History They Don’t Want You To Know

A Movie For Our Times: “The Captain,” The True Story Of A Fake Nazi’s Atrocities

  [Editor’s Note: From ICE agents along the southern border to guards at Abu Ghraib to many police actions in minority cities to the deceit of Wall Street we see repeated examples of individuals bowing to evil. This film has arrived as a warning … about ourselves. — Mark L. Taylor] By David Morgan CBS (7/27/18) In the final days of World War II, with Germany’s frontlines collapsing into chaos, Willi Herold, a German private separated from his comrades and desperate for food and warmth, comes across an abandoned car with a suitcase that contains an SS officer’s uniform. Trying…

Read More

13 Quotes From George Orwell’s “1984” That Are Relevant To Today’s America

“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.” — George Orwell, “1984”.   By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/2/18) In his too-brief lifetime novelist George Orwell had seen two disastrous world wars, witnessed the rise of brutal fascist regimes in Germany and Italy and fought as a resistance fighter on the front lines in another, in Spain. He had witnessed the mechanization of industrial scale death from World War I with the advent of machine guns, tanks and gas warfare to the development of nuclear bombs….


‘Democracy Is A Life’ — In Our Time Of American Fascism Are You Up To The Challenge?

Bust of “Fighting Bob” La Follette in Wisconsin State Capitol. ***** “Democracy is a life, and involves continual struggle. It is only as those of every generation who love democracy resist with all their might encroachment of its enemies that the ideals of representative government can even be nearly approximated.” — Robert “Fighting Bob” La Follette, “La Follette’s Autobiography: A Personal Narrative of Political Experiences” (1913). “No Excuses. Time To Stand Together! (Commoner Call photo by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )  


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,…


Chris Hedges: Demagogues Always Infect The Governed With Their Own Psychosis

“Lies pour out of the White House like flocks of pigeons.” “Tens of millions Americans, especially women, undocumented workers, Muslims and African Americans suffer the acute anxiety of being pursued by a predator. All this is by design. Demagogues always infect the governed with their own psychosis. Lies pour out of the White House like flocks of pigeons. … Before they seize power and establish a world according to their doctrines totalitarian movements conjure up a lying world of consistency which is more adequate to the needs of a human mind than than reality itself. In which through sheer imagination…


Beyond Logic & Reason: Historian Explains How Donald Trump And The Far Right Weaponized ‘Chaos Magic’ — Just Like The Occult

  [Editor’s Note: This is an insightful explanation from a different perspective of what the Trump movement is all about and how it seems impervious to the blunders, blatant lies and immorality of it’s leader. Excellent read. — Mark L. Taylor] By Chauncey DeVega Salon (7/16/18) Almost two years after Donald Trump’s once-unthinkable election victory, social scientists and other researchers have reached some clear conclusions about how and why it happened. Racism, sexism, nativism and social-dominance behavior were key factors in Trump’s support among white voters. Christian nationalism, along with the fear that white people will soon lose demographic power…


The US Gov’t Has “Lost” Enough Radioactive Material To Bomb Nagasaki 800 Times Over

  By Matt Agorist Activist Post (8/16/18) San Antonio, TX — When civilian contractors who use certain radioactive substances to test pipe strength or other inspections “lose” these items, news agencies widely report it and a massive search is conducted until it is found. However, as a recent case out of San Antonio illustrates, when government loses one of the most dangerous radioactive substances on the planet which could be used to create nuclear bombs to wipe out entire countries, all we hear are the proverbial crickets. In March of 2017, two security experts traveled to San Antonio from the Department of…


Inside The Mind Of White America – BBC News

    [Editor’s Note: I ask this as a 65 year-old white guy: What the hell is wrong with so many white people? My cartoon above is a humorous expression of something dark and vile baked deep into the bones of white people; to one extent or another, all white people. Myself, I am ashamed to admit, included. There’s nothing funny about it. It is the great undone work of this nation and our individual lives. — Mark L. Taylor] BBC (6/20/16) The concept of there being “two Americas” is almost as old as the nation itself. From the outset…


Dark Foreboding: Is the American Democratic Experiment Over?

  By William Boardman Reader Supported News (9/10/18) Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;Mere anarchy is loosed upon the worldThe blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhereThe ceremony of innocence is drowned;The best lack all conviction, while the worstAre full of passionate intensity. – William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming, 1919   Apocalyptic thinking has been with us for a long time, and it sometimes ushers in actual apocalypses, albeit at human scale, without biblical finality. For a century now, the Yeats poem above has served as an increasingly common reference point for those who fear apocalyptic events approaching. Today such…


The Media Have Been Targeted For Violence Since The Beginning Of The Republic

  By Harold Holzer History News Network (7/3/18) Sadly, there is nothing new—or even newsworthy—about violence against American newspapers. The recent, deadly attack on the Annapolis Capital Gazette is merely the latest of the lamentable episodes, scattered through our history, in which aggrieved parties take out frustrations on “the media.” Such assaults began only two years after ratification of the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of the press. Most were triggered by political animus. In 1793, pro-Federalist Boston editor Benjamin Russell spat in the face of pro-Democratic editor Benjamin Austin, Jr. The transgression cost Russell a twenty-shilling fine, but did little to chill…


Trump, Obama & The Darkly Tangled Bipartisan Roots Of American Fascism

    By Tony McKenna Counterpunch (7/4/18) The latest Trump scandal hitting the news – the interment of children in cages, the forcible separation of screaming toddlers from their parents. It seemed to have touched a level of inhumanity which is breathtaking, even by the standards of the current US administration; an administration which already feels like the court of Caligula set to an episode of bad reality TV, with a soundtrack handily provided by the loony toons.  Fortunately, the president has stepped back, has issued a decree which will reverse the vile and traumatising project of cleaving immigrant parents…


No Time For Weakness: A Song In Honor Or Civil Rights Hero Rep. John Lewis

  By Abby Zimet Common Dreams (6/27/18) We were pretty well done in even before the Kennedy news; after it, we went seeking solace. A few hours earlier, the indefatigable John Lewis, who has lived his principles through fire and brimstone, sent out a flare. “Do not get lost in a sea of despair,” he wrote. “Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” Last month in a commencement speech…


Your Choice: Where Would You Be In This Picture?

  Go along or resist. Stand up or lay down. Speak out or be silent. There will be no neutral. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/31/18) The arrival of government detention — concentration — camps for an oppressed and dehumanized minority group means that politics in America is about to become far more personal and much, much more consequential. The kidnapping of children into for-profit concentration camps has added an especially grotesque dimension. The forcible separation of parents from their infants and children into concentrations camps have made it official: We are living in a fascist state now. With…


History Of Fascist Spain Government Child Abductions Will Become Model For Trump’s Kidnapping Program

  “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see.” — Winston Churchill By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/28/18) As the brutal Trump child kidnapping program continues on with arrogance, cruelty and casual incompetence we are going to see many of the 2,300-plus children now incarcerated permanently stolen from their parents; they will never be reunited. There are already reports of parents deported back to Central America while their children remain in U.S. concentration camps. (And make no mistake, that is the proper term for these camps. And, no, it is not “separation”, it is kidnapping.) History provides insight on where this will go…


‘On Contact’ — Chris Hedges & Ralph Nader Get Real On What’s Happened To Our Government

  It’s been a well funded, brilliantly orchestrated 40-year long corporate coup d’etat.   In this “On Contact” interview consumer advocate and political activist Ralph Nader and journalist Chris Hedges outline the problem and Nader lays out a path of resistance that would only take one percent of citizens to become involved. Before one can reform a system however, that system must be thoroughly understood and seen with unblinking clarity.  You will find both in this fast moving discussion. Along the way Nader gives insight on what has gone amiss in the courts and American law schools and the true…


This Country Was Born In Incivility. Simply Being ‘Civil’ Won’t Save It Now

Neither will burying the truth under false equivalences between bad words and racism. By Charles P. Pierce Esquire (6/21/18) I was saying to a friend on Wednesday night that what was sustaining me in this time of trouble and woe was reading the works of my favorite uncivil Americans—Tom Paine, Mercy Otis Warren, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, late-period Mark Twain, a touch of Mencken here and there. Thus, I was able to read this incredible pile of piffle in The New York Times with comparative equanimity, which is to say without lighting my laptop on fire. Mr. Trump’s coarse discourse increasingly seems to…


“The King” Director Eugene Jarecki: Elvis Presley’s Rise & Fall Is A Metaphor For America Today

  Our democracy has been hijacked by capitalism. Democracy Now! (6/25/18) To understand America in the age of Trump, prize-winning documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki says to look no further than the checkered history of Elvis Presley. Jarecki’s new documentary “The King” opens in New York City this week. It follows the filmmaker as he drives Elvis Presley’s 1963 Rolls Royce across the United States in an attempt to understand what has happened to America in the age of Trump. “The American dream … wasn’t for anybody if you weren’t a white man,” Jarecki said. “We got here because this nation…


Most Journalists Missed The Significance & Threat Of The Rise Of Mussolini & Hitler

Warning: Reports on the rise of fascism in Europe were not the American media’s finest hour. By John Broich The Conversation (12/11/16) How to report on a fascist? How to cover the rise of a political leader who’s left a paper trail of anti-constitutionalism, racism and the encouragement of violence? Does the press take the position that its subject acts outside the norms of society? Or does it take the position that someone who wins a fair election is by definition “normal,” because his leadership reflects the will of the people? These are the questions that confronted the U.S. press…


The Company We Keep: 6 Dictators Who Also Divided Children From Parents

[Editor’s Note: We also need to acknowledge that the United States has stolen children from their families during the slave trade and through the racist Government Indian School system, which was often assisted by churches. I would also add to Cole’s list of cruelty the American-backed Pinochet regime in Chile, which began with a CIA-backed coup on 9/11 … 1973. — Mark L. Taylor] By Juan Cole Informed Consent (6/18/18) Separating children from their parents, as Trump, Sessions and their myrmidons are doing, is monstrous and has been characteristic of the biggest dictators of the modern era. Here are a…


Keep ’em In The Dark: Advanced High School History Will No Longer Include Humankind’s Story Before 1450

  NPR (6/16/18) The Advanced Placement World History course will no longer include precolonial civilizations. Scott Simon talks to Amanda DoAmaral, a former AP World History teacher, about why she opposes the change. Link to Story and -Minute Audio (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )


Forget Trump – A return To True Populism Is The Cure, Not The Disease

By Thomas Frank The Guardian (6/23/18) Why are the traditional parties of the left in the western world being defeated in so many places by outrageous blowhards of the right? The answer most often given is that rightwing politicians have discovered and embraced a diabolical form of super-politics known as “populism”. With its combination of magic words and evil deeds, this populism is breaking rules, beguiling voters and winning elections. Populism is a subject I know something about. In the 1980s I studied the angry American agrarians who, a century before, squared off against railroad monopolists. I became fascinated with the populist culture of the Roosevelt era,…


Sy Hersh On All The Victims Of America’s War Culture

“Some will claim that I have attempted to exploit some dumb, out of service, overly talkative G.I.s. But few men are exposed to charges of murder… it is not a “naming names and telling all affair.” In fact, one of the strengths is that discriminating readers will know how much more I know — and did not tell. I’m convinced that to give the name and hometown of a G.I. who committed rape and murder that day, or one who beheaded an infant, would not further the aim of the book. It is an exposé, but not of the men…


Writer Documents The Political & Corporate Pushers Behind America’s Deadly Opioid Epidemic

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/4/18) As a psychotherapist and substance abuse counselor I found the Democracy Now! Friday (6/1/18) broadcast to be one of the best all-in-one package of information on the government-enabled, corporate manipulated opioid epidemic that has claimed some 200,000 Americans and continues to kill and decimate families and communities every day across the nation. If you want a good understanding about the dirty political and economic underpinnings that continues to fuel the crisis take an hour to watch the entire broadcast here. The individual segments are detailed and linked below: Purdue Pharma Knew…


One Last Memorial Day Musing: The Pawns Of War

  By Philip Farruggio Nation of Change (5/28/18) She would always have the brightest smile as she stood at the intersection of Avenue T and Ocean Ave in Brooklyn, N.Y. circa 1968. She was our crossing guard and we all loved Mrs. Lombardo. Each morning and afternoon during school days she would greet each and every kid who passed by her post. On Sundays, before and after each Catholic Mass at St. Edmunds church, she would be there, again with that contagious smile. The young kids loved her as one would love a favorite aunt, and the seniors, who seemed to make…



Carrying On The Work Of Historian Howard Zinn: Labor History Workshops For Educators

  Zinn Education Project (5/28/18) In the midst of an unprecedented wave of teacher walkouts and strikes — in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Colorado, Arizona, Kentucky, and North Carolina — the Washington Education Association invited the Zinn Education Project to offer a labor history workshop for WEA members in Southwest Washington. “The Power in Our Hands: Integrating Labor History into Our Curriculum” was held on Saturday, May 19, 2018. High school teacher and Rethinking Schoolscontributor Ursula Wolfe-Rocca facilitated the workshop for elementary, middle, and high school teachers. She engaged attendees in role plays about local labor history (“The 1934 West Coast  Longshore…


A Vile Act Of American Inhumanity: We Are Now Splitting Up Families Like The Slave Traders Did

  By Paul Buchheit Common Dreams (5/21/18) Families are being split up in the name of “zero tolerance” immigration policies. Jeff Sessions said, “[Your] child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.” John Kelly, White House chief of staff, added, “The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever.” Yes, he said “whatever.” This isn’t much different from slave-trading days. People then were forced INTO the country and families separated; now they’re forced OUT OF the country and families separated. In both cases families have done…


Chris Hedges: The Coming Collapse Will Shatter Our Hallucinations

  By Chris Hedges TruthDig (5/20/18) The Trump administration did not rise, prima facie, like Venus on a half shell from the sea. Donald Trump is the result of a long process of political, cultural and social decay. He is a product of our failed democracy. The longer we perpetuate the fiction that we live in a functioning democracy, that Trump and the political mutations around him are somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the next election, the more we will hurtle toward tyranny. The problem is not Trump. It is a political system, dominated by corporate…


Be Alert! Trump’s Primary Tactic Of Defining Deviancy Downward Is Designed To Leave You Feeling Exhausted, Numb & Inactive

“In 1993, New York’s Democratic senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a former social scientist, made an incisive observation: Humans have a limited ability to cope with people behaving in ways that depart from shared standards. When unwritten rules are violated over and over, Moynihan observed, societies have a tendency to “define deviancy down” — to shift the standard. What was once seen as abnormal becomes normal. “Moynihan applies this insight, controversially, to America’s growing social tolerance for single-parent families, high murder rates, and mental illness. Today it can be applied to American democracy. Although political deviance — the violation of unwritten…


Color Me Naive: Torture Debate Gave Me A Surprise Political Education

(An earlier cartoon on bipartisan acquiesce on torture, 3/19/18.) “We can’t allow ourselves to descend down the rabbit hole of unbridled partisanship for partisan sake.” — Mike Quigley By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/21/18) To begin, I must plead guilty. I have long opposed the role of torture in American policy. Since adolescence I have written letters, published cartoons (above), joined the ACLU, dutifully sent donations off to human rights groups, signed an endless stream of petitions and paid attention to the bipartisan torture policies of American foreign policy, which has often meant reading personal accounts that have…


Teller Of Truths Daniel Ellsberg: Civil Disobedience Against Vietnam War Led Me To Leak Pentagon Papers

  “We have chosen to be powerless criminals in a time of criminal power. We have chosen to be branded as peace criminals by war criminals.” Democracy Now! (5/18/18) Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg was a high-level defense analyst in 1971 when he leaked a top-secret report on U.S. involvement in Vietnam to The New York Times and other publications that came to be known as the Pentagon Papers and played a key role in ending the Vietnam War. We speak with Ellsberg about the recent 50th anniversary of one of the most famous acts of civil disobedience in the United States….


‘Democracy In Chains’ Author Warns: “Trump is the tumor, not the cancer.”

  “We’ve made more progress in the last five years than I had in the last 50.” — Charles Koch [Editor’s Note: Nancy MacClean’s book “Democracy In Chains” provides the necessary historical background to understand the how and why of the radical right’s capture of the government. It truly is an essential guide to corporate America’s Trumpland. — Mark L. Taylor] Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (5/4/18) Our democracy is at a “historic turning point,” said Nancy MacLean, the author of “Democracy in Chains,” last night [5/3] in Madison, where she was the keynote speaker at the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s annual celebration….


‘How Democracies Die’ — The Paranoid Style Has Consumed American Politics

“In his 1964 essay “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” historian Richard Hofstader described the phenomenon of “status anxiety,” which, he believed, is most likely to emerge when groups’ social status, identify, and sense of belonging are perceived to be under existential threat. This leads to a style of politics that is “overheated, over suspicious, over aggressive, grandiose, and apocalyptic.” Half a century after its publication, Hofstader’s essay may be more relevant than ever. The struggle against declining majority status is, in good part, what fuels the intense animosity that has come to define the American Right. Survey evidence suggests…


Absurdity & Affront: Writer Documents The 200 Year History Leading Up To Citizens United Case Giving Corporations The Rights Of Peope

    By Kim Phillips-Fein The New Republic (3/29/18) More than 100 years ago, at the height of the last Gilded Age, Congress passed its first law prohibiting corporations from spending money to influence election campaigns. From the start, the wealthy chafed against this limit, and some sought to test it in court. Alcohol manufacturers—terrified of high taxes and Prohibition—might not have seemed the ideal candidates to take on this fight. But they were nonetheless the first to challenge the law, contributing cash to candidates in state and federal races and then arguing that any effort to keep money out…


Yanis Varoufakis: Marx Predicted Our Present Crisis – And Points The Way Out

The manifesto remains a source of hope not to be dismissed. By Yanis Varoufakis The Guardian (4/20/18) No manifesto has better succeeded in doing all this than the one published in February 1848 at 46 Liverpool Street, London. Commissioned by English revolutionaries, The Communist Manifesto (or the Manifesto of the Communist Party, as it was first published) was authored by two young Germans – Karl Marx, a 29-year-old philosopher with a taste for epicurean hedonism and Hegelian rationality, and Friedrich Engels, a 28-year-old heir to a Manchester mill. As a work of political literature, the manifesto remains unsurpassed. Its most infamous lines,…


Why These 5 Books Are Censored From Your History Class | Interview With Mark Crispin Miller

  Abby Martin (9/22/14) Abby Martin speaks with NYU media studies professor, Mark Crispin Miller, discussing the addition of 5 books to the Forbidden Bookshelf, a project aimed at making important literature that has gone out of circulation once again available to the public. The newest additions to the Forbidden Bookshelf include: 1. DuPont Dynasty: Behind the Nylon Curtain by Gerard Colby 2. Hidden History of the Korean War by I.F. Stone 3. Assassination on Embassy Row by Saul Landau and John Dinges 4. The Assassination of New York by Robert Fitch 5. The Polk Conspiracy by Kati Marton Access…


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…


Scholar Of Authoritarianism Tells Seth Meyers That When She’s Being Asked On TV ‘you know America is in bad shape’

By Sarah K. Burris The Raw Story (4/25/18) Writer and researcher Sarah Kendzior’s new book is a series of essays that she wrote from 2012 through 2014 that ultimately predicted the rise of today’s politics, government institution bashing, paranoia — and the possibility of a President Donald Trump. In a Tuesday interview with “Late Night” host Seth Meyers, Kendzior explained that despite understanding the possibilities of Trump, she finds no solace in being right. “When I’m in demand, when my areas of expertise are in demand, then you know America is in bad shape,” she explained. She went on to…


What’s In A Name — Are You Really A Progressive Or A Liberal?

How a vital term in U.S. political life lost its significance—and could regain it today. By Win McCormick The New Republic (4/20/18) What distinguishes a progressive from a liberal? This is one of the more pervasive ambiguities in contemporary American political discourse. In a recent issue of the journal Democracy, the historian Sean Wilentz addressed it head-on: Liberals, he argues, recognize the flaws of capitalism, are dedicated to remedying them, and have great achievements to their credit in that regard, notably those of the New Deal, the New Frontier, and the Great Society. Progressives are meanwhile “emphatically anti-liberal”—because they are hostile to capitalism and, “deep…


Inside The Decade-Long Russian Campaign To Infiltrate The NRA & Help Elect Trump

Femme fatales, lavish Moscow parties and dark money – how Russia played the National Rifle Association. By Tim Dickinson The  Rolling Stone (4/1/18) In November 2013, the president of the National Rifle Association, David Keene, was introduced as an honored guest at the conference of the Right to Bear Arms, a gun lobby in Moscow. “There are no peoples that are more alike than Americans and Russians,” Keene said. “We’re hunters. We’re shooters. We value the same kinds of things.” Keene underscored his friendship with Alexander Torshin, a top politician in the ruling party of Vladimir Putin; for the past three…