Burning Bush on Labor Day

Expanded from the 8-31-2003 Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune
An updated version appeared in the 9-4-2003 Comstock Chronicle

The great thing about politics is that no one can hide any strategy for long. What you plan today hits the street tomorrow. In this respect at least, we can be thankful that Dubya and his skulduggers are for once being straight with the great unwashed.

The regime of George the Less has a long history of saying one thing while doing the opposite. I judge them not by what they say, but by what they do. And these bastards have done a lot.

I am shocked, shocked that the American public and the liberal press have missed the greatest jobs program since that of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

You have to go to a fourth-world country to apply for many of them, and you could also get killed, but they demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that maintaining the sanctity of the free market works as intended for those who are supposed to benefit.

Dubya has accomplished all this by returning the nation to traditional family values. First and foremost, he has cemented into reality the myth that certain jobs shouldn't pay much.

Women, teachers, minorities and those in government, the military and social services are not supposed to make any money. Such saints exchange pay for the psychic intangibles of serving mankind, even if the job entails serving up smart bombs. Bush II has reinforced that guilt trip with a vengeance.

During the Vietnam War, parents used to get $10,000 "combat insurance" if their offspring came home in a body bag. Rummy and Colin only send a check for $6,000.

Ten grand from 1968 is worth $52,701.15 in 2003 dollars. That means the life of a U.S. soldier has been devalued by almost 89 percent since the height of the southeast Asian war.

Dubya is making damn sure that everyone contributes to the new economic morality. Non-wealthy students are finding a college education increasingly difficult if not impossible to afford. Those who do find a way to stay and pay end up graduating with huge debts. No wonder the biggest contributors to Dubya's re-election campaign have thus far been the flagships of the financial services pirate ship fleet.

Blast from Palast

 "My favorite of (Bush Labor Secretary Elaine) Chao's little amendments would re-classify as 'exempt professionals' anyone who learned their skill in the military. In other words, thousands of veterans will now lose overtime pay..." (MORE)

Message from
the mahatma

"In Minnesota this past Tuesday, Bush raised $1.4 million by giving a 24-minute speech. That's about $60,000 for each minute of 'work.' By contrast, the weekly salary of the average American worker is a staggering $616."

(Michael Moore in his Labor Day e-mail.)

Diminished economic opportunity impels the desperate toward narrower choices, especially military service. Some of those killed in Gulf War II joined up because of Pentagon promises to fund their college educations if they survived their enlistments. Now comes talk that some soldiers may be held over in the lands of the sands for two years straight. Dubya and his conservative congress recently cut veterans benefits, perhaps as an incentive to keep 'em fighting over there so they can't ask for their due over here.

Meanwhile, as has been the case for the past 40 years or so, military families back home must compete with an increasing number of jobless Americans for welfare payments and charitable assistance. I can think of few circumstances more humiliating than a military spouse having to apply for welfare to feed the kids. Clinton and Gore said they'd end welfare as we know it. Dubya has certainly followed through and made the chow lines look like America.

To most, Labor Day means one thing: retailers loudly advertising "the greatest three-day sale in our history." How soon before no one can afford the merchandise even if it's marked town to obscenely (and appropriately) low Labor Day prices? A generation ago, with the full cooperation of our government, we started exporting jobs to Mexico and other low-wage countries. Now, Mexico is losing a lot of those ex-US manufacturing plants to China, Malaysia and — turnabout is fair play — Vietnam.

Dubya is helping all this along by making sure that family planning advice is hard to get everywhere. The more babies, the more competition for low pay both here and abroad.

As Elmer Gantry says with moral clarity at the end of the book of the same name, God willing, we will again make this a moral nation.

But will it be worth living in after the imperial moralists have gotten their way?

LABOR DAY SPECIAL. Labor is the hot topic tomorrow on Sam Shad's Nevada Newsmakers. Nevada State Archivist Guy Louis Rocha will address the history of unions in Nevada and their current relevance. You may read Rocha's 1996 Nevada Historical Review article on the history of unions on the Comstock Lode at the Labor History section of

Shad and Andrea Engleman will also interview Marybel Batjer, chief of staff to Gov. Kenny Guinn. The only Labor Day tie-in I can find therein may be that she'll plead with voters not to fire her boss. (Perhaps he needs to join a union.) The state's nutso right is circulating a California-style recall petition. The Carson City-Las Vegas Strip Axis of Weasels can stop worrying. Gov. Dudley Do-Right is in absolutely no danger. He's given the public more laughs than any governator since fellow Republican Bob List was accused of being "on 32 putanas" in FBI wiretaps of Las Vegas Stardust Hotel mobsters back in 1978.

In the show's pundit segment, Engleman's guests will be Jim Nelson of the Employers Assn. of Nevada; Tom Stoneburner, Executive Director of the Alliance for Workers Rights; Nevada State AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Danny L. Thompson; and Barbano on the Barbwire.

The show airs at 12:30 p.m. on KRNV TV-4 and repeats at 9:30 p.m. on cable channel 12 in Sparks-Reno-Carson and channel 19 in Douglas County. Audio will air on KKKOH radio next Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m.

Happy Labor Day.

Be well. Raise hell. | U-News | C.O.P. | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors

Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive


Copyright © 1982-2003 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 34-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of and Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.


Site composed and maintained by Deciding Factors (CWA signatory)
Comments and suggestions appreciated. Sign up for news and bulletins.