The cure for what ails you
Expanded from the 5-21-2006 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

It's very hard to survive in a society where the political system has been rigged to subject its citizens to exploitation under the yoke of corporate greed.

Everything in your life is affected by politics. Inflation is once again on the rise as high energy, drug, housing and food costs erode the long-stagnant paychecks of average Americans. Even the constitutional panic button has been legislated into oblivion. You may declare bankruptcy, but you will still owe the credit card loan sharks.

The only thing missing is debtors' prison. In the age of Guantanamo, can that be far away if some greedy swine thinks that imprisoning you will help his bottom line? He'll probably start a bail bond business to boot.

— Copyright © 2006 Debra Reid/Daily Sparks Tribune

William Albiniano, 8, needs expensive kidney treatments and medication his family cannot afford without insurance.

Last week, friends staged a carwash at North Valleys High School, raising $235, according to his mother Lisa Albiniano. They are looking for a location to do another.


Watch this website for updates.

Imprisonment seems our remedy for an increasing number of real or perceived ills. Immigrants seeking no more than an honest day's pay for an honest day's work should be jailed as felons, no different than rapists and murderers, if you believe some of the racist thugs in congress and right here in river city.

Richard Nixon found that treatment, not jail, cures drug addiction, but every president since has fallen prey to the siren song of punishment for the afflicted. Ironically, such anti-Christian cruelty was legitimized by Nixon's racist, divisive southern strategy as he used code words like "law and order" to okay busting the heads of blacks and war protestors.

Racist disc jockeys like Lush Rambo advocate prison for drug addicts save for clubby, chubby, rich Republican white guys. Like himself.

"How can you sleep at night?" asks Lisa Albiniano, not in the broad context but in the most personal one – a desperate mother unable to help a sick child. Her eight year-old son has a terminal disease but our health care system has been fixed to kill him.

William Albiniano's parents both work full time. They are thus not poor enough to apply for Medicaid but too strapped to afford health insurance. So little William suffers. As I noted last week, the family used this month's house payment to pay for a $1,400 prescription which will soon need refilling.

William's white blood cells attack his internal organs and because the one drug which can help him has not been approved by the FDA for his disease (although legal for other uses), the manufacturer can't even give him the medicine at no charge.

Money has been slow in coming. A couple of dozen businesses have set up donation jars. Contributions may also be made at any branch of Wells Fargo Bank or Bank of America. Linked to the web edition of this column, you will find a complete list of donation dropoff locations, as well as Janine Kearney's in-depth story with Debra Reid's photos of this brave little boy.

William was due to see his doctor at UC Davis last week, but the appointment was cancelled. The family did not have the $400 to pay the specialist's fee, let alone hundreds more in lab and travel expenses. His prescriptions require constant adjustment, but such fine tuning takes consistent medical supervision and testing.

So William dwindles in limbo as his parents sink into the financial quicksand watered for more than a half century by the American Medical Association, the drug industry and your government.

It's a dark joke to suffer the most expensive health care system in the world providing second rate care, resulting in a far less healthy population than many other industrialized nations which spend far less. (References in the online edition, 1)

A simple plan for fixing the system next week. For now, if you can, please help little William Albiniano, only a heartbeat away from becoming an innocent sacrifice at the altar of corporate greed.

INVASION OF THE TREE HUGGERS — by Harry Spencer's old friend Don Dondero, from the Barbwire Dondero Gallery. Perhaps the best Reno News & Review cover ever. I know the identities of all three "models" who made the supreme sacrifice so that Don could get this shot in the snows of Mt. Rose. Their secret is safe with me. Sort of. As for Harry, he and his smarmy good old boys can kiss my bark and eat my bite.

'FESSING UP. I see where my Sparks Tribune colleague in columny Harry Spencer took exception (5-18-2006) to my comment that he had fallen victim to the PR spin of the Ballardini Ranch developers.

Harry, old meat, I was being gentle. For years, I have worked both professionally and for free with the broad base of citizens who wanted to preserve the last large swath of open space in this little valley. I never mentioned the Ballardini Ranch in the Tribune until the last few weeks, at which time I noted that I'm the webmaster of That information has been available for the past five years for anyone who visited that location or my business website,

When crunch time came a few weeks ago, I began to print notices about Washoe County Commission meetings. Each column noted my association with "green panthers" and "tree huggers," as you termed them.

Isn't it time that you informed your Tribune readers of any of your potential personal and professional conflicts with the Ballardini Ranch developers?

As you noted last Thursday "Andy and I have very different viewpoints when it comes to stating things in a factual manner."

Harry, I could not agree more.

BALLARDINI DEATH CERTIFICATE. The settlement codifying the Washoe County Commission's rollover on the Ballardini deal is still being drafted by the Minnesota-based developers' lawyer, Tom Erwin. I am posting one of his drafts at Do not accept it as the final word.

A couple of weeks ago, four of five county commissioners approved what Commissioner Pete Sferrazza termed an "outrageous" settlement based on a vague outline which Sferrazza said included provisions never agreed upon during secret negotiation.

With the developers' mouthpiece writing the deal, more mischief could easily be afoot. The commission is scheduled to vote this Tuesday to authorize sale of bonds totaling $35 million (30 pieces of silver, adjusted for inflation), part of which will fund the developer buyoff. Why vote without seeing the final deal?

Even if it becomes available a few minutes before the meeting, as with the vague early draft, what's the rush? What's wrong with giving the public time to review?

Oh, yeah, we might have trouble perceiving reality from the very different viewpoint of the developers, their lawyers and shills.

Be well. Raise hell.

Smoking Guns

1. Journal of the American Medical Association, Disease and Disadvantage in the United States and in England; quoted by Paul Krugman, Our Sick Society, op-ed page, New York Times, 5-5-2006.

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Copyright © 1982, 1984, 1996, 2004, 2005, 2006 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 37-year Nevadan, editor of, and webmaster of His opinions are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.


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