The Christmas conundrum, harrumph-a-pump-pump
Expanded from the 11-27-2011 Daily Sparks Tribune
Updated 11-29-2011

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Corporate Propaganda Research Archive

   Everybody knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
   Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
   Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
   That's how it goes. Everybody knows.
— Leonard Cohen

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award


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Updated 8-30-2011
Now rerunning on Carson-Dayton 226

Additional programs
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 as well as ongoing efforts at developing new media, including a regional, non-corporate community radio station and the return of community television to Reno-Sparks-Washoe.

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.


Click here for selected on-demand re-runs from the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Barbwire.TV archives

15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

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

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award

All those pretty holiday ads are just glossy gift wrapping of the grotesque.

God save the foolish merchant chasing an increasing share of the decreasing market which is Christmas season 2011. With unemployment at Great Depression levels, merchandisers are fighting for pieces of a shrinking pie which usually means a crumby selling season.

Early returns from Friday's midnight madness indicate heavy consumer spending, some of which resulted in violence, echoes of legendary nylon hosiery sales long before most of this newspaper's readers were born.

Consumer feeding frenzies don't necessarily foreshadow good fortune. Desperation is never a positive economic indicator.

Philosophers Herbert Marcuse and Hannah Arendt long ago asserted that the basic creation of capitalism is superfluity "with the additional insight that capitalism must then create the demand to take up such superfluity," writes University of Toronto philosophy Prof. Mark Kingwell in his intro to The Wage Slave's Glossary by Joshua Glenn. (Biblioasis, 2011)

Alas and alack, capitalism is not currently doing its job. Unemployed, underemployed, downgraded, downsized, globalized and outsourced workers have been sucked into the superfluity pit. Little hope looms on the near horizon and hyping pre-Christmas discounts won't much help.

"If modern capitalism continues to eliminate as many jobs as it creates — or more jobs than it creates — future recoveries will not only add to the amount of surplus labor but will turn a growing proportion of workers into superfluous ones," wrote Columbia University emeritus sociology Prof. Herbert Gans in last Friday's New York Times.

"In the old days — before Social Security, welfare and Medicaid — poverty-caused illnesses killed off or incapacitated some of the people who could not find jobs. Even earlier, some nations sold their surplus workers as slaves, while the European countries could send them to the colonies," Gans stated.

He added that countries have just about run out of ways to get rid of excess workers, including our nasty habit of imprisoning large numbers of black and brown people "for actual and invented offenses...Continuing increases in worker productivity add yet more to the surplus. So does the unwillingness of employers to even consider hiring people who have been unemployed for a long time."

Cold-hearted corporations exist with one goal in mind: making money for their stockholders and top executives, not necessarily in that order.

Their actions become economic predictors and they seem to be betting on politics as next year's growth industry.

There is currently a buying frenzy to acquire local television stations in anticipation of huge 2012 political spending.

"Public interest groups say that consolidation can be detrimental to local communities because new owners sometimes make cutbacks to station staff and expect remaining staff members to do more with less," the Times noted on Nov. 9.

Nevada for once has been ahead of the wave. Print and broadcast news departments have been understaffed in these parts for more than a decade. The past 30 years of media deregulation have brought dwindling coverage of public affairs.

Awhile back, one local TV exec told me that his station "does only the minimum and sometimes less."

One station's news director recently instructed his staff that he does not want political coverage.

Media companies make millions every year selling time on the public airwaves. They are granted licenses to serve the public, but accountability is almost non-existent.

The one shining star in northern Nevada is Jim Rogers, boss of Reno-based KRNV TV-4 and Elko's KENV TV-10. His stations broadcast more public affairs programming than all their competitors.

Even taking into account Mr. Rogers' neighborhood, one glaring omission remains: the diverse voices of the voiceless in their own words. Corporate-sponsored media suffer from a stultifying sameness. Current pre-pubescent presidential primary pugilism provides a proper example. I feel like roadkill at an endless destruction derby.

Federal Communications Commissioner Michael J. Copps told the Times that "the bottom line is fewer voices, less news and a diminished civic dialogue."

My modest personal attempt to fix things lies in creating a new TV channel of, by and for the people. (See ReSurge.TV) The disabled and disenfranchised have been increasingly muzzled as corporate predators have silenced non-profit community media all across the country, including here.

This has only added fuel to fire the young who see themselves increasingly dealt out of the American Dream — superfluous workers, obsolete before they ever get a chance to compete.

So why not pitch a tent inside a Bank of America branch in the heart of San Francisco's financial district?

"Young people started this movement but they can't finish it," Occupy Buffalo co-founder Arthur Brown told the Times.

"They don't have the capacity or the experience to finish it. We really need the working class and union folks, the older folks, the activists from the '60s, '70s and '80s to help make this a full-fledged movement that will change the political landscape of America," he added.

Experienced people supporting and organizing the workforce of the future with the common goal of expanding economic opportunity — therein lies the one remaining positive hope for the country.

The alternative: devolution through depression which will force radical change like the 1930s but will also put the republic's survival in serious jeopardy.

I prefer pitching tents to torches and pitchforks.

U-TUBE. Check the expanded web edition of this column at for the latest statewide Barbwire.TV schedule, viewable 24/7 online.

Support the return of community radio and television in these parts. Go to ReSurge.TV to volunteer your time or treasure or both.

It's now more important than ever — > unless you think corporate-controlled media are all you need. Stay tuned for updates.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, first 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...

Why African-Americans aren't embracing Occupy Wall Street
Stacy Patton / Opinion / Washington Post / 11-25-2011

AFL-CIO urges unions to treat Occupy DC as a picket line / 11-21-2011

Economist: This is a true depression
Elliott Parker Guest Editorial / Las Vegas Sun / 11-27-2011

POWERFUL PUNDITORY PANJANDRUMS: Compelling guest commentary

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced.
HAT TRICK: Barbwire takes first place for third year in a row.

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

The plight of the paper pushers
The great recession made bashing public workers a national sport
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review / 11-23-2011

Bury the Bad News with Rose-colored Reporting
How urgent can economic troubles be if leaders say things are getting better?

Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review / 11-23-2011

Fact-free nation: Inside the lie machine
Mother Jones Magazine May-June 2011 / Cover story and in-depth analysis

Bill Moyers: Welcome to the Plutocracy
Money fights hard and it fights dirty
Speech delivered at Boston University on 29 Oct. 2010
Part of the Howard Zinn Lecture Series

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
War Rooms:
Banks, Cabbies, Cabela's, Cable TV, Cancer Kids/Mining, Energy, Food, Health Care, Resurge.TV/consumers, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
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Copyright © 1982-2011 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 43-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 first 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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