"Agent Provocateur," Feature, 4/8
Ministries of Hate
During the eight years of the Bush administration when one would think that KPFA's progressive audience would expand, the station lost a third of its listeners. And under the ownership of Becky O'Malley, the Berkeley Daily Planet has seen advertisers avoid it like the plague. Why have two of our home-based outlets for news reportage fallen so dramatically? The revealing story in the Express on how the radio station has responded to the murder of four Oakland police officers, along with a repugnant op-ed in the Daily Planet, provides more than a little insight into why so many locals have concluded that KPFA and the Planet are twin Ministries of Hate.
That any radio news program would include a broadcaster such as JR Valrey would be most unlikely anywhere but on KPFA. Valrey is a close friend of Yusef Bey IV, who many believe planned the murder of Chauncey Bailey. Varley claims that Lovelle Mixon's killing of the four Oakland officers was well-deserved and that Mixon is a hero in Oakland's black community. That may be true among a few misguided African American youth, but the vast majority of Oakland's blacks — having to regularly deal with the horrific rate of young men murdering other black men — joined at the start of the Dellums administration along with Asians and whites in calling for a greater police force to protect law abiding Oakland citizenry from the city's burgeoning violent crime.
Echoing Varley's commentaries that the murdered police got what was coming to them was an almost incoherent op-ed reminiscent of an infantile rant in the Daily Planet by one Joseph Anderson. Indeed, Anderson opines that Mixon has already attained legendary status in Oakland and will be fondly remembered long after the fallen officers are forgotten.
This is not the first time KPFA and the Daily Planet have been the conduit of such vicious outbursts of bigotry and psychopathology. The host of Flashpoints, Dennis Bernstein and the show's frequent producer, Barbara Lubin, are longtime pro-Palestinian propagandists who, along with other KPFA broadcasters, have alienated most of the East Bay's liberal/progressive Jews. Ditto the Daily Planet, where owner/editor Becky O'Malley is so incessantly bent on demonizing Israel that few advertisers consider placing ads in her poorly read paper. This began long before the economic downturn, starting in 2006 when the Planet printed an overtly anti-Semitic commentary by an Iranian that drew the criticism of prominent East Bay politicians such as Mayors Tom Bates and Jerry Brown.
The Israeli and Jew-bashing reached such a crescendo at the Planet that local businessman John Gertz was moved to meticulously research and launch on-line a widely read web site, DPWatchDog.com, in which readers may find both O'Malley's obsession with Israel along with the Planet's frequent manifestations of journalistic malfeasance (its primary reporter quit because she says O'Malley censored quotes from those she didn't like, a staff member had a fawning ode to the Planet published by the paper, the primary advertiser's new book was reviewed by none other than the author himself, etc.).
Although there are some local Jewish residents who loath Israel, the vast majority of Berkeley Jews — while sometimes critical of Israeli policy — by and large support its existence. Berkeley's population is about 20 percent Jewish and most now shun both KPFA and the Planet, which many have come to call "The Daily Palestinian."
Local potential listeners and readers are now once again angered by these ideological merchants of hatred who are have given left lunatic fringe demagogues like Valrey and Anderson free reign to rail against both the valiant police protectors of our community's safety as well as the world's only Jewish state.
Given precipitously declining listeners and readers, why do the likes of KPFA broadcasters and the Planet's owner/editor persist in promulgating such sickening screed, marginalizing themselves in the process? While they may justify it on the grounds of the First Amendment, people such as Dennis Bernstein and Barbara Lubin at KPFA and Planet publisher O'Malley can also chose not to air or print such trash. One can sum up the reason they do it: like Valrey and Anderson they, too, live to hate.
Dan Spitzer, Berkeley
Scum like Them
Scum like JR end up like most of the scum in Oakland = In jail or shot, either a la Fred Hampton o Huey Newton. His call is "Free'em all," that is, all of the black criminals.
Racist scum like JR not only celebrate the killing of cops but of anyone not black, even though they shoot each other in the streets; these are the same people that celebrated the aquital of O.J. Simpson and even Mumia Abu Jamal, the "great radical," celebrated the nomination of Barack Obama for the presidency just like the liar Collin Powell.Racism is their moving fuel.
These politics go well with the ripped-ass, politically correct, KPFAkers; they've been spewing these type of vomit for long time.
Antonio Trossero, San Leandro
A Call for Change
As a former OUSD teacher I have seen the suffering of many young black men like Lovelle Mixon. However, to place him in the same category as Nat Turner and Huey Newton is just plain wrong as the former was not ever working for the benefit of the community as were the latter two.
Certainly I, and I hope others, will see this recent violence as yet another wake-up call to give the Lovelle Mixons of the world a reason and an opportunity to change. I understand being anti-police and working for the removal of brutal cops, but to celebrate a death, in this case four, is to deny one's own humanity.
Diana Kurland, Oakland
"Priced to Move: Observe and Report and Goodbye Solo," Movies, 4/15
Mall Cops Are Real
While audiences loved Mall Cop and will likely line up to see the upcoming Observe and Report, starring Seth Rogan, real world contract security companies who serve malls see more fiction than fact in these comic portrayals. How does the reality of life as a retail security officer compare with what is depicted in these comedies? These movies provide some lighthearted fun and entertainment, but in no way personify the real world of mall security officers on the job. These hard-working, highly trained men and women are our country's first responders who have a wide range of skills — from the sensitivity to deal with lost children to the ability to respond to and effectively address law enforcement incidents. Security officers are often put in high-risk situations as they confront and detain criminals engaged in theft, trespassing, gang activity, and every other manner of unlawful behavior that occurs where thousands of consumers congregate on a daily basis.
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