Saturday, October 5, 2013

As the clock ticks...

In case you have not seen the mentioned program announcement from Andrew Phillips, here it is:

Until further notice - we are importing a four evening a week general interest public 
affairs talk show - The Thom Hartman Program - 9-10pm.

The change happens this Monday October 7th 9-10pm.

Thom is a former Air America host and therefore an established progressive talk 
show host with a growing national audience. The Thom Hartman Program runs very 
successfully with positive audience feed-back, five days a week on our sister
station KPFK in Los Angeles. The program originates in Washington D.C. 

The program is free.

The Thom Hartman Program replaces the M-Th, 9-10pm strip. Most of these
programs will be discontinued in their current format, but there will be oppor-
tunities to produce segments in a new magazine-style format to be announced
following the drive.

In addition to changes in the 9-10pm lineup, we are revamping the week night
10-11pm lineup. Programs currently running 10-11pm will also be discontinued
and asked to produce segments.

In radio, one needs a skill-set that includes edition and production of pre-
recorded programming; editing writing for radio, sound edition and mic
technique to present in a professional and cogent fashion. My goal is to
upgrade our sound and overall quality of programs, and I will do my best 
to help current producers.

Following this fund drive, all programming will be reviewed. As you must know,
WBAI is currently in very bad shape and we need to find ways to enlarge
audience and encourage more support. This is a dictate from the LSB and
Pacifica National Office. We believe Thom Hartman can help.

There will be ample future opportunities for producers to find exposure on
WBAI, but our format will change. I will be announcing proposal for a Public
Affairs, Specials and Documentary Department at WBAI. In conjunction will
be classes in production, with a view to improving our broadcast skills.

Andrew Leslie Phillips 
Program Director (interim)
WBAI Pacifica Radio 99.5FM

There was this response from Rebecca Myles:

I am host of one of six programs affected by this decision that came in a memo on a Friday night, without a prior call, or any advance warning so I could alert our listeners to what was happening. The other shows affected are The Largest Minority - the only show on radio for those with disabilities, the Asia Pacific Forum, Muslim State of Mind (recently replacing Tahrir Radio) Joy of Resistance, and The Haiti Show. You could argue the decision is discriminatory.

I'm the co-host with Jay Grayce of the Rape Declaration Forum, a monthly show that aired every third Thursday at 9pm. It's a hard, uncompromising show, much appreciated by our listeners, and has a following across the country. The show got the notice of the United Nations this year, and resulted in participation in a panel discussion about the show and its mission during the Commission on the Status of Women. It was a humbling experience and the women who spoke to me afterwards where gratified to hear of the show's existence and remarked on its importance. Most recently we had guests on talking about rape in the military, mostly men.

The show started seven years ago as an experimental show on Int'l Working Women's Day. My co-host to be was my first guest, it was a life changing event for her. For our guests over the years, we were told how important having a venue, a virtual public venue, where people could say what happened to them and how hard it has been to live afterwards, has made a difference in their lives and what a clever use of radio. The show was the brain child of me and my partner, Don Vance, an erotic artist, who needed models for his work and encountered over and over how much shame women had about their bodies and their sexuality, and how often they told him of their painful experiences with sexual violence. My partner died suddenly 4 years ago, the show was part of his life legacy. It is a hard show for radio, but it is an excellent show for radio, and only could have aired on WBAI, and people benefited from being able to asks questions of our guest and share their own stories - some of whom had never said what happened to them out loud. I will contest this programming decision, and will support my other producers in any protests they prepare to mount. The callous treatment of how this programming decision has occurred and its timing won't be forgotten, and this sort of decision makes enemies and pisses people off, and yet I am not really surprised either. I was told when I was laid off from the News Department in August by Summer Reese and Berthold Reimers the show could, of course, continue and they had talked about that. Hum

Please also read the exchanges in the comments section (below).


  1. NOW all the truth is out,
    Be secret and take defeat
    From any brazen throat,
    For how can you compete,
    Being honour bred, with one
    Who, were it proved he lies,
    Were neither shamed in his own
    Nor in his neighbours’ eyes?
    Bred to a harder thing
    Than Triumph, turn away
    And like a laughing string
    Whereon mad fingers play
    Amid a place of stone,
    Be secret and exult,
    Because of all things known
    That is most difficult.

    W.B. Yeats

    There’s not much to say is there?

    What’s left?

    There’s Michael G., Kaffy, Dimele, Null, the increasingly tedious Amy Goodman, and Starman. And another black show at 4:00p.m..

    WBAI: Where blacks are in charge.
    WBAI FM: Where black assholes immolate themselves forever more.
    WBAI: Where blacks ain’t intelligent.

    As the remnants of WBAI make circles in the vortex of the toilet bowl, I’d like to thank some of the people who have made it all possible:

    Esther Armah; Dred Scott Keyes; Tony Ryan; Tony Bates; Plathell Benjamin; Ife Dancy; Kamau Khalfani; Clayton Riley; Mike Sargent; Janet K. Bryant; Berthold Reimers; Anthony Riddle; Errol Maitland; Don “The Thief” Rojas; and sexual predator Robert Scott Adams.

    There are others. However it was the priority of all the above pea- brained idiots to make WBAI a black station.

    Congratulations to them. They did it.


    1. Don't forget Mario Murillo who sexually harrassed men @ the station for years and nothing was done about it - Samori Marksman, who tolerated open theft and sexual harrassment of men and women. Clayton Riley, on the other hand, was a good person who exposed the lies of Amy Goodman. Jim Dingeman is a another good person who exposed the lies of Samori and Mario Murillo!

  2. To compare thoughts:

    The problem is not that it became a 'black station' (things change), but that it became a station that did very, very, very bad radio that happened to have also become a 'black station' – the two are of course, as you might well agree, by no means synonymous.

    ~ Indigo Pirate

    1. Thank you, Indigo, your wording is clearer, but I think TPM agrees that we are talking about intellectual level and attitude rather than complexion and ethnicity. Personally, I don't care if the station is run by blacks, whites, or Martians, as long as it is managed with a wide open mind and adheres to the principles set forth by Pacifica's founders.

    2. Well… I would, personally, confess to a certain degree of Pro-Martian bias on my part – but I attempt to take it into account and to remain scrupulously neutral with respect to questions of terran v non-terran origin

      ~ Indigo Pirate

  3. Indigo and Chris,

    WBAI became a bad station because it was taken over by a group of very stupid black chauvinists. Some went beyond chauvinism: I would call them racist.

    Clayton Riley railed continuously against white people. He was one of the people most responsible for chasing Amy Goodman out of WBAI. He repeatedly called her a “white bitch” or a “Jewish bitch”.

    Armah’s morning program, like that of Deepa Fernandez before her, was for “women of color”. Her program excluded whites and males. She once did a program on the psychology of white males. Self despising, white faux-intellectual Tim Wise was a frequent guest.

    Janet K Bryant was a consistent source of black pearls of wisdom. Among my favorite Bryantisms is “We’ll have a white PD over my dead body.”

    Kaffy Davis once asked aloud, “What are all these white people doing at my radio station?

    Errol Maitland’s contributions to “The Guinness Book of Malapropisms’ are legion. He once said (referring to Mitch Cohen), “You can’t trust a white man with a microphone”.

    But the problem of WBAI went beyond producers who felt free to insult non-blacks and thoughtless remarks like the few I have mentioned. LAB meetings were dangerous. Black thugs associated with ex-PD Bernard White insulted and threatened whites. At times, they provoked fights. Father Lucas, Dredd Scott Keyes, and a few other black men carried firearms to meetings.

    If you challenged Bernard White, you might be followed into the men’s room by two large men who would threaten you. This happened to Bob Fass.
    brahim Gonzalez was also threatened at one meeting, but the person who threatened him backed off when Ibrahim invited him to step outside.

    Tony Bates and Robert Scott Adams stalked and harassed female employees and volunteers. The latter was involved in a law suit. Bates should have been too, but Reimers used threats to silence the harassed party and two witnesses.

    Don Rojas was responsible for the loss through theft of tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment and supplies as was Bernard White. People who worked at the station had their mail opened and their mail boxes robbed or vandalized.

    There is more than coincidence involved. The black people I’ve listed—and my list is by no means complete, conspired to make WBAI a place in which non-blacks would be excluded. They succeeded to a large extent.

    So I’m pleased to see what they created come crashing down on top of the heads of these sons of bitches.


    1. I completely agree that WBAI has been brought down by opening its doors to people who entered for all the wrong reasons. The first such group was all white, the most recent is predominantly black. Were the station, by some miracle, to survive the present sub-slump, we might see an invasion of a different color. It is not race or ethnic origin we should guard WBAI against, it is intolerance, idiocy, and personal agendas. These come in all colors, so we ought not generalize. WBAI began attracting the wrong people very early on—some so long ago that time and cursory knowledge of their behavior has wrongfully bestowed upon them a hero's halo.

      I am not familiar with the details of some of the incidents and people you name, but I know enough to trust your assessment. However, if we are speaking of people whose disappearance would be favorable to WBAI's future, I can think of several non-blacks who qualify.

      I know that you are by no means racially biased. In fact, you have often expressed to me your admiration for black WBAI producer/hosts, and I have not always shared your enthusiasm. Your anger at what has happened to WBAI could give the less informed reader a different impression. I share that anger and have, myself, made comments that are open to misinterpretation—I have crossed that line, especially, like so many of us, on the BlueBoard. We should all be as cool as Indigo.

  4. Karl Popper made an observation that is directly applicable to Denmark and its relationship with Islam, or at least the more extreme and fundamentalist forms thereof. In The Open Society and Its Enemies, Popper explained:

    "Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.

    In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols.

    We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant."

    Sent by TPM

  5. Was this the same Karl Popper of ‘Mr Popper’s Viennese Penguins’ fame?


    I would largely agree with the quote you’ve presented – with a caveat, with which I suspect you might be inclined to agree: As politics is essentially the struggle for power over others (whether that power is exercised or is exercised in the form of restraint), those desiring power may seize upon the ‘intolerance of intolerance’ rubric as a means to their own dominance – in a fashion not dissimilar to the fashion in which the ‘disadvantaged’ and ‘repressed’ have in many instances sought to use that ‘disadvantage’ and ‘repression’ as a means to their own power, their own dominance, and thus as a means to place others at a disadvantage and/or to repress them.

    Politics, being, in the end, rather a slippery game, questions of identity in various forms having always played a substantial role, and unquestionably (I think) continuing to play such a substantial role (in varying forms) into an indefinite future.

    Personally, I’m inclined to see WBAI/Pacifica’s most critical slippery slope as its evolution (devolution?) to self-identification as an essentially ‘political’ enterprise. In a sense, to my mind, the particular character of that self-identification having been with the ‘left’ rather than the ‘right’ has been and is of less consequence than the simple fact of self-identification, self-comprehension, sense-of-purpose, sense of identity per se.

    Effectively, I think, an institution created with the foundational purpose of education, broadly defined, with free speech as a central element of its educational purpose, chose to become an organization, an institution, of advocacy.

    Well… them’s a whole different kettle of fish.

    Antithetical fish, at that.

    To my mind that was the critical choice, though as is the case with many choices it wasn’t seen as a ‘choice’ at all.

    Once that shift in identity and purpose had more-or-less fully occurred, the rest of WBAI’s/Pacifica’s shortcomings (shortcomings when seen from my perspective, at least, though most at WBAI/Pacifica now see them not as shortcomings but as virtues) followed on.

    [frank language alert] Sort of a chicken-shit version of ‘… and hell followed after’.

    I see the racist component as derivative, a manifestation, of that critical evolution/devolution, not as its source.

    ~ Indigo Pirate

  6. “Everything is water
    if you look long enough.”

    Robert Greeley

    Esteemed Indigo Ebert:

    Thanks for your recommendation of "Premium Rush". See my comment below. Reimers should consider using bike messengers to deliver premiums.

    I am thinking of Russian nesting dolls and sub-subatomic particles. When I studied chemistry back in the 19th century, atoms consisted of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Now there are quarks, leptons, neutrinos, bosons, muons, and capullos. Well “capullo” is not a particle–it means “dick-head’”in Spanish; however, the others are actual sub-sub-atomic particles.

    Sometime in the 1980s, post-modernism raised its stupid, ugly little head at the Pacifica Foundation and the crisis at WBAI is one manifestation of this. Cultural relativism, mysticism, “othering”, and the bizarre idea that truth is subordinate to ideology became the dominant myths on Planet Pacific. Sadly, and I speak as an unrepentant Red, this last idea was spawned by neo-Marxists.

    I am also an unrepentant modernist. I still–as Tom Flynn puts it, “revere the Enlightenment,...understand science as universal across cultures, and morality as objective.” Genital mutilation, abuse and oppression of women, and martyrdom suck. I don’t care how many goddamned Muslims disagree.

    So, while I don’t disagree with anything you’ve written, let’s not get lost analyzing it all until everything is water. What happened at WBAI started with the ideology of a bunch of post-modernist air heads at Pacifica, and resulted in Kaffy Davis, Jeff Brady, Starman, and a lot of other garbage at WBAI. And it influenced hiring the politically correct over the competent.

    Politics? That's the title of one of my favorite Yeats' poems:

    HOW can I, that girl standing there,
    My attention fix
    On Roman or on Russian
    Or on Spanish politics?
    Yet here's a travelled man that knows
    What he talks about,
    And there's a politician
    That has read and thought,
    And maybe what they say is true
    Of war and war's alarms,
    But O that I were young again
    And held her in my arms!

    Hier stand ich.


  7. The price – one of the prices, one of the many prices, of having spent time upon this planet – is to know, to know deeply, the pain, the bitterness, and the universality of failure – not merely of imperfection, but of *failure*.

    The sort of sentiment expressed by Yeats in ‘Why Should Not Old Men Be Mad?’

    The sort of sentiment expressed as ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity’ – as indeed, of course, it is.

    The sort of sentiment expressed, in passing, in a Japanese anime, as ‘Life is a series of disappointments ending in death.’

    Americans, the willful naifs tend, of course, to ignore all this, to think that with a dismissive wave of the arm one might wish it away, deny it, defy it.

    Such naiveté is part of the charm of childhood, of children, yet is a pitiful, an ugly thing in a culture which refuses to acknowledge the inevitably tragic character of much of existence – perhaps of all of existence.

    Though I am no scholar, and have no Greek, the word Atë comes to mind.

    In all of this the matter of WBAI and Pacifica is of little consequence.

    The world moves on. What we call ‘time’ moves on. One day, as best we think we understand, it all ends in one of a thousand ways, and there is only the silence of the void.

    There is, I think, little to be learned from the details of the death agony which has been unfolding for some time now.

    Only details, little of consequence.

    Little to be learned.


    ~ Indigo Pirate

  8. Até. Yes. Brilliant. The goddess of antithetical fish.

    Shadia Drury writes: “The pagan gods were mythical personifications of natural phenomena. What is Poseidon, if not the wildness of the sea? What is Aphrodite if not the power of sexual love? What is Demeter if not the bountifulness of the earth? What is Hades if not the sting of death? Far from being false, the pagan gods were an integral part of lived experience. They represented something real apart from themselves. The same cannot be said for Jesus or the god of Abraham; they represent nothing.”

    Beyond the light is darkness,
    And behind the darkness, neither light
    nor darkness. Nor sounds, nor silence.
    Call it eternity, or God, or Hell.
    Or call it nothing.
    As if nothing had happened.

    Siempre adelante, good brother.


  9. Rebecca Myles is the proverbial square peg in a round hole. She does not belong at WBAI in its present incarnation.

    She is intelligent, competent, and honest. She works hard and does her job well. She is as good or better at doing interviews as anyone I’ve ever heard anywhere.

    Rebecca Myles does not deserve WBAI. WBAI does not deserve Rebecca Myles. If I were CEO of CBS, I’d fire everyone on 60 Minutes and hire Rebecca Myles to replace them.

    I’m sure she will not be unemployed for long. Cream rises to the top in most places.

    What floats to the top at WBAI is not cream. It’s reminiscent of what Ed Norton of “The Honeymooners” had in mind when he said to Ralph Kramden, “It’s like we say in the sewers, Ralphie: Cream is not the only thing that rises to the top.”


  10. I think it's a disgrace that Rebecca Myles is no longer on WBAI but Christine Blosdale, Kathy Davis and Starman still are. Andrea Sears and Jose Santiago are real losses, too.

    I hope that TPM is right and Ms. Myles finds a place somewhere in broadcast journalism where her talents and work ethic will be used and valued. I wish the same for Ms. Sears and Mr. Santiago, though they may have a tougher time, as they are older.