The twisted ethics of sports, politics and rock 'n' roll
Expanded from the 7-11-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune
Updated 9-25-2013

Barbwire wins second straight Nevada Press Association first-place award

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

Currently rerunning on Boulder City cable. Go to and then go to the BCTV link.

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

The apparent defection of the area's major tourism corporate welfare project provides poetic justice and overdue comeuppance to misguided town fathers and mothers.

The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority saved Hot August Nights from bankruptcy and oblivion when the event went belly up in its second year, 1987. Organizers were so flush with the surprising success of the 1986 inaugural that they booked about twice as many rock 'n' roll dinosaurs than needed. When the hangover cleared, they found themselves upside down. (See the first Sparks Tribune Barbwire of Aug. 12, 1988.)

That was nothing new. I attended the last gloomy pre-event board meeting in 1986 when accountants announced a $105,000 projected deficit.

The people of Nevada saved it.

At the door of the sold out convention center on prom night, I had to turn away angry visitors who had driven all the way from Tonopah in poodle skirts and crinoline formals.

The fire marshall threatened to shut down the Shirelles, Jan & Dean and several of the Beach Boys if we let anybody else inside.

The floor was a sea of empty beer cups.

Local entrepreneur Willie Davison had put it all together and was rightly hailed as a promotional genius afterward. Although in rough health, Willie is still around today, just having promoted his downtown Reno chicken wing thing.

It takes an over-promising salesman like Willie to get any grandiose new idea off the ground.

The only other guy I have ever met in Willie's class was Christopher Robin Pook, progenitor of the Long Beach Grand Prix Formula One street race. A much diminished Indy Car version survives to this very day. I produced, syndicated and co-anchored worldwide English and Spanish radio networks for the world championship event in its first three years.

Chris went belly up just like Willie and the taxpayers of the town saved the race because they loved it.

If you want a definition of irony, look no further than Long Beach, which is now stealing Hot August Nights. And there doesn't seem to be a damned thing that local officials can do about it.

Nevadans saved and nurtured the antique auto and moldy oldies nostalgiafest with their financial support, taxes and sweat equity.

It got so popular that the rejuvenated outfit starting charging volunteers to work on it.

Now that's chutzpah!

So what are we to make of the current brouhaha where the always secretive HAN board isn't talking and whatever information gets leaked is quite contradictory?

First and foremost, it may be no more than another shakedown. HAN execs have seen how easy it has become for corporate suedeshoes to get the Reno and Sparks city councils to give them the keys to taxpayers' treasuries.

Sparks is considering a sales tax increase ballot question for November because police staffing stands so dangerously low. Why? Too much money spent on corporate welfare programs like the financially devastating Marina project and downtown redevelopment.

Reno and Sparks have spent a quarter-billion dollars or more on ill-fated downtown corporate welfare programs. I believe in public subsidy of the arts, but Reno's Artown and all its freebies are cleverly designed PR to make taxpayers believe that redevelopment has been successful.

So go tell a kid with no books or computers in a dilapidated schoolhouse that the money for his education has been better spent to support the casino industry.

Mayors Cashell and Martini have been screaming like stuck swineherds over the looming loss of the region's signature special event. Victorian Square can go back to "B" Street.

How stupid can you be to subsidize a project with obscene sums of public money without extracting contractual guarantees that the private outfit can't sell you out?

The convention authority, with later-disgraced former Sparks City Manager Jay Milligan at the helm, stepped in to take over HAN after the 1987 financial collapse.

Why was it turned over to a private corporation?


These are the ethics of sports. Baseball, basketball, hockey, football, soccer, you name it: It's only wrong if you get caught. I have a lot more respect for golf, where infractions are called to the attention of officials by the players themselves.

With all the talk of athletes as role models, why has no one advocated that players who witness an unfair call in favor of themselves can reverse it by so stating to an official?

Can you imagine Barry Bonds turning to an umpire at first base and saying "the throw beat me, so call me out"?

But this is America, where all that matters is what you can get away with.

And Hot August Nights is getting away to the streets of Long Beach because of the good ole boy mentality of the local jockocracy in control of local politics.

We reap what we sow.

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...

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

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced

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

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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Copyright © 1982-2010, 2013 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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