Red line in a new bottle:
We are caged for slaughter in an electronic zoo

Expanded from the 2-19-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

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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


Watch for show times. Help us get the word out.

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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

How does it feel to be a boiled frog?

You've probably heard the old canard that a frog dropped into boiling water will jump out but if you place him in a cold pot and slowly raise the temperature, he cooks to death.

Actually, frogs are smarter than that. They bolt when it gets too hot.

People are not as smart.

Did you know that because of the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act, courtesy of Nevada U.S. Sen. Pat McCarran, insurance companies can conspire to fix prices?

Did you know that since 1970, any outfit with which you do business can run a credit check on you without your permission?

The Fair (?) Credit Reporting Act has some seriously anti-consumer provisions.

Insurance companies are getting increasingly bold about using unauthorized credit searches to jack up auto, home and health insurance. Local agents have been getting complaints.

Several state insurance commissioners are reviewing evidence that using credit scores creates red-lining, which is illegal, but what the hell? We live under Wall Street ethical norms set by Ronald Reagan, Edwin Meese, Karl Rove, Richard Cheney and Bush the Lesser: Anything goes, just don't get caught.

I called the Nevada Division of Insurance and asked if the race and ethnic makeup of insurance ratepayers roughly mirrors the population. Insurance companies insist that they can't make decisions based on race or ethnicity and thus are barred from gathering such information.

"We are confident that no one is being discriminated against through credit scoring," NDOI spokesman Jake Sunderland told me. But Nevada insurers may set rates by neighborhood, which looks like thinly disguised red-lining.

"Insurers have no legal obligation to disclose their scores and few do. Progressive and Farmers give customers details about their score on request and ChoicePoint sells insurance scores to a consumer for about $13, but won't reveal which insurers might use them," Consumer Reports noted in 2010.

"Consumers are largely left to protect themselves. Most states allow the use of scoring and insurance lobbyists have successfully repelled numerous efforts to ban or restrict it. Twenty-two states have passed model legislation endorsed by the insurance industry, which provides only weak consumer protections. Chiefly, the laws prohibit scoring models from counting delinquent medical accounts."

Nevada passed a flimsy measure in 2011, Assembly Bill 74, which puts the burden on ratepayers to apply.

"There are no standards...Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington have added stronger restrictions, while California, Hawaii and Massachusetts ban scoring for all insurance. Maryland has banned it for homeowners policies," Consumer Reports stated.

I have requested copies of credit scoring models submitted to the Nevada Division of Insurance. State lawyers will decide if I can obtain data under the Nevada Public Records Law, long among the weakest in the nation.

If they refuse, I have to sue. Insurance companies have a little more money to pay lawyers than I do.

"Several studies have shown that insurance scoring adversely affects blacks, Hispanics and low-income consumers. Despite such problems, most states allow insurance scoring and efforts to limit or ban it have been met with aggressive lobbying by insurers," Consumer Reports stated.

Their full study, as well as a bunch of other frog-boiling revelations will be linked to the expanded web edition of this column at

Mr. Sunderland vigorously defends his department as advocates for consumers, as well he should.

However, NDOI has received no complaints about credit-based ratemaking, probably because ratepayers are in the dark.

Other states have insurance consumer advocates separate from regulators like NDOI which must balance the interests of stockholders against ratepayers. The Nevada Public Utilities Commission used to have the same conflict of interest. Even today, PUC staff almost always makes recommendations for higher power rates than does the consumer advocate.

People need to start filing complaints when they are notified of auto, home or health insurance rate increases based on credit scores.

An insurance consumer advocate's office must be established by the 2013 legislature.

CLINGING TO THE LEDGE. State Sen. Greg Brower, R-Reno, should get flowers from his erstwhile colleague Sheila Leslie, who resigned her safe Democratic seat to run against him.

On the same day that Leslie's announcement wallpapered the media, a Brower mailer hit every house. Any voters unclear about their newly-reapportioned districts immediately knew if they were in the middle of the Brower-Leslie fight for control of the upper house.

HOOP DREAMS. Tuesday is a good day for civil rights. In the ayem, Dr. Stephen Tuck of Oxford University will speak on The Doubts of their Fathers: Secularization, Jim Crow and the Early Civil Rights Movement, 10:00-11:30 at the new UNR student union. It's free. Info: 775-784-6455.

Tuesday evening, the Reno-Sparks NAACP is sponsoring a contingent to the Reno Bighorns vs. Idaho Stampede basketball game. Any $8.00 general admission ticket purchased through NAACP members generates $3.00 for the organization. Current New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin played for the Bighorns last season, so you never know what future superstar you might see from the local cheap seats. For tickets, call Don Gallimore at 775-746-9453.

SUPPORT THE NEVADA CITIZEN TV PROJECT. Return a people's channel to these parts. Go to ReSurge.TV or contact me, especially if you think great issues like the above demand extensive and rational discussion.

Help give the gift of non-corporate TV to your community. We are making progress toward returning a citizens channel to these parts. Your support is both needed and appreciated.

Thank you.

Be well. Raise hell.

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 and 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...

National Consumer Law Center / June 2007 Report
Credit Scoring and Insurance: Costing Consumers Billions and Perpetuating the Economic Divide

Nevada Division of Insurance FAQ's on credit-based insurance rates

POWERFUL PUNDITORY PANJANDRUMS: Compelling guest commentary

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced.
HAT TRICK: Barbwire takes first place three years 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

...and more ammo...

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 three years 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 yet

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
War Rooms:
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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