Janet MacDonald: The beautiful face of honor
Expanded from the 1-29-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

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   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


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Updated 8-30-2011
Now rerunning on Carson-Dayton 226

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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.

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Be well. Raise hell.


Click here for selected 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

Another great Nevada warrior has fallen.

Lovely Janet MacDonald died on January 7.

Had the federal government a regulator like Jan aboard during the administration of Bush the Lesser, the continuing worldwide depression may well not have happened.

Had the University of Nevada under former President Joe Crowley and former Chancellor Richard Jarvis not been so corrupt that Jan resigned in protest, our system of higher education would be in much better shape today.

A single mother, Jan worked her way through UNR performing in the showroom of John Ascuaga's Nugget with elephants Bertha and Tina. Another legendary heavyweight, Gov. Mike O'Callaghan, appointed CPA MacDonald to the Nevada Public Service Commission (now the Nevada Public Utilities Commission).

In 1980, I attended my first NV Energy (Sierra Pacific Power) rate hearing. My simplistic request for basic information elicited muffled chuckles from some of the thousand-dollar suits in attendance.

An exotically pretty woman sat down next to me and advised that because my consumer organization had intervened in the case, we automatically had discovery rights. I found out later that it was Commissioner MacDonald who had come to my rescue.

She served on the PSC from 1975 to 1981, then took her talents to the university system. She uncovered and made public horrendous financial irregularities in an era when bureaucratic careerists who shut up were routinely promoted and rewarded with cash and free automobiles.

I chronicled Janet's courage in the 1996 Barbwire University Scandals series, entered by this newspaper in two categories of the Pulitzer Prize competition. (Pertinent installments as well as her complete obituary will be linked to the expanded web edition of this column at Personal remembrances are welcome and will be permanently posted.)

Janet Sylvia MacDonald, (May 6, 1941 - Jan. 7, 2012) will be remembered at a memorial service at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29, at the Poolside Terrace on the Nugget's fifth floor.

Rest in peace, beautiful lady.

Know that your job was well done, your life well-lived.

I'm proud to have known you and Nevada stands enriched because you passed this way.

I got acquainted with the Libertarian Party back in my talk radio days, even came close to getting one elected to the state legislature. Their positions on labor and unions were pretty progressive back when Paul was their 1988 presidential candidate.

I was thus both surprised and disappointed that Dr. Paul recently applauded the progress of right-to-work legislation in the Indiana legislature.

"In Congress, I have been a strong supporter of a National Right to Work Act, and I have made passing such legislation a centerpiece of my presidential guarantee every American can enjoy the fruits of his labor free from interference by Big Labor bosses," Paul stated.

There is not and has never been a "Big Labor." At their peak in the 1950s, unions represented about one worker in three. Now it's less than one in six as corporate laborcide, aided by the full faith and credit of our government, spawns American jobs in foreign sweatshop dictatorships.

"In a propaganda coup of considerable importance on the part of their sponsors, these acts were labeled right-to-work laws," wrote historian Mary Ellen Glass in her book Nevada's Turbulent Fifties.

"Obviously, no 'right to work' exists in a free society," she added. "The terminology, however, confused both the issue and its objectives."

At, you will find a complete history of Nevada's right-to-work law, including crippling wage impacts.

LEGALIZED SHOPLIFTING. A right-to-work-for-less law forces unions to represent non-members. About four in ten workers take the free ride. Do you know any businesses that could survive if almost half their customers could take merchandise without paying?

United Auto Workers guru George Nelson analyzed the impact of right-to-work laws in 1958.

"Pamphlets distributed to working people in 1896 regarding the election of William McKinley (resemble) those being distributed to the working man of today (1958) in regard to the right-to-work law. The working people of 1896 were told that a vote for McKinley was a vote for a full dinner pail, higher wages and prosperity. With President McKinley's election, big business prospered and the toilers of America remained slaves to their jobs," Nelson wrote.

McKinley 1896. Paul, Willard, Newt, Perry, Cain, Bachmann and Scrotum Factotum 2012.

Old whines, new bottles.

Bill Moyers recently commented that the U.S. Supreme Court's now-infamous Citizens United decision "is but the latest battle in the class war waged for thirty years from the top down by the corporate and political right." (Five Republican judges gave corporations the same First Amendment rights as people. Maybe now my long-stalled campaign for a corporate death penalty can move forward.)

Nelson disagrees with Moyers' timeline.

"We have been battling these evil bastards for hundreds of years. We must continue to take the battle to them and their business interests," the Sparks resident growls.

I regret that Battling Nelson never had the chance to meet Janet MacDonald.

I think they would have gotten along.

SUPPORT THE NEVADA CITIZEN TV PROJECT, a non-corporate environment for a new channel. Go to ReSurge.TV or contact me.

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Help give the gift of non-corporate TV to your community. We are making progress toward returning a citizens channel to these parts. Your support is both needed and appreciated. Thank you.

Be well. Raise hell.


Andrew Barbano is a 43-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 and 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...

Janet MacDonald — Family Obituary
Reno Gazette-Journal / 1-24-2012

Janet MacDonald's Greatest Hits

The Great Nevada University Scandals
From the 1996-97 Barbwire Archives

• BARBWIRE BY BARBANO: Slam-dunks with Ma Bell & Mary Ellen McMullen (/barbwire/barb96/barb10-27-96.html)
• BARBWIRE BY BARBANO: Clark Santini: still watching over his university (/barbwire/barb96/barb11-17-96.html)
• Barbwire by Barbano: Ghost Professors, Gold Mines and Shell Games at UNR (/barbwire/barb96/barb11-3-96.html)
• Barbwire by Barbano: University Scandals '96: The Empire Strikes Back (/barbwire/barb96/barb12-8-96.html)
• Barbwire by Barbano: Secret university audit catches chancellor lying (/barbwire/barb97/barb1-19-97.html)
• Barbwire by Barbano: All university regents face ouster, TMCC chief quits (/barbwire/barb97/barb3-9-97.html)

Read the entire Pulitzer Prize-entered 1996-1997 series

...and more ammo...

Economist: This is a true depression
Elliott Parker Guest Editorial / Las Vegas Sun / 11-27-2011

POWERFUL PUNDITORY PANJANDRUMS: Compelling guest commentary

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced.
HAT TRICK: Barbwire takes first place three years in a row.

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 yet

The plight of the paper pushers
The great recession made bashing public workers a national sport
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review / 11-23-2011

Bury the Bad News with Rose-colored Reporting
How urgent can economic troubles be if leaders say things are getting better?

Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review / 11-23-2011

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
| BallotBoxing.US | Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive
Barbwire Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
Annual César Chávez Celebration
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Copyright © 1982-2012 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 43-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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