FEATURE

Scotty’s Big Con: Wisconsin’s Foxconn Deal Enriches Billionaires With Taxpayer Cash

  By Sam Pizzigati Common Dreams (8/28/17) Taiwanese billionaire Terry Gou every once in a while likes to think “outside the box.” Back in 2010, for instance, the giant electronics manufacturer that Gou runs — Foxconn — was facing what corporate flacks like to call a major “PR problem.” Working conditions inside Foxconn’s massive Chinese factories had become so incredibly stressful that workers were committing suicide in shockingly large numbers. They were leaping out factory windows to their deaths. And what did Gou’s Foxconn do to try to calm the worldwide outrage? The conventional corporate move would have been to dial back the…

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Democratic Socialism In 5 Minutes Or Less

  By Dayton Martindale In These Times (8/24/17) dem·o·crat·ic so·cial·ism – noun The political philosophy of In These Times’ founders, who in their first editorial proclaimed: “Our overriding commitment is to democracy, to socialism as the means to its attainment, and to the inseparability of the two.” “Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God’s children.” —Martin Luther King, Jr. in a 1965 speech to the Negro American Labor Council So What Does That Actually Entail? Ask any two socialists and you’ll likely get different answers. Ask any…


Warning From A WW II Veteran: In 1939, I Didn’t Hear War Coming. Now It’s Thundering Approach Can’t Be Ignored

The 1933 burning of the Reichstagg was the tipping point to the Nazis taking full reign of the German government. A lot of evidence suggests that the Polish communist convicted of the arson was a patsy and the Nazis themselves torched the building to trigger a crisis justifying suspension of normal civic rules and protections.   By Harry Leslie Smith The Guardian (8/14/17) A chill of remembrance has come over me during this August month. It feels as if the 2017 summer breeze is being scattered by the winds of war blowing from across our world towards Britain, just like…


Want Affordble, Universal Health Care? Then Change The Debate & Redefine Solution

  By Scott Galindez Reader Supported News (8/26/17) One of my heroes, Paul Wellstone, used to say: “In the last analysis, politics is not predictions and politics is not observations. Politics is what we do. Politics is what we do, politics is what we create, by what we work for, by what we hope for and what we dare to imagine.” Imagine a country where you go to the doctor, he treats you, and the bill gets paid for by your tax dollars. We can create that world if we lead! It is time to stop worrying about labels. It…


Mike McCabe: Ignoring Citizenship Education Both Betrays The Founders & Places Nation At Risk

  By Mike McCabe Blue Jean Nation (8/21/17) If you take the long view of history, our school system has strayed far from its roots. What today are called public schools originally were known as common schools. Central to the mission of common schools was making democracy possible. In 1779 Thomas Jefferson proposed providing basic education to the masses. Civic literacy was at the heart of Jefferson’s plan. He emphasized the study of history as a means of cultivating moral and civic virtues and enabling the masses to know and exercise their rights and duties. To Jefferson, schooling’s purpose was…


Be VERY Careful What You Ask For: People Cheer Companies Kicking Nazis Off The Internet. But Who’s Next?

  By Jessica Shulberg The HuffPost (8/18/17) WASHINGTON ― The Daily Stormer, a website started by a neo-Nazi, has promoted racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic and misogynistic content since it was founded in 2013. But this week, after a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, several tech companies effectively kicked the site off the internet. Some of the companies that stopped doing business with The Daily Stormer argued that the website violated their terms of service by inciting violence, which major internet companies prohibit. But a CEO at of one of those firms sent an email to staffers on Wednesday that frankly…


Shades Of Things To Come To All Of Us: Despite Low Crime Rates, Miami Police Expand Their Use Of Military Vehicles & Weaponry

‘Scairdy Cat Nation By Matthew MacEgan World Socialist Web Site (8/11/17) An investigative report appearing in a Miami newspaper, the New Times, provides details about the Miami-Dade Police Department’s expanded use of military-grade equipment vehicles on an everyday basis. The MDPD announced Monday that they will begin “randomly” sending out their “rapid deployment force” to various county buildings, as well as public transit stops. In Monday’s press release, MDPD stated, “In keeping with our ongoing homeland security initiatives, the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) today begins its Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) as an enhanced security presence to deter threats to critical infrastructure sites…


Naomi Klein: War May Be The Next Big Venture On Trump’s Menu

  By Adria Vasil NOW Toronto (8/18/17 Breaking down the shell game behind U.S. politics is activist journalist Naomi Klein’s specialty. In her latest book, No Is Not Enough: Resisting The New Shock Politics And Winning The World We Need, Klein warns, six months into Donald Trump’s dizzying presidency, not to take our eyes off the kleptocracy-in-the-making behind the reality freak show in Washington. Namely, the corporate CEOs, billionaires and bankers busily using the cover of endless crises in American politics to launch a coup of their own against the welfare state. What we’re seeing from the Corbyn and Sanders camps…


WDRT Interview: ‘Commoner Call’ Editor Mark Taylor & Contributing Columnist Dan Peak Talk Politics & Current Events

WDRT (7/22/17) The Commoner Call editor and web site’s “Russia Monitor” columnist Dan Peak have a wide-ranging conversation about a variety of political and current events topics on the appropriately named “Conversations” WDRT 91.9 weekly broadcast. WDRT is a local community based and supported alternative radio station, and located on Main Street in Viroqua, Wisconsin. Link to 59-Minute Audio  


The Lesson Of The Oak Creek Massacre: Hate Lost

The Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. To learn more: sikhtempleofwisconsin.com   By Christopher Mathias The HuffPost (8/5/17) OAK CREEK, Wis. — On a tragic day at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin five years ago, the doors were unlocked, as they often were. Today, visitors and congregants must buzz to get inside. Still, all are welcome and encouraged to set up a visit to the temple, including people who aren’t Sikh. There’s a box of head coverings ― square cloths in a variety of colors and designs, including the Stars and Stripes ― for visitors to wear. Delicious and freshly cooked food…


Whither Our Future: Orwell Or Huxley? It May Well Be That Huxley Was Right

  Social critic Neil Postman contrasted the worlds of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World in the foreword of his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death. He writes:   “What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egotism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us….


$3 Billion Foxconn Corporate Welfare Bill Includes $10M Giveaway For Walker & GOP Pal Fiserv

  Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (8/2/17) A bill that would provide $3 billion in state giveaways for Foxconn to locate a manufacturing plant in southeastern Wisconsin also includes millions in tax breaks for a big campaign contributor to Republican Gov. Scott Walker. The bill, which is expected to be considered by the legislature this month, includes $10 million in tax breaks intended to keep Fiserv, a Brookfield-based company that makes products for banks and credit unions, from relocating its headquarters to another state. The company is considering sites around Milwaukee, but has not ruled out locating its new headquarters outside Wisconsin. Fiserv is a…


This Billionaire Mega-Donor Gets It: The Democrats Need To Push Progressive Agenda

Time’s awasting, Dems!   By  Jake Johnson Common Dreams (7/17/17) As Democrats scramble to form a coherent and inspiring message for the 2018 congressional elections in the face of a historically unpopular president, billionaire Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer argued in a recent interview that they should look no further than the platform of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). While he acknowledged it is “much too early to be talking about 2020,” Steyer nonetheless insisted that Sanders’s ambitious ideas for tackling the various crises facing the United States and the world—from climate change to staggering inequality to a dysfunctional healthcare system—offer the Democrats a blueprint for victory. “When people say Bernie is…


Internet Freeze Out Begins: New Google Algorithm Restricts Access To Left-Wing, Progressive Web Sites

By Andre Damon and Niles Niemuth World Socialist Web Site (7/27/17) In the three months since Internet monopoly Google announced plans to keep users from accessing “fake news,” the global traffic rankings of a broad range of left-wing, progressive, anti-war and democratic rights organizations have fallen significantly. On April 25, 2017, Google announced that it had implemented changes to its search service to make it harder for users to access what it called “low-quality” information such as “conspiracy theories” and “fake news.” The company said in a blog post that the central purpose of the change to its search algorithm…


As American Injustice Climbs: States Conspire To Break & Muzzle Dissent

TheCommonerCall.org   By Chip Gibbons Jacobin (7/20/17) On January 20, 2017, as Donald Trump assumed the presidency after his surprise victory months before, many were anxious about what lay ahead. Throughout his campaign the reality TV star turned presidential contender had repeatedly shown his deep-seated authoritarian tendencies. Before, during, and after Trump was sworn in, on the streets of Washington DC, authoritarianism was on full display. The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) deployed flash grenades, tear gas, and “stingers” against protesters. Early in the day the MPD engaged in kettling, an intimidation tactic in which police pen in everyone in a…


VIDEO: Thomas Frank Lays Out How The Democrats From Bill Clinton On Handed America Over To The Republicans

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (7/31/17) Thomas Frank gives a free-wheeling talk on the recent history and current state of the Democratic Party. He also has a good conversation with the audience that really gives an understanding of how the bumbling democrats keep missing the message and, through that, continue their losing ways. The interview was from the middle of the 2016 election tornado before the primaries sealed America’s fate. If the democratic party is ever going to return to power the lessons Frank outlines must not only be learned but acted on in a way to…


The ‘Devil’s Chessboard’ – Allen Dulles, The CIA & The Rise Of The Secret Corporate State

  (Editor’s Note: David Talbot’s book on the role of the CIA in transforming our government into a branch office of Wall Street interests is an important book. This article will lead you to excerpts. I recommend the book highly to Commoner Call readers. – Mark L. Taylor) By Russ Baker WhoWhatWhy (7/26/17) Exactly 70 years ago today [7/26/17], President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act, creating the Department of Defense, the National Security Council, the Joint Chiefs of Staff — and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Sixteen years later — just one month after the Kennedy assassination…



Pony Up, Suckers: While Millions Go Without Basic Health Care, Taxpayers Pick Up The Tab For Trump Family Greed

By Brooke Seipel The Hill (4/14/17) The Secret Service has spent more than $35,000 on golf cart rentals at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort since his inauguration, CBS News reported Friday, as Trump begins another weekend in Florida. CBS News reported that it had reviewed purchase orders showing $35,185 in costs for renting golf carts during Trump’s frequent visits to Palm Beach, Fla. The president has played several rounds of golf at Trump-branded clubs, including in Florida and Virginia. Trump has come under fire for his frequent trips, which current estimates show have cost more than $20 million — nearly the amount President Obama spent on travel in…


Bloody Price Of Capitalism: Record Numbers Of Environmental Defenders Being Killed Globally

TheCommonerCall.org   By Jonathan Watts & John Vidal The Guardian (7/13/17) Last year was the most perilous ever for people defending their community’s land, natural resources or wildlife, with new research showing that environmental defenders are being killed at the rate of almost four a week across the world. Two hundred environmental activists, wildlife rangers and indigenous leaders trying to protect their land were killed in 2016, according to the watchdog group Global Witness – more than double the number killed five years ago. And the frequency of killings is only increasing as 2017 ticks by, according to data provided exclusively to the Guardian, with 98…


The Toughest & Most Important Story You Can Read This Month: The Uninhabitable Earth

(Editor’s Note: Ok, yes, this is a hard story to read, but it really is the most important one you can read this month. There is a concept in Buddhist psychology called ‘radical acceptance’. It is not acceptance that a situation is okay and should just be tolerated, but instead that, yes, things are as bad as they appear and that is the starting point to needed change. This article is an essential dose of radical acceptance for us all. – Mark L. Taylor) By Davide Wallace Wells New York Magazine (7/9/17) I. ‘Doomsday’ Peering beyond scientific reticence. It is, I…


Can You Even Imagine The US Govt. Putting Out A Message Like This 1947 War Office Film Today?

“A nation of suckers.” By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (7/13/17) I stumbled across a poignant little film put out by the United States War Office in 1947 called Don’t Be A Sucker” that was a warning against domestic fascism. Fresh off the devastating tragedy of World War II there was a worry that the ever present currents of American fascism could replicate and metastasize into what had recently occurred in Europe. Don’t Be A Sucker does a quaint but excellent job of briefly explaining the dangers of fascism and how fascists had been able to drive wedges between the…


George Lakoff: If Democrats Want To Win They Need To Understand How To Speak To Americans

  (Editor’s Note: If you are an activist who has heard some of the chatter about messaging and “framing” political messages, this article and the links provided will give you a quick and useful introduction to the work of George Lakoff – the dean of messaging. – Mark L. Taylor) By Daphne White Berkeleyside.com (6/2/17) George Lakoff, retired UC Berkeley professor and author of Don’t Think of an Elephant, is one of a very few people in Berkeley who does not underestimate Donald Trump. “Trump is not stupid,” he tells anyone who will listen. “He is a super salesman, and he knows…


Terminal Diagnosis: How US Healthcare Wound Up So Costly, Unfair, Inefficient, Ineffective & Deadly

  By Ray Suarez On Point (7/6/17) The most expensive, least efficient health care model in the developed world is ours. How did we get here? During debates over health care it was often said the U.S. has the best health care system in the world. But Americans are sicker, die younger, and pay more for care than their peers in other wealthy nations. There’s still an intense battle over the future of insurance. How did we get here? This hour On Point: The road Americans took to an expensive and inefficient system. Is it too late to change course? Guests…


Face Of The State: D.C. Cops Used Jailhouse ‘Rape As Punishment’ After Inauguration Day Mass Arrests, ACLU Lawsuit Says

By Andy Pyke ThinkProgress (6/22/17) When black-clad marchers began smashing windows in Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day, the city’s police force — reputedly the best in the country at upholding protesters’ rights during disruptive demonstrations — went nuclear. Officers quickly deployed pepper spray, tear gas, and crowd-control grenades of various types. The Metropolitan Police Department opted to “kettle” everyone on the streets nearby the initial anarchist-driven property destruction, something it does not, by reputation, make a habit of doing during protests. The mass round-up swept the “Antifa” rowdy types together with many peaceful protesters, journalists, and volunteer legal observers who turn out in bright…


From Now On, Single Payer Health Care Must Be A Deal Breaking Litmus Test For Democrats

By Scott Galindez Reader Supported News (6/18/17) I am so tired of hearing people say they don’t support litmus tests. If you can’t judge candidates by their positions on issues, then how do you know who to vote for? Too many people supported George W. Bush because he was a “good Christian man.” George Will is a great guy at a baseball game, but I disagree with him on the issues, and it is those disagreements that will cause me to not vote for him. Healthcare is important to me, and if a candidate does not support single payer healthcare,…


The Most Important Interview You Can Watch This Month: Yale Historian Timothy Snyder On How The U.S. Can Avoid Sliding Into Authoritarianism

“Twentyith century authoritarians have learned the way to dismantle systems like ours is to go after one institution and then the next. Which means that we have to have an active relationship with both to history, so you can see how failure arises and learn from people who try to protect institutions, but also an active relationship to our institutions; that institutions are only as good as the people who attempt to serve them ” – Timothy Snyder Democracy Now! (5/30/17) Is the United States sliding toward tyranny? That is the question posed by Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder…


We’re Not Asking For Much: Here’s Why We Progressives Can’t Stand The Current National Democratic Party

“I need you all to help us play defense,” [Tom] Perez pleaded with the crowd. “This is the most dangerous time of our lifetime.” ***** By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/25/17) The above quote was taken from the story below regarding the recent contentious California State Democratic Convention. Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez made his frantic plea as he was trying to tamp down a raucous crowd giving voice to the growing discontent of the progressive wing of the party. After a primary season of DNC deceit, duplicity and double-dealing progressives are no longer buying what the…


Two Must-See Videos: Explosive Dutch Documentaries Say Trump Has Deep Ties To Russia’s Mafia Underworld

  By David Ferguson The Raw Story (5/11/17) A Dutch TV documentary alleges that President Donald Trump has extensive connections to Russia’s ruling oligarchs and a history of illegal racketeering. “Donald Trump’s business partners have included Russian oligarchs and convicted mobsters, which could make the president guilty of criminal racketeering charges,” wrote Steven Rosenfeld at AlterNet on Friday. He continued, “That’s only one of the eyebrow-raising takeaways from a 45-minute Dutch documentary that first aired last week, ‘The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump, Part 1: The Russians.’” The 45-minute documentary was produced by Zembla TV and examines Trump’s alleged relationship with…


Sadism: The First Sign Of Emerging Dictatorship Has Made It’s Debut

TheCommonerCall.org By Juan Cole Informed Consent  (5/11/17) One of the classic techniques of dictatorship is humiliation, a manifestation of the sadism of the regime. Most people want to avoid being made the butt of ridicule, and authoritarian personalities calculate that they will even surrender some rights and liberties to avoid it. Even if you didn’t agree with him on many issues, Comey did not have an easy job and he put a lot of years and effort into it. If you’re his boss and you want to fire him, you owe him a face to face meeting to explain to him…


“We Need Your Help” – A Plea To Intelligence Agencies Of What’s Left Of The Free World…

The Resistance (5/11/17) The government of the United States is no longer in the hands of the people. We are victims of a coup. There is no time left for protocols or estimations of long-term impacts. What you have we need and we need it now. The Trump administration – the Trump junta is playing by no rules. What you, in the FBI and the CIA and the Justice Department, have on Trump we need now because by tomorrow it might disappear and your ability to do anything with may disappear as well. You must be the patriots now. We…


Thomas Frank: The Midwest Is Longing For Populism. Can Democrats Offer Genuine Reform In 2018?

  By Thomas Frank The Guardian (4/27/17) The tragedy of the 2016 election is connected closely, at least for me, to the larger tragedy of the industrial Midwest. It was in the ruined industrial city of Cleveland that the Republican Party came together in convention last July, and it was the deindustrialized, addiction-harrowed precincts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin that switched sides in November and delivered Donald Trump to the Oval Office. I am a Midwesterner too, and I like to think I share the values and outlook of that part of the country. I have spent many of…


Edward Bernays: Engineering The Consent & Blind Obedience Needed For Empire

  The Empire Files (6/4/16) With thousands of advertisements seen by Americans everyday, and a corporate media that reinforces the needs of Empire, propaganda in the U.S. is more pervasive and effective than ever before. The manipulation of public opinion through suggestion can be traced back to the father of modern propaganda, Edward Bernays, who discovered that preying on the subconscious mind was the best way to sell products people don’t need, and wars people don’t want. To get a deeper understanding of how propaganda functions in today’s society, Abby Martin interviews Dr. Mark Crispin Miller, professor of Media Studies…


‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ – Futuristic Dystopian Literature & Movies Provide The Story Line For The Present

  By Tom Ashbrook OnPoint (4/3/17) Dystopian fiction is having a heyday. We’ll look at the dystopian plots and perils that publishers love right now. Check out the new fiction coming from publishers these days and it may scare you to pieces. Not horror scare exactly, but dystopia. Dystopian fiction is all over the place now. Books of the future gone horribly wrong. A new civil war in America.  Crazy microbes on the loose. The planet a mess. Democracy done.  Insane inequality. Killer drones all over. Walls and fences and people fleeing Earth if they can. Great. This hour On…


Speaking Of War Criminals: While Syria May Well Have Used Poison Gas, Banned US Cluster Bombs Murder & Maim Children In Yemen

TheCommonerCall.org In Your Name And On Your Dime Brasscheck TV (4/11/17) Apparently, chaos in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria is not enough. The US is arming Saudi Arabia which is attacking civilian areas…with cluster bombs. A weapon so heinous it’s banned by 116 countries. Here are the countries that still use cluster bombs and will not sign the international treaty to ban them: North Korea Israel Russia Iran China Saudi Arabia The United States Why is our country on a list of scumbag governments like this? Link to 2+-Minute Video


This 1940 FDR Letter To Democratic Party Is Just As Relevant Today

  The Commoner Call (4/11/17) In the election of 1940 the corporate forces within the Democratic party objected to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s decision to pick his progressive Agriculture Secretary Henry Wallace as his vice presidential running mate. Then as now, the forces of high finance and big banking wanted to yank the party away from defending the commoners. Wall Street really didn’t want to see Wallace – the Bernie Sanders of his day – on the ticket. Then as now, top democratic party operatives were more interested in money, power and ego than the legitimate needs of the people….


New Questions As War Profiteering ‘Christian’ Mercenary Erik Prince Re-emerges In Trump/Russia Storyline

  By Lauren McCauley Common Dreams (4/4/17) The scandal surrounding President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia thickened a bit Monday after the Washington Post reported that “notorious mercenary” Erik Prince took part in a clandestine meeting with a confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin “as part of an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication” between Moscow and the White House. U.S., European, and Arab officials confirmed to the Post that the United Arab Emirates brokered the January 11 tête-à-tête between the unidentified Russian and Prince, brother of Trump’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos who founded the…


Why We Can’t Depend Upon The FBI To Tell Us Everything On The Question Of Trump’s Russia Connections

  By Russ Baker, C. Collins & Jonathan Z. Larsen WhoWhatWhy (3/27/17) The Federal Bureau of Investigation cannot tell us what we need to know about Donald Trump’s contacts with Russia. Why? Because doing so would jeopardize a long-running, ultra-sensitive operation targeting mobsters tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin — and to Trump. But the Feds’ stonewalling risks something far more dangerous: Failing to resolve a crisis of trust in America’s president. WhoWhatWhy provides the details of a two-month investigation in this 6,500-word exposé. Why is this president’s unusual enthusiasm for the Russian leader, and Russia in general, not already…


Watch: Bernie Sanders Talks ‘Dark Money’ With Journalist Jane Mayer, Who Literally Wrote The Book On It

  Common Dreams Staff (3/30/17) Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday sat down with investigative journalist Jane Mayer to discuss the threat that secretive and undisclosed campaign financing—exemplified by the outsized influence of powerful billionaires like Charles and David Koch—continues to have on U.S. democracy and what should be done to push back. Mayer—author of the 2016 best-seller Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right—recently wrote a feature for The New Yorker in which she detailed the significant role the deep pockets, and bizarre far-right politics, of billionaire Robert Mercer played in President…


Orwell’s Newspeak: Control The Language, Control The Society

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thought-crime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by eactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. . . . The process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. “Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. Even now, of course, there’s…