The Reagan Ranch, hall of famers and protest fatigue
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 3-20-2011 Daily Sparks Tribune
Updated 3-21-2011 , 3-22-2011, 6-17-2012, 8-3-2017, 9-21-2022

Bob Brown, as we will always remember him.
— Photo, courtesy Patricia Montati

   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


The new season of Barbwire TV. The first show will be about (what else?) jobs. The lack of them is well documented. How we've blown them and where they can be regenerated, that's something else. I guarantee you'll get mad enough to want to get even. Watch for show times. Help us get the word out.

Support the project at

Updated 3-21-2011
Lawsuit gains support

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.


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

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

Longtime readers know there are only two requirements for the Barbwire Molly Ivins Memorial Nevada Columniator Hall of Flames: You have to be dead and been either a great writer or kicked some serious ass, preferably copious quantities of both.

The original inductees were Las Vegas Sun publisher Hank Greenspun, a lawyer who wrote like one, but if you were going into a street fight in dark alley, you wanted ole Hank at your back.

By far the best writer of the triumvirate was the Reno Gazette-Journal's Guy Richardson. God, I miss that little imp. He was excellent in every discipline, as an entertainment critic (his dustup with Frank Sinatra remains a Nevada legend), as a political commentator and what I consider his crowning glory, Poor Richardson's Almanac.

Ned Day was number three. I only met him once more than 30 years ago when my former boss, Bob Brown, introduced me to him as he was breaking in at the North Las Vegas Valley Times.

Bob died of a heart attack in 1984 and while he was much more an editorial writer than a columnist, it's basically the same dark art. So today, Bob Brown, former publisher of the Valley Times and editor of both the Carson City Nevada Appeal and Las Vegas Review-Journal, becomes number four.

Barbwire Molly Ivins Memorial Columniator Hall of Flames
(As of 9-21-2022 in order of induction)

Ned Day
Hank Greenspun
Guy Richardson
Bob Brown
Mike O'Callaghan
Travus T. Hipp
Jake Highton
Don Dondero
Dennis Myers
David W. Toll
Foster Church
Norman Cardoza
Joseph M. Neal, Jr.
Jeff German

Qualifications for the Ivins HOF

It's long overdue, boss.

The Review-Journal hired Day away from the Valley Times and he made waves like no one before or since. He had the guts to laugh in the face of the Mafia stooges running Las Vegas casinos at the time. He considered the firebombing of his car a compliment.

On vacation in Hawaii in 1987, Day suffered a massive heart attack while swimming.

He had sent his final column to the RJ with a chilling note foreshadowing his own death. He instructed the editor to retain the piece "as a potential historical document, in the event I sleep with the fishes."

Now that's going out in style.

Which brings me to Saturday night when this Donkeyite ventured into the elephant's cave. By the time you read this, I may have been the only Democrat at the Washoe County Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner.

I was to be seated at a $1,000 VIP table with a prominent officeholder. I've known him for 40 years. He's a good guy and probably didn't know I was coming for the freebie or would have called in sick.

Bob Brown was a conservative Republican and would have felt right at home with all the Reagan stodgies. He would have enjoyed a few laughs at the affectations announced for this shindig. Western wear was recommended (get down and dirty with the commoners!) and they scheduled professional line dancing instruction after the festivities.

UPDATE FROM THE PEPPERMILL: After watching a whole bunch of folks risk hip breakage, it became apparent that among superannuated Republicans, doing a line has a whole different meaning. And very few of them them get the joke. Lord knows I tried.

I planned to dress like a conventional Nevada lobbyist in an undertaker black suit.

Conservative attire. Bob Brown would have approved.

Many of the folks running the local GOP are older than me and should remember 1982.

Perhaps not.

The Saturday theme was "Reagan at the Ranch."

As songwriter Tom Lehrer once opined, satire died when war criminal Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Pompous and unintentional self-satire both abides and metastasizes.

Back during the double-dip recession of the early 1980's when St. Ronald the Vague was jellybeaning the White House, homeless camps popped up all over the country. Roving caravans of the dispossessed materialized and headed for DC to ensconce on public property near Ron and Nancy's place. One passed through Reno-Sparks.

Each homeless bivouac was called a Reagan Ranch.

Tom Lehrer was right.

Gov. Brian Sandoval was on the Saturday agenda. I planned to reiterate in person my written invitation asking him to attend César Chávez Day IX. The celebration happens at Circus Circus on Thursday, March 31, what would have been the labor legend's 84th birthday.

Last year, Gov. Jim the Dim and staff forgot to declare Chávez Day, which is now required by law under a 2009 bill sponsored by Sen. Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas, and a bipartisan bunch of fellow lawmakers. I called the guv's office and reminded them, as I did this year.

Mr. Sandoval and Democratic Secretary of State Ross Miller have already signed and published the official proclamation.

On March 31, doors at the Circus Circus Mandalay Ballroom open at 5:30 with dinner to follows at 7:00 p.m. We will present this year's César Chávez Silver State Public Service Awards and thereby install several new faces into the Nevada Labor Hall of Fame — all of whom are still alive at last report.

Go to for news, ticket and sponsorship info.

The new legislative Latino caucus has been invited and most, if not all nine, will very probably attend. A large representation from César Chávez's immediate family is expected, as usual.

I'll let you know what the new guv said if they let me near him. [ UPDATE FROM THE PEPPERMILL: I personally invited Gov. Sandoval on Saturday evening. He wrote down the date on my business card. I asked that his staff get back to me. UPDATE PART DEUX: He ain't gonna make it.]

Somebody please remember that I had no plans to go swimming.

Western wear will be cool, but there will be no dance instruction at the Chávez event — other than elegant moves by politicians in attendance.

PROTEST FATIGUE. If there's a pill to cure it, BigPharma can make a killing these days. Busloads of college students from all over the state are heading to Carson City on Monday to protest budget cuts. On Tuesday in Carson and Wednesday in Reno, the anniversary of health care reform passage will be commemorated.

The Tuesday event will take place at 1:00 p.m. in the HQ of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 4041/AFL-CIO, 790 E. Robinson Street. It will be conducted by Scott Watts, president of the Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans.

The Reno event begins at 5:30 p.m. at the McKinley Park Community Center at Keystone and Jones Streets. It's being hosted by the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.

BACK FROM THE ASHES DEPT. Support the return of community radio and television. Go to Barbwire.TV for more information, to join the club and contribute via the web.

It's important.

The first step toward restoration has been taken. After going dark for six months, the public access channels now broadcast live legislative hearings and floor sessions fed to Reno-Sparks-Washoe from AccessCarson. Charter cable victims can watch on digital channel 216 or high definition 80-295.

This presents a true opportunity to observe, as they simultaneously happen, your government in action and government inaction.

If you harbor a morbid interest in witnessing the assassination of the Nevada education system and most public services, this is your time.

Turn on, tune in and tell a friend.

And change your party registration.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 42-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

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced 9-18-2010.
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

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, 2017, 2022 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 42-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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