SOS Means Chicken Folltyix
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 1-23-2011 Daily Sparks Tribune

Updated 1-29-2011, 5-10-2011

   Everybody knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
   Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
   Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
   That's how it goes. Everybody knows.
— Leonard Cohen

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


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


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

"Patriotism is for old women and little children. I'm here to protect my stockholders."

So stated a high officeholder about a century ago, according to the best history professor at Fresno State. (My college days memory tells me it was Woodrow Wilson, but I have never been able to re-confirm it.)

The two-thousand-yo'leven crapshoot legislative session convenes on Feb. 7. Prepare for cruel and unusual punishment from Gov. Brian Raggio and the usual suspects.

We are now just months away from state government answering the burning question of the age: Does SOS mean "save our state" or "salestax on services"?

I'm making book on the latter.

Nevada always royally screws the least among us.

Christian, we ain't.

In the past few days, a lot of good people and organizations have launched legitimate plaints prostrating and peripherally perverting themselves, pleading for pennies to save jobs and the economy.

With all due respect, they are uniformly chicken.

Nobody wants to touch the gambling industry. The 800-pound gorilla in the room is being ignored while low-paid government workers, especially state employees, get kicked in the teeth.

With all due disrespect, public pleadings aren't going to make much difference. Who sticks whom will be flayed and flailed behind closed doors. The result will be ugly.

So here again I present the sane Barbwire program that can salvage some semblance of modernity to keep the High Desert Plantation from sliding further toward the 19th Century.

    1. Unwind the 1981 Tax Shift (aka the Tax Shaft) which reduced property taxes and made us dependent on unstable sales taxes, three of every four dollars of which are paid by Nevadans.

    2. Close loopholes allowing the mining industry to get away with murder by paying at a far lower tax rate than an average non-union dishwasher. Long term: Change the mining tax from the zilch of today to a system similar to the way we tax casinos — on their gross revenue.

    3. Get lawmakers to do what they promised and failed to do in 2009: Close many of the corporate welfare tax exemptions in state law. My favorite is the sales tax break for NASCAR teams at Las Vegas International Raceway. Remember Gomorrah South casino mogul Steve Wynn's tax subsidy of his megabucks personal art collection? For more on that, go to

    4. Eliminate STAR Bonds, which have put the City of Sparks in serious financial jeopardy thanks to the underperforming Marina/Scheels development. Next year, Sparks owes $25 million to the Kansas suede shoes who developed that disaster. A few years back, I made a half-dozen predictions. All have come true save the bankruptcies of Sparks and Reno, which now loom closer.

    5. Raise the tax on our largest, most profitable casinos, which, with minor exceptions, continue to enjoy lowest taxes in the world. Don't believe it when big casinos cry poor boy. For more info go to

    6. Stop squandering room tax and property tax money on casino promotion through convention authorities and downtown redevelopment agencies. The room tax was originally imposed to support local projects but has long since been skimmed by the gambling industry to promote with tax money what private business should do for itself. (Enabling legislation, the Fair and Recreation Board Act, passed the legislature in 1955. Gomorrah South imposed a room tax in 1957. Reno-Sparks-Washoe followed in 1960.)

    7. Tax profitable enterprises which pay nothing or next to it, such as Wal-Mart and the Hyatt Place hotel at the Reno airport.

    8. Remember that the state can be successfully sued to raise taxes to support education. Former University Chancellor Jim Rogers published legal research noting that 27 other jurisdictions have lost in court. That study will be linked to the expanded web edition of this column at, as will the legislative report which admits the illegal underfunding.

As the old Fram Oil Filter ads once advised, you can pay me now or pay me later.

DEATH AND DANGER ON THE PIPELINE. Union member Charles Kuhn, 61, of Dresden, Ohio, was killed last Dec. 7 while working on the massive interstate gas pipeline job currently snaking its way across Nevada's northern tier. A section of the huge pipe rolled over him.

The huge project is being built without enough qualified safety inspectors. Those that are working have been furloughed one day a week due to state budget cuts.

So a good man lies dead on the High Desert Plantation in Ronald Reagan's America where workers are disposable and interchangeable.

PREDICTION DICTION. Not that it took rocket science, but this column accurately predicted on Jan. 9 that the Washoe County Commission would choose lawyer Greg Brower to succeed the resigned State Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno.

Big Bad Bill remains our most powerful state-level politician, second in juice behind only U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Raggio is both shadow governor and broker of enough votes to provide the slim Democratic state senate majority enough to override a gubernatorial veto — in the unlikely event that Raggio's on-leave employee, our new governor, doesn't follow orders.

MEMENTO MOMENT. César Chávez Celebration IX is right around the corner and this year, it happens while the legislature is in session. César Chávez would have been 84 on Thursday, March 31, 2011. We will celebrate the great union man and his message at Circus Circus-Reno that evening. Watch for news, ticket and sponsorship info.

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. It's important.

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, first 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 9-18-2010.
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

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, Food, Health Care, Resurge.TV/consumers, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
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Copyright © 1982-2011 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 first 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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