History They Don’t Want You To Know

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…

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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…



“Worm Wood”: Errol Morris’s Latest Documentary Probes Deadly CIA Duplicity

Frank Olson may have been not just murdered but executed. (Editor’s Note: “Wormwood” is a fascinating Netflix documentary series on the 1953 suicide/murder/execution of government scientist Frank Olson, who grew up in Hurley, Wisconsin. The official story was that Olson’s death was an unfortunate outcome of a what was a whacky CIA LSD experimental program gone awry. Olson’s eldest son, Erik, never felt comfortable with the story; always felt there was more to it. He was right. This short series is a powerful, personal account of the abuse of unchecked government power and secrecy and perfectly timed as a warning…


DUH! South Carolina GOP Lawmakers Shocked To Learn No Black Soldiers Served Under Confederacy

What kind of stupid is that? By Travis Gettys The Raw Story (1/1/18) The justification for building a monument to black Confederate soldiers is crumbling as historians point out there’s no evidence such combatants ever existed. State Rep. Bill Chumley (R-Woodruff) and state Rep. Mike Burns (R-Taylors) pre-filed a bill last month that would establish a commission to design an African-American Confederate veterans monument, reported The State. The bill would also require public schools to teach the contributions of black people toward the Confederate cause, and Chumley said his proposal had already accomplished his goal even as historians undermine its intent. “We are all…


New Documentary Reveals Major Coverup & Corruption In Las Vegas Police Department, Before And After The Mass Shooting

  By Liz Posner AlterNet (12/25/17) Unanswered questions still surround the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1 this year. Days after shooter Stephen Paddock killed 59 people and injured over 500, confusing details emerged. Journalists sparred with police at press conferences, grappling for missing details. The security guard who discovered Paddock in his hotel room with 24 guns and was shot by Paddock later disappeared, only to reemerge as a guest on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. To shed light on this confusion, a new film, “What Happened in Vegas,” explores the role of the Las Vegas Police Department after the mass…


A Bad Deal: Swapping Out Democracy For A State Of Perpetual American Fear

‘Scairdy Cat Nation By Ray Suarez NPR (12/17/17) Historian Elaine Tyler May says that ever since the Cold War, fear has crept into American life and created apathy toward democracy. During that time, the government and media gave Americans constant warning about nuclear war and communism — adults were encouraged to build shelters, children practiced hiding under their desks to prepare for a possible nuclear attack. “Basically, the message was the bomb could drop at any time,” she says. “Each person was responsible for their own safety. There’s really nothing the government or the leaders of the country can do…


‘The Post’ Puts Pentagon Papers Back On The Front Page

  On Point/WBUR (12/21/17) With guest host Tom Gjelten.  The new film “The Post,” with Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, puts the Pentagon Papers back on the front page. The massive leak of government documents helped shed light on the Vietnam War, and the lies the government was telling about it. Among others, we’re talking to Leslie Gelb, a former Department of Defense official who will tell us exactly how leaker Daniel Ellsberg got away with the documents. We’re digging in and consider its impact on journalism, now. Clips From This Show: Key Pentagon Papers Figure Dispels ‘Baloney’ Myths — But…


Story Behind The Famous Pentagon Papers: The Story Of A Whistleblower & A Young Reporter

Secrets, Lies and Leaks. The Center For Investigative Reporting & PRX (5/21/17) In this episode of Reveal, we’re using the full hour to take a deep look at the leaking and publication of the Pentagon Papers. At the center of the episode are two guys who have a knack for being in the room when history gets made: Robert J. Rosenthal and Daniel Ellsberg. For Rosenthal, the Pentagon Papers came calling when he was at the beginning of his journalism career. When Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press in 1971, he was turning his back on a long career close…


Election Madness: The Ballot Is Never Enough

“Historically, government, whether in the hands of Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, has failed its responsibilities, until forced to by direct action: sit-ins and Freedom Rides for the rights of black people, strikes and boycotts for the rights of workers, mutinies and desertions of soldiers in order to stop a war. Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.” – Howard Zinn, Election Madness (2008)


The Story Of George Wallace & The Radical Fascist Right Shows That Even After Trump The Threat To The Nation Remains

Whether Trump lasts another three weeks, another three years, or another seven years, our troubles won’t be over when he’s gone. They may well get worse. (Editor’s Note: This is an important, excellent analysis of the American fascist right that properly explains how Trump is a product of, not the progenitor of the radical fascist right. Rich draws from the history of George Wallace, showing the parallels and the political DNA of the right wing movement going back to the 1930’s. As the internet is choked off and the Sinclair group takes over more media the threat of the radical…


As Republicans Gear Up To Gut Social Security To Fund Massive Tax Cuts For The Wealthy, Here’s What Life Was Like Before Earned Benefits

Red House Records Boise Song Talk (10/14/12) Rosalie Sorrels reads the chapter “Social Security” from her mother Nancy Stringfellow’s memoir, “Report from Grimes Creek after a Hard Winter”. This is an excerpt from the full interview with Rosalie Sorrels and James Coberly Smith in the Boise Song Talk series. Link to 6-Minute Video Rosalie Sorrels Talks About Health Insurance & Death: 6-Minute Video


Chris Hedges: On Fall Of Empire & The Rise Of Bullying Fascists

  “All great empires and nations decay from within. By the time they hobble off the world stage, overrun by the hordes at the gates or vanishing quietly into the pages of history books, what made them successful and powerful no longer has relevance. This rot takes place over decades, as with the Soviet Union, or, even longer, as with the Roman, Ottoman or Austro-Hungarian empires. It is often imperceptible. “Dying empires cling until the very end to the outward trappings of power. They mask their weakness behind a costly and technologically advanced military. They pursue increasingly unrealistic imperial ambitions….


Neoliberalism – The Ideology At The Root Of All Our Economic & Social Crises

  By George Monbiot The Guardian (11/15/16) Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is? Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which…


The 40th Anniversary Of The Death Of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington Is Time To Reflect On What True Political Reform Looks Like

  By Mark Kastel (12/7/17) Just like Bernie Sanders, at least for me, one of the preeminent and compelling attributes of Harold Washington was — his authenticity. His political speeches reflected his true beliefs. He was a reformer. He took on one of the most powerful political machines in the country, built by Chicago’s Richard J Daley, and beat them at their own game. I worked for Harold in his first campaign. My job, as a surrogate speaker, was to address exclusively black audiences on the city south and west sides. My sidekick, one of my best friends at the…


Time Again To Remember 20 Lessons From The 20th Century On How To Survive In Trump’s America

    (Editor’s Note: Periodically we post Timothy Snyder’s ’20 Lessons’ as a powerful reminder of how to survive the growing fascism of Trump’s America. With the passage of the Republican tax scam for the super wealthy next year we can expect gutting of Medicare, Social Security and other programs Americans depend upon. The need for organizing, action and lighting a fire under the ass of the corporate democrats will be greater than ever. Stay awake. Stay strong. Resist the bastards. – Mark L. Taylor) By Tim Snyder In These Times (10/21/17) This article first appeared as a post on…


Think It Can’t Happen Here? It Already Did On February 20, 1939

American Nazis at Madison Square Garden rally in 1939.   By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (11/30/17) Throughout the 1930’s and right up to the outbreak of war in Europe there was a vigorous American Nazi Bund movement that was especially active in upper Midwest states, like Wisconsin. In February of 1939 20,000 American Nazis gathered in New York City’s Madison Square garden for a rally that no doubt warmed the olive pit-sized heart of Adolf Hitler. The event was staged with all the theatrical pomp and dramatic ceremony of  a Munich rally. Take a few minutes to watch…


EMERGENCY! Seven Things You Can Do Right Now To Save Our Open Internet

  By Mary Alice Crim Common Dreams (11/22/17) According to reports, the FCC will vote on Dec. 14 to destroy Net Neutrality and allow for online discrimination. Time to hit play on Wake Up Everybody, a song covered by John Legend and the Roots, and sing along: “Wake up everybody no more sleepin’ in bed … the world won’t get no better if we just let it be. The world won’t get no better. We gotta change it yeah, just you and me.” After you’re finished singing, hit the phones and prepare to get in the streets. It’s time to get loud…


History They Don’t Want You To Know: Historian Peter Kuznick On American Exceptionalism & US Imperialism

Reality Asserts Itself (10/15/17) On Reality Asserts Itself with Paul Jay, Prof. Peter Kuznick, historian and co-author with Oliver Stone of The Untold History of The United States, looks at the ideas that Americans use to justify conquest and empire. Link to 17-Minute Video To Watch The Entire 4-Part Interview With Peter Kuznick Link HERE.


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…


A Note From Bill Moyers On The True History Of ‘No Choice’ In America

  By Bill Moyers Moyers & Company (11/ For many decades men used the power of the state to force women to carry unwanted pregnancies. Once legal, abortion was outlawed in the late 19th century, and women who sought one were treated as sinners and criminals. Many women — some 2 million a year in the 1890s alone — defied the coercive power of patriarchal and paternalistic government to obtain abortions. Women of means were sometimes able to find a doctor to help, but all the others had to resort to desperate and dangerous measures. They swallowed potent concoctions of turpentine, bleach and detergents;…


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…