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What may well be the first marriage of talk radio, talk TV and webcast webchat

Depopulating Nevada
Expanded from the 5-31-2009 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

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



Alright all you anti-growthies, your wildest dreams may soon come true.

Keep in mind the old admonition to be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

We are currently caught in a confluence of crushing consequences, worldwide economic catastrophe caused by our wanton desire to elect governments which promise that we can have our collective cake and eat it, too.

Now, we're just eating it, big time.

An old friend told me a few days ago that he was giving up on Nevada after having lived here since childhood.

He has been fighting the good fight for decades and is one of the people we need walking among us.

He is not getting any younger and with the Silver State in full retro mode, he is seriously considering walking away.

It started me toting up all the fine folks I know who have recently decided to get out of Dodge.

I was shocked to find I have a long personal list of expatriate union workers, professionals, merchants, healers and hellraisers.

In a 1982 speech at the appropriately named Depression Deli, I warned that Nevada would come to a crossroads where we would be forced to choose to move forward or revert to our wild west reputation – that of a boomtown mining camp, albeit with neon tubing and indoor plumbing.

We narrowly dodged — at great pain — the recessionary bullets of 1991 and 2003, but not this time.

The decisions made by Republican Gov. Jim the Dim and the 2009 legislative session will kill people.

We always balance the budget on the backs of the physically and mentally disabled.

This time, the weak have had company.

Consumers, students, workers and retirees have likewise been thrown to the wolves of desperation.

Lawmakers have once again placed a leaky Band-Aid on a gushing gunshot wound.

Washoe County Republican Sens. Randolph Townsend and Bill Raggio have made sure that this year's legislative tax fight will be fought again in 2011 or perhaps sooner.

Our next legislature will truly be green, but not the good kind.

Perhaps one in three will be freshmen charged with both reapportioning legislative and congressional districts as well as re-fighting the budget wars of 2003 and 2009.

They may also confront the results of several initiatives, petitions to truly tax mining for the first time since statehood, to repeal term limits and perhaps impose a corporate profits tax.

Mining perpetrated a pre-emptive strike against fair taxation in 1989, when the industry convinced compliant lawmakers to order a special election to place a "net proceeds" tax in the Nevada constitution.

The inimitable Travus T. Hipp saw right through it, calling it Hollywood accounting where there's never a net left to tax.

In many years, Nevada's foreign-owned mining industry has paid zero.

Only Travus and I sounded the alarm on our radio shows and print columns, but the promise of a trickle of new money seduced Nevada unions to support the subterfuge and it passed.

In order to win a veto-proof supermajority for this year's tax and budget plan, Republican Sens. Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora, and Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, extracted a price: no mining tax deduction loopholes would be closed.

McGinness still voted against the final deal.

Rhoads' hometown was largely destroyed by a mining company a few years back because our antiquated laws allowed it.

Go figure.

The gambling industry, as always, pleads poverty.

Indeed, Nevada has a decreasing share of a decreasing market, the latter day equivalent of buggy whips.

The fact remains that low-wage gambling industry jobs drain public resources.

Ten years ago, the Nevada Commission on Economic Development published a study proving it.

Our three principal employers, gambling, mining and the federal government, are all in a slump.

The state motto might be up for revision, perhaps "abandon hope, all ye who enter here."

The gambling industry has never had much interest in educating our work force.

They apparently don't think they need one.

They have consistently paid the lowest taxes in the world and invested their huge Nevada profits in other markets to compete with us.

The feds and the miners are likewise extractive industries, both taking far more than they give.

So what to do?

First, forget green energy.

It's a decade away if speculators and politicians don't royally screw it up beforehand.

Casino moguls have provided a preview.

They more than got back the new taxes imposed on them in 2003.

They scored a green energy bill in 2005 which actually subsidized their massive Las Vegas Strip construction projects.

In the same year, Gov. Dudley Do-Right's ill-advised $300 million tax rebate was largely gambled away.

So how do we get through the next two years?

Perhaps we need to crash and burn before the phoenix can rise anew.

Our chronic underfunding of education may spawn major litigation resulting in a federal judge running the majority of state government.

Fine by me.

He or she can't do any worse than our elected officials of the past few decades.

If not green energy, then what?

Ironically, Gov. Jim the Dim gave me an idea.

Erroneously as usual, he recently asserted that Nevada offers the lowest college tuition in the country.

But why not?

Let's develop and sell a pilot program of massive college construction and expansion.

Make education available to anyone who wants it.

Make tuition competitive and put adequate resources behind recruiting students worldwide.

How do we fund it?

Redirect the hundreds of millions of corporate welfare we annually give gambling and other profitable businesses – like the bandidos sucking up STAR bonds and starving our schools.

Tax mining.

Aggressively promote the concept in every corner of the state.

Persuade our public of the value of proper investment in education and the economic blessings which it can bestow.

It will take federal money to help kick-start this idea and push always-reluctant state lawmakers into action, which means U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., must be re-elected next year. (The alternative would be Chic Hecht, Part Deux.)

There are models for such success.

Silicon Valley is one, India provides another.

India's first prime minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964), pushed through a massive program of technical education, which is why the subcontinent has provided so many of the professors, engineers and doctors you have met in this country.

I want to see a 21st Century Nevada boomtown of available and affordable education rise beside our 19th Century dinosaurs devoted to the lewd and lascivious lower vices.

A populist messiah must come forward to advocate such a new vision.

I intend to raise the question to see who's up to the challenge.

CENTENNIAL SOIREE. The annual Reno-Sparks NAACP Freedom Fund Awards Banquet is coming up on Saturday, June 13, at the Atlantis Hotel. The venerable civil rights organization celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Call me for tickets and sponsorship info or go to

Be well. Raise hell.


Andrew Barbano is a 40-year Nevadan, second vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP and editor of Reruns of his legislative session TV programs are cablecast Monday through Friday, 2-4:00 p.m. on Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter digital channels 16 and 216 and high-definition channel 80-295, available on demand at Barbwire.TV. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Smoking Guns...

From: Chrystal Main
Sent: Thursday, May 07, 2009 8:07 AM
To: DCFS - ALL.DCFS (Restricted)
Subject: FYI

The Governor's Office has asked that the following information be shared with all DHHS agencies:

It has come to the attention of the Governor's Office that some agencies may have concerns with the budget bills proposed by the Department of Administration. These bills were drafted to support Governor Gibbons' executive budget and have the full support of his office.

Please do not testify against Administration bills in committee as those bills support
the Governor's agenda.

If you wish to testify on other bills that you have a personal interest in, please insure that you are either at the Legislature during your regularly scheduled time off or have taken annual leave.

Please do not identify yourself as an employee of DCFS, rather you may identify
yourself as a state employee if the Committee asks you where you work.

Chrystal C. Main, Social Services Chief
Systems Advocate
Division of Child and Family Services
4126 Technology Way, 3rd Floor
Carson City, NV 89706
(775) 684-4453
(775) 684-4457


From: Office of the Governor [mailto:nvg@GOV.NV.GOV]
Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 11:19 AM

Subject: Press Release - Governor Calls on Citizens to Demand Openness From the Legislature

For Immediate Release:  May 13, 2009


Legislators need to hear from Nevadans immediately



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?

Continuing cable depredations

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

...and more ammo

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
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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 news and talk 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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