Smoking guns and suing for schools
Expanded from the 12-5-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune
Updated 9-15-2012
HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins third straight Nevada Press Association first-place award

COMING SOON: The new season of Barbwire TV. The first show will be about (what else?) jobs. The lack of them is well documented. How we've blown them and where they can be regenerated, that's something else. I guarantee you'll get mad enough to want to get even. Watch for show times. Help us get the word out.

Support the project at

SUING FOR SCHOOLS: Click here to view the show on your desktop

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

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

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

Thus began 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.

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 and Feb. 21 programs as well as ongoing efforts at developing new media, including a 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.


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

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award

For decades, Nevada has ignored her state constitutional mandate and illegally underfunded education. The only thing left is going to court.

GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE DEPT. This past week, suing the state got serious attention from two heavy hitters from opposite ends of the political spectrum. On the Nov. 30 edition of Sam Shad's statewide Nevada Newsmakers TV show, Nevada State AFL-CIO Executive Secretary-Treasurer Danny Thompson warned of the legal jeopardy.

On the Dec. 1 installment of Face to Face with Jon Ralston, Terri Janison said the same thing. She currently chairs the Clark County School District Board of Trustees but will resign to become Republican Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval's Gomorrah South community relations director.

Nothing clarifies thought like a gun to your head. In this case, I think both Mr. Thompson and Ms. Janison see the value of the political cover such legal action would provide for reluctant lawmakers and our taxophobic governor-elect.

Is reality breaking out?

On Nov. 27, no less than former Daily Sparks Tribune columnist and newly-minted Assemblyman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, had a reasonable discussion about taxation with KRNV/Las Vegas Sun reporter Anjeannette Damon.

Has Ira gone off his uberconservative medication?

All this underscores the severity of the situation. If lawmakers don't act responsibly, Nevada may as well petition the federal government for removal of statehood and reversion to territorial mining camp status. Territories generally get better subsidies from the feds anyway.

"Creating a place that's worth working in, worth living in, worth raising your family in...Nevada is dangerously close to having lost a lot of that," Nevada State Medical Assn. Executive Director Larry Matheis told Shad on Dec. 1. (See

SMOKING GUN DEPT. A state lawmaker informs me that governments lose education adequacy lawsuits when their own research provides the evidence. Just such a study was ordered by the 2005 legislature. It will be available along with support documents with the expanded web edition of this column at

It's pretty damning. It showed that Nevada students were funded at 68.1 percent of "adequate" in 2003-04 and projected that spending would rise to a lofty 78.1 percent by 2008-09. Got a hunch we're now sliding back downhill.

In 2008, then-university system chancellor James Rogers published research noting all the jurisdictions which have been successfully sued under circumstances similar to or worse than Nevada's. The study may be downloaded by accessing the web version of this column at

HOW WE GOT HERE. I have long agreed with former State Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, that major Nevada casinos are grossly under-taxed. With the exception of a few California tribes, Nevada's biggies enjoy the lowest levies in the world, allowing them to fund going into business against us.

Nevada's go-go growth stopped paying for itself more than a decade ago.

The mining industry had a crystal ball and got a constitutional amendment passed in 1989 which gave them Hollywood movie accounting — a tax on net proceeds. If you do it right, there's never a net to tax.

Nevada labor helped the foreign-owned industry sell the voluntary tax as help for education, crumbs from Marie Antoinette's cake. A non-union dishwasher now pays taxes at a geometrically higher rate than the gold diggers.

Only the Barbwire and Travus T. Hipp called it for what it was on our radio shows and writings.

Mining still refuses to pay its fair share after raping and pillaging since 1872 — and we never even get kissed afterward.

My simple proposals for fixing the tax system were included on my Suing for Schools statewide TV special earlier this year and printed twice in this newspaper.

Mining and gambling are major components, along with revisions to property taxation and elimination of corporate welfare.

Can a judge do any worse running Nevada's educational system than the record of our legislature and governors for the past 30 years?

I have yet to find anyone who disagrees.

Northern Nevadans have a long history of the judiciary running large parts of the body politic.

Since the 1944 Orr Ditch Decree, the U.S. District Court's federal watermaster has managed the liquid gold of western Nevada from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid. The Reno Fire Department has operated under a federal consent decree since 1975.

In perhaps its most shining moment, the Reno Gazette-Journal published a 1992 monster series on the inadequacy and unfairness of Washoe County's educational system. (I personally gave new Washoe superintendent Heath Morrison a copy.)

Today, even kids in higher income area schools aren't doing that well. A few years back, an upper middle class professional family was so impressed with a new southwest Reno school's physical plant that they bought a house across the street. To their horror, they found educational opportunities for their children so limited that they considered moving to another state.

A 2009 study showed Las Vegas area students worse off than they were in the early-90's when similar problems were revealed.

Time to start gathering plaintiffs.

Call me.

BACK FROM THE ASHES DEPT. Support the return of community radio and television to Sparks-Reno-Washoe. See Barbwire.TV for more information, to join the club and contribute via the web.

COMING SOON: The new season of Barbwire TV.

The first show will be about (what else?) jobs.The lack of them is well documented.

How we've blown them and where they can be regenerated, that's something else.

I guarantee you'll get mad enough to want to get even.

Help us get the word out and watch for show times.

You may support the project via

Remember, the 2011 "Cruel and Unusual Punishment" Nevada legislative session is just around the corner.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 42-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, second vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, 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 on Sept. 18, 2010.
HAT TRICK: Barbwire takes first place for third year in a row.
Next year, we go for the sombrero.

The winning entries:

Suing for Schools: The 20-year shuck
Expanded from the 2-21-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

Click here to view the show on your desktop

RED flags flying low over Sparks
Expanded from the 1-10-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

The wrath of self-righteous racism
Expanded from the 11-8-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

Smoking Guns, Part Deux...

A Study of the Adequacy of School Finance in the State of Nevada
Condensed Summary of Report
Final Report: Estimating the Cost of an Adequate Education in Nevada
Presentation on School Financing Adequacy (ACR 10, 2005)
Summary Bulletin

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

Bill Moyers: Welcome to the Plutocracy
Money fights hard and it fights dirty
Speech delivered at Boston University on 29 Oct. 2010
Part of the Howard Zinn Lecture Series

Barbwire Corporate Welfare Archive

From clear-cut forests to dirty Gulfstream waters, this land belongs to old BP

BP/ARCO: The greasy root of our evils

Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 9-10-2006

The awful truth — Read it and weep, fellow suckers

Labor Day 2009: Rise of the Vampire Corpobots
Expanded from the 9-6-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

Angry Americans and Freudian fraud
Using war to market cigarettes
from the 8-23-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

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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Banks, Cabbies, Cabela's, Cable TV, Cancer Kids/Mining, Energy, Health Care, Resurge.TV/consumers, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
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Copyright © 1982-2010 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 42-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee, He is producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration 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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