All the news unfit to print
Expanded from the 3-25-2007 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

Across the nation, major chain newspapers lament that they're not making enough money. Print still dominates the advertising industry, but robber barons want pirate ship profits. (Read Breaking the News in the current edition of Mother Jones, the one with Dubya on the cover doing Iraq for Dummies.)

Today's corporate media managers self-censor. They don't need the government to complain. Their advertisers will direct them to the promised land of peaceful profit without protest. Democrats have been talking about re-imposing the Fairness Doctrine, a soundbyte with poison in its fangs.

JFK and RFK were angry at a southern radio preacher for trashing Jack's 1960 presidential run. The Kennedys didn't believe in getting mad, just getting even. So they came up with the Fairness Doctrine to kill critical opinion under the seemingly innocuous guise of requiring contrasting views to be aired. The result: For the next three decades, electronic media took pains to air no opinions on anything.

A good local example remains. When Ed Pearce started Face the State on KTVN TV-2, it was filled with good information and contrasting views on the issues of the day. When out-of-town corporate owners took over, Pearce was soon gone and a reporter was unfairly fired in genuflection to a car dealer which had pulled its advertising. Face the State now goes out of its way to air nothing for which there may be a contrasting point of view. This is not hearsay. A former news anchor said exactly that to my face after I made a demand for equal time awhile back.

"If I knew anyone was against this, I wouldn't have let it on the air," he said. At least he told the truth.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Travus has had a Tuesday morning commentary on KTHX 100.1-fm Dayton/Sparks/Reno for several years. We'll take what we can get, but what's two minutes a week when we need two hours a day minimum?

The most popular talk show host this town ever saw, Travus T. Hipp, can't get hired in his home market. KKKOH runs right-wing pablum, fortunately not much of it local. KJFK, the purported liberal alternative, couldn't talk its way out of a wet paper sack and as a result has never been a factor in this market.

And so, dear visitors to this island of dissent in a sea of similarity, here is my proof – enough news leads to fill up several days worth of TV, radio talk or newspaper investigation. As my colleague in columny Travus might say, all the news you never knew you needed to know till now.

HALLIBURTON IN YOUR MAILBOX. Dubya's dunces don't solve problems, they use them. The creation of the oxymoronic Department of Homeland Security was just a way to ban unions from most of the federal workforce. Now, they are geometrically increasing the subcontracting of the U.S. Mail. It won't save money (they tried with disastrous results with Emery Air Freight a decade ago) but will bust unions and make pilferage a lot easier.

For continuing updates on Halliburtonizing the mail:

"In Florida, deliveries to a new shopping mall are being handled by a private contractor whose criminal record would prevent him from working directly for the USPS," one union leader says.

Reno and Las Vegas are on a list of air mail centers targeted for potential closure.

BOOMTOWN RATS AND WALLEY'S FATCATS. I'm talking about the bosses, not the non-union workers fired by Boomtown Hotel-Casino-Truckstop last Sunday. Citing profit pressures and using the Orwellian euphemism of "right-sizing," Boomtown , in newly-annexed-to-Reno-because-of-Cabela's Verdi, canned 65 housekeepers.

Our colleagues in the legit media didn't know enough to ask if Boomtown followed the law. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act was enacted on August 4, 1988 (under Reagan) and became effective on February 4, 1989 (under Bush I). It says that with few exceptions, any employer of more than 100 must give workers 60 days notice. I didn't print the story last week because it seemed Boomtown had a loophole to crawl through. Others disagree and are working on the issue.

The WARN act very possibly applies to the telemarketing staff at an affiliate of Walley's Hot Springs who were fired without notice last week. Anyone who knows any members of these two worker groups, please have them contact me. [Click here for the story of the illegally fired Riverboat Hotel-Casino workers and what they did about it in 1998.]

HOT TIPS. The appropriately numbered Assembly Bill 357 is aimed at greedy Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn who has taken to skimming dealer tips to pay supervisors. A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, March 27, before the Assembly Judiciary Committee chaired by Assemblyman Bernie Anderson, D-Sparks. [1. See below.]

GASOLINE PRICE FIXING IS JUST TOO COMPLICATED FOR NEWS PEOPLE. Americans roll over and play dead when it comes to war and profit gouging. Local news media have actually been running tips on saving peanuts on overpriced gas without treating the central issue: Like cable TV, gasoline buyers are victims of a rigged market covered with a carefully crafted sham of competition. Go to the ever-expanding Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive to learn how the fight was fixed 25 years ago. Our political leaders, children of the media, likewise have no courage to tackle the issue. The old Standard Oil Trust has been reconstituted, but there are no trustbusters at Tortureman's justice department and elected officials don't have the guts to take on BigOil.

GOV. JIM THE DIM SAYS THE RENO V.A. HOSPITAL IS HUNKY DORY. Really. Read this from a former employee and veteran's spouse:

"I took my husband out of there and spent thousands of dollars on a private physician. I don't think the fault is with individual care givers but with system problems. I have seen too many people fall though the cracks. A man died in the waiting room who should have been seen immediately because of turf battles and passing the buck. This was several years ago. I don't know if the problems have been corrected or not. The other thing you might look into is the 'speed' with which the regional offices process claims. More than one veteran has died waiting for assistance from the regional office." (The writer retired two years ago. Her husband is now dead.)

There are the headlines. Stay tuned for additional links and more info.

Be well. Raise hell.



The Nevada Labor Commissioner held workshops on January 22 in Vegas and January 25 in Reno regarding changes to regulation regarding Nevada Administrative Code Section 608.

Part of the new proposed regulation:

Tip pooling

    1. Employers are not prohibited from requiring employees to participate in a tip pooling arrangement as a condition of employment as long as the employer does not retain any part of the tips for his own use or reap any direct benefit from the pooling.
    2. Only employees who provide service directly to customers may be included in a tip pooling arrangement.
    3. Employees whose duties may include some management responsibilities may participate in a tip pooling arrangement only if a substantial portion of their responsibilities normally include providing service directly to the customers.

On March 5, the Labor Commissioner held a hearing and an intent to act upon proposed regulation. We had people in Carson City and about 40 of us here in Las Vegas were ready to testify against this proposed added language regarding tip pooling. But ultimately it was pressure from ASSEMBLYMAN Bob Beers, R-Henderson, (not to be mistaken with Senator Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas), which took it off the agenda that day.



Johnson, Chalmers; REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE? A National Intelligence Estimate on the United States; Harper's Magazine; January, 2007; (not available online for several months, if at all). I love it when heavy hitters validate what I've been saying for years in the tiny Sparks Tribune. — AB

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. For additional comments on the work of the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning team, use the NevadaLabor.com search engine and sweep for "Barlett."

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

...and more ammo

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

      Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive
I've been telling you so for 20 freakin' years!

The Molly Ivins Hall of Flames
BARBWIRE 2-4-2007

Some of Molly Ivins' greatest hits

Reno war protestors march in memory of Molly
February 7, 2007

    A group of Reno anti-war activists took the late newspaper columnist Molly Ivins' final words to heart and put them into action Tuesday.
    "We're doing this for Molly," said Paula McDonough, who organized the Molly Ivins Pots 'n' Pan Brigade that protested the war in Iraq outside the Bruce Thompson Federal Building in downtown Reno. "We're doing this because Molly asked us to."...


Recent BARBWIRE Media Hits
and Ego Trips

   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

"Our long national nightmare is over."
Did I say that a dozen years ago?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 11-10-2006

BARBANO: Nevada's newly-hiked minimum wage is nowhere near enough
Reno Gazette-Journal, 11-11-2006

Oregon State U. minimum wage deflator

NEWLY UPLOADED BLAST FROM THE PAST: The reasons behind the failure of Nevada's first non-smoking casino
Barbwire 3-2-1990



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Copyright © 2007 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 38-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and JoeNeal.org, and a member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.

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