American Police State Update: Undercover Cops Are Creating Fake Facebook Accounts To Track Protesters

  By Jon Schuppe NBC News (10/5/18) In the summer of 2015, as Memphis exploded with protests over the police killing of a 19-year-old man, activists began hearing on Facebook from someone called Bob Smith. The name was generic, and so was his profile picture: a Guy Fawkes mask, the symbol of anti-government dissent. Smith acted as if he supported the protesters, and, slowly, they let him into their online community. Over the next three years, dozens of them accepted his friend requests, allowing him to observe private discussions over marches, rallies and demonstrations. In public postings and private messages he…

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I’m Not Sure We’re Ready For The Chaos That Will Follow The Midterms

  By Charles Pierce Esquire (10/15/18) Over the weekend, there were a couple of ominous, if overlooked, statements from Republican officials touching on the upcoming midterm elections. In a radio interview, National Security Adviser John Bolton sang the new administration* tune of how what we really should be watching as regards outside interference in our elections is what China is doing. From the Washington Free Beacon: “On Chinese election meddling, Bolton said the problem is serious. “We are very worried about the question of Chinese interference not just in individual elections, but more broadly trying to influence the American political discussion with…


MAD Magazine’s School Shooting Cartoon Feature Is A Poignant & Horrifying Commentary On America’s Tradition Of School Shooting

(Cartoon by Marc Palm / Mad Magazine, 2018.) This is shocking. It’s also very smart. By Ryan Britt Fatherly (10/5/18) Satire about school shootings might seem overwhelming in the face of so much tragedy, but a new powerful and artistic statement is calling out the complicity many Americans have about gun violence. But this razor-sharp indictment isn’t coming from Sacha Baron Cohen or even Stephen Colbert.Instead, the most affecting commentary on gun control you’ll see this month was just been published in Mad Magazine. In the latest issue of Mad Magazine (which is out on newsstands and in Barnes and Noble bookstores right now), there’s a brilliantly sad…


‘How Fascism Works’ Review: An Essential Read For A Nation Under Trump

  By Tom McCarthy The Guardian (10/15/18) One of the insidious ironies of fascist politics, the philosopher Jason Stanley writes in his arresting new book, is that talk of fascism itself becomes more difficult because it is made to seem outlandish. The normalization of the fascist myth “makes us able to tolerate what was once intolerable by making it seem as if this is the way things have always been”, Stanley writes. “By contrast the word ‘fascist’ has acquired a feeling of the extreme, like crying wolf.” “My family background has saddled me with difficult emotional baggage, but it also, crucially, prepared…


Does Money Make You Mean?

    TED Talk (12/20/13) It’s amazing what a rigged game of Monopoly can reveal. In this entertaining but sobering talk, social psychologist Paul Piff shares his research into how people behave when they feel wealthy. (Hint: badly.) But while the problem of inequality is a complex and daunting challenge, there’s good news too. Link to 16-Minute Video


Share Our Nation’s Collective Wealth With All Citizens? Hell, Yeah! Let’s Start Now – Here’s How

  By Sam Pizzigati OurFuture.org (10/2/18) By In the United States, back during the Great Depression, three simple words animated a grassroots upsurge that would help make this nation the world’s first mass middle-class society: Share the wealth! And the nation did. By the end of the 1960s, the top one percent’s share of America’s national income had dropped by more than half. The bottom 90 percent share, meanwhile, had jumped from half the nation’s total income to over two-thirds. Redistribution — via the tax code — drove this dramatic egalitarian shift, as high incomes faced high tax rates throughout the middle decades of…


Robert Reich: Containing The Trump Catastrophe

  By Robert Reich Robert Reich’s Website (10/8/18) Anyone still unsure of how (or even whether) they’ll vote in the midterms should consider this: All three branches of government are now under the control of one party, and that party is under the control of Donald J. Trump. With the addition of Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court is as firmly Republican as are the House and Senate. Kavanaugh was revealed as a fierce partisan – not only the legal advisor who helped Kenneth Starr prosecute Bill Clinton and almost certainly guided George W. Bush’s use of torture, but also a nominee…


Republican Senate Candidate Plays The Victim On His Repeated ACA Repeal Votes, Now That His Grandkid Is Sick

By Joan McCarter Daily Kos (10/15/18) When all else fails, Republicans resort to playing the victim because that’s the one thing that binds all conservatives—the deep conviction that they’re always being picked on. Watch it play out in this tearful video from Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) who’s upset that the man he’s challenging for Senate, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), is running an ad reminding voters that Barletta wants to take their health care away. Barletta has a grandson with cancer, which is a horrible thing to have to go through—something millions of families know from awful experience. Like Stacie Ritter of Manheim…


As ‘Gruesome’ New Details Of Khashoggi Murder Emerge, Obsequious Trump & Pompeo Obediently Bow & Grovel To Saudi Crown Prince

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (10/16/18) As “shocking and gruesome” new details surrounding Saudi Arabia’s alleged torture and assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi continued to trickle out on Tuesday—with anonymous Turkish officials telling the press that the prominent dissident was beaten, killed by lethal injection, and cut into pieces by the head autopsy doctor of the Saudi defense forces—U.S. President Donald Trump accepted wholesale Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s increasingly implausible claim that he had zero knowledge of what “took place” two weeks ago inside the kingdom’s Turkish consulate. “Just spoke with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia who totally denied any…


Trump’s Comments About Murdered Saudi Journalist Is Perfect Example Of Trump’s Tricks To Distract, Confuse, Lie & Get His Way

In just 20 seconds, Trump hit a trifecta of phrasing and logic he comes back to frequently. First, when an ally or someone he’s inclined to believe denies something, he defers to the denial. By Tamara Keith Morning Edition / NPR (10/16/18) Secretary of State Pompeo is in Riyadh to address the disappearance of a Saudi journalist. President Trump’s response to the disappearance illustrates how he responds to other difficult questions. Link to transcript and 3+-Minute Audio (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )  


A Commoner Writes: Blue Collar Guy Explains Trump’s Appeal To Many Workers

I was visited by a plumber repairing my heat registers. A typical blue collar guy with a full Boston accent. Intelligent, lucid and angry as hell. He brought up Trump I did not. It began by his explaining the crap pipes he has had to work with since NAFTA. In some detail he told a set of stories about how the pipes and boilers from China have ruined his business. He talked about how just removing a bolt or nut from a pipe ends up in broken pipe, destroyed threads and how boilers now give out so quickly. He talked…


For Trump The Disappearance Of Saudi Journalist Is Just A Matter Of Money, Not National Morality

“The job of the media is ultimately to inform the public about the world as it truly is. It would be a shame for the death of a member of the media to be used in service of obfuscation of the truth. The truth is the American government cares about business. The American government does not care about the murder of a journalist if caring about the murder of a journalist would significantly impede business. This has always been the calculation, and any journalist who wrote otherwise should now take some time to taste the bitterness of reality. If Jamal…


Bernie Addresses The Current Crisis Of The Spreading International Authoritarian Axis

“We must take the opportunity to reconceptualize a global order based on human solidarity. Based on the understanding that it is not based upon me against you or, the United States against China. But that we as a world especially, with the threat of climate change, are in it together. That in many ways we are going to survive together or go down by the kinds of conditions the authoritarians are trying to create. … Authoritarians seek power by promoting division and hatred. We will promote unity, inclusion and love.” Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) delivered remarks at the Johns Hopkins…


A Lesson For Dems? Deep Red West Virginia District Trump Won By 49 Points Is About To Flip To Outspoken Progressive Dem Richard Ojeda

  By Igor Derysh Salon (10/13/18) West Virginia’s 3rd congressional district is among the most conservative in the nation, but a new poll shows Democrats are making this year’s race very competitive. The district had been represented by Rep. Evan Jenkins, a former Democrat himself, who vacated the seat to stage an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican Senate nomination. (State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey won the Republican primary, and will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin next month.) Now, two polls show split results in the race to replace Jenkins, which pits Democratic state Sen. Richard Ojeda, a retired Army officer, against Republican Carol Miller,…


Ralph Nader Addresses Conservative Audience On Eisenhower’s Prophetic Warning Of The Danger Of The Corrupt Military, Congressional, Industrial Complex

“The military, congressional, industrial empire complex — if not stopped — will destroy the United States of America.” — Ralph Nader The American Conservative (7/6/18) On June 21, 2018, The American Conservative hosted its annual crony capitalism conference at which Ralph Nader delivered a speech on the military industrial congressional complex titled “Eisenhower’s Warning: Prophetic and Presently Understated.” Nader is an author, consumer advocate, and former presidential candidate. He is one of America’s most effective social critics, and has emerged as a leading voice against the growing convergence of government and corporate interests. He is the author of Unstoppable: The…


Conservative Max Boot Comes Clean On ‘The Corrosion Of Conservatism’: Why He Left The GOP

  On Point / WBUR (10/11/18) Conservative luminary Max Boot explains why he left the Republican Party and is urging people to vote against the modern GOP. On the moment he decided to leave the Republican Party “That moment occurred the day after the last presidential election. I was somebody who was viscerally and instantly opposed to Donald Trump from the moment that he came down that escalator at Trump Tower attacking Mexicans as rapists and murderers. I couldn’t believe that you had a mainstream candidate who was talking like that, and I never imagined that he would win the…


American Gangbangers: Justifiable Anger Fuels Trump’s Hold On Power & Democrats Still Don’t Get It

“It feels like it is so tribal now. In years past you could go against people in your own party if they did something outrageous and now everything is just ‘my party, my color’ — it’s almost like the Crips and Bloods — same colors.” — Bill Maher, Real Time 33-Minute mark (10/12/18). By John Atcheson Common Dreams (10/12/18) Pundits, progressives and the press seem perplexed by Trumpism.  How can a narcissistic, fascist, incompetent conman—whose White House seems always on the verge of chaos; whose own appointees fear that he’ll do something so insane that they snatch papers off his desk;…


My Former Boss, John Kerry, Wants To Be President. Um, No Thanks.

Two-faced.   By John Kiriakou Reader Supported News (10/11/18) Former Secretary of State and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry told Politico this week that he is considering a run for president in 2020. Kerry didn’t come out and declare himself a candidate, but he did say that he wants to be “a part of the future of the Democratic Party and of the country.” I say, “No thanks.” Kerry is exactly the kind of failed neoliberal politician who pushed the Democratic Party to the right, tried to out-Republican the Republicans on foreign policy and, in the end, gave us Donald…


Russia Monitor: Bloody Footprints In The Sands Of Saudi Arabia

  “Frequently people who go along a treasonous path do not know they are on a treasonous path until it is too late.” — John Brennan, former Director CIA, May 2017 By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (10/15/18) Dear Fellow Readers, In March 2017 House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) led the first committee to hold a public hearing on Trump-Russia corruption. Nunes has suffered repeated catastrophic failures while trying to quash and deflect any consideration of Trump-Russia, this was to be one of his most infamous failures. Nunes called then FBI Director James Comey as one of the…


‘Heroin(e)’ Film On Worsening Opioid Crisis Wins Emmy For Outstanding Short Documentary

  By Reveal Staff Reveal / Center for Investigative Reporting (10/2/18)  “Heroin(e),” the story of three women battling the opioid epidemic in West Virginia, has won an Emmy Award for outstanding short documentary. Directed by Elaine McMillion Sheldon and produced by Kerrin Sheldon, the film follows efforts to break the devastating cycle of drug abuse in Huntington, a city with an overdose rate 10 times the national average. The Netflix original documentary was co-produced by The Center for Investigative Reporting and Requisite Media. It was part of CIR’s Glassbreaker Films initiative, funded by the Helen Gurley Brown Foundation, which supported women in documentary filmmaking and investigative…


See Why Democrat Paul Buhr Is Right For The 96th District

  Vernon County Democratic Party (10/14/18) At a recent debate in Prairie du Chiend, Paul Buhr said what many of you may be thinking, “I imagine when you look at these two candidates you might wonder: ‘What’s the difference? There are two dairy farmers up here.’ ” If you’re wondering that, please take the time to watch the video of last night’s debate: https://facebook.com/GreatRiversNews1/videos/547028185767464/ We promise that you will see a HUGE difference between Paul and his bumbling opponent. Paul is: With us on the issues, from healthcare (he supports Tony Evers’ commitment to Badgercare for All!), to climate change (he…


Both Brazil And The US Find Democracy Is At A Dangerous Crossroads

By Jeffrey R. Rubin The Guardian (10/8/18) Voters in Brazil and the US face elections in the coming weeks whose outcomes will directly influence the future of democracy in the Americas. In Brazil, the candidate who captured 46% of the votes in Saturday’s first-round presidential elections, Jair Bolsonaro, is pro-torture and speaks in favor of military rule as a way to solve deep societal problems. Bolsonaro will face leftist Fernando Haddad, who gained 29.3% of the first-round votes, in final elections on 28 October. Like Trump, Bolsonaro follows the demagogues’ playbook and makes a sham out of previously respected norms, signaling his…


WATCH: Reporter Who Covers Trump Family Businesses Explains Just How Deep The President’s ‘criminal enterprise’ Goes

  By Noor Al-Sibai The Raw Story (10/8/18) A New Yorker reporter who covers the president’s many financial scandals revealed Monday how deep the “criminal enterprise” ran by Fred Trump went — and why Donald Trump could soon be in huge trouble. Although the New York Times‘s report analyzing decades and hundreds of thousands of documents of Trump family dealings uncovered massive tax fraud, “the story’s not over,” writer Adam Davidson told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. Though the Times acquired the mountain of data that led to the bombshell investigative article, its reporters “don’t have subpoena power” — but prosecutors do. “It’s not that they found one time…


What’s Not In The Latest Terrifying IPCC Report? The “Much, Much, Much More Terrifying” New Research On Climate Tipping Points

By Jon Queally Common Dreams (10/9/18) If the latest warnings contained in Monday’s report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—which included pronouncements that the world has less than twelve years to drastically alter course to avoid the worst impacts of human-caused global warming and that nothing less than keeping all fossil fuels in the ground is the solution to avoid future calamities—have you at all frightened or despondent, experts responding to the report have a potentially unwelcome message for your already over-burdened heart and mind: It’s very likely even worse than you’re being told. After the report’s publication there were…


Ted Cruz OBLITERATED In ‘Tough As Texas?’ Attack Ad: Here’s A Lesson On How Dems Could Show Some Real Spine

It woudd be nice to say the dems produced this ad. They didn’t. The Young Turks (10/9/18) Senator Ted Cruz pretends to be tough, but he’s really a quivering lap dog. Cenk Uygur and John Iadarola, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. As reported in the HuffPost: “A new ad from a political action committee called Fire Ted Cruz slams the senator and former Republican presidential candidate for his re-election campaign slogan, ‘Tough as Texas.’ The ad, directed by Richard Linklater, features the actor Sonny Carl Davis in character as the Texan he portrayed in Linklater’s 2011 film,…


As Misogynist, Homophobic Bolsonaro Advances To Run-Off In Brazil’s Election, Critics Fear ‘Genuine Fascist’ Takeover

“It’s hard to overstate the magnitude of the far-right wave that engulfed all of Brazil last night. But even more amazing is how far off the polls were.” — Glenn Greenwald tweet from his home in Brazil. By Julia Conley Common Dreams (10/8/18) Anti-fascist Brazilians expressed horror late Sunday as they watched the misogynist, racist former military officer Jair Bolsonaro advance toward a likely victory in the country’s presidential race, days after hundreds of thousands of women and allies protested his extremist agenda. Shocking journalists and poll-takers by unexpectedly winning 46 percent of the vote in the general election’s first round, Bolsonaro now heads to a…


The Case For Giving Every American A Share Of A Public Wealth Fund

  By Jim Pugh In These Times (9/28/18) In late August, the People’s Policy Project, a left-wing think tank run by economist and writer Matt Bruenig, released a proposal for the creation of a social wealth fund in the United States. Dubbed the American Solidarity Fund, the idea behind the proposal is to establish a pool of shared, public wealth that would be invested in the same way that private wealth is. Under this plan, every American adult would own a single “share” of the fund, and while no single person would be able to withdraw their share, they would receive…


Russia Monitor: Putin’s Apprentice & The Cast Of Russpublican Extras

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (10/11/18) Dear Fellow Readers, The news media is doing a much better job of connecting the dots with Trump-Russia corruption. This is of course with the benefit of how much more is known. There are also so many good Trump-Russia books that have been written including one of the more recent, ‘The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy’ by Pulitzer Prize winning author Greg Miller. Miller sets out to tell the story of the “political crime of the century” by relating all and connecting all that is known. The style…


Southern Poverty Law Center: ‘They served their time. Their voices could make a huge difference.’

  Southern Poverty Law Center (10/5/18) Lorena Barnum Sabbs was just 11 years old when she was arrested. She was trying to integrate the local movie theater in Americus, Georgia. But when the group of 30 girls refused to leave the balcony, police arrested them and drove them almost an hour away to the Leesburg Stockade. They slept on the cells’ cement floors. They were threatened. A snake was thrown into their cells. Some were held as long as 45 days. Their parents didn’t know where they were until a local dogcatcher spread the word. No one could get them…


Stifling Free Speech: Texas Cops Confiscated Woman’s Handmade Political Yard Sign, So Pass It On For Others To See

  By Brianna Stone Dallas News (10/4/18) AUSTIN — Marion Stanford expected the political sign she painted to rile up some folks in her small town of Hamilton in Central Texas. But she didn’t expect to end up in a heated Facebook exchange with Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, or for the police to show up to confiscate her sign. The sign features the GOP elephant logo with its trunk up the dress of a female figure, with the word “Help,” next to the phrase “Your vote matters.” Behind it in her yard were campaign signs for Democratic candidates Lupe Valdez, Beto…


They Are Beginning With Digital Monitoring Of The Poor. You Are Next!

On Contact (10/6/18) Author, Virginia Eubanks, explains to Chris Hedges how the goals of Victorian-era poorhouses have evolved with 21st Century high-tech to exert control and surveillance of needy, poor and homeless people. Eubanks is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University Albany, SUNY. She is the author of Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police and Punish the Poor. Link to 47-Minute Video ***** Schools Pushing For Police-Grade Surveillance Technology To “Protect” Students By Aaron Kesel Activist Post (10/9/18) After the most recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, schools across the U.S. are installing police-grade surveillance “gunshot-detection systems,”…


Round-up Of Firearms News From ‘The Trace’

  The Trace (10/10/18) New from the Trace: The NRA’s midterm spending is way down. The NRA has paid out just $4.9 million in the 2018 midterms, less than it had spent at this point in any of the previous four elections. Using our NRA Campaign Finance Tracker, we dug into the numbers. Some things we noticed: The gun group is active in fewer races than in past cycles. And federal campaign spending by pro-gun control organizations is keeping pace with the NRA’s this year. Daniel Nass breaks it all down. The NRA is still using a possible shell company for election work. On Friday,…


On Howard Zinn & The Transformational Power Of An Aroused Citizenry

  By Abby Zimet Common Dreams (10/6/18) Back to the fray, now that the Cretin-In Chief has declared Kavanaugh “flawless” and, in a spurious swearing-in, “proven innocent” of “a hoax” perpetrated by “evil people.” Among those vociferously disagreeing is the former dean of Yale Law School, which spit out Kavanaugh. In a blistering piece in Politico, Robert Post slams a “black-robed embodiment of raw partisan power inconsistent with any ideal of an impartial judiciary.” During his hearing, he charges, Kavanaugh “stoked the fires of partisan rage and male entitlement” with “a witches’ brew of vicious unfounded charges.” He dismisses Kavanaugh’s whining op-ed – “Judicial temperament is…


Vernon Dems Gearing Up Phone Banking & Community Outreach For Midterms

Dear Fellow Activists, It’s time to get serious about how we are going to ensure a victory for the candidates we want to win on November 6. Wondering how YOU can plug in to local efforts? Good old fashioned phone calls and knocking on doors is a great place to start. Phone banks and canvassing are being organized out of the Vernon Dems HQ on Main St in Viroqua. I don’t have to tell you how important it is to do everything we can in these last few weeks if we are going to restore any integrity and fairness back…


Abusive Relationship: Progressives Need To Talk Back To Their Jackass Boyfriend

By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (4/8/18) In a recent Facebook squabble I was accused of aiding and abetting the republicans by saying it’s right not to support West Virginia Sen. Joe “Big Coal” Manchin’s re-election because of his cuddling up to republicans to help send Brett “Brewski” Kavanaough off to the Supreme Court. I posted and supported a couple articles referencing the need to stop supporting corporate dems who continually represent the greedy whims of the 1% and corporations over the needs of the voters who put them in office. One article referenced two liberal groups denying any…


Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Isn’t Democracy. It’s A Judicial Coup

  By Richard Wolffe The Guardian (10/6/18) Brett Kavanaugh is the symptom, not the cause, of our sickness. He is the nasal congestion snorted out by the politics that have plagued us for the best part of three decades. If we’re ever going to recover our health and sanity, we need to start with the correct diagnosis. For all the justified outrage about sexual assault, involving allegations that Kavanaugh denied, the new supreme court justice represents an even bigger lie than his mindless fabrications about “ralphing” and “boofing”. He can blame his weak stomach if he likes; the rest of us are…


How Democrats Could Win With Moral & Emotionally Wise Political Communication

    “People vote their values.” Robert Reich interviews neurolingist George Lakoff on how the republicans have mastered the moral hierarchy of political messaging — emotional framing — and what the democrats and progressives need to learn, understand and do it they want any chance of winning elections. Opposing Trump, making dismissive jokes about Scott Walker or name-calling republicans will not be enough. It never has been and never will be. If they are interested in winning elections and changing the public debate it is essential for progressives to find their language and speak to the moral reasoning, values and…


David Cay Johnston Talks About His Book & The State Of Trump’s Rule — “It’s Even Worse Than You Think”

Politics & Prose (1/27/18) David Cay Johnston discusses his book, “It’s Even Worse Than You Think” at Politics and Prose on 1/24/18. Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, has been covering Trump since 1988. In June 2015, he was the first national journalist to write about a possible Trump presidency and in his 2016 bestselling The Making of Donald Trump he gave a comprehensive account of Trump’s business practices, associates, and family background. Now Johnston follows up that profile with a detailed analysis of the Trump administration’s first one hundred days. He shows how Trump’s policies are affecting ordinary people’s…


‘Going, Going, Gone!’ — Banksy Shreds The Richest 1% With Self-Destructing $1.4 Million Piece Of Art

    By Jon Queally Common Dreams (10/6/18) With a direct strike against the grotesque economic inequality that is ravaging societies around the globe, the artist Banksy pulled off a spectacular stunt Friday night when a piece of his artwork—a painting titled “Girl With Balloon” which had just sold for an outrageous $1.4 million—self-destructed right be the eyes of the shocked plutocrats viewing it at the Sotheby’s auction in London. With a secret shredder hidden within the walls of the painting’s frame, the incident was capture live on video and Banksy himself used his Instagram feed to show the shocked look on the faces of…


American Mythology: Trump & Kavanaugh Claim We Live In A Meritocracy. Don’t Believe A Word Of It

  By Arwa Mahdawi The Guardian (10/5/18) If you are very clever and work very hard, you can achieve anything. We know this because successful people are always telling us so. They got where they are because of their work ethic: rich parents, the right connections and random chance had little to do with it. See, as exhibit one, man of the moment Brett Kavanaugh. You know, the judge who really likes beer and seems to hate women having autonomy over their reproductive systems. When Kavanaugh appeared before a committee to defend himself against accusations of sexual assault, in between sniffles he…