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My crooks are better than your crooks
by Andrew Barbano
Jul 31, 2010 | 706 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When you get to the top levels of politics, there are no virgins. As Bob Dylan sang so long ago, “you’ve got to serve somebody.”

In 1982, Travus T. Hipp memorably said, “If voting mattered, they wouldn’t let us do it.”

Apparently, voting does matter because the bad guys are increasingly trying to stop the great unwashed from casting ballots. GOP operatives have refined voter suppression to both an art and a science, all the way to using the moonhowler noise machine to blame Democrats for GOP sins.

Do a Web search for 2004 Ohio voter suppression. Voting machines in GOP-leaning areas were plentiful and there was no waiting. In minority and Democratic areas, people stood in the rain for an entire day and never made it inside where two or three antiquated machines were available when dozens were needed.

Bush the Lesser won Ohio and with it, re-election to another four years of running a criminal enterprise disguised as a government — kind of like the regimes we still support in Iraq, Pakistan and Affergrandstand.

The United States is an adolescent, puritanical nation and will remain so for about another 20 years. The vaunted Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are now morphing into senior citizens, bringing true generational change.

Mary Cheney, lesbian daughter of the 2001-2009 shadow president, was asked how she got along with her gay-hating parents. She wisely sidestepped the question by noting that the solution to oppression of the disfavored would be generational. The younger the person, the smaller the ingrained societal prejudice.

Indeed, while people of alternative procreative proclivity are still victims of legal discrimination in most states, including Nevada, knee-jerk hatred has dipped by more than 20 points in national polls over the past decade or so.

American voters nonetheless are easily swayed by plastic emotionalism. Like the adolescents we are, we often love the one we’re with and react to the last thing we’ve heard.

When it comes time to vote, too many punch tickets according to the last lie seen on TV.

I wish the well informed a happy trip to the polls this fall and urge the uninterested or easily swayed to stay home.

Just remember, you will find no saints or virgins on the ballot. Everybody serves somebody, so take a lighthearted approach.

The greatest philosopher I have ever met is one John Hanks (a distant relative of Tom), who operated the Pauline’s Sportswear franchises in northern Nevada many moons ago, including one in the Greenbrae Center in Sparks.

The old bush pilot and aircraft designer, still kicking strong in retirement in wacko Arizona, used to live in Washington state where he became a fan of a certain thoroughly corrupt but very popular governor.

“Governor, I have confirmed that state workers are having people at DMV and other state offices make out checks payable personally to you,” once inquired an enterprising young reporter. “Is that true and what do you do with the money?”

Not skipping a beat, the old pol said, “That’s right. I put the money in my personal account and I keep some of it. They don’t pay the governor much here and people are always hitting me up. But I spread it around wherever I see the need, like meals for the poor or kids who need schoolbooks. I give most of it away.”

He was eventually defeated, but the public rather liked their honest crook.

There ain’t no virgins at the top level.

Oops, department

Nobel-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman recently asked:

“Where’s this administration’s Frances Perkins? As F.D.R.’s labor secretary, Perkins, a longtime crusader for workers’ rights, served as a symbol of the New Deal’s commitment to change. I have nothing against Hilda Solis, the current labor secretary — but neither she nor any other senior figure in the administration is a progressive with enough independent stature to play that kind of role.”

Solis contributed a guest editorial to the RGJ during the mining rescue competition held here a few days ago. She vaguely noted the death of a 30-year-old miner in June of 2007 with no other details. She needs to fire her PR person.

The man in question was Dan Shaw of Winnemucca who worked at Newmont’s Midas Mine in Elko County. He left a wife and baby. In 2008, the Department of Labor found that Newmont knew of its unsafe conditions beforehand and closed the mine for four months. Several other Nevada miners have been killed under similar circumstance in recent years.

Regular Barbwirites know that I favor the death penalty (total liquidation) for corporations that knowingly kill workers through criminal negligence and jail for guilty individuals.

In California, a judge is hearing the case against the murderers of farm worker Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez, a 17-year-old girl who died of heatstroke after being denied water in killer heat. Last year, the San Joaquin District Attorney filed involuntary manslaughter charges against the labor contractors involved.

Big mining in Nevada deserves similar treatment.

Neal 75

As a birthday present to former Nevada Sen. Joe Neal, D-N. Las Vegas, I published his oral history at Read it for a funny and fascinating glimpse into how one individual really can change a system without virgins.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan and editor of  E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.
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