History They Don’t Want You To Know

Long Before Kaepernick, The ‘Syracuse 8’ Were Blackballed By Pro Football

  By Karen Given & Shira Springer Only A Game (11/17/17) They met in secret. Away from their white coaches and teammates. “We used to meet at midnight,” former Syracuse football player Dana Harrell says. “And we could have met earlier. But we used to meet at midnight, to lay out our thoughts and plans, just like the slaves. Harrell was one of nine college football players the international media would — incorrectly — call the “Syracuse 8.” It was the late 1960s — after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Bobby Kennedy. Dana and his…

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History They Don’t Want You To Know: The Untold Story Of How Immigrants Turned The Wobblies Into A Global Force For Labor

  By Shaun Richman In These Times (11/8/17) Declaring, “an injury to one is an injury to all,” the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) upended and forever changed the labor movement a little over a century ago. The Wobblies’ commitment to organizing workers on an industry-wide basis, their cynicism about legislative action and electoral politics, their aversion to signed contracts and their preference for sudden strikes remain fascinating subjects for labor studies. Their multiculturalism, anti-racism and pioneering bohemian approach to God, country and sex remain a rich vein to be mined for cultural studies. Although there is no shortage…


50 Years Of Ongoing Atrocities & Impunity: The Hidden US War In Colombia You Never Hear Of

  Approximately 40 mass killers and torturers spirited out of Columbia by CIA and given refuge in United States. One was known as the “Drill” for his penchant for molesting girls as young as 9 years old. Empire Files (10/4/17) Colombia and Venezuela: two neighboring countries that receive extremely different treatment by the US Empire and the mass media. While Colombia is known for one of the worst human rights records in the world, it remains a top recipient of US military aid and enjoys uncritical press coverage in Western media. To explain the 50+ year history of US intervention…


Paul Wellstone’s Legacy: “Doing What I Honestly, Truthfully Believe Is Right.”

Wellstone Action By Abbey Zimet Common Dreams (10/26/17) This week marks the 15th anniversary of the sudden death of Minnesota’s progressive Sen. Paul Wellstone in a plane crash that also killed his wife, daughter, several staffers and two pilots. His death in 2002 came days before a dead-heat election where he was seeking a third Senate term; it also came two weeks after he became one of 23 lawmakers to vote against the invasion of Iraq. Many thought it would cost him re-election, but unlike the likes of Flake and Corker, he didn’t care: “This is what I believe. This is who…


History Dem Party Rulers Don’t Want You To Know: Today’s Progressives Need To Know The Courage Of Visionary Henry A. Wallace

  “The greatest remedy for fear is to stand up and fight for your rights.”  – Henry A. Wallace By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (10/26/17) In one of the most tragic pivot points in American – and world – history, Henry A. Wallace, FDR’s strong and visionary progressive vice president from 1941-1944 was elbowed aside in 1948 by the party’s corporate wing in favor of machine pol Harry S. Truman. What the democratic party Clinton/Obama establishment did to Bernie Sanders in the 2016 election was a replay of the nightmarish duplicity and mugged dreams and betrayed promise of 1948….


History They Don’ Want You To Know: How Comedian Dick Gregory Forced The FBI To Find The Bodies Of Three Civil Rights Workers Slain In Mississippi

  (Editor’s Note: In light of continued free passes handed out to white police officers killing young black men across the country, it is appropriate to remember the infamous triple murder of civil rights workers in 1964. Most Americans have a whitewashed memory of that obscenity and the active role law enforcement played in both the crime and cover-up from the movie Mississippi Burning. To understand the current grief and anger of our black neighbors over the never ending murders of young blacks by law enforcement in this country, take a few minutes to read these two great articles. They…


Legendary Psychopath: The True Christopher Columbus

“Spirit of the Immigrant” Columbus statue at Plazza Cosenza in Kenosha, WI. (Photo by Mark L. Taylor) By Katie Halper The Raw Story (10/7/17) Happy Columbus Day! I hope you’re celebrating the holiday appropriately, by breaking into someone’s home and claiming that you discovered and now own it! Or you could just, you know, mourn the genocide of indigenous people by shopping. Because we all grieve in different ways. You’ve probably heard lots of great things about Christopher Columbus and tons of inspiring quotes from him about hard work, god, the sea etc. But those don’t really capture what Columbus and the colonial…


History They Don’t Want You To Know: David Grann’s ‘Killers Of The Flower Moon’ Reveals A Story Of American Genocide

‘   The Thread Minnesota Public Radio (4/25/17) David Grann, bestselling author of “The Lost City of Z,” returns with the story of a little-remembered crime that modernized investigative procedure in the United States. In “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” Grann tells a gripping tale of greed, prejudice and callousness. This is for fans of American history, true crime and rip-roaring storytelling. David Grann is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning staff writer at The New Yorker magazine. MPR’s Stephen Smith hosted the event for the Thread…


Burned: Choosing Quagmire – The Essential Context Of Understanding Vietnam

  By Robert Freeman Common Dreams (9/24/17) Since the day it ended, in 1975, there have been efforts to rehabilitate the Vietnam War, to make it acceptable, even honorable. After all, there were so many sides to the story, weren’t there? It was so complex, so nuancical. There was real heroism among the troops. Of course, all of this is true, but it’s true of every war so it doesn’t redeem any war. The Vietnam War is beyond redemption and must be remembered and condemned for the calamity that it was. The Vietnam War was “one of the greatest American…


A Commoner Writes: How Was John McCain Heroic?

  I just have to wonder how the title “war hero” applies to someone whose mission it was to bomb innocent people. [Sen. John McCain Gives A Classy Interview On 60 Minutes ,9/28.] Sorry. I think too many people who know they should know better are being lulled into some false happy dream about Vietnam by the cradle song of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. There have been some great “WAKE UP!” shakes, many on counterpunch.org  suppose his refusal to be released early was a heroic thing, but let’s not say war hero. I won’t. Cathy Van Maren La Crosse, WI Link to…


Chris Hedges: Dis-remembering History Perpetuates Abuse Today

  By Chris Hedges TruthDig (9/24/17) Historians, like journalists, are in the business of manipulating facts. Some use facts to tell truths, however unpleasant. But many more omit, highlight and at times distort them in ways that sustain national myths and buttress dominant narratives. The failure by most of the United States’ popular historians and the press to tell stories of oppression and the struggles against it, especially by women, people of color, the working class and the poor, has contributed to the sickening triumphalism and chauvinism that are poisoning our society. The historian James W. Loewen, in his book Lies…


Tom Crofton: History Past And Present

  “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (9/25/17) The current PBS series “The Vietnam War” by Ken Burns has been made in an effort to present a wide range of historical fact and opinion in an intentionally neutral voice. It’s visual elements are quite stunning, as we have come to expect from Ken Burns, and the statements of its participants provide a chance for viewers to see many sides of the conflict. Unfortunately, the use of a neutral voice leaves open the possibility that the obvious mistakes…


A Commoner Writes: What Is Really Meant By “Pursuit Of Happiness”

The Declaration of Independence states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”   In my role as a professor at both liberal arts and engineering universities I have held a policy of asking my students the question, ‘’How do you define freedom?” The answer I have received every time, yes every time, is ‘Freedom is about happiness. And that I can do whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it. THAT…


German Historian Says The Dark Implications Of Trump’s Pardon Of Arpaio Are Ominous

  By Richard E. Frankel History News Network (8/31/17) In August of 1932, in the town of Potempa, nine Nazi Stormtroopers murdered a supporter of the German Communist Party, kicking him to death in his own apartment as his family watched in horror. Six were convicted with five receiving the death penalty. After the verdict, Hitler sent them a telegram in which he declared to them his “boundless loyalty.” Shortly after he came to power in 1933, he pardoned the killers. While former Sheriff Joe Arpaio never kicked anyone to death, his pardon by President Trump raises disturbing parallels. Upon…


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

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


Dick Gregory In His Own Words: Remembering The Pioneering Comedian & Civil Rights Activist

  Democracy Now! (8/21/17) In a special broadcast today, we remember legendary comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory, who passed away on Saturday in Washington, D.C. at the age of 84. Gregory became one of the most popular comedians in the country, paving the way for generations of African-American comedians. On Sunday Chris Rock wrote on Instagram, “We lost a king. They’ll never be another. Read his books. Look him up you won’t be disappointed. Unfortunately the America that produced Dick Gregory still exists.” Dick Gregory was the first African-American comedian to sit on the couch of The Tonight…


The Deep Political & Class Roots Of Fascist Violence In The US Cannot Be Ignored

By Joseph Kishore World Socialist Web Site (8/14/17) The eruption of Nazi violence in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend has come as a shock to millions of people in the United States and around the world. The images of pro-Nazi white supremacists assaulting counter-protesters and the brutal murder of 32-year-old Heather Heyer have exposed the socially and politically rancid state of American society. Nazi thugs rampaged through a university town and terrorized students and other residents while smirking policeman stood by and winked their encouragement to the attackers. The country that presumes to preach morality to the world and holds itself…


“If you’re not resisting, you’re partaking”: Historian Timothy Snyder On Trump’s Failure To Call Evil By Its Proper Name

By Sean Illing Vox (8/14/17) “This was our Beer Hall Putsch. This was the beginning of our revolution.” Thus concluded a post on the Daily Stormer, a popular American neo-Nazi website in which the author, Andrew Anglin, recapped the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend. The original “Beer Hall Putsch” was the first Nazi spectacle in 1923. It was modeled explicitly after Mussolini’s March on Rome. The putsch was an attempt by Hitler, the leader of the nascent Nazi Party, to seize power from the German government by marching to the center of Munich, alongside 2,000 fellow Nazis. The putsch failed,…


1945 Short Film ‘The House I Live In’ Celebrated A Time When The US Aspired To Be Better Than It Was

  By Mark L Taylor The Commoner Call (8/14/17) Unlike now, in the years immediately following WW II the government and Hollywood would speak out forcefully in the popular media against (some) forms of racism and prejudice. Following the war homegrown American fascists were pushing a lot of anti-Semitism. In the 1945 award-winning short film  The House I Live In Frank Sinatra was featured as the main character intervening with a gang of kids bullying a Jewish boy. The film featured the song The House I Live In which was written by black-listed writer Abel Meeropol who wrote the lyrics…


As He Rattles The Weapons Of War, Trump’s ‘Art Of The Deal’ Ghostwriter Tony Schwartz Lifts The Veil On Trump’s Lies

Donald Trump’s 1987 bestselling book on business leadership, “The Art of the Deal” was ghostwritten by Tony Schwartz, who shares his insights and experience of the real estate hustler and reality television oddball who has now become the president of the United States. Link to 56-Minute Video ***** Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All   “He’s a living black hole!” By Jane Mayer The New Yorker (7/25/17) Last June, as dusk fell outside Tony Schwartz’s sprawling house, on a leafy back road in Riverdale, New York, he pulled out his laptop and caught up with the day’s big news: Donald J….


Cautionary Lesson: How The Nazis Destroyed The First Gay Rights Movement

  By John Broich The Conversation (7/4/17) Very recently, Germany’s Cabinet approved a bill that will expunge the convictions of tens of thousands of German men for “homosexual acts” under that country’s anti-gay law known as “Paragraph 175.” That law dates back to 1871, when modern Germany’s first legal code was created. It was repealed in 1994. But there was a serious movement to repeal the law in 1929 as part of a wider LGBTQ rights movement. That was just before the Nazis came to power, magnified the anti-gay law, then sought to annihilate gay and transgender Europeans. The story of how…


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

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


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

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


‘Democracy In Chains’ – How One Man’s Mission To Rip Up Democracy Has Become The Republican Party

By George Monbiot The Guardian (7/19/17) It’s the missing chapter: a key to understanding the politics of the past half century. To read Nancy MacLean’s new book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, is to see what was previously invisible. The history professor’s work on the subject began by accident. In 2013 she stumbled across a deserted clapboard house on the campus of George Mason University in Virginia. It was stuffed with the unsorted archives of a man who had died that year whose name is probably unfamiliar to you: James McGill Buchanan….


Thoreau’s Call For Radical Empathy For All Other Beings Rings True Now More Than Ever

“If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth–certainly the machine will wear out… but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience, 1849. ***** 200 Years After His Birth,…


The American Tradition Of Citizens Standing Up To The Bullying Of Workers

“The fruits of toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few, unprecedented in the history of mankind; and the possessors of these, in turn, despise the republic and endanger liberty. From the same prolific womb of governmental injustice we breed the two great classes – tramps and millionaires.” – From the People’s Party platform first convention in Omaha, Nebraska in 1892. The party won almost 9% of the presidential vote that year. They elected over 1,500 candidates, including three governors, five senators and ten congressmen. In 1884 they doubled their vote, electing seven congressmen…


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

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


Biographer David Cay Johnson Says “Donald doesn’t know anything!”

 “It is all a fraud – his life.” Politics & Prose Bookstore (9/8/16) In his detailed account of Donald Trump’s astonishing political success, Johnston, an award-winning New York Times investigative journalist and currently a columnist for USA Today, looks closely at Trump’s business practices, his associates, and his family background. Johnston sheds light on many of Trump’s beliefs, delving into his father’s Ku Klux Klan involvement and into Trump’s own ties with organized crime, as well as laying out how Trump has actually managed real estate, run casinos, and experienced numerous bankruptcies even while amassing huge wealth. Link to 1-Hour…


Nordic Odin Religion Hijacked & Perverted By Violent American White Supremacists

By Will Carless Reveal / Center for Investigative Reporting (6/1/17) In February 2016, 15 months before he was accused of stabbing three people on a train in Portland, Oregon, and killing two, Jeremy Christian pledged to kill whoever was elected president of the United States: “I Hereby Solemnly swear to Die trying to Kill Hillary (Herself a filthy Murderess) Clinton and Donald Trump should they be elected to the post of President in my faire country on (sic) Vinland,” Christian wrote in a Facebook post. Then he pledged his threat to an ancient Nordic god, as well as Hindu and Egyptian…


Operation Condor: US, Latin American Slaughter, Torture Program

  By Edward Rhymes teleSur (6/15/17) It is altogether fitting to begin any analysis of Operation Condor with its birthplace: Chile. Thousands of people were imprisoned and killed after Augusto Pinochet’s 1973 military coup against democratically-elected socialist President Salvador Allende. The Nixon administration had helped undermine Allende and then supported Pinochet as he dissolved parliament and began a brutal campaign against Chile’s left that lasted 17 years. His regime conducted raids, executions, abductions, arrests and torture of thousands of Chilean citizens. More people were killed in the four months following the coup (through December 1973) than in any other year…


Orwell On The Politics Of Language

“Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements.” – George Orwell, Politics and the English Language”, 1945   (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark…


History They Don’t Want You To Know: How U.S. Race Laws Inspired Nazis

  By David Swanson WarIsACrime.org (4/21/17) James Q. Whitman’s new book is called Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law. It is understated and overdocumented, difficult to argue with. No doubt some will try. In cartoonish U.S. historical understanding, the United States is, was, and ever shall be a force for good, whereas Nazism arose in a distant, isolated land that lacked any connection to other societies. In a cartoonish reversal of that understanding that would make a good strawman for critics of this book, U.S. policies have been identical to Nazism which simply…


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

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


A Warning To America: How Hitler Came To Power Has Many Disturbing Similarities To What Trump’s Movement Is Pulling Together

  Reich Wing Watch (11/1/16) The audio in this video is from “On Point with Tom Ashbrook”. Being interviewed is historian Eric Weitz. Discussed is how Hitler rose to power and the “comeback” right-wing populism is making in Europe and in the United States in the form of Donald Trump. What economic and social conditions helped the Nazis come to power? [Editor’s Note: Author Eric Weitz is way too dismissive of the parallels and echoes between Weimar Republic Germany and today’s America. He does an excellent job of laying out the commonalities but then steps back, assuring us that things…