Belatedly Condemning Steve King Doesn’t Mean Republicans Suddenly Care About Racism In Their Ranks

An all-too rare moment of truth. ***** By Kurt Bardella HuffPost (1/15/19) Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) issued a defiant statement Monday night after House Republican leadership decided to strip King of his committee assignments following the release of an interview where the congressman questioned why terms like “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” were “offensive.” King characterized the move as an “unprecedented assault on my freedom of speech,” and it makes sense that he would be somewhat mystified. For the better part of this decade, King has openly broadcast his racist and xenophobic views without consequence from the Republican leaders. In September of last…

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As Gov’t Shutdown Drags On, IRS Continues To Aid The Rich & Corporations While (Of Course) Targeting The Poor

  Democracy Now! (1/14/19) As 800,000 federal workers remain furloughed or working without pay in the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, we look at how the Trump administration has restarted a division of the Internal Revenue Service to help corporate lenders. The Washington Post reports that an appeal from the mortgage industry has resulted in hundreds of IRSstaffers returning to the agency to carry out income verifications for lenders. This process earns the $1.3 trillion mortgage banking industry millions of dollars in fees. We speak with Paul Kiel, a reporter for ProPublica and contributor to the series “Gutting the IRS.” His…


Timothy Snyder On The Shutdown Showdown: Trump’s Next Move Is To Rule With ‘a regime in a permanent state of emergency’

If we the people choose not to be active then the institutions will slowly — or perhaps even actually more quickly than we expect — fall apart. By Chauncey Devega Salon (1/13/19) The U.S. government has now been partially shut down for three weeks, the longest such closure in our nation’s history. What began as an act of brinksmanship and political hostage-taking by Donald Trump in an effort to extort billions of dollars for his wall along the Mexican border has spiraled out of control. Trump and the Republican Party’s gambit has left almost a million federal employees without pay,…


Corporate Democrats Are Also Terrified Of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. And That’s A Very Good Thing.

Corporate Dem AOC Freak Out! ***** Grassroots progressives are a direct challenge to the mutual-protection racket among corporate Dems. By Norman Soloman HuffPost (1/14/19) In the last few days, both Politico and the New York Times have reported that freshman Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez [AOC] has ruffled the feathers of fellow congressional Democrats. Chief among the reasons for the tension? Ocasio-Cortez’s apparent support for progressive primary challenges against centrist Democrats. It’s one of the most significant ideas the young New York congresswoman has brought with her to Washington. That’s because turning the Democratic Party into a truly progressive force will require turning…


Corporate Dem Drone Steny Hoyer Deploys ‘Republican-Lite Talking Points’ To Oppose 70% Tax Rate On Ultra-Rich That Most Americans Want

  [Editor’s Note: Let’s hope a bright young progressive candidate primaries corporate drone Rep. Steny Hoyer in 2020. If there is one Wall Street dem that needs to go, it is Hoyer. — Mark L. Taylor] By Julia Conley Common Dreams (1/16/19) Despite the popularity of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) proposal to raise the marginal tax rate for the wealthiest Americans to 70 percent—House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) revealed that he has no plans to serve the public interest by pushing for higher taxes for the rich. Speaking to the news outlet Cheddar, Hoyer scoffed and smirked when asked on Tuesday…



Russia Monitor: No, Really, Nothing To Hide Here!

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (1/17/19) Dear Fellow Readers, It is now clear how Trump’s new Attorney General will deal with special counsel Robert Mueller and his Trump-Russia corruption investigation. William Barr promises to allow Mueller to conclude his investigation. Barr also explains any report to Congress or the public will go through him. We’ll use his words to explain his views of “transparency”. The Washington Post offers a succinct summary of remarks from the first day of hearings with Barr’s nomination: Power Up: Barr’s Testimony Sets The Stage For Future Fights Over Mueller Report. The highlights to Barr’s…


Surveilance Capitalism: How Tracking & Selling Your Personal Data Became A Business Model

On Point / WBUR (1/15/19) There are new calls for tech companies to stop selling your location to third parties. We’ll look at the economics and perils of “surveillance capitalism.” Guest — Shoshana Zuboff, professor emerita at Harvard Business School and former faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. Author of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power,” among other titles. Excerpt from “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” by Shoshana Zuboff The Unprecedented One explanation for surveillance capitalism’s many triumphs floats above them all: it…


“Late Night” Host Seth Meyers Checks In On “Trump Country” To See How It’s Handling “winning so much.”

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (1/17/19) In one of the best pieces of commentary/reporting in quite some time, comedian Seth Meyers on Tuesday (1/15) laid bare the grim truth and tragedy of what is happening to rural America under Donald Trump’s rule of ineptitude. ego and cynical manipulation. Far from being “tired of winning”, much of rural America is just plain tired — wrung out and exhausted. While support for Trump has softened a tad as the bruising reality of his shutdown of the government spreads, his hardcore true believers remain — and will remain — loyal…


A Disease Of Despair: Opioid Overdoses Are Now The Nation’s Most Common Preventable Cause Of Death

By Nina Golgowski TheHuffpost (1/14/19) Accidental opioid overdoses are not only on the rise but are now the most common preventable cause of death in the U.S. for the first time ever, according to a new report. The latest numbers from the National Safety Council, which analyzed 2017 data from the National Center for Health Statistics, place accidental opioid overdoses ahead of motor vehicle crashes and falls. Overall, accidental opioid overdoses accounted for more than 43,036 deaths in 2017 ― up from 37,814 deaths in 2016. Motor vehicle crashes had been the top preventable killer, claiming 40,327 lives in 2016….


Gun Cult Nation News Update

The Trace (1/16/19) Libertarian gunsmiths hope to skirt federal regulation with a 3-D printed bullet.Tennessee-based nonprofit gun research collective Atlas Arms (named after the Ayn Rand novel, which gives a sense of its ideology) is raising funds a home-printed 9mm round meant to circumvent a 1986 law banning the sale of armor-penetrating ammunition. In a promotional release, Atlas Arms argues that because government personnel can use ammo qualifying as armor-piercing, civilians should have access to it as well. The outfit says it will work with a “well respected firearms law firm” to submit prototypes to the ATF to ensure the product’s legality. At…


Still Waiting For State Democratic Party Leadership To Listen To The Grass Roots

Fixing the problems of money hijacking our democracy will not be done with money. By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (1/14/19) The leadership of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) is traveling the state to discuss the recent elections. Unfortunately the lessons the grassroots have learned are not on the agenda. The listening sessions are advertised as a chance to get feedback from the activists, but are really a chance for the activists to listen to the leadership. We have heard the message before, “raise more money”. Those of us who have run grassroots campaigns in rural areas know how…


GRIFTER: Minutes After His First Primetime Oval Office Address Trump Was Fundraising Off His Speech

The President of the United states is saying if you don’t send him money, you’re not a patriotic American. And he’s taking names. Literally. By David Badash New Civil Rights Movement (1/9/19) The Trump presidency has been little more than an extension of his presidential campaign, starting when he filed papers for re-election the day he was sworn in to office. So perhaps it comes as no surprise that literally minutes after delivering his first primetime Oval Office address to the nation on what he labeled the “crisis” at the border, Trump was fundraising off his speech. President George W….


While Walls & Wheels Are Ancient, Trump’s PR Stunt Accidentally Proves His Precious Wall Scam Won’t Work

So what’s older? Tunnels or walls? Gophers or beavers? By Aldous J Pennyfarthing The Daily Kos (1/10/19) For some reason Donald Trump is fixated on wheels and walls these days. The logic? 1) Wheels are older than walls. 2) We still use walls. 3) Therefore, the border wall will work. Wait, I’m not kidding. He actually said that during his PR stunt in McAllen, Texas, today: “Well, a wheel is older than a wall. [Bzzzt! Wrong again!] And I looked, and every single car out there, even the really expensive ones that the Secret Service uses — and believe me they are expensive…


Investigative Reporter James Risen Describes His Long Fight To Report On Government Secrets At The New York Times

Cheney/Bush & Obama officials and New York Times editors conspired to suppress the information that was eventually released by Edward Snowden a decade later. By Jeremy Scahill Intercepted (1/5/19) Investigative journalist James Risen fought hard to get classified information published at The New York Times, where editors were quite willing to cooperate with the government. In this video, Intercepted host Jeremy Scahill speaks to Risen about his yearslong battle with the Department of Justice — spanning both the Bush and the Obama administrations — as well as his struggles with his own editors at the New York Times. Link to…


It Could Go On Forever: What Trump Could Legally Do If He Declares A State Of Emergency To Save Himself

From seizing control of the internet to declaring martial law, President Trump may legally do all kinds of extraordinary things. By Elizabeth Goitein The Atlantic (Jan/Feb 2019) In the weeks leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, President Donald Trump reached deep into his arsenal to try to deliver votes to Republicans. Most of his weapons were rhetorical, featuring a mix of lies and false inducements—claims that every congressional Democrat had signed on to an “open borders” bill (none had), that liberals were fomenting violent “mobs” (they weren’t), that a 10 percent tax cut for the middle class would somehow pass…


CNN’s Tapper Uses Manafort To Slap Down GOP Loopy Sen. Ron Johnson’s Wild Ranting About Democrats Colluding With Russians

  [Editor’s Note: Funny how GOP Sen. Ron Johnson — as with every other republican who spouts off about the subject of the Steele Dossier — never mentions that the initial effort and funding resulting in the report came from a conservative online news publication opposed to Trump. — Mark L. Taylor] By Tom Boggioni Raw Story (1/13/19) CNN host Jake Tapper used the legal troubles of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to shut down the wild ravings of a Republican senator accusing the Democratic Party of colluding with the Russians. The State of the Union host asked Sen. Ron Johnson…


‘Bluff City’ Captures Photographer Ernest Withers During Civil Rights Movement

Weekend Edition, Saturday / NPR (1/12/19) NPR’s Scott Simon asks Bluff City: The Secret Life Of Photographer Ernest Withers author Preston Lauterbach about the undisclosed life of Ernest Withers, a celebrated civil rights photographer and FBI informant. Link to 6-Minute Audio ***** Amazon Review: The little-known story of an iconic photographer and FBI informant, whose work captured―and influenced―a critical moment in American history. Who was Ernest Withers? Most Americans may not know the name, but they do know his photographs. Withers took some of the most legendary images of the 1950s and ’60s: Martin Luther King, Jr., riding a newly integrated bus…


What We Need To Learn From The Fall Of The Roman Republic

“There’s a complacency that comes about from living in an old republic because it’s hard to imagine what seems impossible.” On Point / WPR (1/11/19) The fall of the Roman empire has fascinated history buffs and close students of power for centuries. The Fall of the Roman republic, however, may cast more light on our age. To walk around the federal part of Washington, D.C., is to attain constant glimpses of ancient Rome. The physical seat of all three branches of government — the White House, the Supreme Court building, the U.S. Capitol — and the National Archives all draw inspiration…


The Politics Of Truth In The Relentless Rap Of ‘Immortal Technique’

By Maggie Freleng Latino USA (1/13/19) Felipe Coronel, aka Immortal Technique, is a legendary underground hip-hop artist, known for his skills on the mic as well as his raw, highly political lyrics. His family immigrated to Harlem from Peru when he was a toddler to escape armed conflict and economic instability in Peru. He grew up in Harlem during the 80s and 90s during a time that was notoriously rough in New York City. Technique says because of the way he grew up, he harbored a lot of rage and eventually, that rage led him to prison. He was incarcerated…


Russia Monitor: When You Are Down To Defenders Like Sen. Ron “Rojo” Johnson You Know Things Must Be Bad In Trumplandia

  “Show me one quote/tweet from Trump personally (1) praising new sanctions on Russians, (2) endorsing lethal weapons to Ukraine (3) supporting more NATO troops near Russia’s border (4) calling for Russia to leave Crimea or (5) criticizing Putin’s anti-democratic policies. Just one.” — Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul tweet (1/12/19). ***** “This is not a traditional president. He has unorthodox means but he is President of the United States. It’s pretty much up to him in terms of who he wants to read into his conversations with world leaders.” — Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) CNN State of…


Trump “Blew it Bigly” With “Wet Fart” Of An Awful ‘Offal’ Office Address

“Death twitch of The Wall cult.” “This speech wasn’t about saving his utterly fake wall. The $5.7 billion dollars he’s demanded as his vig for ending the shutdown isn’t even close to being seriously considered, and this speech was an overt admission he’s out of airspeed, altitude, and ideas. The crisis he proudly created will end without a wall, and he knows it. “This speech was supposed to be about forcing the national dialogue to stay on the border wall. No such luck. He reeked of defeat, clearly didn’t want to be there, and it showed. “Trump looked exhausted, squinty,…


Corporate Media Condemned For Handing Trump Megaphone To Spout Racist ‘Stream of Lies’ For A Capaign Event

“Trump just launched his 2020 re-election campaign with, essentially, the same speech he used at Trump Tower in 2015, when he first ranted about Mexican rapists and murderers. And the media paid for it.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (1/9/19) After President Donald Trump exploited the enormous free platform he was needlessly granted by America’s major television networks Tuesday night to deliver an immigration address replete with the same disinformation and dehumanizing rhetoriche has deployed since stepping foot on the campaign trail, critics denounced the corporate media’s continued role in amplifying Trump’s speeches despite knowing they will be full of harmful lies. “Trump…


North Carolina: This Is What Election Fraud Looks Like In Real Time

[From Commoner Call reader, Tom Crofton: “This has a video of a timeline that really shows how the cheating worked an example of a private citizen using public records to make a difference.” — Editor] By Doc Dawg The Daily Kos (1/8/9) The citizens of North Carolina’s 9th U.S. Congressional District are without representation in Congress as I write, while state officials investigate allegations of election fraud in the November contest between Democrat Dan McCready and his Republican opponent, Mark Harris. On election night Harris appeared to eke out a slim victory (by a 905 vote margin), prompting a gracious…


Podcast: Jeremy Scahill On The Cynical Presumptions & Betrayal History Of Whataboutism — Intercepted Podcast

  History matters, Facts matter. Context matters. Let’s have an honest discussion of our national history. By Jeremy Scahill Intercepted (11/15/17) You cannot erase the murderous past of George W. Bush and his allies and act like all that matters is opposing Trump. If we, as a society, were actually honest about how often we do the very things — albeit in our own American way — as those we condemn as despots and tyrants and terrorists, then the whole dialogue would change. Link to 8+-Video


Newly Declassified Documents Shed Light On Gina Haspel’s Involvement At Guantanamo

  [Editor’s Note: keep in mind six democratic senators betrayed the constitution, international law and human decency  by voting to confirm torturer Gina Haspel in her confirmation hearing to be director of the CIA. This is a bipartisan disgrace.  — Mark L. Taylor] By John Kiriakou Reader Supported News Service (1/8/19) Last week, the Central Intelligence Agency declassified what at first glance appears to be an innocuous transcript of a request for discovery and witnesses made by Guantánamo defense attorneys during a hearing in the “trial” of 9/11 suspect Khalid Shaikh Muhammad. In the transcript, the attorney complains to the judge that the…


Human Dignity Endangered: In 2019 We Must Stand As One To Survive

Torture victim and torturer at U.S. military prison at Abu Ghraib, Iraq. When abuses are committed against anyone in any society, the dignity of humanity as a whole is compromised.  By Ai Weiwei The Guardian (1/1/19) What does it mean to be human? That question sits at the core of human rights. To be human has specific implications: human self-awareness and the actions taken to uphold human dignity – these are what gives the concept of humanity a special meaning. Human self-awareness and human actions determine the interplay between individual thought and language and the wider society. It is our actions…


Russia Monitor: Much Bigger & Way, Way Uglier Than We Imagined

  “Donald Trump Delivers a Wet Fart Oval Office Address” — Daily Beast headline from author and Never-Trumper Rick Wilson (1/8/19)   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (1/11/19) Dear Fellow Readers, The most important Wall for Trump is his scramble to protect himself from Trump-Russia corruption news and special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Trump’s latest attempt at deflection needed an ‘A’ game address to change the political dynamics. Without the free-flowing lies of his high-energy rally venues he failed miserably. The point being, there is growing proof of Trump-Russia collusion. Trump is trying to politically run ahead of this…


Christian Bale Credits Satan For Inspiration On How Best To Play Dick Cheney In ‘Vice’

By Ethan Sacks NBC News (1/7/19) It’s a good thing for Christian Bale that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was voting, and not Republicans. The Welsh-born thespian won the Golden Globe for best actor in a motion picture – musical or comedy for his portrayal of former Vice President Dick Cheney in “Vice” and in accepting the award, he made clear where he stands on the real-life subject. “Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration on how to play this role,” said Bale, 44. … Read the Rest and 1-Minute Video (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2019. Open…


Replay Of History? Rachel Maddow Investigates Spiro Agnew’s Bribery Scandal

  Fresh Air (1/19/19) Richard Nixon’s first vice president, Spiro Agnew, resigned in 1973 amidst charges of bribery and tax evasion. Now, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and producer Mike Yarvitz revisit the Agnew scandal in the hit podcast ‘Bag Man.’ “The parallels with what was going on in the Nixon and Agnew administration 45 years ago to the efforts by the Trump administration right now … is uncanny,” Maddow says. Link to Story and 49-Minute Audio


Veteran NBC Reporter Rips Pro-War Posture Of Corporate Media In Scathing Resignation Letter

  By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (1/3/19) In a biting resignation letter published in full by CNN on Wednesday, longtime NBC News reporter, commentator, and military analyst William “Bill” Arkin blasted the corporate media network for embracing U.S. “national security leaders and generals” while “ignoring the empirical truth of what they have wrought: There is not one county in the Middle East that is safer today than it was 18 years ago. Indeed the world becomes ever more polarized and dangerous.” Reflecting on his past couple of decades working with the network—in addition to writing books and columns for major newspapers and serving as as military adviser to…


Brazil’s New Bolsonaro Government To Purge State Of Leftists & Centrists

TeleSur (1/5/19) Brazil’s newly-inaugurated [1/1/18] President Jair Bolsonaro announced a purge of government contractors who do not share the new administration’s far-right ideology. Days after assuming the presidency, Bolsonaro has authorized the dismissal of some 300 state workers on temporary contracts. “It’s the only way to govern with our ideas, our concepts and to carry out what Brazil’s society decided in its majority,” said Chief of Staff Onyx Lorenzoni at a press conference. He added that the purge aimed “to do away with the Socialist and Communist ideas that during 30 years have led us to the chaos in which…


It Is More Than Mere Ignorance That Takes Down Democracies. The Problem Goes Far Deeper

Authoritarian leaders have rarely abolished liberal democracy overnight. Rather, they slowly but steadily chip away at its liberal foundations first, and its electoral foundations later. By Cas Mudde The Guardian (12/15/18) Democracy is in crisis and, for some, ignorance is to blame. Take the slogan of one major American newspaper: “Democracy dies in darkness.” It represents a simplistic answer to the rise of authoritarian and populist forces around the globe. The reason for its popularity is, undoubtedly, its appeal to an Enlightenment logic, in which knowledge means power and progress. Hence, the argument goes, if people would only know how…


Perversion Of Justice: The Shocking Story Of Trump’s Sec. Of Labor’s History Of Shielding A Serial Pedophile & Sexual Abuser

  [Editor’s Note: It is also important to remember millionaire Jeffrey Epstein counted both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump as his pals. — Mark L. Taylor] Democracy Now! (1/4/119) We look at the unbelievable story of multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who for years orchestrated a sex trafficking network of hundreds of underage girls and is accused of regularly molesting children as young as 13 at his Florida mansion. But the serial sex offender received a shockingly lenient sentence for his crimes: 13 months in county jail, with many of his days spent at his Palm Beach office with regular visitors. This was…


Russia Monitor: Maybe A Wall Wouldn’t Be Such A Bad Thing After All…

“It’s pretty clear that what’s driving Trump now isn’t a governing strategy. It isn’t a re-election strategy. It’s a “hold enough of your base to stop the Senate from convicting when the House impeaches” strategy. Trump must expect that the Mueller report will be very bad for him.” — Conservative pundit, author & Never-Trumper Bill Kristol tweet (1/6/19).   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (1/7/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump chaos, Russian information warfare, reelection, impeachment, and — of course — “Build The Wall!” The high notes — or deeply low notes — of the past few days raise a herd of…


Suckered: Operation InfeKtion — How Russia Has Perfected The Art Of Disinformation & Social Media Cyber War

  The New York Times (11/25/18) Russia’s meddling in the United States’ elections is not a hoax. It’s the culmination of Moscow’s decades-long campaign to tear the West apart. “Operation InfeKtion” reveals the ways in which one of the Soviets’ central tactics — the promulgation of lies about America — continues today, from Pizzagate to George Soros conspiracies. Meet the KGB spies who conceived this virus and the American truth squads who tried — and are still trying — to fight it. Countries from Pakistan to Brazil are now debating reality, and in Vladimir Putin’s greatest triumph, Americans are using…


Since May US Stopped Cooperating With UN Human Rights Monitors

TeleSur (1/4/19) The administration of United States President Donald Trump stopped cooperation with United Nations’ human rights rapporteurs since May 2018, when the state department stopped responding to official complaints by special rapporteurs. In an exclusive story, The Guardian details that since May 7, 2018, the U.S. state department failed to respond to 13 requests sent by U.N. special rapporteurs. Unanswered requests include cases of family separation against migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. This is not the first U.S. blow to the international human rights system. In June, the country withdrew from the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHCR), alleging anti-Israel bias. That…


The Trump Administration Pressures Our Park Service To Silence Climate Crisis Science

  Reveal & CPRX / Center For Investigative Journalism (1/5/19) President Donald Trump says he doubts humans have much of a role in climate change. His administration has downplayed the science of climate change and sought to silence scientists working for the federal government. In this hour, Reveal’s Elizabeth Shogren details the pressures one researcher faced as she worked on a project for the National Park Service. DIG DEEPER Read: Wipeout: Human role in climate change removed from science report Read: Democrats ask Interior to investigate climate change edits Read: Zinke grilled about edited science report Read: National parks report on climate change finally…


Podcast — Setting The Record Straight: The Factual Reporting About Beto & Biden By David Sirota That Stirred Epic Media & DNC Freakout

  [Editor’s Note: Also check out why David Sorota warns that if the dems nominate and elect another smooth talking pro-corporate Obama clone many people will die. — Mark L. Taylor] The Kate Halper Show In recent weeks, investigative journalist David Sirota made the repeated fatal error of doing his job. He reported facts, as his wont, and the corporate media and political elites flipped out, as is their wont. Earlier this week, he linked to another investigative journalist’s tweet which accurately described what Biden said in a 2018 video—that he would support a means test for Social Security. In response, The Daily Banter—a website…


Democrats Are Hunting Big Game – Did Big Money Already Bag Them?

  By Robert Reich The Guardian (1/6/19) Democrats are now in control of the House of Representatives, under Speaker Nancy Pelosi. After two years of Republican control over both chambers of Congress and the presidency, some balance has been restored to our democracy. I know and have worked with many members of the 116th Congress. They are people of integrity who will strive to do what is right for America. Nancy Pelosi is tough and courageous. Were it not for her insistence, Barack Obama would not have pushed for the Affordable Care Act. But they are not miracle workers. Republicans still control the…