Expanded from the 11-18-2007 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
A harsh verdict appears to be in: Americans have given up hope where our military aggression is concerned.
"It is not that public has come to like the war," venerable newsman Daniel Schorr commented on National Public Radio last week, "it is more that the public has given up on trying to influence decisions about the road ahead."
He cited that sentiment as one reason that economic issues have now come to the fore. That's good for Democrats, as the party in the White House almost always loses the next election during an economic slump.
But it's bad news for the nation.
Dubya and his dunces, following in the footsteps of King Ronald the Vague, have done their work all too well. The devil children of Reagan have made it their nefarious business to prove that government can't do anything right.
They have overkilled that proposition both figuratively and literally. Ask residents of New Orleans and Baghdad.
The nation hungers for an inspiring leader and that means somebody skilled in showmanship as well as statecraft.
Last Thursday in Gomorrah South, seven of the eight Democratic candidates did a good job of displaying their differences.
Former Sen. Mike Gravel, D-Alaska, was barred from participating for the sin of not having raised enough money, which underscores our national malaise of validation by acquisition.
If you're poor, you don't exist. If you want to play the presidential game, the minimum ante is seven digits to the left of the decimal point.
Otherwise, even the self-styled party of the people pushes you to the back of the bus.
Hopelessness among the masses is great news for the accumulators and manipulators of power. As long as the select few can keep the lower classes fighting each other for crumbs, the great unwashed and hungry will not focus their anger where it belongs.
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, hit Donkeyite frontrunner Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, upside the head by noting Clinton's defense of a tax loophole for the rich.
Obama wants to lift the cap on Social Security contributions for the wealthy. Currently, no matter how much anyone makes, he or she contributes only on the first $93,000 of income. That's a regressive tax which increases its bite the lower someone's income falls.
Clinton called lifting the cap a tax on the middle class.
I guess it all depends on what your definition of "middle" is.
The spin after the debate involved how Clinton "rebounded" after the previous encounter. Actually, her amen chorus in the Las Vegas peanut gallery shouted down criticism by her opponents.
It's just this kind of behavior that turns off voters. As she did with driver's licenses for undocumented individuals, she re-spun her position in Fernley the next day, saying that she wants to eliminate tax breaks for those making over $150,000 a year. Only about six percent make more than $93,000.
In the end, it really doesn't matter because numbers crunching does not move that big dumb beast called the American electorate, among whom fully one in three continue to blindly and blithely support Dubya.
I have oft lamented that voters next year will have a choice between two corporate conservatives.
At least Ronald Reagan was a good enough actor to emulate his idol, Franklin D. Roosevelt, by acting as cheerleader in chief. People bought the optimism even as Reagan's war spending came dangerously close to provoking some militarists in the old Soviet Union who liked the idea of settling matters once and for all via nukes at high noon.
NEW AND HOT
Longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Everything You Need to Know About the Nevada Presidential Caucus and then some site
Dubya has done Bonzo one better and then some, spending the federal government into such debt that his successors won't have much leeway to fix the damage of three decades of phony conservatism. Once on the outside, they can again say that government doesn't work and it's all the Democrats' fault. (They've already started.)
One financial guru last week predicted that we now face a three out of four likelihood of recession. As I've repeatedly noted, the signs have been there for the past several years.
Only big government is big enough to fix big problems. The poor lout who inherits the damages of Dubya will be forced to operate within a narrow range of limited options.
So he or she had better be able to inspire, which I submit is now the principal qualification for the next president. Sen. Obama has it, as do Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, and former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina. Even Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, has the makings, as does New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
On the GOP side, only one fills the bill: Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, the Libertarian Party's 1988 presidential candidate. Like most Libertarians, he's basically an anarchist who cannot win a broad base of support.
Jesse Jackson always admonishes audiences to keep hope alive. With evidence mounting that American voters are giving up both faith and hope, the stage is set for a messenger of hope to deliver the future.
DOMESTIC TERRORISM. The following ad, from an actual purveyor, arrived via spam a couple of weeks back:
Buy a Case of Electrodes, Get a Free Case of Electrodes!
Take advantage of this great deal before it's too late.
Buy a case of ProStim electrodes, and we'll give you a free case!
ProStim electrodes are designed to be durable and comfortable:
- Evenly distribute current for more comfort
- Unique gel withstands repeated use
- Flexible cloth backing conforms to body
- Long lasting, multipurpose, economical
I am sure that medical professionals and Dick Cheney's non-torturers bought a bunch before this amazing offer expired Nov. 5.
Keep hope alive.
Be well. Raise hell.
NAOMIKLEIN.ORG: The Shock Doctrine Short Film
A Film by Alfonso Cuarón and Naomi Klein, directed by Jonás Cuarón
An official selection of the Toronto Film Festival
An official selection of the Venice Film Festival
The Shock Doctrine short film is cleared for Internet use but not for broadcast,
so feel free to share it with your friends.
NAOMI WOLF: Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps
There are some things common to every state that's made the transition to fascism. Author Naomi Wolf argues that all of them are present in America today.
Johnson, Chalmers; REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE? A National Intelligence Estimate on the United States; Harper's magazine; January, 2007. I love it when heavy hitters validate what I've been saying for years in the tiny Sparks Tribune.
Barlett, Donald L. and Steele, James B.; America: What Went Wrong? (1992); America: Who Really Pays the Taxes? (1994); America: Who Stole the Dream? (1996) ; Andrews & McMeel/Universal Press Syndicate. For additional comments on the work of the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning team, use the NevadaLabor.com search engine and sweep for "Barlett."
The Orwell Diversion by Alex Carey
Excerpted from the book available below
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
SEE ALSO: Lapham, Lewis H.; Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill, A Brief History; Harper's Magazine cover article; September, 2004, page 32.
By one conservative estimate, the corporate right has spent about $3 billion over the past three decades manufacturing public opinion to suit big business goals. Lapham's number covered the early 1970's to the present day. Alex Carey noted that by 1948, anti- New Deal corporate propaganda expenditures had already reached $100 million per year, not adjusted for inflation, for advertising alone. (Carey, ibid; page 79)
Adjusted for inflation, that 1948 $100 million becomes $801,659,751.04 in 2005 dollars.
Conservatives Help Wal-Mart, and Vice Versa
As Wal-Mart struggles to rebut growing criticism, it has discovered a reliable ally: conservative research groups.
New York Times 9-8-2006; Free registration may be required.
BARBWIRE: Labor Day '94: People vs. corporate con job, 9-4-94
Chilling forecasts from Alex Carey
BARBWIRE: The Nevada Republican Party Becomes Communist, 3-30-97
A prescient Plato on the dangers of oligarchy
The sands of time do not cloud the long memories of the sheiks of Araby
Rinfret, Pierre A.; Peace is Bullish; Look magazine, 5-31-1966
Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive
I've been telling you so for more than 10 freakin' year
Barbwire Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
Learn about the goodies which suffering profitmongers suck from the public trough
Nevada: Right to Work for Less
Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it
The Dean's List
The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006
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Andrew Barbano is a 39-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and JoeNeal.org; a member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO, and the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.
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