Expanded from the 2-3-2008 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
I've got more respect for the average jackass than the average voter.
How many times do we have to get hit upside the head? After a few whacks with a two-by-four, the average critter will begin to get the idea.
On last week's Bill Moyers Journal, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, noted that ex-presidential candidate John Edwards' basic premise, income inequality, has simply not sunk in with the public.
Wise man Bill Maher put it better long ago: Americans don't do nuance.
Princeton economist Paul Krugman noted in his New York Times column last week that Edwards had done a great service to the country. Because of him, Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were forced to take concrete positions on Edwards' populist issues such as national health care. Alas and alack, the handsome southerner was unable to capture the "new thing" media buzz of the potential "first woman" or "first black" to win the oval office.
Ohio congressman Dennis Kucinich, whose proposals were even better than those of Edwards, had no chance. The little guy with the big heart just didn't look right for the leading role in our perpetual Hollywood movie.
All that matters are short sound bytes, little viruses which can exploit the body politick's chronically depressed immunity to the simple or sensational.
Income inequality isn't sexy. Neither is how the oilogopoly fixes retail gasoline prices, something I've documented for more than a decade to no avail.
Anything longer than seven seconds is too boring for our frail psyches.
The simplest idea of all has yet to catch fire: cut the military budget and it will solve all of our problems. As economist Pierre Rinfret first put it in 1966, "peace is bullish."
Think of it in terms of two pieces of serious hardware, a tank and a tractor.
A tank is a one-shot deal. A private company purchases materials, often from foreign suppliers, builds the thing and sells it to the government. At that point, the tank is economically dead, a parasite at best we pay for gas and maintenance a destroyer at worst. Using the tank destroys and disrupts lives and economies, foreign and domestic.
A tractor will keep producing positive things for decades to come. Too much emphasis on tanks will tank your economy.
As Rinfret noted, spending money on war is like throwing dollars into the ocean. Such a financial bath fuels inflation, the only counterweight to which has been the export of U.S. jobs to fourth-world countries, a byproduct of neo-fascism.
The disease becomes epidemic: Adding insult to injury, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), acting like good Bushies, recently outsourced construction of its upgraded website to a Canadian firm. (Advertising Age's sister magazine Creativity, Jan. 2008, page 14)
Germany and Japan have prospered because they stopped spending on war, while we've done the reverse at our peril.
The "economic stimulus package" now before congress is both cruel joke and crude attempt to buy votes. The cure for a failing economy is huge government deficits to prime the pump. But we've had eight years of huge deficit spending. The bottle of medicine which has always cured what ails us is now dry.
The corporate propaganda machine spends a conservatively estimated $100 million per year making us turn on each other. Blame brown people. Blame Muslims. Blame uppity feminist wenches. Blame flag burners if you ever find one. Blame hippies who spit on returning veterans you'll never find one, it's a 40 year-old urban legend.
The Austin Lounge Lizards even put the blame game into song: Teenage Immigrant Welfare Mothers on Drugs.
But our ears turn to stone after seven seconds and Kucinich and Edwards go down in flames, like their country. The Trojans never did respect Princess Cassandra's aversion to wooden horses.
So get ready for President Warhorse McCain, a man of only one principal: Hisself and his wonderfulness.
Republican talking points fabricator Frank Luntz told Bill Maher last week that he knows how to beat Hillary, but has no idea how to beat Barack. That's because Obama is the new new thing who can win on sizzle even as he barbecues some serious steak.
Hillary waffles at WallyWorld
New York Times 5-20-2007
Free registration may be required
Will the Democrats be that smart? Probably not. Hillary Clinton did nothing for workers in all her years as a lapdog on the Wal-Mart board. Her presidency, based on her previous one, promises more of the same.
So Sparks and Reno will continue their mutual path toward corporate welfare bankruptcy as Sen. Bill Raggio and Gov. Jim the Dim conspire to vacuum city coffers to benefit a broke state government. Washington will continue Ronald Reagan's New Federalism, spinning off needed programs to the states while starving them for money.
Predicting the crash for years
As corporate propaganda dictates, the great unwashed will continue to savage each other rather than looking upward at all those billionaires at the top who laugh us to scorn all the way to the bank and country club.
Is there a cure?
Yes, to borrow Dennis Kucinich's campaign slogan: strength through peace.
Is there a doctor to prescribe it?
Please stay tuned for more than seven seconds.
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
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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