Back of the Book — March 15, 2014

It's Thursday afternoon, July 17, 2014, 17:55, and I've updated this page with something about the talked we had with Uncle Sidney about the crisis in Ukraine and the historical paralleles it brings up. Previously I'd done an update on the current crisis in Pacifica, along with the nicer news of the date of the Vernal Equinox. I do plan to do a little more updating here. The original top of this page follows the arrow. ⇒ This is a very unusual program. It's been quite a few years since I've had to miss a program due to medical problems, but it's happening for this radio program. We'll talk a little bit at the top of the program and then we'll let Uncle Sidney take it the rest of the way. We hope we'll be back in two weeks.

This is a special Back of the Book radio program. We're not going to be in the studio. In fact we should only be on the air for a few minutes on this program.

I've been quite sick for more than a week now. I don't know where I caught the germ or germs that are making me so ill, giving me pretty high fevers and loading up other symptoms, but I've got them, or they've got me.

One of the things that won't go away is the cough I have. It's an odd cough. It's mostly not that bothersome when I'm up and about, but when I lay down to sleep I get these little wheezes, crackles and other small noises, and eventually I start coughing. This has prevented me from sleeping properly for more than a week. Things have improved through. At the start of all of this illness I couldn't sleep for more than five minutes at a time, with large gaps between those five minute naps. Now I'm getting some 20 minute naps in. Still, I am quite the wreck from all of this. I do look forward to getting over all this illness.

And of course we've had some wild things happening in Pacifica over the past few days. The people who want to sell off WBAI have started on their destructive path with the firing of the Executive Director at a critical time.

UPDATE: the now former Executive Director has issued a press release giving her side of this episode. Here is her press release. Luckily for the Pacifica stations Ms. Reese worked to get the CPB filings done by the March 14, deadline despite having been fired the day before. Had she not done this work Pacifica, and all of its radio stations, would have missed out on all of the CPB funds for which they are currently eligible.

These are perilous times indeed for WBAI and maybe for all of Pacifica.

So Uncle Sidney and I talked a bit at the top of this program, and then he mostly took phone calls. This program is now available in the official WBAI archive. Just go here and you'll be able to listen to it any old time for the next 59 days, or less if you're getting here later. Jeez, they used to keep the archives up there for longer, didn't they?

Spring will be upon us this coming fortnight! At long last. The Vernal Equinox will occur this coming Thursday afternoon, March 20, 2014, at 12:57 PM (ET). Oh, I want the cold to stop.

For more season and sub-season dates you can look here.

We had a little conversation with Uncle Sidney about some current events.

On the last program we'd talked a bit about the interesting parallels between Nazi Germany's territorial acquisitions in the 1930s, and the recent adventures of Valdimir Putin's Russia.

Valdimir Putin metamorphosing into Adolph Hitler
1938 Meets 2014

And this past fortnight we had another instance of Putin repeating history. He is now saying that there will be a plebiscite to determine if the territory occupied by his troops should be separated from Ukraine and become a part of Putin's 21st Century version of the Russian Empire.

This is exactly the tactic that was used by Adolph Hitler in 1938, after he had annexed Austria.

In March 1938, members of the Austrian Nazi Party, a subsidiary of Hitler's German Nazi Party, had staged a coup d'etat and had essentially taken over Austria. They then declared Austria to be a part of Nazi Germany's Third Reich. And, after the German Wehrmacht marched in and occupied the country, Hitler had a plebiscite organized to make his Anschluss (which means “annexation” in German) legitimate. The vote was reported, by the Nazis, as being 99.73% in favor of the Anschluss.

Well, here we have Putin doing the same thing. The parallels are striking, even though the timing of the events is different. The Anschluss of Austria happened in March of 1938, and Hitler didn't start agitating for his takeover of the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia until after that.

Yeah, the Czechs of the Sudentenland never even got a chance to play around in a phony, Nazi run election as the Austrians had, so it's not a perfect repeat of history, but the overall tactics being used by Putin today are the ones used by Hitler in 1938.

Six months after the other European powers gave Hitler the Sudetenland he just took over the rest of Czechoslovakia because that had been his goal in the first place. And that may be Putin's ultimate plan for Ukraine, too.

Will world powers, who know the history of the 20th Century, let Putin get away with his attempt to make an Anschluss of Ukraine? Will he get to keep the Crimea, which his proxy troops, and some actual Russian military, have occupied? Dangerous times, these.

There are a lot of issues that are considered hazardous to talk about on the air at WBAI, even though the gag rule was lifted in 2002. However, there is the Internet! There are mailing lists which you can subscribe to and Web based message boards devoted to WBAI and Pacifica issues. Many controversial WBAI/Pacifica issues are discussed on these lists.

One popular list the “NewPacifica” mailing list. Founded October 31, 2000, this list is sometimes lively and as of mid-2011, has 687 subscribers coast to coast.

Being lively, of course, it sometimes also gets a bit nasty. All sorts of things are happening on this list and official announcements are frequently posted there.

You can look at the NewPacifica list here, and you can join the list from that Web page too. If you subscribe to the “NewPacifica” mailing list you will receive, via E-mail, all of the messages which are sent to that list.

There is the option to receive a “digest” version of the list, which means that a bunch of messages are bundled into one E-mail and sent to you at regular intervals, this cuts down on the number of E-mails you get from the list. You will also be able to send messages to the list.

This list also has a Web based interface where you can read messages and from which you can post your own messages.

There is also the more WBAI specific “Goodlight” Web based message board. It is sometimes referred to on Back of the Book as “the bleepin' blue board,” owing to the blue background used on its Web pages. This one has many people posting anonymously and there's also an ancillary “WBAI people” board that's just totally out of hand. UPDATE: The bleepin' blue board has had to add a step for folks to get onto it because it's under attack by spambots. When you click on the above link you may be asked for a username and password. Type in Username: poster Password: enternow

When the computer in Master Control is working we sometimes have live interaction with people posting on the “Goodlight Board” during the program.

Our very own Uncle Sidney Smith, whose program Saturday Morning With the Radio On alternates with us, has a blog these days. You can reach his blog here.

We like to stay interactive with our listeners. Here are the various options for you to get in touch with us.

You can also send me E-mail.

And now you can even reach me on Twitter Twitter logo

WBAI related links

WBAI Listeners' Web page

WBAI Management's official Web site

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