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Photo: Debra Reid, Sparks Tribune



An Alternative National Anthem
By Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) & Sharon Robinson
© 1988 CBS Records, Inc.

   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 that the boat is leaking.
Everybody knows that the captain lied.
   Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died.
   Everybody talking to their pockets.
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
   And a long stem rose.
Everybody knows.

   Everybody knows that you love me, baby.
Everybody knows you really do.
   Everybody knows that you've been faithful,
Give or take a time or two.
   Everybody knows you've been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
   Without your clothes.
Everybody knows.

   Everybody knows that it's now or never.
Everybody knows that it's me or you.
   And everybody knows that you live forever
When you've done a line or two.
   Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton
   For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows.

   Everybody knows that the plague is coming.
Everybody knows that it's moving fast.
   Everybody knows that the naked man & woman —
Just a shining artifact of the past.
   Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
   That will disclose
What everybody knows.

   And everybody knows that you're in trouble.
Everybody knows what you've been through
   From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach at Malibu.
   Everybody knows it's coming apart.
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
   Before it blows.
And everybody knows.

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

"The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you'll never have." Kierkegaard

Fight back against white elephants
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 6-22-2022 / Updated 6-23 & 6-27-2022 GMT / Expansions in blue

"When there's a fight, liberals cut and run" —  Travus T. Hipp (1937-2012)

My Tribune colleague often said that in his hall of fame radio career and many times, he proved correct.

I've lately seen a rash of obituaries for liberal democracy. A few examples: The egalitarian era from President Franklin Roosevelt to Lyndon Johnson was a one-time aberration. Reversing Roe v. Wade was a trojan horse for a corporate conservative takeover of the judicial system. The geriatric leadership of the Democratic party is out of touch with the common man.

The Abortion Solution
Barbwire 5-11-2022 / 1-27-1989

As Travus used to say, "it's all true friends, just some's truer'n others."

Reams and reams have been written and forests felled trumpeting the triumph of Trumpistry this November. It well may happen. Or not.

What to do? America and the world suffer from a plethora of plague, pollution, pestilence and warmongering. The Four Horsemen straddle the globe. Witness the huddled masses yearning to breathe free and risking their lives to reside in western democracies. They look to us as we look to our president but resurgence takes a movement. One guy can't work magic. Harry Potter has left the building.

Where do we start? First, a little advice paraphrased from New York City bard Damon Runyon: Never play the other guy's game. If some sharp comes up to you on a streetcorner and wants to bet money that he can pour cider in your ear without you even knowing it, only one thing is sure — You're gonna get an earful of cider.

Old line Donkeyites have just not learned from experience. Every time Barack Obama reached across the aisle, Mitch McConnell sent him back a bloody stump. And an earful of cider. Biden apparently drinks lots of apple juice.

There's nothing wrong with geriatric leadership. The Dems had two chances to make Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, president and muffed it. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., knows how to fight, as do Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, and her fabled Crew.

America sorely needs a charismatic leader who can breathe new spirit into the nation as only John F. Kennedy once did. And it should be a she.

For more than 40 years, I've advocated that the only long term solution to this afflicted planet lies with women in control of governments. We are fortunately past the Xena Warrior Princess phase where females had to prove their cred by being more warlike than the boys. UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher typified that stereotype. Her descendants still walk among us, but the likes of Mrs. Clarence Thomas represent minor entertainment for the big boys locker room.

Until women win equal representation: kick ass like the boys, ladies. And I do mean ladies. The Donkeykongs are largely the party of women while Republicans are white elephants, the last refuge of palefaced macho supremacy out to tusk us into the ground. They offer only tax breaks for the corporately wealthy and judges who will continue to foist corporate burdens on our backs.

Oh, and lots of guns which may turn out to be their de facto solution to the post-Roe population explosion, especially since birth control bans are the next target. Nothing thins the herd like machine guns for fourth grade show and tell.

The growth in non-partisan voter registration is symptomatic of society's angst but a bit over-rated. NP's usually break along the lines of their preferred party at election time. Otherwise, Nevada's "none of these candidates" option in statewide races would get a lot more support.

Nevada could have survived the 2014 red wave had not Sen. Harry Reid diverted resources elsewhere trying to save his upper house majority, a laudable but doomed effort.

Nevada can still buck the white mother tuskers this November.

Agitate. Agitate. Agitate. Organize. Organize. Organize!

MARK SHIELDS, 1937-2022
. The great liberal reporter and commentator was just dispatched to the big newsroom in the sky. He is rightly remembered for his polite and affable approach toward everyone he met, from the humble to the exalted. Quite democratic.

In 1990 when I was beating Lush Rambo on the radio, my colleague Eddie Anderson got Mark Shields to call in from DC. Shields spoke with and fielded questions from local listeners for two solid hours. Quite democratic. I'm not alone among Nevadans who wish him Godspeed.

AMAZON ATROCITY. Seen those vague TV spots bashing U.S. Senate Bill 2992 as something that will destroy home delivery, kidnap your firstborn and make your face break out? Actually, the bill sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is an attempt to reign in the tech biggies who market their own products at the top of any Internet search and banish competitors to cyber limbo. Small local businesses just can't compete.

I'M LOOKING FOR A JOB. The pols on the Washoe Regional Transportation Commission just gave executive director Bill Thomas a huge raise. He did serious damage to the system last year, losing all three Hat Trick Strikes to the Teamsters Union. Mass transit employees have been winning legal actions costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands while ridership craters.

Mr. Thomas' annual pay and benefits just topped $350,000.00. Gov. Steve Sisolak only makes $149,573 and donates it to charity.

Last January, Sparks Mayor Ed Lawson, who sits on RTC along with three other Republicans and zero Democrats, said “We need to blow the thing up and build a better system."

Mr. Mayor, here's your chance to demonstrate your GOP street cred. I am fully qualified to screw up the mass transit system just as badly as Mr. Thomas and his minions, and perhaps worse. And I am prepared to do it for half price. That's true fiscal conservatism. What's not to like?

KEEP ON ROLLIN'. Teamsters locals across the country are representing cannabis workers. I have suggested that they market union-made hemp t-shirts by grabbing the hashtag #hashtogs.

Pray for Ukraine and 53 other currently war-torn lands. Take care of each other and be careful out there.

¡ se puede!

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer (Pardon my French.)Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)
Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 53-year Nevadan and editor of,,, BallotBoxing.US,,,, and among others. He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP and Sparks-based Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO. As always, his comments are entirely his own. He is retained by no political campaign. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Eagles, chickens & Treasongate turkeys
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 6-15-2022 / Updated 6-16, 6-17 & 6-26-2022 GMT / Expansions in blue

"Media is the plural of mediocre" — Jimmy Breslin

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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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To paraphrase Charles Barkley, you know the world is going to hell when FOX News deserves praise for (ZOUNDS!) carrying the congressional Treasongate hearings while PBS airs old news shows or kiddie cartoons.

That's what happened in this region last Thursday and Monday and will again today. [[UPDATE 6-16-2022: The June 15 hearing was postponed until 10:00 a.m. PDT Thursday, June 16. As of 5:45 a.m. PDT June 16, neither TV-5 nor TV-11 have scheduled Thursday's hearing, according to their broadcast signal schedules. At their 10:00 p.m. PDT Wednesday June 15 newscast, FOX affiliate KTVU TV-2 in Oakland, California, announced they would carry the Thursday event. KTVU's 10:00 p.m. newscast has been carried by Reno FOX-11 daily for many years.]]

Public Broadcasting System KNPB TV-5 and FOX affiliate KRXI TV-11 both blacked out last Thursday's premier of Czar Donaldov's latest TV series.

FOX, understandable. PBS? WTF?

The only official explanation I got from TV-5 President and CEO Kurt Mische is that they livestreamed it on their website instead.

Huh? What about people without computers, iPads or iPhones? Or viewers who simply prefer the public network's analysis and coverage?

Yes, ABC TV-8, CBS TV-2 and NBC TV-4 carried the show, but that's not the point.

This is the type of programming for which PBS was established and still scores substantial taxpayer subsidies. Every television and radio station using public airwaves agrees to serve the community in order to get its federal license.

Most embarrassingly, FOX network aired the second installment of the hearings last Monday morning and is scheduled to air today's at 7:00 a.m. PDT. (Station ownership remains free to censor.)

KNPB TV-5 will again sit shiva.

Last Monday, I phoned and e-mailed PBS back east.

"How many of your affiliates ran the congressional hearing live on their main channels and how many did not?" I queried. "Among those which did not, if any, did they livestream as did KNPB; rebroadcast at a later time or not run anything at all via any of their resources."

I have not heard back. PBS is supposed to be "non-commercial," but they air hot and cold running sponsor announcements for any outfit with cash. If you're rich enough, you even get your pretty face on station promos.

So why did TV-5 black out Treasongate? First, they are in the middle of a station fundraising drive where large blocks of time are devoted to telethonitis. Nothing gets in the way of their repetitive money hustle, not even the public interest on the public airwaves on a publicly supported station. They also did not want to pre-empt daytime kiddie shows. (I'm not speculating.)

Nationally today, all of the major networks as well as many cable channels have scheduled Treasongate-3.

Local exceptions will be KNPB TV-5 and very probably KRNV TV-4, a Sinclair Broadcasting station which blacked out Monday morning's program after airing the Thursday premier. Sinclair also controls FOX-11 and uses the news departments of its more than 200 stations to air right-wing biased news. Why? They've noticed how FOX can net over a billion a year in pure profit by pandering to residents of Oz, Narnia and Mar-a-Loco. So don't count on FOX-11 today.

There's also an unseen hand in this market. Northern Nevada has always been a Republican stronghold. They are the establishment, rich, stodgy and powerful. Go too far and their law firms will be ordered to quietly make moves to torpedo a station's major advertisers. The mediocre media never know what (or whom) hit them.

The invisible hand of the market is always at work here in the High Desert Outback of the American Dream.

Unlike most first-world countries, U.S. public airwaves have always been sold to the highest bidder. Washington pols quake in fear of the television-industrial complex. Witness the taxpayer-subsidized giveaway of high-definition channels a few years ago.

Want to take America back? Start with our formerly public airwaves.

BOB CARROLL, 1937-2022. The longtime radio-tv personality left us for the big studio in the sky a few days ago. He hosted his KUNR-fm "Best of Big Bands, Blues, Ballads and Broadway" program almost until the end.

Although not a journalist by trade, Bob became the face of KTVN TV-2 News in the station's infancy in the late 1960s. In the early 1970s, he opened an ad agency which was very successful. We were friendly competitors for many years. He ran for Reno City Council in 1973 and Washoe County Commission in 1974.

Bob's the second familiar face to recently sign off. John Howe, former news director at KOLO TV-8 in the 1970s, died last month at 93. (Barbwire 6-1-2022)

His memorial service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 25 at Mountain View Mortuary, 425 Stoker in Reno. That's an hour earlier than originally scheduled.

Bob Carroll's sendoff will happen at the same location at 2:00 p.m. this Friday, June 17.

Good knowing you, gentlemen. You done real good.

I LUV LUCEY? BUYER BEWARE. Madcap Washoe Assessor Mike Clark, whose staff obtained a restraining order against him for running a white collar sweatshop, is advertising his wares to replace County Commissioner Bob Lucey in his southwest Reno district. I'm no fan of Mr. Lucey whose tenure on the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) precipitated the successful Teamsters Union Hat Trick Strikes of 2021. With Clark, I'll make an exception.

Clark won an upset for assessor against a good public servant, Joshua Wilson, eight years ago. I was amazed at Clark's website which all but promised he would cut people's property taxes, something the assessor has no power to do. It worked.

The Reno Gazette-Journal did an extensive roundup on the current contest. Awhile back, Clark was even banned from entering his own assessor's office while still receiving his full taxpayer salary. This yayhoo should never be elected to anything. [[UPDATE: Alas and alack, it appears Clark has defeated Commissioner Lucey and will face Democrat Keith Lockard and Libertarian David Michael Banuelos in November. Maybe he'll promise a tax cut with every pot.]]

MASS TRANSIT MAYHEM. Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve was elected by the city council to replace Reno Councilmember Oscar Delgado on RTC. The commission will thus have four Republicans plus the non-partisan mayor to continue the grotesque mismanagement of the local mass transit system.

Councilmembers Naomi Duerr, Jenny Brekhus and Devon Reese, all Democrats, also wanted the job. Monitor for some interesting revelations ahead of this Friday's RTC meeting.

BEER PONG AT CITY HALL? Read's report of the heated beating some councilcritters and Mlle. Mayor administered to Ms. Brekhus last week. The two ladies are both running for the mayoralty. [[UPDATE: Based on incomplete returns, it appears that Mayor Schieve will again face her 2018 opponent Eddie Lorton this fall.]]

Pray for Ukraine and 53 other currently war-torn lands. Take care of each other and be careful out there.

¡ se puede!
Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer (Pardon my French.)Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)
Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 53-year Nevadan and editor of,,, BallotBoxing.US,,,, and among others. He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP and Sparks-based Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO. As always, his comments are entirely his own. He is retained by no political campaign. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Stealing from starving babies
Barbwire by Andrew Quarantino Barbáno / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune 6-8-2022
Updated 6-13 & 6-14-2022 GMT / Expansions in blue

And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
— Matthew Arnold 1851

About 120 years later, cartoonist Walt Kelly's Pogo the Possum said pretty much the same thing, albeit with less elegance: "We have met the enemy and he is us."

Nazi General Hermann Goering, who commanded military divisions, best espoused the strategy of civil division in 1946: "The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked...It works the same way in any country."

Let's chill for a minute, dial down the sulfurous fury and, as President Lyndon Johnson liked to say, "come now, and let us reason together." (Isaiah 1:18)

I've noted countless times that the way to control the masses is to keep them fighting each other for crumbs that fall off the banquet tables of their betters. If us peons ever bother to look up, we can turn the tables. Why not now? But how?

First, look in the mirror. Do you see yourself if any of the above?

Many Americans have very legitimate gripes. The farmer who works dawn 'til dusk and beyond, struggling to save his little piece of ground. The factory worker whose livelihood has been exported to a fourth-world country. The high school grad wondering if she should go into debt for the rest of her life to earn a college degree. The urban ghetto dweller or the rural impoverished, prisoners all of a system that offers little hope.

It is thus very easy for some larcenous hammerhead to offer simple-sounding solutions, usually by foisting blame upon some nefarious manifestation of evil better known as The Other— anyone other than the audience at hand.

Where is the sword of Alexander to cut this Gordian Knot, this metastasizing tumor in the guts of civilization?

First, look to the two great systems supposedly devised to give everyone a decent shot: Capitalism and Communism.

Alas and alack, as longshoreman philosopher Eric Hofer pointed out, both lead to the same damned place. (Barbwire 7-15-2001) Taken to their logical conclusions, both result in everyone working for a single monstrous company or a monolithic political party. George Orwell's "Animal Farm" illustrated it as the cautionary fairy tale in which we live today
Left to their own devices, big fish devour small fish and are in turn engorged by bigger and bigger fish. Eventually only one huge monster remains.

This was satirized in the 1993 Sylvester Stallone film "Demolition Man." Set in a dystopian future, all restaurants are Taco Bell because "Taco Bell won the restaurant wars," as Sandra Bullock blithely explains.

Under Communism, everyone is supposedly equal but as Orwell put it, "some animals are more equal than others." So everybody works for the Communist Party.

Both systems end up in the same exploitive place: Dictatorship, jack-booted authoritarianism or softshoe fascism.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., last week said that it's high time for the government to start enforcing anti-trust law. A few years ago, she said "capitalism without regulation is tyranny."

Almost all Americans labor under the tyranny of big fishes eating the small ones, only to be devoured themselves.

World class economist David Schwartz told me in 1981 of corporate concentration research done by a colleague. Dr. Schwartz noted that America was entering an age of "mature capitalism" (Barbwire 9-25-2005) where innovation takes a back seat to corporate acquisition.

Rather than put money into developing a better mousetrap, corporate America simply buys out any potential competitor. Microsoft was the poster child.

Schwartz told me that his friend back in the 1970s did some simple addition. He took the Fortune 500, totaled its assets, and worked his way down the list until he found the point where the biggest companies controlled half of corporate property. The divide fell somewhere just above the middle. I did the same thing in the 1990s. By then, I recall that perhaps about 75 or 80 of the top dogs controlled half the wealth.

Schwartz's stark projection of the evils of corporate concentration proved prescient. Instance in point: baby formula. Three big companies now dominate the market with impunity. So millions of American infants today are malnourished or starving.

Even before the shortage caused by their own misfeasance, their prices were exorbitant. There is no true competition in an oligopoly.

Perhaps a dozen years ago, I found myself in a checkout line behind a young Latina trying to buy three cans of baby formula for her infant nephew. Alas, her credit card was maxed out. As she turned to walk away, I asked the checker how much each can cost. I was shocked: about $35, as I recall. I only had enough money on me to pay for one, which I did. She thanked me. I've always felt good about helping some kid I will never know in his time of need. It should never be that way in this, the richest, fattest country in the history of the world — the land of the rigged game.

Most of the products you see at your local grocery likewise perpetuate the myth of competition, manufactured and massaged by advertising and corporate propaganda. From chicken, sugar, milk and eggs to electricity, gasoline and housing — examples are endless.

All that goes a long way toward explaining the righteous anger of so many. So much of that energy is misdirected.

On the hopeful side, I've noticed recent chatter about corporate non-competition acting as the underlying cause of today's inflationary spiral.

Make common cause with other pawns in this rigged game, especially those who may be light years away from the way you think. Convince them to start looking up at the banquet table rather than down at the crumbs on the floor.

The choice is yours.

Pray for Ukraine and 53 other currently war-torn lands. Take care of each other and be careful out there.

¡ se puede!

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer (Pardon my French.)
Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)

Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 53-year Nevadan and editor of,,, BallotBoxing.US,,,, and among others. He is a longtime member of the Reno-Sparks NAACP and Sparks-based Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO. As always, his comments are entirely his own. He is retained by no political campaign. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988.


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$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

Triangle tragedy recalled as requiem
"The Fire in My Mouth," a new oratorio by Pulitzer honoree Julia Wolfe, premiered with the New York Philharmonic Jan. 24

By Michael Cooper / The New York Times 1-23-2019

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Copyright © 1982-2022 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 53-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 a longtime member 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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