On Putin, Trump and the Democratic Establishment: The Enemy of Your Enemy is Not Your Friend

It’s time for us in the left to recognize that the enemy of our enemy is not our friend. We are very clear on our opposition to US militarism and imperialism abroad, a policy that has been pursued by almost every president in the post-war period (Carter may be excluded, but I hear he’s been terrible on Haiti). But we need to be as clear in our condemnation of militaristic and imperialistic actions by other world leaders – starting with Putin.

Putin is not our friend. He has worked hard to turn Russia into a dictatorship, jailing and killing political opponents. Unable to strengthen Russia, he has concentrated in weakening Europe and the United States by exploiting the rise of nationalistic/xenophobic feelings that have hit Europe and the US in response to increased globalization and wealth inequality. He has been supporting far right parties and movements (including the people who want to have California seceed) and I have no doubt that Mueller’s allegations of Russian interference in the US election are true – researchers have reported Putin using the same techniques in Eastern European elections.

The fact that Putin tried to influence American elections (and I think he tried to influence only inasmuch as increasing divisions, not necessarily electing Trump) does not mean, of course, that Russia is the reason behind Trump’s win. That lies directly on Clinton and her elitist disregard for anyone who relies on a paycheck to pay the bills. In this, Russia reminds me of the LAPD during the OJ Simpson case: they tried to frame a guilty man. Trump was elected despite Russia, not because of it.

But Trump got elected nonetheless, and it seems that Putin has something on him. I have no way of guessing what that is – but I know that Trump has a history of blackmailing people, which makes him the ideal target of blackmail himself. He understands the game. His agreement to a solo meeting with Putin and his conduct after getting out of that meeting does not allow for any other explanation. I don’t know what it is that Putin has – but I don’t think it’s a simply a pee tape. It’s something which he knows he cannot spin his way out of. It’s something big.

I can’t believe I’m going to say this but: I hope our intelligence sources have it to and if so that they release it immediately. We cannot have a President that is a puppet for Putin.

I have not supported talk of impeachment before this. But I think that Trump presents a clear and present danger to the United States.

For Alameda County DA Nancy O’Malley, the life of Latina teens is worth $10,000 – payable to her

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(En español a continuación)

The first photo is that of my daughter.  She is a bright and happy 16-year old Latina girl who is the light of my life.

The second photo is Elena Mondragon, a bright and happy 16 yo Latina girl who was shot to death by Fremont police, while she was riding as a passenger in a car they were pursuing.

Image result for Elena Mondragon

Fremont police gave Alameda County DA Nancy O’Malley a $10,000 campaign contribution and O’Malley promptly decided that Elena’s killing was justified. That, for O’Malley, is how much the life of a Latina girl is worth, payable to her.

Who will be next? With a DA who will not prosecute police killings as she fills her pockets with campaign contributions from killer cops, are any of our children safe? Over a hundred community members have been killed by law enforcement officers in Alameda County since O’Malley has been DA. Not a single one was prosecuted.

Please, if you live in Alameda County, vote for Pamela Price​ for DA. I don’t care if it’s the only vote you cast. For our children’s sake, don’t let a racist, human rights violating DA stay in office!

(Note: if you want other voting recommendations, check out this guide for Alameda County and this guide for elsewhere in California – but whatever you do, please vote for Pamela Price and ask your friends in Alameda County to do the same)


La primera foto es la de mi hija, Michaela.  Tiene 16 años, muchos sueños y muchas esperanzas.  Es la luz de mi vida.

La segunda foto es la de Elena Mondragon, quien tenía también 16 años, muchos sueños y esperanzas el año pasado, cuando fue acribillada por la policía de la ciudad de Fremont.  Iba como pasajera en un auto que la policía decidió perseguir.

Los policías de Fremont le dieron una contribución de $10,000 a la campaña de Nancy O’Malley, la fiscal del condado de Alameda.  Poco después, O’Malley decidió que el asesinato de Elena estaba justificado.  Diez mil dólares en su bolsillo es lo que la vida de una jovencita Latina le vale a Nancy O’Malley.

Cual de nuestras hijas o hijos será el próximo? O’Malley no ha perseguido a ninguno de los policías que mató a miembros de nuestra comunidad – sin embargo ha tomado decenas de miles de dólares en contribuciones de los sindicatos de policías.

Si Ud. vive en el condado de Alameda, por favor vótele a  Pamela Price​ para Fiscal del Distrito.  Por la vida de nuestros hijos e hijas, no deje que una fiscal racista y violadora de los derechos humanos siga en su puesto.

Y por favor comparta esta nota con todos sus amigos.

 

 

Hotel Review: Premier Inn London Heathrow, @ Bath Street

England is littered with Premier Inn hotels – budget hotels that emerged as a competitor to Travel lodge.  They have several around Heathrow, with the one on Bath Street, near Terminals 2 and 3, being the newest one and the one that had the best reviews.  We stayed there on a Monday night in April 2018 prior to a flight out of Heathrow.  It was definitely serviceable for a single night.

We booked a room with two double beds, to accommodate two adults and two teens.  The beds and pillows were reasonably comfortable   The room itself was small but also reasonably well appointed.  It included a sofa chair with a small table, a single nightstand, and a desk/dresser with one of the smallest flat-screened TVs I’ve seen – not much of an issue in this age of mobile phones and tablets.  They offered free internet at a decent speed – or super fast internet for £5 for up to 3 devices.  We stuck with the free one.  It worked well, but you had to re-sign in every time you turned on your device again.

The room was clean and the bathroom was a good size, but the shower had a shower curtain, instead of a door, which I personally dislike.  The hotel didn’t provide much in the way of toiletries: there was a dispenser with a combination shampoo/body wash in the shower and a dispenser with hand soap by the sink.  No conditioner – an issue we encountered at other hotels.

Even though the hotel is right by the airport, we didn’t hear any airplane noise.

We has breakfast at the hotel (£10.50 for adults, kids eat free) and I was quite happy with the spread.  There were hot English staples such as ham and sausages, baked eggs, baked beans and so forth – and also more continental fare.  I particularly liked the crumpets with butter and jam.  They had a cappuccino/latte machine that made adequate drinks as well as tea, juices and milk.

Perhaps the one minus is that parking is £10, but I just considered that as part of the cost of the room.

I’d stay here again.

Premier Inn London Heathrow, Bath Street
15 Bath Road, Hounslow, Middlesex TW6 2AB

Marga’s Hotel Reviews

Is the AP World History Book Racist?


My daughter is taking AP World History and tonight she came to us simply appalled by the context of her textbook.

“The textbook just can’t say anything bad about white people,” she explained. Then she read me the offending sentence

From the time of Columbus, indigenous populations had been compelled to provide labor for European settlers in the Americas .

“They just can’t say what really happened, that they were enslaved by European settlers in the Americas,” she says angrily.

“Not once did they say they were slaves, “forced labor, Encomienda, terrible working conditions, forced to provide them with labor, textiles, food or other goods – so they basically stole their shit -, but not once did they use the word slavery.”  (Later she finds the textbook does use the word, but only when speaking about Brazil).

She went on. The textbook had one paragraph explaining how the Catholic Church oppressed the native population, including using torture and executions. But right after that brief paragraph, they spend three paragraphs exonerating the Catholic Church from the evils they caused:

Despite its failures, the Catholic clergy did provide native peoples with some protections against the abuse and exploitation of Spaniard settlers.

“Failures?” asks my daughter. “They call torture, slavery and executions “failures”?

“It’s not like the book was written in 1980, it was published in 2008,” she says frustrated. (The book is the 4th edition, there is a 6th edition now, but her School District decided to spend money building fences that make the schools look like jails, and huge TV screens teachers use rather than buying books.

She goes on reading, and gets to the part about Brazil.  She grows more appalled:

“It’s so sickening, they actually talk about them like they are animals.”

Although African slaves at first cost much more than Amerindian slaves, planters found them to be more productive and more resistant to disease.

“It sounds like a commercial: ‘Get rid of your Native American slaves, get some African ones – they will be more productive and resistant to disease, buy them now.’  It’s literally what it sounds like.”