Friday, April 12, 2013


It is Prison Friday at Scission and we return to our roots with this update on Prisoner of War Norberto Gonzalez Claudio.  It is one day less then a year since my last post about this man which you can read here.

Norberto has spent that year, of course, behind bars and being subject to lousy treatment of all sorts.  That doesn't stop as the post below will show.

Yes, here in the land that loves to spend its time accusing everyone else in the world of human rights violations, the human rights violations go on unaccounted for and with no shame whatsoever.  They don't happen, if the USA says they don't and the USA says they don't.

We know otherwise.  We cannot sit still when those who have dedicated their lives to the struggle for social justice, economic emancipation,  and in the case of Norberto, for the freedom and independence of his homeland, Puerto Rico.

Scission join a host of others in denouncing the inhuman treatment Norberto is currently receiving and we, too, demand that he receive the medical care and attention which is his right.

The following is from People of Color Organize.

Norberto Gonzalez Denied Medical Care

The Committee to Support Avelino and Norberto González Claudio, The Caribbean and Latin American Coordinating Committee of Puerto Rico, The Human Rights Committee of Puerto Rico, The Resistance Collective, The Socialist Front, The New School, The Movement for Socialism, The National Hostosiano Independence Movment, The Socialist Movement of Workers, The Puerto Rican Independence Party of Puerto Rico, The Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico, and The Revolutionary Party of Puerto Rican Workers-Macheteros, and The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign in New York City announce that during the opening of the Festival for Claridad Newspaper in Puerto Rico, they will launch a campaign to denounce the inhuman treatment that political prisoner Norberto González Claudio is currently receiving and to demand that he receive urgently needed medical attention. The aforementioned organizations will request that the House and Senate of Puerto Rico approve the concurrent Resolution 500, that has been presented by Senator María de Lourdes Santiago in the legislature.

Norberto González Claudio was arrested May 10, 2011, for an expropriation that was carried out by the Macheteros (Machete Wielders) in 1983 in Harford, Connecticut, as part of the struggle for the Independence of Puerto Rico. At the time of his arrest Norberto was in an excellent state of health and was wearing an orthopedic show. In the course of his detention it was “discovered” that Norberto had a lesion in his leg that a biopsy established was cancerous.

His orthopedic shoe was taken away, they refused to provide him with one and they have prevented his family from providing him with another one. The little medical attention to treat the cancerous lesion has been limited and deficient and it has also been revealed that he has not received any treatment for yet another lesion that is potentially cancerous.

At present, Norberto is in the process of being transferred to an institution where he will complete his sentence. It has been the custom of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to submit it’s Puerto Rican political prisoners to lengthy and discriminatory processes of transfer during which they are sent from prison to prison for long periods of time.

In this process they are kept incommunicado from their families, their lawyers and they are denied the most minimum medical attention and the medications that they have been prescribed. We recall the treatment that Avelino González Claudio, Norbertos’ brother and comrade in struggle, who was also arrested in excellent health and was released suffering from Parkinsons Disease, was denied medications, suffering from a possible tumor in his back — that they refused to treat.

The absence of medical evaluation and treatment for cancerous lesions and the denial of an orthopedic shoe, clearly place the life of Norberto González Claudio in danger.

We hereby denounce these flagrant violations of the human rights of this patriot and announce the commencement of a petition campaign to bring a halt to this abuse.

Elda Santiago, Wife of Norberto González Claudio, (787) 479-0730
Benjamin Ramos, ProLibertad NYC, 718-601-4751

Thursday, April 11, 2013


People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey 

When is a "listener sponsored, free speech "radio station not so much a free speech, and certainly not a listener guided radio station?  Apparently when it is KPFA out in San Francisco.  For it seems even on a "listener sponsored, free speech " radio station there are just some things the people should not say, especially if it is embarrassing for management people, as it were.  The strange, well not so much really, case of JR. Valrey all began with this show on February 6, 2013 on KPFA when JR had this to say, on the air, live....

I want to say Happy Black History Month! Although KPFA will not be honoring black History this month due to the fact that they have a fund drive for three of the four weeks. I don't know why don't they split the fund drive with Women's Month -- Black History Month. I don't know that they do this to any other group of people and disrespect any other group of people like this. 

Another thing that's disrespectful that I want to put out on the airwaves is that February 17 is the birthday of the late great Huey P. Newton, who is one half of the founders, he is half of the founders of the black panther party. Him and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party in October of 1966. On that particular day, February 16, KPFA will be honoring a white woman. You know, they will be honoring a white woman. Sasha Lilley of "Against the Grain" will be reading from her book. I don't how that's being done in Black History Month, but it is. So, what we're going to do is: We're gonna have a community meeting outside of her event. We're gonna have a town hall meeting outside due to the fact that Andrew Phillips refuses -- he's the General Manager of KPFA -- he refuses to address these issues dealing with the anti-black Jim Crow climate at KPFA. 

So what I want all of the listeners and people who appreciate the "Block Report" to do is to come to the meeting out of the event on February seventeenth, and we're going to have a meeting outside the event where Sasha Lilley is speaking. Why did we pick Sasha Lilley? We picked Sasha Lilley because she is the former Program Director of KPFA -- in2008 she was the number two person at the station when veteran broadcaster Nadra Foster was beat. Beat! Lost her baby, had a paralyzed hand and kicked between her legs and kicked in the head after another manager at KPFA lied and said that she was trespassing. 

So we going to come on February seventeen. And we're going to address Andrew Phillips and also, Summer, the Executive Director of Pacifica, and ask them: Why are you having this event during Black History Month? Why is Bob Baldock, who organizes for these events to happen, why is he not bringing black speakers? And why is KPFA not doing what the FCC mandates it to do: having community meetings so that the listeners can be heard, since you are the ones that 's paying the bills. 

Another that I want to make a point, in talking about Sasha Lilley, is that on January 8 ,if you go to the show "Against the Grain," there were two f-words that were dropped on some tape during Sasha Lilley's broadcast. Now what's important about that is that you are -- we are risking when any time you dropped the f-words. You are risking a $300,000 penalty by the FCC. So this woman is, I haven't seen anything, she hasn't been punished. But when she was in power, and Youth Radio in downtown Oakland -- a non-profit which consists of a lot of black and brown youth, including me, Wesley who's at the boards right now, Dev, Nora Barrows-Friedman. Lots of people have come through Youth Radio. Youth Radio was taken off the air. Off the air -- not suspended -- taken off the air forever by Sasha Lilley and her administration because she was the Program Director in 2008. But we see how you know there's a right way to do things, there's a wrong way to do things, and at KPFA there's a white way to do things. So there's three categories- the right way the wrong way and the white way. 

So during Black History I'm gonna make sure that we have things that make you say hmmm, hmmm. We're gonna talk about lot of these issues. And we want you to share your commentary with Andrew Phillips. I have a few more bombs that I'm gonna end up dropping. You can share your commentary directly with Andrew Philips. 

You can copy me, if you like. My email is blockreportradio(at) Andrew's is andrew(at) Also you can hit Andrew on the phone at (510) 848-6767, ext 203. 

I want you guys to call him. But also email so that I have a record of what the listeners who pay the bills, what they want at this station. And that we have a record that our black listeners as well as our allies who are listening are not with this Jim Crow thing. 

Now a problem that I have with the fund drive is that my show in particular -- the Wednesday edition of the "Morning Mix" -- we've raised $40,000 in the last year and a half. Our show hasn't been given a penny of support. Everything comes out of my pocket. I don't have a car to get here in the morning Catch the BART. Catch the bus. Not a dollar out of that $40,000 was given to me, or to anybody else that are part of the unpaid staff. We are being used as chattel slavery to prop-up the paid staff in their mediocre broadcasting. 

Now some of you are saying: Why JR are you saying this on the air right now? Why are you not working for some kind of a peaceful resolution? We've been trying to come to a peaceful resolution, I should say revolution because that's what it's turning into. We've been doing this for over two months, I've been trying to meet with the Executive Director of Pacifica who's been blowing me off. 

We met with Andrew on an issue dealing with Michael Yoshida, the head engineer at KPFA. Michael Yoshida on the day after Black Media Appreciation day November 27 or 28, barged into the studio where I was recording a breaking interview about the Congo and the war that has claimed over six million lives in Africa, which isn't covered adequately by the news here, or by most of the shows with the exception of Walter Turner and "Hard Knock Radio." 

So we were getting ready to break the interview. I did not get a chance to ever air the interview because Michael Yoshida busted into the studio, cut off my guest who was live on the air from Africa, and erased the interview. Because I was five minutes late coming out of the studio. 

Now I tried to keep this kind of calm. And for two months I tried to meet with Andrew --some sort of due process. Michael Yoshida they put soft ban on me at the station where you need codes to get into KPFA. All of my codes have been cut out. I don't have a code to get into the building, if it weren't for the black broadcasters and our allies who've been moving more secretly in making sure that I have codes, because every time Michael Yoshida and Andrew Phillips realize that I have a code, they erase the code, and so a number of broadcasters have given me codes to get in, as well as has given me codes so that I can get into the pre-record studios. So that's going on at KPFA. I know that Andrew Phillips, the General Manager, got on here and lied about the three top black woman last year at KPFA or Pacifica -- who've either been let go as in the case of LaVarn Williams at Pacifica, her contract not renewed, who fought for black broadcasters. Carrie, Carrie Core, who was the Program Director who left in April and is quoted as saying: "KPFA is the most racist, sexist, classist place that [she has] ever worked in [her] life." 

I mean this woman is like her fifties. So she can remember kind of like the Jim Crow era, and stuff like this  .But when I say apartheid radio, pertaining to KPFA, this isn't a tongue in cheek kind of criticism. This is what is really going on. Now the last person I wanted to mention is Veronica Faisant. She is an assistant to the manager right now. She does managerial work, but they claim that she is not a manager. And also, Andrew Phillips is planning to cut her hours during Black History Month and give them to the whites show that comes on before us "Up Front." I mean that's what's going on Black History Month. And I know Andrew is going to come up here and lie and give some justification. I'm saying that you can contact me blckreportradio(at)gmail and we can talk about this .You can also call Veronica Faisant and talk to her personally. Her phone number is (510) 848-6767 ext 209, if you would like to talk to her to discuss: is this true? 

Also last but not least I need to bring up the point in dealing with Walter Turner, who was leading the black broadcasters against Andrew Phillip's decision to cut off veteran broadcaster Emmit Powell, who has the only Gospel show on KPFA. They took one hour and gave it go to the "Father Figure Show," led by white celebrity Adam Mansbach, as well former KPFA "Hard Knock Radio" host Weyland Southon. Now I know that fatherhood show is a good show but why did the hour have to be gentrified from black programming which already doesn't have enough. So enough of the tirade but we want you guys to call in (510) 848-6767 ext 203 for Andrew Phillips, Veronica Faisant is ext 209, JR is at blckreportradio(at), Andrew is at andrew(at) 

Also, I would like you to cc Summer, who is the Executive Director of Pacifica, at summer(at), and demand that she has a meeting to discuss these anti-black policies that are going on not just in the past at KPFA, not just in the 50s or 60s. I'm talking about in 2013. I'm talking about yesterday, today, tomorrow. 

Also, there's a plan to preempt us, two weeks from now, and probably let Brian Edwards-Tiekert, their favorite golden boy, you know, preempt the "Morning Mix," and let him do the broadcasting for us, or they'll put on some BS so that they can make a lot of money, instead of actually trying to culture and work with our audience. 

Before I want to say radio is a human right, not a privilege. The manager walks around the station saying being on the radio is a privilege. No, Andrew, it is a human right. If white people have access to the radio to teach what they think is important and their culture and their history, then every one else should have also. The native Americans should. The Asians should. The Latinos should. Black people should. I mean Andrew I don't know where you come from. Actually I do know where you come from. You come from Australia where there's also Jim Crow in dealing with the Aborigines. 

So, I don't know why you would think this is a privilege when people are not even versed on the problems at the station. Radio is a human right, Andrew Phillips! 

The rest is, as they say, history...

But the best may be yet to come...

The following is from San Francisco Bay View.

Note: Some of the post below is almost a month old, and some it is right now...It is all yours for free...(and I am not even a reader sponsored, self proclaimed totally free speech blog)...

Bring JR back to KPFA now!

Join KPFA’s Black and other broadcasters of color and unpaid staff for a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, April 11, 6 p.m., in Laney College Student Center Room 401, fourth floor, 900 Fallon St., Oakland

Introduction by SF Bay View publisher Willie Ratcliff

For the third week in a row, one of the largest audiences for any show on KPFA was disappointed not to hear the People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey and his Block Report on the air Wednesday at 8 a.m. Instead we heard an announcement by interim general manager Andrew Phillips that JR has been suspended. Getting punished for doing “too well” happens to Black folks much too often.

It’s an echo of Reconstruction, that brief period 150 years ago following the Emancipation Proclamation when, within three years of winning the vote, Blacks had won 15 percent of all elected offices in the South. With Black progress measured in one step forward and two steps back, however, the payback for such audacity continues to this day.

Like the intrusion of Blacks into the hallowed halls of Congress, the intrusion of JR, a young Black man from the hood, into KPFA’s prime drive time has been met with resentment, yet his show has been a success by any measure. JR, a volunteer, unpaid host at KPFA whose show costs the station nothing, has raised $50,000 for the station’s paid staff during his short stint as a drive time host.

KPFA is worth fighting for. Its 59,000 watts reach millions in Northern and Central California, yet its audience – except for JR’s show and others that speak boldly for the voiceless – is shrinking. With hosts who draw thousands of new listeners, as JR does, KPFA can free the minds of the masses to resolve the conflicts that are killing us and our world.

In my six years on the KPFA Local Station Board, I heard countless complaints of racism. Racism, practiced with impunity by some of the paid staff, has lost KPFA many excellent broadcasters of color. Like theirs, JR’s complaints have been ignored, while the complaints filed against JR by the Communications Workers of America, the union representing KPFA’s mostly white paid staff, are the excuse for his suspension.

Yet JR refuses to leave, and the rest of KPFA’s Black and other broadcasters of color – and many more – are rallying around him. Please join them by:

  1. signing the two petitions that are circulating,
    • one below (add your signature by emailing and
    • another online at – click HERE – and
  2. attending the Town Hall Meeting, where everyone can speak out, on Thursday, April 11, 6 p.m., at Laney College, 900 Fallon St., Oakland, in Student Center Room 401 (details below).

Petition to end the suspension of JR Valrey from KPFA

We are requesting that KPFA management rescind its decision to suspend JR Valrey from the Morning Mix. Management’s decision to suspend Mr. Valrey without providing a fair hearing is a violation of his fundamental due process rights.

Mr. Valrey has made several complaints to KPFA management about abusive conduct by some KPFA paid station staff members. None of the people he has complained about have been suspended.

On Feb. 28, 2013, Mr. Valrey was suspended from the Morning Mix show for allegedly “creating a hostile working environment.” Suspending him without due process is inconsistent with Pacifica’s mission and contrary to past practices. Additionally, several other staff members have made comments on the air dealing with internal politics that often were not exactly “fair and balanced” and upset other staff, but they did not get suspended.

The suspension of 60 days for Mr. Valrey pending an investigation is punishment without determination of guilt. Mr. Valrey is not accused of any criminal act or violence at the station. Therefore, the suspension of Mr. Valrey in the absence of a complete investigation of the allegations against him, and a fair due process hearing, is an unfair punishment and, thus, a violation of his rights as an unpaid staff member at KPFA, according to the UPSO (UnPaid Staff Organization) bylaws.

We are requesting that Mr. Valrey be reinstated back on the Morning Mix. Additionally, we ask that this and any other disputes between Mr. Valrey and any other staff at KPFA be resolved with proper investigation and due process prior to any punishment.

Signers (add your signature by emailing

Willie Ratcliff, publisher, SF Bay View, and former member, KPFA Local Station Board
Mary Ratcliff, editor, SF Bay View
Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman and 2008 Green Party presidential candidate
Gerald Smith, labor activist and former member, KPFA Local Station Board (petition author)
Davey D, host, Hard Knock Radio, KPFA
Walter Turner, host, Africa Today, KPFA
Greg Bridges, host, Transitions on Traditions, KPFA, KCSM, Reflections in Rhythm
Jared Ball, WPFW host,
Tim Killings, Laney Black Student Union (author of the online petition)
Rebel Diaz, Rebel Diaz Arts Collective, The Bronx
Don DeBar,, Community Progressive Radio
Gerald Perreira, Black Consciousness Movement Guyana (BCMG) and African Revolutionary Movement (ARM)
Taiwo Kujichagulia-Seitu, Lyric Dance and Vocal Ensemble
Thandisizwe Chimurenga, KPFK host
Kevin Epps, filmmaker, deYoung Fine Arts Museum artist fellow
Donald E. Lacy, LoveLife Foundation, KPOO host
Anita Woodley, actor, Princess Dragon Productions, LLC
James D. Calhoun, ElevenFour Productions
Maya Garcia, aka Ms. B, Gemstone and Block Report Radio crew
Stan Woods, former member, KPFA Local Station Board and KPFA Program Council
Oriana Ides, ARISE High School
Anita Lopez, KPFA supporter and listener
Jessica Gelay, KPFA listener and supporter, Berkeley native
Jacob Crawford,
Anushka Baltes
Asatah J, former KPFA listener and educator
Malcolm Chu, community organizer, Springfield, Mass.
Lyla Bugara, KPFA listener and organizer
Tracie D. Moreland
Virginia Browning
Jodi Tsapis, youth and community worker, San Francisco
Coriander Melious, Special Education teacher, Oakland Technical High School FADA Campus
J.B. Gerald and J. Maas, Gerald and Maas, Ottawa
Henry Peters, former KPFA broadcaster, Michigan
Mara Rivera, KPFA listener supporter
Khari Toure, listener and spoken word artist
Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi, Clenched Fist Productions
Moises Galvan, listener supporter
K Moon Howe, KPFA supporter and listener
Mary Berg, long time KPFA broadcaster, supporter and advocate
Kiana Davis, KPFA listener
Kevin Weston, principle at KwestOn Media
Malaika H Kambon, photojournalist and former programmer at KPFA
Steve Martinot, college professor
Charles Brown, IBEW
Jack Heyman, ILWU
Richard Phelps, attorney, mediator, former member and chair, KPFA Local Station Board
Lisa ‘Tiny’ Gray-Garcia, Poor News Network, KPFA broadcaster
Tony Robles, Poor News Network, KPFA broadcaster
Elbert ‘Big Man’ Howard, former editor of The Black Panther newspaper, founding member of PACH (Police Accountability Clinic and Helpline), jazz host and board member of KWTF 88.1FM
Carole Hyams Howard, nurse, founding member of PACH (Police Accountability Clinic and Helpline), board member of KWTF 88.1FM
San Francisco Green Party
Rich Stone, SF Green Party County Council, SF Labor Council APWU Delegate
John-Marc Chandonia, SF Green Party County Council
Rev. Sandra Decker, SF Green Party
Ann Garrison, KPFA Evening News reporter, WBAI AfrobeatRadio producer
Adam Hudson, independent journalist, writer and photographer
DM Moore, dedicated listener and supporter of JR Valrey’s journalism and radio program
Bill Carpenter, videographer, retired adjunct instructor at City College of SF
Galen Kusic, editor, River News-Herald and Isleton Journal, Rio Vista, Calif.
Leo Stegman, writer
Peter Byrne, independent journalist
Terrell Baker
Russell Albans, better known as Eesuu, the artist
Mikela McFly of Block Report Radio, former KPFA listener
Rashida Petrovich
Mona Hall
George Pope
Claude Gatebuke
Susan Rahman, KPFA listener
Mona Hall

My thoughts on JR’s suspension by KPFA

by Steve Martinot

JR Valrey was suspended from his Wednesday 8-9 a.m. show on KPFA for having made public statements on the radio about what was going on in the station. He made these statements on Feb. 8. There was no gag rule he was violating.

He raised two issues at that time. The first was that Sasha Lilley, a host of KPFA’s Against the Grain, was being given an award by the station during Black History Month. Lilley is white. JR criticized the station management for having chosen that time to give a white person an award. It could have been done any other time of the year, and a Black person could have been recognized by the station during that month.

The other issue he raised was what had happened to him at the hands of Michael Yoshida some time in December. He was in the studio, recording an interview by long distance phone, with someone in the Congo, speaking about what was going on in the Congo, which has become a very dire situation. He was putting together this show because he felt that KPFA News was not sufficiently covering the Congo situation, and he wanted to make up the deficit.

During the course of these interviews, his use of the studio went beyond the time period for which he had reserved it. Michael Yoshida came in, informed him that he was in the studio illegitimately, broke the phone connection of the interview, and erased the tapes that JR had made.

JR did not put Yoshida in the hospital at that moment. I have nothing but awe for his self-restraint.

JR complained to Andrew Phillips, the station’s interim general manager. Andrew did nothing about it. JR waited two months, reminded Andrew that there was a problem several times, and finally said what he had to say about it on the radio. Yoshida was not suspended for having destroyed JR’s work. But JR is suspended for what he has to say about what Yoshida did.

The union is calling for JR to be suspended permanently. Yoshida is part of the union bargaining unit, and JR is not because he is unpaid staff. The unpaid staff is the majority of the workers in that station. Those who are in the union bargaining unit – paid staff – refuse to include them. I think that would satisfy anyone’s definition of elitism.

In supporting Yoshida in his attack on JR – to destroy a person’s work is to attack him – and in attacking JR in turn by calling for his separation from the station, the union and its membership, to the extent they agree with the union, demonstrate their elitism in practice.

Why is this an example of white supremacy? Because the union claims that what JR was saying in his broadcast about the harassment he has been receiving at the station, which he claims is on a racial basis – he gives statistics – is itself a racist attack on the station.

Now, racism is a system and structure of oppression. It is not possible for Black people to systematically and structurally oppress white people in this society, let alone an institution. Racism, which occurs in the U.S. as an element of a system of white domination of people of color, is thus an expression of white supremacy. (If anyone needs more elaborate discussion and reasoning on this, please see me and we can go over it.)

One of the privileges and prerogatives of white supremacy in its force of domination is its self-entitlement to accuse and convict its victims of what it does to them. The supremacism of whiteness also entitles whites in their own eyes to proclaim themselves innocent of such things as domination, and see any objection to the way they treat other people as arrogance and aggression.

And for white supremacists, if that resistance, which it sees as arrogance and aggressiveness, is racial in character because in resistance to racial oppression, then that resistance is what constitutes racism for it. Rebellion against racial oppression is seen as aggression, against which white supremacy decriminalizes its continued attacks as self-defense. For the union to claim that what JR said on the radio is racist is testimony to the union assuming just that kind of entitlement for itself, a way of silencing the anger of the oppressed.

JR is a militant Black voice that is being suppressed. As a militant Black voice, he played an important role in the station.

Steve Martinot, who teaches at the Center for Interdisciplinary Programs at San Francisco State University, is the author of “The Rule of Racialization: Class, Identity, Governance.” He has edited two previous books and translated “Racism” by Albert Memmi. He can be reached at

Regarding Minister of Information JR Valrey’s suspension from KPFA

by Galen Kusic
The recent suspension of JR Valrey from KPFA has sparked great interest in the surrounding region as to why his show is currently off the air. I am writing a piece on free speech and freedom of the press, and this ties into it.

Block Report Radio provides an outlet for truth, innovation, honesty and community like few radio shows ever have. This groundbreaking style of radio is one that should be studied and emulated for the current generation and those in the future.

To strike one of the purest forms of free speech from the airwaves is daunting. Why? What is the explanation?

As an advocate for free speech, freedom of the press and the obligation that public radio has to its listeners, I request Block Report Radio be put back on the air.

Galen Kusic, editor at the River News-Herald and Isleton Journal, based in Rio Vista, Calif., can be reached

More notable comments

JR does valuable work representing a very underserved and underrepresented segment of our society. Bring him back to the Morning Mix and the KPFA airwaves. – Greg Bridges, KPFA, KCSM

As a Green, anti-war vet and Labor Council delegate and activist, I proudly submit my name to your petition in order to reinstate JR to the KPFA and the morning Block Report show. – In solidarity, Rich Stone, SF Green Party County Council, SF Labor Council APWU Delegate

Here is my signature supporting the petition to reinstate JR. He discusses issues concerning African Americans that mainstream media do not. – Kiana Davis, KPFA Listener

I strongly support KPFA and most all of the programs. I listen to David D and to Minister of Information JR. I consider it vital to the KPFA audience for JR’s program to be back on the air as soon as possible. I love the programs and most of all love all the voices and FREE speech radio with no stupidity from mainstream media propaganda. Long live KPFA and long live JR and the Block Report. – Moises Galvan

We are requesting that KPFA management rescind its decision to suspend JR Valrey from the Morning Mix. Management’s decision to suspend Mr. Valrey without providing a fair hearing is a violation of his fundamental due process rights. – Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi, Clenched Fist Productions

Please add my name to the list. JR is one of the ONLY reasons I listen to KPFA. – Coriander Melious, Special Education Teacher, Oakland Technical High School F.A.D.A. Campus

Please add my name to the petition to bring JR back to KPFA. This is an unjust horror that flies in the face of what’s right and KPFA’s supposed principles. – Lyla Bugara, KPFA listener and organizer with

Please bring my cousin back. There are a lot of people who listen for him. – Terrell Baker

I’d say hell yes bring JR back. KPFA is supposed to report community news? Who else can do this but people who know the community from the inside. I think that this is its highest mission. Reminds me of the squeezing out of Nora Barrows Friedman. She too got out there to report whats being done to the Palestinians only to be shunted impolitely off of Flashpoints. Those so-called union as a chastening rod types do their best to drive community reporters off the air and run up attorneys’ fees which they fully expect KPFA contributors to pay for. – George Pope, San Mateo, Calif., and Kokrobite, Ghana

Please add my name to the KPFA petition in support of JR Valrey. I love his radio program and the content needs to be heard! – Jodi Tsapis, Youth and Community Worker in San Francisco

There should be clear language on what can or cannot be said on the air about in-station issues, then punishment should be dealt out equally to all who violate these rules – not just JR. That would not be fair. Why are you choosing to punish one person for shedding light on our issues and still others go unpunished for their defiance of the rules and continue to broadcast like nothing ever happened? Don’t let the decision to suspend JR stand and allow him to broadcast. – Franklin Sterling, KPFA Local Station Board staff representative

I camped out at KPFA during the lockout and support JR Valreys return to the airwaves immediately. – Leo Stegman

KPFA’s Black and other broadcasters of color and unpaid staff host Town Hall Meeting at Laney College

Join KPFA’s Black and other broadcasters of color and unpaid staff for a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, April 11, 6 p.m., in Laney College Student Center Room 401, fourth floor, 900 Fallon St., Oakland, to talk about:

  1. The arbitrary suspension of Black broadcaster JR Valrey from the Morning Mix, without due process, as well as the consistently racist treatment of other broadcasters and staff of color in the recent past, including Nadra Foster, Carrie Core, Miguel Gavilan Molina and more. Come tell your story!
  2. KPFA/Pacifica’s use of a two-tier system to deal with the paid and unpaid staff. At KPFA, 80 percent of the broadcasters are unpaid; the 20 percent who are paid use up all of the resources, although all broadcasters must raise funds. The unpaid staff have NO say in decisions about the budget, hiring, office allocation etc.
  3. No Program Council at KPFA. The Program Council used to be a group of one third listeners, one third broadcasters and one third management that evaluated shows and recommended changes to the programming grid. In ‘08-’09, former Program Director Sasha Lilley, a host of Against the Grain radio show, abolished the Program Council, effectively ridding KPFA of listeners’ and broadcasters’ participation in programming decisions.
  4. No grievance process. KPFA lacks a process to address grievances from the unpaid staff in a timely manner.
  5. Pacifica and KPFA management’s selective enforcement of the rules. Unpaid staff are penalized, while paid staff, for the same infractions, are not even addressed, let alone punished.
  6. The pseudo-union CWA (Communications Workers of America), which represents only the 20 percent of the staff that are paid, and not all paid staff support it. It effectively controls the station and runs it into the ground, for the benefit of the entrenched paid staff.

The Town Hall will feature Gerald Smith, formerly of the KPFA Local Station Board, Frank Sterling of the current Local Station Board, Tracy Rosenberg of the Pacifica Natonal Board and the “suspended” People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey of Block Report Radio. Bring your stories, suggestions and support.

For more info, call the SF Bay View newspaper at (415) 671-0789.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


chavka fulman raban
Chavka delivered her speech on Yom Ha’Shoah

Amongst my collective heroes are all those who fought in the Warsaw Ghetto against the Nazis.  The post below will help explain (as if it needs explaining) why.

The following is from Tikum-Olam.

Last of Warsaw Ghetto Survivors Calls for Rebellion Against Israeli Occupation


On Yom Ha-Shoah, one of the few remaining living survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto, Chavka Fulman-Raban, delivered a fierce denunciation of evil and injustice, including the Israeli Occupation.  Her speech was offered to guests at the ceremony of Beit Lohamey Ha-Getaot (the Ghetto-Fighters House).

I’ve translated it based on the speech she uploaded to Facebook:

There is a unity in this commemoration–70 years since the [Warsaw Ghetto] Rebellion.  We’re also nearing the end of the Shoahgeneration and the last of the [ghetto] fighters.  Most of you in front of me, you are the generations of continuity: the second, third and fourth generations.  I have mixed emotions and thoughts about the past, present, and future.

I will tell you about one experience from that time.  Spring 1942.  I was a courier for an underground operation.  I arrived to visit my friend from the youth movement, Dror Bachrubishov, in occupied eastern Poland very close to the Nazis.

I stood in the small railroad station and from the window I could make out, on a field next to the railroad tracks, a great multitude, thousands of men, women, and children.  Overseeing them were Germans running wild on horseback.  A few meters from me, through the window, I saw four boys digging a hole.  The soldiers shot them and they fell into it.  The next morning the field was empty.  At night, the trains had gone on their way: to the camps, to death.

chavka fulman raban
Chavka’s family: her mother survived the war. Marek and Vuk died as resistance fighters.
These were the moments at which I understood and which I feared: this is the beginning of the end.  This is the Shoah.  With this terrible truth, I returned to the Warsaw ghetto, to my family which remained there, to my comrades.

The [Warsaw Ghetto] rebellion became for us [at that moment] necessary and clear.  We continued educational activities and seminars, the underground school and newspapers.  It was important to strengthen the sad, dying ghetto youth.

But at this point, it became most important to find weapons sources.  The deportation of 300,000 Warsaw Jews to Treblinka in the summer of 1942 strengthened us and determined for us that the last battle–the armed rebellion–neared.  That it must break out.

On April 19 1943, seventy years ago, the first rebellion in occupied Europe broke out–the Jewish rebellion.  I wasn’t part of it.  As a courier, I had been arrested during resistance operations in Kharkov and had been brought to Auschwitz a number of months earlier.

All of my nearest, most beloved comrades fought from the rooftops, in the fires, from the bunkers.  Most of them perished.  I hurts me that I can no longer remember all their names.  We memorialize only a few.  But in my heart I am not parted from them, from the forgotten.

Leave in your hearts and memories a place for them, younger generations.  For the beautiful and bold, so young, who fell in the last battle.  I wish for the thousands of you before me, lives enriched with love, beauty, laughter, and meaning.

Continue the rebellion.  A different rebellion of the here and now against evil, even the evil befalling our own and only beloved country.  Rebel against racism and violence and hatred of those who are different.  Against inequality, economic gaps, poverty, greed and corruption.

Strengthen humanistic education and values of ethics and justice.  These too are [a form of] rebellion against alcoholism among our youth and the terrible phenomenon of attacks against the elderly.

Rebel against the Occupation. No–it is forbidden for us to rule over another people, to oppress another [people].  The most important thing is to achieve peace and an end to the cycle of blood[letting].  My generation dreamed of peace.  I so want to achieve it.  You have the power to help.  All my hopes are with you.  If only [you could].

I am so proud to share a religion and ethnic identity with this woman.  She represents the best of all that is Jewish.  She represents the best of all that is Israeli.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013


Let's start this off with a nice little quote from Vladimir Putin I ran across on Clarissa's Blog (Clarissa adds some helpful notes::

Here is today’s speech of Russia’s President Putin on the subject of gay marriage (translation is mine):

There is no discrimination against homosexuals in Russia. These. . . khm, khm. . . people [with a facial expression showing deep disgust] have jobs, they get raises at work, and even statewide prizes, if they deserve them. However, there will be no gay marriage in our country because such marriages do not produce children*. Here in Russia and in Europe, we are suffering from a demographic crisis. We want people to reproduce. And the people we want to reproduce are not immigrants. We want the “title nation” to reproduce**. . . The only countries that allow propaganda of homosexuality*** are the same countries that allow propaganda of pedophilia. We cannot allow this in Russia because if we legalize propaganda of pedophilia, there are regions that will organize an armed uprising.

This speech on Russian TV is followed by a long investigative report on Holland’s pedophiles.

* Putin’s marriage hasn’t produced any children in over 30 years and is not likely to do so in the future.

** The “title nation” means ethnic Russians. The ones who are blond and blue-eyed.

*** The expression “propaganda of homosexuality” in Russian means allowing gay teachers to work and gay people to appear on TV in any capacity. It also refers to the Gay Pride parade.

Mr. Putin's party  meanwhile has passed a law through parliament which puts a ban on  "homosexual propaganda"  (I'm wondering is that referring to homosexuals propagandizing that famous "gay agenda" we hear so much about hear in the US of A).  The draft bill, which still needs a second reading and to be signed by Putin to become law, would see offenders handed a fine of 500,000 roubles (over 12,000 euros).

"We live in Russia, not Sodom and Gomorrah," United Russia deputy Dmitry Sablin said before the 388-1 vote in the 450-seat chamber. "Russia is a thousands-years-old country founded on its own traditional values - the protection of which is dearer to me than even oil and gas."

I see then.  Dmitry you should check out this little Church family in Topeka.  I think you would like them.

Maybe, the national law is not yet in effect, but as Der Spiegel tells us over a year ago,

...police in St. Petersburg, Russia, have made arrests on the strength of a new law banning the dissemination of information on homo-, bi- and transsexuality. Two men were arrested in the city center on Thursday after holding up a sign reading "Homosexuality Is Normal," according to the newswire Interfax.

Russia's second-largest city passed the controversial law on Feb. 29. The two men now face a possible maximum fine of 500,000 rubles (€12,800/$17,000). The maximum penalty is more than the average annual income in Russia.

The law bans films, music videos, books and newspapers that contain homosexual content as well as the rainbow flag, which is a common symbol of gay pride. And the ban may soon no longer be limited to just St. Petersburg and other cities in Russia. At the end of March, Vladimir Putin's United Russia party introduced a bill in the country's parliament, the Duma, which would impose the ban at the national level.
Several other Russian cities also have such laws.

At the Chronicle of Higher Education web site, Laurie Essig who has written on what it is like to be gay in Russia says,

 ...the Russia of Vladimir Putin is an equally grim place to be queer.

She explains that under the legislation, in Russia, 

If we explain to our children that our family is no worse than other families, then we are breaking the law.

 Euronews correspondent, James Franey said:

“The ban on so-called homosexual propaganda is just one step in what gay rights activists have called a state-sponsored witch hunt. Just last year, a Moscow court slapped a 100-year ban on the city’s Gay Pride march. 

Anyway, Mr. Putin showed up in Amsterdam yesterday to meet with the President of the Netherlands.  You can imagine how his visit is going down there.  Thousands of protesters greeted him with rainbow flags, song, noise, dance, and anger.  A nice touch came around 8Pm when a boat entered the water at the Maritime Museum with:

...two male inflatable dolls kiss(ing)  each other. On the forecastle demonstrators had a life-sized statue of a scantily clad Putin put a rainbow flag.  
At Amsterdam City Hall the mayor raised a rainbow flag in protest. 

And so went Vladimir's trip to the Netherlands.

The following rap up is from Raw Story.

Russia’s Putin faces thousands of pro-LGBT protesters in Amsterdam

Anti-Putin protest in Amsterdam via AFP

Over 3,000 people protested Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Amsterdam on Monday, with rainbow flags flying at half-mast around the city that prides itself on enjoying every kind of freedom.

The brightly dressed crowd chanted “Go home Putin!” during a festive protest opposite the museum where Putin had dinner with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, at the end of his visit to the nation that first legalised gay marriage in 2001.

Protesters were mainly targeting a bill before the Russian parliament that bans homosexual “propaganda” among minors, but also a general rights clampdown in Russia, where Putin is serving his third term as president.

Activists and Western governments have condemned the measure, which provides for fines of up to 500,000 rubles (12,500 euros, $15,830) for any “public act” promoting homosexuality or paedophilia.

“There are no violations of the rights of sexual minorities in Russia,” a defiant Putin said alongside Rutte before heading in to dinner. “These people enjoy full rights and liberties just like everyone else.”

Putin said that gay couples could not produce children and that “Europe and Russia have demographic problems.”

“We need to reach a consensus with this community, we need to agree to work collectively. Don’t insult each other, agree with, understand, each other and develop certain civilised rules,” he said. “I think this is possible.”

Rutte said he had raised concerns over NGO and gay rights with Putin.

“We had a good talk about it,” Rutte said, which testifies “to the good relations between our two countries.”

Dozens of police were deployed in the tightly secured area, including anti-riot forces, although an AFP correspondent saw some police dancing to the thumping music.

“Critical journalists not allowed. Do not frighten President Putin. Keep this area human rights free,” read one huge Amnesty International banner hanging from a window.

“No gay propaganda beyond this line,” another sign read.

Dutch police said they had briefly detained one person, a gay Dutch artist who wrote expletives against Putin on the window of his Amsterdam studio.

Barges sailed on the Amstel river with signs reading “Punk bands strictly prohibited”, in reference to members of the band Pussy Riot who were jailed last year for staging an anti-Putin concert in Russia.

Rainbow flags dotted the city, including outside Amsterdam City Hall. Many of the flags were flown at half-mast.

Putin’s visit is centred on trade talks with The Netherlands, and many Russian business leaders are travelling with him.

Russia has invested heavily in the Port of Rotterdam, a transit point for much of its oil and gas.

Many Russian companies are also registered in The Netherlands because of its favourable taxation regime.

Environmental group Greenpeace criticised an active cooperation agreement for Arctic exploration signed during the visit between Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell and Russian giant Gazprom’s oil subsidiary.

“It would seem that Shell has not learnt from the litany of errors that plagued its attempts to drill in Alaska and that its relentless search for oil and gas continues,” said Greenpeace Netherlands Arctic Campaigner Faiza Oulahsen.

“This deal is bad news for investors and bad news for the fragile Arctic environment and the indigenous peoples whose way of life depends on it,” she said.

Putin attended the opening of an exhibition at Amsterdam’s Hermitage Museum with Dutch Queen Beatrix about Peter the Great, who came to The Netherlands as he tried to modernise Russia more than 300 years ago.

Russian authorities have launched a crackdown on foreign NGOs operating in Russia, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and German think-tanks.

Putin arrived from Germany, where he was met with topless protesters. In Amsterdam, the Russian leader, who is himself not averse to being photographed topless, said: “Thankfully the homosexuals didn’t undress here.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday urged Putin to “give a chance” to non-governmental organisations which she described as a “motor of innovation”.

The head of COC, the world’s oldest gay rights group, told AFP that they were protesting particularly because of the law’s vagueness.

“If I walk down the street holding my wife’s hand that can be construed as propaganda, flying a rainbow flag can be considered propaganda, and that’s all punishable,” Tanja Ineke said.