ABANDON HOPE, ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE — Reflecting the hardassed nature of Nevada cow county politics, the above sign was posted at the Storey/Lyon County line in May, 2009. The yellow-on-black bumper sticker on the left reads "Recall Storey County Sheriff Jim Miller." Apparently not much has changed since springtime. See related item, below.
( photo)

Rory, Rory Hallelujah?
Expanded from the 10-18-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune
Barbwire wins second straight Nevada Press Association first-place award

I arrived unfashionably late to last Thursday's Rorypalooza at Reno's Idlewild Park.

Barbwire column on the depredations of Charter Communications and the Reno City Council wins 2009 Nevada Press Association first-place award

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I grabbed some literature, made a lap through the thinning crowd, and was headed back to my car just as Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid and his lovely wife walked out. I took the opportunity to say hello.

I asked if the 34-page book I had just picked up included his plan to fix Nevada's chronic fiscal crises, as he had noted in pre-event publicity. (“Nevada needs a governor who takes immediate action to put people back to work and Nevada needs a leader with a new economic plan and vision that moves our state into the 21st Century.”)

He told me that he would outline fiscal specifics in the future but wanted to focus on what we can do right now to aid Nevadans hurting from the current depression.

I read his booklet. It's basically a chamber-of-commercy puff pamphlet with lots of laudable goals, available at his website. But it contains no new proposals to help in the short term. It's mostly "If I'm elected" stuff.

Worse, it begs lots of questions about tax policy, but says nothing. He endorses a new raft of Nevada corporate welfare tax breaks without talking about reviewing and closing the hemorrhage of current ridiculous reductions. My favorite is the sales tax exemption for Las Vegas-based NASCAR teams.

This year's legislature failed to comprehensively review the loopholes as several local lawmakers promised.

In announcing for governor last Wednesday, Mr. Reid said "we've just been kicking the can down the road for years." Then he endorsed re-kicking said can. He told news media that he would wait for the $500,000 tax study ordered by Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno.

POWER POLITICS. Reid the Younger would give up the most powerful political position in Nevada to step down to governor. How powerful is the body which regulates the Las Vegas Strip?

Former Las Vegas Democratic Assemblymembers Tom Collins and Christine Giunchigliani left their seats in the lower house to win commission elections. Chris G. beat former Democratic assemblymember and incumbent commissioner Myrna Williams to do so. The rumble in the jungle is that Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, is considering a run.

I've been asked why Buckley abandoned her bid for governor when her huge war chest would have made her an automatic frontrunner ahead of Mr. Reid. The best anybody can come up with is that in this case, a politician (gasp!) told the truth. She simply did not want to miss her son's childhood.

LOOPHOLES, PART DEUX. The Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada will soon decide whether to circulate a petition to tighten Nevada's mining tax loopholes. The foreign-owned industry, which kills its workers as part of the cost of doing business, has been getting a free ride for more than a hundred years. See the web edition of this column at for the fiscal and funereal details.

OUR GOVERNOR: INACTION IN ACTION. Commissioner Reid was aware of the Oct. 1 letter sent to Republican Gov. Jim the Dim by Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Congressman Obie noted that Nevada "has fallen behind many other states in putting to work its Recovery Act highway formula funds."

Gov. Gibbons has put only 25 percent of the federal money into the system, making us 47th among 50 states and DC.

"I strongly urge you to refocus your efforts to implement the Recovery Act and use the available funds to create and sustain family-wage jobs. These jobs are critical to Nevada's and the nation's long-term economic growth," Oberstar concluded.

Mr. Reid might focus on that as one thing to push right now.

He has won praise from state elected officials who have told me that he is a very capable and committed individual when it comes to getting the nitty gritty work of government done.

He really needs better campaign management, especially a speech coach and speech writer. Up against the glib and glamorous Brian Sandoval in a race usually decided by cosmetics (witness studly-looking Gov. Jim the Dim vs. tiny Dina Titus in 2006), Mr. Reid comes off like an untenured geology professor. (See also Co-dependency, primary colors and Vegas hair, Barbwire, 8 Nov. 1998.)

These comments will probably tick off a lot of my fellow Donkeykongers, but the prospect of continuing 20 consecutive years of retro-conservative governors is too macabre to contemplate.

SACCHARINE SUE. Former bubble-headed bleachblonde newscaster and defrocked State Sen. Sue Lowden, R-Las Vegas, tried to rain on Democrat Harry Reid's parade last Thursday as the U.S. Senate Majority Leader (and Rory's dear ole dad) hosted a visit by Vice-President Joe Biden.

"Jobs, jobs, jobs," said the lady who, with her husband, ran a bunch of union-busting casinos right down to bankruptcy.

ALTERNATIVE MEDIA UPDATE. "Alternative media? Heck, I'd support alternative Democrats," writes retired Laborers' Union 169 leader Dan Rusnak.

My personal thanks goes to those happy few who have started a trickle that I hope becomes a river of contributions to non-corporate TV and radio. We are raising funds to re-launch community station KJIV-fm and, home of my radio-TV simulcast live talk show. We meet with engineers this week.

Go to ReSurge.TV to contribute online or send a check or money order to ReSurge.TV, P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510.

Please feel free to contact me for additional information. This is important.

Reno Kazoo-Journal columnist Ellie Lopez-Bowlan is considering a run for the seat now held by Assemblyman Ty Cobb, R-Reno. Cobb has moved into Reno GOP Sen. Randolph Townsend's district to run for the term-limited Townsend's seat...Social Security recipients are being cheated out of cost of living increases because the government has cooked the books on inflation since Reagan. Details with the web edition at has it that the Mormon Church will fund an initiative to repeal Nevada's new domestic partners law...Looks like NV Energy/SPP is trying to force its union workers to strike for the first time...The Storey County Legal Defense Fund hosted a fundraiser in Virginia City at the Silverlands (formerly Ramada) Hotel on Saturday, Oct. 17, from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. "The fundraiser was for those who have been wronged in the Storey County Fourth Reich ( aka the sheriff’s department, court system and county commissioners)," said a supporter. Photo at

Be well. Raise hell.


Andrew Barbano is a 40-year Nevadan, second vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, member of Sparks-based Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Smoking Guns...

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced 9-19-2009

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


The Dean's List

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

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

...and more ammo

BARBWIRE Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive

Propaganda fuels gasoline price fixing
Barbwire 8-14-2005

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

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

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

MORE LESSONS OF 2006 – The end of the GOP? On Jan. 21, 2001, I wrote that "rejoicing at the U.S. royal family's return to power may prove short-lived."

I noted maverick Republican historian Kevin Phillips' assertion that "when the restored James II fell in 1688, that was the end of the Stuart kings. When the restored Bourbons followed suit in 1830, that was the end of their house. Should a Bush Restoration implode on its own whir of cocky inadequacy, that could be a similar last hurrah not simply for the family's power but for the Republican Party," Phillips said. (See his 1999 book, The Cousins' Wars, which treats the long-range similarities in the evolution of England, France and the U.S. after their civil wars.)

"It doesn't take much to predict that George II will soon risk American lives in some foolish war," I wrote in early 2001.

NAOMI WOLF: Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps
There are some things common to every state that's made the transition to fascism. Author Naomi Wolf argues that all of them are present in America today.
Alternet 5-20-2007

Johnson, Chalmers; REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE? A National Intelligence Estimate on the United States; Harper's magazine; January, 2007. I love it when heavy hitters validate what I've been saying for years in the tiny Sparks Tribune.

Barlett, Donald L. and Steele, James B.; America: What Went Wrong? (1992); America: Who Really Pays the Taxes? (1994); America: Who Stole the Dream? (1996) ; Andrews & McMeel/Universal Press Syndicate.

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

The Orwell Diversion by Alex Carey
Excerpted from the book available below

ORDER Taking the Risk Out of Democracy
Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty
By Alex Carey
Edited by Andrew Lohrey
Foreword by Noam Chomsky
University of Illinois Press

     SEE ALSO: Lapham, Lewis H.; Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill, A Brief History; Harper's Magazine cover article; September, 2004, page 32.

     By one conservative estimate, the corporate right has spent about $3 billion over the past three decades manufacturing public opinion to suit big business goals. Lapham's number covered the early 1970's to the present day. Alex Carey noted that by 1948, anti- New Deal corporate propaganda expenditures had already reached $100 million per year, not adjusted for inflation, for advertising alone. (Carey, ibid; page 79)

     Adjusted for inflation, that 1948 $100 million becomes $801,659,751.04 in 2005 dollars.

Conservatives Help Wal-Mart, and Vice Versa
As Wal-Mart struggles to rebut growing criticism, it has discovered a reliable ally: conservative research groups.
New York Times 9-8-2006; Free registration may be required.

      BARBWIRE: Labor Day '94: People vs. corporate con job, 9-4-94
Chilling forecasts from Alex Carey

      BARBWIRE: The Nevada Republican Party Becomes Communist, 3-30-97
A prescient Plato on the dangers of oligarchy

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

      Rinfret, Pierre A.; Peace is Bullish; Look magazine, 5-31-1966 | U-News | Bulletins + Almanac
Casinos Out of Politics (COP) | Sen. Joe Neal
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Copyright © 1982-2009 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 40-year Nevadan, editor of and, former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee and serves as second vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in those parts ever since. Tempus fugit.

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