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Charter digital cable channels 16 & 216 in Reno-Sparks-Washoe

Gunning for the least among us
Expanded from the 1-11-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

"Whatsoever you do to these, the least of my brethren, you do also to me."

Save northwestern Nevada community television

Donate to the cable ratepayer legal defense fund at our PayPal-enabled ReSurge.TV Consumer War Room

The math behind the move
Updated 11-16-2008

Charter Communications plans to illegally move four channels of analog to the digital tier.

One channel of analog bandwidth accommodates two to 10 channels of digital programming, depending on the complexity of the streams. High-definition movies eat up a lot of bandwidth.

A Charter statement quoted on TV-4's Aug. 4, 2008, 11:00 p.m. newscast said that Charter is doing this to "free up more bandwidth for high definition channels."

Charter thus gains bandwidth for between 8 and 40 digital channels by banishing community TV to the digital tier, a net gain of 4 and as many as 36, depending on content.

Charter VP Marsha Berkbigler, in her first speech to the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee in Dec. 2002, said each additional channel is worth $1 million a year to Charter — and that's at 2002 prices.

So Charter stands to make between $4 million and $36 million by doing this, unadjusted for inflation.

Michigan Judge rules for cable ratepayers

Carson City gets the facts
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 10-19-2008

Talks with Charter fruitless
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 9-7-2008

Sparks, Washoe, Carson and Douglas consumers urged to contact their local governments to join the fight against Charter
Surge.TV 8-25-2008, Updated 8-28-2008

Evil empire eats its appetite
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-24-2008

Bandwidth bandidos admit their greed
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-17-2008

Sue the bastards
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-10-2008

Deregulation means never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-3-2008

Last year's columns about skulduggery at the Nevada Legislature which led to this mess

MORE: Smoking Guns

Government contact info

Barbwire.TV: 15-year overnight success
Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
Highlights from radio days
mp3 file

So said the world's most famous union organizer from Nazareth, Galilee.

I called the editor of this newspaper last week to sell him a story. He asked me to e-mail details. I was too scared.

More than a decade ago, when the Reno News & Review was still Nevada Weekly, they did a cover story on the motel children of Reno and Sparks.

The writer noted that a second generation of children is being raised on the needle-strewn blacktops of old U.S. Highway 40.

Nothing has changed.

Last week, I took twenty bucks donated by my radio colleague Rick Erickson and some canned goods to one of my viewers who was just about out of food. I also brought a list of places to go for food donations. (Call or write for a copy.)

A twenty-something couple I will call Fred and Ethel got here about six months ago looking for work. They live in a place far more depressing than the Washoe County Jail.

Their hovel in motel hell has two broken windows, letting in the cold and the highway noise from 12 feet away.

When Ethel opened the door, I entered a dark, cluttered, fetid room.

It stunk. Fred smokes.

I felt sorry for Ethel and their timid little dog. I handed Ethel two ten-dollar bills and hastily retreated to the refreshingly cleaner air of the two-lane blacktop.

As I was handing Ethel my bag of cans, a dude walked up and asked if I had any more. Alas, I did not.

A parked Reno police car surveilled us from across the street.

I took Fred to where he had abandoned his disabled car earlier that day. Fortunately, he was able to start it.

Ethel wants to work but has waited for months to get a February appointment at Nevada Vocational Rehabilitation services. She will have major dental surgery this week. Fred has few teeth left to work on.

When I picked up the twenty, Rick Erickson wisely noted that "there are thousands of them out there. We are very, very lucky."

I went home afterward, poured myself a strong one and said a prayer, followed by some very bad dreams.

I just didn't have the courage to send my Trib colleagues into that oppressive place where the desperate can't breathe.

If they decide to go after reading this, I'll go with them.

PIMPING FOR CORPORATE PROFIT. I heard two disturbing spots back to back on KOZZ. The first was from Planned Parenthood Mar Monte hustling the killer vaccine Gardasil.

The second was a war freebie run at the behest of the Nevada Broadcasters Association (the same guys who refuse to install digital converter boxes for their viewers because their lawyers are afraid).

I called Planned Parenthood on the air. I asked spokeslady Alison Gaulden why PP is hustling a drug that's killing young girls.

For those who missed my Oct. 5, 2008, column, I wrote of a "horrible drug recently promoted by the Food and Drug Administration as a cervical cancer preventative. Gardasil purportedly provides protection against the human papilloma virus (HPV). Young girls were injected with the vaccine nationwide. At least 18 are now dead. One broke out in bodywide warts. Many suffered seizures and blood clots."

Ms. Gaulden responds: "This vaccine meets the FDA requirements for approval. That means it has been extensively tested to ensure safety."

It ain't necessarily so.

The FDA, like so many other government agencies, has a built-in conflict of interest. It both reviews drug safety and is charged with promoting the pharmaceutical industry.

Just as Big Pharma has put Madison Avenue ad agencies in charge of research and development, it has turned regulators into salesmen. (See Barlett and Steele's 2004 book Critical Condition.)

"The CDC says that of more than 8,000 adverse event reports and more than a dozen deaths, they 'have found no connection between these deaths' and Gardasil," Ms Gaulden states, adding that "the HPV vaccine is safe and effective. During clinical trials, the HPV vaccine was tested in more than 20,000 young women throughout the world, including in the U.S."

It's not that simple. The CDC website, which will be linked to this column's online edition, discloses more than 10,000 reports of adverse effects, a whopping six percent of which were considered deadly serious – 27 girls have died through last August.

They note that they have not found a pattern, but lots of people die before researchers assert anything definite, if ever. The feds have been looking into the Fallon cancer cluster for years and have yet to point the finger at a definitive cause. This ain't CSI which solves everything in 44 minutes, excluding commercials.

So what the hell is PP doing paying for commercials pimping this killer? I forgot to ask if Merck is paying for part of it, but I will. [UPDATE: Ms. Gaulden says Merck is not paying any of the ad cost and adds that vaccination requires a series of three shots at about $120 per injection. Merck appears to be doing real good on this government-endorsed marketing campaign.]

So sue us: Charter tells Sen. Reid and Reno
Ratepayers group may sue Reno as well as Charter
Daily Sparks Tribune online 11-11-2008
+ Barbwire Special Edition 11-12-2008
Updated 11-14-2008

FCC investigates cable TV pricing
Associated Press 11-4-2008

FCC investigates complaints about moving cable channels and pricing
Orlando Sentinel 11-7-2008

Website predicts 2009 Charter Communications bankruptcy
Moody's downgrades Charter on reorganization talk


Unlike PP which has to pay to play, the Nevada National Guard is getting a freebie to promote war.

The broadcasters are running spots hustling parents to let their kids join the guard with the promise of college freebies should they return alive and can shake off the effects of physical injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and gang rape.

Will the broadcasters association or radio and TV stations run contra-spots telling people not to risk joining the guard? I'll ask.

DREAMING OF PEACE. Of peace and other follies, John Lennon sang "you may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

Join your fellow peaceniks this Friday at Dreamers Coffee House in the Riverside Hotel in downtown Reno. An evening of peace, poetry, music and prizes begins at 6:30 p.m. and will benefit the Sierra Nevada International Day of Peace Fair Committee.

To donate raffle items or for more information, contact local peace goddess Lisa Stiller at (775) 232-2823.

Dreamers hosts open microphone nights on the first and third Fridays of every month. I have found it a rich source of locally originated music for my TV show. I urge anyone with a message song to get a CD into my hands.

Be well. Raise hell.

Smoking Guns...

Not even 30 pieces of silver
Reno City Council Signs Community TV Death Warrant

Contact Sen. Harry Reid for help
Sparks Tribune / 11-23-2008

Rise of the machines
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 11-16-2008

The devil and the deep blue sea
Charter cable deal and Reno "settlement" offers are all death warrants for community television. Court battle looms closer.

Sparks Tribune / 11-11-2008 + Barbwire special web edition, 11-12-2008

Wisconsin statewide franchise law has not dropped cable prices as promised
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 11-8-2008

Falling all over ourselves
When will Sparks, Carson City, Washoe and Douglas counties get mad over Charter cable's ripoff?
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 10-5-2008

Michigan Judge rules for cable ratepayers
Decision holds great importance for Nevada

Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 10-5-2008

Charter in serious financial trouble
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 10-12-2008

Charter offer deficient
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 9-28-2008

Reno-Sparks NAACP opposes Charter channel switch

Charter negotiates Russian-style: Will accept 100% of everything
Daily Sparks Tribune 9-5-2008

Donate to the cable ratepayer legal defense fund at our PayPal-enabled ReSurge.TV Consumer War Room

Reno city council votes unanimously to sue Charter to keep community TV accessible
Resurge.TV will also file

...and more ammo

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 campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?

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. For additional comments on the work of the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning team, use the search engine and sweep for "Barlett."

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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Copyright © 1982-2009 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 40-year Nevadan, editor of and, former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee and serves as second vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP.

He hosts live news and talk (775-682-4144) Monday through Friday, 2-4:00 p.m., at Barbwire.TV and Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter digital cable channels 16 and 216.E-mail As always, his opinions are strictly his own. 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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