San Francisco

While the May 14 massacre of protesters by Israeli snipers was occurring in Gaza, United States President Donald Trump was symbolically opening the US Embassy in Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was there, heaping praise on Trump.

There were also two pastors present, one to give the opening prayer, the other the closing one. Both pastors were from the extreme rightist, white Christian evangelical community and are well known for their outspoken anti-Semitism and support for Israel.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr on April 4, 1968.

The murder of one of the great Black leaders of the time by white racists with the complicity of the US government, most likely the FBI, stunned all African Americans in the country.

An estimated 500,000 people, largely youth, demonstrated in Washington, DC on March 24 against the continued mass shootings at schools across the country.  Hundreds of thousands more mobilised in about 800 cities and towns.

The spark that lit the pent-up tinder of anger against school shootings — of which there have been 18 since January — was the response to the February 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida.

The recent victorious strike by teachers in West Virginia, which was organised bottom up by rank-and-file teachers, 75% women, has demonstrated the truth of what worker militant and songwriter Joe Hill wrote: “There is power in a band of working [people], when they stand hand in hand!”

The most effective way to counter US President Donald Trump’s reactionary policies is through mass action.

The Democratic Party, however, hopes to steer movements and individuals opposed to Trump into support of its candidates. While this trap of “lesser evil” politics has proved to be a failure over and over again, there is another, outright reactionary, content to the Democrat’s current anti-Trump campaign.

In his now infamous statement on immigration last month, Trump expressed his views clearly: He doesn’t want immigrants from “shithole” countries in Africa, Haiti and El Salvador — Black and Latina — to be let into the US.

On the other hand, he wants to encourage immigrants from predominantly white nations like Norway.

Erica Garner, Black Lives Matter activist and daughter of African American victim of police murder Eric Garner, died on December 30 aged 27.

The proximate cause of death was a heart attack, extremely rare in one so young. The underlying cause was the trauma-induced stress (PTSD) she and her family suffered because of Eric’s murder in 2014, the exoneration of the killer cops, and the callous way the Garner family was treated by city authorities, including Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Hardly a day goes by without much of the mainstream media concentrating on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections. This includes any news about the various investigations into the question, much blowhard opinionating by talking heads, charges that Russia sought to collude with Donald Trump’s campaign, and more.

It is probably true that Russia would seek to influence US politics to the extent it thought it could. But to keep a sense of proportion, we should recall that the world’s foremost “meddler” in other people’s politics and elections is Washington itself.

Writing in the October 28 New York Times, conservative columnist David Brooks said the preceding week was “when Donald Trump and Steve Bannon solidified their grip on the Republican Party and America’s national government”.

Brooks speaks for the Republican establishment — and sorely deplores this development.

The wildfires north of San Francisco, in California’s wine country, exploded on the night of October 8-9, whipped by high, dry and hot winds. They have wreaked unprecedented damage.

As I wrote, a week-and-a-half later, these fires still burn. By October 18, at least 41 people had been killed — a number that will surely rise as burnt-out neighborhoods are searched.

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