The Corporate University Grinds On

By Becky O'Malley
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:18:00 AM

With all due respect to those who have just noticed, the corporatization/privatization of universities public and private, in California and elsewhere, has been going on for a long time. Way back in the late 1970s I was the only journalist and the only intellectual property lawyer who participated in a semester-long seminar on the problem at Stanford sponsored by the National Science Foundation. We focused on the effect on scientific research of what were potentially high-profit new technologies then under development in university laboratories. Central to the discussion was the biotechnology industry, then just beginning its migration from labs at Stanford and UCSF into lucrative companies like Genentech. -more-

Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:18:00 AM


Commentary: Just What Happened to that Referendum Anyway?

By Dave Blake
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:19:00 AM

The City Council has their collective head in the sand (or someplace darker), and haven’t made the announcement, even though it’s official, so it’s my privilege to be the first to publicly state: the referendum on the council downtown plan was certified last week by the Alameda county registrar. Based on sampling, 7,900 of the 9,200 signatures submitted were estimated to be valid Berkeley voters at their proper address and with a proper signature, so many more than the 5,558 required that by law there was no need to validate them individually. As a member of the referendum committee, I’d like to express my thanks to all the Berkeley citizens who decided to take an active role in their future and signed the petition. Go Bears!  -more-

Commentary: Proposals Regarding Afghan Narcotics

By Jerry Mandel
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:20:00 AM

It’s heartening to know that Afghan Narcotics has at last drawn a letter to the editor in both Berkeley weeklies, but dismaying to read Harry Gans’ proposals. It is impossible to imagine how to “pay poppy farmers ... to not grow poppies.” How can the million Afghan families who live off the opium trade be identified, or paid? If farmers are paid full-market value—five to ten times that of any other crop—everyone will grow poppies next season; but if less than full value is paid, why would any farmer join the program? If the United States buys the entire crop , we will look hypocritical, for in May 2001 the State Department paid the Taliban $43 million for destroying the opium crop. -more-

Commentary: The Future of the Goldstone Report: Can the UN Implement International Law?

By Richard Falk
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:20:00 AM

The United Nations has often been tested in the course of its history, and once again it is facing a major challenge directed at its capacity to serve the cause of peace, security, and justice through respect for the rule of law. The test involves the treatment given to the Goldstone Report, so named after the distinguished jurist, Richard Goldstone, former judge of the South African Constitutional Court, who headed a fact-finding mission on behalf of the UN Human Rights Council. The focus of the mission was on alleged war crimes committed by Israel and Hamas between Dec. 27, 2008 and Jan. 18, 2009, when Israel attacked Gaza, an essentially defenseless society whose population was already severely weakened by a blockade of food, fuel, and medicine, which had then been maintained for eighteen months.  -more-

Commentary: The Political Economy of the ‘Illegal’ Immigrant

By Steve Martinot  
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:22:00 AM

The recent outburst by Joe Wilson in Congress concerning Obama’s veracity on his proposed health care reform once again invoked that ghost so often enlisted to sidetrack real issues, the specter of the “illegal” person. It refers to those immigrant workers who labor without proper papers under substandard conditions, mostly in agricultural work that is very hard and injurious to health, both physically and chemically. Politically, they live precariously, subject to arrest by immigration authorities and the callous breaking of family bonds, often held, unconstitutionally, in indefinite detention, yet with taxes withheld from paychecks that they then cannot reclaim. They do essential work in this economy, yet face demands that they leave. They are excluded from social services, such as health care and education, that they nevertheless pay for through their labor and their taxes. From a value-added standpoint—the primary standpoint of a capitalist economy—they constitute an ideal labor force. -more-

Commentary: The United States Must Withdraw from Afghanistan

By Kenneth J. Theisen
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:23:00 AM

On Oct. 7, 2001 the United States. launched a war of terror against Afghanistan. U.S. leaders are still debating how best to achieve U.S. goals there. Military leaders, including Joint Chiefs Chair Admiral Mike Mullen, Central Command leader General David Petraeus, and General Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, support the further escalation of the war by sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan to prosecute the “new” counterinsurgency troop-intensive strategy they wish to pursue. It is reported that some of Obama’s civilian aides are arguing for a greater emphasis on attacking al Qaeda leaders with increased special operations missions and missile strikes, including more missile strikes launched against targets within Pakistan. Commander-in-Chief Obama will have to decide on which course to follow. But regardless of which of various strategies is implemented, it is clear that no one in the top rungs of the U.S. government is arguing for the end of the Afghan war. -more-

Commentary: On KPFA’s Concerned Listeners

By Virginia Jones
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:41:00 AM

Readers of the Daily Planet might have noticed an odd disconnect in the recent exchanges between the supporters of Concerned Listeners (CL) and their opponents in the current KPFA Local Station Board elections.  CL’s endorsers are heavy on the labor side, including at least two Labor Councils, the leadership of several others, not to mention scores of militant organizers from a wide range of unions.  Yet some of our attackers have called us anti-worker.  Such is the mudslinging in this election.  -more-

Commentary: The Plot to Steal KPFA and Pacifica

By Jim Weber
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:24:00 AM

During the KPFA-Pacifica history, the progressive listeners have, at several moments of crisis, come to the rescue of KPFA and Pacifica, and demanded to get their stations back. The listeners helped rescue the network in the 1999 attempted takeover, along with dedicated legal help from attorneys like Dan Siegel, the network is still alive. The following message is to alert the listeners that another, very serious, crisis is now in progress, here in Berkeley today. -more-

Commentary: Hear the Facts About KPFA’s Unpaid Staff Organization 

By Anthony Fest, Lisa Dettmer, Nick Alexander, Bonnie Faulkner, Shahram Aghamir, Malihe Razazan
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:33:00 AM

We KPFA unpaid-staff members would like to respond to Marcia Rautenstrauch’s attack on our Unpaid Staff Organization, published in last week’s Planet “KPFA Unpaid Staff and the Elections.”  -more-

Commentary: Avoiding a Faustian Bargain at KPFA

By Akio Tanaka
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:32:00 AM

           The KPFA board elections are in full swing and the ballots are due October 15. I was struck by couple of developments. -more-

Commentary: Some Observations and Thoughts from the KPFA Election Campaign Trail

By Richard Phelps
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:39:00 AM

There are 29 candidates for 9 seats. We have had several events to meet the candidates all around the Bay Area. There has been much more promotion of the election on the air this year based on a Pacifica National Board (PNB) resolution. Concerned Listeners (CL) elected to the PNB voted against this inclusiveness resolution. CL allies in management recently took the candidates’ recorded statements off the air. -more-

Commentary: Why We Endorse Concerned Listeners

By Mitch Jeserich and Max Pringle
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:37:00 AM

Pacifica Radio, the nation’s oldest listener sponsored broadcast network, is at an existential crossroads. If serious reforms aren’t implemented soon, the network could go under. The crisis pre-dates the current recession and is the result of numerous factors. The greatest of these is a hopelessly dysfunctional governance structure. -more-

Commentary: Sister Rautenstrauch and the Unpaid Staff Organization

By Steve Zeltzer
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:36:00 AM

As a candidate of Voices For Justice Radio www.voicesforjusticeradio.org who is running for the KPFA listeners candidate for the Local Station Board, I was surprised to see the letter by Sister Rautenstrauch about the struggle within the Unpaid Staff Organization. As a long time unpaid staff volunteer at the station it is surprising to hear her confusion about issues that took place in the unpaid staff organization by a so called  "small organization."  "Several years back the station management derecognized UPSO after a small group within the station tried to take UPSO over and screamed and yelled abuse at anyone who would oppose them in meetings to the point that the organization fell apart?". -more-

Commentary: KPFA: The “Raid”

By Daniel Borgström
Thursday October 01, 2009 - 09:45:00 AM

The information attack came like a one-two-three punch. The Berkeley Daily Planet printed a front page story, titled, “KPFA Charges Pacifica With Raid on Station’s Funds.” That was Thursday, August 6th. The paper had hardly hit the street, and we hadn’t even seen it yet before we heard KPFA newscaster Philip Maldari talking about it on the Morning Show. Improperly using KPFA’s on-air microphone, Maldari called on listeners to attend the Saturday board meeting and hear for themselves how Pacifica grabbed $100,000 from KPFA. He urged listeners to speak out against the “raid.” -more-