was the Honorary
Fire Chief of Hancock Maine
he is also
April 1st is Berkeley's Birthdate.
It is also the Birthdate of the Hell's
" A Return to a World Marx Would Have Known"
Doug Henwood, nytimes.com.
(Doug Henwood is editor of
Left Business Observer, host of a weekly radio show originating
on KPFA, Berkeley, and is author of several books, including "Wall
Street: How It Works and For Whom" and "After the New
"I don't see how you can understand our current unhappy economic
state without some sort of Marx-inspired analysis.
Here we are, almost five
years into an officially designated recovery from the worst downturn
in 80 years, and average household incomes are more than 8 percent
below where they were when the Great Recession began, and employment
still 650,000 short of its pre-recession high.
For years, excessive consumer
borrowing muted the effects of stagnant wages. But low demand
is stifling the economy, with no end in sight.
Though elites are prospering, for millions of Americans, it's
as if the recession never ended.
How can this all be explained?
The best way to start is by going back to the 1970s. Corporate
profitability - which, as every Marxist schoolchild knows, is
the motor of the system - had fallen sharply off its mid-1960s
highs. Stock and bond markets were performing miserably. Inflation
seemed to be rising without limit. After three decades of seemingly
endless prosperity, workers had developed a terrible attitude
problem, slacking off and, quaintly, even going out on strike.
It's no accident that Johnny Paycheck scored a No. 1 country hit
with "Take This Job and Shove It" in 1977 - utterly
impossible to imagine today.
This is where Marx begins
to come in. At the root of these problems was a breakdown in class
relations: workers no longer feared the boss. A crackdown was
And it came, hard. In October
1979, the Federal Reserve began driving interest rates toward
20 percent, to kill inflation and restrict borrowing, creating
the deepest recession since the 1930s. (It was a record we only
broke in 2008/2009). A little over a year later, Ronald Reagan
came into office, fired the striking air-traffic controllers,
setting the stage for decades of union busting to follow. Five
years after Johnny Paycheck's hit, workers were desperate to hold
and/or get jobs. No more attitude problem.
The 'cure' worked for about
30 years. Corporate profits skyrocketed and financial markets
thrived. The underlying mechanism, as Marx would explain it, is
simple: workers produce more in value than they are paid, and
the difference is the root of profit. If worker productivity rises
while pay remains stagnant or declines, profits increase. This
is precisely what has happened over the last 30 years. According
to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity rose 93 percent
between 1980 and 2013, while pay rose 38 percent (all inflation-adjusted).
The 1 percent got ever-richer
and more powerful. But there was a problem: a system dependent
on high levels of mass consumption has a hard time coping with
the stagnation or decline in mass incomes.The development of a
mass consumer market after Marx died, with the eager participation
of a growing middle class, caused a lot of people to say his analysis
was obsolete. But now, with the hollowing out of the middle class
and the erosion of mass purchasing power, the whole 20th century
model of mass consumption is starting to look obsolete.
Borrowing sustained the mass
consumption model for a few decades. Non-rich households borrowed
to buy cars, buy food, pay medical bills, buy ever-more-expensive
houses, and so on. Conveniently, rich households had plenty of
spare cash to lend them.
That model broke apart in
2008 and has not - and cannot - be revived. Without the juice
provided by spirited borrowing, demand remains constricted and
growth rates, low. (See also: Europe.)
Raising the incomes of the
bottom 90 percent of the population through higher wages and public
spending initiatives - stifled since Reagan starting putting the
squeeze on them - could change that. But the stockholding class
has resisted that, and they have a lot of political power.
And an extraordinarily lopsided
economy is the result. We didn't expect that the 21st century
would bring about a return of the 19th century's vast disparities,
but it's looking like that's just what's happened."
"Berkeley's Cheese Board collective supports
Inkworks in hard times" Judith
hard times are often on their own to face cutthroat marketplace
But that wasn't the case
when Inkworks Press, a 40-year-old collective print shop, found
itself unable to rebound from the recession. Facing an uncertain
future, Inkworks got support from the Cheese Board, itself a Berkeley
collective since 1971.
In early March, the Cheese
Board finalized the purchase of Inkworks' building on Seventh
Street in southwest Berkeley and leased the building back to the
print shop for two years, allowing the printers time to plot out
Getting help from the Cheese
Board 'feels so right,' said founding Inkworks member Erica Braun,
noting 'ommitments of both collectives to workplace democracy
and the 'stewardship of community resources."
'To me, the supportive energy
and shared sense of values is kind of similar to our beginnings,'
Inkworks' founders didn't
see themselves primarily as printers entering a joint business
venture, but as activists who learned the printing trade in order
to create newsletters, pamphlets and posters for community and
progressive causes. The collective likewise believes in a unionized
and worker-controlled workplace.
These ideals are evidenced today in the lobby at Inkworks, where
pamphlets on reproductive 'ights and green values are displayed
near some of Inkworks' celebrated posters, one proclaiming 'No
human being is illegal,' and another, 'I am Trayvon.'
especially on complex issues such as addressing the downturn in
business, can be 'a long and arduous process,' said Nobuo Nishi,
a collective member since 1981. Such decisions are made by a supermajority
of the 11 members, with dissenters coming to accept the decision.
Decisions are not 'ramrodded through,' Nishi said.
The decision to sell the
building they'd owned since 1987 came after several years of losses.
The recession 'was probably the dramatic turning point for us,'
Nishi said. 'We weren't ready when the bottom fell out in 2009.
The recession hit Inkworks' nonprofit clients at the same time
that technology made it easy for them to switch from printed materials
to websites and online newsletters."
The real story here is that
most likely in two years Potter Creek will have its own Cheese
"The Shocking Rise of Wealth Inequality:
Is it Worse Than We Thought?" by
Jordan Weissmann, slate.com.
Saez, of the University of CaliforniaBerkeley, and Gabriel
Zucman, of the London School of Economics, are out with a new
set of findings on American wealth inequality, and their numbers
are startling. Wealth, for reference, is the value of what you
own-assets like housing, stocks, and bonds, minus your debts.
And while it certainly comes up from time to time, it has tended
to play second fiddle to income in conversations about America's
widening class divide. In part, that's because it's a trickier
Wealth has always been far
more concentrated than income in the United States. Plus, research
suggested that the top 1 percent of households had actually lost
some of its share since the 1980s.
That might not really have
been the case."
"Parking your Lamborghini in your Singapore
Sky Garage " video
considers soda, vacancy and parks taxes for November ballot"
Judith Scherr at timesheraldonline.com.
"There were a half-dozen
taxes the City Council would have liked voters to consider in
November -- levies on commercial and rental vacancies, a sugar-sweetened
beverage tax, increased rental housing and parks taxes."
Kosher Winery Grows in Berkeley:Wine Nomad Jeff Morgan Puts Down
Roots" Leah Koenig, forward.com.
"Jeff Morgan's story
is one best told over a glass of wine - preferably a robust cabernet
by Covenant, the kosher wine company he has co-owned for more
than a decade. A roving jazz musician and writer turned vintner,
Morgan has spent most of the past 10 years working with California
vineyards and wineries to produce some of the top kosher cabernet
sauvignons, chardonnays and sauvignon blancs on the market. This
year, the longtime wine nomad is settling into new digs: his first
permanent winery in Berkeley.
For years, Morgan rented
out production space at other wineries, knowing that he ultimately
wanted a space of his own. 'We looked around and just could not
find anything in Napa that made sense financially,' he said. It
turned out to be a fortunate problem to have.
Last year, his wife and business
partner, Jodie, suggested a different idea: moving Covenant's
operations south, to the Bay Area. The company's associate winemaker
was already commuting to the winery every day from Oakland ('a
real schlep,' Morgan said). More to the point, the Morgans craved
a vibrant Jewish life that Napa could not provide.
While driving through downtown
Berkeley last fall, they spotted a 7,000-square-foot metal warehouse
marked with a 'For Sale' sign. They stopped the car. Within minutes,
Morgan was envisioning how he might outfit the space with wine
tanks and barrels - then he noticed a large empty plot of land
On closer inspection, he
found a poster attached to the fence. It announced the plot as
the new home of Urban Adamah - a Jewish educational farm that
launched in Berkeley in 2010. 'A kosher winery right across the
street from a Jewish organic cultural center!' Morgan recalled,
excitedly. 'We could do events together and give them our organic
grape skins and seeds to compost. It would be one happy family.'
Covenant's winery, which
will enable the company to increase annual production over the
next five years to 10,000 cases from 5,000, is scheduled to be
up and running in time for the 2014 fall grape harvest."
Berkeley switches to quarter system!?" Soyolmaa Lkhagvadorj,
Montgomery pushes for Travis DeCuire as replacement at Cal"
"After announcing his retirement as Cal's basketball coach,
Mike Montgomery is now pushing for the appointment of assistant
coach Travis DeCuire as his replacement.
'We've got the guy in this
room who should have the job my assistant Travis (DeCuire).
I hope Sandy comes to that conclusion,' Montgomery said in a Monday
news conference at Haas Pavilion. 'Our players trust Travis. That
is huge in today's business.' "
of loss: In dust of WWII camps, how Japanese culture blossomed"
Barry Bergman, newscenter.berkeley.edu.
The twist in Shirley Muramoto's personal narrative came when,
as a teenager, she discovered how her mother, aunt and grandparents
had spent the years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec.
'I asked my mom where she
learned how to play the koto,' a six-foot, 13-stringed zither"
better-known on campus by her married name, And she'd say, "Oh,
I learned in camp."And I said, "Wow, what a progressive
summer camp you went to, to be teaching a Japanese instrument
like this."I really didn't hear what that camp was until
I was in high school." '
What it was, in fact, was
a concentration camp."
"Robot symposium at UC Berkeley "
David Pescovit, boingboing.net.
"Tomorrow, Friday (April
4), UC Berkeley is hosting a free symposium about 'Robots and
New Media.' Organized by BB pal and Cal professor Eric Paulos,
the lineup includes such robotics/design/media luminaries as Mark
Pauline (Survival Research Labs), Hubert Dreyfus (UC Berkeley),
Eric Stackpole (OpenROV), Ken Goldberg (UC Berkeley), and Carla
Diana (U Penn.). This will be a mind-blower for sure. As JG Ballard
said, robots are the ' moral degradation of the machine.' "
The Beer Advocate rates our
"NorCal Fishing Meet May 17th at the Berkeley
Marina, Berkeley, CA 94720"
"NorCal Luis Casas would
like to set a fishing meet at the Berkeley Marina, Berkeley, CA
94720 on May 17th should be there around 10 - 11am. Basically
like the title says it will be a day for fishing. "
"American Studies C132B 'Mass society versus
totalitarianism ' " is
the course video-download at toplike.us.
of Berkeley Advances Citywide LED Streetlight Upgrade to Save
Energy and Reduce City Emissions" world.einnews.com.
"Berkeley's effort to
upgrade approximately 8000 streetlights to LED was supported by
the Bay Area Climate Collaborative's Next Generation Streetlight
Initiative and the California Lighting and Technology Center at
the University of California, Davis.
Berkeley's city council approved
a contract to convert approximately 8,000 city streetlights to
LED by the end of 2012. Streetlights currently account for approximately
1,000 metric tons of CO2 output annually or about 13% of the city's
total emissions. An LED conversion is projected to cut emissions
from streetlights by half, and will directly support Berkeley's
ambitious Climate Action Plan goal of reducing greenhouse gas
emissions locally by 33% between the years 2000 and 2020 and 80%
With the energy savings achieved
by from streetlight conversions, Berkeley is expected to save
nearly $400,000 annually, in addition to PG&E rebates estimated
at a total of $650,000. San Francisco-based Tanko Lighting was
selected as the winning vendor for the project valued at $2,921,064.
The city will use a $3 million 1% interest energy efficiency loan
from the California Energy Commission to fund the project, which
will be paid back over 10 years through the savings generated
from installing LED streetlights from vendors including Leotek,
Sensity, Holophane and others."
BPD Ofc Jennifer Coats emails
The City of Berkeley
Police Department (BPD) would like to announce two arrests for
28, 2014 murder of Sylvan Fuselier. BPD Homicide Detectives have
Michael Diggs, a 28 year old male, of Berkeley, and Kneitawnye
Sessoms, a 40
year old female, of Berkeley.
On Friday, February 28, 2014 at approximately 11:48 a.m., the
Police Department received a welfare check request from a community
member. The reporting party was concerned because they had not
friend, Fuselier, a resident of an apartment on the 1100 block
Street, for several days. Officers obtained access to the apartment,
subsequently discovered Fuselier deceased in the apartment. Further
investigation of the scene determined that Fuselier had been murdered.
Investigators have been actively working this case, conducting
following up on leads, and examining evidence. The investigators
information implicating Diggs and Sessoms as suspects in Fuselier's
both Diggs and Sessoms were arrested on April 1, 2014 and are
custody. The Berkeley Police Department is not searching for any
suspects as a result of this investigation.
Berkeley Police Department homicide detectives presented their
to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office on April 2, 2014.
Attorney's Office has filed formal charges against Michael Diggs
PC 187 and Kneitawnye Sessoms with murder, PC 187.
In the interest of maintaining the integrity of this on-going
will not be releasing anything further details at this time.
The Berkeley Police Department would like to thank the Alameda
Sheriff's Office Criminalistics Laboratory, California Department
Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigative Services and
Research Institute for their assistance in this investigation.
Ofc Jennifer Coats , Public Information
Assemblymember Skinner Invites
You To A Budget Town Hall. What
budget priorities are important to you?
As Chair of the Assembly
Budget Committee, Assemblymember Skinner has a significant role
in helping shape California's budget and she needs your help!
Should we increase investment
in education, safety net services or environmental protection?
Pay down debt? Or save for a rainy day?
Next 10, a non-profit organization,
will lead an interactive "Budget Challenge" so you can
weigh in on what California's budget priorities should be. Thursday,
April 10th, 7 p.m - 8:30 p.m at the Ed Roberts Campus (ERC), 3075
Adeline Avenue, Berkeley 94703
RSVP at (510) 286-1400 or online at www.asmdc.org/skinner
"Alumni of the Year 2014 at a gala celebration"
at UC Berkeley-one of the largest multi-national residential and
programming cultural centers in the world-will honor philanthropist
Wendy Schmidt and inventor Dr. Ashok Gadgil as Alumni of the Year
2014 at a gala celebration Thursday, April 10th, in its historic
east bay facility."
KALA 40: Anniversary Auction & Gala
We look forward to celebrating
with you! Get your tickets in advance while they last!
Auction Gala: Saturday, April 26, 6:30 - 10:00 pm.
Area Bike Share May Expand to Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville"
Bryan Goebel, kqed.org.
"The Metropolitan Transportation
Commission is considering expansion of the Bay Area Bike Share
program to Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville. The MTC will
vote on funding for the additional locations at its meeting next
Wednesday. MTC staff have also recommended that additional locations
be analyzed for further expansion.
The East Bay was not included in the bike share pilot that launched
with 700 bikes last August in San Francisco and the Peninsula."
Cycling into the Future
15 Crazy Concept Bicycles
Berkeley Symphony Orchestra presents Mahler Symphony No. 2"
"The UC Berkeley Symphony
Orchestra and Music Director David Milnes present Gustav Mahler's
Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection", featuring soprano Ann
Moss, mezzo-soprano Kathleen Moss and the University Chorus.
Mahler's monumental second
symphony has been described as vast, all-encompassing and apocalyptic--you
don't want to miss this performance! We hope you will join us
for our final concert of the 2013-14 season.
Thursday, May 1 8:00pm, Hertz
Hall, Berkeley, CA."
'I'm a Performer': Where Music is for Everyone" Molly
"The San Francisco Girls
Chorus joins the Berkeley Symphony for its annual 'I'm a Performer'
family concerts in Berkeley on April 12. The Saturday morning
performances, at 10 a.m. and at 11:30 a.m., are free of charge
and open to the public. Berkeley Symphony education director Ming
Luke conducts the program that will feature Ludwig van Beethoven's
Ode to Joy and the orchestra's signature tune, I Am a Fine Musician."
evolution soared after invading South America 22 million years
ago" Robert Sanders, newscenter.berkeley.edu.
"A newly constructed
family tree of the hummingbirds, published today in the journal
Current Biology, tells a story of a unique group of birds that
originated in Europe, passed through Asia and North America, and
ultimately found its Garden of Eden in South America 22 million
Illicit Pot Farms Resort to Rat Poison, They Are 'Wiping Out'
Wildlife Populations" Glen Martin, berkeley.edu.
"A recent article in
Mother Jones magazine calculates the impact of the illicit marijuana
trade on global warming, and arrives at some pretty grim conclusions.
U.S. dope production and distribution, the piece notes, emit as
much atmospheric carbon as 3 million cars. In California, indoor
grows suck up 9 percent of household electricity; outdoor plots
consume more water than does the city of San Francisco."
" Is the U.S. stock market rigged? Steve
Kroft reports on a new book from Michael Lewis that reveals how
some high-speed traders work the stock market to their advantage"
figures it is
"This month marks the
fifth anniversary of the current bull market on Wall Street, making
it one of the longest and strongest in history. Yet U.S. stock
ownership is at a record low and less than half of Americans trust
banks and financial services. And in the last two weeks, the New
York attorney general and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission
in Washington have both launched investigations into high-frequency
computerized stock trading that now controls more than half the
The probes were announced
just ahead of a much anticipated book on the subject by best-selling
author Michael Lewis called 'Flash Boys.' In it, Lewis argues
that the stock market is now rigged to benefit a group of insiders
that have made tens of billions of dollars exploiting computerized
trading. The story is told through an unlikely cast of characters
who figured out what was going on and have devised a plan to correct
it. It could have a huge impact on Wall Street. Michael Lewis
talks about it for the first time."
on the other hand
here's our Milo and best
at Saturday Soccer Match
Last night, neighbor Adams
and Chittenden Scientific Glass held their annual shindig.
During or after, pumpkinman
Bruce Hermann lost his head and hat.
My driveway security cameras
were on during this time. Interesting!
If you find it anywhere in
the neighborhood, please return it!
You can find more information
about our current weather conditions than is good for you at www.wunderground.com
Want to see weather coming
in, going out, beautiful sunsets, and much, much more? Check out
This very hip site was in an email from reader and contributor,
Tony Almeida. Read Tony's Jimi Hendrix story on the only page that routinely gets
more hits than Scrambled Eggs.
Ramblers' motorcycle club member, Cliff Miller emails a very
If you ever need to get a
human being on the phone at a credit card company or bank, etc.,
this site tells you how to defeat their automated system and get
you to a human being within a few seconds.
Best gas prices in 94710,
as well as all of US and Canada, are here
Kimar finds Costco routinely
has the lowest price.
Bay Area home prices from sfgate.com
Bay Area foreclosures from sfgate.com
Our City Council update is
Our Planning Commision update
Our City of Berkeley Boards
and Commissions page is here--redone
of crime-in-progress should first go to Berkeley PD dispatch--911
or non-emergency, 981-5900. THEN make sure you notify EACH of
these City people.
Coordinator, Berkeley PD - 981-5774.
aid to Darryl Moore - 981-7120 firstname.lastname@example.org
City Councilman email@example.com
AND check out BPD feature
are these Suspects."
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posted material retains copyright. The material is used only to