Art Cars: Now Chosen by Curators

M&R Photography

Image: M & R Photography, Flickr (Creative Commons)

Over at eplaya, Trilobyte has posted the new rules for Mutant Vehicles.

Have a cool art car? That’s no longer enough. In order to bring it, the Art Czar will have to decide that it fits the aesthetic they desire for the year’s theme – and if you are in good enough standing in your sucking up to BMOrg.

Burning Man 2.0 is about pedestrians and bicycles, not Art Cars and DJs.

2016 MUTANT VEHICLE PROCESS CHANGES

The Department of Mutant Vehicles is moving to a new system for processing Mutant Vehicle applications in 2016.

THE SHORT VERSION
The increased volume of Mutant Vehicle applications (nearly 1000 in 2015) is requiring the DMV to be more selective than ever. Having a vehicle on the playa in the past is no guarantee of
being invited in the future! Put your best foot forward in your application and give us a reason to invite your vehicle to Black Rock City. The Mutant Vehicle application form will be closing earlier than ever this year: Noon (PST) on April 13.

THE WHOLE STORY
In past years, the DMV has invited every vehicle to the playa that met the published Mutant Vehicle requirements. We strove to have an objective process to evaluate each application, focusing on level of mutation – not on quality of the art.

Each Mutant Vehicle application is reviewed by a committee of DMV Hotties, and we strive to reach a consensus agreement on whether the vehicle has met the criteria. Historically the DMV team has reviewed each application shortly after it was received, and responded to the vehicle creator as quickly as possible. Over the years, the Mutant Vehicle Community has steadily “ratcheted up” the bar a vehicle must pass, and we’re now at a point where we require vehicles to be completely mutated – showing little or none of the original base vehicle.

In spite of the stricter requirements, the number of applications has steadily grown, and the number of thoroughly mutated vehicles now exceeds what we can accommodate on the playa. Burning Man is primarily a pedestrian and bicycle city, and only a fraction of burners can bring a vehicle before the playa becomes too crowded with them. Our goal is to enable our creative community of artists making mutated vehicles to show off their creations, while balancing the needs of playa preservation, visual stimulation, and safety.

In response, the DMV is revising how we evaluate applications to bring a Mutant Vehicle to the playa. Rather than considering each vehicle on its own merits, we’re moving to a “curation” model, wherein we will consider each vehicle within the context of all the qualified applications we receive. A vehicle will still be required to meet the published Mutant Vehicle criteria, but that alone won’t guarantee an invitation to bring it to the playa. We will also be looking to invite a balance of different types of vehicles on the playa: large scale sound vehicles, flame effects focused vehicles, small artistic vehicles, large transport vehicles, highly participatory vehicles, etc. We are dedicated to licensing vehicles from projects of all budget levels, not just the most expensively built ones.

We will be looking for vehicles that have good execution of their design concept. We will also be evaluating the originality of a vehicle. There are already quite a number of bar-cars, furniture cars and boats, for example – and that might not be the best design choice for a new vehicle you’re considering. When it comes to larger vehicles, we will be favoring vehicles that have a sterling record for inclusivity when it comes to offering rides to the public.

So…what can you do to maximize the chance of being able to bring your vehicle to the playa this year?

  • Fill out your application thoroughly. Including more detail is better than less.
  • Make sure your application gives us a very clear vision of your vehicle.
  • The application should clearly describe the concept for your vehicle and what you have done or will do to realize that concept.
  • Good photos of both the day and nighttime appearance are necessary – If you’re building a new vehicle that isn’t complete yet, then detailed design sketches are a good alternative to photos.
  • Vehicles desiring a night license need to be detailed about the lighting plan for the vehicle.
  • Mutant Vehicles which align with or comment on Burning Man’s annual theme will be given greater consideration.

Please recognize not every vehicle will be invited. Having brought your vehicle to the playa in a prior year is no guarantee that you’ll get invited again. Your application will be considered in comparison to the other applications we receive. Make sure your application conveys what excited you about building the vehicle in the first place!

In past years, we’ve allowed vehicle creators who were not selected to appeal our decision, and offer up additional details about their vehicle, or change some part of their design. Our new process eliminates appeals, so it’s more important than ever your application be filled out clearly and completely!

Lastly, the deadline for submitting an application will be noon PST on April 13. In past years, we’ve been able to accommodate vehicles that missed the deadline. Because of our new evaluation system, we can no longer do that. So get your vehicle application in early!

Thanks for your time, and we look forward to seeing all of your amazing creative vehicle designs this year. If you have questions, please get in touch with the Burning Man Department of Mutant Vehicles at dmv@burningman.org.

RESOURCES

  • The main DMV webpage is available here
  • The DMV Mutant Vehicle criteria are available here
  • DMV Information on Vehicles for People with Disabilities is here

[Source: ePlaya]

In 2014, the last year we have an AfterBurn report for, there were 600 Mutant Vehicles in Burning Man. So 1000 applications means if you made an Art Car, you have a 60/40 chance of getting it to Burning Man. Basically, flip a coin.

Another Org decision that is just going to make it harder for Burners to plan and get excited about the Burn. They don’t know if their whole camp can go, and now they don’t know if their art car can go either.

It calls into question the entire idea of raising money to invest in an art car, if there is no guarantee it is even going to be permitted at Burning Man – or if it can be turned away on the whim of some faceless groupthink influencer at BMHQ. No appeal, no oversight. That’s it, done – and if you ever want anything approved by them again, placement or an art car or an art project or early access passes or even (gulp!) tickets – you better just shut up and take it.

The series of ticket crises and systems has ended the idea of a camp of friends who would all get together every year at Burning Man; or people arranging to meet each other at a future Burn. Now, it’s pot luck. A lottery. Planning goes out the window, when it all becomes so arbitrary. Unless you have some juice inside the Org, of course. You know people who know people – and they’re the right people.

BMOrg are still trying to figure it out. Hate to break it to ’em, but 10 tickets are really not enough to organize a camp. 5 couples is a pretty small camp – 2 RVs or ShiftPods. I have people contacting me chasing 300 tickets:

Screenshot 2016-01-29 17.48.38

Prepare to get your participation forms in, folks. In about a month, you’ll be able to fill out online questionnaires and applications, so that your process of bring art to Burning Man may finally (possibly) begin…

Heads-up, folks! The various participation forms for the 2016 event will go live on February 24th at noon PST. At that point, you’ll be able to start filling out the questionnaires and applications for your projects. The deadlines vary by project, and are listed below. You don’t have to scramble to get them in the minute the forms open, but you DO need to make sure you fill it out and hit the final submit button BEFORE that deadline.

  • Camp Placement Questionnaire – February 24, 2016 – April 28, 2016 at 12:00 noon Pacific Time
  • Mutant Vehicle Application – February 24, 2015 – April 13, 2016 at 12:00 noon Pacific Time
  • Disabled Persons Vehicle Application – February 24, 2016 – August 2, 2016 at 12:00 noon Pacific Time
  • Art Installation Questionnaire – February 24, 2016 – June 14, 2016 at 12:00 noon Pacific Time
  • BRC Media Application – February 24, 2015 – July 21, 2016 at 12:00 noon Pacific Time

[Source: ePlaya]

LSD Research: Where We Are In 2016

by Terry Gotham

Since the interview with MAPS went over so well, I figured I’d keep the hype train about psychedelics research going. Over the last couple of years, really great thing have happened surrounding MDMA & Magic Mushrooms, but for some of us, LSD is the Holy Grail of psychedelics research.

To provide some history, back in the 50’s & 60’s, there was a significant amount of research surrounding LSD. Everything from autism to homosexuality to childhood schizophrenia was treated with LSD in places like the Silver Spring Maryland Hospital. Dozens of studies were performed, and LSD was seen as a promising psychomimetic (insanity mimicking) and later as a “psychedelic” (mind-manifesting). But we all know what happened next.  Manson used a bunch of it to trick girls into killing people and horror stories about hippies & kids going insane and never coming back pervaded the landscape. Oh yea, and Nixon shit all over it.

However, over the last decade or so, we’ve seen a resurgence in research associated with those very same psychedelics. While MDMA for PTSD & Psilocybin for terminal cancer anxiety has stolen the spotlight, LSD has quietly been examined by a number of research groups, with some encouraging results. LSD has been shown to be effective for anxiety surrounding terminal cancer as well, as the recently completed Phase II clinical trial sponsored by MAPS has shown. If you’re interested in bypassing the hype and getting directly to the full text pdf, here it is.Two other avenues of LSD research have been making steady progress during this psychedelics renaissance.

Alcoholism treatment with LSD was evaluated by two researchers in the Dept. of Neuroscience at the Norwegian University of Science & Technology. A meta-analysis of the current research findings surrounding LSD & alcoholism were evaluated, and the findings were very encouraging. From the paper’s abstract:

A single dose of LSD, in the context of various alcoholism treatment programs, is associated with a decrease in alcohol misuse. ~Krebs & Johansen, 2012

This isn’t surprising to some of you, who have commented about how psychedelics have helped cope with addiction & addictive tendencies. But for the effect to be verified academically, is very important.

The second area of research that is getting some LSD-infused love is cluster headaches, also known as suicide headaches. A study published in the Journal of Neurology 7 of 8 LSD users stated they saw a termination of cluster headache attacks. MAPS has also published on this phenomena. Cluster headaches have very few treatments and they paralyze those who experience them, so researchers are very excited at the potential for LSD & LSD analogues to help.

Another aspect of LSD consumption that deserves more study is microdosing. After I was critical of the loose reporting surrounding this practice, I had a number of interesting conversations with burners who reached out to discuss their anecdotal use of LSD to improve their life. Some microdose daily, others told me about habits where they’d microdose one week on 2-3 weeks off, and back and forth. There’s a giant uncontrolled experiment going on out there, and instead of trying to generate page views by claiming executives are dropping tabs in the office, I agree with Forbes (a phrase I don’t use often) that we need to evaluate this in a much more sophisticated & systematic way.

If you’re really hankering for some LSD & don’t want to break the law, head to Dr. Peter Gasser in Switzerland. VICE did a great little round up of how and why this psychiatrist is able to prescribe LSD to his patients. It’s a nice little story, and continues to back up my claim that Switzerland isn’t a real place. It’s totally the future with Alps & chocolate.

So much more work to be done, but hope you found a couple of reasons to celebrate how far we’ve come as you’ve read this.

Big Burner Bucks in the Biggest Little Tax Haven [Update]

 

luggage carousel reno

A miniature Burning Man statue and an American flag greet travelers arriving at Reno airport; their busiest time of year is during Burning Man

reno biggest little city

Tax is the big story in the Burning Man world right now. This is in line with this year’s Medici theme of patrons. It seems that Patrón is not just a tequila favored by rappers, it’s also a key word in the Nevada Live Entertainment tax legislation amendment called “The Burning Man tax” which BMOrg is insisting “doesn’t apply to them since they don’t provide live entertainment”. Presumably, since the law doesn’t specifically mention “ritual effigy burn in front of a crowd of 80,000 people” as one of the types of live entertainment, they think they have found a loophole to finagle.

Whatever the outcome, it’s holding up ticket sales, and plans, for the Burners who have to actually create Black Rock City and provide all the Live Entertainment (as per the tax code definitions) on our dime.

The Man burns in 219 days. 7 months

Meanwhile, over at the BJ they say What Fuelled the Renaissance? Could it Have Happened Without Cash?

As Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell said last year “The culture of Burning Man can really flourish with money…[for example] to bring great musicians to your camp“. So hopefully the gentrification of Burning Man 2.0 will actually lead to a Renaissance-style flourishing of culture, where the poor are lifted from their wretched conditions to share in the fruits that our modern technocratic civilization is bearing. More art, more gifting, more solar and hydrogen powered camps and installations, more live music, more hip-hop yes please!

churchill initiation druid4Loopholes to get out of paying tax are much favored by banksters, including the Florentine Medici, the Borgias of Naples, the Venetian Del Bancos (ancestors of the German Warburgs), and the rest of the Venetian (or was it Phoenician) Black Nobility. They created the modern banking industry, the Illuminati and Skull and Bones secret societies, and the British system of hereditary feudal oligarchy, with its Dukes, Earls, Barons, and so on. This is the world of Downton Abbey (which is actually a Rothschild castle); or Liz Hurley’s epic new show The Royals, which was filmed at Winston Churchill’s family house Blenheim Palace (he was the Duke of Marlborough, and also a Druid). These wealthy and secretive families financed the arts, railroads, shipping, immigration, architecture, and war – usually, both sides.

Image: Kevin Oliver, Flickr (Creative Commons)

Downton Abbey was filmed at Highclere Castle, one of the many Rothschild family homes.  Image: Kevin Oliver, Flickr (Creative Commons)

 

Blenheim Palace, ancestral home of the Dukes of Marlborough. Image: 1967jwm, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Blenheim Palace, ancestral home of the Dukes of Marlborough including Winston Churchill. Image: 1967jwm, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

In the middle of all these centuries of international finance intrigues were the Rothschilds. They’re at Burning Man, of course:

Screenshot 2016-01-28 10.10.53

And not just David. Other members of the clan too.

From Inc magazine:

One Entrepreneur’s Productivity Secret: Burning Man

For Vitals founder Mitch Rothschild, the radical change in perspective that comes from a trip to the desert helps him get more done.
 

Whip cream holsters. Topless dancers. Airplane-size sculptures. It’s all part of the draw at the Burning Man festival in Black Rock, Nevada, which kicks off this week. But for one entrepreneur, all this reckless abandon has a very concrete pay-off: it’s a highly effective productivity booster

“You’re completely in the desert,” says Mitch Rothschild, a New York-based entrepreneur who admittedly went through 30 canisters of whip cream last year. “There’s just miles and miles of flat desert expanse and you’ve got 65,000 people there. There’s no money, no cell phones, no Internet. You get back as much as you put in.” (Rothschild’s distribution of whip cream was one way he gave back to attendees.)

…a change in perspective helped Rothschild pivot his business last year. Before he attended the festival, Vitals was strictly ad-based. There was growing demand for price and quality transparency, especially among insurers, but Vitals wasn’t making use of the data it had. After attending the festival, however, Rothschild saw the opportunity right in front of him. So what if it was a new business model? The money he could make would be worth it. Now a year later, Vitals has grown five times from where it was a year ago, thanks to this shift. 

Burning Man’s focus on self-reliance–among the festival’s principles, an emphasis on survival remains paramount–has also helped Rothschild’s approach to problem-solving at work, he says. “There is no plumbing, there is no water. There are dust storms and you have to not mind that.” 

Above all, Rothschild stresses the importance of simply unplugging. “You go on a vacation and don’t even realize the cobwebs you have in your brain until you’re thinking about things fresh,” he says. And the more different the experience, the better your perspective will be. “It’s almost like going to Mars, it’s so different from anything else,” he says of Burning Man. “But if you embrace the concept of change, not for its own sake but for adaptaing to change in your environment, well, that’s what an entrepreneur has to do.”

[Source: Inc magazine]

Great to hear that the Medici Rothschilds are making five times as much money from Burning Man.

Well, now it seems they’re setting up shop in Reno as well. And by shop I mean “international tax free corporations”.

From Bloomberg Businessweek:

The World’s Favorite New Tax Haven Is the United States

Moving money out of the usual offshore secrecy havens and into the U.S. is a brisk new business.

The U.S. “is effectively the biggest tax haven in the world” —Andrew Penney, Rothschild & Co.

 bloomberg tax havenLast September, at a law firm overlooking San Francisco Bay, Andrew Penney, managing director at Rothschild & Co., gave a talk on how the world’s wealthy elite can avoid paying taxes.

His message was clear: You can help your clients move their fortunes to the United States, free of taxes and hidden from their governments.

Some are calling it the new Switzerland.

After years of lambasting other countries for helping rich Americans hide their money offshore, the U.S. is emerging as a leading tax and secrecy haven for rich foreigners. By resisting new global disclosure standards, the U.S. is creating a hot new market, becoming the go-to place to stash foreign wealth. Everyone from London lawyers to Swiss trust companies is getting in on the act, helping the world’s rich move accounts from places like the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands to Nevada, Wyoming, and South Dakota.

“How ironic—no, how perverse—that the USA, which has been so sanctimonious in its condemnation of Swiss banks, has become the banking secrecy jurisdiction du jour,” wrote Peter A. Cotorceanu, a lawyer at Anaford AG, a Zurich law firm, in a recent legal journal. “That ‘giant sucking sound’ you hear? It is the sound of money rushing to the USA.”

Rothschild, the centuries-old European financial institution, has opened a trust company in Reno, Nev., a few blocks from the Harrah’s and Eldorado casinos. It is now moving the fortunes of wealthy foreign clients out of offshore havens such as Bermuda, subject to the new international disclosure requirements, and into Rothschild-run trusts in Nevada, which are exempt.

The firm says its Reno operation caters to international families attracted to the stability of the U.S. and that customers must prove they comply with their home countries’ tax laws. Its trusts, moreover, have “not been set up with a view to exploiting that the U.S. has not signed up” for international reporting standards, said Rothschild spokeswoman Emma Rees.

[Source: Bloomberg Business Week]

The whole story by Jesse Drucker at Bloomberg is a great read.

The Shadow Economy

How significant are tax havens to Silicon Valley? Well, tech companies have more cash than countries – yes, even the mighty United States.

more cash than countries 2013

…and most of it is offshore

2014 offshore money

[Source: 2014 data, Citizens for Tax Justice, via Softpedia ]

The Fortune 500 companies alone have $2.1 trillion in tax havens, a pile that is growing 8% a year. 72% of them operate offshore tax haven subsidiaries. The top 5 biggest tech companies had $471 billion offshore, as of 2014. Apple’s cash pile has grown to $216 billion, as of yesterday – $200 billion of that is offshore.

Apple’s tiny little office in Reno runs the largest tax-free cash hoard the world has ever seen.

[Source: Zacks.com via qz.com]

Braeburn Capital

Image via blogs.rgj.com

Named after the Granny Smith and Lady Hamilton apple hybrid, Braeburn Capital’s sole purpose – just like Apple Operations International – is to avoid paying taxes. Apple created the Reno, Nevada-based company in 2006 as an asset management company.

Apple’s headquarters may be located in Cupertino, Calif, but by placing an office in Reno – roughly 200 miles away from headquarters – to collect and invest the company’s profits, Apple sidesteps state income taxes on some of those gains.

California’s corporate tax rate is 8.84%, compared to Nevada’s whopping 0%. Setting up an office in Reno is just one of many legal methods Apple uses to reduce its worldwide tax bill by billions of dollars each year.

[Source: Zacks.com]

It’s no wonder that the US wants a cut of all these billions and trillions.

Reno is being used to get the money out of the country, but how does it get back in? This article from a Venture Capital blog offers an interesting clue:

Offshore-Fund-Structure

[Source: The Venture Alley]

So the offshore company invests in a pooled fund which invests in a management company in another country. This company then invests in whatever VC funds and startups it wants. For example the London office can invest in the Reno office. Which cycles the money through Ireland and the Netherlands Antilles in a Double Irish With A Dutch sandwich (no, really). Lord Sandwich was a member of the Hellfire Club; the Hawaiian islands were once known as the Sandwich Islands, in his honor. But I digress; back to Black Rock.

Black Rock.

Black Stone.

Black Water.

One of the first Silicon Valley venture capital firms was called Venrock – Rock as in Rockefeller. They are the money behind Apple, Intel, Fairchild, and many others – $2.5 billion in 442 companies over 41 years (to 2010), resulting in 125 IPOs and 128 M & A exits.

Yes, Rockefellers are Burners too. BMP Director Rae Richman used to run the Silicon Valley office of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

largest foundations

Another BMP Director, Jennifer Raiser, is also on the board of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, #18 (above). She gets paid to advise BMOrg on their annual report, and gets to make money on her book about Burning Man which they promote through their official channels.

You’ll notice that none of the various Rockefeller or Rothschild entities (now publicly combined) show up on these lists. The richer you get, the deeper in the shadows you can hide it. Controlling the propaganda channels helps.

rothschilds economist

The Rothschilds own the Economist with the Agnelli family (Fiat). The annual magazine cover contains cryptic messages and predictions

As big as the corporate Shadow Banking System is, it pales in comparison to private offshore wealth – which Forbes claim was $21 trillion in 2015.

Big Names on the Big Donor List

The 2014 Annual Report published a list of Major Donors to the Burning Man Project. These are the 1% of the 1% of the 1%. It reads like a who’s who of Big Banking families.

Screenshot 2016-01-28 10.22.48

[Source: burningman.org]

“Confirmed” means these people are definitely from the prominent families; “Unconfirmed” means that they may just share a name (and also be wealthy enough to be listed as a substantial donor to the Burning Man Project).

André Heinz is from the famous beans family, and John Kerry’s stepson.

Drew Schiff was married to Al Gore’s daughter.

Image: The Independent

Hedge-fund tycoon Pierre LaGrange (r) with new partner Roubi l’Roubi (l) Image: The Independent

Pierre LaGrange left his wife for the life. He’s now shaking up the bespoke tailoring world in London.

Burner artist Laura Kimpton’s father is from the hotel-chain family; her mother is a bird.

Karl Heinz Stockhausen is a pioneering electronic (classical) music composer. He is one of the Illuminati featured on the Sgt Peppers cover (back row, 5th from the left):

sgt peppers

Pioneer of electronic classical music Karlheinz Stockhausen. Invented the Electronic Music used in “60’s psychedelic Counter Culture.”

I’m not sure that Karlheinz and Miranda Stockhausen are both from the same “family of stick living”, but they both have castles in the same part of Germany.

Miranda von Stockhausen:

Image of Stockhausen Estate 3In 1787, Christian Ludwig von Stockhausen (1746-1820), became the honored recipient of the Ordre Pour le Merite (also known as the “Blue Max”)….the highest military decoration in the Prussian army until the end of the German Empire and monarchy in 1918…

Although our family had noble status before Christian, it was somehow lost. However, renewed admittance to the German nobility by Royal Decree occurred on July 6, 1798 by Prussian King Friederich Wilhelm III, by reasons of prior/old nobility coupled with Christian’s dedicated exemplary service as a courageous artillery captain of the Prussian army…

Image of the Stockhausen EstateAccording to an Imperial sealed declaration of October 3, in the year 997,the German Emperor Otto III gave the Stockhausen Estate, then a convent and part of the Meschede religious sovereignty, the predicate of nobility.

The Stockhausen estate is located in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany, in the Olpe district.

[Source]

 

The Federal Reserve and Burning Man?

In 1910, in a secret mission in private rail cars to the Jekyll Island Club in Georgia, the plan was hatched to create the Federal Reserve. A private company owned by the banksters that creates money out of thin air and lends it to their banks at ultra-low interest rates. They then invest this money back into markets they rig. It is above the law, according to its former director Alan Greenspan.

Cutting the long story of The Big Short short, the concept of fiat currency enshrined in this private bank and the modern perpetual war petrodollar economy has led to most of the horrors of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries. The people are better off, because we have cars, planes, Internet, drugs, and Burning Man…right? Meanwhile the bankers are most certainly better off. And the hundreds of millions dead, wounded, tortured, imprisoned, or made homeless by endless, meaningless wars are definitely not better off.

first name club

Image copyright(c) Burners.Me 2016

President Woodrow Wilson was the banking cartel’s stooge, with the mysterious Colonel House his controller. We have him to thank for the Federal Reserve (the value of US$1 has dropped 98% in the century since its formation), the Income Tax and the IRS (a privately held Puerto Rico corporation), and America’s participation in World War I.

Wilson said, in his later years:

woodrow wilson“I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world — no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.”

[Source]

As he was leaving office, Wilson realized he’d been hoodwinked by this crew of bankster robber barons – but by then, it was too late. The damage was done to all of us, and we still suffer today from economic bubbles and busts. The rich get richer, the poor get the picture, as Midnight Oil once said – before The Man got to them, too.

Back in Ye Olden Dayes, in 1911 John Moody and George Turner published an article Masters of Capital in America: The Seven Men. They named Seven Men – 6 family names – that controlled Wall Street and by extension, the entire U.S. economy.

masters of capital seven men

How interesting to see that every single one of those names is on the Burning Man major donor list – along with Goldman, Sachs, Russell, and many other titanic names in the financial world.

Sharp-eyed readers, or paid trolls waiting eagerly for us to slip up on a fact or a claim, might say “but Baker is not on the list”. Drew Schiff is the great-great-grandson of BOTH George Fisher Baker and Jacob Schiff (and, a Warburg). The Schiff, Rothschild, and Oppenheimer banking families have been closely intertwined since the founding of the Illuminati in 1776, and before (back when the Rothschilds were the Bauers, they worked for the Oppenheimers and lived in the same house as the Schiffs).

The 1% of the 1% of the 1% of the 1%

Recently, the world was shocked to learn that the number of people who have the same amount of wealth as the poorest 50% of people on the planet had dropped from 388 in 2010 to 62 today

numberswealth

Image: Newsweek

Oxfam said, in their report to the World Economic Forum at Davos about a week ago:

The Oxfam report An Economy for the 1%, shows that the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population has fallen by a trillion dollars since 2010, a drop of 38 percent. This has occurred despite the global population increasing by around 400 million people during that period. Meanwhile, the wealth of the richest 62 has increased by more than half a trillion dollars to $1.76tr. The report also shows how women are disproportionately affected by inequality – of the current ‘62’, 53 are men and just nine are women.

Although world leaders have increasingly talked about the need to tackle inequality, and in September agreed a global goal to reduce it, the gap between the richest and the rest has widened dramatically in the past 12 months. Oxfam’s prediction, made ahead of last year’s Davos, that the 1% would soon own more than the rest of us, actually came true in 2015 – a year earlier than expected.

[Source: Oxfam.org]

But this isn’t the 1%. More than half (53.4%) of Black Rock City earns US$50,000/yr or more, which puts them in the top 0.3% of the world’s wealth. We can probably say every Burner is in the 1%, globally.

This is not even the 1% of the 1% – or the 1% of the 1% of the 1%.

As I write this, the world population clock reads 7, 398,025,067. So 1% of 1% of 1% of 1% of the world’s population is 74. Less people even than that, own half the world’s wealth.

oxfam rich people

Here’s the data that is based on, from the Forbes 2015 Billionaires List:

The big questions: how many Burners are on the list?

I have it on trusted authority that Bill Gates hasn’t been, but is thinking about it. He hasn’t tripped since the 70s, according to Playboy.

Larry Ellison and Stefan Persson were both named (outed?) as Billionaire Burners at Burning Man’s official web site, but that may just have been irony, or propaganda…or both.

My information, again from trusted sources, is that both of Larry Ellison’s kids,  Megan and David (aka Hollywood’s Richest Producers) have been to Burning Man.

Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Sergei Brin, and Larry Page are all confirmed Burners.

Three other names come up in the Big Donors list that are also in the 62: Misty Roberts Thomson, Charles Ergen, Maggie Li. This could be coincidence; all three family fortunes are in the tech/media space. If anyone knows any other Burners from families in this list of 62, please let us know in the comments or a private message.

A simple solution to the world’s problems (for those who still believe that “Gifting” is “an economy”) might seem to be “those 62 people should give their wealth to the other 3.5 billion”. Unfortunately, that works out to a mere $507.89 per person – roughly the same as a Burning Man ticket after handling fees, vehicle pass, and taxes.

Giving the fish to people doesn’t solve the problem; teaching them to fish can solve it – provided corporations stop over-fishing and dumping toxic chemicals in our oceans, of course.

Who Was the Chicken, and Who the Egg?

According to Danger Ranger, it is because of Burning Man that Billionaire Burner Elon Musk located his Gigafactory in Reno.

Screenshot 2016-01-28 11.38.13

[Source: Twitter]

The Tesla factory happens to be in the 6th largest industrial park in the world (the biggest in the US), a designated Foreign Trade Zone. Reno is a natural logistics hub, the intersection of multiple cross-country railroads and highways. It is close to world renowned ski fields, and has its own luxury resorts and casinos. For 2 weeks a year it hosts Hot August Nights, the largest nostalgic car show in the world: also a thirty-year old event this year, one that brings more than 500,000 people and $250 million to the city. And, it is also the hottest new tax haven for the Shadow Economy.

How much of Reno’s success in luring billionaires and now trillionaires is due to all of that…and how much to Burning Man? Are they completely independent, totally inter-related, or somewhere in between?

tesla-reno-gigafactory-site-1-KTNV-Channel-13

rendering-of-tesla-battery-gigafactory-outside-reno-nevada-sep-2014_100479365_m

Image: Paul Horn, Flickr

Image: Paul Horn, Flickr

The Gigafactory under construction kind of looks like a giant Burning Man structure:

Tesla Gigafactory, Feb 2015. Image: Movilidaelectrica, Flickr

Tesla Gigafactory, Feb 2015. Image: Movilidaelectrica, Flickr

Burning Man definitely inspired the Morris Burner hotel and The Generator. Worthy and noble spaces, and we hope that more like these get inspired.

Image: Aaron Muszalski, Flickr (Creative Commons)

Image: Aaron Muszalski, Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Generator, Reno. Image: portaplaya, via the Burning Man Journal

Can BMOrg really claim credit for all the rest, though? $100 billion – just from one company locating one building near Reno? Let alone these Rothschild and Rockefeller ventures? What about the 1000 people working for Billionaire Burner Bezos’ Amazon in Fernley?

Did the Borg create the Medici…or did the Medici create them?

And what does all this influx of billionaire money mean for We The Burners? More art? More gifting? More culture spreading around the world and helping others? Or just, higher ticket prices, more wristband-only camps, and more Default world rules and politics?


[Update 1/30/16 1:54am]

I just watched this movie tonight. It came up during the research and it is really the perfect fire-roasted marshmallow with hot chocolate apértif to my story. Highly recommended.

New Details of Man and Base

This year’s Turning Man is going to spin end to end. Bells are going to ring out every hour, and then the Man will be rotated like clockwork. The area around the base is going to be used for skills training workshops.

Plan view of piazza (Rendering by Andrew Johnstone)

Plan view of piazza (Rendering by Andrew Johnstone)

From the Burning Man Journal:

In contrast to the historic squares of Florence that serve as its inspiration, Black Rock City’s piazza will be a playfully détourned version, re-imagined for our desert milieu through the use of repurposed, reused, and recycled materials. It will be anchored at its corners by four campaniles or bell towers, and flanked by four rows of Workshops, sheltered spaces intended for the teaching, learning, and practical application of art and craft.  Encouraged by the community’s positive reaction to the Souk in 2014 and the Midway in 2015, we designed these Workshops as the latest step in our ongoing experiment to turn the area around the base of the Man into a rich interactive space. To that end, we will be calling on artists, craftspeople, and tinkerers from across the Regional Network and beyond to help turn these Workshops into lively centers of creative activity, and have set aside a portion of our Honorarium Art Grant budget to help bring these ideas to life. Complementary groups will be encouraged to collaborate here as they do so frequently in their home communities, pulling together artist, organizer, and maker resources to fashion an updated version of the guild network …The emphasis within the Workshop spaces will be on experiential learning through hands-on doing…in order to turn the fruits of one’s imagination into action in the world, new skills often need to be acquired. Whether it’s as ancient as sewing or weaving, or as modern as programming digital lighting arrays, Burners enthusiastically embrace new skills to make their art installations, theme camps, or other projects bigger and better.

 

Detail view of Man mechanism, looking up (Rendering by Andrew Johnstone)

Read the full story here.

It’s not live entertainment, it’s lively centers of creative activity. Some people go for the EDM and molly, some for the sewing lessons. Perhaps the Ministry of Propaganda will be conducting some spin classes.

So what happens when The Man burns? Everyone crowds inside the square plaza? Where are the art cars going to go?

Who Won, Who Lost, What’s Fact, and What’s Propaganda? – Decommodification LLC’s First Legal Stoush [Updates]

Recently we posted a story Victory For The Little Guy, about BMOrg’s failure in its personal pursuit of Napalm Dragon in Canada.

One of our readers Anon said:

“It would be helpful to provide links to the documents, or the documents themselves, that caused this article. This includes, but may not be limited to, the court’s decision, any settlement agreement(s) and/or stipulation(s) and the final judgment from the court that sets forth the determination from the court (as to him personally and the corporation) and the ability to enforce that determination/judgment.

Everything else is, as they say, commentary, especially where you have a non-lawyer characterizing legal documents that may or may not be a correct characterization of those documents. He may be entirely correct as to what he claims, but it may also come as no surprise that sometimes legal documents get misunderstood by even the finest trained or untrained legal minds. This is what often leads to litigation.”

a_stickler_for_detail_by_abecedarianjameson-d6wjkiqFair enough – we always like primary source documentation here, the more the better. We are trying to deal in #truth, not propaganda. So we posted the documents we had available at the time, and asked Napalm Dragon to provide more. He refused, which is also fair enough: you’d probably be sick of the whole Burner world too, if you’d just spent two years of your life being hounded by them trying to extract every last cent you had.

Well, luckily for us all, BMOrg have published some documentation. They said:

Update 1/21/16:

For those of you who have asked to see the Court’s judgments in writing, here they are for the record:

[Source: Burning Man Journal]

Unfortunately, you have to actually click these links to realize that what they said is not true. The first 3 links all go the same document from 2014. The Settlement Agreement from a month ago is Missing In Action. The only new piece of information provided is the 2016 judgement, which says:

Screenshot 2016-01-23 09.47.22

In BMOrg’s spin, this is a resounding victory for them, and a massive loss for the alien entity determined to ruin their shiny corporate values with the foolish idea that “burn culture means something to the people who created it”. If you set fire to an effigy anywhere on the planet, you are worshipping the Ten Principles™, and doing something that Burning Man™ invented and owns. Got it? Crimson Rose invented fire dancing, and now we have the court documents that prove it.

Or do they?

At first glance, from BMOrg’s point of view this seems like a win. Bhak and Burn BC can’t use Burning Man or Decompression.

The problem with this narrative, is

  • Decommodification LLC and their tax-exempt subsidiaries did not register any trademarks in Canada before 2014; Canada has different trademark laws to the US
  • Bhak did, saying he wanted to protect Burner culture from commercial exploitation, by placing them in the public domain to benefit all Canadians
  • The new U.S. corporation that Burning Man sold (Gifted?) the U.S. trademarks to sued him, in order to be able to exploit the marks commercially
  • Bhak was not allowed to mount a defense, since he couldn’t afford a lawyer; he publicly stated he would let the trademarks lapse so BMOrg could finally get around to registering them
  • There was a default court judgement, which acknowledged BMOrg’s rights to the claim and prevented Burn BC from using the marks
  • BMOrg decided to go for the jugular, coming after him personally for further damages

So #1, in the Judge’s Order reproduced above – they had already won that. He agreed not to contest the trademarks if Decommodifcation LLC wanted to register them in Canada, and he agreed not to use them. The only new thing in a year is #2. Correct me if I’m wrong, lawyers, but “The Plaintiffs’ action is dismissed, without costs” means “Plaintiff lost”.

Most of this happened in 2014. In January 2015 we covered it in this story: Burn BC Admits Defeat in Battle for Public Domain

Screenshot 2016-01-23 10.48.53

 [Source]

The above reads to me like the judge said “$10,000 total, including costs and damages”. However, on the record it looks like $10,000 in damages and $10,000 in costs:

Screenshot 2016-01-23 10.46.36

[Source]

Whether the final reward was $20k or $10k is neither here nor there for a $32 million corporation. To put this in perspective, it is about the same as what BMOrg spends in a month on Board member Terry Gross or costumes (although that has been kept a secret since 2013).

So what has happened in the year since this ruling? Why is this case still continuing?

Cutting a long story short, BMOrg continued to pursue the guy personally – and this is what has just been thrown out by the judge.

I have been busy with other things this week and so missed the BJ post Burning Man Resolves Trademark Issue in Canada. Luckily, other Burners are on the case – thanks Ang and Nomad. Ang has actually summarized what’s going on here very well, after several unsuccessful attempts to get straight answers out of the spin team:

The documents attached and the links provided in the various messages pose more questions than answers, and do not support any indication that Decommodification won anything more than one-time trademark protection.

Decommodification originally sought a cease and desist order with regards to use of their identity (a valid claim), ownership of the Burn BC identity and $25,000 in punitive damages. They ended up with a cease and desist agreement, no ownership of Burn BC, zero dollars in damages…and several thousands of dollars paid out in legal fees.

Burning Man’s initial post above implies that the defendant was required by law to appoint a lawyer and was not qualified “under Canadian law” to represent himself. Yet the document attached by Burning Man dated November 2014 implies that he may very well have been permitted to represent himself…if not for the lengthy, legal objection filed by Decommodification’s corporate legal team in that document. That objection alone, with its citings of previous cases, must have cost Decommodification thousands of dollars in legal costs.

The last sentence in the last document attached says it all: Besides the defendant agreeing to not associate his organization with Burning Man, the entire case “is otherwise dismissed”. No damages paid to Decommodification, no further repercussions against the defendant.

Which begs the question: What was the point of all this? What did Decommodification hope to gain from spending untold tens of thousands of dollars fighting a legal battle in a foreign country…for what? Just to put down some nobody clown who nobody ever heard of until gifted with this notoriety?

Moreover, nothing in what has been made public so far shows any deterrent for the next clown with a lot of time and no money, who, either out of playfulness or vindictiveness, decides to pull the same stunt only to “bleed” Decommodification financially.

Companies work hard to build their corporate identity and need to protect it. Considering the free-spirited culture they purportedly encourage, could Decommodification practice a bit more prudence rather than costly unbridled litigiousness?

[Source]

It’s kind of cute – but hardly ironic – to watch the BMOrg propaganda team in action.

  • First, we see someone posting anonymously in the comments at Burners.Me saying “but where are the documents?”, with a tone implying that we are trying to mislead readers by not posting them.
  • Next, BMOrg do a BJ post saying “we won and look, here are all the documents to prove it”. Presumably, the implication is that they are being transparent and only dealing in facts (by posting the documents). Judging by the comments, that works on some of their audience.
  • In fact, they don’t post these documents at all. The one new document they do post, really shows the opposite, further confirming the facts of our story.
  • All the other links in reality point to a single document. This shows how they got the Court to prevent Bhak from mounting any kind of defense or submitting his own evidence and arguments. This was certainly a moment of legal victory for the Decommodification, LLC team, but is much less relevant to the discussion than the Court Documents link we posted in response to Anon’s request. What it illustrates is BMOrg’s bully tactics, and how unjust this Goliath vs David proceeding was.
  • The same anonymous person posted here again about the documents, immediately before BMOrg posted their update. Then, they posted a third time with a link to BMOrg’s new post, saying “This is why seeing the original court documents is helpful since there’s obviously another side to the story”. They don’t appear to have actually read the original court documents in the post they’re linking to, since that post did not link to any except the final ruling which supports our original story and Napalm Dragon’s position, and the suppression of legal defense.
  • Then, BMOrg employ techniques of spin and wordsmithing (the latest Minister of Propaganda has a degree in Rhetoric) to craft reality into an outcome that appears more favorable to them.
  • Next, they get their Propaganda team in the comments, to spread further misinformation (note they have specifically stated that there is no obligation for them to post true information in their comments)Screenshot 2014-12-05 19.38.09

In this case, “Burning Man” (speaking under cover of anonymity about their own story) said:

Screenshot 2016-01-23 10.14.26

“Burning Man just isn’t enforcing the monetary award” – well, technically that’s true as of yesterday, when they made this statement. Their heavyweight multi-national legal team just spent more than a year trying to enforce the $10,000 monetary award, and now that Decommodification & Co lost that case and the judge dismissed it without costs, they can’t do it anymore. Which is hardly a gracious concession on their part.

Here’s the Propaganda-spun version:

Screenshot 2016-01-23 12.55.54

Again, I’m no expert, but it’s hard for me to interpret the Judge’s ruling “Plaintiff’s case is otherwise dismissed, without costs” as something that gives BMOrg a choice to enforce a financial judgement against Burn BC.

It’s worth noting also that to dismiss this case last week (Jan 19th), the judge didn’t even show up in the courtroom.

Screenshot 2016-01-23 11.08.04

Which does call into question Napalm Dragon’s tale of a lawyer cowering in defeat…

Screenshot 2016-01-23 11.53.16

…although the date on this post is the 13th. The last session I can find with the parties together was a court-scheduled mediation by video-conference in November 2015:

Screenshot 2016-01-23 11.46.58

Perhaps it was related to this session on January 12:

Screenshot 2016-01-23 11.49.35

I asked Napalm Dragon to comment, and of course anyone from BMOrg is most welcome to comment here too. He said:

Here is the Facebook Link https://tinyurl.com/BurnBC-End-Game

burn bcThere is a lingering question that has been posed to me in light of some PR published on a website in the USA, regarding why “I WON”.
The reason I WON is clearly explained to anyone willing to read and understand the following in it’s entirety (every single word), and really think about it; not like a game of Checkers, but like a game of Chess. Or for the gaming enthusiasts, like a game of GO.
The American corporation Decommodification LLC can say whatever they please, their owners have been doing it for years. I’ve talked to university graduates who’s thesis papers about “this culture” were rejected by professors as outright garbage for badly sourcing this kind of propaganda almost word for word; as essentially lazy “research”.
I’ve read some it myself and it’s rambling dribble, with no foundation on anything substantial.
A PR campaign by a Privately Owned American Corporation is just Marketing spin. It’s Propaganda (Literally) If that’s anyones source of information, they just want to believe what they want to believe and nothing will change the washed brains of a “Contractually Obliged Brand Cult” who want to freely exploit the goodwill of many beautiful people, while raking in millions for other people taking advantage of them.
This is the end game.
Any deviation from this PR story is grounds for ostracization from “the community”. (AKA) that which is “controlled directly or indirectly” by Decommodification LLC. 
It’s none of my business.
I don’t care.
(Metaphorically Speaking)
I held a window open for other people as long as I could, and when that opportunity passed for them, I took the exit I planned all along and leveraged it for what I wanted, to begin with, and left. The culture is gone from this meaningless name, and I’m following it out the window.
The door is closed, the window shut, and the idiots who signed contracts and gave away their personal rights are trapped in a room slowly suffocating on the rotting stench of this decrepit corpse, to the bitter end.
I’m walking in the open fields in the sun.
At peace, with no obligations whatsoever to any of this.
My conscience clear.
** Now regarding the less metaphorical realities of how the Federal Court works and WHY I WON.** 
Anyone who tries to convince you otherwise is either lying to you, or has no idea what’s happening.
Something like 98% of cases in Canadian Federal Courts are settled out of court, and never go to trial. So a smart person works proceedings like a Chess Game, NOT Checkers. Or for anyone who’s really into ancient gaming; as an Atari in Go.
In other words, if all you see is one chess match, you’re missing everything else that matters.
I forced Decommodification LLC to make some serious concessions, that are not in the public record, and are by no means confidential. I am in no way bound to any “Gag Agreement”, and never conceded a key detail that will always remain my Trump Card if anyone hassles me in the future.
I hold these papers in my hand right now, and only a few people clearly understand exactly why this is so significant.
If you remember, at the outset of all of this, I made it extremely clear I did not want “Burning Man”. Neither did Burn BC. This was my Atari.
My goal was to offer it to Canadians and walk away and essentially be done with it as a mutually respectful gift to the culture I nurtured here in Canada, before it was ever even vaguely associated in any way with a stick man.
But, one woman called it “My mark like NIKE” in a phone call to me on April 1st of 2013, and proceeded to call this a “Battle”, turn this into a “War” and claim “The Community” as her pawns in this sadistic game of hers. As she put it, “Three little dots”, on her game board.
Insignificant little dots, coloured red, yellow, and blue; condescending little details in what I later realised was an epic End Game in a 20 year plot.
So, you see, I leveraged the arrogance of a highly vengeful woman who walked right into my Atari, and went after me personally.
Once able to defend myself, I moved proceedings one motion away from a complete dismissal on grounds that could have brought the entire Decommodification LLC plot crashing to the ground…
My Atari was complete.
I forced concessions from a literally cowering and slightly terrified lawyer (working for the largest law firm in Canada, representing a multi million dollar privately held American corporation) who’d been caught essentially misleading the Court based on a weak (at best) case, and I walked away with what I wanted all along.
… and as a bonus, my pawn.
Burn BC; completely intact.
My prize, the concessions in my agreement.
In writing, legally binding.
Not a nickle paid to me, not a dime paid to Decommodification LLC.
I won, with a clear conscience.
Now they can fuck off and leave me alone, as I requested in 2013.
They can say whatever they like, spin it however they please, outright lie at this point, and it doesn’t matter to me.
I won.
I’m at peace, my conscience is clear, and my art is mine; that art being an expression of the culture that gave a little bonfire in Nevada some meaning for a few years.
I’m going to explore the next paradigm without this epicly obnoxious shadow of Ember Dude looming over me, my art, my family, and my culture.
With Peace,
I put down the gift I held with curiosity, an enigma in a pandora’s box, waiting for anyone willing to see it.
I’m going to literally play with my three year old son now, and keep teaching him chess, so he can one day learn to play Go; A Japanese game I played in the hills of Hawaii at the age of 9, while living on a property next door to Terence McKenna.
With Love,
Bhak Jolicoeur (AKA) Napalm Dragon
Artist, Impresario, and Sacred clown.
[Source: Facebook]

 

Like always, check the facts, do your own research, read the documents, make up your own mind. When we provide links as references, we link to actual information. Why would we do that, unless we were concerned about #truth? Why would BMOrg post fake links to different documents, if they cared about truth – not propaganda and “optics”? [Update: possibly in response to this story, BMOrg did produce the documents and apologized for the error. We have also published more documents, see below]

The bottom line to this story is Napalm Dragon tried to protect burn culture from commercial exploitation, and got sued by the corporation seeking to commercially exploit it. The latter group won the right to continue their exploitation unfettered, but kept pursuing a few meager dollars. BMOrg’s justification for this is they are trying to “protect our culture”. Meanwhile, Burners everywhere are dismayed as our culture is in tatters. The Founders say “we’ve jumped the shark and that’s OK”; the Veterans who have given so much to make this city world renowned are being shoveled out the door to make room for starry-eyed Simpsons spectators, who saw Dr Phil and thought they’d come see the freak show while bringing their grief and misery to the Temple.

SO… who’s left to protect our culture?

 

business-shark

Court Documents:

List of Official Court Information, including key dates and filings

19 January 2016 Judgement Against Defendant

21 December 2015 Settlement Agreement

13 January 2015 Decommodification LLC vs Burn BC Arts Cooperative Order and Reasons

13 January 2015 Order re Motion for Default Judgment

6 November 2014 Order Denying Motion to Represent Burn BC

27 April 2014 Original Statement of Claim


[Update 1/23/16 1:19pm]

Thanks to a reader for pointing out that Decommodification, LLC filed a trademark application in Canada in 2014 – one which may have implications in the present “live entertainment” argument that is currently holding up ticket information for everyone.

Screenshot 2016-01-23 13.19.23

 

 


[Update 1/25/16 9:19am]

Looks like BMOrg have fixed their links. Here are the additional court documents:

21 December 2015 Settlement Agreement – note this confirms that Burners can throw an event called The Burn

13 January 2015 Order re Motion for Default Judgment – in which we have a judge saying “Burning Man is a festival”

We’ve also obtained the original 27 April 2014 Statement of Claim by Decommodification LLC, Burning Man Project, and Black Rock City LLC, doing business as Burning Man. This document begins with the statement “if you wish to defend this proceeding, you or a solicitor acting for you are required to prepare a statement of defence…”  – which is ironic, given BMOrg’s later successful legal move to prevent the defendants from mounting a defence without a solicitor.

It also says “the Plaintiff’s intention is to bring together a community of individuals of similar artistic and spiritual ideas and to create an environment in which individuals are encouraged and enabled to express artistic interests and join other artists in the creation of their vision”. So it’s a festival about art, and spirituality.

There is no vending of drinks, which is an interesting statement to make in a legal case.

what you can buy at burning man

Image: Business Insider

They say “the only exception is for ice and coffee, which are sold by volunteers, with all profits donated to local municipalities”. It would be nice to see an accounting of these donations, old Burning Man used to share it but in Burning Man 2.0 it is now secret – we just have to take their word for it. There is nothing in the IRS Form 990 for 2014 mentioning this program or these local donations – although it does recognize revenue from sale of inventory of $258,803 and merchandise of $39,201; the costs for sale of ice, coffee, and merchandise in 2013 was $455,546; in 2014, ice alone was $477,770. So is this program making a loss now? Or was $258,803 the amount given to local charities from the on-site cash vending?

Anyway, let’s hope all this documentation is enough to satisfy Anon!

Over at the BJ, Ang has commented that after reviewing the available documents, their verdict is “DRAW”. Which means BMOrg managed to go from Victory to Draw by continuing to pursue this for a further year.

Thank you, Burning Man, for posting the missing documents. They make for some interesting reading, and while I admit I have only a cursory knowledge of the case, I was inspired enough to read a bit more of what each party is saying to claim victory over the other.

To put it bluntly, it’s a case of Slick Multi-Million Dollar Corporate PR vs Bloviated Bravado from an Egomaniac out of his league.

The documents show that the defendant attempted to trademark the Burning Man identity in Canada, including “BC Decompression” and “burningmanarts.ca” ( “.ca” being the extension for Canada, as “.mx” for Mexico). That is such an egregious infringement that one has to wonder why it was attempted if not to deliberately engage Decommodification in lengthy – and very public- litigation.

In reading his over-the-top “victory” speech/claim, the defendant asserts he was working for *all* Canadian Burners to put Burning Man in the public domain in Canada.

Is he serious? I am not aware of any public outcry from Canadians claiming they particularly want, or care, or would even be better served by, that corporation in the public domain.

The fact is that this guy no more represents volunteer Burners in his country than (as Nomad points out in his comment above) Decommodification represents all volunteer Burners who make the event happen.

But more importantly, this decision by the court, buried within the documents and not highlighted in any great detail by either party in their subsequent spins, highlights the biggest victory for Decommodification and loss for the defendant. The defendant lost in his attempt to claim the Burning Man identity for himself, for whatever purportedly altruistic (real or imagined) intentions he may have had.

In the end, both sides wound up exactly where they started, save for tens of thousands of dollars (if not more) paid out in legal fees by Decommodification and mental stress and anxiety on the part of the defendant (inspiring him, at some point, to lead a Fund-me campaign to send him on a de-stressing vacation (?!?!)). Subtlety has obviously never been one of his traits.

As for the defendant’s assertion that he made Decommodification’s lawyer “go pale” and cowered before the defendant’s legal mastery and “destruction” of Decommodification’s case against him…um, yeah.

Both sides won some and lost some. The defendant keeps his company and his company only and Decommodification keeps theirs. Each can claim victory (and one can claim he “destroyed”) the other, but I’m calling it a draw.

[Source: Burning Man Journal comments]


 

[Update 1/25/16 10:43am]

Not really off topic, since the Burning Man Project legal team has moved from one public battle to another – one which is Immediately affecting every Burner negatively, with an unclear upside. I mean, sure, we all want to save $35 from our overall cost of going to Burning Man – but we’d all like to be buying tickets and planning art projects too. Burners can pay the tax and carpool, thus being left with a $15 profit after saving on the vehicle pass.

Thanks to A Balanced Perspective for sharing a link to the actual legislation for the Nevada Live Entertainment Tax. What do they mean by Live Entertainment?

“Live entertainment” means any activity provided for pleasure, enjoyment, recreation, relaxation, diversion or other similar purpose by a person or persons who are physically present when providing that activity to a patron or group of patrons who are physically present.

(b) Excludes, without limitation, any one or more of the following activities:

(6) Entertainment provided by a patron or patrons, including, without limitation, singing by patrons or dancing by or between patrons;

What an interesting coincidence, that we have a theme of Medici and patronage, when the word “patron” is key to BMOrg Decommodification LLC’s latest legal adventure.

NRS 368A.090  “Live entertainment” defined.

      1.  “Live entertainment” means any activity provided for pleasure, enjoyment, recreation, relaxation, diversion or other similar purpose by a person or persons who are physically present when providing that activity to a patron or group of patrons who are physically present.

      2.  The term:

      (a) Includes, without limitation, any one or more of the following activities:

             (1) Music or vocals provided by one or more professional or amateur musicians or vocalists;

             (2) Dancing performed by one or more professional or amateur dancers or performers;

             (3) Acting or drama provided by one or more professional or amateur actors or players;

             (4) Acrobatics or stunts provided by one or more professional or amateur acrobats, performers or stunt persons;

             (5) Animal stunts or performances induced by one or more animal handlers or trainers, except as otherwise provided in subparagraph (7) of paragraph (b);

             (6) Athletic or sporting contests, events or exhibitions provided by one or more professional or amateur athletes, sportsmen or sportswomen;

             (7) Comedy or magic provided by one or more professional or amateur comedians, magicians, illusionists, entertainers or performers;

             (8) A show or production involving any combination of the activities described in subparagraphs (1) to (7), inclusive; and

             (9) A performance involving one or more of the activities described in this paragraph by a disc jockey who presents recorded music. For the purposes of this subparagraph, a disc jockey shall not be deemed to have engaged in a performance involving one or more of the activities described in this paragraph if the disc jockey generally limits his or her interaction with patrons to introducing the recorded music, making announcements of general interest to patrons, and explaining, encouraging or directing participatory activities between patrons.

      (b) Excludes, without limitation, any one or more of the following activities:

             (1) Instrumental or vocal music, which may or may not be supplemented with commentary by the musicians, in a restaurant, lounge or similar area if such music does not routinely rise to the volume that interferes with casual conversation and if such music would not generally cause patrons to watch as well as listen;

             (2) Occasional performances by employees whose primary job function is that of preparing, selling or serving food, refreshments or beverages to patrons, if such performances are not advertised as entertainment to the public;

             (3) Performances by performers of any type if the performance occurs in a licensed gaming establishment other than a licensed gaming establishment that is licensed for less than 51 slot machines, less than 6 games, or any combination of slot machines and games within those respective limits, as long as the performers stroll continuously throughout the facility;

             (4) Performances in areas other than in nightclubs, lounges, restaurants or showrooms, if the performances occur in a licensed gaming establishment other than a licensed gaming establishment that is licensed for less than 51 slot machines, less than 6 games, or any combination of slot machines and games within those respective limits, which enhance the theme of the establishment or attract patrons to the areas of the performances, as long as any seating provided in the immediate area of the performers is limited to seating at slot machines or gaming tables;

             (5) Television, radio, closed circuit or Internet broadcasts of live entertainment;

             (6) Entertainment provided by a patron or patrons, including, without limitation, singing by patrons or dancing by or between patrons;

             (7) Animal behaviors induced by animal trainers or caretakers primarily for the purpose of education and scientific research; and

             (8) An occasional activity, including, without limitation, dancing, that:

                   (I) Does not constitute a performance;

                   (II) Is not advertised as entertainment to the public;

                   (III) Primarily serves to provide ambience to the facility; and

                   (IV) Is conducted by an employee whose primary job function is not that of an entertainer.

[Source]

Ironically, the DJ clause seems to suggest Dancetronaut’s guy on the mic actually may have helped BMOrg’s case that the music at Burning Man is not live entertainment.


[Update 1/25/16 2:42pm]

A Balanced Perspective has pointed out that the law as shared dates from 2006; does anyone have a link to a more up-to-date version, assuming that the one posted on leg.state.nv.us can’t actually be trusted? This site says 2014 at the top, but 2003 and 2005 at the bottom.

Nevada Senate Bill 266 amends the Live Entertainment Tax – National Law Review, June 2015

The bill also removes most of the exceptions to the definition of “live entertainment.” Notably, “a performance by a disk jockey who presents recorded music” will now be taxable as live entertainment under all circumstances. However, under the plain language of the bill, the following activities will not be taxable:

go-go dancing;

activities that do not a constitute “performance”;

uncompensated spontaneous performances not exceeding 20 minutes in a 60 minute period, and;

marketing or promotional activities that are associated with the serving of food and beverages, and do not last longer than 20 minutes within a 60-minute period. 

[Source]

Here is a proposed amendment to the law from August 2015 from gaming.nv.gov. Significantly, it defines Patron as:

NAC 368A.370 “Patron” defined. (NRS 368A.140) “Patron” means a person who gains access to a facility where live entertainment is provided and who neither solicits nor receives, from any source, any payment, reimbursement, remuneration or other form of consideration for providing live entertainment at the facility

[Source]

So if a patron pays a performer, they’re not both patrons. At least, that’s how I read it. I refer you to Marian Goodell’s interview last year in which she said Commodification Camps and sherpas were great because“The culture of Burning Man can really flourish with money…[for example] to bring great musicians to your camp”.

They are trying to broaden the DJ definition to include VJs, lasers, lighting and other visual effects:

“Performance” to mean, as used in subparagraph (5) of paragraph (b) of subsection 2 of NRS 368A.090:
(a) The presentation of a live entertainment activity [other than an ambient activity, provided by a person or group of persons to a patron or group of patrons] that is the primary reason for which a patron paid an admission charge to access the facility.
(b) When determining if the presentation of a live entertainment activity is the primary reason a patron paid an admission charge to access a facility, the Board may consider some or all of the following factors:
(1) Whether the live entertainment activity is advertised, promoted, or otherwise marketed;

(2) Whether the live entertainment activity garners the predominant attention of a patron or patrons of the facility; and

(3) Any other factor that would support a finding that the live entertainment activity constitutes a performance.

“Performance by a disc jockey” to mean the playing of recorded music, the mixing of audio or the adding of sound, video and lighting effects by a person or group of persons to a patron or group of patrons.

[Source]

So I guess a big test for Burning Man would be “did patrons buy a ticket to Burning Man to watch the Burning Man burn?” Presumably their argument is that we’re there for the TED talks and sex workshops – certainly, we couldn’t be there for the dance music!

Except as otherwise provided in subsection 3, an admission charge is subject to the tax imposed by NRS 368A.200 when it is paid in exchange for admission to a facility where live entertainment is provided, regardless of when the live entertainment actually commences.

 [Source]

This wording from Justia (2014) is interesting:

5. The tax imposed by subsection 1 does not apply to:

(b) Live entertainment that is provided by or entirely for the benefit of a nonprofit religious, charitable, fraternal or other organization that qualifies as a tax-exempt organization pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 501(c), or a nonprofit corporation organized or existing under the provisions of chapter 82 of NRS.

[Source]


[Update 1/25/16 7:12pm]

Thanks to a reader who sent this in. Decommodification, LLC (operating out of BMHQ) filed a trademark application in Canada on January 11, 2016 for the familiar “Man” design.

Screenshot 2016-01-25 19.13.51