Buried in a Detroit sled
Expanded from the 7-8-2007 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

Updated 10-14-2007

I have long been searching for the proper analogy to describe the American cowardly class.

I have compared our relationship to our political leaders as one of co-dependency, a psychobabble term to explain why battered spouses stay in toxic relationships.

I have decried the limpness of the electorate in the face of the stolen election of 2000.

What if America had risen up?

The citizens of the Philippines and Ukraine did just that in recent years. They saw how their presidential elections had been rigged and would not let them stand. (The Philippines did it twice!)

America rolled over and played dead.

Today, a bedrock of about thirty percent of the country supports Dubya in all his high crimes and misdemeanors, no matter what. They dismiss all criticism as mere political jealousy of a great man.

Once again, I grope for an analogy to explain such dumbo behavior. Lemmings over a cliff? Battered spouses? Abused children?

It came to me a few days ago.

Back in my retail days, I got to know a lot of the frontline car salesmen – there were no women – at Nevada Chrysler-Plymouth, located at 2675 S. Virginia in Reno. (I produced so many TV spots for them, I will never forget the address. It is now the Peppermill's north parking lot, a fitting legacy.)

One day, a couple of "hairy legs" (don't ask me why, but that's what ole Jim Hayes called his salesmen) took this green ad man aside and told me the facts of life. The customer who dickers and grinds and is generally a royal pain in the ass will remain that way forever, always coming back with complaints about the car, justified or not.

However, "the ones we make the most money on, who we absolutely bury so deep that they can't see daylight, they just love us," one young gun told me.

"They tell their friends about the great deal they got, send us business and buy from us again."

That quirk of human behavior comes as close as anything I've ever found to explain how almost one in three Americans can support the murderous, criminal and un-American reign of Bush and Cheney.

MOM AND POP AIN'T DEAD. Last week, the Reno Kazoo-Journal printed a story about the folding of a local institution, The Sportsman. It will soon fold its Reno storefront operation and work on sales to athletic teams from an office.

The current owner blames chain stores and the Internet for his dwindling business.

"There are no more mom-and-pop stores," Steve Humphreys told the Reno paper. "Those days are gone."

I could not disagree more.

All of the newspapers and e-media of this region are consistently loaded with news of mom and pop operations.

Susanna Money has operated her Birkenstock store in Reno Town Mall for a couple of decades or so.

Paul Abowd's Stone House Café in southwest Reno is a testament to both good food and a master chef's refusal to retire.

As the Tribune noted a few days ago, Lee and Ivye Johnson just opened Zephyr Books in Reno, a treasure trove of previously owned volumes.

And then there's the granddaddy of them all. Next year, Shelly's True Value Hardware celebrates its golden anniversary in Sparks' Greenbrae Shopping Center.

Current owner Bob Taylor has endured the slings and arrows of the chains and still managed to survive and prosper. The store was originally located downtown.

The late Carl Shelly, former publisher of this newspaper, moved it to Greenbrae shortly after the center's construction on an old airfield. Only Reno's Village Shopping Center is older.

The RGJ failed to note that Sportsman founders Chet and Link Piazzo used to operate in Sparks. I found out the hard way.

In 1979, John and Marge Hanks decided to close their Pauline's Sportswear shops in Reno, Sparks and Carson City. Competition from the chains was the major factor.

Pauline's will always have a place close to my heart, as their Carson location was managed by a gorgeous blonde with long hair falling below her belt line. Her name was Betty.

I proceeded to prepare advertising for a Pauline's going out of business sale but immediately ran into a snag in Sparks. The city attorney informed me that any business advertising that it was going out of business had to jump through some tight hoops. The city required a lot of paperwork, including specific starting and ending dates, submission of all advertising to city staff, and tagging each piece of merchandise. The killer was that an inventory of each item so tagged had to be submitted to city hall and that no merchandise could be offered for sale if not on that submission.

I asked the city attorney the reason behind so many restrictions, which were absent in Reno or Carson.

"Chet and Link Piazzo," he answered.

Decades ago, The Sportsman founders apparently had a going out of business sale at a Sparks location and began doing so well that they didn't go out of business, they just kept having going out of business sales. So the city passed the old ordinance which affected Pauline's.

We decided to have a "folding our tent" sale, which was fine with city blue laws as long as we didn't say "going out of business."

John and Marge Hanks prospered in other pursuits and are now retired in Lake Havasu, Ariz. Chet and Link did real good after moving to Reno. I married Betty.

And Bob Taylor is living the prophecy of one of those wise car salesmen from so long ago:
"This is a good town," a gentleman named Bert Strachsheim advised.

"They have to get to know you. But if you treat people right, when you need it, the town will take care of you."

Be well. Raise hell.

NevadaLabor.com | U-News | Bulletins + Almanac
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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

...and more ammo


Johnson, Chalmers A.; 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 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


NevadaLabor.com | U-News | Bulletins + Almanac
Casinos Out of Politics (COP) | Sen. Joe Neal
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| BallotBoxing.US
DoctorLawyerWatch.com | Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive
Barbwire Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
War Rooms: Cabbies, Cabela's, Cable TV, Cancer Kids, Energy, Resurge.TV, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
Search this site | In Search Of...


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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