ALL ARTICLES

In The Midst Of Civic Crisis There Is An Opportunity For Bold Progressive Change

  By Naomi Klein The Guardian (9/28/17) We live in frightening times. From heads of state tweeting threats of nuclear annihilation, to whole regions rocked by climate chaos, to thousands of migrants drowning off the coasts of Europe, to openly racist parties gaining ground: it feels like there are a lot of reasons to be pessimistic about our collective future. To take one example, the Caribbean and southern United States are in the midst of an unprecedented hurricane season, pounded by storm after storm. Puerto Rico – hit by Irma, then Maria – is entirely without power and could be for months, its water and communication systems…


Medicare For All: An Unalienable Right — Not A Privilege!

Medicare For All is freedom from the tyranny and abuse of the health insurance monopolies. Call Rep. Ron Kind (202) 225-5506 Tell Ron you expect him to support our freedom and security by signing on as a cosponsor of HR 676 – Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act By Dennis Brault The Commoner Call (10/2/17) Freedom in a free society, is freedom for all. Everyone’s freedom, to be who and where one wants to be, depends upon having good health. Poor health can deprive a person of all sorts of their God-given freedoms. Medicare For All secures the freedoms that come…


Russia Monitor: Trump’s Pals In (Anti)Social Media

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (10/2/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Let’s take a look at the recurring focus on Russian use of Facebook, Twitter and Google to influence the election in Donald Trump’s favor. Facebook has been a point of focus for some weeks now. Long enough for a more thoughtful review of what we’ve learned to date. Over at the New York Times contributing op-ed writer Zeynep Tufekci wrote of Zuckerberg’s Preposterous Defense Of Facebook. The serious questions for and about Facebook has been the Russian accounts that supported Trump. Trump has tried to change the narrative by adding his own…


Crackdown Grows: US Justice Department Demands Facebook Hand Over Information On Anti-Administration Activists

    By Trévon Austin World Socialist Web Site (9/30/17) The US Department of Justice has issued warrants demanding that Facebook turn over private account information on three individuals described by their attorneys as “anti-administration activists” who “are generally very critical of [the Trump] administration’s policies.” The private account information on thousands of Facebook users could be funneled to the government as a result of the warrants. Facebook received the warrants in February, but was until recently under a gag order barring it from making the warrants known to the targeted individuals or the public. The social media giant has…


Greg Palast: How Hillary Votes Were Suppressed In Wisconsin

    By Greg Palast Greg Palast’s Facebook Page (9/29/17) A new study estimates that at least 5.2% of voting-eligible registered voters in Wisconsin were prevented from voting in the 2016 presidential election because of new ID requirements. The number rises to 8% among low-income registrants. It’s also worth noting that even more were deterred: 7.2% of nonvoting registrants earning above $25K per year and a whopping 21.1% of those earning below $25K per year. But, far, far worse than the ID law was the study’s finding that other vote suppression tactics meant that voters were blocked at the polling…


Let’s Be Absolutely Clear What We Are Facing: Republican Heart Throb Ann Coulter Calls For Death Squads

  By Jared Holt Right Wing Watch (9/2/17) Right-wing provocateur Ann Coulter suggested last week that if President Donald Trump “continues down this path” of appearing to be open to immigration reform, one of the only solutions could be “death squads for the people who ruined America.” Last week, Coulter appeared on the “Todd Starnes Show” to discuss Trump’s apparent willingness to betray his campaign promise to oppose programs like DACA, which is designed to protect people who immigrated illegally to the United States as children. “We have made as clear as you can possibly make it, we want less immigration,” Coulter said. “Stop…


Germany And The Rise Of A Europe-Wide ‘Fascist International’ Movement

  By John Feffer Nation of Change (9/28/17) Germany got its very own electoral shock this week when the far right won 13 percent of the vote in country’s parliamentary elections. For the first time in more than half a century, the far right will be represented in the German parliament, with more than 90 seats. Although it’s now Germany’s third most popular party – behind the Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Social Democrats (SDP) – the Alternative for Germany (AfD) is still too toxic to become part of a ruling coalition. But the AfD will have influence well beyond…


Burned: Choosing Quagmire – The Essential Context Of Understanding Vietnam

  By Robert Freeman Common Dreams (9/24/17) Since the day it ended, in 1975, there have been efforts to rehabilitate the Vietnam War, to make it acceptable, even honorable. After all, there were so many sides to the story, weren’t there? It was so complex, so nuancical. There was real heroism among the troops. Of course, all of this is true, but it’s true of every war so it doesn’t redeem any war. The Vietnam War is beyond redemption and must be remembered and condemned for the calamity that it was. The Vietnam War was “one of the greatest American…


A Commoner Writes: How Was John McCain Heroic?

  I just have to wonder how the title “war hero” applies to someone whose mission it was to bomb innocent people. [Sen. John McCain Gives A Classy Interview On 60 Minutes ,9/28.] Sorry. I think too many people who know they should know better are being lulled into some false happy dream about Vietnam by the cradle song of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. There have been some great “WAKE UP!” shakes, many on counterpunch.org  suppose his refusal to be released early was a heroic thing, but let’s not say war hero. I won’t. Cathy Van Maren La Crosse, WI Link to…


Hitler’s Used Undies Sold Off For $5,500

  By Pritha Paul International Business Times (9/25/17) Adolf Hitler’s linen boxers were sold for $5,500 at the Alexander Historical Auctions in Chesapeake City, Maryland, as part of their “Summer Militaria Auction” on Sept. 14. The item in question is a pair of striped white linen under shorts that have been described as “surprisingly large,” as per the product description on their website. It is 19 inches in length, with a waist of about 39 inches. There are also two pairs of loops sewn on either side of the front of the waist band, whose purpose must have been to support…


If The Democrats Want To Grow They Better Not Assume Millennial Voters Will Just Fall Into Place

  (Editor’s Note: Memo to Dems – Stand up for real, fundamental, bold progressive reforms. Millennials aren’t chumps. – Mark L. Taylor) By Hannah Hartig, John Lapinski & Stephanie Perry NBCNews.com (9/27/17) Millennials overwhelmingly disapprove of the way President Donald Trump is handling his job and they don’t have a favorable view of the Republican Party. But Democrats shouldn’t celebrate just yet, according to results from the first NBC News/GenForward Survey. A majority of millennials, 64 percent, disapprove of Trump’s job performance, while 58 percent said they have an unfavorable view of the Republican Party. The survey was conducted Aug. 31-Sept….


Sen. Vinehout Announces For Governor: “We Build From The Bottom Up, Not From The Top Down”

Kathleen Vinehout: College Professor, Dairy Farmer, State Senator. Running for Governor to put People First. Kathleen Vinehout (9/25/17) Just a few minutes ago in Black River Falls I announced my candidacy for Governor. It was an honor to be joined by so many supporters for this celebration.   If you haven’t seen our announcement video, click here to view it on our new website and share with your friends and neighbors.   I am running for Governor to turn the state’s priorities upside down.   I am running for Governor to put people first. At the center of state policy….


Sen. John McCain Gives A Classy Interview On 60 Minutes

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (9/28/17) Any progressive worth his subscription to The Nation knows there are (at least) two John McCains. There is the American war hero McCain who endured five years of imprisonment, torture and solitary confinement in North Vietnam, refusing an early release ahead of other comrades based upon his father’s rank and connections. Then there was the John McCain of the bipartisan 1989 Keating Five corruption scandal. Then there was the presidential candidate John McCain who publicly rebuked a supporter’s racist comments about Barack Obama in the midst of a heated campaign. There…


How To Build An Autocracy

  By David Frum The Atlantic (March 2017 issue) It’s 2021, and President Donald trump will shortly be sworn in for his second term. The 45th president has visibly aged over the past four years. He rests heavily on his daughter Ivanka’s arm during his infrequent public appearances. Fortunately for him, he did not need to campaign hard for reelection. His has been a popular presidency: Big tax cuts, big spending, and big deficits have worked their familiar expansive magic. Wages have grown strongly in the Trump years, especially for men without a college degree, even if rising inflation is beginning…


Street Fght: A New Wave Of Homegrown Nazi Violence Rattles The Nation

The Center For Investigative Reporting (9/23/17) Since Donald Trump’s inauguration, Americans have increasingly turned to the streets to share opinions about the president and his policies. These tensions reached a boiling point last month as violent confrontations rocked Charlottesville, Virginia. There were more clashes weeks later in Berkeley, California, when members of the anti-fascist movement, or antifa, attacked several right-wing activists. A team of our reporters was on the ground covering the event – literally on the ground, in host Al Letson’s case: Witnessing one such attack, he dove on top of a far-right activist to shield him from blows. Who,…


Chris Hedges: Dis-remembering History Perpetuates Abuse Today

  By Chris Hedges TruthDig (9/24/17) Historians, like journalists, are in the business of manipulating facts. Some use facts to tell truths, however unpleasant. But many more omit, highlight and at times distort them in ways that sustain national myths and buttress dominant narratives. The failure by most of the United States’ popular historians and the press to tell stories of oppression and the struggles against it, especially by women, people of color, the working class and the poor, has contributed to the sickening triumphalism and chauvinism that are poisoning our society. The historian James W. Loewen, in his book Lies…


Russia Monitor: A Busy, Busy Week

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (9/28/17) Dear Fellow Readers, So much has happened in the last few days. It’s news, not complicated new connections so I’ll use headlines and let you decide where you’d like to know more. I’ll simply stick to the high notes, just know there is much more. Let’s start with a milestone. Early on the question was often posed, “where’s the evidence of collusion?”. Well that’s why you investigate, you don’t investigate without suspicion, we are, on our better days, a country of laws. Complex investigations take time. Watergate took years, Whitewater took even…


A Commoner Writes: Authoritarianism & The Fraud Of Imposed Currency

  Obama did not sell out – he simply is going along with the colonial model of capital oppression by means of authoritarianism and  imposed currency. [Collecting His Pay! After Failing To Prosecute Bankers, Obama Cashes In With Wall $400k Street Speeches 9/21/17] The “establishment” of private property during the colonial time period that continues to this day is not understood well by present day ‘capitalists’. They neither understand or consider that destruction of community self-reliance, self-sufficiency was the aim of and the use of imposed capital systems on otherwise communal people. http://cas2.umkc.edu/econ/economics/faculty/Forstater/papers/Forstater2005/RiPE%20Forstater.pdf To not acknowledge the role of capital as a…


Could Two Petulant, Sniping Tween Boys REALLY Hold The Fate Of The World In Their Teensy, Weensy Hands?

  By Tom H. Hastings Nation of Change (9/22/17) First Donald Trump, inexplicably in the ill-fitting role of the President of the United States of America, threatens to go totally criminal, to “totally destroy” North Korea. This violates international laws to which past US presidents have signed and far better US Senates have ratified. Killing civilians. Shooting rockets into cities. Committing genocide. All totally immoral and illegal. Then the Spoiled Brat Ruler of North Korea responds: ‘I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.’ How, how on God’s green Earth could humankind have permitted us to be in…


CNN On Sunday Anthem Protests: ‘If President Trump thought he could divide the NFL, he was wrong’

  By David Ferguson The Raw Story (9/24/17) CNN media critic and “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter said on Sunday that President Donald Trump’s controversial remarks from an Alabama rally on Sunday have only served to galvanize the world of professional sports against him. “I was talking to an NFL source this afternoon,” said Stelter, “who said, ‘If President Trump thought he could divide the NFL, he was wrong.” Sunday has seen players and team owners linking arms in support and solidarity to protest U.S. police brutality. “It’s the opposite of what Trump was talking about on Friday night,” Stelter said. Watch the video,…


Con Job: Bipartisan Congress Lavishes Military Contractors With $700bn While Whining That Healthcare For Your Family Is A Luxury We Can’t Afford

  By Trevor Timm The Guardian (9/20/17) When Bernie Sanders released his much anticipated healthcare plan last week, countless pundits and members of Congress asked why the government should pass such a bill given its potential cost. Now that Congress on the verge of sending a record-setting $700bn Pentagon spending bill to Trump’s desk, you can bet those deficit scolds will be nowhere to be found. [Editor’s Note: When black operations, veterans programs and intel operations are taken into account, the US actually spends more than $1 trillion on war each year. – Mark L. Taylor] On Monday evening, the Senate passed – in…


Media Outlets That Scolded Sanders Over Deficits Uniformly Silent On Massive $700B War Dept. Handout

  (Editor’s Note: Now keep in mind, when black ops, intel and veterans services are added, the US is burning over a $1 trillion a year for the War Department. – Mark L. Taylor) By Adam Johnson Fairness & Accuracy in Media (9/21/17) Where did all the concern over deficits go? After two years of the media lamenting, worrying and feigning outrage over the cost of Bernie Sanders’ two big-budget items—free college and single-payer healthcare—the same outlets are uniformly silent, days after the largest military budget increase in history. Monday, the Senate voted to increase military spending by a whopping $81 billion, from $619 billion to $700…


As Bernie Prepared Medicare Bill, Insurance Lobbyists Shoveled Cash To Quisling Senate Democrats

  By David Sirota & Lydia O’Neal Nation of Change (9/20/17) As Bernie Sanders worked to finalize his Medicare-for-All Act of 2017, corporate lobbyists representing the traditional opponents of single-payer health care – including the nation’s major private insurers and drug companies – poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into Senate Democrats’ fundraising accounts. Now, many of those lawmakers have refused to sign on to the Medicare bill. Sanders has faced questions about whether or not the bill would garner solid support among Senate Democrats. So far, 16 Senate Democrats have said they will sponsor the legislation – which the insurance industry slammed after he announced it. A new study from campaign…


Flat Tire: Sportsmen & Bikers Feel The Crazed Tyranny Of Scott Walker’s One Party Rule

Before we found ourselves under the tyranny of Scott Walker and his GOP Hoods one party rule over this state, sportsmen and women used to have a say in our hunting, fishing and other recreational regulations. Not anymore, Walker and the Hoods know better than you what’s good for your sport. And they don’t think you should have any say in how your sport is regulated: Due to provisions inserted into the 2017-’19 state budget, hunters in Wisconsin are no longer required to place a carcass tag on deer or turkeys they kill. In addition, waterfowl hunters no longer need…


Russia Monitor: As The Facts Pile Up, A Question For All – Which Side Are You On?

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (9/25/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Which Side Are You On? I don’t want to just pick a side, I want us to address real political issues that can make a difference in our lives. I want civility and respect in politics. I want us to make wise decisions that benefit the health and well-being of all of us. I don’t want elections to be all about the money. I want a democratic process based on fair voting. But instead this has been the weekend of Trump’s focus on professional athletes. Stephen Curry and LeBron James…


Tom Crofton: History Past And Present

  “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (9/25/17) The current PBS series “The Vietnam War” by Ken Burns has been made in an effort to present a wide range of historical fact and opinion in an intentionally neutral voice. It’s visual elements are quite stunning, as we have come to expect from Ken Burns, and the statements of its participants provide a chance for viewers to see many sides of the conflict. Unfortunately, the use of a neutral voice leaves open the possibility that the obvious mistakes…


What We Do & Don’t Know About Facebook’s New Political Ad Transparency Initiative

  By Julia Angwin ProPublica (9/22/17) On Thursday, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg announced several steps to make political ads on the world’s largest social network more transparent. The changes follow Facebook’s acknowledgment earlier this month that $100,000 worth of political ads were placed during the 2016 election cycle by “inauthentic accounts” linked to Russia. The changes also follow ProPublica’s launch of a crowdsourcing effort earlier this month to collect political advertising from Facebook. Our goal was to ensure that political ads on Facebook, which until now have largely avoided scrutiny, receive the same level of fact-checking by journalists, advocacy groups and political opponents as…


Smothering Dissent: Google Intensifies Censorship Crackdown Of Left-Wing Websites

By Andre Damon World Socialist Website (9/19/17) Google has intensified its censorship of left-wing, progressive and anti-war websites, cutting the search traffic of 13 leading news outlets by 55 percent since April. On August 2, the World Socialist Web Site reported that changes to Google’s search algorithm had led the search traffic of these sites to drop by 45 percent, according to figures by the search analysis service SEMRush. In the ensuing six weeks, the search traffic of every one of these sites, without exception, has plunged further, leading the total search traffic for the sites to fall by an additional nine…


ALERT! Cooperative Members — “One Member – One Vote” And The Very Concept Of Cooperative Is At RISK!

Coop Members, Your Right To “One Member – One Vote” is at RISK! Ask Sen. Kathleen Vinehout ‘WHY?’ Call Sen. Vinehout and ask her why she is still a cosponsor of Assembly Bill 353, A cooperative-destroying piece of legislation, that removes the historic coop principle of “one member-one vote” and replaces it with one where the number of votes a member gets is based on how much product the member buys. CALL Vinehout   (608) 287-9883   ASK her WHY   From Assembly Bill 353: “This bill allows a cooperative holding company and its cooperative subsidiaries to base members’ voting…


George Lakoff: The Mass Marketing & Normalizing Of Hate

Spokesman By George Lakoff George Lakoff’s Website (/18/17) I have been asked what hate speech is. It is not exactly hard to detect. Hate speech defames, belittles, or dehumanizes a class of people on the basis of certain inherent properties — typically race, ethnicity, gender, or religion. The most dangerous form of hate speech comes from the government itself when the President excuses racist violence and supports the oppressive use of governmental force. Hate speech attributes to that class of people certain highly negative qualities taken to be inherent in members of the class. Typical examples are immorality, intellectual inferiority,…


‘Medicare for all’ Would Be A Lot Cheaper Than You Might Think

  By Gerald Friedman The Conversation (9/19 Public support for single-payer health care has been rising in recent months amid failed Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. That’s perhaps why Sen. Bernie Sanders on September 13 introduced a new version of his single-payer plan with the support of 16 Democratic colleagues, a sharp rise from 2013 when none signed on to a similar proposal. It would not only expand Medicare to all Americans but make it more comprehensive by covering more services like mental health, dental care and vision, all without copayments or deductibles. But Sanders’s plan would come at a steep price: likely more than…


Daily Dose: What Is Healthcare Really About? It’s About Freedom Over Fear

  By Scott Wittkopf Frame4Future.com (9/19/17) Take a look at every email you get from your Democratic representatives about the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act. More importantly, look beyond the issue, beyond the fundraising “ask”, and look at the words and ideas. Here’s an example at one I received recently – they all use the same language: “ALERT: MILLIONS will lose coverage… I’ll put it bluntly: Senate Republicans are CLOSER than ever before to repealing the Affordable Care Act.  The newest plan — supported by Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan — would leave millions of Americans without…


How Republicans’ Latest Effort To Repeal Obamacare Would Devastate Millions

  By Simon Haeder The Conversationn (9/19/17) At the end of July, the nation held its collective breath as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) looked poised to achieve his most formidable parliamentary accomplishment: the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act. But Republican hopes were dashed by one of their own, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who cast the deciding vote that appeared to decisively derail the multi-year effort. McCain called to return to “regular order,” to work through committees, to bring in and listen to experts, to be open and transparent, and perhaps most importantly, to at least listen to both parties….


Trump Health Secretary Tom “Whatever” Price Thinks Medicaid Is Wasteful, But Not Lavish Private Flights

    By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (9/20/17) Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price once remarked that “tough choices” must be made to reduce “waste” in government spending. Apparently, in Price’s mind, frequent and lavish private flights don’t qualify as wasteful spending, but programs that provide life-saving healthcare to millions of Americans do. According to a Politico report Tuesday, Price “last week took private jets on five separate flights for official business, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars more than commercial travel.” Based on sample flight rates, the cost for Price to fly commercial would have been somewhere between…


Russia Monitor: Parsing The Fetid Pieces Of Trumpworld

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (9/21/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump. Russia. Collusion. Start working on the definition of ‘collusion’, and be ready for political hair-splitting because we are that close. You decide which of these events make the stronger case but let’s consider frmer Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s status and the sale of ads to Russia by Facebook supporting the Trump campaign. Talking Points Memo reporter Allegra Kirtland writes on How The FISA Order Against Manafort Could Spell Big Trouble For Trumpworld TPM has done a good job of bringing together two important breaking news stories from…


True Freedom Is Choosing Our Lawmakers

  By Dennis Brault The Commoner Call (9/21/17) I would like to thank Dale Schulz, former republican State Senator, who addressed the Vernon County board on the reasons we need Fair Map redistricting reform. I would also like to thank the 386 Vernon County residents who signed the Fair Maps petition and those who gathered signatures for it. Your voices were heard. One September 19th the Vernon County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the Fair Maps resolution, becoming the 29th county to do so. This sent the message to Madison that we want Fair Map redistricting reform legislation passed before…


Worker Notes: Unions, American Exceptionalism, White Supremacy, And The Well-Trod Road To Hell

  By Tom Crofton CounterPunch (9/13/17) A case can be made that the most direct path to prosperity for working families as a whole is one that has a collective basis creating benchmark standards for wages, conditions, and benefits; where energy otherwise spent on infighting and backstabbing among workers over compensation is harnessed into a common effort. The concept of creating a floor beneath which no one can go is at the heart of union organizing. The energy released from successful agreement to cooperate can go beyond worker compensation and build emotional solidarity among workers.  It can be used to…


Former Sierra Club Leader Carl Pope With A Creative & Hopeful Message On Climate Breakdown

  West Minster Town Hall Forum (9/19/17) Carl Pope is the former executive director and chairman of the Sierra Club and a veteran leader in the environmental movement. He is now a senior climate advisor to former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and the principal advisor at Inside Straight Strategies, where he focuses on the links between sustainability and economic development. A graduate of Harvard College, he is the author of three books, including Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet, which he co-authored with Michael Bloomberg. He was a founder of the BlueGreen Alliance…


Collecting His Pay! After Failing To Prosecute Bankers, Obama Cashes In With Wall $400k Street Speeches

    By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (9/18/17) Less than a year has passed since he departed from the White House, and former President Barack Obama has already joined the “well trod and well paid” Wall Street speaking circuit, a decision many argued will negatively impact the Democratic Party’s credibility as it attempts to fashion a message around taking on corporate monopolies, tackling income inequality, and loosening the insurance industry’s control over the American healthcare system. According to a Bloomberg report published Monday, Obama has in the last month delivered two speeches to massive financial firms—Northern Trust Corp and the Carlyle Group—for around $400,000 a pop, and…


Facebook Enabled Advertisers To Reach ‘Jew Haters’

  By  Julia Angwin, Madeleine Varner & Ariana Tobin ProPublica (9/14/17) Want to market Nazi memorabilia, or recruit marchers for a far-right rally? Facebook’s self-service ad-buying platform had the right audience for you. Until this week, when we asked Facebook about it, the world’s largest social network enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to the news feeds of almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of “Jew hater,” “How to burn jews,” or, “History of ‘why jews ruin the world.’” To test if these ad categories were real, we paid $30 to target those groups with three “promoted posts” — in…