What are we going to do: say ‘we want a better grade of callers, don’t call back’? […] What are we going to do: ‘track them down, & say don’t call back’?
Cerene ‘Serene’ Roberts, 15:51 & 19:59
WBAI Radio Cttee, Tu20Oct, from 4:16:
And what was interpreted as non-verbal heckling, a disturbing repeated choking cough, provoked a retort from Cerene ‘Serene, so serene she was named it twice’ . . . a “don’t tempt fate, ladies” (38:18). Ever the compassionate.
Cerene ‘Serene’ Roberts may no longer be on the PNB, but she still gets to show she hasn’t lost it.
Indeed, rumour has it that Ms Roberts now gives Manhattan executive/masterclass seminars & webinars on, mimicking a famous book-title, The Art of the Putdown, The Art of the Trigger, & The Art of the Filibuster. Obviously, discounts for all multiple & group bookings, & special rates for aspiring non-profit dragons.
As she herself says, “knock yourself out” (30:55).
Guess the anniversary never even got to Amy’s editorial meeting this morn. So here it is.
Bare leads, WBAI’s master control studio (W9Oct2019 photo; courtesy of R Paul Martin)
R Paul Martin: “[n]ot pictured is the vacant space where the Emergency Alert System (EAS) module had been. It is illegal for WBAI, or any radio or TV station in the United States of America, to operate without a functional EAS capability.”
Lockout notice, new locks on the door, 3rd floor (W9Oct2019 photo; courtesy of R Paul Martin)
After the W9Oct WBAI Local Station Board, R Paul Martin & other staff went to the building housing the station, got inside, & saw the damage.
This was the work of “a group composed of Pacifica interim Executive Director (iED) John Vernile, Pacifica National Board Directors Bill Crosier (KPFT) and Adrienne LaViolette (KPFT) and Moe Thomas, Chief Engineer of WPFW”. Pacifica’s very own wrecking crew. WCP.
That 9Oct WBAI LSB meeting (2:03:39; videographer, Joe Friendly):
Protest outside City Hall, 15Oct (59:42; videographer, Joe Friendly):
There are quite a few PacificaWatch blogposts about this attack on Pacifica by the breakers. Please scroll down on the right, or click ‘WBAI’ in the list of folders at the end of this post.
But the saddest thing is that the political lesson hasn’t been learnt: Pacifica partisans have to be strategic, have a plan, & not just be reactive to the repeated initiatives of the breakers. One year on, the only change is deleterious, a further reinforcing of established routines.
‘Peruvian’ Lynden isn’t just an average breaker: he’s named in the groundhog scheme to give Pacifica a new constitution, the so-called by-laws petition doing the rounds. Lynden would be Pacifica’s treasurer, one of four breaker-appointed officers running a reconstituted Pacifica until “early December” 2023 (proposed Article 4, Section 13, added emphases), officers “responsible both for implementing the New Day Pacifica Bylaws and also bringing Pacifica back to financial and governance health during the transition”.
R Paul Martin, long-standing WBAI treasurer, & Secretary of the PNB Finance Cttee, gives a written report to each meeting of his Local Station Board. This one, five pages, was a lot easier for him: usually the national Cttee meets the evening before, calling for a page or three of details. Small mercies in These Times of the Reign of the Lunatic.
These Times of the Reign of the Lunatic. Made possible by the opportunistic Republican Party. Made worse by renegades from their scientific & public health training, bringing their professions into disrepute, bending to the opinions of The Lunatic, discarding their duty to the public, diluting CDC public health policy. Sacrificing the public, collateral in a self-serving effort to keep their jobs. Colluding with the advocate of shining the light, cleaning with disinfectant. Betraying fidelity to evidenced reason. Capitulators. Yes, these enablers are led by Sideshow Bob–Debby–&–(less so)–Tony. Sad, horrible, as The Lunatic says in public. Wimps, cucks, as The Lunatic says in private.
. . . Amerikan Karnage . . .
Meanwhile, back in PacificaWorld . . .
Remarks on the report:
FY2018 audit delay: will do a separate post on this fiasco
re eligibility for money from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, CPB, the lack of “the FY19 audit” (p. 3, emphasis added) largely misses the point: even if Pacifica can earn timely audited financial statements, & not an auditor’s report declaring their absence, the CPB has criteria for evidencedlistenership ‘in the community’ that’ll trip up Pacifica
“we can’t forget that the principal on the big loan is scheduled to come due in less than nine months” (p. 4) – much, much worse than that, Paul: not only is there no plan addressing FJC’s $3.265m, there hasn’t even been the preliminaries of a public Pacifica discussion to simply identify the options!
corrections: NETA is not Television (p. 1), but Telecommunications; & FJC quarterly interest, due 30Sep, 31Dec, & 31Mar, is not ~$70k (p. 3), but, since 16Mar2020, $51 016 ($3.265m x 6.25% ÷ 4).
Lastly, this teleconferenced meeting isn’t being streamed. No explanation is given in the notice on kpftx.org. It’s an open meeting, in the terms of the Communications Act of 1934, § 396(k)(4). This sub-section implies that if Pacifica is indeed receiving any money under the Act, then for a teleconferenced meeting to be compliant, Pacifica has to publicly stream the proceedings, not simply make public a recording of the meeting. That is, the meeting must be witnessed, even if only aurally; & witnessing means whilst it’s happening.
And what counts as a meeting? ln the opinion of the CPB, “[n]ote that deliberations do not require any formal action or vote. Any discussion of public broadcasting issues that may influence the opinions of members makes it a meeting” (all emphases added). So much for the view expressed at the 11Mar2020 LSB meeting that, in the past, decisions had been ratified at a subsequent meeting.
Have any audiofiles been posted on kpftx.org? In 2020, prior to today’s meeting, there’s been six LSB open meetings, one each month, with the last four being teleconferences. But only the March has a publicly available recording – and although the box says “Archive Soon” it’s actually there, as a URL, https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RnIDQDCaO1mGn5z-Zph0eluonkbQvTdm/view?usp=drive_web – so no, it’s not the proposed agenda. Hidden gems do exist in PacificaWorld.
The public can obviously attend in-person open meetings, & posting a recording is a courtesy to members & listeners, & an exercise in transparency. The April/May/June teleconferences may indeed have been streamed, even allowing public comment, but Pacifica has offered no evidence that this was so. In fact, only the April & May notices show such an intention. Let’s hope that if the CPB comes auditing for compliance then the evidence exists. And if there are audiofiles, why aren’t they posted in the meetings archive, kpftx.org?
(Nina Bernstein, ‘Unearthing the secrets of New York’s mass graves’, New York Times, 15May2016)
Just over six long weeks ago, on Tu10Mar, New York State had 173 confirmed COVID-19 cases. 108 were in Westchester County, all in New Rochelle. It’s just beyond the Bronx, within sight of Hart Island. Hart Island.As was said of something else way back in 1848, ein Gespenst, a spectre. Home of a million people, corpses, neatly arranged in unmarked trenches, watched over until last year by the NYC Dept of Correction, a nice lil earner, an economic opportunity, Rikers prisoners used, at 50¢ the hour in 2016, to dispose of the city’s unwanted. Public service at its best.
(superbly written by Nina Bernstein; a chilling section is on the NYC corpse market;
has three embedded vids)
In the same cold vein, we have the quality of decision-making by Governor Cuomo. He thought he had to do something about the New Rochelle case cluster, so on Tu10Mar he imposed some restrictions on the humans roaming about. But fair being fair, Andrew the Cuomo gave Viro the Virus some leeway, letting the measures come into force two days later, on the Thursday. Fair’s fair. Even Viro has rights in the land of the free. After all, it wasn’t as though anything was at stake, something urgent, some sort of public emergency. As NYS Health Commissioner Dr Howard Zucker said, sitting alongside Cuomo at the daily media briefing, & spreading the sugar, “we believe that the risk generally to New Yorkers is low”. Note that his NYS Dept of Health participated in the major 2019 Crimson Contagion simulation that showed how seriously deficient the US system would be in responding to a virus pandemic. Oh.
Thing is, Viro’s a virus. No cognitive capacity. No sense of reasonableness. Unable to recognise give & take. Viro simply lacked the capacity to wait 48 hours before carrying on doing what a virus does. So carry on it did. Whilst Cuomo waited to apply his measures. Viruses, eh. And the folly of humans. (Not least in accepting a positivist conception of scientific knowledge, especially of a new object.)
While Cuomo was waiting, the next day, W11Mar, the World Health Organization, those pesky globalists, declared that the disease was so wrapped around our mortal coil that it had to be recognised as a pandemic. Oh. Then two days later, F13Mar, the Very Stable Genius declared a national emergency. “Two very big words”, said he, in the Rose Garden, fresh from having kicked around in his playroom these additions to his lexicon.
New Rochelle was a healthcare disaster – for the town, the state, & beyond. The containment attempt failed miserably. This has not been adequately described & explained by any journalist. There were 108 known infected individuals. But what proportion of their ‘close contacts’ was identified, traced (found), & then tested for infection? What proportion of these was infected, subsequently placed in supported & monitored isolation? (If diagnostic tests were unavailable, were those close contacts all placed in supported & monitored quarantine, to use the CDC’s specific jargon?) In turn, what proportion of their identified ‘close contacts’ was tested, etc.? What did the rapid containment force consist in? Why did it fail? Indeed, for the ~20m of the NY Metro Area, was there a pre-existing, well-drilled, coordinated network of rapidresponse teams for identify-trace-test-isolate/quarantine, ITTIQ (or IFTIQ), the first line in avoiding containment? If not, why? One could go on. By comparison, with no-one to learn from, Wuhan City alone, from 23Jan, the start of the virus-suppression operation, used at least 9 000 field tracers, organised as 1 800 teams of five or more (28Feb WHO report, page 8). Who’s the ‘Third World’ country?
Cuomo’s star may be rising, contrasted with the darkening shadow of The Don, but his partial responsibility for the New Rochelle failure remains. And don’t forget, this is the man who decided in January to effectively chop future Medicaid funding for the state’s residents, shovelling responsibility, the cost, onto the cities & counties. Refusing to raise taxes, this was the thrust of his response to NYS’ fiscal crisis, announced 21Jan in his fiscal 2021 plan (year-end 31Mar2021 – the day by which Pacifica has to pay the $3.265m principal to the Foundation for the Jewish Community, FJC).
Meanwhile, WBAI carried on being WBAI. That was until M30Mar, 20 days after Cuomo’s New Rochelle announcement, when WBAI started a new programme, Going Viral. It broadcasts live each weekday, so now in its fourth week, at 8.45pm EDT (7.45pm CDT, 5.45pm PDT), for roughly 1½ or 2 hours. Helpfully, it’s linked from the homepage of the Pacifica meetings archive, with a ‘button’ to listen live. It also has an archive (there’s no programme for Tu14Apr).
Going Viral is presented by Jim Dingeman, Local Station Board listener-delegate, & it’s obvious from the PNB Programming Cttee he chairs that he’s a wannabe presenter, so this was his chance. Cometh the moment, cometh the man.
It started off a bit rough, made on the fly. And it’s still a bit rough. Not what Maxie Jackson, former ED, would call best practice. It’s a live conference call, with the usual four or five co-presenters all trying to speak over one another, with Otis Maclay, Pacifica’s technician-who-never-sleeps, also being asked what he thinks about the topic in hand. If Michelle were around, she’d be asked for her opinion too. But it’s more civil than the usual PNB meeting, & it is gratifying not to hear the continual grating of a ‘point of point, Madam Chair’, & suchlike.
Going Viral is admittedly a low tech production, but no other Pacifica station runs a COVID programme. So why not ask your local station manager to consider it?
R Paul Martin’s latest diligent endeavour. Mr Martin is the only Pacifica treasurer to publish for members & listeners the report they make to their Local Station Board. Not only that, it’s posted online within hours of the meeting. His courtesy & service is unequalled amongst the $$$ p$$ps of Pacifica.
Also please note that by an accident of the Pacifica calendar, his LSB usually meets less than 24hrs after the PNB Finance Cttee, details of which are always part of his report.
Mr Martin’s dedication is exemplary, his judgment astute.
[Remarks to be added, esp. re the Tu10Mar PNB Finance Cttee that Paul discusses, one addressed by both Chief Financial Officer Anita Sims & auditor Jorge Diaz of Rogers & Co. With the breakers busy with their breaking, Paul was perhaps at his most pessimistic, wondering whether “this will be my final Treasurer’s Report” (p. 4), a small matter compared with his fearing for the future of WBAI. Unless the breakers pull some stunt, Tuesday’s showpiece was the last national Pacifica meeting on financial/audit matters before the referendum voting ends next Thursday, 19Mar, at 8.59pm PDT, 10.59pm CDT, & 11.59pm EDT.]
. . . the federal judge for the M21Oct WBAI v. Pacifica hearing, someone with form: in 2012 he ruled as lawful this advert on buses of NY’s MTA . . .
The judge at today’s hearing is Paul Adam Engelmayer. On 20July2012 he ruled against the NY Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA), after they had refused to carry on their buses an ad, shown above, that they saw violated their no-demeaning policy.
No prob for Paul, because the MTA’s no-demeaning policy was discriminatory, allowing the demeaning of those people not specifically denoted by the policy, &, anyway, this was a matter of core political speech, protected under the First Amendment.
So there you are. The group bringing the case got permission to carry out their plan, putting the ad on over 300 buses for four weeks. Free speech in action. A Pacifica value, yes?
AFDI is probably better known as SIOA, Stop Islamization of America. Again, a cutting-edge topic – as witnessed by urgent preemptory legislation carried in various state chambers west of the Appalachians. Keeping the citizenry safe.
SIOA came to prominence in 2010 when it protested a Muslim group planning to build a cultural & inter-faith centre a few blocks from the Twin Towers site. It gave plenty of free publicity to the two creators of SIOA, Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer.
But AFDI/SIOA do bring people together, perhaps unique in earning the condemnation of both the Southern Poverty Law Center & the Anti-Defamation League. No easy feat. But for judge Paul, the law’s the law.
We’ll see how Paul interprets the law today, be it in favour of the defenders of WBAI, or in favour of dictatorial wrecking by the Interim Executive Wrecker.
As Alex says, it augments his remarks made Tu15Oct on the steps of NY City Hall. Given the political points he makes, & his assessment that Vernile & McCoy are more than they might seem, it warrants being a separate post on this blog.
However, what I said on Tuesday still stands: we need, & deserve, an explanation of why a temporary Chair was elected in secret. Not only does this violate the transparency principle of democratic proceedings, it’s also contrary to the Communications Act of 1934 – §396(k)(4); page 216 of the PDF. https://transition.fcc.gov/Reports/1934new.pdf
Even when Pacificans are victims of egregious secret manoeuvring, they themselvesseem incapable of breaking with the unthinking obdurate & deep secrecy culture permeating the organisation. Yet, as passed down from the fathers to Primo Levi, if not now, when? The politics of ‘not in front of the children’ really has to end.
And this opens out into a much wider vista. It’s crucial that the new PNB majority speaks publicly – to members, staff, listeners, interested vendors, creditors, regulators, & potential donors & grantors. In a struggle, it’s essential to communicate. And the PNB minority seems to have control of Pacifica’s website & meetings archive. The new PNB majority must start a website or blog, not only posting their statements & reliable info, but also opening a discussion forum. Just in terms of disseminating the most basic info, it was absurd that the PNB tumult starting Th10Oct wasn’t made public by the PNB solidarians but by Tracy Rosenberg, in her Pacifica in Exile newsletter, released Su13Oct after the PNB sessions that day. That is the responsibility of protagonists, no-one else.https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/10/14/can-this-be-true-qm-has-pnb-reversed-wrecker-vernile-s-wrecking-qm-will-he-resign-in-disgust-qm/
In the meantime, Mr Steinberg . . .
I would have said something about the politics of the coup. But I was under pressure to finish my remarks quickly. The lineup at the Press Conference gave too much time to people who were talking in general about WBAI and not about the coup. We did not hear nearly enough from [the Chair of the WBAI Local Station Board], Carolyn McIntyre, or the WBAI GM, Berthold Reimers, or the WBAI Program Director, Linda Perry.
It is now obvious that John Vernile was selected for this job to do a corporate style takeover of WBAI and to drown up whatever radical voices remain on WBAI and afterwards the rest of the network. My guess is that there is big money and powerful people behind Vernile and Quincy McCoy [my emphases]. They are attempting a ‘cleansing’ operation to remove any dissident voices to the left of the Democratic Party establishment from having any say on the politics and culture of this country. It’s of a piece with Hillary Clinton’s attempt to demonize Democratic Party presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, who is the only consistently anti-imperialist candidate running as a Democrat.
Alex Steinberg WBAI Director to the Pacifica National Board [Sa19Oct2019]
Th10Oct, IEW Vernile, using the name of Pacifica Foundation Inc., got the NY court to remove almost all the temporary restraining order against him
Below is a note by Tom Hillgardner. The WBAI peeps got a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the evening of the coup, M7Oct, to both reverse the firings & allow restoration of local programming. IEW Vernile, in the name of Pacifica Foundation Inc., then used members’ subscriptions & listeners’ donations to hire a Wall Street legal firm – literally, at #100, no less, on the 20th floor. https://www.foster.com/pp/bio-kara-steger.pdf?11341(doubt if she has a corner office, just yet)
But on Th10Oct the court watered down this TRO, merely prohibiting staff firings (document #26, page 344 – yes, the photocopying alone is costing members & listeners a fortune).
There was no court proceeding today [F18Oct]. The hearing on the TRO [temporary restraining order] that originally was scheduled to be heard in state court on 10/18 was cancelled by operation of law when defendant Pacifica removed the case to federal court. The federal judge then continued that TRO, as modified by the Appellate Division, until October 21 when the court has scheduled the initial court conference, the hearing of Pacifica’s motion to preliminarily enjoin the effectiveness of motions passed by a majority of directors at a 10/13 board meeting, and the hearing of the plaintiff’s motion to remand this action back to NYS Supreme Court. This last item will have priority as it involves the question of whether the federal court has jurisdiction, which I believe the court will rule that it does not [emphases added]. Such a ruling would vacate the federal court TRO temporarily restraining the effectiveness of the motions passed by a majority of directors at the October 13 meeting of the Pacifica Board and would require withdrawal by Pacifica attorneys from representing Pacifica in that action.
This Wednesday, 16Oct, a group was again outside the Pacifica building in Berkeley, protesting the breakers’ coup against WBAI & Pacifica. (Vid is 15:58.)
One speaker is Tom Voorhees, a Pacifica director, & KPFA listeners-delegate (1:36). The breakers are trying to oust him as a director, replace him by a breaker, turning the PNB back into a 11-11 paralysis. Two weeks or so after the launch of their petition for a new Pacifica constitution, the breakers on Th26Sep called a KPFA delegates assembly to oust Mr Voorhees. This takes place Sa26Oct. It’s crucial that he’s supported both within the meeting & outside. https://kpftx.org/pacalendar/cal_show1.php?eventdate=20191026
. . . screenshot of the homepage, taken the day of the coup, M7Oct2019 – the sole webpage WBAI has, showing the audio button of the relay, https://www.wbai.org/ . . .
With the coup at WBAI by the breakers, a new phrase entered the lexicon of PacificaWorld. Everyone wondered what it was, where it came from. It may surprise people, but Pacifica Across America, both the term & the idea, was mentioned seven weeks before, by KPFA station manager, Quincy McCoy. The occasion was the Sa17Aug2019 KPFA Local Station Board. In response to what proved to be a serendipitous question, McCoy referred to Pacifica Across America in connection with Interim Executive Wrecker John Vernile & SiriusXM, a broadcaster:
[…] a series of programs that we want to put together called, er, I think – the working title is Pacifica Across America, & that would be a list of the best shows of Pacifica that would run on, on Sirius & also on the Pacifica website”
Audio feed? There is no audio “Pacifica website”. But WBAI has a website. It’s now a single webpage, emblazoned with Pacifica Across America. Beneath it is an audio button of the 24-hour alienation organised by the PAA “Consulting Programmer”. A certain Quincy McCoy. (And, of course, it’s not being pumped out on https://pacifica.org/.)
Seven weeks. And how long had IEW Vernile been in the job? 17 days, having started 1Aug. Now why would the IEW prioritise starting this Pacifica Across America project in his first two weeks? Before visiting the stations? Without having raised this idea in a publicly recorded Pacifica meeting? Why?
The clue lies in the months before. In the planning of how to oust ED Maxie Jackson:
The five-person PNB Personnel Cttee hadn’t met in Feb & Mar. But it was awoken from its slumber. And put to work. Starting Tu16Apr, it met each & every week, for 12 weeks. The last five meetings, from M3June, were all in private. M1July everything was ready, agreeing its ED evaluation report for the PNB. The next evening, the PNB ousted Maxie. Friday, he left his job. Sorted.
If Pacifica’s good at anything, this is it. (Yes, it bears repeating. Pacifica rarely gets complimented these days. Have a heart.)
Four weeks later, Vernile appeared out of the blue. Or so it seemed.
And the personnel of the Personnel Cttee? Chair Jan Goodman (KPFK listeners-delegate), Sabrina Jacobs (KPFA staff-delegate), Donnie Grumpf (KPFA listeners-delegate), Adrienne LaViolette (KPFT listeners-delegate), Robin Collier (affiliates) . . . more than a majority – and all breakers.
It seems IEW Vernile came into the job already knowing what he was going to do.