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"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)

¡Viva Chávez!
César Chávez Celebration XVI / Celebración de César Chávez XVI
Saturday 31 March 2018
/ Sabado 31 de Marzo 2018

Circus Circus Reno / Doors open 5:30, Dinner 7:00 p.m.
Sponsorship, table and ticket information

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   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...
   Everybody talking to their pockets.
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
   and a long red rose.
   Everybody knows. Everybody knows.
That's how it goes.
Everybody knows.

I hope you understand I just had to go back to the island.
Leon Russell, 1942-2016

What's harder: Finding a doctor or Stormy Daniels?
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the 3-21-2018 Sparks Tribune / Updated 3-22-2018 and 3-28-2018 / Expansions in blue

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It's easier to find Stormy Daniels movies than doctors in Reno. I just tried both.

What did I expect in a town where the UNR basketball coach's wife can pose naked for a local magazine and nobody notices but me? (Barbwire Feb. 7, 2018)

Perhaps it's better to be divorced from reality. The clerks with whom I spoke at several local "adult" shops did not know Stormy Daniels or why she's famous. If you are quizzical, pick up just about any publication or websearch "Stormy Trump."

The Independent Movie Database lists well over 200 Stormy Daniels X-rated titles. Local porno shops say they can't search their inventory because they categorize by genre, not titles or actors. (Trust me, you don't wanna know the genres.)

According to Google and Bing, Stormy is available for a quick couple of clicks. I wish it was that easy to get medical care in this town.

I've spent so much time at Washoe Medical Center in the past year that I'm expecting a bill for rent. Some of my friends have survived, some have not.

I am thus acutely aware of patient issues at the corporate octopus now known as Washoe Health System/Renown Regional Medical Center. (Remember George Carlin's warning to beware when somebody starts adding syllables?)

Through a combination of clever PR and political corruption, our county hospital was stolen from us in 1985. A public asset worth up to $134.2 million in 1985 dollars was sold off for about $3 million, a 98 percent discount from fair market value.(See

Some of the same guys who made themselves rich in that scam still have their fingers in the pie. remains the only source of the 1995 Washoe Grand Jury report on how the theft was engineered.

They conned themselves into a free hospital which is now reportedly the largest private employer in these parts. The con was perpetrated with a promise to cover the health care of all Washoe County indigent patients in perpetuity. They also promised to cut health care costs. They broke both. The indigent care provision was removed from the final giveaway contract by a crooked deputy DA who went on to become a judge. He's now dead.

We, the taxpayers, still send Renown a fat check every month to pay for the care of the poor and uninsured. Since Renown is officially a tax-free "non-profit," they can spend their profits expanding their empire and pay generous executive salaries.

When you check in someone at Renown ER, as I have done too often in recent years, you first encounter the accounting and legal departments. They gotta know how you can pay. Starting thereafter and throughout your incarceration, you have to sign a series of forms basically exempting them from legal jeopardy. Doctors in Nevada are already immune from malpractice lawsuits (Barbwire Aug. 18, 2015 ), but the bureaucracy burgeons nonetheless.

Sick people don't have time to read hundreds of lines of tiny print.

I checked a senior citizen neighbor into Renown ER last week. She received excellent care but the rest was Kafkaesque. (Czech author Franz Kafka, 1883-1924, wrote definitive novels about how bureaucracy dehumanizes. His most famous, "The Trial," tells of some poor lout accused of something he never finds out. Kafka would have understood Guantánamo.)

My 80-plus neighbor was discharged with a detailed list of followups and prescriptions. Because she is still in recovery and sleeping most of the time, I volunteered to pick up all seven new prescriptions and make two followup doctors' appointments. Bad idea.

First, one of her new drugs would make a chronic condition worse. (I read the tiny print.) She needs a doctor's advice. I couldn't find one. Her general practitioner sends you to voicemail which advises that they will try to call back within three freakin' days. I've already waited four.

Renown commanded her to make an appointment with one of their specialists. A nice young girl refused because none of their in-house docs had officially made a referral. So I should call her own doc, who's lost in voicemail hell. Welcome to Musical Doctors, the most expensive game at the most expensive hotel-casino in town.

I asked if could I e-mail questions, especially about the prescription warning. Nope, they don't do that e-mail stuff. (That's the legal dept. covering their asses again.)

And besides, federal law prohibited my even asking certain obvious questions. I repeated that my neighbor is barely able to take phone calls, let alone wrangle with health care staff about appointments and prescriptions.

"Sir, you're being very rude to me."

I apologized but noted that her system's protocols which she was required to enforce were very rude to her patient. Even though I had a form on their letterhead saying to call her number for an appointment, she repeated that I needed to find a referring doctor.

The "requirement" for a referral from another doctor has little, if anything, to do with health care. Indeed, it raises the hoary old spectre of fee-splitting good-ole-boy lawyers and their legendary machinations to keep them cards 'n' letters (and checks) comin' in. Ring-Around-the-Referrals was sold to the public about four decades ago as a way to control excess visits by hypochondriacs, old people and other dastardly criminal types who labor under the mistaken conceit that they should be able to see a doctor when they — the under-educated great unwashed — dare to assume that they need one.

I did not try to thus educate the robotic young lady whose unenviable job it is to perform Kafkaesque kabuki for the Renown theatre of the absurd. That's not her department, fergawdsakes.

She could do nothing but send me to the Renown, "customer service" department. I said OK, switch me there.

"Sorry, they're closed." Aaargh.

Franz Kafka, call your office.

I called Renown PR for a comment. I'm still waiting.

So my neighbor continues to fight her illness while doctors are too busy and beleaguered to respond even when their patients are following their orders.

Was there ever a better argument for universal, single-payer healthcare like more civilized, less profit-mongering countries?

Between Stormy Daniels and American health care, which do you think enjoys the moral high ground?

HAIL CESAR! César Chávez XVI happens on the great man's 91st birthday on March 31. Ticket/table/sponsor info for César XVI may be accessed via the Barbwire expanded web edition at Barbwire.US/ —> Hurry. Big stuff in the works. Monitor

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

Web Extras —> March 21 (Barbwire/César Chávez XVI Update) — On this date in 1806, Benito Juárez was born. ¡Viva Juárez!

IMPORTANT DATES: March for Our Lives — and against guns — March 24 in front of the Thompson Federal Building, W. Liberty at S. Virginia, 11:30 a.m., concluding at the Reno City Hall BELIEVE PLAZA at 1:30 p.m. Info: Nnedi Stephens, 775-338-4561...FREEBIE ALERT: Same day, 11:00 a.m. March 24, stylish hat party and free lunch for womens' rights; Evelyn Mount Center, Valley Road...April TBA: Washoe County sheriff candidates forum sponsored by the Reno-Sparks NAACP, ACTIONN and other community organizations. Watch this space.

ANTE INTO THE GAME: Support the new season of Barbwire.TV by putting your money where my mouth is.

Metastatical Statisticals

Trump FCC chair investigated for Sinclair ties / 2-15-2018

Ready for Trump TV? Inside Sinclair Broadcasting’s Plot to Take Over Your Local News
Its mix of terrorism alerts, right-wing commentary and “classic propaganda” could soon reach 3/4 of the US.
By Andy Kroll/Mother Jones Oct.-Nov. 2017

How Sinclair Broadcasting puts a partisan tilt on trusted local news
By William Brangham/ PBS NewsHour 10-10-2017

Top-down Democrats haven't learned
By Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 8-10-2017

More Faux than Fox? Corporate octopus Sinclair moves to dominate Nevada and U.S. television
By Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 8-3-2017

  A thousand thanks to those who keep sending show suggestions.

  Stay tuned.

  I encourage you to donate to the cause at Barbwire.TV/ The medium that shapes public opinion needs at least one refuge where it is not filtered through the distorted green eye shades of prissy corporate accountants for whom profit is the only priority; where self-censorship is the journalist's normal work environment and where all sins of omission are tacitly encouraged and forgiven with the wave of a balance sheet.

  This is important. We've got a lot of work to do.


END OF TIMES SURVIVAL KIT. Defend yourself with humorous or humorless but always-peerless pontification by subscribing to the Barbwire Confidential News Service. Scandalous bonuses for new subscribers.

Hush Hush!



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

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. I suggest coming aboard now. Subscription prices go up soon. Thank you kindly for your support.

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

Andrew Barbano is a 49-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. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988 and received its 8th Nevada Press Association award and 5th first-place at the 30 Sept. 2017 NPA annual convention in Carson City. (That trophy and about six bucks will get you a Latte Mocha Cotsafracas Chingade at just about any Starbux worldwide, guaranteed.)

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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!)

Smoking Guns—>

A world in fear: It's always 9/11 somewhere
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the 3-14-2018 Sparks Tribune

West Virginia teachers: Strike one, strike won
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the 3-7-2018 Sparks Tribune /

$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 49-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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