History They Don’t Want You To Know

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…

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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…


Knowing The Difference Between ‘A’ Problem & ‘The’ Problem: Our Trumputin ‘Fresh Hell’ Is The Result Of Our Selective National Blindness

    When no one is held accountable the same thing will happen again. On The Media / WNYC (3/30/18) Fifteen years since the start of the Iraq War, we live in what many see as a fresh hell: the erosion of institutions and standards at the highest levels. But political science professor Corey Robin argues that the Trump era is merely an extension of the same reflex that gave us the Iraq War — and much that preceded it. Robin recently wrote a piece for Harper’s Magazineabout the American tendency to re-imagine the past [See below]. He and Brooke discuss our collective failure to draw…


Book Review: ‘Russian Roulette’ Documents Decades-Long Relationship Between Trumputin & Russian Interests

  By Charles Kaiser The Guardian (3/20/18) Whenever I finish a book like Russian Roulette, I ask myself the same question: why is anyone still debating whether there was collusion between the Russians and Donald Trump? Like Collusion, a comprehensive volume by the Guardian’s Luke Harding, this narrative by investigative reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn leaves the reader nearly overwhelmed by evidence that Trump and Vladimir Putin have been striving to collaborate for years. It was 2013 when Trump first tweeted that he wanted to be Putin’s “best friend”. Later he told Fox Putin looked “like a great leader”. Putin’s constant goals…


Telling Tales: The Tohono O’odham Nation And The Threat Of Trump’s Border Wall

  Telling Tales BBC (3/21/18) A retelling of an ancient Native American story from the Tohono O’odham Nation, whose traditional lands straddle the border between the United States and Mexico. The story encapsulates the tribe’s closerelationship with their land, plants and animals. But their ancient way of life is now under threat from President Trump’s plans to build a fortified wall across their sacred lands. The power of ancient tales is that they cross time and space, and resonate with us all as human beings. Penny Boreham explores the power of ancient stories by taking three traditional tales and juxtaposing…


50 Years After My Lai Massacre In Vietnam, Revisiting The Slaughter The U.S. Military Tried To Hide

  (Editor’s Note: With the country gearing up for yet another senseless war it is important to remember what war is really about. Between the dioxin contamination of the land and resulting birth defects and death by unexploded bombs Americans continue to kill innocent Vietnam civilians. Three heroic GI resisters are interviewed. — Mark L. Taylor) Democracy Now! (3/16/18) Fifty years ago, on March 16, 1968, U.S. soldiers attacked the Vietnamese village of My Lai. Even though the soldiers met no resistance, they slaughtered more than 500 Vietnamese women, children and old men over the next four hours, in what…


Sacrifice Zone: A Cursed Appalachian Mining Town

  Video by Ivete Lucas & Patrick Bresnan The Atlantic (3/13/18) In the late 1800s, traveling preacher Robert Sheffey cursed the town of Ivanhoe, Virginia, after witnessing what one female resident describes as “houses of ill repute, fighting, drunkenness, and a rejection of his ministry by the townspeople.” Legend has it that Sheffey condemned the sinful town to sink into the earth and be consumed by the pits of hell. “Whether you believe in it or not, after that happened, we lost everything,” says the same Ivanhoe resident in the short documentary The Curse and the Jubilee. “We lost the rock quarry; we…


Overlooked: : How Women Like Ida B. Wells & Diane Arbus Were Omitted From The NYT Obituaries

  “Somebody must show that the Afro-American race is more sinned against than sinning, and it seems to have fallen upon me to do so.” — Muckraking journalist Ida B. Wells Democracy Now! (3/9/18) As the world marked International Women’s Day on Wednesday, The New York Times began a new project highlighting the lives of remarkable women who never had an obituary in the paper, until now. The list might surprise you. It includes the pioneering anti-lynching journalist Ida B. Wells; the writer and poet Sylvia Plath; Qiu Jin, who was known as China’s Joan of Arc; the groundbreaking photographer…


“On Tyranny” Author Timothy Snyder Pulls The Trumputin-Russia Story Together & Explains The History Of Our Present National Crisis

With all chaos and change swirling through Washington DC and tugging back and forth with Moscow it is easy to feel lost and confused and uncertain as to just what the hell is going on. In this series of short video talks Yale historian Timothy Snyder brings sense out of chaos and knits together an understanding of the patterns and personalities redefining our world and lives. Snyder is an expert on 20th century totalitarian regimes. His 2017 book “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From The Twentieth Century” is an essential owners manual for anyone living in Trump’s Amerika. You can link…


Up In Smoke: The Myth Of A Normal America

  There are no good old days to return to in U.S. politics. The truth about a post-Trump era. (Editor’s Note: Is the Democratic Party up to the new world we are facing in American politics? Do party leaders really grasp that the old rules of American politics are up in smoke? So far there is scant evidence that the DNC has any grasp how the game board has been redefined. That is bad news for all of us. — Mark L. Taylor) By Kevin Baker The New Republic (2/15/18) The remaining hope for all Americans of good sense, more…


Freedom Had Nothing To Do With Writing The Second Amendment. It Was All About Preserving Slavery

  By Thom Hartman TruthOut (1/15/13) The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says “State” instead of “Country” (the framers knew the difference — see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason and James Madison were totally clear on that… and we all should be too. In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the “slave patrols,” and they were regulated by the states. In Georgia, for example, a generation before…


Noam Chomsky: What Role Are You Really Expected To Play In Our ‘Democracy’

  “Now there are two “functions” in a democracy: The specialized class, the responsible men, carry out the executive function, which means they do the thinking and planning and understand the common interests. Then, there is the bewildered herd, and they have a function in democracy too. Their function in a democracy, [Lippmann] said, is to be “spectators,” not participants in action. But they have more of a function than that, because it’s a democracy. Occasionally they are allowed to lend their weight to one or another member of the specialized class. In other words, they’re allowed to say, “We…


“The Devil’s Chessboard” — Interview With Author David Talbot On The Evil History Of The CIA

  “Writing is fighting.” By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (2/1/18) Author David Talbot’s “The Devil’s Chessboard” (2015) provides an intriguing and necessary “counternarrative” to understanding American history since World War II. Talbot’s in-depth reporting exposes the bloodied cutting edge of the darkest wing of the Wall Street oligarchy. It is the nepotism and incestuous American secret corporate state that has led the nation into a parade of bloody and completely failed wars, coups and international murder and torture. From Central America to Vietnam, to Africa and the Middle East and Afghanistan the trail of bloody American failure and…


Ex-CIA Officer John Kiriakou: “The Government Turned Me Into A Dissident”

VICE News (4/2/15) In 2007, John Kiriakou became the first Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) official to publicly confirm that agency interrogators waterboarded a high-value detainee, terrorism suspect Abu Zubaydah — a revelation that had previously been a closely guarded secret. Five years after this unauthorized disclosure to ABC News, the veteran CIA officer pleaded guilty to leaking to journalists the identity of certain individuals who were involved with the CIA’s rendition, detention, and interrogation program. He was sentenced to two and a half years in federal prison. VICE News caught up with Kiriakou for a wide-ranging interview just a few…


Walt Whitman: ‘To The States’

  Why reclining, interrogating? why myself and all drowsing?  What deepening twilight—scum floating atop of the waters,  Who are they as bats and night-dogs askant in the capitol?  What a filthy Presidentiad! (O South, your torrid suns! O North, your arctic freezings!)  Are those really Congressmen? are those the great Judges? is that the President?  Then I will sleep awhile yet, for I see that these States sleep, for reasons;  (With gathering murk, with muttering thunder and lambent shoots we all duly awake,  South, North, East, West, inland and seaboard, we will surely awake.) — Walt Whitman (1819-1892) From Leaves…


A Despot In Disguise: One Man’s Successful Mission To Rip Up American Democracy By The Roots

Untold Story: This is where the Koch brothers and the plan to destroy American government began. (Editor’s Note: I am reading this book and cannot recommend it highly enough. It is far more readable than the topic might suggest and ESSENTIAL information to understand the true extent of the threat from the Trump republican party. – Mark L. Taylor) 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…


CounterSpin Interview With Jeff Cohen On ‘All Governments Lie’ Documentary

    By Janine Jackson CounterSpin / Fairness & Accuracy In Media (12/20/17) Janine Jackson: There’s a moment early on in the new documentary All Governments Lie where we see a clip from The Wizard of Oz: the revelation that the thunderous and awe-inspiring Great Oz is just a regular man with some powerful technology—the man behind the curtain. Unearthing and exposing the actions of the powerful was the driving impulse of the work of journalist I.F. Stone, whose fearless newsletter, I.F. Stone’s Weekly, was published from the early ’50s to the early ’70s. The film explores how Stone’s work and spirit continue to influence…


A Message For Martin Luther King Day From Cornel West: America Is Spiritually Bankrupt & Morally Emptied. We Must Fight Back Together

National Park Service photo. “In our world of the survival of the slickest and the smartest, we pave the way for raw greed and self-promotion. We make cowardice and avarice fashionable and compassion an option for losers.” By Cornel West The Guardian (1/14/18) e live in one of the darkest moments in American history – a bleak time of spiritual blackout and imperial meltdown. Exactly 25 years ago, in my book Race Matters, I tried to lay bare the realities and challenges to American democracy in light of the doings and sufferings of black people. Back then, I reached heartbreaking…


‘The Biggest Secret’ – James Risen On Life As NY Times Reporter In The Shadow Of The War On Terror

The crackdown on leaks only applied to low-level dissenters; top officials caught up in leak investigations, like former CIA Director David Petraeus, were still treated with kid gloves.   Democracy Now! (1/5/19) We spend the hour with former New York Times reporter James Risen, who left the paper in August to join The Intercept as senior national security correspondent. This week, he published a 15,000-word story headlined “The Biggest Secret: My Life as a New York Times Reporter in the Shadow of the War on Terror.” The explosive piece describes his struggles to publish major national security stories in the…