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Treason on the Ides of March
Expanded from the 3-15-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

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.

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

Today is the Ides of March, once infamous as tax day until the feds extended matters.

It remains famous as the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar, who didn't have long to live anyway after massive hot and sweaty boinks with Elizabeth Taylor or somebody like that.

So there is no better day to talk a little treason.

Let's fast-forward to the year 2049 as Signora Marta Miranda lectures to her California Norte history class:

"The price of liberty is eternal vigilance."

Remember those words, as their meaning and little-known original author will be part of your final examination.

The former Estados Unidos learned that lesson the hard way earlier in this century.

By 2013, the Norte Americanos had weakened themselves in many ways.

Their military might was focused on the sands of Araby and the steppes of central Asia.

Their economy was in ruins due to their war spending and wasteful ways.

Corrupt officials and bankers had looted their treasury to a point that law enforcement became unreliable.

Their war on drugs elected many politicians but filled their prisons with more people than any other nation on earth.


It costs so much money to keep millions of people in prison.

Fidel Castro saved a lot by dumping his prisoners into the United States in 1980.

The Norte Americanos chose to ignore the growing power of the Mexican drug cartels.

Worse, they made the drug lords rich.

Their war on drugs acted as a U.S. government price support program for drug imports.

In 2009, Forbes magazine even named Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, head of the Sinaloa cartel, to its annual list of the world's richest people.

He is one of the biggest cocaine suppliers to the United States.

The Mexican army has often proven unequal to the task of defeating revolutionaries.

The 1990's Zapatista uprising in Chiapas state ended early this century with the revolutionaries controlling large parts of Yucatan and returning land to the peasants.

Chiapas became a functioning, self-sustaining state within a state while the drug lords ran roughshod over the rest of the country.

It was only a matter of time before the drug armies turned their attention to their prime market north of the border.

Their propaganda campaign was magnificent.

They reminded their followers of the reason for the U.S. war against Mexico in the 1830's.

The defenders of the Alamo started shooting because Mexico had outlawed slavery in Texas.

"Take Back the Alamo" became a 21st Century war cry as the drug-funded armies invaded the former Mexican states of the southwestern U.S.

The Norte Americano population possessed a lot of guns, the only thing which kept the cartelitos at bay.

They were able to hold off the drug lords until U.S. President Hilda Solis decriminalized drugs, destroying the profitability of the cartels' products.

In the ensuing peace talks, the United States agreed to give parts of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas back to Mexico.

Because Nevada was also once Mexican territory, they were also offered Las Vegas, but Mexico did not want it.

And that's why we salute the Mexican flag here in Los Angeles today.

THE UNDERBELLY OF THE NEWS. My alternative radio colleague Rick Erickson invited me to an art showing last Friday night at Discology, truly an old curiosity shop for wayward CD's and occasional vinyl at California and Sierra.

I ventured upstairs to view a treasury of paintings by local artist Kerry Hooper and unearthed a digital treasure in the process.

Politicians, officeholders, corporate welfare queens and other miscreants beware: I have finally located a digital copy of Rubber Biscuit by The Blue Brothers and can now satisfy requests by my erstwhile talk radio listeners to bring back The Underbelly of the News.

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

Charter Communications hires bankruptcy lawyers
MultiChannel News 2-8-2009

Charter misses $74 million payment
Reuters 1-15-2009

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


If you haven't heard me do my patented slam of the swine who swindle the body politick, please tune in, turn on and tell a friend.

With Dan Aykroyd's rubber-tongued virtuosity setting off the cannonades, your woofers will whine, your tweeters will thrash and your new HD TV will plead for the mercy of meltdown.

BTW: Ms. Hooper's work will be displayed through March 31.

CONSTRUCTION CASUALTY ALERT. My show may be in reruns later this week due to major construction at Sierra Nevada Community Access Television.

Watch Barbwire.TV for updates.

SI SE PUEDE. Just in time for the César Chávez celebration on March 31 at Circus Circus, the César Chávez holiday bill was introduced last week by Assemblyman Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas.

Assembly Bill 301 orders the governor to declare the last day of March every year as César Chávez Day.

The late, great union leader was born on March 31, 1927.

The bill will not go as far as other holidays which mandate the closing of all state offices.

Nonetheless, it still constitutes a step forward toward a national César Chávez commemoration.

Assemblyman Kihuen, one of three Latinos in the Nevada State Legislature, will speak at the Chávez Day event at Circus Circus.

See for more information or just call or write me.

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.

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 © 1982-2009 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. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

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, high-definition channel 80-295. 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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