Cynicism is never having to say you're sorry

Expanded from the 8-10-2003 Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune
An updated version appeared in the 8-14-2003 Comstock Chronicle

"No one in this world, as far as I know...has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people." (Often misquoted as "no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.")

— H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)
Baltimore Sun Columnist

Dubya took the nation to war over a corporate-friendly pack of lies. Yet the polls show he is considered an honorable man and a favorite for re-election. Dubya and his neo-fascists cut taxes for the rich while refusing any aid to the bankrupt states, yet they are considered honorable men.

Gritting his teeth and forcing a smile, Colin Powell places a reputable black face on Dubya's murderous predations. Powell gets sent to tap dance at places like the U.N. and is allowed to keep his job because the American public considerS him an honorable man.

Vice-President Heartless jealously and zealously guards the records of secret meetings he had with energy execs six months before 9/11. A map of Iraq oil fields with a list of major corporations who might like a piece of the action was used at those meetings.

The public will one day not honor them, but bury them.

Is it any wonder that voters elect the likes of Jesse Ventura and Jim Traficant? Why not put a joke like Arnold Schwarzenegger into the California governor's mansion? The system cries out for a mass infusion of monkey wrenches. The propagandized public is in a mood to do something, even if it's wrong.

"No matter how cynical you become,
it's hard to keep up."

— Lily Tomlin

The system is now so toxic that a good case can be made to limit voting more than it already is. Those willing to run the gauntlet to the polling place have proven so easy to propagandize that a case can further be made to administer a civics test to each registrant. Undemocratic? You bet, but so is the current process. Jebya did a helluva job keeping blacks and Jews from voting in Florida in 2000 and got away with it.

Polls have shown for years that most Americans would vote down the freedoms itemized in the Bill of Rights.* The American public has consistently elected politicians who think nothing of subsidizing the export of U.S. jobs to third- and fourth-world countries.

"Naturally, the common people don't want war, but after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country."

— Herman Goering (1893-1946)
Nazi leader

The most powerful country in the world lives in a climate of fear, the land of the free abides in a jail of its own creation. We devote a debilitating amount of money to producing weapons capable of annihilating life on the planet many times over while many of our own citizens have trouble finding enough to eat.

Our voracious war machine requires the supple bodies of the young for grease and grist in order to justify another century of private profiteering on increasingly expensive death toys. The more that the system deprives the young of educations and economic opportunity, the easier it becomes to recruit new bodies for sacrifice at the altar of Mammon's military-industrial complex.

Nevadans are true Americans. We exhibit all the behaviors of the battered, co-dependent spouse, snuggling up to our abusers, be they predatory casinos or Lone Star State warmongers.

Victory goes to those who marshal the largest television budget, babies and bathwater be damned.

Is there a solution? Alas and alack, the classic one: only the latter day equivalent of the Great Depression will send up leaders capable of policing the mess. But a lot of people will continue to get hurt in the process.

AIR WAR. "Reno Talks War and Peace" continues to air on SNCAT cable channel 16. It's the first edition of MacArthur Foundation grant recipient Patricia Axelrod's planned series. This week, the show airs at 5:30 p.m. Monday, 10:30 p.m. Tuesday and 9:00 p.m. on Thursday. It consists of comments made by attendees (pro-war, anti-war and everywhere in between) at a forum at Reno City Hall earlier this year. Video editor Matthew Lahtinen put together the current installment, but Axelrod needs additional production help to assemble the rest. Video volunteers may call her at (775) 787-8528.

BACK IN THE SADDLE. I'll be among Sam Shad's commentators on Nevada Newsmakers this Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. on KRNV TV-4. The show repeats at 9:30 p.m. the same day on Sparks-Reno-Carson cable channel 12 and channel 19 in Douglas County. Shad will interview Reno-Tahoe Airport honcho Krys Bart and Nevada Tax Commission Member and former Assemblywoman Joan Lambert, R-Reno. Program audio airs on wing-nut KKKOH radio next Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m.

Be well. Raise hell.

* "The least popular First Amendment right continued to be freedom of the press — 46 percent said the press in America has too much freedom to do what it wants, up from 42 percent last year." (Margin of error is +/- 3%.) From the official poll document available through | U-News | C.O.P. | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors

Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive | DoctorLawyerWatch.Com | BallotBoxing.US


Copyright © 1982, 2003, 2005 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 34-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of and Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.


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