So, Republicans, You Want To Follow Trump Over The Cliff And Declare A National Emergency. Really?

***** “So let me get this straight: Declaring Election Day a national holiday would be a ‘power grab,’ but declaring a national emergency over a manufactured crisis is totally fine?” — Robert Reich (2/15/19) ***** “I know the Republicans have some unease about it, no matter what they say. Because if the president can declare an emergency on something that he has created as an emergency, an illusion that he wants to convey, just think of what a president with different values can present to the American people. “You want to declare a national emergency, what about the epidemic of gun violence?…

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Rutger Bregman : ‘Utopia for Realists’ And The Convincing Case For A Universal Basic Income

  Amazon Review After working all day at jobs we often dislike, we buy things we don’t need. Rutger Bregman, a Dutch historian, reminds us it needn’t be this way-and in some places it isn’t. Rutger Bregman’s TED Talk about universal basic income seemed impossibly radical when he delivered it in 2014. His April 2017 talk continues to make the provocative case, detailing the idea’s 500-year history and even its brief success in a forgotten trial in Manitoba in the 1970s. Nearly a million views later, guaranteed basic income is being seriously considered by leading economists and government leaders the…


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Exposes Cynical Lobbyist Tricks

  The Young Turks (2/14/19) There’s nothing these people won’t do to influence politicians. Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down. Read more here: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/… “On Wednesday morning, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted a picture of a line of people outside a House committee hearing on marijuana banking.* According to Ocasio-Cortez, the people in the photo are homeless and were paid by lobbyists to hold their places in line. The practice of lobbyists paying people to stand in line for committee meetings is, according to previous reporting, a longtime practice in Washington, DC. In 2009, CNN wrote…


The Real Threat To The Green New Deal—And The Planet—Comes From Corporate-Owned Neoliberal Democrats

A party that responds to a challenge of this magnitude with stratagems, political calculations, cynicism, and half measures will not inspire voters; one that leads us toward a literal salvation, will. By John Atcheson Common Dreams (2/16/19) Predictably, Trump came out against the Green New Deal with a bombastic – and ill-informed – rant in a campaign style rally in El Paso. Here’s what he had to say: “I really don’t like their policy of taking away your car, of taking away your airplane rights, of ‘let’s hop a train to California,’ of you’re not allowed to own cows anymore!” Meanwhile,…


The (Un)scientific Method: Courageous Govt. Contract Scientist Who Resisted Censorship Of Climate Report Lost Her Job

  Caffrey said she asked her supervisor at the park service, “Is this because of the climate change stuff?” She said he told her, “I don’t want to answer that.” By Elizabeth Shogren Reveal /Center for Investigative Journalism (2/14/19) For several years, climate change scientist Maria Caffrey led a trailblazing study outlining the risks of rising seas at national parks. After Friday, she’ll be out of a job. Caffrey, who worked under a contract with the National Park Service, resisted efforts by federal officials to remove all references to human causes of climate change in her scientific report. After Reveal…



Trump Tax Refund Scam Is Political Payback For Republicans

  They stepped on this rake last year and now it’s hitting them in the face. [Editor’s Note: The cartoon above was done two years ago. Even back then it was obvious to anyone paying attention that paycheck workers would get scammed and screwed by Trump and congressional russpublicans. Earth to Trump voters: You got screwed! — Mark L. Taylor] By Arthur Delaney HuffPost (2/15/19) Republicans boasted all last year that their new tax law boosted paychecks and showered bonuses on several million workers. But now that tax season is upon us, several million Americans are getting a nasty surprise: a…


Russia Monitor: Trump’s ‘No Collusion’ Claims Are On Collision With Growing List Of Facts

“If the GOP fails to stand up to Trump’s unconstitutional act, we will have moved dangerously from a separation of powers, to a mere separation of parties.” — Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) tweet of CNN clip (2/17/19).   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/18/19) Dear Fellow Readers, We begin the column with a quote from the final paragraph of the federal indictment against Trump pal Roger Stone: “The charges against Stone and Manafort are proof of collusion. Stone’s indictment makes it clear, it’s not just Stone, it’s “and U.S. persons (including the defendant)” and Stone was in contact with “senior…


Sifting & Winnowing The Vote Records Of Senate Democrats Running For President

    By Igor Bobic and James O’Malley HuffPost (2/11/190 Five senators have declared bids for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination: Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. At least two more ― Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent ― are expected to join the fray. Although they’ve often voted as a bloc on hot-button issues like Obamacare repeal and President Donald Trump’s tax cuts and Supreme Court appointments, these seven senators have disagreed on a range of other…


Before Black Lung, Union Carbide’s Hawks Nest Tunnel Disaster Killed Hundreds Of Black Workers

In the photo above, dust circles a worker during the construction of the Hawks Nest Tunnel in 1930. Workers on the project were exposed to toxic levels of silica dust; hundreds ultimately died. (Courtesy of Elkem Metals Collection, West Virginia State Archives.) By Adelina Lancianese NPR (1/20/19) Southern West Virginia is a playground for hikers, cyclists and rock climbers, but in the heart of that lush landscape rests the site of what many consider the worst industrial disaster in American history. Today, from a picturesque overlook on the mountain above, tourists can see the gate of the Hawks Nest Tunnel,…


Court Throws Out Energy Transfer’s ‘Racketeering’ Claims Against Dakota Access Pipeline Opponents

  By Sharon Kelly Desmog Blog (2/14/19) A North Dakota federal judge dismissed Energy Transfer’s racketeering lawsuit against Greenpeace and all its co-defendants in a sharply worded ruling issued today, finding that the pipeline builder’s allegations fell “far short of what is necessary to establish a [racketeering] claim.” In August 2017, Energy Transfer filed a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act civil complaint against Greenpeace and other environmental groups who had opposed the company’s Dakota Access pipeline, claiming that the protests had caused $300 million in damages (and requesting three times that amount from the defendants). Today’s ruling flatly rejected Energy Transfer’s claims….


Time To Get The News

John Muir (Wikipedia). “I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine to make money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of me. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news.” — John Muir, conservationist and Wisconsin native.


‘The US Government Has Scarred My Daughter And Me For Life’: Families Sue Trump Over Deliberate & ‘Inexplicable Cruelty’

Tearing children—often small children—away from their parents in a way that was designed to deliberately inflict emotional trauma. By Julia Conley Common Dreams (2/12/19) Accusing the Trump administration of deliberate and “inexplicable cruelty” perpetrated against them under it’s so-called “zero tolerance” immigration policy, six families have filed suit against the U.S. government for the harm and “lasting trauma” they continue to suffer. In the filing, six mothers described having their children torn away from them, with officials giving them little to no information about where their children were, if they were safe, and when they would be reunited—treatment that the lawyers involved in…


There Is A Taboo Against Criticizing AIPAC — And Ilhan Omar Just Destroyed It

We should thank Omar, the freshman lawmaker, for having the guts to raise this contentious issue. By Mehdi Hasan The Intercept (2/12/19) In 2005,  Steven Rosen, then a senior official with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, sat down for dinner with journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, then of the New Yorker. “You see this napkin?” Rosen asked Goldberg. “In twenty-four hours, [AIPAC] could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin.” I couldn’t help but be reminded of this anecdote after Rep. Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, was slammed by Democrats and Republicans alike over her suggestion, in a pair of tweets, that U.S….


Trump & Republicans Provide Comfy Socialism For The Rich & Brutish Capitalism For The Rest Of Us

    By Robert Reich RoberReich.com (2/11/19) “America will never be a socialist country,” Donald Trump declared in his State of the Union address. Someone should alert Trump that America is now a hotbed of socialism. But it is socialism for the rich. Everyone else is treated to harsh capitalism. In the conservative mind, socialism means getting something for doing nothing. That pretty much describes the $21bn saved by the nation’s largest banks last year thanks to Trump’s tax cuts, some of which went into massive bonuses for bank executives. On the other hand, more than 4,000 lower-level bank employees got a…


I Wish I’d Had A ‘Late-Term Abortion’ Instead Of Having My Daughter

If I had been allowed the option to choose a ‘late-term abortion,’ would I? Yes. A hundred times over, yes. It would have been a kindness. [Editor’s Note: Anti free choice zealots act as if life is always tidy and orderly. It’s not and their callous calls for eliminating a full range of medical care for women is the height of moralistic arrogance. — Mark L. Taylor] By Dina Zirlott, HuffPost (2/13/19) Warning: Details in this story could be triggering to some readers. I was raped when I was 17 years old. I had a baby when I was 18 years…



Intercepted: The National Security Shadow State & Policy Of Mass Murder Imperialism

    “Donald Trump is good for their dirty business.” Jeremy Scahill Intercepted Podcast / Intercept (2/6/19) DONALD TRUMP RECEIVED big bipartisan applause at his State of the Union. This week on Intercepted: As Trump openly pushed regime change in Venezuela, Democrats cheered him on. Trump also engaged in red-baiting during his speech by warning of the threat of socialism within the borders of the U.S. Jeremy Scahill talks about how economic sanctions are a mass-killing weapon intentionally aimed at the most vulnerable. Indian historian and journalist Vijay Prashad discusses the state of imperialism in the world, the battle for Venezuela, India’s…


Russia Monitor: As Sigmund Freud Knew, Sometimes A Cigar Is … Legal Hell

“I never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or between people in the campaign. I have no idea.” — Trump TV lawyer Rudi Giuliani interviewed by CNN host Chris Cuomo.    By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/14/19) Dear Fellow Readers, The lines are drawn, no more denials about Trump-Russia collusion, it’s now about whether it matters or to whom it matters. A Washington Post poll from Monday shows the majority “trust Mueller’s version of the facts than Trump’s”. While that sounds encouraging you can already anticipate the breakdown. Democrats and Independents align with the summary, but Republicans…


The End Of Ice: Journalist Dahr Jamail On The Climate Disruption Crisis From The Melting Himalayas To Insect Extinction

“The future that we’ve all thought was going to be so much further down the line, or 2100, and catastrophic, it’s already happening now.” Democracy Now! (2/12/19) A new report finds at least a third of the Himalayan ice cap will melt by the end of the century due to climate change, even if the world’s most ambitious environmental reforms are implemented. The report, released by the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment earlier this month, is the culmination of half a decade’s work by over 200 scientists, with an Things are happening. They’re accelerating. And it’s very, very clear where we…


Ambassadors From Our Climate Crisis: 50 Polar Bears Searching For Food Invade Russian Town, Terrifying Residents

    By Carla Baranauckas HuffPost (2/12/19) In what is being called a consequence of climate change, more than 50 polar bears have invaded a Russian settlement in the Arctic, forcing terrified residents to stay in their homes, according to news reports. The settlement, Belushya Guba, is on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago off Russia’s northeast coast and has a population of about 2,500. Officials declared a state of emergency on Saturday after reports of bears attacking people and entering homes, CNN said. “People are scared,” local administrator Alexander Minayev told CNN. “They are frightened to leave homes, and their daily routines…


Rep. Ilhan Omar Nails Criminal Trump Official Elliott Abrams Over His Links To War Crimes

  By Carla Herreria HuffPost (2/13/19) Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) homed in on Elliott Abrams’ dubious past when the controversial diplomat testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday. Abrams is now the special envoy to Venezuela, appointed by President Donald Trump in January. Omar ― who is embroiled in her own controversy over tweets viewed by some as anti-Semitic (she “unequivocally” apologized on Monday) ― questioned how Abrams, who has a history of lying to Congress and abetting war crimes by U.S. allies, could be trusted at all. “I fail to understand why members of this committee or the…


Blue Jean Nation: People Powered Summit, Saturday, March 5

Blue Jean Nation will be holding a “People Powered Summit” on Saturday, March 2 in Waupun to showcase the efforts of local chapters around the state and provide opportunities for networking, skill building and idea sharing. We’ll gather at the James C. Laird Museum at 520 McKinley Street in Waupun. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the program starts at 10 and is scheduled to go until 4. Mark the date on your calendar! Registration fee is $20 and includes lunch. Register HERE Questions? Contact Beth via email at beth@bluejeannation.com


Cry Me A River: While The Top 1% Cash In, Trump Voters Lose It Over Dramatic Hike In Taxes

“People are going to be very, very happy. They’re going to get tremendous, tremendous tax cuts and tax relief and that’s what this country needs.” — Donald Trump (12/2/17) The Young Turks (2/5/19) “Multiple supporters of President Donald Trump over the past couple of weeks have taken to Twitter to air their grievances about the president’s signature tax cut plan. Even though the 2017 GOP tax cut is leading to spiking federal deficits thanks to its generous benefits to corporations, many middle-class Americans are winding up having to pay more because the bill eliminated multiple deductions used by middle-class families…


Everybody In, Nobody Out: Momentum For Medicare 4 All Growing

  By Benjamin Day & Mark Dudzic Common Dreams (2/7/19) As the 2019 legislative session in Congress kicks off, the Democratic majority in the House will, in very short order, have to address a national surge of support for Medicare for All (otherwise known as single-payer healthcare). At the close of the last Congress, almost two-thirds of Democratic Representatives had signed onto HR 676, the Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act. They will be joined by the long list of freshman Democrats who ran and won on this issue. Leading the charge in the House will be Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who…


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Exposes The Corruption Of DC In 5 Incredible Minutes

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (2/11/19) And to think some people — some democrats even — have been saying AOC needs to shut up, sit down and learn from the wise  ‘experienced’ hands in congress. I mean WTH, she’s only 29, what does she know about how congress works? Well, she knows exactly how congress works and nailed those ‘experienced’ hands exposing the rigged game congress has become. And she did it in only 5 minutes of congressional hearings. It’s the old farts in congress — too any of them democrats — who need to shut up,…


Love Me, I’m A Liberal

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (2/11/19) As we see over and over again, well-intentioned mainstream liberals have rubbery spines. Yes, they want change … but not too much change. Sure they want to see more healthcare, but ‘Medicare 4 All’? Um, well, we can’t ask for that, the insrance companies will never go along with something that radical. Besides, they caution, the republicans would never let us have that so we need to be “practical”, “cautious” and settle for “incremental improvements” … and to hell with those who still won’t have access to healthcare after all that….


Over 40% Of US Households Are Only One Paycheck Away From Poverty

Real News Network (2/2/19) Far more households in the US are at risk of joining the ranks of the poor, should they lose their job or face a financial emergency, showing that millions are vulnerable and this number is increasing, says Kasey Wiedrich of Prosperity Now. Link to 10-Minute Video ***** Poverty Isn’t A Lack Of Character; It’s A Lack Of Cash   TED Talk (6/13/17) “Ideas can and do change the world,” says historian Rutger Bregman, sharing his case for a provocative one: guaranteed basic income. Learn more about the idea’s 500-year history and a forgotten modern experiment where…


Just 400 Individuals Now Own More Wealth Than Bottom 150 Million Americans

“Raising taxes on the wealthy isn’t just good policy. It’s also good politics.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (2/10/19) As survey data continues to show that raising taxes on the wealthy is extremely popular among the U.S. public, new research by inequality expert and University of California, Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman found that the richest 0.00025 percent of the American population now owns more wealth than the 150 million adults in the bottom 60 percent. Zucman, who helped Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) develop her “Ultra-Millionaire Tax” proposal, observed in a working paper (pdf) that “U.S. wealth concentration seems to have returned to levels last seen…


Evidence Mounts Of “State-Sponsored Child Abuse & Kidnapping” As Separated Migrant Children Scandal Grows

Separations Are Still Happening & Many Traumatized Children May Never Be Reunited With Their Families. Democracy Now! (2/8/19) Trump administration officials are acknowledging that there may be thousands more missing immigrant children who were separated from their parents than originally reported. This was the focus of a hearing on Thursday of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. We speak to Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. He is the lead lawyer on the ACLU’s national challenge to the Trump administration’s family separation practice. He testified at the hearing yesterday. Link to Story, Transcript and 10-Minute…


Opportunities & Benefits Of Wisconsin Clean Energy Production: The Economic & Health Benefits Of 100% In-State Energy Production

By David Abel & Katya Spear COWS (2/4/19) Wisconsin has a current energy spending deficit of $14.4 billion ($14.4 billion in expenditures leaves the state annually). With no substantial in-state fossil fuel resources, reliance on fossil fuels is hurting the Wisconsin economy. Transitioning to in-state energy resources would bring dollars and jobs back to the state of Wisconsin and provide a win-win-win strategy for economic growth, social well-being, and environmental protection. Full report here. From the report by David Abel and Katya Spear. Prepared for Nick Nichols, Sustainability Coordinator for the Office of Sustainability, La Crosse County, Wisconsin. Link to Article & PDF Link (Commoner Call…


Russia Monitor: Trump World’s Power, Privilege & Purloining

  “Trump replied: “Fuck the law. I don’t give a fuck about the law. I want my fucking money.” — Trump to Trump transition manager Chris Christie and campaign executive Steve Bannon. ***** “It’s not the crime it’s the cover-up.” …the old Watergate expression.  ***** “Nearly nine in 10 Americans say Robert Mueller’s investigators should produce a full, public report on their findings, a sentiment that crosses party lines, according to a new CNN poll…“ Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/11/19) Dear Fellow Readers, It is almost certain Trump’s attorney general nominee Bill Barr is approved by the full Senate…


‘Shame On Sackler’: Massive Protest Breaks Out Over Guggenheim Museum’s Ties To Big Pharma

Common Dreams Staff  (2/10/19) Demonstrators inside New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum staged a “die in” and dropped thousands of paper slips designed to look like of OxyContin prescriptions Saturday night to protest the facility’s ties to the billionaire Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma and has been accused of deliberately fueling the opioid epidemic for profit. “Education facilities at the Guggenheim, including a theater and an exhibition gallery, are housed inside the 8,200-square-foot Sackler Center for Arts Education, identified by the museum as ‘a gift of the Mortimer D. Sackler Family,’” the New York Times reported. “The cloud of white…


Meet Victorina Morales, An Undocumented Immigrant Who Spent Five Years Working As Trump’s Housekeeper

    Democracy Now! (2/7/19) Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey is calling on the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to investigate whether employees at Trump National Golf Club broke the law by helping undocumented employees obtain fake work papers amid news reports that the Trump company has fired at least 18 undocumented workers from five golf courses in New York and New Jersey in the past two months. On Monday, Menendez called on the federal government to allow former undocumented employees of the Trump properties to remain in the country while the investigation proceeds. We speak with an undocumented…



Venezuela & The Bipartisan Record Of War: The U.S.’s 68th Regime Change Disaster

This generation of Americans has already seen how our government’s endless sanctions, coups and wars have only left country after country mired in violence, poverty and chaos. By Medea Benjamin & Nicolas J.S. Davies Common Dreams (2/4/19) In his masterpiece, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II, William Blum, who died in December 2018, wrote chapter-length accounts of 55 U.S. regime change operations against countries around the world, from China (1945-1960s) to Haiti (1986-1994).  Noam Chomsky’s blurb on the back of the latest edition says simply, “Far and away the best book on the topic.” We agree. If you…


In Private Meeting Top Pelosi Aide Reassures Insurance Industry Execs Not To Worry About Democratic Party Pushing Medicare For All

  [Editor’s Note: Whenever you have the chance to met with a democratic party office holder or candidate or party official who is not clearly, strongly and publicly in favor of Medicare For All ask them why the children of members of congress are more valuable than your children; than your family. Ask them to explain why all of the tax payers who make the health insurance available for their children should not also have health coverage for their children and grandchildren … for all children in America. “Please, Congressman, explain why your children are more valuable than mine.” Put…


Medicare For All Is The First Way To Sift Out The 2020 Dems Candidates

By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (2/7/19) Affordable Health Insurance vs Health Care… This is really the crux of the issue and is the divide we need to emphasize in our next round of fixing the Democratic Party. There is no such thing as affordable health insurance, because on a purely moral basis, no one should have to pay for administration costs to deny coverage, and to generate a profit for such a universal basic human need. Insurance 101 teaches us that making small regular payments to build up a buffer for a large emergency expense is a good and…


Robert Reich: Grotesque Imbalance Is Undermining American Democracy

Let’s Be Clear Who The Real Enemy Is “Over the last four decades, the median wage has barely budged. But the incomes of the richest 0.1% have soared by more than 300% and the incomes of the top 0.001% (the 2,300 richest Americans), by more than 600%. The net worth of the wealthiest 0.1% of Americans almost equals that of the bottom 90% combined.”   — Robert Reich “State Of Disunion: Democrats Must Not Give In To Trump’s Hateful Speech” (2/4/19)  


Time For Bravery: Dear Democrats, On Health Care & Climate Change Stop Substituting The So-Called “Possible” For What’s Morally Necessary

    By John Atcheson Common Dreams (2/3/19) In a recent column in the New York Times, David Leonhardt cites a Kaiser survey on Medicare for all, and concludes that supporting it would be an “unforced error” for Democrats. Sherrod Brown, a genuine progressive, made the same observation. Richard Eskow, writing in Common Dreams last week shows why Kaisers’ survey is flawed. But there is a bigger flaw embedded in Leonhardt’s and Brown’s assumption—specifically, the entire notion that Democrats should only run on things that poll well. This perspective is shared by the party’s leadership, by most of the media, and virtually all of the political consultants and contributors….