Chancellor Nicholas Dirks made the following statement at a news conference today at which speakers provided an update on efforts to reschedule an appearance on campus by conservative author Ann Coulter: -more-
Berkeley police Chief Andrew Greenwood is defending his department's response to rallies for and against President Donald Trump on Saturday that resulted in 20 people being arrested and 11 people being injured. -more-
Guiding Lights for How to Defeat Pro-Trump demonstrators:
What should thinking people do when pro Trump people arrive to demonstrate? Take a page from Mahatma Ghandi whose tactics of non-violence succeeded in getting the most powerful colonial army in the world to leave India. Or from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose non-violent response to race baiting and vicious attacks brought us major civil rights legislation, opened up schools, parks, restaurants, hotels and voting to people of all colors - against what appeared to be insurmountable odds.
Inexperienced demonstrators need to be taught and regulated by the leadership:
It may feel gratifying for inexperienced demonstrators to indulge their anger when Trump supporters shout racist things or berate common scientific facts. However, physical confrontation is what the Trump supporters are here for. Why do they pick Berkeley? Because it is a beacon of free thought and they hope to tarnish that beacon and make big headlines at the same time by getting a few undisciplined people to react, lose their focus on the real issues, and attack the Trump supporters. -more-
Berkeley police today released the names of all but one of the 20 people who were arrested in connection with violence at protests for and against President Donald Trump on Saturday. -more-
In my view, it was a mistake on the part of some in the anti-Trump faction to take a hostile stance at Civic Center. They are not the enemy even if they acted like they were. There are many Trump followers who really need to be educated on what Trump is all about. In short, although they are mistaken that doesn't make them evil. For example, I came across Trump folks who believed what he said about saving jobs for American workers. So it is not surprising that many found Trump politically attractive. -more-
Saturday’s gala gladiatorial contest for the strongest vocal chords (on Tax Day 2017) tried not to take up where the March 4 confrontation between out-of-town Trumpists and Berkeleyans left off. But it failed. For most of the day, it looked just like that earlier chant-fest, only smaller. -more-
Various conservative groups on Saturday staged a second pro-Trump rally in Berkeley and, as expected, violence broke out. While I abhor the Trump presidency, I am disappointed that those opposing Trump espouse the First Amendment right of free speech for themselves, but seem willing to deny it to others whose views they oppose. After all, Berkeley is the symbol of the Free Speech Movement of 1964. -more-
Twenty people were arrested Saturday for their roles in violence in the area of Civic Center Park, and more arrests will be pursued as Berkeley Police review social media and video footage.
The charges include arrests for assault with a deadly weapon and several other felony assaults.
Among Saturday’s arrests were two warrant arrests, based on follow-on investigations arising from the March 4 violence.
As video and photos are reviewed for suspected crimes, the department will actively work with the public to identify more suspects. After Berkeley Police released photos of suspects involved in March 4 violence, members of the public identified suspects within minutes.
Eleven people were injured and treated by paramedics from the Berkeley Fire Department. Those individuals included seven who were taken to local hospitals. -more-
Berkeley police said this afternoon that they had arrested more than a dozen people and expected to arrest more today in connection with a protest between pro- and anti-Trump supporters in Berkeley.
Police asked for help from other law enforcement agencies. Alameda County sheriff's deputies responded, and Oakland police were also present.
As of 1:48 p.m., 15 people had been arrested in connection with the protest, which started this morning at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park at 2151 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
The Los Angeles Times has reported an arrest count of 21 at about seven this evening.
A similar protest at the park took place March 4 and 10 people were arrested.
Police said that protesters moved on to city streets. The downtown Berkeley BART station was closed because of the demonstration, BART officials said.
The Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District bus No. 12 was rerouted because of the protest, according to agency officials.
By 5 p.m. MLK Park was almost empty. A crowd of about 50 people stood on the corner of Center and Shattuck surrounded by police officers. -more-
Advisory: Large sinkhole causing traffic delays on Tunnel Road in both directions. Please avoid the area. -more-
A protest this afternoon in Berkeley involving Trump and anti-Trump supporters is now blocking city streets and fights have broken out, police said. Oakland police are now also on the scene.
As of 12:18 p.m., Allston Way between Milvia Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way was blocked.
Four people have been arrested and officers have seized items prohibited from the protest.
Some type of gas was released this morning at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park where the protest started, a police spokesman said.
Spokesman Officer Byron White said because of the release of the gas, police put on gas masks.
White wasn't sure when protesters started gathering but some were going to gather at 10 a.m. and others at noon. Other groups may come later, he said. White did not have any information on injuries.
The items encountered at the protest that are prohibited have included flagpoles, a knife, a stun gun, helmets and signs and flags attached to poles.
Officers continue to monitor the protest and adjust their tactics, White said.
Anyone with photos or videos of the event is asked to share them with police by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org or http://bit.ly/berkvideo.
CONTACT: Berkeley police spokesman Officer Byron White (510) 812-4082 cellphone -more-
Sticks, pipes, poles and anything else that can be used for a "riot" will be banned on Saturday April 15 at Civic Center Park in an effort to ensure the peaceful expression of free speech. -more-
The upcoming public hearing on the R-1A zoning at the Planning Commission is a rare opportunity for all residents of the flatlands to influence zoning policy that effects our living conditions, neighborhood character, and population diversity. The meeting is scheduled for 7 pm on Wednesday April 19 at the North Berkeley Senior Center at the corner of Hearst and MLK. -more-
North Korea has good reason to feel paranoid.
While most of the US media has spent the past year obsessing over North Korea's nuclear program and its missile launches, the global media has been reporting—for years—on Washington's no-so-secret plans to "decapitate" the country by murdering Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. These reports (largely unseen in the US media) may explain why North Korea remains obsessed with missiles and nukes.
Last Saturday, as we do on many Saturdays, we went to Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Civic Center Park, usually the site of the Berkeley Ecology Center-sponsored Farmers’ Market. As always, Center Street, the park’s northern boundary, was blocked off, but this time the farmers weren’t there.
Faced with online threats by an assortment of aggressive groups, the market’s sponsors, fearing trouble, had decided to cancel for safety’s sake.
The blustering bullies had been there about a month before, with a permit to hold a rally in support of the current president, a “March4Trump” which was replicated in a variety of other locations around the country. This time no one got a permit from the city, but online threats from groups with bravura names like OathKeepers that they would show up to harangue on Patriot’s Day got a lot of attention in the media.
In fact, my observation was that the advertised demonstrator riot never materialized, but that didn’t stop several branches of the corporate media from reporting on one anyhow. A few fistfights do not a riot make. It was more of a media riot than a protester riot, really.
For those of you who’ve never lived in Massachusetts, “Patriot’s Day” commemorates the event memorialized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five…
Somehow I doubt that the raggle-taggle band of tattooed fools who came to Berkeley looking for a fight on Saturday had read the poem.
If I hadn’t felt some obligation to report on what happened, I wouldn’t even have bothered going myself, but I went, arriving at my usual 11:30. -more-
The Editor's Back Fence
As has become a habit lately, I'm releasing the new issue before everything has come in or been posted. This week, that includes the new editorial, which will be posted whenever it's finished--wait for it. -more-
The public performance of President Trump and his team responding to their first major foreign policy challenge hardly inspires confidence.
Just days before the strike, Trump and his close associates all stated that Syria’s civil war was no longer a major US concern.
Sensing the political fallout following the chemical attack, Trump backtracked and launched missile strikes to a largely abandoned hanger. According to the London Guardian, the White House contacted Russia to give them a “heads up” of the impending strikes. Let us hope “mission accomplished doesn’t morph into mission creep. As a footnote, Trump personally profited from Raytheon’s sudden surge in stock value. The missile strike harkens memories of the disasters wars in Vietnam and Iraq, which started in much the same way. -more-
When Alexander Hamilton was Secretary of Treasury he noted in a report on manufacturing that children "who would otherwise be idle could become a source of cheap labor". His advice was highly regarded by the business community. Child labor, as young as age 6, was widespread until the late 1930s. Almost 20% of children worked, often in unhealthy environments and performing dangerous jobs. Children between the ages of 6 to 16 years labored as many as 12 to 14 hours each day. In the southern textile industry during the early 20th century 20,000 of the 50,000 employed children were under the age of 12. -more-
A man is sitting in his living room on a Sunday afternoon, enjoying a cool drink and a ballgame on television, trying to drown out the noise of the neighborhood kids playing on the sidewalk just outside his door and the sound of someone doing donuts in their car out in the street. Suddenly, he hears a terrific crash that cannot be ignored. He jumps up and runs to the door to find one of the neighborhood kids lying broken and bleeding on the sidewalk, with the rest of the kids standing around him, screaming and pointing down the street to where a car has crashed into a telephone pole near the corner. The man runs out of his house, past the neighborhood kid lying broken and bleeding on the sidewalk and down to the crashed car at the end of the block, where he drags the driver out and begins pounding him with punches and kicks, shouting all the while about “don’t you know we’ve got kids playing out here?” -more-
Donald Trump has called the mainstream media "the enemy." But since January 20th, the media has been Trump's best friend because they have, in the main, ignored the big stories about his disastrous presidency. -more-
Don't get me wrong, I am not old yet and haven't yet reached 55 years. However, people with severe psychiatric illness often don't make it to their forties or fifties... -more-
Accusing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of launching chemical attacks on civilians in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun where at least 86 people were killed, Trump ordered Tomahawk missile attacks on the Shayrat air base where the chemical attacks on civilians were allegedly launched. "It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons," Trump said. -more-
Arts & Events
"And what's wrong with a little palm oil?"
The shrewd, self-styled cynics of an end-of-the-road frontier town have caught wind of a government official traveling incognito from the capital, sure to report all kinds of their civic chicanery and official laxity to the powers on high after he sneaks into their burg--or gouges the locals, promising to overlook their many peccadilloes ... And so they brace themselves for the onslaught, planning a big, overly-friendly welcome--and a lot of exaggerated bribery--as a counterattack ...
The Ross Valley Players are presenting Joel Eis' original play--or should we say, original adaptation, 'Way Out West,' which was developed under their auspices, onstage at the Barn, a kind of double-barreled tour de force, certainly something with a couple of twists--an adaptation of Nicolai Gogol's great satiric farce, 'The Inspector General,' reset in newly Americanized San Francisco on the eve of the Gold Rush, its wildly humorous dialogue become American tall tale banter. -more-
On April 8-9, the Takács Quartet brought to a rousing close its cycle of the complete Beethoven string quartets. Begun last October, this Beethoven cycle comprised six concerts, all in the excellent acoustic space of UC Berkeley’s Hertz Hall. How lucky we are to have the opportunity to hear a world-class string quartet perform all sixteen of Beethoven’s String Quartets plus Die Grosse Fugue. This latter work, catalogued as Op. 133, was performed by the Takács Quartet on Sunday, April 9, as it was intended by Beethoven as the final movement of the Op. 130 String Quartet. However, at the urging of a publisher the composer saw fit to write a less demanding, more accessible finale for the Op. 130 Quartet. Yet what more fitting ending could one imagine for a cycle of the complete Beethoven String Quartets than the Grosse Fugue played as the finale of Op. 130? -more-
On April 2-3, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra gave two concerts at Davies Hall under the direction of their new Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi. The Sunday evening concert I attended offered Danish composer Carl Nielsen’s Helios Overture, Richard Wagner’s Wesendonk Lieder with soprano Deborah Voigt as soloist, and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Eroica. Opening the program was Nielsen’s Helios Overture, an ode to Helios, the Greek god of the sun, who wheeled his four-horsed chariot across the sky each day from east to west. Nielsen wrote this 12-minute work while spending six months in Greece in 1903. As the Helios Overture begins, muted throbbing is heard in the basses, barely emerging out of silence. Then four horns are heard, interwoven in dissonance, as they announce the sunrise. The music then spans an arc as the sun itself spans an arc from east to west. At midday, when the sun is brightest, the four horns sound again, this time in powerful unison. An energetic theme is developed which culminates in a fugue. Then the sun gradually descends its arc until it sinks silently into the sea. Nielsen wrote a letter to his three children back in Denmark describing the inspiration he drew from a particularly beautiful sunset at the port of the island of Aegina. By coincidence, I too experienced an incredibly beautiful sunset as I looked out to sea from the port of Aegina, as the setting sun backlit the jagged mountainous peaks of the islands of Moni and Angistri and the rugged coastline of the Peloponnesos. What Carl Nielsen put into music, I put into a chapter in a novel. -more-