This bitch just isn't sexy enough
A domestic cartel fixes the price of gasoline
while politicians say nothing can be done and media sit shiva.

Such is BigOil's power to intimidate while hiding in plain sight.

Expanded from the 2-26-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

Site map
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.

Everybody knows the scene is dead
   But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
   What 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

Additional programs
on Boulder City cable. Go to and then
go to the BCTV link.

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 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

Murder, mayhem and rape are marketable.

The retail price of gasoline has long been fixed by a domestic cartel but few politicians have the guts to confront BigOil and the news media simply don't find the truth sexy enough.

So we suffer bubbleheaded bleach-blondes standing at pump islands interviewing bitchy customers under a $5.00 a gallon sign.

And nobody does nothin'.

I've tried. The biggest consumer section of is the Oilogopoly Archive, a 17-year cold case evidence locker of BigOil getting away with murder.

The following is excerpted from letters sent to a dozen or so mainstream and alternative newspapers and magazines in 1996.

Dear Editor:

When it comes to gasoline prices, we have achieved national consensus: the public is screwed and everybody knows how, with which and by whom. Might the great unwashed hope that the legit media will eventually find out why?

Alas, no. The real story could bite them on the ass and they'd say the mosquitoes sure are big this year. The foundation for the current spike in retail gas prices has been cleverly laid over the past 14 years.

We may view 1996 as test marketing of a national price-fixing strategy. I have legislative and court records and inside people. I wrote a 7,000-word series. The final installment is enclosed. Call me if you want to look at the rest.

The past six weeks are just a warning of things to come. The monopolists really have developed a better mousetrap. You and I are in the cage. John D. Rockefeller would be proud.

While we were sleeping, BigOil came up with a new Monopoly game.

     1. The California cancer spreads. The national media have missed the story behind the current spike in gas prices. I have yet to see any reportage, let alone analysis, as to the real reason why California price hikes led the nation when 93% of west coast gas comes from California and Alaska crude. The other 7% comes mostly from Canada and a trickle from Asia. All of the above is non-OPEC oil. After a 23-year ban, we just began to export Alaska crude to Japan.

The answer lies in 14 years of clever cut-throat competition designed to let ARCO take the point in eliminating independent retailers through a "price zone" scheme. This explains why two ARCO stations a few blocks apart may have different prices. The strategy kills small neighborhood retailers. I have evidence that all the BigOil "majors" participate in this oligopolistic pricing practice.

    2. Independent dealers either get branded or get out. California had more than 20,000 gas stations in 1972. Today, only about 9,700 remain. Four or five major oil companies now control 75% of the retail business in southern California, the very definition of oligopoly.

     3. The Smoking Gun, 1982's biggest hit. BigOil set the stage for the most recent round of price gouging more than 14 years ago. I have the "smoking gun" internal memo by the president of ARCO (now BP) delineating the marketing strategy.

     4. The point guard theory of price fixing: Let one dominate a region until all the little guys are either chewed up, swallowed or spit out. I have sworn testimony and statements from gas retailers as to the grand design. One poor guy told the Nevada Legislature that his BigOil supplier forced him to sell gas at retail cheaper than he bought it wholesale.

     5. Hide in plain sight: Any news can be manipulated as an excuse for instant price increases which go down slowly, if at all. Fill the air with media flak to obscure the facts, as has been successfully done in the instant "crisis."

     6. Compete on style, not substance. The goal first set forth in the 1982 Smoking Gun Memo is now being achieved industrywide. Gimmicks, contests and big TV budgets will create the image of competition where none exists.

     7. Pull the ladder up behind you. BigOil's arrogance is such that they can fix prices with impunity and buy lawmakers to consolidate their power. Their favorite preserve is the easiest and cheapest place to buy influence: state legislatures. Some markets in the U.S. already have a monopoly controlling the price of gasoline.

     8. Take the scam nationwide. The major U.S. oil companies have refined their method of fixing retail prices to a point where they can launch it nationally when the opportunity presents itself.

     9. The fix for price-fixing: a little old-fashioned big government trust-busting. Break up Rockefeller's reconstituted Standard Oil monopoly.

   10. Ban zone pricing aka cut-throat competition. It's already supposed to be illegal. Tighten regulation and disclosure of "internal money laundering."

Seventeen years have passed. Alas and alack, nothing's changed.

RETROACTIVE ABORTION. The Social Darwinists running for the Republican presidential nomination have a new statistic to pimp. According to the March Harper's Index, a homeless person's life expectancy is 30 years below the national average. The law of the jungle is already national policy.

donate at ReSurge.TV or contact me, especially if you think great issues like the above demand extensive and rational discussion.

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...

Secret formulas set the prices for gasoline
By Alexei Barrionuevo

WALL STREET JOURNAL / March 26th, 2000
From the
Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive

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

...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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