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Hurts so bad, hurts so good
Expanded from the 7-5-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune
Updated 7-12-2009, 8-2-2009
The Barbwire TV show will be in re-runs until SNCAT's studio move is completed. You may view them M-F 2-4:00 p.m. PDT on Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter cable channels 16, 216 and high-def 80-295. Keep an eye on the Barbwire print edition for updates.
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Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008
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I often stick my neck out with predictions so that my greatest fans can get a clean shot at my chin.
Let's take a mid-year retro look at the Barbwire crystal ball.
On Memorial Day weekend, 2005, I wrote the following:
Our warlike ways warn of a perfect storm. Another major terrorist attack will throw this country into instant depression, but we may not be able to avoid economic collapse whether we get hit or not.
As economist Paul Krugman noted in the New York Times last Friday (5-27-2005), the dot-com bubble was replaced by the real estate bubble.
Once the housing boom busts, he asserted that we have nothing else available to prop up a faltering economy.
World War II deficit spending and tax hikes are often credited for pulling the U.S. out of the Great Depression.
But we have been on a full war footing for four years, so the military remedy will not be available come the next crash.
The ancient Mayans, who accurately predicted their civilization's destruction by Spain, have warned us about 2012.
Nikolai Kondratieff (1892-1938), a Russian economist writing in the 1920s, issued similar medium range warnings.
We are now at the edge of the fabled Kondratieff Wave which forecasts a cyclical tsunami, a major economic contraction followed by a flood of widespread destruction.
I don't know if Krugman, Kondratieff and the Mayans will prove correct, but I am certain that the only way to honor the dead of war is to make no more.
The only way to stop killing is to stop killing.
Peace pays well.
AUG. 7, 2005: Those much more exalted than this particular backwater Cassandra in the Nevada coal mine are waving the warning flags. No less than Intel guru Andrew Grove warns that a bad moon is on the rise.
Grove is a bear on the globalization which helped make him megarich.
"I don't think there is a good outcome," he told New York Times business columnist Joseph Nocera.
"Although mainstream economic thought holds that America's history of creativity and entrepreneurialism will allow it to adapt to the rise of such emerging economies as India and China, Mr. Grove thinks that is so much wishful thinking. In his view, globalization will not only finish off what's left of American manufacturing, but will turn so-called knowledge workers, which was (sic) supposed to be America's competitive advantage, into just another global commodity What particularly bugs Mr. Grove is that he can't see a way that this country can find the equivalent of a disruptive technology that will allow it to retain its current place atop the economic heap," Nocera reported.
AUG. 12, 2007: CRASHING THE PARTY FOR FUN AND PROFIT.
In March 2007, I wrote "Just like the few remaining reasonable Republican conservatives, I have been warning that it won't take much of a scare for our financial house of cards to fall. My money, if I had any, would be on a crash caused by hedge fund speculation in market derivatives, a deadly financial game of Russian roulette with lots of zeroes to the left of the decimal point, which very few people understand. Let's just say that such investors are betting on a quadruple trifecta on any given day."
In June, 2007, the huge investment firm Bear Stearns bailed out two of its hedge funds to the tune of $3.2 billion. They had lost almost all their value in less than a month. BS didn't have to cover the losses of its casino bettors, but apparently did so to avoid a major crash in market confidence.
No less than Bill Clinton did the same thing twice. When Brazil and Mexico at separate times teetered at the brink of financial collapse, the Clinton administration rescued them. The fear was the same: domino theory, a cascading worldwide financial cratering followed by global depression.
Late last week (2007), the Federal reserve made two huge cash infusions into the market and bought up a bunch of probably worthless home loan packages in an attempt to stabilize matters. Some major banks tried the same thing in 1929, postponing that legendary crash by all of a single day.
Borrowing from the House of Saud and the Temple of Mao to finance our wars will haunt us for decades to come .
I wish I had sage advice for those in power on what to do before it's too late, but it's probably already too late. Since Dubya's dunces have made a pig's breakfast of everything they've tried other than keeping blacks, Jews and senior citizens from voting I wouldn't trust them to fix anything.
Everything they do is filtered through the lens of royalist dogma. They just don't see anything wrong with the way things have been trending. Like King Ronald the Vague, Bush the Lesser has lately been touting the economy's strong fundamentals. I believe that the captain of the Titanic was fundamentally a strong sailor.
All I can do is repeat that you should put some away for a rainy day because a hard rain's gonna fall and the first sprinkles have begun.
ON THE LOCAL LEVEL, I'm about halfway toward batting five out of five. Charter Communications filed bankruptcy. Reno City Manager Charles McNeely resigned and a majority of the Reno City Council is looking at moving up or out. The bankruptcies of Sparks and Reno are still a little ways out.
I take little pleasure in saying Cassandra Barbano was right.
It doesn't hurt good when it hurts so bad.
Wave the flag, cross your fingers and say a prayer.
ADIOS, HIGGY. Longtime Shakey's Pizza impresario Mike Higginbotham passed away on July 1. Erstwhile devotees of his Fifth Street bistro still return to Reno and are uniformly aghast at the vacant lot where Mike's pizza joint used to be. A 10:00 a.m. July 9 memorial service is planned a few blocks away at Mountain View on Stoker, followed by a reception at Boulevard Pizza in Sparks at 1076 N. Rock Blvd.
I am sure that rojo potatoes await.
Be well. Raise hell.
Andrew Barbano is a 40-year Nevadan, second vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, a union member, labor advocate and editor of NevadaLabor.com. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Reruns of his legislative session TV programs are cablecast Monday through Friday, 2-4:00 p.m. on Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter digital channels 16 and 216 and high-definition channel 80-295, available on demand at Barbwire.TV. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail email@example.com. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.
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.
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 © 1982-2009 Andrew Barbano
Andrew Barbano is a 40-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and JoeNeal.org, former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee and serves as second vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
He hosts news and talk Monday through Friday, 2-4:00 p.m., at Barbwire.TV and Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter digital cable channels 16 and 216, high-definition channel 80-295. Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988 and has originated in those parts ever since. Tempus fugit.
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