Friday, January 13, 2017

Mitchel and Marilyn respond to Bates

In case you haven't read Tony Bates' scurrilous letter to Mitch Cohen, you will find it here, along with a link to Marilyn Vogt-Downey's response. At Mitchel's request, I am publishing his response:

This was my reply to Tony Bates, who also hogged up a large chunk of time during the GM's report at the LSB meeting Weds. (I have the recording. Just pablum, pure bullshit.)

I can't seem to post to your website from my home computer, which connects to the internet via dialup (yes, it's true!). So if you could post it to your site (as well as Marilyn Vogt-Downey's letter), that'd be great.


I'm just seeing Tony Bates' vicious attack on me now, having returned from various medical appointments. I very much appreciate Marilyn Vogt-Downey's letter. She's right on the money, as usual.

I don't think it's in any way fair, let alone helpful, for a paid so-called manager to abuse his power over volunteers and staff in this way or in any way. He is, after all, the GM's appointee, and the GM bears responsibility for this sort of insanity. Reflects very poorly on the GM's judgment. Calling me a CIA agent as Tony does is so far beyond the pale that it's only because of Tony's lack of participation in any left struggles at all (and thus his ignorance) that I am letting it slide until I calm down. People who have been so labeled and libeled have been assassinated for that, literally, and I don't take it dismissively.

Tony Bates ludicrously accuses me of destroying the Wobblies (!) of all things. Seriously? Tony wouldn't know a "Wobbly" if s/he hit him over the ass with a red flag on MayDay (MayDay? what's that?) at high noon in Ludlow Colorado. (You mean Ludlow Street? Katz's Deli?)

In his scurrilous attack, he somehow left out my work as a draft resister during the Vietnam War and support for military resisters ever since, and as an anti-nuke activist, coordinator of the NoSpray Coalition against pesticides, editor twelve years ago of the Green Party USA national newspaper and for a time of the NY State Green Party paper.

Years ago I questioned Tony on some things he was saying on the air. He was feeding anti-semitism in how he was promoting one of the 9/11 Truth tapes, same way as Bollyn (whom I publicly challenged during his lecture at The Commons). Tony not only couldn't hear it, his rage got in the way of even knowing or understanding what I was saying.

He also somehow missed disparaging my efforts with NY State Against Genetic Engineering, Center for Global Justice, Direct Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier, Save the Audubon Coalition, Holistic and Alternatives Treatments Committee of ACT-UP NY, Red Balloon Collective, Red Balloon Poetry Conspiracy, Committee for an Open Discussion of Zionism, Committees of Correspondence, farmworker organizing and the building of clinics to treat the indigent on Long Island and upstate NY, the Panthers' free breakfast for children program, and as a typesetter at the Guardian and The Nation when there still was such a thing before word-processing came on the scene, and a load of anti-war and grassroots ecology groups. 

A month ago he blasted me for daring to contact possible radio hosts for WBAI, telling me it was not my job to do so and that I was over-stepping my bounds, even though I told them I had no power whatsoever and that I would forward their info to WBAI management who would take it to the next step, if there was to be one.

Actually, if Tony -- coming to New York by way of Los Angeles -- had bothered to even skim one of my books: "What Is Direct Action? Lessons from (and to) Occupy Wall Street" he might have gotten a better sense of the projects that I and the Left in New York have been involved in and why his screed is so, well, destructive.

To Tony: One cannot hide behind one's ignorance and/or incompetence by character assassinating those of us—and there are MANY—who do the work and resent the incompetence of WBAI management in appointing fools as "managers". Let alone those who cannot take legitimate criticism, even though they're being paid the big bucks. (My Moscow gold never seems to have arrived. Otherwise there'd be GMO and cheese-free pizza for all!)

I remain NOT sorry for having defended Tony Bates last time around from what I considered to be a correct evaluation but a result of an unfair process, one steeped in racist and sexist falsehoods—even though I shared some of the staff's criticisms of his programming concepts such as they were and attempts to implement them. I wish the evaluation committee had written their damning evaluation without feeling the self-destructive need to exaggerate them and engage in disgusting rumor-mongering. They lost me, and others, who would probably have voted with them had they forwarded that evaluation properly.

I point out that Tony Bates was responsible for a number of premiums he promoted as "miracle cures"—not just Double-Helix Magic Water but Kevin Trudeau's "stuff" before Trudeau was sent back to prison. The WBAI Local Station Board, when I was chair of it, directed that those premiums be removed from WBAI's offerings despite Tony's support for such premiums and his enthusiastic on-air pitching for them.

To Larry Romsted: This argument cannot be avoided because, let me also point out, there is a process for hiring a Program Director, and the GM has tried to bypass that process by inventing a new category, "Program Manager", in order to hire Tony Bates to that position at $1,000 per week while the rest of us work for no pay for years in the salt mines—NOT because we believe in this management, but because we believe in the IDEA of listener-sponsored, intelligent, free-speech, non-corporate radio and will continue to do so despite WBAI management's best attempts to thwart that belief.

I've removed Tony Bates from this thread as per his request.

Again, thank you Marilyn for standing up to this bully.



  1. Thanks, Chris, for posting Mitch's resume. However, I doubt it will get him a job. Maybe he should bring it to an employment agency or something.

    " order to hire Tony Bates to that position at $1,000 per week" If true, this makes me ask again who is paying his salary, and is this in addition to his consultant salary? Bates may be smarter than we give him credit for. He seems to know how to suck money from WBAI without pretenses.

    "but because we believe in the IDEA of listener-sponsored, intelligent, free-speech, non-corporate radio" Then what the hell are you doing around WBAI, since it is the antitheses of these ideals.


  2. As bad as some think Tony Bates is, he is not nearly as bad as Samori Marksman, Mario Murillo and Valerie Van Isler - they were real pieces of shit

  3. All of this may be true, but it's unlikely to change the destiny of the Pacifica Foundation. Can the combatants on all sides lay down their arms to save a five station broadcasting network in these desperate times?

    This blog exudes racism in every post.

    There are many problems to be solved at Pacifica, but not this way.

    1. I don't think the blog "exudes racism in every post", but it tries to get the facts straight and—at the current WBAI—a prominent factor is racism. It is not generated here, but at the station with abundant help from a faction of opportunistic producer/hosts and a do-nothing-right "management".

    2. Sure. It's an analysis of what's wrong with Pacifica from a white supremacist perspective. Interesting up to a point, but in the end just more evidence of what's wrong. Your delusion that you're just getting facts straight flies in the face of the contents of your archive. Whatever. I'll continue to follow you to pick through those "facts," while holding my nose against the ugly stench of racism that permeates every page.

    3. You seem to miss the point. Turning WBAI into a black station is antithetical to the concept upon which Pacifica was founded, but black-oriented radio stations are not inherently bad. What is wrong with the current WBAI is that it is black on a very low intellectual level and the programming—with few exceptions—reflects the ignorance of racism. That not only turns white listeners away, but people of any ethnic background who have the intelligence that once characterized WBAI and separated it from the dross on the dial.

      The listener-supporters have always been the lifeline for Pacifica station. By narrowing program content to one sub-segment of New York's multi-ethnic population and broadcasting drivel and propaganda, the amateur management has reduced the listenership to the lowest number in the station's 56 years as a listener-sponsored radio station.

      Perhaps you will finally get it when the plug is pulled—right now, you appear to be a clueless, cowardly troll.

    4. It is true this blog has elements of white supremacy, led in part by the moderator. The moderator may not be racist, but he has given aid and comfort to some of the posters. But is it true that the demise of the station was led by Samori Marksman, Mario Murillo and Valerie Van Isler - those three should be singled out for their roles and investigated.

    5. We have slammed Samori into a 2nd death on this list. I, for one, have said how Murillo decimated WBAI in his recent jaunt as iPD. Van Issler was no prize, either, and once yelled at me for something I didn't do.

      As for racism on this list, I don't agree. People have their views and a right to express them. That's good enough for anyone who appreciates freedom of speech. In fact, I have probably slammed more white people than anyone else - Fass, Mimi, Brady, Null, etc.


    6. I think the roots of WBAI's current path go back farther than that. Blame also rests on the shoulders of inept,, scheming Pacifica National Board members, who could have dismissed the likes of Berthold Reimers a long time ago.

      We tend to concentrate on Reimers and the more recent culprits, but they are the latest in a long succession of ill-advised hiring and appointments. The slate needs to be wiped clean and replaced by experienced, concerned management. That would also result in substantive programming.

    7. "A clueless, cowardly troll." Nice! Have to disagree; I'm not clueless!

      I worked at WBAI and served on the national board. I have a pretty good idea about what went on then and what's going on now.

      During my many years in and around Pacifica I met plenty people like you who think their devotion to the mission masks their racism. It's not all black people you revile, just the ones you don't agree with at Pacifica.

      But the fact is that the cancer at Pacifica is equal opportunity. Some of the people I worked with many years ago at WBAI are still there; they were venal sociopaths then and they are now. And most of them are white.

      The deep racism at Pacifica goes back to its founding, a reflection of the culture in which it developed. Watch "KPFA On the Air" ( for a reasonably good exploration of the roots of the current situation.

      Pacifica's failed attempt to be everything to everyone leaves led to the current “nothing for anyone” model. The late '70s transmitter takeover at WBAI was a white supremacist reaction to an entirely rational effort to survive the end of the Vietnam war years by pivoting to serve an specific underserved audience, the city’s black and Latino population. The self-interested refusal of the WBAI staff to support the change set the stage for what we see and hear today. It makes just as much sense today as it did in the late 70s to serve an unserved audience, especially because that audience has not as completely abandoned radio for the Internet.

      This is not to say that WBAI is listenable (it isn’t) or that the staff is competent (they aren’t). But they’re incompetent because they don’t know what they’re doing, not because they’re black.

      I encourage you to review blog posts whenever someone couches their critique in terms of race, and ask whether race is really the issue.

      My tenure at WBAI took place in one of the most racially charged environments I’ve ever experienced. The ugly bigotry I experienced then—so well intentioned, justified by the righteousness of the cause—has made the transition to the Internet and lives on in this blog. Too bad.

    8. I don't think turning WBAI into a Latino radio station in 1977 would have served any purpose other than self-destruction. Who was the Black woman in the ESB transmitter room? I forget her name. But to insinuate a racial angle to the '77 takeover is just silly. This is the type of racial accusations that totally obfuscate any real discussion of issues.

      Right now WBAI is basically a black nationalist station and can't even get their intended audience to listen. As I have said before her, look at what came of WWRL and learn a lesson.

      By the way, calling the '77 takeover a "white supremacist" event could be considered as masking "antisemitism," since, to my recall, many, if not most, were Jews. See how things can be twisted and thrown right back at you?


    9. Antisemitism!

      I'll leave you to your circular firing squad. Congratulations for destroying a network of five full power stations in the nation's largest cities. I know you don't feel responsible; of course not. Someone else did it. But you've been there all along...

    10. Samori was evil, so was Valerie - just read a description of her on Wikipedia - truly evil woman!

  4. Here's something WBAI could do to make $25 or $30 - The First Annual WBAI Special Olympics! Just like the old Battle of the Network Stars, the WBAI staff would be broken into teams to compete in special games' contests, like technical fuck-ups, pin the tail on the UFO, organic Stuff drinking, cure the most listeners' cancers, fudge the beg-a-thon numbers, LSB clowns get back on the PNB, etc. Babbling Bob Fass could be the on air announcer with Mimi doing the field interviews.

    1. Why not? That could be popular.

      Another thing they could do is get their "comedians" together at The Commons for a Night of the Failed Comedians, featuring stand up from Randy Credico, Katie Halper, Jimmy Dore, etc.


  5. Pin the tail on the honky? That could be a bai "family" favorite.

  6. Chris,
    I have found some postings to be racist. When I was writing articles for The Black Star News, I l would frequently be in the office. Milton Allimadi would regularly mock Justice and Unity. He was particularly dismissive of Lisa Davis when she would leave a message. I performed some basic research on Steve Brown and realized that he was a particularly odious character. The name Steve Brown is common and I did not possess much specific information on him. When I became active in WBAI, I was provided with some basic information- including his beginnings in the pornographic industry. I performed a little research and discovered that he was a particularly odious character. Like many individuals, who are basically shlumps, Brown sought to prove that he was a tough guy; but he was not- not even with his connections.
    I have read many attacks upon Bernard White. Perhaps they are justified; but many of these posts appear to be racially motivated. But it is the dearth of attacks upon Steve Brown that confuse me. It was Steve Brown, who was responsible for the appointment of Berthold Reimers as General Manager.
    After attending several meetings of the WBAI Finance Committee and the WBAI Local Station Board, it became apparent that there was massive financial fraud at WBAI. Furthermore, I came to the conclusion that the fraud was engineered by Berthold Reimers and was being covered up by R Paul Martin, Steve Brown, Carolyn Birden, and many other WBAI LSB members. I had not had an accounting course for 35 years at this time; yet, whenever I made an inquiry about basic accounting procedures, I was met with a lie. Attending meetings of the WBAI Finance Committee and listening to R Paul Martin, was a confirmation of the Dunning Kruger effect. Martin, like many sociopaths, believes that he is smarter than he is. Martin would blatantly lie and believed that his lies would be believed; this is a sign of a true sociopath.
    Whenever I contacted someone in the Steve Brown Group, they would lie. And the lies would be absurd. Several years ago, at a meeting of the Pacifica national Board, which was held in New York, I explained to Summer Reese that Steve Brown and Berthold had violated Not for Profit Law. (I had written to Arlene Engelhardt about this in September 2011 and had provided several members of the WBAI LSB including Steve brown and Mitchel Cohen with copies of my letter, which was sent via certified mail. In December 2011 I again sent the same letter via certified mail.) I provided Summer Reese with a copy of the letter. Note: I am not like Carolyn Birden, who pretends to be Sterling Professor of Law at Yale Law School. But this was a basic violation of Not for Profit Law.)
    Approximately 18 months later, I mentioned this in a post to some WBAI board. I stated that Summer Reese had ignored my letter of a violation of Not for Profit Law. Summer responded and said that I did not know what she had done and that she was going to act upon my letter. I said that this was a lie. I stated that Summer Reese had taken no action. I had even written and had asked for the name of Pacifica’s attorney so that I could write to the attorney about this matter.
    The gravamen of this letter is that everyone, or I should state, everyone at Pacifica whom I have contacted about tax fraud, accounting fraud, etc. lies. They know that the federal government is not going to spend $1 million to investigate Pacifica; the federal government knows that Pacifica is a spent force. So the lies continue.

  7. Cash is king or KIng is cash . Unfortunately on bai it is the latter .

    1. My thoughts, exactly. This is nothing more than shameless exploitation and I wonder what the King family, greedy as they have proven to me, think of this?