Bullfighting in Tonopah, Part Deux
Latest survival bulletins from the High Desert Outback of the American Dream
Barbwire by Barbano special web edition 8-11-2011
Substantially updated and expanded from the 8-7-2011 Daily Sparks Tribune

Updated 10-2-2011
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Corporate Propaganda Research Archive

   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

In 2011, we go for the Sombrero


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Updated 3-21-2011
Lawsuit gains support

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 as well as ongoing efforts at developing new media, including a regional, non-corporate community radio station and the return of community television to Reno-Sparks-Washoe.

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, 2010 and 2011 Barbwire.TV archives

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
In 2011, we go for the Sombrero

Nevada has long been invaded and exploited by furriners. Foreign-owned mining companies continue to rape and pillage and don't even kiss us afterward.

Now, the Spaniards are getting back into the act. Didn't we kick their butts once and for all in 1901? Teddy Roosevelt, call your office. Hemingway says the bulls are loose.

We've got lots of bullfighting to do here on the High Desert Plantation.

I wonder how the good ole boys in Tonopah will cotton to wearing slippers, silk stockings, funny berets and butt-tight, gaudily embroidered pedal-pusher pantaloonies.

A Spain-based construction company, Cobra Energía, has been unofficially-officially (not a typo) contracted to build a 2,764-acre, taxpayer-subsidized solar power array near the central Nevada metropolis. It's unofficial because requirements to get a $737 million federally-guaranteed loan say no project can be bid without a review of area standard wages. Nonetheless, the unofficial contractor will unofficially break ground in a few days, wage determination or not. On Aug. 3, the Cobras España even threw a party to promise the locals that they will hire 90 percent Nevada workers.

Pure pickle smoke. It can't happen unless they secure skilled union labor, which the conquistadores refuse to do. (Sole exception: one highly specialized subcontractor who has no non-union competitors.) As usual on such boondoggles, most workers will be imported, slightly-trained and creatively classified to receive the poorest wages.


Casino moguls Don Carano and John Ascuaga are longtime union busters but realize that only skilled union pros can build their high rises. The Sparks Nugget and Reno Silver Legacy towers are union handiwork.

Cobra must start before the end of September or lose the still-tentative federal underwriting. There are serious discrepancies about water availability but the developers refuse to address them. Environmental legal action is a real possibility.

If all goes forward as is, officials will have to turn a blind eye to wholesale violation of a laundry list of laws. No biggie. Illegality rarely stops powerful companies in this corporate welfare state.

SCREW THE LAW, BUSINESS IS BUSINESS. In a nationwide sample, the U.S. Department of Energy's own inspector general found that DOE totally failed to enforce wage and hour laws. Thousands of workers were underpaid with the difference going directly to corporate profits. They wuz robbed. We're sorta used to such, living in Nevada and putting up with our labor commissioner and attorney general pulling a Pontius Pilate just about every time they get asked to enforce labor law.

COBRA IS AN ASP. The conquistadores have applied for all the usual charity: 20-year sales, use and property tax breaks of 75 percent, corporate welfare that drains funds for schools, roads, parks, police and fire protection.

Earlier this year, Gov. Brian Sandoval appointed a member of his transition team to the Nevada Commission on Economic Development.

Steve Hill is founder and senior vice-president of Silver State Materials, a Gomorrah South outfit which will supply concrete to the Tonopah solar project as a subcontractor to Cobra Energía.

One of the state agencies that will review the applications: the Nevada Commission on Economic Development. Mr. Hill is rumored to be Gov. El Bruté Obtusé's frontrunner to head an expanded state economic development apparatus which will give him even more clout over corporate welfare goodies. [UPDATE: Sandoval appoints Hill.]
THE LAS VEGAS SUN CAN SCORE ANOTHER PULITZER PRIZE to go with the 2009 medal the newspaper richly deserved for its sparkling series exposing Las Vegas Strip construction worker deaths.

Because of pitiful pay, Nevada can't hire workplace and mine safety personnel, chronic shortages going back years. In 2010, a Ruby Pipeline worker was killed in northern Washoe County because of a lack of qualified inspectors on another rush job.

In Tonopah, the España bandidos will push a low-skilled workforce to build a major project on a tight timeline. Can you say CityCenter, Part Deux?

JOE CONFORTE FOR LABOR COMMISSIONER. Michael Tanchek, Nevada's latest anti-worker labor commissioner, has been shoved sideways. Word is out that Gov. Sandoval's administration will fund a nationwide search for the low-salary job heretofore filled by Nevadans. (Many years ago, they occasionally hired somebody with actual labor experience.)

My current pick to click is legendary brothelmeister Joe Conforte. At least Joe made sure his girls got paid, which is more than I can say for Mr. Tanchek.

GRAND SIERRA TERROR. New owners at northern Nevada's largest hotel are hiring wholesale temps to replace union and non-union workers. Some soon-to-be-fired longtime employees are being forced to train their replacements. To make a reservation, call India.

WHEN CAN YOU CROSS YOUR OWN PICKET LINE? The Nevada State AFL-CIO and the Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans have scheduled conventions Aug. 21-23 at the Grand Sierra. Insiders say key issues may include proposing a potential business tax initiative petition and reviewing formation of a new Labor Party.

Delegates and union retirees may be stuck in a quandary: Stay inside to wave the union banner in management's face in support of union and non-union workers. Or picket the place.

Or both.

Why is there almost always a Hot August Strike in Reno?

V.A. NO WAY, JOSÉ. Local veterans advocates report that Reno's Ioannis A. Lougaris V.A. Medical Center got $31.7 million in federal stimulus money to hire supplemental workers. Number of minorities hired so far: ZERO. Stay tuned.

FIRE SALE. A couple of weeks ago, desperate residents pounded on the door of the Sun Valley fire station, screaming for help to fight a raging blaze. The lone caretaker said he couldn't leave but handed the citizens the keys to the brush truck. Looks like fiscal conservatism is spreading like wildfire.

U-TUBE. Check the expanded web edition of this column at for the latest Barbwire.TV schedule around the state. I have ordered the Employee Free Choice Act program into rotation, also viewable 24/7 online...On KRNV TV-4 today (Thursday, Aug. 11) at 12:30 p.m. PDT, I'll share Sam Shad's statewide Nevada Newsmakers show with Reno Gazette-Journal political writer Ray Hagar, university system chancellor Dan Klaich, former Washoe Democratic Chair Chris Wicker and Washoe D.A. Dick Gammick. Mr. District Attorney just got the county commission to reinstitute a program to significantly up his conviction rate. A previous predation was killed by the courts a few years back, but Little Richard is nothing if not persistent. Sold as a way to save money, the "Early Case Resolution Program" offers defendants the golden opportunity to plead guilty within 72 hours of arrest. No muss, no fuss, no rights no mas. (See the July 3 Barbwire Red, White and Screwed.) Anybody got a producers' phone number for the various Law & Order spinoffs? I've got a great script idea ...Support the return of community radio and television in these parts. Go to ReSurge.TV to volunteer your time or treasure or both. It's now more important than ever. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Mr. Gammick came apart like a cheap watch on the Shad soirée. You may view the show online later today at It reruns at 9:30 p.m. PDT on Charter cable channel 3 in northwestern Nevada. Click here for the statewide radio/TV rerun schedule.

Damning ACLU letter to Washoe County Commission in .pdf format

ACLU letter in text format

Washoe County staff recommendation

Nevada D.A. tries end-around play

Pro- and con-documents on his Railroad Hammer to the Slammer Program appear at left.

On the air, I offered him the opportunity to submit a full written response. He said it was not worth his time.

He likewise noted he did not care that no statistics are kept on the program to see how many whites, blacks, browns, the young and the poor it affects.

L'il Richard gives new meaning to the term morally obtuse. His job is to see that justice is done, meaning "done properly" as opposed to "stick a fork in him, he's done."

MARSHALLING FORCES. The aforementioned Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans will endorse Democratic State Treasurer Kate Marshall for Congress today at 12 noon at the River Gallery, 135 N. Sierra between First and Second Streets in downtown Reno...The California Nurses Assn. will spearhead a demonstration in front of Reno's Bruce Thompson Federal Building at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 1. The theme: Fix what's broken by taxing the guys who broke it: Wall Street's pimps and thieves. Info at communications and electrical workers national strike against Verizon came to Nevada this week when Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO showed up at a Verizon retail store in south Reno with handbills advising "Don't Shop@Verizon Wireless". More soon @ Auto Workers Local 2162/AFL-CIO will bring a new GM Chevy Volt all-electric automobilis to the Virginia City Labor Day Parade. The union's boxing coach, George "Battling" Nelson, served as last year's grand marshal and will make an encore appearance in said machine.

COMING IN SUNDAY'S DAILY SPARKS TRIBUNE: A tribute to the man most to blame for the Barbwire, the newly announced poet laureate of the United States, Philip Levine — Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner and bard of the American worker. He labored at the fabled Ford River Rouge Plant in his younger days before becoming a professor at Fresno State where a son of Italian farm workers took every class he taught.

Congratulations, O Great One, the funniest man I've ever met.

BEST HOPE FOR AN OBAMA SECOND TERM: Make sure that a batshit crazy church lady becomes the GOP nominee. Sen. Harry Reid may be available to consult.

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.
This 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

Fact-free nation: Inside the lie machine
Mother Jones Magazine May-June 2011 / Cover story and in-depth analysis

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
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Barbwire Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
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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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