Mahatmas, money grubbers & muscleheads

Expanded from the 9-28-2003 Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune
An updated version appeared in the 10-2-2003 Comstock Chronicle

MESSAGE FROM THE MAHATMA. Michael Moore's e-mail bulletin of last week should shake up the presidential race. Here's an excerpt:

     "My wife and I were invited over to a neighbor's home 12 days ago where (retired four-star U.S. Army General Wesley) Clark told those gathered that certain people, acting on behalf of the Bush administration, called him immediately after the attacks on September 11th and asked him to go on TV to tell the country that Saddam Hussein was 'involved' in the attacks. He asked them for proof, but they couldn't provide any. He refused their request.

     "Standing in that living room 12 nights ago, Clark continued to share more private conversations. In the months leading up the Iraq War, friends of his at the Pentagon — high-ranking career military officers — told him that the military brass did NOT want this war in Iraq, that it violated the Powell Doctrine of 'start no war if you don't know what your exit strategy is.' They KNEW we would be in this mess, and they asked the General, in his role now as a television commentator, to inform the American people of this folly. And, as best he could, that's what he did," Moore wrote.

Moore's book "Stupid White Men" made him the bestselling author in the nation in 2002. His new book, "Dude, Where's My Country?", will be published Oct. 7. The Oscar-winning ("Bowling for Columbine") director's next film, "Fahrenheit 911," is slated for election-year release. Among other things, it will document the Bush administration's flying the bin Laden family out of the U.S. to Saudi Arabia on 9-12-2001 — knowing full well the FBI wanted to interview them.

HARPER'S BIZARRE. If reading the mahatma's missives motivate you into wallowing into who's doing what, with which and to whom, pick up the October issue of Harper's magazine.

Therein, historian Kevin Baker pens "We're in the Army now — the GOP's plan to militarize our culture."

For those of you who think we passed that point long ago, Baker presents a chilling, jackbooted future.

"It is unclear whether, even if they knew more about it, the American people would care much about the abuse of power being perpetrated in their name. The greater question, though, is whether they could stop them (the Bushanauts) anymore even if they wanted to," Baker states.

Accompanying Baker's cover piece is Sam Smith's "The Revision Thing — A history of the Iraq war told entirely in lies." Progressive Review Editor Smith uses only verbatim quotes — lies, each and every one — from senior Dubya administration officials and advisers. Their own words damn them.

All this and Dubya's still probably gonna get re-elected, largely because he can buy, influence and intimidate enough media to drown whatever watered-down opposition may wash up next year.

SPEAKING OF WATERED DOWN OPPOSITION. Those who watched last week's live cablecast of the monthly meeting of the City of Reno's Citizen's Cable Compliance Committee were not disappointed. (Watch the re-run for yourself this Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. on SNCAT Sparks-Reno cable channel 13.)

Charter Cable's Reno franchise expires next month. City staff has not been able to negotiate a new agreement in time and recommended that the city council vote Charter a one-year extension of its 1988 deal. Fortunately, Councilman Dave Aiazzi intervened and the council granted only 90 days.

One reader wrote this: "I have no idea why the city would consider granting an extension without receiving some consideration in return. Pursuant to federal law, if the franchise lapses, it continues (like an apartment rental lease) month-to-month or year-to-year (depending on how often Charter remits franchise fees to the city) until it is revoked. The revocation process is known as a 'formal renewal,' so there is no compelling need for a city to extend a franchise — except to grant a favor to the cable company.

"Cable companies, like Charter, 'need' franchises to placate their creditors who demand that operators have franchises to secure their loans and guarantee repayment. The city is in the best bargaining position when the franchise has lapsed because the company is under pressure from creditors to cut a deal.

"So, I ask, what consideration has Charter offered in exchange for the extension? Capital equipment, operational funds or more channels for public, educational and governmental access? A rate freeze?

"The extension gives Charter another year in which to whittle down and dilute the terms of the proposed agreement and the provisions of the cable standards ordinance. If the purpose is to synchronize the renewal process with the County and Sparks, form a combined negotiating team and negotiate identical franchises for all three local governments, then a one-year extension makes sense. The risk is that the minimum becomes the maximum. Otherwise, there is no good reason to grant an extension," my correspondent noted.

As a result of city staff coming perilously close to giving the store away, the cable committee, which I chair, voted unanimously to ask the council to allow one of our members to sit in on negotiations as an observer. This comes in the context of city staff stonewalling us for months regarding any information on the franchise negotiation. Our panel has not even been able to get the names of the negotiating team. Watch for udpates.

ARNOLD ALERT — Some 25 years ago, my wife made an observation which, after last week's California gubernatorial debate, remains uncannily accurate: Arnold Schwarzenegger is a biceptual.

Be well. Raise hell. | U-News | C.O.P. | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors

Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive


Copyright © 1982-2003 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.


Site composed and maintained by Deciding Factors (CWA signatory)
Comments and suggestions appreciated. Sign up for news and bulletins.