Sick and tired of being sick and tired
Expanded from the 11-15-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune
Barbwire wins second straight Nevada Press Association first-place award

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

The Barbwire TV/web simulcast will return as soon as new studio construction is complete. Your contribution will be most welcome. Keep an eye on the Barbwire print edition for updates.

Past 12 months
Use the search tool you will find at page right at the above link. It will return the 19 newest. A button for older shows is being installed. You may also search by date — M-F for the past year save holidays.

Click here for on-demand re-runs
from the 2009 legislative session

(775) 882-8255

15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
Highlights from radio days
mp3 file

We are in the midst of Great Depression Part Deux and in one lonely respect, it's too bad that things are not worse. Seriously.

It would have been even more painful for us poor louts in the street, if you can imagine that, but a true bad-as-the-1930s meltdown would have busted corporate control of our federal, state and local governments. Instead, the fat cats have gotten fatter while the lower classes scramble for crumbs.

President Obama pretty much sold out on health care reform when he cut a toothless deal with the major drug manufacturers. He agreed to keep the Bushite ban forbidding Medicare from negotiating drug prices, meaning that Big Pharma can charge anything it wants for drugs that cost peanuts in Mexico or Canada.

What did he get in return for continuing this hemorrhage of taxpayer money? Big Pharma said to trust them to reduce drug prices by some astronomical pie-in-the-sky amount with nothing to force them actually do so.

Kind of like Renown/Washoe Medical Center's conveniently forgotten 1985 phantom commitment to reduce health care costs and take the burden of paying for the care of the uninsured off the backs of taxpayers — in exchange for a corrupt Washoe County Commission giving the bandits a free hospital. The current ownership got assets worth up to $120 million in 1985 dollars for a cool $3 million. You may read the damning 1995 Washoe County Grand Jury Report exclusively linked to the web edition of this column.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, unilaterally surrendered on health care the day after the 2008 election, declaring that Medicare for all (single-payer) would not even be considered.

How bad is it? The greatest congressional champion of universal health care, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, voted against the poison pill bill which barely passed the house a few days ago.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has introduced legislation in the senate including a provision to establish a non-profit government insurer.

Good luck, senator, you're gonna need it.

A top labor leader this past week made a chilling prediction: If Harry Reid holds out any hope of re-election, he's got to do something to create jobs in northern Nevada.

I informed my friend that news out of DC says that Reid is working on exactly that. Last Wednesday, reported that Reid is developing a jobs bill. Perhaps he will make an announcement at the president's upcoming jobs summit.

"People I talk with are angry that the Democrats have not done what they promised to do in last year's election," my labor friend said.

Michael Moore and Crackers the corporate crime-fighting chicken make a house call on Mike's Emmy-winning 1994-96 NBC+FOX show, TV Nation.

Which brings me back to busting corporate control. A few years back, Michael Moore said that corporations have two political parties. Can't the people have just one?

The Republicans are currently breaking in half, torn between pseudo-religious moonhowlers and tax-cutting corporate shills. Last month, more non-partisans registered to vote in Nevada than Democrats and Republicans combined. That brings the number of potential voting blocs to three.

Democratic leaders analyzing the loss of governorships in New Jersey and Virginia noted that a lot of Democrats just stayed home on election day.

Parts of the reconstituted New Deal coalition which last year elected Obama are sick and tired of being sick and tired, as civil rights legend Fannie Lou Hamer once so memorably complained.

African Americans are sick and tired of being taken for granted by the Donkeyites. Ditto organized labor. As New York Times columnist Bob Herbert put it, "President Obama’s strongest supporters during the presidential campaign were the young, the black and the poor — and they are among those who are being hammered unmercifully in this long and cruel economic downturn that the financial elites are telling us is over."

And that the financial elites created. Which makes an old idea new again: formation of a labor party that will appeal to the groups Herbert mentions plus unions which are increasingly sick and tired of being treated as the Democrats' ATM machine.

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot — add in all those women angry at the abortion poison pill the moonhowlers put into the house bill.

Stealing a line from Ford Motors, Harry Reid knows that a quick and effective jobs program is job one. And if the specter of a five-party election isn't enough to scare the bejabbers out of the Dems, I know of only one other button to push. In a five-party election, the guy who gets 20 percent plus one wins.

SUPPORT NON-CORPORATE MEDIA. We may be moving glacially, but at least we're moving, trying to back online in order to have an off-the-shelf radio station ready when the Federal Communications Commission finally approves a new full-power, non-profit fm for northwestern Nevada. It's only taken 13 years or so.

Please consider donating what you can afford. You will find much more information about the project at ReSurge.TV, where you may contribute online or send a check or money order to ReSurge.TV, P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510.

I know you've heard all this before, but this is important, dammit.

In Washington, DC, the Local Community Radio Act is getting close to a vote in the House of Representatives. The proposal will expand low-power fm community radio, an idea pushed by the FCC in 2000. Opposition by commercial broadcasters and National Public Radio (all the big boys hate competition) convinced President Clinton to agree to kill the idea. It got watered down to a handful of "pilot projects" while big bucks media conglomerates sucked up every full-power station in sight.

In northwestern Nevada today, most radio signals are owned by four big outfits. Programming diversity is non-existent. Country music today is basically 1965 rock 'n' roll and the available rock is corporately soft. As Henry Ford once said about his Model-T's, you can choose any color you want as long as it's black.

This is where conscientious columnists call for action in the form of contacting your local congresscritter to support the bill. I have no faith that pretty-boy Neanderthal Dean Heller would vote for anything non-corporate.

So don't waste your 44-cent stamp.

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 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Rinfret, Pierre A.; Peace is Bullish; Look magazine, 5-31-1966 | U-News | Bulletins + Almanac
Casinos Out of Politics (COP) | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors
| BallotBoxing.US | Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive
Barbwire Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
Annual César Chávez Celebration
War Rooms:
Banks, Cabbies, Cabela's, Cable TV, Cancer Kids/Mining, Energy, Health Care, Resurge.TV/consumers, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
Search this site | In Search Of...


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.

Site composed and maintained by Deciding Factors, CWA 9413 signatory

Comments and suggestions appreciated. Sign up for news and bulletins