Everybody knows the fight is fixed
Expanded from the 7-1-2007 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

"If voting mattered, the wouldn't let us do it."
Travus T. Hipp, 1982

Last week, I was approached to host a television show promoting the wonders of voting to young people. After some reflection, I realized I'm going to have to say no.

I can't shill for voting without presenting the evidence that it has become an exercise in futility. Like an old boxer who still remembers the moves of his youth, I still stumble through the steps every time the charade of democracy is performed, but it has increasingly become a ghost dance.

Al Gore won the presidency in 2000, only to have it snatched away from him by Republican appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Had Gore retained the courage of his convictions, he would have won the Florida recount. Reports surfaced long afterward that Gore's initial reaction was to ask that the entire state be retabulated. He was dissuaded by campaign handlers who sold him on the idea of only recounting counties where he would likely be able to build an edge.

Had Gore stuck to the morally sound decision – recount it all and get it right – the accidental presidency never would have happened and hundreds of thousands of people would be alive and well today.

Last week, Dubya's appointees to the land of the supremes reinstituted one of the worst aspects of Jim Crow. With Thurgood Marshall's replacement in the 5-4 majority, the bastards resegregated public schools.

The rationale: thou shalt not discriminate against white people.

Clarence Thomas has now fully earned his silken sheets with matching hood.

In my 1991 analysis for the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Legal Journals, my profile of Clarence's judicial temperament predicted the following: "'To get along, go along' seems to typify the career of Clarence Thomas. Acting like quite the passive-positive (personality), he has only been personally assertive in selling out his people and the system they changed which gave him opportunity to raise his status. He has squandered his heritage while promoting himself to the Reaganaut right."

"For black people, the current composition of the Supreme Court should be the ultimate lesson in the importance of voting in a presidential election," New York Times columnist Bob Herbert wrote last week.

But given the depredations of the Dubya years, performing one's civic duty in voting seems like playing into the other guy's con game. No matter what you do, the fight is fixed.

Go out and protest in the streets all you want. Show up at hearings and meetings. You can shout until you are hoarse only to be ignored because big money has bought the votes up front.

Last Monday on Sam Shad's Nevada Newsmakers TV show, I felt compelled to speak the awful truth: the only difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Democrats sell cheaper.

On Saturday came a report that Republican operative Frank Luntz performed focus group research on the Democratic candidates debate at Howard University, a historically black-oriented school. The 33 minority participants each had an electronic game box which recorded their on-the-fly reactions to candidate statements. Hillary Clinton smoked the pack while leaving Barack Obama in the ashes.

She should not rejoice. This is chillingly reminiscent of Nixon's dirty tricks designed to sabotage his strongest potential opponent in the 1972 campaign (Sen. Edmund Muskie, D-Maine), and promote that of the weakest, eventual sacrificial lamb Sen. George McGovern, D-SD.

I find it further disappointing that candidates on both sides with the most compelling positions are those with nothing to lose because the conventional wisdom gives them no chance of winning.

Ron Paul, former Libertarian Party presidential nominee and now a GOP congresscritter from Texas, presents the most interesting stands on the Republican side. Among the Donkeykongs, pixyesque Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, is the only one with truly Democratic Party positions. Former Sen. Mike Gravel, D-Alaska, is the jester of the campaign, but as the popularity of The Daily Show proves, the comedians are often the truth tellers.

Only Kucinich favors single payer, government run and funded health care, a position shared only by film maker Michael Moore and a majority of the American people. Kucinich, along with Gov. Bill Richardson, D-NM, wants all troops off the sands of Araby. Everyone else favors leaving some sort of imperial garrison behind.

Were the Democrats to nominate Richardson, they would sew up the emerging Latino majority for the next two generations, but they're not that smart.

The military-industrial complex has debased the art of voter manipulation to a science with Karl Rove playing the role of Dr. Frankenstein.

Modern marketing research takes most of the risk out of any product by the time it hits the consumer. By the time an election comes around, our choices are limited to paper or plastic.

I have long decried and documented corporate America's century-old propaganda campaign to manipulate the public mind and diminish democracy. As long as the lower classes are fighting each other over peripheral and emotional issues, we will fail to see who's pulling the strings at the top.

We are now at a point that the people don't matter.

Last week, Michael Moore was asked why Americans are so docile when it comes to their exploitation by the for-profit health insurance industry. He replied that the average American has so many immediate things to worry about that campaigning for better health care becomes a back burner issue. He also noted what I have termed our cowboy rugged individualism myth – each of us should take care of him- or herself and not depend on the government.

Actually, teamwork built America, not rugged individualism. But we still wear movie cowboy hats in tribute to the fantasy.

If we had a streak of John Wayne, we would have taken to the streets by the hundreds of thousands like Ukrainians who kept their presidential election from being stolen. But we failed and reap the bitter fruits of weakness.

The High Desert Outback of the American Dream remains one of the most politically and socially retarded on the planet. Our principal industry is a parasite on public resources but our political leadership does nothing about it.

And Sicko, Michael Moore's new film about how our health care system is killing us, won't open in these parts till this coming Friday, a week after the rest of the nation.

Be well. Raise hell.



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

...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

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

BARBWIRE Cable/Telecommunications War Room

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

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

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 38-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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