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Reaganomics and Reaganethics
Expanded from the 6-7-2009 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



The enrich-the-rich phallusy of Reaganomics has been relegated to the dustbin of history where it will reside for about 60 years until most of those destroyed by it will have died.

Then, the sad cycle will begin again in this society that refuses to learn from harsh experience.

All the current fingerpointing by the righteous and mea culpas from the culpable have largely missed the point: the flaming hypocrisy of the religionauts who promised godly government while practicing the ethics of dung beetles.

The real morality of the past 30 years has been "it's only wrong if you get caught."

That applies to follytix, sports, business, religion, you name it.

How often have you heard that "sports builds character"?


Have you ever seen a baseball player wrongly called safe who then asks the umpire to call him out because the ball beat him to the bag?

It’s a short leap from institutionalized cheating to juice injections.

We've gone overboard policing "legit" sports, banning everything from steroids to Sudafed, while geek sports like exhibition rassling remain somehow exempt.

Steroids and other banned drugs have very legitimate medical uses, like helping the healing of both world class athletes and mere mortals.

As with so much of our society, double standards are standard operating procedure.

Drugs are bad unless they become patented profit centers for conglomerate pharmaceutical predators.

Sex is bad unless you follow Miss Priscilla Goodbody's corseted Victorian protocols of puritanical, proper, punctilious, pleasureless practice.

As usual, the artists have it right.

On the most recent installment of Bill Maher's HBO show, comedian D.L. Hughley noted that the U.S. is a parallel universe.

What's common in most other modern countries – like universal health care – is banned hereabouts.

People go prison for pot while the nation's morals and ethics have gone to pot.

We are only consistent in producing potential puns.

Who says American manufacturing has lost its vitality?

CLARIFICATION STATION. Last week, I wrote that Nevada "narrowly dodged 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."

Former Tribune writer Dennis Myers hauled me up short: "My recollection is that we did not duck the 1991 recession," he wrote. "I remember that (Gov. Bob) Miller had to go through at least two rounds of cuts, including devastating mental health cuts, as you note, always a first place to cut," the Reno News & Review editor said.

I responded that I should have made the point more clearly, to wit that none of the recent recessions has hurt Nevadans as badly as this man-made disaster.

In 1991, pseudo-Democrat Miller brought future Republican Gov. Dudley Do-Right aboard to be his hatchet man.

Kenny Guinn, of course, recommended cutting injured worker compensation and mental health, as usual.

I ventured that perhaps Canada can send us some of the mining profits now that they have become our partners in GM.

"We can't tax mining," Myers quipped, "that money is needed in Canada."


AUER HOUR. First United Methodist Church Pastor John Auer calls it a career next Sunday.

His parishioners are throwing a going-away party beginning immediately after the 10:00 a.m. service.

Appropriately, June 21 is Father's Day.

If you ever need a good role model for your offspring, point to this good man.

I am a religious person who values and respects all codified belief systems but is a member of none.

I do not hesitate to criticize them when they forget to dance with who brung 'em, or laugh when they stumble and crumble on their calcified conundrums.

I judge people by their acts.

Occasionally, a man or woman of God rises above the pulpit to impact the entire community for the better.

Such a person is John Auer, who has been in the forefront of good works since arriving in the High Desert Outback of the American Dream.

Rev. Auer has suffered severe slings and arrows for daring to remind people of four words generally attributed to someone wiser than us: Thou shalt not kill.

Like every other community, we have our share of Reaganaut warmongers who may go to church on Sunday to be reminded of God's purported words, then lie, cheat, steal and worse on the other six days.

How inspiring is Rev. Auer?

One of the people with whom I have served on his Martin Luther King, Jr., commemoration committee is an avowed atheist.

John Auer does not judge and excludes no one who wants to work to make this world a better place.

His parishioners are collecting donations to give the 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.

The church is the old gray mare that looks like a transplant from the English countryside.

It stands at the corner for First and West across from Java Jungle.

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

BTW: If you show up to say goodbye, the church validates free parking at the First and Sierra garage.

Everyone is invited.

CENTENNIAL SOIREE. The annual Reno-Sparks NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet happens on Saturday, June 13, at the Atlantis Hotel.

The venerable civil rights organization celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

Rev. Auer was honored at last year's event.

For tickets and sponsorship information, call Elaine Brannon at (775) 772-4432 or Dolores Feemster (775) 323-3677.

Details at

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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