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Special notice to Sparks Tribune readers

In its 25th year as a daily, the 102 year-old Sparks Tribune moved to twice-per-week publication as of 1 Sept. 2012. Alas and alack, the publishers have not done a very good job informing our readers and the general public. I've been getting phone calls. The print edition will now be published on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Four longtime columnists have been retained: David Farside, Jake Highton, Harry Spencer and the Barbwire. The newspaper's website will continue to publish stories on a daily basis.

My annual Labor Day column appeared in the Sept. 3 Reno Gazette-Journal.

I also highly recommend journalist Mark Robison's extensive piece Hard Labor: Nevada unions tout role in helping workers, firms, economy in the Sunday 2 Sept. 2012 RGJ (starting on page one of the Reno Rebirth section of the print edition). Therein, union men Jim Burrell, Paul McKenzie and Guy Louis Rocha did the movement proud. [Click here to access the shocking but not surprising graphic included in the print edition but not on the RGJ website.]

The RGJ also used a photo and information from this golden oldie.

Happy Labor Day. Stay tuned. Be careful. Be cool.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano

   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

Aug. 2012-Aug. 2013: the Barbwire's Silver Anniversary Year
Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in those parts ever since. Tempus fugit.

SUFFRAGETTES 2012 (Bruce Thompson Federal Courthouse, Reno NV Aug. 26, 2012) —Left to right, the signs read Your Body, Your Way / We Can Do Better / (Missouri Republican Rep. and U.S. Senate candidate Todd) Akins can kiss my voting booth / My Body My Choice. There are actually six readable signs in the photo if you count "sandwiches" in the upper left background and "Do Not Enter" to the right of Ms. Your Body, Your Way — which adds a nice touch of irony to this energetic demonstration on a sunny Sunday morning. Somewhere, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Margaret Sanger, Victoria Claflin Woodhull, Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, Jeannette Rankin, Nancy Gomes, Mary Gojack, Bella Abzug, Jean Ford and legions of iron-jawed angels are smiling.

Women and Unions: Orphan Majorities
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 9-3-2012 Reno Gazette-Journal
Updated 9-4, 9-8-2012

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


Watch for show times. Help us get the word out.

Support the project at

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

For all of our modern innovations, we are still very primitive.

Electricity in the 21st Century arrives much as it did in the 19th, from wires strung on sticks.

Women and workers still march on the streets under those utility poles, just as they did when bustles and corsets were in fashion.

America famously protects minority rights against the tyranny of the majority.

In practice, well-moneyed minorities often rule.

In the U.S. Senate, one member can monkey-wrench the entire body.

In Nevada, a minority of lawmakers can stop any tax or fee increase, resulting in legislative gridlock.

Polling consistently shows that a majority of non-union U.S. workers would vote for a union.

Most will never have the opportunity because we suffer from the most repressive labor laws among industrialized countries.

In recent decades, our biggest export has been good-paying jobs.

Women comprised 51.6 percent of the voting age population in 2010, but most officeholders are still basically old white guys.

Women are 51 percent of today's household breadwinners but Maryland Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski's bill mandating equal pay for equal work is bogged down in the good old boys' club.

About 50 demonstrators gathered at the downtown Reno federal building on Aug. 26 (see above).

Most were modern-day suffragettes who assembled in the Sunday morning sun to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment that gave women the right to vote in 1920.

Nevada enfranchised women five years earlier and we've mostly been on a downhill slide since.

In 1977, as a result of a dirty deal done strictly between guys, the Nevada Legislature killed the Equal Rights Amendment.

It remains just a dream.

After 1915, about our only positive innovation came with placement of "none of the above" ("none of these candidates") on statewide ballots, something Republicans removed this year. [UPDATE 9-6-2012: Federal appellate judges put None of the Above back on the November ballot. Alleluia!]

Like the women in front of the Reno courthouse, workers are part of a numerical majority that remains shortchanged.

Adjusted for inflation, the average American worker hasn't had a raise since 1973.

The moneyed minority rules.

Corporations (now legally people) can buy media, lawyers and lobbyists all subsidized by taxpayers as deductible business expenses.

Unions are America's most heavily regulated organizations while Wall Street waltzes all the way to the bank.

We still celebrate the myth of an America built by rugged individualism when in reality this country was forged through teamwork, unified effort.

We all belong to one big union, the United States.

For all the recent demonization of words like feminist, union, liberal and progressive, this country was forged by collective endeavor toward common goals.

The chamber of commerce is thus arguably a union. So are the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood, UNR football and the National Rifle Association. All are textbook examples of successful cooperative effort.

Many states have passed or are considering laws to make voting as difficult as possible.

Voters don't have a National Rifle Association which has made it easier to buy a gun than cast a ballot in many places.

Maybe the NRA should diversify.

So think kindly of the 50 demonstrators, mostly wearing pink, who assembled at the Reno courthouse a few days ago.

Those representatives of the majority showed up to remind us that no matter the label, the work toward equal opportunity continues and the dream will never die.

Dream on.

SUPPORT THE NEVADA CITIZEN TV PROJECT to re-establish a non-corporate community channel.

As political ads increasingly shotgun your consciousness, do you not feel the burn — and the burning need?

You may donate at ReSurge.TV or contact me or burn, baby, burn.

A people's TV station will act like an antacid.

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...

Union decline and rising inequality in two charts
by Colin Gordon
Economic Policy Institute / 6-5-2012

Used in
journalist Mark Robison's extensive Hard Labor: Nevada unions tout role in helping workers, firms, economy (Sunday 2 Sept. 2012 Reno Gazette-Journal, page one, Reno Rebirth section of the print edition). Union men Jim Burrell, Paul McKenzie and Guy Louis Rocha did the movement proud. Not included in the RGJ online edition.

Followed by a moon shadow

TRAVUS T. HIPP, 1937-2012

ADIÓS, COMPADRE — Our friend Travus, 75, passed away peacefully between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. PDT on 18 May 2012 at his home in Silver City, Nevada. The sun is in eclipse as I write this at 6:30 p.m. on May 20.

CHANGE OF VENUE (5-22-2012) — Adiós in Silver City, Nevada, Saturday, May 26, 2012 —> Updated 5-27-2012 — > The auld church where Travus lived and died proved too small for the expected multitude, so gathering, gnoshing and remembering commenced at the Silver City Community Center, 385 High Street, at 10:00 a.m. PDT. The graveside memorial service began at High Noon. Travus was buried next to his rock star companion Lynne Hughes, a short walk away. My remembrance of Lynne from the 3-21-1993 Daily Sparks Tribune has been linked to Travus' formal obituary at this website. All memories accepted for permanent posting hereat. Stay tuned for pictures and stories of the appropriately rainy day.

Thanks for all your kind words. Keep up the good work and the good fight.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano

Travus T. Hipp & Tales of Nevada's Futures Passed
Expanded from the 6-3-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

     At bottom, he was an artist who used his voice to soar and slice, a tenor for the tenor of our times. Many of his mourning California listeners talk about the vocal spells he wove, how he soundly organized the noise of daily life into music that entertained, engaged, enlightened, educated, enthralled and occasionally enflamed. [From the saga of Travus T. Hipp and contributions by The Barbwire to the May 25 Reno Gazette-Journal and May 26, 2012, Daily Sparks Tribune.]

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

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

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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