Déjà vu all over again, again and again
Echoes of upsets from 1952, 1962, 1972 and 1982 haunt sports fans and political junkies to this very day
Expanded from the 10-10-201
0 Daily Sparks Tribune / Updated 10-20-2010
HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins third straight Nevada Press Association first-place award

SUING FOR SCHOOLS: Click here to view the new Barbwire show on your desktop

If Reform Fails: Health Care, Jobs and Unions — new power to the people on the public airwaves

The program premiers were available to every television set in the region because of a high-mileage media hybrid.

The shows appeared on both commercial and community stations. The non-corporate entity produced the events, commercial TV greatly expanded distribution.

Thus began an ongoing series of sane public interest programs which generate both entertaining heat and more than a little light.

Please spread the word and consider contributing to the cause online at ReSurge.TV.

You may also take the public option known as the U.S. Postal Service and send a check or money order to ReSurge.TV, P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510.

Your contribution will help fund the distribution of the Dec. 6 and Feb. 21 programs as well as ongoing efforts at developing new media, including a regional, non-corporate community radio station.

You are present at the creation of what I hope can become a new media model where the programming accurately reflects what's happening on the ground and the media impact is powerful enough to forcefully pass the message upward.


Be well. Raise hell.


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

Past 12 months
Use the search tool you will find at page right at the above link. It will return the 19 newest TV programs. You may also search by date — M-F for the past year save holidays.

Click here for on-demand re-runs
from the 2009 legislative session

15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

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

Moonhowler GOP senate frontrunner Sharron Angle's encounter with a digital audio recorder last week made me realize that this year's attempt to defrock U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has a scary number of historical parallels. Some are favorable to Reid, some not.

In 1952, the vaunted McCarran machine was at the peak of its power. Red-baiting U.S. Sen. Patrick McCarran, D-Nev., and his soul brother, Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wisc., had turned Hollywood and Washington upside down looking for commie traitors.

Reno financier Norman Biltz ran the McCarran operation from his offices at the First National Bank of Nevada building at Second and N. Virginia, now the site of Harrah's Ichiban restaurant. (I understand that "ichiban" means "number one" and is sometimes loosely used in the sense of "me first." How's that for an ironic echo?)

Until Harry Reid, Pat McCarran ranked as the most powerful politician Nevada had ever produced. U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt, R-Nev. (1975-1987), ranks a weak third.

Biltz and McCarran controlled not only a U.S. Senate seat, but the big Irishman also felt he should have maximum clout over appointments by Republican Gov. Charles Russell.

McCarran had groomed one of the later legendary "McCarran Boys" to run against U.S. Sen. George "Molly" Malone, R-Nev., in the 1952 election. Former Nevada Attorney General (1943-51) Alan Bible had gone into private practice in McCarran's own law firm. (Chillingly like State Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, employing current gubernatorial frontrunner Brian Sandoval. Some things never change.)

Then came Tom Mechling, an energetic young man married to a girl from Wells, Nev., who had once worked in Sen. McCarran's DC office. Her dad had been a Democratic leader in tiny Wells.

Like Sharron Angle, Mechling and his spouse knocked on doors all over the state and upset Mr. Bible by 475 votes in the Democratic primary. McCarran was apoplectic.

Mechling's momentum looked like it would carry him to victory. Malone had a lot of baggage and was a Republican with antique positions in a Democratic state.

Mechling asked Biltz for a meeting and he agreed. Biltz said he was "kind of enamored with the kid."

However, the night before the meeting, Biltz received a phone call warning him that Mechling was trying to "frame" him. Biltz then had a tape recorder placed under his desk. Mechling bought radio time after the meeting charging that Biltz had tried to buy him off. Biltz played the tape for media. Thereon was Mechling asking to be bought.

A few days ago, Mrs. Angle had a meeting with Tea Party candidate Scott Ashjian, who recorded it and released it to the media.Thereon, Angle was heard trashing the Republican Party and making rumblings about cutting a deal with Ashjian to drop out of the race in exchange for access to powerful GOP senators in Washington.

More strange parallels, predictions and predilections of impending elections

Downticket Dems worried

Calvin Coolidge and prairie dog stew / 9-26-2010

Rory, Rory quite contrary

1982 — Chickens, Chicky Baby and My Sharrona / 9-12-2010

Gov. Raggio: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss / 4-25-2010

Warnings of worldwide depression / 5-29-2005

Raggio shortly crossed party lines to endorse Reid against Angle, who Raggio had narrowly defeated for re-election to his state senate seat in 2008.

Sen. McCarran endorsed Republican Malone who went on to beat Mechling by 2,722 votes in the 1952 general election. Bible was elected to the U.S. Senate two years later.

The highest profile race of 1972 brought other echoes of 1952 and offers lessons for today.

First and strangest, Mechling hisself returned to Nevada and made noises about running again, but never filed.

In the Democratic primary, Las Vegas University Regent Jim Bilbray defeated twenty-year U.S. Rep. Walter Baring, D-Nev., for Nevada's lone congressional seat. Baring and Reno University Regent Dr. Fred Anderson endorsed unknown Republican David Towell, a Douglas County real estate agent, who won the general election with a little more help from President Richard the Rotten's landslide over Sen. George McGovern, D-S. Dakota.

This year, hot and cold running Republicans have endorsed Reid.

Will Harry Reid pull a Molly Malone like 1952? Will Angle emulate David Towell in 1972?

The decision will shortly be yours.

SEND REMEMBRANCES. Last Sunday's column about the passing of Democratic stalwart Velma Bishop brought a lot of response. You may send remembrances of Velma and her late husband, Gail (Barbwire 20 Feb. 1994) to me at the e-mail address, below, or to this newspaper. They will be posted in perpetuity at Awhile back, somebody hip to cyberstuff mused that once something's up on the Internet, it's there forever. In the day and age of ghoulish, onerous and egregious pay-for-publication-or-it's-not-news-that-you-died newspaper obituaries, that's good enough for me. For info about my campaign against paid obits, see

GOODBYE, BROTHER. Frank William Byrne, Sr., (IBEW Local 401/AFL-CIO), former executive secretary-treasurer of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Northern Nevada/AFL-CIO, passed away on Sept. 18. A memorial service is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 16 at O'Brien, Rogers and Crosby on Kietzke Lane in Reno. (Click here to read Frank's obituary and memories from friends. And send more.)

NEW AT NEVADALABOR.COM. Teamsters Local 533 donates $34,782.70 to the Ace vocational charter high school. UP NEXT: A Sparks, Nev., Reed High School student outcompetes the west coast to win a Teamsters regional scholarship...UP TWO: Teamsters 533 members' rock 'n' roll band Roadkill, made up of Washoe RTC drivers, will soon be featured in International Brotherhood of Teamsters publications...Laborers' International Union Local 169 opens its new $2 million training center in the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center...HAT TRICK — Barbwire wins third straight Nevada Press Assn. first place award which, with five bucks, will score you a cup of coffee just about anywhere.

TO THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: Nothing short of a World Series rematch with the New York Yankees will do. Willie McCovey (like me) is getting way too old waiting to avenge Bobby Richardson's catch in 1962.

COMING SOON: The new season of Barbwire TV just in time for an election near you. No stone will be left unturned (along with a few heads), some stones will be rolling (along with a few heads) while voters rock 'n roll to the polls. Support the cause at

Be well. Raise hell.


Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, second vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, member of 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 on Sept. 18, 2010.
HAT TRICK: Barbwire takes first place for third year in a row.
Next year, we go for the sombrero.

The winning entries:

Suing for Schools: The 20-year shuck
Expanded from the 2-21-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

Click here to view the show on your desktop

RED flags flying low over Sparks
Expanded from the 1-10-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

The wrath of self-righteous racism
Expanded from the 11-8-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

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 Corporate Welfare Archive

From clear-cut forests to dirty Gulfstream waters, this land belongs to old BP

BP/ARCO: The greasy root of our evils

Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 9-10-2006

The awful truth — Read it and weep, fellow suckers

Labor Day 2009: Rise of the Vampire Corpobots
Expanded from the 9-6-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

Angry Americans and Freudian fraud
Using war to market cigarettes
from the 8-23-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

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.

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
| BallotBoxing.US | Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive
Barbwire Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
Annual César Chávez Celebration
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Banks, Cabbies, Cabela's, Cable TV, Cancer Kids/Mining, Energy, Health Care, Resurge.TV/consumers, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
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Copyright © 1982-2010 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee, He is producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration 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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