Sutherland: An Unresolved Dichotomy @ 18th & Grand

KC StarDuring the Cold War, analysts at the CIA would parse every word in the Soviet Union’s official newspaper, “Pravda,” and in the Red Chinese counterpart, “The People’s Daily.”

This was to search for subtle shifts in meaning and emphasis in news and commentary in order to figure out what was really going on with those totalitarian societies’ power elites.

Those same skills of close textual analysis are required to analyze the Stalinist offerings of the KC Star Editorial Board.

I have to employ such powers of discernment in deciphering the ongoing saga of the paper’s efforts to get special tax breaks for its multi-million dollar white elephant printing plant on Grand.

The Star’s initial tax abatement expired in 2014.

At the time it was initially granted, the Star was sensitive to charges it had opposed similar tax breaks for other businesses. They promised several times that they would pay taxes at the regular rate.

Once the initial term expired, however, they began actively lobbying for an extension, now that they were faced with property tax payments of $700,000 in 2015 and 2016 (almost five times what they previously paid), rising to $1.3 million annually in 2017.

In an article published 7-17-15, the Star stated it would be making instead annual payments of $337,000 as a result of the extended tax relief. (To quote John Belushi in Animal House, “Heh! You blanked-up! You trusted us!”)

hypocrisy-300x226By voting in favor of this tax break, the City Council will save the Star’s parent company McClatchy, $13 million over the next 15 years. That’s $13 million less to support our schools, our libraries, the community college, local mental health agencies, and other worthwhile institutions. Even though the Kansas City School District wrote the City Council objecting to this loss of revenue, the City Council voted 11 to 2 in favor of the measure. (Previously the Star had reported that there was no official opposition to the proposal.)

I should add the Star made not-so-veiled threats to close the facility and move operations out of Kansas City, Missouri if they didn’t get their way.

The likelihood of the Star walking away from a $200 million investment was extremely small, especially if it meant relocating to Sam Brownback’s Kansas!

What makes this episode so supremely offensive is the way it flies in the face of their own incessant attacks on special tax breaks (“giveaways”) to the wealthy and corporations. How many dozens of attacks over the last few years has the Star launched on the Republican legislature in Missouri and the Brownback administration in Kansas along those lines?

The other constant refrain of the Star is that lower taxes never work as an incentive to attract businesses to a community.  On the contrary, the Star insists, higher taxes are a draw, because they create a better educated work force and better local infrastructure, which in turn, promote more productive and innovative businesses. (Why then people haven’t flocked to high tax jurisdictions like Illinois, Connecticut, etc. is never explained!)

Apparently, lower taxes do make a difference to at least one business and its owners, i.e. the Kansas City Star and The McClatchy Company.

Watson's Girl & Zeiman(1)

Mark Zieman

Taxes make enough of a difference, in fact, that they threatened to leave Kansas City, Missouri if the city didn’t give in to their corporate threats and bullying.

It’s like the Star’s persistent editorial policy decrying income inequality, while McClatchy pays seven figure salaries to clowns like the Star’s former publisher, the rotund cherub Mark Zieman, for the privilege of running the company into the ground.

To add insult to injury, the Star has the temerity to brag about their success with this scam in print! It’s like the corporate executive I know who was ordered to provide basic financial information on the performance of his business to his shareholders. In an interview he gave to the press after the court in which he’d been sued directed him to provide such information, he said; 1) the lawsuit was the result of a tragic misunderstanding of the actual facts about the business on the part of the shareholder who sued, which would now be dispelled, and 2) he would only provide the shareholder the bare minimum of information required by law. The first part of his statement was somewhat undercut by the second.

Steve Paul "Think about it!"

Steve Paul
“Think about it!”

By the same token, if you’re going to act 180 degrees opposite of how you tell others to act, at least have the decency not to brag about it. Boasting or gloating is a good description of the headline that appeared in last Friday’s Star: “Star Tax Abatement Extended Fifteen Years.”

However that would have defeated the whole notion of mendacious consciousness. Coined by the political theorist George Lukacs, it describes the situation where a dictatorship lies to the people, the people know it’s lying to them and the dictatorship knows the people know it’s lying to them, but continues doing so for the sheer delight of tormenting them, knowing they can do nothing.

Steve Paul, call your office.  

http://www.mb-kc.com/
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16 Responses to Sutherland: An Unresolved Dichotomy @ 18th & Grand

  1. harley says:

    we’ve heard enough and read the bull sh*t~!
    You writing about the kc star is like lefty or glaze writing about nuclear physics.
    you have no right to critique anyone or any company.
    We’ve seen where you stand and fall!
    good luck. Be intereting to see how you guys did in the real world if you didn’t
    have daddy’s money to back you up!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. says:

      “Shut up,he explained.” Ring Lardner, The Young Immigrants,1920. Seriously,is this the best you can do as an argument? “Shut up!” because,””you have no right to critique any one or any company.” Why? Oh,I know,it’s because my family is prominent that must mean I’m personally worthless. Meanwhile.you hide behind a pen name,raging and sending in vile and hateful replies to any one who dares to express a different opinion than you .By the way,get your check book out. “Harley is never wrong ?” You said I predicted in kcconfidential that Romney would win. I never wrote anything for the blog until seven and a half months after the election. When can I expect my 10K?

      • paulwilsonkc says:

        Dwight, Harley ALSO said the IRS scandal would die down by Memorial Day….. LAST YEAR!! It seems to still be alive, but he claims he’s still right on that one too! He’s pretty bent.

        This story is from Judicial Watch, NOT FOX. This is a “Fedural” Judge talking, NOT some Tea Party nut job.

        http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/federal-judge-threatens-to-hold-irs-commissioner-doj-lawyers-in-contempt-of-court-over-lerner/

        • harley says:

          come on wislon…you come out of the bushes on this
          one simple story.
          do your research.
          the irs investigated both left and right organs who
          used the law to get tax breaks etc while they conducted
          political activity.
          You know it happens..or maybe you don’t.
          either way …hang on to this one thread you
          and “lois” have raised every time I write something.
          The irs is really in sad shape….and slowing a slow
          death because of cutbacks and retiring employees.
          Judicial watch…now that’s a great link…didn’t
          they try to impeach Clinton? aren’t they funded
          by right wing fanatics including the kochs.
          of course they want to get Obama. Every group that’s
          tried to take Obama down has failed.
          we’ve got gay marriage/aca/iran deal/government debty
          falling faster than expected/…don’t these fools like
          boner and McConnell have anything important to
          work on …like immigration or health care or
          the va/ or the nations failing infrastructure….
          or a jobs program….maybe those aren’t important
          to them…we know what they said when Obama
          took office… “he’ll be a one term president”.
          Obama is on fire…and he’s pummelled his
          corrupt money hungry opponents into the ground.
          Obama has a year and a half…and really who cares…
          except simple minded know nothing always wrong
          stuck under the dashboard box salesmen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • John Altevogt says:

      Usually your crap is so long I don’t bother to read it. So thanks for making this one short enough that one can tell it’s bullshit without wasting more than a few seconds.

      That said, thanks for the clarity in pointing out that modern “liberalism” is a totalitarian ideology that tolerates no other opinions and also, again, for the brevity with which you demonstrated that you don’t have a cluse as to what the hell you’re talking about.

      And, by the way, this is my name, I don’t hide behind some screen name.

      • harley says:

        john…wrong again…we tolerate the views of the right wing
        nuts.
        its just that they are so stupid and have no answers to anything
        that’s supposedly wrong with the nation.
        They have no replacement for aca…
        no idea how to fight isis…and know noting about the
        tricky and ever changing politics in the middle east.
        their right wing leaders worry about illegal immigration when
        90% of America disagrees with thm and really doesn’t
        care.
        they say stupid things…like say war heros like McCain
        aren’t real.
        they have no plan…no new ideas…no innovation…
        wherer’s all the new bright ideas they were supposed to
        present when they took back congress…in the wastebasket?
        then they let 18 clowns run for president and they hate
        each other and each has their sponsor so they can stay in the
        race well past their time.
        Where’s the new “soul of the party” that preius spoke of
        or which their study said they would become the whigs
        if they continued hating minorities?
        that’s non existent too…and for us on the left we’re still
        waiting for one single idea on how to solve the nations
        problems.
        Oh I see…drug test welfare recipeients and starve the
        kids and seniors.
        fight another war we have no money for against iran who
        is also our partner fighting isis.
        send our kids (not their kids) to another middle east
        war. Even their own leaders say an attack on iran would
        destroy the middle east and its fragile situation now.
        No…we have no patience. We’vewaited….we’ve asked these
        right wing nuts “where’s your alternative to our plan”
        And all we get are crickets!!!!!!!
        Thanks john…hearne needs new writers…why not give us
        your opinion on how to solve these problems.
        Your hero trump has it down pretty simple…build a wall!!!!!
        Even the dea/fbi/governors said this own’t work….Where’s
        the rest of the clown’s ideaon how to stop illegal immigration.
        I go to their website and not one precise,workable plan
        beside “build a wall”. Chapo saw that wall…and built
        catapults to throw the drugs over the wall into the u.s.
        they use tunnels…submarines….and they get the use of
        American banks (hsbc) to hide their drug money.
        We’ve waited…as has America. And we’ve seen nothing
        in 24 years. We’ve watched kock and adelson buy off the
        pols in the republican party and lose their money.
        Hey john…maybe sam can run for prez. At least he had
        a plan in place to build Kansas…too bad it destroyed our
        state and our great education foundations. His plan as
        outlined was to raise taxes…raise taxes…raise taxes…where
        is that dude who gets pols to sign no new tax pledges…I’m
        sure sam doesn’t take his call or answer his emails!!!!!!!
        Yes you use you real name…that’s your choice…and that’s
        cool but it also shows that you know nothing.
        I’m waiting to hear your plans…I hope they work…because
        the rest of your buddies have no plan or program to solve
        our problems.
        good luck…you’ll need it… Hillary in 2016 and the dems
        are preparing for the tsunami of voters that will show you
        that they fell asleep in 2014…and you’ve awaken the giant.
        I do hope trump gets nomination….even Bernie the
        socialist beats him by 12 points.
        Please john…donate/work for and volunteer for your
        man Donald.
        We’d love to see him put the final dagger in your hearts!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. gayle says:

    Movie reference correction: Otter said that, not Bluto. After all, these are the important things! 🙂

  3. Lydia says:

    You have barely scratched the surface of the Star’s hypocrisy and smug mendacity.

  4. Chuck says:

    You got it right!

  5. Kcmonarch says:

    Please don’t crop the Watsons girl out of that photo ever again.

  6. CFPCowboy says:

    I have always thought that the subject of equal treatment under the law needed to be applied to taxes, as well as individual rights of citizens, and perhaps if such was the case, the Kansas City School District cold compete with Shawnee Mission…hardly. While lobbying the Montana Legislature, I was faced with the fact that Montana wanted to offer tax abatement for a computer firm talking to the state about relocating in Butte, Montana. The state wanted it because it stood to correct a blighted area. I was told by my Chamber to lobby for the effort. At the time I pointed out that it was probably not going to be a fruitful venture, but being the mercenary I was being paid to be, I lobbied and won state tax abatement for the business. The company, however, did not move from the neighboring state as expected. This company went to the state legislature in the neighboring state, showing them what Montana had promised, and that state matched it. Later, I was asked how I knew the business wouldn’t move. My answer was simple. The company’s contractor was my client, and he had already started site preparation in the neighboring state, at the time when tax abatement was granted, but due to confidentiality, I could not disclose it. It is better to give every business equal treatment, and if you do not get the business, you will know that your cost of doing business is too high.

  7. John Altevogt says:

    Hearne: While you’re moderating my first comment to Harley, no picture of Zieman would be complete without a picture of his better half, “Three Wheel” Lokeman. Someone should do a piece on her DUI ticket, and the resolution thereof, for yet another lesson in The Star’s hypocrisy.

  8. John Altevogt says:

    One always learns something from Dwight. I always thought that the phrase “mendacious consciousness” came from one of my grad school mentors, Svetozar Stojanovic when he used it in the context of the implosion of Communism in eastern Europe. I was completely unaware of its use in Lukacs work.

  9. harley says:

    guys…you’re getting old and reading the star is not good for your health.
    seems as if reading it shoots your blood level to astronomical numbers.
    Maybe try the drugereport..or foxnews.com….that way you can collect
    those gubment dollars and free medical care for alonger period of time.
    Maybe you’ll even get approved for a reverse mortage.
    hhahahahahaha!

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