Blackguards and gold stars
Expanded from the 12-16-2007 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
Updated 12-17-2007, 1-4-2008

Last Sunday's Tribune really made me feel like the good ole days are coming back. All the bases were covered whether your favorite bloodsport be basketball or political hardball.

Jessica Mosebach's front page piece on the harm Gov. Jim the Dim's budget cuts may have up at the U was important journalism.

Lisa Stiller composed the best article I've seen anywhere on the presidential campaign of the admirable Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio.

Editor Nathan Orme gave her work far more room than the superficial few paragraphs which consumers of other papers are forced to endure. The Trib has never assumed that our readers have short attention spans, but for those pressed for time, we have long been blessed with the perennially award-winning Debra Reid's ability to tell an entire story with one film exposure, as Woodrow Barlettani's 'toon did with a single panel.

The Tribune's singular-in-Nevada diversity of opinion did not disappoint. Harry Spencer looked back and looked forward. The legendary Travus T. Hipp did the same and kicked butt at the same time, while Jake Highton busted the hindquarters of his new boss at the UNR journalism school.

Ira Hansen took it to Harvey Whittemore (what would we do without Harvey and his millions to kick around), well written as always. Ira also announced his new radio gig, at which I wish him moderate success.

Alas and alack, there was only one blemish on an otherwise killer Sunday edition: me.

As the great comedian Milton Berle once said, "If you gotta explain a joke, it ain't funny," which applies to my one-liner about Mr. Hansen. In commenting on the cockamamie rules of participating in next month's presidential caucus, I noted that those registered in minor parties would have to stay home and watch TV with Ira. In an (I hope) momentary case of brain fade, I lumped him in with other members of his high profile family. Actually, Ira is a longtime Republican and I apologize for implying otherwise.

My minor mental magnesia apparently presaged an epidemic of dumbness last week.

FULL FRONTAL HILLARY. Sen. Clinton, D-NY, pulled a maneuver worthy of newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst, who legendarily once sent a reporter to ask an outrageous question of a political leader Hearst wanted to hatchet.

"He'll never admit it," said the journalist.

"I want him to deny it and we'll print that," quoth the prototype of Citizen Kane.

Madame Clinton's New Hampshire campaign chairman asked if surging Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., had engaged in drug dealing as a youth. Hillary, of course, said it was an unauthorized statement and that the perp had resigned. But she still got the smear out worldwide.

She's responsible whether or not she knew, and given the high level of the accuser, that will always be in doubt. Hillary just swiftboated her main opponent.


UNSWIFT VETERAN. In reviewing state budget cuts, Gov. Jim Gibbons refused to let anyone know what he might slice but said prisons and K-12 education would be exempt. Last week, he said he was now for the cuts he was previously against.

Inadequate schooling fills our already overcrowded prisons, so perhaps he's trying to make conditions so unbearable that not even the guards will want to stick around, let alone the inmates. Maybe it's his fiscally conservative version of scared straight.

Cutting education is at least consistent with Jim the Dim's character. He's the most educated dumbwaiter of a political leader I've come across in four decades of following this madness.

PBS B.S. Last Friday's edition of Bill Moyers' Journal was a very important program, so heavy that the first segment with MSNBC's Keith Olbermann (anchor of the best-ever TV news program, according to wise man George Carlin) turned out the least of the batch.

Of much more immediate import was a piece on Tuesday's impending ruling by the Federal Communications Commission to allow media conglomerates to own not only newspapers, but radio and TV stations in the same market. The homogenization of news by the likes of the Gannetteers and Lord Rupert will continue unabated despite nationwide protest. The three Republicans on the five-member panel are wired upfront.

Finally, Moyers engaged Dr. Ronald Walters of the University of Maryland in a conversation which provided the best insight into the dynamics of the Clinton-Obama-Edwards contest that I've yet seen this season.

But the local PBS station would not let you view it. (Try PBS.org) The Moyers show aired on KNPB TV-5 at 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. yesterday, pre-empted in Friday prime by some useless piece of pledge week puff.

THE ARROGANCE OF POWER. Last week's statement by union-busting Gomorrah South casino boss William Weidner was chilling.

Advocating tax cuts for casinos in the face of three initiatives calling for increases on our parasitic major industry, the Venetian exec said "The formula is simple…Increase the taxes and decrease the amount of investment that you get."


That's not only blackmail, it's an empty threat. Like the mining industry, they always cry poor boy but keep exploiting the Silver State.

Weidner's ultimatum illustrates the flip side of corporate welfare. Up here, Cabela's, Scheels, Red Development, Union Pacific, developers and downtown casinos all suck the public purse as do Mr. Weidner and friends down below.

These guys think that the public should continue to socialize the risk while they privatize profit through more and more tax breaks to create their low-wage jobs. (See the 1999 State of Nevada study which proves it. The executive who performed the research just got fired by Lt. Gov. Brian "The Crony" Krolicki.)

It is no wonder that increasingly stressed middle- and lower-income taxpayers are looking for who's to blame. As I've so often written, gaze upward up to find who's picking your pocket with political pull, not at the guy next door or the brown person mowing your lawn.

Which is why I'm so glad we've got the Trib to hoist the blackguards on the yardarm of public scold.

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.
Alternet 5-20-2007

...and more ammo


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."

Review of Alex Carey's Taking the Risk Out of Democracy:
Propaganda in the US and Australia

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
Barbwire 9-10-2006

      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

BARBWIRE Cable/Telecommunications War Room

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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Copyright © 1982-2007 Andrew Barbano

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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