” It’s almost impossible to explain to rational, thinking people, so let’s compare it to the old carnival sleight-of-hand game Thimblerig where walnut shells hide one pea. Allan Sloan, a smart economics reporter at Fortune Magazine, attempted to explain this taxpayer rip-off this way (He fails!):
“(Billionaire) Don Graham’s Graham Holdings and (Billionaire) Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway saved a total of $675 million by swapping cash and assets for stock--and vice-versa.”
There does not seem to be many accountants around who really understand the cash-rich-split-off, including IRS auditors, but it was lobbied by the One Percent and passed by their political whores in Congress. If you want to study Sloan’s attempt to explain the scam, it’s in the April 10 issue of the Washington Post. Remember, I warned you, it’s much worse than Thimblerig–but it saved two billionaires $675 million, tax money that could have been used to educate our young and maintain roads and bridges.

The Five Pimps Of The Oligarchy Race The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse

Bible Thumpers believe that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will trample across God’s earth announcing the “Last Judgment.”  Depending upon which one of the 721 translations of the Bible you want to believe, the four horses and their riders will bring a divine “apocalypse” to sinners. The guy on the white horse may represent Jesus Christ carrying a bow and a quiver of arrows “conquering” the sinners of the world. Sometimes the white horse and rider is called Conquest. Sometimes he is known as Pestilence, spreading an infectious plague across the earth. Take your choice.
The next horse is a bloody red ridden by an equally bloody warrior with sword held high, prophesying that much blood is going to be spilled. The third horse is all black (The symbol of wealth in Biblical days because only the rich could afford expensive black dye!), ridden by a horseman complaining that barley and wheat is ten times the normal price. The rich eat wheat and the poor eat the less nutritious barley--if they can afford to buy it. The rider also carries scales for weighing grain. Biblical scholars say the black horse predicts future famines. OK. Others say it represents capitalism!
The last horse in the quad is the Pale Horse ridden by ashen Death carrying the big scythe. Greeks describe the horse as being yellowish-green, or having the sickly pallor of a corpse. When Death trots by on the Pale Horse, is that when the Rapture begins? My inquiring mind wants to know.

Are The Five Supreme Court  Pimps Outrunning The Four Horses Of The Bible?

   Former President Jimmy Carter, a good Baptist and Sunday School teacher, said a couple of weeks ago that there are 16,000 verses in the Bible that can be used to attack or defend any position taken on earth. So the Book of Revelation may be meaningful to many, but I think what the five conservative pimps on the Supreme Court are doing to our democracy will bring the death knell to representative government. Money equals speech? Corporations are people? Money is not corrupting!!? The Chamber of Commerce is more important than Main Street? Health care is a privilege, not a right? Labor unions are bad, free markets good? Workers are parasites, billionaires creators? Pensions bad, 401Ks good? Only the little people pay taxes? The fascist list goes on and on.
The pimps have granted plutocrats money and power to govern us. The pimps have made it possible for billionaire individuals and corporations to pay no federal taxes by keeping huge profits off-shore on tiny islands. The pimps have made it possible for billionaires like Warren Buffett and hedge fund managers to pay taxes at rates one-half of their secretaries. The pimps have made it possible for the richest fifth to pay state and local taxes at a rate of 5.6 percent while the middle class pays an average rate of 11 percent.

How About A $100 Million Fund-Raising Dinner?

The pimps have made it possible for donors to pay over $1 million for the privilege of sitting down at several fund-raising dinners with the president and other political high-muckymucks. Prior to Citizens United and McCutcheon a donor was “limited” to $36,000. (Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, who pimped for democracy, said: “We can have a democracy or we can have great wealth in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”)
The Roberts Court is the most pro-business court since the 1930’s anti-Roosevelt courts. The Minnesota Law Review studied the votes of the last 36 Supremes who have served since 1946. Roberts and Samuel Alito are the most pro-business of all–and the other three-Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy–are in the top. Two big Super-Pacs, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Koch’s Americans for Prosperity are both launching seven-figure campaigns for the 2014 elections.
Thomas Jefferson, a member of the elite of his day, said during the writing of The Declaration of Independence: “The issue today is the same as its been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite.” The pimps have selected the elite by endorsing Roberts’s idea about money in politics: “The government may not seek to limit the appearance of mere influence or access.” In other words, the Koch boys cannot be limited in political contributions to gain access but they can severely limit the access of Joe and Jane Sixpack by buying all the “speech.” In Congressional races the person with the most money wins 95 percent of the time. In 2012 both presidential campaigns spent a total of $2 billion. Experts estimate that the 2016 presidential campaigns will spend about $7 billion.
A final reminder. The five plutocratic pimps decided that governors could determine whether the poor in their states could have access to Medicaid when the ObamaCare law was challenged. Almost all Republican governors have denied Medicaid health care for their citizens, thus denying many millions of poor people health care. Experts estimate that up to 17,000 poor Americans will die because of this decision.
John Vodictka of Minneapolis recently wrote a letter to the StarTribune: “I work at Simpson Housing Services’ overnight shelter. Each night 66 homeless adult men and women occupy mats in a church basement. Last week were able to give one of these mats to a 75-year-old man who had been living on the street much of this past winter. Disturbingly, he’s not the oldest person sleeping at our shelter–his 36 by 72-inch mat lies on a concrete floor near two octogenarians, 81 and 83, one with early-stage dementia, the other assisted by a walker. This should not be. What does this say about our capacity to love our neighbor and make a way for everyone in our community?”
A few lines of T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” describe the five court pimps and what they are doing to our democracy: “We are the hollow men/We are the stuffed men/leaning together/headpiece filled with straw....This is the way the world ends/ This is the way the world ends/ This is the way the world ends/ Not with a bang but a whimper.” Folks, it’s time to choose pitchforks.