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Foreplay in Washington
Expanded from the 6-14-2009 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



Beware of political opponents who wield the ultimate weapon of superior information.

Nevada's Republican congressional delegation found that out the hard way a few weeks ago.

SEN. ENSIGN THE SWINGER. A group of Sparks labor leaders recently hit Washington, DC, and made the usual appointments with the usual suspects.

The only lawmaker who refused to meet with his constituents was Republican Sen. John Ensign.

An insider had tipped my friends that Ensign loves to do two things on the job: Play hooky from work and play lots of golf.

That intelligence proved useful when the union guys crashed his office.

The Nevadans informed the surprised reception staff that they would not leave until they had spoken with the senator or his representative.

Failing that, they would inform the receptionist as to their reasons for wanting to see their senator.

Shortly arrived two fresh-faced young men who at best could only manage a series of "uh huh, uh huhs" to the pointed questions posed by the experienced labor executives.

The union guys offered to talk in a conference room, but were curtly informed that the very public reception area would have to suffice, which was just fine by the Nevadans.

After 15 minutes or so of turning these kids every which way but loose, the union men got up to leave.

"I only have one more question and it won't take any time at all. Just a simple yes or no answer," said one longtime Sparksite.

"Is Sen. Ensign out playing golf right now?"

One staffer turned whiter than the day he was born.

The other young man dislocated his jaw as it hit the floor.

After an embarrassed silence, one could only manage to sheepishly whimper that "I work very hard at my job every day."


THE ROAD TO HELLER. The union guys did get an appointment with Republican northern Nevada Congresscritter Dean Heller, who shoveled them seriously.

Among other things, Heller asserted that he had been in favor of worker rights before he was against them.

After just a few minutes, the sophomore congressman excused himself.

He said that he had a very important meeting to attend but that his post-pubescent employees would stay to discuss matters further.

Uh huh, uh huh, uh huh.

The meeting started at noon and the Nevadans were on their way 20 minutes later.

Since their next appointment was two hours off, the labor leaders took time for lunch, finding a small cafeteria in the basement of the congressional office building – whereupon they beheld Rep. Heller conducting his important meeting with a baloney sandwich.

He did not invite his constituents to join him.

Y'all want fries with that?

IMPALINING YOURSELF. I can't do any more damage to Gov. Sarah Palin, R-19th Century, than she's done to herself.

Her latest dustup with late night comedian David Letterman represents merely the latest evidence that right-wing moonhowlers just don't get it.

If stem-cell therapy is ever developed to treat those born without a sense of humor gene, they should line up in droves.

Gleeful Republicans have been circulating a photo montage showing President Obama making a speech in front of a burning bank and a wrecked car labeled "General Motors."

The president's word balloon says "You know what would fix this economy? Health care reform!"

The lame attempt at satire inadvertently stumbled upon the truth.

Universal health care is the major component of fixing the economy.

Health care costs are the principal cause of individual bankruptcy.

The president's desire to bring all parties to the table has let profitmongering foxes into the chicken coop.

Like all pols, Obama must be pressured into holding out for an affordable option covering everyone.

Right now, he's pinning his hopes on establishing a government plan to compete with private insurers.

There can be no compromise with the bandidos.

Alas and alack, the president is showing too many signs of appeasement.

I strongly recommend that you read Kevin Baker's dark forecasts in the June and July editions of Harper's Magazine.

The latter also has a killer piece entitled Labor's Last Stand: The Corporate Campaign to Kill the Employee Free Choice Act.

I further suggest that you go to Barbwire.TV to view my April 21 TV show which treats that issue in depth.

REQUIESCAT IN PACE. Got an e-mail from an anti-abortion activist justifying the murder of Dr. George Tiller in a Kansas Lutheran church.

There is no reasoning with people of simple capacity with little ability for abstraction or reason.

I don’t think she could even fathom my brief response: Thou Shalt Not Kill.

PEACE BE UPON YOU. This afternoon from 2:45 to 5:30, local peace activists will host a fundraiser at the West Street Market, half a block north of the Truckee River.

Suggested donation is an exorbitant five bucks and there will be (gasp!) gambling in the form of raffles.

Performers include the Celtic music of the Sturdy Beggars 3-3:40, rock and folk by Chris Wood, 3:45- 4:15, acoustic and folk by Kim Elise, 4:20 to 4:50, and Lee Dazey, 5:00-5:30.

Bernie the Puppeteer will have a family friendly show outside.

I've seen all of the above perform and they are world class entertainers.

Funds will support the United Nations International Day of Peace Fair, scheduled at Wingfield Park on Sunday, Sept. 20.

For more info, call Lisa Stiller at (775) 232-2823.

Just across the street next Sunday, you can say goodbye to one of the region's foremost peace activists, Rev. John Auer.

His parishioners are throwing a going-away party beginning immediately after the 10:00 a.m. service on Fathers' Day, June 21.

They are collecting donations to give the good reverend and his wife, Julie, a proper sendoff into retirement.

You may send a check payable to First United Methodist Church, 209 W. First St., Reno, NV 89501.

For more information, call Noel Argall at (775) 322-4564 or e-mail

The church validates parking at the First and Sierra garage.

Everyone is invited.

Be well. Raise hell.


Andrew Barbano is a 40-year Nevadan, second vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP and editor of As always, his opinions are strictly his own. 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...

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
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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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