Falwell and Robertson are absolutely dead to rights
Expanded from the 9-23-2001 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
"I am afraid in a way I have never been. I have never felt such sadness and concern as I have this past week. I fear attacks, the possibility of a world war and who knows what else, but on top of all this, I now must fear hunger and homelessness."
So came the desperate plea uploaded to Sen. Joe Neal's website yesterday by a Las Vegas mother who didn't know where else to turn.
"This may seem somewhat insignificant with all else that is going on in the world and in our nation," said the woman who wants to be called Anonymous Tipped Worker, "however, many of us who are tipped employees are not seeing our usual income, and some have no income at all," ATW added.
"Some of us, myself and many I know, live from day to day, check to check and have no back up or savings. Some work for tips only. The recent increase in electricity has not helped," she stated.
This letter arrived the day after Sierra Pacific/Nevada Power announced its "need" for a $1 billion rate hike in addition to the humongous increases imposed earlier this year. Natural gas inflation is also in the pipeline.
"With all of this, some of us are not able to provide and if things do not improve immediately, we could be facing evictions, homelessness and hunger. This is a tourist town. We depend on tourists. We depend on tips from locals and tourists alike. The tips are not there," AWR said.
"Personally, I am down to about $4.00. I have no savings and lost my credit due to illness. I am afraid of how I will provide for my child and keep a roof over our heads. I am wondering if those of us who live in apartments will get any kind of a break, or if the harsh rules of pay in five days or get out will apply come October 1st. I would hope that due to all that has happened, we might be given a few extra days, or at least have late fees waived. If not, this could be devastating to many of us, our families, and to our local economy, which has already taken a beating.
"Do you know if anything will be done so many of us do not fall flat on our faces?" she asked Sen. Neal, D-North Las Vegas.
"Please respond. I DO think this is worthy of a story. I know casino workers and exotic dancers, food servers, etc. who are now wondering what to do next. Is there any hope?
"I am looking for work elsewhere, but it is hard when you need cash in your hand NOW and cannot WAIT two weeks for a pay check. This is the reality of working for tips, working hard and just trying to get by. Nevada Power will not wait two weeks nor will the apartment owners, however, to go from a tipped job to a 'regular' job, requires a 'money cushion' just to survive the change over. I have no cushion, no back up, nothing, and I am NOT alone.
"One more thing, if I was not a single parent, I would GLADLY join the military and help as much as I could," she concluded.
Grief counselors in Las Vegas are swamped with depressed workers who feel shocked and powerless. It appears that all the recent streetcorner fundraising requires redirection toward the local front.
At a time which calls for government to respond when no one else will or can, our congresscritters spent last week passing out huge chunks of corporate welfare. To the airline industry which ignored its responsibility for the safety of its workers and customers, a fat reward for facilitating mass murder and mayhem. Only Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, R-Ill., voted against the bailout which gives nothing to people like Anonymous Tipped Worker.
"Organized labor officials said the bill favored industry over workers and called it unconscionable that not a dime of the $15 billion would help laid-off employees," the New York Times reported yesterday..."'Members of Congress appear poised to stiff airline industry workers in the bailout bill even as they award protections to airline executives for their golden parachutes,'" said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.
Airlines began their lobbying less than two days after the terrorist attacks. Other buzzards have anted into the game. President Bush's sequel to Ronald Reagan's Star Wars fantasy got a big chunk. Wall Street walkers want capital gains tax cuts.
And what of ATW and her ilk? Nevada's casinos pay the lowest taxes in the world and then deduct their state payments from federal returns, double-dipping at the public trough. Nevada food banks have seen demand skyrocketing for years, even during boomtimes.
Before the airliner missile attacks, Gov. Dudley Do-Right ordered his staff to review the stingiest state budget in the country for new cuts. As was done in the Reagan recession 20 years ago and the George Bush Sr./Gulf War recession a decade ago, the budget will be balanced on the backs of the physically and mentally disabled. None will be left over for people like ATW.
For decades, we have spent about $300 billion a year on "national defense." Look where our constant war footing has brought us.
The U.S. government went into the business of overthrowing governments of small nations in the early 1950's. In 1954, President Eisenhower's Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his brother, CIA Director Allen Dulles, ousted President Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala. (See the Barbwire of 6-14-98 entitled "The mountainous hands of a killer dressed in black.")
We ousted the popular Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran a year earlier and installed the bloody shah for his promise to roll over and play dead for U.S. and European oil companies. That came back to haunt us many times over. The shah's greed caused the Arab oil embargo and the energy crisis of 1973.
That same year, we assassinated Salvadore Allende, the democratically elected president of Chile. A hit team helicoptered from Howard Hughes' Glomar Explorer spy ship to the besieged presidential palace and killed the president on Sept. 11, 1973, 28 years to the day before the new terrorist trauma imposed upon the U.S.
Henry Kissinger, who with President Nixon directed the CIA's coup against the second-oldest democracy in the Americas, was confirmed as secretary of state 10 days later on Sept. 21, 1973.
Three years later to the day, operatives working for the man we installed to replace Allende, the Hitler-admiring Gen. Augusto Pinochet, detonated a car bomb in Washington, DC. It killed expatriate Chilean opposition leader Orlando Letelier and his American aide, Ronni Karpen Moffitt. Her widowed husband still grieves and sends letters to newspapers calling for justice for his wife.
Christopher Hitchens, author of "The Trial of Henry Kissinger," wrote in the March 2001 edition of Harper's Magazine that late last year, the FBI "finally sought and received subpoena power" to review potentially incriminating Kissinger files in the hands of the Library of Congress for more than two decades.
The list of countries upon which we have imposed dictators is sickening: Nicaragua, El Salvador, Indonesia, East Timor, the Sudan, Kosovo, Iraq, to name just a few.
Even Kuwait counts. The regime we reinstalled via the 1991 Gulf War was merely the replacement of the new dictator with the old one. Worse, we gave Saddam permission to invade Kuwait in the first place. When he asked if we'd mind, President George Bush Sr.'s ambassador, April Glaspie, replied that the U.S. doesn't get involved in local border disputes.
In the mid-1950s, William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick published a bestseller entitled "The Ugly American." It pointed out how we were screwing over brown people all over the world and how it would come back to bite us someday. The book accurately foreshadowed the Vietnam War.
Multimillionaire TV preachers Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson blamed the terrorist success on God having removed her protection from the U.S. because of our wicked ways. The sinners, of course, were the religious and political enemies of Falwell and Robertson. They met with universal denunciation.
I saw no one come forward to say they might be half right. But I don't blame God.
When will we learn that bombing brown people does not work well as a foreign policy? Sometimes, they bomb back. And we can't even buy them off. Earlier this year, we sent $43 million to the Taliban government of Afghanistan in the name of the war on drugs, a payoff praised by current Secretary of State Colin Powell.
So ATW and her child suffer while a few make a profit and young people get sent to their deaths because of the sinful acts of those we elect and the greedmongers who control them. The IRS has announced a temporary reduction in the tip tax, but workers will still often owe more in taxes than they make in tips.
Falwell and Robertson think God is pissed off at us. They may be dead right.
Will we ever give peace a chance?
Stay of good heart.
Be well. Raise hell.
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Copyright © 2001 Andrew Barbano
Andrew Barbano is a 32-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of NevadaLabor.com and JoeNeal.org/ Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.)Tribune since 1988 .
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