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wounds all heels
Expanded from the 7-6-2008 Daily Sparks Tribune
A couple of years back, I got a call from an irritated reader who wondered why I had given a Tribune reporter respectful comments about someone who was my polar opposite politically and who had gone out of his way to personally insult me.
"We must be generous in death," I replied.
While an objective journalist and obituary writer is obligated to present a balanced view of the life of the deceased, a commentator and advocate is under no such obligation.
I prefer not to trash someone recently deceased. Plenty of time to later evaluate that person's contribution or dereliction.
"Among voters who say race matters, McCain leads Obama by almost 20 points."
ABC News, 6-22-2008
So what can one say about the late Sen. Jesse Helms, R-North Carolina?
Only that his death may have metaphorical significance this year.
Good ole fashioned American racism has come out of the closet thanks to the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama.
As the great U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said, "sunshine is the best disinfectant."
I liken this year's racial follytix to a dandelion that's just been hit with some serious weed killer. For a day or two, it puffs up like an athlete on steroids, then it crashes.
It won't be quite that simple, but I think this year may prove the last hurrah for American racism as we know it. And not so much because of what you, me or anyone else tries to do about it.
The grim reaper of racism is time.
Mary Cheney, the openly lesbian daughter of the vice-president, was once asked about her relationship with her parents, both of whom are notorious Republican queer bashers.
She gracefully sidestepped the question, noting that such prejudice is generational and will fade with time. She pointed to now-faded taboos against inter-racial marriage as an example.
Sunshine is indeed the best disinfectant. It also nourishes the lilies, daisies and columbine in the graveyards of old hatreds.
THE FIX IS IN. No matter the huge problems which seem to be afflicting the community, the state, the nation and the world, be of good heart. Nothing is so damaged that we can't fix it if we combine the good will and political will to do it.
Will we have the leadership? Of course.
During times of crisis, great leaders rise up. They very probably will come from among the most unlikely. Often, they are artists of some sort. Witness playwright Vaclev Havel who became president of Czechoslovakia and led a bloodless transition from authoritarianism to democracy.
I wouldn't worry too much about Barack Obama's current flirtation with Bill Clinton-Dick Morris-style triangulation. Ralph Nader will be on the ballot in 45 states including Nevada to act as his conscience.
We just have to hope that Obama is doing what all pols at the top must do: try to be all things to all people, make every promise you can and hope you can deliver on the good ones and diminish the questionable calls should you be fortunate enough to win.
The senator from Illinois is walking a tightrope. He must keep in mind Harry Truman's time-tested advice: If you give people a choice between two conservatives, they will always vote for the real thing.
BARBWIRE.TV: Thanks to everyone who participated in the show last week. If you were watching Wednesday, you got the earliest reports of the breakdown of negotiations between the local bus system and the Teamsters Union. I was particularly gratified to get phone calls from drivers who had just gotten off work and were unaware of the current status.
The Barbwire broadcasts live on Charter cable channel 16 Monday through Friday from 2:00 to 4;00 p.m. and streams on the web at Barbwire.TV, part of the new KJIV.org community radio project.
Viewers may participate via live phone calls at (775) 682-4144 and -4145 or by live chat through the website.
THE REVOLUTION WILL BE TELEVISED. On July 15, the day after Bastille Day, my very special on-air guest will be veteran newsman Tad Dunbar, who on that date will be in his second day of employment by KRNV TV-4. Tad will go on the air at the region's NBC affiliate next month, expanding its early newscast by a half-hour at 6:30 p.m. Stay tuned to this column for additional details.
Tune in, turn on and tell a friend.
Be well. Raise hell.
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
The campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?
Phillips, Kevin; Numbers Racket: Why the economy is worse than we know
Harper's Magazine; May 2008; page 43
Phillips has authored numerous books on history and politics over the past 40 years. His most recent, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, was published by Viking on April 15, 2008.
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
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Copyright © 1982-2008 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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