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Swatting gnats and swallowing camels
Expanded from the 7-19-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune
The Barbwire TV show will be in re-runs until SNCAT's studio move is completed. You may view them M-F 2-4:00 p.m. PDT on Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter cable channels 16, 216 and high-def 80-295. Keep an eye on the Barbwire print edition for updates.
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Once again, we the great unwashed are going to take a bath in toxic red ink.
No, I'm not going to play conservative moonhowler and trash President Obama for big deficits.
I'm going to trash him for being too damned conservative.
Looks like national health care is on its way to the congressional abortion mill for the seventh consecutive decade.
The solution is simple. The government pays the bills and shuffles the paper a single-payer system. The corporate insurance industry gets out of the business of profiting off human misery. The National Institutes of Health stops doing things like developing cures for cancer (like Taxol), then handing them to BigPharma to be sold at obscene profits. Establish cost controls on the state level like those that worked in Nevada in the 1980s. (Our always-visionary lawmakers let hospital cost curtailment die a hard death.)
How do we pay for it? The president's men have been trying to sell various tax increases.
Cut the God-damnable (and I mean that figuratively, literally and hopefully) war budget.
Our death machine is killing our economy but few have the guts to say it.
As economist Pierre Rinfret pointed out all the way back in 1966, military spending is the most worthlessly inflationary government program.
Take a tractor and a tank. Both create fabrication jobs, but the tractor will produce value for the next 75 years or so while a tank will, at best, sit there.
Adding insult to injury, it is now clear that since the Reagan administration, the feds have been cooking the books.
Inflation, unemployment and national income accounting (gross domestic and gross national products, the worth of goods and services) are big lies.
Everybody whose income has depended on cost of living adjustments for the past three decades has been shortchanged. (See Kevin Phillips' 2008 book Bad Money. Also, get his cover article Numbers Racket from the May 2008 edition of Harper's Magazine.)
The American Medical Association killed President Truman's proposal for national health care back in the 1940's. The doctors' lobby says it's on board with President Obama's plan, but I don't believe anything they say.
Conservative Dixiecrats appear poised to kill Obama's program because they want national health care but don't want to raise taxes to pay for it.
Good. Let them get the money from bloated the War Department.
I can dream, can't I?
The first harbinger of the impending defeat of Obama's plan came last week from Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio.
"With your support, your phone calls, your emails, we won a major legislative victory...for a state single payer health care option...The House Education and Labor Committee approved the Kucinich Amendment by a vote of 27-19, with 14 Democrats and 13 Republicans voting yes.
"The amendment propels the growing single-payer health care movement at the state level. There are at least ten states which have active single payer efforts in their legislatures....California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington," Kucinich said in a statement. (See below.)
Without national health care, none of our other economic problems can be solved. The Big 3 automakers wouldn't be in trouble had they backed national health care long ago.
All of this started some bells ringing. Where had I seen this stuff before? Oh, yes, at JoeNeal.org, the website I still maintain for former State Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas.
His 2002 Neal Care Plan proposes exactly what Kucinich is working on today.
The federal government so often fails because the bad guys can concentrate their fire on DC. That's why the states had to come up with a de facto national energy policy when the feds failed to act in the 1970s.
Hawaii currently has the closest thing to a state-level single-payer system.
And so add another contentious issue to the 2011 burning-down-the-house Nevada legislative agenda.
JIM THE DIM UPDATE. Gov. Gibbons has launched an investigation into the price of gasoline. I can save the state a lot of money. Go to the Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive at NevadaLabor.com. I've been documenting the case against BigOil's price-fixing for 15 years. Speaking of saving public money...
THE $500,000 MAN. Is Sparks City Hall going to send flowers to Laborers' Union leader Skip Daly for saving the taxpayers $500,000?
What, you didn't know?
The new low bid on the controversial Spanish Springs sewer line project came in about half a million under the previous (and illegally submitted) low bid.
All this happened after Daly caught city hall with its collective pants down, allowing an illegally operating contractor into the bidding process, then playing ring-around-the-excuses rather than admitting that Sparks officials had made a mistake.
Daly sued. Last week, less than 24 hours after the city council retroactively ratified purchasing manager Dan Marran's illegal action, Washoe District Judge Janet Berry said it was OK.
Maybe she is becoming an intellectual late in life reading Franz Kafka perhaps because the only way her decision makes sense is to view it through the lens of a bizarro parallel universe.
City code says Marran can't decide on contracts over $25,000. The Spanish Springs job is in the six- to seven-million range. Only the council has such power, which it finally exercised last Monday.
Nonetheless, Her Honor ruled for the government.
All I can say is read it for yourself.
I will publish the city's filing and Judge Berry's decision with the web edition of this column at NevadaLabor.com.
Read 'em and weep.
If you can explain to me how violating Sparks Municipal Code complies with the law, you're a better lawyer and judge than several of my acquaintance.
And somebody please send flowers to Daly's house in Sparks.
It's the least you can do.
Be well. Raise hell.
Andrew Barbano is a 40-year Nevadan, second vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate and editor of NevadaLabor.com. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Reruns of his legislative session TV programs are cablecast Monday through Friday, 2-4:00 p.m. on Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter digital channels 16 and 216 and high-definition channel 80-295, available on demand at Barbwire.TV. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail email@example.com. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.
From Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio
With your support, your phone calls, your emails, we won a major legislative victory today for a state single payer health care option in the House of Representatives in Washington, DC. The House Education and Labor Committee approved the Kucinich Amendment by a vote of 27-19, with 14 Democrats and 13 Republicans voting yes.
The amendment propels the growing single payer health care movement at the state level. There are at least ten states which have active single payer efforts in their legislatures. They are California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington. The amendment mandates a single payer state will receive the right to waive the application of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which has in the past been used to nullify efforts to expand state or local government health care.
Under the Kucinich Amendment a state's application for a waiver from ERISA is granted automatically if the state has signed into law a single payer plan. With the amendment, for the first time, the state single payer health care option is shielded from an ERISA-based legal attack. Now that the underlying bill has been passed, as amended, by the full committee, we must make sure that Congress knows that we want the provision kept in the bill at final passage!
The state single payer option was one of five major amendments which I obtained support to get included in HR3200. One amendment brings into standard coverage for the first time complementary and alternative medicine, (integrative medicine). Another amendment drives down the cost of prescription drugs by ending pharmaceutical industry's sharp practices manipulating physician prescribing habits. An amendment stops the insurance industry from increasing premiums at the time when people are not permitted to change health plans; and finally an amendment imposing a requirement on insurance companies that they disclose the cost of advertising, marketing and executive compensation expenses (which generally divert money from patient care).
Please make sure you post this message on your social networking site, ask all your friends to get involved and encourage everyone you know to sign up at www.Kucinich.us so we can build full momentum behind this movement for real health care.
Let's do this!
Obama's Health Care Struggle Waterloo or Water Down?
By Bill Moyers and & Michael Winship
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
The campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?
Phillips, Kevin; Numbers Racket: Why the economy is worse than we know
Harper's Magazine; May 2008; page 43
Phillips has authored numerous books on history and politics over the past 40 years. His most recent, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, was published by Viking on April 15, 2008.
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.
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
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Copyright © 1982-2009 Andrew Barbano
Andrew Barbano is a 40-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and JoeNeal.org, former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee and serves as second vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
He hosts news and talk Monday through Friday, 2-4:00 p.m., at Barbwire.TV and Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter digital cable channels 16 and 216, high-definition channel 80-295. Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988 and has originated in those parts ever since. Tempus fugit.
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