The Week



BART Says It's Fixing Transbay Tube Problems Causing Jammed Trains

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Friday March 04, 2016 - 05:28:00 PM

BART is fixing a mysterious power surge problem in the Transbay Tube that's resulted in fewer and more crowded trains but hasn't yet figured out the root cause of the problem, a spokesman for the transit agency said today. -more-

Leap Year Twins Born in Berkeley

Dan McMenamin (BCN)
Friday March 04, 2016 - 05:33:00 PM

A mother who gave birth in Berkeley to special fraternal twin boys said today that the family is already planning for the unusual circumstances that will come since one was born minutes into Leap Day and will have his first birthday years after his brother. -more-

RV Driver Injured on West Berkeley Train Tracks

Keith Burbank (BCN)
Friday March 04, 2016 - 05:31:00 PM

A driver of an RV suffered serious injuries Thursday evening when an Amtrak train struck his vehicle on Union Pacific tracks in West Berkeley, police and a Union Pacific spokesman said. -more-

Readings on the Theme of Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler

Compiled by Gar Smith from Various Sources
Friday March 04, 2016 - 05:05:00 PM

Donald Trump Used to Keep a Book of Hitler's Speeches by His Bed

The Independent

According to a 1990 Vanity Fair interview, Ivana Trump once told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that her husband, real-estate mogul Donald Trump, now a leading Republican presidential candidate, kept a book of Hitler's speeches near his bed.

"Last April, perhaps in a surge of Czech nationalism, Ivana Trump told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that, from time to time, her husband reads a book of Hitler's collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed . . . . Hitler's speeches, from his earliest days up through the Phony War of 1939, reveal his extraordinary ability as a master propagandist," Marie Brenner wrote. -more-



What the June Primary Will Mean for Berkeley

Becky O'Malley
Friday March 04, 2016 - 03:13:00 PM

In some quarters there’s concern because the number of votes in Democratic primaries is substantially lower than in previous presidential years. For example, a writer in the excellent Facing South newsletter published by the Institute for Southern Studies points out that “voter turnout for the party's 2016 primaries in the South is 45 percent lower than it was in the party's last competitive presidential primary in 2008.” And the same trend has surfaced in all the primaries so far around the country.

But not to worry. Despite the doomsaying of lathered-up Bernie Sanders fans, it’s more than likely that Democrats and those who usually vote for Democrats are not bothering to turn out for the primaries or the even more annoying caucuses because the Republicans, or what’s left of them, are making such damned fools of themselves that the Dem-symps are rapidly morphing into Yellow Dog Democrats. That’s a term originating in the 19th Century to describe people who would vote for an ol’ yaller dawg on the Democratic slate before choosing any Republican. (Not to be confused with Blue Dog Democrats, who are contemporary conservatives.)

A Planet reader whose second epistle is in this issue is the opposite, a kind of voter only too common in Berkeley, the folks who brought us the Ralph Nader Administration which we enjoyed (endured) between 2000 and 2008. People like this appear to regard voting as a sacramental act. It’s all about what voting does for me, how I feel when I vote, not about the consequences of my vote for everyone else. -more-

Public Comment

The Supreme Court's Silence versus the Media

C. Denney
Friday March 04, 2016 - 05:23:00 PM

It's always dangerous to assume too much about silence, from the U. S. Supreme Court or anybody else. Silence can be ominous, or full of speechless admiration. But the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to take up a case regarding developers' objections to mandates for affordable housing is at least a deep breath during a waterfall of cascading stories mischaracterizing housing issues and the people who get caught in its crossfire. -more-

Solitary Confinement

Tejinder Uberoi
Friday March 04, 2016 - 05:40:00 PM

Solitary Confinement is a barbaric form of punishment. It violates the 8th amendment of the US Constitution. It is illegal in treaties ratified by the U.S. It is guaranteed to harden human beings confined to its solitary dungeons. -more-

The NSA & Encryption

Jagjit Singh
Friday March 04, 2016 - 05:38:00 PM

The NSA has an insatiable appetite to invade our privacy. Der Spiegel reported details of a secretive unit inside the NSA, called the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO. TAO has developed new ways to penetrate our privacy, courtesy of Microsoft, by gaining access to WINDOWS users who report technical problems. In addition, new computer orders are intercepted in transit and special malware is implanted to monitor all activity of unsuspecting users. -more-

Irony: The Rise of Trump Can Be Good For American Pluralism

Shaik Ubaid, MD
Friday March 04, 2016 - 05:03:00 PM

I dislike Donald Trump. Yet I am grateful to him. No not because I believe in his particular philosophy of making America great again but because he can save America from people like him.

Islamophobia has been on the rise for many years and it had become politically acceptable. But before the bombastic and narcissistic Mr. Trump joined the race to lead this nation, the media and the political leaders including Mr. Obama, were not paying much attention to it. Like an insidious cancer, this poison was spreading in the body of our great nation. Mr. Trump was a symptom that finally led the physicians to take notice. Trump is not the pain of hemorrhoids but of the deadly and insidious pancreatic cancer. -more-

A Proposal for a Peoples' Cabinet

Gar Smith
Friday March 04, 2016 - 05:24:00 PM

Democratic elections are a wonderful social invention. Every four years, US voters can cast a ballot for a president and vice-president. But that comes down to a choice of just two individuals who may—or may not—represent the voter's best hopes, dreams, and core values. Perhaps it's time for a bold, new experiment.

Under the prevailing two-party system, many immensely popular crusaders will never make it onto a two-person presidential ticket. (Sometimes these outliers run as independents, like Ross Perot and General James Stockdale, or Green Party candidates Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke.)

While Bernie Sanders has been hailed as one of the most authentic candidates ever to seek the White House, many Democrats—while they admire his free-college-education, big-bank-busting policies—continue to daydream about alternative realities: What if Elizabeth Warren had chosen to run? What if a younger, more charismatic radical were leading Bernie's call for a populist "revolution" against Wall Street and the American Oligarchy?


March Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Friday March 04, 2016 - 05:58:00 PM

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.

This is a Very Good Deal. Go for it! -more-

Trump vs. Clinton: Reprise

Jeff Hoffman
Friday March 04, 2016 - 01:16:00 PM

Jack Bragen: By your comments you are clearly not progressive; you are liberal at most, maybe center-right. That explains why you "believe [Clinton] would make a superlative President." No progressive would say that or anything even close. You clearly represent the conservative faction of Berkeley.

As to your comments about Trump's racism, reread my comment; I noted that and expressed disgust about it. But racism is only one issue, and despite how it may offend your sensibilities, it's not as important as things like investors' rights agreements or war, because it affects far fewer people and generally does not affect the environment. -more-



Jack Bragen
Friday March 04, 2016 - 04:56:00 PM

People who supervise mental health consumers often lack understanding of what we are up against, and usually presume that we are no more than ignorant people of less ability than they. Not all mentally ill people are the unaware, unconscious, and childlike people that mental health treatment practitioners assume us to be. We go through very rough times, and the abuses as well as the absurdly bad circumstances and experiences we have to go through often go unacknowledged. Or, we might get cutified. -more-

Who Sired Trump? Ronald Reagan

Friday March 04, 2016 - 01:17:00 PM

In a recent New York Times column, David Brooks blasted Donald Trump and “the rise of a group of [Americans] who are against politics.” Regrettably, Brooks failed to acknowledge that Trump is the direct descendant of Ronald Reagan. -more-

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE:Irish Shillelagh Austerity*

Conn Hallinan
Friday March 04, 2016 - 04:28:00 PM

If there is one thing clear after Ireland’s recent election, it is that people no longer buy the myth that austerity is the path to economic salvation. It is the same message that Greeks, Portuguese and Spaniards delivered to their elites over the past year: the prophets of tough love, regressive taxes, and massive social services cutbacks should update their resumes and consider a different profession than politics.

Ireland is a small country but the Feb. 26 election drove a big spike into the policies of the “troika”—the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund—that have blitzed economies across the continent and made chronic unemployment and growing economic inequality a continuing source of malaise. -more-

Arts & Events

Grab your Life Vests: The Wave Roars onto the Big Screen

Gar Smith
Friday March 04, 2016 - 05:18:00 PM

Opens at the Landmark Shattuck on March 4

Norwegian film director Roar Uthaug knows what he's up to at every point in his new pulse-pounding disaster epic, The Wave. He delivers exactly what you would expect from a filmmaker whose name is "Roar."

Instead of invoking a fictitious plot device like an alien invasion or a mysterious plague, Uthaug focuses on a real-life mountain that looms over a popular real-life tourist village that sits in one of Norway's scenic fjords.

The problem is, Geiranger is situated in a watery cul de sac. If the mountainside collapses (and it's only a matter of time), the fjord is configured to act as a chute, channeling the surging water into a towering wall of water aimed directly at the town's shops and hotels. The Wave gives new meaning to the phrase "tourist trap."