Cynicism is never having to day you're sorry
Expanded from the 1-23-2005
Daily Sparks Tribune
1-28-2005 Comstock Chronicle
"No matter how cynical you become, it's hard to keep up." Lily Tomlin
The president has brought our national case of co-dependency out of the closet. In an interview preceding his swearing in last week, Dubya noted that he has given up on introducing a constitutional amendment to ban abortion. He said that he does not have the necessary 67 votes in the U.S. Senate. (UPDATE: See below for a clear-as-mud clarification from Dubya's dunces.)
This reinforced what author Thomas Frank wrote in his bestseller "What's the Matter with Kansas?" Religionauts flock to the polls to support the righteous of right and get tax cuts for the rich as their eternal reward. They also get to send their children off to slaughter in a bloody foreign war. (Whatever happened to "Thou shalt not kill"?)
Meanwhile, those who vote for sanctimonious military-industrial candidates see their economic interests consistently subverted by those they elect.
The income of people in most red states is generally far below that of the blue states. Social problems in red states also mostly eclipse those of the blues. (Check divorce rates.) Author Frank marveled that those in the state of his birth consistently vent anger at their dwindling economic prospects by voting for candidates who perpetuate the pain.
This is political masochism, battered spouse syndrome. They know they are truly needed when their beloved is beating the bejabbers out of them in the name of God and country.
When will they ever learn? Apparently only when the financial foolishness of this latter day Gilded Age causes collapse. I hope there's a new Franklin D. Roosevelt waiting out there to catch us when we fall.
WHAT'D HE SAY? An oft-used soundbyte from Dubya's inaugural address was his statement about "preparing our people for the challenges of life in a free society."
The implication of those words is that the president feels we are not now free but will become so sometime after he's finished doing his thing. More amazing is that nobody seems to have caught the flub. I'll know he's serious about forming a free society if he comes out in favor of repealing the Patriot Act and withdraws the nomination of Torture Man for attorney general.
DUMB QUOTE, PART DEUX. Congressman Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., has been doing serious damage control after telling NBC news that those critical of obscene corporate expenditures on the presidential inauguration are dirty pinko commies.
"One congressman has no use for complaints about corporate-funded celebrations," NBC reporter Lisa Myers stated, then cut to Gibbons: "Anybody who is against that obviously must be a communist," Gibbons told her.
Somewhere, Sen. Patrick McCarran, D-Nev., is beaming with pride. And so is his best buddy, Sen. Joe McCarthy, R-Minn.
EXTENDING DEMOCRACY. Will Saddam Hussein be allowed to register and vote in the Iraqi election? Has anybody asked?
DUDLEY'S LAST ACT. The only man in Nevada competitive with the president for tripping over his tongue takes center stage this week with Gov. Dudley Do-Right delivering his final state of the state address. In his first such speech in 1999, he wanted to propose major tax reform, including possible tax increases, but it didn't poll well. In order to have something significant to say, his advisers came up with the Millennium Scholarship program, a short-term squandering of Nevada's share of the national cigarette industry settlement.
It should have been invested so that it would produce income for the state in perpetuity. Instead, Dudley offered $10,000 to any B-average Nevada high school graduate. Almost no one has noticed that each university student costs the taxpayers $40,000 over four years.
Now, the program is in trouble with tobacco money dwindling. I'm all in favor of free public education for everyone, but the Millennium Scholarship's funding mechanism was bound to peter out quickly. Gov. Guinn now wants to give away $300 million in the form of an auto registration rebate, something the editors of the Las Vegas Sun termed "a political stunt." Just like the scholarship program.
Education is too important to be used for short term political gain. The scholarships should be given reliable funding. Redirecting the auto registration rebate is a good place to start.
MONDAY NIGHT POLITICAL FOOTBALL. The state of the state address will be televised tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. I'll be commenting live on KNPB TV-5 with former Republican state treasurer Patty Cafferata and hostess Erin Breen. Tune in, turn on and tell a friend.
Be well. Raise hell.
Dear Readers and Viewers:
I apologize for representing to you that I'd be on TV after Gov. Dudley Do-Right's final flogging of flaccid and flexible philosophy. The techie-types at northern Nevada's PBS affiliate suffered a software shortage and thus could not access the commercial satellite feed of the Guv's wonderfulness. I spent a very enjoyable hour in the studio discussing the advance text of the schlep of the state address with Erin Breen, Patty Cafferata and Prof. Erik Herzik, Acting Dean of the UNR College of Arts and Sciences. I really wish that you could have sat in.
It was quite insightful and incisive conversation, some of which will appear in an upcoming edition of the Barbwire in the Sparks Tribune and Comstock Chronicle. One thing remains certain Dudley as always supplied us with a lotta laughs Monday evening and can be relied upon to continue to do so for the next two years.
Be well. Raise hell.
I THOUGHT I WAS WRONG ONCE, THEN FOUND OUT I WAS RIGHT, SO I REFUSE TO GIVE A INCH: I was going to call the following a correction, then a clarification, but given the latest doings out of the White House, all you little bigots out there should just view this as another example of the president's vision thing viewed through his usual bowl of milk and cornflakes.
FOLLOW THE BOUNCING BALL: First, Dubya did not say in an interview last week that he would not push for an anti-abortion amendment. He said he was backing away from an anti-gay marriage amendment. However, the news flow of last week also brought a flurry reports from those infamous "unnamed White House sources" contradicting Dubya once again. The stories, which continued through the day of publication of the above column, said that the president indeed had also given up on a constitutional ban on abortion.
SEN. KERRY, CALL YOUR OFFICE: In one more (gasp!) flip-flop, the New York Times reported on Jan. 26 that "President Bush told a meeting of African-American religious and community leaders on Tuesday that he remained committed to a proposed ban on same-sex marriages."
Moral obtuseness means having your cake and eating it, too.
(A version of the above will be included in future print editions of this column.)
ORDER "Taking the Risk Out of Democracy"
Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty
By Alex Carey
Edited by Andrew Lohrey
Foreword by Noam Chomsky
University of Illinois Press
Copyright © 1982-2005 Andrew Barbano
Andrew Barbano is a 36-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of NevadaLabor.com. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.
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