The Road to Chapaquiddick
Expanded from the 2-18-2007 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
Updated 3-14-2007

Less than two months into his four-year term, even Gov. Jim Gibbons' longtime supporters are admitting that he has little time left to rescue his administration.

Gibbons is off to the worst start since Atty. Gen. Robert List won the governorship in 1978. List had sucked up to all the right guys and even had Democrats supporting him in his campaign to succeed super-popular Democrat Mike O'Callaghan, who stepped down after two terms.

There were people who said that O'Callaghan was among those who wanted List to succeed him and his non-support of Lt. Gov. Bob Rose was embarrassingly apparent. O'Callaghan had secretly supported pet Republicans in the past, so his conduct did not surprise insiders.

O'Callaghan (1971-79) and fellow Democrat Grant Sawyer (1959-67) were arguably the two greatest governors in the state's history. Sawyer's record on civil rights makes him a giant notwithstanding the gruesome conduct of his juice law firm in his later years.

I had my run-ins with Big Mike while he served, especially in the area of what was then called the Nevada Dept. of Mental Hygiene and Retardation. I was heavily involved with its critics who had many legitimate complaints. This was especially ironic, given that O'Callaghan had been a champion of a huge increase in the department's programs which had been underserving the state for decades. Mike was always a champion of the little guy, but he was loyal to a fault when it came to some of his inept appointees.

Recent BARBWIRE Media Hits
and Ego Trips

   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

"Our long national nightmare is over."
Did I say that a dozen years ago?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 11-10-2006

BARBANO: Nevada's newly-hiked minimum wage is nowhere near enough
Reno Gazette-Journal, 11-11-2006

Oregon State U. minimum wage deflator

I respect former State Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, like few other political leaders I've known in my checkered career. One day on the road to Carson City, I asked his opinion of who was a great governor.

"O'Callaghan. Man, he ran this state when he was in office," Sen. Neal said admiringly, then added that "he lived to see his two greatest accomplishments undone by his successors."

Those towering achievements involved Mike's support of the least among us, the physically and mentally disabled. O'Callaghan put money and muscle behind the state's injured worker and mental health programs and he did it all without a major tax increase. (In all fairness, the growth of the state was bringing in plenty of money. Our luck ran out in the late 1990's when expansion stopped paying its own way.)

O'Callaghan's timing in leaving office proved prescient. List had not only promised property tax cuts, but also took over in the middle of a series of recessions caused by Federal Reserve monetary manipulation.

List was bumped out of office after one term and Gibbons today is showing all the signs of the same fate. Gibbons' sex scandal broke just before the election, List's hit about three days after he won. (Democratic nominee Rose had courageously asked reporters not to use the List story because it would be seen as a political hit.)

Shortly after election day in 1978, FBI wiretaps were disclosed revealing that List had taken several thousand dollars in free rooms and food from the mob-infested Stardust Hotel. Worse, mobsters had been recorded complaining of the gov's alleged appetite for hookers. (One mafioso complained that "he was on 32 putanas last month.")

List and Gibbons both embarrassed their highly respected and long suffering wives. List's property tax solution was the infamous "Tax Shaft," which increased the sales tax on those who could least afford it. Nevada still suffers today from a property tax system which is overly relied upon to make up the difference between our light taxation of the casino industry and the corporate welfare the gamblers receive every year from our elected officials.

Gibbons has yet to find a defining issue, but if I were Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, I'd worry about my bill to control mercury emissions near gold mines. (Gibbons famously downplayed the dangers of mercury while a member of congress.)

Gibbons today is doing more damage to the mental health system, cutting the meager budget of O'Callaghan's cherished Rural Clinics Program which was destroyed by Democrat Bob Miller and future Republican Gov. Kenny Guinn in 1991.

Guinn chickened out on addressing the state's crying needs in his first state of the state address in 1999, opting instead to announce the Millennium Scholarship program. After he defeated Neal for re-election in 2002, Guinn proposed a tax hike on everyone in Nevada besides casinos. Sen. Neal and a few clever lobbyists got a bill through the legislature which included the gamblers and Guinn had no choice but to sign it. (There is justice in the world.)

Gibbons thus far has been defined by his scandals and intentions to block tax increases and additional support for schools. For a guy with several college degrees, he has a mind of remarkably narrow scope. He was elected governor largely because he looked like one more than his wispy opponent, tiny Sen. Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas.

As Rep. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., D-New York,
told an audience at UNLV in 1970, "we all get to Chapaquiddick sooner or later."

Gibbons is now at that legendary bridge on a dark night. Whether he steers the state toward a bright future or plunges it into dark water is entirely up to him.

For the sake of all Nevadans, let's hope he listens to his very wise wife.

Be well. Raise hell.


LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL 3-14-2007: In-depth poll says Gov. Gibbons' @ 29%, Bush's @ 34% in Nevada. Hillary and Rudy would win presidential primaries today.
Nevadans pessimistic about direction of state.
Heavy stuff. Can you say one-termer?

The Molly Ivins Hall of Flames
BARBWIRE 2-4-2007

Some of Molly Ivins' greatest hits

Reno war protestors march in memory of Molly
February 7, 2007

    A group of Reno anti-war activists took the late newspaper columnist Molly Ivins' final words to heart and put them into action Tuesday.
    "We're doing this for Molly," said Paula McDonough, who organized the Molly Ivins Pots 'n' Pan Brigade that protested the war in Iraq outside the Bruce Thompson Federal Building in downtown Reno. "We're doing this because Molly asked us to."...


Johnson, Chalmers; REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE? A National Intelligence Estimate on the United States; Harper's magazine; January, 2007; (not available online for several months, if at all). 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

...and more ammo

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


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Copyright © 2007 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 38-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and JoeNeal.org, and a member of 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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