Welfare queens and debate chickens
Expanded from the Sunday, 10-3-2004, Daily
Sparks, Nev., Tribune
and the 10-8-2004 Comstock Chronicle
"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
His Accidency, President George W. Bush August 5, 2004
Golly, gee. After all these decades of feeling like the nation's illegitimate stepchild, Nevada is being smothered with attention. (Yes, I know about the international sensations created by the likes of Joe Conforte and the nuclear waste dump, but they don't count. I'm talking major league positive PR.)
Notwithstanding the clout of Las Vegas, the Biggest Little City is getting visits from various and sundry scoundrels and heavy hitters. Mrs. George Dubya Bush hits town this week to stand by her man. The magnificent Mahatma, the Buddha of liberal ballsiness, Michael Moore hisself comes to UN,R on lucky October 13. (More on him later.)
And one of Nevada's premiere corporate welfare queens, Gomorrah South casino mogul Steve Wynn, has brought some of his publicly subsidized art stash to downtown Reno. The local social climbers and their media glorifiers have gushed all over Mr. Wynnderful's wonderfulness.
"Media is the plural of mediocre."
According to the Reno Gushette-Journal, tickets to see Mr. Wynn's collection cost ten bucks a head and you don't even get a free drink or two-for-one blackjack coupons as part of the package.
What no one has seemed to notice is that Mr. Wynn may have ulterior motives. When congress eliminated tax breaks for fine art in the mid-90s, Wynn went to the Nevada legislature for a state-level freebie. After all, a man of his wealth should not be forced to bear the cost of Nevada's cultural enlightenment alone.
"A taxpayer may collect an admission fee for the exhibition of fine art otherwise exempt from taxation on its sale, storage, use or other consumption pursuant to NRS 374.291 if the taxpayer offers to residents of the State of Nevada a discount of 50 percent from any admission fee charged to nonresidents. The discounted admission fee for residents must be offered at any time the exhibition is open to the public and admission fees are being charged." Statutes of Nevada, page 3203
Through influence peddled largely by Sparks developer (Wingfield Springs, Spanish Springs casino) and juice lawyer Harvey Whittemore, Wynn got his tax bill passed.
Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, and I fought it, but were not surprisingly outgunned. (See the web version of this column for how lawmakers voted. More links in Smoking Guns, below.)
Because the art tax exemption would come largely at the expense of Clark County school children, lawmakers placed a few cosmetic restrictions into the law for political cover.
One requires that the exempt art be displayed a minimum number of days per year. With Wynn having no casino open to display his art, perhaps he's using Reno to up his count.
I recall that he had some public display down south in the past year or two.
"The exhibit, which Wynn says makes up the bulk of his 'museum quality' art collection, had been displayed at the Desert Inn casino before Wynn cleared the building for a $2.4 billion Las Vegas megaresort."
Perhaps he has another motive: politics. In all the initiative petition hassle of this election season, Ballot Question 8 has gotten lost. As part of a laundry list of corporate welfare queen outrages, it would increase the tax exemptions of Mr. Wynn's art collection.
Thanks again, Nevada lawmakers.
WORST BUT NOT LEAST: An admission discount for Nevadans was one of the restrictions placed into the Wynn art tax law in 1999. It's still in Nevada law.
I haven't seen any Nevada resident discount offered at the Nevada Museum of Art which is housing Mr. Wynn's pieces through next March.
I'll inquire of the good people at the Liberty Street lump of coal gallery and let you know next week.
THE MAHATMA COMES TO TOWN
UN,R right place for controversial speakers
Reno Gazette-Journal Editorial
Debate over controversial speaker welcome
Reno Gazette-Journal Editorial
Mike on the road with Crackers the Corporate Crime-Fighting Chicken.
MICHAEL MOORE IS HOT AND COMING TO LOWLIFE EVENTS CENTER. Some rich Republican white guys, prototypical KKKOH listeners and boosters of the UN,R jockocracy, offered the university $100,000 plus expenses to change the Oscar-winning film maker's scheduled Oct. 13 lecture into a debate with some unnamed conservative.
Despite threats from these testosterone-saturated elephantine heavy hitters, the university showed some backbone and refused.
I wonder if the offer would still stand if the university offered Lawlor Events Center on another date for that right-wing speaker.
Who could sell the place out like Mr. Moore?
How about whoever produced that new anti-Michael Moore film and the author of the latest book trashing him?
Got a hunch they couldnt draw flies.
Being the fair guy that I am, I have a solution and I'm sure I can convince Mike and the U to cave in.
The GOP happens to have a guy debate-prepped and ready. This person theoretically calls his own shots and controls his own schedule, so short notice won't matter.
If President Bush wants to debate Michael Moore on Oct. 13, I'll be glad to put it together.
(Personal note to former Sparks schoolboy Karl Rove: Call me.)
ON THE AIR. I'll be mixing it up with Sam Shad and Andrea Engleman this Thursday on the statewide Nevada Newsmakers show. Guests will include freshman Congressman Jon Porter, R-Las Vegas, and Steven Horsford, Democratic nominee to succeed the retiring Sen. Neal. I'll pontificate on the pundit panel with GOP activist Robin Mercer Levy (perhaps she'll have a debate confirmation for me from Dubya) and Connie McMullen, publisher of Senior Spectrum magazine.
In northern Nevada, the show airs at 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday on KRNV TV-4, repeating at 9:28 p.m. each day on Charter cable channel 12 in Carson, Washoe and Douglas counties. Audio re-airs Sunday mornings from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. on KKKOH 780 am radio, white sheets for white guys radio in northern Nevada. (Click here for the full statewide air schedule.)
THE FIRST OMEN OF AUTUMNAL DOOM. The freakin' Giants collapsed in the ninth inning in L.A. yesterday. Sen. Kerry, call Nancy Reagan for her astrologer's phone number. The sky is falling.
Be well. Raise hell.
Propaganda for fun and profit
A Blow Against the Secrecy State: Federal government
didn't even want to produce its photo ID law
Las Vegas Review-Journal Editorial 9-17-2004
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
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
The 1994 Labor Day Barbwire introduces Alex Carey
A brief history of neo-con PR and the roots of corporate propaganda
Copyright © 1982-2004 Andrew Barbano
Andrew Barbano is a 35-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of NevadaLabor.com and JoeNeal.org. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.
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