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People who live in crystal balls
Expanded from the 8-2-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune
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.
Past 12 months
Use the search tool you will find at page right at the above link. It will return the 19 newest. A button for older shows is being installed. You may also search by date M-F for the past year save holidays.
15-year overnight success
Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008
The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
Highlights from radio days
We've all heard the mantra: The stock market is six months ahead of the economy.
So should we consider recent upticks at the Wall Street casino as indicating the demise of Great Depression Part Deux?
There may have been a time, decades ago, when the stock market could act as a rough indicator of the overall health of the body politic and the public's pocketbooks.
During the 20th Century, the U.S. morphed into a corporate state. Big business became the de facto national religion with Wall Street as a combined Mecca, Jerusalem and Vatican City.
Big boys playing with other people's money brought us to national crisis three times in the first three decades.
Beginning with FDR's reforms in the 1930's, proper government regulation kept the crooks from getting too far out of control.
Then along came Cowboy Ron to get the government off the backs of the bandidos.
While Reagan was changing the rules, computers changed money into a worldwide 24/7 electronic game.
"Gaming the system" became a cliché and the Enron raiders laughed all the way to the bank after just about bankrupting California and NV Energy while boiling sweaty senior citizens for sport.
Trillions in taxpayer money have returned the Wall Street casino to profitability and business as usual.
Talking heads on corporate TV tout economic recovery. Now is the time to buy, buy, buy. If the popes of Wall Street say it, it must be so, right?
Not so fast.
As historian Kevin Phillips so well documented in his splendidly written Bad Money (Viking, 2008), starting under Reagan and continuing ever after, the government has been cooking the books.
Inflation has been grotesquely understated, stealing untold trillions in cost-of-living increases from both wage earners and retirees.
The Gross Domestic Product has been pumped and the unemployment rate dumped, all to jack up confidence in the Wall Street cathedral.
It amounts to the biggest corporate welfare project of all time.
All of this explains how the vaunted business press missed the tanking of the economy.
A few voices wailed in the wilderness, including here at the Sparks Tribune. But who were these picayune peons purporting to pollute the punch bowl at the perpetual pillaging party? Nobodies.
Down in the streets, real people were really hurting.
Officially, the average U.S. worker hasn't had a raise since 1973. Unofficially, since Reagan started skewing the stats 26 years ago, the average wage earner is actually behind her 1973 counterpart.
While we lick our wounds, Wall Street reverts to type like a werewolf under a full moon.
We mere mortals are not allowed to howl. It only encourages them.
As William Shakespeare once put it, where do we look for true shrift?
Given that the Bard of Avon is the most successful screenwriter of all time, I suggest Hollywood, the golden age of which came in the depression-depraved 1930's.
If one word describes the flavor of today's taste, it's escapism.
Films about real war on the sands of Araby don't sell. Cartoon combat with lots of computer-generated special effects, ka-ching. Dingbat comedies with copulative quantities of tits and ass, boffo.
Fantasy has the biggest fan base of all. Harry Potter has been trashed by religionauts who praised The Chronicles of Hernia, which appears to be an allegory of The Bible wherein the true believers worship a golden animal. Didn't God and Moses frown on that kind of stuff?
There is additional evidence supporting Hollywood as a better economic indicator than the Dow-Jones Industrial Average. Mainstream studios produce 400 to 500 features in an average year. Their prolific porno cousins annually kick out 4,000 to 11,000 feelthy peektures.
We are still largely a 19th Century Victorian nation, tantalized and mesmerized by prohibitions on the pleasures of procreation.
Sarah Palin sells fantasy, which is why she has become the hottest politician on the planet regardless of possessing the intellectual capacity of a bantamweight flea.
The big screen, the small screen and all the in-between screens successfully and deceptively screen out reality.
Given the brutality of our times, I understand it. I increasingly watch more movies as the news becomes deceptively repetitive. Barring global thermonuclear war, corporate coverage constitutes a perpetual rerun.
If you are looking for economic guideposts, check out the lines at the box office rather than the betting lines at the Wall Street sports book.
As for those who prefer to live in corporate crystal balls, don't throw stones.
Be well. Raise hell.
Andrew Barbano is a 40-year Nevadan, second vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.
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.
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?
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 email@example.com.
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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