Expanded from the 11-4-2007 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
Do we as a nation suffer from Stockholm syndrome, the mental malady made famous when heiress Patricia Hearst, after months of physical and mental torture, joined her Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapers in bank robbery?
Have we been so desensitized by our morally obtuse overlords that we will submit to any indignity? Are Americans a co-dependent populace, suffering daily abuse from puppetmasters to a point that pain seems a normal part of affection?
Irrationally abused critters sooner or later lash out in irrational ways. The beaten dog bites his master, the bruised kid sets somebody's house or just somebody, anybody on fire.
Clever manipulators know how to profit from the mental misdirection of the masses. They simply set the lower classes against each other so that their lessers never look up to see who's pulling the strings. Blame invading Mexicans, shrill feminists, uppity blacks, or, as the Austin Lounge Lizards sang it, teenage immigrant welfare mothers on drugs.
Equally available economic opportunity solves just about all societal problems. Young people without hope become drug dealers in the U.S. and revolutionaries elsewhere.
In his 1987 book, crusading Argentine newspaper editor Jacobo Timmerman wondered why Chileans had so long rolled over for the neo-Nazi dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, the swine installed by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger after their assassination of democratically elected President Salvadore Allende. Timmerman wondered if the Chilean people lacked courage.
I wonder the same about Americans today, a third of whom blindly support the depredations of Dubya. Last month's nationwide anti-war demonstrations were all but ignored by corporate controlled media. Maybe we've so embedded warmongering into the fabric of the nation that we're finally embracing our macabre and murderous character but just don't want to see it on TV.
If you are what you spend, we currently squander well over half a trillion dollars annually on our war machine. Even in peacetime, we've consistently burned hundreds of billions annually at the altar of Mars. Meanwhile, the necessities go begging.
The dull anger of abused Americans manifests itself in perverted ways. Fantasy books and movies sell very well. Imaginary goblins create political capital for the likes of Karl Rove gay marriage, Mexicans, teenage immigrant welfare mothers on drugs.
While the great unwashed are distracted by Lindsay, Lou Dobbs and OJ, Blackwater builds its mercenary army on U.S. soil at taxpayer expense.
Meanwhile, animosity and apathy seethe and seep.
The vaunted Nevada presidential caucuses are 11 weeks away and increasingly shape up as an exercise in futility. A year from now, Americans apparently again will be allowed a choice between two corporate conservatives, paper or plastic.
Torture Man Part Deux is about to be confirmed as attorney general of the United States thanks to Democratic senators. Meanwhile, Dubya can withold health care from poor kids by invoking the hoary Barbara Vucanovich-style excuse: "Those things just cost so much."
But war is cool because that's business. Our priorities are way beyond misplaced, they've been outsourced to Mars.
I feel sorry for the poor candidate trying to motivate voters in light of the evidence that it's rather foolish to participate in a fixed fight.
Nevada just lost out in an early round of competition for a huge foundation's healthcare grant. They rightly judged that their money could go much further in a less stingy state.
Thanks to smart lawyering and a dumb state supreme court, a small cadre of Incline Village property owners pay taxes on about 30 percent of the market value of their homes. Other Washoe County dwellers pay on 68 to 72 percent of market value, which is way more than casinos pay.
The Reno Hilton was sold last year for $151 million, hard evidence of what the joint is worth. But the renamed Grand Sierra pays on a "taxable total" of just over $76 million, according to the Washoe County Assessor's office. (I've asked for additional enlightenment.)
Not only is the inexperienced management of the Grand Sierra doing its best to foment a strike so that it can bust out its union workers, it has huge amounts of corporate welfare in the pipeline.
GSR is in the same tax freebie district as Cabellyup sporting goods and the downtown fire sale baseball stadium.
Last week came word that Reno will have to borrow money to fund two fire stations to replace the one the ballfield will bulldoze.
Hundreds of millions spent subsidizing private business over the past half century have placed both Reno and Sparks in serious financial trouble. Schools, parks, roads, police and fire protection all suffer as a result. Both towns thus rush to annex odd pieces of Washoe County in order to raise taxes from those areas.
Now comes word that Reno doesn't want the 3,000 homes projected for the Ballardini Ranch. Has somebody at the Black Tower put a pencil to the deal and determined that the bottom line is red?
Probably not. That's never stopped them before. There is less here than meets the eye.
ACHING ADIOS. Cutting costs down to the DNA, the Reno Kazoo-Journal is pushing another round of forced retirements of its most experienced staff. The words of journalists who have been part of our lives for decades will soon evaporate, along with most of the paper's institutional memory.
Thereafter, the main news source of this area will increase the percentage of space devoted to verbatim press releases and cell phone photos while the vague anger of its constituents continues to cook a toxic stew burning off readership.
Our overstuffed leaders will launch fresh lamentations that they are undeservedly underloved while voters wallow in the pseudo-knowledge that apathy means never having to say you're sorry.
Be well. Raise hell.
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.
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."
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
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
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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