Nevada's 11 most powerful in 2011
Expanded from the 11-20-2011 Daily Sparks Tribune
Updated 11-24, 11-27-2011
Corporate Propaganda Research Archive
Everybody knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
That's how it goes. Everybody knows.
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The program premiers were available to every television set in the region because of a high-mileage media hybrid.
The shows appeared on both commercial and community stations. The non-corporate entity produced the events, commercial TV greatly expanded distribution.
Thus began an ongoing series of sane public interest programs which generate both entertaining heat and more than a little light.
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Your contribution will help fund the distribution as well as ongoing efforts at developing new media, including a regional, non-corporate community radio station and the return of community television to Reno-Sparks-Washoe.
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Be well. Raise hell.
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Who are the most powerful people in Nevada? Here are my picks to click, some of whom may be strangers to you.
About 1983, the Reno Gazette-Journal polled a lot of Nevada political junkies to compile a list of the top 25. I think they called me, but I may be wrong.
U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt, R-Nev., led the pack. Freshman Congressman Harry Reid, D-Las Vegas, came in about sixteenth.
A couple of heavy hitters were conspicuous due to their absence: For instance, banker Jerry Mack, for whom the Thomas and Mack Center at UNLV is named (along with his colleague E. Parry Thomas, who made it). In a fit of rose-colored amnesia, Mafia fellow traveler Moe Dalitz didn't survive the cut.
I recall that my old friend and GOP operative Sig Rogich made the list, as did the late lobbyist Jim Joyce, predecessor to Harvey Whittemore (see below) as the most influential juiceman in the state.
I don't remember if I saved a copy of the list. If so, I'll post it with the expanded web edition of this column at NevadaLabor.com. (UPDATE: No luck so far. Anybody got it?)
Now, drum roll please. Herewith, the rogues gallery of Nevada's most powerful as judged by me and hung on The Barbwire for all to see.
1. HARRY REID, D-Searchlight. The U.S. Senate Majority Leader is the most powerful politician since Sen. Patrick McCarran, D-Nev. Reid is doing the job the way it's supposed to be done: staying in office and perhaps expiring there, as did McCarran. Small-state senators are supposed to die with their seniority on and not before. No one since McCarran has lived up to the Irishman's standard and Reid has eclipsed his power.
2. STEVE WYNN, megalomanical Macau and Las Vegas casino overlord. He just lost a major court ruling but it remains to be seen if he stops stealing his dealers' tips. He thinks nothing of intimidating and muzzling media and has bankrupted good people who dared to remotely criticize his wonderfulness. Ruthless and repulsive. (See the story of his infamous "Show Me the Monet" art collection tax break at JoeNeal.org.) I stopped being a Clint Eastwood fan after Dirty Harry served as Wynn's best man in his most recent marriage.
3. SAM McMULLEN, lawyer-lobbyist and successor to Whittemore as the most powerful lobbyist in the state. Working for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, he stopped Gov. Kenny Guinn's 2003 tax plan which would have let the gambling industry off almost scot-free. At least the law that passed hit the gamblers, causing then-MGM-Mirage boss Terrence Lanni to drop out of the Nevada Resort Association, complaining that his outfit's taxes had been raised by $30 million a year.
He did not mention that the law also facilitated federal income tax hikes on top gambling execs like him.
Working for the tobacco industry, McMullen stymied a move to make Nevada casinos protect the health of smoke-exposed workers. The recently published book Casino Women: Courage in Unexpected Places revealed the sordid story.
Joyce, Whittemore and McMullen were/are personally nice guys and liberal Democrats. McMullen is neither ruthless nor vindictive like his predecessors. Kind of a velvet hammer.
4. INFERNARO, the two-headed dragon. Juice GOP lobbyists Greg Ferraro and Peter Ernaut (aka Snidely Whiplash when he served as chief of staff to Gov. Dudley Do-Right Guinn). These guys talked current Gov. El Bruté Obtusé Sandoval into leaving a lifetime federal judgeship to run against Gov. Jim the Dim last year.
5. JIM MURREN, CEO of MGM Resorts International, successor to the late Terry Lanni. This huge casino company, like its dark brethren, knows how to scare hell out of its workers and tell them how to vote.
6. BRIAN GREENSPUN, boss of the Greenspun family's Gomorrah South empire. The successor to his dad, Hank (a charter member of the Barbwire Molly Ivins Memorial Nevada Columniators Hall of Fame), Greenspun the younger refocused the Las Vegas Sun into a Pulitzer Prize winner and bought Jon Ralston away from the competitive Review-Journal for a rumored $1 million. (Good for Jon!)
7. RANDOLPH TOWNSEND, longtime Reno Republican state senator who lived in Green Valley near Henderson for most of his senate career and got away with it. Limp Democrats. After being term-limited, he was appointed to the Nevada Gaming Commission.
8. JIM ROGERS, owner of Las Vegas, Reno and Elko TV stations, which do more public interest programming than all competitors.
9. DANNY THOMPSON, head of the Nevada State AFL-CIO. He told Rogers on a recent TV interview that organized labor will circulate an initiative petition for a broad-based business tax because the legislature is impotent. Amen.
10. ROSS MILLER, namesake of his Mafioso casino-managing grandfather, son of a conservative Democratic governor and delightful mother with a wicked sense of humor. Anointed to be a governor someday soon.
11. PATRICIA MULROY, boss of the Southern Nevada Water Authority and only woman on the list. She will get more water for Clark County even if it means turning several rural counties into Death Valley.
DISHONORABLE MENTION: Tim Crowley, head of the Nevada Mining Association, who hired so many juice lobbyists that he kept Titanic tax loopholes open for his corporate welfare outfit.
LOL: The Nevada Supreme Court which allowed a lower court to take over redistricting from the legislature, which had the constitutional duty to do the job but failed.
WTF: Gov. Sandoval, who vetoed two redistricting bills pushed by Democrats and ended up with the court imposing pretty much the same thing. He is irrelevance on steroids.
OMG:. Sig Rogich, still powerful after all these years. As is his successor at R&R Advertising, Billy Vassiliadis, aka Billy Vaseline to those who know and love him.
MIA: The governor and the legislature, who are now reduced to sprinkling a dwindling bag of crumbs on a collapsing state.
I will thus support, sign and circulate Mr. Thompson's petitions.
And so should you.
ROLL YOUR OWN. Add to, subtract or detract from the above. All comments and suggestions most welcome.
U-TUBE. Check the expanded web edition of this column at NevadaLabor.com for the latest statewide Barbwire.TV schedule, viewable 24/7 online.
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It's now more important than ever > unless you think corporate-controlled media are all you need. Stay tuned for updates.
Be well. Raise hell.
Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, first vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of NevadaLabor.com. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. 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.
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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.
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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)
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Copyright © 1982-2011 Andrew Barbano
Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and JoeNeal.org; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee, He is producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and serves as first 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.
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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