Give 'em health, Harry
Substantially expanded from the 10-25-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune
, Updated 10-26, 10-27-2009, 9-25-2011, 6-5-2014, 10-21-2014
Barbwire wins second straight Nevada Press Association first-place award

The little valley by the muckee Truckee will be littered with demonstrations this week and it's not going to be the summer of love in October.

Barbwire column on the depredations of Charter Communications and the Reno City Council wins 2009 Nevada Press Association first-place award

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The most important happens Wednesday as a wide range of local activists converge on Reno's Bruce Thompson Federal Courthouse at Liberty and S. Virginia in the late afternoon.

Keep an eye on this newspaper and for wheres and whens.

Cutting through all the rhetoric and disinformation, the bottom line remains that without a government-sponsored public option (Medicare for the Middle Class) to compete with the private insurance cartel (see below), health care reform becomes cosmetic.

As I have noted several times, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, has been quarterbacking a backup plan to loosen current federal law and allow the states to produce their own public single-payer systems. The idea closely parallels former North Las Vegas Democratic State Sen. Joe Neal's 2002 proposal, available at

NOW, IT'S PERSONAL. I have a standing prescription for some maintenance medication that costs $174 or more every time I go to a local pharmacy.

An old friend of mine who lives near the Arizona-Mexico border said he would check out the price in the land of the Aztecs and Mayas. His report: $34.

If I had the $140 difference times all the years I've been paying U.S. rates, I'd throw one helluva party in support of a single-payer health care system. Worse, imagine the fate of all those sick and dead Americans unable to muster the cash to pay the pirates.

WISH I'D SAID THAT. "(Republicans') idea of health care reform would be to allow you to take your gun to the doctor's office." — Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Florida, to comedian Bill Maher on Oct. 16.

GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE, DEPT. Last week's Barbwire (Rory, Rory Hallelujah?) reached many of the same conclusions which eminent Nevada journalist Dennis Myers expressed in his weekly Pahrump Valley Times commentary.

My treatment of Reid the Younger was gentle compared to former Tribune writer Myers. He noted that the central program of Rory Reid's slick 34-page book subtitled Vision for the Future of Nevada was tried by former Democratic Gov. Richard Bryan in the 1980's and failed. Myers concludes that Nevada simply can't expect to be rescued from financial collapse by trying to grow the economy.

The Rory book opened the door to conservative moonhowler Chuck Muth, who noted in his Carson City Nevada Appeal column the book's assertion that Nevada has no active earthquake faults. Hell, I've got one about a mile from my house and I still have yet to replace picture frames and items over my fireplace after last year's 4.7 temblor.

Muth tried to concoct a conflict between Rory and his father, Senator Harry, asserting that the earthquake fault statement implies that Reid the younger believes the Yucca Mountain nuclear dumpsite safe. That's not a stretch, that's Karl Rovian swiftboating.

As Henry David Thoreau once wisely opined, foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

Like Mr. Muth's.

Such early mistakes make the candidacy of former federal judge and Republican assemblyman Brian Sandoval look stronger. Last week, Sandoval announced his affiliation with the juice law firm of Vargas and Bartlett. The legit media failed to point out that VB is the lair of State Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno. Simply put, if Sandoval gets elected, Raggio is governor and the size of Democratic majorities in both houses of the legislature won't much matter.

TOLJASO DEPT. Republican Reno Mayor Bob Cashell just announced that he will run for a third term rather than seek to replace Gov Jim the Dim. I broke that story months ago, adding that Democratic Gomorrah South Mayor Oscar Goodman will likewise take a pass.

Last week, I reported that Reno Kazoo-Journal columnist Ellie Lopez-Bowlan was considering a run for the seat now held by Assemblyman Ty Cobb, R-Reno. She made it official a few days ago, losing her editorial page platform as a result.

Last week I noted that it looks like NV Energy/SPP is trying to force its union workers to strike for the first time. An Oct. 17 meeting with retirees at John Ascuaga's Nugget ended in a near-riot as company officials told their ex-workers how badly they were going to get screwed. The Tribune wrote a story about it which did not include that the company scammed $50 million out of a fund reserved for retiree health care which the Public Utilities Commission had to order returned.

DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN DEPT. On the Ides of October, Tribune photo editor Debra Reid wrote a splendid piece about a demonstration at the local office of statewide insurance monopoly United Healthcare.

She included the long-delayed push to repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act. (Yep, our Sen. Pat McCarran, D-Nev., was one of the perps.) It has exempted the insurance industry from anti-trust and price fixing laws for six decades. I've been writing and preaching against it for more than 20 years.

Welcome to the party.

Ayatollahs are always with us
Update 10-21-2014
Update 6-5-2014

Update 9-25-2011
Update 1-9-2011
Update 6-13-2010

Update 6-29-2008
Update 10-13-2002
Update 10-25-1998

DÉJÀ VU, PART DEUX. The National Federation of Republican Assemblies held a convention in Reno last Friday. They focused on trashing U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Delegates heard from a host of GOP primary candidates vying for the nomination against Reid next year. No reporter bothered to ask what the group stands for. As I reported in 1998 when they first laid down tentacles in these parts, the mis-named NFRA is not affiliated with any state legislature. The group believes in governing based on the Christian Bible.

Ayatollah is never having to say you're sorry.

ANTI-HATE ALERT. Since Reno hosted the latter hate group at the convention center last week, it's nice to know that an anti-hate group will convene across the street at the Atlantis Hotel this Tuesday evening.

The Anti-Defamation League is hosting a 7:00 p.m. lecture by Tom Martinez, formerly a member of the ultra-violent neo-Nazi white supremacist organization called The Order.

The Order was best known for the murder of Denver radio talk show host Alan Berg. (Law & Order Criminal Intent star Eric Bogosian's play and motion picture Talk Radio was based on Berg's life and death.)

Martinez is co-author, with John Guinther, of Brotherhood of Murder, which became a 1999 Showtime Networks movie starring Peter Gallagher, William Baldwin and Kelly Lynch.

Acting at great risk as an FBI informant, Martinez helped foil major terrorist activities including a Brinks armored truck robbery which would have funded bombings and mass murder throughout the west. He also stopped The Order's murder attempt on Southern Poverty Law Center founder Morris Dees. Martinez has courageously refused federal witness protection in order to speak out against domestic terrorism. An Internet search turns up a plethora of moonhowler websites trashing him.

The cost at the door is $10. Students with I.D. are free, but if you mention you heard about it from Barbano on the Barbwire, you also get in free.

Now there's an offer you can't refuse.

COMMUNITY MEDIA UPDATE. The campaign I chair for non-corporate community radio and TV is gathering momentum. Read all about it and donate to the cause at ReSurge.TV or send a check or money order to ReSurge.TV, P.O. Box 10034, Reno, NVB 89510.

GOODBYE, BEAUTIFUL. Nevada Democrats lost a longtime shining light with last week's passing of Pam Crowell, 66, in Carson City. At her request, no memorial service is planned.

You may read Nevada Press Association Hall of Famer Sue Morrow's tribute to our longtime friend via the web edition of this column at

All remembrances and photos will be most welcome and permanently posted with it.

All Nevada progressives mourn.

Be well. Raise hell.


Andrew Barbano is a 40-year Nevadan, second vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, member of Sparks-based Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of 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 Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Smoking Guns...

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced 9-19-2009

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


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 2009 first-place Nevada Press Association award winners
Tony the Tiger & the flaky NFL
Barbwire / 11-30-2008
Deregulation is never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / 8-3-2008
Nevada: A good place to visit, but do you want to live here?
Barbwire / 6-15-2008

...and more ammo

BARBWIRE Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive

Propaganda fuels gasoline price fixing
Barbwire 8-14-2005

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

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. I strongly suggest that you read it.

MORE LESSONS OF 2006 – The end of the GOP? On Jan. 21, 2001, I wrote that "rejoicing at the U.S. royal family's return to power may prove short-lived."

I noted maverick Republican historian Kevin Phillips' assertion that "when the restored James II fell in 1688, that was the end of the Stuart kings. When the restored Bourbons followed suit in 1830, that was the end of their house. Should a Bush Restoration implode on its own whir of cocky inadequacy, that could be a similar last hurrah not simply for the family's power but for the Republican Party," Phillips said. (See his 1999 book, The Cousins' Wars, which treats the long-range similarities in the evolution of England, France and the U.S. after their civil wars.)

"It doesn't take much to predict that George II will soon risk American lives in some foolish war," I wrote in early 2001.

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.

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 © 1982-2009 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. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in those parts ever since. Tempus fugit.

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