GOP pols rule Corporate Court
WASHINGTON — The reverential tone prevailing here at the Supreme Court is unjustified by its many horrible decisions for more than a century. The Dred Scott ruling in 1857 said Negroes could never be citizens, that they were “beings of an inferior order” and that they “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” In 1886 in Southern Pacific Railroad the court declared that corporations were people and hence entitled to constitution...
Keep Promises to America’s Retirees
As members of Congress work out an agreement to pay the nation’s bills, health care and financial security for America’s seniors must not be dismissed as collateral damage. Tragically, it is easy for some in Washington to confuse Medicare and Social Security with simple numbers on a balance sheet. In Nevada alone, more than 348,000 people rely on Medicare for their health care. More than 354,000 collect Social Security, with the program servin...
Freedom Riders and wage defenders
The heavy political action happens in Carson City this coming week but you don’t have to spend $4 a gallon to deal yourself in. Just watch my show. This Tuesday, the Barbwire returns to TV with a one-hour live call-in special on area cable networks. The Barbwire livewire is the same as always, 775-882-TALK (882-8255). So far, the guest list includes Paul McKenzie of the Sparks-based Building and Construction Trades Council of Northern Nevada/A...
Change a word and change the world
One of the unsung heroes of modern communications skills is the late Joseph Goebels, whose contribution to the fine arts of propaganda and mass delusion have been tainted by his service to the vile cause of national fascism. The concept of the “big lie,” government control of public arts from film and posters to the government radio, which defined the popular opinion of the era. After the war the victors stole all the major inventions of the t...
Middle schoolers in the mist
One month ago, I brought you an exclusive report from the halls of Mendive Middle School. As a participant in that school’s Career Day, I was granted exclusive access to observe the students in their natural habitat. I was able to relay first-hand accounts of their adolescent behavior and how they responded to questions about their futures. On this expedition I learned that middle school is as I remembered it from my pre-teen years: full of hu...
U.S. starts recruiting for al-Qaida
Osama bin Laden is dead but al-Qaida is very much alive and still plotting terrorist attacks. Like Hydra heads, al-Qaida constantly sprouts new leaders. So it is hardly an occasion for celebration. Its significance is merely symbolic: killing the perpetrator of 9/11. The New York Times claimed in an editorial that 9/11 “profoundly changed our lives” but we can “now breathe a bit more easily.” That’s nonsense on both counts. The world remains s...
If Memory Serves...
Easter has long been my favorite holiday. Its message of love and life is universal. My childhood holiday memories around the Smith house weren’t always pleasant, but for some reason Easter was idyllic. It didn’t hurt that, in addition to the greater message of the special Sunday, for a kid Easter was as sweet as Halloween but without the spooky costumes and dark imagery. When I became a father, I vowed Easter would always be a special day for...
Slaves Taxes, Bread Crumbs and Another Brick in the Wall
There are no virgins in politics. The best you can hope for is that your friends treat you a little better than your enemies and promise to kiss you afterward. Alas and alack, the devolution of the middle class, heralded by the coronation of King Ronald the Vague, is morphing from class war into uncivil war. Brother fights sister for crumbs from the table of the rich, famous and powerful. The grovelers down on the floor are too desperate to lo...
It is unfortunate that our understanding of current is, at best, based on hindsight which, while accurate, is seldom helpful in the forging future. Recognizing past mistakes is painful but correcting them is even more so. In her recent tome, “The Shock Doctrine,” Naomi Klein points out the vulnerability of society to authoritarian take over in the wake of disaster, whether natural or man made. Using the crisis as their excuse, authorities of e...
College kids to the rescue
The worst place to live in America over the last five years has been the Gulf Coast. Between Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill, not much worse could happen. OK, there’s probably something, but let’s try not to think of that. It’s pretty common for news reports to look back on such disasters and the subsequent recovery efforts when their anniversaries come around. The hope is that these stories will be about people persevering and overcomi...
The United States of China?
If a democratic government is meant to be a fulcrum rather than a wedge between collective freedoms and individual rights, our experiment in the two-party system of democracy isn’t working.
The post-dated recession
No matter your opinion of the stimulus package, the basic truth is that it shored up state, county and municipal budgets over the last two years.
May Day! T-Rump reduces president to peanuts
One night as the fireplace burned low after a 1977 holiday dinner in Carson City, a young lawyer asked Nevada Supreme Court Justice Al Gunderson how he rated Jimmy Carter’s first year as president. “About a C-minus,” replied the wise old judge who passed away last year. Gunderson went on to lecture us kids about President Carter’s mistakes, foreshadowing future errors that would make him a one-termer Gunderson rightly viewed Carter as too much...