Back of the Book — June 18, 2022

Here are the main topics we covered on this radio program. You may find that that guy Luttig makes a lot more sense when he's edited. I may add one more thing to this Web page, but it's mostly done now.

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 that you can listen to and maybe even participate in will be held on Wednesday July 13, 2022, at 7 PM on ZOOM, even though ZOOM compromises privacy and security. This meeting will be held as a teleconference meeting, as the 37 previous public meetings were because of the pandemic.

The WBAI LSB met on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. We finally got to those really, really important agenda items that some people have been pressing the LSB to deal with. They were not so important seeming when we got to hear what people wanted to say about them.

Before the June 8, 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, so we have the following schedule:

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?

The Sun
Summer Arrives Tuesday!

The Summer Solstice is nearly upon us! The Summer Solstice will occur this Tuesday morning June 21, at 5:14 AM (ET). And we're having some nice days now and we should have a whole bunch of nice days coming up. Our next program will be in the Summer! I have more about the dates of the seasons and sub-seasons elsewhere on this Web site.

SARS-CoV-2 virus
Fewer Deaths, Still Here

According to the Johns-Hopkins Web site COVID-19 cases in the whole world reached 538,259,898 on Friday, and global deaths reached 6,316,774. In America the number of cases as of Friday was 86,154,497 and the death toll in America was 1,012,892, so 1,834 people have died of COVID-19 in America since our last program one week ago. This week's death toll is once again significantly lower than last week's. The pandemic is not over, even though a lot of people are behaving as if it were. That's a lower figure, but it's still a lot of people dying of this disease in one week.

By the time this program airs on Saturday morning all of those figures we quoted will be higher of course. This was all mostly preventable.

Dr. Anthony Fauci tested positive for COVID on Wednesday morning. He's well known as America's top infectious disease expert and now he's battling mild symptoms, according to the National Institutes of Health. He tested positive on a rapid antigen test.

Bitcoin stack

On this program we talked some more about cryptocurrencies in general and Bitcoin in particular. On a a couple of previous programs we've talked about how some cyber-criminals had gotten snagged by law enforcement because they thought that Bitcoin was oh so anonymous. It wasn't and they're in prison. In a segment largely informed by an article in a recent issue of the Science Times we talked about data scientist Alyssa Blackburn and computer scientist Erez Lieberman Aiden publishing their research into Bitcoin in particular.

The scientists examined Bitcoin's early years and teased information out of the very blockchain that some people have been asserting, and in some cases counting on, being opaque to prying eyes and a guarantor of anonymity. The scientists discovered that the early adopters were very few, in fact for the first couple of years there were only 64 key Bitcoin miners operating at any one time. And the guy who had invented Bitcoin, who went by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto was able to use flaws in the source code of Bitcoin to keep tabs on all of the miners! Satoshi Nakamoto was a pseudonym, the name might even refer to a group of people acting in concert. Makamoto was referred to as Agent 1 by the scientists, they said that when the flaw in the source code that allowed him/them to monitor Bitcoin mining activities was fixed he/they bailed out and that particular person or group has not been heard from again. For the Nakamoto entity there really was anonymity. For those who followed, not so much.

Apparently the Bitcoin blockchain, the ledger that's used to keep track of Btcoin and show who owns what, is more than 324 GB in size. That's a part of why now it's so energy consuming to generate new Bitcoin.

One of the things that stuck out in the research that the two scientists did on Bitcoin was that the crufty old structures of economics asserted themselves. Bitcoin rapidly gave rise to a class of more successful and wealthier Bitcoin miners and a class composed of those who were significantly less successful. And all of the things that are known to happen in unregulated economies started showing up in Bitcoin, except that most people never realized it.

Getting Out!

One amusing story the scientists related was that a small cryptocurrency was initiated at their university. It was used to buy snacks from a student-run store. In pretty short order the more successful cryptocurrency miners were bidding up the prices of the snacks they liked, and other students were not at all pleased. Apparently the last straw for the limited cryptocurrency came when that store started to charge in that cryptocurrency to use the coffee machine.

With the current big movements in the world economy some cryptocurrency brokers and exchanges have suspended operation. People who invested real money in Bitcoin, etc. are getting hammered. Some are trying to get out of the game all together. And that's further depressing the Bitcoin market. And getting out can result in quite a loss of real money by the unfortunate investor.

U.S. Capitol Building

We watched the January 6, Committee hearings. This John Eastman guy needs to go to prison along with Donnie Bonespur Trump. We now know that both Eastman and Trump absolutely knew that Pence could not legally do what they wanted him to do to reverse the results of the 2020, election. It's interesting that a bad guy like Pence was in a position like that and actually did the right thing. Humans can be interesting.

In an amusing part of the hearing it came out that Rudy Giuliani was loaded on the night of the 2020, election. This stupid movie 2000 mules was laughed about; I read about it and it really sounds ridiculous, its premise certainly is.

This Judge Luttig guy is a right-winger but he at least understands that it's possible for the United States of America to come apart if the current Republican lust for power is allowed to go as far as Trump and others want it to. I think he doesn't want a second Civil War. He's a pretty bad public speaker, in my opinion, pausing for what sounds like an enormous amount of time between phrases, and sometimes even a single word. I don't know, maybe he has a medical problem. He gave a warning that Trump and his allies are not done yet. He says that they are planning to try another coup to reverse the results of the 2024, presidential election if it doesn't go their way. I thought that his warning was important enough to include in this program. I edited what he said, removing those long silences, and one uh. The final audio clip is less than half the size it had originally been. But what he said is a warning to take heed of.

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.

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

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