Mixed Mayan mammary metaphors:
Going belly up and upside down

Expanded from the 1-8-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

Updated 1-25-2014
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Corporate Propaganda Research Archive

   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.

Everybody knows the scene is dead
   But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
   What everybody knows.

— Leonard Cohen

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


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Updated 8-30-2011
Now rerunning on Carson-Dayton 226

Additional programs
on Boulder City cable. Go to and then
go to the BCTV link.

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 as well as ongoing efforts at developing new media, including a regional, non-corporate community radio station and the return of community television to Reno-Sparks-Washoe.

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 selected on-demand re-runs from the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Barbwire.TV archives

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

"When gambling is everywhere, it will be nowhere." — Prof. I. Nelson Rose

Looks like the Mayans were right. The end days of civilization are upon us. Hooters in Las Vegas is (ahem) belly up and going down on the bankruptcy auction block.

The wellspring of American ingenuity has gone dry if we can't even sell tits at a profit in Gomorrah South.

A lot of follyticians talk about taking the bull by the horns while kicking the bear market in the butt through diversifying our economy.

Our flaccid flock of followers are threatening to sit down and talk sometime so they can commence to get started to thinking about having a meeting to consider planning a discussion about eventually making a decision about doing something even if it's wrong.

Or not.

Forty years ago, Las Vegas made the wrong bet on economic diversification: the military-industrial complex. With gambling going great guns and Pentagon spending doing ditto, the desert grew money trees.

When I was transferred to these parts in 1971, my bosses told me that Reno was very cliquey and clannish. I was ordered to cut my hair, wear ties and fit in.

From a corner office on the 13th floor of what is now Reno City Hall, this boy wonder copywriter was gonna show the hicks how it was done.

I quickly learned that Vegas chic was wrong for a little valley of still mostly vacant land. East Plumb Lane had only been paved in 1966 to accommodate the opening of the now-demolished Park Lane Mall.

Reno casino owners bought up large swaths of land all the way down S. Virginia Street to prevent a Vegas-style strip. We still don't have one.

"There's nothing wrong with Reno that about 12 selected funerals can't cure," one of my employers advised.

He knew of whence he spoke, having once been a traveling pro gambler for some of the downtown bad ole boys.

Those funerals happened but guess what? The kids, grandkids and mental descendants of the old dirty dozen are still running things the same sterile way.

In the early 1980's, Bourne Morris and her husband moved here from LA. She had the distinction of having been the first woman to head west coast operations for one of the big four advertising agencies, the fabled Ogilvy & Mather.

Morris came to regret telling the Reno Gazette-Journal of her shock when informed by downtown Reno casino execs that they opposed economic diversification because they didn't want competition for the low-wage labor pool.

The amazingly acrobatic casino overlords continued clipping coupons even with their heads firmly ensconced where sun never shines. But the economy diversified despite them.

By 1998, the local gambling industry accounted for only 17 percent of jobs, a number that fell to 16 percent just before Great Depression II.

"Reno has gone from being a gambling town to a town with gambling," one oldtimer observed.

That was a major reason why stodgy northern Nevada weathered the 9/11 recession much better than did Las Vegas.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board just reported that gambling represents the smallest share of Silver State casino industry revenue ever recorded.

For committing the sin of telling the truth, Prof. Rose was once banned from the annual governor's conference on gambling and tourism in Reno.

He noted decades ago that the only thing that keeps organized gambling alive is its allure to politicians who like the idea of taxing other people's constituents.

Once the spread of the vice reaches the point of diminishing returns, political support erodes and gambling starts to dry up.

Got a hunch we've just gotten over that hump.

The new boss of the Reno-Sparks Corporate Welfare Authority last week shared his innovative vision for marketing this area: We've got more than gambling (but we don't have a Hooters). Nothing like categorizing the obvious. (He's getting paid how much?)

The 2011 legislature passed a cosmetic economic diversification bill largely reshuffling state agencies, but we can't compete with locales offering better education.

So quo vadimus? Alas and alack, we are vamoosing fearlessly toward the status quo.

In 1986, working pro bono, I developed an innovative plan whereby tourism could easily and cheaply enhance economic development and vice-versa.

Execs from the state and the convention authority killed it by spreading a few lies that it would duplicate their wondrous programs. Turned out they weren't doing anything of the kind, they were just jealous that an outsider made them look incompetent.

Local governments have serious financial troubles which will get much worse before they get better, if ever.

Our only ace in the hole, green energy, will die a hard death at the hands of bubble-inflating Wall Street speculators if the oil-saturated Congress doesn't kill it first.

When gambling is everywhere, it will be nowhere, the middle of which is where we happen to live.

I suggest looking at arguably the most fiscally responsible state in the nation, exciting North Dakota with its very productive state-owned bank. That idea was oft-pushed by former Sen. Joe Neal, D-N. Las Vegas, and the late Carson City attorney Dave Horton. Never had a chance (in 2011) with our retrogressive legislature.

Back to the future, anyone?

UPDATE: 2014 California Green Party candidates for treasurer and controller run on state-owned bank platform.

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Feliz Año Nuevo.

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)

Andrew Barbano is a 43-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...

Economist: This is a true depression
Elliott Parker Guest Editorial / Las Vegas Sun / 11-27-2011

POWERFUL PUNDITORY PANJANDRUMS: Compelling guest commentary

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced.
HAT TRICK: Barbwire takes first place for third year in a row.

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

The plight of the paper pushers
The great recession made bashing public workers a national sport
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review / 11-23-2011

Bury the Bad News with Rose-colored Reporting
How urgent can economic troubles be if leaders say things are getting better?

Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review / 11-23-2011

Fact-free nation: Inside the lie machine
Mother Jones Magazine May-June 2011 / Cover story and in-depth analysis

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 © 1982-2012 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 43-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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