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ANDREW BARBANO

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Blasts from the past
Expanded from the 1-6-2008 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

Let's play who said it and when.

"We have rejected the discredited theory that the fortunes of the Nation should be in the hands of a privileged few. We have abandoned the 'trickledown' concept of national prosperity. Instead, we believe that our economic system should rest on a democratic foundation and that wealth should be created for the benefit of all.

"The recent election shows that the people of the United States are in favor of this kind of society and want to go on improving it.

"The American people have decided that poverty is just as wasteful and just as unnecessary as preventable disease. We have pledged our common resources to help one another in the hazards and struggles of individual life. We believe that no unfair prejudice or artificial distinction should bar any citizen of the United States of America from an education, or from good health, or from a job that he is capable of performing."

Who said that? President Harry Truman in his state of the union speech on Jan. 5, 1949. (Courtesy of former Tribune columnist Dennis Myers' almanac. Dennis is recovering from his recent illness and back at his computer. You may read Poor Denny's Almanac at NevadaLabor.com.)

WHO SAID IT, PART DEUX. "Perhaps anyone currently raising a family here should consider moving somewhere else. Our educational systems in Nevada – from kindergarten to graduate school – are shamefully underfunded now and have been for years."

Who said it?

Me, standing on a soapbox at the symbolically chosen Depression Deli, decrying a previous state budget crisis in 1982.

REDUCING YOUR POWER BILL. Those who know me know I'm a clipping freak. Yesterday's newspapers don't get recycled until their best antiques have been gleaned. I ran across a story from last January's New York Times about "smart meters," which allow electric ratepayers to do energy intensive things during low-demand dayparts when they will be charged less for the kilowattage. In Chicago, the power company e-mails consumers about such times. Information truly becomes both power and money.

I contacted the Nevada Public Utilities Commission to see if smart meters are available here.

PUC rep Sean Sever responded "that the PUC requires both Sierra Pacific and Nevada Power offer Time of Use meters to residential and commercial customers. These meters allow customers to shift their discretionary electrical usage (dishwashing, laundry or any commercial application that can be done at any time of the day) to the evening hours when electricity is cheaper. With Time of Use Meters, customers pay less for off-peak hours and more for peak hours of usage."

Sounds good so far, right? Alas and alack, "Smart meters are not yet available, but we expect that they will be available sometime during the first quarter of 2008," Sever continues.

"The PUC recently completed a proceeding that will allow for smart meters to be available from the power companies as well as from private vendors."

So it will cost money to save money, as usual.

Better late than never. I lobbied for time-of-day and interruptible peak load rates during the 1981 legislative session, so this stuff is not exactly new.

Once again, Nevada lags behind the curve and utilities must be forced to shave their demand peaks. Remember that when this month's bill comes in.

You and I need to raise a profile for this issue so that we can bring some pressure to move this snail.

Janie Boykins-Raschilla reviews banking documents. (Photo: Debra Reid/Daily Sparks Tribune)

PICKPOCKET BANKERS STONEWALL THE WEAK. Over the past several weeks, this newspaper has chronicled the travails of Janie Boykins-Raschilla, a victim of big banking exploitation.

She has seen U.S. Bank on Oddie Blvd. turn a 34-cent debit card overdraft into more than $700 in service charges.

Bank executives won't reduce a penny of the computer-generated usury, but they have sent a letter offering a "repayment" plan.

Big banks rely on ripoff service charges to produce roughly one of every three dollars in profit.

The Nevada Legislature has passed laws reigning in those streetcorner shylocks called payday loan companies and must do the same for bank customers.

We'll see who has the guts to take on such a wealthy and powerful lobby, starting with USeless Bank in Sparks.

Stay tuned.

NEVADA RENTERS HOTLINE still needs volunteers. Call Ernie Nielsen at the Washoe County Senior Law Program, (775) 328-2592.

SPARKS DIVERSITY COMMISSION: City Hall informs me that recommendations on forming the long-awaited panel will soon be finalized and forwarded to the city council.

WONDER WHERE THE YELLOW WENT? On Dec. 23, I recalled an old campaign manager's bugaboo: Never use yellow. It originated with Memorabilia Man, a Carson City resident who displayed his world class collection of campaign detritus at the Nevada Legislature more than 30 years ago.

He noted to a reporter that most winning campaigns use the colors of Old Glory and that yellow has an irritating habit of losing. I've kept a count. Red, white and blue have the game fixed – most campaigns use them. But yellow always has a hard time breaking .500.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, uses RWB nationwide but went yellow in Iowa, as did former Arkansas Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee, the upset winner of the GOP primary.

So what does Huckleberry Hound's Iowa victory prove? Not much, other than most Iowa polls were wrong and that yellow, indeed, lost at least half the time, perhaps more. Democrat Chris Dodd used yellow on his website. John McCain uses ochre, which I have always included in my yellow stats. Fred Thompson uses a tannish beige. (The jury's still out on that one.)

THEY'LL NEVER LEARN DEPT. On the Jan. 4 PBS Newshour, both John Edwards and Hillary Clinton were shown making New Hampshire speeches with yellow signs behind them. Sen. Edwards was apparently the victim of over-enthusiastic freelancing by "Steelworkers for Edwards." Sen. Clinton's bout of yellow fever was apparently contracted by her own campaign, the graphic equivalent of using one's own foot for target practice. Perhaps she was trying to please the gun lobby.

WORD TO THE WISE: Monitor Barbwire.TV starting in the middle of this week.

Be well. Raise hell.

SMOKING GUNS...


Taking Control of (Your) Electric Bill, Hour by Hour

By David Cay Johnston
New York Times 1-8-2007

...If just a fraction of all Americans had this information and could adjust their power use accordingly, the savings would be huge. Consumers would save nearly $23 billion a year if they shifted just 7 percent of their usage during peak periods to less costly times, research at Carnegie Mellon University indicates. That is the equivalent of the entire nation getting a free month of power every year.

Meters that can read prices every hour or less are widely used in factories, but are found in only a tiny number of homes, where most meters are read monthly.

The handful of people who do use hourly meters not only cut their own bills, but also help everyone else by reducing the need for expensive generating stations that run just a few days, or hours, each year. Over the long run, such savings could mean less pollution, because the dirtiest plants could be used less or not at all....

Under either the traditional system of utility regulation, with prices set by government, or in the competitive business now in half the states, companies that generate and distribute power have little or no incentive to supply customers with hourly meters, which can cut into their profits.

Meters that encourage people to reduce demand at peak hours will translate to less need for power plants — particularly ones that are only called into service during streaks of hot or cold weather....

The smart metering programs are not new, but their continued rarity speaks in part to the success of power-generating companies in protecting their profit models. Some utilities did install meters in a small number of homes as early as three decades ago, pushed by the environmental movement and a spike in energy prices....

Read the full story (free registration may be required)

 

...and more ammo

NAOMIKLEIN.ORG: The Shock Doctrine Short Film
A Film by Alfonso Cuarón and Naomi Klein, directed by Jonás Cuarón

An official selection of the Toronto Film Festival
An official selection of the Venice Film Festival
The Shock Doctrine short film is cleared for Internet use but not for broadcast,
so feel free to share it with your friends.

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. For additional comments on the work of the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning team, use the NevadaLabor.com search engine and sweep for "Barlett."

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


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 campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?


 

Annual César Chávez Celebration March 31, 2008

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Copyright © 1982-2008 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 39-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and JoeNeal.org; a member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO, and the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.

 

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