Welcome To Trump’s Corrupt State – A Star Wars Cantina Of Republican Politics & Policy

The Corrupt State starts with Trump himself, giving new meaning to the old adage about a fish rotting from the head down. By Robert Reich The Guardian (6/15/19) Trump has been ramping up his “Deep State” rhetoric again. He’s back to blaming a cabal of bureaucrats, FBI and CIA agents, Democrats and “enemies of the people” in the mainstream media for conspiring to remove him from office, in order to allow the denizens of foreign “shitholes” to overrun America. But with each passing day it’s becoming clearer that the real threat to America isn’t Trump’s Deep State. It’s Trump’s own…

Read More

Crime Report: Analysis Shows Top 1% Gained $21 Trillion In Wealth Since 1989 While Bottom 50% Of Us Lost $900 Billion

“The top one percent owns nearly $30 trillion of assets while the bottom half owns less than nothing.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (6/14/19) Adding to the mountain of statistical evidence showing the severity of U.S. inequality, an analysis published Friday found that the top one percent of Americans gained $21 trillion in wealth since 1989 while the bottom 50 percent lost $900 billion. Matt Bruenig, founder of the left-wing think tank People’s Policy Project, broke down the Federal Reserve’s newly released “Distributive Financial Accounts” data series and found that, overall, “the top one percent owns nearly $30 trillion of assets while the bottom…


Corporate Dem Rep. Richard Neal Tells Colleagues Not To Utter The Words ‘Medicare For All’ After Taking Fat Checks From Medical Industrial Interests

  By Donald Shaw Sludge (6/13/19) The House Ways and Means Committee was scheduled to hold a hearing today on Medicare for All, but its chairman, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), suddenly changed the focus of the hearing and instructed his Democratic colleagues to not even mention the term. Instead of focusing on the proposal to establish a single-payer universal health care system, the hearing now covers all options for making health coverage universally accessible, including tweaks to the Affordable Care Act. Since taking his powerful chairmanship at the start of the current legislative session, Neal, a longtime skeptic of Medicare for…


Sanders Brilliantly Brings Together Old-School Socialism With American Liberalism

  Sanders isn’t among the most popular politicians in America despite his socialist past and identity – but because of it. By Bhaskar Sunkara The Guardian (6/13/19) In a speech yesterday at George Washington University [6/12] in Washington DC, the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders brilliantly articulated what he means when he calls himself a democratic socialist. With characteristic concision, he decried the rule of “a small number of incredibly wealthy and powerful billionaires”, and argued that the future belongs to either rightwing nationalism or democratic socialism, which he defined as a bedrock set of economic and social rights. Even for many sympathizers, Sanders’ decision…


Trump’s Tall Tale Of Iran Role In Ship Attacks Quickly Unravels

  By Ben Norton The Grayzone (6/14/19) The Donald Trump administration’s evidence-less accusations against Iran have fallen apart within a matter of hours. But these US allegations did manage to disrupt an important meeting of Asian leaders at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, where Tehran was hoping to make diplomatic breakthroughs to ease a crippling American economic blockade. On Thursday, June 13, two oil tankers traveling through the Gulf of Oman on their way to Japan suffered from mysterious explosions. The cause of the incident was not clear. The US government claimed without evidence that Iran was responsible for supposed “attacks” on…


The Republican Party War Against Free & Fair Elections

By Charles P. Pierce Esquire (6/14/19) There is a fascinating lawsuit playing out in New York and, as far as I can tell, the only outlet that fully realizes its importance is Josh Marshall’s Talking Points Memo, which has put reporter Tierney Sneed on the case. In brief, Matt Dunlap, Maine’s Democratic Secretary of State, is suing the president*’s phony, and now defunct, “voter-security” commission in order to obtain internal commission documents that Dunlap claims were withheld from him, even though he also was a member of the commission. His primary targets are emails exchanged between Kris Kobach, J. Christian Adams,…


‘Tonks’, Guats’ & ‘Subhuman Shit’: Texts Of Border Patrol Agent On Trail Reveal Agency’s Toxic Culture

“Tonk” is defined by agents as “the sound heard when a ‘wetback’ is hit over the head with a flashlight.”  By Tim Dickinson Rolling Stone (6/13/19) In the days before he allegedly struck a 23-year-old undocumented Guatemalan man with a government-issued Ford F-150, Border Patrol agent Matthew Bowen sent a text to a fellow agent. In the exchange, which federal prosecutors now claim offers “insight into his view of the aliens he apprehends,” Bowen railed against unauthorized migrants who’d thrown rocks at a colleague as “mindless murdering savages” and “disgusting subhuman shit unworthy of being kindling for a fire.” The…


Bananas: Another Victim Of Growing Climate Crisis

By Tom Levitt HuffPost (6/11/19) There’s a reason why bananas are the world’s favorite fruit. They are cheap to buy, soft and easy to eat and full of fat-free nutrients. Frequently found in our lunchboxes, breakfast mix and often one of the first foods babies eat, they are a household staple. More than two-thirds of U.S shoppers include them in their regular grocery shopping. But the much-loved banana is in trouble. Two damaging diseases are destroying our favorite yellow food and threatening to wipe out the bananas eaten by consumers in the U.S. “Banana production as it stands is facing an…


Murdering The Language: When Assassination Is Called Something Other Than Assassination

“Over the decades, killing a leader or prominent person under the rubric of covert action has been called many things by those who plan and oversee operations but never assassination, because assassination is illegal. Killing a leader or prominent person at the behest of the president is legal under Title 50 of the U.S. Code. “President Dwight Eisenhower’s advisors discussed “eliminating’ foreign leaders, and they set up a Health Alteration Committee to “neutralize” or “disable” certain people. They spoke in riddles to uphold the construct of plausible deniability. Congress later found President John F. Kennedy’s advisors formalized killing and called it…


Russia Monitor — Trump’s Many Impeachable Moments: Former US Atty Asserts She Could Successfully Convict Trump For Obstruction.

  “If anyone other than a sitting president had committed this conduct, I am confident that he would be charged with crimes.” — Former US attorney Barbara McQuade appearing before House Judiciary Committee (9/10/19)  ***** “I’m the guy that gets away with it.” — Trump quote, ‘Siege: Trump Under Fire’ by Michael Wolff’, cited in The Financial Times By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/17/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Is Trump above the law? He believes so – yelling “No Collusion” while laying out the welcome map for foreign interference to benefit his campaign. Trump now announces a latest “if it’s what you…


No Image

The Nepotism Might Finally Be Too Much To Ignore

The idea of American meritocracy was imperfect from the founding, but it’s never been as transparently laughable as it is today. By Dahlia Lithwick Slate (6/12/19) Even in these tortured times, it is worth devoting a small sliver of outrage to the fact that Jared Kushner—whose only qualification to senior-advise the president on policy is that he is married to the president’s daughter—seems to have taken, per the Guardian, $90 million in foreign funding since 2017 from an “opaque offshore vehicle.” This influx comes via a stake he kept in a real estate company after assuming his government post, and given that the cash has…


A Commoner Writes: Demands Of Big Money Politics Block Many Promising Candidates

  Mark Taylor’s commentary [The Price Of Money: Political & Moral Defeat 6/13/19] about the disparity of funding between Clinton and Trump during the 2016 election was well constructed and informative but does not diminish the corrupt influence that money has had on our electoral process, and our democracy as a whole. Greed, PAC’s, billionaire donors have poisoned our democratic principles, and will continue to do so unless our politicians have the courage (quite doubtful) to reconstruct the funding process for political office. Here’s another problem with our current funding system. Many potential, highly qualified candidates for office often lack the…


The Price Of Money: Political & Moral Defeat

“The Democrats have no power to change the system. Yet. So if they want to stay in the game and be competitive they’re going to have to match the Republican’s fundraising juggernaut, otherwise Trump will out-organize, out-advertise and flat out bury us in 2020.” — Facebook post (6/6/19) By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/13/19) So let’s take a look at that siren call of money… Two figures to consider from the 2016 presidential race: $1.2 billion and $217.5 million. The first is the amount of money raised by Hillary Clinton. The second is the amount of money raised…


Rev. William Barber: A Moral Man In Immoral Times Fights For The Poor To Be Heard

Racist Gerrymandering Created A GOP Stronghold Across The Nation. We Must Fight Back Democracy Now! (6/10/19) Longtime civil rights leader Rev. Dr. William Barber joins us to respond to his conviction Thursday for trespassing during a 2017 protest against gerrymandering and attacks on healthcare at the North Carolina Legislature. Barber had refused to leave the General Assembly as ordered, after he organized a sit-in at the legislative building when Republican leaders refused to meet with him about concerns with voter ID requirements and redistricting plans that would weaken the power of the black vote. “The GOP extremists are afraid. They know they cannot win…


‘Socialism for the rich’ — The Real Life Evils Of Bad Economics

“There’s been class warfare going on for the last 20 years and my class has won.” — Warren Buffet, billionaire investor By Jonothan Aldred The Guardian (6/6/19) In most rich countries, inequality is rising, and has been rising for some time. Many people believe this is a problem, but, equally, many think there’s not much we can do about it. After all, the argument goes, globalisation and new technology have created an economy in which those with highly valued skills or talents can earn huge rewards. Inequality inevitably rises. Attempting to reduce inequality via redistributive taxation is likely to fail because the…


Watch Bernie Sanders Deliver Speech On Why Democratic Socialism ‘Only Way to Defeat Oligarchy and Authoritarianism’

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (6/12/19) In a speech at George Washington University on Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders laid out his vision of a democratic socialist society and made the case for why an ambitious agenda centered on economic rights for all is the only way to confront America’s deep inequities and defeat far-right authoritarianism. “We must recognize that in the 21st century, in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, economic rights are human rights,” said Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. “And that is what I mean by democratic socialism.” Decrying an economic system that…


Want To Beat Trump? Dems Better Listen To Workers In Republican States

Running yet another corporate Democrat would play straight into the hands of the right. By Eric Blanc The Guardian (6/11/19) Many Americans agree on the urgent need to defeat Trump in 2020. But what kind of candidate can do it? Media pundits and Democratic Party insiders would have us believe that the path to the White House passes through the political center. While dismissing challenges from the party’s left wing, Democratic elites are also writing off large swathes of the country as irredeemable Republican bastions. Despite the ultimately disastrous results of this approach in 2016, Joe Biden’s currently high polling numbers imply that a number…


‘We Have To Fight Back’ — Progressives Call For Mobilization As Koch Brothers Open Their Pockets To Protect Corporate Democrats

[Editor’s Note: Any democratic candidate accepting dirty Koch money needs to be primaried and OPPOSED. — Mark L. Taylor] By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (6/11/19) With the billionaire Koch brothers reportedly considering spending big money to help protect conservative Democrats from left-wing primary challengers in the 2020 elections, progressives said the oil magnates’ efforts can only be thwarted by a grassroots mobilization dedicated to a bold alternative agenda. Justice Democrats—an advocacy group that is backing progressive primary challengers against corporate Democrats—said in an email to supporters on Tuesday that “we have to fight back with everything that we have” against the Koch brothers, whose…


Matt Taibbi On Media Attacks On Tulsi Gabbard & The Tradition Of Smearing Peace Candidates

“An effective but despicable form of politics.” Primo Nutmeg (6/8/19) In this clip from his interview on PRIMO NUTMEG #176, Rolling Stone political journalist Matt Taibbi discusses the smear campaign against 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, as well as the corporate media’s general bias against peace candidates, which has caused other candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to be more careful with their rhetoric. Link to 6-Minute Video  


At A Time Of Fascist Governmental Cruelty The Humanitarians Are Targeted

‘Sea Rescues Have Been Criminalized’ As Heroic German Boat Captain Faces 20 Years In Prison For Saving Refugees “That she faces 20 years in jail in 2019 for saving refugees lost at sea, indicts the EU for hypocrisy and abetting crimes against humanity for allowing Italy to conduct a show trial.” By Eoin Higgins Common Dreams (6/11/19) A German boat captain faces a long and costly trial in Italy for charges targeting her humanitarian efforts on behalf of refugees. Captain Pia Klemp, 35, told Basler Zeitung on June 7 that her upcoming trial in Italy for years of efforts with the civilian lifeboat “Iuventa”…


Russia Monitor: Mueller Report Show Unequivocally That Trump Committed Conspiracy, At Least

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/13/19) Reading Directly From The Mueller Report Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Report makes the case that Trump did commit obstruction of justice and could be impeached for as many as 10 counts. Mueller did NOT exonerate Trump, in fact he laid out a detailed prosecutorial road map for impeachment – this was the subject of the last “Reading Directly” edition. There is no substitute for fully appreciating how Trump could be impeached beyond reading the Mueller Report. For this edition I will highlight two simple examples that frame the facts of what Mueller…


Missed Opportunity: Why Do The Democrats Refuse To Hold A Climate Change Debate?

By Andy Kroll Rolling Stone (6/10/19) WASHINGTON — The Democratic National Committee is facing a growing backlash in the wake of its refusal to host a 2020 presidential debate focused solely on solving the climate crisis. Last week, the DNC not only dismissed the idea of hosting a debate on the existential threat of our time but vowed to bar any 2020 candidate who participates in a non-DNC climate debate from participating in future official debates, according to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who was the 2020 Democratic candidate to call for a climate-only debate. Inslee called the DNC’s decision “extremely disappointing” and the blacklist “totally unacceptable.”…


Notably Quotable: “No business which depends for existence on…”

“No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933. ***** “I don’t want to be the America of 10 years back or 20 years back or 30 years back. I want to build a better America and I think this is our moment to do that.” — Sen. Elizabeth Warren ***** “Last year, Americans spent more than $80 billion playing state lotteries. That’s around $250 for each citizen, more than what was spent on concerts, sporting events and movie tickets combined….


A Commoner Writes: Attacks On Womens’ Health Care & Choice Are About Male Control Over Women

Victimizing women & children Paula Dail We Rise To Resist (5/17/19) During the current, all-out assault on women’s reproductive rights across the country, including Wisconsin, it is nauseating to observe men debating women’s reproductive choices as if they should have the last word. Clearly, this debate isn’t about protecting unborn babies; it’s about exerting male power over women, as an entitled property right. Men are very afraid of women having the final say on reproduction because if this were to occur, men would lose their ability to have as many children as they wish, with whomever they wish, without necessarily…


Nobody Told Trump, No, The ‘D’ In D-Day Doesn’t Stand For Donald

  He called people names and disrespected the dead for Fox News at Normandy, just like we knew he would. By Lucian K. Truscott IV Salon (6/9/19) How do we adequately commemorate our war dead? The soldiers and sailors and airmen and women who gave their lives in places like Normandy, and Anzio, and Palermo, and Inchon, and Khe Sanh, and Ia Drang, and Fallujah, and Sangin? How do we pay homage to our fellow citizens who were ordered to a foreign land to fight for their country and lost their lives doing it? We have Memorial Day ceremonies every year…


As San Franciso D.A., Kamala Harris’s Office Stopped Cooperating With Victims Of Catholic Church Child Sexual Abuse

  “I think the whole cloak of secrecy with the Catholic Church needs to be exposed.” [Harris’s presidential campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Intercept.] By Lee Fang The Intercept (6/9/19) KAMALA HARRIS, SURROUNDED by thousands of cheering supporters, kicked off her presidential campaign in Oakland earlier this year, declaring that she has always fought “on behalf of survivors of sexual assault, a fight not just against predators but a fight against silence and stigma.” Fighting on behalf of victims of sexual abuse, particularly children, has been central to Harris’s political identity for the better part of three…


Measure Of Public Mood Is ‘Most Liberal Ever Recorded,’ Political Scientist Says

  By Matt Shuham Talking Points Memo (6/6/19) The U.S. public’s vision for the government’s size and scope is “the most liberal ever recorded” in the 68-year history of what’s known as the Public Policy Mood estimate, the estimate’s creator James Stimson announced Wednesday. “The annual estimate for 2018 is the most liberal ever recorded in the 68 year history of Mood, just slightly higher than the previous high point of 1961,” Stimson wrote to POLMETH, the mailing list of the Society for Political Methodology and the Political Methodology section of the American Political Science Association. Stimson is a recently retired professor of political science at the…


Corporate Interests Have Bullied Wisconsin Family Farmers Straight Into Devastation

Now add President Donald Trump’s tariffs to the problems, and the situation is even more dire. By Dave Zweifel The Cap Times (6/5/19) My first job as a reporter when I joined The Capital Times’ staff back in 1962 was to cover the farm beat. Family farming was a huge deal in those days, fueling the economy of many small Wisconsin communities and well deserving of a newspaper beat all its own, just like the police, the courts, city hall, the UW and, yes, the state Capitol. But the cracks in the farm economy started to appear way back then….


American Woman’s Viral Twitter Thread Exposes The ‘nightmare’ Of European-Style Socialized Medicine

OMG, it sounds like a regular hellscape!! Thank God we have a health system that ranks 22 among the western industrialized nations in quality of care. I’m not exactly sure WHY I should be so proud of that, but our politicians and corporate warlords seem to feel it is a good thing, so it must be, Right? Right? Please tell me that is right. Link to Story (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )  


One Nation Under The Microscope: How ICE & Other DHS Agencies Mine Social Media In The Name Of National Security

By Rachel Levinson-Waldman The Hill (5/29/19) In June 2018, more than 400,000 people protested the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the border. The following month saw a host of demonstrations in New York City on issues including racism and xenophobia, the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the National Rifle Association. Given the ease of connecting online, it is unsurprising that many of these events got an organizing boost on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. A recent spate of articles did bring a surprise, however: the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been watching online too. Congress should demand…


Trump’s Accusations Of The ‘Lying Press’ Has Roots Going Right Back To Hitler’s Technique Of The “Big Lie”

Donald Trump’s attacks on “the enemy of the people” aren’t random outbursts. By Richard E. Frankel Salon (6/9/19) At an election rally in Cleveland in October 2016, two supporters of Donald Trump were captured on video shouting, “Lügenpresse!” What was going on? Why would people who are looking to Trump to “Make America Great Again,” be shouting a German word at one of his events? And what did it mean? The “lying press” — an idea at the heart not only of Trump’s campaign and presidency, but of his entire worldview. The news media, Trump complains, treats him unfairly. It does not report…


Russia Monitor: A More-Than-You-Can-Eat Daily Dose Of Trumpian Kompromat

  This would all be entertaining if we were watching a movie, say the equivalent of ‘Idiocracy’. But we’re not; we are living this shit show. By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/10/19) Dear Fellow Readers, Kompromat is a Russian KGB slang expression for compromising material. Wikipedia notes Kompromat as “part of the political culture of Russia”. Different from opposition research, with Kompromat “such information is used to exert influence over people”. What Does Kompromat Look Like? The Mueller report, on Volume 2, Page 3, provides an excellent example of what Kompromat looks like: The Campaign’s response to reports about…


Reading Directly From The Mueller Report

By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/10/19) What follows is a good example of the value of reading the Mueller Report. The demonstration makes use of Mueller’s Introduction to Volume II where he summarizes “out obstruction-of-justice investigation of the President”. Everyone has heard or read the following sentence from this introduction: Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. The value of reading the report is demonstrated here through learning that Attorney General William Barr lied multiple times in advance of the release of the redacted report. In four…


Youth Climate Case Against The Government Moves Forward

Third or fourth flooding of kids playground in Ferryville, Wi., Vernon County, spring 2019. By John Schwartz New York Times (6/4/19) Three federal judges heard arguments Tuesday about whether young people have a constitutional right to be protected from climate change. In the lively, hourlong hearing, the judges, from the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, pushed skeptically on the arguments of both sides. The closely watched lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, was scheduled to begin last October, but the court granted the Trump administration an unusual pretrial appeal. Their decision could have important implications for this and other attempts to use…


A Sliver Of Hope For The Nation

American flag in an abandoned Wyoming school house.   By Robert Reich Robert Reich’s Facebook Page (6/8/19) Some hope for the country heading into the weekend. Trump’s approval ratings continue to slide in states that are key to his reelection. His NET approval ratings, according to the latest poll: New Hampshire: 19 net approval Wisconsin: -13 Michigan: -12 Iowa: -12 Pennsylvania: -7 Arizona: -6 Ohio: -4 North Carolina: -4 Voters recognize that Trump has failed to deliver on his economic promises, instead delivering huge tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations that haven’t trickled down. His tariffs are taking a…


Debate Over NRA Promotion Of Gun ‘Silencers’ Resurfaces Following Virginia Beach Shooting

Opponents note silencers make it harder for potential victims and police to identify gunshots. Pro-gun advocates say they’re important hearing protection. By Julian Shen-Berro HuffPost (6/5/19) The mass shooting in Virginia Beach last week has reinvigorated the debate over the regulation of gun suppressors — also known as silencers — which muffle the sounds of gunfire. The shooter behind the attack, which left 12 people dead on Friday, used a suppressor on his firearm. One survivor described the sounds of his weapon as something like a nail gun. Gun-control advocates have argued that suppressors add to the threat of gun violence…


DNC Betrays Base & The Young: Despite Clear Threat Of Climate Crisis, Declares No Debate On The Issue & Tries To Silence Inslee

DNC threatened not to invite him to future debates if he participated in any other climate change debate. By Anthony Adragna Politico (6/5/19) Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday the Democratic National Committee informed him it will not dedicate one of its presidential primary debates to the issue of climate change. The decision comes despite a furious push from progressive and environmental advocates for a climate change debate, as well as strong support across the Democratic ideological spectrum. At least half a dozen Democratic candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and former Obama…


In Just 3 Minutes Robert Reich Explains What Oligarchy Means & Why It Describes Our Current Political System

The typical American has no influence at all. [Editor’s Note: The following is the script for the wonderful 3-minute video linked to below. Words are powerful and it is an act of power and liberation to use the correct word to describe economic and political realities. Pass this on. — Mark L. Taylor] By Robert Reich Robert Reich’s Blog (5/2/19) “Oligarchy” means government of and by a few at the top, who exercise power for their own benefit. It comes from the Greek word oligarkhes, meaning “few to rule or command.” Even a system that calls itself a democracy can become…


Law & Disorder: Why Corporatism Will Dominate US Policy For Decades To Come

Democracy in jeopardy By John Atcheson Common Dreams (5/26/19) Remember when Republicans ran on a law and order platform?  Well, nowadays, we’ve got a President – in fact an entire Party — at war with the idea of the rule of law in general, and any constraints on corporations in particular.  Democrats console themselves with the idea that this can all be righted in the next election.  Vote Trump out, retain the majority in the House, and win the Senate.  Problem solved. Except it isn’t.  McConnell and Trump are doing everything they can to hand over the Judiciary — lock, stock and…


The Rat & The Weasel: Workers, Progressives Welcome Scott Walker In Vermont

Photo from Vermont AFL-CIO By Mark Gruenberg Workers News (6/3/19) BURLINGTON, Vt.—In a protest that got wide viewing on social media, Vermont workers and progressives – complete with The Rat – “greeted” infamous former Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker when the union-busting ex-Badger State chief executive spoke in Burlington on May 30. Walker went to the city’s Hilton Hotel to keynote a Republican fundraiser inside. Outside was the huge protest, featuring The Rat, symbol of a scab. There’s no indication from news reports whether Walker encountered the protesters, crossed their line – or ducked in a back door, as his also-ousted…