cure for what ails us
Expanded from the 10-21-2007 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
Taxes. Just as vaccines are made from killer viruses, sensibly assessed taxes can cure the body politic.
Bill Clinton raised taxes in 1993, costing Democrats congressional control the following year. But closing loopholes and spreading the wealth helped create relative prosperity. (See Barlett and Steele, below.)
Nevada's schools and highway systems are facing humongous shortfalls. Both worthy endeavors will compete for billions in necessary and thus far unavailable funding. Reno and Sparks are having a hard time paying for enough police and fire protection.
BUCKING UP AGAIN. The gambling-industrial complex is doing its best to buck up the economy, spending tons of money on an advertising campaign touting how much it already pays in taxes.
I've built two websites (see right ->) proving the lie behind that assertion, complete with a State of Nevada study which shows that the creation of low-wage gambling industry jobs acts as a drag on society, forcing the rest of us to pick up the difference.
The mining industry is likewise running scared. Congress is finally taking notice that those foreign-owned corporations have been getting a free ride since 1872.
They dodged future tax hikes in Nevada by funding a petition drive for a 1989 special election which froze mining levies at a permanently zilch level.
Labor and education interests backed it. I saw it for the shell game it was and opposed it, forming the tongue-in-cheek Nevada Wooly Bully Party, "dedicated to removing the wool from the voters' eyes."
But they had an ad budget and I didn't.
So who's sorry now?
HOLLYWOOD WITHOUT MAKEUP. Since 2000, the most popular Barbwire in my online archive has been the ongoing story of former bartender Darlene Jespersen's lawsuit against Harrah's.
Regular readers will recall that she was an exemplary 20-year employee fired when management forced female but not male workers to wear makeup. She lost the chance to get her day in court when the supposedly liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Reno judge's nonsensical decision. She did, however, make new law paving the way for future discrimination complaints.
As they say in the news biz, Darlene's story had legs. She not only went global I got requests for photos and reprints from media all over the world but she also made it to Hollywood.
Director Darryl Roberts came to Reno a couple of years back to interview her for his documentary America the Beautiful, a film about the country's obsession with looks. Darlene's story made the final cut.
On October 13, the film won a Special Jury Prize for Best Direction at the 43rd Annual Chicago International Film Festival which featured 160 films from 44 countries.
America the Beautiful has also been selected as the opening night entry at the 4th Annual Artivist Film Festival in Los Angeles on Nov. 8, Roberts says.
"Since its inception in 2004, the Artivist Film Festival has showcased 223 films representing more than 45 countries," he stated.
"Last year's Artivist Film Festival program not only ranged widely in activist topics, but also featured such noted activist-artists as Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon, Martin Sheen, Viggo Mortensen, Elton John, Morgan Spurlock, Brett Ratner, Andy Garcia and others," Roberts wrote.
Films premiered at the festival have included Academy Award winner Born Into Brothels, Academy Award nominees Super-Size Me and God Sleeps in Rwanda and the Los Angeles premieres of Fast Food Nation, Emanuelle's Gift and Trudell.
Congratulations to both Mr. Roberts and the very courageous Ms. Jespersen whose story continues to inspire everyone fighting for justice.
TAX FREE CASINOS. Speaking of Harrah's, the world's largest gambling company is poised to go private, as is another virulently anti-union outfit, Station Casinos. Harrah's is being absorbed by a limited partnership, which sounds strange for a big corporation. It's not so strange if you look at U.S. tax law. Limited partnerships are perhaps the greatest tax dodge ever devised. That's why Al Davis has long been "managing general partner" of the corporate welfare-addicted Oakland Raiders.
You may read more about it in Donald Barlett and James Steele's America: Who Really Pays the Taxes?, part of a series on corporate predation by the multiple Pulitzer Prize winners.
Both Station and Harrah's will dodge untold millions in taxation by going private.
They may be greedy, but they ain't stupid.
WHO'S STUPID NOW? Even though Lush Rambo can't define "liberal" or "conservative," I can. At their most basic, conservative applies to maintaining current conditions while liberal means open-minded toward changing things.
The November issue of Harper's magazine actually backs up Noah Webster.
"Scientists announced that conservatives and liberals have different patterns of neuronal impulses when confronted with unexpected circumstances," Harper's reported.
"Self-described conservatives pressed the wrong button in response to new a stimulus 47 percent of the time, whereas avowed liberals had a 37 percent error rate; liberals had double the activity of conservatives in the anterior cingulate cortex, a deep region of the brain that helps people recognize 'no-go' situations, but that study's authors emphasized that the results do not mean that liberals are smarter than conservatives."
Maybe not, but it's a great gimlet to stick in their self-righteous ribs.
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' years
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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