Up In Smoke: The Myth Of A Normal America

  There are no good old days to return to in U.S. politics. The truth about a post-Trump era. (Editor’s Note: Is the Democratic Party up to the new world we are facing in American politics? Do party leaders really grasp that the old rules of American politics are up in smoke? So far there is scant evidence that the DNC has any grasp how the game board has been redefined. That is bad news for all of us. — Mark L. Taylor) By Kevin Baker The New Republic (2/15/18) The remaining hope for all Americans of good sense, more…

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Robert Reich: Morality & The Common Good Must Be At Center Of Fighting Trump’s Economic Agenda

  Democracy Now! (2/20/18) As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump made a promise to the American people: There would be no cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Well, the promise has not been kept. Under his new budget, President Trump proposes a massive increase in Pentagon spending while cutting funding for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Trump’s budget would also slash or completely eliminate core anti-poverty programs that form the heart of the U.S. social safety net, from childhood nutrition to care for the elderly and job training. This comes after President Trump and Republican lawmakers pushed through a…


Freedom Had Nothing To Do With Writing The Second Amendment. It Was All About Preserving Slavery

  By Thom Hartman TruthOut (1/15/13) The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says “State” instead of “Country” (the framers knew the difference — see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason and James Madison were totally clear on that… and we all should be too. In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the “slave patrols,” and they were regulated by the states. In Georgia, for example, a generation before…


Scarlet Letter: What The NRA ‘A’ Rating Is Really All About

  “Lives Over Bribes” — Gun control rally sign. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (2/22/18) The recent mass shooting — the latest bauble on the bloody necklace of American exceptionalism — has ignited the recent episode of national gun cult debate we have all grown numbingly use to. There are the predictable laments of “never thought it could happen here”, the candle-lit vigils, prayer services, grieving families, parades of ambulances and the empty thoughts and cynical prayers of the nation’s supposed ruling class. A ruling class that just can’t bring itself to even consider a tiny less wealth…


Florida High School Students Acting In The Courageous Tradition Of Their School’s Namesake

    By Peter Dreier The American Prospect (2/20/18) There’s nothing on the Parkland, Florida, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School website about the woman whose name adorns the school, so its students may not realize that in rising from last week’s tragedy to speak truth to power, they are following in Douglas’s activist footsteps. Douglas would certainly see a bit of herself in Emma Gonzalez, the poised and eloquent young woman whose speech electrified her classmates, teachers, parents, and the whole country at a Fort Lauderdale rally on Saturday, only days after a gunman entered her school and killed 17 people. “If the president wants to come…


Craven Rightwing Media Attacking Florida Teens Speaking Out On Government-Sanctioned Gun Violence

  By Jason Wilson The Guardian (2/20/18) After Parkland’s mass shooting, the wind seems to have changed. Students are speaking out, demanding that politicians act. And they’re getting some traction. Many found their voice on Twitter and directly attacked Donald Trump’s strange and distracted online response to the massacre. David Hogg, a student journalist who interviewed his classmates as the massacre was happening, has been one of the leaders of a chorus of students calling for tough action on gun control. Emma González made a widely shared, impassioned speech which attacked the president directly, calling out the funding he has received from the National Rifle Association. Today,…


Russia Monitor: There’s A Reason The Word Treason Makes More & More Sense For Trumptin

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/22/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Russia attacks the U.S., interfering in U.S. elections for the benefit of Trump, and this president offers no condemnation, no warnings against future attacks and offers absolutely no steps to protect us. It’s as if Trump is in bed with the Russians. This can’t be said with enough emphasis: Trump Is Ignoring The Worst Attack On America Since 9/11. This from Max Boot writing for The Washington Post: “Imagine if, after 9/11, the president had said that the World Trade Center and Pentagon could have been attacked by “China” or “lots of…


The Best At Being The Worst: Trumputin Breaks All Records For Failure, Bigly!

Trumputin — So Proud.   By Brad Reed The Raw Story (2/19/18) President Donald Trump’s first year in office — which was marked by a nonstop stream of scandals, as well as record-low approval ratings — was so bad that a survey of scholars has already ranked Trump as the worst president ever. Writing in the New York Times, political scientists Brandon Rottinghaus and Justin S. Vaughn reveal that their most recent survey of scholars shows that Trump’s first year was seen as a catastrophe by both Democrats and Republicans in the field of political science. According to the survey, Democratic…


John Oliver Returns: Trump vs The World

Comedian and social critic John Oliver returned to the air Sunday night with a pointed and powerful take down of Donald Trump’s disastrous impact on the image and effectiveness of the United States overseas. Ambassador posts remain unfilled in critical capitols around the globe. Trump proposes a 29% cut in the State Department budget, leaving the nation with less and less soft power to represent national needs and interests and leaving us with a higher likelihood of armed conflicts. In just over a year Trump and his bumbling band of misfits has turned the nation into a laughingstock from corner…


Noam Chomsky: What Role Are You Really Expected To Play In Our ‘Democracy’

  “Now there are two “functions” in a democracy: The specialized class, the responsible men, carry out the executive function, which means they do the thinking and planning and understand the common interests. Then, there is the bewildered herd, and they have a function in democracy too. Their function in a democracy, [Lippmann] said, is to be “spectators,” not participants in action. But they have more of a function than that, because it’s a democracy. Occasionally they are allowed to lend their weight to one or another member of the specialized class. In other words, they’re allowed to say, “We…


CARTOON: Guns Make Republicans Feel Safe Which Means Our Children Must Die

The center-left’s sins on this front are rooted in cowardice; the right’s, in quasi-religious conviction. By Eric Levitz New York Magazine (2/15/18) On Thursday morning, the president delivered a speech about gun violence without ever uttering the word gun. By the time Donald Trump began his remarks, America had suffered 18 school shootings in 44 days, and more than 300 mass shootings since the start of his presidency. But this broader context also went unmentioned. Instead, Trump focused his address narrowly on Wednesday’s massacre at a high-school in Parkland, Florida, and the need for “healing” in its wake. The president spoke of God…


Our Escalating War Against Our Children

    By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (2/19/18) Since its founding the citizens of the United States have been quite comfortable with the killing and mass slaughter of other peoples’ children. From the ongoing genocide of the Native American population through violence, disease and introduced addictions on to the wars of empire waged in Cuba, Mexico, the Philippines, Central America, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. We continue to kill other peoples’ children with the casual selective blindness of industrialized for-profit warfare in Iraq (where our mercenaries continue to operate) and Yemin (where we supply the Saudi military with cluster…


Want To Hear Real Truth On School Shootings? Forget The Traitorous Politicians & Listen To This Parkland Teen Tear Into Trump, Republicans & NRA

“We call BS!” By Andrea Germanos Common Dreams (2/17/18) Thousands gathered Saturday for a rally outside the federal courthouse, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.—about 25 miles away from the mass shooting Wednesday—where speakers including survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre gave powerful speeches for gun control. Among them was Stoneman Douglas student Emma Gonzalez, who slammed President Donald Trump, denounced the many politicians who receive donations from the powerful National Rifle Association of America (NRA), and called BS on those who “say that tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence.” She began by saying that the “school bard, faculty…


School Shooters Love Wisconsin’s Bipartisan Congressional Accomplices

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (2/19/18) School and other mass shooters do not act alone. They are assisted by politicians on the take to the National Rifle Association. Through their indifference and coldly calculating, never satiated hunger for campaign cash and other benefits, these pols ignore the wishes of the majority of Americans to bring some legislative sanity to our gun cult. When the shooters begin their rampages they have been legislatively protected, coddled and assisted by those who are supposed to represent us. The National Rifle Association loves to splurge their cash — including donations from…


After Last Week’s Insanity We Need The Dalai Lama’s Guide To Happiness

  amillionsmilesmovie (10/8/13) This video looks at ‘Buddhism and Happiness’, as we ask are they a match made in heaven or something else? This eight minute epic reveals some incredible insights into human behaviour and values that impact our happiness, particularly in this materialistic Western life so many are living, or reaching for. The Dalai Lama’s talk is from his ‘the quest for happiness’ public talk in Adelaide during his ‘Beyond Religion’ tour in Australia. While we would have ideally used footage of Tibetan monks in this video, we were unable to and instead used footage from our recent trip…


Russia Monitor: A Growing Collusion Collision And The Question Of Treason

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/19/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Some Americans need Trumputin and Russpublican corruption to be as black & white as Saturday’s Russia 4-0 shutout of the U.S. hockey team at the Olympics. Now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has published the 2015/2016 year book for the Russian troll farm, at the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, we now have it in black & white. To be clear on just what happened we’ll put the events in context of Trump and associate denials to date. On Friday afternoon Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced the indictment  of 13…


America Is Under Attack & Trump Doesn’t Give A Damn

  By David Frum The Atlantic (2/18/18) As the rest of America mourns the victims of the Parkland, Florida, massacre, President Trump took to Twitter. Not for him the rituals of grief. He is too consumed by rage and resentment. He interrupted his holidaying schedule at Mar-a-Lago only briefly, for a visit to a hospital where some of the shooting victims were treated. He posed afterward for a grinning thumbs-up photo op. Pain at another’s heartbreak—that emotion is for losers, apparently. Having failed at one presidential duty, to speak for the nation at times of national tragedy, Trump resumed shirking an…


The Ticking Money Time Bomb: Not A Matter Of If, But When

  By Shawn Hattingh PortSide (2/17/18) n early January 2018, capitalists across the globe were celebrating the fact that the Dow Jones had rallied by 45% since the election of Donald Trump. Likewise, brokers were beaming in Sandton when the Johannesburg Stock Exchange hit a high of 61,475 points (up a staggering 300% compared to early 2009 when at one point it sat at 18,465 points). Yet beneath all the exuberance, danger signs abound—including signs that stock, bond and debt markets are experiencing bubbles, which will burst at some point. The danger derives from the reactions of the ruling classes and…


How Undiluted Dishonest I.C.E. Propaganda Makes Its Way Onto Your Local News

  On the Media (2/16/18) This week, the Senate failed to pass a bipartisan immigration bill that would have put up funding for President Trump’s wall and extended protections for the so-called ‘Dreamers,’ beneficiaries of an Obama-era program offering temporary residency to undocumented immigrants brought to the US as kids. Meanwhile, the threat of deportation remains a fact of daily life for undocumented Americans, especially since the Trump administration beefed up Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations last year. But the public has been left largely in the dark about who is being rounded up, because much of the press has…


The Hate Report: Was The Florida School Shooting Suspect Alt-Right?

By Aaron Sankin & Will Carless RevealNews.org (2/16/18) In this week’s roundup: lots of confusion over whether the Florida school shooter was a white supremacist, the argument for being friends with racists and more. This issue of The Hate Report begins with a deep, world-weary sigh. On Thursday, news broke that Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old suspect in the Florida school shooting, had trained with a white supremacist militia called the Republic of Florida. By the end of the day, the story began to fall apart. Here’s what we know: An anonymous user on the anarchic far-right message board 4chan posted a message…


CARTOON: Whitewashing US Imperialism: How Textbooks Get History Wrong & Dupe Students

  By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca Zinn Education Project (2/10/18) Recently, with the possibility of Special Counsel Robert Mueller III subpoenaing President Trump in the headlines, I found myself discussing the Russian hacking allegations with my U.S. History class. Having just finished our Cold War unit, my students were much less concerned about Russia tampering with U.S. elections than they were about the historical amnesia regarding the past meddling of the U.S. government. Max said: “Why is the media making such a big deal about this? What the Russians are accused of is nothing compared to what the U.S. did in Cuba.” Sarah…


America Defeated By Russia In 2016 Cyberwar And We’re Going To Hold A Parade?

Defeat is hard to face; but every delay in facing the hard facts makes matters worse. By Timothy Snyder The Guardian (2/12/18) Trump’s fantasy of a military parade and Trump’s choice to release or block congressional memos about the Russia investigation were the two big stories of last week. At first glance, they have nothing to do with one another. In fact, they are part of the same story: a grand cover-up of American defeat. In the past, the United States has organized grand military parades: but always after a victory in war, and always as a way of welcoming…


Russia Monitor: Russpublican Party Complicit In Trump-Russia Betrayal

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/15/18) Dear Fellow Readers, There is maturity to reporting on Trump-Russia corruption. With maturity comes breadth – it’s not just Trump-Russia corruption, the entire Republican party and leadership is now clearly and heavily implicated: Republican Party Leaders Conceal Russian Efforts to Undermine Government. Elliott Cohen, writing for Buzzflash at Truthout, offers that Russia is doing to the U.S. what it has done to Ukraine and other former Soviet states. “In fact, there are signs that Russia has implemented the strategy of “financing people in our governments to undo our governments,” not merely in Ukraine…


Urging Peace Talks, Open Letter From Taliban Asks American People To Recognize Total Failure Of 16-Year War

  By Andrea Germanos Common Dreams (2/14/18) Two and half weeks after President Donald Trump rejected the idea of peace talks with Taliban, the militant group published an open letter to the American people urging them to pressure their government to end the occupation of Afghanistan, now in its 17th year, and engage in peace talks. The letter, published on the group’s website, denounces the Bush administration’s justification for launching the invasion, as well as the Trump administration, which “again ordered the perpetuation of the same illegitimate occupation and war against the Afghan people.” “No matter what title or justification is presented by…


What A War With North Korea Would Look like

Crazy American warmonger. Vox (2/8/18) Five experts discuss what a war on the Korean peninsula would look like, how close we are to conflict, and the terrifying consequences. Read about the implications of war with North Korea on Vox.com: http://bit.ly/2nNK2ei With tensions between the US and North Korea escalating, we asked a group of experts including Senator Tammy Duckworth, about the likelihood and consequences of reigniting war on the Korean Peninsula. International sanctions have put pressure on the North Korean regime, but they have yet to capitulate to US demands to unilaterally disarm their nuclear armaments program. The Trump administration…


‘Some May Freeze To Death’: Sanders Confronts Mulvaney Over Trump Budget That Would Kill ‘Tens Of Thousands’

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (2/13/18) Just 24 hours after denouncing President Donald Trump’s newly-unveiled budget as “morally bankrupt,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) took full advantage of his chance to grill Trump budget chief Mick Mulvaney directly during a Senate hearing on Tuesday, calling the White House’s 2019 blueprint “the budget of the Koch brothers” and arguing thousands would die if the plan became law. Highlighting the Trump budget’s call for repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Act), Sanders askedMulvaney to explain “the morality of a budget which supports tax breaks for billionaires, throws 32 million people off of the…


Introducing ‘Trump, Inc.,’ A New Weekly Podcast On The Many Mysteries Of Our President’s Businesses

  There is a mystery here. By Eric Umansky & Andrea Bernstein ProPublica (2/7/18) A couple of months ago, a few of us from ProPublica and WNYC sat together in a conference room and started scribbling on a whiteboard. We were brainstorming all the possible paths to investigate around President Donald Trump and his family businesses. It looked like Carrie Mathison’s wall. There’s so much that’s still unknown. We don’t know if the president is taking money from his businesses, or what deals are happening, or who his partners are, who’s providing the financing. It goes on and on. There’s no way to determine…


Farm To Neighbors: When Denouncing White Supremacy Is Deemed Brave, The Bar Is Too Low

  By Abby Zimet Common Grounds (2/12/18) Talk about a sorry sign of the times. A family farm in Centreville, Virginia has caused an incongruous uproar after proclaiming on their roadside sign not the arrival of sweet corn, baby goats, hanging baskets or their renowned Fall Festival but the evidently inflammatory sentiment, “Resist White Supremacy.” The community-minded denizens of Cox Farms have been here before: They have flown rainbow flags, declared Black Lives Matter, and posted “We love our Muslim neighbors,” “You belong. Stay strong” and  “Fight ignorance not immigrants” on their signs. Reportedly facing some confusion in response to their most recent, “Rise and…


Valentine’s Day In The United States: At Least 17 Reported Dead In Florida School Shooting

(Editor’s Note: The above Commoner Call cartoon runs after the well publicized mass shootings. We could actually run the cartoon pretty much every day, gven there is a mass shooting somewhere in the United States nearly every day. If you hear any RepublicaNRA or pro-NRA Dem politicians talking about “thoughts and prayers” today, call ’em up and tell the hypocrite to go to hell. They are completely responsible for yesterday’s shooting. — Mark L. Taylor) By Nina Golgowski, Sebastian Murdock & Carla Herreria The HuffPost (2/14/18) At least 17 people are reportedly dead and 15 injured after a shooter opened fire…


State Dem Lawmakers Chummy With Lobbyists At Secretive Democrats’ Closed-Door Policy Retreat

  By Itai Vardi The HuffPost (2/12/18) When Democratic legislators gathered in a hotel in Portland, Maine, for a two-day policy conference last August, they were joined by a host of corporate interests who have good reason to want in on those conversations. The meeting of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, the party arm responsible for supporting state legislative candidates, was closed to the press and billed as an off-the-record event, but HuffPost has exclusively obtained a copy of the agenda, which shows the members of the DLCC’s finance council. The finance council includes companies, trade groups, labor unions and public interest organizations, who…


The President As Demagogue — Speech, Action And The Big Parade Build-up To ‘The Moment’

  “The “moment” Trump seems to be striving for cannot arrive and serve his purposes unless he builds toward it with his speech. He is creating conditions now to support further action later…” By Bob Bauer Lawfare (2/9/18) We are constantly confronted with the question of how seriously to take the president’s words. By one interpretation, not so much: His verbal excesses and outrages should not be confused with action. This is the variant of the old counsel “watch what we do, not what we say.” President Trump said he would revisit the libel laws but didn’t; he did not file…


A Call For Peace

  By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (2/12/18) The militarization of our country has reached a boiling point. WE must turn down the flame. The propaganda for war overseas has overwhelmed logic and reason. Both sides of the aisle have increased the world’s largest defense budget by $70 billion more, than the $700 billion we had already planned to spend. This is more than the right wing wanna-be dictator asked for, And more than the rest of the world combined. So who’s the most dangerous? We are modernizing the nuclear forces instead of scrapping them. Even our beloved Bernie voted…


Why Domestic Abusers Thrive In Trump’s White House

  By Jessica Valenti The Guardian (2/9/18) It’s no secret that Trump respects men who keep women in their place: “You have to treat ’em like shit.” Perhaps that’s why top White House staffer Rob Porter got a hero’s goodbye this week, even as a picture of his ex-wife’s battered face was splashed across the news. Porter, accused of assaulting both of his ex-wives and a former girlfriend, gave his resignation but “was not pressured to do so”, according to press secretary Sarah Sanders. In fact, Sanders lauded Porter as having the full confidence of the president and Gen John Kelly, and took…


‘Directorate S’ — Steve Coll On The CIA & America’s Failed Secret Wars In Afghanistan & Pakistan

    Democracy Now! (2/8/18) The U.S. is intensifying its air war in Afghanistan as U.S. Central Command has announced it is shifting military resources from Iraq and Syria back to Afghanistan, where the United States has been fighting for over 16 years in the longest war in U.S. history. U.S. Air Force Major General James Hecker recently said Afghanistan has “become CENTCOM’s main effort.” The news comes after a particularly bloody period in Afghanistan. Despite the spiraling violence, President Trump recently ruled out negotiations with the Taliban during a meeting of members of the United Nations Security Council. We…


No Republican Love For Poor & Middle Class This Valentine’s Day

  By Josh Hoxie Other Words (2/7/18) Love is in the air. Or so the marketers want us to believe, as Valentine’s Day ads sweep the nation into a frenzy of buying flowers, greeting cards, and confections to communicate our affection. Washington is less forthcoming with the adoration, especially for working people. You’re probably tired of hearing about the tax plan passed by Congress late last year. If not, just wait for the media barrage coming your way from the Republican donor class, which is guaranteed to make the Super Bowl Tide ads look like child’s play. In case you…


Russia Monitor: A Looooong Line Of Dominoes

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/12/18) Dear Fellow Readers, There are two threads that warrant attention for this edition of the Russia Monitor. There is a flurry of mixed news related to:  1) The court of public opinion or possible prosecution routes forward for Trump-Russia corruption, which we’ll come to second. We’ll begin with 2) a more complex story showing how challenging it is to prove Trump-Russia corruption specifics. Life would be easier if there was a group photo taken at Donnie Trump Jr.’s June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians holding up a hand-written, signed agreement saying…


Drug War And A Phantom $500 Million: Pentagon Watchdog Calls Out Two Commands For Financial Malfeasance

  By Nick Turse TomDispatch (2/8/18) 2017 was a year of investigations for US Africa Command (AFRICOM). There was the investigation of the two-star commander of US Army Africa who allegedly sent racy texts to an enlisted man’s wife. There was the investigation into the alleged killing of a Special Forces soldier by Navy SEALs in Mali. There was the inquiry into reports of torture and killings on a remote base in Cameroon that was also used by American forces. There was the investigation of an alleged massacre of civilians by American special operators in Somalia. And don’t forget the inquiry into the killing of four…


Death By Gig Economy Is A Warning To All American Workers

New York City professional ‘black car’ driver was pushed to suicide by grinding economic pressures of unfair competition from Uber and Lyft services.   “It is too late for me so who is next? Maybe you and yours? Everyone needs to fix this now.” (Editor’s Note: This is the final (2/5) Facebook post by New York City ‘black car’ driver Douglas Schfiter, who within hours of posting the commentary committed suicide in front of New York City Hall. The challenges of corporate abuse and political corruption he describes is not just true for taxi and livery drivers in the age…


How Rich Are The Filthy Rich? If Only You Knew

  By Gil B. Manzon Jr. The Conversation (2/5/18) “If poor people knew how rich rich people are, there would be riots in the streets.” Actor and comedian Chris Rock made this astute statement during a 2014 interview with New York magazine, referring to the yawning gap between rich and poor. In so doing, he stumbled upon a key challenge in the study of inequality. What’s the best way to measure it? Most inequality studies have focused on income – measures of which are widely available. However, being rich is not about a single year of earnings but rather about the accumulation of wealth…


Calif. Police Accused Of ‘Collusion’ With Neo-Nazis After Release Of Court Documents

  By Julia Conely Common Dreams (2/9/18) Defense lawyers for anti-racism activists who staged a counter-protest at a white supremacist rally in California in 2016 say that state police demonstrated sympathy for the neo-Nazis who organized the event and worked with them to arrest the counter-demonstrators. Documents related to the court case of three anti-fascist activists, who were charged with felonies for attempting to disrupt the Traditionalist Workers Party’s (TWP) rally, show that a California Highway Patrol (CHP) investigator assured a white supremacist that he would protect his anonymity and told another he was being seen as a victim in…