FEATURE

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…


Did Scott Walker & Donald Trump Deal Away The Wisconsin Governor’s Race For Foxconn?

The costs include taxpayer subsidies to the company totalling more than $4.5 billion, the largest subsidy for a foreign corporation in American history.  By Don Kaufman The New Yorker (11/3/18) In September of 2017, Governor Scott Walker, Republican of Wisconsin, signed a contract that would make his state the home of the first U.S. factory of Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer. The company, which is based in Taiwan and makes products for Apple, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, among others, would build a 21.5-million-square-foot manufacturing campus, invest up to ten billion dollars in Wisconsin, and hire as many as…


Forewarned — Know Fascist Symbolism: The Number “14”

  Anti-Defamation League “14 Words” is a reference to the most popular white supremacist slogan in the world: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” The slogan was coined by David Lane, a member of the white supremacist terrorist group known as The Order (Lane died in prison in 2007). The term reflects the primary white supremacist worldview in the late 20th and early 21st centuries: that unless immediate action is taken, the white race is doomed to extinction by an alleged “rising tide of color” purportedly controlled and manipulated by Jews. ADL…


As GOP Moves To Slash & Disable Medicare & Social Security, 60% Of Americans Say Repeal Trump Tax Scam Instead

  By Jake Johnson Commoner Dreams (10/26/18) As President Donald Trump and Republican leaders make clear that they intend to enact deep cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security after next month’s midterms in a supposed effort to rein in the soaring deficit—which has ballooned largely due to Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax law—a survey published on Friday found that nearly two-thirds of Americans would prefer repealing the Republican tax cuts over slashing the safety net. Conducted by NPR, PBS NewsHour, and Marist, the poll found that 60 percent of Americans would rather eliminate Trump’s tax cuts than gut safety net programs to reduce the federal budget…


Two Years In, Trump Can Still Count On News Media To Mindlessly Do His Bidding

By George Lakoff George Lakoff’s Facebook Page (10/28/18) Two years in, Trump and the right wing can still count on the news media to do their bidding. Constant repetition of their lies and language help spread it far and wide. They know that constant repetition of lies – even to debunk them – only makes them more sticky. Here are their tactics in use: 1. Frame first, meaning get your understanding of the situation out there. 2. Divert attention from things you don’t want people to pay attention to, for example by attacking somebody else. 3. Attack the messenger or…


“Dark Money” Blows The Cover Off The Money Poisoning American Politics

This year, dark money spending on TV ads has increased 86% compared to the comparable point in the 2014 midterm elections. By David Moore Sludge (10/1/18) Shadowy election spending was hit with a spotlight as the “Dark Money” film held its nationwide premiere on PBS last night. In the documentary, sketching out the money flows between front groups earns the tension and narrative of a political thriller. Filmmaker Kimberly Reed follows journalist John S. Adams as he tracks dark money in Montana over three election cycles, from 2012 through 2016. “Dark Money” offers a detailed view of the dedicated work of…


‘A Moment To Remember’ — When The US Abandoned Any Pretense Of Democracy For The Love Of ‘Our S.O.B.s”

“In December 1954, the NSC [National security Council] met in the White House to stake out a strategy that could tame the powerful nationalist forces of change sweeping the globe. Across Asia and Africa, a half-dozen European empires that had guaranteed global order for more than a century were giving way to new nation, many — as Washington saw it — susceptible to “communist subversion.” In Latin America , there were stirrings of leftist opposition to the region’s growing urban poverty and rural landlessness. To make it “absolutely clear we will not tolerate Communism anywhere in the Western Hemisphere.”influential Secretary…


American Police State Update: Undercover Cops Are Creating Fake Facebook Accounts To Track Protesters

  By Jon Schuppe NBC News (10/5/18) In the summer of 2015, as Memphis exploded with protests over the police killing of a 19-year-old man, activists began hearing on Facebook from someone called Bob Smith. The name was generic, and so was his profile picture: a Guy Fawkes mask, the symbol of anti-government dissent. Smith acted as if he supported the protesters, and, slowly, they let him into their online community. Over the next three years, dozens of them accepted his friend requests, allowing him to observe private discussions over marches, rallies and demonstrations. In public postings and private messages he…


MAD Magazine’s School Shooting Cartoon Feature Is A Poignant & Horrifying Commentary On America’s Tradition Of School Shooting

(Cartoon by Marc Palm / Mad Magazine, 2018.) This is shocking. It’s also very smart. By Ryan Britt Fatherly (10/5/18) Satire about school shootings might seem overwhelming in the face of so much tragedy, but a new powerful and artistic statement is calling out the complicity many Americans have about gun violence. But this razor-sharp indictment isn’t coming from Sacha Baron Cohen or even Stephen Colbert.Instead, the most affecting commentary on gun control you’ll see this month was just been published in Mad Magazine. In the latest issue of Mad Magazine (which is out on newsstands and in Barnes and Noble bookstores right now), there’s a brilliantly sad…


What’s Not In The Latest Terrifying IPCC Report? The “Much, Much, Much More Terrifying” New Research On Climate Tipping Points

By Jon Queally Common Dreams (10/9/18) If the latest warnings contained in Monday’s report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—which included pronouncements that the world has less than twelve years to drastically alter course to avoid the worst impacts of human-caused global warming and that nothing less than keeping all fossil fuels in the ground is the solution to avoid future calamities—have you at all frightened or despondent, experts responding to the report have a potentially unwelcome message for your already over-burdened heart and mind: It’s very likely even worse than you’re being told. After the report’s publication there were…


Hey, Youngsters, America’s Old Farts Have A Message For You: “Don’t Vote!”

An edgy Knock the Vote social media ad has been gaining social media traction this week features old white seniors Trump supporters taunting younger citizens into not voting in the upcoming November elections. “Tax cuts for the rich? Hell yeah, I’m rich as fuck,” one old fart declares in the ad. Another declares: “Climate change? That’s a you problem. I’ll be dead soon.” The ad concludes with a bitter bit of prediciiton: “We’ll be there, but you won’t because we’re a generation of doers, not whiners. We’re doing great.” Link to 1-Minute Video (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2018….


Brett Kavanaugh Reveals The Smug Banality Of The Bipartisan Ruling Gang

  By Meagin Day Jacobin (10/2/18) The masters of the universe, it turns out, are losers. The Brett Kavanaugh hearing was a kaleidoscope of family and God and prestigious clerkships spliced with boofing and ralphing and brewskis. It was a thorough dressing-down. In the end, one was left with the impression of an unremarkable guy who was born on a conveyor belt to power, without much obligation to distinguish himself from his peers. On the contrary, his success was relatively guaranteed on the condition that he didn’t distinguish himself from them, that he simply play nice with the fellas — and not…


‘Fresh Air’ Review: Smart, Unsentimental ‘Heartland’ Pays Tribute To America’s Working Class & Exposes The Class Warfare That Exploits Their Lives

  “It’s a hell of a thing to grow the food, serve the drinks, hammer the houses and assemble the airplane that bodies with more money eat and drink and occupy and board while your own body can’t go to the doctor.” By Maureen Corrigan Fresh Air (10/3/18) Sarah Smarsh is a daughter of the white working class. Born in rural Kansas, Smarsh traces her lineage back through five generations of family farmers. She also traces herself back through generations of teenage pregnancies; Smarsh’s mother was just 17 when she had her. During the 1980s, when Smarsh was growing up,…


Great News For Mass Shooters: One Year After Las Vegas, A New Texas Company Is Selling Murderous Bump Stocks

  By Alex Yablon The Trace (9/28/18) When a gunman perched in a Las Vegas hotel room used rifles affixed with bump stocks to commit the deadliest mass shooting in American history, Slide Fire Solutions went from an obscure Texas manufacturer of a gun world novelty to the main purveyor of a notorious and widely condemned product. As federal and state lawmakers of both parties called to ban bump stocks, and attorneys filed lawsuits, Slide Fire announced in April that it was shutting down. But on the one-year anniversary of the massacre at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, bump stocks remain not only…


Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9” Lays Bare The Dangerous Crossroads We Are At And What We Need To Understand From Steve Bannon

  Tyrant. Liar. Racist. And a hole in one.   By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (9/24/18) This past weekend I saw Michael Moore’s new documentary film Fahrenheit: 11/9. You will find a detailed review of the film below, so I won’t go into a lot of detail here other than to say it is an extraordinary film — in my opinion, his best — that lays out the path of how this nation has come to the dangerous crossroads with fascist totalitarianism we now confront. As Moore explains, it is not hyperbole to talk in such terms and his…


American Fascism: Trump Is The Symptom, Not The Problem

Concern regarding ascendant fascism isn’t necessarily misguided— the question back is: where have you been for the last fifty years? [Editor’s Note: This is an especially insightful column that peels away to “the” problem we are facing in our political and tilted economic system. — Mark L. Taylor] By Rob Urie CounterPunch (9/17/18) From Whence ‘We’ Came Fascism is a loaded topic for Americans. The term is usually put forward as oppositional, as the flip side of representative democracy, e.g. authoritarian. Left unaddressed is whose interests’ American representative democracy represents. Twenty years of research by political scientist Thomas Ferguson strongly supports the…


Bernie Sanders: A Growing International Authoritarian Axis Demands An International Progressive Front

  The Tip Of The Problem By Bernie Sanders The Guardian (9/13/18) There is a global struggle taking place of enormous consequence. Nothing less than the future of the planet – economically, socially and environmentally – is at stake. At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, when the world’s top 1% now owns more wealth than the bottom 99%, we are seeing the rise of a new authoritarian axis. While these regimes may differ in some respects, they share key attributes: hostility toward democratic norms, antagonism toward a free press, intolerance toward ethnic and religious minorities, and a…


History They Don’t Want You Know: How Depression Era Co-Ops Built A Healthy Alternative Economic Model

Public domain photo. The idea of a genuine economy shorn of Wall Street contrivance touched a chord.  By Jonathan Rowe Yes! Magazine (9/14/18) he mood at kitchen tables in California in the early 1930s was as bleak as it was elsewhere in the United States. Factories were closed. More than a quarter of the breadwinners in the state were out of work. There were no federal or state relief programs, nothing but some local charity—in Los Angeles County, a family of four got about 50 cents a day, and only 1 in 10 got even that. Not long before, America…


Of Course We’ll Slash Your Hard-Earned Social Security & Medicare To Fund Tax Cuts For The Wealthy, Republicans Admit

  By Rebekah Entralgo Think Progress  (8/21/18) Slowly but surely, Republicans that supported the trillion dollar Trump tax bill are revealing their true motivations: slashing Medicare and Social Security. During a Sunday interview with CNBC’s John Harwood, Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) urged entitlement reform as the deficit continues to balloon as a result of the GOP tax cuts. [Language Note: Social Security and Medicare are not ‘entitlements’. They hard earned benefits people have invested in through wage deductions. — Ed.] “I do think we need to deal with some of our spending,” Stivers said. “We’ve got try to figure out how…


Weasel Walker’s Foxconn Bait-And-Switch: Fewer Jobs & Business For Other States

Is Walker’s big deal turning into just another empty election year promise? By Dave Hansen, State Senator Dist 30 Green Bay Progressive (9/8/18) GREEN BAY, WI – Since Governor Walker’s initial announcement of the Foxconn deal he has been promising it will create 13,000 jobs. But anyone who remembers his promise back in 2010 to create 250,000 jobs during his first term in office knows to take such promises with a large grain of salt. The same day that Walker made his promise of 13,000 new jobs, Foxconn’s owner Terry Gau would only commit to creating 3,000 jobs and even President…


The Great Betrayal: Neoliberal Policies Sold Out Workers & Divided Democrats From Their Voters

Democrats’ Embrace Of Neoliberalism Dlievered The Nation Into Trump’s Paws A good chunk of Trump’s support could be peeled away if there were a genuine redistributive agenda on the table. An agenda to take on the billionaire class with more than rhetoric, and use the money for a green new deal.  By Naomi Klein The Guardian (11/9/16) They will blame James Comey and the FBI. They will blame voter suppression and racism. They will blame Bernie or bust and misogyny. They will blame third parties and independent candidates. They will blame the corporate media for giving him the platform, social media for being a bullhorn, and…


Shabba rebot domda moko-dabba reboo-boo — We’re Done With Jezebel … All Praise To Trump!

Total Gibberish   By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (9/3/18) There is crazy and then there is Trump Crazy. And then there is right down the old rabbit hole evangelical Trump Crazy. The video below is a little mind boggling to watch but I urge you to because it gives a raw glimpse into an element of energized Trump support and delusion that is both real and an active part of what is going on in the nation. The video is of a recent sermon by Alabama Pentecostal Pastor John Kilpatrick of the Church of His Presence, in Daphne,…


A Decade After ’08 Financial Crash, The Timid Left Has Reason To Be Full Of Regrets

  By Larry Elliot Port Side (8/31/18) Placards are being prepared. Photo-opportunities are being organised. A list of demands is being drawn up by a coalition of pressure groups, unions and NGOs. Yes, preparations are well under way for protests to mark next month’s 10th anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers – the pivotal moment in the global financial crisis. Make no mistake, the fact that events will take place in all the world’s financial centres is no cause for celebration. On the contrary, it is a sign of failure. The banks were never broken up. Plans for a financial transactions tax are gathering dust. Politicians toyed with…



A Military Man Speaks Out On What Would Really Improve Our National Self-Defense … Properly Funded PreK Through 12 Education

By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/22/18) Retired Admiral Bill McRaven spent 37 years in the military. He led the U.S. Special Operations Command and masterminded the 2011 raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. Last week he made a blistering comment about Donald Trump’s revocation of national security clearance for one of his critics, former CIA director John Brennan. In a Washington Post op-ed, McRaven called for Trump to revoke his security clearance as well, noting, “I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the…


Give ’em A Reason: Democrats Must Do Much, Much More Than Simply Oppose Donald Trump

  By Gary Younge The Guardian (8/9/18) For quite some time during the primary season for the 2016 presidential race, Democratic party leaders were delighted that Donald Trump was leading the Republican pack. They assumed the brash reality TV star would expose the bigotry of the Republican base before flaming out and leaving a more plausible candidate beholden to an energised mob, and consequently unelectable. After Trump insulted Heidi Cruz (a Goldman Sachs executive and wife of fellow Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz) for her looks, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Deborah Wasserman Schultz, said: “I want Donald Trump to talk…


To Curb Capitalism’s Toxic Impacts, Warren Unveils Plan To Give Workers More Control Over Corporate Decisions

By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (8/15/18) Taking aim at the heart of America’s toxic economic status quo—which has over the past several decades produced soaring corporate profits and CEO pay while keeping workers’ wages stagnant—Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduced legislation on Wednesday that would “give workers a stronger voice” in the decision-making of major businesses and put an end to corporations’ single-minded commitment to maximizing shareholder value at the expense of employees. “Because the wealthiest 10 percent of U.S. households own 84 percent of American-held shares, the obsession with maximizing shareholder returns effectively means America’s biggest companies have dedicated themselves to making the rich…


DNC Dems Are Plagued With Democratic Socialism Derangement Syndrome

By Kate Aronoff & Miles Kampf-Lassin NBC (8/16/18) After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s shocking victory in New York earlier this summer, pundits warned of a socialist takeover. The front page of the New York Post put the city on “Red Alert,” cheekily depicting the likely incoming congresswoman in bright red lipstick. Following the primary elections on August 7 — where leftist challengers Abdul El-Sayed and Kaniela Ing lost their bids — just as many outlets declared socialism dead on arrival. Then on August 14, a string of progressive insurgents — including Ilhan Omar, Jahana Hayes, Randy Bryce and Christine Hallquist — clinched victories, leading to a…


Snared: When A Young Trump Went To Russia

  By Craig Unger The New Republica (8/15/18) On a frigid December day in 2017, Oleg Kalugin opens the door of his house in Rockville, Maryland, an upper-middle-class suburb of Washington, D.C., to meet me. Nothing in particular distinguishes his split-level suburban home from those of the other professionals in the neighborhood, but the man who lives there is very much out of the ordinary, a former KGB spymaster who is now an American citizen. Born in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad), Kalugin, at 83, now lives just half an hour’s drive from the White House, which for decades was dead…


A Climate Scientist Talks To A Psychologist: The Best Medicine For My Climate Grief

  “I actively work to be hope-oriented.” By Peter Kalmus Yes! Magazine (8/9/18) Sometimes a wave of climate grief breaks over me. It happens unexpectedly, perhaps during a book talk, or while on the phone with a congressional representative. In a millisecond, without warning, I’ll feel my throat clench, my eyes sting, and my stomach drop as though the Earth below me is falling away. During these moments, I feel with excruciating clarity everything that we’re losing—but also connection and love for those things. Usually I don’t mind the grief. It’s clarifying. It makes sense to me, and inspires me to…


SOLD! Democrats Reverse Ban On Donations From Fossil Fuel PACs

  ‘Absolute Failure’ By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (8/10/18) Just two months after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was celebrated by environmentalists for banning donations from fossil fuel companies, it voted 30-2 on Friday to adopt a resolution from Chair Tom Perez that critics said effectively reverses the ban and represents “an absolute failure by the DNC.” The Huffington Post‘s Alexander Kaufman tweeted Friday: @AlexCKaufman Replying to @AlexCKaufman UPDATE: resolution passed in a 30-to-2 vote. from DNC epic: “After hearing concerns from Labor that this was an attack on workers, this resolution acknowledges the generous contributions of workers, including those in energy, who organize and donate…


Rep. Ron ‘Wall Street’ Kind Betrays The Needs Of Wisconsin With Cowardly 0-For-5 Stance On Bills Important To Our Future

By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/9/18) For those who closely watch Rep. Ron ‘Wall Street’ Kind there is a clear understanding of the two Ron Kinds. The first is the upbeat, sunny, good looking, glad-handing pol with the rolled up sleeves waving to the crowds at the annual Westby Syttende Mai parade. The second is the corporate D.C. functionary casting reliable votes making things easier for Wall Street bankers and, with his recent falling into line to support the mind bending $717 billion annual War Department budget, military contractors. The democratic republican As the story below details, on…


Socialism On The Rise As Americans Seek Out Bold, Humane Alternatives To The Failed Brutality Of Trump & Capitalism

If you want to learn about the central role of socialism in American history then read this book! By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (7/31/18) The thousands of democratic socialists in the United States who have been organizing and fighting for justice in political obscurity for years likely never thought their ideas would be the subject of heated debates on prominent talk-shows like “The View” or feature pieces in such establishment mainstays as PBS and NPR. But—driven in large part by the persistent popularity of Bernie Sanders’ brand of politics and the recent landslide victory of self-described democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York’s congressional primary—the past several weeks have…


Immigrant Youth Detention Centers: “If You’re A Predator, It’s A Gold Mine”

  By Michael Grabell & Topher Sanders ProPublica (7/27/18) Just five days after he reached the United States, the 15-year-old Honduran boy awoke in his Tucson, Arizona, immigrant shelter one morning in 2015 to find a youth care worker in his room, tickling his chest and stomach. When he asked the man, who was 46, what he was doing, the man left. But he returned two more times, rubbing the teen’s penis through his clothing and then trying to reach under his boxers. “I know what you want, I can give you anything you need,” said the worker, who was later convicted…


Hard Truth: You Can’t Vote Out Fascism. You Have to Drive It From Power!

  By Perry Hoberman Counterpunch (7/20/18) I’ve been noticing a increasing phenomena on MSNBC and other mainstream media outlets: as the Trump/Pence regime resorts to ever more outrageous behavior, the various pundits — when asked to explain this or that monstrous action or statement — just shake their heads and admit that they’re simply baffled as to why anyone would do something so irrational, so clueless, so counterproductive, so cruel. There’s an unspoken implication that the regime can’t possibly understand what they’re actually doing — which in turn suggests that this can’t go on forever, that the whole thing will implode due to their painfully evident incompetence and/or…


What America Has Become: Migrant Children Detail Horrific Experiences Done In Our Name In Border Patrol Stations & Concentration Camps

  “The way I have been treated makes me feel like I don’t matter, like I am trash.” [Editor’s Note: Nothing better exemplifies the degradation of this nation than the institutionalized, for-profit terrorizing and abuse of immigrant families and — most especially — their kidnapped children. As we can expect, many of the most brutal and base among us are drawn to manning the icy holding cells and hidden interrogation rooms of the appropriately named ICE. But make no mistake; as long as this casual corporate brutality continues we are all — every single taxpayer and voter — collectively responsible…


It’s Not Just Trump. Obama Also Shattered Tens Of Thousands Of Immigrant Families

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (7/19/18) Ryan Grim, of the investigative news site The Intercept, sends out a weekly newsletter update of stories. Recently he was looking back through the newsletter archives when he found a 2014 HuffPost story on the tens of thousands of immigrant families broken apart the year before by Obama administration policies of detention and deportation. In that year, 2013, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) department deported over 72,000 immigrants who had one or more American-born children. In 2012 the number deported between July 1, 2010, to Sept. 31, 2012 was 200,000. In fact,…