ALL ARTICLES

Carnac The President Caught In On-Camera Bald-Faced Lie, But, Hey, So What!

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/4/18) Last Friday Donald Trump prattled on about receiving a “very nice” and “very interesting” letter earlier in the day from North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un. The letter was hand-delivered to the president by senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol. The White HOuse issued photos of Trump and Kim Yong Chol with a Trumpian scale envelope. Trump teased the journalists at a press conference, noting, “Oh, would you like to see what was in that letter? How much? How much?” When asked if Trump could share a sense of the letter’s contents Trump replied, “It…


Truly Orwellian: Abusive Secret Federal Prisons You’ve Never Heard Of Before Are Designed To Silence Political Dissent

  Environmental activists included in the count. TED Talk (11/9/15) Investigative journalist Will Potter is the only reporter who has been inside a Communications Management Unit, or CMU, within a US prison. These units were opened secretly, and radically alter how prisoners are treated — even preventing them from hugging their children. Potter, a TED Fellow, shows us who is imprisoned here, and how the government is trying to keep them hidden. “The message was clear,” he says. “Don’t talk about this place.” Link to 15-Minute Video (Commoner Call photo by Mark L. taylor, 2018. Open source and free for…


Investigative Journalist Seymour Hersh’s Memoir Is Full Of Useful Reporting Secrets & Lessons For Citizens

  By Matt Taibbi Rolling Stone (5/1/18) Late in his new memoir, Reporter, muckraking legend Seymour Hersh recounts an episode from a story he wrote for the New Yorker in 1999, about the Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. Bill Clinton was believed to be preparing a pardon for Pollard. This infuriated the rank and file of the intelligence community, who now wanted the press to know just what Pollard had stolen and why letting him free would be, in their eyes, an outrage. “Soon after I began asking questions,” Hersh writes, “I was invited by a senior intelligence official to come have a chat at…


Our Wisconsin Revolution State Convention — June 22–24

The Our Wisconsin Revolution Convention is right around the corner. Don’t forget to register, as soon as possible, as we need an accurate count for food and lodging. All meals are included with your ticket purchase! Great rooms are available on the campus for a really reasonable price. And here are some fun tidbits to get you excited about the weekend: FRIDAY JUNE 22nd Registration will open at 4 pm There will be an all group welcome at 5:30 pm We will have a Candidate Unforum (time to talk directly with candidates about what is important to you and have FUN!) over heavy…


A Commoner Writes — Mike McCabe Gives Rousing Progressive Rallying Call To State Democrats

  For all of us who have ever been interested in Mike McCabe’s concern for the health of democracy in our State of Wisconsin, I can say that I heard the best speech I have ever heard him offer this past Friday as I sat in the assembly of the Wisconsin Democratic Convention in Oshkosh. He was given 5 minutes to speak, and he used 4 minutes and 57 seconds to deliver these 700 words. I believe that they are a powerful distillation of Mike’s 20-plus years of political activism and his decades of dreaming for a better and healthier…


Trump’s Leverage: Study Links White American Intolerance With Support For Authoritarianism

  By Noah Berlatsky NBC News (5/27/18) Since the founding of the United States, politicians and pundits have warned that partisanship is a danger to democracy. George Washington, in his Farewell Address, worried that political parties, or factions, could “allow cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men” to rise to power and subvert democracy. More recently, many political observers are concerned that increasing political polarization on left and right makes compromise impossible, and leads to the destruction of democratic norms and institutions. A new study, however, suggests that the main threat to our democracy may not be the hardening of political ideology, but rather…


One Last Memorial Day Musing: The Pawns Of War

  By Philip Farruggio Nation of Change (5/28/18) She would always have the brightest smile as she stood at the intersection of Avenue T and Ocean Ave in Brooklyn, N.Y. circa 1968. She was our crossing guard and we all loved Mrs. Lombardo. Each morning and afternoon during school days she would greet each and every kid who passed by her post. On Sundays, before and after each Catholic Mass at St. Edmunds church, she would be there, again with that contagious smile. The young kids loved her as one would love a favorite aunt, and the seniors, who seemed to make…


Lost Children Of The Holocaust: A Cautionary Tale Of Tragedy For Today’s America

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/31/18) Recent stories about the forced separation of migrant children from their parents and systematic abuse at the paws of the US Border Patrol have been alarming. This practice and abuse began with the Obama administration and is now ramped up by Trump. Such state-sponsored terror tactics are common in authoritarian regimes. Under the Pinochet regime in Chile the children of murdered activists and labor organizers were handed over to the families of police and government officials to be raised as their own. The same thing — and much worse — happened…


American Far Right Propaganda & Imagery Draws From German Nazis

By Michael Tymkiw The Conversation (5/29/18) For many people, events such as the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, with its torchlight parade, eagle-emblazoned shields and Nazi flags, bring with them uncomfortable reminders of fascist visual culture from the 1920s to 1945. While individuals and organisations associated with the far right have long appropriated elements from fascist visual culture, the sheer brazenness with which symbols and images were appropriated in Charlottesville, the ensuing violence and the proliferation of photographs and videos depicting these events made the spectre of fascism seem disconcertingly close. If we wish to understand how the far right…


WATCH YOUR MOUTH! You May Hate Him, But Here Is How You Help Trump Every Day

  By George Lakoff George Lakoff Blog (12/16/18) Without knowing it, many Democrats, progressives and members of the news media help Donald Trump every day. The way they help him is simple: they spread his message. Think about it: every time Trump issues a mean tweet or utters a shocking statement, millions of people begin to obsess over his words. Reporters make it the top headline. Cable TV panels talk about it for hours. Horrified Democrats and progressives share the stories online, making sure to repeat the nastiest statements in order to refute them. While this response is understandable, it…



Russia Monitor: Tapes? Could There Really Be Tapes? Trump Lawyer May Provide Accidental Public Service

“Trump is like a magician pulling one gaudy illusion after another out of his hat, pockets and possibly bodily orifices.” By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/31/18) Dear Fellow Readers, “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.” — Former FBI Director James Comey, June 2017 Senate Intelligence hearing.  And so there may be. We’ll take a look at: Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s status. Trump’s ever-evolving Trump-Russia corruption self defense. What works for Trump… Let’s start with Cohen: Michael Avenatti Says Trump’s Voice Is On Cohen Tapes That Are Unprivileged: ‘This whole thing appears to stink’ Yes, there are tapes – apparently. Early headlines,…


Carrying On The Work Of Historian Howard Zinn: Labor History Workshops For Educators

  Zinn Education Project (5/28/18) In the midst of an unprecedented wave of teacher walkouts and strikes — in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Colorado, Arizona, Kentucky, and North Carolina — the Washington Education Association invited the Zinn Education Project to offer a labor history workshop for WEA members in Southwest Washington. “The Power in Our Hands: Integrating Labor History into Our Curriculum” was held on Saturday, May 19, 2018. High school teacher and Rethinking Schoolscontributor Ursula Wolfe-Rocca facilitated the workshop for elementary, middle, and high school teachers. She engaged attendees in role plays about local labor history (“The 1934 West Coast  Longshore…


Amid Growing Grassroots Push, ‘Medicare For All’ Winning Big in Democratic Primaries

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (5/29/18) With Medicare for All reaching record levels of support among both members of Congress and the American public—where support for single-payer is spreading “like wildfire”—policy platforms demanding that the U.S. ditch its wasteful and deeply immoral for-profit system in favor of guaranteed healthcare for every American are also proving to be winners in Democratic primary fights across the country. In red and blue states alike, candidates backing Medicare for All have emerged victorious in Democratic primary battles where, in some cases, their opponents had the backing of the party establishment. “In Nebraska’s 2nd district, Kara Eastman, who supports ‘Medicare for…


‘Dark and Disturbing’ DOJ Report Shows Big Pharma Knew Of Deadly Opioid Abuse After Releasing Popular Painkiller

By Julia Conley Common Dreams (5/29/18) As lawsuits mount against the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma over its knowledge that one of its best-selling drugs was addictive and dangerous, a newly- uncovered Justice Department report shows that the multi-billion dollar corporation also knew that patients were abusing OxyContin shortly after the drug’s release. Almost immediately after releasing OxyContin in 1996, Purdue Pharma received reports that patients were crushing and snorting the drug and stealing it from pharmacies, and that some doctors were beginning to sell prescriptions for the highly addictive painkiller, which is chemically similar to heroin. According to the New York…


Along With The Rest Of Corporate America, Harley-Davidson Happily SCREWS Their Workers

Proves the lies of Paul Ryan. The Young Turks (5/22/18) Trump and his fellow republicans believe that giving massive corporations tax cuts will turn into more jobs for the American people. Turns out that’s not how it works! Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, host of The Young Turks, break it down. “In September 2017, House Speaker Paul Ryan traveled to a Harley-Davidson plant in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, to tout the Republican tax bill, which President Trump would sign later that year. “Tax reform can put American manufacturers and American companies like Harley-Davidson on a much better footing to compete in…


What Is Democracy? — Can We Truly Become Exceptional?

“In the darkest days of the Second World War, when America’s very future was at risk, writer E.B. White was asked by the U.S. Federal Government’s Writers’ War Board to write a short response to the question “What is democracy?” His answer was unassuming but inspiring. He wrote: “Surely the Board knows what democracy is. it is the line that forms on the right. It is the “don’t” in don’t shove. It is the hole in the stuffed shirt through which the sawdust slowly trickles; it is the dent in the high hat. Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more…


In Our Name: Agency Documents Reveal Physical & Sexual Abuse Of Migrant Kids, Teens By Border Patrol

The authoritarian, fascist mind: ”Just following orders”.   By Gabe Ortiz Daily Kos (5/24/18) Internal government documents dating back to 2009 and obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago School of Law, detail horror stories of child abuse, physical and sexual assault, verbal abuse and medical negligence at the hands of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents. The details should be a national security concern, because border agents were already “monstrous” under Barack Obama, and under Donald Trump they have been unleashed and stand to endanger untold numbers: “In one…


A Graduation Message Appropriate To The National Challenge Of This Memorial Day

  By John Whitehead Rutherford Institute (5/21/18) “When the rivers and air are polluted, when families and nations are at war, when homeless wanderers fill the highways, these are the traditional signs of a dark age.” — Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times Those coming of age today will face some of the greatest obstacles ever encountered by young people. They will find themselves overtaxed, burdened with excessive college debt, and struggling to find worthwhile employment in a debt-ridden economy on the brink of implosion. Their privacy will be eviscerated by the surveillance state. They will be the subjects of…


Trump Attack On Kneeling Football Players Echoes 1934 When A German Soccer Team Was Banned For Not Giving Nazi Salute

By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/28/18) The NFL football player kneeling protest has from the get-go been cynically manipulated and leveraged by Donald Trump to stir racist animosity and jingoistic faux patriotism among his core supporters. The “taking a knee” by mostly black football players began as a peaceful protest by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a statement against racial injustice and the never-ending epidemic of police shootings and brutality against blacks across the nation. Those who objected to the peaceful protests tried to reduce it to an issue of people doing their jobs and there…


Time To Audit The Outlaw Military Budget That Is Bleeding Away America’s Future

  By Ralph Nader Common Dreams (5/24/18) Top military, diplomatic, and political leaders have exposed, warned of, and condemned our runaway, unaudited military budgets for decades, to no avail.  (For many examples, see America’s War Machine: Vested Interests, Endless Conflicts by James McCartney, with Molly Sinclair McCartney.)  They usually come to the same desperate conclusion: that only organized citizens back in their Congressional Districts can make Congress stop this spending spree. Only us, Americans! From 1953, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered his “Cross of Iron” speech before the Convention of Newspaper Editors, to full-length addresses by President Obama’s Secretary of Defense, Robert…


You Can’t Say That. Oh, Yes I Can!

The rising tide of national protest and opposition has brought forth a lot of creative humor, satire and other forms of protest. Some of that is to be found on protest signs created by fellow citizens speaking truth to power. In our new original cartoon feature  — “You Can’t Say That! Oh, Yes I Can!” — The Commoner Call will feature some of that handheld wisdom. If you see a particularly good protest sign send it along for consideration. Pass this invitation to your contacts. And maybe take some of this good signage to your next local protest. (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L….


Russia Monitor: Counting Raindrops In The Downpour

  “Democracy Dies in Broad Daylight.” — Bill Kristol tweet 5/27/18 By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/28/18) Dear Fellow Readers, What each of us believes about Trump-Russia corruption is likely set in stone. Maybe there a few of us that are yet to be convinced in spite of a steady daily downpour. Sometimes the noise is new information; sometimes the noise is hard to sort out – what actually happened, does it matter? Here’s an example where the FBI received requested wiretap transcripts from the Spanish police of Russian oligarch, NRA and Donnie Jr. friend Alexander Torshin. Torshin’s conversations…


Normalizing Police State Tactics In Every Day Life: 96-Year-Old WWII Vet In A Wheelchair, Groped & Molested By TSA

[Editors Note: The accompanying video to this story is agonizing to watch. The once-through routine is bad enough but then we see the TSA agent go over the same already felt-up areas of the body a second time. Apparently, one-time molestation and humiliation isn’t good enough these days. I believe the “wand” that is used is to detect evidence of explosive residue. Until we see the parents and grandparents of White House staff and congressional enablers get this kind of treatment we can only expect to see things get worse. Meanwhile, avoid flying whenever possible. Road trip! — Mark L….


Gun Cult: New School Shooter Video Game Has Players Gunning Down Teachers, Cops & Kids

By Martin Cizmar The Raw Story (5/26/18) A video game maker is facing mounting backlash over a game in which the player takes the role of school shooter. The game is called Active Shooter and set to be published by Valve for the Steam platform. Steam attempts to steer around the controversy by announcing a disclaimer to be placed on it: “Please do not take any of this seriously. This is only meant to be the simulation and nothing else. If you feel like hurting someone or people around you, please seek help from local psychiatrists or dial 911 (or applicable). Thank…


Rep. Ron Kind’s New Democrat Coalition Key In Voting To Gut Essential Bank Failure Protections

By Dennis Brault The Commoner Call (5/28/18) Trump just signed, and a bipartisan congress passed (RON KIND), a bill that says banks worth $249- $50 billion are NOT deemed important enough and therefore are allowed to fail. Four regional banks fail, worth $249 billion each, and a quick trillion evaporates from the economy. Regional and medium sized banks are doing fine and don’t need this. How is this loss of taxpayer protections, against a future economic bubble bursting, a good thing? Why RON KIND? Why would congress do this? Why RON KIND? It couldn’t be that this is an election…


72% Of Democrats Say Opposing Trump Isn’t Enough, Want Congressional Candidates To Push Progressive Agenda

  By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (5/21/18) Amid congressional primary races and ahead of the November 6 election, new survey results indicate that a large majority of Democratic voters believe that promoting a “progressive agenda” should be the top priority of any Democrat running for Congress. A CBS News/YouGov poll (pdf) asked Democrats, Independents, and those who lean toward voting for Democrats to choose between two options for what Democratic candidates’ “first priority” should be. A full 72 percent said they want to see party candidates prioritize a progressive political agenda. The remaining 28 percent opted for merely opposing President Donald Trump’s…


Dem Elites Still ‘Out of Touch’ — Progressive Outrage After DNC Chief Tom Perez Endorses Cuomo Ahead Of NY Primary

“Don’t be scared of democracy—let the voters decide.” By Jessica Corbett Commoner Dreams (5/25/18) Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez, who said just two months ago that the national party shouldn’t be “anointing candidates” in primary races, was widely rebuked by progressives for his decision this week to endorse New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose reelection bid is being challenged by longtime activist and actress Cynthia Nixon. “Regardless of who you support in this race, can we all agree that the DNC shouldn’t pick winners in a contentious primary in a safely Dem state?” tweetedEzra Levin, co-founder and co-executive director of Indivisible….


Meet Tarek Loubani, The Canadian Doctor Shot In Both Legs By Israeli Forces While Treating Gaza’s Wounded

American-supported Israeli war crimes: Intentional targeting of health care workers & rescuers. Democracy Now! (5/17/18) As Palestinians vow to continue protesting against the Israeli occupation of Gaza, we speak to a Canadian doctor who was shot by Israeli forces in both legs Monday while he was helping injured Palestinians. Israeli forces shot dead at least 61 unarmed Palestinian protesters taking part in the Great March of Return Monday, including one doctor. Canada, Britain, Germany, Ireland and Belgium have called for an investigation into the killings. The United Nations Human Rights Council has announced that it will hold a special session…


Surveillance State: Tracking Your Every Move For Corporate America

  By Molly Wood Marketplace Tech (5/22/18) Phone carriers collect a minute-by-minute record of everywhere you go. If you use GPS on your phone, that may be obvious. But carriers are also selling that information to companies that don’t do much to keep it secure. One of those companies, Securus Technologies, was hacked this month. Securus gets its information from a company called LocationSmart. On Friday, security researcher Brian Krebs reported a bug on LocationSmart’s website that would make it possible to track any phone on the four major carriers using only a phone number. Krebs spoke with Marketplace Tech…


Progressive Women & Newcomers Earn Big Wins In Southern Democratic Primaries

  By Jessica Taylor & Scott Detrow NPR (5/22/18) Tuesday was another big night for Democratic women and political newcomers in the party, with a historic nomination in Georgia, an intra-party squabble settled in Texas and an upset victory in a Kentucky House race. The day’s contests featured Democratic ideological and stylistic battles, but in the end the national party largely got the candidates they wanted — especially in critical Texas — that they believe will be the most competitive general election nominees. Stacey Abrams easily won the Democratic nod for governor in Georgia, beating fellow former state legislator Stacey…


The Sanders-Inspired Grass-Roots Group ‘Our Revolution’ Is Flailing

  By Edward-Isaac Dovere Politico (5/21/18) Bernie Sanders’ top operatives formed “Our Revolution” after he lost the 2016 primaries to keep his army organized and motivated — and potentially prepare for another presidential run in 2020. But an extensive review of the Sanders-inspired group depicts an organization in disarray — operating primarily as a promotional vehicle for its leader and sometimes even snubbing candidates aligned with Sanders. Our Revolution has shown no ability to tip a major Democratic election in its favor — despite possessing Sanders’ email list, the envy of the Democratic Party — and can claim no major…


Sanders Slams US Inequality As Report Finds Nearly Half Of Americans Can’t Afford Basic Necessities

  By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (5/18/18) “Is that really the kind of society we want to be living in?” That’s how Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) responded to a new study from United Way’s ALICE Project, which found that 43 percent of U.S. households—nearly 51 million families—cannot afford “a bare-bones household budget of housing, child care, food, transportation, and healthcare.” Bernie Sanders ✔@SenSanders The three wealthiest people in America own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent — over 160 million people. Meanwhile, almost half of families in America can’t afford basic necessities. Is that really the kind of society we want to be…


A Vile Act Of American Inhumanity: We Are Now Splitting Up Families Like The Slave Traders Did

  By Paul Buchheit Common Dreams (5/21/18) Families are being split up in the name of “zero tolerance” immigration policies. Jeff Sessions said, “[Your] child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.” John Kelly, White House chief of staff, added, “The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever.” Yes, he said “whatever.” This isn’t much different from slave-trading days. People then were forced INTO the country and families separated; now they’re forced OUT OF the country and families separated. In both cases families have done…


Russia Monitor — Taking Us To The Cleaners: Trumputin Steals & Scuzzy Russpublican Deals

  “… they swung the election to a Trump win.” — Former DNI James Clapper from “Facts and Fears” By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (5/24/8) Dear Fellow Readers, Rachel Maddow interviewed former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in two segments. Clapper has a new book out, “Facts and Fears”. Clapper explains that he wrote the book: “…after experiencing the election, the unprecedented Russian interference in our political process, and the behavior by and impact of the Trump administration.” Maddow doesn’t sugar coat the history of James Clapper up to and including Clapper leaving the DNI position the day of…


Chris Hedges: The Coming Collapse Will Shatter Our Hallucinations

  By Chris Hedges TruthDig (5/20/18) The Trump administration did not rise, prima facie, like Venus on a half shell from the sea. Donald Trump is the result of a long process of political, cultural and social decay. He is a product of our failed democracy. The longer we perpetuate the fiction that we live in a functioning democracy, that Trump and the political mutations around him are somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the next election, the more we will hurtle toward tyranny. The problem is not Trump. It is a political system, dominated by corporate…


Be Alert! Trump’s Primary Tactic Of Defining Deviancy Downward Is Designed To Leave You Feeling Exhausted, Numb & Inactive

“In 1993, New York’s Democratic senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a former social scientist, made an incisive observation: Humans have a limited ability to cope with people behaving in ways that depart from shared standards. When unwritten rules are violated over and over, Moynihan observed, societies have a tendency to “define deviancy down” — to shift the standard. What was once seen as abnormal becomes normal. “Moynihan applies this insight, controversially, to America’s growing social tolerance for single-parent families, high murder rates, and mental illness. Today it can be applied to American democracy. Although political deviance — the violation of unwritten…


‘Morning Joe’ Rips Paul Ryan For Standing By While His GOP Sets Fire To The Constitution For Trump

“At what point does Paul Ryan stop worrying about the Republican party and start worrying about the republic? We are at that point now.” — Joe Scarborough By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/24/18) MSNBC’s Morning Joe host — and former republican congressman who has now left the party — went after Wisconsin’s Rep. Paul Ryan Tuesday (5/22) for failing to stand up to Donald Trump’s power grab and failure to defend the Constitution and the role of the congress. “Paul Ryan is the speaker of the House, while constitutional norms are being ripped to shreds,” Scarborough said. “Are…


Hey, Progressive Candidates, Here’s A Campaign Issue: Harley Davidson Banks Tax Scam, Closes Factory & Sends Jobs To Bangkok

(Editor’s Note: Hey, progressive candidates, check out the links in this story and start campaigning on this travesty. Every cynical hypocrisy and lie of republican policy is embodied in this story. Tie it in with Scotty Walker’s Foxconn-scam and present a positive progressive alternative plan for jobs and community and economic development. It’s a winning combination there for the taking. — Mark L. Taylor) By Tom Boggioni The Raw Story (5/22/18) Despite President Donald Trump’s claim that massive tax cuts will boost U.S. employment numbers,  motorcycle manufacturer Harley Davidson instead announced a plant closing, followed by a massive stock buy-back…


DNC Deputy Chair Keith Ellison: The Democratic Party Should Stay Out Of Primaries, Let Voters Decide

Democracy Now! (5/23/18) Voters in Georgia, Texas, Arkansas and Kentucky headed to the polls Tuesday to determine a number of key primaries, and it was another big night for female Democratic candidates. In Georgia, Stacey Abrams made history by becoming the first African-American woman to win a major party’s nomination for governor in the U.S. If Abrams wins in November, she will become the first African-American governor in the Deep South since Reconstruction. Meanwhile in Houston, Texas, Lupe Valdez made history by becoming the first openly gay and first Latina candidate to win a major-party nomination for Texas governor. For…