The last picture show
Expanded from the 12-9-2007 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
Updated 12-10-2007

   "When I see Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani being bundled around the country in a flutter of media consultants fitting words into their mouths, I think of the makeup artists adjusting the flowers in Emperor Nero's hair before sending him into an amphitheater to sing with a choir of prostitutes."

So wrote the brilliant Lewis Lapham in his opening volley of the premiere edition of his new occasional book, Lapham's Quarterly. (It's too hard-spined and heavy to be called a mere magazine.)

Hard spines seem increasingly difficult to find in our current toxic political atmosphere as polluted and promulgated by the Decider and the Divider in the White House.

It is thus fitting that the upcoming Jan. 19 statewide presidential caucus will stand as no exception.

If you dare to participate, you must not be shy and have no inhibitions about shamelessly caucusing in public.

It's not an election and it's not very democratic. If you're a die-hard supporter of somebody, the first thing to do is get appointed to chair your voting precinct. That gives you clout. Then recruit some like-minded friends to show up and all support your candidate.

You must be a registered Republican to stampede among the Repelephants or a Democrat to kick it among the Donkeykongs. If the parties are doing their jobs, you will be able to register or change your registration on site. Non-partisans, Whigs, Tories, Libertarians, Communists and Klansmen can stay home and watch TV. (The L's are encouraging re-registration as Republicans to support ex-L Ron Paul, R-Texas.)

After discussion, you will take a vote among your precinct residents. If your candidate does not hit a minimum threshold, probably 15 percent of voters present, he or she is toast.

You then have two choices. You can make common cause with supporters of your second choice, provided that person has made the cut, or you can go home and watch TV with Ira Hansen. [EDITOR'S NOTE: See correction.]

The round-robin continues until somebody wins your precinct's delegates to the state party convention.

Read candidate positions on three key labor issues at the CWA website

Longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Everything You Need to Know About the Nevada Presidential Caucus and then some site


Midwest Culinary Union endorses Edwards

I've been through several of these but they have been much tamer than what's expected next month. It may be worth your while on a Saturday without any good football games. And you will probably never get another chance.

Organized labor put a lot of time and money into the presentation to convince top Democratic honchos to hold this event. We beat out almost three dozen other states. It was viewed as golden opportunity to make both Nevada and unions matter in a changing political environment.

Alas, organized labor could not get organized in support of one candidate, losing the chance to be a kingmaker for the first time in decades. Last week my union, Sparks-based Communications Workers of America Local 9413, with more than 4,000 members and retirees statewide, endorsed former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina. Edwards has won the nod of a good number of Silver State locals, but most have remained on the sidelines.

Unions are working feverishly to get their members to participate in the Democratic caucus, but without a consensus candidate, I think they will act like most Nevada voters and choose to sleep in on that Saturday. (That's another unbreakable rule for getting your guy through – show up very early. Yawn.)

Unless labor's 800-pound gorilla, Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 226, better known as the Culinary Union, advises its 60,000 members to support one Democrat and then makes it happen – which is a helluva lot of work – then the 2008 Nevada presidential caucus will be our last.

So if you'd like to participate in what is likely to be our one shot at history, organize your friends and show up on Jan. 19.

NO GRAND STRIKE FOR CHRISTMAS. The Culinary Union will not strike the Grand Sierra Resort this month. The union and the new ownership of the former Reno Hilton have been working on month-to-month extensions of a long-expired contract and December's is now in place. The area's largest hotel-casino will thus not see a work stoppage before the new year.

A fist full of dollars

   For every $1 cut in state Medicaid, $1 more is lost in matching federal funds. About $1 in every $5 funding state mental health programs is paid by Medicaid, so an always-beleaguered program faces a double whammy.

   For every $1 cut in the Nevada Checkup plan for uninsured children, $2 more are lost in matching federal funds.

   For every $1 cut to Nevada vocational rehabilitation, $4 more are lost in matching federal funds.

— per John Sasser, Nevada Legal Services

Jon Ralston calls Gibbons a budgetary "beer hall buffoon" for a cliché-filled speech replete with fuzzy thinking and revisionist history

DEATH SENTENCES. A coalition of human service organizations is sending a letter to Gov. Jim the Dim decrying and presenting alternatives to his proposed meat-ax budget cuts.

Every ten years or so, the state's shaky tax structure sends government into a tizzy.

Without exception, those in power choose to balance the books on the backs of the physically and mentally disabled.

In 1991, pseudo-Democratic Gov. Bob Miller recruited heartless business executive Kenny Guinn to make recommendations.

The future Gov. Dudley Do-Right behaved in the finest Nevada Republican fashion and in the process destroyed one of the crowning achievements of Democrat Mike O'Callaghan's gubernatorial legacy, the rural clinics mental health program.

Patients were kicked out of therapy with just a few weeks' notice.

That's how people die.

Back in my mental health advocacy days, we called that mass malpractice, a good description of how Jim the Dim's administration shapes up.

If you want to read, sign and/or circulate the letter to Gov. Gibbons, I'll have it posted with the web edition of this column.

Be well. Raise hell.



Letter to the governor from advocates for the most affected

At the Dec. 6 combined meeting of the Human Services Network Advocacy and Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada Economic Justice committees, it was decided to create a letter to Gov. Gibbons expressing our opposition to cuts to human services, offering our suggestions of using the rainy day fund and postponing some spending, and offering ourselves as sources of information about our constituencies and the resolve NOT to pit one need against the other by means of a sign-on letter (below).

Please read through the letter, below, and "sign on" by sending your NAME, ORGANIZATION, TITLE, PHONE (and E-MAIL if you like) as consent to be part of this letter to Jan Gilbert at PLAN.

Since this letter will be forwarded to multiple lists, PLEASE send your information ONLY to Jan so that your name will not get lost in someone else's e-mail.

We will gather "signatures" electronically through Thursday, December 13, and then have it available for signature at the December 17 "cuts" press event in Las Vegas and at the Interim Health Committee hearing December 18 (Carson City & LV).

We will then compile the complete list of "signatures" and present the letter to Governor Gibbons (and the press) before Christmas so that the seasonal spirit of generosity and concern for his fellow man might move him (or the press) to contact us for our individual stories of what the budget cuts will do to the most needy among us.

Joe Edson, Field Organizer
Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada
821 Riverside Drive
Reno, NV 89503
775-348-7707 fax

December __, 2007

The Hon. James Gibbons
Governor of Nevada
Capitol Complex
101 N. Carson Street
Carson City, Nevada 89701

Dear Governor Gibbons:

We are writing to you today to express our concern about the budget cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services as the result of Nevada's unstable and unreliable tax system. We are providers, consumers and concerned citizens. We know that these cuts will affect those most vulnerable in our community.

We recognize the difficult decisions that you have to make because of the shortfall in sales tax and other revenues. However, we also know that these cuts could devastate many of the already tenuous programs in Nevada.

Nevada, as you know, shows up either on the bottom of the good lists or at the top of the bad lists for measuring social and economic well-being. In addition, the 1992 budget cuts made by then-Governor Miller in the mental health programs have never been totally recovered. We fear that the same will happen again by using cuts to balance Nevada’s structurally unstable economy.

Instead of decimating human services, we ask you to instead use part of the state’s “rainy day” fund as we feel this truly is that “rainy day.” We also urge you to delay any capital improvements and postpone money to the one-shot appropriations which were allocated in the final days of the 2007 legislative session and which will not directly affect those services going to Nevada citizens. Money spent on studies and capital projects can be delayed, but those people who need help and services have nowhere else to go.

Thank you for your consideration of our views, and please know that we all have more explicit detail on our programs, constituents, and concerns that we will more than happily share with you.




EDITOR'S NOTE: NAACP Reno-Sparks Branch 1112 signed off on the above letter on Dec. 10.
The editor is a member of the branch.


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.
Alternet 5-20-2007

...and more ammo


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."

Review of Alex Carey's Taking the Risk Out of Democracy:
Propaganda in the US and Australia

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
Barbwire 9-10-2006

      Rinfret, Pierre A.; Peace is Bullish; Look magazine, 5-31-1966

      Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive
I've been telling you so for more than 10 freakin' year

Barbwire Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
Learn about the goodies which suffering profitmongers suck from the public trough

Nevada: Right to Work for Less
Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it

BARBWIRE Cable/Telecommunications War Room

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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Copyright © 1982-2007 Andrew Barbano

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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