Breaking our own backs
Expanded from the 4-8-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

First in a series on the collapsing future of Nevada education
Updated 4-9, 4-16-2012, 4-17-2012, 4-22-2012, 4-29-2012, 5-7-2012, 5-13-2012, 5-20-2012, 6-24-2012
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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.

Everybody knows the scene is dead
   But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
   What 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.

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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

If you have kids, move someplace else.

On Monday, Sam Shad will host Nevada State Education Association President Lynn Warne at 12:30 p.m. on KRNV TV-4. (Charter cable victims may see a rerun at 9:30 p.m. on channel 3. Online viewing and the statewide rebroadcast schedule may be accessed at

Last week, the teachers' union flipped a 180 on the rest of organized labor and backed out of a long-anticipated statewide initiative for a broad-based business tax.

The Nevada State AFL-CIO has been trying for a year to build consensus on a petition that all the major players could support.

Apparently, mining was the first to give labor the finger, followed by the casinos. The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce was never a possibility, although their chief lobbyist, attorney Sam McMullen, was the principal architect of a major tax hike in 2003.

As I've noted before, Mr. McMullen stifled Gov. Dudley Do-Right's gambling-developed Gross Receipts Tax which would basically have given casinos a freebie. Taking into account all the corporate welfare the industry receives and factoring in the deductibility of state taxes on federal returns, the net new liability for the entire statewide gambling industry would have been around $6 million a year.

The late MGM-Mirage boss Terrence Lanni cancelled his outfit's membership in the Nevada Resort Association after the 2003 taxes passed, grousing about $30 million a year in new liabilities.

Only Barbwire readers have been informed of Lanni's potential personal gripe. The new law changed the definition of certain types of casino executive compensation, opening up more personal income to federal taxation. The gambling moguls got hit in their own wallets. Call it Sen. Joe Neal's revenge.

These guys are awesomely powerful. For a number of years, the Alan Bible Research Center at UNR produced a biennial poll that consistently showed two of every three Nevadans in favor of raising taxes on the biggest, richest casinos. So the gamblers forced lawmakers to eliminate the survey's funding. I thus don't believe recently publicized business polls that such support has eroded.

When Sen. Neal, D-N. Las Vegas, circulated an initiative to raise the gross gaming tax in 2000, the green felt boys pulled out their old playbook. They told employees that if the tax passed, everybody would be fired because the gambling industry would have to shut down.

They pushed their suppliers to likewise instill fear into their workers.

I worked gathering signatures at the Nevada State Fair. Many casino staffers approached our booth wanting to sign, but backed away when informed that their names would become public record. They had been threatened with termination. That's blatantly illegal, but Nevada casinos operate largely above the law.

Putting employees in fear is an old trick and it works like a charm. In 1978 when future Sen. Randolph Townsend was still a Democrat, Reno-Sparks area casinos did the bidding of Sierra Pacific Power, telling their workers that if consumer advocate Townsend won, they would lose their jobs. This guy Townsend would put Sierra Pacific out of business. Without electricity, hotels and casinos would have to close. Preposterous? Ridiculous? Yes. But lots of worker bees believed it. Townsend was defeated.

The late author Martin Levitt (Confessions of a Union Buster) said that he lost anti-union campaigns only when union members refused to break solidarity.

The house of labor now appears divided. After signing off on petition language upon which their attorney consulted for months, the teachers' union reversed itself overnight, thus removing a principal financial backer.

They have acted in a self-destructive manner many times before. Union members are wondering if NSEA has made a side deal with the devil.

The newly manufactured dispute apparently involves earmarks.

I advised Sen. Neal to draft earmarks into his 2000 petition so that Nevada might avoid California lottery syndrome. The Golden State's lottery was pimped as funding for education. Speaker Willie Brown and lawmakers indeed spent the lottery proceeds on schools, but subtracted a like amount from education budgets, making the lottery a zero-sum game and a cruel fraud.

But the rules have changed. Nevada petition laws now mandate that initiatives limit themselves to one subject. A tax hike combined with instructions on how to allocate the revenue can easily be struck down by the courts.

All this illuminates the Nevada Legislature as dysfunctional, allowed only to sprinkle crumbs on a starving body politic.

Two initiatives destroyed state government. Las Vegas Republican operative Sig Rogich pushed term limits and future Gov. Jim the Dim Gibbons successfully convinced voters to mandate minority rule. It now takes a two-thirds supermajority to pass any tax or fee.

The gamblers and miners thus laugh all the way to the bank while driving past the public school graveyard.

I hope Mr. Shad and Ms. Warne wear black on Monday.

If you have kids, move somewhere else.

NOT SO SAINTLY DEPT. The new owners of St. Mary's Hospital have announced that they are firing everybody. Former employees will have to reapply, a classic wage-cutting, union-busting technique by a shady corporation. Google "Prime Healthcare Services" and see for yourself. Two critically needed clinics for low-income people are not part of the sale and stand at risk of closure.

SUPPORT THE NEVADA CITIZEN TV PROJECT to re-establish a people's channel hereabouts. You may donate at donate at ReSurge.TV or contact me, especially if you think great issues like the above demand extensive and rational discussion.

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Thank you.

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 and 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...
The above column is first in a current series on the collapsing future of Nevada education —>

We Don't Need No Education, Part VIII
th in a series on the collapsing future of Nevada education
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 6-24-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

Morrison & Maurins: M&M's hard to swallow
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 5-20-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

All that's missing is an enemies list
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 5-13-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

Playing Dixieland - The shell game continues
Fifth in a series on the collapsing future of Nevada education
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 5-6-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

Abandon hope, all ye who enter college
Fourth in a series on the collapsing future of Nevada education
Expanded from the 4-29-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

Barbwire 4-22-2012: The Mythological Morrison Miracle

UPDATE 4-17-2012: Teachers refuse to endorse LV Democrat Oceguera for Congress

Barbwire 4-15-2012: The marshal is getting outta Dodge

POWERFUL PUNDITORY PANJANDRUMS: Compelling guest commentary

...and more ammo...

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

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced.
HAT TRICK: Barbwire takes first place three years 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 yet

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
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Banks, Cabbies, Cabela's, Cable TV, Cancer Kids/Mining, Energy, Food, Health Care, Resurge.TV/consumers, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
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Copyright © 1982-2012 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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