BSR Magazine Show – Dec. 22, 2016 — Haunakah, Obama pardons, A response to Allan Weiner re Trump and BLM, Call for ABC/Radio Australia International to save Shortwave service

BSR Magazine Show
Dec 22, 2016

Hosted by: James M. Branum
Aired on: WBCQ (International Shortwave Radio Station) 7490 khz. Dec. 22, 2016 23:30 UTC.

Topics: Haunakah, Obama pardons, A response to Allan Weiner re Trump and BLM, Call for ABC/Radio Australia International to save Shortwave service

Links mentioned in the Show: (scattered in show notes below)

Show Notes: The following is a rough script of sorts that I used when recording the program, however, I sometimes make changes on the fly which aren’t reflected in these notes.


Welcome to the BSR Magazine Show

For Dec. 22, 2016

Host is James Branum

All of our episodes can be found at

In this episode…
2 days until the start of Haunakah (which coincides with Christmas eve this year), so I’ll be exploring the theme of liberation, since that is what the holiday is about – in words, song and more, so stay tuned.

We’ll start of our evening with a song written by the Okie with a freedom-loving Jewish heart, Woody Guthrie,  performed by Nefesh Mountain… it’s called Haunakah dance.




Lots of news this week on a growing number of last minute pardons and sentence commutations by President Obama, mostly of nonviolent drug offenders who have shown that they have made major steps towards rehabilitation. As of two days ago, the NY Times says he has granted such relief to 1,324 people.

This is great news, but…

It is not enough.

Many, many more nonviolent drug offenders are in the federal prison system. Obama’s process of granting this relief is slow, slow, slow and at the current pace, many of those imprisoned unjustly will never have their cases reviewed by the time Obama leaves office.

This is unacceptable.

But even worse, Obama as of yet has refused to grant relief to America’s political prisoners, folks like Leonard Peltier, Chelsea Manning, Oscar López Rivera, or those who would likely face unjust charges if they came to the USA including Edward Snowden.

It may be an act of futility but I’m lighting a Haunakah candle this year in hopes that President Obama will have a change of heart and will grant a blanket pardon to all nonviolent drug offenders and will pardon all political prisoners and whistleblowers.

In that spirit, we’ll play Bob Marley’s Redemption Song


This next bit if a commentary by myself, James Branum. It represents my views and my views alone…

The news over the last few weeks has been brutally sad, an ongoing account of the coming complete takeover of the federal government by a corrupt corporatist regime.

I’ve heard a lot of commentary about what is going on, but one of the more surprising bits of commentary I heard was last week on WBCQ, from the station owner, Allan Weiner. Based on what he said, I feel obliged to respond.

That said, I want to say first that I have a tremendous amount of respect for Allan and what he has done with WBCQ, but also his past history of radio activism. It is a wonder to me that he not only defied the federal government with offshore broadcasting, but then was able to then play by the rules and fight the legal fight to secure a license for a shortwave broadcast station, and then from there to take such a strident position in airing almost anything, out of a dogged belief in the power of free speech.

But I also appreciate his station’s willingness to air my show and often to be patient with me being slow to pay for air time.

But… Allan’s remarks last week were ones that I can’t ignore.  Two parts in particular I will be discussing.

First – (and this is a rough paraphrase, I unfortunately did not record the broadcast) – Allan said that he was glad Trump won. He also said that many Americans, but especially young people, had foolishly been duped into believing in socialism, but that they didn’t really understand the difference between socialism and capitalism. He then went on to caricaturize socialism and compare it to an idealized version of capitalism.

OK, I obviously do not support Trump, because he is textbook example of a fascist, who preys upon the fears of people to gain more and more power, at the expense of those he disapproves of. People like women, black people, Mexicans, Jews, Muslims, poor people, disabled people, gay people, you name it…. anybody but rich white men, are targeted for derision in Trump’s worldview. This is vile and wrong.

But it is worse than that… Trump has illustrated an appalling lack of understanding of world events and has spoken in flippant ways about the use of nuclear weapons.

And most of all, he has stated repeatedly his opposition to the First Amendment, which flies against everything WBCQ stands for.

So there’s that… I don’t understand how Allan (with his record of standing up for the First Amendment and peace) can support Trump at all given these positions.

As for Allan’s remarks about socialism and capitalism — I would argue that he painted a picture based on caricature and hyperbole, but not rooted in reality. Neither socialism, or capitalism, or for that matter any other kind of ism exists in a vacuum. There are always social, economic and political complications.

The best example I would point to would be to compare Cuba with the countries of Scandinavia. Both places have executed parts of socialism (especially the idea of a safety net) well, Cuba of course doing it more thoroughly. However, Cuba was all subjected to a US-backed invasion, multiple acts of terrorism by US-backed agents, and of course the crippling US blockade. This context means in practical terms that the Cuban government believed that it had to maintain a tight control on speech, press, assembly, religion, etc, but it saw that the survival of its independence was at stake. — Obviously, I disagree with some of these actions, but I also understand why they did them.

So you can’t compare socialism and capitalism by comparing the USA and Cuba. It’s an apples and oranges situation.  One country, the USA has thrived by leeching off of the cheap labor and resources of the third world, as well as the poor of its own country. The other country, Cuba, has survived at times with outside assistance from the USSR but of late almost entirely by its own hard work, solidarity and spirit of revolution.

No place is perfect, but for many people in the USA, we know the truth… that the capitalist system has made people like Trump our overlords and we don’t like it, and hence we tend to think some socialism would be a good thing.

OK, we’ll play a song now and when we come back I’ll respond to another point Allan made last week…

Our next song will be from Ryan Harvey, Ani DiFranco and Tom Morello, “Old Man Trump”


Continuing on in response to Allan Weiner’s show that aired last week, at one point Allan referred to the “black lives matter” movement as a “domestic terror organization.”

This is straight out of the playbook of people like Trump, by calling those work for liberation “terrorists” or whatever pejorative is in vogue at the present. We’ve seen this before —

  1. when, the US government called Nelson Mandela a terrorist and did everything possible to keep his movement from liberating the black people of South Africa.
  2. When, J. Edgar Hoover did everything in his power to show that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a communist, etc.

And so, as I much as I respect your history Allan, I have to call you out. This is wrong. The Black Lives Matter has a very simple message, which can be found at

Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.  It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.

This is liberation not terrorism.


And on that theme, and to hopefully anger the racists of the shortwave world, I’m going to play a song by Oklahoma singer/songwriter, Jonathan Marshall, “All Lives Matter, but some just matter more”



Closing – Call to speak against shutdown of Radio Australia International’s shortwave radio service.

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