Founded In Russian Interference, Trump’s Presidency Is Illegitimate

  It’s not a tough call. Donald Trump is president because Vladimir Putin wanted him to be. By Lucian K. Truscott IV Salon (7/14/18) t’s all right there in the indictment — day by day, hack by hack, theft by theft — how agents of the Russian intelligence service, the GRU, set out in the spring of 2016 to steal the election for Donald Trump. When you track the actions taken by Russian intelligence in the indictment with statements made by Trump and actions taken on his behalf by members of his campaign, the picture is as clear as an iPhone photo….

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Inspiration: The Trump Era Will Not Last Forever. But We Must Do Our Part NOW To End It

  By Rebecca Solnit The Guardian (7/13/18) I keep the newspaper clipping inside a Milan Kundera novel: it shows demonstrators in Prague in 1989, one of them carrying a badly chipped bust of Stalin around whose neck hangs a placard that says nic netrvá věčně: nothing lasts forever. It’s not a war cry, nor a prophesy, but a bald statement of fact at the moment when the Soviet bloc Stalin had been critical in establishing was falling apart and Czechoslovakia was liberating itself. It must have seemed like forever to those who lived under totalitarianism until all of a sudden “forever”…


WALKER’S BIG CON: Yet Another Promise Broken As Foxconn Costs Go Up & Wage Promises Go Down

  (Dennis Brault creatively put a portion of a recent Commoner Call cartoon to work in this meme.) Democratic Party of Wisconsin (7/11/18) Recent reporting by Arthur Thomas for BizNews, detailed below, shows that Foxconn is seeking “flexibility” in meeting its average wage target, which will be artificially boosted by including high-end executive pay in the “average” calculations.This news, of course, comes after we know that Foxconn has already scaled back its Mount Pleasant factory and after costs to taxpayers have gone up. Meanwhile, Foxconn continues to face criticism over its pollution and water use; treatment of its workers; and its use of eminent domain to kick people out of their…


AUDIO: A Judicial Coup d’etat, The Carceral State And The War Against Us All

Both parties have leadership that needs to go. We are in a war. [Editor’s Note: Wisconsin native and award winning investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill has a direct and powerful message all activists and mainstream democrats need to hear. It is right at the beginning of the podcast. The bottom line message: What we are facing is not normal: This is not Democrat/Republican; left/right; liberal/democrat. This is an existential crisis and party politics as usual will not be enough. Please listen. — Mark L. Taylor] By Jeremy Scahill Intercepted / The Intercept (7/11/18) DONALD TRUMP IS poised to make another lifetime appointment…


Bipartisan Betrayal: Why The Dems Share The Blame For Dangerous Trump SCOTUS Pick Kavanaugh

  By Joshua Frank Counterpunch (7/11/18) “I’m open to voting yes. I’m open to voting no.” – Sen. Doug Jones (Democrat, Alabama) It’s as if a horror film is playing right before our very eyes, except this time there are no redeeming characters swooping in to save us. We face a constitutional Armageddon and the do-nothing Democrats are just as much to blame as the Republicans. During the confirmation of Trump’s last Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch, three Senate Democrats voted in favor; Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. All three of these…



No Exaggeration: America Now Has Its First Fascist President

It already has! By Robert Zaller Portside (7/11/18) In 1935, the third year of Hitler’s Third Reich, Sinclair Lewis published a novel called “It Can’t Happen Here,” speculating on the possibility that fascism might come to America. This spring, the legal scholar Cass Sunstein wondered in an articletitled “Can It Happen Here?” whether a native fascism might now at last be in the offing. Note to Sinclair and Cass: it has happened here. In Donald J. Trump, America now has its first fascist president. I don’t say this loosely or pejoratively to describe a politician I don’t like. I say it with…


ICE Agents Claims Of ‘Just Following Orders’ May Not Shield Them From Personal Liability For Children’s Suffering, Legal Scholars Warn

[Editor’s Note: Falling back on the mindless and morally empty excuse of “just following orders” does not exonerate soldiers, police or prison guards from bearing personal moral or legal responsibility. This was one of the principles that came from the Nuremberg Trials of World War II Nazi war criminals. Be careful what orders you follow, officers. — Mark L. Taylor] By Julia Conley Common Dreams (7/11/18) A new report finds that individual Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents could be held personally liable for the suffering of families and children under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy—and warns that the…


Worker Notes: A Rational, Sustainable Economy Is Key To Worker & Community Health

  By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (7/16/18) Recent talk of trade wars has been missing the critical discussion of how the needs of people around the globe could be met in the most sustainable way, and core to that discussion are clear agreements on what those needs really are. Pre-industrial societies met most of their needs locally, most often within a few days walking or riding distance. Locally scarce items — like salt for food preservation — were easy enough to transport. As ruling aristocracies developed tastes for more exotic items, their political and military power was used to…


Majority Of Dems Want Candidates More Like Bernie Sanders, Poll Finds

  By Tim Marcin Newsweek (7/11/18) Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders might have lost his 2016 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, but he certainly won a number of supporters along the way. To wit: A new poll released Wednesday by YouGov showed that a majority of Democrats want candidates in 2018 to be more like the independent, democratic socialist candidate. The polling firm asked: “Do you wish the candidates who run for Congress this year will be more or less like Bernie Sanders?” A full 57 percent of Democratic respondents said “more like Bernie Sanders” in response. Sixteen percent said less while 27 percent responded…


Russia Monitor: Could Russian Intel Agency Indictments Lead To Collusion Collision?

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/16/18) Dear Fellow Readers, The case for Trump-Putin collusion has been made. How? Thank Roger Stone for one; we’ll come back to that. What happens now, is this a legal challenge, a political challenge, a public opinion challenge, a voter challenge? Yes. Thursday and Friday were remarkable days. On Thursday, FBI agent Peter Strzok testified for hours at a congressional hearing. For almost 24 hours this was a big news story as Russpublicans tried in vain to make Strzok a poster-boy for the Deep State, and we’ll better explain why. Keep in mind,…


Want Justice In America? — The Old ‘Be Nice’ Routine Won’t Get Us There

  By George Goehl OurFuture.org (7/9/18) We should be skeptical of the motivation and messengers behind calls for civility. We hear people say that what is happening to migrants in the United States right now is un-American. I wish that were true. Sadly, American history is full of periods where children of color were routinely taken from their parents. Resistance and organizing, on the other hand, are truly American. In fact, many of our nation’s best moments have been when we heeded the call to stand down hatred and racism. The Trump Administration has been off the rails since day one. But Donald…


SCOTUS Nominee Brett Kavanaugh And The Fatal Flaw Of Republican ‘Normcore Politics’

Putting Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court is very normal Republican politics, and that’s exactly the problem. By Matthew Yglesias Vox (7/9/18) Donald Trump is not a normal president or, indeed, a normal person. But on Monday he did pick a normal conservative jurist to nominate to the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. There’s something reassuring, perhaps, for liberals in this boring pick, even if they disagree with Kavanaugh’s positions. Perhaps a “normal” pick is a sign that American politics and government might be able to return to some semblance of functional democracy. Indeed, the entire Kavanaugh cycle from working for Ken…


SOMETHING FISHY? Supreme Court Nominee Kavanaugh Plunged Tens Of Thousands In Debt For… Baseball Tickets??

    The Young Turks (7/11/18) Brett Kavanaugh was up to his MAGA hat in debt for a very odd reason. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, hosts of The Young Turks, discuss. “Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh incurred tens of thousands of dollars of credit card debt buying baseball tickets over the past decade and at times reported liabilities that could have exceeded the value of his cash accounts and investment assets, according to a review of Kavanaugh’s financial disclosures and information provided by the White House. White House spokesman Raj Shah told The Washington Post that Kavanaugh built…


America’s ‘Justice Democrats’ Show How A Newly Energized Left Can Challenge Corrupt Power & Win

  By George Monboit The Guardian (7/11/18) Even at first sight it is exhilarating. The overthrow of one of the most mainstream and senior Democrats in Congress by a 28-year-old Democratic socialist with a radical programme and one tenth of his funding is, you might think, interesting enough. But since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary in New York’s 14th district (meaning she will almost certainly enter Congress in November), I’ve been interviewing some of the people who lit the fuse that caused this detonation. What has emerged is just how marginal and improbable their movement was when it began, and…


Months After GOP Approved $1.5 Trillion Giveaway To The Obscenely Rich, Candidate Ocasio-Cortez Shreds Those Questioning How To Pay For Bold Proposals Like Medicare For All

    By Julia Conley Common Dreams (7/9/18) In a viral tweet on Tuesday, progressive New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez crystallized the absurdity of arguments against Medicare for All and other bold proposals—as conservatives and centrist Democrats frequently claim the United States lacks a robust social safety net because of an inability to pay for one. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ✔@Ocasio2018 New Rule: anyone that was cool with the GOP inventing $2 trillion out of thin air for freebies for people with yachts that have tiny yachts inside doesn’t get to demand how we pay for people who need chemotherapy treatments….


PROTECT THE VOTE: Frustrated Michigan Voters May Be On The Verge Of Bypassing Lawmakers To Pass A Slew Of Voting Reforms

    By Sam Levine The HuffPost (7/9/18) Civil rights groups in Michigan say they’ve collected enough signatures to allow voters in November to choose whether they want to amend the state constitution to include a series of measures designed to make it easier to vote there. The potential constitutional amendment includes two elements that voting advocates say could significantly expand access to the ballot box: requiring the state’s motor vehicle agency to automatically register people when they get a driver’s license or personal ID card (people may opt out if they don’t want to register) and allowing people to register…


Russian Monitor: Donald’s European Road Trip, Nixing NATO & Pleasing Putin

By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/12/18) Dear Fellow Readers, “…is captive to Russia!” Trump now openly revels in insulting trusted U.S. allies while touting his desire for a close relationship with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. There is no more subtlety, no more debate about alternative meaning to the exact words he just used – it’s all about his Putin desire. If you missed a few days in the news cycle you might read the quote and think, ho-hum, or even womp, womp, some liberal is mouthing off again about Trump-Russia. If you were a guest on ‘Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell…


Govt. Officials Have Donated To White Nationalist 1st District Congressional Candidate Paul Nehlen

By Alex Kotch Sludge (7/3/18) Breitbart News may have rejected him. Twitter may have banned him from its services. But multiple public employees appear to have stuck with Paul Nehlen, an openly anti-Semitic white supremacist running on the Republican ticket in Wisconsin to replace House Speaker Paul Ryan. Sludge has found that one State Department employee, a Wisconsin county supervisor and two public university professors have all donated to Nehlen’s current campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records. None of these donations were returned. Laurence Berg, a pathologist and elected member of the LaCrosse County, Wisconsin Board of Supervisors, made…


Inside The Mind Of White America – BBC News

    [Editor’s Note: I ask this as a 65 year-old white guy: What the hell is wrong with so many white people? My cartoon above is a humorous expression of something dark and vile baked deep into the bones of white people; to one extent or another, all white people. Myself, I am ashamed to admit, included. There’s nothing funny about it. It is the great undone work of this nation and our individual lives. — Mark L. Taylor] BBC (6/20/16) The concept of there being “two Americas” is almost as old as the nation itself. From the outset…


Dark Foreboding: Is the American Democratic Experiment Over?

  By William Boardman Reader Supported News (9/10/18) Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;Mere anarchy is loosed upon the worldThe blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhereThe ceremony of innocence is drowned;The best lack all conviction, while the worstAre full of passionate intensity. – William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming, 1919   Apocalyptic thinking has been with us for a long time, and it sometimes ushers in actual apocalypses, albeit at human scale, without biblical finality. For a century now, the Yeats poem above has served as an increasingly common reference point for those who fear apocalyptic events approaching. Today such…


Ohio Legislator Described As “conscience of the conservative movement” Resigned After Found Allegedly Having Sex With Man In His Office

Facing 30 sexual misconduct accusations. [Editor’s Note: This story came out last fall, but it is always good to be reminded of the rank hypocrisy of so many of those on the right who profit off moralistically judging others. — Mark L. Taylor] By Tom Embury-Dennis The Independent (11/22/17) An anti-LGBT Republican politician who was allegedly caught having sex with a man in his office is facing more than 30 accusations of sexual misconduct. Wes Goodman, a state legislator for Ohio, has already been forced to resign after a witness to the reported extramarital affair told the Ohio House Chief of Staff. Mr Goodman, whose…


Trump’s Growing Acts Of Brutality Are Conditioning Nation To Accept Greater Fascist Barbarism To Come

Babies in cages were no ‘mistake’ by Trump but simple test-marketing for barbarism. By Fintan O’Toole Irish Times (6/26/18) To grasp what is going on in the world right now, we need to reflect on two things. One is that we are in a phase of trial runs. The other is that what is being trialled is fascism – a word that should be used carefully but not shirked when it is so clearly on the horizon. Forget “post-fascist” – what we are living with is pre-fascism. It is easy to dismiss Donald Trump as an ignoramus, not least because he is….


In The Corporate ‘Go F-Yourself’ Health Care System, “GoFundMe’ Is Only Hope For Many Families

  By Mark Zdechlik MPR (7/2/18) Tammy Fox wanted to help after a friend took ill with a rare and difficult-to-diagnosis autoimmune disorder that required many trips to the Mayo Clinic. While she couldn’t do anything medically, Fox knew there was a way to ease some of the burden of medical bills and costs associated with doctor visits. She turned to the internet website GoFundMe. “You’ve got meals, you’ve got hotel stays and, like I said, gas so that all needed to be covered,” said Fox, who lives in suburban Minneapolis. A Commonwealth Fund survey found that nearly half of working-age…


Bait, Switch ‘n Betrayal: Group ‘End Citizens United’ Called Out For Backing Democrats Fueled By Corporate Cash

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (7/5/18) At first glance, the prominent political action committee End Citizens United (ECU) appears to be dedicated to channeling widespread grassroots anger at corporate money in politics into promoting candidates who reject cash from big business and support bold campaign finance reform. But a closer look at the candidates ECU endorses and funds reveals that the organization frequently uses its vast resources to reinforce the poisonous status quo. In a detailed analysis of the ECU’s recent endorsements, fundraising efforts, and campaign spending, Donald Shaw of Sludge—an outlet that covers political corruption—found that the group deploys “a large part of…


Rollo May: The ‘Strange Paradox’ Of Our Age

    “We are in our age faced with a strange paradox. Never before have we had so much information in bits and pieces flooded upon us by radio and television and satellite, yet never before have we had so little inner certainty about our own being. The more objective truth increases, the more our inner certitude decreases.” — Rollo May Ph.D., The Discovery of Being: Writings in Existential Psychology (1994). ***** Rollo May: The Human Dilemma — We are in an age of “The Wasteland” and “The Great Gastby” though a new age is possible but to get there we need to…


Thank You, Scott Pruitt

By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (7/9/18) Scott Pruitt resigns, so what? The appointment of an anti-environmental crusader to run the EPA was a disaster for sure, but the blueprint for fouling our Ecological nest has been in the DNA of our culture from Day 1. Pruitt’s narcissism and need for taxpayer funded perks is almost a caricature of the spoiled rich kid grown old and entitled, but how does that differ from the greed and avarice of the entire economic/political system we salute daily? Wall Street’s “Greed is Good”, Ayn Rand’s “producers”, Manifest Destiny, the War on Terror, and…


Russia Monitor: Sen. Ron Johnson Joins Russpublican Pals For Home Office Visit

Wisconsin’s Own Senator Babushka By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/9/18) Dear Fellow Readers, If you live in Wisconsin, where did your Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) spend his July 4th celebration of American Independence Day? Daily Kos columnist Kerry Eleved posed the question for the day: What On Earth Compelled 8 GOP Lawmakers To Flee America For Moscow On July 4? Optics, schmoptics, the entire enterprise is atrocious. No Democrats invited. No U.S. media – which is now the pattern in Trump-Putin Russpublican get-togethers. The optics are atrocious: Eight top lawmakers of the American political party now in sole control of Congress running off to Moscow to meet…


Moving In For The Kill: Putin Leads The Way In Exploiting Democracy’s Lost Promise

  By Brian Grodsky The Conversation (5/22/18) How do you give democracy a bad name? You fail to deliver on its promise. People fighting for democracy want individual rights and freedoms, but they also want and expect economic prosperity. So every democratic movement that doesn’t produce both the political and economic rights people expect becomes a nail in the coffin of democracy. Russia’s experiment with democracy and market reforms started in 1991 but began to collapse with Vladimir Putin’s rise to power at the end of 1999. President Putin’s March re-election is the latest sign that the liberal experiment in Russia is…


You Can’t Say That. Oh, Yes I Can!

The rising tide of national protest and opposition has brought forth a lot of creative humor, satire and other forms of protest. Some of that is to be found on protest signs created by fellow citizens speaking truth to power. In our new original cartoon feature  — “You Can’t Say That! Oh, Yes I Can!” — The Commoner Call will feature some of that handheld wisdom. If you see a particularly good protest sign send it along for consideration. Pass this invitation to your contacts. And maybe take some of this good signage to your next local protest. (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L….


Our Test Is Now: Are We Up To The Challenge?

    By Dan Rather Dan Rather’s Facebook Page (7/3/18) As we approach the Fourth of July, my mind bounces between our uncertain present and the challenges of the past. This is a time to rededicate ourselves to keeping the flame of faith buring…faith in the American ideal, faith in the American people to meet the challenges of troubled times, and faith in the potency of action to make the faith possible in the first place. We must remember we’ve had good presidents in the past, and some great ones. We’ve also had some bad ones, and some very bad…


Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Files Request To Hire Poorly Paid Foreign Workers Instead Of Americans — Again

  By Mary Papenfuss The HuffPost (7/7/18) Just over a year after Donald Trump signed his  “Buy American and Hire American” executive order, his Mar-a-Lago golf resort has filed for permission to hire 61 foreign workers. Trump’s Palm Beach business filed requests with the U.S. Labor Department for additional visas for foreign servers and cooks, according to records submitted Thursday and Friday. The employees would work October through the following May. Servers would earn $12.68 an hour and cooks would be paid $13.31 an hour. Since late 2015, Mar-a-Lago has filed 10 separate requests for multiple temporary work visas for foreign employees. The…


Defense Contractor Founded By Three Former CIA Agents Imprisoned Migrant Children In Secretive Phoenix Office Building

  “One nation under sedation.” — George Clinton   By Aura Bogado, Ziva Branstetter & Vanessa Swales The Center For Investigative Reporting (7/6/18) A major U.S. defense contractor quietly detained dozens of immigrant children inside a vacant Phoenix office building with dark windows, no kitchen and only a few toilets during three weeks of the Trump administration’s family separation effort, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting has learned. Videos shot by an alarmed neighbor show children dressed in sweatsuits being led – one so young she was carried – into the 3,200-square-foot building in early June. The building is not licensed by Arizona to hold…


The Media Have Been Targeted For Violence Since The Beginning Of The Republic

  By Harold Holzer History News Network (7/3/18) Sadly, there is nothing new—or even newsworthy—about violence against American newspapers. The recent, deadly attack on the Annapolis Capital Gazette is merely the latest of the lamentable episodes, scattered through our history, in which aggrieved parties take out frustrations on “the media.” Such assaults began only two years after ratification of the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of the press. Most were triggered by political animus. In 1793, pro-Federalist Boston editor Benjamin Russell spat in the face of pro-Democratic editor Benjamin Austin, Jr. The transgression cost Russell a twenty-shilling fine, but did little to chill…


Rattled Republicans Are Terrified Of What Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Started

  By Jay Willis GQ (7/2/18) It took the right-wing pundit class all of four days to decide how it planned to attack Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old Bronx native who won her New York City congressional district’s Democratic primary on the strength of some really, really good policy ideas. Their chosen approach, however, might be characterized as a novel one. You should know, says this basic-cable talking head, that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—and this is a Certified Politics Bombshell, so please make sure you’re in a place where you can audibly gasp—grew up in a house. Oftentimes, the surest sign of a viable political…


What Are The Feds Hiding In Their Child Concentration Camps? Democracy Now! Staff Head To The Border

[Editor’s Note: once again, Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman stands up to the blank and blind officers of the state. Just as she did at the Standing Rock protests, Goodman sets the standard for courageous reporting. — Mark L. Taylor] Democracy Now! (7/3/18) As the Trump administration accuses migrants of illegally entering the United States, Democracy Now! went to the international bridge in Brownsville, Texas, and found asylum seekers waiting for days in the hot sun after being told the United States was full. We are guided by Christina Patiño Houle, director of the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network,…


Democrats Still In Deep Denial About The True Nature Of What We Are Up Against

It would be wrong for the Democrats to seek reconciliation while the Republican Party organizes government to recognize only its ideology as legitimate. By Kaitlin Byrd The HuffPost (6/3/18) Democratic politicians have a seemingly endless well of good faith for their Republican colleagues. Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and even Bernie Sanders all speak with the language of decency, full of assurances that Republicans will be heard, understood and engaged. They offer appeals to morality, norms and shared values as if saying it often enough will make it true. But there is no salvaging the Republican Party. Its leaders are beyond…


Russia Monitor: Bipartisan Senate Committee Investigation Concludes Putin Gamed The 2016 Election

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/5/18) Dear Fellow Readers, The Senate Intelligence Committee had this to say: Senate Intelligence Committee Backs Assessment Of Russia Election Meddling. Not only did the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee conclude that Russia indeed meddled in the 2016 election, there was a strong conclusion that the Russians sought to benefit Trump, the meddling continues and this: “The finding that reveals Russia meddled in far more extensive ways than previously known is yet another strong rebuke to Trump and many of his allies who continue to cast doubt on the finding from the intelligence community that…


Cool New Gadgets Yoked To Tired Old Thinking Will Not Save Us

  By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (7/5/18) Can technology be the answer to saving our Eco system? Having grown up in the “plastics” age as showcased in the 1967 classic “The Graduate”, many of us were conditioned to think that technology would solve humanity’s problems. Clearly the green revolution fed a bunch of people, but that has also proven to be unsustainable as the technology to mass produce food has required multiple forms of fossil fuels and chemicals with their accompanying “side effects” of runaway pollution, genetic adaptation of weeds requiring stronger chemicals, and climate changes brought upon us by…


CRISIS: National Surge In Foster Children Amid Opioid Crisis & Slashed Human Services Budgets

  By Jane Clayson On Point /WBUR (7/2/18) We have heard story after story the last few years about the lives ruined or lost because of the opioid epidemic.  But here’s another real-world impact you might not have noticed:  More addicted adults means more kids entering the foster care system.  Child care agencies and foster families have always had their hands full.  Throw in painkillers, heroin, fentanyl, and they are now swamped.  This hour, On Point: opioid epidemic and the crisis in foster care. What happens when opioids ravage the lives of mothers and fathers? More foster children who need homes…