Running red in a frozen economy
Expanded from the 12-13-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune
Updated 12-21-2009
Barbwire wins second straight Nevada Press Association first-place award

If Reform Fails: Health Care, Jobs and Unions —new power to the people on the public airwaves

The program was available to every television set in the region because of a high-mileage media hybrid.

The show appeared on both commercial and community stations. The non-corporate entity produced the event, commercial TV greatly expanded its distribution.

Thus began what an ongoing series of sane public interest programs which generate both entertaining heat and more than a little light.

Please spread the word and consider contributing to the cause online at ReSurge.TV. You may also take the public option known as the U.S. Postal Service and send a check or money order to ReSurge.TV, P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510.

Your contribution will help fund the distribution of the Dec. 6 program as well as a new regional, non-corporate community radio station.

You are present at the creation of what I hope can become a new media model where the programming accurately reflects what's happening on the ground and the media impact is powerful enough to forcefully pass the message upward.


Be well. Raise hell.


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

15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

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

Like the past week's endless series of blizzards, just when Sparks City Hall thought it couldn't get any worse, it did.

Recent news has been all bad: Layoffs, buyouts and early retirements of critically needed employees on top of a dangerously understaffed police department.

Now comes the latest red flag about RED Development, the corporate welfare vampires in charge of the Sparks Marina debacle.

Sparks labor leaders have filed the first of what will become a flood of wage and benefit complaints over the construction of the huge Scheels sporting goods store and other Marina projects.

The Building and Construction Trades Council of Northern Nevada/AFL-CIO waited until the courts sided with them over similar violations by the Cabela's sporting goods store in Verdi.

Both Reno and Sparks city governments have arrogantly shirked their obligations to make sure the publicly subsidized retailers followed state law in properly paying their construction workers. The cities even hired compliance consultants who apparently flopped like freshly caught carp.

Now, both towns face whopping fines. Reno is looking at a "possible $250,000 or more in penalties," the Reno Gazette-Journal reported. Actually, Reno's liability could max out at $2.5 million according to city officials.

Sparks Tribune columnists and editors have for years been screaming to high heaven about the fiscal stupidity of putting Sparks taxpayers in hock in order to attract businesses which will take more in public services than they pay.

The city council was advised long ago that the Sparks Marina project would need to include a high rise hotel-casino in order to stay out of the red. That casino remains a pipedream of suede-shoe salesmanship, but RED Development appears to have lived up to its name. See my column of last Sept. 13 for a full review, including the key court decision.

Labor commissioner gives City of Sparks 30 days to investigate

MAKING UP IS HARD TO DO, PART DEUX. Last Sunday, I asked readers to tune in CNN for an interview with award-winning documentary director Darryl Roberts. His latest film, America the Beautiful, has been playing to sellout crowds across the country. He showed it at UNR earlier this year.

It's all about our fixation with the superficial and sometimes destructive extremes to which impressionable people will go to emulate some mythical national ideal.

Such matters are cultural and tribal. Queen Cleopatra of Egypt probably didn't look anything like Oscar-winning actresses Claudette Colbert or Elizabeth Taylor, both of whom portrayed her on the silver screen. Corpulent Cleo was probably built more like an offensive lineman for the Green Bay Packers, as copious folds of extra bodily fat were considered a symbol of success and beauty back a couple of millennia.

Almost by accident, filmmaker Roberts has become the leader of a movement crusading against cancer-causing chemicals found in just about every kind of makeup.

Roberts was scheduled to discuss his boycott against Ralph Lauren products last Sunday.

The campaign has been endorsed by a wide range of women's organizations. Ralph Lauren became the focus of Roberts' criticism because of heavily photo-shopped magazine ads featuring images of young girls with pipe-cleaner arms and impossibly waspy waistlines. Examples are posted with last week's column at

Ralph Lauren's PR people pulled a really underhanded move to keep Roberts off CNN. They first committed to sending a company representative. Rumors abounded that Ralph Lauren hisself might show up. Then, they cancelled at the last minute. CNN was reluctant to put Darryl on alone, fearing the network might be accused of not being fair and balanced, so this very important issue was denied national exposure.

If it had been my show, I would have simply noted that Ralphy chickened out of an opportunity to respond and then put Roberts on the air.

"I was really upset," Roberts stated, "not because we didn't do the CNN segment. I was upset because I'm accusing you (Ralph Lauren) of damaging the spirit and self-esteem of million of girls with your draconian advertising and your response is to play games, strategize and make sure the boycott doesn't build steam. What about the girls? What about just agreeing to not do it again? Do you even care about the girls?"

Lauren is designing U.S. Olympic team outfits for the upcoming winter games. The women portrayed in his drawings look too undernourished to pick up a ski pole. One will be posted with the web edition of this column at

I wrote Darryl that the CNN cancellation is actually good news. Based on my experience, getting censored is the best thing that can happen because it brings attention.

"I hope you're right because they're fighting me tooth and nail!" he responded.

The redoubtable Roberts has asked people to help his campaign by signing up at his new Facebook page.

Just do it.

THANKS TO EVERYONE who watched last Sunday's Barbwire live TV pilot If Reform Fails: Health Care, Jobs and Unions. Special credit goes to a great panel and all those who braved the first blast of the current series of blizzards to be part of the SNCAT studio audience at Meadowood Mall. Next month's show will be about jobs in a frozen economy.

All of the above underscores the importance of developing non-corporate community media. As the head of Sonoma State's Project Censored noted in publishing this year's 10 most under-reported stories, reforming big-time corporate media is a lost cause.
"We're not going to break up these huge conglomerates. We're just going to make them irrelevant," Prof. Peter Phillips stated. (See the current Reno News & Review.)

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.

Your support will help fund the distribution of the Dec. 6 program as well as a new regional community radio station. If you missed it, you can view last Sunday's show online.

Please be careful out there.

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...

Painters Union pickets Scheels store at Sparks Marina Legends development
Breaking News & Bulletins 3-14

BARBWIRE Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive

Propaganda fuels gasoline price fixing
Barbwire 8-14-2005

Sun, 6 Dec 2009 15:36:16 (EST) / 12:36:16 PST / 18:36:16 ZULU/GMT


As you know, I was supposed to appear on CNN News today with Dr. Maria Rago of ANAD and former supermodel Emme at 4pm Eastern Time to announce the nationwide boycott of Ralph Lauren that thousands of you signed up for.

Well, The Ralph Lauren Company orchestrated a very savvy move and the segment was just cancelled. 30 minutes ago. 2 hours before we were to go live.

Tomorrow morning I will send out a newsletter with the full details letting you know what happened. Every single gory detail!

The boycott will continue, but even stronger now.

I've started the America the Beautiful Action Network which will fight any ad or condition that harms the healthy self-esteem or overall emotional and mental well being of young women and girls.

When I sent out the newsletter yesterday announcing the CNN appearance, hundreds of teenage girls emailed me, saying they would watch the segment knowing their voice would finally be heard by many.

You should be proud of yourselves because your voice was heard. Imagine the top executives at Ralph Lauren scurrying to keep me off of CNN. They won that battle but together we will win the war.

I fully understand now that these companies aren't going to change their ways unless you make them with how you spend your money.

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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