The Music Man, the Mahatma and Moses the Cowboy

Expanded from the 11-10-2002 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

"There's no machine so smart that some guy won't be too dumb to use it."

— Gyro Gearloose

The venerable Disney cartoon inventor uttered those words sometime back in the Eisenhower administration. Last Tuesday proved him once again entirely correct.

Amid the effusive weeping and gnashing of teeth, the buttass stupid Democratic Party fails to notice that it already has two potential leaders who capture the public's imagination. Anybody who listens to these two will do well in the future.

The Donkey Kong contingent is ripe for takeover, just as the Republican Party was in 1974 with President Richard Nixon drowning in the Watergate scandal.

Nevada talk show legend Travus T. Hipp, then on the air at the legendary KSAN-fm in San Francisco, issued sage advice to some Bay Area college students who wanted to get into politics.

"Register Republican. You can buy the GOP today for a dime on the dollar," he admonished. Several of them did so and prospered.

Ditto the current debacle with the Donkeyites. They are financially, emotionally, spiritually and ethically bankrupt.

No one reflected that more than Rep. Martin Frost, D-Texas. As he entered the race to succeed House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Missouri, he bashed Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as being too liberal and unappealing to conservatives.

As comedian Bill Maher has often remarked about Dubya calling himself a compassionate conservative: "That's a Democrat."

Frost said Pelosi would drag the party to the left when it needs to be in the center.


The Democrats began morphing into center-right conservatives after consecutive losses to Nixon in 1968 and 1972. Republicans today are right-to-extreme-right conservatives.

Together over the past 30 years, they have skewed the system against the middle class and those of modest means. They have enacted "tax reforms" to give to the rich at the expense of the many. The average person now sees about 40 percent of his wages go to taxes, while the corporately wealthy pay far less.

As film maker and philosopher Michael Moore put it, "Bill Clinton was the best Republican president since Reagan. Bush the First couldn't get GATT, NAFTA and welfare reform through, but Clinton did."

Now, screwing the poor will once again be in high fashion. Moore again gets it right: "The top 10 percent have two political parties. Can't the other 90 percent of us have just one?"

Moore's book, "Stupid White Men," has dominated bestseller lists all year without major television exposure. The only shot he got on national TV was on Maher's "Politically Incorrect" show a week before ABC executed it.

Now with the launch of his new film, "Bowling for Columbine," Mahatma Moore is getting the national exposure his messages deserve. He even made B earlier this month.

The title of the film comes from the second to last act the two teen mass murderers committed at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. They went to their first period bowling class, apparently the only part of high school they liked, then put on the ninja clothes and got their guns.

Moore's film does not indict America's gun culture. He notes that Canada has seven million guns in 10 million homes. If Canada's gun murder rate were applied to the U.S, we would have less than 200 a year as opposed to more than 11,000.

Curiously, a major clue to a possible answer comes in Moore's interview with Charlton Heston who blames our gun violence on having too many racial groups in the United States. My God, Moses is a racist! Ben Hur is a bigot. Who'da thunk it?

Moore asserts that fear, often fueled by racial prejudice, is a primary motivating factor here in the home of the brave.

A clue as to why we are so gun nutso comes in an article which recently appeared in the Toronto Globe and Mail. It describes U.S. military basic training programs designed to desensitize recruits to killing as a way to increase "the trigger pull ratio." Once the natural human aversion to killing has been removed, it never comes back.

This has been offered as an explanation for the recent rash of spousal murder among soldiers returning from Afghanistan. This country has been an armed camp since 1941. Playing on Red Scare and similar fears still works at the polls.

Combine millions of young people desensitized by military training and the easy availability of firearms and perhaps you get more gun murders in about five years than we lost in Vietnam in 30.

The portly philosopher from Flint, Michigan, is writing and saying the things the public, and especially disaffected Democrats, need to hear. Look at the money generated by Moore's media properties and you can see that people are voting for what he says with the law of the land — their wallets. If you believe in the free market system, he's box office.

Now, who could translate those ideas into political support? Certainly not some shill from the Nutso Rifle Association pulling a Prof. Harold Hill singing "ya got trouble right here in River City."

Nope. I've got a candidate. As nationally syndicated columnist Jack Anderson wrote in this paper a couple of weeks ago, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., could switch parties and lead the Dems to victory in 2004. The Democrats won the last three presidential elections by nominating Republican conservatives and McCain could continue the streak.

He should give it shot.

Note: I have not seen "Bowling for Columbine" and will not until it comes out on video or cable. I refuse to go to any Syufy Theater and have not since they tapped taxpayer and construction worker wallets so badly in Sparks in 1997. (For a veritable plethora of details, use this site's search engine for "Syufy" and see what happens.)

Be well. Raise hell. | U-News | C.O.P. | Sen. Joe Neal
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© 2002 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 34-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of He hosts Deciding Factors on several Nevada television stations. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.)Tribune since 1988.

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