The undecided solution to all our problems

Expanded from the Sunday, 9-5-2004, Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune
and the 9-10-2004 Comstock Chronicle

Folks in my neighborhood socialize during unpleasantry. The best block party we ever had occurred the day of the big lightning strike and fire of 1986. I never knew all these little houses could contain so many people on a weekday afternoon.

Last Thursday evening, His Accidency The President was just finishing his convention speech as I pulled up to my quiet little street. It wasn’t quiet. People were milling about with flashlights in their hands: Riot? Murder? Mayhem? Nope. A neighbor's car was getting towed for the sin of parking in a red zone. (Such cruel things happen when there's nothing worth watching on the tube. My neighbor got ripped off for $175, which is more than three times the going rate for tow service. Any similar info you may have will be welcome for a future column.)

I watched the twilight grand theft auto show with my pal Gordon. The perfect neighbor, he always has an extra beer ready for you down by the pool. The tow truck left with its booty before we finished talking politics, so Gordon, this Labor Day Bud's for you. I sense you may among the most prized trophies in follytix: undecided.

Do we really know where John Kerry stands? On most issues, yes. His best position proposes a major step toward universal health care. On the war, he's pretty much conceded the point to Bush, diminishing his chances of unseating the incumbent.

Would a President Kerry take your guns away? Who's kidding whom? There are more guns than people in this country.

You've got more firepower than me, Gordon, but you're nowhere near as paranoid as you need to be. Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft and their minions have used fear of them non-Christian ragheads to march this nation to the threshold of becoming a softshoe fascist dictatorship. The only thing which will give them pause is the knowledge that our well-armed populace would resist them better than any Falluja militia.

With the Florida vote already fixed by Gov. Jebya, Sen. Kerry is really behind the eight-ball. I fear that another electoral meltdown will cause entire states to question the legitimacy of the federal government. Thomas Jefferson said that a little revolution every 20 years or so is a good thing, so we're well past due. Perhaps the confederacy will rise again – this time, in the north.

Gordon, you should make your presidential choice on facts, not cosmetics (Bush is prettier and looser on TV) or the propaganda of the vaunted "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy." The VRWC really exists and has spent $3 billion over the past three decades to completely invert the political dictionary. Liberal now equals commie traitor and conservative is cool. They've actually rewritten history to make people forget that this nation was built on liberal changes to the conservative status quo – from slavery to Social Security. (See the cover story of the September edition of Harper's Magazine for complete documentation.)

Don Quixote Nader is the only candidate who's right on just about all the major issues. Alas, the choice before us lies between the lesser of the two big-budget evils in an obsolete electoral system originally designed to keep slavery legal.

You may depend on one thing when a Bush gets elected: you'll soon be at war. Daddy did three in four years, so Junior's behind. How morally obtuse are the apologists for the conservative status quo? Larry Diamond, a VRWC operative, got interviewed by NPR last month. An employee of the Hoover Institution, one of the largest right-wing apologist think tanks, he brought home evidence of emerging democracy in Iraq: American-style think tanks! (He apparently didn’t notice other tanks.)

Gordon, there is one proven, easy cure for what ails the world: advancement of individual rather than corporate economic opportunity. If we gave a rat's patoot about exporting human rights, worker rights, womens' rights and environmental responsibility, things would pretty much take care of themselves. Timothy McVeigh would never have bombed Oklahoma City if he'd had a good job. Ditto for Osama's suicide shock troops. When you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose.

We've got a lot to lose. The textbook definition of liberal is open-minded. Just do it. Look at the big picture. We won't lose our guns, but we might very easily lose our future.

Sen. Kerry, if you're interested, I've got Gordon's phone number.

I SAID I'D BE BACK, GIRLIE PERSONS. Beginning tonight, I'm back on TV for at least the duration of the dirtiest election season in memory. I'll sit on a panel of political soothsayers comprised of former Nevada State Assembly Speaker Joe Dini, D-Yerington, former attorney general Brian McKay, R, and former state treasurer Patty Cafferata, R. Moderator Erin Meehan Breen told us to bring our best star charts, throwing bones, tarot cards and crystal balls in order to predict the outcome of many of Tuesday's high profile races. The show runs one time only this evening at 6:00 p.m. on northern Nevada PBS affiliate KNPB TV-5.

Starting Monday after a year of self-imposed exile, I'm back on Sam Shad's statewide Nevada Newsmakers. Tomorrow, I'll talk with Ande Engleman about Labor Day, fleshing out my economic solution to all the world's woes. Starting Thursday, I'll reoccupy the Barbano chair on Mr. Shad's fearless peerless pundit panel. I promise very entertaining political potshottery. The show airs at 12:30 p.m. on KRNV TV-4, repeating same-day at about 9:27 p.m. on Washoe-Carson-Douglas Charter cable channel 12. Monitor for additional times and program info. Tune in, turn on and tell a friend.

LABOR DAY BETTING LINE. Several months ago, the union folks down at the Sparks Labor Temple started a pool to bet on how long before the election Dubya will announce the capture of Osama bin Laden. Something told me to pick Labor Day. What better political maneuver on a slow-news three-day weekend when the media will feature economic hardship? It's far enough ahead of the election to deflect accusations of manipulation and royally screws up the holiday for the unions Bush is working hard to destroy.

As Lily Tomlin once said, no matter how cynical you become, it’s hard to keep up.

Happy Labor Day.

Be well. Raise hell.


Nevada workers reflect on Labor Day
Reno Gazette-Journal 9-6-2004

Featuring Bill Kolsch of Bricklayers Local 13,
Nevada State AFL-CIO
Executive Secretary-Treasurer Danny Thompson,
Nevada State Archivist Guy Rocha
and the Nevada Labor History Pages of

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Las Vegas Review-Journal 9-5-2004

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Copyright © 1982-2004 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 36-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413, editor of and Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.

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