FEATURE

If You Want To Kill Dangerous Drug Dealers, Start With Big Pharma

By Domenica Ghanem OtherWords (4/4/18) At a recent rally in New Hampshire, Donald Trump called for the death penalty for drug traffickers as part of a plan to combat the opioid epidemic in the United States. At a Pennsylvania rally a few weeks earlier, he called for the same. Now his administration is taking steps toward making this proposal a reality. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo on March 21 asking prosecutors to pursue capital punishment for drug traffickers — a power he has thanks to legislation passed under President Bill Clinton. Time and again, these punitive policies have proven ineffective…

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Plummeting Cost For Wind & Solar Means Economic Case For Coal & Gas Is ‘crumbling’

  By Joe Rom Think Progress (3/29/18) Prices for solar, wind, and battery storage are dropping so rapidly that renewables are increasingly squeezing out all forms of fossil fuel power, including natural gas. The cost of new solar plants dropped 20 percent over the past 12 months, while onshore wind prices dropped 12 percent, according to the latest Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) report. Since 2010, the prices for lithium-ion batteries — crucial to energy storage — have plummeted a stunning 79 percent (see chart). “The economic case for building new coal and gas capacity is crumbling,” as BNEF’s chief of energy…


The Denver Democratic Party Platform Now Has An Anti-Capitalist Plank, Thanks to Socialist Activists

By Miles Kampf-Lassin In These Times (3/28/18) In a sign of how far left the political axis has shifted since Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential run, on Saturday the Democratic Party of Denver officially ratified an anti-capitalist plank in its platform. The move was spurred by members of the Denver chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) who petitioned Denver County Democratic Assembly delegates to vote for an amendment to the official party platform. The language states: “We believe the economy should be democratically owned and controlled in order to serve the needs of the many, not to make profits…


Don’t Believe There Isn’t Money Enough For Health Care: The U.S. Is Spending $32 Million Per Hour On War

  Peace Science Digest Context: Ever since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, the War On Terror has cost the U.S. $5.6 trillion. Almost all of this price tag is financed through borrowed money, significantly increasing the national debt. In The News: “It’s a good time to reflect on what this war — the longest in U.S. history — has cost Americans and others around the world. First, the economic costs: According to estimates by the Costs of War project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, the war on terror has cost Americans a staggering $5.6 trillion since 2001, when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan….


Two-Thirds of Americans — Including Most In Wisconsin — Live In A “Constitution-Free Zone”

(Art from ACLU.) By Lornet Turnbull Yes! Magazine (3/23/18) In Hartford, Vermont, last year, U.S. Border Patrol agents boarded a Greyhound bus as it arrived from Boston, asking passengers about their citizenship and checking the IDs of people of color or those with accents. In January, they stopped a man in Indio, California, as he was boarding a Los Angeles-bound bus. In questioning him about his immigration status, they told him his “shoes looked suspicious,” like those of someone who had recently crossed the border. Interrogation, searches, demands for identification, and possible detainment are processes people are subjected to as they try to enter the…



Book Review: ‘Russian Roulette’ Documents Decades-Long Relationship Between Trumputin & Russian Interests

  By Charles Kaiser The Guardian (3/20/18) Whenever I finish a book like Russian Roulette, I ask myself the same question: why is anyone still debating whether there was collusion between the Russians and Donald Trump? Like Collusion, a comprehensive volume by the Guardian’s Luke Harding, this narrative by investigative reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn leaves the reader nearly overwhelmed by evidence that Trump and Vladimir Putin have been striving to collaborate for years. It was 2013 when Trump first tweeted that he wanted to be Putin’s “best friend”. Later he told Fox Putin looked “like a great leader”. Putin’s constant goals…


All American Torture: Bipartisan Republican & Democrat Assault On Human Rights

  Democrats’ Abject Surrender On Torture Is Nearly Complete By Marcy Wheeler The HuffPost (3/15/18) In the same tweet he used to unceremoniously fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump announced the twin nominations of CIA Director Mike Pompeo as Tillerson’s replacement and CIA veteran Gina Haspel as the new head of the nation’s premier intelligence agency. Haspel, the CIA’s current deputy director, now stands to become the agency’s first female director, despite the fact that she previously supervised a CIA black site where detainees were tortured and was later implicated in the destruction of video…


Healthcare For All: Rep. Ron Kind Misses A Big Opportunity To Show Leadership & Listen To Voters

Rep. Ron Kind ignores the health care concerns of 3rd Congressional District democrats this past Saturday in Sparta.   By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (3/15/18) This past Saturday the Democratic Party Third Congressional District Convention was held in the American Legion Hall in Sparta. Somewhere around 100 democratic party activists from all over the far flung 3rd CD gathered to hear from candidates for a variety of offices, debate a slate of interesting resolutions and network with other activists. A contingent of Vernon County delegates (I was one) decided we needed to carry the cause of Medicare For…


Jump In Overdoses Shows Opioid Epidemic Has Worsened, Especially In Wisconsin

By Rob Stein All Things Considered/NPR (3/6/18) There’s more bad news about the nation’s devastating opioid epidemic. In just one year, overdoses from opioids jumped by about 30 percent, according to a report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The overall increase in opioid overdoses seen in hospital emergency rooms between the third quarter of 2016 and the third quarter of 2017 occurred across the nation. Some parts of the country experienced far greater increases, while a few have reported declines, the analysis shows. “We have an emergency on our hands,” says acting CDC Director Anne Schuchat. “The fast-moving opioid overdose…


Billy Graham — Over & Over Again, On The Wrong Side Of History And Morality

  By Matthew Avery Sutton The Guardian (2/21/18) When Billy Graham stands before the judgment seat of God, he may finally realize how badly he failed his country, and perhaps his God. On civil rights and the environmental crisis, the most important issues of his lifetime, he championed the wrong policies. Graham was on the wrong side of history. The world’s most famous evangelist let his apocalyptic anticipation of the coming kingdom of God blind him to the realities of living in this world. For Graham, the Bible had a clear message for Christians living in what he believed were humans’ last…


Robert Reich: Morality & The Common Good Must Be At Center Of Fighting Trump’s Economic Agenda

  Democracy Now! (2/20/18) As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump made a promise to the American people: There would be no cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Well, the promise has not been kept. Under his new budget, President Trump proposes a massive increase in Pentagon spending while cutting funding for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Trump’s budget would also slash or completely eliminate core anti-poverty programs that form the heart of the U.S. social safety net, from childhood nutrition to care for the elderly and job training. This comes after President Trump and Republican lawmakers pushed through a…


Scarlet Letter: What The NRA ‘A’ Rating Is Really All About

  “Lives Over Bribes” — Gun control rally sign. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (2/22/18) The recent mass shooting — the latest bauble on the bloody necklace of American exceptionalism — has ignited the recent episode of national gun cult debate we have all grown numbingly use to. There are the predictable laments of “never thought it could happen here”, the candle-lit vigils, prayer services, grieving families, parades of ambulances and the empty thoughts and cynical prayers of the nation’s supposed ruling class. A ruling class that just can’t bring itself to even consider a tiny less wealth…


Our Escalating War Against Our Children

    By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (2/19/18) Since its founding the citizens of the United States have been quite comfortable with the killing and mass slaughter of other peoples’ children. From the ongoing genocide of the Native American population through violence, disease and introduced addictions on to the wars of empire waged in Cuba, Mexico, the Philippines, Central America, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. We continue to kill other peoples’ children with the casual selective blindness of industrialized for-profit warfare in Iraq (where our mercenaries continue to operate) and Yemin (where we supply the Saudi military with cluster…


After Last Week’s Insanity We Need The Dalai Lama’s Guide To Happiness

  amillionsmilesmovie (10/8/13) This video looks at ‘Buddhism and Happiness’, as we ask are they a match made in heaven or something else? This eight minute epic reveals some incredible insights into human behaviour and values that impact our happiness, particularly in this materialistic Western life so many are living, or reaching for. The Dalai Lama’s talk is from his ‘the quest for happiness’ public talk in Adelaide during his ‘Beyond Religion’ tour in Australia. While we would have ideally used footage of Tibetan monks in this video, we were unable to and instead used footage from our recent trip…


CARTOON: Whitewashing US Imperialism: How Textbooks Get History Wrong & Dupe Students

  By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca Zinn Education Project (2/10/18) Recently, with the possibility of Special Counsel Robert Mueller III subpoenaing President Trump in the headlines, I found myself discussing the Russian hacking allegations with my U.S. History class. Having just finished our Cold War unit, my students were much less concerned about Russia tampering with U.S. elections than they were about the historical amnesia regarding the past meddling of the U.S. government. Max said: “Why is the media making such a big deal about this? What the Russians are accused of is nothing compared to what the U.S. did in Cuba.” Sarah…


No Republican Love For Poor & Middle Class This Valentine’s Day

  By Josh Hoxie Other Words (2/7/18) Love is in the air. Or so the marketers want us to believe, as Valentine’s Day ads sweep the nation into a frenzy of buying flowers, greeting cards, and confections to communicate our affection. Washington is less forthcoming with the adoration, especially for working people. You’re probably tired of hearing about the tax plan passed by Congress late last year. If not, just wait for the media barrage coming your way from the Republican donor class, which is guaranteed to make the Super Bowl Tide ads look like child’s play. In case you…


Death By Gig Economy Is A Warning To All American Workers

New York City professional ‘black car’ driver was pushed to suicide by grinding economic pressures of unfair competition from Uber and Lyft services.   “It is too late for me so who is next? Maybe you and yours? Everyone needs to fix this now.” (Editor’s Note: This is the final (2/5) Facebook post by New York City ‘black car’ driver Douglas Schfiter, who within hours of posting the commentary committed suicide in front of New York City Hall. The challenges of corporate abuse and political corruption he describes is not just true for taxi and livery drivers in the age…


How Rich Are The Filthy Rich? If Only You Knew

  By Gil B. Manzon Jr. The Conversation (2/5/18) “If poor people knew how rich rich people are, there would be riots in the streets.” Actor and comedian Chris Rock made this astute statement during a 2014 interview with New York magazine, referring to the yawning gap between rich and poor. In so doing, he stumbled upon a key challenge in the study of inequality. What’s the best way to measure it? Most inequality studies have focused on income – measures of which are widely available. However, being rich is not about a single year of earnings but rather about the accumulation of wealth…


The Clock Is Ticking — ‘Blood Clot’ Dem Leadership Not Up To The Tumputin March To Fascism

By Harvey “Sluggo” Wasserman Reader Supported News (2/3/18) The partisan uproar over the release of the infamous Nunes memo on FBI surveillance MUST be accompanied by the release of Donald Trump’s tax returns. If Trump is to be consistent about openness in government and the public’s right to critical information, releasing his tax returns is the least he can do in conjunction with this attack on the FBI. But of course that would be too much to ask of this White House, which has long since established itself as a fascist regime that hates democracy and is consistent only in…


“The Devil’s Chessboard” — Interview With Author David Talbot On The Evil History Of The CIA

  “Writing is fighting.” By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (2/1/18) Author David Talbot’s “The Devil’s Chessboard” (2015) provides an intriguing and necessary “counternarrative” to understanding American history since World War II. Talbot’s in-depth reporting exposes the bloodied cutting edge of the darkest wing of the Wall Street oligarchy. It is the nepotism and incestuous American secret corporate state that has led the nation into a parade of bloody and completely failed wars, coups and international murder and torture. From Central America to Vietnam, to Africa and the Middle East and Afghanistan the trail of bloody American failure and…


Donald Trump Is Worming His Way Deep Into Your Brain, Linguist Warns. SAD!

  By Mary Papenfuss The HuffPost (1/22/18) President Donald Trump is colonizing our brains with his drumbeat of repetitive words and phrases, an American linguist warns. According to George Lakoff, an emeritus professor of cognitive science and linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley, constant repetitions actually create physical changes in our brains by forging stronger connections in our neural pathways, “Language activates an idea and a circuitry in your brain. Every time a circuit is activated, its synapses get stronger,” Lakoff told Deutsche-Welle in an interview published Sunday. In other words, the more you hear things — and say things — the stronger the…


George Lakoff: The Power Of Positive Persistence

  By George Lakoff George Lakoff’s Website (1/24.18) Like some foreign dictator, the Republican in the White House will launch a planned attack on the free press today. But he’s been in an ongoing campaign against the truth since Day One. It’s alarming because presidents don’t act this way. Dictators do. And there’s evidence to suggest that the Republican president’s constant attacks on the news media have encouraged dictators in other countries to continue their repression of journalists. There’s a place for angry response and outrage. That’s only human. But we also need strategic action to make sure every passing day fuels…


Biographer David Cay Johnston: Trump Is Determined To Provoke War To Draw Focus From Racist & Erratic Behavior

  Democracy Now! (1/18/18) The New York Times reports that the Pentagon is proposing widening the permissible use of nuclear weapons to include responding to cyberattacks and other non-nuclear attacks to U.S. infrastructure. The Pentagon has already outlined this expanded nuclear strategy in a draft document sent to President Trump for approval. It comes amid a “After all, what helps strengthen your position if you’re a dictator-in-waiting, which is what Donald is, but some kind of incident that will stir the public and focus people away from his crazy, racist, uninformed, ignorant behavior?” series of moves by the Pentagon and…


Group Of Quisling Democrats Just Handed Trump More Domestic Surveillance Powers. They Should Know Better.

  By Trevor Timm NBC News (1/11/18) Democrats have been all over the airwaves recently accusing Donald Trump of abusing the Justice Department to go after his political enemies —most notably his former opponent Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, which the Department of Justice is reportedly currently investigating based on allegation made during the 2016 presidential campaign. So you’d think they would oppose handing Donald Trump any more power with which he could potentially use against all sorts of Americans who attract negative attention from his administration. Yet, with the help of some Democrats, the House of Representatives voted today — and the…


Perverting The Language: How The Media Protects A Man Unfit For Office

  By Robert Reich Robert Reich’s Blog (1/12/18) Now that Trump has been president for almost a year, it’s time the media called his behavior for what it is rather than try to normalize it. Here are the six most misleading media euphemisms for conduct unbecoming a president: 1. Calling Trump’s tweets “presidential “statements” or “press releases.” “The President is the President of the United States, so they’re considered official statements by the President of the United States,” Trump’s first press secretary, Sean Spicer, said last June when asked during his daily briefing how his tweets should be characterized Wrong. Trump’s tweets are…


Sure, Trump May Be Stupid, Incurious & Lazy But There Is One Way He Is An Absolute Genius

  By Robert Reich RobertReich.org (1/6/18) For more than a year now, I’ve been hearing from people in the inner circles of official Washington – GOP lobbyists, Republican pundits, even a few Republican members of Congress – that Donald Trump is remarkably stupid. I figured they couldn’t be right because really stupid people don’t become presidents of the United States. Even George W. Bush was smart enough to hire smart people to run his campaign and then his White House. Several months back when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “f—king moron,” I discounted it. I know firsthand how frustrating…


Republicans Twist Language When They Say ‘Reforms’ But Really Mean ‘Cuts’

By Jared Bernstein The Washington Post (12/29/17) I have a simple request to journalists, columnist, pundits, and others writing about forthcoming efforts of Republicans to cut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the anti-poverty programs that make up our safety net. Call such efforts “cuts.” Do not call them “reforms,” “changes,” “overhauls,” “fixes,” “reshaping,” “modernizing,” or any other euphemism that could easily be misconstrued. At least, do not do so without also clearly defining what they really are, which is cuts. While D.C. insiders speak the unique creole of our swamp, there’s no reason to expect general readers to intuitively understand…


How’s This For A New Years Resolution? The Democratic Party Is Yours. Take It

This and unionizing your workplace are good new year’s resolutions, if you don’t have one already. By Hamilton Noah Splinter News (12/29/17) Are you discouraged by our national political nightmare? Looking for a project for the new year? Great: Your local Democratic Party, which may not be worth a damn today, is just waiting for you to revive it. Do you live in “red” America? Are you surrounded by Trump voters? Have you spent the past year asking yourself what dark stroke of fate has plunged you into this nightmarish world, making you question whether your friends and neighbors are…


DEA Operation Played Hidden Role In Disappearance Of Five Innocent Mexicans

  The agency knew why the victims were kidnapped in 2010 by the Zetas drug cartel from a Holiday Inn in Mexico, but it did nothing to investigate or help. By Ginger Thompson ProPublica (12/21/17) At about 2 a.m. on April 21, 2010, a convoy of gunmen working for the Zetas drug cartel, one of the most violent drug trafficking organizations in the world, rolled into Monterrey, Mexico, a wealthy, bustling city considered that country’s commercial capital. With brazen efficiency, they set up roadblocks at all major thoroughfares, then sent a convoy of sport utility vehicles downtown, encircling a Holiday…


Virginia’s New Socialist Lawmaker Calls Out Noodle Spine Dem Governor-Elect On Health Care

  By Zaid Jilani The Intercept (12/23/17) DEMOCRATS IN VIRGINIA and around the country rebuked Virginia Gov.-elect Ralph Northam for softening on a campaign promise to push for Medicaid expansion in a recent interview with the Washington Post. Newly elected state Delegate Lee Carter, a Democratic Socialist, says enough is enough, warning that Northam may be alienating the Democrats who put him in office. Northam told the Washington Post last weekend that he will not try to force a vote on expanding Medicaid — an issue that was central to his campaign — in the legislature. Responding to criticisms, the governor-elect’s spokesperson told the Washington Post that Northam still wants to expand the…


SLURS: Three Republican Lies About The Poor Being Used To Support Slashing US Safety Net

  By Michele Gillman The Conversation (12/13/17) Republicans continue to use long-debunked myths [lies] about the poor as they defend lower taxes for the rich and deep cuts to the social safety netto pay for them. In so doing, they are essentially expressing scorn for working class and low-income Americans. Sen. Chuck Grassley, for example, recently justified reducing the number of wealthy families exposed to the estate tax as a way to recognize “the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.” Similarly, Sen. Orrin Hatch raised concerns about funding certain entitlement…


Bipartisan Stupidity & Blindness Have Destroyed Whatever Democracy The US Ever Had

Our Clueless Leader By Dave Lindorff Counter Punch (12/15/17) Okay, somebody has to say this, so it might as well be me. The American political system exists as it is because of two reasons: 1) The majority of Republican voters are either incredibly ignorant or are simply incredibly selfish, and 2)  The majority of Democratic voters are so blinded by their fear of Republicans that they will vote for the most puerile, manipulative, deceitful, greedy and/or feckless candidates, as long as they are Democrats, and will re-elect them even after having been betrayed by them time and time again. There, I’ve…


Paul Ryan’s Primary Challenger Pushes Ugly White Nationalist Ideology & Coded Nazi Language

  (Editor’s Note: While his ideology and racist language may be crude, don’t underestimate the potential impact of far right Paul Ryan primary challenger Paul Nehlen. In the 2016 election he produced a powerful campaign video and his campaign website is slick. Clearly he has a lot of money behind him – his or others. – Mark L. Taylor) By Christopher Mathias The HuffPost (12/16/17) HuffPost asked Paul Nehlen three times by email this week if he considers himself a white nationalist. Twice Nehlen dodged the question. The third time he didn’t respond. The Wisconsin Republican is running to replace House Speaker Paul…


CARTOON: How Rep. Ron Kind Chose To Observe Today’s 5th Anniversary Of The Sandy Hook Slaughter Of Innocent Children & Teachers

  Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (12/14/17) On Dec. 6 Wisconsin’s Democratic Rep. Ron Kind Voted For The National Rifle Association’s ‘Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017’, Which Overrides State & Local Protections From Handgun Violence. In many states, including Wisconsin, concealed carry gun permits are easier to get than a drivers license. Two states encourage mail-in orders for concealed carry gun permits from non-residents. Few states require permit holders to pass any kind of rigorous, real-world training and evaluation of gun handling skills and judgment. On December 6 Rep. Ron Kind joined his close pal republican Rep. Paul…


Time Again To Remember 20 Lessons From The 20th Century On How To Survive In Trump’s America

    (Editor’s Note: Periodically we post Timothy Snyder’s ’20 Lessons’ as a powerful reminder of how to survive the growing fascism of Trump’s America. With the passage of the Republican tax scam for the super wealthy next year we can expect gutting of Medicare, Social Security and other programs Americans depend upon. The need for organizing, action and lighting a fire under the ass of the corporate democrats will be greater than ever. Stay awake. Stay strong. Resist the bastards. – Mark L. Taylor) By Tim Snyder In These Times (10/21/17) This article first appeared as a post on…


Dunderhead: Rewiring The Dull, Primitive, Slumbering, Antiscientific Democratic Party Brain With George Lakoff

By Melissa Batchelor Warnke San Francisco Magazine (12/1/17) “Democrats are basically science deniers,” George Lakoff says. “They’re denying the truth discovered in neuroscience and cognitive science.” Harsh words, coming from a lifelong liberal Democrat. But the famed UC Berkeley cognitive linguist thinks his party desperately needs a wake-up call. If they’d listened to him, he says, Donald Trump would not be president. As the election approached, Lakoff was looking forward to retirement. He’d been a professor at Berkeley for the better part of 50 years; he’d published countless peer-reviewed papers; he’d written or coauthored a dozen books. And he’d made a mark…


The Humane & Affordable Luxury Of Socialized Medicine

  By Megan Day Jacobin Magazine The standard case for a single-payer health insurance system is pretty well known. Anyone can get care without courting financial ruin. Monumental personal decisions, like when to have a child or whether to leave or take a job, no longer hinge on the whims of an employer or the dysfunctions of the private insurance market. Surprise hospital bills, endless phone calls with insurance companies, juggling premiums, copays, and deductibles — all will be things of the past. The case against single-payer often boils down to a single word: rationing. When critics peddle scare stories about Canadian or…


With Roy Moore, Republicans Fully Embrace & Own The Ugliest Political Poster Boy, Ever

  “He totally denies it. He said it didn’t happen.” – Donald J. Trump Oh, okay, Don… By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (11/27/17) There is a very real chance that an accused multiple child sex offender is going to be elected to the United States Senate on a Republican ticket. A man, who, in his 30’s was banned from the local mall because of his reported predatory hitting on teenage sales girls. The behavior by the young assistant district attorney – who, obviously, should have known better – was so troubling it freaked out the community. With a…


As Republicans Scramble To Hand Massive Tax Cuts To Their Billionaire Owners, States Notify Parents Of 9 Million Children They Will Lose Their Health Insurance Unless Congress Acts

  Republicans At Work: Forget The Kids, It’s Time To Hand Out Huge Tax Cuts For Billionaires! By Colby Itkowitz & Sandhya Somashekhar The Washington Post (11/24/17) fficials in nearly a dozen states are preparing to notify families that a crucial health insurance program for low-income children is running out of money for the first time since its creation two decades ago, putting coverage for many at risk by the end of the year. Congress missed a Sept. 30 deadline to extend funding for CHIP, as the Children’s Health Insurance Program is known. Nearly 9 million youngsters and 370,000 pregnant…