Back of the Book August 21, 2021

It's Monday afternoon, August 23, 2021, 16:51, and this Web page is finished. We talked about the below topics, and a bit more on this program. I've updated this Web page with more about the pandemic, the selling of fake CDC vaccination cards and a little bit more. The original top of this page follows the arrow. So here's our program that largely talked about the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, again. We also talked about the Covid-19 pandemic and the sale of fraudulent vaccination cards to people who don't want to get vaccinated, but want to fool others into thinking that they have been. Some of those cards are counterfeits, and some are stolen cards.

You can now listen to this program on the official WBAI Archive.

Did you know that I've got a brief synopsis of some of the WBAI LSB meetings? Well, I do, and I've recently updated some of that.

I have also posted a whole lot of the minutes of the Pacifica National Finance Committee on this Web site. I'm a member of that committee because I'm the WBAI LSB Treasurer.

The next WBAI LSB meeting is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, September 8, 2021, it will probably be held as a teleconference meeting, as the 24 previous public meetings were because of the pandemic.

The WBAI LSB met on Wednesday, August 11, 2021.

The LSB meeting was sort of the usual, with some grandstanding.

Before the meeting I had put out a written Treasurer's Report for all to read.

Some years ago the WBAI LSB voted to hold its regular meetings on the second Wednesday of every month, subject to change by the LSB, which gives us the following schedule:

All of these meetings are set to begin at 7:00 PM.

WBAI has a program schedule up on its Web site. The site has gotten many of the individual program pages together to provide links and such, so check it out.

Here is WBAI's current Internet stream. We can no longer tell if the stream is working without testing every possible stream. Good luck.

WBAI is archiving the programs! WBAI has permanently switched to yet another new archive Web page! This one is more baffling than the previous one. For some time I was unable to post archive blurbs, then I could, and then I couldn't again. You can take a look at it and see if I've been able to post anything on it lately. There are still some limitations, but I am assured that I can plug in the archive blurbs that were lost in the latest upgrade.

This is a link to the latest version of the official WBAI archive. The archiving software appears to have been at least partially fixed. To get to the archive of this program you can use the usual method: you'll have to click on the drop-down menu, which says Display, and find Back of the Book on that menu. We're pretty early in the list, so it shouldn't be too difficult. Once you find the program name click GO and you'll see only this Back of the Book program. Management has fixed some problems that we'd been having with the archives.

For programs before March 23, 2019, we're all out of luck. The changes that took place once WBAI Management took control of the WBAI archives seems to have wiped out all access to anything before that date in March. You'll have to click on the same drop-down menu as above, which says Display, and find Specify Date, it's the second choice from the top. You are then given a little pop-up calendar and you can choose the date of the program there. Then click GO and you'll see a list of programs that aired on that date. For those previous programs you can get the audio, but nothing else, since I can't post anything to those pages anymore. Yeah, it looks like they'll have some alternating program's name prominently there, but if you have the right date it'll be our program. Good luck.

Since the General Manager has banned Sidney Smith from WBAI he's not alternating with us on the air. As of November 2020, Back of the Book airs weekly.

Bring Back Uncle Sidney!

Our friend, fellow WBAI producer and Saddle Pal Uncle Sidney Smith has been banned from WBAI by General Manager Berthold Reimers. The General Manager will not say why. He won't even tell Sidney why he's banned! This is grossly unfair to Sidney and constitutes abuse of Staff. Why did Berthold ban Sidney?

No Taliban
No To The Taliban!

We were following the news of the Taliban taking over cities, without much or sometimes any opposition, for days. And then the Taliban took over Afghanistan on August 15, by capturing the country's capital city Kabul. That happened a lot faster than we'd thought it would. Apparently it happened a lot faster than most people thought it would, including presidential advisors. Instead of fighting and using that military equipment to defend themselves, their families and their country the Afghan government troops are reported to have simply given up in the face of Taliban fighters coming close to where they were, threw away their uniforms and tried to melt into the general population.

One of the things that must be remembered is that the Afghans have been tribal people for thousands of years. They don't identify with the nation-state called Afghanistan, they're loyal to their tribe. Nation-building was a mistake. It was mission creep of a huge dimension, and while it seems laudable to build a new nation-state based on the liberal democracies of the west, the reality was that the effort was based on serious misapprehensions regarding the bulk of the Afghan people, and of some individuals who were trusted to keep things together, and there was not a small amount of American hubris involved in the doomed effort. So when the Taliban started to move again the Afghan army faded away.

Some of the American troops who served in Afghanistan, and Iraq, are now disillusioned. They're asking what their personal and collective sacrifices were for. They wonder if it was all just a waste. Also cited is the American death toll in the war in Afghanistan of about 2,372 U.S. military deaths. I have to note that this is not the first time we've seen something like this happen. There were officially 58,220 U.S. military fatal casualties in the Viet Nam War. This current situation really is very similar otherwise.

One of the differences I see between the wart in Afghanistan and the War in the Republic of Viet Nam is that the troops deployed to Afghanistan were part of an all-volunteer military. For Viet Nam most of us were drafted. This means that the troops in Afghanistan were thoroughly indoctrinated to the military's mindset on that war. In Viet Nam a lot of us were totally cynical about the whole things before we got there. Most of us did not want to be there, and a very significant percentage of the U.S. troops in Viet Nam had a less than worshipful opinion of the military itself and of the officers in charge. When you add in the obvious corruption that we saw all the time in Viet Nam you get a lot of people who were not at all surprised that Viet Nam fell to the Communist forces from the north.

I think that the scene of Afghans running alongside that C-17 cargo plane, and then some of them still clinging to it as it took off, and then falling off will be iconic for this evacuation. The Afghans who died from falling off the plane while it was taking off and was hundreds of feet in the air included a 17 year old star soccer player. I can see the daring of youth, the belief in personal invulnerability and just plain inexperience factoring into that kid's bad decision which led to his death.

The Taliban held a press conference in the Presidential Palace of Afghanistan in Kabul. They said that they were going to be nice this time. That lie got refuted very soon. Women protested the takeover, and the Taliban shot some of them. The Taliban also fired on other protestors, killing one man. Of course LGBT+∞ people are in serious danger from the Taliban. All of these religious fanatics target gay and lesbian people. The Taliban will impose Sharia law and that provides for the death penalty for zina (adultery), although mostly women seem to get punished for heterosexual adultery, rarely men. According to a report released by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association World, consensual same-sex sexual acts can be interpreted as a form of zina. And the various religious fanatics in that part of the world do indeed freely so interpret their law based on superstitions. We've seen the Taliban, Al Quaeda and ISIS murder gay men, and lesbians, routinely and brutally in the past. Recently, a judge in central Afghanistan told the German newspaper Bild that gay men should be crushed to death by toppling walls onto them. One gay male Afghan named Adbul said, Even if the Taliban accepts a woman in the government, in school, they will never accept gay or LGBT people, he said. They will kill all of them on the spot. The group Rainbow Railroad, a non-profit that works with LGBT+∞ people in need, issued a statement that said, So far in 2021, we have received 50 requests for help originating in Afghanistan, and we anticipate an uptick in requests due to the deteriorating security situation that threatens the safety of LGBTQI+ people. The group's executive director Kimahli Powell said, LGBTQ organizing is really limited in Afghanistan for multiple reasons, including Afghanistan being in a perpetual state of war and the criminalizing of consensual same sex conduct.

I've heard variously on news reports that America spent $1 trillion and $2 trillion on the 20 year war in Afghanistan. Such a wasteful endeavor. Mission Accomplished indeed.

Huge amounts of equipment was given to the Afghan military. All of that stuff, which we the tax payers paid for, is now in the hands of the Taliban. They have an air force now. We can probably expect to see a great deal of rather up to date American military equipment showing up in the hands of the Taliban, and they'll probably sell or give some of that deadly machinery and munitions to some of their murderous religious fanatic pals.

It does need to be noted that Donald J. Trump, as President, negotiated the big troop reductions and pullout from Afghanistan with the Taliban. In fact under his agreement all American troops were supposed to have been out of Afghanistan by May 1, 2021.

sars cov-2 virus

According to the Johns-Hopkins Web site Covid-19 cases in the whole world reached 210,426,282 on Friday, and global deaths reached 4,409,707. In America the number of cases as of Friday was 37,371,011 and the death toll in America was 625,760, so 10,322 people have died of Covid-19 in America since our last program two weeks ago. That's 5,161 per week. The death rate in America has gone back up significantly this past week. The disease is still ravaging areas where vaccination rates are low. The south, and other Trump-country areas, continue to lag in vaccinations. Some southern states report that 100% of their ICU beds are taken. More than 99% of Covid-19 deaths are among those who have not been vaccinated. Interestingly, the vaccination rate has jumped in the past fortnight. Apparently a whole lot of the unvaccinated are getting vaccinated now that they're seeing other unvaccinated people getting seriously ill and in some cases dying. These will be the people who have been vaccine hesitant but not wildly anti-vaccine. About 18% of adult Americans are hard and fast against getting vaccinated. Meanwhile, breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people still only account for about 0.1% of the hospitalizations. By the time this program airs on Saturday morning all of those figures we quoted will be higher of course. And, again, this was all mostly preventable.

vaccination card

We talked about the proliferation of counterfeit and stolen CDC vaccination cards being sold. In Tennessee the feds seized shipments of thousands of fake CDC vaccine cards. They had been shipped from the so-called People's Republic of China and were en route to Florida. All sorts of counterfeit CDC vaccination cards are being sold. Quite a number of them are being counterfeited by individuals who do not speak English well at all, and so there are grammatical and spelling errors in the cards' text. And sometimes the Spanish language part of the card is full of errors. But some counterfeit cards are exact likenesses of the real cards. To make is even harder to spot a fraudulent vaccination card some of the cards being sold are not counterfeits! On TV they had one reporter going on-line and arranging to buy some blank vaccination cards. He met a guy in a parking lot and the guy sold him some cards for a total of $300. After he'd paid him the reporter asked the guy selling the vaccination cards where he got them from. They looked really good. It turned out that the reason why they looked so good was because they were real CDC blank vaccination cards! The guy selling them said he had a relative who worked in a hospital and that relative was able to swipe a whole pile of the cards and give them to him to sell. So there would really be no way for anyone to tell that the person presenting such vaccination cards hadn't been actually vaccinated.

Some people would rather pay quite a bit of money, and some cards are selling for hundreds of dollars each, for a fraudulent card when they could get one for free and get vaccinated for free into the bargain.

We talked about reports of more instances of people denouncing the vaccines and mask wearing and then dying of Covid-19. And yet there lessons just don't seem to be enough to get hard core anti-vaxxers to change their minds.

As we were preparing this radio program we heard that three United States Senators, John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Angus King (I-Maine) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) have all been vaccinated against the virus but were dealing with breakthrough cases. The damned delta variant is in some cases punching through the antibody protection that the vaccinations give a person, as we've pointed out in the past the immunology experts say that an unvaccinated person who's surrounded by vaccinated people is much safer from contracting the virus than a vaccinated person who's surrounded by unvaccinated people is.

We noted that this is the last program of mid-Summer. Late Summer will start on Sunday, August 22, at 6:32 AM (ET).

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 open list that no longer exists was the WBAI specific Goodlight Web based message board. It was sometimes referred to on Back of the Book as the bleepin' blue board, owing to the blue background that was used on its Web pages. This one had many people posting anonymously and there was also an ancillary WBAI people board that was just totally out of hand.

In June 2012, I ended up having to salvage the bleepin' blue board, and so I was the moderator on it for its last seven years, until it got too expensive.

Sometimes we used to 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 used to alternate with us, has a blog these days. You can reach his blog here.

There used to be a number of mailing lists related to Pacifica and WBAI. Unfortunately, they were all located on Yahoo! Groups. When Yahoo! Groups was totally shut down in December 2020, all of those mailing lists ceased to exist. One year earlier their file sections and archives of E-mails, had been excised leaving only the ability to send E-mails back and forth among the members. Now it's all gone. Older Back of the Book program Web pages tell a little more about those lists.

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