The Week



Press Release: Ralph Nader to Speak at Berkeley Post Office

From Jacquelyn McCormick and Kristen Hanson, Berkeley Post Office Defense
Friday July 25, 2014 - 09:21:00 AM

Ralph Nader will speak on the front steps of the Berkeley Main Post Office, 2000 Allston Way, on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 2:30pm about the fate of the United States Postal Service, privatization and the importance of our public commons. -more-



It's time for Berkeley to Speak Out About Gaza, and Barbara Lee Should Speak With and for Us

Becky O'Malley
Saturday July 26, 2014 - 11:23:00 AM

This week we have been deluged with anguished letters about the seemingly endless tragedies which are being enacted around the world. We’re still trying to provide news and opinion about “greater Berkeley”—not only what happens within our borders, but what Berkeleyans are concerned about.

We’ve gotten a typical volume of communications from regular and occasional contributors about local matters: homelessness, revenues etc. But we’re also heard from local people who view with alarm the state of the world. Top topics: Gaza, child refugees at the U.S. border, the Middle East, Nigerian girls, botched executions in the United States, armed conflict between Russians and Ukrainians which led to a planeload of bystanders being shot down… and more.

On Friday, many thought the news from Gaza still was the most appalling on a horrendous list. Among people I talk to regularly, many of them Jewish by heritage and including some Israeli expatriates, one reason for this could be expressed as “they ought to know better.” Israel has always in my lifetime been portrayed in the U.S. media as a progressive, modern and humane country, so it’s deeply shocking to see its army bombing sites where killing innocent people is completely predictable. -more-

Public Comment

New: Your Editorial on Gaza of July 26 2014

Richard Korb
Monday July 28, 2014 - 01:19:00 PM

As much I sympathize for the civilian population caught in the cross-fire in Gaza, I think your editorial is sadly misleading and devoid of any solution. Here are the facts as I understand them. After reviewing them please tell me where I am wrong or what you think America (or any nation) would do differently? -more-

Offensive Euphemism

Carol Denney
Friday July 25, 2014 - 09:27:00 AM

"Clean up"? Sara Gaiser's article repeatedly uses the same offensive euphemism for the policy of constantly relocating homeless poor people - "clean up." The City of Berkeley refused to provide toilets, garbage pick-up, or the campground this city has sorely needed for years to those it deliberately displaced from the Bulb, so it played a very affirmative role in the ensuing difficulties. People, and the belongings they need, are not garbage. -more-

Once Again, Barbara Lee Speaks for Me

Rita Wilson
Friday July 25, 2014 - 08:09:00 AM

This is about Barbara Lee wanting to send money to Israel for weapons. My comment is "Thank you." -more-

Press Release: Right Livelihood Laureates sign declaration on Gaza: "They are also our children."

From Birgit Jaeckel
Friday July 25, 2014 - 07:42:00 AM

Gaza faces shortages of water and electricity supply, of hospitals, physicians and medicine, while bombs and bullets kill and injure both civilian people and health workers in a spiral of violence and hopelessness. Around 24 % of all those who have lost their lives in Gaza, as a result of Israeli bombing and military invasion, are children.

Nevertheless, the responsibility for such deaths lies not only with the joint and manifold accountabilities of Israel’s soldiers, Hamas’ fighters and their governments. Other governments are responsible either directly or indirectly through the transfer of weapons, military advice and silence. Such countries and the United Nations seem not to have learned from the past. Meanwhile, even as the violence grows rapidly in Gaza, negotiations move at an incredibly slow pace and are hindered by the vested interests of countries that don’t face any bloodshed in this conflict. Dialogue and negotiations cannot be replaced by the use of military force. Revenge solely produces revenge and bloodshed solely produces more bloodshed. -more-

Gaza: Legitimate Defense or Deliberate Mayhem?

Jagjit Singh
Friday July 25, 2014 - 08:21:00 AM

It is appalling that President Obama, buckling under political pressure, makes public statements goading and encouraging Israel to continue their slaughter of innocent defenseless Palestinian civilians. This is incremental genocide not legitimate defense. He repeats the mantra that “Israel has every right to defend itself” but remains totally silent on the right of Palestinians to defend themselves. Israel has often boasted that they possess intelligence of every occupant and building in Gaza but the slaughter and mayhem would suggest the IDF is deliberately targeting civilians. -more-

A Critic of Israel? Then YOU do Better

Michelle Moshelian, Givatayim,Israel
Friday July 25, 2014 - 07:56:00 AM

As an Israeli, I am 100% confident that Israel is doing its utmost to get rid of Hamas while trying its hardest not to harm civilians. Yet civilians have been killed, including children - the most innocent victims of all. People all over the world are outraged, and rightly so, when they see the images of devastation emerging from Gaza. I too am outraged. But the problem is that most people, unlike me, are blaming the wrong culprit - Israel. We pulled the trigger, but we are not the ones to blame. -more-

Eyes Wide Open in Gaza

Joanna Graham
Friday July 25, 2014 - 07:19:00 AM

Here are statements about some of the ways I think. (1) I find the process of “taking sides” on any given issue—as if all human life could be reduced to a sporting event—useless except for producing bar fights and endless television shows in which people shout at each other. (2) I like to be consistent, and therefore, if I detect an inconsistency in my opinions, I work at it until it’s resolved in some way. (3) I often use “thought experiments” to work things out. (4) I also frequently include limits or extreme instances as part of my thought experiments.

Here’s an example of (2) above. It occurred to me in the last couple of years or so that as a citizen of the U.S.A., I have no standing whatsoever to criticize Israel’s behavior on moral grounds since I am the beneficiary of similar acts of ethnic cleansing and genocide carried out with all due deliberation over a nearly three-hundred-year period by my European predecessors on this continent—newcomers who had every intent of removing all ability of its native inhabitants to resist the theft of their land and the destruction of their economies and cultures—to resist, in other words, their replacement by others as those with the recognized claim of ownership.

Therefore, I decided to cease from criticizing Israel on moral grounds. This freed me to think about Israel in other ways and what I eventually saw was that the difference between us and them is not that we’re good and they’re bad or that we’re innocent and they’re guilty, but simply that we succeeded while so far they have not done so, and, I believe, cannot. -more-

Berkeley Needs More Exports!

Thomas Lord
Friday July 25, 2014 - 09:44:00 AM

The City of Berkeley is in big financial trouble, as we all know. There is an urgent need to boost city revenues. Growth in taxable business income can help to boost city revenues. The Office of Economic Development is supposed to help grow Berkeley's taxable business incomes.

To my great surprise I cannot find mention in any Office of Economic Development document of exports. The word literally does not occur and the concept is entirely missing from the OED's written output. How is this possible?

Nowhere in any of these writings does the OED seem the slightest bit concerned with the question of what products are produced in Berkeley and sold, in a taxable way, to buyers outside of Berkeley.

This is an important omission and I'll explain why. It matters to each and every Berkeley household! -more-

Petition to Congress: Don't Send Children Back into a War-zone

Courage Campaign, forwarded by Gar Smith
Friday July 25, 2014 - 09:29:00 AM

Our country is facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, and as a nation of immigrants, it's our civic duty to show true American leadership and protect innocent child refugees from life-threatening violence!

In the past month, thousands of starving, scared, and traumatized children have fled from Central America to the United States border -- fleeing countries like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador that have been torn apart by gang violence and drug wars -- in seek of refuge and safety. Some of them even carry horror stories of young kids in their country being chopped to pieces and burned for refusing to take part in local gang activity.

And instead of helping these young innocent refugees, Congress is trying to push forward a bill called the HUMANE Act -- which is anything but humane -- that would fast track the shipping of these children back into danger and violence, where they will face potential death. -more-

Israel's Pinpoint Bombing: Take Israel At Its Word

Joseph Anderson
Friday July 25, 2014 - 08:15:00 AM

The Palestinians have no fighter jet interceptors, no air defense systems, not even any Stinger missiles that Israel's air force has to worry about. Thus, Israel's military aircraft have 'all the time in the world', so to speak, to leisurely loiter above Gaza, and the tactical freedom to fly relatively low there, with Israel's fighter jets, helicopter gunships, and armed drones. And, not merely with old-fashion gravity-only bombs, subject to winds or errors relating to jet airspeed, release, and bombsight parallax, but, instead, with missiles, bombs, and shells with the latest in pinpoint guidance technology (video, laser, precision GPS, precision radar, infrared, wire, night-vision, or computer-guided). -more-

Press Release: Kaiser RNs Set to Open Contract Talks -Voice Concern About Erosion of Patient Care Standards

From Karen Chan and Charles Idelson
Friday July 25, 2014 - 08:06:00 AM

With contract talks affecting more than 18,000 Kaiser Permanente registered nurses who work in 86 Kaiser hospitals and clinics throughout Northern and Central California set to open next week, RNs today renewed their call to press the HMO/hospital giant to put the breaks on the growing erosion of care standards nurses say put patients at risk.

Negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement between Kaiser and the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, originally set to open today, are now scheduled to begin July 31 in Oakland.

The talks come at a time of heightened concern by RNs about cuts in care by Kaiser even as it is recording record profits and rapidly expanding membership rolls following implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

August Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Friday July 25, 2014 - 10:25:00 AM

Editor's Note: The latest issue of the Pepper Spray Times is now available.

You can view it absolutely free of charge by clicking here . You can print it out to give to your friends.

Grace Underpressure has been producing it for many years now, even before the Berkeley Daily Planet started distributing it, most of the time without being paid, and now we'd like you to show your appreciation by using the button below to send her money. -more-


ECLECTIC RANT: What's Wrong with the Breakup of Iraq

Ralph E. Stone
Friday July 25, 2014 - 08:26:00 AM

The unintended consequence of the U.S. Iraq war, the so-called Arab Spring, and the Syrian conflict is the collapse of the post-World War I partition of the Ottoman empire by the British and the French. Perhaps, we are now seeing the inevitable Balkanization of the middle east and maybe that is not such a bad thing. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Anxiety is Sometimes Useful

Jack Bragen
Friday July 25, 2014 - 08:24:00 AM

Anxiety is uncomfortable but it keeps me on my toes. Some amount of anxiety can be useful. Yet, when anxiety becomes too strong, you can call it an "anxiety attack." Excessive anxiety can be very uncomfortable, can be paralyzing, can cause impulsiveness, and can interfere with daily tasks and activities. h Excessive anxiety to the extent of wiping out confidence can worsen the outcome of a difficult situation, even though there may be a real reason to be anxious. Much of the time, fearlessness is a more effective mode of functioning than fear. Hence, anxiety is often an enemy. -more-

Arts & Events

New: Festival del Sole, Part 2

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Monday July 28, 2014 - 05:41:00 PM

On Wednesday, July 16, I was again at Castello di Amorosa for a 6:30 PM concert given by the Zukerman Chamber Players, a group founded by Pinchas Zukerman in 2002 and, for this event, consisting of Zukerman on violin, Amanda Forsyth on cello, and Angela Cheng on piano. Opening Wednesday evening’s concert was Beethoven’s “Allegretto” movement for Piano Trio in B-Flat Major. This deceptively simple work was dedicated to the twelve year-old daughter of Franz and Antonie Brentano, “to encourage her in playing the piano.” Though the opening of this “Allegretto” is indeed simple, it soon broadens in complexity, shifting unexpectedly to a minor key, and deftly working out a number of inventive variations. This single movement is perhaps most closely related to Beethoven’s magisterial “Archduke” Trio, also in B-Flat Major. As performed by the Zukerman Chamber Players, the “Allegretto” was a crowd-pleasing opener. However, it was somewhat marred by a mysterious metallic squeaking sound that seemed to emanate from somewhere on or near the stage. -more-