Barack Brian Obama Sandoval Carter
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 1-30-2011 Daily Sparks Tribune

   Everybody knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
   Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
   Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
   That's how it goes. Everybody knows.
— Leonard Cohen

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award


The new season of Barbwire TV. The first show will be about (what else?) jobs. The lack of them is well documented. How we've blown them and where they can be regenerated, that's something else. I guarantee you'll get mad enough to want to get even. Watch for show times. Help us get the word out.

Support the project at


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

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

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

Thus began 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 and Feb. 21 programs as well as ongoing efforts at developing new media, including a 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.


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

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award

A few days ago, I got a very bleak prediction from a usually optimistic officeholder: The 2011 Nevada Legislature will fail to keep state and local governments and our educational system from pretty much collapsing. The people will be forced to take to the streets.

Fine by me. I have long expressed admiration for peaceful popular uprising.

The citizens of the Philippines and Ukraine earned everlasting respect for coming out by the thousands to protest stolen elections. Unlike us in 2000, the thieves were expelled. just overthrew the government of Tunisia and Egypt might be next. Dictator Hosni Mubarak turned it violent in the finest tradition of our late puppet, the Shah of Iran.

Haiti's Baby Doc Duvalier was so morally obtuse that he aired a posh presidential palace banquet on national television. The bastard actually thought his impoverished people would feel better if they saw him well fed and happy. He had to flee ahead of tar and feathers.

America's image has not fared well in the near east. We are still viewed as the empire that props up the local strongman — kinda like Rome with a king named Herod awhile back.

President Obama should have made his economic policy by following Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman's New York Times columns. Instead, he put the foxes back into our financial chicken coop, signed off on an economic stimulus that was much too small and got his ass kicked last November by the guys who got us into this mess.

A double-dip depression is now in the offing. Only severe hardship resulted in passage of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal in the 1930s. Looks like instant replay on the horizon.

I hope the pain proves worth the gain, but is there another FDR out there?

A TALE OF THREE ONE-TERMERS? President Obama and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval now have something in common with President Jimmy Carter.

All seem possessed by a curious passion for rearranging furniture.

Political commentator Jeff Greenfield said this about that in his 1980 book Playing to Win:

"Don't reorganize the government. In many ways, this is the most important piece of advice available to an incumbent executive...(It) is always an obsession...and it is always such an astonishing waste of time that it prevents an incumbent from accumulating anything like an impressive record. When you are meeting with your cabinet officers on which agency gets a new office, you aren't setting policy, you aren't cutting the budget, you aren't getting your legislative program through...and you aren't making life one whit better for the people who voted for you."

Greenfield noted that Carter's new Department of Energy never got around to making energy policy. The office responsible for regulations was too busy moving 19 times, "often back and forth among the same three buildings."

Reminds me of an old joke about deck chairs on the Titanic.

Or new ones about color-coded alert levels. I understand the Department of Union Busting Homeland Security is cutting down to two categories. I suggest "SNAFU" and "FUBAR."

Both should be in some shade of salmon, which the president says will now be subject to simplified regulation: One if by salt water, two if by fresh water and no smoking allowed.

Madame Attorney General is in for tough sledding in her second term. On Jan. 16, I noted her increasing union troubles because Nevada labor laws can be broken with impunity on her watch.

Lady Catherine likes to flip responsibility to local district attorneys or the state labor commissioner, an office which walked away from its statutory duty to advocate for workers two decades ago.

Local DA's won't touch labor law violations because they represent the counties which are some of the worst violators. And they think it's the AG's job.

So Nevada workers, like utility ratepayers, are largely left twisting in the wind under the regime of the ambitious AG.

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. The Ledge may provide headline entertainment, but Carson City is always good for other kinks and kicks.

Thursday, Feb. 10, provides a double header. In the kinks department, the Nevada Commission on Ethics hears charges against Washoe County District Attorney Dick Gammick.

If found guilty of abusing his office, he could be defrocked.

However, the bullet-domed DA has an ace in the hole: He's a Republican. Former Sen. Maurice Washington, R-Sparks, got bailed out of serious potential criminal liability a decade ago. Were he a Democrat, the "D" after his name might well have been changed to "detention." (Also try the search engine for "Maurice.")

The late State Controller Kathy Augustine was impeached and convicted of using her office resources in her re-election campaign, pretty much the same charges Gammick faces. Fortunately, Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, controlled the upper house majority at the time and gave her 40 lashes with a limp noodle. The penalty for conviction upon impeachment is removal for a constitutional officer. Former prosecutor Raggio invented a diversion for his fellow Republican. Gammick may not be so lucky.

On the same day, the Public Utilities Commission has set a pre-hearing conference on the action filed by International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245/AFL-CIO. The union alleges that chronic understaffing by NV Energy statewide has put the reliability of most of Nevada's electrical grid in serious jeopardy. The case has already broken new ground — nobody expected the corporate-oriented PUC to even take up the matter.

Feb. 10 in Carson City will favor those who get their kicks by being in two or three places at once.

DIRTY BUSINESS. Environment Nevada just published a killer 78-page report entitled Dirty Energy’s Assault on our Health: Mercury (.pdf format). It roasts those wonderful profitmongers at NV Energy for all the mercury the company's polluting power plants put into Nevada air. [Executive summary]

CORPORATE WELFARE WATCH. The Nevada State Fair is on the skids. No wonder. The Nevada Fair and Recreation Board Act of 1955 established the hotel room tax mainly to support county fairs, parks and recreation. Gomorrah South imposed a room tax in 1957. Reno-Sparks-Washoe followed in 1960. It has since been glommed almost entirely by the gambling industry to fund advertising and promotion which should be left to private, for-profit enterprises.

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, PART DEUX. Gov. Sandoval's budget calls for axing the job of stimulus watchdog Mary Keating, the courageous woman who blew the whistle on former Gov. Jim the Dim's text-messaged lewd and lascivious liaisons launched at taxpayer expense. Outrageous.

MEMENTO MOMENT. César Chávez Celebration IX is right around the corner and this year, it happens while the legislature is in session. César Chávez would have been 84 on Thursday, March 31, 2011. We will celebrate the great union man and his message at Circus Circus-Reno that evening. Watch for news, ticket and sponsorship info.

BACK FROM THE ASHES DEPT. Support the return of community radio and television to Sparks-Reno-Washoe. See Barbwire.TV for more information, to join the club and contribute via the web. It's important.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 42-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, first vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, 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 9-18-2010.
HAT TRICK: Barbwire takes first place for third year in a row.
Next year, we go for the sombrero.

The winning entries:

Suing for Schools: The 20-year shuck
Expanded from the 2-21-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

Click here to view the show on your desktop

RED flags flying low over Sparks
Expanded from the 1-10-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

The wrath of self-righteous racism
Expanded from the 11-8-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

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

Bill Moyers: Welcome to the Plutocracy
Money fights hard and it fights dirty
Speech delivered at Boston University on 29 Oct. 2010
Part of the Howard Zinn Lecture Series

Barbwire Corporate Welfare Archive

From clear-cut forests to dirty Gulfstream waters, this land belongs to old BP

BP/ARCO: The greasy root of our evils

Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 9-10-2006

The awful truth — Read it and weep, fellow suckers

Labor Day 2009: Rise of the Vampire Corpobots
Expanded from the 9-6-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

Angry Americans and Freudian fraud
Using war to market cigarettes
from the 8-23-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

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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Banks, Cabbies, Cabela's, Cable TV, Cancer Kids/Mining, Energy, Food, Health Care, Resurge.TV/consumers, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
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Copyright © 1982-2011 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 42-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee, He is producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and serves as first 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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