March of the Naked Cowboys
Expanded from the 3-26-2006 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

Great art is memorable, even if it's a cartoon. The Bush administration is a cartoon perpetrated by accomplished practitioners of all the dark arts.

Years ago, I saw a 'toon depicting a bruised and battered lout sitting on an examining table. His doctor wisely advised that he "dream more impossible dreams, but fight fewer unbeatable foes."

That's pretty good advice anytime, but especially now.

Psychoblonde Ann Coulter, who has made a fat living spewing right-wing hatred, last week belched "Despite the fact that — according to the polls — the 'American people' are fed up with the war in Iraq, only a few hundred anti-war protesters showed up in New York City last weekend. The naked cowboy in Times Square gets a bigger crowd than that."

She's apparently on close personal terms with naked cowboys.

Coulter is a pale descendant of Richard Nixon, who anointed himself spokesman for what he termed the "silent majority," all the millions who did not take part in anti-Vietnam War demonstrations. His Toxicity Jeff Griffin did the same thing when more than 400 protestors marched on city hall. The destructive former Reno mayor asked where are the other tens of thousands of residents, whom he then presumed to count as supporters in absentia of his ego-driven policies.

Such deviousness does great damage.

Much of the spin about last weekend's anti-war protests noted that crowds were "smaller than expected." The expectations were probably set by Republican operatives whispering to reporters, just like campaign managers try to lower the bar for their clients and raise it for the opposition in the New Hampshire primary.

Those who showed up to march from New York to Reno to San Francisco deserve our admiration, but I would not have been displeased if no one showed up at all, at least not in the U.S. The foreign demonstrations were more important.

Stateside, I think we should save our energy for battles we can win.

The military-industrial complex has afflicted this country with a near-terminal cancer. NASA whistleblower Jim Hansen told 60 Minutes last week that we have just 10 years to do something about global warming before some of its effects become irreversible. Well, Dubya is going to eat up the first three, so we're down to seven, and a pro-war, anti-environmental Republican will probably win or re-steal the presidency in 2008.

As I've written many times, corporate control of our society will only be loosened with inevitable economic collapse, probably on a worldwide basis. Then, a new Franklin Roosevelt will rise to pick up the pieces. But, God, what a horrendous and needless cost in lives and treasure righting the ship of state will take.

The baggage of that ship of fools will include a box cutter to carve the United States into de facto separate countries. (For a blueprint, read Joel Garreau's 1981 book The Nine Nations of North America.)

The devolution may prove economically beneficial, as breaking down into smaller units seems to be the only constructive way to achieve real prosperity. (See futurist Jane Jacobs' comments about Singapore and Norway in this column of last Oct. 23.)

The brilliant Jacobs stated long ago that every empire sows the seeds of its own decline. In that sense, Dubya and his predecessors back to Harry Truman have done no more than fulfill prophecy.

Those looking to evoke change on a national level this year are doomed to defeat. Wiseman George Carlin's reason for not voting has proven correct: voting means playing the other guy's game.

That game is rigged. Despite all the Democratic wailing, perhaps no more than five seats will change parties in the House of Representatives this fall. One need look no further than out the window to witness why. The statewide congressional seat has been gerrymandered so that no one but a Republican can win it. No Democrat ever has since it was established by the 1981 Nevada Legislature.

Protesting the war or Congressman Jim Gibbons' sellout to the mining industry are thus exercises in futility. As former Reagan campaign manager Ed Rollins said a few weeks ago, the Bushites are election-proof.

What to do? Fight fights you can win on the state and local levels so that you'll be ready to take power when the crash comes.

In 1974, my Tribune colleague in columny Travus T. Hipp advised some students at Cal Berserkeley how to succeed in politics: "Re-register Republican because you can buy the GOP for a dime on the dollar." Some did and went on to fat and successful political careers in the post-Watergate wasteland.

You need not sit still while waiting for the debacle to come. Use the time to prepare. Set away some gold and some goodwill. Build from the ground up.

Here are good ways to do it right here in River City.

SUPPORT THE PRESERVATION OF THE BALLARDINI RANCH THIS TUESDAY. The Washoe County Commission will vote at 5:30 p.m. on funding the acquisition of the last large swath of open space in the Truckee Meadows. It can become Reno's version of Central Park. Officials need continuous encouragement that they are on the right track, so encourage. Call 328-2005, fax 328-2037 or e-mail your county commissioner. Complete contact info will be linked to the expanded web edition of this column. This is important!

ATTEND THE ANNUAL CÉSAR CHÁVEZ BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION this Friday at the Neil Road Community Center from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Students and union members will march from Pine Middle School to the community center to kick off the ever-expanding event. The program includes food, music, a dramatic presentation, the reading of scholarship-winning essays about César Chávez, a DVD produced by Pine Middle School students about the Chávez wall mural on their campus and much more.

And it's all free and open to the public.

Sí se puede!

Be well. Raise hell.

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Copyright © 1982, 1984, 1996, 2004, 2005, 2006 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 37-year Nevadan, editor of and webmaster of Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.


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