Gov. Raggio: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss
Expanded from the 4-25-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune
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Gov. Raggio: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss
Expanded from the 4-25-201
0 Daily Sparks Tribune

Last week in true entrepreneurial fashion, Republican teetotalers were charged eleven bucks a head for admission to a political debate by GOP frontrunners for governor and U.S. Senate.

From commie-pinko-liberal media reports (I'll be damned if I'll pay $11 unless it includes dinner and dancing girls), it appears Gov. Jim Gibbons won the evening. His opponents agreed with him on most issues. As dear, sainted Father Diamond taught us in debate class, when your opponent agrees with you, you win.

Bill Raggio surrogate Brian Sandoval didn't do himself any good by endorsing the latest metastasis of American racism in Arizona, but then he didn't have much to lose. Latino leaders of my acquaintance have had serious reservations about this guy for a long time. Their worst fears were realized with Sandoval's lame response to a question on immigration from a Reno TV reporter awhile back.

The former legislator, attorney general and federal judge replied that he didn't know much about it and wanted to sit down with the reporter so that she could educate him.

Lame really doesn't describe it. Laid back? Naw. Paralyzed? Nope. How about catatonic? Perhaps. Morally obtuse? Gotcha.

As I noted on Jan. 24, if Sandoval wins the governor's mansion, State Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, becomes de facto governor by controlling two branches of state government.

Nevada lawmakers labor under worse minority rule strictures than the U.S. Senate. It takes a two-thirds vote to pass anything meaningful because few meaningful pieces of legislation don't involve taxpayer money.

As a gimmick to try to beat incumbent Gov. Democrat Bob Miller, Gibbons circulated a 1994 initiative petition mandating minority moonhowler rule at the ledge. Jim the Dim lost the election, but the gimmick passed. State and local governments, school districts and the university system are today collapsing as a result.

It is unlikely that Democrats will control two-thirds of each house next year, meaning that Raggio will hold veto power over any move to fix the state's long-busted taxation system.

He thus stands to become arguably the most powerful state official in history with Sandoval's election.

I've been carping for months that northern newspapers save this one have ignored the fact that Raggio's juice law firm hired Sandoval upon his resigning his judgeship to run for governor.

A detailed Google search still shows that to be the case. The Reno Gazette-Journal edited out that information when it picked up an Associated Press story. Perhaps the full AP feed ran elsewhere in non-Las Vegas print editions. Newspapers normally don't leave AP stories on their websites.

Raggio has since endorsed Sandoval.

As my late, great Republican pollster and friend Brent Tyler once kernelized his oft-stated advice to campaign contributors, "pay 'em now or pay 'em later."

Raggio's firm is now hedging its bets by hosting a fundraiser for Democrats.

This smoking gun was circulated a few days ago: "Please Join JONES VARGAS For a Fundraiser and Reception Honoring The Assembly Democratic Caucus, Thursday, April 29th, Jones Vargas, 100 West Liberty Street, 12th Floor, Reno, NV 89501, 5:00pm - 7:00pm, Suggested Contribution $1000 Payable to: Assembly Democratic Caucus."


The Assembly Democratic Caucus was started at perhaps the lowest point for the Donkeykongs in the Age of Reagan. The 1984 Reagan landslide resulted in a Republican-dominated legislature. After adjournment one evening, three disheartened minority Democrats met to cry in their beer at Jack's Bar. Each put a $100 bill on the bar to hire political operative Gary Gray to start the ADC. They only issued one unbreakable order: Never endorse in a primary.

The ADC has chosen sides in Democratic primaries this year and it threatens to send divided Democrats to Carson City.

Several of the ADC-anointed are going to lose, so Gov. Raggio is wisely hedging his bets.

Perhaps the joke will be on Big Bad Bill, who has forgotten Napolean's advice: "When your enemy is destroying himself, never interfere."

SENATOR SUE. As old advertising guys have always advised, you gotta have a gimmick. GOP U.S. Senate frontrunner Sue Lowden may benefit from her nationally ridiculed comment about bartering chickens for medical care, something a Democratic operative termed a "fluster cluck."

In 1972, the late great and then-unknown Mary Gojack faced seemingly insurmountable odds opposing longtime GOP lawmaker Corky Lingenfelter for his southwest Reno assembly seat. The area was, and remains to this day, overwhelmingly Republican.

Gojack came out with a position endorsing breathalyzer tests for lawmakers before entry to legislative floor sessions. She said she had noticed some drunks during the 1971 session.

It made national news and made Mary viable at the same time. She became the only Democrat ever to hold that seat.

Democrats should not count their chickens before they hatch when it comes to the 2010 Botoxy version of Chic Hecht.

HELP WANTED . Regular readers know that I have been raising money to help Sierra Nevada Community Access Television fully benefit from a matching foundation grant of $40,000. If you can help with a tax-deductible donation, give me a holler at (775) 882-TALK or drop me a line.

HELP WANTED, PART DEUX. The Reno-Sparks NAACP will hold its annual Freedom Fund Banquet on May 22 at the Peppermill in Reno. For ticket and sponsorship information, go to or contact me. This is important.

Be well. Raise hell.


Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, second 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 As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.

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   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.
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Donate to the cable ratepayer legal defense fund at our PayPal-enabled ReSurge.TV Consumer War Room

Phillips, Kevin; Numbers Racket: Why the economy is worse than we know

Harper's Magazine; May 2008; page 43
Phillips has authored numerous books on history and politics over the past 40 years. His most recent, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, was published by Viking on April 15, 2008.

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.
Alternet 5-20-2007

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.

Review of Alex Carey's Taking the Risk Out of Democracy:
Propaganda in the US and Australia

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
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      Rinfret, Pierre A.; Peace is Bullish; Look magazine, 5-31-1966 | U-News | Bulletins + Almanac
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Copyright © 1982-2010, 2011 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan, editor of and; 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 second vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

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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