FEATURE

So How’s Your Tax Refund, Trumpsters? Thanks To GOP Tax Scam, Big Banks Pocketed An Extra $28 Billion Of Our Money Last Year

Sucker By Jon Queally Common Dreams (2/21/19) While headlines continue to proliferate about average Americans discovering they will not receive the tax return they were expecting—and in many cases, depending on—new federal date released Thursday showed that major U.S. banks earned an extra $28 billion in profits last year thanks to the tax scam bill passed by the Republican Party and signed by President Donald Trump at the end of 2017. As was said by critics of the new tax law at the time, the rich and corporations were given an “early Christmas gift” when the bill was signed, but according to new…


‘Terrifying’: Rapid Loss Of Biodiversity Placing Global Food Supplies At Risk Of ‘Irreversible Collapse’

“This should be at the top of every news bulletin and every government’s agenda around the world.” By Julia Conley Common Dreams (2/22/19) A groundbreaking report by the United Nations highlighting the rapid, widespread loss of many of the world’s plant and animal species should be on the front page of every newspaper in the world, argued climate action and food access advocates on Friday. The global grassroots organization Slow Food was among the groups that called for far greater attention by world leaders to the “debilitating” loss of biodiversity and the disastrous effects the decline is having on food…


The Real Threat To The Green New Deal—And The Planet—Comes From Corporate-Owned Neoliberal Democrats

A party that responds to a challenge of this magnitude with stratagems, political calculations, cynicism, and half measures will not inspire voters; one that leads us toward a literal salvation, will. By John Atcheson Common Dreams (2/16/19) Predictably, Trump came out against the Green New Deal with a bombastic – and ill-informed – rant in a campaign style rally in El Paso. Here’s what he had to say: “I really don’t like their policy of taking away your car, of taking away your airplane rights, of ‘let’s hop a train to California,’ of you’re not allowed to own cows anymore!” Meanwhile,…


Trump & Republicans Provide Comfy Socialism For The Rich & Brutish Capitalism For The Rest Of Us

    By Robert Reich RoberReich.com (2/11/19) “America will never be a socialist country,” Donald Trump declared in his State of the Union address. Someone should alert Trump that America is now a hotbed of socialism. But it is socialism for the rich. Everyone else is treated to harsh capitalism. In the conservative mind, socialism means getting something for doing nothing. That pretty much describes the $21bn saved by the nation’s largest banks last year thanks to Trump’s tax cuts, some of which went into massive bonuses for bank executives. On the other hand, more than 4,000 lower-level bank employees got a…


The End Of Ice: Journalist Dahr Jamail On The Climate Disruption Crisis From The Melting Himalayas To Insect Extinction

“The future that we’ve all thought was going to be so much further down the line, or 2100, and catastrophic, it’s already happening now.” Democracy Now! (2/12/19) A new report finds at least a third of the Himalayan ice cap will melt by the end of the century due to climate change, even if the world’s most ambitious environmental reforms are implemented. The report, released by the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment earlier this month, is the culmination of half a decade’s work by over 200 scientists, with an Things are happening. They’re accelerating. And it’s very, very clear where we…


Cry Me A River: While The Top 1% Cash In, Trump Voters Lose It Over Dramatic Hike In Taxes

“People are going to be very, very happy. They’re going to get tremendous, tremendous tax cuts and tax relief and that’s what this country needs.” — Donald Trump (12/2/17) The Young Turks (2/5/19) “Multiple supporters of President Donald Trump over the past couple of weeks have taken to Twitter to air their grievances about the president’s signature tax cut plan. Even though the 2017 GOP tax cut is leading to spiking federal deficits thanks to its generous benefits to corporations, many middle-class Americans are winding up having to pay more because the bill eliminated multiple deductions used by middle-class families…


Time For Bravery: Dear Democrats, On Health Care & Climate Change Stop Substituting The So-Called “Possible” For What’s Morally Necessary

    By John Atcheson Common Dreams (2/3/19) In a recent column in the New York Times, David Leonhardt cites a Kaiser survey on Medicare for all, and concludes that supporting it would be an “unforced error” for Democrats. Sherrod Brown, a genuine progressive, made the same observation. Richard Eskow, writing in Common Dreams last week shows why Kaisers’ survey is flawed. But there is a bigger flaw embedded in Leonhardt’s and Brown’s assumption—specifically, the entire notion that Democrats should only run on things that poll well. This perspective is shared by the party’s leadership, by most of the media, and virtually all of the political consultants and contributors….


Not ‘Left-Wing Fantasy’ But ‘Mainstream & Really Popular’: Poll Shows Enormous Public Support For Higher Taxes On Rich

Billionaire breakdown ***** “Raising taxes on the wealthy isn’t just good policy. It’s also good politics.” By Jake Jonson Common Dreams (2/4/19) Likely 2020 contenders and progressive members of Congress have proposed a variety of plans in recent days to make the rich pay more in taxes and begin reversing soaring inequality—from a wealth tax to a 70 percent top marginal rate to a higher estate taxon the richest families—and a survey published on Monday found that such ideas are extremely popular among the American public. According to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll, 76 percent of registered voters believe that the wealthiest Americans should pay more…


Edward Bernays, Corporate Propaganda & Engineering Consent For Empire With Mark Crispin Miller

The most influential man of the 20th and 21st centuries… ***** [Editor’s Note: While few know his name, Edward Benays was nephew of Sigmund Freud and can arguably be tagged as the most influential person of the 2oth — and on into the 21st — century. His work on how to form, shape and direct public opinion through subtle framing of wants, desires, hates and loves created the field of corporate public relations and government propaganda. If you want to get a deep understanding of it do a YouTube search of the four-part BBC series “Century of the Self”. —…


Wall Street Executives Make Their 2020 Preferences Known: “It Can’t Be Warren And It Can’t Be Sanders”

“Wall Street likes Biden, Booker, Harris, Gillibrand, and Beto. Guess who they hate? Sanders and Warren. All the rest is commentary.” By Jake Johnson Common Deams (1/28/19) The first 2020 Democratic presidential primary is still over a year away, but Wall Street executives are reportedly already freaking out about two likely progressive candidates: Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “It can’t be Warren and it can’t be Sanders,” the CEO of a “giant bank” anonymously told Politico, which reported on Monday that Wall Street executives are “getting panicked” about the presidential prospects of the Senate’s two fiercest financial sector critics. Warren launched an exploratory committee…


It’s Really Quite Simple: Two Questions To Quickly Sift The Growing Gaggle Of Dem Presidential Candidates

By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (1/24/19) The large and growing field of Democratic candidates for President offer a wide range of personal histories, beliefs, and issues to run on. This is good for the country. There seems to me to be a very simple way to narrow the field quickly. My two simple, straightforward questions to each and every one: Do you support single payer health care for all instead of any plan based on insurance, and do you see that the enormity of the climate crisis requires a massive federal response? All other issues are really quite dependent on these…


The Climate Crisis: We Already Have What We Need To Begin The Transition To Sustainability Now

  We need to grow inward and find value in what we have been ignoring. By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (1/21/19) Combating climate change will definitely mean changing some of our regular activities. We need to start making different choices. Our society has been based on carving up a new frontier, draining the resources and moving on to virgin territory. That era of outward growth is over. We need to grow inward and find value in what we have been ignoring. A new sustainable society needs to be fashioned from where we are and what we have been wasting….


These 2020 Dem Hopefuls Are Begging On Wall Street. Don’t Be Fooled By Their Fake Progressive Veneer

The American ruling class has a nice hustle going with elections.  By Bhaskar Sunkara The Guardian (1/15/19) It’s a framing that’s been everywhere over the past two years: the Resistance v Donald Trump. By some definitions that “resistance” even includes people like Mitt Romney and George W Bush. By almost all definitions it encompasses mainstream Democrats, such as the likely presidential hopefuls Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand. In their rhetoric and policy advocacy, this trio has been steadily moving to the left to keep pace with a leftward-moving Democratic party. Booker, Harris and Gillibrand know that voters demand action and are more supportive than ever of…


Investigative Reporter James Risen Describes His Long Fight To Report On Government Secrets At The New York Times

Cheney/Bush & Obama officials and New York Times editors conspired to suppress the information that was eventually released by Edward Snowden a decade later. By Jeremy Scahill Intercepted (1/5/19) Investigative journalist James Risen fought hard to get classified information published at The New York Times, where editors were quite willing to cooperate with the government. In this video, Intercepted host Jeremy Scahill speaks to Risen about his yearslong battle with the Department of Justice — spanning both the Bush and the Obama administrations — as well as his struggles with his own editors at the New York Times. Link to…


What We Need To Learn From The Fall Of The Roman Republic

“There’s a complacency that comes about from living in an old republic because it’s hard to imagine what seems impossible.” On Point / WPR (1/11/19) The fall of the Roman empire has fascinated history buffs and close students of power for centuries. The Fall of the Roman republic, however, may cast more light on our age. To walk around the federal part of Washington, D.C., is to attain constant glimpses of ancient Rome. The physical seat of all three branches of government — the White House, the Supreme Court building, the U.S. Capitol — and the National Archives all draw inspiration…


Christian Bale Credits Satan For Inspiration On How Best To Play Dick Cheney In ‘Vice’

By Ethan Sacks NBC News (1/7/19) It’s a good thing for Christian Bale that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was voting, and not Republicans. The Welsh-born thespian won the Golden Globe for best actor in a motion picture – musical or comedy for his portrayal of former Vice President Dick Cheney in “Vice” and in accepting the award, he made clear where he stands on the real-life subject. “Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration on how to play this role,” said Bale, 44. … Read the Rest and 1-Minute Video (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2019. Open…


Veteran NBC Reporter Rips Pro-War Posture Of Corporate Media In Scathing Resignation Letter

  By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (1/3/19) In a biting resignation letter published in full by CNN on Wednesday, longtime NBC News reporter, commentator, and military analyst William “Bill” Arkin blasted the corporate media network for embracing U.S. “national security leaders and generals” while “ignoring the empirical truth of what they have wrought: There is not one county in the Middle East that is safer today than it was 18 years ago. Indeed the world becomes ever more polarized and dangerous.” Reflecting on his past couple of decades working with the network—in addition to writing books and columns for major newspapers and serving as as military adviser to…


Perversion Of Justice: The Shocking Story Of Trump’s Sec. Of Labor’s History Of Shielding A Serial Pedophile & Sexual Abuser

  [Editor’s Note: It is also important to remember millionaire Jeffrey Epstein counted both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump as his pals. — Mark L. Taylor] Democracy Now! (1/4/119) We look at the unbelievable story of multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who for years orchestrated a sex trafficking network of hundreds of underage girls and is accused of regularly molesting children as young as 13 at his Florida mansion. But the serial sex offender received a shockingly lenient sentence for his crimes: 13 months in county jail, with many of his days spent at his Palm Beach office with regular visitors. This was…


Democratic Establishment & Corporations Look To Crush Progressive Push On Medicare For All

Progressives say they’re more concerned about courting voters than winning over big business. By Adan Cancryn Politico (12/10/18) The united front that helped Democrats save Obamacare just a year ago is falling apart over single-payer health care. Deep-pocketed hospital, insurance and other lobbies are plotting to crush progressives’ hopes of expanding the government’s role in health care once they take control of the House. The private-sector interests, backed in some cases by key Obama administration and Hillary Clinton campaign alumni, are now focused on beating back another prospective health care overhaul, including plans that would allow people under 65 to…


Trapping Students & Society In A System Of Debt & The Corporate ‘Discipline Culture’

“Students who acquire large debts putting themselves through school are unlikely to think about changing society. When you trap people in a system of debt, the can’t afford time to think. Tuition fee increases are a ‘disciplinary technique,’ and, by the time students graduate, they are not only loaded with debt, but have also internalized the “discipline culture. This makes them efficient components of the consumer economy.” — Quote from a 2011 news report in the Ottawa Citizen, which paraphrased statements Chomsky made during a lecture at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. ***** The Crushing Burden Of Long-Term Student Debt…


“The War At Home”: 1979 Film On Anti-Vietnam War Protests In Madison, WI Hits Theaters With Timely Relevance

“This is Hometown. America in revolt … not to be missed.” — Variety Democracy Now! (12/28/18) The War at Home, a landmark documentary about antiwar protests in the 1960s and ’70s in Madison, Wisconsin, has just been re-released nationwide. In an extended interview, we revisit the film with co-director Glenn Silber, two-time Academy Award nominee, and discuss why he argues now is an important time to revisit the responsibility to stand up and say no to war. “I think the Dow demonstration, at least in Madison, and probably elsewhere, is one of the most important demonstrations ever, because what was it?…


Corporate Joe Biden: Okay, Cross Him Off The List. Next…

  “I don’t think 500 billionaires are the reason why we’re in trouble. But we have not seen this huge concentration of wealth. And the folks at the top aren’t bad guys. I get in trouble in my party when I say wealthy Americans are just as patriotic as poor folks, I’ve found no distinction. I really haven’t. But this gap is yawning. It’s gaping and it’s having the effect of pulling us apart.” (And, oh yeah, and according to Corporate Joe Biden, Social Security and Medicare earned benefits “need adjustment”, too.) — Joe Biden, Brookings Institution talk “about 8…



Beware Beto Bunk: Can We Really Afford A Corporate-Friendly Obama Clone Progressive Pretender?

  By Norman Solomon Reader Supported News (12/19/18) News media tell us that Beto O’Rourke has reached the top tier of potential contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. CNN polls now rank him in third place — behind only Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders — among likely Iowa caucus-goers as well as among Democrats nationwide. Progressives are apt to be enthusiastic about O’Rourke — if they don’t know much about his record. Inclinations to hop on the Beto bandwagon are understandable. O’Rourke was inspiring this year as he fought to unseat the despicable U.S. senator Ted Cruz with a campaign that built…


While Banned In Warfare, Tear Gas Is Now A Favorite Weapon Of U.S. Border Patrol & Domestic Police On American Streets

Customs and Border Protection began using tear gas under the Obama administration in 2010. The agency’s use of tear gas has now reached a seven-year record high. Democracy Now! (11/28/18) As the Trump administration continues to defend firing tear gas into crowds of asylum seekers, we look at the history of tear gas, which is banned in warfare but legal for federal authorities and police to turn on civilians. Border authorities’ use of tear gas has spiked under the Trump administration, with the agency’s own data revealing it has deployed tear gas over two dozen times this year alone. Bipartisan…


Members Played For Chumps: NRA Pays Lavish Executive Perks Even As It Cuts Costs

The NRA recently rolled out its second dues increase in two years. By Mike Spies & John Cook The Trace (11/28/18) The National Rifle Association paid more than $100,000 in personal expenses for an official who is now leading an austerity campaign within the organization, new tax filings show. The official, Josh Powell, is the NRA’s executive director for general operations. The Trace and Mother Jones reported two weeks ago that Powell, along with the NRA’s new treasurer, Craig Spray, is seeking to impose steep cuts to the gun group’s budget. The effort is so stringent that the NRA did away with free coffee and…


Understanding The Brain & How To Create Effective Progressive Messaging

Frame4Future.com Spirit In Action (12/1/18) Scott Wittkopf helps organizations & people learn to do effective progressive messaging through his firm, Frame for the Future. It’s a bit ironic that the scientific research proves that people do not make their decisions based on scientific research, but on frames, and progressives have been doing an inferior job of harnessing this knowledge to support their goals. Based on the work of George Lakoff and others, there is great untapped potential for progressive causes. Scott presented on the topic at the Eau Claire Grassroots Festival, sponsored by Wisconsin Grassroots Network. Link to 55-Minute Audio  


Humiliation, Homoeroticism, Sexism, Violence & Animal Cruelty: Inside The Frathouse Training Ground Of America’s Leaders

“Aggression and humiliation are the norms here, the one driving the other.” By Sean O’Hagan The Guardian (12/10/18) Last year in the US, four freshman students died as a direct result of hazing rituals during college fraternity initiation ceremonies. All the deaths occurred during or just after drinking bouts in which the victims consumed vast amounts of spirits in a short space of time while older students egged them on. One of the deceased, Maxwell Gruver, 19, a student at Louisiana State University, was found to have had a blood-alcohol level over .49 g/dl at the time of his death – just .31 is considered life-threatening….


COUP! Unable To Even Name The Foe, Wisconsin Dems Flap Hankies & Rattle Teacups At Fascist Onslaught Against State Govt.

A brass knuckle legislative coup. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (12/6/18) What has happened in Madison this week with the hard right Republican legislature preemptively kneecapping the administration of Democrat Governor-elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kraul before they even have a chance to take the oath of office is a brass knuckle legislative coup. While it is shocking the republicans would take such action it is not surprising; after all, that is what fascists do; abandon legal niceties, tradition and the normal transition of power. All those vestiges of democracy are as dead to the GOP…


High-Profile Wall Street Pedophile Pal Of Trump, Bill Clinton & Alan Dershowitz Benefits From Corrupt Connections & Twisted ‘Just-Us’ System

  The Young Turks (12/4/18) Jeffrey Epstein avoids a civil trial by paying out and apologizing. Cenk Uygur and John Iadarola, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. “A politically connected multi-millionaire sex offender accused of sexually abusing dozens of teenage girls struck a last-minute deal to avoid a civil trial that would have allowed some of his victims to finally testify against him in open court. Jeffrey Epstein struck the deal with lawyer Bradley Edwards shortly before jury selection was set to begin in West Palm Beach, Florida. ‘What happened today was a win,’ Edwards, who represents some…


Climate Catastrophe — This Is How Capitalism Kills Us

  By Hamilton Nolan Splinter News (11/18/18) On Meet the Press yesterday, Utah Senator Mike Lee said about our climate change crisis, “all the proposals I’ve seen so far that would address any of these issues would devastate the U.S. economy.” This is considered a reasonable explanation of maintaining the status quo. This is the insanity built into capitalism. Lee was specifically explaining why he would not support a carbon tax, the single most direct, rational, and market-friendly way of restricting carbon emissions. The context for the question was the release on Friday of a reportfrom the US government itself saying that, within a century, climate change…


America’s Forgotten Dark History Of Organized Anti-Semitism Re-emerges In Today’s Far-right Groups

Mass rally of 20,000 American Nazis at Madison Square Garden in 1939. Orgnizer Fritz Kuhn declared that if George Washington had still been alive, he would be a Nazi. This aspect of history is rarely found in textbooks. By Bradley W. Hart The Conversation (11/29/18) Hours after Robert Bowers allegedly walked into a Pittsburgh synagogue and killed 11 people, investigators told the media that Bowers appeared to have acted alone and fit what experts call the “lone mass shooter profile.” Weeks later, FBI agents arrested a Washington D.C. man who followed Bowers on social media. He had told relatives he wanted…


With ‘Unlimited Funds to Lie,’ Insurance Industry & Corporate Democrats Gear Up To Kill Off Medicare For All

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (11/21/18) Medicare for All is rapidly surging in popularity among the American public and gaining momentum in Congress, but private insurance interests and Big Pharma have no intention of giving up their immensely profitable stranglehold on the U.S. healthcare system without a fight. According to strategy documents obtained by The Intercept and the watchdog group Documented, the private healthcare industry is working aggressively alongside corporate Democrats to spread anti-single payer propaganda and “minimize the potential” for Medicare for All as an alternative to the current for-profit status quo. Directed by former Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton staffers and leading insurance industry lobbyists, an…


Why? The FBI Is Massively Undercounting Hate Crimes

  Southern Poverty Law Center (11/16/18) Mulugeta Seraw was standing on a corner in Portland, Oregon, when they spotted him. It was 1988, and he was a college student from Ethiopia. His friends had dropped him off in front of his apartment, and he was standing next to their car, talking, when a group of racist skinheads affiliated with a neo-Nazi group descended. As one attacker smashed the car’s taillight and a window with a baseball bat, another punched Seraw. When his friends tried to intervene, the skinheads attacked them too, beating the black men with their fists, baseball bats…


Anand Giridharadas: A Tale Of Two Americas And The Mini-mart Where They Collided

TED Talks (3/24/18) Ten days after 9/11, a shocking attack at a Texas mini-mart shattered the lives of two men: the victim and the attacker. In this stunning talk, Anand Giridharadas, author of “The True American: Murder and Mercy In Texas,” tells the story of what happened next. It’s a parable about the two paths an American life can take, and a powerful call for reconciliation. Link to 19-Minute Video


Ohio Republicans Declare Motherhood “Necessary” & Want To Make It Mandatory

Clinging to — and pushing — sexist stereotypes. By Amanda Marcotte Salon (11/24/18) While the name of Brett Kavanaugh has fallen out of the headline news cycle, the religious right has not forgotten that his recent addition to the Supreme Court now means they likely have five votes to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to ban abortion. While the endless churn of outrageous Trump stories occupies national headlines, anti-choice activists and politicians are swiftly moving to pass laws that they clearly hope will lead, perhaps within a year, to vacating the current legal protections for abortion rights. In…


As Snoopy Insurers Offer Discounts For Fitness Trackers, Wearers Should Step With Caution

  By Stephanie O’Neil NPR 9111/18/18) When Kathy Klute-Nelson heads out on a neighborhood walk, she often takes her two dogs — Kona, a boxer, and Max, a small white dog of questionable pedigree who barrels out the front door with barks of enthusiasm. The 64-year-old resident of Costa Mesa, Calif., says she was never one to engage in regular exercise — especially after a long day of work. But about three years ago, her employer, the Auto Club of Southern California, made her and her colleagues an offer she couldn’t refuse: Wear a Fitbit, walk every day and get…


Nazis Are Gearing Up Secretive Paramilitary Training Across America

One thing stands out: The Base’s posts are largely designed to promote violent action. By Ben Makuch & Mack Lamoureux VICE (11/20/18) A neo-Nazi who goes by the alias Norman Spear has launched a project to unify online fascists and link that vast coalition of individuals into a network training new soldiers for a so-called forthcoming “race war.” Spear, who claims to be an Iraq and Afghan war veteran, is a self-proclaimed white nationalist with a significant online following. His latest act involves bringing neo-Nazis together, regardless of affiliation and ideology, into a militant fascist umbrella organization. His tool for doing this? A social network…


Shameless Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald & Bipartisan Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens

“One of the first things we must get rid of is the idea that democracy is tantamount to capitalism.”  — Eleanor Roosevelt By Paul Street CounterPunch (11/16/18) Caravan of Lies Never underestimate the disingenuousness of top U.S.-American politicos.   They truly have no shame. Notice how little the fascistic president Donald Trump has to say any more about the big bad Central American Caravan that was supposedly menacing the United States with a great criminal “invasion”? The U.S. military “heroes” sent down at great taxpayer expense to “defend our border” will be missing Thanksgiving with their families thanks to this fake…


Know Who Hates You: A Short Video Guide To American White Supremacist Fascist Groups

  Think Progress (8/8/18) White supremacists in America are not a unified group, but a loose coalition of hate groups, each fringe and dangerous in their own way. In the year since the deadly violence on display at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., different white nationalist, anti-immigrant, and general hate groups have demonstrated in cities across the country. The Nationalist Socialist Movement, Vanguard America, and League of the South held a “White Lives Matter” rally in Shelbyville, Tenn. in October. In July and again in August, hate groups Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys clashed with anti-hate…