FEATURE

No Rest Or Respite For Beleaguered Refugees Around The World

  Assignment/BBC World Service A new smuggling route has opened up on the edge of Europe. Every week hundreds of Syrians are risking their lives to leave the continent and return home. Nawal Al-Maghafi joins refugees on the migration route to discover why so many people are choosing life in a warzone over the safety of Europe. Link to 27- Minute Audio ***** Inside The Trial Of 3 Guatemalan Mothers Separated From Their Children By John Burnett NPR (6/8/18) Three young Guatemalan women went on trial this week at the red-rock federal courthouse in Alpine, Texas. It’s about 70 miles from…

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Mike McCabe Plan Outlines Way To Fund Critically Needed Addiction & Health Care For Wisconsin

  Mike McCabe for Governor Campaign Website (3/20/18) Wisconsin governor candidate Mike McCabe today fleshed out his position in favor of fully legalizing the possession and use of marijuana by detailing a plan to tax legal sales and use the new source of revenue to fund expanded treatment options for those struggling with opioid and methamphetamine addiction and make higher education more affordable. Even before announcing his candidacy on September 12, McCabe publicly supported legalization of industrial hemp production as well as medicinal and personal use of marijuana. “Current drug laws have proven ineffective, counterproductive and racially discriminatory. Those who…


Above The Law: ‘Dear Leader’ Trump’s Authoritarian Movement Is Reaching An Inevitable Conclusion

“The imperial stage of this presidency has well and truly begun.”  By Jack Holmes Esquire (6/4/18) While you were enjoying the second weekend of summer, the president and his allies were waging a sustained campaign to suggest the law does not apply to him. Things kicked off with the (probable) leak of a letter Trump’s legal team sent to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, published by The New York Times, in which we learned that Trump essentially has unlimited power and authority—you know, like a king. The letter suggested that: Trump cannot, by virtue of being president, obstruct justice. Trump can “terminate…


First Thing To Understand About Our Opioid Crisis: The Problem Is NOT The Drug

Inflict enough institutionalized pain and degradation on society and the escape provided by drugs has a certain short-term logic. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/7/18) The linked National Public Radio report below on the entrenched and growing plague of opioid and methamphetamine addiction in Vinton County, Ohio is a perfect example of the fundamental and stubborn resistance of the nation to truly consider what the deepening national tragedy of dangerous substance abuse is really about. As a mental health and substance abuse counselor for 24 years one thing I know is that the drug is never the problem….


Meet The Radical Economist Behind The One Percent’s Quiet Takeover Of America

 Stealth and deliberate deception. By Lynn Parramore Institute For Economic Thinking (5/30/18) Ask people to name the key minds that have shaped America’s burst of radical right-wing attacks on working conditions, consumer rights and public services, and they will typically mention figures like free market-champion Milton Friedman, libertarian guru Ayn Rand, and laissez-faire economists Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. James McGill Buchanan is a name you will rarely hear unless you’ve taken several classes in economics. And if the Tennessee-born Nobel laureate were alive today, it would suit him just fine that most well-informed journalists, liberal politicians, and even many…


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…


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…


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…


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…


Down The Memory Hole: Dismantling Democracy, One Word At A Time

“The secret of propaganda [is to] permeate the person it aims to grasp without his even noticing that he is being permeated.” — Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister for Hitler’s Nazi Party By Karen Greenberg TomDispatch.org (5/17/18) Consider us officially in an Orwellian world, though we only half realize it. While we were barely looking, significant parts of an American language long familiar to us quite literally, and in a remarkably coherent way, went down the equivalent of George Orwell’s infamous Memory Hole. This hit me in a personal way recently. I was asked to give a talk at an annual…


Israeli Human Rights Crimes Are America’s Crimes & We Are Yoked To The Bloody Results

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/17/18) The wholesale, coldly methodical violence by Israeli military forces against thousands of Palestinain protesters this week has been as riveting as it is revolting. As dozens of dead and hundreds of badly wounded were filling the blood-soaked hallways of Gaza hospitals the world was treated to the self-satisfied smugness of Trump’s “little ghoul” daughter Ivanka and her husband and Trump “boy senior adviser” Jared Kushner and chortling Israeli officials at a swanky “opening” of the new American embassy in Jerusalem (which actually hasn’t yet been built). As gut wrenching as the…


An Open Letter From Hunters About Gun Reform

  By Daniel Ashe The HuffPost (5/9/18) We are Republican, Democratic and independent. We come from the East, South, Midwest and West. We are conservative, progressive and liberal. We are men and women. We include eight members of the Circle of Chiefs, the highest conservation honor of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. We are all different in many ways, but we have important commonalities. We are Americans; we are gun owners; we are hunters; and we support responsible firearm regulation. Yes, the Second Amendment conveys a right to “keep and bear” firearms. But rights come with responsibilities, and we…


A Never Trumper Reveals What It Is Like To Step Outside The Cult & Has A Warning For The Nation

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/10/18) In an interesting in-depth interview on the Young Turks network exiled Republican strategist, commentator and never-Trump republican Cheri Jacobus provides insight on what it is like to be a republican standing in opposition to Donald Trump and the racist, authoritarian rule he represents. Early on in the primary process leading to the 2016 presidential election Jacobus challenged Trump’s candidacy and immediately was black balled not only from Fox News but CNN as well. She had appeared on both networks hundreds of times before and never since. She became the target of…


Mike McCabe Calls For ‘fix ‘em first’ & ‘pay as we pave’ Policies On Our Roads

  Just another stretch of Hwy. 14 running through Vernon County, between Readstown and Viroqua. Mile after mile of cracked n’ crumbling Wisconsin republican blacktop.  McCabe for Governor (5/1/18) Wisconsin’s roads and bridges are deteriorating badly and the state needs a whole new approach to strengthening its transportation infrastructure that prioritizes fixing existing roads before expanding or building new ones and paying as we pave to end excessive borrowing, governor candidate Mike McCabe said today as he called for bringing back automatic adjustments in the gas tax for inflation to keep revenue in line with road expenses. Of all the…


Amazon Pays Nothing In Federal Income Taxes Yet Grabs $137 Million In Tax Rebates

  By Bernie Sanders Bernie Sanders’ Facebook Page (5/18/18) Last year, not only did Amazon pay nothing in federal income taxes, it received a $137 million tax rebate from the IRS. It turns out Amazon is not alone. Last year, 15 profitable corporations, including AFLAC, Eli Lilly, Metlife, Prudential Financial, and Molson Coors also paid nothing in federal income taxes after posting a combined $24.5 billion in profits. And that was BEFORE Trump signed his disastrous tax plan into law slashing corporate taxes by some 40 percent. In 1952, corporate income taxes accounted for 32 percent of all federal revenue….


Thanks To Trump & Russpublicans, Major Corporations Set To Hand Over ‘Obscene’ $1 Trillion To Wealthy Investors Instead Of Workers

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (5/2/18) As even one member of the Republican Party was forced to admit earlier this week, President Donald Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut has done virtually nothing for the vast majority of American workers—but evidence continues to roll in that it has been a massive boon for the largest corporations. According to new data compiled by S&P Dow Jones Indices, America’s biggest and most profitable companies are on track to hand “a record $1 trillion to investors through dividend increases and stock buybacks.” A major example of companies using their tax savings to buy their own stock…


Leftist Dilemma: The Double Russia Conspiracy Trap

By Paul Street Counter Punch (4/27/18) The RussiaGate conspiracy drama is a double-edged damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don’t trap for people on the portside. The perils of signing on to the storyline are clear as day to any self-respecting Leftist. Five come to mind off the top of my head: 1. Neo-McCarthyite distraction from numerous terrible things that the racist, nativist, sexist, white-nationalist, and eco-cidal, planet-cooking Trump administration and the Republican Party are doing with scant serious opposition from the dismal dollar Democrats. The media and the Democrats have the political culture mired in the Russia-Trump conspiracy while the in-power right-wing has worked all-too behind the…


Americans & Guns: A United State Of Insecurity

  The Why Factor/BBC (4/23/18) In the USA, those least likely to become victims of gun violence are the most likely to carry guns. So if they are not likely to become victims of crime, what are they really afraid of? We speak to people getting their gun licence to try and untangle what lies behind their anxieties and discover it’s about something much less tangible. Link to Story and 23-Minute Audio (Commoner Call photo by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Opensource nd free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommnercall.org )


Pulitzer-Winning Reporter David Cay Johnston: “The evidence suggests Trump is a traitor”

  [Editor’s Note: Please listen to this interview. Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston’s insights on Trump and his long ties with the Mafia and Russian oligarchs and the only way the democrats can unseat Trump are spot on. Unlike many, he calls things as they are. Also, listen to Chauncey DeVargas’ comments afterward. He gives a hard dose of reality that we on the left need to fully grasp about what may well be coming even if — especially if — Trump were driven from office. This is serious business, folks and the democrats and the left really…


Black Agenda Report: Democrats Prepare To Pimp Their Own Lefties For 2018 & 2020.

By Bruce A. Dixon Black Agenda Report (4/26/18) Every two years, Democrats need a Big Black Vote, along with impressive turnouts of Latino and Latina voters, the elderly, students and young people to maintain their status as a national party. They need this turnout of their base constituencies to elect governors, members of Congress and state legislators, senators and of course the president. So while the commanding heights of the Democratic party remain securely in the hands of the representatives of capital, empire and the deep state, Democrats must allow self-identified leftists a certain amount of room to campaign for…


Feeling Safe, Yet? Border Patrol Fines Woman $500 For Saving Free Delta Air Lines Apple

  By Alexandra Deabler MSN (4/22/18) A Colorado woman is facing a $500 fine from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol for saving a free apple she received as a snack from Delta Air Lines on her way back to the United States from Paris, France. Crystal Tadlock told Fox 31 Denver, toward the end of her flight from Paris, flight attendants passed out apples in plastic bags as a snack. Tadlock put the fruit in her carry-on to save for when she was hungry during the second leg of her trip. Once Tadlock arrived in the U.S., she went through Customs and…


‘Bring The War Home’ Shows Right Wing ‘Lone Wolf’ Terrorists Are Really Part Of A Pack

  By Lulu Garcia-Navarro Sunday Morning Edition/NPR (4/22/18) Last year, when neo-Nazis and members of the so called alt-right demonstrated in Charlottesville, Va., many Americans evinced shock that such a thing could happen: A demonstration of the white power movement, in 2017. But it’s only the latest in a history of social activism that goes back decades — and, as Kathleen Belew argues in her new book, Bring the War Home, we ignore that history at our peril. In it, she explains what many disparate events have in common — the war in Vietnam. The aftermath of warfare has correlated with widespread…


Top Republican Official Says Trump Won Wisconsin Because Of Voter Suppression ID Law

  By Ari Berman Mother Jones (4/16/18) Election officials and Democrats in Wisconsin have repeatedly argued that the state’s strict voter ID law allowed Donald Trump to win the state in 2016 by keeping thousands of voters—predominantly in Democratic-leaning areas—from the polls. Now a top Republican official in the state is saying the same thing. “We battled to get voter ID on the ballot for the November ’16 election,” Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, who defended the law in court, told conservative radio host Vicki McKenna on April 12. “How many of your listeners really honestly are sure that Sen. [Ron] Johnson was going to win reelection or President Trump…


WisDems May Be On The Verge Of (Once Again) Snatching Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory

  By Scott Wittkopf Frame For The Future (4/11/18) After the election of Rebecca Dallett to the Supreme  Court of Wisconsin, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin kicked its messaging machine into high gear. They had a very focused message – the “blue wave” is inevitable. Dallett’s win can be contributed to a number of factors – most of which had a lot to do with the candidate herself, and the campaign she ran. Another important aspect was the fact that her opponent was weak, and fell back on a very ineffective style of campaign – just attack your opponent. Now,…


A Whole New Meaning For Trumputin’s MAGA

Okay — yes, yes — I know, Trumputin’s personal attorney and shady fixer Michael Cohen didn’t get arrested by the feds. He just had his home, office and hotel room raided by the FBI, sparking a Twitter meltdown by Donald “The Don” Trumputin. Just another ho-hum day in Trumplandia. But I just couldn’t help putting a comment from a reader on The Young Turks website to work in a cartoon: “M.A.G.A …..My attorney got Arrested.” So, yeah, Cohen hasn’t gotten arrested … yet. Hell, the week isn’t even done. A news item came out Wednesday that Justice Department special counsel Robert…


The Dem Party Establishment’s Long, Ugly History Of Sabotaging Progressives Candidates

By Branko Marcetic In These Times (4/5/18 – May issue) In February, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) attempted to undermine Democratic primary candidate Laura Moser out of fear she’s too far left. The Houston journalist and activist is running in Texas’s 7th District on a platform of single payer, gun control and reproductive rights. In a move typically reserved for Republican opponents, the DCCC—whose mission is to fundraise for Democratic House candidates—posted opposition research it had conducted on Moser. Citing her recent move to Texas from Washington, D.C., and her campaign’s payments to her husband’s D.C. research firm, the memo portrayed her as corrupt…


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…


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…