Billy Brawl: Raggio Resigns

Courtesy of Hugh Jackson's Las Vegas Gleaner

Expanded from the 1-9-2011 Daily Sparks Tribune
Updated 1-18-2011: Toljaso — Raggio's boy gets the job
Updated 1-30-2011, 9-25-2011, 6-5-2014, 10-21-2014

   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.
— Leonard Cohen

COMING SOON: The new season of Barbwire TV. The first show will be about (what else?) jobs. The lack of them is well documented. How we've blown them and where they can be regenerated, that's something else. I guarantee you'll get mad enough to want to get even. Watch for show times. Help us get the word out.

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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.

Please spread the word and consider contributing to the cause online at ReSurge.TV.

You may also take the public option known as the U.S. Postal Service and send a check or money order to ReSurge.TV, P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510.

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Be well. Raise hell.


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Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

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Sen. Bill Raggio is neither God nor dead. From all the fawning statements statewide, a visitor from Mars would assume either or both.

The longtime state senator and former district attorney is a fine gentleman with a great sense of humor.

I still have the heartfelt handwritten letter of condolence he sent after my wife passed away.

But the personal must be separated from the professional.

At the very least, the record must be set straight.

Since newspapers are the first draft of history, herewith, some very necessary straightening.

My friend Ray Hagar wrote in the Reno Gazette-Journal that without Raggio, the legislature will not be expanded to allow for more northern Nevada seats in the light of southern Nevada population growth.

"Raggio also tried and failed to add seats to the assembly and state senate 10 years ago," Hagar wrote.

That's only half-true.

Actually, he tried and succeeded, then unwound the deal after the Bush White House called on him to subtract 8,000 Democrats from the new southern Nevada congressional district.

As a result, three assembly seats and one senate seat were lost to Gomorrah South.

Adding insult to injury, local Republicans placed advertising in 2002 blaming Democrats for the loss.

The closest the Donkeyites came to a response was this column calling it a lie.

The ads contributed to the defeats of Assemblymembers Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, and Vivian Freeman, D-Reno.

Raggio was directly responsible for the permanent loss of millions in tax revenue to Clark County starting in 1991.

As madcap as it may seem, the GOP ran spots blaming first-time candidate Joe Carter when he ran against Raggio shill Sen. Maurice Washington, R-Sparks, in 2002.

Their evidence: Carter was (gasp!) a Democrat who would thus side with Vegas.

The Awful Truth

The Wages of Raggio: Payback Time
Barbwire / 11-6-2006

Raggio's Minion Maurice:
Enough, already

Barbwire / 11-5-2006

Sparks taxpayers will be paying for the Reno railroad trench for the next decade or so thanks to Raggio, who said he could not vote on trench issues because of a conflict of interest.

He then proceeded to muscle enabling legislation through the legislature.

His law partner, Assemblyman Greg Brower, R-Reno, likewise abstained.

The biggest beneficiary of the railroad trench was Union Pacific, which basically got a $360 million freebie courtesy of the taxpayers.

Raggio's firm goes way back with the railroad.

The former Vargas Bartlett and Dixon represented the pre-merger Southern Pacific and Southern Pacific Land Co. for decades.

When Raggio blew the 2001 redistricting deal, he also screwed Mr. Brower.

The loss of seats to the south forced several incumbents to face each other.

Brower was placed in the same new district as Sharron Angle, R-Reno.

She beat Brower who went on to be named U.S. attorney for Nevada by Bush after the Karl Rove-led purge of those who would not participate in witch hunts of Democrats.

Ayatollahs are always with us
Update 10-21-2014

Update 6-5-2014

Update 9-25-2011

Update 6-13-2010
Update 10-25-2009
Update 6-29-2008
Update 10-13-2002
Update 10-25-1998

Brower is now one of many talked up to succeed Raggio, as is Angle.

The moonhowlers are coming out of the woodwork promoting the crazy church lady and she just might win.

The Washoe County Commission will select Raggio's successor.

Commissioner Bonnie Weber is part of Angle's religious clique. They believe in theocracy, government by the Bible, not the Constitution. (See the links at left.)

In 1998, I began a series of exclusive disclosures about it. They will be linked to the expanded web edition of this column at

I have had reports that Commissioner Bob Larkin has grown close to Mrs. Weber and her religious dogma. I ballpark that as 1.5 votes leaning toward Angle.

Commissioner Dave Humke has a track record of going whichever way the wind blows. Witness his sellout on the Ballardini Ranch acquisition.

Commissioner John Breternitz on Friday took himself out of the running for Raggio's seat.

Angle came close to beating Raggio in the 2008 GOP primary.

Last year, Raggio endorsed U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., over Angle.

"During Raggio's nearly four decades of legislative service, Nevada bitterly refused to govern responsibly. Instead, the state dug in its heels to protect its backwardness, celebrated callous unenlightenment as a point of pride and increasingly saddled the working poor with one of the most regressive tax structures in the nation. The most that can be said is that things might have been even worse if not for Raggio — though given the oft-touted power and influence of 'Sir Bill,' maybe a non-insidery Nevadan could be excused for wondering if in fact Nevada sucks in spite of Raggio, or because of him. A bit of both, perhaps?"

Read the full commentary in Hugh Jackson's Las Vegas Gleaner

Raggio thus may work for someone else behind the scenes.

UPDATE: Toljaso Dept.
Raggio's boy gets the boss' job

That might well be Brower.

Law firms like to broker juice and the image thereof.

Whether in the senate or not, Raggio is the de facto governor of Nevada.

Newbie Gov. Brian Sandoval and his family go way back with Big Bad Bill.

Sandoval's father was appointed sergeant-at-arms of the state senate on Raggio's watch.

Raggio's law firm provided employment for the younger Sandoval during his run for governor.

Law firms love to hang conference room pictures of their once-and-future associates who happen to be on temporary leave in public office.

That's how the juice game is played and nobody ever played it better than Gov. Bill Raggio.

Raggio and his adopted son, former Sen. Randolph Townsend, R-Reno, imposed a sunset on 2009 tax hikes, so the battles of last session have to be re-fought this year along with all the other hassle.

Now that these guys are no longer seeking office, perhaps they will use their juice to help the little guys they stuck it to during all those years.

INSIDE TIP. The electrical workers union (IBEW 1245) will shortly come out with some new hardball proposals against NV Energy. They may circulate three initiative petitions and just won a major round at the Public Utilities Commission, which has opened an investigation after the union's warning of dangerous levels of understaffing. Watch for docs and details.

BACK FROM THE ASHES DEPT. Support the return of community radio and television to Sparks-Reno-Washoe. See Barbwire.TV for more information, to join the club and contribute via the web. It's important.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 42-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 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.

Smoking Guns

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced on Sept. 18, 2010.
HAT TRICK: Barbwire takes first place for third year in a row.
Next year, we go for the sombrero.

The winning entries:

Suing for Schools: The 20-year shuck
Expanded from the 2-21-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

Click here to view the show on your desktop

RED flags flying low over Sparks
Expanded from the 1-10-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

The wrath of self-righteous racism
Expanded from the 11-8-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

The campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?


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

The 2009 first-place Nevada Press Association award winners
Tony the Tiger & the flaky NFL
Barbwire / 11-30-2008
Deregulation is never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / 8-3-2008
Nevada: A good place to visit, but do you want to live here?
Barbwire / 6-15-2008

...and more ammo

Bill Moyers: Welcome to the Plutocracy
Money fights hard and it fights dirty
Speech delivered at Boston University on 29 Oct. 2010
Part of the Howard Zinn Lecture Series

Barbwire Corporate Welfare Archive

From clear-cut forests to dirty Gulfstream waters, this land belongs to old BP

BP/ARCO: The greasy root of our evils

Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 9-10-2006

The awful truth — Read it and weep, fellow suckers

Labor Day 2009: Rise of the Vampire Corpobots
Expanded from the 9-6-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

Angry Americans and Freudian fraud
Using war to market cigarettes
from the 8-23-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

BARBWIRE Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive

Propaganda fuels gasoline price fixing
Barbwire 8-14-2005

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
A prescient Plato on the dangers of oligarchy

The sands of time do not cloud the long memories of the sheiks of Araby
Barbwire 9-10-2006

      Rinfret, Pierre A.; Peace is Bullish; Look magazine, 5-31-1966 | U-News | Bulletins + Almanac
Casinos Out of Politics (COP) | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors
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Copyright © 1982-2011 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 42-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 first 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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