Give 'em health Harry, part deux
Expanded from the 11-22-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

Updated 11-29-2009
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

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Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

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When I moved to Gomorrah South in 1969, the first thing I noticed was that Nevada was a much more interesting place than the farms of Fresno — regardless of California's more bountiful opportunities to drive your Chevy to the levee.

The High Desert Outback of the American Dream was a living drama, sitcom and soap opera: mobsters, murders, casinos and corruption in a small town spread over a big geography. All the rest was neon and attitude.

Fast forward 40 years and not much has changed. We are still basically a boomtown mining camp with indoor plumbing. Little old Nevada again stands at the storm center of the winds of change.

Those wiser than me say the Silver State's economy is worst in the nation and will recover the slowest of all. Gov. Jim the Dim is doing his best to keep our heads in the trough (you can guess where his head is).

Gov. Gibbons' incompetence and partisanship have worsened the state's plight.

As I reported a few weeks back, the guv got a letter from Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Congressman Obie stated that Nevada "has fallen behind many other states in putting to work its Recovery Act highway formula funds."

Oberstar noted that Gov. Gibbons has trafficked only 25 percent of available federal money into the system, making us 47th out of 50 states and DC. Gibbons is so intent on damaging U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., that he banned signs describing the funding of federal road projects, fearing that Reid might get some credit. Other states have posted such notices in the course of orange cone business as usual.

Meanwhile, Sen. Reid stands as the country's last and best hope for national health care.

I don't bet against Harry Reid.

In 1974, former Republican Gov. Paul Laxalt promised that if elected to the U.S. Senate, he would get the California-Nevada Water Compact ratified by Congress. Laxalt told Fallon ranchers how he and his buddy Ron Reagan, as governors of their respective states, had pushed the compact through their legislatures. Pretty Paul used the issue effectively in his narrow win over Reid.

Reagan and Laxalt never got the job done. When Reid succeeded Laxalt in the senate, Reid won ratification, preserving 90 percent of the waters of the Truckee River for Nevada. Without the congressional passage, the Golden State could have come after the lion's share of the waters of the Truckee, Carson and Walker rivers, causing northwestern Nevada to dry up like Utah on a Saturday night.

The December edition of the venerable Harper's Magazine carries a killer column by senior editor Luke Mitchell. It is the most damning indictment of Congress I've ever read — and I've read a few.

"The health care industry has captured the regulatory process and it has used that capture to eliminate any real competition, whether from government in the form of a single-payer system, or from new and more efficient competitors in the private sector who might have the audacity to offer a better product at a better price," Mitchell writes.

"(Insurance) companies offer no real value and so instead must create a regulatory system that virtually mandates their existence and will soon actually do so," Mitchell asserts, adding that "the Democratic plan looks to be a huge windfall for the insurance companies....Republicans are opposing reform...simply because they have no other play...Having lost their status as the party of business, they have become the party of incoherent rage,' Mitchell concludes.

All looked lost until Reid introduced his bill which is being debated on the senate floor as I wrap this column.

Harry Reid is a major part of the establishment power structure.

The only question is whether or not he can crack that power structure to fix a health care system that kills it own citizens.

He did the impossible once before with western Nevada's water.

Good luck, senator, you're going to need it.

POWER BILLS AND POWER PLAYS. While the legit media sleep, those wonderful folks at NV Energy (formerly Sierra Pacific Powerful — old vinegar, new bottle) are pushing their employees toward a statewide strike in the dead of winter. The company has driven International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245 into open revolt over forced hikes in health care premiums which could wipe out pensions in a few years.

An October meeting of retirees at John Ascuaga's Nugget resulted in a near-riot. The union's Nov. 7 rally at the Washoe County Senior Center drew a standing-room-only crowd of more than 600. On Nov. 19, about 150 union members marched on the company's facility on Mill Street, the first time Local 1245 has picketed in 62 years of service.

NVE is hugely profitable, even convincing a judge that us peons should pay for the utility's mismanagement in getting ripped off by Enron a few years back.

Adding insult to injury, N-GreedEnergy is making it harder to hand over your money or freeze. They have closed offices where people could pay their bills or do other business. Longtime bill-pay service at Raley's supermarkets has been curtailed to the northwest Reno stores only.

Too much is never enough when it comes to corporate avarice, speaking of which...

SUPPORT NON-CORPORATE MEDIA. Please consider donating what you can afford to the community radio-TV project at ReSurge.TV. You may contribute online or send a check or money order to ReSurge.TV, P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510. Keep your eye on this column for announcement of a demonstration on what kind of impact community media can have on national issues like jobs and health care — if it's done right.

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
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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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