The Week

Swing Left volunteers in District 10 (including at least four from South Berkeley) rally in Modesto before canvassing for for Josh Harder.
Damon Guthrie
Swing Left volunteers in District 10 (including at least four from South Berkeley) rally in Modesto before canvassing for for Josh Harder.


Election Update

Rob Wrenn
Thursday November 08, 2018 - 09:55:00 PM

Alameda County ROV has now counted an additional 32,470 ballots countywide, bringing turnout up to 32.7%. Many more ballots remain to be counted. Based on the number of votes cast for Measure O, I would estimate that roughly another 4800 votes were counted in Berkeley and that around 31,000 votes total have been counted in Berkeley to date. It is likely that at least 45,000 votes were cast in Berkeley this year, so a sizable chunk remain to be counted. It is highly unlikely that the outcome of any local Berkeley race will change. -more-

War Crimes in Yemen

Jagjit Singh
Wednesday November 07, 2018 - 09:22:00 PM

The United Nations and a growing number of countries in the world are calling for an immediate ceasefire in war torn Yemen. -more-

Firing Protest Tomorrow at 5

Wednesday November 07, 2018 - 09:16:00 PM

A coalition of organizations including Indivisible and Move On plan to protest Donald Trump's firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which they view as the first move in an attempt to shut down the Mueller investigation. They're asking people to gather at local sites all over the country. In Berkeley, two gatherings will take place at 5 pm. One will be at Martin Luther King Civic Center Park, and another at the corner of College and Ashby. Participants are asked to bring flashlights and commit to non-violence. -more-

The Votes are In

Rob Wrenn
Wednesday November 07, 2018 - 04:39:00 PM

Early results of yesterday's election are still holding today. My guess is that there are about 20,000 ballots still to be counted from Berkeley. None of the Berkeley races are close enough where counting of the additional ballots will result in any changes to the outcome in Berkeley.

23,350 votes have been reported pro or con Measure O. 85-90% of people who voted probably voted one way or another on that issue. In 2014 a total of a bit more than 40,000 ballots were cast. My guess is that turnout was up somewhat but not by a huge amount this year (based on poor turnout in District 7). So if say 45,000 ballots were cast and if we assume that about 10% blank voted on Measure O then, using rough numbers,about 20,000 votes would remain. If total turnout were 50,000 then more like 25,000 votes remain uncounted. The Registrar guessed that countywide about half the votes remained to be counted or 250,000, so 20-25 thousand in Berkeley is quite possible.

I’m confident that Kate Harrison is safely re-elected and that Rashi Kesarwani has defeated Igor Tregub. There are some very close congressional and state legislative races, and also the contest for Superintendent of Education, where counting of additional ballots in other counties around the state could dislodge the current frontrunner. -more-

Berkeley's Leading Landlord Fights Rent Control

Richard Brenneman
Monday November 05, 2018 - 09:01:00 PM

In case you missed it, a great piece from Jacobin about Blackstone, who bought the Patrick Kennedy/Sam Zell apartments, is leading the way in the fight against statewide rent control: The Struggle For Rent Control

Berkeley Police Association Mailers Contain False Claims

Micky Duxbury,MFT
Monday November 05, 2018 - 11:43:00 AM

I was quite distressed to learn of the $15,247.00 expenditure by the Berkeley Police Association for campaign mailers from Ben Gould’s campaign. These mailers contain false and misleading information – (especially about Kate Harrison’s record) in regards to police training.

Many Berkeley residents have been involved in a campaign to stop Urban Shield: the highly militarized police training that is run by Alameda County Sheriff Ahern. Since the beginning of Urban Shield, there has been a community outcry against the highly militaristic, propagandistic, and often-racist approach to training. Check out any of Urban Shield’s own videos to see for yourself that they have been promoting a fear-based militaristic approach to police training. -more-

Personal Attacks by a Transportation Commissioner and Lori Droste Supporter

Russ Tilleman
Monday November 05, 2018 - 11:00:00 AM

C. Mark Humbert, the District 8 Transportation Commissioner and also a public supporter of Lori Droste, has published what I believe is a libelous attack on me in the Berkeleyside comments section.

Someone stated in the comments section that Lori Droste should sue me for libel, and I responded that she isn't suing me for libel because everything I have said about her is true. Which I believe to be the case.

Ms. Droste did take money from the Berkeley Police Association, as proven by her campaign finance disclosure filings.

Ms. Droste did vote against police reform, as proven by the City Council Annotated Agenda.

Mark Humbert then wrote:
"She isn't suing you for libel because you're not worth it. You have no credibility. And you most certainly utter lie after lie." -more-

Measure Ff Creates Fire Danger, Clearcuts, And Pesticide Sickness. Vote No!

Maxina Ventura, East Bay Pesticide Alert
Monday November 05, 2018 - 02:40:00 PM

We love our parks. So why vote no on Measure FF, the 20-year continuation of a parcel tax to fund wildfire protection and restoration of "natural habitat"? Outlined in the East Bay Regional Park District's (EBRPD) Wildfire Hazard Reduction and Resource Management Plan, and its sections in the East Bay Hills Hazardous Fire Risk Reduction Environmental Impact Statement produced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), this tax funds killing healthy trees, and pesticide use.

Vote No on Measure FF

Pauline Bondonno, Executive Director, Community Health Education Institute
Monday November 05, 2018 - 10:46:00 AM

Measure FF will permit the Park District to remove trees and vegetation from 540 acres in East Bay Regional Parks and spray thousands of acres with herbicides and pesticides endangering the water supplies. Park staff have noted off the record that if the measure goes through the parks will not be recognizable. -more-

Betty Reid Soskin is Glamour Woman of the Year

Sam Richards (BCN) and Planet
Monday November 05, 2018 - 04:17:00 PM

Betty Reid Soskin, at 97 the oldest career National Park Service Ranger, has received yet another honor, being named one of Glamour magazine's 2018 Women of the Year on Friday.

Soskin,formerly a Berkeley resident and proprietor of Reid's Records on Sacramento, is a Ranger at the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, where she shares her personal experiences regarding race and social change during the World War II years and beyond. -more-

A Final Word From Kate

Kate Harrison, Councilmember, Berkeley District 4
Sunday November 04, 2018 - 09:05:00 PM

At the national and, sadly, at the local level, after Tuesday’s election we will have a lot of work to do to restore civility, encourage reasoned debate, and recognize the diversity that makes Berkeley and America great. -more-

The 50th Anniversary of Shirley Chisholm’s Historic Election to Congress

Congresswoman Barbara Lee
Monday November 05, 2018 - 11:46:00 AM

I was incredibly lucky to meet my mentor and lifelong friend, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, when I was a college student. Working on her presidential campaign, Congresswoman Chisholm showed me the power of ‘unbought and unbossed’ women of color to change our country. -more-

More Research on Measure FF Will Ensure a NO Vote

Mary McAllister
Sunday November 04, 2018 - 11:25:00 AM

In response to Pam Young’s advice to vote yes Measure FF, I agree that you should “do your own research” before deciding how to vote on Measure FF.

Reading the Park District’s annual Pesticide Use Report is a good place to start: This report will inform you that the Park District used 113 gallons of glyphosate in 2017. Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum killer of grasses and broadleaf plants. Glyphosate is not a “target-specific herbicide,” as Ms Young claims. It is an indiscriminate killer of any plant it touches. Glyphosate has been categorized as a probable human carcinogen by the World Health Organization of the UN. The man who applied glyphosate for several years for Benicia School District is dying of cancer after wearing all required and recommended protective gear. He was awarded damages by a jury of his peers in his product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of glyphosate.

The Park District used 37.5 gallons of triclopyr in 2017 on the stumps of eucalyptus (and other non-native trees and shrubs) after they were cut down to prevent them from resprouting. Although triclopyr is selective to broadleaf plants, it prevents resprouts by killing the roots. It therefore kills mycorrhizal fungi attached to the roots as well as the intertwined roots of non-target plants. -more-

Candidates are Public Education Time Bombs

Glen Kohler
Sunday November 04, 2018 - 11:17:00 AM

Tuesday’s election will either arm or defuse two public-education time bombs.

Reports of charter school failures are too serious and numerous to ignore. The partial list below gives some idea, and a search on the Internet turns up many more. When charter schools fail, childrens’ futures and our society at large suffers. Badly.

Two candidate in Tuesday’s election will work for public education; their opponents favor charter schools. Giving public funds to the privately-owned charter school ‘experiment’ is like giving the scalpel to Dr. Frankenstein so he can operate on your children.

Tony Thurmond is running for California’s Superintendent of Schools. Tony has been the California State Assemblyman in the 15th District. He is committed to increase support of public schools. His well-funded opponent, Marshall Tuck, is favored by charter school advocates determined to siphon public tax monies for privately-owned charter schools.

In the 15th District itself, Jovanka Beckles, former Richmond City Councilwoman and CoCo County social worker, also wants to shore up public education. Her opponent Buffy Wicks, whose campaign millions come almost exclusively by out-of-area P.A.C.’s. touts her aim of exerting ‘… increased accountability’ upon charter schools as the fix. -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Progressive Student Association Files Numerous Campaign Violations Against 4 Candidates, 2 Organizations

From Harriet Steele, President, UC Berkeley Progressive Student Association
Saturday November 03, 2018 - 09:15:00 PM

Complaint documents numerous clear Berkeley Election Reform Act (BERA) violations by Rashi Kesarwani, Ben Gould, Greg Magofna, Lori Droste, the Berkeley Democratic Club, and the Berkeley Police Association

On Saturday, UC Berkeley students filed with the Berkeley Fair Campaign Practices Commission (FCPC) documenting campaign violations by anti-progressive candidates Rashi Kesarwani, Ben Gould, Greg Magofna, and Lori Droste and the Berkeley Democratic Club and Berkeley Police Association for clear violations of the Berkeley Election Reform Act (BERA).

The complaint, submitted by the Progressive Student Association (PSA), contains at least a dozen violations1 including failing to report expenditures, making illegal expenditures, failing to file required reports, and submitting false information, perjury, and failure to register apolitical committee with the city. -more-

Berkeley Voters Will Consider Affordable Housing, Homeless Measures

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Friday November 02, 2018 - 11:15:00 AM

Berkeley voters will consider two related measures on the Nov. 6 ballot that seek to raise funds to address affordable housing and homelessness. -more-

Beckles v. Wicks: The Full Story

Thursday November 01, 2018 - 01:59:00 PM

Here is the most thorough reporting on the Assembly District 15 race which has appeared anywhere. Here's how it starts:

"The battles within the Democratic Party have played out in high-profile races this year, largely featuring well-heeled establishment figures with years of elected experience challenged by left-wing outsiders running with the support of a national grassroots movement.

"Amid this fight, there has been a strenuous effort from party centrists to drain the question of any ideological content. Party leaders are not pushing any particular agenda, goes the argument, but are merely pragmatists maximizing the chances of winning a general election. Elaine Kamarck, a Brookings Institute scholar and political consultant, put it succinctly. “Party leaders have the job of winning nationally; Democrats are painfully aware that not all congressional districts are Berkeley, Calif.,” she wrote in defense of those party leaders.

"Party leaders, however, seem to have missed that memo when it comes to the non-metaphorical Berkeley. Thanks to the state’s jungle primary law, two Democrats will face off in November in Assembly District 15, a state legislative seat that includes North Oakland, Berkeley, and Richmond.

"Here, it is Jovanka Beckles, the candidate endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America and Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has the governing experience and the support of leading local elected officials, and it’s the upstart, Buffy Wicks, who has never held office. Wicks is running as a business-backed Democratic operative pushing to disrupt a seat long-held by the progressive left."

Don't miss it. Here's the link:

A Billionaire-Backed Democrat Is Facing Off Against a Democratic Socialist in Berkeley. And It’s Getting Rough. by Lee Fang and Leighton Akio Woodhouse.

Richmond Grass Fire Smoke over Berkeley

Thursday November 01, 2018 - 12:58:00 PM

From the Berkeley Fire Department: -more-



Just Breathe Deeply and Hold Your Nose on Tuesday

Becky O'Malley
Friday November 02, 2018 - 11:43:00 AM

A “giant sucking sound”—that’s what H. Ross Perot (remember him?) used to describe what we’d hear when international trade agreements like NAFTA sucked all U.S. jobs out of the country and into Mexico. He was kinda sorta on the far right, or at least far out in right field, but plenty of lefties went on record as agreeing with him.

Things didn’t turn out exactly as he’d predicted, and he picked up an uneasy ally in Donald Trump along the way, who’s now busy jettisoning trade agreements. I haven’t checked lately on what the official Left position should be on trade, but meanwhile that giant sucking sound has acquired a whole new identity.

That would be at least half of us, mostly on the left but also the ragged remnants of the conscientious right, holding their breath anticipating the results of next Tuesday’s election. We are the ones who fear that the country is in the hands of a dangerous maniac, a person who does not shrink from inciting his like-minded admirers to take up pipe bombs and assault rifles to carry out their murderous fantasies.

The best advice this year, even from some lifelong Republicans, is simply to vote for anyone running as a Democrat, including the prototypical Ol’ Yaller Dawg. And tell your friends and family who are in the toss-up states, which seems to be most states now. I’m proud to say that I have family in Missouri and Florida and Maryland and New York and Illinois, and I’m not worried about how a single one of them will vote, but we aren't all so lucky.

Here in California, it’s a bit more complicated. In much of the state, especially the Bay Area, we’ve already gotten rid of the Republicans. They are still lurking in some congressional districts (*Devin Nunes!) but reasonable people have been moving into places like Turlock and Orange County, so that might change on Tuesday, with the help of missionaries from the urban frontier.

But the party realignment in the Bay brings its own set of challenges. It’s easier to “hold your nose and pull the Democratic lever”, but the damned slate cards which arrive in every day’s mail are populated by people who claim to be the really truly official non-Republican Democrats. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

New: Odd Bodkins Is Back!

Saturday November 03, 2018 - 11:27:00 PM

Fans of Dan O'Neill's Odd Bodkins cartoons will be delighted to learn that he's sent the Planet two strips that we are pleased to offer you for downloading. First, there's Back to 1969, all too relevant for the current political situation. Click here to download this one.

Then there's one that spotlights today's climate crisis. Click here to download it. -more-

Endorsements Again

Becky O'Malley
Saturday November 03, 2018 - 01:55:00 PM

People have been asking how to find the Planet's endorsements. Just click here for the editorial in which they appeared, long ago: ENDORSEMENTS, , . Two additions: NO on State Proposition 3 and on Measure FF. -more-

Public Comment

Daily Cal Endorsements Are Clear and Correct

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Alliance
Friday November 02, 2018 - 02:34:00 PM

It is great to see DailyCal endorsements with clear explanations supporting their choices.

DailyCal on Kate Harrison District 4

DailyCal on Igor Tregub District 1

DailyCal on Rigel Robinson District 7

DailyCal on Mary Kay Lacey District 8

In all Districts the top endorsement is absolutely clear. Only in District 1 would I make a different choice for 2nd place in Rank Choice Voting. Having watched City Council by attending meetings steadily for almost 4 years (missed 3 meetings) Margo Schueler would bring a missing component - deep knowledge of infrastructure. There are others on Council now who have knowledge and experience in budgets. Kate is right there on top of that too. If we see these four, Igor, Kate, Rigel, and Mary Kay elected and with Kate's continuous push for accountability and transparency, Berkeley will be solidly on the right track. -more-

Amazin’ Disgrace: Racial Profiling and Clear Cutting

Steve Martinot
Saturday November 03, 2018 - 01:49:00 PM

Got democracy?

On Tuesday, October 30, 2018, we went shopping for some at City Council. They didn’t have any in stock. We went down to the corner store looking for some. But they were fresh out as well. There ain’t none left.

And here we have election day coming up. Yet all we have is a vote and the naivete to think that this machinic act is the real thing. What do we become when technology gets substituted for dealing with issues?

There were two issues on the Council agenda that day. Both had been the subject of huge special meetings in the recent past. They were serious controversial issues – you know, people against institutions. One was about abating fire danger in the hills. The other was about police bias and racial profiling.

On that Tuesday, the first issue was railroaded through by a show of council’s autocratic power. It was put on the Consent Calendar, as if controversy didn’t exist, and the people’s voice was smothered under procedure and a corrupt unanimity.

The second issue was blown off by the Berkeley PD by simply failing to provide a promised report on how they were dealing with their racism. The Police Chief, however, did exhibit some racial profiling, right there in the council meeting, for the edification of all present. Let’s look at that one first. -more-

NO on Measure FF

Caroline Yunker
Saturday November 03, 2018 - 12:58:00 PM

Please cast a NO vote on Measure FF. A NO on Measure FF will stop funding of millions of dollars to clear-cut hundreds of thousands of healthy trees and turn these fire-abating trees into dried, flammable kindling in the East Bay Hills. David Maloney, Fire Prevention Chief, Oakland Army Base, “Dried grass provides the most flammable ground fuel,” and, “There‘s no if’s, and’s, or but’s… every single tree is a wildfire mitigation factor…. Trees block wind, drip fog onto grasses, and block sun so grasses stay moist.” -more-

For A Equitable and Sustainable Berkeley: West Berkeley Artisans & Industrial Companies’ Berkeley City Council Endorsements

WEBAIC: West Berkeley Artisans & Industrial Companies
Thursday November 01, 2018 - 11:54:00 AM

In response to 12 years of a Mayor and majority City Council actively seeking to undermine the protective West Berkeley Plan policies and zoning that make possible West Berkeley’s local, sustainable, industrial maker & artisan/arts economy and culture, in 2016 WEBAIC endorsed Mayor and City Council candidates for the first time. Five of six WEBAIC-endorsed candidates won, resulting in a much more supportive and collaborative environment for WEBAIC and its constituency of approximately 320 PDRR (Production, Distribution, Repair, Recycling) companies, their 7000+ good jobs, and the 250 existing art/music/dance studios with 1000+ working artists.

Notably, since last election’s turnover of the Mayor/Council majority, the City of Berkeley abandoned its large-scale rezoning efforts that would have resulted in widespread displacement of industrial and artisan companies providing important City revenue, goods and services, and thousands of family wage jobs for those needing them the most. Moving in the opposite, positive direction, the City has now joined with 28 other Bay cities in the Bay Area Urban Manufacturing Initiative to facilitate an interconnected regional manufacturing ecosystem.

Through hard experience, WEBAIC has come to understand the necessity of having a Mayor and Council that value the contributions our vibrant and robust industrial maker & arts sectors bring to Berkeley’s economy and culture, including their critical role in the City’s efforts to achieve and maintain broad-based equity, ethnic and economic diversity, and environmental sustainability.

In light of this experience, WEBAIC undertook an endorsement process to identify who we believe are the 2018 City Council candidates that best understand and support West Berkeley’s sustainable industrial & arts economy and culture. WEBAIC’s 2018 endorsements: -more-

Vote NO on EBRPD’s Measure FF

Madeline Hovland, People United to Protect Parks
Thursday November 01, 2018 - 11:45:00 AM

PUPP (People United to Protect Parks) is a group of individuals who oppose East Bay Regional Park District’s Measure FF parcel TAX because it will help fund ill-advised changes EBRPD wants to make in the parks that we love. Among those changes are removal of tall shade trees, “restoration” of native plants and trees (even where they never grew before), and increased use of toxic chemicals to keep weeds and other “undesirable” vegetation from thriving in unshaded areas where trees are cut down. -more-

Mayor Scolds Uppity Police Critic

Thomas Lord
Friday November 02, 2018 - 10:59:00 AM

As many readers may know, "Public Comment" is those portions of City Council meetings when Council members are able to take a few minutes to catch up on emails and texts, chat among themselves, visit the restroom, and enjoy the fine snacks laid out in the private antechamber. Of course, some of the more hardy council members use this opportunity to pretend to listen to the regular citizens who line up to speak. For their part, the speakers return the favor by pretending that what they say to Council might make a damn bit of difference. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Trump Crying Wolf about Migrant Caravan

Ralph E. Stone
Thursday November 01, 2018 - 01:26:00 PM

The recent caravan heading for the U.S. border is like manna from heaven for Trump and the Republican candidates for Congress. Now they can sow fear, loathing, and lies about these poor migrants escaping poverty and terror in their countries and seeking a better life in this country. Trump provided no support for his claim that the caravan includes criminals and Middle East terrorists. In response to this fictional threat, In response to this fictional threat, Trump plans to send 800 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border ahead of the caravan in an attempt to rally Republican midterm voters — an “October surprise.” -more-

Yes on FF for Parks and Fire Prevention

Robert Cheasty
Saturday November 03, 2018 - 12:51:00 PM

Please vote Yes on Measure FF to extend the East Bay Regional Parks District revenue stream for parks and for fire prevention. I urge you to read FF if you are not familiar with all the great projects and goals it is tackling. -more-

Transit-Oriented Development Can't Reduce Berkeley's Carbon Footprint - But Door-to-Door Transit Can

Russ Tilleman
Friday November 02, 2018 - 04:10:00 PM

Building housing near transit has one glaring flaw. It can't reduce Berkeley's carbon footprint because it doesn't do anything about the people who already live here.

It can limit how much bigger Berkeley's carbon footprint gets, but it can't fix climate change by itself.


The recent "IPCC Special Report on Global Warming" from the United Nations gives the world 12 years to reduce carbon emissions, not limit how fast they increase. The report predicts dire consequences if we fail to accomplish this goal.

Fortunately, there is an approach that can greatly reduce Berkeley's carbon footprint by getting people out of their fossil-fueled cars and into a combination of Neighborhood Electric Vehicles for short trips and BART trains for longer trips.

I call this approach door-to-door transit, because it finally solves the centuries-old "last mile" problem of moving people between their homes or jobs and the nearest transit stations. -more-

The Caravan

Tejinder Uberoi
Friday November 02, 2018 - 11:31:00 AM

In a desperate attempt to malign the Democrats before the mid-term elections, the divider-in-chief, President Trump has reached down into his oversize bag of “dirty tricks’ and used the desperate plight of Honduran migrants to stoke fear and galvanize his base. Fearful of a blue wave, the president and the GOP are moving audaciously far from the truth and deep into the gutter. -more-

Lara for Insurance Commissioner

Dave Blake
Friday November 02, 2018 - 11:22:00 AM

Wellstone didn’t recommend on state insurance commissioner, perhaps fooled by technical nonpartisan status. Poizner, a Republican (claims to be now “independent”), is leading on name recognition. Lara is clearly the progressive choice. -more-

How Trump is Turning the U.S. into a Dictatorship

Jack Bragen
Thursday November 01, 2018 - 01:01:00 PM

The American people are systematically being locked out of our democracy. This is being done by means of voter suppression and other tactics to rig our elections, in combination with a skewed Supreme Court. -more-

November Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Saturday November 03, 2018 - 09:49:00 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-

Vote YES for Measure FF!

Pam Young
Saturday November 03, 2018 - 12:53:00 PM

The PUPP writer is woefully uninformed and misunderstands basic forestry and fire hazard management. What does the PUPP writer even mean by the statement, ““restoration” of native plants and trees (even where they never grew before)” ??? How can native plants and trees never have grown where they are to be restored? Implicit in the definition of restoration is the removal of nonnative plants so that native plants can be restored to their natural habitat. Restoration fosters the resiliency of ecosystems and helps reduce the risk of fuel loads associated with non-native vegetation. -more-


DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: Afghanistan: Is Peace At Hand?

Conn Hallinan
Friday November 02, 2018 - 11:17:00 AM

The news that the Americans recently held face-to-face talks with the Taliban suggests that longest war in US history may have reached a turning point, although the road to such a peace is long, rocky and plagued with as many improvised explosive devices as the highway from Kandahar to Kabul.

That the 17-year old war has reached a tipping point seems clear. The Taliban now controls more territory than they have since the American invasion in 2001. Causalities among Afghan forces are at an all time high, while recruitment is rapidly drying up. In spite of last year’s mini-surge of US troops and airpower by the Trump administration, the situation on the ground is worse now than in was in 2017. If any one statement sums up the hopelessness—and cluelessness—of the whole endeavor, it was former Secretary of State’s challenge to the Taliban: “You will not win a battlefield victory. We may not win one, but neither will you.”

Of course, like any successful insurgency, the Taliban never intended to “win a battlefield victory,” only not to lose, thus forcing a stalemate that would eventually exhaust their opponents. Clearly the lessons of the Vietnam War are not part of the standard curriculum at Foggy Bottom.

Why things have gone from bad to worse for the US/NATO occupation and the Kabul government has less to do with the war itself than a sea change in strategy by the Taliban, a course shift that Washington has either missed or ignored. According to Ashley Jackson of the Overseas Development Institute, the Taliban shifted gears in 2015, instituting a program of winning hearts and minds. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: You Don't Have to be Mentally Ill to be Delusional

Jack Bragen
Friday November 02, 2018 - 11:08:00 AM

Because I have suffered severe psychosis numerous times, and with mild psychosis for all my adult life, by necessity, I am familiar with processes by which I can overcome more than half of my delusional thoughts. It involves questioning my own thinking as to whether it is accurate. It also involves the realization that thoughts are merely thoughts--they are a representation, but they should not be accepted as "reality," at least until proven by means of the five physical senses, or by means of checking out the thoughts with other reliable sources. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: What We Are Fighting For

Bob Burnett
Friday November 02, 2018 - 11:01:00 AM

If you are reading this, it's very likely that you are going to vote. The purpose of this column is not to convince you to vote but rather to urge you to convince every eligible voter you know to cast their vote. This is a crucial election. Let's consider what Democrats are fighting for and why it's so important that we turn out every eligible voter we can reach. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday November 02, 2018 - 11:13:00 AM

Candidates Unleashed

There is a wealth of work experience among the ten candidates running for Berkeley Council seats in the November 6 election but several stand out as examples of our changing lifestyles. In addition to "a small business owner" and an "attorney," our candidates include an "elder nutrition manager," a "sustainable policy analyst," a "green transportation designer," and Aidan Hill who lists his occupation as "Berkeley Dog Walker."

Trump's "America First" to Planet Earth: "Drop Dead"

Donald Trump has announced he's a "nationalist," not a "globalist." Why worry about the planet, when your focus is on America uber Alles? This raises the obvious question: "What planet does Trump think he lives on?" -more-

Pittsburgh synagogue massacre

Jagjit Singh
Friday November 02, 2018 - 11:34:00 AM

While much of the country is reacting in horror to the massacre of 11 Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue there is virtually no international outrage over the daily killing of Palestinians in Gaza. Israel has announced it is implementing a “zero tolerance” policy toward peaceful protesters in Gaza, who have been staging weekly Friday protests since March 30. Since then, Israeli forces have killed at least 170 Palestinians, including more than 30 children, and injured at least 18,000. The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem representative HAGAI EL-AD addressed the United Nations: “The Gaza Strip, with a population of nearly 2 million, has essentially become an open-air prison. Its inmates have been staging protests for the past six months, after suffering for more than a decade under an Israeli-imposed blockade that has led to economic collapse, soaring unemployment rates, polluted drinking water, dwindling power supplies and, ultimately, to deep despair”.While we shed tears for our Jewish brothers and sisters who died we should save a few tears for the ongoing slaughter of Palestinians with the assistance of $billions of support from the US. Humanity should always triumph political and religious ideology. -more-

New: Hilary Hahn Plays Bach at Davies Hall

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Wednesday November 07, 2018 - 09:29:00 PM

The fiendishly difficult Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin by Johann Sebastian Bach have always been a part of Hilary Hahn’s musical life. Ms. Hahn began her musical studies with her first teacher, Klara Berkovich, and at age 10 was admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia to study with Jascha Brodsky, who devoted a part of each lesson to solo Bach. At age 17, Hilary Hahn recorded her first CD, entitled Hilary Hahn Plays Bach, which featured her performances of Bach’s Sonata No. 1 in G minor, Partita No. 1 in B minor, and Partita No. 2 in D minor. Now, at age 38, Hilary Hahn revisited exactly these same works in a recital at Davies Hall, Sunday, November 4, under the aegis of San Francisco Symphony’s Great Performer Series. Hilary Hahn performs on an 1864 copy by Vuillaume of the Guarneri “Il Cannone” played by Paganini. -more-

Arts & Events

The Berkeley Activist's Calendar, Nov. 4-11

Kelly Hammargren, Sustainable Berkeley Coalition
Saturday November 03, 2018 - 05:50:00 PM

Worth Noting

Holiday Food Drive, 8:30 am – 6:00 pm everyday month of November, hours vary by location. Call 981-6656 for information

Berkeley City Council, Tues Nov 13 available for comment, Agenda: 1. IKE Kiosks, 17. Appeal 3000 Shattuck, 18. Shower Services Homeless, 19. Sanctuary City Contracting Ordinance, 20. Minimum Wage, 21. City Manager request to reduce in-lieu mitigation fee to $0 for 2597 Telegraph, 22. Cannabis, 23. Ohlone Greenway, 24. Budget Referral Increasing Safety at San Pablo Park -more-

Valery Gergiev Leads Mariinsky Orchestra in Mahler’s Fifth

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Thursday November 01, 2018 - 11:52:00 AM

Make no mistake about it. In spite of a well-balanced program of three major works, opening with Claude Debussy’s Prélude à L’Après midi d’un Faune followed by Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for Piano and Orchestra, it was Gustav Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, which the composer called a “raging sea of sound,” that was the centerpiece of the Mariinsky Orchestra’s Monday night concert, October 22, at Davies Hall. Under the leadership of their Music Director, Valery Gergiev, the Mariinsky Orchestra of St. Petersburg offered a powerful rendition of Mahler’s groundbreaking Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp Minor. Power was indeed preeminent in Gergiev’s interpretation of this huge, sprawling symphony; and only the lilting simplicity of the famous Adagietto offered a welcome moment of respite from the onslaught of powerful musical ideas issuing from Mahler’s tumultuous score. -more-

ARABELLA: Richard Strauss Revisits Vienna

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Thursday November 01, 2018 - 11:51:00 AM

In 1933, twenty-three years after the 1910 premiere of Der Rosenkavalier in Dresden, Richard Strauss premiered Arabella in Dresden. Their Dresden beginnings notwithstanding, Der Rosenkavalier and Arabella are quintessentially Viennese operas. Both are set in Vienna, Der Rosenkavalier in the reign of Empress Maria Theresa, and Arabella, at least in its original conception, in the 1860s, though for this San Francisco Opera production Director Tim Albery has updated Arabella to 1910, shortly before the outbreak of World War I. Both operas examine Viennese society with a jaundiced, though affectionate, eye. -more-

New: Hilary Hahn Plays Bach at Davies Hall

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Wednesday November 07, 2018 - 09:29:00 PM

The fiendishly difficult Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin by Johann Sebastian Bach have always been a part of Hilary Hahn’s musical life. Ms. Hahn began her musical studies with her first teacher, Klara Berkovich, and at age 10 was admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia to study with Jascha Brodsky, who devoted a part of each lesson to solo Bach. At age 17, Hilary Hahn recorded her first CD, entitled Hilary Hahn Plays Bach, which featured her performances of Bach’s Sonata No. 1 in G minor, Partita No. 1 in B minor, and Partita No. 2 in D minor. Now, at age 38, Hilary Hahn revisited exactly these same works in a recital at Davies Hall, Sunday, November 4, under the aegis of San Francisco Symphony’s Great Performer Series. Hilary Hahn performs on an 1864 copy by Vuillaume of the Guarneri “Il Cannone” played by Paganini. -more-