ALL ARTICLES

Our Rights On The Edge: A Billionaire-Bankrolled ‘Movement’ Close To Calling A Constitutional Convention

By Simon Davis-Cohen   AlterNet (6/14/17) A billionaire-backed “movement” is dangerously close to calling a constitutional convention of states under Article V of the U.S. Constitution. If realized, it would be the first constitutional convention since the 1787 Philadelphia Convention, which replaced the Articles of Confederation with the U.S. Constitution. After an active start to 2017, proponents are now allegedly seven states away from reaching the needed 34 states (two-thirds) to convene a convention. According to Article V, which lays out all the ways the constitution can be amended, any amendments proposed by the convention would then need to be ratified by 38…


‘Commoner’ Writes: We Are Tragically Unique

  To the Editor: You’re right on about the gun craziness and as you state it won’t end now, maybe never. (Welcome Congressional Republicans To The Insanity You Have Inflicted On Our Daily Life, 6/15/17) Senseless gun violence and deaths make us tragically unique.  If Trump wants to make us safe from ISIS and terrorism, he has the wrong target.  Every day gun violence is the real threat to our safety.  Keep up the good work. Harvey Weinberg Onalaska, WI   (Commoner Call photo, 2017. Open source and free to use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )


Donald Trump’s ‘Eunuch-ique’ Cabinet

  Seth Meyers: Is There ‘Anything Creepier’ Than Donald Trump’s Cabinet Meeting? “Even Kim Jong Un is like, dude, have some self-respect.” Link to 10-Minute Video (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free to use with link to www.thecommonercall.org ) ***** Never Has There Been A President … So Damn Weird: ‘Didn’t Know You Could Broadcast Full On Circle Jerk!’  By Abbey Zimet Common Dreams (6/12/17) Okay, so we really don’t wanna write again about our appalling Trash Monster, but things just keep getting weirder. On Monday, Trump held his first full Cabinet meeting, a surreal,…


Welcome Congressional Republicans To The Insanity You Have Inflicted On Our Daily Life

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/15/17) Much will be learned about the Wednesday morning shooting during a republican congressional softball practice in Alexandria, Virginia that left five wounded, including Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.). Keep in mind much of the news that comes out in the first 24-48 hours after these kinds of all-too-common American events eventually prove to be wrong. One hopes for the recovery of both body and mind of the shooting victims and those who witnessed the eruption of all-American gun violence. Working in the mental health field with survivors and witnesses of trauma I…


VIDEO: How Best To Understand – And Resist – Trump’s Shock Doctrine

  By Naomi Klein The Intercept (6/13/17) Shock. It’s a word that has come up a lot since November— for obvious reasons. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about shock. Ten years ago, I published “The Shock Doctrine,” an investigation that spanned four decades from Pinochet’s U.S.-backed coup in 1970s Chile to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I noticed a brutal and recurring tactic by right wing governments. After a shocking event – a war, coup, terrorist attack, market crash or natural disaster – exploit the public’s disorientation. Suspend democracy.  Push through radical “free market” policies that enrich the 1…


Paul Ryan Leads House Republicans In Setting Course For Our Next Financial Collapse

  By Jon Queally Common Dreams (6/8/17) The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed the Financial CHOICE Act on Thursday afternoon in a move critics—who call it the #WrongChoiceAct—say puts the U.S. economy on a path towards the next large-scale financial meltdown. With a final vote of 233 to 186, only one Republican joined with Democrats in voting “nay.” The final roll call is here. As the Washington Post notes, “Democrats and progressive groups, who argue banks need more oversight, not less, are preparing to use the issue to animate supporters still angry that Wall Street banks have not paid a bigger…


Here Are the Financial Disclosures Of 349 Officials Trump Has Installed Across The Government

  By Derek Kravitz, Al Shaw, Annie Waldman & Ariana Tobin ProPublica (6/7/17) ProPublica has been collecting disclosure forms that lay out Trump administration officials’ financial holdings and employment backgrounds. We now have disclosures from 349 officials and we’re sharing them with you. They are from White House staffers, President Trump’s Cabinet and from the hundreds of members of so-called beachhead teams that the administration has installed with little notice at federal agencies. The disclosures are crucial to understanding potential conflicts. Many lobbyists and political consultants now work at the agencies they sought to influence. We’ve also incorporated ethics waivers that the…


Russia Monitor: As True Patrons Of The Arts, Republicans Gave Russian Hackers An Assist

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/14/17) Dear Fellow Reader, Patrons Of The Arts – Russians Get Republican Assist Over at Esquire, Charlie Pearce reports the news that Illinois is described as ‘Patient Zero’ with investigators able to watch hackers at work. President Barack Obama and the Department of Homeland Security tried to declare state election systems part of national infrastructure but this was shot down by Congressional Republicans and resisted by some states leaving the electoral system more exposed to the whims and wiles of Russian hackers. (This article is well worth reading in full.) Russian top boss-of-bosses…


Pimpville: A (Partial) Guide To Trump’s Web Of Conflicts Of Interest

A semi-comprehensive list of the business concerns that may influence the president during his time in office. By Jeremy Venook The Atlantic (6/12/17) President Donald Trump still has not taken the necessary steps to distance himself from his businesses while in office. In accordance with a plan that he and one of his lawyers, Sheri Dillon, laid out at a press conference on January 11, Trump has filed paperwork to remove himself from the day-to-day operation of his eponymous organization. However, numerous ethics experts have voiced strenuous objections to the plan, which they say does very little to resolve the…


‘Our Wisconsin Revolution’ Gears Up For Convention June 23-24, In Stevens Point

From Our Wisconsin Revolution We’re back from the People’s Summit in Chicago and more excited than ever to kick off our Convention next weekend. If you missed the Summit, check out Bernie’s speech here. But it’s not about Bernie, it’s about all of us. And we have a lot of work to do in the next few months to get ready for Our Revolution in 2018. Join us at the OWR Founding Convention on June 23-24 where we will vote on founding bylaws and platform, and choose the board leadership to launch us into action. We’ll also have time to…


The UK Elections: How The Democrats Should Learn To Stop Worrying & Love Socialism

  By Kate Aronoff In These Times (6/9/17) Here is a brief and wholly incomplete list of things included in the manifesto that Britain’s Labour Party ran on to rip the Tories’ overall Parliamentary majority out from under them: Nationalize the British rail system; Bring electric utilities under public ownership; Make corporations and the rich pay more in taxes; Ban fracking; Abolish tuition fees; Transition to using 60 percent low-carbon fuels by 2030. This list goes on, and includes several more proposals that have long been considered third rail issues for American politicians afraid of offending both their donors and…


Worst Epidemic In U.S. History? Opioid Crisis Now Leading Cause Of Death For Americans Under 50

  Democracy Now! (6/7/17) Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. To put the death toll into perspective, opioid deaths have now surpassed the peak in death by car crash in 1972, AIDS deaths in 1995 and gun deaths in 1993. After 20 years of heavy combat in South Vietnam, U.S. military casualties represented only one-third of the death toll from 10 years of opioid overdoses. Meanwhile, counties and states around the country have filed lawsuits to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the public health crisis. “The United States is in…


Corbyn’s Surprise Showing Offers Blueprint For Our Party, Say Left-Leaning Democrats

  By Adam Gabbatt The Guardian (6/10/17) Progressive politicians in the US have hailed Jeremy Corbyn’s performance in the British general election “an inspiration” that could shift the Democratic party to the left in the run-up to the 2018 midterms. Bernie Sanders was among those to praise Labour’s result, saying it showed “people are rising up against austerity and massive levels of income and wealth inequality,” while left-leaning members of Congress said the victory would have major implications for the future of Democrats. The Labour party, running on a leftwing platform, gained 32 seats in Thursday’s election as the Conservatives…


Bernie Sanders Slams ‘absolute failure’ Of Democratic Party’s Current Strategy

  By Adam Gabatt The Guardian (6/10/17) Bernie Sanders has criticised the Democratic party’s current direction as “an absolute failure” in a speech at the People’s Summit in Chicago. Speaking to a crowd of 4,000 activists, Sanders hailed the “enormous progress in advancing the progressive agenda”, saying the increasing House and Senate support for a $15 minimum wage and the opposition to the Trans-Pacific partnership showed the success of the movement. But the Vermont senator said that establishment Democrats were standing in the way of further progress. “The Democratic party must understand what side it is on. And that cannot…


Mike McCabe Says He Is Looking To Run For Governor & Says No To Big Money

“This campaign would need to be people-powered and crowd funded. It would need to be small donations from a lot of people.” WisEye (6/9/17) On June 9, 2017, Senior Producer Steve Walters talked with Mike McCabe, formerly of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, on his potential challenge to Governor Scott Walker. Link to 20-Minute Video ***** Mike McCabe On Finding Common Ground: One trick is to think vertically instead of horizontally. “There is an opportunity to find common ground where we don’t see it today, and to help unite people who are currently divided and conquered.” – Mike McCabe Link to…


A Must-Read: Naomi Klein Lays Out Why Things Are So Chaotic & What We Must Do To Counter Trump’s Shock Doctrine

  By Naomi Klein Guardian UK (6/10/17) Shock. It’s a word that has come up again and again since Donald Trump was elected in November 2016 – to describe the poll-defying election results, to describe the emotional state of many people watching his ascent to power, and to describe his blitzkrieg approach to policymaking. A “shock to the system” is precisely how his adviser Kellyanne Conway has repeatedly described the new era. For almost two decades now, I’ve been studying large-scale shocks to societies: how they happen, how they are exploited by politicians and corporations, and how they are even…


Russia Monitor: Many, Many More Doors To Be Investigated

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/12/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Thursday, June 8, 2017 former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence committee. Here is an excellent New York Times Page One summary of his remarks. Trump Tried To Sink Inquiry, Comey Says “‘Those were lies, plain and simple.’ ‘I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting and so I thought it really important to document.’ ‘Lordy, I hope there are tapes.’ ‘I mean, the president of the United States, with me alone, saying ‘I hope this’ – I took it…


Paul Ryan Peddles Lame Old GOP Lies About Effects Of Inheritance Tax On Super Wealthy While Real Data Reveals The Truth

  By Cezary Podkul ProPublica (6/7/17) Does the estate tax really hurt small businesses? House Speaker Paul Ryan thinks so. He revived this longstanding debate in a May 17 column in the Kenosha News, in which he defended the Republican plan to abolish the levy on inherited wealth. Ryan wrote that the “death tax” can “result in double, and potentially even triple, taxation on small businesses and family farms, both of which are prevalent in Wisconsin.” President Trump made a similar claim in his budget proposal a few days later, calling for repeal of the estate tax on the grounds that…


Worker Notes: The Benefits Of European Unions Have A Seat In Corporate Board Rooms Are Many

  A different type of union. A different kind of life. By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (6/12/17) Many of the chronic problems we now see with the American union movement can be tracked back to the history of European craft guilds and the relationships of masters to apprentices. The constricting effect of one–to–one instruction, portioned out slowly over time to fit market demand and prevent competition between master and apprentice was one cause for the fractured condition of Labor today. The transition to modern American trade unions followed the idea of organizing around skills instead of by entire industries,…


Your Brain On Politics: A Conservative Republican Candidate Has Her “I Am Not A Crook” Moment

  By George Lakoff GeorgeLakoff.com (6/7/17) During Watergate, Richard Nixon famously said, “I am not a crook.” And, immediately, Americans coast-to-coast thought of him as a crook. This incident inspired my book title Don’t Think of an Elephant!” What does the title make you think of? Why does negating an idea so often have the opposite of the effect negation is assumed to have? My late colleague, Charles Fillmore, the great linguist who discovered frame semantics, observed that every word is cognitively defined (unconsciously) in terms of a conceptual frame. Frames are structures of ideas. Ideas are carried out in…


Patriotic Whistleblowers Like Reality Winner Play Critical Role In Keeping Govt. Accountable

    By Jesselyn Radack ExposeFacts.org (6/9/17) Reality Winner, the 25-year-old Air Force veteran and NSA contractor charged with mailing classified material to a news outlet, is a classic whistleblower. She hasn’t claimed that mantle, which is understandable given America’s love-hate relationship with whistleblowers. They are alternately celebrated and denounced, depending on who has the microphone and who has the power. A whistleblower is a current or former employee who reveals what she reasonably believes evidences fraud, waste, abuse, illegality, or a danger to public health and safety. The individual can disclose their concerns to their superiors, Congress, an interest…


Russia Monitor: Here It Is Folks – The Trump Era

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/8/17) Dear Fellow Readers, “This Is The Trump Era”… And THAT Attitude Will Be His Undoing “This is the Trump Era”, so says Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard  Sessions III. Sessions is complicit with Trump in flouting and politicizing the law. Trump sees himself as above the law, the courts are at his command as he demonizes any sources of information that don’t fit his desired outcome and the next shiny object that commands his limited focus. What better example than his firing of then FBI Director James Comey. But he has overplayed his hand…


Catching Up: The Intercept NSA Story Is Old News More People Are Now Ready To Listen To

By Rebecca Solnit Rebecca Solnit’s Facebook Page (6/6/17) Yo, people, part of what’s going on with this Intercept thing is that they’re recycling old news that more people–starting with the Intercept–are now ready to listen to. The hilarious thing is that the Intercept fellows kept telling us not to believe things from intelligence agencies but are now building their story on one document from the NSA. I heard this story about hacked voting machines in November but couldn’t get any major media outlet to follow up on it. But the stories go all the way back to AUGUST. Here’s ABC…


Sick! How Trump Family Siphoned Kids-Cancer Charity Money Into Family Businesses

  By Dan Alexander Forbes (6/6/17) Like autumn leaves, sponsored Cadillacs, Ferraris and Maseratis descend on the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York, in September for the Eric Trump Foundation golf invitational. Year after year, the formula is consistent: 18 holes of perfectly trimmed fairways with a dose of Trumpian tackiness, including Hooters waitresses and cigar spreads, followed by a clubhouse dinner, dates encouraged. The crowd leans toward real estate insiders, family friends and C-list celebrities, such as former baseball slugger Darryl Strawberry and reality housewife (and bankruptcy-fraud felon) Teresa Giudice. The real star of the day…


Spiritual Crisis: The Republican Party’s Empty Soul Sickness

  By Richard Eskow OurFuture.org (5/30/17) There’s a sickness on the land. You know the facts: millions of Americans lives in poverty. The number of Americans in the workforce remains low. Wages are stagnating and inequality is growing. “Deaths of despair” from alcoholism, opioid overdose, and suicide are on the rise. But it’s not just the inequality, or the poverty, or the despair, that wounds us. It’s the fact that so many Republican leaders and voters find ways to justify living with these injustices, and are now making them worse. There’s no polite way to say it: they suffer from a sickness of…


Worker Notes: It’s Not Just About Wages & Benefits – Working Conditions Are A Matter Of Life Or Death

By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (6/8/17) While wages are clearly a top reason to organize a union, and benefits are life-changing, struggles over working conditions may be the most important fights working people can take on and often are the catalyst for union organizing. From grape pickers and tomato harvesters, to nurses and corrections officers, the hours and conditions of work are often the last breaking straw that leads to organizing for change. While technology has changed dramatically, the drive to save money, and to use human capital to save on investing monetary capital, is as old as the…


The Politics Of Race, Division & The Real Reason Working-Class Whites Support For Trump Doesn’t Waver

TheCommonerCall.org By Jonathan Capehart The Washington Post (6/6/17) Unlike anyone I’ve read or talked to since the November election, Justin Gest has helped me to really understand why President Trump won white working-class voters and hasn’t thus far lost their support. In the latest episode of “Cape Up,” we discuss the George Mason University professor’s new book, “The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Age of Immigration and Inequality” “So much of Donald Trump’s politics is symbolic,” Gest explained. “They’re symbolic in the sense that this is what people want to hear and if it doesn’t get done, it’s…


Washington Post Investigative Report Documents Rampant Corruption At USDA ‘Organic’ Program

    The Cornucopia Institute (5/2/17) Based on a scathing front-page exposé in The Washington Post presenting strong evidence that the largest organic milk producer in the United States has been operating illegally, the organic industry’s most aggressive industry watchdog, The Cornucopia Institute, filed formal legal complaints against Aurora Dairy and their organic certifier, the Colorado Department of Agriculture. The nonprofit simultaneously wrote to the Trump administration’s new USDA Secretary, Sonny Perdue, asking for the removal of the agency’s lead organic regulator. This is not the first legal complaint Cornucopia has filed against Aurora. More than a decade ago, based…


George Lakoff On Disaster Branding: The Importance Of Giving Donnie His Due

By George Lakoff George Lakoff’s Website (6/4/17) Donald Trump knows the power of branding and actually makes huge profits by selling the use of his name. But the power of naming and branding can be a double-edged sword: when a president creates and perpetuates real human disasters, we can truthfully attach his name to them and allow well-earned disaster branding to spread naturally. Mr. Trump uses the word “disaster” metaphorically for policies and practices he doesn’t like. But there are real, literal disasters in the world: huge fires, devastating, floods, deadly storms, major droughts — disasters caused systemically by the…


Orwell On The Politics Of Language

“Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements.” – George Orwell, Politics and the English Language”, 1945   (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark…


What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Utility Refuses To Budge On Placing Nuke Waste Dump On Shore Of Great Lake

  By Lorraine Chow EcoWatch (6/1/17) Canadian energy company Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is not budging on its plans to dump nuclear waste less than a mile from Lake Huron, despite objections from hundreds of communities in the U.S. and Canada that fear water contamination. The utility issued a lengthy analysis on Friday [6/26] reaffirming its favored option to bury low to intermediate radioactive waste at the Bruce Power nuclear complex near Kincardine, Ontario. OPG assures that the lake would not be threatened since the waste would be encased in rock. “The Bruce Site is the safest, most appropriate site…


The Firing Of James Comey: Psychology Helps Explain What Trump Got Wrong & Why People See It The Way They Do

TheCommonerCall.org By Robert Jervis The Conversation (5/16/17) Why has President Trump failed to convince anyone other than his ardent supporters that he was justified in firing FBI Director James Comey? Even more, why did he fail to realize that the firing would call up strong objections, not only from Democrats, but from many Republicans? The psychology of perception and decision-making helps us here. As I have shown in several books, assuming people are completely rational will mislead us. We need to grasp what people see – and what they miss – if we are to fathom why they behave as…


Starve The Beast: The Best Way To Resist Trump Dumping Paris Climate Pact? Divest From Fossil Fuels

  By Jamie Henn The Guaradian (6/3/17) fter Trump’s decision to exit the Paris climate agreement, many of us are looking for a way to fight back. One of the simplest and most powerful things we can do right now is to divest from fossil fuels. What we saw in the Rose Garden on Thursday was Trump and his advisors making a bet. A bet that the scientists have got it all wrong, that climate change is a hoax, and climate action nothing but a globalist scheme to hurt the American economy. For most of us, this sort of denial…


Mexico Rolling Out New Trump Brand Toilet Paper

  By Sofia Lotto Persio Newseek (6/3/17) A Mexican lawyer is planning on helping migrants and make people “feel great again” with the help of his toilet paper brand—Trump. Corporate lawyer Antonio Battaglia was appalled at the language Donald Trump used during his presidential campaign to describe Mexicans. In an email exchange with Newsweek, the lawyer-turned-businessman recalls how he felt when Trump launched his campaign by suggesting Mexicans who came to the U.S. were criminals, drug traffickers and rapists. “I felt the need and obligation of raising my hand against such dangerous nonsense that was putting at risk my country and people,”…


Trump Moving To Finalize Bipartisan Effort To Bury America’s Torture History

American torture victim and symbol of modern America. By Andrea Germanos Common Dreams (6/2/17) The Trump administration is moving to keep the lengthy Senate report on the CIA’s torture and detention program forever from the public eye, the New York Times first reported Friday. That’s because the administration is returning to Congress copies of the over 6,000-page document, following through on requests made by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the Senate Intelligence Committee’s current chairman. Laws requiring government records to eventually be made public don’t apply to congressional documents. The Times, citing multiple congressional officials, writes that the “CIA, the office of…


Russia Monitor: The Story Is Much Bigger & Broader Than Tampering With The Election

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (6/5/17) Dear Fellow Reader, I am 100% confident that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. Russia tried to influence the outcome of the election and the connections run deeper and are far broader than the election as an isolated event. As with any significant moment in history, this election is an intersection of many different forces that have coalesced around this event but the full story is both broader and more significant. And I trust the story will come out. This week offered three key moments that add up to and underscore this…


White Male Terrorists Are An Issue America Should – But Won’t – Discuss

By Lincoln Blades Teen Vogue (5/9/17) Since September 11, 2001, preventing terrorism in the United States has become one of the main concerns of citizens, policymakers, and law enforcement agencies. Leaders believe that battling “terror” isn’t just done by waging war on jihadists themselves, but also on their ideology. When an attack whose perpetrator is affiliated with Islam occurs on American soil, the nation collectively recoils in horror at the audacious attack, mourns for those we’ve lost, and then subsequently doubles down on rooting out any semblance of pro-extremist thought in our society. When the assailant is identified, intelligence agencies…


We Are Ripe For Fascism

TheCommonerCall.org By Jeff Schech WhoWhat Why (5/31/17) In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, Yale history professor Timothy Snyder talks to Jeff Schechtman about what he sees as the very real possibility that our republic will go the way of history’s other failed democracies, like Athens or even the Weimar Republic. Both 1930s fascism and communism, Snyder warns, were responses to globalization and to rising inequality. We might be tempted to think that our democratic heritage automatically protects us from such threats, but he argues that this is a misguided reflex. Snyder cautions that our institutions, such as the courts, the free…


Mike McCabe: Four Steps To Turning Around Wisconsin’s Creaky, Unfair Economy

  By Mike McCabe Blue Jean Nation (5/9/17) When it comes to Wisconsin’s economy, those in power go to great lengths to direct everyone’s gaze at moderating unemployment in the state. They don’t want to acknowledge or discuss that while it’s possible to find work, for many it’s extremely hard to find work that enables you to make ends meet and stay in the middle class. Persistent stagnation and rising inequality are big parts of the full story of Wisconsin’s economy. For years now, Wisconsin has depended on an economic development strategy devoted to empowering a few thousand of the…


Black Church Congregation Recieves Anonymous Donation From Former ‘Terrible Racist’

  By Lee Moran HuffPost (6/2/17) Salvation sometimes comes from the most unlikeliest of sources. An African-American church in Greenville, South Carolina, is now able to fund one of its projects — thanks to an anonymous $2,000 donation from someone who said they used to be a “terrible racist.” The mystery person also left a letter of apology with the two $1,000 post office money orders in the Nicholtown Presbyterian Church’s mail box on May 13. “First, I am white and used to be a terrible racist,” the unidentified donor wrote. “Thanks to Jesus and the Holy Spirit, acting through the Presbyterian…