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Charter cable channels 16 and 216 in Reno-Sparks-Washoe

Chainsaw massacre in Carson City
Expanded from the 12-7-2008 Daily Sparks Tribune

"No matter how cynical you become, it's hard to keep up." – Lily Tomlin

Gov. Jim the Dim has called the state legislature into special session starting tomorrow. Lawmakers will arrive with sharpened meat axes and fully-fueled chain saws to dismantle what's left of the state's educational system.

Save northwestern Nevada community television

Donate to the cable ratepayer legal defense fund at our PayPal-enabled ReSurge.TV Consumer War Room

The math behind the move
Updated 11-16-2008

Charter Communications plans to illegally move four channels of analog to the digital tier.

One channel of analog bandwidth accommodates two to 10 channels of digital programming, depending on the complexity of the streams. High-definition movies eat up a lot of bandwidth.

A Charter statement quoted on TV-4's Aug. 4, 2008, 11:00 p.m. newscast said that Charter is doing this to "free up more bandwidth for high definition channels."

Charter thus gains bandwidth for between 8 and 40 digital channels by banishing community TV to the digital tier, a net gain of 4 and as many as 36, depending on content.

Charter VP Marsha Berkbigler, in her first speech to the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee in Dec. 2002, said each additional channel is worth $1 million a year to Charter — and that's at 2002 prices.

So Charter stands to make between $4 million and $36 million by doing this, unadjusted for inflation.

Michigan Judge rules for cable ratepayers

Carson City gets the facts
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 10-19-2008

Talks with Charter fruitless
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 9-7-2008

Sparks, Washoe, Carson and Douglas consumers urged to contact their local governments to join the fight against Charter
Surge.TV 8-25-2008, Updated 8-28-2008

Evil empire eats its appetite
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-24-2008

Bandwidth bandidos admit their greed
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-17-2008

Sue the bastards
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-10-2008

Deregulation means never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-3-2008

Last year's columns about skulduggery at the Nevada Legislature which led to this mess

MORE: Smoking Guns

Government contact info

Barbwire.TV: 15-year overnight success
Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
Highlights from radio days
mp3 file

If they are not already too awash in the blood and tears of future generations, they will conclude their work by collapsing the rest of the government supposed to guarantee us a society where order proceeds from equality under the law. (I know, it's Nevada. No punchlines, please.)

Of course, all of the perps will decry and disclaim their promulgation of pain and suffering, the equivalent of Freddie Krueger telling a fresh victim "this is going to hurt me a lot more than it's going to hurt you."

Chop. Slash. Aaargh.

The central lesson of Frank Norris' great muckraker novel The Octopus lay in the chilling advice dispensed by the murderous railroad boss facing down the gun of the idealistic young writer who comes to kill him: It's nobody's fault, there are only forces.

And so lawmakers will cry genuine tears as they crumble before the overwhelming might of the grotesquely undertaxed mining and gambling industries.

Sports welfare queens like Cabela's, Scheels, bowling and baseball will get short shrift if they are mentioned at all.

Remember, people don't matter, there are only forces.

One of the world's foremost philosophers, Donald Duck's Uncle Scrooge, once memorably said that the only way to compete in a world of little men and big machines is to come up with a bigger machine.

In this case, that happens to be Nevada's second-largest employer, the federal government.

The advance spin says the special session will come up with some stopgaps, including deficit spending in the form of legally questionable borrowing.

The real carnage will come to Carson City when the regular session convenes in February.

Based on the sorry track record of Nevada government for decades, students will continue to suffer from Band-Aids placed on gunshot wounds.

Fine by me.

The end of the session in June will make the timing right for major litigation to force Nevada government to properly fund education as mandated by the state constitution and longstanding state law.

We will probably end up with a federal judge running our educational system.

Also fine.

Nevada is already prepared for such a relationship.

The U.S. District Court and its federal watermaster have managed the waters of the Truckee, Carson and Walker rivers since the 1940's.

Dozens of governments have lost court actions over education funding.

Judges even have the power to order tax hikes.

Nevada state and local officials prefer raising hidden taxes like fuel, sales and room levies which are collected by retailers.

Will a judge order that gambling and mining taxes be raised to proper levels? Will tomorrow's lawmakers have the courage to do what yesterday's have not?

It's worth a try because what we've been doing won't work anymore as shutdown looms.

CRUNCH TIME, PART DEUX. The cheapest learning tool available to K-12 and up is about to be seriously impaired.

Now that Reno Mayor Bob Cashell and his fellow councilcritters Dave Aiazzi, Dwight Dortch and (How could you?) Jessica Sferrazza have sold out the little folk, Charter Communications is proceeding with its plan to assassinate community television in northwestern Nevada on Dec. 15.

Using public access TV to broadcast classes is the single most efficient thing schools can do as the wheels come off our always-shaky educational system.

Several years ago, Charter moved the Truckee Meadows Community College learning channel to the three-digit premium tier, then broke a promise to provide students with digital receivers.

The channel has been a dead zone since, which is what will happen to public, educational and governmental TV once Charter moves those stations to the lightly-surfed, lower-audience, higher-priced digital tier.

About one in five ratepayers will lose community TV in Sparks, Reno, Carson, Washoe and Douglas.

They will suffer the added indignity of continuing to pay for the stations through the franchise tax on every cable bill.

At least Reno City Hall considered doing something before they sold us out. Sparks, Carson City, Washoe and Douglas counties have agreed to taxation without representation without firing a shot.

So sue us: Charter tells Sen. Reid and Reno
Ratepayers group may sue Reno as well as Charter
Daily Sparks Tribune online 11-11-2008
+ Barbwire Special Edition 11-12-2008
Updated 11-14-2008

FCC investigates cable TV pricing
Associated Press 11-4-2008

FCC investigates complaints about moving cable channels and pricing
Orlando Sentinel 11-7-2008


Shame on them all.

Maybe they like the idea of having substantially fewer voters able to see what they do in public meetings.

The long-term effect will be to undercut public support for community TV. Stations have been dropping like flies all over the nation. That's OK for suckers who think that corporate media have the public interest at heart.

But like the Nevada legislature which unanimously got us into this mess with its 2007 actions, corporate profitmongers have hearts of gold: cold, yellow and hard. Charter has admitted that greed motivates its assassination of public TV.

Only U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has the clout to ask the Federal Communications Commission to intervene and stop it.

Reid, D-Nev., fought and defeated nationwide telecommunications deregulation in 2005 and is thus hailed as a hero by consumer advocates nationwide.

His local staff recommends sending him letters and postcards via U.S. Mail. (Just like in school, they apparently grade by weight in the federal building.)

Ask Sen. Reid to fight for the consumer position.

Mail to
Sen. Harry Reid

400 S. Virginia St, Suite 902
Reno, NV 89501

Please act quickly and also consider joining our new consumer organization, ReSurge.TV, as we gear up for the next round of this fight.

Be well. Raise hell.

Smoking Guns...

Not even 30 pieces of silver
Reno City Council Signs Community TV Death Warrant

Contact Sen. Harry Reid for help
Sparks Tribune / 11-23-2008

Rise of the machines
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 11-16-2008

The devil and the deep blue sea
Charter cable deal and Reno "settlement" offers are all death warrants for community television. Court battle looms closer.

Sparks Tribune / 11-11-2008 + Barbwire special web edition, 11-12-2008

Wisconsin statewide franchise law has not dropped cable prices as promised
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 11-8-2008

Falling all over ourselves
When will Sparks, Carson City, Washoe and Douglas counties get mad over Charter cable's ripoff?
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 10-5-2008

Michigan Judge rules for cable ratepayers
Decision holds great importance for Nevada

Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 10-5-2008

Charter in serious financial trouble
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 10-12-2008

Charter offer deficient
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 9-28-2008

Reno-Sparks NAACP opposes Charter channel switch

Charter negotiates Russian-style: Will accept 100% of everything
Daily Sparks Tribune 9-5-2008

Donate to the cable ratepayer legal defense fund at our PayPal-enabled ReSurge.TV Consumer War Room

Reno city council votes unanimously to sue Charter to keep community TV accessible
Resurge.TV will also file

...and more ammo

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?

Phillips, Kevin; Numbers Racket: Why the economy is worse than we know
Harper's Magazine; May 2008; page 43
Phillips has authored numerous books on history and politics over the past 40 years. His most recent, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, was published by Viking on April 15, 2008.

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 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 | U-News | Bulletins + Almanac
Casinos Out of Politics (COP) | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors
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Copyright © 1982-2008 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 40-year Nevadan, editor of and, former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee and serves as second vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP.

He hosts live news and talk (775-682-4144) Monday through Friday, 2-4:00 p.m., at Barbwire.TV and Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter cable channels 16 (for at least the next 90 days) and 216. E-mail As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988. Tempus fugit.


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