Meet the new boss, same as the old boss
Expanded from the 1-3-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune
Updated 12-19-2010
Barbwire wins second straight Nevada Press Association first-place award

If Reform Fails: Health Care, Jobs and Unions —new power to the people on the public airwaves

The program was available to every television set in the region because of a high-mileage media hybrid.

The show appeared on both commercial and community stations. The non-corporate entity produced the event, commercial TV greatly expanded its distribution.

Thus began what an ongoing series of sane public interest programs which generate both entertaining heat and more than a little light.

Please spread the word and consider contributing to the cause online at ReSurge.TV, where you may also access the show on your desktop.

You may also take the public option known as the U.S. Postal Service and send a check or money order to ReSurge.TV, P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510.

Your contribution will help fund the distribution of the Dec. 6 program as well as a new regional, non-corporate community radio station.

You are present at the creation of what I hope can become a new media model where the programming accurately reflects what's happening on the ground and the media impact is powerful enough to forcefully pass the message upward.


Be well. Raise hell.


Barbwire column on the depredations of Charter Communications and the Reno City Council wins 2009 Nevada Press Association first-place award

The Barbwire TV/web simulcast will return as soon as new studio construction is complete. Your contribution will be most welcome. Keep an eye on the Barbwire print edition for updates.

Past 12 months
Use the search tool you will find at page right at the above link. It will return the 19 newest. A button for older shows is being installed. You may also search by date — M-F for the past year save holidays.

Click here for on-demand re-runs
from the 2009 legislative session

15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
Highlights from radio days
mp3 file

Far more prestigious members of the pundit class than me tried their best to analyze the mindless anger of last summer's mislabeled teabaggers. (See below.)

The best anyone could do was say that the anger was real, but the reasoning was not.


Corporate media really are a self-reinforcing loop for the morally obtuse.

I can do better.

The average American has been treading water since 1973, the last time the average worker got a raise, adjusted for inflation. We've sent wives and kids to work, maxed out credit cards, taken out every form of legalized loan-shark credit. The middle class has shrunk considerably over the past 30 years as we've exported our jobs to Wal-Mart suppliers.

Adding insult to injury, every time that beleaguered customer plunks her pennies down at Wal-Mart, she is reminded that she has no choice.

Corporate advertising is big on creating the myth of options. But all you really get are the same thing with minor variations. Worse, competition is an almost extinct species. It's supposed to lower prices and create products and services the consumer wants.

In reality, so much is a rigged game.

Regular readers have heard me scream for years (see ReSurge.TV) about the rigged television pricing system.

The local cable company charges about 10 times more than the product would be worth under a competitive environment. (In the few places where competition has reared its ugly head, cable prices drop about 90 percent.)

Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Newt Gingrich promised that cable prices would drop like rocks after their passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Actually, they created a deregulated monopoly with prices rising five times faster than inflation with almost no regulation. Satellite companies just take the cable price, cut it by a few percentage points, and make you think your getting a deal.

Bill Clinton signed repeal of Roosevelt-era financial regulation, leading to the collapse of the world economy.

Big banks still can run roughshod over consumers.

Regular Tribune readers remember the case of Janie Boykins-Raschilla, who saw a 34-cent overdraft at the Sparks branch of USeless Bank balloon into almost a thousand dollars in service charges.

I've written for two decades now about how the major oil companies have created a controlled environment on the retail price of gasoline. The dogma of deregulation combined with the fact that BigOil hires smarter lawyers than the government means that nobody talks about price-fixing anymore.

If you're interested, see the Barbwire Oilogopoly archive at

The stranglehold of corporations on our lives and governments is now so complete that a rancher was actually forbidden to test his herd for Mad Cow Disease.

He wanted to resume exporting to the far east, but many countries, smarter than us, won't allow U.S. beef because we have a head-in-the-sand attitude on the deadly disorder. Some poor lout wanted to pay for his own testing so he could do business and the feds threatened to bust him if he did.

Our meat supply used to be safe 40 years ago or so. Then, we deregulated and began letting producers police themselves. Lots of people have gotten sick or died, but that's just part of the cost of doing business.

Many years ago, an economist toted how far down the Fortune 500 list of the biggest companies you would have to go before you reached control of half the corporate assets in the country. You used to have to go pretty deep. Not anymore.

Rather than innovate, the Microsofts of the world buy up smaller companies to control and ration. Once the big fish has eaten all the smaller fish, somebody's gonna starve.

Maybe the people will rise up and hook the big fish, slice him and dice him and feed the masses.

The last guy who made that work got crucified, as I recall.

Harper's Magazine Senior Editor Luke Mitchell predicted last year (Understanding Obamacare, Dec. 2009) that the health care bill that passes congress will be one the insurance companies like.

So far, he's been proven correct.

If you want to get even more depressed, read Obamas' Wall Street Sellout by journalist Matt Taibbi in the Dec. 10 edition of Rolling Stone.

The template for this fall's elections is already set. Republicans just need to run as "not Democrats."

As Mitchell pointed out, the GOP has nothing better to do but carp and complain now that it has been replaced by the Dems as the party of business.

The future looks bleak. Our political system is irreparably broken.

What will happen?

As I've been saying for 30 years, city-regions will have no choice but to take the bull by the horns and begin doing things that work. It will eventually mean that there will be no longer be a United States of America.

Things will get better in a hundred years when we've stopped our hemorrhagic military spending, as the former empires of Great Britain and The Netherlands found out.

Perhaps India can provide a strong enough check against China so that we will be left alone.

The USA long ago sowed the seeds of her own devolution. I'm just as angry as any protester in the street, only I know why.

Alas and alack, I despair of hope because the fight is fixed the game is rigged and we have no choice but to play.

AMERICAN HISTORY 1-A. For the record once again, the Boston Tea Party was a protest against taxes being cut. Sam Adams and the boys made good money smuggling tea and selling it on the black market without King George's tax, which represented their profit. When the Brits cut the tax, the Beantowners went balllistic.

Hope you enjoyed Happy High Holly Days.

Be well. Raise hell.


Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan, second vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Smoking Guns...

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced

The campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?


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 2009 first-place Nevada Press Association award winners
Tony the Tiger & the flaky NFL
Barbwire / 11-30-2008
Deregulation is never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / 8-3-2008
Nevada: A good place to visit, but do you want to live here?
Barbwire / 6-15-2008

...and more ammo

BARBWIRE Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive

Propaganda fuels gasoline price fixing
Barbwire 8-14-2005

Donate to the cable ratepayer legal defense fund at our PayPal-enabled ReSurge.TV Consumer War Room

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 © 1982-2010 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 41-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

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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