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NAGPAC's Ghost Riders Saddle Up Again
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 6-17-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune / Expansions in blue
Updated 6-22-2012, 9-8-2012 and 7-13-2013 and 6-20-2018

   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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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

Some lowlife swine has gone to court to remove "None of These Candidates" from Nevada statewide ballots. Ain't gonna happen.

Nicknamed "none of the above," the goofy idea began right here in the Rail City with a lawmaker held in such high regard that there was no public protest when the sports complex named after him was bulldozed for a shopping center.

So let the defense begin here with the return of NAGPAC, the legendary None of the Above for Governor Political Action Committee.

It all started in 1982 as a reflection of public perception that there wasn't much difference between our incumbent governor, Republican Robert List the Lustful, and his Democratic challenger, then-Attorney General Richard "Gold Dust" Bryan.

Both were colorless lawyers, unable to get a suntan. They ran conservative, bloodless campaigns. Voters expected a banquet and found two pieces of dry white toast on the menu.

As an exercise in futility, I called a few guys and offered to buy the beer at Del Mar Station fern bar. After enough liquid courage to sooth their seething political apathy, we formed NAGPAC.

I was appointed chairman because nobody else wanted the job.

The Nihilistic NAGPAC Manifesto

Our slogan: Apathy is never having to say you're sorry.

Our only rule: There shall be no regularly scheduled meetings.

Our philosophy: We believe only in what's right, not whether something is right or left.

Our purpose: Electing the whole horse for a change.

We held a "What? Me Worry?" press conference at the old Depression Deli on E. Fourth Street. (Even more depressing, these days it's a second-tier titty bar.)

In honor of the Reagan Ranch homeless encampments then meandering the country toward DC, free food was served via soupline: white bread, water and anemic-cream-of-nothing broth.

The turnout was surprising, the media coverage overwhelming. We placed a NAGPAC mobile billboard on President Reagan's route to a speech at UNR with Gov. List in the car. Suspicious U.S. Secret Service agents hovered nearby. One even grabbed my wife's arm as she reached into her purse for a camera as the motorcade swept past.

"Now can I get out my Lifesavers?" she smiled.

We made NBC News and ESPN, which suggested None of the Above for baseball commissioner. Things have since improved neither for baseball nor politics.

The provision was placed into law in 1975 by former Assemblyman Don Mello (D-Sparks) and former Assembly Speaker Joe Dini (D-Yerington). They pointedly excluded themselves.

Animosity was the real motive. During the 1975 legislative session, Mello raked Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Al Gunderson over the coals to the point of personal insult. The late judge happened to be up for re-election the following year. Anticipating that Gunderson would get no opposition, Mello fielded the ghost rider against him.

The weird new law put even unopposed candidates in the position of raising and spending money to keep the "None" vote to less-than-embarrassing proportions. Gunderson was its first victim. He drew no opponent, but "None" scored 27.43% in the November '76 election.

The Ghost Rider had claimed its first victory in the September primary, winning the Republican congressional nomination. (Back then, Nevada had only one statewide seat.)

By the time I chaired NAGPAC in 1982, many people felt that a loss to the mythical "None" should disqualify all flesh-and-blood losers and force an election re-run.

I disagree. The seat in question should be declared vacant with the next officeholder appointed by random drawing of all eligible citizens, not just voters, within the affected district.

One of the 1982 NAGPAC planks advocated just such a lottery system. (I didn't think of it. My late wife, Betty, did.) Could we do worse today? In the year of the superpac, that question is more appropriate than ever.

NAGPAC caught the public's imagination in '82 because the average Nevadan knew he/she was royally screwed no matter who won. Things have not gotten better in the intervening years.

Workers have acquired no rights, only more obligation and discrimination under our punitive, medieval state laws. We continue to fracture families with the active help of government as pawned by heavy payments from the gambling-industrial complex and its cronies. We continually top the charts in suicide and teen pregnancy while promoting ourselves as a tax-free workers paradise. In reality, we are not lowly taxed, just selectively whacked. In Nevada, the less you make the more you pay in hidden levies and user fees.

I wrote much of the above in 1997. It is little wonder that voter turnout last Tuesday approached record lows.

Apathy means never having to say you're sorry about voting for the wrong guy.

THE BRIGHT SIDE OF NOT VOTING. About one in five registered voters showed up this month, which means everybody who cast a ballot actually had five votes. Trying to motivate the disinterested is often counterproductive.

Is it really worth sobering up your no-account brother-in-law and driving him to the polls with the hope he'll remember how to vote right?

Nah. I like the idea of representative democracy with motivated voters doing a better job of choosing than slackers.

Apathy means never having to say you're sorry.

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You may donate at ReSurge.TV or contact me, or (drum roll, please) none of the above.

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...

Ghost in the machine: The return of NAGPAC
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 6-20-2018 Sparks Tribune

NAGPAC attacked

Appellate court throws out Republican attempt to nuke nihilistic None of the Above
Las Vegas Review-Journal / 7-10-2013

Federal appellate judges put None of the Above
back on the November ballot. Alleluia
Daily Sparks Tribune/AP 9-6-2012

Romney and Heller campaigns seek victory by limiting voter choices
By Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 6-21-2012

The Ghostly Return of None of the Above
Barbwire by Barbano / Daily Sparks Tribune 11-9-1997

The None of the Above working people's platform
Barbwire by Barbano / Daily Sparks Tribune 11-16-1997

Followed by a moon shadow

TRAVUS T. HIPP, 1937-2012

ADIÓS, COMPADRE — Our friend Travus, 75, passed away peacefully between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. PDT on 18 May 2012 at his home in Silver City, Nevada. The sun is in eclipse as I write this at 6:30 p.m. on May 20.

CHANGE OF VENUE (5-22-2012) — Adiós in Silver City, Nevada, Saturday, May 26, 2012 —> Updated 5-27-2012 — > The auld church where Travus lived and died proved too small for the expected multitude, so gathering, gnoshing and remembering commenced at the Silver City Community Center, 385 High Street, at 10:00 a.m. PDT. The graveside memorial service began at High Noon. Travus was buried next to his rock star companion Lynne Hughes, a short walk away. My remembrance of Lynne from the 3-21-1993 Daily Sparks Tribune has been linked to Travus' formal obituary at this website. All memories accepted for permanent posting hereat. Stay tuned for pictures and stories of the appropriately rainy day.

Thanks for all your kind words. Keep up the good work and the good fight.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano

Travus T. Hipp & Tales of Nevada's Futures Passed
Expanded from the 6-3-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

     At bottom, he was an artist who used his voice to soar and slice, a tenor for the tenor of our times. Many of his mourning California listeners talk about the vocal spells he wove, how he soundly organized the noise of daily life into music that entertained, engaged, enlightened, educated, enthralled and occasionally enflamed. [From the saga of Travus T. Hipp and contributions by The Barbwire to the May 25 Reno Gazette-Journal and May 26, 2012, Daily Sparks Tribune.]

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

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

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

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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 © 1982-2012 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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