Live Streaming Barbwire.TV

2:00-4:00 p.m. PDT, 21:00-23:00 ZULU/GMT/CUT/SUT
Charter digital cable channels 16 & 216 in Reno-Sparks-Washoe
Charter high-definition channel 80-295

Charlatans, saints and sinners
Expanded from the 3-29-2009 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

Tomorrow morning, make the red eye run down to the ledge in Carson City.

At 8:00 a.m., the César Chávez holiday bill will be heard in the Assembly Committee on Government Affairs in third floor hearing room 3143.

Assembly Bill 301 by Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas, and a bipartisan group of 18 others, 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 cost anything, as it does not mandate the closure of state and municipal offices or places of business.

Nonetheless, a barrage of good ole-fashioned American racism is already being brought to bear against it.

Assemblyman Kihuen is looking for local citizens and former César Chávez associates to testify, so hie thee down to the legislative petting zoo.

Mr. Kihuen will speak at the annual Chávez Day celebration at Circus Circus on Tuesday evening. (See or call me.)

Last Wednesday, the Reno City Council declared March 31 as César Chávez Day.

I spoke in support of the resolution, noting that the council chamber had just been filled with young people who produced an anti-gang, anti-violence set of public service announcements with the help of Ms. Brett Corbin at Sierra Nevada Community Access Television.

The kids did a good job of presenting the problem and I asserted that César Chávez is part of the solution.

If young people have great leaders to emulate, they will be less likely to follow self-destructive pursuits.

That's why Nevada celebrates César Chávez on Tuesday evening.

Call or write your legislative representative to support AB 301.

It's important.

McMANAGER MEANDERINGS. Last Friday, the Riverside/San Bernardino Press Enterprise ran a rather fawning story which painted newly-resigned Reno city manager Charles McNeely as savior of the town – swallowing whole the guts, feathers and claws of his corporate welfare chimera.

The only detractors were myself and former Reno city councilman David Rigdon.

"Reno was the first city in Nevada to fund a development project through a program created in 2003 that lets cities issue bonds to help build tourist-related business facilities, then use three out of every four sales tax dollars generated by those businesses to pay off the debt." (They never mentioned the catchy name of the gimmick, sales tax anticipation revenue bonds, aka STAR debt.)

"'What that boils down to is taking money away from roads, parks, schools, police and fire protection,' Reno government critic Andrew Barbano said.

"Barbano questioned one prediction used to justify the bond funding for a 150,000-square-foot Cabela's outdoor outfitter's store in Reno, similar to the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Rancho Cucamonga,"
the paper reported.

"Company officials said it would attract more than 3 million visitors annually. To meet that goal, Cabela's would have to attract about 60 percent more tourists per year than all of Washoe County, Nev., has ever recorded, Barbano said.

"McNeely said the Cabela deal clearly benefited Reno.

"The roughly 30 acres of land where the store stands was vacant for years, with the owners paying minimal taxes, he said.

"'Absent Cabela's, that property would still be sitting there largely vacant. When people say (the financing) takes away money from other things, my view is that nothing from nothing leaves nothing,'"
McNeely told the newspaper.

Them furriners apparently never asked anybody about formerly bucolic Verdi, one of the nicest areas in the Truckee Meadows, leaving the reader to imagine a derelict vacant lot sprouting old cars and rusty washing machines.

Actually, they demolished the Boomtown truck stop to accommodate Cabela's, so McNeely was not truthful to the California journalists. (See

Let him say whatever he wants if it serves to get the toxic Mr. McNeely out of here.

He will be limited to a year of damage in southern California, then retire to his Brazilian estate like another Nevada expatriate, Joe Conforte.

McNeely ruled by fear and ran an operation worthy of the Dilbert comic strip, the pointy-headed boss taking credit for the ideas of his intimidated underlings.

My first prediction from last year has come true, Charter Communications has filed for bankruptcy.

In January and on previous occasions, I forecast that McNeely would vamoose just before Reno goes under, with Sparks going banko first because the Scheels/Red Development corporate welfare program is financially much shakier.

Two down, two to go.

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


McMANAGING MONEY. The Nevada Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) uses an average of the last three years worked to determine someone's retirement income.

California PERS uses only the most recent year, provided that the employing government entity has a contract with CalPERS calling for that.

I don't know what Mr. McNeely made in his last year as manager of Seaside, Calif., 13 years ago, but I'll bet it was nowhere near the $300,000 a year range for salary, benefits and perks he's been getting in Reno and which will increase in San Berdoo.

"That happens a lot here in Nevada," a longtime official told me.

"Californians return to California to close their careers."

NEVADA'S OWN ONIE. The Rev. Onie Cooper will receive the Silver State Fair Housing Council's HEART award on April 3 at the Rancho San Rafael ranch house.

It starts at 6:30 p.m. Reservations must be made no later than April 1 by calling (775) 324-0990 or via e-mail at

A founding member of the housing council, Cooper has also been nominated for the Springarn Medal, the NAACP's highest national honor.

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
War Rooms:
Banks, Cabbies, Cabela's, Cable TV, Cancer Kids/Mining, Energy, Health Care, Resurge.TV/consumers, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
Search this site | In Search Of...


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.

Site composed and maintained by Deciding Factors, CWA 9413 signatory

Comments and suggestions appreciated. Sign up for news and bulletins