Crazy Uncle Joe & The Futile Quest Of The Corporate Can’t-We-All-Just-Get-Along Democrats

“Look, it’s very simple — we go for the head wound and your side has pillow fights. The head wound will always win over the pillow fight.”  — Steve Bannon, Trump adviser and right wing provocateur By Geoff Beckman Counterpunch (4/22/19) I have a suggestion for PPMB, the right-wing consulting firm whose CEO is running for president–and also Crazy Uncle Joe, who is apparently going to announce his run next week. You nitwits think you can run on the “I’ll bring everyone together. We’re not blue states or red states– we’re the UNITED states” message? Good luck with that. The…

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The U.S.-Mexico Border Isn’t Protected By Militias, It’s Patrolled By Outlaws & Domestic Terrorists

The United Constitutional Patriots are just one in a long line of anti-immigrant groups who try to terrorize the border areas. By Raul A. Reyes NBC News (4/22/19) It speaks volumes about today’s political climate that anti-immigrant domestic terrorists have begun calling themselves border militias, holding unarmed people at gunpoint and feeling so emboldened that they post videos of their activities on social media, including Facebook and YouTube. Luckily, the hubris of at least one group didn’t impress law enforcement: On Saturday, the New Mexico attorney general’s office announced that Larry Hopkins, the leader of the United Constitutional Patriots (which had been detaining migrants…


Just Who Is Mayor Pete Buttigieg?

***** Neoliberal Buttigieg Is The Democrats’ Flavor Of The Month. Just Don’t Ask What He Stands For He’s a classic “empty suit”, a package without contents. He stands for nothing except his own advancement.  By Nathan Robinson The Guardian (4/16/19) For being the mayor of the fourth-largest city in Indiana, Pete Buttigieg has been shockingly successful in carving out a national political profile. Buttigieg has only just formally announced that he is running for president, but already he is placing near the top of some polls, and being given cover stories in national magazines, touted as a “wonder boy” and the “Democrats’ heartland hope”….


America’s Friends: Trump Is Both Cause & Product Of Growing Estrangement With European Allies

BBC (4/24/19) From a US president who is turning the world upside down – with a relish for dismantling global agreements – the message is clear: it’s America first. But where does that leave old European allies? Few expect the transatlantic relationship to go back to where it was before Trump. Europe, says Angela Merkel, now has to shape its own destiny. James Naughtie explores the uncertain future for America’s friends. Link to 28-Minute Audio  


Wisconsin’s Sen. Ron Johnson: Sadist

    By Emily Singer The American Independent (4/17/19) Despite global condemnation for his cruel family separation policy, Trump still thinks his administration isn’t being cruel enough to immigrants and asylum seekers — and one Republican senator is ready to help Trump reach his especially cruel goal of jailing immigrant children for longer than the law currently allows. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) plans to introduce legislation that would let the Trump administration detain children for up to 90 days, far more than the current limit of 20 days, the Washington Post reports. Johnson wants to amend the 1997 Flores settlement, which allows children to remain in immigration detention…


‘When Workers Fight, Workers Win’: Union Declares Victory As Stop & Shop Strike Ends With Deal To Raise Wages

“When workers fight, workers win.” — Sen. Elizabeth Warren By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (4/22/19) The union representing tens of thousands of striking Stop & Shop workers declared victory Sunday after it reached a tentative agreement with management to increase wages and preserve employee benefits that were under threat. “Today is a powerful victory for the 31,000 hardworking men and women of Stop & Shop who courageously stood up to fight for what all New Englanders want—good jobs, affordable healthcare, a better wage, and to be treated right by the company they made a success,” the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)…


Why Has Climate Crisis Become So Politicised?

  By Michael Blastland The Why Factor / BBC (4/22/19) People on the left are more likely to accept climate change than those on the right in the USA, Australia and much of Western Europe. But it’s a question that starts with little more than a thermometer, a measurement of the temperature at the earth’s surface. Why does a science question divide people along party lines? Was it the oil industry, fuelling doubt about the science? Or something deep in our psychology, that causes us to push the science aside in favour of belonging to a tribe, a feeling that…


Russia Monitor: Okay, Now That We Are Done With The Warm-Up…

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/25/19) Dear Fellow Readers, It turns out the preceding 2-3 years have been a warm up. Our latest marker in the ongoing saga, a print version of the Mueller Report published by the Washington Post is the current bestseller on Amazon. We’ll do a quick review of the Trump administration actions post Mueller’s Trump-Russia report. Has it really only been just over a week? MSNBC host Ari Melber was joined by Harvard constitutional law professor Lawrence Tribe who summarized as “overwhelming evidence of an endeavor to undermine an important legal enquiry into what…


Netanyahu Wants Israel To Name New Town On Golan Heights After Trump

Reuters (4/23/19) GOLAN HEIGHTS, April 23 (Reuters) – Israel said on Tuesday it would name a new community on the Golan Heights after U.S. President Donald Trump as an expression of gratitude for his recognition of its claim of sovereignty over the strategic plateau. Israel captured the Golan from Syria in a 1967 war and annexed it, in a move not recognized internationally. The United States broke with other world powers last month when Trump signed a decree recognizing Israeli sovereignty there. “All Israelis were deeply moved when President Trump made his historic decision,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said…


Notably Quotable: “If we had confidence…”

  “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.” — From the Mueller Report: Here are 11 key lines from the Mueller report. ***** “Mueller’s quote of Trump, when first learning a special counsel had been appointed – “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked” – has already become a national tagline. Why, Americans wonder, would Trump be “fucked” if he hadn’t done something so awful as to cause its revelation to “fuck” him?” —…


Thank The GOP Tax Scam For This: Amazon — And 56 Other Corporations On The Dole — Swiped Your Tax Dollars

They claim to hate socialism if it means Medicare for All, but they sure as hell love socialism when it’s welfare for them. By Leo Gerard Common Dreams (4/19/19) Yeah, yeah, yeah, Bernie Sanders, castigator of the one percent, is a millionaire now. So are Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. Big whoop. There’s a crucial difference between these candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination and the super wealthy – particularly 60 gigantic, massively profitable U.S. corporations. The candidates faithfully pay federal taxes. The corporations don’t. That’s right. Sixty profitable corporations paid no federal taxes in 2018, twice the number that typically paid…


The Soiled Career Of Teflon Don: How Trump The Mafia Boss Fought The Law … And Won

“He’s so much like a Don that his name is literally Don.” By David Smith The Guardian (4/21/19) “You gotta do this. You gotta call Rod…” It was 17 June 2017. Donald Trump was on the phone, urging Don McGahn, the White House counsel, to turn the screw on the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein. “Call Rod, tell Rod that [Robert] Mueller has conflicts and can’t be the special counsel,” Trump said, in a second call that day. “Mueller has to go … Call me back when you do it.” If the tone of these secret conversations, revealed in Mueller’s long-awaited report this week,…


Inciting Hatred Is Trump’s 2020 Game Plan

  By John Nichols The Nation (4/19/19) Donald Trump is not an electoral mastermind. He is something far more dangerous: a persistent political grifter who is desperately, shamelessly determined to maintain his grip on the presidency that he assumed after losing the 2016 popular vote by almost 3 million ballots. Trump’s desperation will intensify as the 2020 election approaches. He will turn with increasing frequency to the playbook of racism and xenophobia that he has employed from the moment four years ago when he crept from reality TV onto the Republican debate stage. Trump confirmed his intentions in mid-April, when he began…


A Good — And Critical — Question. Let’s Hope Enough Voters Ask It In 2020

“Why would Trump be ‘fucked’ if he hadn’t done something so awful as to cause its revelation to ‘fuck’ him?” By Robert Reich The Guardian (4/21/19) Democrats in Congress and talking heads on television will be consumed in the coming weeks by whether the evidence in the Mueller report, especially of obstruction of justice, merits impeachment. Meanwhile, the question of “wink-wink” cooperation with Russia still looms. Mueller’s quote of Trump, when first learning a special counsel had been appointed – “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked” – has already become a national tagline….


Police State: Heavily Armed Bounty Hunters Raided Our Clients’ Home To Prevent Private Companies From Losing $1,670

  Corporations profit from millions of people and their families subjected to unaffordable bail amounts. By Andrea Woods & Alex Rate ACLU (4/17/19) Around 9:20 p.m. on Sunday, April 23, 2017, Eugene Mitchell, Shayleen Meuchell, and their four-year-old daughter were in bed at their home in Lolo, Montana, when they heard a violent crash. “It sounded like a truck had driven straight into our house,” Mitchell later said. In a surreal flash, armed bounty hunters kicked in the front door, broke into the bedroom, pointed assault rifles and pistols at the family, and shouted at them not to move. The bounty…


War Dept. Spending Set To Hit Near-Record Levels, While ‘Establishment Says We Can’t Afford’ Programs To Help Citizens

“Very few in Congress are questioning how the U.S. can afford to spend $7.5 trillion on the military.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (4/19/19) Pentagon spending is on track to grow significantly for the fifth consecutive year, but “very few in Congress are questioning” how the U.S. can afford it. That’s according to the Washington Post‘s Jeff Stein and Aaron Gregg, who reported Thursday that “the United States is expected to spend more on its military in 2020 than at any point since World War II, except for a handful of years at the height of the Iraq War.” In his 2020 budget…


Alarm Grows As Study Shows How Microplastics Are Blown To Even The Most Remote Areas Of The Globe

  By Damian Carrington The Guardian (4/15/19) Microplastic is raining down on even remote mountaintops, a new study has revealed, with winds having the capacity to carry the pollution “anywhere and everywhere”. The scientists were astounded by the quantities of microplastic falling from the sky in a supposedly pristine place such as the French stretch of the Pyrenees mountains. Researchers are now finding microplastics everywhere they look; in rivers, the deepest oceans and soils around the world. Other recent studies have found microplastics in farmland soils near Shanghai, China, in the Galápagos Islands, a Unesco world heritage site, and in rivers in the Czech Republic. Humans and other…


History They Really Don’t Want You To Know: Gore Vidal Gives A Powerful Run-Down On The Origin Of The National Security State

  The United States of Amnesia. Gore Vidal speaks to the National Press Club on March 18, 1998 on the evolution of the brutal American National Security State. It is significant that Wikileaks Julian Assange was clutching a copy of “History Of The National Security State”, a collection of interviews with journalist Paul Jay of the Real News network, as he was roughly hauled out of the Ecudoran embassy in London by a squad of police. He was as insightful — humorous — and as he was prescient. Link to 47-Minute Video


Podcast ‘The Dig’ — How & Why Socialism Won Big In Chicago

    [Editor’s Note: This broadcast was shortly before the April 2 Chicago municipal elections. — Mark L. Taylor] The Dig Jacobin Magazine (3/24/19) Four of the five candidates endorsed by the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America either won outright or advanced to the runoff election on April 2, leading to talk of a Socialist Caucus on the city council. And other progressive candidates throughout the city knocked off corporate-friendly incumbents. Dan passes the mic to guest host Micah Uetricht for an interview with United Working Families Executive Director Emma Tai and In These Times web editor Miles Kampf-Lassin on how years…


US Makes Stuff Up To Grease The Skids For War On Iran

“Iran’s retention of archives related to its past covert nuclear weapons program (the Amad Plan), as well as its efforts to keep many scientists and technicians from that former weapons program working together under the continued leadership of the former head of that program, raise serious questions regarding whether Iran intended to preserve the option to resume elements of a nuclear weapons program in the future….” – US Department of State report, “Adherence to and compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments,” April 2019 By William Boardman Reader Supported News (4/19/19) With absolutely zero good reasons for…


Chris Hedges: Saying Goodbye To Planet Earth

“Too late, too late you see the path of wisdom.” By Chris Hedges TruthDig (8/19/18) The spectacular rise of human civilization—its agrarian societies, cities, states, empires and industrial and technological advances ranging from irrigation and the use of metals to nuclear fusion—took place during the last 10,000 years, after the last ice age. Much of North America was buried, before the ice retreated, under sheets eight times the height of the Empire State Building. This tiny span of time on a planet that is 4.5 billion years old is known as the Holocene Age. It now appears to be coming…


Washington State GOP Rep Planned Violent Attacks & Harassment Of Political Opponents

By Jason Wilson The Guardian (4/20/19) A Washington state Republican politician took part in private discussions with rightwing figures about carrying out surveillance, “psyops” and even violent attacks on perceived political enemies, according to chat records obtained by the Guardian. State representative Matt Shea, who represents Spokane Valley in the Washington state house, participated in the chats with three other men. All of the men used screen aliases – Shea’s was “Verum Bellator”, Latin for true warrior. The Guardian confirmed the identity of those in the chat by cross-checking phone numbers attached to the Signal accounts. He has associated with conspiracy-minded far-right…


As Sanders Campaign Gains Steam, Corporate Democrats Reportedly ‘Growing Increasingly Nervous’

“Being loathed and feared by the rich is a big reason why Bernie is so appealing, and Democrats who don’t understand this by now will never get it.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (4/16/19) Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign is rapidly gaining momentum early in the primary fight, and corporate Democrats are reportedly starting to get nervous. The New York Times reported Tuesday that political operative David Brock has discussed launching “an anti-Sanders campaign” with other Democratic strategists and “believes it should commence ‘sooner rather than later.’” “[T]he Bernie question comes up in every fundraising meeting I do,” Brock said. In a fundraising letter…


How Wide Is Bernie Sanders’ Appeal? This Cheering Fox News Audience Provides A Clue

Bernie drew cheers from the audience when he spoke about healthcare, revealing just how popular his policies are. By Bhaskar Sunkara The Guardian (4/16/19) Bernie Sanders was supposed to be deep behind enemy lines on Monday night. He was in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for a live town hall, hosted by Fox News, a network “not everyone thought [he] should come on”. It was a resounding success, and a reminder that Bernie, not Trump, can actually rally together a majority of Americans. The Fox News moderators Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum didn’t figure that out at first. Early on Baier asked those in…


A Significant, Ignored Far Right Domestic Terror Attack: ‘Why the Highlander Attack Matters’

The attackers left their mark on the parking lot by spray-painting a symbol derived from the fascist Romanian Iron Guard during the 1930s that is commonly used by white supremacists. By Robin D.G. Kelley & Makani Themba The Nation (4/12/19) News of the March 29 arson attack on the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tennessee, shocked and angered progressives across the country. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the blaze destroyed Highlander’s main office building, along with valuable organizational records and historic documents that had not been archived at the University of Wisconsin and other repositories. Yet, for the many familiar…


11 Year-Old Targeted By The Souless Grinding Bureaucratic Gears Of The Hate State

  By Abby Zimet Common Dreams (4/13/19) Unimaginably, the lows keep going lower. In Texas, Laura Maradiaga-Alvarado, an 11-year-old girl who fled death threats in El Salvador with her terrified family, may now be deported alone thanks to an immigration court’s administrative error, an evil narcissist’s pointless government shutdown, and the prevailing cruelty of his inept regime. Laura, her 15-year-old sister Adamaris, and her mother Dora arrived at the U.S. southern border in October; gang members had begun kidnapping and killing their family members after one relative witnessed a murder and testified in court, and one member of MS-13 had threatened to…


The Story Of Jesus & The Roman Empire Shows What Happens When Dissidents Become Enemies Of The State

For those who truly study the life and teachings of Jesus, the resounding theme is one of outright resistance to war, materialism and empire. By John Rutherford The Rutherford Center (4/16/19) “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell When exposing a crime is treated as committing a crime, you are being ruled by criminals. In the current governmental climate, where laws that run counter to the dictates of the Constitution are made in secret, passed without debate, and upheld by secret courts that operate behind closed doors, obeying one’s conscience and…


Protest Repression: Big Oil Warps Legislatures To Redefine Criminality

Is it “criminal” for an industry to drive the global climate crisis in order to reap profits? Or is it “criminal” to (literally) get in the way? By Sarah Lazare & Simon Davis-Cohen In These Times (4/16/19) Researchers concluded in January that humanity has a hope, a 64 percent chance, of keeping the temperature rise below the international target of 1.5 degrees Celsius—if the phaseout of fossil fuel infrastructure begins now and every car, plane and power plant in existence gets replaced by a zero-carbon alternative at the end of its life span. “We are basically saying we can’t build anything…


Russia Monitor: And The Curtain Rises On The Barr Cover-up

  Do You Trust Barr? Mueller’s team conducted the investigation. Mueller’s team wrote the report including summaries. Mueller’s responsibility is to report to Congress. Barr interjected to offer a non-summary summary of the Mueller report feeding a Trump claim of ‘Exoneration!’ Barr fed Trump his second talking point by claiming there was “spying”. Barr coordinated with White House lawyers while stonewalling Congress so that a Trump legal team ‘rebuttal’ will be released at the same time as Barr’s redacted version of the Mueller report. Barr will hold a press conference, possibly before anyone has read his redacted edition. Barr’s history leading…


William Barr’s Been Accused Of A Presidential Cover-up Before

“If you want a presidential cover-up, Barr is your guy.” By Greg Walters Vice News (4/17/19) WASHINGTON — Weeks before former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger’s criminal trial over his role in the 1980’s Iran-Contra scandal, then-Attorney General William Barr dropped a bomb on the prosecution. “People in the Iran-Contra affair have been treated very unfairly,” Barr told USA Today in December 1992, blasting the charges as illegitimate. “People in this Iran-Contra matter have been prosecuted for the kind of conduct that would not have been considered criminal or prosecutable by the Justice Department.” Weinberger faced charges of lying to Congress,…


Only Rebellion Will Prevent An Ecological Apocalypse

The time for excuses is over. The struggle to overthrow our life-denying system has begun. By George Monbiot The Guardian (4/15/19) Had we put as much effort into preventing environmental catastrophe as we’ve spent on making excuses for inaction, we would have solved it by now. Everywhere I look, I see people engaged in furious attempts to fend off the moral challenge it presents. The commonest current excuse is this: “I bet those protesters have phones/go on holiday/wear leather shoes.” In other words, we won’t listen to anyone who is not living naked in a barrel, subsisting only on murky water….


The Story Of The ‘Librarian of Auschwitz’

PRI’s The World (4/15/19) A book by Antonio Iturbe tells the extraordinary story of a 14-year-old girl at Auschwitz who’s given a responsibility by her fellow prisoners there: She’s entrusted to look after a small library of books smuggled into the concentration camp. The girl’s name is Dita Kraus, and she turns 90 this year. The BBC’s Rebecca Jones has the story. Link to 5-minute Audio


Notably Quotable: “Being honest may not get you a lot of friends…”

“Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it’ll always get you the right ones.” — John Lennon ***** “Since 2001, every American taxpayer has spent almost $24,000 on the wars — equal to the average down payment on a house, a new Honda Accord, or a year at a public university.” — Mind Unleashed, We Have Spent $32 Million Per Hour on War Since 2001, (3/25/19) ***** “So long as the fundamental structures of the economy remain unchanged, state action will disproportionately benefit capitalist interests at the expense of everything else.” —   “The ABCs of Socialism”…


A New Role For Democratic Centrists: Helping The Left Win To Stop Trump

Democratic centrists need to accept that the Donkey’s moving in a new direction now; fighting it by demonizing the left just makes the calamitous prospect of a second Trump term more likely. By Ed Kilgore Intelligencer (3/5/19) Democratic centrists — or you can call them New Democrats or moderates or “pragmatic progressives” or whatever label you choose — have had quite an impressive run in national politics. They have won seven consecutive Democratic presidential nominations (or perhaps eight, depending on how you classify Michael Dukakis), and then went on to win the popular vote in six of those general elections….


They Are Such A Good Investment: Top Hospital Lobbyist Predicts Pelosi Will Block Vote On Medicare For All

Medicare for All opponents have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Pelosi and House Corporate Democratic leaders. By Andrew Perez Maplight & Alex Kotch Sludge (4/12/19) A top hospital lobbyist told a room of health care executives this week not to worry about “Medicare for All” and suggested that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) won’t let the idea come up for a vote during the current Congress. Tom Nickels, the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) executive vice president for government relations, spoke at the organization’s annual conference on Monday, a day before Pelosi addressed the same Washington, D.C. ballroom. Although…


On This Tax Day Remember, While You Paid Your Taxes For The Common Good, These Mega Corporations Betrayed The Nation By Paying Nothing

Smile, Suckers, As The Rich Get Richer. By Kathryn Kranhold The Center for Public Integrity (4/11/19) Taxpayers are scrambling to make last-minute payments due to the Internal Revenue Service in just four days, but many of the country’s largest publicly-held corporations are doing better: They’ve reported they owe absolutely nothing on the billions of dollars in profits they earned last year. At least 60 companies reported that their 2018 federal tax rates amounted to effectively zero, or even less than zero, on income earned on U.S. operations, according to an analysis released today by the Washington, D.C.-based think tank, the Institute…


Assange’s Indictment Is Trump’s Next Step In His War On Our Free Press

  By Trevor Timm The Guardian (4/13/19) The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is so disliked in journalism and political circles that many reporters and liberal politicians were publicly cheering on Thursday when the Trump administration released an indictment of Assange, which was related to his interactions with the whistleblower Chelsea Manning in the months leading up to the publication of Pentagon and state department cables in 2010. Please do not fall for this trap. It is exactly what the Trump administration is hoping for, as the Department of Justice (DoJ) moves forward with its next dangerous step in its war on journalism…


Change The Narrative: How A Swiss Group Is Marginalizing Hateful Rightwing Populists

“The [far right] populists don’t know what’s hit them, and they really don’t know how to deal with it.” By Jon Henley The Guardian (4/7/19) How do you beat rightwing populists? With pink socks, viral videos, condoms – and an iron determination not to let them decide what matters. That’s how Operation Libero are doing it anyway. As advancing nationalist parties prepare to meet in Milan on Monday to forge an alliance in the run-up to May’s European elections, anti-populist activists in Switzerland may have some lessons on halting – even reversing – the seemingly unstoppable rise of rightwing populists. “It’s about…


A New Approach: Bitter Bipartisanship Has Become Toxic…Can We Save Ourselves?

[Editor’s Note: Check out those poll stats for democrats. — Mark L. Taylor] By Scott Wittkopf Frame4future (4/11/19) A recent New York Times Opinion article (“No Hate Left Behind”, March 13,2019) reaffirmed something that has been concerning me for months. In particular, the op-ed discusses a survey conducted by very respected political scientists. Their findings resonated with something that I have been writing, discussing, and raising red flags about to Democrats and progressives for a long time. This passage discusses attitudes of political partisans towards people from the opposite party as them, as expressed in the survey: “Kalmoe and Mason (the researchers)…found that nearly…


Russia Monitor: Trump’s Unapologetic & Supine Protector Does His Job, As Promised

  “They’re going to try to hide the report as much as possible,” he tells me. “They’re going to claim executive privilege, and we’ll have to challenge all that. And we’ll win eventually. We’ll get it all out.” — House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler speaking about the Mueller report. By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (4/15/19) Dear Fellow Readers, We’ll start with a positive story of congressional effort to get us the full Mueller report as we await release; this from a Commoner Call reader: Jerry Nadler Won’t Stop Until the Full Mueller Report is Out. House Judiciary Committee chairman…