"All Hell Broke Loose"
Plus, America at a cross roads: destitution... or revolution?
by Bill Bonner
San Martin, Argentina - "Take a look at this.
We don’t usually put charts in our daily comments. If we’re going to make mistakes, we prefer to make them with words. But this chart is just more graphic evidence of how the future has been hi-jacked. The average American today can expect to be poorer than his parents. For the first time in our lives, yesterday really was better than tomorrow.
The disappointment is even more remarkable when you consider the context. Never before has tomorrow had so much to work with – so many people with college degrees, so much capital – trillions of it – sloshing around Wall Street, so many inventions, innovations, and technical breakthroughs…and over all of it, a class of elite deciders, enlightened by Keynesian economics and protected from ‘misinformation’ by The New York Times and federal censors.
So many forward gears…and still going backward! What does it mean? Where does it lead? To revolution? Or destitution?
Born of the Wind: In the meantime, a report from the Calchaqui Valley. As long time readers know, we spend part of each year down here in Argentina. Here, we learn more about dysfunctional economies…and what happens when inflation goes over 100% per year. It began as it was supposed to. The cows – about 100 of them – were to be moved from one side of the river to the other. “Hoop…yaaah…aiyee.”
Two cowboys rode into the corral…got behind the cows to urge them out of the gate. Two others were waiting outside the corral to guide them down the road and across the river. Down here, in the valley, the local people don’t really know much about cattle ranching. We raise our cattle up at the ranch, an hour and a half away, by the gravel road…but 8 hours for the cattle, who come over the pass. The two properties join each other. But only up at the pass, with a lot of rocky trail between one pasture and another. These cows were brought down here because here is where the rolls of alfalfa are. “Ya….ahi…baca…baca…”
Since the local people are farmers, not ranchers, we brought in a couple of young men from the ranch to work down here. Lazaro and Pablo are both of medium height and slight of build. Dark hair, brown skin – they could be brothers. And maybe they are. People here know their mothers. They are sometimes less clear about their fathers. When a girl gets pregnant, often the unknown sperm donor is referred to as “el viento’ (the wind).
We don’t ask questions. Both Lazaro and Pablo are friendly. And they are good with horses and cattle. That’s all that matters. “Yip…yip…yip…” The cattle drive was short. The herd moved along nicely…entered the river and then, dripping with water, continued along the road to the stone corral on the other side.
All Hell Breaks Loose: The next day they would be given their vaccinations and released into a field of fescue waiting for them. No problem. “But that’s when all hell broke loose.”
Our son-in-law was on the scene. As we hinted earlier this month, we had a secret agenda for our visit. We were hoping that he would take an interest in our projects down here…and take charge of them. “You either love the valley,” says our neighbor, a lifelong resident. “Or you can’t stand it. There’s no middle ground.”
So far…the affair between the valley and our son-in-law seems to be progressing. He reports: “I’m a city guy. I was not prepared for it. But I like it. We got all the animals in the corral. And then, Pablo noticed that one of the cows was missing a horn. It had gotten knocked off in a fight. And the wound had not healed. Plus, they had taken away her calf; she didn’t like that much either.
The idea was to separate the cow from the herd and run her through the chute. There, we’d be able to lock her neck in place and treat the infection. Lazaro had a needle and thread…as well as some disinfectant. And, of course, his knife.
The cow didn’t want to go into the chute. We yelled at her…and whipped her. But she only got mad and charged us. We were ducking and diving all over the place. At one point, we had her in the little corral…and I was meant to cover one of the exits…and not let her out. But she came right at me. I waved my hat…and poked her with my stick. She kept coming. I had to jump out of the way or I’d be gored. I felt bad about it. I was supposed to stop her. But I didn’t want to die trying.
We finally got her into the chute…and put the ‘sepo’ on her neck, to keep her head from moving. We could see the problem closer up. There were maggots in the wound. They had to be cut out….the wound disinfected and sewn up. But her head was still moving around too much.” “We’ve got to do this the old-fashioned way,” said Pablo.
The Rise of Lazaro (and Pablo): “I was so impressed by those two guys. They really know what they are doing. They let her out of the chute. But she got her leg stuck. Lazaro grabbed her tail and pulled as hard as he could to get her to back up. And Pablo grabbed her foot to pull it out of the fence. Then, she ran around wildly. She was tired. We were all tired. We’d been wrestling with her for half an hour. They tried to rope her. And she kept charging. We got out of the way as fast as possible. And then, we went back into the corral to try again.
Finally, Victor (a big guy who doesn’t even work for us) got a rope around her back legs. And then Pablo was able to tie up her front legs. They pulled her over onto her side. And we all piled on top of her to hold her head down while Lazaro did the surgery.”
We got up cautiously. We were ready to run for the gate. But when we untied her, she got up and didn’t move. I’m not sure whether she was just exhausted…or whether she was grateful that she had gotten necessary treatment.”