Pirate Laureate of the High Desert Outback of the American Dream


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Barbwire Silver Anniversary 1988-2013 —>Now we go for gold
Barbwire by Barbano moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

   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

"If voting mattered, they wouldn't let us do it."Travus T. Hipp, 1982

Tesla plants PR slants to get into the public's pants
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 6-19-2014 Sparks Tribune / Updated 9-16-2014

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


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We Don't Need No Education—> Neverending Barbwire Series


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

Support the project at

Updated 8-30-2011
Reruns 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


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The exclamation point of a successful con comes when the mark doesn't realize it even while getting kissed afterwards.

Some just won't recognize a hooker hustle despite abundant warning signs.

Long ago, moralist George Carlin decried ever-expanding euphemisms. "Shell shock," a perfectly good descriptive of the horrors of WWI, became "battle fatigue" in WW2.

The same soldier malady morphed into "operational exhaustion" and is now the dehumanized, bloodless "post-traumatic stress disorder."

The modern pseudo-scientific discipline of "corporate communications" was once "public relations," re-labeled from the unpalatable WWI term of "propaganda." (Chronologically count the syllables.)

Back in my talk radio incarnation when I regularly whipped Lush Rambo's pompous ass, I often noted that most news items get planted in the media by PR guys like me.

After so stating one day, I had occasion to visit the Reno Gazette-Journal newsroom. A longtime reporter, overflowing with righteous rage, just about threw her computer at me.

I calmed her down and reiterated my case that no newspaper has enough staff to self-generate all the items in an average edition. Even the church and movie listings are submitted externally. She finally had to agree that based on raw numbers, I was correct.

That's the easy stuff. The con job is what you don't see.

After 45 years in Nevada follytix, I can recognize a hustle from garden variety hookers, pimps and thieves.

Which brings me to the current Tesla euphoria which has the little valley by the mucky Truckee swooning like the San Francisco Giants in June.

There are basically three kinds of propaganda con.

First comes The Stonewall as employed by Apple, a news blackout for blackjacking the school district, state and local governments into conceding $86 million in backbreaking corporate welfare tax giveaways.

Effective when the fix is in.

Second is the Reversal of Fortune, slowly trickling out negative news.

I once reverse-engineered the story of major countywide property tax increases, resulting in nary a whimper from the public. Frightened elected officials were amazed.

Learning from PR disasters like McCulloch Oil's ill-fated Palomino Valley development in the early 1970s, the developers of the Meadowood project only announced the grand design after almost all of it had been completed.

About 1970, McCulloch announced a planned community north of Sparks that would grow to 20,000 people over 20 years.

Out came the pitchforks, tar and feathers. We didn't know it then, but the era of unplanned urban sprawl had begun.

To make sure no Las Vegas Strip-style competition could gain a toehold, downtown Reno casino interests bought large swaths of land along the S. Virginia Street corridor. Look where RanchHarrah stands today.

The Smith family of Harolds Club fame acquired a huge spread south of Reno.

Reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes bought Harolds Club in a notorious 1970 midnight transaction engineered by Gov. Paul Laxalt, R. The ranch was sold sometime later.

The former rural site today hosts three major shopping centers, a couple of strip malls and numerous apartments and office buildings. The biggest hurdle was getting Meadowood Mall approved as a solo project.

Saying that Reno had "second-class shopping," the developers prevailed over marginal opposition. The area's second regional mall opened in 1978.

Only after almost the entire Smith Ranch was built out did the out-of-state developers announce the grand design, a textbook example of reverse-engineered or inverse PR. (The last remaining large open space in the valley, the Ballardini Ranch, has been touted as now ripe for development with the coming of Tesla.)

TESLACIDE. Finally, we have the Full Court Press, typified by Tesla's ballyhooed battery-building brouhaha. Neither backdoored nor sideways, such full-frontal nudity is often fair warning of fully-exposed rape and pillage.

Superannuated PR men like me can recognize media hype planted via corporate communications.

Reno Mayor Bob Cashell even appeared on the CNBC cable channel to announce we had won the Tesla sweepstakes. He was quickly contradicted by Mustang Ranch proprietor Lance Gilman whose day job is running the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center (appropriately acronymed "TRIC"), supposed site of the Tesla facility.

CHUTZPAH DEPT. Money-losing Tesla is apparently willing to spend on major preliminary construction before making a site decision, a great way to play states against each other.

We already went Tap City for Apple. Texas and California have lots more money for much bigger corporate welfare bribes and they offer far better universities.

No matter.

As the legit media spin it, Tesla will solve all this community's problems.

"A lot of people think we're trying to put the screws to the states," Tesla boss Elon Musk told CNBC. "That's not our goal." (Reno Gazette-Journal 6-18-2014)

Beware full-frontal cons.

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)


HONOR YOUR DON. Campaign season is upon us. I'm working to elect legendary Nevada photographer Don Dondero (1920-2003) for the Nevada Press Association Hall of Fame.

His life's work appeared worldwide, including the Tribune and most probably every newspaper in Nevada.

Enlist in the campaign to install Big Don.

Please send me your memories and endorsements via e-mail or to P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510. The deadline is the end of this month, so get it on.

The Barbwire got the late Reno Gazette-Journal columnist Guy Richardson elected in 2012.

Help me double down

TOO LEGIT TO QUIT. The Barbwire's ongoing investigation of phony Nevada graduation rates, now in its third year, just got respectable. (Scroll down to Hiding in Plain Sight.) Read it and weep, then review the series for yourself.

TOAST ALERT. Teachers' union tax petition supporters and opponents would do well to review the Barbwire of Feb. 28, 2013.

Passage of the tax initiative could easily lead to a successful court challenge that would at the same time blow out not only the revenue hike, but also term limits and the state's worst anti-union laws. Something for everybody. [UPDATE]

ANTE INTO THE GAME: Support the new season of Barbwire.TV by putting your money where my mouth is.

PayPal monthly subscription software is now operational at the website.

A thousand thanks to those who already responded and keep sending show suggestions. Current frontrunners include (pardon the pun) wild mustangs as canned goods, education and  i-Guns with César Chávez in Nevada recently surging.

Now come queries about ballot questions. The Jan. 30 column brought a surge of inquiries about the Nevada State Education Association corporate tax petition on this November's ballot.

Stay tuned.

"Media is the plural of mediocre."
                              — Jimmy Breslin

  Please forward additional ideas or vote on the above.

  I encourage you to donate to the cause at Barbwire.TV/

The medium that shapes public opinion needs at least one refuge where it is not filtered through the distorted green eye shades of prissy corporate accountants for whom profit is the only priority; where self-censorship is the journalist's normal work environment and where all sins of omission are tacitly encouraged and forgiven with the wave of a balance sheet.

This is important.

We've got work to do.

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)



Andrew Barbano is a 45-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 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 Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Smoking Guns...
Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential

Taxpayers taken for Teslacide demo ride

Nevada follytix '14 still played under 1952 TV rules
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 6-12-2014 Sparks Tribune

Nevada's righteous ayatollahs arise once again
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 6-5-2014 Sparks Tribune

When your enemy is destroying himself, never interfere
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 5-29-2014 Sparks Tribune

Barbara Bennett, Erik Holland and Václav Havel
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 5-22-2014 Sparks Tribune

Stabbing rock-sucking kangaroos on the Ides of May
Reno Gazette-Journal blatantly manipulates mayoral contest
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from
the 5-15-2014 Sparks Tribune

Negative Optimism: Making the best of being worst
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 5-8-2014 Sparks Tribune

Nevada State AFL-CIO conventioners join anti-education initiative business coalition
Steve Sebelius / Las Vegas Review-Journal 5-2-2014

In search of the modern day Barbara Bennett
Barbwire by Barbano / Substantially expanded from the 4-3-2014 Sparks Tribune

...and more ammo...

We Don't Need No Education
The continuing Barbwire series

Barbwire: Nevada not really a state
No, we were not Battle Born in Kenya
Top 10 reasons Nevada lives in the 19th Century

Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-17-2013 Sparks Tribune

Low-income penalty: Nevada socks it to the working poor
BARBANO: Nevada is one big company town
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 10-10-2013

State of Health
National health care comes up against a very sick state. WHAT'S IN IT FOR US?
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 10-10-2013

USA at crossroads: New Deal or new Confederacy?
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-10-2013 Sparks Tribune
UPDATE—>Bill Moyers: Shutdown is simply secession by other means

...and more ammo yet

IMF Head Says Inequality Threatens Democracy. Here Are 7 Charts Proving She’s Right.
By Erika Eichelberger / Mother Jones/ 5-30-2014
“The behavior of the financial sector has not changed fundamentally…since the crisis.
The industry still prizes short-term profit.”

The Post-Dated Recession: Pay me now or pay me later
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 9-6-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

The Post-dated Recession
By Joshua H. Silavent / Daily Sparks Tribune / 5-3-2011

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.

The Barbwire Labor Day column
Reno Gazette-Journal / 9-3-2012

Nevada Press Assn. Better Newspaper Contest
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

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Copyright © 1982-2014 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 45-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 moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

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