Pirate Laureate of the High Desert Outback of the American Dream


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Je Suis Charlie
"Our republic and its press will rise or fall together." — Joseph Pulitzer

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"Media is the plural of mediocre."
— Jimmy Breslin (1928-2017)

   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.

I hope you understand
I just had to go back to the island.

Leon Russell, 1942-2016

A pledge of allegiance for our empire's children
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 11-28-2018 Sparks Tribune / Expansions in blue

Editor's Note: The following was published before the death of President George HW Bush. His record survives him.

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Barbwire wins 9th Nevada Press Association award

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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

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I pledge allegiance to the United States of America
     A republic
One nation, indivisible
     With liberty and justice
For some.

That's what I say when I put my hand over my heart to face the stars and stripes of our national non-sectarian religious icon.

To say otherwise would perpetuate a myth.

America's depredations weigh heavily on this old man's heart this chilly holiday season. Presidents Trump and Obama have facilitated the mass murder of at least 85,000 children in Yemen.

President Bush the Lesser and his puppeteer Cheney the Cruel lied us into Iraq War2. (According to former U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Richard Armey, R-Tejas, among many others.)

Bush the Elder gave Saddam Hussein permission to invade Kuwait then ginned up a war to protect the Bush family's expiring oil leases in the Persian Gulf.

With a little help from Lawrence of Arabia, Winston Churchill created phony countries to maintain British power over the middle east and its oil riches, spawning the Saudi royal family in the process.

And the hero of D-Day, Dwight Eisenhower, now ranks as our worst president. That's saying a lot when you review his peers in the bottom of the historical barrel. Franklin Pierce, Bush the Lesser's ancestor, was drunk most of the time he held the White House. Warren Harding would have been impeached and removed from office had he not conveniently died. Ulysses S. Grant's administration was as corrupt as Harding's but nobody touches war heroes, Eisenhower included.

George Washington remains Numero Uno. Without him, we would not have a country. For his trouble in answering the call of duty to form a nation when he did not have to, Congress changed the name of Washington National Airport to Reagan National. Blackguards.

Ronald Reagan institutionalized white backlash, an infestation we increasingly suffer today. Andrew Johnson reimposed slavery with a century of Jim Crow.

"Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it," as George Santayana famously warned.

Some 500,000 U.S. veterans, many with post-traumatic stress disorder, go without care because they have less-than-honorable discharges stigmatizing their records. (National Public Radio 26 Nov. 2018) PTSD can cause physically and mentally crippled soldiers to do crazy things.

Our madcap president condones murder most foul, both wholesale (Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Philippines) and retail (Jamal Khashoggi). He also steals babies from their parents.

And so I recognize liberty and justice for some, not so much if you're black or brown.

"The origins of the pledge trace to the late 19th century, the product of an expansionist American project. In 1891, the family magazine Youth’s Companion asked 35-year-old Francis Bellamy, a former pastor of Boston’s Bethany Baptist Church, to fashion a patriotic program for schools around the country to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ 'arrival in America' by 'raising the U.S. Flag over every public school from the Atlantic to the Pacific.' "

So wrote American University history professor Christopher Petrella in a Washington Post column last year. (I hope he has no plans to travel to Saudi Arabia or Turkey.)

"In just 23 lean words, Bellamy attempted to capture the 'underlying spirit' of the American Republic...While the language contained in the pledge is not overtly nativist or xenophobic, the spirit that animated its creation was steeped in this sort of bigotry," Petrella stated.

"Through the pledge, Bellamy sought to define 'true Americanism' against the rising tide of southern and eastern European immigrants 'pouring over our country' in the early 20th century from 'races which we cannot assimilate without a lowering of our racial standard.' Although Bellamy conceded that 'the United States has always been a nation of immigrants,' he argued that 'incoming waves of immigrants … are coming from countries whose institutions are entirely at variance with our own,' " Petrella noted.

Sound familiar? My father and grandparents were among them.

"Bellamy, like countless others, feared that the 'poor stock' of immigrants from eastern and southern Europe would result in a loss of white native-born Protestant American culture," Petrella wrote.

I resemble that remark.

Dwight Eisenhower added "under God" to the pledge in 1954. I recited it every day in grade school.

That didn't make him the worst. He ranks as rank for placing the ghoulish Dulles brothers in charge of U.S. foreign policy. John Foster at State and Allen at CIA reintroduced the deadly sport of overthrowing democratically elected governments we didn't like, often at the behest of corporations — 19th Century Gunboat Diplomacy on steroids.

And so we became a monstrous two-headed empire, both bright beacon and brutal bludgeon.

We can do better if we bring forth the better angels of our nature, many of them women, many of whom got elected this month.

In the meantime, I will pray for my grandson who just enlisted in the U.S. Navy. I wish I'd had a chance to talk to him.

I hope you and yours experienced a warm and enjoyable Thanksgibleting.

Happy High Holly Days.

Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.


AFTERWORD: The above presidential rogues gallery almost makes Nixon look good by comparison, n'est ce pas? Nicht wahr?
Andrew Barbano is a 50-year Nevadan, executive 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 BallotBoxing.US and and As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988 and received its ninth Nevada Press Association award and 6th first-place at the 29 Sept. 2018 NPA annual convention in Las Vegas. (That trophy and about six bucks will get you a Latte Mocha Cotsafracas Chingade at just about any Starbux worldwide, guaranteed.)


PINK SLIPS, PURGES AND PRUNING. I need to hear from recently purged Eldorado Hotel-Casino employees. Barbwire spies report perhaps 100 workers getting the ax just in time for the holidays. In this newspaper, at Barbwire.US and in the London Guardian, I have lamented the deepening desperation of renters here in Tesla boomtown.

I'm now getting complaints about medical and dental practices purportedly pruning their patient loads, cutting loose the less-lucrative. That's de facto malpractice but medical professionals are lawsuit-proof under Nevada law — unless you're rich enough to personally pay a few hundred grand in legal fees.

That's why TV lawyers only advertise for arrest or accident cases these days. If you've been cast adrift by patient pruning, call me at (775) 882-TALK or e-mail me.

Sore-oppressed Soul-Sister Cities: Menlo Park and Reno-Sparks-Fernley share similarly sad high-tech stretch marks

"All humanity has left the area": paying for Tesla's Gigafactory
Barbano and Nevada conservatives decry corporate welfare depredations

By Rory Carroll / The Guardian 7-3-2018

Editor's Note: The Guardian publishes 180,000 newspapers daily in London and environs and generates ONE BILLION monthly web page views.
(I should live so long.)

"Facebook is taking everything": rising rents drive out Silicon Valley families
Property companies advertising their proximity to Facebook’s campus are giving low-income residents a choice: pay a huge rent increase or move out
By Sam Levin / The Guardian 6-20-2018

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For all the news you never knew you needed to know 'til now: Tell your friends and friendly enemies to subscribe to Barbwire Confidential for warm laughter, cheap thrills, hot scoops and occasional cold logic at BallotBoxing.US/ Cheap at twice the price. (Hush Hush!)

Last year's dark foreshadowings unfortunately became reality. I thus suggest inoculation by signing onto the HushHush! list at BallotBoxing.US/ It's cheap as well as enlightening entertainment. Thank you kindly for your support.

Smoking Guns—>

Trumptasic tree ornaments for fun and prophet
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 11-21-2018 Sparks Tribune
Bluish waves, silver bullets, yellow dogs & chickens
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 11-14-2018 Sparks Tribune
If we stop killing, we stop killing ourselves
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 11-7-2018 Sparks Tribune
Personal & political hygiene for fun & prophet
The Nevada connection to murdered Saudi Jamal Khashoggi
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 10-24-2018 Sparks Tribune
BallotBoxing '18: Maximum confusions & contusions
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 10-17-2018 Sparks Tribune
Great Depression 2.0: Sure cure for what ails us
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 10-10-2018 Sparks Tribune
50 shades of rape: Tales of future past
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 10-3-2018 Sparks Tribune

Barbwire 30th Anniversary Trilogy
Now well into a 4th decade of equal opportunity harassment of the rich, famous & powerful
Sunday, August 12, 2018, marked 30 years since the first Barbwire appeared in the Rail City's newspaper of record since 1910. "The Chilling of Hot August Nights" brought the first of nine Nevada Press Association awards. I'll add more memories of the early days of the Barbwire as time, space and the political season allow. (See above right.)

Part 3: Biting the hand that feeds me
GOP '18 upsets: Déjà vu all over again
Laxalt and Heller favored to win in November
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 9-5-2018 Sparks Tribune
Part 2: Biting the moonhowlers
Good reasons to lie to those pesky pollsters
Heller eats sheep balls to get the courage to perpetrate guilt by association
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 8-29-2018 Sparks Tribune
Part 1: Bitten by my buds
Machine Gun Michele and her low-caliber, low-cut friends
The censored Barbwires of the 2015 legislature finally see ink and my fantasy fiancée bares all
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 8-22-2018 Sparks Tribune

30 Years before the masthead: Barbano remembers the Barbwire's greatest hits
By Kayla Anderson / Sparks Tribune 8-22-2018

Barbwire by Barbano moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

$75 dead or alive: Still crazy after all these years
A mass murderer becomes famous on TV a century later

How come nobody noticed 'til now?
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 2-21-2018 Sparks Tribune

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory owners Max Blank and Isaac Harris. Is not Mr. Harris eerily familiar to television junkies?

From the Emmy-winning opening slate of the blockbuster "Cheers" television series. Combined with its "Frasier" spinoff, it lasted 20 years.
The "shirtwaist kings" immigrated from Russia and made a fortune manufacturing "Gibson Girl"-style blouses. (Photo, "The American Experience"/PBS)
The Emmy-winning opening slate of the "Cheers" television series before the "slate" of creators is superimposed. Looks like Mr. Harris' dead ringer (at left) is having a bloody good time.

"Who ya gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" Chico Marx disguised as Groucho Marx in "Duck Soup" (1933)
Back to the story of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist holocaust

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Copyright © 1982-2018 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 50-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee. He is the executive producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and serves as first vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

Barbwire by Barbano moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

Betty J. Barbano
2-7-1941 / 12-27-2005

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