UPDATED 11-25-2005

Blame the Victim:
Dubya dances while consumers cringe
Expanded from the 11-13-2005 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

      He had his own religious faith: he believed in one God, and hoped in his own modest way that death would not quite destroy him; but he knew that a lasting moral code could not be based on so uncertain a theology. If one could build a system of morality absolutely independent of religious doctrine, as valid for the atheist as for the pietist, then theologies might come and go without loosening the moral cement that makes of wilful individuals the peaceful citizens of a community.

Thus did philosopher-historian Will Durant (1) in 1926 describe Socrates, arguably the mahatma who paved the way for the modified democracy this county loves.

Socrates was ordered killed because he believed that the wisest men should govern. Maybe that's why Dubya is so spitting mad at everyone questioning his wisdom and honesty.

The president last week attempted to orchestrate the most blatant case of blaming the victim I have ever seen. Noting that over 100 stupid Democrats voted to authorize the Iraq invasion, Dubya justified his duplicitous war marketing like a defense attorney representing an accused rapist: The bitch was asking for it. Maybe the Donkeyites were. They believed their president, dressed so provocatively in patriotism.

The twisted version of representative democracy now plaguing the barely-United States of America is reminiscent of how Durant described the fabled Athens of 3,300 years ago: "As for the state, what could have been more ridiculous than this mob-led, passion-ridden democracy, this government by a debating society, this precipitate selection and dismissal and execution of generals, this un-choice choice of simple farmers and tradesmen, in alphabetical rotation, as members of the supreme court of the land? How could a new and natural morality be developed in Athens, and how could the state be saved?"

The Bush-Cheney-BigOil regime has proven that it cannot govern domestically or internationally. Our perpetual debating society has been expanded to the talking heads of cable TV and the rabble rousers of talk radio.

We may not be executing generals, but Dubya has executed the careers of those who've dared to cross him, whether on troop strength requirements or at Abu Grabass Prison. We now run our own gulag, proving the lie of Dubya's Nov. 7 bleating that "we don't torture."

The Shining City on the Hill is dead.

Our supreme court is not too different from Socrates' day. Harriet Miers got nominated and an intellectual lightweight like Clarence Thomas actually got confirmed. Prisoners, abandon hope.

The French philosopher Voltaire told a story in which he described Socrates as "the atheist who says there is only one God."

Dubya can't even get that right. He thinks he is God. Maybe he's right. He certainly enjoys wielding and abusing the power of life and death.


NOW NOV. 11, 2005, HOME PAGE




Transcript of last week's senate hearings as BigOil's 5 top CEOs crying poorboy and defending the sanctity of the mythological free market. Committee Chair Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, refused to swear them in, avoiding an Oliver North photo opportunity.

Stevens undoubtedly remembered the media's coverage of the late 1994 lame duck House committee hearing whereat outgoing Chair Henry Waxman, D-Calif., made tobacco company CEO's stand and swear they knew nothing about cigarettes causing cancer.


OILOGOPOLY UPDATE — If you missed the Nov. 11 PBS newsmagazine "NOW with David Brancaccio," go get it at right.

I've documented for a decade how the price of gasoline is the result of a rigged market. On last Friday's telecast, reporter Maria Hinojosa revealed company documents proving BigOil has closed refineries and even shipped gas to foreign countries in order to create shortagesand drive up prices.

Didn't Enron and its cronies get busted for doing the same thing with electricity and natural gas? Much more at the Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive.

I've been preaching for years how this story is too complex for TV.

Brancaccio and Hinojosa glossed over the rigging of the retail market accomplished by zone pricing and cut-throat competition detailed in the Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive.

The third major factor in oligopolistic oil marketing lies in manipulation of the futures market by speculators on major commodity exchanges.

The NOW investigation is the best research developed on this issue in several years, but still represents just one piece of a grotesque 23 year-old comprehensive marketing and legal strategy which will kill people this winter.

Spread the word.


CABLE CATASTROPHE CATALOG. Just in time for Saturday's Sparks Citizens Advisory Committee meeting on the Charter cable franchise: The Henderson city council will hold a hearing Tuesday to award a franchise in competition with monstrous Cox Cable. (2) Cox and Charter beat me, local activists and former Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, at the 2003 legislative session. We tried to break the legislatively imposed stranglehold on competition which the cable companies got passed in 1997.

Cities and counties in Iowa have the option of providing cable service. About 15 of them went to the polls last week and authorized doing so, joining more than 500 municipalities nationwide. (The savings are humongous.)

Clarksville, Tenn., just approved starting a local "fiber optic-based multimedia venture." On Nov. 4, the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle reported that "Councilman A.D. Caldwell said Charter Communications is a monopoly in the cable television business in Clarksville, offers poor service and no other private business has stepped up to offer the services the Clarksville Dept. of Electricity will provide with the telecommunications venture. Also Thursday (Nov. 3), council members approved a five-year, nonexclusive franchise contract for Charter to provide cable television in Clarksville. Charter had asked for a 15 year contract."

The Reno City Council was bought by Charter and gave the company 15 years over the strenuous, well-documented and expert research of its Citizens Cable Compliance Committee, upon which I still serve. Sparks must drop the stonewall attitude displayed in its Nov. 5 Tribune ad. The hearing starts at 10:00 a.m. on Nov. 19 in the Sparks City Hall council chamber. Incredibly, it will NOT be cablecast on the city's new "Sparks Centennial Channel" on SNCAT-Charter 15. Instead, ratepayers will be treated to a rerun of a city council meeting.

Have the town fathers and mothers forgotten what the government access channel is for? Is there a more appropriate use of the system than broadcasting a hearing which will impact every viewer?

Bad things happen while the city sleeps. Call (775) 353-2311 and wake them. You may reach Citizens Advisory Committee Chair Jan Gould at (775) 358-9176 or e-mail <>

Contact your councilcritters and tell them to establish a separate committee, as Reno and Washoe County have, and open up the process. (You may e-mail them by clicking here.)

HOW DUMB CAN THEY GET DEPT. Last week on "Nevada Newsmakers," Sam Shad asked Scott Bensing, chief of staff to Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., how Ensign's bill to remove the last vestiges of cable regulation will affect public access stations like SNCAT.

Mr. Bensing did not even know what cable access is. Understandable. TV stations for little people are not on the radar screen of corporate shills.

CIVIL RIGHTS IN THE RAIL CITY. The Sparks council will vote Nov. 14 on overriding Mayor Geno Martini's veto of the recently passed resolution supporting full citizenship for residents of Washington, DC. It is item 6.1 on Monday's agenda. For details, see the Oct. 30 Barbwire.

Be well. Raise hell.

Smoking Guns...

1. Will Durant on Socrates from "The Story of Philosophy," pp. 10-11, 1926 et seq.; Clarion 1967 edition.

2. Granting of Cable Franchise Irks Cox; Las Vegas Sun, 11-12-2005

...and more ammo

OUTRAGE UPDATE: The Reno City Council, for the second time this year, schedules the execution of its Citizens Cable Compliance Committee. Time to raise hell at city hall on Dec. 1.

We're having a hearing, but watch what you say
     BARBWIRE by Barbano 11-6-2005

Henderson cable skirmish delayed; Cox given more time to review proposal; Las Vegas Sun, 11-17-2005

Power to the People — Reports on Sparks Citizens Committee meeting
     BARBWIRE by Barbano 11-20-2005; Sparks Tribune 11-22-2005

The history of government access TV in Las Vegas
Former Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Miller
on the Greenspun cable empire

Las Vegas Tribune, March 28, 2000


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Copyright © 1996, 1997, 2005 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 37-year Nevadan and editor of He served on SNCAT's founding board. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.

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